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.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mayday! Mayday! We need heavy support! Counterblast Heavy Support Kickstarter!

Counterblast Heavy Support Kickstarter

Counterblast Kickstarter Fullfillment
Bombshell Miniatures started the Counterblast Heavy Support Kickstarter campaign on May 4, 2015 and it concluded on May 15th, so not much time to get funded but they were successful once again.

The Kickstarter had three levels of support, the Cadet ($2), Digital ($5), and Ultonium ($100). The Cadet was designed to allow you to get into the Kickstarter and purchase any add-ons separately. The Digital level was to allow access to the digital version (pdf) of the Counterblast rules ($9.99). The Ultonium level, which I selected, gave you the any selection of reinforcements and add-ons and the Bomb Kit.
The Bomb kit was the package of "freebies" that were unlocked during the campaign, which ended up including a set of equipment and tools, Edo arc weapons, Neiran weapons, and a lovely Bombshell Babe.

To complete my selections, I decided the Lancer Barracuda Rocket Bike was just too fantastic, so I got two of them. (There is an alternate version, the HS38 Rocket Bike ($16.99) which you can also get if you wanted some different options/looks.) Now while it is great to have a cool set of rocket bikes, you need a faction/warband to play the game, so I went with the Lancer Heroine Crew Set. These will also be used to lead up a new all female warband for This Is Not A Test. As I develop this new warband and paint through them, blog posts will be developed for them. Keep an eye out, those will hopefully get started in December. Just a note, when the models go live on the Bombshell web store, I will update this post with links to all of the Counterblast models.

I picked up a few little helpers/assistants, because who doesn't need support. For me it was the M.i.N.E. bots ($2.99 each) and Shrapnel ($2.99) (twilight zone-style goblin). These are all great sculpts as everyone expects from Bombshell. Glad I was able to get in on the Kickstarter and now let's paint some M.i.N.E. bots.

M.I.n.E Bots

As you can clearly see, these little guys make the perfect, um...what's the term, minion for all your evil scientist needs. There are a few options for M.I.n.E bots from Bombshell. You can get the individual models or you can get a set of three ($14.99). The set of three include two bots with double sets of visual components (eyes) and an array of arms that can be added. I don't have these yet, but it is another on the list of things to get.

Originally, I was going to paint this in a distinct color scheme, but once the kids saw them; it was apparent what color scheme I was going to use. So, let's start with the primer. Since I wanted to paint these yellow, I went with Army Painter Barbarian Flesh primer. This gives a nice mild brown color which makes the yellow a bit deeper. I used a few layers of Vallejo Model Color Flat Yellow. The first was to cover and as the layers progressed, the yellow became more thinner to allow for a smoother finish. The pants were painted with Vallejo Model Color Flat Blue. The belt section between is Vallejo Model Color Blue. This is a little deeper and breaks the yellow and blue pants. For the surrounds to the optics, the shoulder mounts, and the attennae mount, I used Citadel Leadbelcher so it was metal but not too shiny. For the optics, I started with Vallejo Light Grey. This includes the interior of the surround. I mixed up a 50:50 mix of the Light Grey and Reaper HD MSP Spectral White and added a smaller section of the optics center. The next layer added some Vallejo Model Color White to the mix. This made for a very near white. To give a small area of light to the optics, I used a small area of pure Vallejo White.
Finished MInE bots

With the highlight to the optics, I decided it was now necessary to add some highlights to everything else. This required an addition of Vallejo Model Color Fluo Yellow to the top left side of the body. To the optic surrounds, I added some highlights of Citadel Bolt Gun Metal. Looking at pictures of actual Minions, the boots and hands (Minions where gloves) were painted up with Vallejo Black Grey. The Minions where black boots and gloves, but this usually comes out too shiny. The boots and gloves were washed with Vallejo Dark Grey Wash. That gives enough depth to the boots to make them look like actual black boots. The antennae were also painted with the Citadel Bolt Gun Metal so they were different than the antennae mount.

I decided to keep these really clean, mostly because the kids will love them looking much like the actual Minions. I'll have to pick up some more so that I can make a couple of little rust buckets with bent antenna. These are some great sculpts and were a lot of fun to paint up. Next will be to figure out how I am going to base these. Thinking of some tech deck for something industrial or lab like.

Movember 2015 Campaign 

While Bombshell is well known for the Bombshell Babes and now Counterblast, I want to remind everyone that this is Movember. I am again doing what I can to raise awareness and donations for men's health and research. If you are willing to make a donation, you can do so here: There you can find the link to donate, can find updates that I post regularly, and more information about men's health. So please donate and don't be a dick, save one.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Reaper Miniatures Halloween Tricks and Treats!

Reaper Miniatures Halloween Haul

Reaper Halloween Package
As I posted in the "It's Jack, My Little Pumpkin Pal by Bombshell Miniatures" post, Reaper Miniatures offers a Halloween special every year. I decided again this year to take advantage. So to meet the criteria for Reaper deal, I had to spend $40. Not hard for a miniature gamer or painter, I know.  I have been looking for additional K-9 units for the Gardia for This Is Not A Test and that led me to more eventual fun.

Ghoulie Back Contents
So first, let's review the deals. There are actually two deals that occur during October. The first is automatic for all purchases adn last for the entire month of October. When you make an order to Reaper in October, you will automatically get a bottle of the Reaper Breast Cancer Pink paint. If you want to see the color of this paint, check out the NOVA Open Seminar - Sculpting with Raffaele Picca of Massive Voodoo! post. I used it for the skull plates carved into the Reaper BONES Chaos Well.

Ghoulie Bag BONES
If you place a $40 order after October 4 and before midnight on October 31, you may also get a Ghoulie bag. This is a while supplies last, but I made my order one week prior to Halloween and received a Ghoulie bag.

Each Ghoulie bag contains four bottles of Reaper MSP HD paint. This year it was Spectral White, Pumpkin Orange, and Mouldy Skin. Somehow there was a mix-up in packing, because I ended up with the first bonus, an extra Spectral White. The second part of the Ghoulie bag is something a little nostalgic for Halloween, candy! I got a piece of double bubble, a banana Laffy Taffy, and a Tootsie pop. But best of all, there is the trick or treat part.

Trick or Treating isn't over though, because there is one additional part of bonus. For most people you will get a treat, but for an unlucky one, well you might get a rock. I mean literally a rock, though it is a rock in a special blister pack. I was lucky enough to get a treat, because the bonus Spectral White wasn't enough.  There was a blister pack that contained a maiden, let's call her Miss Muffett, and a giant spider. I didn't see any curds and whey, but these will be fun to paint up. So let's see what got me to the $40 threshold.

My Purchase

Pug Dog
Here is what I decided to get, mostly to supplement all of the This Is Not A Test playing. First up are a set of additional dogs for the Gardia (Peacekeepers). I already have two that are K-9 Units, Dawg and Cagney, from the BONES Kickstarters, but with the potential to add more K-9 units and another K-9 Handler, I could use more.

Of the three dogs that I purchased, I'm not sure that all are directly usable as K-9 units. The first is a great little Pug Dog ($2.44) which was irresitable. My mother has a pug, so when I saw this I had to get it, Now this little pug is half the size of my mother's but I will name her Abby all the same. I am not sure the Pug would be a legal miniature for use in This Is Not A Test. It is adorable, but really diminutive. Make sure your opponent(s) is okay with the use of this figure before fielding.

The next up is a prime war dog and one that will look imposing on the board. Garr the War Dog ($6.49) is large and demands attention. Garr is quite the opposite of the pug dog, since he is an English mastiff and incredibly large. The figure looks great and English mastiffs are well known for attacking an intruder and pinning them down until back-up arrives to dispatch the intruder. The only issue that I see with this miniature is with the base. The metal bottom does not quite fit into the base cut-outs. I don't see this as a true issue since I am more than likely not going to use the blank base and will remove the metal tabs.

Death Dog
The last is a real beast and large. This will be a great addition either as a Wild Dog mutant beast or some sort of K-9 mutant. Either way, it won't be nice to encounter. The two-headed Death Dog ($12.95) will get them coming and going. Larger than Garr with twice as many teeth. The pose is one of either lunging or jumping and the snarling jaws are ready to snap an opponent's arm (or neck) in two.

While I love the Gardia, having options to play a different warband would give us more options for game play, gives me additional ways to run stories, and allows me other options for painting and development. I think for the most part, these will make a great starter either for Preservationists or Caravanners. The final three miniatures I purchased will be the perfect start to a new warband. First is the Deadlands Noir Patent Scientist ($5.99). Equipped with what could be a ray gun, heat gun, or maybe a radar gun, this has all the hallmarks of a preservationist with the desire to find relics and use them. Next up is a more versatile and seeming made for the wastes, Post Apocalyptic Hunter ($6.29). He is well armed and prepared to take on whatever the wastes may throw at him. Evie, Post Apocalyptic Survivor ($5.99) is packed and ready for a move, which is why I see her clearly as a potential for either the Caravanners or Preservationists. She carries what she needs and what she doesn't have, she takes with her sub-machine gun. Because the bonus for Breast Cancer Awareness, the Ghoulie bag, and mistaken packing wasn't enough, I also got an extra Deadlands Noir Patent Scientist in the package.

Time to take out the Trash

Modifying the Dumpster

Dumpster Components
The last thing I got was a piece that I have been thinking about for some time and finally decided to add this as a piece of scatter terrain for This Is Not A Test, the Reaper Dumpster ($4.99). This is considered part of the BONES line, but is not made of the same BONES material. The plastic is a hard plastic that is much more like the plastic in most of the toy soldiers we are love to collect, paint, and play. This piece takes primer with no problem. This is a great looking piece, though I do have one issue with it.

Holding Dumpster Lid Open
The has a great look and the lid opens, but does not open fully. The piece is playable inside, but the design of the lid does not stay open. To me all terrain should be playable, but if the lid doesn't stay open the usefulness is limited. You can have someone go into the dumpster and hide, but you can't have someone jump into it and fire out of it. So I decided it needed some alter altercations.
Closed Dumpster

The dumpster is large enough to easily contain two 28 mm figures. I tested it out with Evie and the Post Apocalyptic Hunter with no problem.

Grab your trusty utility knife, it is time for some surgery. The first part to tackle is the line of hinges at the top of the lid. I have a wide array of blades for my hobby knife and for this task, I used a large chisel blade. You can see the size in the Final Modified Dumpster with Lid Open picture. I started by marking out where the lid hinges came into contact with the cover/lid piece. I then used the chisel blade to add a notch to the cover piece. The notch pretty much has to run the entire expanse of the cover piece and almost to the full depth. Be sure not to go to the full depth as the little shelf build into the lid would be removed. That accounts for the hinges.
Hinge Cut in Dumpster Top

Now that the lid can open to a fuller range, it is time to make it stay open. In order to accomplish this, you will need to make one additional set of cuts. The lid extends further than the hinges and those little extensions need to go someplace and to keep it up, need to stay there. Just beyond and below the notch we made previously, we now need to cut a space for the sides of the lid. This is just a small square notch so that when the lid open, it catches and then will stick in place. Now you have a dumpster that you can open, climb into, and then hide or fire.
Final Modified Dumpster with Lid Open

Painting the Dumpster

Around me, we have a company called Waste Management. They are an incredibly large company that provides dumpsters of every size for commercial, industrial, and residential needs. Since it is ubiquitous to this area and I plan on using this for This Is Not A Test, it seemed a natural fit for the dumpster. The first part of achieving this was to paint up the dumpster to match the Waste Management colors. The dumpsters they have are green. Now being colorblind, I am not able to exactly match colors, but hopefully I got something pretty close. I chose to go with the Vallejo U.S. Dark Green for the color. The lid was painted with Vallejo Black. I also used the black as the base for the interior bottom of the dumpster.

Base Colors on Dumpster
Making the dumpster appropriately weathered as it had survived nuclear fallout and an additional hundred years required a great deal more work. I immediately thought of my stockpile of Secret Weapon Miniatures pigments. I got the entire line in exchange for the work I provided them during AdeptiCon 2014. It was a given since after taking the Weathering Pigments class with Mr. Justin, I knew I needed them. You can read about those experiences in the Weathering Pigments blog post.

Steps to perform the weathering and creating materials to fill or supplement the dumpster will come in a follow-up blog post. I expect that post to come in a week after the dumpster is finished and used in some game play. It will be at the bottom of the next Marshal's report.