Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tau Utility Building from Cookie package

This article is more a "How I did it" than a "How To"...hopefully, it will inspire you to reconsider your grocery packaging...
As any gamer I know will tell you, the main groups of approved snacks when miniature gaming are: nuts, m&ms, pretzels, veggies (without a dip) and cookies...these are "approved" as they generally don't leave a greasy fingerprint on your minis or get your dice all gummy.  In my house, cookies are king!  However, since I'm lucky enough to have family that loves to bake, I don't come across very many package opportunities.  Well, I scored a few weeks back!  I was craving ginger bread cookies and so, I was rewarded!  The tray disappeared over the course of a couple of games and soon I was off to convert it!!!

So, the first step was to look the tray over and get an inspiration...this one was pretty obvious: SHIELD GENERATOR!! though I decided on a generic title just so that I don't put any preconceived notions out there and limit the scope. 
The next main step was to decide if I wanted a ruin or intact building and how much of the package I was to use.  I decided on intact and to just use the bottom half...saving the lid for something else...maybe a landing pad!!

After cutting the parts apart and trimming off the ridge, it would just get in the way for my vision, I marked out a pattern on some 5mm foam board to act as a base.  I don't like using foam board for a base on intact buildings because it curls over time...but I wasn't feeling like waiting around to get to the shop to have some board cut...so FB for now.

Because these packages are typically vacuum formed, they will be somewhat fragile and wont survive some gamer leaning on it as they get a better reach for their minis. So, you'll need to brace the structure from the inside...I used 5mm foam board and constructed a simple T brace with supports.

These were glued into place.  White glue works well enough for this as they will just need to be held stable until bonded to the base.
As you can see, the structure supports the plastic form well enough to endure at least seven pound patio stone.  

Now to hide the seam between the plastic tray and the base...If this was a ruin, I'd just use the typical debris and ground cover to obscure the seam...however, since I decided to build an intact model, I'll need to use something else...FENCING!!  

The photo shows progress a few steps ahead...it's all basic..so I'll give you my technique...  When working purely from inspiration and no plans, it's best to start your barriers from the corner of the model.  As you can see in this photo, I cut a section of foam board into a strip about half an inch tall and long enough to round a corner.  Now curving foam board isn't too easy, so here's a trick:  remove the paper from the side of the FB that will be inside the curve!  That's it.  Practice with removing the paper will produce better results.  You can wet the paper with water to soften it up or just have at it with a fingernail until you get a corner going.  Again, once the corners were in place, I custom fit the straight bits to finish the perimeter then custom fitted some posts to again hide the seams...well...sort of.

To give the model some points of interest, I cut some squares from FB and slotted it to receive card stock fins to act as a radiator...not sure if the Tau use such things, but I like the look and it breaks up the surfaces.

Additional detail came in the form of some panel lines cut into card stock to be fitted to the tops of each half of the model. The easiest way I find to do this is to draw out your pattern then, using patience, a metal straight edge and a hobby knife, make shallow cuts along those lines.  Afterwords, take a sculpting tool with a fairly blunt end and score into the cuts, widening them slightly.  I glued these panels down with PVA and then ran a bead around the seam to seal the edges of the card stock to keep it from flaring during painting.
After I glued the cookie tray to the base, added the walls, radiator fins and roof panels, I scored some lines along the perimeter of the base to indicated slabs of concrete and again, break up the simpleness of the model.  Now for priming...I use clear acrylic glaze or gesso to cover the foam parts...even if it's under paper.  I tint these so I can see where I've already sealed and get an idea of how well I sealed.  This is important if you plan to use spray paints as they will eat up the foam pretty bad.
Once all that has been done, I got ready to paint....Primer was Skull White from GW...I like the smoothness and it bonds pretty good to most of the materials I use.  Be sure to give a solid, even coat and don't linger when you spray as you'll get what is called "draping" and runs.  So use several light coats and let them dry a bit between sprays.  Now that priming is out of the way, off to painting. For my Tau, I reference a lot out of Star Wars, especially Tattooine.  I wanted to build an atmosphere that the building is part of a quickly built up outpost on some nearly barren world...good for it's resources and current strategic significance.  So I use a lot of Vomit Brown, Bestial Brown and Scorched Earth for deep recess and Bleached Bone, Skull White and Snakebite Leather for details and raised surfaces.  When making several buildings for a table, try to use some colors throughout them that are common...it helps to tie things together visually and looks rite polished besides.
And here's the finished Utility Building!
Some additional details may include Cadre specific markings, maybe an aerial or perhaps a input/output panel...None of my works are ever truly finished as I'm always thinking of ways to improve them...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finished the Comms Relay

This piece is Communications Relay, or Comms Relay, to be used in games of Planet Strike...

Of course, this one is Imperial specific, though Orks could loot it...

The next project is to build one for Tau and perhaps something a wee bit more Orky.

-Shas Zam

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tau City Defense Base for Planet Strike

This little project has been limping along for a month or two...now with Warhammer 40k, Planetstrike I have no excuse but to finish it up. I'll have to order the Rail Guns for the Defense Pods and perhaps take advantage of the forthcoming Gun Drone spru as well.

Essentially, the Defense Base will consist of the elements shown above with a defense line and minefield markers to come soon. There will also be another Hanger as well as a ruined one, just for fun. Okay, now I've opened my big mouth and put in print...no turning back!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Craters are Fun

With the release of Planet Strike, I've been given yet another reason to build up my terrain stores. Typically, I'll go through a run of builds then sell them all off for army elements. I've gotten a bit attached to these results, however, so I'll have to make more (darn) to fund my Ork and Tau expansions.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

MiniWarGaming Group Build #9 Planet Strike

So, MiniWarGaming.com has these monthly building challenges. Each is themed and you have a few weeks to complete the challenge. My entry for this month is a Bastion to be used in a forthcoming game of 40K Planet Strike. Click HERE for the topic that features my earlier posts.

Now for the details:

I started off with a $1 store Styrofoam cooler. Kinda small as coolers would go, but just the shape and size for an Imperial defense post or Bastion, as the game calls them. Of course, I could have just as easily used foam board for the whole construction, but the cooler was an easy find and 60% of the structural build up already done. Maybe the next Bastion will be all foam board...who knows.

First some idea bashing...how to get this to look like a defense post and not just an upside down styro cooler.

...I start by trimming off the bits that don't make sense or I'll be converting to something else...

This baby's gonna need to loose some weight to get that nice, tower like balance....

After a test fit of the parts...I decide more chops are needed, plus I consider fire slits ...
but change my mind and go with traditional fire points...the large ones on the third level are for heavy automated weapons like Heavy Bolters (I'll have to either scratch build or buy the bits). I also ditched the ornate gothic blast door (save it for a later project perhaps) and go with the quick and easy octagonal one...

A bit more detail and off to sealing and priming... I used Liquitex clear gesso...it has a fine grain tooth and seals the foam nicely in case I use arisol paints. Prime is Chaos Black...

While this dries...I made some servitors...well, that's the best I can equate them to. I think they're like a combo flood light, siren, camera and comms node. I only need four, but since I plan to build a couple of bunkers/bastions, it was a good idea to make more.

The components were styrene stock from a train hobby store, some bits off a refinery model (also hobby train related) some wire and polymer clay for the skulls. Rather than "cookie cut" (use a mold) I decided to hand sculpt these as it would give each one just that much more individualism...the idea is that there were actual skulls; metal coated (why they're slightly larger than an in scale one would be) as a means of honoring a fallen warrior. The final touch was a drop of hot glue to form the lenses of the optics.

more on this as progress proceeds....

UPDATE 11 AUG 2009

Added more details and tightened up the paint job a bit. Still more to go, but it's table worthy as it is now...

Something Else:

Also found at the Dollar Store/99cents are these tortilla keepers. Again, flip, chop the lid, add a blast door...

On to textures and paint...Tau Bastion!!!


Dug out three Heavy Bolters then realized that I was one short!! So, since I'd pretty much have to scratch build one (or buy a kit-too spendy right now; order the bits online-too impatient right now) I figure I might as well build all four! No need to build the whole weapon as only the muzzle sticks out of the fire point, which made my job really easy!

Here's the scrath built muzzles with the three actuals I used for reference:

Once I get the coin together, I'll be picking up a couple Razor Backs to add to my Orks' Looted Wagons and then I'll have my Heavy Bolters along with some other Planet Strike fodder!

The next step was to build a comms array. This was designed using photos out of the Planet Strike book. Took less than an hour and a half to put all this together...

It's about 50/50 GW bits and hobby stock... the comms relay isn't really part of the project, but since I had the materials out already, I figured it'd be a good addition...

The mini is from an older version of the Mutant Chronicles game, Doomtrooper. He's been my size reference on terrain for nearly five years now, though I'm pretty sure he's older than that.

Once the glue dries on all this, I'll get to painting and installing the Heavy Bolters. I may actually be done with the project after that...unless another idea hits me...


Defense Post LM-17 is now complete and ready to serve!! Overall, I'm happy with the results! There will be other details added as this model sees action...one of the things I do is add battle damage, kill markings and various other elements as games progress...there's a building I have that had gotten so consistantly "bombed" throughout games that I've finally converted it into a ruin...but for now...this piece is done.

I decided to hold off on the Comms Array for now...other ideas taking over and all...

Shas Zam out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mini of the Month entry for June at Miniwargaming.com

This was the "extra" boss I had from the second Assault on Black Reach set I picked up a while back. When the contest for MiniWargaming.com's Mini Of the Month came up, I couldn't resist converting it into a Boss in Full WAAAAAGH!

Hmmm...after a quick and gratuitous primer and paint of the fleshy bits, I can begin to see where this mini is heading....to the CHOPAS!!

Now to put it all back together the way I want it...

As usual, I dove into my bits box and grabbed a few bits along the theme of a debris strewn battle field which included cut offs from hole punches, plastic rod and a deck plate looking piece. I then added some cut down model spru and fine sand. I beefed up the shoulders with styrene card and fabricated a custom Boss Pole. The helmet is from a Fantasy line Ogre. I raised his head and filled in the gap with a Humie's skull. The belt was from a Dark Eldar jet bike and the balls and chain came from the bits tray of a local games store. Not sure what figure set they're from. The final touch was the chain blade from an Ork Nob. Not sure how that piece will play into the rules for the mini, but it LOOKS KOOL!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gunnery Sergeant Apone

Here is one of my entries for Mini War Gamming's Platinum Brush Painting Contest.
I spent a few more hours than I care to remember on him, but am happy with the result. Entry deadline is April 13th, and I'm hoping for a win. You can check out the entire entry at:

Sgt. Apone


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meanwhile, just outside of the Ore System....

Tyranids and Orks contest a Space Hulk culminating in a decisive attack in the hulk's agrihold...

The Ork force quickly splits in two in a maneuver to pincer the Tyranids...

...yet as fast as the Orks are, Tyranids are just that much faster and close the distance before the tactic bears out. The Boyz Mob takes a serious wallop...

But int the end, a lone Warrior is all that is testimony to the might and brutality of the Ork Beast!!

The Enemy Is On The Move

War has broken out in the Sedio V Sector of the Semtexian system.
Colonel Veers of the 503rd Cadian Responds! More to follow............................

So...what's going on?!?!

My brother and I have been playing a few games a month now for about 5 months under the 5th edition rules. In that time, we have taken enough photos of the games to pretty much compose a story board of mayhem, destruction and all kinds of fun!

So, coming soon: PHOTOS!!