Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Building issues

 This project is going excruciatingly slow. Much more than I wanted or expected. But so is life and so are the things. At least there is some progress!

You may remember I finished the far side of the board, so now I could go into the central section. You can see it here, with the first piece of central elevation, where the future structure will be founded:

This is meant to be the main access to the upper levels

This plastic jar will serve as a tiny tower, the road will be surrounding it

But of course some work has to be done in advance

This is mostly the idea
When assembling this part I soon realised I would have to drop one on my very early ideas for the top. In the beginning I wanted to somehow use this bridge here:

But it doesn't look like a great idea now

Such a big monster will distract the eye from the rest of the structure, and that's not how I want it to look like. Besides, building the support for the other end of the bridge would inevitably bring some issues regarding the slope. So I'll have to let it go and replace that with a lighter structure.

But that's a problem for the future me. For now I have to focus on the central building.

This will be the facade of the slope

This is more or less the idea

Well, technically you can play in here, there's room for a hand...

But I'm not happy with this solution, you know. I want this board to look crowded per se, oppressive, rambling... But yet playable! This doesn't really allow me to develop proper movement of miniatures in there. So, as much as it hurts me, those stairs have to go away. I will change the access to that door extending the catwalk towards the opposite building, up of the slope.

So let's do some work on the slope first

You can see I used the same Green Stuff World rolling pin on DAS clay, then added some sand. The texture on the tower is mere wet DAS.

The whole structure and the facade on the slope

But then...

Oh, then...


The original idea was supposed to look this way:

Original sketch (look, I already removed the stairs)

But at some point I envisioned this other configuration:

And it also looked good to me!

It would be a complete shift of the original concept, extending the slope up to the left of the board and creating a wide open space right in the centre of the structure, which I could use as a two-storey bazaar.

I confess I spent a few days exploring both options and weighing pros and cons of each solution. But in the end I stuck to the plan. Attractive as it was to have a wide, open, playable space, the second option really got away from what I was going to create here, the little adobe maze.

So now that I made my mind up I could start working on the front piece:

Seriously, stairs are quite a pain in the ass to do

 I thought that an arch would look good down there, and then the real door could fit inside. I could have tried a more complex shape for the tower on the left, but I think it works as it is nevertheless.

I'm going to need a lot of putty to seal those open spaces

You can see I added the piece for the next section of the slope and textured the surfaces.

Now it all looks more or less in place!

First coat of colour

There is a little cobblestone floor in that arch area. Once I give a second coat of colour I can start adding details and stuff. I'm not sure of what can I put on top of the tower. My choices are an adobe demi-sphere or some antennae or things of the like, but I'm still undecided.

I have to repair the catwalk over the slope. I'm afraid that now that street is too open, so I'll explore my chances to add an arch at the very beginning of the street, giving access to the whole town.

I have not renounced to the two-storey bazaar, but now I project to place it to the left of the board. But first I'll have to finish the slope, to have a clear idea of the composition of the volumes. But first I have to finish what I have already started! Well, you know how this works :D

This is the current state of the board. I hope I can resume production anytime soon!

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Mining suit

 While boring real life is meddling in the way, I've managed to finish a tiny achievement. Some time ago I got a Necromunda Ambot thanks to a pal.

You know, one of these guys

I immediately thought I had an use for such a beast within my Genestealer Cult project, as a mining support device of some kind, which is quite obvious, of course. But instead of being a poor Ambull augmented and trapped into a metal framework (however, how cool is an Ambull Dreadnought, uh?), I soon envisioned it as a suit of some kind. There are many conversions of the like over the internet, and I knew that it certainly works.

I had to face a setback quite at the very beginning of the process. The hip. It's purely mechanical, it enhances the robot vibe, but you cannot pretend there's a person inside there (and the torso is not large enough for a human sized being to fit in). So I had to replace it. First thing I found that could work was a bit from a Terminator:

Yup, from the Space Hulk termies

Preliminary view of what I had in mind

It's a little bit forced, I know, but in my mind it worked better than the robot waist and hip. Next step was to remove the cogs and make the central part look as it was the inner part of the armour.

When in doubt, add cables and tubes, you can never go wrong with that

Hmm, I can see it happening

You may have noticed I didn't use the pulley and hooks over the head. Instead of those, I used the grav weapons. They are supposed to be the laser cutters the suit uses for working with hard rocks.

First colour test

You may have noticed the main flaw in this suit's design. It's a huge, bulky armour, with two laser cutters over the user's head and two enormous claws with fucking saws attached, ready to cut and smash the hardest rocks in the mines.

So the user's head is exposed to the crushed stone flying away like shrapnel all over? Hmm, no wonder the union guys were so tiresome on the subject.

I found a solution in this air freshener bit. The liquid inside got spilled right as I first tried to use it and it was kind of unusable, but its shape was appealing enough, so I kept the thing.

Finally got an use for it!

I only needed quite a small piece as a visor:

But the shape was essential

Just to make a first impression. Hmm, it could work...

But... it didn't. Though I cut it more or less to fit in the armour, once I glued it the fumes of the superglue fogged the whole piece.

I had already unglued it before taking the pic, that's why you can see it doesn't really fit in the shape

After cursing in several strange languages, I took a deep breath and started again.

New piece, different approach

I used a tiny piece of card and allowed some ventilation on the model, as much as I could afford.

Will it work?

It worked! I had a minor fogging problem, but on the whole I called it a victory. I sealed the imperfections with greenstuff and gave it a more industrial looking with the front protection bars.

I can live with that level of fogging

Well, you get a rough idea

On the process of highlighting that yellow

Little mystery on the arms. I painted the Fodinae Conlegium ('Mining Guild' in HighGothic) signs and some random numbers and stuff. I also glued a staple on each arm. No particular reason, they looked nice as additional bar protections over those gears.

Oh, and remember, when in doubt... right, cables


Here you have the thing finished!

I love the shape of the suit. It's not elegant at all, but crude in its design, it really works perfectly as a heavy duty industrial armour. You could replace the claws with forklifts and would have the 40K version of Ripley :D

A size comparison shot:

Come on, Humpy, go smash the infidels

So these are my main heavy support devices for the Cult so far:

Yellow is the new black

Oh, and you know what's the best part? The sprue comes with two different sets of legs. So now I have another pair of legs I can use for... I don't know, I guess I'll have to make up something!

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

The Dolorous Stroke

 Something unexpected today!

A few months ago I was lured into this new project by a group of fellow fools which enthusiastically committed to build up a tiny force -and eventually even get to play!

Then the lockdown loomed upon all of us and of course, as it tends to happen with these group projects, it all got stagnated until today. But hey, now that at least I got my bunch of minis painted, I thought I could show some pics.

You can find the rules here. It's a pretty narrative oriented game, in which you take control of a Knight and a small retinue and get to live adventures and encounters. The background is wide open, so it's not specifically oriented towards the Arthurian Legend, despite the title. You can perfectly set it in the ambientation of your choice -though, of course, it works better on the low fantasy side of the things, with a knight errant taking quests and fighting for honour and virtue.

Let's move on the minis. After some debate, we agreed to use Valdemar Miniatures for the project. It was challenging, as they are 1/72 (roughly 20mm) scale, which is most definitely out of my comfort zone. But precisely there was the carrot for me. 1/72 it was then.

As you will immediately see, the minis are amazing. Incredibly detailed. Not 'incredibly detailed for 20mm minis'; they are awesome in absolute terms. More than many 28mm minis. The variety of the ranges is sweet and you have anything you need to create any kind of medieval vignette imaginable. Just have a look at the link above and judge by yourself.

Stretching it to my particular project, the challenge consists of a knight errant, a squire, a retinue of men-at-arms and a monster. Absolute freedom of choice within those categories, but that's what we all agreed to do. Let's get started then:

The Knight Errant

I needed two versions, a mounted knight and a foot one. I got these:

Awful, overexposed pic

Awful, overexposed pic, but on foot

They were not exactly the same mini, but the differences were minor, I could make this work.

Head swap on one, sculpted mail on the other...

This should be enough

They are not 100% exact replicas, but at this scale it was more than enough to make them look as two versions of the same knight. Time to splash some paint!

Basic livery

The fresh shield is for the mounted knight; the worn out one for the dismounted version

The loyal horse also needed the same treatment

This is my first experiment with yellow Contrast paint (everybody was talking about them, I had to give them a try!) and I have to say it worked much better than expected. It solved me the whole shading work and just had to focus on highlights. Point to GW, render unto Caesar.

I made some different quick designs to decide over the heraldry.

In the end I used a mix of A and C
See, the drangon from A

This took some time

Yet some more time!
Then the checkers from C

Could you imagine me doing a project without checkers?

I say no. Not on this blog

Just a close-up of my insanity

Time consuming and pretty exhausting, but the model deserves it, trust me.

Almost there

Let's hope I can glue it this way and it resists!

This is the final result on both:

I'm happy with them, specially considering the scale. So it was time to move along...

The Squire

This mini was meant to be simpler than his master, both in design and livery terms. I got a mini bearing a banner, which I thought fitted the subject.

Quite a simple surcoat and no fuss about this one

The squire still has to earn a heraldry of his own, but his shield could still show something that tied him to his knight, so this is what I did:

Checkers. More checkers. Hahaha (maniac laughter)

This is the basic thing, bearing his lord's banner:

I had to sculpt that thumb. The tiniest thing I've ever sculpted

The final pics:

Alongside his master:

Well, it looks like we have the core of something. Now it is time to muster the troops...

The men-at-arms

The rules of The Dolorous Stroke are designed for a group of 4-5 miniatures, I think. But once I got all these minis... you know. These things happen.

I had to paint them all. You would have done the same

The short pikes (or are they long spears?) are 28mm spears. They fit in surprisingly well.

 As opposite to the knight (and in lesser measure the squire), the men-at-arms were supposed to dress in a more simple way. Not a gaudy livery, but just earthy colours; unexpensive clothes for humble peasants.

Fifty shades of brown

The restricted palette is a conscious decision, with the sole exception of the yellow sash, to tie in with the knight theme. In cases like these is when you realise you can never have enough tones of brown.

Why the lack of variety in weapons?

They all have the long spear for one reason. They are not to fight some other knights for a piece of land. They will have to hunt and face...

The Monster

The archvillain will be this beast:


A Hydra by Grenadier. Extremely beautiful, seriously.

And huge. I needed a CD as a base

I think I've seen a lot of hydras in dark, cold tones. Greens and blues mostly. I wanted something different, something warm, so I tried brown. Brown and yellow would keep visual coherence within the whole project.

Contrast again. Time saving indeed

However, I highlighted each and every scale, one by one. Four layers. Four f&# layers.

This is the second layer, I think

I used Contrast again for the crest. I'm really making the most of these paints!

Here it is. I used DAS for the base

And this tiny branch I found on the park

The problem is that the base is really huge and the hydra leaves a lot of open space at both sides. I needed something else. A pal from the group suggested me a corpse or someting like that.

Fortunately I had these

Speed paint, I just wanted to have him finished

Enough as a base filler

The pose of this other one was just perfect for this

Ouch. Blurry pic

But you get the idea

Sniff sniff

So just have a few pics of the whole project:

We have been talking about adding some scenery, but I still don't have it. Until I wait for the rest to finish their projects I think I'll get a  piece.

I've enjoyed this thoroughly. The change of scale and theme has been challenging, but refreshing. I really hope I have the chance to get a game with these anytime soon!

I have another medieval project pending (in fact I planned it like more than a year ago, sigh), so I'll see if I'm in the mood for keeping the knighthood-ish painting mojo!