It Came from the Lightbox: Aeronautica Imperialis

I love/hate these. I love how the aircraft came out: I think the results are excellent, particularly considering how little effort went into them. I hate how the bases came out: I feel like every decision I made around them was wrong and I ended up spending more time on the damn bases than the aircraft, if that’s believable.

When I say “little effort,” I mean it. These are all basecoated, a few details picked out with solid colors, and weathered with oils (burnt umber). That’s it. The Tau got the tiniest bit more effort, with the top being different colors from the bottom and with a second color being airbrushed on for “camo.”

Really the key is going light so you can go nuts with the oils. I started trying to just pin wash, and got lazy. That’s fine: it’s way to remove oil paint and that’s kind of the point. By brushing it away from nose to tail, I can clean up my mess and add texture & depth.

Bases aside, all of this was the work of maybe two afternoons.

These were my first batch. I skipped decals on these, and I feel like that was a huge mistake: just the tiniest bit more effort and they’d have come out quite a bit better.

What am I doing?

So, Defiance showed up last week, and I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve noodled up a plan to get it painted (skip the CA models I’ve already got painted, focus on closing the gap on the models in the core box, don’t get overwhelmed by all the extra models).

I’m having a hard time finding any motivation to actually start on them, though. Instead, I’ve been wrapping up Aeronautica Imperialis models and finding more Skaven to paint up on round bases.

The fact is: although I’ve painted an almost record amount of stuff this year… effectively none of it has been Infinity. I’ve painted 5 Rodoks and an Anathematic (which was for someone else, a pre-‘Rona commitment)… in a period in which I’ve painted literally over 300 other models. I love Infinity.

Meanwhile, games I’ve painted for: 40K, Age of Sigmar, Necromunda, and Saga. 40K is not what I want out of a game any more: simplistic where I want complexity, complex where I want simplicity. Age of Sigmar’s gotten a lot better since it’s initial release and although my experience with it is extremely shallow, I feel like it’s probably the better game than 40K at this point. Necromunda… how many gangs do I need for it? Probably not three. What is it going to give me from a gameplay perspective that Infinity gives me? Nothing. I haven’t played Saga 2E, but after an initial honeymoon with 1E I quickly soured on it. I’m not going play any of these games.

What’s happening here is, I think, pretty clear to me. I love Infinity, but so much of that is bound up with the community around the game and traveling to play it. COVID-19 ruined, as it has so many other things, a year of Infinity travel for me. A month after the isolation hit, I was supposed to be in Albuquerque for Rumble. 2 months after that: Ohio and Ruckus. 2 months NOVA Open. 3 months Brawl.

I’d just finished painting up a bunch of new models, didn’t get to use them, and that’s just put me in a funk about the game. Instead I’m just painting these other models.

Not sure where I’m going with this; mostly just musing. If this funk about a game I love is the worst fallout I catch as part of this pandemic, great. That I’m painting models I enjoy painting is hardly a problem.

I hope all of you are happy and healthy.

About a Year of 3D Printing

Resin Printing

Last November, I picked up an Anycubic Photon S on Black Friday sale. I don’t think I’d have been able to do so without Scott S. and Tim P. talking through how the whole mess works, because it’s pretty intimidating and, at the time, I don’t think there was a lot of easily digestible information about it. Certainly poking around social media, all I could find (really: all) was “Photon” vs. “Fauxton” noise.

Certainly, I expected to be running it 24×7, but I’ll admit that I actually don’t print with it all that much. Broadly, I find it to be a pain in the ass.

The smell is the biggest hassle. Printing that test cube almost had us evacuate the house. It smells like death. I went through a whole thing of building a chamber with ventilation out a window to manage this, but that introduced a whole other problem arising from having a window open (and blocked with plywood) while it’s hot outside, or cold outside, or when we’re not home…

Ultimately, I followed some guy’s advice on YouTube and unplugged the fan that (inexplicably) vents from the print chamber into the electronics chamber. (The turkey actually advised snipping the power cables but I opted to just, like, unplug them.) Between that and just closing the cabinet has made the smell manageable to the point that I don’t want to sit next to it while it’s printing but otherwise it doesn’t fee like it’s trying to kill us.

The other huge hassle is prep. I hate supporting models. I hate it more than anything… except having print failures. Nowadays it feels like every Patreon is presupporting their STLs, which is fantastic, because I hate having to do that but feel compelled to do it. It is frequently an obstacle to printing. For example, I have some AI-scaled Remora Drones I’d like to print but supporting them is such a drag I just can’t.

Mind you, I’ve printed a fair amount of stuff. I justified the purchase with a Warmaster army: “I could buy a Warmaster Skaven army,” I told myself, “or a printer and print one for less.”

So I did that. And printed a Wood Elf army, and a couple of BFG fleets. None of this is painted, however. I have printed some stuff and gone on to paint it (though it feels like the exception to the rule), like some Titanicus weapons and those Wolf Rats for my Saga Skaven.

Anyway, I have a love/hate relationship with resin printing: I actually just hate it but I love being able to fall back on it when there’s something I need to print.

FDM Printing

In February, I ordered a Prusa i3 MK3S. I did this mostly because I’d bought some PrintableScenery STLs to scale down for Warmaster and caught the terrain bug.

This was perfect timing, as it showed up and I had time to assemble it and start working with it when the pandemic shutdown hit maybe 2 weeks later. Being able to fiddle with the thing has been a very effective coping mechanism for me.

Unlike the resin printing, though: this printer has been running pretty much non-stop: I’ve printed up a dense amount of terrain for Titanicus, the tiles for Blackstone Fortress, walls for Necromunda, and a fair amount of tudor/fantasy terrain and space habitat terrain.

There’s zero hassle to it, really: just slice the thing, hit print and wait. (I guess there’s one hassle: it’s slow.)

I’ve also had a really great time designing stuff to print with the FDM: stackable Infinity silhouette markers, card trays and organizers. Right now, I’m printing out some stackable card organizers for Warcry. (Everything I think I might be OK to share gets put up on Thingiverse.

I really enjoy working the FDM. If it weren’t logistically and financially impractical, I could definitely see myself picking up a second one so I could run terrain pieces (at <= .1mm layers) for days on one while noodling around with stuff on the other.

Either way: resin or FDM it has been incredibly liberating to be able to just print weird stuff when I realize I need it.

Necroumnda - Enforcer Ogryns

It Came from the Lightbox: More Genestealer Cults & Necromunda

Early last year, I painted up a few kits of Genestealer Cults because I felt like it. I told myself maybe I’d play Kill Team with them, but really: they’re neat models and I felt like painting them. In the end, I picked up a few more Genestealer Cult models than I ended up painting and they’ve been rattling around the shame pile since.

No longer!

They’ve all gotten LoF arcs in the off-chance I actually play Necromunda with them at some point.

Actolyte Hybrids

Can I just say: Genestealers on 25mm bases are tall, unbalanced and weird. Genestealers on 32mm bases are unimpeachable. They’re flawless. I love them.

Iconward & Genestealers

I also banged out the box of Slave Ogryn models in pretty speedy time: I did 2 each for my Goliaths and Enforcers and then 2 more just in their own scheme. I also painted up the Enforcer Null & robo dog.

Goliath Necromunda Ogryns
Enforcer Necromunda Ogryns
Unaligned Necromunda Ogryns
Scrutinator-Primus Servalen

Oh and hey somehow I never put the Ambots on the lightbox.

Skaven Mounted Spiteclaw

It Came from the Lightbox: More Saga Skaven

Back in October I got a weird motivation to return to the Saga: Age of Magic Skaven I painted in June. There were some options I hadn’t covered in the first wave, so I padded those out, and then things got a little out of control.

I painted/converted/printed:

  • Ratling Guns as Destruction Teams
  • Plague Monks with Empire Archer arms as Levies with Bows
  • Stormfiend as a Monster (more impressive than the Doomflayer)
  • A second Doomflayer (they’re War Machines now)
  • Ikit Claw as a my Warlord (I’d already painted a Warlord, but decided he was more impressive)
  • Jezzails as Warriors with Firearms (sure, they’re multi-based)
  • Wolf-rats from Thingiverse as Mounted Hearthguard
  • Spiteclaw on an upsized Wolf-rat as a Mounted Warlord
  • Padded out my Warriors (rounding out to a full point of Warriors accounting for 4 models being used by Destruction Teams)
  • Padded out my Hearthguard (rounding out to a full unit of 12)

I did break my rule of keeping the army $0 as a result of all of this, though. Most everything came from my Skaven drawer/bitz box, but I did have to buy the Plague Monks, Ikit Claw, Spiteclaw, and a few extra Stormvermin halberds. The Ikit Claw thing is especially frustrating because I’d gotten into my head that I had one and just needed to paint it up but I must have imagined it… so I had to buy one. All told, the 18-ish points of a Saga army cost me about $80.

Oh, also I knocked together 50mm x 25mm pill-shaped cavalry bases for the Ratling Guns and Wolf Rats. I’ve posted it on Thingiverse: 50mm x 25mm Pill Cavalry Base.