Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Terrain: Dragons Teeth Tank Traps

Back in June, FoxPhoenix provided a great tutorial about making Tank Traps using an ice tray. Now, I'd heard of the idea before, but could never find a good sized tray to use. Before I had a chance to go find one one, one found me. I had bought a mini fridge for the basement and a mini ice tray came with it.

Being the cheap bugger that I am, I searched my home improvement leftovers cabinets for a good plaster alternative. I found I had some a bit of concrete patch mix and tried that. It was a bit brittle, and I didn't want to chance that with something that was going to get tossed around a bit. So, instead of using water to mix it, I used leftover white latex paint. Worked like a charm. They're actually very sturdy to blunt force, but they can easily be holed with a sharp point and 'fractured' out from that.

I still had a bit of backer board from an old kitchen cabinet, so I cut a odd piece and glued some of my new Dragons Teeth down and added debris in the form of sprue pieces, bitz, and some pieces from the GW Basing Kit. Quick paint work in my standard basing style and it's done!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Imperial Guard Heavy Bolter

Here's another Imperial Guard Heavy Weapon Team that's been waiting out my Paint Pot Procrastinating. An experiment in miniature diorama making that's been done for quite some time. One advantage to basing like this is the built in protection it provides. It's going to take a bit of effort to break the pieces off the base. It could become a problem though if I'm trying to put the piece inside a building or other tight spot. Hasn't been an issue yet.

Unfortunately, there is another form of "protection" that could raise concern on the playing field. I had built it for a fun look. It had slipped my mind when I started it that an opponent could protest about my piece having its own built in cover. This is something Dverning recently, and conveniently, brought up in his blog about Playing Fair with Conversions. Luckily, over half of the base is open on one side. If there is any concern, we can expose the side without cover toward the opposing force.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Double Tracking the new Hellhound Hull

So, I've decided to build an armored basilisk. In my typical eureka fashion, I thought up something I haven't seen done, and am somehow finding a way to make it work. I'll cover the basic idea in another post, once I get a bit farther along. I don't want to give it all up right away. Though I hadn't originally planned to widen the tracks, the bits I decided to use for the armored part require it. After a couple experiments, this is what I came up with.

To widen the tracks of the old Chimera/Hellhound kit, you simply glued road wheels side by side and glued the track to that. While that probably could still work, you'd have to find a new source of road wheels, as the new kit doesn't use them. The new Hellhound sides come with spacers that fit together, one side is a "male," the other is a "female." So, first off, you need to make them both "female" as shown in the top photo. You need to make the new holes the same size as the old ones, so keep that in mind.

Next, find eight nails with the same diameter, and cut them the length of two pieces of tank tread side by side. If you can't find a nail the right diameter, like me, you'll need to get one a little larger and file it down a bit. It needs to be a snug fit.

The third picture shows the width of the standard Hellhound side piece. The next picture is of the widened side piece, having the nails as spacers. The nails, tightly fitted in the spacer holes, give you the rigidity you need to remove any play in the finished side piece. If they end up moving around too much, you're going to start loosing tread pieces. We don't want that.

Next up is the treads themselves. It's not good enough to simply glue two pieces of tread together. One strong push on the joint and you'll break the glue join. Also, the edges of the tread has natural gaps, which would allow you to "see-through" them once finished. While there may be other ways to do this, I chose to use some old two-part epoxy I had laying around and connect them together as shown in the fifth picture.

The sixth picture shows a partially finished wide track side. If you look close, you can see the epoxy poking up through the tread. Please ignore the plasticard attachment, for now. You'll see what that's for in a later post.

One shame to note. There is absolutely no difference in the new tracks than the old. They are exactly the same, down to every hinge and tread pad. What you see here are actually old treads I had lying around. And, although they look a bit different, the sides have the same overall dimensions. The fact that the tread lines up perfectly once assembled shames me, as I could never get them to do that with the old road wheel system. Kudos to GW for improving this part of the kit.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Basilisk WIP

So, I purchased a Basilisk on eBay a while back. I had always had good luck with my eBay purchases. That was not the case here. It was pretty bad off. Most of the back end and some gun carriage parts were broken or missing, and there was glue in too many places. I now buy only un, or partly, finished stuff. The sides were still salvageable, as was the gun itself. Shortly after this purchase, I was lucky to get a couple more Basilisks still on the sprue for a steal. Unfortunately, they mostly sat waiting for their time to be built. I was inspired recently to build an armored Basilisk; now still very much WIP, to be covered soon. Many of the parts I won't be needing on the armored variant are exactly what I needed to flip the ruined piece. Here is the WIP.

This is pretty much the standard Basilisk. I don't like the tall shield, so cut that down a bit. It's got some old pewter pieces thrown in, and I've still got some little adjusting to do, but it's pretty much done. I did try a little something different with the back. I added some window screen to fill in the gap between floor and hand rail. Last thing the crew wants is a wayward round rolling off the back. Plus, it's a great place to hang their packs and other assorted gear. Note the backpack in the lower left will be hanging off one of the side hand rails after it's all painted.

One thing I've been concerned with for my own Basilisks was the ladder on the back end. It's a very breakable piece, just hanging out the back by two fragile pieces of plastic. Even a Forge World example shows this break point (see bottom picture here). So, I gave it a bit of thought and came up with an idea for a "hinge." I drilled a hole through one of the round bits you find on the back of every sprue, sliced pieces of the round, trimmed a flat end and glued it to where the ladder usually connects, where the rivets are. I trimmed, rounded and holed each top of the ladder, and connected it all together with the head of a pin. Now I can flip it over to a somewhat safer area for transit. I had hoped it would lay over flat, but I didn't get it trimmed right. I didn't want to adjust this one anymore, as that would just weaken the remaining plastic. I still think it's possible to get it to lay flat, and will give it another go when I finally get around to building my other standard Basilisk.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Terrain - Power Plant or Shield Generator

It's been a while since I last posted. Between work and other hobbies, blogging took a back seat. My regrets for that. For a while, I felt I hadn't really been up to much. Then I got the camera out and realized I had done quite a bit. It seems there's still a lot waiting out my Paint Pot Procrastinating, so I hope to make it up to you with a flurry of posting. This is the first of four unrelated posts in four days. Enjoy!

First up is a bit of terrain, shown above. The second picture here shows the basic material; a piece of masonite (from the back of an old cabinet) and the plastic from a box of cookies. I'm always about flexibility, so chose to make three pieces instead of one. This lets us adjust the terrain for small or large games.

After cutting the individual parts into three equal parts, add a bit of basing material, prime paint and voila, three pieces of terrain that fit together to make one if needed. Given a wider choice of material, I would have preferred a taller piece. So, now I'm on the lookout for a box of really big cookies!