So I have begun looking at adding the embellishments to my urban terrain to make it look a bit more urban. In other words, the graffiti, ads, and posters or various roles that litter the walls and most every flat surface in larger urban centres.
I knew there are options out there, and my initial searching let me stumble across this forum post: http://gaming.yaktribe.org/community/threads/collecting-streetsigns-and-posters-thread.2685/. I printed out the picture as is…and I was a bit disappointed by the size. The graffiti was the right size but the posts were a bit large…and a bit grim dark for much use outside of 40k. Still, it was a great starting point and I used a few of these right away. The picture below shows some of the posters used right away.
Then I set to creating my own and adding a bit more variety. As I am looking to do more of a low income/slum type area the key thing that always captures my attention are the wall-papered buildings. But instead of stylish prints, it is invariably election or political posters. Most of the time, they are just layered on top of each other.
So with that in mind I set myself to searching for pictures that met my vision.
A bit of Google-fu later and I have created the following document. I did not create any of the images nor do I hold copyright. These images are used without permission. Insert other waiver type statements and a sprinkle of holy water to keep the lawyers at bay. Anyway, feel free to use my image sheet. It is sized to standard letter paper (8.5″x11″ or something in metric for those outside North America) and I think meshes pretty well with the scale.
Anyhow, the background and ideas should be pretty clear, the question I am sure you have is what about execution? Again, my pictures are more eloquent than me, even when out of focus and over-exposed.
Aside from my digital arts and crafts, these are applied in the exact same way posters are in real-life. Apply paste to the back, smooth onto the building, and then apply paste overtop. Instead of watering down my PVA, I used straight PVA for a better bond and to make sure it didn’t start diluting the paint on the walls.
The next step for the posters is to figure out how to make them more distressed. At this point, I have to say I am not happy with how I painted the big building. The brush strokes for my highlights are too obvious. I need to either do the same technique I did on the dungeon modules or find another option. The option I am thinking might be the best is to price out an airbrush. Out, that price tag is going to be scary.
Anyhow, the more viable choice is to do a heavier dry-brush with a bit thinner paint then I smudge the paint and smear it with my thumb leaving most of it on me and a thin highlight across the top of the terrain. The smooth featureless walls do make that a bit tougher. But I can try that on the next buildings:
Not too much different about these ones. I did sand the walls (lessons learned) and painted them the same day I did the plaster. Maybe leaving a day curing time might be the better way to go next time. If you are trying to use a similar design, I didn’t attach the doors until after the plaster was dry: the first couple buildings ended up with a bit of texture on what is supposed to be a steel door. I found some different size straws so there is a bit of variety on sizes and components on these two.
Finally, I did use the plaster to do cladding of the first of the Dwarven buildings/mines pieces. A small step forward but this is one of my yearly goals so any momentum is good. On a related note, the half-timbered houses have the shingles progressing. It is very tedious work and time consuming, but the final project is worth it.
Of course a post by me wouldn’t be complete without the action shot. The poor sergeant can face against the graffiti artist while you get to see how the posters scale.
Hopefully something was inspiring today, if nothing else I hope you can break that boundary between media types to improve your projects too.
Sorry, no rip-off of the Headstones today. If you aren’t familiar with the song, here is an ear-worm before you proceed with reading:
Actually, the wife and I had a chance to play Dungeon Down last night. There was a slightly different line-up this time, and a chance to try a few rules revisions…including tabulating experience.
Hayden of course made a return, and if she isn’t included in a game I think it would be safe to say it means my wife wasn’t playing.
The elf rogue and human ranger seemed obvious choices, but it was Brother Roberto who would really shine. More on that later.
The dungeon crawl started with a lot more intensity than the last delve. As modules are revealed based on line of sight, the lantern carried by Brother Roberto illuminated the length of the corridor and several undead lingering. Far more pressing were the swarms of scarabs that carpeted the base of the stairs. As the first section of the dungeon held a trap, the cunning ranger Irdath set out with his artifice skill to prove the path. His first step down the stairs triggered the arrow-trap, which fortunately did not reset. Gritting his teeth he fired an arrow into the closest scarabs. As the party funneled down the stairs, Brother Roberto healed Irdath and the rest of the party made short work of the scarabs.
With precisions shots and almost supernaturally lethal poison, Irdath felled the lead two skeletons. Brother Roberto chanted a prayer of rest, destroying the last skeleton and stunning the Mummy Warrior with the ritual. With another arrow, Irdath sent the mummy to his eternal rest. Aside from the arrow wound, the party was sweeping through the dungeon without any real pause. The copious piles of treasure made the fight difficult but promised rich rewards.
Irdath calmly walked to the torch sconce as he instinctively knew it wasn’t quite right. Despite all his cunning, he wasn’t able to find the method to open the hidden treasure cache. Tricks are skill challenges that test various attributes. The Hidden Treasure require Sorcery to figure out. Irdath was able to use Cunning in place due to his Artificer skill. Despite this advantage, he wasn’t able to open the secret cache. No party members had a Sorcery high enough to have any chance of opening the hidden treasure, leaving it for the next adventurers.
The water basin ahead looked suspicious, and eying the inscription, Irdath was confident he could solve THAT puzzle. Walking forward, his Cunning paid off as he confidently read the inscription:
“To summon the beast, recite this text aloud…”
The ravenous mocking beast shifted from the basin disguise, snarling at the adventurers. Irdath stepped backwards as he nocked an arrow, confident he could fell the beast. To his surprise, the arrow skidded across the tough hide of the vicious beast. Brother Roberto concentrated his faith to strike the Fear of God into the fell beast. While the divine fire seared the beast, it did not quail in terror. Instead, the holy fire smoldered ineffectually. Brother Roberto switched to his sermon voice and, with threats of eternal damnation, he smote the beast with a righteous light, reducing it to naught but ash.
At this point, Hayden dropped the useless trash she had found to see what was happening behind her. Even Brother Roberto was overcome with avarice as the party looted the stacks of treasure. Irdath found some valuable iron ingots which he stowed in his pack. Meanwhile, Inglorin and Brother Roberto found some valuable treasure that was best suited for Hayden.
With the Axe of Rage and Sleeveless Shirt, Hayden felt her rage rising to an almost inhuman level. The dwarf grinned with anticipation of the next fight.
Irdath calmly walked forward into the gloom, wary of the deadfall in front of him…
…but completely oblivious to the pit yawning in front of the deadfall. Irdath is able to disarm traps with his Artifice skill, again using his cunning. He not only failed to avoid the trap with his cunning, he failed to defend against it. As a final insult, he wasn’t able to climb out of the pit until healed by Brother Roberto. At this point, Hayden wistfully recalled how Harley so deftly disarmed all the traps. Well, at least he looked a lot less comical as he blundered through them all.
As the party regrouped, they realized the intersection ahead was all that stood between them and a horde of goblins. While the rest of the party maneuvered to ready themselves, Hayden boldly walked into the junction of the corridors…
…to realize that sometimes discretion may be the better part of valor. She quickly jumped back into the corridor, out of the potential cross-fire.
As the goblins swarmed forwards, the goblin archers fired arrow after arrow towards the party.
The lead goblins screeched with rage and fear as the arrows of their brethren struck them down. One arrow did fly past the goblin swarm and struck Inglorin in the throat, sending the elf to his knees as he bled from the fatal wound.
It is possible to fire through friends, objects, and even enemy miniatures. There is a chance of striking something along the way. Some miniatures, like Irdath, have a skill enabling them to ignore the first obstacle. The goblins do not have such a skill and the sheer number of goblins in the way resulted in fratricide.
While the goblin deaths were a gruesome reminder of the cruelty of the race, the dark necromancy of the Skeleton Sorcerer animated the corpse of the lead goblin. The ghastly skeleton laughed at the adventurers as it peeled back the goblin flesh it no longer needed.
As Brother Roberto whispered a holy blessing, Inglorin stood back up fully healed. Gripping her axe with deadly determination, Hayden sprinted across the corridor as fast as her short dwarvish legs could carry her. In the midst of the goblins and skeleton, her death seemed quite likely. The goblins slashed at Hayden as arrow after arrow struck the berserker. What started as a scream of pain slowly changed in pitch to her berserker roar as her blood stained the floor. Despite a change requiring checks more often for Undying Warrior, Hayden still was the unstoppable juggernaut from before.
As Irdath fired a volley of arrows at the goblin archers, the lead archer and one of the goblins around Hayden skrieked as the barbed arrows stuck home. Inglorin charged the Skeleton Sorcerer seeing the deadly threat he presented. His ancestral blade slashed the unholy corpse to no effect. Brother Roberto walked forward chanting a prayer for the dead to banish the unholy abominations. His prayers did weaken the skeleton but the sorcerer simply laughed at the divine ritual. Even with the crippling effects of a deadly wound, Hayden quickly dispatched the small horde that gathered round her.
Gripped in the madness of her rage, Hayden stepped over the goblin corpses to strike down the goblin archers. A hidden pressure plate sent a wave of poison darts at her. As her arm still stings in the cold from the last darts, her rage addled brain was able to comprehend dodging them was the best option. Beyond the cowering goblins, her eyes adjusted to the gloom enough to spy zombies rising from crypts in the dark corner.
With a brief bit of swordplay, the skeleton sorcerer was felled by the elf rogue while the goblin archers were slain in a mist of blood and urine with the nigh-unstoppable berserker in their midst. Brother Roberto was quick behind, knowing that Hayden would need his healing or last rights before long. A bit surprised by the zombies, he absently brandished his holy symbol to turn them from the unholy living dead to brightly glowing lights.
At this point, the game only proceeded a bit further. In fact, it was Irdath who finally showed his worth by disarming a trap. His sole reason for being in the party was as trap master, and he triggered every trap he found. And was wounded by it. By this point Hayden was critically eyeing the ranger and wondering if maybe Harley was a better trap specialist.
As a final laugh, Irdath went to solve the trick of the false wall…and found “It’s a Trap”. Expecting another wound, instead Irdath drew False Alarm. For how poorly he did, we decided to call that a win for the Charlie Sheen of the game.
Each of the characters has a strength in the game and the same basic design. Irdath was designed to be a bit of an all-rounder. He has very high level in Cunning, and no really low level attributes. He does, however, lack the modifiers required to make his skills relevant. Based on this play-test I think there will not be any similar characters. Instead, the weaknesses will be evident for the heroes.
I explained the experience system and we figured out what would have been earned by this delve. Irdath would be less useless with what he earned. Having his pack full of treasure helped with that. Inglorin found a magic shield that will make him more survivable, but his poor luck was what spelled his doom. He has the same Stealth that Tara the Silent had, but he failed to make it work even once.
All in all, I am happy with what was learned and proven by this game. Hopefully something inspired you today.
I am sure this title can be interpreted many ways:
- A typo in my summary of my success at completing projects last year.
- A prophetic vision of the outcome of this year.
- Or a simply defined goal.
Like many miniature hobbyists, I have countless unfinished projects. This year I have decided to focus on finishing (some of) them, and that means going back to some older ones.
First we have part of my ambitious town project. I intended to start small (with a square) for use in Confrontation (and other 28mm games). I did detailed work and actually built each building individually to reinforce stability and provide the slightly off-kilter appearance these buildings show in European towns and cities. At the far right the building with no timber shows where the project stalled. The edging was a bit tedious but mostly other projects (and life responsibilities) took over. I was reminded of my goal when I played a game of 40K recently and used this to fill some table space. Goal for this year: finish this building strip and complete at least one more row.
Next we have the start of some dwarven ruins for use in Lord of the Rings. I actually have a few pieces I intended to use as scatter terrain. What was completed was finished in one weekend. The intent was to build terrain for the battle of Balin’s Tomb from the main rules. I have a Fellowship and I figured this would give me a reason to finish painting them. After the initial flurry of activity, little else was done. This particular piece needs paper cladding and work to define the raw stone (Styrofoam) vs worked stone (foamcore). Also completed were a small plaza and raw stone building with stairs to a higher level. Goal for this year: finish the 3 pieces started and three more scatter terrain pieces.
The next unfinished project is much more recent, in fact it was one of my stated goals to finish in 2014. Instead of using the light tank, I will instead turn the two hulls (and add another) into a wheeled IFV to proxy as a Razorback for my 40K Space Marines. As they will be filling out an existing army, I see them as more likely to be finished. Goal for this year: build 3 Razorback scratch-builds.
Now I am sure some of the more regular readers will notice that I have a long gap in posts, and nothing here mentions the HOTT Orcs. Well, as I mentioned in my last post, the rust wash was a bit over-done on the orcs. It pretty much crushed my morale on these figs as the rust wash was the last part and now I am not sure if I can repair it or I need to go the route of stripping. Here are a few pics.
The second picture was done with a shadow to show just how rusted out they are. I have seen metal that rusted, but normally they were pieces of heavy machinery left in a field for decades. I have had a few opinions and universally they are not good. But, despite being discouraging, I will pick up the brush and finish this project. Goal for this year: finish my orc HOTT army.
Now this isn’t to say I expect all my time to go onto these projects, and this year I will expect some other random things to get thrown at me. I will be doing more Hirst Arts dungeon pieces. To tie into that, by summer (hopefully) I will have my Bones 2 Kickstarter miniatures…roughly 100 figs to populate my dungeon and provide more painting fodder for my voracious 5 year-old daughter who is taking up the brush. I have also been taking my time to finish a few choice models, a novelty for me. I also am thinking about how to do a better modern/sci-fi city scape and I might go to Blade Runner, the new Total Recall, and 3rd World Slums for ideas to do some terrain for skirmish.
Of course that also brings up the small collection of a small strike team I bought and haven’t assembled/painted…
But all of this is not to say that last year was a wasted year. In the span of this year I managed to build (and paint) a small dungeon.
I also completed a scratch-built dreadnought in a relatively short timespan…well short considering my work responsibilities and trips during that time.
And let’s not forget the completion of not 1…
But three DBA armies.
Ok, maybe two and a half since the Brittons/Gauls/Galatians aren’t painted.
I also painted quite a few single miniatures.
A longer post than usual for me, and quite heavy on pictures (even if most are recycled). I encourage all the folks out there to set goals but be flexible. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into this hobby, and the minute it starts feeling like work is the time it stops being fun. It is all that wandering from project to project that defines the enjoyment of the hobby. Having the freedom to walk away from a project that has lost its grip on your attention is part of what keeps it enjoyable. The ability to pick up a new one also keeps those embers smoldering. If nothing else, I hope this post inspires you to revisit what attracted you to this hobby in the first place. Hmmm, seems a bit like a Hallmark card there.
I had a couple of spare hours so I managed to hammer out the last of the 4 hordes for my HOTT orc army. I have also started the spearmen, but none to show yet. I am not 100% with them as my rust wash is a bit…well rusty. The orcs are dressed in red now.
Anyhow, without further ado here is my latest work.
I have developed a name for my tribe, the Yellow Dragon Tribe. The dragon won’t be yellow, but the general will be painted yellow. Here is a close-up of the shield devices I have done up, including adding one to one of the previously finished hordes.
And all together they make an impressive sight.
I am happy with how the hordes turned out as they will be a pivotal point in the army. They will form not only the bulk of the army but will gladly die in droves when required. Speaking of required deaths, the contrast between the Romans shows the mockery they seem to make of the disciplined and inspiring soldiers. Obligatory action shot.
Next on the block is the camp (actually a supply dump) and the spearmen. Hopefully something inspired you today.
With the busy holidays I have had very little time for working on miniatures. I have to say that reading some other blogs and seeing how prolific others are during Christmas makes me just a bit jealous. I guess it is the price I pay that my workspace doubles as a spare bedroom.
Anyhow, I managed to slap a bit of paint on the first of the miniatures in my orc army for HOTT.
As discussed in the earlier post, these miniatures are Games Workshop Lord of the Rings miniatures. I went with a very muted and limited palette with them, sticking with the stereo-typical black and red. The metals received a very heavy rust wash.
I opted to try something different than the usual green-skinned orcs and I think my results are very well done. I went with a light grey skin and then did a dark green wash. Yellow eyes and technicolour hair completes the look. Yes, I went with purple and blue hair for the orcs. It is the downside of having my 5 year old daughter painted her miniatures beside me. I start getting ideas from her.
As the pictures from the back show the colours are obvious but not overtly so. I actually took these pictures on a green background so the colour variations were obvious: they are such subtle shifts and overall drabness they just look like a grey and red mass on even a white background.
Of course the best action shot I could think to do was horde vs horde. At this point my camera battery died so I wasn’t able to show the difference between the orcs and Romans as I think they are a sharp contrast.
These painted up very quickly and easily and I am sure the next two units will be done in an afternoon.
Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to enjoy your holidays from work.
I realized it has been a while since I did any updates so I figured I would post what I have managed to do recently. I’ve had a bit less free time than I’d like so the modular pieces from last post aren’t done.
But, as the pics below show, even half painted they blend in very well with the others.
A bit over-exposed with light, I am having trouble trying to get the light contrast right for these pics of the terrain. Might need to look into a cloth to put them on the get colour balancing and light ratios. Trust me, that only sounds knowledgeable and technical, I barely understand it.
The brave adventurers are attacked on all fronts.
Facing the onslaught of undead, the brave ranger and cleric prepare to sell their lives dearly.
The bard and mage confidently stare down the goblins…
Until a portcullis separates the two adventurers!
I also managed to get a modular door piece finished, but as I was grabbing it to photograph the top row came undone. The key point here is build a top row to keep them assembled. I should have it ready for the next update.
Overall, the dungeon is progressing slowly but surely. I am busy casting bricks to finish a room I have given the ominous name of “The Gauntlet”.
Hopefully something here inspired you today, if nothing else to play out little dramas to photograph and post.
It has been a while since my last update, but I have been busy with a few things at work, home, and of course kids.
I have managed to squeeze out a few new minis to showcase. I am not 100% sure if I am finished them, but I think they are tabletop ready.
First up we have Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.
I am not sure if I want to do a wash on the flesh again. What I do need to figure out is how to delint her hair. It looks like I left some fuzz when I dried up the ink wash.
If you are not familiar with Hassle Free Miniatures, I recommend you check them out. A mom and pop operation (literally) it has some of the best models I have run across. The female form is a favorite topic for the artist Kevin White, and he sculpts real women: some have curves and none have Pamela Anderson with a breast pump models like many other lines out there.
Hayden does have a few alternate casts including a topless one (which I have) and a modern version…which I am kicking myself for not grabbing. Anyhow, she will be the main hero for my wife’s dwarf army:
Although not as well armoured, the sarcastic expression and giant axe says she doesn’t need a chainmail hauberk. For the topless version I am tempted to try a weapon swap and give her a Roman Scutum. Topless but with a door sized shield – she is ready to go.
I also managed to hammer out a few other models that will make fine adventurers.
One of the Dunedain models I have from an auction years ago, these models have slowly been used in other projects as they are so well done. This particular fellow I painted as the well worn traveler and I am very impressed with the sculpt.
Also finished is Tara the Silent, although with a twist from the stock version.
Yes, I painted her like Wonder Woman. It wasn’t until I started highlighting that I realized I had duplicated the Wonder Woman scheme. At that point I made damn sure to paint the gloves as extra long instead of adding bracers. Golden Lasso of Truth not pictured. Once the pictures were taken I noticed she too had fuzz on her face, but that fortunately just blew off.
And as always the obligatory group shot:
The next projects in the queue involve some personal life stuff so no updates for a while I am sure. Next for painting will be some Confrontation models who are half finished – yes the over-looked project for this year has seen some light. And on the same note, since I have managed a game of 40k, maybe those half-finished tanks will get done. Oh, and the painting competition due in September. But I do have two projects in mind so it is simply a matter of knuckling down onto them.
Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to go buy from Hassle Free Miniatures.
This weekend has given me a bit of time to paint and a couple of miniatures have gotten closer to finished.
First up, the Scooby Doo white face has been toned down a bit.
I was expecting to have to do a few washes but one wash mixed the right tone did a good job I think.
Next we have an elf I had sitting on my painting table.
I wanted to paint a grey mottled cloak. In the Lord of the Rings the cloaks given by Galadriel were described as a muted grey that seemed to shift colour but was otherwise unremarkable. I put a scratch on the cheek by accident as much as anything. I wanted to try free-handing a tattoo but my initial brush strokes looked more like scratches so I left them as is.
Having a few minis waiting for basing gives the opportunity for an impromptu diorama:
So once again the Persians have been pre-empted for a bit of something different.
I have decided I will do a dungeon crawler game (of some sort) using 3d terrain and a diverse collection of figures. I intend to write my own rules because, at the end of the day most of the games are only slightly different and I would be paying a steep premium for cardboard since I will be making my own dungeons (probably with Hirst Arts molds).
Up first is the plucky fighter. More of an impulse purchase, I like his random assorted pieces of armour and general disrepair he elicits. There are the whole posters with the “How I see myself, How others see me”. I think this is the how most starting adventurers would really look. I tried doing a shadow/light effect on his arm and wasn’t too happy so did a wash to cover it up.
Brother Roberto is something of an oddity for most miniatures: a priest who could probably walk up to the pulpit without many raised eyebrows. I am not too happy with his lantern, I was trying to do a dim incense type light but it doesn’t look quite right. Otherwise, I like the simple effect. He does carry a massive hammer from his pack, so he is over-armed like most RPG characters.
This plucky little wizard has a very subtle glowing eyes effect I can’t seem to capture on the camera. Believe it or not, this model was a Bones miniature.
As an aside, Reaper came out with a plastic version of their miniatures (some of the line anyways) called Bones. The plastic isn’t the usual hard plastic, but more of the spongy soft plastic used for toys. I was hesitant, but at $2.00 (ish) for a miniature (vice $6-10 for the others I’m showing) I was willing to try. The plastic is a bit different to work with. It requires a different technique to trim mold-lines and flash more akin to whittling than the normal shaving. Files create fuzz and little else. I did most of the mold lines, but a few in awkward spots were missed. One added thing to note is they can only be reshaped with heat. It is a simple enough process, but added inconvenience if you haven’t done it before. I reshaped his staff, then bent it with my tongs. Ooops. It did reshape again easy enough.
As another aside, Bones has run a second KickStarter for Bones. Something like 200 figs for $100. It is over, but you can still get in on it (at $150 or so). Guess what I took advantage of.
The camera shy Gnome/Dwarf/Halfling thief has no close-ups as I can’t seem to upload his pictures.
I do also have a few more of the Lord of the Rings dwarves complete, bringing the current total to 12.
Hopefully something here sparked your interest or enthusiasm.
So the wife and I were talking about my next projects and she decided that Lord of the Rings should take precedence over the Greeks.
A direct reason for this was her desire to have a dwarf army. Short jokes aside here is, ahem, a little aside from the Persians.
The Games Workshop plastic kits get both good and bad reviews. They are designed to go together quickly and they do paint very easily with very bold details. The overlap dead space just needs a bit of fudging.
I am very happy with the grim hammerers as they paint up very nicely to provide the embellishment details shown in the movies. Yes, these particular guys were drab in the movie, but they were busy being torched by a dragon. No need to waste good CG making them look pretty.
I tried a new type of wash to do the cloth and I am very happy with the subtle effect. I wanted drab but worn cloth and the wash worked well. For all cloth I blended two-three shades darker (I mix my own colors) and then watered it down to make a wash.
For those who haven’t made washes before the general principle is as watery as still hold pigment. The key to achieving this is mixing on news print or paper-towel. The excess water gets wicked away but keeps the pigment suspended.
The usual process I do for a wash is an off (but “dark” colour) like brown or black to wash. The skin might get a wash, not decided yet.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Persians with a work in progress shots of sparabara number 3.
Hopefully something here inspired you today, if nothing else you have visual confirmation that green and red do not go well together at all. I think I am getting a bit too much satisfaction in making these units clash and garish.