Thursday, September 30, 2010

Projects, projects, projects

When all else fails, shoot it, shoot it lots, shoot it even more, damnit you aren't shooting it enough!

I've come across a possible client who would like to get a LOT of IG painted to a good standard (Leman Russ company, several platoons of infantry, etc etc etc.). Unfortunately, even after giving him the contact info twice to get hold of me to work out details, he still hasn't gotten around to it (or forgotten). But thems the breaks as a freelance painter/converter/etc. So I've put together some mini-projects and a semi-big project to fill time as I wait for my business startup money to be cleared. Plan to expand my paint collection, get a number of useful tools, as well as a number of boxes of figs from 40K and WFB ranges, and a number of figs/units from Hordes & Warmachine as well. Though, I'm finding that having kids, university work, and just life in general make for sporadic painting and converting times.

Honestly, it's not too bad overall, since I've learned a number of lessons on how to speed up my miniature work without lowering quality. I've also relearned a lesson from many many years ago about the quality of used materials (see my last post). But in the end it comes down to exposure, small exposure = limited options for clientelle. So I'm starting to work on ways to expand my exposure, firstly by finishing working on my challenge to the masses Deathwatch project.

Tentatively I have a project schedule which looks like this.
1) Deathwatch Kill Team. 6 members, 1 Librarian, 1 Assault, 1 Devestator, 3 Tactical. Possibly a Rhino as well. Estimated finish end of next week. Minor conversions on most, major conversions on the Libby as I basically build it up from a 'basic' marine.
Go go badass judgemental overly kill happy dudes (dudettes) in Power Armor! Wait... that's like 70% of 40k armies...
2) Knight of Bal Timorea, definitely 1 knight, possibly 2. Also thinking of a retainer or two. Estimated finish, 2nd week of October.
3) Retasking of my marine figs. Massive color scheme change, iconography change, as well as a number of minor to major conversions on ALL the figs, including 3 Rhinos and a Godhammer pattern Land Raider. I'm interspercing this work around all other projects, and estimate it will take anywhere from 1 week to 4 weeks to finish. But knowing my penchant for late nights, little sleep, and manic periods of painting/sculpting/converting, I 'might' actually finish all 50+ marines, 30+ termies, and all the vehicles before the end of next week... but I doubt it, I still need 8 cold ones, 5 more jump packs, and a handful of other major vehicle components.
4) Get my new photo box finished. Since I'm working the design time and execution around all other projects this might take a while. Though, overall, this is probably the easiest project.
5) Work on some specific hobby related articles to post here and at other blogs (if those blogs are interested). I have a short list of topics I'm working through to come up with likely good topics to expand upon. This project is my 'very long term' one, which will continue to grow as I work on it. I'll be working on this a bit every day. Expect expanded hobby related posts soon (tm)!

And since we know that images help draw readers, or give a sense of the writers mood...

Anime, girls with guns, nuns that are hawt... enough said.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lady Hammerstrike Finished

Once I finished the painting on Lady Hammerstrike I was pretty content with the results. Everything blended together well, nothing seemed to need a lot of attention, let alone a little (okay the left eye... but there is only so much you can do with a fig that has issues). So I decided it was time to hit it with the flat clear and seal it up... and that is when the fig went from looking really good to 'huh? wtf? glossy?'. Seriously, never, ever, ever, make the mistake I did of thinking 'hmmm... well all the sealers I usually use are just expensive versions of the cheap stuff I can get in a hardware store.' Mistake made, buying a $4 can of Krylon Crystal Clear Flat, instead of my normal The Army Painter matte sealer (which is $12 locally).

Onward to showing the horror that is the wasting of 7-8 hours of painting, due to using the absolutely worst sealer possible...

Now, to be truthful, this isn't so bad. It could have been a lot worse. But until I get another can of TAP matte to spray over it, this is just insanely glossy. Unless I can find another option to dull the gloss down, I have at least 3 days before I can 'finish' this fig. Which is pretty disappointing overall.
Lesson learned, quality really does cost more.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


With Fantasy Flight Games newly released Deathwatch RPG having hit like a storm, I've decided to put up a challenge project for those who are interested. After recieving my trade with Mik through the Barter Bucket (Run at the Santa Cruz Warhammer site) a personal project of mine has made me think of a concept to show how others see the Ordo Xenos and Deathwatch.

The idea is this (and the challenge rules).
1) Using available bits, miniatures, and conversion work, create a Kill Team. With a minimum of 5 figures, and a maximum of 10.

2) Keep to the fluff as much as possible, in that ALL marines will have a silvered left arm/shoulder pad w/Inquisition marking. Armor will be black (exceptions to be listed below), with chapter markings on the right shoulderpad (chapter symbol, colors, markings).
2.1) At least 4 of the 6 primary 'career paths' should be shown in the Kill Team: Tactical, Assault, Devestator, Apothecary, Librarian, Techmarine. (This KT would be perfect for use as a Vanguard Vet or Sternguard unit, if you make enough figs, and leave out the Libby, Apothecary, and Techmarine... though they could be used in the army in those spots they fit... just a thought).

3) The Kill Team should be 'upgradeable' through the use of magnets, such as magnetized arms with different weapon options.

4) Each marine should be from a different chapter, be it the 6 listed in the RPG rulebook, or others. No limiting it to the 6 in the book.

5) Exceptions to 'basic' armor paint schemes:
5.1) Techmarine: To show their dedication to the Mechanicum, Techmarines are allowed the Mechanicum red on their knee pads and lower legs/feet. Mechanicum symbol on right knee (not required, but that is where it should go).

5.2) Apothecary: To show their vocation as primary healers in most chapters, the Apothecary symbol and color white is allowed on the right knee and lower leg.

5.3) Librarian: To show their special place as Librarians within chapter and Deathwatch, Librarians may have blue armor from the knee down, as well as the horned skull (or chapter specific design) upon their right knee.

6) Vehicles: Not required for the challenge, but no stopping people from doing up a transport/tank for their KT. Personally I'm limiting myself to a Rhino APC, but feel free to do whatever you want for yours.

Feel free to join in the challenge, and comment to your hearts content!

WIP: Lady Hammerstrike

Malifaux is an interesting game, skirmish level miniatures battles in a world of technology (steam age level) and magic. The figures from Wyrd Games  are all very characterful, interesting, and I am finding quite fun to paint. Though this fig has a few issues, which I am limiting myself to commenting on, as I can't say it's line wide. This figure had a bit of mold misalignment, which caused a lot of flash and 'splash' around areas of it. Also the hammer she is holding required my glueing the head back onto, as the shaft was VERY flimsy at the join to the hammerhead. Some of the flash and mold lines I simply couldn't remove, and I tried a handful of things to remove it. In the end I simply find this model to have been a bad cast, but I'm still enjoying painting it.

I've finished up the skin, save for a little detailing and clean-up I plan to do, and I've moved onto the clothing. Having done the top in a gradual lightening from fortress grey up to a 4:1 white:fortress grey at the final highlight/raised areas. The paints were done in goblin green with shading of goblin green and warlock purple mixture at a 3:1 w/8 parts water, and the highlighs being goblin green + P3 'Jack Bone in a 3:1 w/8 parts water ratio. The leather glove and boots are getting P3 Bootstrap Leather base, with shading in Bootstrap Leather + Warlock Purple (GW) in a 3:1 w/8 parts water ratio, and highlights of Bootstrap Leather + 'Jack Bone at 2:1 w/8 parts water.

After I finish work on the glove, I will be moving on to the boots and hammer. Leaving the arm and hair for last, then final detailing (eyes, lips/mouth, buckles, belts, etc.). At this point I could finish it in a couple hours, but I'm finding that with this fig an hour or so at a time works out best. As I'm using a character level of painting, and not my 'game play' level I use for blocks of troops. It is definitely fun and a bit challenging to work a few new techniques into painting this figure, as my previous style relied more on drybrushing, and layers, while this figure is showcasing my work in layered blending, blending, and a few other ideas I've come across and co-opted into my forte'.

At this point I'm not sure if I will keep this fig once finished, or sell it, as I don't play the game. Though if I do keep it I'll be going to the smallest gameshop in my city to play, as neither of the other LGS even stock Malifaux.

Commentary appreciated.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A handy tool for painting, and my current distraction painting project

Sometimes an idea hits for a handy tool for painting, model making, scratch building, etc. In my case it was my wife coming home from work with spring clips, the kind used to bind a stack of papers together...

This is one of those clips, available at most office stores, Wal-Mart, and other places pretty cheap. Add a little paper towel or napkin and it grips a figs slotta base tab firmly and has almost zero slippage.
 For a few dollars you can get several of these in various sizes, from super tiny to 'who needs one that big'. In this case I'm using one that is roughly 1 1/2" long, and have a 2 1/2" one for 'big' projects. Overall this works about as well as cork, paint pots, and other methods of keeping fingers off the paint/fig so that skin oils don't screw things up.

For those who play Malifaux you will likely recognize my current distraction painting project, Lady Hammerstrike. I picked her up to work on my blending techniques, as I'd gotten a bit out of practice having been doing a lot of power armored figs, and heavily clothed figs. It never hurts to work on areas you know are not being used as much, in order to keep your skills sharp. And it doesn't hurt to have a neat fig like this to work with. Wyrd sure make some great figs in their line. I plan on getting their Wendigo, and a few other figs soon, if for no other reason than I think they are really neat figs.

Here are some pics of my work in progress on Lady Hammerstrike.

Until next time!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Brushes, paints, and other related items

Everyone in the hobby has their own preferences when it comes to brushes, paints, and other items used to create their works of gaming art. The questions I hear most often at the LGS is 'what is the best brush for use on miniatures?', and 'do I have to use the expensive (insert brand name) primer?', and even moreso 'what brand of paint is best? GW, P3, Vallejo?'. So I decided why not put up a short discussion on the subject for those who may like some tips, and for others in the hobby to put their two cents in to add to the knowledge available.

We'll start with brushes. Good brushes can make painting a lot easier, while bad brushes can really ruin hours of work. There are dozens of types of brushes, and as many or more types of bristle used in their creation. For those just getting into the hobby some may suggest just getting a cheap set of brushes, like the $4 multi-brush kits at Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, or other places. I on the other hand do NOT suggest that. Until you have a bit of experience with brushes and painting you aren't going to really get the best out of those cheap brushes. Sure they are great for working on things, once you have the experience to understand brush maintenance. But a new person to the hobby isn't likely to understand that concept.

My choice in brushes, even for a new mini painter is to get hold of some good brushes, and by good I'm talking $5 per brush sables. The ones I use are a mix of The Army Painter brushes ($4.99 each) and Masters Touch sables (Kolinsky sables from Hobby Lobby, $4.99 each). In addition to this I've collected a number of natural bristle brushes in various types over the years, including my 'beat to hell drybrushing brush' in a size 3 flat). I recommend Army Painter regiment, Character, and Detail brushes, as well as Masters Touch size 1, 0, 5/0, and 10/0 rounds, and size 1 and 0 flats for large area work.

This is the full line of The Army Painter brushes. They have easy to hold triangular handles, which reduce strain on the hand/wrist while painting for long periods. Very nice brushes overall.
A closer look at one of the brushes.
Triangular handles reduce strain on the hand, as they fit more naturally to the way the hand is shaped to hold objects. This is very helpful in a brush, as you never know how long you'll be holding it until you get to work. One thing to keep in mind, any good brush comes with a plastic slip tube cover over the bristles. KEEP IT. USE IT. Every time to use the brush take it off, when done, clean the bristles with water, taper it back in shape with your mouth (yes, do this) and place the cover back on. This will increase the life of your brush 20 fold.

When it comes to the bristle type, over time I've realized that natural fiber brushes have better control. They hold the paint/ink/pigment better, and allow for more controlled application of the medium to the subject. While nylon/synthetics are useful, I tend to only use them when doing a non-spray priming of a miniature/model. Since control isn't as much of an issue when priming as it is with other stages.

When painting, find a comfortable position, and take breaks as needed. When painting for long periods of time a tendency to hunch over seems to be the norm. Taking breaks at regular intervals, stretching, and just getting away will help reduce the strain and cramping, and give you more energy for working on the painting.

Next on the list, primers. There are dozens of brands of primer on the market. From miniature line producers overpriced primers, to your hardware store cheapo primers. From the standpoint of quality only a few specialty primers are worth the high cost, while several low cost primers are actually better than the game company lines. The key here is coverage, durability, thickness of the primer (in terms of if it gives a smooth cover, or glops into detail), and cost.

Games Workshop has their lines, with Black, Grey, and White. They cost like their minis, way more than they should. Their coverage is average, durability is average, and thickness of the primer is average. And at $10+ a can, the cost is rediculous. This brand has serious issues with humidity, anything over 40% humidity and it gets really clumpy and/or runny. I can't in good conscience ever recommend GW spray primers.

The Army Painter line has 18 colors and growing. The coverage is good, durability is average, thickness of the primer is good. Unfortunately it is expensive at $12+ a can. But it does very easily speed up miniature painting buy giving a way to prime and basecoat at the same time, which is a big plus. I've used a few of their products, and find they are quite good, if pricey. I'd recommend this product line to those who want to speed up their work, and aren't to worried about paying more to do it.

Now, the one I use 90% of the time... and yes it's not something most would even think of.

Rust-o-leum wet/dry Automotive Primer. Yes, car primer. This stuff is pure win, and made of 100% awesome. It's cheap, at less than $7 a can. It's seriously durable, can be sanded wet or dry. It has incredible coverage, while having great thickness without distorting or ruining detail. And it works in high humidity (60-80%) with a little thought (namely making sure you let it sit for 5 or so minutes outside, then bringing it into a heated room to cure for the next 20-30 minutes). I can't recommend this enough, as it works when other primers would turn into an unuseable mess, and the price is hard to beat.

What is the best paint for miniatures? This really comes down to a personally choice. Each of the major miniature paint brands has its proponents. Each of the major brands has its positive and negative points. So I'll just give a bit of info on each, and recommend that new painters try out a bit of each brand their LGS carries to find what works best for them.

Games Workshop brand has vibrant colors, they use very fine pigments in their paints. Some people have found that the foundation paints are total garbage (I've had very mixed results), but their primary line paints are pretty good overall. My major complaint is that they dry out faster than I like, their newer formulations aren't nearly as good as the ones from 20 years ago (I should know, I'm still using some of those OLD ones). Their paint pots are iffy, the design makes for somewhat weak hinge points on the lids, and you really have to clean the inner lid a lot to keep a good seal. Always store them top down.

P3 brand has a lot of good mid-tones, and some incredible neon-like colors. And they have actual inks in their line, which GW took out of theirs (idiots). Their paint is a bit thinner than GW paints, but this is helpful when you use more advanced painting techniques which require thinning the paints as you don't have to use quite as much water/flow enhancer/etc. This line of paints covers very well, and blends beautifully.

Vallejo has several lines of paints, Gaming series and Model series. They are very pigment heavy, which makes them ideal to mix and blend with. They can be a bit touchy to thin down at times, but are very high quality. If your LGS carries this line in store your in luck, if they don't (like mine) then it might be worth having them order a few of the colors to try out. I know I love their Model Color 70951 White.

Reaper Master Series is a very toned down line, great for use in miniatures that have a somber or natural look. They come in trinaries which include a shade and highlight color (so get the 3 shades, it helps). They are a little tricky to use at times, if you are used to the 'eye catching' GW line. Since they aren't vibrant, poke you in the eye 'bright' colors. Well worth looking into to expand your paint collection.

Hopefully this will help people out on finding what they need for the hobby. Comments, criticism, additions always welcome!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Counts as armies

Everyone has seen them at one point or another I'd guess. Chaos counts as Space Wolves. Harlequins counts as Dark Eldar. Etc, etc, etc. Everyone has their own take on likes and dislikes on the subject. I'd like to explain my feelings on it, and get commentary from readers on their take.

As a player of a counts as Space Wolves army myself I have reasoning for what I do. Some may agree, others disagree, but this is my take on the GW hobby and counts as armies.

Lets be honest, Warhammer 40k, Fantasy Battle, and all the other Games Workshop games are expensive. Not everyone has a large dispossible income, or the willingness to buy multiple armies for their systems. I fall into the low dispossible income bracket, but that will hopefully change in time. I started playing 40k back in RT/2nd ed. times, when figs were expensive but much less so than now. When you could get a blister with 1-3 figs for less than $10, when 20 marines cost roughly $20, when 3 rhinos where $20ish. I played Eldar, all foot, and spent hundreds of dollars on blisters and boxes to kit them out. This was roughly 20 years ago. The same army I had then if I did it now would cost me on the order of $800 easily, and I didn't even have a single walker or tank in my collection then.

I can understand increases in pricing due to inflation, but lets be honest, GW reuses their molds until they fail and still increase their prices. So, counts as armies are a cost effective way to expand play options, without breaking the bank so to say. Sure I don't have a ton of actual Space Wolves plastics in my collection, but I do have a mix of vanilla marines, Space Wolves, and Dark Angels. I'm not playing Space Wolves, I'm playing a chapter which closely resembles in their way of battle, and gene-seed issues the Space Wolves. I can play them as vanilla, or as Dark Angels, or Wolves. But I've always enjoyed the Wolves, they've had the best fluff (IMO), most interesting characters, and aren't tied into the 'Smurf book of war' as deeply as other marine chapters.

The trouble now with counts as comes from a serious lack of models put out in several lines. Thunderwolf Cav, Storm Raven, Cyberwolves and Wolf models, etc, etc, etc. This I believe is a nod to what this game started as, a hobbyist system, allowing for the individual to model things to fit. A great step overall, if frustrating at times. Counts as is king for some lists, especially for us who can't afford to buy 3-5 of the far to expensive models just to put together one unit (Canis to get that mount for TWC). But then we run into an issue, some people HATE counts as. Sometimes to the point of refusing to play against them. Other times it is T.O.s that are suddenly going 'Hard Comp' to battle it (one LGS in my area seems to be going that way, after the last tournaments announcement of cracking down on WYSIWYG).

Personally, I like the idea of Counts As, as long as the figs are a reasonable representation of the unit/IC/etc in question. Sometimes a counts as army is awesome to see, sometimes it really is a head scratcher to figure out why some models are counting as unit x, y, or z. I know that my counts as will be using figs that have nothing to do with the 'wolf' theme of the Space Wolves, but in the end I think the theme will definitely be fun to see and worth the effort. (Anyone with spare cold ones and carnasaurs, feel free to send them my way... heh).

But then we run into the head scratchers, IG counting as C:SM, Orks counting as Tyranids, etc. Sometimes even being cash strapped isn't a good enough excuse. Understandable yes, but seriously sometimes a counts as is nothing more than a proxy army. And in my opinion there is a bit of a line, that once crossed is just downright silly and unreasonable. I'm all for testing out a codex with proxies, since it is a bit stupid to dump money into a line of figs that you find out you really don't like to use at all. But there are those that will go for the proxy army in everything, because they just don't want to buy any more GW product than they have. I can understand not feeling the need to put more money into GW's pockets, their business practices in the last 10 years have gone from bad to worse on a number of things, BUT proxy armies in a competitive setting is just cheese. And yes I know it has happened, and will happen again.

Counts as, it is a good thing overall, especially for those of us that want to change a theme a bit, or set a new theme that is parallel to what we are counting as. It opens the hobby to the hobbyist again, giving them reign to explore and define new ways of seeing things. And it gives the imagination a chance to really 'sell' those figs that are converted and lovingly detailed. I like Counts As. Just as much as I hate proxy armies.

Counts as good, proxy bad (Hell at least print out some paper figs and put those on bases, cheesy yes, but at least it is more in line with trying things out).

Agree, disagree, give voice to your opinions!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I got a box of milliput recently, and I'm debating using it to do some work. Trouble is, I've never used it before. I've worked with greenstuff, various polymer clays, but not milliput. Anyone have suggestions on working with it?

Conversion, and why sometimes lack of sleep is a good thing.

Can't get to sleep, and suddenly I get an idea... a 'Great' idea... well okay probably mildly neat, and definitely better done by me with little rest.

The idea is to scrap my Grave Walkers, and change some things a bit using the same figs, and some 'minor' (read: Lots of) repainting. Plus some conversions and greenstuff work. The new idea is to use the Space Wolves rules like I already am, but to go a somewhat different route altogether on the imagery, iconography, and other areas. Basically, I'm thinking lizards, dragons, dinosaurs. Which has definitely been done, but it is a 'Great' idea.

So out came the tools, the greenstuff, and some of the figs I'd 'finished' or had started. Next thing you know it's nearly 6am and I have a bit done towards my goal.

First fig, note the spines/horns. Just part of what I'm seeing in this project. Arms are magnetized, so working on them is a bit tougher... still waiting on buying my armature vice.
This turned out quite nicely, scale pattern worked a lot better than I expected on the first try.
This is a bit harder to see, I'm still working on adjusting settings on my camera. But the hand has a spine coming off it, and a VERY light scale pattern around it.
This is a little off the idea, did some greenstuff work on a Deathwatch Inquisition symbol on the shoulder... it needs a little work... next pic will show why.
The why... basically I lost a bit of width in the lowest right 'bar' of the symbol. Not a big deal since I can always add more greenstuff to fix it later. Just need to let it set up before I get back to it.
Love how the spine and scale pattern blended into the shoulder pad on the scout. This might be the easiest, yet hardest greenstuff work I'll do. It's definitely both at the same time, since the thinner the greenstuff gets the more it likes to move and tear.
Hard to tell but the hide has a wave to it, and bunches along the right leg pauldron. But overall the patterning worked out very well.
Once I get things going on this, I think I'll enjoy working on the painting. I'm thinking of working a few techniques I've been practicing on super thin coat blending to give it a different feel from my previous work. I'm going with a green, blue/green, blue color range on the scales. I think I'll be using red/purple in the shading, to give more definition to the scales. But I'm not sure it will work well. I need to tie it into the bone to white of the armor, so I may go with a chestnut ink blend into the shadows, or some browns.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1850 pt. Tourney

Well, this past Saturday was the tournament at Capital City Games. 1850 points, 4 rounds. Overall... well... my play is still really really rusty after a couple years of not playing. I won 1, lost 3. Though, in all fairness my second match was pretty close, but the Khornate army I fought made it impossible to get one of the victory conditions (highest number of non-troop kill points). He took 5 units that were not troops, I had 8. Plus having 2 HQ's and a troops unit run off the board was highly annoying.

But I do have a few pics of some of the armies involved, as well as a couple pics of the midgame action in my second battle. The tourney had a smaller turnout than anyone expected, ended up with 2 tables not used at all during the tourney. Chaos, Space Wolves, IG, 'Nids all had a good showing. For some reason no one plays Orks in tourneys around here anymore. Surprisingly the normal Eldar players didn't show up this month.

So we had:
2 Mech IG lists
1 Blood Angels list
1 Space Wolves list (with 8, YES 8, drop pods & 3 rune priests. This one took best general)
1 counts as Space Wolves (My 'homebrew')
1 Khorne marine list
1 Nurgle marine list
1 'Nid mycetic drop bugzilla list
1 'Nid bugzilla list
1 Necron list
1 'Vanilla' marine list w/Khorsako Khan
1 other list I can't remember, because the player pulled his normal 'I'm not winning so I'm leaving' crap. (He bailed after round 2 when he lost a match to the guy who got best general).

So on to the pics.
My Grave Walkers took the center fast in turn 1, then proceeded to get wittled down in CC.
Lesson learned in this game, Space Wolf bikers suck, REALLY suck.

Nightbringer sucks... way overpowered... seriously T8? At least he's slow lol.

This is the army that got best painted. Well deserved, the defiler... well I'll say more with the next pics of it. But well won on that award.
Hmmm... anyone see a resemblance?
This defiler is converted out of a Defiler kit and the Hellboy II: The Golden Army golden army soldier fig. It looks sweet, and took the guy a while to build.
Overall I realized a few things with this tournament.
1) 1850 is honestly to many points, lists get pretty silly at this level. And when you try to make a balanced list (I really did try, and it was pretty close), you get spanked, hard, and a lot.
2) Comp sucks. Comp is retarded. Comp shouldn't exist. It's totally subjective, detracts from other aspects of the hobby, and basically is a way to skew scores.
3) My dice hate me... I literally rolled 4 1's on saves in one round, followed it up with 3 1's on to hits... while my opponent rolled 4 6's in a row.
4) Even when I am complimented on my sportsmanship, I get second lowest sportsmanship score in the tournament... even when I KNOW I got at least 1 person who scored me with the highest possible rating, and no one gave me bad scores. Yet I was 6 points down from the highest, tied in next to last, and only 1 point higher than the lowest? wtf? I'm positive Comp gets rolled into it, and my Comp score was only average.
5) I think that painting should be only scored by the participants, not the organizers. The painting score list they use screws some people, they consistantly miss the fact that certain things are done, and never once has the person judging asked a single question about theme etc. Yet theme and other areas are part of the scoring.

Oh well, onward and upward! I did have fun, which is the important part. Though I was a little embarassed that I had a few unpainted figs and an unpainted rhino on the boards... but that is due to an ebay seller sending things a week late, so I got them the day before the tournament.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Marine Recon Assault Vehicle scratch build

Just a pic of something I put together a few weeks ago. Since I'm of the opinion that what space marine wouldn't want a sort of 'dune buggy' to kill stuff with?
Dust Devil Recon Attack Vehicle.

This is part of my 'non-standard' fast attack unit. The others are SM bikes I've converted to be jetbikes. I'll likely put together a tutorial for building them if there is interest (and I get a few more bikes).
Grave Walkers Mk XII Jetbikes (counts as a normal bike).
I can give a description (until I get more bike wheels and front farings to make another and a tutorial) of how I built the 'buggy'.

Needed materials:
4 SM bike wheels
2 SM bike front wheel farings (covers)
1 SM bike rider
1 SM vehicle gunner from pretty much all the SM tank kits
Choice of Heavy Bolter or Multi-melta from a Devestator sprue (I went MM).
A few spare infantry sprues (just the sprue)
about 3-4" of 1/4" diameter plastic tubing
3-4" of 1/2" diameter plastic tubing
Plasticard (I used .4mm stuff, it's easy to cut and work with)
60mm base (or equivalent)

1) The first step is to clean up the wheels, cut the faring from the front of a SM bike (I used the bikes I cannibalized to make jetbikes).

2) Decide on the dimensions for your buggy. I went with 1 3/4" wide by 2 3/4" long. Once you have this decided, place the wheels into the farings, glue in place. The front wheel/farings will be 1/4" in from the front, and the back ones 1/4" in from the back.

3) Cut sprue to attach to the front of the front faring/wheel, and back faring wheel. These are your 'bumpers', typical sprue is 1/4" or less wide. Attach the sprue pieces to the farings, with the edge of the cut sprue covering to the edge of the faring plate.

4) Cut sprue to attach between faring plates, measure the wheel/bumper combos and subtract that amount from the total length to get your 'between farings frame sprue' cut length. Glue those between the farings, roughly 1/2 the width of each wheel/faring to be part of the base frame. It will take a bit of trimming, as the farings are at a slight angle and not a 90 degree.

5) Now that you have the basic frame cut a pair of sprue pieces to fit between the front and back bumpers. These will help give the buggy a bit more internal support, as well as give you something to place the interior flooring on. Glue them into place. I put mine roughly 1/2 in from the left and right sides. Then I cut a piece of 1/2" diameter tubing to the same length as the sprue, then cut it in half along the length so I had 2 pieces of that length. Glue that inbetween the support sprue you just placed.

6) At this point I cut a piece of plasticard to use as a floor to the vehicle and glued it into place.

7) Some people will want to 'armor' it like I did, others won't. Basically at this point you build a framework in the shape you want for the buggy, making sure to leave room to put in a seated driver (I used the gunner arms from the vehicle sprue to be a steering wheel, and a toothpick for the steering column).

8) Once you have the frame completed, place your driver into place (I built a seat for mine with a little piece of pink insulation foam). And place the light/gun cover from a SM Bike in front of the driver as a 'wind screen/gun mount'. Begin cutting plasticard to fit into each section of your frame, glueing them into place.

9) Now it's time to build the gunner/weapon mount. This is actually pretty easy overall. I took a devestator marine MM and cut the input tubes from it and moved them to the left side. The backpack I mounted at the back of the 'cargo space', and filled the holes in the length of tube between with pieces of plasticard/plastic tubing. To build the weapon pintle mounting I took a 1 1/2" length of plastic rod and heated it, putting a good bend into it so it looked a lot like a capital C. I glued that down onto the top of the roof. I glued a 1/8" piece of plastic rod to the MM and glued it to the pintle tube. Then I attached the vehicle commander torso/hatch piece to the roof, trimmed its shoulders a bit and attached the gunner arms to it and the MM. Picked a head and stuck that on the torso.

10) At this point you can choose to prime and paint, or add more detail bits like exhausts (I did that), chapter markings, etc. Enjoy your new attack buggy!

Hope this was a useful tutorial, my next will be on making Jetbikes from SM Bikes.

Adventures in magnetizing

With an 1850 pt 40k tournament tomorrow, and FINALLY recieving my Ebay order placed on the 1st today... I got down to slapping together another rhino, and magnetizing some resin cast marine torsos I made. Now, before anyone says 'copyright infringement', these were made for my personal use only. And basically to test how to do some serious impact damage work without screwing up plastics. Not to mention, it's kind of fun to mix up resin incorrectly and get some 'melted' looking torsos for objective marker and basing use.

I used 1/8"x1/16" magnets to set up 4 torsos for swapping out various weapon options. I then magnetized 10 pistol/close combat/pfist/ss type arms, a missile launcher, and 2 sets of 'grunt' bolter arms. To be honest, it seems simple enough to do, and is if you take a couple precautions that should have been no brainers. First off, they are really fiddly, and EASY to drop... next time I'll make sure to do my work over a bowl or something. Next off, polarity can be an interesting way to shoot a little magnet across a room. But lastly, half the time the darned things would flip over without me noticing and then I'd have them glued in the wrong polarity facing out... luckily not before the super glue bonded.

I've found that this is a GREAT thing to do with minis, and I'm definitely stocking up on a lot of magnets as soon as I can. Probably in several sizes. I'm thinking of doing magnetized weapons on my finished minis, which would reduce the need to do major repaints if I magnetize them. Plus it would give me the option to let any of my 'grunts' become a special weapons carrier, definitely a good thing.

Lancashire WarGaming Blog Chain Giveaway

I noticed Lancashire Wargaming is doing the Blog Chain Giveaway. So I decided to give it a shot at winning. They are looking for a logo for their blog, and I happen to be pretty decent with photoshop. So I spent a little time and whipped this up as part of my entry.

With a little luck I'll win, and post up what I offer in the Blog Chain Giveaway.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thinking of a project idea

I've started thinking of an idea for a project that would keep me busy during slack times, as well as help out an organization I personally think is worth every penny donated to it.

My idea is similar to the Storm Wardens project Santa Cruz Warhammer did this summer. The organization I'd like to help out with this project is St. Jude's Childrens Hospital. I've had family members needing specialized care as children who have been taken there. And they do everything they can to help remedy ailments in children, along with the keeping the children's spirits high.

Now the idea is to NOT do a marine army. As the Storm Wardens project was a great idea, and I wouldn't want to do something basically the same. But this brings up an issue of what race/army to do. There are a number of options, but we'll start by removing the ones that are limited in conversion ability due to lack of plastics in the lines. Also removing lists whose Codex is not 5th edition. This leaves us with the following options:

1) Chaos Space Marines
2) Orks
3) Tyranids
4) Imperial Guard
5) Eldar
6) Deamons

Next is deciding on the points for the list, as in the work having to reach this point limit, but being able to go over that. Personally I'd love to see people pool together on this and do at least 1850 points, but 1250 is a much easier goal to reach. The question is what points limit seems reasonable? 1250, 1850, 2500, something else?

Also, just so people don't think it's a hammer it out before the end of the year thing. I'm thinking this should be done by Adepticon 2011, possibly Games Day Chicago. So there will be time to get things done right, as well as drum up support for the project. To be honest I think Games Day Chicago is the best bet, as it may take a few months to get people interested in this project, and donate their support, time, and efforts.

I'd like feedback on this idea, even negative feedback. Since for the moment it is simply an idea, though it is a good one.

Rapid Prep

Capital City Games is having a 1850 point 40k tournament this Saturday. So now I'm in rapid prep mode on my Space Wolf analog list and minis. So far I have painted up roughly 1600 points, but there are a few units I need to finish up to at least tabletop standard (which is not my typical standard). Including a small unit of Thunderwolf Cav, which I'm going a different route with. My TWC are going to be on armored warhorses, until I can find a reasonable costing (or get my greenstuff-fu up to par) bear mount. So far all the really good war bear type mounts I've found available are just tooooooo expensive ($30+ each). I've seen a few conversion ideas for chaos hounds + horses that look interesting though so I may go that route.

My 'homebrew' chapter is the Grave Walkers, a 13th founding chapter. They recruit from a mix of native American indian and Teutonic analog worlds in the Eastern Fringe at the edge of the light of the fluctuating Astronomicon. Due to some disasters in the past, this chapter is less well known than many, and have become scavengers of battlefields to replace some of the harder to replace wargear.

Their homeworld has vast tracts of desert and badlands, as well as scrub forests and mountains. For a time it was a cemetary world, and now the chapter acts partially as caretakers to the shrines and tombs. As well as enturing those they feel deserve the honor of place in their home. The local human population is made of nations of Germanic and Native American indian 'nations'. Semi-nomadic to nomadic in nature, who haven't reverted back to primitive technology fully. They all use motorcycles, dune buggies, and the like as combat vehicles. And firearms are uncommon and revered as ancestral weapons. The planet itself is nearly a deathworld, with native flora and fauna having mixed with imported genestock millenia ago. Bringing forth such creatures as the Stone Hide Bear, Spirit Wolf, Shadow Lynx, Deathclaw Saurus, & Dust Eagle.

Their color scheme is a sandy bleached bone to white, offset with a charcoal grey, sky blue, or red/browns. Their chapter symbol is a grave stone in grey, and 'company' markings are somewhat haphazard at this point. I'm still working out the full details of their organization, but I'm leaning towards a war chief's warband over companies. And I'm thinking individual markings for each member, as each will be a warrior working towards his own saga.

A few semi-good pics of some of the army minis.

Yes, this is part of my workspace, notice the metal termies in the background... part of the 20+ metal termies I've got for this army

'Jet bikes' converted from SM bikes, as well as a 'Attack Recon Vehicle' made from plasticard, sprue, wheels and farings from SM bikes, and vehicle accessory bits and a devestator multi-melta. I'm still refining the idea for the next incarnation, but they are really fun to model.

Bases I modelled for use with this army. My next batch will likely be a bit more refined as I plan to resin cast from the next batch. Making them was fairly easy, using sculpey and fimo clay.

Couldn't leave out my first army sale, a roughly 1300 point force of Tau. Here is one of the Hammerhead/Devilfish.
This suit has a minor conversion. I extended the arms from the shoulders with some plastic tubing, as well as lengthened the upper arm. The stubby arms on the suits bugged the crap out of me, and this looked more natural.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ever have one of those months?

I purchased a number of bits from a seller on Ebay (not naming names). Seems simple enough, paid on the 1st of the month. It's now the early early morning of the 14th and still no bits, no reply to messages or e-mails... and my patience is getting a little thin. I'm giving the seller until evening tomorrow before I start really pushing for resolution. Anyone else run into issues like this on Ebay? It's a first for me.

Oh, and on a slightly different but makes me groan note... I've run out of matte varnish spray, and really don't want to go the hardware store route. None of the local game shops have anything I'm willing to use (I'm not at all a fan of GW sprays, far to many issues over the years). Ordering online unfortunately is more costly, and waiting on the FLGSs to restock is slowing down my work.

But on a happy note, sold a fair amount of nicely painted Tau at the beginning of the month. I plan to post up pics of the finished work, and a description of what I did. There were a few minor conversions, and the paint scheme was very much an above average take on some basic color combinations.

The Beginning

Well, I've finally gotten things going on getting myself organized as a commission taking miniature painter/converter/modeller. I'll use this blog to show my work, projects, and generally talk about the things that come to mind about the miniature wargaming hobby. Welcome to the Painting Sanctuary, my digital home.