Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bill lives!

Lots of putty flying around today, so between sculpts used scraps to finish bill the half pony off.

Ironically (Well, in the Alanis Morrisette meaning of the word anyway) I also won a complete Bill the pony on eBay today. Hence a quick addition of a fringe mane.
That brings my total to five pack animals- for the raiding party game.

Kate also scored this little critter for her birthday- a converted Matakishi cat barbarian for her Amazon tribe. The original sculpt is by Aussie legend Mike Broadbent- trappings and base by yours truely.

Next to the cat is a 15mm sculpt of ghost rider I did whilst on holiday a few months ago. Sun, surf, sand, spa and a mobile sculpting kit! Bliss.
The little guy was my third crack at 15mm - this time I used paperclips for rigidity and hardened 2:1 white:black procreate. The white was hardened by leaving it out to air. This makes the perfect 15mm sculpting material as the resistance means You have to really MEAN each impression.
I am looking forward to doing more 15mm later in the year.( and before you ask -no, he is not being cast up!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bill progress

Thanks to a bout of allergy based insomnia, (try finding food without soy or sulphites in it) I found myself with a few hours to kill - too fuzzy headed on anti-histamine to trust myself to sculpt something for clients - so I got bill a little further along instead.

I deliberately made the packs different to the actual mini, since I may as well make him a variant since I am going to the trouble of building his missing half. I figure I may find one on fleabay at some point.
I have a preslotta donkey and pack mule heading my way from the uk, so that gives me four pack animals and a cart horse ready for his cart. Plenty for brigands to raid!

I am surprised by the lack of decent wagon wheels and bits available. Think I may have to make some for my mini range.

Finally felt drowsy by the time I got to doing the fetlocks- so back on the waiting shelf for ol' bill and the rest of his wagon train until the last project mutants are all done.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Frugal fruits of the foamy forrest: Making foliage for a couple of bucks

You know those times when your standing in the hobby store and you have that tub of scenic material and you know you really, really need it for your project but you just can't shake that little voice in your head that says 'Well gee willikers Mister, that's just a load of shredded foam they painted green - and by-golly thats just some sawdust dyed yellow.'  Yeah.  My inner monologue sounds like a 1950's TV kid.  Wanna make something of it?

I wanted to make something of it.  I wanted to make my own.  And golly gosh, gee... I did.

50c of cheapass gamer
 So armed with a discount store electric coffee grinder, some tubes of students acrylic and a bit of foam discarded from one of the many evicted backpackers furniture piles commonly found on any street curb in Bondi beach, I tackled my greatest challenge yet.  Make an unending supply of foliage material for the price of a single bag from my hobby store.  Coffee grinder included.

Step 1:  Rip up the foam into chunks.  Pop it in the blender and give it a few whizzes to get it into inch sized bits.

Step 2:  Take a screw lid pot, stuff in a little foam and add water.  Squeeze and stir in enough cheap craft paints to make about twenty citadel pots worth up.  Use the foam chunks to be your color guide- it will lighten up a tad, but not much.  Alternatively buy a can of house paint from the store- you can get their little computer to match a sample you already have.

Step 3:  Lay out a protective sheet of plastic in a warm, sunlit place.  Put some newspaper down on top of that.  Make sure there are no breezes or pets in your chosen location.

Step 4:  Stir in the foam chunks a handful at a time using an old kitchen utensil that has holes in it (a strainer is ideal).  Press the chunks against the sides to take out most of the paint without discoloring, then lift the batch onto the paper.  You want the paint to thickly coat the foam, so that it hardens when it sets.

Step 5:  Screw the paint lid down and store away for your next session.  Clean your tools, then go off and do something less boring instead.  Leave the foam for at least 24 hours to dry.  You can try using a hair dryer to speed up the process, but only if you want green paint and tiny bits of foam everywhere in your house.

Step 6: The foam should be crunchy dry now.  Grab that old grinder and pop the pieces back in for another whizz.  Now its crunchy, the blades will make a much finer job of shredding it up.  Make a few batches up of different sizes and mix them together for your final batch to add some natural variety.

Do not use the grinder for coffee now.  Well, hell, I am not going to stop you... its a free world after all (and if not free, certainly a lot cheaper world with this technique).  The coffee would taste like Starbucks if you did.  Always switch off a grinder before poking around inside it, even with a utensil, and never blame wargaming bloggers for dismemberment.

Skulldred Raid Project part 1

First up I have to apologise for the camera work this post.  My proper camera is not charged and I have only a short window to blog- buts since this stuffs all work in progress, it will do for now.

The gaming project I have decided to work on first is my Skulldred family battle board- the one I play my wife on.  I decided to complete everything associated with that core game first.  That means some choice scenery items, player models and tokens for things to rescue and loot.

So the project kicks off with a baggage train for adventurers to protect and raiders to raid.  My pack mule collection was rather thin- especially since I picked up a boxed set Bill the pony without reading the text and found, well... something out of The Cell.  Turns out the boxed set was incomplete by one half of bill.  If you ever list things on ebay that are incomplete, I think its polite to write that in the title for lazy people like me in general and specifically for me.  :)

Citadel packhorses- adventurers boxed set and bill the pony... uh, make that half a bill.
Fortunately for our little Demi-Bill I can rebuild him.  I have the technology.  A pointy implement, paperclip and some epoxy putty.
That leads me to a great tip... I have been using 5 minute epoxy putty to do armatures and building understructure for bases.  Its like having a slightly smelly, milliput that understands my patience is limited and behaves accordingly.  The brand I use is Knead-it.  Though it should be called Knead-it-wearing-gloves-or-you-get-a-nasty-rash.  Great stuff.
Once I get some sculpting time (commissions at the moment) I am going to place the model in front of a mirror and sculpt the B side using a bit of green stuff.  I probably will stick my tongue the corner of my mouth whilst I do so, just to enjoy the cliché.

I also started tacking down some resin treasure items to poker chips, but think I will post them once their are done.  Besides, I ripped them off from Phreeds treasure tokens on his blog.  ;)

The Adventure Ends
Citadel FS28 Slain Adventurer, Grenadier Death Giant, Citadel WF6 Aggressive Aardvark (Cerebus)
Last to begin but first to finish is my slain adventurer token, played here by a citadel FS28 slain adventurer.  The cause of his situation is Citadels, well, shall we say blatant 'omage to Cerebus.  I have decided to rebase him.  I realised he really should be on a bar room flagstone base standing on a pile of dead folk and spilt tankards.  I am also going to strip and resurface him like I did the pack mule above -he is just too rough and will look great with smooth blending and some properly defined fingers.  Still, no time for that right now, so I will leave him be- and perhaps get some Skulldred sessions in with the little guy first.
The Grenadier Death statue is is inspired by the recent Citadel Garden of Morr statue.  I realised I had just the thing for my scenery, so a quick repaint later and voila!  Again, it needs rebasing on a stone plinth methinks.  I find many of these figures on ebay that are broken.. thinking I may make a bunch of these at some stage for the table if I can get these cheap enough.

Now the progress on the main stars.  I am going to do myself a bandit warband, though since I do not have the figures I need, I decided to finish off the small Realm Of Chaos warband I started so I can game with them.

Kats Amazons rebases.  A mix of Reaper and Citadel figures
Daves Chaos raiders:  Mainly converted and Augmented Citadel 1980's chaos champion figures
So these are the best ones so far- rebasing them took the majority of time here, but I have pushed the painting along a little on my team, and scratch sculpted a chaos shield for the horned champion and blended in the new Reaper weapon swap for Big Bertha.  Lots to do still.
A spike backed chaos warhound arrived the other day, which I think will make a great addition to the team.

Well thats my hobby time all used up.  Back to sculpting figures for other people.  Hope your enjoying the blog so far.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Matakishi is the man

Matakishi is one of those I am happy to call a 'legend' in the games hobby.  His blog, Matakishi's tea house is a must read for any gamer.
It was at the tea house I learned how to make a smooth miniature surface- a huge barrier I had to overcome when I first started sculpting minis, and its from the tea house where I got my latest revalation about the hobby.

Matakishi is a projects man.  He makes small, contained projects, then works them through to completion.  Scenery, figures and often rules too.  A playable game table with everything on it finished to a good, if not excellent standard.
My collection is a sprawling, seething mix from which I pluck models to paint based on whim.  As I paint some barbarians, I know there are more in storage and more on their way from the land of ebay.  My goal has to paint complete collections of sets that interest me.  Worse still, I have several figures I want to paint really, really well... so they remain unpainted of course.
Well, readers of my blog will remember the dead energy projec, where I took some figures that, well, they where not my favourites... and I painted the living hell out of them?  That project really released some hobby karmic blockage, and I followed it with a painting spree that really dented my lead pile!

Matakishi focuses on game projects.  Small, doable and inspiring.  That ideas really got me primed up.

I am next going to attack my collection with the goal of making two finished themed warbands for Skulldred, along with finished game items to play some simple scenarios.  Everything on the table finished and to a good standard- including tokens, goal markers and a few choice scenery items.
Now... the question is what scenario?

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Jes Goodwins Chaos Familiar Demonette
A quickie but a goodie.  Jes Goodwin's kinky little demonette from the Chaos Sorcerers range- recently re-released by GW as part of the famous familiars.  Remember the beastman with the chaingun that had this girl growing from his head with her pubic hair woven into his goaty braids?  John Blanche did that little bit of 1980s Realm of Chaos Gold- you can find it in his Ratspike book along with other great conversions.  I grabbed an extra set of familiars just so I could shred them up for similar conversions.

This lass is going to have resin poured into the pool in front of her... though I may transfer her to another base first.  Not decided yet.

Realms of Chaos divide!

I really do not like square bases.  I realised my army of vintage chaos figures are just going to sit on the shelf unless I did something about it.  Inspired by Donvoss of Berlins brilliant 6 man warbands for Realm Of Chaos recently posted here on Lead Adventure I decided to move it across to 30mm round bases for Skulldred.  You can see my rant about how brilliant I am finding my new bases in previous posts.

Daves 'Eavy Meddlers -Skulldred Warband
Converted citadel warriors, Chaos Champion
Remember this conversion?  The spikey club (aka Dil-dorr- wrecker of retreats) unfortunately was just not strong enough to stay on such a heavy model, so I am replacing it with a suitable metal weapon from Reaper minis.  Needs some milliput to form a rigid support and perhaps a chain to tie it all together.
Original Chaos Warrior - Big Bertha conversion
The other conversion is just a headswap- taking the modern chaos sorcerer head and situating it on an old chaos warrior and dressing the join up a bit.  Think I will add some severed heads to that one to really tighten the look up.

The brilliant think about skirmish gaming is you really get to focus on your individual models more.  Huge armies look great, but a skirmish warband is real narrative delight.  With Skulldred, I am focusing on making a game that can play smoothly with around 20 figures per side.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Asgard, Hasslefree, Rarities and my new 30mm Ply Bases

I got a few hours to base up and partially paint Hasslefree minis Svala and dynamic kaylee-For one of my Skulldred demo game warbands (aka the orange team!).  Kev White, as usual, rocks my socks with two awesome figures, understated details, fluid, dynamic and paintable as heckaroonie on a stick.  Yep, well worth your cash - get em here.

Hasslefree Svala and Kaylee (converted) WIP paint jobs

I lightly converted Kaylee, shaving off her chaos symbol and replacing it with a grinning monster face, as well as adding extra fabric to her arms to give more space for her team colours.  All this was done with greenstuff.  I then decked out her base with mushrooms, creepers and leaves to make use of all the new space on my BRAND NEW BASES!!!!

So the story with my bases is that I really needed some extra room around my figures so they dont bump up against each other in gameplay.  I also like decorating them, so having the extra room is great.  I made a bunch of lipped deep dish bases, since I hate the way you cannot pick up lipped bases, but have had issues with leeching oils through the resin- clearly my resin is out of date :(
I decided to try out some laser cut 30mm ply discs and you know, I love them!  I am sorely tempted to move my whole collection across to them now.
What can I say?  Cheap, roomy, easy to pick up, easy to modify, light, have a little bounce to protect the figure, soak black paint up so they chip black, and look the business.  At 30mm, they are the exact same footprint as Malifaux or Warmachine bases, but without the annoying lip.  You know, I am totally sold on this.  Very surprised, considering my experience with plywood bases for HotT has been less than spectacular.
Converted Hasslefree Kaylee framed with some Asgard gems- Lizard man and Poisonous Stalker
Kaylee's shield sculpted by me.  All Work in progress paint jobs.

Kaylee vs. Lizardman wips - playin' Skulldred, naturally!
The lizardmans pokerchip base gives me room to sculpt a torn apart
adventurer using procreate.
 The figures shown are all part way through painting, really needing neatening up and a bit more shading.  The next ones are even more WIP...

Citadel WF6 Aggressive Aardvark, LE-4 The Black Dwarf and DL2 Hobgoblin shaman
Primed and ready to be drooled over.
So you can see the raw wooden bases onto which I have mounted some dead sexy rare citadel gems- including the 'other' black dwarf (see my earlier posts for the Jes Goodwin masterpiece from Asgard).

The only pain with the ply bases is that the laser scoring around the edge needs sanding off.  I found if you use two grits- course to get the lines off and a really fine to polish it really shiney, it looks just like plastic once painted.  Using a diluted chaos black wash allowed the paint to soak in- making the base absorb the paint deeply and so it chips to black- which will keep my collection looking a little less played with hopefully.  The underside, being perfectly flat, also looks nice when you flip a model on its side too- no ugly slottabase grooves.

I do worry about acids from sap in the plywood leeching into the model and causing leadrot.  A few really old models I have prised off wooden bases show damage where they contact the wood.  I have kept a thin layer of epoxy around the figures to protect them, and sealed the surface with superglue here and there.  That ought'a hold it.

I think its about time citadel allowed 30mm bases for 40k- the models have scale creep'ed to a point where they could really do with the extra stability and protection.  Don't you agree?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Victoria Lamb

Had a brilliant night on Sunday hanging out with the Ozpainters crew.  I finally got to meet the one and only Victoria Lamb.  I have been a big fan of her work for years, and have to blame her influence for the Sisters of Battle collection I have tucked away somewhere.  Check her site out and see what I mean.
We got to sit for a few hours and trade tricks and I got some sneak peeks at what she is working on.  Subjects included about all things green stuff, and I naturally asked her if she cuts her toast with her slayer sword. I know I would.
I also got to check out some minis painted by some real pros- Andrew of Aetherworks fame (and no slouch in the golden demon trophy department himself) has a brilliant collection featuring work by such luminaries as Jeremie Bonamant Teboul, Jennifer Haley and Anya. You think they look good on the interweb- you should see them up close!

I am talking about the miniatures. Sheesh.

Of course this means I have to up my game a bit - hanging out with the ozpainters sure is going to drive that.

One tip I did pick up is that my sculpting tools are just not fine enough. I got me some needles and made a new set today using a gas stove, hammer and diamond file. Tried them on my lead adventure sculpts and found I got much more control over the finer details.