Steam Wars – Martian Red Earth Craters

Well, one down side to owning a very nice red Martian earth wargames mat, is that green hills and scenery looks a tad ‘off’ when used on it…

The answer is to make my scenery red.

I have started these small craters in order to try and learn the combination that is needed (paint and wash wise) to get a similar red tone to the mat.

My final effort is a GW cracked red earth paint (thinned down to make it crack less) with a GW orange shade wash.  To take some of the shine off and to lighten the overall colour a touch, I have dry brushed some GW flesh tone on the out side of the crater only. All this was done with the biggest brush that I own, so no finesse or detail work to be found here…

I will need to varnish them and then add a coat of matte spray, as presently they are a bit too shiny.  All these photos were taken at the same time, but from 3 distinct angles.  I find it interesting that the colour they throw off is different in each shot.

I have a couple more of these to do, so should really get off the computer and back to the grind.  There is something strangely soothing about painting with an inch wide brush.

Warhammer 40,000 – Imperial Knights Scenery Set

With the Knights done, all that remains in the Renegade Knights box are 4 sprues of scenery.  These are meant to be modular and fit together in a multitude of ways.  They do better as gaming pieces if they are glued though as some parts are not very strong if just clipped together as the designers hoped.

Some parts do clip on easily as they hold no weight, like the cables and ladders, whilst others, like the platforms and support legs, are required to be a little more secure.

By gluing a few sections together, and leaving some unattached, the set can remain somewhat modular (the walkway can be laid out in about 4-5 ways).  I will leave the barriers on the edges of the walkways unglued as they can then be used to help strengthen the unglued sections of walkway if needed.

The set has a good physical size to it, whilst remaining open enough so that it doesn’t obscure too much in the way of line of sight.

The real walkway scenery I am looking forward to is Coronasan’s towers and walkways that are being designed and tested as we speak.  We should have some of these ready soon to try out in a game, so watch this space.

(…and yes, that is Coronasan’s old school Armorcast Reiver Titan for scale, along with some GW Space Marines…)

For now though the Renegade Knight scenery is likely to remain undercoated and on hold. I need to wait for the heat in the shed to drop a little more before I can apply paint without it drying on the brush every 2 minutes.

Fistful Of Kung Fu

I may have been spending less time in the shed recently but I have not been idle.  We got a game of Fistful of Kung Fu in recently. Yes, we are still trying to get a number of games from our ‘loved but neglected list’ played before summer gets too far along.

FFOKF benefits from a wide selection of scenery items.  Your protagonist (hero, leader, main-man (or woman)) usually gets to do an awful lot of actions in your opponents turn with this game. While the mass of minions that he brings along with him will only act in their own turn.

Lots of scenery protects him while he runs everywhere, and does everything he can, but it also adds some cinematic elements to the game. This is because he can activate various scenic items for some humorous effects (e.g. tip a blue portable toilet over on to an enemy figure…)

Its also a good excuse to get a Poundstretcher train set and a green plastic Thomas the tank engine crane onto the gaming table…

Salute Bits – Starting To Build Things

The jobs on the go in the shed recently (ever since I returned from Salute with a very mixed bag of purchases) have been a bit varied.  Quick jobs have been completed, in-between other equally quick tasks, as I build a few miniatures here and clean a bit of resin there.  Some older items have been mixed in, as and where needed, to make the batches more worthwhile.

An example of a Sunday afternoons work.

Sci-fi objectives in resin washed, trimmed and filed.

The recently completed statue topper. Basing for the Smudgester Elite. One half of a new Bushido crew cleaned and based to fit the old Bushido crew style. (Of note: The Fire Kami in the back – I have no bloody clue how it is supposed to go together, only 2 parts, and no obvious tab to join them.  Even the manufacturers website fails to have a clear picture of what the final figure should look like.  So, I crossed my fingers and stuck it where it looked like it would go…)

Smudgester 2 basing. Second half of the Bushido Crew and basing.

Resin cleaning and trimming again but this time with a more oriental theme.

Both resin sets are from the TTcombat range.  Their range appears to be growing quickly in a number of directions and mediums.  Resin, MDF and publishing new games on what seems like a monthly basis.  All in a year when other major British companies are going out of business.  If they keep this up they will be running the country in 10 years… Imagine that as a post apocalyptic setting for a game…

Salute Statue Number Two

I am into quick paint jobs and easy wins at the moment. If I could, I would paint this way more often, but occasionally a proper paint job is required I guess.

Queen Victoria has presided over a number of the battles fought across the greens and squares of quaint English towns in our games.

She was recently joined by this trio of world war one soldiers allowing the town to be more European rather than rooted in the Empire.

This young lady, a star of the Red Army, gives me a slightly more eastern feel to my town.

Or, I might just plonk her on the plinth as a change from the other two, every now and then…

If I can find a couple of other plinth styles, I may just be able to field all three scenic statues on the same table.  Wouldn’t that be lovely!

Martian Structures

With the Martian force underway, I have been planning all my games with them as if they are on the offensive, on Earth.  It does mean that all the red Martian earth basing I have done is out of place on most boards though.  It would be nice to see them in their home environment instead of pillaging the resources of a Victorian country town.

A Google search (is that phrase old fashioned now?) is limited in its success.  A red earth base mat should be easy to source but any structures I plan to put on it would need to be suitably alien and, well…  Red!

Alien shapes that have been popping up in image searches are limited but a few have caught my eye.  Star formed structures are one idea.

I wont be using Lego to build them but the look is effective.

A similar shape is a mix of world war 2 bunker with habitation pods in the centre.

With such a harsh environment on the surface would most life survive below the surface?  Should I build lots of entry ways to a subterranean city?  Vents and shaft tops.   Hazard cleaning entryways and airlocks…

Are the Martians invading earth as a result of a collapse in their own city structures?  Having used all the resources on Mars they are aiming to recolonize elsewhere?

With no clear plan, and no skills for image finding, I am asking for ideas and images to be suggested.  How do you see a Tripod Era Mars City? (edit: Must look good in red!)

Suggestions please…

Salute 2018 Statue Completed

This years free commemorative Salute figure(s) were slated to become a set of statues for the gaming table.  They would never have been painted for anything else, as they don’t fit any period or style I collect.

A good bronzing and a dose of wash was a good start.

Far more oxide effect and bird poo than was needed helps to bring an extra touch of colour.

I now have the option to say that the town square sits squarely in the 20th century (see what I did there). Rather better than having Queen Victoria always looming sternly over the population.

I will have to source a couple of other plinths for the town (another idea for Coronasan’s lengthening MDF designs list methinks).

One more Salute ‘statue’ to go then I must get back to some real painting…

Scrappers – More Dog Faced Crew And Another Salute Statue

Another couple of items picked up at Salute, actually the first items I bought that day, are a pair of futuristic dogs from Hasslefree.  They got put together recently when I was doing about 3 or 4 other small jobs at the same time in the shed. If you tell the lady of the house that I can multi task I will never hear the end of it so, Hush!

I also dug out another older Salute figure, to get the statue treatment, while I was doing this years set. It proves I can be quite efficient with my time when I want to as well…

Hasslefree do a number of anthropomorphic animals (a posh term for animals in human poses – but only if I got the word right…)

These two are the same character in 2 differing guises.  I will be cheating and using them as a set of twins…  The first is Elite Smudgester with his ‘BFG’ (I will let you guess what that stands for) and a cigar and Zippo lighter.

The second is the alternate Smudgester, this time with a Pulse Carbine.  Both went together easily and had few, if any, mould lines or areas of flash to clean up.

Another clean and crisp miniature is the 2017 Salute figure. Supplied to the show last year by Warlord Games.  Soon to get the bronze statue treatment along with this years figure.

Control Tower

At Salute this year I caught up with a fairly local company The XLC.   Based in Northampton it seems quite local, but as all companies these days, it has an internet presence but no storefront.

I picked up an older piece, their security tower, a design from their first Kickstarter project. I invested in that kickstarter but have not done many since.  This company managed to get all the items out super quick and without hassle.  Other Kickstarters I have been part of have put me off since then… They have another Kickstarter running at the moment which is worth a look, as their stuff is reasonably priced and comes pre printed…

This will be a control tower for my planned airfield scenery (until Coronasan pulls his finger out and designs one himself in MDF).

A nice simple piece and big enough for 25 and 30mm bases to fit inside.

Airbrushing And Getting A Bit Off Plan Again (Score So Far +5)

Now, I should be working on that Great Unclean One…  Sadly I am not.  The fact that I have an airbrush that actually works now, has distracted me somewhat.

I could try to justify not getting on with the GUO, and validate the task at hand, by claiming that it is worthwhile practice with a new tool. I could also call it further development of the scenery options within the shed.  The reality still stands: I am off plan again.

Excuses aside, I am going to have to mark myself down for this against ‘The Plan.’ However, it has been a productive couple of hours.  At mid day today these pieces of scenery were cluttering up the smaller bureau at the back of the shed. Neglected and in a black undercoated state (a quick look back in the blog shows they were last seen in late 2015) they were initially supplied by the lovely Veganman who had picked them up off eBay.

They were in slight disrepair even then, with a few broken and missing parts.  Thankfully, being old ruins and ancient stonework, they can get away with a few broken and missing details and call it wear and tear.

A basic layer of primer (Mid Grey) started them off as I got used to handling the airbrush and model. A darker and lighter grey were used to vary the tone of the stonework. Direction of spray can get some shadow effects and further variation as well.  I should have tried putting in a few more colours but for a first try I like the effect I attained.  Variation from dark to light is something I cannot always achieve easily with a normal brush.

Contrasting colours were put on the skulls as I see the flames as being magical in origin and not part of the carved statue. Yellow first then red to the lower half.  Airbrushing is fairly forgiving as simply going back over my mistakes with the original lighter grey was a simple way of tidying up the edge of the flame/ skull.

The tower stair has the same base coat of mid grey primer.  More colours, in the form of brown tones, have been used to the lower levels and the lighter and darker grey used to get a more varied effect on the column and stairs.

I am still experimenting at this point but, for a couple of scenery pieces in a more fantasy style, these will be just fine (and now usable rather than just cluttering up the shed).  The surprising thing for me is that I did not need to use a normal brush at any point on either of these pieces…

With the airbrush proving to be more versatile and effective on larger surfaces than any normal brush technique I have ever used.  I can’t see me struggling to use an ink wash to weather larger pieces again…

Worthwhile time spent experimenting but not on The Plan.

Score for post -1 point / Total score +5