Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bonus Round Entry 2: Mount and Riders

It took me quite some time to figure out what I wanted to do with this one. I trolled through my lead pile but came up with a disappointing selection of cavalry models. None of which sparked much interest in me. As much fun as the diversion of the first round was I wanted to get back to my main projects as well.

Union Land Ironclads are marked by both a production number and bear the Union shield.
Inspiration struck while going through my 15mm stuff as I had socked away a few models to form the core of my steampunk Union army. So I ended up working on a unit of dismounting Horseless Cavalry.
C Troop of the 9th Cavalry dismount on the edge of the poisoned zone.
The vehicle is actually a steam-tankette for 28mm from RAFM. When I first saw it I though it would scale much better as 15mm vehicle. I ended up extending the under chassis with some plasticard as it looked a little sliced off and awkward. I also added some extra bits to it including a new hatch on top and some towing attachments to the rear. Thus was born the Adams class stern-wheeler land ironclad.

As a frontier unit the 9th still hasn't received its full supply of new Prussian Green uniforms. Some still wear the older Calvary Blues.
I'm guessing that this is an older 3D printer model. It has some heavy layers from print layers on them. I kinda wished I filled them in a little better as the contrast between it and the flat plasticard on the bottom is rather stark. I did put some Mr. Surfacer on it in an attempt to blend it together but I guess I needed a couple more coats.
In progress shot to better see the extended chassis. I thought it gave it a bit more bulk for the scale. Would of liked to put all of those little rivets on it though ...

The Adams class Land Ironclad has become the workhorse of the plains fleet and central to the development of horseless cavalry units. This unarmed version is usually referred to the John Adams while the turreted one is the Sam Adams.

For the riders I'm using some of the US armored infantry from All Quiet on the Martian front. I figured these guys wouldn't want to walk around in all that heavy armor and might want to ride in on a vehicle like the Russian tankodesantniki from WW2.

The newly issued "Stevenson's Iron Lung" breathing equipment is vital for operation in the poisoned air of the Disputed Territories.

I converted a couple of the models so they could still be riding on top and one hanging on to the side as he is dismounting. Most were painted up in the Union's new Prussian Green uniform* but I also painted a few up in the older blues of the army.

* I just made that one up, but since my version of the Union is hostile to the British Empire I figured closer ties to Prussia might occur and the adoption of British styled khaki would be frowned upon. Plus I want my Confederates in khaki if I ever get to doing some.

Current Army doctrine is for Horseless Cavalry to dismount from towed carriages and advance into battle on foot, in practice most troopers have taken to riding directly on the ironclads.   

Don't forget to check out all of the great entries for the second round over at the Painting Challenge Blog.

Will the troopers discover the reason this homestead was abandoned?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I was kind of sent scrambling this past week looking for things to paint. Nothing that I had ready to go was really grabbing me and I spent a bit of time working on my second theme round. I finally decided I needed to get going on something so grabbed some of my random 15mm stuff to paint up.

The only things I managed to get complete were the three fishmen I already had primed. These are from Khurasan miniatures and as usual were a pleasure to paint. I didn't really try anything fancy on them keeping to a simple green scheme with purple fins. I still have 7 or so more to do as well and hopefully will get them done later in the challenge.

I also prepped a few more 15mm guys to hopefully get to this week as well. I'll have to see how it goes as the day off for Christmas might give me more time to work or it might just suck up all of my free time. It's always hard to tell with family holidays.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas this year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bonus Round Entry 1: Ambush in Novograd

The theme for the first Fortnight round was cold, this immediately inspired me to think of the Retreat from Moscow and the Battle of Stalingrad. Pondering a little further I remembered some Copplestone Neo Soviets that were purchased for a never completed WW3 project many a year ago. While looking for them I also cam across my old set of AT-43 and decided that one of the Therians would make a good opponent for them. And so at least for this vignette I get to complete my long ago abandoned project with a pair of embattled NeoSovs ambushing a lone Cyber-Reich Soldat in the ruins of Novograd.

The base was built up pretty quickly out of an old CD, some foamboard, insulation foam, and plastic card. I cut out some holes for the miniatures to slot into as well.

The whole thing got a coat of thinned down wood filler and was primed with black gesso. After that it was painted pretty simply. I tried a different technique with the building to simulate concrete. I just stippled it repeatedly with different layers of tones. I think it turned out pretty well. I also did some simple weathering on it as well.

I wanted to try out something new on this by adding some posters to the building. I found some likely culprits and printed them out shrunken down to the right size. These were soaked in watered down matte medium and slapped onto the walls. I then poked at them some to distress them and once dried rubbed some weathering powder on to blend them into the building a bit more. 

Meanwhile I was painting the figures. The partisan figure I wanted to look like he was using whatever gear he could find. So I tried to make him look like he had a civilian parka thrown on over the classic Russian blue camo pattern pants. His compatriot I aimed for a more regular army look and patterned his camo coat after one of the many Russian army snow patterns. Then did the rest of the gear in classic Russian green. I'm not really sure how Russian logistics work but from looking through various pictures it seems like they have a very wide and eclectic selection of camouflage patterns. In fact pretty much anything you can make up they seem to have in service and freely mix and match them. It certainly make painting easier.
The Soldat got repainted pretty much as he originally was but I leaned more towards Panzer grey for base armor and a sorta organic red for the under parts. I kept the bone color for the skull as its just too striking to pass up.

Once everything was painted up I went to work on the snow effects. After some reading online I decided to go with the classic baking soda option. I mixed up some with Matte Medium until it was the consistency of yogurt. This got spread around trying to heap it up wherever I though snow would drift. This also went on the miniatures bases. While still wet I sprinkled more baking soda on top.
Once that dried I came back through and dabbed some thinned matte medium on places that looked like it needed more snow. The back of the sign, poster edges, boots, etc. Then I sprinkled more baking soda on. I was presently surprised how well the snow effects came out considering this was my first try at it.
Photographing the whole thing turned into a major endeavor however. The contrast between the dark figures and the white snow made it really hard to get nice pictures. Luckily my Lovely Photographer came to my assistance and gave me some tips for some nicer pictures. Otherwise all you'd be seeing is blinding white snow.
With my first entry out of the way I'm looking forward to working on the next one Mount and Riders and be sure to check out all of the incredible entries for the First Bonus Theme Round as well!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Novak Belt Nomads

First off I want to make some belated welcomes to new followers. While I wasn't paying much attention it looks like 4 new people joined up.

Joakim Strom from The Miniatures Man: Joakim has recently hit a well deserved 100k views and has been painting up some really cool Brimstone miniatures ( a game I regret not being able to pledge for. )

Bacon Fat from Baconfat Log: Always a fun read and apparently an owner of a mischievous cat as well.

Joe B.: I couldn't find any blog under your name but let me know if you have one.

TheKillingCold: One of the authors of Between the Bolter and Me which has some great and really well thought out conversion work of Horus Heresy miniatures amongst other interesting projects.

Although their own name is unpronounceable the closest translation is the Novak Belt Nomads.
Second Dreadball team completed and this one was also my first official entry into the Painting Challenge as well ( I submitted an entry for the Cold round but this really should of been done first. Honestly I felt kinda out of stride when the Challenge began as so many people were submitting great and plentiful entries. Meanwhile I was struggling to get these guys finished and my Cold entry. But hopefully now I'll settle in to a regular flow.) I wasn't really sure how I wanted to paint them but last minute inspiration on how to paint my Dwarf team (still to be actually painted) and seeing some unrelated but wonderfully painted blue armored wolf guys on Dwartists blog made my mind up for me.

The center one is the original, the flankers were both reposed. The left one is my favorite out of the group.
I did some reposing on all of them to give some variation, although some of the poses aren't totally convincing. As has now become my norm I also lost one of the goblins heads and had to make a copy. It actually went rather well as I'm not even sure which one it is anymore. I wanted them to look like their gear was very well used and more chipped up then painted. So they were painted up a worn metal color and then I stippled two layers of blue over that. It sort of looked a little sloppy so I also tried putting on some worn white stripes on them as well. I'm still not completely convinced with the effect but I guess it is good enough.

Right is out of box, left is conversion.
I tried to avoid the typical orc green skin an opted for a nice dull yellow. Other than that it was just painting up some leather straps and the whitish cloth and they were all done.

Center on is stock. Mantic really didn't do any favors with the poses since all of the goblins are pointing with one hand.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Terrain Board Spectacular Day 4+5: Cyber Monday

I decided to combine yesterday and today into a single post for two reasons. One I really didn't get all that much done either day so this way there is a bit more progress. Secondly, I couldn't find any official term for the Sunday after Thanksgiving. ( Although I refer to it as Sad Sunday as I know the next day is back to the workaday grind.)

More road work

Close up of the individual sections after they dried. The clay tends to contract as it dries causing the gaps. 
So what did I get done? Mostly laying more roads onto the boards. I also finalized some carving on the rock faces. Finally, I put a coat of thinned wood filler mixed with glue onto the surfaces. This works to both seal and harden the foam and give it a bit of texture. Once I get the crossroads section up to the same place I'll be onto painting. Hopefully the next post will be with them finished and ready for gaming.

Seal coat is still wet.

Rock faces all done and coated. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Terrain Board Spectacular Day 3: Small Business Saturday

Luckily due to the rampant commercialization of the Thanksgiving weekend I have a ready made name for everyday. Today is Small Business Saturday and a great day to get out to your local game store of course any day is good day to go to a game store. Anyways back to the boards.

My toolkit for road making. 
I didn't quite get as far as I would of liked today but I did manage to put in one of the roads. I'm using the same basic method as I've used previously for my roads, basically laying down air hardening clay and using some home made stamps to press in the cobblestone pattern.

One set of roads done. The first half was done earlier in the day and is mostly dried. 

I'm not worrying too much about getting it perfect since as discussed in a long ago post, most of the road is going to be covered in dirt. It still ends up being a slow process, I think I might consider doing a resin mold to cast road sections for future projects. But for now I'm going to carry on with this.

It's pretty clear at this point that the boards aren't going to get done this weekend, or even particularly close. But I have managed to get some solid work done on them. Hopefully with whatever I can get done tomorrow it will mostly be downhill ( and visually more exciting) from there.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Terrain Board Spectacular Day 2: Black Friday

There is always a stage with these projects where although you put in several hours of work it pretty much looks the same as you started. That was today for me.

Beginning of the day after everything was glued. 

With the wood glued on I needed to neaten everything up. The wood didn't line up exactly with what I had on the boards before. The hills needed to be re-cut some and the road ends as well. So today was mostly trimming and sanding. After that I applied some wood filler to fill any gaps and to help smooth out the slopes of the boards. I'm hoping that in the end this means everything will join up nicely although I do expect there to be some gaps still. That seems unavoidable with my rather slapdash method. 

End of the day. 
Now hopefully the unexciting structural part is done and I can move onto the more interesting bits. Tomorrow will probably consist of putting in the roads and doing the last carving and smoothing of the hills.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Terrain Board Spectacular Part I

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In addition to stuffing myself full of poultry today I've also decided to make the most of the long weekend and finish off a project that has been an albatross ( or perhaps a turkey) around my neck. Namely my modular terrain boards.

Over the past months I chipped away at these so some progress has been made since I last posted on them. All of the boards have been sanded to give a more irregular surface. I really dislike the billiard table smooth look on my boards so I try to add some features to it. This is pretty easy with large boards or ones that can stand alone. Its a bit trickier with modular ones like this particularly at this scale.

The boards at the start of the day.
Normally I'd work the insulation foam over with a heatgun to make some dents in it but I have no idea where my heatgun is at the moment and I wanted to try a different and much messier technique. I wrapped a tennis ball with sandpaper and attacked the boards. The art in it is trying to get it to look like the real undulations of open ground while at the same time making sure that things like buildings can still be placed on it without looking all wonky and that it will still join up with other boards. While I was at it I also carved out my rock faces on the hill sections.

I'll do some more fine carving work on the rock faces once I get some spackle on the boards.
This past week I've been inspired by looking at others work on modular board sections, particularly the fantastic river sections done by the Mad Guru at his Maiwand Day Blog. One thing that I wanted to use was the wooden rails on the sides. In the past I have always had problems with modular boards not really matching up at the joins. I thought this technique could give me a bit more precision to the edges.

Unfortunately, at this stage I don't think I can replicate the integral use of molding for the edges. Plus I'm on a budget with this project so I decided to use some flooring material I had sitting around since we remodelled part of our house. This is 3/8" plywood that got ripped down to proper width and then cut to size. I then gang cut the proper notches out for the roads and the hill sides. All of these are getting glued onto the outside of the boards with Gorilla Glue to frame them out.

Supervisor T inspects the makeshift workstation. 

All glued together and off to the drying rack. 

So that's where they stand right now. Tomorrow we'll see what progress I can make around the rest of the holiday activities.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

December 5th kicks off the 5th Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I followed along last year and I'll have to say was a little jealous of the fun that others seemed to be having. I was particularly impressed with the theme round entries. So this year I'm going to try my hand at it.

Courtesy of Mr. Campbell

I've been officially added to the roster and assigned my posting date of Mondays. I took the easy way out with a low goal of 500 pts. Although with the rate of painting I've been doing over the past months that is probably stretching it for me.

I've decided to set myself two goals beyond the points. The first is to try to submit an entry for each theme round. I really liked the small vignette entries from last year. So if possible I would like at least some of my own entries to be something similar. I'm hoping for half of them.

The second goal is one somewhat forced upon me by outside circumstances but hopefully I can turn a weakness  into a strength. Since I'm short on available hobby funds at the moment, I'm hoping to go through the challenge only using already purchased miniatures. I have quite a store of lead sitting in the basement that was gathered over many years and has followed me through several moves. In addition I have the rewards from a couple of Kickstarters to work on as well. So no shortage of materiel to throw into the paint grinder. Where it might get tricky and I'm going to need to be creative is the theme rounds. Might have to stretch my imagination on some of them to work with what I have.

I have two weeks to try to finish these ones off.
In the meantime I'm sorting through what is sitting on my paint table to see what needs to be finished off before the start, what still meets qualifications for future submission and what I want to just shelf till later.

These blurry fellows are only primed (or partially primed actually) so are going into the Challenge queue!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Last of the Ratmen

Well October has slipped away from me but I have managed to finish up the last three of my ratman team for Dreadball. I started the conversion work on them over a month ago but got a chance to finish up their paintjobs this past weekend. While the last set were converted mostly with limb swaps more drastic measures were needed on this trio and I turned to the saw to make some new poses.

 First up the guard was cut apart at the waist and the upper torso was repositioned. I originally intended a bit more angled pose but found out that the restic material once sawed through forms an almost instant and permanent bond with super glue. I expected a second to readjust the pose once I put them together but ended up settling for the initial contact. Both arms were also repositioned and I cut some spikes off of the facemask then used putty to fill all of the gaps.

The strikers had their heads sawed off and swapped around. For the first one I tried to get as close as possible to the classic Bloodbowl jumping and catching pose. Again arms and legs needed reposed and gaps filled with putty. Both of these guys also got shorts sculpted on since I liked how that worked on the last set I converted.

The last striker was more of a problem. I lost his gloved arm at some point and frantic searching never turned it up. My lovely wife made the excellent suggestion of making a copy of the other guys arm. I managed to make a reasonable facsimile using some of the instant mold I had and putty. The details on the two sides looked good but the joint line was a bit of a mess. I tried to hide the glove by going with a pose that's sort of like he just caught the ball and is wrapping it up to run with it.

I like how they came out in the end and although a fair bit of work I think the conversions made the team. They still need some numbers and team logos though. I'm not sure if I want to risk free-handing that many or look into some decals. If I go with some custom decals I might wait till I finish another team so I can combine them all onto one sheet. With one team down I need to finish up the other three. Hopefully I can get them all done by the end of the year.

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