The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Bikes

| June 6, 2015

In the grim darkness of the future.. guys on motorcycles are cavalry.

Kicking off my “I suck at painting army signage so I’m going to use waterslide transfers now” (more on this later), I’m starting with my bike squad and the often associated chaplain on a bike: 20150516_102532 20150516_102540

The idea here is that I brush-painted over my bad unit markings, touched up some other things, and then used the airbrush and some Future to seal it against the water from the waterslide transfers softening up the paint.

This is the result: 20150523_203312

Which I then sealed again with more future in order to stop the varnish from possibly getting underneath them and lifting them (though I’ve never had a problem with this with transfers, because I’ve never risked it, I have had an issue with some of the metallic particles coming loose and floating. It’s not as much of a problem if you’re spraying the varnish on, but it can be if you’re brushing it on).

Anyway, stuff I’ve learned about waterslide transfers…

For starters, when I was younger, I had several problems with them:

  1. They would tear.
  2. The models couldn’t be handled once the transfers were applied, as they would rub off.

Doing some research this time (because it’s not 1995 anymore and we have the internet), I found:

  1. Seal with Future where the transfers are to be applied, both to protect the paint and provide a smooth surface on which they should sit.
  2. They can stick better by using some Micro Set.
  3. If they’re old, or thin, or homemade, or you just want some extra insurance that they won’t tear, brush some Liquid Decal Film on to the decal, let dry, then apply as normal.
  4. To get them to soften and conform to curved surfaces, use several applications of Micro Sol.
  5. Once the decal is the way you want it, seal with more Future.
  6. Then seal the whole model as normal using polyurethane varnish. The above has been working for me for a couple of models. We’ll see how well it works over more broad applications.

Airbrush

| June 6, 2015

So, I haven’t updated this in a couple of days because I’ve been working on a playset for the kids in the backyard (more on this in a later post). So these pictures are a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, I did some airbrushing on the Master of the Ravenwing and the gunner.

First, I masked with silly putty: 20150516_202502

Then I painted the heavy bolter red and did a power sword fade: 20150516_221233

Finally, since I was airbrushing, I did a base coat on some marines with heavy weapons and a chaplain with a jetpack (whom I painted black after I took this picture). 20150516_221217

It looks a little splotchy because I thinned the paint a little bit much through the airbrush. I’m still working at getting the consistency right.

It also occurred to me that I’m going to be painting a lot of big stuff (tanks, terrain, lots of troops) and varnishing them all by hand is going to be a royal pain. So, I took some terrain I’d been using as airbrushing test platforms (planets for space games) and tried airbrushing on the varnish. SUCCESS! Specifically, Jo Sonja’s Matte Varnish worked through a Badger 350, medium needle, at 40PSI (which is what I use to prime stuff). It worked either thinned or not, and the unthinned likely resulted in a thicker coat, so I’ll be doing that from now on. Of note is that it’s very important to thoroughly flush the airbrush between each cup refill and at the very end, because if this stuff dries in the airbrush it’s going to be a bear to get out.

Turret thursday

| May 16, 2015

As its name would suggest, this post is about turrets. Specifically, these turrets:

20150514_203500

The one at the top is from a Predator Annihilator, and finds itself on the bench because, when I redid my army for 1p40k, I decided that the pintle mounted linked assault rifle (aka storm bolter) wasn’t worth it. Heck, I’m not sure it was worth it in the original 40k rules either. I also painted over the handpainted number on it, because I’m going to use a waterslide transfer instead.

Anyway, pulling that off required touching up the paint, which required mixing something which was really close to the old GW goblin green. For anyone who cares, equal parts Vallejo Game Color Dark Green (72028) and Goblin Green (72030) get you there.

The middle one I assembled from some bitz I had lying around. It’s a linked lascannon turrent for a razorback. This allows me to run the razorback with either linked lascannons or linked machineguns (another turret which is not pictured).

Finally, the bottom turret is the linked lascannon turret from my other razorback. The back of the seat broke off, so I glued it back on and repainted the joint because it took a bit of paint with it when it went.

I also fixed up misc dings and chips.

New series – from my hobby bench

| May 15, 2015

So, I’ve realized that I haven’t been blogging a lot, and that’s because I’ve been painting and working on other stuff. Now, while no one is really interested in my chores, it occurs to me that a quick snap on my phone of what I’m working on whenever I’m painting, coupled with a brief description as to what and why, might prove interesting to folks and serves as a journal for myself where I can see the progress of my mini painting.

Anyway, these are some pictures I took a little while ago largely to taunt my mother about guys which are going to come and beat up on her armies. But, they were in the gallery, so I uploaded them.

Master of the Ravenwing

This is a kit which I got for Christmas somewhere in the ballpark of 10-15 years ago.. and it remained in shrink wrap until about three months ago. When assembled, it looks like this:


(Hat tip to Dakka Dakka for the box art.)

Currently, mine is further along than the above picture suggests. It is cleaned and mostly assembled (I left Sammael and the gunner off to make them easier to paint and will glue them in later), primed, and basecoated. I’ve masked off the bodies of the crew so that I can airbrush the gun (because I’m painting it red and red is way faster with an airbrush because red takes like 5 coats to cover well) and power sword (so I can do a nice fade). The rest of it is just sharp line brush work, picking out details, etc.

Commander Shadowsun

This model, Commander Shadowsun is a new acquisition because I decided I needed a distinctive commander for my Tau. I had been using a regular crisis suit, and, under the 1p40k rules, crisis suits come in groups of 3, but the commander comes individually. Since I had 6 crisis suits, it means I could have one commander, 3 suits, and 2 extra, or buy this figure and have 2 units of 3 suits plus her. I did the latter.

By way of editorial – I love this figure. I’ve always loved this figure, and I’ve always wanted this figure, and I’m glad that I finally have the opportunity to get and paint it. Since my army is purple, she is going to get a matching (though slightly different, because she’s the boss) purple paint job. Aside from from the fact that I like the sculpt, I like the fact that she’s not a dude. See, with about one exception, the grim darkness of the future is a sausagefest.

However, this is also my first finecast mini. I’m sorry, not impressed. Now, I’ve had plaster minis before, and resin minis before, am used to the bubbles. They don’t bother me that much, though some people complain that GW does a shit job at keeping the bubbles out compared to, say, Spartan, I can’t say that mine had a lot of bubbles, but the two halves of several parts of the mold were offset more than I’d call acceptable and there was a ton of flash to be removed. However, all of that I can deal with. What really bothers me is the additional support structure/channels they added to the mini. I’m not even sure why these are there, but logic would suggest that it’s either to strengthen a thin part to stop it from twisting as the resin cures, or to allow more space for the resin to get in there in the first place. So, I had to whittle out all these little pieces (I think there were half a dozen) while not messing up the mini itself, which was hard because one isn’t totally sure what’s part of the model and what’s extra flash.

Anyway, I think that’s enough for this post. Welcome to the hobby bench.

This is not a test released

| May 2, 2015

That game I played at Cold Wars is now out. You can find it at the World’s End Publishing Shop.

So, yeah, that happened…

| April 29, 2015

So, back in Rhode Island, I used to game with a group which included my mom, and we played a lot of 40k. Soon after I left, Flames of War became the new hotness, and they switched over to playing that.

Fast forward 5 years, and the group is losing some players. One guy is moving to one of the Carolinas this year, and my folks are moving to Florida next year. As a result, everyone is downsizing and reorganizing. My mom gave all of her FoW stuff to one of the guys in the group, because she was always meh on WWII. When she mentioned that she and I were going to be playing 40K again (and, as they will be doing the snowbird thing and spending summers up with my family in New York, we will continue to do so for the forseeable future), he said “well, why don’t you take all my 40K stuff, because I don’t want to play it anymore”.

Again, since my mom is leaving for Florida, she’s downsizing, so all of that stuff came to my house. He wanted the figure cases back, so I unpacked it all on to a table until I can make up more figure cases for it myself. So, I took a picture:

A lot of minis.

A lot of minis.

There are large forces of Eldar, Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard, and Orks. There are smaller forces of Chaos, Tau and Necrons. The Necrons are about 1500 points, and the IG list is going to be somewhere in the ballpark of 4500 points once I finish writing it up.

Not pictured are my Dark Angels (6000 points) and Tau (4500 points, though I’ll likely move some of my Tau to the other Tau force to balance them out), as well as my mom’s Sisters of Battle (approx 3000 points, IIRC) and a box of Blood Angels from that same player that didn’t fit in my Mom’s car.

So, yeah, I have some painting to do.

All points are 1p40K values, not GW, BTW.

On Cold Wars

| March 16, 2015

So, I went to Cold Wars last weekend (the 6-8, I mean, not the immediate last weekend), and, aside from the weather totally wrecking one of the games I wanted to play in and causing several vendors to not make it and delaying a lot of other things, but the one real standout there was Joey from World’s End Publishing and their This is Not a Test(TNT) rules. (The classes he taught were good too, but I’m not really going to talk much about them here aside from saying that he makes roads from shingles, with awesome results).

So, anyway, the game.

As most folks know, I like Post-Apocalyptic stuff, and Zed Or Alive(ZoA) was a recent find, using the Savage Worlds Showdown engine, which is basically an RPG light. They added some factions, and bolted on a campaign system, and made a skirmish campaign game for the zombie apocalypse. If you wanted a Walking Dead minis game, this is it.

Now, TNT is a skirmish campaign game, and, like most skirmish games, is also an “RPG Light” type system (your guy has different stats for shooting, fighting, strength, toughness, and then a general stat for “everything else”). In that way, the systems work kind of similarly, though ZoA uses your collection of RPG dice and TNT uses a D10. However, the initiative is a lot more streamlined and predictable than the Savage Worlds system, because the activating player picks a guy and rolls for initiative. If you pass, you get to do 2 actions (generally move and shoot) and if you fail you only get to do 1 (so move or shoot). Now, I don’t generally like “roll to activate” systems, but this one really works and doesn’t piss me off because you still get to do something. Anyway, if you succeeded in your activation, you roll to activate another guy and proceed on. If you fail, after this guy’s actions, the activation passes to your opponent. The turn ends once everyone has activated all of their models once.

The other major difference between TNT and ZoA is that where ZoA is focused on zombies TNT is more generic. Think more Fallout, Wasteland, Rage, or Deadlands: Hell on Earth. There are tribal guys, mutants, military guys, dudes in powered armor, and all your standard radiation storms, etc. The mood is whatever your table evokes – you can pull a more Mad Max aesthetic, or more of a 1950’s future, a-la fallout, which is what Joey did for the game in which I played, given the presence of all the 1950’s style cars rusting into oblivion.

TNT Game

TNT Game

In this scenario, half a dozen warbands were going after the old world lost tech McGuffin in the center of town, but the device had called the attention of a bunch of man-eating worms (but there was no sign of Kevin Bacon or Kyle McLachlan) with which we had to contend in order to seize the objective.

All in all, an excellent game, and I’m looking forward to the rules coming out. When I talked with him at Cold Wars, he was just getting the proofs back from layout, so I would expect them to be released in the next month or so. He says they’re going to be sold as PDFs via Wargame Vault, and that there is a miniatures line to follow shortly after via an online store at the main site. I’ve seen some of the miniatures he’s going to have up, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Anyway, that’s all, I have some airbrushing to do before bed. Night all.

From the back of the miniatures shelves….

| February 26, 2015

So, back in college and immediately after, I used to play Warhammer 40k (3rd Edition). I had Marines and Tau armies. Then I stopped, because I moved, and the minis sat, and sat, and sat. My mother also played, running a Sisters of Battle army. She stopped shortly after 4th edition came out because her gaming group got burned out on 40k and started playing Flames of War.

I’d been looking for some rules to run 40k, and not finding any, and had started writing my own, but the going was, of course, slow. Then I came across One Page Rules, which has rules for 40K and Fantasy in both battle and skirmish scales, as well as fantasy football and full contact racing cars. The rules are tight, simple to understand, supported by the heroic efforts of an author who simply goes by OnePage Anon, with lots of helpful folks on their forums.

It took me about half an hour to read and grok the rules. In another hour or so, I’d done up a basic Tau list. My mom visited and it took us about 2 hours to do up a list for her (mainly because she was being a super power gamer who had to obsessively tweak her list to optimized for exactly 1500 points).

I had planned to take pictures as the turns progressed, but totally forgot, so this is a picture of the end of Turn 2 from different angles. Those, and a play-by-play, are below the more…

Now, readers will know that Liz will play Warmachine, but Warhammer was just too boring for her. We’ll see how she likes these rules, but she didn’t recoil in horror watching Mom and I play…

(more…)

Player preconceptions

| October 8, 2014

These are a couple of stories (or, maybe, the same story twice) both involving Lois and her preconceived notions about RPGs and gamemasters.

It likely is worth mentioning that David and Lois are a couple, because that figures slightly into the story.

So, we’re playing Shadowrun, I’m GM-ing, and David, Lois, Lisa and Steve are playing. This is after David and Lois left the game and refused to play with Ross. However, Ross had left the game, so David and Lois came back.

In the first story, the crew was doing a run against a Renraku facility. Now, they were armed, but no one had drawn guns yet or really done anything other than jump the wall and get chased by some guards. I don’t remember the exact details, but they get split up, and the crew gets away except for Lois’s character. She gets chased by half a dozen Red Samurai armed with automatic weapons. They chase her to a dead end, and tell her to put her hands on her head, face the wall, and get on her knees.

She draws her pistol.

I tell her that there’s no way she’ll win against 6 guys with automatic rifles.

She says she’ll risk it.

In all fairness, she got a shot off before she took half a dozen 3 round bursts center of mass.

So, yeah, her character’s bullet riddled corpse falls back against the wall, and slides to the ground in a bloody smear.

She starts to cry.

I’m like “we can do that over if you want, but what did you think was going to happen?”

Her: “I thought you’d let me fight my way out.”

Me: “No, you get captured, and then the team has to come and break you out in a brilliant escape sequence.”

Her: “But when your character gets captured, the GM kills you.”

Me: “Not in my game.”

In the end, she (the player) couldn’t recover and left my game again, taking David with her.

Okay, so, the second story.

David and Lois are back. the rest of the crew is basically the same, and they’re having to get some hard-copy blackmail paydata out of a safe at some guy’s house in a gated burbclave. What’s the best way to get into a burbclave? Have a big brown and gold delivery truck. Now, in this game, Lois is playing a “hot mage”, essentially the face of the group, a siren seductress type. So, she hits the unsuspecting delivery driver with a come hither stare, and one of the other guys cold-cocks him and leaves him stripped to his boxers and tied up where someone will find him the next day. Meanwhile, they take the truck and get into the burbclave, except that the guys at the guard shack don’t have a corresponding delivery order from the brown parcel service’s computers (remember, it’s the future, all the systems talk to each other). Now, they could have retconned it, and that would have been cool, but instead she charms her way past the young guard standing out in the drive – which works, except the old guard in the shack is older and wiser so, as they’re driving away, he starts yelling at the young guard for letting the truck through.

It’s likely worth mentioning at this point that the only folks in the van are Lisa and David’s characters – the rest of the crew (a hacker and a gun bunny, IIRC) are in reserve just in case things go south.

Lisa and David get to the house, no one is home, they go in, pop the safe, get the data, and head out.. right into the waiting Lone Star crew. Now, the way I play it, magical units are like K-9 units – specialist, uncommon, but can be called in. So, they leave and there’s like half a dozen squad cars, including a couple of wage-mages and summoned spirits.

David’s character polymorphed into a mouse and ran into a gutter, leaving Lois holding the bag.

All the police tell Lois to surrender, and this time, she does. They pack her into a squad car and have a bound spirit watch her. (I figured that’s the best way to handle arresting magically active characters). She tries to cast something and the spirit whacks her with a stun spell knocking her out.

She starts to cry again.

Me: “What? You’re under arrest.”

Her: “I thought you were going to let me escape.”

Me: “The rest of the team needs to break you out.”

That’s not good enough, apparently, because she gets up and leaves, taking David with her.

So, yeah… I’m not really sure what I could have done differently as a GM here. I’m not certain where she got the ideas of how things work in games, and I realize that I’d never GM-ed anything before these series of games, but everyone else thought it was reasonable, and (after the fact) stated that a jailbreak would have been fun. Complications make things interesting. If it was always easy all the time, it would be kind of boring, wouldn’t it?

The story where it all goes sideways

| September 30, 2014

So, after concluding a plot arc, I started a D20 Modern campaign that lasted all of one or two sessions. In some ways, it was my best game ever. It was the one I was into the most, and also the one which they players were into the most – which is likely why it imploded so quickly.

The hook for the game was that it was set 5 years hence, and everyone could play themselves or someone else – their call. It was a bit of an interesting bit of navelgazing, because you could tell the people who were comfortable in their own skin because they just played themselves, except now with jobs instead of in school. The other folks played themselves too – but hotter, thinner, stronger, etc. Still, escapism is fine, right?

The idea was that we all went out for Chinese food and some guys kidnap me – so they need to find out what all that was about, who nabbed me, what I was up to, all that. There are spies, safe houses, the works.

They find one of the guys who nabbed me, extract information from him, then feed him through a wood chipper. Solid.

Then they regroup and have an argument as to how to proceed. This argument turns serious, and before you can say Mexican standoff most of the characters are pointing guns at each other and screaming for everyone else to stop pointing guns at them.

Of course, then Lisa comes out from where she was preparing food and is like “guys, knock it off”. Everyone put their guns away, and the session ended soon after that.

And so did the game.

And so did the group.

The best explanation that I ever got was that it was too real, too dark, and folks weren’t having fun. I think what was latent was that most of the folks didn’t like David and Lois, and since everyone was playing versions of themselves, that really came out.

It’s too bad, because that intensity was amazing.