Small Scenics: Secret Weapon Miniatures’ Traffic Pylons #1 (Scenic September ’19)

Secret Weapon Miniatures' Traffic Pylons

Well, like the best laid grand plans I had hoped to get some larger, more impressive terrain completed in September, but unfortunately life events and shitty weather conspired to prevent it. I did, however, continue on the Scatter Terrain train, and so I managed to complete the first of what will no doubt be two batches of “Traffic Pylons” from Secret Weapon Miniatures. Basically, I was buying some other stuff from a local retailer, and saw that these were cheap, so I got several bags. Turns out that each bag had 10 of the pylons in it, so I didn’t manage to get them all done. The 25 shown here are the ones done so far, and are about half of the ones I picked up. I’ll paint the others in a month or two. Or work on them slowly when tired after work.

The good news here was that they are/were simple enough to paint, and so during the perios where I was feeling under the weather, or tired, I was still able to plug away at a few of these at a time. Once they were painted, it was gloss varnish, satin varnish, paint wash to grime them up, and then matte varnish. As scatter terrain, and especially being resin they need to be pretty durable, so with that in mind, three coats of varnish isn’t overkill.

So yeah. Not impressive in any way on their own, but they’ll add a lot of that little extra layer of detail to any urban locale in a modern, post-modern, or even many sci-fi tabletops. I do have my Secret Weapon tiles that I’ll be making another pass at once the weather gets consistently better and I have a bit more time from work to work on such things, so let’s all cross our fingers and toes…

Small Scenics: Secret Weapon Miniatures’ Scrap Yard(?) Corner Piece.

Back in December 2013 I picked up a couple of the “Bag O Crap” sets occasionally offered by Justin at Secret Weapon Miniatures. These are generally models who have failed his stringent QC process, and are sold off in these bags every so often. What you’ll get is a mystery! So I got a bunch of bases that I’ve stil not used – some with obvious bubbles and miscast issues, and others that I can see absolutely no issies with. I also got a few nicer large pieces of terrain. A destroyed tank turret, a flipped truck, a Star Wars-ish generator, and this (no link, it doesn’t appear to be listed on SWM’s site anymore!) The turret and truck are painted, the Generator is in a box somewhere. I thought I’d posted the painted turret and truck sometime, but apparently not? I’ll find them and post a pic sometime in the future.

Despite being a nice piece in a lot of ways, it’s got some seriously severe print lines, obviously from the master model’s original print before it went to resin casting. This gave it a really grainy texture which made it a pain to paint – along with all of the detail present. The result was that it got worked on here and there, now and then, over the course of the 5 1/2 years I’ve had it until a week or so ago when I had one of those “fuck it – get this thing out of here” moments and knuckled down and completed it over a couple of sessions.

Let’s see what happens next…

As with quite a few other pieces, I did not enjoy the painting process of this one at all, but I’m happy with the finished product. It’s got a lot of versatility in how it can be used, it’s large, and it looks good. And most importantly, it’s bloody done!

Inconsequential Things

As I get older, I come to the realisation about many things in my life. I’ll probably never get around to watching all the TV shows I’d like to. Likewise with movies. I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to playing all of the board and miniature games I’ve bought – and I know I’ll never finish all of the PC, 360 and PS3 games I’ve bought. I also realise that I’ll probably never get around to painting all of the models I own – yet, as with all of these things – I continue to collect and accumulate more and more of them – on a weekly basis.

So what does this mean for painting? Well, there are two main roads I can go down. Either I can try to paint better, and spend all my time trying to learn new techniques, increase my skills, and improve all elements of my game. My friend Cash Wiley is one such painter, who has come along incredibly in terms of skill in the last two or so years. However, Cash only finishes a relative few figures per year – albeit to a high standard that is increasing all of the time. My (failed) target last year was 365, and I’m on my second attempt for 365 this year. The other path is that of simply getting shit finished and onto the table. Because you know what? “Good enough” is actually good enough from four feet away when each individual in a block of 10 or 20 or 40 really isn’t all that important and doesn’t need to be anywhere near your best work. I’ve been reading the Bolt Action and Hail Caesar rulebooks over the past few evenings, and almost all of the sumptuous models in those books, in the evocative and atmospheric photos simply don’t pass muster as display models. Yet, ranked up or walking through hedgerows in the close-up photos in those books, they still manage to look fucking amazing.

So what for me? I won a few painting comps in my youth – my best and most amusing being equal first with myself (they couldn’t choose which of my two figures they liked the best) at CanCon back in 1992. I should photograph and post those guys sometime, too. But with father time and my own inevitable demise starting to make themselves felt, I’ve decided that every model can’t be my best model. As readers would have seen with the recent speedpaints of Zombies and, erm, more Zombies, and the Treeman and the Bolt Throwers, I’ve been going for speed lately. I think really though, my path as a painter needs to go down the middle. I need to finish stuff. Now more than ever really, especially with my games table now being a thing that exists. I also need to take time out from mass production and speed-blasting through stuff from time to time to work on individual figures with details and freehand, for the soul of it all.

This post, aside from reading a bit like a teenage girl’s diary or a man in midlife crisis (neither of which is totally accurate :p), is mostly a chance to show off a bunch of stuff I’ve gotten done this year. Nothing amazing or outstanding. Inconsequential things really. Much of it is scenery, and in the scheme of it all, none of it is really important. But it’s a bunch of stuff that got done, and in that, it’s good enough. The plan is to photograph everything that I finish this year, and eventually to photograph everything that’s painted in my collection. That last part might take some time.

Mid-90’s GW Dryads.

These guys are some Dryads that I was either given or sold quite cheap by a friend back in the mid-90s. I’m not sure why I wanted them, so they must have been cheap or free. I think they may actually be recasts, given how malformed some of them are. Anyway, I found them in the bottom of a box of figures recently, and since I was able to finish the Bones Ent/Spirit of the Forest in a day recently, I thought I’d try and knock these up quickly as well in a similar manner. While they’re no works of art up close, they’ll look fine from across the table in KoW or in a game of Pathfinder, etc. A good example of “good enough”!

DUST Quonset Huts

Dust Quonset Huts

The Quonset huts I previewed a few posts ago when I cracked open some of the DUST Tactice expansion boxes. These painted up pretty quickly. I went with a worn desert scheme since my main mat is a desert mat. It also seems to be the most appropriate colour for moderns, and of course works just fine for WWII and 40k. I need to buy another couple of packs of these – they’re pretty great as well as inexpensive.

DUST Quonset Hut with Space Marine for scale.

Dark Angel Marine charges out of the Quonset Hut doorway.

I also took a couple of pics featuring a GW Space Marine, since they’re so ubiquitous that they’re very useful for establishing scale for this sort of thing. I’m sure the Dark Angels have some fights around these huts in their future!

Aged statues.

Here we have four statues made from random miniatures, some short resin columns that were no doubt in a bargain bin, and some plaques made from card. These were all originally made about 8-10 or so years ago. The writing is all painted freehand, and comes from an English-Greek dictionary, and an English-Russian dictionary. Naturally, I can’t recall what they actually say so many years later. This year’s work on them has been to “dirty them up” as they were way too clean – hence the dirt and wear on the stone, and the verdigris on the statues – which was my first play with the new Citadel Technical Paint “Nihilakh Oxide”. Verdict: It’s okay.

Resin wooden barrels.

Resin wooden barrels. Chronopia figures for scale.

These barrels were started years and years ago. When? Who can remember. The important thing is that they’re finished now. I had a bit of fun (back when I started them) freehanding the cans on the two smaller sets. I’ve included the second pic with the Chronopia figures for scale – the barrels are a good size for both roleplaying as well as various types of wargaming. Sadly, I found several more of them in a box this evening. So.. more to come, more to go. After a bit of Internet Detective work, (and using my memory) I found the barrels, which are still available, over at Scotia Grendel Miniatures.

Battle for Macragge Power Pylons

Power Pylon things from the 4th Edition 40k starter set: Battle for Macragge. I just added the tufts to these this year, and that’s too little for me to count them as part of this year’s tally (they were only finished last year). They were sitting next to a bunch of the other stuff I grabbed to photograph tonight, so they got a pic taken as well, since they fit the theme of this post, and as stated, I want to eventually photograph and post everything.

Trapdoors and Grates.

More random resin stuff from my dark past. Dungeon scenery stuff this time, along with two trapdoors from the GW Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria boxed set. The usual drybrushing and so forth, of course, but with the addition of oil-based MIG rust washes added. An example of wanting to knock stuff over but also using simple, inconsequential  things as an opportunity to play with new materials and techniques. – Like the statues above and Nihilakh Oxide. And I’ve just found them. The Grills pack from Grendel – though my pack  back in the day only came with three, not the six they now come with. The last piece of that set is on my “stuff that’s been started and put aside” shelf right now.

Resin Graves

More resin gravestones.

Once again, more resin randomness from my past. At one point, back when I started these in the noughties – I planned to base them on and make a single large scenery piece of a graveyard that I could plonk down on a table. At some point back then after startting the large base I changed my mind and decided to leave these as standalone pieces, which I think was and remains a better idea. Much more flexible this way, and I can still make an actual graveyard piece if I want to use the various tombstones that have been part of various GW (and others’) skeleton kits over the years. While these are more fantasy themed, but these could also work well for WWII or Zombiepocalypse gaming quite easily. And yep, it turns out that the graveyard set is also a Grendel Set. I suspect that a huge percentage of my resin scenery will turn out to be these kits. I bought a hell of a lot of them back in the day.

Secret Weapon Scrap Yard Barricade Truck.

Secret Weapon Scrap Yard Barricade Truck.

Secret Weapon Scrap Yard Barricade Truck.

Secret Weapon Scrap Yard Barricade Truck.

One of the real highlights of my Secret Weapon Miniatures Bag(s) ‘o’ Crap that I picked up in December – along with the Hesco and Jersey barriers shown previously was this overturned Half-track Ute (or truck) from the Secret Weapon Miniatures Scrap Yard Barricades set. I had quite a lot of fun painting this, with layers of washes and drybrushing and mediums and edging and applying effects with foam and so forth. Obviously this thing works best for Sci-Fi/40k/GorkaMorka/Post-apocalyptic stuff, but if you squint, it could also work for moderns in Afghanistan or the like.

Secret Weapon Destroyed Tank Turret.

Secret Weapon Destroyed Tank Turret

Secret Weapon Destroyed Tank Turret.

Secret Weapon Destroyed Tank Turret.

Another nice surprise in my Bag(s) ‘o’ Crap was this turret. Part of the Secret Weapon Miniatures Scrap Yard Destroyed Tank set. A pretty nice piece, though Holy 3-d print lines, Batman! Still, for the price I paid for it, and even full RRP ($20 for a whole tank) it’s pretty nifty. It’s just occurred to me that I should have taken a scale shot with that Dark Angel next to the Truck and this Turret, but rest assured that both are well taller than The Emporer’s Finest, and I’ll take a couple of scale shots as an append to one of my next blog posts. Again, with a little squinting, this thing will work well in games set in any year from 1940-41,000.

And that, my friends, is that.

A not insubstantial update, but as I noted at the start, made of many of the sort of things that hardly justify an update in their own right. I’m up to 81 miniatures finished so far this year on Day 60. I’m ahead of schedule, though only because my criteria is so loose. Still, shit’s getting done. Which can only be a good thing. I hope to soon finish a few of the things blocking me from a couple of “fun” figures that I’m really looking forward to.

Dark Elf Repeater Bolt Thrower & Secret Weapon Barriers

Dark Elf Reaper Bolt ThrowersSo hey, I’ve been finishing stuff at a pretty decent rate so far this year. As part of that, I plan to put up everything I finish this year, no matter what it is. So here’s some of the most recent stuff:

Dark Elf Reaper Bolt Throwers

A pair of metal GW Dark Elf Repeater Bolt throwers. I got the pair cheap off eBay already assembled and primed, so the day after finishing the treeman last week, I decided to spray them with my two custom sprays that I got made for my DE/Twilight Kin – since I no longer play WHFB, I’m happily basing everything for Kings of War with it’s more relaxed basing options – so round 40mm bases from Proxie Models to the rescue. By the end of the day, they were all but finished. Of course, I need to do the crew sometime soon as well… I guess.

Secret Weapon Hesco Barriers

Secret Weapon Jersey Barriers

Over the Christmas-New Year period, I picked up a couple of sets of Secret Weapon Miniatures‘ “Bag O Crap”. Which is essentially miscasts and bits that don’t make their quality control standard. I’ve half-written a review of them, so I’ll save the detailed commentary for later, but suffice to say that a couple of other resin companies might want to take note of what Quality Control means. Puppetswar in particular.  These were done in Mid-Jan, but I didn’t get a chance to photograph them until now.

These painted up nice and fast, and (will) look good on the tabletop. I’ll probably need to buy a ton more of each, though… I went for a bright orange plastic that had both been sunbleached and dirtied up in use for the Jersey Barriers. Despite being pretty small and simple, I’m quite happy with how they turned out. These barriers will work nicely in everything from moderns to zombiepocalypse to 40k and everything in between.

Next up: More Zombies!