Archive for category hobby

Hobby wallet share for 2013.

A fun idea borrowed from The Emperors Blog. Who earned your hobby dollars in 2013?

Hobby Spend

The chart represents about $950 in spending for 2013.  Most of these purchases are actually second hand, coming either from Ebay or TMP.

Reaper takes the lead with the Bones II Kickstarter and a rather large paint purchase.

Gripping Beast, Foundry, FireForge, Perry, BTD, Musketeer and Old Glory all contributed components for my Crusader project.

Wire spears from Northstar are indispensable, but often hard to find in the US.  I pick up several hundred to insure myself a life time supply.

Shogun & GF9 for trays and bases.

Other Retail and Secret Weapon (love the Dark Sepia wash) were mostly paints & brushes from local art/craft stores.



D & D Game Board

Over the past few months, I’ve manged to get myself in to a D&D campaign.  4th edition is very nearly a different game from the old AD&D I used to play back in college (bonus points to anyone who remembers how long ago that was).  The new game uses a strict grid for combat resolution – a situation I find 10 years of miniature gaming very suited for.  With a few nights work, I set up a battle board using Hirst Arts bricks.  All of the objects are movable, allowing for any number of conflicts to be fought over the 4 6×6 dungeon tiles.

Paint plan

  • Medium Grey house paint for base
  • Highlights with Light Gray (Folk Art) & Country Tan (Apple Barrel)
  • Tile details: Rifle Butt (Howard Hues)
  • Select details: Stone (Secret Weapon)

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Magnetic Movement Tray

Magnetizing figure trays is an idea which has been around for a long time.  My Arab army is all metal – I need a system which is sturdy and inexpensive.   Any magnet system must have a strong hold to grip these figures both on the field and in the transport case.

Figure Magnets:  MSC Direct offers adhesive backed magnetic strips in a variety of widths.  Use 1 inch width for cavalry and .75 inch width for 20mm infantry.  A 10 foot roll will provide 160 infantry bases and 60 cavalry bases.  For about $20, an entire army can be magnetized.

Steel Tray:  Home Depot sells sheet sheet in 12×12 sizes for about $5.  You’ll need a pair of tin snips and a pair of gloves to cut the steel.  Take care – the steel will be sharp.  Glue the steel to a standard GW movement tray with 5 minute epoxy.  Several hobby retailers sell rubberized sheets for movement trays – unfortunatly, these do not provide a firm base for heavier metal figures.

Sheet steel with GW tray

How far...

Can you go...

One more option for trays:  Shogun makes sheet movement trays.  The Flanged trays are no thicker the the stock sheet from Home Depot but are super sturdy.  Being all steel, the magnets stick strongly.  Best of all, the trays are very cost effective.  I look forward to trying out the trays during my next game.

Shogun tray




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Raven Costume

My oldest daughter is Raven from the Teen Titans this Halloween.  We’ve been working on various costume parts for the past few weeks.  I dipped into the hobby bag of tricks to create the jeweled medallions for Raven’s belt and cloak.

The Medallions are 2 layers of 3mm Depron foam with a coat of Foam Coat from Hot Wire Foam Factory.  Before the layers were attached, fine gauge wire was inserted to provide a means of anchoring the medallion to the costume.  The waist chain is a 99 cent vinyl belt spray painted gold, and the hand/throat attachments are made using fabric pins.

Now I get to see if my creation can hold up to a day at school followed by some enthusiastic trick or treating.

As an aside – does anyone else find themselves using hobby skills for all sorts of projects?  Are hobby skills just that useful, or is a simple case of using the skills we already have?


Anchor wires

Medallion Belt

Daughter aka Raven


Fair Game, new FLGS

I had a chance to visit a new game store in my area – Fair Game.  Big surprise, I used to game with the owner (Josh) and the manager (Eric) back when Brain Snacks was still open.  Downers Grove has been without a game store for about a half a dozen years  – good to see a new store moving in.  Fair Game carries a wide range of board games, Magic cards and a few RPGs.


Adepticon 2010: Hobby Seminars

Adepticon 2010 is rolling out a strong line up of hobby seminars.  Top of the line instructor are available to help take your hobby skills to the next level.  Be sure to register early, the most popular seminars sell out early.

The Hirst Arts terrain seminar will be returning.  I always have fun teaching this class – the seminar is all hands on and very approachable.  Rest asured, I am no Golden Demon winner – working with Hirst molds is a skill anyone can learn.

Adepticon Hobby Seminar flyer

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Gaming on a Budget

From the Warp asks:  if it’s a money saver, let’s hear about it

Financial Budget:  keep a record of all hobby spending.  Its not so hard to do – keep a spreadsheet with all your hobby cash in and cash out.

  • Set a yearly budget
  • Keep a running total and wait to be surprised by your expenses after six months or so
  • For those of us with families its easier justify large purchases (new armies, air brush, convention trip) if the hobby expenses are under control

Time Budget: gamers are notorious for starting (and not finishing) too many projects.  Stop wasting money on products which never make it to the gaming table.  Only buy figures and supplies that will actually get used.

  • limit yourself to 2-3 projects at a time
  • set a due date for each project – if you have no plan to finish, will you ever finish?
  • clean out the back stock – paint 2, buy 1


Review: Terrain Putty

Terrain Putty is a two part resin marketed by Kraftmark as a terrain builder’s solution.  The product is light weight and produces a dough like putty when mixed.  Combining the resin and hardener is a messy job, frequently getting putty all over one’s fingers.  The resin half is a bit “lumpy” and requires careful attention for a smoothly mix.  The baking analogy continues with the combined product as  the putty feels and acts in the fashion of a sugar cookie dough.  The putty pushes and shapes very well, but has limited ability to pull or stretch. Water functions as a tool lubricant & smoothing agent.  While working time is advertised as 2 hours,  I had no opportunity to work the putty past 90 minutes.

Three Tests

Sculpting: Terrain Putty did a fine job of taking and holding sculpted detail.  The putty is very receptive to finger shaping and able to hold a respectable edge with little work.  Care needs to be taken with the uncured putty, as it has little strength.  Only after 24-48 hours does Terrain Putty develop its full durability.

Patching: As a gap filling product for a resin kit, Terrain Putty does poorly.  The lack of elasticity in the putty makes working a “sausage” into a gap a bit of a chore.

Molding: Terrain Putty does take a texture stamp with some success, although the putty does leave residue on the stamp.  The putty can also be used as a casting material in an RTV mold (such as the Hirst Arts molds).  Terrain Putty is adequate at taking detail & could be used as a substitute for a limited number of pieces if casting resin is not available.

Over all I rate the product a B. The ultra small grain of the epoxy holds detail and takes compression molding very well.  Finally, the price does seem a bit high when compared with other product s on the market.

Project photos: Terrain Putty on the gaming table.


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Absolute Power!

Or at least a new PC. After 7 years, it was time to deep 6 the old Gateway and get a new computer. Through two days of playing around with the new computer, I can’t believe I waited this long. Its like moving from a Model T to a Corvette.

Dell Vostro 400

  • Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 (2.40GHz, 1066FSB, 8MB L2)
  • 3GB memory
  • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS 2DVI.
  • 22 inch Widescreen monitor

And due to Dell’s end of the fiscal year savings it turned out to be rather affordable. FYI -If you are looking for an XP machine, check Dell small business (and no need to be a small business). They are still providing XP as an OS option in that department

little CFebruary has been a very busy month, and very little of it was able to be posted to the blog. Most importantly, C. was born January 27th – giving me two little girls to chase around the house. They say adding a second child is harder to adjust to than the first – but I don’t think its true. After L. I did not pick up a figure for six months. This time I’ve been able to keep at least a hour or two per week to myself.  Cute little bug, isn’t she.

I’ve been casting up a pile of resin objective markers for Adepticon – 440 tokens needed for the tournaments and more for the convention sales. The blocks for the Hirst Seminars are about two thirds done.

Two weeks ago I took a Web design seminar as part of my MBA program. The seminar was a bit week, but it gave me a taste of HTML. Since then I have been reading up on the subject and playing around with products from Komposer and Coffee Cup. Komposer is an open source WYSIWYG HTML editor with very few frills. Coffee Cup has a large line of products including both a Visual and WYSIWYG HTML editor – both have 30 day trial downloads! The class was taught with FrontPage 2003 – a nice enough program ( for a HTML rookie) – but I have concerns about witting pages in a format that requires the web server to have proprietary software.

After far too much effort, I finally have my Legend of the High Seas book from The Warstore. Contrary to popular opinion – this store is not the best to be found on the web: shipping delays, out of stock products and a failure to send the right product will keep me from ordering again. Despite all of that, I did get a group of Foundry pirates Scurvy Swabs to add to the pirate collection. Knew they were small (actually advertised as 28mm on the foundry site)- but these figs are tiny. They will look like children on the table compared with the GW, PP and Black Scorpion figures.

March is not going to be much better for blogging than February. Expect to see more pictures of armies buried in my gaming closet. I have 4000-5000 points of WFB Chaos, so plenty more of them to see. I also have an Eldar (well painted for 2002) and Chaos Space Marine army (not so well painted from 1999) if anyone would rather see pics from those collections.


Fine Scale Modeler magazine

I recently broke my 10 year White Dwarf addiction (yes, I do measure my WD collection in linear feet) and have been looking for a replacement hobby magazine.  The local library carries Fine Scale Modeler in the periodicals section & I’ve been reading through a few back issues to get a feel for the magazine.   Fine Scale has always been referenced in the best light, and after reading two issues – the accolades seem well deserved.  This 80+ page magazine generally publishes 4 or 5 step-by-step articles where a modeler demonstrates the use of various techniques used in the creation of a stunning tank, plane, boat or diorama.  Also included in FS are 8 to 10 model kit previews/reviews and a health portion of advertising pages.  Over all, a rather pleasant product filled with new ideas, but I’m not sure I’ll make a habit of purchasing this $6.50 magazine.  Instead, I will continue to pick up a copies from the library to page through.

When comparing the two magazines, I find it amusing that the standard GW fanboy complaints about WD carry over to Fine Scale:

  • too expensive
  • too much advertising
  • not enough content

WD retails for $6.00 and delivers 140+ pages, FS retails for $6.50 at 80+ pages.  So much for WD being too expensive.

Fully a third of FS is advertising for various model makers.  Granted, the adverts come from a large number of companies instead of one and might actually be useful or interesting- but the principle is the same.  In addition a substantial page count is given over to reviews of new kits by various modelers.  In the WD,  it is common for GW to preview new products – an effort that is dismissed by many readers as just more advertising.

The main articles in FS are high end modeling content designed to raise the bar for its gronard readers.  Most of the articles seem to first present a technique, then show how it is used on the model but fail to actually demonstrate how to achieve the effect.  WD focus on beginning to intermediate articles that attempt to teach the new hobbyist the basic skill set (build,paint, play) needed to use the game.  WD achives its goal of educating the reader as much or more so than FS.

Let the old farts read FS and let the young turks read WD – just don’t confuse the target market & everyone will stay happy.