Monday, November 26, 2018

Gundam Vidar....

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans is worth watching not only for the amazing mechanical designs, but also for the fact that do a lot of things with the story an characters that turn Gundam tropes upside down. The Vidar is actually the (better looking, in my opinion) version of the Gundam Kimaris, a villain mobile suit gets a lot of neat battlefield moments in the series. This one is made from RAFM Heavy Gear parts, a Mekton, a Battletech Commando, a Marauder, and various other bits and bobs.

The actual Vidar has wing shields on extendable arms on its thruster backpack, but I just plain didn't have the bits, and so opted for sensor aerials. They look like vestigial wings, which is rather the point. 

Those big things on the hips are binder that hold replacement foils for the Vidar's close combat weapons; oversize armor-pierceing fencing foils. It's also meant to have a set of hidden handguns in the front armor panels, but there's only so much you can do at this scale. 

Those shoulders are from the Insane Kangaroo Hunchback model, which comes with parts for every variant and thus a wealth of conversion fodder. It has the wheelie heels for ground mobility, because it's meant to be a space unit adapted for ground combat. It still has the huge thrusters in its calves, knees and backpack, so it's more than capable of getting airborne in the lower gravity of Mars. 

Happy Cyber Monday, people. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The O

Paptimus Scirocco's the O is one of the more recognizable mobile suits from the Zeta Gundam anime series, and is a really solid, iconic design. Boasting a large, overpowered beam cannon, heavy armor, and high mobility, the O was far from ponderous or slow, and boasted a set of sub-arms under its skirts, making it a formidable hand to hand opponent as well. 

So, having a bunch of spare parts in hand, I built it as a Heavy Gear. 

The legs are from a RAFM Grizzly that came in a sealed blister with no torso. The torso, backpack, and arms I had on-hand from a RAFM Spitting Cobra since the late 1990's. The skirts are missile pod doors from Alternative Armies. (as is the head bit)  You can actually order bits from them via email, and the AA staff is friendly and very easy to work with. I, of course, got more than just a few doors. More on that later. The sub-arm sticking out is from an old RAFM Stone Mason gear mini. RAFM's quality control was atrocious, so this blister, which was missing parts in the old days, became just spare parts. Those bits on the shoulders.... I forget where they came from, but they looked like folded-up sub-arms to me, and bulked up the shoulders satisfactorily.  

That backpack is from the Spitting Cobra as well. Those thrusters on the butt? A Silent Death fighter. As with all Heavy Gear minis of the period, it's really served well by bits broadening the shoulders so you can more solidly attach the arms to the torso. 

The O traditionally carries an enormous beam rifle, but this one turned into something slightly more mundane. That gun is two plastic heavy bolters mated together; I debated for a long time whether to include the clip and make it a machinegun, but as it has a port for ejecting spent casings, I found a suitable bit for one.

Happy Monday, people. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

WIP: Threat Approaching, Boss Battle Imminent....

I know, I'm still on the mecha kick, but this thing has no brakes. I started trying to make the original Jovian Chronicles Dragonstriker, a boss mecha from one of the two Mekton-era modules, but, as with other models, it has since morphed into an updated neo-version of itself. 

I've also dabbled a bit in FFG X-Wing style rules for the old JC stuff, as there is no good mecha combat system currently in existence. Behold:

For those not in the know, the Pathfinder is sort of the baseline Jovian hero mecha.

And the Wyvern is its burly tyrannical Earth nemesis. Resemblences are intentional, as JC was cooked up as a not-Gundam Gundam game, and the art was largely based on Gaia Gear. If you don't know what that is, Google it. It's Gundam with the Sci-Fi knob turned up to eleven. Beautiful stuff. Seriously.  

I can hear you 40kers breathing out there. There's lots for you too when this is over. 

It'll be done when it's done.

Happy Saturday, people. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Tower Mechanical...

Somewhere along the way I contracted extensive 40k fatigue, but with October coming along I felt the groove of grim darkness returning, and so made a bits box delve to make this tower. The top centre portion is large enough for snipers to sit comfortably in (well, maybe two snipers, max) and was made to come off, but somewhere during the painting process became welded in place. Prying it apart might ruin things, so I've decided to let it be. Hide your ambush cards elsewhere for the time being. 

With the emphasis being on buildings you can move into and around in 40k and its various sub-games, you see so few that are intact, and that's sort of a shame. There's a sort of grandeur there that, while beautiful in ruin, is sort of missed by not seeing the intact, prewar thing on the tabletop. Ah well. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Once Again to Space.....

Yes, the one on the left used to be a horrible pink. It was worth stripping and changing.
 I've posted the other two before, and you might remember the mecha in the middle from a post a while back when it looked like this: 

It's gone through a few changes, to be sure; different head, different backpack, new weapons, and now it looks like the machine the heroes get near the end of the series/third disc of the video game/etc: 

I was browsing around some different hobby sites for color ideas, and found a Gundam build I just had to emulate. The thing reminded me so much of the titular mecha from the  much-celebrated PS1 game Xenogears that I instantly wanted one (but didn't want to buy a bunch of Gundam kits). So, I changed the head a bit to resemble the old Jovian Chronicles sculpts, and added bits to resemble the Exia's GN-Sword and OO's GN-Rifle. The backpack comes from Mekton bits, Warmachine bits (thanks for continuing to sell bits, Privateer Press) and a Crimson Skies autogyro. 

While the metallic blues are a bit underwhelming, the golds really make this thing light up. The forms also lend a lot of forward thrust to the overall shape. 

I'm least satisfied with the build of the rifle, for some reason. The bayonet at the end doesn't feel exactly right to me, but the thing is at last done, so I'd rather not tear it down and rebuild it. 

As to what he's made to fight? Who knows. Maybe there's a giant mobile armor in the future. For now, he'll occupy a place of honor on the shelf.... when I can find one his outside frame will fit on. At the moment he hovers above my desk, being too big for the little cubbies in the printer's drawer hanging on my wall. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Army for Sale: Skaven Horde....

Update!: Both this and my Undead Skaven army have been sold. 

 Alas, it's time for the last of my WHF armies to go; farewell, my skittering hordes of vile ratmen. We had a blast, and I do mean a lot of blasts. The skaven were an army made to go sideways, and you got a laugh out of it every damn time. 

A bunch of Black Tree Designs models (supplemented by 5 slaves from another range) these metal Clanrats were cheaper as a mob of 20 than a box of GW plastics. Ditto the Plague Monks, Stromvermin, and Gutter Runners below. They didn't come with banners, just poles, so I made some suitably ratty ones from actual cloth scraps from the lining of an old backpack. 

The frenzied plague monks were actually the best unit in the whole codex. Their speed combined with multiple attacks made them an absolute buzzsaw. Didn't wear a scrap of armor, either. 

Stormvermin looked tougher than they played, which was fine because I didn't want the enemy throwing his tougher units against, say, my weak clanrats

This sneaky distraction created as many problems as they'd solved for me, and more than once caused a chain-reaction panic run back to my edge of the board. 

The burly Master Moulder at the end was converted from a Reaper Orc. Some buck teeth and green stuff went a long way to making a buff taskmaster, and believe me, the skaven need keeping in line. I always liked clan Skryre, too. Their weird ramshackle inventions gave the army as a whole a lot of character. 

As warmachines went, the Screaming Bell was a pretty good one, although you had to have your clanrats push the damn thing everywhere, and when they went running.... well...

Perhaps my all-time favorite warmachine was the Doomwheel. This one was built out of the parts I could order from the very much missed GW bits site. They didn't have all the bits on order, so I had to convert up the rest; the back cogs came from some dwarf warmachine or other from another range. Yes, those are are crossbows on the hubs instead of huge blades, which proved to be a boon in the long run because it's easier to transport on its side. 

It was great when it worked, but when the warp lightning cannon misfired, ooooooh boy. Kiss anything nearby good-bye.

The two big Rat Ogres are, in fact, Reaper models converted up to be suitable ratty. At the time, like many others in this army, they were substantially cheaper than the equivalent GW models. Only the one in the middle of the upper 3 is a GW one, in fact. The other two are also from Black Tree. 

While the unreliable Warpfire Thrower always worked reliably for me, the Ratling Gun once scythed down two blocks of my infantry like so much wheat. I never laughed so hard during a wargame in all my life. 

Those three Jezzail teams on the bottom used cannons from another range, but I think together they all look suitable ramshackle enough to be a skaven unit. At the time, you couldn't do much better for missile troops than skaven jezzails. (sigh.)

Buy them together with my undead horde and you get a truly monstrous army LOL.

Ebay listing here. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Another Army for Sale: Undead Skaven

Veteran readers will recall this blast from the past, this undead army of skaven. Heavily converted, these beasties slouched across the table to menace my adversaries a few times. Alas, due to being my currently underemployed, they have to go. Ebay listing here.

You'll recall Skreinlich Skremmler, the Skavenmaster, and his hulking cohort, Skranfred von Karstein, the Skittering Terror of Mordeheim. 

They're accompanied by Skaverias the Everliving and his cybernetic mount, Snert.

Backing them up, of course, is their ever faithful horde of decaying clanrats. It took forever to whittle down all those skaven heads to make them into rat skulls. 

Some became zombie-ish by way of spare skaven parts. The skeleton bits came from a reasonably-priced metal blister of 20 skellies from a local game store. 

Perhaps the most labor-intensive bit, I reposed nine skeleton horses from the Reaper Miniatures Dark Heaven range into giant mounts for the cavalry. I thought they turned out rather well. 

I also ordered nine giant rats directly from the old Rackham range and mounted some metal Black Tree ratmen on them. You could have skeleton knights and Black Knight Wights in the same army at the time, and I liked the idea of having a cavalry-heavy undead army. 

Loping along at their side, ravenous dire wolfrats from the Reaper range. 

Although bats are kind of flying rats, I stuck to the theme and based some Reaper rat swarms to take their place. 

As I said, this army's now on the block, so if you were thinking of some undead action, get it while it's hot!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Blast from the Past: Warhammer Fantasy Samurai Dwarves

EDIT: This army has been SOLD.

This was my first army, painted nearly 20 years ago, so bear with me if the painting's a little spare. Quite honestly, I can't believe I never shot and posted them before. They're based on the sculpts from company called Old Glory. At the time I had a few fantasy dwarf models from D&D, but wanted something a bit different for the battlefield. Samurai are always cool, so, upon seeing these models in the local (now shuttered, sadly) game store, I seized on the idea of making an army out of them. My one regret was never finding suitably asian cannons for them, though.

Because the sculpts were limited, I had to improvise with what was available for characters and commanders. The Five Sages represented each element (air, water, void, earth, and fire, respectively). My favorite has to be the ice-themed water sage with his snowy base and greenstuff-sculpted beard. 

These ronin could fill in any number of roles, from a small independent unit to more character models. Not everyone is an immortal sage, after all. 

Despite their slow speed and somewhat limited charge range, dwarven warriors were (at the time) some of the best infantry in the game. A solid block of 25 warriors was nothing to sneeze at. 

Likewise, a block of 25 hammerers offers a lot of staying power and could flatten whatever it was pointed at. Sharp eyes will notice some Rackham sculpts at the bottom. Because there were, of course, no hammers in the Old Glory range, I was forced to kitbash their weapons. 

The dwarven army list had no ninjas, but it did have miners that could arrive from underground and chuck blasting charges, which struck me as a very ninja-like thing to do. They could easily bolster their numbers with the ronin sculpts above, as well.

Long range firepower came in the form of a unit of crossbowmen. above, and the below handgunners, whose ranks I never quite filled out. I wish I'd been able to find a set of dragon-mouthed cannons to add some long-range punch, but alas, I haven't played WHF in years, so it's an addition that may never be completed. 

This post is also for archival purposes, as I'll be putting this army up for sale on eBay soon. It kills me to do so, but quite frankly, times are tough and I need the money more than the dwarves.

Edit: On sale now. EBAY LINK HERE

Monday, June 4, 2018

WIP: Necromunda Terrain....

I wish they'd modeled the stuff in two layers: a pipes 'n' wires layer and a grate layer. Still, it looks great when it's finished!

So, other hobbyists who've worked on this, are you gluing yours static or leaving it completely loose and variable? I'm on the fence right now. Leaving it unglued (except for the large towers, etc) makes it easier to store, but big set-piece terrain is nice, too. Opinions?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

MWO: Mech Conversions.....

Three conversions to wrap up the MWO stuff before moving on to other things. Many moons ago, during the original Battletech period of the 90's, I modified those old Ral Partha models higgledy piggledy before getting out of it for a number of years. So, in that spirit, here are three mecha based on other designs from other lines. 

This walking weapons factory is Agni, from the Armored Core series. He's the poster child of Armored Core V, I believe. Anyway, he's made form the torso and arms of a MWO Dragon, a pair of shields that came with the Catapult-K, and extra Cyclops legs amidst other bits and bobs. Agni is classically presented overarmed with 1 of every weapon AC has to offer, and as an option has an enormous weapon made of six chainsaws on an articulated rig. He's meant to kneel down and stabilize that sniper rifle prior to firing, and the left leg has an articulated shield that folds out, hence the way it looks. 

Incidentally, if you were a fan of the Japanese Battletech designs, Armored Core is where they went, in evolved form. Shoji Kawamori does more than Valkyries, folks. 

Usually my practice with these models is to do 3-up photos, but I loved some of these shots so much I let them stand by themselves. His massive sniper rifle is a composite of numerous bits, and sharp eyes will recognize that Tau gun on his right binder. 

If I skimped on anything it was his rear; the original's butt is a complex proposition. I tried to do it justice here but it falls short for me somehow. Ah well. 

The two Kagatsuchi-Otsu mecha, Sniper and Fencer, are from the Frame Arms model series by Kotobukiya. There's a third, standard version  that came first, but I didn't reproduce him. I suppose I should've. The Kagatsuchi has a lot in common with the Front Mission Whisk, but I haven't researched into whether it's the same designer or not. The squat build and stag-beetle head are definitely similar. 

At any rate, both are based on the MWO Thunderbolt, an excellent little model. A lot of sawing was required to remove the missile drum and head nub, but the result gave me an excellent canvas on which to build. The extra armor was made from GW tank treads, and the shields are landing skids. Both sport missile racks from Heavy Gear Blitz Spitting Cobras. The originals had machineguns in back racks, but I eschewed those as their hands were a bit full already. In retrospect, I probably could've stayed truer to the designs, but the missile racks made sense as a secondary armament. Both still have the Thunderbolt torso lasers exposed, so if I ever designed them for the tabletop they'd have them for close-range support. 

A long-range specialist, the Otsu-Sniper is less heavily armored than his close-quarters-focused brother. He also sports better optics, courtesy of some GW binoculars. 

His enormous sniper rifle has an articulated arm from his back for support, as well as a giant ammo drum. For this and Agni's rifle, you'd probably have to design a new type of gun that penetrates the armor and does internal damage with each hit; a Gauss gun wouldn't fill the bill. 

He also needs to kneel, like Agni, to stabilize and fire, hence the bipod, which I suppose he's in the process of doing here. If you really want to make him a horrifying opponent, you could give that ammo drum a reason to exist like a rapid fire or special ammo capability. All things considered, I should've reversed designs and given it to his brother. You'll see why...

Try as I might, I couldn't replicate the massive chopper they gave the original to a degree that pleased me, so as an alternative I gave him a wicked-looking combination of that and a gatling cannon, courtesy of a bunch of leftovers from a Forgeworld robot. The ammo belt, being resin, snapped despite my gentle heating and bending, so it's reinforced by yet another spare belt and a paper clip running between the two. His ammo drum, based on the LRM-15 drum from the stock MWO Thunderbolt,  is smaller when it should be larger, but he should be trying to close with is target rather than standing off and shooting. 

I made his front skirts longer as well to give a more heavily protected appearance, and left his head with the stock visor, as the binocular approach didn't make much sense for a brawler. The head horn is a bit different, as I only had the one curved bit for the sniper, so his more angular one adds to his individuality. I imagine he and his long-range focused brother engage their targets as a pair. If I'd made the "general purpose" original version (I still might) I'd accent his machine-gunner look a bit more, and this triple threat would have all three range bands covered. 

If you're a mecha modeler and were unaware of the Frame Arms and Armored Core series, I'd recommend you look into them, as they have a lot to offer.