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.
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.
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.
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.
Or at least my urban terrain can show a commercial district.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been slowly chipping away at a three new buildings and finishing off the bus shelters I have. But rather than showing them individually, I figured the best way to show them would be laid-out with the other buildings.
The wooden board is approximately 2’x2′ (it is a few inches bigger on one side) and I have laid out the buildings as I have seen in this type of area in many cities: as a tight little maze of alleys with wider streets.
I think the signs add the bit of colour and variety to make the area seem more real. I do need to figure out how to lay down a road mat I think to really make it look great. I am not sure how to do a road mat that will give me versatility while still showing off a nice roadway.
The large anchor building on the intersection is the largest building I have done in this style. In addition, I had the most fun with the signs. For those reasons, I have a couple of detailed shots below.
While this building has no new concepts or ideas, the large commercial signs really make it stand out I think. I have three ways of doing signs now. I think the next big building like this may get a third type, the nominal roll type sign that just lists all the businesses in addition to the normal storefront signs. I realize this will require a fairly large blank space on the building, especially if I do a corner building like this.
Anyhow, with all these buildings laid-out I thought it would be a shame not to include a couple of action shots.
As shown the Hulk and Iron Man find themselves hopelessly outnumbered. Facing off against so many foes, even Hulk is at risk. Barely even visible is the White Huntress ready to drop either Hulk or Iron Man.
Is there anybody that can help save these heroes from certain death?
Did somebody say Marvel/DC cross-over?
Hopefully this short post inspired you today. If nothing else to take time to pause and consider how much work you have done on a larger project to give you that motivation to keep going. Next up will hopefully be more progress on Captain America…and maybe even the start of Thor.
I decided to take a break from working on Captain America to finish off a few terrain projects that weren’t finished.
The most work was spent on the shop. As I was going for a corner store type building, so the signage and adverts are designed to reflect that look.
The dumpster was the first of possibly many to come. I may go back with stencil type lettering to give it company name.
The biggest new piece for this terrain is the use of plastic windows. As my WIP showed previously, I cut down to the paper on the outside on the inside of the walls. This gave enough room to glue in the plastic sheets. Prior to gluing them in I attached the flyers and posters to the inside of the “glass”. As a final tough, I did a wash with brown to give the windows a dirty, streaked appearance to fit in. I also did throw in a rolling door which is new too, but not really much of a step up. Not as visible due to a bit too much light is the wash of grime and rust pools I did on the roof and walls.
The other two buildings are no major changes from my other buildings in this style, aside from the inset piping. I like how that looks and have started to incorporate it into the other buildings I have started.
Also getting finished was the first bus/transit stop. After some back and forth, I decided against the plastic windows. Partly because I am not 100% on how it would look. The other part being on how sturdy it would be.
As an action shot, today I demonstrate why Bruce stopped taking the bus to work…just too frustrating.
A short post today, but hopefully inspirational. If nothing else, it might give you that nudge to try raising your projects to the next level with the little details.
I managed to sneak a bit of hobby time in this week and I did some more work on Dr. Doom.
At this point I am not sure if I want to call him finished or not. If he isn’t done, I don’t know what else to do (other than basing). I’m concerned if I add more highlights his armour will read too light, as it was dark metal in the comics (and even darker in the two latest film versions of him).
I added some highlights to him last time including wet-blending and used my brush to accentuate the chain while hiding my mistakes. I also selectively highlighted him to give deep shadows. I think I succeeded: while I was painting him I kept trying to turn him in the light to see him better…the whole time both my lights were directly on him with no shadow.
To show him off in an action shot, I figured it was time to bring all my heroes figs painted so far to bear.
If only Nick Fury and Black Widow had even one Avenger to help them. But who could get there fast enough to help and save the day?
If you have any suggestions on Dr. Doom, please let me know. I won’t have much hobby time in the near future but I look forward to executing any advice before moving on to the next guy. Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to break out your latest project to snap a few diorama pictures.
As the name implies I have done some work on Dr. Doom. I also managed to get my brush to figure too.
First up, the man of the hour. I am working in stages on his hood, so there will be a bit more cleaning up. I have already smoothed out the transition at the top of the hood to the peak as I type this and the gaps in his hood will be filled in too.
His cowl will fold out from his face a bit to frame it, but I want to make sure it covers his face from the side as it is in the comics.
Although the pulled back peak is a bit old fashioned, it does match his profile in the comics so it is a must to include. I was going to fray the edges of the cloak but thought better of it. Dr. Doom is the leader of Latveria, a 2nd world nation. I imagine he has staff who are on stand by to bring him fresh cloaks whenever they become torn or dirty. Almost laughable, but also a sign of his domineering personality and focus on image.
Overall, I am happy how this ominous villain is progressing.
As I alluded to, some other figures got some brush time too. The slum fences are painted, and crude as they are, I think they fit the bill nicely. A splash of colour and good line of sight blockers, they will see a lot of use I am sure.
Thanks to the feedback from Dagger and Brush I have added a bit more colour to Black Widow. I am very happy with how the flush and rosy cheeks brought her skin tone back to the world of the living without taking away the very pale skin tone.
For those wondering, this is a simple matter of wetblending. I mixed in a dark red to a slightly darker skin tone and splashed it across her cheekbones and down. I then mixed a paler skin tone and blended the flush into her skin to localize it to the top of her cheeks like a deadly spy version of Anne of Green Gables (pigtails optional).
I kept her body suit as dark as it was before as the flush to the cheeks brought the skin down a shade and went for a dark grey for her belt, backpack, and holsters. I did a slightly different shade to her body armour plates.
Finally I painted her pistol as a Glock, because that is what Kevin White sculpted. I am very impressed that I can identify the pistol and even the subtle highlights to chrome are all that are needed to identify the model too. I’m not a gun nut, but I am familiar with the Glock and I am a fan of it’s accuracy and precision. Most folks who have fired both swear by the Sig Sauer but I prefer the Glock. It is lighter and has a composite construction: the upper receiver, barrel, and trigger are metal, the rest of the grip a high density resin. The molded grip allows a natural solid grasp so aligned shots is very easy. Gun rant aside.
To show off Black Widow, I felt the best scene was having my two stealthy ladies squaring off on a rooftop for a John Woo dual pistol showdown. Snappy one liners and light drizzle not included.
Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else that a little effort and focus can help you finish those ongoing projects. And to leave you with something new, here is the finished “neon” sign, although I don’t know if I want to add some object source lighting to the sign.
And my vacation isn’t done yet…although I am in the hours left now. Once I get back to work I know I will be very busy so I don’t expect as many posts…in fact I might go through until late February before the next one. Did I mention my new job at work is very busy?
Anyhow, yesterday and today were very productive. On the building front I managed to assemble 3 buildings and plastered two of them and my bus shelter. Sadly I forgot to sand any of them so the plaster isn’t staying on well. I will see how well it stays on after another couple days and try painting. I also found out that the white glue doesn’t work well on the garbage bags to foam. The glue stuck very well to the bags but not to the foam. The glue also left a very obvious film on the bags. So I was able to easily pop the bags off and peel off the glue. The bag I attached to one of the sheet-metal fences stayed attached very well though. If you are going to use my garbage bags idea I recommend using superglue to attach them to things unless attaching it to a porous surface with a large flat contact point.
I also managed to finish painting the last big building I had sitting as a WIP. I also added a small shop to this one through the simple addition of a sign. Not fantastic, but I am planning to go back and put bright green in the centre of the letters to evoke neon.
Also worth noting is the new finishing technique I tried. I have gone with an even lighter final highlight and it makes the building look newer and in better repair. It doesn’t stand out from the others but still blends in.
Getting some more brush time is Nick Fury. I finally decided I had practiced the SHIELD logo enough and gave it a shot on him. Although not my best freehand, I think it works pretty well, especially at arms length away. To put it into perspective, the circle for the SHIELD crest is 2mm diameter. Probably the tiniest freehand I have done, although I did do better ones in practicing for this guy.
Also seeing some paint time are the zombies from Bones 2. I wasn’t sure if these would work as modern or fantasy models until I actually looked at them. They didn’t get much love from me, there are even still mold lines on them. The pale blue shirt model actually has a buttoned shirt and the blue vest guy is obviously wearing either a jean or leather vest so very modern zombies. That being said, they still will work as fantasy as none of the details are hugely obvious. At their very low price, they are the cheapest zombies in 28mm. I should say the cheapest still available. If you aren’t tracking, Wargames Factory has essentially gone under. Their products are now sold exclusively through Warlord Games…who have yet to put any of the product up for sale 4 months later.
Anyhow, although my finished building has a store, I did a proper corner store/grocery store too. This building is the first multi-level without external stairs or a balcony. There will be a rooftop sign on the corner with the door facing in two directions. I am also going to put hinged doors on top of the dumpster in the back. Although it is attached to the building, it isn’t out of the ordinary. I have seen garbage can containers like this before. I will try making several free-standing dumpsters too to add that ambience to the back alleys.
These large square windows will actually be the first real windows I will be doing for the buildings. I will be attaching clear plastic sheets (plastic from miniature blisters) that are covered in posters and advertisements. If you have ever been in a small town store or an older neighbourhood store you will know exactly what I mean. This is for two reasons. First, the interiors aren’t finished and big windows would mean I would have to finish them. Second, the dirty poster-filled windows will keep in the theme of the building I am going for. I did consider boarding up the windows, or a window, but I will keep that for a future building.
For a bit of an action shot we see Nick Fury forced to fight his way through a horde of zombies. Are they supernatural? A nefarious Hydra plot? Of just finished minis being show-cased. Tune in for the next episode to find out.
Hopefully today’s post was inspirational to you. If nothing else it shows how a bit of practice can give you tiny little details to finish a mini or terrain project.
I almost feel like a teenage girl on Facebook with how often I have been posting lately, but I had another free day (slowly running out of those before I go back to work) so I decided to turn my attention to my city. Yes, my last building is waiting to get painted, but I have wanted to do shacks for a long time but haven’t had corrugated sheets (either cardboard or plasticard) to do it. So instead I decided I would try plain card to see how it looked.
I quickly threw together a few free standing buildings. I made use of 4 different thickness and texture of card to create some variety. For the first building I intentionally went with uneven walls. It looks good, but had some issues with the roof. Lesson here: even build a sturdy roof for the haphazard sheets to rest on. After the glue dried I quickly slapped some paint on them and have them here to show off. I am not convinced my cloth and plastic bag doors really read the way I want them to, they aren’t as obvious as I hoped.
I chose to go with grey paint instead of metallic. As with all my greys, I mixed it myself. This also left me the option to lighten or darker individual sheets of metal. As this was a proof of concept, I didn’t go overboard on the coloured sections. The next batch may still have signs on the sheets or decals or something. I will also look at the cobbled together “row house” buildings too.
What was entertaining for me in building these was I was actually solving problems the way the builders of these do in real life. Hmm, these two panels don’t line up, I need a sheet that goes between them. Crap, the roof is caving in and still has holes…cover it with a tarp. Crap the “tarp” keeps moving…weigh it down. By the end I felt invested in these enough to consider living in them. Ok, maybe not. But I will rent them out for a very reasonable rate.
The simple paint scheme was finished with brown washes, rust washes, and spot orange washes for bright blossoms of rust. Overall I think these shacks would fit in nicely in Mogadishu, Mexico City, or just about any sprawling slum.
Also started today were a couple of sheet-metal haphazard walls. They will come in handy to break line of sight, and keep the slum sections colourfully segregated.
On the topic of terrain, I did a whole bunch more garbage bags and did a test with white glue to attach them to Styrofoam. After 5 hours I can tell you the glue is still wet. Once it is dry I will see if it is sturdy enough. If not, I will have to find a non-volatile base to super glue bags to.
Now the question is how do the new shacks fit in with the other buildings?
Looking at them, I would say pretty well. What is missing is more of them. More of the shacks, more of the buildings (and more levels) and more urban debris. I had considered doing some stylized concrete benches, and I think I will. It will capture the whole failed neighbourhood theme, and give a more clearly defined park. I also need advertisements: billboards, bus stop signs, placards on garbage bins, and so on. It is the one constant, even in the impoverished areas. This will mean I need to do up a few businesses too.
In the background of the shots you will see two projects I did yesterday but didn’t post: bus shelters and street lights. And of course a close up for better viewing.
For the bus shelters I opted for concrete style for something sturdy and easily graffiti tagged. It also keeps in the theme of a planned community that failed. Maybe it was a hastily built city, who knows. I do intend to add a third wall in “glass” using clear plastic from blisters with advertisements slotted in between.
The street lights are not glued yet for a reason. That is an LED and the post itself is a hollow tube. I drilled and filed the Hirst Arts column bases to slide the tubes in place. When I feel inclined to mess with batteries again I will have working street lights. I might switch the red for yellow though.
I hope this post inspired you today, if nothing else to take the plunge on that project you have been putting off because you lacked that one component. Improvise and see where it takes you. Oh, if it takes you to a place where the buildings look like this, you probably took a wrong turn.
After a long year, it is rewarding to look back on how the year progressed and note achievements. It also doesn’t hurt to acknowledge failures with a bit of chagrin either.
I started 2015 with a fairly short list of goals to achieve, let’s start off by reviewing those.
1. Finish the half-timber row of houses and build another one.
Well, that was a bit of a bust. I have the first row nearly finished…just need to shingle two more rooftops. I have zero progress on a second row of buildings…not even a plan drawn up. The building does look good, I think.
2. Finish the dwarven ruins and complete some additional scatter pieces.
Yeah, all I managed to do was basecoat that piece. Complete failure on this one.
3. Build 3 scratch-built tanks/APCs.
Yeah, nothing to report here. To be honest, these have been back-benched as I find I am playing less and less of 40K again. So much time to set-up and not a game I enjoy playing that much. Maybe at some point they will get finished.
4. HOTT Orc army finished.
Well, I did manage to repaint two of the pike units I botched. But that is it. Also a project that has gotten bumped down in priority.
So now it begs the question…what did I accomplish this year?
In counter point to #1, I have the start of a sci fi urban city, complete with 4 cars (and another 3 in various stages of completion).
In counter point to #2, I have completed 5 dungeon sections and 4 in progress. The most complex in progress being the library but still playable at its current state.
I don’t really have a counter to not finishing the orc army. This year I have completed painting 62 miniatures. I am surprised by the large number myself, but it is all there through my past posts. Wow, that is quite the accomplishment alone. In fact, there are more that were painted but never posted because they turned out badly.
Also accomplished this year was substantial leaps forward in Dungeon Down development. This might be ready for the eyes of the general public pretty soon.
So what does this year bring? Well the title is a spoiler. I have been bitten by the superhero bug lately. Between the excellent movies coming out and the tv series my wife has gotten wrapped up in, I feel more than a little nostalgia for comic books. So I took the plunge and ordered my first batch of heroes (and villains) in tights. This brought my attention back to (some of) the Hasslefree Miniatures modern miniatures I had kicking around. After looking at them, I realized that I have a dead ringer for Black Widow and Nick Fury (from the comic books anyways).
I know that my Nick Fury is actually supposed to be Kurt Russell from the “Escape From” series of movies but once I am done, I am fairly confident he will look like a good Agent of Shield.
As I bought these models for cool factor without a plan for them, I feel this is a good move to use them. As a plus, they will also be painted into tactical combat style so will still be used in other games where warranted, well not so much these two as the others below.
Also added into the mix is the start of my own version of the Saint of Killers from Preacher. I decided to go more undead with him, and I will have to tone down his abilities just a little bit…this cowboy could do more damage than the Avengers on a bad day. Pretty crude so far, but he is a WIP.
Now the only issue I see might come out, is trying to find a game system to use. Pulp City seems like a great game, and I read through the quick play rules. Seems to capture comic book style fights and cool hero abilities. There are a couple downsides to that system. First, it is card based…so you need to use their miniatures. So I can’t take Ironman and play him, unless they have an Ironman equivalent (they don’t as near as I can tell, hence my example of him). The other one is the complexity. This game is a dense read and complicated. This is not a quick pick up and play or teach new players.
I have been toying around with a modern setting version of Dungeon Down. I had a good set of basic principles that used the same basic mechanics but had a team going through a facility/alien ship/sewer/etc. So those ideas have a basis for doing a superhero game. But how do you represent the superheroes and the minions/less than super support? From my experience, the game already does that. A level 1 monster is not much of a threat to a party of level 2 heroes. But, I have witnessed 3 goblins with bows completely kill a party. I have also seen higher level guys hammer away on each other for several rounds with minimal effect. The simple balancing of forces using the levels mechanic still works too.
So all that said and done, I will be working on a super hero game setting this year with all the trappings that go with it. This means more terrain including cars. It means lots of minis painted and assembled. It also means it is a slow burn project that will still let me do other projects too.
So I hope to inspire you to have a super year too. And remember: no capes.
In this case, quite literally.
I managed to do a lot of work in hammering out another WIP that has been languishing unfinished for quite some time, another on my sci fi urban buildings.
Like the others, it is a simple box shape with art-deco inspired shapes to break the profile and dood-dads attached to make it look more lived in.
A lot of fiddly measuring at reattaching things today. I really dislike doing guardrails at this point. I did have some sort of plan originally for something like a wrap-around railing for the section that now shows a planter. After my first batch with railing measurements not quite lining up, I scrapped it and did a planter instead. Once I have put on the plaster cladding, and painted it, I will put in some ballast and flock to show that really terrible flower bed so common in bad neighborhoods. My plan is to have nothing but sand, rocks, and weeds in it to show the complete disregard the owners have for it. This patio will have some benches added, just to break up the open space. It will give some opportunities for cover in some sort of game in the future too I am sure.
I went a bit over the top on the pipes for this one. Maybe it means they paid more to have more utilities. Who knows. The next piece started (but not much started) is a 3 storey apartment complex. It will have external stairs and an enclosed entrance on the second floor for cool fire-fight type stuff. It is also a lot more complex and I am not sure where my sketches and measurements sheet went to…something essential to actually finish it.
The plan for tomorrow (if things work out) is to apply the plaster cladding to the outside (which means waiting a while to let it properly cure before the first coat of paint).
To show off scale, I pulled out the model that has become my scale model, Jolie. Although, in this setting she looks more science fantasy and maybe like an extra in Star Wars. And she seems to be either looking in her book like a tourist, or lost in study as she walks around the very drab building. Good choice guess.
Anyways, hopefully this post was inspirational, at least to dust off an old project to finish it.
Ok, not the real title, but a good ear-worm to start things off: Beatles – Drive My Car
Work has kept me busier for longer than I expected, instead of two months of business, I ended-up heading to California for a few weeks too so was quite busy. No, nothing fun, just some sweltering heat in the Mohave desert.
Anyways, while I was otherwise busy, I did have a parcel arrive at home: a series of cars I ordered from China by Rastar. At less than $5 a car, I was fine buying sight unseen. I was quite happy with two of the six (a Volvo shown below and a Mercedes Benz to be featured later). Sadly the other cars are what are called “Box Cars”. The detail is crisp and these would be nice for a collector. For the wargames community, I would not recommend buying them unless you have your handy pocket figure to match scale. These are cars scaled more to fit the standard box than to match a given scale. By way of example, notice how the Land Rover and BMW both are out of scale.
However, I have found a bit of time to first strip a few cars and then throw paint on two of them.
First we have the Volvo previously mentioned. A sporty hatchback, it looks more like an SUV when scaled with the other cars and figures. Yes, it is a bit out of scale. That is fine in my mind. Coupled with the rarity of Volvos around here, it will read as an SUV and less of a hatchback to most players.
I painted this up after stripping using drab colours to reflect the faded look and feel I am striving for. The headlights came out a bit brighter than I intended but I can live with the end result. I did rush the hood detailing. I masked it off with paint but removed the tape while still wet so the edges lost crispness and the paint even spilled onto the hood. A bit of careful brush-work and I repaired most of the damage.
The Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz has a special place in my heart. When I graduated highschool it was the most common car on the roads. And as time went on it became the cheap beater car for a lot of folks, my wife included. At the time I met her, she went through cars the way some people go through shoes.
Now it isn’t to say she is a bad driver (she isn’t as bad anymore) but that these vehicles wore out pretty quickly. A minor repair for these cars often cost as much as the value of the vehicle.
Her brothers both had connections to mechanic shops where the staff kept a supply of written-off Tempo/Topaz to cannibalize for parts. It was so common that all the staff were good at appraising if repairing the one in front of them was easier than stealing parts to fix one of the ones out back. So whenever she had car problems she normally ended up with a new car…sometimes for only the cost of parts and labour. The shop normally came out ahead as they ended up with another car to cannibalize.
Anyhow, I found this was fun to paint and I was actually going for the faded grey colour common to the Topaz. Until the dirt was added it looked like an over-drybrushed black car but the dirt helped sell the faded paint and small dings. I am very tempted to turn the other Tempo into a Mad Max car, but I may hold off until I have more of them. Something very silly to me about turning one of these junk-heaps into a survivalist car.
If you are wanting to populate your own urban landscape, I will mention that little cars like this are gems. The reason is simple: nobody wants to collect jalopies or commuter cars. Collectors want the sexy sports cars and tooled-up trucks. So, when you do find the beaters I recommend you snatch them up as they give a lot more reality I feel.
Anyhow, to wrap things up I present the cars I have thus far.
In total I have 12 cars, but the BMW’s may not see the table as they don’t quite match. Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try adding a bit of personal meaning to your terrain and games.