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Everything posted by MojoBob

  1. Here's the first piece of bog terrain finished. I originally intended to use a 5-minute epoxy and acetone mix for the water, but I can no longer find really cheap and nasty epoxy — I used to be able to get 40ml syringes for just a couple of bucks, but now the cheapest ones I could find are closer to ten. So, instead I used polyester casting resin, which costs about thirty bucks for a 250ml can. There are down-sides to using the polyester: First, it stinks to high heaven while it's curing. Second, the disposable plastic cups I used for mixing are dissolved by it — I had to do a rapid transfer into another vessel before it ended up all over everything. Third, it's very, very clear, which would normally be a good thing, but for this purpose it could have done with being a bit more murky. I added some colouring, but not quite enough, so the water looks more lake-ish than boggy. Fourth, it's quite a bit thicker than water, so the meniscus is more pronounced, and it takes a bit of persuasion to flow into all the nooks and crannies. However, I was pretty much expecting that and I'm not heartbroken by it. The vehicle in the picture is my 3d-printed 1/100 scale Burford-Kegresse machine-gun carrier.
  2. Boggy Bits

    Figures are British WW1 staff officers from Peter Pig This terrain piece is somewhat experimental, inasmuch as I wanted to try out using very cheap (and pretty terrible) 5-minute epoxy resin for the water effects. I wanted something to go at one end of my river pieces (here and here), so they don't necessarily have to go from edge to edge of the table. The water doesn't match those pieces though, so that may not be a goer — I'll just have to see how much the difference scrapes on my nerves when the pieces are actually in play. The no-name epoxy I used was some I found on a clearance rack at a local hardware chain store, for about three bucks per 50ml syringe. At that price, I figured I wasn't risking much except my time if it didn't work. I mixed it along with about 5-10ml of acetone to thin it, and I added some sepia acrylic ink — far too much, as it turned out — to colour it. The results are as you see, only partially successful. With the acetone and ink added, it took a lot longer to cure than it said on the label, but that was a good thing as it gave me more working time to nudge it into all the nooks and crannies. In very shallow areas, close up against the flocking, it has greyed out somewhat. I suspect that's because the PVA I used to seal the flock wasn't fully dry, and some of it has migrated into the epoxy. It's not a tragedy for this piece, because it just looks like muddy, swampy muck, but it would have been problematic if I'd needed clear water throughout. Whether it was because of the additives or not I don't know, but when it cured, this epoxy developed a waxy bloom that had to be wiped off. I was a bit relieved when I found that it could be wiped off. The epoxy has one advantage over the polyester casting resin I've used, and that is that it doesn't smell, but that's it's only advantage. It is much thicker, and really does need the addition of acetone to make it usable at all, and it creates a pronounced meniscus as it cures. It doesn't create the slight surface ripple that the polyester does, so it doesn't look as convincingly liquid. One thing: it would have been better to have attached the dam across the river-mouth end so that it leaned out at a slight angle. That way, when I trimmed off the meniscus, it would leave a vertical edge, and the water surface would remain shiny and flat right up to the edge. I didn't do that, so when I trimmed the meniscus it left a scar across that edge.
  3. I'm trying out another river segment, built in pretty much the same way as my first one, but this time I'm using a a material that is new to me, SculptaMold from Amaco. I saw it used on Luke's APS on Youtube and liked the look of it, so I popped down and bought a bag from Gordon Harris art supplies. It cost me about twenty-two bucks for about 1.3 kg, which should be enough to do a reasonable amount of terrain. It would probably get a bit pricey if you wanted to build a whole table, but for my purposes it's OK. It's a plaster and paper (?) fibre mix; I don't know if there's anything else in there. Depending on the amount of water you use it can be mixed to a cottage cheese-like paste, as I've used it here, or to a more liquid slurry that can be cast in rubber moulds. It sets up more slowly than plain plaster; by the time I'd finished laying out the river banks and setting in all the gravel, it was still quite workable, so I slapped together a little rocky outcrop on a plastic cutting board, using some bits of pine bark and the left-over goop from the river banks. I wasn't really keeping track of time, but I'd guess that you probably have 15 to 20 minutes of working time, which is plenty for most things. When it's wet, it retains a quite knobbly cottage cheese texture, which is fine if it's going to be under flock and stuff. If you want a smoother finish though, just leave it for about another ten minutes or quarter of an hour to stiffen up a bit, and then it can be smoothed with wet fingers or modelling tools, or just with a wet soft brush. It's early days yet, but at first acquaintance I think I'm going to like it.
  4. Unless you're looking at paint chips painted with the actual paint in question, colour charts are never going to be truly accurate. Colour rendition in any medium has its own range, called "gamut", and it differs depending on how the colour is displayed. A computer monitor's RGB range has a different gamut to CMYK offset printing, which in turn has a different gamut to a 6-colour inkjet printer, and so on. In short: colour charts are not quite useless, but they're indicative only and not to be relied on.
  5. Stripping Bones with Simple Green

    It usually won't matter at all. If it's still that well stuck on, it's unlikely to lift under a new coat of paint.
  6. FitzBones: E.H.P.

    Here's another Bones Kickstarter figure. I don't know what the SKU is for this one, or even if it's for sale yet — it seems to take quite a while for the Kickstarter figures to filter through to the online shop. I like it mainly for the over-the-top shield. I have a weakness for that sort of thing, probably from early exposure to the old Warhammer stuff back in the day. For those unfamiliar with the term: E.H.P. stands for Evil High Priest. I don't know if it's still used, but it was common shorthand back in the distant primeval past.
  7. FitzBones: Halfling

    The newest character in my AD&D campaign is Oswalt Tenpenny, a halfling fighter-thief. So, I thought I'd better hunt out a halfling figure and paint it up. This is a plastic Bones miniature, but I have no idea what the SKU is. As it turns out, Steve (the player) already has a halfling figure of his own, but never mind. I'm sure this one will come in handy one day.
  8. Here they are, all done and ready for the gaming table. All the finishing is via my usual flocking and what-not, so they don't look appreciably different to any other pieces I've made — which is a good thing, I guess. Sculptamold is not a perfect landscaping material for game terrain, but it does have many virtues, and on balance I think I quite like it.
  9. Something that's missing from my gaming terrain collection are bodies of water, so I thought I'd better make some. Unlike roads, a river can't really just start or stop in the middle of the board, so I'll need enough pieces to cover about a two and a half metre length, enough to go from end to end of my table. This is the test piece, trying out methods and colours. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, but I feel that it's lacking something and I'm not quite sure what it is. Perhaps it's that everything is quite even in height, so there's no drama of composition. The base is 3mm MDF, sealed with black spray primer, and the banks were built up with Das air-drying clay. The rocks are just bits of gravel. The grass is several colours of sawdust flock, and the taller vegetation is foam clump foliage. The water itself is just three or four coats of acrylic gloss medium brushed over paint, with various depths indicated by lighter or darker tones. I didn't want a perfectly smooth surface, so it's just been brushed with a narrowish brush to indicate the flow of the water. I haven't added any indications of the direction of flow, such as ripple trails off the rocks, because I want to be able to flip the modules end-for-end to maximise flexibility of use. The ends are 100mm wide, and this piece is about 350mm long.
  10. Terrain pieces made from this stuff definitely need to be on a protective base of some sort. It's not nearly as bad at chipping as regular plaster, but the bottom edges of the rocky outcrop (no base) are proving to be vulnerable, and since I didn't stain it when I mixed it, any breakage or cracking shows up really starkly.
  11. OK, so here are the two pieces, painted but not yet flocked and vegetated. The SculptaMold takes longer to set fully than I'd assumed from Luke's video, but I have a little toaster-oven, and an hour or so in that at its lowest heat got everything set solid. Something that this stuff has in common with regular plaster is that it's bright, bright white. I think it would be a good idea to add some ink or paint or something to the mixing water, to stain it it right through. That way, any pin-pricks of white left behind after painting will be avoided. The river banks have been left just as the stuff goes on wet, and you can see that it has quite a knobbly texture. The SculptaMold on the little rocky outcrop was smoothed a bit with wet fingers after it had stiffened up, but not set fully, and it's a lot smoother where I did that. It looks a bit rugged in this photo, because the bark pieces forming the cliff face are facing the camera.
  12. FitzBones: 77305 Gelatinous Cube

    Here's the translucent Bones 77305 Gelatinous Cube. Being translucent, it's a bit of a tricky thing to photograph. I haven't put any paint on the cube itself at all; I've seen some translucent figures that have been tinted in various ways in an attempt to bring out the detail, but in my opinion the results are seldom successful. It comes in three parts; two for cube itself, which I joined with clear silicon sealer, and one for what is supposed to be the contents of its last meal, a rather nice pile of skeletonized adventurers and their gear. I painted them in very high contrast, in the hopes that some of the detail would be able to be seen through the cube's walls.... The hapless adventurers are supposed to form the base of the creature, but they're completely wasted as a model that way, as once they're inside the thing they can only be made out as a blurry, formless blob. So instead, I've kept them separate, and they'll come in useful as dungeon dressing. A pile of skeletonized corpses will always come in handy.
  13. Flying Carpet

    I needed a flying carpet for my up-coming AD&D scenario, so I made one. It's bigger in real life than it would be if it was truly to scale; it's supposed to seat six people comfortably at about 7' by 10' long, so I need to accommodate six figure bases. I very much doubt that the scale differential is ever going to matter at all. The carpet is just a print of a photograph from the internet, stiffened with epoxy and some cotton gauze, and the flying stand is chopped from a soda bottle neck. The rocks are made from rocks. The figure is an old Grenadier wizard, and the most appropriately Arabian Nights-ish one I own, but quite a bit smaller than the Reaper figures I mostly use these days.
  14. FitzBones: Iron Maiden

    Amongst the Bones Kickstarter III offerings is a set of pieces to dress up your friendly local torture chamber. One of them is this one, an iron maiden. I've used a couple of Vallejo's GameEffects rust paints on it, and I quite like the effect they give. You can slop them on straight from the bottle, but I find they work best when applied in several layers of washes, not too thin.
  15. FitzBones: Gug

    Here's one of the Cthulhu Mythos creatures from Kickstarter III, a Gug. I really don't know what that is; I've played a bit of Call of Cthulhu from time to time, but never come across one of these. I suppose I could look it up, but I'm lazy.
  16. FitzBones: Half-Orc

    I'm not sure if this figure is actually meant to be a half-orc or not, but that's what I'm using it for. I have a pair of half-orc twins in my campaign, a brother and sister, and they need some figures.
  17. FitzBones: Iron Maiden

    Here's the rest of the torture chamber set.
  18. This is one of the Cthulhoid critters from the recent Bones Kickstarter. I think they call it Spawn of Shub-Niggurath, but I'm not completely sure about that. Just a side note: Windows 10 did an update recently, and since then Photoshop's colour balance has gone entirely to broccoli. What I see in Photoshop has no relation to what I get as output, and I'm really struggling to figure out how to get it back. That's why all of these images are too blue.
  19. FitzBones: Half-Orc

    And here's the other twin.
  20. Testing out Shapeways new Extreme Detail Material

    Did you clean the print down with acetone before priming it? I've found that a lot of what appear as printing issues in FUD/FXD from Shapeways are actually remnants of the wax support material. Even if that's not the case, it's good that most of the clutter appears to be in the cloak, so it could be passed off under a coat of paint as woolly fabric texture I guess.
  21. Siri's Guide to Painting Rust

    Vallejo make some rust paints in their GameEffects line. The two I've actually used are 72.131 Rust, which is a bright orange, and 72.136 Dry Rust, which is a dark brown. They both include a rather gritty filler, so you end up with a granular, powdery finish, and you get different effects depending on how much they're diluted. This is a Zvezda 1:100 scale model of a KV2 heavy artillery tank. I've used the Dry Rust on the tracks and as spots of "chipping" rust pretty much undiluted. The track grousers are picked out with graphite from a wide carpenter's pencil, but a dark steel paint works well too. If you look closely at the rust in the hollows of the tracks you can see how it dries with a granular texture, and in a range of brown tones. On the top of the turret and in places on the track-guards I've added some of the orange Rust, applied quite diluted as a wash. As it dries, it kind of crystallizes where it's thickest, and you get rust "bits" forming. Applying them in layers of washes give the most interesting effects in my opinion, but they're not nearly as controllable as Siri's method.
  22. Keeping a mixing tray clean

    I use silicon rubber mini-muffin (I think they're called "gems" or something?) baking cases as my palette. I got a pack of a couple of dozen, and I just swap out grungy old paint-covered ones for new ones as I need to. I've also used silicon ice trays in the past, but I find the individual cases more compact and convenient in use. When they're all dirty, and the paint is dry, I can just stretch and abuse the hell out of them, and the paint flakes right off, usually without leaving a trace. If I get a stubbornly stained or "bitsy" one, I just use it as a mixing tray for my next batch of epoxy or for PVA for basing, and when the glue dries it peels away easily from the silicon rubber and takes the old paint with it.
  23. New Look?

    Sadly, the New New Look just appears to emphasize the things I didn't like about the Old New Look, and reaction buttons are irrelevant to me. The larger fonts mean that everything stretches out vertically, which means even more scrolling. I expect it's probably easier to manipulate on a cellphone, but it's not well suited to a desktop computer display.
  24. For basic airbrush control skills on paper, food colouring is good, as is cheap fountain-pen ink. They don't require any mixing and don't have large pigment particles in suspension, being dyes, and they don't require anything special in the way of cleanup — plain water will do the trick. Things get a bit more complicated when you start airbrush paints, but it's useful to have those basic hand-eye control skills mastered before you start anything more ambitious.
  25. Making a wash

    Rather than detergent, I use glycerine as a surface-tension reducer. It has advantages in that it doesn't react with the paints, and it's less likely to create bubbles as the wash is painted on. Transparent pigment-based inks make a better wash than paint, but if you do use paint, cheap artists' water colours work better than cheap craft paints as the craft paints tend to use a lot of opaque fillers and less, and less finely-ground, pigment. Avoiding matte medium is a false economy. A small pot of Winsor & Newton Galleria Matte Medium will make a lot of wash, and your washes will be better.