Friday, November 5, 2010

Work In Progress: 15mm Sci-Fi Project Update

Every once in a while I hit inspirational pay dirt and a project deep within my Lead Mountain starts to take off. I get fun and satisfaction from trying new techniques and learning something. I get stuff done. That's where I am now with the 15mm Sci-Fi Project. I have struck oil. Sort of.

Nice & dirty, or still in need of a wash?
Early this year I bought some artist's oil paints, but hadn't the courage to try them until revisiting this post at Roundwood's World. This IPMS article, a LAF tutorial & this Scale Model Medic video are inspiring too.

This WIP shot shows two 8 wheel MICV's and a Bulldog HMTV from GZG. The one on the far left has been airbrushed & given a coat of Future (Klear). The other two have also been given a panel wash of raw sienna, burnt umber & lamp black oil paints mixed with turpentine. After drying for several hours, excess oil wash is removed with a clean, soft brush dampened in turpentine.

I may clean-up the two on the right a bit more, or leave them nice & dirty. The next step once the turpentine, the solvent, is thoroughly dry will be another coat of Future followed by dry brush highlighting and detailing.
This is a very forgiving process. Artist's oils take forever to dry completely. So take your time, make adjustments over several days; see how things look in a different light. Subtraction, taking away a little paint at a time, is the strength of this easy to control technique.
It may be worth noting that I have blurred my panel line wash into first stage weathering. That may work all right at this small scale, but I haven't seen it done on larger models where panel lines and weathering are two separate steps.
I'm lucky to have excellent ventilation at home so working with turpentine is less of a problem than it could be. Still, using this dangerous solvent is a serious undertaking. Consider alternatives, such as white spirit. Always Play Safe.

But detailing with oils has not been the only recent technical adventure! I have been intrigued by the 'Hairspray Technique' for some time now, so I gave it a try on several of my 15mm vehicles.  Here is one example using the Old Crow Models Provider Transport, wheeled version.
A foundation colour (metallic silver for this job) is laid down & protected with Future.
Hairspray is then applied & allowed to dry. I used a non-aerosol, unscented hairspray, pouring it directly into my airbrush. Clean-up of the airbrush was done with alcohol or Tamiya thinners.

Next, an acrylic top colour was applied & when dry, water was used to loosen this layer. The dissolving hairspray between the foundation and top colours permitted me to remove convincing patches & scrapes, revealing the foundation colour.

With the number of bits, pieces and vehicles that I wanted scratched-up for this project I had a golden opportunity to get a lot of practice with this fun technique.

Next up: I am thinking I'll try some camouflage on my Cougar MBT from Ground Zero Games.

Is this the camo scheme for the Cougar?
I played about with some stencils & other camo ideas on this practice board, and decided I like this freehand pattern best.

Until next time,
Peabody out!

Spartan 117 gives good fire sale!

A while back I had the pleasure & the good luck to pick up some of Spartan 117's painted UNSC troops from Ground Zero Games. Along with the lovely platoon of minis I also received two hover APC's!
I only just got around to basing this platoon and wanted to waste no more time gloating over my good fortune!
Thanks Spartan! Your nicely painted minis were well packed. You are a square dealer and I appreciate the effort you put into making this a great deal for me.

 Peabody out!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The 15mm Sci-Fi experience. At last!

Hello again! I finally got down to business and started to work on my stash of 15mm sci-fi minis and models. Breaking out the jeweller's files, CA Glue and baking-soda I discovered how easy (and fun!) it is to clean-up and put together all those groovy vehicles I purchased months ago from Ground Zero Games, Khurasan and Old Crow.

Does my workbench look familiar? I'm starting to think everyone is into sci-fi 15's.
But I have been painting as well as kit building! A platoon of New Israeli Hard-Suits from GZG  are almost ready for play. A final hit with some matte varnish will be the last step for these.

Four small squads, with a variety of specialists to draw on depending the rule-set & the scenario being played.

The 'ketchup & mustard' camo scheme is based on one I used for my Pig Iron Productions Heavy Infantry. I thought it would be fun to play with the same forces in different scales.
Still not 100% sure about the white details on all the tech/specialist types, but I want them to stand out so that whatever special feature they bring to a game is not lost in the mix.
Very much looking forward to painting up the vehicles, buildings and the rest of the minis!A complete set of both the GZG pre-fab buildings and the shanty-town are queued up on the workbench.

A 'serious threat' of Crusties and a small town's worth of civilians will provide for some great not-District Nine scenarios.

What will I be playing with all these toys? There are sooo many options! Yes, I do have my copy of Tomorrow's War, however, play-testing GRUNTz is a priority. You can bet I will definitely will be playing some Star Mogul in 15mm as well as 5150 First Contact. Last, but not least, Fubar will be 'the' drop-in game of choice.

I leave you with a couple of shots of my 28mm Pig Iron Heavy Infantry, in their Martian 'ketchup & mustard' kit....

Post Script: I just read this news about Alpha Forge Games & Star Mogul! Thank you for that timely bit of info TGN!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Basing Tutorial Up too...

As promised, the Basing how-to is up in the Tutorials section.

Where to now, Mr. Peabody?
Not quite sure where the next few days will see Peabody heading; there are a couple of very interesting piles of stuff on the bench!

Helicopter crews from SHQ demand attention, not to mention their rides. Various slicks, cobras & hogs are in the build queue. The 20mm 'Nam project will continue. Always.

Recent auction wins have brought home some HO buildings for a planned comparison to the Italeri 1/72 scale buildings such as the Berlin House & others. Can these two scales share the same gaming table? I hope so, 'cause I'm charmed by the Dapol Service Station & Modern Flats that I bought

The 15mm Sci-Fi project has been neglected for long enough that it might just jump to the front of the line. I've been itching to build my GZG Shanty-Town and Prefab buildings and that itch may just get scratched!

Regardless of what happens it's going to be satisfying summer hobby goodness, and why not? This is a fun hobby.
I'm always impressed by the inspiring work other folks are sharing via their forum posts & their blogs. Here's to you out there, making our bit of the web a shared place to do fun stuff!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Painting Tutorial Up!

Over in the Tutorials section; a nicely detailed Step-by-Step fast-paint method for 'Nam era US Marines. Also suitable for a variety of small scale minis.

Coming up: Basing, 
the Bonsai Method.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A closer look at those RAFM US Marines

Thank you Picassa! I was able to correct the fill-lighting problem I had with these pictures, so I'm happy to share some of them with you now.
First up, a group-shot. I painted these excellent RAFM Charlie Co. minis to fix a platoon I had based on the Pegasus plastic USMC. RAFM minis better represent the weapons these squads are using in my FNG:2nd Tour campaign.  
A close-up of one of the more characterful figures from the Rifle Squad plus a running figure from the Weapons Squad. You get 14 figures in a Rifle Squad blister; a full paper-strength Vietnam era squad.

Here we see an RTO and an officer with a map from the Command pack and two other leader types from the Rifle Squad blister. The two Corpsmen on the left were commissioned by members of the Fields of Fire Reloaded forum.

This recent batch of minis was painted using a variation on the 'Fast Paint Method Based on Inks'* as featured on the Lead Adventure Forum. I took lots of pictures along the way and will be posting a step-by-step on the Tutorials page as soon as I can write it up.
*Don't worry, actual paint is used during this process! Ink is not required for this speedy yet effective technique.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Possible Enemy Force & Possible Contact Markers

I'm very excited about the upcoming release of FNG:2nd Tour! One of the things I like best about the direction that Two Hour Wargames has taken with their latest generation of games is the idea of Possible Enemy Forces (PEF's) and Possible Contacts (PC's). A PEF will move about the table until someone has line-of-sight to it, while a PC sits still; waiting to be seen. When either of these is revealed you find out what sort of enemy, if any, you are facing. A great way to handle moving about hidden and / or unknown forces!

Inspired by the 'Hot Spot' markers over at the Ambush Alley Games Forum, I thought I would try my hand at some custom markers for my games of FNG:2T

This is a set of ten Possible Enemy Force markers. The idea is that they suggest noise or activity happening outside of your line-of-sight.

The little dice sit in cups allowing each marker to be assigned a value via its die.
These are the Possible Contact markers, they are quite a bit bigger and are meant to suggest hidden stashes or locations of interest.

Again, a holder for a small die allows a value or simply a number for identification to be set for each marker.

Where there's Smoke....

Timberline 6 over at Fields of Fire Reloaded made some inspiring colour-smoke markers recently. These are pure game-candy and I just couldn't resist making a few of my own.

These are made much the same way you would make an ordinary smoke marker, just pick appropriate colours. I pre-shaded the bottoms with black & shading-grey, but I don't think that improved the look very much.

Have a look at Timberline Six's Purple Smoke, he did a much better job of it than I did!

These are very easy to make! Have a look at the Fire & Smoke mini-tutorial over in the Special Projects section to find out what you need and how simple it is to make convincing and dramatic smoke and fire markers for your games.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Photography - always a learning curve!

Well, the new workbench works a treat in all respects, it has improved my hobby experience every which way except for taking pictures of what I have going on! Turns out I need another light so I can provide better 'fill' when taking WIP shots.
A whole series of pictures taken to provide a painting step-by-step for my 'Nam era USMC turn out to have a nasty shadow in the foreground. I'll see if I can fix this in Picassa or LightBox, but frankly I'm a little bit ashamed I didn't check the results while I was shooting the series. The images looked OK on the camera display, but clearly that's nothing to go by. Live and learn. :)

It will be a few days before I have the scratch to get a light that matches the other two I use currently for everything else. Then I can be productive with the camera again!

Tutorials Page added

A stand alone page has been added for Tutorials and the first small article has been added; Fire & Smoke Markers. Go have a look & let me know what you think!

I hope this idea for a separate page focusing on how-to's will be a useful format. That leaves the main body of this blog for ramblings, WIP, after-action reports and whatever else comes to mind.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Set the WABAC Machine to 1967!

I've been working on these lovely RAFM Charlie Company US Marines for the last couple of days. These are still waiting for a hit from the old can of matte-spray, so I won't zoom in for close-ups just yet.
With a new version of FNG about to be released (FNG:2nd Tour) I decided it was time to get my little platoon of Marines looking as good as I could for some after action reports. So this group will fill in some gaps and replace some proxy figures I wasn't happy with.

Most of these figures are from the USMC Riflemen blister, some are from the Command blister and a couple -I see you Mr. Revell plastic M-79 gunner, and you Mr. SHQ tiny 90mm Recoilless Rifle person- aren't from RAFM at all. The running Corpsman figures are commission sculpts.

RAFM USMC come kitted out authentically with M-14's and other gear suitable for games set between 1964 and mid '68. You get a complete paper-strength squad with a Rifleman blister.
These miniatures are full of character and a real pleasure to paint. The group I've painted here were mail ordered directly from RAFM in Canada. The castings are quite crisp and extensive preparation was not required to meet my standard for readying 20mm minis for painting.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A fine summer day to begin a hobby blog.

Where to now, Mr. Peabody?
June brought some big changes to the little home in the Chinatown co-op where I live. A beautiful new workbench has taken the place of my cluttered old dining room table.
To help commemorate this wicked cool addition to the home-hobbyscape I thought I should gather my posts from far and wide, edit them up, and put them in one place.
Yes, here is yet another blog featuring hobby how-to's interspersed with work-in-progress posts. The selection here will be pretty varied as I build, paint and play my way through my 15mm Sci-fi and 20mm Vietnam gaming projects.
If I stay on track and on-target you might also see some fun 28mm Sci-fi and even some Pulpy Lovecraftian goodness too!

 Here's hoping!