09 December, 2014

Hong Kong Police Cars

First draft of police car decals, version: modern HK, for my "Fistful of Kung Fu" forces.

Layout is based on the 1/50 scale BMW 7 series models I have - and is a pretty traditional jam sandwich design. Hong Kong does have British-style Battenburg cruisers but they are limited to traffic division vehicles, standard patrol cars are still like this.

Optimized for clear decal film printed and applied to a white car. Rear bumper decal is over printed to allow it to be wrapped, and the rear plate text will be adhered over a yellow painted plate.

05 November, 2014

MSG Mechanic 001 Wheeled Command Post Carrier/Missile ADA Vehicle

New vehicles... Watching 'Streets of Fire' and test assembling this MSG snap-fit kit this morning.

The kit, by Kotobukiya, is a good size for 28mm, though I'd like to kitbash a rear drop ramp, and redo the hatches to something slightly bigger. For about 1000 yen it's a pretty nice vehicle, that assembles very quickly, and features swappable command vehicle and ADA roofs.

In command post carrier mode she measures:
Length: 118.4mm
Width: 58.8mm
Height: 54.5mm (roof) / 58.9mm (including gun)
The air defense missile carrier version measures:
Length: 118.4mm
Width: 58.8mm
Height: 71.7mm (top of radome)

Kotobukiya also makes tracked vehicle with armored fighting vehicle (AFV) and engineer recovery vehicle variants... I will be needing several of each.

27 October, 2014

Police Cars and Taxi Cabs (Happy 100th Post)

I'm still waiting for my shipment of cars from China. However I have not been idle. there has been much GIMPage; I've managed to nail down the designs for the police cruisers and taxis.

First, the Fuzz.

The model is a BMW 7 series (E65), however I am toying with the idea of converting the split grill into a single one, and blending away the trunk-lid halves of the tail light assemblies - leaving the sedan more generic. We'll see when they get here. Aside from that, I'm planning to add Valor-type lightbars, front push bars, and grill-mounted emergency lights (not the headlight modifications seen in the sketch).

After much back and forth, I decided on a conventional black and white scheme, with simple text markings. There are subtle nods to Hill Street Blues and the Blade films, but the design is original.I'd toyed with golden-yellow fender markings, but the sketches look much better with white, perhaps because the design is so simple.

Secondly, a Hack Job.

The taxi design is based on the taxi livery used in Almost Human, albeit made more conventional. I decided to add a hint of checkering to the C-pillars, and the registration text block is taken from the type seen on NYC taxis. I haven't done front or rear elevations yet, aside from "CityCab" and the car number on the trunk lid... I don't think I'll be adding anything else aside from, possibly, an aerial marking on the top surface of the trunk lid.

So, that's what I've been up to this week. I guess I should also mention that this is the 100th post. Woot. What started out years ago as a page to support my Delta Green Realms of Cthulhu game, morphed into a Savage Worlds weapons supplement (subsequently spun off on its own), and now serves as my general hobby journal. Hope you all enjoy what I have put up. I'm hoping the year ahead will lead to more regular projects and posts after we get settled in the new house. Fingers crossed.

21 October, 2014

Police Humvee Beginnings...

The experiment has begun... a black and white police Humvee (ala the 1996 scenes in Demolition Man).

I purchased a 1/48 scale Tamiya M998 "turtleback" kit from Amazon.jp a bit back, finally sat down a built up the major components.

 I started with a plan for painting black: it would be painted with German grey for the black mid-tone. With the goal of making the black as easy as possible I'd plotted the following battle plan: German grey base > black shade/wash > watercolor pencil highlights > flat topcoat.

Let's see how this works.


Well... um... it looked grey and white... not black and white. The shade made the grey more 3D, but still read as grey. *sigh* Into the Simple Green and scrubbed with a toothbrush for the hood and wheels. Chassis got a silver drybrush on the mechanicals. then, out came the black gesso. The frame and swingarms, and shock mounts were gesso'd black, as was the hood, wheels and body work. 

Here's where it is now... I need to touch up the bottom of the B pillars, a few points where the gesso contracted and exposed the under color, and clean up the roof line where it meets the black. The glass (not shown) has been gesso'd black on the insides; blackened windows allow models, diecasts, and resin casts to blend better on the table than some black, some clear - it also saves me from having to worry about the crew compartment. I also clipped the side view mirrors, they'd never survive on the table, and sans them, the Humvee will blend better with my other vehicles. Along the same lines, it's brush painted, not airbrushed or sprayed - bit easier to do here in Japan, and the same way I paint my people and bikes.

 It's still in subassemblies, Chassis, hood, A pillar structure, roof/hatch, body, doors and glass. I'd like to give the first drybrush before fixing the glass in place, and that will come after the decals are placed, which need to be ordered/created. I also need to order emergency lights. When all that is done, the quickshade, pencil highlights, and then dullcote.

Not sure when all that is going to play out, but I do have ideas for an open bed model (like the Hummer below) kitbash... so hopefully not so long.

17 October, 2014

All Your Base...

A box from Amazon JP you say? Is it the replacement for my broken under warranty Kindle Fire I've been waiting a week and a half for? No.

Oh... models (and a BluRay of Shaun of the Dead)... specifically Kotobukiya Mechanical Chain Base diorama sets. each has a 6" x 6" footprint, and they clip together. When complete, they will form my miniatures photo backdrop. Need to mount it to something... the floors bow up in the middle, and lots of peg holes to fill.

15 October, 2014

Police Car Markings

I've ordered a number of 1/50 scale cars from a supplier in China... more on them when they arrive.

This has got me thinking about how to paint them. I have decided on the following:
  1. Traditional American black and white scheme, specifically one in which the pillars are NOT painted white, only the door panels and possibly the roof are.
  2. Generic markings. I've gone back and forth on this. Basically, it comes down to the fact that I don't have the room to store cars in various livery; thus generic "metropolitan" police markings will be used.

Design A

I have yet to decide on the exact design of the door markings, if a shield/star or patch will be included or not... my initial pen and ink sketch yielded the first "METRO POLICE" design (above), and I rather like the balance of it, however, I do think it's probably more appropriate for "police" to be printed larger than "metro." thus the two other designs.

Design B

Design C


09 October, 2014

Strange Aeons, 2nd Edition Kickstarter

Uncle Mike's Strange Aeons Kickstarter is live (and already over 200% funded).

I was turned on to the original Strange Aeons by my good friend Obsidian, who I turned on to miniatures gaming when we were both stationed here in Japan (a decade ago).

Heh. You are welcome businesses that sell gaming supplies.

Anyway, for those that don't know, Strange Aeons is a great Cthulhu Mythos tabletop skirmish game set in the 1920s. Players control either evil cultists, or agents of Threshold, a sort of Delta Green type organization. Games are quick, fun, and only require a modestly sized playing area, 1 square meter is fine.

Second edition incorporates dome rules refinements and changes to the weapons table and costs.It should be an excellent successor.

Jump in now, the Kickstarter ends on November 3rd. Check out the existing Strange Aeons line here.

07 October, 2014

Basing Revisited

I've reconsidered my basing ideas... I had been using black anodized 1" fender washers, but it was creating a height difference between my slotta-base and cast-on base minis.

I favor Mark Copplestone sculpts, particularly his work on Grenadier's Future Warriors line. The original line (now available from EM4 and Mirlington S.G.) used GW style round "slotta" bases and miniatures with a cast on tab. After the demise of Grenadier, and the Future Warriors line, Mark set up his own company (Copplestone Castings) and resculpted most of the line as Future Wars... with cast on bases. As I mix the two lines (and others), I had been gluing the Copplestone Castings mini straight to the washer, and clipping the tab off of the Grenadier minis; gluing the soles of the feet directly to the washer. This created a height difference in the finished minis... accentuated by the tendency of the Copplestones to be a slight bit taller than the original line.

I basically had three options:

  1. Ignore the difference (ha!) 
  2. File down the cast on bases to make them paper thin, then glue them on the washer. This is a humongous pain in the ass. 
  3. Base them on thicker bases, and recess the cast on bases. 

I realized that between the washer thickness, and the cast on bases, the Copplestones were sitting pretty much as high as a slotta based Grenadier... so I decided to use those. For the Copplestones, I'd carve out a void to fit the cast-on base, then back it with plasticard. I tried it on a couple minis and it seemed feasible... but I needed to order some 25mm slottas.

Backing the Mantic Dead Zone Kickstarter project helped refine the plan; before I could order slottas, I received my first backer shipment... chock full of these 1" plastic bases with a 15mm recess in the middle. I realized that the Mantic recessed plastic bases were a perfect starting point for the Copplestones. Many of the female figures had a small enough base to just be glued in place. Some of the others, with the base carefully trimmed to the soles of the boots, would also fit an unaltered base.Wider stance figures were traced onto the base, and then an X-Acto blade was used to enlarge the recess to accommodate the base.

As the Mantic bases were not tapered like GW style slotta bases, I chose to use MDF rounds to base the tabbed minis. The tab is trimmed to create two small pins, one on each foot, these are plotted on the base and then it is drilled with a bit of roughly the same width as the pins. Apply glue, press into base. I had a supply of Gale Force Nine's MDF bases, which I was a huge fan of, but as they seem to be discontinued, I ordered some rounds from Back 2 Base-ix in Australia, cheap, relatively near, and good bases. They are unfinished, which means I need to paint superglue over the surface before using watery basing materials like Vallejo's pumice compound. But that isn't a big deal.

The end result, after all of this, are miniatures that appear to all be based the same way. That is good.

17 September, 2014

Enforcement Droid Series 209

"OmniCorp is proud to present the future of urban pacification..."

Last month, while shopping at Joshin Electronics with the wife, I spotted a Gashapon (like those gumball machines with the cheap toys in the capsules in the States, but way better toys here) with soft plastic models from the 2014 RoboCop film... three of RoboCop himself, maybe 3" tall - too big for gaming. The fourth possibility was ED209... in what looked to be something close to 28mm.

I dropped in my ¥400 and lucked out on the first try. I cracked it open right away and was very pleased with the size; he stands 66mm tall overall, making him just about 1/50 scale. Here he is built, pinned, and based; he's actually a 13 part kit (2 feet, 2 lower legs, 2 upper legs, lower chassis, upper chassis, 2 arms, 2 weapon pods, and the mini gun). The round is an 80mm MDF round I got from Back 2 Base-ix Wargaming Products of Adelaide Australia. Nice quality, inexpensive, and quick shipping to Japan. Gale Force Nine MDF rounds were my favorite, but they seem to be gone for good, it's nice to have a handy replacement. One difference is that these rounds are uncoated MDF, so they can be sensitive to water. This base has been coated in superglue to seal it, so that it will tolerate Vallejo Pumice basing compound, which is quite watery.

Since I was basing a big old robot, I also dug out of it's shipping box an Alpha Forge DemoBot. I picked it up as part of a large Star Mogul order I made when Mega Minis folded; finally had the time, and a big enough base, to put him together.

*Ex-Grenadier Future Warriors biker tossed in for scale.

26 August, 2014

Chaos in Cochise County Kickstarter

I am incredibly stoked about this Kickstarter for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it's Weird West, with an extensive line of gorgeously sculpted heroic scale minis (think Chronoscope sized), which is completely awesome in and of itself.

Second, it uses a variant of the SuperFigs rules, which is a Pittsburgh-developed rules set concocted by acquaintances from one of my favorite games and comics shops, and friends-of-friends.

Thirdly, this particular game and the newly launched minis company behind it is brainchild by my friend Lee, one of the most talented miniatures painters I've ever seen, and a fellow that shares my twisted, and dark sense of humor, and love of history. Oh, and he wrote Chaos in Cairo (and other "Chaos" wargames), which might ring a bell for you.

So, a new minis company, with great sculpts, by veterans from the industry, who are hardcore gamers in their own right.

Just. Back. It.

 Just. Back. It.

UPDATE 10 SEP 2014: Sadly the Chaos in Cochise County Kickstarter was suspended. I am able to report that it is being retooled, many lessons learned, and will be back, better than ever (with videos detailing gameplay!). I'll keep you posted.

14 August, 2014

Access Granted

After nearly a year of being locked out of my account... I've managed to regain access. Yay!

Over the next few days, I'll try to fill in the posts I'd written, but been unable to post since last year.

12 August, 2014

Tabletop Police Cars

Filling in some back posts from my time locked out. Originally posted on my supersecret Facebook page.


A discussion on BBC Autos, and an acquaintance who makes Kustom cars here in Japan, got me thinking about designing a killer Restomod police car.

Here's my idea:

1977 Chevelle Malibu 350 4dr sedan (wagon for special services)

Swap the front clip for one from a '77 Olds Cutlass (both were essentially the same car); fill and cut the cowl to accommodate a '70 Chevelle SS grill; racing type suspension, with a slight forward cant; finish with Chevelle SS badges, and some deep-dish slotted aluminum wheels.

Now, if I can just get a high-res 3d model of this, stretch the design to be 1/50 in length and height, 1/43 in width... have a master printed, finished and cast in resin; should have a great sedan to use as a patrol car and taxi with my large-scale Hot Wheels.

04 July, 2014

Gundam Army Men

Filling in some back posts from my time locked out. Originally posted on my supersecret Facebook page.


Spent the day in Toyama, even got out to the Toys R Us near the University. While I was there, I found these: Gundam Army Men. I bought three bags of each faction. Very very cool. They look to be a good match for 1/300th or so.

We'll have to see how they take paint. I hear Army Painter paints stick to softer plastic pretty damn well. Naturally I'm currently stocked with Vallejo.

13 May, 2014

Delta Green FBI Credentials

Filling in some back posts from my time locked out. Originally posted on my supersecret Facebook page.


Work in progress pics of the modern FBI character credentials I'm making for Delta Green gaming. Three color variants... haven't decided on which yet... probably the full color one, maybe the B&W.

16 April, 2014

Mid-Scale Wheel Swap

Filling in some back posts from my time locked out. Originally posted on my supersecret Facebook page.


That awesome feeling when you realize these two vehicles have the same wheelbase....
Where is my Dremel?

Jada Big-Time 4WD Toyota Tacoma (1/64 labelled; actually closer to 1/55) on the left, Hot Wheela Mid-Scale Chevy Bel Air (nominally 1/50, but 1/43 in width) on the right.

07 April, 2014

A Plethora of Mid-Scales

Filling in some back posts from my time locked out. Originally posted on my supersecret Facebook page.


So Amazon Japan was getting rid of some mid-scale (1:50) Hot Wheels... my preferred, yet hard to find, cars for 28mm gaming. I bought all six cases. Don't tell my wife.

I now have:
1x Ferrari 360 Spider
1x Range Rover
1x VW Panel Bus
1x VW Beetle
1x Nissan 350Z
1x '70 Chevy Chevelle
1x '62 Pontiac Bonneville
1x '32 Ford Sedan Hot Rod
2x Hot Wheels Boneshaker
2x '70 Ford Mustang
2x '68 Cadillac
2x '64 Ford Galaxie 500
2x '69 Dodge Charger
2x '70 Plymouth Barracuda
2x '70 Chevy Camaro
2x '67 Pontiac GTO
2x '68 Chevy Camaro
3x Dodge Challenger Concept
3x '59 Cadillac Convertible
4x '57 Chevy Bel Air
4x '59 Chevy Impala
6x '65 Buick Riviera

...to add to the ones I already have.

Notice how good my son is being... he really wants to open all of daddy's toys...

03 February, 2014

My New Crew

Filling in some back posts from my time locked out. Originally posted on my supersecret Facebook page.


Introducing SubCommander Z'Keel of the Romulan Republic, and his command crew.

03 January, 2014

Cthulhu 2010: Japan Now

Filling in some back posts from my time locked out. Originally posted on my supersecret Facebook page.


Call of Cthulhu TRPG (Japanese edition): CTHULHU 2010 - BRP Japan Now

I found the TRPG section of my local bookstore. TRPG being Tabletalk Roleplaying Game to differentiate from RPG video games.

This is a Japanese supplement written by Japanese staff - making it FAR, FAR, FAR better than Secrets of Japan - which f-ing sucked (it is the only CoC book I've ever gotten rid of). 2010 includes Japanese mythos monsters that aren't Godzilla, a chapter on Japanese weapons, Japanese police, investigators, timeline, cults (Japan has tons), and Japanese adventures.

Slowly the translations will begin. Then there are other Japan focused CoC books to do... Cthulhu Cults Now, Cthulu to Teikoku (20s/30s Japan) and, wait for it: Hiezan Enjyo (Burning Mountain) a Sengoku period supplement. Deep ones and samurai... oh my.