Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Bronze Legion - Ready for Battle!

    The Bronze Legion assembled - five squads totaling 24 points for Xenos Rampant

With the last squad of heavy infantry for the Bronze Legion finished, I can officially say this "detachment" (as Xenos Rampant calls a player's force) is ready for the tabletop. These last five figures should have been a breeze to paint up, but when they were about 3/4's of the way done, I got sick a couple weeks back. It sapped all my energy, so they sat there, partially painted, in the basement waiting for my recovery.

    Progress on the final squad of heavy infantry for the legion was delayed by two weeks of sickness
The heavy infantry for the Bronze Legion comes from the "Troopers" box of the Stargrave Miniatures plastic kit. I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't until gluing together this batch that I noticed the left and right arms had matching numbers. That certainly made positioning the arms of the figures bracing their weapon with their left hand easier! I'm still a bit of a novice still at this "assembling miniatures" stage of painting figures. I prefer metal miniatures, but realize that so many people like the kit-bashing aspect of plastic figures that they are here to stay.
    I think the Wiley Games 3-D printed and Stargrave plastic figures go together well for this force

I painted them up identically to the last batch. They were spray primed with Krylon acrylic matte black, which I always follow up brushing on a 50/50 mix of water and acrylic black paint. Next, I do a medium gray dry brush over the figures to bring out some highlights on the black. I remembered this time to NOT do a black wash over these areas at the end. Last time I did that and it erased my gray highlighting! It was on to the armor next, which I painted using a metallic craft paint called "Ancient Bronze." After some bright red detail on the belts and back armor plate, all that was left was the figures' weapons. I like how my method for painting Sci-Fi weapons has been working out. I start with a metallic gray craft paint base color, add some details in metallic brown, and finally highlights in silver. Weapons, faces, and the armor then receive a dark black vehicle wash from Vallejo. At that point they are ready for clearcoating, with one final step of painting gloss on their visors and the red dot on their backpacks.

    Wiley Games B3AST provides some heavy support for the legion, counting as a "Fighting Vehicle"
I'm sticking with my urban style flocking on the bases, using Woodland Scenics fine Mixed Gray Ballast. Before applying it, though, I glue a couple bricks to represent rubble, and then over bricks and ballast I do a black wash. One or two tufts and mixed green flocking and the figure is ready for the tabletop. It was fun to assemble the whole detachment and take some pictures. I am giving the Bronze Legion a fighting vehicle (in Xenos Rampant terms) to round out the force. This is the B3AST tracked Bot from Wiley Games. Its color scheme somewhat matches the Bronze Legion, so I figured it would be a good fit.
    Seeing how few figures it takes to field a force in Xenos Rampant, I ditched the 2-figs = 1 SP scale

I have also pointed out my detachment for Xenos Rampant, too. I have officially backed off of the two figures equals one strength point. I am going all in with a one-to-one ratio. As you can see with the legion, it really doesn't take that many figures to do a 24-point force. Here is how I plan to field the legion:

  • 5 strength points Elite Infantry with Commander: (includes Back into the Fray, Firefight, Ranger), +2 points for Heavy Weapon = total 8 points.
  • 5 strength points Elite Infantry: (includes Back into the Fray, Firefight, Ranger) = total 6 points.
  • 5 strength points Heavy Infantry: (includes Go to Ground, Firefight), +1 point for Armor Piercing = total 3 points.
  • 5 strength points Heavy Infantry: (includes Go to Ground, Firefight), +1 point for Armor Piercing = total 3 points.
  • 5 strength points Fighting Vehicle: (includes All Terrain, Anti-tank, High-powered blades), -2 points for Light Armored Vehicle = total 4 points.

Total Detachment Points = 24

    I'm excited to play my first game of Xenos Rampaint, which could be very soon...!
What's up next? I have assembled another squad of five figures for Xenos Rampant. This will be another batch of Blue-skinned Troopers for Xenos Rampant. This will finish out that detachment, as well. When that squad is complete, I will have four detachments done.

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 31

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Giant 3-D Printed Bridge (with Graffiti)

    My newest piece of terrain -- a large, stone bridge with brick sidewalks and an asphalt road atop it
This is probably the largest piece of terrain that I have ever assembled and painted. It is a 3-D printed bridge that I purchased from my friend Rusty Parker of Jarl's Workshop ( I first saw it at Drums at the Rapids a couple years ago. I was sorely tempted to buy it then, but my cheapskate nature had me hold off. By the time that Advance the Colors rolled around five months later, I told him that I wanted it. I bought it and there it sat in my closet for nearly a year.

Nearly a yard long, this 3-D printed bridge from Jarls Workshop is the biggest terrain piece I've made
Recently, I pulled it out determined to get it completed and use it in a game. The first step was to glue its seven pieces together. I used superglue and assembled and was pleased how it kind of "locked together" tightly. You can see some gaps here and there, but for the most part, it fits together very nicely. I did add a couple thin pieces of styrene to cover a couple gaps, but otherwise, there were no modifications to the bridge as purchased from Rusty.

    Multiple layers of spray paint, washes, dry brushing, and another final wash color its golden stones
My next decision was to decide on a color scheme. I decided that I wanted to yellowish-golden colored stone. I scoured the aisles of the local Menards home improvement store, and found a nice khaki colored primer. First, I sprayed two coats on it while it was upside down. After drying, I did the same with it standing upright. The next step was to take a more golden toned khaki color craft paint and water it down so that it could be used as a wash. I slathered it on a couple times and was really happy how it settled into the crevices in the stone.

    Two of my street gangs taunt each other from opposite sides of the river, daring the other to cross
The next step was to take another craft paint, a light tan stone color, and use it as a dry brush to highlight the pieces. I used the largest flat brush I own and would probably say this was the fastest and easiest step to do. Once dry, it was time to work on the sidewalks and road surface atop the bridge. The sidewalks were brick, so I did my usual method. I painted it Iron Wind Metals Red Brown and then dry brushed it Howard Hues Middle East Flesh color. Once that was done, it was time to do the asphalt road surface. I used my second darkest gray color as a base coat. As I was applying it, I noticed that I could see the tiny ridges common in 3-D printed items. I was worried that a dry brush would highlight that and draw attention to it. The road would look unnatural. What to do?

    The top surface of the bridge with its brick sidewalks and "stippled" gray asphalt
I decided to take a somewhat frayed brush and "stipple" it rather than dry brush. I used a medium gray color and stippled the entire length of the road surface. My original thought was that I would do a medium gray coat and a lighter one. However, I was so happy with how the asphalt looked that I decided to keep it as is. Almost done!

    The Santanas have painted their side of the bridge to mark their turf, warning others to "Salir!"
The last step was to give it a brown wash. I have a bottle of seldom-used dark brown "vehicle wash" from Vallejo. I took a plastic container and filled it partly full with water. Then I began squirting in the brown wash until it had a color that I thought would work well. Applying this final brown wash was probably the messiest part of the process. I dripped quite a bit all over my desk and it soaked the paper towels I had laid out to collect the excess that dripped off. After it dried, I examined it and was very happy with how the bridge had turned out. Was I done?, not really!

    Creepy clown logo & threats sprayed onto the bridge's surface warn others they're in Flippo turf!
The final step was to dirty it up with graffiti. I went back and forth whether to paint graffiti on it. I finally decided that the bridge would be used most in my Mean Streets gang warfare games. Next, it may see use in post-apocalyptic games. In both environments, a clean pristine bridge would look out of place, right? So, I Googled images of "graffiti bridge" and saw ones that had way, way too much on it. I went back and forth on how much to do, but decided I the best way would be to start in on it and stop when I thought I had enough. 

    The first graffiti "tag" on the bridge that I painted was the purple & yellow Daos logo
I began with large, colored graffiti-style letters for one of my gangs, the Daos. I then did another set of letters for The Kings. I added it a bleeding eye for the fun of it, and then scrawled various phrases like, "Hate Thy Neighbor" and "Not Your Turf." I did a couple hearts with initials -- one "J.T." for Jenny -- and another a shout-out to the movie, "The Warriors. We'll see if anyone who hasn't read this blog post catches the "Swan + Mercy" Easter egg!

    As my most numerous gang, the Kings are slated to take on a starring role in my upcoming games
Most of the graffiti was based around my painted up gangs, also including the Mohawks and Santanas. Once most areas of the bridge sides had something on it, I called it quits. In "reality," it would probably have more graffiti -- somewhat like the photos I saw on my image searches. However, I didn't want to cover up the beautiful golden stone color of the bridge completely. I figured in this case that less was more. I did one final matte spray coat and the bridge was finally done. The process had been dragged out much more than it should by my two bout of sickness. I accomplished little during that point. In actual, sheer hours put into it, I would say it took less time than a building of similar surface area. 

    Not all gangs got their 'tag' on the bridge, but I tried to cover most -- like the Indianola Mohawks
I think it is an amazing terrain piece. If you like it, contact Rusty of Jarl's Workshop at the above email and pick up one yourself. It is a definite eye candy cornerstone for a tabletop. Those who show up to Cincycon 2024 in less than two weeks will get the first look at it in person. I will be using it as part of my Mean Streets game scheduled for Friday evening. If you want a really close look at it, sign up to play in my game!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Battle of Valcour Island, 1776

    Joel and Allen, the British naval commanders on Lake Champlain in the Battle of Valcour Island
My friend Keith had an itch to do some Age of Sail miniatures with his big 15mm scale models the other day. His first thought was to go way back and play using the Limeys & Slimeys rules from about three decades ago. After moving some of his ships around on the table and testing out the mechanics, he was turned off by its fiddly nature. Too much counting up figures and guns, he said. Instead, he decided to go with a much more streamlined system, Galleys & Galleons, from Ganesha Games. These use the Song of Blades and Heroes "activation" system and abstract many of those things that older rules may force you to do with counting and laborious, multiple, math steps and die rolls.

    My brigantine and gunboat bravely sail and row towards the two largest ships in the British fleet

This is actually an ongoing rules debate in our Sunday evening gaming group. I am much more in favor of  modern streamlined systems. Others, like my friend Andy, prefer the "chewy" (his word) nature of counting things up, rolling for numerous hits on charts, and checking off boxes. Our respective viewpoints clashed most recently when we played one of the Star Fleet Battles clones (Federation Commander, perhaps?) recently. To me, the process was borderline painful. When one devastating hit was done to a player's ship (actually, one of their THREE ships), we had to sit there twiddling our thumbs while they rolled for and checked off 30-40 internal hits. This includes marking off such useful things like "science labs" and other systems that had nothing to do with a standard fleet game. Really? This is fun??

    Each player received a gunboat carrying one cannon in its bow, along with their larger ship
Anyway, I think miniature rules writing has evolved away from a codex full of charts which you flip between and ship profiles with dozens or hundreds of boxes to check off. Other players have fun doing this (apparently), as the clear divide between the younger and older gamers in our Star Fleet game showed the other night. Guess who likes to check off boxes? The younger guys! Those of us who lived through 1970s & 1980s rules -- to be fair, Limeys and Slimeys was the '90s -- apparently prefer not to go through that again. Nostalgia might be behind some wanting to resurrect old gaming systems. Like when one of our founding club members, Allen (who I have been gaming with for 40+ years), wanted to play the boardgame "Talisman." He would not be deterred with a simple question: "Why would you want to do that?!" He needed to experience once again the painful process of endlessly waiting your turn while the other players took theirs, then waiting twice that time again when you got a Lose a turn" result. The sheer randomness of, "Oh look! I found a suit of magic armor on my turn!" Meanwhile, you flip over a Demon Lord and lose another life. Sheer awfulness, in my opinion. Not fun to play, and no strategy. Just roll dice and flip cards!

    My brigantine suffering damage (see pink dice) from the heavier broadside of Allen's frigate
Yes, that was quite the digression, I realize. Apparently, I still had some more internal hits to roll off from the experience! Keith chose Galleys & Galleons, which we had played a few years back because he remembered it seemed to flow well and do a better job simulating naval warfare than you might expect from rules that grew out of a fantasy skirmish engine. The key component is that hits suffered replace one of your three potential dice you can roll to activate with a colored "damaged" die. You can choose to roll fewer dice, thus not risking rolling that colored die, until all three of your dice have been replaced. If you ever roll an activation and score a "1" on a colored die, bad things can happen, including striking your colors if you are nearer an enemy than any friends. Similarly, once you exceed three colored dice (three is the max dice you can roll to activate in the "Song of..." engine), bad things can happen then, too. 

    Keith's sloop at top right sails to add its broadside to the weight of our cannon fire on Allen's frigate
The game abstracts much of the damage and critical hits on specific components of your sailing ship. It worked fairly well in our game, we felt. Allen had a 22-gun frigate (I believe), the largest on Lake Champlain. He was able to shrug off much of cannon fire that we peppered him with throughout the game. His brother Joel could not do the same with his 18-gun sloop, though, and ended up striking his colors to Jenny's American sloop and being captured. Keith warned us that he'd made the British better at gunnery and that we would need to close the range to hope to do significant damage. That proved true. All in all, the system worked well. Each player controlled one larger ship and one oared gun boat with a single, bow chaser. The gun boats did little damage to the bigger ships, as you might expect with only one cannon. The marine sharpshooters did even less. 

Took more than half the battle, but Keith's gunboat finally sinks Allen's - mainly due to catching on fire
We did have one boarding action, but it was inconclusive. On the next turn, Keith's larger sloop disabled the grapples which Joel's gunboat had snagged it with. He didn't want to leave to a die roll the ignominy of being boarded and taken by a smaller gunboat! I can't say I blame him. My own gunboat was on the way to rescue him, but we never closed before the two ships parted ways. My own brigantine bravely sailed between Joel's sloop and Allen's frigate, blazing away with furious ineffectiveness nearly the entire game. We score one hit on Joel's sloop, but after that, suffered a series of bad die rolls (as is often my nature in games...see Joel -- I said it!). 

    Pounded by two ships, Joel's sloop strikes its colors as it approaches Jenny's 'Royal Savage'
In Galleys & Galleons, if you beat an enemy with an even roll on your die you replace one of their three activation dice with a colored "damage" die. If you beat them with an odd score, you do nothing (unless you doubled them). Weirdly, the first six-plus shooting rolls that hit in the game were all even. We weren't irked by the rule then. Once, the rolls evened out, it felt a little "wrong" to hit someone and do nothing, over and over. 

    American cannon balls seem to bounce off Allen's frigate, whether from gunboat or brigantine
Still, with Joel's sloop captured and Allen's gunboat sunk (fire on board, then explosion), we called it a victory for the Americans. Historically, the British battered Benedict Arnold's American fleet, which later withdrew under cover of darkness. They were eventually run aground by the American commanders to prevent them from falling into the hands of the British. The naval battle delayed the British advance enough to give solace to the American defeat in the first naval battle of the American Revolution. 

It was fun getting the large 15mm ships out and sailing them around on the tabletop. We picked up the mechanics quickly, and the colored dice mechanic gave some risk vs. reward decision making for the players. Keith, as has been his wont of late, tossed in the Wiley Games card activation system on top of the Galleys & Galleons system. The effect was that there was no danger in "crapping out," or turning over your activation. So, we typically always rolled 3 dice for activation until we had one or more colored, damage dice. The fleets closed relatively quickly, and we were soon blasting away at each other and having a good time on Lake Champlain. I can see us playing with Keith's ships again, and using G&G again for more naval fun.

    It was fun to get the big ships (and little ones) out on the tabletop - first time in years!
Otherwise, you may have noticed the LONG pause between updates. I caught a nasty cold just over two weeks ago. It was the worst I'd felt since having Covid, and I didn't not have the energy to paint or game. I think the two weekends of missing Sunday evening gaming are the most that I have in a long time. I didn't want to get the other guys sick, and besides I was feeling awful. Today is actually the first day that I have woken up and not felt congested or tired and drained. So, hopefully, I'm back in the groove and you will see more updates on here, again!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26

Monday, January 29, 2024

Song of Drums and the Spirit World?

    It's 'Song of Drums and Tomahawks' with mythological creatures from the "Spirit World" added in!
One of my co-authors of Song of Drums and Tomahawks (my French & Indian War rules) mentioned he was intrigued by incorporating fantasy and horror elements in skirmish warfare on the American frontier. Mike S also knew I had done some preliminary research into creatures from various tribal myths with a look towards doing a similarly themed expansion for our rules. Since family and school have my writing tied up for now, I urged him to pursue it.

    "We come from the land of ice and snow..." -- the Viking invaders of Newfoundland
Last night, we sat down with our Sunday evening gaming group and gave it our first playtest. Mike liberally blended rules and traits from various other games in the "Song of..." series, both Basic rules and Advanced. Interestingly, he had set up three one-on-one scenarios from wildly different times on the American frontier. My game against Allen was set in the Middle Ages with Vikings vs. Skraelings in Newfoundland. Mike faced off against Keith in one set during the Salem witch trials. And finally, Joel and Mike's son Jason played English and French forces set upon by a Wendigo. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of the other games -- just my own. 

    The shaman urges the Skinwalkers forward, the Bear having already changed into his animal form
Allen took the Vikings and had a force of a Hero, four spearmen, three archers, a priest of Odin, and three brothers who were berserkers/weres. Similarly, I had three Skinwalkers (Bear, Wolf, Puma), a shaman, tribal chieftain, and a half dozen bow armed Skraeling warriors. We each moved our forces up to rocky outcrops in the light woods, while sending forward a handful of troops to scout out the enemy. The difference was I sent my three Skinwalkers to attack the enemy while Allen had sent ordinary Viking warriors. 

    My plan takes shape -- 3 powerful skinwalkers ready to pounce on two ordinary Viking warriors
My plan was to pounce upon the spearmen with my much-tougher Skinwalkers and hopefully get a "gruesome kill" (which Mike was re-introducing into these games). Allen was also struggling with activation rolls, and it looked like my plan was set to be implemented as the three Skinwalkers faced off against two trembling Vikings. Allen's dice came to life, though, and in a flash, three werewolves howled towards my trio and it was now 4 to 3. Still, he hadn't made contact, so I was able to begin the melee on my next turn. I sent the Bear Skinwalker, the mightiest creature on the table, forward to attack the werewolf on the end with a "powerful blow" (-1 to the enemy). Up +2 on the die roll, the mighty bear knocked the werewolf down. My Wolf Skinwalker surged forward and slew the disadvantaged werewolf. First blood to the Skraelings protecting their homeland!

    But it was not to be -- two werewolves race to the aid of the trembling Viking spearmen!
My plan was to next begin working on his ordinary Viking warriors. The chieftain, noticing that his Skraeling warriors were hanging back (bad activation rolls), raced forward to support his mighty skinwalkers. He launched arrow after arrow at the Vikings, keeping them from helping each other. Meahwhile, the Bear-sark Viking changed into his animal form and hurled himself upon the Bear Skinwalker. He was swatted backwards with a mighty sweep of the skinwalker's paw. Time and again, the bear would hurl himself upon his ursine rival. Each time he was driven back or his attack stopped.

    First blood! The Bear Skinwalkers knocks down the werewolf and my Wolf then leaps in for the kill
As a Viking and member of an honor culture, Allen fought fair, one-one-one matchups. My Skraelings had no such scruples. We ganged up on enemy warriors whenever we could. The plan was to try to get a gruesome kill -- tripling an enemy's total in combat. This would cause a morale check for all within a Long distance and likely shatter his line. This should leave more lone, unsupported Vikings to pick off. Eventually, the Wolf and Bear teamed up against a Viking spearmen whose head soon went flying through the air. The Viking line duly fragmented, but none fled the field completely.

    Lucky long range arrow knocks down a Viking warrior while the Puma Skinwalker wades in, too
The Viking leader saw the situation was dire and stepped in to intervene. He charged the Puma Skinwalker and slew it with a might stroke of his sword -- worthy of the Sagas! However, encouraged by their tribe's success, the Skraeling archers had finally crept within range. Whenever a Viking was knocked down by an arrow, a Skinwalkers or the chieftain would race over and finish him off. A key mechanic in Song of Drums and Tomahawks if a combat can result in a figure being knocked down. If they are beaten a second time before they have a chance to clamber to their feet, they are knocked out of action. My rolls that night were definitely better than Allen's. At key moments, I knocked down his troops and then was able to activate another figure to finish it off.

    With his Skraeling bowmen hanging back, the chieftain in red moves forward to support his attack

Morale checks happen when a force falls below half, and Allen was teetering that direction. Soon, he had lost two both of his werewolves (the mighty bear fought on), all four spearmen, and Odin's priest. One more loss and he his force would test morale. The Skraeling chieftain took aim at the Viking warleader and was able to knock him down. The skinwalkers had already acted that turn, so it fell to a Skraeling brave to attempt to finish him off. He raced forward and used his flint knife to slice Olaf's throat as he tried to pull himself to his feet. A mighty roar went up from the tribe's warriors. Victory!

    Skinwalkers then began to attack the Viking warriors, hoping to get a gruesome kill and scatter them

Allen and I agreed to call the game at that point. He had just lost more than half his figures AND his leader, so would likely have men running for their lives at this point. The Skraelings had lost only the Puma. I was very careful about sending my Indians into the fray. The archers had stayed back as a firing line in close support of each other. The chieftain used the skinwalkers as a shield and shot his bow from behind their protection. The trio of skinwalkers stayed close to each other and cooperated well.

    Olaf the Fearless wades into the battle, and in a blow worthy of the Sagas, takes down the Puma

Despite the seeming one-sided nature of the battle, Allen and I had a lot of fun. I definitely think Song of Drums and Tomahawks works with mythical creatures thrown into the mix. I asked the others how their battles went, and they both seemed very close. The magical duel between Keith's native shamans and the freed-from-prison Salem witches was apparently a tightly-contest of wills. Everyone seemed to have fun, so not only was the evening a success, the playtest was off to a great start. Mike plans on running these games at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, June 19-23. So, we will doubtless see more evenings of tweaking the rules and crafting a competitive and fun convention game.

    Bear on bear and wolf on werewolf - the battle in the primeval American forest rages!

The miniatures were a mix of mine and Mike's. The mythical creatures were all his except for my Wendigo, which is a very creepy looking 3-D print from Thingiverse. I have picked up various Reaper Bones or other figures that will work for creatures from various tribes' mythologies. Mike seems intent on painting them up, so my contribution will likely remain either the rank and file or human heroes.

    After Olaf is knocked down by a Skinwalker, a brave native warrior rushes forward and finishes him

If everything goes well with the rules, Mike is interested in publishing an expansion book for this period. He wants to chat with Andrea Sfiligoi from Ganesha Games first, though. Ganesha and First Command Wargames cooperate closely on the "Song of Drums and Tomahawks" line of rules, so we want to make sure he's on board first, as well. So, look for more "Spirit World" games in the future...!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26

Sunday, January 28, 2024

3-story Corner Ruin from Jarls Workshop

    Another 3-D printed, ruin for my post-apocalyptic games - this one from Jarl's Workshop
I picked this 3-D printed building up from Jarl's Workshop this past Advance the Colors. I liked the way it looked and that was before I realized the two pieces taped to the side were the floors for the second and third story! Once I got the building out and began to assemble it, I was even more happy. Everything fit together well, and I liked that it had crumbling stone walls marking out the foundations. The inner rectangle was modeled like rough ground, much like some of the other buildings I have painted up from Rusty at Jarl's Workshop.

    Only the corner remains in this building, the rest having fallen away and been buried
If I were to do this building again, I would probably add some rubble, bricks, and such inside the foundation. I guess I didn't stop and think about it too much, though. I was just happy with how quickly it was coming together. I followed my usual recipe of Krylon matte black spray paint, 50/50 acrylic paint and water. The tan walls did require two coats to cover the black base, but the stone and brickwork went relatively quickly. 

    A final look at the 3-story corner ruin and the Barbarozas on the prowl, looking for salvage
Once again in hindsight, I should probably have "dirtied up" the walls of this building more. As my ruined city grows, I'm learning more and more how to take 3-D or MDF buildings and customize them to look more like what we see in either post-apocalyptic movies or modern day urban war zones. It is just a matter of telling myself to slow down. Don't rush my way through this particular piece of terrain. Still, even if a building isn't dirtied up enough, a good collection of scatter terrain pieces placed around it can give the proper effect.

So, what's next? One of the largest 3-D printed pieces I have ever purchased has been glued together, as of today. If we actually get a letup in the Biblical rain we've been experiencing, I plan on beginning its spray priming. What is it? Well, it is not specifically for post-apocalyptic, but it IS urban. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, I am progressing, miniatures-wise, on a second batch of Heavy Infantry for the Bronze Legion. Stay tuned...!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Even More Ruins! Small, 1-story Corner Ruins for Post-apocalyptic Games

    3-D printed, one-story, corner ruins that I purchased from Diabolical Terrain at ATC 2023
All last year (2023), I was purchasing various ruined buildings in resin, MDF, and 3-D printed. Now that winter has arrived, it is time to start cranking some of these out for the tabletop. These three one story corner ruins were purchased from Diabolical Terrain at Advance the Colors a few months ago. I figured they would paint up fairly quickly, so I made them "next up" on my painting desk.

    One of the ruins was brick - I really liked the brick framing of the windows and dangling shutters
The first step was to cut L-shaped pieces of styrene to base them onto. The pieces were fairly simply, so I wanted to add various bricks and rubble to the bases to pretty them up a little. I did my usual method for painting ruins. I spray painted them first with Krylon matte black. Second, I went over thoroughly a 50/50 mixture of black paint and water brushed on liberally. For the two gray stone pieces, I did a medium gray wetbrush followed by a light gray drybrush. For the brick one, I used Iron Wind Red Brown as a base with a Howard Hues Middle East Flesh dry brush.

    The interior side of the largest of the the three, painted in stone with lighter colored plaster walls
On the interior sides of the corner ruins, part of the walls looked like they had plaster showing. I decided to use some pale colors -- light blue, green, or yellow -- to make it look like some of the paint was still showing on the interior walls. I did a white dry brush on top of the plaster to make it look faded and worn. I thought about adding some pictures or posters, but figured that realistically, those would have fallen or peeled off long ago, beign exposed in the weather.

    I added to the rubble that was part of the print (like the gutter) with bricks and piles of gravel
There was a decent amount of rubble and other details designed onto these ruins. Whether it was the boarded up wooden window or the drainpipe laying on the ground or the pieces of wood here and there, I picked out those details next. I added the bricks and coarse gravel randomly along the styrene base. Finally, the whole thing got a black wash. On reflection, it should probably have been even darker than it was. Still, I feel it "dirtied it up" a bit and made it look older and more decayed.

    The interior side of the brick corner ruins -- I like where the plaster has peeled away exposing brick
I finished the bases off with Woodland Scenics Mixed Turf ballast. I had originally been thinking of using a fine, blended gray ballast to represent stones, but felt the dirt would look better. Now that I am looking at pictures of them, I think they would have been helped by adding some grass, tufts, or clump foliage to represent vegetation taking root in the recesses and corners. Who knows? Maybe I will go back and add it later, now that I am thinking about it.

    The boarded up window was a cool touch on the larger gray stone ruin
So, what's up next? I have another, larger 3-D printed ruin that I bought at the same convention from Jarl's Workshop. I like how it is looking as I glued it together and primed it. So, look forward to that soon, along with another batch of Heavy Infantry for the Bronze Legion!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26
    These three pieces will definitely make it onto the tabletop in my next post-apocalyptic scenario


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Heavy Infantry for the Bronze Legion & Xenos Rampant

    Heavy Infantry for the Bronze Legion for my Xenos Rampant 'Detachment'
As I continue to flesh out my Xenos Rampant "Detachments" (as the rules call a force), I definitely want to get the Bronze Legion on the table in the first game. The legion began with two squads of Wiley Games Space Marines that I painted up back in November and December of last year (2023). I really liked how they came out, but wanted some more variety for other squads. I picked up a Stargrave Troopers plastic kit box from Jeff Gatlin at Shieldwall Gaming Club. These looked like they would mix well, and now that they're painted up, I feel they did.

    I used the Stargrave 'Troopers' box for this 3rd Bronze Legion squad & glued them together myself!
I like the ancient bronze metallic craft color and black combo. I feel the black clothing accentuates the bronze colored plates. Assembling the figures with model glue wasn't too horrible of an experience. I do like how the pack numbers the arms (discreetly -- missed it on the first batch I'd assembled awhile back). So, the right hand #10 goes with the left hand #10. That's important as many of the left hands are cupping or supporting the weapon they are holding in the right. And as much as I prefer one piece miniatures (particularly metal), I guess I can live with gluing on two arms and a head. I'm sure others out there do a MUCH better job gluing these together, but hey! I actually accomplished it, so am happy.

    Plastic details tend not to be as deep as deep as metals, so dry brushing only partially brings out folds

I like the rocket launcher weapons that come with the box. That'll let me give them heavy weapons or some other such upgrade when I finally get around to pointing out the detachment for Xenos Rampant. After assembling them, I spray painted the figures Krylon matte black and followed it up with my usual 50/50 mix of black acrylic paint and water. Next, I gave them a medium to dark gray drybrush to pick out some of the detail which might otherwise simply look all black. This also helped me be able to see the detail better to paint. I have my lighted magnifying lamp on my painting desk, but every little bit helps! Following that, I painted the bronze plates, followed by the flesh, which in this case was just the bottom half of the face. I painted the helmet visor Iron Wind Metals Steel, as well as the forearm band with communications gear.

    The Bronze Legion assembled - 2 Wiley Games elites, 1 Stargrave heavies, & 1 Robot Vehicle
I tricked up the comm gear with a metallic blue screen and green, yellow, and red glowing buttons. After clear coating, I would go back and apply clear gloss to the helmet visor. I felt it still needed something, so I painted red dots around each figure's waist belt, as well as on the center backpack. I'm sure something in the Troopers box is supposed to glue to that circle, but nothing jumped out at me as belonging there. So, I left the circle in the red accent and also went back and hit it with gloss, too (much like I did with the space marines figures). I was tempted to make the bronze legion's skin color an alien one, but decided they would be a human faction. I already plan on a few other different colored skinned aliens, so I didn't want to go overboard. I like how the final black wash I put on it brought out detail and depth in the face. I used watered down black vehicle wash for this batch rather than my pre-mixed black Vallejo wash. I like how it looks better on metallics. My premixed makes metallics look a little cloudy, in my opinion.

    The legion sends its heavy infantry to investigate a bombed out settlement on a battlefield planet
So, what's next for miniatures? I should probably point out the Bronze Legion and see what I actually need to get them up to 24 points. My best guess would be simply another batch of these figures. I am rethinking my 1 figure = 2 points idea for Xenos Rampant, though. For some reason, I thought that I would make ALL infantry squads "Increased Squad Size" (up to 10 strength points from 5). Now, I see that isn't necessary. And if I keep some squads -- or maybe most squads -- at 5 strength points, I may need one final batch of Planet of the Apes figures. I have a pack of 10 "Planet of the Monkeys" gorillas with sub-machine gun that I bought from JS Wargamer Printing at last year's CincyCon. So, I may prime and paint those up instead. However, I want to compare them to the Eureka and Battle Valor metal miniatures the rest of the force is to make sure they don't look odd next to them.

Stay tuned and see what's next!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26