Thursday, 27 April 2017

Wargaming, blah blah blah.

I've got nothing to show you, toy wise, so I thought I'd sprout a bit of verbal diarrhoea at you instead. Sit still, while I fling this in your general direction!

I've been on the hunt, unconsciously and/or consciously, for the perfect rule system all of my gaming life I reckon. The wargames that I've come across in the past (that I've liked enough to want to play that is) have only ever catered to one game mechanic really well, while failing, or butchering the rest. And while I've not found the perfect system yet, I've been more than happy enough just playing with the closest to perfect system instead. I can't be the only one who thinks this way. Or am I? Maybe I am? Read on if you want to learn more about my possibly solo delusion.

My main problem with rule systems (to date) is that there are generally two types. Ones that have a whole a huge tome that you have to plough through to know how to play the game, lots of tables, stats and other game critical information spread throughout. But the tabletop only ever contains the "playing material" i.e. the minis, terrain etcetera. An example of this would be RT or WFB. The second type, on the other hand, is almost the complete opposite. A paper thin rulebook, with straight forward rules, and maybe a small reference sheet. But the tabletop is covered in a shit tonne of counters, as well as the minis! Just to keep track of everything i.e. Stargrunts II.

And while enjoy playing the above mentioned wargames, their less than ideal. Their just missing a few key elements that would making them the perfect game system for me i.e. no counters on the table & intuitive rules.

Pulp Alley is one rule system I tried a few years ago that promised to address some of the problems I mentioned. The weapons and combat mechanics had been simplified, in a good way, but the rest? Not so much;

I'm not a fan of their card system as it replaces much of the skill element I like in a game with too much randomness instead. Card systems are fine if they introduce "some" randomness to a game, but not when they play a critical role in deciding the outcome of the game. If my input is not really having any meaningful impact upon what's transpiring, then what's the point in playing? Might as well be playing Snake & Ladders.

The objective locations are a little meh :( It's nigh impossible to come up with unique objective locations every single game, so they just end up becoming same same.

The almost impossible chance of killing head honchos is pretty annoying too. And yes, before you say it, I know it's a game of pulp, but it just ends up feeling like your efforts are pretty useless sometimes. The big guys manage to elude death time after time, head shot after head shot.....bloody infuriating!

So, where am I now then? In my search for the ultimate system, my holy grail of gaming? Well, I've given up on finding it in print that's for sure. So I'm in the process of melding/shoehorning what I think are the best elements, in my limited experience, of what I've played into one system. I'm erring more with Stargrunts II to tell you the truth. It has an ace dice system that takes care of many different mechanics i.e. ranges, troop quality, injuries, cover's quite snazzy really!  But it's proving to be quite a difficult task to coming up with a way of separating the squad element of the game into that of an individual character system instead. More work required :(

Well, that's enough rambling from Mr Papafakis for now. I've got a lot of other gaming related projects that require my immediate attention. Till next time brothers :)

Sunday, 2 April 2017

"Yes, but will it fly Jim?"

Strange title, but bear with me :)

About a year ago my son handed me one of his toy guns and asked me to fix it."Of course I will my son, what else am I here for?" I said :P

So, after stripping it down and having good look at it I soon realised that it was too far gone. All the internals were worn out from all the pretend combat that it had seen. Time for the bin I thought? But wait, hang on a minute! On closer inspection, with my miserly kitbashing goggles firmly fixed in place, I spied a "space-shippy" kinda thing hidden within the shape of the gun.

And this is where my journey began, almost a year ago. I've been plugging away at this, on and off, while completing other projects. Want to know more? Read on.......

Ooooooh, I can see a spaceship in there, I just know it.

With a bit of hamfisted photo editing magic, this is what I came up with.

So, out came the butchering modelling tools and I set to work.

These sections were going to be used as the landing gear hatches.

I wanted the body of the ship to be much wider than the engine pod.

So, I spaced all the screws holes out with plastic tube. And installed longer screws to compensate.

The top handle for the gun got transformed into a window, ala cardboard backed up with plastic for proper alignment.

Next up was the engine pod. I fixed a plastic tube along the entire length of it.

Then I added a plastic shower rail section into the body of the Spaceship. This had the exact I.D. of the engine pods pipe O.D. 

Starting to make sense now? The engine pod fucks the spaceship but good!

After that mechanical sexual encounter was over, this is what the Spaceship looks like.

Next up was the landing gear. the trickiest part of the build I must say. Trying to find something that would have the right
geometry, as well as the required strength, was quite a task.

In the end, I opted for a set of quad-copter landing legs. Cheap, strong,
cheap, having the right geometry.......and cheap. 

Here's the ugly fuckers in place.

And here's me trying to figure out the correct angles for the entry hatch.

Getting there.

It was at this point that I took another look at the silhouette of the ship. It wasn't really "doing it" for me. The engine pod was looking too long, basically not bad arse enough for my liking. So, after all that work, getting it to mate up perfectly to the ship, I decided to go back to the drawing board.

I wanted something a little more subtle. A smaller, more rudimentary engine arrangement.

So I dug out these old toy bongo drums and set to work.

And I came up with this. Nothing too flashy, just an engine way too big to be technically sort of RT :) 

Coat hangers, speaker wire and toy bits were sacrificed at the kitbashing alter.

A yo-yo, plastic cup and a pen lid channel the thrust of this engine.....pretend like.

This is how I joined the wire together to fill in the empty spaces in the engine compartment. Hot glue to the rescue! 

I filled in the spaces between the two halves of the ship with old public transport cards, as you do.

Then I used body filler to fill in the spaces to the correct height.

Another tough part of the build, bulking out the legs. Their not finished yet, but you get the general idea :)

Remember the hatch angles I was playing with before? Well, this is the hatch at the moment. Gunna magnetise it I think.

So, this is the "used to be a gun, but now a spaceship" project as it stands today.

Next up is the landing gear bay doors, entry hatch, front window, a couple of turrets and a few other bits and bobs.

Stay frosty :)

Friday, 3 March 2017

Siege Dreadnought V2

Well hello there everybody!

I've been a bit of a lazy git over the past few weeks, but still I managed to tick another unfinished project off of my list anyway. My Siege Dread MKII from almost two & a half years ago! Have a gander at all four of my old posts.....if you fancy a trip down yawn lane :D

I'll not bore you any longer with a boring old intro that even I couldn't be arsed reading if it were someone elses post! So here, I now dump a metric tonne of pics on you instead! Hahahaaaaa!!!!

Up until a few weeks ago, this is how she remained for a bloody long time.

Here are my weapons of choice for weathering things. Brown & rust colours for rust, black for oil stains.

Here are my three trays & three fucked brushes of choice for weathering things.

Here is a large soft bristled brush & an ordinary brush for "repairing" errors while weathering....all of choice you understand.

White benzene solvent by MASTEX, in a glass bottle, on my desk......of choice.

Next up is the application of all of the stuff to the Siege Dread:

Apply dark brown oil paint to object with one of the
fucked up a bastard! 

Spread it around with gay abandon!

Go all Mr Hanky on it!!!!

With the large brush, have at it with some White Benzene.

Now, with another fucked up brush, apply the rusty oil paint to it.

Go at it with the soft bristled brush, trying not to mix the colours too much.

Different angles of the butchering process.

Gratuitous arse shot.

Then repeat the process, but this time don't wash off too much.

Keep building up the weathering till your satisfied.....or have fucked up.

Corn cob thingys left unweathered.....because.

Victim chained up.

Took an age to get the chain to sit right.

Here it is pre-pigment application phase.

Concrete dust added to wrecking ball & claw.

Another arse shot, I'm shameless aren't I!

Clutching his entrails while going for a ride, Yippy!!!!

Poor old Drake had a bit of an accident, how embarrassing.

It's name, coz it has a small cock.

Closer inspection of concrete dust attempt shows that it's sort of convincing.

Small tool and cable aggots on display.

The stairway to hell on the back of it's leg.

"AArrrrhhhh!!!! Get me off a this fuckin thing will ya!!!!!"

In all it's splendour :)

Targeting control stick & forward/backward controls.

Drakes' presence is not only seen, but smelt by those close by as well!

This is just another view isn't it! Lazy cameraman!

Chomp, chomp, chomp!!!

Green glowy things.

If he misses with the claw he can slice it with the underslung blade instead.

"Why did I eat that curry before the battle?!!!!"

So, that was quite a large amount of pics wasn't it! I suppose I could have split this into two posts, one on weathering & pigments and the other on the finished build? But I had a bit of  a reality check and realised that I'm no Grand Master on weathering.....who am I trying to kid huh? So I decided against it, instead choosing to let my creation speak for itself. If you guys like it or think it's lacking in the weathering department then you'll let me know. I'd much rather have a discussion about this weathering malarkey than preach to you about a subject that I consider myself a novice at.

I did however manage to find a couple of different methods for applying pigments online. Both of which don't yield satisfactory results.

Method 1. Gloss coat, mix pigment with water or alcohol and apply. Rub off excess with finger and seal with matte varnish.

Method 2. Matte coat then apply dry pigment. Rub off excess with finger, seal with matte. Apply gloss and then matte to dull.

For me, with both of these methods, among others, I've not had a lot of success. Most of the time quite a lot of the pigment gets blown off when trying to fix it with spray. Or, you manage to get it to adhere well, but looks like mud instead of dust. I usually apply it a few times, stuffing about, until I'm satisfied with the look and just accept that it's not gunna work with the first application. I sometimes apply pigments onto wet paint, which I did for the concrete effect. I just pour the dry pigment directly onto it, which looks more chalky & convincing I think.  

What are your thoughts on this subject guys?