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Zoxe

Dropfleet Commander

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Posted (edited)

At long last, I've finally put some paint on the Dropfleet Army.  I have an event at GenCon and an entire fleet to paint!  Over the holiday, I managed to get about half the fleet primed and did enough of a test piece to know that my colors are going to work together.

 

1.  I built up my pair of Battleships.  These are the BIG boys on the field.  More details on the build-up and a few more pictures HERE

 

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2.  I built up a pair of GenCon Exclusive ships (no pictures yet).  These are limited edition ships only available at shows - for those in the U.S., that means GenCon.  They share stats with other cruisers, so there's no gaming advantage - just an alternate sculpt and different name.

 

3.  I primed and started airbrushing the 2-player starter pack.  The ship that's shaded isn't done - it's just "done enough" to know that I can catch up the other ships to this state of done-ness and then work on the details.  HOPEFULLY I can replicate the process.  (I tried to take notes and pictures, but ... yikes, it was a busy day!)

 

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Edited by Zoxe
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Oooh, I am loving these!!! Give us more painted minis, Zoxe!!! I love the design you did for these. Did you use tape to get the stripes? How did you do that so perfectly?

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1 hour ago, TheAuthorOfOZ said:

Man, all the cool starfleet battle games need painting...I suck at painting...

The more you do it, the better you get at it.

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2 hours ago, Zoe said:

Oooh, I am loving these!!! Give us more painted minis, Zoxe!!! I love the design you did for these. Did you use tape to get the stripes? How did you do that so perfectly?

Thanks all! 

More to follow on this project. I have a good start but really need some heavy progress in the next 2 weeks. Rough count, about 2/3 of the fleet/army is now assembled and 1/2 is sitting in primer.  I may pause, build the rest, and then Henry Ford assembly line everything (bench space is at a premium so that actually may not work).

The stripes are indeed masked and airbrushed. I'll take some pics when I do the next one. The accent panels on the center hull were done by hand. Mask and paint was a lot faster but no way to fix it if the tape leaks!

 

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Posted (edited)

Actually, I did take a finished picture of the taping process, but will try to take some step-by-step pictures next time.

The yellow and white is Tamiya 10mm and 2mm (respectively) hobby tape.  In my (limited) research, it has a low adhesion point to hopefully eliminate pulling the base color off, but also seals off really well.  I found it to be flexible and easy to use.  The yellow has the texture of a normal masking tape, while the white had more of a plastic feel to it.  I sourced mine from Amazon and Tower Hobbies.

The green tape is some old 'Frog' tape we bought at Lowe's maybe 8 years ago while repainting a bedroom.

Here's what I did:

  1. Lay 1 piece of 10mm tape across the model where you want the stripe.  I did this somewhat loosely but stick down the tape enough so that it doesn't run away and stick to your eyebrow or the cat.
  2. Using the first piece to align, place 2 more pieces on either side.  You'll note I used 10mm tape on the right side but 2mm tape on the other to avoid some geometry, and then put some 10mm tape over that to extend the coverage.
  3. Remove the first piece of tape and burnish/seal the remaining pieces at the seam.  Check for overall alignment and the amount of joy it gives you.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until you achieve the desired amount of joy and the least amount of swearing.
  5. Place a 2mm piece of tape offset from one side.  I eyeballed it about 2mm from the edge.  Burnish/seal the 2mm piece of tape.
  6. Use the Frog tape (or equivalent) to block the rest of the model.  My taping was overkill but once you pull the tape off the roll it's not going back on... so I used it all.
  7. Mix a bit of your highlight color. I mixed this towards the "thick" side of my normal consistency, but still thin enough to shoot.  I added 3-4 drops of glaze medium to mine to make it smooth but don't know how much this helped.
  8. I used a Sotar 2020 (detail brush) at 40psi and swept side to side in short bursts.  Super small amount of paint at each pass.  If any paint leaks under the tape you're DONE, so any runs/pooling is bad news.  I sprayed a bit then shifted to the other "wing" to let the first side dry, then stared at the ceiling and thought about the deepest mysteries of the universe, then continued.  (The paint really doesn't take long to 'set' so this process didn't take long overall; mixing the paint took longer).
  9. Remove all tape, pray for no goops, glops, runs, or lifted basecoat.
  10. Run around the house making pew pew pew sounds and "flying" your new ship.
  11. Remove all tape from your cat.

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Edited by Zoxe
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Posted (edited)

What's this?? Is Zoxe copying the DMG Sentinal Box for dice storage???

Oh, heck no... I just couldn't pass up the photo op. :)

I needed more space to store/handle "ships on a stick" (glued to a paperclip that's shoved into a cork) so I swiss cheesed a 2x4.  I made a smaller version of this a few months back (it's shown in one of the pics above) and found it really handy, but the ships are bigger than normal figures/minis and I have a lot of ships to paint.  For this version, the pockets don't go all the way through so I can pick up the entire "tray" of WIP and move it if I need to.

 

 

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Edited by Zoxe

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That looks fantastic and that's a game I am way to intimidated to try out. I've seen the battlefields and they look as amazing as they are crazy full. 

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Posted (edited)

The march to Gencon continues!  I have this weekend and next weekend to get the bulk of the shipbuilding done.  The weekend before Gencon, we'll be getting ready for the event itself, and I'd like to have the fleet in its storage container and ready to put in the car well before Jul 28.

My goal this weekend was to get the small ships "complete" and the big ships ready to take color (i.e. gap filling and any primer touchup).  I've met my goal, and am about to sit down for a glass of rye and the Harry Potter marathon currently on Syfy/USA.  

What remains for these ships is only the engine glows, dotting up some of the anti-collision lights, and a healthy coat of varnish after they've had a chance to cure.  These ships are small - smaller than a hotwheel car - so there's not as much opportunity for striping and elaborate airbrushing.  I stuck to the basics and then striped what I could.  Most if my time yesterday was in the masking and airbrushing the stripes in small batches (I probably had more masking and painting the 1 color stripe than to run all the ships through the 5-color airbrush basecoat).  That being said, when I got up yesterday they were still 100% black primer so the method moves pretty quickly if you can assembly line it.

Disclaimer:  I used a really dark silver to line the edges and some details. Under direct light, the camera really picks it up.  In person under natural table light, they don't look so shiny.

 

Pic 1:  Missile frigate.  Will be close air support for my flagship.  I built two of these but only needed one for my list.  I've tested the navigation lights in blue, but don't think they show up well enough.  These guys were a b*tch to mask for striping, so I gave up and just did an accent across the bridge.

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Pic 2 and 3:  Small squadron of corvettes.  I'm really happy with this scheme, especially the menacing red tips of the missiles against the gray/blue hull.  I masked off the bridge to match the missile frigates' scheme, and then hand painted the canard tips.  The mold for these guys is apparently 3d printed, so you get some of the printed texture in the result, which makes me a little sad.

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Pic 4:  Gunboats and the 2nd Missileboat.  I spent a ton of time with the masking tape, but feel it came out well.  At the very end and out of focus are the troopship carriers - the Dropships that give Dropfleet its name.

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Edited by Zoxe
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On 7/10/2018 at 9:46 AM, Lindsey said:

That looks fantastic and that's a game I am way to intimidated to try out. I've seen the battlefields and they look as amazing as they are crazy full. 

I'm excited to play, but I'm a little sad that because of Hawk Wargames' issues with Kickstarter that the company kind of stalled.

Here's the story about how I ended up going heavy into Dropfleet Commander (DFC).

Back in the early 90s, I played MTG (during the Revised / 4th Edition days).  We played in the dorm, and the first year life was great.  Fun way to spend an evening with friends over a few beers.  My group dispersed at the end of that school year, but down the road I ran into another group on campus running MTG.  I'd been away from it for awhile, and during my hiatus things got really intense.  Game after game of: "Ok, I play this, I tap this card, this and this happens, your guys all die .... aaaaand ... you're dead."   The new crowd I was playing against had 5-10x more cards than me, and spent every waking moment contriving new decks that would trounce my well-worn Red/Black and Blue/Black decks. I started playing PC games instead.

Fastforward.

I've lurked around the edges of Warmahordes for years.  I love the steampunky minis, and like the idea of a strategy based minis game.  When we initially got into the tabletop scene, I went headlong into X-Wing (lack of assembly/paint, big Star Wars nerd).  

Several hundred $$ into X-Wing, I found that the skirmish format really didn't suit me.  I was reminded of MTG from 20 years ago with gimmick combos and a pay-to-win power creep at every release.  But I also found that I absolutely LOVED the X-Wing in the Epic-scale 6v6 scenarios that we could get into a Gencon.  (But of course, we can only find those sorts of games ONLY at Gencon; local shops want to run tournament format).  I threw my hands in the air and walked away from X-Wing.

Last year this time, I was once again thinking about buying into Warmahordes.  Menoth, maybe Khador.  Maybe both.  I had a healthy bonus check from work, and 50% of it was going in the bank and the other 50% was going to get spent on the Gencon show floor.  But I kept reading account after account of new players getting slammed for dozens of games or not being able to find people willing to play low-points lists to practice, and I was reminded of my MTG and X-Wing experiences.  

I was also considering DFC.  Watching a few games on youtube showed it to be somewhere between a skirmish and a full-on wargame.  Matches are won by scenario points, so it's not a straight-up joust/brawl.  This seemed to scratch the itch for the scenario-based X-Wing games that I loved.  So, I hit up the Hawk booth at Gencon and some of my bonus check went to the DFC ships that I'm painting now.

This time last year, Hawk had new releases coming out and things looked bright.   One of the local shops was carrying them and it felt like there was a chance it would take off.  Hawk stalled but then got bought by TTCombat; while there's a pulse it seems like they're still struggling.   After months of not being able to restock the highest demand items, the local shop now has DFC in the clearance bin.  And once again, I'm looking at Warmahordes as a future project, even if I only paint but don't play. :)

TLDR:  I'm a filthy casual.

 

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I lied, I'm having a Glenlivet Nadurra 16yo single malt scotch.  

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5 hours ago, Zoxe said:

I lied, I'm having a Glenlivet Nadurra 16yo single malt scotch.  

I'm having a craft brew call "Crazy Aunt".  Ale with a gin and tonic hint.

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I posted elsewhere already, but I dramatically slowed this project down and will miss my self-imposed Gencon deadline.

Which sucks, but I think it's for the greater good.

As last Sunday wrapped up, I was happy with how things looked but also found myself making making trade-offs to sacrifice quality for speed.  Nothing horrible, but definitely a measurable reduction in quality.  And then I started thinking about the larger ships - Cruisers, Battlecruiser, and Battleships.  There's just a lot of surface area to paint and a lot of little details that I'd have to gloss over (pun intended).  I had so much to do, and to try to do all that AND still maintain the level of quality I wanted was going to be hard to get done before I needed to have things packed for Gencon.  I actually lost sleep about it that Sunday night.

I took Monday off from painting.  Tuesday I made the decision to drop the DFC event but wasn't ready to say it out loud.  Then my week went wonky and I didn't actually get back to the painting table until yesterday.  I intended to do some quick touch-up of the frigates and then move on to other ships but spent 3+ hrs fixing shortcuts and stopped there. 

Anyway, that was the confirmation I needed to know that I'd made the right call to punt.  I can still hit the demo table and get some DFC dice rolling in, and Gencon Saturday is going to be much more relaxed, and I think I'll enjoy the ramp-up to the "best 4 days in gaming" now a lot better.

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Now that I finally have a massive darkness group formed, I'm back to painting the last few monsters and heroes.  I'm 80% done with the last mob (18 of them).  I really want them out of the way.

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@Zoxe Your work is very impressive. When I saw those strips on the ship, I was wondering how you pulled that off. Then you told and included a great picture explaining the process. Very impressive indeed. 

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11 hours ago, RomyCat said:

@Zoxe Your work is very impressive. When I saw those strips on the ship, I was wondering how you pulled that off. Then you told and included a great picture explaining the process. Very impressive indeed. 

His step 11 from above cracks me up.

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@RomyCat I enjoy writing instructions and slipping stuff like that in. :)  Thank you all for the positive feedback so far.

Even though I didn't make the GenCon cutoff, I'm still working through these ships and made some decent progress this weekend.  The capital ships are now basecoated and shaded.

MOST IMPORTANT, I declared the small ships (Frigates and Corvettes) to be done!  #donenotperfect

More pictures here:  http://zoxes.blogspot.com/2018/07/hot-off-desk-dropfleet-commander-ucm.html

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On 7/29/2018 at 3:54 PM, Zoxe said:

@RomyCat I enjoy writing instructions and slipping stuff like that in. :)  Thank you all for the positive feedback so far.

Even though I didn't make the GenCon cutoff, I'm still working through these ships and made some decent progress this weekend.  The capital ships are now basecoated and shaded.

MOST IMPORTANT, I declared the small ships (Frigates and Corvettes) to be done!  #donenotperfect

More pictures here:  http://zoxes.blogspot.com/2018/07/hot-off-desk-dropfleet-commander-ucm.html

IMG_20180729_145812.thumb.jpg.c797bbb0eb16fba90ec652505c97baa0.jpg

Don't mind me, I'm just over here drooling over these pics. They're so gosh darn purdy...

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