Friday, March 29, 2013

The Underground Menace

21st-century biological research revealed that naked mole rats possessed truly remarkable abilities:  resistance to pain, low-oxygen atmospheres and ionizing radiation, as well as the effects of cancer and aging.  However, centuries passed before the mechanisms behind these were fully understood, and the necessary technology available to transfer these advantages to genetically engineered human beings.

Astr-O-Myne Corporation's interest in exploiting the mineral riches of newly-explored extrasolar planets conveniently coincided with these advances.  Robots were fine for chewing through relatively homogenous space rocks.  But for planetary mining, Astr-O-Myne required a new and exceptionally hardy breed of human workers.  Arrangements were made with certain Terran governments wishing to reduce crowded prison conditions, and the first genetic experiments were a spectacular success.  The new miners were stronger, tougher, and instinctively knew their way around tunnel networks.  And best of all, they had little choice in the matter: aside from their lifetime contracts with the company, the gene transfer resulted in a pallid, warty appearance that set them apart from normal human society.

"Mole Men"
15 mm


It was only a matter of time, however, before these underground super-men and women felt their working conditions had become intolerable, and decided to throw off their corporate shackles...

Insurrectionist miners emerge from a reconnaissance tunnel to search a company outpost.

I've been working on these for a while, and figured I'd finish them up before I really got going on my Half-Life figures.  These miniatures are "Titan Scouts" from Rebel minis.  The papercraft buildings are "IKubes" and a PODS container, downloadable for free from Topo Solitario papercraft.

(Obligatory link to Spacejacker's different take on the same figures)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Black Mesa Survivor

Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance
15 mm

"So Gordon, nice day huh?"

So I finally decided to tackle these two figures, Khurasan's "Dave Rimmer and Desiree Kim", pretty decent proxies for the protagonist of Half-Life 2 and his surprisingly resilient NPC sidekick.  It's a bit intimidating.  They're some of the most amazing miniature sculpts I've ever seen, in ANY scale let alone 15 mm!  The incredible paint job (edit: by Jen Haley, so yeah) posted on Khurasan's website doesn't help... O_O

Anyway, I hope my results are even half as good... I did try to make a cool base for them, matching the game's post-invasion wasteland atmosphere.  This was done mostly with Instant Mold: taking a texture impression of a rough stone and dabbing the IM against the putty base until it looked irregular enough.  The half-buried drum and tires were duplicated from some bitz using IM, and pressed into the base material.  It doesn't perfectly match my headcrabs, but it's close enough and looks good IMO.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Half-Life 2 sculpt and paint

15 mm scale

I quickly made these and painted them over the last day or so as a fun, low-pressure project.    Headcrabs are the main "small and annoying" foe in the Half-Life games.  They only do a little damage to the player, but poor NPC's attacked by them are turned into inhuman "headcrab zombies" that are much more dangerous:

These will tie in nicely whenever I get to painting Khurasan's not-Half-Life-2 figures "Dave Rimmer and Desiree Kim".  I've already converted Dave's weapon to look more like one of the game models (the Overwatch pulse rifle):

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Staging" miniature photography

I've been envying certain bloggers' terrain collections for a while.  Not because I want it for gaming, but because with the right set-up,  it can produce some really impressive photos of miniatures that "bring them to life" as it were.  Some good examples from some of my favorite painters:

Yeaaaaaah, pretty nice.  I don't have nearly the time to make this kind of thing, or the space to display it, but some kind of thematic backgrounds might be an improvement over the blue-white gradient or simple coloured paper I use now.

The other day I found a page with a pretty amazing collection of  free Star Wars-themed downloadable paper terrain, that I thought might do the trick and be simple to use. I printed some off, and quickly whipped up this super-basic backdrop:

Your typical Death Star corridor, nothing to write home about.  But even this produces some fun photos:

"Only a master of evil, Darth!"

Trying something a little more elaborate:

"Hey, what's HE doing here?"

Wow, right out of the movies!  OK, maybe not exactly, but I like it.  And it gives the figures a bit more "story" or context, which any even halfway-decent sculpt should already be trying to evoke.  Also, while it's not very creative on my part, I could print these at different scales to display 15 or 28mm minis.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Girl and her Dog

Sarah Jane Smith and K-9
28 mm

Finally done!  I'm pretty happy with this piece - not action-packed, not dramatic, just a couple of characters I like, together.  Sarah Jane Smith was a fun companion to my favorite Fourth Doctor, as well as his predecessor, and she was involved in some of the Fourth's coolest early adventures.

The eyes look pretty bad in this shot, for some reason...

I was really happy when she was brought back to be in an episode with the Tenth Doctor, as well as having her own show (aimed at teens, admittedly, but it doesn't suck).  Sadly, actress Elizabeth Sladen passed away in 2011, so Sarah Jane will never return.

"Again, K-9?  It's a good thing I brought bags."

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Award Ceremony

This is an idea I've had for a while.  Looking back (8 years!) on my blog, I've had a number of visitors over the years, as usual coming and going over time.  But I have to say, there's one guy who just keeps coming back , since March 2006 in fact.

So, javi, this award is for you, my most loyal reader :)

It's easy to forget that the things we do online do have impact, positive or negative, on actual people in the real world.  So to everyone who visits here, thanks for reading!  And for those who leave comments, they're always appreciated.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Under the Sea

Sea Devil
28 mm

Whether you call them Sea Devils, Deep Ones, or CODENAME BLUE HADES, these quasi-amphibianoids have lurked under the waves since before humans tamed fire... waiting for their chance to reclaim the planet from uppity apes.  Consequently they and their Silurian relatives clashed several times with the Doctor, who was sympathetic to their wish for a living space on Earth, but not their violent methods.

Video: Doctor Who - The Sea Devils

Despite the simple colour scheme it was surprisingly difficult to finish this one.  The base had to be ripped apart and totally redone, as my first attempt at water (using clear acrylic medium with a little paint added) made it look like he was emerging from an ocean of green Kool-Aid.  So now it looks a little rough, unfortunately.