Sunday, March 16, 2014

Making Warmaster Empire Counters--The Hard Way

This afternoon, I began working on making Empire units using my paper Warmaster counters, which you can find under the pages links to the right. Most gamers simply will print the counters on 110lb cardstock, cut them out, and begin playing. What could be easier?

There is the Easy Way -- And Then There is My Way
Of course, I have to do this the hard way! Since my son will be playing Empire, I decided to use the box of junky Gale Force 9 laser-cut pegboard bases I've had sitting in the closet for ten years. He's going to game in style! Since I'm doing this the more unusual way, I thought I'd take some progress photos. While I was gluing the paper on the counters, Jeremy came by the table, looked approvingly at "his" counters in progress, and said, "That looks tedious." It wasn't too bad, really, and moved along quickly once I figured out the method. I'll be gluing the other sets to thick cardboard using Super 77 spray glue, which will be a lot easier than this method but still not as easy as printing directly to 110lb paper.

The Photos -- My Hands -- An Appology
Normally I do not take progress photos showing my hands. About five years ago, just after I began painting miniatures and building models, I began suffering from psoriasis on my hands. It's caused by a rare combination of genetics and then triggered by an external event, most often stress. Oh, have I gone through some stress! There were days when I was taking my life hour by hour, but the good Lord got me through those dark days when I was cleaning up my life. Anyway, one side-effect for me is that it caused my fingernails to deform, which is embarrassing. That's why I try never to show my hands in any photos and hide them from my students.

What Did I Learn?
First, I discovered that Staples printed the PDFs ever so slightly smaller than they should. The counters each were 39mm wide instead of 40mm. The height was 20mm though. I think this was my fault. In the comments section I forgot to tell them to print the PDF at full size. I normally mention that when sending them PDFs. When I printed the first page of the PDF on my home printer, they came out perfectly. So if you send the PDFs to Kinkos or something, make sure to tell them to print the PDF at full size.

Is it easier to cut them in long strips like I did and then cut each counter along the short end? Or vice versa? I don't know. Each way has its benefits and drawbacks. I'm still debating that.

Printing on cardstock at Staples may cost almost $1 a page, but it is soooo with the extra money!

I'm running into a problem with my commander counters and the huge altar counter because all I have are standard bases. I might get lazy and simply glue the commanders onto the bases with a lot of vertical overlap or make some smaller balsawood bases; I'd like them to fit in with the other units in the army. I'll have to think on this.

Onto the Photos!

Cutting the counters is easy. A steel ruler, a fresh hobby knife, and a cutting mat is all you need. Those who have a roller cutter or cutting machine have it even easier, especially if cutting cardboard.

I cut the edges off the sheet because I find it's easier to start that way. Just cut along the gray lines.

You've heard of chicken strips. Now there are counter strips, which I have discovered are not as tasty as chicken strips.

After I cut out the individual counters, I glued each onto its own base. I use an UHU Office Pen for gluing paper because they are super-low moisture glue that will not wrinkle paper. I'm sure other glues will work fine. I found that applying the glue to the base and smearing it around with the applicator was the easiest way. Just be careful with this stuff. Sometimes I could move the paper around a bit if I applied a thick layer of glue, but once you press the paper down, it ain't comin' back up!
Oooo, an action shot of me gluing the paper onto the base and watching glue dry too fast. Got to get it lined up perfec...rats, too late. In the next exciting post, we get to see several photos of you watching me watching paint dry. Yep. The excitement keeps on coming at this blog!

Voila! One unit of halberdiers ready for action to slaughter orcs. Notice how the counter is slightly smaller than the base? That was my fault when sending the PDF to Staples, as I mention above. It's really no big deal in the long run. I do have to trim up some of those bases though. If I were using bases for actual miniatures, I'd use Litko.

Don't they look the business! For these fellas, I used photos of real 10mm Warmaster figures. If my hands were steadier and the counters had been printed at full size, this would have looked even better. When I'm done and the glue has dried through and through for several days, I'll give them a light coating of Testors Dullcote to protect them. Now to finish the rest of the army!


  1. That is pretty cool. I was going to say never been a fan of games with counters but saying that I loved The Horus Heresy, Battle for Armageddon and Eldar Attack games.

    1. Try 'em, Simon, you'll like 'em!

      Ironically, I don't like playing with unpainted miniatures but toss in some counters and I'm fine with it. Go figure! :-)

    2. CPBelt... the unpainted minis are "unfinished". These are finished, for what they are. Not illogical of you.

  2. Pretty cool idea. I like the look of your counters.

  3. Thanks for the tip on the UHU office pen. I use printed paper to make "easy" (well, easier) scenery backdrops to use for mini photography, and obviously I haaaaate paper wrinkles!


Sadly, I have to approve all comments to weed out nasty spammers.