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!