Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Three little AFVs

Well I have all three of my cardboard AFVs to the same stage of painting.  I also put a wash on them after I took this picture.  The wash got a little dark but I think I will be able to fix them.  I'm still really happy with them.  I should have them done completely tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Scratch built APC painting WIP

 Just a quick update.  I've got the base paint job done.  Now I just need to add battle damage and a wash then go back in and add the final details.
We have two more of these in the works at the moment and we plan to make a few more.  We even have a tank body we are working on as well as a staff car and a couple trucks.

Scratch built anti grav vehicle!

 We built the hulls for a few anti gravity vehicles a couple months ago for our Station 42 War campaign but we shelved them because we thought we might find a better alternative.  Unfortunately we did not find many alternatives that we felt we could afford.  In fact only a few companies make anti grav or hover AFVs in 28mm.  There are a hand full of hover or anti grav tanks but very few APCs and they are almost all quite expensive resin cast models.  To top that off most of those models that are out there are made by small companies in the U.K. and shipping is also quite high.

 My wife made the hulls and added the hatches and windows and plating then I added the details.  I'm calling it a Light Anti Grav Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle or "Lagarev" for short.  It's intended role is somewhere between that of a Humvee and an M113 APC.  It's a lightly armored multi role vehicle not intended for front line combat.  It is however very fast and can carry a variety of support weapons.

 Most Lagarevs are also drone rigged so they can be piloted remotely from a remote base well behind the front lines although the drone drivers and gunners are usually less effective than trained crew this feature allows the Lagarev to deploy troops then return for a pickup without the need for a crew.  It also makes it easier for comrades of wounded troops to provide medical assistance during evacuation rather than be concerned with vehicle operation.

 Here is a shot of the front of the vehicle.  I'm not totally satisfied with this angle.  It doesn't look very interesting but I may add some stowage when I finish painting the model.

 Here is a rear shot.  It's slightly better looking than the front.  I think I'm going to paint the zip tie strips I used for detailing up as light bars rather than adding traditional headlights.

 Here is a shot of the anti grav drive made mostly from disposable razors and zip tie bits.  There is also a piece of plastic canvas between the drives to add some more detail to the bottom of the model.  I figure if I need to flip them on their side to show they are wrecked I don't want just a plan underside.

Here is a shot of the weapon mount with a different weapon.  I have several of these that I got from a set of cheap toy robots.  They are intended to be shoulder mounted on the robots but I like the look of them as automated weapons.

I've considered going in and trying to clean these up with some putty but they kind of are what they are and I need to have the three we have started done by Sunday for a game so it's unlikely I'll do any more detail work.

I'll be painting these in my Hell Knights cammo pattern with markings.  I'm hoping that will make them look a bit nicer.  All in all though I'm pretty happy with the results especially since these are made from scrap cardboard and junk.  They probably cost less than a dollar in materials.

Friday, July 27, 2012

2nd Battle of Bunker 1138

 With the ammo recovered by the crew of the "Maxed Out" the Titania Planetary Guard and the local militia units decided it was time to re-take Bunker 1138.  The Hell Knights have been using the bunker as a Forward Operating Base since they took control of it early in the conflict.  The Hell Knights were outnumbered two to one but they had superior skill and equipment.
 The first shots exchanged were between the snipers.  The Hell Knights sniper wounded Redjack from Boon's Militia but Redjack and the other militia snipers returned fire and took the merc out.
 The Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Watch moved into cover behind some discarded barrels on the left flank of the Titania forces but many were gunned down by the Armored Assault squad in the bunker.  The heavy blasters of the mercenaries were more than a match for light militia troops.
A militia technical moves in to support the Titania forces.  These lightly armored but heavily armed vehicles have proven quite dangerous in previous battles.
 More technicals come into play providing cover for Dutton's gang. as they advance into cover near the center of the Titania Forces line.
 On the left flank of the mercenary line the Hell Knights Scouts trade fire with Titania Planetary Guard units.  Both sides take heavy casualties.
 On the mercenaries right flank another technical arrives and cuts the other Hell Knights scout squad to ribbons which causes the survivors to break and run.
 A Titania Planetary Guard tank enters the field on the Titania forces right flank.  Armed with a laser cannon and a scatter laser it is well equipped to handle heavy and light threats.
 One of the technicals is taken out of action by the mercenary "Marksman" battle suit but it take some damage in the exchange.
 Dutton's Gang doesn't find any more protection from the chemical barrels than the Pleasant Valley crew did.  The Hell Knights veteran rifle squads prove their marksmanship.
 Two other technicals are taken down by the battle suit and armored assault squad.  The open ground in front of the bunker is proving to be a nasty kill zone.
 The Planetary Guard Tank moves in and starts trading shots with the veteran rifle squad.  The tank takes some damage from the battle suit but continues to advance knocking down a tent in the middle of the field.
 One squad of veteran riflemen are taken down through the combined fire of the tank and the Planetary Guard troops on the opposite ridge.
 Dutton's Gang retreats from it's position in the center of the Titania line after suffering heavy casualties.
 Bodies begin to pile up in a crater on the Titania forces left flank.  The rest of the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Watch lie dead or wounded along with several Planetary Guards.
 The Tank and the Battle Suit continue to exchange fire.  Both are damaged but not taken out of action.
 Carson Boon is shot down near the wreckage of one of the militia technicals.  His force field fails to protect him against the heavy blasters of the Armored Assault Squad.
Though they had inflicted serious casualties on the Titania forces the Hell Knights commander could see that it was unlikely that he or his men would survive.  The mercenary contacted the Planetary Guard commander and offered terms.  The Mercenaries offered to withdraw with their wounded if the Titania forces would halt their assault.  The Planetary Guard commander agreed to the terms.

Notes:  We played this battle out over a month ago.  Since then we have also played another Episode of "Maxed Out" that I need to put up.  I'm not entirely sure if I got all the details correct but this is basically how things turned out.  I believe we gave the Titania forces a point advantage because they were assaulting a fortified position.  I think the next battle will be a straight up fight.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday......

Hey folks we have started working on Pleasant Valley which is a small town near Station 42 for our generic Sci-Fi setting.  This is a basic "test" layout.  We are going to build a raised shuttle landing pad in the bare front corner of the table.  Of course we will be using vehicles, barrels, crates, and other scatter terrain to fill in as needed.  I hope we can wrap this one up in the next couple of weeks so we can use it for our Station 42 War campaign.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

100 bottle cap barrels

Sometimes we do something completely insane for our games.  This last weekend we put together and finished 100 bottle cap barrels.  Before we had about 35-40 so this will provide us with a lot more scatter terrain for our games which is important because our Station 42 table is 5'x12'.

Our other barrels are all generic so we decided these should have corporate labels as well as warning labels. Cutting out and pasting on the labels was by far the hardest part of the project.  We cut and pasted literally hundreds of them.

You might recognize some of the fictional corporations we used.  Not bad for a weekend project I guess.  These are part of a larger supply depo project we are working on.  Next up will be some other containers and we hope to have some large shipping crates as well.  We already have a lot of labels printed out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Advantages of Playable Terrain

 One of the things we have been doing with the Station 42 project is that we are making all of the buildings as playable as we can.  That is we have buildings that can be opened up and furnished so we can put miniatures inside.  We've found this is extremely helpful in making the terrain more useful for different types of games. 

 There are a lot of excellent terrain products and scratch built projects that look amazing but are not very playable.  For some items that is ok but for larger buildings especially that can make a beautiful piece of terrain far less useful.  I've got a number of buildings on my terrain shelves that look cool but aren't that fun to game on because they just become big blocking pieces of terrain.  Like square cliffs. 

 Big non-playable buildings are especially frustrating when you are playing skirmish games or role playing games.  Having interiors can be a lot more dynamic and fun when you are doing small scale battles.  If the heroes duck inside a building you can just open it up and continue to play rather than move to a map or try and just position the minis on top of the building. 

 However even in larger scale battle having buildings that can open up for play can provide for my interesting situations for snipers, scouts, and skirmishers. 

 There are some things to keep in mind when designing playable buildings.  For one thing you need to make sure you can get enough miniatures in them and that the interior details and furnishings allow enough room for a reasonable number of miniatures to move around in.  A good thing to do is to keep most of the furniture up against the wall in smaller buildings.  Doorways should be larger than is realistic to better accommodate based models although sometimes you will just have to pick a model up and place them on the other side of the door if the have too large a base. 

 Multi story buildings get pretty complicated.  The upper floors need to be more simply furnished than the lower floors because you will have to move them around more.  Also on very large buildings you may want to only make the lower and upper floors playable or perhaps every few floors.  It can be assumed that the floors in between are of a similar layout. 

Remember to keep your construction simple and durable.  Playable buildings are going to be handled a lot more and they aren't going to be as supported as a non-playable building.  Furnishings and interior details need to be small enough that they don't hinder play.  If you keep your interiors simple you can change out finishing to change the look of the building.  Wall details can be held in place with sticky tack as well as floor details like rugs. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

More Sci-Fi signs now at Station 42

 Well I made several more signs from trading card holders and I put them up around Station 42 since I was setting it up for a game anyway.  I even made some signs for some of the buildings which I think turned out pretty good. 
 Here's a close up shot of some of the advertisements and a building sign.  Hopefully I'll have stage 2 of Station 42 done soon.  We are trying to get all the signs done and finish all their interiors.

Speaking of interiors here is a shot of Rosie's Workshop with furniture and some data screens I made using the same method as the signs. 

Here's another shot.  I tried to make the displays look as if they had several windows open on them.  I'll try and get better shots of the screens up soon.  I'm really happy with the way they turned out. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sci-Fi Billboard update!

 I knocked out a couple billboards from the trading card display protectors I picked up.  I glued the protectors to some cheap shaving razor guards to make bases for them.  I'm even thinking about gluing them to magnets so I can stick them to metal railings and signpost.  I've used parts from these cheap razors in a number of projects. 
 I found some "Futurist Fashion" images from a quick google search then made a simple logo for the fake fashion design company "Alejandro of Titan" in photoshop.  This isn't my most futuristic set of buildings and I know that these ads in particular look a bit out of place but you get the idea. 
I printed these out on some luster photo paper then cut them out and slid them into the protectors.  I made two "posters" for each billboard.  In the future I plan to glue the images together to make them a little easier to deal with and look a little cleaner but These are just test subjects.

One word of warning.  You need to be very careful that you keep your work surface clean when using these card display protectors or any other clear plastic items.  I messed up one of my heavy duty protectors because I accidentally laid one of the pieces in a small drop of super glue that I got on my work table.  I think I can salvage it as a distressed display or I might set it up to be one sided and mount on the side of a building or something. 

Sci-Fi Terrain bits

 The Station 42 project has all but spiraled out of control which was to be expected.  Instead of doing one big spaceport project we are doing one big spaceport project and a number of other locations around the spaceport creating a mini setting.  I guess this is to be expected and it's kind of a cool thing.  After all the big project is coming along nicely but it's still a 5x12' table so it's not the most practical thing to have regular games on.  Still because of the modular nature of the designs we are working with it is providing us with a lot of use.  One of the things we have been needing to work on though are detail bits.  We have managed to put together a lot of buildings but we don't have a lot of smaller detail bits or furniture for those buildings.  We have some that we have purchased and scratch built but we need more.  The goal is to make these bits as modular as possible too. 

 We have a number of these smaller adobe structures we built out of cork tile we are working on.  We plan to use them for a lot of different locations.  They are very plain however and we were looking to spice them up with some tech bits.  Here is an example of some tech bits made from junk.  We built little platforms that we can slide right up against the building so it will look integrated and be highly modular.  Also we can put these pieces out as stand alone terrain bits.  On larger buildings they can even be set on top. 
 Here are four that I made that have identical construction.  I often use the design principle of unity and variety when thinking about miniatures and terrain. 
 Here is a shot of a number of our adobe buildings with some work in progress modular tech bits as well as some of the other storage/chemical tanks and other smaller terrain bits we have been working on. 
 Stage one of the painting.  I hope to make a large number of these for use with my terrain sets.  I want to make some larger and some smaller sets to add to the versatility of my terrain.  Little projects like these can add a lot of detail without adding a lot of storage problems.  It's easier to make one building with several modular bits than make 10 buildings that only look one way when you set them on the table. 
 Here are some simple wooden tables we made.  All of our buildings open up for play so we need a lot of furniture.  There are several lines of pre-made furniture out there but we are going to need a large volume of furniture so we are going to have to resort to scratch building to fill in the gaps.  These are for a sci-fi setting even though they are wood.  They could represent either nicer actual wood furniture or fake wood furnishings.  That brings up another thing.  Don't discount any fantasy or historic furniture you might have in your collection for Sci-Fi settings.  You can find uses for it because furniture designs have a long life span.

 Another detail I'm working on is signage and billboard advertisements.  I was looking for a way to make them highly modular and easy.  I got the idea to pick up some cheap acrylic photo frames and some plastic trading card sleeves.  I plan to make adds using photoshop and them sliding them into the frames.  I'm going to use different methods to attach them to my buildings and also make some stand along billboards.  Being able to change out the art will make them highly modular. 

Here is a detail shot of the two types of card protectors.  The one of the left came in a pack of 35 for less than $3.00 and the acrylic one was $1.29.  They are designed to hold collector cards like sports cards.