Fort Grayskull Part 5

Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The last thing that I needed to do to finish the project was to add doors to the gates. Continue reading


Fort Grayskull Part 4

Continued from parts 1, 2 and 3.

After the quite time consuming process of sticking all of that stuff to the castle sections the last time, I set about painting them.

Anything made from silver plastic (the Hexagon stuff and the sprues) just got a load of black emulsion paint slopped onto it which I then wiped with a rag, removing most of the paint from everywhere but the recesses.  Anything else that was showing its original colour was then simply painted black.

It was at this point that I first realised how Masters of the Universe the whole project had become.  Regardless of how desirable or not that was it was too late to worry about that at that stage though.  Main priority: get it finished.  All other considerations secondary.

Some drybrushing of metallic areas was next followed by a big dirty wash of brown/black mix over the metallic bits and some of the red areas.

By this stage in the process I wanted to add just a little bit more junk and other stuff to the tower parts.  I couldnt face it though.  My enthusiasm for the project was waning and I decided that I would rather get it finished to the standard that it was currently at than get bogged down on more detailing.  If I still think that the towers are a little too bare once the whole thing is finished I can go back and do some more work on it at a later date.  Maybe.

Note the layout of the components in a city wall configuration. I hope to use that layout in a few scenarios in the future.

The next step Continue reading

Salute 2011

I went to Salute yesterday. In between resisting the urge to add to the lead mountain and simply adding to the lead mountain I took some pictures, shown below.

I didnt have time to document which games were run by what groups and the like, but I took photos of the ones that interested me in particular.  I also missed a few that I wanted to photograph but managed not to see them on the second pass through with the camera (the first and third passes through the hall being reserved for shopping and drooling).

The standard of the shots isnt great, but they should give a feel for some of the games being played.

I think that the players were playing Infinity on the table above.  I have always liked the idea of a set of snow terrain, but never made anyway because it doesnt really mix with any of my existing stuff.  It would be like a brand new scale or project all of its own.  Cool looking though.

I dont know what was being played on the table shown above, but it looked great the rocky (cork?) mesas made for a very nice looking table.  I love the high flying aircraft.  A lot of games at the show had flyers mounted quite high.  It looks great, but strikes me as being impractical for people who play at home (plus the usual problems with storing that sort of thing).  I could be wrong though.  A lovely looking game.

Judging by the sign at the top of the above photo I suspect that this was the table showing the Gripping Beast historical plastic kits.  Shedloads of nice and (to my eyes at least) authentic looking figures.

Another nice looking historical table.  The amount of love and attention individually paid to so many figures in a single big hall can be a bit overwhelming.  If this display was at some of the other shows that I have been too I would have pored over it for ages.  At Salute there was so much to look at that I only got to take a quick look and snap.

I loved this table.  Its from Taban Miniatures showing off their large 30mm post apoc game, Eden.  The table is an abandoned fairground complete with roller coaster, bumper cars and merry-go-round, all exquisitely rendered and very evocative.  The Eden figures are absoultely beautifully sculpted and the display paint jobs are so good as to make me want to give up my feeble attempts.

I didnt buy any Eden figures though as the 30mm scale is just a bit too big for my tastes and existing figure collection, plus the figures are not cheap.  I may buy one of their samurai exo-suits/robots at a later date, assuming that some get-rich-quick scheme eventually has me rolling in dough.  Until then though…

I am on a bit of a Judge Dredd kick at the moment, with some Mega City One stuff in the project pipeline (I bought a few Judges, Holocaust suits and the Angel Gang from Mongoose yesterday).  As a result the table from Antenocitis Workshop was 100% up my street.  Its brilliant to see a 28mm sci-fi city that isnt 1) gothic, 2) ruined, 3) a small town or 4) shitty looking.

AW make some lovely stuff but it tends to be expensive.  I had to avoid their display of sci-fi street furniture after seeing it early on show yesterday.  I knew if I went back that I would buy stuff that I just cant currently afford.  Ho hum.

Another shot of the boner-inducing Antenocitis Workshop G.O.T. table…

…and another…

…and the last one.  As you can probably tell this was one of my favourite tables.  Its not realistic for me to ever think that I will have a table as nice as that at home, but it is inspiring all the same.  I can just imagine all of the Judge Dredd, Bladerunner, Star Trek etc games that could be played on something like that.

Thank Christ I dont play 15mm sci-fi, I have enough figures unpainted already.  If I had my time over again though I would consider ditching both the 6mm (Epic) stuff and the 28mm (everything else) and just stick to 15mm sci-fi.  Its a great scale for tanks, mecha are totally feasible and the infantry is super cheap in comparison with 28mm.  I dont know who was responsible for this cool looking table, but I wish that they were my neighbours.

Modern stuff here from an unknown party.  Another table that was improved a lot by being able to see the helicopters above it from a distance.  In the context of a gaming hall it looks fantastic.  At home I think that its too hard to get that sort of perspective going (unless your game room is as big as a basketball court or something, in which case I am jealous).

I *think* that this table was hosting some Car Wars style game.  I liked the base boards ( I think that they are laser cut prefab bits form somewhere that I saw a few years ago, but I could be wrong).

More cool helicopters on a dramatic board.

The table above was very realistic looking to me.  So realistic in fact that the realistically camouflaged miniatures blended in almost perfectly.

I honestly mean no disrespect to the guys who put this really impressive table together, but I think that most of their hard work couldnt be seen, which is a pity.  My own tastes prefer that the figures stand out a little, being the heroes of the little narratives that are developing (even though that can end up gaudy and horrible really easily too).

The above shot was from a simple (by the standards of the show at least) display of  what I *think* was Flames of War.  I took the photo because the table made me hum Ride of the Valkyries.

An impressive Stalingrad sort of game (at least, thats what it looked like to me).  The more that I looked at this the better it got.  Ten different kinds of awesome smothered in rich creamery butter it was.

More Eastern front cool-ness.

A not great shot of a cute looking game above.  The game is “Twilight” (note: not the horseshit about vampires who look like diamonds when the sunrays trickle through their obscenely overworked hairdos and glistens on their tennis court sized foreheads.  Its a different, Brian Froud-y, Dark Crystal-y “Twilight”).

Cute figures for this, but being fantasy I doubt that I will ever get into it.  They do have little guys with mechanical exo-suit looking legs that remind me a bit of “sligs” from Abes Odyssey on PS1.  I could see myself picking up two or three of those for gaming AE bounty or similar sometime.

More exquisitely painted, beautifully sculpted expensive figures on display here.  Freebooters Fate is about pirates, but features goblins and the like.  A really cute table for their display games I thought.

A very impressive hu-u-ge game here.  It looked like VSF flying dreadnoughts to me.  Another game that really wouldnt be practical to run domestically and therefore ideal for a show like Salute.

More lovely 15mm sci-fi.

Even more 15mm (maybe 10mm?), this time playing in the snow again.  I suppose it must be vast exposure to The Empire Strikes Back that makes wargaming giant robot walkers on a snowy planet so appealing.  Whatever the reason, it floats my boat.

An impressive post apoc or simply bombed out warzone here.  This table grabbed me with the little bits of ruined furniture etc in the buildings.  Very much lived-in structures rather than bombed out shells. Lovely.

A close up from the table above.

This was a table for showing the  7TV rules.  Having watched the tables construction evolve on the LAF forum over the last few months it was nice to see in in the flesh.  Obviously its is a James Bond type game set in a underground lair, complete with rocket and associated paraphenalia, “Little Nelly” style gyrocopter and cells from which incarcerated interloper can easily escape via the modeled in ventilation shafts.  Nice.

Another beautiful historical table.  I thought that the poppys were a nice touch.

This was the table AKULA (of AR:SE fame) has been documenting on LAF (and Frothers I suspect).  Its a cool table based on the Battlefield Bad Company Xbox game.  As I was rushing to make a flight at this stage I unfortunately didnt have time to say hi and thank him in person for the use of his rules.  Next time.

More of the above game again.

I think that this was the Frothers Cthulhu/Cluedo game, but as I was rushing at this stage I cant be sure.  It looked cute though and like something that would be a lot of fun to play.

I used the opportunity to meet up with fellow miniatures blogger and commenter TheAngryLurker yesterday too.  At an early point in the day we met to say hi and to press the flesh.  Thats TheAngryLurker on the rear left with me on the rear right.  In front (and behind the camera) are three of the “Rejects”, TALs gaming buddies.  It was cool to meet up with the lot of them for a few minutes and it added an extra element to what was already a fun day.

20+ Years of Painting Orks

I have recently been painting orks again, primarily for use in a Gorkamorka weekend planned for the summer.  I spent a bit of time deciding how to paint this new batch, trying to find a balance between speed and quality that suits me.  I also wanted to make sure that the finished figures looked as I imagine them to look: inevitably slightly comical but mostly brutal and savage.

With all of this paint scheme and concept development going around in my head I thought that it would be a good time to take a look at the other ork/orc figures that I have painted over the years, starting with my first mob from the late eighties.  If you can imagine Jason Donovan and Jive Bunny being in the charts then you will get a feel for the era.  It may also make you suddenly need to go to the toilet.


40k Orks -1989

The Evil Sunz boyz above are from the first GW plastic ork kit.  Quite primitive by todays standards, it was still a big deal back in those days.  The ork Klans were a big part of the background then and each had their own dominant colour and look.  Obviously the Evil Sunz chosen colour was red.

I painted the Evil Sunz mob in the same colour scheme as my 6mm Epic orks.  As I had all the klans painted for use in Epic I had made some decisions regarding secondary colours for each of them at that point (extra important at that scale to distinguish the units).  Thats why these guys have a lot of white in their outfits.

I went with quite a dark skin tone compared to the standards of the day.  As everything that I painted back then had GW Goblin Green bases (I rebased the above guys recently, although I cant even remember doing it…) I thought that it would be better to use a darker colour for the base flesh tone.


Blood Bowl Orcs -1994

Five years later Chaka Demus and Pliers were oozing from the speakers in the shopping centre when I picked up a copy of Blood Bowl 3rd Edition.  On a whim I decided to paint the orc team supplied, rather than the older BB figures that I still had knocking around unpainted.  All of the models in the shot above are plastics from that box, with the exception of the metal goblin on the pogo stick.

I spent ages on these guys.  I dont know if it is apparent from the photo above but I put many, many layers of wet blending into the skin tones (although the darker recesses do still look a bit “inky”).

At the time I was seeing if I could paint up a showcase project that displayed the highest level of painting that I was currently capable of.  I think the fact that that particular team is still unfinished says a lot really: I dont have the patience to paint a lot of models in that way.

Ignoring the technically dodgier areas (the red in particular is poor) I dont think that the figures look that much better than if I had approached painting them in a faster and dirtier way anyway.  As gaming pieces they could do with heavier contrasts that are visible at a few feet away (at a gaming distance, if you know what I mean).  Generally I feel that that sort of contrast serves a gaming miniature better than carefully graduated highlighting.

The uniform chosen is particularly un-orky.  Thats largely because I wanted to ensure that the figures looked like football players, rather than scruffy Warhammer Fantasy figures.  Its still too clean and antiseptic looking though.  I would approach painting an orc team very differently these days.

Gorkamorka/40k test figures - 2011

It would be a staggering seventeen years before this fatter, crankier and jaded painter sat down to paint another ork/orc.  Thankfully I havent a notion about what music is in the charts (or even if there are charts) anymore, so the intervening years havent been all bad.

The figures above were an attempt to rationalise my ork painting process again.  If the interim between orks has taught me anything its to Keep It Simple, Stupid.

So I did some research on quick ways to paint orks.  The video tutorial below proved to be quite cool, although the finished product wasnt at a standard that I was happy with when I tried it.  Its a pretty great way to get an army painted though, and I found that some of the techniques used inspired me to try some new things.  Its worth a look if you have ten minutes.

So taking some elements from the above tutorial I sprayed the above batch white, washed the whole lot with the ubiquitous Devlan Mud and applied the base skin colour as a mix of paint and ink.  This translucent layer let the shading from the Devlan show through it, although it did mean that the base flesh colour was a bit patchy.  This generally got easily camouflaged with the simple one stage Game Color Off White highlight though.

The final result is ok.  The skin is quite pasty, somewhat reminiscent of my Patient Zombies, which isnt to everyones taste for orks, but I dont mind it.  Two things made me decide to abandon this colour scheme and painting technique though: 1) it was a little more time consuming and fiddly than I was hoping it to be and 2) the orks didnt look as gritty, threatening or Mad Max II for my liking.

Gorkamorka/40k Orks - 2011

So I tried a completely new approach again and got a look that I am happy with.

If you will excuse the brief lapse into GW Orkspeak “Da Bigdogz” above came out to a level that pleases me, but without taking so much time that I will never get the project finished.  I worked up from a black undercoat with mainly drybrushed base coats followed by one layered highlight.  The metal areas got a few washes too as I like the way that it makes the metal areas appropriately dull.

These guys are a few from amongst the first that I have finished.  I have thirteen sitting complete in the miniatures cabinet at the time of writing which at least means that I am able to get through them reasonably quickly.  Thats a good thing too as I have another thirty or so figures that I want to paint before I finish up with the orks.

The paint scheme has the high contrast that I favour with gaming figures these days.  Although close inspection will reveal errors and hasty shortcuts the payoff of the quick turnover is worth it to me.   The Bigdogz also look sufficiently Mad Max for my current tastes so I regard the project as quite successful so far.  There will be more Bigdogz going up in more detail here over the next while.

Thats my potted history of ork painting done.  Over twenty-five years condensed into one page, and at no extra cost to you the reader either.

Going to Salute!

Salute is one of the best regarded miniature gaming shows in England.  Lots of cool looking display games and an abundance of things for nerds like me to blow vast quantities of cash on.  Retail therapy times a thousand.

I am lucky enough to be flying to London on Friday April 15th to go to an art exhibition with Mrs Sho3box, swanning boozily around for the evening after dinner and then attending Salute for a few hours on Saturday.  We fly home that that evening after what I hope to be a small but perfectly formed trip.

I have my small shopping list made out and I hope to pick up some odd bits and pieces that I might never get around to buying online.  Seeing some great game displays in person will be inspiring too.

I will be bringing my camera and I will be putting some photos up here on Sunday 17th with a bit of luck.

If anyone reading this is going to be at Salute and fancies meeting up and/or experiencing the heady thrill of having their photo taken avec moi then let me know 🙂

Fort Grayskull Part 3

Parts 1 and 2.

After the previous days extended session, the following day I was lucky enough to have nothing terribly grown up to attend to (the first time for ages).  So I settled down for a nice long glue filled afternoon stint. Continue reading

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