Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy Christmas!

I hope Santa brought you what you wanted. (or if not that there are post Christmas sales that you took advantage of).

I spent the weekend prior to Christmas safely ensconced in the family mountain retreat, and managed to get a few games in.  We played a ton of Codenames, and a round of Risk Legacy.  Checking the board, it was the first time we played Risk Legacy since 1/1/2017!

All those games and I have never won...
Risk legacy still is not my favorite game, but it is great fun to play with the same people over and over, and see what happens in the game as we unlock or otherwise change things on the board.

While we were playing other games, the younger girls got their own game of Stragego together.
They assured me that they knew what they were doing.

I managed to convince my wife that my nephews needed Blitz Bowl for Christmas, and they were more than a little bit excited about it.
They could not wait to open it, and got it assembled before Christmas Dinner!  Three of us assembled figures, and all three were stabbed with the blades and spikes, so working as intended I guess. I tried not to be too much of a stickler for cleaning off the sprues and such, but I may show up with a hobby knife and a file sometime and smooth those figures out!

As far as my own loot, I got the D&D Art and Arcana book, a gift card to the FLGS from my mother in law, and Saw's Renegades for X-Wing from my sister.

And this little guy was under the tree too!

With daughter for scale... Halloween costume for 2019?
Anyway, hope you had a great holiday and a Happy New Year.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Shapeways Cyber Monday

By now you should have recovered from Turkey overloads (relatives), and Black Friday shopping madness (if you are in the US, or buying online).

Why not continue that with a bit of online shopping for Cyber Monday?

Shapeways is having a 15% off sale today and Tuesday, and you can celebrate by buying some great models from here: Space Facade

You could get something great like this:
IKS C6(b) Battle Cruiser
Or this:
Unionist Battle Cruiser Leader
Or if not, look around the site and see what else you could add to your armies... there is literally something for everyone. Use the code: HAPPYMONDAY

Friday, November 9, 2018

Disruptor dance

Just a quick set up picture since I was fishing out more bases and had all the miniatures on hand.

Federation fleet about to be atomized: two DDK, two standard transports, and one passenger liner (which I really ought to repaint).

Soon to be victorious Klingon fleet: two E3s, a D6, D7, F5W and F5.

The "game mat" here is just a couple of 11x17" papers, which are just about enough to play test with, but also shows why larger hexes are desirable!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Ave Dulcis!

For Halloween this year, the boy wanted to be a Roman soldier... well alright then, I think we can make that happen...

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Unionist Forces

Way back in 2016 I designed my first 1/3788 spaceship, which I had printed, and showed off in early 2017.

Well, in the last two years I like to think that my skill as a 3d modeler has increased, so I reworked the concept of Star Trek TOS era Cardassians into the "Unionist" fleet.  Now with any Original Series era ships, it is customary to start with the heavy cruiser (just like the Enterprise was).   So here is the original ship I designed two years ago, and then following that is the remix.


Extra Crispy:
As you can see the new version adds some bulk, weapons detailing, windows, and other painting friendly aspects. (and happily matches the Galor a bit more closely)

Here is the original fleet:

And here is the new version:

(producing these fleet shots is a good exercise in seeing if the various ships are sufficiently distinctive)

These will be going up on Shapeways soon, for those who are interested in funding yet more ship purchases...

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hexed 2 inch

Seems like most of you think the 2" hex size is a good one, with some wise warning from Stew and Sean about number of hexes needed to actually play the game, and total size of the board once you get going with the hexes.

So I printed out a little test sheet, and took a couple more pictures.

For single ships, the 2 inch hex looks like a great size.  Not too big for the little guys, and not to small for the bigger ones.

2" can also fit two larger ships in it, but pretty tightly.  A mess of counters and fighters would fit in there too.

So I think 2" is the way to go, which in a 4 foot by 6 foot board means 24x36 hexes.  Not a lot of space for Federation Commander or StarFleet Battles, but should be sufficient for Starmada, and other home brew games.  (e.g. I realized that an x-wing base ought to fit nicely in there too)

This does make me think that I could abuse the large format printer at work...

Thursday, September 27, 2018


I find myself wanting a hexagon marked space mat, and so I conducted a little experiment to see what size hexagons would be the best for said mat.  I made a sheet of different hex sizes in MS Publisher, and then printed it out and compared it to a Federation Constitution class Heavy Cruiser. (~3 inches long).  Romulan and Klingon ships are mostly shorter and wider. 
1.25" hex fits the base, but the miniature is substantially larger

1.5" hex is larger than the base, but the ship still overhangs substantially 

3" Hex looks pretty good with two ships

on the other hand, a 3" Hex looks like it would be too large with one small ship and ordinance chits/fighters etc.
Other considerations: a 48" wide mat can only hold so many hexes, and more is generally better.  3" hexes would mean only 16 wide, where as 1.25" hexes means 38.  

Also, if I am marking the hexes myself, having an item to match up with the exterior of the hex is vital, and may preclude exotic sizes. 

So what do you think about hex sizes?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Star Empire Ships

Just a bit of a teaser to show that I am in fact still working on these (and not much else lately).

Ok Maybe Romulans

Three groups for three design eras, first post Terran war designs, then Treaty Era lend-lease ships, then post Treaty Era designs. 

In the first section with the white ships, the smallest ship is a short range gunboat, moving up to a Corvette and a Frigate, then three destroyer classes, and then a cruiser.

The next section is re-armed lend-lease ships, where the ships are refitted with plasma launchers and cloaking devices, the two shown here are a heavy frigate (KF5) and a command cruiser (C6).

The last section is indigenous designs making use of the technology and design concepts of the treaty allies, as well as a refit version of the original (and screen famous) cruiser.

Going up on my Shapeways store... sometime. (along with shuttles, attack craft, and a few more lend-lease ships)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September already?

Huh, how did we get to September already?

So in the last couple of months, I went on vacation twice, went away for a conference in Seattle, and worked on a room of our house found to have termite damage (yay).  To do that I had to move all of my hobby material to the garage, and my hobby desk now graces the kitchen dining area, which is not ideal by any means. 

Oh, and I turned 40 (certainly beats the alternative)

For my auspicious birthday I got some Barnes and Noble gift cards and some cash, which I converted immediately into gaming material. 

For X-wing. my buddy gave me a TIE Advanced, and I bought a TIE Phantom and an ARC-170.  I will also get a TIE Bomber later... all of which will make me well placed to have to re-buy all the rules again when X-wing Ver2 comes out later this month.
Three X-wing miniatures
My sister gave me Timeline:Events, and my wife's Aunt and Uncle gave me the Viking Game, and then I bought the other games.  All have proved to be great fun so far, and Sushi Go! is easy enough to play with the kids, which is nice. 
Card and board games
 With a bit of cash, I finally got Romulan Armada to feed my Trek addiction.  While I have been waiting to buy it, a new Unity edition of the underlying Starmada game came out, and ADB very generously allows for "Upgrade" copies to be purchased at cost, so I got a copy of Klingon Armada Unity edition as well. (and some drone/shuttle counters).  I have only had the chance to flip through the books so far, but they seem to be pretty good, albeit different from the prior edition.  More research needed.
Unity Edition Starmada books
Hobby-wise, I have not done all that much (please see excuses above), but I have made over 50 ships for my Shapeways store now.  I just need to have another birthday or 10 to fund the printing of those ships!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

SW:A The Return

In what is now an annual tradition (if you do it twice, it is a tradition, right?), I got together this weekend for a game of Shadow Wars: Armageddon with Sean of Sean's Wargames Corner.  (Dai from the Lost and the Damned and the Stunted was unfortunately not able to make it).

This time we played at Great Escape Games here in town, which has a tremendously large games space.  As there was not much in the way of table top action, I had my pick of terrain, set up a little scenario, and when Sean arrived we got right to it. 
Messenger Jon has survived the crash of the shuttle Axiom, and is looking to flee with his valuable genedata.

He strikes out west (as adjudicated by d6" and a scatter die)

Table layout, with I.O. Kazimir Sakhalin and his killteam in the South Eastern corner, foul genestealer cultists in the North East

The killteam splits into three groups and rushes to the target

A fireteam composed of acolytes Pasha, Sova, and Okhlopkov blaze away at range at a distant cultist.

Cult leader vs. Messenger in the ruins of a great ruined factorum 

The messenger, desperate to survive, holds off the cultists for a crucial (for I.O Sakhalin) several rounds

Hearing the sounds of combat as they round the corner, several members of the killteam unload their guns into the swirling melee 

Shooting indiscriminately in to melee does tend to put people down...

Charging into combat, a flurry of blows quickly puts the combat to an end
Another great game (Helped that it was bloody and I won!).  We used a mishmash of SW:A and Necromunda rules, I forgot several crucial rules (running is 8", not 6", and the killteam universally gets critical hits on aliens with a roll of 5 or 6 but having a pair of characters tooled up for close combat certainly helps when you get into close combat!) and it all worked out very well. At the end of the game, the leader of the cultists broke and ran after watching his teammate be stomped to death, and was then shot in the back by Pilot Officer Yuri.  The cultists bottled after that, and the valuable genedata was taken back to the vaults of the Inquisition.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Transport Plugs - a Tutorial

Bit of a departure from the usual fare here, as I have a short tutorial featuring a product that you can buy from my Shapeways store.

Every game can benefit from the involvement and distraction of civilians, and in a game featuring space ships, civilians are often represented by traders and freighters.  This allows for convoy action in scenarios, movable terrain, ragtag civilian fleets and so on.

What I designed was a sprue of ships designed to mate with a plastic tube to produce civilian trade ships carrying a standard cargo pod.  Happily at 1/3788 scale, a standard cargo pod is the diameter of a Bic stick type pen, which most people have in vast quantities, could "borrow" from work, or can buy for a nominal fee.  Each sprue contains five ships of five designs, which can be mixed and matched fore and aft to make more cargo ships than most will want!
What you get in Frosted Ultra Detail

What you need to make these ships: razor saw, sprue of ships, and a Bic type pen
Step one is to acquire an 8mm diameter tube from your Bic style pen. You may need to use a pair of pliers to remove the end cap if it is a new pen, but in older pens this tends to be looser.

Step two is to remove the ship portions from the sprue, which can be done with some gentle pressure as the plastic used in Smooth Fine Detail Plastic (formerly Frosted Ultra Detail) is brittle.

Step three is to use the sprue to measure your cargo pod, as I have designed it to be 52.8mm in length, which corresponds to the scale size of the cargo pod.  If you like, you could make your pod longer or shorter as desired.
Measuring the pod length
Step four is to cut your tube with the razor saw, or with a standard utility knife if you do not have the saw to hand.  If you use the utility knife, use a rocking motion to roll the pen body back and forth a bit to ensure that the cut is as even as possible.
Step five is to select a fore and aft portion for this ship. Again, the plastic is brittle, so a gentle pressure should separate the two pieces, or you could use clippers to cut the connecting plastic rod.

Step six is to glue the two portions of the ship to the tube.  Your interpretation of how to place the drive section or fore section is just as valid as mine!

Step seven is to drill a hole in the center of mass.  Depending on the fore and aft portions that you chose, this should be around the letter O of the measuring sprue.

Step eight is to spray prime the ship(s).  I favor black for spaceships, but do what makes the most sense for you.

Step nine is to paint the ship.  Here I have gone with a standard off white color for the ships, and red and blue for the pods, but the sky is the limit as far as commercial paint jobs go in our real world, and I expect that to be so in the future too.

Step ten is to enjoy adding a new ship to your fleet!
Klingon ship comes in for the kill

This is really an easy way to bulk out your transport fleet.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

X-wing Second Edition

I suppose that at nearly six years old, no one should be surprised that FFG is coming out with a second edition of X-wing... and here it is.  Arriving mid-September 2018 is X-Wing Second Edition:

This addition adds force powers to the game, actions that cause stress, energy, an official force builder app, adds a new medium base size, and of course the new game changes card and template formats. Point values will no longer be printed on cards, and will instead reside only in the app, which will also allow for prices of upgrades to vary based on the ship you attach them to.

Fortunately for those of us with existing X-wing collections, FFG is producing conversion kit for each faction ($50). How kind! [and it looks like you would have to buy two conversion kits for the traditional 8 TIE/ln force].  New packaged ships will cost $5 more than previously too, so FFG is being very kind indeed.

Now if only this causes retailers to dump their existing inventories!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Space Façade

So, Shapeways is a service which allows users to upload models, and then get them printed from a variety of materials.  I have used it before, to rather good success.  Shapeways also allows you to create a storefront and SELL your models, where they do all the hard work of printing and shipping, and the storefront owner just rolls around in money... well more realistically, a few models get sold, and the money gets plowed back into buying Shapeways models!

After I had made a few models, I started to think that others might want them as well.  I could go the traditional route of printing the models, and then casting them, but given my previous casting and international shipping experience, that would not work out very well.  So instead, I opened up a store front on Shapeways called Space Façade, because those are the two categories of items I plan to offer.

Right now the shop has a number of Trek style ships that I have made in 1/3788 scale (suitable for use with Micromachines or SFB ships).

Here are some examples:

space facade Dy105
This is a ship that you may recognize, although I call it a DY105, given the slight augmentation to the engines. 

space facade Confederation auxiliaries shuttles
Here we have a sprue of mixed "Confederation" auxiliaries, one each of three types of fighters, a troop transport shuttle, and a general purpose shuttle.  These shuttles are roughly 500% of what they should be in scale, but even so are under a cm square. 

space facade klingon d6 command cruiser
Finally, this is a modification of the 22nd century IKS D6 cruiser.  I have created a command variant by adding a bridge dome, a secondary dome, and some neck reinforcing.

In the future, I plan to offer some 1/61 scale terrain pieces, rather like this one, as well as embellishments suitable for adding to other terrain pieces.

So go take a look, and if you like what you see, buy some. If you do not see something you like, drop me a line, and maybe I can make it for you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Star Wars the Last Jedi

As always, thanks to my local library, I was able to read both the Art of Star Wars the last Jedi, and the Visual Dictionary for the Last Jedi (and the novelization too)

Both of these were in my opinion a bit paltry, without giving full coverage to some of the areas that I would have liked to see more of.  Part of the problem I suppose is that the editors are constrained both by the need to make the book under a certain maximum page count, and also hold back some material for future books... no reason to give away all 100 of a certain space ship design, or all the aliens.  This was further compounded by the "twist" in the Force Awakens that Rey is the force sensitive one, and not Finn.  So all of the art from that section was relegated to this art book, which is more than a bit unfair.

Anyway here are some highlight images from the Visual Dictionary:
Cool Resistance soldier outfit

Layered helmet

"Heavier" version of the standard rebel pilot uniform

Bridge crew you never saw before they were obliterated 

Ships you never saw before they were obliterated

Cool alien

And here are some images from the Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi:
These Resistance soldiers are pretty awesome, particularly the guy in the lower middle.  I could certainly see these influencing some future 15mm scifi soldiers
This version was rejected as being "too heroic", which makes it suitable for use elsewhere! 

Horizontal version of the bomber

Jedi Texts

Higher tech version of the caretakers, would be interesting aliens