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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bruegleburg: A Day at the Fair street performers, vendor, pan-handler, and a doxie

 These Lead Adventurers festival workers or street performers would be right at home in a European Medieval, Renaissance, or Fantasy setting.

They are the first batch I've done from the Bruegleburg: A Day at the Fair Kickstarter.
 These are traditionally sculpted and very nostalgic.  Filled with individual personality they were really fun to work on.  All of these are metal and cast as one piece... no fiddly assembly!

I elected to mount these on 20mm square bases to fit in with my selection of Tabletop World buildings.  I know most of the modern games are trending towards the larger round lip style bases but most of what I do is still on the old 20mm squares for human sized models.

 I think of these two as "The Gossips" they are fancy on a budget and their Fair Day costumes have seen a lot of wear and tear over the years.
The baker and the beggar... selling basic bread rolls and trying to ignore the panhandler this festival worker has already had a long day.

The baker's skirt in red and white stripes... its always tricky to paint patterns on sitting models.

 Here are a few pictures of the Fair as it winds down for the evening.

These cottages are the Tabletop World Cottage 2 and the "street" is the Kingdom Death Monster board.

 I'm still in the deep woods with the new camera and was experimenting with varying some light levels to get a nighttime scene.

The doxy propositioning the card shark....
 Panhandler working the jesters.

In retrospect the Kingdom Death street graphics make these scenes way more eerie than I had thought... maybe its an All Hallows Eve Festival?
The gossips talking about the card shark's rendezvous with the doxy.

The pumpkin on the bench is making the case for Halloween... just sayin!
Different light levels.

I'm really enjoying building up the collection of background personalities. They'll make great objectives in tabletops war games and great NPCs for RPGs.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Star Saga: Blaine, Monarch, Wrath, X-02-A, Dr. Lucias Koyner, and the Koris Mercenary Inkurphos

 This is the last of the minis for wave one finished up!  Woot!

Oh... I still have a dozen or so doors... but they are pretty close!

The good Doctor is an evolution of the science techie uniforms with the addition of some cobbled together extra mechanical arms.  His coveralls are more green than the techies but they are otherwise pretty similar,

The Koris Mercenary Inkurphos came without a character card due to a snafu.  The card will be included in wave 2.  He reminded my of the Vegepygmies from the old AD&D 1e module "White Plume Mountain"  so I went with some organic colors.  Mostly the Red Hair Triad from Reaper and some Sewer Water Wash from Secret Weapon (SW).
 The Organic Data Storage Unit X-02-A looks like its plant based but it reminded me of the floating jelly fish race from Mass Effect so I went a more electric direction with color.  This is mostly a wash with some artist inks and a bit of pure white added to the inks for layering.  There are some Verdigris (SW) tentacle/conduit things with a wash of Algae (SW).
 Enforcer ES-345 Code Name: Monarch.

I haven't really decided on a color direction for the Enforcers and, rather than agonize over it, I decided to paint an advanced adaptive camouflage system in action.

He's engaged the system and the suit has taken on the characteristics and colors of the floor.  The color stripe patterns are similar.

This ends up with a guy with a super cool advanced stealth capability... and saves me deciding what the overall faction will look like.  Bonus!
 The Star Saga KS incarnation of Blaine.

I started out doing him in a metallic armor but it was so drab looking... so I swapped into a grey and red scheme that I liked from an old Witch Hunter project.  Bounty Hunter... Witch Hunter... there's a theme there somewhere...

The gun is covered in a greenish trophy head.  No idea what that critter is but I reckon it'll be a green gator-y sort of beastie when it eventually surfaces.
 The Doctor in drab interacts with the electric jellyfish guy... 
Wrath... done in "Not Black" ninja style with a power sword.  The "Not Black" is several layers of Amethyst Wash (SW) over the khaki base coat. 

The sword remains a wicked problem that, even though straitened with the hot water method, continues to move towards the bent position it arrived here in.  I may eventually pin it with a needle but, for now, I simply chuckle when I think that his code name "Wrath" might just be all about being provided with such low quality weapons.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

3D Printing terrain for Kingdom Death Monster +Star Saga, Twisted, and Raging Heroes WiP.

I finished up a pair of large Faces to replace the cardboard markers that come with Kingdom Death Monster.  I painted them in a similar way to the small faces that come on the decorative base inserts.   Basically a Khaki base coat, a sandstone dry-brush, some blended washes with Secret Weapon Algae and Sewer Water amended with a spot of Glaze Medium (Vallejo), and a dry-brush of Graveyard Earth (Reaper) and a final dry-brush Splintered Bone (Reaper).
 Is that a ray of hope!

Maybe it explains how some things grow in the gloomy world of Kingdom Death!
I've found that in 3D printing at my best resolution visible striations are a thing.  I'm looking into ways to reduce them other than sanding.  Mass sanding of PLA seem to result in it melting...

I actually like the striations on these faces but, in general, it would be better to get a handle on them!  I think I can rotate them in the shredder so the layers stack from a different direction to reduce it... more tests!
 The last batch of Core Set Miniatures from Mantic's Star Saga Kickstarter is getting close to finishing up... which is good because there are rumbles in the rumor mill about the next wave shipping soon!
Two batches in progress here.  Twisted! The Dickensians Set 2 and some paupers, street performers, beggars, and merchants from the Bruegelburg: A Day at the Fair kickstarter (Lead Adventurers)

Both of these sets are traditionally sculpted and I'm having a lot of fun with the personalities.  I'm finding myself more and more into NPC and Non-Combat type characters... probably because I'm leaning in on scenery and the role play elements of the hobby more than the wargames themselves.
 The real end of the line for Star Saga wave 1!  Doors! So far I've sprayed these with a khaki paint/primer combo and then taped them and resprayed with an Ivory... next step... colored stripes!
And last, but definitely not least, Two miniatures from the Raging Heroes TGG2 Kickstarter are in the build bucket.  I just got word that the remainder of my TGG2 was shipped today so I'd better start clearing the deck!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Star Saga: Computer Screens and Development Tanks

 This batch of scatter and objective terrain has a mix of campy cartoon messages and harder edge decals. I wanted to capture the feel of an evil science lab set to self destruct.

Most of the whites were a work up of the Reaper Bone Triad.  The computer screens a mix of Army Painter Voidshield Blue and Secret Weapon Blue Wash. The computer screens and the development tanks were finished off with a coat of Vallejo Gloss Varnish on the glassy parts.
 The development tanks got an uneven wash of Baby Poop (SW) and another one of Sewer Water (SW) over a base coat of Voidshield Blue(AP).  The large decal was from Thor Decals District 7 set and was applied between a satin varnish and the gloss coat. I wanted the inside to be murky and the outside to be clean.
 The lettering for all the zany messages looks to be channeling Futurama!
 A lone techie and a pair of rent-a-cops stare down some oncoming plague knowing that no evacuation is authorized!
 Lots of screen messages just in case someone didn't know the evil secret base was in trouble!

Welcome to Dead Zone!
The abomination is here!

I have about a half dozen more character models and a pile of doors left to see the Star Saga set fully painted... sans the MDF versions of the floor tiles which have yet to arrive!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Star Saga: Alyse and Kira Nicolovski examine some new furniture.

 I'm finishing up some bits that seem to have found their way into a box... under a paper towel... and surprised me when I went looking for some brush on matte clear coat... DoH!

Apparently Kira Nicolovski (the blue one) and Alyse have languished in a near finished state for several weeks or more... as have this assortment of tables, crates, and work stations.  To be fair I wasn't just distracted... the resin material that the furniture is made of is troublesome and, while Alyse and Kira did not share the same troubles as the furniture, they got lumped in the box with the rest while I was busy working on the Dickensians Set 1.
 First the good stuff!

The furniture has a cool classic sci-fi look and, as you can see, reminded me a lot of Mass Effect!  There are a few nods to that here and there.  This is a welcome addition to the more numerous sci-fi gothic bits that usually decorate my battlefields.  I love having options!  Not every battle takes place in a long destroyed ruin.

Because of this I went with a lot of white.  It is a laboratory after all! I relied mostly on the Reaper Bone Triad for the main white colors.
I also have a mix of lettering styles.  There are some sharp decals (mainly from Thor Decals, District 7 set) and some, very campy, hand lettered stuff.  When the computer monitors come round... as they soon should... they will feature a lot of campy lettering on their screens!

In the Grimdark I tend to use a lot of warm primary colors.  Stark contrasts for stark times.  For the Mantic Universe I'll likely tend to use a different pallet that is generally cooler and secondary like teal and turquoise with accent colors like magenta and coral.
The less good stuff!

The material the boxes and tables are made of is a bit rubbery and doesn't prime well.  It has paint adhesion and rigid strength troubles similar to early Bones.  The tables and work stations were so nettlesome in their determined shapelessness that I ended up mounting them on bases to give them a chance to pick a form and stay in it.  It seems to have worked well and the bases are not as incongruous as I had feared they might be.

The rest of the stuff!

Alyse and Kira also illustrate the depth of my unfamiliarity with the Mantic Universe... I've read some novels and some of the backgroud i the rules.  I like where they seem to be, and where they seem to be going, with the Human Corp Space... but I'm really fuzzy on most of the alien races.  So... I've arbitrarily selected colors for these two... and for the other aliens represented in the Kickstarter... and just run with it.  I figure that as long as I have internal cohesion my approach will be just fine... and if a mid course color correction seems warranted I'll just claim that aliens, like humans, are composed of several subgroups that can be identified in part by the color of their skin. Variety is the spice of life... literally!

Back to the painting table!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dice Box of Death: 3D printing with Snapmaker

 More adventures in 3D printing with the Snapmaker.

As I'm specifically not allowed to touch my wife's dice because I might transfer my abysmal dice rolling luck to her set... I decided to print up the Dice Box of Death!

In spite of the title its not at all related to Kingdom Death... although protecting the purity of the dice for that game will be the box's first job.

The box is shown here with our Canoness Veridyan for scale.
 This print is at high quality due to the fiddly details of the bone walls and alcoves.  The white PLA material took paint well and seems pretty stable... if I don't leave it out in the direct sun!

I remember seeing the casket of the three wise men in the cathedral in Koln and the casket/handle for the box is painted to resemble it.  Its a minor modification of my most recent yellow metal process; Brass Casings (SW), Flesh Wash (SW), Brass Casings (SW) again, and Shining Gold (GW).  I left of the final highlight step of Rustungs Farbe (a bright silver metal color made for Fantasy Forest) to get a better separation between it and the metallic straps on the wood.
 The Bones were Tan Earth (Vallejo), Dirty Bone (Reaper) + Tan Earth 50/50, Dirty Bone (Reaper, Graveyard Earth (Reaper), Splintered Bone (Reaper).

The Wood is my regular wood process as described here.

Stone is a simple dry-brush over black using the Reaper Stone triad.
About the Snapmaker.

I got this from a kickstarter to experiment with 3D printing, Laser Engraving, and CNC.  The machine is transformable to do all three operations.

After several weeks of working with this machine I've discovered several things:

On the plus side:

It was easy to assemble.
The machine makes good quality prints.
The Snapmaker Shredder software, while short on features, is easy to use and is very helpful when dealing with a build area as small as this.

On the minus side:

1. The machine has a petite, as in on the small side of small, build area.  As you can see the Dice Box of Death fully covered the build area.  This has been a problem with some kickstarters... even the excellent Rampage range which offers a "Small Printer Format" option for most, if not all, of its STL files.  Even with that many models are not printable without resizing downward. I'm going to contact Rampage and ask about a "Petite" option but it'll be an ongoing problem. On the plus side the Snapmaker shredder software is designed for this petite build area and warns the operator when the model size exceeds the capacity of the build area.

2. The modular design and all aluminum body were attractive to me because I move often and would need to break down the machine and re assemble it post move.  Unfortunately the fasteners are poorly designed and often not actually anchored to anything so, for example, a screw holding the lower cooling fan just fell out onto the print during operation.  The print head impacted the screw which unseated the print bed. The print bed is no longer as stable as it was, has to be checked for position prior to printing, and is prone to slip.  I'll have to break it all down and see if its re-seatable.

3. The filament feed system is a twitchy and I had to disassemble the print module to get the filament to feed the first time.  During this process I discovered that the cooling fan screws are not anchored to anything and take advantage of the cooling fin spacing for traction... this traction disappears the first time the screw is removed and, since the cooling fins get hot, you have to consider that when coming up with alternative ways to seat the screws. There are effectively no guides for the filament but with practice, once understanding the interior geometry, the filament has change has become more manageable.

4. The enclosure is a nightmare!

Let me say that again... The enclosure is a nightmare!

90% of the problems I have with the machine so far are due to the design of the enclosure.

Some examples:

 The metal tabs are brittle and easily broken during assembly.  I only broke one and had to glue the support in place.  This isn't a major problem for a permanent location but kind of defeats my goal of re-locatability.

The filament feed tube is plastic and during normal operation can easily come into contact with a hot part of the machine.  This happened to me.  The tube melted onto the filament which eventually broke off very close to the print head which then had to be changed.  To change the print head requires loosening a small set screw that, in normal operation, becomes filled with PLA material.  The screw is made of low quality material and is easily stripped when trying to loosen it.

Basically any interaction with the machine, from transformation to filament changes, is made much more difficult by the enclosure.  The one advantage the enclosure has is that it does reduce the noise level.  Having the enclosure actively assault the machine is a pretty high price to pay for a little less noise.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Twisted: The Dickensians Set 1

 Twisted is a tabletop skirmish game from Demented Games.  My first foray into this alternate steampunk reality are the Dickensians.  A right twisted version of your favorite hoodlums from Oliver Twist and a little Voodoo too!

 The cannon fodder... er.. I mean to say the bulk of the faction are the Urkin.  Essentially hordes of orphaned children that have been twisted by their exposure to the energies of The Engine into evil, yet adorable, characters of their former selves.

Here, from left to right, are the Urkin Slasher "Torch", The Urkin Shooter "Blunder", and the Urkin Shooter "Scope".

I wanted to have this faction look impoverished but sort of radioactively festive.  They are basically gray with  some bright accent colors like pink, orange and green.

The wraith like Sowerberry is festooned with timepieces infused with the baleful energies of The Engine and Dodger has been fuse with some kind of motorized unicycle.

I used Verdigris (Secret Weapon) to represent the energies of The Engine which not only emanates from their equipment like, Sowerberry's time pieces, but even from inside the faction members.  Most of the members of this faction are bundled up from head to toe in protective gear and carry some form of gas canister and gas mask to sustain them when they are separated from direct exposure to the miasma that suffuses the Engine node in London.
Most of the Urkin show little skin, which I have depicted as darkened by the energies that twisted them, the one exception being the Bloodrage Urkin form of the Urkin Alchemancer.  This is straight up Jekyll and Hyde in a Voodoo mask.  The trousers started out solid purple (HULK SMASH!) but got stripes of orange to liven them up.

Which brings us to the Faction leader Bill Psyches and his English Bull Terrier Bullseye.  Bill's legs have been changed into mechanical powerhouses and even Bullseye sports a gas canister.

I enjoyed these figures and am torn between doing The Dickensians Set 2 or Minions of The Engine set 1 next... probably should do the minions so I can actually get a game in!