Saturday, August 29, 2009

Command Vehicle Chimera Conversion, Part 7

I decided to match the driver's hatch openable, so that means I need a driver. In order to get his height right (and make my intended hatch fit, it meant that I had to seat him a bit lower. So I carved a hatch like the one on the left into a much smaller seating ring (center), to which my driver could fit.
The next problem to overcome was that I needed to make the turret sit a little higher, so that when it traversed, it wouldn't bang into the driver's hatch (which was ending up being a bit higher than I originally planned. So I took one of the hatches left over from making the front grilles (left) and trimmed it down to just leave the ring itself (right), which then I had to shave down a bit so it didn't look too high.
The next step was to fill in the various gaps I had created with green stuff (well, in this case, brown stuff. I also needed it to fill out my driver's hatch, which I wanted to be more complex than just a circular hatch.

Next I laid out the turret pieces. I wanted to use a Predator's turret, but the autocannon was a bit too long for what I wanted, so I lopped it off and replaced it was an autocannon from a Imperial Guard Heavy Weapons team. The "grittier" look of the IG autocannon makes it look more IG anyway compared to the more high tech look of the Space Marine autocannon. I used an old Leman Russ hatch, the SM "scanner" thing from the Command Vehicle sprue, along with some other antennae you don't see here, and put in a coaxial heavy stubber. This is a command vehicle after all, so the turret is going to look pretty busy. Also, for the left side of the turret, I glued together a pair of ancient Leman Russ Hunter-Killer Missile containers.
To attach the Hunter-Killer Missiles, I wanted to be able to have the containers down and locked for when the vehicle is travelling, and then swivel up into a firing position when needed. This necessitated some surgery--so I used a couple of pieces from the ancient Leman Russ sprues and paper clips to make the hingle-bolt. The parts I used are mounts for the old Leman Russ' Hunter-Killer Missile container and searchlight.
Here is the assembled turret--I put on some smoke launchers and a second antenna. The second antenna is the IG antenna from the command vehicle sprue--frankly, I hate the Aquila shaped antenna, so I replaced it with a small dish from the SM vehicle accessory sprue. I just pinned it in place so it can rotate.
Here is the turret with the Hunter-killer missile rack in locked and deployed configuration.
By now it should be pretty obvious what the inspiration for my command vehicle is. Here, the driver's hatch is just sitting there--I don't have it attached yet, as I'm still trying to figure out how I want to do it. I still have lots of bitz to add, but I'm getting closer to completion.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


A few months ago Bell of Lost Souls had a post on Priming. Good article, and worth a read.

But I don't have the patience to put all that into practice, for example watching the weather too closely--if it's not a blizzard, downpour, or foggy, I'll prime my models. Regardless of whether the temperature is scorching hot or below freezing, I haven't had problems.

The main issues I've had have been with the the paint itself. I'll admit that I haven't used primer most of the time--I just grab a can of flat black spray paint that looks good and give it a try--cheap usually being a deciding factor. I know that priming models is important, but even so, I hesitate to buy a $6 can of paint just to prime my models.

Still, after reading the aforementioned article, I felt compelled to buy some "real" primer and give it a try. So I went to the hardware store and bought this for about $6. Expensive, but still a lot less than the $15 that GW expects us to shell out for a can of their stuff.So I gave it a try, but something was defective with the can itself--I'm guessing the feed tube on the inside disconnected from the nozzle. The result: in order to get any paint out of the can I had to hold it upside down, and to clear out the nozzle after sprayings I had to hold it upright. Probably just a fluke, but it was annoying nonetheless. As for a primer, it worked pretty well.

Continuing my experimentation with various brands, I tried this one:Cheaper than the Rustoleum at about $4. I had used some Krylon stuff before, and didn't remember anything bad about them. Well, the paint really stinks--even after a half hour plus outside, bringing supposedly dry models in from the porch really stank up the house! I was also less than pleased with the result--for a "flat" black, the result was really more satin. Paint also didn't adhere to it well--watering down the model paints at all made it practically bead on the surface, almost as if the paint was waterproof.

Annoyed, I went out to Lowe's to get something on the cheap. I bought this:
You can't get more cheapo than this. It cost me a whopping 98 cents (well, $1.04 because I live in Taxachusetts).

The results? It works great. Now it might not be "primer", but it gets the job done just fine. And I'll end up painting about fifteen times as many models for my dollar than if I used GW's primer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Command Vehicle Chimera Conversion, Part 6

Just a little bit more done on the hull this time, shaping and filling it out with more plasticard bits, filling in gaps, etc.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Command Vehicle Chimera Conversion, Part 5

I built up the front of the hull a bit, putting in some ventilation grilles for the engine and headlamps, both from parts stolen from Rhinos.

Also painted up the interior, which allowed me to permanently attach the right side.

The interior is a light green--basically I looked at pictures of some real tanks/IFVs out there and picked the light green as the interior color.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Guardsman "Roughshod" Grant

Thanks to all who participated in the poll in naming my Guardsman Marbo. I realize that the winning name was "Ash 'Gundog' Thorr", while "'Roughshod' Grant" came in second place, but that failed to take into account the most important vote--mine. :) Ash 'Gundog' Thorr seems a little too weird for me the more I think about it, while 'Roughshod' Grant sound a bit "tougher" to me.

In any case, I should reveal where all the names came from. A commenter was correct in that they are all anagrams, but no one figured out what it is an anagram of. The answer is that it is an anagram of the names of two Medal of Honor winners, Master Sergeant Gary Gordon, and Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart, who both were killed during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Command Vehicle Chimera Conversion, Part 4

Not much to show today... After much dithering, I decided that it would be much easier to paint the vehicle interior prior to attaching the the right side of the hull and buttoning it all up, so I put together various pieces for the interior and primed them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GW Board Games

Like everyone else, I've been drooling over the pictures of Space Hulk, but I'm still torn as to whether to get it. The fact that GW's website has been having problems hasn't helped--in fact, it may prevent me from getting it as its problems may allow me time to come to my senses.

The game looks fantastic, and it undoubtedly it would be fun to play...but when do I have the time to play it? As it is, I barely find the time to play 40k. On the other hand, if I have the game, so long as I take care of it, it'll last a lifetime--and I'm sure to find time to play it someday. Speaking of which...

I still have all the floor tiles from the old Space Hulk game (I wonder if they'd be compatible with the new tiles...hmmm). I also have practically everything from Advanced Space Crusade as well.I've played Advanced Space Crusade all of once--the rules were pretty complex, and it just didn't seem as fun as Space Hulk.

The problem these days is that in my old age I'm married with a 6-month-old daughter. Getting to the FLGS is a 20 minute drive. At best I get together with gaming friends maybe once a month--and when I do, we play 40k. These are not the days of college/grad school where practically every weekend I could play 40k, participate in an regular RPG, try out lots of other games etc. But there are times when I get together with friends for an evening, etc--This is an opportunity for board games. Problem is, for the most part, these people aren't really into games like 40k--or rather, one person might be, but their SO is not. A game like Space Hulk is really geared for sci-fi nerds. While the term "sci-fi nerd" might describe many of my friends, it doesn't necessarily describe their wives.

What is needed is a game that bridges the gap--a game that satisfies the sci-fi/fantasy urges of the geeks while being tolerable to the non-geeks. In order to work for a mixed group, what would such a game need?
  • 1. (Painted) Miniatures. A big attraction for people who are normally indifferent to this stuff is the painted miniatures. I can't count the number of times people who I know aren't remotely interested the games nonetheless fawn over the miniatures I've painted, never having seen anything like them before. If the miniatures themselves attract their interest, they may stay interested long enough to play the game.
  • 2. Simple rules. It must be simple enough that anyone can learn to play very quickly. A downside to games like 40k is its complexity. For the geeks, they are so enthralled by the background that they'll put up with the rules complexities long enough to learn them. Someone not already invested in the background will have a shorter attention span. The sooner they are having fun, the better.
  • 3. Cooperative gameplay. Competition can be fun, but it can deter new players. Even if the rules are simple, a player who is new to both the game and the genre will probably feel intimidated, assuming that the uber-geeks playing the game will trounce them because they have so much more experience/knowledge of the game and genre.
  • 4. Quick gameplay. You need to be able to play a complete game in a few hours, even with distractions. It needs to be "light" enough that the game can continue if one person is taken away for a few minutes--getting drinks, using the bathroom, checking on the babysitter, etc.
A game that fulfills many of these requirements is one that I would like to see come back: Warhammer Quest.It had miniatures, simple rules (with potential for more advanced rules), cooperative and quick gameplay. New players even could play the game without realizing that they are (*gasp*) playing an RPG. If described to a skeptical new player that it's a cooperative board game rather than a "dungeon crawl roleplaying game", they may be more amenable to giving it a try. Once they've had fun, then you can break the news of what they were really playing.

Back in the day when Warhammer Quest first came out (1995), I was focused more on 40k and Space Marine (Epic 40k), and less interested in the fantasy side, and board games in general. So I passed on it. But a while back, in looking over some old White Dwarfs of mine, I found myself wishing I had gotten it. With time more at a premium nowadays, I'm wishing it would return. I'm wondering (hoping?) if Space Hulk sells well, that it might spur GW into bringing back some of its other games, if only in limited editions. If Warhammer Quest comes back, I'll be sure to get it this time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Command Vehicle Chimera Conversion, Part 3

Originally I intended on just gluing on the rear ramp, but after some thought I decided that since this is my regiment's command vehicle, it deserves to get some extra attention. So now I have to build an interior.I took a piece from a Rhino interior to act as computer screens, etc., and used plasticard to make some of the interior walls.
I used a set of ammo crates from the Predator sprues--normally you attach it to the rear of a predator's turret, I decided to use it as some under-seat storage. Of course, I glued it in place and then realized that I wouldn't be able to close the rear hatch, so I had to carve out part of the hatch to compensate.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Command Vehicle Chimera Conversion, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my Chimera Conversion. The first thing to do now was to attach the side thingies from the chimera onto my sides, with some modifications filled in with plasticard. What are these side thingies supposed to be on the chimera? I'm not sure, but on my conversion, they're going to be reactive armor plates.
Next I started work on the hull. After lots of examination of the basic chimera hull, I tossed most of it aside and started work on my own. Some of the hull was improvising, adding pieces and letting it take shape as I went along.

My turret will be offset to the right, and a Rhino/Razorback hatch will do the job very well.
Lastly I test fit the right side--not a perfect fit yet, but I'll work on it...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Command Vehicle Chimera Conversion, Part 1

My Imperial Guard Command Squad needs a vehicle, and somehow the basic chimera just isn't going to cut it. So I've decided to cut one up, and make something out of the scrap. I'm not going to reveal my end goal just yet, so we'll just have to see this thing take shape. At the beginning, I was just considering some minor cosmetic changes to the basic the Chimera, but as I went along I got more confidence, so I decided to go all out. I have to thank Klaus over at Dei Greci for inspiring me to work more extensively with plasticard. He's done some incredible things over there, so if you haven't seen his work, get over there right now and check it out.
Step 1 was to cut up the side of the Chimera Hull, so as to reveal some of the wheels. I was very reluctant to do this at first, fearing I'd ruin it, but finally I just bit the bullet and chopped it up.

With the wheels exposed, it looks more modern than a World War I tank.
What are these things supposed to be? If anything, I think they look a little like reactive armor. I'm going to chop them up and use them later, but for now I put them aside.
Next I put on the tracks and the track guards--there are some gaps in the track guards, but I'll fix that later. I also trimmed down lots of the protrusions on the outside, to make a flat surface.

Next I glued on some plasticard to build up the sides a little.
At this stage I realized that I wanted the "front" of my vehicle to be the opposite side from the chimera's, so I had to do a little surgery. As I had glued (using plastic cement) part of the hull to the wheel, I had to pry it apart, and the plastic had dissolved somewhat. I cleaned it up a little, but it still looks crappy--but once it gets mud on it it won't look as bad.
More plasticard on the sides to build it up more, and also some maintenance panels on the lower edge.

That's enough for one day, stay tuned for part two!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Imperial Guard Colonel

Thanks for the comments on my Painter's Block post, everyone. I decided to go with the semi-dress uniform, with the camouflage cloak. I think the result is pretty good, and the red doesn't clash too much with the camouflage.
One thing I've noticed in painting this guy up is that when I took photos of the model, various flaws in my paintjob that were not very apparent in looking at the model show up very well in the photographs! As a result I may have to go back and touch up his face a bit, as in the photos it looks very splotchy. There's also a few other flaws I noticed that may require some touchup. But as of now I think he's ready to lead his men into battle.

Taking a cue from Admiral Drax's self build, I decided to put some unit insignia on the otherwise drab left shoulder pad. In the middle is the regiment's heraldry--a black dragon symbol, while the numbers mean 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Painter's Block

So here's my officer dude, destined to be my commander. Problem is, I'm not sure how to paint him. I know that I want to him to wear woodland MARPAT like the rest of the guys in the command squad, but there is the problem of his cloak... It looks really nice, and but has ornate clasps, etc., suggesting a dress uniform of sorts. Painting it the same colors of the camo would turn it into a drab model, I'd think--just a blob of camo colors. But at the same time, I don't want to paint it bright red or anything--after all, he's a commander in the field and probably wouldn't dress in "shoot me" colors, and since the rest of him will be in camo colors, I don't want to paint him in colors that would clash horribly, making the model look terrible. So far the only colors I can think to make it are either black or coyote tan (desert yellow darkened with devlan mud). Any ideas?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Change of Pace

After painting lots of guardsman recently, I desperately needed a change of pace. Here's what I worked on last week: 3 sniper drones, 2 technical drones, and a marker drone. The next project is more Imperial Guard, but it's something other than guardsmen...