Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Painting Competitions... Oh My Goodness!

Ten days ago, in my capacity as US Editor of Wargames Illustrated magazine, I ran the "Wargames Illustrated Presents The Historicon Painting Competition". Thanks to all the wonderful promotion work done by many folks before the event, we had 130 entries! That's more than the Crystal Brush had in 2012 (and they were offering $13,000 in prizes). While certainly not all our entries were the same quality as the CB comp, we had plenty of lovingly crafted miniatures in our cases. So many we had to build our back-up case just 15 minutes after entries opened. It can only grow from here : )

Anyway, to take a look at the winning entries, just click HERE.

Then, last Friday, I went on down to Memphis for the North American Games Day for 2013. After some calculations and reminiscing, I worked out I've attended 39 Games Days in my 40 short years (5 in Australia, 2 in Canada, 3 in England, and 29 in the US). I've only missed to of these cool events since I've been in America (both in 2005).

This year the event promised to be a wonderful reinvention of Games Day, a re-imagining if you will.

It was much like the other 38 Games Days I've attended. Was I disappointed by that? No. In my humble opinion, if you're promoting all the various aspects of "GW Hobby" at a GW Games Day, then you're probably doing it right. Cycle out some of your older events, introduce some new ones, bring back the old ones in a few years, once they have a champion to make them fresh again. Ebb and flow, that kind of thing.

Amusingly enough, I had half a dozen GW staffers ask me what I thought of the new Games Day. I don't think they were too surprised when I expressed the opinion above.

But you all know I go to GD primarily to catch up with old friends, meet new friends, and talk all day about cool toy soldiers. That was all achieved this year, so a win in my book : )

Additionally I was lucky enough to pick up a Silver Demon for my Lamenters Contemptor Dreadnought. It was nice to get another Demon. After my drought the last few years I was starting to think I was "over the hill". 

UPDATE: HERE's a link to the photobucket of my friend Brice, who captured many of the entries on camera. 

And now, it's back to the grind ; )


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Crazy Busy, and a few promos...

Things have been pretty crazy around here lately, lots of work, lots of summer family fun, lots of hobby, and lots of travel! It's been so busy that I haven't actually completed anything. I had to pull the plug on getting the Riptide finished for Golden Demon. It was looking close, but I just knew it wouldn't be completed to my standards in time. I'll still be finishing it, just a few days "late".

Anyway, on to telling you about a few Facebook pages you should check out. The first is the brand new Wargames Illustrated Facebook page. Started just over a week ago, Dan and I were busy over the weekend, updating it pretty constantly from the largest historical gaming convention in the US - HISTORICON. If you are on the Facebooks, head to the page, "like" us, and check out our photos and videos : )

Another page I urge you to check out is the Grindhouse Games Facebook page. A few years back I painted up a bunch of the wonderful INCURSION miniatures and auctioned them off for charity. You can check out all the Incursion posts here. Well, Jim and the Grindhouse crew are putting together a Kickstarter to re-launch Incursion (and the supplement SNAFU) the way they always pictured doing it. The Grindhouse Games Facebook page has been filled with lots of info and very cool new art! I suggest you head over there and keep up to date.

Hopefully posting might return to normal next week, after a fun-filled weekend in Memphis at Games Day. Wish me luck on my Armies On Parade entry (or if you are there, be sure to vote for me).


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More Tau WIP

A little bit more work done on the Riptide. I have now painted the bulk of the torso, including the darkened interior, red panels, and comfy seat. It's quite tough to try and get a good shot inside that thing! Also, for some reason the blue is showing up as a lot lighter than it actually is, so I'll have to play with that for the final shots.

Additionally I've completed a Shadowsun in the same color scheme, but with the added bonus of Active cloaking occurring. Shadowsun and the three drones are all in some stage of adapting to their surroundings.

The whole approach to this was inspired directly by Cagn on Le Blog De Kouzes. You can see his great Remora Drone below, and obviously my "transition" line and glow is a direct (if inexperienced) attempt to mimic the effect.

I hope you (and the client) like it!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

I did something yesterday...

... I never thought I'd do.

I bought some miniatures that someone else had already painted.

As long time readers of this blog will know, I paint a lot of models. I can't remember the last time I haven't painted at least 365 miniatures in a year (one a day) and there have been a few years recently where I've painted more than 10 models a week.

Even with all that painting I realized that I'm not going to get to all the projects I'd like to get to. One of those projects was expanding my Napoleonic collection with some Brunswicker allies for my Brits. Of course, these were going to come after the Russians, French, and Poles I'm yet to paint, but I saw something on a fantastic blog (Wargaming with Silver Whistle) that spurred me into action. Pat Smith, author of said blog, was selling off some of his projects, including a batch of painted and unpainted Brunswickers. The price was an absolute bargain, and Pat's work has always been inspirational, so I bought them.

Pat has a few other things he's selling that you really should check out. He has some WW2 Germans, and an amazing Zulu Wars collection (that we featured in WI307 and WI309). I highly recommend you check them out.

Wargaming with Silver Whistle


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

No time for sleep...

I was recently asked to build a Riptide with an open cockpit for an old acquaintance. I agreed to take on the project as long as I could work on it for Golden Demon. The photos below show the first few stages of the build, the most complicated being the hatch, of course.

I thought I might have to do a lot of hacking to get a kneeling pose (I really wanted one of the thighs to be a good place to position the pilot), but GW have learned a lot since the Dreadknight and you can very easily pose the legs this way.

Finding the right place to cut the front off was much trickier. Fortunately I left the "shoulder" assemblies off until I'd sorted everything else out. The white plasticard around the opening was primarily to tidy things up, after all the hacking away.

Here's the hatch with its back and front on display. I filled in the back (interior) to smooth things out, and then added various dials/buttons/displays that look like Tau controls.

And here it is with the hatch in place.

And with the command seat. Initially I built a "capsule" of sorts that was designed to slide into the body cavity. Unfortunately to pilot the model the Tau would need to have his shoulders removed, so a different solution was needed. I curved a piece of plasticard up in the back of the body, and built a few more display/control panels (seen stuck next to the seat above and below) to hide some of the items inside the cavity.

As well as the Riptide itself, I'm planning on painting up the support systems in case my acquaintance wants to add them at a later date.

And here's the final pose. The tank commander will be switched out for a kneeling pilot.

Until next time!


Friday, July 5, 2013

All the News that's fit to print!

First of all, thank you all for the kind comments on my display board for Armies On Parade. Hopefully it'll do well in Memphis in three weeks time. Fingers crossed.

Anyways, the show must keep rolling along, and whie I'm tinkering with something new, I wanted to point out a new "feature" on my blog. On the right, between the block of blog followers and my Blog Roll, I've inserted a new "News and New Releases" collection of the places I go for my daily fix of info on what's actual news in the miniature wargaming world. There are other places to go for rumors, discussion, tips, and tricks, but the (currently) three sites on the right are the ones I go to regularly to keep abreast of what's going on.

My typical go to is Tabletop Gaming News, a site I've been checking out for six years or so now. Always has a lot of the latest info, presented in an upbeat manner. Covers not only miniatures, but occasionally includes info for RPGs and board games too. If you are into Kickstarters, you'll find plenty of new ones here too.

Next on my list is Table Top Fix, another great source of information (or at least links directly through to the companies creating the news). Typically TTFix has a bunch of photos you might not see on TGN, and a more refined focus on miniatures gaming.

And finally, here's a new one on my radar, Polskie Figurki (or Polish Miniatures). Artur, who runs the blog, is focusing his content exclusively on the swathe of miniature companies in Poland alone. From Scibor to Spellcrow, if it's new and made by a Polish company, you'll be able to find it here. Content is provided in both Polish and English.

So, I hope you all take the time to immerse yourselves a little more in the miniature wargaming world by making these sites part of your daily web browsing routine. : )


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Display Board

Finally I've had a chance to put together a few photos of my Armies on Parade display board.

Initially I had the idea for a bridge and triumphal arch when I saw the excellent artwork spread in the 40K rulebook of the approach to a temple on Terra. The scale/scope of the architecture was simply mind-blowing. I wanted to grab a little bit of that feeling and squeeze it into a 2' x 2' area.

I didn't take many photos during the construction process, and those that I did take were with my phone, so the quality isn't quite the same as my usual shots. I hope you enjoy them.

This was roughly 40% of the way through the construction. Each element had been designed by me and then rendered and cut on my friend Thomas' laser cutter. To reduce costs, the bulk of the structure was built out of MDF, and then clad in 1mm sheet styrene (plasticard).

Areas requiring precise detailing, such as the deck of the bridge, were etched from acrylic, which deals much better with the heat of the laser than sheet styrene can.

Additional detailing, like resin sheeting of grating texture and strips of plasticard, were carefully added to increase texture and depth in the final piece, essential for something this big.

Curves underneath the edges of the lower arches required careful filling (with expanding foam) and then cutting, filling, and sanding. Thomas looks on above, as the expanding foam amuses us both during a late night construction session.

Curious about the overall height, I asked my two little treasures to stand beside the display : )

The eagles on each side can be removed and replaced with any other design I might like to come up with. And the arch is a separate piece, so it could become and excellent objective for an Apocalypse game. Versatility (as much as possible) was always in the back of my mind.

And here the Bridge Guard stand tall, performing their task.