Monday, 24 August 2015

Back from Provence

  
This is me not model making or writing and basically sans internet.

You can read about it here.  What I was looking at.


Normal service will be resumed once I've caught up with my back log of emails and blog post to read and comment on.
  

Monday, 27 July 2015

PetMen HOS

 
These figures are 15mm tall models on 25mm bases, and picture is a focus stack.

Well I had a bit of a weekend, as in nothing seemed to go right with my painting.  First off my Russian walker mech has turned into one of those faffing hell projects.  You know the ones I mean, where you take two steps forward and one step back.  So it's still not finished.  Then I hit a problem with my combat armour suits I'm painting up to match the two I've already done.  Let's just say that I was cursing the lack of opacity in my new chosen green.


Anyway, I managed to finish these.  Six bases of PetMen that are Dream Pod 9s GRELs that are all left handed, which really bugs the hell out of me.  This picture is going off for the TFL 2015 painting challenge, which is the first time I've had anything to submit for three months.
  

Friday, 17 July 2015

CASE-2X Portraits



This was going to be a post about taking pictures, and how to up you game, but my game is so good that even when trying to show the problems I failed to produce pictures that were significantly lacking in depth of field.  As a result I went off and had another go and producing the images I needed and found I had written the basics for a short article.  I talked to Henry Hyde and he said go for it, so rather than appearing here my article on upping one's photographic game will be sent to Miniature Wargames & Battlegames magazine.

So what you see here instead are some nice portrait shots of my Bad Dog CASE-2X mecha on a piece of my terrain.  And the first close-up is of Lt Tachikoma's CASE-2XC.


And below is the close-up is of LCpl Kowalski's CASE-2X.

 
Before I finish I just want to show you all a side-by-side comparison of two shots.  The one on the left is a single frame, and the one on the right is made from a stack of images.  One can just about tell the difference in the quality between the two methods of taking a picture.  You'll all have to trust me when I say the image on the right is sharper.


This really is a case of one can't see the difference unless one is looking at the hi-res images on one's monitor, and know what you're looking at, because I'm reaching the pixel resolution of my screen.
  

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Painting: Reflections on Progress



Here is a nice picture of my original Pink Panther battlemechs that I painted back around 1990.  This is the full shot of the blog's motto picture; Gotta Fight? Bring a mech. Bring lots of mechs...  Hard to believe now, but back then I actually won first prize in a painting competition at the Colours wargame show in Reading when it used to be held in the Hexagon centre.  I post this as a reminder not to think too highly of one's own work, but also because painting models, and taking pictures of them is a journey in its own right.

Back here I talked about getting a new camera.  Itself a journey from my beloved Pentax MX 35mm film camera to using a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1 digital camera, and then to acquiring my current Panasonic Lumix GF1, which is a micro four thirds format SLR (single lens reflex).  Since first getting this camera I've been very lucky to have been given an Olympus 60mm F2.8 macro lens.

The following photographs on the left were taken with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1, while the ones on the right were taken with Panasonic Lumix GF1.


Not only has the quality of the picture improved, but the painting too, largely driven by seeing the pictures of my work.


At one point I had this crazy idea to repaint all my Pink Panther mechs, and add decals to make them pop more.  I did these three mechs, and even painted a couple of new Bushmen up, but then the project ran out of steam.  For the usual reasons; lack of motivation.


Still, looking at these pictures of before and after I'm inclined to think that in the long run I may come back and finish repainting the rest of the mech company, after all it's only a dozen models.  I'd have more motivation if I were playing BattleTech.  Still mustn't grumble, but rather try to play more games.

Besides that I have some ideas about writing up how I now take pictures to improve my model making, which may mean I will end up finishing this project off or not.  Whatever happens I will have me some fun...
   

Monday, 15 June 2015

Repaints & Additions

  
Renumbered because I'm using a different conversion for Sgt Tachikoma's CASE-2X.  And yes I did repaint around all the other original decals.  Not recommended as a high fun activity.  Comparison with original paint.

I decided to repaint my first two CASE-2X suits, which can be seen here, because of negative feedback about the way the green looked.  I figured this was down to the dominant colour being lime green rather than olive green, which affected how the olive green I'd used looked.  Of course this is all highly theoretical given that you all are seeing the images on a monitor that will not necessarily reproduce the colours of the original.  Not only but also the size you can see these on your screen will also vary.  On mine they're humungous.


Still after playing around with them for a while I realized that I had to replicate the colours on the next batch, so I bit the bullet and bought a different shade of green that I liked the look of from the Army Painter range.

You can see the original paint here.

The big thing is that this camo scheme is not how the suits are described in the novel.  I describe something called ChameleonFlage, which does what it say on the tin.  This allows the suits to blend into the background, as long as they're not moving.  Moving will give their presence away.  I toyed with ways to fake this, but while I could probably do one model in something that looked pretty awesome as an interpretation of ChameleonFlage, I doubt I would have the will to replicate it across two squads of suits (ten plus models).  I say this because I've already experienced this feeling with a couple of VOTOMS that I painted, which can be seen here.

Another change to the scheme was making the whole of the lower abdomen armour orange; originally I'd split it in half, but I wanted to make replicating the scheme across the squad easier.
When shut down the CASE-2X Dogs are described as reverting to a grey/green colour, which would look pretty dull on a miniatures.  So this scheme is really all about making the models look good, while suggesting that they're in some sort of military camouflage scheme.  It works for me, and the new shade of green, called Greenskin looks tonally brighter to me, which helps make the models pop more.

Well another little packet on miniature stompy robot goodness arrived from Dream Pod 9, who are managing to rival GZG for fast service.  So more conversions to come.

 
     

Monday, 8 June 2015

Object 295: Pokhodnaya Boyevaya Platforma



PrefaceIf you're confused by the changes made to this blog post title it's as a result of email exchanges with native Russian speakers.  See the notes at the end.

I've been following the latest Russian tank developments, and the introduction of the new T14 Armata tank, which replaces the cancelled T95 prototype that's better known as Object 195.  I mention this as an indicator of how my imagination works.  I had need to write a new opening chapter to the second novel  I'm editing.  I hadn't planned on introducing the Russian to the world of Bad Dog until the fifth novel, but the needs of plot required something bad happened to one of the supporting characters.  And it had to be a threat that would cause the teams mission to go pear shaped, big time; as in people dying.

Or as we like to say here in Britain, "It's all gone Pete Tong."  Rhyming slang for wrong, named after a former disc jockey.

So I came up with Progulki Boyevaya Platforma – Ob”yekt 295, which is Russian for walking combat platform, or Object 295, which would be the manufacturers project name.  I thought about making the name a reference to the Heavy Gear name Ammon, which means people, but decided I didn't like the sound of that in Russian.  However, see notes below, about the name and blog title changes.


Not only did I change the main armament to a rotary cannon, because they look awesome, but I've also tricked the model out with some stowage, including fuel tanks at the back, which is a very Russian thing.  I'm really, really pleased with how this turned out.

Notes:  

I've gotten some feedback on my poor Russian translation that suggests this should be called Mobil'naya Boyevaya Platforma (Мобильная Боевая Платформа), which means Mobile Combat Platform.  I'm awaiting a secondary confirmation from another source and we shall see what they say.

Just in: Shagayushaya Boevaya Platforma (Шагающая Боевая Платформа), which literally means Walking Fighting Platform.  Google translate suggest that the English transliteration should be Shagayushchaya Boyevaya Platforma, so close enough.  Many thanks to XXL from the Red Alliance forum for his suggestion.

Further developments: Pohodnaya Boevaya Platforma (Походная Боевая Платформа), which translates as Hiking Fighting Platform, and the English transliteration should be Pokhodnaya Boyevaya Platforma. Many thanks to my other Russian speaker and Robert Avery for acting as liaison officer with her.
  

Monday, 1 June 2015

FATS-C: Kuijia


After taking this picture I realized I hadn't filled a couple of joints with Milliput.  Oops moment.

I know that one of my regular readers, who is also a Beta reader, has been waiting a while to see what I'd do for the Chinese forces armor suits or kuijia (assuming the translation I found is right?), which appear in the first novel.  Well here they are at last.  I've made up eight of the Dream Pod 9 Golems as a Direct Action Squad or bán, as it would be called in Chinese.  So what you see above is the platoon command squad.

I've used the Heavy Gear Alpha and Beta squad miniatures with a small amount of reposing and minor modifications to meet my needs.  I have another couple of packs to make up, and I plan to modify them slightly more – as in reposition the arms and legs.  However, it has to be said that these are one piece castings, and I may have to accept I won't get as much variety as I would like.

L to R: trooper, Shàowèi (Lieutenant), Missile, and support trooper.

I've assumed that each squad would form two teams of four, and I've given each team one missile support suit with a grenade launcher.  The lieutenant's fire team has a support trooper with what I imagine would be something equivalent to a M249 SAW, while the sergeant's team has a heavy weapons gunner, which I imagine would be their equivalent of a Browning M2.  This is not as far as I'm aware Chinese practice, but it seems sensible.  However, my research suggest that Chinese are not known for their tactical flexibility, and are historically are known for using larger formations.

The standard organization would be three bán to a platoon, which are called a pái.  Three pái make up a company, called a lián.

L to R: Trooper, missile, Zhongzhi (Sergeant), and heavy weapons gunner.

Of course as this is my universe, and given it's set sixty year in the future, then what I says go.  But I'm having second thoughts, and I may make the missile carrying suit the assistant squad leader and swap figures around when I make up the next lot of miniatures.  If anyone knows better about current Chinese military practice or aspirations then please let me know.
  

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

PetMen: Human Operator Surrogates WIP

  
A twelve PetMan squad made up of three four PetMan fire teams.  Nomenclature, don't you just love it.

These Dream Pod 9 GRELs have been hanging around my workbench being a drag on my productivity for sometime now.  Partially down to getting carried away with other shiny things, and partially because they had so much flash on them that they were a PITA to clean up.  I'll define my measure of PITA here as thirtty minutes per base with two figures.  Flash surrounded them all, and I don't mean Flash, saviour of the universe!

Still mustn't grumble really as this is a first world problem to do with toy soldiers that have more airmails on them than is decent all things considered.  And still far less flash than a 15mm HEMTT truck I bought that sits languishing out of sight, awaiting the day I'm prepared to straighten out all the castings and carve back the panel lines lost in the warpage, which sounds like something out of a Games Workshop Chaos Codex.

Just for reference these are 15mm tall, 5/8ths of an inch for those of you who don't do metric.

In my series their military designation is HOS, which stands for Human Operator Surrogate, and they're semi-autonomous robots with a hybrid expert system artificial intelligence operating system controlled by the operators of the Air Force CAS-C4P (Combat Armour System Dash C4 PetMan).  This allows the operator to effectively multi-task by distributing themselves across a network of up to twelve PetMen at a time, and act as a force multiplier; in my imagination Global Dynamics Corporation Defense Industries sales pitch would call them An Army of One.

The PetMen are only briefly mentioned in Bad Dog as part of the back ground setting of the novels universe.  They get more page time in the sequel Strike Dog, where you gets to see them in action for the first time.  But in won't be until final book Ghost Dog that you will get to see them deployed in anger against an enemy.

PetMen are a real thing. Click this link to see it in action.
  
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