Monday, February 28, 2011
I started diving into 15mm sci fi with picking up a variety of different infantry & 'droids'.
I'm finally now getting around to vehicles.
There are a lot of really nice miniatures out there from several different companies. There's also a lot of stuff that doesn't suit my tastes... well you can't please everyone. So when it comes to my tastes in aesthetics and design, yours may differ from mine. Khurusan miniatures is probably coming out on top for me for infantry, though there are some real gems from Ground Zero Games & Blue Moon that I like a lot. For Vehicles, Ground Zero Games is leading the pack by a large margin for what I'm drawn to, though again there are some gems out there from others.
So today I'm looking at the first of the vehicles I bought from Ground Zero Games: the Bulldog Troop Carrier.
From first view on the site, I liked this miniature. I liked it a lot. Why?
I like my Sci-Fi like I like my Orange Juice: with a good amount of Pulp.
And this model fits the bill. It is simple, functionally utilitarian, and its cute in a Retro way.
It also reminds me of the Eagle 1 from Space 1999. Ah memories...
So with an appealing design and a decent price I ordered a couple last December. Let's take a look:
This is the contents of the kit. I was surprised. This is a lot more pieces than I expected for a 15mm kit. Before this my experience with GZG was limited to infantry, droids & NSL Spaceships.. I do so love those NSL spaceships.
I was expecting a 15mm vehicle kit to have fewer pieces. Not unhappy, just wasn't what I expected.
The miniature requires a lot of clean up. I was expecting this, with my experience with the NSL spaceships. Mold lines were fairly heavy and it required some good file work. The wheels have deep cuts in the detail and the mold line is the most problematic here... although, its in the wheel grooves, so it is the most forgivable area for such mold lines to be- easy to get rid of most, near impossible to get rid of it all, but wheels will have some caked in dirt anyway right?
Nothing too extreme and it is worth the effort, but don't skimp on this stage or you'll regret it.
Each wheel comes in 2 parts and there are two axles. To get the vehicle to sit level on its 4 wheels takes a bit of adjusting of the axles. This isn't hard to do- the axles will bend with pliers, just be slow & careful about it, adjusting one at a time in small increments and you'll be rewarded with a level miniature.
Now, check out the detail on the undercarriage. Very Nice. This is where I'd expect a sculptor to cut some corners... I mean, it's underneath: when its upright no one sees this, but I think it's great that it is there.
The Bulldog is nearly complete now. NI trooper shown for scale. The top should probably be glued to the lower half now, but I've gone with something a bit different.
I decided that with the top removed, this makes a very nice 'colony world pickup'!
As a pickup this could make a great civilian vehicle or some terrain in a colonial town.
The top is going to slide off in game play though so here's the simple fix:
a bit of green stuff & sprue glued to the corners of the inside of the top.
These will knock against the lip of the truck bed if it starts to slip and keep the top in place during game play. Sure, it's ugly, but no one is going to see the inside of the top, and it leaves the inside of the bottom free from anything like pin holes or magnets. Simple & effective, and it's like getting 2 vehicles in 1!
Add some brass rod for aerials and the pair is finished.
The one on the right, above, had a slight miscast, missing a section of the lip for the circle to place an areal rod, but as I was using green stuff to help hold in the rod, it was not an issue to fill that gap.
I didn't want to wait until April, so I placed my order with 10% off today to get in before the store closes for March. I ordered 2 more of these, and several more vehicles for a couple factions I'm working on, so there will be more to come!
Cleverness of Design: 9/10
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Skaven know a good thing when they steal it.
Take the Dwarf Death-Roller... what? you say the dwarfs won't let you take it?
Coach Sqeekelston won't like the sound of that... No sir, not at all.
Guess we'll have to make our own.
And so we shall.
Not every skaven coach has access to or is in good standings with Clan Moulder, but that doesn't mean there aren't Rat Ogre substitutes to be found if you have other connections. Those crafty folks at Skryre might just have the answer for you, a nicked idea from the dwarfs: The Skaven Deathball.
1 Skaven Doomflayer
1 Round 40mm base
1 Jewelwer's saw
Plasticard sheets & tubing
Cut the skaven pusher out from the model, add exhaust and platform.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
We Come in Peace (*cough-to enslave you-cough*)
Over the last year I have become an ever increasing fan of 15mm SciFi.
The genre has exploded with fun & inspiring miniatures.
Blogs like Dropship Horizon sure hasn't made it easy to resist either.
My biggest problem has been there is too much of a good thing! There are so many nice miniatures and they're all so seemingly inexpensive when you are used to 28mm gaming, that I want them all!
So how to find one, maybe two.. ok a few to several, factions to pursue & develop?
My guideline has been:
*Do I like the basic infantry & are there several weapon choices to chose from?
*Are there vehicles, monsters, etc that I like that can flesh out the infantry into a nice force?
*Will it be a fun army for looks & play?
The Martians from Khurusan are the first ingredient for my sci-fi, rather pulp Invaders from Mars.
Infantry will be the Khurusan Martians from their Planet 15 range. They're suitably shorter than humans, and have some nice detail. They don't have a variety of weapons, but I plan to paint some guns a different color so they can be Plasma Blasters instead of the normal Ray-guns. In addition, for larger games I'll bulk out their ranks with vassal grunt troops, the savages of the Martian dead seas (khurusan Lhurgg tribesmen) for some close combat capable cheap gun toting troops.
I've added some Reaper Brain Horrors to fill the role that walkers or light attack vehicles would serve, and an even bigger one from Reaper Warlord's line. This model needed to be upgraded to a solid metal base to prevent him from tipping over. But with tentacles, a powerful jaw and untold psychic powers he'll be a match for any heavy walker or battle tank.
Finally I needed some tanks with transport capabilities. There are some nice War of the Worlds style ships out there, as well as pulp saucers, but looking to save a bit of cash I stumbled across some flying saucers on Ebay from Light Force inc. These are awesome. Pictures follow:
The box looks promising...
Change the world with Toys... now we're talking!
The contents: doesn't look too complicated.
Look! It lights up! I got 2 and one seems to work better than the other. the two halves stay together by magnets, so you can get inside to turn it off or change the batteries. I'll have to hand primer it so I can leave this semi-translucent area intact to take advantage of this cool effect.
The inside light mechanism.. see? Proof they come in peace!
I held the two internal parts together with adding green stuff, just to be sure of long-term sturdiness. Green Stuff is like the gamer's Duct Tape.
The finished saucer with (still to be painted) Martian Invader below
Saucer with Overlord and grunts.
I'm not crazy about the flying stand, which is my only big complaint about the model. I may try to use a clear plastic stand down the road. The detail is pretty shallow, but it is a flying saucer so that is fine.
The savages of the Dead Sea ready to fight for their martian rulers.
All Hail our new Martian Overlords!
Rating for E.V.E. Saucer by Atlas Model Company
Cleverness of Design: 9/10
I love Blood Bowl.
I've been playing Blood Bowl since the 3rd edition box first came out.
Blood Bowl combines three aspects of gaming I am most drawn to:
* Strategy board game
* Role-play/advancement growth
It's also got a healthy infusion of goofy fun.
The last aspect, aesthetics, Blood Bowl is ideal for. A small squad of miniatures with a cohesive theme is a perfect vehicle for a creative project. One of the things I've enjoyed doing for teams- my own and commission teams- is making theme tokens. This can be as simple as 3 tokens to track the progress of Turn, Score & Rerolls. Why use those red & blue cardboard squares that came with the box? Sure they work, but you could have a cardboard square that says "orc blitzer" instead of a miniature and that would work too.. but the mini makes the team more enjoyable to play, and so do tokens.
PLASTIC KIT BITS
For this team i just wanted something simple and 'dwarfie' so took a few fantasy standard bits, plant them in the ground and all set!
These tombstones are a similar idea. GW puts lots of great bits in their box kits! these are worth their weight in gold... good thing they're lightweight plastic!
Another example of regiment standard bits for tokens. In all cases these are simple to make, easy to paint, and it is just a 'marker token': they're all the same, it's the track they're placed on that makes them 'turn' 'score' or 'reroll' and that's fine.. it's still miles better than cardboard squares.
In the case of this team, standard bits were used for Turn & Score, and 'ground shields' are used for Rerolls. Rather than 1 token to track down the reroll track they are used as single-use rerolls much like the cardboard counters are. Ground shields are one of my favorite types of counters for single-use rerolls, they are easy to come by and very thematic.
SCRATCH BUILT TOKENS
These are pumpkins for a Halloween-theme Necromantic team. Again it is a one-type fits all function, but these are sculpted from scratch with green stuff. Having some basic sculpting skills is helpful, but you don't need to be Werner Klocke to pull it off.
These were some of my favorite scratch built tokens. For a slann team: dragonflies on lillypads.
Another example of tokens illustrating your team's theme. The Halfling 'Picnic Pillagers" have a picnic lunch laid out for them.
For a Christmas Elf team, more scratch built tokens: a present addressed to show which token it is.
You guessed it: Skaven. Wood was made from plasticard strips, carved & scored to look like old wood. Orca-cola cans from plastic rods and the rat, slurm drink & half eaten hotdog sculpted from green stuff. Skaven fans are not known to be the cleanest fans around.
Conclusion: Tokens are fun! They add to the visual appeal of your team and make it really stand out more. They're also great fun to make, from the very simple to mini vignettes.
The Unfinished Project challenge at TGN concludes in a couple days and while I didn't finish my unfinished project, I did finish one of the two factions I had set as my goal. So, not bad really.
My project was for the Fubarnii and the Devanu, the first two factions (of three currently) for the World of Twilight game. I'll do a thorough review of the game and miniatures at a later date, but for now the short of it is I am a big fan of both. In the meantime, I'll just focus on what I've finished: the Devanu.
The Devanu are the villains of the setting. They have a cruel intelligence and once ruled an empire which enslaved the Fubarnii until the Fubarnii overthrew them, winning their freedom and establishing their own empire: Sparticus is green with envy. The Devanu now live on the outskirts of this civilization, preying on the Fubarnii whenever they get the chance.
The Devanu faction is a multi-species warband. It is also an 'elite' force: higher valued & fewer models than the Fubarnii faction. This is great for anyone who wants variety for their painting project, has less time, wants to focus on a small number of miniatures or wants to spend a bit less money... or all of the above. The Devanu are led by a male, Kopa, and it is typical to have a female or two (though small games may have just 1 adult Devanu). The females specialize in herding either packs of hunting beasts, Grishaks, or their own young, Jenta. There is also now an aerial species, the Kosok.
On to the pictures!
Kopa, leader of the pack.
Sempa: Only one pose so far, but wasn't hard to convert a bit to get pose variety.
Jenta: same situation with the poses, though it sounds like a new Jenta sculpt may be ready for Salute 2011!
Grishaks: Aren't they cute? Sure, but they're fast and deadly.
Kosok: Death from above!
Deadly clan on the move.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
No time for this blog either, and yet here I am trying to squeeze it in anyway.
I've been meaning to start this for about 6 months. I'll spend the first several posts catching up on the projects of that time as well as moving forward with those and new projects. So there is plenty of content to see and talk about. The real issue is finding the time to put it all up here. Will it motivate me to find more time for the projects, or will it take time away from them?
I'll just wait and see.
I'm been a gamer for over 20 years. Longer if you count pre-miniatures and go back to D&D and Risk. I also run a miniatures painting commission studio, so a lot of interesting projects cross my desk: I'm lucky to get to do what I love and explore creativity. Beyond commissions I have many projects of my own which (to varying degrees of success) vie for my attention.
I love miniatures gaming. Like many I started with GW. I still enjoy the GW hobby, especially Blood Bowl, but my tastes are wide and eclectic. My attitude toward miniatures gaming is best summed up as Aesthetic Junky meets Beer & Pretzels. I like my games fun & casual but I really appreciate inspiring visuals. To be honest, for pure game-play I prefer a lot of board games over miniatures games, but the visual appeal of a well done minis game can not be outdone.
Projects to Present:
I hope to chronicle here the progress of:
* 15mm Sci-fi
* World of Twilight
* Spaceship miniatures
* Blood Bowl
* Ancient Historical
* Fantasy Skirmish
* The Mysterious Draniki
* Perilous Planets
* My dabblings in the big games of WHFB, Warmachine & Hordes
* and likely many other random tid-bits as well.
That's all for now, but I'll leave you with this. If you haven't seen it yet, call in sick because you're going to want to replay it about 44 times. I ordered some Quar when Zombiesmith had their sale and now can not wait until the package arrives!