Thursday 30 May 2019

Dr. Aphra

Maligning the galaxy’s favourite, but oh so rogue, Archaeologist as a mercenary, might be considered unjust, but when none other than Lord Vader hires you to assist with acquiring his own droid army, following the disastrous battle of Yavin, then it is surely a difficult epithet to dislodge?
For those that are perhaps unfamiliar with the good Doctor’s work, Aphra is an expanded universe character that shares a time line with Darth Vader and was introduced through Marvel Comic’s Darth Vader publications.  I am quite a recent convert to the Expanded Universe, I used to like my Star Wars unadulterated, as pure as the driven snow on the ice fields of Hoth, if you will, but have found Dr. Aphra to be one of the more entertaining additions.  Ably assisted by two homicidal droids, BT-1 and 0-0-0, Dr. Aphra has an unnerving habit of being in all the wrong places with all the wrong people, at always the wrong time.  In short, Aphra’s exploits are often hugely entertaining, if a little bit silly.
  The droids, BT-1 and 0-0-0, are plastic sculpts from Imperial Assault by ‘Fantasy Flight Games’, and were relatively straightforward, lots of metallic paint and washes, but that in itself can often present its own challenges.  Dr. Aphra, however, was a completely different experience.  She is a custom print from Skull Forge Studios, released under the alias Professor Moxi,  and I had mine 3D Printed by those good people at 'Shapeways' in the Netherlands.

Now from the start, let’s be clear about this, having one’s armies printed in this matter is economically unviable at this point.  The individual pieces are breathtakingly expensive, but I have long been curious as to process and it is interesting to see just how far this technology has come and just what it is already capable of. 

The availability of software means that creative chaps can produce truly unique or previously unavailable items that can then be delivered to your door.  A word of warning though, as what started as a curious investigation has soon developed into a fully fledge obsession, with new ‘must have’ designs appearing all the time!
Some of the more reasonably priced elements that can be found on eBay have the tell tale lines as each layer of printed material is built up.  Shapeways however are using the latest industry standard machines and with their grand prix ‘smoothest fine detail’ can produce prints that are really starting to hold their own against cast versions.
Back to my entry and given that Aphra has been scaled for the more heroic Star Wars: Legion in mind there was quite a height discrepancy between Aphra and her loyal bodyguards. At present, I have resorted to doubling up the droids bases to try and sell the illusion, not perfect, but I am quite forgiving when it comes to such matters. 

When it came to painting Dr. Aphra, I simply resorted to the comic book colours, but couldn’t bring myself to attempt the circuit board tattoo that she sports. There was very little difference painting a 3D print as opposed to cast sculpt and so expect more impulse buys I the near future.

Sunday 12 May 2019

Euro Miniature Expo 2019

It has been a thoroughly splendid day here in the South East of England, made all the more enjoyable for spending it with my good friend the 'Provost Marshal'.  We decided to take in the Euro Miniature Expo in Folkestone.  After a fortifying breakfast we made our way to the venue and immersed ourselves in the variety of exquisitely painted miniatures that varied greatly in genre in scale.  This is the first time that I have been to the show since it has had a change of sponsorship.  I think it would be fair to say that it was down on both entries and traders, but still retained a quality that make it a great day out.

Below, then, are just some of the examples of the work that caught my eye.  Whilst I marvel at the amazing brushwork and the sheer impossibility of the skill on display, I find it so inspiring to see these pieces.  There might have been fewer examples on display, but my word they were impressive!

Monday 6 May 2019

Desert Hovels

Just the briefest of posts to showcase a couple of dwellings, planned for a Tatooine inspired Star Wars: Legion Board.  These were from 'TTCombat' and were a simple cost effective solution to setting the scene.  Having put them together in no time at all, I was curious to see if they could be enhanced to disguise the angular, rather boxy look?  Wet strength tissue paper and PVA were used to seal the dome with the addition of some ‘eroded’ blue Styrofoam supports around the base.  This was all given a coat of All Purpose Filler.  On reflection I probably used too much on the first building and reigned that back a bit on the second attempt, striving for a crude, Adobe wall like effect.
Once dried additional sand texture was added along with some A/C Greebles from ‘Combatzone Scenery’ with the coiled wire and bulkhead lights coming from ‘Zinge Industries’.   The whole piece was then given a diluted PVA glue protective coat.  Painting just saw them primed in a suitable sand like colour, washed with Agrax Eathshasde and then dry brushed.
From start to finish, this was a refreshingly quick build, which went much as I had hoped.  I had everything crossed when I gave them a spray coat of matt varnish as this has eaten into the blue foam before, but the protective PVA layer seemed to hold and all was well.  With a couple of hovels under my belt and some new techniques secured, I am hoping to progress to a slightly more challenging build next.
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