Friday, November 28, 2008

Making rocks for your terrain

I have been busy with making some more terrain for our games of Fantasy and 40K (click here for the previous post on terrain)and bought a starter set of Woodland Scenics cast-you-own-rock. First of all, it is completely unneccessary to do this, because you can find plenty of rocks in the yard that look just the same. But for me it is fun, messing around with plaster and coming up with a rock that looks like the real thing!
Allright then, you start with this

then you mix it with some water; click on this video link (it's real short but great)

The molds look like this....

and they are cheap, running about 9.00 dollars per.
John gave me a couple as well and I decided to make two of them for real.
This is what it looks like after it has dried..(takes about 30 minutes)

Then the paint job: it's time for those washes. They worked great. I used the sepia and the brown and the cracks I shaded with black. Then I dry brushed with Bleach Bone.

The plaster is not very sturdy, so I added some balsa wood underneath to keep the edges from chipping. On the one I kept it flush to the rock, the other has a wider base. I added some sand and grass.

Here are the rocks scaled to some models:

They will sure give you a cover save..

So for 18 dollars you can get two molds, the plaster is 10 dollars. That's a whole lot cheaper then most terrain. You can add the rocks to foam and make them stick out in a larger piece, you can also just cast parts of it to make smaller pieces and it works great for basing your models.
Here's the website for this product:
It's mostly a railroad site, but still very interesting.
Since I have cast these rocks, I have read about dental plaster being a much tougher material, but unfortunately it is much more expensive. That material goes by Excalibur and only come in 25 pound boxes...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Space Marine Dwarf

I have been thinking of a space marine army to take advantage of the new codex and I like dwarves.

I wonder why they got rid of Squats?

I decided to model a dwarf sized space marine.

I imagined that there might be a planet, a forge world with very strong gravity, so strong that it has been attracting all different sorts of space rocks that are deposited all over and can be mined to make weapons and stuff.

If this forge planet had a space marine chapter, perhaps the gravitational force might even overpower the geneseed; not a mutation but a result of severe conditioning.

Of course this mineral rich soil would grow just the right crops to make beer.

So here he is: he is short, fearless and likes beer.

in the grim darkness of the future there is only beer.

here he is offering a drink to a regular marine.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From the Closet: Skaw the Falconer

From the closet is a new series about old and forgotten models in my garage and closet.

Soon after I started playing Wood Elves I stumbled upon an obscure character for that army that was all but forgotten: Skaw the Falconer. There was no model for it but at the time that WAS a page hidden on the old GW website with his story and stats. I found that page on the Australian site, which has not yet been overhauled. The link to that page is here.
If you look at the picture though, it's hard to believe they could ever think Skaw would have looked like that: young, handsome and with the real dandy pants.
The story outlined him as a grumpy, bitter and non talkative elf, who doesn't want to connect at all with his brethren in the forest.
This model here I found on the web, but I couldn't find out if its a GW model, maybe someone can tell me. (Nicely painted though and thanks for sharing).
So when I decided to model Skaw, I tried to make him as dark and gloomy as possible. I used a mounted wood elf lord and green stuffed a cape around him, to hide the leg problem.
Then I used birds from some old Bretonnian sprues...

and painted it up nice and dark, with lots of skulls around him. You can see the wip that I made, it has lost it's claws that were glued onto the end. Mind you, this is an old project and it hasn't seen the light of day in years. Still, looking at it I still like him.

Oh, by the way, I have only played once with him and he was totally devastating. 7 attacks, 24 inch range, high strength..we never played with him again, just a little too cheesy. But if you want to win your games, Skaw would be a great model to shock your opponent with. And he is fun to model.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Making a quick piece of terrain

Since Ron at From the Warp has been trying to inspire people to make terrain (click here for some of that stuff), I thought I give my two cents on the subject. I made a small piece of terrain from a design found in the Generals Compendium, an excellent out-of-print book with lots of good stuff. Find it on Ebay!

The hill above is mine and I tried to get as close as possibe to the one in the book, but the artists at GW are really GOOD at this stuff. Anyway, this one is a fortified little hill with some rocks, grass and spikes. You can use it in both Fantasy and 40K and I kept that in mind building it, measuring height with both Spacemarines and Wood elves.
The piece it self is rugged and doesn't have a lot of detail, remember it sleeps mostly in the garage with its brothers and sisters, so I advise everyone, no knick knacks for this stuff, it will just break off in transport.

OK, here it goes:
1. Balsawood fence (don't forget to chip off little chunks of wood to weather it), blue foam rocks, masonite board, balsawood stakes

2. Next up: spackle up the holes all the way up to the fence (this is the stuff I use)....

(Note: the nails in the wood are made using my green stuff rivet technique, which you can read all about here.)
....and for the ground some GW ground cover and bigger rocks from the basing set

3. For the paintjob: black and brown coat (can't use spray can, it will melt the foam), lots of
washes and many highlights, right up to Bleached Bone.

For the grass, just some glue and some handfuls right over it. I later inked the grass with brown to make it look at little more worn.

4. And here are the inhabitants!

(note: that mysterious figure on the right will be the star of my next From the Closet post...)
Hope this all inspires!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Warhammer and young children: my 9-year old did this..

So I have been playing every week with my 9-year old daughter. We play from the Generals Compendium (great book to introduce kids to the hobby)..
or the skirmish book...
...(find those on Ebay, they are both great, even for experienced players)..
and our battles have about 225 points each. It's great fun. But she showed an interest in an old shaman model that I once picked up for 99cts in a dark corner of the hobby store. Well, she painted this guy up in a wonderful fashion, using some of my advice but doing all the work herself.

Here's a close up of the skulls, which she worked on for a while.

I think it came out pretty good (yes I am a proud father) and she is definitely pleased with it. She is able to focus on small things for a long time, so to her painting kind of comes naturally. If you want to improve your child's attention span, try the modeling or painting, it seems to me to be an excellent developmental tool for teaching your kids focus and small motor skills (not to mention the artistic part of it).
I am not sure if my daughter will do another one, but who cares? We had fun together making it work and next up is another Sunday morning game..
Play Warhammer with your kids!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Series! From the closet: the drop pod

While I work my way into a bunch of new modeling projects, I have decided to check out my closet and find some old things that I built and are worth sharing a few thoughts about. After I read From the Warp about drop pods and with all the attention given to the drop pod at GW, I thought I start with these.

Before John wrote his post with our downloadable drop pod template, I built these two, maybe 3 years ago, out of cardboard and tape. First I built the fat one for a dreadnought,

then the slimmer one where I actually improved the design a little.

We were all stoked with the outcome and had a few fun games with them.
But then the reality set in: drop pods were just too good. Every game I played with them, I killed off my buddy Christian or vice versa. My Blood Angels (they have since been dismanteled) were just insanely strong and using a drop pod with 5 termies, 2 assault cannons it was just a massacre. Also, the drop pods could never crash, they would always block line of sight and playing with 3 or 4 just tilted the game instantly. We created a house rule for a while, where the pod could scatter into terrain, but then there was no point in taking them; they crashed all the time. In the end we decided not to play with them anymore and that felt much better. What's the fun in playing with models that have massive advantages on top of being part of a very powerful army? So I tossed these two into the closet and only today, after a couple of years, saw them again. Funny how stuff works itself out.

On a side note, I read today on Bell of Lost Souls about the new Imperial Guard Codex and would think that they should also be able to take the drop pod. It makes for a better combo I think, having weaker troops pay for a great transport, instead of having Space Marines come in with these things.
In the next couple of months I will bring out some more of these old closet items and share some thougths about why they ended up in the darkness.