40k – Orks – Gorkamorkanaut, just the arm

I finished the arm, because I wanted to be inspired enough to finish the whole model, and the whole model is rather intimidating in it’s largeness, given that I’ve barely been able to find time to paint single models for a bit. The arm turned out amazing!

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The airbrush is magic, because everything else on this thing is super simple once I got it right.

  • The cables are GW Blazing Orange. Then they are GW Troll-slayer Orange, which is very similar, but has the property of being available where the latter does not (I ran out). A little sepia, a little highlighting up and I have nice neon cables.
  • The metal is just GW Mithril Silver (and again, GW Runefang Steel because I ran out…), Sepia’d all over, then Nuln’d in the recesses and then Nuln’d again where I wanted more contrast.
  • The blue is, obviously, airbrushed, and then a little Nuln in the recesses to deepen those, and I sponged on Runefang along a few edges and then…

WABAM, all done. Awesome looking arm. So easy!

Blood Bowl – Skaven – Kreek the Verminator

Again, with Foodbowl coming up, I need more Skaven Star Players. I set out to find a conversion for Kreek, the Verminator. There are an awful lot of Rat Ogre models in the world, and 90% of them are not my cup of tea. Most of them look like they were sculpted in the 80s, which is not an aesthetic I like.

The good ones are: the 2 Island of Blood models, the Screaming Bell model, and the Stormfiend models. I’m already using one of the IoB models, the one that would be most appropriate for Kreek since his concept art in the book looks a little cybernetic. I didn’t want to use the other IoB ogre, just because I’m stubborn that way. I set out to find either the Bell ogre or 1 Stormfiend, because I didn’t want to buy a $80 box just for this model. A friend ended up selling me the Bell ogre, which is great because it’s a great model, but part of me think the Stormfiend would have been a better conversion (despite initially thinking the Bell ogre was better).

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I turned his head forward so he’s looking at his target, and put a ball on the end of the chain, and put the cork into his hand where the full model is gripping the Screaming Bell cart. This rat ogre has a Ball and Chain on the field, so he’s going to join my power lineup to beat the crap out of my opponents in Foodbowl!

Blood Bowl – Skaven – Fezglitch

When I was last playing Skaven, I decided I wanted to make the Star Player Fezglitch in case I got enough inducements. He’s a Plaguemonk with Ball and Chain and Festering Prescence and just seems awesome. With Foodbowl coming up next month, and the Commissioner dropping the restriction of only allowing 2 Star Players, Fezglitch is one of 3 who will be joining my Skaven team this year!

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He was pretty simple —

  • Zamesi Desert skin, mixed up with Dheneb Stone. Sepia a couple times to bring it down, then Zamesi up again
  • The cloak was P3 Cygnus Yellow, mixed with GW White Scar up and then Sepia’d done and wiped away in places. I used GW Waywatcher Green in the folds and along certain lines to make it look a little more gross.
  • Warpstone Green and the Waywatcher Green in the crystal and fire for a plaguey fire thing. Not my finest work.

I wanted yellow rats to look different from my regular pink team, but I think the yellow doesn’t look great. The skin is yellow enough, so it’s not a big contrast from the skin, despite me trying to make it more contrasty. And my fire regularly sucks, so my plague fire sucks more.

 

Orks – Gorkamorkanaut

I went from 0 painting projects to 5 on my desk, within the span of a week. I played a game of 40k, which inspired me to work on some killa kans I found in my bitz box. I also assembled 10 grots to fill the 3-Troop minimum I needed for the army.

But then I realized I should finish what I started — the gorkamorknaut has been looming in my ork case for a year and a half. After last we saw this model, I painted it a watered down silver, blue and orange and then had a game with it and realized it was shit, and looked like shit and left it alone for a long time. With 8th ed out, Orks are in a great place and this guy is looking awesome and feeling awesome and deserves some more love. Here’s a photo of where I left it.

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I sent that photo to Clayton, who suggested I pull out my airbrush and do it in similar colours to the rest of my ork army, which meant a lot less silver. And since I moved, airbrushing is a lot easier — I have a deck I can do it on, instead of needing to pull everything down into the apartment parking lot and being super awkward and cold. I promptly masked a bunch of stuff, pulled out my blues and went to town!

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After I was done, I was feeling pretty good about the whole process. Airbrushing isn’t as difficult as I think it is! I can do this!

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…why the fuck is this piece highlighted upside down?!?!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 With the masking tape on, I had mistaken bottom for top and this is where I got. I pulled all the airbrush stuff out again after work and tried to fix it. Unfortunately, because it was a little cold and because I only had the one piece to paint, the paint wasn’t drying as quickly as my patience needed it to, and so I ended up with this strange speckled pattern from paint being blown around. I thought it looked kind of cool…and then I tried to put another layer over it which gave the arm almost a complete sharp edge where I’d previously had a speckled gradient. God damnit. I put the piece down, hoping it wasn’t as bad as it looked, and put my stuff away and went to bed.

Woke up early this morning, looked at the arm and no, it looked like shit. Baby was still sleeping, which was odd, but fortunate so I pulled all the airbrush stuff out again and repainted the arm a third time. I started to worry that it was getting to thick in layers, but I think I’d rather to thick than shittily highlighted!

Here’s a photo of all of the pieces all done, with the masking tape still on the arm, and it is properly highlighted.

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I did a quick sepia wash on the klaw arm and edge highlighted the head to see how I liked it, then put it all together to check it out. Looking good!

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Funny story about the kustom force field — somewhere inside the naut is a magnet that the KFF sticks to. I can’t find or figure out where I glued that magnet so that the KFF would stand on the outside! (just realized my old photos from a year ago show where it goes :P)

Looking forward to finishing this guy! (but a couple other projects have priority, for reasons you’ll see)

Antares – Another army building app

Because of my habit of writing programs whenever something can be automated, I made an army building app for Beyond the Gates of Antares.

There are a few already – ArmyBuilder, BattleScribe, Quartermaster are the top ones – but they all require manual input. I did a bunch of work on the BattleScribe version of the Antares rules. But then updates were made to the army lists, and I’m really bad at spotting detailed changes, and I I didn’t want to do the updates anymore and…

I figured out how to parse the freely available Warlord PDFs into a semi-usable XML file, then built a small web interface to interact with that file. There’s no validation, you can add a million of everything, you can add a units between factions, you can do whatever the hell you want. The important part is that it’s automatically generated, so can be more easily kept up to date.

Here’s a link to the app: http://geeksong.com/Antares/

And here’s a link to the GitHub repo for it: https://github.com/rythos42/AntaresArmy Should you be a developer and be interested in expanding my work, I’m open to discussion and pull requests!

Paper – …resume?

I’ve been doing a ton of reading on papercraft. I’ve always loved origami – I grew up folding paper dinosaurs, and more recently learned how to fold a Firefly. But it wasn’t until the epiphany of the folding terrain that I realized how much more there is to this hobby than I had expected. There are a lot of people making paper terrain, paper models, entirely paper games. I threw my name into the hat because I could, because I wanted to make terrain for myself, and because I wanted to see if there was a long tail I could make a couple bucks from.

One book I read was specifically about folding for visual design. Brochures, pamphlets, marketing material (I think that’s just 3 ways of saying the same thing…). I’ve recently been told I’ll be laid off in December, and my brain leapt to a foldable resume!

Here’s a draft:

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There are a number of design goals to be met:

  • Keep the most important information most visible — name, contact, work experience, education
  • Have space to put some less important information, but make it visually less important — other contact info, interests
  • Have fun!
  • Allow colour.
  • Ensure that it looked good while entirely unfolded.
  • Ensure that it looked good while folded.
  • It had to be understandable still!
  • There is a flow to how people read things, and that needed to be respected (in Western culture, it’s usually left->right, top->bottom)

The draft picture is 1 of 4 that I designed while trying to find the right layout. After I was happy with the layout, I threw on some scribbles trying to see if I had enough space to fit all the information I wanted to include.

Here’s what I came up with, this is my first coloured draft:

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There is another version after that I didn’t photograph, but it’s pretty close. You can see how I met my design goals:

  • My name is front and very prominent, with contact information just below it. The contact information stands out in person because of the little icons that help orient what that section is about.
  • Work experience and education are next, as they are some of the most important pieces of information on a resume. I’ve left out a bunch of jobs, leaving only 2, because these are the 2 that will get me the work I want. I’ve got space to dedicate a good paragraph to what I did at each job.
  • I’ve included some call-out words that are also big and slightly colourful (but not to much) to give a reader some idea of a few values that I bring to my work.
  • In the back panel, there is a section for my interests (which is more readable in the final — it’s stuck in the corner here due to a mistake in my layout that didn’t get caught until this nearly final stage! This is what design is about!) and a section for a bunch of technologies I’ve worked with.
  • I really love the fake sticky note. There are 4 of them on the paper, and they are instructions for a reader on how to make the resume fold! I wanted someone to be intrigued by what they had, maybe print it and cut it out and fold it themselves. I plan on bringing them folded to interviews, but if an interviewer took the time to put it together, that’s someone I’m more interested in talking with!
  • Even better, most of the sticky note instructions hide when it’s folded! They are on the center fold, which is perpendicular to the camera in the photo!
  • I think it looks great folded.
  • It looks a little funny unfolded, but not so funny that it isn’t usable. The reading-layout is weird, because my eyes are drawn to the big teal sections which are in the middle of the page, then to the big yellow sticky on the right, and then to my name. This isn’t a bad reading order (it would be bad if you were drawn to Interests or Keywords first!), but it is odd to notice.

I haven’t done anything with it yet, but here’s hoping it’s well received when I do put it out into the world!

Antares – Playing a game

Clark asked me to play a game the other day, likely my first at the club in almost 3 months, and I had a hankering and had a couple other errands to run in the area so I agreed. It was nice to throw down the Antares!

The club, led mostly by Clark and myself, have been writing a tournament scenario for Antares. Just one scenario. Because it has enough randomness built into it to serve the kinds of purposes you need in a tournament scenario — forcing balanced lists, keeping people entertained all day, providing plenty of opportunities for success and for failure. But we need to playtest it, because there are a lot of random elements to it and you need to make sure that all the pieces fit together. So it was also nice to get another playtest in!

And THEN because I’ve been drawing up a storm (my buildings), I folded up all the prototypes I’ve made and stuff them into a folio and threw them down on the table too! It was great to get to actually use these, as opposed to just stare at them on my desk! Clark immediately took advantage of them. He really likes giving buildings teleporters, and I think it’s a decent idea too — makes the game a lot more mobile — but this top photo is of lavamites pouring out of my two-storey building.

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I managed to kill them, which was great because they can really run amuck. This next photo Clark is pushing forward to take the center, and moments later I sprint my T7 up to contest it.

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These photos might be in the wrong order, but I doubt you’re scouring them anyway. He teleported 2 units of Gang Fighters into this building near my deployment zone. I had hoped that overwhelming firepower would make that a bad idea, but the building defenses and a couple less than amazing rolls in combat meant he got to keep the building, and got to use it as a funnel for his more powerful combat troops.

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Unfortunately, I keep failing to learn that C3 Drop troops aren’t really amazing in combat. I mean, they’re the best I get, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

I took advantage of the version 2 of the rules to bring a T7 and an X-Howitzer in 1000 points and I was happy to be able to do so. I stripped the T7 of it’s gun and acc6/co8/in8 which brought it down in points, while still allowing me a mobile bunker for my squishy troops and a speedy objective contestor. Like it.

Paper – AFLogistics Building First and Second Floors

It’s been a long while since I wrote. I may have written about the baby, and the baby takes up a lot of time. One of the things I like about this new paper building hobby is that I can do it in whatever chunks of time I have available to me. Baby is asleep for 15 minutes? Add another layer of texture. Baby is eating with mom? Take some photos.

It’s slow going, but I’m happy to announce that I have 2 new products available for purchase!

The first floor has a door, while the second floor has no door and has tabs that fit into the first floor to keep it relatively stable.

I initially started designing these to play Gates of Antares with, but GW has since announced the impending release of a new Necromunda so now I’m thinking about gantries and ladders and walkways, because that’s what makes Necromunda awesome!

I now have 3 products available for sale on Geeksong Paper!

Building Designs

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Pictured from bottom-left, zagging up to top-right, are the 4 prototypes I printed of the building. This is design, ladies and gentleman — the slow and inexorable force of fucking up constantly until you get something that doesn’t suck as much as it used to.

Remember from last time a few constraints — 5x5x2, one piece of letter sized paper, opens at top, holds models, stackable.

Design #1 was an inch to short, and the roof pieces were an inch to short on both sides. This was just a CAD measurement error on my part – whoops! On the plus side, building this was instructional since I got to hold and handle the model and see what it’s physical properties were — would it hold models? If not, how would I make it do so?

#2 fixed the basic mistakes from #1, and added a tab onto the end of the roof pieces. You can’t see the tab, but it’s very functional. Because of geometry, the tab prevents the roof from collapsing when you put weight on it. This design still sags in when you put something heavy on it.

#3 added “gutters” inside, and additional tabs to each roof piece so it has 3 floating tabs and 1 glued tab. The gutters were there to prevent the roof from sagging, but ultimately had to be removed. They were a real pain in the ass to assemble each time, which makes it a non-starter.

At this point, I decided to drop the “one piece of paper” constraint. The roof has to be 2 pieces of paper because of this constraint, but if I can use two then I have a lot more options. #4 has the roof as a single piece, which greatly increases it’s strength and ability to not sag or slide when you put models on it. It doubles the cost of printing (printing costs by the sheet, not by the printed ink), but is easy to assemble, strong and looks good when assembled (unlike #3 which is a disaster when assembled). I still want to pull out that metal Gladiator Titan and see what happens, but I think #4 may be my winner.

This process was something I learned after building the shipping containers. Designing your design process! You have to define the physical object first. With the shipping containers, I thought I’d settled the object, so I starting making textures. Then, when playing with the object I found that my object was to big to fit on a piece of letter sized paper! So I had to go back and re-do a lot of the textures, wasting a lot of time.

 

Paper – AFLogistics Building

AFLogistics is a mining corporation that owns the mining rights on many worlds. Their designs are utilitarian – they must be designed to stack, and fit into ships cargo holds as efficiently as possible. Cubes and rectangular pyramids are thus their bread and butter. Which is why I’m focusing on simple designs, even though this building is in my “inspiration” list. 🙂

Here’s a draft from last night:

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Design Constraints

  1. I put some models on my cutting mat and decided that a 5″x5″ building would be a good start. Much smaller and it isn’t that impressive. (must)
  2. I want it to be 2″ tall, just above the height of a Gates of Antares model in armour. (must)
  3. The roof must support models. It should even support heavy ones. I keep thinking about a Gladiator Titan.
  4. The design must be foldable.
  5. It must be able to be stacked so that people can make multiple levels.
  6. It should fit on Letter (8.5″ x 11″) sized paper so it’s more mass market.
  7. It should be a single piece of paper.
  8. It should open at the top.

A Brief Aside About Priorities

I’ve organized my constraints by “should” and “must” to help keep me focused. If whatever design I come up with doesn’t fit the “musts”, then it has to be discarded. If it doesn’t suit a “should”, then I have to think carefully about whether that design could be changed to suit, or whether I want to discard that constraint.

You have to be realistic about assigning priorities. Obviously, you could put “must” on everything, but then you haven’t actually prioritized anything, you’ve just made a list.

Back to Constraints

For the shipping container design, #4 was a little flexible so I made two different designs. I couldn’t find a design that was strong and foldable, so I made my customer decide which to use. This isn’t a great solution, but it did allow me to put a product out. Something I started worrying about was “endless design”, where you just keep revising until you lose all your energy.

Constraints #6 and #7 are opposing. I’ve made a few designs that would do one or the other. The one pictured above is the start of a design that might suit both, but I think probably won’t stand up to #3. So then do I drop one of 6 or 7 (can’t drop 3), or modify the design somehow to allow 3 to be met? We’ll see shortly, because I’m going to draw this in a CAD program, print it and build it to see what happens.