Monday, May 13, 2013

Instant Mold continues to rule!

More experiments on the molding front. I'm using 28mm since its large and forgiving but the techniques could work for any scale once mastered.

Heres my current WIP:

Keep in mind the clay, yes clay, is still wet so I haven't had a chance to clean the flash or tidy things up. Its still looking pretty good, I'd say!

The casting material? Simple, air-drying clay. I plan to fill gaps with epoxy and PVA, then spray with a solid matte varnish or two call it complete. Woohoo, cheapness!

All told: I probably spent a few cents worth of clay on these casts. So wrong yet so right!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Tiny update: Started a secondary blog for my fantasy stuff

Hello. Quick update.

My gaming pals have been prodding me with a stick to get off my ass and DM once more, so I've been bitten by the Dungeons and Dragons bug. I thought it would be nice to keep my fantasy stuff separate from my 15mm/Sci-Fi stuff.

Hopefully the new blog will turn in to a nice resource for anyone who wants to collect 1/72 scale fantasy figures (since that is primarily the scale I collect, because I am cheap)

Replace the Bugbears with Lizardfolk and you've pretty much got how our last D&D party ended

New Blog: Evil Wizard For Hire

Peace out


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Arise, blog! (updates: some more 40k painting, terrain building, and sculpting)


Been quite a while away from my blog... too long a while. I have not forgotten about my promise to paint more 15mm this year but I freely admit that I've been distracted. Games Workshop may be a shitty company at times but the setting of Warhammer 40k is very appealing to me. For a while now its been all I've been inspired to work on. I'm sure I'll eventually tap out creatively at some point and return to the bright colors and adorableness of 15mm.

I guess I can justify ignoring my 15mm stuff as long as I force myself to work on something else like I've been doing.

'Since we last spoke' picture roundup:

Firstly, I decided that I wanted to paint some of my Orks that had been sitting around collecting dust. This was both for my own sake and for the sake of making a step by step painting guide for my little cousin who was eager to paint his own Orks.

My prototype Ork Boyz. I went for an intentionally washed out scheme to make them feel 'backwater'

Here is the painting guide I ended up making for my little cousin: Warning, HUGE images.

Definitely not the most advanced way of painting out there... but I wanted to keep it simple for the little fella. He's only 12 after all!

Soon after I began to hit a stride with the Orks I was struck by a sudden need of Ork terrain. So after a trip to the hardware store for some supplies I ended up putting this together:

The glyph on the front door is Orkish for 'runtherd', basically the Ork who gets to boss around all the goblin sized slaves called 'grots' or 'gretchin'

Graffiti and Orky symbols can be painted on later, I figured

It wasn't long after I was reaching relative completion with my Runtherd hut that I realized I had no huts for the, well, Runts. Seeing how simple it was to make the larger structure (its just styrofoam, stucco and concrete patcher) I opted to make a small village of tiny huts for the Runtherd to lord over like a sort of Orky mayor.

The buildings are currently a couple stages ahead of this point, this just happened to be the most recent photo I had on the hard drive. They have since had Orky 'teeth' added to the roof linings. They have also been mounted to 1/8th inch MDF board for basing purposes

Since I apparently have gaming hyperactivity I decided that having these buildings was meaningless without more terrain. So I grabbed the pinkfoam and started hacking away!

While I was making desert hills I also rigged up some MDF board in two 6x2 panels and flocked them with sand. No pictures of that yet, but theres not much to see until its painted anyway

While the terrain was drying I ended up deciding on a reddish color like the Australian outback or maybe Arizona.

I'm not sure if I'll drybrush the cliffsides after painting, they kind of look decent as-is to me

In further acts of gaming self-flagellation I decided to help my gaming pal strip and repaint his Orks. To be fair I was only partially looking out for his interest, I mostly just wanted to grub some free painting practice on models that weren't mine. Evil of me, I know!

My friend boogered his Orks up really good so some serious stripping was in order. Spoiler alert: SuperClean won the 'contest' (but all performed ok)

So in between stripping his stuff I cleaned enough of an Ork to do a test model to both get a feel about how his damaged Orks would look with paint on them and to also run a test paint scheme by my friend to see if he approved.

All in all it was a success. My friend also approved of the color scheme. I chose it to maximize contrast (and also so I wouldn't have to highlight black because I'm lazy!). I also made a crude light box from a milk jug as seen in the picture above.

The creativity was beginning to flow in earnest but my work on the Orks hit a bit of a snag. A lot of my buddy's stuff had damaged components and clearly paying an arm and a leg to GW for extra bits was out of the question. InstantMold to the rescue!

Here I made a copy of texture metal for scrap armor plates

Since the metal textures went so well I continue to test the limits of a push mold. All in all InstantMold is worth every penny. Big thumbs up

I've since experimented with making two part 40k weapon molds with good success. In order to maximise cheapness I've started using cheap air-drying clay to fill the mold and to my amazement it actually worked. A little trimming, care and epoxy gap filling is involved but the amount of money saved is enormous. I could literally mix up a batch of say, 20 plasma guns for only a dollar or so worth of material, probably less. A victory for cheap-asses everywhere!

And please, don't bother with bringing up the legal or moral ramifications of making simple molds of bits. If Games Workshop didn't have their heads up their own asses I wouldn't need to resort seizing the means of production like some sort of wargaming communist. I don't play in their stores nor do I sell the casts so frankly I don't feel in the slightest bit dirty by casting their models.

Anyway, rant over. It can't be a post involving Games Workshop without a least one rant!

Working with GS and InstantMold did kind of give me an itch to try out sculpting, I must admit. I have long envied sculptors for their ability to make their ideas tangible so I set out to try my hand at it. One trip to the art store later, and bam!

The figure on the right has the dubious honor of being my first sculpted model. Upon close inspection the proportions are off in a few ways. One leg is too long, the hips are misaligned and the scale is too close to 32mm (I wanted 28mm heroic)

The head and hands came off of a stray Star Wars mini that I bought for a pittance

I really bodged up the pant legs on the back side so I tried my best to fix it with GS

Not terrible for a first go round I'd say. This was not my first use of sculpting materials... but it was my first shot making a miniature from scratch. I still can't make armatures worth a damn, though. Maybe my florist wire is too small. Or maybe I'm just terrible at making armatures! I should learn to measure and solder them at the joints instead of twisting them.

I was not content to simply model one figure... so I opted for a second test. This time I chose to use a photo reference, namely a design concept of an artist who I am friends with.

Cats. In. Spaaaace.

Even though his picture is infinitely more cute than my model I am pleased with how the sculpt turned out. I figure with a little paint to dress him up the SpaceCat will look alright. In fact I'm currently building a small crew of SpaceCats for use in a homebrew skirmish game (and also as more practice sculpting since the large, rounded features of the model are beginner friendly)

The inspiration for the SpaceCats goes back to high school. My artist pal and another close friend all used to doodle various cartoon animals having a kind of sci-fi war during our free time. Actually modeling old high school ideas is deeply satisfying.

Here is a link to an animated storyboard of the SpaceCats fighting SpaceRodents that my artist friend made. He really is quite talented, there are times when I would eat his brain if it could give me his talent.

All credit goes to my friend, naturally.

Once I get the hang of sculpting some more, maybe I can sculpt the SpaceCats and other assorted creatures in 15mm. It would be a hoot if I could sculpt up a skirmish force for both sides and actually sell a few.

Anyway, crawl-walk-run. Gotta practice some more before I can consider anything like that. I am, after only, only a neophyte modeler.

Well, thats it blog! I'm not dead, just deeply, deeply distracted from my original goal of more 15mm painting. But I will totally work on the Blasterverse more, I promise!

Peace out!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Khurasan Post Apocalyptic Gangers

Hello again!

Finished some more Khurasan Gangers. I was going to wait until the very last one was finished but I'm too jazzed up to wait. I feel like I'm improving slightly in certain techniques... its a good feeling! :)

*Nuka Cola sold separately

A few things I've learned:

Washes have more than one use besides slathering the entire miniature!

Static grass can be manipulated while the PVA glue has not cured. Stroke it with a brush and blow on it to get an even grain in your grass!

Don't try to paint 15mm eyes/pupils if you value your sanity

Post Apocalyptic Gangers love purple teddybears!

More miniatures painted, hooray! Now to plot over what gets paint next. Probably something uniform in scheme, these gangers were somewhat tiring!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Intermission: Things I've been enjoying

Howdy Blog-o-nauts!

I'm just taking a little breather before I finish up my Khurasan Gangers. I feel like giving a shout out to the games I've been playing lately. Hopefully this won't start a precedent of being totally off-topic in the future.

But first! A sneak peak at my Khurasan Gangers. I finished a prototype while the rest are in early priming stages.

Khurasan Post Apoc Ganger

This lovely lady is the first of hopefully many dedicated post apoc figures. Overall I'm satisfied with her. She was a prototype for desert basing (love how that turned out) as well as trying to paint eyes/pupils in 15mm (a hideous failure!). Try as I might I could not paint her eyes correctly. The paint became so thick I feared I'd have to strip the model and start over! I chickened out and gave her eyes a heavy black wash and called it a day. I feel like the color palette is about right... but I think it could stand to have one more splash of color to liven things up. Maybe yellow caution stripes on the blade? We'll see how it plays out.

Anyway, I've been enjoying:

 Guns of Icarus Online

This game. My god this game came out of nowhere! My friend bought me a key when it was on a Steam Sale and I've been thanking him ever since.

Guns of Icarus Online is a, well, online multiplayer game where you and three other players form a 4 man crew on an airship. You pick from a selection of ship templates, customize the weapon loadouts, decide on roles (pilot, engineers and gunners) and then take to the skies to slug it out with enemy ships piloted by other 4 man crews.

In-game screenshot taken from the pilot's position at the wheel. Note the throttle and the gunner manning a forward mounted Light Rocket Carousel

"Enemy Goldfish spotted, far starboard side!"

The beauty of the game is that everything is played from a first person perspective. To get around the ship you climb ladders, jump railings and generally run around like a headless chicken. The pilot works the wheel and throttle as well as controlling altitude. The ship feels lumbering and nautical, you often have to go into full reverse to counter forward momentum when you need to come to a complete stop. The systems on your ship can also be damaged by enemy fire, such as an engine or your balloon which will affect the ship's flight dynamics. Additionally, there are different classes of ships in varying sizes and armaments, each with their own quirks, advantages and weaknesses. All very cool stuff. I like being a pilot, I find it to be the most rewarding part of the game.

Besides piloting, there are also the roles of engineering and gunning. Engineers wield mallets/hammer/wrenches and repair the ship systems from when they get damaged by enemy fire. They can also man ship weapons in a pinch... but it helps to have a dedicated engineer keeping the ship afloat. Gunners, well, man the guns in a dedicated fashion. Crews that communicate by microphone tend to do markedly better than crews without microphones, since a captain might call out "right broadside" in advance giving the engineers/gunners time to get in the correct positions. All very immersive and cool.

Pictured here is an enemy Squid that is probably about to blow up

In addition to all the cool piloting stuff, there are other aspects to the game such as cloud cover and terrain. Clever captains will use clouds to mask their approach or to cover their retreat and give them time to repair ship systems. Also, crewmembers can use spyglasses to 'mark' enemy ships for a brief period of time which greatly aids a captain in keeping eyes on an enemy. If an enemy leaves your vision for too long the 'mark' goes away and you have to reacquire them with a spyglass. Nothing makes you feel more like a captain than spinning the big steering wheel while crewmen crawl over the deck in front of you with their spyglasses out, scanning the horizon!

While there are a number of different ship classes in the game, the real way to differentiate ships are weapon loadouts. Two ships of the same class might play drastically differently depending on their weapon setup. Generally speaking there is a weapon for each job out there and certain ships synergize with certain types of weapons. For example, a Pyramidion class airship has two forward mounted light weapons. This type of setup works very well with mid ranged weaponry like flak cannons and gatling guns. Alternatively, a Junker might load up its side weapons with close range flamethrowers to deter rammers while mounting a forward artillery piece for distance shooting. 

Basically its a very fun game. Buggy and a little under polished as of yet but it is still quite fun. Once you get the hang of it you'll feel like a mixture of Malcolm Reynolds and Captain Jack Sparrow (with a little bit of Han Solo thrown in there). Sadly there are no boarding actions as of yet... but I hope someday they add that in.

Anyway, expect the full squad of Khurasan Gangers very soon. 

PS: If Wings of Icarus Online sounds appealing consider giving it a buy. The developer is still quite small and could use the support. They took a gamble with such a unique game concept!

Peace out!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

1/72 Fantasy Stuff

I realize its somewhat blasphemous to post fantasy stuff of the wrong scale on a 15mm sci fi blog, but I can't help myself! I really like 1/72 as a scale for its cheapness. :)

Pretty sure these guys are Eureka Miniatures Dwarves. I plan to use them as my 'Dark Dwarves' who enjoy slaving and building golems from obsidian.

These Orcs are "Dark Alliance 1/72 Orcs" from Sets 1 and 2. Nice enough figures but REALLY covered in flash. Trimming them was a pain but the models are worthwhile. The figure on the far right is a confused Revell 1/72 French Knight.

This is my favorite figure/character from the first edition of Descent: Journey's in the Dark. I lavished him with attention since he's going to wind up being a hero/villain/PC

My WIP shelf for 15mm. Been experimenting with this and that.

I kind of want to start a post apoc side project with desert bases. The good news is my style of post apoc (Gamma World-esque) is zany and hi tech enough to have a decent amount of crossover with my sci fi range. Still, I feel some dedicated post apoc figures would be nice, especially since I want to do up desert bases with spent shell casings and half-buried bleached skulls in the dirt. Khurasan Gangers... I'm looking at you!

Till next time!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Solar Union Reinforcements

More troopers complete! I gotta say that I find line painting quite enjoyable. I guess that makes me a weirdo! :)

 Pretty proud of those red targetting optics! 

Five man Solar Union GI fireteam

The entire squad. Quantity has a quality all its own!

"Oh God, SHOOT IT!"

All in all, a satisfying jump back in to 15s. I should probably do up a counter part squad to these guys. Llhurg, perhaps?

More to follow!