Tag Archives: Allegedly Helpful

NOCF Dark Age St. Isaac Raffle

My Dark Age St. Isaac models from a little while back are going up on raffle for the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation, benefiting Doctors Without Borders.

2018 FALL ARMY: Dark Age Forsaken St. Isaac Army

Tickets are $2/ticket. Buy some!

On Making MetaChemistry or Booty Tokens

I posted about making Tokens a couple of weeks back: the ultimate motivator for that was someone posting about making a bunch of custom Metachemistry tokens for their Morlocks (I wish I could find the post, but I can’t).

They were cool.

But.  There are 17 different options across the two MetaChemistry charts (12 & 5, respectively), and buddy Morlocks are AVA Total.  If you want to do the same thing for Booty, you’re looking at 35 different options across the two Booty charts (17 & 18, respectively).

That’s too many flipping tokens to cart around for one model, never mind something I might take 2 or more of.

Solution (and maybe reference that Token post if you need to):

  1. Take a sheet of paper.  Laminate it (Laminators are, like, $20 on Amazon).
  2. Use your 1″ craft circle punch to punch out a few circles.
  3. Stick on a clear bottlecap sticker so you can actually pick the token up.
  4. When you make your MetaChemistry or Booty roll, use a wet-erase marker to scribble what the result is on the laminated token.
  5. Done.

This way, instead of having to keep 85 tokens in your token case because you’re running a handful of Morlocks, you just need to keep the 5.

If you’re really sassy, actually make tokens that say “Booty” and “MetaChemistry” on the one side, laminate that, and cover the fancy side with the bottlecap sticker and write on the backside of it.

On Making Tokens

Dark Age doesn’t require as many tokens as Infinity does, but it does require kind of a lot of them.  The nicest ones I’ve seen come from Terracutter, in Russia. I’ve yet to really get my money’s worth out of my Dark Age figures, if you know what I mean, so I’m not about to take on those shipping costs.

Not a problem: I created my own with just a little work. (Nothing here is likely new if you play Infinity but… you never know.)

Download my Prevailer Token sheet.

Items Needed:

I play Infinity, and in addition to a number of manufacturers (my preferred is Warsenal) who make tokens that range from OK to gorgeous, the classic go-to is the Infinity Marker Sheet Creator.  You select the tokens you need, the size you need them in, and the size paper you’ll be printing (A4 != letter), click Submit, and it spits out a PDF you can print and cut the tokens out of.  (So far as I know it’s kept quietly up-to-date; it’s got logos for NA2 and Druze Bayram.)

While the IMSC doesn’t generate tokens for anything non-Infinity: I have access to Visio.  Generate a bunch of 25mm circles, fill them with the content you want, and print them out, and you’re in the same spot.  (As I typed this up, I realized that I need to give this a try with LibreOffice Draw, just to see it work.  I’d be surprised if it didn’t.)

To do this yourself:

  • Drag in a 25mm or 1″ circle.
  • Give it a 1pt line around the end.
  • Fill it Solid or Gradient with whatever colors that make you happy.
  • Add a Text element if you want text. Make it white, so you can see it on the color fill of your circle.  Give it a drop shadow; why not?  Drag it into the circle and arrange to taste.
  • Go to Game-Icons.net, look around for an appropriate Icon.
  • Download it white on transparent background.
  • Drag it into the Visio.  Give it a drop shadow so it stands out and you can find it against the white background. Resize and arrange it to taste in the circle.
  • Group ’em if you want.
  • Repeat, with variations until you’ve got all the tokens you need created.
  • Align those suckers. Have some self-respect.

It’ll look like this:

PROTIP: if you’re gonna share things that use those icons around, don’t forget there’s a CC license you need to reference.

Have your tokens printed at Kinko’s in color at the highest quality and on a heavy stock paper.  You can print them at home (I did), but the colors simply won’t be as vibrant.  Also, if you print them on just regular paper, the punch will have trouble cleanly punching through the thin paper and you’ll end up with mangled paper edges that look awful; to mitigate this, you’ll have to punch through your token AND an index card at the same time.  That’s a pain.

Buy a craft circle punch.  Get a 1″ punch like this one for 25mm/1″ tokens.  If you need 40mm tokens, for whatever reason, get a 1.5″ punch like this one: the difference between 40mm and 1.5″ is more significant than the difference between 25mm and 1″, but it’s Close Enough.

Cut your sheet into strips so you can get the punch lined up, and punch out your tokens.

Now, having punched out your tokens, you’ve got a choice to make:

Option 1: use some clear 1″ bottlecap jewelry stickers like these, and you’re done.  These run 200 of them for less than $10, so this is very inexpensive.  Just peel the sticker off the sheet, press it and your token together, and that’s it.  They make these in 1.5″, too, if you want to do some larger tokens, but they’re less inexpensive.

Option 2: use some clear, 1″ acrylic disks like these (I use 1/8″ thick, instead of 1/16″).  (If you shop with Soto, the coupon code TNK15OFF should be good for a 15% discount.) Brush Mod Podge onto the back of the disk, stick your paper token printed side against the glue, and smooth it out so there’s very little glue between the paper and the disk.  If you want, brush some thinned Mod Podge against the back of the token. Once everything’s dry, scratch off or carefully take a little rubbing alchohol to the front of the token where you’ve clumsily gotten glue fingerprints on it.

I’ve done both ways.  In general, I prefer the acrylic disks.  I think they look nicer, and they’re much easier for me to handle.  Unfortunately, they also require quite a bit more work, and cost about 6.4x as much.  So: while I made my Infinity tokens with the acrylic disks, the Dark Age tokens I just knocked out got the sticker treatment.

Here’s a comparison photo:

  • Left – Punched out from an Infinity box, bottlecap sticker
  • Center – Printed out, clear acrylic disk
  • Right – Warsenal full-color acrylic token

So, maybe not as nice as the Warsenal tokens, but definitely good enough.

Lo Pan’s Noodle Hut Signage

I was wrapping up progress on Lo Pan’s Noodle Hut (photos for all of the completed-ish Xi Guan stuff will follow at some point soonish) and realized I didn’t have many posters I wanted to slap on it, but that it’d be neat to take the little menu that came with the Fat Yuan Yuan, resize it and fiddle with it, and use that.

Sharing is caring, so here’s a PDF that uses the Lo Pan’s Menu as a base to spin up some Lo Pan’s posters, so menus that would be posted to the sides of buildings, and then some tiny little menus to fold and use as counter scatter.

 

1:72 vs. 28mm Miniatures

Once every couple of weeks, I see someone ask about using 1:72 scaled miniatures along with their 28mm miniatures.

This isn’t a dumb question: I’ve certainly asked it myself, there’s a plethora of inexpensive 1:72 stuff out there, and 28mm is kind of a weird, messy scale that doesn’t have a convenient 1:something ratio and is often accompanied by freakish, unusual proportions.

1:72 is a fine scale (I find it unsatisfying from a hobby perspective, but I’ve been convinced that from a gaming perspective it’s the greatest of scales), but it is wildly out of whack with 28mm miniatures.

As you can see: the 1:72 scale miniature is about half as tall as a 28mm scaled miniature.  They simply are not even close.  The only scenario in which one might want to mix the two scales would be if they wanted to use the 1:72 figures as halflings.

If you’re looking for something you can use with 28mm figures, look instead for something between 1:43 and 1:56 or O scale.

Bolt Action is good proof of this: Warlord’s figures are 28mm and their vehicles are Italeri 1:56 models.  To my tastes, I find the vehicles on the small side, but some of that is caused by Warlord’s heroic scale proportions (the pumpkin-sized heads and baseball mitt-sized gloves I prefer).

The tank on the left is a 1:56 Company B Sherman Tank, with a Warlord/Italeria tank driver sticking out of the the bop.  Compare the size on the head of the tank driver (1:56) to the 28mm Warlord Marines.  The car on the right is a 1:43 Greenlight Fast & Furious Dodge Charger.

When it came time to buy some trucks for my Bolt Action French Resistance, I picked up some Welly/Ledo models: the one on the left is (I believe) a 1:64 Ledo Days Gone truck and the one on the right is the same vehicle, but in 1:43 and manufactured by Welly.  The former is, clearly, too small, and the latter just right.

I don’t have any 1:72 cars or tanks, but I believe this is a 1:72 Mustang next to a 28mm Warlord Marine.  Compare the size of the heads.

So, 1:56 is close enough but on the small side, 1:43 is close enough but on the large side.  1:72 isn’t even close.

I hope this is helpful, and that person who’s trying to math their way into proving that 1:72 is, indeed, close enough to use with 28mm miniatures (there’s always at least one); I’m sure they’re well-intentioned but they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

Infinity at NOVA Notes

I’m super-duper new to all of this (I’ve only done one Infinity Tournament), but have… over-committed to Infinity at NOVA (3 days, 8 games… you think I’d learn my lesson).
I’ve been working through the missions to try to get handle on what they mean, what they need, and how I should plan my lists. I’m sure I’ve turned up nothing new, but Robert P. suggested I share my notes on their useful to someone else.

To that end:

  • Missions: These are just the missions for the two tournaments in a single file
  • Notes: Just a distillation, for me, of how each are scored and other things that were buried in paragraphs about how Shasvasti impact ZO scoring.

These are just for the two events I’m doing, and I doubt there are any revelations (though I’m sure there are mistakes).  Sharing is caring, though, so here you go.

Building a Frostgrave Warband

Frostgrave is, as I’ve noted, happening at Madicon. Although I’ve seen some rather impressive Frostgrave setups at the various HMGS conventions, this is going to be a fairly low-key afair: just a 6×4 table stuffed with terrain and folks handed wizards and warbands to push around until they run out.

For this to work, though, everything has to be pre-generated. We’ve done the Frostgrave-day thing before and it takes hours for people unfamiliar with the system to make decisions about school, spells, and hirelings. Wasted time. So, I’ve generated cheat sheets for the warbands I’m bringing to share: everything someone would need to play on the single sheet (with the QR sheet on the back).

Am I not considerate?

(Download these cheat sheets)

This process brought to mind some rules of thumb I’ve had rattling around for the best way to approach Frostgrave from an army-building perspective.

First off, all hirelings in Frostgrave (not counting the hirelings in the supplements) fall into the following ruthlessly broad categories:

Equipment Hireling
Hand Weapon Thug, Thief, Apothecary
Handweapon & Shield Man-at-Arms, Knight
Two-handed Weapon Infantryman, Templar, Barbarian
Two Hand Weapon Treasure Hunter
Crossbow Crossbowman
Bow Archer, Tracker, Ranger, Marksman

And I mean ruthlessly broad, here.  An Apothecary’s got a Staff… but you’re Two-handed weapon guys are going to be more martial than some skinny jackass with a Health Potion, so just give him a stick with a nail in it and call it done.  You could probably even conflate the Hand Weapon & Two Hand Weapon groups, but Treasure Hunters are so useful (and supplemental options), it’s justifiable to treat them separately.

(Most of the options in the supplements fall into these categories as well: they’re almost all Hand Weapon or Two Hand Weapons.  Only the Javelineer, with his javelins, and the Pack Mule, who I really just want to run as an actual Mule, are problems).

Within each category, you want some differentiation.  Two-Handed Weapon dudes, for example, ultimately come in three flavors: if you have three models equipped with two-handed weapons and they’re all different, you can point to the shoddiest-equipped and call him an Infantryman, the better armored one a Templar, and the gnarlier looking on a Barbarian.  Or you can say that they’re all Infantrymen, or Templars, or that the two with the scarier looking weapons are Templars and the guy with the spear is an Infantryman… whatever. By making your models individual, you buy yourself flexibility.

At a minimum: simply build two from each category. You’re not likely to need to run eight Thieves, right?  Two Crossbowmen will set you.

So:

  • Hand Weapon Dude x2
  • Hand Weapon & Shield Dude x2
  • Two-handed Weapon Dude x2
  • Two Handweapon Dude x2
  • Crossbow Dude x2
  • Bow Dude x2

And make each model of each pair sufficiently distinct from the other (worrying less so about the two Treasure Hunters & Crossbowmen).

If you want to do more than that, I think it’s worth pushing a couple of those groups up to three models each:

  • Hand Weapon Dude x2
  • Hand Weapon & Shield Dude x3
  • Two-handed Weapon Dude x3
  • Two Handweapon Dude x2
  • Crossbow Dude x2
  • Bow Dude x3

If you really want to run more than two Thieves, go for it, but I just did the two (plus the two Treasure Hunters).  There are a couple of options across the Hand Weapon & Shield that you might want to take, and several options for the Two-handed Weapon and Archer models.  In the case of the Archers, I made a point to give at least one of them a Hand Weapon: remember, you want to be able to distinguish between the two models.

Both approaches obviously give you more models than you can run at once, but it’s so much easier to paint the 12/15 models together and be covered for the duration of your Wizard’s treasure hunting than to not and end up needing to assemble and paint a second sword-and-board guy halfway through a campaign.

Of the four warbands I’m bringing to Madicon, I’ve used this model for two of them: I’m bringing an assortment of Skaven just culled from my many, many Skaven models. I’ve got a Clubmen warband that’s simply a Warlord Games clubmen blister with a best-match for model to Hireling type.  But this is the approach I’ve used for my Cultists and my Barbarians: basically how I’ve wrangled all of the different options in those kits.

With models built: which models to start with?  I gave JC the following advice yesterday: “M is good, take as many bodies as you can, and Apprentices only look optional.”

Which equates to: 8 bodies in a starting warband with 300g to spend. Take two Thieves.  Take two of the following: Man-at-Arms, Treasure Hunter.  Then take two of the following: Archer, Crossbowman, Infantryman,.  Obviously, there are many more ways to spend your starting gold, but it’s good place to start, and stays within the above recommendations for building models.

Tutorial – How I Paint Faces

I’ve been pretty self-satisfied about my faces lately, so I figured I’d knock out a quick walkthrough of how I paint Caucasian faces while wrapping up my Blood & Plunder minis over the weekend.

I did have a couple of issues putting this together:

  • Like an idiot, I deleted a couple of the step photos.
  • I’m less than thrilled with the end result of the demo (but at least I have other examples of successful faces.

It’s kinda hard to tell the difference with some of these steps (which is why I accidentally deleted some of them), which is why I’ve supplemented the mini photos with a photoshopped face (source for the original image).  I’ve kept the strokes rough because I’m just paintin’ with a mouse, but also because frankly on a 28mm figure, that’s what brushstrokes are actually going to look like.

Step 0: Primed

I normally basecoat grey or, more recently, black with white zenithal highlights. This was a spur of the moment thing, so I ended up just basecoating white.  Won’t matter much.

Step 1: Basecoat

Paint everything GW Bugman’s Glow.

When dry, paint everything GW Cadian Fleshtone.

The goal is Cadian Fleshtone, but the coverage with it is poor enough that it’s just simpler to basecoat with the base paint.

Step 2: Layer

Block in shapes with GW Kislev Flesh.  Get the nose, eyebrows, cheeks, chin and jawline, lips, forehead, ears.

Step 3: Wash

Wash the whole thing with GW Reikland Fleshshade.

Step 4: Highlight

Now’s the time to be precise.  Pick out details with a fine-tipped brush and GW Kislev Flesh.  Target the nose, chin, eyebrows, lower lip, ear tops and lobes, and the tops of the cheekbones.

Step 5: Eyes

(Of course I kept all of these.)

With as fine a brush as you can manage, fill in the eyes with GW Rhinox Hide.  I’ve seen other people do this with black, but I think it’s too strong: you want to draw attention to the eyes, but you don’t want your figure wearing mascara (unless you do).

Go over the brown ovals with P3 Menoth White Highlight.  I prefer this because it’s a bright ivory… but it’s not actually white.  Leave some brown around the edges, though, to help the eye stand out.

If you screw up: just go back and touch up with more Rhinox Hide.

Take a pointed toothpick.  Sharpen the point.  Dab it into the GW Rhinox Hide you used above.  Wipe off the excess.  Pick a direction and poke it into the eyes.  I used to do straight-ahead, but it’s just easier to do the eyes looking off to the side and maybe more dynamic?  I’m using brown here because, again, I think black is too strong.

I did blue on the Frostgrave Barbarians last month, and thought it was really effective.  I might pursue this: do color, do the dot larger, and then maybe go in with a black dot as a pupile.

Step 6: Glazing

Mix about 50:50 GW Wazdaka Red : GW Emperor’s Children: looking for a nice rose color here.

Then thin that sucker out with a lot of water and a drop or two of matte medium, until it’s at about this level of transparency:

Better to be too thin and require multiple passes than not thin enough and ruin everything.  If you need to do multiple passes: just make sure it’s dry before the next one.

Carefully apply it to the cheeks and tip of the nose.  Maybe the ears if you feel like it.

Take some GW Dark Reaper, and thin it out as much as you did the rose.

Now apply it to the beard area.  In this example, I think I went too dark: you can do that, but I’m generally not trying to do stubble, just to give some color to the face.

Step 7: Wrap it Up

Finish painting the other details on the head.  Teeth, if you can see ’em.  I like to draw a little line of GW Agrax Earthshade between the lips (if the mouth is closed) or just in the mouth (if it’s open).

Other Examples

Here are a couple of practice heads I’ve been working with.

And some Frostgrave faces I think came out well and photographed OK.  This is where this approach has really clicked for me.

Summary

  • GW Bugman’s Glow basecoat
  • GW Cadian Fleshtone basecoat
  • GW Kislev Flesh layer
  • GW Reikland Fleshshade wash
  • GW Kislev Flesh highlights
  • GW Dryad Bark detail
  • P3 Menoth White Highlight detail
  • GW Dryad Bark detail
  • 50:50 GW Emperor’s Children : GW Wazdakka Red glaze
  • GW Dark Reaper glaze
  • GW Agrax Earthshade detail

Hopefully this helps someone out.

Frostgrave – Campaign!

Frostgrave Logo

I pretty much immediately got pumped about running a Frostgrave GameDay after my first game. I envisioned a couple of simultaneous 1v1 games, culminating in a larger melee with everyone on the table.

We’ll be running this at Huzzah Hobbies on 10/23 and, I’m sure, as a TGS weekend event.  If you’re interested in playing in the 10/23 game day: let me know!  There’s room for 8 and that’s it.

You can get the campaign here: Frostgrave – The Confluence Game Day

Light Arch

Finally got around to assembling my light arch last weekend.

Light Arch

A light arch tutorial (Part 1, Part 2) made the rounds around DAHGS a month or so ago, and a couple of the guys followed it with success. I’d just had one of my LED lamp die (the light wouldn’t come on and I’d smell burning), so following the crowd was pretty easily justified.

I am incredibly satisfied with it. The photos really don’t do it justice at all.  It’s amazing.  Good lighting is key to a successful paintjob, and I suspect that the light arch will be almost as big of a hobby milestone for me as moving to a wet palette.

Light Arch (9)

(Really, the photos don’t do it justice.)

I followed the linked tutorial pretty closely, with a couple of deviations.

My shopping list:

I also ended up with a bunch of T, L, and X connectors that simply didn’t get used in the build, but I’m sure they’ll be put to use later this year: now that Mrs. Rushputin has seen me do stuff with LEDs, she’s threatening to make me do the Christmas lights this year.

What’s nuts is I could have gone brighter and done the 5630 LEDs.  I didn’t, because I was concerned about length and needing to double up on power adapters. In the end, I think I could have made it work, but really: not complaining.

Anyway: the tutorial talks about termination bars: that’s not a thing that gets used here in Virginia. Fortunately, Brett found these 8′ long aluminum bars at Lowes (but not Home Depot) that are thick enough to be sturdy but thin enough to be simply hand-shaped. I could have gotten them in 6′ lengths and probably would have been OK, but when I lined everything up I think they turned out more like ~6’8″, so the extra couple of bucks and a minute with a hacksaw turned out to be worth it.

Honestly, the hardest part of the entire build was bending the feet. I’m sure there’s an easier way to do it, but I just used pliers and brute force. If you can figure out a more effective way of doing that, I’d recommend it.

After getting the arches together, I sprayed them with white enamel paint. I should have give that paint longer to dry than I did; there are a few spots where it’s crackled, thanks to a second coat applied either too late or too early.  Then, I bolted them to my desk; I have a dedicated paint station, so I can do that.  Other folks have bolted it to pieces of wood, or you could just have it sit on your workspace.

Light Arch (4)

Otherwise, the build followed the tutorial fairly closely.  Hopefully, this is a legible articulation of how I wired it:

Light Arch Annotated

I used a connector wire to bridge the top bar at the intersection.  This would have been easier with a shorter cable, I suspect, but it worked out okay.

Light Arch (2)

Instead of just running LED along the edge, I used the 3′ connector wire to bridge the one arch to the other, and hid the cable with the cable concealer.

Light Arch (7)

The LED strips are self-adhesive, but he’s not kidding when he says it’s not great. So, at every  point where I could cut the strip (every 3 lights or so), I hot glue gun’d across the arch to hold it in place. I also reinforced every point where there might be some extra pull with zip ties.Light Arch (3)

The remote is key.  The tutorial might claim it’s optional (but Highly Recommended).  It’s not.  Spend the $5 on it, or plan to fish around behind your desk to plug and unplug stuff when you want to turn the light off. The remote is little, though, so I mounted it to the side of a shelf with some velcro.  It’s not going anywhere (but, like, if it had to it could).

Light Arch (8)

Finally, I deliberately used a long-ass bolt to hold the arch together. This might seem counter intuitive (if I’m a picky enough pain in the ass to paint this thing, why wouldn’t I use a less obtrusive, more elegant, smaller thing to fasten these arches?), but I wanted the long bolt there so I could do stuff like this:

Light Arch (1)

Mounting stupid crap to the top of the arch.  I’m not saying I’m going to decorate it seasonally or anything… but I’m also not saying I’m not, if you know what I mean.


This was unbelievably easy to build, and the result is far more effective than I’d expected. If this is something you think you can use (and if you do work that requires good lighting), DO IT.