You'll find a little of everything here. Genres covered in this blog include (so far) prehistorics, fantasy, old west, swashbucklers, pulp, Blood Bowl, Ghostbusters, gladiators, nautical, science fiction and samurai in 6mm, 15mm, 28mm, 40mm, 42mm and 54mm sizes. You'll also find terrain, scenery, basing, gaming, modeling, tutorials, repaints, conversions, art and thoughts in general about the hobby.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Final samurai are getting painted

The last of my unpainted samurai finally got their first coat of paint today. The samurai with the nagimaki here was painted with just a few drybrushed coats of a couple different greens.
In the background, you might notice a 60mm base with some greenstuff on it. The greenstuff has been carved into some paving stones on which I plan to build a small roadside shrine. I've been doing a little research: I can do the shrine, but I'm not sure how to do the torii (Japanese arch.) I can do the torii itself, I'm just not sure how to integrate it with the shrine- put it on the same base? (Not really enough room), Or put it on it's own base? Leave it off completely?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Quick update

I've been getting art stuff, books, supplies, etc. prepared for when the weather gets better (ever?) for field sketching/drawing/painting. So I've been doodling in the sketchbook (as you may have already seen). I haven't been working on the samurai in for the past few days. I'll try to get back to them asap- only two to paint!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sketchbook update

I hadn't dug out the sketchbook for a while since it's too cold to draw outside, and too boring to draw inside. Still, I've been feelin' the itch, so I brought the book with for lunch. I didn't feel like drawing anything in the pizza place, so I drew his old lady falling down the stairs.
She'll be back later in the sketchbook to haunt those children.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

42mm samurai: Ashigaru firing arquebus

My teppo corp is complete! All two of them.
This one is not quite finished, but all I have to do is throw a wash onto the gun and add a bit of scrub bush to the base. I'm also thinking about throwing on some drybrushed weathering on all the samurai, at least on their legs to look like dust thrown up while on the march. I'll give it a try on a couple ashigaru first.

The sword in the ground was made with some hammered brass inserted into a hilt and guard cut from a separate scabbarded sword.

Just two more figures to go. An ashigaru chargin with his yari leveled, and a samurai who I armed with a scratchbuilt nagimaki.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

42mm samurai: Ashigaru with naginata

Here's a simple figure; he was was one the easier to paint. I spruced him up a touch by giving him a (scratchbuilt) naginata.

On second look, I think I will go back and touch up the blue sleeves. I gave them a blue ink wash, but forgot to go back in and clean it up. Sorry, you're all stuck with this picture :)

Just three more figures to paint, then I will do some more scenics and accessories.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

42mm samurai: Bareheaded ashigaru kneeling

I like this figure. I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about this pose, but I purchased it on a whim just to paint something a little different, and I'm glad I did.

I like the much taller sashimono. I was tip-toeing my way with my previous sashimono efforts, but I needed to do that before I could take off and be a little more bold. Here's a flag that says, "Hey boss- I'm right here!"

All-in-all, I'm happy with this figure. It was easy to paint. The colors look good, and I'll be happy to add him to the ranks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

42mm accessories: A lick of courage- Sake!

I returned home a little later than usual, so I only had time to throw together this little sake set. The small table is made from two lengths of flat basswood that were scored to simulate more wood panels. The tray is a piece of card and the sake set itself is made from Sculpey. The saucers started off as little (TINY) balls of Sculpey which were simply pushed down on with the end of a paintbrush handle. The sake bottle started off as a baked rod of Sculpey that I simply carved into the simple shape you see.

I basecoated everything with (all Foundry colors listed here) Red Oxide 102A. The table was finished with a couple drybrushed layers of Peaty Brown 61. The tray was drybrushed with Spearshaft 13A and B. The sake stoneware was finished with a couple layers of Granite 31 (B and C.)

When I make my Japanese house, I will measure the floor out in 2-inch squares (I won't actually mark out the grid.) So things I make for the interior of the house -- such as this sake set -- all will be mounted on their own 2-inch square piece of floor. This way, everything going inside the building will be modular. This is the plan, anyway.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

42mm samurai: Peasant advancing with yari

I painted this one up a little faster than I should have, but I wanted to get the ball rolling on this batch of samurai. I may order another couple of peasants and do head swaps. I like this one's pose and the other's head; If I get another, I'd have this one carrying a lantern (for my unarmored samurai). I'll look for just the right bead for a lantern, otherwise, I'll just roll one up with some Sculpey.

I've also got a couple ashigaru started, so there should be at least a couple more posts coming up this week. I'll paint this batch in a similar order as the last group (easiest to hardest- peasant to samurai.)

Also, with most of the accessories (that I had planned) done, I can move on to building the house pretty soon. I have plans; I need to tweak them a bit and figure out if I want to (or if I'm even able to) make working sliding doors.

The only other items I had planned are lanterns, a koi pond and a roadside shinto shrine (which I was going to build if I wasn't going to build the small temple.) Things are gettin' done!

42mm samurai accessories: Barrels and containers

While I waited for the primer to set on my figures (I give primer coats 24 hours to fully set for strength), I threw together these containers. The barrels started off as stacked caps (random wooden bits I had sitting around); you can use wooden dowel just as easily. I scored (deep) panel lines into a length of card and wrapped it around my (glued) wooden stacks cutting off the excess.
After the glue dried, I used some of my home-made rope to wrap the barrels (gluing the rope down, as well.) The lids were made from greenstuff. Paint and base- done!

The sake jar was previously done, I'm just showing it again based. You'll also notice a nice jar based with a couple barrels- that was another random wooden bit you can pick up at Hobby Lobby (comes in a bag of 10-20 or so.)

The large tub was made the same way as the barrels; I scored lines into a long panel, and then glue the ends together around a large wooden form (whatever fits- it's better to fit the panel around whatever wooden form you have rather than fitting the form to the panel.) Do not glue the panel to the form- the form is simply to help you maintain a circular shape. I removed the form and then poured gobs of 2-part epoxy resin into the tub. Five minutes later, water! Time for a samurai bath.

These elements are all mounted on 40mm bases. They make nice scenic elements but can also be set up as barricades.

Almost time to paint some more samurai!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

42mm samurai: The next batch

New batch is here! Gonna be a few days of cleaning them up, making some new sashimono and priming.
I've made a naginata for my Ashigaru gashira, and a nagimaki for my new samurai. The blades are hammered brass, and the guards were made by cutting disks off a rod of cured greenstuff. I haven't glued in the crest on the new samurai yet. It feels just a bit overpowering. My original intent was to paint it to look like peacock feathers; the darker colors would help weaken the size- I could also just cut a few millimeters off the base of the crest. (And the crest was made by hammering on a brass rod.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

42mm accessories: Pavises (aka tate?)

Well, I guess if there are no figures to paint, might as well make some more accessories. Here is a small set of pavises I made for my black ashigaru teppo (all two of them I will have for the time being.)
Nothing special- I took a small panel of basswood and scored a seam down the middle, added a couple crossboards on the back and a brace. Paint, base and done.
I based the pavises on 30mm bases so that they could be set next to each other, and be at the same relative height (ground level, that is) of the figures. Along with the pavises, I plan on throwing together an ammo box for my teppo figures.

If you don't have any wood of your own, or no ambition for modeling, Steve Barber sells his own pavises. No samurai army should go without!

After finishing this first group of figures, I think I have confidence enough for another archer. So the red ashigaru archers will also get pavises (as well as a a box of arrows, and maybe a converted ashigaru supplying said arrows?)

Now that I have an idea how much this all costs me, I'm looking toward the future of what I'd like to do. I'm thinking about doing a small battleline (like the Hojo line seen on Steve Barber's site.) But I'm gonna wait and see what new offerings Steve unveils in the coming months.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Old game stores

Ugh, when I don't have any new minis on the table to paint (oh, I DO have plenty of minis to paint- just nothing new), I dream at night about old game shops I haven't been to in a while. There's the store in Sterling, VA., (I can't remember the name); The Game Parlor in Chantilly, Va., and the most recent dream was about Table Top Games in Kansas City.
They're boring dreams; it's just me in those stores shopping for minis and supplies my own store doesn't carry. And, of course, in my dreams I always have plenty of money and fill up my basket full of minis and paints. Then I wake up with that feeling of, "Ahh, good, I have some new minis." Three seconds later I realize I don't have new minis. Then I go to the internet and buy some new minis.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snow update

The latest snow storm is upon Iowa, but I have no more samurai to paint! ... yet.
In the meantime, I think I'll draw up some plans for a basic Japanese house. I have a good sketch on a napkin - enough, anyway, to figure out how much wood I'm going to need for the frame.
I also have buckets and barrels, lanterns and a koi pond yet to make. All in good time.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

42mm samurai: Samurai archer

Well, here's the last figure from my first set of Steve Barber samurai figures, at least until the next order comes through, which should be quickly here.
I've added the devil horn helmet crest using green stuff applied directly to the helmet. I've also left the arrow out of his hand, preferring to make the figure look like he has just loosed his arrow; this helped keep the work load down and left the samurai's face a little more viewable (and paintable).

My second order will include four more ashigaru (two with yari, one firing an arquebus and one to whom I will give a naginata)i; another peasant; and one more samurai. This final samurai is charging with a yari, but I'm debating whether to keep the yari or give the samurai a nagimaki.
OK, time to go enjoy my well-earned Klondike bar!

Small milestone

Sometime today, my blog received it's 35,000th hit since May 1st, 2008 (when I first installed a counter to track things for me.) I've had the blog since April, 2007, but I had no way to track numbers back then. I'm sure the traffic in the early days was negligible, anyway.

Hmm, so is 35,000 a lot? Maybe I just wasted everyone's time. Oh well. My last samurai is almost done. I'll get that posted later this evening.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

42mm samurai: Samurai trying to get ahead

This is a pretty wicked sculpt. If you like painting heads, this is the figure for you. I don't enjoy painting heads, but, despite the numerous heads and fine detail, this has been one of the easier samurai to paint.
The sashimono is another of my own creations; I wanted to continue the theme of decapitated heads by making a sashimono resembling a bag that would hold a head before its presentation.
You might notice his torso looks like it's bare/unarmored; It's actually armor shaped to look like a monk's body. If you happen to have the Stephen Turnbull book "Samurai Warriors," you can see this armor illustrated on page 100. In fact, I'm willing to bet Steve Barber was inspired to copy the armor on this figure straight from that illustration.

If you're thinking about purchasing Steve Barber samurai, and you want this particular figure, it is listed under SAM29 Samurai Hero.

I can hear this guy's comrades: 'Bob, you're a great warrior and all, but you're really creeping out the younger guys with that head-in-the-mouth thing you have going there."

VISITORS FROM STEVE BARBER MODELS: Thanks for visiting! Below is the rest of my collection (as of 12-7-13.) I've also added a few general notes about the figures. If you want more details, do a search on my blog for "42mm samurai."

This is my collection of 42mm samurai by Steve Barber Models. This is one of my favorite collections among all my miniatures. The range is somewhat limited in the way of unarmored figures (for those who are fans of chambara, like me,) but there are enough armored poses to put together a nice army.

All of these figures have had some conversion work. Most of the conversions involve simply replacing the weapons with my own, hand-hammered blades and spears (pounded out of brass rod.)

All of the banners and sashimono are made from doubled-over paper and brass rod. There is quite a bit of green stuff (kneadatite) work on some of the figures, especially the black ashigaru on which I added the sleeveless jackets.

A few of the figures have been repositioned, some with a simple turn of the head, and others with wholesale head trades and limb rotations. A few of the figures (the ninja with the spear, and the unarmored samurai with the spear and the black ashigaru leader with the no-dachi) have had entirely new arms sculpted by myself (to accommodate their new weapons.)

Some poses were simply impossible with my skill, so I commissioned a couple figures, the archer monk shown here, and a new multipart samurai not yet released at the time of this post. I may commission new arms and heads for the multipart samurai in the future.

The figures are mounted on 40mm bases. My older figures are mounted on lipped bases, while the newer figures are on flatter bases by Proxie Models. Steve Barber also sells nice 40mm plastic bases (among other nice basing materials) on his website.

This small force is for sale along with the Reds below (with blue sashimono) for $400 (total for both forces), which includes shipping. (U.S. or Canadian addresses only.)  I'm also throwing in a few extra armored samurai heroes.

These are for sale along with the Blacks mentioned earlier.

Yes, that's supposed to be Zatoichi.

42mm accessories: Rice vendor materials

I finished my first set of accessories for my samurai to fight around. Rice bales, rice and sake jars, tools, and wheel barrow, all a days worth of work. I still have some buckets and barrels to make, as well as a house.
The jars are made all from Sculpey. The wheel barrow is bass wood with a wheel from a 28mm artillery piece.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

42mm accessories: Broom and rope coils

This is just a quick lesson on saving stuff: I ended up with a lot of random lengths of string after wrapping my rice bales. The longer lengths I simply rolled into rope coils, and the shorter lengths I glued onto a toothpick to make a broom for the house I'll eventually build.

Friday, January 1, 2010

42mm accessories: Rice bale(s)

Here's my first try at a rice bale. I think the results are great, but it was a little labor intensive- at least for the first one; now I know what to expect for the next six (I don't think I'll make anymore than that unless I can think of a new technique.)
It starts as a small log of Sculpey. I roughly carve out the straw along the sides, chop up the ends and carefully push in grooves around the circumference where the bale wire will rest. Bake.
I then tie up the bale wire/rope and spot glue the knots to hold it together. Paint. Done!

A note on the rope: To make scale rope, I took a long length of sewing thread (4-5 feet), then folded it once on itself. The folded end, I wrapped around a fixed nail (to act as a third hand). Then I started winding the opposite end until I was satisfied with the look. Holding the rope taught, I applied a frugal amount of superglue up and down the rope, then I took a tissue and wiped the rope up and down- not to wipe off excess glue, but to evenly distribute the glue and help it saturate into the rope to help hold it all together.
Once it's dry (shouldn't take more than a few minutes), the rope is ready to use! The superglue gives it a nice rigidity-to-flexibility balance helping it to hold its shape and making it very easy to work with.
Now, of course, you could take three pieces of thread and actually braid it for a more authentic look, but all I was using it for was to wrap rice bales.

42mm samurai: Samurai charging

I call this one my "gaudy" samurai; his armor is a little "bright." The lace-type armor on this one was a little more difficult to paint; It took some alternating drybrushing and ink washing. But it turned out all right.
This is my favorite sashimono so far. It's not available from anyone; I made it myself with greenstuff.
Hmm, yes, this figure looks a little better in person. One day, I'll get a better camera.