Monday 30 January 2012

The objects of my obsession

If you may recall when I 'celebrated' the blogs Birthday and treated it to more sporadic posting and less content [what a gift] I revealed a little about my passions, nay obsessions, nay addictions! Which came in three flavours:
  2. Kendo
  3. Games Workshop
And these addictions have come about and chopped and changed for priority over the last 20 or so. Each one having it's time to shine. My favorite band Pitchshifter is still very much under the radar, a new album is in the works but the guys are taking their time as there's no pressure in their lives for it at the moment. Which left me with the other two. GW which I think about an awful lot, even though I'm in that floundering period between completing projects and being inspired to get stuff done. And lastly kendo, the martial art I gave up for nine years only to regret every lost second.

If you reread my post on Hoshi Komi you will get a bit more insight into where I was at with it. For the past five years I've been an active member of Liverpool Kendo Club and due to the usual loss of members etc. I was elevated to the position of Sempai, that's the guy below the Sensei who runs the class, not teaches the class. I was all set to attempt my 3rd Dan this March but due to some changes in the symptoms of one of my persistent injuries I went back to see the consultant.

Long story short [too late] as of last week I had to retire from kendo. Well, retire from being hit at least. It was possibly the hardest thing I've ever had to do but we shall have to move on and with all things the waning of one thing brings about the waxing of another and it appears I now have a free evening a week that I've secured with the good lady wife to indulge my hobby. So, next week I will be sloping off to my local gaming club in Ainsdale, a small village not far from where I live where both my Grandparents and my Great Aunt used to live. Coincidentally the club is held in the same church hall my Grandparents used to attend and my Grandad did the quantity surveying for. Destiny? or the ruinous power exerting their will over my life?

How this will impact the blog I don't know. I'll certainly be more hobby orientated, maybe have tales to tell of the new 'gaming crew' I've joined. Can't say I'm not just a little nervous, it's been a long time since I was 'the new boy at the club' especially when I was essentially 'top dog' at kendo, although my sparring never reflected that, ha, ha! Anyway I'll keep you all updated on my jaunt.

PS, you can see which one is me in the pic right?

Saturday 28 January 2012

Quick and easy sand sieve

The other day I was on Terra Genesis and someone asked if there was an easy way to grade sand. I recalled the solution I came up with back when i first started collecting cheap terrain materials. You don't really need any specialist equipment, other than what you may have in your hobby arsenal - I got a small plastic bottle, similar to the kind you get chewing gum in, I cut a hole in the circular lid and filled it with sand. Then I sandwiched two layers of granny grating inside the lid.

The grating was rotated so that the hole from one is partially obstructed by the next layer. By twisting the layers you can change the gauge of the apperture from fine sand to big particles. Then shake out into a box.
I keep one box with the chunky pieces then pinch and scatter those on my bases so they are 75% covered, then I bury the remaining 25% in whatever I can get. As you can see in the pictures it's missing the second layer but you should be able to see How it's made.

I'm sure any other brand of chewing gum bottle would make do.

Here's an example of how the sand is graded. Clearly the basing helps pick out the variety but it's there in spades!

And more recently:

Anyway, just thought I'd share a quick tip.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Terrain is everything - Dawn of War Plasma Generator part 7.

Have I screwed this up? No, well I don't think so. I think the weathering is great and aside from the lack of green [due to Ferron Proxima fluff] I think I've done a passable version of the rusty yellow I see at Appley Bridge Station, which of course was the challenge. However, I feel it's too pale in places. The age old problem with that colour. I kind of miss the Iyanden Darksun, but then I also like weathering, so which is best? There's only one way to find out - FIGHT! For those who don't know Harry Hill I suspect that's lost on you, nevermind.

Additionally, the choice of white and [soon-to-be] black chevrons feels like a mistake. The shaded red oxide previously was quite a contrast and perhapse worked better. Still the Aquila has come out well thanks to the weathering.

I think perhaps the drybrushing enhances the defects in construction here... at the top

and here... at the bottom, but perhaps because there is more grimes/rust applied I think it's more forgiving to the shoddy masking tape. So for what I have lost i think I've also gained - equilibrium?

Not sure why I have these two nearly identical pics but theres a slight change in lighting that might enhance some detail in construction if you're that anally taking notes. However, the big issue might be that when I come to add the plasma tubes do I make an effort to add a glow effect on this base and on the inside edges of the uprights? Would it be an effect too far? I'm already trying to justify the weathering, will it confuse/detract/ruin the current state. Is it better to just leave it alone and make do - here lies the stumbling block that could stall this project altogether!

Now, at least in this pic you can just make out that the textured folder card is slightly visible in the top right. Not so sure about that bit of masking tape edge though :( It's a choice between capping the entire edge including reinforcement, that looks neat on the edge but scruffy on the side or the alternative, just visible on the right background upright - caping just the foamboard so you're left with a slightly shoddy looking edge but clean finished sides.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Deathwing Progress - they're on Ferron Proxima

Just a little update, but what a difference it makes - Vermillion art acrylic is in place and these are starting to make a bit more sense visually, regardless of any reservations I may have with the actual style and cohesion with the rest of my Dark Angels. Ron at From the Warp discussed the topic of painting bases first. Much like painting faces/eyes on a model they can really set the tone but equally you run the risk of spoiling your efforts by paint catching in the wrong place. It's a difficult choice, maybe we should just be better alround huh? Should we try that?

Still to work on the lenses and the Sergeants skin tone, not so comfortable with my brown paints, the mix isn't very good but we'll get there.

Up next, some battle damage *eek!* I've never done it before and if I cock it up it's going to be a bugger to fix. I saw some Crimson Fists on GW's website that resolved how I would tackle the battle damage. Each chip on their armour was rendered in the darkest shadow colour used on the armour with a highlight. I figure if i follow the same idea I should be OK, fingers crossed...

Let's just say my experiment isn't a huge success...

Sunday 22 January 2012

Terrain is everything - Dawn of War Plasma Generator part 6.

Iyanden Darksun for the yellow! G.O.D. I love stippling, it really allows other paint to show through and adds texture as well areas of more/less opacity.

I'm thinking I could have added a couple of Imperial Fists symbols on the two plain sides, as they came with my drop-pod, but I suppose it's a bit late now. I think this is the point where you clearly see those joints, edge covering that work and those that don't. I think the biggest area of concern is not in fact the laminate reinforcements which could be explained as seperate pieces welded on [as in fact they are in real life] but some of the shoddy masking tape work on the four upright pieces that lead into the plasma tube holes. However, as exciting and keen as I am on this project as I near the end of it I can feel my enthusiasm wane. It's always the way and as far as I can tell equally common among other hobbyists

Here's where the stippling looks coolest, but what will remain after I put my next lot of weathering effects in place?

Friday 20 January 2012

Terrain is everything - 2nd man-made hill gets paint

Red Oxide primer, seriously, if you haven't got Red Oxide Primer in your life you're doing it all wrong. For whatever building you are doing, once you've done a black undercoat to seal any possible foam [I've mentioned my 'special mix' many times] adding this colour allows so much variation to what will come after. Most buildings benefit from tonal variation, with all that flat surface in play it's a great way to add more detail without much effort and as the mand said - 'more detail is more detail'. The next plasma generator post will show better how Red Oxide is such a perfect base for your painting, so look forward to that

Following, the Red Oxide next up was some more of my Early Learning Centre black poster paint. Trying to get it in all the grating crevices and the modular socket door so it looks like it's been scuffed as it slides open. Of course there's plenty more coats of paint to go on yet but as I've said before I'd be more than happy to leave this as is for your average gaming club terrain. As it is I will be drybrushing the grating with silver, painting the socket door and drybrushing more Vermillion on the edges

I may also look to paint the cable ties a different colour. it might be a nice feature to draw attention to the detail, or if the paints too thick it might fill up the detail I was so keen to add. I should know after the Vermillion has been added. Of course this looks really cool with the Plasma Generator in place. I think a second red one may well be something I'd like to explore [here's where I hear a little voice shouting "why?"] with some added detail, maybe when I've finished my To Do List perhaps, treat myself.

I really should work on the STC for the hill as well...

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Terrain is everything - Dawn of War Plasma Generator part 5.

Typically I've started with a red oxide undercoat. Sure I've decided not to make another red building but it'll make a perfect base for stippling yellow on top of to get that weathered look I'm after.

Early Learning Centre poster paint was used to shade certain areas. This stuff is still soluble when dry so can be a useful technique for adding variation to colours that go on top. It also gives a nice matt, 'soot-like' finish, which is also handy for weathering. As you can see some of the card gaps are still visible but part of me like the look of separate pieces of metal, not one solid cast. I think this would be better justified with some tiny rivets, but as I don't have any I can live with it.

Here's a top view which, to be honest, isn't pretty. The masking tape on the edges isn't great, but then capping them would have been really fiddly too. Ideally a + shaped piece across the top would neaten this all up but I'm still struggling with taking it apart and rebuilding it repeatedly for painting and photographing I can't be bothered with another piece to paint and attach once the thing is complete.

You can clearly see my issue with the sloping lines of the generators profile in the following pic. The extra detail on the vents draws the eye along the same path. But I don't mind it so much now, again I can live with it's imperfections.

Monday 16 January 2012

Terrain is everything - modular plug gets painted

How much fun was this? There's nothing like doing that Ferron Proxima red planet basing. For something that was so painful to do and a permanent issue I love doing this now. Sure I've come across a few other red-planet bases that look really cool and there's still the issue that my Vermillion art paint is in fact a closer match to the 'Battlefield Mars' as I originally titled it but it makes me smile every time I finish one of these.

Of note is my use of Iyanden Darksun for the yellow. My son bought me it, he'd originally wanted to get me a Space Marine Librarian but I bargained him down, as I don't need it and they are expensive. Also, I tried to get a standard acrylic craft paint to reduce my reliance on Bronzed Flesh to lighten the Vermillion for highlights. The best I could find was a 'pumpkin' colour, which is indeed a light orange. Still, mix in some brown and we were nearly there.

Lastly a close-up of the Stargate-esque iris hatch. Successive coats of Stonewall Grey but thinned to allow some of the Red Oxisde undercoat to show through. This gives a nice weathered effect. Some slight highlights on the chevrons with the yellow stippled on to give that mottled weathered effect, love it. Now what else can i build to go in the socket?

Sunday 15 January 2012

Forgeworld - Nearly Thunderwolves

It seems Forgeworld may have just solved the Thunderwolf Cavalry dilema so many are struggling with, perhaps. Skaven Wolf Rats for Fantasy Battle. Presumably you get the 5 for £28 and you'd still need to do some work to make them less rodent and more canine/lupine but they look like a good start and even the branding look like Space Wolf runes, what do you think?

Saturday 14 January 2012

Terrain is everything - 2nd man-made hill

Having said I can't recall if this was the Athena Plateau or the Mercury Plateau, There to accompany the Vulcan Plateau I think I resolved in my head that this is in fact the Mercury Plateau. It's a uniform square [not taking into account the staircase] which better reflected the planet Mercury, whereas the Athena Plateau is/will be a long thin hill better reflecting the bow Athena used in her hunting. Look, have you seen the misplaced symbolism in star constellations? These are as good a reasons as any! 

Anyway below is the black undercoated hill with the modular socket capped off with a door and the steps faced with another new buidling material

Cable ties! Sure they're 4.8mm which means they don't quite cover the 5mm foam card but the little step adds detail and 'more detail is more detail', not to mention the many little grooves from the tie grip. I'm sure there's plenty more ways they can be used, even en masse as a whole wall texture and as I got a bag of 50 for £1 they're cheap as chips.

Here's the newly undercoated Plasma generator in plugged into the socket. More on that soon.

 And a marine in place for scale.

Thursday 12 January 2012

Terrain is everything - Dawn of War Plasma Generator part 4.

I think things are going to get a little messy/confused over the next few posts, so please bare with me. With the Plasma Generator, modular plug and second man-made hill progressing there will be a bit of overlap, separation and repetition in the pics. It's all good though.

Below we've finally got a bit of undercoat on the Plasma Generator. I tried to keep it thinner than usual to see if the folder card texture would show through, we'll see in time when the first bit of real colour goes on.

As you can see the plasma tubes seem a little pale, this may be the array of new electricity sucking Halogen bulbs we have in the kitchen. Sure the pics are not as murky as on my phone but we seem to have lost the brightness of the real Ferron Proxima which I think explains the slightly insipid gel colour.

And here we have the generator mounted in the man-made hill modular socket. For those who plan to make this baby with LEDs this could be your solution. Plenty of room to hide gubbins in this little base.
Now I can't recall if this was the Athena Plateau or the Mercury Plateau, There was very specific fluff why I chose to name the two other man-made hills that will accompany the Vulcan Plateau this way. Typically I didn't write down the blog post explaining these reasons at the time and I've since forgot the reasoning but there'll be an update on the man-made hill soon.

Last up the two tier foamcard has been covered. The template will be vague here. As you can see the diagonal cuts for the upright pieces had to be widened at the ends to accommodate the reinforcement on the uprights. This was quite difficult to measure for the trapezium, and it turned out they were all different sizes. So I'll put in a max size trapezoid and you'll just have to trim it down. I'd also used the jewels from some small jewel brads in the corners, they were just too big though and I cut them off, with some PVA residue left in place but that could me some metal corrosion. I replaced them with smaller rivets from card 'chads' made with my late Grandfather's ancient hole punch, it's still so handy.

More filler, less killer in my next update me-thinks

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Terrain is everything - Heads-up

The other day I brought the joys of a site called Artificial Owl to your collective consciousnesses and I hope you got some fantastic inspiration from those pictures. Maybe you also managed to guess one of my new projects, that 'To Do List' keeps getting bigger instead of smaller! I keep asking myself why I'm adding another piece of terrain to that list when I have plenty already and we're not even playing with it. Not to mention unfinished terrain quite a few people would like to see done, Cathedral Tower anyone? But I think I answered the big question in the last post:
"I could see something unique and inspired, a cool looking terrain piece, a viable gaming structure, a creative challenge and something that's core material would be relatively cheap"
and if you recall the thing I enjoy most about 'the hobby' is the terrain building so I guess it's moot point given the focus of my passion. Anyway, were my subtle clues to my project too subtle or where they hidden sneakily in plain sight?

I give you President Ferdinand Marcos:

Can you see why I got so excited? It's a ruined building, but not a building. Now, once you add in a polystyrene head [£6.98 including postage from ebay] you have the start of a really cool terrain piece. So, gues what my brother got me for Christmas [after I told him to].

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't an easy task and there's no STC I can prepare for it [or can I?]. The head is solid Polystyrene so I'm unsure about how to go about carving it inside. I've thought about using it to attempt some paper-mache effect but then how do I take the 'cladding off' and fill in the internal structure? There's a lot to resolve but this baby is 14" tall and once embedded into a hillside will make a really cool piece of terrain with at least three storeys to it.The other big question is do I go Ferron Rockcrete [which I don't want to do], sandstone, so it looks cool jutting out of a Ferron hillside, or alternatively go Statue of Liberty on it and Copper plate the thing in wonderfully weathered panels, hmm...

Although you could always go the complete line of sight blocker and go all Prometheus on it? It seems big heads are 'on trend'.

It's another long-term project so we'll see how it goes. I'm sure I'll have a moment of intense activity only for it to cool off and be left half-finished. Meanhwhile, the wife has noticed I have more terrain than we can ever field, not that we've played a game in a good while and she's beginning to question why? She mentioned selling stuff, to which I pointed out the issues with that and my reluctance to part with anything I've actually 'created'

Sunday 8 January 2012

Terrain is everything - modular plug

Here's a quick update on something of nothing. Originally my modular plug and socket was developed for the Vent Tower, allowing me to swap the roof section for an extra storey with the roof slotting into another socket. The socket concept was further expanded in the man-made hill [or this one] and now with my my DoW Plasma Generator I'm looking to fill that socket so you can make modular terrain pieces that you can fit together to allow for a dynamic and versatile collection of terrain pieces.

However, you may be a budding terrain hobbyist who does not wish to create a man-made hill or a Vent Tower to take advantage of a modular socket so I put together a simple base. Of course you need not make the DoW Plasma Generator with a plug on the base but I think it's nice to have the options.

So I give you a standard CD, with a sheet of foam card cut to fit and bevelled at a 45° angle. A standard Imperial socket is 47mm square, which as we know is down to the fact the Emperor's favorite number was 47. This square is removed and sheets of mounting card are used to edge the hole. In this instance I have a camera shutter/stargate-esque hatchway to the bowels of Ferron Proxima but you could use the alternative zig-zag hatch on the man-made hill. You must ensure the card isn't too thick or the plug will not align perfectly and the Plasma Generator will stand proud of the socket. As you can see I made this mistake, just a bit on mine. Enjoy the sneak peak of the Plasma Generator in it's undercoat finery, more info to follow on it's progress.

Friday 6 January 2012

Terrain is everything - Dawn of War Plasma Generator part 3.

Here's an update just to add the finishing touches to the generator vents. As you can see mounting card was also used on the lower parts, with the two holes punched in and on the bit with the vents on. It was this second bit that I think the use of mounting card was a bit much as visually it takes away the horizontal line of the edge of the generator and instead continues the slope, which isn't the correct profile, but never mind. Cereal box card may have been a better choice here...

OK, the big question is the vents themselves. Well, my wife does a bit of card making and she has a whole slew of 'jewel brads' as shown below:

A simple operation to remove the jewel and a snip of the long brad, which together with the two short clasps holding the jewel in place can be folded back to leave you with this:

Some aluminium car body repair mesh was snipped with nail clippers to the right size, a delicate job but worth it as granny grating would be too big a mesh. This was just PVA glued in place. Of course I cocked up and snipped the four corner pieces of three of my eight Vents, which you might just be able to make out below. It's an alternative 'clean' look if you wish but I think the PVA will hold the cornered pieces in place better and more detail is more detail, best not to remove it.

Next up some rivets, in the corners of the side trapeziums and a couple of Drop Ship Aquilas, if only I had four...