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, November 28, 2013

Black and White Zombicide: Toxic and Berserker

I tried out a couple monochromatic zombies, the toxic and berserker variants. I'm not happy with the toxic zombie; I'll try some other greens on her (thank goodness, I'm keeping a journal.) I think my mind is stuck on "neon" green to reflect the bright green of the original plastic, when I should be concentrating on muting that neon. I'll see what I can come up with.

On the flip side, I love the berserker's colors. Those came iust as I had envisioned out on the first try. I'll be sticking to that recipe.

I'm still looking at storage options, so until I find one, I won't be painting too many of my zombies just yet. I want to, though. Winter is gathering strength, and so is my desire to paint.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black and White: Zombicide walkers

Here are few Zombicide walkers with the grayscale treatment. I like'em! They remind me of "Night of the Living Dead (from 1968.) And they're not difficult to do. It's mostly overbrushing with a little but of drybrushing, and then going in and picking out a few facial highlights. It's difficult to get any high-contrast with the clothing (I just need some discipline on my part.) But I prefer them to be more analogous anyway (to blend with the masses.)

So I'd like to do the remainder of them, but my only problem is I'm not sure how to store them (economically and without adding extra boxes.) For now, the unpainted figures are all in ziplock bags, but I don't want to bag up painted minis (even if they were this easy to do.)

I've seen the Battlefoam trays -- and the price is right -- but they don't look they'll hold all of my Season 2 zombies.
-- Speaking of which, I also decided (but haven't tried out yet) a way to do the toxic and berserker zombies: Monochromatic. Toxic zombies will be (a muted) green, of course, while the berserker zombies will get a nice earth tone of some sort. First thing's first, I need to look at all my storage options.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Black and white trial

I dug some minis out of the mountain to try out some black and white/grasycale painting. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, though, part of that was due to the tiny detail of the Mantic zombies coupled with my desire to hurry through the figures.

The zombie skin wasn't a problem; I just went pale and light, but the submachinegunner's skin didn't turn out as good as I would like. The face was already a touch flat (and he has a big chin), but also I couldn't remember right off what level of lightness I painted human skin. Somewhere I have some notes. Or maybe Vallejo's little how-to guide will give some advice?

I like the zombies; they look better in person than in the photo. They look good enough that I'm thinking about giving the zombies in my Zombicide game the B&W treatment. This would keep them differentiated from my colorful survivors, give them an actual finished paint job, and serve as a nod to the old 1978 Dawn of the Dead movie. Then I could go monochromatic green for the toxic zombies and brown for the berserkers. Still, I'm not sure if I'll do it - there are a hell of a lot of zombies in that game. Then again, I could just do some drybrushing/overbrushing....

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How lucky am I?

I live in a town (Ames, Iowa) of 25,000 or 55,000 when school (Iowa State) is in session.

-- There is one large store with a focus on board games, with a good selection of minis, paints, and comics (though, I'm not a comics guy.)
-- There is also a smaller store which specializes in CCGs, but also has a few boardgames, but has quite a few hobby/painting/minis supplies (hey, that's me!) Including all of Gale Force Nine's basing supplies.
-- There is a regular old hobby shop where I can get many of my specialty items (such as plastic tubing, sheet styrene, brass rod, drilling bits etc.)
-- There is Hobby Lobby where I can get quite a few things to fill in the gaps.
-- And there will be one more small shop opening next week, which will specialize in comics, but will also carry a few board games and minis (and it's owned by a friend, so mostly, I can stop in and say hello.)

... And four out of those five stores are within 10-minute walking distance from me.

Black and white

I see that Vallejo is coming out with a paint set specifically for painting Black and white figures! That's what I started this blog on five or six years ago - too bad I didn't have this paint set when I painted these figures. Oh well, I guess I did fine without. Still, I might give these new paints a try- there is still a little space left over in my case of black and white gangsters.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Post Apocalyptic highway

I found some more VFF suede in the color I like at my local fabric shop, so I picked it up to make a new highway board/mat for my new 1:32 scale Machinas cars.

I used duck tape to mask off the edges of the highway (adding an intersecting road for variety and the possibility of using the mat for skirmish/After the Horsemen games.) I used a large brush and craft acrylic paint to lay down the gray pavement first. I stippled the color unevenly instead of laying down an opaque block of color because I wanted the road to look old and weathered.

Next, I roughed in all the road markings, oil spots and a set of light skid marks. Off the road, I added some patches of dull green for light vegetation.
This was all followed up with the big brush and some light brown/tan paint to add layers of dust over the everything.

The paint is still wet right now (it only took me an hour and some change to do this much). I'll give it 24 hours to dry, then I may add some details such as cracks in the road (I need to do some research first) and maybe a few grass tufts coming up through the cracks.

I kept the road narrow for my 1:32 cars; I did this so that I could also use the highway for 1/64 (Hot Wheels) cars or 1/43 (28mm) cars and figures. I left space on either side of the highway for terrain, buildings, ruins, or the infield of the Circus Acceleratus. I didn't think about it until it was too late, but I could have moved the road over and had enough space for a Qwik field. No biggie.

This weekend, I also took apart some electric motors and have pieces enough for some more scrap piles. I have some other projects going on (painting Bones for Jeff, doing a Machinas AAR which I may redo on the new mat, and  painting a few random other figures), so I put the scrap piles off to the side for now.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Machinas: A day at the races

This isn't an AAR, just a few photos I took to show off all the new cars in action. This sequence illustrates a typical day during the Machinas Festival.
In the morning, as crowds begin to gather in the infield of the Seven Hills Track, the Vestal Mechanics run final checks of the Infernals to be used in the day's races during the Machinas Festival.
Oak Street priest and Brother Pilots confer about rules and strategies before the cars are rolled out of the garage.

The Artifex Rex blesses the Infernals and their Brother Pilots, and gives the command to "Fire the engines!"
Crew chiefs walk alongside the Infernals and see them out of the infield and onto the starting line.

The Infernals are off and the Brother Pilots are instantly blessed with glory. All praise to The Oppenheimer!

... And here's a bonus shot of Colonel Jack's Special taking a break in the Unknown Wasteland:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

54mm Machinas: Builds done; paint started

The last two cars are built, and I've applied the first coats of paint. I added large drum magazines to the Chevy's guns. I'll probably have both of these finished tomorrow.

The ram car has all its base colors applied. The car still needs to have its rust and dust applied. The Chevy (which I've named St. Chevy's Censer -- the exhaust pipe looks like it's good for laying down a smoke screen) has all of its rust done. I need to use some black to pick a few details out of the rust (such as the guns and the tires.) I also need to add the (American) Indian designs on the Chevy.

54mm Machinas: Ram car, Runnin' Gunner wip

I started (and have almost finished) my last two cars for my 54mm Machinas project.
The first car is the redux of my "Ram" car. The original ram car was based on a Plymouth Adventurer, but I couldn't find one in 1:32 scale, so I chose to base my larger ram car on a 1958 Edsel. The Edsel provides some nice size to make the ram car that much more imposing.

There are a couple other changes to the new ram car: I added a large exhaust tube over the body to help break up the lines. The other change will come later- instead of gray, I will do the body in silver. The car will retain its all-red forward section. I figure the new ram car will simply represent a different evolution

The second car will not be a reproduction of any of my smaller cars. I wanted to do something original at least once in the larger scale. This is a 2-door 1955 Chevy. The most notable addition is the exhaust passed in front of the windscreen and over the roof. I've also added a new engine block that was a little larger than the one that came with the car. And I've added a couple scratchbuilt heavy machine guns.

Though it's not a repro, I will still paint the Chevy in the same colors/scheme as one of my Running Gunners cars (which are almost entirely rust colored and covered with American Indian designs in white.)

Here are a few in-progress shots here. It's all mostly brass rod, plasticard, tubing and greenstuff. Read captions for details:

The first thing I do with all these cars is take them apart and strip out all the parts I won't need. I have a nice 1:32 parts
box started already from these few cars. Stuff I can use for future cars or as terrain accessories.

After I removed the top of the Edsel, I covered the cabin with a cut-to-fit piece of plasticard. Then I fixed it in place
using plenty of green stuff. I also gave it a layer of 2-part epoxy to add more strength.

It's difficult to see here, but I've lined most of the window plastic with 2-part epoxy to give it added strength. Most
of these cars have plastic tops which feel a touch flimsy, so I added layers of 2-part epoxy to all of them. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Camera test/photo notes

I had trouble with my old camera, getting the settings right so that I could take photos with a light background. The subject always turned out way too dark or fuzzy. The other problem I was having with the darker background was that it was playing havoc with the color settings on the new camera, not adequately compensating or over-compensating. It wasn't any better (and was sometimes worse) on the auto setting.

I've had my new camera for a few weeks and forgot to try it out with light backgrounds: It works MUCH better! In fact, I may switch to light/white backgrounds with my photos from now on. All of these photos were done using the auto setting. (So honestly, the camera is doing all the work.) The images are still just a tad dark and fuzzy, but nothing that can't be fixed in Photoshop.
But I love that the colors are all finally balanced and much more true to the actual paint on the figures. I also like the white background because the photos will be easier to cut out in Photoshop if I want to add a backdrop or layer the photos.

I know many folks prefer a light blue background; I may try that later, too, once I get some blue paper. (These photos were taken with simple white paper behind.) I'll also need to work on extending my depth of field and getting sharper edges (I can just set the timer for the latter.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mutie Beauty video

Many of my Machinas fans will remember the Mutie Beauty:

A little more than a year later, James, of the Rust Devils, built his own version Mutie Beauty. It's not quite done; he says he will be adding the turret for next year's Wasteland Weekend, but it's still bad-ass. And it's flattering to see something real built based on one of my designs. Here's a video from Crave Online featuring some of the vehicles from this year's Wasteland Weekend, including Mutie Beauty, which can be seen at the 5:30 mark:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Qwik: Vestal Mechanics team

Here are the completed Vestal Mechanics, the group of sacred mechanics responsible for searching the known Wasteland for old vehicles to restore and maintain. And when they're not working, they're playing juggers within the small Church league.

Also- here's a look at the chain player, which I finished earlier today:

Qwik: Vestal Mechanic drivers

Here are the other two drivers for my Vestal Mechanics qwik team. One is much more sensibly armored, featuring an enclosed helmet and plenty of padding (all made using green stuff.) The other leans more toward a more decorative style. I like her blue skin, which is not unprecedented in my post-apoc collection.

In fact, in my collection, I think I have, besides white folks, brown, blue, green, and gray skins as well. I think I will go gray for my chain player. I was thinking of making the last player red, but I'm also thinking that in the future, if I do another team, their primary color will be red, and I don't want any confusion with earlier teams.

In the background fluff, the skin colors are simple mutations; everyone is still human.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Qwik: Not safe for work .. nope, probably not.

Here's the first of my Vestal Mechanics qwik team. This one is the least practically armored, but the most Brom-inspired of the bunch.

I decided to go simple three-color layering with these to see what they look like. I like it. I'm not saving much time by skipping a couple extra middle shades I usually apply, but the three-layer Foundry flesh makes things simple.

I have a couple more players started, but I'm not sure if I'll finish them anytime soon. I should have had the whole team finished by now, but Zombicide stuff sidetracked me.

Edit: I guess I had the qwik further along than I thought because I just finished her after another 20 minutes of work. She is outfitted just like a Brother Pilot (as Vestal Mechanics, in order to fulfil their duties, are also ordained drivers.) Though, she differs from a brother pilot's uniform with the addition of color (in this case, indicating her team colors.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

More Zombicide survivors

Here are the remainder of my survivors for Zombicide (Season 2.) From left to right, we have Ralph, Kirk and Aunt Rose, who stands ready to bake anything to make us happy.

Oh man, the details were so tiny again, but still well-defined and easy(er) to paint. I have a nice motley group of survivors now, ready to take on the hordes. I'd like to get the base game (Season 1) to have yet even more survivors (as well as more mission variety), but I commissioned Steve Barber a few weeks back to sculpt me another samurai, so I need to save a little money. (That samurai is going to rock, though; it's multipart!)

For now, I can store most of my survivors in a small Chessex box, which fits into one Zombicide box along with everything else from Prison Outbreak and Toxic City Mall. I'll need to thing of an alternative when I get the remainder of my survivors (I have eight more coming for a total of 23.) Even this Chessex box isn't enough- I have one figure not shown here (the lady in yellow.) I'll figure something out. Maybe I can find some kind of custom Battlefoam.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Zombicide Survivor: Thaissa

Here's my Thaissa figure. Her dress came out much better than I thought it would. Props to the sculptor who did an excellent job of making it easy to paint. I used a basic red and highlighted with additional mixes of bright orange. If you want to make a shear dress (or lingerie,) I recommend you highlight with increasing amounts of your middle shade of flesh color. It works and it's easy!

The face was a touch small, and she didn't have much of a chin, so I had to accent it a touch with a little more highlight. The nose was almost non-existent (but there was enough of it there to paint- it wasn't a miscast, just a tiny nose.)

One thing I'll be careful of in the future is washing large swaths of color with my brown ink. It muddied up the skin (despite being watered down), and kind of destroyed the delicate look I had achieved. No biggie; I'll probably just repaint the skin since I haven't varnished the figure yet.

All in all, she's a pretty figure (hubba hubba.) I'm really enjoying the work that went into these. I have a lot of respect for the sculptors; they have created such tiny detail, but in a way as to make it paintable. I also applaud Guillotine Games for crediting the sculptors at the end of the rulebook. So, pats on the back to Juan Navarro Perez, Elfried Perochon and Rafal Zelazo.