Costumes at Comic-Con

29 July 2009


Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame) spent Comic-Con 2009 dressed like this, cosplay_108_fullhandily allowing him to wander around (and apparently bumping into as many as twelve people dressed up as Adam Savage..).

On Twitter he was giving clues but not revealing his actual costume, allowing his readers to try to guess or find him at the convention.

I looked up a few other photos, about six hundred of them over at Maximum PC. I rather liked the judges from Judge Dredd, although there were countless other very impressive ones. I did wonder about some of the women, there were many in costume and most were rather attractive. Geeks can be hot too, I guess. How times change..

cosplay_580_fullI think Hannah’s Pikachu costume may have been one-upped, but only because the British climate rarely supports a costume as skimpy as the one pictured, ahem..

Back on topic: looking at Adam’s costume made me feel the urge to build a Joker costume. Specifically that one. I don’t have the face for a normal Joker outfit and I cannot be bothered to acquire the relevant purple suit. Or the knives. Or the huge number of grenades..

Let’s not blow this out of proportion..

This is a relatively easy one though and doesn’t require any previous knowledge of anything to work as a costume.

rev_joker-toy-figure_bank-robber-movie-scenesA blazer, black leather gloves, trousers, shoes and a relatively mundane shirt make up the basic costume. To complete the look all that would be required would be the mask, some hair paint (and some wax, I imagine) as well as a smoke grenade replica and some purple cord or string.

If I get around to it, I’d like to build it. In the meantime I’m focusing on wargames stuff, but I thought that a bit of variety was due on here.

IMG_1675As I write this I’ve got a little lego box sitting next to me full of RTV silicone, hopefully mixed in the correct proportions (not a hope).

It’s the first part of the Ork kannon mould I’m attempting to make. I didn’t like the fact that there’s no real model for the Orky shotgun any more, there’s just a few left over Gorkamorka ones which look puny in the hands of modern Ork models. I’m getting the feeling I may have written this before, so I’ll get onto the next bit.

IMG_1681I want to start assembling my Gorker mob of Orks for Gorkamorka, but currently the lack of kannon models is the limiting factor. With any luck the mould will give good results and I can cast a few in resin. I’ve started on the vehicles and I’m stripping the paint from a few models. Irritatingly I seem to have lost my harpoon gun model, which is going to make the war trukk conversion that slight bit trickier unless I can un-earth it.

Then there’s my rebel grots, several of whom are currently sitting in a glass of Dettol to remove their previous paint (it wasn’t a bad paint job per se, but I’d like my models to be consistent). I was also rather pleased with myself when I tore the head off an old metal grot and replaced it with a plastic one. I’d always hated the old one and now I’m rather smug about it. Nyah.


Lastly, I’d like to share these with other Gorkamorka players out there:



Click on them to get the full size versions of them. There’s permission to photocopy them for personal use granted on them, so I think it’s probably okay to upload them like this. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got access to a printer but not a photocopier. Hopefully this isn’t illegal, but if I get contacted by Games Workshop I’ll happily take them down.

For da republik!

24 July 2009

I've been working on my rebel grots for a few days in total and so far I'm rather pleased with how it's going. Back in the day a player would require a huge number of metal grots (~£6 for two!) plus several vehicles (rare although relatively cheap). That'd be about sixty quid for a mob of them.

So far mine has cost me perhaps ten pounds and that covers my whole mob with spares. The new plastic Warhammer 40,000 grethin are great. About six quid for ten (plus an Ork who has become the gunner in my Gorker mob, but that's another story).

Plastic models are a gods send for the simple fact that they can easily be repositioned and modified. Metal models are tougher but modifications need careful cuts and green stuff. Plastic can be fused back together and rebuilt with relative ease. A scalpel, a few files and some polystyrene cement and a model can be heavily modified successfully.

Few of my models are precisely as they were when they came out of the box. Heads are swapped, weapons sliced off and changed, accessories added and limbs repositioned.

Taking this further, my grot's vehicle fleet is two-thirds complete. Two land yachts ("cuttas") and a large thingy ("big lugga") are what they're planning to field, but so far only the cuttas are done.

IMG_1595 They're scratch built and perhaps a little large, but I think it's a little more practical to make them larger than the rather puny old Gorkamorka vehicles.

Leading on from that, my Gorkers are fielding two vehicles - a buggy and a trukk. I've not really considered precisely how to do the truck yet, but the buggy is based on an old Gorkamorka Rokkit buggy:


It's not huge, but it should hold three or four models now, a significant improvement from it's previous passenger capacity of "you're 'aving a laugh!".

Finally, I'd like to share a work in progress shot of four of my rebel grots being painted:IMG_1622

From left to right - my banna waver, random grot with six-shoota, my head honcho, and a random grot with a slugga and knife.

I'm particularly proud of the banna waver (or was it "wava"?). He had a club which I hollowed out and attached a banner pole from an old, erm, Gorkamorka biker? Then I used a few bits of plasticard to build a star of the revolution to complement the new pole.

The weapon is actually unique too. It's a sawn-off shoota with a new green-stuff barrel and the stock off some other random weapon.

My head honcho is much simpler, a sawn-off blunderbuss plus a sight from a bunch of plastic orks.

It's a lot harder to paint grots having got used to painting bigger greenskins. They're bloody tiny! I'm very pleased with them though and I think at this rate I'll have the whole lot polished off before I get back to civilisation, just in time to build a big lugga and an orky trukk or six. I'm probably going to be building/modifying some vehicles for Dawn and Matt, should they require them. I think I may be painting his orks too, as I know he has little to no interest in physical tokens in games.

Then there's the plans for our giant, modular Necromunda board, but I'll have to save that story for later..

M16-stage-twoYes, yes, it’s a lousy photo.

I’ve been sculpting again, or attempting to. I’ve got most of the basic shape down now and I’m trying to get the details right, or close enough.

Most recently I’ve been working on the ejection port cover as well as the handle, barrel near the stock, handguard and front sight.

Given that the entire model is only 38mm long, I don’t feel I’m doing too badly. I was especially pleased to discover the deal with the forward assist and the M16. Confused? Ah, well let Mr. Fox explain:

Colt-m16-dokrivat- That thingy is a “forward assist”. The original M16 didn’t have it, but it was added in the XM16E1 (standardised as the M16A1 by the US Army). So, if I understand correctly, my marine lads’ weapons shouldn’t have forward-assists, if their weapons are supposed to come from 1965, 1966 or early 1967. If they are supposed to be from after that time, they should have forward assists.

Well, I think I’ll model the earlier weapon and then when I’ve cast a few I’ll make some with forward assists, others without by sculpting further on the duplicates.

I also plan on adding some extra stuff to the duplicates so I can have different variants. Varying flash suppressors, scopes, magazines, etc..

Cheaper Wargames Paint

17 July 2009

vallejoIn my last entry I did a price comparison of various sites for sourcing Games Workshop miniatures. This time I’m not doing the same thing, as there’s a fairly clear winner when it comes to paint.

I used to buy Citadel paint and I can’t complain at the quality, although I didn’t have much to compare to. I’ve still got lots of it left, but it is in various states of decay and in any case, I wasn’t going to lug a drawer full of paints up to Edinburgh on the train.

Instead I asked around and discovered Vallejo paints and was directed to a source on eBay. I bought 17 pots/bottles of Vallejo paint at about £1.19 each, after the 15% discount from the seller for buying more than 16.

First off, there’s two advantages of Vallejo paints:

  • Firstly, the bottles contain a nozzle at the top allowing them to easily be squidged out onto a pallet, convenient.
  • Secondly, they come in 17ml pots, not 12ml like their citadel brethren

Despite being cheaper than the citadel ones, I was very impressed with their quality. They were a joy to w ork with and I found myself enjoying painting miniatures for the first time in years.

Gifts for Geeks sells them for £1.30 each, without a minimum order requirement to reach the price.

So, for a quick price comparison with Citadel, per ml of paint:

  • Citadel paints work out at approximately 18.6p per ml (£2.25 on GW online)
  • Vallejo paints work out at approximately 7.6p per ml (£1.30 per pot)

To give a worked example:

If I decided to buy a load of paints to paint the Orks and Rebel Grots I’m going to be fielding, I’d need perhaps 15 different colours, ideally a few more.

To buy them in a GW store would cost me £2.25 * 15, so £33.75 + postage (~£4 I’d guess).

To buy the same colours from the Vallejo range at Gifts for Geeks would cost £19.50, plus postage (again, about £4).

That’s a difference of £14.25. The Vallejo paints cost nearly half as much, but there’s an additional bonus – there’s 40% more paint in the Vallejo ones!

I’m curious how much it’d cost to make the orders the same in terms of paint quantity, so I’ve worked it out. Vallejo paints contain ~41.67% more paint (I can’t be bothered to figure out how to add the symbol to indicate a recurring decimal). So, to get an accurate figure of how much it would (in theory) cost to buy fifteen 12ml pots of Vallejo, I just take the £19.25 total and chop 41.67% off it. Boosh!

£22.52 cheaper than Games Workshop.

Hopefully this will help some of you get a better deal on paint and be able to afford a broader spectrum of colours!

In between Falconry Festival stuff I’ve been thinking about how to cheaply buy miniatures for my upcoming wargames. This was prompted by this article (“Games Workshop on a Budget”).

This is by no means an exhaustive comparison and it is of course only valid as I write this, but hopefully the basic truths will hold true over the coming months.

I had a look at Gifts for Geeks, Maelstrom Games, Megaminis and Wayland games, attempting to buy the same Warhammer 40,000 models:

  • A box of ten Imperial Guard Catachan Jungle Fighters
  • A box of ten Ork Boyz
  • One Ork Trukk

For a baseline comparison I check the Games Workshop online store. Technically, this isn’t accurate. The GW online store prices are different from the GW retail outlets on the proverbial high street. How different? Probably not much, but I’m not about to dig up the number of GW Edinburgh and ask them to do a price check for me. Suffice to say, if you want them immediately, you’ll pay a premium.

(Click on the table to get the full size image)

In each column I’ve listed the best price in italics although for the postage column there’s a bit of an exception, see my side-notes for details.

I’ve just relented and phoned GW Edinburgh to find out today’s prices in-store:

  • £12 - Catachan Jungle Fighters
  • £12 - Ork Boyz
  • £18 - Ork Trukk

That’d be a total of £42. So, a total saving of about £5.17 if bought from Wayland Games, rather than in store.

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s that worth it, unless one is buying more miniatures. Of course, if we take into account the delivery from GW it might be a marginally bigger difference, but I doubt it’d push the difference much beyond £10.

I would say that the main difference to me is a two-fold psychological difference:

  • I don’t like giving Games Workshop money directly. If I can support these independent retailers and get a discount, I’m all for it.
  • Paying £18 for a Trukk is just too much for me. They used to be about £10 and I considered that too much. £14.40 is much easier to swallow.

96p per model is considerably better than £1.20, 20% cheaper, as it happens.

That’s it for now, although I plan on adding where to buy paint in another blog entry, as that’s somewhere considerable savings can be made.


A couple of side-notes:
Firstly, I was planning on buying a box of Ork Gretchin in this test, but Megaminis only stock the old, expensive, metal ones, so it wouldn’t be a fair test.

Secondly, at the time of writing, Games Workshop’s online store is offering free postage for the whole month. I don’t know what they normally charge, but I felt a special offer shouldn’t count in the stats, hence why it isn’t rated as the best postage price.

Social turning points

15 July 2009

I doubt very much that I'm unique in remembering vividly the turning points in my relationships with people. The ones I'm talking about primarily are those which diminish the individual in my eyes nearly permanently.

Sadly, I encounter this with most people I meet, sooner, rather than later. Someone does or says something and I find myself incapable of respecting them any more. Often it's when someone snaps at me about something trivial, often it's when I'm patronised and other times it's some aspect of their behaviour that I consider idiotic.

Allergies are one thing, accepting a plate full of food with no intention of finishing it is another. Presumptuous and condescending remarks are an excellent way to permanently lose my respect and discourage me from even attempting amiability.

I try quite hard to be friendly and not to tax the patience of others, but I doubt very much whether I succeed. I'm relatively sure that I'm hard to work with and do not work well with authority. I'm pretty much conditioned to not take orders blindly and to speak up when an issue or question arises.

I guess I feel a little paranoid at the moment as many things are shifting and it would seem new alliances much be forged to compliment existing ones and replace broken ones. I also hope I'll soon have time to renew some friendships that I have felt flagging lately, but if the mood or opportunity doesn't present itself that could be tricky.

Arriving on Tuesday night, it's been an eventful few days here in Englefield. Wednesday involved the erection of two marquees, two Medieval Indian tents and Dawn's camping tent. Plenty of work and relatively pleasant, but the mood was bolstered greatly by my team, who seem to have inadvertently ended up under my command.
Thursday involved the Japanese delegation's traditional hunting lodge, far too many metres of faux-thatch and lots of swearing. We managed to get it into a finished state although as yet no one seems to have shown up to inhabit it..

In the intervening time between then and now I've got a bit of sunburn, wandered around to see what all the fuss is about and am generally in high spirits.

..and remember - falconers do it one-handed.

gorkamorka-tagsI’ve been on a bit of a wargaming, uh, in a bit of a, well, I’ve been thinking about 28mm miniatures and the games they’re used in a lot. There we go.

I used to play Warhammer 40,000 but that was quite some time ago and these days I’ve neither the money, time or inclination to play. Especially since the rules have changed twice since I last played.

What I do have the inclination to play are Games Workshop’s “specialist games” (as they term them). So, if you follow my blog you may have seen a few of my Mordheim miniatures and portable terrain for the same. I also play Gorkamorka and Necromunda. Well, I used to play Necromunda about ten years ago and I never got to play Gorkamorka properly.

However, I may soon get the chance to run a campaign of one or more of these, as I may soon have enough players, which would be rather awesome. With this in mind I’d like to play as Rebel Grots for Gorkamorka. I’ve been considering how to scratch build some vehicles for them, given the fact that the official miniatures for them are both rarer than hens’ teeth but also cost an arm and a leg. On the plus side, one used to have to purchase metal grots at an absurd price – recently GW released plastic grots in the same style. ~£8 for a box of ten of them. Sorted.

vietnam_rchampion_1971_smIn terms of Necromunda I’m not sure, but I’m considering playing as Vietnam Orlocks. Orlocks are just a random standard house gang in Necromunda, nothing special about them, fairly standard background. I’ve not considered the backstory (the “fluff”) for why these Vietnam War American GIs are in the wrong time period, but I’ll come up with something. Getting miniatures for the m isn’t tough – Catachan jungle fighters (Imperial Guard) are just the ticket but there is one sticking point.

The weapons.

In Necromunda warriors can be armed with all sorts of things, including the weapons of choice of Imperial Guard forces, the lasgun. What would the GIs be packing? Well, M16s, M14s and supported perhaps by an M79, M60 and a shotgun or sniper rifle.

The M14 isn’t hard to mimic, same with the M79. The M16 is a tricky one though. There don’t appear to be many 28mm scale models with anything similar and definitely not on a sprue (the few I found had far more modern variants of the rifle). Well, out with the green stuff and to work I went!M16-sculpt-wip

It’s not finished yet and there’s a lot of work to be done yet, but it’s coming along. Once the stock and barrel set I should be able to refine them further. The other side contains more detail although it too needs additional work. It may look a tad crude, but it should be noted that the whole weapon measures only 4cm. It’s tiny and the green stuff isn’t setting anywhere near fast enough. That said, I’m relatively confident that I’ll be able to add sufficient detail. It may not end up as detailed as the lasgun on the top left, but it won’t necessarily be too far off.

If I succeed in doing that, I intend on making a mould of it and casting several in resin so that I can equip many models and produce variants of the design.



I found a supplier of 28mm Vietnam figures that sell the weapons separately! Want to see something interesting?


That’s their M16A1. How does mine measure up, do you feel?

On the plus side, their M14 and M60 renditions are much better:



IMG_1439There’s plenty of reasons I don’t love Thursdays, but this week that reason was a horse lorry full of gear for the upcoming Festival of Falconry. Mid-morning my mother and I set off for Englefield, outside reading, a relatively short journey, slowed considerably by the weight of the several Yurts in the back of the vehicle.

Upon arrival we were to retrieve a white “galatent” (muffled swearing) which apparently comes with no useful documentation and apparently was put away but someone daft. Why? Because we have two of these tents.

Some daft sod had mixed the two sets of equipment so we could build a roof (with spares left over!)IMG_1445 but only had five of the wall poles. We needed at least ten. No tent for our equipment then!

Of course, it took us a few hours to properly establish this, along with a failed attempt at utilising some of the spares instead. We came to the realisation that even if we had the correct parts, we would have required a further four people to erect the blasted thing.

Considerable swearing later, we had the tent roof tied down (more swearing) and got ourselves to Englefield’s polo stables, where equipment was being stored. I’m not the strongest of guys and my mother is of retirement age (although definitely not of retirement body, she’s probably stronger than me..).

Yeah.. we were faced with the task of unloading huge chunks of heavy canvas, countless support poles (both for Yurts and our own failed tent) and of course, the many, many bits of wooden lattice used to form the yurt walls. Oh and the sun was right over head giving temperatures of 28 - 32°C. Toasty! (well, for Britain).  IMG_1447 I think we finally got the lot unloaded at around 1900 and proceeded to find somewhere to get some dinner. We’d been looking forward to dining at this wonderful little pub on the other side of Englefield. Yeah, turns out it has closed its doors permanently. Bugger. Plan B. Nearby little town, Teale. The first pub was also closed. Bugger that, we went to a nearby Indian restaurant. By 2330 we finally got back to the facility and got some rest.

It’s going to be a long week in the run-up to the Festival itself..

I’m starting to feel the need to play wargames again. Not one of the big ones, as in hundreds of models. I have neither the time nor the inclination for that. I would like to play Necromunda though, although I don’t see it happening any time soon.

Whilst portable Mordheim terrain is quite feasible, Necromunda is trickier. It has a far more diverse and intricate setting, leading to really beautiful terrain. Sadly it’s a bitch to store.

One day, maybe..

Anyway, I’d like to make a list of things I’d like to accomplish in the coming semester, on a mundane level:

  • Weekly Mordheim sessions as part of an ongoing campaign for the Wyrdstone in the city
  • Weekly or fortnightly GURPS sessions
  • More salsa dancing. I used to salsa dance and I’d like to take it back up and get better at it.
  • Better study habits – I found that using small exercise books to be far more manageable for arranging my notes. I’d like to keep that up.
  • More updates here on the Flamekeblog

In general, a bit of a routine would be good for me and I’ll have a lot of ENTV stuff on my plate and hopefully plenty of academic stuff too. I hope that by scheduling some fun stuff first it’ll be easier to slot some “work” stuff in too.

I would also like to update my blog more often than I currently do. Whilst I may blog far more often than many of the people I know, I feel that sometimes I neglect this blog. I like looking over it and seeing what I’ve been up to and the odd person finds it interesting.