Monday, 21 January 2013

Step-By-Step Guide – Dystopian Wars – Re-Basing Tiny Flyers

Dystopian Wars is a tabletop wargame using micro minis primarily fighting at sea, but also on/under land (or sea) and in the air. It is set in a Victorian steam punk era, were weapons are bigger/lighter/stronger and more powerful. I originally picked this game up about two years ago, but didn’t get very far with it. I found the rules I little difficult to pick-up on my own and other projects took precedence. During my recent clear out, I came across all my Dystopian minis and fell in love for a second time. Only this time I knew that a newer, more understandable version (1.1) of the rulebook had been released and I decided to give it another go.
 
As today is my birthday, my wife has kindly ordered me a copy of the new rulebook (which should arrive anytime soon). To date I currently own four of the naval starter sets (Kingdom of Brittania, Federated States of America, Prussia and Empire of the Blazing Sun), as well as at least one aircraft carrier for each of these nations and some additional tiny flyers.
This brings me to the subject of today’s post, namely tiny flyers. These, for me are one of the big draws to this game. The thought that I can game carrier based air campaigns within my fleets really ‘floats my boat’ (if you’ll pardon the pun). However, I have a couple of issues with the current tiny flyer tokens/minis. Firstly they are generic flyers, differentiated only by nation type and not by unit type. Secondly, aesthetically they could be better. Having seen various articles and pics on the forums and web about freeing the tiny flyers from their bases; I decided to do my own.
Here are some pics to show the results so far, below which I will describe why and how I made them.
 
Before taking tools to the minis I made a couple of decisions. The four tiny flyer unit types should all have their own unique appearance as a base. This will enable fast recognition of the type without the use of counters on the table and avoid mix ups. Also, I decided to have mainly two planes per base rather than three. I felt this would look and feel better, as planes work in pairs (apart from single recon planes). This also meant that I could create more bases and therefore save money (Well, I am from Yorkshire).
 
The four unit types are differentiated thus (as you can see in the pics above): Fighters are two to a base, one behind the other (the leading plane on the left), using a 20mm flight stand bent to the left side; to look like the planes are banking. Torpedo bombers are two to a base, one behind the other (the leading plane on the right), using a 10mm flight stand, flying level with the water. Dive bombers are two to a base, one behind the other (the leading plane on the right), using a 20mm flight stand bent forward; to look like the planes are in a dive. The recon plane is one to a base, on a 30mm flight stand flying level with the water.
In terms of colour schemes, each nation will follow those of their navy with additional camouflage patches if they are land based. The will also have their wing tips coloured to denote which squadron they are in (red, Green, Orange etc.) I intend to create cards that match the squadrons that indicate the fuel levels during the game.
How I converted them
I removed the planes from their bases with a razor saw. Before doing this I filed away the tiny rivets on the top edge of the base. With the saw, I worked from the back of the plane to the front, keeping the blade flat against the base to ensure the cut was level and the planes didn’t snap. The planes are then cleaned up with a hobby knife and put to one side. The tops of the bases were cleaned-up by placing them top-down on a piece of fine sandpaper. I then slid them in a circular motion until their tops were completely flat.
 
For the flight stands I used paper clips. They are about 0.8mm and start off about 2” in length. Using wire cutters I cut these down to the various lengths needed. Note that the measurements are slightly smaller than their actual lengths. I add a little extra to cover the length that will be sunk in the base and mini.
Using a 0.5mm drill in a pin vice I placed a small hole in the centre underside of the planes; taking care not to drill out the other side. Using the same size drill and a dremel, I placed a hole(s) in the base. To line the holes up correctly, I made a jig out of MDF with the various hole patterns on it. Note that for the recon planes I use MDF bases, saving the original bases for the more common types.
Using a small pair of pliers I placed the cut paper clip into the planes’ base and twisted it until it was a snug fit. Hence the reason I used a 0.5 rather than 0.8mm bit. I placed a tiny drop of super glue over the whole(s) in the base. Then using the side of some pliers I lightly tapped the cut paperclip into the base.
I attached the plane to the base by placing super glue over the hole in the base of the plane and twisted it onto the paperclip (ensuring that the plane pointed in the right direction). Once the glue was dry, I used a couple of pairs of pliers to bend the paperclips were needed, one to hold the paperclip, while the other one bent it to shape.
I will leave the details of the paintjob for another post.
As always if you would like a closer look at any pictures above, click on them. If you have any comments or would like to ask me questions or provide feedback, please fill in the comments box below (this will be moderated before being published on this blog).

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