Printed Platforms and Ladders

I’m continuing work on my post apocalyptic table for This is Not a Test. I’m trying to improve the vertical possibilities of the table by adding some height and climbing surfaces to game over. TnT’s rules are fairly brutal, requiring a lot of game time to make unaided climbs – so I’m also printing and painting lots of simple ladders to make getting vertical easier.

I’ve created a set of 3D printed platforms, that can be printed with legs or with angle brackets. Both variations are shown in the photos. The platforms with legs are the right height to rest against the large number of shipping containers I’ve already assembled and painted. They’re the diving board looking platforms on the right of the photo. The platforms without legs have 45 degree pieces that help them to rest on free standing terrain, and they’re shown on the left between the tanks.

The platforms work with a clip system that involves a some work with a needle file to get a good fit. I deliberately left them a little tight so there’s a friction fit between the pieces before I glued them. The design was inspired by some similar pieces I found on Thingiverse, that were bit lacking in surface design for my tastes, and somewhat tricky to print on the Anet A8. My designs are simplified for ease of printing, and only require light rafting for the joining pieces. They’re also available on Thingiverse here.

The tanks and some of the other terrain is constructed from very old Urban War ‘Hexagon’ kits. These are still available from a few places online.

Barriers from 3D Printed Parts

It’s been a month since I last posted, and in that month I have been continuously 3D printing all sorts of terrain pieces on my Anet A8. I’ve had some technical issues with the printer too – the extruder heating element failed ($2 to replace) and my control board appears to have suffered some damage as the hot bed temperature is reading wildly incorrect values (despite the hot bed sensor operating as expected) – so I have another board on the way ($32 to replace). That means I’m limited to printing smaller PLA items on a cold bed. However that’s still ideal for 28mm terrain pieces.

I’ve been cranking out pieces from Thingiverse, as well as some of Kim’s Kreative Scenery designs, and a bunch of my own stuff too. I’ve burned through at least 1.5kg of filament and now have an old shoebox full of various small parts. So it was time to start gluing them together and painting them up!

It turns out to be very easy to make barriers from a mix of barrels, drums and corrugated plastic-card scraps. That’s handy because I need a bunch of barriers for a This is Not a Test table I’m making steady progress on. Also, because I generally print on ‘rafts’ I tend to have a lot of spare pieces of mesh plastic laying around. It seemed a shame to just throw these away, so I’ve been cutting them up to use as wire fencing, and with the additional of a simple printed bed-frame they also make horrible old mesh bed frames. You can see several of these above on the two barriers I’ve painted and varnished.

The barriers are also pretty good fun to paint as you can throw around graffiti for some light detailing. I have several more on the go and plan to try and crank out at least a half dozen of them for the table. I’m also working on a bunch of scatter cover terrain in the form of 1980’s style ‘spacies’ machines. You can see the first one painted up in the background.

This is Not a Test: Chemical Factory

I’ve been slowly adding terrain to my collection for This is Not a Test since I was introduced to it a few years ago. On a recent trip through the dustier parts of my gaming cupboards, I found several boxes of “Urban War” terrain from “Urban Mammoth” – both a game system, and a company that seem to have ceased to exist in the 11 years since I bought these kits.

As all of the terrain I’ve put together so far is single level, I was looking for something a little more elevated, so I built and based the “Bio-Toxin” plant.

This design is based on one of the possibilities illustrated in the very simple one page instructions: an elevated platform surrounded by tanks and piping. It seemed like the most interesting option because it gives figures a firing platform with a nice mixture of cover. It’s also high enough off the table that you can move figures around underneath it with some care.

The kit is rather painful to assemble because every pipe run has to be glued together from two halves, which takes quite a bit of prep work. However you do get a lot of piping, and that gives you plenty of options for building crazy pipe runs connecting the tanks.

I’m pretty pleased with the end result, which used most of the kit, but still left me with enough bits and pieces to building something else, or use as scrap for ruined terrain. The Imperial Guard Sergeant is for scale.

The assembled kit is epoxied down to a couple of pieces of cut 5mm MDF. The stairway is based separately from the main platform for ease of transport. I’ve also found that large pieces of MDF tend to warp pretty easily by the time you’ve covered them with PVA, gravel and over-painting.

To paint the main structure I plan to resort to either a can of Army Painter primer, or try to find a cheaper option like a plastic automotive rattle can. After that the usual weathering and ‘dipping’ with tinted floor varnish will be applied.

This is Not a Test: Painted Raider Warband

This is Not a Test Raider Warband The TCOW war gaming club told us last club day there was a This is Not a Test campaign starting up, so for the last two weeks I’ve been painting up ten figures as a TnT Raider warband.

This is Not a Test is a sci-fi skirmish game played on a 4″x 4″ table. It’s independently published so you’re free to use any suitable post apocalyptic or science fiction figures you have to hand. The 400 point Raider warband I put together using these figures was very easy to play as WYSIWYG thanks to the flexibility of the TnT warband construction rules.

The warband is made from a mix of old Necromunda Scavvies, who have been in my gaming cupboard of shame since late 2008, and three Hyenas from Obelisk Miniatures who have been sitting in that same cupboard since early 2007. I started 2015 vowing to knock off some of my half finished projects, so these guys nicely fit the bill. I’ve got a few spare as well, which will let me expand the warband slightly as I play the TCOW campaign.

They hit one of the five TnT tables at TCOW last Sunday and through a combination of dumb luck and some unusually high dice rolling (for me) managed to triumph in their first campaign game, with only the three mongrels being knocked out of action.

TnT was pretty easy to play, feeling very much like a modern take on older systems like Mordheim or Necromunda. It’s D10 based and uses opposed rolls. It is also mercifully free of the awful ‘I go, you go’ turn order GW always insisted on using, even in skirmish games. TnT has an interesting model activation system that’ll see you trading activations with your opponent several times in a single turn. It’s also possible to support multiple players using this system (although I’m not sure it’s recommended).

It also has an experience and campaign system that reminds me strongly of Necromunda, which is a good thing. Post the first battle my three knocked out mongrels took a variety of wounds, and I earned 80 points to spend on a few more figures for the next game in a fortnight!

Necromunda Scavvies

Necromunda Scavvies Recently my gaming group has been playing a few games of Necromunda which we’ve all been enjoying. After borrowing a Cawdor gang I scavenged some figures from Daniel for a Scavvie gang, which seems appropriate. I believe he picked these figures up as a bulk lot from TradeMe, which turned out to include at least a couple of gangs worth of old Necromunda figures. Most of them were half painted by what looked like a 12-14 year old hand I suspect. However a bit of methylated spirits and some scrubbing got rid of most of that. I still owe you something for these figures too by the way Daniel!

The Scavvies Daniel was kind enough to part with are original Necromunda scavvie figures – evidently Games Workshop have re-sculpted the gang, judging from what they’re selling now. I have to say I think I prefer the older figures, however while these are out-of-production classic high-lead GW Scavvie figures I felt no compulsion not to butcher them!

Necromunda Scavvies Since there were a couple of repeated of figures the first thing I did was a few head swaps using my 28mm Pig Iron Rebel heads. The head swaps are pretty obvious in the photos because Pig Iron uses a lighter, low lead pewter and the older GW figures have defining experienced some oxidation. At the moment the heads have simply been pinned onto the bodies and I need to do some basic sculpting to build up some rags around their necks.

Necromunda Scavvies I’ve also filed down all of the round Scavvie ‘angry face’ badges these figures seem to be adorned with. I’ll be blanking those off to flat medals with some green stuff and probably painting them up as simple metal tokens, or maybe some kind of crude rad-dosage badge?

Next I de-tagged all the figures – which is surprisingly easy to do when they’re high-lead – and put together a bunch of simple bases. These bases are textured with a selection of resin scraps from my bits box – including some 28mm scale resin corrugated iron, barrel halves and some cast skid-plates. The idea is to paint the bases up so that the bare base you see will become lurid green toxic sludge of some sort, when and if I get around to painting these figures. At any rate now I have a bunch of based Scavvie figures I can game with, in conjunction with the handful of Warhammer Fantasy zombies I have actually painted.

I’ve played a couple of games with this throw together Scavvie gang and haven’t found them completely worthless. I was wondering if they were overly penalised because of the Outlander rules they have to play which seems like it would severely limit your gang’s income during a campaign. However the flip side of that seems to be that Scavvie gang members are pretty cheap to hire, and even armed with homemade weapons, their numbers can add up during a game. Everybody also seems fairly terrified of the rather erratic Plague Zombies which does add a certain element of fun to playing this gang.

Review: Hasslefree Sci-Fi Weapons

Hasslefree Sci Fi Weapons I recently ordered some 28mm sci fi weapons from Hasslefree Miniatures on a whim. The vague plan is to use them to try scratch building a Necromunda Scavvie warband, and maybe just random sci-fi figures in general, which was the same reason I lalso picked up some sci-fi heads from Pig Iron Productions..

I ordered two baggies of Squad Support Weapons and two baggies of Sci fi Human and Halfling guns from Hasslefree. They arrived promptly and well packed in a bubble wrap envelope. Nothing was damaged or required straightening which is good considering the distance they had traveled to reach me in New Zealand.

In the photo above you see a couple of the white metal sprues as I took them out of their baggies. There was a moderate amount of venting spikes on both of them, but they were all easily flicked off with an Xacto blade. There were no prominent mold lines, but I did spend around five minutes per spure taking the weapons off and tiding them up with a needle file.

Continue reading Review: Hasslefree Sci-Fi Weapons

Review: Pig Iron Kolony Rebel Heads

Pig Iron Kolony Rebel Heads Sprue Following on from an earlier post I couldn’t resist picking up some Pig Iron Kolony Rebel 28mm heads from Scrap Dragon in Australia. They arrived late last week, so here’s a quick review of them.

I ordered two packs, and each came in a small baggie containing two copies of the white metal sprue you see in the above photo. In each pack you get twelve of the basic gas mask wearing heads, plus two each of the four ‘command’ style heads for a total of 20 heads per pack. Possibly ordering two packs was a bit of overkill, but they’re so cheap – working out at less than $1NZ per head it seemed a shame not to!

Pig Iron Kolony Rebel Heads Comparison The heads are well cast with a reasonable amount of detail on them and I expect them to paint up well. There’s some fine mold lines to clean up, but sensibly no mold line crosses any face. Scale wise the heads are a touch smaller than related plastic 40k heads from Games Workshop. This second photo shows two Pig Iron heads compared to plastic GW Cadian and Catachan heads.

Personally I find the Pig Iron heads to be an acceptable match to the GW plastics. In fact I intend to use these metal heads to convert up a Necromunda Scavvie warband from various GW WHFB and 40k plastics. I think it’s a nice touch that the heads are fairly bare around the back (most of them simply have a strap) as it gives you options for converting on helmets or hoods. For my Necro scavvies I do intend to add tattered green stuff hoods, which I should be able to do without having to cut anything down.

Pig Iron Kolony Rebel Heads Sprue Here’s another shot just to show you the head scale on a GW Cadian and Catachan bodies. I’ve left the arms off so the head/torso ratio is obvious and, given that we’re dealing with slightly oddly scaled 28mm sculptures, the heads looks fine. If anything the slightly smaller heads actually make the over-sized GW figures look more realistically proportioned in my opinion.

So in summary I’d happily recommend Pig Irons sci-fi head ranges to any 28mm converter or sculptor out there. They’re excellent quality and the price is perfectly acceptable given the quantity of heads in each pack. On a related note I’d also happily order from Scrap Dragon again too, in fact my receipt came with a 5% discount coupon code of my next order, which is a excellent way to guarantee return custom!