2018 Hobby Activity Roundup

2018 was a busy year for me for hobbies, my busiest ever in fact.  My activities and projects were mostly involved with supporting either Combat Patrol™ games or What a Tanker© games.  So what did I do?  Well, I helped to found a local gaming club and I started running games at small conventions (and won “The Al” at HAVOC last year – photo above).  All of my hobby activity and efforts focused on creating and building what I needed for my games to be successful.  I also joined some community painting challenges which helped to focus my efforts as well and got me to try new techniques (thanks Azazel!).  I also followed many other blogs which were very inspiring.

Some of the items on the activity list below could be fairly called double-counting, but hey, no blood no foul!  I tend to count projects in terms of their distinctive nature, ie the building/assembling/creating processes to me are different than painting, as is converting figures.  I did not cast anything this year or make any molds as I still have plenty of figures to paint, and my hope is to knock out more of them in 2019, as I will not need to make as many game pieces/game aids.

This list, which is a separate page on my blog, helped me to stay focused.  The adding of the hyperlinks that you see on the items below helps me to review past projects as prologue for future ones.

Thanks for checking this out – and good luck to all in 2019!  Hope I keep you amused and entertained!

2018 Total Projects:  2,036

  • 244 figures painted
  • 0 figures cast
  • 47 figures assembled
  • 33 terrain pieces made or assembled
  • 28 terrain pieces painted
  • 10 figure conversions
  • 867 creations or components sculpted or scratch-built
  • 0 molds made
  • 807 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted

January: 91 projects

  • Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (91):
    • 91 unit placards sculpted/made from Apoxie Sculpt

February: 645 projects

  • Figures painted (36):
  • Creations sculpted or scratch-built (375):
    • 185 blank game placards made for Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
    • 185 decals made for game placards or Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
    • 2 long arc weapon (breaching) templates for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
    • 2 short arc weapon (breaching) templates for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
    • 1 plasma ball template (breaching) template for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (234):
    • 8 Armorcast ACFX034 Grenade Blasts Cinematic Effects Bits painted
    • 36 casualty cards made for the Hurraku Space Phraints
    • 185 placards made for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 50 wound markers
        • 15 1-wound markers
        • 15 2-wound markers
        • 6 3-wound markers
        • 6 4-wound markers
        • 4 5-wound markers
        • 4 6-wound markers
      • 25 stun markers
      • 10 critical hit – optics/sensors markers damage for Mark III Warbots
      • 10 critical hit – mobility damage (“STOP”) markers for Mark III Warbots
      • 10 critical hit – CPU damage (“ROGUE”) markers for Mark III Warbots
      • 20 out of ammunition markers
      • 60 jet-pack use markers
        • 20 for one use of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for two uses of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for three uses of jet pack in the game
    • 5 game aid templates painted for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 2 long arc weapon (breaching) template painted
      • 2 short arc weapon (breaching) template painted
      • 1 plasma ball template (breaching) template painted

March: 74 projects

  • Figures painted (40):
  • Figures assembled (1):
    • Critter Commandos Frogbot
  • Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (33):
    • 33 unit placards sculpted/made from Apoxie Sculpt

April: 144 projects

  • Figures assembled (2):
  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (12):
    • 12 tea light smoke plumes made
  • Terrain pieces painted (12):
    • 12 tea light smoke plumes painted
  • Game aids made or painted (118):
    • 39 casualty cards made for the F.R.O.G. Commandos
    • 6 flame circles made
    • 25 chits for Combat Patrol™ made (pulling card forward chits)
    • 48 unit and vehicle data cards made for Combat Patrol

May: 6 projects

  • Figures painted (2):
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (4)
    • 2 casualty cards made for Roberker and the second Juggerbot
    • 2 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

June: 95 projects

  • Figures painted (57):
    • 32 Texican Space Rangers from Archive Star Rovers line
      • 6 Travis B. Crockett figures (#2225)
      • 26 Armando Garcia figures (#2226)
    • 11 Robot Peacekeepers from Mega Miniatures Salvage Crew Robots & Vehicles Range 
    • 14 figures painted for my Space Dwarf Assault Squad
      • 11 Long Gone Jones Space Dwarfs from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2211)
      • 3 Agribot (S1L1) from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2204)
  • Game aids made or painted (38):
    • 32 casualty cards made for the Texican Space Rangers
    • 6 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

July: 66 projects

  • Figures painted (15):
  • Figures assembled (5):
    • 5 Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2042)
  • Figures converted (6):
    • 6 Frinx riders converted with Bombshell Miniatures Arc Weapons (#36013)
  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (13):
    • 5 large Woodland Scenics evergreen trees
    • 8 small Woodland Scenics deciduous trees
  • Game aids made or painted (27):
    • 11 casualty cards made for the Robot Peacekeepers
    • 14 casualty cards made for the Space Dwarf Assault Squad
    • 2 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

August: 54 projects

September:  566 projects

  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (3):
    • 1 Armorcast T-Section
    • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB008)
    • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB009)
  • Terrain pieces painted (11):
    • 5 ruined building corners
      • 1 Armorcast T-Section
      • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB008)
      • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB009)
      • 2 Armorcast Building Corners (#ACRB013)
    • 6 battle-damaged sci-fi walls
      • 1 set of 2 Armorcast High Tech Walls 2 (#ACW007), each set includes 2 walls so 2 pieces
      • 2 sets of High Tech Walls, each set includes 2 walls, so 4 pieces
  • Creations sculpted or scratch-built (368):
      • 184 blank game placards made for Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
      • 184 decals made for game placards or Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (184):
    • 184 placards made for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 72 wound markers
        • 20 1-wound markers
        • 20 2-wound markers
        • 14 3-wound markers
        • 6 4-wound markers
        • 6 5-wound markers
        • 6 6-wound markers
      • 24 stun markers
      • 24 out of ammunition markers
      • 64 jet-pack use markers
        • 22 for one use of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for two uses of jet pack in the game
        • 22 for three uses of jet pack in the game

October:  113 projects

  • Figures painted (28):
    • 28 Space Roos painted (converted figures that I cast)
  • Figure conversions (4):
    • 2 Space Roo weapon conversions to RPG’s
    • 2 Space Roo weapon conversions to grenade launchers
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (81):
    • 45 small (1/8″ diameter) placards made and painted for improved identification of the Mars Aliens on the tabletop
    • 28 small (1/4 and 5/16″ diameter) placards made and painted for improved identification of the Space Roos on the tabletop
    • 8 dashboards built for What a Tanker games

November:  160 projects

  • Figures painted (43):
    • 5 KV-1a Soviet tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 2 T-26 Soviet tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 2 BA-64 Soviet armored cars (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 1 BT-5 Soviet tank, (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU021)
    • 1 BT-7 Soviet tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU023)
    • 2 Soviet Gaz trucks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 1 Panzer IIC tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108)
    • 1 Panzer IIIE (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE030)
    • 3 Sturmgeshutz IIIA assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX109)
    • 2 German Panzer IVd tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 1 German Panzer 38(t) tank (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 3 Italian M13/40 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 Italian L6 light tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 British Matilda II tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 German Hetzer tank destroyers (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 German Panzer IIIN tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 Renault R-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR030)
    • 3 SOMUA S-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR050)
    • 2 French Char B1 bis tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 US M4 Sherman tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 US M3/M5 Stuart tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
  • Figures assembled (25):
    • 5 French tanks assembled:
      • 3 SOMUA S-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR050)
      • 2 Renault R-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR030)
    • 2 British tanks assembled:
      • 1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
      • 1 Valentine II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR060)
    • 2 Soviet tanks assembled:
      • 1 BT-5 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU021)
      • 1 BT-7 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU023)
    • 16 German tanks/assault guns assembled:
      • 5 Panzer II C’s and F’s) (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108)
      • 3 Panzer IIIE’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE030)
      • 3 Sturmgeshutz IIIA assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX109)
      • 3 Sturmgeshutz III Ausf F8 assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company, Ltd. (#WW2V15005)
      • 2 Sturmgeshutz III Ausf G (late) assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company, Ltd. (#WW2V15005)
  • 2 terrain pieces made or assembled (two fields)
  • 2 terrain pieces painted (two fields)
  • Game aids made or painted (92):
    • 28 casualty cards made for the Space Roos
    • 36 bonus cards made for What a Tanker©
    • 3 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

December:  18 projects

  • Figures painted (4):
  • Figures assembled (14):
    • 14 British tanks assembled for What a Tanker© in North Africa:
      • 2 A9 Cruiser Mark I tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR020)
      • 1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
      • 1 A13 Cruiser Mark IVA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR026)
      • 1 Valentine III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR061)
      • 1 Crusader II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR032)
      • 1 Crusader III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR034)
      • 1 M3 Grant tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR100)
      • 1 Churchill II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR070)
      • 5 M3 Stuart “Honey” tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR006) – Brits will get two,  I am saving one for future Soviet Lend-Lease, one for future captured German use in North Africa, and one as an American M3 for future captured Japanese use in Burma or the Philippines. 

 

Armorcast 3-Crater Set (ACCR001)

For August, I decided that my efforts needed to be directed towards a few new areas that would be challenging for me.  I wanted to get more terrain for my games, specifically some that would be useful in making my Combat Patrol™ games more visually appealing to the players.  I also wanted to try to use some new techniques and incorporate new materials into my hobby kit bag.

This would involve working on things and using multiple materials with which I am less than fully experienced.  My goal was to stretch my horizons as it were, and this goal also dovetailed nicely with the monthly painting challenge run by our Australian friend Azazel.  The theme for August was “Technical August”, which was a wide-open challenge to try or improve upon techniques that we had little to no experience in doing previously.  With that said, I decided that assembling, building, and painting some Armorcast terrain would be a good way to do that.  Mainly my goal was to focus on using the five 4-pigment bottle sets of Vallejo Pigments that I have not really used (Dust & Dirt, Mud & Sand, Rust & Corrosion, Soot & Ashes, and Stone & Cement).  I did use the Soot & Ashes set on some cheap 3D printed buildings, but otherwise not much.

I acquired three types of Armorcast resin terrain (all suitable for 28mm scale) for the August challenge – craters, ruined buildings, and sci-fi ruined walls:

As for my technical goals, my list of “challenge” skills, materials, and techniques include:

  • Assembling, building, and basing terrain
  • Use of materials to create weathering and rusting effects, to include:
    • Vallejo Pigments, to include application and fixing (covered in this blog post)
    • Vallejo Mecha Color weathering products
    • Weathering and rusting/oxidizing effect products, to incude:
      • Citadel Technical paints:
        • Typhus Corrosion
        • Ryza Rust
        • Nihilakh Oxide
      • Vallejo and Vallejo Mecha Color rusting and weathering products
        • Vallejo Pigments (various)
        • Vallejo Game Air rusts (71.069 and 71.080)
        • Vallejo Mecha Color Weathering products
          • Oil Stains (gloss)
          • Rust Wash
          • Rust Texture (Matt)
  • Create a new storage system for my terrain pieces

The ones above in bold font are ones I worked on for the 3-crater project.  Others will be used for the remaining projects, even if that lasts into September (which is likely).

I had previously worked on some Armorcast sci-fi pieces and grenade blasts.  I like their products, but wanted to get better at getting them on the tabletop.

0 Lots of terrain
My collection of resin awaiting work

I got good advice from Armorcast (Gin Fritter) and Buck Surdu about preparing the resin for painting.  I ended up using a few Exacto knives to remove flash, and then used Scotch-Brite pads to lightly (imperceptibly in fact) give the pieces a rubdown to achieve a “bite” for airbrush priming.  Additionally, I used a 180 grit sandpaper sheet to scuff up the craters’ bottoms so that they would glue better to their planned bases.  I then washed the pieces thoroughly with dish washing soap in the sink and let them dry.

1 clean up of armorcast craters
Cleaning the resin craters – one was gray, the other two were not.  You can see the sandpaper, pads, and removed resin.

For basing, I chose to incorporate a few different materials.  First, I cut irregular shapes from Evergreen Scale Models #9020 polystyrene sheets – which is quite thin (.020″/0.5 mm).  I mounted the crater pieces to the cut shapes with Gorilla Glue.  Then, I also used a number of differently sized thin steel bases from Wargames Accessories to mount under the shapes for both strength and to be able to later store and transport securely in magnetically lined storage boxes (which is another project in and of itself that I have planned).  Here, I also used Gorilla Glue.

2 mounting materials
The polystyrene sheets that I used for bases
3 after mounting
My craters and a ruined building on my polystyrene sheet bases

From my minimal experience with using pigments, I knew they had the potential for a huge mess.  I learned that using a cafeteria-type tray would make using them easier.  I hit my local Salvation Army and found four trays for this use.  Interestingly, three of them were from a former Digital (DEC) facility (there were a lot of them in Massachusetts before Compaq and later Hewlett Packard consumed them in 1998).  I removed what appeared to be ancient chili from them, and put them into use.  I also got a small palette from Michael’s craft store to use just for pigments.  I put that palette into a deep plastic Rubbermaid salad container, and I thereby effectively limited the migration of pigments from my work space.  You definitely do not want to have a fan or strong air circulation going while using pigments!

4 magic trays
Trays for using pigments.  Oh DEC, your cafeteria trays soldier on…

I then used PVA glue (good old Elmer’s) to affix some play sand and some Woodland Scenics stones to the bases, and let them harden.

6 sand and rocks
My sand and rocks for the bases

Next, in order that I could handle and work with the craters, I affixed their bases with poster tack to upside-down plastic plates before priming.  I marked each plate with a brown ink line for reference, and proceeded to airbrush prime the set with Vallejo “Surface Primer – Gray”.

7 after flocking
Primed craters

I then worked on the three craters sequentially, going from smallest to largest.  For the smallest one, I dry brushed with multiple shades of brown (there is a list of materials that I used at the end of this blog).  I was not sure that I needed to or if the pigments would be enough.  Primarily, I used the four pigments from the Vallejo “Mud and Sand” set (“Light Yellow Ochre”, “Natural Umber”, “Light Sienna”, and “Light Slate Grey”) plus the Vallejo “Faded Olive Green”.  I looked at the Vallejo YouTube video on pigments, and used some of the different techniques to apply and fix the pigments.

8 large one dry brushed
The smallest crater after heavy dry brushing.
9 middle one with pigments and capillary
The first crater after applying multiple pigments in a dry fashion.  I then fixed them with Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner” with a capillary action technique, leading to this mucky wet look.

After this, I moved on to the next larger crater, and also dry brushed it and used the same method of fixing the pigments.  One downside that I discovered was that the airbrush thinner tended to dissolve the PVA holding the rocks in place (but not the sand).  I replaced the displaced rocks on the bases after the airbrush thinner dried.

10 middle one just dry umber
The middle-sized crater before fixing the pigments – I also added more colors before fixing them here – this is a lot of “Natural Umber”.

Lastly, I worked on the largest crater.  Here, I passed on doing any dry brushing.  For this one, I employed Vallejo “Pigment Binder” instead of the airbrush thinner to fix the pigments –  and to prevent the dissolving issue under the added rocks.  I also needed to use Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water” to give better shading.  While the pigment binder worked, it did lead to a thicker application of pigment as you see below.  I thought it blended too much – and I believe that one should use that product selectively.  I subsequently added more pigments to make the crater less of a solid olive green, fixing them with airbrush thinner.  It worked.

11 large one before varnish and tufts
The largest painted crater before varnish

Lastly, I decided to airbrush varnish the craters.  Did I need to?  I wanted to protect the paint work, so I did.  I do think I needed to thin the varnish more, as I had some crazing to deal with, something I had not seen previously with its use on miniatures.  To help with color variety,  I applied Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” and “Athonian Camoshade” washes, mixed with a little varnish and applied with a brush to the affected areas.  I then applied Army Painter “Wasteland Tufts” and some 12 mm grasses from Shadow’s Edge Miniatures.

As an aside – I can say without a doubt that the Shadow’s Edge Miniatures products are far superior to Army Painter’s – they need no additional gluing, and they are visually stunning.  I plan on using their products, especially the flowers, on future unit bases to help with tabletop differentiation.

12 on the table
The three craters on the tabletop.  The thin bases made them quite flush with the tabletop.
12a underside showing steel
The bottom of the craters showing the use of the Wargames Accessories steel bases.
13a large done
Close up of the large crater as finished. 
13b middle done
Close up of the middle-sized crater.  I liked this sculpt the best of the three.
13c small done
The smallest crater.  I like the way the pigments made the bottom look realistically muddy.
14 Star Ducks in all 3
Some Star Ducks defend the craters.  I decided that the craters would be more useful looking as if they were from an older battle.  I was thinking of those I have seen at Verdun, though there are no historical records of ray gun armed ducks at Verdun…
15 Martians vs SFC Mallard
…or Martians…SFC Mallard defends the small crater against a Martian assault.
16 Martians vs SFC Mallard & Duck Wader
The Martians assault the middle-sized crater defended by Duck Wader and SFC Mallard.
17 Star Ducks vs the Space Dwarves
The Space Dwarves’ large crater is assaulted by the Star Ducks.

My lessons and thoughts from the project:

  1. The cleaning and scrubbing of the resin helped with the priming.  The Scotch-Brite pads work well for this use.
  2. For terrain pieces that will be totally covered in pigments, dry brushing with paint is not needed.  When I get to doing vehicles, such as tanks, it will be interesting to see how that works.
  3. Fixing pigments with airbrush thinner is easier than with pigment binder.  However, add any additional large features, such as extra rocks later, or use pigment binder on the rocks.
  4. Having trays and palette wells (such as the one I put my palette in) while working with pigments cuts down on the mess considerably.  Be ready to use multiple brushes, both wet and dry.  The mess vacuumed up or washed off easily from my palettes and trays.
  5. Always ensure your pigment bottles are shut tight.  I see how they could spill over easily (and I was lucky enough not to have this problem).
  6. PVA glue and play sand are an inexpensive winner.
  7. The combination of thin steel and thin polystyrene yields a model base with little to any “rise” from the tabletop at its edge, and is strong.
  8. Thin your varnish to prevent the crazing!  (Speaking with Buck today, he uses varnish to fix his pigments, so that needs to be considered).  I also want to see how well airbrushing the thinner fixes pigments in future projects, like my ruined buildings.
  9. Washes help in the end for touch ups.
  10. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures tufts are fantastic – need no extra glue and dry clearly.

Now the three craters are now ready to join my other terrain.  Hopefully I can get more done this month.

Thanks for reading and if you have feedback, especially on my results or suggestions from your experiences, please, share them in the comments section.  I do so much appreciate them!

PAINTS, PIGMENTS, INKS, GLUES, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Gray”
  2. Generic play sand
  3. Elmer’s “Glue-All”
  4. SceneARama “Rocks”
  5. Evergreen Scale Models #9020 0.5 mm plain polystyrene sheets
  6. Gorilla Glue
  7. Wargames Accessories steel bases (various)
  8. Americana “Raw Umber”
  9. Citadel “XV-88”
  10. American “Burnt Sienna”
  11. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  12. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  13. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  14. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  15. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  16. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  17. Vallejo “Faded Olive Green” (pigment)
  18. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  19. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  20. Vallejo “Airbrush Flow Improver”
  21. Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water” (wash/shade)
  22. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”
  23. Citadel “Athonian Camoshade”
  24. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  25. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  26. Army Painter “Wasteland Tufts”
  27. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures “12 mm tufts”

Thanks again – I hope this helps you or please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section.  After all, I am no expert in these – and I am just sharing my lessons learned – and I KNOW there are many other ways to accomplish what I did (I just don’t know them all!!).