∙ I literally ran out of AdMech models to assemble but have so many bits at my disposal I was able to create this chap (and others) with some Electro-priest legs and nothing but spare bits.
I have too many images for the proper update I’m working on (yeah, big wall-o’-text incoming soon), so here’s a better look at one of the kit-bashed counts-as Daedalosus I came up with recently. It's a shame that his current rules limit him to one in an army because I had so much fun making the first one that I could help but make this second one.
Eradication Pistol ∙ Check. Servo-arc Claw ∙ Check. Omniscanner ∙ Check. Looks like a Daedalosus to me.
I’m particularly pleased with how the Eradication Pistol turned out but I need to tweak the wrist since its drooping ever-so-slightly and aiming a bit low for my taste. I’m not completely sure I’m sold on the small ‘reactor’ backpack solution I came up with but it does accommodate the servo-skull really well, which I like, and I guess it’s a bit of a contrast to so many Tech-priests that are bulky and strapped with all manner of gubbins. Maybe once I add a few pouches and other bits it’ll fill him in a way that works for me. It’s fine if I can’t come up with something better, but he’s still a work-in-progress that has room to evolve because he’s not the only experiment in bits-bashing that I’ve been having fun with.
Ok, back to smashing the keyboard with my brain in hopes of finding the right words to finish my full update.
Ok, I’ve got no choice but to trim more out of the large post I’m working on. I’m stuck at a certain point and these images/projects simply take the post off in another direction just when I’m explaining my thinking and then I need to pull it back to what I’m trying to get across.
∙ With no AdMech kits left to assemble but a mound of bits to work with I found myself compelled to create this counts-as Daedalosus and it turned out better than I expected.
Like with the other Daedalosus I showed previously everything except the Electro-priest legs is spare bits bashed together, even the outer robe from the Infiltrator kit, that I’m so amazed it fits as seamlessly as it does; I kept looking at the spare Infiltrator robe and the E-priest legs and it seemed like they would fit together very easily but I had to chop them up to find out. Given that the robe adds a lot of motion I fiddled around with the arms quite a bit to try and get a pose that compliments the happy accident I had created. It’s very dramatic combined with the rather static legs so I tried to give a sense that he’s spinning around to take a shot with the pistol at a target the servo-skull as picked out. This was my first try at making an Eradication Pistol and it wasn’t bad, but the solution I came up with for the other Daedalosus above was so good I’ve replaced the one pictured here with the improved version.
∙ I’m not that fond of the official Manipulus model and I still had another set of Electro-priest legs kicking around (*Groan* Dad joke? *Nod* Dad joke.) so I picked over the pile-o’-bits again to see what I could come up with.
Ok, so I need an Omnissian Staff and some kind of shooty gizmo that can counts-as two obscure weapons. Yeah, I’ve got enough odds-and-ends that I can come up with that. I’m happy with the staff, but while the rule of 40k is that over-the-top is usually a good thing I think the shooter might be a bit too, err, over-the-top-heavy. It’s not the worst solution but I think I’ll keep looking for another opportunity to bash something together that’s more suitable for the role. I’ve also just noticed that I overlooked that the Manipulus has Mechadendrites (Considering the official miniature, of course he does, until you break them all off one-by-one) so I’ll have to see what I can come up with to evolve this idea just a bit more. But, not bad for a start of just bashing spare bits together to see what comes out the other side.
Adeptus Mechanicus is comfortably settling in alongside Chaos as a favorite for converting, bashing, and scratch building, with so many opportunities to mix things up. I can’t wait to get back to my Chaos to explore some darker ideas, and then blend the two factions as I start to contemplate my proper Dark Mechanicus and how they’ll be made real. I still suspect that GW will make them a proper faction someday, but who knows how far out that is, so until then I’ll keep working towards my own Darker goals…
∙ Disclaimer: Talk of the real world is going to find its way into this and some future posts because the tabletop gaming hobby and real-world conditions converge in the studio I’m trying to create. Earlier failed attempts at writing an update were going to do their best to avoid this but given the scope and scale of world events, I’m finding it difficult to untangle everything. In the spirit of being relaxed and civil, I don’t have any desire to bring up really heavy-handed economic, social, or political, subject matter that will cause friction in a place intended to help distract from such subjects of the real world. However, I find it all but impossible to talk about the hobby as it’s related to the studio without touching on some of my perspective about the structures and conventions of society that are having such a huge impact on my personal plans and the world that impacts us all. I welcome any dialogue that might arise from anything I’ll be talking about over the coming weeks, months, and years, but I insist that in public it remain casual, civil, and tied somehow to the subject of tabletop gaming; if it’s going to go too far off into the weeds please take it to a Private Message.
TL;DR ∙ Please see the end of this post for a summary of these extended musings. Abandon all hope ye who enter; here, there be monstrous walls of text.
Well then, it’s been a while. I really enjoy writing, but when there are too many things pulling at my attention, it’s so hard to do. Where to start? How ‘bout, the begending?
I didn’t invent the word but the mashup dawned on me a while back and seemed fitting as I came to the realization that so many events don’t really have a formal start or finish. Some events do have a discrete start, middle, and finish, but so many beginnings represent the end of something else, and so many endings are the beginning of something new. While I was coming to this understanding on a personal level, world events had me noticing that it’s even truer when it comes to the flow of history. There is no arguing that we are in a unique moment in history and it seems like it might be a once-in-a-lifetime begending on a massive scale with outcomes that we can only guess at right now. So what was originally going to be more about my own recent begendings, well, world events have made it difficult to ignore a larger picture.
So, last spring (Oh yeah, we’re going back a bit, but just for a quick recap) I managed to injure my hand when I had an altercation with a cat we’d adopted. I don’t hold it against Oakley because he was still mellowing (He’s nothing but a good-tempered suck today) but he’s a huge cat and bit me really badly. He managed to nick the bone, hit a nerve, or something, in my right hand ruining my grip strength, and cats have bites that are notorious for getting infected so it took two rounds of antibiotics to get that under control; watching the infection spread across my hand, even after starting the first round of antibiotics within 24 hours, had me a little nervous until a switch to a more effective antibiotic made things right. I figured it would heal in a few weeks but it turned into more like a few months where I had no strength in my hand so it was all but impossible to cast or make moulds in the studio. All things considered, it was not lost on me that the same reasonably minor injury in another part of the world would have come with far more cost and/or complications but for me, it was an inconvenience that sidetracked me for a while.
∙ I was able to paint, 3D model, contemplate, and procrastinate. This beauty is an example of my distracted 3D modelling but it also got me thinking. Want to help me make it real?
Initially, I created this APC as a bit of a flight of fancy not really considering it for production any time soon; it seemed too large and ambitious but I wanted to model an entire tank, so I did. But, the more I considered my situation the more I could see that small kits aren’t working right now. Crucial to perfecting my printing and production process, smaller kits are also very easy to get distracted with because they’re generally less work to design, consume fewer materials, and very prone to tempting flights-of-fancy; but, I simply can’t produce enough small kits by myself to make them profitable enough to fund faster studio expansion. I have the ambition to try and make it work by myself while I have no other realistic choice, but the cold reality is, the only way to make smaller kits work is to ramp up production by dividing the labour between more people; it’s fascinating how diving a complex task has a compounding effect on the output, so doubling or tripling the labour actually produces more than double or triple the output, and that will be the key in the future. So, for now, I’ve decided to really curb smaller ideas, keeping them for side projects and when I have proper studio space that can accommodate the extra people I can really focus on the smaller ideas to produce them in volumes that make them sustainable.
Until that can happen, I need to do larger kits like the APC pictured above that command a higher price per kit, and these kinds of larger projects will lend themselves to individual crowdfunding drives; if I can get 50 people to support a $100 kit, that’s $5,000 upfront that can let me really focus all my attention on the project for the weeks it’ll need to finish. Up to this point, I’ve been doing lots of labour and investing in materials upfront to get a kit ready for production and then waiting for it to recoup that investment with sales. I wish I could simply keep doing it that way but until I get some kind of a proper cushion of funds to work with I need to at least have a selection of kits that provide healthy returns as a foundation that fund progress. Even if a funding drive is less successful I can still make it work but the pace will be slower, and if it’s more successful I can slog to finish knowing I’m obviously on to something and gain more momentum to expand the studio that much faster. With everything I’ve done so far, I’m very confident in what I can produce, just not how quickly I can do it, but once I get a few done I’ll have a better idea going forward. With each kit successfully put into production I’ll have an ever-broadening selection for future customers and some upfront profit to take the pain out of the process. Once I’ve got a large enough selection of kits that can do some heavy lifting the cycle should be able to become self-sustaining as long as I can keep the ideas up and I’ve got plenty of ideas. So that was the plan, put the smaller stuff on the back burner to simmer and get the larger kits cooking, and then life happened, quite literally…
∙ Hello Begending. You didn’t think I was only going to reference current events and the like when I was talking about the real world, did ya’? I’ll see your expectations and raise you a baby!
In case you’re wondering, he’s about 7 minutes old in the picture above, and he’s about 7 months old today. So, right around the time, my hand was finally healing properly and I was getting the above plan sorted out this little guy became a future consideration… and promptly melted my brain. Preparation for his arrival combined with contemplating how he was going to fit in with everything I thought I had just sorted out, well, that was enough for my brain to start overheating for a while. At some point in the next 3-4 years, my house is going to need another bedroom and at least part of my in-house studio space is now on the chopping block to provide the room. If I’m starting to get cramped for space in my studio now, well I guess my timeline just got much more concrete. If I’m going to do the studio now I have no choice but to get really serious about it, or, let it go. *Sigh* Back to pondering and weighing pro’s, con’s, timelines, and all sorts of other things.
∙ I had plans of showing more in-progress images as the Onagers received their paint but that kinda’ got lost along the way as I became absorbed in it as a meditative distraction.
I’m fortunate to have some contractual work during the fall and winter months at the college I attended. It’s a mixed blessing since it’s nice that it adds to the household income but it also takes away some of the finical motivation to get the studio up-and-running. It can be frustrating when it feeds into my procrastination, but in this case, I was feeling more than a little distracted so I’m glad I have it to fall back on and provide some outside structure to my weeks. With that, I set to work on the modest task of three Onagers so that I might meditate through the act of painting; it isn’t my favorite part of the process, but I do like it for the trance-like state you can attain, that can then be used to block out some of the excess noise of the universe. My little nurgling pictured above (Producers of saliva, urine, feces, vomit, vectors for contagion of all manner, and yet so adorable and entertaining, yes, infants are essentially nurglings.) arrived in early December 2019 so there were only a few weeks until a hectic holiday season of visiting family followed up by a new year settling in discovering the kind of routine that a baby creates. No two are the same, so it takes some time to learn the routines and rituals of placation that work.
∙ Despite the Onager competing for space in AdMech lists these days, I’m still very pleased to have a ‘unit’ of them ready for the tabletop.
I’m not sure I’d choose to do three of them together in one go again, but I can say that despite being much larger they were less daunting than painting three of the Sydonian Dragoons at the same time. Gluing the flip-down foot component to the base using the legs as a guide, and then keeping the legs loose during painting was a good plan. The AdMech model range benefits from (demands?) painting the models in sub-assemblies much more than other miniatures I’ve painted over the years, but they’ve given me an appreciation for what you can get away with if you’re careful during final assembly. I’ve learned that you can make surprisingly delicate/obvious connections between components without harming the paint job if you use Extra Thin solvent glue carefully; the simple trick is to be ready to aggressively blow on the join after applying the glue to quickly evaporate any excess that will cause damage or wrinkle the paint. However, the join must be plastic-on-plastic if you want it to properly fuse and have any serious strength so carefully masking all of the touch points with poster-tack before priming and painting adds to the model’s preparation. Personally, the reduced headache of trying to paint some of the many challenging nooks-and-crannies of the AdMech models is worth the effort.
While I’m pleased with how the decals turned out I’m a bit frustrated how obvious some of the edges are even after ample Micro Sol/Set application. They snug down to curved surfaces perfectly but it doesn’t soften or blend the edges. Being new to making decals I’m certain I was too heavy-handed with the spray-on film so I think I might need to try a few experiments to perfect the process of making them. I did some research to see if there are any other options for dealing with this and discovered that you can put a heavy coat of hard gloss varnish over the decal and then use really high grit sandpaper to blend the edges away. Naturally, I learned this after I had applied some softer satin and matt varnish in hopes that they would do the trick by themselves. I’m fighting the urge to be impatient and trying to very gently sand the edges with some 1200 and 2000 sandpaper, but I’m forcing myself to try it on something that isn’t a finished model first. I’m not pleased with it but it’s ultimately very minor and I’d hate to make a bigger mess trying to fix it.
∙ As the Onagers were finished it started to dawn on me that, hold on a moment, *Checks his to-do list* I’ve… got a… painted army… ? ... I’ve got a painted army. I’ve got a painted army!! And look at that, a begending.
Now, the points have changed over the many months of painting and building, my understanding of 8th game mechanics and tactics changed (and now 9th is here), along with the AdMech faction getting some new toys, so I knew already that my 2,000 point list was going to change. (More on that in a moment.) I’ve also still got to do the decals on all of the troops, and some final little touch-ups and overlooked details, so there’s still a bit more work but the end of this phase is in actual sight at this point; I’m finally at the tipping point that going forward all I need to do is paint units to add to the greater whole and that’s always a lot less daunting. *Binaric screech of glee* So, even if the list is going to get an adjustment I have enough painted models to put a proper table-ready list together and actually venture out into the real world and start checking out what the scene in my area is like. I get out, start throwing some dice, meeting some people, and let my models work as conversation starters; I need to find at least a few talented individuals to grow the studio so I’d rather try and find a gamer or two who appreciates the hobby and this strange obsession with little plastic toy soldiers rather than someone just doing a job. To be perfectly honest, I have no desire to be a boss so why would I want someone who’s just an employee? (Again, more on that in a moment.) I finished the custom bits, assembling, basing, and priming the Onagers in December and painted them over January and February as the little nurgling settled into his routine, my brain settled back into my skull, and I reassured myself that yes, I can make this work. I’m sure you can see where this is going…
What could possibly happen in March to stop me from being able to go out into public?!
*Subtle sslloowwllyy tilts his head as his eyes grow wide and his expression becomes… disturbing*
Huh? What the heck is a Novel Coronavirus? *Entire regions of the world begin grinding to a halt* Aw jeez, now that’s a begending.
I think I’m gonna’ need another distraction, or several, and some time to process this turn of events. What’s that, stay at home orders? Well looks like I’ve got the time part sorted out.
∙ Umm, what else needs some paint? Some Breachers and another Dominus? That works for me! Because of my procrastination, these are actually finished at this point but that’s another story for another post.
Ok, this is somewhere in the middle of what I’m trying to write, but I got tangled up trying to convert my thoughts into words, and then I got pulled in a few directions by some studio stuff and more real-life events to distract me.
So, this will be a To Be Continued post that I hope to follow up within something resembling a short while.
TL;DR – See the end of my next post for a summary of my prolonged wording.
I spent so much time seeing your pictures. I just started gathering some pieces. I'd like to have all your stuff. You're such connoisseur. Thank you , you make my day.
An all time classic for all your board games https://www.dadi-online.it
See, what else is new? I want to be writing to finish up my last post but then all of this showed up and I had another task to get done. I was planning on getting this at a later point but a recent windfall let me invest in a new ventilation hood and two 5’x3’ solid steel workbenches. Getting the 68 kg (150 lbs) benches down into my cave, err, basement studio was fun to say the least, here’s hoping they don’t have to get back out. I’ve been looking at these for a few years and the price kept creeping up so I’m glad to be able to get them sooner rather than later in case another increase is in the cards, which I suspect is likely.
∙ Great, a much needed 500 CFM upgrade to my ventilation but now I gotta’ figure out how to fit it in and connect all the ducts.
∙ Now that’s a respectable upgrade to my modest Manufactorium that’s instantly helped with my organization and equipment layout.
The setup is still rather humble but it’s almost starting to look like I know what I’m doing. It might seem odd that something as simple as a large sturdy flat surface would make me downright giddy but I’ve been dealing with a cobbled-together collection of tables that were less than ideal up to this point so it’s a simple but significant improvement.
Next up I need to get a small clay slab roller so I can speed up my mould making process and save my poor ageing hands from the torture of doing it with a rolling pin. After that, I will be upgrading pressure camber ‘A’ and ‘B’ to match the heavier ‘C’ chamber and the two lighter chambers will be put on permanent mould making duty to help the process further since casting and mould making won’t need to share the same pressure chambers. But for now, this setup will let me hit the ground running again with my current plans and have room for improvement soon. The next update should be my finish to my last wall-o’-text where I’ll give an outline of what I’m planning and to look for any input or feedback that might be forthcoming.
Sidetracked by several things inside and outside of the studio, I haven’t found the time and focus to finish writing the follow up to my last wall-o’-text.
∙ Replication Subroutines: Initialized. Oh yeah, it's good to finally get back to makin’ messes, castin’ kits, and makin’ moulds.
However, the delay is a mix of good and unexpected news, which has me wanting to evolve what I was going to write about anyhow, so it’s all for the best in the long run. The gears are starting to turn again so keep the vox tuned and be sure to observe the proper rites of maintenance and placation.
∙ Well well, aren’t you a fine looking little cyborg. What’s that, I should obey the Omnissiah’s will and… innovate... your ride? OK!
It’s been quite some time since I’ve had to paint a pilot and cockpit before assembling a model. It’s bringing back memories of some of my earliest model building and I’m already dreading working with the clear canopy bits, just like I did way back when. Fun fun?
Naturally, now that I’ve got one of these models in my grubby little digits and can see how it assembles I’ve got a solid idea of what I want to do to alter it. I actually don’t mine the ornithopter inspired design of the stock model, but I’m me after all, and when a kit inspires me like this one I’ve got no choice but to have some fun with it.
*In an old-timey radio voice*
This and much more, in our next episode featuring the eccentric Dr. Mechanicus and his ever-faithful (because it’s programmed to be that way) servitor Solus, coming soon!
Come for the shiny pictures of my newest creation, but please stay for the important information down below.
Another shorter post carved from the larger blob of text I’m working on. With several things that I want to talk about, but those things are also pulling me in several directions, I wanted to get this part out sooner rather than later so I can solicit some ideas, input, and feedback. But first, a distraction to lure people in...
In my humble opinion, the new Scorpius model is so on-the-nose as a transport, taking so many cues from 20th-century landing craft, that it simply falls flat when it's assembled as the Disintegrator; it really seems like something that was excellent as the primary Dunerider version and then ham-fisted and forced into the Disintegrator version. It's that damn side profile silhouette that simply doesn't go away when you build it as the Disintegrator, even with the turret. Nope, I wanted to come up with a different solution.
∙ I had a Goliath Truck for several years that I wanted to change into an artillery vehicle, and this was the perfect opportunity.
More on the Duneriders and other stuff related to them later, but for now, this is what I came up with; the Disintegrator artillery and support truck. I'm quite pleased with the eclectic mix of weapons that create what I think is a very AdMech look to the model. A forward operating unit with nutrient paste, ammunition, spare parts, lubricants, fluids, and batteries of all sizes, in a pinch for frontline troops, while also proving close artillery support. Yep, I think that'll work just fine.
I did use my casting skills for a tiny bit of mischief, making a mould of the Servitor bits for the turret, but I'm still paying the full price of admission by using it on a complete Goliath model, and it'll never be used for profit, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Besides, the Omnissiahcompelled me to do it! *Chatters in binary*
∙ It seemed like coming up with a counts-as for the Disruptor Missiles was going to be a challenge; doubling the Heavy Stubber barrels on the other hand was straightforward.
At first, I was considering how I could create/add a missile weapon system of some sort and I just wasn't finding any inspiration. Then I noticed that the standard profile of Eradication Beamer (36", Hvy.D6, S8, AP-2, D-D3) is so close to the Disruptor Missiles (36", Hvy.D6, S7, AP-2, D-D3) that I quickly came up with this solution; meet the Atrum Laboris pattern Disruptor Beam. Note: Originally a subcomponent of a larger device, the actual purpose that this beam was intended for is lost to time, but it does horrible things to whatever it's pointed at when activated, so now, it's a weapon.
With three Heavy Stubbers on the Disintegrator, I needed to do something to help convey them so I doubled the barrels on the turret as the most straightforward solution; I was considering a three-barrel rotary-style weapon but it was just too bulky for my taste when I mocked it up. I'm tempted to build another Servitor to ride on the back equipped with a Hvy. Stubber to represent the third but that’s easy to add at any point if I decide to do it. As much as I like enhancing many of my builds with 3D modeled/printed components I also really enjoy the times where I can create something like this, with just bashing together the parts that are in the existing kits with a bit of styrene.
∙ More coming soon from the depths of Atrum Laboris, but now that I have your attention please find your way to the information below.
I finally got the opportunity to apply to a small business assistance program that’s been offered by my city that I’ve been trying to get in to for a few years, and in the time since I was last able to write I’ve been accepted and I’ll be doing it over the next four months or so. Business plans, market research, taxes, permits, insurance, bookkeeping, etc., and writing, writing, writing, so much writing, and all the wonderful bureaucratic stuff that I’ve gotta’ figure out for the next steps of expansion. Even if this is something that can be delegated in the future to someone more suited I simply can’t do that yet, and even when I can, I still need to have a general understanding of which way is up with all of the paperwork, permits, projections, plans, and such.
As always, I’m happy to be making progress but it’s going to be an interesting several months as I do this and get comfortable teaching (more on that in a future post). However, I also see it as just the kick in the pants I need to sort this stuff out and know I’m doing everything by-the-book going forward. What’s that thing they say? You need to get out of your comfort zone if you’re going to improve and discover opportunities to take advantage of, and you’ll know you’re out of our comfort zone when you start suffering minor panic attacks?! Something like that, right?
So, looking at some of the things I’ll need to do it will obviously include market research and I think I can already see an opportunity to tap a few communities online for some ideas, input, and feedback. While online forums have been fading for quite some time with the rise of social media I think the modest community that read what I post is a real asset and a valuable collective opinion directly from a selective group of hobbyists I want to hear from. By now, with the number of times I've been given valuable input, perspective, or support, that has been completely unexpected but very welcome, encouraging, and/or insightful, I knew I should see if anyone who's following here has any suggestions.
I know I can look to the strength of Games Workshop and the successful growth of other tabletop games like X-Wing for something of a cornerstone to how the tabletop gaming industry is healthy with lots of money involved. But it’s also an obscure industry that kinda’ straddles several markets/products/industries that makes me think it’ll be a bit harder to find other compelling information, data, trends, etc., in typical locations. Can anyone who's reading offer some ideas that I’m not coming up with, where I might consider looking for information about the tabletop gaming industry in broader business terms?
I also know I can also find many other similar producers that I can use as an example of the potential market and to compare and contract my studio to the competition and how I plan to differentiate my studio from them. But I’m wondering if there are other ways I can showcase the potential of what my studio will do that I’m not thinking about. So yeah, does anyone have any ideas in this vein; industry outlook, growth potential, industry/market trends, promotion ideas, other random input, or thoughts you think would be useful?
As I said, this will be ongoing for several months so there should be some updates over the coming weeks and there’s a good chance I’ll be coming back to ask more questions and/or to look for input on something I’m nothing thinking about right now. If you have something you’d like to contribute please feel free to add it here or send it to me in a PM if you’d rather be more direct. I have no idea if this will pay off but it doesn’t hurt to try, and as I said before, I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by unexpected and useful input over the years I’ve got a good feeling a few people out there might have a few words of wisdom they can spare.
I know I keep saying it, and up to this point it feels like the steps have been so very slow-and-steady, but now I think all the pieces are settling into place that will let the momentum start taking hold… as long as the rest of the world would like to co-operate and not fall apart.
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