Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Star Wars X Wing: Ghost (Cake Topper) Part 2

I've had this on the paint bench for far too long. I got this cake topper for my son then got discouraged by the wrong base color. And it sat. Well, the boy asked for the Ghost again so with no delay I re-based in OOP GW Space Wolf Grey and made with the painting. This thing was like US$8 bucks, so not expecting much but the lack of detail is daunting. The canopy is a real test but so far it's passable.

Now I am at an impasse. I mixed the colors based on source pictured and generally nailed it but the question is now one of finishing. There is some yellow stripe and detail painting that needs doing but really it comes down to hard lining: do I use technical pen or something brush-based like Nuln oil which won't be as harsh? Hard to tell really, looking at the source material you would to try to keep contrasts lower than how FFG would finish the model. But this will roll alongside other FFG models so I guess get with the idea that contrast will join it. Stay tuned for the finishing.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Star Wars Rebels: Season 2

I won't be making Rebels part of the fabric of the blog often but I am compelled to say that episode 1 of Rebels season 2, The Siege of Lothal,  was the most exciting Star Wars-anything I have seen in a long time. They took serious notes from movie Episodes 4-6 in terms of visual styles and aesthetics and I appreciated the hell out of it.

Being a McQuarrie fan since childhood, I see so much of his handiwork embodied in Rebels, from Lothal itself to the profile of Vader's mask and while I have enjoyed how Disney deployed his conceptualization from the beginning, something really congealed in this episode, really pulled together his signature influence and the classic Star Wars look from A New Hope onwards. Visually, it was more Star Wars than I though a cartoon could get, in due part to the "classic" look of everything on screen (no offense Clone Wars) but also the spotlight on Vader and how the universe "felt right." GOOD lightsaber fights, A-Wings, CR90's lumbering around, Imperial scapegoats... and Vader. Such Vader. Wow.

Season one was a bit childish and weak (even my 11 year old says so) but it is desirably dark now and feels so Star Warsy it has me scrambling to play Imperial Assault and X Wing (well played Disney).

If you haven't watched the series until now then you could simply jump into this episode and maybe feel thrills you forgot you once had, even without all of the back story there. Those with the Lucas-trope gene will know how to fill gaps in motives but if you had a choice I would say watch Season 1 first.

You may be surprised at how into it you get. Either way, enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Probe Droids

Imperial Assault is a blast and despite my efforts to resist, I started painting the minis for the game. It's a catch 22. Some of these figures are made for painting and some are not. And this is a big social game for me. Plenty of people will be handling the figs, it won't just be me, so wear and tear is huge on my mind. But once you paint the figs that call out to you, well, it becomes really obvious that some are painted and some are not. Sigh. So much for building and painting Robotech in June. 

I ordered some clear bases and rod from Litko for rebasing. I have been wanting to try my hand at clear bases since I saw someone do it for Mansions of Madness. I really wanted to do it for Robotech but I see a few issues with that and since the terrain on the tiles in Imperial Assault vary (and will continue to do so in the future) this seems like a good time for bases that blend. So I removed the droids from their bases (which was alarmingly easy), tapped a hole in the droid, taped a hole in a base and cut 3 rods at varying height. I used Litko's non-fogging clear cement for the flying bases and while tricky to use, it worked well, even had some surprising gap-filling qualities. The paint was straightforward and simple. I messed with OSL on lenses but there is some rough, non convex surfaces on some sensors/lenses so in the end I elected to paint them black and top coated with Tamiya Smoke for a great gloss effect.

I would be really surprised if I painted the whole box set but I have to admit that painting up classic heroes and villains is probably something I've been subconsciously waiting to do my whole life... 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Star Wars X Wing Miniatures: WIP HWK 290 Mod Part 2

So, this HWK is totally repainted though you'd probably never know, since I essentially modified it and then primed it brown, added some sponge weathering, a few washes to shade and add some color, picked out metals and re-did the canopy... only for it to look very close to the original. Hmmm. Was sorta surprised it ended up so close. I will be adding a flash of color somewhere but I am not sure yet where. So, probably another hour of so and that's it. More when finished.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Star Wars X Wing Miniatures: WIP HWK 290 Mod

My FLGS Redcap's Corner is running what equates to an RPG X Wing campaign, with pilots leveling up and acquiring more ships, skills and traits. I'm thinking of joining. The HWK seems a natural place to start. After all, if I was in Star Wars, I'd probably flying something like this ship, a cross between a freight truck and Bradley, depending on the situation.

I wanted to mod the HWK because I just wasn't feeling the stock pose since I got it. When I GIS'd and saw some simple moves of engine stacks I realized that I do love some new lines on the ship, basically the flat-top version of the HWK. I want to credit somebody I think named James who I saw on the Team Covenant site for his but at press time I couldn't source it. If I find it I will cite it.

This was fairly easy. I sawed off both wings and separated the wing nacelles. I trimmed and smoothed the pieces for fit and glued it together. I added a magnet to the turret too so it can spin because why not, right?

So now it is primed and ready for paint, which I might actually tackle tonight.

I think I am leaning towards some card art scheme like that of Torkil Mux's... utilitarian and low-key. Maybe a dash of color here and there.

More as it develops!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend Star Wars X Wing

Colin's many points of articulation come in handy when explaining Star Wars X Wing to Jason
I had some of the fine PAGE fellows over Saturday evening to get some X Wing in. My cousin Mike joined us too, him being predisposed to playing this game really well despite not owning anything from the game at all and only playing when he is at my place. This is frustrating.

Colin has been playing steadily but just recently started into the game, Jason really doesn't like the Star Wars setting (you may have heard about that by now) but he acknowledged that the game is well-conceived and fun. Saying that he'd play it again is about as ringing of an endorsement as you can get from somebody who really needs infantry in his game and doesn't care about the difference between a proton torpedo and a photon torpedo. Colin and I offered D&D attack wing as a possible next step since it shares the same game mechanics and has some ground elements but my heating system did tick on when the chill went through the room at the mention of a Wizkids game. We had a 200 point non-scenario match, which was a first for me and probably for Colin and Mike.

Here, Colin's TIE Interceptors break through the trap the B Wings set for them and ride out the buffeting fire they took on their approach.
Farlander and his Dagger Squadron wheel back via advanced sensors and Keyan's intrinsic Stress-eating abilities to thin the darting TIES. Wedge makes it personal and how. The Merc Firespray bloodies everything around it and Lando leaves Chewbacca under the deck with his hydrospanners, ducking into an escape pod with some Colt 45's since it works every time.
 Colin ran a sweet elite TIE Interceptor force (minus Autothrusters) and Jason ran a bloated TIE bomber with a TIE Advanced escort along with a Merc Firespray. Mike ran a Lando perked-up YT with Chewbacca as crew along with the amazing Wedge Antilles with R2D2. True Story: Wedge rolled 100% on hits for 3 or 4 turns in a row with no dice modifications... you can't really walk that off, you just take it and start thinking about what you are going to eat for dinner, since your pilots never will again. Anyway we had a big ship traffic jam for a few turns as players learned to deal with blocking in ways they hadn't seen before and actually back-lighted the tactics, strategies and game features really well.

Nate the Great debates how to beat up Dad with the best '80's robot voice.
I ran a Farlander triple B Wing list that I liked enough to edit and try again Sunday morning against my 10 year old son, who I brutally destroyed when he ran IG88 against it. Hurray for making your opponents! And no, I don't feel bad. He usually beats me.

Nate88's bold move to close the distance before the warheads can activate.
Everyone is dented up by now, Guri strafes the hell out of Farlander as he up-and-overs his B Wing
Guri comes about hard on the accelerating Farlander, warming up the ordnance as his targeting computer chimes...

Guri's formidable Star Viper hits with a nice spread of Ion Torps, assisted by Focus, dealing Farlander a hit and Ionization as well as the same for a Range 1 Dagger!
Alas it was not to be for the Scum and Villainy, as The Rebels ride out the White 1 moves, shake the crippling Ionization and slowly mop up with their darting B Wings as they ride IG88's wake and slaughter the M3A.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bushido: Bridge and Completed Board (Part 5)

I completed the bridge and took some final pics of the completed board this weekend. Ta-daaa!

The last piece I wanted to make for this board was a bridge, which you may have noticed as the original, unfinished version here and there through the WIP (and you can see completed above). This bridge is an aquarium item that I got from Amazon for about US$12.00 and is humpbacked, which is of little use in a miniature game, where you'd never trust your models to stand on it, even assuming blu-tak on the bases. The pitch was too steep.
PlastCraft makes 2 great Asian-style bridges cheaper and requiring less effort so I probably would recommend that kit for the preceding reasons but I had already bought this bridge and wasn't going to waste it. So to make it work I added some balsa platforms, measured and placed at intervals to accommodate average bases and movement. These were to be the basis of landings for an Apoxy Sculpt facelift. You may notice that I walked a fine line between realism and play-ability, erring on the side of model stability. I can go back in and add small, steep flights of steps between landings for realism's sake when I get my hands on thin balsa struts but for now this will suffice. I do like the details on the bridge and the height is such that it really blocks LOS across itself and gives great fields-of-fire for archers and the like, better than other kits. It is also basically a lump of rock now with the dried Apoxy Sculpt and is very strong, so I am pretty happy with that. So here are some shots of the bridge build and final pics of the board. I do have large fern beds in progress for this board but I'll show them later in a Bushido battle report.

The bridge before
Here is the bridge enrobed in Apoxy Sculpt, cured about an hour, smoothed and ready for detail.
The first step to detailing was making impressions of rockface using a piece of textured wallpaper. If the Apoxy Sculpt is too fresh then making these impressions will deform the basic shape, so let it set up for awhile first. Since temperature,  humidity and your mixture will impact the tooling time, I can't give you a perfect time period for this but I can tell you that firm to the touch and somewhat hard (what she said) is what you are looking for.
The bullnose added in, using a basic sculpting scalpel.

Adding cobblestones
Checking the "look of it" with a mini. Seems good  so far. Finished with the sculpting I let it cure overnight, prime it and prepare it for paint the next evening.
Here it is with a basecoat of 50/50 desert tan and ceramic blue.
Sponge painted with desert tan

Some green paint with flow enhancer as a wash added to horizontal areas, to emulate mossy areas. Note that the yellow in the tan compliments the green well.
Itsunagi approves. Note the texture on the slab Itsunagi is standing on echoes the texture on the sides of the bridge enough that it looks like it goes together. Could be better but it would certainly be worse without the texture.

Here's the "moss' being mixed: Woodland Scenics Blended Turf, water, Matte Mod Podge, and green paint, mixed until thick. I added that here and there to most horizontal surfaces and that was that.

Up next: Bushido figs, a Bushido battle report, Strange Aeons stuff and some more terrain!