The Workbench This Week, 29 May 2014

Quick overhead snapshot of the painting bench recently. As you might have guessed from recent posts, I’ve been in a “clear the decks” sort of mood, finally finishing off a number of smallish projects that have sat around ignored and dusty for too long, some of them over a year…

The workbench this week. Lots of stuff going on, see text for details!

Clockwise from the top left we have (deep breath…) a batch of nine Pulp Figures thugs, two-bit crooks and menacing bystanders; a quartet of Baby Crocs for fantasy football from Impact Miniatures; a lady in a blue dress obviously being held captive by a gang of terrifying savages (Pulp Figures again); three twisted and disturbing stone monoliths intended as markers for a friend’s Chaos team in Blood Bowl (previously); Phantom Ace, Pulp Girl and little Lillie Poots from Statuesque Miniatures; some extra bases I whipped up with Milliput and pennies, one of which has an unprimed cobra in a basket on it from Pulp Figures…

Central to the whole assembly in their hospital-green robes, we have six Frothing Lunatics from Statuesque. (previously…)

Across the foreground from bottom right, we have a really, really massive Warg from Reaper Miniatures, being painted up as a quasi-supernatural Terror to inflict on people in games of Pulp Alley; a dino skull and some bones being done up as Blood Bowl markers for my Lizardman/Crocodilian team; the previously-mentioned finally completed pulp-era luggage and the Kali bronze; a quartet of light deck guns from Pulp Figures suitable to arm all manner of vessel or vehicle; three more Blood Bowl markers made of Renedra plastic barrels intended for my brother’s Scotling team.

Finally, last but not least, clipped into the two wooden clothspins (useful things to keep around a hobby bench!) there’s a pair of spiked footballs from Impact Miniatures. Blood Bowl again, obviously.

This assembly is only slightly tarted up and organized for the photo, everything here really is in progress or was recently finished and it really has been getting that crowded on my painting bench the last while. It’ll be satisfying to get more stuff completely finished, into storage and more importantly, onto the table and into use!

Lost Luggage Turns Up!

More months ago than I care to admit, I bought some really neat pulp-era 28mm luggage in resin from Slug Industries. I prepped and primed the first batch of the stuff, got some paint on it, then it sat around the edges of my painting bench for the next… thirteen months or so until just this week I finally finished it, as part of a badly-needed get stuff off the bench session!

Pulp luggage! Click for larger, as usual.

Several of the smaller pieces I’ve based together; the bases are pennies with a thin smear of Milliput on them that I’ve roughly sculpted into flagstones or cobbles. The larger trunks I’ve left as-is; they’re big enough not to be particularly fussy scenery pieces. Scale provided by a pair of Pulp Figures 28mm reporters in the above photo; the grid on the cutting matt is 1/4″.

There’s also some fun stuff in the background, but more on that soon enough!

I’ve got another two full sets of this luggage in my bin o’ bits, having ordered three sets from Phil last March. I might have to pull another set out sometime soon and get started on it… and hopefully it’ll take me less than thirteen months to finish the next batch…

Links of Interest, 23 April 2014

Hope everyone had a satisfactory Easter holiday, however you celebrate it. It’s a cheap chocolate and dinner with family and friends holiday for me, and I had a good weekend on both fronts, so that was all good.

Speaking of Easter, the always-fascinating Naval & Military Books is continuing their Easter Sale; 20% off across the board, even on stuff already discounted. I got some good stuff from them last year, will be skipping it this year, but their catalogs are always worth a look.

Similarly, those well-known sellers of excellent rules, Too Fat Lardies, are having a 15% off sale on their new WW2 rules, Chain of Command. I’m not a WW2 gamer, but the system comes highly recommended and and some point I wouldn’t mind picking it up to maybe do some Russian Civil War-flavoured modifications to it!

Finally, I’ve got a very small Zazzle store wherein the discerning gamer can purchase Keep Calm & Carry Dice t-shirts and posters; this grew out of a joke that made the rounds at our local gaming group a couple of years ago and kind of turned into it’s own thing! Help support this website and my gaming habit, buy yourself a Carry Dice t-shirt now!

The Free City Sourcebook

Not a roleplaying book, although it sounds like it, and an RPG set in Danzig could be pretty cool, actually, now that I think about it, but the Free City Sourcebook is just-launched site collecting primary source material on that very odd interwar phenomenon, the Free City of Danzig.

Created by the various post-war treaties and governed by League of Nations mandate, the basic theory behind the Free City of Danzig (which is now the Polish city of Gdansk, and the site where the first shots of World War Two were fired) was that because neither Germany nor Poland would let the other rule this important port city on the Baltic, neither of them would. Like most compromises this pleased neither side at all and was constantly undercut by both the German and Polish governments (and by the general weakness of the League of Nations), but the basic theory had some sense behind it.

I haven’t looked at the Free City Sourcebook in massive detail, but there’s a good basic timeline and it looks like an increasing number of links to primary sources, some through things like Google News, some on other third party sites and a number hosted right on the Sourcebook’s own site. It’s always nice to find more people who don’t treat the Interwar Period as some oddball interruption to the two World Wars but as a proper, strange and fascinating historical period in it’s own right. I’ll be following the Sourcebook’s progress with great interest!

(hat tip to the always-fascinating Metafilter, which had a short article on the Free City Sourcebook a few days ago.)

The Workbench This Week, 8 April 2014

So I wound up missing Trumpeter Salute over in Vancouver not because work had shipped me out of town (which I was expecting, except the project is delayed) but more or less because I couldn’t get organized to get myself over there, didn’t have the energy to plan or prep a game to run there, and really, for no particularly good reason at all. The Vancouver gaming crew includes a lot of folks I count as good friends who I really only see at Trumpeter Salute, most years I run something and have a blast doing it, and Vancouver is usually a fun city to spend a few days in, but I just had no enthusiasm this year, even with friends in the city encouraging me to come. I’ve seen some photos and read some reports of what looks like another good year at TS, so here’s to next year and me being in a more conducive mental state around this time of year!

Not apple juice… Amazons in Pine-Sol for paint stripping. Click for larger, as usual.

So what am I up to, if not Trumpeter? Finally buying Pine-Sol to strip the botched paint job off my Impact Miniatures Amazon BB team, mostly, and basing a few of the Statuesque lunatics I mentioned last post.

The Amazons suffered from a screwed-up primer job, and then I threw paint over that to get them onto the table before I left for the February work trip. Some combination of a really old, nearly empty spraycan and -5 C temps on the day I spray primered them left most of them with a sandpaper-like primer coat, pebbly where it should have been smooth. The Pine-Sol should take all of that off and let me reprime them with new paint in better weather!

The Amazons will stay in their bottle for 48hrs or so, then come out for a scrubbing with an old toothbrush, and hopefully I’ll be able to reprime them this coming weekend.

Blood Bowl Markers

Not having the time or energy right now for larger projects, I’ve been bashing away at a few sets of markers for Blood Bowl teams, both my own and those of some of the folks I game with.

For BB, you need a way to mark several things: the score, each team’s available re-rolls, and the turn, possibly twice as there’s two halves to each game. My BB tracking scenery has a magnetized scoreboard, so I’ll only need three markers – re-roll, First Half turns, Second Half turns – but some setups will also need a fourth marker for the score, so I’ll eventually do sets of four markers for each team.

Various in-progress markers for Blood Bowl. See text for details, and click for larger.

For my Sarcos crocodile team (Lizardmen, in BB terms) I’ve hacked up a cheap plastic dinosaur skeleton I was given at Trumpeter Salute a couple years ago. Various leg bones cut free and propped up for most of the markers, and the dino skull on a wooden tripod lashed together, over on the left of the photo above. They’ll also serve for the “Swampling” team I mentioned last post – a proxy-Halfling team using Baby Crocs. All three are on spare 25mm slottabases.

For Corey’s Scotlings (Halflings in kilts waving cabers around!) I used a sprue bunch of Rendera’s plastic barrels on spare bases for quick, easy markers. Each marker has a different arrangement of barrels on 25mm bases.

The Milliput things on the right are Chaos obelisks for Sean’s new Chaos team – stone twisted into disturbing shapes by raw, chaotic magic, or similar. The leftmost one was the first, and actually started with me messing with leftover Milliput last week at the end of an evening. I started twisting it around gently after smoothing a lump over an older, hardened lump of putty, and the resulting shape was too cool not to keep playing with! The middle obelisk still needs more putty around the base to finish it, and the rightmost one is still just a few lumps of leftover putty mashed together and will need a good bit more work to finish. Again, these will go onto spare 25mm slottabases.

My Amazon team will eventually get a set of worn stone plinths, made of pink styrofoam and Milliput, but I confess I haven’t start those markers yet and don’t even have a really good motif in mind for them… might start looking at Mayan or other Central American designs for inspiration there, as the team is named the Jaguars and the Impact Miniatures Blitzers for the team have cat-skin heads and cloaks.

Lizards & Lunatics

Had two small orders come in last week. I have been saving money for an epic bike vacation to Europe in a few months (Vienna, Austria to Nantes, France over six weeks!) and not ordering much new stuff for wargaming the last few months, which is one of several reasons it’s been quiet around here. Nevertheless, some new stuff comes in every so often!

The first order was from Impact Miniatures, all Blood Bowl/fantasy football related stuff. A set of three block dice, two of their football markers, and eight more Baby Crocs – Skinks, basically, for their Sarcos Crocodile team, which I bought last year.

The footballs are neat. I haven’t confirmed with Impact, but I’m pretty sure they’re 3D-printed – they’re a slightly flexible resin-like stuff, with a large spike-adorned football and a ring/loop so you can hang the football of a figure’s arm or around their neck or shoulder when they’re carrying the ball. Imagine the sort of cheap charm ring you get in Christmas crackers, except in white resin and with a spiked football instead of a fake jewel. It’s a great idea for Blood Bowl or other fantasy football games and a much easier way to show which figure has the ball than the freestanding individual balls, which can be awkward to balance on some figure bases.

I already have eight Baby Crocs, so why double the local population? So I can proxy Baby Crocs as Halflings and field a BB team of Croclings, mostly! I’ve heard that Halflings are a challenging team to use and don’t expect them to win much, but what the heck, they’ll be entertaining. Corey also has a team of Impact’s Scotlings (Halfings in kilts with cabers) so a Scotling-vs-Crocling matchup should be entertaining.

I’ll also be using a few of the extra Baby Crocs as auxiliary figures for my existing Sarcos team. Cheer-crocs with greenstuff pompoms added to their hands, maybe an apothecary-croc with a barrel of go-juice to get injured players back on the pitch, that sort of thing – the fun, oddball sideline figures that round out a BB team.

Oh, and for the Treemen on the Croclings team, I’ll probably pick up a pair of these Reaper Bones Spirit of the Forest figures and convert them a bit as swamp-flavoured Treemen. Like the Impact Trollcast resin figures, the Reaper Bones plastic resin figures are a great thing, nice figures in easy-to-convert material for a very good price!

The other order is from Statuesque Miniatures in the UK, and as oddball as the Impact order was, this order was definitely crazier. Crazed, in fact, and lunatic, as it included six Frothing Loonies, a small girl, and a pulp hero & heroine! All part of a special introductory bundle deal Statuesque had put on back in the first week of March.

Lunatics & Heroes. 28mm figures from Statuesque. Head sprues for the lunatics at the bottom, headless lunatic bodies, then (L to R at top) Lillie, Pulp Girl & Phantom Ace. Click for larger, as always.

The six loonies have three different bodies and a sprue of six heads. Because I got two packs of three figures each, I have two of each body and two full sprues of heads, so I have half a dozen spare lunatic heads now – fodder for converting other figures, perhaps! The bodies are in hospital robes (yes, they’re all partially open at the back, in proper hospital robe style…) and have shackles on their wrists. The heads look suitably lunatic, and most have obvious scars across their shaved heads where diabolical, insanity-causing surgery was undoubtedly been performed by mad doctors!

The small girl is Lillie Poots, who wanders the world curious and unafraid, her path lit by the large lantern she holds up in one hand.

The pulp hero is Phantom Ace, a large man in flying leathers, helmet and goggles, with a pair of automatic pistols, one in each hand. Pulp Girl, his crimefighting companion, is a slender teenage girl with some sort of mystical or weird-science apparatus on one wrist and hand.

All the Statuesque figures are very cleanly sculpted and beautifully cast, with hardly a mold line or casting vent mark to be seen. The adult figures are bulky 28mm, sized to go with Pulp Figures, Copplestone and other common pulp lines. The only downside to them is they’re all designed to fit on slottabases, which I strongly dislike – my Blood Bowl teams are the only figures I own that I mount on slottas. I’ll be snipping the mounting bars off all of these figures and putting them on pennies or other flat bases to match my existing pulp collection. That aside, they’re lovely figures and I’ll be keeping an eye on Statuesque in the future as they expand their pulp ranges – I believe they’re going to be adding asylum staff and other asylum denizens at some point.