David's Painting and Modeling Log
Painting Tally for 2014:
Painting Tally for 2013:
Figures: 284, Vehicles: 18, Assorted Street Furniture: 20
28mm Samurai and Bakemono: 9, 28mm Victorian Adventurers: 23, 6mm Fantasy: 763
Painting Tally for 2012:
Figures: 274, Vehicles: 22, Assorted Street Furniture: 14
01 February 2014
26 Mid Tech Militia, 21 EF Red Guard, 2 Saurians, 3 Zas Mercenaries, 2 Protolene Mercenaries, 1 Freakshow Mercenary, 1 Virushi, 47 Trees, 257 6mm Fantasy Figures
I managed to complete my fourth 6mm Fantasy Army in just under two weeks of painting. Figures are from Irregular Miniatures Italian Wars range, sourced from Eureka Miniatures. The spearmen with shields are from Irregular Miniatures Medieval and Feudal range.
Based upon a historical Italian Condotta army of the late 15th Century (and one of my favourate wargaming periods), the League Army in Rally Round the King has most of the strengths, and weaknesses, of its historical model. I need to replace the Pike unit (at the front of the second column from the right) with several more militia infantry units but this will probably have to wait until March before I can get figures for them.
While waiting for stuff to dry, I fossicked through some boxes in my cupboard. I knew I had some terrain pieces that had come from various friends over the years and I eventually located a total of 47 resin conifer trees. These have now all been painted up to boost my terrain box - and, more importantly, I was able to clear a box of "stuff" out of storage. I think I inherited these trees (and a box of resin stream sections, hedges and stone walls) from either Chris H, when he moved to the UK, or Dave, when he got out of 15mm figures. This means that the resin material probably originally came from Military Miniatures back in the early 90's, when they were still at Marua Road and prior to their take-over by Battlefront.
The Virushi are a Minor Race in Traveller, famous for both their size and their pacifism. Back in the late 80's or early 90's Grenadier released a pack of alien characters in 25mm scale for Traveller. Recently on the Facebook 15mm Science Fiction Group, Jim K posted pictures of an undercoated Virushi from his collection. At this point I remembered that I also had a Virushi. The Grenadier figures were small, or true, 25mm scale, and the Virushi actually scales reasonably well with 15mm figures.
While I was at it, I completed another squad for my Alien Legion. The Alien Legion, or Murkhida Kargesu (literally "Stranger Force"), is a multi-race mercenary formation deployed along side citizen ground forces by the Geithurian Republic, a polity in my Traveller campaign.
In this group we have (from left to right): Saurian from 15mm.co.uk as a Gherlach; Freakshow Mercenary from Critical Mass Games as a Kalar-Wi; Protolene Mercenary from Critical Mass Games as a Vargr; three Zas Mercenaries from Critical Mass Games; another Saurian as a Gherlach; and another Protolene as a Vargr.
These guys are Earth Force Red Guard from Rebel Miniatures. Once I started painting them up, I really fell in love with them. I have decided to make them Ingeki Kargesu - "People Forces" - the Lift-capable, citizen-recruited formations deployed by the Geithurian Republic in my Traveller campaign. The Ingeki Kargesu and the Murkhida Kargesu are deployed together during Ground campaigns.
I started with a base coat of Midnight Blue over my black undercoat. I then did the armour in dark grey and the face mask and gloves in Vallejo Grey. Goggles were done with a Tamiya Red and the face shield (slid back on the top of the helmet) was done in copper.
One pack from Rebel gets you two and a half squads, which is good value for money. I saw a post from Rebel today indicating that a command and heavy weapons pack for the Earth Force Red Guards will be released soon.
The Earth Force Red Guard are slightly taller than old skool GZG marines, which puts them right in the middle of the height range for current 15mm figures.
Back before the 15mm Science Fiction revolution, there was just Ground Zero Games, or Peter Pig, for useful Science Fiction or Near Future figures. A while back, I bought three packs - 117, 118 and 126 - of Harderned Militia from Peter Pig's AK47 Range 17 range. As I was finishing up the Earth Force Red Guard, I began to get the beginnings of an idea for a ground force campign set within my Traveller campaign. Hunting out my three packs of militia, I managed to finish them as three infantry squads in three days, even though my Tamiya Sea Grey - the uniform base coat - was on its last legs.
I had some fun varying the skin colour of my militia, effectively making this the most obviously racially intigrated human unit I have painted. Peter Pig figures are a lot of fun to paint, and are very well animated and proportioned.
With three squads, I pretty much had a platoon, so I needed a couple of platoon officers. Looking in my lead cue, I found a couple of Red Aliens with Pistols from Peter Pig's War in the Age of Magic range. I had painted a couple of these up as adventurers back in 9 October 2012 and 01 June 2013 but this was the first time I had opted for a paramilitary uniform.
I think that these figures really work as officers - even with the archaic swords. I do need to give them shoulder boards or flashes to show their rank, though.
I packed some of the Peter Pig bases to give the figures some height, but the majority of them are just based as is. Yes, there is a planet where everyone is 5'2".
04 January 2014
The Housekeeper at the End of the Year
I didn't manage to add any more to my 15mm tally before the end of 2013, but I did manage to complete three 6mm Fantasy armies in the period October - December for a total of 763 of the little guys. As I also managed to get in the inaugural battle of my Rally Round the King campaign I was well pleased with my progress.
Figures by Microworld Games
Figures by Irregular Miniatures
Figures by Baccus6mm
I've quite enjoyed my 6mm project and have a human army and a Dark Elf army still to paint. I want to get a Dwarf army and an Orc army to round the campaign out.
07 December 2013
21 Cultists, 1 Calamite Preacher, 2 Tracked Drones, 5 Casulaties, 1 Uhul, 1 Mercenary Fighter, 3 Essence Warriors, 2 Civilians, 20 Darghaur, 9 Protolene Khanate
Another burst of painting through October ground to a halt when I discovered Rally Round the King - a set of Fantasy rules from Two Hour Wargames. I've been looking for a set of Fantasy rules, on and off, for years and now I think I've found them. Since then, I've been painting 6mm Fantasy armies, and some of the results can be seen on my other blog.
I am starting to get enough casualty markers that I can actually use them in a game, and my intention over the Christmas break is to get at least one game of either 5150: New Beginnings or 5150: Star Army played so I can use my markers.
These two tracked Gun Drones, also from Ground Zero Games, have been sitting on my painting table for many months. I got them assembled and completed the bases, and then just could not come up with a paint scheme.
Since I picked up 5150: Star Army from Two Hour Wargames, I've been thinking more about my military units and their organisation. I've decided that the Mid-Tech troops who use the Combat Wombat 8x8 LAV use Gun Droids for squad SAW and Heavy Weapon support. That gave me the camo pattern I wanted and I finished off the models in the same Blue and Grey camo as the LAV's I have had nearly finished for a year or so.
When Ground Zero Games released the Darghaur as part of their Tomorrow's War range, I knew I had to get some.
Turtles, crustaceans or beetles? Unlimited possibilities for aliens with BFGs (Big Farkoff Guns). Once I picked up the Tomorrow's War supplement, By Dagger or Talon, I had a fair idea as to how I wanted to paint them, how they were organised, and that I needed to get some more packs.
While the basic Darg fire team numbers three, there are a lot of them. The basic sidearm is a cannon, and each "ten" has a couple of heavier support weapons and can only be described as a shoulderd mortar.
There are elements of the Darg species, as described in By Dagger or Talon, that I really like, and there are other elements, such as the mysterious "psychic eyesight", that I don't like so much.
One of the things I do like about the Darg is their caste system, and how, the higher up the command chain an individual is, the more impressive their antlers are. The colours identify the '1000', the '100', the '50' and the '10' the individual belongs to, which is odd as they are blind to what we consider the visible spectrum.
Rather neatly, these visual cues are described as marked upon the individual Darg by members of 'the slave races' - alien sepoys psionically dominated by the Darg and used as shock troops by them.
There are a lot of interesting ideas wrapped up around the Darg, and the concept of a remorseless, psionic, invading force just begs to be borrowed for my campaign.
For a change of pace, I completed a member of the Mercenary Fighters 1 from Critical Mass Games. He was another figure that had sat around for a while before I decided to do his armour panels in grey and his undersuit in a pale greeny-blue. I was quite pleased as to how he turned out.
His companion is from Peter Pig's Hey! You in the Jail range - unarmed Townsmen. Peter Pig figures tend to be true-15mm scale. With this townsmen, I packed his base with a bit of card before texturing it, which is why it looks rather round. But, you will notice, the townsman is now slightly taller than the Mercenary Fighter, who is fairly slight for "modern" 15mm.
While I still have a couple of Ground Zero Games Kra'Vak grav tanks and grav APC's to finish painting, I managed to locate the last of my Critical Mass Games Protolene Khanate Mercenaries to finish off my Vargr Combat Platoon. I had sufficent figures to fill out the short squads, plus make two command fire teams. Again, I undercoated in black, and then used Tamiya Clear Red X-27 for the body armour. Equipment belts are brown and the colour flashes identify the unit.
As part of my quest for Essence Warriors, I repurposed some fantasy figures from Eureka Miniatures.
Left to Right: from Eureka's 15mm Samurai range, we have a Geisha who would make a great 5150: New Beginnings Trophy Wife, or a Crime Boss, or a psionic. Then, from Eureka's 18mm Fantasy Range, an Elf Sorcerer from the Elves of the Lofty Spires range - slightly modified as I cut off his staff; a Wood Elf Mage, also with a modified staff; and an Orc Shaman.
Interestingly, of the four, the Geisha and the Elf of the Lofty Spire are closest to what we consider 15mm. The Wood Elf is very tall - obviously from a low gravity world - while the Orc is shorter and chunkier and so would make a good High Gravity worlder - if you ignore the skull obsession.
This is the second of a set of Uhul I bought from 15mm.co.uk's SHM Fantasy range, sculpted by Eli Arndt. The first Uhul I converted into an Essence Warrior but this one had a more primitive vibe about it, so I left it with its hand axe. I love the details on the face of the shield - the face could be a motif, a psionic spirit focus, or any number of things.
All in all, a pretty productive month. At the moment I am taking a little break from 15mm Science Fiction while I paint up some 6mm Fantasy armies. These I hope to use over the Christmas break as I kick off a Fantasy campaign.
Finally, a group shop to give you an idea of how the figures relate together size-wise. The Geisha, third from left, is probably closest to the "average" 15mm size while the Peter Pig civilian, second from right, is a "true 15mm" on a raised base.
12 October 2013
18 Insurgents, 2 Robots, 3 Fabricants, 5 Agents, 1 Essence Warrior
August was another diversion month. After finishing painting up some more figures for In Her Majesty's Name - a Victorian Science Fiction Skirmish Game (pictures of these figures, plus accounts of a couple of battles, can be found on my VSF blog, (The Inward Curving Isentropic Endoscope of Doctor Cornelius) - my copy of Ronin - a Samurai Skirmish Game - arrived from Osprey, quickly followed by an order of 28mm figures from Dixon Miniatures.
I finished eight figures for Ronin, a mixture of Samurai and Bakemono, as well as building a Japanese thatched hut, before hitting a temporary wall. To get things going again, I switched back to 15mm for September, managing to knock off 23 figures - the bulk of which were NVL Insurgents from Pico Armour.
The little, "Wal-E"esque, droid is from Ground Zero Games' Workbots. I really like this little bot - I added a Gundam decal to his front and painted on some blinking status lights. Rather than painting him yellow or orange, I opted for GW Bestial Brown, a nice red-brown. His tracks were painted grey and then dry-brushed with gunmetal while his running gear was also painted Bestial Brown.
His venerable companion is the Elderly Kendo Master from Highlander Studio's Space Pals Pack 2. Another nice sculpt from Rod, and nice to paint up.
I picked up Rebel Miniature's Gang Task Force a couple of years ago, and it's only now that they've come to the front of the painting que.
While a couple of the poses look a little awkward but, on the whole, I do like this set. I wanted them as either characters, or contractors, or security specialists.
When the skirmish film noir game The Department came out last year, I took the opportunity to pick up a selection of the figures released for the game. The three on the left are Fabricants - like Replicants from Blade Runner - a disguised Fabricant, a "bare" Fabricant, and a "femme fatale" Fabricant (with a carving knife behind her back). The slightly retro robot on the right is from Ground Zero Games' Humanoid Bots pack. I first painted the bare Fabricants metallic blue, but this made them very dark and hid all the detail. I then drybrushed them gunmetal, and lightly drybrushed with copper. I redid the faces to make them more steel-like. The overall effect, especially with the GZG Bot, is of spun aluminium, which was a pleasing result. Eyes were painted red.
This last group are from Oddzial Osmy's Science Fiction range, Insurgent Pack 1, the Insurgent Command pack and the AP Team. I picked these up from Pico Armour. I'm very impressed with Pico Armour's service; good communication, reasonable international postage and rapid delivery.
14 July 2013
16 UNSC Marines, 1 Grav Tank, 1 Grav APC, 1 Light Grav APC, 1 Mule and trailer
After the great painting total for May, June was a bit of a bust. Busi-ness, crappy cold winter weather, and the destraction of discovering the Victorian Science Fiction skirmish game, In Her Majesty's Name, pt a bit of a crimp in my time.
I did get to complete a few things, though, including the last of my GZG High Tech Grav vehicles. I also finally bit the bullet, gave up on trying to print my own decals, and found some Bandai and Skytrex decals to work in their place.
The last three of the High Tech Grav vehicles consisted of a tank, a light APC and a standard APC. As I recall, the light APC was intended to be a command vehicle. I decided to use it for the scout platoon of my Marine Company. I will have to get a few more of these to have enough capacity to move the entire platoon.
The light APCs look like they would hold six infantry. For my scout squads, I decided that they would probably drop the missile launchers that are included in the standard squads, but retain the Squad Support Weapon (SAW). As a six man squad, they would be more like light infantry - and deployed aboard starships as security units when not serving as scouts in a ground capacity. Each scout Company would have a Heavy Weapons platoon from which heavy support weapons, such as missile launchers and Fusion Guns, could be assigned to squads as required.
I had this inspiration to make up a couple of squads of Imperial Navy Security troops for Traveller. NavSec are Navy personnel assigned to shipboard security, when Imperial Marine troopers are not available, dockside security, and Shore Patrol duties. NavSec wear yellow combat armour, as they are meant to be seen, and are armed with tranq round loaded snub pistols, and gauss rifles. Squads only tend to break out the tac missile launchers with gas rounds when holding a perimeter.
I picked up a couple of packs of old style GZG UNSC Marines from Eureka Miniatures. I decided that, as I was going to make a couple of NavSec squads, I would do a couple of head swaps.
The most obvious candidate for a head swap is the pointing marine. His helmet/head was relatively easy to remove, leaving a clean set of shoulders, and I was able to drill a pilot hole for the replacement head. In my bag of GZG heads were two heads wearing berets. I wanted to make a sergeant figure for each squad, so the beret heads were selected and attached.
For the second sergeant/head swap, I selected a patrolling figure. His head was harder to remove, but by carefully cutting around the base of his helmet, I was able to use a pair of pliers to twist the head/helmet clear. By wrapping the jaws of the pliers in tissue paper, I was able to save the helmet. When the new head was glued and set, I glued the helmets to the waist of each of the sergeants - they take their helmets off and attach them to their belts while they direct their squads in Shore Patrol or hatch security.
I was relatively happy with the finished marines, even if my photos didn't come out the best. After a conversation with a couple of the guys on the 15mm SciFi G+ group, I decided to try varnishing one squad (I used GW 'ardcoat) and, when dry, going over the figures with GW Devlin Mud to add highlighting.
And here is another mule and trailer from Ground Zero Games. This time I went for a beat-up look - I painted the vehicle orange, and then dry-brushed it with GW Ice Blue. This gave the vehicle a "distressed" look, as if either it had had a crappy repaint, or its repaint was wearing off because it hadn't been primed properly.
As with the mule I finished back in January, I decided to do a head swap on the driver. This time, I decided that I wanted a Vargr driver, so once the NAC driver's head was removed, I replaced it with a wolf's head from a pack (Pack 42) I bought from Peter Pig.
As with the earlier mule and driver, I painted up the jacket as a heavy-duty cargo coat as the driver is also the cargo loader. I'm quite pleased with how he turned out.
Just looking at the mule again, I'm thinking that an aerial might work well - perhaps mounted on one of the back corners. I'll drill a hole tomorrow and try one out, I think.
I also finished painting several 28mm Victorian Science Fiction figures for In her Majesty's Name. These are the first 25mm+ figures I've painted in over 25 years. More details of them, and pictures, will be on my VSF blog.
01 June 2013
40 Mid Tech Infantry, 1 Adventurer, 1 Praesentia Ancient, 1 ZAS Mercenary, 1 Protolene Mercenary, 1 Mercenary Drop Trooper, 1 Freakshow Mercenary, 5 Civilians, 1 Fereen, 2 Casualties, 32 Protolene Khanate, 1 Grav Tank, 2 Grav APCs, 2 Light Grav Tanks
May was a very productive month. The Mid Tech Infantry were almost completed in April, so I finished them first. Then, inspired by some work I did on the Imperial Marines for my blog, I began kncoking out grav tanks and APCs. Along the way, I finished some Protolene Khanate from Critical Mass Games - for use as Vargr ground troops - and a Kra'vak - now Vargr - tank, as well as a group of civilians and adventurers, and some more members of the Alien Legion.
May was also head swap month here at David's House of Knives. I ended up doing four head swaps - my victims were the crewman of a GZG mule, the commander of a GZG Kra'vak tank, and two GZG UNSC Old Style Marines - and I swapped in two Peter Pig wolf heads, and two beret heads from the GZG head sets. And best of all, I didn't suffer any scalpel-induced injuries.
I have had two GZG Kra'vak tanks sitting around for a couple of years, waiting for me to decide how to paint them. Having finished my RAFM Vargr, I suddenly got inspired to paint up my Protolene Khanate figures as Vargr ground troops. As Vargr starship design seems to favour lots of angles and spikes, having angular and spikey tanks seemed logical as well. The Kra'vak vehicle commander lost his Kra'vak head and gained a "vargr" head, courtesy of Peter Pig's wolf head set.
The Protolene Khanate figures were a joy to paint. They have lots of fine detail and are beautiful little sculpts. I decided to go with 8-vargr squads and tried to get a nice mix of poses and equipment. A helpful chap on the Google+ Traveller group pointed me to an old Journal of the Traveller's Aide Society article (JTAS 21) which suggests that Vargr groups capable of deploying organised ground forces tend to adopt Imperial (ie 8 man squad) organisations, so that was a good pick by me!
The basic armour colour was Tamiya Clear Red over black undercoat. Depending upon how dark or light I managed to get the undercoat (basic black and water), depends on how dark or light the armour came out. Unlike the RAFM Vargr, the Protolene Khanates have a long pony tail or crest that hangs down the back to waist level. I assume that this a cultural thing as I really didn't want to cut them all off.
The Praesentia Ancient is another great figure from Critical Mass Games. I haven't read much fluff about the factions in the CMG-universe but I gather that the Praesentia are an old, High Tech species. They seem to be few in number, deploying lots of droids. I gather that the Praesentia continue to grow as they age - the Ancient is taller than an Enlightened, who is taller than a Phase Shifter.
I see the Ancient as a Yoda-like Essense Master for Blasters and Bulkheads or a Psionic Warrior my Traveller players may meet if they go out into the wilds of the Outrim.
The Gizbin is another of Eli's sculpts from 15mm.co.uk's SHM range. I actually painted up two of these - this one is a generic mercenary. He has a great collection of pouches and bags on his back.
I also finished up a group of civilians for use as crowd cover or colour. From left to right, we have the doctor from the Unarmed Space crew by Splintered Light Miniatures, a female civilian and a thug from 15mm.co.uk Laserburn range, and a civilian from the Ground Zero Games Civilians, Colonists and Cops pack. I love how in the Laserburn future of the 1980s, kneepads and shoulder pads were going to play such a prominent role.
My next pair come from Brigade Models and Peter Pig. The blue wormy, to the left of the Marine, is a PF sculpt from Brigade's Alien Creatures pack. I concluded that there was no reason why this alien creature could not be intelligent. The two horn-like appendages could actually be manipulators of some sort, or it may have other limbs or tentacles hidden away in internal recesses. Alternatively, the creature may have evolved intelligence without becoming a tool user, or it might just be a non-intelligent animal.
The young lady to the right is from Peter Pig's Warfare in the Age of Magic - a Red Alien with pistol. As with other figures from this range, I have opted for a more conservative paint job - less flesh and more clothes.
I do like the Fereen. With their long coats, wrist weapons, and strange beards, they are really interesting character figures. I'm looking forward to painting a few more of them up, and their companions mounted on goranax's.
The fembot, from GZG's humanoid robot pack, is one of those 70's design things that make you go "why"? Seriously, boobs on a droid? Apart from inviting all the ribald comments about where it might store its body pistol, I have always struggled with the concept of highly anthropomorphic machines as, for a machine, anthropomorphism isn't terribly efficient. Having said that, the fembot is a very nice sculpt and could even be a woman wearing a 70's form-fitting pace suit or body armour.
I haven't done much work on my Alien Legion for a while - apart from adding a couple of APCs to their motorpool back in March. I have now completed another fire team, and added an officer I've been planning to add for two to three years. Three of the squaddies are from Critical Mass Games excellent Mercenary range - a Mercenary Drop Trooper, a fighter from 'The Freak Show' mercenary team, and a ZAS infantryman. They are joined by a Gizbin from 15mm.co.uk's SHM line, and will serve under a Vargr officer - a Critical Mass Games Protolene Mercenary fighter.
I do like Eli's SHM sculpts - there's a nice chunk and heft about them, and yet they still have a lot of surface detail that rewards careful painting.
And finally, I'm really making progress on my Marine armour - having hit upon a paint scheme I was happy with, I was able to paint up two to three vehicles every couple of days. One last set to finish and then I'll get the decals on them.
12 May 2013
2 Mid-Tech SAWs, 1 Alien Civilian, 1 Captain Bytt's Gunmen, 1 Ursoid, 5 Adventurers, 4 Civilians, 1 Casualty, 7 Vargr, 2 Grav Tanks, 1 Grav APC, 1 Light Grav Tank
Once the Mid-Tech Infantry (Battlefront PAVN) where completed, I managed to finish off a goodly few character figures before April was finally over.
I finally finished the second of my Khurasan Miniatures Ursid Mercenaries - I finished the first one back in October 2012 - and you still have to appreciate the humour of a cigar-chomping, sunglass-wearing, fusion-gun-toting bear as a character.
Bearboy's two companions are the Courtesan and the Preacher characters from Splintered Light Miniatures Unarmed Freighter Crew pack. Both are, to my mind, excellent likenesses for the characters in the "Firefly" TV series. It is interesting comparing these sculpts with the doctor and the Captain and First Mate from Ground Zero Games". Splintered Light figures are very slim - not unlike Peter Pig miniatures - and are probably more in scale, while Ground Zero Games figures tend to be chunkier but look better from the more standard 3' viewing range.
As Peter Pig figures tend to be slighter than most of the ranges I usually paint, I experimented with the storekeeper by padding his base with a packer (a piece of card) before covering it with my usual Polyfilla and sand. While not changing his mass, his height now matches most other figures and so he looks "less small", if you see what I mean."
The woman and child may be from the Plains Indians Women on Foot pack, but is still a nice figure.
The Highlander Studios American Adventurer is from Rod's "Frank Chadwick's Space: 1889" range and actually looks a bit of a rogue to me, with his Franz Josef-style facial hair, his natty little swag bag slung over his shoulder, and his pistol. His topper looks in pretty good nick, though, and I gave him a red bow tie and a fob watch chain. Again, a great figure and fun to paint.
The Brigade Models Civilian Alien Bearer and the Critical Mass Games Alien Mercenary are two further examples of P.F.'s sculpting prowess. The Civilian with the backpack could have been a student on his O.E., or a tramper. I picture him as a bearer - paid to carry other people's luggage or cargo - hence his knee and shoulder pads. The Alien Mercenary is one of Captain Bytt's Gunmen and has interesting body armour and a short barrelled/wide bore hand gun. He's painted up in the uniform of the Geithurian Republic Alien Legion.
I think the young lady in the "Daisy Dukes" and the cowboy boots is Darla, from Highlander Studios, though I can't find a picture of her.
From Khurasan Miniatures Federal Citizen Dependents set, I've managed to finish the pregnant female and the young boy, nice to add to my growing civilian crowd. And the woman with the gun is from Khurasan's DPLS Crew. I see that I painted up the DPLS Captain back in February 2012.
Speaking of time in the painting queue, doing some work on a Traveller Marine Division TO&E finally encouraged me to finish up some of my grav armour from Ground Zero Games. These tanks and APCs have been sitting around since Christmas 2010 so it's great to finally get them done - just need to put some decals on for the finish.
These are the last of my RAFM Vargr, also known as the War Hounds of Sirius. Five more Vargr "other ranks" and two character types. Fun to paint, but I'm looking forward to the Protolene Khanate figures from Critical Mass Games.
And finally, I finally finished off the bases of two more SAWs for my Mid-Tech Green Force. These figures started life as Afrika Corps figures from Battlefront, but I have modified their Heavy Machine guns and tweaked things like ammo boxes.
Not pictured is another casualty figure from Peter Pig, now completed. I'm trying to get a couple of these through with every block of figures to keep things interesting on the painting side of things as, while painting bodies is quick, it's not hugely exciting.
20 April 2013
37 Mid Tech Infantry, 2 APCs, 5 Monkey Boys, 4 Scatter Terrain pieces
I had hoped to update this log around the end of March but .... stuff happened. March was a relatively productive month, figure-wise, in that I started and finished a sizeable number of North Vietnamese, painted up as Low/Mid Tech Troops or Mercenaries. The figures are from Battlefront – their PAVN Company box – which a mate of mine picked up for me at half-price from a local model shop. The figures themselves are very average, and some have rather odd proportions. I have heard that the sculptor was under time pressure to produce them but, it seems to me, to be rather counter-productive for a manufacturer to release substandard miniatures as the figures are essentially the “face” of the company.
Anyway, the PAVN work fine for Science Fiction mooks, which is what I wanted them for, and I have the other half of the Company to paint up this month.
I also finished painting, and slightly converting, another two Siku Armoured Personnel Carriers. The only changes I’ve made, besides adding the base, was to add an aerial and the dome on the rear deck. The dome is half a wooden bead, with the gaps around the edges filled with PVA. I am now in the process of finishing off some decals which, I hope, will complete them.
I now have five APCs – enough for a platoon of four squads and a Headquarters vehicle. These will probably be the rides for my Alien Legion unit, or could be rides for other Mid-Tech forces, such as the PAVN guys I mentioned above.
These Monkey Boy Mercenaries are from Highlander Studios. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them but when I saw them, I just had to have them.
The set consists of three Chimp gunapes, a Monkey Boss, and the Gorilla Heavy Weapons guy. The Chimps have body armour while the Monkey Boss appears to have a jacket and tie. I ended up painting the jacket as body armour, but it is open at the front so, perhaps, the Boss has just climbed into his armour to deal with whatever business requires his attention. The Gorilla doesn't appear to wear body armour but has a stogie clamped in his teeth.
All of the boys have bags of character and would be ideal for Zhuh-zhuhs for 5150: A New Hope, or for Uplifted Apes in a Judge Dread game.
And finally, some scatter terrain. I had some dried flower stems, dropped on my car by a tree I park under near work. After spraying them with polyurethane to seal them, I superglued them to bases made from fragments of a DVD I had cut up with my tinsnips.
The rocks are sandstone, picked up from our houseminding/holiday at Maraetai two years ago, and also glued to the bases. I then PVAed the rest of the base and dusted it with sand.
After painting the sand various shades of brown, with grey highlights, I flocked the bases sparingly, and then finished off with some lichen. I find myself returning again and again to dry steppe or desert terrain for my scatter pieces – not sure why.
The green bush is actually a segment from some sort of plastic green plant mat I picked up at the $2 Shop. I lightly painted the spines black, and flocked and painted the base of the plant a woody brown.
I'm slowly starting to get together a reasonable amount of scatter terrain with these pieces, my red desrt pieces and my various pitcher plant pieces. I do need to get on and finish some buildings so I can make an urban environment as well.
24 February 2013
9 Aslan, 5 Vargr, 3 Cnidarians, 2 Zonii Warriors, 2 droids, 3 civilians, 4 Casualties, 1 shipping container
February has proved surprisingly productive, painting-wise, though I did have several groups of figures at the almost-finished stage at the beginning of the month which helped.
I continued on with my Aslan from RAFM (well, they call them Car Leonis Warriors but we all know that they are Aslan), completing another nine figures in the colours of the four e'kho of the main huiha (clan) in my Traveller game. I have seven left to paint - one of which will be a RPG character figure.
Along with the Aslan, I also completed five more Vargr (also from RAFM, and now called Warhounds of Sirius).
I really like these old style figures, with their laser rifles and their autorifles. While evoking an earlier era of Science Fiction, they are easily as detailed and complex sculpts as any produced today.
Another four casualty figures I bought from Peter Pig also bit the dust, this month. Two, at least, of them are from the World War II range. The completed figures actually look better than in this picture - the overhead camera angle and natural light are a little harsh.
Also from Peter Pig and their "Men of Company B" Vietnam range comes this porter with handcart from the Porters pack (No. 47). Again, the idea was to give him a bit of a Bladerunner vibe, for The Department or for Blasters and Bulkheads.
A couple of droids were also completed - these, indeed, might be the droids you are looking for. The little dumpy dustbin guy is from Ground Zero Games' SG15-V13 Workbot pack. His friend is yet another great figure from RAFM's Support Staff pack.
I actually painted the humanoid droid bronze, and then dry brushed him silver, but in today's light he has come out a lot more silvery than in real life.
This is a "two unit" container I picked up last year from Daemonscape. While a 25mm scale container, it actually works very well for 15mm. I had considered sticking some nubbins on it and converting it into a prefab house, but the resin pit near the top rim inspired me to "muddy" it up a bit, like the many hundreds of shipping containers I see when I drive past the container wharf at Ports of Auckland. So this container has seen some hard work and spent a bit of time outdoors on a dozen different worlds.
The Cnidarian Overlords from Khurasan Miniatures are one set of figures that are seriously under appreciated. Inspired by a combination of tube worms and other members of the cnidarian family, the Cnidarians are a very alien-looking species.
Sadly, my set had an incorrect selection of tentacles - too many of one side and not enough of the other. Rather than mess around getting Khurasan to send me more tentacles, I discovered that the sets, and the weapon/tool/device they hold, are actually reversible. These guys are going to be the Big Bad in my Traveller game.
A while back, Brigade Models started stocking a line of 15mm Science Fiction figures - some of them sculpted by our favourite French sculptor, P.F. Here's one of his civilians - a rather portly chap, possibly a merchant or a tourist. Again, a nice sculpt of a fairly normal thing (a civilian) but kicked up a notch by alienification!
And this fine fellow (above) is a Baroka Crime Lord - another of my friend Eli's sculpts that 15mm.co.uk have picked up for their SHM range - I'm guessing at the links, here, as my psychotic laptop won't let me connect to the site. I seem to remember Eli describing this guy as a gang boss (well, that's the title 15mm.co.uk have given the figure). Works for me. Or a wealthy, elderly patron, or a senior citizen out for a walk.
The Zonii Mounted Warriors from Darkest Star Games were a lot of fun to paint. I went for a lighter pallette and painted the Zonii body armour/exoskeleton carapace yellow with a GW Devlin Mud wash. The lighter bases - Vallejo Japanese Kharki with Tamiya Dark Grey scattered rocks and then with Galeforce 9 Arid Static grass - really seem to have lifted these guys up. Very pleased with them.
All in a all, a surprisingly productive month with new figures, like the Zonii, explored and existing and on-going groups continued.
02 February 2013
3 cargo pallets, 6 Cave Lizards, 1 Imp APC
A hot January (average afternoon temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius) and a very busy time at work has really put a dent in my painting time for January. I have several groups of figures very close to completion but, after a ten hour work day, having paint dry on my brush before I can actually get it on a figure is rather discouraging.
These little guys, to left, are Cave Lizards from Splintered Light Miniatures. I saw them a little while ago on the Splintered Light Website. At the time, I thought they might make interesting science fiction figures and, after receiving a pack, I am very pleased with how they turned out. After undercoating with a very watered down black, the base colour is Vallejo Prussian Blue and the crest is GW Blazing Orange. Eyes, claws and teeth are GW Skull White and the bases were painted Vallejo Japanese Uniform Kharki, before having some of my dry grass flock added.
I added a faint dinosaur stripe pattern in Vallejo Japanese Uniform Kharki along the lizards’ spines which looks quite good. The cave lizards will be hunting animals for the mounted Zonii warriors I received from Darkest Star Minatures.
Also finished this month were three cargo pallets for the mule I completed at Christmas. Each cargo pallet is different with one loaded with pipes, the second with a barrel and some boxes and the third with other various boxes. The pallets fit quite snugly onto the mule and its trailer and are nicely detailed. I haven't attached them to the mule or trailer so I can also use them on the grav utility vehicle I have already finished, or as street furniture.
And finally, I finished the second of two Imp APCs I received from RAFM last year. The Imps are very nice vehicles but can be rather swear-inducing to assemble. Getting the basic box shape of the body together is the key to the final completion of the vehicle. I intend posting an assembly guide in the near-future to assist anyone else interested in these great little vehicles.
Once again I used my faux-urban camo scheme on the new APC, and finished it off with decals from the Hammer's Slammers range from Bad Idea Games. The Ace of Clubs on the front upper panel is from a set of generic World War II vehicle markings. This time, I replaced the wire aerials I added previously with bristles I repurposed from a hearth brush. The wire aerials look nice but I kept impaling myself on them so the bristles are a lot easier on the user. I went with the autocannon option on both vehicles as I'm not such a fan of the dual missile boxes. The bases are 2mm plastic card, textured with Polyfilla, coated with sand and PVA, undercoated, painted Tamiya Olive Green XF-58, and then flocked.
Painting Tally for 2012:
1 Athena VTOL, 2 Casualties, 2 Freighter Crew, 1 Mule, trailer and load, 2 Vehicle Crew
Not a huge load of stuff painted for December, but there's quite a bit "almost done", so I think January's total will be much better.
After much dithering around, I finally finished the Athena VTOL from Brigade Models. A relatively simple resin model to put together, I could not come up with a paint scheme I liked until I saw one on Dropship Horizon that inspired me. Where ChrisK went grey/blue and grey, I went shades of blue.
This is the first vehicle I have painted since I saw a Robin Fitton Youtube clip showing how to outline vehicle panels with a wash. I'm very pleased how the GW Badab really gives a three-dimensionality to the various panels and fittings on the model.The wingtip engines are poseable so I tilted them a little to give the impression that either the plane was about to go from verticle to horizontal flight, or that it was about to land. After a lot of thought, I decided to leave the tail ramp up, though I was very tempted to leave it down as if it was unloading.
The decals are a mixture of the Bandai decals I managed to pick up in Sydney in 2011, and some from my first attempt at creating my own. When making my own decals, I discovered that a standard printer does not print "white", which was a nuisance, and that I will have to play around with the font settings a bit more to get "Bold" and "Outline" sorted out.
The model is quite large - 165mm x 150mm x 30mm. Brigade's website says that the Athena can carry a light tank, an armoured car or a couple of squads of infantry, and I can easily believe that. The actual boxy passenger-carrying body is about 30mm wide by 70mm long and while smaller than an Imp - the Imp is just a little too wide to fit - it would be possible to fit a Gekotaa, particularly if the top mounted gun was struck for shipping.
The model was a pretty clean cast in all - I seem to recall Tony from Brigade telling me that he was having some issues casting the tail boom - and what bubbling or pitting I found was mostly on the underside of the boom and most of it could either be cleaned with a knife or filled with a thick coat of paint.
And finally, a comparison shot between the various transports I have now completed - Left to Right: MT32 Buffalo Troop tansport from Daemonscape; Athena VTOL from Brigade Models; and a ZHI-111 Chinese Assault Lander from Combat Wombat.
After my initial experiement with abstract casualty markers back in October, I've decided to go with a more "realistic" look. I finished these two just before running a Traveller game for some friends. They were very impressed with the casualties and liked using them in the game. I will have to try and make some casualty markers for aliens and people in battledress, etc.
From Ground Zero Games' Free Trader Crew Pack A, I have finally finished the Captain and the First Mate. Very nice figures and very evocative of the two characters from Firefly.
Also inspired by Firefly is how I painted up this mini-mule and trailer from Ground Zero Games I received back at the beginning of December. I decided that I wanted a civilian version of the mule and so performed my second-ever head swap. Unlike the Ventauran I operated on back in January, the Mule driver had high shoulder pads and very little neck. Even so, his head came off surprisingly easily. I then filed his face a little to remove details and glued his helmet to the wing of the mule as a crewman's high-vis safety helmet.
I then replaced his head with one wearing a bandana from one of the Ground Zero Games head packs, turning it to one side a little. I also had to rebuld his shirt with a little DAS as I didn't get the drill to quite go where I wanted while drilling a hole for his neck peg. Finally, I repainted his body armour as an old style stevedore's coat with the padded shoulders. I'm very pleased with how he came out.
Lastly, I finished off the two vehicle crew who came with the Light Utility G-Sled I received from Ground Zero Games way back in December 2009. I discovered that, as I haven't glued the Mule crewman in place, the G-sled crew also fit the Mule's cockpit. As I have a second G-sled to paint, I'm thinking that head swaps might be the order of the day for their crew - I have some Peter Pig wolf heads so I might be able to make some Vargr vehicle crew!
1 December 2012
I have a little Christmas order on the way from GZG which includes some of the new Tomorrow's War riflemen and aliens, so that's something to look forward to.
9 November 2012
10 Vargr, 12 Aslan, 1 Razor, 18 Sons of Thunder, 8 Meckanoids, 1 DPLS Crew, 1 Heavy Weapons Crew, 2 Draco Aganath, 1 Grath, 1 Essence User, 1 Felid Baron, 1 Container, 1 Imp APC
October was quite a successful painting month - 56 figures, a container and an APC. Carrying on from September, I completed the rest of my pack of Sons of Thunder from Rebel Miniatures, along with another two Draco Aganath Battlesuits from Critical Mass Games as Walker/Support mechs.
I think that the GW Bleeched Bone body suits and the uniformed helmet and gloves actually works as a colour combination. The Draco Aganath suits were a little harder to co-ordinate, colour-wise, but I'm quite happy as to how they have come out. The twin-barrel autocannons make, I feel, formidable assault or heavy support weapons and, as each squad includes a heavy weapon as well, I don't think that the Sons lack in the fire support department. And if they are tunnel fighters, as I'm coming to think of them, then the lack of other vehicles isn't such a problem. Though, I have a couple of, possibly, 10mm scale science fiction half-tracks that might work to move the squads around. The Sons of Thunder have really grown on me, which is rather ironic as I have had a real mental block as to how to paint them since I bought them back in 2010.
Next, we have a collection of "adventurers". From left to right, a GZG Civilian/Colonist converted into an Essence User for Blasters and Bulkheads; the Mechanic from the Khurasan Miniatures DPLS Crew; and a Grath gunman and a Razor Mentalist from Rebel Miniatures 5150 Aliens pack.
The GZG Colonist actually has quite a detailed costume – I’m quite looking forward to detailing the second cast of this figure from the pack. I decided to convert this one into an Essence User for Blasters and Bulkheads and decided to paint him up in the style of late Luke or Anakin Skywalker. The light sabre is a piece of plastic rod with a DAS guard, though I’m still not happy with how the “blade” came out. Matt at The Closet Gamer has done some great work on light sabres, so I'll have to go through though his pictures again and see if I can replicate the effects he has achieved.
The DPLS Mechanic from Khurasan Miniatures is a lovely little figure. She has a pistol in her right hand and a huge, kick-ass wrench slung over her shoulder. She has various bags and satchels and some sort of welding mask slung at her belt.
The Grath and the Razor are part of the 5150 Aliens pack from Rebel Miniatures - along with the Hishan I painted up back in March 2012. The Razor is cast in a bikini-like costume. I wasn't too wild about the bikini, so I decided to paint her up in a motley body suit. The Grath is heavily armed and armoured - more para-military than Mr Bad Attitude, who I painted up in August 2012, and shorter.
I picked up two Imp APCs from RAFM during a sale and have finally finished one of them. I decided to go with the dual autocannon remote turret rather than the dual missile box turret. I quite liked the look of the digital camo mask patterns that Critical Mass Games has been advertising and wondered if I could recreate the pattern myself.
I started off with a pattern of grey squares and rectangles and then outlined them with a pattern of brown zig-zag lines. They actually came out quite well, for a hand-painted pattern, so I'm quite pleased. The coloured decals are from the Hammer's Slammers range from Bad Idea Games, while the Ace of Spades on the front upper panel is from a set of generic World War II vehicle markings. I drilled a hole in the back left corner and glued in an aerial made from a high tensile wire quilting pin. The high tensile wire resists easy bending but can catch the unwary by surprise so I may have to reconsider the aerial.
I do like the Imp but it was a real pain to put together. I'm working on the second one at the moment and have been taking pictures as I go so I can write up a tutorial.
Back in June 2010 I picked up some Meckanoid Grenadiers from Khurasan Miniatures. At the time, I was a little underwhelmed by them - in particular their chainswords. In December 2011 I finished some Sybots from Astro Miniatures, painting them up in a nice, new Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue. This colour has become my preferred colour for mechanical men, and I used it again to finish off my Meckanoids. The chainswords have become taser weapons and the Meckanoids are now security droids. The unit numbers are from a sheet of Ban Dai decals I picked up in Sydney at the end of last year.
Also floating around at the back of my painting table, are a set of resin cargo containers I picked up from Daemonscape at the same time I bought the MT32 Buffalo Troop Transport and the MT28 Big Rig. While both the Buffalo and the Big Rig are 6mm scale, repurposed to 15mm, the shipping containers are 25mm scale - yet, I think that they work very well with 15mm figures.
I still have the "1 unit" cube and the "2 unit" small container to finish, but I am happy with how the "3 Unit" long box has come out - even the bit of damage from the resin casting (over the Essence User's head) has painted up nicely as damage to the container.
The Khurasan Felid Baron is a nice figure, and another one I've had in my painting cue for a while. Even though he lacks the mane of the more traditional Aslan figures from RAFM, he still looks sufficiently Aslan-like for me to use him as an Aslan leader. I've painted up his battledress with a gloss-red anti-energy weapon finish. He has a helmet slung at his belt and some sort of data link and smart-bomb launcher attached to his backpack.
He stands at least a head taller than the Essence User, which makes sense as Aslan are generally two metres tall, and he is in Battledress. By the way, the Essense User has a moustache, rather than an expression of apprehension that a big Aslan is standing behind him.
And speaking of Aslan, I picked up the Baron to paint as I have finally made a move on my Aslan - some of these I secured through an eBay lot, but the bulk of them come from RAFM's 15mm Science Fiction line where they are now known as the Car Leonis Warriors. Back in the day, these were the ground breaking 15mm Traveller figures sold by Citadel Miniatures in the UK and, in my opinion, on a par with the Laserburn range, now sold by 15mm.co.uk, and superior to the Martian Metals Traveller range. The Car Leonis Warriors only have five poses - two with long guns, one with pistol, a leader type, and a (female?) com tech or merchant. I decided to attempt to mix the poses across my four units, and have each unit, or sept of the clan, in a different coloured uniform - so there's the red, blue, yellow and cherry septs within the larger clan.
Along with the Aslan/Car Leonis, I've also made a start on my Vargr - also originally from Citadel and now from RAFM, where they are listed as the Warhounds of Sirius. I've been tossing up between the RAFM Warhounds and the Critical Mass Games Protolene Khanate for Caninoid figures to represent Vargr in my Traveller campaign. In the end, I've decided to use the RAFM Vargr as character figures and for skirmish games, while the Protolene Khanate figures will be for more military style games as the RAFM fugures have limited body armour.
Like the Aslan from RAFM, the Vargr have a limited number of poses - four with long guns (rifles and laser rifles), a pistol-armed leader and a leader in a robe. Again, I mixed and matched the figures and, as Vargr like bright colours, mixed and matched their costumes to try and make the group look more random. As these figures are intended for skirmish games, I have based them with my gray street/building interior basing style.
Finally, I finished basing up a Heavy Weapons team. When I first started buying 15mm Science Fiction figures from Ground Zero Games, I bought a number of ESU Naval Infantry to complement my ESU Star Fleet. I envisioned the ESU as having first class, starship carried, ready reaction forces - like Traveller Marines - backed up by hordes of poorly-equipped militia/local Planetary Defence Force troops. For the militia, I used World War II Nationalist Chinese from Eureka Miniatures. I was surprised to discover that while a lot of Chinese wore cloth caps, a number wore German-style steel helmets. Not liking the Chinese Heavy Machineguns, I was able to lay my hands on some World War II German guns which, with the addition of a large drum magazine, fitted in quite nicely with my militia.
And that's it for another month - have just received some tanks and APCs for my Aslan from Ravenstar Studios and have figures from Khurasan Miniatures and Rebel Miniatures on the way. I aslso have the rest of the Aslan and Vargr to finish and it may be time to start on the Felids and Protolene Khanate troops. Alternatively, I have more Martians, adventurers, colonists, creatures and other stuff to paint up as well. No sign of the Lead Mountain decreasing in height - by much, anyway.
9 October 2012
16 Space Demons, 1 Steppe Tiger Cart, 6 Sons of Thunder, 1 Draco Aganath, 2 Casualties, 1 Captain Bytt's Crew, 3 Free Trader Crew, 1 Hero of the Resistance, 2 Red Martians, 1 Ursoid, 2 Essence Users
September was a very productive painting month, with some long-standing fixtures of the lead mountain finally finished off. I also experimented with some casualty figures figures I bought from Peter Pig.
I enjoy reading 5150: New Hope battle reports, and seeing photos of them, but I'm not too keen on the 'tip the figure over when he's knocked down or a casualty' style of play. After getting some NAC casualty and medic figures from Ground Zero Games, I wondered about making generic casualty markers from amongst Peter Pig's wide selection of casualties. The red casualty and the grey casualty on my standard street/indoor base style were meant to introduce the 'Dead' and 'Knocked Down'/'Out of the Fight' casualty results. I then succumbed to the niceness of the Peter Pig figures and painted two in a more realistic style - one on a street base and one on a field base. Comparing the results, I'm coming to the realisation that I actually prefer the realistic casualty bases to the counter-like casualties of my original idea - though the lighting in the photo is rather poor which makes a proper comparison rather difficult.
Peter Pig figures are true 15mm, which can make them look rather small in comparison to other ranges. The Red Alien Princess and Hero from Peter Pig's War in the Age of Magic range are nice figures, and have been sitting around on my painting table since I completed the Large Green Aliens in July 2009. The both the Princess and Hero were presenting a little more skin than I was interested in painting, so I gave her a slip and, inspired by the last few episodes of "Firefly" I was watching, I gave the hero a long-sleeved shirt and trousers with leg-seam stripes. The doctor is from Ground Zero Games' Free Trader Crew and Passengers Pack B and is a very nice figure.
You have the right to arm bears - yes, we all did the bear jokes when Khurasan Miniatures first released their Ursid Mercenaries. I don't know how long my Ursids have been sitting in my painting cue, but the first one is finally finished.
Standing about 20mm tall, the Ursid literally stands head and shoulders above the Mechanic and the Ambassador from Ground Zero Games' Free Trader Crew and Passengers Pack B, as well as Desiree Kim, a Hero of the Sepulvedan Resistance (TTC-1403) from Khurasan Miniatures. Desiree Kim is a very slim sculpt when compared to the Ground Zero Games women but, as people are all different body shapes and sizes, I think she works.
As part of my project to create science fiction street furniture, I bought several figure packs from Peter Pig'sVietnam Range. Amongst them was a buffalo cart (number 16). Initially, I was just going to scifi up the buffalo a bit (I added a second pair of horns to it), and then I thought of the Steppe Tigers I had to hand from Highlander Studios. With a steppe tiger to draw the cart, I had another thought - I replaced the cart wheels with Combat Wombat Fat Bob tires and created something that you might see on a frontier planet.The Fat Bob tires have a smaller diameter than the original cart wheels which lowers the cart's ground clearance. This, in turn, makes the steppe tiger a good fit to draw the modified cart, as the tiger is shorter at the shoulder than the original water buffalo. I added a harness pad made from DAS modeling clay to the tiger's shoulders to attach the cart to.
I've been having difficulties logging onto the 15mm.co.uk website ever since I suffered a computer meltdown a few months ago. Consequently, I don't know the catalog reference for the HOF Retained Knight I've converted into an Essence Warrior, except that he was part of the Command pack and had a Maltese Cross on a staff in one hand and the "frisbee of doom" in the other. I picked up the Command pack back in October 2010 and they've been sitting around, half-painted, since then.
While the Retained Knights have a bit of a retro/40K/Buck Rogers vibe, this chap with his robes, cross on a stick, and freaky frisbee was a little over the top, even for the Ion Age. But, he does look a lot like a certain evil Emperor from a certain Space Opera movie franchise. And then I discovered Blasters and Bulkheads - a Goalsystem Space Opera skirmish game ... . The slight, bearded Essense Warrior beside him is a member of Khurasan Miniatures' Federal Citizens or Commercial Freighter Crew - TTC-3002 - who, in turn, look a lot like the crew of a certain deep space hauler who find a mysterious crashed ship of alien origin, much to their regret.
The Retained Knights are pretty tall armoured guys, which is why I think of them as good Space Marine substitutes. As you can see, the Knight is as tall as the Ursid.
In the last few days of September I saw some pictures on TMP posted by Jason of Micropanzer Wargame Studio. He had painted up a set of the Sons of Thunder from Rebel Miniatures. I had bounght a pack of these back in October 2010 and, at the time, had not been terribly impressed. Stuck with a sort of steampunk image in my head, I couldn't think of what to do with them. Having decided that they were going to be either Gdiem or Geonee in my Traveller campaign, and having decided that they live in subsurface warrens, it occurred to me that, like the Kamperelians, the Gdiem might use Walkers to support their infantry squads rather than vehicles. I had got a couple of Kaamados Dominion Draco Aganath Maxima Battlesuits from Critical Mass Games at some stage, and it looked like a Gdiem/Son of Thunder might very well be able to use the chest unit as a control pod for the Walker.
I also managed to finish the last of Captain Bytt's Crew from Critical Mass Games, Captain Bytt himself. Captain Bytt reminds me of Tharg the Mighty, the Alien-in-chief of 2000AD Magazine from back in the 1970's/1980's.
And I finally managed to finish my Space Demons from Khurasan Miniatures as well.
31 August 2012
29 Sahadeen, 2 Sahadeen War Maidens, 1 Grath, 1 Mercenary Fighter
July was dominated by sickness and computer problems and I just did not feel like painting. When my painting energies are low, I like to take on a unit as uniforms are quicker and easier to paint than a series of one-offs. So, in August I blew the dust off my Sahadeen from Rebel Minis and got started on them. The upside of starting a uniformed group is that I invariably end up completing a couple of one-offs as well.
The Mercenary Fighter (left) is from Critical Mass Games' Mercenaries Range and is yet another of PF's slim, armoured sculpts. He ended up with Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue body armour, Tamiya X-15 Medium Blue under-armour and a Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey visor.
The Grath (right), from Highlander Studio's Z-cubed, D-cubed range (which, I understand, stands for, "Zap! Zap! Zap! Die! Die! Die!") is a hideously strong alien gangster, featured in Two Hour Wargames' 5150: New Beginnings game setting. After initially giving the Grath a black suit, I decided that a medium blue one looked nicer, especially with the white shirt, metallic grey buttons and Hobby Colour Wine Red kerchief and bow tie. Grath are described as "green skinned" and I think I used GW Dark Angel Green for this gent's hide.
Grath are large - and I'm picking that this one is about 8' tall - nasty, and generally do not play well with others.
Way back in May 2009, I bought a pack of Sahadeen from Rebel Minis after seeing a review of them on the Dropship Horizon blog. I eventually bought a weapons pack and a pack of Sahadeen War Maidens to go with the basic squad and then I got stuck for painting ideas.
A thread on TMP discussed the lack of suitable cold climate troops - the only figures people could suggest were either a small range from Khurasan Miniatures (which I can't find on their website) or the Scandinavian Federation figures from Ground Zero Games.
It was at this point that I began to wonder how the Sahadeen might look if painted up for a cold climate.
I decided that the breather masks would be GW Scab Red - a splash of colour in an otherwise subdued pallet of greys and middle blue armour. Bases were also painted Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey. I then glued on scattered pieces of my green sponge/bush flock and dabbed these with Tamiya X-2 White as if they were little snow dusted bushes.
As the paint went on, the figures began to come alive and I felt, in my own mind, that my colour choice was sound. While the Sahadeen were conceived of as a desert people, their hoods and breather units and goggles could equally be used by a people living in a wet and/or cold or otherwise bleak climate.
Looking at the figures, I'm reminded of the cover art for the Andre Norton novel, Night of Masks. Set on a blasted world orbiting a red giant, anyone needing to go out on the surface has to wear both breathers and light-enhancing goggles.
So, I'm pretty pleased with the way my Sahadeen have come out, and I like the fact that with a little bit of lateral thought, one can make any science fiction figures fit into any story you wish to tell.
And here's the entire unit - two squads of riflemen, a heavy weapons squad, and an HQ squad.
30 June 2012
I was initially thinking of shades of green and brown as the Draccians remind me of crocodiles. But after a little thought, space crocodiles seemed a little cliché. A discussion on either TMP or Spacejacker's Tiny Solitary Soldiers blog about painting Garn came up with some interesting colour suggestions for science fiction reptilians and I decided to try a red/orange combination which, coincidently, seems to have been the colour combination selected to paint the Draccians on the 15mm.co.uk site.
So far, 15mm.co.uk have released two sets of Draccians in the Hordes of the Future range, Draccian Heavy Weapons and Draccian Warriors. The Draccian Warriors are lead by the enormous Draccian Overlord who carries a hand-cannon that wouldn't look out of place on an armoured vehicle.
The rank and file Draccians stand about 20mm tall and so tower over our reference height UNSC Marine from Ground Zero Games. There's a slight uneasy fluidness about the Draccians' stance, almost as if standing upright isn't normal for them.
I've decided to use the Draccians as H'ran in my Traveller campaign. The H'ran are an aggressive, bipedal, reptilianoid race, uplifted to sentience under the Thongaloros Empire – some 1,000 years prior to the current game date. The H’ran State survived the collapse of the Thongaloros Empire and went on to dominate the Klarthur Confederacy, a successor state. The H’ran remain a dangerous and unpredictable species.
The H’ran exhibit some species dimorphism, with the dominate egg-laying female leader caste being considerably larger and more aggressive than the male, warrior caste.
27 June 2012
6 Elder Things, 4 Gashant Riders, 2 Adventurers, 1 Lander, 1 Fuel Station
With a couple of days off at home, after a short, three-day visit to Sydney, Australia, I managed to finish a couple of painting projects.
First up was a 6mm scale MT32 Buffalo Troop Transport from Daemonscape. This ship actually scales nicely as a 15mm personnel shuttle and is of a similar size to the Combat Wombat ZHI-111 Chinese Assault Lander.
As with the Khurasan grav cars I talked about in the 14 June entry, I had a real problem getting an even finish for my paint job. Eventually, I decided that some of the surface "dark spots" were actually soot and wear stains from multiple re-entries.
The Buffalo is a two-piece model, glueing together pretty much along the center line where the red upper hull meets the green lower hull. The number decals are from one of the Gundam Decal sets that I picked up from Hobbyco in Sydney.
The insignia decals on the engine pods and, just visible, below the pilot's window are from a Hammer's Slammers faction and are available from Bad Idea Games.
I think I picked up these two adventurers (to right) as part of a lot on eBay. I thought they were Laserburn civilians but, on checking the Laserburn and Hordes of the Future listings on the 15mm.co.uk site, I can't find a reference to them at all. I've even checked through such 15mm ranges as I can recall on the Stuff of Legends site, but to no avail.
They are nice figures - a little taller than my GZG Marine reference figure, but not hugely so. She is empty handed but has a holstered pistol, while he has some sort of breather mask slung on his chest and a pistol in his hand. He may have been sculpted wearing goggles, but I have painted these up as sun glasses. I did toy with the idea of reflective lenses but decided that glossy black lenses would do fine.
Now, I'm very pleased with how these (to left) have turned out - my mounted hunting party. Back in September 2011 I bought a pack of Post Apoc Riders from Rebel Miniatures. As I said at the time, I liked the riders but did not like the horses. Then I discovered Rod Campbell's Highlander Studios and his Space: 1889 range. And in that range is the odd-looking Martian riding beast called the gashant.
Using three of the Post Apoc riders, plus an MSM23 Mounted Saurian from 15mm.co.uk's Asgard Space Marines and Aliens range, I constructed "saddles/saddle blankets" for them from DAS modelling clay and mounted them on the gashants. I did have to, very gently, bend the legs of the human riders to get them to fit the gashants. I found that bending their legs out slightly, from above the knee, and then bending them in slightly, below the knee, seemed to work. But it is an operation that you have to be careful doing, otherwise you'll end up with a one legged rider.
The gashant bodies were painted Aeromaster US Blue Gray or Vallejo Prussian Blue with GW Skull White beaks and GW Sunburst Yellow head tube things (probably honking tubes such as some dinosaurs are thought to have had). Tongues were painted orange and eyes GW Gore Red. The spinal crests were painted Tamiya Metallic Blue X-13. The Saurian rider has Tamiya Sky XF-21 skin with a wash of copper - I was aiming at a skink-like skin effect, though I'm not too sure I've succeeded.
And finally, the Elder Things.
Now, I'm not a big Cthulu fan, but I was rather intigued when Mr Roe announced the release of his 15mm scale Elder Things on TMP. Seeing pictures of the Elder Things on both TMP and Roebeast's Magical House of Sunshine I thought, "Outsiders!", even though there's only a passing resemblance.
And thinking about Outsiders got me picturing a race of Methane-breathers for my Traveller campaign. So, I ordered two packs of Elder Things and was very pleased with what I received. The models are relatively straight forward to assemble - though I did read Roebeast's assembly instructions on his blog, and I still managed to assemble one upside down - and pre-drilling the "hand/paddle" holes, and pre-bending the "hand/paddles" is essential.
After an initial wash of Vallejo Flat Red over bare metal, I applied a second wash of GW Asurmen Blue. Eyebulbs were painted orange and the interbothria sense orbs were painted gloss black. The ribbed spines between the "hand/paddles" were painted different colours on different Elder Things as, I decided, the colouration of the spines shows status and caste within these creatures' society. I ended up touching up the models with some watered down Vallejo Prussian Blue, which highlighted the "hand/paddles" nicely.
14 June 2012
2 Grav Cars, 2 Dumpsters
I finally finished a bit of street furniture – two Khurasan grav cars (TR-21) and two dumpsters (TR-5), also from Khurasan Miniatures. I had been wondering what colour scheme to use on the cars when someone on TMP suggested that the cars looked a lot like the vehicles in Syndicate – the old computer game.
The cars in Syndicate are grey with black windows – so that’s what I attempted. I painted one car Tamiya XF-54 Dark Sea Grey (left) and the other Vallejo Light Grey (right). The Tamiya Grey is a lot darker, and greyer, then the Vallejo Grey, which is a lot “whiter”.
I'm not sure if it's the weather, or my brushes, or that I'm not used to painting large areas, but I found it very difficult to get a smooth finish on the vehicle paint work. Even using a watery top coat just wouldn't give me as good a coverage as I expected.
Also from Khurasan, I picked up a pack of dumpsters for generally dressing up street scenes. I mounted them on the same washers I use for my infantry figures for ease of storage (I use magnetic sheet-lined storage containers and trays which help protect the figures).
Dumpsters around here tend to be of one of several primary colours, and have black, heavy-gauge plastic lids. They tend to show wear from where the rubbish trucks pick them up with their fork lifts and bang them against the vehicle frames. This I attempted to show by dry brushing a little Tamiya Metallic Grey XF-56 on the lifting points and on the edges.
The dumpsters are nice little models and I think I'll get some more of them.
20 May 2012
10 Death Striders
I picked up a pack of Death Striders in a recent order from Rebel Miniatures. While the temptation is to use them as standard SciFi bugs and buy a horde of them, I was actually drawn to them as they fitted in with an idea I had for a Zero-G, or Low-G, deep space dwelling alien species called the Angon, or Anghorn.
Anghorn starships are immense, disperse structured vessels; the labyrinthine access ways filled with cloying web-like tendrils that the Anghorn secrete from spinnerets on the undersides of their abdomens.
Anghorn are quadrupeds – each limb ending in two prehensile toes with a reverse facing gripping spur. They communicate through a complex pattern of percussive noises made by tapping out sounds with a set of hammer mandibles on a natural fold of drum skin held taught beneath the Anghorn’s mouth by a larger pair of mandibles.
The Anghorn evolved on a small world or moon, but their homeworld is no longer known, nor is it known how long ago they moved into space. Their ships have been recorded in the RimWorlds for nearly two thousand years, coming and going as they wished and paying little heed to the rise and fall of polities.
Anghorn ships will occasionally trade rare earth metals for items such as salt and water, though they are believed to recover most of the volatiles they require from Oort cloud bodies and deep space wanderers.
I had to carefully bend the Death Striders' legs in so that they would fit on my standard 16mm diameter washer bases, and their paint job was kept very simple - GW Bestial Brown body with a wash and highlights in Aquedus Hobby Colour Wine Red.
15 April 2012
1 Uhul, 1 Crawler
Taking part in the "A to Z Blogging Challenge" has eaten a lot of my painting time so far this month, but I have managed to finish two projects.
The first is an LVTP-5 Vietnam-era Amtrack from Peter Pig. The Amtrack is quite lovely in its brutishness - it looks like someone decided that if you could stick a big enough engine in a floating metal box, eventually it will move. I couldn't actually work out which way round it was meant to go until I saw a photo of one under way and realised that the domed hatches were on the crew compartment, while what looks like a crude, boxy, bridge is actually an observation position for the marines riding in the back.
The vehicle number on the side is in a font called Angled. I hand drew the numbers in pencil, then went over them in black felt tip pen before painting the colour in. I even managed to get a reasonable match between the numbers drawn on either side of the vehicle, which was very pleasing given that they are hand-drawn.
I also managed to finish one of Eli's Uhul - the shaman from 15mm.co.uk's SHM Fantasy range. The figure on the website has a neat-looking staff, the figure I received had a miss-cast stick. I decided to remove the staff and make the Uhul an Essense Wielder for Blasters and Bulkheads, which is what I did - replacing the stick with a length of plastic rod and painting it up as a "force sword".
Finally, two recently received figures from Flytrap Factory - a new 15mm figure producer. The guy on the left is from the M.E.R.C. Rifle Squad while the guy on the right is from the I.J.B. Insurgent Cell. As you can see, they scale well with the GZG UNSC marine, even with their rather thick bases.
The MERC rifle squad have Soviet style helmets and may possibly mix in with Oddzial Osmy's New Vistula Legion or similar mid to low tech forces. The IJB insurgents are mostly nice sculpts - there's one I'm not one hundred percent happy with - and some of the details look excellent. I'm looking forward to painting them up.
31 March 2012
10 Harook, 1 Carolee, 1 Titan Scout, 1 Tech, 1 DPLS Crew droid, 1 Captain Bytt's Crew, 1 Gun Cleric, 1 Horansi, 1 Fragalian, 3 Spider Drones, 1 Grav truck
Another painting Wednesday, followed by a painting day today, has really clicked up the tally for the month - 30 figures and two vehicles.
First up, another Gun Cleric from Rebel Minis and a Civilian Tech from Ground Zero Games. The previous Gun Cleric was a very dark figure, so I decided to make this guy bleached blond and give him a brown leather coat. The female tech is wearing a one piece jump suit or overall.
Two more figures sculpted by Eli and available through 15mm.co.uk's SHM range, these are a Horansi and a Fragalian. The Horansi is a vaguely bird-like alien with a large wattle on his neck. Covered in bags and pouches, he could be a gadgeteer/engineer or a street hustler. The Fragalian is a thick-set guy in a long hooded robe. He has a rather unusual face over what appears to be a beard. Fun figures who help swell out the street scene crowd.
From the DPLS Crew, available from Khurasan Miniatures, I finished the ship's droid. I opted for a metallic blue finish and dry-brushed some metallic grey over his moving bits. The yellow dot highlights on his arms and legs did end up looking a little like motion-capture balls, so I may have to rethink that part of his paint job. His companion is a member of Captain Bytt's Crew, from Critical Mass Games. Alien, pet, pot plant, or droid - I have not really decided yet, though pet or droid are current favourite ideas.
Carolee is, I think, an demonstration character who appears in some of the Two Hour Wargames rulesets. She is available from Highlander Studios and looks like a heavily armed party girl. As a figure, she is actually fairly two-dimensional, being almost more like a playing piece than an actual figure. Beside her is a Titan Scout from Rebel Miniatures - the first of that pack I have painted up. I gave him a dark GW Burnt Brown back pack and belt to break up the glossy black of his jump suit. He could be either a Morlock-type or a penertration agent/Mission Impossible guy, or a character who needs goggles for any number of reasons.
Completing this group of figures was very satisfying as some had been in my “to-paint” cue for quite some time. As I was finishing off this group, I also finished off another vehicle – a flat-bed grav truck (or van) from 15mm.co.uk. I floated the grav truck on a cut-down Games Workshop flight stand, and then mounted the base of the stand on a large washer, which provides both mass (to lower the center of gravity) and an attachment point for the magnetic sheet in my storage box.
I bought these three Spider Drones from Ground Zero Games as support weapons for my Chewks. As the Chewks live on a desert planet with lots of sand storms, it made sense that their Spider Drones would have very worn paintwork. After black undercoating the drones, I dab/dry brushed the leg exteriors, torso and dome top with GW Fiery Orange. I then dry brushed heavily with Tamiya Metallic Grey for that worn, distressed, sand blasted metal look (cueing all those episodes of Debbie Travis for Living Channel finally paid off). I'm very pleased with the resulting effect. The Spider Drones will work well with the Chewks, and I now have some ideas for finishing the Chewk Sandcrawler project.
And right at the end of the month, I managed to finish my second pack of Harook from Mad Robot Miniatures. While I kept the same purple body armour, I experimented with using different colour combinations on the crests and tail feathers. With this second pack of Harrok finished, I really must crack on and play out "The Christmas War" scenario.
14 March 2012
Mid-week, I put the finishing touches to some figures that I had nearly completed last weekend.
First up are four droids from 15mm.co.uk's Hordes of the Future range - HOF70a, b, and c, and HOF57d. We have a nice selection of walker, grav and tracked droids for use as street furniture, Potential Enemy Force markers, etc. I really like these little guys - they are a lot of fun and have a lot of character, and once I started them, they were very quick to paint. I think a second set of droids, with a slightly different paint job, would make a nice population for itinerant non-human droid salesbeings to peddle.
The Hishan, from Rebel Miniatures, are a clone race in the 5150 Universe from Two Hour Wargames. The brief notes I have on them indicate that they have a limited form of Hive Mind telepathy and are cowardly, yet vicious little creeps. With such an excellent concept, I'm going to have to work them into my Traveller campaign. The Hishan figures are small and slight, compared with average 15mm figures, and I can see why some people have used Greys from either Ground Zero Games or Khurasan Miniatures to get a larger selection of poses.
I call this member of Captain Bytt's Crew (to left), the Sage. From Critical Mass Games, and sculpted by le maître de mastic PF, this is the third figure of this group I've painted. He ended up with an iridescent robe as I was trying out a new paint colour. The figure, himself, is quite interesting. With a hump or hunchback, and vaguely skink-like features, the Sage could be a crotchety old humanoid, a Yoda-esque Essence teacher or a wise old patriarch.
The Adventurer with two pistols is from 15mm.co.uk’s Laserburn range. These figures date back to the 1980’s and 2000AD - the weekly Boys’ Own Science Fiction comic book – where cloaks and knee-pads were considered de rigueur for the Science Fiction Adventurer-about-town. Though to be fair, Poul Anderson’s Dominic Flandry stories from the late 1960’s/early 1970’s probably (re) established that sartorial style.
Unfortunately, age is catching up with the mould this figure comes from and the detail is not as crisp as it once was. I would like to get another one, though, and convert him into a Essence Warrior.
And last, but by no means least, we have a lovely lander from the always excellent Combat Wombat. Described as a "Chinese Lander" - Scotty's released a bunch of vehicles with a blocky, retro-Communist vibe - this is a fun model. Scotty released it with a chin-mounted mini-gun/cannon. I thought this a little over-gunned for what I wanted so I kept the chin-mount but left the gun off. I also wonder about the main engines being mounted either side of the rear drop ramp - I would have thought that this would tend to fry the passengers as they exited, but I'm not an engineer so cool trumps practicality.
I wanted to be able to have the lander in both grounded and take-off mode and so when I drilled a hole for the flight stand peg, I put it in on angle. Mounted on the flight stand, the lander is lifting off much like a helicopter, tail lifting first. The cloth I photograph my miniatures on does tend to make it look as if the lander's nose is hitting the ground, so I'm thinking of adding a second flight stand peg hole. This will allow me to pose the lander in level flight.
I have a couple of round plastic disks, part of the packaging for bundles of DVDs. These are just the right size to make landing platforms for this type of lander in the style of the platforms on Lando Calrissian's Cloud City on Bespin. With landing platforms, the lander becomea an objective for 5150: New Beginnings or Blasters and Bulkheads
29 February 2012
A dead computer, and learning to update HTML while using IE8 has rather delayed this post. The painting tally for February was quite pleasing with a total of 31 figures completed.
I was happy with the way that the Twanax Horde from Blue Moon Manufacturing came out as I haven’t painted a lot of fur before. I have seen the Twanax painted up in shades of green and brown as faux-ents or psycho-dryads, but I was really after a more Yeti-like look. The Twanax are very nice figures and I’m thinking of getting some more to paint in shades of grey and white as Abominable Snowmen.
Buried deep within Ground Zero Games catalog are three packs of Hammer’s Slammers Infantry. There are no pictures but, on a punt, I ordered some of the skimmers in March of last year. As I said at the time, they are very nice figures, and a lot of fun to paint up.
Eventually, I decided on painting them up in a reasonably realistic camouflage, after toying with more Pulpish colour schemes. The Skimmers, themselves, don’t come with bases so I flew them on high tensile wire attached to some GZG drone bases. These bases were then glued to fender washers for stability and for storage in magnetic sheet-lined boxes. The transfers on the skimmers are WWII Hungarian unit markings from Scotia-Grendal.
Along with the two packs of skimmers (giving me eight skimtroopers), I also bought two packs of the Slammer’s Infantry. The Slammer's come in two flavours - visors up or visors down - but are essentially the same figures with head-swaps.
I mixed the two packs together and, to me, achieved a very nice result with the mixed visors. The figures have very light, or no, body armour, but there are interesting uniform details which, while acceptable in Olive Drab and Gray camo, would actually look very nice painted up in a dress uniform/Pulp style - bright blues or crimsons with gold trim and brass helmets - as a palace guard unit. Alternatively, I'm also thinking that a unit in sombre colours with visors down would look suitably sinister and minionish for games of Blasters and Bulkheads.
The DPLS Captain from Khurasan Miniatures always seems to get painted up as Han Solo. So, I immediately thought of Lando Calrissian and gave the figure a darker complexion. He will make a great character figure, either for Blasters and Bulkheads or for 5150: New Beginnings.
11 February 2012
I was so very close to finishing a number of figures that, when I got the chance to paint last Wednesday, the "Completed" tally really started to tick over!
Rod Campbell is a talented sculptor and has a neat little webshop called Highlander Studios. In the Terrain Section, he has a selection of resin shipping containers - or he usually does, they seem to be out of stock at the moment but I'm sure he'll get more run off if asked.
The medium shipping containers are 20mm x 20mm x 60mm. I basically undercoated them, selected a couple of basic base colours, and gave each of them a couple of coats. A wash of GW Babadab pretty much finished them off. The shipping line signs were made up in MS-Word using various Science Fiction fonts, including Bilanidin - a Vilani script - printed and cut out, scored to match the ribbing on the container, and then glued on. When dry, I applied some GW Hardcoat to help seal them.
As part of my on-going efforts to make up some civilian vehicles, I completed the repaint of a die-cast Hot Wheels, or similar, delivery van. The main reason for the re-paint was to get rid of the existing signage, which I then replaced with a simple sign made up in MS-Word, much like the shipping container branding.
I finished painting up the Burgansian from 15mm.co.uk's SHM range late last year. My friend Eli, from I See Lead People, sculpted four aliens for the SHM range, including the Burgansian, and when I saw the little fellow on his grav skimmer I immediately thought, "Like a Regulian from C.J. Cherryh's Mri Wars series". The Burgansian actually looks very little like a Regulian, but I was already thinking "bad guy", which lead me to consider a Julnari gangster character from my Traveller campaign. With that thought in my mind, the pole-arm weilding Vorq'La from Critical Mass Games, who doesn't really fit with the other Vorq'La, became Akordi - low tech natives from the interdicted world of Syndon IV - and obvious status-symbol bodyguards.
Around Christmas I received a small order from The Scene which included the two Survivalists/Zombie Hunters featured here, as well as other bits and bobs. I am very impressed with Mike from The Scene's service and the quality of his castings. The female Survivalist did, unfortunately, have a mould line down the side of her face. Though, this actually came up looking like a scar once she was painted. I'm still not a hundred per cent certain why she has her holster on her right leg if she's left-handed. The male Survivalist is armed with pistol, axe and a shotgun/rifle slung across his back in a carry case - he's obviously a player-character.
The Shivan Sister, from Blue Moon's 15/18mm Aliens range, is, I think, meant to be the SAW Gunner's mate, but as she's casually carrying a small bag, I decided to make her a courier or businesswoman. She has horns and a tail and wears a long greatcoat. The two "wings" over her shoulders are the tines of what might be a personal forcefield generator worn on the back. The Shivans armed with long guns actually appear to have bayonet-equipped muskets so I'm still considering whether I attempt to rearm them. They are nice figures, all the same.
To right, we have a Rebel Miniatures Gun Cleric, the first of the pack I bought back in September 2011 to be painted up. I ended up painting her long coat gloss black, with bronze buttons. She could be an Inquisitor, a High Level Expediator, or a Imperial Ministry of Justice operative. To the right of the GZG UNSC marine, is a member of Captain Bytt's Hired Guns. Ironically, I have painted his armour a very similar colour to the original figure on the webstore. I have yet to work out which Minor Race this gun-being might be from but, as he appears to be a one-off creation, he may just end up being street colour.
To the right of the gun-being is a member of Captain Bytt and his crew. This fine fellow is now a Tharoysa, a Minor Race native to Dysa Metharoth/Lymethius. Tharoysa are technically adept and rather resent the humanocentric nature of Geithurian Republic politics. Next to him is another of the Splintered Light Dark Elves I bought back in March 2011 and finished in September. This time around, he's come out a lot brighter and more cheerful than my previous Dark Elves. Last, and by no means least, we have another member of Captain Bytt and his crew. Again, I have yet to decide whether he will be a featured Minor Race or crowd dressing.
And finally, a couple of Khurasan Chewks and another squad of Eureka Ventaurans, including my first head swap. I am using the Ventaurans as Kalar-Wi in my campaign, and they are described as having blue skin and green hair - what causes blue skin, I have no idea, but green or greenish hair may be caused by copper, I believe.
04 February 2012
Painting hasn't completely stalled over the last few weeks, but being back at work after Christmas holidays has chopped into my painting energy.
I’ve completed my first 10 Harook from Mad Robot Miniatures for my Christmas War game, and am about two-thirds of the way through my second 10. I also have a couple of Critical Mass Games Mercenaries from Captain Bytt’s Crew; a couple of Zombie hunters from The Scene; six medium-sized cargo containers from Highlander Studios; another Ventauran squad, plus my head-swap guy; a Horansi and an Uhul; and two Vorq’La all nearing completion. I also found two Chewks I missed from my first batch, so these are nearing completion, too.
Ed from Two Hour Wargames announced the release of 5150: Star Army and 5150: New Beginnings stats for the Kurgen from Rebel Miniatures. A gentleman I know on TMP, and through various blogs, as Umpapa contacted me, wondering if I had any comparison pictures of Kurgen and GZG Alien Mercenaries. I didn’t but I managed to put some together today (even though my GZG Alien Mercenaries are still not finished).
The Kurgen are all pretty consistent in size – they are relatively human sized and of a similar build. The Alien Mercenaries, on the other hand come in two sizes – large and larger. They also have broad shoulders and muscular arms and are more of the traditional inverted triangle shape of the body builder.
Interestingly, the Alien Mercenaries have relatively thick bases compared with the Kurgens, but when I placed the Kurgen on a second washer, he proved to be a similar height to the smaller of the Alien Mercenary types.
So, will the Kurgen and the Alien Mercenaries work together? I think they will. The Alien Mercenaries are on a more heroic scale, but this could represent some form of species dimorphism where the leader/warrior types are larger than the worker/drone types.
04 January 2012
Today I finished off my pack of Chewks from Khurasan Miniatures. These little guys were both fun and quick to paint. I was wondering what sort of support weapons they might use as fast moving desert raiders, as I’m not so keen on the Chewkannon, and then it occurred to me that GZG Spider drones would foot the bill. For a vehicle, I would really like to get hold of a 1/72 scale A7V WWI German tank, as these are rather evocative of Sandcrawlers from Star Wars.
I’m toying with the idea of getting a second pack of Chewks purely for the “kick over the ants’ nest” effect that could be achieved. It would also give me the opportunity of disarming the two leader poses for urban/RPG encounters.
Tidying up at the end of the year, I finished two drones for use as Zhodani wardroids. They are GZG Grav mini drones and, while lacking the arms and torso of the original, in my mind they make a nice substitute.
After I finished my first squad of Ventaurans, painted as Zhodani/Kalar-Wi, I began prepping a second squad for the Christmas War scenario I want to play out, using 5150: New Beginnings, on my Blog. While prepping this squad, I took a deep breath and attempted my very first head swap.
I was very surprised at just how easy it was to remove the existing head/helmet and how smoothly the new head, from Astro Miniatures, just popped into the neck hole I drilled. I then took the helmet I had removed, dished the base of it with a drill, and glued it to the figure’s belt.
My intention was to create a character figure for 5150: New Beginnings and I am very pleased with the result.
It's interesting how a different head, at a slightly different angle, makes the figure look completely different.
There are several other Ventauran figures which are prime candidates for similar surgery. This should really lift this unit.
As New Years resolutions go, this is a small one, but I aim to show more painted figures in this modblog this year and fewer bare metal photos - unless the new figures are really cool! At the moment, I'm about a day away from finishing my first ten Harook from Mad Robot Miniatures, as well as getting stuck into my 2nd Squad of Venatuarans. I'm certainly doing better than this time, last year.
The Khurasan Miniatures and Critical Mass Games orders have now arrived, and I've just received small orders from Blue Moon and The Scene, plus a larger Christmas order from Ground Zero Games and a copy of Tomorrow's War from Ambush Alley Games/Osprey.
The order from Critical Mass Games included a surprise bonus – a batch of figures for me to review for Dropship Horizon. So far, I’ve written two articles and have nearly completed the third and final one.
I’ve even managed to paint two of the review pieces, objective markers – a Kaamados Power Converter and a downed ARC Fleet Walker – that were just too tempting to leave undercoated.
The first squad of the Ventaurans I pre-ordered from Eureka Miniatures have finally been finished. Very nice figures, and I’m going to experiment with head swaps for the next squad. I still need to finish off the squad support droids and paint up the squad’s IFV. I bought some rare earth magnets from a trader on Trademe, which arrived yesterday, which means I can now secure the IFVs’ turrets to their respective hulls.
The small orders from Blue Moon and The Scene both contained excellent figures, and pushed my lead mountain up to new heights. From The Scene, I bought some vents and grills for spicing up buildings, as well as some Infantrybots, Agents, Zombie Hunters and some US Special Forces. I really like the Agents and the Zombie Hunters, but the Special Forces moulds may be a little old, as they don’t seem as detailed. It will be interesting to see how they paint up.
From Blue Moon, I received some Fereen, a pair of Goranax-mounted Fereen, some Vleta Reavers, some Zennox, a Twanax Horde, and some Shivan Sisterhood. I like all of these figures – the Goranax in particular are spectacular – and even the Shivan Sisterhood’s bayonet-armed muskets are growing on me. I look forward to painting these figures up.
I’ve also managed to finish some more scatter terrain – finally putting to use some of the interesting greywacke stones I picked up off the beach at Maraetai last Christmas. Using old DVDs as bases, I PVAed the stones to the base and then dusted the rest of the base with fine sand over watered-down PVA. Once this had dried, I spray-bombed everything with black undercoat and then painted the base with watered-down red paint (similar to GW Red Gore in colour). The rocks were dry-brushed with a mixture of watered-down red or grey or tan/khaki and then a bit of flock or foliage was added. I’m rather pleased how they came out.
Working towards playing some 5150: New Beginnings, I picked up three Chinese-made toy cars from Kmart. The idea was to repaint them and base them for the game. By eye, I estimated them to be 1/100th (15mm) or 1/87th (18mm) scale, which would fit in well with my figures. Upon getting them home, I now believe that they are closer to 1/72nd scale (20mm). I’ve gone ahead and painted them up anyway, and converted two into police cruisers by printing the word “Police” in white text, and a funky font, on a black background, cutting out the text, and gluing it to the car. I then painted around the text block with the same black paint I painted the body of the car with.
I’ve decided that these are civilianised military vehicles, used for cross-country work, which explains the oversized wheels. I’ve also being looking at various Real Life SUVs and some of the larger ones are very big vehicles. My Police vehicles look like a combination Black Maria/squad car, with room for a squad of officers up front.
A little while back, I picked up some pointy-eared heads, several sprues of ray guns and some Sybots from Astro Miniatures. The ray guns were used converting some Splintered Light Dark Elves to science fiction figures and the pointy-eared heads will be used for head swaps on the Ventaurans.
And here are the Sybots (above). Very nice figures and quite sinister in metallic blue.
After numerous delays, I received in quick succession orders from Khurasan Miniatures and 15mm.co.uk. The former included heavily armed Ursoid mercenaries, a starship crew, and Chewks; while the latter included Uhul and Aliens of the Galaxy - both sculpted by my Dropship Horizon co-contributer and friend, Eli - Draccians (including a massive Draccian Overlord), a couple of Laserburn Vehicles, and a selection of droids from the Hordes of the Future range. So, more toys to paint, and two small orders still inbound from Khurasan and Critical Mass Games - Felid and ARC Fleet grav bikes amongst other things.
On the painting front, I am pretty close to finishing an AHI Rockjumper Pickup Crawler from Khurasan Miniatures - still not 100% happy with the way the windshield and windows came out as, in the photo, it looks as if the vehicle has just come though a snow storm. This would be great, if I had painted up the base to look like a snow field.
The model is resin and, while there is a faint pattening on the hull from the printing process, it is a nice, clean cast. I very nearly managed to glue one of the track assembles on upside down, even after taking special care to ensure they were both facing in the same direction. The clue was noticing that the traveler wheels were on the bottom on one side, and on the top on the other. Luckily, the glue had not set very hard and the assembly just popped off.
The Rockhopper is a nice little model and I think I might get a couple more of them.
Back in March I bought a pack of Splintered Light Dark Elf Crossbowmen with the cunning plan of converting them into science fiction figures. This cunning plan hinged on being able to uptech the Elves' weaponry. Then Astro Miniatures announced the release of, amongst other things, a sprue of laser pistols. So, putting the two together, I ended up with the figures to right ...
These first three were more of a proof-of-concept than anything, and I'm happy in how they turned out. The swords were relatively easy to remove and I left the crossbow-pistols intact as either suriken catapults (if thinking Warhammer 40K) or as small bowcasters (if thinking Star Wars-ish Space Opera). With a number of the next group of figures, I have cut the bows off the crossbows to leave an energy pistol-like hand gun.
The chainmail was painted as fabric, so it has a ringlet pattern, while the armour plates were painted Tamiya Metallic Blue over black undercoat. This, with my Tamiya Grey "interior" base colour, makes the figures look rather dark and sinister - which was rather the effect I was going for.
Originally, I was going to use these guys for Darrians, but now I'm thinking of a nocturnal carnivorous hunter race with a reputation for raiding - high tech Morlocks. The species exhibits a form of dimorphism, with bands lead by a physically larger, psionically endowered, leader caste.
This is a rewrite of my post on Dropship Horizon.
During the last week or so, a number of anticipated parcels arrived in the letterbox. One of the first was from Rebel Minis. Along with a packet each of Earth Force Armoured Troops (MAEF8) and Earth Force Droptroopers (RMDT1) – both excellent packs of figures and I need to get more of them. And if I could paint them half as well as Jeff Racel has done, as seen on TMP, I would be a happy man! – I picked up some other figures of interest as well.
There has been a lot of talk about ‘In the Emperor’s Name’ recently, a Dark Future version of the FUBAR family of one page rules-with-setting. Now, I’m not a fan of the 28mm Dark Future wargame rules, produced by a certain large, UK based company, but having had the opportunity of playing the role-playing game, ‘Dark Heresy’, I found myself quite enjoying the film-noirishness of the setting. With that idea floating about in my head, I picked up a pack each of the Titan Scouts (RMTS1) and the Earth Force Gun Clerics (RMGC1).
The great-coated Gun Clerics come in a pack of 8 – two each of four poses, two male and two female – and appear fairly static. As such, they are ideal for characters in a skirmish-level game, characters in a role-playing game, or for converting into officer types. With a round of plastic card and some Green Stuff, an outrageously wide-brimmed hat could be built on, or with a simple head-swap, a Russian Senior Officer’s head could be added, for that distinctive Inquisitor or General look. Alternatively, removing the guns and adding mechanical paraphernalia could create a passable Techpriest.
Straight out of the bag, these figures could be detectives, or agents, or sinister villains, or even Cult leaders. With a little bit of modification, their versatility increases.
The Titan Scouts look rather malevolent. Great, dynamic poses but the bald heads and blank-eyed goggles just make them look sinister. I assume that the goggles are some form of Light Intensifier or I/R eyewear to enable the Scouts to sneak around. As figures, I really like them. As character types, or as Morlocks or Underhive denizens, they look perfect. Alternatively, they could be cultists or Aftermath survivalists. I’m thinking pale, or white, skin and blues and blacks for their jump suites. Perhaps silver or gloss black lenses on their eyewear.
Along with the Scouts and Gun Clerics, I also picked up a pack of Gang Task Force figures (RMGTF1) from the Gangs, Gunmen, Hostages and More range. These guys were a bit of a punt for me, but I’m quite pleased with them.
Like the Gun Clerics, the Task Force members are in fairly static poses which works for a couple of them, but is an opportunity missed for the aiming figure (middle of the group) and the drawing figure (extreme right). For these two, something a little more dynamic, perhaps semi crouched like the Titan Scouts, would have really set this group off. As they are, they are well-detailed, functional figures that will make good characters, guards or general NPCs. I’m thinking of modifying the shotgun-armed guy (second from left) by turning his gun into a laser carbine just to SciFi him a bit.
And finally, the Post Apoc Riders (RMPAR1). A thread about mounted modern or post apocalypse riders appeared on TMP late last year/early this year, around the time the film “The Postman” was on release in US cinemas. As threads go, this one flourished and then faded. A little while later Rebel Minis announced the release of their Post Apoc Riders. There was little response from the TMP-o-sphere, which rather surprised me, as it seemed to fill a niche. Curious, I ordered a pack. I received five riders and five horses. Three of the riders have their rifles with the barrel up, one is getting ready to fire from the saddle, and one is resting his rifle across his saddle. These are very nice figures with a lot of character and detail and I’m really pleased with them. The horses, of which there are also five, are all of one pose and, to be honest, I think they are a little on the average side – undeveloped withers, undeveloped shoulders, saddle blanket too large, neck out of scale. Now, there will be some who won’t be worried as a horse has a leg at each corner, a hay addiction, and is there purely to move people around. Personally, I would try and track down some American Civil War horses and swap them in – I’ve painted an awful lot of horses for my Renaissance armies and bad horses do bug me a little. Alternatively, we could say that these are horse-analogs – ponis, if you will – and paint them with stripes, or add horns, or otherwise modify them to show that they only look a little like horses, they aren’t really horses.
Having said all that, the riders are really worth the price of admission and I will be buying a couple more sets, I think. I have discovered that, with no modification, I could easily mount the riders on a number of alternate rides –
In all, a great selection of figures from Rebel Miniatures and I'm looking forward to painting them up.
10 August 2011
While home for the day with a headcold, my long-awaited Ventaurans arrived from Eureka Miniatures. Emerging from Eureka's 300 Club, the Ventaurans have been anticipated in 15mm since 2007, being remakes of the original 25mm range by Denizen Miniatures. Eureka has done a very good job of producing more dynamic figure poses in their 15mm line, while retaining the charm and originality of the original Ventauran bodyarmour and equipment.
Of the figures, the only ones I am not happy with are the missile launcher (300SCI13) and the Heavy Support Weapon (300SCI14) and only because these two weapons look too World War II-ie for my liking.
The missile launcher could be tricked up, I think, so that it looks less like a RPG. I'll have to have a look through my bits box and see what I have on hand. The Heavy Support Weapon I have yet to come up with a solution for. The heavy tripod and the size of the weapon would indicate that it is not something quickly transportable. Such a squad support weapon should really be mounted on a vehicle.
Leaving the Heavy Weapon issue to one side for the time being, I'm thinking of using my Ventaurans as the basis of a force creation exercise for Dropship Horizon where I will attempt to come up with alternatives and variations to provide a broad mix of support equipment for my unit.
In my Traveller Universe, the Ventaurans will become the Kalar-Wi, a warlike humanoid race that fought a brief war against the Imperium and lost. Since that time, they have been waiting their opportunity to regain their freedom and to have their revenge.
I've been looking at the various Ventauran figures and wondering about doing headswops. It should be fairly straight forward to replace a helmeted head with a bare head and I'm thinking of getting some of Astro Miniatures Pointy Eared Heads as the Kalar-Wi have pointy ears.
And while I've been thinking about headswops, my order from Rebel Miniatures arrived today, so I've got quite a few figures to talk about and prep.
07 August 2011
Peter Pan's Adventures in Neverland
Had a mental health day last week and finally finished off fourteen figures. A mix of GZG Ravagers, 15mm.co.uk HOF Rimraiders and Laserburn Adventurers, a Eureka Miniatures WWII Chinese Infantryman, and OOP Citadel Traveller figures - part of a group I bought via eBay - this lot are the villainous crew of the raider Hevvekkii, as detailed in the scenario Sandpit.
OOP Citadel crewman and Merchant Captain, GZG Ravagers from Pack 'A', Eureka Miniatures WWII Chinese infantryman.
30 July 2011
Not a lot done over the last two months, though I did make some pitcher plants as part of an article on scatter terrain for the Dropship Horizon blog.
I'm quite pleased with how the pitcher plants turned out, and the article was quite well received by the Dropship followers.
08 May 2011
I'm lost in a forest, all alone."
The Cure - A Forest
I haven't painted many figures lately, but I have managed to finish some terrain pieces – trees and bushes.
I finally managed to find plastic aquarium plants in one of the myriad of $2 Shops locally. Sold as long stemmed, weed-like plants, they came apart in approximately 6” sections, each with a ring-like foot. I was also able to salvage the base of the weed group, which had a large number of anchor lugs on it.
Cutting up the base, I used big blobs of PVA to attach the anchor lugs to the fragments of CDs that I had decided to use as bases for my trees. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I work for a media company that goes through CDs like some companies go through paper clips. With plenty of material to work with, I discovered that CDs/DVDs are relatively easy to cut up with a pair of tin snips.
I quickly discovered that my original tree bases where going to be too small to stand the trees up on. Quickly cutting out a series of larger bases, I glued my original bases to the new, larger ones and solved the stability problem. Basically, each tree needs a base approximately as wide as the tree is high by at least half as wide as the tree is high for the best result.
The strange root-like structures attached to the base ring of the ‘aquarium weed’ were cut off, glued together with PVA and then painstakingly glued to the CD base with more PVA. They have turned out reasonably robustly as bushes. I also had some other strange plastic plant-matting from a different $2 shop which, when snipped from its base, makes ideal thorn bushes.
The bases were coated with PVA and then sprinkled with builders’ sand and undercoated black. I then painted the bases red, watering down a Military Miniatures Red that was part of a bunch of 20 year-old paints I got off a friend last year. I later dry-brushed the coarse sand particles GW Burnt Brown as brown rocks. Some sprinkles of my ‘desert brown/green’ flock were also added to the bases, as well as coated on the branches of the trees. And the odd bit of gravel was added as well. The thorn bushes had their spines painted black.
So, a bit of modeling fun and lots of trees and bushes resulting. Model for the Win!
25 April 2011
The rain bucketed down for this combined Easter and ANZAC weekend which suited me just fine. Once chores were done and commitments were met, I could actually get some painting done, rather than thinking about mowing the lawns.
So, I finally finished the Marine Platoon that I received from Ground Zero Games as part of my USMC High Tech battle Force back at Christmas. The vehicles are undercoated, but I haven't got much further with them.
I decided to paint these guys up as Imperial Marines for my Traveller campaign, hence the Tamiya X-7 Red battledress.
Once I finally got started, the Marines were pretty quick to finish (there isn't much to the colour scheme) and look quite good en-mass. I decided to paint blue covers on the missile/grenade launchers after seeing some GZG missile/grenade launchers painted with orange covers, which looked rather effective, on another blog.
I've organised the Marine platoon into four x eight-man rifle squads with a heavy-weapons squad in support.
The sixteen marines I finally finished back in December 2009 will serve as the Scout squad for the Platoon, and will retain their blue-based camo armour.
I need a couple of senior officers for the platoon. Unless Jon at GZG reworks the UNSC as he has done with the NAC line, I guess I'll have to get another pack of UNSC and try some head swaps.
Can't believe that I haven't updated this log for two months - actually, I can. Painting has been pretty much a bust as we've sweltered under 26 - 32 degree days - the paint was drying on the brush faster than I could slap it on the GZG UNSC Marines I started during the Christmas break. Then I got busy with an edit job from Spica Publishing that ate most of January and a chunk of February but resulted in the rather fine Field Manual, so that worked out. And now, recovering from a five-day bout of the 'flu, I've finally had enough energy to think of log updates.
The amazing winter weather in the Northern Hemisphere threw shipping schedules out the window (where they were promptly buried under fourteen feet of snow), so I've had various Christmas and birthday figure orders dribbling in all over the place. One of the first orders for 2011 was from Splintered Light Miniatures.
Now, I hadn't ordered from Splintered Light before. And while they specialise in 15mm Fantasy, I was interested in the Armed and Unarmed Space Crew packs they stock, as these had received favourable reviews on The Miniatures Page, but what I was really curious about was their DAEL 03 Dark Elf Crossbows. Looking at these boys, I was struck by how like Harlequin shuriken guns their crossbow/pistols are, and how Darrian-like, they looked over all (if you convert the platemail into combat armour). Mention that John Bear Ross has designed a weapon sprue for Rebel Minis, and I suddenly saw an easy way to SciFi these fantasy figs by up-teching their giant cleavers into something more suitable. Which was a relief to me as I'm not much of a sculptor.
I do like the Space Crew figures as well, they will make very nice character figures when I get them painted - you've got to love a female engineer with a huge wrench! Initially, I was a little surprised as to how slim both the crew and Dark Elves were, though, as you can see from the comparison shot, the Splintered Light Crew captain is a good match, both size-wise and in heft, for the GZG Reaver leader.
When I line the Splintered Light figures up with examples from GZG and Critical Mass Games, as below, I'm pleasantly surprised at how well they fit in. So, while I don't need any more Spacer Crew, I will keep an eye on Splinted Light for other useful Fantasy figures to convert, as their service is excellent.
The Skimmers are, unfortunately, one of a number of older items on the GZG on-line catalog that don't have photos. And that's a real shame as they're delightful little models.
As you can see, the pilot lies on the vehicle, as on some sort of jet ski or crazy home-made trolley. He has a visored helmet with the retro clamshell ear coms. The vehicle doesn't appear to be armed or, if it is, it is only lightly armed.As a one-piece casting, there is a little loss of detail along where the body of the pilot meets the deck of the machine. But even so, the pilot has a weapon slung over his shoulder, and there is detail on the engine cowling between his legs.
I really like these figures - what's not to like about skimmers/grav bikes? I've loved them ever since I saw Empire Strikes Back and the speeder bike sequence on Endor. Riding a bike's like flying - riding a grav bike would be like ... wow! I've ordered another pack of these boys, and some of the Slammers' infantry, to make up a mercenary unit of Light Cavalry or Dragoons. The skimmers, themselves, don't come with bases but I decided to fly these guys on some extra bases I had left over from some grav gunbots.
While painting up my Kurgan from Rebel Minis, I made an unpleasant discovery. Wearing 3x Modelling Glasses meant that I could actually see all the fine detail on the minis, and paint it, rather than squinting at these tiny little bits of lead. At 45 years of age, and never having had trouble with my eyesight, I am being forcibly reminded that I am getting old. And that suxs!
I ran out of inspiration for my GZG Alien Mercenaries – I’m still having issues with their skin colour – when an order from Scotty at Combat Wombat arrived. I then decided to do some work on my vehicle fleet as a form of procrastination and leave the Alien Mercenaries for a while.
I had ordered a second ARC Fleet Heavy Grav tank platoon from Critical Mass Games, which arrived back in October – I managed to get this order in before CMG was obliged to increase their prices, so I had six ARC Fleet Tanks to finish. Additionally, there were three Centurion Medium GEV Tanks, three Chariot Heavy Grav IFVs, and a LAV 8x8 APC to paint, and the bases of three Pitbull APCs to finish off – all these from Combat Wombat; three Pelagic Dominate Sea Wasp Light Grav Vehicles from Khurasan Miniatures; and the bases of two Panzer-spähwagens from Siku.
I have had a bit of fun with the ARC Fleet Grav Tanks. Readers may recall that I was initially puzzled by an ‘M’-shaped structure on the rear of the tank turrets I received last year. Craig from Critical Mass Games quickly confirmed that this structure was sprue and could be snipped off, which I dutifully did for two of the turrets, retaining the best one as I liked the look of it. With the addition of some plastic card plates, and half a wooden bead as a comm. dome, the command tank was nearly finished. From the load-out kit that accompanied the Khurasan Pelagic Dominate Sea Wasps, I repurposed the sensor disks for the ARC Fleet Tank platoon command vehicles, and added high tensile wire aerials. Two of the ARC tanks also ended up with the Khurasan mini-guns in place of the low-slung anti-personnel/PD weapons they originally had. The extra stowage is either from Combat Wombat’s stowage kit that came with the GEV Tank platoon, or Flames of War stowage sprues I bought from Battlefront.
My Christmas present this year was a GZG High Tech Battle Force. I have assembled the vehicles, based the figures on washers and undercoated everything. Progress has temporarily halted as there were a couple of pieces missing, but Jon’s shipping them out with the next order. I have got the vehicles to a stage where I can compare them with vehicles from other ranges, which has been a useful exercise. Size-wise, the ARC tanks are the largest vehicles I have, though they scale nicely with the GZG High Tech Grav APCs. In turn, the GZG APCs and the Siku Panzer-spähwagens are of a size to carry a squad of infantry, each. The LAV 8x8 and the Pitbull APCs, both from Combat Wombat, are more of a size with the GZG Light High Tech Grav APC and would probably carry a fire team or specialist team.
I have been debating whether to base my wheeled vehicles or not and have finally decided that I will. Using plastic card, textured with Polyfilla, I have based my Siku Panzer-spähwagens, my Combat Wombat Pittbull APCs and LAV 8x8. The latter model is a very nice vehicle. I added a 20mm gun from a Battlefront accessory pack, which, I think, looks quite effective.
Finally from Combat Wombat, I have examples of the Chariot Heavy Grav IFV and the Centurion Medium GEV Tank – the latter I have turned into Grav tanks as I really like their smooth lines. The Chariots are heavy-set and brick-like and remind me a little of something Cold War Soviet. Apart from high-tensile aerial, I glued a loop of paper around the end of the gun barrel to make a flash suppressor.
The Centurions are nice little tanks – lovely smooth lines yet quite quaint turrets. I added wire aerials and mounted a Flames of War Russian anti-aircraft machine gun on the command vehicle. I have a packet of generic tank commander figures on the way from GZG as well as a couple of World War II vehicle commanders I’ve acquired over the years, so I should be able to find someone for both the Centurion and the LAV 8x8.
The ARC Fleet grav tank is nearly twice the size of the Combat Wombat GEV. They work if the Centurion is considered a Light Tank as it is about the size of the GZG High Tech Light Tank. I’m still not sure if I’ll use the Centurions in the same force as the ARC Fleet tanks, though they could be part of an allied force, particularly if they’re from planets with different tech levels.
I ended up flying the Combat Wombat Chariot IFVs and the Centurion GEV/Grav Tanks on small Games Workshop flight stands, glued to 36mm washers. The washers should help stabilise the flight stands, as they are a little small for the size of the vehicles and I thought that the large GW flight stands were too oversized. I did cut the shanks down as the original shanks are much too long, in my opinion, and I also wanted to have the vehicles flying at different heights.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines"
Pink Floyd - Time
I meant to post this a couple of weeks back, just after my previous post, but was close to finishing some figures and so held off. And then some new figures arrived from Rebel Minis – Kurgen and Sons of Thunder; and then some figures and a copy of the USE ME rules arrived from 15mm.co.uk; and then my sneaky order to Critical Mass Games arrived (another three ARC Fleet grav tanks, some mercenaries and Captain Byet, and some Naga; and then I finished painting the Kurgen, but not the GZG Alien Mercenaries as intended; and time keeps slipping away.
After reading through the Use Me Rules, I think that they look very playable. There is a Yahoo Group that supports the rules and where you can download the templates and unit rosters. What I have in mind is a scenario set in my Traveller Sector. A Kalar-Wi raiding force descends upon an isolated ore processing plant in the backblocks of one of the border worlds. The raiders are busy looting the place when a militia/mercenary unit shows up. Mayhem ensues.
I want to try this with Stargrunt, but I might run it through first with Use Me, especially as Use Me has soloplay rules. I have the militia/mercenary figures all painted up and ready to go. For the Kalar-Wi, I have been tossing up between GZG's Kra'Vak and Alien Mercenaries. When I saw Rebel Minis' Kurgan, I hoped that they would be a match for GZG's Alien Mercenaries and so I bought a pack. Unfortunately, the Kurgan are smaller and slighter than the Mercs. The Kalar-Wi have a subject race called the Kiang, native of Gaidon/Cabria - interestingly, the only description I have of the Kiang mentions their large ears - so it looks like the Kurgan will become Kiang, cannon fodder for the Kalar-Wi. After painting up two Kurgan to join the Alien Legion, I was left with three 6 x sophont fire teams to support the Kalar-Wi/GZG Alien Mercenaries.
I was a little disapointed with the Sons of Thunder from Rebel Minis (pictured above right), while I liked the almost-retro pressure suits they're wearing, they just don't really grab me as figures. I'll see how they paint up as they will look better with less bare metal.
The Retained Knights Command from 15mm.co.uk were a pleasant surprise - the photos on the 15mm.co.uk webpage often don't do their figures justice. I've cut the silly bayonets off the ends of the figures' rifles but, as you can see, the command pack contains a number of interesting personalities - and a couple of 'red shirts' like the guy at the left of the group. The guy second-from-right has something like a PDA or comm unit in his right hand while the guy third-from-right looks like some sort of Archbishop with robes over his armour and a relic on a staff. I can't work out what he's holding - it's either a war fan, or some form of Collection Plate of Badassery.
I had seen the Dracci reviewed on Dropship Horizon, thought they looked cool, and bought some. They're big boys - around 20mm in height - and I had to clip the ends of their bases to get them to fit on a 16mm washer. They're cruder sculpts than the Garn from Khurasan Miniatures, but are still nicely detailed.
Along with the Dracci, I picked up a couple of individual Rimraiders (one wearing a breather mask and one with a beard) for my pirate crew, a couple of Octopod Officers (one for the Alien Legion and one for the 'podi force), a couple of Octopod riflebeings and an Octopod Heavy Weapons sophont with a Heavy Gauss Rifle. All these figures are from 15mm.co.uk's Hordes of the Future range.
The Rimraiders have quite a lot of character and I look forward to mixing them in with my GZG Reavers and my Citadel Thugs and Ruffians to produce a vile and scurvey crew.
The Octopod Officers and riflebeings will help me round out my Octopod unit. I quite like the officers shoulder pads - it looks as if he is wearing some form of light body armour.
So, a lot to paint up, and then there is the order that arrived from Critical Mass Games ...
26 September 2010
Though it could be arranged
With just a word in Mr. Churchill's ear"
Elvis Costello - Oliver's Army
That piece of information, plus the discovery of the two gentlemen, pictured to the left, in my painting queue – part of a successful purchase of OOP Citadel Traveller figures from eBay in 2009 - suddenly solved my dilemma. The Islamic Federation lads were going to join my Mid-Tech Mercenary Company and the two Citadel Traveller militia figures would become officers in that unit as well.
Using the same colour scheme as I used for the OUDF figures and the original Colonial Militia figures, I uniformed them with a base coat of GW Desert Yellow and added a camo pattern of GW Graveyard Brown. Webbing and pouches were done in GW Burnt Brown. The sanded bases were done in a plain Tamiya X-9 Brown wash/dry brush over black undercoat. The IF troopers had their faces painted GW Boltgun Metal and then this was painted over with GW Sunburst Yellow. The original painting guide had suggested a dull orange but my only orange is very bright, so I went for yellow instead. The idea was to hint at some sort of glassy, backlit faceplate with the figure's features visible inside.
And there we have it - a motley collection of Mid-Tech guys with a variety of kit load outs and body armour, ready for the next ticket.
16 September 2010
I actually finished these figures, finally, just after the Earth Force Marines last week. They've only been on my painting table for about a year!
The TMP entity known as Wiff Waff has sculpted figures for a number of manufacturers. During 2009 he set up a web presence as Green Eyed Miniatures and, amongst other items, released 15mm Yetis and Tolero - the latter are short, hairy, ewok-like creatures while the former are tall, hairy, wookie-ish creatures.
Unfortunately, in 2010 Wiff Waff withdrew the Yetis and Tolero from sale and, it appears, has closed Green Eyed Miniatures down - though he is still sculpting for other companies.
After undercoating in black, I painted the Yetis' hands and faces GW Desert Yellow. Some of the Yetis' fur was given a drybrush of GW Codex Grey and then all received a drybrush of Tamiya X-9 Brown. Straps, pouches and bowcasters were painted GW Graveyard Brown and buckles, bowcaster fittings and blades were painted Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey.
The Yetis are very nice figures and I'm still surprised that there were eight different poses in a pack of eight figures.
13 September 2010
President Gas on everything but roller skates"
The Psychedelic Furs - President Gas
With all the figures painted up, I reorganised my Kamperelian Combat Team again - I now have two infantry platoons, each of two squads of two fire teams; a support platoon of one rifle squad, a Cyclops Battlesuit squad, and two heavy support weapons; and a pair of HAMRs. I still intend to get some GZG OCT-APCs for the infantry squads, and am thinking that another packet of Earthforce Marines, a heavy weapons pack, and another four Cyclops suits would enable me to put another two HAMRs onto the roster for a pretty heavy company combat team.
I painted up the HAMR suits in the same fashion as both the Earthforce Marines and the Cyclopes suits - undercoat of black, then a coat of Tamiya X7 Red. The canopies were painted black and then dry brushed with Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue and the base of the canopies was painted GW Beaten Copper. The heads of the energy weapons were also painted Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue and then the model was finished off with a splash of GW Black Wash. The wash makes the HAMR legs and engine fins look all oily and smokey which is pretty much the effect I wanted.
My order from Rebel Minis appeared cursed! In the end it took over a month to travel from the US to West Auckland and it would appear that this is due solely to the US Postal Service! The date stamp on the package indicates that the parcel was in the post within days of my order being placed, and there are no Customs stickers indicating that Border Security had taken an interest.
But the wait was worth it. I received two of the John Bear Ross designed Titan Marine Mk. III Support HAMR suits, a pack of Earth Force Marines and a pack of Earth Force Marines Gun Team.
All these figures will go toward building up my Kamperalian Republican Force, discussed back in March.
The HAMR suits are a four piece model: the base, legs and cockpit form one piece; there are two separate weapons systems; and the top-mounted missile box makes up the final piece. I assembled one of the two HAMRs straight out of the bag, but decided to have a play around with the second one. The missile box is moulded with a traverse ring so, by filing off the mounting lugs on the missile box, I was able to mount it in an offset position, as if the operator was tracking a target. I also had a play with the positions of the weapons mounts, so the operator has just discharged his starboard weapon, and is tracking with his missile box and port weapon.
I mounted the HAMRs on 20mm washers and have given them a preliminary coat of Tamiya X7 Red over a light black undercoat.
In other painting news, I finally finished my OUDF troops from Ground Zero Games which I have had since December 2008! The initial green camo scheme just did not inspire me and the OUDFs got sidelined as more interesting projects came up. I've now decided to group them with my Militia figures as a mercenary unit and have redone them in the desert camo that the latter wear.
And I have finished my GZG Crusties as well. The hard thing was to get the initial colours - for the Ixx, for example, as soon as I decided that they were similar to Praying Mantis' in colour, the rest of the paint job came together. For the Crusties, having seen only stills from the movie District 9, I was instead inspired by the colouration of a crab in a programme on Food TV - though, being Food TV, the crustacean in question came to a rather unpleasant end - unless you like crab, I guess.
Starting with a base colour of AeroMaster US Tan, I dry-brushed on a coat of Games Workshop Regal Blue. This was followed by a wash of GW Asurmen Blue and the hooves were touched up with a second coat of AeroMaster US Tan. Fangs were picked out in GW Skull White and the eyes/eye sockets were painted GW Blood Red. The Crusties' weapons were undercoated black and then painted Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey. This made the weapons look very dark so I decided to repaint them Gunzo Sangyo HS2 Olive Drab and then drybrushed GW Boltgun Metal along the fins, and also picked out the belt buckles, pouch locks and ammo canisters on the belts. The belts, themselves, were painted Tamiya X9 Brown.
Two of the Crusties were picked out to join the Alien Legion and had their bases finished with Tamiya XF24 Dark Grey while the rest of the Crusties had their bases finished with a wash of Tamiya X9 Brown. The Alien Legion Crusties also had their shoulder pads and parts of their guns painted GW Shadow Grey, one of the Legion's primary colours.
There was never meant to be only one"
Incubus - Megalomaniac
A four-day weekend and I finally succumb to a head cold. So, I'm sitting at home by myself today when my little order from Khurasan Miniatures arrived! Hooray! That always cheers me up – shiny new toys.
Sitting in the sun in the lounge, finally feeling warm, and with a fresh cup of coffee, I opened the package. And what neat 15mm goodness was inside!
Three Pelagic Dominate Sea Wasp Light Grav vehicles, two packs of Pelagic Dominate Orca Assault Warriors, two Felid Barons, a Felid Heavy Battle Circle, and a pack of Mekanoid Grenadier Infantrybots.According to Khurasan Miniatures' backstory, the Pelagic Dominate is an Interstellar Empire consisting of aquatic life forms. I already have some of the Karkarine (sharkmen) landser, who are still awaiting painting, and the new Orca Assault troops were too good to pass up. Interestingly, the Orca are cast without bases. I simply glued them straight on to 16mm washers. The figures come with a selection of weapons – miniguns and either speargun-type spears or harpoons - and with orca faces or visored faces. I opted for the visored faces as I have a cunning idea for using these figures in my Traveller campaign for a megatherium-like race.
The Heavy Felid Battle Circle consists of 10 figures; an Alpha warrior, five warriors with blasters (standard long-arm weapon), two warriors with grenade launchers and two warriors with heavy plasma guns - the latter are underslung, battering ram-like weapons that just say, "make my day, monkey boy!" The Alpha warrior has a strange pointy thing on his head which might be a comm unit, but which looks more like a dunce's hat. I may very well take this off.
The Felid Baron wears command/battledress - ie heavy armour - and I bought two specifically so I could have one as a command figure and one as as a character figure. A gentle bend of the gun arm of one of the figures enabled me to differentiate between the two of them.
I hummed and hawed about getting the Mekanoids. I was not enthused by the thought of chain-sword wielding robots. Eventually, I succumbed and got a pack of the grenadiers. They aren't bad figures, if a little static in pose. I do like the blocky heads and wonder if these may proxy for the "not-Tau" some people have been looking for to do WH40K in 15mm with. Critical Mass Games have a mercenary set - "The Blockheads" - which has just been released who, from memory, have similar heads/sensor lenses. At the moment, I'm thinking the Mekanoids will be painted up as clankers of some sort, but plans could change closer to paint time.
The three Sea Wasp Light Grav vehicles assembled very easily. The vehicles and weapon mounts are resin, while base and shank are lead. Each vehicle comes with a choice of three weapons mounts: a large disk thing (some sort of sensor disk, I guess - these are scout vehicles after all), a dual energy/kinetic weapon mount, and a mini-gun mount. I decided on the dual energy weapon mount for all three vehicles. The mini-guns may end up on my ARC Fleet grav tanks from Critical Mass Games and the sensor disks (visible on the Sea Wasp in the top picture of this post) actually look like bank-vault style hatches. If they don't end up on a vehicle, I might incorporate them into some scenics I've got planned.
So, a nice haul. Very happy with the figures and very happy with the speed of delivery from Khurasan Miniatures. Now, just need to make some time to get all these guys painted up.
18 March 2010
All these things we'll one day swallow whole"
Radiohead - Street Spirit (fade out)
I finished my first pack of Crusaders from 15mm.co.uk back in September 2009. I subsequently bought a second pack of the Crusader Infantry and a Heavy Weapons pack. These were finally finished off this afternoon and the figures posed for a group photo.
I now have a light platoon of three squads - each squad consists of two fire teams (including a support weapon) and a weapons team.
My long term goal is to build a second platoon - two packs of Crusaders and a Heavy Weapons pack - and round out the resulting light company with a Crusader Command pack.
These Crusaders will be serving as Geithurian Republic Marines. The Republican Marines get the best equipment available - Tech Level 12 - which still leaves them ill-equipped to confront Imperial Marines head-on.
We won't talk of rain around here"
Opshop - Big Energy in Little Spaces
February and March have been extremely busy months. Even though I had selected my Earthforce Marines pack from Rebel Minis, my four Cyclops Heavy Battlesuits from Ground Zero Games and my two packs of 15mm.co.uk Crusaders as my painting project – as they are all uniformed and in battle armour or combat environment suits I thought they’d be a quick paint – it’s taken me nearly a month to get half the project finished, while the crusaders still lack detailing.
As I was prepping the Earthforce Marines for painting, I decided that they would make good Kamperalian Republican troopers. The Kamperalian Republic is a small polity in my Traveller campaign – the homeworld is a poor, high population planet – with a fairly aggressive foreign policy. As Kamperal has been conceived of as being covered in megacities and acrologies, it suddenly occuried to me that the Kamperalian military may have adopted walker technology as opposed to expensive anti-grav tech and that walkers would be easier to manoeuvre in the hallways of the acrologies than vehicles.
I’ve never been a big fan of walkers, but this explanation seemed quite plausible to me. Kamperalian infantry either walk or deploy in APC walkers, such as those produced by Ground Zero Games; each squad is supported by two Heavy Battlesuits (Ground Zero Games Cyclops Heavy battlesuits); and armoured support is supplied by Critical Mass Games Combat Walkers.
Both the Marines and the Battlesuits were lightly undercoated. A base uniform colour of Tamiya X7 Red was applied and then the backpacks of the Marines were painted GW Blood Red. Weapons, belt pouches and helmet hoses were painted matt black, while helmet visors were painted GW Beaten Copper. Squad colour stripes were added to the helmets - GW Ice Blue and GW Blazing Orange. Bases were coated with fine sand and then painted black. A wash of watery AeroMaster US Tan was followed by a drybrush with Tamiya X-24 Dark Grey. Chunky green flock was applied with dabs of PVA to represent weeds growing through a hard surface. A green shoulder flash may be added to the troopers.
The battlesuits had the exhaust ports on their jump packs painted black and a light camo slashing of GW Blazing Orange across the armour base colour of Tamiya X7 Red. Helmet visors were painted GW Beaten Copper and a light wash of GW Babadab was apllied to the entire battlesuit to bring out the detail of the armour and its articulations.
15 February 2010
I got cat class and I got cat style"
The Stray Cats - Stray Cat Strut
Several projects are on the go at the moment, but painting time is in seriously short supply. I have been having a bit of fun working on my Traveller blog, though, and the arrival, today, of five 15mm Citaldel Aslan I won off eBay was a boost as well. It was nice to get the Aslan, but once you factor in postage, £1.38 a 15mm figure is a little steep. I'm beginning to seriously think about ordering some direct from RAFM, even if their postage prices are over the top.While sorting out material for my painting guide (basically copying and pasting material out of this log onto a page I can access more easily), I found a photo of the jetbike I got from 15mm.co.uk back in December. I mounted the bike on a cut-down small Games Workshop flight stand and painted the body of the bike GW Midnight Blue. Running lights, detailing, and the edges of the rear jets were painted GW Blood Red while the seat was painted GW Scorched Brown.
03 February 2010
Visions in blue"
Ultravox - Visions in Blue
The latter half of January suddenly became very busy and it was only on the last day of Auckland Anniversary weekend that I finally got a bit of time to paint. Finished up four Laserburn figures for my Alien Legion project and finally got my 10 Octopods completed as well. Two of the Octopods will join the Alien Legion, while the remaining eight will form an Octopod squad. Both the Laserburn and Octopod figures are produced by 15mm.co.uk.
At present, 1st Squad of the Alien Legion is complete and consists of three humans and five aliens. I still need to do an officer and this may be a Protolene Khanate/Vargr.
The four Laserburn figures came from a group I won on eBay late last year. I painted up two Adventurers with laser rifles (114), an Adventurer with a Support Bolt Gun (122) and an Imperial Combat Scout (316). The face and helmet of the Imperial Combat Scout reminded me vaguely of a bird (a budgie, actually) so I painted his facial features up as an avian.
Basic uniform is GW Shadow Grey with hats and body armour panels of Aeromaster US Blue Grey. Boots and some belts are GW Graveyard Brown while all weapons are Tamiya X-18 Semi Gloss Black, drybrushed with Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey.
The Octopods lurk in the Galactic Strangeness Section of the Hordes of the Future (HOF) range. I mixed GW Elf Flesh with Vallejo 957 Flat Red to create a rosé colour for their skin. I then retouched their facial cilia with more Vallejo 957 Flat Red to deepen the colour a bit. The Octo-squaddies got a GW Blazing Orange jump suit and Tamiya X-18 Semi Gloss Black boots, power pack and hoses. Their weapons were started with Tamiya X-18 Semi Gloss Black, dry brushed with Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey and had highlights of GW Beaten Copper. The Alien Legion Octos have a jump suit of GW Shadow Grey.
With some of my Christmas money, I flicked off a little order to 15mm.co.uk early in January. This also allowed me to take advantage of a discount coupon I received with my previous order in early December. I ordered a pack each of the Crusader Troopers and Crusader Heavy Weapons from the Hordes of the Future range, giving me thirty OPFOR Combat Armour/Battledress equiped troopers. At the same time I ordered another three 207a Jetbikes, along with three MSM25 Saurian Riders, from the Laserburn range to give me a squadron of four Saurian jetbikes.
The good folks at 15mm.co.uk very generously threw in three Saurian hunting lizards (which the Saurian riders are usually mounted on) and a 111 Female Adventurer. Thanks guys!
14 January 2010
I mentioned back in my 10 December post that I had nearly finished painting up a couple of Eureka Miniatures 15mm Samurai Mages as Psionic Mystical-Knight type characters. Post Christmas, and I’ve finally finished them.
Mr Dun-robes originally held a staff in his right hand. This has been cut down to a ‘plasma sword’, and painted accordingly. The burst of ‘mental energy’ from his left hand has gone through a number of colour combinations before arriving at the current one.
His companion is essentially the original figure with a paint job.
Finally finished the Peter Pig Company Marines I received back in March of 2009 as well. Very svelte figures, wearing SAS-like hoods and strange Samurai-like wicker shoulder and thigh guards. I decided to paint them up as corporate ninja types and am quite happy with the results. The figure range has been sold by Peter Pig to Moonfleet Miniatures who, while specialising in 28mm Science Fiction, also make the 18mm tall Smoggers.
As corporate ninjas, I finished the marine figures in Tamiya X-18 Semi-gloss Black and picked out helmet lenses and lights in either GW Beaten Copper or GW Skull White. Bases were coated with sand and then undercoated black and painted Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey and their rather odd looking weapons were finished off with Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey.
And a day's painting saw me complete 24 ESU Naval Infantry from Ground Zero Games - in spite of having to repaint some kit twice to get a colour match with the Naval Infantry I finished back in 2007. Base uniform colour is GW Shadow Grey with an Aeromaster US Blue Grey helmet. Gloves and boots are GW Graveyard Brown and weapons and visors Tamiya X-18 Semi-gloss Black. All weapons were then dry brushed with Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey. Camo cloaks are Vallejo USA Uniform Green 084 with GW Graveyard Brown dot pattern and the grey pattern camo on the uniforms is Vallejo Light Grey 155.
And finally, some scenery. I mentioned back on 31 December that I'd being having some fun with packaging. From the plastic packaging for a pair of D-size batteries, a plastic panel from a photocopier, and the tine-protectors from a new electrical plug, I assembled a small bunker/store shed/garage.
To give the structure some rigidity, I glued it to an old CD which was then coated with sand, painted, and had some flock grass and scrub added around the edge of the building. A nice, simple recycle job that doesn't look too bad.
I have nearly finished painting the first couple of fire teams for my Alien Legion Project as well - some Human Adventurers and a couple of Octopods from 15mm.co.uk - and hope to have them completed this week.
During the Christmas Break I managed to finish off a couple of bits and pieces, as well as have some fun with some packaging.
I'm very pleased with how my flitcars from 15mm.co.uk turned out and how just a hint of colour gives the impression that the dashboards have lots of lights and dials. They are nice little models.
While the Grav Truck I got from Ground Zero Games is about finished, the deck gun and crew are still a work in progress. I decided to mount the gun and crew on a piece of plastic card so that I could have them in action either from the back of the truck, or as a ground mount.
I went for a very basic colour scheme for the Grav Truck - Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey for the deck and Tamiya XF-65 Field Grey for the truck body. The grav plates, underneath the body of the truck, were painted GW Midnight Blue with a wash of GW Ice Blue.
The Siku Panzer-spähwagen, last seen in the entry for 17 December 2009, received a dose of GW Terracotta camo splotches, and had its wheels drybrushed with GW Graveyard Brown for that muddy look, and the machine gun drybrushed Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey. The overall effect is very pleasing.
I have been basing all my science fiction figures individually on 16mm diameter washers. The reasoning being that the washers gave stability and ‘heft’ to the individual figures, allowing them to be used for both Role Playing Games as well as Skirmish wargames. But at the back of my mind has been the desire play "higher echelon" style wargames using fireteams as the basic combat element. Being familiar with such concepts as "movement trays" and similar "sabot" style unit movement bases, the use of washers for figure bases, and the availability of magnetic sheet material led me to reconsider fireteam basing again.
Having tried, and discarded, one style of fireteam basing, as discussed back in October, I now had the idea of using actual Battlefront Flames of War plastic fire team bases, with magnetic sheet strips glued on in the appropriate places and the rest of the base tricked out in appropriate style to match the figure bases.
Having just completed painting a packet of Ground Zero Games UNSC marines, I decided to try the new basing system with them. After several attempts, I managed to construct a figure base template to mark out the bases with. I then coated the 'waste' area with PVA and sand, painted the entire base the primary base colour - in this case Tamiya XF-58 Olive Green - touched up the sand-coated area with a little GW Graveyard Brown, and then flocked the sand-coated area.
1cm by 1cm squares of magnetic sheet were glued into the centers of the 'base' areas to hold the figures. While not a hundred percent perfect, the magnetic sheet does hold the figures if the base is tipped. So it works, in a weird way, and it doesn't look too bad.
I'll finish off the Marines and try out some other unit groups and see how it looks.
John dropped by today and seems quite keen to work on a set of fireteam scale rules for tabletop gaming. As we're both Traveller fans, we may have a common approach which will produce something useable. It's an 'off-period' for John, but one I can provide both sides for, so we may get a result!
It's gonna break the speed of sound"
Deep Purple - Highway Star
15mm.co.uk had a series of specials going into December. The one I was waiting on was for a mystery pack of Laserburn vehicles with any order of Laserburn figures over £10 in value. As I wanted to get a few more of the Laserburn alien types I got back in May, as well as sample some of their other aliens, filling up a £10 order was pretty easy.
So, the mystery pack contained two V101 Civilan Flit cars - lovely little two seater grav cars - and a V005 Heavy Laser Cannon. Personally, I would have preferred the Hover Van or the Support wagon, but the pack was free so I can't complain. And, as a bonus, the crew figures from the Ground Zero Games G-sled (V15-30B) fit the Flit cars perfectly.
I ordered more Szithk, Erts, Mandblexs and Orts to make up full fire teams with the ones I already have, as well as to give me a few left over for my Alien Legion project.
I also got a 207a Jetbike (which is a lovely little model). The bike comes with no rider so I ordered a Saurian rider (MSM25) to see if he was either compatible or convertible. The Saurian rider comes with open legs and no saddle gear (apparently the various riding beasts have saddles moulded on them) so fits the bike perfectly. I mounted all the grav vehicles on small Games Workshop flight stands, after cutting the shafts down to about a third of normal length. So far, one of the Flit cars has received a first coat of GW Enchanted Blue followed by a second coat of Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue. The other Flit car has received two coats of Bottle Green acrylic craft paint.
Also in this order I received some Ort Cyborgs (which look really neat), some Mandiblex in power armour (which look more like environment suits), six vaguely lion-like Smat and two Smat in armoured suits. I also got a Shantek Cyborg, a Nixecon and an Anog - again for my Alien Legion.
The Alien Legion project was inspired by discussions on both TMP and the Dropship Horizon Blog. My Traveller campaign has a multi-species polity and I thought it might be fun to create a unit that had a uniform appearance, but consisted of a number of differed species.
Find of the Month is this Panzer-Spähwagen Armoured Reconnaissance Tank (!) from German toymaker Siku, above left, and available in our local Toyworld for $NZ5.99. The pamphlet with the toy suggests that it might be 1/87th scale - will have to get a few more of these!
And lastly, a size comparison shot of the Critical Mass Games Protolene Khanate and Praesentia Ancient figures with a GZG ESU Naval Infantryman and a Peter Pig Large Green Martian.
As mentioned in the entry for the 8th of December, my Christmas present this year had a very 'Aliens amd Armour' theme. I discussed the Aliens on the 8th, and now it's the Armour.
The Ground Zero Games Kra'Vak Heavy Grav Tank (left of shot) has a three piece metal hull with separate turret and rail gun. A separate sprue has a commander half-figure, a commander's hatch and a remote turret for the lower hull mount. Two separate fins, similar to those on Kra'Vak warships, and a flight stand complete the kit.
The Critical Mass Games ARC Fleet Heavy grav tank has a single piece resin hull with separate resin turret. A choice of three main gun barrels are included, along with separate under-hull resin grav modules. Two remote missile packs for the turret, as well as some form of turret mounted machine gun, are also included. The Mk II version of the tank has two commander half figures and two hatch covers.
I think the 'M' shaped frame at the rear of the ARC Fleet Heavy Tank turret is actually from the casting process and not part of the turret as it is missing from the pictures of the tanks of the CMG website.
Amongst the Christmas goodies from Ground Zero Games was a pack of the new Grav Drones, and a pack of the bases that go with them. The drones are quite neat with a smooth dome-like upper side and a 'busy' underside that includes two anti-grav plates. About half the size of the Tau gun drones I have been intending to paint up for nearly two years, I really like them and can't wait to complete them.
08 December 2009
While experiencing one of those bouts of figure-painting ennui, I chanced upon a The Miniature Page link that took me to an article on the Terragenesis site about making alien structures out of melted plastic bottles. So, I’ve had a fun week or so messing around with plastic, heat guns and paint. My ‘how to’ article is now done and can be found on my Model making page.
My Christmas presents arrived from Ground Zero Games and Critical Mass Games, six days from send to receive for the former and seven days for the latter, which has got me enthused about painting again, and just as well as my painting table is filling up.
Prior to the arrival of my Christmas presents, I got a small sampler order in from Nic at Eureka Miniatures in Australia. I’ve been working on getting together some figures to use as Jedi Knights or some sort of similar, psionic order, especially after watching the Star Wars: Clone Wars series on TV. Strangely enough, there are not a lot of Psionic Mystical Knight-type figures around. However, lurking near the bottom of Eureka’s 15mm Samurai range were a pair of Samurai Mages – 300SAM26 – which I found a while back and which I have nearly finished painting up.
On the lookout for other PMKT (Psionic Mystical Knight-types), I was intrigued by the mages in Eureka’s 18mm Fantasy range. Selecting the mages from both the Wood Elf and Elves of the Lofty Spires ranges, I also picked up a pair of Orc shamans as well. The Wood Elves are enormous, probably seven feet tall if compared with a 15mm scale person of about 5 foot 10 inches, though such gigantic figures make quite striking characters. The Lofty Spire elves are actually shorter and match well with the current creep in 15mm scales, while the Orc shamans are the best fit, size-wise. They have quite a lot of character as ugly humans or over-grown Yoda-types. I’ve cut the worst staff excesses off to make the figures look a little less Fantasy.
Whether as a Pulp Evil Genius, the Mistress of the Lost Temple, or the leader of the Mysterious Cult, one always needs minions, and the best sort of minions wear uniforms and have their faces covered, either with form-fitting helmets or some form of hood or cloak. Eureka Miniatures has a nice little pack of Warrior Monks with naginata in their 15mm Samurai range that are spot on for the job. I’m in the process of giving them a weapon swap so have cut the naginatas off.
Another figure of interest from the Eureka Samurai range is the Geisha (300SAM23). When I showed her to my wife, my wife asked, “Is that Princess Leia?” So, that really answers that question, doesn’t it?
And finally, from Eureka’s 15mm World War Two range, a Soviet militia/partisan accordionist 300WWT156. I thought this figure was seated, as the other Partisan is seated, but it turns out that he is not which is a bit of a pity. Still, he's a wonderful figure with loads of character.
And here are some size comparisons:
My Christmas present from Ground Zero Games has an 'Aliens and Armour' theme – a V15-PB31 Platoon of three Kra’Vak Heavy Grav Tanks; a pack of Kra’Vak Infantry; three packs of the new Crusties Aliens (SG15-X09, X10 and X11); and a pack of SG15-X06 Ravagers for when you “absolutely, positively got to kill every motherf***er on the starship” (to quote Mark on the Dropship Horizon Blog). Jon at GZG very kindly threw in a pack of Kra’Vak in power armour, another pack of Crusties, and a pack of his new Grav Mini Drones (V15-76) and bases (V15-77).
The Kra'Vak are old figures and rather bland by Ground Zero Games' current standards. The Kra'Vak power armoured troops, on the other hand are rather nice (if you ignore the silly axe the officer is carrying). The troopers actually remind me of Dr Who's old enemies, the Sontarans.
The Crusties were Jon’s little surprise for the 15mm SciFi world. Apparently based on the aliens in the movie ‘District 9’, these figures just seemed to come out of nowhere.
And what excellent figures they are, too. There are enough poses between the two main infantry packs (X09 and X10) and the support weapons pack (X11) to fill your squads out nicely.
My Christmas present from Critical Mass Games continues the 'Armour and Aliens' theme with a platoon pack of ARC Fleet Grav tanks and four packs of the Protolene Khanate caninoids. And the excellent Craig at Critical Mass threw in a test sculpt of a Praesentia Ancient as well - photos to come.
12 November 2009
We're space truckin' round the stars"
Deep Purple - Space Truckin'
From Khurasan I received another three Garn Warriors; two packs of Karkarine Landser (eight Kark infantry) and a Command/Heavy Weapons team; and two Felid Battle Circles (20 warriors). The figures are lovely and I'm looking forward to painting them up. The felids, in particular, with their little bobbed tails, have a lot of character.
From Ground Zero Games I got another pack of UNSC Hardsuit Marines; a pack of the new SG15-X08 Alien Mercs II; an Ixx party pack (SG15-IXXPAK) of 10 Ixx; an Assault Team pack (SG15-SFE5); and a Light Utility G-sled (V15-30B) with plasma gun and crew.
The G-sled has Traveller "air/raft" written all over it. I mounted it on a cut down Games Workshop small flight stand to have it 'flying'. The vehicle comes with two crew - one in field cap and the other in 'bone-dome' helmet. I think I'll paint both up, but not glue them into position so either, or both, can crew the vehicle.
The plasma gun and two crew will, I think, be mounted on a piece of plastic card so I can have them on the air/raft tray, or ground mounted, as I so choose.
The Alien Mercs II pack adds three new sculpts to the 'Alien' range and are a welcome addition. I quite like the figures, even with the goofy flying goggles some of them wear. I wonder if Jon will consider doing them in fuller armour? With their pronounced shoulders and unusual weapons, they are quite different in shape to normal humans.
The Assault Team consists of four figures in caps, perhaps three troopers and an NCO, plus four character figures. The characters include an impassive bald man, a leader type, another male with a backpack, and a female. It was when I saw them painted up on a Stargate-inspired website that I twigged to the possible inspiration for this set, and why it was associated with SG15-SFE1 Science Fiction Egyptians with Jackal-head helmets. D’oh!
The Ixx party pack includes a couple of Ixx with support weapons, so with the four I have finished already, I will have quite a sizeable attack group of them.
from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow."
Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song
Almost by accident, I finished my pack of GZG Scandinavian Federation troops (SG15-W1) a couple of nights ago. I wanted to achieve a vaguely defenders-of-Hoth look so after undercoating in black, I painted the troopers Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey and then drybrushed a coat of GW Codex Grey over the top. The fur edging of the parka hoods was painted GW Skull White to make it stand out.
Each of the troopers has a cloth mask over the lower part of their face, and wears some form of high tech visor over their eyes and the upper part of their face. I painted the cloth mask Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey and the visors (and the officer's binocular lenses) AeroMaster 1015 RLM 24 Blue. I put a thin line of Tamiya XF-15 Flat Flesh between the visor and the face mask. Boots/leggings were painted Tamiya XF-65 Field Grey and weapons were painted Tamiya X-18 Semi-gloss Black and then drybrushed Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey.
The figures were mounted on 16mm diameter washers and the bases built up with polyfilla. Rather than coating the bases in sand, as is my usual style, I undercoated the bases in black, and then painted on a thick first coat of Vallejo 990 Light Grey. I then stuck on clumps of my foam chip flock and dry brushed both the base and the flock with Vallejo 951 White. This gave the flock a nice snowy-bush effect. The edges of the bases were tidied up with GW Codex Grey. I'm very please with the final result.
01 November 2009
After a break from painting for a couple of weeks while we worked on Traveller characters, I managed to get some painting in on Friday. Finally finished off the two packs of NSL Armoured Infantry (SG15-N1) and the pack of NSL Power Armour (SG15-N3) from Ground Zero Games I've had sitting around for a while.
With the Armoured Infantry, I decided to continue with the basic colour scheme I used on the Jager Light Infantry I finished at the beginning of October. A base coat of GW Terracotta went on over the black undercoat. As these troopers are wearing body armour, I then gave them two coats of Humbrol 51, a metallic red/pink. This gave their armour a gloss effect. Camo splotches of GW Dark Angel Green went on next, before I tidied up their weapons with a base coat of Tamiya X-18 Semi-gloss Black and finished with a dry brush of Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey. I had been going to do the helmet visors GW Beaten Copper but this disappeared in amongst the Terracotta and Humbrol colours, so I ended up doing the visors in Tamiya X-18 Semi-gloss Black as well.
For the Power Armoured Infantry, I decided to use the 'don't-use-undercoat' technique I had first used with the 15mm.co.uk Crusaders back in September. A couple of the Power Armoured troops had been partially undercoated in black when I painted their bases, so after three coats of Humbrol 51 I had a variety of armour colours ranging from rose to pinky-black. Weapons were painted Tamiya X-18 Semi-gloss Black and finished with a dry brush of Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey and visors were painted Tamiya X-18 Semi-gloss Black with a dry brush of GW Midnight Blue.
Bases were painted GW Graveyard Brown and then flocked with my 'dry-grass' flock.
Finally finished rebasing a couple of packs of ESU Naval Infantry and a pack of ESU Power Armoured Infantry. When I originally painted them, I was working towards a fire team/squad based game and so decided that mounting the fire teams on single bases was the way to go. Then, I swung around to thinking that individually based figures might work better for me as that would allow me to choose the sort of game I wanted to play. By this time, my Eurasian Solar Union ground troops were based in groups, and there they remained until I finally decided to bite the bullet and rebase them.
Any wargamer will tell you how much they enjoy rebasing figures (Not!). Luckily for me I hadn't progressed too far along when I decided to change over basing styles. Also, the Ground Zero Games figures are quite robust, so getting them off the old card bases wasn't too bad a job. Essentially, I cracked the pollyfilla layer of the large base, and then cut the individual figures off. I then soaked the figures over night in warm water to soften the remaining card and glue on the base of the figure. With this residue softened, I was able to pull the bulk of it off by hand, using my scalpel to clean up the underside of the figure base and trim the edges.
The ESU Power Armoured infantry were the first lot of science fiction figures I tried my wonky Testors Gunmetal effect on, as described during the painting of my Large Green Martians/Sydites. In this case, I painted the Power Armour matt black and then followed this with a coat of gunmetal. The gunmetal left a nice, gloss sheen on the armour but essentially vanished. I then finished off the red visor slits, the yellow highlights on the shoulder-mounted micro-missile launchers, and dry brushed the hand weapons with GW Boltgun metal.
Also finished were some more ‘droids. These started life as plastic Epic Eldar Wraithlords. I cut off the silly shoulder sticky-up-things-of-no-apparent-function, mounted the miniatures on my favourite 16mm washers, and then painted. Base colour was GW Storm Blue with GW Dark Angel Green feet, knees and elbow joints. The head cowl was painted GW Beaten Copper and the gun-arm and power claw were finished off with Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey. The bases were sanded with fine sand and then painted Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey.
Jethro Tull - Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day
I know I shouldn't do this sort of thing, but I like to run the occasional search on eBay for Traveller related material. I’ve picked up some excellent supplements and other material for the versions of Traveller that interest me, and just lately I’ve started to keep an eye out for figures. I managed to score 31 classic Citadel 15mm Traveller figures for £ 25 (including postage from the UK to New Zealand) last week, which pleased me immensely. The figures arrived a couple of days ago and are in very good condition. I ended up with 12 Droyne – little winged psionic lizard-like beings - and 19 starship crew, which is almost an entire boxed set of the latter. About the same time my figures arrived, RAFM announced that they were putting the original Citadel Droyne, Aslan and Vargr figures back into production!
But while this sounds good, RAFM charges like an angry groat when it comes to shipping outside the US/Canada - $US15 is the base shipping and handling fee. I’m not sure how many packs you can get shipped at this rate, but for me, looking to only get a couple of packs of Aslan and Vargr, I might hang on and see what happens to the price of figures on eBay, or wait until the caninoid Protolene Khanates figures are released by Critical Mass Games in November.
During my figure buying frenzie in May, I bought five Ert from 15mm.co.uk's Aliens, Warriors and Creatures range, four with rifles and one with a launcher. It was only after I gave them an undercoat of watered down black - almost a wash coat - that I became aware of what neat little sculpts they are.
Rather than having human faces as I first thought, the Ert have large eyes and an almost kif-like snout. The rifle-ert has a set of goggles pushed up on his helmet while the launcher-ert has pulled his down over his eyes. Each Ert has an impressive collection of belt pouches and packs.
The body of the jacket was painted Aero Master US Blue Grey while the sleeves and helmet were painted GW Shadow Grey. The goggles were painted Vallejo Cam. Medium Brown with GW Liche Purple lenses. Gloves and boots were Tamiya X9 Brown and belt pouches and backpack were Vallejo Cam. Medium Brown. For the skin/facial fur, I mixed Vallejo Cam. Medium Brown with Vallejo White until I arrived at a café au lait colour. The large eyes were painted GW Blood Red while the ends of the snout was painted my plain black undercoat. The bases were polyfilla-ed, covered in fine sand, and then painted Tamiya XF24 Dark Grey with a black edge.
The second group of figures to be finished this week were a pack of Ground Zero Games Neu Swabian League Jagers I’ve had on my painting table since at least 2007, if not earlier. For the NSL troopers, I decided to follow a camo pattern I had developed for my 6mm OPFOR, way back in May 2007. Base colour is GW Terracotta with spots of GW Dark Angel Green. Boots are standard black. The coarse sand coated bases were painted GW Graveyard Brown and then flocked with my ‘drylands’ flock. Weapons and helmet ear pieces were finished in Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey.
17 September 2009
When staging the comparison pictures I posted on the 15th September, I completely forgot to include shots of my new Space Demon figures from Khurasan Miniatures, and then I've had a couple of busy days. Today, I finally get to correct the error, and to include some other miniatures as well.
15 September 2009
Shriekback - All Lined Up
Continuing the topic of scale comparison photos inspired by a thread on The Miniatures Page, here are a further series.
14 September 2009
After a very long shift on Saturday, I arrived home to discover that my order from Khurasan Miniatures had arrived. From their 15mm Science Fiction range I had ordered the Garn Commander pack and two packs of Garn Warriors (Codes TTC 11001 and 1100 respectively), as well as a pack each of TTC-901 Space Demon Assault Warriors and TTC-903 Space Demon Infiltrator Warriors. And to my complete surprise, they threw in a sample of the, as yet, unreleased Karkarine aliens - which I can't show you a picture of!
Update: The Karkarine have now been released and very nice pictures posted on the Khurasan Miniatures site.
The Garn are lovely models and apart from the officer, 2nd from left, can be fitted with a choice of weapons via a rather ingenious attachment lug moulded onto the individual weapon model. I particularly like the detailing of the Garn skin. They look rather crocodilian in some respects, when they don’t look like little T-Rex’s.
I look at the Garn and think “Drakarans” from GURPS Traveller; Alien Races 1, except that the Garn aren’t monocular. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to painting these guys up.
Comparing them with the Szithk from the Laserburn Alien Forces range, and the Saurians from the Asgard Space Marines and Aliens line, both available from 15mm.co.uk, is quite interesting from a design, as well as from a quality of sculpting point of view. The Szithk look very much like humans in rubber suits. The heads are obviously not human but the bodies pose and carry themselves in a very human fashion. The Saurians, who are amongst my favourite sculpts from 15mm.co.uk, have much slighter built bodies. Lacking the detail of the Garn on their faces, they actually remind me of Skinks – which makes me think of Newts in a Traveller context, and which could explain their high collars. The collars are actually mist sprayers to keep the Newts’ skin moist.
The Space Demons are fun figures. I recall when they first came out that every 15mm Science Fiction blogger went bat guano over them, and now I actually have some, I can see why. Very cleverly, the sculptor has created four body types, which are used for both the Infiltrators and the Assault Space Demons. The heads, two different types for each subspecies, are cast separately and so immediately the model maker can create the illusion of more variety by posing the heads at different angles. The head types are the ‘mouth closed’ and ‘extensor mouth gonna get you’ types from a certain film involving unpleasant alien life forms. Though, having just watched ‘Pitch Black’, I can see certain elements of that film’s creature design in these lovely little demons, as well.
Size-wise, they match up quite nicely with the Xenomorph SG15-X1 from Ground Zero Games, the latter is larger and more statically posed.
While prepping the Space Demons for undercoating, I did notice what appeared to be a bit of flash on some of the bodies, usually between one of the back legs and the tail. "That's a shame," I thought, "the moulds are wearing out." I emailed Khurasan Miniatures to let them know and got a very quick and courteous response. Apparently, the sculptor was a little over-ambitious in the way he sculpted the leg and tail portion of some of the bodies and there is a little bit of metal leakage. This is easily removed with the point of a sharp scalpel.
To man the machines"
Pete Townshend - The Iron Man
I had hoped to have these figures finished earlier and photos up sooner, but Real Life (tm) got in the way.
Have finally finished my 10 Crusader figures, purchased from 15mm.co.uk back in May. Way back in (good grief!) February I spotted a neat painting article on Dropship Horizon suggesting alternate ways of painting body armour - the don't-use-undercoat-method - which I decided to try on the Crusaders.
So, I went for three coats of Humbrol 50 “Metallic Green” enamel over bare metal. What was interesting, and which doesn’t really show up in the pictures, is that the paint went progressively darker as it accumulated in crevices in the armour, around joints, and in the visor slits.
I cut off the bayonets that the Crusaders’ guns were equipped with. Call me old fashioned, but if a futuristic battle-armoured warrior can’t reduce his opponent to gobs of meat by superior fire power, then a kitchen knife taped to the end of his gun is but a cruel trick as the alien monster rips his helmeted head off and drips acid down his neck.
Guns were painted Tamiya X-18 Semi Gloss Black and then dry brushed with my latest discovery, Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey! At last, a gunmetal like the gunmetal of yore, and not the over-silvered stuff Games Workshop flogs as Boltgun metal! I dithered over the figures’ backpacks for a while, before painting them GW Catachan Green. There are lots of interesting features that cry out for detailing but the backpacks look like they should be droppable, which means basic camo and no frills. Will have to think further on this.
Bases were coated in sand, undercoated black and then painted Tamiya XF-67 Nato Green. After a coat of watered down PVA glue was applied, they were dusted with my ‘greener’ flock and then had small bushes of green spongy stuff added.
The Crusaders stand about half a head to a head taller than older Ground Zero Games 15mm figures but, interestingly, match up quite well, size wise, with the Armed Civilians/Colonists I finished in July and August – I intend putting up some size comparison shots in the next couple of weeks, riffing on the good work done on the TMP by Cacique Caribe, Jracel and others. I do like the look of the Crusaders. If I was doing Star Wars gaming, for instance, I would be inclined to use them as Clone Soldiers (yes, I know the helmet is slightly wrong) as they have that same stoic look about them.
And now to the figures that inspired the quote at the top of this entry. I’ve never been a great fan of ‘mechs – in all honesty I find the arguments put forward to justify their existence as bordering on the science fantasy. However, I can see the point of power armour, and see how it might evolve into larger and larger units. To my mind, there is a top end of development where the advantages of having a guy in power armour are out weighed by the likelihood of him becoming Target Number 1.
With these suits, we’re probably at that level. The figures are kit-bashed Kinder Surprise figurines I swiped from my daughter. Originally, the robots had little fan-like wings for arms, which I thought was silly. Mr Scalpel soon sorted that out! I modded the limb stumps with some outlet nozzles chopped off a medical pump, added a brace of missile launchers made from plastic rod, and added the under-slung detailing from a Tau drone’s over-sized weapons to make a cannon-armed power suit.
While playing around with the Tau drone, I decided to chop off the sticky-up thing they have (as that looks silly and, guess what gets caught on low branches?) and then realised that the resulting piece made an excellent machine gun/gauss gun for the other walker.
The walkers each had a large canopy, which I decided to paint copper. The first canopy I glued in place. The second I decided to glue in an open position. I happened to have a couple of tank commander figures in my bits box and so I decided to show that these fearsome machines were still commanded by men. The console in front of the walker commander is a piece of plastic half-round I had in stock, painted black.
15 August 2009
The security guards and cops from Ground Zero Games, mentioned in the 3 August entry below, are now finished. A week of night shifts gave me the time during the day when the light was good (I'm finding it increasingly difficult to do more than undercoat under artificial lights) to actually get on with some painting and finish these boys and girls off.
The Security Guard colour scheme ended up as: GW Blood Red jackets (not Gore Red as I have noted elsewhere, Gore Red is a darker red than I wanted), Aero Master US Blue-grey AER1048 trousers and caps, GW Graveyard Brown boots and belts, Humbrol Gold 5016 shoulder badges/chest badge/cap badge. Bases were painted Tamiya NATO green XF-67 and then flocked with a 'green' flock.
The colour scheme for the Cops was also fairly simple: GW Regal Blue jackets and caps, GW Codex Grey trousers, Tamiya Brown X-9 belts and holsters, Tamiya Semi-gloss Black X-18 boots, and GW Blazing Orange shoulder and cap badges. The bases were dusted with sand, undercoated Black and then painted Tamiya Dark Grey XF-24. The edges of the bases were finished in black for effect.
Having accidently created a 'Corporate Security' look with two guys wearing shiny black leather jackets, I decided to riff on this further and found another four recruits for their team, as well. Jackets and boots are Tamiya Semi-gloss Black X-18 while trousers are GW Catachan Green. I have found that GW Scorched Brown works quite well for Indian or African origin skin colours for a bit of ethnic variety.
Once again the figures are drawn from SG15-V6 Security (Cops), SG15-V7 Armed Civilians/Colonists pack A, SG15-V8 Armed Civilians/Colonists pack B, and SG15-V9 Armed Civilans/Colonists pack C. Pretty much anyone with a baseball-style cap ended up as either a security guard or a cop with the security guards being slightly more static in pose.
3 August 2009
I actually finished these a couple of days ago but my plans for writing up a "How to" guide were seriously derailed over the last weekend. Anyway, the plants are done. I had thought of adding fuse-wire triffid-like whips but will probably leave that for the next batch.
Update: The 'how-to' article has been written and is here.
Have nearly finished painting up another group of security guards and cops from Ground Zero Games, as well as the squad of Crusaders from the Hordes of the Future range I bought from 15mm.co.uk back in May. The latter have been painted in a style I saw recommended on the Dropship Horizon blog, namely several coats of a metallic paint over bare metal. Should have pictures up in the next few days.
While I would like to claim this idea as my own, I can't. A discussion on The Miniatures Page included a URL to this very useful site where the construction of alien pitcher plants was described.
'That doesn't look too hard,' I thought and carefully swiped a couple of straws the next time I had cause to pass a McD's.
Now, the writer of the article on the Terragenesis page recommends using a cigarette lighter to apply heat to the straws. I found that a tea light candle worked just as well and didn’t blister the end of my finger as the lighter did! To each his own, I guess.
I intend writing up the making of the plants as an article for this site so this photo is by way of a tease. The straws were attached to the card bases with a big blob of PVA glue. The clear plants are made from the tubes one finds protecting the bristles of paint brushes - being thicker plastic, they don't tend to collapse as fast as the drinking straws do, though 'hole' just as nicely along their sides.
Update: The 'how-to' article has been written and is here.
Also finished today were the seven figures mentioned in the 11th July entry. From the SG15-V7, V8 and V9 Armed Civilians/Colonists packs by Ground Zero Games, I am quite pleased at how these figures have come to life, especially when compared with the bare lead of a year ago.
11 July 2009
Finished another three figures yesterday, with a further seven almost done.
The three completed figures, from the Ground Zero Games SG15-V6 Colonial Security and the SG15-V8 and V9 Armed Civilians packs, have been painted up as Cops. Like the figures completed on 8 July 2009, they've been sitting around for about a year, awaiting the touch of a paint brush.
As these guys are to be police, rather than security guards, I decided to paint their jackets GW Regal Blue and their trousers GW Codex Grey. Again, the pollyfilla-ed bases were coated with fine sand and then painted Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey, and the edges of the bases were completed in black. The shoulder and cap badges were painted GW Blazing Orange.
Three days into the first week of the school holidays and I've finally had a chance to finish off another ten figures. This time, I went for the Peter Pig Large Green Martians I received back in March, and which I intend to use as Sydites, large, four-armed geneticially altered humans mentioned in the Traveller T20 Core Rules and T20 Gateway Sourcebook. And while I was painting them, I also finished off four GZG Armed Civilans/Colonists from the SG15-V7 and V9 sets which I've had since July 2008.
The Martian figures are large, semi-nude primatives with retro ray-guns and bandoliers. I added waist belts made from DAS modelling clay to give me three-dimensional painting guides and then effectively painted clothes onto the figures, including turning bare feet into boots. Skin colour is GW Terracotta which then received a coat of Testors Gunmetal. I have not been able to find a decent gunmetal paint for years. The Testors paint is particularly weird in that it dries leaving a gloss finish but next to no colour. I have used this effect on some black-armoured space marines to get a high-gloss result and wondered how it would work on flesh.
The effect was quite interesting, making the terracotta base quite glossy – sorta sweaty skin :).
The Martian leaders were holding short swords aloft, so I cut these off and replaced them with ray pistols scratch-built from plastic sprue. The big bug eyes were painted black and large white tusks were painted on. The pollyfilla-ed bases were coated with fine sand and then painted Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey.
The Armed Civilians/Colonists, from Ground Zero Games, are nicely cast figures. I happened to grab two males and two females to paint up. One of the males is wearing a 'duster' style coat and stetson-type hat and carries what looks like an autorifle. Colour choices for him were easy: brown coat, denim blue trousers, gloss black high boots, white shirt and brown hat - I'm thinking of painting the hat band but may not. His male off-sider has GW Catachan Green trousers, blue shirt, and a brown utility belt. The pistol armed female has a GW Codex Grey top, denim blue trousers and black kick-ass style boots, while her rifle-armed friend has brown boots, denim trousers, white shirt and terracotta jacket. As an experiment (following a conversation with a friend) I tried using a black wash on the faces of these figures, mopping most of it off as soon as I applied it. Even in the photo, above, it is possible to see facial details that are invisible on the faces of Colonial Militia I finished in early June. The faces need a little tidying up, but I'm happy with the result!
As with the Large Green Martians/Sydites, I coated the Armed Civilans/Colonists' bases with fine sand and then painted them Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey. The edges are finished in black.
25 June 2009
How cool! Someone likes this modeling log enough to post a story about it on The Miniatures Page! And the story's had 563 hits as of today. Thanks Monkeyborg Dirtside, whoever you are, I'll just have to keep painting and posting :)
24 June 2009
Adam at Green Eyed Miniatures has been working on a number of interesting new figures. I ordered two packets of the Tolero (hairy little primitives vaguely not unlike Ewoks), and a pack of the Yetis (large hairy guys who might be mistaken for Wookies). Delivery time was excellent, a week from notice of shipping to the figures arriving in my West Auckland mailbox, and the figures are superb.
There had been a bit of discussion on the 15mm SciFi Yahoo Group as to how big these new figures actually are in the hand, so I posed a Yeti and a Tolero with an older GZG Islamic Federation Trooper, a recent GZG Adventurer, and a Peter Pig Company Wars trooper. The Tolero is obviously smaller - Adam says they are 10mm tall, which matches my measuring, while the Yetis are 17mm to the eyes. They're nice figures and I'm looking forward to painting them.
First to be finished were the GZG Pkz VII Sturmkampfer Infantry Walkers DSM-143 that I received from Ground Zero Games back in December. I had already decided that these figures were going to be 15mm robots and, after watching a couple of episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars with my daughter, I decided to paint them up in a style similar to the ubiquitous Trade Federation battle ‘droids (who both die in droves in the series and have some of the funnier one-liners). A base colour of GW Blazing Orange was followed by GW Sunburst Yellow trim.
With the ‘droids finished, and inspired by a thread on TMP, I decided to finish off the four insectoid Ixx I had received in the same shipment as the Infantry Walkers.
The colour scheme for the Ixx was suggested by the numerous praying-mantis’ (mantisi?) we had in our garden during autumn. I started with a base coat of GW Dark Angels Green and then dulled this down with a second coat of GW Catachan Green. The eyes were painted GW Amethyst Purple (not sure if you can still get it – it’s branded Citadel Colour and comes in a plastic, hexagon shaped bottle) and the fingers, facial groove and arm and leg spikes were done in GW Gore Red. As the Ixx are so much bigger than 15mm Humans, I mounted them on 30mm fender washers. The washers were textured with polyfilla, coated with sand, and then painted black. I then drybrushed the sand with GW Terracotta, lightly washed on some watery PVA and attached some of my “deserty” style flock.
The final group of figures to be finished were a pack of GZG Colonial Militia I’ve had on my painting table since 10 July 2007! I uniformed them with a base coat of GW Desert Yellow with a camo pattern of GW Graveyard Brown. The sanded bases were done in a plain Tamiya X-9 Brown.
– with apologies to Arthur Clarke
April was pants for painting, and model making in general, and most of May as well, but I finally bit the bullet and sold off a pile of 1/1200th scale Napoleonic ships that I will never complete. When the cash arrived, I was able to reinvest it in figures I could conceivably finish before the heat-death of the Universe – 15mm science fiction figures from Rebel Miniatures, 15mm.co.UK, and Ground Zero Games.
All three companies delivered to my house in West Auckland, from either the United States or the United Kingdom, within five to six days of confirming that the order had shipped, which is pretty amazing in itself. And all three companies delivered exactly what I had ordered.
Rebel Miniatures were first off the block. I ordered a pack of Earth Force Marines MAEF1 and a pack of Sahadeen Infantry MAS1, after seeing reviews on Dropship Horizon and pictures of the figures on the Rebel Miniatures website. Very nice figures, almost no flash. The moulding of the bases was a little odd, and they needed a little filing for the figures to stand easily but, otherwise, very nice, slim figures. I particularly like the Sahadeen.
It was suggested on the TMP that the Sahadeen could be conceivably painted as arctic troops. It is possible, I think, but the Sahadeen don’t seem to be wearing bulky enough clothing to have cold weather gear on - witness the GZG Scan Fed trooper in arctic kit in the photo above right.
My second batch of figures arrived from 15mm.co.uk. I had been aware for a number of years that 15mm.co.uk had picked up the old Laserburn range of Science Fiction figures. I was also aware that, amongst other ranges, they also stock a range of Science Fiction figures under the Hordes of the Future banner. As an irregular visitor to their website, I wasn’t aware that they have been quietly expanding the HOF line of figures until I saw a review of the Octopods on Mark’s Dropship Horizon blog.
I’ve added several alien races to my Traveller game, one of which has facial cilia that act as scent and taste organs. The Octopod figures are the closest to my mental picture of this race that I have found.
Since I had already decided to order the Octopods it made sense to sample some of 15mm.co.uk’s other figure lines as well. Also from the Hordes of the Future line, I picked up a pack of Crusader Troopers, who look a little like the gunners on the Death Star’s main energy weapon in the original Star Wars movie. The Crusaders are nice, crisp, slim figures, and I do like their armour.
I have been looking for some decent reptilian aliens for a while so from the Laserburn Alien Forces range, I picked up some Szithk, as well as getting some Saurians from the Asgard Space Marines & Aliens line. Of the two, I really like the Saurians with their high collars but there are only two foot poses and a mounted pose. I asked the very helpful Alex at 15mm.co.uk whether any further Saurians might be sculpted. He pointed out that the figures were over 20 years old, but would add the suggestion to their suggestion pile.
Finally, I picked up some samples of some of the minor races on offer; the vaguely insect-like Mandiblex and the dome-headed Ort from the
Asgard Space Marines range; and the Ert from the Laserburn Aliens, Warriors and Creatures range.
Quite an impressive haul!
Lastly, but no means leastly, I received an order from the truly awesome Ground Zero Games. I picked up a pack of the new
NAC A8 rifles pack, the Free Trader Crew X04A and X04B, X05 Alien mercenary squad, and V15 armed crew in light vaccsuits.
Very pleased with all my shiny new lead - just need some painting time, now!
31 March 2009
Finally finished my six Xenomorphs (last seen as naked lead back in December). As per usual, I mounted the figures on 16mm washers, Pollyfilla-ed the bases, and then undercoated in black.
A base coat of either GW Storm Blue or Liche Purple (both paints dry to about the same colour - a sort of reddy purple) was followed by a drybrush of Boltgunmetal. I then tried to highlight the tooth-filled mouth in white (which wasn't completely successful) and added a red 'sensor' eye strip across the face. Small panels either side of the front of the head were picked out in blue as some sort of secondary sense organs.
The bases were again coated in sand and painted black. Some highlights were picked out in Tamiya X-9 Brown.
Two items of interest occurred during the week just gone – on Tuesday part of my long-awaited figure order from Caliver Books arrived (figures from Peter Pig and Pendraken), while on Thursday I finally completed the painting and basing of my two packs of Phalon infantry from Ground Zero Games.
The Phalon range is one of the more “alien” humanoid ranges around and I really like them as figures. They remind me a lot of the J’aadje, a Traveller Minor Race detailed in GURPs Traveller: Alien Races 4 (still available from Steve Jackson’s Warehouse 23), and who seem to have first appeared in Classic Traveller Double Adventure 6: Night of Conquest.
Stargrunt rules for Phalons, written by Allan Goodall, can be located at Hyperbear.com and also include some interesting ideas on the Phalon as a species. These ideas actually appeal to me more than the write-up in GT: Alien Races 4 and I have plans for Phalons/J’aadje in my Traveller Universe.
After mounting the figures on 16mm washers, I undercoated them in black. I had decided to follow Allan Goodall’s ideas and make my Phalons an amphibian, or amphibian-related race and so wanted to achieve a tree frog-like skin colour. A base colour of Tamiya XF-67 Nato Green was laid down and then I dry-brushed Games Workshop Fiery Orange on in patches. The optic orb was painted GW Liche Purple with three dots of GW Blood Red to mark the infer-red sense pits. GW Codex Grey boots completed the main paint job, before I re-blacked and dry-brushed GW Boltgun Metal on their weapons. Belts and straps were touched up with Tamiya Nato Green.
The bases had been filled out with Pollyfilla, brushed with PVA and then dipped in sand. When dry, the bases had been undercoated in black. I had been going to finish the bases with an ‘interior’ colour scheme, but the wargamer-within won out and I used my ‘dry field’ type flock to give the impression that the Phalons were moving through reeds.
The arrival of part of my figure order from Caliver Books was very welcome. Around New Year I decided to finally order some of Peter Pig’s Large Green Aliens from their ‘War in the Age of Magic’ range – I wanted some figures that I could use for Sydites, who are mentioned in the T20 Core Rules and T20 Gateway Sourcebook. While I was at it, I thought some Peter Pig Red Aliens might be nice as well, as would a pack of Sci Fi Troopers from the 'Company Wars' range.
Not having enough figures for a full order, I realised that Peter Pig figures were also stocked by Caliver Books who, amongst other things, also stocked Pendraken’s range of 10mm Science Fiction figures. The Walker and the Lizardmen appeared to be large for 10mm so I ordered a couple of packs to see what they were like.
Well, in between post-Christmas restocks and some sort of communication breakdown between the companies, only part of the order could be sent. So, no lizardmen, and no Red Aliens (apart from the Hero and Princess).
The Large Green Aliens are enormous – 30mm tall! That should freak the players out when these bad boys show up! The Red Aliens and the Company Troopers are rather slight and slender – similar in heft to the Eureka Miniatures WWII Chinese I bought as ESU militia, though slightly smaller. The Walker, from Pendraken, is a large sized droid in 15mm, standing about 25mm tall. It appears to mount dual autocannons or heavy machine guns in the 'head' and has two energy weapons as arms.
The Peter Pig figures are quite nicely detailed, especially the Company Wars Troopers but, frustratingly, little things like clearing the inside of the arms appears to have been missed.
I’ll wait until I have them painted to pass final judgement, but as RPG characters they should work fine.
12 March 2009Inspired by Mark's excellent Dropship Horizon Blog, I finally finished off my two packs of GZG 15mm New Israeli troops in hardsuits.
The figures are mounted on 16mm washers, with the edges of the figure bases filled out with Polyfilla. The bases were then coated in diluted PVA and dipped in sand. Once dry, everything was undercoated in black and the figures were then given a top coat of Humbrol 51, a metallic red Humbrol colour I bought almost 30 years ago. I wanted a gloss finish to both look 'techy', and as defence against energy weapons.The helmet visors were painted GW Beaten Copper.
After a discussion with Spinwardpirate and Far-Trader on the Citizens of the Imperium Traveller discussion group, I decided to paint the bases Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey which gave them an interesting lava-scape finish.
For some reason, it proved very difficult to get a decent photo of these guys
7 March 2009
The figures are based on washers, as discussed in the July blog entry. Again, I had a dilemma. Did I make the bases look 'urban' or 'starship deck' for Roleplaying games, or did I give the bases foliage for Skirmish games? Foliage won on this occasion, though I may vary things with future groups.
The APCs I bought from Scotty at Combat Wombat are also finished. The grey-blue one to right is the 'Adventurers' model. I added a domed turret, made from half a
The other two APCs I got from Scotty ended up with a blue/grey/green camo pattern and are more 'military'. The vehicle pictured to left has a spare wheel mounted on the right hand side - there were several extra wheels on the wheel sprue and I didn't want to waste them.
Having got to this stage, I'm now getting enthused about finishing the rest of the sci-fi figures I have half-done. And then to try some Stargrunt I think!
For Christmas I treated myself to a small order from Ground Zero Games which arrived about a week before the big day. I got two packs of Jon's new insectoid Ixx, a packet of OUDF Aboriginal/New Guinean infantry, a pack of Xenomorphs and a pack of 6mm scale Infantry Walkers.
Jon at Ground Zero Games had another of his mini-sales to celebrate the launch of a new selection of 15mm Civilians. So, quick as a flash, I ordered some and they arrived two days ago.
The figures are very nice, slimmer than the various infantry figures I have, so obviously not wearing body armour. Each pack contains four sculpts twice - ie four different poses, and two figures of each pose - for a total of eight figures.
The figures are armed with a selection of pistols, hunting rifles and shotguns and include both males and females. Initially, I wasn't too sure about the guy in the cowboy hat (V9), but he's starting to grow on me.
11 May 2008
These pictures have been sitting around for over a week as I have been distracted by other things. I've assembled the 25mm Phalon vehicles (and have since undercoated them). Size wise, the 25-901 Phalon Recon Pod is slightly larger than the 15mm CombatWombat ATVs, and will make a very good ATV. The Phalon GEV APC and Phalon GEV light assualt tank will make great Size 4 or 5 type vehicles, and I'm very pleased with them.
I'm thinking of mounting the GEVs on the small bits of clear plastic sprue that come attached to Games Workshop flight stands (and which I remorselessly hoard). The idea is to 'float' the vehicles about 5mm above ground level.
30 April 2008
Well, the ATV painting didn't happen :( but I did get a fair bit done on my buildings. After the paper maché had dried for a day, I cut up some matchsticks to make the windows and doorframes - the photo to left is taken part way through this process with the sticks for the doorframes cut and laid out towards the front of the craft board (the red piece of paper has the dimensions of the various sticks I had to cut). I used torn up paper towels for the base paper maché. The photo to right shows the buildings with the window and doorframes glued on. Once this had dried, I used tissue paper to meld the frames into the walls. The grey building on the extreme left of both pictures, above the red piece of paper, is the one I completed in September, and which I was using to take measurements from. The building on the extreme right of the right hand picture is the old mushroom container, last seen being paper machéd back in August (and where you can see the pattern of the paper towel in the paper maché). It is now going to be a garage and you can make out the matchstick frame for the large vehicle door. The actual door (a plastic access panel from a photocopier - the upside of having a wife who was a photocopier tech is that I have a bits box stuffed with the interesting things that break on photcopiers) is lying on the piece of red paper.
A cool thing happened yesterday. A week or so back my friend Chris visited Salute in London. Salute is a ginormous wargames convention-cum-trade fair run by the South London Warlords. As Ground Zero Games had a stand at the show, I had asked Chris if he could check out the 25mm GZG Phalon ground vehicles to see how they looked with 15mm figures - Jon at GZG has yet to make any 15mm Phalon vehicles, though he has just released some 15mm Kra'Vak vehicles.
Anyway, Chris e-mailed me some photos of the show and how the trains weren't running and this and that and "oh, by the way, I've just sent you a package" and he was tired and his feet hurt. Anyway, I get home from work yesterday and there's this package sitting on my computer desk, and it's from Chris and has crossed the world in about a week. So, I open the package and there's a note in Chris' instantly recognizable handwriting to the effect that he couldn't work out whether the 25mm vehicles were overscale or not, and could I do it myself. Included with the note were three lovely resin vehicles - 25-901 Phalon Recon Pod, 25-902 Phalon GEV APC and 25-903 Phalon GEV light assualt tank.
Hope to post some pictures tomorrow.
24 April 2008
The first half of my week off (first week of school holidays) disappeared with various jobs that needed doing and end-of-year tax stuff. Today, I sat down with some PVA glue and three CD/DVD tower cases, plus a bunker-like hard plastic dish that once held strawberries. My aim is to do three more buildings in the style of the one I did back in September. Hope to finish painting my ATVs tomorrow.
10 March 2008
My three APCs are nearing completion. I've painted one GW Shadow Grey and the other two have a base coat of GW Regal Blue. I had been going to paint the other two GW Midnight Blue but this dries to a purple finish which looked a bit ... unusual. I had two wheels left over so the Regal Blue vehicles have spare wheels mounted on the hulls. The Shadow Grey vehicle has had a dome added to the roof (made from the left over half of a wooden bead). This makes it either a command vehicle with comm system or it could be an enclosed weapon mount for an adventurer's ATV.
28 February 2008
Haven't touched a paint brush in nearly two months. The heat of the summer meant that the paint was drying before it left the brush. Have been working on other, non-model making stuff like my Traveller webpages instead. Now things are getting a little cooler, I hope to get back and finish my ships and 15mm figures.
A chap called Scotty has set up a little webstore under the trade name Combat Wombat selling resin science fiction vehicles. I ordered three wheeled APCs and these arrived the day before yesterday. And very nice they are, too.
I glued the two-part hulls together today and have started cutting the wheels off the wheel-sprue. A slip of the scalpel has left me with a gashed middle finger which is more annoying than painful. Will have to take more care tomorrow.
23 December 2007
Work slowly progresses on my ships. The Zheng He class Scout (FT232), two Warsaw class Destroyers (FT205), two Ural class Destroyers (FT235), two 'new build' Heavy Destroyers (FT255), the 'new build' Battledreadnought (FT241) and the Konstantin Attack Carrier (FT213) have hull colours, plus GW Skull White and Ral Partha trim done. All bar the Konstantin also have GW Fiery Orange trim. Haven't done any more work on the fighters.
14 December 2007
Have spent the last week and a bit slowly getting all the fighters from my last two orders based - fourteen flights done, with the last flight of Strelets Light Fighters (FT231) to get glued tonight. Twelve flights have had the 'wiggle' test and every single flight lost at least one fighter!
Dropped by the Games Workshop store in St Luke's on my way home tonight and bought their very last pack of large flight stands. So, my Konstantin Attack Carrier (FT213) has now been based and should be ready for its hull colour tomorrow. When that is done, then all my new ESU ships will at the 'ready to paint' stage.
So far, I have a squadron of one Zheng He class Scout (FT232), two Warsaw class Destroyers (FT205), two Ural class Destroyers (FT235), two 'new build' Heavy Destroyers (FT255), and a 'new build' Battledreadnought (FT241) nearing completion, plus a flight of Kisha Heavy Fighters (FT221) and a flight of Slava Heavy Fighters (FT251).
Items still to do:
27 November 2007
And today's post brought my little order from Eureka Miniatures. I got a Konstantin Attack Carrier (FT213), two packs of Kilo fighters (FT201A) and a pack of Katya fighters (FT201B) - Eureka's fighter packs contain 12 ships, unlike Ground Zero Games' packs which contain six. Nic also threw in a half pack of Kilo's and a sample NSL ship, FT535 Missile DDM, which was very nice of him.
Many ships to paint!
26 November 2007
My order from Ground Zero Games arrived today. Christmas shipping has really put a crimp in Jon's delivery time! I received a Shengfeng Carrier, an Escort carrier, four Ural class destroyers and eight packs of fighters of various types, plus the goody bag consisted of two new style heavy destroyers and three strike boats. So, quite a few ships to do. I have started the basic assembly process and have eight fighter flight bases to drill out :(.
All the ESU ships from the earlier order now have their basic hull colour done (Tamiya XF-67 Nato Green). Over the weekend, I tidied up the Islamic Federation Heavy Cruiser a bit and think I might leave the colour scheme as is. The Slava Heavy Fighters (FT251) have been given GW Shadow Grey hulls while the Kisha Heavy Fighters (FT221) have GW Blood Red hulls.
I even found some time to splash a bit of colour on the bases of my UNSC marines (SG15-U1), who I haven't touched for ... a long time. Might get them finished this week.
16 November 2007
The Fighters and all other new ships are undercoated. I've also finished two Saladin class Destroyers and the three Strikeboats. I'm mostly happy with the paint jobs. I'm having real problems with a colour scheme for the Islamic Federation Heavy Cruiser - I am not happy with the one I've done and am seriously thinking of stripping it right back and starting again. It's very hard to paint straight lines on such 'busy' hulls and I'm swinging back to larger, simpler, geometric patterns such as I used on the destroyers.
Ground Zero Games announced their annual Christmas sale at the end of last week so I promptly ordered another Shengfeng Carrier, an Escort carrier, four Ural class destroyers and eight packs of fighters of various types. These should arrive tomorrow, which would be nice.
Items still to do:
03 November 2007
Well, three out of the 12 fighters failed the 'wiggle' test and fell off their mounts. They have now been reglued and I hope to start undercoating this evening!
01 November 2007Have finally assembled and based all my new ships, and mounted my two flights of fighters. I really like the look of the new ESU Slava Heavy Fighters (FT251). They are quite a bit bigger than the Kisha Heavy Fighters (FT221) - some 10mm long against 7mm - but should paint up nicely.
The 'New' battlecruiser (FT239) gave me more trouble in the assembly process than the 'New' battleship (FT240). I just could not get the engine pods to stick and ended up drilling and pinning them. The mount points on the hull have moulded half-slots for the engine pod mount points. This works great except for the fact there is no bottom side to the slots and consequently no support for what is in effect two heavy bits of lead sticking out either side of the hull. For some strange reason, the engine pods for the battleship glued on quite happily - tighter fit in the half-slots, I guess?
The Warsaw destroyers (FT205) and the Rostov BDN (FT211) were the 'least-clean' castings - the moulds are showing a lot of wear. I pointed this out to Jon at Ground Zero Games and he indicated that these older ships will be discontinued as the moulds fail, which is a bit sad. I hope he lets Nic at Eureka Miniatures continue with them as there's quite a lot of charm in the old ships.
24 October 2007
I ended up getting my GW Dark Angels Green paint from Vagabonds in the IMAX centre, so that was all good.
And my ships from Ground Zero Games arrived yesterday, as well! I received an Islamic Federation Heavy Battleship (FT1011), ESU Kisha Heavy Fighters (FT221) and Slava Heavy Fighters (FT251), two ESU Warsaw (FT205) and two Ural (FT235) Destroyers, a 'New' ESU Battlecruiser (FT239) and Battleship (FT240), an ESU Rostov Battledreadnought (FT211) and a pack of ESU Zeng He Scoutships (FT232). The moulds for the Warsaws and the Rosov are starting to show their age, which was a little disappointing, but all the rest of the figures were crisp and clean. And, once again, Jon got the figures me in about a week from ordering to delivery, including ordering at the weekend, a potential mail strike in the UK and Labour Weekend here in New Zealand.
Now to make some painting time!
Items still to do:
18 October 2007
Well, it's been nearly a month since I touched a paint brush - too much else going on. Did a bit more work on my four al-Hawar class frigates (FT104) and the second Saladin class destroyer (FT1105) and have discovered that my GW Dark Angels Green has nearly dried out. Guess I'll have to swing by the GW shop in St Luke's on the way home from work tomorrow - oh, the calamity! :)
19 September 2007
Started painting up some more Islamic Federation Ships from Ground Zero Games on Sunday and did a bit more yesterday. I've got four al-Hawar class frigates (FT104) and a second Saladin class destroyer (FT1105) on the go. I started with a coat of Humbrol Gloss White 5022 over the black undercoat and then a coat of GW Skull White over that to "whiten" up the white. I intend, at least with the destroyer, to do the GW Dark Angel Green pattern I did on the first Saladin (see 03 June) as I'm quite pleased how that came out.
Also did some more work on the UNSC marines (SG15-U1) and Security Guards (SG15-V5), both of which are now nearly finished. For the marines I finally settled on a Tamiya XF-67 Nato Green and GW Terracotta pattern over the base Aero Master 1015 RLM 24 Blue. This has actually come up quite nicely. Hope to finish off fittings and bases tomorrow.
26 August 2007
Managed to get a bit of paintin' time today, and finished off some more ships - well, one ship and four flights of fighters. The big, new, ESU Attack Carrier Shengfeng (FT 244) is complete and an SSD for it is here. I also finished two flights of UNSC Dauntless (FT 1101) and two flights of UNSC Defender (FT 1121) class fighters, which completes the current UNSC painting project.
Also did a bit more work on some of my 15mm Stargrunt figures. The UNSC marines (SG15-U1) are not going well - the 'zebra' stripe idea didn't really work. I'm now looking at adding green and brown camo patches over the base of Aero Master 1015 RLM 24 Blue. The Security Guards (SG15-V5) did end up with GW Gore Red jackets. I've just done faces and hands (four in GW Elf Flesh and four in GW Scorched Brown), so they're starting to look alive.
Items still to do:
18 August 2007
Today, with the door frame nice and dry, I melded it with the cupola with several layers of tissue paper-maché. The water/PVA glue mix allows the layers of tissue to merge with each other pretty seamlessly.
Once this is all dry, I'll undercoat the new bits and move on to painting the entire structure.
While I had some of my water/PVA mix, I repaired a fault I had noticed on the base of the DVD barrel. Basically, some of the original paper-maché had rucked up while I was laying it and had dried before I had noticed the fold. So I covered this with some new paper-maché (the white bit at the bottom left of the picture).
17 August 2007
Added a door frame of match sticks to the cupola I added to the DVD 'barrel' house last night.
16 August 2007
Added a cupola to the roof of the DVD 'barrel' house - made from part of a Kinder Surprise Egg case (which I used here as a mould for casting building bits). I then covered the cupola in tissue paper-maché so it matched the texture of the rest of the building. This, incidently, helped tie the two bits of building together.
14 August 2007
Attached window and door frames made from match sticks to the DVD 'barrel' house last night, melding the frames to the structure with tissue paper-maché. Also added a step/stoop. Tonight, I undercoated with entire structure in black.
Had a bit of time for modelling and painting today. I've decided against the 'leopard spot' camo pattern for the UNSC marines (SG15-U1). I saw a 'boy-racer' car in Henderson on Friday tricked out in white zebra stripes and have decided to try for a similar effect on the marines.
I've also started two new modelling projects - a couple of 'desert-style' buildings and a couple of slag heaps/waste piles. The latter was inspired by a post on one of the Yahoo groups I belong to (and which I now cannot find, so I can credit the poster).
The basic structures for the 'desert buildings' are an empty DVD 'barrel' and a plastic container mushrooms were packed in. I have covered both with layers of tissue paper soaked in a PVA and water mix. This will soften the 'harsh' lines of the plastic and give the structures' surfaces a more natural texture.
09 August 2007Yay! Two more ESU Strke Boats (FT 233) and a Heavy Destroyer (FT 255) finished. I've now done SSDs for both and they are here.
Items still to do:
06 August 2007
Managed to slap a bit of paint on the UNSC Marines (SG15-U1) over the weekend. I decided to repeat the colour scheme used on the UNSC ships (GW Skull White trim and Aero Master 1015 RLM 24 Blue hull) for the marines. The reasoning being that in peace-keeping roles, the marines would need high visability. So the hardsuits are now RLM 24 Blue with Skull White leopard spot camo pattern (we had a power cut this afternoon when I got home from work - so with no computer, I got some more painting done!). The security guards (SG15-V5) have Aeromaster US Blue Grey trousers and hats and will probably have red jackets.
31 July 2007Laid down the base brown colour on the 24 15mm Stargrunt figures I'm painting up. Hope to add a couple more shades of brown and a bit of grey this evening.
30 July 2007
Haven't done a lot of modelling or painting over the last couple of weeks - and working on the website ate last weekend. Rapidfilla-ing the bases of 100 15mm Stargrunt figures has been completed, and the bases have been undercoated. I've undercoated the first 24 figures I plan to paint and, over the weekend, began texturing their bases with coarse sand.
Hope to do some more on them tomorrow.
18 July 2007
Finally watched 'Serenity' last night while basing up another fifty 15mm GZG Stargrunt figures on washers. I need more washers as I have a couple of packs to go, and I want to rebase the figures I've already painted and based on fire team bases. Tonight I made a start on Rapidfillaing the bases before I paint and texture them.
Last night was rather productive as I also finished off the reports for the Stellar Conquest-based Full Thrust campaign I'm running. I suddenly realise that I had better finish painting some ships soon. The next turn of the campaign could have a major fleet battle and some the fleet elements are only half done.
Started prepping my new 15mm figures from Ground Zero Games last night, while watching "Terminator III". Very little flash on the figures, which is nice, though some of the bases were a bit rough. Have decided to mount the figures on 16mm washers. This is so I can either use the figures as individuals, or attach them to magnetic fire team bases.
Had to buy another fifty washers today, as the fifty I bought yesterday were only enough for the figures that arrived a couple of days ago.
Finally got around to doing the "wiggle" test on the UNSC fighters I based up nearly a week ago. Lost two off one base and three off another. The third base was fine. Have restuck the 'drop-offs'.
Looking at the UNSC Hardsuited troops I received from GZG, I was rather struck by the helmet design. If you look closely (and wish very hard) they could almost be Traveller Imperial Marines.
10 July 2007
From GZG's 15mm range I received a pack of Colonial Security, two packs of New Israeli Hardsuited troops (one of kneeling and prone troopers and one of standing troops), a pack of Phalons, a pack of UNSC hardsuits and a pack of Colonial Miltia.
As I have the next couple of days off, and the weather's packed up, I may even get some painting done!
08 July 2007
Managed to get the last three flights of UNSC fighters mounted on their flight stands today. Need to give them the old "wiggle" test before undercoating them tomorrow.
Ground Zero Games suddenly had a '4th of July' Sale so I've ordered a copy of Stargrunt II and several packs of 15mm figures including Phalons, UNSC hardsuited troops, and New Israeli hardsuited troops.
I'm still tossing up between Striker, Dirtside II/Stargrunt II and possibly Flames of War for a set of combat rules, so I want to see how Stargrunt plays before I make a decision between the three.
29 June 2007
Not much has happened on the painting and modeling front in the last little while - too busy with real life. The flight stands I ordered through the local Games Workshop shop finally arrived and I picked them up yesterday. Hope to get the last of my UNSC fighters mounted this weekend.
17 June 2007
Finished the UNSC Gaia today. Just needed to touch up the white band along the main hull. I have now painted the entire squadron (pictured) that arrived on 8th May and have started one of the four flights of fighters.
I've run out of Games Workshop flight stands (which I use to mount my fighters) and have discovered that GW is phasing them out of their shop stock. I have a bag on order through the local GW shop in St Luke's but haven't heard a thing in a week.
Items still to do:
13 June 2007
Have Boltgun metalled the pointy bits on the UNSC Gaia, which is now about finished, the two ESU Strke Boats and Heavy Destroyer, and the IF Saladin. The Gaia just needs its Ship ID stuck on.
10 June 2007
Started the 'fitting out' painting for two ESU Strike Boats, another "new build" Heavy Destroyer, and the UNSC Gaia class SDN.
The Saladin class IF destroyer is almost finished, with details picked out in Ral Partha yellow and GW Blood Red. I need to touch up the white and green hull colours.
03 June 2007
Have finished my three ESU Strike Boats, my "new build" Heavy Destroyer, and my UNSC Point class Battlecruiser, and updated my master ship list.
Have applied some GW Dark Angels Green to my white-coated Saladin class IF destroyer - essentially painting a green triangle on the aft section of the hull. The contrast between white and green looks quite good so this may work as a colour scheme.
Items still to do:
02 June 2007
A little bit of work on a number of things. Have made a start on my next three ESU Strike Boats (FT252) and a ESU "new build" Heavy Destroyer (FT255), plus added some detail to my second UNSC Point class Battlecruiser. I've also grabbed one of my IF Saladin class destroyers (FT1005) and painted it GW Skull White. I've been stuck for a paint scheme for the Islamic Federation and am now wondering if white and green may not be the best.
27 May 2007
Finished painting the ships I have been working on, yesterday, and updated my Master Ship List. I need to work out Ship System Displays (SSDs) for the Strike Boats as I don't recall seeing any stats for the ESU ones. I might do a variant of the Islamic Federation Stingboats from the IF Beta List.
Have decided that my Industrial Habitat is about finished. This now has a central, four base-equivalent, factory, with eight surrounding modules. The two extra habs will become residential habs and I'll do a little more work on them. Have added a smoke plume to the flare tower of the factory.
Items still to do:
A couple of hours painting, today, and I've finished the Puma Grav Self-propelled guns (DFA04), and am moments from finishing a UNSC Point class Battlecruiser (FT1109), two UNSC Comet class Escort Carriers (FT1117), two ESU Poryshkin class Corvettes (FT233) and two ESU Strike Boats (FT252). Just need to splash a bit of GW Boltgun Metal about and stick on the ship ID numbers.
Items still to do:
19 May 2007
Just finished an eight-day stretch of early mornings so no real time for modelling. Grabbed some time today to do the base hull colour on my new UNSC ships from Ground Zero Games – I'm working on a Gaia Class Superdreadnought (FT1112), two Point Class Battlecruisers (FT1109) and two Comet Class Escort Carriers (FT1117).
Also managed to finally do the camo colour on the three Puma Grav Self-propelled guns (DFA04) for my 6mm OPFOR. Hope to finish them off tomorrow as well as do some more ship painting.
Items still to do:
10 May 2007
A productive couple of days. Have cleaned up, assembled and undercoated my five UNSC ships from Ground Zero Games, done a bit more work on my factory/urban habitat, and finished off my four Aries Attack VTOLs (GZG DF V06), and an ESU Heavy Destroyer (FT205a Volga class) and three corvettes (FT233 Poryshkin class).
As there are no official stats for the Poryshkins in the Full Thrust literature, I have created my own Karpov class. The latter models just need ship IDs stuck on their bases, which I have just done, and they are complete.
Items still to do:
08 May 2007
My ships arrived from GZG today, that’s five days from the UK! Have tomorrow and Thursday off work, as I’m working the weekend. Intend to do some more painting and a spot of ship assembly.
Items still to do:
05 May 2007
Managed to do a little painting today – undercoating the new habitat bases and the pipes and towers I’ve added to my factory structure, and then painting them Games Workshop Codex Grey. Just need a little tidy up with a small brush and then I’ll finish off the bases.
I have painted the bases Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey, coated them with a water/PVA mix, and then coated them with a layer of fine sand. When dry, I paint the sand with Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey and then re-ink the transport links with a felt tip pen.
Ordered some more United Nations Star Command ships from Ground Zero Games, the day before yesterday, to augment my fleet/Antony’s campaign fleet. I’m getting a Gaia Class SDN, two Point class Battlecruisers, two Comet Class Escort Carriers and four packets of fighters (two Dauntless and two Defender).
Interestingly, I priced these ships from both GZG in the UK and Eureka Miniatures in Australia, and to buy these ships and ship them to New Zealand costs $12 less from the UK, including postage, than from Australia, with postage on top.
Items still to do:
27 April 2007
After taking a break from the modelling for a couple of days, am back into it. Have started work on two more habitat bases for my urban area, and have done some more work on the factory structure. For the latter I have used some fluted dowel pegs to make cooling towers, with 2mm plastic rod running up the side for condensate pipes – one condensate pipe ends above the cooling tower as a flare tower, would it be too over the top to make a flare? Will have a think about that.
I have found some thicker plastic tubing which makes me wonder if I can make some surface pipe lines. Which I now have – using thin slices of polystyrene as joint blocks/pumping stations. Just letting things dry before undercoating and painting.
For undercoating, I have always used black paint. I have tried white in the past, but found it hard to get a good first coat on bare metal. When painting my English Civil War Royalist Army, I had lots of problems getting a red or yellow coat colour that would go over black. I solved this problem partially by multiple applications of paint, and partially by using a light brown undercoat over the black, but before the coat colour was applied.
Games Workshop paints are now so common in New Zealand (outside of Model Railway/RC Car shops which tend to stock Tamiya or Humbrol) that I have shifted pretty much to them. I used to use Games Workshop Chaos Black as my undercoat of choice but was burning through so much of it that I eventually went to my local Mitre 10 hardware store and got a test pot of water-based black – 250 mls for about the same price as a 12 ml GW pot! I still use the Chaos Black pot for my painting, just refilling it from the test pot as and when I need to.
Items still to do:
22 April 2007
Finished the UN Fighters and the UN Carrier today. Have marked up the Carrier’s base (I use large Game Workshop Flight Stands for my large space ships, and scribe a hex and firing arc lines on the base. I then mark them up with a black felt tip pen which works quite well) and glued the support rod to the base.
So, the four Dauntless flights are white, Games Workshop Fiery Orange, Ral Partha Yellow (this yellow is so old that the label has faded to illegibility – the paint is still good, though), and Games Workshop Ice Blue (which has almost dried up – must get some more). The Defender flights are Games Workshop Blood Red and Tamiya XF-67 Nato Green. The UN Carrier is trimmed in white and Ral Partha Yellow. The exhaust nozzles and pointy gun bits are Games Workshop Bolt Gun Metal.
Just need to put the flight and ship IDs on and they’re all done!
And now they are. That’s 24 flights of fighters and 95 ships completed since painting began back in late 2005!
Items still to do:
16 – 21 April 2007
Thought it time to make up a list of things I’m working on, in case the website ever gets off the ground.
I'm in the final stages of painting up some United Nations Star Command (UNSC) fighters from Ground Zero Games’ Full Thrust range. Have two flights of 6 Defender Class Heavy Fighters (FT1121) and four flights of Dauntless Class Standard Fighters (FT1101) almost ready to go. Drilled the flight stands (I use the bases of Games Workshop Flight Stands for my fighters) on Monday and got the wire pins for the fighters mounted Tuesday. Glued the fighters to the wires on Wednesday, re-glued those that fell off on Thursday, and undercoated in black, and painted the main hull colour (Aero Master 1015 RLM 24 Blue) on Friday.
Aero Master 1015 RLM 24 Blue is the hull colour I have used for all my UNSC ships to date. I decided that the UN would also use the some colour for their fighters, with the different flights having different coloured trim to set them off.
Started the trim (Games Workshop Skull White) for the first flight of Dauntless fighters today (Saturday). Also began (finally!) to do the trim on the UN Constellation class Heavy Carrier (FT1114) that’s been sitting, half finished, on my desk for some six months. The Full Thrust battle I had with Antony, a week or so back, has inspired me to get all my UNSC ships done, and order at least another five. To make Antony’s OOB for the Stellar Conquest Full Thrust Campaign I’m running, I need to get an SDN, two Escort Carriers, and two Battlecruisers.
Have also been working on 6mm stuff for Dirtside 2 (from GZG)/Command Horizon (from Baccus). Have finished off another two sprues of Renegade Legion tanks/Grav Infantry Combat Vehicles for my Eurasian Solar Union (ESU) unit. I did these sprues to get the two heavy tanks I needed, and then decided to convert one of the GICVs to an ECM vehicle, and after that, it made sense to keep on going and finish the other vehicles off as well. Have also almost finished four Ares Attack VTOLs (DF V06), again from GZG. I was rather disappointed with these models as they look like helicopters. I added extra tubes to the roofs of two of them (2mm plastic rod, partially drilled) as either rocket tubes or jets. They have painted up quite well, though, and, again, I have mounted them on Games Workshop flight bases, again painting and flocking the bases of the bases.
I have also been working on an urban area/factory area to boost my scenics. I have found a good casting medium called Amaco Sculptamold, which is lighter, yet tougher, than plaster of paris. Using a variety of plastic packaging as molds, I have come up with a number of useful shapes for buildings. I’m mounting them on 60mm x 60mm 3mm MDF bases (60 x 60mm is the unit base size in Command Horizon and it appears from their website, that the Baccus guys mount their terrain on similar sized bases.
Items still to do: