Sunday, March 27, 2011

Isaac Abraham Kook and his band of Partisans.

I finally completed my Pulp Warband as seen in a previous post. I picked up the figures I needed at Cold Wars except for the Golem. [Edit:] After a short wait, Monolith Design responded to my email, sent a Paypal invoice and informed me my order is on it's way. Good service from Jim.

The leader of this little group is none other than one of the most famous Rabbis and Kabbalah Mystics of all time... Isaac Abraham Kook. To create him in miniature I took this model:

And used green stuff to turn him into this picture:

To create the glasses I cut off two discs of plastic rod and super glued them to his face. Then I drilled them out to create the frames of his glasses. Right before taking drill to face I thought to myself "This is either going to work really well or I am totally gonna screw up this miniature." Luckily it worked and his glasses came out ok. To complete the conversion, I had to remove the belt and pistol and then shave down the collar. After that I drilled out the hand and the bottom two fingers and added a length of brass rod for the walking stick. After that I used green stuff to add a more full beard, jacket collar, and buttons as well as sculpting the bottom two fingers under the walking stick as seen in the picture. Also, it took a little filling out of the jacket to make it look right, but I was happy with the results.

This is how he came out:

Here's a little side by side:

For the Rock Golem, I ended up using Zap-A-Gap and gluing aquarium rocks to a leftover headless 40mm French & Indian War model. I figured the Golem would represent the mystical force of will of Kook and would be a hovering mass of rocks in a vague humanoid form that would smash things with it's floating appendages. I hope the "arms" and strangely floating balanced rocks for a head gets this across. To paint it I sprayed it black and drybrushed it a stone gray color then painted individual rocks all sorts of natural shades of grays and tans. Then after an overall wash of brown and black watered down, I waited until it dried and gave it one final very light drybrush of white. I named him Kook's "Rock of Jerusalem". For Pulp Games, I envision him as a vengeful earth Golem. This powerful guardian will allow Kook to travel the world, fight Nazis, and search for ancient artifacts and solve ancient mysteries. When switching gears to Weird WWII, he is the ultimate Nazi killing machine made up of the rocks placed on Jewish graves killed by the Nazis. He will protect Kook and fight alongside the famous Bielski Brothers partisan group. Nothing better than smashing in Nazi skulls!

Here he is:

The rest of the gang is made up of the leader's and some members of Bielski's partisan group.

First there is Tuvia Bielski (based on the real historical figure). I nicknamed him "The Shepherd" due to his role in saving thousands of Jews during WWII and hiding them in the forest of Belarus. The model I thought that looked most like Tuvia was this one from the Copplestone Figures Partisans pack (Tuvia is flanked by two other partisans):

Then, there is Tuvia's brother Alexander (known as "Zus"). Also a real historical figure. I made him more of a lone wolf type for my warband. The lone wolf and shepherd characteristics I took from the movie Defiance which portrays the brothers as being very different in personality and approach for their mission of fighting the Germans and protecting the Jews under their care.

Here is the figure I chose:

These two figures actually look a little like their historical counterparts. Or at least a little like the actors that play them in the movie (well, a little anyway).

This rounds out my nice little 500 point warband. I used the Iron Ivan Games Where Heroes Dare Dossier character creator to create these for my games. This sweet little tool allows you to quickly create a warband of Lead, Companions, and Supporters. Some time later I might put up the stats, Schticks, and gear I chose to make the warband. I hope to get them on the table soon and see how they do against some Nazi filth.

Here is the whole warband in a group shot:

Hope you enjoy looking as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Gerry Owen!

Just a quick little update on the Vietnam project. I received my Baker Company minis in the mail a few weeks back (great service from them by the way!) and just finished up a few of the first squad of my 7th Air Cav platoon. I will need a Huey for them to fly in next.

Once again, Baker Company delivers some good sculpts with clean casting. These are neat in that they are slightly bigger than the PAVN. This seems deliberate on the part of the sculptor trying to capture the difference in height and build between their U.S. G.I.s compared to the shorter and slighter NVA. It is a nice touch.

I also stuck with the same dip method I used on the PAVN models. It is easy and quick. The lack of contrast still bothers me a little, but the end result looks good enough to get these on the table. The 7th Cav patches on the shoulders in the second pic are hand painted. I forgot to pick up a sheet of transfer of these at Cold Wars.

The models are an M-60 team, an M-79 grenadier (blooper), and a G.I. with M-16.

Anyway, here are the results:

And from the other side:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Normandy Farmhouse Redux.

This is the (new) beginning of my 28mm Normandy/France scratch building project. I wanted a set of buildings for my 28mm collection. Commercially available resin building kits are great, and there are some out there that are works of art, but they are very expensive. Plus, very few makers produce buildings with a realistic scale "footprint" of how much space the building would occupy. Most makers scale the building down considerably. This is due to materials cost. Resin is expensive and to make realistic sized buildings in 28mm would not be cost effective. Plus most gamers don't want just a few buildings taking up their whole table, so they sacrifice size for space to allow them to put down whole villages. I have done that myself for years with my own buildings (Armorcast). But after working on the 1:1 scale combat system for Iron Ivan Games (due out this year) I decided it would be nice to have a detailed set of buildings to go with it to do small scale squad level games in and around them.

I chose Normandy/France as a subject because I can use the buildings for both early war and late war games, so I can get a lot of use out of them.

That was my original plan from as far back as 2009. In fact, One of the first posts on my blog featured a scratch built Normandy Farmhouse just for this purpose. I worked on that thing for what seemed like forever, and I used it as a testing run for future scratch building efforts. I have been building terrain since my earliest 40k Rogue Trader days, but it seemed like I had either forgotten everything or had to relearn it on a steep curve now that I was tackling a real subject. This thing caused me more grief than anything else I have worked on. The windows were a total pain, I couldn't figure out if detailed interiors were worth it or I built some and then ripped them out after some stupid mistakes (making the interiors too difficult to access for gaming). I even cut the second floor off to try to do a modular stackable building but then ended up gluing it back together. Twice.

In the end, the thing had been worked and reworked so many times it was beginning to fall apart and look pretty rough.

So I started over.

This time, I vowed not to ever try to do windows myself again. Especially after discovering the wonder of pre made plastic windows and doors. I had known about the Grandt Line of products for a while. Lots of companies make kit bashing supplies that help model railroaders. But Grandt's stuff was too expensive for how many items you got per pack and since I hoped this project would become a whole series of buildings, I needed LOTS of these things.

Then a few months ago I found Tichy Train Group completely by accident. Score! A selection of plastic (O scale) windows and doors for cheap. Plus they have pallets and 50 gallon drums!

Here are the items (most of these come in a pack of two for $3.00 which gives you 6 windows in each pack). In fact, the one set allows you to do open or closed double sash windows. How cool is that?

When I got them in the mail, I was very happy with them. The only real complaints I would have is that they have some pretty brittle parts and that the windows do not have a thick enough tab to fill in a hole cut into foam core. No worries though, with a little basswood and a trim, they will do nicely. Here is the window ready for slotting into foam core:

I cut out the windows and doors using the completed and framed windows as a template by tracing around them. A few minutes with a sharp X-Acto and they are ready to be put in. This is SO much easier than hand making windows.

So here are the results:

Front View.

Back View.

Lift off roof.

I even decided to give this a set of rain spouts. These were made out of a plastic U shape rod and glued in place and then connected with hollow plastic rod bent into shape.

Also, I recently read an article on working textures into foam core by cutting off the top layer of card and scribing into the foam with a pen things such as bricks and stone. After scribing it with rough stone I sealed it with a watered down coat of Elmer's for painting. Here is the result.

Here is a completed window with plasticard shutters.

Interior shots. I built a floor to drop in. Simple plank for now, but leaves me room to do detailed interiors some day if I choose.

Here is a figure for comparison (The Assault Group Late War German).

And that's it! I have plans to do a whole village to go with this. Next up is a barn and set of walls to turn this into the farm complex I had planned in the first place.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vatican Warlock Assassins and Kabbalah Mysticism.

This actually has something to do with the whole Charlie Sheen mania. I was thinking about picking up my Pulp project I had put on the back burner (so back burner in fact, I hadn't even purchased the miniatures). I was planning out some purchases for Cold Wars and surfing miniature manufacturers for the minis I will need for my Pulp Warband. Then it hit me:

Vatican Warlock Assassin.

That's right, thanks to the genius of Charlie Sheen (don't do crack kids!), I had found the perfect theme for a Where Heroes Dare warband. Now all I need are the models. That will take some time and some more surfing, but I will be keeping my eye out for good models to represent this awesome winning character.

*For those of you living under a rock, Charlie Sheen has been saying some awesomely insane stuff to his interviewers lately. Regardless of what you think of him, the stuff that has been coming out of his mouth has been epic. One of his quotes: "Guys, it's right there in the thing, duh! We work for the Pope, we murder people. We're Vatican assassins. How complicated can it be? What they're not ready for is guys like you and I and Nails and all the other gnarly gnarlingtons in my life, that we are high priests, Vatican assassin warlocks. Boom. Print that, people. See where that goes."

Charlie you magnificent bastard.


I have been planning out my first Pulp warband again, the one I had originally come up with but had never put together. Not quite as cool as Charlie Sheen, but I like the idea enough to stick with it and do it first. The beauty of Where Heroes Dare is that you can quickly and easily put together a warband and it not only doesn't cost much because there aren't that many models, but it is an easy project to get painted up and in the game.

After seeing this miniature in the Monolith Designs Catalog several years ago, I thought the idea of a Rabbi with a stone statue golem would be a great concept for a Pulp warband. The problem was, Monolith Designs minis are 40mm and would not fit with anything else I have (unless this Rabbi was 10 feet tall...). I figured I can still use the golem (if Monolith even sells minis anymore), because that can be any size, and will in fact be even more impressive with the smaller 28mm minis.

Since I like to base things on real people and historical events I went in search of Rabbis on which to base the warband leader. I quickly found that Kabbalah mystics would be the perfect theme and would allow me a lot of elements to pull together for the project. While researching Kabbalah for ideas, I ran across this fellow:

This is Abraham Isaac Kook. He is one of the most famous Kabbalah mystics of the 20th century and lived in the 1920s...the perfect time period for Pulp gaming. With a golem by his side (and maybe some elementals like fire, air, earth, and water) this guy would search the world for sacred and secret knowledge while fighting Nazis and ne'er do wells. With the idea that he would lead a band of men in search of lost artifacts it gave the perfect background to allow him to show up anywhere in the world a Pulp game might take me...including the Center of the Earth.

But The Kookster, as Jayson dubbed him, is a mystic and not a fighter. Besides the golem as a trusty companion and wall of stone to defend him, I needed a few other bullet sponges...err loyal followers to help him. Since the Nazis are the perfect antagonists to this guy, I figured I would be within the spirit of the Pulp world to use the enemies of the Nazis. Last year I watched Defiance, a movie about Jewish Partisans operating in the Belorussia and Poland during WWII led by the Bielski Brothers.

These guys would be perfect companions and guards for Kook's adventures. It puts the timeframe more into WWII than most pulp settings, but for any scenarios earlier than the war, I can just use them as generic Eastern Europeans (or Latvians, which is where Kook is from). Besides, never mind that Kook died in 1935...I can just say he found some "answers" to that whole mortality thing. He is doing God's work after all.

So funky timelines aside, I think this rounds out to make a nice little Pulp warband. to model the Kookster. I naturally turned to the Pulp Figures catalog first. Luckily, I found the perfect model to base him on:

This is one of the Sinister Spies from the Pulp Figures Personalities range. It will take a lot of modeling and green stuff to turn him into the Kookster, but I think it will be fun. I will probably remove the pistol and give him a cane, add some buttons and make some changes on the jacket as well as do some work on the beard and add glasses.

For the Golem, I will just use the Monolith Designs figure I mentioned above as is.

For Partisans, I am turning to the Copplestone Castings range of Back of Beyond figures (BoB is a genre of wargaming set in the far east in the 1920s interwar period).

These are perfect:

So that's pretty much it. All I have to do is think of abilities and stat out Kook and I think I have a nice little warband here.

Oh, last year when I got all excited about this project and told Jayson...he worked up this cool pic for me. It'd be a shame to let it go to waste, so here it is. Who knows, maybe now that I put this project in print on the internet I will HAVE to do it. You never know, this could even end up as a series of scenarios we put out as a PDF like Jayson's Kong Fang series.

And I will get to the Vatican Warlock project, so don't anyone steal the idea...