Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Welcome back to the blog! Well, I spent a lot of time, and a lot of effort to get my lovely zeppelins done for the Mechanicon '10 in (West Chester, PA). I had spend a lot of late evenings, adding fiddly bits to the models and painting, painting, painting. So much so I made myself sick from lack of sleep and probably too much caffeine.

Well what for? Why go through all of this trouble? To make overly complicated models that a handful of people will ever see? I could say I make the models because no one else has. I could say I just want to see if I could make it. should I just say I do it for the gamer groupies? Actually I did it for the first two reasons. (There are no such thing as gamer groupies) I make the models to see if I can realise, what I think is a cool idea, into something you can touch and appreciate.

This army won first place in Best Appearance at Mechanicon 2010. The guys have a great convention and I am very grateful for it. It is THE old school tournament for warhammer 40,000. The gaming garage guys rock and really care about the event and the people who attend it. It really reminds me of the old Grant Tournaments Games Workshop used to put on. I make my stuff and care about my armies to share them with others at the one tournament I go to each year. (I make the time to go to this event!)

The responses I get from my fellow tournament goers was fantastic. Hearing people actually appreciate the work I put into the models is really why I did it. I love catching up with guys I have seen over the years, relaxing for the weekend and playing a few 40k games. The army even preformed well for me. I got a 3-1-1 record. Soon it will be time to get ready for the Cabin Fever event. (which the guys in Harrisburg run) I will be the guy to make it happen, so it will be my turn to host the festivities and see what you guys can do.

Soon I will post up close pictures of the zeppelins so you can see all of the detail for yourself. I just wanted to let you guys see something, since I hid the picts until after the event.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Priming Day

Hi all and welcome back! So today I finally got my model kits of the zeppelin airships completed. I just finished my rivets on the engine mountings and took everything (sans airbags) out to begin priming them for painting tomorrow. I will be working on the cockpits first with the 2 crew for each one, then placing the aircraft glass in and gluing the ceilings on and beginning the exterior.
The overall aircraft will be based on the same color scheme as the rest of my vehicles. I am looking to do the old fashioned color schemes where, from the top down, the top of the zeppelin will have my standard camo scheme to blend in with the ground. and the lower sides of the zeppelins will be painted with a light, beige, white to blend in with the sky from the bottom up... thoughts? I had also considered just painting the gondolas like the camo scheme of my guys and the balloon to be painted like the sky... not sure at all...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Onwards to Mechanicon '10

Well, A few days ago, I posted about my getting back to the modeling of my zeppelins. Its been one week and I am almost all but done! All of the rivets are in place and just the engine mountings remain. I am used sooo many magnets that I am sure my poor hemoglobin will never be the same again. Today I had spent the better part building the additional weapon mountings I would need if I want to use my "zepps" as Valkyries or Vendettas. And since I am making three zeppelins at the same time means I needed to make not 3 twin linked Las Cannons, but 9 pairs! I had been planning for this for some time. I had been trading for IG Las Cannons for months as they came up.

Now that I have my las cannon mountings made, I have pretty much every weapon option I plan on using on my beloved zeppelins. (LC, Twin LC, MLRP, and HBs) I do not plan on using a nose mounted multi-laser (at least at the moment) since vehicles and transports are almost an automatic in most armies at this point. The LC gives me a better chance to get rid of 'em!

Now the last thing I need to do is make the landing gear for my zeppelins as well. I have modified the doors to open out in a reverse gull wing, I had installed steps on the inside of the doors for the troops to get out of the vehicle as well.
Since the doors open down in this fashion, I need the landing gear to be higher than normal to allow for a reasonable angle for the stairs inset into the doors. So I am modifying the gear to be taller. I will not be installing the gear on the zeppelins (they are inset into the vehicle) I will be building secondary bases for my zeppelins with the landing gear built into the base, and then I will put the zeppelin on the mountings to make it look like it landed and deployed the landing gear. This allows me to still have a base for my vehicle, and its exactly the same size... now to just finish the last item or to and to begin painting all of this in just 10 days =P.

- Bossman

Why the lack or posts?

Over the summer I would set aside my Xacto knife and bitz and get out into the fresh air and go hiking, camping and hit people with swords. I participate in Live Action Role Playing. The LARP I currently play is called Alliance. The chapter closest to me is the headquarters chapter in northern Pennsylvania. I am a staff member there and I am the head of their props department. I am responsible for making a lot of things. (see older posts for an idea).

Due to my ability to work with modeling supplies, and being an artist, allows me to occasionally pick up a little side project or two. The sword you are watching be built is one of those projects. The sword was requested to show a kind of Arabian style to it. The customer wished for it to be gem encrusted and to show the power of the lions of the desert. I began with a basic fiberglass core and created a "standard" closed-cell foam blade to look vaguely like a scimitar. But where the true test would be foind in this project was my ability to create a cross guard that contained the aspects of my patron.

The orange and purple material on the cross guard is called craft foam or fun foam. It comes in sheets and was cut with scissors and xacto knife to create flower motifs on the "back" of the cross guard and a stylized gem settings for the "front". The fun foam is then super glued to the corss guard so it sill stay in place for a very long time. The gems are found in any craft store as well. But what was to really set off the sword with the lions of the desert motif. I wanted lion heads on this, but where was I to get my inspiration? Well, in gaming figurines, of course! I found lion heads that I could modify and make into a lions head bas relief. I sculpted the rest of the lions head out with a non-drying clay and set to making a mold so I could resin cast them. The resin cast would allow for a stable material and I could inset heavy wire into the the resin mold to give it additional strength. (see? this is still relevant to modeling! =P)

After the mold was ready I line the inside of the mold with a gold powder and cast the lion in a dark grey resin allowing the powder to be inset into the piece and give me golden lions that could be semi-permanent and could accept a scratch or two without looking like crap. The tabs on the sides of the bas relief was to give an extra area to secure the lions head to the cross guard by wrapping tape over the tabs to pin it to the cross guard as well.

After I inset my two good casts needed for my lions, they were secured with superglue and gorilla tape. I then coat all but the lions heads and the inset gems with plasti-dip (tool dip) to coat the surface of the sword and to help waterproof it. This also added another layer of adhesive to the piece and acts as a primer base also!

This then allowed me to begin painting the cross guard and also making it look like gold. This was a simple process of using acrylic paint on the surface in a bronze, dark gold, then bright gold

The finished product is what you see here. This piece took a few days to make and I just jumped into the next project and so on and so one. I made suits of armor and more weapons than I care to count. Why no posts about this stuff at this point? basically. I just wanted to keep the blog to be about modeling figures, so I didn't post anything much at all until I could get back to my zeppelins and other goodies I am looking to make for my Vostroyan Imperial Guard. Well, thanks for reading and I am posting another status right after this to slake your thirst for my progress reports towards the Mechanicon '10

- Bossman

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back in the saddle again...

For those of you who followed my blog and then watched it drop off for the summer; fear not! I am back for another season of modeling converting and hobbying. I have completed my obligation to Alliance LARP one more season and I can get back to some of the things I have wanted to do, but haven't had the time.

First thing on my roster of stuff I want to do: Zeppelins. I promised that I was going to make 'em. I made good headway, and now I am back to it.

To the left are my progress shots. Over the last few days I had managed to get my work space cleaned out and back up to snuff. I began working on my Zeps on Friday night this past week. First step, Magnets... I magnetized damned near everything I could on these blasted vehicles. The gas bag is magnetized to the gondola. The cabin is magnetized to the gondola, the doors are magnetized. The sponsons are magnetized to the sides, the weapon mountings are magnetized to the cabin... and so on and so on and so on. Why so many magnets? I have them so I can break down the zeppelins and stow them away without any obnoxious protrusions to confound the "feng shui" of my figure case foams. I can add or remove weapon options as I see fit to make them as Valkyries or Vendettas. The magnets would not have been such a pain if I wasn't making 3 of them at the same time. Sadly I will be hard pressed to get them ready for Mechanicon '10, the first weekend in November.

After I got all of the magnets set into place I got my resin tail fins set into place on the scaffolding and put the rudders on as well. They were pinned and glued today to make the bags almost ready to be painted. (I still need to figure out the little extras on them like the observation howda, and the moorings to attach the bag physically to the gondolas to make them look a little more believable.

Not pictured here is the work I did today on the cabins. I am trying to get the glass panels ready to mount, so I can get the roofing made as well. (everything in order I suppose) So I did a lot of work on the exterior of the cabins and will get the gondolas up to the same appearance as well.

The inset rivets on the Valkyrie models are no good for the lower technology level of my Vostroyans. I will be adding extra banding to the exterior and lots of rivets as well. I believe I am going to take a note from Forge World and get a water filter to make the rivets this time...

In either case, this is a WIP of the "test fits" for the whole model put together at this point. well, 18 days to go. Wish me luck!

- Bossman

Monday, October 18, 2010

more photos to come!

Hi All. It's been quite a while with my summer being rather busy. Now that things are slowing down and I am getting more into the modeling mindset I will be posting some new pictures of my continuation of project Zeppelins! I have build the hulls and put 20 magnets into the structure so I can break it down for storage. I am hoping to the the non-gasbag parts into two army transport trays. (Crossing fingers).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So,... you into leather?

I promised that I would tell you guys a little more about the work I do for Alliance LARP. About 5 or 6 years ago my girl friend had been taken to play the live action role playing game (at that time called NERO, now called Alliance). She had a great time and loved it; and there for I gave it a shot.
She had gone all out and bought a nice set of leather armor from some site online for about $400. I was surprised at the cost and decided to make a suit of leather armor for my character by learning how to do it myself.
I went to the local Tandy Leather Factory here in Harrisburg, Pa. They were great and helped to answer my questions about how to work and tool leather and the suit of armor in the left side was my first suit of armor for Alliance.
Since then, I have become much more active in the game and I have gone on to make myself a second suit of armor for myself. I am much happier with the second suit and I think It looks infinitely better than my first basic suit of leather. The original edition (MK I) was colored, but still rather plain. The newer suit (MKII) has embossed scales in each of the plates and I highlighted and shaded the scales and felt that this design is just as maneuverable as the previous set and both sets of leather armor have been silenced so they make virtually no noise at all. (leather armor normally sounds like a tall tree creaking in the wind with the slightest movement and very un-sneaky).
This new set has extra pockets set into the armor for all manner of cool rogue gear. (Batman would be proud) It is also really comfortable and I am very happy with the new set of armor. Yep I am even nerdier than a blogging modeler. And I would not have it any other way. - Bossman

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A bit more of the pre-heresy

Well here we are for another installment of the bitz box. A friend of mine had seen the suggestion about pre-heresy jump / flight packs. He went on and on about how we could probably use the thrust stabilizers from a Drop pod or Valkyrie model. So I was given the task of seeing what could be done. So I didnt have any extra stabilizers floating about at this time, so I had to resort to making a 1 part cast of a stabilizer from of one of my waiting kits.
After the casts came out I took a standard Space Marine Jump Pack and sawed off the two frontal intakes and a bit of the center portion of the pack as well. (I needed a lot of space for those intakes!)
After the pack was cut up, I inset the stabilizer fans onto the top of each jet. I green stuffed the pack to fill in the gaps made by my cuts and I used a tube part from the interior harness from a drop pod (I don't use all of them) to help make the "turbo-fans" look a little more archaic.
All in all I am thinking that this is not a bad conversion for the concept, but I am not sure that I like the degree of inset that the fans are facing on the top. But the look seems to fit well for the pre-heresy look that so many people are making nowadays.
I would love to see GW make a themed book on the Heresy. It would be fantastic to be canon on this one. If you know of another conversion idea for making old school jump packs, please let me know :)

- Bossman, Out!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I have been quite busy

Hi All. I have been remiss in my duties of blogging on the internet due to the affairs of many obligations and not enough time to do it all.

For the store we have been doing a lot of spring cleaning. I have been working on a news letter for the store called "This week at the Guild" where I promote the events at the store, local gaming clubs, conventions, a classified section. Since I am the guy to produce the layout, design, and artwork for it; means that bossman is kept very busy.

The monstrosity pictured to your left is the result of another one of my obligations. I participate in a Live Action Role Play Organization called "Alliance" and for the first two years I simply donated a mess of stuff that they could use for their props department. Since then (3 years ago) they made me their "head of props".

The Alliance chapter (HQ) located in northern PA is the chapter I work with and it is rather challenging and I normally do not enough time to make the bigger stuff that they need. This monstrosity is one of those last minute things that I have dropped into my lap. I had one week to complete an obelisk that would be H.R. Geiger inspired. It was to be four ft. tall and about 24" across at it's base.

I created the piece to look like a veritable hodge-podge of different things all of which is organic in nature. The entire structure is made of pink insulation foam. (You know the stuff we normally make terrain out of). The foam was cut and shaped a little before the entire surface was treated with a blow torch. (this makes the surface burn away a little and become very organic is appearance. (Veins appear and all sorts of neat pollups come forth from the surface of the foam) The heat treating also plasticized the surface making it much more durable.

After the heat treating, I used expanding foam to make cancerous bulbs on the surface and if you do it just right you can also string it out to make it look like intestines. pool noodles were stripped down and made to look like arteries over the surface and a nice serene face was "grown" into the side of surface as well. (very off putting!)

Once the goodies were done being put on my sculpture. The surface was painted with latex paint and then special areas were treated with colored spray paint to help accentuate interesting, um... bitz. The bright arterial red gloss spray paint did wonders for the overall appearance. And this was part of what I have been working on instead of my zeppelins... I will have more of the stuff I have been contracted to do as well, and hopefully, I will be able to get back to my zeppelins in the next week or so. :P (I need to have less obligations) Until next time!
- Bossman

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gasbags for everyone!

Back in the saddle again. Tonight's installment will be showing you guys how I have been going about my zeppelin air bags to help keep my guys in the air.
The frames for my bags were made of foam core. (illustration board sheets with a thin layer of foam in between. My test frame was made with three side ribs. Although it let me figure out how I would make the side supports, It was in no way going to be enough to handle any "ham handed idiots" that thought my airships can be handled by anyone. A big pet peeve of mine is people that just pick up stuff that is clearly not theirs, thinking it's perfectly acceptable, because "i was only going to look at it" That's crap and you should have asked then understand that the owner could say no and you need to be ok with that.
OK, back to the ribs. The green and white outlines are the ones I went with. they each have more ribs to give the bag better support for tips and falls and people who want to pick up the zep by the bag. I then put pieces of sheet metal along the top and bottom seams. This would allow me to put magnets on the hull of my gondola and help keep my bags in place but would allow for ease of storage. I also put metal in the top seam so I can make observation decks. (the thought of stuffing a ratling in the upper deck with only a telescope is too good to pass up!)
After I got the rigging built I began the process of paper mache' around the ribs. I put on two layers of brown paper to give a good firm skin around my bags. I took my time and made sure I put the paper on with a few wrinkles as possible and to make sure each application was completely dry before moving on to the next layer.
When all of the paper was dry I went to our local Big Lots variety store and bought two pairs of microfiber tights. they were $1 a set and they were exactly what I was looking for to give the exterior of my air bags a canvas appearance. All that would need to happen next was for me to tighten them up and coat the surface with thinned down glue. to tighten everything up and to affix it to the paper hull. I got two clean coats of thinned down white glue and I set them out to dry. Now if i am lucky I will come up with the right color for the bags so they look good and realistic. I have run into a problem though. The metal I attached to the frame is now under three layers of paper and nylon. The magnets are not holding as well as I would like so I have to impregnate magnets into the bag to help it hold better. Or I may have to place another metal plate on the bottom of the bag to give it a better grip. I will have to try a few options and see what falls out... well, until next time. - Bossman

Friday, April 9, 2010

Onward! ever onward...

I have been a little remiss in getting new picts up here. It's my fault, totally. With the store newsletter I have been spending all of my night time on getting it up to speed. Now that I have it more under control I can show you some of what I have been working on when I have a little down time during my "day work" hours. I included a shot of the completed Multiple Launch Rocket Pods for my Valkyries. I will have every weapon system developed for my "zeps" that would be available to a Valkyrie or Vendetta gunship. Once again, it means doing everything in threes, but I think it is coming together nicely so the additional time to make so many multiples is worth it. (I hope you do as well!)
Ok, on to the more interesting part of the recent work. The Sky Captains and their First Gunners. With my zeppelins, I almost want to have the equivalent of a pulp 20's style of aerial combat. This means dashing commanders and stout men at arms to stand by their sides. (sorry no nosy reporters or spunky kids, they were spaced). So the Sky Captains are well dressed and well groomed in the fashion of a naval officer. They have the ultimate say of their vessel and take that quite to heart. Therefore, they were created with their dress uniforms. The Cadian torso with medals was the perfect choice to help with this. I have considered adding epaulets to the uniforms as well, but I haven't decided that issue to its completion yet. I am a big fan of W.I.P. anything is possible to change and I have scrapped stuff entirely if I didn't think it would work even 95% of the way done.
Each of the officers is showing their different styles of leadership and although they each have a smart cap and their medals on their chest, they each turned out great with their individual style and I even took to adding facial hair to each of them to show the mark of a true Vostroyan is a well groomed mustache or beard.
The First Gunners have a style of uniform that will be similar to my Veteran squads when I finally get to them. (I have begun collecting pieces for them, but not ready to make them yet!) The gunners are styled like a martial military academy look. highly polished breastplate, helm, and a well groomed look would make them excellent examples of potentially making it to the rank of Sky Captain themselves.
Each pair of crew were modeled to be in the act of fighting the good fight. each Captain and First Gunner are working together to spot targets, engage the enemy, or make sure the men get back to base.
All 'n all I am very happy with the way my crew have come out, but due to the nature of building multiples I can't seal the deal on any of them (ie. paint them) until I have all of the parts for all of them done. Talk about motivation to get them done! The look and feel of my Zeppelins has been coming along great and I can not wait to put up more for you all to see! Thank you for viewing. - Rich

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Back to the Zeppelin finally...

Well I am finally back to the zeppelins. After much searching online for bits and pieces for my upcoming kits I had managed to score a mess of parts I will need for momre of my future conversions. Will all of the hubbub at the store over the last two weeks, surfing the web and dreaming at night over a coldly lit computer screen was all I have been able to do. The store newsletter has taken off well and we are up to 250 subscribers and we may be redoing the website for the store in the very near future. Ah, projects to keep my up at night...
Ok, back to the project at hand, recently I finally managed to get the 6 weapons pylons and all of the multiple launch rocket pods (6 as well) assembled and magnetized. Now I have been working on the prototype for the engines and getting ready to make the three sets of them. This project would probably be a lot easier if it was not for the fact I was making three of them at the same time!
Well now that I am done with the prototypes for the engines, I am on to making the air captains and the first gunners for my air ships now. I will be getting pictures of them when they are more than torsos and legs...
On a quick note I managed to secure 6 ork truck chassis. These things are great and Dave Taylor's site has a great kit he set up for making trucks for his IG. I like the truck idea, but I feel his vehicles are a little sturdier than I want mine to look... I am not sure though I may default to them later. but boy are those chassis nice. They don't look orky at all and can be used for a mess of options. well, until later! - Bossman

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quick Detour... ack!

We have a newsletter we have recently reestablished at the Adventurers Guild again. In our letter "this week at the guild" we have begun a "tale of four gamers" series of articles. We have had a great response to our call and a bunch of the guys are committing to doing pre-heresy armies. I had promised to do the Thousand Sons when I got other guys to begin making pre-heresy stuff as well.

So I broke my rhythm with the zeppelins and decided I needed to get the originals sculpted, so I could begin the process of casting resin doors and shoulderpads for my legion. A long time ago I had purchased a ton of 1000 Sons heads back when GW had bitz service. Now this is a WIP photo service, since my camera ran out of batteries before I got the last pictures taken. I also did a few chest pieces for my Marines as well. two chests with inset gems and two chests with scarabs set into the plate. All and all I got two shoulder pads completed, a land raider door, a rhino door and the four chest pieces. They will be set into the rotation for me to resin cast them in parts so I can add them to my box of space marines with the 1000 sons heads and some tabards from the Dark Angels and Black Templars upgrade sprues. I am really pleased with how the finished pieces look, but I cant post them for another day or two till the rubber sets and I can do my first test pours. now back to the Zeppelins. I have gotten 2 of my wing weapon pylons completed and I am hoping to finish them off tomorrow night. (4 to go). I also managed to get the last of the 12 havoc missile launchers I needed for the multiple launch rocket pods. I will begin working on my zeppelin air bags this weekend while I am at Regulator Con. *** here is a pict of the completed doors. I got them out of the mold and got a picture for you guys. - Bossman

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thoughts and ruminations

I have not gotten much done this past week as I was really busy in the store handling customer issues and getting our D&D World premier day coupled with a 30,000 point Apocalypse style game. A customer for a very long time was also back for his week of spring break from West Point to spend time with his family and to get in a few games at the store.

The reason I am writing all of this? What does this have to do with my bitz box? Well, since you asked. I am writing about my apocalypse game that we played on Saturday. We had an odd number and I had to participate to keep things even. I chose to bring my Mentor Legion drop army coupled with a Baneblade tank I have in our display case. I don't particularly care to play Apocalypse games right now. Don't get me wrong I think the games are fun to play, and the game got in 6 turns in 6 1/2 hours (which is a good pace for 10 players). But rather I was just filling in a spot and ended up lending a hand where I could, but I really didn't feel invested in the game. I also got frustrated with a Eldar Scorpion Super Heavy Tank with it's crappy 'D' strength weapon which seemed to pick on me throughout the entire game. It had bothered me so much that I threatened to ban D strength weapons from the next game (by downgrading them to a Str 10, AP 1.) Needless to say I enjoyed the company of my fellow gamers, but for the most part I didn't enjoy the game.
When asked about my lack of apocalypse enjoyment I had ultimately concluded that I didn't enjoy myself because I did not have, what I would consider, an army made for an apocalypse game. All of my armies that I build are made for tournaments. Tournaments are not apocalypse. Let me say that again, Tournaments are not apocalypse and therefor need a different mindset to be able to enjoy them. I used to have a lot of Imperial tanks and could participate more actively the larger games, but I am seriously behind on the curve at this point. I had also gotten frustrated at the guy with the Eldar Super Heavy Tank. I had felt that I was particularly his chew toy with that damnable D strength Pit Bull. But upon closer observation I had mostly gotten frustrated with the fact that I did not have something to threaten his tank, and therefor felt it could run ram-shod over my guys. My Baneblade did not have the opportunity to do anything of consequence in the game and was dead by turn three. My anger at his tank surviving the game until the last round of hand to hand combat really could stem back to the playbox. He had a cool toy and I wanted one too. (really stupid when you put it in those terms, but accurate).
Fact of the matter is, the guy with the Eldar SH tank paid a lot of money to buy that tank, It was painted by me as a wedding present and he has as much right to enjoy his toy and play with it in the only style of game where it is allowed. I was being a sourpuss and threatened to ruin his fun as well. Now for the record, I will not be banning 'D' strength weapons in our club's future apocalypse games, as I had threatened to do so when I had a hot head. Instead I will be set on my own plans to begin adding to my armies so that I too can have cool toys that will be the envy of every adult kid at our Apoc games. I need to make a mess of stuff, and with an already busy schedule, it will be daunting. But I really want to get my hydra flak guns up and built (fortunately I have Ork trukk chassis on the way!). I will be building a super Zepplin with will be used as either a Reaver Titan, or a Leviathan Command HQ, Or perhaps a Capital Imperialis?
So this weekend I did enjoy the Apoc game more than I had thought at first notion. Yes, I didn't bring the right stuff to feel competitive on a field where you remove guys 30 at a time. But, I resolved to begin adding units to my Vostroyan IG and my Mentor Legion Space Marines so that they will not only be competitive in small games, but can give as good as they get in the lager fields of battle. And although my guys got slaughtered but good, they did manage to hold one objective and they did manage to kill a lot of Tau stuff.
Hey Apoc games can be fun and they can be played in a reasonable amount of time if your club can keep a strict use of the time. It gives everyone a chance to play with forces that they normally couldn't in formations that would not fit on a normal sized board. They also let us play with much bigger toys, and that is really the heart of it, isn't it? So i resolved to add more forces, and to remember everyone comes to have a good time and overall that is what we all got.
The next time we have an apocalypse game I hope to have a better force and a better attitude about these monster games.