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, July 30, 2012

Machinas: Vacation '58

The Queen Wagon Family Truckster turned out better than I hoped. It was inspired by the station wagon from the movie "Vacation," which was, in turn, inspired by the 1958 Plymouth station wagon from the original short story "Vacation '58."

The headlights, once I worked out a technique, were easy to throw together. The seems were hidden with paint. The wood panels are all just painted on. The luggage is made from green stuff and bass wood.

This car is the last of the Machinas cars I'll be doing for a while. I have 21 cars (not including three I took out of the mix) plus two large trucks; that should be plenty to choose from for playing Machinas.

I'm not quite sure what I will be working on next, but I have a few individual fantasy figures on the table that need to be painted soon. They're all Reaper (including one from the Bones range- I'll post some notes on that range when I finish that figure.) I'll probably get a start on those figures soon. Having backed the "Airborne in Your Pocket" game on Kickstarter, I may also look for a WWII figure to paint up to serve as my playing piece. There's one from Reaper that looks more Army, but I think I can convert it easily enough.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Machinas: Vacation wip

I got a great start on my retro version of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, made famous in the movie "Vacation."

I fiddled around with green stuff and a tiny piece of plastic pipe to press mold the headlights. From that I had enough green stuff left over to make the luggage on the roof (including Aunt Edna.)

I'm having a lot of fun doing this (though, apart from the headlights, I'm not doing a lot of conversion work.) 

I think the most difficult part now will be painting those wood panels while keeping the lines clean and straight. I'll also have to get the pea green color mixed right.
Sorry, Clark, you don't get the arctic blue or the optional rally fun pack with this one either.

Note: I guess this car is actually more appropriate than I thought; the original short story from National Lampoon, "Vacation '58," takes place in 1958. I have the wrong model (mine is a '58 Buick- the story features a Plymouth), but at least I have the year right! If you're a fan of the movie, I suggest having a read of the original story: "Vacation '58," by John Hughes.

Machinas: A little more sporty

This particular car had a large spoiler on the back, but it was fixed to the rear engine cover. No biggie; I just removed both the spoiler and the cover and left the engine uncovered.

I originally planned to have the twin maxim guns poking out of the windshield, but they fit perfectly into the notch left on the roof after I removed the spoiler and fairing.

The last vehicle sitting on the table is my '58 Buick station wagon. At this point, I have four cars for each Machinas class, so I'm going to go ahead and do this station wagon as a retro homage to the Griswold's family truckster from "Vacation." I looked at some pictures of the truckster, and there are a lot of wood panels on that car. So I'm going to have to take my time painting this. I'm also probably not going to add the extra headlights up front (unless I can figure out how to do it and make it look good.)

Machinas: Racing in luxury

Here are a couple of the nicer cars, a '51 Buick and a '59 Cadillac.

The Cadillac is the longest of all my cars (not including the two big rigs.) I had a leftover set of pipes from my 8-Crate car (the station wagon with the big cannon), so I threw them onto the Caddy here. I also had some leftover pipe, so I threw on some more rocket tubes. I finished off the car with a minigun for the main armament. And look at that back end - Hot Wheels does a good job.

The '51 Buick was a lot more simple. I didn't want to mess with its body too much; I think there was already enough going on with all the lines for me to do need to do anything extra. I put together, before I had the Buick in hand, the twin, drum-fed machineguns, and they fit just fine. These guns, the quad guns on my last '53 Chevy, and the two turrets on the Battlewagon are all modular; any one of those guns will fit into any other gun position on the aforementioned vehicles.

I have left, a '57 Buick Station Wagon, which I'm not quite sure yet how I will arm it (or if I will follow through and leave it unarmed as a the Griswold's family truckster from "Vacation.") I'll mull it over for a few days. I've painted up the Karmann Ghia, but the paint just isn't doing it for me (I tried doing a metallic green- it's just ugly.) So I'm going to look over the colors to see what else I could try.

Another step I can take to keep this project going would be to get some drivers and gunners from Stan Johansen Miniatures to pilot my Buick convertible and work the guns on a couple of the other cars. I hope the figures fit into these cars. If not, I'm sure I can cut and bend to make'em fit.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Machinas: The Battlewagon

Thought his design was inspired by old WWI armored trains, the seed was planted by the dreadnought from Death Race (the Jason Statham version.)

I had some more FOW tanks sittin' around, so I cannibalized the turrets for my battlewagon here. The superstructure is wood and plasticard. The sandbags are made from greenstuff, and the razor wire is made from old foam cutter wire.

This truck painted up fast; now, I need to make up some rules to use it.

Machinas: Here comes the fire

I liked the paint job on one of the rat rods over at Scary Kustoms (black flames over a silver body), so I copied it onto this '55 Chevy. I painted red wheel hubs to inject a little more color into the car, and added a flame thrower to further press the point.

This one goes into my favorites pile. I specifically hadn't done graphics on the cars due to their post-apocalyptic nature (original paint and such having been long worn off; the priests simply slapping solid colors onto the scared infernals.) But after these flames, I may have to do some more graphics or iconography (the vehicles are owned by the Church, after all.) Or I may just leave this as the only car with something more than a solid color. If I do, I reserve this car for myself during Machinas games:)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Machinas: St. Chevy's Chop-top/Scary Kustoms

Here's my second 53 Chevy. Originally, I took just the top off, leaving the windshield to create a convertible version of the car. But the windshield was left a bit damaged, and just didn't look right, so I took it off completely.

At this point, I wasn't quite sure what kind of weaponry to add to this Chevy, so I went in to do a little more body work and filled in the cabin with green stuff to give the flat-to look. Now, I had a nice large plane to work with as I decided on armament.

A quick rummage through through the bits box garnered the pieces for a WWII German AA gun. A hatch for the driver, and the design was done.

The turret rotates. The gun assembly has a long piece of brass rod fixed tot he bottom, which fits into a long hole in the body of the car. I find that a longer hole helps stabilize the turret as well as keeps it from falling off the car during gameplay.

Scary Kustoms

Used with permission by Jon Schwartz, of Scary Kustoms
I keep going back to Jon's site, Scary Kustoms. I must have seen all of his cars at least 10 times each, and I'll keep going back to look.

I've read further that many of his engine parts are machined aluminum, some of the seats are clothed, and some of the bodies are entirely from scratch. These cars were made with a lot of skill, art and passion.

I like his Rat rods and V-wedges. I'm also partial to Swamp Thing and Mangula (look under "Latest Builds.")

The photo, here, is another favorite (I guess none of them are favorites since I seem to like them all); I think this is more of what a Machinas car should look like -- a beast of a vehicle cobbled together using parts from a score of other cars found in the Wasteland, and painted with care using rare colors to enhance the sacred nature of the vehicles. I'm gonna have to get a better saw and some machining skills.
For some great-looking cars, go visit Scary Kustoms!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Machinas: Saint Willys' Thunder Coupe

This conversion is pretty straightforward. I glued a bunch of tubes to the back of this Willys Coupe.

I've got a few more cars on the table, along with a bunch of premade weapons. I'm enjoying building the weapons just as much as I am converting the cars. (I guess building the weapons is about all the "conversion" I'm actually doing to these cars. For awesome custom cars read below.)

I've got another minigun built, as well as a flamethrower and a drum-fed, twin .50 turret with an armored shield, which will be able to rotate on the car. I just have to decide which car to put these on.

For yet-to-be-converted cars, I have a 59 custom Cadillac (with huge fins), 51 Buick (a sweet-lookin' ride), a 57 Buick Station wagon and a 57 Chevy. I might leave the station wagon unconverted and paint it pea green so that the post-apoc Griswolds can drive in the Machinas.

I also have a couple cars which are primed and ready to be painted -- my 53 Chevy flattop, Karmann Ghia, and the big battlewagon.

I was looking at some inspiration on the web when I happened upon this site. Whoa. Wow. This guy is a professional. $100+ per car is way past what I'd pay, but the work this guy puts into his cars I think is well worth the price. Sure, there's a lot of simple chopping and refitting, but he also custom builds his own chassis, roll cages, car body parts and amazing little engines. He also does some fantastic paint jobs.

These custom builds are far beyond what I will ever achieve- but they are amazing and inspirational to look at.Anyway, the site is called Scary Kustoms. Pay'em a visit and check out the galleries! (My favorite car is the "Plum Taffy" under the Sold Gallery.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Machinas: All cars gallery (pic heavy)

Here are multiviews of all my cars so far (except for the two trucks and the three unfinished cars, which I will add to this post later.)
These views will give you a better idea of how the cars are put together.

Machinas: WIP Chevy Quads

I was at Kmart to pick up a birthday card for a friend of mine, and I saw this 53 Chevy there. I already have a 53 Chevy, so I chopped the top from this one. Filled in and leveled off some greenstuff, then added the quad AA guns.

These AA guns and the two turrets on my Battle Wagon are all mounted the same way (a long brass rod), so they are all interchangeable. I can move this quad mount to the truck and put one of the tank turrets on this car (though they honestly look "wrong" on the car ... as if the AA guns looked "right.")

This was built in an afternoon. I hope my Willys and Karmann Ghia get here quick before I end up buying more than I have space for in the case. (Honestly, the paint on these is holding up pretty well, so I don't mind tossing a couple cars in the case "loose.")

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Here are my big trucks, one finished, one in progress. The finished truck carries the Nectar of Saint Mobil. It's not meant to race in the Machinas races, but if I'm going to do post-apoc cars, I'm going to do a tanker. The second truck is my battlewagon, inspired by the big rig fortress from Death Race 2000 (the Jason Statham version.) The turrets are Battlefront pieces, with barrels strengthened using brass rod. Some green stuff sandbags and razor wire complete the truck.

Using my modified Charioteer rules, each of these trucks fill either two spaces tightly (front to back), or in four spaces loosely (2x2) on my road. I'll still need to write some rules to accommodate all the new contingencies that will arise with larger vehicles like these, before I start using them in games.

And yes, I ordered a couple more cars, the Karmann Ghia I mentioned in an earlier post, as well as a drag race-modified Willys coupe. The plan is to mount twin Maxims in the windshield of my Karmann and a multiple rocket tubes on my coupe (though, I'm low on tubing, so that plan might change.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Machinas: Saint Chevy's Impala

Here's my '59 Impala converted to a Variabilis (multi-role) Class vehicle for Machinas.
As you may have seen earlier, the rocket tubes are just plastic tubing; and the gun is brass rode, green stuff and basswood.

This week, I also picked up a large COE (cab over engine) flatbed truck. Its arrangement is just like the tanker I bought with this car, but the cab is COE style. It also looks suitably retro and will fit in quite well. My plan with the newer truck is to convert it into a battlewagon - a battleship on wheels. A couple main turrets with perhaps an aircraft-style bubble turret on top of one of the main gun turrets. This is the plan - it may look too outrageous for me to follow through. It may also be so outrageous, that I have to follow through :)

I'm also looking for another car made by Maisto, a 1966 Karmann Ghia. It's a neat looking little sports car that I'd like to arm with a couple maxim guns (out of the windshield like this Impala, not hood mounted like the Hudson Hornet I made earlier.) I'll be doing some eBay searches to see how much one will cost. Granted, the Ghia is a 1960s model, but I think it has suitably retro lines to help it fit the 50s stylings of the other cars.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Machinas: WIP tanker and Impala

What? More Machinas?
So, I was sitting around this past week trying to decide what project to do next. Well, I really enjoyed doing my little death cars, so I decided I might as well do one or two more while I figure out what to do next. (And there's still a little space in my figure case. It'll just get a little tight.)

I found this little set by Adventure Wheels (a low-tier toy car maker I saw at Walmart), which included a flatbed truck (with its own nice retro look to fit into this project) complete with a car. There were quite few nice duos to choose from, but I settled on the one with the '59 Impala.

I realized I hadn't taken any shots of what the cars looked like after conversion (and before painting), but I remembered this time. The truck has had a tank from an old (1/48 scale?) water wagon model added, as well as some armor. The Impala will be a Variabilis Class car with a heavy caliber gun made using brass rod (barrel), plastic tube (support and muzzle), and bass wood (receiver), and some plastic tubing for the rocket pods behind the cabin.

Not sure when I'll get this done; I have a 60-hour week coming up at work. I'm sure I'll find an hour or two here and there, though, to knock these out.

Edit: I take back the part where I called Adventure Wheels a low-tier company; they have some great stuff in their online catalog. Go to and take a gander if you're looking to do cars of your own.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday Night Fights: AB Johnson vs. Stoker Green

“Baloney! You bet me $2, ‘n we shook on it!”

AB Johnson was hot. The fights on deck were over, and he was trying to collect his winnings from the stoker J. Green, but Green insisted there had been no bet.

“I ain’t shake on no bet, Johnson! I shook on account that I agreed wichyou that Block were the better man!”

Johnson pointed with a fist -- “See, everybody! He confessed! He said he shook on it!”

The other crewmen didn’t care much except that they wanted to get some shuteye. But they knew Johnson was a hothead, so they cleared a space in the quarters. Whether J. Green shook on a bet or not, Johnson was gonna throw hands. He was already pulling his cuffs back and pushin’ the boys outta the way. Green saw Johnson’s intentions and obliged.

“Well, that’s fine, Johnson. We can fight. But win or lose, you ain’t gettin’ no $2!”

“We’ll see about that!” And the two sailors let fly.

Green made the first move and socked Johnson in the gut, backing him up against the mess. Johnson tried to fight back but was trapped against the stove. He was used to throwing haymakers, but the cramped quarters sapped their power, and his jabs were no use against the quick Green.

Green threw another flurry of punches, working Johnson’s head, making a mess of his face and forcing him to retreat further into a corner. With no space to work with, Johnson had a difficult time defending himself and had to cover up and wait for an opening. Green, on the other hand, was having a difficult time finishing off Johnson, despite using every punch in his repertoire.

Sensing that Green was starting to tire, Johnson came out with fists flying, and managed to fight his way back to the relatively open space near the bunks. Green was in trouble; he had used all his energy early in the fight but wasn’t able to put Johnson down. But Johnson had been saving his energy, not wanting to waste it in cramped quarters. Now he let loose with his first haymaker- and it connected!

Green went down in front of his crewmates. He tried to stand up right away, but his legs were rubber. He sat there for a few moments unable to stand, dazed and smiling up at his opponent. Green was finished.

Johnson posted himself at Green’s feet and reminded him of the bet.

“I done beat you fair and square, now hand over everything you got.”

“Fair enough,” said Green as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a nickel. He flicked it at Johnson. 

“There ya go, ‘n that’s all yer gettin’ ‘cause that’s all I have. But don’t worry, you can head on down to the Lady’s Powder Store on Fifth and Market, and spend that nickel on a new face. Your mother might like it better 'n the one I done gave you.”

“My mother likes me just the way I am.”

“I reckon’ you’re right. Hell, just last night, your mother told me abouts how she likes your nice face, whiles we was engaged in pillow talk.”

The crew gasped and readied themselves to prevent a murder.
Johnson hesitated, snickered, guffawed and then let out a hardy American laugh.
He helped Green off the floor.

“Well, let’s go you sonofabitch. I’ll buy you a beer at the No. 9. I ain’t got much money, but look -- I won a nickel!”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Friday Night Fights aar

Down on the docks, “Block” Rogan made just enough money for food, a beer, and a room at the Concordia, but he was still a good son; on Friday nights, he’d usually pick up a match at the Pier 13 smoker. He called any prize money he’d win, “Mom’s winnin’s,” all of which he’d mail to his mother back in Kansas City.

This was “Tiger” Williams first match on Pier 13, having arrived from San Diego a couple weeks back.  His purpose was to stay outta jail. He knew if he threw down in the ring, he’d be less likely to get in trouble at the bars later.

The “ring” was the aft hurricane deck of an old tramp steamer, the S.S. Billy. There was no ceremony, no leadup, not even an announcement of names; Two men would size each other up in the crowd, ante and raise until a bet was reached, and enter the ring to show their cards.
Block and Tiger stepped in having gone through the money motions. There was no bell; the captain of the ship simply said, “go,” and the fight started.

The two fighters contented themselves to circle for a few moments, having not seen one another fight before. Tiger let fly his left, striking Block’s jaw, but to no effect. Block returned the blow likewise but to similar effect. The men continued to circle, prodding, looking for weakness in the other.

Not seeing much of a fight, the crowd on the tight deck got testy and issued profanities that only sailors knew. The Billy’s captain called out that if the fighters didn’t fight, he’d stop the bout and let real men fight. Block obliged the captain with a right across Tiger’s face. The hit was powerful; Tiger stumbled against the rail and shook his head to regain his senses. The ringing in his ears mixed with the yells of the spectators.

Block grinned and moved in for a quick end, but as he moved in, Tiger surprised him off the rails with two quick lefts and a massive uppercut. Block’s vision flashed and he suddenly found himself in the middle of the ring with Tiger pouring a flurry of lefts and rights into Block’s body. Block knew now that he had a chance; with all them body shots, Tiger was fighting for the long bout. If he’d wanted to end it fast, he might have tried to finish off Block right after that uppercut. Tiger was either fighting for the duration, or he was toying with Block like a cat with a mouse; His name was Tiger, after all.

Toying or waiting, Tiger was holding back, so Block decided to let loose with his all. He saw Tiger drop his center of gravity a little. He was lining up his uppercut again.  Block had the longer reach and found his distance. Keeping out of reach of the uppercut, Block lined Tiger up with a quick left feint and then aced Tiger with a mean right. Down Tiger went. There was no count. When you went down on Pier 13, you usually stayed down.

The captain handed Block his winnings, save for two bits to his corner man who didn’t have to lift a finger, the match only lasting one round. The other $5.75 got promptly sent to Mother.