Archive for February, 2012

I’ve been making my crooked houses for a while now, and a bit of encouragement prompted me to try writing up a tutorial for them.   I originally got the idea for the houses on the Privateer Press forums, the old ones that have been shut down for a long time now.  I don’t remember who made them originally, but his work was really wonderful, and my best efforts so far haven’t topped his.  These are intended as terrain pieces for tabletop miniature wargames, although they would also work well in roleplaying games on a battle mat or something.  Prepare for a lot of pictures.

This is the picture that prompted the tutorial.

You can make the houses out of foamcore, though matte board also works really well.  Occasionally it will be on sale at Hobby Lobby for $4 for a huge sheet.  Grab one or two.  For the glue I use Aleen’s Tacky Glue, which is a white glue similar to Elmer’s, but thicker consistency.  Superglue is also helpful for certain steps.  I cut my pieces out on one of those green cutting mats.  If you have a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby, you can get them pretty cheap.  I use x-acto knives to do all my cutting, and you should be prepared to have extra blades on hand because cutting matte board dulls them really quickly.  Painter’s tape helps keep pieces together until the glue dries.

I think it’s important to have a template for your pieces, so that you don’t end up wasting material.  Take a few minutes with a ruler and some graph paper to plan out a design.  Remember that these are in 3 dimensions, so if you have an overhanging second floor, you also need a piece that acts as a floor.  I used Bristol paper in this tutorial for my template pieces, as well as for the roof tiles you’ll see later.

The template pieces for this house design.

I’m making a simpler house in this tutorial than the one pictured above with the grey roof.  Basics first, right?

The pieces all cut out. The small squares are extra.

The house is simple, and starts with 4 pieces.  Two end pieces with a peak for the roof, and two side walls.  The small squares are extra, but can be glued inside the frame at the corners for a bit of extra stability.

Most of the frame glued.  I use the blue painter’s tape to hold  the pieces together while the glue dries.  Note that the side walls are glued just inside the end piece.

The tape helps hold stuff together.

The frame, ready for the roof.

This is the frame, glued and ready to add the roof.  The Aleen’s Tacky Glue takes some time to dry, so it’s best to go off for a bit to watch a few tv shows or something until the frame is ready to be handled.  In the next steps, you’ll see the edging on the frame.  I did this with matte board, cut into rectangular strips.  Each one is carefully marked, cut, and then glued to the frame.  They’ll be painted to look like wood.  In this part of the tutorial I’m skipping this step, because it’s more aesthetic than anything else.  I will cover that in Part 2 of the tutorial, along with doors and windows.

For the roof I use cereal box card – it’s thin enough to bend and flex easily, and thick enough to provide some structure for the tiles.  In this example I’ve used a graham cracker box.  Pasta boxes, tissue boxes, macaroni and cheese boxes – all of these would work just as well.

This part of the roof is fitted very precisely onto the frame.  Begin by laying out the frame on your card, and marking the roof points as well as the side wall.

You’ll want a rectangle just big enough to fit onto the frame.  Fit the roof very carefully onto the frame, and mark the very edges.  This will also get cut down, to make the card stock into a very tight-fitting cap on the frame.  It will all get covered by tiles for the final house, so it’s important to fit the card as closely to the matte board frame as possible.  The next pictures will hopefully show this.

To get the sagging roof right, mark a straight line on your card, and then draw an oval on it.  The oval gets cut out, and the edges will get taped together to form the sag in the roof.

The oval section that will be cut out for the sag.

The roof taped down and cut closely to fit the frame.

The sagging section taped down, and the roof taped to the frame.

The house is starting to look more like a house.  Tape helps immensely in this section to keep everything together.  Again, the glue needs time to dry.

Next are the tiles.  They can be done using the same card as the roof, but here I’ve used Bristol paper again, and I think I prefer that.  It’s easy to cut with some scissors.  I mark a rectangular strip measuring 1/2″ wide, and cut that into individual tiles using scissors.  The tiles should overhang the edge of the roof by just a tiny bit.  I glue them down in rows, doing a row on each side before doing the second row atop the first.  Start from the bottom and work up, to overlap your tiles.

The first row of tiles.

Row 2.

Four rows done.

A word on chimneys:  I made mine using a wide straw, cut down and fitted into a piece of Bristol that’s had an oval cut out of it, using the straw mouth as a template.  Ideally it will look like a metal pipe when it’s painted and done.  You can do other options, but I chose to use this one for the tutorial.  The next few images show the chimney and the process of tiling around it.  This was glued down with superglue.

For the tiles that cover the roof’s edge, you’ll want to cut slightly bigger rectangles.  I glue these down with superglue, because it’s much faster than holding each tile in place while the Aleen’s glue dries.  You can bend them in half just a bit to get them fitted onto the roof without leaving sharp creases.

The roof's top edge.

The roof is almost done in the above picture.  Laying down the tiles can be done while watching tv, it’s a simple process that just takes time.  The tiles on the edges stick over the frame just a bit, about 1/8″ in most cases.

That’s it for part 1 – I’ll try to put up part 2 in the next day or so.



I’m going to be open for commissions again, starting today.  I paint miniatures, as well as sew.  For miniatures, I’ve been working on Privateer Press armies for the past few years, but also have experience doing Games Workshop miniatures.

Infantry squads are $35-$45 for 10 troopers

Warjacks and warbeasts are $25

Warcasters and warlocks are $25

Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 have similar pricing structures, varying on a unit-by-unit basis (Ogre Warriors vs. goblins vs. Tyranid Warriors, for example).

I can be reached via email at greylikestorms(at)gmail(dot)com, please feel free to email me to discuss commissions.  I’m also open to discounts for entire army commissions.


Some examples of recent work:



I’ve been playing miniature tabletop wargames since high school, which means that I have a good 15 years of gaming under my belt.  I started playing Warmachine in 2006, shortly before Superiority was released.  Miniature storage has always been one of those afterthoughts, because why spend money on an item to lug your miniatures around when you could buy more miniatures instead?

It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve begun thinking more about storage and transportation.  I have several pieces of Sabol foam, which serve well to hold about a third of my collection.  It’s just enough to carry a selection of my most-used Khador models to the game store, and since I know how to sew, I put together a very rough and tumble messenger-style bag to put the foam trays in.  The bag isn’t the greatest in the world, and I worry that one of these days it’s going to snap a shoulder strap and send a few hundred dollars worth of miniatures crashing into the concrete.

I’ve been eyeing the miniature transport bags that Portable Warfare makes ever since I first found out about them.  Their bag is called the Sergeant, and although I don’t own one, I’d like to talk a little bit about the bag.  Early last year, I had a brief email conversation with Chris Strecker from Portable Warfare.  I value great customer service, and Mr. Strecker was incredibly courteous and helpful in answering the questions I posed. Though there are other options in the market for miniature transport, I am inclined to put my faith in Portable Warfare thanks to that particular experience.

The Sergeant measures 12″Hx13″Wx7″ and comes in 4 colors: Gunmetal Gray, Army Green, Chaos Pink, and their newest color, Tactical Orange.  From the pictures on their website,, it looks as if the bag is made from a durable nylon material similar to the stuff used in hiking packs.  In addition to the main compartment meant for holding your foam trays, the bag has a front pocket for holding several rule books or card binders, and two velcro pockets in front of those.  The two sides of the bag have mesh for holding drinks.

Portable Warfare offers two different foam build-outs for the Sergeant, as well as offering the empty bag if you already have foam.  The empty bag is $40, and the two foam load-outs are $77 and $86, respectively.  Although as I said I have no personal experience with their bags, the Sergeant seems like it would be perfect for taking several army lists worth of miniatures to the local gaming store in safety.  13″ worth of foam should be enough to transport a generous selection of warjacks, infantry, and other miniatures for a fun night of gaming.

The Portable Warfare bags come with Blü Foam, if you don’t choose the empty option.  From what I understand, the foam has a more rigid bottom layer, making it a little easier to pull out of the storage bag.  I’m always worried when I lift my current foam trays out of my homemade bag that I’ll spill miniatures everywhere, because they do much better with two hands of support under them.  The $77 foam load out comes with more 2″ trays, while the $86 option has a lot of 1″ trays for infantry-heavy armies.

I haven’t been collecting many miniatures in the last few years, since money is tight, and that’s part of the reason I sewed my own transport bag – two yards of fabric was easier to justify than a transport bag – although I have to say that out of the available options out there right now, Portable Warfare’s product seems like the best choice available, and I can’t wait until I can pick up one of my own.  The Tactical Orange in particular seems like a great option, because with a bag that color, you will never misplace it.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I keep meaning to update this blog more often, and then I end up forgetting or simply get busy with life.  I have an update today, though!

I actually just finished a big order of dice bags for Game HQ in Oklahoma City, so if you’re a local, expect to see those in the store soon.  They’re getting a dozen of my reversible bags, a dozen suede bags, and a dozen of the standard adventurer’s bags.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to be working on more dice bags to build up a stock in my inventory, and I’m also planning on bringing that plushy cyclops to life.  I’ll post a picture a bit farther down in the blog post of the idea.


Hobby-wise, I’m painting Warmachine miniatures again.  This time I have a Spriggan on the painting table, with Beast-09 to follow later.  The Spriggan will follow my Zerkova theme, lots of darker, muted wintery colors with only a few plates of my unique Khador red.  The main colors of the Zerkova theme are Cryx Bane Highlight for the main color, with shadows and highlights provided by mixing Thornwood Green and Hammerfall Khaki into the CBH.  It works really well.  In addition, I’m planning to add a lot of battle damage to the Spriggan, much like my pink Karchev.  Right now I’ve got a lot of the base work done, and next come all the finicky tricks to make it look good.  I’m also doing a slightly different base – I took the idea from the NQ #40 preview that we saw recently, and doing a slightly raised concrete base.

Privateer Press recently released a few preview videos of their upcoming projects, and in addition to being stoked about the new colossals, I’m also really looking forward to the Iron Kingdoms RPG reboot.  They had a great piece of art in their video, showing a gobber settlement, and that has me wanting to make more buildings.  I have several that still need painting, but I also want to make a few more.  I’ve been toying with the idea for doing the buildings for a gobber logging camp.  It would be somewhere at the edge of the Thornwood, near the road that Khador hacked through the wood to attack Cygnar during the Thornwood War.  The camp has been there long enough that the buildings are permanent additions, and there’s a thriving community of entrepreneurial gobbers working to profit.

I’m also still trying to sell my chaos space marine army, with no luck so far.  I’m actually a bit surprised, because from all reports and rumors chaos marines will be one of the first updates in the new edition of Warhammer 40,000, and may actually be included in the box set.  Going to keep trying to sell it, because there’s no reason not to, and having it gone would save some space in our closet.



With spring right around the corner…. ok, who am I kidding, it’s practically here already.  Since, you know, we had almost no winter at all this year.  Which makes me one hell of a sad guy, since it’s my favorite season.  Anyways, with spring here I’ve been looking to add more items to my Etsy shop.  I’m making more dice bags, including the new suede ones and new patterns and colors of the reversibles, and I just added a new costume shirt as well.  I kept the price point on this one a bit lower, and it will feature elastic on the wrists instead of cuffs.  The collar will be a bit more simple, and will close with buttons.

I’m also considering making a little felt cyclops, with a single button eye.  A cute little monster for the desk at work, or what have you.

I’ve been working on several large dice bag orders for various game stores, and the second of my orders just went out in the mail the other day.  If you’re local to Austin, check out Dragon’s Lair – they should have several of my bags.

I’ve also been delving into painting miniatures again, and my 365 Sketch Project is going well.

On a miniatures note, I do still have my old Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Space Marine army for sale.  It’s pretty basic, with a squad of marines, some chaos terminators, and a few other things, but it would be a good start for a new player, or a good addition for an existing player.  I’m letting it go for about 50% of retail, so $150+shipping.  It’s largely older models, which means that they are mostly pewter instead of plastic.  It’s also mostly painted.  Pass the word along.

If I do sell the army, the money will most likely go toward helping my wife get her car looked at/fixed.  It’s been doing some funky electrical things, and we’re not exactly sure what is causing it.  So it’s a good cause.

I’m trying to update the blog more often, and I apologize for the lack of updates.   I’ve been doing a lot of sewing and such lately, so typing out blog posts gets pushed to the back of the to-do list, though I will try to do better.  Thanks for reading.