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, May 31, 2013

Green Stuff supply, and converting 42mm

I use green stuff in ribbon form (though I understand that tube form, with the two colors separate, is preferable among the more serious hobbyists.) Still, I like the ribbon form because I can get it on the cheap. I go through about 72 inches (two rolls) of green stuff "ribbon" a year. And two rolls, with shipping, only costs me $30 (a 36-inch roll costs me $12.50.)

This is the best price I think I've found. Though, honestly, I haven't looked around in a while since finding my new supplier; maybe there's a better price out there?
Anyway, I was running low, and with new samurai on the way, I needed to resupply, so I just wanted to drop a couple thoughts on the subject.

Oh- I guess I should let you all in on where I get my supply: Anything Mechanical, which makes sense; kneadatite originally was created as a plumber's putty. They also sell other putties and epoxies, though I'm unfamiliar with any of them.

Many from one

I'm enjoying my many  peasants displayed on the table and had almost forgotten that my entire peasant force was converted from just two poses. If you look on Steve Barber's web site, the two poses are listed as "SAM22 Peasant ready with yari," and "SAM23 Peasant advancing with yari."

Below are a couple photos showing all the conversions from each pose. The original, unconverted figure of each pose is to the far left in each photo. For SAM23 (with the upright spear,) I'm already conjuring a couple new ideas, though they'll require almost wholesale dismemberment of the figure (well maybe just an arm or two.)

One idea is to remove the forward arm and resculpt a new arm that would be stabilizing a yoke over his shoulder with a load of a couple baskets. If I can pull off that sculpt, I could use the exact same conversion to create a couple palanquin carriers! (Something I've been wanting to do for a while.) If I can pull the conversions off, these would be my first civilian figures.

And if I do a palanquin, I would convert a third SAM23 pose to carry a paper lantern. (OK, so not so much a conversion as it is just replacing his spear with a paper lantern.)

Yep- these are all from one pose. Lots of head swaps, a little bit of green stuff, and a few new weapons.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

42mm Samurai: Lord Kaage approaches

I put in another order from Steve Barber. They will form my "evil" faction to go up against my peasants and other ashigaru.

The major conversion that I'll apply to this faction is that they'll all be wearing haori jackets. I used this banner man (pictured) as a test to see first if I could actually sculpt a haori (that green-stuff, vest-looking thing you see him wearing.) The only thing missing is a tie/knot holding the front of the haori on; I think I'll just leave them off.

The haori will be slow to sculpt, but they'll also speed up painting a little bit since they're covering up a lot of the lacing on the lower armor pieces.

The banner man's "banner" here is actually a wooden sign (sculpted from green stuff, with styrene and brass rod.) I will write some Japanese characters talking gloom and doom on the sign (I'll use Google translate; I don't need it to be authentic, I just want it to be close enough to look good. The characters will probably be too small to read anyway.)

The uniforms will be dark and will reflect Lord Kaage's colors (pictured below. I also plan on converting and painting up an armored version of Kaage.)

Lord Kaage. I will also do an armored version (of the character, not this figure.) 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ghostbusters! But not mine ...

I'm glad to see someone else has taken my Ghostbuster idea and started his own collection.
I recommend folks go on over to Karl's blog and take a look.
I also like his idea of using papercraft to make his EctoVW.
You can see his stuff here and here.

It's been awhile since I had my own collection out, but it will be out again when the time is right. In the

In the meantime, I'm still kind of doing my 42mm samurai. I'm stripping a couple figures for repainting, and I plan on purchasing a few more which I will (try to) convert at a level one step beyond my abilities, as I put together a buntai to try out the new Ronin skirmish rules.

Of course, I will also use my new (and old) figures to play rules by Two Hour Wargames, which brings up my last note for today ...

All Things Zombie

The All Things Zombie Indiegogo campaign has a couple weeks left and is almost funded, so I hope you all will take a look and toss a little money. I'm not benefiting at all, I just want Two Hour Wargames to succeed; they are my favorite and most-played rule sets (OK, so maybe I will benefit in a way :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Machinas: First sneak peek!

Ed sent me the first sample images of the cards to be used in Machinas. There will be multiple decks available (depending on how far the crowdfunding goes.)

The cards have information on them such as weapons, signatures and defensive measure, along with the specific rules for those modifications. And for those who don't want to use diecast toy/model cars or miniatures, there are vehicle cards you can use instead.

The cards are great because they allow the game to be easily transportable. And since there are only so many weapon cards of certain types, it also helps limit the resources available to would-be racers; it IS the post-apocalypse, after all. (To have a weapon/feature added to your car, you need to have the card in front of you.)

I'm not sure specifically when the Machinas crowdfunding campaign will begin, but it will come after the All Things Zombie campaign which is under way. If you haven't looked at the ATZ Indigogo campaign yet, I urge you to take a look before it ends!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

42mm samurai: Seven Samurai?

Well, not quite seven samurai, but I realized I at least have enough figures to protect at least one of the entryways into the village, so here's a pic for you all to enjoy.

I think I could honestly spend the money for enough peasants and samurai, and take the time to do all the conversions to put together a good village army (as well as some bandits). Really, the only thing stopping me is space (I'd need to build a few more buildings, too); I live in a small apartment. Well, if I win a nice lottery, I'll buy a home with a dedicated "Seven Samurai" room.

Hmm, I was out of ideas for unarmored samurai conversions. But I haven't looked at Steve Barber's armored variants in a while. I wonder what kind of bandits I could cobble together?

Monday, May 20, 2013

42mm: Samurai and ninja

Well, I stayed up later than I should have last night, but I did so because I was on a roll at the painting table; all of my latest batch of Steve Barber samurai are finished. I'm regretting it a little bit, that I finished them so fast, because now I don't have any more samurai to paint. Maybe this is for the better. My Low Life miniatures will be coming soon, as will my friend Jeff's Reaper Bones figures.

The first figure here, my red samurai, has had no conversion work done to it. Only his head has been rotated to a different angle (the head comes separate, so I don't consider this a conversion at all.) Samurai frowned upon garish colors, thinking it too showy and conceited, so I painted this guy up all red to represent one of the bad guys -- maybe not completely evil, but arrogant nonetheless.

The ronin here is the exact same figure as the red samurai, but there are a few modifications: His head has been rotated to a different position and a beard added (using green stuff.) I drilled the hole for the katana blade at an upward angle so that the sword would angle down. And I filed away the shoulders of the hakama so that the ronin is only wearing his kimono.

The flowers on the red samurai and the ronin are random scraps of floral stems I found littering the bottom of my terrain/basing box (it's like my bits box, but it's where I keep all of my flock, static grass, rocks, rubble, etc.)

After painting the ninja, I'm much happier with how they look. You can read about all the mods that went into them in my post from earlier this week.

The bow figure I like especially. The pose is perhaps a bit over-dramatic, but it still seems to fit the ninja theme nicely. I'm already thinking of new ideas for this figure. I could have him defending with a spear or a bo staff, or maybe even have him holding a kusamagari.

The other figure turned out well, too, and looks exactly as I pictured him in my mind.

I saw that Osprey is releasing (in August) some samurai skirmish rules called Ronin. The rules look like they are perfect for the kind of collection I've put together for myself. Still, for micro-skirmishing action, I will still prefer most of Two Hour Wargames rulesets, mostly because I can play them solitaire as well as with human opponents.

I know that Ronin has some figures being made specifically for the rules (by Northstar??) But if you and your friends don't have any samurai yet, I think you should consider 42mm. It's a tough scale to find stuff for, but if you don't mind a little work, I think you can put together a nice and rewarding collection with enough figures for just about any skirmish.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

42mm gaming: Playing Battle Events games

A point on something I mentioned in my last post (don't forget to check it out; I posted it at the same time as this post): Steve Barber's samurai range is not necessarily small. Relatively speaking, yes, there are only a few choices. But they are good choices. Steve has created just enough different figures (and the right figures) for a player to actually field a large army; there is infantry in a few poses with spears (and a couple with guns and an archer), a couple "officers," some banner men and a few samurai, all that you need for a basic army. In any case, you can do a massive battle with the figures available.

But do you need a lot of figures to play a massive battle?
I don't play large armies myself, but Steve's range is great for skirmishes as well as something I would call Battle Events, occurrences that happen in the midst of a larger battle.

For example, you could have a samurai general challenging another, and around them surge a few ashiguru. Or maybe a line of teppo (gunners) are trying to survive the charge of some ashigaru? Or you could just have a couple lines of ashigaru fighting over varied terrain (trying to take a section of castle wall, or fighting for a captured banner, for example).

As for rules mechanics, these are still essentially skirmishes, but the narrative is different. Instead of your campaign being a chronology of small skirmishes over time, they are a series of simultaneous events within the same large battle. Perhaps you could do a full set of events which would effect the next set of events, the totality of which you could use to determine the results of the over-arching battle?

Going about a battle in this fashion, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on a ton of figures.  All you need are some basic infantry and a varied set of leaders and samurai, (all of which, as I mentioned, are provided by Steve Barber's range.) Battle Events could much more easily be accomplished in 28mm, especially with a range as comprehensive as the Perry's. But for fights with fewer figures, I prefer larger figures, because I want my battles to be much more personal affairs. 54mm samurai are too expensive; 42mm are not. 

42mm samurai: Pirate and Uncle Gon

I had a extra axe just laying about, so I gave it to my first peasant here. Since the axe is uncommon, I worked it into this figure's character background, which is also uncommon. He's a peasant who, when he was young ran away from home to become a pirate, smuggling contraband to Osaka (or some such jazz.)

His stint on the waters was short, but among his meager booty were this large axe and a striped shirt he got to be showy. Since leaving work as a pirate, he has hit the roads, but he has little money left over to stay at inns. So he had made himself a poor but functional tatami mat, which he keeps rolled up and slung over his back.

The only conversion I did to the second figure was adding a beard and a straw hat. I gave him gray hair, and since he is older, I have dubbed him Uncle Gon, one of the characters from the book, "Musashi," about the life of Miyamoto Musashi.

I have enough peasants now to split them into a couple groups. I have about equal numbers of bare-headed fellows and "hatted" fellows. Those with hats will be my farmers faction, while those with bare heads are my laborers.

I have the two ninja, the samurai and the ronin left yet to do. These paint up faster than I remember, so I may get to them relatively soon.

My 42mm collection is building. These, along with all my 54mm stuff, are still my favorites among all my collections. After each batch, I think to myself that I've exhausted all my ideas for converting  Steve Barber's small range of samurai, but then I get a few ideas, purchase some more and have a week or two more of fun.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

42mm ninja conversions coming along

Another quick update showing the progress of my ninja. They're still a bit rough and need a little bit of clean up, but I think I'll have them under primer sometime tomorrow.

It's difficult to see here, but their new hands are a touch big. After the glue has set, I'll go in and shave off a touch of flesh here and there. I'll use my painting skill to try to cover up the rest (by adding extra "shadow" to hide stuff, for example.)

Still, I'm happy with how these are turning out. Big hands or not, they'll make a nice addition to my small cadre of other Steve Barber ninja. I'll have to invite some friends over and have a small, free-for-all ninja battle.

One of these days I'll have a better plan on arming a samurai figure with a bow, or maybe even a musket why not?

Friday, May 17, 2013

42mm Ninja conversions/wip

Just a quick update to show that I've began the ninja conversions. I've sculpted hands directly onto the weapons, a spear and a short composite bow.

The ninja at back, throwing the shuriken, also has a bow case added to his back. Later I'll file away the throwing star so it looks like the ninja has just released an arrow.

The ninja to the right has had his hands cut away to allow for a fit of the spear hands.

I love Steve Barber's ninja, especially for their diversity in armaments; these two conversions will add only more variety ... and fun

Lowlife RPG

My friend, Andy (he's everybody's friend, really) will be kicking off another Kickstarter on Monday for a redux version of his Low Life core rulebook.

There are a few new edits, spells, edges etc. Also, the new book is in full color.
If you back through the Kickstarter, Andy will sign your copy, too. There also pledge levels for only the book or PDFs, as well as for full color original art among others. Check it out.

What is Low Life? Um, hmm ... D&D in a giant toilet setting that uses the Savage Worlds system? If it's not your thing, just look at all the pretty pictures and nod and smile, and no one will get hurt.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

42mm Samurai: Next group under way

Just a small update showing the progress on my latest batch of Steve Barber's 42mm miniatures.
Nothing too special about thee conversions. I've added beards and bushy mustaches to one of the peasants and samurai (ronin.) And everybody has had their weapons replaced with my self-made brass armaments.

On my ronin, I've filed the pointy shoulders off his kataginu so that he's only wearing the kimono. The way the sculpt is made required a couple holes to be filled in with green stuff. (The holes were not a molding error- they were just left over after my filing process.)

I had an extra straw hat, so I slung it on the back of one of my peasants. The other peasant (with shiny new axe, perhaps black market trade from China?) has a very rough (perhaps he self-made it) tatami mat rolled up and slung on his back; this was a spur-of-the-moment addition since I had some leftover green stuff. The axe-wielding peasant has also had his head removed and rotated just slightly to provide some variety.

These were the easy conversions. The tough conversions will come later (when I find time again between work hours). I have a couple ninja. One of them will be getting a yari (spear), while the other will be getting a short bow. The tough part will be sculpting new hands to accommodate the new weapons.

After a couple measurements, I'll be sculpting the hands right onto the weapons (and not to the ninjas themselves ... yet), and then pinning the hands/weapons to the ninjas. This way, the weapons will provided structure around which I can form the green stuff. This will also help keep the hands aligned on the yari-armed ninja (as long as I measure correctly.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Maybe it's time for samurai again

I've finished converting cars for the time being, and have been wondering what to do next.
In the meantime, I've been reading the Japanese epic "Musashi." It's been a pretty good read so far, enough for me to dig out my samurai and think about new scenario ideas (though, with Musashi, most scenarios involve one badass against a bunch of ronin; or one badass against another guy who thinks he's badass at a martial arts school.)

In any case, I put in another small order at Steve Barber Models. I'm going to pick up a couple more ninja and see about trying to arm them differently than they already are. I'm not sure how these conversion will go; they feel a touch ambitious for my skills, but I figure I might as well try.

I'm also picking up a couple more of the unarmored samurai. One of whom will get his haori filed off so that he's just a ronin wearing a kimono, which I will paint in muted colors to reflect cheap fabric (itself to be skirted in mud.) I'm not sure what to do with the other samurai; I may just give him a different head rotation than the original (which is easy; this particular figure comes with his head separate.) Maybe I'll throw a beard on one of them (I guess the ronin should have the beard.)

I'm also picking up a couple more peasants, mostly because you can never have too many peasants.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Machinas: Last of the cars for a bit

Here are the last two Machinas cars I'll be doing, at least until after the Machinas crowdfunding campaign. Among other things, the campaign will help fund some new sculpted weapons; getting a few new weapons will require a few new cars. Until then, here are the last couple cars I've added to my collection.

Dark Soul

Dark Soul refers to the "dark soul" of the night, the latest, darkest hours of night before the morning begins its approach. This also refers tot he time this contraband runner makes its trips across the Wasteland. In the Seven Hills history, I mentioned that of the four original cars modified by the Running Nomads for their black market freight venture, two had been captured by the Church. The first one was the Ram car. The second one is Dark Soul.

This vehicle is based on the 1958 Chevrolet Apache pickup truck. I wasn't sure if I wanted to model Dark Soul as a runner or a racer, so I did both. Really, the only difference are the guns; they are fixed to the truck with a brass rod/socket coupling (which also allows them to swivel.)

The hatch cover is made from a watch/calculator battery. The exhaust pipe is a piece of brass rod  bent into shape and passed through a brass tube. There's not much to this vehicle. It's not my favorite of my collection, but there were four Nomad runners, and I wanted to have a complete set.

Waiteri Johnsons

One of the cultures that shares the Known Wasteland are the tribes of the Waiteri. Citizens of Seven Hills, the cities and the Nomads all either misunderstand their history or choose to deny the truth (that Oppenheimer wasn't a god, but one of the scientists responsible for bring about the atomic apocalypse in 1959.) The Waiteri, however, know the truth, and as a result, push back against technology. They still trade and live peacefully with their Seven Hills neighbors, but they prefer to be isolated and honor their own laws and traditions. A contemporary comparison could be made to the Amish community in the United States.

On occasion, some Waiteri are tempted beyond their will and accept the newer technologies. Among them are a small family from the Waiteri Johnson tribe. James, Mary and their daughter Jill of Waiteri Johnson* left their tribe to live among the Nomadic towns. Their tracking and survival skills were in demand helping caravans to traverse the Great Desert. They quickly earned enough to acquire their own vehicle.

The Waiteri Johnson's car is a 58 Impala (by M2 Machines). I added a baggage rack, baggage (made from green stuff), a small plasticard push bar/ram, new engine with pipes, and a tail gun. I like the idea of the tailgun on a few of my cars; it's a nice small indication that those cars are more defensive in nature, that they rely more on speed to get them out of trouble, and use the tailgun to keep them out of trouble.

The Waiteri Johnsons have embraced technology, but they still know the truth of the world's history. Thus they still honor their tribe's dogma by painting their car in traditional Waiteri patterns. I love how the pattern turned out on the car; it also looks like it would be a decent camouflage.

*Waiteri naming convention
The Waiteri, knowing their true history, have adopted the common names of their ancestors, while family names have been applied to the names of each tribe. So, for example, James is known as "James of Waiteri Johnson." Other examples are "Carl of Waiteri Brown," or "Linda of Waiteri Smith." You get the idea.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

All Things Zombie at Indigogo

Just a heads up, Two Hour Wargames has put up Final Fade Out- the final edition of All Things Zombie over at Indiegogo. The goal has been set low ($5,000,) so it should get funded.

If you're not familiar with Two Hour Wargames rules, I suggest downloading the free Chain Reaction rules; these use the same mechanics as the All Things Zombies rules.

The Indiegogo campaign is not only for rules but also for 15mm figures and cards. The cards each represent a building, so with 50-card decks, that's a lot of different buildings to build your cities and towns. Anyway- that's just from a quick skim of the page at Indiegogo.

For those not familiar with Indiegogo (but have used Kickstarter), it's a crowdfunding site where you offer startup money toward a project. If the project earns enough of that startup money, it will get published (or the figures will get produced, or CD made -- depending on what kind of project it is.)

Indiegogo is different from Kickstarter in that there are a couple different kinds of campaigns (fixed, where a goal must be reached, and Flexible where the project will happen regardless of how much money had been raised.) Indiegogo is available internationally AND supports Paypal (a couple of the more common gripes about Kickstarter).

And no, we haven't forgotten about the Machinas crowdfunder. Ed wanted to do either Machinas or ATZ first as a test run. If it goes well, others will follow!

Machinas: 57 Custom Lancer; Maybe moving on to other projects?

After doing a few Wasteland cars, I wanted to do a simple racer. I liked the all-rust look of my Runnin' Gunners faction, so I did this car up similarly (without the Indian markings.)

After painting was done the car still needed some kind of adornment, so I did up the hood with a simple flame job.

The rocket tubes are plastic and the gun my normal brass rod and plastic construction. It's all mounted on a 28mm scale Maxim machinegun mount.


I still have a couple cars on the table to finish, but after they are done, I may move on to other projects for a little while. Mostly, I want to get back and finish my orc Dreadball team. I'm also still waiting for a bunch of Reaper's Bones figures I'll be painting for a friend of mine.
Of course, all of this will be a slow process with my crap work schedule.

Another idea for a small project: I saw a 1/32 scale diecast '56(?) Pickup at Walmart. I think it might be fun to do up a Machinas vehicle that would fit closely with my 54mm post-apoc figures. I think I'd also convert one of Bronze Age Miniatures' generic figures into a Brother Pilot standing next to his vehicle awaiting the race. I'm sticking with 1/64 cars for playing Machinas, so this pickup would just be some nice flavor terrain for my apocalators.

Anyway, I'm not done with the Machinas vehicles, I'm just done with the current batch (almost- still two to go :)