Tag Archives: Allegedly Helpful

I don’t care what it’s like outside, go ahead and prime your minis

I live in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the suburbs around Washington, DC… and it’s freaking humid here. It’s not the most humid place I’ve lived (I used to live in South Texas), but it’s a certainly a notable feature of the area.

Something I hear (read, really) is “I’m waiting for better weather so I can go out and prime my models.” “It’s too humid to prime.” “It’s too cold to prime.” Primer doesn’t love humidity or low temperature, so if it’s cold or damp outside you can’t prime (or varnish) outside. You can’t spray aerosol primer (or varnish) inside because it’s toxic. What’s a hobbyist to do, besides just wait for a good day before they start a project?

This drives me nuts. It does’t have to be this way. Folks’ hobby velocity is stopped up waiting on optimal weather and it doesn’t need to be.

Keep your models and spray inside. When it’s time to spray: take everything outside. Spray your models outside, where the spray won’t poison you. Put the sprayed models into a tub, and put a lid on it. Bring the tub inside. Let stuff dry. Do this year-round.

So: I’ve switched over to airbrush priming pretty exclusively, but pretty much every model I primed from the beginning of this blog until 2015 or so was rattle-can primed outside in all weather and tub’d. Every model I have varnished in the past 15 or years years has been varnished outside in all weather and tub’d. If you want to see the impact of weather on my priming and varnishing, skim through my painted model photos.

The photo examples I have were just after it’d stopped raining: I’ll spray in the pouring rain, even, just not where raindrops will hit the model I’m spraying. The air was thick with wet after a rain.

This is my tub. I cracked it, so just duct taped-over where the plastic shattered.

I’ve also got a grotty piece of foam that I keep in it to hold my minis in place; I don’t want them whacking into each other while they’re drying.

I stick my dudes onto old Dullcote caps and empty P3 paint pots to hold while spraying.

“That’s varnishing, though” you might say. “I was talking about priming.” Fine. I grabbed a mispacked ASOIF Free Folk and primed him with a GW Wraithbone rattlecan. Note the lack of pebbling.

Here’s the model washed to help make the lack of pebbling more clear.

That’s it! You don’t need to wait for a perfect day that’s not too hot, not too cold, not too dang humid. Just spray your stuff and put it in a tub. Don’t let not great weather prevent you from painting your minis!

Learn from my mistakes! Necromunda Zone Mortalis

My primary coping mechanism during this pandemic has been to plan for all the gaming I’m going to get to do if it ever blows over. One of my current plans is try my hand at a Necromunda campaign in my basement.

I’ve got Sector Mechanicus covered with the Deadzone terrain (which I’ve expanded on since that post during the halcyon days of 2014), but the table in my gaming room (constructed in November and un-posted about here; I should fix that) is 6’x4′, which doesn’t leave enough room for 2 4’x4′ tables (I’d have loved to have made it larger, but this is as big as the space permits). That’s a problem if I want to have 2 games/time.

I got the Underhive box when it came out, so I’ve got Zone Mortalis tiles, which solve the problem. I’ve got room for 2’x4′ worth of tiles; more if I shrink the Deadzone table down to a 3’x4′ or so. The tiles have walls marked on them, and the thing to do is to build some MDF or print off some walls to make them feel more real. Cool.

I did some waffling between the offerings from Warlayer and Corvus Games Terrain. I’m not interested in printing off new tiles, just walls, so the Warlayer set was the obvious choice. That was dumb. I should have considered Dragon’s Rest, which costs more but I think is a lot better looking and, while $19 is 4x as much as Warlayer’s $5, it’s hardly crippling. Didn’t think of it until I was 80% towards being done printing off the Warlayer, though, so I’d gone too far to change it up.

In working with these STLs, though, I’ve run into a couple of things that I figured I’d talk through. It’s fine: I spent $5 on them, that they require a little work isn’t the end of the world, and ultimately they’ll work out OK.

First off, after printing off about 1-2 of each piece, I decided only cared about the 2-square walls, 1-square walls, and the 4-way intersections. Those three shapes cover every variation on the tiles. The 3-way and 2-way intersections don’t fill the negative space on the tiles the way I’d like.

Secondly, they’re the wrong size. Ugh.

Look at these two pieces below: the one on the left is the default size: note that it hews perfectly to the squares… except the board has other spaces between the squares, which means the default size doesn’t actually fit the grid worth a damn. The one on the right is resized: I literally measured the size of the tile, divided it by 6, and resized the pieces around that.

The tiles are 289mm square, 6×6 square. That means each real square is actually 48.16mm square, not the 43.20mm it first appears. That adds up to a pretty substantial difference as you line these pieces across the tile.

So, I uploaded them to TinkerCAD and resized them. I probably could have done this in the slicer but I wanted to be able to make sure I knew what I was doing and that things lined up and such. In addition to lengthening all the pieces, I also had to widen them because those quad-intersection pieces were resized along both axes.

I also counted up how many of each were needed to cover each tile. Conveniently, the tiles are basically the same on both sides. I’m planning on using the walls and barricades that were included in Underhive, so I didn’t include printed replacements for them in my count. Were I to do so: +4x 2 square walls, +1x door, +2x figure something out for the 1 square-sized doors. I’m doing a few of the open window variants, because they’re there, and a few doors because why not. 6/26: I guess all of things I thought were plastic walls are actually supposed to be doors. That makes it easier. Still no good solution for the 1 square wide doors; I could muddle through something but it’d definitely be more work than I’m willing to put in.

6/26: I also realized I was very dissatisfied with how the duct tiles worked with the printed terrain. That was something easily fixed: I threw an 18-ish mm octagon across a 1 square wall. Took a little fiddling to get it looking right.

ShapeOriginal LxWResized LxW# Needed
2 square Wall88.19mm x 35.27mm96.33mm x 39.35mm12
1 square Wall43.12mm x 35.27mm48.16mm x 39.35mm23
duct wall48.16mm x 39.35mm5
4-way Intersection43.20mm x 43.20mm48.16mm x 48.16mm26
Door76.26mm x 13.33mm83.30mm x 14.87mm5
Table of shapes, original sizes, resized sizes, and quantity needed.

At these sizes, they fit perfectly.

Let me tell you how I screwed up magnetization.

These pieces come with 4 magnet holes 3mm across, 2mm deep at every connection point. The resizing did distort these by a smidge: they’re maybe 9% larger in one dimension? So, maybe a 3mm x 3.27mm oval and not an even 3mm circle, but I don’t think it’s noticeable.

I magnetized them, basically with a polarity: each piece goes one way. That way, I never end up with a piece that has positives facing out or negatives facing out. I can always line them up in a row.

For the intersections, I did the same thing:

I got about halfway through when I realized: this will work but it’s definitely not the smart way to do it. A better way would to have done the left side of each contact with one polarity and the right side with a different polarity.

This would mean that, instead of every piece having a correct contact direction, every contact direction would work. I was way too far along in the process before I realized this, though, so I’m pretty stuck.

I’m almost done printing these out.

I’ll probably do a very quick paintjob on them: I don’t think they’ll look great but they’ll look alright. This was a test piece done in a few minutes: primed white, Vallejo Air Hull Red, Vallejo Air Orange, GW Leadbelcher sponged on. I’ve got some red filler primer that’s pretty close to that Hull Red color, so I need to experiment a bit more with that before I do everything.

Nesting Infinity N3 Silhouettes

I’ve been frustrated by how to manage my silhouette markers. I’ve got the old Warsenal double-sided ones, stuffed in an empty plastic card box. The S4/S7 marker has some weak magnets in the base and marker component because together it’s just too big to conveniently pack away. I’d considered going back and doing the same to the rest of the markers, decided I’d rather do it with fresh ones, realized Warsenal doesn’t sell the double-sided ones any more, and gave up on that idea.

So, over the weekend, I got into TinkerCAD and worked out a set of markers that could fit into each other to minimize the hassle.

Started out by clustering them into base sizes and considering the volume of the “smaller” sizes as constituent parts of the “larger” ones.

The core idea was that if I wanted an S1, for example, I’d use the S1. If I wanted an S2, I’d flip the 25mm tall S1 marker over and stack the 15mm S2 marker onto it, producing the 40mm tall volume the S2 requires.

Then, assuming they’re hollow (for the smaller sizes to fit in), I iterated over a couple of wall widths that would be sturdy enough but also allow for the smaller base sizes to fit inside. Settled on 4mm wide, but with a 3mm deep x 2mm wide lip. The bottom/top of each was also 3mm, except for the top of the S5, which had to have an additional ring to accommodate the S6 marker. When in doubt, I erred on the side of thickness.

I could have shaved the internal volume of the S5 a bit more aggressively, maybe, but to no point. Although the only wonky thing is that the S1+S2 markers don’t fit perfectly into the S3+S5, there’s no way I could have gotten them to fit perfectly: the base and top would have had to be 2.5mm thick on the S3 & S5, and I think it would have been too risky for the S5. Everything overall does fit into the S4+S7, though, which was the whole point of the exercise.

Although I’m printing off a few copies for folks for a few bucks, I also put it up on Thingiverse because it felt like the right thing to do.

Here’s the final product. I’m extremely pleased with the results.

Infinity – Line of Fire

The same conversation has come up on WGC Infinity at least three times in the past month.  It’s apparently a squirrelier subject than it should be.  I get it: the first time it came up, I thought, “That’s wrong and BS!” until the rule was pointed out to me and now I get it.

I don’t especially like the rule, but the rule is the rule, and it’s unambiguous.

Specifically, there are several scenarios win which Model A might be in Model B’s front arc, but Model B cannot draw LoF to Model A from their front arc due to terrain.

This boils down to positioning, but gets trickier when it comes to elevation or, more easily, Super-Jump, where a player can say, “I’m Jumping just high enough to only draw LoF to the back half of your volume.”

This really seems to drive people over a cliff.  Uncharitable character judgments are being made, posturing about how they’d never play someone again, etc… and I think it’s unreasonable: one of the great things about Infinity is there isn’t really RAI, just RAW.  That RAW might be a little tortured, but it’s rarely ambiguous.

It’s frustrating that it’s come up so many times, and people get really worked up over it, so I threw together some diagrams that might help.  It won’t, but I can hope.

The key rule to this is from the first FAQ on the Line of Fire entry: “In summary: For a miniature can ARO must be within its 180˚ front half base and be able to draw the LoF from those 180˚.”

The standard move in Infinity is to place your model facing directly at the wall in front of them, perfectly parallel to it: that way, if someone comes around either side, they’ll be in their front arc.  This means that the back half of the volume of the silhouette is exposed from above.

If the model rotate’s 90˚, they can cover one direction and be protected from above… but leave the other direction exposed. I don’t think that’s a bad thing: the idea of a perfect defense doesn’t feel right in Infinity.  You have to make choices, take risks.

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.