zondag 28 juni 2015

Ground Zero Games 30th Birthday and Burning a Joker

Ah, GZG. Been a fan ever since starting my on and off 15mm sci-fi love affair and painting my first not-Wall-E. Remember him? >> Wall-E!

Well, turns out they turn 30 this year. And they decided to give gifts :)

As some of you may have realised (I know that a few of you have been with us since the start!), GZG is officially 30 YEARS OLD this year!
The very first products I made and sold under the GZG name were produced in 1985, when people had to find out about my products from small ads in the back of White Dwarf (still an independant gaming mag in those days!) and Military Modelling, and then had to send orders by post with cheques or postal orders - yes, kids, there really WAS gaming around before the Internet….

I can't recall exactly what date in 1985 I actually began selling stuff - so July, being the middle of the year, seems as good a time as any - plus my own birthday is also in July, making it a good month to celebrate this milestone (sadly my own is considerably more than GZG's 30 years….).

I was planning to run an offer just for the month of July - but as the Armed Forces Day falls just at the end of June, I decided that I may as well start the Birthday Offer today, a few days early, so that those of you who wish to order this weekend can take advantage of the offer as well as contributing towards my AFD charity donation as detailed above.

So, even though it is GZG's and my birthday, I'm giving YOU the gifts! As it's GZG's 30th, every order totalling £30 or more* which I receive between now and midnight on Friday 31st July will have a generous GZG 30th BIRTHDAY GIFT PACKET of free extras included with the ordered goods! This will be along the same lines as my regular pre-Christmas special promotion - a "goodie bag" of free minis picked by me, that are relevant to the sort of items you have actually ordered - so if you order FT ships, you'll get extra free ship minis, if you order 15mm then you'll get 15mm freebies, and of course mixed orders will get mixed freebie bags! Just like the Christmas offer of course, the bigger your order the more freebies you'll get.....  ;-)

Please don't be cheeky and ask for specific items - it's a gift, after all - but those of you who have received our Christmas goodie bags will know that I do my best to supply interesting things that are actually useful in your games - those of you who have had the Christmas offers will also know that you will get much more value in your freebies bag than you would if I simply offered a % discount - plus you'll have the fun of the surprise!
* I'm keeping the qualifying value extra-simple for this time - if the final total of your order, the amount you actually pay INCLUDING postage and VAT where applicable, is £30 or over - then it qualifies for the 30th Birthday Freebies offer!  :-)

There you go - help to celebrate 30 YEARS of GZG products, and get some great FREE stuff - what could be better?

Thanks for reading,

Jon (GZG), 26/6/15.
On top of that, for this weekend only, they donate 20% off the order value to charity

This weekend (27th/28th June) GZG are once again supporting the UK ARMED FORCES DAY (www.armedforcesday.org.uk) - as I have done for the last two years, I will be donating 20% of the value of all orders received through the webstore during this weekend (from midnight on Friday 26th to midnight on Sunday 28th) to be divided between a selection of UK military charities - last year I split the donation between Help For Heroes (www.helpforheroes.org.uk), the Combat Stress Appeal (http://www.combatstress.org.uk/) and a much smaller charity but a particular favourite of mine, Hounds For Heroes (https://houndsforheroes.com/) which trains and provides assistance dogs for injured personnel in both the Armed Forces and the Emergency Services.
So, if you've been thinking about ordering something - do it THIS WEEKEND and help to contribute to some really worthwhile charities!
Though not our Armed Forces, we are allies in NATO and I commend anyone who donates to charity supporting soldiers as I feel they are not appreciated enough by most for the difficult task they do.

So....I burned a Joker. Decided this was a good a time as any to get more droids for my 20mm table while doing the right thing, and having spent nothing for the last 2 months (and being proud of that might I add) but with all of the stress lately i kinda feel like I deserve something. Maybe not the right attitude, but I did it anyway.

What I ordered:

GMM-CYB4 x2 (Germy's 2mm range - the land train front. This will be turned into a large single tracked droid with hoses coming out the back....though it depends a bit on how big (or small!) it actually is! Like a portable AC system, on tracks.
GMM-34 x1 (Another from Germy, Quad Transport Walkers, which I turned into walking power generators before here .... which I will do again but now with hoses attached)
RB-01 x1 (25mm robots - ordered them blind, knowing old style 25mm blends in with 20mm usually without any problems....really curious what these look like!)
MEC-02B x1 (15mm large cargo lifter, as a companion for my smaller lifter from Kurhasan)
 SG15-V13 x3 (GZG's 3 robot pack with a not-Walle-E, a not-R2-D2 and another robot containing doubles of each.....meaning I just expanded my collection with 6 more of each...I'm looking forward to making a few derelict Wall-E's :) )

"Knock, knock!"

After receiving depressing news today that Kim won't be released till the 10th of July, there is no treatment plan finished even when she is released and re-sorting out babysitters for the next 2 weeks I decided to watch telly and call it a night.

My God, they do let anyone with a vague idea of tv make shows these days, do they? No wonder I hardly ever watch anymore. So I switched it off after an hour or so, grabbed my toolbox and plasticcard and went to town.

Nothing major, more KISS using fixed size thin plasticcard overlaid on a base, with details drilled and or raised (or both). Simple things really. From left to right.

  1. Door with a spyhole for me to pop something out a la C-3PO and R2-D2 at the door to Jabba's palace (thx Rob for putting that idea in my head!)
  2. Reinforced metal door
  3. Sorta Kinda metal vault door, with the round bit inside for fitting a wheel to open the door like they have on a sub....my Zinge Industries ones will work for that.
  4. Normal door
  5. Piece of a old HO scale house that looked door-ish
  6. First door (and a lot of work it was)
  7. Door with thinner strips to colour in
While delving through my plasticcard scrap box I also found another abandoned HO-sprue that will make excellent shutters for sci-fi.

Both lots will be turned into press moulds later this week so I can full out with more greenstuff and get plenty of casts done when I start my sci-fi buildings.

And in other news.....I managed to trade one of my surplus Black Hawks for a Star Trek Kazon Fighter that I will be converting a bit. I already have the Kazon Torpedo built up, flight stand ready, I just need to make a flight base for it when it is parked somewhere. Bargain deal really.

Also, while saying goodbye to the guys at the club (due to Kim's illness it's pretty uncertain if I can (or am willing to) find babysitters for me to go to a hobby night, with all of the added expenses that that brings) a few chaps were kind enough to give me some great GW bits....some Ogre bear-traps, the spare head of the new 27 euro single model Techpriest and quite a few Adeptus Mechanicus symbols of the Imperial Knight....all of which will come in handy for my Inquisitor adventure.

vrijdag 26 juni 2015

Licence to crenellate

Thx to a Pulp Alley topic on the LAF > Pulp Alley AAR; Almost Stolen Goods I've been inspired to have a look at city walls and a Arab fort. Well, a Sahara fort anyway. Plenty of those to find online, useful for Pulp, WW2 and modern era if you keep it modular. Lots of gamers have built them so plenty of ideas now. Well chuffed.

From the looks of it, 4 towers, 6 - 8 sections of wall and 1- 4 gates should suffice for a basic fort or a castle wall lining the table, with stuff like a tower and court yard buildings taking it up to 20 pcs.

That's a fine project there, Sir!

Here are 2 of the most useful setups that I found on the net.

Both consist of towers, straights and gates, are completely KISS and simple enough to build. Just those damned battlements worry me, I think it will be safer to do those in a double row of 2 x 3mm thick blue foam for safety....even if it means cutting out the double amount :P

donderdag 25 juni 2015

A small key opens big doors

...except that for sci-fi, there are no keyholes!

Looked around, and other then Scotia Grendels doors nothing really struck me as suitable for 20mm (either too big or too small). And thx to the usual mantra of "Got plastic and no money" i've made some sketches of some Tatooine-esque doors and I am translating these into plasticcard so I can cast them in greenstuff.

First test:
Needs something in the middle, probably will add a 0.5mm raised strip there for looks. I'm making the doors universal, no definate right or left side. I'll do a few more and see how it goes. Simple things really.

I have plenty of time in the evenings now, my parents picked up the kids till Saturday and Kim is in the hospital for another week, maybe more. It's just me and the cat and the turtle now, and neither is good in conversation.....

zondag 21 juni 2015

Buildings 13, 14 and 15

3 more buildings this week.

Gatehouse (or gate with house on top) and 2 sets of garages/shops.

Nr. 13
The gatehouse. Decided to make the gate wider then the previous one (this one fits a tank) plus a pedestrian tunnel and a covered stairway to a small flat on top.

Not finished, needs sanding plus sand on the base reinforcement plus some sanding on the inside of the arches, plus a door needs to be inserted. You might notice that the base is no longer 4mm wider then the building. I noticed that these box shapes are really tough and don't need that. Also, it lets me put the buildings right up against each other, so that is the way I will go with the rest of my buildings and I might even rework some of the older ones. Since they are not painted yet that is no problem.

Nr. 14
Garage/shops number 3.
Simple box, shutters on the front, closed on all other sides.

Nr. 15
Garage/shops number 4.
Same as 14, but left 1 garage/shop open. Not full depth, but (just not) deep enough for the Beetle.

The shops will get seperate awnings, goods and stalls that I can put in front or seperate at a later date. I got them planned in my head :) 5 more to go!

And in other news:
  • 100.000 views! Wow, took me a couple of years to get there but still impressed so many people have dropped in to see my work and ramblings :) Thx guys!
  • After conversing with a few mates, I've decided to focus the soon to start painting on 20mm Taliban as I have a big bag of them ready to go. (so I don't need to go out and buy/trade stuff)
  • Kim might not be released from the hospital on Monday
  • I've gotten a bit lax and not sold any stuff for a couple of weeks now, but don't hold it against me as due to all of this business with Kim I've been more preoccupied with R&R in the evenings.

Bombshell Miniatures Order Review

My dearest Kim had told me I could ask for something for Fathersday (to prevent me from getting yet another cup) but I would have to order it myself.

I decided to order something I usually wouldn't, checked my wanted list and selected Bombshell Miniatures. They have a interesting selection of miniatures, but due to the Euro-Dollar balance, high US shipping costs (and the fact I have no money) I've never ordered. They sell mostly 28mm miniatures.

 Came with a nice card too and a ruler (not pictured)

For this order I selected:
-60002 - HLpR Bot
-60011 - GhNT Spybot
-60016 - MInE Bot
-60019 - Slynx the Cat

All of the bots are the cheaper (and smaller) 3,99 $ kind as I figured they would work the best for 20mm. The cat I ordered for use as a Grynx in Inquisitor. I ordered doubles of everything as it will be very unlikely I will order again in the future, plus with a hefty 12.75$ in shipping I didn't want to make it too costly for Kim.

FLTR - Spybot - MIne Bot - HLpR Bot

Compared to the small sized Beetle from Britannia they will work fine as smaller Robots in 20mm. Casting is clean, hardly any flash, I can reccomend these if you are looking for nice robots to use in 20mm, or even 15-28mm. Heck, they'd work for 6mm armies as small walkers really. The Spybot comes with regular arms and weapon arms, a nice toutch.

Order was made on June 11th and arrived on June 20th, right in time for Fathers Day. The only nitpick I have is that I gave my workadress as the shipping adress (as Kim doesn't want to receive packages) but when I made the order it automatically selected my Paypaladress (aka Home) as the default adress. No real problem, small envelope, and most likely due to the automated process but you might want to remember that if you want to have it delivered somewhere other then your Paypal adress.

I really should contact my niece, who lives in Texas, to see if she would be willing to receive and bring as carry on, packages for me when she comes over for Xmas etc, if I have money again. Shipping costs for US stuff is just too expensive otherwise, nice as they are.

vrijdag 19 juni 2015

Getting my mind off things - so why not plan a bit?

With Kim back in the hospital :( and the kids with various family members I'm trying to get my mind off things, and what better way for me then to plan my hobby out.

As things are progressing on my village/city, I think it is time to look ahead for a moment, what I have and want and plan a purchase/trade of miniatures to populate it.

Since the chopper hunt is in full swing, I'll cast my gaze on troops. Delta's, Rangers and Somali's. aka small (20-25 troops), medium (30-40 troops) and large (50+ troops). For Delta's it will most likely be Liberation, Rangers could be Elhiem and/or Liberation and the Somali's can be from various companies. I'd like to do the D's this year, Rangers and Somalis can come in next year. That is if I find any that is. Vehicle wise I'll focus on Technicals and a crashed Black Hawk. Little Birds would be nice for air support but they are pricey. Kits for the helos and Hobby Den for the vehicles. Since my AK-47 nation will be based on Somalia and Nigeria this gives me another reason to work on it.

I've got a bag of Liberation Taliban ready, I'm just lacking in civillians (but SandS does great ones). I will not be doing any coalition troops, I'll focus completely on the Taliban/Northern Alliance for the Soviet occupation and up to the current day. Since I have so much ready on hand for this, it should be my nr. 1 priority really. But somehow it isn't. It is not like Taliban are hard to paint or something.

I've collected plenty of books with tons of pictures, and I'm stoked to do this. I'm finding the Hobby Den to be a perfect supplier of suitable vehicles for this one. Will be mostly ones and two's as I don't have any collection of miniatures yet, but love to convert Technicals :)

1990's up to now (I will not get back again into the Iran-Iraq war other then air war gaming) and purely aimed at scenery. atm I have no interest in painting miniatures for it.

Anything goes. Plenty of bits to make add on parts with, and quite a few near modern troops are suitable for it. No rush though, more a in between bits project due to the lack of real 20mm sci-fi Infantry and armour other then conversions.

Fortunately, for Pulp, you don't need many figs, so I'll be picking stuff from the sparesbin mostly. More for fun then anything else, though playing Pulp Alley would be nice with them. And I think I need a few mummies :)

No plans yet. That might change when the Battlegroup book is released though. Scenic wise can be combined with Pulp. Edging towards the Germans again but I might just do 2 300 point forces once I get back in the painting saddle. Long term.

Most of these projects will be because I'd like to have them, finding opponents for them is unlikely for most other then Afghanistan.

maandag 15 juni 2015

Wanted: 1/72 MH-60K Black Hawk from Italeri

I'm looking for this kit: 1/72 MH-60K Night Hawk from Italeri. This kit gives me the best possible starting point (and the least conversion needed) for my Black Hawk Down project.

If you have it, live in Europe, and the cost plus shipping isn't backbreaking, I'm interested.

Can trade for other standard Black Hawks, other kits or little money. Or even wargames stuff. I can even build you some of my buildings if you like, in the scale of your choosing. Yes, I want one bad.

zondag 14 juni 2015

Putting things in order.

I've been spending a lot of time downstairs checking up and talking to my wife while building Middle Eastern buildings, and progress has been good as I have a nice big clean working area there (that I have to leave immaculate for the next day so she can eat off it).

So good in fact that I started to number/label my stuff so I can keep count of it all, what needs to be done and what my intentions are for the piece. After doing this tonight I realised I need to build a few more garages/shops as sofar I only have 2 of those and I feel I need a few more.

This is where I am now.

Building 1 is a workshop/shop with a rear exit. It is not really deep enough to be a garage for anything other then a couple of motorbikes. This one is ready for paint.

Building 2 is a set of garages/(work)shops, the one on the right showing a few barrels. Ready for paint.

Building 3 is a home with doors on all sides. My first experiment with slotting boxes against each other to create small courtyards. Ready for paint.

Building 4 is a very basic minaret, with a fancy woodwork door. Ready for paint.

Building 5 is a small home. The extra bit of wall is too thin. Ready for paint.

Building 6 is my first official building that can be virtually anything. I've decided to stucco it as well, but go over each part with a wet finger to make it much smoother. Also, I need to cut the front garden pieces out. So, not ready for paint yet :)

Building 7 is building 3 on steroids. Bigger house, covered hallway and garage plus courtyard. Slot 2 of these together (maybe add a few walls) and you get a compound. Ready for paint.

Building 8 is the same idea, house plus storage area, small courtyard. Tried my first covered passage and made it a bit fancy. Slots nicely against nr. 3 and nr. 7. Ready for paint.

Building 9 is simple again, house plus storage area, with connecting wall 2 sheets thick, which looks better. Needs sand basing and doorknobs. Not ready.

Building 10 was rushed, so I didn't get all my cuts properly lined up. I'll hide it with flowing curtains. Needs sand basing, not ready.

Building 11 is the big house. Experimented with making one of the side buildings with an open door (inside will be painted black) for 3D effect, and rounded off roof-walls-whatchamacallit. Top floor needs curtains waving in the wind, base needs sand, not ready. Again, this piece can be made into a compound.

Building 12 is the Gate, flanked by 2 houses. Was a bit too enthusiastic with removing excess base plasticcard, after everything dried I noticed there was flex in the archway, so I added a strip of plasticcard on the inside of the arch floor and used plenty of filler for the arch itself. Now it is solid as a rock. The top floor decking did sag a bit, but nothing major. Needs basing sand and should be fun to paint then.

8 more to go then! I'll make 2 or 3 more covered shops, another gate piece (maybe bigger? this on fits the average car/donkey cart, something tank sized or 2 car sized archways together would be nice). Some smaller homes would be quick and good additions and then I'll hit 20 soon enough.

Not pictured is the first bits of work done on making roof entry points, simple scrap pieces of plasticcard with a door or curtain and some filler, some ideas on making tv aerials (concencus: find a gamer with brass wire and soldering skills who I can pay/trade with.) and a vivid dream on how to make a appartment block (nice, but it ruined my night as I kept waking up).

I also did a trial to make my own vases/urns but as far as I think, that failed, not a symmetical vase in sight for miles. Nice try though. Picked up a new box of metal clothes pins for the doorknobs and to make future balconies stronger. Also started the woodwork for hanging gardens, and I will have to make quite a few ladders to get up on those roofs from the outside.

Sofar I'm still pretty enthusiastic for this project, which shows in the progress and the ideas I'm getting from it..

Trading wise I only aquired a Black Hawk in a busted deal...I was promised one suitable for Black Hawk Down, received a bog standard one, complained, got told off and he won't return my stuff. So much for trusting everyone so easily.....so now I have 2 regular Black Hawks and 1 maybe of the SF version. But, other then 5 euros shipping and 2 smaller scale kits I didn't lose out too much. Other then my faith in humanity that is.....

But there will be new miniatures incoming! According to the rules of the Lead Mountain I cannot buy stuff unless I spend a Joker, but gifts are ok.  I was told to look for a Fathersday gift by the wife, since she didn't want to get me another mug like last year (got 4 mugs already, how many does 1 man need!) so she gave me a 40 euro spending limit and yes, it could be miniatures. That is all I will say for now, but I'm eagerly awaiting a package from the USA now :) And they are Sci-fi themed! And I'll shut up now!

maandag 8 juni 2015

You win some, you lose some.

It finally looked like things were on the up.

Earlier this week I traded a old kit of mine in exchange for a old Revell HO scale Dutch farm that goes for ridiculous money on Ebay.de.
This will go nicely on a Dutch table (future plans)

Then, today at Figz, was gifted (or was paid for by friends) the following kits:
A partially built 1/48 Naboo Fighter (that cost him 2 euros) glass is missing. sizewise the cockpit is more 20mm, and with a different glass and R2 stripped out and replaced with a turret, it becomes a nice addition for my future Sci-Fi table.

Maybe it is complete, maybe not. Desert airfield perhaps?

One minute you have none, and then you have 3! Got this one from a friend who knows I like the battle for Mogadishu (aka Black Hawk Down), but I have a Special Forces one and the correct one already in a trade (haven't arrived yet). The least good looking will become the crashed one, even if it is not the correct model (most likely this one)

I brought my toolbox so was happily converting stuff and making new things.

But.....when I got home and wanted to turn on the PC to show all this, all I got was the loud spinning of the GPU fan and not much else. Contacted a FB help group and found a local who was willing to go oever it, even at this late hour, on a sunday. Verdict?

CPU overheated and fried itself (cooling paste was rock solid, fan was completely clogged with dust) and dragging my poor Motherboard with it. Since I can't live without my PC (yes, I'm addicted, thank you) I bought a second hand one off the shelf (bye bye money) for a few hundred and I'm updating it right now (luckily it came with a legal Windows 7 like I had, sadly it is missing the Office package that is still stored on my old harddisk (that survived).

Anyone know how to switch that to the new Windows? I have no idea where my original CD's are :(

Ack, when it rains., it pours......

zondag 7 juni 2015

Poldercon 2016!

Yes! There will be another Poldercon in 2016 :)

The date is set, 7th of February 2016, at the NDC in Utrecht (same location as last year)

Poldercon 2016

Currently they are looking for participation games and workshops, so if you think you have something good, feel free to tell them before July 1st.

I can't wait till february :)

Air raid sirens / speakers: a tutorial

You go old school, of course.

Remeber these from yesterday?

Bear with me then :) While working on my minaret 2 years ago I thought it would be cool to have some speakers on the sides. I then looked around for speakers and found none. I have now restarted the buildingsproject and dammit, I want those speakers. Not only are they great for the minaret, but they work as air raid sirens too. You know, these:

Since 3D printing is all the rage, I looked at that. But that costs a lot of money. Which I don't have. What I do have is time and the ability to see things in 3D in my head and break them down in parts, so I went with that. These kind of speakers have a very basic shape that is easy to copy, so I cut up and laminated some flat bits of plasticcard, cut away the excess plastic and sanded it smooth. Basic shape done (top picture, red shape on the right). I then took my trusted Oyumaru moulding clay and made 4 moulds of the basic shape. Job done. For the inside shape I repeated the process but made sure the diameter was smaller then the shape I just moulded, drilled it and glued a handle in it. (Top picture, left shape). Now I was set to test this (it's one thing to make up things in my head, another to make it really work), so did a test cast with greenstuff.

Not perfect but the theory was sound. I let these dry and popped them out this morning to see if it worked ok, no too thin walls or anything. I cleaned one up and removed the excess greenstuff, sanded it down a bit and drilled a hole through the back. I then inserted my last clothing pin. glued it in place and bent it in the back.

 Et voila! A speaker/air raid siren. It really is that simple. It is not perfect but looks the part, even more so when painted a bit battered.

I then spent the day moving bricks out of my garden to the street and pondering on how to improve this. The greenstuff gives it a bit of flex, and I wanted something tougher. I read about using Milliput with Oyumare and the warning that comes with it (it leaves a residue) but thought what the hell. I also wanted to decrese the time used per siren.

So here goes :)

-Make master shape and indentation tool, sand them smooth.

-Make moulds of the master shape (in this case 4 as I wanted to copy the 4 horn version)

-Mix up a small ball of Milliput. Press into the mould and use a wetted knife to remove the excess

-Wet the indenation tool, and press down, causing excess Milliput to spill from the sides. Don't press down down all the way at once, you will get the tool stuck and rip out the entire piece. Better to press down a bit, remove, wet again, press down again, remove, wet again, and press down again
-Remove the tool, it should look like this:
-Take the wet knife again and remove the excess Milliput.

-I then wet the indentation tool again, and press down again if the shape is a little bit off centered. This step doesn't matter too much though.

-Wet your finger and smooth out the edges, feathering them towards the outside for a smooth transition.
-Fill your moulds and repeat the steps.
-I let these dry for about 8 hours and then popped the moulds. If you mixed the stuff 50-50 they should be hard enough now. 

The inside of the moulds was clean, the outside not, though most just broke off. This means you have to cut away some of the Oyumaru and throw it out before reusing the plastic. Seeing as these moulds will be used for some time to come, that is no problem for me.

-Sand what excess Milliput remains, drill a hole and insert a clothes pin, or keep as is and only drill a hole in the back for mounting it to a wall, or a pole.

That's all there is to it folks. I will be using the same technique to create hollow dragons teeth as I want to have at least 2 metres of them, and hollow casting makes me last my Milliput so much longer. Sure, it takes a bit longer to cast them all up, but seeing as I was quoted over 80 euros in teeth and shipping for 2 metres worth, and Milliput extra fine (which I prefer) sets me back 7,45 euros per pack and lets me create a lot of teeth, it is the way to go. With 10 or more little moulds I should have enough teeth cast in a month or so, and it only takes a little bit of time each night. Actually, I can cast them early in the evening, get up 15 minutes earlier, cast another set in nthe morning, and pop those in the evening, doubling my speed.

I hope you found this useful, and might help you tackle one of these projects yourself. It is not hard to do, it just takes time and can get a bit messy.

zaterdag 6 juni 2015

Would you like to play a game?

I spent the evening at the club building a tool (and did a lot of talking). Spent the better part of 3 hours on it making sure it was smooth as silk by sanding the heck out of it, and waiting for the laminated plasticcard to bond properly.

So, what do you think it is and what it is for?