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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Warhammer Empire: Watchtower

As I repaint my Empire army, I'll also show (again) some of the other stuff that's been repainted over the years.

This is my watchtower, which will be the centerpiece of my army. In my army's fluff, they represent members of a military order tasked with patrolling a river and great forest, stopping along at various watchtowers to check on the garrisons and get reports. This is one of those towers and its crew, cannibalized from various Empire artillery pieces.

The crews' bases are painted as stone because they were painted before I had built the blockhouse topper on top of the stone tower base. If I repaint the gun crew, they would get planked bases to match the wooden floor.

I'm on the fence about repainting these figures: I love the colors (and would keep them,) and even the technique is good enough for my current taste, but these were too heavily varnished, so they're not as crisp as I'd like. They look great from a distance, but up close, tiny details start to bloat a bit, and hair and wood grain (on the cannon) flatten out. For sure, I will repaint the guns -- a cannon, volleygun and mortar -- as representatives of Empires artillery mainstays, especially now that stripping paint is as simple as waiting a night :)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Getting things super clean

So why am I showing you a pair of my Sisters of Sigmar? Because 20 hours ago, they had primer, paint and a couple layers of varnish on them. I've been reading that the cleaner/degreaser "Super Clean" was almost a miraculous godsend of a paint stripper, so I decided to try some.

I soaked all of my Sisters of Sigmar in a small plastic tub for about 20 hours (overnight and until I got back home from work.) I agitated the tub two or three times for just a few seconds each. When I opened the tub this evening, I saw a lot of bare metal before I even got the toothbrush on them.

The toothbrush simply pulled the remaining paint from the figures -- there was no hard scrubbing required. Even paint in crevices was coming out easily. Yep -- miraculous was right!
I also threw in a plastic horse overnight, and it seems to have survived just fine, but I'll read some more to see what, if any, long term effects there are on plastic.

I'm pretty stoked; it's like I've just bought a whole bunch of new minis for the price of the some cleaner (around $8 for a gallon.) I used to use Simple Green; Soak the mini for a week, scrub, soak for a few days, scrub, soak for a couple days, scrub a last time. With Super Clean, the paint comes off just by looking at it the next morning.

This is bad: I might just end up chucking most of the old mountain into a bunch of giant tubs of this stuff. It's just going to make the painting queue that much longer.

A couple notes on using Super Clean:
-- You WILL need rubber gloves unless you enjoy chemical burns. Read all the warnings.
-- It will dissolve most superglue bonds, so keep track of small parts that may fall off during soaking.
-- Was previously called "Castrol Super Clean," but the "Super Clean" you can find at Walmart is the same stuff.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Warhammer Empire: Cannon in action!

I finished painting crew and basing the greatcannons. The whole group turned out nice and look lovely in the bright light. I also found time to squeeze in the painting of a master engineer this afternoon.

The tally so far are 20 handgunners, 20 crossbowmen (all previously painted),  and 24 halberdiers, 3 cannon with crew, and one master engineer painted this week.

Things will slow down a bit for the next couple weeks. I'm heading into a hellish month at work (2 days off during the next three weeks,) and I need to do some more prep work before painting more figures; I'm stripping some paint from some greatswords, I need to strip some paint from my spearmen, and I need to add shields and finish priming reiksguard. Though, I do have a few characters that are ready for painting.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Warhammer Empire: Cannon

I still have a few crew to paint up, and I'm also waiting for some proper old-school flock to arrive in the mail to make some artillery bases, but here are my cannon painted up for my army.
I also have a mortar and a volley gun, but I need to find new crews for them; I've since cannibalized those figures for other artillery and character conversions and such. The mortar and volley gun are painted, but could use some touch up.

I'm currently painting the last cannon crew as well as another four halberdiers: I've decided to go to 24 figures per regiment (except for the ranged regiments.) That way, I can ranked them 8x3 for display or 6x4 for small battles.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Empire Army: 1st Halberds done

I finished up the back two ranks of my halberd block. Nothing much new to show specifically from that work, but here's the full regiment.

Pretty soon, I'm going to need to make new movement trays, but I'm not sure if I want to go with 5x4 blocks for play, or 2x10 lines for display. I'll probably do the lines since my army will be displayed more than played. Though, I do like a deeper looking block of infantry -- maybe I can add one more figure and do 3 ranks of 7.

Next up are the other block of halberds. Most of the 2nd were already repainted but in a different scheme a couple years back. Not my best work, but it's far superior to the original work. I plan on only painting over a few items (cuffs and pants) to bring the scheme in line with my red, white and black palette. Luckily, I have some stripped, unpainted and primed figures enough to serve as the front rank for this regiment, so I can hide the overpainted ones in the back :)

Yeah, I'm just too damn lazy to strip and repaint yet more figures (several are already in the drink as I type) ... or I could be even more lazy and just have the one block of halberds, so I can get to painting some Foot Reiksguard or something. Hmm, I have a cannon and crew that's ready to go, too.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Empire Army: Empire Galley and marines!

I painted up the flag on the forecastle as a nod to an
illustration from GW's game, "Man'O'War."
I actually posted this a while ago, but since I'm launching back into my Empire, I guess I could share it again. This is my old home-made Empire galley along with a contingent of Empire marines. (There's nothing that makes them actual "marines," except that I painted them up to serve on this ship.)

The ship started off as a length of 1-inch blue foam that was cut down into a hull shape. Then I got several feet of basswood and started laying planks! It took a while, but it was worth it; this is still my favorite Warhammer piece (though I have a watchtower that's pretty sweet, too. I'll post that on another day.)

Everything on this ship is hand-painted. It took a while, but it was fun. I remember my plan was to build a full three-ship squadron. I don't have a lot of space in my apartment, but it would be worth it to make space for these ships (if I should build the other two.) The intention with the squadron was to serve as a large display base for my Empire army -- though, I don't know if three ships would be enough to hold my army -- No, I WON'T be making an Empire Greatship -- like I said: small apartment:)

Don't forget to scroll all the way down and see some land shots of my "Neptune Legion" in all it's glory.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Empire Army: Halberdiers started

Painting those terminators got me into the mood to (re)paint more of my Games Workshop figures. I collected my (fantasy) Empire army from 1988-90, with a few random acquisitions through the 90s.

A few years ago, I reorganized the old, poorly painted collection and chose some representative regiments to strip down, reprime and repaint. I actually finished a regiment each of handgunners and crossbowmen, and then my project came to halt, probably as I was distracted with whatever the latest kickstarter was at the time.

Well, I finally got back to the project finishing the first two ranks of one of my two halberdier regiments. And oh, how easy these figures are to paint, with simple poses, minimal accessories and crisp sculpting. Nowadays, it seems like it's a contest among sculptors to see who can cram the most crap onto one figure -- "He's a grunt? Put 15 skulls on'em." I didn't see one skull with these first 10 halberdiers.

The command group was actually painted earlier, but having them partially done allowed me to finish these 10 figures quickly, helping me to get into the groove easier. I have plenty of figures, though, and I'll probably not finish the entire army during this round of painting. I have yet to paint (20 figures of each): Greatswords, spearmen, another group of halberdiers, and foot Reiksguard (anyone remember those?) I also have a small group (5) of mounted Reiksguard, some pistoliers, a few random characters on foot and mounted, and three great cannon (two are painted!)

These will keep me busy, at least until the next crate of kickstarter figures arrive.
Below are some of old photos of the items I've already painted -- I guess I had a little more done than I remembered.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Satys's Orphans; The whole force

Here they are, all done!
I didn't have a set-up large enough to show them all in one shot, so here's a collage.

I also finished my converted chaplain (scroll down below the group photo). All of the bits cost me as much as just purchasing the chaplain in terminator armor via Games Workshop, but that one is made from resin -- ugh. I want my figures to not break when I look at them (though, I hear they've worked out their finecrap issues and that their resin figures are actually OK. I'm still not taking any chances.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Satys's Orphans: Librarian

I noticed that everyone -- and I mean EVERYone was painting their Librarian blue, despite the Blood Angels (represented in the Sapce Hulk box set) being red, so I figured, as a novice, something was up, and I better read up on some 40K lore before proceeding with brush.

I found out that indeed, Librarians are painted blue, but I also read that when in terminator armor, they can be the same colors as their comrades. So screw the blue, I went with my Satys green.
OK, I did do the tabard in blue to keep things somewhat "correct."

This was actually one of the easier characters to paint. He was intimidating at first look, but once I started picking items out, I realized there was actually a whole lot to him, especially compared with some of the Blood Angel sculpts -- Most of my cussing while painting many of these figures was over discovering yet more hidden purity seals as I neared the finish. There wasn't much hiding on the Librarian.

Tomorrow night, I will try to finish Chaplain Steuben. He shouldn't take too long; he's dressed all in black, and I use black primer.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Satys's Orphan's: Some basic characters

All of my troopers are finished as are these three from my HQ squad.
We have here, from left, an apothecary (converted), a standard bearer (with custom-made greens tuff banner), and a champion with an assault cannon (a basic arm-swapped figure from the Space Hulk box.)

All I have left to paint for Satys's Orphans are the librarian and a chaplain (who will lead my force.)

My Chaplain (named Steuben) has been requested to lead the young Orphan's company in place of a captain since the unit lacks any experienced (though they are competent) leadership. Chaplain Steuben is a hard leader who brings one of the most difficult training regimens along with a heavy dose of discipline. His methods are tough but not draconian; the horrors of the hulk will punish soon enough those who do not take to Steuben's lessons.

And yes, Steueben is named after the Prussian officer (Wilhelm von Steuben) of the American Revolution who whipped (probably literally) Washington's men into shape at Valley Forge.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Satys's Orphans update: Heavies and Chaplain WIP

Just a quick post to show the current progress of my Space Hulk company/Space Marine Chapter-- yeah, about that; I don't think I'll ever actually buy enough figures to field an army of my chapter, so I think I will go the company route and use my terminators as an ad hoc force -- still called Satys's orphans, with all the same lore and origins, just with a smaller force; I had only ever intended on using them with Space Hulk in any case.

Anyway, back to the figures. Tonight, I finished the last of the heavies. I have a pair of assault cannons, a plasma cannon and a flamer. I might add another flamer later (I still have a large squad's worth of other termies in my original copy of Space Hulk.)

The assault cannon carrier to the far right is a minor conversion, using an arm swap. Instead of the regular pose in which he's just spraying and praying, this one has the terminator pointing at his targets -- "calling his shots," as I tell my friends.

I also finished assembling my chaplain conversion. To make space for his crozius, I lopped off the chainfist and moved it over to the bolter for a combi-weapon (is that how that works? Yeah, I'm still a noob -- sort of.)
I like this pose; to me, it looks like he's waving his comrades toward battle saying, "Penance is this way, you sonsofbitches!"

As for non-chapter specific figures, I'm missing only a terminator with a Cyclone missile launcher, and an apothecary. The apothecary, I hope to remedy soon. I just need the right bits. I might even be able to make my own. With an apothecary, I'll have plenty of characters to form a pretty good command squad: Librarian, Captain, Apothecary, Chaplain, Standard Bearer, and Champion. I'll nominate one of my extra heavies as the champion why not :)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Satys's Orphans: In progress and a new icon

The new chapter terminators are moving along nicely. I had Wednesday off, so I got together with a friend and we had a good ole classic painting day. That's where I finished these four troopers. These models are from the Space Hulk board game, so actually have Blood Angels regalia. But regalia be damned; Mom is saving money by making the chapter wear second-hand armor.

Today, I also decided upon the chapter's icon. The original planetary defense force for which this chapter gets its members showed a lot of hubris when they faced the tyranid threat, and Satys suffered for it, so the symbol for their failure is the "Falling Eagle."

This (unfinished) version of it is simplified from my original sketch but shows the basics of the icon's look. If you're not quite sure what you're looking at, it's an eagle falling. At the bottom, you see the top of his head looking up past his belly, toward his tail.  At the top of the banner pole, incidentally, you might notice the wings are also upside down, further mirroring the falling eagle concept.

The red field symbolizes the tyranid invasion from the skies, while the green is that of the Aurora Chapter, which saved Satys from its own pride.

Variations of the banner will have different iterations of parchments and banners with the chapter (bad latin) slogan: "Hubris, Damnum -- Humilitas, Victorias."

One of my far-flung fringe hobbies is to paint full size flags. OK, I've only done two, but they turned out great. So I might do a version of this one full-sized; and yes, I'll post it here if I follow through.

Choosing the Falling Eagle as my icon has also helped me decide what kind of army the Orphans will field: A drop pod army, of course! Satys's Orphans aka The Falling Eagles (perhaps Falling Eagles could be the name of the elites, such as my terminators.)

I'm not versed in WH40K rules (the last game I played was in 1994,) so I haven't the slightest idea of what army composition a Satys force will have. I'll first figure out a tactical style and go from there. I'm sure the ideas will come as I develop my chapter some more.

Until then, "Hubris, Damnum -- Humilitas, Victorias!"

By the way, here's a flag I painted a few years ago. It's a full-size (rough) copy of the Bedford Flag, the first known flag of the American Revolution, carried by Nathaniel Page at the Battle of Concord:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Satys's Orphans: Base coat

I just wanted to show you all how I start these figures. To help speed things along, for the basecoat on these terminators (and many other of my figures) I use the same technique I use when painting my monochromatic zombies: Drybrush the hell out of them with a big brush. You can see the brush in the photo below; I used the same brush for all of the layers.

Over a black primer, I started with a heavily drybrushed/overbrushed layer of Vallejo Uniform Green. Next up is a layer of Uniform green mixed with a healthy dose of Vallejo Lime Green. Then Lime Green, and finally a little white mixed into the Lime Green.

Next up will be regular layered painting for details and equipment. This is where things will slow down again; I plan to only paint these two or three at a time. Each figure is unique enough that if I try to paint these a full squad at a time, I'll keep missing details and will have to open and reopen paint bottles.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Satys's Orphans: Banner WIP

I was tentatively organizing my plethora of terminators last night into squads and realized that with the remaining figures I could probably put together a command squad (probably not GW legal, but will look fine anyway.) But the one figure I needed that I could start on right away was a banner carrier.

So I gathered a little bit of green stuff and rolled out a back banner, capped off with a broken-off Space Hulk bit. I also threw together a bunch of purity seals and parchment. Once everything cured, it all went together quickly.

To go along with the back story of the chapter, the purity seals are mostly kept on the back of the banner to represent the chapter's humility until it proves itself in a major campaign.
In fact, I'm also closing in on a representative icon for the chapter: It will incorporate the symbol of the Aurora chapter along with that of an upside-down eagle to represent the fall of Satys. I'll hopefully be able to paint that symbology on this banner -- it's been a while since I've free-handed it with the minis.

I also ordered some bits to make my own terminator chaplain. I still need to figure out a crozius for him, but he should have enough skulls on him (and self-made purity seals and parchments) anyway to get the point across to the other squad members that this Chaplain means business, crozius or no crozius.

My command squad will have a captain, banner carrier, librarian, chaplain and a fellow with an assault cannon why not.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Space Hulk Terminator Squad

1990. That was the last year I finished painting an entire unit for Warhammer 40K, until I finished this squad of terminators. These are some DeathWing terminators I picked up via eBay to beef up the figure selection for playing Space Hulk (and also just to paint for the fun of it.)

I spent a couple weeks trying to decide on a paint scheme and to create my own chapter -- I had done enough rust and heavily weathered figures that I decided to go with an old-school, clean GW look.

After a look through the Marine Chapter lists, I found the Aurora Chapter which were a light green with black trim. I read up on their history and saw that they had fought for the world of Satys against Hive Fleet Leviathan -- and that was my entry point: This chapter is made up of denizens of Satys who survived the invasion and battle. Who better to cleanse the Emperor's space of Tyranids than those directly wronged by the merciless menace?

So I named my Chapter Satys's Orphans. I'm still a bit lazy and didn't bother filing down the badges of the Dark Angel (or Blood Angels from my SH box). I rationalize it as being second-hand armor passed down to the brand new chapter until they can create their own heraldry and icons.

They've kept the light green of their saviors, the Aurora Chapter. They've chosen white for their helmets to show that they are still "pure," that is, not yet fully battle-tested. The red accent represents their lust for blood against the tyranids.

I still think GW is the evil empire, but dammit, they make a figure that is easy to paint despite all the details (and I found myself having to go back again and again to paint missed details.) The ease of painting made this experience quite enjoyable.

I have several more terminators to paint yet. Oh, and I have all the figures from the game Deathwatch: Overkill, too. Hopefully, this won't become too bad of a habit with me and GW.