Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finished: Space Hulk! the last time I talked about my copy of Space Hulk, it was in a state something like this:

Well, I'm glad to say it's finally finished!  Since this is a board game (and will probably be played by non-wargaming friends), I wanted the finish on the minis to be extra-durable - I read in several places that this could be accomplished by giving the minis a coat of gloss varnish first, then a coat of matte varnish to knock down the shine.  As soon as I finished the paint job, I gave them a healthy coat of gloss:

...then I gave them a coat of matte varnish on each side:

Now, when I originally bought Space Hulk, I swore up and down that I was going to lavish every single model with a Golden Demon-quality paintjob - then, as usual, I primed them, looked at the huge pile of minis on my desk, and instantly felt overwhelmed.  Then, the possibility of needing to have the game finished for an upcoming game night appeared, so it gave me an excuse to get a bit more "quick 'n dirty" with my process.  The funny thing?  I had a lot more fun when I stopped stressing about making every model perfect, and I think the models I painted after this revelation actually came out better.  I was whining to lars4life over at Funderhammer one night about how I get overwhelmed and never seem to follow through with the high-quality paintjobs I want to do - he told me "Assembly line painting is a must if you want to make any progress on an army.  Assembly-line your troops, practice your advanced techniques on your sergeants, and try to do your best work on your named characters".  I thought that was great advice.

So anyway, here's some of the results (click to embiggen):

They're not going to win any competitions, but I see flashes of improvement in my technique - in particular, my highlighting is getting more precise, and I'm learning to use precise application of washes to a much better effect.  As far as color schemes and such, I mostly followed the GW painting guide, and just substituted equivalent colors if I didn't have the Citadel / Foundation version.  The only major exceptions:  I used my airbrush and based the Terminators with Mechrite Red first, then drybrushed them with Blood Red, and I didn't follow GW's formula for highlighting the Terminators at all - I tried their method first, and it looked terrible - I'm a fan of the "'Eavy Metal" style, and even I thought the highlights looked way too severe.  I used a 50/50 mix of Blazing Orange and Blood Red.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Terrain the 40K blogosphere is abuzz about a new GW terrain piece, the Witchfate Tor. Tower of Sorcery:

image © Games Workshop

The tower is unique for GW in that it's modular - it comes apart to reveal the different levels, and the level of detail looks great.  I don't play Fantasy (at least not until I talk myself into buying the Island of Blood set) so I have no idea how terrain works in regards to gameplay there, but I thought I'd give my two cents:  It looks fantastic.  Even though the majority of the hobby for me is painting & converting, I am a big fan of interactive terrain pieces - and, while I like scratch-building more than most, if I had the space and money my house would be full of Dwarven Forge and Miniature Building Authority stuff.  (I already have most of the sci-fi pieces that MBA makes, and I know one of these years Dwarven Forge is going to take all of my convention savings in one fell swoop - I've just been trying to hold out until we move into a bigger house and I have a dedicated gaming space).  The GW tower is pricey (no surprise there), but it looks like a big leap forward for them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Moar Dakka!

Picked up some goodies today - first up:

The first (of many) Battlewagons!  The downside:  I forgot to order the upgrade sprue.  I was browsing eBay and someone is selling Battlewagons with the upgrade sprue, but the listing didn't make it clear if it was two separate items (the picture on the auction is just of the Battlewagon box).  I thought "Hmmm, maybe GW is including the upgrade sprue as part of the kit now!" (my FLGS didn't have one in stock for me to inspect).  I should have known better than that...  I really like the looks of the GW upgrade kit, but it's awfully pricey for what you get - I wasn't really planning on scratchbuilding five deffrollas, but it looks like it would be so easy to do with some PVC couplers or dowel rods, I don't think I can bring myself to pay for something I can build for pennies.

Another thought:  There are rumblings about a new Ork codex in the spring - I'm gonna be real upset if I build a half-dozen Battlewagons and then the list isn't legal in the next codex.  :-/

Next up is some 'Ard Boyz armor sprues:

The funny thing about these:  I actually ordered them from my FLGS a couple of months ago as an afterthought, while I was ordering some other models - I had just started my Orks, and hadn't decided to do a theme army at that point.  When I went back a week later to pick up my order, these were missing - I mentioned it to the clerk, and he said "That's all I've got right now".  I've placed several orders since then, and there was no mention of them - today I stopped by when the owner was there, and he said "I've got something for you!"  Apparently these came in at some point, and got misplaced.  The bad news is, I don't think I'm going to use them - I think they'll mess up my point totals on the list I'm building, and they don't really fit the Freeboota theme.  (I've actually been shaving a lot of the spikey bits off of my Orks, to make them look more "period-correct" - well, as "period-correct" as "imaginary-pirate-monsters-from-outer-space" can be, anyway).

Lastly is a few paints:

The Baal Red is because although I'm a big advocate of making your own washes, I haven't perfected a red wash that works quite as well as Baal Red yet.  The Tausept Ochre is because I've been trying to perfect my technique for painting yellow - I saw this article at A Gentleman's Ones, and thought the results were fantastic.  The Tausept Ochre was the last color I needed to replicate his method.

In other news:  Space Hulk is done!  It's just awaiting clearcoat - pics & a full write-up in a few days...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Still More Freebootas!

I'm still working on my Freeboota army - here's one where I tried a few new things:

Here's the parts I started with - the standard Ork Boy parts + one of the MaxMini heads:

I started by cutting off the base slot, and removing the blade from the chainsword.  I left the hilt and handguard from the chainsword - the way it's molded, it would be really difficult to remove, plus I thought I would try to integrate it with the new weapon:

I did some work with my jeweler's files to clean up the hilt:

...then I chose a sword from the Razig weapon sprue:

I cut the blade from the sword and cleaned up the edge with my files:

Then I attached the sword blade to the hilt that was molded with the model:

I would have like to pin the blade, but the way it tapers means it's too thin to pin without mangling it.

Next I glued on the head:

(A note on just how detailed the MaxMini heads are - at first I thought this head had some excess flash around the eyes and I started to scrape it off - until I realized that the sculpt had the Ork wearing tiny, round eyeglasses!)

I wanted to do something new with this model to give it a "pirate-y" touch - after thinking about it for a while, I realized "What says "pirate" more than a peg leg?!?"

I started by chopping off one of the Ork's legs at the knee:

...then I took a banner pole from a pile of Fantasy bits, and chopped some pieces off:

I drilled a hole into the knee joint of the Ork:

...then I fit the piece of banner pole into the hole:

I was actually really pleased with how this came out - I thought I was going to have to sculpt around the knee joint where the peg leg is attached, but it looks so clean as-is that I decided to just leave it alone.

Next I turned my attention to the gun - my first step was to cut off the slugga:

...then I drilled out the hand:

I actually got this one perfect (for once!) - I drilled out the hand and didn't damage a single finger:

One boy in each of my Mobs can take a Big Shoota, but I actually haven't converted one yet - I decided this would be my first.  For the Big Shoota, I'm using the Imperial Arquebus from Freebooter Miniatures:

The fit of the rifle in the Ork's hand was too tight, so I actually had to open up the hand a bit.  I just inserted my hobby knife blade between the thumb and the palm and made a quick cut:

This gave me enough slack to get the rifle into the hand.  To secure it, I just put a very thin film of superglue on the rifle right in front of the hand, and spun it around a few times.

And here's the finished product, after sculpting the cuff around the boot and re-sculpting the thumb with some Green Stuff:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Updates, D&D Report

The wife was out of town last week, so I spent a lot of time bored to tears, but I did get more work done on Space Hulk.  I pretty much just need to do the highlights on about half of the marines and I'll be done.  I did get together with lars4life over at Funderhammer one night and worked on some conversions - we'll have some pictures of a joint project up soon.  (We also have an idea for an interesting take on a speed-painting contest).

On Sunday I got together for our weekly D&D game, and had a blast:

For the last few games in our campaign, our DM has adapted the Palace of the Silver Princess module.  Sunday's game involved tons of interacting with NPC's, bluffing, etc - you know, the stuff that gives "Role Playing Games" their namesake.  Sometimes these elements take a backseat in our rush to kill monsters and find loot (especially since we lost our player who tried to bluff constantly, and consistently had the worst charisma rolls of all time).  I felt this last game struck the balance perfectly. 

Near the end of the game, our DM's wife & son returned home from visiting family.  The boy likes to sit in Dad's lap and help him roll dice when we play.  This time he decided he wanted to play with the minis (or "guys", as he calls them) - since we were still in the middle of combat, I suggested giving him his own set of dungeon tiles.  With Dad's collection of minis conveniently next to him, he was free to set up his own encounter.  Let's just say this kid's gonna be a brutal DM:

...let's hope they're all minions.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Updates: Space Hulk, Tools

Work on Space Hulk continues:

...I was hoping to have it done this week, but I just didn't find myself in the mood to paint over last weekend, and pretty much blew off working on it.  I might have most of them finished in the next few days, but the Librarian and the dead marine on the throne will take a bit more work than the others - and since I plan to do a multi-step clearcoat process on these so they'll be more durable, it's probably still a few weeks out.

I did pick up some tools the other day - the first was a regulator for my airbrush compressor:

This was because I think I'm ready to move beyond moving the airbrushes for just basecoating, but the Badger 100 that is my "detail" airbrush seems to need a lower pressure than my Badger 360.  The problem is, the regulator above didn't work - I don't mean it didn't work out, I mean it was broken.  No worries, I exchanged it for a different model that works (and was actually cheaper).

Next I got some new bits:

I love the Micro Hand Drill that I mentioned in this post, but all my bit were from the hardware store and were to big to even fit in the chuck.  This assortment has sizes down to 0.5mm (I don't even have WIRE that thin!) so it should do the trick...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Freeboota Conversions far I'm really enjoying building my Freeboota army.  Here's a couple of the most recent conversions:

The one on the left received a hook from a Warhammer Fantasy Chaos Marauders kit for his choppa, a MaxMini pirate ork head, and a four-barreled flintlock for his slugga.  For the one on the right, I thought the cleaver he was molded with looked "pirate-y" enough to stay.  He also received a MaxMini head and a flintlock pistol.  As an added detail, he received a barrel from a Fantasy Ogre kit on his back:

(He's a pirate, so of course it's full of rum, or something).

Here's another one where I swapped out an entire arm -  I decided to replace this model's axe with a cudgel from a Fantasy kit:

(I have to give credit to WarBossKurgan over at Tom's Boring Mordheim Forum - I saw this conversion in the thread detailing his outstanding Orc Pirates).

I clipped the original arm off with my flat cutters, then cleaned up the cut with my hobby knife.  I also had to "shave" a bit off the new arm to correct the angle.  

Then I glued on the new arm:

The arm is a tiny bit stubbier than the other one, but I'm betting this won't really be noticeable when the model's painted).

For his gun, I took the standard arm:

I chopped the original slugga away from the hand:

I cleaned up & re-shaped the fist a bit with my hobby knife & files (EVERY SINGLE Ork slugga arm is molded with a bit of the gun sticking out between the forefinger & middle finger - I'm getting REALLY tired of trimming & filing that bit over & over).  Then I drilled out the fist with my pin vise.  For the gun, I took a flintlock pistol from a Reaper kit, bent the handle of the pistol to give it a more severe angle (otherwise it would be pointing straight up in the air when the Ork was holding his arm at his side).  I also clipped off the bottom half of the handle, since the swell of the handle would make it a pain to drill out the hand:

...then I glued the gun in his hand:

(I left the bit of the original molded gun sticking out from the bottom of the fist, so it will look like the pistol's grip is longer than it actually is when it's painted).  Then I finished the assembly:

(Sorry I had to prop all these up for the photos - I've been trimming the slots off all these models and haven't bothered basing them, since they're all going to be mounted on resin bases).  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

All Your Base...

Hey, look what I got:

...a whole mess 'o bases for my Freeboota Ork army!  I decided to use the 30mm bases from Privateer Press - mainly just because I love the look.  Also, since every single model in this army is going to be heavily converted, I'm sure I'm not going to be in the mood to build almost a hundred bases from scratch - I actually considered buying some of the paper-backed wooden balsa strips that scale modelers' use to simulate hardwood floors, then buying a 28mm holesaw, then cutting out & staining all the bases, then clipping a few dozen feet of brass wire to simulate nailheads... then I said "screw it!" and ordered the "Shiver Me Timbers" base inserts from Iron Halo.  I'll take the hit to my "modeler's cred" in order to save a couple weeks worth of work - the inserts are pre-sized to fit the "Dark Age" bases:

...the inserts arrived with remarkably little flash (compared to other resin pieces I've bought) - a quick scrape around the edge with my hobby knife, and maybe every third or fourth one has a spot I need to hit with a file, but I can still churn out a dozen of 'em in fifteen minutes:

I may be getting ahead of myself, but I'm so happy with these that I think I'm gonna have to paint some test color schemes for them in the next day or two...