Sunday, October 22, 2017

SAGA is drawing me in...

I managed to find and grab some second-hand vikings. I know, a new game, a new set of shinies...

To be fair, I have been wanting them for some time now for other projects, and I'm sure starting to watch the Vikings show hasn't affected my desires whatsoever!

To that end though, I discovered that SAGA uses proprietary dice, which are both out of stock in my local store, and crazy expensive when they're not! (Over $3cad per cube).

I decided I wanted to make my own. Bone stinks (not metaphorically, either), an ivory-looking plastic (no animals harmed!) is only available with a minimum order of $50usd, wood doesn't feel very viking-like, and then I realized there's a way better product: Soapstone!

Vikings famously left runestones all over, with sagas written on them, laws, signage, etc. I could easily get and carve soapstone into the runes I need, it'd probably be cheaper, definitely be more fun, and allow me to get an initial vibe on how soapstone carving works. As much as I've made models and the like, I've never done carving in any significant way other than some rudimentary whittling.

Enough talk, on to the pictures!

For round 1, I marked with a pencil, cut with a basic hand saw, and repeated on each side until I had very rough-hewn cubic shapes. After this, I used a rotary sander to refine the lines a bit, and make it as close to a true cube as I could. At this point it was more about getting a feel for the material than trying to get exact cubes, and in fact I figure any little imperfection ends up feeling even more viking-like!

Next, I used a stone to mark a stone before grooving it with a stone... Graphite pencil, metal file. I found the recursive tool use funny in an almost punning way. Here you can see the penciled in runes, and the first pass with a carving tool - an old and broken dental pick!

Next the runes were deepened and shaped with an old broken craft blade. The bottom right two have been given this second pass.

Here's a shot of all the cubes, with their runes deepened, shaped, and ready for final cleanup!

Next up came the buffing. My research suggested either using 250-1000 grit sandpaper, or a more complex method involving beeswax and an oven. I may try the latter at some point, depending on how the first set chips, but for now, I wanted to keep as basic as possible. Similar to sandpaper is emery boards or nail files, and I decided to grab one from a drug store with 5 levels of 'granularity' including one so fine it just looks like ultra-dense foam.

Still wet in this shot, the buffing was done on each side with each of the five levels (I hope I didn't miss any) and then dried in between. Keeping the stones and tools wet keeps dust down, and allows for easy cleaning off of grit so you don't get scratches.

If ever it felt like I wasn't accomplishing much, I only needed to look in my water bowl to prove I was!

Finally buffed, cleaned, and test-rolled! The runes, having received no buffing, are distinctive and clear. You can see slight chipping or marking on the very edges from them bumping against one another. I will probably end up rounding off the edges of any future dice I make, but for set no. 1 it should make each gradually accrued chip look more and more thematic!

With increased confidence I wouldn't damage the tools with my creativity, today I was back to the shop, to cut off two more slices of wood! Using a belt saw gave me absolutely accurate cubes this time around, and were absolutely way faster and easier to get cubes!

Just to again ease my Mother's mind... Yes I was using a respirator mask, and goggles, and wasn't even pushing the stone through by hand, but with a random block of wood so the material couldn't even slip and cause me to push my fingers into the whirring blade of doom!

Time for round two of dice engraving! This time it'll be standard D6s as well as more rune dice so I will have two full sets to play with. Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Nazdreg Commission

Alas, this one will not be painted by me, but I was recently commissioned to do a conversion of Nazdreg for a friend who plays Bad Moonz. The only problem of course is that almost everyone converts one out of Ghazgkhull, and thus they all end up looking very uniform, and very... Goff.

We decided to start with the Age of Sigmar Ironjaws Warboss, because the armour would seem more delicately shaped, and more 'teef paid for' than Big-G's very rough but durable gear.
(For those unaware, Ork money is, literally, their teeth. No dumber than bottlecaps!)

The left arm was chopped at the wrist (or just not assembled really) and replaced with a custom Klaw. In keeping with the 'more teef' idea, and to tie it in with Nazdreg's original model, this version has a Klaw with 5 fingers, rather than Big-G's rather typical 3. I did a square Iron Gob at the client's request, also to differentiate from Big G, and a single stikkbomb launcher, inspired by some old art of Nazdreg.

The head is off a Flash Git, turned to face the right direction, and hilariously, happens to be a head with no big teeth, almost as though Nazdreg is constantly getting rid of the oversized ones to pay for more flashy gear!

The right arm saw extensive conversion: Axe removed, replaced with a gun from a Mek, itself modified to be pistol-gripped, with an appropriate Bad Moonz symbol. The forearm is mostly untouched, but the upper arm is a complete putty resculpt from bicep to shoulder, including custom shoulderpad from plasticard and more Flash Gitz bits, as well as bass guitar strings.

Nazdreg's backside: More flash gitz bitz to make a crude power supply for this huge armour, snaking cables connecting upper and lower torso, and more mechanical gubbinz supporting the leg armour. You can also see the power feed down the right arm.

And my favourite part: the Klaw! Entirely plasticard and putty, it imitates the shape of any other Orky piece. I may put up some in-progress shots, but it's pretty straightforward: Fist-shaped box, festooned with sharp fingers, backed up by pistons, and rammed full of bizarre and arcane power leads back to the mysterious (fusion?) power source.

And there you have it! Quick and dirty Ork conversion, still with lots of room for fun and bizarre painting details. All in all I think he makes a nice contrast to Ghazghkull's angry striding, feels very Bad Moonz (Lookit' my Flashy Shoota!) and looks just a little bit fancier than just a regular megaboss! I'll put up painted pictures when I get them from the client, no idea when that'll be!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Adeptus Scientia

I have decided, with the start of 8th, to attempt 40k again. To this end I have purchased an obscene amount of Skitarii and Adeptus Mechanicus models. Here's what I have to work with!

For the purpose of making something unique, I decided to forego my usual clean 'realistic' painting method, and switch to a "Blanchitsu" rough-paint look. An experiment to be sure, and one that would fit the theme of this army quite well I think. I'm doing a twist on the Dark Mechanicus, and will likely hold to a nice bone/black/red scheme. I was motivated to do up a bit of a "background lore" to the force, which I'm putting below:

--Message Received at Adeptus Mechanicus Forge World of Metalica. Scrubbed of 10 Techno-Viruses, and 2 Data-Mine Parasites. Rendered in plaintext to limit contamination. Title-stamped Maximum Security. Likelihood of Inquisition knowing rated at 23.38% (err +/-4%)-- The Adeptus Mechanicus is a fractured group of techno-mystics, science-priests, and dogmatic mechanics. Your belief set is so strict, and so limiting, that the true beauty of science, and the true voice of the Machine God, is filtered, distorted, and rendered pathetic. You spend as much time scraping and scrivening, stealing ideas from one another as actually accomplishing anything.
We are the Adeptus Scientia.
We reject these dogmas. We reject this limitation. We will not look through a mirror, darkly, but will look through a perfect crystal, view the universe entirely, and through that, gain power and insight.
We began as an explorator fleet during the Great Crusade. As the rival factions on Mars fought and wrung their hands over the 'right' way to believe, we learned, understood, and incorporated all manner of facets of the Machine God to our knowledge. As the Adeptus Astartes swept through the galaxy, so did we, not destroying but discovering. And when the Warmaster turned his back on his Father, we offered our insights to the Priesthood of Mars, in hopes of preserving and elevating Humanity. You condemned us.
You bade us return, so we could face punishment.
When we persisted, you exiled us.
Now you will fear us.
We have continued to learn. We have continued to develop, improve, and incorporate. The daemons that so plague the rest of the imperium are our servants. Technology you fear, we use. Principles you eschew as 'heresy', we have mastered and incorporated. We will not be stopped. We are the true masters of technology. You were unable to track us and find us because our technological abilities so outweigh your own. While you hoard jealously what little remains to you, we have begun to spread the teachings, the understandings, to humanity. We honour the principles of the Great Crusade.
We are the true servants of the Machine God.
--Threat Level Omega. Terminate followers, purge evidence, do not recover tech.--

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Commission Painting

I recently had a request to commission paint a few D&D figures. Having not done one-off figures before, I had to do a pricing figure, and decided to actually display, with models, an idea of what I consider the different painting levels. I won't tell prices here, because it depends a lot on the models chosen, and how well I know the person, but the levels remain fairly consistent.

I decided to demo on a conversion for a 'Dreg' for Mordheim, since it'd give me skin, clothing, and gear all in one shot.

 First up is "table quality" - or the type that looks good from a distance, but not necessarily up to close scrutiny. No eyes painted, no great detail on the wooden staff, clothing's fairly roughly highlighted.

Next up is "Hero" quality - typically for the leaders of a squad, or people that'll receive a bit more focus. You can see the metal's been cleaned up, the wood on the weapon gets actual grain, and he has real eyes! Skin usually also gets a few more coats. Basically in "Hero" quality I pick out a few important locations and detail them a bit better, since the eye will gravitate there anyway in all likelihood.

Finally there's "General" quality. Not meaning what I generally do, or anything like that, but this is what the General of a force should look like. Everything's detailed fairly well, multiple layers, proper shading, I've added all the detail I can think of to hair or face, including scruff, and in this case, he's clearly holding some pouch of wyrdstone that is making his hand glow.

There's also what I jokingly refer to "wtf" level, which is most of what you see on this blog. Wtf level means I don't give a price beforehand but a cost-per-hour, and I go to town. This level is exclusively for models I think it'll be worth it for, and will argue 'down' to General quality if I don't think I can do things that'll push the painting over the top. (I do want to be fair after all!)

So back to that commission:

Can you tell who requested which levels?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Camera Woes and Consoles!

Hey folks

I've discovered why a bunch of my photos seemed weirdly blurry in the same spot. Must have cleaned the lens a dozen times thinking it was a smudge before I noticed the lens itself has broken! Something must have hit it from the front. I don't yet know if it's repairable, but it has caused a difficulty in photographing my models in the last while!

What I will upload now until I can put together the means to photograph more, is a set of consoles I decided to design for our local gaming group.

Often in tournaments we're playing with either flat bases, or random shrubs and chunks of crystal that roughly fit the size. Infinity is such a visual game it seems depressing to have to use such scraps as objectives, so I decided to make something durable and rough to be our objectives for tournaments, using a laser etcher and trying to keep it as simple as possible to make.

Here's the first test run. After confirming the shapes would work on a clear acrylic, I started printing them on a nice glossy black acrylic so I wouldn't even have to paint the console itself!

You can see the ease of construction here. There are 6 pieces, all made from 3mm acrylic: Base, deck, riser, two braces, and the screen itself. Everything is tabbed and inserted so there's no shear points, except the screen.

Speaking of the screen, the symbol is your typical "signal not found" icon from cell phones, as well as a burst of text suggesting why it's not yet connected.

Here was another test run, this time testing out screen colours. The popular vote was yellow-green, since it'll stand out so well on a table.

In theory, the consoles are useable at this point, even unpainted. But of course, I want them to look as distinctive as possible, and easy to use!

Next up was painting the keyboards and 'mousepads' (holo hand cursor spots) to make them stand out properly. Simple white vallejo acrylic does the trick.

Here's the shot I sent to my fellow gamers, asking which screens work better. Personally I think the blue is more realistic, but I do agree, the green is more obvious.

And then, an entire tournament's worth of consoles! Not enough for some of the more ridiculous missions, but certainly enough to get through 6 tables of most missions. Also, durable enough to survive an entire 3-round tournament of play with only two screens popping off!

More pics soon of other active projects, once I can find a viable camera workaround, or just decide to use my cell for a while...

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Ork Buggy 1 Painted*

*plus or minus a few details on the crew...

Here's pics of how it's looking painted!

First, after airbrush basecoats, some metalwork, and the first few layers on the Orks themselves. They're Kromlech and Spellcrow heads, a Kromlech driver body, and the Black Reach gunner. The gunner's magnetized to the post, the driver's not glued in at all.

You can also see the places I added plasticard to hide gaps or joins that didn't quite work.

 This is after much more work on the orks, rust and grime, dags, painted racing arrows, and a painted (orky style) front grill, with splattered paint bits. The tires have also had a bit of a paint job to clean them up.

A rear view! I've tried to rust up the deckplate realistically, and add metal bits mostly to places that would bear the most roughing up.

Here you can see how the orky skull paints up with some white, and the look of the one clean-ish section on the buggy: The Ultramarines panel! I figure it's made of some bizarre hybrid material that wouldn't rust with the same speed or severity as the rest of the buggy's random-scrap assembly. Only bits left are final details on the driver and gunner, some dust and grime from driving about (and maybe mud), and then a protective layer or two.

It's kind of visible once painted, but the fact that the buggy has been made out of wood shows up slightly. I've tried seeing if painting my second buggy with watered down craft glue will limit the amount of tooth, and how much paint it soaks up!

Next time, buggy number 2 assembled!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

An Updated Orc Buggy

With access to a laser etcher comes great desire to create insane things. Right now I'm trying to work on Infinity-related terrain, which of course has to look all sleek and sci-fi. Unfortunately, laser etchers aren't good at doing curved or sleek material, and so to practice building things until I can achieve something like what I want, I've been doing another fun project: Ork buggies!

The ones sold by GW are very outdated, meh-looking, and overpriced. Many other companies do a version, but they're often solid resin blocks which puts them even more expensive. I wanted to see if I could craft one out of basswood, partly to test my ability to make 3d objects, but also partly in case gorkamorka starts up again!

After a mis-step with scale, and an outcome that looked more trukk than buggy, I managed this:

Proper mad, proper orky!
The driver's Kromlech, the gunner's from a 40k starter, but otherwise it's all lasercut!There were a few lines that didn't quite match, but again that's why I started with Ork vehicles: if something doesn't quite work, it's because the Orks built it that way, not because I messed up... right?

I went for a typical looking roadster: tombstone front, enclosed engine until I can work out the V8 look in card, and funky custom wheels that worked way better than I could have hoped.

Sorry for the blur, pretend they're speed lines!
I have a weird rule with my Ork vehicles in that they all need to have some element of them that's directly ripped from the Ultramarines. This is because as a child, and fan of the Dark Angels, I was frustrated that all artwork on any Space Marine box was the boys in blue. Also, any painting guides, most prevalent decals... So now, as a small way to claim vengeance, my Orks clearly smashed an Ultramarine force some time back and the meks have been scavenging ever since. (It helps that Orks revere the colour blue as lucky, so there's even lore justification!) Also visible in this angle is the deckplate, and rear ladder of sorts to get up on it.You can see there's a few places where the lines didn't quite gel, but the advantage is then being able to go back and measure and adjust files.

Also fun was adding a few orky glyphs to the side, to help when I got around to painting this. Here you can really see where some of the lines didn't quite work, including at the front where, if I'd been paying attention, I could have just done a solid piece from nose to behind the driver without any need for separate pieces! Barely visible is the fact that this Ork gunner is magnetized to the firing post, allowing him to be removed in transport and adjusted to fire different directions.

I like that one of the glyphs the Orks like to use is an arrow, which while I know it's meant to represent speed, really just look like they need a reminder which way it drives!

On this you can see the driver's step, which is essentially just the plug to make the side plate stay on, expanded slightly to hide its original purpose. Right behind is a plate without that, and I'll have to look for a way to make it make more sense.

And a final top-down shot of the whole buggy! It's almost identically the same size as the original GW one, except for height. For some reason the hood plates didn't entirely line up, but otherwise I was very happy with the way it turned out, especially with it being my first attempt at something truly a model, and not just tokens or similar!

Soon, painted pics, and my second attempt at a buggy. Also, Mad Max style cars!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Heroes in a Full Shell

Hey folks! Happy New Year and happy gaming!

For the most recent Mayacast contest, the challenge was to produce a TAG. Any TAG (From Infinity) painted to the best of your ability. I decided to paint up my Guijia:

The idea I have for my Yu Jing is for them to be the Emperor's personal guard (The Jade Guard) - As such, he doesn't want mundane war-tech in his beautifully crafted palace halls, so every heavy infantry or TAG under his personal guard is painted like jade statues.

Let me tell you; it's tough to get the iridescence of jade right on a flat pewter model...

This is a primer coat black with airbrush, followed by a carefully layered up "Sick Green" (72.029 Vallejo Game Colour). following this was a bit of a white airbrush of highlight spots and some edge-lining with the same, followed by Light Green (Vallejo 70.942) over the white and to clean up any missed spots in the first run. This switch of greens gives the somewhat varying iridescence. Next comes a layer of gloss varnish, black-lining in the cracks to really pop the highlights, and a few final spots of white lines on high gloss areas.

As a result of the "Jade Statue" design intent, I played down my usual heavy detailing of warning signs, arrows, stripes and other elements to better suggest the statue trompe l'oeil, and since these would be only the most veteran pilots, they'd already know the warnings!

I also converted the TAG to be holding the HMG. Considering a Guijia has almost no close combat ability to speak of, there's little purpose to having him only brandish the sword, when the gun (and armour) is so much the reason you take one!

On this shoulder, you can also see a Chinese-styled design, surrounding a cleaned up (not neon green) Yu Jing logo.

The opposite shoulder had the Guijia logo, more neat designs, and also shows what few markings there are (For example, the unit number, and a pilot's mark on the small shoulderpad.

The base was custom-lasered to look like a Chinese carved pattern, all aglow with science fiction tech. The Seraph corpse is treated cleanly, since it may be a wreck, but since it's fresh, it's not going to have rusted or gotten all chipped by wear. The sword was my first attempt airbrushing with tape to cover half, and seemed to work out reasonably well. The hilt is a very impractical gold-leaf design, but hey; only the most flashy for the Emperor of Yu Jing!

The sword follows much the same pattern as the armour, replacing Prussian Blue (70965) and Light Turquoise (70840) followed by white.

I'm eager to find out what the next project will be, in the meantime I've been relaxing with Team Yankee conversions and another weird project or two I'll show off soon!