Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Egg Drop

“Hey Sarge! What are we doing out here anyway?”

“Keep it down,” Sgt. Rasmussen admonished, without a backwards glance at the greenhorn behind him. He scanned the rubble around him, his gaze lingering on a wall which still, improbably, stood. Satisfied that they were alone, he licked his chapped lips before answering. “Sentries reported a ‘meteor shower’ in this sector last night. The Leftenant thinks that’s how the bugs are being resupplied - ‘orbital weapons cache insertion’, he called it. That’s what we’re doing out here, Ade. And keep it down!” That last in a hushed rasp. The veteran sergeant hoped that his tone didn’t betray his own insecurity. It wasn’t safe to leave the laager at any time, let alone during the light of day. But the El Tee had claimed that they couldn’t wait for the presumed safety of nightfall.

An unusual... something... caught the man’s eye, just beyond the corner of the lone standing wall. An egg, thought the veteran. Must be. “Come over here,” Rasmussen waved to his ward. “Looks like we’ve found something.”

The something was a round cocoon, wedged against the bottom of the wall’s lee side. It glistened even as it collected breeze-borne wind and grime. Well-camouflaged otherwise, the mucous gave it away in the angle of the morning sun.

Rasmussen crouched nearby, barely an arms’ length away. “You see the little beastie growing inside?” He asked, tracing the embryo’s outline in the air with a finger. “By nightfall that little thing will have grown into a seed-soldier, and will be shooting at us in our bunks. But we found it first, didn’t we?” The Sergeant’s grin faded fast as a flicker of movement caught his attention. He reached out and put his palm over the barrel of the younger man’s gun. “Careful, son. No noise, remember?”

Rifle butts and boots made quick, if messy, work of the alien pod. “Remember, we’re looking for a weapons cache. Some kind of drop pod, maybe”. Adewayan nodded absent-mindedly, and wandered off, looking for a way to find something to wipe the goo and grime from his rifle.

“Hey Sarge, look! I found a bigger one!”

A sixth sense, some survival instinct borne of countless patrols and engagements, made the Sargeant whirl, a warning half-caught in his throat. The young recruit had raised the butt of his rifle to smash his new discovery, an alien cocoon wedged in the trunk of a burned-out car. As he brought it down, the front of the egg detonated in an explosive spray of shrapnel, vaporizing the boy from neck to waist.

Rasumussen had time to flinch, as the razor fragments blew into his body armor. More calcified pellets sliced into his unprotected throat and face, felling him instantly as he staggered backwards, gurgling his last breath.

Behind the translucent flesh wall of the cocoon, misted red with the alien blood of its enemies, the Cadmus stirred. It was nearly time to wake.

Monday, December 12, 2011


She awoke on something hard and cold.

Reaching back behind her with one claw, she felt the nubbed surface, otherwise smooth metal. Industrial, the thought came to her unbidden. maybe a hangar, or an assembly yard. She craned her neck to see beyond the lip of the recess that sheltered her small form, nictating membranes flicking dust wetly from her eyes. The wan, dust-choked air still admitted enough light for her to be able to see the tangled wreckage of machines around her. Yes. Definitely industrial. 

Random pictures, words, sentences flooded her mind. Images of a past life, dreamlike in quality. She was a soldier, and she'd died. The men had overrun their position, armored shapes moving swiftly and violently through the half-built, half-destroyed vehicles littering the factory floor. They'd fought to the end, been overwhelmed, and been massacred for their trouble.

The men had not been thorough, though, and the seeds of her people were left to grow, gaining sustenance from the corpses of their mothers. The night after the battle, she was awake again. And angry.

The fight had moved on beyond the industrial park, but flashes in the twilight sky and the constant dim rumble of thunder told her there was a battle raging within walking distance. She gathered herself up and stood, young muscles and ligaments singing with the exultant pain of new effort. She knew, with the certainty of instinct, that others were being born around her, that a cache of weapons was nearby. There was always a cache nearby.

She reached behind her once more, into the moist fragments of the cocoon that birthed her, retrieving a long, wicked bone blade. Blade of my own flesh, she thought. It would taste man before the dawn rose.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Innsmouth Bloodbowl Club

They're finally here!

The Innsmouth Blood Bowl Club has finally received their new uniforms, and are ready to take the XTBBF Premier League by storm in 2012!

I'm still undecided about how to identify individual players. I can:

1. Find a place to put tiny uniform numbers on them
2. 'Stencil' their numbers on the faces of the logs they're standing on
3. Find room on the bases for their names and numbers
4. Use rounded-edge plinths.
5. Something else I haven't thought about yet!

I'm open to suggestions. Let me know your opinion in the comments below.

Monday, October 31, 2011

First Time In a Long Time: Greebo Wood Elves

When I first saw Greebo's Sylvania Elves on Talk Fantasy Football, I knew I had to have 'em. Not only am I not above a little cheesecake in my Blood Bowl collection (cf Murder City Black Wings), but they immediately struck me as one of the most beautifully-conceived fantasy football teams sculpted to date.

Then I saw Micro Art Studios' Forest bases and knew I had not only my next BB team, but a plan. The only trouble was, I'm in Bosnia, with an expensive and unreliable postal service.

Fortunately my buddy Watts came to the rescue, picked up the bases I ordered locally but never arrived, and delivered them to my pal Amila, who dropped 'em off on a visit here. Compared to that the rest is easy peasy!

Here's the first test figure:

It's kind of a sketch so needs lots of touch-ups still. I figured the honking big tree trunk was enough of a hint that I didn't have to paint the team in cliche green and yellow. And while I love my cheesecake, I didn't want a naked team running around, so all that pulchritudinous flesh became white spandex. Still more than sexy enough. The uniform is inspired by Bosnia's national football team uniforms, so I have a reminder of the local flavor when I'm back to Canada.

The rest of the team is fully assembled and primed, and will be ready to take the field in the new year. I can't wait to try them out!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Combined Army: Speculo Killer

I spent my spare time this weekend daubing paint on my version of the terrifying Speculo Killer! (She's in ur base killin ur mans). The figure is just screaming for some object-source lighting from the monofilament sword, but I'm afraid to screw it up so I'll just put this here instead.

Oddly enough I found the base to be a real chore. I didn't have any sense of what I wanted it to look like, so I just googled pictures of refuse and recycling mounds until I had some ideas. Now I wonder why the girl is standing proudly in the midst of a garbage dump...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Infinity: Simple Conversions

Converting Infinity Miniatures 

Arm swaps are useful for those who wish to play WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get). Simple arm swaps are easier than other conversions, anyway most figures have separate heads;  torso and leg conversions may affect the balance of small, dynamically-posed figures. 

You will need the following Tools and Supplies: 

-Craft knife 
-Half round file 
-Hobby saw 
-Pin vise with 2 bits* 
-Brass Wire 
-Wood Filler 
*The first bit should be as small as possible, to facilitate creating a guide hole for the larger bit. The second bit should be the same size or a little larger than the diameter of the brass wire. 

I'm assuming that anyone attempting these conversions is already familiar with basic assembly: cleaning the figure, basing etc. 

1. Select the figures for conversion 

I will be using the Malignos from the Combined Army starter set and the Shrouded with Combi-Rifle. I'd like more and cheaper infantry but I don't want duplicate figures in my army, so this is one way to add diversity. I’d like to get my hands on a second Malignos, so I can have both ‘canon’ versions and an arm-swap version, but they aren’t available in a separate blister and I can’t really think of an occasion where I will have three Malignos’ in one list anyway. Since I need the knife on the Malignos I do have, he'll have to go under the knife! 

Picture: Cleaned Shrouded and Malignos in pieces 

2. Plan the conversion 

It's a good idea to try to visualize the project from start to finish before you begin altering the figures. (These guys are kind of expensive to experiment on!) My first thought was to swap the weapon arms but after looking carefully at the components, I realized that wasn't going to be possible. The Shrouded and Malignos right arms totally different (the Malignos arm is clothed, and the shoulder armor is different, Furthermore, the Shrouded rifle stock is tucked up under the arm, so it would be very difficult to get the gun clean from the arm. 

Instead, I decided to swap the free left arms of both miniatures. Fortunately the Shrouded's left arm is complete (many figures in two-handed weapon poses have the left hand attached to the gun's forestock) so this will be a very simple surgery. Because the right arm of the Shrouded is designed to meet the left arm in front of the torso, I will also cut the right arm just below the shoulder pad so that I can reposition the arm down and away from the body, leaving a little room for the knife that he will be holding. This will affect the figure’s balance point but as it is otherwise vertical it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Also while this shift in arm position will have some anatomical implications, I’m hoping that armor plating and alien physiology will mask any odd-looking musculature. Since this will be my only Combi-Rifle Malignos, I’ll probably just go with the left hand swap and leave it at that. 

3. Separate the pieces 

I like to work in stages; I'll do all the cutting, then all the pinning, then all the gluing. That way I'm not wasting any time searching for the right tool, or forgetting a step. Doing conversions this way requires a clean work space and a little bit of organization - you don't want to lose a tiny 1/56 scale hand in the carpet! 

Note that even with a very thin-bladed hobby saw, you will lose some material on the wrist. The width of this cut is called the kerf, and it's one reason why you will want to pin the pieces on assembly. By leaving a space between the two parts, you can make up for this lost material by filling the gap with putty of some sort (I am lazy and so I use wood filler). 

Since the objects to be separated are round, you can carefully cut around 360 degrees with the saw, ensuring a clean separation, as well as a true cut that doesn't obscure any detail. Check after each couple of strokes to see how close the pieces are to separating, to avoid a surprise - these are tiny pieces and easy to lose. I cut over a white paper towel both to catch loose debris and the pieces themselves. Finally, be careful to use short, straight strokes, to avoid warping and potentially breaking your saw blade. 

4. Pinning and Assembly

Assemble the pieces according to your plan. Don't worry if things aren't working out exactly as originally intended; this is an art not a science! When I first assembled my Shrouded I discovered that the arms were still too close together, and I had to reposition his right arm farther away from his body to make room for the knife.  

Picture: Pinning Left Hand 

Even the smallest pieces can be pinned if necessary. Here I am using a pin vise with a .028 bit to start a hole in the Shrouded arm. 

5. The finished product

Here are the final results. On the right is the original Shrouded model, modified slightly (with pliers) to have his foot on a box. 

Note that even a minor conversion can have a startling effect on the final appearance of the figure! The provenance of the Shrouded model is obvious when placed next to the original, but I don't think anyone will mistake one for the other on the tabletop. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Morat Vanguard WIP

This Morat test scheme passed muster, so even though I still have some work to do on him I figured I'd share him with the beloved strangers who frequent this blog:

This Morat is from a regiment that's so disdainful of their enemies that they deliberately dye their hair in various shocking colors in order to advertise their arrogant fearlessness. Or maybe that's his natural color. Or maybe he's wearing a piece. Who can tell? They're aliens. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Work In Progress: The In-laws!

Our group buy from Corvus Belli arrived last week, and we've all been busy assembling our respective forces. So in the spirit of my buddies Al and Anthony, I've included my own Work In Progress family photo of the Morat 'In-laws':

Not pictured are the Malignos from the Combined Army starter set, for whom I have conversion plans, and the Speculo Killer blister, which is a duplicate of a figure I already have (this one will remain NIB as trade-bait). 

These guys has a LOT more flash than previous purchases, but nothing I couldn't handle. Assembly was pretty straightforward, with two exceptions: the Caskuda, whose daunting size and complexity almost put me off even attempting to put it together, and the Obsidon, which was totally my fault. The former model came together bit by bit with a lot of patience and plenty of previous pinning experience. The latter, however, proved to be quite the puzzle once I had clipped off the base tab and attempted to put its long coiling tail together freehand. 

I had initially planned to do a Shasvastii sectorial, so these Morat figures have taken me by surprise, especially the more specialized troops. The Morat Vanguard aren't particularly inspiring, but I really love the Daturazi Witch and the Rasyat, and can't wait to put paint on them! Most surprising for me though was the Charontid. I'm not certain if it's the angle or the paint scheme, but I was less than enthusiastic about this model until I saw it in person. It's a very cool style, and I hope that my own paint job will do it justice. 

Next week: More painted stuff. Promise. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Infinity Family Photo: March

Since posting to this blog seems to be motivating me to paint and produce more, I figured I'd start putting progress shots as well as finished figures up here. This is the sum total of my collection, less one Medchanoid bot that's still in his blister, awaiting a fancy resin base. But not for long... April will see me swamped with new figures!


I never should have bought those Hellcats - there aren't enough figs in the Nomad range that I really love enough to make a viable team out of, even taking all the Tomcats as well. I'll figure something out though, they're too pretty not to own. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hellcat Search and Rescue

Now that I'm bored with my Shasvastii paint job (only 2/3 of the way through, aaargh!) I've started thinking about my Nomad unit. I love everything about the Hellcat figures, from their high-tech armor equipment to the dynamic poses to their airmobile capabilities, but I also really like the Tomcat Emergency and Rescue Special Team. I thought it would be cool to envision a SAR squad that had Hellcat capabilities as well - kind of a Military Search and Rescue team rather than a militarized one. 

I won't have time to work on the figs for a while, but I had to get one idea out of my system. Here's the result: 

This lettering is at the limit of my vision and steadiness, but I'm still not happy with the way it looks in macro, and will probably redo it when I start the project in earnest. But as a proof of concept I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out - and damn, it's small! 

Shasvastii Tuesday Twofer

Another couple of Seed-Spawn in the can: A Shasvastii Seed-Soldier with a light grenade launcher, and a few more shots of my Shrouded, now that the base is finished. In my haste to finish, I've clearly cut corners, but I like the way they've turned out and the team is starting to come together quite nicely! I should put up a family photo a little later.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A is for Aswang

That's good enough for me...

It turns out that the Aswang is a nasty little monster, only instead of eating cookies he eats people! And he's got a glue gun to stick people down first, kind of like the Velvet Worm...

This fella is a minor conversion, with a quick arm swap from a Cadmus so I can use him as my Lt, and some green stuff to create the bloody mess trailing behind his current meal.

I ended up getting bored so rushed through some of the stages, and the shortcuts are of course excruciatingly visible in digital close-up. Serves me right though!

Here's the color palette I'm using for my Shasvastii (all colors from Vallejo)

Dorsal Armor - Reflective Green + Prussian Blue/Field blue/Dark Blue Grey/Pale Grey-Blue
Carapace - Khaki Grey/Yellow Ochre/Sand Yellow
Ventral Flesh - Orange Brown/Salmon Rose/+Light Flesh
Weapon - German Fieldgrey/Green-Grey/Pastel Green
Freckles - Chocol. Brown/Orange Brown/Salmon Rose

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shasvastii Chop Shop


I wasn't able to get a ton of painting done in the past week, but I did manage to do a little converting that I wanted to show off. It turns out that Cadmus and Aswang Shasvastii are similarly equipped and proportioned, so an arm-swap was a simple matter; now my Aswang can be used as a Lt and my Cadmus is even more dangerous close-in! I also wasn't a fan of the straight-on-scream look of the Combi Rifle Cadmus so I filed his neck a little and filled the gap with some Green Stuff. It looks passable I think. 

Also included in this update is a nearly-done Shrouded, altered just slightly to be stepping up on a vent while leveling his Combi Rifle at an unseen target. That black gun tube is the last thing many humans will see! I kinda like his guy's no-pants look, and his textured flesh was a lot of fun to paint, contrasting nicely with the smooth curves of his carapace armor. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meet the Celebrity!

Oh, you were maybe expecting somebody else? No, Colette is the Host, MC and owner of the Show, but even she realizes who people really come to see - the lovely Cassandra! Cassandra, whose flashing smile is a sharp as a blade, and vice versa.

I'm not as pleased with Cassie as I've been with the Performers I did over the last couple of weeks. I was pushing for something a little more dramatic, as befitting her power and status, but I'm not sure it paid off. The brocade on the dress was a lot of work, and took more than one attempt, but it's still lacking - a little messy, and perhaps too strongly contrasted with the yellow of her dress to achieve the tone-on-tone effect I was going for. Dotting the interstices with a darker ochre color did help pull the design together though. Similarly, the stocking effect, achieved by layers of purple-infused flesh tones, was a little less than I had hoped for.

She's done, though, and that's the most important thing. Overall, I give myself a 'not bad'.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blast from the Past: First in a Series

I've been clearing out the basement lately, looking for good stuff to pawn on Bartertown, when I stumbled across my old 40k armies. Some of this stuff is pretty good!


I remember this guy well. He had random powers and a random weapon, that worked perfectly in his case: Sustained Assault and the Executioner. The latter was like a close-combat antitank gun, while the former let him charge a new opponent every time he defeated his current target in close combat, as long as he wasn't himself hurt. One time he killed an entire army in a single turn. He wasn't very well-liked in our gaming group. 

The Swooping Hawk wings allowed him to Leap 18" (into close combat if he desired), or 'fly high' out of weapon range in one turn, and land anywhere on the board in a subsequent turn. Talk about Death From Above! 

Now who said Eldar were cheesy? 

BTW the date on the bottom says October 1, 1991 - almost 20 years ago! Has my painting gotten better, or has it regressed? You be the judge! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Girls and their Dolls

Here are the Malifaux Performers with their Mannequins, complete with Wyrd 30mm Victorian base inserts.

When painting these ladies I tried to stick to a fairly limited palette, and carry colors through from one figure to the next, so there would be a certain consistency among the Crew without making it look like a uniform. I also paired up colors so that the Mannequins matched their owners.

Next up, the Celebrity herself!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Invasion of the Seed People

Obsession is a dark and dangerous thing!

Here's my first crack at Corvus Belli's lovely Combined Army figures from their Infinity science-fiction skirmish game. This guy is a Shasvasti Seed-Soldier, an expert in infiltrating target planets ahead of the EI's shock forces and sowing confusion and mayhem. They start the game in a cute little seed pod, oh what is that cute little thing over there! It looks like a pumpkin, aw, is that a puppy hatching? NO IT'S AN ALIEN AND IT'S GOT A KNIFE!

The color scheme is far from the boxed set photos but I wanted to emphasize the alien and crustacean look of the creature, and went for a tasty crab-meat effect on its underbelly. I was tempted to do the armored exoskeleton in German field-greys, but decided to stick to blue-greys as well, as I felt it suited the composition better. What do you think?

Photographing this little devil with my little Canon P&S was quite a challenge, given it's Z-axis depth. As a result I had to resort to post-processing sharpening way more than usual.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The New Thing

Right next to the Malifaux stuff at the local gaming Mecca are five trays of a sci-fi game called Infinity. My resolve already softened by Malifaux, I was utterly charmed by the strong aesthetics of this Spanish game.

I lasted two weeks.

Pictured is a 200-point Combined Army force of Shasvastii infiltrators, alien troops intent on conquering mankind and incorporating them as an arm of the Evolved Intelligence. I have no idea what any of that stuff means, but it sure sounds cool!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Trixie Complete!

Yay, one down, five to go!

My FLGS had some 30mm Victorian bases, so I was able to start finishing my Showgirls last night. In the end I decided to go with base inserts rather than a scratch-built theater floor because I want to strike while the iron is hot, and get these figures done before I lose momentum. I also think they look pretty great!

Trixie might need an accessory on her base, but I don't want to pull visual impact away too much from the figure itself. I might add the Cat from the Victorian Accessories pack after I'm done the rest of the crew though.

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Marionette

Marionette is Suzanne's Mannequin. Ain't she cute? 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Deadwood Dedications

This is Suzanne, one of two obviously-armed Showgirls in the entire crew. Suzanne ended up looking a lot older than I originally intended (not to mention slightly bemused), since I am still having trouble with the smooth blending transitions that signal youth and beauty. Nevertheless I think she's got character.

When I first started to paint this set, my original intention was to use design elements from the superlative,  postmodern, and late lamented Western, Deadwood. Set in an 1870's frontier town illegally established in the Black Hills of what was later called South Dakota, Deadwood is a fascinating re-imagining of the American frontier myth, populated by richly-drawn, larger-than-life characters. Much like Malifaux! So with this Performer I made a conscious effort to try to incorporate some of the costuming ideas in the show, including cheap striped stockings, and 'sensible' shoes that don't exactly go with the rest of the outfit.

I haven't decided yet whether to go back and redo her long blue skirt. I like the color, but I'm not certain about the highlighting. A friend has been telling me that 'cool colors recede, warm colors approach', so I think that highlighting with a cool albeit pale blue-grey might be causing the stark transitions I'm getting. On the other hand I'm keen on getting these ladies done, and can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Meet Trixie

This is Trixie, the newest member of the Showgirls. I decided to try a couple of things out on her, including a pale yellow dress and a little detail along the fabric panels. I'm not 100% satisfied with either, frankly, but she's not bad. I think I'm getting better at facial details though, and have managed to emphasize the annoyed expression on her face.

Ah well, that's two down, four to go!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Malifaux Musings

This is Mindy.

Mindy isn't a real person. That is to say, she's real all right: she can walk (a little clumsily), understand commands (nothing too complicated), and even communicate a little herself, with posture and hand gestures. But she's not alive.

At least, I don't think so. She's a special kind of automaton that Ramos made for the Show - oh, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that, he likes to stay behind the curtain. She looks insignificant, harmless even, but she's an important part of any performance. We'd be lost without her, and her sisters. Which is why I put up with her silent watchfulness... is it petulance? Resentfulness? I can't quite put my finger on it. I just know that sometimes, in the darkness of the wardrobe room, she seems to be contemplating. studying us. Watching.

Which is ridiculous, of course. How can a mannequin with no eyes watch anything, anyway?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Introducing the Sarcophagus Springs Brightsiders

Fresh off the presses, this motley crew has sworn to carve a bloody swathe through the XTBBF on its way to the Chaos Cup!

The team was built from Impact! Miniature's Elfball Samhaino team which is seasoned with a healthy dose of Heresy Miniatures, and with a RollJordan Werewolf (or in this case Werebadger) playing a ringer.

They are losing their faces off so far, but hopefully will come around in the coming weeks!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Presenting the Murder City Black Wings

This is now a general Wargaming blog! :)

While Lasalle has gone on the backburner, Blood Bowl has rekindled my love of painting little figurines. These ladies are my first Blood Bowl team, and though they've been the source of much heartbreak I love 'em nonetheless.

The figures are Shadowforge Wicked Elves, but I'm using them as Blood Bowl Dark Elves. Not only does the Wicked Elf style match that of the corrupt, evil Dark Elves, but the range has just the right number of different positional pieces to fill all the roster slots on the DE team.