Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Well. Stalingrad.

Playing Soviets in Bolt Action, how can you not have a Stalingrad playing board?  I happen to really like city fighting and the cinematic feel of densely packed ruins on a game board.  Our local gaming store has a city board but it's in FOW scale (15mm) and it can work for Bolt Action, but only barely.  I could wait for Rob to build his own, or I could just do it myself.  I like making terrain, so I figured why not. 

Things for me to consider as I get started on a 4'X8' ruined city gaming board:

1) Barmaley fountain.  Gotta have the Barmaley fountain.  It's such an iconic image of Stalingrad, that square needs to be made to happen.  The scene where Danilov and Zeitzev meet in Enemy at the Gates is one that sticks with me, so yeah.  I think this is the only feature I really *must* make happen.  I have the model (Puppetswar made an awesome one in 28mm)

2) Balance of terrain.  The ruined city look has to have a balance of destroyed buildings and open-ish areas where buildings once stood.  One thing about city is the shorter line-of-sight.  Fire lanes and sight blocking makes city tactics more challenging, requiring units to maneuver and end up getting close.  I need to make sure I balance the layout so players can adapt their units accordingly.  What a city board lacks in open lanes of fire, it makes up for in elevated positions.  Units can get up into the upper levels of a ruined building, opening up different lanes and changing the scope of the game from a 2-d to more of a 3-D consideration.

3) Roads.  This is a big one.  A city board is either buildings/space where buildings once stood and roads.  Currently, wheeled vehicles can move 24" and fire, while tracked vehicles can move 18" and fire while on roads.  An infantry squad would take 3 turns to cover that distance while firing.  The new rules that enable transports to continue on the board and shoot while leaving their troops or tow behind will just add to the weight of mechanized units.  On turn 2, a wheeled vehicle can be all the way across the board while following a road.  There are two ways to balance that out:

                a) build the city on a diagonal. Have the board be at a 45 degree angle to the roads, forcing the vehicles to have to maneuver with turns, and cutting their distance traveled perpendicularly.  Another aspect of building it like this is that it will play with the minds of the players.  Most people think in straight lines, and are psychologically drawn to pre-set roads.  Setting the board on an angle will add a sub-conscious challenge to the players. 

                b) have the board be congruent with the streets, but have so much damage and fallen buildings in the way that it blocks direct road travel from one side of the board to the other. 

4) Factory district.  Another area of terrain I would like to have, but am not as focused on as I am for the Barmaley fountain, is the factory district.  Having a large area of terrain that is just one big destroyed building with multiple levels where infantry can spread out would totally eliminate vehicular advance, and also would be a challenge for players.  The question is: would it be too much of a challenge and so, not fun. The visual would be neat, but ...

5) I wanted to have a river feature, but I can't figure how to get that factored in.  Stalingrad had the Volga, but that would be an entire side of the board.  I could do a river through the city in a smaller scale, but I think that would take away from the feel I'm going for. 

These are my thoughts as I get started on the project.  There are plenty of makers of buildings out there and I'll also be doing my own out of foamcore and sintra for specific buildings I want to replicate. 

Below are just a couple images of where I am for now: 

A screen grab from Enemy at the Gates.. 

And the building I made for the board. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

well... NOW what?

With Prometheus finally completed, and us with a happy AngryHippy, I'm left trying to figure out what to do next.

I have several options in the pipeline I could work on.  In just the 'Mech arena alone there are the below:

Yamato Destroid mod and painted to Warhammer Widowmaker.
Armorcast Timberwolf
FCY Timberwolf Mk II
FCY Dervish- mod to a Trebuchet
FCY Atlas
Workshop Inquisitorial Knight Titan
FCY MadDog Mk IV
FCY Victor
FCY Loki
Dreamforge Leviathan

With that said, I'm also a little bored with the "rusted out factory walls" background I have for my 'Mech Display, and am seriously tempted to construct a Mechbay.  It would need to display at least a Lance, which would mean 4 work bays.  That'd put it about 36" long by about a foot wide and about 13-14" tall. 

Not to mention the Bolt-Action armor that needs to be painted and the dozen or so other projects in the works. 
-Stalingrad gaming table
-ISU-152 tank
-BT-7A Tanks 2
-KV-2 tank (if it ever shows up)

Decisions, decisions. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Prometheus Completed

ell, I finally have Prometheus completed and delivered to AngryHippy.  So, now I can put up the reveal pics and video. This was a bit of a challenging project in many ways, and I learned plenty of lessons.  I am becoming much more comfortable with the cockpit lighting techniques, and I think I have a few ideas on what to do going forward.  The Photo-etch cockpit details are great, they do a lot of good light-blockage and they can detail up places that are visible in through the view port/windscreen.  The DireWolf has a large canopy that allows for more visible detail.  Typically, a Mech's window is small and you only see the pilot and what is behind him. (like the Hatchetman or Victor.)   The Atlas barely would have anything visible, so there really isn't any point in building a cockpit at all, just make the main eye glow.  Same for the Warhammer.

The dust effects worked well on the panel lines and I liked the pin-wash effect of dust color rather than dark shading.  It gave me the option of fading into the panels better and cutting the bright green.  Buff shading the panels also did a nice job.  I wish my photos were better but you get the idea.

I still really hate the hard-edge tiger stripes.  It's the scheme AH wanted, so as long as he's happy, that's what matters.  I may do soft-edge/airbrush tiger stripes on my next Mech, depending on which Mech I do.  I have quite the selection to choose from. 

This Kit is very well done, and I think FCY did a great job with it. The challenges I mention above are all due to the modifications I wanted to do as well as the paint scheme and other not-kit-design issues.  The design is solid and well thought out.  The joints are capable of some very good modifications for dynamic poses.  It didn't take too much effort to modify the leg poses, although the arms would have needed some work on the elbows if I had wanted to alter those.  Still, the joint is pretty easy, so it wouldn't be too tough. 

Babbling done, might as well move on to the part yawl really want anyway: Here are a few pics I took of her, and the link to the reveal Video is Right Here.


Monday, August 15, 2016


Prometheus work continues apace.

I've been away for a while and not had much opportunity to work on it, but am getting back into it.  As it is, I have the lower legs pretty much completed, with some final filtering details to clean up and finish.  I don't like some of the oil leaks on the back and I want to re-filter and blend those a bit more. 

I have the torso and upper arms being worked on now.  The cockpit lights work about where I'd like them.  I learned a lot of things on this one and I have plans to do more better going forward.  I like the screens and the way they light the pilot but I want to see them be a bit cleaner.  The small cockpit window of the Dire Wolf hides a lot of ugly, but it wouldn't work so well on something like a TimberWolf. 

I really do NOT like hard-edge stripes.  They're what Angryhippy wants, as it's what he sees in his mind for Prometheus and that's what I'm going for.  I pulled images from the interwubs and did the best I could.  Fortunately, he also really wants this to have a beat-up and battered look, so a lot of the things I don't like about them is going to get faded away in the weathering and damage. 

I still have to detail up the framework obviously, but there is the quick look at the installed cockpit.  

I put the torso on the leg assembly and took a few shots, so see below for where we are.  I'm only just getting started on the detailing painting and the weathering/battledamage.  The main "big strikes" are in but there's a ton of piping detail and the like that still needs to be done up as well as all the shading and so on. 

Above is the panel removed to show the switch for the lights.  The other panel also moves aside to reveal the LR-44 battery compartment. 

Movin on.. movin on.