Sunday, May 10, 2009

Some progress on the British

I'm painting up some of the British now; the martians need some file work before I can start painting them.  Below are some in-progress shots, up to what I completed today.

I'm using a method I read on TMP (I think), painting from the bottom up rather than the inside out.  It works well for me when I do it right, because I'm less worried about staying "between the lines" as I paint.  I just have to worry about one line, the other side will be cleaned up when I move up the figure.

The earlier martian test was painted top-down.  I didn't like that as much, because it turns out often will rest the figure on its head so I can get to the bottom of weapons and equipment.  This scuffed the paint off the already painted helmet.  Bottom up works much better.

Also, I really hate painting white.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Test Figures for Colonial Mars

I've finally finished the Martian native test figure for my Colonial Mars project, and have the pictures to prove it.  Here are shots of him and the earlier British soldier I finished.  

(Click the images for larger copies.)

Both figurse are from RAFM's Space: 1889 line; one from the Soldiers of the Queen set and the other from Legions of Mars.  The British soldier is on a Litko plywood base, with wood filler bringing the surface up to the level of the figure's cast-on base.  The base hasn't been painted yet.  Paints are all acrylics, with a gloss coat of Future followed by washes and sealed with Krylon's Matte Finish spray.

Both were fun, quick paint jobs.  It should be easy for me to paint up both units of figures quickly.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Lightboxes are all the rage nowadays, and now that I have one I can see why. Photos taken in the lightbox are much clearer and brighter than the usual rigs I set up on my desk.

Construction was simple. I got two sheets of 20" x 30" foamcore, and cut them down to four 20" x 15" pieces. On three of them, I cut out a rectangle in the center, leaving a 2" border along each edge. I taped the four pieces together (with duct tape, of course) into a long box, and cut pieces from the cutout sections to fill the back. If the foamcore is colored on one side, make sure the white side is on the inside of the box. The open sides were covered with tissue paper cut to size, held in place with double-sided tape.

The box is held onto a cheap wooden tv tray with a pair of binder clips. Two cheap clip-on lamps provide the light; each has a 100W broad-spectrum bulb in it. Position the lamps so they are right against the tissue paper to ensure all the light goes into the lightbox instead of reflecting off the outside.

The backdrop is some light blue construction paper taped to a long piece of posterboard. You can use pretty much anything, as long as it's fairly long and can curve. That curved backdrop hides the corner at the back of the lightbox.

And, last, a cropped image of the figure. Right now I'm lacking a lamp for the top of the box. Placing another light there should take care of the shadows on each side of the figure.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kishi House

I did a few experiments with cork in the style of Matakishi's generic desert buildings, just to see how well it would work with the cheapo cork tiles you can get in Wal-Mart and Michaels. The first thing I found out is that the tiles you can buy at Michaels for US$10 per pack of four appear identical to the ones you can buy at Wal-Mart for $5 a pack. The tiles shown here I bought at a drugstore for about $5 a pack; they're the same brand as the ones at Wal-Mart, and appear to be identical, but the packaging is slightly different. Once I'm done with these four tiles I'll open up the one from Wal-Mart and see if there's a difference in how they cut.

The cork cut very easily, easier than foamcore. For the windows and doors I cut all the way through the cork, going from a corner to the center of that edge. 8 cuts per window, but it went quickly because I made all the "down" cuts on the sheet at once, then turned the sheet 90 degrees and made all the "left" cuts. And so on, until I'd turned the sheet full circle and could pop out the scrap from the windows. To make the long exterior cuts, I made three passes much like I would with foamcore. If I tried to cut all the way through in one pass it would tear out pieces of the cork, but using several light cuts resulted in smooth, clean edges. There was some mess, tiny (0.1mm or so) bits of cork that came free when I popped the windows out, but there's no visible effect on the edges.

I glued most of it together with superglue. A lot of superglue. Surprisingly, I only glued myself to the superglue tube once. Some parts were glued together with wood glue instead; they both work, but the superglue dries much faster, letting me assemble the pieces in much less time.

Matchsticks (from Michaels) provided the windowsills and ledges for the drop-in ceiling. The cork is 5mm thick; I glued lugs to the bottom of the second floor about 6mm in from the edges to help center it on the bottom floor. It goes on and off easily, while the roof takes some fiddling to set into place properly.

The base is a piece of compressed paper board that I got at Michaels. It's basically the same material as the back of a clipboard, and if I can find a supply of cheap clipboards I'll use them instead. I guess it's time to visit the dollar store again.

The workbench

I've finally got everything moved into my house. While I'm still unpacking, I've finally got my workbench set up again.

I've also got a table to play games, now. The Jackson Gamers are without reliable gaming space at the moment (Dragon's Lair has closed, unfortunately) and I'm holding the wooden tabletops we have been using for a play surface there. Hopefully we'll have another place to use them, but for the moment they are set up in the "den" in my house.

Now I just have to get some stuff put together to run games with. :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

The first figures of the year: Carthagenians

The local club is doing a group paint project, putting together aCarthagenian army for Field of Glory.  The guy who bought the figs for the project said he wanted them "grimy", and I think I succeeded. My first unit of 20 (well, 19, one needs stripped and repainted after a tragic primer failure) are done. I may do a bit of highlighting on the spears and swords; I wish I'd noticed the need before I popped them off their holders.

These are 1/76 plastic figures, by I don't know who. They still need sealing and matte, but that'll have to wait until I get my spray booth in the new place and dig the spray cans out of whatever box they ended up in.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Plans for '09

In the spirit of Matakishi and others, what I plan to do in the coming year:

  • More Aeronef. I've got a few more ships to paint up and I need to build some terrain, all for a club game mid-year.
  • Aliens and Colonial Marines.  I ordered a pile of both from Wargames in their QRF clearance, and I have some paper terrain files from Ebbles Minis that I can scale to 15mm and build up.  This will be run with THW's 5150 rules.
  • Star Wars.  I've got a pile of SWMB figures I picked up last year, and I have a notion to run a Crossfire game with them.  
  • Victorian Colonial Mars.  This is a long fourth, and will likely end up a 2010 project instead (or even later).  I've got some vague ideas for using TSaTF for British vs native battles on the Red Planet, but I haven't even decided what scale to use yet.

There.  Now that I've divulged my plans, I'm sure that I'll end up getting none of this done and doing something completely unrelated.