zondag 30 oktober 2016

The Void Crows re-emerge

Well, I have the first day of the new job under my belt. It's still just in-house training, and will be for the next couple of weeks, but so far I'm liking it.

But that's not what you're here for, this is (mainly) a wargaming blog after all...
In the days between knowing I got the job and actually starting it, I decided to break out the brushes again. I didn't quite get the minis finished, but hey, that's what weekends are for.
So, what did I paint?
Those who have been following this blog for a longer time, or saw them back when =I=Munda first hit the stage on Dakkadakka, know that I've built a small salvage crew for it, and have been slowly working on expanding it.
Today I finished the last three additions:
Like the rest of crew, they don't have fixed names (yet), but I've been referring to them as "Sassy Girl", "Old Savant" and "Big Brute". If you look closely, you can nicely see the difference in sizes I managed to build into these models; Sassy Girl is just a bit smaller and more slender that the rest of the crew (done by shaving down the waist and shoulders, as well as the arms by a tiny bit), Old Savant is of standard unmodified size, where Big Brute is just a smidge bigger in all directions, thanks to .5mm shims in strategic places. It's not really noticeable on the table, but it does help in giving them the appearance and character I want them to have.
Here's a few more views:
As you can see in the pictures, these three are somewhat less combat-oriented than the original group, with Sassy Girl mainly being armed with a Boarding Gaff and a lumen-wand, with only a pair of throwing knives as a back-up. She's the youngest in the crew, and a bit of a mascot because of that. Her main task is to assist the Old Savant and haul cargo, but she has a fiery temper and a nose for trouble...
Old Savant wears a stubpistol because the rest of the crew forces him to. But being an information addict due to a meme-virus he contacted as a child, for the rest he just carries as much information with him as he can, as well as his favorite auto-quill. As he is an old man, and not of a physical bent, his void-suit has been retrofitted with a brass augmetic frame the crew salvaged a while back. Before he had it, he would need two of the crew to carry him around and prop him up somewhere to oversee salvage operations. His suit is also fitted with a shoulder-mounted Lux-caster. The crew couldn't do without the crotchety old man and his uncanny knack for finding the best pieces of loot.
Big Brute is most heavily armed of this group, carrying a stubpistol, large combat knife as well as his trusty huge crowbar... Like Sassy Girl, he will mainly be hauling salvage, as well as making sure that anything the crew needs loose or open gets that way very quickly!
Except for the Old Savant, they're wearing a lighter pattern of void suit than the rest of the crew as well. The reason is that these figures will be part of the "second wave" of salvagers, coming in after the clearing crew to select and haul the items and parts of the ships to be salvaged. They shouldn't be engaged in front-line combat, but you can never, ever, consider any derelict ship to be "safe".

Here's the crew exploring a derelict ship, with Old Savant pointing out a data-alcove that may still be functional:

And finally a proper look at the crew as it stands now:

What's still in store for this crew? I've got a few extra crewmembers planned or in progress; There will be a duo of lux-servoskulls, to help light their way, a servitor that can be equipped to either assist in hauling cargo or to cut open doors and locks with a plasmacutter. These are all primered and ready for paint. (But they've been in that state for ages, so don't expect this means you'll see them soon!)
I'm also building a small grav-sled to haul larger pieces of loot with.
And finally there are the last three members of the crew: 2 cargo haulers, that are also equipped with slab-shields. They will do dual duty hauling and securing cargo on their slab-shields or pushing forward to clear rooms where there's a bit more opposition... And the captain of the crew (the crewboss with shotcaster and chainsword is in charge of boarding operations, but occasionally the big boss himself will join the crew, if there are especially rich pickings to be found). He will be wearing a more luxury and flamboyant style of void suit.
I'm still not entirely decided on how I want to handle the slab-shields. I want them to be utilitarian, equally useful as a shield and as a sled or gurney to haul cargo on, and disposable, as they will also be used to quickly seal any inadvertent hull breaches the crew encounters, so they also need to look cheap and easily replaced.

There's also a void-suited itinerant Preacher in the works, but he isn't part of the crew proper.
If the new job and the new hobby/passion (woodworking) will leave enough time and energy, I'd really like to keep going on my small 40K narrative warbands, maybe even make an attempt at continuing my Space Hulk terrain. I got a real kick out of seeing all of it in the table again, especially now that enough time has passed that I can look at them with fresh eyes, without remembering the building process and the flaws I knew were there.

See you next time!

maandag 17 oktober 2016

(Not) Doing Stuff....

Heh, my previous post was letting you know I hadn't fallen off the edge of the Earth, and then I go silent for weeks... Sorry, folks!

Anyway, this will be a bit of a non-gaming post. Not entirely unexpectedly, the Muse has still been very erratic and absent for extended periods. At least as far as miniature stuff goes.

You see, this year I've decided to not be just a desk-jockey for the rest of my life, but also do something that I find rewarding and of lasting value on a personal level. To achieve this, I've started on a course for fine woodworking/furniture making. I've always liked wood and wooden articles, and have a life-long urge to make things (hence the wargaming/modelling, occasional bookbinding or other cockamamie project). Where this will go, I'm still undecided, maybe it will be a self-funding hobby, side job or maybe, if I get really lucky, a full time job?  But what creative urge there has been the last few weeks, has often been channeled into woodworking instead of wargaming, especially now that I have a little workspace in the garage.  I'll post some of the stuff I've been working on at the end of this post.

Also, I'm preparing to start a new (temporary) job soon, which means I need to renew certain certifications, leading to lots of studying in the last few days and coming week or two. Once I get that certification, I can start and will spend several weeks of on-the-job training and then a couple of months of certainly busy and probably erratic work. Which also means less or at least, less predictable, time for my various hobbies. On the other hand, all the activity at work may also just re-energize the old mojo-generator, who knows?

Oh, here's those pics of my first few projects I promised:

An Ash shop mallet, the final workpiece of the starter course. It this picture it hasn't had all the plugs and wedges sawn off yet. It has since been cleaned up and oiled and now serves as an excellent half-kilo of "persuasion". :D

A meditation bench for my wife. From a non-descript softwood that was a bit unpleasant to work with (Sold as "Scaffolding board", which is a DIY-by-the-numbers fashion item for making rough and ready screw-together furniture, not actually wood sturdy enough to use for scaffolding...). 
It's made to tilt and rock back to front, allowing the user to find the optimal angle of the seat and also forcing one to actively keep ones balance, leading to better posture during meditation. This was my first "solo" project, outside of the course. Made some mistakes (including one that cracked the wood on the legs), but learnt a lot. And the misses really appreciates getting/having it.

Solo project number two, a larch drawer/box. I made it mainly as an excuse to practice making dovetails, and contains my first dovetail joints ever. I'm happy with how neat they are for a first attempt. As that went well, I chose to take a risk and put a decorative butterfly key in the front side, made from oak. It still needs its surface finishing. Currently I'm using it as a sort of tool-tote around the (tiny) workshop. You can see the finished Ash mallet in the background.

What's up next? As money has been tight, a trip to the lumber yard has been out of the question, so I've had to beg and scrounge for my wood. So far this has netted a nice thin plank of walnut and a similar plank of hard maple, which I consider myself very lucky to get as a gift. I will be using these to make a christmas present for my wife. A friend said he had a hardwood pallet (which turned out to be beech, which surprised me). When I came to collect it, he had another surprise for me:
 A disc of Oak! (FYI, I don't have small feet... my shoes are literally a foot long. So you can estimate the size of that disc.)
I'll need to find a way to smooth it and get it to a uniform thickness. The crack in the left side will need to get butterfly keys to stabilise and strengthen it. (It's a total coincidence I chose to try making one in the larch box just a week or two before, but I'm happy I did!) I'm thinking of using the beech from the pallet to make a frame/legs for this slab and turn the whole set of gift wood into a side table. I won't be able to retain the bark, as it has already started to separate in too many places, but it will still end up an interesting shape. There's a wedge of oak to the left of the disk. Once I find suitable wood for legs, this may become a small stool, or if sufficient wood emerges, a taller shop stool to use when doing fine work at the workbench.
I've also been offered the off-cuts/leftovers of some furniture grade pine, but those will have to wait until the owner of the wood finishes his own project first. So no pre-made plans for those.

See you next time!