Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year in Review

Hard to believe it's been a year since I started this blog. And what a year it's been: I painted 132 models, built 3 commissioned game tables, made a new work table, and took on a handful of modeling and conversion commissions. I also didn't get to about half of the stuff in my recent project queue, but that's the way it goes– paying work has to take precedence over the personal projects. Through it all I've managed to keep up with this nearly every week and publish (hopefully) interesting content. This marks my 50th post!

We're close to 200 followers, and 133 on the Facebook page. I want to thank everyone for watching and contributing with questions and comments, and wish you all a Happy New Year!

2012 Highlights

Looking back, here are some of the blog posts I'm most proud of, and that stand out as "landmarks" for me:

The Legion of the Infernal Skull: A (not so) Brief History

As my oldest and dearest army, it's nice to see it all compiled together, with the army story and characters' background fleshed out. I guess a lot of viewers like it too, because this is the 3rd most viewed of all my posts. And there's more to come for the Legion– now that Marduk has graduated to Ghoul King status I see the army beginning to fracture, with the martial regiments remaining under the control of Seth and Dimitri, as Marduk branches off with his own feral aspect of the army. I need to finally build my winged ghouls, and finish off all of the "gheists." And Nieman Kimmel and Korak still need their new conversions...

Vampire Counts Battle Report

This was a lot of fun to put together. Sure, the game dragged out much later than expected because we kept stopping to take pictures, but it was worth the effort. I'd love to do more of this in the coming year. If I can get enough dedicated players together, maybe a map campaign that spans a few months would be interesting.

Fast as Lightning!

A neat experiment that turned into a pretty cool one-day conversion and sort-of tutorial. I've only gotten to use the Doom Wheel in one battle since its completion, and wouldn't you know it, I left my Skaven army book at home, so I don't even know if I was using it correctly!

Wrath of Kings Diorama

An epic project, and my first big freelance gig. I enjoyed showing off the progress of this over the course of 5 weeks. Suffice to say, this is not the last Wrath of Kings terrain you'll see from me...

So, what were some of your favorite posts from this past year, and what would you like to see more of next year? Let me know in the comments section.

2013 Preview

Since the world didn't end, I guess it's time to look toward the future and what's in store for next year. As I alluded to above, I've got some more terrain freelance lined up. I'm doing this freelance thing full time, so I definitely need to increase my workload and take on more table and painting commissions.

I've also been experimenting more with resin casting, and plan to put up some terrain kits for sale. That will be much later in the year, as I need to upgrade my casting station with a pressure pot and vacuum chamber. 

And, one of these days, I'll figure out this new-fangled Youtube doohickey and put together some tutorial videos.

Wild West Exodus Table

Just a quick update on this before I jump back into my painting frenzy. After framing out the buildings, I needed to add some light-up generators that power the sci-fi tech. Lighting on tables is something fairly new to me, but there are plenty of videos on the web about LED lighting. After shopping around for parts, I found that the cheapest option is electric tea lights from the dollar store.

Seriously, shopping around at Radio Shack, batteries, switches, and such are around a dollar a piece. Dollar Tree sells the tea lights in a pack of three, for $1. So that gets me a 3V battery (enough to power one or two LEDs), the battery housing, and a switch for 33 cents! (If anyone has a better option, please let me know. I'm sure the parts are cheaper than Radio Shack if buying online in bulk, but this cheap?)

The flickering yellow LED is easily removed and swapped out for a solid red LED. I primed the bottom of the battery case black, and it's good to go.

The top of the tea light was customized with plastic card and some resin bits and a scratch built power cell.

Here are the finished generators, painted and ready to go!

The generators attach to the sides of the buildings where I have floral rod "cables" running to the other devices, signs, and such.

I'll close out the year with a couple shots of some finished buildings:

'Til next year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's a Wild West X-Mas

The project that's been occupying most of my time recently is a table for Outlaw Miniatures' upcoming game Wild West Exodus. Check out the website wildwestexodus.com or the Facebook page to see more about the game and the universe.

The Dark Council has authorized me to show off a few of the in-progress shots. If you're already following WWX on Facebook, you'll have seen this concept art for the hotel. The setting is old west with a splash of sci-fi tech. So the buildings all have electricity, neon signs, and such.

The first step in the construction is to frame out a building with a classic western motif. I must have watched a dozen western movies for reference. If you want to see a beautiful-looking spaghetti western, check out Once Upon a Time in the West, by Sergio Leone. The train station at the beginning served as my inspiration for the station on the WWX table, and the architecture and color palette in that film is simply amazing. 

The buildings are constructed with foam core and covered with basswood sheets and strips.

The "iron horse," a sort of jetbike, has replaced traditional horses, and so the horse tethers commonly seen outside buildings have been upgraded to what I call "iron horse tethers." These utilize some kind of electromagnetic coupling to hold the bike in place and keep it from drifting away. (Even with the technological advancements, your horse might still wander off if you don't tie it up!)

These buildings are all in the "western" stage– That is, framed out and textured with resin and plastic doors and windows, before receiving their sci-fi accoutrements.


General Store and Metal Smith


This one proved the most challenging, because of the way it opens.

Sheriff's Office/ Jail

Iron Horse Stables

This is a traditional stable, reengineered into a bike workshop. The shingles are sculpted and reproduced in resin, and the floor has a metal tread plate pattern made from textured styrene sheets.

Town Hall

I'll talk about the "teching-up" of the buildings in the coming weeks.

'Til next time!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Blackwater Bridge

During my time at Privateer, I made a ton of terrain for No Quarter battle reports and conventions. Those of you who have been to the Lock & Load shows will have seen some of it, but I figured it was time I posted it here. (I'm honestly surprised that it took me this long to put it up.)

This 6'x4' table is set in the Cygnaran city of Caspia. The city contains numerous bridges that cross its canals, and they all have a "London Bridge" design to them. That is, they have houses and building constructed along the length of the bridge. 

The challenge for this table was to make it visually interesting, with multiple levels so it wasn't just a "corridor" from one side of the bridge to the other. It was designed with a lower, older rail bridge and a higher stone bridge which would have been added-on as the city grew.



'Til next time!