Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year Ending...Standing and what is on the horizon

And so 2011 is soon coming to an end.  This will be my last post of this year.  The year seems to have flown by.   So, I have decided to do a sort of summary.

I’m a numbers kind of guy, its my business to crunch numbers, not money but numbers in designing things. So numbers always fascinate me. Early in the year I decided to add the Hobby Activity log you see on the right. The final tally:

Models Built/Converted: 225
Models Painted: 74
Models Purchased: 191
Tournaments Played: 4
Go-Kart Races Entered: 11

Now this was not intended to stroke my ego, but was more intended as a motivator and budget type of thing for myself. I learned a lot by intentionally doing this, and quite honestly it capped some of my spending as I saw the gap between what was bought, converted/modeled/ and what was painted. I did not play as many games this year. And it feels like I converted less minis, mainly because I stopped taking on commissions. My painting is certainly lagging behind. It also felt like I raced more than 11 races in the go-kart, my highest finish was second in a heat race, no wins, that does hurt my ego. Some of that I believe was equipment related, but we intend to work on solving that over the winter off season.  One thing is certain, I enjoyed the racing more than the tournaments played.  Four tournaments played, 2 of which were at Adepticon last spring in Warhammer Ancient Battles.  I played the singles with my Romans and played fairly well, rather unusual for me, and came away best sports, even more unusual.  Then teamed Mike Butcher, my crusaders with his Saxons, and we played well and the Team that we named Grumpy Old Coots came away with Best Sports, again highly unusual.

As for the blog, today we are at 181 followers, that has increased gradually as I suspected it would. My blog list is growing, and my forum activity is decreasing a bit.

This I find interesting, here are the top ten in posts as they stand all time on my blog along with the number of hits currently:
Review of Conquest Games Mounted Normans:  2,105 Views

My first Skaven War Litter conversion: 1,586 Views

My first Nurgle infested Chaos Space Marine: 1,478 Views

Converting Chaos Warrior to Chaos Space Marine post:  848 Views

Boba Fett Chaos Space Marine conversion:  737 Views

Pics of My WAB Imperial Roman Army:  657 Views

My Chaos Warrior Unit and its conversions:  640 Views

My Preheresy Iron Warrior - Old Stuff Wednesday:  512 Views

One of my Exalted Champions:  469 Views

My First Orc Fight Scene for a unit:   447 Views

It appears people really liked looking at my take on Conquest Games Norman Cavalry.  I’ve been quite surprised by that. When I wrote that piece I never thought it would receive more hits than my conversion work and paint work. The other thing I noticed was the popularity of Warhammer 40k, it is really quite unquestionably the most popular of the gaming system that I’m working in as it owns the majority of the top spots.  My Old Stuff Wednesdays are certainly popular as they have held 3-4 of the top ten spots throughout the year, but only one stands at the end of the year.

So there you have it my blog. I really need to figure out a better looking banner across the top. I also need to find a cooler looking background.  And I am very much open to suggestions that you the readers may have, I don’t always ignore them.

In the coming year I certainly intend to do Vikings, Spacemarines, more crusaders, more Chaos Warriors, more Fantasy orcs, and eventually some British Napoleonics.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What is Wrong with 8th Edition Fantasy??

That's the question asked by BoLS.

Just my opinion and the reasons why I dislike this 8th Edition:
  • I hate the measure anything anytime.
  • I hate the randomness of charging and the obnoxiously long charges that can be pulled off by randomly rolling dice.
  • I don't like that they attempted to fix combat which I did not think needed fixing in the first place.  Now its massed casaulties for a cool looking visual.
  • I still think magic ruins the game and is still broken.   Not even close to being fixed and in my opinion is worse in many ways.
  • Mass casualties for less strategy in my opinion.  You no longer need that eye for getting your distances correct. 
  • Killed skirmishers.
  • True line of sight annoys me.
  • Cannons.

No,  I don't like this edition.  I really like the core Warhammer rules, but I think they just made the game a lot less fun with tweaks that were not needed.  And the tweaks that were needed, were not made.  I don't like randomness.  Warhammer Ancient Battles 2.0 was what Warhammer Fantasy should have become in my opinion.  And WAB 2 is a heck of a lot more fun and more strategic.  And unfortunately I don't see them ever going back to the core.  I still play the game on occassion because I enjoy playing with the group of local players, but that is about it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Strange Requests and Merry Christmas

No happy Holidays or I'll start on another long rant....just Merry Christmas. 

I do get some strange requests often here at the Madhouse Workshop.  Most of the time those requests come from relatives.  For instance, my brother-in-law more than likely prompted by my sister requested some stuff for T-shirt emblems for his start up extermination company, something simple for single color printing.  Quite a few years ago I did this on my sisters motorcycle gas tank, all in pen and ink directly on a couple coats of color sanded clear.  Then my father finished it off by shooting more urethane clear coat over the top of it.  This was more to what I like to draw.  The flames and pearl paint was my Dad's handwork.

So, at first my brother-in-law wanted a Jiminy Cricket drawn up holding a spray can and then he wanted some darker.  Well I can do darker, but cartoon characters I'm not sure.  I'm about a month and half behind on the artwork so he's going to get it this weekend.

Yea, I know that looks really goofy.  I could not even remember what Jiminy Cricket even looked like.  I think I'm going to break my pens after doing this.  I have a bit of clean up to do and such.  Both of these are Pen/Brush and India Inks. 

My scanner is very much a weenie, can figure it out sometimes and its only a 8 1/2 x 11 flatbed, so chopped some stuff off.  The slightly darker one has his "All Gone Pest Control"  in a nice curved pattern with some spider webbing.  Its about the size of the back of T-shirt for a Large.  Still have a bit of touch up to do.  Will probably just use a sharpie to lettering, this was close to being all pen work with the exception of the lettering fill in which I did with a brush. Yea the old fashioned way of doing things.
What's next...I suppose my niece will want me draw Harry Potter....aaarrrrgggghhhh.....

Friday, December 23, 2011

Follow Me! Next Chaos Spacemarine conversion

I said follow my long fingers.  The possessed bits are very awesome looking pieces.  I don't follow Bolter & Chainsword as much as I used to so I don't know if a lot of chaos players use them for normal marines or not.
I thought this made for an interesting pose.  And I do like this head.  A lot times your conversions do not need to be completely over the top.  Very subtle ones often work, and give you that dynamic that you are looking for.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Next...Slaanesh Chaos Spacemarine

I don't know how long that I've had the Slaanesh champion backpack and sword arm.  Its sat in the box for an extremely long time.
I have a slaanesh spacemarine head that is a bit different, it will get used on another conversion.  So I decided to make a head that looks similar.  You also notice if you closely that this model actually has a set of abs inside of the GS girdle.
Plasma pistol from the berzerker sprue.
The GS girdle / belt uses techniques shown in my GS Tutorial for making armored plates. Found at the following links:

And again a draping on the leg.  The next Slaanesh mini will be in a much cooler pose.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chaos Space Marine Conversion...The Basher

As with the previous marine, I'm digging deep in the bitz box and found this power maul.  Very appropriate for bashing thos Imperial Loyalists.
I also love this head, it screams chaos to me.   The drapings like the previous one are using similar techniques to my tutorial on sculpting cloth with GS.
The rivets/pins that look to be holding the cloth are done with a mechanical pencil.  The spikes are favorite thing of mine for adding to the backpacks, they come from the chaos vehicle spike sprue.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Surprise Warhammer Ancients Fans...NEW SUPPLEMENT

Armies of Antiquity has been released as a supplement to the WAB 2.0 Rulebook.  This was like BAAAMMM!!! right up the side of my head.  I never saw it coming.

Warhammer Armies of Antiquity is a supplement for Warhammer Ancient Battles second edition.  The 208 page hardback book contains no fewer than 100 fully revised and updated army lists for the following forces from the ancient and medieval world.

Awesome.  So how does that affect Adepticon?  In my correspondence with Rich over at the Chicago Terrain Factory Blog, it appears that it will be used in conjunction with the existing supplements.  Official word will have to come from him and Adepticon.  Until then I need to get my grubby paws on this book.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Khorne - Chaos Space Marine Billy Bob

We are entering the home stretch on my Chaos Space Marines.  My bitz box is getting very small, less and less pieces all of time.  Once gone I have no future plans to do chaos space marines.

As I was building the Crusaders and doing the tutorial on tabards and other cloth things in green stuff, I did up a bunch of little conversions.  This is just first of that group.  I used the techniques demonstrated in my tutorial for both the tabard and the draping on the leg.

More of these one shot chaos space marines to come.  What will I do with them?  Every last one will go up on Ebay in the Madhouse Workshop account after the first of the coming year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Addendum to my Gripping Beast Viking Review

Remember how I was discussing not having enough unhelmeted heads for GB's viking hirdmen.  Well a little checking of some various manufacturer's heads with the unhelmeted GB head and I found the scale was comparable with Warlord Games' plastic barbarians and surprisingly enough heads from Games Workshop's Empire flagellant range.  The heads are as follows from left to right:  Empire, Barbarian, Empire, Barbarian, Empire, and Barbarian.  Now I have some additional character.  I do need to practice sculpting beards though.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Green Stuff Cloth Tutorial - Space Marines and Norman Horses

Redmanphill over at the Subject to Stupidity blog requested that I do a tutorial of how I do cloth out of greenstuff or brownstuff.  So if you don't like this tutorial, blame him.  Anyways I'll do this with two items that I'm converting that don't have anything in common, other than being miniatures:  Norman Horses and Space Marines.  So I have you 40k and Ancients guys both covered.  This is a relatively simple method to use, yields relatively simple looking cloth, and will not give you a cloth look with a lot of bubbles or fingerprints, unless your name is Tom Schadle.

First thing I need is a relatively good piece of plastic that the green stuff or brown stuff does not stick very well to.  That is generally a higher quality zip lock bag, not your typical thin plastic sandwich bag but something more industrial, or the film that they use to ship the two part GS in.  So here I have placed some water on the plastic, get it a bit wet.  Take some GS and flatten it out in between your fingers and get the basic shape.  Place that over the wet spot on the plastic.  Now we will smooth that out and get its thickness to a relatively consistent thickness.  To smooth out the GS, I will use tool number 1, that we so back in my Armor Plate tutorial.
Matter of fact we'll use tools #1, 2, 3, and 6.  In reality you only need a tool like #1 or 'c' and something that looks like a toothpick (a wet toothpick will work). 

Next I cut it to the desired shape. Use the color shaper or spatula end of a metal sculpting tool to further flatten the GS.  This one will be for the Norman Horse, a bit bigger piece than would be used for the space marine tabbard. 

Let it set up and stiffen 5 minutes or so.

Now if you use a small piece of plastic film, you could pick it up by the film and apply it to the miniature or peel the film off gently and apply it to the miniature. If you peel be aware of finger prints and its important to let the GS set up for a bit and stiffen. Once on the miniature you will need to manipulate it.

For this, I'm using a very good sized zip lock bag, so I will peel it off very gently with the xacto. 

Now I place it on the horse.

Here on the horse caparison I blended the upper edge into the horse body simply with my fingers. To do the blending moisten your finger and drag it across the GS until it blends smoothly into the plastic.

The further smooth out spots where my fingers don't fit, I use the tools and press and move the GS into those areas. 

I also need a crease in the center for the seem holding the caparison together.  I do that with the knife edge of the spatula tool.

Next I use the metal toothpick like tool, the conical color shaper, metal toothpick 90 degree bend, color shaper chisel point, or a bent wire tool to add creases or folds. You can also add folds by gently bending the GS into a shape.

The Space Marine tabard is very much done the same way.  Get the general shape.

Smooth out.

 Cut to shape.

Peel it off and I apply the piece of GS to the spot where the torso is glued to. 
On the above I used the tooth pick tool to make the 'V' coming off the pelvic area.  Below I added a few more creases with the tools, and then added a torso to make sure everything blends in.

Wow.  Long post.  Next time I'll show how I do drapings off shoulder pads and legs of the spacemarine, when I begin my space marine project.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Old Ford Pick-up Progress

Like all my projects, a little bit here, a little bit there....

New stainless headlight bezels and sealed beams, sure changes the look of the front end. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Old Stuff Wednesday - December ... Cerulean Templars vs. Nurgle

A long long time ago (circa 2004) Mike Butcher and I played this epic game of 40k in a local store, with tons of miniatures on the board, nearly every last one of them converted in some manner. I don't really remember the outcome other than I lost, but I took a number of photos.  Most all of the pics are after the unpacking.  Dig the craziness of the conversion work. Nothing like throwing down with really cool miniatures.

 He's phat.

 Help me!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Piecing Together My Return to 40k

The pieces are forming in my head.  I have lots of leftover Templar bits and some Dark and Blood Angels bits.  In order to build this army, I’m going to be using as much of the left over stuff as I can.  So how best to combine all of this?  I’ll do a winged cross as the icon, sort of Affliction T-shirt inspired in design, I remember some cool Icons that they had on some of the shirt designs that I had seen a long time ago watching some MMA fights.  So the icon is settled, as is the color scheme in red and white.  Now I need to do some icon sketches to get it right.  I’ve found two Forge World Dreads, a Vindicator, couple of Rhinos, and a partial Land Raider kit when I was packing and unpacking.  I ordered some bases from our little buddy over at Dragonforge, which should arrive later this week.  And I have two 1/32 scale Tanks that have actual rolling chassis that I plan to convert into Predators.   

Now I need a name for my DIY Chapter of winged crosses.  Suggestions?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gripping Beast Plastic Viking Hirdmen Review

I’ll preface this with that I have not been a very big fan of Gripping Beast’s miniatures in the past, especially their medieval line of metals, but that opinion has been fixed with an introduction to their plastics. Gripping Beast’s plastic Viking Hirdmen have been out for quite some time, but this is the first opportunity that I have had to work with them. I first saw them when one of our locals Ancients players modeled a few up for a Viking army,  and I thought they looked like a fairly nice kit, so my newest WAB project centers around them as a future army. Since they are fairly new to me, I thought I would give a brief review of them to give people an idea of what they may be getting into.

Review of the Sprues

Here we see the basic infantry sprue, lots of options for heads and weapons. The sprue is another Renedra sprue from GB’s creation, much like I have seen recently with the Perry’s, Warlord Games, and Conquest Games. The details are crisp and the quality is as good as anything that I have seen from Games Workshop or Warlord Games or the Perry’s, etc. The parts are arranged well and are quite easy to remove, with the exception of the tabs under the stand, but those are in a location where you can get a bit brutal removing them. So far I have not had any issues with flash. The flash is very minimal, even on the mail armor covering the bodies.

They also come with this command sprue, shown below. The bodies on the command sprue are the same as the infantry, but the heads are different and of course it has some special items for your command and DIY characters.


Talk about bang for your buck, this kit is one of the best for that. I picked mine up at Avatar’s of War (good to deal with people out east, check out their blog in my blog-list) for $32 and you get 44 miniatures. That’s an awesome deal for this high of quality.

# of Heads = 60
# of Head Variations = 11

As always with me, I am a converter and hobbyist, and this is normally one of the things I complain about is head variations. I have not mastered sculpting heads yet so I need to rely on the companies giving me enough variations to work with. GB has certainly done that and then some on this kit. There really is only a couple of the heads that I don’t care for and even then those are not that bad. This is a supreme effort on their part and one I’ll definitely commend them for. The detail like on everything is very sharp. For me the one thing I will want, is some more un-helmeted heads as they give some nice character to the army. I’ll need to experiment with a few things and see about doing some head swaps.

# of Bodies = 44 (Outstanding)
# of Body Variations = 5
Good variations and large number of bodies is excellent. One of my criticisms for the kit though is that most of these appear to be squatting slightly. I’m okay with it. Kind of reminds of 40k Space Marines. I’ll get over that though. The detail like on everything is very sharp. And they have a large amount of weapons to select from which is really good. They are fairly easy to assemble in a variety of poses, below are some of the variations that I came up with, without even trying, just getting use to the kit and seeing what can be done.

Now comes the really fun part, how do they look compared to other miniatures. The following are comparison shots with other miniatures, and I have also included some Fantasy GW range models for those of you thinking about Warhammer Fantasy. The models from left to right are as follows:
Warlord Games Barbarian,  Perry Norman, Gripping Beast Plastic Viking, Conquest Games Mounted Norman, Gripping Beast Metal Viking, Warlord Games Roman Auxilary.  All fairly comparable in size.

And for our Fantasy Buffs out there a comparison with Games Workshop models: Red Box Games Aenglish warrior, Empire Flaggelant with Ungor head, Gripping Beast Viking, Ungor with Flaggelant Head, Chaos Marauder, and another Gripping Beast Viking.

Overall I really love this kit. I use to think that Games Workshop (even though they have had their fair share of flops) was the absolute, no questions asked, best in the business when it came to plastic kits. That is no longer, Gripping Beast, Warlord Games, Perry Miniatures, Victrix, and upstart Conquest Games are all stepping up to the plate and hitting homeruns in my book. The future looks bright for historicals.