Brilliant! Pt1

Every so often a project idea shoves itself into my brain and refuses to leave until I work on it. It consumes my life, where every waking moment is spent obsessing over each detail.
The ideas generally never pan out and after a week or two testing different theories out, the drive eventually goes away.

My current project was the idea of using LED lights in mini's. Since my current game is Malifaux, that meant using a crew where glowing from the inside was going to be natural. Thank God the Dark Debts boxset was made in plastic

A whole crew that revolved around spreading Brilliance, a corrupt light that the Hungering Darkness could feed off of, was the perfect crew to play around with.

Unfortunately I don't know anything about LED's or how to wire them. After several days reading various tutorials and learning about using resistors to keep the lights from burning out, etc etc...
I found this site. Not only are the lights pre-soldered for me, but they even come with the correct resistors to prevent burnout! It's even cheaper to buy 10 or more! SOLD!

They sell several different sizes, the smallest being the Nano-chip LED. The light is as small as the eye on Washington's face on a quarter. Despite the size, the lights are incredibly bright. Do not stare at them too long, otherwise you'll be seeing glowy afterimages for an hour.

I don't have any Work In Progress pictures as they seem to have vanished, but the general idea for me was very careful drilling using a hand powered drill through the feet and neck area, eventually meeting in the middle. I have a pretty good sense of location, because I generally don't miss connecting the two tunnels.

The wires on the lights are small enough that even using the smallest drill bit I had, I could string in 2-3 lights with little trouble. Of course that only really came up with some of my bigger models.
Once I had the tunnel for the wire drilled out, I carved a little groove to fit the Nano-chip LED inside, generally the chest area and spun out some cheap Fiber Optics cable to continue the journey up to the eyes.

I use the fiber optics cable for the eyes instead of trying to fit two lights inside the heads of my models. Some of them, especially the Beckoner's had incredibly tiny skulls. With the cables sticking out (like slug eyes), I could paint the whole model without worrying about covering up the eyes, and then trim the cables down to normal size.
If you look closely, you can see everyone look like humanoid slugs. :)


Time fly's when you are worked to death!

Long story short, Real Life + Lots of Work = No time for Fun.

It's been a very long two years where I've basically had to stop working on models/games for a good majority of the time. Luckily, I did manage to sneak in several projects during my rare free days and with work stabilizing, I should have a semi reliable schedule again.

A quick run down of my last couple projects and with any luck, a regularly scheduled update every other week! YAY!

 My family and I ended up moving to a small country town for a few months where a game store was a myth. So I needed a board to play on. I ended up making two back to back.

Graveyard shifts = LONG lonely days off.
 I've always wanted to try my hand at a Mining board and scrapped one together with insulation foam for all the rocky terrain and a beat up rail road set from a 2nd hand shop.
The rails are just big enough to fit a 30mm base perfectly.

 It's been a while since I worked on this, but I seem to remember using tons of cheap acrylic paint from the Dollar Store, cheap rust pigments, and a bag or two of some hobby wooden planks.

 Pigments get EVERYWHERE if you are heavy handed with them. I've never used them before and this wasn't what I expected. Don't spill it anywhere. The mess is impossible to clean up.

 I had a couple huge tubs of green grass from a friend who does not like Games Workshop terrain supplies. On this 3'x3' board I think I used up about 1/5th of a tub? A lot less than I figured would be needed.
 Just some toys my daughter used to help me show the scale of the tracks. If I play my cards right, she'll be corrupted into a gamer yet! They always say that good training starts young!

 I will not lie, I get bored painting the same style over and over again. Looking through the Wyrd forums, I came across this post that I instantly fell in love with. Immediately stealing JMGraham's style, I attempted my very poor imitation on my Seamus/Molly crew that I've been desperate to play with.

 The style is very different from anything I've ever done before and it seems to fit Malifaux so very well. I need more practice making everything blend together better and get the layers smoother, but I like my first attempt.

I got my bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures. They make some very well detailed bases and the price isn't all that bad. Check them out here.
Their pigments and washes are nice, their brushes are the best I've used, and the scenic stuff really makes a model "pop".

Painting the Avatar was incredible fun. He is massive. He has incredible personality. He is hilarious.
Even if the Avatar wasn't that great, I'd still field him, because his model is just that awesome.

Molly's crew was a blast to paint until I got to the Crooligans. I'm confused, because I figured painting undead ghost kids would have been fun, but turned out to be a pain in the neck instead.

Rogue Necromancy was my reward for not going insane after the 3 that came in the boxset. Totally worth the frustration!

I also managed to get a swamp board completed, but I seem to have lost my pictures on that project. Not sure where I stuck them, but I'll try to get a few new pics snapped when I have some free time.
I used some water effects from Woodland Scenic and not only are they incredibly expensive, but the stuff is terrible. Not only did it never dry solidly, even a year later, but over time bubbles started forming on the surface.
It would look awesome except when you touch a bubble, it collapses on itself and looks like a broken plastic dome. Multiply that over a thousand all over the board. BLAH.

Finally, something I needed to do after 80hr weeks, 6 weeks straight, no days off.
I'm sure I would have axed someone if I hadn't vented in the most fun way possible.
(Thank God for children bathroom crayons!)


Malifaux- Gremlin Crew w/bases

I finally finished basing my gremlin crew. I have a 2nd Warpig, my custom pig-a-pult, 4 totems, and Pere Ravage to paint up and I'm technically done until August when even more Gremlins come out.

So, without further ado, here we go!

The full set. You can even see the poor casualty in the top right hand corner. The poor guy lost both his arms in a terrible experimental surgery.

Som'er and his crew. I still hate the gremlins holding the guns and absolutely despise Som'er himself. The Slop haulers are great and possibly make up for them.

Ophelia and her family.  I haven't finished Pere just yet, because I want to attempt Object source lighting with his torch and I'm still studying how to do it. These guys were a blast to paint. They all have so much character and charm. Since they were family, I tried to keep them with the same color scheme.

Ophelia was the last gremlin I painted and the 2nd one that I tried to incorporate a theoretical light source. If you look carefully, her clothes, hat, and skin color darken as you get away from her left.
You can't tell because all you can focus on is her breasts and luscious lips. You sick bastard.

Francois was my first attempt at a lighting source. His color changes are much more drastic and noticeable. I like how it looks, but my 2nd attempt is much more subtle. New techniques take time to learn, but I'm too impatient. I want my awesome paint jobs NOW.

   Rami is awesome. He needs a pig counter-balance for his gun. That is awesome. 

 Raphael is my favorite model for the Kin crew. Something about his "bring it on" pose and big grinning grimace looks almost intimidating in that Gremlin-y sort of way.
As a minion, he seems pretty decent on paper. I can't wait to try him out.

LOTS of pigs. I wanted to play a pig heavy gremlin list from the very beginning. Piglets stampeding everywhere and killing friend and foe alike is just hilarious.
Unfortunately I have to touch up their paint job as my matte varnish went slightly foggy on one side of them all.
Don't varnish in 110 degree heat. It'll just cause heartaches.

Can't have Piglets without the gremlins to raise them.  I haven't used these yet, but the Hog Whisperer has some interesting abilities that should make my pigs even more unpredictable.

Taxidermist and his brother, "evil" Taxidermist. They let you buy exploding bacon bombs. That's all I needed to hear before I bought two of them. They have other nice abilities, but the bacon bombs are all I can see right now.

Custom Pig-a-pult. Of course, as I am finishing it up, the official version is about to be released. I originally had it on the 30mm base like it says in the book, but I hear rumors that it will be a 50mm base instead. So I wait till the official version is released.
That is an armorcast special effect cannon blast. It is amazing.
Once I sculpt a bit of "speed lines" around the piclet, I'll be ready to finish painting. This was fun to build.

Fat piglet, why'd you break the bridge? What? No! I'm sorry! Don't explode! *boom*

Massive Warpig that can eat faces. The picture is a lot more glossy than it should be, but you get the idea. This was the first gremlin model I painted up and I think it shows.  I still like it despite it's "age".  :P

Eventual Mosquito bases. The signs came out ok, though I need to paint on "nails". Right now the gremlins have the ability to put wooden signs together without nails!
Should I paint the mozzies standard black or go wild with the rainbow?

Another view and close up. The zombie could be touched up better and I lost count the number of times I rewrote "skeeters ahead"
The direction sign says Mal'foh and badlands. 

Something I learned the hard way while building these and pinning my models down.
Don't glue your models down to their bases, paint them up nice, and proceed to take them off their bases so that you can actually base them properly.
I chipped paint off so many models and had to clean up bits of glue and plastic from way too many tiny feet.
Lesson learned: Make sure to keep the models separate. Slightly bending painted metal results in chipping paint and hours of touch up work.


Malifaux- Swamp Bases

I've been meaning to take some time and learn how to make some swampish bases based on this tutorial that I found on Terrain Thralls.
If you ever want to learn to make a good swamp base, check that site out. They are amazing.

I also asked my friend over on Grim Dark South for some advice on his Dark Eldar bases. I'm sure if he ever updates that blog of his, you'd be able to see how good his bases are.
Then I spent a good 3 days preparing myself. Having never created bases by hand except for a couple really bad (in hindsight) gravel bases, I was extremely nervous. I would hate to ruin my gremlins by creating monstrosities to pin them on.

It is a lot of pictures so I'll ask for your forgiveness in advance.

 Remember, I followed the tutorial I found pretty much word for word. I'm not going to explain it very much because the author did a much better job than I ever could.
Biggest thing I work on in the beginning was cutting out the water portions and sealing the bottoms with sheet styrene and making sure to glue the rocks down before tossing the sand on top.

 A few of the water sections, space permitting, I tossed in a few bits and pieces I had left over from various sources. Just to spice things up a bit.
The barrel is tossed upside down, like it was spilled in by accident.

Various body parts are chopped up zombie bits from GamesWorkshop.
 Be careful if you cut out portions to create space for water effects. If you don't create a perfect seal and partition off exactly where you want the water to go, it'll either require a lot more than you want to use or it will spill out everywhere.

 For the first base coat of paint, I had to really water down my browns. The sand and rocks had a lot of little crevasses that just didn't seem to want to take in paint.
It took forever to dry and several of them required a second coat.
I'm very very impatient.

 Poor zombies, I never did get to use you like I wanted...Until now! Mwahaha!  The only good zombie is a dismembered and mutilated one.

I painted the bottoms of all my water bases dark green and swirled a little blue to give it some color.  I may have used a bit too much blue and didn't thin out the paint enough. Rather than a swampish feel, it's a bit brighter than I'd like.
Still looks good though. Very pretty.

Most of my finished water bases before any other additions.
I did my best to change up the look and size of the water portions, but there is only so much room on a 30mm base.
They turned out better than I thought they would though.

After about 4 layers of dry brushed browns, from darkest to brightest, I was finally ready to glue the grass on. Note for the future, white glue dries INCREDIBLY slow and if you plan on doing these, don't do them one at a time.
I had a dead brown grass and a lively green one that I mixed together and it creates a much more realistic looking patches. Beware of the fact that the crap gets everywhere and sticks to everything. Don't sneeze!

Close up of the large pig base. I tried to glue grass in small patches and even went "off base" in several of them. It's supposed to give it a larger than life feel, as if it belongs to a bigger picture, rather than confined to a small 30mm piece of plastic.
Does it work? I'm not sure, I'm not the best person to ask, but it still looks good, so it doesn't hurt to do it.

I started adding some tall grass that I got at Hobby Lobby. Woodland scenics makes some great terrain flock, trees, and grasses. For about 4 dollars, I have enough long grass to create a life time of bases. I did up 43 bases and barely touched the amount I bought. Less than 5% is a conservative guess.
The bridges are made from balsa wood and plastic strips. Be careful with balsa wood if you work with it. Very flimsy and doesn't take kindly to having any sort of force applied to it.

When you glue the grass down, watch out, it tends to lean or spread out before you are ready for it.  It takes some getting used to, but you should be able to get it to stablize itself and let it dry without any babysitting.
Cutting the grass is easy, getting it to look naturally grown and not perfectly landscaped is not.

Eventually these are going to be my mosquito bases. I haven't touched them yet as I'm still not sure what to paint them, but the signs should be a good place to pin them.
I just need to remember that Balsa wood is terrible at pinning without being stupidly careful.
I foresee ruined signs and lots of cussing in the future.

I used a Micros Pen to write the words. I tried to paint them on, but I couldn't keep the letters roughly the same size and I kept spacing them too far apart.
This way, my bad handwritting can be passed off as bad gremlin english.

Finally finished them all in about 3 days. I think it was roughly 5 hours a day after work. I'm glad my wife tolerates my bad husbanding as I ignore my family for hours at a time as I obsess over my project.
She's the best.

15 hours of work for 43 bases.  Not too bad I guess. I think I could go faster now, but it would shave off that much time.

I was in a rush to play a game of Malifaux, so I forgot to take a picture of my finished water bases. Here's a base with my 2nd Warpig.
I didn't use modelling water effects, but some cheap stuff I found in the plant display isle at Wal-Mart.
It's basically clear resin that I pre-mix and pour carefully.  It takes up to 48 hours to dry and is extremely cheap. $7 dollars for a massive amount.

The downside is that if you glue any grass where the water will touch as you are pouring it in, it will soak into the grass, pool where you don't want it to be and spill out all over your desk. I had to chip about 10 bases free and refill spots where the resin literally climbed up and out of the base.

See the grass on the bottom? It was meant to be dry. It doesn't look bad, in fact it's great because it gives it a nice wet look that swamp area should have. It was just unintentional and made an impossible to clean up mess.

The total cost of creating all these bases, not including the time required was probably about $25.  I had to buy sand, pebbles, various grasses and the water effects. I didn't even come close to using up any of my materials, so technically if you ignored start up costs, I used pennies worth of materials.