Friday, November 30, 2012

Quick n' Easy Cairns I

Even though I have almost no figures for use in Skulldred, I persist in making terrain in preparation to play. Here's a quick tutorial on one of these little projects.

Here's a classic of the 'look, wargames terrain is easy to make' genre: piles of rocks. Or, as they are otherwise known, 'Cairns'.

To make these, you can buy a giant bag of decorative pine bark from a garden store. Or you can casually walk off with a stranger's neglected landscaping. Guess which one I did.

Next, give them a quick rinse and a gentle scrub under the faucet. Your goal here is to remove any dirt and any loose flakes of bark. Let them dry, then grab your PVA glue and your base. Here I'm using old CDs since I have a lot of them, their highly modular, and they don't warp unless you really try. Then you just stack them and glue them. I found that doing a preliminary 'dry stack' first helped me to come up with a good formation to use.

Here are a couple of pics with a Bloodbowl Orc Blitzer for scale. In the next installment of this series, I will paint and base these.

What are some simple but effective terrain builds that you use to trick out your table in a rush? Leave a comment and let me know. Or comment on something completely different. Your call.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Moveable Beast: My Portable Sculpting Studio

Hi there everyone. This is just a quick post I put together in response to a few questions no one asked, regarding my sculpting tools and set-up. So I thought I'd give a quick overview.

Washers at about 10 cents each. Dental tools at around $5. Blistex for 99 cents. Paper clips for the same. Junky pens-- priceless.

The tools: 

1) (top left) A cork to use as a handle for the mini. I've glued washers to both the bottom and the side of this cork so that it can be used for either small or large figures.

2) (middle) Sculpting tools. You can see at the bottom a pair of cheap store-bought dental tools, which aren't very good for anything but rough work. The three tools above them are the gold. They are scratch-built tools, filed down from paperclips, polished with super-fine sandpaper, and mounted in disused ball-point pens using putty. If you want to put together a set of these, check out this tutorial. King uses drilled out pieces of color-coded dowel, which is way classier, but I didn't have any of that on hand, so crappy old pens it was.

3) Blistex. This is about the most portable form of petroleum based wax lubricant that you can find. And it smells nice, too (better than green stuff anyway.) Just make sure to use it sparingly or else rinse the model with soap between layers of GS, since it can really prevent new layers from sticking.

Food-container: free with some food. Sandwich baggie: free with a sandwich. Box: free with a $1000 gizmo.

The Set-up:

Here's where it all gets clever. I happened to have an Ipad box laying around (HAHAHAHAHAHA, yeah right. I snagged an extra from work) which was a great size for fitting in a book-bag, since its roughly text-book sized and shaped. It was also nice and sturdy and therefore unlikely to be crushed. 

I took a small food container (I think this one once held parmesan cheese) and glued it right into the box with a small lake of superglue. Once that cured, I put in my super-glue, my blistex, and all of my small- and jumbo-sized paperclips. 

I found a handy velcro strap for wrapping my tools and my six inch pocket ruler in. Rubberbands work too.

I found a small sandwich baggie. I placed my green stuff into the sandwich baggie.

I then cut a small square of cardboard, and laminated it with clear adhesive sheets. I can smear a little blistex on here to have a portable, flat, non-stick surface. However, I am beginning to have problems with air-bubbles under the laminate, and so will probably simply replace this with an old CD.

Finally, I laid all of this out in the box to see where I could put my figure so it wouldn't be disturbed during transportation. There was the perfect cavity on the bottom right. Once I had the spot, I pierced the side of the box with a paperclip which I then glued in place. This formed a short spike on the inside of the box onto which I could put the cork. The spike goes through the center of the washer and into the cork, preventing it from bouncing around. This way I can take my studio somewhere, sculpt for a while, and place the uncured model in the box without fear of my work being ruined. If you want, you can also glue magnets into the box to stick to the washer and make it even more secure.

There is also enough room to fit a pair of pliers and a pair of clippers for making armatures. And the box lid makes a passable portable photo back-drop.

As always, remember to post a comment if you have any questions or feedback. It would make my year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Yeah, I'm back. WHAT OF IT?

So it seems to be a requirement for bloggers, whenever they are woefully absent from their blogs for any amount of time, to apologize and provide their excuse. Presumably if the excuse is valid, the readers will have mercy and keep following the blog.


I may not be able to make that face, but sometimes that's how I feel like I should look, deep deep down.

I'm not apologizing. I didn't feel like posting. Life's been hard. I still don't have a job. And I've only got one follower anyway.

(On second thought, I do apologize to you, dear follower, YOU'RE AWESOME PLEASE KEEP FOLLOWING.)

What I WILL do is tell you what I have been up to during this long silence. So here's a list:

-I went to the Chaos Cup with a fully painted Orc team.
-I also finished sculpting and painting my Troll.
-And did some conversions for some players.
-I made myself a super-sweet dice tower.
-I made some beer with some friends.
-I scratch-built some terrain in anticipation of Skulldred.
-And some other stuff... job applications... whatever.

So that's what you can expect to be coming across this blog in the next few weeks (except the applications.) Stay tuned. Maybe follow me. I'm also going to try and diversify the blog content here a little bit, since this 'hobby blog' has been largely dominated by me fussing over the little dudes. And also because I don't have the funds at the moment to buy green-stuff, sawdust, wood filler, or a hacksaw.

Maybe I'll draw a picture or two... maybe try something like this.