Friday, 26 August 2011


As I previously mentioned, I recently got married. Our honeymoon took us to Kauai in Hawaii and San Francisco. Of course, when in San Fran we had to take the Alcatraz tour.

On the way in there was a large model of the island as it appeared during it's time as a high security prison. I had plenty of time to look at it whilst in the queue and couldn't help thinking that it was about 15mm scale....

The island is now a national park, and was famously featured in The Rock with Nic Cage and Sean Connery. I played "spot the film scene" whilst wandering around, but most of the action in the movie seems to have taken place in areas that tourists aren't allowed into.

The who area has a slightly run-down and derelict look that reminds me of Half Life 2. Was looking for Barnacles here and there...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

X29 Blockhead Powered Armour

Another fairly rapid paint job here on some CMG X29 Blockhead PA suits from their Mercenaries range.

I really like thse miniatures, but wish there was a bit more variety in the weapons. The two sets have only 6 poses, of which only 1 has a different gun to the others. To me, the regular weapons look like some sort of flamer, and the heavy weapon, held by the chap on the far right, looks like some sort of cutting laser.

I may well get another pack and raid the bits box to produce a couple holding some sort of chain gun or missile pod.

Paint job is fairly basic, black undercoat with various greys drybrushed over it, as I want to use these chaps as "generic" PA squads. The red "eye" is not terribly realistic, but gives a bit of colour and contrast to them.

The chap on the far right has slightly different basing materials to the others. I've used Windsor and Newton artists texture on his base instead of my usueal PVA/brown ballast mix. The artists texture is interesting to work with, but slow to dry. If I have a lot of models to base, I think I'll just stick to the PVA/ballast/flock.

All of them have got a few small Silfor tufts added and some small cork boulders to add interest.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Techs and Workbots.

A couple of little specialist teams for Gruntz now. Figures are GZG SG15-V04 Techs and SG15-V13 Workbots on a 30mm round base. Figures are painted with an assortment of GW paints and washes.

They are based together so I can use them as specialist teams in Gruntz that can fix critical hits and repair vehicles and mecha. They have a generic paint scheme so I can use them with any (human) faction. I have another 4 workbots and 6 techs, so I'll probably do another 6 specialist units, four more with workbots and two with two technicians. These can be used to represent more techies, or medics or any kind of non-combat teams.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

15mm Guns from Scrap

Just a few pictures here of a couple of pieces of field artillery or heavy weapons. They're made from spare guns off the Rebel Miniatures Sabre Gunship and the feet from some now OOP Ronin Duels mechs. I've left space to place figures on the base, so they are not tied down to any faction.

Crusty Mecha

GZG recently-ish released some heavy support for their not-prawns-from-District-9 Crusties, in the form of the "Crusty" Mecha.

I picked this up at Salute 2011, but wasn't terribly enamoured with the legs, which seemed a bit too static and flimsy for my liking. The weapons also seemed wrong to me.

The original mech had quite a prominent, forward pointing thorax and digitigrade legs (there is an awesome Lego version here), so I set about modifying my version.

I don't have any WIP pics, but here is the end result, minus one of the missile pods which has disappeared under the table for now:

Basically, I have cut the torso down slightly and sawn off the weapon on the right arm. It's been replaced by one from a clicky Mechwarrior of some kind. The legs have been replaced by legs from one of EM-4's Steel Warrior, and the thorax is made from the body of the same mech, chopped in half and flipped over, with some wooden parts to add width and a bit of articulation.

It was a fairly fast and dirty conversion, but I think it's given the model a very different feeling.

GZG are about to release a smaller and more true to the original version, as they previewed on Dropship Horizon recently. This one is a monster, standing about 60-70mm tall, so a true mecha in 15mm, rather than an exosuit of some kind.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

TFL paint test

I'm planning to use the Gruntz rules to run some skirmishes inspired by the old GDW 2300AD hard science fiction RPG (soon to be re-published by Mongoose using their verion of the Traveller rules).

The action will mainly take place on Aurore, the hot, dry, dusty world invaded by the brutal and very, very alien Kafers. One of the principle colonies on the planet is a corporate backed bootstrap called Tanstaafl (There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch). The main defensive force for the colony are the Tanstaafl Free Legion mercenary company, the TFL, and their rapid response TFL Ranger RAMROD teams. I've been looking for some suitable miniatures for them for a while. I was going to use some of's Laserburn mercenaries, but they just didn't have the right feel for me.

Eventually I settled on Ground Zero Games Oceanic Union Defence Force, or OUDF. They have a mix of helmeted, bare headed and bush hat equipped troops, and with a few headswaps from the GZG head sprues, I could field quite a mixed force. I ordered 5 packs, giving me enough to make up four Gruntz squads plus some figures to make up specialist teams and leaders.

I've run up a test batch of figures this weekend to see how they look with the chosen paint scheme:

Chap no. 2 from the right with the baseball cap is the headswap.

The colours are all Tamiya, which is unusual for me, as I usually use Games Workshop. I've been using Tamiya with my airbrush and really liked the coverage, so I thought I'd give them a go for more traditional painting. The base colour is XF 59 Desert Yellow, which I airbrushed on. The body armour is XF 68 Nato Brown and the camo spots are XF 72 JDSF Brown and 65 Field Grey - which looks like Olive Drab to me. The hats are the same Field Grey (err... green) and the puches are the JDSF Brown. Helmets and packs are XF24 and XF 53 Mid and Dark Grey and the weapons are XF 63 German Grey, but look just like the XF53 Dark Grey. Boots are bits of weapons are XF1 Flat Black and the skin is XF 15 Flesh. The skin got a GW skin wash and then everything got a 50/50 Devlan mud and water wash.

They are based on 15mm round wooden bases from Warbases, but I haven't done any groundwork on them yet.

I'm pretty pleased with how they've come out. I may skip the camo spots on the fatigues, as you can't really see them at this scale, especially with the Devlan Mud wash, but overall I think they have the right feel for the rough and ready TFL.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Secret wedding project

A couple of weeks ago, at the end of July, I married my amazing and beautiful partner of 4 years, hereafter known as Amazing Geek Girl or AGG. She and I originally met at work and bonded over our shared love of geek culture. We found we enjoyed the same books, films and TV so when we moved in together we found we hade duplicates of loads of books and DVD's.

However, there was a period during our relationship when neither of us had rvealed the extent of our geek credentials. I was terrified that upon discovering that I collected Japanese giant robot kits and played with little lead men and tanks that she would run a mile, so we spent most of our time at her place. Eventually she began to ask why I wasn't inviting her to my house, not realising that it was, in fact, one giant, untidy, man cave/geek-den.

So, whilst driving through the wilds of Crystal Palace one day I broached the subject by saying "I have something a bit embarrasing to tell you. I collect japanese toy robot kits". I was prepeared for her to run screaming in horror, but instead, she burst out laughing and took her wallet out and showed me the picture of the robot on it, and told me how much of a geek she was too. All was well, romantic music ensues.

So, in honour of that moment, the theme of our wedding was Robots and Ivy - the Ivy because AGG loves it and it traditionally represents the values of fidelity and friendship. We had lots of Ivy around the venue provided by our florist and the robots were represented by movie posters from films and TV shows with robots in them Metropolis, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Wall-E, The Iron Giant, Star Wars, Bender from Futurama, Daleks from Dr Who, The Terminator, Transformers, Forbidden Planet and Westworld (we also told everybody there was a special Geek prize if they could work out which poster was the odd one out and why).

I also scratchbuilt a custom cake topper for us:

I can't take credit for the design, which I originally saw on this Etsy store, but the construction and painting is all my own.

It's made from various shaped pieces of wood and balsa stock, with a bit of Greenstuff here and there. The wood pieces were from hobby craft, and are various balls, wheels and pawn pieces. The arms are made from cut down dollhous bannisters. The bowtie and lapels are just thin balsa sheet cut to size. The base is made from a two more substantial pieces of balsa cut into a hexagon shape (because hexagons make everything more sci-fi).

I basecoated it with Tamiya fine basecoat, then airbrushed it all with Tamiya flat black. I then sprayed it with Humbrol polished steel. This is the first time i have used that paint and i was intially dissapointed at the dull colour and dusty finish that came out. I then re-read the instructions and saw that you are supposed to leave it for a while and then polish the paint.... After a good hour or so i went back and attacked it with an old toothbrush - the effect was quite startling as the paint transformed from an accident in a toner factory to a rich, polished but aged finish. I was very impressed and used the rest on some scenery pieces i've had lying around for a while.

I then painted various parts with GW Tin Bitz and highlighted them with Brazen Bronze and Shining Gold. The dress and the bow tie got several washes of thinned magenta ink, and when this was dry I freehand painted the silver and gold ivy on the dress.

Several coats of GW hardcoat sealed everything in and the secret wedding project took pride of place on top of our wedding cake.