Monday, March 27, 2017

Bushido: Version 2 Lit Pagoda or, Kung Flu Hustle


Here’s some notes on my latest Bushido pagoda terrain build using aquarium pieces. Sorry for the delay on this, you might say I was ill. You might also say I had food-fever, eye chills, skin failure, gravity allergies and corpse throat.

2 Christmas’s ago I made two lit pagodas from aquarium pieces that I gave as gifts to my friends. I learned a lot from that build and made notes on things to do better next time, should there be a next time. Next time was last month, where I finally made one for my own Bushido table. You can see the first assembly notes here.



What was different this time with this build, a Version 2 pagoda, if you will? Well, after working and playing on the original Version 1 pagodas I noticed a few things that I could change for Version 2:

1.       You could add more playability The inside of the Version 1 pagodas was not as playable as I would like for all models.  A small based model would fit fine but multiple models won’t and medium-to-large based models are right out, especially in Bushido, since models can’t easily be placed inside the pagoda to begin with, mostly due to the circular curves of the entrances. This raises the point of having that weirdness where only one model can be placed. World-ending feature? No way, but that piece all lit up screams for more models under the light. Most miniature games run into this physicality stuff so players usually keep blank bases handy for this and that would be fine but I figured I could make it so that more than one model could be placed inside for the truly epic looking last stand moments ala Avengers: Age of Ultron, minus the pouting giga-heroes, weird Godzilla spouses-come-Miracle siblings and Robert California Terminator. Cuts at the entrances were made with a Xacto Razer saw so columns were straight and flush and that was all that was needed for multiple models and various base sizes to fit. It did lose some of the cool style though.  We are gamers, we can take trade-offs, sumus qui sumus. With these cuts, assume the resin on these aquarium pieces are made from unholy poison, so the dust is best kept outside of your lungs and eyes: wear a respirator, cut and trim/clean pieces outside, and wash your face and hands afterwards.


2.       Different runs of product will vary greatly: The resin was really brittle this time. Wow, I was really surprised that with the first two pieces from before that the resin was stronger, a daunting realization when one cuts away a lot more resin in Version 2. It looks to me that these pieces are blow molded in a way that allows for variation in thickness between castings, which affects the strength. Not much you can do after you buy it so keep it in mind when you shop. Thicker is better.


3.       Line of sight: gotta break it up more than before and with that, make it more sexy and scenic. A Version 2 pagoda was a chance to do more scenic stuff, namely, elevation and LOS blocking. Usually more art means less playable space in a game the better looking scenery gets so I tried to strike a balance; this is the most fun part to me, laying out raw, unfinished elements of the build, like the wood chips for rocks and playing around with figures on the mock ups to dial in stability and aesthetics. The Version 1 pagodas are great for a lot of Bushido missions where you may put an objective like an idol under the lamp in the center of the pagoda but the open space around the pagoda, while very flat and playable (you can always add scatter scenery to it) seems like a lost opportunity now. Since my Version 2 pagoda was supposed to be in the heart of the rain forest I made it a bit more rugged and old, but maintained looking. I used a new Gorilla Glue silicone adhesive to glue down the pagoda, after new cuts and same finishing as Version 1, and boy did it work great. Long tool time, quick grab and void-filling. It was forgiving to be able to lay out large masses of adhesive, have it grab the wood nuggets and let me slide, shove and stack them until they looked organic and best, playable for miniatures (given I had made a dry run before hand.) The adhesive did not shrink or crack which is a plus as well. After an overnight, the adhesive was dried and I finished with finger-tooled caulk.


4.       Painting and finishing: Pretty straightforward, I used Army Painter spray and colors to match this to the Plast Craft building I made before, using the same colors. I did add as small spring and pond, using MIG mud on the bottom, silicone caulk to hold some random plastic grass fronds I had in bits, and then Envirotex resin for water. I made a mix of scenic tufts, flocking and scatter leaves compliments the watercolor-like finish I applied to it.

5.       Tea lights: Version 1 pagodas have LED tealights, which look great in yellow. For Version 2 I added a flicker LED light I got on Christmas clearance this year and it looks much better than the always-on LED. The flicker adds a ton of character and is mounted with magnet, just like version 1 pagodas. The only modification I needed to make with the new tealights was to remove their casing since the white plastic covering the light was really big and dimmed the light through the white plastic case too much.


So there you have it! Version 2 pagoda all done. Expect to see it featured in an upcoming Bushido battle report.

Construction pics below.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bushido: Homemade Tokens



Ah, the dearth of tokens for this game is enough to drive one crazy. Yes, the (free) rules supply a token sheet and they are decent enough to get started, if not long-lasting, but a secret love in a gamer’s life is the damned peripherals. 

At very least, this game needs tokens very badly, where others you might skid by honestly without.

Colorized by Todd Allen Smith

So, time to get crafty and make some tokens my self. These sets I produced aren’t really all that ambitious at about an hour of staining and dry-down overnight, then another evening of sitting to punch, sort and glue the paper to the stained wood tokens. 


The only real experimentation time involved in this was some playing around with paper punch sizes and happening by my friend Todd who could color the PDF token sheet, after which I sourced the rest of the materials. 

I cut a good corner on the token production side by continuing to use coins I already had as Ki tokens, which:

A. Looks and sounds badass when you use them. 
B. Alleviates the need to make a ton of Ki tokens. 
C. Confuses Silvermoon Syndicate players who feel left out when they watch you using gold coins, as they bloody well should. Filthy animal keepers and carnies, the lot of them.

After reading more this week on releases and rules, I noticed the token sheet I used is missing Bleed and Ki Block. I fixed Ki block by taking the token for Ki and just drawing a slash across them, then gluing as normal. Bleed I will probably just make some blank paper tokens and add a bloody fingerprint. 


So, the method was simple. Stain the 1"wood tokens (sourced by Amazon.) I use water based stain so I could just use my hands. I dipped the token in stain, wiped off excess with paper towel. 

I put the tokens on wax paper and let dry, flipping them after 30 minutes of dry time to allow both sides to air dry overnight.



After staining, I punched the tokens out by printing 2 sheets of the PDF at 100% and using a .75 inch punch. I then sorted them out in pairs. I wanted all tokens to be double-sided, so, two sides to Prone, Run and so forth, except for the Tired and Exhausted tokens, as well as the Fire and Poison counters. 

So after punching, ahead of gluing, I sorted 1 tired and 1 exhausted together in 11 pairs. I then sorted Fire 1 with Poison 1, Fire 2 with Poison 2, etc. The logic here is shared by myself and my buddy Pete, where we like oneTired/Exhausted token for each model (just flip it as you go from Tired to Exhausted) and in making the Fire and Poison tokens together, it lends to cleaner play with less errors in how Poison tokens reduces down as models take hits, same for when Fire functions in a game.

Sorting ready, tokens dried, I used a fat round brush to coat the token with matte Mod Podge, added the paper token, smoothed and then topcoated right away with matte Mod Podge. Set aside, let dry. Once the first sides are all the way done you can go right back to the earliest ones you did in that sitting and repeat the gluing and top coating same as before, with the previously sorted paper token. The devil is in the sorting, so take your time. 


So that's it! Pretty simple save for the sorting. I do wish I was able to make these smaller but for the price they were fine and match the other peripherals I've built really well.  


Friday, January 20, 2017

40K: 50K Point Apocalypse (Coverage from my game group PAGE and the Winter Apoc Game)

This is a video review of my game group PAGE and the annual Winter Apocalypse game for 40K. The polar spaceport is my work... just realized I never posted any of that up so I will get on that soon. Also within is all of the crazy amounts of work in terms of figures painted, club terrain and awesome stuff guests brought. If you are in the PA area and want to join us for almost any game, something specific or something different, just reach out. We are active at most area stores including Redcap's and we will also be running some events at NOVA again this year, stay tuned!


Friday, November 18, 2016

Imperial Assault: ATST's Reposed on Clear Litko Bases



Diala has her hands full.  Bases by Litko. Re-basing by Jeweler's saw and cold water to keep plastic firm to cut. Glue by Formula 33. Adhesive by 10 Minute Zpoxy.

Left ATST has the right leg cut at the knee joint vertically to straighten the leg. Pins and epoxy reinforced the load bearing ability. Weiss' ATST is featured previously. All weapons and copula parts are magnetized because why not.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Return of the Yeti

See what I did there? No? Nevermind then. My group just played the Imperial Assault campaign over the last 3 months and it was a blast. That said, I was busy painting and pimping the game but not reporting much because spoilers. Recently I pulled out Bushido again and am slapping paint on them now to get Ito to 50 rice and I have a Savage Wave starter coming in from Ol' Blighty.

So, how about a bunch of pics of stuff I had built and painted from the campaign in no particular order?

Rubble counters and a 3D printed hatch
Elite Royal Guard

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Han Solo and Shocktroopers


So here is what's great about Imperial Assault from the hobby perspective. The figures have good sculpts and really benefit from some paint... they pop on the board in a really satisfying way. While you can adjust poses and bends with hot water, it doesn't really pay to clean up the models in a complete way that is slightly alarming to a seasoned mini painter; the material is just really hard to work with and trimming flash is like failing a sobriety test. That said, it leaves you in a cool place to challenge yourself to paint fast and try new things since there isn't much to be done about the material used.

With that in mind I have been letting the campaign dictate my painting schedule and so, as we progress through the campaign I usually tackle a few minis a week. For the side mission, "Sorry About the Mess" I needed Solo and an Elite Stormtrooper unit done up. So I simply put them on the table ahead of the impending game and knocked it out.

There is a ton of source material to paint from and that has been a ton of fun for me, instead of the usual fretting about designing color harmonies and sourcing or mixing colors. For the most part, I toned stock colors and built up highlights again.


I had about 2.5 hours to paint Solo and about another night to get the Elite Stormtroopers-Shocktroopers finished. In all, a ton of fun and they look the part on the board. The only real issue I had was the humidity was bonkers in Philly, so the Troopers and Solo got a bit frosted when primed.

Again, I threw caution to the wind and just got it done... pretty happy with the speed and outcome and I am knocking out a handful of figures every week. I have more Stormtroopers on the table along with Kayne Somos and I am mostly done the box set. I will be done the entire box set plus multiple expansions by mid September.