Saturday, 26 March 2016

X-Com - Now With Heads

It's been a busy (just over) week for me. Last weekend I had a friend over and a few games along with a trip to Triples. Lots on this week mainly painting (with a roller and emulsion rather than a size 1 Windsor and Newton and acrylic).  Now Easter is almost here. No Jokes about happy Zombie Jesus day although that is quite funny.

Anyway, I got a delivery from America, Mad Robot Miniatures to be precise so the conversions for the Imperial Guard as X-Com soldiers continues. Hopefully it will end up with a nice game. This has allowed me to add some heads to my X-Com minis. I got the choices all wrong (from the plan I had) for which head would go on which body. I guess that is not matter.

The heads are nice, if a little fragile but I guess that is to be expected with such fine castings

Thursday, 17 March 2016

More Of Imperial Guard Conversions For X-Com

I suspect you have seen a number of these as works in progress already but I have made a little more progress over time. As (almost) ever, these are all still work in progress. I really want to keep the moment going but I suspect that I am about to hit a bit of a wall. I have some work to do around the house which is becoming pressing. I have a visitor coming for the weekend and as part of that I am off to the Triples wargames show in Sheffield. Usually the biggest wargming event of the year for me. Still a lot of pretty pictures today.

 This is meant to be Marpat. I think I have just about got it. Mayvbe I will work on it a bit more.
 I keep thinking about how post apocalyptic  these guys look. Possibly I could convert these guys to something more post apocalyptic. The armour could easily pass as Combat Armour from Fallout. I could see some of these ending up bright blue and yellow rather than olive drab.

 This one is a bit of a cobble. I am not sure where the right arm comes from as I got it in a bag of bits but it is almost perfect for a zombie soldier.

I am liking that last figure a lot. A british squaddie with a broadsword must be a good idea for an RPG character.
I got some more bits from eBay today. Plasma gunners from Forge World. They will hopefully work well for the next stage of equipment development.  With a bit of luck there will be more bits and some news after Triples.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

X-Com Marpat and MRT/Multicam

A slower day today in terms of output. I think I was enjoying the building of the figures more than I am painting them. Well maybe a little. Think I have enough figures to be going on with. Some Catachans might be nice but that would mean more money, I think I worked out that I have enough bits for fifty to sixty figures plus I have more bits on the way.

Still today I have done a little painting. The first is this figure. This is meant to be MRT/Multicam. I am not sure if this is a British or American figure yet. It looks a pig close up but from a distance of 12” it actually looks pretty good. I had a scan around the net for paining guides. The one I settled on suggested putting the light grey down first. in hindsight I am not sure this was the best course as I spent the rest of the time trying to hide the grey which really stands out. That said, it made a nice light base for the rest of the paint job. It looked pretty stark at the end so I gave it a bit of a wash. Not enough to leave shadows but enough to wash the colours out. 

The next figure is definitely an American (unless they have a fetish for wearing marines gear, not heard that about wannabes in America but you know all that time alone at sea and wannabes in the UK). This was harder to source ideas for and in the end, even though there were a few ideas on the net about how to paint it, I gave up at looking at them. In the end I looked at a few pictures of it and went what the hell. I think I put too much of the light tone in. Not by best so far but it was pass on tabletop.

X-Com Zombies

How could I not love a game with zombies. These ones don't want your brains, they just want your body (for a host for their larval chryssalids). This makes a total of four completed zombies. I should probably do another one but I am thinking if things have gotten that bad the players are pretty screwed anyway. I probably need a few more corpses as well.
I am getting a little lazy with the building of them now.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

X-Com - Flags

I sometimes think I am getting caught up in the details. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this project and not doing anything about it. Now that I am doing something, I am probably doing too much. Maybe I am also thinking about my commitment to being a better painter this year. Right here right now, I am thinking about flags.
I was worried about the Union Jack the most. It's my national flag so I want to get it right, that said it is insanely complicated to paint. It is definitely something that evokes the flag rather than being an actual copy of it but not bad all the same, for freehand at least. I was trying to do British DPM camo as well. I thought I had screwed it up but then the last colour, the thin black lines, sold it for me.

One of the pilots is modelled after the female pilot Ibanez in the film Starship Troopers (not a bad film but nothing like the book). Pretty sure she was Brazilian so it all fits with my plan about funding nations. The flag turned out almost perfect (for a flag that is 4mm across and drawn freehand).

More Troopers For X-Com

I have another four models just about done for the game. Really I should be getting on with finishing them off before I start the process of painting. Most of them are taking a fair bit of time to put together, I guess the average being about thirty minutes. The glueing them together, the making some of the parts, de-moldlining, the chopping and changing (especially some of the weapons), the pining and the filing all take time. There are a few quick ones but that is not the norm.
The first one up is another shotgunner. The gun itself isn't that much of a problem but I have splice this into an arm with a strap carrying over the shoulder. It just works. It will probably look better when painted. In my head at least, this guy is based on the character Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from full metal jacket. Fortunately, I have a head for that (on the way at least).
Another character for the game is this heavy weapon soldier. No head yet but this will be Vasquez (smart gunner from Aliens). Another almost stereotype. I haven't modelled the SAW on this one but I liked the character's pose so I'll stick with it (and the other saw was a pain to make).
The game I am running is going to be based in the funding countries around the North Atlantic which includes (just) Nigeria. I was struck for heads until Ifound this. It must be all the rage in Nigeria in the future (but not now I guess). Just another rifleman but this guy has a special interest in entrenching tools.

Friday, 11 March 2016

There Is No Spoon - No Wait, Yes There Is

Spoon was a character from the Film Dog Soldiers. He epitomises to me what a British squaddie is. I have him in mind for a character in the X-Com game. With just a dash of Mad Jack Churchill (the last British Soldier to kill someone with a longbow). He also always went into battle with a broadsword. So this is the model...

And This is what the character looked like in the film.
This should make the perfect soldier for X-Com, at least as I see it. I think I will have some fun designing his character for Savage Worlds.

Sticking With Things And Four Hundred Blog Posts

It just stuck me that I have just managed to hit four hundred posts. My first thought when I realised this was not to give myself a slap on the back, It was, can I hit five hundred posts this year? This tells me that I still have some enthusiasm for doing this. The year, at least in terms of blog posting (sigh) is going okay. I managed to put up as many posts in January as I did in the whole of last year.

I had meant to start blogs several times and never got round to it. I thought that I would start it and get bored quickly. I am now a shade of having done this for four years. This means my mojo is with me. third post today. I have more work to post so I guess the chance that I might get to five hundred posts this year is still there.

Maybe six hundred. What do you think?

X-Com - Billy Sole?

Who? Billy Sole was the Native American tracker in Predator. I thought picking some familiar characters. This is not to mention that Mad Robot do so heads that look like the characters. I got a bag full of spare parts for the Guard this morning so I need less in the way of home molded bits.

Being a scout, Billy gets to have some different equipment. The two big equipment changes were that he carried a big knife (if the bayonets were not big enough) and a master key. So his character will carry less ammunition.

In the film he started out bush hat but ends up with a bandanna when he went a bit peculiar just before his death. Mad Robot has a bandana head so I guess I'll go with that,

This will probably sit on the side for a bit, until I get the head at least.

Old Soldiers Never Die - They Just End Up Working For X-Com

No painting today. That said, I have spent some time playing around with the Imperial Guard who are starting to look very un-Guardlike. At the moment they may be more special than special forces but the team are on their way.

To stop the players from having a small team of the world's best forces I have had to come up with an idea.Instead of making everyone legendary, the aliens can mind control just about everyone. In the game about seven thousand people that are not completely susceptible to alien mind control. These are obviously not all soldiers scientists and engineers. Many of them are too old or too young to fight. These are desperate times. There are some soldiers available but for the most part they are stuck with civilians. This will cause some interesting interactions I hope.

Anyway, I have spent the day working on some more minis. I have another four minis to go at. Plenty of green stuff here. Some of it is molded and some in sculpted (mainly molded). I have changed another blade as I have been doing a lot of chopping and changing. I have walked away from a few things that did not seem to be going my way. For the most part they don't look too much like Imperial Guard.

I got another pack of second hand stuff today, some heavy weapons. I have used the rocket launcher from the pack and trimmed it down. I'll show you that when I have managed to get it attached properly. There are a few ideas I have for using the rest of the kits. I can see another corpse or two, some more military zombies, officers and some more troops in the next few days.
The first two figures are X-Com troopers. Mostly, these are stuff I got cheap on eBay. The female head is from Statuesque and I have no idea where the male head is from, I just have it. Again trying to give the minis a sense of individuality. There is still some more green stuff needed, especially the one on the right. The idea that I want they to look a bit battered is coming through nicely.
Still more work in progress (note the missing head). They headless trooper is carrying a heavy shotgun. It used to be a rifle and the front end is a flamer. I saw something like it on the web but have changed it around for my own purpose. I need another one and I am planning something a bit more complicated. I would like to make a figure that looks like Billy Sole from Predator (the actor was also a porn star and ran for governor of Kentucky so must be a good character). He had a M16 with a master key underneath it. I will see if I can make that work.

There is more work in progress but I'll put that up when it looks a little more finished.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

X-Com Miniatures, The Start Of A Lot Of Painting

I have started doing some painting of figures for X-Com. I am gong to need a few. I want to put some work into all the figures. In principle I want them to all be individuals but share a lot of common characteristics. To accomplish this I needed a fairly (or very) modular figure which is why I eventually settled the Imperial Guard. I don't much care for a lot of GW figures but the plastic Guard are what you make them. There are also plenty of third party parts you can buy that will fit in with what you want.

So it came time to do some tests paints and this is the work in progress. I have a plan for the game and it has worked well enough so far at least as far as the paint job goes. The plan calls for individual soldiers from different nations, each having national battledress or specific different uniforms for other roles such as pilots. This would all be under standard drab green equipment like body armour and webbing.

Speaking of equipment, the soldiers are heavily equipped so I needed extra webbing. This has given me the excuse to make some using green stuff and instant mold, I'll do something about that another time but do not, I repeat do not use FIMO instead of green stuff. The plan is to give all the soldiers a comms back pack. The one's I have done are perhaps a little too big but they are GW minis so nice and chunky any way. In my head, the uniform is actually an NBC suit. Big and padded.

I have taken away a lot of the aquila because they don't really fit the vibe. The guns, helmets and water bottles all have them one so the have had to be scrapped off. The one on the chest can stay because it looks like a set of jump wings. I am thinking I can take a mold of the wings and maybe make some green stuff copies to place elsewhere (like helmets and other head gear maybe).

The pilots are going to look a little different. They get a particular helmet with the face plate filled in to look like a visor. They have dark green uniforms which I guess are akin to some flight suits. I have played around with the boots a bit. They get a specific arm pad too with a few extra dongles on it. The pilot in the shot above still has a lot of work to do.
This is my first attempt at US Woodland camo, what do you think?
I said before that I wanted to make all the soldiers different. Part of the plan is to take some recognisable film characters and turn them into NPCs. So I have Ibanez from Straship Troopers in mind for one of the pilots (this is close enough) and maybe characters from Aliens Predator and the like. Mad Robot might be helping me out with that. In the last computer game they all had national flags on their backs. I thought it would look better on the shoulder pads. The flags have turned out okay I think. I may well go for a stylised Union Jack or maybe have Scotland and Northern Ireland get independance. The flags so far are not bad. The guy with the US flag is really just a test. The guy with the German flag was a bit easier and even though Flecktarn is a real pain, I am not sure I am going to use him as I had no real plans for Germans in the game but things may change.
Flecktarn is a pain in the butt to paint
I had thought about restrict the area of operations to the North Atlantic. If I go back to funding nations in the game, Brazil and Mexico would get a look in with Canada, USA, UK, Germany, France and Nigeria. Maybe that is a plan? That would mean doing the Brazilian flag as well. I was planning on having a south african character but that went out of the window when I remembered what the flag looked like.

Ongoing Improvements - Changing GW Paint Pots To Dropper Bottles

This year is about taking my painting to another level. This includes a huge range of things including using a wet palette which I am starting to see as very important. the process seems to have taken forever but, for now at least, the process is complete.

I like the GW paints a lot. They have given me good service over the years however a bit thick and difficult to get out of the pot onto a palette, So I decided that I needed to do something about it. I considered doing a slow move over to another paint brand with Vallejo being the front runner. I have plenty of Vallejo paint but have mostly got camouflage colours for WW2 figures. This would cost a huge amount of money and I have a load of paint that would just sit and fester. Also it wasn't an instant fix and if I wait for this to happen I will be using a wet palette in

I did a bit of research and found that quite a few people had poured their paints into dropper bottles. It takes a bit of time but it wasn't that difficult. I opted for actual empty Vallejo bottles. I had difficulty getting the right size bottles. Whilst there were a few that were cheaper than Vallejo, they were nearly all from China, not that much cheaper and going to take a month or two to arrive. Too slow for my need for instant gratification.

I haven't finished all the pots I have but I have done as much as I wanted to do. I have used over a hundred already and I have about another twenty to go, if needed. What I hadn't figured out was how much flow improver I would go through. I also hadn't figured on my local branch of a national hobby store (the one that put the local art shop that my mum has used since childhood out of business) no longer stocking it (and a lot of other things) the having to source it online with Amazon being the cheapest by a long way. Now I am waiting for another bottle of the stuff to arrive before I can finish it off. Citadel's base colours tend to be significantly thicker than others which makes them the most difficult to pour out. I had a lot of problems with Revell paints too (that have a lot of near blacks that are to useful not to use).

It does make using a wet palette a lot easier and wet blending possible. I have had a play about with the blending but I have a lot to learn.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Goodbye To An Old Friend

Perhaps it is surprising what gamers get attached to. Most gamers have a dice story and even a lucky dice or two. The one that always rolls a six or a twenty. I guess I am not that attached to my dice (perhaps it's because I lost all the old ones years ago). I have a different set of attachments, colours.

I swapped over to acrylic paints from enamels in about 1989. Seems like a long time ago. It started with buying a GW basic paint set with just nine colours. I have swapped a few of them over into other bottles over the years and have eventually been left only one left.It's an old joke I use when speaking to GW staff that I own paint older than them. With the changes I am making to the work bench it is time for this old soldier (pot) to get poured into another pot.

This is supposed to be Bronzed Flesh. It is by far the palest flesh colour I have ever had. I have rarely used it as a flesh colour. Still I guess it has a place.

It is almost the last paint I have to transfer over to dropper bottles. Enough of that, for today anyway.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Broke The Plan Already

Well the plan had been to finish what I had started, but I guess I will come back to that. I have had another eBay binge. This time my focus has been on X-Com. The plan, which I think I have already mentioned is to use GW Imperial Guard as my troops This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly they are cheap second hand and I have managed to get hold of about fifty of them. I still need some more specialists to fill out odds and sods rolls. This is mainly command team guys but I was thinking some heavy weapons guys might be useful if only for new and unusual parts. I was also thinking about getting some Catachan infantry for much the same reason.

Although the principle is to use second hand stuff there is some stuff I will end up paying for. One of the advantages of using the guard is that there are plenty of third party parts. I wanted some female figures which are pretty difficult (if no impossible) to come by. Under the armour it is difficult to say what gender they are. I am not looking for something amazon in nature so simply putting a female head on should do the trick. Statuesque have provided the heads which fit nicely (as long as you order the right size).

The next part of the plan relies on the modularity of the figures. If I am going to run a game something like the XCOM Enemy Unknown Game then I need figures like the characters in the game. As well as the soldiers I need a few pilots, some zombies, corpse markers officers, scientists and the like, The plan is to make them all out of  the guard figures. I can see a few ways to make some civilians for the aliens to kill as well but I am not sure this will work for all of them, There are a few ideas that are knocking around my head. I wanted some police for one scenario I had in mind. The Mordian guard seemed like a good idea and I think I will use some of the stuff from Mad Robot to make up what I want. I can possibly scrounge up the heads, which are almost he same as the guards officers heads. Then there are some nice frilly arms and snazzy uniforms.

The Mad Robot stuff had given me some ideas. In the computer game there is a lot of customisation options. Looking at some of the personality heads gave me a few ideas. The soldiers are not going to be player characters but I want them to have some per
sonality so the players don't use them as cannon fodder (up to and including having a wall of the fallen) so all the soldiers are going to be individuals.

I have done a little bit of work so far (instead of the fantasy stuff I should be doing). A couple of pilots, a few big standard troopers, some zombies and some casualties. I should need more than five corpses or zombies as the game will be all over when we hit six. Part of my plan for the year is to up my game. So far that has meant a lot of conversions and liberal use of green stuff. I am trying out instant mold for the first time too.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Or Winter Is Going.

I had a plan for February. I could show you some pictures of what I have painted and I have done stuff. My plans were made before I realised that my dad was about to hit such a rapid decline. So I am hoping to focus on some painting and other stuff in the next month.

I didn't managed to get the twenty figures done that I was hoping to. I have got a long way with the dozen figures I started in January. I have put a bit more work into them than usually. I have decided to test my skills a bit more and come away with all round better painted figures on better made bases. They are pretty close and should be done soon. My other aim for the month, and where I have put a lot of effort in is n-in changing all my GW painted into dropper bottles. I have yet to get all the bottles I need. What I really wanted were the Vallejo dropper bottles. I have about another thirty on the way. That should just about do me with a few to spare. I did underestimate how much flow improver that I needed. I'll have gone through about about half a litre of the stuff by the time I have finished. I have used them a few times and find them much easier to use. There is some stuff that won't get transferred over because it doesn't make sense to do that. It was a fairly intense process but it works for me. I can see my work bench again and I have managed to bottle up some paints that have been hidden in draws for over a year. I have some magnets to put in the bottles. With them being rare earth magnets I am assuming that there won't be a problem but I am testing one in a pot of white paint to see if there is a reaction. If this works I have some magnetic sheet which I will use to line the shelves to stop the bottles falling over. They word cascade is currently appearing in my day to day word usage a little too much. I am hoping the magnets will also help with mixing the paint when I shake the bottles.

So for March...Finish the paint transfer process. This is subject to the materials arriving. Finish painting the dozen figures I have started. Touch up the skeletons, now I have the right paint for the job. It is also tie to start on a new (old) project and it is back to X-Com. I have had numerous ideas about what to using for X-Com forces and have eventually settled on GW Imperial Guards. The trouble with X-Com is the troops change their equipment all the while and their technology improves (we kill them and we steal their stuff springs to mind)/ So I have ordered some stuff of eBay and I am looking fr more. Mad Robot do some stuff that might catch my eye to. Better order it soon as I can't see myself ordering anything from America if Trump gets elected. I am going to aim to paint another twenty fures this month too and hopefully this won't include last months (well the ones I started in January).

March is Triples month this year. So I am expecting a mate down and to spend some time gaming and maybe drinking too.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Another RIP

My dad, Harry, died just over three weeks ago and we buried him yesterday. He had just turned 75 a few days before his death. He even managed to blow out a candle on his birthday cake he was too ill to eat. He died of esophageal cancer which had spread to his lungs and liver.

My mum and dad had lived in Spain for a long time and had only recently come back to the UK which had made me very happy at the time. He was the physically fittest seventy odd year old I knew. We argued recently about who should go up the ladders to clean the gutters at his house and he won. It has been commented on that he was never happier than when he was stood mixing mortar to build a wall.Throughout my life he has always been busy building, making or fixing something.

I have been struggling to deal with this which is why things have been a bit quiet. I just don't know where to start off now. I do know that I need to start somewhere so when not here.

I usually do RIP blogs because I respected the person in life. My dad was the biggest character in my life, despite being separated by him living in Spain. I have a few promises to him that I will stick by and a few promises I have made to myself to keep his memory alive. I guess it's time to get on with getting on.