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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

D&D Classes: Warlord

On to the next project!
This figure is from defunct Rackham's Confrontation line. I don't have the package in in front of me, but I think he's a mercenary officer from the Dogs of War line. I've had him for a few years and only this week started painting him while taking short breaks from the Street Corner project.

I've decided that since 4th Edition D&D only has a couple extra character classes in the core rules (i.e., the first player's handbook), I might as well do them, too. So here's the Warlord class. This is a vanilla figure;l I didn't do any conversion work on him (except gave him an old stone floor base.)
He's missing an eye and has some scarring on it, but the sculpting is so delicate, I wasn't able to do it justice. Oh well. Maybe a few years down the road, this will be a figure I strip and repaint.

I still need a druid, warlock and a bard (and maybe a new monk) to complete the set. I have a sorcerer waiting to be primed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Street Corner: Jimmy (Plus another tramp steamer crewman)

Here's the last figure from my Street Corner project, the last man standing (a fun gangster flick.) I gave him the simple name of Jimmy- no reason- just sounded like a good gangster name. I think this is my favorite color palette of all the other gangsters. It's a base of Foundry Granite layered with Foundry Drab. The fedora is painted straight-up 3-layered with Foundry Spearshaft.

Next up is one more crewman for my tramp river steamer. The original model was holding a baseball bat, which I easily replaced with a bag. I have two bagmen now (and others carrying cargo), so I figure I can use all these men as either crewmen or stevedores (longshoremen.) That gives me an even 10 tramp steamer crew.

Ahhh, it feels good to get all that pulp painted up. I think that was around 30 figures in the past couple months. I'll post some group photos later this week(end.) Now on to some fantasy!

Red Box Games (and why expensive is ok sometimes.)

I wondered how I could totally forget about this company; I looked at some of their stuff a while back, and thought it was just a little too expensive for me. Well, I've been looking for a few figures to fill in the missing D&D character classes I'm painting figures for, and someone suggested a figure at Red Box. I went back. Their selection has grown! 

And this time around, prices didn't bother me for a few reasons: 
-I'm not building an army here, so I'm not too worried about price per figure- sure, I'd rather not pay $20 per figure, but something around the $10 range is reasonable; And with only a couple figures at a time on the workbench, I'll be more patient and take my time painting them. 
-Also, if you're looking for a specific figure to represent your character for an RPG campaign, you're gonna want something nice; this figure will be with you throughout your gaming experience, and later, you'll point at it when you reminisce with others about encounters in your game, so you should spend a couple extra dollars and get something you like and that is nice rather than something just because it's cheap. Don't think of it as purchasing a figure, think of it as searching for a character.
-And last is that Red Box shipping is only $2 to the U.S.!! Price per human-sized figure is $8.99, and $5.99 for dwarves. So really, Red Box isn't much more expensive than Reaper.

Anyway, I just ordered a few figures. They'll make it to the blog in the future. You don't have to buy from Red Box -- there are definitely some cheaper alternatives -- but I hope you'll at least take a look at their figures:

Ok, one more reason: Red Box just has some frickin' cool minis.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Street Corner: "Mad Dog" McGillicutty

Rage-filled, two-fistin', cold-blooded, Mad Dog McGillicutty out to show the world you don't need a drum-fed chopper to cut down your enemies!

Yeah, I like'em, too. Not my best paint job, but this is still a fun figure; he's sort of a berserker for gangsters.

Just one more gangster to go! Holy cow, that was fast. I'll try to get some Street Corner terrain and group shots after the last figure is finished. 
Next project? A few fantasy figures maybe, then some Cthulhu-inspired stuff (if it ever arrives; I think that delivery has become a victim of U.S. Customs.) If not the Cthulhu stuff, I'll find something in the lead mountain to do later.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Street Corner: Gaffney

See, I told you I'm not done with this project. I chose the name Gaffney because this figure reminds me of the character, Gaffney, from the 1932 version of "Scarface." Gaffney, played by Boris Karloff, is Tony's nemesis, and ups the ante in the gang war by bringing Tommy guns into the mix (Tony's minions were only armed with pistols early in the film.) "Scarface" (1983) follows almost the exact same storyline as the 1932 version; in the 1932 version, there's even an electric sign proclaiming, "The World is Yours," across the street from Tony's headquarters. It's worth a sitting if you're a fan of gangster flicks.

Elf sniper and D&D Classes

No, I'm not done with the Street Corner project, I just wanted to take a quick break from it before finishing up the last few figures. In the mean time, I pulled this fellow out of the lead mountain (he was already based and primed,) and painted him up. This is actually my second try at this figure; I gave my first one to Jeff. Really, the only change from the first one to this one is that I wanted to give him a longer bow and use some more traditional colors.

I've been randomly acquiring figures to represent some of the original classes from Dungeons and Dragons. I have most of them up to 4th Edition. I'm only a few figures shy of having a representative miniature for all the basic classes (core rules and players handbook), but I'm not going to do 4th Edition; there's just too many damn classes in that edition. Since I'm doing the archetype classes, that is why I decided to have fun and go all cliche with the colors (at least for this elven ranger.)
To finish out the old edition classes (basic classes through 3rd edition), I think all I need are a bard, druid, mystic and sorcerer. (I have a barbarian and monk, they're just not pictured here.) Those minis should be easy to find, though, I'm not quite sure what a D&D Mystic is; does anyone have a description of this class (it's from 1st edition "Basic" D&D)?

Once I have all the figures, maybe I'll find myself a copy of the first or second edition rules, get a group, some graph paper, a basement and some Mt. Dew, and have an old-school dungeon crawl session.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Street Corner: Max Thaler, aka Whisper (and a book review)

Since I'm painting all the suits in muted colors, this figure allowed me to add a little bit of bright color with the blue on the vest.
This figure reminds me of the character Max Thaler from the book "Red Harvest." Thaler is only able to speak in a low, strained voice, which has earned him the alias "Whisper." Whisper is the head of one of the five or six factions battling for control of Poisonville. Whisper and Chief Noonan are arch-enemies; so I'll have at least two factions from the book to have some skirmishes with.
Since I'm starting to flesh out the characters from Red Harvest, I think I'll go ahead and order Copplestone's Sleuths pack which has the Continental Op, the main character in Red Harvest. Hey, and the pack has a dog, too. I think my tramp steamer could use a dog.

Speaking of tramp steamers...
I've been reading a book called "Whither O Ship" by Stanley Rodger Green. I picked up a used copy on Amazon for all of $5. It's a short memoir of the author who, as a teenager, was a cadet on a company tramp steamer (British) at the end of World War 2.
 It's a great little book that gives a good look at life on a steamer. He's got a lot of little stories about the all the ports he visits including (what I've read so far) dealing with a below-deck crew "swept up from Liverpool gaol;" confronting cargo thieves for the first time; almost colliding with a Portuguese Liner with no one on board (a ghost ship???); living with cockroaches (you'll see); paying off corrupt cops for the release of jailed crewmates (and what an American victory ship crew did in the same situation ((USA! USA!))); losing his virginity to a Palestinian girl (a poetic, verging on pornographic description); being shot at by a jealous, drunk British soldier in a dark cafe owned by a French woman in Palestine; a solemn and sad bareknuckle fight on the main deck; and -- my favorite so far -- the gulli-gulli man of Port Said. That's just what I remember, and I'm only halfway done with the book. You'll almost forget the stories are true (with only some of the names being changed for the reason of "tact." I can only imagine.)

Definitely worth the $5 (plus shipping.)

If the subject interest you and you can find a decent copy, give it a read! There may be a few Pulp wargame scenario ideas in it, too. Though, most of them will probably begin with, "your crewmates are all drunk on stolen sacremental wine again ..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

HMS Warrior: Figurehead of Theseus

Another piece Dad is working on, this is his first-ever figure sculpt. It's a figurehead of Theseus to go on the bow of Dad's model of the HMS Warrior (1781.) Dad is proud of this piece, and he should be rightly so, especially considering this is not only his first figure sculpt, but that it's carved from wood!
So that makes two things I have yet to try: Sculpting an entire figure and carving wood.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Street Corner: Big Nick and Kid Ginger

Big Nick is actually a figure from Copplestone's Future War's range (Bad Guys in Suits pack, I believe.) But he's armed with a luger, and since men's suits have changed little in almost 100 years, I gave him a tie and added him to the gangster collection. The name comes from a short-lived character in Hammett's "Red Harvest," though, that character went doubles with his pistols. I do have a gangster in the collection with two pistols, but this fellow is bigger than the rest. (Perhaps he's reaching for his other pistol in his pocket.)

Kid Ginger is from Copplestone's Candy Kid's Street Punks pack. I just gave him the name for his red hair. He's not a character from any story I've read.

Just a few more gangsters left to paint. My Frothers Cthulhu figures haven't arrived yet, which is ok; it gives me time to finish up the gangsters. I also have one more crewman to paint for my tramp steamer. I've been looking through Copplestone's figures seeing what else I can convert into more crew. Another thing I was thinking about redoing was my 1930s film crew, though the only change would be to base the new crew on pavement to add to the Street Corner collection. Just a thought.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Street Corner: Chief Noonan and the Poisonville Police Dept.

So my small police force is not unkempt, raggedy, almost uniformless, corrupt and with cigars in the corners of their mouths like Poisonville's finest, but the figure I'm using here as their chief is about perfect to represent the devious character Chief Noonan from Dashiell Hammett's book, "Red Harvest."

I've also finished the last policeman from the Copplestone's Beat Cops pack. I hope Copplestone comes out with another pack of cops, or some G-men, preferably with shotguns and Tommy guns; the law on my table is dangerously outgunned.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Next project: Survive!

So, today, I purchased and played the boardgame "Survive!" My friends and I had loads of fun with it; we especially enjoyed the sass value. 

Well, the game comes with some great little wooden pieces, meeple-type people and meeple-type sea monsters. The pieces are nice, but hells bells, this is a great opportunity to dig out the greenstuff and Sculpey and model some more realistic sea monsters! Modeling my own monsters, I can sculpt variations of each monster to add variety -- hammerhead sharks, great whites, or just a fin for example. For whales, I can have head breachers or just a tail .. and so on and so forth.

It will probably be at least another week or two before I finish my Street Corner project, and maybe I'll find something else to do instead of this. But I just had to think out loud on this one. I've actually been wanting to sculpt some whales after I picked up a copy of Wargames Illustrated that had Moby Dick rules in it.
(In case you're interested, issue No. 99 has the Moby Dick rules. They're real basic, but they're written by Chris Peers.)

Street Corner: Mechanic and florist

A couple more figures. The "mechanic" is actually one of the figures from the Dinosaur Hunters pack, from Copplestone's High Adventure range. I through him into denims, gave him a five o'clock shadow and decided that's all I needed to do to be able to call him a mechanic. And with his BAR, he's making sure someone isn't gonna line him and his crew up against the wall of a Chicago garage.

The other fellow will be one of my mob bosses. His white togs were difficult. The white turned out all right, but I'm still having difficulty making it look smooth. I think part of it is my lack of skill, and part of it is that the white I have (Foundry) is a little thin. I may have to learn to glaze with white to see if that helps. Still, the figure turned out nice, and he'll fit just fine with the rest of the group.

I've been asked a couple times recently about how I do my photos. So I figured I throw this together real quick to show. I figure a picture is better than words to explain how I go about it all. The only note I didn't put in this pick is that the drop cloth is one continuous piece (rather than a "ground" piece and a "wall" piece.) Also, the front light is an incandescent bulb, and the top light is a CFL (compact flourescent;) I set the camera's white balance on automatic, and later make small color corrections on Photoshop.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Street Corner: Gangsters

Holy smokes, that was a long week at work (well, long days, anyway.) Not only did it suck my time away, but it was difficult to will myself back to the painting table this weekend. But I did manage to "bang" out a few fellas here.

No new painting techniques here. I do find it a little more difficult to paint the trenchcoats, though. I'm use to adding highlights and shades to wrinkles and folds, but I have to be more subtle with the relatively flat surfaces of the large coats. I have a hard time with large uninterrupted surfaces, especially using the English method of painting. To help my transitions between layers to be smoother, I simply use the base shade and highlight from my triad palette and mix the paint a little lighter for each layer (instead of relying in just the three layers.) But these turned out all right; I'm not too worried about doing any more trenchcoats ... hmm, I wonder if I have anymore trenchcoats?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Street Corner: Dapper Dan

This figure was a pleasant find in my last order. A convention exclusive, this figure, called "Dapper Dan," was in my latest Street Toughs pack in lieu of one of the other figures. Mark Copplestone called it an "inadvertent escape." Well, Dapper Dan is a welcome addition to the project.

Painting was pretty straightforward; I set off his fedora with a light gray, and painted his hair blond, to help contrast with his all-black suit. The blond hair was base coated with Foundry spearshaft highlight, and then highlighted with successive mixes of Foundry yellow.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Street Corner: Honest Citizens?

Here are the men of Copplestone's "Honest Citizens" pack. No tricks or anything new done with them, just a straight-up paint job. This finishes all the civilians of my project (these citizens, my boxers/fighters and my tramp steamer crew.) All I have left are some gangsters who are still being shipped (as well as one or two more possible steamer crew conversions.)

 Later, I may go looking for some late 20s, early 30s cars. The three cars I have are later models than I would like, but they still look the part. The Blue Moon cars look nice, but are a little on the pricey side; I may go to eBay to look for some 1/43 die cast cars (and perhaps a truck.)

Street Corner: White collar worker

The Street Corner is coming along just fine. All the clothing on the men has been painted. Just a few accessories here and there as well as flesh and hair. Here's one of the fellas finished. The lucky man is escorting five ladies right now on a cruise on a river steamer. When I get all the civilians finished, I'll get them under some varnish.

I still need to sculpt a few more bases for the coming gangsters. It's only about 1/2 an hour's work, I just have to get around to doing it. I'm also pondering what else I could build for small terrain. I'd like to do another hot dog vendor, or I could just repaint in color the one I already have; I don't think I'll be using it again with the black and white figures, anyway.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Street Corner: Swell Dolls

Here are the ladies from Copplestone's Gangster's pack GN11 Swell Dolls. I wasn't sure which colors to go with right away, but I settled on some muted tones. For example, instead of a bright green or blue, I chose Foundry's storm blue and storm green (both colors I used heavily on my tramp steamer crew.) I wanted these ladies to look like they could belong in the Roaring 20s as well as the first years of the Great Depression.

In the meantime, I went ahead and painted up the rest of the bases on my civilians (the fellas.) I also have a few more packs ordered from Copplestone: O'Hare Boys, Candy Street Punks and Frankie's Fingermen. Sure, the tommy gunners pack adds some nice firepower, but I'm already out of space in my new Chessex box (I'm putting terrain in it, too.) I'll get a start on the men later this week. I also need to get the greenstuff out again and sculpt some more concrete bases.

Also in the gangsters genre, I just finished reading Hammett's "Red Harvest," starring the Continental Op. That was some great fun. A little bit of private investigator action, and a little bit of Yojimbo. 
It also figured in my deciding not to purchase the tommy gunners: most of the battles were all pistol play. Well, there was one battle with tommy guns, though it was less battle and more massacre.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Street Corner: Lady in white

Well, it's back to more mundane figures. Here's the first civilian from my Street Corner project. I'm going to do all the ladies first; their delicate features make them more difficult to paint, so I want to get them done and out of the way before going on to figures which I can paint more robustly. In fact, this figure, I'm going to go back and try to clean up the area around the backside buttons. The remaining ladies, I may try to blend a little more (or just add more intermediary layers.)

I chose white as a final homage to the black and white figures I painted a few years ago.

Tramp steamer crew: Ship shots

Just some scenery shots of my crew aboard ship:

Next project: "Cthluedo"

So I'm still going to paint up my Street Corner figures, but I saw that the Frothers forum has released it's latest sculpting competition set: "Cthluedo." Cthuluhu mythos figures for playing Clue?! Are you freakin' kidding me?? How could I NOT buy these? So I bought some (all). For around $35 (including worldwide shipping,) that's not a bad price at all. Plastic, metal? You know, I don't know. I guess I'll find out.

copyright 2011 Frothers Unite!
These figures have lots of possibilities for me: My gangster RPG takes place in a weird universe; I play plenty of boardgames for which these could be used as pawns -- Kill Dr. Lucky, Mystery of the Abbey, Mystery Express (though, I haven't played Clue in forever- maybe next time I'm with family); these would be great for Gamma World; and, of course, these are perfect to go along with my Ghostbusters figures (though, these will need their own small figure case -- which I have.) So yes, I had to get some.

Anyway, I'm saying these will be painted "after" I finish my Street Corner figures, but I think I'll be painting up one or two at the same time as Street Corner stuff. We'll see.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tramp steamer crew: Finished

Well, holy cow, it only took 24 hours to complete the painting of my crew. I'm happy with them. I'll have to dig my ship out and take some scenery shots later.

Here we have a young Chinese fellow carrying a crate and the ship's cook. The chinese figure is unconverted and comes from the archeologist pack from Copplestone's Back of Beyond range. The cook is from (yes, again) the Street Tough's pack.

I've gotten a lot of mileage out of Copplestone's set of Street Toughs; Here are a few pics of all the conversions I've made with the set. To the far left of each photo is the original, unconverted figure.

Tramp steamer crew: Swabby and hook man

Here are a couple more figures for the crew; I should have converted more, these are going so fast.

This figure was a bolshevik sailor rifleman from the Bolshevik sailor command pack (Copplestone's Back of Beyond range.) I cut and filed away his rifle and gave him a hook (made from brass rod) to haul in dock lines (or grab T-shirts from the high racks :)

The second figure is, by far, may favorite. It's when I saw this conversion possibility that I decided it would be worth it to work out more conversions of other Copplestone figures to complete an entire crew. This is the standard bearer from that same sailor command pack. This was also the easiest conversion to make; instead of giving him a flag pole, I gave him a mop handle. There was a tiny bit of arm bending involved to insure the mop and the figure could both fit on a standard 25mm base. A little greenstuff was sculpted into a mop head, and the conversion was complete! I do wish there was a tiny bit of extra space on the base for a bucket, but this will do just fine.

Just a couple figures to go. I have a fellow carrying a small crate, and I have a chef (my second favorite of the crew.) I'm also making a lot of visits to Copplestone Castings website, trying to figure out more conversion ideas.

Tramp steamer crew: First figures finished

Here are the next four figures (the Old Man isn't pictured) of my tramp steamer crew. My entire crew will be made up of Copplestone figures. In case you missed it in my earlier posts, I wanted a tramp steamer crew and there are some good premade options out there, but I wanted something that would match up size-wise with my other Copplestone figures. I have a smaller, armed crew I painted up a couple years ago to play Tusk (King Kong variant), but I wanted an unarmed crew going about their daily routine. So I settled on converting as best I could the figures that were available.

The two figures in the center of the top photo are Bolshevik figures from the Back of Beyond range. Both figures' boots have been removed by simply adding pant cuffs at their ankle. The Bolshevik (sailor) to the left has further been converted by removing his pistol and replacing it with a megaphone made from a pen cap (using the exact same method I used for the director of my film crew).

The figures on the ends (detailed in the pics below) are conversions of a FOURTH copy of the Street Toughs pack. Both of these figures had their fists up in a boxing pose. I sawed their left arms off and repositioned them closer to their sides to give the effect of walking. I was a little worried about Duffel bag's arm being a little to far out like it is, but I figured he's just posing tough for the port ladies.
The duffel bag is made from a big ol' glob of greenstuff, and the rope is made from some braided copper wire. (You'll notice in the film crew pic that the cameraman is the same figure I used for the crewman here carrying the rope.)

So far, a good start. I have four more figures to paint for the crew, plus a couple more I'm going to add to my next order. I'll have 10 to 13 figures in my crew when it's done. The most difficult conversion (if I decide to try it) will involve repositioning both arms and having one figure playing a concertina (sailor's accordion.) I'll have the figure for sure, it's just a matter of figuring out the details.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

San Felipe: Built by true masters of the craft

A friend from my dad's model ship club started this ship but, sadly, passed away before finishing it. My dad took on the task of finishing this beautiful model and will be auctioning it off (starting bids at $10,000.) If you know anyone who is a true connoisseur of fine modelling, pass this on. The money will be given to charity.

If you will be in Kansas City, Mo., the model will be on display in April at Commerce Bank. (Hmm, there are multiple Commerce banks in K.C. -- I'll get back to you on which one it will be specifically.)