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.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Street Corner: Preparing new figures

Today was a good day for me to get mail; I received my refund check from the government, and I also received my order from Copplestone (just 5 days from U.K. to Iowa!) So I spent much of the evening prepping the figures. So far, I've cleaned the flash and mold lines, taken the slots off the bases of the gangster range figures, pinned the female civilians, and taken integral bases off the figures to be used for my tramp steamer crew. There is still drilling and pinning to do for the rest of these figures. I also need to make some more paved bases for my Street Corner civvies.

And THAT'S just the basing. THEN, I need to do some conversion work: The civilians will be painted as is. It's the tramp steamer crew that will be getting work done; one of the boxers from the Street Toughs pack will have an arm sawed off and repositioned to make it look like he's walking, while the other hand will be holding a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. I will add a knife and apron to another figure to be the ship's cook (since I did add a galley to my boat.) The easiest conversion will be a sailor (a figure from Copplestone's Russian Sailor Command pack) who was holding a rifle; he will now be holding a hooked pole. One figure from the said command pack I have yet to figure out what to do with- he had a pistol in hand that I've removed; I'm not sure yet what to replace it with yet.

The last conversion I think will be my favorite. I'm gonna let it be a surprise for you all. I'll give you a hint: The figure is the standard bearer from that Russian Sailor command pack. Take a look at it and see if you can think of what I'm going to do with it. You can see the pack here (scroll down to BC29 Russian Sailors Command (it's the figure furthest right.)

Street Corner: Apple stand

Here's another piece I put together for my Gangster era street corner. It was a simple card and basswood construction. The idea for this little structure came to mind when I discovered I had this little potbelly stove in my bits box. So the whole thing was built to give that little stove a reason to be.

The street lamp was made from a couple pieces of wooden dowel, brass rod, a piece of greenstuff for the bulb, and a hoplite shield for the shade.

The apples were sculpted out of greenstuff using the same technique I used to texture the skin on my shoggoth: I used the tip of a retractable pen (with tip retracted) and simply pressed lightly into a bed of greenstuff to form a perfect little domed mound. I used a needle to poke dimples into each apple (where the stems attach; and no, I didn't sculpt stems.) A little red paint with green patches completed my apples. You could use this same technique to make oranges or tomatoes, too.

I made the table of apples a separate piece only so that the whole stand would fit into a Chessex box. Yep, this next project will all fit into a Chessex box- about 40 figures tentatively planned, along with enough terrain to fill a street corner. In fact, I think I will simply call this project, "Street Corner." So far it includes this apple stand, my newspaper stand, ad post, dumpster with trash, crates and trash cans, and all my boxer figures (the street corner is originally for them to fight over.) Along with the figures I've ordered to convert into a tramp steamer crew, I've ordered a few of Copplestone's gangster civilians to populate the street corner. After they're finished, I'll look into perhaps getting a few gangsters to finish filling the Chessex box.

Friday, February 25, 2011

D&D repaints: Human outriders and berserk flesh golem

Here's a few more of Jeff's figures, some human outriders and a berserk flesh golem (with before and after pics.) The outriders needed to be finished quick, so instead of doing an entire repaint, I simply used the original colors as a base and added a couple layers of highlights. For being noncharacter models, I think the result is still good.

The flesh golem was an entire repaint and rebasing job. The technique was nothing to write home about; simple layering. This is a larger figure, so I was quite comfortable painting it having painted so many other larger scale figures the past year.

As I wait for my latest Copplestoone order, I'm pondering my NEXT order of gangsters. I think I will eventually paint up Copplestone's entire gangster range, but I will do it a few packs at a time instead of ordering all of them at once, which would be a touch overwhelming. My first set of gangsters (those in black and white) I had ordered all at once, and the project was a just a little overwhelming, though doable. But this time around, I'll be making my own paved bases, cutting slots off the figures and drilling and pinning, AND painting them in full color instead of just a few shades of gray. So, yes, a bit of extra work -- best done a few figures at a time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

River Steamer: Crew quarters

Here's a couple pics of the finished crew quarters on my river steamer. I had some leftover posters, so I put up the "Spicy" one on the side of the lockers. I also printed out a couple scale copies of Time and Collier's magazines (on the table), as well as a random pulp (on the top bunk) for the crew to read.

 I've also settled on a smaller project to do: I've ordered some civilians from Copplestone's gangster range to fill the time, but I also ordered yet another set of the street toughs and Copplestone's Russian Sailor command from the Back of Beyond range. My intent is to convert as many of the figures from those last two packs as I can into some unarmed tramp steamer sailors. My ship is nearing completion, and she's gonna need a crew!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ads and aft; Pulp street and my ship's interior

A couple things to show here. The first is from my gangsters (well, for my boxers since my gangsters are all in black and white.) I took my newspaper stand and added a bunch of "spicy" girly posters on the back. I also made an ad post with more period posters including movies, booze, races, cigarettes and fight bills. The post was easily built: It's two wood blocks based and topped with 25mm slotta bases. For the posters, I simply did a Google image search, Reduced everything in Photoshop, and printed in color. Cut, paste, done.
After doing this project, I'm leaning more toward doing a set of Copplestone Gangsters in color for my next project.

The second item is another continuation of an old project. I've finally started finishing the interior of my river steamer. Here is a pick of the unpainted crew quarters showing the bunks and the galley in progress. Nothing is glued in yet- I will paint it outside of the ship before installing it. This was all a mix of wood, greenstuff, Sculpey, brass, cardboard and felt, all of it scraps. There is also a set of lockers toward the aft of the quarters (this pic is looking for'd). All else I have planned for the crew quarters is a table across from the bunks. Later, I'll do the captain's quarters. I'd like to find a crew for this boat. There are a few figures out there, but I'd like to find something that's compatible with my Copplestone figures, sizewise. I like the Pulp Figures tramp steamer crew figures, but they are all much shorter than Copplestone's (at least as far as I've seen on the internet.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Street brawl! Copplestone Castings street toughs (group shots)

Big ruckus in downtown Arcadia again! Seems some of the boys off the pier got into a scrap with a few landlubbers!
Here they are, all the fighters I'll be using for whatever boxing/smoking/brawling/bar fighting game comes my way. This is three sets of converted Copplestone's GN-13 Street Toughs set (minus a couple figures), and one set (minus one figure) of his beat cops.

It seems one of the unsporting bezarks has brought a bat!
A few of the fellas will make sure he won't be leavin' with it, though.

Arcadia's* finest show up to preserve disorder.
Hmm, I wouldn't say no to purchasing all the gangsters again, and having a go at them in color this time around. Perhaps purchase a new Chessex case? 80 gangsters and civilians? I don't think there are 80 figures (the number a Chessex case will hold) in Copplestone's Gangster range, but there are certainly enough figures there for me to convert into 80 figures. Or I could use the extra space to keep all my cars and the news and hotdog stands.

Hmm, again. Hmmmmmm....

*Note: Arcadia is a fictional city I created (complete with street map, landmarks and clubs and restaurants guide, a who's who of city government, etc, et al) to play some pulp Savage Worlds a few years back. It was for this game that I originally painted my gangsters in black and white. The color even had something to do with the story (the game slowly evolved into a weird-pulp genre. We all definitely had some fun. Perhaps some color gangsters to carry on the story?)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finished boxers

Ok, so I finished my last boxers tonight instead of this weekend. The fellow in the suspenders is the same figure I used for my sailor conversion. I pulled his arms out a bit so that it looks like he's trying to do a toughman pose. The other figure is a basic conversion; whereas I removed the hair and added a hat to my previous boxer, this one I removed his hat and gave him hair.

That's it. No more boxers for a while. Now, I have to sit and wait for Two Hour Wargames' "Smokers" game to come out. I'll pass the time with Friday Night Fights until then. I'll also post a couple group shots of all my fighters here in a day or two.

Boxer and the Old Man

Here's a new boxer finished, and the Old Man in a more proper photo. The boxer is my third version of one sculpt (from Copplestone Castings.) The cap was sculpted from greenstuff. Before I added the hat (and I do this for all figures to whom I add hats) I filed the top of the boxer's head flat down to the tops of his ears. If you try this, don't just grab any old file and go to town; use a flat-sided needle file and go slowly so that can control the plane of the head and the amount of material you are removing while, at the same time, not accidentally removing any detail.

For me, this figure will represent my Sailor Steve Costigan, though, honestly, there is no mention of him wearing a hat in any of the stories. The Old Man, of course, is Costigan's captain, who, as I mentioned earlier, will not be part of playing Smokers. But he will have a nice home on my steamer. Sure, his command isn't a graceful windjammer like the Seagirl, but it's a command, nonetheless.

I think I've gone as far as I can with this sculpt: regular, bald and hatted. Though, I was thinking of a variant perhaps with a thick 1920s sports sweater. Maybe another time. So, that leaves just two boxers, and I will be finished with (painting) pulp for a while. I'm still not sure what I'll be painting afterward.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pulp boxers WIP

Copplestone Castings GN-13 Street Toughs. The figure to the left has had his hat removed and (greenstuff) hair added. The middle figure has had his bat removed, and the last figure has been given a knit longshoreman's cap.
The fourth figure from the Street Toughs set showing the
original to the left, and my conversion to the right.
Just a quick update on my latest pulp boxers. They're converted, based (painted) and flesh bits painted. There isn't any space in my small Chessex case for the fourth figure in the set, so I had some fun with him and converted him into "The Old Man," Sailor Steve Costigan's captain on the Seagirl. He was converted using the same figure pictured next to him in the photo. Honestly, it was a quick and dirty conversion- extending the coat into a ragged pea coat, and adding a big, gray beard. He'll have a nice home as the new captain of my river steamer Mary Ellen Carter. I'll have to start converting a crew for him to command.
It's been a hectic week at work, but I'm finding a few minutes of my rare moments at home to paint these boxers. I'm going to try to finish one or two this weekend.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pretty good year

I wanted to put together a little photographic year in review for you all. I've been perusing my collection and realized some of my best/favorite stuff was painted all within the past 12 months. So this has probably been my best year painting. There is a good diversity of genres painted here. This is also the year when I did most of my larger-scale figures (I did do some 40mm old west a few years back.)

 I've haven't done a lot of figures this past year, but that is probably because this is also a year in which I started doing a LOT more of my own conversion work; I think the larger figures gave me an easier platform to practice converting, which I could then apply to my smaller scaled minis.

Currently, I'm still stuck on what to do next (as a BIG project), but I'm at least occupied by painting (AND converting :) a few pulp fighters. I still have no idea what to do after them. 54mm pulp fighters? I'm not too worried; Apparently, I did manage to take some breaks in the past year, filling the void with the random mini here and there. In any case, here is my photographic year in review:

I actually started these samurai, all from Steve Barber Model, in Dec. 2009, but I painted them through February of 2010. These marked the first time I made my own custom-hammered sword blades. I also sculpted and built my own accessories.

With my new-found confidence in making my own sword blades (and a return to playing my old copy of Two Hour Wargame's Red Sand, Blue Sky), I found and tried my hand at these fantastic little gems. These were originally offered by the now defunct Alpha Miniatures, but the sculpts were bought up and are still being sold by Black Cat Miniatures. I gained more confidence with my sculpting on these figures, adding such details as horse hair crests and leather armor.

I was competent at this point in the year with my sculpting abilities enough to have a go with some almost-full-fledged conversion/sculpting. Bronze Age Miniatures' Generic range of figures was the perfect fit for where I was with my own skills. I had the weapon-making ability from my samurai, and my sculpting ability from my gladiators. I pulled it all together, adding animal skins to my small repetoire, to make my own  fantasy/prehistoric Waiteri Tribe. Still one of my all time favorite collection of figures.

It hadn't crossed my mind to paint sci-fi spaceships, but I was intrigued by the retro qualities of Hydra Miniatures' War Rocket range; that, and they used my art on the back cover of the rulebook. So I had a go at my own squadron.

A fan-favorite, I actually started this project a couple years ago, finishing the original Ghostbuster team, complete with custom-built proton packs. The remaining civilian investigators, ghosts, monsters and the Ecto car were done this year. The original Ghostbuster figures and some of the civilians come from Heresy Figures. The monsters are a hodge-podge of  Reaper, Heresy and a couple custom sculpts, including the treyentacle, which was the first creature I ever sculpted entirely by myself. Ok, that's not all true, I did sculpt a dead mammoth in '09; but this is the first "live" creature I've done.
While I was finishing up my Ghostbusters, I purchased a copy of the new edition of Gamma World. To go along with the game, I, of couse, had to purchase some minis to go with! I wasn't sure what I should paint up until I found these original TSR Gamma World miniatures (1982) over at Noble Knight Games. I added a few of my own creations along the way, my favorite being the Nyarlothatep figure (in the center of the photo.)
And this brings me to my current project, adding a few figures to this small collection of pulp fighters which I will use to play the upcoming "Smokers" pulp fighting game by Two Hour Wargames. This isn't a large project, but it fills the time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Friday Night Fighters/Smokers update

Here's just a quick teaser of what I'm working on, so that you don't think I've abandoned all of you. There aren't a lot of conversion options with these figures (at least after the conversions I've already done with this same set), so the only difference you'll see is that the first figure, from left, has had his hat removed and a head of hair sculpted on. The next figure has had his hair removed and a knit cap put on. The last figure had a baseball bat I removed that and pulled his arms out a bit to give him sort of  a you-want-some-of-me? pose. The last figure is the same sculpt I turned into a sailor a while back. I took it easy this time around.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Barbarian clan (and a couple notes on my technique)

My barbarians, a hodge podge of Reaper, Rackham and Heresy figures

Nothing new here, just posting a group shot of my barbarians. I'm still thinking about what to paint next; one of the ideas I'm banging around is to increase the size of my little horde here. Since painting my last barbarian, Reaper has released a slew of new barbaric sculpts (just type" Icingstead" in their figure finder.)

Also, here's a more detailed pic of my barbarian king, an oop Rackham Drac Mac Syro figure. (I painted him as an "old" version of my first Drac Mac figure; hence the rusty armor and sword, and gray hair.) I'm posting this, so you can get a better idea of how I throw down the paint. I am definitely not a blender of paint. I prefer an expressionist style. I think this visceral style especially works with barbarians. I was thinking about the way I paint figures, because I realized my "Fighter" painting was painted using the same techniques- just on a larger scale.

And yes, it's definitely a much easier technique to paint figures with, especially if the figures are meant for the gaming table (seen from afar where my impressionistic strokes will optically blend) and not the showcase (where you can see each of my single brush strokes in all their singular ugliness.)