Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Empire Battle Wizards: now with headscarves

The lady in the image above is Elsa Gerhart, and she's the latest effort in my ongoing attempt to paint one wizard for every lore of magic. Previous entrants came with ovaries, bangles and herbs.

As her semi-clandestine vibe suggests, she uses the Lore of Shadow. As such, I wanted her to be far less conspicuous than the other wizards. The Grey College is in the poor quarter in Altdorf, and it seemed appropriate to have a model that could vanish in a crowd. Other than her skin tone, everything on this model is drab, neutral, and generally hobo-tastic.

Here's the above photo without all the Photoshoppery:

Elsa is actually a level three wizard, and a fairly senior member of her college. Why she's come to Hochland remains unknown; indeed, most people probably don't even know she's there.

The model is another Hasslefree sculpt, with one minor alteration: I sculpted a headscarf on. You can see the original sculpt here.

There's not much to say about the paint job; it's deliberately unremarkable. Some blending, some glazes, some dusty glazes and some drybrushing.

The next wizard on the hit list is an idiotic level one pyromancer, which will, I suspect, be slightly more conspicuous.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Because, we shoot to kill and you know we always will

It's a Bomber!
It's a Bomber!
It's a Bomber!

Ahem, Thanks Lemmy. 

Hello all.

It’s been a while since I last stuck anything up on the Bunker. I have been doing hobby stuff (I promise) but I've been very remiss about turning it into posts here.

So, to prevent Charlie and others propping up the bunker on their own; I've decided to stick some of my stuff up.

One of the reasons that I haven’t posted for a while is because I've spent a lot of my hobby time working on a major project that isn't yet complete. My original plan was to post once the project was complete… However, that would be a very long post and the project is still a long way from being finished.
So, this is a ‘progress so far post’, done in a slightly retrospective manner.

My interest in 40K has taken a pretty savage nose dive since the *arbitrary* new *moronic* 6th edition *inconsistent* rules came in. I hate the current 40K rules and I may put up a whining post at some point as to why I am so out of love with 40K.

Whilst I have very little patience for 40K, I still have a lot of time for Orks.
I decided a long time ago to put together a Blasta Bomma – something about the idea of a massive plane shooting the battlefield to pieces with high calibre ordnance whilst dropping rocket propelled maniacs out of the back just appeals to the rampant Bad Moon in me.

The basic idea that I wanted to work to was the A10 thunderbolt:
Thank you Wikipedia.

Which is a Blasta Bomma in its own right

As such, the premise was to build a straight winged plane with a twin upright tail plane, two dorsally mounted engines and a **** off massive rotary cannon at the front – the deff arsenal.
Having thought about it for a bit, I also decided to build retractable landing gear so that it looked sleeker in the air and plausible on the ground. 
It would also let me choose to use the plane either as a playing piece or as a piece of terrain / objective.
In retrospect, deciding to go with the landing gear has made my life considerably harder.

I had the basic shape in mind and had an idea about construction – a skeleton made out of rectangular profile plasticard, supported by plumbing pipe. The engines would be attached using steel bolts and the wings by, er, something… maybe luck and gaffer tape?

If you can't fix it with gaffer tape, you're not using enough. 

This brings me onto project planning.
Whilst making my own bomma, I have been following Red Jacks log about the construction of his Blasta Bomma here: Red Jack's Bomma Log
(Well, not strictly here, but on the now defunct WAAAGH! forums)

Red Jack obviously kept his design much closer to the Forgeworld Blasta Bomma from Aeronautica Imperialis (sorry, can’t find a decent picture of it) than I did. He also planned the majority of his build straight from the get go.

When putting conversions together, I tend not to do significant planning prior to beginning work. This is partly a function of laziness but it also gives me much more latitude to adapt what I'm doing as I go along and as the mood takes me. I think it also helps for Ork stuff as it can give a useful cobbled together look.
I'm not saying I'm right to do scratch building and conversion work in this manner - I sometimes have to take very hard decisions to undo what I've previously done because it ‘won’t work that way’ – but it is one way that it can be done.

So that was a big wall of text wasn’t it? Onto the actual building part.

This is the beginning of the skeleton in the vice. The fuselage ring ribs were the first things I made (back in 2011). These were glued into pre-cut slots in the fuselage pipe with 2 part epoxy adhesive.
The engines are bolted into a right angled steel V inside the fuselage pipe.
At this point I already had a flight stand for the plane and the receiving part of the stand (a captive nut in a steel plate) was wedged into the fuselage pipe and glued in with epoxy adhesive.

You might say that it seems like a lot of faff to have the polyethylene plumbing pipe in the fuselage when I’m also assembling a rigid structure around the ribs.
And you’d be right; it is. Polyethylene is a pain to work with as the usual glues and paint I use won’t adhere to it as well as they do to polystyrene.

However, there is method to my incipient insanity, and the pipe is there to:
                                - provide a rigid monocoque core to the plane
                                - hold the mounting point for the flight stand end plate
                                - be a strong attachment point for the engines

Next step was to reinforce the fuselage with longitudinal supports. I realised quite early on that the internals of the plane needed to be pretty damn solid. Once the final skin of the plane went on it would be impossible for me to fix the internals without destroying the exterior – an idea I am not keen on. The plane would also likely weigh a fair chunk so everything inside would need to bear some of that weight.

And speaking of which, this is the core of the plane with the landing gear attached.
The landing gear will have to support the entire weight of the finished plane, so all the pivots and axle points were reinforced with 1.5mm steel rod. The pivot points inside the plane were all bulked up for support and all abut the plumbing pipe. That way the pipe takes the forces of the structure away from the more fragile polystyrene skeleton.

Having thought long and hard about how to do the landing gear, I decided that simplest option was, well, achievable. Anything else (for me) would have been too complex and not strong enough. So the landing gear just swings up and down along the axis of the plane - simples.

The front wheel was offset (just like the A10’s) to give the impression of room inside the plane for the cannon’s firing mechanism and ammunition.

That’s it for now. This was a big post in a seemingly random order. I hope it is at least one of  interesting  and useful for all those of you out there planning hefty projects like this.

Next time, the plane will start to look a bit more like a plane…

Sunday, 6 April 2014

We'll Keep Da Red Hood Flappin' Here

If there is one thing I love most about campaign gaming, it is the daft side plots that develop. The unit champions that seem to be invulnerable. The characters that don't get on and never seem to pass leadership tests while fielded together. Sometimes it's just memes and in-jokes that take on a life of their own. The Popular Goblins' Front are one of these that has not only taken on a life of their own but are actively expanding almost beyond our control:

It'll never heal if you picket...

This all started during a game where Charlie and I combined our respective goblin hordes: my (mostly) competent Bitter Moons and the collection of incompetence and infighting called the Bloo Moons. During deployment I assigned Joodee the Shaman to a regiment of Bloo Moons with a certain degree of trepidation. I was right to be worried. After taking the bare minimum of casualties to justify their fleeing (25% break test from shooting) they turned tail and fled. Taking my shaman with them. All the way off the table. We decided that they were some kind of splinter cell of the Bloo Moons, The Popular Goblins' Front, who had kidnapped my shaman. We wound up running a scenario to rescue Joodee but the PGF were well and truly born. Since then, we've blamed the PGF for all sorts of in game effects. A unit fails three animosity tests in a game? Clearly PGF involvement. Fanatics go off the rails and destroy our units? PGF Sabotage. So strong is this increasingly involved story that I had to make these guys. Finally I came up with a reason to do so. Animosity markers! When a unit fails an animosity test I'll use these guys to mark it so I don't forget.

These are not a terribly complex set of conversions. Just snip off the top of spears or add shafts in place of bows. Drilling and pinning a small section of movement tray plastic made a placard. Then rectangles of paper thin plasticard are roughed up with a scalpel and glued on. Finally, thin discs cut from plastic rod are glued on to represent nails. The wider banner is handled the same way only instead of a placard it is glued directly to the shafts and then heat is applied to bend it into the correct shape.

Painting goes in the exact same way as the regular night gobbos but with red hoods to indicate their socialist fervour. The red is shaded with brown to make it dirtier and more desaturated.

Planking is not only an irritating and out of date internet wotnot, it's also making a plain piece of plasticard look like woodwork. It's easier than it looks. Vallejo Beige Brown forms the basecoat, adding Vallejo German Camo Black-Brown leaves a dark tone to paint in thin lines to delineate the individual planks. Then mix more Beige Brown with Vallejo Deck Tan (to be honest, pick a brown, make it darker with dark brown, make it lighter with bone tones) to paint on thin streaks of wood-grain. Wibbly lines work better than perfect straight ones, occasional loops, whorls and knots give a more believable feel. Finally a glaze of Agrax Earthshade finishes the tone.

Finally I perverted a few common far left, anarchist and anti-war slogans to a more goblin tone and painted them on. Examples include:

Evryfink fur Evrywun and Nuffink fur Arselves... wait...
All Gobbos is One fat Gobbo
All Power to tha Soshulist Orker
No waaagh but the class waaagh
Fight da boss not iz wars
Da Control of Teef is control of life
Da rich gobbo knows da poor are his slaves
1,7,9,4 we don't want your feckin' war

and my favourite: Drink Coffee, Proper Tea is Theft

These will now be used to mark a unit which is either in an official work stoppage ordered by the Goblin's Popular Front (squabble) or in a fight with a rival branch - the Popular Goblin's Front, the Front of Goblin Populists, whoever - representing the "Get 'Em!" result. I can also tell that this is not going to be the end of this. The Popular Goblin's Front will almost certainly get bigger. They're only supposed to be animosity markers. But I can already see more in the future. A whole unit probably.

And that's why I love campaign games.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Interior decorating for tiny people

In the eight months between then and now, the interior detail (not to mention the little bits of resin furniture) sat on my shelf looking sad. As much as they all looked very pretty, I didn’t have any impetus to finish them. It’s not like you need a cheese board for games of Warhammer.

Moreover, having the interior detail didn't seem that useful for roleplay scenarios; I only tend to want a visual representation of the area when the environment or number of characters is too complex to keep track of in the mind’s eye... and that seems unlikely to happen in a one-room cottage.

Once I started painting the interiors, though, I got really into it. Given the sharpness and quality of the models, it was easy to get a satisfying result using pretty basic techniques.

First up, here’s the inside of the cottage:

Somewhat ridiculously, there was a point where I found myself painting emulsion paint on the interior walls of a miniature building. Why? Because when we were painting our desert board, I got a tester pot of bleached bone mixed up at Homebase, and it was pretty useful for slapping a basecoat down for the plaster. Follow it up with a white drybrush and then line in the cracks with a mix of Vallejo Earth and bone, and the walls were all set.

In case you’re interested, the wood was an oh-so-basic basecoat of Vallejo Charred Brown, a drybrush of Vallejo Earth, and a final very minimal drybrush of Citadel’s Pallid Wych Flesh.

Finally, here’s the interior of the townhouse:

Mmmm, rustic.