Friday, January 24, 2020

Wookies, Shoretroopers, and a Building, Oh My!

Back with some more Star Wars Legion items. First up are a squad of Wookie warriors. 


Star Wars Legion Wookie Miniatures

Sadly, the box only contains four figures, but they are a fair amount larger that the standard Legion figures. I've opted to go with various shades of brown on the fur to give them more variety. These colors are based on images of the Wookies seen in the prequel movies.

Star Wars Legion Wookie Miniatures Size

Next up is a Shoretrooper squad, as seen in Rogue One. These took a bit more effort to paint compared to the regular Stormtroopers, but I (and more importantly, my son) are happy with the final results. 

Star Wars Legion Shoretrooper Miniatures

As with the Stormtroopers, I've done my best to give them a dirty, battle-hardened look.

Star Wars Legion Shoretrooper Miniatures

Star Wars Legion Shoretrooper Miniatures

Lastly, I assembled my first Star Wars themed building.  This is a Tatooine style house from TTCombat's Sandstorm line. It's not as detailed, and doesn't have the lift-off roofs that you can get with Knight's of Dice Sandport Hydra line, but the price and shipping to the US are much more reasonable.

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling

Directions are not included, but can be downloaded off the TTcombat site. Other reviewers have recommend fully assembling the domes before gluing the roof down, and I would have to agree. I slid in the support beams without glue and then fit the card dome in place before tacking everything down on the inside with superglue. I also recommend scoring the card fold lines with a blade before folding to ensure proper bending.

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling

The windows don't come with any covering, so I used some old overhead project film with some grid lines printed on it. I also made some card frames for the windows to make them more pronounces once I had textured the building. 

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling

The door and greebles that come with the kit have patterns burned into them, but are still flat.  I thought this looked rather dull, so I scanned them into the computer and glued the printout onto some card so I could build up layers.

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling Greebles


TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling Greebles

Here's the building with all the greebles and card attached. I have  replaced some of the MDF pipes with plastic strips. The hard edges of the building have also been sanded down. 

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling

To texture the building, I used Liquitex ceramic stucco gel. The finished application was a bit rougher than I wanted, so I sanded it down prior to painting.

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling

I wanted the building to look good on a variety of mats, so was looking for the best universal color to use.  In reviewing pictures from the various Tatooine locations, I noticed many buildings were darker on the bottom than the top, and that gave me the idea to have a color shift from a reddish base to a yellowish top. Overall, I think it looks pretty good on different backgrounds.

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling

If you'd like to reproduce the same effect, I used FolkArt craft paint colors Raw Sienna, Honeycomb, Camel, and White. Additionally, I used some Secret Weapon Dark Sepia wash to add some grime around the base and greebles.

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling

My only disappointment with my work is that some of the seam lines of the dome are still visible after texturing and painting. For the next building, I think I'll try a second coat of stucco gel on the dome to see if it helps. 

The building is actually a decent size, and the doors are tall enough to look good with the over-sized Legion figures.

TTCombat Sandstorm Dwelling

My youngest wants to try our first game this weekend, so hopefully everything will live up to his expectations.  Fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Star Wars Legion

With the release of the new Star Wars movie, my sons' enthusiasm for the series has returned.  I have been trying to get them back into wargaming (they lost interest in superhero battles, and historicals hasn't been a draw), so I thought Star Wars Legion might be the bait to do it. As such, I decided to take the plunge and ordered the core box along with a few add on units that interested the kids. There is still a lot of painting to do, but I've rushed out two core units and the commanders so we can try out a first game.
  

First up is a squad of stormtroopers. We decided our preference was for planetary battles rather than ship to ship actions, so we've gone with a battle ragged look rather than pristine white armor.  


For the rebel troops, we used the Rogue One color schemes as inspiration, as we felt it fit a variety of terrain types.  When it comes time to paint the second unit, we'll likely use more greens to make them stand out from each other.


The most challenging elements for me to paint were the lightsabers for Darth Vader and Luke. I want it to feel like they are glowing, but on my first attempt the blades looked too light and washed out. As such, I decided to repaint them darker and instead try to add appropriate highlights to each figure to give the impression of reflected light.  I've never tried this technique before and I'm not sure I effectively pulled it off, but at this stage I'm just going to go with it.


We wanted the bases to look good with a variety of game mats, so decided to use a neutral brown rock from Woodland Scenics and some Gamers Grass yellow-green toned tufts picked up at the local shop. This was my first time using Gamers Grass (previously I've used Army Painter and War World) and I have to say I wasn't as impressed with the quality when compared to the other companies' products. There seemed to be a lot of loose grass on each tuft and some of the grass strands were glued in at odd angles and didn't give the impression of growing out of the ground (all three varieties). As such, I've had to spend a lot of time trying to pull and cut those stray strands out of the tufts to make them look better. I'll continue to use them on the rest of the figures for constancy, but doubt I'll purchase them again.

All said and done, I'm happy overall with how everything came together. We hope to have our first test game with the simple rules soon, so fingers crossed I've done my job as a wargaming dad and will lure them back to the dark side.




Sunday, December 8, 2019

Dragonfrog Asian Shop Type 5/6 Combo

I'm back again with another 28mm MDF Asian shop from Dragonfrog Games for my Chinese warlord and WW2 wargaming. This particular building is a type 5 kit, with the shopfront and balustrade swapped out from the type 6 kit. As with the other build, a lot of upgrading has been done with paper textures and plastic elements. Of particular use on this kit was the Plastruct 90886 0.187" styrene half rounds, whose width is almost an exact match for the building's column width.

28mm Chinese Building: Dragonfrog Games MDF Asian Shop 5/6 comb

On the previous kit, the seams between the floors was fairly well camouflaged by the darker brick pattern.  Unfortunately, that was not the case with the cream-colored bricks, so additional plastic trim had to be added to hide them. 

28mm Chinese Building: Dragonfrog Games MDF Asian Shop 5/6 comb

As mentioned previously, the upper floors are shorter in height than the ground floor, with the attic level being too short to accommodate standing figures. This is a shame from a playability standpoint, but visually it still looks fine on the table.


A couple of shots of the finished building.  The gaudy design was inspired by this Chinese medicine shop.

28mm Chinese Building: Dragonfrog Games MDF Asian Shop 5/6 comb

Looking at the finished project, I wish I had done a better job to hide the MDF joints on the sides of the bottom columns, but hopefully they will get lost when part of a larger table setup.

28mm Chinese Building: Dragonfrog Games MDF Asian Shop 5/6 comb

And here it is next to the first shop I built. The reduced height of the upper floor isn't so glaring, and as I look at it, a full-size floor might actually look proportionally off given the narrow width of the building. It also demonstrates how very similar kits can look vastly different by changing the trim elements and color schemes. 

28mm Chinese Building: Dragonfrog Games MDF Asian Shop 5/6 comb

Lastly, I generated some new paper elements for this build that you can find below for your personal use.













Saturday, November 23, 2019

Dragonfrog Asian Shop Type 5

The Chinese buildings continue with an addition from Dragonfrog Games. This is part of their Asian Shop line, which consists of six building variants.  You get two identical buildings per package, plus one additional third floor (not used in this build). Design-wise, they seem to be based off the Chinese shops is South East Asia, particularly Penang, Malaysia. I plan instead to use them for Shanghai and considering the European influence on the city at that time, I think they'll blend in without too much fuss.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

For this particular building, I've gone with a green painted front and signage for a puppet/toy shop. As usual, I've used plastic roof tiles and paper textures to enhance the basic MDF kit.  The kit comes with engraved window frames, but they look very flat and I was concerned about getting a good edge where the paper textures meet the windows. 


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

I thought about adding window images over them to match my scratch built buildings, but was then worried about stability with the window openings behind them.  In the end, I decided to glue some clear plastic to the back of the windows, and attached window frames glued to card on the outside.  This both helped hide the window seams and added a slight 3D element.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

The floors link together using divots and pegs at the meeting of each level.  While the seams aren't too noticeable in the busy brick texture, They are painfully obvious with a stucco texture.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

To help hide this, I added some additional trim to the front of the building. On my first attempt I put the trip flush with the top of the pins, but the seam was still not completely hidden.  As such I had to add some additional material. For future builds, I'll be sure to have the trim sit a bit higher. 


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

And here's the finished product. The balustrade color was supposed to match the grey trim and did so under my desk light, but in sun it ended up with more of a beige tint. Luckily, I don't think it's too distracting.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

The kit come with enough shutters for all the upper windows, but I opted to leave them off the sides so I could put the shops closer together.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

While I am overall happy with the kit, the one big drawback I find with it is the reduced height of the upper level.  As you can see in this side by side, the upper floor is only about 2/3's the height of the lower.  The optional third floor is even shorter.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

While visually it still looks good when assembled, it limits the usability when trying to put figures on the upper floors.  As you can see in the below photo,  Copplestone figures easily fit on the ground floor even when waving a sword.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

However, on the upper floor the standing officer will just barely squeeze under the ceiling, but the swordsman will not fit. The optional 3rd floor (not pictured) is too low to fit any figures in my collection that aren't prone. It's a not a deal breaker in my ability to recommend these kits, but definitely a missed opportunity.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

Looking at the photos on the Dragonfrog site, it was difficult to get a sense of size for the buildings.  The actual frontage was a little narrower than I visualized, but you should be able to fit approximately 3 figures on 25mm bases across the front.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

Width and depth-wise, the shop is actually fairly close to my scratch built buildings.  Though shorter, I think it will blend into the street scene without a problem.


28mm Chinese MDF Building: Dragonfrog Asian Shop 5

If people are interested, these are the doors and window frames appropriately scaled for the shop.










So my final verdict is that I am overall happy with the kit, despite it's one limitation.  I bought the bundle of variants 4,5, and 6, so will have six shops by the time this is done.  The nice thing about them is that parts seem interchangeable across the kits, so I'm going to try mixing them up on future builds to add additional variety.