As 2016 Draws to a Close...

Wow. So here we are, at the end of the year, and this has been the worst year ever for this little geeky blog.  A mere nine posts. Counting this one.

Granted, there’s a couple of reasons for that.  I’ve been working on a new book, a big one, and it’s been a monster in many senses.  I did a bunch of signings and cons.  Plus, like far too many folks this year, I had some friends and family die on me, and it left me in a mood to... well, I drank a lot this year.

When all that’s going on, forcing myself to work on a project just so I can put up a new post isn’t any fun.  And that‘s what this blog—hell, this whole hobby—is supposed to be about.  Having fun.

If I’m not having fun... why am I here, right?

This isn’t to say I didn’t do anything 40K related this year. Through the miracle of eBay I managed to buildup a fair-sized Genestealer Cult that I’m pretty sure Marcus the Blackhearted is looking forward to crushing under the Imperium’s heel, and also some dirt-cheap Knights that became a fallen household to deal with his followers of the False Emperor.

Plus my lady and I have been playing Age of Sigmar on a fairly regular basis, which eats up a night or two.  She’s been trying out her Skaven against my Ogres (or is it Ogors now...?), the Empire, and my very zombie-heavy Vampire Counts army.  All with a disgusting level of success.  We’re hoping to do a battle report for the Atomic Warlords page sometime in the near future.

But Paperhammer... I hate to admit, but it kind of fell to the side.  Because, like I said, it kept feeling like an obligation.  And I didn’t want to spend my scarce free time on an obligation if I didn’t have to.

Yeah, that’s a contradiction. Deal with it.  You know what I mean.

So—if you’re still interested—I still want to keep this page going. I really love the sheer creativity of Paperhammer.  Plus, let’s face it, even with the better direction GW has been taking these past few months, a lot of folks still can’t afford this hobby. And if I can help them into it with some white glue and cereal boxes, I want to do it.  Because the more of us there are, the better.

Anyway, I’m hoping to make things work a bit better in the year to come. I need to finish the Destroyer.  There’s a few Age of Sigmar scenery bits I want to work on.  And I still keep looking at some of those huge templates for Warhounds and Warlords. I mean, you’ve seen what Chaos is up against on the Atomic Warlords’ tables, right?  We’ve got a fallen Knight household, but we seriously need a titan or two.

And if there’s something you want to see a cheap, Paperhammer version of... please let me know.

Happy New Year.


Pathetic Fill In Post

As you may have noticed, there’s been little forward motion on the Destroyer.  Not from lack of interest.  Just trying to juggle a few dozen things, like the edits I’ve mentioned (they’re extensive) and SDCC plans (I’m doing a few things down there this year, too) and my other blog and some doctor stuff (boring). 

And, yeah, in all fairness, building a few other, non-paperhammery things.  My lovely lady and I have really been enjoying Age of Sigmar, so I’ve been putting together some more bits-bin-Skaven for her and a big horde of zombies for me (also collected, for the most part, from random bitz bins parts).  I don’t get to play that often, so this kind of gets my focus at times.

(I may also do a post in the near future about a really simple Ogre Tyrant conversion I did)

I’m going to try to get some more work done on the Destroyer before I head down to SDCC—and get it posted.  I just wanted to let you know it hasn’t been forgotten.


Cultists and Marauders

Hey, I haven’t had a chance to get back to the Leman Russ/ Destroyer (got a pile of edits that needed my attention) but I wanted to share something else I’ve been working on. Sort of an ongoing background project.

As I’ve mentioned here once or thrice, my biggest 40K army is the Alpha Legion.  I was a fan and follower of the 20th Legion since back when they were just the Napoleons of Chaos, long before THQ and  Dan Abnett made it cool to like them.  And as such, I’ve always had a place for cultists in my army. 

Alas, for years, the only cultist models were half a dozen or so metal ones, half of which were leaders or special weapons.  That’s not a lot of options.  Plus, they were metal, so they could cost three or four dollars apiece!  Can you imagine that?  Paying four dollars for a single GW figure?  What craziness.  Thank goodness for Finecast, am I right...?


Like most folks, I solved the problem by mashing things together. A good mix of Catachan parts and Fantasy Marauders gave me a nice group of post-apocalyptic looking cultists.  Mix in a few Kroot accessories and they looked great.  And these guys worked fine for many years.  Then Dark Vengeanceshowed up and there were real cultist models. Not too posable, but lots of variety. Also space to add on the odd bit of individual detail here and there. Plus, through the miracle of eBay, I was able to get a bunch of them for less than two dollars each...

But this still left me with all my old, homemade cultists in their horned helmets and headbands.  They just don’t mesh well with the new ones.  Sooooo... what to do with about forty figures?  And then it struck me that, in Age of Sigmar, it’s possible to field just one or two units and play like that. So what if I just turned the mostly-Marauder ones back into regular Chaos Marauders?

I went through all of the old cultists and sorted them into mostly Catachan and mostly Marauder.  In a few cases, I found complementary pairs where I could swap legs and they’d make a more-complete figure.  Then, I began to disassemble them.

Helpful Hint—The idea of cutting up figs like this might seem intimidating.  Just make sure you’ve got a really sharp, clean blade, a good cutting surface, and plenty of light (the seams can vanish in shadows, and I want to be cutting between components, not through components).

It took about an hour to separate them all and scrape off any of the white “soft spots” left from the glue.  Then I dug up all the leftover Marauder parts and made a good-sized squad of fifteen armed with axes and shields.

I also discovered I had enough bits sitting around to make one more figure, and after a bit I decided I might make someone I could use as a Darkoath Chieftain, using the Age of Sigmar rules that GW put up to go with some of the Silver Tower figures.  More on that later, depending on how it turns out...

And as for the leftover, mostly-Catachan models...  Well, as it happens a while back I also ended up with a bunch of the hooded Adeptus Mechanicus heads.  A few head swaps, a few details from the Marauders and the Kroot, and now these figs will blend in much better with the newer Alpha Legion cultists.

So don’t be afraid to cut up old figs and repurpose them. It can save you a couple bucks and turn units you don’t use into units you do. Heck, it might even give you something to play a new game with.

And I'm just adding this one last guy with the flagellant body and a flamer because I really liked how he turned out...


Leman Russ Pt. III

Okay, let’s add on all that detail and make this pop.

First up is the little sighting hatch on the front of the hull.  I’m sure somebody knows the real name for this—feel free to educate me in the comments.  I started with the sighting window itself and added two tabs onto it (at the top and bottom of the template). I glued it and just held it for a few minutes.  Once it was solid I glued it to the outer panel and held that for a few minutes.  Finally, I clamped all of that to the outer panel and let it dry while I worked on other things.  Once it was good, I put it on the front of the hull.

Next up, the tread wall has lots of round detail pieces representing rollers-axles-wheels-something (again, feel free to put the correct term below).  The easy choice is to use my hole punches to make various sizes and work with those.  The catch is... none of the hole punch sizes really match up with the size of the detail pieces.  I went back and forth on this for a bit, debating pieces that looked a little small or a little big instead of cutting out all the pieces and having them be mostly round vs. the perfect discs I’d get from the punches.

In the end, I went with the hole punches.  This is detail work, and I think more people will skim over things that look really good vs. focusing on things that look okay.  The off things draw the eye, in other words.  So I played around with sizes and put some discs down on the tread wall.  As I mentioned above, some are a bit small, some a hair large, but I think it’s pretty unquestionably a Leman Russ setup.

Helpful Hint—That top front wheel/roller/axle piece. There’s a small problem here.  On the template, it goes down right on the seam between two of the panels.  But if you check an actual Leman Russ model, it sits in front of the seam.  On this model the seam is just a little too far forward for a clean placement, but it’ll by passable if you play with it a bit.

Next up is the second big part of the project.  If those tread walls were half of the work, this is about another third. Seriously, between the layers and the links, about 4/5 of the time on this project so far has been these tread elements.  They’re not difficult, they look fantastic, but just keep in mind they’re going to be the big time suck. Plan accordingly.  Have background entertainment prepared.

The first layer of tread links took about an hour.  I cut them all at once and then peeled off the template-paper where I could.  There are ten extras for each side, so there’s some room to pick and choose.  Also worth remembering that sixteen of them are going to be on the bottom, so there’s even more leeway.  I set the glue on the tread element section by section and then set the pieces down, making sure all the best, matching ones were on the front parts of each tread element.

Helpful Hint—I printed out a spare page of the template to help with placement.  It let me see how many to a section and gave me a nice sense of spacing.

The second layer is a little trickier.  This is the one that makes the treads really pop, though, so it’s worth it.  A small tread link goes between each of the larger ones.  I put a drop of glue, spread it a bit between the two sides, and placed accordingly.  The tricky part is on the corners.  A drop of glue will still hold one, but you need to keep an eye on it until it dries or gravity can pull them out of line.  Once set, they do a great job of “rounding” out the treads.

Once all this was done, it was time for the big moment.  Gluing the tread elements to the hull and hoping it looked like a Leman Russ.  I used a couple photos for reference, glued, and held the whole thing for about ten minutes to make sure it held.

Helpful Hint—Be extra careful when lining up the tread elements and the hull.  Because of that odd, uneven piece on top—plus the unusual shape overall—it can be tricky to make everything match in every direction.  Check how far forward and back the treads sit.  Make sure they sit flat.  Check it all.

Now... it was cool getting two posts in one week, right?  Well, funny story...

This weekend is both Memorial Day here in the states and also my birthday weekend. This means I’m going to be playing, not building, all weekend. So I won’t have anything new to show off next week. 

But after that... we’re going to turn this Leman Russ body into a Destroyer.


Leman Russ, Pt II

Hell—I wrote this up last week and never actually posted it.  Yay for you. Double post this week.

Sooooo, last time I got the layered sides cut out and glued together. This time I’m going to try to get the hull and both tread elements (for lack of a better term) done.  Yes, I’m sure there is a better term for what I’m calling tread elements. If you happen to know it, feel free to share your knowledge in the comments. 

The hull is pretty straightforward. Two sides and a long strip that connects them and becomes... well, the part we’ll see.  These are all big and simple, so I cut them all out with scissors.  Only took about ten minutes to have them all done and marked.

Helpful Hint—Because I’m planning on building this as a Destroyer, I didn’t make any of the cuts or adjustments in the hull that would normally allow for the forward lascannon sponson.  I may end up regretting this—we’ll see.  If you were making an actual Leman Russ (or variant) you’ll want to be sure to make those extra cuts.

I lined up two of the front-strip edges against one side of the hull.  Once I had them as close as possible, I clamped them with a pair of clothespins.  After about ten minutes I moved the first clamp along to the next edge, and then swapped out the next pin to the edge after that.  It took a bit longer to work this way, but it let me get much cleaner lines on the whole thing.  Once I had the whole strip attached, I let it sit for a few more minutes with a small weight on it to keep it pressed flat.  I used my smartphone, for this, actually.  It’s a good size and weight.
While it sat, I cut up some of the scrap cardstock into strips about 10" or 12" long and made some of those consummate Vs to put inside the hull.  It's worth noting that the hull has two heights, front and back, so I cut two different width strips for the Vs.  Note also that these went vertically—I want to have some support in case something ends up pressing down on the hull. Especially since that’ll be what I do next.

There’s a raised section on top of the Leman Russ where the turret usually mounts.  The shape is a bit odd, but it goes together very well.  The worst part is that—even with tiny tabs—you’ll essentially need to hold the whole thing from all directions until it dries.  So make sure you’ve got a good movie on. 

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I did not have a good movie on for this part...

Helpful Hint—If I was going to do a Leman Russ (or variant), this would be a good time to think about making some sort of socket for the turret.  Or you could just glue the socket in place, depending on how nitpicky your own gaming group is. Or do something clever with magnets.

Next up was the engine compartment in the back.  This is a little tricky because it runs up the back section of the hull and the back part of that raised section. This means there’s a slight angle along the back edge of the compartment.  It’s easy to miss, so watch for it.

With that addressed, this is an easy piece to build. I added a few extra tabs and glued the body together.  Then I added the detail frame on top.  Once that was dry, I glued the whole thing in place.

Once all this was done, I glued the last wall in place and sealed up the hull.  It took a tiny bit of wiggling and pressure to make everything line up just right, and then a few more minutes of waiting.  Once the glue had a good hold, I set it down on its side with a book to hold it in place.

Next up was the treads.

To make this easier to follow along, I’m going to try to refer to things the following way from here on.  When I talk about “the treads,” I’m going to mean the horizontal section, the part that (hypothetically) runs around the wheels and moves the tank.  The tread walls will be the pieces I built last week and the matching inside piece—the vertical sections.  The tread element will be the whole thing together.  So there’s one tread element on each side of the hull.  Make sense?  Hopefully that’ll cut confusion a bit.  Again, if you happen to know the actual terminology, feel free to share the correct names in the comments.
On this template, the tread is two sections.  Rather than join them, I decided to attach them to the tread walls individually.  I figured this would give me more space to work the clips and get nice, solid joins.  And it worked.   Once I had one attached, I added the second (the back section), and joined it to both the tread wall and the front section.

Helpful Hint—I glued them to the inside wall first.  If anything went wrong, it’s easier to replace all of those parts than the layered, detail-heavy wall I put together last time.

I did this for both of the tread elements. While they were drying, I cut some consummate Vs to go inside the elements.  I tend to pick up my tanks by the sides, so I wanted those sides to be solid.

Once I had the Vs in place and everything was dry, I glued the layered tread walls in place.  I lined them up, wrapped them in an old veggie bag (wax paper works, too) and set them under a few hardcover books.  Again—I made sure everything was lined up first.  It’d suck to have it dry crooked after all this work.  I left these to dry for about three hours and they turned out... well, fantastic.  Solid and strong.
Alas, all of that drying time on some of these pieces needed means I didn’t get quite as far as I’d hoped to this weekend. The big elements are done, but there’s still some detail work. So I think I’m going to stretch the “Leman Russ” portion of this out for one more week before I switch over to full Destroyer mode.  So to speak.

Or, it was going to be one more week before I forgot to post this last week.  Now it’ll just be up on Friday morning.


Leman Russ

So, I’ve had it in my mind to build a Destroyer for a while now.  I’ve always liked the look and idea of them.  Much like the Basilisk (another favorite) it’s less a tank than it is a mobile platform for a single, massive weapon.  Plus, some of the folks I game with are starting to assemble (no pun intended) some pretty impressive forces, so having a dedicated super-heavy hunter gives me something that can die on turn one a lot...

That being said, I’ve decided to do these first two posts as Leman Russ posts.  The Destroyer is built on a Leman Russ hull, and it is one of the most popular tanks out there (after the Rhino, probably).  If somebody wants to build a tank company with nine tanks in it... this’ll be a good starting point.

An advantage of the Leman Russ being so popular is there are lots of different templates out there for it.  And for all the many, many variants of it.  Some brilliant ones by Patroch.  I dug through my collection and found a nice one from way back when—one of the first Leman Russ templates I ever saw, to be honest.  I’d love to give credit where credit is due, but the best I can find on it is a date (2000-11-15) and the word Bile, which might be a proper name or a handle or maybe someone created this template as part of an elaborate revenge plot?  If you know who created it, please speak up.  Regardless, it’s great and up in the STC Archive for your perusal.

One of the things I love about this template is its relative simplicity.  It has a lot of detail, but the whole thing is only four pages long. And all that’s on the last page is the standard turret—it’s really about three and a quarter pages.   I managed to fit about 90% of this on a single frozen pizza box.  So this is going to be cheap even from a cardstock point of view.

I’m going to start with the outer sides and work in.  This may seem a bit odd. but it means I’ll be able to get most of the treads and hull done in just two posts. Again—very simple template.

The sides of this template are layered, a lot like the Malcador I built years ago. It means a little more work, but it makes for a much, much more detailed model—and a much more solid one, too.  If you look at this template, sheets one and two each have both sides of a tread and three layers of detail (plus some other stuff we’ll go into later).  It’s worth noting that those inner layers, the two sides, are all angles, not curved. This is to help line up the tread pieces later.

Helpful Hint—The outer two layers have some fine detail work at the bottom.  The third layer is just one big ring, really.  Whenever I have to do pieces like this, I always cut out the inner bits before I cut the whole element from cardstock.  It’s much easier to work this way, especially with narrow bits like that ring.  Cut the element out first and it’s harder to hold and harder to work with.

Once everything was cut out, I set it out in order and started gluing sections on, one at a time.  I used my clothespin-clamps every step to make the edges stayed as flush as possible—especially at the top.  This is going to be a very visible edge, so it’ll draw a lot of attention. 

When all four layers were together and lined up, I let them sit for a minute to firm up. Then I carefully wrapped them in some old veggie bags (wax paper would work, too) and set them under a pile of books.  There’s a lot of glue here, and I don’t want anything to curl or bend while it’s drying.  Again—just to hammer it home—I made sure everything was lined up first.  It’d suck to cut out all this detail and then have it dry crooked.

I left these under the books for about... four hours?  I went out and saw Captain America: Civil War.  When I came back, they were dry, solid, and very flat.

And, believe it or not, the Leman Russ body is almost half done at this point.

Next time, I’ll assemble the treads and the hull, then put it all together.


Paperhammer Basics

Long overdue.  Many thanks to the six of you who still check to see if this page ever gets updated.

I’m finally going to have some time to work on some new projects, but I thought it might be good to go over some of the basic paper-crafting elements first.  There’s a lot of stuff I skim over when I describe stuff, usually in a “just do this” way, and I figured maybe I should finally explain how, exactly, to do this.  That’d be helpful, right?

So, let’s start with the very basics...

I get most of my cardstock from food boxes—mostly cereal and frozen pizza.  It’s probably worth mentioning that most frozen food boxes tend to made of slightly thinner cardstock.  I’m guessing it’s a temperature thing.  Mailing envelopes are even a little thinner.  Regardless, it’s a good thing to keep in mind when plotting out which templates are glued to which sheets of cardstock.  Back when I built the Imperial Knight, I had a bunch of issues because the template is actually designed to work with paper, not cardstock.  That difference in thickness caused some of the more complex elements to be a little bit off—just enough to notice and cause problems.  So if something’s really elaborate... maybe aim for thinner material until you’re sure how it’ll go together.
The most basic paperhammer shape is a box.  It’s something you’ll use all the time, and it’s kind of the cornerstone of paperhammer.  All you need to remember about boxes is to make edges match—a 1” edge here meets a 1” edge there.  It sounds simple ‘cause it really is.  Check out this quick diagram.  Four sides, a top, a bottom.  This would give me a cube because all the edges are the same length.

(more or less the same—I sketched it quick in Paint just so we’d have something to look at...)

If alter the edges, I can alter the shape of the box.  Look at this example. I shrink all the side edges (but not the top and bottom edges) and now I’ll get a square, flat box.  This is the kind of thing I stick on larger models to add some detail and texture.  I could also go the other way—doubling or tripling the sides to make a long, rectangular box.  As I mentioned above, shapes like these are a cornerstone of the paperbuilding craft.  Even with nothing else, you can use several of them together to build scenery pieces, simple vehicles, and more.

This is probably a good time to mention tabs.  Trying to glue cardstock edge-to-edge with white glue is pretty much impossible, so it’s always good to add extra tabs on to the basic shapes. These are just the parts I bend and slip into the model so the glue has something to grab onto.  Some templates have them, but often they’re tiny little things that are all but useless.  Others don’t have them at all.  I add or enlarge on a case-by-case basis, and try to make note of where I do.

Helpful Hint--Always remember that tabs can be pretty much any size or shape because they’ll end up hidden inside the shape you’re building. The only thing I need to be careful of is overlap.

It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes I can skip a side and just use tabs.  If I know, for example, that my flat box is going to get glued to the side of the building, I can leave off that connecting side and just put four tabs where that side would go. It can make pieces sit a little cleaner sometimes, rather than gluing big flat surface to big flat surface.

Now, you can use these same techniques to build an elaborate box, something with a more irregular shape to it.  This diagram shows how I built the engine for the Gargant.  I used the five-edged side as my starting point, and that told me what all the other panels and edges needed to be, size-wise—remember, boxes are just about making the edges the same length.  I mirrored the other side, added some tabs, and put it together.  The triangular boxes I added on either side went together the same way.  Also remember that some shapes which look really complicated on their own (like that Gargant engine) become a lot simpler if you break them down into component shapes.

One term I’ve mentioned once or thrice is consummate Vs (which is a StrongBad reference, you heathens). I first used them, if memory serves, back when I built the classic Land Raider. Simply put, when I build a box (regular or elaborate), I’ll usually save some strips of cardboard close to one of its dimensions.  Then I trim said strips to be just 1/8 of an inch narrower.  For example, if that flat box up above was 3/4” deep, I’d try to end up with some strips that measured 5/8” wide and four or five inches long. 

Before I seal everything shut, I fold these strips back and forth (into Vs, or maybe Ws--just zig-zags, really) until they can fit inside the box. They end up becoming interior, load-bearing walls.  Sounds a little silly, I know, but these make boxes incredibly solid.  If you have any worries about how strong a paperhammer model can be, try a few experiments with strips.  They’ll hold up stacks of books, so a bump from a plastic Carnifex isn’t going to do much.

For the longest time if had to make a cannon or tower I built it as a paneled cylinder.  This is when I have a long card with numerous scores in it to create an octagonal (or decagonal or dodecahedral...) cylinder.  On the plus side, these can be easier to work with because they’re all flat surfaces. It’s much easier for things to attach to them, or to attach them to other things.  Also, it’s very easy to hide where the two edges of a paneled cylinder come together.

On the down side, paneled cylinders tend to look...well, kind of blocky.  They tend to make things look like polygon models without the skins.  It can also be a little tricky working out the diameter of one of these if you need a specific size and you’re not going off a template..

The flipside of this is a rolled cylinder.  Just like the name implies, it’s when I make the shape by rolling the cardstock.  On the plus side, it’s round and curved, which helps a paperhammer model look much cleaner and blend in on the tabletop.  Also, it’s much easier to work out how big the diameter of a rolled cylinder will be. 

On the downside... well, curves and cardstock don’t always go together well.  It’s much harder to hide the seam where the edges of the piece join.  Also, that seam is going to have a lot more pressure on it compared to a cylinder with lots of folds. Finally, that curve makes it harder to glue the cylinder to another surface.  So working with rolled cylinders means working a little slower and making sure everything dries solid before moving on.

Finally, tools. Really, all you need for paperhammer is your basic hobby knife and some sharp blades.  But over the past couple of years I’ve found a few other things that definitely make some stuff quicker and easier.  A good pair of scissors can help, especially when cutting out larger template pieces.  So can a straight-edge or steel ruler.  I use basic wooden clothespins all the time as miniature clamps. 

Also... hole punches.  These are probably the best investment you can make if you think you might be doing a lot of paperhammer.  I have three. The basic 1/4” one, a 1/8” one, and the 1/16” (which may be my favorite).  They can make perfectly circular holes or discs, either of which can make for great detail work on a model.  I use the 1/16” for rivets, which make things look amazing.  I know some folks will say 1/16” is too big for a rivet, but there’s such a huge history of things being excessive/oversized in Warhammer 40,000 that... well, I’ve never had any complaints.

So, now that I’ve gone over all of that... let’s build a tank.  Haven’t done that in a while.

However... that’s going to be in two weeks. I won’t be doing anything this hobby-related this Friday, Saturday, or Sunday because I’m  at Texas Frightmare Weekend (so I’ll be about 1200 miles away from my tools and glue).  If you happen to be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, please stop by and say “hello.”  

Otherwise—two weeks until tanks.


Pathetic Excuses Post

This spring has turned into a whirlwind for me, and (as usual) modeling and gaming is what’s taken the hit.   I wanted to be working on a paperhammer Destroyer by now (I’m going to need it), or at least some Tyranid scenery (also paperhammer—it’s going to be great).

Pretty much all I’ve managed to do is prime a few things.  But I thought some of you might like this—it’s the Imperial Knight I made last year.  I don’t put up pictures of painted things that often, and I know sometimes it’s easy to write off paperhammer projects when they just look like... well, cardboard.  But even just a basic coat of primer shows how great these models can look.

I’ll put up a few more shots as it gets some color on it, but I wanted to give you a look at it right now.

And next time, I thought I could go over some basics before diving into that Destroyer.


Gaming on the Cheap

It’s the new year, so I thought I’d post a few quick thoughts about this geeky blog and... well, what I feel like I’m doing here.

Yeah, I know.  I don’t do much here.  Very funny.

Anyway, on one level, this page is pretty straightforward.  Miniature wargaming can be an expensive hobby.  Bare-bones entry level can be over a hundred dollars, and that’s not even talking glue, paint, or time. A few years back I hit a long stretch of poverty—not imagined-poverty or slight-belt-tightening, but actual how-do-we-pay-rent-this-month poverty?  It was a really bleak time, made more so because my absolute favorite hobby went from a big part of my life to completely unaffordable in about a month.

Then I found Paperhammer.  It’s like finding the light of the Emperor, just... cheaper.  I’d worked in the film industry for a bunch of years as a prop guy, so I had some passable art/craft skills.  I dug around online (using the internet at the library) and found templates for Rhinos, Land Raiders, Baneblades, Monoliths... even Titans.  And there are some great templates out there.  Almost identical to the company models once they’re painted.  Suddenly 40K was affordable again!  The big expense was white glue and paper for the printer.

Alas, while I’ve managed to claw my way back into the middle class, I know there are still some folks who haven’t.  Worse yet, Games Workshop’s prices have skyrocketed over the past few years.  Thirty dollars per figure?  Fifty dollars for bare-basic tanks?  I remember when $150 would pretty much get you a solid army—and that wasn’t so long ago.  Now it’s a lucky thing if that same $150 can round out your Heavy Support choices. 

So being able to build a lot of these models on the cheap means keeping the game open and available to a lot more folks.  That’s a good thing.  And I’m glad to share my tips and experience with you.  Read another way, I’ve screwed up so you don’t have to.

On another level, though... The hobby part of this game doesn’t just mean buying the boxed set, putting it together with company glue, and painting it with company paints. In fact, there was a time when said company encouraged creativity and offered tips to players who couldn’t afford to drop a lot of money.  Making terrain out of cardboard and styrofoam used to be a regular feature in White Dwarf  articles.  Black Gobbo ran a great piece (remember Black Gobbo?) showing how to mix parts from a Basilisk and a Leman Russ to create  a very passable Salamander and Destroyer.  Heck, I remember when the Ogre line was first introduced for Fantasy, White Dwarf ran a whole article about how to convert Hero characters from basic ogres (just in case you couldn’t afford the big metal models.

(I’ll touch on this again in a few weeks)

Thing is, I like making my own models and scenery pieces.  I enjoy it.  I’m proud of the fact that I turned three Tony’s Pizza boxes into a very solid Imperial Knight and some bargain-store Halloween decorations into multi-use scenery.  I like being able to turn some random pieces I dug out of my local gaming store’s bitz bins into a unique and impressive Captain for my Relictors or a character for an Age of Sigmar game.

So, that’s that this is all about.  For me, anyway.  Making the game accessible to a lot more people and giving those people a chance to do something a lot more personal and unique with the units in their army.

If any of that interests you... thanks for being here. 

I’ll try to be semi-interesting.