Monday, December 31, 2012

Pocketmunda - The Adventure Begins

Pocketmunda is a side project for those times when work on the big spaceship is on hold for one reason or another.  A small table of urban terrain in the Necromunda style for 15mm gang fights.  As an easy kickstart to the terrain build, I picked up ten paper mache boxes from the local craft store for about two bucks each. The lids of the smaller boxes can be flipped over to serve as guard rails.  Probably won't use the lids on the bigger boxes. 
The beauty of these little numbers is that they nest inside each other like so:

Which leaves plenty of room for dice, a ground cover cloth, CDs covered with soft cover terrain and difficult ground, and whatever odds and ends crop up during the course of construction.

Still wrestling with the overall look of this terrain.  I know it won't be the classic Necromunda decayed gothic and skull look.  Since my figures will all be proxies, the terrain can be whatever makes sense - or doesn't make sense but looks pretty cool.  I'm flirting with the idea of replicating a giant cargo bay...some clever blogger put together a slick table with that theme.  

Maybe a lost and buried and recently un-buried desert city on a sparsely inhabited alien planet.  That way you could keep the clean lines and softer palette, and still justify fights in uninhabited areas with lost archaeotech and what not.  It would also serve double duty if I ever decided to build up a PocketGorkaMorka game, too.  The mind boggles at the possibilities.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Power Core and Life Support

The lowest level of the big ship now holds the central power core for the craft.  You are looking at (from bottom up) the cap of a gallon of milk, three dowels used to secure wood furniture (think Ikea pegs) between a couple of wooden disks, the cap of a tube of superglue, and a bit of automatic pencil.  The plastic sheath around the three rods was clipped out of the packaging for an iPad cover.  I have no idea where that black bit of pipe came from; it was floating around my bits-box.

Also installed tonight was the small copse of trees featured previously, along with a single palm tree yoinked from my son's toy box.  If memory serves, that came in a desert themed Matchbox car toy.  The toy was already colored, but it needed a paint job to match the rest of the trees in the ship.  The plnater base for the palm tree is a 20mm diameter hex-style base for a 28mm wargame figure.

This whole level will wind up as a hydroponics level. What you see is what we've got for now.  As suitable plants crop up (heh), I'll stick them wherever they fit.  Whatever it takes to shut Bruce Dern up, you know?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Game On!

The game isn't on for me yet, but it's getting closer all the time.  The game is on for my little mans, because the game room is officially open.
Anyone up for foosball?

Maybe some ping-pong?
And on the table in back you can see a couple of magazines.  Oh, and somebody left out the X-Box controller again.
Most of this stuff is painted on, but the controller is a half a grain of rice glued down to the table.  That table is constructed of two legos - everything else is built from cardstock, balsa wood, and a bit of copper wire for the foosball bars.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Are We Learning Yet?

This blog was supposed to keep me grounded.  It's called War In A Box for a reason - that's supposed to remind me that I've got no space and that every game needs to fit into a tidy little box.  The spaceship I've been working on is super-kewl, but it is a clear violation of my own ground rules.  In an effort to get back to basics, I picked up a small tub for the express purpose of designing a Pocketmunda set-up - a full table of 15mm terrain (by which I mean a 2-foot by 2-foot square of terrain - that would fit into a small and portable case.
One exactly like this.  Note figure for 15mm scale.
Bear in mind that work on the big ship continues.  With a bit of free time and a need for better lighting to work on additional furniture (which looks great, but will wait for the final paint job before posting), I bashed together a few buildings for Pocketmunda.
Old almond tins, Christmas styrofoam, and various bits and bobs.

The plan was to fit everything onto old CDs for ease of basing and storage.  For once, I stopped progress early to check on the fit.  The results were...
Less than stellar.
That's only four buildings so far.  You can't fit more CDs in a second row, and there's not going to be enough room for a drop cloth.  That's unacceptable.  Looks like I'll have to go with square buildings that nest inside each other in order to get enough buildings to satisfy that urban-decay look.

So that didn't work, but let's not lose sight of the important bit - this time, it didn't work after 30 minutes of work, instead of after 30 hours of work.  That saves me mor ethen 29 hours of labor, and it saves my face from another epic palm slap.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Break On Through

Finally.  The Doors.  You may have noticed that half the doors on the spaceship are really, really tall.  Like this:

There's a reason for that.  I wanted doors that open and close.  This week I built the doors that slide up and down.  Here's a look at the finished product:
The doors go down.

The doors go up.
These are bog standard pocket doors.  They stay open on their own because the fit is so tight.  At the end of the day they wound up a little short, but not enough to make the thing unplayable.  We can half-ass up an in-genre explanation (they are blast door or some such nonsense), but that isn't really necessary.  They look fine as is.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry After Christmas-Sale Day!

Happy Boxing Day!  In honor of whatever is those kooky Canucks celebrate today, let's all point at Warren and laugh at how he still hasn't learned his lesson.  Remember way back earlier in the year when I spent hours building roads for Car Wars and when they done it turned out they were the wrong scale?  Yeah...welcome to the second verse of that song.

We're gonna need a bigger box.
Whoops.  Finally checked the height of the starship against the tub that it was supposed to be stored in and it ain't even close.  Even if I take off the decorative spire, it still won't fit.  Le sigh.  Oh well, a bigger box will leave more room left over for a second ship, right?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Starship Crew, Part 2

More starship crew members today.  Ran out of heads so the twins on the left have to stay that way.  The guy with the big gun...that started life as a GW pistol in a holster.  The guy in the trenchcoat is the only one not from the 'Law Officers' range - he was an adventurer.

While painting these guys up, I realized that they are armed mainly with pistols and close-combat weapons.  The whole unit has one heavy, three rifles, and the rest pistols.  That should help maintain a unique flavor for these guys.  In the confines of a ship, the pistols may work better than rifles - we'll see how it plays out.

Merry Christmas - have a great night and a fun tomorrow!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Starship Crew, Part 1

The starship is a bit retro, so the crew should also be a bit retro.  Hydra Miniatures makes a great line of figures that would be perfect, if they were 15mm.  This calls for a bit of conversion. The guys publishing  Laserburn figures make some great sort-of-Judge-Dreddish-but-not-really sorts that have the right shoulder pads and skin tight suits, but they all have riot helmets on, too.  The guys over at also make a host of other 15mm figures with heads practically begging for re-assignment.  

Every figure here is based on the Law Officers range, with heads donated from various other lines.  The third guy and fifth guy from the left are unconverted.  The head on the far right is taken from a fantasy archer figure, and the alien head is from the HOF line of figures.

Those of you paying attention will notice that these guys wear the same colors as the ship on which they serve.  That's intentional.  In fact, the intention is to build a ship for each faction of miniatures that I paint up, too.  I've got some ideas for a low-slung ship for those mangalorcs, but we'll see if I can stay motivated that long.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Just For Fun

I honestly can't think of a use for these little guys (from Ground Zero Games), but had to pick them up and paint them for no other reason than they look like fun.

My daughters claimed the other !Wall-e and !Artoo unit to paint for themselves.  Yes, my little ones, try it just once, first taste is free...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Insert Obligatory 'Still Here' Joke Here

December 21, 2012.  Time to throw out your old Mayan calendar and get a new one.  Let's skip all the obvious jokes, okay?  If you want those, just read Twitter for five minutes - you'll get every single one of them a few dozen times.

On the spaceship front we have my new favorite thing, but first let's look at the progress on the rec room.  A lot of work gives us some new scenery.  The small potted plants are made from old sprue trimmed and painted and stuck in a wooden bit found at the hardware store.  The pots are meant to get stuck into the holes of wooden furniture to cover up deep set screws, but they look like ceramic pots.  Here's a more detailed explanation from the wizards over at TerraGenesis.

And oh, what's that on the telly?  Let's take a closer look...
Even space-orcs love the Doctor.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's Worse Than That, It's Gym, Captain

Here's a nice open space for a shoot-out.  The ship's gym comes complete with a futureball court and target, and a sparring/wrestling mat.  I'd hoped to do without the Necromunda style yellow and black striped caution marks, but darn it those patterns just plain work.  The boys at GW were onto something with it, even if they did overuse the pattern.  They tend to do that with things...anyone up for more skulls in their 40k?
Ignore the tall door - I've got plans for that.
The small balls are the heads of sewing pins.  They'll stick quite well, after all they come with their own pins.  If you leave about 2mm of the pin in place, you can smash that into the foamcore for extra security.

 If you look across the big hole you can see a small potted plant.  We'll talk more about those tomorrow, along with a new painting I'm particularly proud of.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bridge Construction

Tell me this bridge doesn't evoke a TARDIS feeling.  That's a basic hex base for a 28mm figure with cereal packet painted with dials, screens, and other controls.  I took the same style syringe cap used for the engines and stuffed it full of green and unpainted toothpicks.  The whole mess fit perfectly wit the bamboo skewer coming down from the nose of the ship.  Green felt serves as carpet and completes the upper bridge.
In scale, that platform is waist-high, so I'll need to add some steps up yet.  The rest of the level is still pretty barren, so we're looking at more control tables and screens somewhere down the road.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Little Touches

Every little detail added makes the rocket come alive just a little more.  This shot shows some successes in that department.  The engines are starting to look the part with bright green glowy cores surrounded by plastic casements. (Those are the tops of big syringes over a painted bamboo skewer - I got sloppy with the paint because the plastic obscures the things anyway.)  These still need more pipes and grommits and doo-dads, but that can wait for later; I have to resist the urge to cover the whole darn thing with cover everywhere.

The flooring turned out great.  That's just textured shelf liner paper painted black, highlighted silver, and hit with a touch of brown ink.  Looks metallic and dirty and helps give the lower level a darker, more industrial feel to it.

There's a little red toolbox in the lower right corner, so this will eventually become the machine shop/motor pool (if I can find a small vehicle I want to park here - a Firefly-esque mue would make for some fine cover.

Also notice that the vent now has a red number 'stenciled' on to it.  Enter a vent, and the next turn you come out at a random vent.  While painting these, I realized that the vents are better at getting down to the engine level than up near the bridge; there are two vents on the bottom level compared to one on the rest, so that means you have a 1 in 3 chance of coming out in the guts of the ship.  Which makes sense - it's easier to climb down than up.  That's a neat little feature that smart players will be able to exploit.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ladder for the Lads

Like I said - a little drybrushing and those zip-ties really pop as ladders.  If you don't think about it too hard.
This shot gives you glimpses of other design decisions.  The vents turned out just fine, but they still need numbers on them.  The teal and orange will suitably retro-70s-sci-fi, and the kitchen is coming along nicely, too.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Brilliant Solutions

The best comment section on Blogger is right here, folks.  Early this week I lamented that my storage case was almost perfect.  Two, count them TWO, loyal readers pointed out that I've got pointy blades that could nip a small notch in the case, which would allow me to carry my Mangalorcs in style.
He's just too much mangalorc for one shelf.

Door closed for rollin'.  Hatin' optional.
Tip of the hat to an anonymous reader, and to Brummie over at the excellent and eponymous BrummiesWargamingBlog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Almost Awesome Storage Solution

Down to the local craft store this past weekend, looking for a small plastic box to house my Mangalorcs between games, and stumbled on this slick little number.  It's a carousel of five small boxes that detach, with a larger and deeper central  bin on top.  It's only nine bucks, and it can probably hold a good 100+ figures in the 15mm scale, with room up top for three or four vehicles.

 It's almost perfect.  Look at how cozy my li'l space bastard are in there...
Cozy is realtor speak for "really small".

There's just one problem...
It's about 2mm too short for any slightly oversized figure, or one waving his pistol and sword in the air.  Yeah, you could put those few figures in the upper bin, but then they wouldn't be together, and you wouldn't have a way to showcase your force in one place.  It totally defeats the whole purpose of the thing.

Back to the store with you!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rocket Lessons, Part the Second

Do as I say, not as I do.  I did as I do, and it was a mistake.  So from here on out, I will do as I should have done and would have done, if I had somebody making these mistakes for me the way I'm making them for you.

I'm still convinced that these ladders, made from zip-ties, are going to look great; however, they could have looked great with a lot less effort if I was a bit smarter about things.  Instead of building and then painting, I really should have painted and then built.  

I cut my ties and glued them onto the structure, and that forced me to hand paint each of these little devils.  That took a really long time.  I should have painted them matte-black and then glued them to the walls, it would have meant an extra five minutes to prime them separately from the tower, but would have saved me the four hours of hand painting.  It also would have meant a lot less black smearing around the edges of the ladder.

There is a fix for the smearing.  I just have to mix my acrylic paint to the exact same shade as the tan primer, and then spend more time carefully edging the ladders to cover the smears.  It's not perfect, and it takes time out from other projects, but at least it's a solution.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Who Is Number One?

Notre Dame, for the next month at least.  But on my table, this warboss is number one:
That power sword turned out pretty good.

The 28mm grenade becomes a big frackin' bomb at this scale.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sporc Boyz

Quick update with some painted GZG Space Mercenaries.  Brummie pointed out that they look more like the Mangalores from Fifth Element than orcs, but let's be honest here.  Mangalores are just orcs by a different name.  Big, green, ugly warriors? You could call those ugle mugs Cutieponies and they'd still be space orcs.

Meet the crew of the White Fist.  The numbers are there for record keeping purposes.  I'm toying with the idea of putting together a boarding action skirmish game built off the Necromunda engine.

And the heavies.  The guy in the middle is the one with the Imperial Guard breather.  Turned out better than I'd hoped.

So these are my first 15's and they aren't half bad.  I made a few mistakes, and need to develop some new techniques for these guys.  Mostly, what I've done for 10mm and 28mm works, but this size presents some unique challenges.  It's like the same language, but a different dialect.  

Kind figured - that's why the leaderorc was saved for last.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cheese it Boys, It's the Copse!

This looks like your normal wargame tree stand.  Art posterboard cut into a circle, a few dollar store plastic trees, some rocks, sand, and paint, and it's an instant forest.  In my world it becomes a low-cost oxygen generation machine.  This is designed to fit right into the heart of the spaceship, as seen in the third photo below.

Damn that looks good if I do say so myself.  The small stand of trees will be glued in place once the ship is painted.  Gluing it in place right now will just make it harder to paint the rest of the ship, so that is just going to have to wait.  Note that the whole spaceship has been primed at this point, a nice rich creamy almond color.  It took almost a full can of primer, but the whole she-bang is primed and ready for...more primer?

Yep.  The color is great, but the finish is gloss - the kind of gloss that won't hold the craft store paint on hand.  That means it needs a full coat of clear flat sealer before I can really start in on the painting.  Whoops. Ah well, one more coat won't hurt, and since this color really is perfect for the ship, it's well worth the extra step.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Meditank Complete

Wampas got you down?  Spent the night inside a Taun Taun?  Maybe Dad just hacked off your lightsabre arm.  Whatever has you down, this little number will fix you right up. Filled with the finest nano-enhanced bio-regenerative slime, this medical tank is a must have for all deep spacers.

This is a case of making a virtue of necessity.  For the life of me, I couldn't get the dark green paint to take.  After five coats, it still looked really streaky.  So I rolled with it.  Bright green paint on the bottom darkens towards the top, and all those places where the paint looks lighter now look like an extension of the flare effect of the slime inside the tank.  A splash of yellow brightens the piece and makes the bottom look even brighter.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Ground Zero Games makes these spiffy little figures they call "Sci-Fi Mercenaries" or somesuch, but they're really space orcs.  We're gonna go with the 'black primer/white drybrush" method on these bad boys.  As my first 15mm figures, I'm not sure how well it's going to work, but it's hard to mess up space orcs.

Already I'm reminded of the benefits of the bigger scale.  It's so much easier to modify and customize figures.  That sporc warlord now holds a knife taken from an (28mm) Imperial Guardsman.  In its owner's hands it is a small knife; in this guy's hand its a great big powercutlass.  These sporcs are going to be the pirates of the Aboxverse, so he's gotta have a cutlass.

Here's another quick customization.  The gasmask on this guy is another plastic piece from the Imperial Guard sprue.  It's just the teeniest bit off-kilter, but it'll do.  These little touches give the heavies a bit more variety.

Last but not least, the grunts of the sporc-pirate raiders.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First Fifteens

Remember that Silent Running gag I pulled a couple of days ago that nobody really understood because Joan Baez sings a lot of songs about trees and that movie is pretty obscure and older than me and I'm no spring chicken my own self and the post had no context other than a bog standard stand of trees?

Yeah, well, now I've got a couple of Silent Running-esque robots to go with the 'space forest'. (For those of you for whom Pokemon is a golden oldie, I'm talking about the two bots in the middle.)  Only two drones means that those guys in the middle must be Huey and Duey, plucked from their ship centuries after poor old Louie died in the rings of Saturn. In the Aboxverse Bruce Dern died treeless and alone with nothing to hug back on a paved clean Earth.  Poor bastard.

The other two bot styles should be obvious.  My daughters have each called dibs on painting the duplicate models.  Which is awesome.  Can't wait to see what they come up with for them.