Tag Archives: GP

Miniature Madness- The Second Coming: Phantom Minis!

You can all finally breathe again, ladies and gentlemen- G.P. Humongous is back! And in fact, after a brief cabaret tour through the French-Canadian wilderness, I must say I’m feeling quite vigorous. Nothing sets the humours to rights like a bit of gin and dressing in ladies’ clothing, I always say.

But enough about the intrigues of a handsome, burly, and available New-Englishman (who seeks the same, wink, wink), let’s move on to the reason we all have carpal tunnel syndrome.

The minis.

When last we left, I had been regaling you with the anecdotes of my Orkish forces and their a-typical leader, Draaz. Their tales promise to continue, with new and greater adventures and exploits than ever before! Let me assure you, under the protective shadow of Draaz’ good graces, the Mekboy Bitzbarfer has flourished, producing war machines and hulking metal monstrosities the likes of which may never have been seen before amongst the Orks.

In addition to Draaz and his countless hordes, I now field a second army; the Catachan 9th Witch Doctors. These highly irregular Imperials field a number of unique units, including their notorious “Battle Toads;” horse-sized poisonous tree frogs with heavy bolters or Sentinel cabs strapped to their backs. The Witch Doctors also boast an impressive sylvan fortress, which will be featured in its own article, along with a literal forest of foliage, plant-life, and jungle terrain tips.

The infamous international mercenaries, Hicks and Snout, will be joining us as well. Hicks will be featured in our (lengthy, informative, and enriching) strategy and tactics discussions, wherein grown men busy themselves with the finer points of moving tiny plastic men across a table top (a worthy past-time). Snout will be showcasing her brand-new -and yet quite fearsome- force of Space Wolves. As she is new to Warhammer 40k (and table-top strategy gaming in general), she and I will explore the many ardors which confront a gamer new to the genre. Despite her gender disadvantage (I do prefer the males), her stellar record in killing regular-size real men promises to translate into a stellar record in killing tiny plastic men.

In addition to Warhammer 40000, we’ll be digging up a gem presented early in this blog’s history by Pain. I’m talking about Dungeons Lite, of course, and we’ll be conducting thorough beta testing and research of that still-almost-totally-virgin game system. I must say, the prospect of a swifter, simpler (perhaps, more elegant?) game has a great deal of allure for this burlesque dancer.

In conclusion, I leave you with the explanation behind this post’s title; the minis in this article must remain as ethereal as the titular phantom; oft discussed, yet unseen. Forgive me, oh reader, yet I ask of you to tarry. Soon, very soon, something wicked this way comes.

G.P. Humongous (Those burly hockey boys loved our show in Quebec)

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Interview With A Deity: Behind The Scenes

(There’s a large round table, conference room-style, with Doderman sitting at the table with a small stack of papers in front of him. Vecna sits immediately to his left. The shades are drawn, and there’s a water cooler in the corner. Harsh fluorescent lights shines down from the ceiling. All around the room, Hicks and Snout, Chief, The Mysterious Dr. X, Pain, and GP are standing around chatting. Doderman bangs a gavel onto the table, and everyone sits down.)

Doderman: Okay, everyone. Let me start by introducing Vecna here. Starting today, he’s my new assistant.

OMNI: Hey, Vecna!

(Vecna waves)

Vecna: Hello, everyone. After the success of that first Interview, I’m looking forward to working here permanently with you all.

Doderman: Thank you,  Vecna, I’m sure I speak for the rest of the staff when I congratulate you and hope to see you stick around for the long haul. Now, onto the normal business. We just got in a new batch of Interview applications today. As usual, take a peek at them, see if anything stands out. Vecna, could you hand these out to everyone?

Vecna: Sure.

(Vecna stands up)

Doderman: Oh, and, um, could you put on a glove first? No one here can survive a deathtouch.

(Vecna laughs and slides on a leather glove, then proceeds to hand everyone one of the packets.)

Doderman: Okay, you’ll notice we got a lot of choices this-

The Mysterious Dr. X: Whoa, sweet. Guys, check it out- page 22. Malcanthet sent more nude photos in with her application. I am your host, The Mysterious Dr. X, saying “guess I’ll add them to the collection”.

(he grabs the photos while everyone but Doderman starts furiously flipping through the folder)

Hicks: Wow. You seen this, babe?

Snout: I have now. Wow is right.

Pain: Damn. This is, like, NUDE nude. We’re talking all skin. For some reason, I was actually expecting at least a LITTLE clothing.

(looks across the table at The Mysterious Dr. X)

Pain: Nice find, The Mysterious Dr. X.

Doderman: Yes, thank you, everyone. You’re all adults here. But since you brought it up, she didn’t send in nude photos with her application. She sent them AS her application. Just like she does every week. You think you’d be used to it by now.

The Mysterious Dr. X: Used to it? What?

Doderman: You know, I just figured that by now, you would be accustomed to-

Chief: Uh, if I may, boss? Pardon the interjection. I believe the thought my esteemed colleague is attempting to get across isn’t confusion. Rather, it seems to me he’s expressing incredulity that you could- nay, that you even SHOULD- ever get to the point of passive acceptance when it comes to nude women. “Enthusiasm in all things mammarian”, if you will.

(The Mysterious Dr. X nods and gives Chief a thumbs up)

Doderman: You’ve got me there. I suppose it WOULD be dumb to begrudge anyone that. In that case, I just ask that you wait until after the meeting to drool over it.

The Mysterious Dr. X: I am your host, The Mysterious Dr. X, saying “you got it”.

Doderman: Excellent. Now, as I was saying, we have a lot to choose from this time. Anyone have any ideas? Any specific choice jump out at them?

(Pain looks at The Mysterious Dr. X and gestures out the number “53”)

(The Mysterious Dr. X flips to page 53 and his eyes widen)

The Mysterious Dr. X: Yeah, I do! Page 53. She seems like a good candidate.

Doderman: (sighs) I’m guessing she’s hot?

The Mysterious Dr. X: …Uh… I am your host, The Mysterious Dr. X, saying “fifth amendment”.

Doderman: Can you even tell me what her name is? You won’t be able to keep up the pretense of an interview if you don’t at least know that much.

The Mysterious Dr. X: Yeah, definitely. Her name is, uh, Araushnee.

GP: (without even looking up from the pages) You’re dense, you know that? That’s Lolth, bro. That’s Lolth’s name from when she was still good. What about Kord, page 36? He’s been trying for a while, and he seems like a nice enough guy. Throw him a bone and all that.

Snout: Ugh, is he that guy that just keeps on sending signed photos of himself doing deep thrust lunges? No thanks. What about page 17? Boccob seems nice enough.

Doderman: Not bad, I’ll put him on the list. Any other names jump out at anyone?

GP: Great Mother might be interesting. She might have a cool story or two.

Doderman: Okay, good. Come on, guys, I can’t work with two names!

Hicks: Uthgar.

Pain: Thoth.

Snout: Ilsensine.

Vecna: Uh, am I allowed to vote in this?

Doderman: (looks around, everyone shrugs) No one seems to have a problem with it.

Vecna. Great. So what about Hephaestus? He’s a great builder, he’s been around forever, all the Pharaonics respect him. (motions toward The Mysterious Dr. X) He’s got two sexy robot assistants.

The Mysterious Dr. X: Woo, sign ’em up! “Clank whirr buzz, please love us physically The Mysterious Dr. X, error 402 resistance not found”. Maybe we can do an interview with both of them at once!

Doderman: ae… stus. Okay, he’s on the list. Who else?

Chief: Excuse me. I have a question. What precisely is the status of that application there, sitting by you? It seems to be that we do not actually have a copy of that specific person.

Doderman: Oh, yeah, that’s, um… that’s Meepo. I didn’t include him because he’s not a deity. He isn’t a demon lord. He’s not even a demigod. He has absolutely no divinity whatsoever, he’s just… some regular, run of the mill kobold.

Chief: Do you mind if I…?

(Doderman looks around, confused)

Doderman: Uh, sure. Here you go? I was just gonna pitch it, but…

Chief: Much obliged.      …Hm, I see. Very good. Yes, quite informative. Alright, I have made my decision. He is exactly the one. No debate.

GP: Uh, what? What decision? I know you’re kinda the head writer of it now, but you can’t just unilaterally decide. We do this as a team.

Chief: Indeed we do, and as well we should. And we shall continue to do precisely that, chum. You seem to have accidentally arrived at a most egregious of errors. I’m most certain it was unintentional, my good man, so no harm done. For you see, I was not accepting him as the newest subject of this most illustrious segment, but rather deciding he is to be my new co-host for said segment.

(They all stare at him)

Chief: Doderman, please call him back and inform him. Unless you’d rather I do it myself?

Doderman: Uh, you can do it, if you’d prefer it that way.

Chief: Excellent. Now, back to the matter at hand. What about 41, Kyuss?

Pain: 6, St. Cuthbert could be cool.

Vecna: We could always do a new one with me. That might be interesting.

The Mysterious Dr. X: Hello, another nude boob alert, guys. Page 30. Eilistraee has a really nice rack. I am your host, The Mysterious Dr. X, saying “let’s do her. Pun VERY intended”.

Snout: Ugh, stop doing that. You’re embarassing everyone here, most of all yourself. Maybe we could get a twofer with Chronepsis & Faluzure.

Hicks: Well, it wouldn’t really be a double team. You mean Null?

GP: Well, hold on- remember, they can control when they combine. All we would have to do is ask them to wait. Or for them to just not do it.

(…and on and on it went, into the long hours of the night. We eventually chose Hephaestus [+1 for you, Vecna], but he ended up not being available on the day we attempted to book him for. So, one of these days, we’ll finally get him in here.)

-The Whole Darn Gang (in his defense, they ARE all really hot)

Be It Known, To All Whom These Presents…

Something wicked this way comes.

Something small. Something huge.

Miniature Madness is set to expand soon. Very soon, this part of The Doderman Defense Network will balloon into its own massive, distended organ, belching strange juices and ichor.

If you’re not aroused yet, just wait…

There’s more!

Draazz and his horde have grown… a lot. A new photoset of the mighty ork’s minions is coming soon.

G.P. Humongous (with anus puckered in anticipation)

A Gentleman Needn’t Pay For A Good And Thorough Flocking

FLOCK IT

It’s such a miniscule consideration, and yet such a palpable one. Woe be unto he who chooses not to adorn his tiny plastic man with false grass. It can be the difference between the Golden Daemon and the laughing stock of the local nerdery (game store). It well and truly is a vital component.

And yet, as so often is the case amongst the poor and under-privileged, the coffers are drained in affording our tiny plastic men (the little dears). This can be only too true in the case of the purist (or he who chooses to play certain armies, or anyone working with a budget, etc…). By the time it is time for flock (and so many other similar “finishing touches”) the money has left and gone, with only her alluring scent lingering in those places she lingered (money behaves exactly like my dancing persona, Pickle).

But a flocking can be had for damnably close to free, if you know where to look. Here’s what you need to procure (or send your servants out to fetch);

Sawdust.

Yes, sawdust. Preferably that fine and extremely uniform kind that comes from sanding, but even coarser-grain sawdust (that comes from cutting) has usefulness. If you know anyone who does any kind of wood-work or carpentry, or perhaps know of a shop where that kind of thing is done, there’s your gold mine. These types are usually only too happy to be rid of the stuff (which they would otherwise throw away), and more than once I have been mused at for so happily gathering it up. I cannot foresee a circumstance where one might have to pay for sawdust, so don’t.

A flour sifter.

The old-fashioned kind, made from a can, a knob, and a wire. Likely, your grandmother has one in her kitchen. Have one of the servants fetch it for you. Even if no such old-timey-appliance-endowed relative exists, which would be willing to lend you such a device, you can make one from (literally) scrap (I mean literally rubbish; trash). I don’t feel it necessary to go into detail in this post (but perhaps later), particularly since nearly any mesh-type sieve will work just fine.

Water.

It does not even need to be potable. This means that yes, you can still make flocking even if the septic tank backs up (just don’t bet on it smelling anything near lovely).

Paint.

You very likely already have this. A few pointers; the color you want the flock to be and the color of the paint you use to make it should be the same (duh). Just about any old paint will work, provided you use enough of it (do be prepared to experiment).

Cups, bowls, and trays.

None of these should have any intrinsic value or significance. What I mean by that is, DO NOT USE YOUR MOTHER’S FINE FLATWARE, or for that matter, anything you care too acutely about. They will likely be stained and definitely made a mess of.

A stick (and perhaps also a spoon and a spatula).

As mentioned above, pretty much any old thing will work, just make sure it’s ok that said thing is for all intents and purposes ruined.

What now?

Using the flour sifter and bowls, separate the sawdust into uniform grains. Do this outside or in the garage, or some other place where it’s ok for sawdust to be flying everywhere. When you’re satisfied with the consistency of the sawdust (it should be exactly the same as the flock you intend to make, so expect to do a bit of experimenting at first).

Now, set that aside. Using the stick, cups, water, and paint, color the water to a slightly diluted version of the color you want (again, experimentation behooves you). The approximate ratio that I used here is 1 part water to 2 parts sawdust, and about 1 part paint to 10 parts water. These ratios may vary depending on the kind of paint you’re using, and the grain of the sawdust; what will not vary is that the amount of sawdust turns into flock at only slightly less than 1:1. This means that almost exactly, the amount of sawdust you start will become the amount of flock you end with. It should therefore be easy to plan for one’s needs.

Anyway…

Slowly stir the sawdust into the cup of paint-tinted water (a spoon works nice to get it there, but for the mixing, you really want a good, sturdy stick). You’ll know it’s ready when it’s reached a thick, cookie-dough-like consistency (have your servants do this for you, as it can be a bit strenuous).

Spread the dough-like mixture into a thin sheet on your tray (perhaps with a spatula, or a butter knife, or whatever), about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick (a few centimeters). And let it dry. You can accelerate this process by having your servants blow upon the dough sheets, or fan them with palms.

Once the dough sheet is dry (this may take a day or more, depending on the relative humidity of the area you leave them to dry) run the now-colored sawdust through the flour sifter again,  in order to break up any clumps. What falls out of your sifter at this point (or sieve, if that’s what you’re using) is flock.

Congratulations! Gather your prize into a bowl or a bag, or wherever you like to put your flock, and you’re done.

Since the materials are so cheap and easy to come by, you can experiment liberally. It is easy with this process to mass produce large amounts of flock for almost nothing, so it might be very easy, once you perfect your process, to become very popular in your local minis community indeed.

Happy gaming, and as always, enjoy your flocking!

G.P. Humongous (just learned the Dance of the 7 Veils. Jealous?)

The Kit Basher’s List Of Essentials

Some tools and supplies are absolutely integral to throwing together your own minis and models. Others, you might never have thought of. What follows is G.P. Humongous’ personal and certified list of kit-bashing and scratch-building essentials.

Compiled by looking into my tool box.

  1. (Lots and lots of) Every kind of glue (and tape). Fasteners of all kinds, in fact, are sometimes surprisingly essential. This tends to be acutely true when working with multiple kinds of different materials.
  2. Paper, plastic, and foam-core cardstock of various thicknesses and dimensions.
  3. Several different-sized sets of snips and scissors. I also include wire cutters/strippers, nails clippers, and several different hole-punches.
  4. A variety of knives, probes, prods, and razor blades. The particular type of building that you’re doing will dictate what kinds of these you use most, but don’t be afraid to include a wide variety- you never know what you’ll need.
  5. A variety of different sized boxes, bags, or whatever other storage system you prefer (I use several). Trust me, you’re really going to want these. Keeping things separate and sorted is a great way to avoid headaches.
  6. Clips, clamps, and stands to help hold things in position during gluing. This can get to be a real balancing act, one which inevitably leads to hard lessons in what not to do (and no doubt frustration). I may later pen an entire article detailing my own maddening experience with this one. For now, suffice it to say, either spend the money on the opposable arms at the arts and crafts store (the ones designed for this kind of thing) or prepare to improvise (and wish that you had just spent the money).

NOTES:

The following is a (not even remotely comprehensive) list of many of the various items that have come in particularly handy in my building, that you may not have thought to use.

Clay, candle wax, guitar strings, lids caps and bottle tops, wire (of any and all kinds), nuts bolts and (especially) washers, toothpicks, drinking straws, wind-up toys (specifically, the gear boxes inside them), derelict and/or broken toys (and their long-lost accessories), green army men (I especially use their limbs to customize poses of my own), pens, paint stirrers, and small cardboard boxes.

This list is by no means comprehensive, and should certainly be weighed with the fact that presently, I’m building mostly Orks and Imperial Guard.

GP (MY SOLDER, MY PLASTIC, MY PAINT        BABY)

Getting Squiggy With It

Squig
Small Aberration
Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 15 (+1 Size, +2 Dex, +2 Natural), touch 13, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +0/-4
Attack: Bite +0 melee (1d4)
Full Attack: Bite +0 melee (1d4)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: CHARGE!
Special Qualities: Dark Vision 60′, Scent, Fearless
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +3
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Listen +2, Spot +2, Survival +3
Feats: Track
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary, Pair, or Herd (5-20)
Challenge Rating: 1/2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always Neutral
Advancement: 2 HD (Small)
Level Adjustment: —

Squiggly Beasts, more commonly known as Squigs are the simplest form of Orkoid life. There are many types of squig, each generally filling some functionary role in the Ork ecosystem, developing a strange symbiotic relationship with Orkoid race. Along with Orkoid Fungus they serve as the Orks‘ primary food source.

This is a rough, first-draft kinda thing, but it’s a baseline; a starting point upon to which to improve.

Enjoy!

Pain and GP (a writing duo the likes of which, um, something)

Alien Egg Sacs Make A Festive Holiday Centerpiece!

ALIEN EGG SACS

A how-to presented by G.P. Humongous.

What you need:

  • A cheap plastic bead necklace. Any size will do, but the size of the actual “alien eggs” themselves will be directly determined by the size of the plastic beads. So there’s that.
  • A small piece of cellophane, such as the kind a pack of cigarettes comes in.
  • A bit of school glue.
  • A bit of card (an old library card or similar sized piece of similar material will suffice).
  • A bit of clay, about 1/4th the size of a golf ball or so.
  • OPTIONAL- Some candle wax (see below).

Step 1: Cut the beads off of the necklace, and drop 2 or 3 of them into the cigarette cellophane. How many alien eggs you want per sac is entirely up to you. I used 5-10 or so.

Step 2: Squish the bit of clay into a lumpy, misshapen ball, and then press that onto the card, securing it in place with a dab of school glue.

Step 3: Use a lighter or candle to gently melt the cellophane around the beads. Applying heat in this way will have a sort of shrink-wrap effect, which is what you want. As you apply heat, holes may emerge. These are good, and you want them. How sturdy of an actual sac your alien eggs are to be in is determined by this. A sac with many holes is flimsy and spills its eggs about. A sac with few, by comparison, will look quite different.

Step 4: Press the egg and sac combination (made of beads and cellophane) into the nest (made of card and clay). Secure it with a drizzle of school glue over the top. A bigger drizzle will yield slimier-looking alien eggs. A smaller drizzle, less so.

Step 5 (OPTIONAL): Drizzle melted candle wax sparingly (or generously, depending on what you’re going for) over the whole thing.

Step 6: After allowing them to dry overnight, prime and paint them to your liking!

NOTES!

It’s a good idea to experiment at each of the various steps (and also with the ingredients) to achieve different specific effects. Sometimes certain glues and plastics react, and those twisted, gnarled bits of reacted plastic can look like uncanny alien slime with the right coat of paint.

Always use caution, and always (at least try to) follow the warnings and precautions on any labels.

Chunks of warmed wax may be easier to shape into an appropriate alien nest, but can be harder to glue.

Try thinning your school glue with water into 2 or 3 different consistencies; layer each over the other, allowing each layer to dry before applying the new one.

Fishing lures make truly convincing alien grubs, if you wanted to have a few of your alien eggs hatching. Simply add them to the cellophane along with the plastic beads.

Experiment with the flame and cellophane. You can use this technique to make truly excellent streamers of snotty flesh, but it takes some experimenting and a practiced hand. Saran wrap or similar plastic wrap may also serve as a substitute for cellophane if you aren’t a smoker. Of course, use EXTREME caution when playing with fire and semi-molten plastic.

In general, don’t be afraid to experiment, especially considering how cheap the ingredients are.

GP (delicious and nutritious)

Draazz, Son Of Mardok

Mardok was a typical (if somewhat particularly successful) Ork warboss, on some far-flung world whose name has been forgotten by history. Through sheer brute force and reckless Orkish abandon, an entire star system had fallen under his sway by the time of his assassination.

Mardok was aged 37 years at the time of his death.

He was survived by his three sons (who were themselves, the hardened few survivors of hundreds that Mardok had spawned). The youngest brother, the insane Mekboy BlitzBarfer, has thrown in his lot with Draazz, the eldest brother and rightful heir (though a concept such as rightful inheritance really doesn’t exist in Ork society). Between them, they gathered the majority of the skilled Orks loyal to their father’s banner; Mekboyz, Weirdboyz, and the like (those few Orks with more than a dozen brain cells operational).

But Ig-Num-Nar-Gutz, the spiteful simpleton middle brother, gathered the majority of Mardok’s Orkish regulars. Despite his boorishness and frequent fits of rage, Ig-Num-Nar-Gutz is most directly responsible for the civil strife Mardok’s Orks experienced.

In the end, BlitzBarfer and Draazz were forced into exile. Those few loyal greenskins still at their command piled into (stolen) space hulks and the group fled for their lives.

Beings desperate, outnumbered and pursued all the way to the very edge of their native star system, and beings Orks, who never really pay much attention to such trivial matters as heading anyway, it was no surprise that they quickly flew off-course, and through the edge -the very event horizon- of the Eye Of Chaos.

Somehow, though battered and tossed like dice through the abyss, Draazz’s exile armada survived. Each of the space hulks stayed together, crash-landing (with only minimal loss of life) one after another onto the same planet at the farthest edge of the Imperium of Man.

BlitzBarfer and Draazz were inconsolable. Their ships, destroyed, their army of few lost in enemy territory. It all seemed hopeless until the Orks discovered the nature of the planet upon which they had landed. No Ork could read the signs, indicating ‘Astra Militarum Salvage Depot No. 2654413′, nor could they make sense of the crude red stencil over the signs, indicating that the planet had reached its maximum capacity, and could store no more military scrap. They had no way of knowing that the humans hadn’t been around for almost a century, and had all but forgotten that it even existed by the time Draazz made landfall. All they knew was that their crash could not have been more fortuitous. The entire planet was one giant junkyard, just waiting to be looted.

Draazz and Blitzbarfer quickly set about assembling their new army; a mechanized army of war machines as cunning as they were diabolical. In a few short years, they had replenished their numbers with a generation of fresh Ork warriors, and completed the mechanical horrors that were to accompany them into battle.

Repairs were never made to the space hulks that originally bore them to their promised land; these they dismantled, using the parts thereof to construct a mighty fortress and stamp their claim on the new world. The Orks christened their new home with a suitably Orky name, Metal Rock, and set about spreading across its’ surface.

Now, with Draazz’s strength consolidated and his horde amassed, he once again hears the call of the WAAAAAAAAGH!!! With the construction of a new fleet of space hulks, Draazz stands poised to menace thousands of systems in the Imperium. With BlitzBarfer at his side and his horde at his back, his confidence, belligerence and audacity are at an all-time high.

Star systems within a 100 light-year radius of Salvage Depot No. 2654413 are advised; hostile Ork warships spotted in your area.

GP (for everyone out there itching for more)

Miniature Madness 6: A Master Of Unlocking Foliage

Hello again, GP Humongous here! Now, you all know I love me some minis. But I don’t just do orks- I occasionally have a side job cutting trees for more normal, architectural-style models. You know, those big, table-size foam-made scale models of buildings and locations? Well, if it’s a model of an outdoor place, they’ll need trees- and so they turn to me. And if anyone out there is wondering how to make trees the way the pros do it, keep reading- you’re gonna learn from the best. I’m about to teach you how to make 1 inch rounds.

Step 1: Supplies

You’re gonna need to gather up a few things first. You’ll need a pair of scissors (preferably a small crafting pair), glue (any kind of Elmer’s-style thick liquid glue will do- I use wood glue), modeling flock of whatever color you want the trees to be (available in most craft stores), pins that are about 50% longer than the size you want the trees to be (make sure they’re black- because you got them that way, or because you spray paint them, whatever is fine), and- most importantly- some open cell plastic/urethane foam. How much of that you would want depends on how many trees you want, and how big you want them to be. You’ll want a sheet of foam about a tenth of an inch taller than you want the trees to be. Oh, and you’ll need some water, and two small plastic cups (since you’ll be at the craft store anyway for the flock, pick some up while you’re there).

SampleMaterials

This is the kind of foam you want to get. Note here that they have multiple types of cell sizes and consistencies, each one giving a different look for the finished tree. I personally use the type that is middle of the right side in this picture. The cells are large enough to be able to get the pin in without much of a fuss, but small enough that they kind of act as a latch, holding the pin in place so the glue can dry correctly. Plus, that type of foam gives the trees a similar ratio of denseness-to-openness that actual trees have.

Step 2: It Begins

Take your foam. Slice it into cubes. Again, make them just slightly larger than the desired size for the finished trees. (A word of advice- this article will be producing round trees as the end result. If you want conical pine-shaped trees, cut them as rectangular cubes, rather than square cubes.) When you’re done, you should have something like this:

Photo 1

For reference, that square is a 1.1 inch cube.

Now, you take those cubes, and that pair of scissors, and you cut the eight pointed corners off of them to make a sphere. (Depending on how many you want to make, this part may take a while.)

Step 3: The One In The Middle

After they’re cut, pour some glue into one of the plastic cups. Now pour in a little water- you want one part water for every four parts glue. Now take your pins (if you’re painting them yourself, make sure to paint them BEFORE this next step) and dip the flat end into the glue. Now work and wedge the gluey end into the sphere, and get it as close to the exact center of the sphere as you can. Do that for all the trees, and let them dry- check back on them in an hour and see if they’re good to go yet.

Photo 2

The pin in this picture is approximately 1.25 inches long.

Step 4: Almost Done!

So you have a bunch of pinned trees- but they’re still not the right color. Here’s where the real magic happens. You have your flock, I hope. Pour some in a bowl (use a bowl you’re okay with either getting rid of, or- like I do- keeping it for dedicated, flocking-only use). Fill it up about an inch away from the top, even if you’re only making a few. Grab your glue from the previous step, as well as the second plastic cup I mentioned earlier. This is where it starts getting messy, so make sure you’re doing this in a place you can easily clean up glue droplets and stray flock.

Photo 3

The specific color of this flock is forest green. The bowl is a typical cereal bowl.

Holding the trees upside down by the pins, dip them into the glue, fully submerging the foam. Swish it a round a bit to get out the excess air inside the tree. Now hold it inside the second cup- make sure to hold it down right above the bottom of the cup. Then spin it quickly between your fingers, making all the glue fly off. It’s kind of tricky to know exactly how much glue you still want on the tree- enough so that the flock will give it a nice coating, but not too much to make it gunky. With enough practice, you’ll get a feel for how much glue is enough glue, but a general rule of thumb is that it’s just supposed to coat the tree. No more than that.

Part 5: No More Pictures, Sorry

Anyway, you’ve got the glue on it. Now place it in the bowl of flock. Spin it around to try to get flock in all the little crevasses. You know how when you make scrambled eggs, you put it in a bowl and beat it with a fork to break up the yolk and mix everything together? Do the same thing here, using your fingers as the fork. After a little bit of that, take the tree out and spin it, the same way you did to remove the excess glue- except, of course, do it over the flock bowl, not the glue bowl. Now here’s where you’ll find out whether there was too much or not enough glue on it- if, even after spinning the extra flock off, it still looks caked on and thick, there was too much glue. Alternatively, if it looks patchy and darker tinted than the color of the flock was supposed to be, you used too little glue. It’s supposed to look like the same color the flock is, but still with a few open cells here and there that don’t have flock in them.

As you flock each one, place it on a table (or similar apparatus). Depending on how many you make, you may have to empty the glue from the second cup back into the first- that’s fine, and you shouldn’t need to add any more water to it. When you’re done with all of them, they’ll already be in place to just leave them be to dry. Now, when it comes to drying, they take between 2 and 4 hours. But I usually give it a full day- 24 hours. They’ll be hard to the touch when they’re finished.

After that, you’re free to use them however you see fit.

GP (doesn’t want to be a Jill sandwich)

Miniature Madness 5: GP Makes Sense Of It All

As promised, today we’ll be reviewing, in through detail, the gripping tale of conquest and destiny that is my army’s back story.

Firstly, my army is way cooler than yours, so go ahead and put it out of your mind that you could think of or create anything that might be a peer to it. However, you might achieve honorable mention or even third or fourth place in such a contest if you wisely take note. The pointers here can be used to help you devise a back story for your own (inferior) forces.

Moving on…

In creating the back story for my army, I first took into consideration what I like to call “meta-factors.” These are the out-of-game conditions that often restrict one’s army.

If your budget is bottomless, then start with a cool story or idea and just buy whatever you need to accommodate that. But if you’re like most people, you’ll likely have a fairly good idea of how much you can spend on minis (and by extension, what the maximum size of your army is). Don’t make up a story about the legions vast when your budget affords you a small number of minis. Likewise, some armies have notoriously expensive minis (or surprisingly affordable ones) and that may also impact your choice.

Once you know the size and origins of your army, their back story should also reflect composition. If you have a great story about gritty special forces in the jungle, it’s going to conflict if you bought three Lehman-Russ tanks. If your army is a part of a greater military order (such as IG or Space Marines) then their back stories tend to write themselves; so-and-so gives order such-and-such, and my army got the call. Tyranid swarms and Ork hordes don’t have it as easily, but Games Workshop (in addition to innumerable 3rd party sources) have produced VOLUMES of material describing each army in vivid detail.

Honestly, it’s almost too much fluff (and this is coming from a guy who dresses in drag and dances cabaret).

Anyway, composition of one’s army is a matter of the rules of the game, and your story should take that into account as well. In my own case, I’ve said to hell with the rules, I’m just going to build a whole mess of Ork minis and that’s that. Perhaps I shall eventually have built enough to field a legitimate army.

By this point, you know the size, origin, and composition of your army. The back story should be fairly well along the way, with many ready-to-go connections making themselves apparent. At about this point, it’s time for names. Your commander(s) should have names anyway, just for the sake of keeping track of them. With a name and a unit type, a few words of back story for that character can be formative in the back story of the army at large.

For instance; my army is commanded by the Warboss Draazz, who is the son of a successful warboss, and he is in competition with his brothers for control of the horde at large. Draazz is impatient and hot-tempered, anxious to take the battlefield and prove his worth. This to me, says Speed Freaks, and that jives just fine with the amount of vehicles I can’t seem to keep myself from building. As he grows in power and status, more Orks rally to his banner (that’s my excuse for dropping in whatever minis I feel like building at the time). See how this works? Easy as pie.

Now we talk themes. Your color selection goes a long way in a game like this, firstly because it’s the main way in which your army will be distinguished from others. Secondly, color can help define the general feel of your army. Salty old veterans will likely be a lot less clean and crisp-looking than fresh recruits. Orks who reside in a junkyard will look very different from those who make their home in the desert. In addition to color, the kinds of finishes and details you use can very much help reflect your army’s back story. Black ink wash can make your army look dark and gritty. Red ink was might make them seem rusted and shabby. The point here is not to go into detail with a through description of how that is achieved. Games Workshop (and too many other parties to mention) have done an excellent job of that already. A cool looking army starts with a cool concept and a cool story; what might otherwise have been haphazard painting choices can be the thing that makes your army great if there’s a cool story with it.

In closing, I leave you with this: the (very early) WIP shoot of my whole (well, most of it, anyway) army, as it stands now.

101_1609101_1608101_1607101_1610

 

GP Humongous (there Orks were made for WAAAAGH-ing, and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days, these Orks are gonna WAAAAGH all over you)