Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vines - Part 2


For my second foray into vine making, I used another model that had been sitting around unpainted since time immemorial; a bridge that, if I remember correctly, was by Gallia USA bought just before they went out of business. Probably in the mid 90s. Here is the bridge painted up. Nothing fancy mind you, just a base coat and a couple shades of dry brush. I think I may have textured the road surface to be more road-surface-like.

To make the vines, here is some copper wire I bought at Home Depot (DIY store).

I cut the wire into lengths a couple inches long, twisted some of the strands into separate branches, and primered them white.

I gave them a light wash of brown craft paint and glued them to the bridge.

Attached at various point is a combination of Woodland Scenics clump foliage. Here is a final shot.

I’m pretty happy with the results of this second attempt. I think it works well for 28mm, I’ll have to try some experiments for 15mm. I have a 15mm bridge on the “to-do stack”.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hey Blue Moon! Show us your backsides!


I recently picked up several of the new 15mm SF buildings from Blue Moon Manufacturing and here are my thoughts:
One of the things that I think Brigade Models does right is they usual show their vehicles from several views and provide overall dimensions so you get a sense of size. I wish, oh I wish other manufacturers would do the same – especially for the SF and fantasy genres where there is no basis of knowing. Are you listening Blue Moon?
With that said, here is what Blue Moon has not told/show you about three of their SF buildings.
These buildings where each supplied in a heavy poly bad with a card attached at the top. The contrasts significantly from the Transylvania buildings I had purchased which came wrapped in newspaper in a corrugated cardboard box. I feel the Transylvania method of packaging better protected the parts, but as nothing was damaged, I really have nothing to complain about. I can see how the clear bag would help sales in a store or game show environment.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I've been WAMPed

About a year ago I stumbled on to a website called WAMP. It is a site dedicated to improving your painting skills and yet still remain a friendly place. Not sure exactly sure what WAMP stands for, probably Wild About Miniature Painitng or some such. If I recall correctly, I first had read about it on TMP.

WAMP features forum, galleries, and usually several low key contests. Painters run the gamut of skill levels and interests. So far I have found everyone to be very friendly, offering advice and insight. I've been trying to up my participation in the site as part of my effort to improve my painting skills. I recently was part of a "Ladder Challenge" which is where you go mano-a-mano against another WAMPer, usually over an agreed on theme. I found this an interesting challenge and it pushed me to try to paint in different ways.

Win or lose, I have to say it was a lot of fun and pushed my painting skills. Here was my entry: Thyra, a Menoth warcaster.



I am looking forward to my next Ladder challenge on WAMP. If your interested in figure painting, I highly recommend you check out WAMP!

Vines - Part 1


Here is my first experiment with vines. 

Many, many years ago I bought this tower, which I believe was by Epicast. It is made in a rigid, foam resin. At the time, I only partially painted it. Recently I pulled it out of storage thinking I could use it with Warmachine and rather than finish painting, I decided it needed a completely new paint job. While I was generally happy to have the tower completed and happier with the improved paint job, it still seemed to lack a little something.

I hit on the idea to add some vines. I decided to try using ground foam turf. I mixed a variety of Woodland Scenics colors together and glued it to the side. While I think it improved the tower it was still a little “meh”. It looks more like moss rather than vines.

Now I had the bug and wanted to play more with vines. Coming in Part 2: The Bridge.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Historicon 2011

As long as I was catching up on conventions, I thought I'd record a little bit about my Historicon 2011 experience.


This was the second year the convention was held at the Valley Forge Convention Center. As many of you may know, it will probably be the last as a significant percentage of the site will be converted into a casino.

Summary of impressions:
• I think there were fewer dealers than in years past
• There were fewer games I wanted to play listed in the PEL
• I don’t care what HMGS may publish, I think there were fewer people there.

On to the nitty gritty.

The Room:

This year I stayed at the Radisson and thought it was very good, especially compared to last year’s experience with the Scanticon. The room was large, clean, and had Select Comfort beds. Most importantly, the AC could keep up with the heat. Finding the secret "warp gate" between the two hotels was great too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

GZG-ECC 14

A wee bit in the past, but let’s talk about GZG-ECC 2011, held back in February of this year in Owego, NY. This was the con’s second year in Owego after having its previous home, the Hotel Brunswick in downtown Lancaster, PA, cease to be. It was also the second year of “interesting” weather, but overall I am very happy about the move. The hotel is clean, the staff is friendly, and it has a restaurant that is actually open (unlike what we found at the Brunswick). The annual pilgrimage to the Mexican Cochina restaurant in Lancaster was much missed.


As I have been attending GZG-ECC for many years, I’ve come to have a number of favorite GMs. While this always guarantees a good game, I decided it was also keeping me from new experiences. I signed up for two games by Mike Buonagurio, “No Fate But What We Make” and “Hard Vacuum”.

“No Fate But What We Make” used modified StarGrunt II rules to put on a great Terminator game. I was on the terminator side. Mike provided a lot of hardware: Hunter Killer Tanks, Flying Hunter Killer Tanks, mini- Flying Hunter Killer Tanks, as well as a T-1000 that would randomly pop up late in the game.
For the Terminators, the chief machine was of course Skynet, played by amigo Clambo, well known for his blog Daddy’s Little Men as well as being a cold, calculating killing machine.
The Termies were out to prevent the humans from destroying a satellite uplink. We took an aggressive posture and advanced on the skinjobs quickly. The humans surprised us with explosive packs that they would tag the HKs with, usually with unpleasant results. If I recall, in this shot the treads had just been blown of my HK, despite having covering fire from the flying HK just coming into view.
At games end, the Terminators had successfully kept their uplink intact and the humans had failed to achieve their objective, but it was a near thing as the humans were about to get their T1000 equivalent which would have pressed the Terminators hard. We are lucky the game slot ended.

This was a really fun game. I pinched a copy of Mike’s SG2 mods and have started a 15mm Terminator project.

Second game was also by Mike and also SG2. Hard Vacuum was interesting from a number of perspectives: it was on a planet with no atmosphere. Get hit and your suit is punctured, effectively putting you out of the game. It was also much more vehicle focused, which is rare for my SG2 games. it was played in cm not inches. I think I have always played 15mm SG2 in inches – I like how the ranges look. And finally most of the stuff was purchased in one lot on TMP for a song: a beautiful HOTZ mat, figures, Airfix Hawks from Space:1999, and I think the buildings as well.
Dang, what a beautiful setup! Some folks step in it!

Basic scenario was a rival company trying to sweep in and catch unawares the poorly defended mining camp. Sadly there were a low number of sign-ups for this game, leaving me as the attacker against two running the mines defense. As I said, I don’t have much experience using vehicles in SG, but I gotta say zipping in with the Hawks was kinda cool!
My forces got really bogged down mid-board and when these elite forces popped out of the mine, it was game over!
Mike put on two very fun games and I thought I had found another interesting GM to follow. At the end of Hard Vacuum, Mike announced he was moving to Texas and this would be his last GZG-ECC. Curse you cruel fates! If you’re at a game convention down Texas way, give a look for Mike. If these two games are any indication, I think you’ll have a great time!

Saturday afternoon the GM of the game I signed up for was a no show. Stuart Murray stepped up to the plate and ran impromptu game using GZG’s Crusties in a very District 9 scenario. Stuart has been playing a lot of Ambush Alley games and he brought over some aspects of that into this SG scenario.
As one of the authorities, we were trying to track down a gang selling contraband cat food to the Crusties. There was also a higher intelligence Crusty in the mix. We successfully suppressed the gang but failed to capture the Crusty. My favorite memory was running around the shanty town in powered armor mowing down everything that stood in my way.

Saturday night my co-GM krimso and I ran a pulp adventure.
(Knowledge of krimso’s true appearance has been hidden for your own protection)

Doc Savage’s team have joined forces with the underground to get to the root of some zombie tales centered around a German camp. The team had to explore the camp, dodge/slay zombies to find an underground lab filled with increasing levels of resistance. Ultimately to find Doc himself captured and in the process of becoming a zombie himself! Hopefully his loyal followers have learned enough to reverse the process and save Doc!
This game was played out using an SG2 vaiant krimso and I wrote called “SmallGrunt”
Sunday morning is usually geared toward lower key games, as everyone has been gaming late the night before and need to hit the road home. I teamed up again with krimso to run the Steve Jackson game “Frag” that was modified to use a variant of FMA. This was first done several years ago by Mike Hudak, who has been sadly absent from the don the last few years. Also absent was my brain – I took no photos.

Here are a few shots of some other games that I did not play in:
Wow, a game by John Lerchy using times from the Halo game and skyscrapers made from small milk crates with clear blue plastic inside. Gorgeous!
Interesting game by Aaron Newman. Germans vs vampires using SG2. Many of the models are paper!

Forgot to take more photos and I forgot to take pictures of the miniature painting competition. Don’t know where my brain was this year.

Purchases were on the low side this year. Picked up the first building in the second Startown set. Battle Works Studio didn’t have all three buildings ready for the con. I also picked up from the some small crates from them as well which should work for 15mm. From Star Mats+ I picked up the usual odd assortment of figures, dice, and metal bases.

Looking forward to GZG-ECC 15 come February 2012. It will be back in Owego. They are considering the possibility of games not based on GZG rules (at the Con Director’s discretion), so if that comes about will add a new dimensoin to the con. The one game I currently have under construction is still GZG based – I’m working on a mecha game using Full Thrust, but I think a little more variety might help bring in some new blood. Whatever the changes, GZG-ECC remains my favorite convention of the year.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sucking!

OK, so I haven't blogged innnn... a while. Like over a year. We'll get to that another time. But right now I'd like to say It's ok to stop blogging, but NEVER stop painting. Because when you come back after a long break, you just SUCK! It's so disheartening.

I stopped painting around the time I stopped blogging except for a brief stint in the fall, which may well be my painting pinancle. The last figures I did were for Malifaux. Sonnia Criid's crew. Here's Sonnia:
I haven't quite adapted to my new camera yet, the picture doesn't do the figure justice, but it captured everything I had been striving for: subtle shading achieved through build up of multiple thin layers. A scratch built base. Sweet!

Here's one of her crew, Samael Hopkins:

I am especially proud of the bases:

So I know! These are not Golden Demon award winners. They will not be praised and marvelled upon on CMON, but they were a personal best, a manifestation of real progress.

And then I stopped painting for six months. Train wreck. Painting is not like riding a bicycle, at least for me. It's like I had to remember which end of the paintbrush to use. I would not have believed skills would be lost so quickly! I've been back at it about 2 months, painfully trying to recapture that moment. The first few week were so frustrating I seriously thought about just getting rid of everything.

But  I'm back now. I can sit at the painting table and enjoy it again. And I am going to try to get back to blogging. I have a backlog of articles I worked on before my "painting recession" that I'll get up, share the trials and tribulations that lead to the pause in publishing, as well as photos from GZG-ECC and Historicon.

Thanks for stopping by,
Martin