Thursday, August 17, 2017

Question for you bloggers out there.....

More and more I've been seeing blog entries from others, saying they're discontinuing their blogs in favor of other mediums, such as Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook groups. I've definitely been seeing a change in trends over the years, as readership/interaction in some pages remains strong while other communities have fallen off the face of the internet. 

Have you folks experienced this? What do you think? 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

X-Wing: The Growing Rebel Fleet.....

You may recall my initial foray into 3D printed ships with the Pelta-class frigate, Phoenix Home II. (better pictures of her to follow) The same ebay seller has printed a number of other, smaller vessels, and I was happy to see an inexpensive Consular-class cruiser. Nabbing it and another vessel up immediately I was off to Shapeways to find the appropriate turrets, turning it into the more militarily useful Charger C70 refit you see here. I didn't have the heart to clip the rest of the sensor dishes to make it a true Charger, however, but I suspect by the time of the Rebellian era any remaining craft would've been modded, anyway. t love this little ship, and I still might buy another to turn it into the poor doomed Radiant VII (one wonders what happened to the other six...)

A triumph of Star Wars' art room, she manages to look swift despite her industrial clunkiness. Detailed studies of it remain absent from the art book, more's the disappointment. Hunting around on the web turned up model sheets from the excellent Clone Wars series, so I was able to see how her stripes lie and where, not  to mention confirm the location of her turrets (just aft of the small escape pods). 

She's light as a feather compared to the Phoenix Home II, with its side-facing fighter bays. That Litko base is just fine for her, as are the two acrylic rods, but barely. Why FFG didn't make Consular/Chargers I'll never know. Oh shit, I should've shot her together with the Blockade Runner, too. Oh well. I have yet to find a pic of the two together in actual scale, but I imagine the bridge section of the Pelta compares to that of the CR70. Interesting reuse of the geometry, there, CW designers. It also fits the reuse-necessity of wartime production. 

If she looks a bit different, it's because I shot her against the reflective shelf paper instead of the cloth photo background/lightbox. She's just too big to have fit in there. I tried to adjust back the contrast and saturation to true, to compensate, which blew out the background a bit in these shots. 

Prior to painting her I toyed with the idea of wrenching her apart at the seams to light her engines, but things were just assembled too flush. I also did some experiments with glow in the dark paint for the running lights and windows, but didn't really like the result. Her engine pods were built loose enough to take being primed without fusing, which was pleasantly surprising. I'd messaged the seller about getting an unassembled one, but he/she/they'd never responded. Oh well.

6mm AA turrets from Vanguard Games' range. They come in packs of 4 with some other turrets I have yet to find a use for and are delightful. 

I tried to pick out the major details like escape pods, and did the windows in bright white so they'd catch the light despite being recessed. Oh, for a plastic version conducive to LEDs...

I also made sure to dual-color her hull plating, just like the original. I'd like to think they put two wrecks together into one good vessel and sent her out. Yes, the photo looks a bit weird, but if you'll notice from the bridge tower I'm not exactly 90 degrees above her, so...

If you want to keep your Pelta as an unarmed Medical Frigate there are some nice details in the wells on either side of her prow. The Rebels version has anti-ship cannons there, so I mounted some Tau burst cannon halves on bits of sprue. There's something about the grain of the print I find fascinating. Sanding the whole model down would've been a nightmare, so I left it. 

I had hoped against hope that the Acclamator would be longer than it was. Sadly, it's large enough to pass for a bulk transport or corvette (in fact, she's exactly as long as the Raider) but that's about it.  I suppose with some work you could turn her into a passable Vigil-class, with its fat bridge wing. I thought about painting her in Republic colors, but with the above two ships my Imperial fleet would be sorely outnumbered, and I'm fine with a grey standard look for her anyway. 

One thing I discovered whilst boring into her belly to mount that GW flying stand; these models are squishy inside once you get past the tough outside shell. Probably should have sanded her hull a bit, but I wanted to save her raised detail. Some panels are raised more than others, and I didn't want to obliterate the shallow relief. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

MWO Battlemechs Part 2

Continuing on with MWO designs (well, 4/5 of them, anyway, here's 'mechs numbers six through ten. Good thing for my wallet there aren't that many more out so far. 

If you flip through the 3025 book you'll see that the mechs all have sibling designs in similar poses. The Cyclops here was one of the designs that Duane Loose had created riffing off of the old Macross mecha, in this case the Spartan Destroid (aka the Archer). One of the mistakes the FASA bunch made (besides using designs without permission) was not putting any logic to its mechs and breaking them up by faction and unit type (i.e., all mono-eye mobile suits belong to Zeon, etc)  It would've lent more personality to the factions and headed off the ugliness that followed the 3025 tech manual. 

 Speaking of the Archer, it's been resurrected in all its glory. One innovation that this sculptor/producer's been bringing to the table is a plethora of variant parts, in the Archer's case open-door torso racks. I wish it'd been thought through a bit better, though; the slots for the doors are shallow, so some sawing is required if you want the doors to stay. Even so, it's a brittle system (even though it looks great) and I'm dreading the first time I transport the thing. Still, I'm glad the designer has decided to skew classical with all of the deleted Macross derivations. Speaking of which...

One that didn't hew classical was the Marauder, so I bought his other offering, the Macross-styled Glaug, and painted it like the 3025 cover girl. The dorsal cannon's post hole was shallow, so some extra drilling was required, but the whole thing went together quite pleasingly. The new, blocky Marauder in the game does belong more to the same design series as the King Crab, so I may yet purchase one, but for now, this one's enough for me. 

On the tabletop the King Crab's one of those all-nothing designs that's both a blast and a nail-biter to play, as it's only got five rounds for each of its arm guns. The redesign gave it a waist so it can torso-twist and some less cheesy-looking clamp-style claws, and if you want the model even ships with a closed pair. Come to thing of it, my team of friends won a tournament  back in the day using these things and medium laser carrier Hunchbacks. Ah, good times. I need to come up with a new method for doing stripes, though. I'm afraid these have all come out looking rather flat. 

The opening heats of said tournament, as I recall (it was ever so long ago) were played with limited tonnage, so a pair of mediums/lights was the order of the day, and the Centurion worked pretty well for me. (well, a variant that used an AC20 with its LRM rack, anyway). I forget what its friend was... a more spry up-armored Jenner, perhaps? Well, anyway, the newer version is a delight, with its more stylized armor and right arm shield. Sharp eyed fans will notice the House Marik paint scheme, but I neglected to put the Marik emblem on there as we're all mercenaries here anyway, and I'd rather paint a series of eye-catching models rather than bore you with a whole company of same-old, same-olds. 

Till next time...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MWO Battlemechs...

To quote Philip J. Frye quoting someone else, "There comes a time in every man's life, when he goes back how it was..."

And for me, how it was is Battletech. 

Battlemechs were the first miniatures I ever painted, way back in the early 90's. That collection is long since gone, but it saw the dawn of modeling and painting techniques that I use in hobby projects even now. Having not even played a game of it since then (people move, gaming scenes change) it pleased me to see the venerable hobby making a comeback in the form of 'Mech models 3D printed from the new Mechwarrior Online video game. You may even remember seeing an article here featuring a certain Atlas. Well.....

Enter Mechwarrior Online and with it finally, some solid, consistently eye-catching design. 

The Thunderbolt was originally a Fang of the Sun Dougram Ironfoot, and has kept the blocky solidity of that previous design while losing the 80's era curves. Most of the MWO designs now have a pleasing techno-blockiness that was only hinted at initially, then obliterated in favor of weird angles and eggs in the later art. 

I confess to some cheating with the Wolverine. He gained some cabling to evoke the earlier Dougram mecha on which the original was based. Strange how one conversion bit can beef up a design just so. Without it, the solid little mech is a bit blah. The integrated arm/shield cannon is an interesting design twist; when you look closely you'll see the mech has a set of brass knuckles, making it look like more of a brawler than it is. 

I was also halfway through shooting photos when I realized I hadn't done the base rim. Chalk it up to excitement. 

The Hunchback happily remained as it has always been, a quirky, pleasing build with an outsize block on its shoulder. The model (as many of them do) came with all of its variant parts, so I was sorely tempted by the missile racks and laser batteries, but ended up going with the classic version seen here. Another unfinished base? Damn your eyes, man!

The Battlemaster confounded my brushes at first, the tiny recesses in its laser banks steadfastly refusing to admit paint. Previously another Dougram design, the Bigfoot, this mech now is now an array of armor slabs and has a rather underwhelming looking gun on its right arm. I must admit to finding the artist's ability to design a weapon a bit lacking. I mean, when you compare it to the Studio Nue Battlemaster...

Now that's a gun. 

Will the new video game prompt a Battletech renaissance? Maybe. Sadly, I don't recall seeing the tabletop game played anywhere since 1993 or so. At any rate, there are already a plethora of models of different sizes, many of them posable. If I could get my hands on a 1/60 Atlas or Commando.... 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Still kicking....

I am not dead, there just aren't enough hours in a day to paint and set up photo shoots and  the rest of life. Posting is actually the easy part, and I intend to do more soon. Every time I log on and see those Inquisitor war band members from the last post, I cringe and swear I'll do reshoots, and I will.

So, fear not, there's more a-coming in 2017!

Including MWO Battlemechs from Australia.

And Mechanicum Sector terrain from the new Necromunda Shadow Wars set. 

And maybe some Frostgave stuff. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Last of the 2016...

I know, I know, I promised pictures of the Pelta, and there are still more Deathwatch to come, but I thought I'd close things out with the last miniatures to be painted this year, one of them just today, in fact. 

Some of you might recognize this lovely demonhunter from the rapidly expanding Wargames Exclusive range; she came as part of a 3-pack of Heresey Hunter Dominators (her sisters are being pinned even now) which is actually a much MUCH better deal than buying all three separately.A word to the wise, though; while their range is actually quite good (yes, some of their models are cheesecake pin ups) some of them tend to have rather delicate joining points and parts. The two-sword sister broke a hilt, and I had to end up doing some creative repair. All in all, still an excellent buy. Go check them out. 

Judge Duvic here started life as Nicodem the Undertaker from the Wyrd miniatures range. Sharp eyes will note his mechanical left leg, and I've given him a bolt pistol and done some extensive refitting of his vulture. This mini also suffers from some questionable casting decisions, sadly. The vulture head/neck came separately, strangely enough, as did his vulture-mount arm (which had to be pinned). I had extra servo skulls from a Forgworld Castellax, and some Dragon Forge metal pipe and another bit were enough to turn it into a cyber-familiar of sorts. 

Yegor Vladmiroff, the witch hunter is a new mini from the Reaper range, Jakob Knochengard. I removed the zombie head he was toting around and gave him a more useful lantern. I'd originality bought him fro use in Frostgrave, but I think he'll serve well as part of an Inquisitorial war band. 

Happy New Year, everybody. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

(X-Wing) Flagship WIP #2

Getting there, getting there. Now with an A-Wing for scale. 

She has a real hard-weathered, acid-washed look to her, like someone's been parking her somewhere nasty. I suppose, dating from the Clone Wars, she wasn't going to be new and shiny. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

X-Wing Flagship WIP's

Yes, my desk is a shambles. Yes, the lighting is terrible. Yes, those are Tau burst cannons acting as anti-ship turrets. 

Yes, those AA guns are from Vanguard miniatures. Yes, they are on the top and bottom of the hinges. 

Yes, she is rather long. Yes, I forgot to put an A-Wing fighter in there for scale. Yes, that is Vash the Stampede in the background.

Yes, she is a bit blotchy; you would be too if you survived a Clone War. Yes, those nubs are life pods.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

(X-Wing) The Birthday Flagship...

It's my birthday today, so I took the day off, and look what arrived in the afternoon mail: a  Pelta! I ordered it nearly a month ago. Great timing!

She's even larger than the largest rebel epic ship and a nearly solid hunk of 3D printed material. Detail isn't as high as an FFG model, sadly, but there's enough on there to look good.  Also, she's a Clone Wars era ship, not the Home One mod with the A-Wing bay from Rebels. What I might do is bore into her docking bays and put in base bits so I can dock A-wings and other star fighters.  

The engine sections also hinge open, but the chunk holding them on is verrrrrrry solidly glued on, and I'd be hesitant about digging it off. I had messaged them before about whether they had an unassembled one, but alas, no answer. I'll need to put some basing parts in as well, so I'll be checking Corsec and Litko. 

I wonder if I can finish the rest of the 11 Deathwatch and their Corvus Darkstar before the basing stuff comes?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Deathwatch Terminators

They're technically my third batch after the initial set of 10 marines from way back, not to mention the recent Overkill set. Well, fourth, because I painted up Artemis and two other bits-box veterans to experiment with greys (how much and highlighting). I'll post those next time. 

Wait, did I never post the old-school ones with the metal bits? I could swear I did. Hmm.... 

Well, anyway, Terminators. I do love working on Terminators.

What I really like about painting Deathwatch stuff is that it allows you to use all of those chapter-specific bits that sit around for ages, and since they're all basically unique, the army gains a lot of character rapidly. The downside is that since they're covered in detail your speed slows down dramatically, but oh well. I've since taken to painting the Deathwatch in smaller groups (Kill Teams, if you will) with this one being probably the largest batch. 

Einar here (right)  joined the DW along with his brothers, the assault cannon-toting Wolf Guard Thorvald  (left) and the regular armored Svein (you'll meet him later).  Would you believe I found a set of Space Wolf terminator pads after I finished these guys? Yeah. 

I'm rather proud of how Thorvald's melt-fist came out. That bit is courtesy of the Calth set, as I gave those sergeants combi-plasmas. 

Einar's frost axe got a new bluish metallic treatment I'm trying out. 

It involves mixing blue airbrush paint with mythril silver at the mid-stage, which is then highlighted with silver. I used the same technique on Artemis' sword and Svein's axe, and I rather like it. Whether I'll use it on the other power weapons.... well, maybe, maybe not. It seems rather specialised to the Space Wolf frost weaponry (or other like specials) to me.

Epistolary Astinus of the Deathwing (left) bears Litanies of Hatred on a back-mast that came with a Bugman model. I like the new Librarian models, but this had been sitting in a bits lot for some time. This way my Deathwatch also has a little psychic firepower, to boot.

Brother Dagmar of the Emperor's Scythes echoes the combat loadout of Branatar; a heavy flamer and a melta-fist (courtesy of the Calth combi-bits). I decided on the Scythes after reading a bit of their background, which details them being nearly wiped out by who else but the Tyranids (their homeworld was entirely lost). If anybody knew how to fight the malignant cockroaches (not to mention having an axe to grind) it'd be a Scythe. The background material I found doesn't say whether they carried any actual scythes, though. I guess the Death Guard have the lock on those.

Brothers Claudio and Siegmeyer of the Ultramarines and Imperial Fists snagged some old cyclone launchers on their way to life. I prefer these to the newer big-box launchers, which are more dreadnaught than termie-sized. As I was out of chainfists, they each gained a custom bits box one (chainswords are plentiful).

Brother Fulgis of the Salamanders came about solely because I had that Storm Shield in my bits box forever. Also, I liked Branatar's back-torch and wanted to replicate it with another terminator.

Brother Seknar of the Iron Hands has those big, unshielded lightning claws from the Assassinorum Chaos Lord sprue. I thought their exposed workings were especially Iron Hands-y, so I ordered a FW shoulder pad to go with them (along with Fulgis' FW Salamander one). The fiery-gold effect on the Salamander logo was made by building up through the gold-ish metallics range and highlighting with Auric Gold mixed with Mythril Silver. 

I'm rather proud of the way these two turned out. I think they're my favorites out of the bunch. 

Next up, their power-armored brethren, in waves-- oh crap I just found another metal Terminator. Oh well. Plenty of spares.

Next time, some regular grunts.