Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blood Angels Captain new Gamesday Mini!

I didn't play 40K back in the 2nd Edition days, but I did buy the boxed set and I always loved the cover. Shortly thereafter 3rd Edition came out and me and a couple of friends decided to switch from Warhammer Fantasy Battle to Warhammer 40K.

It wasn't a coincidence that Blood Angels were my army of choice. The original artwork was done by John Blanche and I believe Mike McVey did a conversion of the model in White Dwarf back in the day. I have a copy of the issue somewhere and I'll see if I can dig it up and update this post with the pic.

The below pics leaked on Heresy Online today and the new mini looks amazing. Click on the below pics for a larger image. This was an awesome Christmas surprise, though being Finecast makes the baby Jesus cry just a bit. Hopefully, they have the whole Finecast thing figured out with the newer models. In any case, I want this miniature bad and I'll probably get raped on eBay when I go to get mine. Anyone heading to Gamesday this year and want to do me a huge favor? :)

Till next time,
–The Harrower

Friday, December 23, 2011

Craters in 40K: Part 2

Last time, I talked about craters in 40K. If you happened to have read that post and there wasn't much there or it didn't seem like it was finished that's because it wasn't. Apparently I hit the publish button when I just started writing it. I didn't notice until I posted and realized it wasn't showing up on From the Warp or any of my other feeds. Turns out the date was wrong because it was published a couple days sooner! Doh. So make sure you go back and read Part 1 before continuing.

Today we're going to finish off our trimmed craters. The goal of this tutorial is to create a crater that is roughly the size of a Rhino or Razorback. Here is what you need to get started:
  • Vacuum formed crater. I'm using the Pegasus Hobbies Crater Set, but Games Workshop's Moonscape will work too. My wife prefers the Moonscape because they have sharper detail and paint up easier.
  • A base for your crater. I use MDF.
  • Cat Litter. I use Tidy Cats Non-clumping for Multiple Cats. I guess you can't use this stuff if you only have one cat (shrugs).
  • Wood Filler. I use Carpenter's Wood Filler Interior/Exterior.
  • Razor Knife
  • Glue Gun. You could just use PVA glue, but that takes long to dry and I'm pretty impatient.
  • PVA Glue
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Eye Dropper
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint. I use craft paints for terrain. You can buy them at AC Moore or Michaels. Wal-Mart even has a decent selection by the school supplies.
  • Blue Foam
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Sand Paper
Step 1: Cut out the crater you want to use with a pair of scissors. I used the triple crater that came with the Pegasus Hobbies Crater Set as it was the perfect size and I got three craters for the price of one!

Step 2: Trace your crater onto a base with a sharpie and leave about 1/4 to 1/2 inch all the way around. We don't want the base to be too big. Once your base is traced, cut it out. I use MDF which requires a jig saw. If you can't use power tools you can always just use foam board or card board. Once the base is cut, I shave the sides at an angle with a razor knife and I use sand paper to sand it smooth. In the pic below, I stuck a piece of foam under the crater to keep it upright and I attached the crater to the base with a glue gun.

Step 3: Here we need to build up the sides of the crater where we made the cut with the scissors. You can use various materials for this such as foam, modeling clay, green stuff, or even paper mache. I used blue foam and shoved it under the crater and affixed it with the glue gun. Once the glue dried, I cut into the foam to make it look like rock and match the rest of the crater.

Step 4: In this step we cover the sides of the crater with wood filler. There is no way to be neat about this step so just use your fingers from the beginning and save yourself time as opposed to trying to be neat. What we want to do is make sure that we are covering the seam where the crater meets the base or it will stick out like a sore thumb when we dry brush it later on. I love working with wood filler because it doesn't crack, it dries really quick, and you can sand it smooth.

Step 5: If there is anything I want you to take away from this tutorial it's the next few steps and how to make piles of rock and rubble. I got this tip from some dude on TerraGenesis and it's really easy to do and the results look great. If I made a list of my top 10 killer tips when making terrain, this would definitely make the cut.

Now that I have your attention, take out your cat litter and make random piles of rubble on the crater. Don't be afraid to stack it into large piles, because when we're done it will dry just like you place it. I'm adding in some other rocks too for variety. You'll want to do this on a piece of newspaper because once the rocks are in place, we can't move it and we'll be adding glue in the next step.

Step 6: Once we have all of our rock piles in place, you'll want to take your eye dropper and the isopropyl alcohol and get all of the cat litter wet. You don't want to go over board with this step, but you want to make sure that the cat litter and any other rocks you put on the base are well covered in alcohol.

Step 7: Now that the cat litter is wet with the alcohol, you'll want to again use the eye dropper and drop on diluted PVA glue. I dilute mine about 3:1 water to glue and I have a Tang container filled with the mix because I use it so much. The glue should be thin enough that when you drop it on, it flows through the cracks in the cat litter. If it doesn't flow and just sits on top, you can hit it with a couple drops of alcohol and that will do the job. Try not to get it all over like I did on the pics below. I ended up gluing the crater to the newspaper. Oops! Nothing a little sand paper and a spackling knife can't fix.

Step 8: Wait for the glue to dry. You should wait at least a few hours. I let mine dry overnight and work on it again the next day when I come home from work. In the pic below, you can see the cat litter stayed firmly in place just how I wanted it. A few pieces may flake off, but nothing too major. 

Step 9: Now that the cat litter is dry, we need to cover the rest of the base with sand. I just use straight glue from the jug without any thinning for this step and I use a cheap brush to apply it. Dip your crater in the sand, shake off the excess and allow it to dry. Sorry, forgot to take a picture of this step, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Step 10: This step was the easiest (at least for me). Paint the craters black and start dry brushing the different colors on. My wife is excellent at painting terrain, so I let her do it. We use craft paint for painting terrain because it's so cheap. She used black, gray, and white. For the browns, I had gallons mixed up years ago at Lowes. I believe I had them match scorched brown and vomit brown, but I'm not 100% sure.

Step 11: Marvel at your craters' greatness! And if you are me, you thank your wife for taking some time out before Christmas to paint terrain. Thanks babe! This doesn't solve wobbly model syndrome entirely, but it certainly helps and gives you a good looking piece of terrain that's also functional in the game. The craters are big enough to fit a full Tactical Squad and you can probably fit a few more models in there if you had to.

Below are some pics of the finished craters as well as a sneak peak at some of the desert terrain I've been working on. I'll have some pics of my desert terrain up in a future post as well as a sort fix I came up with for dealing with wobbly model syndrome.

Till then, have a Merry Christmas and may your dice always roll sixes.
–The Harrower

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Craters in 40K: Part 1

I apologize for the brief hiatus. There is a lot that I have been working on in regards to the hobby, but I wanted to focus on getting things done and take a break from the blog for a bit. Not to fear, I have some cool content planned for 40K as well as Mordheim in the coming weeks.

I've been doing a lot of terrain in preparation for a campaign I'm starting next month, and I wanted to talk a bit about making craters. Craters are an absolute necessity for 40K. Not only do they make the battlefield look war torn and cool, but you need craters to represent destroyed vehicles. I've played in places where they've used old CDs with texture on top or cut circles of material to represent craters, and while it works for gameplay purposes it just doesn't look right to me.

I was looking at other alternatives and Greenman Designs, Inc. makes cool laser cut acrylic templates the exact size of a destroyed vehicle. For gameplay purposes they are perfect as you can set up your models without any issues, but buying a lot of these can get pricey and there is the whole having a realistic looking battlefield that I am such a stickler for.

Image from Greenman Designs, Inc.
I decided the best thing to do was just to make my own craters. Originally, I made a few craters out of blue foam. They looked decent, but the problem was getting models to stand on them. Plus, if the crater is too small you end up packing your miniatures in as close as possible. Which isn't bad until someone drops a blast or flame template on your squad. In hindsight, realistic looking craters don't make good terrain. I messed around quite a bit with blue foam, but I couldn't get something that looked suitable and played well.

Those that play in my gaming group know that I have a love hate relationship with all of the new fangled plastic kits that Games Workshop, Pegasus Hobbies, and other companies have been producing recently. Good homemade terrain is just as important to me as converting and painting your own models. With the Realm of Battle Gameboard and a newer kits like Skullvane Manse and the Fortress of Redemption scratch building terrain seems to be a part of the hobby that is starting to die out. Take a look through any recent White Dwarf or take a trip to an official Games Workshop store and you mostly just see Realm of Battle Gameboards with plastic sprue terrain. So it was with some regret that I turned to a plastic terrain kit to solve my problem.

My thought was to use Games Workshop's Moonscape. I know a lot of people hate it because models won't stand on them because of the smooth sides, but I figured if I based it on MDF and added additional texture it should work fine. Initially, I thought this approach worked the best. The craters were sturdy and looked good and models could easily stand on them without tipping over.

Then we ran into an issue I really didn't expect. The craters were way too big. If a unit was attacking a transport in close combat and it blew up, the crater was so big that the unit attacking in close combat ended up in difficult terrain. The other problem was if there were two transports together and they both exploded, we didn't have enough room to place another crater.

I thought I'd try the crater set by Pegasus Hobbies. At $12.99 from TheWarStore I figured it would be worth the investment even if it turned out to be a bust. The craters came in and they were similar to the Moonscape set: nice, but just a bit too big. There was one triple crater that would have worked perfectly if they made the individual craters that size. On a whim, I took a pair of scissors and cut it up into individual craters. The size was almost perfect.

I'll just need to base these on MDF, fill in the cut out side, and paint them up. Next time I'll do a quick tutorial and finish these off and we'll see how they work.

What do you use in your games for craters? Do you use plastic kits by Games Workshop or Pegasus Hobbies or do you just make your own? Am I being too anal in wanting actual modeled craters? I'm curious what other people out there are doing in their games as there isn't a lot out there on the search engines. 

Till next time,
–The Harrower