Personally and hobbywise, it’s not been a terrible year, although it’s been a bit low on the number of blog posts, overall. But for the rest… yeesh. Good bye and good riddance, 2021!
With the surge in Omicron cases locally we’ve stopped in-person gaming again, out of an abundance of caution. We will probably resume sometime in January, but it’ll be back to webcam Gaslands for a bit in the first couple weeks of 2022.
A quick count shows 22 blog entries here in 2021, far more in the first half of the year than as the year wore on. Not bad, but I would like to get a bit more momentum going through 2022!
To that end, I’ve joined the PaintSlam community and their Discord channel; like a lot of wargaming social media it’s heavily GW-focussed but by no means exclusive to GW in any way. I’m “Vemundr” on most Discord channels, due to having started on Discord for Society for Creative Anachronism reasons, so if you’re on the PaintSlam Discord discussion group feel free to say hi!
Here’s to an improved 2022 for everyone over 2021! Stay safe, get your booster when you can, and try to get some gaming in!
I’ve been on a kick of assembling and basing figures in batches the last little while, and also (as you can tell) not been doing much of the ol’ blogging this year… Anyway, right in the middle of assembling a couple of dozen Toadstool Brownies from the big Fenris Miniatures Toadstool Kickstarter earlier this year, the loot from the Fenris KS after that, the Wyrdworld one with all sorts of cool anthropomorphized animal figures showed up!
I decided that I needed to base and assemble Brutolph, the Giant Elk right away, because it is a truly spectacular figure.
That’s a 40mm circular base our big deer is on, with his arms, spear and antlers just dry fitted for now until all the Milliput on his base is properly cured.
To the top of his antlers he’s just shy of 3″ tall, and that spear is longer than that!
I’ll get Brutolph’s arms and antlers properly installed over the next few days and then he and the whole village of Toadstool Brownies will be off for priming. I’m not actually sure how I’ll be painting him up, but might go slightly weird as I intend to use the figure as a forest god/spirit of the deep forest type!
Cement Saul is a fairly new YouTube channel that has been doing a bunch of interesting Gaslands-related videos. I especially like the video on Weathering with Coloured Pencils and Pigments. Pigments (pastel chalk dust, or similar) are familiar to me and I’ve used them in the past, but weathering with actual coloured pencils hadn’t occured to me and I’m going to have to try that out! It’s part of a series on painting, stencilling, detailing, and weathering cars that’s well done, approachable, and worth your time.
Light Industries is a Canadian outfit that do various decals including custom work; I always like to find Canadian sources for things when I can!
Misc Minis do various decals as well, including tiny decals suitable for 1/1200 vessels or aircraft. I contacted him back in January 2021 about getting a little sheet of his smallest decals, got it in just a few weeks for much less money than I was expecting, and will do a proper review of them sometime soon!
I’ve always know that hanging paint brushes bristles down to dry was better for them, but never bothered doing anything about it. Recently my selection of brushes has expended as I’m using cheap makeup brushes for drybrushing and, right at the other end of the brush quality spectrum, my wife spoiled me at Christmas with a trio of gorgeous W&N Series 7 brushes, the seriously expensive ones.
My painting bench is an old Ikea modular shelving unit, and I realized I could add a brush rack to the underside of one of the shelves just off my actual painting area, where it would be out of the way but close at hand for convenience.
Even better, I realized with a few seconds of experimenting that I could make a functional brush rack from scrap foam and recycled cardboard! The foam happens to be sheets from Infinity box sets, about 4″ by 6″ or so; I took one sheet of that, cut it in half lengthwise, and then cut a series of slits about an inch apart and maybe an inch and a half deep.
I hot glued the foam to scrap cardboard from the recycling bin, then hot glued the whole assembly into place on the underside of the shelf just on the left hand edge of my painting bench. If I ever decide to replace it or move it, the hot glue can be popped off the wood of the shelf fairly easily.
The slit foam will even hold the wide handles of the cheap makeup brushes I’ve started using recently for drybrushing and the 2.5″ housepainting brush I use on big scenery projects. Given it cost me exactly nothing to make, took just a couple of minutes, and uses a spot on my hobby bench that was previously empty space, I’m very pleased with this little project!
Up next was the “GATE” lettering and giant numbers for the three numbered gates.
I cut the giant numbers from sheet styrene and mounted them on strips of scrap styrene. The GATE lettering was 3d printed as separate letters and then mounted on very thin square section styrene strip. To make that easy I taped long pieces of the styrene strip down to my cutting mat, glued the letters down, then once the glue had cured cut each word out.
Everything got spray primed grey and then basecoated the same blotchy rust I’d used on the overhead gantry and elsewhere. I stippled and drybrushed everything with a couple of different shades of off-white (Reaper Linen White and Leather White, primarily) before a final drybrush of Reaper Pure White.
After that it was back to the weathering, primarily drybrushing with a big soft makeup brush. I only just picked one of these up, a super cheap dollar store special, and it really is the bomb for drybrushing! I used a fairly random selection of browns, reds, tans, and off-whites for this, going back and forth over all the towers and the gantry as well.
While adding the lettering I had finally primed, painted, and installed the roof on the announcer/race official cab on the lefthand start gate tower. I thought about installing mesh on the windows but decided to leave them open for now; I might go back in and add some additional protection for the folks who wave the chequered flags but the current form will do for now!
Final touches and some finished shots soon as this project finally wraps up and might actually hit the table sometime soon!
When we last saw our gates they were basecoated but stalled due to missing 3d printed parts. Those arrived, thanks to my brother’s 3d printer, and I was able to move on with the project.
I didn’t want to start the overhead gantry on the Start/Finish gate until I had the 3d printed “Esquimalt Thunderdome” sign in hand, but once I had that the basic construction went together quickly.
The three openwork girders have been in my stash for decades and the packaging is long gone, but they’re from Plastruct – possibly these ones, which seem to be about the right size. You can find all the similar openwork web girders from Plastruct by searching their site for “web”.
The girders are only six inches long, so I knew I’d need to extend the gantry with other materials as the Gaslands rules call for gates the same width as a Long Straight movement template, which is roughly 7 inches long, and Corey’s Thunderdome racetrack dirt track is roughly 8 inches wide. Fully finished, this gantry is almost 10 inches long, and slots into the roof structure of the two vertical gate towers to hold everything together.
The rest of the gantry was a random scatter of styrene shapes from the stash – there’s some flat C-channel, different T- and H-girder bits, and lots of square or rectangular cross section stuff. It had to both look structurally sound and actually have a certain amount of structural integrity, but the beauty of post-apoc engineering is that it still looks great if you bodge extra bits on to fix earlier problems!
After grey primer I covered the whole thing in a blotchy rust coat using a couple of different shades of browns, reds, and oranges.
After the rust coat I did a blotchy coat of white, partly drybrushed and partly stippled into place. This came out far better than I’d hoped, and really looks like white paint that’s flaking off as the metal under it rusts and weathers.
The speaker cabinets and loudspeaker horns were 3d printed from STLs on Thingiverse, both from a very nice collection of Gaslands parts. The speaker cabinets were printed in two different sizes, which added some visual interest.
The speakers got painted a blotchy off-black (Reaper Pure Black with a dot of one of their greys mixed in) and the loudspeakers got one of the many tan off-whites in my collection, I can’t remember which one.
The clutter of speakers and loudspeakers really makes this piece pop, it’s exactly the visual clutter I’d pictured in my head when first thinking these designs up!
I’d like to add some light fixtures, but it seems nobody makes 20mm 3d printable floodlight fixtures, at least not that I can find, and I’d want enough of them that scratchbuilding isn’t really an option unless I can come up with a really simple design…
Next up, painting and installing the big “GATE” signs and numbers on the rest of the gates, and loads more weathering. So much weathering…
A scattering of links for our first Links of Interest of 2021!
More possible sources of small scale scenery are always welcome, and over on Wargaming3d Wozname has started a new line of 3d printable STL files for 1/1200 scenery, starting with a few entire islands and some castles. Really neat to see people doing entire pieces in these tiny scales that would be basically impossible to do in any larger scale!
On the small scale naval gaming theme, the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers has a couple of articles on small boat actions in the Mediterranean in WW2, with one article on mostly focusing on British vs Axis and the second spotlighting American PT boats. They’re framed around Cruel Seas but trivially easy to adapt to other rule sets.
Reaper Minis hosted a Virtual Reaper Con last weekend, and while I’d initially signed up for four classes on various painting topics, the world conspired to only allow me to attend one class, a fantastic discussion of “Additives, Mediums, and Texture Pastes – Oh My!” by Rhonda “Wren” Bender, talking about matt and gloss mediums, flow aids, drying extenders, glaze medium, texture pastes, and various other things as they apply to miniature painting. The class handout is available at the link above, the session was recorded and will eventually show up on Reaper’s YouTube channel, and Rhonda has a great website of her own over at Bird With A Brush that’s well worth checking out.
Incidentally, the anchor chain stock photo being used as a header for these Links of Interest posts is by CastleLight from Pixabay.
Finished up my first three cars for Gaslands over the weekend, the two Barracudas and an Impala last seen in grey primer a little while ago.
Car One: Vlad the Impala
The big red and black car is an Impala, so naturally it has to be called Vlad in the long tradition of ancient dumb car jokes. The bulldozer blade ram plate, exhaust pipes, ring mount gunner, and rear slab spoiler are all off the North Star accessories sprue; the bar armour on the windows is thin styrene plastic strip. I might yet freehand the car’s name on the top of the spoiler, but it’ll thunder around the track quite handsomely without it for now.
Car Two: the blue Barracuda
This one seems to have accidentally turned into a Spaff Maureen landsplatter or whatever they’re called, never having played any 40K myself. It’ll be nice and clear which direction to point toward the finish line, anyway! Sheet armour over the windows is sheet styrene scrap; the air scoop, gun, and minedropper are North Star accessories.
Car Three: The Purple People Eater (Barracuda)
The second Barracuda is wrapped up in some extra bar armour with a pair of machine guns bolted to the hood. Guns again from North Star, bar armour bits from scrap styrene. Over the purple paint it has neon green skulls on the trunk and both doors, with some flames alongside the gun on the hood.
A Few Extra Shots
Just a few extra beauty shots for fun!
My next project is going to be a set of gates for Gaslands race events; I’ve got a big stash of random plastic tubing, girders, and such that’ll make three or four gates to lay out race courses.
We’ve had a couple more Gaslands-by-webcam sessions since Corey wrote up his how-to and that’s inspired me to finally get the first few cars built up properly.
I’d primed and painted these cars months ago and they probably even appear in a few of our game photos, but I’d rushed the painting so the primer was scratching off far too easily, and I really hadn’t done much conversion.
I dropped the metal car bodies back in Simple Green to reset them to bare metal, then set about properly converting them into post-apoc Gaslands armed cars! Some time ago we’d done a group order to North Star for a bunch of their Instruments of Carnage plastic accessory sprues and those plus bits of plasticard from my parts box has gotten me three armed, up-armoured cars, all Gaslands Refuelled legal designs.
The first and largest of the three cars is Vlad the Impala, with a turreted MG or HMG, ram plate salvaged from a bulldozer blade, huge exhaust stacks coming directly off the engine block, and “spoiler” on the back hacked from a piece of sheet metal. The windows also got barred off with plastic strips.
The two Barracudas are slightly smaller. One of them got an air scoop on the hood, a single HMG mounted alongside, sheet metal on the windows, and a dropped weapon (usually mines) off the back. Barracuda 2 got metal bar armour over the windows and reinforcing the front and back of the car, and a pair of MGs or HMGs on the hood.
I’m pretty sure that one reason I had trouble getting paint to stick to the metal toy car bodies the first time I tried painting these cars was because I rushed off to paint before the primer coat had properly cured, so I’m going to put this trio aside for a couple of days to give the primer a chance to really properly dry and cure.
I haven’t actually finalized a paint scheme for any of them, although I suspect Vlad the Impala will wind up red and black, with one of the Barracudas mostly purple and the other blue, just because. There are driver figures on the North Star sprues, but with all the window armour none of the driver seats are particularly visible, so I think I’ll save them for other projects with more visible crew positions.
Given that our current COVID restrictions are running until at least mid-February at this point, I am probably going to finish all three of these and then drop them off at Corey’s place, along with the jumps and other terrain I finished late last year so they can appear in our webcam games as lockdown drags on!
I’ve talked up Rain City Hobbies on this blog before, but only for their very nice grass and flower tufts. They also do a huge range of resin bases, but because I rarely use elaborate complex bases they’ve not interested me much.
I do own a few of their resin bases, however, picked up from the “production seconds by weight” bin sold by Rain City at gaming conventions. (remember gaming conventions from the Before Times? I miss them…)
Needing a distraction from current events I decided to paint up the biggest of these, an elaborate ruined temple base nearly the size of a CD, their Huge Ruined Sanctuary insert. 120mm (~4 and a quarter inches, roughly) across, the production second one I have has nearly perfect molding of all the details, but it warped before the resin had fully cured so won’t lie flat.
I tried out a bunch of different stone painting techniques on this base and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The three big chunks of shattered statue were based in light tan, then progressively highlighted with whiter and whiter paints well diluted with glaze medium, which really got a translucent polished stone effect going.
The green arc and big green fragment were basecoated fairly dark green, then given marble-like veins with brighter greens, again well mixed with glaze medium. They got a good coat of gloss varnish, and then some highlighting with almost pure white.
The flagstones got basecoated with four or five off-white/tan shades, washed with GW Sepia and Earthshade washes, then highlighted with light tan and off-white. The tree roots are various shades of reddish brown.
Because of the warp across the width, I’ll probably base this onto a larger piece of thin plastic, then use putty and then foliage to merge the lifted corners back into the base, making this look like a fragment that has been largely swallowed by forest or jungle.
I’ve also got a few more random bases I might finish up, and those three tan pieces to the right in both photos above are the Large Broken Statuary Base Accessories that I will be using either together with the big base or on their own as scenery elements. More on them in some future post when I get them finished.
Stay safe, stay home, try to get something creative done, mask up when required out in public, and better days (actual gaming conventions!) shall come again.