Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding a new Ashlynn d'Elyse (pseudo Poll)

Okay, I'd like to poll the followers of Warmachine blogs in general to help me find a proxy mini for Ashlynn d'Elyse. I am beginning to pull together the beginnings of a mercenary army. Since the repackaging of Gorten, my Searforge army is on hold, because the old rhulic boxed set is suddenly no longer available. I think Magnus is a joke, therefore I am stuck with "her."

It goes against my better judgement to play something that won't ally with Khador, but it does open up some new mercenary choices like Rhupert, Anastasia de Bray, and Capm' Sam and her Devil Dogs. I hate, hate, hate (yes, dislike) the original sculpt for her. Find it here: Original
Look, its "Stroll-through-the-park Warkaster Barbie! (teeth grinding) Okay, it's not that bad, but I don't like it.

Normally I would look over the stuff from Rackham, but their site is down and has been for many weeks; they may be gone forever. (Taking with it the unrealized awesomeness that would have been Dust:Tactics!) sniff...sob. So I checked out Reaper and found the following minis in the vein of the female swashbuckler.


Each has its pro's and con's. Neither has anything resembling warkaster armor. My other searches haven't turned up much at all, and I don't know of any other companies that might have anything compatible.

So, dear reader, I implore your help. If you have other ideas for a proxy mini, please let me know. If you have an opinion about which of the three I should use, please let me know that too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Painting Notebook - New use for Ink?

This is me humbly thanking Red for his suggestion about applying a layer of ink over the base coat. I have applied this technique to 3 (and maybe one more) minis I am prepping for the Landmark 500 battle.

I have to say, I think it makes lighter color pop more than the darker colors. It didn't really work out so well for blue...GW blue ink dries really shiny and didn't let much of the under highlight pop through. The jury is still out on black. My old technique of a black glaze (just thinned black paint, but a thicker consistency than a wash) may be a better application for toning down the gray highlights. I hold better hope for green, since the ink is from P3. This technique works wonders on red. Thanks Red! Future legions of Khadoran warjacks will be better painted, thanks to you!

Too bad there isn't a Gray ink. I have a big project involving a lot of gray. I guess a thinned out highlight of black may work as well.

Well I tried the green and the results were equally disappointing as with the blue. I now think I know the problem. The ink just didn't flow like a wash. (I know I know, duh!) It dried in clumps and splotches. So, if I try this in the future, or if you dear reader, try it, either thin the in with a little water, or try the ol' Future floor wax trick.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Assembly Notebook - Iron Fang Pikemen

I admit, this unit scared me. I put off assembly until the last, the very last, the too late last. All the horror stories of broken/bent pike shafts and the inability to repair them, the fact that the shields cover the miniatures, so the must remain separate until the final stages of painting, etc.

Well, I took the plunge, and found that like most things, you can psyche yourself into inactivity! The assembly for these are not as bad as it may seem. Pretty simple and straightforward glue to the base. As they are older casts, most still have full size base tabs. Some putty may be necessary for test fitting and test pinning the shields in place. Check out the PIP catalog and images both on the Gallery page and pics from Google to suggest proper shield alignment and tilt. I'm still deciding for myself if the static pose shield needs to be parallel to the base, or more dynamic. I do suggest leaving the shields off and painting separate, then taking them with glue in the finals stages.

That leaves those pesky pikes. (gasp!) Before you even begin, trundle on down to the LHS; Local Hardwear Store and buy yourself a package of 1/16th inch brass (not aluminum) tube (not rod), and a corresponding 1/16th drill bit compatible with your pin vise. (I prefer titanium.)

I would normally provide a link to the Brushthralls "Brass Rod Tutorial," as they taught me the technique I use, and comes complete with pictures and all. they are in the midst of sight reorganization, and I can't seem to find the page, so I will sum up.

Important Tip! One pose of the the standard IFP has his pike in a 'javelin throw' grip. They are distinguished by having a pin on the glove/pike instead of a hole. Set them aside, because you will have to put the head.butt on opposite ends from the rest! Unless you want to make up a lot of ideas as to why you glued them wrong way round. (Yep, I did it.)

Pre-measure and cut all your brass rod for the whole unit and tidy up the ends with a heavy duty file and some pliers. Get all this done before you start. I removed the butt end from the old pewter shaft with a hobby knife and tidied up with a file, then marked the hole with an awl/scribe.

My Secret! I don't use brass rod for every pinning job, I use hobby wire like from the Hobby Store. It is way smaller than the rod and useful for most solos/troopers. For this job, I first drilled a 'pilot hole' with the smaller drill to the depth I wanted, then went back with the 1/16th drill after, to enlarge the hole. This avoided any mishaps, like drilling out through the side of the hand/arm or spearhead. Also, a little water will help when enlarging the hole with the 1/16th bit. I don't know why, it just went smoother. Lubrication maybe.

I worked from the butt to the blasting head on each one in turn. Some minis, there was some of the old shaft casting left on the hand. I usually left it, figuring that more contact with the glue and the surface of the arm is a good thing.

Watch Out! Brass rod + CA superglue = nearly unbreakable instant bond! I've never seen superglue grab anything so hard or so fast as brass. Work quickly and watch where the glue is going! I just used a small drop on the shaft just before I slid the shaft into the arm hole, and it glued in just fine, and frighteningly quick.

Once finished, there were some that weren't perfect, and some, as mentioned were backward. My first batch of 10 plus the 2 figure unit attachment took me two hours from start to finish.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Assembly Notebook - Manhunter (Alt.)

You would think that after the traditional Manhunter sculpt, there you be nae ground to cover for this mini. Not so!

I think it was this mini that first brought my attention to the lack of base tabs on new WM minis. the tab was barely wider than the foot above. To this I say, Fail! I know there are many reasons to do this...reduce weight, reduce cost, reduce molding problems, increase dynamic range, etc. Maybe a grizzled old mini assembler like me hates to see things change. (See, I can admit it! I think I've grown.) -insert grumblings of a conspiracy for privateer press to sell more putty to fill in the base lots for the shrinking base tabs-

Huh? What was that? Yes, you must putty the base before affixing the mini, unless your army theme is for the 712th "Step On A Crack" battalion, or the lesser known 805th "Geologic Fault Line" patrol. (snicker) But truly, that is the easiest thing about this mini.

The model is female, so therefore not nearly as beefy as the regular Manhunter, with his bulging biceps. Normally this would call for the putty and super glue combo. Unfortunately, both the arms are in such and extended pose, that a pin should be called for. Catch-22.

The Fix? Time, patience and no little amount of muttered cursing and such. Use a fine wire and drill, be very careful. I didn't bother to pin the right arm at all, just lay in a little extra putty and glue and hope for the best.

Such little details are transforming the hobby. It used to be easy to assemble a battle force in an afternoon, with most of the time going into the heavier models; the warjacks. Slowly the warjacks are becoming the easiest things to assemble. (Ooh, forget that. I forgot Drago and the Spriggan!) Maybe my standards are higher since I had another mini for another game system that was marked by continuous failure post painting. Nothing like seeing not only the arm/gun pull away, but taking all the sealer, paint and primer, right down to the bare metal...multiple times. Maybe now I overcompensate. Maybe.

Assembly Notebook - Yuri the Axe

Yuri the Axe is the uber-Manhunter, as well as a field commander. I really must commend PIP for its newest sculpts, i.e. the stuff from Legends. Yuri looks fairly straightforward until you uncover the nuts and bolts. This is not a mini for the casual gamer, it takes a bit of skill to get all the pieces in place. No that's not bragging on me, I can't even get Vlad's cape to stay on, and he came out week one!

Yuri is one of the few new models with a beefy tab to fit in the slot! Compare that with the dinky mini-tabs on the Koldun Lord or even the Manhunter variant pose and you will see what I mean. (Do I dare voice the conspiracy of PIP to sell more 2-part putty to fill in for the mini-tabs? Oops!)
Anyway, I always bend up the full size tabs to help fill the slot, in some sort of s-pattern using needle nosed pliers. This is a trick I learned after my first unit of all metal Space Marines had a distinct tilt, because the tabs weren't wide enough to fill the slotta base.

Luckily the sculptor made the cape thick enough on the socket end to take a drill and pin. My tweak is the same as mentioned on the Core Techniques Vol. 1 video from PIP. Yes, I do recommend getting it. Drill out the cape, then place a flattened roll of blu-tack in the socket. Be sure to wet the end you want to come away clean. Press into the socket where you want the cape placed, and gently remove. There should be an obvious finger of blu-tack indicating where the drill hole lines up. My pinning is much improved since I learned this from the video.

After setting your pin, I recommend missing up some putty and gap out the hole. The cape socket is way wider than the cape, so putty placed at the time of gluing will help fill the gap. I do it wet, not trusting myself to let it dry fully and still retain the proper placement. WARNING: CA superglue supercharges the curing time on the putty. It will harden in an eyeblink, so work quickly. Glue and place it, and after the glue grabs ahold, take an old file or sculpting tool and clear away the blops of putty waste. Since the cape is fur, scratch some rough lines into the putty-filled seam. You can clean them up once the putty hardens a bit more.

I would normally recommend fitting and drilling out the arm before placing the cape, but since the cape can take and extreme angle, I would wait until after. Once the putty and glue fully dry, (like maybe overnight) see where you want the axe to place. I drilled and pinned the left arm with a short pin, and let the other arm socket in with putty and glue.

Assembly Notebook - Drago

Ahhh, Drago. Legendary a**-kicker war jack. On the upside, Drago is much easier on the legs than the regular BerZerKer. Not all of that messy "how to drill into the one foot on the tab and still have him stand upright" thing. In fact, once the Drago parts become available, I plan on scrapping one of my BerZerKers and redoing it with Drago's legs as a more stable base.

The downside to Drago is the incredibly flimsy arms and arm attachment points. Fail! Like many Khadoran war jacks, Drago has "Pop Eye" shaped arms. This is carried to the extreme in that the arms aren't even thick enough to drill into to pin. 1/16 th brass rod is about double the thickness. This can lead, as in my case, to the weight of the beefy forearms and Executioner axes bending the upper arms under their own weight after attaching to the shoulder sockets.

The Fix? Well, the best fix, although incredibly unsightly, would be to find a third attachment point on the jack or even on the base and drill and pin for something to support the weight. Sadly, like me, this problem is best identified before it happened, because once the arm is mounted, its impossible to reach the underside of the forearm or the "armpit" area of the 'Jack to drill or pin. For me, I am going to put off painting Drago until regular wear and tear breaks the arm. After that, I will do an extensive re-sculpt and pin job.

The smoke stacks are wider than the gap provided when the shoulder assemblies are attached to the chassis. I don't count this as a Fail! It took a little filing and such, but only a little.

The only other beef with the sculpt is the position of the smoke stack/shoulder pad. You can dry fit and place the smoke stacks in the back of the chassis, and they fit fine. You can scrape and file down the set pins to fit the shoulder pads to the shoulders alright. The place the spiky bits on the shoulder pads. Let everything dry. Then when you do full dry fit, you realize the back set of stacks and the back of each shoulder pad are trying to occupy the same space! Fail!

The Fix? I had very little choice. I had already set the stacks in with putty and CA glue. I had to sacrifice the back of the shoulder pads by severe cutting/filing. If I had known, (hence the reason for my assembly notebook ;) ) I may have altered the set pins that fit the recesses in the shoulders to swing the back edges a little outboard clearing the stacks.

Also, be wary of the Executioner axes on Drago. Both arms in my box had the heads slightly bent out of true. Again, gentle heat and pressure brought them back, with a little superglue reinforcement, of course.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Airport wants Piccys!

Ok, down to basic pleading.

Anyone have suggestions as to what I need to obtain to post pics of my paint'in and stuff online? And please, don't just say "Duh! A digital camera." I know that. Any suggestions as to make, model, resolution, etc. I am only interested in getting one for pics for the bloggo-sphere, so lots of other non-gaming features may be a hindrance.

Dubious for Mark 2

I suppose if I was more familiar and had more games under my belt, I may have thrown more interest in Mark 2 sooner. I guess I am more looking at the loss of value in the $44.95 I spent on my copy of hardback Legends, that will have little more than 12-16 months worth of utility.

Try to find a thread on the forums that isn't Mark 2 related.

Mark 2 is about a year away, and while I do want to get my feedback in to PIP about some of the things people in the forums mentioned, I also want to play more OS Warmachine before that.

The only example I can dredge from the ancient past is the tragedy of Warzone. Target Games underwent a similar explosion of interest. There were several people with armies, in love with the simple rules and fun back story. We were building terrain and the like. Then WZ Mk.2 hit, with lots of new rules and the like. I can't even find much on google anymore.

Fatalistic, but tell that to the pile of WZ I have in my basement.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You can't trust 'em

Okay, so I bought Drago, Khador Unique warjack. I have painfully and carefully assembled the damn thing, and at the very last minute (y'know, like the tournament is this Saturday, right?) it looks like the casting of the left arm is bending under its own weight. Under its own weight!

The folks at PIP can no longer convince me that they haven't changed the metal ratio in their minis. There is way more tin than there used to be. I understand about keeping the price down and making the game minis affordable, but how about being able to play more than one game with them before they disintegrate? HOW ABOUT AT LEAST ONE GAME?

I guess I will have to soak everything in 2-ton epoxy to reinforce the tissue paper thin arms and legs before I begin assembly from now on.