Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Photographing Miniatures

I won't claim to take the best pictures of my mini's, but I think I take adequate pictures.  My setup is pretty simple:  a gooseneck desk-lamp with a Daylight CFL bulb, some olive felt that I also use as a gaming surface, and a piece of light blue styrene that I use as a reflector to break up shadows. As for the camera, I use a GE A1050 which was a bargain at 50 bucks.

 The camera sits on a small tabletop tripod.  One trick that I've found is that it's best to not point the light directly at the mini's but slightly over it.  I usually have the light off to the right, then I use my left hand to position that piece of styrene you see in the corner off camera to reflect light into any shadows that I want to eliminate I can also lean the reflector against the tripod legs.  I occasionally will throw a small box under the felt to use as a stage for the
minis being photographed.

For 'post production', I just use the picture manager tool that comes with windows to crop, adjust, etc the pictures. all pretty basic.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Russians are Coming!

Finally, I replaced my camera (for half the price I originally payed for the same model.  So now I can post some pics of my Vostroyans.   I went for the standard studio red scheme, painted pretty much according to the old White Dwarf article.  So that I could match it exactly, my wife even gave me a fresh pot of now OOP, Brazen Brass from her own stash (that my friends, is true love)

First up is the CO and squad.  I based him with so that he could strike a suitable heroic pose, complete with evidence of the effects of the Emperors Artillery. 

Don't worry, that building fell on you for the greater good.

The urban themed basing is accomplished pretty easily by just gluing on random bits of scrap structural shapes from other projects.  painting that a rusty color (bestial brown, with a blazing orange dry brush, and drybrushing the gravel with various shades of grey.

Next are the first two vet squads.  Each squad has  a different color drybrush on the hat.  Differentiating the squads was a 'Paint Point' at the NOVA Open.  I've since discovered that it also makes my life easier during deployment and pack up.
  The Autocannon Teams were build by grafting a plastic autocannon onto the arms of the heavy bolter models from the Vostroyan Infantry Squad box.  I used some styrene rod to make the spent shell casings

Now the inevitable Melta-vets.  GW never made vossies with melta-guns so I converted the flamers.
Psyker Battle Squad converted from Empire Flagellants.  The Overseer is built from the Cadian Command Squad box with the Peaked-Cap head from Baneblade sprue.  Green trim signifies the Special Branch and ties him in with the Psykers.

Finally, the motor pool:
And artillery support
Finally every guard army needs at least one really big gun:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wanted: Ideas

Short post here, and a call for ideas.  Well, now that I've built 2 Medusas, I have 2 perfectly good Earthshaker cannon in my bits box.  So, what should I do with them?  Terrain piece?  Mount them on Chimera chassis to make assault guns?  Something else?  Whichever idea, I choose, I'll write up in this space.

TIA, Jon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NOVA Open -- The games / Results

So a bit about the Games -- not so much bat reps as the highlights... But first here's my list:

Co. Cmd Squad, 4x Grenade Launchers, Astropath, Chimera
Inq. Lord, Hood, Tarot, BP, CCW, 2x Mystics, Acolyte
Psyker Battle Squad, 8x Psykers, Overseer, Chimera
Hellhound, Hull Multimelta
Vets, 3x Melta, BP on Sarge, Chimera
Vets, 3x Melta, BP on Sarge, Chimera
Vets, 2x Plasma, Autocannon, Chimera
Vets, 2x Plasma, Autocannon, Chimera
Heavy Spt
Medusa, Enc Crew
Medusa, Enc Crew

Game 1 was against Chumby of  Blackjack and Hookers fame and his Wolves.  Man, he gave me a right drubbing.  Highlight:  Killing all 3 of his Thunderwolf Cav.  Fine opponent and a gracious victor. May have to give that list a try with my own wolves...

Game 2 was against an Eldar guy who claimed to have only been playing 40K for a few weeks... OK, sure, whatever -- not something I'd say to someone until after the game -- otherwise it seems like you're trying to feign inexperience.  Game went to 3rd tie-breaker. I lost.  Highlight:  decimating my own Psyker Battlesquad due to Runes of Warding.  Just had to laugh about that.

Game 3 was against Nids (BTW a very nice looking Nid army).  I love the smell of promethium in the morning... it's the smell of victory.   Hellhound was the MVP of the game roasting gaunts like it was cool.  Highlight:  My opponents good humor.  A decisive win for me.

Game 4 was against a very nice young man with a very nicely painted CSM army -- I'm surprised it only finished slightly ahead of me on painting actually.  A win for me.  The labor-intensive Manticore finally pulled its weight by busting some rhinos. Actually, I think my opponent made a huge mistake by out-flanking his Chosen on the opposite side from the Manticore,  Highlight/Hilarity:  Medusa shot drifted onto one of my own chimeras -- rolling high IS NOT always better. Won anyway.

In terms of pure competetive score, I finished 49th out of 88.  In terms of combined score (compet + paint + sportsmanship) I finished 15th.  Not bad.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Yesterday, I competed in the NOVA Open, ended up going 2-2 -- I must say that I enjoyed all 4 games -- even the ones that I lost.  I'm not too unhappy with that result given that yesterday was the first time I'd actually played the army -- I'd been too busy trying to get painted to actually play any games with it. I'd love to show you pictures of the army BUT SOME SOB AT THE EVENT DECIDED TO STEAL MY CAMERA.  OK, vent-mode off.  I'll talk more about my games in a subsequent post.

On a brighter note, my Manticore conversion was selected as one of the top 5 conversions -- it was a bit tricky though -- the paint judge asked which was my entry for best conversion and I ended choosing the Manticore over the Medusa just because the Manticore was more work (a lot more).  I'd be interested in knowing which you all would choose:  


Or this

Ultimately, I didn't win the competition, but to be selected as one of the top 5 was pretty cool.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vostroyan Transfers

Currently, the only way to get the Vostroyan markings is to either buy the transfer sheet from the Baneblade/Shadowsword or to free-hand it.  I will not claim to be able to free-hand it so I'm limited to using transfers.  Unfortunately, the Transfers on the Baneblade sheet are not necessarily a good size for use on something like a Chimera hull, also the numbers only go up to 3.  The "v" to the left can be scaled up/down to suit and printed out on  ink-jet water-slide paper.  The numbers are even easier -- they match a font in called 'Agent-FB" in  MS Power-Point (and probably other software as well).  Here are some samples of the numbers I developed  to use  on my Vostroyan tanks:
The downside is that white ink is not an option unless you have a now extinct Alps printer available to you (if anybody knows an option for white, please let me know)  Using white background paper is an option, albeit a tricky proposition to blend in.

Another neat trick is to try differ color combos digitally before committing to the model.  Heres my heavily converted Medusa with different color schemes for the numbers:


I'll probably go with the third option as it matches the Vostroyan 'V' the best. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Interior Decorating in a Chimera

I've always been a sucker for painted interiors, so for the current batch of chimeras I'm building, I'm adding interior details.

So that the interior will be visible, I hinged the rear ramp.
I did this using a #66 drill bit to make a hole through the hinge and then add an axle using a staple.

The old chimera model doesn't have any flooring so I added some using some tread-plate I had purchased for building the Fortress of Arrogance.

I next added a bulkhead using plasticard to separate the forward crew compartment from the troop compartment. I added some details like a hatch from the Leman Russ sprue (I always take sponsons) , a fuel tank for the hull-mounted heavy flamer and a voxcaster.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pathfinder Challenge

Bill of The Dead Tau Project and The Gamers Lounge fame, is sponsoring a painting contest for our local gaming group, Sugarland Gamers. Here's the deal; Starting today, we have until May 30 to complete painting a 1000pt legal FOC army for judging.

I'm using this contest as a jab in the backside to finally get my Vostroyans painted. So here's what I'm using:

Co. Command Squad
Vostroyan Senior Officer (the guy with the baton)
2x Grenade Launchers
1 HW Team with either Heavy Bolter or Autocannon
Carapace Armor
Chimera, with ML/HB

Psyker Battle Squad
8x Psykers converted from Empire Flagellants
1x Mentor converted from Baneblade officer
Chimera with ML/HB

Veteran Squad
9x Vets, Grenadiers 3x Plasma
1x Vet Sergeant Las-Pistol, CCW
Chimera with ML/HF

Veteran Squad
9x Vets, Grenadiers 3x Melta
1x Vet Sergeant Las-Pistol, CCW
Chimera with ML/HF

Heavily converted to resemble an JSU-122/152

Largely scratch-built, chassis will be a half-track based on Dave Taylors excellent templates
Missiles will be modeled as 4 tube-launchers ala "Stalin's Pipe Organ"