Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'll just leave this here....

From the factory floor of M3 Aircraft Works, where our intrepid engineers are diligently working on a improvements to a rather poorly designed aircraft. Whether this design will make it beyond the flying prototype stage is uncertain. During the initial design competition stage, it did beat out the twin-boom hulled "Flying Tumbler", which, while inspired by a capable, solid body design, looked too much like a Land Raider with wings. Sadly, the mock-up for that poor beast was subsequently pushed off the factory floor into the parts bin. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's to your eyeballs what headlights are to a deer....

When I'm an old man, I want my Dumbledore-esque office/library/studio/inner sanctum to be full of whirring clockwork brass things like this.  Catch the whirring goodness on their website.

Happy Thursday, people.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tau'chikomatic Tutorial: How To Build a Fuchi!

A long time ago, I said that, when I got a job, I'd do this tutorial. Well, I got  a job, so now I'm doing this tutorial. Apologies to those who have been asking for the Weathered Penny. I got caught up in a flurry of parts buying for another project, and so bought the parts for this as well, but rest assured, that's next on the docket. 

Step 1: Parts. Go buy a Tau Crisis Suit, minus the feet and head, and get yourself an extra pair of legs and a Shield Generator dish as well. Weapons and other systems are up to you. We're building a basic Fuchikoma here, so I just included his signature plasma gun. 

You're also going to need some sprue, for reasons we'll go into later. If you buy your Crisis Suit on the sprue, perfect, you're ahead of the game. Now, tools: 

As you can see, our intrepid engineers are equipped with X-Acto blade, saw, tin snips, and  CYA glue. Other blades for the X-Acto are desired, but not required. I also have a complete set of other, shallow-angle blades and so on, but you should at least have the saw, because it makes cutting things SO much cleaner than, say, using the tin snips. You'll also need a little hand drill (AKA a pin vise) for drilling holes in things. I forgot to put it in for the photo, but you'll see one later. 

We start by simply gluing together the backpack as normal. Easy-peasie. 

Next, cut those ball joints off the torso plate and put them aside. We'll need one of them to make his eyeball later. Use you X-Acto to shave this smooth. Do it. Things adhere better when they're smooth. 

An extra step here to make life much easier: dig a shallow hole in the center of the now smooth shoulder joint. We'll need this as a guide hole for when we...

...turn this into a shallow pit using our blade. Simply stick the point in and twist to shave away the plastic and widen the hole. Don't be too vigorous or you'll bore right through the plastic. This is to make a ball joint for the leg  to fit snugly into. If you don't do this, you're asking for a world of hellish frustration when you try to glue on the forelegs. After a minute of effort, you should get something like this: 

Every so often you should test-fit the pit to make sure everything fits together nicely. 

I also sheared away a bit of corner to make the torso plate fit into the back piece. Now put that aside so you can....

Glue a pair of legs in the back piece. Angle them out, back, and down, but not straight down. These are the Fuchi's "pusher" legs. His ass should be higher than his front for that iconic Fuchikoma look. 

When the legs have hardened, glue up the lower part of the chest plate jam it the hell in there. There's actually a lot of contact area inside, and if you do it right, it'll be nice and snugly fit in there. A corner of this piece on either side will be resting on the ball join of the legs we just glued on. 

When that's good and set, it's time to glue on the forelegs. Dry-fit these prior to gluing to get the look you want. It's possible to vary the Fuchi's pose by shifting his way this and that; this just requires forethought. Remember that the farther down the leg is angled, the higher that side of the Fuchi will be, so if you want, say, a Broadside angling his guns up: 

You have to really splay out those back legs and play up the front ones. Likewise, to can't it left or right: (such as those Fuchis closest to the Major)...

You angle the legs on one side down and the other side out. Just make sure the two legs on a particular side are even, otherwise you end up with a wobbly Fuchikoma. Anyways, moving on...

Really, you can mount any one gun to the underside of the Fuchi, but for this example we're doing a plasma rifle. Sheer off the back of that pipe, and make sure you carefully shave down the end till it's dead even with the back. This is so it'll adhere evenly with the inside of the torso piece: 

When gluing it in, make sure the top of the barrel adheres to the underside of the front torso piece. More contact points make a sturdier model, so this is important. You don't want the sucker snapping off. My Fuchis have survived multiple falls and are sturdy as hell. When you've done this step, put him aside. 

Saw away the upper arms from the forearms and put them aside. Make sure those contact points above the elbow drums are good and flat. It's okay if there's a little angle, as long as there's a big flat patch on that drum to adhere to the model. If you've also been pinning the legs and things as we go and want to drill pin holes here, then you get a gold star. It isn't necessary, but it's easy to do with plastic and makes the little fella that much more durable. 

See that square corner on the back of the chest plate? That big friendly square is where we're gonna glue our forearms. It's sort of easier to do this before you put the front legs on, but it's not to bad, since they're splayed out of the way. Angle the forearms inward to give him that iconic cute pose. If you want to replace these with, say, twin rifles or something, you can, just remember your Fuchi needs the clearance: 

But he'll still need a round piece to form the Fuchi "mouth".  I used a spare round bit from my bits box. Again, depending on the weapon you replace his manipulator with, you may need to vary your leg pose to give him ground clearance. Now, on we go...

Here's our Fuchi so far. Looking good, but the little guy can't see. Help him aside, fellas. 

Remember our shoulder balls? This part is easy to screw up, so that's why we saved BOTH of them. Take your tin snips and cut the plastic ball in half. If you have sharp snips, the half-ball shouldn't shoot out and blind you,  but just in case, pinch it between your thumb and forefinger and you should be okay. If you do it in one try, then gold star for you. 

Remember that Shield Generator? We need that as a mount for his eye. Shear off that little tiny nub at the bottom, and then take your saw and, using the larger rectangular piece as a guide, saw off the bottom1/3rd of of the dish. 

Yeah, I know, I broke the blog template, but this is important. Glue the half-ball you just made low-center on the half-dish, and mount it as shown. That shades the gun and gives the Fuchi his little moon-pie face. It also gives as a big, smooth surface to mount the Fuchi's crash bar on. Speaking of which:

You'll have to a do a bit of looking on your sprue for a bit that'll fit on there. You want something with a corner and preferably a convenient peg (not required) . Refer back to your Fuchi for sizing; you want something as wide as the dish, and you want that peg to reach just underneath. Really, the pegs aren't entirely necessary, but they do add another contact point and look better. When you've cut/made the crash bar, attach it to the dish, framing his mono eye thusly: 

Aaaaaaaand from the side: 

As an option, shave the edges down a bit to round it off and give it that worn look. Or, simply use a round sprue instead of a chunky GW square one. Either way, once it's on there, you're done! Attach any additional weapons/systems to his back rack, mount him to a base, and paint to match the rest of your Tau. 

Also, this model is for sale, at cost. So, if you want him, go get him.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

For Your Speculation....

"It looks like a flying Tumbler..."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Commissions Part III: Electric Avenue...

I'd like to think that if GW bothered to sit down and revamp their Robot designs several years ago, or had, say, wanted to turn out some Knight Titan houses, that they'd come out looking somewhat like the Cygnar Warjacks. Sadly, of the three different factions of WM I've painted so far, these fellows have to be the least visually interesting. Nevertheless, I gave them my all, partly out of pity, and partly because I don't know any other way. 

Johnny Steampunk here is wearing a breastplate with no discernible function other than to be his personal space heater, and is decked out with the prerequisite goggles and pistol to go with his fantasy-inspired lower half. Having read through the quick-start rules and his stats in particular, he's no small potatoes, but the miniature design just didn't do anything for me. I can't help getting the feeling they came up with him first of all, and everything just sort of followed after and got better as they went. It doesn't help his case that his head, while helpfully separate, was sculpted pre-mashed to one side, something that struck me as half-assed and rather sad. 

For all of Cygnar's purported advancements, this big chap's rather underarmed. Sure, he lugs around a big hammer, but it's not fuck-off huge, it's not especially well-adorned with any kind of piston-driven, electrically charged excitement, and quite frankly, he seems rather disappointed to be carrying it. Everyone else gets rifles, shields, arc nodes, and so on, and he strides around with the garden-variety round boiler on his back. To add insult to injury, there are huge access doors on the front any anti-armor gunner would be grateful to see. Poor chap. I could swear I heard him sighing with envy as I painted the better designed Cryx and Khador monstrosities. 

The legs on these two make me sad. They're rather spindly and under-armored, and they didn't mount right to the hips despite some rather severe cutting. At least the dual cannon's a bit more believable than the giant beer barrel the Khador heavy was lugging around. They looked so bloody much like old-school 40k Titans I dry-fit a couple of old weapons to them that were lying around my bits box. Forgot to take pictures though, more's the pity. Again, though, they don't support the whole "Cygnar's the most advanced" fluff, being the most ramshackle looking of the three factions I've done so far. Again, stat-wise they seem grand (I suppose; I mean, I did only read them on the toilet...) but I only wish they looked a bit more put-together than their other, more solid looking contemporaries. Some variation, PP artists, please. 

Being the requisite goody-goody faction, I wonder if it's a coincidence that PP decided the Cygnar paint scheme was Ultramarine blue...

Next time, something a bit different. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

They may have won me over with this one....

As you may have noticed, it's been like I've recently discovered Privateer Press or something. I haven't, obviously. I've been using their stuff for parts for some time now without ever having played their game. Now there's this:

You clever bastards. You know exactly what turns me on. 

Ah, this takes me back to the days of Battletech, where Mechs could mix it up with infantry on an everyday basis (and tanks, but WM doesn't really have those, now do they?) Luckily, those little buggers were the epitome of portable; you could fit a combined regiment in one case. Those large scale models are big without being enormously impractical.  If only someone else made large-scale mecha with 28mm infantry...

Now is the time when a reader skips to the comments field, and tells me someone already has. 

I know those exist, thanks. Yes, and before that, those too. 

Yes, and the Mad Cat. I'm that old, you know. I'm from the time before there was even an internet, and computers had green monitors. Go and ask your dad what a punch card is. 

Maybe it's time to sell off an army or two and step into some new shoes....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Commissions: More Warmachine....

As I may have mentioned last time, Client X's friend, Client Y, purchased not one but two Warmachine starter boxed sets for himself, and it was up to yours truly to make them happen. So, this time around we'll cover the Cryx. 

Stylistically, I must say, the Cryx have a lot going for them. I rather like the glowy necro-energy bits, and their use of spikes and razors isn't as over the top as, say, chaos marines. The designers are trying to strike a balance between Evil Skully Necromancer and Steampunk, and that sort of thing is rather tough to do well. 

I like the design of the Deneghra model a lot, but if I ever got one, I'd trim those ridiculous horns off her helmet. I mean come on, her vision is restricted enough. Now you're going to weigh her poor head down with big metal horns? One fantastic thing about this mini is that the left arm is separate, allowing you to paint her face without the armor sleeve interfering. That's something they didn't do with her Cygnar counterpart, whose head came warped to fit his collar instead of the other way around. Now, what I absolutely love is that the left arm has a nice, deep well of the shoulder peg to sink into securely, which is something NO ONE ELSE DOES ON ANY MINI, EVER. Bravo, Privateer Press, bravo. 

I've been using parts of Old Stompy's brethren here for Tyracron parts, so I was delight to get to assemble the actual model. Those big expanses of carapace scream for some kind of heraldry, so it was a bit of a shame to go with Cryx Mottled Slate Grey for the armor plates. I am increasingly a fan of glowy bits, so this big chap and his little subordinates got the treatment. The metal parts receive the same rusty steel I've been using on the Necrons, but with more Tin Bitz than Boltgun metal. 

Someone tell me just what the hell these things are supposed to do; run up and for something? I suppose I'd be warmer to the design if it had four legs and looked like an armored boar, instead of a weird chicken thing. If I ever delve into WM and decide to go Cryx, I honestly don't want to have to use them. 

No, replacing the lower jaw with a peashooter doesn't help, either. Sorry, death chicken, you'll not make it into my collection that way. Your larger, two legged compatriots might, but you? Not if I have a choice, no. 

Unless, that is,  one of you Cryx players out there explains to me how they blow through the enemy like little metal cannonballs full of anger. Then I'll model some mechanized death-boars. 

Next time, Cygnar.