Saturday, 10 November 2012

Kitbash Part 6 and MaskFX

A little while ago I posted a picture of the £1 hovercraft I picked up from Poundland that was awaiting it's main paint scheme:

I've now completed two of the hovercraft, and have another two waiting to be painted with a slightly different weapons fit. Originally I was going to paint them in some sort of desert scheme, tans and browns and so on, but, as I posted a little while ago, I picked up some of the Armies Armies NeoSov and had painted them in a red/grey/black scheme as my generic evil bad guy faction.

The hovers Seemed like a good fit for bad guys, the windows at the front looked quite sinister in my opinion, so they got the same red/grey/black makeover. 

I firstly added some mesh to the large side windows, as these seemed to be just too big an expanse of glass for a combat vehicle. The mesh is aluminium car repair body mesh from Halfords, which I find all sorts of uses for. It makes great fencing and floor panels and you can make a very good, if a little fragile, 28mm barbed wire by clipping along one of the diagonal strands to get a single long strand with snipped off edges of the cross pieces.

The Red is GW Foundation Mechrite red, the Grey is adeptus battlegrey and the black is Chaos Black. Hover skirts were painted with Charadon Granite and metallics with Chainmail. Windows were Necron Abyss which I shaded up into Mordian Blue whilst still wet. I then applied some Windsor and Newton gloss varnish to the areas that I wanted to add transfers to, and once dry added various transfers from GW Tau sheets and some Fighting Piranha warning signs. I used Microsol and Microset solutions to make sure that the transfers adhered to the lines of the model, and the gloss varnish base meant that there was no "silvering" from trapped air. Once the transfers were dry I put more gloss varnish over the top, then two coats of GW Hardcoat to seal and protect and a final coat of Testors Dullcoat to take the shine off.

Here are the results (lightbox is still out of action, so apologies once again for the shadowy pictures) 

I have two more that I've filed off the fin on top of the raised area on the roof and added a GZG remote auto cannon turret. These are undecorated and awaiting their main painting at the moment.

I also showed off this conversion of another Poundland bargain, a 6x6 not-VAB, a little while ago.
I was never totally happy with the paint job, as it looked amateurish and rushed (which it was) in my opinion.

A little while ago Critical Mass Games announced their release of their MaskFX range, a set of airbrush masks for various different types of camouflage. I picked up a couple of sets and decided to re-paint the VAB and give them a try. I first base coated all the modes in Tamiya XF12 JN Grey (which is actually a sort of light blue). When airbrushing with Tamiya paints I usually dilute them 2:1 with paint/thinners, using Tamiya XF20 thinners. This sometimes leaves a slightly grainy texture which I have been advised is because the paint is drying in the air as it leaves the airbrush. On this occasion I upped the amount of thinners I used to a 1:1 ration, 50% thinner, 50% paint. The results were that each layer of paint was more transparent and had less coverage, so I had to apply more layers than normal. With the higher paint ratio you get quicker coverage, but less definition, with the lower paint ratio you can blend colours much more effectively and no grainy texture.

Once this layer was dry I applied some of the Splinter Pattern masks to each of the vehicles, trying to mix them up in size and position to create a variety of camo patterns. I then applied a coat of XF65 Field Grey, more masking and then a final coat of XF20 Medium Grey. I left it all to dry thoroughly and then started to peel off the masking strips:

I'm pretty pleased with the results. One slight downside is that the plastic bottom half of the model didn't take the paint well, so as I removed the masking it tended to lift the paint to expose the plastic beneath. It's black plastic, though, so once it's weathered and had transfers and so on added, I don't think you'll notice the difference from the Field Grey.

The MaskFX sheets are an excellent way of adding complex camo schemes in my opinion, but a couple of things I learned whilst applying them:

1. The masks are individually quite small, and the smallest ones have a low stick-to-flex ratio. By that I mean if you try to bend a small mask around an edge or bump, the natural flex in the mask is higher than the stick, so it can un-stick and flap up. This ie especially annoying when you notice it just after you have applied a thrid coat of paint. keep the small ones for flat areas or gentle curves.

2. The paint layers need to be totally dry before you apply more masks. Adding them too early will mean that the paint hasn't bonded to the layer below and will instead bond to the sticky on the mask. If you are an impatient painter (like me) then some real self control is required here.

I used up more or less an entire sheet of the Shatter patterns on these minis, and the density of masking wasn't super high. I have some of the Amoeba patterns which I plan to use on some Brigade Models Montsabert tanks and Tassigny APC's to go for a sort of early WW2 French camouflage, and some Digital which I plan to use on my other kitbash project, the Matchbox Personnel Carrier.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Wargaming 20 questions

I've seen these 20 questions on a couple of other blogs, so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and have a crack myself:

1. Favourite Wargaming period and why?
Sci-fi. I'm a rocketships and robots nerd.

2. Next period, money no object?
I'm not really much of a period hopper. Because my interests are mostly fantasy and Sci-fi, I can be a bit more creative with my minis. An 18th century Line fusilier can't be used as a Waffen SS panzer grenadier, but a guy in a space suit can be used in all sorts of differing sci-fi settings. I do like the look of some of those Saga dark ages figures, but that does seem to have a steepish start up. So, if money no object we'll say 28mm Dark ages skirmish.

3. Favourite 5 films?
Blade Runner, Point Break, Alien, Shawshank Redemption, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Empire Strikes Back (I get +1 for advantageous position)

4. Favourite 5 TV series?
Game of Thrones, West Wing, Big Bang Theory, Eureka, Farscape

5. Favourite book and author?
One? Just one? I like to many books and authors to pick one. Put a gun to my head and I'd probably go for either Lord of the Rings or Mort.

6.Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!
Ghengis Khan seems to have done rather well. Plus that Hannibal chap.

7. Favourite Wargames rules?
Blitzkrieg/Cold War/Future War Commander. Simple, fast and intuitive. You get outstanding responses from the author on the forum and he's happy to take suggestions and criticism.

8. Favourite Sport and team?
Rugby, England

9. If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?
Assuming I could take the Mrs along, the far future, so that medical science had evolved to the point where they could sort me out!

10. Last meal on Death Row?
Traditional Christmas dinner, turkey, roasties, stuffing, pigs-in-blankets and so on, with Christmas pud and cream for dessert.

11. Fantasy relationship and why?
Angelina Jolie. I think the reason is obvious.

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?
In my minds eye, John Cusack, but he'd probably need to put on a few pounds and lose the hair.

13. Favourite Comic  Superhero?
Iron Man.

14. Favourite Military quote?

Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: "Do not march on Moscow". Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know Rule 2 of war. It is: "Do not go fighting with your land armies in China". It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives.." - Bernard Law Montgomery

15. Historical destination to visit?
I'm very much interested in experimental aviation - X-planes and so on, so I think being able to hear that first sonic boom over Edwards a Chuck Yeager busted the sound barrier in the X-1 would be quite something.

16. Biggest Wargaming regret?
I don't get to play as much as I'd like. My previous bunch of regular gamers have dispersed, so it's quite infrequent to get a game in now.

17. Favourite Fantasy job?

The man that gets to slap George Lucas with a wet fish every time he has a stupid idea. I'd be good at that.

18. Favourite Song Top 5?
See Q.5 - just 5? I've got thousands of tracks on my MP3 player that I love.

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment?
I was playing in a week long WW2 megagame in Cornwall - Fall of France 1940 using Spearhead. Possibly the geekiest thing I've ever done - a wargaming holiday. Anyway, I was playing the Germans and I'd spent pretty much all of the week so far trying to achieve an opposed crossing over a canal outside Brussels. My units were getting chewed up and every day I'd make a small bridgehead, to be told by HQ that they couldn't support it and I'd have to retreat back under cover of dark. 

On the 4th day the British defenders flanks collapsed on another part of the table and I get to exploit my position and move inland. At the end of the day I was looking at defending against a British counter attack the next day over an adjacent river. During the planning phase that evening I was standing surveying the terrain with the CO and 2IC of the German forces and they suggested troop placements for me, in a few nearby villages and hamlets that would cover a fording point. Thinking back to the last four days of river crossings, I thought that the ford was the last place I would want to cross - an obvious target, overlooked from 4 easily fortified positions and with no cover once you got feet dry on the other side. 

Instead, I'd want to cross upstream, near some woods that looked onto the rear aspects of two of the hamlets, with good opportunity to work round through the woods to flank. The CO and 2IC were skeptical - bearing in mind this was the first time I had ever played Spearpoint ("What's a battlegroup?") or even WW2 -  but let me deploy one token force in the buildings by the ford, one in the woods near the river and a reserve in the other woods that could be exploited. I plotted my pre-planned artillery to fire on the place that I though was the likely crossing point and then on the rally points nearby once the troops were over the river.

Next day, British counter-attack starts and not a sausage arrives at the ford. Instead two battalions cross the river at exactly the point I predicted. My pre-planned arty dropped right where I wanted it, my PAK line was in just the right place and my HMG's had perfect lines of sight. The targeting was so spot on that the British CO requested that the Umpire confirm the pre-planned matched the plans I had submitted the night before - and I can't say I blamed him or held a grudge for him asking. It was a perfect ambush, and I'd based it all on the experience gained from the pounding the Brits had given me over the last few days. The infantry assault faltered and then routed and a planned tank breakthrough was blunted as a reserve Panzer division made itself known (although I felt sure I could have held off the tanks too). 

20. The miserable Git question, what upsets you?
Small mindedness. Bigotry. I also get quite annoyed by those wargamers who think that their period/ruleset is the only "real" wargame - "Fantasy/spaceships/horror - that's not real wargaming"

10mm Fantasy Part 2 - Orcs of the Red Hand

I picked up some 10mm Orcs and Dwarves from Kallistra last year at Salute (or possibly SELWG). Discussion about a fantasy version of the excellent Blitzkreig/Cold War/Future War Commander rules on the Specialist Military Publishing forum prompted me to drag them out and give them a coat of paint. If you aren't familiar with BKC/CWC/FWC then I can heartily recommend them as very enjoyable rulesets that have become our go-to WW2-modern and beyond rules since we fell out of love with Flames of War.

The orcs are made up of 6 packs of the Kallistra Hordes and Heroes figures. I base the strips for infantry and archers singly so they go twice as far, instead of the two ranks that Kallistra suggest. This means I do have to snip the archers apart to get single figures, but with the Orcs this wasn't a problem.

Two packs of advancing spears, one pack of archers, one pack of cavalry (three to a base leaving me four figures for command stands) flyers and catapults all came to just £30, taking advantage of the excellent 5 for the price of 6 deal.

The orcs were undecorated black and then dry brushed with GW Waaagh Flesh, then Warpstone Glow and finally Straken Green. Wood was picked out in Bestial Brown, metal in Leadbelcher, fur in Adeptus Battlegrey, leather and cloth in various browns and tans and finally the red hand insignia and various trims in Mechrite Red with a Red Gore highlight. The eyes were also picked out in Red Gore. The whole thing then got a generous wash of Ogre Flesh. Bases were done with Woodland Scenic mid brown ballast, coarse granite ballast and fine mixed turf over a burnt sienna base coat. Everything then got two coats of GW Hardcoat varnish.

The flying units are a Mechrite Red drybrush with Red Gore highlight straight over the black undercoat, but applied in reverse, so I left the leading edges and raised joints of the wings black, which I think looks quite good.

The pictures were taken in bright sunlight, so my infill lamps have done very little and there are some very strong shadows, but I think you can get a feel for the figures.

The whole army

Infantry block

Command units made from spare cavalry and catapult crew

Shield and banner detail on command units.

Wolf Rider cavalry

Archers. These had to be snipped apart as they were standing one behind the other.


Infantry standard bearer. Can also be used as a command stand

I've yet to play it, but I estimate that there are enough units here to make 2 or 3 good 40pt armies in Mighty Armies, which means I'll have the same for the Dwarves and Dark Elves, and even more for the Lizardmen that I've already painted. Dwarves are next, and I've already started on the infantry blocks for those. More news as I finish them.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Kitbash Part 5

Long time without a post, so you get a great big one now. The lightbox is also still kaput, so apologies for the murky photos.

First of all, a couple of kit bashes for my 15mm Scifi. I was recently inspired by the Khurasan Miniatures soon to be released Doe Gunship to try and build a squad lifter for my NKDF forces. A number of threads on TMP suggested various donor vehicles, but I eventually settled on a Revell 1/72 model of a Revell Kamov Ka-29 "Helix" helicopter:

The model itself is quite nice, with good detail on the various kit parts. It fits together well, even the spindly support struts for the rocket pods and under carriage.

To convert this from a helicopter to a VTOL shuttle I used several additional parts, engines from an Revell Easykit A-10, a LONGBOW radome from a Revell Easykit Apache, a Twin Gun turret from Old Crow and two side mounted thruster pods from Combat Wombat/Micropanzer (although I can't seem to find the thruster pods on either Combat Wombat or Micropanzer's sites now).

The conversion was fairly straightforward. I built up the model to the point where the hull was sealed but no external fixtures added. I then cut down the A-10 engine pods and attached them upside down on either side of the top rear fuselage. There was a handy rail on one side above the large crew door that acted as a brace, but nothing on the other side. In Hindsight, I could have added a piece of scrap styrene here to make my life easier, but ho hum. I then  glued the Micropanzer thrusters to either side between the locating lugs for the weapon wings. I then cut the middle braces out of the weapon wings and glued them over the top of the thruster pods. The wheels and undercarriage was then added, as were the various nose sensor devices. Remembering that this is going to be a gaming model and not a display piece, I left of the various fiddly and delicate aerials and grab handles (bitz box fodder). The final addition was the large Old Crow turret added to the bottom as a kind of remote bombardment turret for fire support, a bit like the AC130 gunship.

Once complete it was given an all-over undercoat of Army Painter Army Green - a very versatile green base coat that covers well - that tied all the parts together nicely. Next step is to paint it up to match the rest of my NKDF vehicles, so darker green stripes with grey and black offset "chocolate chip" patterns.

The next kitbash is of the old Matchbox Personnel Carrier inspired by the updates done over on Mini Metal Mayhem of the old Matchbox Stoat armoured car 

I had one of these from my childhood, and managed to pick up three more, all in pretty bad states of repair. I disassembled them, binned the two rows of seated passengers and the bendy plastic guns and dunked them in a pot of nail varnish remover for a week to try and get rid of the worst of the grime and old, flaky paint. It didn't totally work - when they painted something in the 1970's it was designed to stay painted, dammit! A lot of the paint did come off, but some of it is so welded on, I'm just going to paint over it.

Originally I was going to keep them wheeled, but swap out the big slicks for something a bit more rugged. However, when I saw the grav engines from Micropanzer, I decided to give them a go. You can see the engines on this thread at TMP (you can also see the thruster pods that I used on the Helix conversion on the shuttle in that same thread).

The wheel wells were filled in with some strip styrene and the grav engines glued in place. More strip styrene adds a few gubbins details besides the engines and the top deck was selaed over with sheet styrene. Details were added with half-round and tread plate styrene and a top hatch was also added. The bendy plastic gun was replaced by a spare from a GZG 6mm hovertank (The Rommel)

I've only completed one so far, and it's yet to be painted, but I'm really pleased with the progress.

Finally we have another 15mm Scifi piece, not a kit bash this time. This is a Khurasan Miniatures PA-3 Python Powered Armour Suit. This is again for my NKDF forces, to give them some light mecha support to compliment their big stompy robot.

Simple green/tan camo this time, as the green/dark green didn't totally work on the last NKDF Mecha. These are very nice little robots with a selection of arm poses. I have 3 more to finish off which will make a nice little strike team, or allow them to split up to add a bit of punch to individual platoons.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Day after Tomorrow: Into Infinity

A bit of a diversion now. Not a single lead person in sight.

I turn 40 this year (in just a few days, in fact) and have been a science fiction fan for pretty much as long as I could make "pew pew pew" noises. For many years I've been searching for two TV shows that I saw in my yourth and have very vague memories of. After years of searching I've managed to track one of them down.

The first was s scifi film shown on TV. The only memories of it I had was that it was some kind of exploration mission in a spacecraft, the crew were givene a choice to continue of or return home at one point and that the special star drive malfunctioned and the ship accelerated to super fast speeds and threw one of the crew members to the back of the ship to land on a coloured glass wall. That's all I remembered. The image of the crewmember laying on the wall was one the especially stuck with me.

Yesterday I discovered Space 1970, a fabulous little website that covers exactly the kind of sciene fiction shows that I grew up with. The 1970's and 1980's were my formative science fiction years and show like the original Battlestar Galactica, Space:1999 and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century were staples of my TV viewing.

Whilst browsing therough the site, with a big grin on my face, I found this. It's the very film I've been looking for for 37 years. A quick google search turned up a flash video of the original as well. The sense of satisfaction in finding this is immense. I haven't viewed it all yet, but the description in the Space 1970 site is spot-on match.

The second long forgotten show was, I think, an import that was redubbed. I have vague memories of it being a sort of proto-steampunk adventure where one, pastoral, peace loving nation is trying to spy on their evil industrialised neighbours who are building weapons of mass destruction. I remember that the weapons had something to do with giant cannons and cryogenics, and the hero that was sent to spy on them had his hand bandaged up all the way through the spying mission, feigning an injury. It was revealed during his daring escape that actually he had a handgun concealed under the bandages. I have a sneaking feeling that this might be a mash-up of a couple of series, one of which might actually have been about spying during WW2, something like (but not) Operation Crossbow.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Gruntz AAR - Protolene Pirate Raid

Had a quick game of Gruntz today with MBB. 200 point (or thereabouts) on a 4' square board. It was the first run out of my new terrain tiles and most of the 15mm Scifi Scenery I've been working on recently, and I think it was also the first game in a while where every unit on the table was fully painted, which was nice.

We played the "what's mine is mine" scenario, where you have 3 objectives and have to take and hold them, with points gained each turn. and extra points for taking an objective from an enemy. The 3 objectives in this scenario were the comm tower on the northern hill, the grey shipping container in the centre and the small green building to the south. The terrain was a rough valley with a colony outpost in the centre. Protolene forces had been detected landing on the planet, and the colonial militia were racing to intercept them at the remote Epsilon outpost.

Table set-up. North towards the top.
The colonists lost the pre-game roll, so we set up first along the eastern edge. The colonists were able to muster 2 squads of colonial militia, 2 mounted gauss Gatling cannons, 2 Bobcat ATV's with mounted SAW's, 2 light mecha armed with missile and cannon, a medic, a commander and a light mortar.

Militia set up. Gruntz squads are mounted in the Bobcats
On the western flanks the Protolene bounded onto the board. They had three squads of pirates, one specialist proto-hound handler who could infiltrate, two light grav tanks with heavy plasma and missiles, a medium dropship with particle beam and missiles and a commander in an Ayame battlesuit. 

Protolene set up. One Gruntz squad is actually in the dropship, although the figures are still on the table. Protohounds and handler could infiltrate, so were deployed 18 inches forward.
The first turn was mainly uneventful, with lots of manoeuvring into position. The colonists got into position to claim all three next turn objectives, but didn't have the actions to do so yet. The pirates moved up through cover. There were a few rounds of ineffectual fire on each side.

End of turn 1
Militia disembark and take cover next to storage tank.

Colonists set up the mortar (guest starring a Sahadeen raider) in cover behind the hill, as the commander and medic move up. 

Protolene pirate squad led by Rin-Tin-Tin and pirate commander, Brian.
In the second turn the colonial forces moved up to all three objectives, but movement towards them meant they couldn't spend the actions needed to claim them. The mortar fired on one of the protolene squads for no effect and the mounted gauss Gatling did the same. 

End of colonists second turn.
The Protolene responded in force, however. To the south the Gruntz squad around the southern objective was close assaulted by one of the pirate squads, then the proto hounds and handler pitched in too. 
Start of the close assault...
End of the close assault...
The sounds of furious barking and screams echoed down the valley and the southern gruntz squad lost 5 men to the claws and jaws of the protolene and the protohounds....

To the north the dropship acted as spotter for the two grav tanks and they launched a salvo of missiles at the Gruntz contesting the centre objective and the northern gauss Gatling cannon:

Seconds after the twin missile strikes.

The lightly armoured Gruntz squad was devastated by the missile strike, and the bobcat and mech took some light splash damage. The dropship then opened fire on the damaged mech with it's particle beam and blew a glowing hole right through the chestplate and out the back.

At the end of the second turn the Colonists had lost one mecha and both Gruntz squads were combat ineffective. Reasoning that the pirates weren't going to hang around anyway, and 14 dead bodies was too high a price to pay, they elected to bug out and let the pirates ransack the outpost.

A couple of observations on the Gruntz rules. Firstly, I have to say that I really like Gruntz. It's fast paced, easy to learn and quick to pick up. The rulebook is laid out well, mostly, although the rules for indirect fire are located in three different places. We didn't use the optional overwatch rules - which might have helped the colonists had they been able to interrupt the charge and close assault to the south with the nearby gauss Gatling team. 

We also didn't use the newer 1.1 version of the assault rules. The original version of the assault rules leave a lot to be desired, as you get no chance to counter attack until it's your turn. The 1.1 version are an improvement, but still not what I'd like to see. My personal opinion is that an assault test should be an opposed roll, with opportunity for the assaulted unit to attack back and defend themselves. I'm working on a revised set of assault rules to submit to Robin for potential inclusion in the 1.1 update as optional rules. 

Finally, we also felt that the range bands were too short, and the penalty for extreme range too high. with most weapons having a 8-14 inch range, and -4 penalty for firing out to double range, it meant that you had to be more or less on top of your target to stand a chance of hitting them. It also meant that the missiles and mortar had a very small effective range band, as they can't fire within 1/2 of their range, and they get a -4 to hit at extreme range. We may implement a range band mechanic for the next game, whereby each increment of the range beyond the first applies a cumulative -2 penalty. This allows for longer ranges and less severe penalties.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Gruntz Barracks kickstarter

I'm a really big fan of Robin Fitton's Gruntz rules. I first saw them being demo'ed on his awesome urban terrain board at SELWG 2 or 3 years ago, and I've followed and contributed a bit to their development since then (there are a few pieces of my flavour fiction in the rulebook).

One of the things I especially like is the unit builders. You can essentially build any unit you like, from any background, any tech, any race, any figure line and stat it up. You could have ultra hi-tech GZG hardsuited New Israeli commandos fighting against Khurasan Miniatures Lhurgg tribesmen, or Rebel Minis Sahadeen fighting against CMG Kaamados. There have even been unit stats produced for British colonial troops - pith helmets and short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 calibre rifles, with a bayonet and some guts behind it.

Robin has started a kickstarter campaign on Indegogo to launch a computerised version of the army builder. The main goal has already been met, but there are a couple of interesting stretch goals set up, to include things like the addition of army management and giant monsters - Godzilla and laser armed frickin' dinosaurs, for instance. The funding options also let you pick up some nice bargains on the printed 1.1 rulebook when it comes out later this year.

You can find more information on Gruntz at Robin's website here - he's also got some very good painting tutorials and miniature review videos on there - and the Indegogo launchpad is here

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

3d Printing

For christmas this year I recieved a £25 voucher from a good friend of mine for Quick Forge, a 3D printing company. An awesome gift that got me excited straight away.

For those of you that aren't familiar with the concept, 3d-printing allows you to create a 3 dimensional object from layers of plastic or resin that are printed out by a special 3d printer. It works a bit like those puzzles that were popular a few years ago where you would stack different flat shapes on top of each other to reveal an image of Elvis's head. 3D printing works in a similar way, in that you upload a 3d model and a special printer lays down successive layers of plastic or resin to create the 3D object.

I have dabbled in 3D design and CGI for years, most recently using DOGA L3, a very easy to use Japanese program that lets you assemble objects from a library of parts and primitives. It doesn't have any of the advanced modelling tools you might find in more complex programs like TrueSpace or 3D Studio, but for knocking up a quick spaceship, it's great.

My first design was based on an old Micro Machines model that I always wanted multiple copies of to use a freighters in Silent Death, the Numiri ship:

I created a simple 3d-model in Doga that looked like it - I wanted to capture the essence of the ship rather than a copyright-shattering clone:

I then had to convert this to a type of file that Quick Forge will accept, in this case an .STL file. I also needed to make sure that the model was "watertight", that is that there were no "holes" into the interior, or orphaned parts - i.e. parts not attached to the rest of the mesh. The process to do this involved a couple of intermediary programs called MeshLab and NettFab.

Once complete, I uploaded my file to Quickforge and waited for the model to drop into my sweaty palms.
About a week later I received this:

The model is made from a fine beige resin and has pretty good resolution. It does have a pattern of lines all over it, an artefact of the layering method of printing I assume, which makes it look a bit like it's covered in Zimmerit.

Since then I have also uploaded a mesh to another 3d-printing site, Shapeways, the Stingray fighter, another one of my DOGA designs shown here in all it's textured glory:

Shapeways is a goldmine of all sorts of amazing objects. Unlike Quickforge, you can browse a catalogue of other peoples designs, and there ere literally thousands and thousands. I could spend all day looking at them.  These are the results of the Stingray printed at Shapeways, along with another ship generated using the very fun Shipwright:

You can choose from a variety of materials at Shapeways, and these were created in White, Strong and Flexible - the cheapest option. The result is very good, though. The detail is far greater than on the Quickforge model and the surface texture is different. Rather than smooth and glossy, this is slightly matt and grainy.

I can see that this could be a hobby that could get very addictive very fast. I'm already thinking how I could bulk up my fleets for Silent Death, and fill in the gaps in my Air War C:21 hangars too. The cost of larger models is high, if I were to reproduce the freighter above at Shapeways it'd be something like £13.

In the meantime, I've set up a Shapeways shop so you can see my designs as they get uploaded. My Shapeways Shop

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Kitbash Part 4

A while ago I bought some dead cheap kits from Hobbylink Japan of the Land Booster Spirit and a couple of VOTOM action figures. The Land booster Spirit is some sort of transport aircraft that a giant Mecha hangs onto like some sort of crazy mecha hang glider.

At only £4 per kit, even with postage they were a bargain. I thought I could use them as aerofighters or dropships. The Spirit itself is quite a nice model, but it has these weird on-rails wings that stick out the back, for the mechas legs to clip into when it's flying along. I liked the kit better without them, so left them off.

The kit assembled is very nice, with movable swing wings and giant cannons underneath, and will do quite nicely as an atmospheric transport of some kind.

I was left with a bunch of parts, though. These included the odd rear wings and several optional parts that allow you to modify a Mecha kit so it's hanging off the Land Booster. I played about with these parts and came up with this:

The paint job is GW Mechrite red with Chaos Black and Skull white panels, plus decals from GW Tau sheet and warning stripes and signs from Fighting Pirahna. It's been raining non-stop here for the last 4 days (drought? what drought?) so I haven't had a chance to give it my usual GW hardcoat spray before doing the weathering yet, hence it's still glossy in a fe places from where I brushed on the Windsor and Newton gloss varnish to seal the Decals.

It started out as a carrier or cruiser for Silent Death, but then morphed into an attack speeder of some kind for my new nihilistic, evil villain group, a bit like COBRA from GI Joe, hence the evil red and black colour scheme. However, with the warning signs on it now looks more like some sort of grav racer to me, like something out of Wipeout. I'll varnish it when the weather clears up and hit it with some washes, scratches and pigments and see how it looks after that.

The figures used above are from the new Armiesarmy Neo Sov range and are very nice little sculpts in the same style as GZG - so slightly chunkier than, say, Khurusan or Critical Mass. They come 10 to a pack and are very reasonably priced. The chap in the middle is some kind of pulp Nazi figure that I have no idea where I got. These will be the footsoldiers for my new Villain group, and I have another couple of the Androidz mechs armed with nice Gatling launchers and big arm-blades that I can use as terror striders or dreadnoughts for them.