Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Neu-Moschi German Boma: Raise the Flag of the Deutsches Kolonialreich

Though the boma is still under construction, I thought it was time to at least get the flag of the German Colonial Empire ready for display. I wanted a flag that would look realistic, so I opted to start with a photograph rather than a drawing of the flag.  I managed to find a god source image through Google image search, then started modifications for my needs. The flag was first scaled down to something appropriate for 28mm figures (though left at a high resolution), and then I started the clean up process; removing holes in the flag, and smoothing out some of the fold lines. Finally, a reverse image was merged into the original flag image to allow the flag to be folded over and viewed from both sides. In case anyone else has a use for it, I've uploaded the high res version into Flickr (link under the image).

 To display my flag, I decided to custom build a flagpole that will sit at the entrance to the boma.  First off, I printed out the flag, carefully cut it out, and wrapped it around some thin wire I had obtained from the jewelry making section of the local craft shop.  The flag was glued together using a standard glue stick, shaped, then the white edges were treated with paint to hide them.

The flagpole itself was made from a hollow plastic rod from the local train store.  It has a bit of give to it, which should help to prevent snapping if it catches on something.  This was glued onto a wooden base to help with stability.  The hardware detailing on the flagpole was made from a small safety pin and a straight pin  with a spherical cap.

To make the loop at the top of the pole, I snipped off the circular spring of the safety pin, making sure to leave bit of the wire protruding off the ends. Small holes were drilled into the rod to fit them, and the spring was secured with superglue.The straight pin was inserted into the hole at the end of the rod and also superglued into place.

To secure the flag's cords at the base of the pole, I used the head of the safety pin, filing down the catch in the middle and squeezing the outer cover flatter. Another hole was drilled into the pole for this, and the assembly was superglued in place. While working on this, I discovered the pole wasn't as secure in the base as I hoped, so additional side supports were built out of wood and glued on.  "Bolts" for these supports were created from small drops of wood glue.

The flag was removed for the painting of the flagpole and texturing of the base, then reattached (after treating the wire with drab paint to remove the shine) with the wires sealed into place with more superglue.  Once the weather improved is will be sealed with matte spray varnish and will be ready for the parade ground.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Neu-Moschi German Boma: Front Gate

Work on the boma continues, but at a much slower pace than I hope due to other commitments.

As I mentioned in my last update on this project, my next major decision needed to be on how to build the walls for the compound. I considered scratch building them out of foamcore board, but I need to be able to break down the boma for storage and felt these would be too easily damaged.  As such, I opted to purchase a set of laser cut MDF walls from Gamecraft Miniatures. The walls themselves are rather no-frills; they have no engravings of exposed bricks, and no doors come for the gates. They are also too thin to really look appropriate for a compound wall. 

To deal with this, I first doubled up the walls (luckily you get at least two of each piece type) so they were now about 6mm thick. After gluing, the sharp edges were knocked down with a file and sections of wall were treated with Liquitex ceramic stucco texture gel. This was sanded and then painted up in layers with craft paint, moving up from tan, to sand, then white, resulting in some texture for the walls.

For the gate doors, I opted to start with 3mm thick solid pieces of basswood for each door rather than attempt to build them out of individual planks.

Each piece was scored with a utility knife to create the illusion of  individual planks, with further wear added using a small file. Support beams were individually cut from a thin sheet of basswood, and the metal hardware for the doors cut from sections of manilla folder.  The illusion of nail heads was done by applying small drops of wood glue with a toothpick.

The doors were painted German camouflage brown black, then highlighted with leather brown and earth.  The worn sections were then treated with a little gold brown and sand. Metal sections were painted charcoal grey with gunmetal  highlights.

The doors are just wedged into position, so I have the ability to put them in either an open or closed position.  I considered trying to put together actual working hinges, but though they would be too frail.  I did however paint some metal hinge mounts onto the door frames to help with the illusion.

The actual boma appeared to have gun ports built into the walls, so I decided to add two around the front gate.
I drilled two holes into the wall, starting with a small bit and working my way up to the size I wanted. The reason I started with smaller pilot holes is I found out the hard way that the larger bit wanted to wander when it started rotating, resulting in uneven heights for the openings.  These were cleaned with an x-acto blade to remove the raised material around the edges of the holes.  To give me square openings, I framed each hole with a bit of basswood. This took a bit of trial and error to figure out how to do.  I originally started with a a very thin sheet, thinking it would be easy to cut the hole out.  However, it fell apart as soon as I started cutting. I then moved on the 1/32" board and tried drilling pilot holes first.  This helped somewhat, but as you can see from the photo, I still managed to crack one of them. With careful cutting (I would remove the inside first, then cut the whole piece free) and plenty of spares, I eventually got enough to glue onto the walls with wood glue. These were then painted in the same fashion as the doors.
 As the wall sections will not be glued together or to the boma base to help with storage, I am attaching small outbuilding to each section to hold them up.  For the front gate, I am going with a sentry box sold by 4ground. Despite being a simple model, I actually found it a bit difficult to work with, as then wood is thinner than normal and I had some pieces snap during assembly. However, the final product seemed fairly sturdy in the end.  Due to the roof, the box does not sit flush against the wall, so some scrap filler needed to be added to the back. The box was them topped off with plastic sheeting to give the appearance of a metal  roof.

The other wall sections are still under construction as I am adding outbuildings to support them.  I also decided to add an additional Germanic style building to the back of the boma as existed in the real structure, so have a bit of scratch building to go before that's ready. At this pace, my goal is to have it ready for use at the start of the new year.