Monday, February 19, 2018

The Old Man and the Turtle

The old man was always amazed at how stiff his joints had become as he aged, especially in the morning, even after a restful night's sleep.  Amazed at how his fingers seemed to have a will of their own, when he commanded them to bend.

He sat up in bed, taking a moment to realize when and where he was.  He felt a touch of comfort, when he realized that he needn't get ready and go to the university to teach. Instead he would wonder around the wastes, looking for food, or useful things, or whatever he might find.  It was far more exciting than teaching at the University.

For an old man, living in the post apocalypse, he did alright.  He lived alone, mostly, and had more comfort than most in this day and age.


He sat up, put some water on for tea, and sat on the porch reading a paper.  Not a newspaper, but something he had found in the ruins to the east.  A thesis about conical shaped re-entry vehicles, written in the 1960s apparently.  He found it quite interesting, and considered that some day, man would return to these concerns, but not for a long, long time.  Every now and then, he would glance out, take a sip of tea, and appreciate the beauty of the desert in the early morning sun.

He got ready for the day, and was considering in which direction he might find adventure, when he realized that adventure might have found him.  A small dust cloud was rising and approaching from the southwest.  Not something you saw every day.  The old man reached for his spyglass to get a better look.  Yep.  From this distance, it appeared to be a fat little turtle, racing along as fast as its wheels (? (too much dust to tell for sure)) could carry it.


It crossed the desert, closing the ground between them.  As it approached, it claimed more detail, an open hatch to the front, a small turret with a weapon of some sort in the center, and a heap of clutter strapped to the back of it.  It seemed to be heading straight for him, as if it knew he had taken up residence on top of the rock.  The turtle was truly a curious thing.


As it approached the foot of the mesa, the turtle disappeared from view.  There was enough breeze that he couldn't hear the thing either; he did not like that.  The old man scampered around, quietly, and found a vantage that provided some view of the activity.


Someone was climbing into the turret. Another person was standing outside of the turtle, which was in fact a small armored truck.  A box set on the ground, next to  the... soldier?  He wore the uniform of a soldier, and as he turned... No... She!  The soldier was a woman, and quite handsome at that.  Both facts that seemed at odds with the circumstances of the day.


Anyway, she turned and shouted to the top of the mesa, "Hello".  Several times in fact. The old man did not respond.  He watched quietly, curious as to her intent, admiring her beauty, and wondering how she knew anyone was on top of this little mesa.


He continued to watch, while she tried several times, shouting alternatively, "Hello", "Is anyone there?",  and "We have a package for you.".  He did not respond, and after a short wait, the soldier got back into the little turtle and zoomed off, back in the direction from which it first appeared.


The old man watched the turtle grow small, eventually disappearing altogether. 


He watched the box start to get dusty.  In time, he made his way back to his porch and munched on a couple of strips of salted lizard.  He liked salted lizard, though figured that the lizard wasn't too happy about the situation.


The old man leaned back in his chair, marveled at how blue the sky was, and admired the beauty of the desert in the morning sun.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

28mm Female Arcadian Troops from Victoria Miniatures

Some years ago, I purchased some Cadian figures from the local hobbyshop as they filled the need for readily available sci-to troopers at the time.  Not long after, I became somewhat disenchanted with these figs, as GW simply did not make Cadians with the same diversity and character as their old metal Imperial Guard.  This made expanding the force somewhat challenging, as I simply needed a force of regular troops, and had no interest in the differently outfitted and equipped troops offered by GW as part of the IG army at that time.

I eventually found a role for these figs, and most recently decided to adapt the force for use in my post apocalypse world.  Again I found myself wanting to expand my force, and add more character to it, even deciding to go to Forge World if require to add a little spice.  As it turned out, even Forge World offered no Cadians of interest, so I asked on The Wargames Website for suggestions.

I was quickly referred to Victoria Miniatures for possible options for female figs compatible with GW's Cadians.  Shortly after, I placed my first order with Victoria Miniatures for a pack of Arcadian female troopers.  The ordering process was flawless, with the order arriving in the US from Australia in about two weeks.

The Miniatures are cast in a polystyrene resin, and are outstanding, with extremely fine detail, and almost no flash.  They have far more character than my GW figs, and will not be my last from Victoria Miniatures.

The Arcadian Female Trooper sprues.
 
Close up of detail to castings.
 
I also ordered a few ammo crates,
also having exceptional detail.


I quickly completed two of the figs to incorporate into an upcoming game, adding a few leftover Cadian bits such as shoulder pads, a helmet, and a canteen to make them better match my Cadian figs.  Otherwise, they are all Victoria Miniatures parts painted in my rather bland Cadian camo pattern.

 
Bare resin above, the darker parts are the GW pieces that I added.
 
Victoria Arcadians (center) flanked by GW Cadians.
 
 
And with paint in the two shots above.

My paint does them no justice.  I want to express that I am very impressed with the quality of both the figs and the service from Victoria Miniatures, and would highly recommend them.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Some Weeds for the Post Apocalypse

I spent the last few days making some weeds for my post apocalypse.  These are bits of plastic plants from various craft stores mounted on styrene plastic bases.  The bases are painted a "dirt" yellow, then flocked with a Woodland Scenics mixture, glued with acrylic artist's matte medium.


 
 
 

These are for use with 28mm figs, and most stand between 1-2 inches tall.  The taller ones in the second photo stand about 4.5 inches tall.

Generally, these are for mixing in along streams and rivers and whatnot with my more conventional shrubs and bushes, though the frosty green things with the purple seed pods in the last photo have a specific purpose, and will be of some importance in my future games.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Modular Cliff Terrain Project - Part 4

The cliffs have progressed nicely over the last week with painting taking place this past weekend and flocking over the last couple of days.

Since last post, I lightly sanded the modules, including taking off the glossy glaze on the top of the foam with a small orbital sander.  Then, applied a coat of artist's acrylic paste with a brush, making the foam a little more resistant to impact and damage.

Liquitex acrylic modeling paste.

Examples of each height of cliff module with matte medium applied.

Then the painting process began with a base coat of brown and yellow,

Acrylic artist's paint in tube and bottle.

Examples of 6" and 3" cliff modules with base coat.

Though I struggled a little with the cliff color, the cliffs were then detailed a little more in a tan and yellow-tan, and lastly, a little highlighting was added to both with a light, almost flesh tone, tan.

 
 

After the painting was complete, I applied a very basic coat of flock to the modules with Liquitex Matte medium.  I prefer the matte medium to white glue and other mixtures.  It dries flat under the flock, which some mediums do not, and create a sheen under the flock.  It also stays rubbery, and more forgiving than other materials that become brittle after drying.  About the only drawback, is that you need to be quick and careful when applying it in low humidly environments.  it can dry rather quickly.  If you have problems with getting a solid application of flock, you can apply two coats.

A tub of matte medium.
 
 
 
 

I kept the flock application simple, using only a fine flock as it is possible that these may be used with smaller scale figs in addition to the 28mm for which they are primarily intended.

The last step was to give a cliffs a light spray of dullcoat to keep the acrylic paint from sticking together, when stacked on shelves, and the modular cliffs are ready for the game table. 

I took a couple of photos with a 30mm figure to give a sense of scale below.

With 3" cliff.
 
With 6" cliff.
 
That completes my initial modular cliff project, but I will add some specialty pieces over the next month or so, some highway and stream modules, and some transitions to go from 3" to 6" heights, etc. 

Thanks for following along with this.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Modular Cliff Terrain - Part 3

The cliffs are finally starting to take shape.  I spent the last couple of weeks cutting, sanding, and generally making a ton of foam mess.  The 6 inch high cliff modules are generally made from three separate two inch layers, while the 3 inch high modules are made from a single three inch thick block.  The photos and discussion below will walk you through the process that I used on a three inch cliff module.

The first step was to cut a seam between the strata, using the old Foam Factory hotwire engraving tool.


The top two inches of foam makes up the upper strata, while the lower strata consists of a single inch of foam.  The engraving tool melts a "v" shaped slices into the foam. 

Excess foam was then cut away from the upper strata with a hacksaw blade.


Foam was cut away to create the slight "stepped" affect in the cliffs, such that the lower strata generally extents slightly forward of the upper strata.


Fallen rocks were cut out of the upper strata with a hobby knife.


These are just roughly hacked out of the foam and cleaned up in a later step.


The angular cuts were then softened, and recesses made deeper with a Perma Grit sander.


Perma Grit sanders come in a variety of shapes, and are tremendously helpful in shaping foam and plastic such as styrene or ABS.  The sander above is a curved R200.  I also used the flat F102 a great deal on the cliffs.


Once the dust was cleared away, I cut vertical crevices in the strata with the hotwire engraving tool, and the hack saw blade.


The segments of stone were then sanded to a near final shape with the Perma-Grit sander.


Note the contrast between the sanded upper strata, and the un-sanded lower strata above.  The module was then finished by sanding the lower strata as well.


A more over-head view shows the slight stepped affect in the strata below.


The six inch high modules were completed in much the same way, except the each two inch thick strata was separate, making the strata easier to shape.


The photo above shows a six inch tall module at the start of Part 3 to the left, and a similar sanded module to the right.

The photo below demonstrates three straight modules side by side.

 
The next two photos show two straight modules creating a 90 degree bend, when mated to an inside corner.
 

 

The overhead view more obviously demonstrates how the modules fit together, forming the 90 degree bend.

Below is a view of all of the 3 inch high modules, and 6 inch high modules behind, lined up.

.
Below are views that demonstrate how the inside corners, outside corners, and straight cliff modules assemble to create the cliffs.

 

Again, the 3 inch high cliffs are in front, the 6 inch to the rear.

The modules still need a fine sanding, and sealed and painted, which will be addressed in Part 4.