Tuesday, 30 October 2012

City Ruins Board

As promised, here are some photos of my city ruins models on some of my customized Kallistra Hexon terrain.
Before I came the the UK, I wanted to order a set but the postage was prohibitive. So when I was preparing to return to Australia, I made sure I got an order in before I left.
I'm glad I did, as the hexes are very well made and a single set has enough tiles for me to make another set in a different shade, plus a few left over for special pieces

8 sections fit on my pin-board

...And stack neatly away.

A view of the ruins on the board

Crusties pick their way through

Khurasan furniture adds detail

my scratch-build cork tile junkpiles

I plan to make some inserts out of my remaining cork tile to fit in the half-hex gaps at the short ends of the board. It really is great stuff!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Gesso and undercoating

I got one of these

Azeal asked in yesterday's comments about Gesso and my use of it. Funny Story.

There is a lot of talk on the interwebs about using Gesso to prime a miniature, both in the "inexpensive alternative" and "superior surface" camps. I bought this tub of Gesso when I was in Oxford Art Supplies in Sydney, buying corrugated paper. I was very sad to see the shop was closing, as it was my go-to art supply shop when I was in Art school and I'd been visiting it for years. They stocked 'proper' art supplies, not just brushes and pretties.
So this was on special, and I figured why not? I used it to prime my Crusty Walkers and a few other things. Here is my list of pros and cons.

  • It shrinks when drying so usually isn't too rough on the detail if you're careful
  • Gives a nice toothy finish
  • Is comparatively cheaper than model paint
  • You have to mix it with a bit of water to get it to flow, as it's very goopy
  • It takes quite a long time to dry naturally
  • You're still brushing it on
Am I a Gesso convert? Not really, I'm mainly using it now because I have a big pot of it. I used this for my recent scenery only because my $3.50 can of black spray paint ran out.

In another shocking twist, I don't even use the spray can for minis usually. As I tend to paint in groups of 5 or less, I generally find brushing on chaos black as a primer is actually easier and faster than spraying, plus you don't miss any spots. I usually end up going back in with a brush on spray undercoated 15's anyway so why bother.
Also, there are a lot of figures I don't use black undercoat on. Shock! Yes, if a figure is going to be mainly one bright or light color, I just used (until recently) citadel foundation paints straight onto the metal in two thin coats. The Crusty infantry were done this way, relying on washes to bring out the detail.

The bottom line: Gesso- It's OK I guess.


Scratch built cork tile hills

I've managed to put together and paint some low hills made from cork tile. This is a common technique that seemed easy enough so I gave it a go in an effort to break up my terrain collection, which was until today without any hills... Odd I know.

These were pretty easy. I broke up the edges of the pieces of cork with a pair of small pliers and used PVA to glue them together. I glued some extra small crumbled off bits  around the joins, then spread some texture medium on the flat surfaces.

When dry, I used black gesso to undercoat them. The next day (today) I drybrushed them with 3 shades of brown craft paint, then a light dusting of Vallejo pale sand last of all. Bringing out the detail took careful drybrushing in multiple passes, over a couple of Walking Dead episodes. I finished them off with some of my Silfor tufts.

For the small effort they took, I'm very happy with the result. I also made some trash/debris piles for scatter terrain in my city ruins. They took a little more work, but I'm very happy with how they look and will hopefully be posting photos of them soon.

Thanks for looking!

Regular Programming

Hey readers, sorry it's been so long between posts. As happens from time to time, real life has intruded and put the brakes on blogging. I've got personal stuff going on that means I haven't had much time to blog or take proper photos, or get the games in I have planned.
I've managed to get some terrain built and painted as you can see in the instragram workbench stream on the right, as this is less taxing than painting minis and I can stop and start as I please. I'm finding instagram a lot less time consuming than blogging at the moment, so it's taken the lead a bit out of the two.
Anyway, I'm going to have significantly more time on my hands in a week or so, and I will endeavor to make at least weekly posts from then on wards.

I've had plenty of fresh minis coming in lately, a huge haul from Khurasan (Thanks again Jon!) including the modern zombie hunters, which I am looking forward to painting as I re-watch S2 of the Walking dead while I ramp up for S3.
Also recently in the mail: A lovely bag from Rebel minis, which will be absolutely perfect for my intended John-Woo style games.

I have settled on Ganesha Game's Flashing Steel rules for this project, which seems odd considering they are a 3 musketeers style ruleset, but they include everything I want in this sort of game.

Why not Flying Lead? Sadly, that set just didn't do it for me. It weighed down the elegant Song Of system just that little bit too much to make it smooth and fun. Flashing Steel has a more usable points system (FL requires you to use 2 types of online builder...Ugh.) and has "swashbuckling" rules built in, which allow things like sliding along tables and kicking chairs into people's faces etc. The key word is cinematic... FS is quicker and much more cinematic.

I just had to tinker with the skills and weapons a bit. Essentially, I swapped modern weapons for muskets and martial arts for the different types of melee weapons. Grabbed a few relevant abilities from MDRG and done! We will see how it pans out of course.

The guns were the trickiest part. I wanted them to be different enough from each other that they would be interesting to use on an 18" board, but not so complex that they had too many exceptions to remember.
My solution was to come up with a brand new way of representing movie firearms rather than try to bend the existing ones into shape.
Flying Lead's Assault rifle has 3 different special rules (C+2, Long range, Select fire, move and shoot) while MDRG's has just C+2. Neither has a points value in the rulebook. I wanted something in the middle, so came up with this:

Modern Cinema Guns for Flashing Steel

  • All Guns may fire beyond their designated range at a -1 C penalty
  • All guns have a maximum range of 3x their listed range distance
  • All guns run out of ammo if a 1 is rolled, and cannot be used until reloaded (2 actions)

Keep in mind that these are generalized categorizations, designed to fit my figure collection. A heavy pistol could be a machine pistol or a .50 Desert Eagle for example.
"Support weapon" is intentionally vague. Since I don't intend to use vehicles in these rules (perhaps Bikes, but they are easily handled with skills) it's a big heavy gun as far as anyone in a tea-house or space-bar is concerned.

I am aware that the ranges are not "realistic" in the slightest. Consider them the "effective range" in a chaotic close quarters environment. Hollywood doesn't care about stuff like this anyway, so I'm going for fun over authenticity. (Some easy examples are Han Solo's pistol besting a whole squad of armored troops with carbines, and the Schwarzenegger film "Commando" in it's entirety.)

I have tried to make my rules simple and consistent  so that I can remember them while playing solo. This is quite different than a head to head game, where your opponent's head contains some of this stuff.

Typically, they are untested as yet, although I have my shanty board all set up, and a team of Khurasan cops vs Armie's Army Mercs deployed. I just need to play the game!

See you again soon,