Saturday, June 6, 2015

Santa Cruz Fury Road!

The Santa Cruz Warhammer group in Santa Cruz, California has been gripped by a really fun, new project: playing games with little cars and modeling them in the style of Mad Max. The cars, mostly Hot Wheels and Matchbox, are cheap, mostly around 99 cents each and the modeling can be pretty daunting, at least if you want to make something good. You can also find actual cars used in the movies, like the Ford Falcon or the Chrysler Valiant, but those are out of print and only to be found on Ebay, for 5-10 bucks each.

There are few different road games you can play with these cars, like Car Wars or Road Wolf (which is what we play in Santa Cruz and is free online ), and there are plenty more, (if you know of some good ones, share them in the comments). The game does need a gaming surface, mostly roads and some buildings. The scale is smaller then 40K so you can't use any of those terrain pieces. The game rules are pretty much free and online and there is NO company support for it; it's a true grassroots movement!

Being a modeler first and a Gamer second, I loved the idea of buying models for a dollar and spending a joyful week on them, cutting them up and kitbashing them (and not having to spend 40-50 dollars). Before I saw Fury Road I bought two random good looking Hot Wheels and kitbashed them; here's one of them:
and the finished model:

You can see that with a bit of inventiveness and good size bitz box, you can really have a lot of fun!

Here are some more builds from our group:
(Chris Wolfe)

(Jordan Nichols, not painted yet)


Then I saw Dave Taylor, whom we all admire, work on his Mad Max models; they are amazing! Dave really shows what's possible with good modeling skills and great vision. Here are three of Dave's cars for his Fury Road project, he uses them with his group in Car Wars and on his blog he shows wonderful how-to's.

Dave is also part of our Facebook page Santa Cruz Fury Road and it's been really fun sharing ideas and showing of builds with him.

I tried my hand on copying Dave's Hedgehog conversion you see above and I am still working on it, but you can see how much fun it is to mess around with all this.

AND now I want to see someone tackle this one (Dave Taylor...)

Here's our game board built by Sc John, founder and driving force in the Santa Cruz Fury Road Project:
and after finishing it up:

So far we have played one group game with our cars and we are still getting used to the rules. The dice rolling for Road Wolf is different, but makes for a lot of fun. After playing for a bit, you quickly learn how fragile bikes can be and how important the roads movement phase can be. In our game the road and it's hazards claimed almost as many cars as the fighting did, but to be fair we were driving a little on the reckless side. 

Lots of local friends have started looking around everywhere for models.... SC John  found this little gem at the flea market for 50 cents: '73 Falcon, the original Mad Max Interceptor and it will get the treatment soon.

Cars can be found for pocket change at yard sales, second hand stores and flea markets, or new for about a buck at discount stores.

Scale can be a bit tricky for semi trucks and motor bikes to keep them in the scale range of the 1/64 scale Hotwheels and Matchbox cars, and dirt bikes are proving to be the hardest thing to find so far.

SC John started the group TWO weeks ago and so much has been done already! It's really been a long time since I felt this surge of inspiration going through our gaming community and you can do that as well! Start a group and start looking for little cars....

SC Mike

Friday, February 27, 2015

Painting With Washes!

I recently purchased a few of the James Wappel painting pyramid videos and was really surprised by James' unique approach to painting models.  Essentially, James applies a very fast basecoat of colors to the entire model using shades of color that are slightly lighter than where he wants the finished model to end up.  From that point on, he primarily paints with only washes and glazes.  Essentially, he goes over the model in a series of thin layers of dark colors adding shadows and color variety all over the model.

I decided to give this technique a try on my copy of Enigma Miniatures Driatram  I'll be using this model as a Wight King in my Vampire Counts Army.  In the two pictures below you can see the pallet of washes (mostly Secret Weapon here, but the GW ones work quite nicely as well) I decided to use and the basecoat I put on the model. I kept the colors on the basecoat very light, possibly too light.  Notice the huge difference between the color values on the basecoat (very light) and the washes (mostly darker).

You can see in the photo below just how quickly the washes darken the model and begin to create distinction among the various shapes.  One of the principles of painting in this way is that you cannot just slop on a wash all over the place.  These are single thin layers of color.  In most cases, a single brush stroke of the wash was more than enough.  I kept a paper towel handy throughout the process to dab away extra moisture and washes.  That said, you are working with very thin washes on the entire model at once, so inevitably, the colors will run and bleed together a little.  However, if you're not over applying the wash, this should be manageable. and in most cases create a desirable effect. Once the model was washed all over, I dried the paint with the hair dryer after each step.

Below, you can see my 3rd and 4th passes over the model with the same washes.  I tried to focus my blue colors into the armor and the yellow greens into the robes and clothes.  I also realized I would need to add some more warmth to his skin to keep the model from looking washed out so I applied some of the red (Secret Weapon Drying Blood) to his face and hands.  Also, I realized that I had gone a little too far in some areas with the wash and things really looked quite muddy... I applied too much wash.  So, I went back with some traditional, opaque paints and highlighted the bottom of the robe, the armor, and the bandages on his arms.  These highlights were all applied quite quickly with little more than a drybrush.  As you can see at this point, I was simply making minor adjustments as there is very little change in appearance of the model between the steps.

With the final steps, we return to traditional opaque paints and pick out a few highlights and details.  I added  a flame effect (still working on getting that OSL right) to the sword, and added some edge highlights to his face, armor, and small details.  Overall, this technique is really quite easy to use and allows for a lot of very subtle blending and color variation without spending hours and hours working with super thin traditional paints.  Total time spent painting between the first wash and the picture you see below was about an hour and a half (30 minutes of which was spent on the OSL).  Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, this technique does have a steep learning curve, as it will feel odd to most people to allow their paints to ooze and mingle all over the model, but with a little bravery the effects can be quite nice indeed.
  As always, thanks for reading, and if you have other techniques you'd like to see me cover please don't hesitate to request.



Monday, January 5, 2015

Space Wolf Contemptor Dreadnought; finished.

Over the last month I have slowly picked away at painting the first of two Contemptor Dreadnoughts that I will add to my budding Space Wolf army. Here's the finished model, equipped with a Twinlinked Melta Gun.

I had big plans for this little guy, when I started. Here's a building shot that accentuates his pose. I really wanted to make use of the flexibility of the design, being able to bend his legs. The Contemptor Dreadnoughts are so much more interesting to work with then the conventional dreads, because they can be positioned so well.

I really wanted him whole body turned, and paying attention to something on his left side.

After finishing the build I got inspired to create some decals for him, based on some old nordic Viking artwork. Here's the decalsheet that I created, and of course anyone can use it.

Testors decalsheets come only in 5.5 x 8.5 so that's what the file is sized to.
I followed the instructions, and the the shoulderpad decal went on pretty well, using a decal softener. But after weathering and washing, the inks started drooping anyway. In the end, I repainted some of the viking ship in the artwork. I still looks cool, but not as crisp as i wanted. The roman numeral 7 was added later.

On the decal sheet you can also see the rune decals, but unfortunately, they really should be printed on clear decal paper and I only had white. So I couldn't use them. I perused my many decalsheets and added a name to his other shoulder, sorry a bit blurry.
I spent quite a bit of time weathering this old dread and make him fit into a barren, cold and lifeless landscape.
I mix a lot of washes and overlap them as well, often painting 2 or 3 times over the same area in different shades of the same color. I feel that in this way, the armour really ages well. It's not a clean paintjob, but it is effective.

I added a bit of writing on his breast scrolls, some runes with archival brown ink.

All in all a fun project! I will build and paint one more, but this one will be in blue!

SC Mike