Friday, November 30, 2012

Copplestone Barbarians

The weather is horrible in Sydney at the moment- a muggy, still, moist heat that lurks about my studio like a... muggy, lurky thing.

Tomorrow I raid my storage for fans and aircon units, but tonight... It was all about body oil.

Yes, its barbarian time... as I dive into a warband of Mirliton (Grenadier) barbarians sculpted by Mark Copplestone for my next Skulldred photo project. Just blocked in the base colors tonight and based them, but already they stand out as an impressive bunch.
The thing about Marks work... Actually the first of two things, is that he sculpts heroes you want to play. Looking at the batch of rank and file barbarians, I would proudly play every single one in a roleplaying or video game. They all are Heroes! There isnt a dull one in there.
Secondly, Mark is a master of clean, smooth, solid masses which make painting his models a pleasure. Plenty of room for showing off blended shading and detailing, and a simple crisp paint job make them pop out on the tabletop. His imperial guard for rogue trader ushered in the first chisel faced, clean models that formed the moden GW 'chunky-edgy' style you can see on every empire models face!

Plus he always sculpts USEFUL gaming figures... Its hard to find a post apoc, future war or pulp fan who isn't packing a few copplestone!

To prepare for the painty barbarity I watched 'The Barbarians'- a truly hilarious eighties movie of glossy muscled action. Very inspiring stuff- I must buy it for my Cheesy Barbarian film collection!

Girl: 'Hurry, fetch the virgins!'
Mr. Padme 'What, only two in the whole tribe?'
Its worth noting it could be the inspiration for Queen Amidala's costumes, makeup and hair!

Lots of ideas for barbarian caravan raid project.

Pics once I get some shading in.

Next up is a bunch of Hasslefree amazons. I am really looking forward to those- especially Delphine- nice one Kev!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


RT mandatory, right?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Project: dungeon display board

My restful few days did not pan out as I hoped, and now I have to jet off to hold some training this week, so blahdy, blah- blah-
back to far too overloaded busy next week.
At least I got some things a little further along. Here is a phew crapola iphone snaps for your amusement.

This pic- All citadel: Two generations of chaos warriors, a modern plastic beastman and paladin.

Some progress as you can see on shifting to a consistent 30mm unbevelled basing system. I got these and about twenty more figures based up and enamelled and now feel confident its the right choice.

The pic shows a placcy beastman and some chaos warriors who have haunted my desk for years - they finally got a once over. Still need to do a bit on all of them, especially the red dude, but at least they are game ready now.
The muted grey-green color scheme on the beastman really tickles my eyeballs, and I feel the urge to give him some muted magically mutated marauding mates this year for a naughty noisome, noxious nurgle... Er.. warband.

The biggest part of my hobby time has actually gone on prepping stuff for Skulldred. The following is a very bad iphoto of my test piece of an undead warband. It a 15mm Splintered Light skeletal beastman mounted on a 20mm washer.

I am loving painting fifteen mil. Its about my attention span, plus these are great figures so they pretty much paint themselves. I suspect I will be expanding my 15mm collection next year and making some magnetic sabot bases for them.

Speaking of Skulldred, I gooped and quickly painted up my prototype photo board, which will double as a sales display, product and blog photographic background, storage shelving and gaming terrain all in one. Check one project off the list!

Because it needed to be hard wearing, I tried out Kamloopians Goop recipe, (acrylic caulk, weldbond and some paint- but skipped the plaster). Its really therapeutic gooping a board.
I made the mistake of sprinkling bicarb and fine sand here and there on at the third coat, which now I drybrushed it gives it a rather amateurish terrain feel. Next time its plaster and no sand.
I still need to detail it and fix up the rough areas, but I am happy in general with it as a test of XPS foam.



Now I have to rush off and finish some commission bits! Take care and make sure you eat plenty of fruit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fifteen bucks!

Hey everyone, GW just posted a mini product under twenty bucks australian. Yeah, I know...
Five chaos cultists for fifteen bucks. Thats like... (counts on fingers) ... almost reasonable.

Keep this up and I may start buying new from the stores instead of waiting until kiddies get over zealous, buy too much, get frustrated they cant paint like 'eavy metal and ebay it.

Speaking of which, I have to make a confession... I actually have some of the new Dark Heresy minis on my desk. No, I am not being lured over to the dark side but damn, loving the new feel of the models in the last two white dwarfs. The addition of secondary masses to the chaos armor instead of blocky primary masses and fussy tertiary details add a more swollen mangabot feel that brings a great deal more interest to the designs.
That helldrake and chaos shrine are ridiculous though.

I have me a chosen squad and the painy, melty dreadnought thingie. Really cool.

Flicking through white dwarf highlights great things happening with the models. I just cannot figure GW's maths.

When they sold their figures for under three quid for five metal models I bought hundreds. Not just one army- I had a decent whack of all of them, plus bloodbowl teams. Elves, dwarves, zoats- everything! I disnt even own a copy of warhammer, let alone PLAY it.

Now the economic rule is 'set prices at what the market can bear'. But here is the thing I do not get- GW put out product at such a high mark up it forces most mortals to focus on one or two armies. More still run to ebay or leave the hobby altogether. Sure, for every old player that leaves there are kiddies to replace them... But... Why replace them? Why not take both oldie and kiddies cash?

Lets say GW slash their prices by just fifty percent tomorrow. Something well within their power, considering the mark up and manufacturing costs.
I personally would rush to GW and stagger out laden with boxes.

Over a year, I would not just grab an army, but I could easily see myself gathering up a skaven, Nurgle, Slanesh, Empire and Dark Eldar force. Plus a whole whack of stuff just for bits too to make inquisitor models.

80 dollars for a pack of three bloodcrushers? Piss off! But 40 bucks? Thats do-able. Ten bucks per model, is a reasonable price for a few days modeling entertainment and (lets face it) a diddy plastic toy. Actually, 40 bucks is pretty do-able per month or even fortnight for a large majority of gamers.

So here is a thought.

Setting up an 'common sense intervention' register for GW. You register what products you like, might buy and not only definitely will buy, but would pay right now for IF they gave a fifty percent discount. Then compare this to what you currently buy. Like a sort of reverse kick starter... where they can see the potential money and goodwill they would have if they did the smart thing.

Dave King
Current GW purchase per month: 0
Fifty percent purchase this month:
Undead throne of wibbly ghost bits...
Skaven pit aberration
3xcairn wraiths
3xnurgle lords
1xnurgle champ on horseback
Gnoblars box
Dark Vengeance boxed set
New Khorne chicky babe with wings
2x Talos Pain engines

Total income difference: $$$...well I could do the maths but yawn.
I am guessing about 400 bucks not including whim purchases such as paint.

GW would improve their image overnight and would find lost customers flooding back. Plus current customers would start collecting additional pieces that would trigger off new army collecting.

If I had any influence over GW it would be this... Go half. Half the design team. Design and Produce half the new products, combine and halve the factions in the rules (marines, inquisition and guard as one- chaos demons, beastmen and warriors as one), make kits wider in scope so multiple purchases of same box product occur (half the packaging, half stock items and tooling costs and reduce risk) and finally half the price at retail.

Why spend soooo much on new art- most of its tail chasing anyway rehashes of the same stuff anyway.
Why make a core rulebook more expensive then three video games? Cut half that crap out!

So whats your thoughts?

Would you join the Happy half club? If so, what difference in spend would you have? What armies would you collect?

Laters... Got to fly..

Weirdo wolfie

I don't know how many hours, and it is hours, I have poured over the two mini pages of Ratspike.

There are, simply nothing so wildly erratic and richly aberrant as the personal minis of JB. Especially before warhammer solidified as a concept and he just went nutso making cool stuff.
In my wildest dreams I never would have thought I would own one of these figures. These very figured that inspired me over the years.

But I do.

Weird, exciting, a little terrifying.

I am looking at the wolfman jetpacker on the above page. Its made from a galaxy ranger and what I suspect is a ral partha wolf.
And its here. I am actually looking at the real thing. The one from that photo.
It's here.
I can poke it.

Its soooooo weird.

Its like, you know when you wake up from a drunken, drug binge next to someone who looked a bit like Charlize Theron at that wrap party and suddenly after looking at her sober you realize its actually Charlize Theron... Then it puts you off your game because now its THE Charlize Theron and you are worried you might, I dunno, damage her and have, like the whole of mankind chasing after you for breaking THEIR Charlize and get put off and have awkward breakfast in silence and burn her toast and she says its okay but you both know it was okay until that whole celebrity thing kicked in and... Well you know, its kinda like that. You know.
Uh, okay, maybe just me.

Anyway, I seriously need a display cabinet thingie now.

Ps. Charlize... Call me. Sorry I freaked.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Strip tip

I just upgraded my stripping kit after picking up a couple of tips on da toob from squidgybridge here. Linky

What I picked up is not to use water near dettol. Normally I tap rinse the figures, but its a sticky mess. Scrubbing with dettol only however, does the business without the stickiness. The moment you add water, the paint gungymunge seizes and starts to stick again. Aha!
To use this trick I had to grab mah bukkit from the hardware shop.

Up til now I have been soaking my lead in glass jars, but the bukkit made so much sense. Less likely to have the bottom crack off (it happened to me) - big enough to strip a whole dragon and lets me reuse the dettol.
I am going to try muslin straining it later.

Copplestone goodness fresh from the bukkit

So armed with a stiff toothbrush I attacked what turned out to be a couple of jars mainly filled with Mark Copplestone sculpts- some future wars bikers and Grenadier barbarians (now available from Em4 and Mirliton respectively).
Thats 2 jars down, eight to go... However this is not a feeling of dread- the water free bukkit technique is effortless and far, far less sticky. Plus I know what goodies lie within those jars...

Citadel militia and mercenaries, Grenadier hirelings, the orky brothers grimm, a warband of skaven, hobgoblins and Grenadier dwarves, chaos marauders and chaos dwarves... And uh, at least seven other jars of....uh...
I forget exactly whats been soaking in there. Could be anything. I have a nasty habit of buying stuff and discovering a double in the stripping jar the next week.

Great work squidgybridge. Lead heads salute you!

I add to this that a second soak in hot water with some Jif (cif) kitchen cleaner removes any stickiness, the smell and is alkali so safe for lead.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bad weather. Bad wolf.

Great. Promised myself three days holiday before diving into my email backlog I ran up during on-site work and what do you know, humid, rainy weather.
I love this weather actually- its dramatically thundering away as I blog. However it does mean a)No resin casting or spray painting, and b) no sitting on my computer.

So I decided to cut my losses and use up the remaining batch of 3mm x30mm MDF bases while I wait. I can always sand them down a mil later if it starts to bother me.

On other news, my wife bought me this for christmas.

Its a John Blanche original, and is the very model that appears in the 1980s John Blanche, Ian Millar book entitled Ratspike.
Sorry to those who also bid on him, but its probably for the best, had you won,knowing my wife she probably would have somehow tracked you down and be quietly waiting for you in a chair in a half shadowed corner of the room when you got home, ready to convince you to rethink your purchase with deft use of gaffa tape, a car battery, a jump start kit and a looped recording of meatloafs 'anything for love' on a walkman. Bless her little cotton socks. When she gets her heart set on something!
Officially the best christmas present ever, I may have to buy her the original dental tool set from Marathon Man to compensate.
When it arrives I promise to take lots of pictures, then backwards engineer how he did his bases and do a color mix guide.
Now if I can just pry one of his yellow-orange demons out of Steves hands I can do a match for those too!
Steve also had these unreleased beauties sculpted by long time Photographer at GW Phil Lewis.

Very Bob Olley, dont you think... Hmm, I feel a new Dwerg coming on!

This is not far from a picture of a spider mutant in Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness.
Looking for the pic online I found this lovely scratch build by a cheerfully named chap called Mortis...

Very inspiring! I may have to hit the putty this month.

Another bit of arrival news to the land of lead pile (lead mountain) is a simply wonderful batch of figures that arrived today from splintered light minis. I have to just rave about these, they really raised the detail bar on 15mil. Just awesome little critters. I really dig the 15mil scene- especially painting- how fast you can knock 'em out once you know how. You can also fit a whole Skulldred skirmish game in a lunchbox.
I also love how epic it makes my 28mm game scenery look.
Now... How should I base these???

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photo/display boards part 1

Three birds with one (extruded polystyrene) stone.
I needed some cool scenery for the photos in Skulldred, some display case stands for conventions and some fun gaming terrain, but already had storage issues.
The idea to combine all three in one goes to my wife. Here is the first prototype. Man I love working with XPS foam.

So what I have is several stepped sections like this, placing 2 side by side will fit onto my office display shelf.
Each block can be used on their own as a trade show display for my Darkling mini range, and combined with other modules to make a gaming space.
The theme is an ancient dungeon ruin that has been cleared out by adventurers several years before, who then have opened it up as a new secure city to house those displaced by its monsters. Dwarf artisans are still rebuilding and reshaping the dungeon into shops, store houses and living quarters.
The boards will be a mix of upper city levels and recently discovered catacombs. Apparently not all the monsters where cleared out...

Bulletproof chip proof, ninja proof washers

Ironically, (in the Alanis Morrisette definition of the word), I stumbled upon a way to chip proof paint on washers after spending the first few hours of the morning of my first holiday in -phewwwwwaaaaages- making this little array of base masters.
I used 20 cent australian coins which are exactly 28mm in diameter, and sanded the edges smooth (Australian coins are ribbed, for her pleasure one can only assume). A bit of grit and superglue and Bob Monkhouse is your uncle- a mould master for 15 bases. If I pull two moulds from this I can demould 120 in an hour.
Yep. That should just about do the trick...

So how do you chip- proof washers?
Buggered if I know, I am not psychic... but let me tell you how I chip proofed mine.

I varnished them with superglue.

Yep, dab on a little cyanoacrylte glue and use its nylon nozzle to smooth it out around the edge. Let it dry for ten minutes and apply another coat. After a couple thin coats you end up with somewhat uneven and rounded finish, but nonetheless a tough shell over your paint coat that will survive gameplay. You can then paint your top coat over this, and I suppose varnish as usual.
I put black electrical tape under mine, to fill the hole and tidy the undersides up a bit and act as a protective cushion against scratching tables. I did this before the superglue, which ties it all together like The Dudes rug.
Its not as neat as resin bases, but is a solution to the problem.

If you have any tips for paint and washers, love to hear it!