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Friday, May 31, 2013

"oh, you don't have D&D tonight hon?"

If ever there was a moment when the sound of impending doom could be heard... So basically my evening was shot last night as I became chauffeur for the family. By the time I was home and could actually bust out the painting, the motivation window had closed.

However, the bright side is that I'll be home on Saturday watching my daughter while my wife and son are out for several hours. That means Spongebob comes on and daddy gets to paint. :) Well, at least for a little while.

Meanwhile, my taunting has continued to work on Robert. Today he came in with three more vehicles primed, the KoB bombards (Churchills I believe).

I have to say that I'm impressed so far with how well the base coat was laid down. These models were primed grey originally, and Robert hand painted the green on them. I always worry about detail being lost with multiple coats, hence I use color primers. But these guys show no signs and looked great.

Hopefully this weekend we can keep the pressure on him to put down a few more bits of color on these guys and see how a finished product looks.

Yesterday, I started looking at the Armored Clash rules. Immediately they reminded me of the Dystopian Legion rules. I think the colored dice mechanic is a great expansion to the game. Also, as a long time lover of Warmaster, I like that they have a command mechanic in the game as well. I will say I was confused a bit at first by the army lists. I think if they provided pictures of the units in the document next to the entry, it would go a long ways to making them easier to read. Unfortunately I don't have enough models yet to try an AC game, but with as much as I like the land game of DW, I will be moving in that direction. Plus, its a great excuse to buy more cool models.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The gauntlet has been thrown!

So finally I have something to show you other than my work. I have been taunting my friend Robert to get going on his DW models so that we can have some good proper games. He loves all things British (even bought a mini cooper) and so he had to go KoB when Dystopian Wars came out. Our forces have clashed a couple of times with games generally being too close to call. Unlike me, he has stuck with the KoB since the beginning. I'm still lamenting my FSA sale from so long ago. Of course now I have three fleets, with a fourth one planned. So who am I to complain?

Anyways, Robert came in today with a nice little surprise. He's started on his models! Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn! Now I know this great build up will have you thinking I'm about to show you some awesome stuff. Well you don't know Robert.

I know what you are thinking...."they're green". However, the fact that paint has found its way to the model is substantial. Now I'm not really one to talk too much. I've owned my DW stuff for quite some time and mine is now just barely getting some paint. So I'm not busting on him too much. I really like the base color he is going with, which I believe is russian uniform. He has quite a bit of paints for his FoW collection, so I'm expecting to see standard WWII British colors for his army. Not a bad way to go. Will contrast nicely with my red Blazing Sun force. Hopefully this will also inspire some other local DW players to start sending me pictures of their armies.

Today is normally my D&D night, but my DM is out of town...boooooo. But, it gives me an unexpected night to do some painting. So tonight I start operation assembly line. I'm going to take the rest of my land tanks, and going with one color at a time, paint the lot of them. If all goes well, I'll have them all ready for ink or glaze by the night's end.

On a related note, I also own AP's soft tone ink. So one of my models might get hit with that to see how it turns out.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Post Memorial Day Update

First off, a shout out to all of our veterans and their families. God bless you and thank you for the sacrifices you have made for us.

Okay, now to the updating. Since it was a long weekend here in the states, my family took our annual trip to the Menucha retreat. There we volunteer our weekend to doing various chores around the facility to help get it ready for its busy summer season. I ended up splitting wood all weekend long. Suffice to say, I didn't get to spend much time painting.

However...I did finish up a couple of vehicles and took pictures last night.

Dead center is my previous finished model. To the left is the finished bombard vehicle. Below that is a small tank stand. To the center right is a finished frigate. Above that, is a base coated frigate awaiting detail.

I decided to use the Vallejo black glaze on all three updated models. As you can see, the bombard is brighter than the chi-ri. There are a few pluses and minuses. I like how the bombard's bone is more striking. The red is bright, but not horribly so. However, I like the treads on the tank better. I might actually need to do a combo of ink and glaze to get the final product I want.

Here we have the finished frigate next to the primed one. The glaze darkened up the red tip nicely, but didn't take the bone too far away from the original. The white stack still looks white and the bronze got picked out nicely. I forgot how much I love my black glaze. Although in a few places it did "dirty" the bone paint. Maybe I just did it too thick? I should have also mounted the frigate to something so I could hold it up. I glazed it while it was on my workbench. Not the best idea.

The glaze didn't do to bad on the tiny tanks either. Now I just need to finish basing the bombard and TT and they will be all set to go. I'm going to use a thinner basing material for the TT. Fewer rocks and tufts.

So not a whole lot of progress made, but one model finished and two others darn close. Oh, and in other news, I picked up a French fleet. No idea yet on what I want to do with it. But it is at the tail end of the list for now. I have the Empire to finish up first, then the Prussians, and then I can think about the French. Of course, if I am able to afford the Italians any time soon, those will jump up in the line.

As always, feel free to post comments on the paint job or the blog content.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Glaze vs Ink

So today going to take a look at two different products that I have used for detailing the Dystopian Wars models.

Before Dystopia, I was pretty big into Flames of War, and in fact, still have several armies. One of the great products I found at the time that really brought out the detail of the models was Vellejo's Black Glaze. It comes out in this thick goopy substance, and my first thought was, WTF?? Thankfully though, I was instructed in its use beforehand. Basically, you put a small glob of it on your palette.Then, take your brush, dip it in water, then into the goop, and apply to the model. From there, keep dipping your brush into water and then back to the model until the glaze has been thinned out. It does a fantastic job of black lining all of the crevices on the small scale models. What I really like about it, is that when done correctly, it doesn't color the paint very much. Obviously, if you put it on thick, it will, but if done right, it only fills the lines. Small warning though about the glaze, if you use too much water, it tends to actually white line the areas instead. Don't ask me how, I'm not a scientist, I just know it happens.

I've also used AP's strong tone ink recently. Now it is more of a traditional ink and does indeed color the paint as well as provide the dark detail lines. It too can be thinned down with water, but not nearly the same as with the black glaze. AP's ink is a different product than their strong tone dip. It does not leave a shiny film over the paint like the dip does, and it drys like a normal ink (unlike the 24hrs you typically need for the dip). I also own their normal ink as well (I think..or is it the light ink?). I may try it on one of the next models to see how much it darkens. On small models like these, I think having solid dark lines really brings out the details. I'm a bit worried that a lighter shade of ink will not line as well.

Above are three models nearly ready for the final detail process. The frigate on the left is going to receive the black glaze as I don't want to darken the colors. The other two models will receive the ink in order to tone down the brightness of the red and bone. I should get these done by this evening and will hopefully be able to add an updated image. As it is a holiday weekend though, I make no promises.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quick progress update

So just wanted to give you guys a quick image of my current progress. I've got a finished model up for reference.

The dark tone ink really does bring the brightness factor down a whole lot as you can see. By the way, the white base did come with the model. I think Spartan has switched to green plastic bases now that are a little thinner. I find the bases very helpful for movement and making clean measurements. I'm actually sort of surprised that they didn't include bases for their boats as some of them are a paint to turn. I've seen a few people make their own though, so I might look into that when I get back to them.

I'm really looking forward to finishing up the tiny tank. I think I will use a thinner basing than I used on the larger models. That and the ink should make those little guys pop.

My next step is to get a game in with these guys, even in their current state. I'd like to start doing some posts on the game mechanics, but want a refresher. Besides, playing is why I'm doing all this in the first place. Plus I'll get in some cool action shots.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Some more painting

So I started painting last night of the Empire bombard and one of the small tanks. Thank god for sure hands. That small tank was a pain. Thankfully though, due to my paint scheme, there wasn't much to it. Just lots of cleanup afterwards. I didn't take pics yet, as it isn't quite done. I still need to wash it and base it. Not sure as to the basing just yet. I see most people don't base their TTs, but instead just paint them. I'll see how a thin base works on the model.

The bombard was giving me fits though. The paint was not adhering to the primer! Argh! The model was done at the same time the Chi-Ri was no clue why that one has issues. But it took forever to get a good coat of the secondary colors on it. It still looks ugly and I have to go back and do lots of cleanup.

Apparently I also just need to store all of my AP paints upside down. They come out so thin. Wouldn't bother me so much if they covered well, but so far, two coats are a minimum. Again, no pictures, though maybe I'll snap one when I get home so you can see how ugly this thing is looking right now.

On a side note, I'm completely bummed today. I just found out that one of my few friends is moving to California. The big dummy took a promotion and the job is down there. Ugh. He's my DM! Isn't there some rule that says DM's aren't allowed to move until the campaign is over?? I truly am depressed over this. Don is a great guy and one of the few people in Portland that I can give shit to and he doesn't get offended by it. And now he's going to move away. I think he's just trying to get back at me for beating him in X-Wing so often.

Okay, enough wallowing. If I have some time, I'll try to take a few progress pictures and finish up the next two models. However, I have dragonboat practice tonight (actual boat, google it) and then an indoor soccer game after that. I'm going to be exhausted.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wait shmait...

Okay, so I'm a bit addicted to this blogging thing. I can't help it. Watching that view counter go up is just really cool. So, with that in mind, I had time tonight to finish up my tank. Take a look:

I based it, fixed the missing bolt gun metal on the inside of the wheels, hit it with ink on those places and a few touch ups here and there. Then I hit it with the matt spray. Quick tip about any sprays, make sure the model is devoid of fibers or hairs of any kind. I happen to own a long haired cat who just loves to cover my models with fur. After priming the whole tank force, I spent about 30 minutes picking off red hairs that were stuck on the models.

As you can see, the red dulls out quite a bit after the ink. Plenty of contrast looking from top down, and it works really nicely from a side view to see this red tank cruising across the field. Now I gotta do the other types to see how they work out. Should go fairly well based on this one.

My next post will hopefully be about an aspect of the rules. I'm rereading them again and trying to sort out a good spread of info to present. Now that I have a painted model, I can provide some action shots! :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

One down, lots to go

Today did not start out like I was hoping. Had some technical issues with my daughter's bed that will result in a repair call going out tomorrow. Ugh. Thankfully though, I have a pretty cool wife who gave me time today to paint like I wanted to.

So, first up was the Type II 'Chi-Ri' Medium Tank of the Empire. This is boxy little tank with a nice turret up front. As I showed from the last post, I had primed these all red using Army Painter Pure Red primer spray. Looked a bit on the bright side, but I had hopes the washes would see that out.

Note to future Empire players. Glue on the turret last. There was some deck area I could have gotten to much easier if I had painted first, then put the darn thing on. All in all though, not too big of an issue.

Step 1: cleanup - needed to take the regular paint for Pure Red and hit spots the spray missed. Yay for color matching!

Step 2: base coats - I used platemail for the guns and ladder on the tank. Bronze for the central smoke stack, Gun metal for other metal bits, bone white for the deck, and then monster brown for the tracks. Now originally I used monster brown for the deck, but I didn't like how that looked. Far too muddy.

Step 3: dark tone wash - like it says on the tin. I just washed the whole model using AP's dark tone ink (not their dip).

As you can see, it really made the treads and deck pop out, as well as just provide some depth to the whole thing. I really like how it turned out. Now I did make a few goofs by not painting the inside of the wheels. I need to go back and do that and hit that area with ink again.

Step 4: dull coat - now at this time I haven't used the dull coat yet. I need to do the above first. But I have found that the dull coat (which works great with the dip), adds a subtle highlight to the whole model as well as protecting your paint job. Who could ask for more?

Step 5: basing - now all I gotta do is come up with a basing scheme for this group. I'll probably go with standard grasslands for the nice contrasting color.

I have to say, overall I'm really pleased with it so far. I have about an hours worth of work to do and then it should be all done. If I'm lucky I'll get to that piece tomorrow. I may even wait until I get a few more done before using dull coat so that I can do a group all at once.

Till next time...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And so it begins...again

Well thankfully, the sun came out long enough for me to get some priming in. My Empire of the Blazing Sun land starter is all nice and red. I used Army Painter Pure Red spray primer for the base coat.

And wow are those guys bright. No fear though. I'm sure once the rest of the paint is on and the wash is used, it will look quite nice. I really like Army Painter products. Their spray is top notch and their dip is insanely good. Its also insanely expensive. So I have been researching alternates. I tried out MinWax Polyshade and found it to be a bit thick. So my next experiment with it will be to thin it out with mineral water first. I won't do that for these guys though. I'm going to try the bottle tones first to see how they work.

Now a little tip for Army Painter bottles. If it seems too thin, try storing the paint upside down for a few days. That really helps. I got that from the makers themselves. So I'm hoping tomorrow that I'll have time to do a test vehicle. I have platemail for the guns, bronze for the steamy bits, electric blue for any windows, and I'm trying to decide if I go bone for the deck, or ash grey. Bone will tie it in better with my air and sea fleet colors. Or maybe I'll just use Bone for some edgework? Not sure yet. Stay tuned to see how it turns out.

Also, my next few posts will be discussing the rules. I'll take them step by step and provide some examples. I've done a little research already to find good explanations. The Spartan forums is a good place, but you need to hunt a bit.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Federated reinforcements unavailable!

Just a quick post. Seems like my two FSA land starters got KO'd by MWG. Dang. So that means just the Prussians and the Empire for now. Not to fret though. That money will go straight towards getting my Italian fleet. However, it does mean I'm on the look out for an enemy nation to go up against my Prussians and Empire for demos. I'm thinking maybe the Russians?

Steampowered crystal ball

So lets take a quick look into the future. What is next? Well, my first goal is to start playing games again. I've got two avenues to take here. There has been some rumblings of a LGS hosting an escalation league. Now I love escalation leagues. However, the big problem with leagues is having a set time and place for games. For me, that is hard to do on a consistent basis. And honestly, right now with all the stuff going on in my family's life, probably not too realistic. But I'll keep my options open.

The more probably avenue will be to drag a few of my friends over and play. For that, I'd like to keep things simple at first with low point games and really concentrate on getting the rules down. So currently I'm dragging my book around with me wherever I go so that I can read up on something.

On the painting table, I have my Empire land fleet. Frickin' rain again today. But maybe by the time I get home the sun will be out long enough for me to prime. Hopefully within the next week I'll have at least a test model done and will post up a pic. Not sure what to do about basing just yet. I've heard some people don't use the bases, but that seems to make the mechanics of turns and such a bit of a pain. I'll probably stick with them just for that alone.

Now, once the land fleet is done, I'll probably move on to some war gyros and bombers. Those units will let me continue with the land fleet and add in another aspect of the game. My end goal is all of my Empire army painted so that I can showcase it for demos.

Demos? Yeah...demos. I've been thinking about what it would take for me to successfully enter the Vanguard program with Spartan. That is a quite a ways off, but gives me a solid direction to shoot for. For those not in the know, I'll need a second army. Well look what the mailman just dropped off...

I know, I know, Prussians? "But they are allies of the Empire!!" Gamers on a budget can't be choosy. The Mini War Gaming store was closing down and the bargains on these guys was too good to pass up. Also, I've always liked the just seemed that everyone else around me did too. And we all know that their air carrier is one of the most awesome models ever. Plus, a guy I did a warhammer trade with recently threw in a metzer robot. What good is a robot without an army behind it?

But never fear, that sale also nabbed me two FSA land starter sets, they just haven't arrived yet. And don't give me crap about how I thought they were ugly..I still do, but mini's on the cheap win out. Plus, it gives me a more legitimate enemy for my Empire and now Prussian armies. :)

So there you have it, my Dystopian future laid out: Learn rules, Play games, Paint armies, Become vanguard.

Now I will say that there was something else in that box along with my Prussian was a Prussian medic pack for Dystopian Legions! Yup, I've also got a Prussian Legions starter, some tankettes, and now medics. But those guys are on stand-by while I work on the DW stuff. But you never know..they just might pop up in this blog from time to just can't trust those pesky Prussians.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No Sun :(

Can you believe it...the sun did not come out once all day today. Freaking Pacific NW. So my beautiful Empire land fleet sits there unprimed.

I have to say I really love the Empire land vehicles. They look stunning. That was one part of the FSA I could not get behind. I hated their land vehicles. But Empire, these guys are sweet.

Empire of the Blazing Sun

So as I said before, I had started with the FSA fleet. I really liked their ship design and loved that they had blimps for air power as well. I had gathered quite a collection by the time I had decided that I needed to move on. You see I've been a GW gamer for the longest time...over 20 years in fact. I have amassed a large collection and always discovered that GW games had staying power while the rest didn't.

Being a family man, my hobby money is tight now. So in my head, I could only justify having one army for another game system. I knew the Italians were going to be released eventually and so I was willing to give up the FSA and wait for the Italian League. That lasted for about a year when I then discovered that the Italians had been downgraded to an allied force. I was crushed. So now what do I do? Well, soon after that, I was presented with a deal for a good sized EotBS army...this time with all three forces represented. While I wasn't crazy for the train look of the ships, the land forces were awesome and who doesn't like a giant robotic squid??

So a little trading and money later, and I'm a proud owner of an Empire force! Now back in my head, I'm still hoping for the Italian fleet to eventually be realized...and I figured that I could simply sell the Empire force when they came up. But this way, I'd have an army to play with until win! Okay, so it was dumb for me to sell the FSA fleet if that were the case...I know. Hindsight and all that. But still, a new fleet, some cool mechanics and a squid. Well actually I had to buy the squid..but still, it was out there.

I even had the idea of painting them...and went so far as to prime and start with little color. I am using Army Painter because they have really worked well for me so far.

Of course, that is about all I've done. Sad I know. However, with my new found enthusiasm and interest in Spartan, I'm going to get back to the painting table. I've even cleared off a space on my desk...okay, well it was cleared off, now I gotta clear it off again. But it should go much faster this time. :)

In fact, once the sun pops out today, I've got my whole land fleet out on the cardboard box waiting for the primer. Now as you can see above, the sea fleet is bone colored with red front and highlights. The land fleet is going to be red based with bone detailing. I think it should look sharp.

Now, I was told that blogs are supposed to be daily updates. Well that just isn't going to happen. Besides the gamer ADD, I have a family (three kids even) and work and tons of other commitments. However, I will attempt to make multiple posts within a week. Should help keep me motivated as well. And believe it or not, seeing those page hits really makes you want to post. Who knew?

So next time, my short list of plans for the future and hopefully pictures of my primed land army.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In the beginning...

Today starts my resurgence into Dystopian Wars, a tabletop war game produced by Spartan Games. I got pulled in about two years ago after my friend Robert discovered the game after drooling over the Firestorm Armada line. He really likes steampunk and pointed out DW to me. I have to say, I fell in love with the models right off the bat. Not to bore you with all the details, but I went in for the FSA fleet. American fleet, repeating ship cannons, and huge paddlewheels!

I even painted a few of them.

I love the amount of detail on these models and they paint up so nicely. Even with crappy photos like the above, these things are still impressive. Needless to say though, gamer ADD and lack of community saw my beloved FSA sold so that I could focus on other games.

Well now I'm back and more excited than ever about Dystopian Wars. To be honest, a lot of it has to do with just how silly GW has become with pricing lately. When you compare the two companies and the costs involved...well Spartan is getting my money because the return is fantastic.

Unfortunately, the community aspect has not changed. It seems everyone I talk to thinks the game is very cool looking, but they keep waiting for it to become popular. So that is why I'm doing this blog. I'm going to showcase the awesomeness of Dystopian Wars. I'm gonna snag anyone I can to help provide content and opinions and try to show the gaming community around here why Spartan deserves their business and time.

Post #1 is always the easiest. Next time, we will cover how I ended up with an Empire of the Blazing Suns army.