Friday, October 31, 2014

Assembling a Robotech RPG Tactics Defender Destroid.

I recently received my first wave of rewards from the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter and dove right into building the models. This was a mistake. By not taking the time to get to know the kits better I now have two legless Tomahawk Destroids that are going to require some major surgery to get back into the fight. Not that the kits are overly complex, but there are some design decisions that have been made that make assembly a bit frustrating. And this is not really a criticism of the model designers, not that it would do any good at this point, but more a cautionary tale and hopefully a few valid pointers.

My God, it's full of sprues!

Tragedy strikes!
Since the Tomahawks are in triage I'll be building a Defender and taking my time.

First off you have the sprue of parts. Each sprue makes two Defenders. I clipped the various parts out with model cutters and cleaned them with an X-Acto, needle file, and sanding stick. Here's one of the first things I noticed, the plastic that these kits are made of seems to act differently than normal model kits that I'm used to. It's tougher and doesn't like to be scraped or filed as easily as a kit from Bandai or Games Workshop. It's not as hard to work with as the Sedition Wars stuff but is still strange. Even after working on it quite a bit I'm still left with plastic fuzz. 

The instructions are simple enough but numbered parts would have helped.

Once the parts have been freed from the sprues and cleaned as much as possible I assembled them into sub-assemblies. Most of these went together easily, the main torso actually fits together really nicely, but there are some gaps in the legs that are obvious in the photos. I originally used polystyrene cement to build the Tomahawks in hopes that I could fuse the seams and then scrape them clean but there are too many ridges in the way. So I used cyanoacrylate glue which kicked too quickly to allow me to squeeze the parts together. 

Notice gaps in the legs. I'll have to try gel polystyrene cement next time.

On to final assembly and another issue. The hip sections on the Destroids are made of really small ball and sockets that only want to match up in one particular way. And combined with feet that only attach in one way it's very easy to put the legs on in such a way that the figure is leaning forward or backwards. Thus my first Defender looks like his cannon have some serious recoil. So there's some real frustration with having to use super glue in assembly which doesn't allow for final positioning but the hip joints are too small to use polystyrene glue without destroying them. And do not try to reposition the legs in any way, there's not enough of a joint and the just tear apart. Thus my legless Tomahawks.

This joint is frustratingly weak and only wants to work in a particular way.  And the legs make it impossible to have them both straight, they are cast so that one is stepping forward.

The molds have been made in steel for these kits so too much criticism is worthless and stupid. These are the models that we have and we can only do our best with them. But I can't help but wonder how amazing these kits would have been if produced by a company like Bandai, Kotobuikiya, or Max Factory. They are not terrible, they're just not amazing. But since I have dozens of them to assemble it's necessary to learn their quirks and move on. After all I just want to have some cool models and destroy some Regults.

Next up: The Spartan and Phalanx!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Painted Alpha Zorgl from Golgo Island AKA Ro-Man!

One of my favorite miniatures of all time. Sculpted by the immortal Bob Olley of Olleys Armies Miniatures for East Riding Miniatures.

You can watch the sci-fi "classic" that this mini is based on below. Plus you get Joel and The 'Bots from MST3K to help with the viewing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Creating Quick Flagstone Bases.

I've been working on some Famous Monsters minis from Heritage lately and decided that I wanted all of the bases to match. The integral bases on the minis are various sizes so I decided to use a standard sized base and sculpt a simple flagstone texture to integrate the original base into the overall texture.

Looks like a Monster Mash is about to break out.
I used Renedra plastic bases since they're nice and thin. This means they won't get too chunky once I've added some putty texturing. The two minis, a Wolfman and Hunchback, were cleaned up with knife and file and then super glued to the bases.

Hairy and Hunchy look a little gray today.
I added greenstuff putty to the bases and sculpted it even with the integral bases on the minis. Then I textured it with a metal bristled brush. This layer doesn't have to be perfect since it'll be mostly covered over with stones.

Once the dirt layer is dry I added little blobs of putty to make the flagstones. I'm using bronze/brown putty here for contrast but most any putty will work. Try to make sure that these go over the original base to hide the edge.

The stones are formed with a dental tool and I try to keep them all evenly flat with one another. This is the only time that you have to be somewhat careful but there's still a lot of room for leeway.

Once the stone putty is cured you can go over it with a sanding stick to really even the stones out. Then they're ready for priming and painting. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nameless Design Halloween Clearance Sale!

I'm going to stop selling a couple of the first Nameless Design Miniatures so now's your chance to save some scratch on a some sure-to-be obscure minis of the future!

The Giant Deep One is normally $8 but now it's $4 (plus $2 shipping in The US and $4 International).

And Graveyard John, the freelance gravedigger is normally $8 but now it's $4 (plus $2 shipping in The US and $4 International).

Email me at if you'd like to order either one of these soon to be stunningly obscure works of the miniature sculptor's art. :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Converting and Painting a Miniature for Numenera.

I've recently started playing in a Numenera game with a great group of players. Numenera is a sort of dark age of technology setting that takes place a billion years into the future and uses evolved technologies in ways that mimic magic. It's a beautiful setting that is written well and uses a system that allows for a lot of player interaction while keeping the game moving. 

I'm enjoying it so much that I decided to convert and model a mini of my character Chert Blazebeard. Chert is a re-imagined version of an earlier D&D character of mine who is sort of a traveling warrior/weapons-smith. He began life as a farmboy, became a smith's apprentice and now travels the lands of The Ninth World seeking martial challenges that will help him in his quest for better weapons and fighting techniques as he studies The Way of The Striking Anvil.

Sketch of Chert Blazebeard.

I was going through some Reaper Bones minis at my FLGS and found a great starting mini sculpted by Bobby Jackson. The mini is of a flame-thrower trooper called Torch McHugh 80018 and had a bulkiness and weight that I liked. I'd already started drawing Chert as wearing quilted armor and finding this mini seemed fortuitous.

There was a lot of cutting on this mini that I would not have tried with any material other than the hardened vinyl of Bones. The stuff is brilliant for massive conversions. There are still some issues with detail softening but not enough to worry about. This was going to be a gaming mini and not a contest entry.

The following pictures show the basic steps and tell which greeblies I used. Enjoy!

So much disassembly made so easy.
Even the massive fuel tanks were clipped off easily.

With the head re-angled the whole pose changes.

Arm from Games Workshop.

Pads from Gangs of Mega-City One and shield from The Homer car model kit.

Backpack from Warzone Bauhaus Trooper.

Green stuff for armor, beard, and axe blade.

Very basic paintjob. Simple colors with Citadel Washes and light drybrushing.

Base from Champ Industries.

Chert Blazebeard, ready to rumble!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Brain Worm!

More from World Wasters:

Brain worms and their symbiotic pinhead-drones have always been alien outlaws, shunned by every civilized species because of a well-deserved reputation for psychic vampirism. Standing about six feet tall, a brain worm resembles a giant brain perched atop a stalk of bundled nerve fibers.

Pinhead-drones are great hulking brutes whose heads are nothing more than clusters of sense organs. Brain worms use telepathic powers to exert psychic control over pinhead-drones and any other unfortunate beings who fall into their psychic clutches.~ from World Wasters by Steve Lortz

You there! Do my bidding...or else!
Looking for a suitable victim.
An unsuspecting Bogey about to be puppeteered.
Also here's some of my early art for the pinhead drones. Biologically engineered brutes with minimal brain power but plenty of physical might. 

Pinheads can only use the most basic weapons and equipment.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bogey Commander Robble from World Wasters.

Just finished Commander Robble of Robble's Rocket Raiders. Robble ( a corruption of Rommel and that noise that Hamburgler makes) is a rare example of Bogey military leadership in that he actually likes fighting and is unafraid to get into a skirmish alongside his men. He uses his trusty sidearm pistol and custom FistFaust to both attack his foe and keep his men in line! 

This mini is part of the World Wasters line designed and sculpted by Steve Lortz and soon to be re-released by Fortress Figures.

See more Bogeys here:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

World Wasters Bogeys.

Buggle on the revamped cover of World Wasters.
Robble's Rocket Raiders in the midst of some bad behavior.
From the war-torn pages of World Wasters come the Bogeys:

"Bogeys are native to the New Arm. In the parts that have been, explored so far, they are the numerically dominant species. Legend has it that a long lost species known as the Ancient Masters designed the bogeys to serve as fighters and laborers.

A degenerate species, bogeys are rude, stupid, vicious brutes, loosely organized by clans and tribes that incessantly fight with each other. The most forceful or cunning bogeys rule the others. Though technology on bogey worlds is crude, often no more advanced than medieval, these creatures are capable of learning to use most state of the art equipment. When they get hold of something like a starship, bogeys use it up, vandalizing and pushing it far past any reasonable limit with no regard for maintenance or safety.

A bogey tactical squad usually includes one second level leader, one first level heavy weapons specialist and eight other first level bogeys."~ From the World Wasters Playtest Edition by Steve Lortz.

My first squad of Bogey's are Robble's Rocket Raiders. Both Bommer and Biggles share the same body as do Breever and Buggle. These minis were sculpted by Steve Lortz in the early 1990s and are being re-released by Fortress Figures with new poses and are tabbed to work with slotted bases. We're hoping to re-release the WW rules this year as well.