Welcome to the Badzones. Here you will find my ongoing projects modeling, painting and playing skirmish level table top games. Here I will focus on Necromunda, Malifaux and Puppet Wars, as well as my thoughts on the hobby at large. Thank you for stopping by and feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Malifaux Terrain: At Last

Over the last few months, I've had little time for the hobby. Without realizing, I've been so focused on work that everything else has taken a hit. Now, with projects at work successfully completed, I'm working to get some balance back in my life. Part of that balance means more time at the paint table and, perhaps, even on the gaming table.

An exercise of that re-balancing has been for me to brainstorm about those things that I like to do, the things that define 'me' outside of my job. In terms of gaming, this means returning to what has always been my favorite aspect of the hobby; terrain. And so I've begun work on some new Malifaux terrain, my first terrain project in almost 10 years. Yikes!

My first dive into terrain again is some simple rocky outcroppings.
I'm using these more as a proof on concept for the next phases of the project, which will be more 'badland' terrain, including hills, woods and a set of stone ruins (using the GW ruined temple kit).

In the past, I've always stuck to a very typical dark grey stone scheme for
this type of terrain. However, I didn't think the dark greys that have always worked for 40k, Mordheim and Necromunda, fit the aesthetic I am looking for with Malifaux. To me, Malifaux is a metaphor for the expansion of America during the time period in which the game is set. It is the ultimate story of manifest destiny, here mankind, seeking freedom, power and riches, sets out into an unknown world determined to conquer it, no matter the opposition. This idea is one of the things that attracted me to the game in the first place.

So for this project, I decided to go with that idea in mind and create something that looked very west/southwestern.

How about some notes on the construction?

The process is relatively straight forward. I collected these rocks from nearby railroad ballast, taking care to pick stoned that were particularly angular. These were simply mounted to MDF and the ground texture applied, first with a layer of fine sand and then with the large pebbles, which were collected from the shore of Lake Michigan and sifted into different sizes. 
When it came time to paint, I airbrushed everything black and began with a good coat of an equivalent of Vallejo Model Color Scorched Earth. For these terrain projects, I use FolkArt acryllic paints from craft stores as they come in a large variety of colors, are cheap, and are nice and thick, which helps for any drybrushing.
I steadily went from the scorched brown up into beige tones, and for a moment I thought I would stop with rocks that were very red. I decided against this however, I continued to add honey colors and beige to the mix until I finally arrived at a layer I thought looked complete. for the sandy ground, I continued to highlight all the way up to something similar to Bleached Bone. 

After all the paint was dry, I went over the rocks and smaller stones with a variety of washes, including Sepia and Secret Weapon's Stone and Baby Poop. This was to call out the details in the rock more after painting, but it also has the nice affect of adding some variation to the color of the rock. To finish the paint job, I went back with all the different colors I'd used for far, all the way back down to Scorched Brown, and stippled them here and there, again to add variation in the colors of the stone and sand. 

After a coat of varnish was dry, I then started with the foliage.

For the project, I used Lichen in two shades, four shades of static grass, some clump foliage and then some 'tall grass.' There's not all that much interesting about the foliage, aside from the fact that it looks great. My tip would be to mix up your static grass. I have found that, using only one blend of grass starts to look a bit fake, but mixing a spring blend with a dry grass blend give you some natural looking variation in the grass and just looks nicer.

I think these pieced have done their job as a proof of concept for this style of board. Next up, we're going to start with some hills and woods using the same palette. The good news is that rock outcroppings, woods, hills and the ruins will all be made with exactly the same techniques. The only difference is how much of each material you use, and what you glue on top when it's done.

Thanks for taking the time. As always, comments are very welcome.

More to Come.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eww! Corpse Markers

My original corpse markers...30mm bases (with green and
red tabs from Puppet Wars). Effective.....but boring....
One of the things that has always captured my interest in Malifaux is the way you can tell a very interesting and in depth story using only a handful of models, some tokens and enough terrain to fill a 3'x3' board. The variety of the setting, of the models and, in turn, the accessories accompanying those models is almost limitless. As someone who plays predominantly Ressurectionists, this meant corpse counters.

I've always been excited at the idea of making some very gruesome and violent corpse markers, and as I have been playing a lot more often I decided the time has come to make them happen. When I originally set out to make corpse markers, I started by making my own out of spare zombie bits. These didn't amount to much more than a bit glued onto a base and I wasn't very excited. That's when I decided to go with Secret Weapons Miniatures and their corpse field bases. 

First is a picture of the bases as they come. They are very stylized and to me, they seem to homage Gustav Dore's Illustrations of Dante's Inferno.

After a quick wash and black undercoat, I got to work. I decided to paint the ground on these bases a deep sand color. The trick would be to noticeably look like parched earth, but not be too bright that any blood effects added later would look too bright.

Ground complete / Bascoat on Flesh
Once the ground was done, I moved onto the flesh. The flesh bits on these counters started with a mix of Vallejo Model Colors Flat Flesh, Purple and Game Color Rotten Flesh. After being highlighted, I washed the flesh multiple times with a variety of shades includes violets, greens and a bit of sepia.

Painting on the bases complete. 
In the wavy parts of the base, I opted to paint a very dark blood color. When the water effects were added, this would give the look of coagulated gore. I also picked out parts of bone, hair and some clothing in a variety of colors.

The finished paint job on the models was almost enough to call them good to go, but I decided to add some more gore in the form of envirotex lite.

Let's take a look at the completed bases.
The finished set, after varnish and Envirotex Lite
To add the pools of blood and gore, I mixed two separate batches of the resin. The first was clear, and was poured into the hollow bases first, followed quickly by injections of the second batch, which I had died a deep red. To inject the red resin, and therefor the look of pooling and flowing blood, I used a syringe with a very fine needle. The resin works quickly to destroy a syringe and a needle, but the effect is well worth it.

My goal was to make something graphic, violent and something that other players wouldn't want to touch. I think these are pretty successful at all those things.

Here are some pictures of the individual markers in more detail. I've enhanced these photos a bit, brightening them to see more detail in the darker blood.
Corpse Marker #1: 
You can see well how the darker blood of the base itself  
works with the clear and bloody Envirotex.

Corpse Marker #2:
With this one, you can get a good
look at the swirls, made by filling
the base with clear Envirotex,
then injecting the blood envirotex
right away.

Corpse Marker #3

Corpse Marker #4

Corpse Marker #5:
You can see the LED light strip in
 the picture, from using my Foldio.

Corpse Marker #6

Corpse Marker #7

Corpse Marker #8: I included the 
Femur,  which I found in my bits box.

Corpse Marker #9:
Another good example of how the 
swirls came out, controlled by 
injecting the dyed Envirotex. 

Corpse Marker #10: 
The truth is that I think all 
of these turned out fantastic.

Gross, right? Perfect.

Anyway, as always, comments are welcome and appreciated...but now it's time to paint some Ressers.

More to Come.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 16: Riftling Rogue

Recently, the Riftling Rogue joined the cast of characters and brought the SDE project one step closer to completion. In the last couple of weeks, I've even managed to play a game of SDE and it has been an immense pleasure to have all the models in play painted and looking great. As I finish the project, I will devote some time to capturing some really good pictures of the models, both on the table and using the Foldio. To wrap up the project, I will also have one showcase post, where all of the models can be seen together and in glorious color.

Meanwhile, the Riftling Rogue was a quick paint and turned out quite well. I've seen several versions of the painted rogue, and each of them took a different road as to the fleshtones used on the model. For me, I wanted to go with something that was distinctly non-human, but also not entirely out of the ballpark. In the end, I used a combination of Vallejo Model Colors Flat Flesh and Violet Red. This gave the rogue a distinctly purple hew, while still making her look like some kind of hybrid.
For the Rogue's clothes, I opted to go with a combination of Vallejo German Fieldgrey with a bit of Black to suggest black clothing rather than actually use black paint. I find painting black, particularly on a model like this can lose the detail. Instead, I went with nearly black.

The Rogue's hair is Vallejo Blue Violet and White, building all the way up to pure white. 

With a reasonable amount of time spent painting, the Rogue ended up being quite a good looking model and I am happy to have her on the board.

More to Come.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Game Night: Initiate!

My wife Laura and I have decided to start gaming on a regular basis by scheduling a family game night. We've always played games and said to each other 'we should do this more often,' but, until now, we've never played regularly. The hope is to add to our list of things we enjoy doing together, while simultaneously building habits that will carry over to our daughter as she grows older.

Over the years, we have played a number of games. Chess and Scrabble have always been in the mix and I've slowly injected my own games into our rotation over the years. We have played a lot of Space Hulk and even tried Necromunda once or twice.

Recently, Super Dungeon Explore has taken the stage, which has been the inspiration to get it all painted. As I get more painted, the games get better and better.

Last week, we added Malifaux to the mix as well. For this game, we started slowly, with Margaritas and 4 models per crew. Laura took on Perdita, Francisco and two Death Marshals. I took Seamus, 2 Belles and Sybelle. We started very small, using only our standard cache of soulstones, no upgrades and simplified rules. Namely, we didn't add any positive or negative modifiers to flips and we ignored everything to do with Wp. I think this was a good start.

I really hope Laura sinks her teeth into Malifaux and really enjoys it. I know she will probably never be as into the hobby as I am, but it would be great to have it as a shared hobby. In my eye, Malifaux is the perfect game for her to get into, as the game can be played simply or more complexly, there is a wide variety of crews and styles to play and the community is incredibly diverse and filled with our demographic; a good place to make friends.

This week, our plan is to kick it up a notch by adding positive and negative modifiers, as well as throw in Wp rules. After that, I think we'll start looking at using larger crews, then actually building crews to use. Lastly, we'll look at other crews and start playing with upgrades. Slow and steady....

More to Come.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 15: Dragon Hatchlings

This will be a quick update because this was a pretty quick little project. I was able to complete all of the Dragon Hatchlings in an afternoon over the weekend.

For the hatchlings, I had a hard time deciding what colors I wanted to go with, so in true dungeon crawl video game style, I painted each one a different color entirely. To make the process a bit faster, and get more time logged practicing the airbrush, I did the basecoats and primary highlights all with the Sotor 2020. As I start to get the feel for the brush, I am starting to realize the potential that exists for some really nice looking work with it.

After airbrushing, I went back in and did a few washes and highlights conventionally. I then went back and did everyone's eyes a different color as well. My micron pen was again put to good use decorating the hatchlings with little freckles and and such, for added cuteness as they are mercilessly cloven in half by bloodthirsty, if equally cute, heroes.

More to Come.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Toy: Foldio Kickstarter by Orangemonkie

The Foldio...all folded up
As those of you who read my blog know by now, I am always looking for ways to improve this blog, either with more posts, more content or better pictures. A few months ago, I invested in a tool that, I hoped, would allow me to increase the quality of pictures I add to the blog. That tool is the Foldio, the product of a kickstarter project by Orangemonkie, and it arrived last night.

The second LED strip...
offered as part of the Kickstart
I will not go into a full unboxing of the Foldio, instead, you can watch their kickstarter video. In essence, the Foldio is a foldable plastic sheet that, with the help of several magnets, can be folded into a portable lightbox. The Foldio also includes two LED light strips that take 9 volt batteries, which themselves attach to the box with magnets. It is very slick.

The Foldio in all its glory
I still have yet to really explore taking photos with the Foldio, but so far, the results have been impressive. The Foldio is large enough to hold several models or even vehicles, the LEDs provide a perfect amount of light and the enclosed backdrops fit in nicely. I am excited to get more photos taken.

Let's take a look at a couple of photos, before and after the Foldio.

Image #1: Before
Image #1 is a standard image I took using an 8 megapixel digital camera. I used my desk lamp as lighting and a simple white plastic sheet as a backdrop.

Image #2: Before
Image #2 is taken with an iphone camera and the same light as image 1.The backdrop is my desk and (sexy) finger.

Image #3: Before
Image #3 was taken using a dark felt backdrop and the same lightsource. 

Image #4: Before
Image #4 was set up the same as the first image, but with the additional of another OttLite for added light.

Each of these set ups involved placing the light in the right place and taking 9 or 10 pictures, loading them onto Picasa and editing them to bring down the brightness, etc. Now, let's take a look at the pics I took with the Foldio.

For these pictures, I set up the Foldio, turned on only one set of LEDs and snapped one each using the iPhone. The whole thing took no more than 2 minutes.

Image #5: After
Image #5: Was taken with the white backdrop that came with the Foldio.

Image #6: After
Image #6: Was taken using felt in addition to Foldio backdrop.

Clearly there is some improvement to be had. However, The last two pictures represent about 2 minutes of set up, whereas those prior represented a far more complex and time consuming set up, including multiple lights and many, many duplicate photos.

Moving forward, I am going to get some practice in with the Foldio and different cameras by retaking several of the pictures that have already appeared on this blog and replacing them a little bit at a time. In the meantime, however.....

More to Come.