Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I'm surrounded by scatter terrain!

Status Update - I was offline for hobby stuff for the last couple of weeks. First it was Thanksgiving which tied me up for some time at home and then some travel to see family. Because there aren't enough disruptions and stress at the holidays, we are preparing for a move from Maryland to Florida. Nice sure, but it also means we have to get the house ready for sale. To do that we painted the entirely of the interior which means I packed everything up for wall access. That took a week overall. Now we are preparing for carpet installation in the entire house, which means additional stuff gets packed and put aside. I did though with a house in ruins looking like life sized This Is Not A Test terrain surrounded by scatter terrain, I managed to assemble... Scatter Terrain

MDF Sheet

I can't recall how I found this little terrain set, probably a Facebook feed ad or something, but you can pick up the Comanche Scatter Pack for $8. This is a great little kit made of laser cut MDF and plastic. There are no instructions in the kit, so it took me a few minutes to figure everything out, but for you, I took pictures. Even with my normal distractions of children and television, I had all of the pieces assembled in about 30-45 minutes. 

From this kit, you can make a plethora of scatter terrain for your board. The components when fully assembled will yield two pallets, six 55 gallon drums, two barricades, two cable wire spools, four Jerry cans, four ammo boxes, two ammo crates, and a satellite dish.

55 Gallon Drum Assembly Process
Let's start with the 55 gallon drums. The majority of the MDF is small circles and at first I couldn't figure out how they were to be used, but it turns out these are the spacers that make the body of the barrels. The plastic sheet contains the top, bottom and middle pieces which are slightly larger to give the appropriate bump outs/edges on the barrels. The picture shows in pictures the assembly, which I did using Aleene's Tacky Glue. Once assembled and dried, you will need to do some sanding to smooth out the centers of the barrel if you want a smooth uniform look. If not, you can prime and paint up. 

Assembled Pallets
Next up are the pallets. These are really pretty simple overall because there is only one way to assemble them correctly and since everything is pre-cut, it would be hard to assemble them incorrectly. One note though, the boards have pre-cut nail holes in them and you want to make sure they are pointing out. Some of the notches for the thin boards are irregular, so you may want to dry fit them before you glue them in place. I also started on with the larger boards which wasn't terrible, but in retrospect it would have been easier and more stable to start with the thin boards. 

Large Cable Wire Assembly
Similar to the barrels are the large cable wire spools. I have been looking for something like this for a while and was too lazy to create it myself. I do think though that you can do it very simply with s piece of PVC and some plasticard. I might have to try it soon.

Anyway, the components are similar with the ends made of the plastic and the filler made of the MDF discs. Now if you look closely at the picture, you will see that the discs for the spool are different than the disks for the barrels. Make sure you keep them separate to make the assembly easy. There is a small wooden cuboid which fits snugly in the square cut out in the disc. I know there is some joke about square pegs and round holes, but that is just if you screw it up. When you fit it all together than you should have the holes in the discs lined up with the holes in the ends which makes a nice tunnel through from side to side. 

Street Barricade Assembly
The two street barricades are pretty simple to figure out and assemble. The only thing that threw me was an extra end piece for the barricades, but you only need four of the five ends to build these. One pretty cool thing about the barricades is that they are marked so that you could paint them up immediately with some pattern (black/yellow or white/red) and not have to worry about too much work to get them done. 

These appear to be 5 gallon Jerry cans are three parts per can with the body being MDF and the sides made of plastic. The sides just glue onto the two sides. There is a little notch on the cans, so make sure you pay attention when you are gluing things together. These all fit on and line up very well, so it isn't much of an issue. This is more of a logistics warning. 

Once assembled these will be great additions either as stand along pieces or added to any number of tanks or small jeep like vehicles. 

If you look to the left of the Jerry can bodies on the MDF sheet, you will notice four little rectangles and I wasn't sure where they went. I looked at the image for the scatter pack a bunch of times and couldn't see anything there. But at the end of the time, I figured out that they were 4 ammo boxes and apparently no assembly necessary. In fact these aren't even included in the description of the set, so happy bonus!

Jerry Cans and Ammo Crates
The ammo crates are three pieces. The top and bottom are made of the plastic and the filler is made of MDF. The picture of the scatter pack shows four ammo crates, but the description (which is correct) indicates two ammo crates. One note to really be careful is with the handles on the crates. These are small, really small and barely attached to the crates. In face one of mine was missing, which isn't a big deal. I removed them immediately and then glued them into position. Doing this means you can change them to up or down. Down is more secure than up, so select based on how much you will use them. Other than that, the pieces just stack together. 

The two tires are made of four pieces and completely plastic. Each part has a set of nubs carved on the exterior. When all put together it makes the tread for the tires. One interior piece has the spokes for the tire and the other has is just a cog looking piece with nothing in the interior. The exterior pieces have some etching to look like the exterior of a tire, duh. So long as you have the etched pieces facing out, you can easily glue them together and be ready for prime and paint. 

Satellite Dish and Tires
The communications satellite dish is a pretty cool little piece. The entire set-up is made of plastic except for the base which is a nice little piece of MDF which would be equally suitable as a base crown. I didn't take pictures, but the base of is two pieces which slide together. You may want to glue this together first then build something else and come back when the glue sets some. There is a frame for the dish part which sort of looks like a Klingon batliff (really had to dig deep into my nerd file for that). This slides up into the leg frame and then is covered by the center panel of the dish. The wings then just glue onto the frame.

This is a great set of terrain and incredibly affordable. I am looking forward to getting it painted up and ready for the tabletop. Definitely check them out for more more pieces especially if you play Infinity, that is the majority of the offerings.

Kickstarter News

Goth-Tech "Generator"Three Kickstarter campaigns that I wanted to tell you about. The first is the latest from Dragon Forge Designs - Goth-Tech Expansion Bases and Accessories, which I mentioned previously. This has achieved funding level and unlocked a couple of stretch goals, the latest getting every a free ammunition objective marker. As I write this the campaign is about $100 dollars from unlocking stretch goal number 6 ($1800). This will unlocked another set of oval bases.  Down the road a ways is this generally named "Generator" which is in process. This is a marker or general terrain piece and stands rather large. Currently the aim for this is a $3000 stretch goal, so a little while to go. To see us there though, a bunch of other stretch goals are laid out already. If you have a tech-based army, this is a good opportunity to get in on some top-notch base sets.

The second is a cool set of Slavic Fantasy Miniatures which have been sculpted for Deraj Studios. The miniatures are 32 mm, so suitable for pretty much any tabletop campaign or RPG. The miniatures are high quality resin and based on Slavic folklore. Sculptors include Kamil Smok Milaniuk, Prezmyslaw Szymczyk, and Patrick Keith (Bombshell Miniatures). This has already doubled the original funding goal, so additional miniatures are being developed. There is a really amazing Rooster which has been hollowed out to be a home and walking about. 

These figure support a game as well, Portals: Worlds Collide which looks to allow you to bring many universes together for a table top skirmish game. 

The last on the list today is the Trash Bin Bits Part 2! campaign by Brian Roe. This is the follow-on to the previous Kickstarter campaign. In this campaign, Brian brought us another round of pretty great looking sci-fi doors/windows/covers to bring your trash bin creations to life and finish them off with style. You can see the amazing sets that are now available as high quality resin bits. These are perfect for the DIY modeller who can take cardboard packaging inserts, CD cases, and otherwise discarded materials and make some top notch sci-fi terrain. I am glad to have gotten in on this campaign and am eagerly looking forward to the materials being cast and sent to me. 

Hopefully all of this come before I move so I don't have to worry about mail/package forwarding. Anyway, keep your eyes open for more exciting Kickstarter opportunities and if you have others of interested, add them in the comments section.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Geek Out on Black Friday!

Just when you thought you were prepared for Black Friday a bunch of new deals were announced! Here are some additional deals that have popped up since the This Is Not A Test: Marshal's Report: Interlopers! post. Before we get to that though, let's take a look at a Kickstarter hitting today! Get those shopping lists out, you have more to consider!

Dragon Forge Design Goth-Tech Expansion Kickstarter

Goth-Tech Forge Kit
Round Lip Forge Kit Kickstarter Exclusive
If the deals being offered by Dragon Forge Design wasn't enough, today starts the launch of a new series of bases. The Goth-Tech bases are designed to have a very steampunk feel to them and have been very popular for a variety of 28mm games. This expansion makes the round lipped style bases available, adds new base styles, and fills in a number of the new base sizes required for many games.

Starting at the $50 Early Bird pledge level, you get a Kickstarter exclusive set (bevel or round lip) which is a set of five 30 mm bases and a 50 mm base. Additional bases may be added as Stretch Goals are unlocked. Be sure to pay attention as these are limited to the first $50 Early Bird pledges and you must select either Bevel or Round Lip specifically. At this level you can select any number of bases up to the total value of the pledge and can mix bevel and round lip styles.

170 mm  Goth-Tech "Clock Work" Set Three(3)
170 mm Goth-Tech Knight Base
Additional pledge levels are $10, $25, $50, and $100. $10 will get you one 30 mm base. The $25, $50, and $100 pledge levels allow you to select any style bases, but you do not qualify for the freebies as they are unlocked.

Bases in the range include round (30 mm up to 120 mm) and oval (up to 170 mm) that will be suitable for any game. Base sets run from $9 to $20 with lots of new sculpts. 30 and 40 mm base sets include 10 bases. 50 mm base sets and the 60 x 35 mm oval bases come as 3 bases per set. The other larger bases are singularly priced.

I have a number of the other bases, terrain pieces, and modelling supplies offered by Dragon Forge Design and recommend these fully. The work is very well done and I highly recommend. Also be sure to check out the currently running Thanksgiving Week sale.

This Is Not A Test Black Friday Sale

The wastelands are all bleak (though my last game may say otherwise, that post is coming soon). From November 26 through November 29th, you can get a free miniature with any purchase of $40 or more. Now, the available critters are not recommended for dinner, but add greatly to your wasteland adventures. Use the code 'thanks40' during checkout. Now if you decide that there is just too much goodness (and really who wouldn't) and you find you have managed to cram more than $60 in your cart, you can select the Mutant Rats instead. Use code 'thanks60' during checkout.

Burn In Designs

If you find your tabletop is looking a little desolate or you just need to refresh the terrain, then I recommend you take a look at Burn In Designs. While you can get a number of laser cut terrain pieces, many of which you may have seen in posts by Jim Wappel, the holiday sale is limited. Running from Nov 27 through Dec 12, you can get 15% off of all paint storage systems and 10% off all Welcome to Rock Ridge kits. The Rock Ridge kits are perfect for any games of Wild West Exodus games (10-50% off at site).

Army Painter

Get to Army Painter between Nov 26 and 30th to stock up on all the paints that you will need to be successful until next year. The good folks of Army Painter have put together a Black Friday Super Mega Pack. This combination set includes the Army Painter Mega Paint set, a can of primer (your choice of color), and a can of Anti-Shine Matte Finish ($150 total). You will receive a can of Quickshade Strong Tone. This is a total of $29.99 in free materials and to sweeten the deal, shipping is included as well.

Warploque Miniatures

Warploque Miniatures is about to start the Griffsmas Sale which is a 30% discount on the Arcworlde Arcane Dragon. This miniature would normally be £80. Now the really crazy thing is, at least how I read the post, the miniature will only be available during the Griffsmas Sale. Some of the other miniatures are also for sale at 25-30% off. There is a limited stock of the miniatures, so make sure if you are interested that you get to the site quickly. They are a UK based company so the sale is already underway. The sale runs from Nov 27th through Dec 31st.

There's more!

Kromlech is offering 20% off all purchases. Wargames Tournaments is offering 30% off a wide variety of terrain pieces through the eBay store.

My Sincerest Thanks

Given this is Thanksgiving in America (Thursday to everyone else), I wanted to take a moment to give my sincere thanks to all of the people who take a moment or two to read through my blog posts. I started this originally because I am color blind and needed a mechanism to track color schemes and the specific names of paints that I use for each miniature. This was also supposed to get me to complete my 40k Imperial Guard army, which still hasn't happened.

I have though evolved my skills, the scope of this blog, and my own goals and aspirations. I have grown my personal network, which now includes some amazing miniature painters and game designers across the globe and all of whom are very down to Earth and approachable, which is fantastic when you want to develop. On top of all of the changes, I have taken on new projects which including attempting to sculpt new parts for miniatures, creating a card game, and learning airbrush skills.

So sincerely, I thank everyone who has taken a moment to read these posts and I look forward to where this all goes into the future.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

This Is Not A Test: Marshal's Report: Interlopers!

The following are the Marshal's report of recent occurrences of peacekeeper activity from events at or near to Games & Stuff in Glen Burnie, MD. All reports are provided directly from the surviving ranking officer and are considered accurate and true.

Marshal's Report

Gardia and Clonekeepers engage with We're all God's children and the Exiles
Reported by: Marshal O'Halihan
Date: November 18, 2086

Unit Details

Marshal O'Halihan
K-9 Handler Mutt
K-9 Units Dawg & Cagney
Officer Flynn
Officer Scullin
Specialist Aedus
Depend 'o Bot Volkstöter

Activity Report

The Gardia in an effort to expand the controlled areas reached out to a nearby peacekeeper organization, the Clonekeepers which we can only assume are the descendants of the 501st Old Line Garrison. To start building out coalition, we moved out on a joint patrol operation through what were expected to be an abandoned outcrop of buildings. We quickly discovered otherwise.

Clonekeepers Advancing
Rumors have been flying over the past month about the encroachment of some Mutant Cannibal Clans ($3.99) coming down from the wildlands and hills. As the Gardia approached the "abandoned" ruins we spotted a group from one such malformed and monstrous family. I am not sure how the Exiles made contact with this clan, calling themselves We're All God's Children, but they came into the area apparently looking for relics. I don't know if they were hoping to find something or if this maternally led clan were lulling folks into the pantry.

Immediately after seeing the approach of this mutant cannibal clan, K-9 handler Mutt immediately put the mutant Clutch down. He was being used as a meat shield by the much larger psycho Sweet Release. Unfortunately as soon as Clutch was dropped he was again on his feet after the Psychic Husk used her powers of healing. While it wasn't immediately clear how the Psychic Husk was being controlled, we later discovered that the Grandmother was controlling her. Mutt remained persistent and was able to eventually take Clutch down. Cagney and Dawg were sent forward immediately to engage and attempt to use speed to get to the matron of the clan. Once through the initial defenses, Ma and Sweet Release immediately set on Dawg. At the same time Chippy managed to get a shot onto Cagney that immobilized her.

While the Gardia engaged God's Children, the Clonekeepers crept along, but were held down largely from a storage tank that was leaking low levels of radiation and the well positioned and covered raider band, the Exiles.

Exiles Searching Ruins for Relics
The fight between the Clonekeepers and the Exiles was a slog and both were held down by position and the leaking radiation. The Clonekeepers suffered a number of wounds as did the Exiles, especially after Officer Flynn was able to engage with his assault rifle. He managed to take out one of the bigger brutes of the group, but the identification information was not available. Additional intelligence is needed from this band of raiders. The Exiles also seemed to have some sort of waste wolf with them that after being hit by one of the Clonekeeper officers seemed to frenzy.

The Gardia moved to work around some light industrial buildings, probably that of a pre-fall construction company, but were immediately met by a couple of large waste wolves which seemed to be pets. As Specialist Aedus engaged the wolves and unleashed his flamethrower on them, he was hit with a vile spray of blood and body fluids from the mutant Gimpy. This seemed to enrage the waste wolves who viciously attacked Specialist Aedus.

The new Volkstoter unit was put through some tests as well, but with the range needed to engage the enemy it was not entirely up to the challenge. The combination of distance, number of opponents, and bite/tearing strength of the waste wolves proved too much. Once the Volkstoter was knocked down, the waste wolf was able to dislodge an electrical wire which immobilized the unit.

Ma and Her Boy Take Dawg Down
After searching the area around the construction company and the construction trailer, a few of the mutants (Ma and Granny) laid down a large volume of machine gun fire on Marshal O'Halihan, wounding him and forcing him back to cover. Since the Clonetroopers were pinned and locked with the Exiles, the Marshal called for a regrouping and general engaged withdrawal from the conflict. The Marshal has determined that battle report analysis and additional input are necessary to determine the next steps and best approach to handle each of the groups.

Post Activity Update

As is the hectic nature of battle there was a lot of confusion as the group looked to make a safe exit. The Renegades were able to make away with K-9 unit Dawg. As one would expect the only desire was ransom and they immediately made their desires known to the Gardia. Resources are never abundant in the wasteland and kidnapping is a standard means to gain additional barter script. Dawg has been too valuable an asset to let go. Even with the tight reserve levels, there was no question as to paying the ransom to recover Dawg. This has been entered in to the ledger and plans for reconciliation are underway to ensure that the exact toll is paid by the Renegades.
Specialist Aedus Roasting Wasteland Wolves

Once the unit was again made whole, there was some time to recover from the conflict and make an assessment of the new threats and potential allies in the area. Specialist Scullin and Officer Flynn were recognized for steady improvement and skill with firearms. The K-9 team and their approach to unit cohesion, aggressive engagement tactics, and advances skills in combat were noted specifically. All recognize Mutt's toughness in combat and his ability to remain engaged when under heavy fire. Dawg's ability to avoid harm was noted again and Cagney's tendency to engage multiple enemies at one time.
Officer Flynn Engaging the Exiles

Specialist Aedus was brutally attacked by the two Wasteland Wolf pets this Mutant Cannibal Clan brought. He is under continued surveillance to see if he will recover fully from the engagement. Some of the other members of the unit mentioned his discussing recurring nightmares since the attacks and there is concerned that he may suffer long-term issues with flashbacks.

Continued Development

In order to help push myself and to continue to grow and develop, I decided to take on a number of new things. I created an artist page for Layfield Paints on Facebook. This will be a place that I share in process items and hopefully additional photos of projects that can't be included here. If you are so inclined, please join up there as well. I am also working on a set of scenarios for This Is Not A Test, developing a new card game idea, learning to sculpt, and working on my first commission. This is a lot of new things all at once, but I am trying to keep scheduled and have fun with it.


In the next few weeks, the This Is Not A Test rule book will be taking a major leap. While the rule book is incredibly well done, it has been held as a pdf for quite some time now and so Worlds End Publishing is looking to make it available as a hard bound book. The pdf version will still be available which means the game is still an incredible steal and affordable to start playing, but who doesn't love a good rule book? So keep you eyes open and join the This Is Not A Test Facebook page so that you know when it goes live. I'll be sure to post an update when the Kickstarter campaign launches. If you didn't notice, we got to see the proof of it at the last campaign game and I was stunned. It looks great, feels great, and really takes this game to the next level.


Dragon Forge Design. There are a number of companies offering some great savings this week. Dragon Forge Design will add to your total order depending on what you purchase. Get $5 on a $25 order, $15 on a $50 order, $25 on a $100 order and $50 on a $250 order. Great deal if you want to pick up some bases, objectives or terrain. This offer is good for the entire week of Thanksgiving!

Secret Weapon Miniatures. What is being called "The Blackest Friday Ever" is a combination of offers for 10-50% off of products. This is not a Black Friday only sale, you will have from November 25th through December 1st to make your purchases.

Wyrd Games. The webstore for Wyrd Games is down until the start of the Black Friday sale. From November 26th through December 2nd Wyrd will be offering a bunch of different things. There are give aways if you spend more than $150 or more than $300. There are a bunch of special offers that are not usually available and there are a set of pre-releases that you will be able to order. You draft your shopping list from this Wyrd Black Friday forum post.

Games Workshop. The local stores will have some special packages that will only be available to Games Workshop and will be cheaper than buying the components at the FLGS. Additionally depending what sets you get, you and potentially a friend may qualify to get a voucher for additional products. If you shop online there are the Christmas sacks (2 types) which are randomly selected when you spend $150. No sign of savings over at Forge World though.

Warlord Games. Happy Tanksgiving from Warlord Games. This year between November 23rd and 30th you can celebrate by saving 20% when you purchase three Bolt Action vehicles.

Battle Foam. Once again Battle Foam will offer tremendous discounts on the bag lines, pre-cut foam trays, and sets. Between November 27 through 30th, you can save 15-60% off products. I currently have three of these bags that I have picked up at different points over the last three years and love them. These are fantastic and fit any gaming/hobby need.

A bunch of online stores are also having Black Friday sales. Groatsworth is giving a 15% discount if you use code: BLACK15 on Friday.  Miniature Market is offering 50-90% off a large selection (1500) of products from November 23rd through November 30th. Frontline Gaming has a bunch of stuff on sale, including 20% off F.A.T. mats

Small Business Saturday! Don't forget that the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, so hit up your FLGS and give them some love and support. There are usually some deals and special events and if not, give them enough support that it happens next year.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Take a second to breathe...then prepare for what's next

Preparing for the near future

Preparing for the near future...

Sometimes, you need to clean house and get ready for the next set of activities. In a few months, I am expecting to pack everything up and move from Maryland to Florida, the Orlando area specifically. In order to start the process for myself, I decided to take some time over the last few days to get a bit more organized and to prepare for the next few weeks. On top of that though, I have been working to prepare some items for play testing a set of scenarios that I wrote up for This Is Not A Test.

This Is Not A Test Playtest Preparations

After editing the Mutant Cannibals Supplement ($3.99) release for This Is Not A Test, I was inspired to create a set of scenarios for release. The original idea was a combination of my location, an offhanded comment someone made, and my upcoming move. While the materials are not ready for general discussion yet, I will be play testing them over the next couple/few weeks with Joey McGuire and a couple of other guys in our regular Wednesday night campaign games. There will be Marshal's Reports to come from those, so stay tuned and get a glimpse of releases. 

A Trip to Reaper Bones Crate and Barrel

Reaper Bones Barrel and Crate
In order to prepare for the releases though, I need to get some staging done for the scenarios. One will require a good number of barrels and crates. I immediately turned to the Reaper Bones Kickstarter sets to see what was available. I had these two and went right to work on them. The barrel ($2.29) was base coated with Reaper MSP HD Golden Brown followed by a wash of Vallejo European Dust. The two rings were painted with Citadel Tin Bitz. While that was a nice two tone, I had to make sure that the shadow from the rings was sufficient and give it a little more depth. An additional wash of Citadel Athonian Camoshade did the trick. I then touched up with some highlights of the Golden Brown. 

I wanted the crate ($2.79) to be a darker seaside looking object and not an ammo crate, so I went with a dark wood. The base is Army Painter Oak Brown. This was pretty dark, so I washed with the European Dust to lighten it a little. Over the top, I did a two layer dry brush. The first layer was the Reaper MSP HD Ash Grey. The main highlight was the dry brush of Vallejo Khaki. 

A Little Tectonic Craft Studios Swamp Shelter

Tectonic Craft Studios Swamp Shack
When you are in the swamp or the wastes, it is always wise to keep a shelter. Now it may not be much, but if it is all you have than there's no place like home. I turned to a piece I got from Tectonic Craft Studios during NOVA Open 2015. This was a piece that they offered at NOVA Open and a prime example of why you should get to conventions; there is always some exclusives that you can get which find a way of being useful. 

 The shack looks great, but it didn't have sufficient texture to look like a bunch of boards slapped together to make the shack. I gave it a base coat of Vallejo Mahogany Brown which I went over with Vallejo Oak Brown. This was done to break-up the overall flatness of the building and to give it some additional texture.

Rear View
To interior of the door, I had to make a door stop. I did this with some Magic Sculpt two-part resin epoxy. While the interior is playable, I didn't want to do too much as it would be ruined with repeated play. To the front of the door, I used a little spot of the resin epoxy to make a rope handle for the door. I painted up the rope with Vallejo Leather Brown.

Since this is a swamp shack, I decided it had to have some foliage around it. I picked up some Army Painter Swamp Tuft and added that sporadically, but it wasn't enough. I wanted to add some height as well and went with the Army Painter Poison Ivy to be growing up and around the shack. The  base had been painted with a solid grey color, one of the Reaper MSP HD options which didn't look anything like a swamp.
Front View

I received a BrokenToad Fresh Mud pigment bottle ($5.00) from Ironheart Artisans a while back. This is a great color and this was the perfect test case for the material. It is every bit as good as the stuff released by Secret Weapon Miniatures, so I recommend you check them out. I mixed the pigment with the Secret Weapon pigment fixer that I had so I could use the subtractive method and effectively paint the bottom. I think the final look on the mud is fantastic and look forward to more opportunities to use this pigment.

Medic! Dragon Forge Designs Medical Supply Objective

Lots of scenarios require objective markers. Many are designed to that you have to control the objective and defend it to gain the victory points. For me, I was less interested in making characters hold something that I was finding ways to ensure the battle is quick and deadly.

Dragon Forge Designs Medical Crate
The Dragon Forge Designs Medical Supply Objective ($5.00) was perfect. I got this from a promotion that was run where if you spent $40 the marker was included. The box was base coated with Army Painter Oak Brown. A wash of Vallejo Brown Wash was added then highlights of Reaper MSP HD Concrete Grey were added by dry brushing. The skull was painted with Reaper MSP HD Splitered Bone which was washed with the Vallejo Brown Wash. The stones were painted with Citadel Chadaron Granite followed by a dry brush of the Concrete Grey. The base was painted with Reaper MSP HD Woodland brown. When the entire thing was done, it all received a wash of the European Dust. The cross on top was painted simply with Vallejo Deep Red. After the washes, I touched this up so that it was clearly red. This is a perfect objective marker and one that will be a perfect for the upcoming play tests.

One more thing!

I decided to grow what I do and created a Layfield Paints Facebook page called. If you are interested in seeing additional photos, please click the link and give it a like. It will have in process shots and some other things as I progress through things.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

This Is Not A Test: Marshal's Report: Search and Recovery Operations

The following are the Marshal's reports of recent occurrences of peacekeeper activity from events at or near to Games & Stuff in Glen Burnie, MD. All reports are provided directly from the surviving ranking officer and are considered accurate and true. 

Marshal's Report

Search and Recovery Target - Relic Vehicle

Unexplored Ruins - Search and Recovery

Reported by: Marshal O'Halihan
Date: October 21, 2086

Unit Details

Marshal O'Halihan
K-9 Handler Mutt
K-9 Units Dawg & Cagney
Officer Manny
Officer Flynn
Officer O'Brien
Officer Scullin

Activity Report

During some downtime in one of the regularly patrolled settlements, the Gardia were approached by a wild haired, rambling, older gentleman dressed in some sort of laboratory coat with an offer. He stated that he had located a relic, but was unable to recover the item and was looking for a group to recover the item. The item, a relic vehicle of some import, was located about 2 km to the west on a long-abandoned small town main street. Marshal O'Halihan agreed on a price and accepted a contract from the gentleman.

Mutants pressing through the ruins
Because of the number of buildings located in the area, Marshal O'Halihan utilized a spread formation to approach from two separate directions. Sniper Manny, Officer O'Brien, and Officer Scullin approached from the northeast corner. Manny had previously scouted out a ruined building that he could use to provide support fire so the officers could approach and secure the relic.

At the same time, Marshal O'Halihan approached from a small copse of trees on some small hillocks with K-9 Handler Mutt and K-9 units, Dawg and Cagney. Supporting the, was Officer Flynn. The approach was a funnel, but offered some higher ground where Officer O'Brien and Dawg could provide cross fire with Sniper Manny.

Gardia securing firing arcs
Not long after starting the approach, Sniper Manny noticed a lone caravanner approaching from a distant heavily wooded area in the southwest of the town. When he was able to get the caravanner in focus, he was able to identify him as Sven of Killee's band. With a quick shot, he caught Sven by surprise and was able to send him scrambling for cover. After this an additional caravanner made a hasty approach toward the location of the relic vehicle.

It was quickly apparent that Killee's caravanners were in the area for the same reason as the Gardia, to recover the relic vehicle. As with many things in the wasteland, success is not guaranteed and as insurance the old man had hired another group.

Caravanners moving to secure relic
Mutt sent the K-9 units forward to engage, but when Cagney went to spring from the wooded hillock, she was wounded and could not go further. The set of mutants that Killee picked up a few weeks ago quickly moved through the ruins to try to secure the vehicle and make off with it. Marshal O'Halihan was able to quickly mark the mutant, Stop, and put him out of action. At the same time Officer Flynn caught Pots with near-hit and sent him scrambling for cover.

Quickly the rest of the caravanners made headlong for the relic in an attempt to overwhelm the smaller Gardia force. Sniper Manny was able to quickly put Sven down in the woods to keep him from the engagement. The other officers, Scullin and O'Brien made approach to the relic through the ruins to create firing arcs to prevent the Caravanner advance.

Gardia approaching through ruins
Marshal O'Hallihan and Officer Flynn took up locations at the tops of the hillocks to use the tree coverage and provide additional firing arcs to prevent Caravanner advance. Marshal O'Halihan was able to quickly Ms. Perfect as she returned fire from the corner of the ruined building. Marshal O'Halihan proved a better shot and put Ms. Perfect down. Killee opened up on Officer Scullin with her submachine gun, but none of the three shots were sufficient to penetrate the officers armor.

The caravanners continued the all out press toward the vehicle, taking up second story positions on the building at the southwestern corner at the vehicles location. Marshal O'Halihan took advantage of the close proximity of the caravanners and was able to quickly hit Mrs. Argyle, Swifty, and Mr. Flash. Where Swifty was wounded, the other two were downed and out of the engagement. Officer Flynn was able to put a shot on Mrs. Stuffings, but it was just a grazing shot and she went to cover but was not wounded. ant
Gardia eliminating caravanner rush

Officer O'Brien was able to keep Black Widow pinned down in the woods to keep her out of the engagement while Sniper Murphy was able to eliminate the mutant Pots that previously fled the engagement. These last actions effectively eliminated the potential for the caravanners to continue the engagement and with the loss of overwhelming numbers and at a tactical disadvantage, Killee withdrew her group and abandoned the vehicle. The Gardia cannot determine the nature of the vehicle as it appears to be some high technology that would risk obliteration if activated. If that was even possible still.

Post Activity Update

Midpoint Algoryn AI Squad Figure
When the Gardia salvaged the Depend O'Bot ($6.50) in the Wasteland encounter, I immediately purchased two from This Is Not A Test. But with the combination of personal things and pre-registration for AdeptiCon 2016, I went back to the Liber Metallica Seminar with Dave Taylor I had taken. With this seminar, we received a Warlord Games Gates of Antares figure, specifically one of the Algoryn AI Squad figures ($32.00 squad of 5 metal figures). This seemed like a good figure to use and it had the bonus of already being assembled and primed.

I decided to implement the Liber Metallica method with this figure so I started with by coloring all of the metal components with Vallejo Gunmetal Grey. This was the darkest of the gunmetal type paints that I have. I followed this immediately with a wash of Secret Weapon Miniatures Soft Body Black Wash ($2.99). Now one of the important aspects of this method is to repeat color with washes to change the tone color up and down as you go, remembering that the light is coming from above.
Finished Algoryn AI Model (Front View)

I tried very hard to keep the color scheme to a very limited palette. To deepen the spaces between the armor plates, I lined with Vallejo Black Ink. The cables were painted with Vallejo Black Grey and then washed with the Soft Body Black again. The gun was based with Vallejo Black and then there are touches of Vallejo Tinny Tin to give it a little pop. Who doesn't want a gun with a little pop.

Finished Algoryn AI Model (Rear View)
He has a series of belt pouches and a jet pack on his back. I decided to give these a little color to break up all of the shades of black and grey. The base color for the pouches and backpack was Vallejo Dark Red. This is a really flat red and not really dark or deep. I layered above on the elevated surfaces of the backpack with Vallejo Flat Red. The vent for the jet pack got some touches of Vallejo Gunmetal Blue to give it a little of the heated metal look. The belt pouches were limited to the dark red. I also gave some touches to the face and the emblem on the shoulder pad with the dark red.

Now all of this didn't provide any highlights on the figure. To achieve that, I went to the Citadel Chain Mail. This is a lighter silver color. I applies this to the exposed surfaces of the figures, trying to imagine those parts that would get the most light and therefore be the brightest/most reflective. While it is entirely clear that I need some more work on tackling this technique, I am happy with the results and this will make a nice addition to the Gardia.

Achievement Unlocked!

Bronze Bombardier Award
With all of the goodness at Bombshell Miniatures, it hardly seems appropriate to get recognized for supporting them. Last week though, I received an unexpected package from Bombshell. Inside was great looking pin and with a certificate indicating that I achieved the Bronze Bombardier Award for my continuing level of  support. In addition to this was a very nice hand written note from Patrick Keith thanking me for my continued support and help with spreading the good word on his materials. So my thanks to everyone at Bombshell Miniatures for the great stuff they produce and I look forward to the challenge of achieving Silver and Gold levels!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Liber Metallica with Dave Taylor

AdeptiCon Seminar - Painting Metal

Extreme Range from Light to Dark
With AdeptiCon 2016 fast approaching (pre-registration starts 11/23) and a recent win in This Is Not A Test landing me a free Depend O' Bot ($6.50), I wanted to finish a post I started after AdeptiCon 2015. If you find yourself at a convention that offers seminars, you should take a hard look at them. Many conventions find amazing talent to provide a wide array of seminars or hands-on experiences to gain new skills or to see the approach the instructor takes. In this instance, I took Dave Taylor's Liber Metallica seminar. (While you are on Dave's sight, be sure to check out his latest project - Building a Titan, a Legio Crucius Warlord Titan) As it happens, this will be offered again a few times at AdeptiCon and if you have ever painted up figures, this is a helpful course. Though the focus is on metal figures, there are important discussions that cross over to any miniature.

Top Lit Bronze Statue
The basic premise of the course is understanding how to work on a model from the top down to provide the right lighting scheme for the model. During the course, Dave took us through some basic concepts of lighting and used a fantastic slide deck of images that demonstrated what he was saying. For each image, we walked through the image itself and the lighting of it as well as dissecting the color range/spectrum used as well as the color palette used. Not being an art major or aficionado, this was very helpful to me to learn more about color theory and spectrum. If you don't have a color wheel, it is a good investment if  you plan to use color theory for your painting. 

One of the main take aways from the class is to prepare the lighting from top to bottom. As if the light were coming down from above the model. As Mathieu Fontaine says light to dark from top to bottom. Matt works in spheres. Think of a sphere where light is on top, The brightest spots are on top and the darkest is underneath. If you break your models down into spheres and manage light/dark in the same manner for each section the end will capture the same lighting effect though the entire model. The bronze statue image shows this well, where the light source is from the top so the peaks at the top are the brightest then transition into midtones and darker tones quickly. 

Garden Sphere Sculpture Vatican
With highly polished metallic it is also important to recall that the metal should reflect the environment around it. To accomplish this, use shades on metallic surfaces (polished steel/silver) to reflect environment. Shadows of bright/polished metals will have shadows hued from the environment. In the image below of the sphere sculpture, you can see how the super high mirror finish of the silver sphere reflects the surrounding environment entirely. Even with this highly colorful sphere, you notice that the top is essentially white where the light strikes the sphere and the bottom where the sphere touches the garden goes to nearly black. 

Liber Metallica Miniature
During the seminar, Dave does specific coverage of painting steel/silver, gold, and bronze finishes and you get a chance to practice this painting style on a miniature. For the practice miniature, we got a great robot soldier model, I don't recall the producer. I have had this model sitting around since AdeptiCon 2015, but not taken the opportunity to paint it up fully. After a recent This Is Not A Test game where I managed to recover a Depend O' Bot in the post game and the upcoming pre-registration (I'm already registered through Geek Nation Tours), I saw a great opportunity to finish this model and post up about Dave's seminar. 

Liber Metallica Miniature
Unfortunately some unexpected events have occurred over the last couple of weeks which has prevented me from getting much painting done. The facility my wife was running was sold, which was not unexpected; but the sale was delayed twice and she ended up with lots of requests that kept her at work for 2 straight weeks. Add to that death of my grandfather and not much painting got done. I expect all of that to change very soon though and to see lots more production again. 

Seminar Bonus: Dave provided to us his super secret metal wash in a handy dropper bottle. And because he is such a great guy, he gave us the super secret metal wash formula as well. Dave uses this wash for a wide variety of applications, though large metal is a different process. I may attempt to take that class during AdeptiCon 2016. The exact details of the wash are missing, but you can play with the volume of each to get the desired wash you like.

Supper secret wash
  • Charred brown
  • Vallejo black (game color)
  • German camp black brown (model color)
  • Water and matte medium

Wash over metallics can dull sheen. Go back to highlight to bring back up to desired level.

Bonus tip: For items such as gems, sensors, and lenses; paint them up using the above described process then use layers of successive coats of gloss varnish. When you reach the desired level of shine on the gems, stop. Make sure to allow the varnish to dry completely between each layer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Time for some dumpster diving...then shooting people

Time to get dirty with Secret Weapon Weathering Pigments in the Reaper BONES Dumpster

I covered modifying the Reaper BONES Dumpster ($4.99) so that the lid stayed open in my Reaper Miniatures Halloween Tricks and Treats! post. So let's take a look at the next steps to making this ready for tabletop use or for a diorama.

In the Baltimore-DC metro area, our trash services are managed largely by Waste Management. This company has a trademarked look which is green dumpsters with the logo on the front. The spur to purchase this dumpster was for added scatter terrain for This Is Not A Test which takes place here and the surrounding area. I immediately went to the interwebs to find more on these ubiquitous and often overlooked waste bins. I thought it would be too weird to be out and about taking photos of dumpsters, which is what I would normally do for other pieces. So move along with a search strategy.

Painted Dumpster
Now, I am color blind (red green) and making a perfect match isn't exactly possible for me and I decided since it was scatter terrain decided that I didn't need the wife or kids to get me the exact color match in the number of green paints that I have. I went with the U.S. Dark Green from Vallejo Model Color. The lid was painted up with a standard black, again the Vallejo Model Color paint.

Finished Dumpster (Right Front)
Now that the base colors have been done on the dumpster it is time to make it look like a real world dumpster and not a brand new one. So off to the set of Secret Weapon Weathering Pigments to get started. If you have not taken the opportunity to use pigments or would like to know a bit more about how they are used, you can read more about them in my Hands-on Weathering Pigments with Mr. Justin post from AdeptiCon 2015. I spent a good amount of the last AdeptiCon helping out at the Secret Weapon booth and was able to realize the entire set of weathering pigments as a result and am just really getting into the use of them, but now can't wait to see what I can do next. For all of my application, I used the additive method for weathering.

Finished Dumpster (Left Rear)
I didn't take any in-process pictures of how I got to the end with the dumpster because that would simply be too many photos to try to post and describe. I did though take a set of photos that show all of the sides of the dumpster and the interior and will go through what was done on the various surfaces.

I started with an idea that any dumpster left unattended will end up on fire, I think that is one of the thermal laws. I didn't want to make the entire dumpster look like it was on fire, so I focused on the left rear corner of the dumpster. To give it the burned look, I started with the Exhaust black and made burned areas on the exterior and interior corners. I tried to make them cover the same space on both sides. This gave the base for the burned area which I went back to with the Ash Grey which is necessary to give the difference in the heat marks and adds depth to the weathering. The Ash Grey is first rubbed onto the area and then stippled on to leave some texture to the weathering.
Close-up Interior Fire Weathering

Next on the process was to add rust. The second law of thermodumpsternamics is that all dumpsters are rusted to some level. For the future wastes, it is more than other spaces but I couldn't just coat the entire thing in rust because it may get life in other games as well specifically the upcoming Jupiter City Marvel campaign.

For the rust effects I went mostly with the set-up that Justin covered in depth during the weathering seminar. The base color was Rust Brown. For the most part I applied this almost like a paint because it was deep rust but I didn't want a lot of texture. One thing I did do though was to load up the brush directly on the side of the area to be weathered. This allowed some of the pigment to fall to the base as would happen with flaking rust. The next level of the rust up is Rust Orange. This is slightly less old and immediately gives a lot of depth. I applied this as a mix of brushing and stippling to give it some varying texture and depth. The final pigment is to give it the "new" rust look in smaller areas. This is done with Dark Yellow. This is almost entirely stippled onto the area with little to no brushing. You can also hold between your thumb and middle finger the loaded brush above the area then tap with your pointer finger to apply the pigment in a random spread area.
Finished Dumpster (Bottom Interior)

It important to remember that rust runs with water, so in areas where the water would run off and down, the rust should follow along. To do this start with the deepest color (Rust Brown) then drag down along the water line. Follow that up with some of the Rust Orange at the location where the water may accumulate and along the edges. The Dark Yellow can be dappled around it for those hold out locations.

For the interior, I added some of the Rust Red to the walls to add a bit more depth and to mix up the brown/green rusting. For the floor interior it was necessary to have some dirt. I mean what dumpster doesn't have at least a little dirt in it. I applied the Rust Red as the Rust Brown on the interior so that both fell to the bottom as well.  To add a little more depth to these, I included some Dark Earth sporadically across the floor to break up the Black base color. The colors in this photo are much brighter than they appear in person, but that is from the LED light that is on them.

Close-up Interior Floor Rust/Dirt 
When all of the weathering is done, follow the following application method to fix the pigments to the dumpster. Load up a brush with the Pigment Fixer. I used a square acrylic brush. Then just touch the flat side of the brush to the area. The light touch will allow the fixer to flow from the brush to the area by gravity feed. Applying too much may cause the pigment that is there for texture to move, but it usually isn't too bad. After applied it takes about 20 minutes to dry unless it is thick. Where the fixer flowed down to the bottom of the dumpster it took a little longer. I am not sure how long because I went to bed while it dried.

I am quite pleased with this Dumpster and am looking forward to many, many more projects to use these pigments and to try some others for comparison, specifically the products offered by BrokenToad. That will be coming soon with some Car Wars's time to start thinking about my Geek Nation Tours trip to AdeptiCon 2016 after all.