CheapHammer 40k- the 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 3 – Wotta Lotta Grots

The plot thickens! Just as Dan’s Marines have got themselves fly new Deathwatch paintjobs, I’ve not been idle with my share of our Ebay booty – first out of the blocks, the Grots! Now, as it turns out there are 36 of these little buggers and to do the mini campaign properly I’m going to need 40, so I may be taking to eBay again pretty soon.. oh, the irony! This is how wargamers end up with houses full of tiny plastic figures… but enough of that for now.

I spread some home made texture paste (filler powder, sand, PVA and water) on the base and hit the whole thing with cheap pound shop white primer, before giving all the figures a prewash with thinned Vallejo brown ink.

I’ve got two mobs of ten painted up so far, with a pretty straightforward three colour scheme – dark grey, bone and red. To differentiate, Furst Mob has grey and red blocked out with a camo scheme (of grey and red) over the bone areas, while Secund Mob has the bone and grey blocked in and a bone and grey camo  scheme layered over the red. Thurd Mob, when I get round to them, will have bone and red camo layered over the grey and blocked in red and bone. and Uvver Mob will either have a whole load of camo or none!

I used Vallejo German Grey, a cheap acrylic red and a craft paint bone. Black ink wash, thinned, over the grey and thinned brown ink over the red and bone.

For skin tones I went with a thinned light green, washed with Army Painter Green Tone and then highlighted up with green mixed with yellow, and a touch of bone for the teeth and a dash of red for the eyes. After that, I added a unifying light drybrush of bone, and then on to the metallics – block in black and then boltgun metal highlighted with silver, and then washed with brown ink to give a rusty metal vibe.

Then, basing! I used the same brown craft paint I used for the leather part, then drybrushed with bone, before drizzling flock and Garage Floor TM dust, and then a final edge of brown to touch the whole thing up.. and then, varnish and done!

Grots frontally engage the Deathwatch!
Furst Mob

 

Note the red autogun – he’s the mob leader
Secund Mob
More Secund Mob!

 

Secund Mob WIP
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CheapHammer 40k -The 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 1 The Plan

So, hands up who remembers this?

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As it happens, we don’t either – don’t drink and eBay, kids! So, we were wondering what we should do with this haul – loads of Grots, a full complement of 20 Marines, and a couple of Orks in various states of repair… not to mention the cardboard cutout Dreadnaught, plus the very brightly coloured Codex Imperialis and campaign book.

 

In the grim darkness of the far future, there are only bold primary colours

Now, this raises an interesting, almost paradoxical conundrum – because we can’t afford proper 40k minis, we’d got sunk deep into 20mm (aka 1/72 or 1/76 or HO) gaming, meaning all our terrain was designed and sized for this. So getting our hands on actual 40k minis kind of threw the plans out a bit. As discussed before, we planned on using them as proxies for OOP systems like Firefight, Space Crusade etc (not to mention freely downloadable ones like Deadzone), but with all this… stuff… it was more or less a given that at some point we’d end up giving 40k a try again, and we’ve had a couple of little skirmishes with our new skirmish board.

And yeah, compared to modern systems, this old girl is a bit clunky. But we got to thinking – both me and Dan got into 40k in 1991 (albeit independently of each other and hundreds of miles apart) and by then the 1st edition Rogue Trader had evolved massively from it’s origins as an almost unplayable (in practical terms) RPG/ skirmish game and was heading towards the slick and shiny and GLORIOUSLY colourful subsequent editions. Dan and I both remember getting the 40k box set – and be aware, a 40k box set was a brand new thing back then, never been done before! – for Christmas 1993, and working our way through the mini campaign missions given in the book. If you’re unfamiliar, this set focused heavily on the 2nd War For Armageddon, and featured a three (four?) mission campaign of Blood Angels vs Orks.

Then Dan reminded me that 1993 was 25 years ago exactly.

Hmm. We should mark this occasion.

We did something similar last year, commemorating 30 years of 40k by playing The Battle At The Farm from Rogue Trader using 8th Edition rules, and had a blast, but we figured, you know what? 2nd Ed was our edition. Goblin Green bases, primary colours – the grim darkness of the far future had never looked so appealing. Army lists existed from the drop, rather than being gradually added over six years of White Dwarf articles.

Or  Warhammer 40000 Compilations.

Or Warhammer 40000 Compendiums.

Or Warhammer 40000 Battle Manuals.

You have to figure by this point, the game had evolved quite away from it’s origins, and was badly in need of a rewrite! And so it was…

You bought wargear with cards rather than having a 15 % chance of having it. The thing had been tested, and many mechanics from 2nd Ed actually form the backbone of 40k as we know it now, love it or loathe it. We may not have had Tau or Necrons, but we had Squats, dammit! (at least for a while..) And so begins our new project for the remains of 2018 – painting up the contents of our unwitting haul to replicate those halcyon days gone by – we began with the Marines, and Dan has a load of Grots ready for the camera – then there’s the scenery to make… lots of ruins (which we’ll make 3″ by 3″ to also be Deadzone compatible – muy Skinflint).. plus we have found a very cool papercraft of an Ork Deff Dread… And then come Christmas, we’ll run the whole campaign!

So, here’s raising a glass to our “origin story” within the hobby – we may not be the seasoned grognards in at the birth of it all with Rogue Trader, but we were there for 40k to find it’s feet and become what it is today. And for all it’s (many many ) faults-  it will always have a place in our hearts.

Terrain Talk Pt. 8- Cheap Scratchbuilt Urban Warfare Skirmish Board

So the dust has settled after last month’s mega-battle, and after gorging on our biggest game yet, we’ve decided to turn our attention to something a little lower key and skirmish-y.

Now, there’s a strong appeal to these types of games – low model count means easy buy in, short set up and pack down means it’s easy to get in a quick game even on when time and space are a premium, and it’s a great way to learn a ruleset without jumping in the deep end with a full combined arms force!

Clearly GW agree with us, having just released the new version of Kill Team, but we’re planning on starting with a few more free-to-download sets, not to mention our own Black Ops system (intended to be a more detailed small scale RPG/ skirmish variant on the basic Apocalypse: Earth game engine). An accidental alcohol-related eBay purchase means we’ve got ourselves a crowd of 2nd ed 40k Grots and Marines, so we figured time to make them somewhere to have a scrap!

We did actually put together a folding urban warfare table last year, built from the back of a set of shelves – roughly 3’x3′ folding, made of some sort of hardboard/ cardboard laminate – but we’ve learned a lot since then, and now it looks a bit… crap, to be honest. So we decided – time to pimp, yo.

Began with single corrugated cardboard to act as paving slabs and such – for the tile textures in the corner, I scored 20mm squares into the card, then tore off the edges to make some broken tiles. I used PVA to glue them, but in retrospect acrylic filler (caulk) would probably have been a better bet.
Began adding texture – the grey stuff is home made texture paint, made from water, black paint, filler powder, sand and PVA glueand stippled on with an old brush. The white stuff is cat litter (unused, I should add!) held on with splodges of acrylic caulk intended to look like rubble piles..
Close up of tilework and rubble

The board textured and ready for priming black

After getting the stonework and texture paste on, I made sure to seal thoroughly with a spray of diluted PVA (empty Windolene bottle, ten parts water to 1 part PVA). In fact, I actually hit this three times at roughly 4- 6 hour intervals over the day – worth it in terms of time investment to make sure the thing doesn’t end up shedding grit and cat litter all over the floor every time you get it out!

Two £1 cans of matt black car spray paint later – voila, primed!

With priming complete, the next step was painting. I used a recipe that has served me well, nicked wholeheartedly from Lukes APS. I used house paint tester pots for economy and ruggedness – hilariously, Duncan recommends using about £20 worth of Citadel model paints for this…. don’t, just don’t! – and put simply:

Overbrush grey blue

Drybrush red (lightly, and only in selected places)

Drybrush with Wilko’s City Break grey

Lighter drybrush with same brand Granite Dust

Grots patrol an urban wasteland… (more on them in another post)

Next up, I made up some very thin washes based on brown, green, black and skin/ flesh wash colours heavily watered down and daubed about the board. This gives it a rather cinematic feel which I found I liked.

Not sure how realistic this is, but it seems to work!

 

After a looking at it a few times, I decided I’d cocked up a bit with the tilework – 20mm squares just looked wrong with 1/72 – so I chopped them up into 10mm and painted a checkerboard pattern using cream and dark grey, lining the edges with thinned down Vallejo smokey ink
And then I realised how long it had taken, and settled for cream alone on the other part!

For the muds, I went with a burnt umber basecoat and gradually drybrushed up a couple of lighter browns, taking care to really work the brush into the texture to blend with the concrete.

Overall, this was a fun little build and I think t actually came out looking pretty good. It’ll suit Black Ops, and 28mm stuff like Kill Team and Necromunda. Plus, it folds away!

Next step is to scale up these techniques for the main 6’x4′ board, and a squared off 2’x2′ for Deadzone – thanks to Mantic for making the core rule book freely available as a download – and actually, none of these steps are particularly difficult, just require a bit of patience, planning and imagination. Youtube, and particularly The Terrain Tutor and Lukes APS are your friends here – good luck, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon!

Bargain At Calth (or – 30k for under £5? YES WE CAN!)

How do, Dan here again – getting the hang of this typing malarkey. Jim’s given me the keys to the blog as long as I promise no naked belly dancing pictures.

I promise nothing.

Since we started dipping our toe back into 40k and it’s boutique cousin, 30k (aka the Horus Heresy) a while back, we’ve been hearing the name “Betrayal at Calth” bandied about with much excitement about the variety and quality of the miniatures included in it. The consensus seems to be that it’s an excellent starter set for anyone planning a 30k Space Marine army, containing 30 Marines in Mk 4 power armour, a Chaplain, a Terminator Captain and 5 Cataphractii Terminators, plus a Contemptor Dreadnought – yours for just £95.

Hmm.

£95.

Hmm.

That kind of goes against our cheap ‘n’ cheerful, DIY ethos. But as it turns out, Betrayal At Calth is in fact a board game with miniatures – in intent, at least. To 99% of the internet, it’s miniatures with some dice and bits of cardboard cluttering the box up.

However, this can work to our advantage – a little bit of eBay reconnaissance shows that there seems to be a cottage industry in buying BaC boxes, stripping out the minis and selling them on.. but that leaves the game pieces for sale at absolutely knockdown prices.

And thus it was that we discovered a seller offering the complete BaC kit sans minis for £4.99. Yes, you read that right. Well, we’ve sold a couple of copies of Apocalypse: Earth over at Wargame Vault, so we cashed in and went for it. A few days later, and lookie lookie what turns up in the post:

Shiny shiny.

Typical GW, even the box is laaaaaaarvely, loads of artwork and pics of beautifully painted minis adorning the side – a nice throw back to the days of the 90s classic Space Crusade.

Rulebook, board segments, cards, dice and tokens
Beautifully illustrated rulebook, replete with plenty of fluff, gorgeous artwork and photos. 

The rulebook contains some in depth fluff on the battle of Calth and the Heresy (Spoiler alert – Word Bearers are BAD GUYS) which give plenty of atmosphere, as well as containing the rules and six scenarios to play through. My only criticism here is the rules are somewhat unclearly expressed – the Critical Hit rules weren’t clear until we watched a Warhammer TV playthrough of the game, and it was only then we realised about rubble hexes giving cover. This is in the rulebook, just not where you expect it to be. Props to GW for including a handy reference chart on the back page, though, good thinking!

 

The board

The board itself is a hex board, four interlocking sections that are double sided and depict the ruined arcologies of the once verdant world of Calth. These can be rearranged to create all manner of different floorplans with red bordered hexes representing blocked terrain and dotted line bordered hexes representing rubble – slowing movement but conferring a cover bonus.

Dice – contain Hit, Critical Hit and Shield symbols

There are also a deck of cards giving reference stats for all the units

Gameplay wise, it’s pretty straightforward, every unit has a Bulk rating (how many can fit in a hex), Melee and Shoot ratings all allowing different numbers of dice to be rolled.

But straightforward doesn’t mean bad. In fact, this is a really fun game, fast paced and cinematic with the Command Cards adding an extra dimension (a special mention is the Word Bearers’ “Would You Fire On Your Brother?” – sneaky… very sneaky..). It seems to be pretty well balanced as well, we’re pretty much even on victories through the first three scenarios. Alternating activation and the tactical point system makes it much more flexible than 40k/ 30k and has produced some great moments.

In terms of replay value, although there are only six scenarios included in the book, there’s plenty of variation to be had in terms of weapon loadouts etc. There’s also a lot to be said for the “board game” nature of BaC – quick set up and pack down, missions play through in 30-45 minutes meaning there’s plenty of opportunities for replay, campaigns etc.

Now..the million dollar question – is it worth the money? £95 is a LOT of money.. but if you’re coming at it from the perspective of a 30k player looking to start an army (or armies) it probably is – certainly, by comparison to most GW starter sets, it’s a bargain. However, we’re not really arsed about that, we’re thinking about the £4.99 we paid for the game itself, and the answer is a resounding YES. BaC is fun, fast, and a great laugh. Not only that, but it’s given us some ideas…. Originally we were planning to play this with flats or tokens, but then we remembered these guys.

I’d thoroughly recommend this approach to anyone with an existing 40k or 30k collection, as GW have a few tidy looking games out at the moment which plenty of people seem to buy purely to asset strip the miniatures from – Burning Of Prospero and Deathwatch Overkill look particularly interesting, not to mention all the long out of print stuff floating around the net in PDF form. And not just GW – there’s a fantastic game I remember playing as a kid called FireFight which was tile/ boardgame style – I’ll get my Google Fu on the case!

So, in the meantime – Space Marines and greenskins are going to get a repaint, and not only that, but we can investigate a whole host of other classic GW (and others) boxed games – look forward to DIY Space Crusade, Space Hulk, Advanced Space Crusade and a whole bunch more!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon!

 

 

CheapHammer 40k Battle Report – First Blood!

The time has finally arrived! After an eBay accident, a few tricky builds and the final completion of a project which has been kicked around since 2015, Dan and I were finally ready to try our first proper foray into CheapHammer 40k!

For those of you uncertain as to what this is all about, basically it boils down to two Midlands drunks wondering if you can truly replicate the visual spectacle of those awesome battle reports we used to see in White Dwarf without incurring the mind blowing expense of GW’s (and others) 28mm figures – everything you see here is super cheap and cheerful 1/72 scale, both armies came in at less than £15 and all terrain is scratchbuilt from household junk.

For this battle, Dan was adamant that he wanted to roll with the Guard, as he felt the building and painting process which had at times threatened his sanity meant he was due some serious tabletop karma, and I was more than happy to roll out the little red and green dudes.

Our scenario revolved around capturing a pair of plasma reactors located in the centre of the table, with a ruined village and woods on the eastern side and more open hilly country on the western side. I won the roll off and took the southern board edge, planning to use the cover of the ruins to shield the Boyz’ advance.

Under 2nd Ed rules, the player with the lowest Strategy Rating had to deploy first, and with the Guard’s rating being 2 to my 3, that meant Dan had to set up first along the northern edge.

He placed his Heavy Weapons teams (Squad Cletus) on the central hill with the Leman Russ, Chimera on the western side with the Command squad inside ready to leap out and secure the objective and secure it with serious short range firepower and his best close combat troops. Meantime the Russ would punch forward into the main body of the Orks and the Chimera provide supporting fire, while the two infantry squads advanced through the forest, each providing covering fire for the other.

I went for a straightforward Orkish approach – hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle! I loaded up Big Red with my elite assault units – the Warboss, the Bigboss and the Nobz – and placed it where it should have a covered approach to the objective. Warbuggies Red 5 and Red 7 would attempt a flanking manoeuvre on the west side of the table, charge round and catch humie from behind. Meanwhile, da Boyz and the Dread would move up in short order behind the Nobz and Warboss, keeping humie’s head down. Doc Nikki Louda and Mek Mikael Schumorker would provide fire support with lascannon and Kustom Blasta.

The armies line up, Orks at the bottom (southern) table edge, Guard at the top (north)
Da Boyz deply in the ruins, all sneaky like, while the Dread leads the Skarboyz towards the objective
Doc Nikki Louda takes aim with lascannon as Big Red guns it’s engines
Kimi Rorkonnen leads the warbuggy flank manouevre
The Guard deploy – the Leman Russ (The General) anchors the centre with heavy weapons teams in support, while the Chimera prepares a dash forward with the Command squad
Guard infantry prepare to advance through the woods
The General surveys the battlefield..

Much to everyone’s surprise, the Guard got first turn and rolled forward!

The General leads the advance, with Squad Beauregard running close behind using the terrain for cover
Command squad deploy from the Chimera – note the psyker in the purple cloak
First blood to the Guard – a Krak missile from Squad Cletus destroys Big Red, taking out all passengers… that’s Warboss, Bigboss and Nobz Mob!!!!
..and moments later, the General’s battlecannon smashed the Dread apart!
Noticing the lascannon wielded by the Doc, the Adeptus psyker  casts Hellfire, missing his target but bathing a nearby bush in the cleansing fire of the Emperor’s wrath.
With Da Boss and Nobz fried to a crisp, Big Mek Mikael Schumorker leads his remaining ladz towards the enemy, Skarboyz to the fore!
Meanwhile, in accordance with Da Plan, Seb & Kimi begin their flanking manouevre, buggies racing through the gulleys. Blazing autocannons from Red 5 take down Squad Cletus’ lascanoon operator.
The General barrels forward into Ork lines, battle cannon, heavy bolters and lascannon wipe out five of the six Skarboyz, causing the last survivor to flee!
With Seb in Red 5 immobilised by another krak missile, it’s up to Kimi Rorkonnen and Felipe Masha to save the day! Kimi drifts the buggy while Felipe ignites the multi melta and a healthy chunk of Guard HQ is turned into steam…
The tide may be very much against the Orks by this point, but the Doc isn’t going to let the boyz go down without a fight – taking cover in a ruined building, an expert lascannon shot immobilises the Chimera
The Guard infantry element secure the plasma reactors
The surviving members of the Guard HQ squad – Lieutenant and Commissar assault Red 5. Power sword and chainsword flash as they avenge their fallen comrades!
The General’s firepower guts the Boyz mobs, with the survivors forced to flee
The righteous fury of the Commissar and Lieutenant eviscerates Kimi and Felipe and brings Red 5 to a shuddering halt
Final charge of Da Skooderia – a shot from the Doc’s lascannon goes wide and it’s up to Da (remaining) Boyz to try and take down the General in close combat

After four turns, the Guard were firmly in control of the plasma reactors, and had suffered the loss of a lascannon gunner, most of the HQ and an immobilised Chimera. I, on the other had, was down to Doc Nicky Louda and half a boyz mob – a pretty comprehensive defeat!

Conclusions:

So most of our battle reports have ended with me pulling a narrow or Pyrrhic victory against Dan, but in this one he handed my arse to me fair and square! That said, I could point to the lucky shots that roasted ALL my elite troops and then destroyed my Dread.. but there again, a certain parable about eggs and baskets comes to mind. Maybe next time they start off on foot before boarding the transport..

Other than that, my plan can’t have been that bad as Dan had more or less the same one! Da Boyz did their best in very difficult circumstances and the Charge Of The Warbuggies went more or less as well as could be expected, Kimi and Seb getting a lick each in.

Hats off to Dan’s Guard though, that was a fair and square victory, the Leman Russ was an unstoppable linebreaker, heavy weapons teams took their toll and the infantry brought in to hold the line after the heavies had done their work. An army well researched and understood, and a battle fairly won.

Still not sold on IGOUGO, and there’s some things I’d change about the close assault mechanic, but a fun game nevertheless. AND a few things learned for “Future Force Warrior”, our sci fi sister game for “Apocalypse: Earth” – more on that to come!

So stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon!

Cheaphammer40k: Da Skooderia Pt.3 – Wheelz! Scratchbuilt Warbuggies and Battlewagon

Finally, January is behind us and we’ve made it through our month of austerity with a couple of sweet little builds under our belts it’s time to get back to a pet project that’s been languishing under the heading of “wouldn’t it be cool to do X” for quite an embarrassingly long amount of time…

Da Skooderia Ferrorki! I’ll skip the back story (link here and here), suffice it to say this is an Evil Sunz warband who picked up some Warp echoes of ancient Terran racing and liked what they saw – especially the red cars!

FerrariF1
And who could blame them – they certainly weren’t impressed by the McLaren-Honda…

And thus was the concept for the Skooderia born. Back in 2015.

Yes, I know – I’m going with the excuse that I was waiting for my painting and modelling skills to mature sufficiently..

Anyway, with the help of Caesar’s line of Fantasy Orcs and the redoubtable Sgt.’s Mess line of Cold War Small arms, we’ve knocked together a decent amount of AK-47 and FN-FAL wielding infantry, but this post is about the vehicles – two warbuggies and a battlewagon.

Big Red, Red 5, and Red 7

The battlewagon began life as an ancient Airfix self-propelled gun picked up off eBay so long ago I can’t even remember when, decorated with cardboard squares for the extra bush armour, cardboard and cocktail sticks for the front wing and corrugated card for the tail wing (I suppose technically I should update it since I built it in 2016 and the F1 regulations have changed since then, but y’know…)

The two warbuggies started life as VERY ancient die cast Matchbox hot rods – I fished them out of a box at a car boot sale a couple of years ago there was something about them that just screamed “Orky”.

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Red 7 – driven by Kimi Rorkonnen, with Felipe Masha on the multi melta!

This one started life as a Morgan roadster – I added lashings of cardboard for armour, built the multimelta and mount from kebab skewers, with a bit of greenstuff rolled and dotted with hole from a cocktail stick to make the melta barrels. Kimi and Felipe are Caesar fantasy orks, cut down to fit in the cocktail and superglued – and because I’m an idiot, I glued them in place first… won’t be doing that again!

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Red 5 (centre) driven by Sebastian Metal – if someone can come up with a better Orky take on that name, let me know!

Red 5 started life as a dragster, and the exposed V8 and Mad Max styling meant that this HAD to be a Ork vehicle! He’s mounting twin autocannons (cocktail sticks topped with drinking straw muzzle brakes) and a couple of cardboard fins.

I should mention the rivets at this point – all seven gajillion of the bastards. These were little blobs of PVA dabbed on with the point of a cocktail stick and left to dry – actually not too time-consuming and they look quite good, scaling nicely and easy to pick out with wash & drybrush techniques.

Speaking of which – painting. I undercoated with cheap white spray paint then a cheap craft red (bearing in mind the wisdom of Duncan Rhodes two thin cats being better than one thick one), and then washed with Vallejo Skin Wash, taking away the crimson edge and making it a bit more orange.

Next up wash a pin wash with Vallejo Brown Ink, wet blended with Smokey Ink for the darker bits. Dab this on all the rivets too, don’t worry, the next stage will add the highlights.

For said next stage, I took the original red, mixed it with orange and drybrushed over the whole thing. I did two or three layers, each time lightening with yellow (NOT white, you’ll end up with pink – and we’re doing Ferrari, not Force India!) up to almost pure yellow with a very light drybrush.

I did the canopy on Red 5 wet blending turquoise up with pure white, and the metallics started from a black base, dryrbushed first with gunmetal and then very light silver highlight.

Kimi and Felipe were a bit of a problem – I went with a light green thin coat for the skin, washed with Army Painter Green Tone. Two washes got me a nice rich green, and then a very careful drybrush of light green mixed with yellow brought the highlights out. With models this small, I like to use washes where possible as it’s way easier to wash down a light colour than highlight up a dark one.

Bone colours were tan, brown ink wash, drybrushed with cream and then white for the final hoghlights.

THEN weathering – sponge chipping black and metal on the exposed surfaces before drybrushing the mud on, three stages of brown.

Phew! Thanks for bearing with me through this wall of text – hope it’s helpful to some out there. Now to close with some pretty pictures:

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Big Red awaits Ork crew..
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Kimi, Seb & Felipe charge into battle!

So the goal is concept to tabletop in under three years – will we make it? Next up, building a Killa Kan out of cocktail sticks, cardboard and plastic bottletops.. tune in next time to see how we get on!

Terrain Talk Pt. 4a – Plasma Reactor (1 of 2)

 

January is Austerity Month here at Skinflint HQ, we’ve blown all our cash on gin, biscuits and Last Jedi tickets – so that means a hobby budget of £0 for the first month of 2018. But does that mean that we have to stop making stuff? Of course not – thriftiness is the mother of invention.

And in that vein, I grabbed the glue gun and ventured into the box of Interestingly Shaped Crap that all we gamers keep hidden away in the depths of a cupboard..

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A defunct lightbulb, a CD for a printer that’s long since gone for recycling, the lid from a box of Q tips, some straws and a few bit of card…

I knew when that bulb went that it was Too Interestingly Shaped to throw away (and as luck would have it, I had another one.. stay tuned) – it put me in mind of the Imperial Plasma Reactors from Dawn Of War, screaming to be turned into something sci-fi-esque… and pawing through my box I discovered the Q-tip box lid which could serve as a base/fuel tank/ reactor core, which set the basic shape in my mind. I used a mix of hot glue, tacky glue and polystyrene cement to attach these together (with mixed results, as you’ll see later on..), and then cut some drinking straws to size to function as power conduits/ coolant pipes. A good tip here – drinking straws have very little surface area for contact and glueing, so filling them with something solid is a good idea. I glued a bit of kebab skewer inside each one, meaning I had a decent contact area with the bulb and the lid. I then added a few bits of cardboard detailing to be a control panel of some kind, and trimmed a sheet of granny grating to create access ladders.

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Primed it grey, left it overnight in the shed while I wondered how the hell to paint it next.
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Roughed out a basic colour scheme… and then things started to go awry!

I wanted something that could serve as both an Imperial piece for 40k or Epic and a suitable clunky retro-sci fi piece that could conceivably be a part of a 1950’s superscience project, so I picked Vallejo Olive Drab for the base and body, a generic Boltgun Metal equivalent over  a black undercoat for the base of the bulb and the tubular part got painted blue in preparation for a cool forcefield trick I saw on a Warhammer TV post.

Unfortunately, I encountered a few problems during this phase – for a start, thinnning down my black paint meant that it refused to adhere to the primer.. and then, the water in the acrylic paints began to reactivate the tacky glue (which is just regular PVA with isopropyl alcohol added for faster drying) – meaning the model literally came apart on me!

20180116_142605
That went well.

So after much swearing, and a few consultations on Facebook, I (sorry Dan) slightly reneged on the “no money” pledge of January and bought some superglue and No More Nails, which seems to have done the trick.

20180116_234036
Inelegant, but stable
20180117_235054
Now we’re getting somewhere… (by the way, rivets are dots of PVA added with a cocktail stick)

After the initial colouring, I washed the olive drab with Army Painter Green Tone, pin washed the detail parts (rivets, ladders etc) with a homebrew wash of green and black paint thinned with water and detergent, then drybrushed up with Vallejo Olive Drab, lightened with cheap tan craft paint for highlighting. I added a few streaks and pin washed Vallejo Smokey Ink, and sponge chipped with grey, black and metallic for a weathered appearance.

Following Duncan Rhodes (hallowed be his name)’s advice, I created the forcefield effect by stippling on purple and light blue patches, before outlining the lightning patterns faintly in grey and going over them with white.

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I camouflaged the No More Nails residue around the base by painting it up as mud, highlighting up from dark brown to light brown – and here it is in situ:

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A fair few flaws in the detail, but not too shabby from two feet away.

Guarded by Squad Beauregard from the Hazzard 1977th:

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And there you go, a cheap and (relatively) simple scratchbuild! And now I know a little more about glues and paint… the next model should go alot more smoothly.

Hmm, famous last words. Never mind – till next time, stay thrifty and happy gaming to you all!

2017 – A Year In Review (and plans for the year ahead..)

January is a bleak month. Christmas decorations are down, work is back and you can’t start the morning drinking Buck’s Fizz without someone frowning at you.

Particularly the passengers that get on my bus.

Anyhoo, time to think about the year just gone and the year ahead.

2017 was not a great year in terms of gaming, in that we didn’t really play that many games – but the ones we did were pretty freaking great, including the biggest ever Apocalypse Earth battle and an Epic rematch. What this year was, though, was the year our blog grew up. Seriously:

2016 – 4095 views, 1897 visitors, 6 likes

2017 – 18,358 views, 10,297 visitors, 36 likes.

Woah. Just woah. That’s quite some improvement.

And it would seem that y’all out there have a lot of love for the dastardly Holy Soviet Empire – these three posts got over 1000 views each!

While 2017 may not have been too great in terms of games and battle reports, it was pretty great for us both in terms of painting and modelling, starting with the discovery of Wyloch, then Mel The Terrain Tutor and Lukes Affordable Paint Service. Honourable mention to Duncan Rhodes from Warhammer TV for teaching us the wisdom of two thin coats rather than one thick one!

So this led to a revamped board, a complete revamp of all our scenery, a repaint job on both Apocalypse: Earth factions, a cheapskate take on the 40k Imperial GuardOrk and Space Marine factions – we’ve been busy!

Incidentally, our blast markers seem to have caused quite a stir – I would put a tutorial together, but the entire idea was something I copped from Mel, check out his original video here.

So for 2018, what’s the plan? Well, life has a way of fething up your plans as soon as you make them, so we’re not going to get too carried away… but, some resolutions all the same:

Da Skooderia WILL hit the table. 40k in 1/72 is ON, yo.

We’re going to explore the other Apocalypse: Earth factions – it’s all been about the Atlantic Alliance and the Holy Soviet Empire so far, but there’s also the League Of European Nations and the Asian Communist Federation to check out.

Escalation is surely due in Epic scale as well, I keep seeing Dan looking at yogurt pots and  pictures of scratchbuilt Gargants…

We’ll also be revisiting Hyperian Wars and there’s a couple of other projects in the offing: Future Force Warrior takes Apocalypse: Earth 200 years into the future as humanity takes it first steps into the stars, and Apocalypse: Earth – Black Ops explores more detailed small scale encounters in the secret wars against the Greys, bringing an RPG element to the fractured world of the Apocalypse War. The rules will cover small scale skirmishes and role playing campaigns where your fireteam members will be able to develop, gaining new skills and equipment as they face ever darker and more sinister threats…

So, that’s what’s in the pipeline for the year ahead. However, it’s January – and that means we’re both skint. So a pact has been made – no spending money on hobby stuff for a month, we’re going to improvise and use what we’ve got… necessity being the mother of invention and all that… So let us leave you with a shot of what’s on the modelling table right now – two ancient battered Matchbox cars getting the Orky makover, because Da Skooderia are coming to town in 2018!

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How can he drive while holding an axe and a club? Because he’s Kimi-freaking-Raikkonork, that’s why!

Stay tuned, stay thrifty,  and let’s see what we can put together without cracking open the credit card….

 

Cheaphammer 40k! Scratchbuilt Imperial Armour in 1/72

Want to do 40k on the ultra-cheap? Step this way good sir & madam..

So, as some of you may be aware, recently we accidentally picked up a copy of 40k 2nd Edition in pretty usable condition, and along with knackered old copies of the mid ’90s codexes found in the loft we’ve been busy making both Da Skooderia and the Hazzard 1977th PDF into codex compliant forces. In both cases, this has necessitated a fair old bit of reorganisation, and in the case if the gallant PDF, some armour – in the shape of the trusty Imperial stalwarts, the Chimera and the Leman Russ!

Now, as is well documented, we use 1/72 (aka 20mm) as our mainstay scale, as the stuff looks good and is insanely cheap compared to the more popular 28mm, and also provides for a (slightly) bigger and more flexible battlefield. So even if we could afford the GW kits, they wouldn’t scale – what to do.. enter the noble craft of Paperhammer!

Some of you will be familiar with the incredible wealth of talent that is on offer from paper model designers like Eli Patoroch (and if you’re not, blogs like this are a great way to pique your interest), and both of these models began life as his templates, scaled back to 66% (GW is more or less 1/48 scale, 48 is 2/3 of 72, 2/3 is near as dammit 66%). In the case of the Chimera, it was a pretty straightforward build, but the Russ? Man, someone put a hex on that thing from the get go..

Some pics:

The Chimera – basic template build, with IDE cables for tracks and a hunk of sprue for the turret multilaser. I used a split pin through the turret base to attach it to the top of the hull, then built the turret around that. As you can see, one or two mistakes where edges didn’t quite line up – a little green stuff around the edges helped with that.

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Detail added – large rivets from 1/16″ hole puncher, smaller ones from dobs of PVA glue applied with a cocktail stick. Primed with cheap £1 grey spray primer
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My attempt at “underpainting” – prewash with black ink to enhance detail. Not sure it made any real difference in the end though..
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Basecoated with Crafter’s Choice tan (to match the infantry colour scheme). I followed the hallowed wisdom of GW’s Duncan Rhodes – “two thin coats are better than one thick coat”.
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Thin wash of Vallejo Brown Ink applied to bring out the detail, followed by a drybrush of tan paint and then another, lighter drybrush of tan mixed with white.
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Digital camouflage patterns (because I hate myself) – these are Vallejo Russian Green
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Matching the infantry, more digital camo blocks added with Burnt Umber and black craft paint

Shown here with an infantryman for scale.

Finally, weathering applied, including drybrushed mud and heavy black sponge chipping, and varnished.

Now to the Leman Russ – this build threw up considerably more issues:

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Basic turret and hull

Rivets added courtesy of PVA and hole punch once again, cannons and exhaust stacks a misture of drinking straws and cocktail sticks, chopped IDE cables for tracks… and this was where things first started to go awry – I wanted the sponson mounted lascannons to move, so I built the sponsons independently, then glued the small drinking straw (lascannon) to a larger diameter one placed inside the sponson, allowing them to move. The left hand one cooperated – the right hand one absolutely would not. I tried tacky glue, superglue, caulk, No More Nails, plastic glue, even greenstuff – eventually I had to wedge the bastard in there and coat it with superglue, so unfortunately this particular Russ has a slight manufacturing defect. There were also a few problems with the template – this was more sophisticated than the Chimera, and unfortunately when I shrank it.. I also shrank the instructions. So a fair few bits had to be scratchbuilt and guessed at.

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Basecoated with the same tan as the Chimera – for some reason the paint reacted very badly with the primer, and also with the hot glue that held on the tracks.. to the point where I had to lever the damn thing off the modelling mat when I came down the next morning as the tracks had detached from the body and stuck themselves to the mat!

Same digital camo pattern as the Chimera – but hell, there’s only two vehicles in the force so far, and it does look good…

 

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Washing, drybrushing, weathering, metallics – all complete, I take it out to the shed for varnishing and look what happened! My varnish turned into spray snow! Turns out temperature (VERY cold) and failure to shake the can enough where the culprits…
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Repainted, reweathered, revarnished and ready to lay waste to the Emperor’s enemies.. as long as they’re in 1/72 scale of course..

So as you can see, it took a while, and my Russ is owed some SERIOUS tabletop karma to make up for it’s difficult start in life! I’ll be doing a full Armies on Parade when the rest of the force is ready to roll, in the meantime (despite a few cockups), I’m quite proud of these two, and for all the issues I had building them it seems the build was no more difficult than your average Forge World kit..

If you haven’t tried Paperhamer, I thoroughly recommend it – obviously you want the real GW kit to do it properly, but as stand ins, proxies, units to try out before splashing the cash – there’s a huge amount of satisfaction to be had in cobbling something out of nothing.

Stay thrifty out there, see you soon!

 

 

Ooops….

We’ve all been there. It’s late, beer/ wine/ cocoa in hand, money in the PayPal account, browsing eBay… you find something that looks too good to be true, you put a bid on it thinking “what the hell”, the next morning you get THAT email:

“You WON Item no XXXXXX”

Ah, crap.

In my case, what I had won was this:

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Don’t drink and eBay, kids!

So I duly paid my £10 plus postage, and a couple of days later I was blessed with the arrival of a semi complete copy of the 2nd Ed 40k box set plus the Dark Millennium expansion. Now, I’m assuming the seller held up their end of the bargain, because I can’t remember the details of what I bid on, but what I got was:

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20 Space Marines
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Not awful, but I think there’s room for improvement – will bathe them in meths and have a go myself!
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A pair of Ork’s – one mostly ‘armless…
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Lots a’ Grots!
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What to do with you little fellas…
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A TON of cards- man, we hated trees back in the day!
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100% GW, 100% tournament legal!

Now, quite what to do with this unexpected new acquisition – we’re pretty deeply committed to 20mm as our scale of choice with a load of new scenery built for that scale, so the minis may remain display only.. suppose the Grots could be some sort of Ogre race, the Marines some sort of gigantic superhuman genetically altered superwarrior (hang on…), and the templates are all gauged for 28mm.

So we pondered for the length of a beer and though “F**k it, who cares?” – we’ll use the templates and our wee 20mm minis and run some retro mini 40k for giggles. A serendipitous rummage through the loft yielded up the  2nd Ed Guard and Ork codexes from the mid 90s, tattered but unbowed, so we set about tweaking the Hazzard 1977th and Da Skooderia to be 2nd Ed legal. Results will be posted over the next couple of months, and we’re looking forward to running some retro 40k with teeny models! And let’s not forget Apocalypse: Earth’s sci-fi spinoff, where humanity takes it’s first steps into a wider galaxy…. we can call this market research!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon 😉