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.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

War Rocket: 523rd Squadron dossier

I threw together a little history of the War Rocket Squadron I'm putting together. This doesn't count as skipping ahead of my other projects :) This should be it for War Rocket posts for the time being. Back to Chronoscope; I have some more camo to paint.

523rd, detached surveillance squadron
“Sagan’s Scouts”
Captain Dick “Rip” Sagan, commanding
Motto: “Finders, keepers”

The 523rd is a relatively smaller squadron in the Galacteer fleet consisting of three flight surveillance teams and a command team. Each flight surveillance team has two Class II Supernova ships with stripped down weaponry to make space for sensory and data-gathering equipment. Three Class I Comets serve as escort. The command flight consist of a Class III Pulsar serving as a command post, and two Supernovas and three Comet as escort, for a total of 21 ships. The force is commonly attached to fleets in active theaters and rarely sees any downtime. Though Captain Sagan is in command, he likes to “get his hands dirty” and will usually pilot a Supernova in one of the surveillance flights.
The 523rd is responsible for seeking out the enemy beyond the usual combat space patrols with standing orders to find the enemy, observe and report movements, and beat a hasty retreat. Though listed as a surveillance/scout squadron, Rip Sagan has a reputation shirking orders and taking his flights directly into combat once the enemy is found. Cpt. Sagan even has a habit of removing sensory equipment to make space for torpedoes. Galacteer combat units usually only arrive after they hear the battle chatter from Sagan’s pilots. Sometimes, fleet command sends a combat unit to “escort” the scout teams. Though known as “Sagan’s Scouts,” the fleet jokingly refers to the 523rd as “Sagan’s Sideshow” since the unit always seems to want to put on a little bit of entertainment before the main show begins.
Captain Sagan insists the 523rd IS the main show.

Rear Admiral “Bulldog” Blake threw the scotch glass past Cpt. Sagan who stood unflenchingly at attention.
“You took two Supernovas on a torpedo run against the Tiamat?! What the hell were you thinking?!”
“Sir, I was thinking of killing the Tiamat. There’s always a chance. Sir.”
“There’s always a chance that I’m gonna kick you in the pants and demote you to command of a mining hulk! Your mission is to find the enemy and reports his movements! What part of those orders can’t you handle?”
“Sir, my orders were understood, and my mission was complete. I saw an advantage. My boys and I took it. Sir.”
“Advantage? Advantage?! The Tiamat and the entire Fangs squadron, and you had an advantage?! What in the hell was this ‘advantage’ you had, pray tell.”
“Sir, we had gumption. Sir.”
Bulldog stopped, thumbed an itch on his chin as he eyed Captain Sagan. The war wasn’t going well, and the rear admiral knew the fleet needed to take chances if it was going to regain any momentum. But high command had been riding him since Sagan’s Sideshow had been attached to his fleet, and he needed to vent to the younger officers.
That was all part of his plan, though: He knew, Captain Sagan, under that eyepatch, was red with fury. He knew Captain Sagan would not show anger to anyone but his own men. And he knew Captain Sagan would take out all that rage against the forces of Marduk.
Bulldog smiled inside. Even though Captain Sagan sensed it, he didn’t say anything. The rear admiral sat down, opened the desk drawer and pulled out another scotch glass and a bottle. He poured himself a drink.
“Rip, if you break any of my ships, I’m gonna send you giftwrapped to Emperor Marduk. Get the hell outta here.”
Captain Sagan saluted, turned and walked out of the office thinking about how lucky he would be to meet the emperor, and of how many torpedoes he would bring to that meeting.

523rd Surveillance Squadron (entire force: 21 ships, 290 pts)
Surveillance flight 1 (81 pts)
Class I x 3 one with crack pilot (32 pts)
Class II x 2, both with low-tech weapons,
one with a torpedo and Cpt. Sagan (Gallant Cpt.) (39 pts)

Surveillance flight 2 (61 pts)
Class I x 3 one crack pilot (Lt. Drummond) (32 pts)
Class II x 2, both with low-tech weapons, one with torpedo (29 pts)

Surveillance flight 3 (61 pts)
Class I x 3 one crack pilot (Lt. Brace) (32 pts)
Class II x 2, both with low-tech weapons, one with torpedo (29 pts)

Command flight (97 pts)
Class I x 3 one with crack pilot (Lt. Jones) (32 pts)
Class II x 2 (30 pts)
Class III with force field and atomic engineer (35 pts)

War Rocket:Comets of the 523rd

OK, so I jumped ahead a bit and painted up a couple quick Class I War Rocket ships, and oh boy... I haven't painted anything that small in a long while, and it wasn't too long ago that I was painting 54mm stuff. But it was fun, and the painting went fast. I wanted to test out a color combo before committing it to the rest of the squadron. I like it. I want to work on the gray a little bit -- give it a little more contrast without making it too much lighter. I also need to thin my paints out a bit; at this scale, it's real easy to get paint caked on obscuring detail.

The yellow is Foundry's Ochre 4a-C, and the gray is Foundry Charcoal Black 34B and C. I'm gonna look for a darker base gray, however. Also, I'll need a pattern to differentiate the crack pilots from the remainder of the Class I ships. I may do something as simple as paint the nosecones yellow.
All in all, a good start. I'm gonna go with this color combo.The gray represents the utilitarian nature of the squadron, while the yellow symbolizes their flashiness. All the Class I ships will have this pattern. I'm not sure what pattern the Class IIs will take yet. All in good time....

Quick comparison shot for Josiah (and others who may want to see the size of these ships):

Saturday, August 28, 2010

War Rocket: Rotation solution

So I have a few War Rocket ships, and I was trying to decide if I wanted to get a Hex map or a bunch of hex bases. The map would be expensive but beautiful, and the bases are just a touch small leaving your rocket top-heavy (simply my opinion. I just prefer a more solid base.)

Well the key here is the hexagon. War Rocket ship movement is based on 60 degree rotations, and each corner of a hexagon is 60 degrees -- stay with me, this is just what was flowing through my little brain -- Either the map or the bases would provide you with a hexagon to reference your turns to, but I didn't want either. Eureka! Many ship games use a turn template; Hell's bells! How easy is that?!

Anyway, so I will make myself a turn template with 60 degree angles. There are a couple possibities: You can make the "border" of a hex (choose your own material) that wraps around your ship (since the ship "rotates" instead of "turns"), or you could simply cut a hexagon out of your preferred material (I have some leftover plasticard.) I prefer the second method because the template can be made thin enough to slip under the base of your rocket ships, and is less fragile. You can also paint up some wicked-cool art on it if you like.

With a turn -- no, let's call it a rotation template, your bases can be whatever shape and material you want. I prefer the soft edge of a round display base, in which case I'll have to use the orientation of the model itself when I rotate it; or I can use square bases with the ship pointing toward one side. This way, I can simply line the side of the base up with the edge of my rotation template.

Note: Here's a method for drawing a hexagon using a compass and a straight edge, to help get you started making your own rotation template. Thank God for geometry. Or thank the Greeks, if you prefer :)

Final thought: War Rocket ships already come with hexagonal bases, but don't overlook the beauty of some of the space mats that are offered. A rotation template brings practicality to the game, but a space mat adds more art. There's nothing wrong with a little frivolity.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Small end-of-august update

I'm painting, slowly but surely. Chronoscope figures now. I have a few minor things on the way. I have War Rocket ships -- woo-hoo! A couple 15mm sci-fi figures to try my rookie small-scale brush on. And, yes, sigh, the mammoth sits there, headless, feetless; I still need to get Sculpey- just a matter of dragging my lazy butt to Hobby Lobby. I think once I get those feet done, I'll get motivated to press on and finish that bad boy.

I don't remember what order I said I'd do everything in: Let's say Chronoscope figures, War Rocket ships (I only have a few, and they look like they'll go real fast... painting-wise) 15mm post-apocalyptic minis, and mammoth during all that time. I'm sure I've missed something. After another look at that Conan figure, my little Conan project has been simmering in the back of my mind. I can't believe I finished that figure at the beginning of this month; it seems so long ago that I finished him (even though my August just flew by).

OK, must focus: Three Chronoscope figures left to do. Chronoscope. Chronoscope. War Rocket ships look sweet, though -- NO -- CHRONOSCOPE. Chronoscope....

Monday, August 23, 2010

War rocket show-off

Woo-hoo! I just wanted to show off a little bit: I submitted some art for the new War Rocket rulebook which was released at GenCon, and it made the back cover! Don't believe me? Purchase a copy over at Hydra and read the credits on page 2 :)

It's nice to have some published art, but War Rocket also is a fantastically fun game! (I playtested some of the earlier versions and followed the development through its later stages ((as I went off on my own tangents with other stuff.)))
I smell another project comin' up after Gamma World minis. I think that would fill my schedule through the remainder of the winter.

Ok, back to painting. I've been doing the random D&D figure between Chronoscope figures. I also have a couple 15mm Khurasan mutants on the way to try out. I'll post those much later, even if my painting turns out bad: I'll post them for posterity.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dark Sun and Gamma World

Well my painting has slowed down a bit due to having the cat about. And I was gonna work on the mammoth when I realized I didn't have enough Sculpey do really do anything. Now, I have my copy of the Dark Sun campaign setting, so I've been reading that and polishing off my story to begin a new campaign. So that's taking some time out of painting.

Also, I've been anticipating the release of Gamma World (because it uses the 4E mechanics which I'm used to, but also because this was the very first roleplaying game I ever played ((in 1982)).) I hadn't planned on purchasing new minis for Gamma World, there would just be too many that I would want to purchase, with space dwindling around me (maybe it's time I sell off a bunch of my minis?)
But I hit upon a solution: 15mm! Since I last looked at 15mm figures many years ago, the ranges of figures has grown. It only took a few clicks for me to find these awesome gangers from Khurasan Miniatures:

These are about as perfect as you can get for Gamma World. "But where are the mutants," you ask? WELL, Khurasan miniatures currently has a pack of mutants being cast up to go along with these post-apocalyptic figures. I haven't seen them yet, but I bet they'll be good enough. Khurasan also has a few aliens and other monsters throughout their other ranges that could double as mutants (and monsters.) At less than a dollar per figure, I could spend $50 and have all the Gamma World figures I would ever need.

Gamma World doesn't come out until October. Until then, I have a mammoth, some Chronoscope and a Dark Sun campaign to begin. (And oh shit, Charlie, you're gonna love my Dark Sun campaign after the stuff I added last night.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Intergalactic marine

This is Reaper Chronoscope No. 50014, Nick Stone, intergalactic marine. I like the space marines of Warhammer 40K, but this guy feels much better; his proportions are a lot less of a caricature. He'll be used for my Doom board game as both a marine figure for the regular deathmatch versions of the game. He might be a bit tall if you want to get him as a character for your 40K army, unless you don't mind the height difference... he IS a cool figure, after all.

This marks one of my better camouflage tries, and I think my only finished figure with camo on it.

This is not the final color that will be on the figure's base; it's a basecoat for the red that will eventually be painted on. It was just getting close to my bedtime, and I wanted to get this posted before tomorrow. I'll throw the red on later.

Now that I have a little bit of Chronoscope out of my system, maybe I can get back to that mammoth.

Waiteri Tribe 2050: Sniper

My friends were given a motel room, but I'm babysitting the cat still. The cat stays off my painting table for the most part, so I threw some paint onto a couple figures so I can get back into the habit. (And, yes, the mammoth is still sitting there, I've massaged the sculpt here and there, but nothing major. Next step is to add his feet and put him in the oven for his first baking.)

This is the first of my Reaper Chronoscope figures. She is No. 50156 Gretha, Female sniper. Just a reminder: I painted her up to use for the deathmatch variant of Fantasy Flight's Doom boardgame.

My intent from the beginning with this figure was to paint Waiteri tribal war paint on her to show that the tribe has survived. And, if you remember, warpaint in the tribe denotes a hunter (among other symbolic meanings.) In this case, she hunts other warriors on Martian bases.

I will paint the bases the basic colors of the ROYGBIV spectrum to help players differentiate figures (as if the figures aren't distinctive enough.) I have three marine-looking Chronoscope figures; they will receive the red, blue and green as per the original marine colors in the Doom boardgame. The other figures will receive indigo, yellow and violet (this figure). I guess orange is out ... Oh, I can use orange for the figure noted below:

To go along with these figures, I have also ordered a couple of the limited edition Hurn "not-predator" figures from Heresy. I'm trying to think of a way to balance a game with the predator versus everyone else in a Doom deathmatch. I'll need to get a few games under my belt first. In the meantime, I'll have sweet-ass predator figures to paint.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Small update: Flood delays

It might be a little bit until my next post. I have a couple friends over for a few days; they got flooded out of their place here in Ames (Iowa.) Not that I don't have time to paint and entertain all at once, but they brought their cat, and I don't like to paint with cats around (fur gets into the paint and the water etc.) And their cat likes to jump on my painting table. No biggie, I love animals, it's just gonna be awhile until I get something new painted up (or sculpted; hair will get into that Sculpey, too) until my friends can move back or into a new place.

I haven't got any new work done on the mammoth just yet. The Chronoscope figures are primed and glued to bases. And the first thing I plan to do after my friends leave is to varnish the Waiteri tribe. Until then, sit back and peruse the archives to see if theres something you may have missed. There are more than 400 posts to look through.

Monday, August 9, 2010

54mm Conan the Cimmerian

I finished up my 54mm Conan. Until I do up some more Hyborean characters, I'll simply add this figure against the ranks of my Waiteri tribe, who can double as Picts. The Bronze Age generic figure I used for this Conan figure is the same I used for my Waiteri chief (just to give you an idea of the different things you can do with the same starting figure.) With green stuff, I added the hair, loin cloth, belt and scabbard. The short sword is from a Reaper Miniatures weapons pack. The base is a poker chip with flagstones carved out of green stuff.

This Conan is just another in a line of figures I've painted up for my favorite fantasy, literary hero. The Drac Mac Syro version (second from left) is probably still my favorite, though this latest Conan is probably the most accurate to the character on paper.

After the mammoth, after the Chronoscope figures, I'll see about doing some more Hyborean characters. I may also save that as a winter project (which is how my 42mm samurai project started.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Columbian Mammoth: Day 1

Here is my work from Day 1 of making my mammoth (Mammatus Columbi.) I chose the Columbian mammoth because scientists surmise it didn't have as much if any thick hair such as its wooly cousins; this will save me a step of sculpting :) They also had long tusks that curved and twisted in on themselves. Those long, almost-wavy tusks should look nice and imposing on the table (and I'm pretty confident with my tusk-making abilities.)

I began by building a simple armature of wire and aluminum foil. The front legs are actually one piece of wire that go through the body. The same goes for the rear legs. After I bulked up and tried to shape a little bit of the body with the foil, I dug out some Sculpey. After kneading it and rolling it into a large, flat (1/16 to 1/8" thick) sheet, I began laying pieces over the mammoth, bulking up some areas, shaping and smoothing as I went.

After almost 1/2 pound of Sculpey, I needed to stop because I was almost out of Sculpey! It's not that the mammoth needed too much, it's just that I forgot to bulk up my Sculpey supply. No worries, I only had one leg to cover up. I will sculpt and finish the body and legs, bake, then do the feet, bake, and then work on the head separately. When the head is near finished, I will fit it to the body, sculpt some neckage and bake again. Sculpey is great because you cannot overbake with it. As long as you keep the temperature below 275 degrees, the Sculpey will be just fine with multiple bakings.

When the body and head are finished, I plan on using green stuff to make the tusks, tail and ears. The Sculpey would be too brittle for any of these small protrusions. I'm still not quite sure about the trunk. I think it would be okay with Sculpey if I start with an armature.

So that's the overall basic plan. We'll see what happens, but I think I at least have a nice little start. Oh, and sorry for the grainy photos; I simply picked up the camera and snapped off shots as I went. I had a nice work groove goin' on and didn't want to break it.

I will most probably paint other figures along the way. Conan is almost finished, and I'm ready to paint a little bit of 32mm sci-fi.

Note: I will label each post as Day 1, Day 2 etc, but that doesn't mean I'll be working on the mammoth continuously. Any day I work on it, I'll try to post something. I'll try to include amount of time worked and what was added to the model.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

54mm Waiteri tribe: Atlatl hunter

Here is the last member of my tribe for the time being. With her, I have six hunters, six scouts, a shaman, firemaker, dog and the chief. I'll get some group photos when I finish basing the last couple of figures.

The atlatl here is actually made from one continuous piece of brass rod. The dart tip was hammered out and shaped before the rod was bent into shape. I filed away a bit of the brass where the handle meets the dart.

I guess this means it's time to start sculpting some mammoth. I'm gonna need to get psyched up for that.

Other news
I've received those Chronoscope figures. They look great! I'm eager to paint them. A small note: the metal Reaper used has some different qualities than usual. The metal seems stronger/more rigid, but takes filing and drilling very easily. These are good qualities, though the metal might be more brittle if I should need to bend any arms about. Maybe not? I don't want to test the metal's "bendy" strength with my new figures.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


It's that GenCon time of year, and many of my friends are off to Indianapolis to bask in the glory of gaming and nerd odor. So a couple of my other friends and I have decided to grab a few seldom-played games and have our own con:

Monday, August 2, 2010

On the table: Waiteri hunter, Conan, Mammoth and then these figures:

One Waiteri tribal member to go; a Conan to finish up and a mammoth sculpting project are on the docket. After those, I've decided on my next project. I decided to forego the Conan large-scale figures for now because I wanted to return to smaller scale figures.

I own the Doom boardgame, and one of the variants in the rules is a deathmatch. So I decided to try a few figures from Reaper's Chronoscope line to provide players with a few options other than the little plastic marines that come with the game.

I also have a few industrial bases (just like these seen with my biohazard troopers) left over on which I'll mount these figures. The raised base also gives me an area to paint player colors (to help those who forget which figure they had chosen.)

And yes, those Biohazard troopers were also for my Doom boardgame, but these new figures are better for the deathmatch. It's also another chance to do a few sci-fi types.

And as a little homage to my Waiteri tribe, the female sniper (lower right corner) will be getting Waiteri hunter war paint. She'll be a member of the tribe, just 20,000 years removed. I look forward to painting her.

Depending on how the mammoth goes, I see myself painting these at the end of August. If the mammoth gives me a lot of problems, I may take a short break or two from it and start one or two of these Chronoscope figures a little earlier.