West Side Story 2

Yet to be named gang showing leader, and two gangers.

As most of my assembly was done yesterday, today was free to do some painting.  I had a scary moment as I ran out of black spray, but then I remembered I still had white from when I made my daughter a Pokémon piñata.  So a few sprays later I had my models primed.  Unfortunately I have realized I was solidly in the black primer camp.  That and this spray was a bit hydrophobic.  Between the bright white and hydro-phobia, it was a frustrating afternoon painting the first three gangers.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

As the ganger leader, this guy naturally had to be one of the first to get painted.  I went with a slightly darker Caucasian/Asian skin tone, but my light has washed that tone out a bit.

In the large picture I see a few touch-ups that are needed.  The astute reader will also notice a few mold lines…and that I didn’t blend the arms into the body with putty.  As these are tabletop minis, and also a bit of a tutorial I wanted to avoid going all out.

In the end I am very happy with how he turned out.  Menacing and still distinct.  He makes a good gang leader for Necromunda I think.  And yes, that is a bright blue belt and bandana.  I have gone with a blue set of colours.  So the gang members will all have blue headbands and a few will have blue belts or straps.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

This guy came out very striking I feel.  The out of scale arm is a bit obvious in most angles, but he looks fairly good.  He is also the first model I am showing with sculpting.  I have given him swept back hair and of course the goatee.  My light is still washing out colour as this guy is fairly pale compared to the leader.  Oh well, back to fiddling with the camera settings again.

With the two weapons he has, he will hit fairly hard.  The hammer will count as a club, which gives +1 to his strength in the latest version of Necromunda.  The pistol of course will likely go click the second or third time he fires it, so the Chaos pistol with a belt of ammo is appropriate, I think.  As all models are assumed to have knives in the game, I felt it was appropriate to model it on him as he likely will not be fighting in melee with it once his pistol runs out.

Necromunda ganger with two swords conversion.

Necromunda ganger with two swords conversion.

The last ganger to be painted today is the two sword melee guy.  Again a stock model with no conversions (other than the hand swaps).  I cut three different arms up to get the right arm I wanted, and I am happy with how he turned out.  Menacing with a good melee pose.  Swords are a good weapon in the game, and a model with two is even better at melee.  I could have given him a pistol too, but I decided to not to.  Why?  Well I think he looks more bad-ass and scary if he is carrying swords to a gun fight.

Yet to be named gang showing leader, and two gangers.

Yet to be named gang showing leader, and two gangers.

A short little post with just an update to show the models painted today.  Depending on how tomorrow looks, there might be a bit of break between updates.

Anyhow, hopefully this was inspirational, if nothing else to show you how to use a varied palette while still tying models together.

West Side Story 1

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

If you are unfamiliar with West Side Story, it was the modernization of Romeo and Juliette done in the 50s.  To make it more accessible it featured street gangs, musical numbers and dance ensembles.  Needless to say, this resulted in the greatest mockery of gangs until the 80s rolled around and numerous movies took it even further.  I think Mad Max has given the weirdest version of a dark future and the most laughable villains.  This was so much a factor, that it heavily influenced Games Workshop in designing their “grim-dark” future.  I have given this brief history lesson as I believe I have surpassed that level of ridiculous with my Necromunda gang.

I have done this project to show the local club how easily a gang can be converted and get some interest.  So although my guys are a bit comical, it is to keep in character with the theme of the game…and make them blend in with my other gang models.

Necromunda ganger from Cadian flamethrower, Catachan torso and legs, and Chaos pistol holster.

Necromunda ganger from Cadian flamethrower, Catachan torso and legs, and Chaos pistol holster.

To start off with, I had to know where I wanted to go.  So I quickly built a gang using the latest version of the game – the Necromunda Community Edition rules.  I wanted a mix of melee and shooting as I know going one-sided is a good way to lose.  I also knew I wanted to use a flame thrower.  First I had the bits from another kit and second they are just a silly weapon in the game.  From there I also wanted a good firebase to do shooting so I found the shooty-est gun my leader could have and gave it to him.  I also combed my bits box and found lots of heavy bolter bit…another really good shooty gun.  This gave my gang two guys with a lot of firepower.  I fiddled with numbers and came up with a 9 person gang, including a juve (pledge, not a fully indoctrinated member), and 5 gangers.  I intended to use the Catachan Jungle Fighters box set as they all have headbands (in character for the Orlock gang) and no body armour.

Necromunda Heavy with Flamer converted.

Necromunda Heavy with Flamer converted.

Necromunda Heavy with Flamer converted.

Necromunda Heavy with Flamer converted.

The first model I built was the flamer.  I didn’t think it was lining up properly, so I cut the fuel line intending to sculpt it back later.  After glue was curing and I fiddled with the back pack more, I realized it would have lined up.

Oh well.  I chose a torso with a vest as the arms have sleeves and shoulder pads.  Once painted, this will give the roadwarrior look of a leather jacket with metal shoulder pads.  The head has been repositioned since this picture was taken.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

Necromunda Leader with slugga converted.

The next model I chose was the leader.  I had traded bits to get a giant Ork pistol (yes that is a pistol for another model) and converted him to hold it.  All in all, I think he looks pretty badass.  Why his arm is on top?  Well I mis-measured and the hand couldn’t hold underneath.  So I chopped the wrist and had him caressing his gun.  Or maybe he is fighting the recoil pulling it up.  Or he is just trying to look intimidating…I’m not sure.  This pic was taken before I repositioned his hand as the wrist was slightly out of alignment.  And yes, that is medieval leg armour.  The bits and bobs make the character for these guys.  Plus, I knew I was already going to have metal armour with the shoulder pads.

Necromunda Heavy with Heavy Bolter converted.

Necromunda Heavy with Heavy Bolter converted.

Necromunda Heavy with Heavy Bolter converted.

Necromunda Heavy with Heavy Bolter converted.

For the heavy bolter, I had to do the most work.  I had to chop off hands to match the grip and build a swivel handle our out a knife handle and plastic rod.  The final version does have a metal gauntlet sculpted to cover the giant hand and the ammo belt was shortened by one round: the last bullet actually raised the model up.

I chose the shouting face as this giant gun will definitely be a rush to fire.  He also has a pistol as with how ammunition works in the game, he will only fire the thing once most games.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

Necromunda ganger with bolt pistol and club converted.

For the other gangers I chose a mix of shooting a melee.  The weapons have come from a variety of sources including fantasy models and very old school guns kicking around.  The sword was a more involved conversion as I chopped hands from arms to match up the grip I needed to give him a pair of swords.  I am not sure if he is more or less scary than the guys with the over-sized guns, but I am happy with the pose and facial expression.

Necromunda ganger with two swords conversion.

Necromunda ganger with two swords conversion.

Necromunda ganger with autogun conversion.

Necromunda ganger with autogun conversion.

Necromunda juve with autopistol conversion.

Necromunda juve with autopistol conversion.

The game itself starts with a pre-determined number of “Credits” to build your gang.  As the gang progresses you can earn more credits to recruit more gang members or give them better equipment.  The gang consists of 9 models right now, but I will grab a few more to build some options for gang progression.  This gang is very diverse in capabilities with a lot of firepower at range and some ability to fight in close quarters.  This is not the final stage of the gang.  In fact all the green-stuff work I have done gives them the 80s style hair and silliness plus the fixing of a few gaps and details.  I am sure I will convert more as time progresses as these guys make good fodder for two of my 40k armies (either Chaos Cultists or Guardsmen) and are just fun to build.  The only frustrating thing with this build is that I couldn’t find my old Necromunda bits.  I have a couple of sprues of various pistols and rifles that would have saved a bit of time.  On the other hand, my autogun conversion will have an EO-Tech sight (red dot) and will look pretty cool (even if a bit plain unpainted).

Hopefully this post inspired you today, if nothing else it gives you an idea of how you can mash together various kits to make your own piece of 80s nostalgia.

I did something

I know I haven’t been updating often.  To be honest, I doubt I can really say I have regular readers.  But I have been doing stuff.  Sort of.

The 40k league in town just wrapped up and somebody made a comment that got me remembering Necromunda so I dug up the latest version of the online rules and shared them with the club.  My cunning plan is to do a bit of terrain off and on and do a event day to build interest and try to do a league in December-January.

Cooling tower for Necromunda made from a not-Pringles can.

Cooling tower for Necromunda made from a not-Pringles can.

If you are not familiar with Necromunda it is Judge Dredd in the 40k universe with more focus on the gangs in the lowest, darkest corners of a megacity.  It has a lot of silliness and very rarely is it worth playing a league for more than 7-8 games as one player gets so ridiculously good it isn’t fun to play against them.

The first piece of terrain I built last weekend is the tower pictured.  As the game is set in a futuristic slum built on the ruins of an even older slum (with the habitable bits towering high above) towers are a hallmark.

Cooling tower for Necromunda made from a not-Pringles can.

Cooling tower for Necromunda made from a not-Pringles can.

More of a proof of concept, I may keep this piece fairly plain and just add doo-dads and graffiti as I paint it.  I built this from a not-Pringles can, did some nylon screen over foamcore and I actually built the ladders.  That took the most time but they are solidly anchored.  I was looking for chickenwire but it is not in the hardware stores right now, I will have to wait until spring.

The blog will showcase a bit of a how-to on building a gang as the official models are out of production and sell for a king’s ransom online.  Instead, I will do a tutorial for the benefit of the local club on how to convert and build a gang.  Watch this space if that interests you.

Cooling tower for Necromunda made from a not-Pringles can.

Cooling tower for Necromunda made from a not-Pringles can.

The blog will go through a bit of slow down again fairly soon as we have one of the busy periods at work coming up.  However, my role this year will be drastically changed.  This means the blog might get the odd update before December.  I won’t make promises but I do have a much lighter workload this year since most of my work for this period was lead-end work (I’ve been killing myself before anybody else gets busy).

A short post with few pics, but hopefully inspirational.  If nothing else, it shows you that the dusty old books on your shelf may get a new lease on life in the right circumstances.

Lurking on the Fringes

Deano by HassleFree miniatures.

It has been quite the long gap in posts, and I am sure more than a few people will be surprised to get a messaging popping-up on an update on this blog.

I have been quite busy with work and social activities the past couple months with little time for hobby stuff.  I have managed to squeeze a bit of time to play 40K in, but mostly because I was asked to take part in a league that has games every two weeks (so fairly easy to manage).  Today’s update is mostly a few odds and sods that I have been working on, with absolutely nothing having been completed.

Games Workshop Tau Piranha.

Games Workshop Tau Piranha.

As 40K has been the bulk of my hobby time, a few of my Tau models have been getting some paint.  Although the basic hull is about 90% done, this needs a lot of work.  The white is fairly smooth, I just need to clean up the mess from my black-lining and of course paint the crew and compartment.

 

I have enjoyed playing my Tau and I did buy a few models, but I have committed less than $100 to this army between getting models in trade and on sale.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

As the title picture shows, I have started a new terrain piece for the urban terrain.  I have decided to use some of the random plastic pieces from my junk box to make a power relay station which is also built on a piece of MDF.  I clad the outside in a foamcore wall and built the small out-building and have called it done.  There are a few other minor details but they won’t really look like much until it is painted.

 

Bugbear by Reaper Miniatures.

Bugbear by Reaper Miniatures.

Bugbear by Reaper Miniatures.

Bugbear by Reaper Miniatures.

Another couple WIP have been my Reaper figures.  I got quite the large assortment of Bugbear miniatures in Bones 2 and I have just started painting them.  I had put on the base coats on a few of them when I decided I wanted to build one up to finished on the skin tone.  At that point, I had a friend contact me and ask if I could teach him how to paint…that night.

 

So he brought over a few figs and I showed him a few techniques, but these bugbears were the most handy.  Between the different stages of progressive layering he was able to see how I paint and he even threw paint on a few while he waited for paint to dry.  By the end of the night he had a good enough for table-top miniature for his paladin character in the weekly DnD campaign he is playing in.  He also decided to gift a few minis to his group and my box of Bones turned up 3 members of the group for him, leaving him with just one more fig to get for Christmas gifts.  As for the bugbear, I will still need to finish his armour and make his fur stand out more with highlights and a wash.  And the weapon of course needs lots of work too.

Stone Lurker by Reaper Miniatures.

Stone Lurker by Reaper Miniatures.

Stone Lurker by Reaper Miniatures.

Stone Lurker by Reaper Miniatures.

Also getting a bit of paint is the Roper.  Reaper calls it a Stone Lurker to avoid lawsuits, but it is obviously the iconic underground horror the Roper.  I am not sure what else I want to do with this guy.  A wash or two on the tentacles will tone them down for starters and I am not very happy with the mouth on top.  The eye needs a bit of work too.  In other words, it is very much still a work in progress.

I have always been fascinated by that monster since I was a kid and I loved the artwork in the AD&D Monster Manual as a kid.  Something about it just seemed so unnatural and weird.  Funny thing is, I have never faced one in a game nor have I used one as a monster in a game I ran.

Anyhow, now that I have a painted miniature, maybe it will make an appearance at some point in a game.

So a bit of a short post with a lot of variety, but hopefully still inspirational.  If nothing else, it shows that even with a long hiatus from hobby time it is possible to jump back into things.

I’m not quite dead yet…

…I’m actually feeling better, I think I might go for a walk.

Ok, long hiatus away from hobby time, mostly due to work and a change of pace.

The busy period of work ran me through the wringer.  I was quite exhausted by the time things slowed down and I needed a mental break.  I had a couple video games and those just pulled me in and helped me to unwind.

After the last game was finished, I started poking around and found a program that lets you build video games.

Wow, I had one of those years ago as a teenager.  It was pretty cool then, but fairly crude by today’s standards.  There were few options to really personalize it and it was very closely tied to AD&D 2nd Edition.  So the mechanics made it tough to really branch into different genres or story telling.

Big Red's Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

Big Red’s Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

This program, RPG Maker MV is a lot different.  Although designed to work out of the box to do JRPG style games (think early Final Fantasy), it can be customized quite freely.  In fact the code is easily modified and Java plug-ins are easily incorporated to add functionality.  I have also been using some graphic manipulation to do my own thing.

Since I wasn’t coming into this sort of thing cold, I decided to do a very quick and simple plot to build a game start to finish to see how it works.  I have the intention of making the game all ages as I will be putting it on the iPad we are giving my oldest for her birthday.  She is old enough to play those kind of games.

Big Red's Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

Big Red’s Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

For the plot I have Little Red Riding Hood all grown up and on her way to college.  Along the way she meets a lumberjack, a werewolf, and well I will leave the rest a secret in case I ever do make it widely available to play.  It is a blend between fantasy and modern with police, mobsters, a mystery to solve, and a few silly commentaries on society.

I am sure this will take a bit of my free time but the first game is 99% done right now.  I am just finalizing the final dungeon and scenes so it should be down to the compiling piece after that.

Big Red's Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

Big Red’s Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

I have a few pictures to show off the very crude work I have done so far, but I am sure my daughter will like it…the wife is already bugging me to play now that she knows there is about 10 hours of game play.

I know this is a totally different change of pace for my blog but your regularly scheduled miniature blog will be returning soonish.  I felt the need to post something as it has been over 3 months since my last post.

Although out of my version of ordinary, I hope this post inspired you.  If nothing else maybe try some other creative outlets to keep your mind and motivation fresh.

Proof of life – Or don’t forget me when I’m gone

It has been ages since I last updated.  My wife had surgery a while back so I have been fairly busy looking after her, plus the usual insanity that marks my work this time of year.  Anyhow, to give some perspective (and a bit of music), have a listen to this: Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone.

The project that got some work since my last post is a 3 storey building I have been building.  I added a few new ideas, including a bit more of a cluttered roof.  As shown by Deano it definitely shows the size.

Sci Fi urban terrain.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Sci Fi urban terrain. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Sci Fi urban terrain. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

But you will notice I left off my usual side clutter and none of the corners are clad in card.  I thought I would try a smoother wall and was shown instead my simple buttresses actually do reinforce the walls.

Sci Fi urban terrain.  Note the warping.

Sci Fi urban terrain. Note the warping.

As shown above, the plaster actually pulled in and warped the wall a very appreciable amount.  Looking back at the building front you can see the plaster cracked and the walls pulled apart.  Right now I think I will just add a card clad over the corner and hope the bowed wall isn’t too noticeable.  For the time being, this building will have to do.  The next larger building I do will have some internal framing to push the walls out as well as my buttresses.  Little thing that should stop this disaster in the future.

While watching a movie last night, I also threw a bit of paint on one of my Ford F150 trucks.  The rough splotchy red will look quite faded and worn once I tone back the black and add my dirt and dust treatment.  As shown by Deano, the large doors even give a bit of cover for the clever agent.

Ford F150 Raptor by Kinsmart (1:46 Scale)

Ford F150 Raptor by Kinsmart (1:46 Scale)

Ford F150 Raptor by Kinsmart (1:46 Scale)

Ford F150 Raptor by Kinsmart (1:46 Scale)

Short little update today, but hopefully inspiring to you.  If nothing else to try squeezing in the relaxing hobby time to help keep you sane.

Avengers getting assembled (5)

The title holds no secrets, but I am a bit behind schedule.  I spent yesterday afternoon watching a movie with the kids so I likely won’t be able to finish Captain America this weekend.  But, I am sure you are here to see my work.

Captain America, twelfth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, twelfth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Not shown yesterday, I did add some details to his helmet including the giant A.  It is out of scale with the actual helmet, but it is visible and clear from table distance away.  So I decided to keep it.  Way too long spent perfecting that.

Today I finished most of the details of his helmet.  I added in the chin-straps and the radio.  I also cleaned up a mistake I missed on the back of the helmet.  The next time I sculpt on the helmet it will be to smooth it out one more time and call that part finished.

I opted for hard ear covers that could be a radio headset or sound-dampeners.  Partly because I hate sculpting ears even more than eyes on a face.  Also because battlefields are noisy.  With a good headset he would still be able to hear around him and the radio, and a bit of noise-cancelling to prevent tinnitus from gunshots and loud blasts.

I have included the face in shadows so those who can’t filter out colours will see how well the sculpting does blend together to look like a real face (and not a black-face miniature).

Overall he looks more like a modern soldier than a guy in tights, but the heroic stance and shield will help identify him as Captain America.  Oh, the giant A on his forehead will help too.

Storm, third stage of sculpting.

Storm, third stage of sculpting.

Just getting a single pic to show the hours worth of work, I trimmed the seam from last time and added the next one.  Slowly but surely Storm will get finished.  Not a project I enjoy as much as it is simply transitions and blending and very little cool details to sculpt.

Mjolnir and amputated hands.

Mjolnir and amputated hands.

Who has also been getting some work is Thor.  The first pic I will show is his hammer.  I have been gradually working on it, and it will take several stages itself.  The flat surfaces are cured and then raised and beveled edges added very slowly.  This shows 2 of the 6 sides done.  The handle will likely get a bit more love too.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Today I did two stages of work on Thor.  First I did his left fist, well the first stage anyways.  There will be some more work and thumb added once it is fully cured.  What these pics showcase though is the start of his face.  I added in the eyes and nose, with a base putty to add the cheekbones and brow too.  Not my worst piece of work, I will try to make him look like Chris Hemsworth.  So far the eyes are right, but again the nose is a bit off.  I am thinking of going fully comic style with the helmet.  I will be doing tights for him.  And yes, the boots are taking shape too for the more astute readers.

While he does look like a commedia del arte actor right now, the basis of his face is there.  The chin of course will be built out quite a bit to reflect the rugged features of a son of Odin.

Lots of pics, a bit of progress, and hopefully a little inspirational for you.  If nothing else, for those who have seen my earlier work, this should inspire you to improve your skills too.