Terrain Talk Pt.5 – INSANE MEGABUILD! Power Substation Skalk Point

Feels like we’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front this month, but the truth is – we’ve been glueing stuff together like Chinese children in the better class of sweatshop (i.e. busily, but not necessarily in fear of our lives…).

It all started with this thread on Dakka Dakka, by a user named Skalk Bloodaxe. Browsing through his log of work, we started with a fairly “meh” attitude, but by page 20 both Dan and I were slack jawed with awe and busily scribbling notes. And so it was that we were inspired to raid my draw of Interestingly Shaped Crap to try and build a genuinely spectacular centrepiece for our games.

After the success of our earlier plasma reactor attempts utilising low energy light bulbs, we figured we’d take the idea a little bit further – what about a whole plasma generator substation? Featuring reactors, coolant coils, storage tanks and whatnot.

Reactor No. 1 takes shape – oversized IKEA lightbub, bottlecap, pizza slice holder, laundry powder cup. THIS is why you never throw stuff away!
Asthma inhaler spacer – six years old and never been used, Jim’s willing to tempt fate.. and it does look like a storage tank! Ladder is granny grating, you may also spy the lid from a bottle of Tabasco sauce (mmmm, Tabasco…)
The final layout! Cookie packaging, dogfood scoop, vitamin tank, three defunct inhaler mechanisms, detailed with kebab skewers and granny grating… plus dead car headlight bulb and some form of speaker surround sound mount that has sat unused for the last seven years..
Different angle – we took time measuring to ensure that 20mm bases could move between the obstacles.. actually thinking before we glue stuff!

I cut a slice of roughly square MDF and after glueing everything down with superglue we mixed a texture paste of PVA, filler and a little bit of sand and stippled it down around the terrain parts for an asphalt effect. With that it was time for priming!

Rocking some ultra cheap pound shop grey spray primer!

Next up – painting. Now, experienced, talented modellers will think about a paint scheme ahead of time and in many cases paint individual pieces ahead of time to ensure a clean finish and coverage, before glueing them in place. We are neither of these, so we glued it all down, primed it, and then realised how difficult it was going to be to get to almost everything we needed to paint.

This is why the blog’s been so quiet this month – we’ve been too busy angling our brushes into impossible patterns and swearing through gritted teeth…

Anyway – I’ll spare you the frustration, suffice it to say we went with an all-purpose olive drab finish for most of the complex using Vallejo Russian Green (figuring this would work well across both 1950s Europe, 23rd century sci fi and the grim darkess of the 41st millenium) – this got a wash with Army Painter Green Tone, and a pin wash with my own homebrew dark green wash, before drybrushing back up with Russian Green, mixed in with Crafters Choice tan to lighten back up. If memory serves, we did three drybrush layers.

Next was the main storage tank, and we’d agreed we wanted this yellow. Unfortunately, we’re both muppets and had primed it grey.

Sigh.

So at first, we needed to undercoat it white or the paint was never going to work. We duly managed to work a white undercoat, and then prewashed with Vallejo Skin Wash, and the yellow (cheap stuff from The Works) actually layered up quite nicely over it. We mixed in a little white and drybrushed lightly over the top. You need to be very gentle here, modulating colours subtly is essential. Vallejo Skin Wash came out again for a thin wash into the crevices to create depth.

Main storage tank on the top left – access wheel added from a left over Caesar Orc shield.

Next up, the three smaller storage tanks in white – white’s a weird colour to paint, it doesn’t look right just painted on. So after painting we washed (with Vallejo Smokey Ink), drybrushed, washed and drybrushed again.. before sponge chipping – hopefully the feel conveyed is one of well used but maintained equipment.

Looking battered, but still safely operational!

After that came the plasma coils – this part was from a piece of packaging from some M&S cookies, and yummy as they were, the packaging might actually serve to be the best bit! These got the Russian Green treatment, followed by layering up white, and then a glaze technique using very light – almost turquoise – blue.. and then layered up with thinned down white paint up to a central point. Not sure I did as good a job as Duncan, but it looks OK from two feet away!

Plasma coils glow in the heart of the complex!

And then we get to the fun part – painting the reactors themselves! I nicked this wholesale from this technique on Warhammer TV, so I’ll let Duncan’s soothing voice talk you through it.. although to break it down for those of you without YouTube access, it’s basically blue paint, stippled with lighter blue, purple and pink patches, with lightning flashes done using thinned white paint. Simple enough, but looks the balls. Although with the sheer amount of surface area we had to paint.. it took a while.

Taking shape now!

With this all done, the next step was the asphalt – the paste had settled nicely and given a good texture, but this time rather than paint black and drybrush up, we decided to employ a variant on the “leopard spotting” technique Dan picked up from this Luke’s APS video – essentially, dark washes in three separate shades (black, brown and black/brown mix) that overlap each other. These then get drybrushed up with tan and bone colouring to unify it all together – actually really pleased with this one!

Finally, the nemesis – we needed to build wire perimeter fences. We checked out this video from master builder Luke Towan, but while he makes it look easy.. it really wasn’t.

You may notice Luke uses solder and/ or styrene rod to build his fences.. we didn’t have any of that. What we did have were a bunch of kebab skewers, and a couple of quid from Ebay bought is all the nylon tulle (mesh) we were ever likely to need. Gel superglue and greenstuff did the joinery and we used the grid on the modelling mat to line it all up at right angles, but still this was fiddly and frustrating. Nylon tulle does not respond well to superglue or cutting.. but we persevered and made it! The fences then got a blast of cheap £1 silver spray paint and a couple of Vallejo Smokey Ink washes, and then we drilled through the MDF to create holes to plug the fences into. Very important that they be removable – they may be impassable to infantry, but crash a T-48 into a wire fence and the fence loses!

All done – for now! League Of European Nations trooper for scale




In situ as the Hazzard 1977th Imperial Guard defend from Da Skooderia!

Overall, I’m giving this build a 7/10 – we measured, we thought, we planned, but we were still stupid in many ways, still plenty of wonky bits, but definitely a step up from our previous efforts! Lots more to learn about terrain building but that’s the joy of this hobby, you can always improve as long as you’re willing to!

We’ll come back to Skalk Point in time, as there’s plenty to add – little details here and there, industrial warning notices, a gate house, maybe a walkway or two… but for now, for the sake of our collective sanity, it’s time to turn our attention elsewhere and play a game or two!

Stay thrifty out there, thanks for staying with us through a lean month! See you soon 😉20180330_222815FPQ8CEQ - Imgur

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!

Terrain Talk Pt.4b – Plasma Reactor No. 2 (2 of 2)

It’s STILL January. And we’re STILL skint.

However, I have bent the rules of our “spend no money” austerity pledge a little and bought (gasp) some MORE superglue. Which has enabled me to rebuild the second plasma reactor and actually have the thing stay together:

20180122_232317.jpg
Defunct High Efficiency lightbulb, superglued into upturned bottle top onto empty Q-tip box. Detailed with drinking straw and sprue for pipework, granny grating for access ladders, bts of defunct IDE cable and leftovers from putting up a bathroom tidy – seriously, it’s amazing how much stuff you can find to use as modelling bitz!
20180122_232308.jpg
Note the 13 amp fuse that expired and became reborn anew!
20180122_234425.jpg
As before, primed grey, because… that’s all I had in the shed..
20180122_234433.jpg
Some sort of plug thing made it’s way on there I also added another ladder and an access hatch from card (after all, why have a ladder if it’s not going anywhere? I figured this could be maintenance.. or something..)
20180125_110503.jpg
Slapped on some basic colours – olive drab and blue for the plasma conduits.
20180125_110453.jpg
Thinned down Vallejo Olive Drab – goes on a bit blotchy but there’s plenty more layers to come!
20180125_122800.jpg
Washed with Army Painter Green Tone
20180125_122744.jpg
Daubed a home made wash in the shadow areas for depth. A mix of green and black paint, thinned down with water and a touch of detergent – it’s a crappy wash really but works for these purposes. Might look a bit blocky but we’ll be drybrushing up…

 

20180125_232026.jpg
Like this! Olive drab highlighted with tan and drybrushed up. Then pin wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink for weathering, followed by sponge chipping with grey, black and metallic.

For the plasma effect I went with a technique I picked up from GW’s own Duncan Rhodes – basically stippling purply-pink clouds and then layering up the lightning patterns. The metallics were a cheap craft “Boltgun Metal” style metallic, drybrushed with Vallejo Silver.

20180125_233731.jpg
The piece in all its glory! A couple of Guardsmen from the Hazzard 1977th shown for scale
20180125_233818.jpg
Enough plasma to power a million moonshine stills!

This piece went together a little better than the first, I think – bit more solid, better measured. Looking back though there are lessons to take moving forward as a modeller:

I am TOO DAMN LAZY. For a start I eyeball everything, if I’m going to make quality stuff I need to measure. The rivets (PVA drops added with a cocktail stick) – I could have taken a ruler and drawn them out and placed them in straight lines. But I didn’t, I winged it.

On top of that, I’m messy. Looking at that model I see glue residue everywhere. I’ve painted most of it up as mud, so I think I’ve got away with it, but from now on I’m getting an emery board and sanding down offcuts, glue strands, and just general mess.

Plus, there are some silly slapdash details. Those nodule things on the side of the tank are supposed to be glued to flat surfaces- glueing them to a curved one means there are gaps. I could have filled them, I didn’t bother.

These are weaknesses I’m going to work on this year, as I’m determined to improve my skills. Check out people like Dave Taylor Miniatures, Insaniak, JohnnyHell and The Blackadder on DakkaDakka.com not forgetting our regular heroes, Lukes APS, The Terrain Tutor and Wyloch – these guys can build incredible stuff by thinking ahead and taking the time to do it properly! Attention to detail – that’s the watchword for 2018, and that’s what’s going to take our builds to the next level..

Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and see you again soon!

 

 

 

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..

DTXTdmLXcAEyvhn
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.

DTYBj6IX0AAg-8S
Primed it grey, left it overnight in the shed while I wondered how the hell to paint it next.
20180115_230231
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.

20180117_235054

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:

20180118_215210

20180118_215232

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

Guarded by Squad Beauregard from the Hazzard 1977th:

20180118_215354

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!