Posts Tagged ‘Woodbine’

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From the painting desk #20 – Synth pop

December 1, 2012

My ongoing game project is providing me with loads of painting inspiration. Here are three models I recently completed:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The models on the left and right are from Victory Force miniatures, from their not-Star Trek range of space explorers. While (or because) they have have very short arms and big heads, they’re very characterful sculpts and were fun to paint. The one in the middle is a not-Bishop from Woodbine’s scifi range. As with other Woodbine models, the style is quite cartoony, making the model easy to paint. These were quick paintjobs, and I’m happy with the end result.

Androids feature heavily in the Alien franchise, so I thought it only appropriate to include them in my games as well. This trio featured in the second game of the Utopia campaign, where they were the assistants to a Weyland-Yutani scientist.

The simple paint scheme is based on the blue-grey overalls worn by Bishop in Aliens. They also tie these synths in with me previously painted combat synth.

Comments and critique welcome as always!

 

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From the painting desk #17 – More Colonial Marine specialists

August 30, 2012

It’s a busy time here, with plenty of work. I’ve got a few new projects in the pipeline, and surprisingly this doesn’t even mean I’ve dropped my old ones. The Colonial Marines are still rolling out and they’re slowly moving towards a more generic futuristic army. My latest addition to the force consists of three models from three different manufacturers.

A while back, Paul a.k.a Sho3box commented on how he felt that the Colonial Marines deserved better leadership than that of the inept Lt. Gorman in Aliens.

Click for a larger version

Enter this officer from Copplestone Castings. With his simple stance and his hands behind his back, he really looks like he means business. I’m guessing actual combat drops instead of simulated.

Next up is a CM operating a sentry gun. The model is from Woodbine, and I really like the pose, with the trooper sitting on his knees and casually holding his rifle. I painted the laptop’s screen to suggest that it’s being used to control the sentry gun. I like the way his paintjob turned out, and I’m especially happy with the five o’clock shadow I painted on his face. The sentry gun is from the same set, and it’s a very nice piece of hardware as well. It will join my four em4 sentry guns to help my marines dish out loads of automatic, motion tracking death. The laptop’s screen didn’t photograph too well, due to the gloss varnish on the screen.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Speaking of em4, they produce the third model of this trio. I decided that attaching some form of special forces to the Colonial Marine strength would be fun, so I’m currently painting up these troopers in berets. I settled for a black beret with a silver/steel badge, and in my opinion it looks suitably special force-y. What do you think?

Click for a larger version

A fun batch to paint, all were minis that painted up nicely. I ran into a terrible hitch during spray varnishing, as for some reason – humid weather I guess – my Army Painter matt varnish left the models with a horrible, gritty texture and turned all the blacks grey. After some brooding I went back and did a lot of fixing on the minis. The next run with the same can of spray went without a problem, so despite the setback the minis are finally finished.

As always, comments and critique welcome!

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All together now

May 14, 2012

Time to get back on the posting horse again, after my trip to Malaysia. I’ve been a bit busy lately, so really needed to stop for a moment and put a post together in order to keep this blog from going dormant.

I was recently asked to do a group shot of the terrain pieces I’ve finished for the Aliens board game, so I quickly rounded up the nine finished pieces and added some Colonial Marines and Aliens for style and scale. Below you can see the set piece of a valiant CM last stand.

Click for a larger version

Personally I think the miniatures and terrain pieces go together very nicely. What’s most important to me is that they capture that Aliens feel. Then again, I might just be blind to my own work, what do you think?

Also, I have to mention that I just got a new job as a project expert, working on a project focusing on preventing video gaming and gambling addiction in adolescents. So happy about this, as I actually get to combine my degree (MA in Education) with my interests and get paid to do it!

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Accessorizing the hive – Aliens game board update #3

March 4, 2012

This is an update on my Aliens game board project. I’m at a point where I’ve glued most of the magnet pieces to the game board. I’d show you pictures, but it’s not much to look at currently, just black squares on a foam board. I’m going to focus on something much more interesting, in other words the various obstacles dotting the board. These are based on magnets, and should be pretty interchangeable throughout the board. I had three guidelines for these:

  1. Quick and easy. On a quick count, I need to make 23 of these. Since I want to eventually finish the board, I don’t want to spend an hour on each, but rather be able to churn them out at a steady rate, while still having them look nice enough.
  2. Cheap. See above. While it would be lovely to have 23 exquisite resin terrain pieces, I’m trying to keep my costs down.
  3. Large enough to block LoS. In the board game, all obstacles block line of sight. Me being something of a pedant at times, I didn’t want obstacles so small that I couldn’t see them blocking line of sight.

These guidelines were easy enough to follow. So far I’ve constructed three pieces, and I’m happy with all of them.

Click for a larger version

The first one is composed of a hollow wall anchor, available from hardware stores for a few euros per a bag of four or five. I removed the screw in the middle for an instant scifi-industrial looking structure. Next I added on some electrical wire and conduit tubing, applied a liberal amount of insulation paste and left it to dry. I then sprayed everything black and gave the Alien goo two drybrush layers of grey (GW Codex Grey and Fortress Grey) followed by a black wash (GW Badab Black). The visible part of the wall anchor was given a drybrushing first with VMC Oily Steel and then VMC Natural Steel. I finally gave the Alien parts a layer of gloss varnish for a wet look and to create more contrast between the alien and the man-made. The final step was to add a few drops of Scotch universal glue gel. As it began to dry, I stretched it around with a toothpick to create strands of that sticky resin the Xenomorphs tend to leave around, the messy critters they are.

Click for a larger version

The second one basically consists of a resin container from Ainsty. I simply glued it on a piece of magnetic sheet, which I’d covered with plastic bug screen to match the game board. Some insulation paste was added to Xenomorph it up a bit. Again I sprayed everything black, and then drybrushed the container with a suitable colour (GW Shadow Grey), and painted the Alien stuff as above, with the same gloss varnish treatment. While this piece is generally more expensive than the previous one, I happened to have the Ainsty bits around already, so I didn’t have to buy new stuff specifically for this.

Click for a larger version

The third terrain piece is a very simple, cheap scratchbuild. Like all of my hive accessories, there’s a square piece of magnetic sheet. On that I glued a 30mm stainless steel washer. On top of the washer I glued a plastic base from a Mantic miniature, and covered that with a small square of bug screen. I then glued four beads in the corners to look like rivets. Once more out came the black spray, followed by painting the steel like above. There was one problem, however: guideline #3, the line of sight one. Nice enough as it was, there was no way that flat ventilation thing would block line of sight. However, as I’m a clever little monkey, I’d taken this into account! I glued some white craft wool to the grid to represent steam billowing up (sadly not too visible in the photo), and gave it a spray of matt varnish to keep it in shape. Quick, easy, cheap as chips and guaranteed to block your LoS.

Here’s a final shot comparing them with a Woodbine miniature. I think they look fine. Opinions?

Click for a larger version

 

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Sizing up

March 2, 2012

To my regular readers, apologies in advance. The post mentions a fair few points that I’ve made earlier, so there’ll probably be a feeling of repetition here.

Miniature size/scale is one of those things that tends to come up whenever different ranges are discussed. Some people will stalwartly refuse to combine different ranges in their games, if they’re not stylistically compatible. I used to be one of these people. However, as years have gone by I’ve started to alter my stance. See, the Colonial Marine review I did left me with a slew of miniatures from various manufacturers, in different sizes and styles. As I tend to favour a “waste not, want not” approach when it comes to miniatures (and stuff in general), I figured that the differences weren’t such a problem.

I think that one of the main reasons for the aversion to mixing sizes and styles comes from the way we view miniatures. Most comparisons are done at eye level, setting the miniatures next to each other and noting all the differences. However, when gaming we view the minis from what – half a metre, metre (that’s two to three feet for all you silly ancient measurement system types) up? In most games they aren’t next to each other either, and our eye will probably focus on the uniting factors, such as paint schemes and basing, instead of the differences.

Allow me to demonstrate. In the pictures below there’s a variety of scifi miniatures from six different manufacturers painted with a similar colour scheme. There are major differences in size and proportions, and viewed next to one another, the ranges certainly don’t look too compatible in terms of size and style, although the paint scheme and basing does help.

L to R: Woodbine, Denizen, Copplestone, 1st Corps, Hasslefree, em4, em4 plastic. Click for a larger version

Let’s have a look at the picture below. For some obscure reason my Marines have wandered onto a Blood Bowl pitch, where they are about to take on the Drakwald Ravens who are incidentally another group of miniatures of various styles and manufacturers. The photo is taken from a gamer’s eye view, e.g. me sitting down and viewing the game board from a usual gaming height. See my point? The same size and style differences are still present, but in my humble opinion they are far less prominent, even to the point of being negligible. The eye is drawn to the different bases (green vs. grey) and colour schemes (the Marines’ green and camo vs. the Ravens’ black and purple). What we have here is not a motley collection of miniatures of various sizes and styles, but rather two coherent factions.

Click for a larger version

Your mileage may vary, of course, but I believe that sticking too adamantly to a single manufacturer’s ranges will sometimes unnecessarily limit your options. Naturally if you’re painting miniatures only for display, it’s another story. If not, do something wild (well, ‘geek-wild’) and try mixing two or more ranges if you haven’t already.

Crazy, I know!

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From the painting desk #14 – Colonial Marines

February 28, 2012

I just completed these five models. They were specifically painted for my Aliens board game project. What these five models reminded me of is that I [expletive] hate batch painting. It’s dull, it’s dreary and it takes most fun out of the area of the hobby that I enjoy most – painting. After much eye-rolling, cursing and exasperated sighs, they’re finally finished – luckily they turned out alright. All miniatures except Frost (holding a pistol), who is a conversion of an em4 plastic trooper, are Woodbine Colonial  Marines. They were nice enough to paint, and I pretty much just followed my regular recipe for painting CMs. I’m quite happy with how some things turned out, such as Vasquez’s darker skin colour. Some of the teeth sculpted on the models make them look a bit squirrel-ish, but who’s counting.

Painted Colonial Marines

Click for a larger version

With all the minis I need for the project now finished, I can move on with the game board as well!

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Dry heat – Aliens game board update #1

February 10, 2012

The Aliens board game game board (tee-hee) project I announced a while back is going strong. In this post I’ll take a look at what’s happening with it.

The board

In the previous post I wondered about a suitable flooring texture – brass and resin alternatives were too costly. I considered textured styrene sheets, but couldn’t find a suitable texture. In the end I settled for a cheap and easily handled material: plastic bug screen. It provided me with a nice mesh texture, and perhaps most importantly it was dirt cheap. I bought a large offcut sheet for 5€, and it’s over twice the size I needed.

Yesterday I cut a suitable shape from the sheet and glued it over the board with watered-down PVA. I left the staircase portion unglued. After the glue had dried, I carefully removed the rectangle with a craft knife. The bug screen has the added bonus of showing through the markings I made on the board earlier.

Click for a larger version

Today the mailman brought me the magnetic sheets that will be used to attach the terrain pieces to the board, so today will probably see some test fitting – not to mention testing whether the magnets have a strong enough hold. If they don’t, it’s back to the proverbial drawing board.

Accessories

The game board is clogged with various obstacles, and I’ve slowly gone to work on them as well. Shown below are some of the things I intend to use.

Various scifi bits and bobs from Ainsty. I bought these earlier to use in my Triton-4 Aliens/Predator/Colonial Marines campaign – which might or might not return. They’ll serve their purpose wonderfully here as well.

Click for a larger version

Scratch-built junk. Every miniature gamer hoards up things they might need one day. Lo and behold, this is “one day”! Out will come the random bits bought from hardware stores, beads, offcut pieces of sprue and miniatures and things like that. This project is a fine way to use them, since a lot will be covered more or less with Xenomorph gunk (more on that below). There is one innovation I’m actually proud of, and that’s using my Mantic bases. I’ve assembled quite a few from ghoul and zombie sets, and until now I’ve had no use for them. Now I’ve combined them with some of the extra bug screen I have, and they make wonderful exhaust vent -type thingies. A slight problem is that in the board game all obstacles block line of sight. In Aliens, however, there is steam billowing all around the reactor room (“Yeah, but it’s a dry heat!”), so I’m thinking of using craft wool to simulate steam issuing from the vents.

Alien gunk. This gave (and might still be giving) me a hard time. While I love the biomechanical Xenomorph look, it’s a bastard to recreate in larger quantities. Ready-made resin sets exist, but that would rapidly escalate the costs of this project – something I definitely don’t want. My current choice is to go with Tetra paste, which is a somewhat elastic paste for sealing windows, bathroom tiles and the like. This doesn’t produce a neat, organic surface, but rather a creepy, gooey one. It can be crudely shaped and takes paint well. Below is a quick mock-up using a blue foam offcut and some paste. On the right you can see the same piece with a quick, patchy paintjob (black with grey drybrushing, ink wash, I’ll later add some strands of glue for that sticky look) and a Marine to give you an idea of how it looks. Definitely let me know what you think. In my opinion it looks nice enough, even if it is a slight departure from the source material.

Click for a larger version

Miniatures

Unsurprisingly I have a whole lot of Colonial Marines. All I needed to do was pick out a suitable selection to match the characters in the film. I took some liberties to save me some time. What I needed was Apone (flamethrower), Crowe (pistol), Dietrich (flamethrower), Drake (smartgun), Frost (pistol), Hicks (shotgun), Hudson (pistol), Vasquez (smartgun) and Wierzbowski (flamethrower). Surprisingly I had less than half of suitable minis for these fellows painted. Like the Marines in the film, the lack of pulse rifles proved troublesome.

Here are the painted ones. Apone and Drake are from em4, while Crowe and Hudson are from Copplestone Castings.

L to R: Apone, Crowe, Hudson, Drake. Click for a larger version

And the unpainted ones. Apart from Frost they’re all Woodbine designs models. Frost is an as-of-yet unfinished conversion of an em4 plastic trooper.

L to R: Dietrich, Frost, Hicks, Vasquez, Wierzbowski. Click for a larger version

That’s the project so far. Comments and critique, send them my way!

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