Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gothic Ruins 3 (Finished!!)

So I finally finished the Gothic Ruins building.  It took me a little longer than anticipated due to the fact that I started adding details and it was really my first time painting balsa wood, so I wanted to get a good feel for it.  Plus, I decided to spread the work out and say "It gets done when it gets done.  Its not a race, its a hobby".  So anyhew, this post is going to be a bit more picture heavy than normal.  Without any further delay... the finished Gothic Ruins.

So the first two pictures are just the overview of the ruins themselves.  After all was said in done, the widths are 1' by 1' and its just under 7" tall.

 Here are some close up shots of some of the details.  After I had primed and painted it, it looked a little bland.  I wanted this piece of terrain to be used in multiple skirmish games (LOTR:SBG and Mordheim mostly), and after viewing some of the terrain people other people had done for they're Mordheim games, I've noticed its the little details that really pop out.  Since Mordheim is the "City of Damned" after getting hit with a comet, the terrain needs to have that "hint of death" to it.  So, I added a few skulls here and there and a few broken swords, axes, and war hammers to give it more character.  I think these little details definitely add alot to the piece.

After I had done the bulk of the work, I was looking at the piece and I wondered "How would guys be able to get up to the second level and move from one side of the building to the other.  I have a lot of balsa wood laying around from one of my scratch built buildings I've yet to complete still, so I decided to make a little catwalk.  After cutting it out and gluing it together, I cut the sharp edges and scored it with my knife to give it a more "worn" look.  After doing that, I remember looking at other project involving balsa wood being used for planking and I really liked the idea of putting something like nails protruding from where the boards were hammered together.  I've seen where people just put a blob of green stuff, then painting it silver and calling it a day, but I wanted a more "authentic" look to it.  I decided to take a paperclip (2 to be exact) and shoved them thru the two pieces of wood then snipping it like 2mm above where it was sticking out of the wood.  I really liked this effect, and wanted to give it a paint job that really made the wood stand out, opting for dark warm brown and tan tones.

Now the second problem I faced was how the hell were guys going to get up to the second levels?  I toyed with idea of carving a ladder out of balsa, but wanted something a little different plus I want the bottom to feel like a bigger open space for battle.  I opted to have a rope hastily tied to one of the cut off beams.  Problem was is I didn't have any authentic looking rope material to use.  I had some lightweight gauge wire laying around, so I cut 5 pieces of the same length, twisted them together, used a ton of superglue to fix it to the bottom of the beam (out of sight), and let it cure overnight.  After it cured, I painted where the glob of superglue was the same color as the plank, wrapped the wire around the plank, primed it black, and painted it mid to light tone tan colors.  I think both the catwalk and the rope turned out fantastic.

Now here is a few shots of some minis on it to give a sense of the scale.

Aragorn fights a vicious morannon orc on the the catwalk while the battle is joined below by a small band of dwarf rangers

The dwaves engage the menacing foes

The struggle on the catwalk continues

nevermind the half painted Goblin King in the background, hes just chilling while he waits for more paint

Overall, this project was alot of fun and now I think I'm ready to tackle my scratch built Mordheim building I started 6 months ago but lost interest 30% into it.  Its been sitting on my shelf in my living room as a reminder that I still have a lot of work to do on it.  I eventually want to have a full 4' x 4' ruined city board to play Mordheim on.  I also think it can dual purpose for a game of LOTR:SBG since I'm a big fan of lots of terrain being on the board for any table top wargame.  Part of the reason I love this hobby is creating awesome looking terrain which is a whole different animal than painting miniatures, with different styles and techniques.  We'll see where we go from here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gothic Ruins 2

So I started making the base for the set of gothic ruins I painted up last night.  I'm running out of hardboard, so I'm probably going to have to pick some up after the next set of terrain items I make.  Instead of using 4mm thick plasticard to make the tiles, I just used some heavy cardstock, more specifically remnants from the box of a 12 pack of coke cans.

I actually just ended up super gluing them to the cardboard after I traced where the building was going to sit.  If I was to do this with plasticard, I would still be cutting them out and carving them.  I'm interested in seeing how this effect works.

To add some more detail to the base, I glued plumbers sand around the edges, and added pieces of old sprue to give the building a more dilapidated look.  I also glued some bit of sand, course basing material, and sprue to the tiles themselves to add a bit more texture to it.

 It probably doesn't look like much right now, but after it gets painted, I think it'll turn it pretty good.  I'm going to let it dry overnight since I used PVA glue for most of the sand.  Hopefully I'll start painting it up tomorrow.  In the meantime, I'll probably spend the rest of the night working on my Men of Minas Tirith.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gothic Ruins

So last night I was in Unique Gifts and Games grabbing some supplies like paint, paintbrushes, latest White Dwarf, ect.  They have a pretty good selection of most hobby related stuff, plus I love the fact that they have 3rd party terrain like Gale Force 9 stuff, and random companies the average gamer has never heard of.  They have this end-cap full of odds and ends of terrain stuff, and I found this one product from pegasus hobbies.

I found this little jewel which I've seen online before but never really gave much thought about picking it up.  For a little over $20, I though "Hey, why not?".  So in the end, I ended up buying this box set.

After cracking it open, it definitely looked like it would be a fun little weekend project.  The directions were pretty bad and generalized.  As with most terrain, the mold line had to be cleaned up and a few of the pieces weren't the correct ones (like they added too many pillars with slots and not enough pillars with no slots).  So I ended up having to do a bit of work to make it look good.

As you can see, there were tons of gaps and I had you use a bit of green stuff to make it look decent.  I think I spent almost 3 hours filling gaps and seams.  I also added extra green stuff to the 2nd floor platforms along with some fine sand to give it more texture.  I also put sand on on the top of the structures and on some of the broken pillars.

I probably should of spray painted it instead of just basing it black, but unfortunately, its cold and wet outside and that tends to not work too well.  So I based it in black paint, and dry brushed it grey colors.  Here is how it turned out.

All in all, I think it turned out pretty good.  I'm probably going to base it tomorrow with tiles and all.  I also want to add some balsa wood to it to add a walkway from one piece to the other and a ramp from the ground level to one of the platforms.  I think this will work pretty well with both LOTR:SBG and one of the dilapidated buildings for Mordheim.

My final verdict, I'm going to give this product a B.  It was fun to paint, the amount of green stuff to fill the gaps was a bit much, the directions were crap, and the mismatched pieces that came with the set was a bit absurd.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gondor Pt 2

So I was pretty busy over the weekend.  I played a few games over at the Games Workshop Prairie Ridge (2 to be exact).

One of the games was 2 vs 2, 1200 points vs 1200 points on a 4x4 table.  I brought out my Isengard (Mauher with 12 uruk-hai scouts w/shields, 8 uruk-hai with 4 uruk-hai beserkers, and 11 orcs with an Isengard Troll) for that game and I teamed up with some dude rocking Morannon Orcs with a troll chieftain and a two contingencies of Goblin Town goblins with the Goblin King being proxied as a second troll chieftain (I know, a 40mm base being subed as a 60mm base, but the other guys were cool with it, so I'm not complaining).  Our opponents consisted of part of the white council (Gandolf, Radagast, and Sauraman oddly enough) with 12 warriors of the dead (king included), white knight with 5 (or 6) rangers, 6 knights of Minas Tirith with Aragorn (king version) mounted.

Sadly, the only miniatures that were painted were mine, along with the army of the dead (not based) and the 3 wizards (also not based).  Here are a few snapshots I took mid-game.

Gandolf Surrounded after I cut thru the Knights of Minas Tirith.  It literally took 3 turns to kill him though

The east side of the board right when the Army of the Dead line started to collapse.

The board was stacked on my side (west) and my teammate placed his Morannon unit way too far east during setup.

It was a fun game and its been a few weeks since I played, so it was refreshing to play against some new people.  We ended up over running them in the end, resulting in both Gandolf and Sauramon's death.  We had around 80 models and they had a little under 30.  I kept feeding Aragorn a troop a turn which kept him out of the action.  It was actually my first time playing the new rules, so it was fun.

I also played a Goblin Town scenario game which was fun.  They had about 6 sets of Goblin Town terrain set up so it was also alot of fun.  I played the Goblins and I pretty much ended up throwing all the heavy hitting dwarves off the edge of the platform (Dwalin, Gloin, and Thorin)  with the Goblin King.  He tried to lessen the goblin load in the beginning by spreading out instead of going straight for his weapons which ended up being a big mistake.  I also won the roll for placing Gandolf and I placed him out in no-mans land, so by the time he showed up I had already killed 5-6 dwarves.  Sadly, I forgot to take any pictures of that game.

As for regular hobbying, I took a little break on sunday opting to play the new mini-expansion for X-Com Enemy Unknown.  I got a little done today since I had the day off.

I started working some more on my Minas Tirith army, finishing up some of the bases and drilling into the minis so they could be put on my paperclip rig.  I also got two of them completely, opting to take my time and experiment with the colors before I really start to crank them out.

Same Archer from the previous picture above this one

They're actually a real easy color scheme to follow.  The faces are a little hard to paint due to the helmets, but overall they're not too bad.  I also have them pinned into the bases, so unless someone either steps on them or sits on them, they're not coming off.   My goal is to finish a warband by the end of this week.  We'll see how it goes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Aragorn Face Fix

So a few days ago when I was putting my collection back into the glass case, I noticed (well rather re-noticed since I've seen it before) that my Aragorn models face was chipped at the nose.  What pissed me off about it was the fact that I coated him with a good layer of Vallejo Matt Medium after I finished him to give him a good seal, yet the paint still chipped.  Also, out of all the Games Workshop Aragorn sculpts, this one is my favorite.  I brought him back to my work bench and I figured one day I'd touch of the paint, maybe do a little brush on primer followed by a quick shade and a highlight.  Upon further notice, I realized that I really messed his face up when I finished him.  His eyes were way too big, and I hadn't watered down my base coat shade which caused I massive buildup which looked terrible when I put him under the magnifying light.

I decided to take a sewing pin to his face, and scrape the buildup off and just redo his entire face.  The rest of the paint job looked nice, so I didn't want to strip all the paint.

T-1000 Aragorn Model

This was my first time trying this method, and on a metal miniature, it worked pretty good.  I wouldn't recommend doing this method on a plastic or resin mini since you'll end up warping the details.

Afterwards, I placed some black reaper brush on primer and repainted the face and a bit of the hair.  I think it turned out pretty good.

He now has a face again.

So yeah, I learned something tonight.  I also haven't been using the Vallejo Matt Medium lately on my mini's.  I've found that a good coat of GW's purity seal works pretty decent as long as you give the paint ample time to dry before you spray them (I usually let them sit overnight).  On a side note, I've also been working on the rest of the Goblin Town and I've gotten a pretty good amount done.  No pictures yet...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Uruk-Hai Captains

So about 2 days ago I made my presence known on a local hobby forum and I made a couple new friends.  I really had no idea that there was really anyone in the local area that played LOTR:SBG, but apparently there is a pretty kickin community up in Kenosha, and that is quite awesome.  Most people around here are pretty into Warhammer 40k, and while it looks appealing, I'd rather play something a bit more medieval with swords and magic.  Sadly, after watching a few Warhammer Fantasy games, the whole rank and file with massive armies just seemed really unappealing to me.  I want to interact with terrain on a single model scale and Warhammer Fantasy just really doesn't allow you to do that.  Plus, with all the models, and seemingly one guy not being very important, it just feels like a lot of busy work.  I guess that's the reason the skirmish type games are the ones I play.

So yesterday during lunch I started making some army lists for my Isengard force, trying to compile the most bang for my buck and came up with a few lists of different point variations.  I ran into a little problem though.  I was short on painted Uruk-Hai Captains.  Well it just so happened that I bought a few a while back in case this scenario did pop up.


I won't lie though, I kind of did these in a hurry because I was hoping to catch a game today, but unfortunatly I'm the only person that showed up with an army.  No worries though, as I got to check out the store in Prairie Ridge which to my amazement is less than 20 minutes away.  When your crossing state lines, it just has the feel of being far to me.  Oh, here are the after shots...

 I think they turned out pretty good considering I kind of rushed them.  I might go back and touch up a few details and add a white hand to the breast plate on the guy on the left.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 goals

So even though we're already halfway thru January, I thought it would be a good idea to write some hobby goals down for this year.  I've noticed a lot of other people have been doing this, and I really like the idea in a hobby sense.  At the end of the year (pending if I'm still blogging at that point), I want to return to this thread and see what I've accomplished.  So without further ado....
  1. Finish the Goblin Town Box Set (Completed)
  2. Marry my gf/fiancee of 8 years  (Aug. 31st) (Completed)
  3. Paint a 1000 point Gondor Army (Completed)
  4. Paint a 600 point Rohan Army
  5. Finish up my Isengard Army  (N/A)
  6. Finish up my Mordor Army (N/A)
  7. Push my general orc total to 72 models (I think I'm in the 40's at this moment)
  8. Experiment more with conversions (Completed)
  9. Paint a 600 point Elven Army
  10. Finish painting my Garden of Morr Cemetery that is half done.
  11. Get more involved with the gaming community (Completed? Sorta)
  12. Become a better painter by working on my weaknesses (Completed? Sorta)
Now I don't think this is impossible, but I did set the bar pretty high and I'm almost certain I won't get everything accomplished on my list, but these are goals rather than "to-do or else" item.  I know throughout the year other hobby priorities will pop up, but that's okay.  As of right now, this is what I'm aiming for

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bases and the New Shelves

So I was pretty busy yesterday to post anything new.  I managed to cast the mold a couple times, so now I have plenty of bases to paint.

Yep, that is about 50 bases.  I would continue to cast some more, but this is plenty to get me started for the time being.  I just took them to sink a few minutes ago and cleaned the mold release residue off, so now they're ready to be primed and painted.

The new shelves for my case came in today.  Now I must say that I really like the Ikea Detolf glass case, but the problem is that the spaces are too big and they don't nearly give you enough shelves.  For $65 dollars though, its still a good buy.  I didn't want to do any major remodeling to the case, but I didn't want it to look like I "jerry-rigged" something together.  I did a little bit of research and I found these wire rope clamps at Home Depot.  I found that with the 3/32 to 1/8 in, you either get a perfect fit, or it just a hair to snug which you have to bend out so the clamp will go around the bar.

Here is what it looks like...

Personally, I think it looks pretty good.  Trying to measure the correct height on each one was a hassle due to the fact that its a tight fit, but with a little perseverance and trial and error, we got it on.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More Greenstuff Bases

So last night after I posting about my green stuff bases, I checked to see how the green stuff was curing and it was pretty solid.  So, I decided to pour the mold before bed so I could start working on these bases all day tomorrow without having to worry about the 4-6 hour dry time for the mold.  Here is how it turned out 


I think it turned out pretty good, other than the fact that everything is bunched up to the left.  I was worried this morning about wrecking the mold because I forgot to hit the originals with mold release before I poured it.  Alas, everything turned out pretty good with minimal air bubbles.  I had to muscle a few of the legos off the side, but everything turned out pretty good.

As for the plastic that I'm using, its this stuff....

Smooth-Cast 300.  Its pretty good stuff.  It cures in a little under 10 minutes.  You can purchase this stuff and Mold Star 15 at for around $25 for the 2 part Smooth Cast and $30 for the 2 part Mold Star.

 As far as the casting goes, the mold I made cast pretty well.  I screwed up at the bottoms because I didn't scrape the top of the mold, but that can be rectified easily.  Since these were the test ones, I wanted to paint them up to see how the details hold.

I took this picture because I wanted to show the masters with the cast ones with a paint job.  The details looked pretty good.  As far as the paint job goes, it looks a little too stoney and bland to me, but I went with a straight grey pattern to white because I wanted to really see the details and how they pop with a strong highlight.  When I repaint these, when I go from my dark to my mid grey tone, I'm going to do a quick reddish brown (doombull brown) and a mid-tone brown (mournfang brown) in between to give it a more earth tone.  Stone work (even cobblestone) is not straight grey.  It has a brownish and even greenish tones in it as well as your grey and white tones.

I would've casted a bunch more today, but I was working on my ikea glass case in where I put my finished miniatures.  I've pretty much run out of room, so I'm adding more shelves.  I went to a glazier on friday, and I'm having 3 more shelves made which will be in on tuesday.  I mounted the brackets today which will hold the new shelves to the frames and I had to find an alternative area to put my miniatures till the new shelves come in.  I'll post some pictures when the new shelves come in.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Green Stuff Bases

So after a few hours of dabbling with green stuff and sculpting, I finally have the 8 master bases done.  After I cranked out the first 3, I started getting quicker with them, trying to make each unique.

I experimented with a couple, trying to add different textures.  I'm hoping that each of them will look similar, yet different at the same time.  I think when I start casting them, then painting them, the drybrushing will pick out the unique textures.  I'm going to let the green stuff set over night and cast the mold tomorrow.  I haven't cast anything for awhile, so I'm really looking forward into seeing how they turn out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gondor Pt1

So I know I said I was going to finish up the Goblin King and company, but for some reason tonight I got a bug up my ass to start cranking out some Gondorian footmen that have been collecting dust on my shelf for far too long (over a year at the very least).

Anyone with any sort of hobby experience can see they're in pretty bad shape.  I bought 2 lots of them for dirt cheap off of ebay a few months before the new warband books came out.  I think total with shipping, I paid around $10 for over 70 of them.  Considering now they're 12 for over $25 with tax, I'd say I got a good bargain.  Granted, it looks like the wreckage of some 12 year olds hobby gone terribly wrong.  I know a few of them in there were sprayed/painted with some kind of stuff that looks like it was oil based Testor's stuff or something.  No matter how long I left them in simple green or how hard I scrubbed them, I just couldn't get that crap off.  I'm tempted to go buy some turpentine and see if that'll do the trick, but the layer is pretty thin and I think with a coat of thin primer we'll be able to cover it up nicely without obscuring too much detail.  Regardless, I'm going to keep a close eye on them and maybe let those sit for a little bit before I slap some paint on them.

As you can also see from the picture, I started ripping them off the bases either with force enough to crack the glue without ripping they're feet from they're bodies, or cutting off the slotta part at the bottom of the foot.  I'm big for salvaging bases (and sprue for that fact).  I have a plan though.....

These two are actually my first attempts at sculpting bases.  I've always been a little intimidated of doing any sculpting work outside of extremely minor conversions like weapon swap touch ups and gap filling.  My plan as it stands right now is to do 6 more similar (yet different) than these, then cast a mold for them and use these as the bases for the entire army minus warband leaders and special characters (going to go a bit more elaborate for those).  I want the Gondor army to have a "city in ruin" feel to them.  The one on the left is going to get a little sand/rubble on the one side, kind of like the cobblestone has eroded or a big warhammer smashed part of the masonry work.  We'll see what my creativity yields this weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

More Goblins

So the two boxes of new goblins came in.  They'll probably end up on the shelf for the next few weeks.  After having just painted 36 of them, I'm ready to paint something else for awhile before we start snipping these out (not to mention I still need to finish up the rest of the box set).  Also going to need to purchase 3-4 more Goblin Captains to go with it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Hobbit Pt.1

So lets kick this blog off with something interesting and fun..............

About a month ago I picked up this box set from my local GW store.  For a $125+ tax, you get 36 Goblins, 1 goblin captain, Grinnah (special named goblin), the goblin king, the goblin scribe with platform, Thorin's Company (total of 13 dwarves, Gandolf, and Bilbo). Since this was a "special edition" box set, it also came with Radagast with a custom base (which I thought was pretty cool).  You also get some terrain which includes a throne for the goblin king which is actually a fancy toilet from the looks of it (I'm not even kidding), 4 plank walkways and 2 wooden platforms.  You also get the small rules booklet which is pretty much similar to the one that came in the Mines of Moria box set along with a beginners guide which shows you the basics of a game (also similar to the Mines of Moria box set).  So a total of 56 miniatures, some terrain, and a small rulebook.  Not a bad deal.

Needless to say, I bought this the day it came out along with a hardback rules book.  I have most of it painted up.  I took a little break from it to tackle my Citadel Realms of Battle Board which I'll show off in a later blog.  I'd finish it up completely this week but I'm taking a slight break from painting to play Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition.  I digress...

Here are all 36 Goblins

Here is a closer view of them
and another angle
And here is Thorin's Company (all 15 of them)

I'm not going to lie, but I really had fun painting these.  The last few Goblin's started wearing on me, but after my first couple test ones I started doing them in blocks of 5-7 and completed them rather quickly.  As for the dwarves, they took a little longer and I spent alot of time on each one, trying a few new techniques and even busted out my magnifying glass to try and do the eyes.

And these are the last 5 mini's left to do.  I started to paint the goblin king, but for some reason he started getting spackled with dry paint still stuck in my large drybrush.  I started to justify it in my head, but he just looked terrible so he took a little swim in some simple green over the weekend.  I'll have to redo the seam-lines with green stuff again.  I haven't even started on the scribe yet and I really want to make the Goblin captain and Grinnah pop, so I planned to put some extra time into them.  As for Radagast, I think hes going to have to wait.  After I get the last 4 gobo's done, the terrain needs to be primed and painted, so Radagast is going to have to wait.  I've also been eying my unpainted Gondor army for quite some time, so that'll be coming up hopefully in the near future.