Sunday, November 5, 2017

Cast Dice Podcast: Episode 2 Konflikt '47 Resurgence

Halloween brought us the long awaited expansion/sourcebook for Konflikt ’47 called Resurgence. The game, though great, needed updating if it was going to come into line with Bolt Action Version 2, as K’47 was based on the original BA game.

Turns out Resurgence is an apt name for this book as it goes beyond aligning K’47 with its parent game… in the way it adopts new rules and leaves others behind… it becomes something… new. Different. Better.

Please tune in as Old Man Morin and, old friend of the cast, Dave Munro dive into these changes and seek to discover the nature of this new, unique beast.

Please find this episode in the iTunes store or you can directly download it HERE.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Cast Dice Podcast: Episode 1, Looking At Malifaux

Welcome to the very first episode of Cast Dice!
With all the fantastic tabletop games and war games available these days, it makes sense to see what is out there and that is the aim of this podcast. That is to examine and discuss popular games, the elements of event play and the gaming industry and to generally have a good time doing it.
My name is Old Man Morin and in the inaugural episode of this podcast, I am joined by, the one and only, DaveOwaR and the prolific gamer Monty (AKA Skilto) to look at Wyrd Miniatures game entitled Malifaux.
Stay tuned for future episodes soon touching on Konflikt '47, Bolt Action and Gaslands...
Thank you for tuning in and checking us out!

You can find this episode in the iTunes store or you can download it directly HERE.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Building A Better 28mm HISS Tank

When I was a kid, the COBRA High Speed Sentry Tank or H.I.S.S. Tank was one of my favourite G.I. JOE vehicles. Maybe because it was black or that it held 4 figures (two on the step on the back) or maybe because it just looked cool. I don't know. I loved it.

Actually, in retrospect, the fact that it was also one of the first COBRA vehicles I owned probably helped. It got played with constantly to face off against the armour of my Joe forces but it definitely went beyond that though because it was a mainstay of my COBRA forces. The fact that the HISS tank was used as the premier COBRA vehicle in countless issues of the comics probably helped too.

Regardless, I knew that if I was going to make a COBRA themed force in 28mm, I knew I would need a HISS Tank... or two... I always wanted a second one as a kid so I could recreate the night fight from issue #16 of the original comic. Anyway, after several good Google searches, I discovered that there was an alternative to the Shapeways 3D printed HISS that was not only significantly cheaper than the printed one but was also made from smooth plastic (no graininess). This kit is also an almost perfect match size wise to the 3D printed one. You can find it on Amazon HERE.

 Seeing the price I may have gone a little off the deep end and ordered a few... OK... I ordered 8 of them. I may have a HISS tank problem! lol

This is what comes in the box:

I love that it not only comes with miniature versions of the stickers that went on the original kit but it also comes with a miniature of the vehicle blueprints that the original JOE vehicles came with. These little touches made the kid in me very happy.

Now, this "mini HISS" does have a few problems that the original kit also had that would look funny on a 28mm tabletop. First of all, the tank has no clearance whatsoever. Its hull basically rubs on the ground. I fixed that by cutting the front hull plate considerably back and covering the giant vents and gap between hull pieces with a piece of white plasticard. I wanted the hull to stick out slightly from the tracks to help differentiate the different front parts of the tank.

I also filled in the large gap in its nose with green stuff.

Next up, I cut the hull on the back on the vehicle to match the front. In the process I lost the cool trailer hitch but I think it looks way better. I also used a hobby knife to smooth the old lines and gaps between pieces.

I also placed a thin piece of plasticard along the hull above the passenger step to cover up one of the worst gaps on the kit. You can see this below.

I then glued down the canopy for easier painting and increased durability. I also used the flat of my hobby blade to trim the excess flash off the nose and the side of the guns. Seen below.

Some of you will notice that there is one key difference between the "mini HISS" and the full sized original. Its guns. The cannons on the mini are almost as thick as the full sized HISS's gun barrels. They are huge because the mini has LED lights and speakers build in so that when you press the red button on the top, the guns light up and the tank makes a gun noise. I was going to cut these off but, in the end, I just liked the idea of having those features would just be too cool to trim off.

The last thing that I did was to add a gunner to the cupola. I used the bodies from Warlord Games Japanese Infantry and arms from various Warlord plastic kits.

Next up I definitely need to add stowage to a few HISS's to differentiate them and perhaps make a command tank or two using spare heads. I am thinking a HISS with Cobra Commander and possibly another with Destro in the gunner's nest could be cool.

'Til next time!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Stitched Up! (Adding Models To My Lynch Crew For Malifaux)

Nothing like animated, cheerful sacks of skin filled with jagged bones and rotting body parts creeping around the place, blowing up and murdering folks! Definitely something that comes from the twisted world of Malifaux!

I recently painted up a couple of these guys to round out my Jacob Lynch crew. I will be adding to this crew slowly while I work on my JOE project. Next up... a beckoner and maybe a wastrel or two. 


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Patience Is A Virtue

I have always hated waiting for things. As a kid, I still remember saving up my proof of purchases from G.I.Joe action figures to send away for a limited release “Duke” (the only one that existed at the time). I checked the mailbox everyday for months (literally) hoping that my “Duke” would arrive and just when I had given up hope… He showed up in a nondescript plain brown cardboard box.

In the end, he was a fairly ugly figure in retrospect but, man, was I excited when I ripped open that box! I played with him daily for weeks afterwards like no other figure. I am sure that the waiting added value in my mind.

I am sure that I hated waiting for things before that event in my life but that is as far back as the old memory goes and well, I have hated waiting ever since.

Why do I bring this up? Well, Shapeways was having sale that gave free shipping recently and since shipping to Australia is usually ridiculous, I jumped on it! The downside is that I chose the slowest processing speed (which made things really cheap, by comparison). Things should arrive by Halloween... I hope. This should line up nicely with the end of my Masters course. Will make for a great graduation present.

I picked up 5 SNAKE battle armour suits. 

A couple of more VAMPS/Stinger jeeps

And a FANG helicopter 
(though I have no idea what I am going to use it as outside of terrain)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Starting Point (Cobra Army To Date)

As I am stuck in class this week finishing my last course for my Masters this week, I am sadly not using my school holidays to their hobby potential, which is always sad! That said, this has given me a lot of time during breaks to consider the army and how I am going to put it together.

In my last post I showed pictures of 18 Cobra troopers that I had built out of Warlord Games' Blitzkrieg Germans. Since then I have acquired another pile of these models second hand that I can convert up when the time allows. I have also found another baggie of 10 metal assault rifles from the Assault Group to convert these guys over. Sooooo progress is slowly being made.

What I really wanted to show today though was the vehicles. Infantry aside, this is what my force looks like at the moment:

The white VAMP jeep and the cycle above are from the Arctic Skunk Shapeways store. I also have a HISS tank from that shop. 

Here are a few side by side comparison to Warlord Games Bolt Action models to show the scale of these vehicles. The VAMP or the COBRA version in this case, the Stinger, is almost a perfect match size wise as a Horch field car which is convenient because that is what I had originally considered using it as. But converting it to look like it hold more than two people is the subject of another blog post. 

This also give you an idea of my painting style and the level of painting I plan of using on this army. I tend to use a very cartoony style that I think "pops" on the tabletop.

The VAMP/Stinger has always been one of my favourite GI JOE vehicles and I cannot wait to paint this bad boy up!

I got a RAM motorcycle at the same time as the VAMP and I am not sure if I am going to paint it up in COBRA colours or if I will hold onto it until I start my opposition GI JOE forces.

The details on these models are great but they do require a little sanding to smooth out the finish. You can see the graininess on the RAM below.

The "Arctic Skunk," 3D printed HISS tank is a better kit with more detail than the mini-toys (that I have 4 of in the picture at the top of this post) but I can get 4 of the HISS toys (which are almost the perfect scale) for the same price as one white 3D print. Plus to be honest the toys are more durable too. I have been playing around with plasticard and green stuff to make the toys more "realistic" looking and I will post how I am modifying them soon.

If you look carefully at the picture of my 4 toys, one has a smashed turret. I broke one in storage and that has me thinking about turning one of my HISS tanks into a 28mm version of one of these:

Well, it looks like my lecture is about to start. More soon! Thank you for checking out my progress!

Friday, September 22, 2017

28mm COBRA From GI JOE (Planning My Next Army)

Much to my Mother's chagrin, from the very earliest of ages, I was obsessed with GI JOE as a kid. Over the many years of my childhood, I accumulated a massive collection of the action figures and vehicles but these were not the root of my interest on the subject.

I loved the comic books. The often gritty and witty writing of Larry Hama captivated me. I bought and played with the toys that fell in love turning those brightly coloured dog eared pages. It drove my parents crazy!

In hindsight, it is easy to see that this behaviour laid the groundwork for my later love of toy soldiers and wargaming in general. I guess I just never grew up!

A few years ago I had an interesting epiphany when looking at Arctic Skunk's Shapeways store. What if I could merge my love of table top war-games AND my childhood love of GI JOE? To that end I started slowly acquiring the bits and pieces I might need to create a COBRA themed army. I figured it would be an easier place to start than a GI JOE force comprised of one off individual uniforms and colour schemes. Besides COBRA often had the cooler looking gear and vehicles! (In my opinion anyway)

I should probably say that it is the end goal of this project to create a playable army that I can use on the tabletop. I am planning to use it in games of Bolt Action or Konflikt '47 using the Germans rules (they have assault rifles).

I thought that the easiest place to start this project would be with the basic COBRA trooper, which happened to be the first GI JOE action figure that I ever owned. I thought I would go for a slightly more modern look than the classic 80's uniform and chose this more "tactical" uniform style to base my soldiers on.

I spent a fairly ridiculous amount of time trying to find a 28mm "perfect match." Frankly, I was being too pedantic and the project hung around in limbo for years. I found quite a few reasonable matches using various "modern"miniature ranges but I always came back to needing to replace the heads with the elongated helmets/facemasks to give the troopers their signature look. This lead me again and again to back to German WW2 plastic miniatures. This eventually got me thinking and after a friend gifted me a pile of mostly assembled Blitzkrieg Germans from Warlord Games. I thought I would try something different. Using the Germans as the basic trooper and change the weapons. I did this for a variety of reasons, the biggest being that working with plastics makes converting and repositioning models much easier. This prevents the army from becoming a million repetitions of the same four dudes (something that I have hated in the past).

To make a long story short, I shaved the helmets down (to resemble the COBRA ones) on these existing Germans and I trimmed the excess pouches and bags off the back of the models. Before I paint these I need to add more modern looking pouches but that is a hurdle that I have not had to cross yet.

I also switched their arms and weapons around using metal assault rifles and RPG's from The Assault Group to give the models more dynamic poses and modern weapons... After all COBRA doesn't issue bolt action rifles to their goons!

The end result ended up looking like this:

At the moment I only have three squads of six troopers but as I get my paws on more assault rifles and modern submachine guns, that number will grow.

I am also experimenting with adding liquid green stuff face-masks. My bottle of LGS was dried out so I added water to get it going again but I am afraid that it is too thin now to obscure the mouths on these guys so I will have to buy a new bottle on the weekend before adding a second layer.

You might also notice the light machine gunner in each squad carries a SAW. This is a nod to a figure from much later in the GI JOE range than I plan of covering in this force... The SAW Viper. Plus, the ammo boxes look cool!

I was also luck enough to get in on someone else's private commission when they had a tiny run of COBRA personalities sculpted up, and even more luckily, these scale perfectly with my troopers. 

I gotta say. This project has me more excited about an army than I have been for years. Stay tuned for more progress soon!