Sunday, February 28, 2010

Birthday Swag

Well, today is the start of my 39th annual orbit of the sun. For the record, that makes me 38 years old. Right about the time I am typing this, actually. So here I sit, early on Sunday, nobody else awake in the house (yet!), sipping coffee, and thinking about... all the goodies I got! To heck with the solemn remembering of past years, etc. Let's talk toys!

First up is the really awesome totally cool super neat minis storage/travel case I got form my wife and sons. It was purchased fro Dave's Baggage Train. It's aluminum, and has a whole lot of trays in it. The case itself is pretty sweet. I think I mostly prefer the plastic trays to the wood and vinyl ones, though, as the vinyl has peeled on a couple of htem. I will contact the Baggage Train to see if I can get more sent to me. Overall, very happy. This one is the 24" tall, and I am afraid I can't use it as carry-on! Yikes! May have to get a smaller case for air travel. But the trays will fit either, so that is good.

The next set of pictures is of some really beautiful terrain boards I received (gratis!) from a fellow TMPer, sculptor, Houston area gamer, and all around great fellow named Dan Martinez, aka Cacique Caribe on TMP. Dan recently surrendered his game room to his wife for her office, and no longer has room to use or even store these beautiful boards. Rather than toss them out, Dan offered them to me. As I was going to be in his neck of the woods to see my daddy for my birthday yesterday anyway, I gratefully accepted. And boy, am I glad that I did!
This last photo is a castle that Dan also gave over. It has currently been dubbed "Fortreth of the Thugar Plum Fairieth" thanks to its pink foam construction. But it shall soon receive a coating of black paint and then texturing, etc., to become a grim fortress for the Empire. Or whoever seems in need of a grim fortress at the time. Dan also gave me a hoard of littler bits, some cliffs, hills and other really cool stuff. If you want to see it all, go check out the photos on my Photobucket account (left margin somewhere).

In addition, I also received a box of the Marksmen of Miragliano from my sister, and a check from each of my parental units, plus a few other goodies. Even coconut cream pie! All that can make this birthday one of my best ever is if the US beats Canada in hockey. Guess what I am doing at 1400 local? You bet! Painting minis and watching hockey! GO USA!

Finally, I want to mention one thing. I am seriously considering changing this blog again. I'll post a short poll on the subject to see what my followers (makes me sound like a cult leader - cool!) think about it, but one friend has pointed out to me that it can be difficult to sort through all my projects and stuff when I have it spread across three blogs. So let me know what you think. A good chunk of the reason I blog is to entertain others as well as myself, and to bask in the glow of peer approval (ha!) or to shamelessly steal ideas from those foolish enough to share them with me (that's more like it). If I do it, expect to see the list of labels/tags seriously modified. Its too long as it is, and adding more would make it worse.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Majestically Soaring

Airships Over Mars

Two photostats of a vehicle currently offered for auction via the telephonic differencing engine interchange. The builder was Arsenale Shipyards. I would be interested to learn if additional models are available from the same shipyard, and have contacted the current owner of the vessel in question.

Currently, she seems to be in need of some repair, either replacing her aerial propeller (if she is a screw vessel) or her masts need to be stepped (if destined to be a kite).

But a trim little vessel, when all is said and done, I think.

[Editor's Note: This is indeed currently for sale on eBay. If any of you try to poach it from me, I will wish all sorts of bad luck on you. I'll let you all know if the manufacturer (Arsenale Shipyards, of Florida) is still in the biz or not. It screams "KITE!" to me, but your VSF mileage may vary.]

OwlCon Gutshot Photos

The quiet town of Blood Shed, Arizona. The townsfolk have scattered, and only the gunmen remain.
"I have you now!" exclaims gambler Augustus Macrae, as he stealthily approaches his first unsuspecting victim. "Click!" said the shotgun moments later.

A powder monkey in the trees of Blood Shed.

The End of Macrae. Blasted into the next world by his son. In a bowler hat! The indignity of it all!

These photos were fun to take, but even more fun to play. Yup, I died. Again. But still, it was a good time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

OwlCon 2010 Report

Okay, so this is only peripherally related to Warhammer. I did buy some things there for the Empire army that is budding in my game room. More on that in a second.

OwlCon is an annual gaming convention held in downtown Houston, Texas, on the Rice University campus. Rice's mascot is the owl, so... OwlCon. Anyway, it is a nice little con, with a wide variety of gaming going on. Boardgames, RPGs and minis. There is a movie area (I noticed GalaxyQuest when we registered). The dealer room is not real big, and is actually the periphery of a large gaming area.

My sons and I played a game of Gutshot!, one of their favorites. If you are unfamiliar with Gutshot!, it is a Western skirmish game. One of the authors, Mike Mitchell, hails from Houston these days and he runs many a game in the area. He's also a heck of a guy, and one I am proud to call a friend. Him and the boys get on like a house on fire. Anyway, we played in his game Saturday night. As usual, the Dice were Not Friendly to Me. I had managed to get right behind this fellow, with a double barrel sawed-off at absolutely point blank range. Need to roll a 4 or better on 2 dice. Snake eyes. "Click!" went the hammers. "CRAP!" says I. Gunfight erupts, I get half killed, so does the other fellow (did better with my sixgun). Then my youngest son comes around the corner, smiles, and lets me have it. So I am dead first.

Another highlight of the convention for us is the MechForce area. These are four large booths, self-contained Mech cockpits, which are linked together to play MechWarrior. It is really very cool and fun, though the fellows in the uniforms are a bit odd. My favorite was when a gaming buddy's nine year old son whupped the tar out of two grown men who were there in 'uniforms' of their Battlemech company.

Purchasing wise, I bought another copy of the Empire Army book, but this is the original one from back in the 90s. Only $5. I needed it for the War Wagon and Kislevite rules. But the real prize was the bag of 9 Kislevite Horse Archers I got for $15. What a steal! And yes, that included the horses. Miscellaneous other stuff was bought, including the Second Edition box set of Battletech, a Sigmarite Warrior Priest ($8, NIB) so we can field that unit of flagellants, and other minor bits and bobs. Saw a few things that I am gonna want to get my grubbies on, including the GW Fortified Manor Terrain kit. Very cool. eBay, here I come (after payday...)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Empire Flagellants

Just a few shots of the almost finished test batch of flagellants. I will be putting them all in these dark red robes.

Mottoes painted on the wooden 'armor' worn by these flagellants. On the left, "Sigmar Saves" and on the right "Repent Sinner". Also, note the muddy feet...

Not done with all the faces yet. But the red-headed fellow on the left has his eyes done. "Spike" there in the middle has not.

Here's the whole group of four so far. Not done yet, but you should get the idea.

So, let me know what you guys think so far.

Beware the Ferals!

Government House Strings Anti-Flyer Netting

As shown in the photostats accompanying this article, the threat of feral Martians is quite real. The artist that captured these plates managed to catch the raiding party just as they landed. We are very thankful that the savage primitives had no idea what the box did, and that they satisfied themselves with taking items of obvious value.

Photostats can not, of course, adequately convey the terrifying screech of the primitive warriors, or the stench of their unwashed bodies combined with a whiff of the hydrium gas that their bodies constantly emit. Their weapons of bronze, iron, and even copper may look primitive, but our correspondent with the camera assures us they had no trouble butchering and consuming (raw!) several of the caravan's draft beasts. He was horrified bythe sheer volume of bloody gobbets of meat gulped down in a gory orgy of gluttony.

This raid took place close to the borders of the Crown Colony, prompting the Viceroy to issue a call for all Imperial outposts to secure anti-flyer netting for their own safety. High walls are no protection from this wily flying foe! His Excellency had steel cables strung from posts, criss-crossing the courtyard areas of both Government House and the Residence.

[Editor's Notes: Finally! The minis are from the RAFM Kraag Warriors box set of High Martians for Space 1889. I got the box at Historicon in the flea market for $18. It also includes ten flying versions of the Martians. I am still trying to decide exactly how I want to base those. The weighted bottom is my biggest concern. I like how they came out, and plan to get about four more boxes worth (total of 50 flying and 50 on foot) eventually.]

Monday, February 15, 2010

Modular buildings

So I am thinking about making a kind of modular building for my kids' new Empire army. Wall panels, gable ends, ceiling panels. Connector pieces (both end to end and inside and outside corners), doors and windows, chimneys.
How tall do you thinkI need to make the walls for a single story? I was thinking 2 inches, maybe 2 1/2 inches.
The plan is to put a layer of sculpting clay onto a pre-cut base of either styrene or thin plywood. Call it about 1/8" thick. Then sculpt the pattern into it. Make an RTV mold of that, and cast in resin.
That's the plan. What about it? I need feedback before I get started.

Terrain Idea for Empire.

I have been looking at the GW-made terrain online the last few days. It looks nice enough, and almost reasonably priced, especially if you get it as bits second-hand. Which got me to wondering about making modular buildings, as theirs look to be pretty much exactly that: panels you put together to make the building.

So that is what I will be trying to do myself. I figure if I do the walls two inches tall, that should be plenty for a story at 28mm. Right? Then make them, say, three inches long per segment. Make connectors for each segment, including corners. These should look like either a solid wooden post or dressed stone. Do both. Wall panels in two finishes: dressed stone and half-timbered. Also want to make some sort of floor panels. One that can form the underside of a balcony or overhanging second floor, one that can be a topside of a platform or stairwell or something. Gable end panels (three or six inch base length). Ceilings, both thatch panels and tiled.
Finally, for the fittings, I think a door or two that will attach to the wall, and some windows as well. Chimneys for the ceilings.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Resin Minerals Painted

I bought a pair of pieces of Armorcast's resin "Pyrite Crystals" from a local gaming shop last week, and got them painted up over the weekend. Finally had time to take a photo of them and put together a few thoughts about them, especially as compared to my previous crystal project, the green 'handwavium' ones I made of carved pink foam.

My review:
  • Nice quality casting.
  • Good stronge yellowish beige resin
  • Very little flash or pitting
  • Nice lines
  • Details okay, but not fantastic. Just a clump of rock crystals.
  • Super easy to paint.
  • Price: $5.00
What I Did:
  1. First I used a sharp hobby knife to clean up the little bits of flash, mold lines, etc.
  2. Then I washed the pieces with warm soap and water, rinsed and dried with paper towel. Let it sit overnight to air dry more.
  3. Next, a little bit of superglue to fill the few small bubble pits. Let sit for an hour to cure.
  4. Then I sprayed each piece with flat white paint.
  5. Color on the rocks was achieved by using several coats of thinned Vallejo Intense Blue. Ground color was Ceramcoat burnt sienna.
  6. Brush watered PVA glue on base (using 100 for $4 cheap-o plastic bristle brush), then dredge into my Mars ground mix, and let dry.
  7. Next morning, two coats fo Testor's gloss, followed in afternoon by Testor's flat.
  8. Will finish by brushing on a coat of water-soluble gloss onto the crystals to make them shiny.

Unobtainite At Last!

Viceroy Claims For Britain

As our more scientifically savvy readers can tell, the photostat above reveals the site of a massive source of unobtainite, the wondrous mineral that sunders the fetters of cruel gravity, binding all things to the planetary surface. Merely energize the smallest fragments of this fantastic substance with [CENSORED BY VICEROY'S OFFICE] of pure galvanic energy and soar into the heavens, shielded from - nay! repulsed by! - the gravitational force dragging us all to the core of the planet.

These crystals and the land surrounding them have been seized under law by the Viceroy himself. The discoverer of the deposit, Mister Clyde Abernathy, formerly of West Stoking, currently residing in Singh's Songhouse, Victoria Landing, has already filed suit to maintain his properly filed deed of claim on the property. The Viceroy's son-in-law and principle advisor on commercial legal affairs, speaking to our correspondent solely under the condition that his name would not be printed, revealed that the courts have already been influenced by the Viceroy, and the suit would be summarily dismissed.

Maton's Mechanical Monstrosity!

Herr Professor Doctor Otto Maton, the brilliant but utterly ruthless and maniacally despotic mechanical genius, has been at the drawing board again, developing a larger, more dangerous creature of unlimited power.

Here is the result: a massive mockery of Man in mechanical menace! Note the massive galvanic collector coils mounted on the giant's back. They supply power the matched pair of magnetic disruptor cannons which replace the infernal device's arms.

The photostat presented here was taken by Miss Eugenia P. Whistlebum during her brief but unwilling stay with the Belgian Madman. Miss Whistlebum smuggled the exposed photostatic plate out of the fiend's lair under her petticoat bustle when she was released following the undisclosed but reportedly very hefty ransom paid by her father, her fiancee and her future father-in-law.

[Editor's Notes: Back at it at last. I have some new terrain. The old handwavium crystals were made of pink foam cut with a hotwire, then painted. This unobtainite (blue, not handwavium green) is a resin product from Armorcast. Pyrite crystals, if I remember rightly. The new automaton is from Hydra, one of Matt's pulp sci-fi line Destroyer Robots, or Warbot Destroyer, or something like that. So far, it has been assembled and primed black. I hope to get a bit of painting time tomorrow night, so it may get brassy by then. The chest plates may get steel instead, to protect the delicate inner workings. Red eye? What do you think, HAL?]

How many flagellants is too many flagellants?

Crazed nihilistic homocidal masochistic fanatics? Absolutely!

Fearsome troops? Positively!

Interesting to paint? Depends on your tastes, but... possibly.

Got ten of them in today. I guess that means I will be needing a Warrior Priest so I can field the unit. Oh well...

I also got a few other neat things in today, including six White Wolves, some Skinks and various Lizardmen bits, and the Elector Count of Ostland. My pistoliers (3) have arrived as well. I need to double check the numbers on my spending so far. it seems WAY too low to me. I think I have spent more than it shows, sadly.

Finally for tonight, I am working on a big Excel project to help make an army following the newest edition of Empire Army Book. Having a few issues coaxing it out the way I want it, but when it is done I know I'll like it.

So, good night, and remember: Flogging yourself is a sin!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In today...

I got four packages today. And I bought something locally, as well. I hope my wife doesn't find this blog!

One of the four packages had Battlemechs in it, a Phoenix Hawk (unseen) and a Warhammer (unseen). I much prefer the older, unseen styles to the new ones. The seller gave me two left arms for one of the minis, not one of each. I think he is recasting, to be honest. Won't be buying from him again.

Another package was a set of forty painted Zulus that I sent off. They look pretty good.

I bought the current Empire army book at a local store. Got it for 45% off, as he had overstocked and offered it to me at cost. Now I can figure out what I need to actually build a legal army...

Otherwise, I got the next-to-newest Empire army book in one package. Very handy. Lots of good fluff material and plenty of artwork and painting tips.

I also got some minis in that I had ordered off eBay. Except for one or two things, they were pretty good. They include (already accounted for in the listing):

  • 18 Swordsmen

  • 17 Halberdiers

  • 3 Reiksguard command (foot)

  • 1 Light Acolyte

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Achtung! Panzer!

New materials have arrived on the Red Planet for the construction of an armored machine of war for the German Empire. This massive landship (name and classification unknown at the time of this publication) was delivered from KAS Wotan when she arrived this week.

This recent addition to the Imperial forces is, thankfully, not yet ready to take the field. Surely, once assembled and manned, this weapon will not sit idle. Although the journal's sources within the Viceroy's Office give us conflicting information about whether or not the landship is operated by the Kaiserlich Heer or the Kriegsmarine, one thing is certain at this time. A fiendish mechanism such as this can only be intended for one purpose: a direct assault against either Her Majesty's Martian allies, or the Crown Colony itself!

[Editor's Notes: This was a Hasbro toy, from the GI Joe line. It's called an IMP. I obtained this one for little cost via eBay after seeing some nice conversion done with one on another site. I think it will make a fine machine of war for my German 28mm forces. I've disassembled it already, and am considering the proper spray color. I might even do a naval splinter camouflage paint scheme on it. It needs to have a few logos Dremeled off, and various bits and bobs removed and added. Anyway, consider this the 'before' photos.]

European Gothic structures

If you follow my other blogs, you know by now that I have been sucked into the Warhammer world again. It's a great setting, I'll give it credit for that.

But I have virtually NO scenics for the Empire other than generic terrain. I already had a few things for the Lizardmen I was using for VSF, with a similar tropical feel. But half-timbered buildings? Wattle and daub? Nein.

Anyone have easy ways to make these buildings? I will need at least:
  • Tavern or coaching inn
  • Farmhouse
  • Two or three townhomes
  • Barn/stable
  • Outbuildings
  • Sigmarite Shrine

Friday, February 5, 2010

A River Runs Through It

   Found this posted on TMP (The Miniatures Page). An interesting idea for what looks to be reasonably attractive, cheap do-it-yourself river sections. I hope the blog owner doesn't mind me sending extra traffic his way.

   Essentially, he uses cheap vinyl tile as his base and some silicon caulk for building the banks.

   Personally, I think cross-pollination of blog ideas like these are a great thing. The more exposure to good terrain tips, the better, I say.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Lizards of Lustria - In the Beginning...

...there were lizards. Then the frogs (Slaan) worked their diabolical mage-science on them, and made Lizardmen. Not satisfied with that, they made different types: Saurus, and Skinks, and even Kroxigor.

When it was decided we would forge a path back into Warhammer, I knew we had to have a Lizardman army.

"Why?" you may ask?

Simple. I already own quite a few, all painted up and ready to go. They can pull double duty for me: Venusian lizardmen for my VSF Universe and Lustrian skinks, saurus, etc. for Warhammer. Being a cheapskate, I think that is great.

At this time, I have the following already painted (*indicates the unit includes a champion):
  • 1x Saurus on Cold One, black and red
  • 9x Saurus warrior, black and red (plastic)
  • 7x Skink archer, green blue and yellow (plastic)
  • 10x Skink javelins, red and pink*
  • 10x Skink javelins, dk. blue and lt. blue*
  • 10x Skink archer, green and yellow (plastic)*
  • 10x Skink archer, red and orange (plastic)*
As far as the unpainted ones go:
  • 1x Stegadon
  • 2x Skink champions
  • 1x Skink champion (plastic, 6 ed.)
  • 12x Skink spears
  • 6x Skink drummers
  • 1x Skink totem bearer
  • 10x Saurus warriors (plastic)
  • 2x Saurus spearmen
  • 22x Skink archers (plastic)
  • 1x Skink warchief (triceraton skull helmet)
  • 1x Saurus Cold One rider
  • 3x Saurus Temple Guard command (hero, standard, music)
Somewhere I have some more Skink totem bearers that I have modified to be hauling really big clubs, but I am not sure how many. Five, maybe. And, I think, a Skink shaman. Need to dig those out.

Unobtainite Deposits

Yesterday I went to a game store in Houston, the venerable Nan's Too. Anyone who has gamed in Houston during the past, oh, 20 years or so, knows Nan's. The nice thing about this place is that, being so old, you can find some older stuff there. I found some older GW minis that I could use, but more to the point for this blog, I got a package of resin "pyrite crystals" made by Armorcast. Got the package for $5. Haven't compared that price to current website price, but it seemed good. Just wish they had had a couple more packages.

The plan is to turn these crystals into the wonder mineral "unobtainite" for Victorian Science Fiction. It cancels out the effects of gravity when exposed to electricity. More power, more anti-gravity.

The resin has been washed, dried and primed. Next step is to get to painting. Blue crystals, red Martian landscape. I'll put photos up when I get some work done on it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Emperor Karl Franz Orders You to Buy!

Well, the first army that my sons and I decided on was the Empire.

They have lots of neat infantry, knights, cannons, and steam tanks! Plus, I already had a couple of things from many, many years ago. Namely, a Great Cannon and the War Wagon. Now, the cannon lost its crew somewhere along the way, so I had to buy two of them off eBay. But the War Wagon is complete. Just needs to be reassembled and repainted. The old paint job leaves a LOT to be desired. But then, that was 18 years ago.

So, this week, I have ordered:
  • 2x crewmen for the cannon
  • 8x knightly orders (plastic box set)
  • 1x Burning Sun Grandmaster
  • 1x Burning Sun Standard Bearer
  • 1x Reiksguard Hero (mounted)
  • 1x Light Wizard
  • 1x Acolyte
  • 17 x Halberdiers (plastic)
  • 18x Swordsmen (plastic)
  • 9x Handgunners (plastic)
  • 1x Engineer
  • 3x Reiksguard (foot) - a command set
  • 6x Knights of White Wolf
  • 1x Mounted Warrior Priest of Ulric
I suppose I need to get painting. Fast. I need an Army Book, too, if anyone has one they don't want, let me know. So far, I'm into this for $158.46. Not including shipping for some of them.


Project List Updated

Two posts in two days! Amazing!

So, nothing much today. I updated my Current Projects listing. A few comments regarding that:

I abandoned the plastic pre-cast rivers project. I decided they looked nice, but were too much work overall. I got about half or three-quarters done with them, but will not be finishing. Anyone wanting them can have them for shipping costs. Let me know (email is probably best).

Quite a few projects have been finished. They are marked "DONE!"

A few new projects have been added, as well. These include Martian Canals, Resin Rivers, an Ethership Field (on Mars) and a Mine Entrance (also on Mars). I was thinking of casting the canals for fun and profit. Anyone interested?

On a final note, having done a lot of re-organizing of my gaming space and looking over all of the stuff I have, I am thinking I need to get to work on more projects! With the newly cleared area available to work again, I think (hope, pray) you should see more activity in that regards and on this blog as a result.

For those of you who have remained with me through the dry spell, thanks. I hope you find some interesting new content here in the coming weeks and months.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RTV Purchased

   I bought this past weekend the first RTV I have ever had.

   For those of you who don't already know, RTV stands for Room Temperature Vulcanizing. It's a silicone rubber material used to make molds for casting resin, plaster, etc. It generally can NOT be used for lead - the temperature is too high, melting the mold. I believe there are some types that can handle the high heat, though.

   What I got was a Smooth-On product, called OOMO 30, IIRC. It mixes in equal parts by volume (easy!). I have read good things about it on the internet, at TMP and other places. Found it at a local art supply store.

   So, obviously, the plan is to sculpt up some items, make molds, and get to casting. Some of these things will be scenics related, so I thought I would mention it here. Specifically, I want to create some doors and windows to be attached to buildings, in both 15mm and 25mm scales. It is a pain to try and scratch build them each time, so I am going to try and create some good masters to cast from. Might make some railings, chimneys and such, too. Start simple before trying something ambitious.

   Anyway, wish me luck. I have a nasty feeling I am gonna need it. When I get a space cleared to work on it, I'll get to work. Hopefully, pictures and such will be involved as well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Toys in Post, Warning of Heresy

   Friends, I have what most of us would call good news, and what many might consider grave news.

   Good news first: I have gotten more toys in via the post office! Received today were:
  • 15mm Japanese, painted (16 cavalry, 2 guns, 4 crew, and 17 infantry). Rebase these fellas and find them some command, and we're ready for Japanese Imperial troops on Mars.
  • Hydra Miniatures' Warbot Destroyer.
  • Miniaturicum Paint Rack (via Hydra)
  • Picquet Main Rules, 2 ed.
   The grave news is that my sons have expressed a desire to play (shudder!) Warhammer Fantasy Battle! Not surprising, as it does tend to appeal to younger players more than historicals do. So, I've been buying more GW stuff. Empire and Lizardmen mostly, as we have a friend with Orks and Gobbos, Dark Elves, and Chaos Beastmen. Luckily, I have some old Empire stuff (a cannon and a war wagon) and a goodly number of skinks and saurus, plus a stegadon. Plus, both are available rather cheap right now.

Goals for February 2010

As part of my ongoing commitment to getting a dent in the lead pile (which grows daily, somehow, even though I have sold off things and traded away others), I am trying to set achievabel goals to complete each month. Some of the things I will do are projects already started but never actually finished. Some are totally new.

Without further ado, the list for February:

  • Finish current vessels for Republic of Venice's Aeronef fleet (need some more ships)
  • Finish ten Hydra Miniatures Vardu sprout warriors
  • Finish projects from January that are undone
  • Repaint on old edition of GW Skink Stegadon for Venus
  • Ten 28mm Copplestone German Marines as Atherbattalion
  • Armorcast Gothic Laboratory Power Generator

It's a short month this month, so I think that's a good amount. Wish me luck!