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Richard and Chad At Work Operation: MOAB Part 3
Preparation is Your Friend

Michael Wong: We started this series identifying five key areas that are vital to the success of a Flames of War tournament – planning, coordination, preparation, execution and evaluation – and that through sharing with you all how Richard and I are wrestling with each of these hopefully give you some insight into what makes tournaments work.  This week is all about preparation, which you could also describe as when the rubber meets the road.
If you’ve got on top of coordinating everything then you’re venue is booked, there are trestles or tables to put the game boards on and your prizes and sponsorship is in place. Because MOAB is run by Southern Battlegamers they’re covering these tasks which leave Richard and I with three key areas of preparation. First is tables, which covers terrain and scenery. We’ve started collecting these from the our gaming buddies and our club EMIRS, and have made arrangements with Al Griffin at UTTT and the Northern Beaches Gamers Club for use of their tables, and Richard will go into further detail on how we’re going with our own terrain building and painting frenzy.
The next is process, which covers things like equipment you’ll need to make being a Tournament Organiser easier but also covers things like rules, scoring, list management and getting ready to deal with players. I started including all this for this week’s article but it’s a big subject with very few pictures of terrain being made, which based on the feedback we’ve received is the most popular part of our series. Parts of it are also highly contentious amongst the player community – especially on scoring methods! For this reason I’ll save discussing this for next week’s article.
Lastly we come to promotions, the red headed step child of tournaments. Before we get to the status report I want to make a few points about this to all those who are TO’s, or are thinking of taking on the job. For your tournament to be a success you MUST promote it, and not just on the Flames of War forums. While the forums are a great place to spread the word of an upcoming event, they’re not the only place where potential players lurk. While there are a number of other sites that support Flames of War forums, and you should make posts on them, nothing beats making sure there are flyers in every local gaming store in your area. In Sydney alone there are at least six stores, and I can assure you that there are plenty of people there who may be interested in entering MOAB, but do not frequent any online community.
Dean At Work
Then there’s the world of clubs that you need to promote your event at. Taking the time to visit the gaming clubs in your area is time well spent, not only do you get to know more of your fellow Flames of War players but they get to know you and ask you any questions they may have. Another good idea is to send an email to everyone who entered your event last year to remind them that the tournament is on again. If this is the first time this tournament has been run then email every local gamer you know, and ask them to spread the word to their gaming group. Just be careful not to overdo it on email, no one likes to be spammed constantly. Now it’s over to Richard for the status report, but I’d like to thank Chad Pethybridge for all the help he gave at our last working bee, as well as to Dean – two champions amongst Sydney wargamers!
Still Plenty To Do Operation: MOAB Status Report

Richard Chambers: Well this week we’re totally focussed on preparation – constructing, painting and flocking some of the larger pieces. Before I get into exactly what we did I just want to waffle for a bit - just a minute, I promise.  I’m the kind of guy who gets a great idea for a table, like “I think I’ll make a Sword Beach table,” and then spends the next two years collecting bits and pieces for it, but never quite gets around to doing it – ‘coz I want it to be just right, OK!  Well, it still isn’t finished yet. I even started a blog to chart my progress, as a motivational tool of course - and I haven’t posted on it for over a year!
So to go from that to tackling almost 30 tables is essentially, well, pretty stupid. To deal with this sensibly means prioritising them, some are relatively simple and as long as we have all the hills, buildings, fences, rivers, bridges, etc, etc on the day I’m sure well be fine. Others are much more complex and quite literally mean creating the table from scratch, something my Sword Beach table testifies that I’m not so good at.

We simply don’t have enough time to put together one table at a time before moving to the next one, and instead have to manage the time we have by doing several at once.  This is where we have to manage our resources in a manner that we’re not wasting time fiddling around with something no one will even notice – when we should be moving onto the next table.
Buildings In Various Stages
Destroyed Row House The other night I was painting one of Mike Parker’s excellent buildings from his Battlefield Accessories range.  It was a ruined version of one of his Row Houses and it comes with some nice interior details.  One of which is a tiled floor.  I’d finished painting it (with nice white tiles) and went to put it to one side.  But then I thought “wouldn’t it look much nicer with a pattern in the tiles?”  I then spent the next hour or so painting individual tiles in a simple pattern.  Nice for something to sit on your own gaming table – but not the best use of your time when you have 20 + other buildings to paint.

Which brings us back to trying to manage preparing 30 odd tables.  When have you spent too much time on a specific table?  Could the hours you are spending here be better spent there?  Such are the questions I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. It reaches the point where MOAB starts to creep into your dreams.
So far I think Michael and I have had about one each – no one turned up in mine, and twice as many people as we had tables for turned up in Michaels.  What does that say about each of us!

Last week we showed you a little preview of our airfield overlay table.  I’d seen a few of these on the forum and other places and had always thought how cool it would be to game on a table like that.  Others obviously felt the same way and in the Terrain Modelling section of the forum I stumbled across this post .
Recon Photo Of Capriquet Airfield
Which includes a fan created map for an old PC game showing Carpiquet Airfield in Normandy.  Searching around a bit more I found an aerial reconnaissance photograph which matched the PC game map quite well.

I converted that into what I thought could fit on a 6’ x 4’ table and managed to get in some of the larger hangars, taxi-ways, dispersal areas and some ammunition or accommodation type bunkers.

Taking the plan I then tried to draw it onto the MDF, using plain placemats as the maximum hangar base size.  Reality (meaning game table dimension reality) versus what I had drawn didn’t quite match, but I did manage to fit most the key features onto the table. After Michael did an impressive job of cutting out and bevelling the overlay the table roughly started to take shape – just use your imagination

Airfield Design
Last weekend was our second working bee.  In additional to the usual suspects of myself, Michael and Dean, Chad Pethybridge – one of the players at MOAB – turned up to lend a hand.  I soon had Chad working on the bombed sections of the airfield taxiways and hangers, turning the craters in the concrete to beautiful circles into rough, jagged craters.  Chad did a great job.

Chad and Dean then painted all the concrete with some cheap grey paint made into a textured paint mix.  While they did that, Michael was outside, in the heat cutting and bevelling while I was working on the hangars and bunkers.  Both were made using foamcore and when added to the taxiways will end up looking something like this (below):
Airfield Overlay
Airfield Under Construction I’ll explain more about the bunkers and how I made the hangars next week.  The table is still no where near finished – but starting to really give you a picture of what the final airfield will look like.

Another of the large pieces Dean and I worked on last week was a gun position – loosely based on the gun battery near Ste. Marie du Mont attacked by elements of 101st Airborne Division on D-Day, as shown in the great Band of Brothers TV show and incidentally on the front of the US Parachute Rifle Company boxed set.
Hangers Being Built Airfield Work In Progess
St. Marie du Mont Design
I drew up a design on two A3 pieces of paper and then transferred that to some relatively thin (and scrap) bit of polystyrene.  I then cut out the trench lines and gun position, cleaned it up a bit and handed it over to Dean.

Michael had already cut and bevelled the appropriate sized piece of MDF too which Dean then glued the polystyrene.  Dean then added some rocks to break it up a little, painted the trench system with textured paint; dry brushed that up a little, and then painted the grass area green.  Last Saturday he covered it with static grass, and Bob’s your uncle – we have a great piece of terrain.

Dean Working On A Gun Position The Finished Gun Position
Another element to this particular table will be a crashed P-47 Thunderbolt.  Airfix does a great 1/100 scale Easy Model of this plane which is pretty simple to put together.  I haven’t crashed it at this point – which will involve carefully bending the propellers, under heat – drilling a few bullet holes in the fuselage, and dirtying it up a little bit.  I’ll also scatter bits of the undercarriage behind it.

I created the crash site with a spare bit of MDF, which I bevelled and the glued match sticks to in a few lines to show the direction of the crash.  I then applied Polyfilla to the base and covered the match sticks.  It isn’t grassed yet (another job for static grass supremo – Dean) but I’ve painted it with a yukey green paint – so you get the picture.

P-47 Crash Landing
P-47 Crash & Gun Site Table The table will hopefully end up looking something like this (left).
As another teaser here is a very much work in progress shot of one of the other tables we’re working on (right).

Finally in between doing all this Michael and I have been individually working away of painting buildings from the Battlefield Accessories line.  A painted selection of these buildings will be part of the Best Club prize awarded at MOAB this year for the first time.

I’ve had a little bit of a head start from Michael in this case – but I’m sure he’ll overtake me.  This is just to give you an idea of the production line we’ve got going – here’s a look at what I’ve been working on in all my spare time.
Hell's Highway Table In Progress
Richard's Buildings MW: I’ve always found when painting armies that you reach a point of critical mass, at which point you’re motivation is at its peak and you transform into a painting machine and you churn out model after gorgeous model. Well let me tell you straight up that so far I haven’t found any point of critical mass painting all these buildings, it’s a chore. But to quote from the under appreciated movie “Dazed and Confused”, don’t let your mouth write checks your butt can’t cash.
From these pictures you can see that I’m approaching this as one big job and not as individual pieces. As Richard mentioned you can get lost in the detail, so it’s important that you adopt a production line technique when tackling something as big as 54 terrain pieces. Vallejo’s paints are my favourite, but you’re wasting them on projects like this so use craft or acrylic hobby paints (I use Derivan, big bottles and low cost) and the largest brush you can drybrush sensibly with. In my case it’s a GW tank brush which has been a God send for this project. Michael's Workbench
Buildings Being Painted And an apology - last week we said we’d take you through how we’re tackling getting all the roads ready, but we weren’t able to begin work on these till this week. We’ll talk about that, and show you the pics in our next article.

The number of registrations has also risen, we’re over halfway towards our 60 player target – so remember to go to the MOAB website to register your entry, by visiting:


You can also find Richard and I lurking on the MOAB thread on the Forums, come along and join the conversation.

Finally a big shout out to all those playing at Gencon this weekend up in Brisbane. Good luck to you all – it’s going to be a great event.

RC: So next weekend is our second to last working bee.  Once again we’d like to thank Chad for coming around to help – if anyone else wants to lend a hand – just let us know via email  or on the Forum.  We promise to feed (well a bit) and water you while you work, and hopefully the company is at least a little entertaining.

Chad At Work

Last Updated On Thursday, September 17, 2009 by Blake at Battlefront