Sunday, October 22, 2017

SAGA is drawing me in...

I managed to find and grab some second-hand vikings. I know, a new game, a new set of shinies...

To be fair, I have been wanting them for some time now for other projects, and I'm sure starting to watch the Vikings show hasn't affected my desires whatsoever!

To that end though, I discovered that SAGA uses proprietary dice, which are both out of stock in my local store, and crazy expensive when they're not! (Over $3cad per cube).

I decided I wanted to make my own. Bone stinks (not metaphorically, either), an ivory-looking plastic (no animals harmed!) is only available with a minimum order of $50usd, wood doesn't feel very viking-like, and then I realized there's a way better product: Soapstone!

Vikings famously left runestones all over, with sagas written on them, laws, signage, etc. I could easily get and carve soapstone into the runes I need, it'd probably be cheaper, definitely be more fun, and allow me to get an initial vibe on how soapstone carving works. As much as I've made models and the like, I've never done carving in any significant way other than some rudimentary whittling.

Enough talk, on to the pictures!


For round 1, I marked with a pencil, cut with a basic hand saw, and repeated on each side until I had very rough-hewn cubic shapes. After this, I used a rotary sander to refine the lines a bit, and make it as close to a true cube as I could. At this point it was more about getting a feel for the material than trying to get exact cubes, and in fact I figure any little imperfection ends up feeling even more viking-like!


Next, I used a stone to mark a stone before grooving it with a stone... Graphite pencil, metal file. I found the recursive tool use funny in an almost punning way. Here you can see the penciled in runes, and the first pass with a carving tool - an old and broken dental pick!


Next the runes were deepened and shaped with an old broken craft blade. The bottom right two have been given this second pass.


Here's a shot of all the cubes, with their runes deepened, shaped, and ready for final cleanup!

Next up came the buffing. My research suggested either using 250-1000 grit sandpaper, or a more complex method involving beeswax and an oven. I may try the latter at some point, depending on how the first set chips, but for now, I wanted to keep as basic as possible. Similar to sandpaper is emery boards or nail files, and I decided to grab one from a drug store with 5 levels of 'granularity' including one so fine it just looks like ultra-dense foam.


Still wet in this shot, the buffing was done on each side with each of the five levels (I hope I didn't miss any) and then dried in between. Keeping the stones and tools wet keeps dust down, and allows for easy cleaning off of grit so you don't get scratches.


If ever it felt like I wasn't accomplishing much, I only needed to look in my water bowl to prove I was!


Finally buffed, cleaned, and test-rolled! The runes, having received no buffing, are distinctive and clear. You can see slight chipping or marking on the very edges from them bumping against one another. I will probably end up rounding off the edges of any future dice I make, but for set no. 1 it should make each gradually accrued chip look more and more thematic!


With increased confidence I wouldn't damage the tools with my creativity, today I was back to the shop, to cut off two more slices of wood! Using a belt saw gave me absolutely accurate cubes this time around, and were absolutely way faster and easier to get cubes!

Just to again ease my Mother's mind... Yes I was using a respirator mask, and goggles, and wasn't even pushing the stone through by hand, but with a random block of wood so the material couldn't even slip and cause me to push my fingers into the whirring blade of doom!


Time for round two of dice engraving! This time it'll be standard D6s as well as more rune dice so I will have two full sets to play with. Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Nazdreg Commission

Alas, this one will not be painted by me, but I was recently commissioned to do a conversion of Nazdreg for a friend who plays Bad Moonz. The only problem of course is that almost everyone converts one out of Ghazgkhull, and thus they all end up looking very uniform, and very... Goff.

We decided to start with the Age of Sigmar Ironjaws Warboss, because the armour would seem more delicately shaped, and more 'teef paid for' than Big-G's very rough but durable gear.
(For those unaware, Ork money is, literally, their teeth. No dumber than bottlecaps!)


The left arm was chopped at the wrist (or just not assembled really) and replaced with a custom Klaw. In keeping with the 'more teef' idea, and to tie it in with Nazdreg's original model, this version has a Klaw with 5 fingers, rather than Big-G's rather typical 3. I did a square Iron Gob at the client's request, also to differentiate from Big G, and a single stikkbomb launcher, inspired by some old art of Nazdreg.

The head is off a Flash Git, turned to face the right direction, and hilariously, happens to be a head with no big teeth, almost as though Nazdreg is constantly getting rid of the oversized ones to pay for more flashy gear!


The right arm saw extensive conversion: Axe removed, replaced with a gun from a Mek, itself modified to be pistol-gripped, with an appropriate Bad Moonz symbol. The forearm is mostly untouched, but the upper arm is a complete putty resculpt from bicep to shoulder, including custom shoulderpad from plasticard and more Flash Gitz bits, as well as bass guitar strings.


Nazdreg's backside: More flash gitz bitz to make a crude power supply for this huge armour, snaking cables connecting upper and lower torso, and more mechanical gubbinz supporting the leg armour. You can also see the power feed down the right arm.


And my favourite part: the Klaw! Entirely plasticard and putty, it imitates the shape of any other Orky piece. I may put up some in-progress shots, but it's pretty straightforward: Fist-shaped box, festooned with sharp fingers, backed up by pistons, and rammed full of bizarre and arcane power leads back to the mysterious (fusion?) power source.

And there you have it! Quick and dirty Ork conversion, still with lots of room for fun and bizarre painting details. All in all I think he makes a nice contrast to Ghazghkull's angry striding, feels very Bad Moonz (Lookit' my Flashy Shoota!) and looks just a little bit fancier than just a regular megaboss! I'll put up painted pictures when I get them from the client, no idea when that'll be!