Thursday, June 28, 2012

(Space) Nazis... I hate those guys

Eureka 15mm Sci Fi Germans sculpted by Mike Broadbent.  I painted about 40 of these about a year ago.  I've collected some vehicles and mechs to convert and add to my Space Nazi forces.  Must get around to that...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Coming soon...

...some updates!

When I re-started this blog I envisioned that I wouldn't blog about my hobby unless I had some photographic evidence to support it.  A pet peeve is reading a wall of text about a game or battle or painting session (!) which is not supported by a pic or two.  Preferably half a dozen.

That being said, I thought it timely to get on and say that no, I haven't dropped off.. I've just had a few months of hell courtesy of a wisdom tooth and heavy professional workload.  I'll just dry my eyes now.

So, coming soon I hope to share some more buildings that have been put together out of the Warhammer Townscapes set (aiming to make the full 30 odd!), some 15mm Sci Fi Nazis from Eureka that I painted last year but have yet to photograph and perhaps a few odds and ends as I try to ramp up the production line once more.

Outside of miniature gaming, I've run a couple of sessions of the controversial Marvel Heroic Roleplaying by Margret Weis Productions.  An obtuse, pompous, poorly edited and ultimately flawed game with an overly ambitious production schedule.... that can actually be pretty fun to play.  I'm torn on this one.  For the moment, it's being put to the side until (if?) the hard copy of the Civil War event book arrives. 

For a bit of a laugh, seek out the Amazon and other reviews of the game.  There's also an hilarous thread on ("sell me on Marvel" or something like that) wherein in first few pages contain a play example that was convoluted enough to turn off a number of forum posters point blank. 

 Telling is the attitude of the author to the mostly valid criticism.  The comment "this may not be the game for you", repeated often across the web by the author says a lot.  A Marvel roleplaying game not being for everyone?  If there was an example of a licence or perhaps genre that should cut across the spectrum of rpg gamers and be accessible to all, Marvel and superheros would be it.  If the less trod path must be taken, at least deliver a polished product.  It also has to be said that the Marvel license is likely not the right property to reinvent the wheel with as MWP have attempted to do with their episodic play style.  It could have been, if the initial offering had clear and concise rules on event creation and how to administer them in the context of a campaign.  Well, I hope that Civil War fills some of these gaps but I feel that the horse may have already bolted.

  On to something that I'm genuinely excited about.  Scott Pyle over at has pushed the big red button and launched the Goalsystem Delves: Dungeon Skirmish Role-Play Kickstarter campaign

  Scott's previous works include Chaos in Cairo and Chaos in Carpathia amongst other games.  If you're a fan of narrative miniatures warband play with a campaign system and scenarios, you can't go far wrong trying one of Scott's offerings.  He's a very regular gamer, painter and rules designer amongst other things and from his blog, it's obvious that he's got the chops to pull off another great release in the Goalsystem line of games.  These games continually improve with every release, so it's not a case of the serial numbers being filed off for Delves.  From the notes on the blog, it's apparent that there is going to be a good blend of traditional rpg tropes and fluid miniatures combat rules.  Hope this one gets up.


Pete - The Sentient Bean

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Warhammer Townscapes

Terrain.  Pre-built, scratchbuilt, un-painted, pre-painted, you name it - there is an option to suit most budgets.  Hell, how about the old "book under the mat" technique?

  I tend to want to go for an inexpensive and modular option.  Usually this tends to be pretty time intensive and ends up being a holiday project (ala Hirst Arts) or never goes further than the purchase of materials and perhaps one or two moulds.  As a "hobbyist", it goes against the grain to purchase pre-built/painted terrain.  Testament to this is the boxes of crap I've accumulated over the years.  How many pipe cleaners can a man have?  Have I even used one or own a pipe?  No.  I've got more ice-cream sticks than the Paddlepop lion and apart from an abortive WWI trench project, they've only been used as a handy thing to blu-tac miniatures on or as a rudimentary cutting guide when the steel ruler disappears.

  My place is small and putting a table's worth of terrain together is not an evening worth of work and without a dedicated space for it, these things tend to take over.  I don't fancy ironing my work shirts on the back of Karak Eight Peaks or whatever and I was never very good at putting the toys away so building a fantasy town's worth of buildings in my apartment is out of the question.

    There is pre-built and/or painted, though.  You can pick up some wonderful houses from places such as Kobblestone and they tend not to be too expensive, but often as I'm about to pull the trigger on a purchase I realise that I can't really just buy the one or two pieces.  The postage costs to Australia prohibit a large order and I don't think I could muster up the recklessness to hit the card up again and again to fill a table.  If I had money to burn and the space.. 

  So, that leaves me with a few remaining options, one of which being paper/card terrain.  Not since the heady days of the cardboard Warhammer wyvern and the little cottage and tower that came with the Warhammer Fantasy 4th edition box set had I considered a card building worthy of the table.  Don't get me wrong, in the hands of a Japanese person, a folded bit of card can look awesome..  my tendency is to build into a crumpled sphere something that should have the shape of a cube.

  For about $400 with shipping, I could buy a CraftRobo or Silhouette cutter; a desktop printer-like machine that when fed a data file can make precise cuts.  A fair few at places like the Worldworks forum swear by them as they seemingly take the drudgery out of the cutting and replace it with the annoyances of modern technology.  I don't fancy dicking around with a new bit of gear and the cost of set up defeats the purpose of going for paper in the first place.

  Ok, I don't have a Japanese person or a robot to cut and fold my paper.  And what of the model itself?

  There are a few on the market and some that are available for free download.  With rare exception, the available paper models are computer generated.  Not an issue with sci-fi, but fantasy on the other hand needs a bit of character.  A little bit of google-fu yielded the Warhammer Townscapes set; a product sold by Games Workshop in the 80's with a whopping 38 different medieval style buildings, ready to be cut out and assembled.  Lovely stuff, this.  Oozing with character and cleverly designed so as to be easy to assemble, I hit the jackpot.  A kindly person has scanned the out of production sheets into a pdf file (see Google), and the quality and resolution is quite good.

  I'm working my way through the set now, having built about half this weekend whilst being house ridden crook.  I decided to print them out on A3 instead of A4 as I found that the A4 size sheets yielded a building a bit too small.  A3 is perhaps a tad big, but it looks more "right" with modern 28mm figures.  With 28mm not being an actual scale, it can be tricky to find scenic products from other hobbies (model trains for example) that fit in with the miniatures but that's another post.

  Attaching the printed buildings in sections to foamboard was the best bet in the end.  Foamboard is great in that it is a piece of foam, sandwiched between layers of paper and this gives the foam some protection and support.  You should know what a knife and a ruler is, so on to the assembly..
   To attach the walls of the building, I cut a groove along the side edges of the front and back facing walls, removing the foam and leaving the backing paper.  It's then easy to wedge the wall to be attached up against this groove, PVA glue in the join, for a nice sharp bond. 

  I had some thin mounting board in a box somewhere and this made a great base for the roofs, being a bit sturdier that the recommended cereal box card.

  So, there you go.  I tried edging the white areas near joins and the roofs with a brown marker pen, but I found that this stood out more than the white. Cheap, cheerful and reasonably sturdy.  Definitely wont win me an award but it was great fun putting them together and I'm happy.  Should suit the next city D&D adventure.  Now I need to clean up and undercoat the pile of revolting peasants I have on my coffee table!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flagstone Paven - Zuzzy latex mat

  Painting a gaming mat that you've spent a considerable sum on is quite the daunting prospect, so this little latex number has been gathering dust in my cupboard with umpteen other bits and pieces that have been purchased and immediately stored.

  Well, as I've just recently purchased 90 odd Old Glory revolting peasants and have been constructing a bunch of medieval fantasy buildings out of the old Warhammer Townscapes set (to be posted once finished), I thought that I'd had better get move on.

  Scouring the net, I've found only three painted examples of this particular mat.  None of which provided instructions on the respective techniques applied, although I'm sure a brush and some paint was involved at some hard could it be?

  As I chose a very simple colour scheme, the mat proved to be very easy to paint indeed.  I was tempted to paint each individual flag stone at a time.  I'm sure would have provided the most aesthetically pleasing result, but knowing my patience threshold, I would have lit the thing on fire and tossed it into my neighbour's yard 3 hours in.  To keep things simple and to allow for some compatibility with my sandstone coloured modular dungeon terrain, I went with a brown and then tan highlight.  As the mat comes in a nice dark grey, I could have highlighted with some light grey/white and the job would have been done after a black wash to tone the highlights down.

  So, paint roller in hand, loaded with a 50/50 mix of burnt sienna and water, I went at it.  The surface takes paint exceptionally well, a good 5 minutes rolling and the 1st coat was on.  As mentioned, the mat comes in a dark grey and I would have been happy with a semi-opaque finish, allowing the grey to come through, but the watered down brown went on like a dream.

  Giving it a good 2 hours to dry, I then came back with a chuck of foam left over from a miniatures case.  A few minutes dry brushing with "Naples Yellow" craft paint, sweeping across the top with broad strokes, was enough to pick up all the nice details and texture on the mat. 

  At this point I could have pulled the pin, but it really just didn't look grimey enough for a fantasy/medieval town square.  I pinched a black wash recipe from somewhere: 

Water in a jar; add black paint.  The black paint I used was luckily completely crap, being exceptionally watery and thus good for a wash.  Thank you rude 2 dollar shop lady!

Added to this, some Jo Sonja flow medium and a bit of window cleaning liquid.

Over the top with a brush, I spread it around, not letting it pool up too deeply as apparently this can cause cracking of the latex.

On the whole, I'm pleased with the result.  The mat will be used for RPG combat (Dungeon Crawl Classics, D&D, etc) and for that it will definitely serve well, it being easily transportable and the squares easy to make out on the surface.  I've heard good reports about these mats surviving transport and frequent use without a layer of protective varnish, so I've given that a miss for the moment.

Now, to finish those buildings...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Big Red

Lovely multi-part miniature from the genius at Bronze Age Miniatures.  Used this chap as a thikreen for a Dark Sun campaign I played in.

I botched this attempt at zenithal (with spray can) highlighting by using a dodgy varnish.

I saved it somewhat by re-painting.  Not great, but it'll do.  If I have the same problem, I've heard olive oil can help!  I'll be sure to rub myself down like a turk before painting next time.

Have you heard the word?


Empire - flagellant

Scarlett Johansson

I believe that this is the 1st release from Red Box Games...

Finally got around to painting the figure.  The base was designed by a mate.

Poison Wind by Chanel.


Skaven poison wind globadier

Scryer of Orcus

A demon from Grenadier/Mirliton. Dipped.  The orb painted and glossed.

Beholder baby

Black Orc Games sell through their online store a great selection of budget miniatures designed by the punters under their Mini-Sculpt line.

Can't go wrong for $1.75!

Golden oldies

Here are a few of the 1st figures I painted post my return to the hobby in 2004.

By Crom, I think I've seen Conan too many times...

Heresy Miniatures:



It's all in the reflexes..

"You just listen to the old Pork Chop Express here now and take his advice on a dark and stormy night when the lightning’s crashing and the thunders rolling and the rain's coming down in sheets thick as lead. Just remember what ol' Jack Burton does when the Earth quakes and the poison arrows fall from the sky and the pillars of heaven shake. Yeah, Jack just looks that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says 'gimmie your best shot pal, I can take it.’”

Here's not-Jack Burton from RAFM Miniatures.  I painted this one circa 2004.  I think it was the first miniature I painted when I came back to the miniatures hobby after a long hiatus.

Mega blast

Ah, Mega Miniatures.  Johnny Lauck has brought together an eclectic range of discontinued figures and originals sold for discount prices to happy vegemites like me.

There are a fair few clangers, but there are gems to be found.  The Guthrie Grenadier sculpts are particularly nice.

Johnny seems to be slowly selling his range of moulds so availability seems limited.

Here's a few I knocked out and dipped. I tarted up the jewel in the belt and glossed it after matt varnishing.


Rackhamy goodness

Finally got a chance to base some of the figures that have rolled off the painting production line.  It feels great to get these off the top of the newly organised lead mountain and into the very cramped confines of the glass cabinet.

To start, here's a few more Rackham figures.  A delight to paint for a "dipper".  The detail on the model tells the whole story.  These figures were picked up from an online store when Rackham discontinued the Confrontation metal line (sob).  $2 a blister pack or thereabouts.  You little Ronnie Coote!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Here are some 15mm Pendraken aliens painted up with a technique I pinched from TMP:

Racing Blue metallic spray from Tamiya, washed with Badab Black GW wash.

These were used in my running of the Chamax adventure "Plague" from 1983 for the new Mongoose Traveller. 

Luke, I am your farter

Dwarf Vader (Heresy Miniatures) is a level 1 Dungeons and Dragons character who had the fortune of pinning down and choking out a dragon, MMA style.  I love 4th edition D&D!!  :)

This was my experiment in painting a miniature with an "open source lighting" effect; the light from the flaming fire sabre reflecting from the armour.  The colours in the photo are a little washed out, the flames looking a little better in real life.

Modular dungeon

Here are some bar room fight scenes played out in a Dungeons and Dragons game set in the Thunderspire Labyrinth last year.  I built the terrain from Hirst Arts fieldstone moulds, stained with tea (bags, not loose) and glued together in sections allowing for a modular set up.

The furnishings are mainly Hirts Arts and handmade, the cards on the table being made from slivers of matchstick and painted after being glued down.

The miniatures used are a combination of Grenadier plastic Fantasy Warriors orcs (now sold by EM-4), out of production pre-painted plastic D&D miniatures from Wizards of the Coast.  I think that a mate used a Asmodee Editions HellDorado figure.  The red counters are meant to represent areas of the underground tavern that are on fire.  I've since picked up some Gale Force 9 3d fire tokens which look a lot better.

Tavern in the Thunderspire Labyrinth

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rackham dipped - sacrilege?




Empire Flagellant

One for the furries..

Steve Jackson Games - Off the Wall Armies:

An update at last!

Well, well, well.. So much for my blogging.  Over a year since my last post, I've hit a purple patch and feel as though it's the right time to update the blog with some of my recent output.

I've decided that life's too short not to "dip", especially when the results pretty good.  It's a common enough technique but I'll be posting my methods at some stage.

Here are the most recent additions to the glass cabinet (more to come!):


Vulture Demon - a great Bob Olley sculpt