DIY Epic Infantry – Yes, You Read That Right.

Right, that’s it, Seven weeks into lockdown and every single surface in my house and garden has now been painted. I’m now allowed to down paintbrush and have some hobby time. So what’s a Dan do now he’s at a loose end?

I know, I’ll paint something.

I wound up with custody of our DIY Epic Imperial Guard contingent when lockdown hit and for a while I was wondering what to do about the infantry contingent – I mean you can’t have the Guard without Guardsmen, right? Massed ranks of lasguns just battering the enemy into submission through sheer force of numbers? I checked out Onslaught, Vanguard, Brigade, Ground Zero Games.. some lovely stuff out there, light years removed from the old 90s GW stuff (which you can still find on eBay, but truth be told, you’re better off hiring a for-real mercenary company for the prices they go for).

And then I chanced upon this guy.

And, forgive me, but I fell in love. For those who can’t/ won’t click the link, this is an utterly brilliant concept called Granny Grating Armies – basically, you cut little shapes from plastic mesh to represent different types of soldier, and you rely on the paint job to carry the illusion. It’s incredibly ingenious, and incredibly cheap, and I absolutely love it. Links to some other projects:

Lord Of The Rings Isengard army

More of the same.

So, I came, I saw, I fell hard. As luck would have it, I still have most of a sheet of granny grating in the store cupboard (Find some here for those of you who have no idea what this stuff is or where to get it). Following the instructions in the YouTube video, I cut out what is basically a cross shape with an extra horizontal layer at the bottom (watch the video, this is som much easier shown than described) and hot glued them to a 20mm x 20mm square of cardstock cut from the back of a notepad (this stuff is called chipboard by our transatlantic cousins.. hello, Wyloch!). A Guard infantry company in 2nd Ed Space Marine has three platoons of ten stands each, plus a command section of two stands and a Rhino – yes, we had Rhinos back then. At five guardsmen to a stand, that’s 160 granny grating soldiers…

…Barely even touched the sides. With more than ¾ of my A4 sheet of granny grating still intact, I chopped out a couple of poles and glued them to the command stands to represent battle standards, and then out to the shed for a quick coat of black primer – no special reason for black other than that’s all I’ve got at the moment.

I spent a few minutes pondering the paint scheme and was suddenly hit by a brainwave – I’ve still got those little tester pots of Wilkinsons’ emulsion that I use for terrain, and amidst them was a very light grey called “Granite Dust”which would serve as a base coat. Splodge on with a big brush all over all the lads, followed by a tan coat with craft paint, Vallejo German Grey dotted on over the chest to represent flak armour, silver on the upper horizontal to represent the lasgun, and a thin black wash. Then a dab of flesh tone on the “faces” and “hands”, with a light wash of Vallejo Skin Wash, and a dab of either red, blue or yellow craft paint to the helmet to mark out which platoon was which, and that’s pretty much it.

For basing, I painted burnt umber craft paint over the black primer, and when dry, a coat of PVA. Drizzle a little flock over it, followed by just a pinch of Garage Floor Dust (TM) and we’re done. All told, about three evenings, an hour or so a time – result, one full strength Imperial Guard Infantry company, cost £0. THAT’s how you keep to a budget.

Epic experts will know there’s still the Rhinos to build, but that’s basically the same as how we did the Vindicators last year, plus every Guard company also comes with a Commissar (and his own Rhino) to keep the lads in order, but they’re coming….

Meanwhile, pics:

“J” company on parade!
Even up close they’re not too bad..
Commissar and Rhino
With GW Marine stand for scale – it’s pretty close!
The full force so far

I love these little buggers. Are they a patch on any of the outrageously beautiful and detailed 6mm masterpieces makers like Onslaught or Vanguard offer? Hell no. They’re not even close to the old GW stuff. But from 2 feet away, who cares? They scale well, and you can make hundreds of them for about £5 in materials! Jim, you’re going to love these… and oh, yeah, that’s the third paintjob on the vehicles, that same Granite Dust with first a green, then a brown, and finally a black wash with just a little drybrushing. Never let it be said I’m indecisive.

Granny Grating Armies is a real thing, check out some links here and here – even if you don’t want to make the models, you’ve got to love the ingenuity.. and it’s surprising how you start seeing the world in grid patterns after you’ve been doing this for a while! Up next, Commissars, a Heavy Company and some Rough Riders! Till then, stay safe, stay thrifty, see you soon.

Do You Like My Leetle Tanks? DIY Imperial Guard Vindicator Company

EDIT – I began this post before Christmas, but life kind of got in the way.. hope you enjoy this belated post!

Two sleeps til Christmas – but amidst the festive lunacy, we’ve still found time to complete a project! These lads are one of the first steps to having the Epic Imperial Guard Army I always wanted but could never (and still can’t afford)..

Anyone interested in the build process should check here first, a this post is going to be all about the paintjob and finishing off the last steps of this project. Now, I’d struggled with a camo pattern for these lads for a while, and regular visitors to the blog might notice some changes since their last appearance.. So I’d hummed and hawwed about how to paint them and eventually decided on an 80’s BAOR/ NATO inspired three tone camo. A few simple steps:

Prime grey.

Basecoat with Vallejo Russian Green.

Stipple With Vallejo German Grey.

Detail with Vallejo US Olive Drab

Wash with thinned Vallejo Black Ink

Drybrush with bone craft paint

Metallics with Vallejo Silver

Pin wash with Vallejo black ink, and wash the metallics.

Tactical symbols freehand with bone craft paint

Drybrush mud with GW Bestial Brown or craft paint equivalent.

And the results?

The lads on parade! Note the red hatch and antenna on the HQ tank – because nothing is more tactically sound than making it totally plain to the enemy which one is your command tank…

Spot the real GW Rhino! Commissar rhino, and artillery company command Rhino shown for scale..

Squadron markings on the front mudguards – red, blue and grey

These lads got a lashing over on Dakkadakka, but TMP members seemed to dig them, and personally I’m quite pleased – they’re a bit darker and more indistinct than I intended, but it’s a relatively “believable” colour scheme and the tactical symbols (which I copied from Google Image search for “FV432 camouflage”) give them a bit of life. They’re sure as hell not perfect, but from two feet away they look pretty good, and I’m looking forward to getting them on the table!

Meantime, Happy Christmas to one and all out there in the blogosphere, here’s wishing you all a fantastic Christmas and New Year!

Another Epic Scratchbuild – Imperial Guard Vindicator Company

Presenting just the CUTEST scratchbuild ever!

I always had a thing for the Imperial Guard as a wee youngling, and it often occurred to me that it was very wrong the way they were portrayed as almost a “fringe” army in 40k – after all, it was the teeming trillions of plain old GI Joes and Janes that held the line against the countless horrors of the 41st millenium, amirite?

But it was always the Space Marines who got included in the boxes…

I always fancied having a Guard army for Epic- the idea of massed tank and infantry suited the Guard absolutely perfectly! But then the cost – GW ain’t, never has been, and most likely never will be, cheap.

So, if I was going to make this idea happen, I was clearly going to have to MAKE it happen, if you catch my drift.

Yup, scratchbuild time again.

Normally I’d go in all all guns blazing and try and build something like a company of Stormhammer super heavy tanks out of cardboard, Blu-Tack and straws with nothing but blind faith in the God Emperor guiding my hand, but we’ve done that sort of thing before and this time I had an idea I wanted to try. I started with the idea of a Vindicator company – back in the early 90s, the Guard could take them, and Predators – and although the model itself got a bit of stick for looking blocky and cartoonish,  it was those very properties that appealed to me for ease of building. If the original model looked like it had been carved out of foamboard and cardboard by a cretin, it should be easy for a cretin to build one out of foamboard and cardboard!

Let us begin:

We begin two blacks of foamboard – I measured an old Epic Rhino to get the dimensions right and came up with 24mm by 11mm

Next, trim these to form a parallelogram – 6mm back from the front and back to create the slopes, again copied from the Epic Rhino I used as my template.

Now we turn to cardboard – or chipboard, for our friends across the pond (looking at you, Wyloch!)

Note the measurements in millimetres – these would form the first layer of the sides and track units.

Another shot of the side units, cut out and showing their shape

Next layer of side armour – again, note measurements in millimetres

Rear hatch cut from cardboard – 12mm wide by 10mm tall rectangle

12mm by 12mm square for front glacis plate

Front glacis plate with edges trimmed

And installed – that 2+ save doesn’t come out of nowhere!

Measuring out the side and top panels on thin modelling cardstock

And applied, bulking out the classic Rhino silhouette into something more intimidating..

 

Ain’t no Vindicator without the unfeasibly big gun! Drinking straw filled with tacky glue…

Glued in place on the front glacis plate. Hatches punched from chipboard with hole punch.

Final detailing! cylinders cut from granny grating to represent the side exhausts

And DONE! ready for priming….

Next up, painting – and that’s still a WIP so right now you’ll have to make do with this for now 🙂 Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon!

Another Epic Scratchbuild! DIY Great Gargant

Yeah, so the other day we were meant to be working on our entry for the DakkaDakka League Of Extraordinary Riveters terrain competition… and then something went wrong..

(by the way – if you’re reading this, Wyloch, then this is for YOU! 😉 )

Must.. glue.. things…

Must.. glue..more.. things.. yoghurt pot, bottle caps, glue lid, cardboard

Armour plating complete

“Eyes” done with green stuff, rivets done with fast drying PVA applied with a cocktail stick

Chainsword and gatling cannon added

More rivets….

Feet! Actually carved from foamboard and then wrapped in cardboard… then more rivets added

Primed! Now it’s looking like a model…

Attempt at zenithal highlighting… yeah….

And prewash with Vallejo black ink – didn’t quite go to plan…

…..aaaand who wants to see it in red?

Red basecoat, smokey ink pin was – white undercoat for the yellow areas, which then got a thin wash of Vallejo Skin Wash.. weathering was sponge chipping, first black and then boltgun metal

Side view

Pipework on the rear, courtesy of some sprue offcuts 

Chainsaw arm reinforced with more sprue offcuts

Hmm… what could make a Warlord princeps think “oh, sh*t” 

Yeah, I’m going to have to go and build my Imperator after all

Hmm… something of a scale issue…

But there again, weren’t gargants and titans always undersized? I’m sure we’ll figure something out..

We’ve really got the bug for scratchbuilding Epic stuff now, so stay tuned for more! Till next time, keep hoarding that recycling….

Terrain Talk Pt. 12 – Life’s A Beach…

You know what? I think this might be the most ambitious build we’ve ever tried. Grab a beer, this is going to be a big one.

Back at the start of the year, I mentioned to Dan that June 6 2019 would be the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and we figured it would be nice to do something to commemorate it beyond getting hammered and watching Saving Private Ryan, especially as we both had grandads who had served on the day itself (mine drove a DUKW in the early follow up waves, Dan’s served on a Royal Navy destroyer). As such, we both took a little inspiration from Mel The Terrain Tutor’s amazing D-Day beach landing board and decided to attempt something similar ourselves.

I mean, it’s not like Mel’s (as he explained himself in his vlog series) went way over time or budget or anything.. and he’s a pro with years of experience, proper materials, a budget, talent…. what could possibly go wrong?

STAGE 1 – PLANNING.

Now, this concept in itself is fairly novel, as up until a couple of years ago we just tended to glue junk together, hope for the best, and then lose ourselves in vicious envy of other people’s work, but this time we knew we had to have some sort of plan.

There’s no way we could do a devoted 6×4 board – don’t have the time, don’t have the talent, don’t have anywhere to store it even if we did – so we decide on a 2×4 overlay that could sit on top of the regular board. Happily, I just happened to have a pair of 2’x2′ bits of hardboard in the shed. Game on.

We roughed out a basic design – a small concave beach with rock formations either side, that would match up and be modular so we could play different scenarios – and got cracking.

STAGE 2 – BASIC MATERIALS

Hardboard base, Celotex insulation foam edging, and yes, that’s a bit of wooden shelf as a plateau. We call ourselves Skinflint for a reason, you know.

Pebbles and cat litter, foam off cuts to start making the beach. 1/72 T-34 for scale.

Caulk and filler to start building some contours

Early days, but there’s something there!

Filler and caulk added, smoothed out the straight lines

Covered with home made texture paste (PVA, sand, filler powder, paint and water mixed to taste) primed white and ready for…..

….leopard spotting! First we daub on a thin dirty yellow wash…

…then, a dark brown wash on the bits that aren’t yellow (although some overlap is fine – just make sure you leave a few bits of white…)

A couple of coats of a thin black wash

Bone drybrush works its’ magic

Such a simple technique, but so effective!

Really brings out the texture

Base colours roughed in – thinned red brown for the sandy areas, dark brown for the earth tones, craft blue for the sea… yeah I know how it looks, but…..

It ain’t staying that way Black and brown washes, as always heavily thinned with water

Sand tones overbrushed and a bone drybrush.. and oh yeah, didn’t I mention this piece has a brother? 😉

Couple of very thin washes to get the sand where we want it – unfortunately, as you can probably see, we’ve got a hairline fracture forming as this was where I’d used corrugated cardboard to add some contour and the filler had decided that now was the moment it would decide not to take… F*ck. Would have been ok, but it was a straight line and NATURE DON’T DO STRAIGHT LINES, YO.

Three tone flocking as per Mel The Terrain Tutor

Coming together now!

Between flock and bushes (lichen scraps, sprayed with PVA sealant solution and covered in several layers of flock, before being sprayed again)

Water effects added courtesy of pound shop epoxy resin thinned with acetone nail polish remover, mixed in a few drops of green and brown ink as well, and then applied with a lolly stick. We nicked this idea from Lukes APS – all hail the Squire Of The North!

Final touches were a good healthy dousing in watered down PVA sealant, followed by a coat of matt varnish. Warping was counteracted by applying PVA on the underside of the board, and – DONE!

We finish with the now obligatory Skinflint Games terrain naming ceremony – ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses and raise a toast to (named after our main influence) Mel Bay!

So let’s wrap this up with a few White Dwarf- style beauty shots:

The Holy Soviet Army fall upon the beach head while the League Of European Nations and Atlantic Alliance forces scramble to respond

So if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with us and I hope you can forgive us for being a bit quiet on the blog front this month! Steal every idea here – we did – stay thrifty and we’ll see you again soon….