Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dial D for Dystopian

Note the little tabs on the fighter bases
Dystopian Wars is the new hotness from Spartan Games and it has taken our local gaming group by storm.  Even our resident historical gaming group has been sucked in.  In fact, we like the game so much we dedicated a huge chunk of the D6G episode 70 to discussing this unique miniature war game.

However, there is a fiddly bit to the game.  You must track the fuel for each tiny aircraft token in the game, and most players will have at least 10, probably 16 of these little resin flight bases winging around the board.  While the book recommends using micro dice, is was inspired to try and engineer a more aesthetically pleasing and less fiddly solution.  Although it is a little time consuming, with the right tools it's really not that hard.

Want to make your own?   Here's how...

What you'll need:

  • Thumb tacks, the ones with flatter heads are best
  • Computer & printer to print out dials...color printer is best
  • A way to laminate paper
  • Scissors
  • A pin vice with a bit that is the same size as the thumb tack pin
  • Super Glue
  • Ruler/tape measure
  • Clippers
Got all your stuff?  Ok, let's pimp out our tiny fliers...
  1. Prime all your tiny flyer tokens.  You must do this first.  If you prime after you attach the dials you'll get spray paint on the dials!!   While they are drying you can work on steps 4-5.
  2. Download and print out my dial template.  I just printed them on regular printer paper using a color printer.  Color is important as it will give you visual queues as to which planes are lower on fuel.
  3. Laminate both sides of your counter sheets BEFORE you cut them out.  I used a cheap laminating machine for this, but you could also us the sticky lamination sheets they sell at office supply stores.  If you go this rout be sure to laminate both sides.  Lamination is key for durability and will prevent the little tabs from ripping off with repeated use.
  4. Cut out all your dials and poke holes in the center of each with a thumb tack.
  5. (optional) Flatten your thumb tack heads: This step is optional if you don't mind wobbly models or if you managed to find thumb tacks with flat heads.  I could only find rounded thumb tacks.  To fix this I placed each thumb tack head on a piece of metal with a small hole in it.  Placed the pin through the hole and tapped the thumb tack with a hammer.  This flattened the head of the tack without bending the pin.
  6. Trim your thumb tacks: The pins on the thumb tacks are too long, you'll want to clip them down with clippers so that it's only about 1/4" long.  Be sure to where eye protection!  The end of the pin tends to fly off, I held mine down in a trash can as I did it to keep the bits under control.
  7. Make a drilling template:  If there is one thing I've learned from years of watching Norm Abram on Yankee Workshop it is that if you have a lot of cuts or drilling to do, make a template. I cut a spare bit from the laminated sheet to the size of the tiny flyer base.  Then measure a point that is 1/4" in from the center of an edge.  Then poke a hole through that point.  
  8. Drill the holes:  Grab a tiny flyer token and align the template so it is square over the bottom and the hole in the template is closest to the back of the token.  Then drill a whole with your pin vise being careful NOT to drill all the way through the token.  The resin is fairly soft, and it doesn't take many twists to get the hole deep enough to work.  On the first token stop and test fit your thumb tack occasionally until you find the depth you need.  Once you get the feel you'll be able to quickly drill the holes with the template.  If you do accidentally drill a hole through your base don't panic!  Just fill it with a bit of white glue after assembly, let it dry, and paint right over it.
  9. Assemble your dials: Push a trimmed and flattened thumb tack through each dial so that the color side of the dial faces away from the head of the thumb tack.
  10. The pin should be centered 1/4" from the rear of the base
  11. Glue dials in place: This is actually the trickiest bit.  Place a tiny dot of super glue on the end of your thumb tack pin, then push it into the hole on a tiny flyer base.  This is tricky because you want to avoid getting glue on the dial, as it might become stuck to the bottom of the base or the tack, and not spin.  Be sure to spin the dial a few times after assemble to help ensure it doesn't dry unable to spin.
And there you have it... just paint up your flyers and you'll have the coolest tiny flyers in your game group.


  1. Great work... Fantastic Tutorial. Will try this with my models when I get them.

  2. Know what would make a great terrain piece for D-wars? A 3" steampunk Mickey as a giant statue!


  4. Hi Russ,
    Dial Template link points to D6Generation website. Is that the intent?

  5. Hi Russ,
    Dial Template link points to D6Generation website. Is that the intent?

  6. Adam said...


  7. Link for the dial PDF has been corrected! Sorry about that. Please try again.

  8. Great walk through, thanks for sharing. I found some pre-made round bases with counters online, thought I'd share. I guess you could also mash up some Heroclix bases too.

  9. This sound cool, but is there any chance you could repost the photos. They arent showing right now