Friday, June 26, 2009

Terrain: Hills

I have a few central hill pieces that I use. They are a combination of modified store bought and scratch built pieces. I think this is a good approach, especially when starting a terrain collection.

These first 2 pieces are a set of store bought injection molded foam rock outcroppings. There was originally very little "ground", and what there was, ended abruptly in a step. I personally prefer a gradual slope to get a more realistic look.

This image illustrates the parts that I added. I used 1" pink foam board and hot glued it to the hill. Then painted and flocked to match my boards. A top heavy mini will have an issue balancing on the slope so there is a trade off for the aesthetic.

All I did to this injected molded foam piece was to shave the hill level. Using a serrated knife (a Ginsu actually), I created two flat areas at 1" and 2" high. It originally was sloped all the way with no flat surfaces.

I have illustrated here where I leveled the hill. The left area is 1" and the right is 2" tall.

This piece was scratch built out of pink foam board. I thought I used 1" foam, but to my surprise (after the piece was completed), I discovered I used 3/4" foam instead. Actually, I didn't even realize I had 2 types of foam board!! I was not satisfied with leafing the hill "short", so I cut 2 pieces of cardboard and glued it to the bottom increasing the height to 1", blending in the details then repainting and flocking to get the final results (below).

Here is a top view of two of the hills stacked. As you can see I sculpted the lower hill piece to match up with the rocky portion of one of the

I used a combination of a hot blade and a heat gun to work in the rough rock detail. I have this really cool butane multi-tool that has different replaceable tips (soldering iron, heat gun, hot knife, and blow torch) The next step, I smeared spackle around with my finger and finally coated all the rock surfaces with watered down white glue mix.

The ground was coated with a sand mixture that I glued on. After drying overnight, I painted it brown and then dry brushed tan. I dabbled a little bit of sand and some larger granules around the rock surfaces. The rocks were painted black, dry brushed with a cool-gray, and then washed with a greenish-brown mixture.

I use inexpensive craft paints for my terrain. But I did buy a large bottle of scenic paint that I use as a wash to "dirty" things up.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tau Remote Sensor Tower Scratch Build Showcase

Here is my attempt at scratch building a unit of Tau Sensor Towers. The actual models are from Forge World, and the rules appear in Imperial Armour Volume Three: The Taros Campaign.

My first stumbling block was getting over the destruction of a few lego pieces to make these towers... something that i found to be challenging. Once I conquered that, I was able to proceed. The base of the tower is an upside down medicine bottle with a Lego core. The top half is comprised on some bases, a few tech bits from a Power Plant Set model kit by Pegasus Hobbies and some plastic tubing.

Here are 3 complete models with a few minis for size comparison.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tau Heavy Gun Drones WIP

Here are the basic bitz used: A 40mm base, 2x small flying bases, a battle suit head, a burst cannon, a fusion blaster, and a targeting array.

A converted markerlight using a fusion blaster and a tube from canned air. Also the bit that goes under the disk using a battle suit head, 1/8" tubing and a wooden "cap".

The assembled drone. I built a unit of 6, but have since cut off the burst canons and markerlights and re-attached them with magnets.

C&C welcome!! Thanks!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Salamanders 1500 pt Roster

Based on the limitations of figures available and the time frame I imposed putting this force together, here is a 1500 point build for my son's first army.

HQ (185 Pts)
Space Marine Librarian; Terminator Armour; Epistolary; Machine Curse; Might of the Ancients; Force Weapon; Psychic Hood; Melta Bombs; Storm Bolter

Troops (190 Pts)
9 Tactical Marines; Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Flamer; Heavy Bolter

1 Sergeant; Bolt Pistol; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Melta Bombs; Teleport Homer; Chainsword

Troops (190 Pts)
9 Tactical Marines; Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Flamer; Heavy Bolter

1 Sergeant; Bolt Pistol; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Melta Bombs; Teleport Homer; Chainsword

Fast Attack (255 Pts)
9 Assault Marines; Bolt Pistol (x7); Chainsword (x9); Frag Grenades; Jump Packs; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Flamer; Flamer

1 Sergeant; Frag Grenades; Jump Packs; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Melta Bombs; Power Fist; Power Weapon

Heavy Support (235 Pts)
9 Devastator Marines; Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x5); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Heavy Bolter (x4)

1 Sergeant; Bolt Pistol; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Signum; Melta Bombs; Chainsword

Elite (205 Pts)
4 Terminators; Power Fist (x4); Storm Bolter (x3); Heavy Flamer; Terminator Armour

1 Sergeant; Power Sword; Storm Bolter; Terminator Armour

Elite (205 Pts)
4 Terminators; Power Fist (x4); Storm Bolter (x3); Heavy Flamer; Terminator Armour

1 Sergeant; Power Sword; Storm Bolter; Terminator ArmourTotal Cost: 1465 points

  • Minis: 51
  • Storm Bolters: 9
  • Bolters: 30
  • Heavy Bolters: 6
  • Flammers: 4
  • Heavy Flamers: 2
  • Bolt Pistol/Chainsword: 10
  • Force/Power Weapons: 12
  • Melta Bombs: 5
You can check out my precious posts about this project by going to: Salamanders Completed!, Scratch-built Space Marine Jump Packs, and My first blog and my son's first 40K army.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Salamanders Completed!

As mentioned in this post, I have been building a Space Marines army for my son. It is finally finished! 51 figures assembled (half with conversion) and painted in three weeks. That is just about 2.5 figures a day. Here is a shot of the devastator and assault squads before painting. Some of the color is the actual plastic color (Basic Space Crusade), but there was still a good amount of paint left after stripping too.

Here is the completed army. It clocks in at 1500pts.

This project is below my usual painting standards, but these figures are going to get a fair amount of "hands on" time both in pseudo-40K games and in general playtime. I think overall, on the table they turned out really good. My son is happy, so that's what really counts!!

What's next? Well... the marines need to fight somebody... 80+ orks!! More about this later.

Read more about this army <here>.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Origin of Zorcon

No, I am not referring to the breed of poodle. Zorcon is a moniker I gave one of my D&D characters, and eventually it became a common username, and is now sort of an on-line persona.

Way back in 1979 I was introduced to a game called Dungeons & Dragons by the son of friends of my parents, Kevin. I was immediately intrigued, and soon after I began spending all of my spare allowance on game books, dice and little lead figures. You see, even in 5th grade, I was a collector. I had to fit this "new" hobby into my budget - replacing the eraser robots and NFL team pencils found at the school store, the baseball cards and TV & movie cards from the grocery store, and the Star Wars figures & Hot Wheels from the department store. With an allowance of $5 per week , I was working with limited resources.

I soon found a local game night (25 minute drive by parental coach) at a book store in a strip mall named The Book Den. Looking back, I can't believe the tolerance that the neighboring stores had towards the every-Friday-night rush of pre-teen and adolescent gamer-geeks. Players were spread all over the floor of the book store. Then there was "the" game, a 3' diameter table in the back room. I quickly graduated to that table, and have many fond memories of "first contacts" with strange new creatures and races. This is the campaign that spawned my first long-term character. All previous characters were lowly underclassmen to this one - his name... was Garbage Gut. I was in 5th grade, so you shouldn't be surprised by the sophistication of the name.

I peddled "The Gut" over to other games as well, and as the popularity of the Friday night games grew, we expanded to a nearby Taco Time (my favorite place to play), and even in the back room of a Rodda Paint store a few doors down. I managed to play Zorcon all the way up to 6th level. When I hit 8th grade (sometime around 1984), I began to take gaming even more seriously, and dropped all of my other collections except comics and went full force into D&D . I looked down on my previous gaming as juvenile. Although I cherished my beloved Garbage Gut, the name stuck in my throat every time I had to introduce him to a new NPC. Something had to be done. Sitting in my kitchen, scribbling names on a piece of paper, desperate to come up with a more suitable name, I was struck upside the head by a name echoing in the background. Star Trek was on in the other room, and I heard (Kirk I think) refer to a King Zorcon. THAT WAS IT! Garbage Gut was re-dubbed Zorcon. From that point on, the character, and the name has always floated in and out of my gaming life.

Around 1985, I dusted the "retired" Zorcon off and leveled him up to 10th. But I only played him for a short time, as my circle of friends had moved onto other games. About a year later, I took Zorcon, and 3 of my other favorite characters (A human Magic-User named Baucis, a half-elf bard/thief named Laserin Monroe, and a human sailor named Molock) and battled every creature in the Monster Manual and the Fiend Folio in alphabetical order. After such an accomplishment, I designed an appropriate artifact-level sword for Zorcon. I also began to design Zorcon's castle, but never quite finished it. He was finally retired in a plastic page protector about 1988.

When Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition was re-launched by Wizards of the Coast in 2000, the first thing I did was dig up old Zorcon and convert him to the new system. It didn't work out very well, as the new system only handled characters of up to 20th level, and my beloved Zorcon had reached 47th level in 1st edition. But about a year later, the Epic Level Handbook came out, and I was able to properly convert Zorcon. He now resides in my previously running campaign, as a self-proclaimed King of a moderately sized parcel of land just south of the City of Greyhawk.

Right around the same time, I started using Zorcon as an on-line handle and gamer tag. When I decided to put up a gaming resource web site in 2004, it was all too obvious to me what it should be called.

My first blog and my son's first 40K army

This is my first blog entry, so here it goes...

My son Marcus is six. About a year ago, I gave him a pile of old plastic ork and space marine figures I had sitting in a box. He had become enamored with "daddy's soldiers". I had already given him some extra HeroClix figures, but it was time to introduce him to WH40K. I have been out of the hobby for quite some time, but I played a couple games with a friend about 2 years ago.

At first, the 20 or so marines and 20 or so gretchins/orks were sufficient to stay his curiosity of my "real" 40K armies. He had been really good with my D&D figures, and my HeroClix figures, but I was still reluctant to share my most prized soldiers!! As I came across more minis, I added them to his collection. Unfortunately, the marines I gave Marcus were sans backpacks and guns... they were the uni-body sculpts that the gun smooshed into the chest from the 3rd edition box set and from basic space crusade. He eventually realized my "mistake" and on occasion would ask me to find the missing pieces.

I recently started up painting again, and have really been enjoying it. As I sat out at my workbench "toiling" away, Marcus became more and more interested in what I was doing. So I set him up with his own station and let him paint his marines. Now that he was sitting next to me painting, he made up a sort of chant while he worked... "My marines are missing their guns and daddy's wont fix them..." HA! HA!

About three weeks ago Marcus came to me very seriously and said "My marines need to be fixed with the guns from your green box. Please make my marines whole" I was taken aback by his stern and serious request. So I made it a mission to make his solder complete. It took about three days tearing through all my bitz boxes and work area, but I eventually found most of the missing pieces.

As I started gluing the various guns and packs on, I got it in my head I would make them into squads. It was going to take some converting to make the minis wysiwyg, and I promptly dug into my bitz boxes to see what I could come up with. After some searching and some "inventiveness" I found enough figures and bitz to make the following:

  • 1 Terminator Librarian
  • 2 10-man Tactical squads
  • 2 5-man Terminator squads
  • 1 10-man Assault squad
  • 1 10-man Devestator squad

For added durability, I decided to make all the arm conversions with pin joints instead of just gluing them. This is something I have rarely needed to do for my personal armies. Other challenges for this project were the jet packs and heavy weapons.

With all this converting, I couldn't leave it there. There were 6 colors of plastic (tan, grey, red, yellow, blue and dark blue). Plus, over the years I had painted and repainted some of the figs (for both my SM and CSM armies), and Marcus had begun to slap some paint on too. However, this project never was meant to be such an undertaking. I did end up stripping the worst of the figs, but pretty much went to task painting up a fledgling Salamanders army. I am almost done with the force and will be highlighting some of the steps in later posts. but here is a sneak peek.