A Billions Suns – First Play and Fleet Building

After nearly fourteen months out of action due to the pandemic, my local club recently was able to start having meetings again. So it was a couple of weeks back that myself and my good buddy Dorian ventured over to Darley Dale from Chesterfield to actually roll some dice in person.

We chose to give ‘A Billion Suns’ by Mike Hutchinson from Osprey Games a go. I picked the rule book up a couple of months ago because I had heard good things about it. I particularly liked the idea of there being no before-game force building (with ships requisitioned as required), and the concept of playing across multiple tables. Being part of the Osprey Wargames ‘blue book’ series the rules are concise and the author has good pedigree with Gaslands (a game I have not played, but have heard very good things about, particularly from the point of view of being an easy to ‘pick up and play’ game).

As a spaceship combat system I of course needed to source some ships. Having had a previous daliance with Gunpla I was aware of a range of Bandai kits based on the Japanese anime series ‘Space Battleship Yamato’ (known in the US as Starblazers). These inexpensive plastic kits (even taking into account the postage from the far east) have a really cool ‘warships in space’ vibe, so I picked up a few from Hobby Link Japan. (This was of course dangerous as I got distracted by Gundam models, but that is another story.)

The other advantage of these kits apart from the cost is the ease of assembly. As with most modern Bandai kits these are hugely well engineered and push fit (no glue required). Although not designed as gaming pieces, each comes complete with a flight stand which is useful for the game, and most are pre-coloured in mutliple shades (with the aim being of getting them on the table quickly, a quick wash / panel lining would make them look presentable).

While these kits gave me some really interesting and unique models for the game I also wanted to bulk out my available fleets with some more utilitarian designs. It is here that I remembered that Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) often released ‘grab bags’ of plastic ships from their space based version of Commands and Colours called Red Alert. I duly picked up a huge number of ships and stands from them for around £10 to £20 in total.

The club meeting soon came round and in the spirit of our club (where play is the most important thing), Dorian and I played our first game with a completely unpainted set of models!

We managed to get two games in during the day and I have to say it was a lot of fun. The rules were easy to digest and navigate round. I had the night before spent some time downloading and laminating tokens, cards and other game aids from the A Billion Suns website and this certainly helped keep the game flowing.

P

I am not going to fully review the rules here, other than to alude to the fact that being a game where the outcome is based on earning credits from contracts (with the cost of your ships coming out of your total budget), it was an interesting variation on other much more crunchy games I have played in the past (I am looking at you Star Wars Armada!). Both games we played during the day were quite different (and this was due to the generation of the contracts you play for at the beginning of the game). This also resulted in a situation where in game one we were playing over three tables, while in game two it was entirely focussed on a single table.

I made the mistake of jumping in a massive battleship in game one, which while it looked cool (my primary reason for doing it), did mean I was in financial defecit from the get go and didn’t really figure out how I was going to earn this back. One of the things that became apparent during the game from a modelling perspective was that while we had lots of bigger ships we were lacking a bit when it came to the smaller stuff like fighters.

So with the aim of playing again at the next meeting (and doing a three player game next time – the rules seem to support multiple players very well and I can see that being a lot of fun), I have gone back to the modelling and painting.

This has primarily involved painting up the Red Alert ships, but also sourcing some additional ‘smaller mass’ ships to act as the recon, fighter and bomber wings the rules dictate.

For these I remembered that EM4 Miniatures (who I used to stock when running the store) did inexpensive plastic sprues of spaceships that would fit the bill. I picked a couple of these up and set about basing them on the spare stands I had picked up from PSC. (Interesting it has been pointed out to me that these designs actually hark back to a very old game by I.C.E. called Silent Death).

From a painting perspective both these and the Red Alerts ships were given a variety of base coats with a view to using both drybrushing and contrast paints to quickly get them done. I like the idea of replicating in part that 1970s sci-fi paperback cover style of spaceship, art by the likes of Chris Foss or similar to the old Terran Trade Federation books, so I have gone for quite a colourful palette.

To make them pop a bit more I did some selective highlighting with spot colours to represent lighting and variation in panel colours. I then touched up the bases painting them completely black (to match the tables).

One other idea picked up after playing the first game that I am going to do is to mark on the bases the in-game mass of the ships. This should make it a lot quicker and easier to requisition ships of different sizes during a game.

Next up will be to do some more work on the Bandai ships. Many of these come with decals or stickers, which once they are applied will be followed by a top coat and them some subtle shading and panel lining.

Of course I would be remiss not to mention 3D printing here, and I have added to my fleets with some resin 3D prints, most of which I sourced from Thingiverse and printed on my Elegoo Mars Pro 2. I picked the designs based on one of my favourite animes from back in the day (based more on my experiences of playing the role-playing game rather than watching the series) – Robotech. These will be painted in a similar way to the PSC and EM4 models.

From a hobby perspective I really like the flexibility the game gives you with fleet modelling (and this is mainly due to the fact as previously mentioned ships are requisition during play rather built into lists beforehand).

I’m looking forward to many more games to come.

Return to the Wastelands

I’ve been recently revisiting my 28mm scale post-apocalypse miniatures. In particular those that have been in a state of semi-completion for some time.

Prior to the current pandemic I had organised a 7TV Apocalypse event at our club, which sadly had to be put on hold. (As an aside we are starting up club meetings again at the end of May after a 14 month hiatus – some actual gaming, can’t wait). Any how as part of the prep for that cancelled event I had continued to work on my 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter miniatures. In addition since then I have added to the unpainted pile by adding in a whole load of 3D printed models. So plenty to revist.

First up is a vehicle – this has sat 80% done for about the last two years. Based on an Warhammer 40k Ork Wartruck kit I swapped out the greenskin crew with a Crooked Dice ‘vehicle gunner’ and some bits from the old Project Z biker sprue.

The kit I based the conversion on

I had already weathered this bad boy up a fair bit, but I tied it all up with a brush on application of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. Once dry ,a once over with a matt varnish sealed everything together.

Weapons and stowage from various sources – but mainly Crooked Dice

Most of the figures I am painting up for this project at the moment would, I suggest, fit into the category of ‘marauder gangs’. Working up from a white undercoat most of the following were painted up using Citadel contrast paints.

An old Mantic Mars Attacks miniature joins the gang
Bombshell Miniatures (3D print)
Anvil Digital Forge (Anvil Industries 3D print)

To maintain consistency across the ‘gang’ I’ve tried to keep the basing similar, using a dark yellow basecoat followed by a strong tone wash and then a bone drybrush highlight. I’ve used some deep red flock and some wasteland tufts to add some features.

I’ve tried to tie the basing together across these miniatures

A good gang needs an awesome leader and I have a couple to choose from. First up a 3D print from Cyber Forge (Titan Forge Miniatures). QB Turner has a certain resemblance to someone who perhaps might be at home running some sort of dome based gladitorial games. (She also doesn’t need another hero.)

She’s a private dancer

Secondly there is the big fella himself – the humungous one, who for the purposes of my games is henceforth to be referred to as the Lord Beefcake. This is another 3D print, this time from the recent Kickstarter by Kirstie Greyskull of Powersword Miniatures.

3D print (Powersword Miniatures)

(I also have a similar model from Crooked Dice that I am also going to paint up shortly.)

The good guys (if there is such things in the wastelands) don’t miss out totally either. These two are both 3D prints from Cyber Forge again. I particularly like the child who is a sort of mix of the feral kid from Mad Max 2 and Newt from Aliens.

That’s it for the time being, but I have really got the PA bug again, so am continuing to paint up more from the genre from my pile of shame. I’ve also recently picked up a really interesting looking model kit that I think will fit in with these guys really well.

Listen very carefully I shall say this only once…

Or – painting up some World War II French Resistance miniatures from Wargames Atlantic.

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog recently, but that is mostly because I have been busy on a number of different hobby projects. Primarily I have been preparing spaceships for games of Osprey’s A Billion Suns, as well as revisiting my 28mm scale 7TV Apocalypse bits.

Despite this I have still found the opportunity to get distracted and try something different. Wargames Atlantic have for the last couple of years been releasing some really interesting hard plastic 28mm scale kits across loads of different periods and settings. I’ve got into the habit of buying individual sprues from eBay of sets that interest me, more often than not just to have a look at the kits and painting something up a bit different.

One of their recent releases was a set of World War II, (nominally French) resistance fighters. However I could see these guys working in a range of games and settings from pulp and inter-war right through to later twentieth century armed civilians.

There were loads of options on the sprue and I went with a mix of armaments, inclusing quite a crazy looking dual stick genade weilding chap.

For the most part I used contrast paints to paint these fellas up. I am quite pleased with the way these turned out and they will be going into my pool of figures for 7TV.

I recently also picked up some other releases from WGA I also liked the look of, including a sprue each of the Napoleonic British Riflemen and the Classic Fantasy Lizardmen.

The latter come with some sci-fi options on the sprue and as I am currently reading the alt-history World War series of novels by Harry Turtledove I am somewhat inspired to build some members of the so called alien ‘Race’. (This is a truly bonkers series of novels by the way where some space lizards decide to invade Earth during the second world war!)

The Race from Harry Turtledove’s World War series of alt-history novels.

Kung Fu Freak of Nature

One of the many figures I have recently 3D printed is ‘Jerick Raval’, designed and released by Papsikels as part of their Patreon last year (and now also available from their MyMiniFactory store).

Eagle eyed readers may recognise a certain similarity to Kung Fury, the frankly and totally intentionally bonkers short film from a few years ago.

If you haven’t seen it and have half an hour to spare, watch it!

I don’t really have the eloquence or prose to adequetly describe the movie, but here are a few keywords: 80s, swearing, kung fu, dinosaurs, vikings, time travelling Hitler, gore, Tricerocop, loner maverick cop kung fu chosen one.

It is the last ‘apect’ I am exploring here on the tabletop, both in terms of the 3D printing and painting of the eponymous Kung Fury, but also through presenting a game profile for him for my favourite game, 7TV,

First up the miniature. There were two poses available to download and print and I did both of these on my SLA resin printer (an AnyCubic Photon) using Elegoo standard resin. The figure is on the heroic side of the 32 to 35mm scale I’d say, nice and chunky and therefore relatively easy to paint.

Starting with a white undercoat I used a lot of Citadel contrast paints and tried to stick to as close a match to the movie representation as I could. I’ve found the ‘wolf grey’ paint applied thinly over white is particularly good for blue denim. (I did notice when I rewatched the film AFTER finishing the painting that Kung Fury sports a snazzy pair of red trainers and I had gone for white on the mini!)

Due to the size of the miniatures and in particular one of the poses I went for 32mm round bases and decorated these up using tufts and flock to represent the ‘Viking’ section of the film.

From a gaming perspective I used the 7TV Casting Agency online app to modify one of the standard 7TV 2nd Edition archetypes. Using the ‘Action Hero’ as a base I tweaked the name of the ‘Star Quality’ and swapped around some of the Special Effects (using the rules from the Producers Guide). The ‘Action Hero’ attacks and stats were left as is and overall the ‘ratings’ value remained at 10 (as per the majority of profiles of ‘stars’ in the game. You can see the resulting profile card below and this is also available from the 7TV Productions Facebook page.

If I can find a suitable miniature I think Hackerman has got to be next on the list…..

New arrivals via the Space Bridge from Cybertron

I’ve recently finished off the remaining Wizkids Deep Cuts Transformers miniatures that have been sat half completed on my painting desk for a long while.

First up we have the Decepticon Soundwave. I’ve gone for a cartoon/comic colour scheme on these models, so primarily bold colours with some strident edge highlighting. This is not the way I usually paint but I think this is quite effective for these kinds of models.

Next up is Arcee. Introduced around the time of the Transformers movie in the mid-eighties Arcee was the first female Robot in Disguise. Of course because this was the eighties and she was a lady the colour scheme at the time was predominantly pink!

I’ve tried to replicate the original characters’ colour scheme on the mini and have again gone with some edge highlights to complete the look. As with all models in this range they came pre-undercoated in a Vallejo grey primer out of the box. An application of white contrast paint over that did me the job of panel lining and gave a good off-white colour for the main body.

In addition to the two miniatures I also recently finished off painting a ‘space bridge’ scenery piece that I 3D printed some time ago. Designed by ‘Doctor Merkury’, this is freely available for download from Thingiverse.

Finally here is a scale shot showing the two completed miniatures alongside an old pre-painted AT-43 figure. As you can see for 28mm (ish) scale gaming these could work quite well.

Denizens of the spaceport or crocodiles in space!

I’ve been 3D printing a lot of spaceship models recently and have also started pulling together a few ideas for a spaceport table setup to use them on.

The aim here is to pull together a 4′ by 4′ table for playing science fiction based games on (obviously) using primarily the 7TV rule set, but also with half an eye on the upcoming release of Stargrave by Osprey Games.

Thematically I am trying to keep the terrain generic enough to be used across multiple sci-fi settings including games inspired by or directly set in specific fictional universes. Star Wars is the obvious choice here (certainly based on my recent hobby activity), but I also aspire at some point to do something with the Gale Force 9 Aliens miniatures I recently bought and additionally the Future Freedom Fighters 7TV Programme Guide from Crooked Dice . I certainly have a work in progress ship for this one!

I’ll be doing an article on my Scorpio build soon.

However initially I wanted to be a bit more freeform in the way I populate my (as yet unamed) spaceport. I particularly like the idea of a far future setting with no particular overarching story, more a freely adaptable ‘make it up as you go along’ approach if you like.

I used to read a comic called Starblazer in my youth (and have recently started collecting old issues again). These were self-contained 63 page stories (from DC Thomson, the same publishers of the more famous Commando comic). While there were the odd recurring characters and settings, it was pretty much something different each time (albeit with a heavy recurring vein of spaceships, aliens and lasers running throughout).

Some of my Starblazer collection

In fact some years ago Cubicle Seven released a role-playing game based on these comics which I am lucky to have in my collection. Called Starblazer Adventures – The Rock and Roll Space Opera Adventure Game, this effectively provided a sandbox for creating your own settings and adventures in a ‘generic’ science fiction setting. One of the suggested settings within the book is referred to as ‘The Cosmopolitan Era’ and is described as…

The Cosmopolitan Era or ‘Who Elected the Guy with Two Heads’ is set around the rise and fall of galactic civilisation – thousands of strange alien races share every corner of the galaxy with mankind who is now just part of the melting pot.

Chris Birch and Stuart Newman, Starblazer Adventures, 2008, Cubicle Seven

It is this feel exactly I want to go for in terms of miniatures with which to populate the spaceport initially. Luckily there has been an explosion in the availability of science fiction miniatures (that are not Warhammer 40k) recently, particularly in the field of 3D printing.

A mightly tome that is not only a RPG rulebook but a useful and interesting reference guide to the comics

My initial spaceport denizen comes from Titan Forge Miniatures and was originally released as part of their monthly CyberForge Patreon, but is also available via MyMiniFactory. Crocko Bo is a cape wearing, big gun wielding space crocodile man, and that is really all you need to know about him.

Crocko Bo by Titan Forge Miniatures (Cyber Forge)

I printed him in resin alongside a base that was also released as part of that month’s release and started off with a white undercoat. From that it was mainly a Citadel contrast based paint job for the skin tone, with additional detail picked out using coloured metallics from the Scale75 range. Rather than go with a metallic look base I stuck with the method I have been using on my Star Wars stuff recently and went for an ‘industrial grey’ colour scheme, primarily via drybrushing.

Keeping on the ‘aninals in space’ them, next up is a ‘Tortle’ by Manuel Boria (also available for download from MyMiniFactory ). I took a similar approach with this chap, again sticking with contrast paints for the skin tones and webbing with used metallics elsewhere.

Back with Cyber Forge and next up is a rather squat gentleman. This is Harry Stone – in my setting he is a space marshall travelling onbaord frieghters and passenger ships providing extra security (for a price). Another fairly simple paint job which I over complicated for myself by trying to do a desert camo pattern on his combats. In the end I think this worked OK, and although he probably as designed was intended for a more Cyberpunk setting I think he will fit in OK.

Finally we have a few models from the recent Novus Landing Kickstarter by EC3D Design.

First up a group of human soldiers called ‘The Alliance Patrol’ which I am using as my port authority security detail. These printed really nicely and I went for a white undercoat here followed by contrast. The difference here is that I tried an all over shade of dark tone wash before applying the contrast layer. This work particularly well with the yellows and whites I concentrated on for their colour scheme.

Finally also from the Novus Landing range we have an alien arms dealer. Again I went with a dark wash over a white undercoat to start with and this really helped particaulrly with the orange of his spacesuit in terms of getting a suitably quick and effective shading. One thing I will say about contrast paints is that they have made me more likely to consider painting colours I would have previously avoided, in particular white.

One thing you may have noticed with the miniatures above is that they are all 3D printed. I am not restricting myself to just 3D prints, it just seems to be the way things have gone so far on this project. It is perhaps at this point worth pointing at that Wayne at Tangent Miniatures has recently aquired a license with EC3D studio to supply physical copies of the miniatures from Novus Landing. These will be cast in metal and the first few packs should be available soon from the Tangent website. (Coincidentally I will be producing the resin masters for these for the mold making process, part of the reason I chose these miniatures to test print for this project.)

In terms of next steps I have more miniatures to print, have various ships in various stages of completion and have also started on the actual terrain pieces. This includes the part 3D printed, part scratch built port authority control tower. More of which soon…

Port Authority control tower under construction.

Star Wars Legion Imperial Shuttle 3D Print

There are many iconic spaceships in the Star Wars universe. One of my favourites has always been the Imperial (Lambda Class) Shuttle, originally featured in Return of the Jedi.

In part this is because it is a clean classic design, but primarily it is because I have a soft spot for the original toy version. Now I never had this, but I do distictly remember the TV ad (probably because this was one of the last things to be released in the original toy line).

Any how, I have wanted a centrepiece model for Star Wars gaming for a now while and some time ago came across a set of STL files on Thingiverse. The issue here was that I wanted to do this Legion scale so from the off this was going to be a long project in terms of print time.

The model as available for download would not fit on my print bed when scaled up to the size I wanted (and I wasn’t keen on the suggested way of splitting the file on Thingiverse). I therefore spent some time ‘re-cutting’ the model in Meshmixer in order to come up with parts that would both scale up and fit on the print bed. From a scaling perspective I dropped a Stormtrooper model into the slicer alongside the cockpit to try and get an approximate scaling factor. I know I am bound to be asked at some point what the scaling was, but to be honest I cannot remember I’m afraid.

Scaled against a Stormtrooper model from Skull Forge Studios – for info the build size of my printer is 300mm by 300mm

In the end I cut the model into seven parts – main hull, cockpit, fin and then each wing split in two.

How the cockpit section looked before removal from the print bed. I used eSun PLA+ filament.

The printing on this took a VERY long time. My Creality CR-10S FDM printer has a relatively large build area and even with the model split as I did I totalled the time at approximately 22 days!

Once printing was completely I needed a way of adequetly assembling the model. I’m no expert in 3D modelling, so when cutting the model up I did this very simply with ‘flat cuts’ – I’m sure someone more skilled would have been able to create pegs and or plugs to align the model parts. I went somewhat old school here however and got the hobby drill and a few wooden kebab skewers out in order to do some traditional pinning.

Green stuff was used to gap fill and the whole model was given a good going over with sandpaper to smooth out any layer lines from the printing process.

Sanding was completed during and after assembly of the individual parts.

A comment on the 3D model itself at this point. This had been designed to have foldable wings, and I was keen to maintain this feature. However the truth of the matter is that as a tabletop ‘scenery’ piece it would be for the most part in landing configuration with wings folded up. The kebab skewers were used again this time thread through the model to provide the ‘axle’ for the folding mechanism. Due to some variance in the tolerances of the print I did have to realign some of the holes in the wings in order to get these to fit.

In addition, there was no means of holding the wings in this position as part of the 3D model itself, so again the drill and some cut down kebab skewers were the answer to the problem.

The 3D design also missed a couple of features of the original ship. While I could live without the wing cannons, I really wanted to do something to add in a landing gear and ramp. There is something very iconic about the scenes in the film where first Vader and later on when the Emperor emerges from the shuttle.

After studying some reference photos I realised that the landing gear of the shuttle comprised of two legs mounted mid way down the hull. The key here from a modelling perspective was finding something that I could get it to balance on while keeping the shuttle stable as gaming piece on the tabletop.

A brief scan of the bits box resulted in almost the perfect parts for this. Originally from the Mantic Deadzone scenery set these small ‘stumps’ (originally the base of some sort of cannon) were perfect. I then positioned these in such a way that the shuttle with wings folded up would balance perfectly.

A perfect bits box find
The painted landing gear – I trimmed off the nub on the top prior to fixing these to the model and then highlighted

At the same time I found a similar suitable piece from my spares box, again part of a Mantic scenery kit. I was keen that this could be opened and closed and after a quick visit to my daughters Lego collection I ‘borrowed’ a few bits to fashion a hinge. A small square base was then used to hide the visible Lego.

I actually added the landing gear and ramp after I had begun the painting of the model, but for the purposes of narrative I’ll cover the painting process now. The assembled model was given a once over of grey Halfords car primer with the intention that I then airbrush on successively lighter shades of grey.

Undercaoted shuttle (with Star Wars Legion Emperor’s Royal Guard)

It soon became apparent that this would take way too long. The undercoat colour was close enough to what I was aiming for, so I simply stuck with this while I picked out some of the panels with a darker grey. I tied the whole thing together with an overall drybrush of light grey, concentrating particularly on edge highlights. The cockpit was painted black and then given a coat of Games Workshop Nuln Oil gloss wash to give it a shiny appearence. The images below also show the ramp attached and in place.

The engines were painted white and then given a blue contrast coat, followed by an off-white drybrush highlight.

The final touch was to add a few subtle decals (the Galactic Empire was never much for strident liveries). I happened to have a couple of left over Imperial symbols from a Bandai AT-ST kit I had built a few years ago. I placed a couple of these on the cockpick as well as on the main fin.

And there we have it, probably one of the longest hobby projects I have ever done from start to finish and another reminder that while 3D printing is an excellent addition to the tabletop hobby it comes with a signficiant requirement for patience. At some point soon I intend to setup the shuttle with some of my recently painted Star Wars miniatures in order to take some additional photos, but for the time being I am calling this project done.

I have to say that one of the most enjoyable bits of this project for me was the additional kitbashing on top of the 3D printed model and this is something I have taken to the extreme in my next big spaceship project, more of which soon….

Star Wars 3D Printing – At the Court of Emperor Palpatine

The 3D printers have been running hot recently outputing a whole host of Star Wars miniatures. I am concentrating mainly on building an Imperial force at the moment and have turned my attention away from the troops to the top brass.

(I have, as usual, included links to where I have obtained these models, but to make things a bit clearer have also included a useful table at the end of the article summarising what came from where.)

First: the big boss man, Emperor Sheev Palpatine. This model complete with diorama base and guards is from the Patreon of Madox.

Not sure about the bare feet, but otherwise a lovely miniature to print and paint.

It is part of the welcome pack that becomes available when you sign up. The three figures were printed in resin on my AnyCubic Photon, with the base done in filament on my Creality CR-10S FDM printer.

The Royal Guard are highly stylised compared to their on screen counterparts (and the official Legion models). Not that pleased with the paint job on these, but the beauty of 3D printing is that I can just try again following a re-print.

Next up a model from Skull Forge Studios, which I actually purchased and painted a few months ago, but dug out again for this article. Sold as the ‘Authority Grand Duke’, this is my take on Grand Moff Tarkin.

Since I painted up the Grand Moff I have realised that his rank badge isn’t quite right, but hey ho, still looks the part).

Like my other Imperial officers this paint scheme was primarily based on a German Field Grey paint set I have from Andrea Color.

I’ve recently been getting my Star Wars fix, post -Mandalorian by binge watching (for the first time), the animated Rebels series on Disney+. I tried watching ‘The Clone Wars’ a few years ago and couldn’t get into it, but I absolutely loved Rebels. Two of the key Imperial villains in the last two series are Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Pryce is based on a female Imperial officer figure available from the Patreon of BigMillerBro, while I found the Thrawn miniature files free to download from Thingiverse.

Thrawn’s all white uniform was made slightly easier through the use of contrast paints. (Interesting the version of this model I downloaded from Thingiverse no longer appears to be on the site; however if you search for ‘Thrawn’ it looks like there are a few alternatives available.)

Next we have two of the Emperor’s advisors who appear briefly in Return of the Jedi. Like Thrawn these were free downloads from Thingiverse (designed by McAnultyMiniatures – well worth checking out – there are even Ewoks!).

Last but not least is the only model I have completed as part of this batch that is not 3D printed. The standing version of Palpatine is the actual Star Wars Legion model (albeit with the base swapped out for a 3D printed base I also purchased from the Madox Gumroad store).

MODELFILE AVAILABLE FROM
Emperor Palpatine Throne Room DioramaMadox 3D Design Patreon
Grand Moff TarkinSkull Forge Studios Gumroad store
Governor PryceBigMillerBro Patreon
Grand Admiral ThrawnThingiverse (free download) – no longer available.
Emperor’s AdvisorsThingiverse (free download)
Emperor PalpatineStar Wars Legion miniature by Fantasy Flight Games – available from you friendly local games store
Scenic basesMadox 3D Design Gumroad store

Entering the Zone with Albino Raven Miniatures

I have recently been 3D printing and painting models by Albino Raven Miniatures.

The miniatures from this range are generally themed around modern combat with a slight science fiction twist. Ideal for games like Zona Alfa, Black Ops or 7TV Apocalypse.

Some of the ‘Biohazard’ designs recently released

I have been concentrating so far on the ‘Biohazard’ figures. These printed out a treat on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer and are definitely on the ‘chunkier’ side when it comes to scale.

The miniatures are one piece and there is a mix of suit styles. Most of these guys are armed, and there are a variety of weapons from modern style automatics to more fantastical plasma guns.

A selection of miniatures fresh of the printer (post curing)

However I have to say my favourite sculpt of the lot is the guy holding the vial (probably of something very nasty).

The details on the prints are excellent

When it comes to painting I have tried out a number of colour schemes using a combination of contrast paints, washes and dry brushing. The yellow chaps in particular were inspired by the Dharma Iniative from Lost.

Albino Raven continue to produce a great range of 3D designs on a monthly basis via Patreon and some of their files are also available on MyMiniFactory.

Another recent release printed – painted primarily with constrast paints.

Imperial Entanglements – Rebuilding my (Star Wars) Legion

A few years ago I got heavily into Star Wars Legion, but then relatively quickly sold the collection I had built up. This was partly due to a lack of gaming opportunities, but primarily because I needed the cash. However recently my Star Wars enthusiasm has been stoked again by the Mandalorian TV series and I have found myself wanting to ‘hobby Star Wars hard’!

Two big things have changed in my world since my last foray into the tabletop of a galaxy far, far away. These things are Games Workshop’s Citadel Contrast Paints and 3D printing. With the former I am no longer averse to painting lots of white Stormtooper armour and the latter (combined with the availability of designs online) means I have a lot more options available in terms of scenery and vehicles.

Base coat – contrast – highlight – Contrast paint actually making white fun!

Game-wise I am yet to decide whether to give Legion itself a try again (this would require investing in a new core set), but what I do know I want to do is give the 7TV version of Star Wars ago.

Published a few years ago and still available (for free) from the Crooked Dice Game Design Studio website this is a ‘programme guide’ of profiles and gadget cards based on the 7TV second edition rules. These profiles are based on the original trilogy and being 7TV I am fully intending to expand on some of these and add in some support the Mandalorian cast and potentially other characters.

So far I have been concentrating on the bad guys. My Stormtroopers are 3D files from Dark Fire Designs (printed in resin on my AnyCubic Photon) and mix in well with a box of Legion Scout Troopers I recently aquired.

A mix of Star Wars Legion plastics (Scouts) and 3D printed models (everything else)

The recipe for painting these guys was to start with a white undercoat (in this case GW Corax White from a can), slap down some contrast Apothecary White, dry brush highlights in Corax again and then fill in the under armour gaps with contrast Black Templar.

Weapons were picked out in a gun metal and given a wash of contrast Basilicum Grey.

Also 3D printed (files from the Patreon of ‘BigMillerBro’ who specialises in Star Wars Legion compatible models) were my Imperial Officers and Navy Troopers. The officers were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily an Andrea Color German Field Grey paint set I have. Not my best work, but a nice addition to the force.

I really enjoyed doing the Navy Troopers – again they were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily dark greys and washes. With both these and the officers I used a gloss Nuln Oil wash from GW for the leather boots and also in the case of the troopers the signature helmets.

Basing? Well I’ve gone in this initial batch for an Endor style base (I have a Scout Walker I am working on – also a 3D print) and I think this goes well with the Scouts.

AT-ST – file from Dark Fire Designs

The good thing about 3D printing and having a quick and easy paint scheme is of course if I want to base some of these guys for other environments I can just batch out a few more. I’d like to do some more with an interior basing scheme (imagine running a game in a Star Destroyer or the Death Star and you get the idea).

I’m also working on a 3D printed Imperial Shuttle – but more on that soon…..