8.04.2015

Garagant: Part VI

Many, many thanks for all your patience.  There were conventions and edits and then an anthology.  But now I’m back.

Speaking of anthologies, check out that new one over on the right.  I now get to call myself a canon X-Files writer with my story “The Beast of Little Hill.”  It’s fun, you’ll like it.

But let’s head back to the Gargant...

To be honest, I’ve avoided the head until now because it’s going to need a lot of work.  Like any vaguely-humanoid model, the head’s going to be the first thing anyone sees—people look to the eyes.  So if I’m going to focus my attention on any part of this, it needs to be the head.

First thing was a face plate, much like the ones on the Stompa.  I’m keeping it simple and just going with the more blocky one.  I cut a foamcore rectangle that was about 3 3/4” by 6 3/4” wide.  Then I cut a 1/2” x 1” rectangle off each of the bottom corners to give it a stylized skull look.  The two eyes.

Helpful Hint—Mentioned this before, but foamcore is always two cuts, at least.  Always.  When you try to go through foamcore in one cut, that’s when you get all those beads and tears and rough edges.  Use a fresh blade in your knife, do one light pass, then one final pass. I usually do a third pass just to make sure I’ve cut through the bottom side of the foamcore.  It takes a little bit longer, but it makes all of this so much cleaner.

Now, once I had these little bits carved out of the face, I made a very shallow trench down the center of the back.  Not even halfway through the foamcore.  It was one pass with the knife, then one or two leaning the blade either way and just letting gravity do the work.  The point is to remove a thin wedge so I can bend the foamcore just a little (maybe 15 degrees) without leaving a harsh wrinkle or crease in it.

I glued the faceplate on the front of the head and added two spacers out on either edge to help keep everything solid.  Then I balanced the head on its back and set a bag of lentils across the plate.  That sat and dried for about half an hour while I went to work on the horns.

Helpful Hint—A bag of lentils or split peas is a great, cheap way to help stuff dry in place.  It has a good amount of weight, plus it’ll bend and flow over whatever you put it on like a not-quite-full beanbag—letting you keep pressure on almost any surface.  Plus, the lentils are good for you.

Most gargants don’t have horns.  I don’t know why, because horns seem to spill over to every other Ork vehicle.  And I wanted them to help balance out the squatness of the head..  Probably wider, blockier ones to go with the usual Deathskull esthetic.  So I sat down with a piece of foamcore and plotted them out, shooting for about 7” so they’d be twice the height of the head itself.  I liked how they turned out, but realized one problem as soon as I held them up to check the look.  They were too wide.  The horns covered the entire torso and pauldron area—and there’s supposed to be some shoulder-mounted dakka up there.  So, I immediately trimmed about 3/4” off the inside of each horn.
 
Next I took the triangular scraps from cutting the horns out and glued them on to the front and back of the horns themselves.  I made sure front and back pieces all lined up with the side edge.  It gives the horns some bulk, plus it means there’s more area for the glue to grab and hold them in place.  I made sure everything was lined up and then set a book on top of these for about ten minutes.

I glued the horns in place.  I had to hold them for about five minutes.  They sit a little forward on the head, not quite halfway back.  I also used the scrap pieces from the faceplate to make a nice solid block between the horns, the head, and the base piece for the head.  I’m really happy with how they look.  To be honest, it’s got me thinking of some punny Japanese robot names for the Gargant.  Gorkdizer.  Great Morkinga.  Gorking.  Dangork Ace.

Anyway...

It struck me while I was thinking of names, though, that the horns almost look too good.  For an Orky creation, they’re just too symetrical.  I’ll make a point of trying to set them apart when I add the detail next weekend.

Next up was the jaw. I thought about how to do this for a little bit.  I briefly toyed with the idea of cutting the jaw as one piece and curving it with the same “wedge” method I used up above with the faceplate.  Thing is, I’m running low on foamcore and I’m trying to keep costs down on this, so I didn’t want to risk wasting a piece.  I decided the best path would be to cut out the “teeth” individually and then work them together into the jaw.

Thing is... this turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.  Because they’re flat, the teeth don’t get a lot of contact against the head’s curved base.  They also don’t get a lot of contact with each other because the angle-out means they actually lean away from each other.  What little contact they make isn’t enough to counteract the angle.

I tried three different versions of this and couldn’t get any of them to work.  Things kept falling apart.  And I was running out of glue.  My last attempt was to create a sort of “belt” of teeth, with the hopes I could bend it into position.  It didn’t work, either.  Not in a way I liked.


But it got me thinking...

7.20.2015

Age of Sigmar

Hey, there.  I’m still getting caught up on things after two back to back conventions, so I haven’t made any real progress on the Gargant.  Probably won’t this week, either, because edits are due on Friday.

However... it’s a pretty standard tradition for my friends and I to have a few (read: several) drinks the night before San Diego Comic-Con and play a game or two.  And this year, we decided to take Warhammer: Age of Sigmar for a spin.

Now, I’m not going to talk too much about the actual gameplay.  Marc’s posted a simple battle report and some thoughts over on Atomic Warlords.  But I did want to mention a few things, more from the hobby/modeling point of view.

First, Age of Sigmar was a lot of fun and very easy to pick up.  If you have any familiarity with tabletop games, you can sit down and be playing in about fifteen minutes absolute tops.  Probably much less.

Second, it’s a very cheap game.  The rules are free. The battle scrolls are free.  If you were a Warhammer player before, you already have a ton of models (and the rules are extremely thorough—they cover pretty much everything).  Even if you’ve only played Warhammer 40,000 before (like me), you’ve probably got a few models kicking around that you have for conversions.  There’s also a lot of folks online selling older models or pieces from the old Island of Blood starter set. And past that, there’s probably going to be some folks rage-quitting and dropping their models in the bits bins or putting them up on eBay.  Which brings us to... 

Third, or maybe second-point-five... you don’t need a lot of models to play.  Because there’s no force organization chart or points minimum, it’s possible to play Age of Sigmar with as little as one model.  It has lots of single-model battle scrolls.  A knight on horseback.  An Ork.  A witchhunter. A Skaven warlord.  A wight king.  That’s all you need to play.  If you happen to have a small squad or unit of some sort, that’s even better.  I spent a day digging around through my random bits and discovered I had almost fifty viable units, spread over nine different races/ factions, some assembled, some in parts.  Get three or four units (or even just models) for the same army and that’s the basis of a solid game.

Fourth, (or three, depending on how you read the last one) there is paperhammer scenery for Fantasy settings.  Lots of it.  Warhammer and Mordheim both have a collection of useful templates, ranging from a burned out farmhouse to an elaborate inn.  Plus I’ve talked before about other cheap scenery ideas that would work in a Fantasy setting.  I’m thinking I might have to try a few simple ideas for a graveyard, a simple building or two, and maybe even some ancient ruins.

Now, I can see where the rules could be frustrating to an established player, especially a competitive one.  As a new player, though, without any preconceptions of how Fantasy should be played, I think it’s a great little game. And it means I’m going to get to build and play with a lot of things I’ve had kicking around for ages for one reason or another.

I’m sticking Age of Sigmar in the win column for now.  Your thoughts may vary...

7.08.2015

Rhino Redux

So, as I mentioned last week, I’m at San Diego Comic Con right now.  If you care about such things, you can follow me on Twitter for random updates.  If you’re actually here with me, I’m doing a bunch of panels and signings on Thursday, plus I have another signing at 2:00 Friday in the Random House booth.  Stop by at some point and say hello.

What I wanted to do now, though, in the interest of keeping things relevant, is point you back to the very beginning of this geeky blog. As many of you probably know, Space Marines have a bunch of new formations and squadrons.  Including all the free Rhinos and Razorbacks you can field thanks to the Company Support rule.  You could also take a squadron of Whirlwinds.  All of which is great if you happen to have a bunch of extra Rhinos sitting around. 

And as it happens... know what one of my first projects was here at In The Grim Cheapness of the Future...?  I made a bunch of Rhinos and Rhino-hull based vehicles.  Yes, they’re the older “classic” Rhinos.  They’re also ridiculously quick and easy to make.  And pretty much free.  It’s possible to make three or four of these in a weekend.  Maybe even five or six if you’ve got some practice at this.

Plus, since then, I’ve done a lot more with rivets.  I’ve also talked about ways to make purity seals and aquillas and a bunch of other things you could use for detail. If you happen to have some spare parts sitting around, they’ll look even better.

You can make a very solid, completely acceptable Rhino for pennies.  It’d be possible to make an elaborate command vehicle for next to nothing.  Once they’re painted. most people probably won’t be able to tell without getting right up close.

Personally, I’m probably going to make one more Whirlwind so my White Scars can have a full squad of three.

So, please, go back and check it out. And if you happen to be at San Diego Comic Con this week, please find me and say "hullo."