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.