Wednesday, September 20, 2017

BFTP: Sci Fi cast and almost painted, plus bases

And then they were 3d printed, cast, and slowly started to get painted... That took a while but I did enjoy playing with simple and exotic vehicle paint jobs.   I wish there was more color on the road today.

I also wanted more sci fi bases so I designed a bunch.
and then the painting began.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

BFTP: Sci-Fi Concept Cars!

as a blast from the past (digging up and sorting photos) Im posting some photos every now and again that predate this blog.  These were from an effort of mine a few years back when I was annoyed at how little diversity there was in sci-fi vehicles for 28mm scale models.  only a few existed and even after this it seems there is little imagination out there. People are generally too afriad to try to imagine an interesting future that doesnt reak of homogeneity. so with these vehicles, I started from a basic concept (SUV, reclining car,  highly fragile roadster,  etc) and let it evolve independent of style of the other vehicles in the series.   Kind of going back to when cadellac dared to be a little different... but now sadly nearly all sedans look very similar.   Homogeneaity stinks. 


Later Ill show painted versions and my cityscape tabletops with them on the board. It was colorful!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Arming Fairies for the Fair

EDIT: Pardon my dust.  I was using photobucket for legacy reasons  (read lazy) but they changed their subscriptions from a basic for 10 dollars to 400+.. thats silly, so I am deleteing my account and migrating.   It may be a few weeks before I replace all of the pictures.  However, I plan on having some blast from the past showing pictures that were before this blog.

A few months ago I got a bug to make some wood swords for the rennaisance festival.  My kids had wood swords bought from the fair, one of which I painted pink-purple with lighthing... but I had to be different. So I made myself a few swords... First I made a stand-in for a kanatan.  But it was too boring, and when practicing with my kids I remembered the bane of every adult fighting kids... they arent very good at aiming and you really have to be on  your toes to keep your fingers from getting smashed by flailing kids, especially when they swarm you.
Therefore I designed a series of weapons from small daggers (with finger guards) to short swords for fast blade work (with finger guards) and one great sword (with two finger guards and the ability to use it as a sword, staff or reversed sword depending on how the munchkinds gang up on you).

But, of course I take my swords to the fair and get ready to fight my kids and the swarm of other munchkinds whose parents armed and released them into the grand mele of finger smashing goodness... and my kids want my swords.  I was reduced to the daggers on occasion or convinced one to use one of the short sowrds so I could have a sword and dagger at least to fight off the hoard and keep my kids safe.  And it was a lot of fun!  But I want MY swords... so, ever the enabling parent who is also just looking for an excuse, I had my kids design their own swords with a bit of revision from me for ability to actually make teh things and make them somewhat effective weapons. .

One went with a "heart shaped"  "batleth" style sword which we painted purple.  Its effective for defense but not as good for offense.  Then we painted it purple with flowers and wrapped the handle with athletic tape.

The second wanted a swirly hooky sword because she like how I kept using features on my swords to trap my opponents.  She wanted hers painted white, with metallic edging, styling pictographs, and a bit of blue ice... not to mention the black athletic tape grips.   And I rather like that design, as a single handed sword its well balanced for a little kid and is easily tranistioned to one or two handed.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Airsoft Reflex Sight Parallax Fix

I had a reflex sight  that was working ok, but it had a parallax such that it was ineffective outside of about 30% of the center for distances beyond 30 feet.  My friend recently mentioned he had the same problem and when I looked at his his sight was much worse.  So playing around with them a bit I found a fix that works pretty darned well.  a simple piece of 3-5mm thick acrylic or plexiglass inserted just over the object (the red dot generator) adjusts the optical path enough so that the extremely cheap and not quite in plane curved reflector now has the proper path length to be extremely close to parallax free.  However, his sight had a bad misalignment (cheap chineese crap) and so I had to rotate the optical shim to shift the center so its functional again.  the green lines point to the corners  of the plexiglass shim.  A bit of epoxy and we have a very robust solution.

PULP ww2 fleet progress

I started working on this project when I got some fighters from Iron Wind Miniatures for the Crimson Skies game.   I later found some 1/200 scale ww2 fighters and painted a few of those, then got the bright idea to modify a large zep as a pulp carrier airship.  Recently I realized some of the inspiration for a bunch of airships and Japanese spaceships a while ago were old submarines.  So I decided to take it a step further and use some ww2 subs for large sail based airships with pulp ww2 tech. such as cannons and turboprops.   And for some big ground forces to counter the tech of a large airship, such as a large mechs and scorpions.

On the left is largely ww2 fighters and bombers, on the right is crimson skies fighters.  center has a few experimental fighters.  Front center is a large mech scorpion with a few mech buddies.  Top left is the carrier zep, top right is a pirate cruiser, pirate frigate, luxury yacht, fuel/hydrogen tanker, and switchblade littoral intercept craft.  Jagged bets on the front of the pirate ships and the interceptor are to cut sails.  Main principle is that while props and turboprops work great, they cost fuel and make noise, sails greatly extend the range of an airship. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Legio Custodes

Finally finished another commission.  It appears that GW decided to finally try for a bit of style with the space marines. In a way these look like a bit of steampunk flavored marines.  He wanted a bit of energy shielding on the arm shield and on the fore sections of the tanks.

On this last one, a note to GW.  Please put the mounting post at the CENTER OF GRAVITY.  these things have so much resin making a strong base is a bit tricky with the flimsy plastic base provided.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wraithlord charging in

Also just finished a wraithlord comission. This guy is charging in to introduce someone to the pointy end of his sword.  The ultimate backscratching, through the front.

Stargate SG1 or atlantis, choices choices.

Painted up a stargate from studio bergstrom.  Its about 4" diameter and I glued a clear acrylic disc in the center for painting the event horizon.  It glows very nicely with a wee bit of UV lighting.  he made it either the SG1 or Atlantis type gate based on which side is forward.  Now I just need to figure out how to mount it.

In Space, no one can hear you ...die

In Space, no one can hear you drool over these bad boys right before they send a heat seeker up your tailpipe.

After quite a while staring at me to paint them, I finally brought some life to these Silent Death fighters and capital ships.  I love the variety of this line of ships.  Each was begging for something different.

A carrier with some hotshot ace fighters.
 A Thorn dreadnaught with escort.

And a hammerhead with space superiority fighters. (one of the little ones also reminds me of a hammer head from space-above and beyond)
 A Manta with its interceptor and bomber.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

G&P GBBR M4 Magpul Style Magazine Fix

Ok, so after painting a few mags and then my friend complaining that at first two didn't seal when he gave them to me but now all of them leak.  We worked a deal where I would trouble shoot it.  Looks like I'm the all around commissioned creative handy man!  But after having one explode in my face by just gently flexing it to see if the leak would stop... I wasnt going to let it best me.  Long story short, for the cost of a tube of silicone (8usd / tube), a slightly larger Oring (1-1/16 x 7/8 x 3/32 #17 O-ring) (50c ea), and a helicoil (~1usd ea) you can effectively fix these not quite perfectly designed leaky mags and make them pretty darned robust. 

But the steps are a bit long so see the following file for the fix.

Leaky Airsoft G&p GBBR M4 Magpul Magazine Upgrade Guide

Dont forget to wear safety goggles! Im serious. One exploded on me.

Also, if you balk at the cost of a helicoil kit (I borrowed mine and bought replacement coils from ebay for a few dollars) you can pretty much make your own if you can get the right tap and a long sacrificial threaded rod for insertion.  Then you just have to buy replacement coils. =)

Further side note, dont tap pot metal to hold a seal on a pressurized canister that gets abused... its just a bad fundamental design and possibly life choice.

Silent Death Incomming

I have a batch of silent death ships that have been staring at me on my desk with just primer on them for over a year.  Finally getting the fire to start painting again I quite like how most of these little guys turned out.  Its always fun imagining the race that controls each type of ship and how they may paint the ship.

Better pictures to come once these are completed,  at present they are about 95% complete.  Im not sure if Ill use standard SD bases or make something else,  My base materials stockpile appeared to have been low last time I painted. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Airsoft GBBR experiments

Ok, so when a friend offers to let you paint their cool airsoft guns, you cant say no can you?
Even when he throws a few mags after youve finished and says please paint these too.  Ah scope creep in comissions,  at least it comes with funding creep!.

I rather like how these experiments turned out.  The M4, Im told is a G&p gbbr, and a ptp 1911 make up his more practical aresenal. (dont ask me why he wanted to keep the orange tip on the pistol but not the rifle)   NIR on this rifle looks pretty good though the pistol suffers from the same problem as the nerf guns.  My suspicion is I base coated this with a darker earth color and despite spraying a lighter tan over it in places, the tan is translucent in the NIR causing the light to be eaten nicely by the darker underlayer.  Interesting lesson to learn. Start with the brighter colors that are known to be NIR "compliant" and then paint darker so that you add contrast, just in case some of the colors turn out to be translucent in thin layers in the NIR.   Also, take extra care to degrease that annoying silicone oil from the mags or paint will never stick.

Then we have my favorite, the experiment at a visible spectrum "high visibility" Tech scheme, that in the NIR is actually a decent NIR "compliant" "camo".   Im quite happy with how this one turned out and he apparently is to.  Though he wants the bottom and his mags to stay black so those will stand out in the NIR.... oh well. I do agree the contrast looks cool as hell.

Also, as a side note I discovered some more interesting info.  I was using duracoat paint chips to estimate NIR compliance.  However in contacting them they informed me that (had I been thinking duh) they use a printer to print the inks and it is not actually paint on the test cards.  So the NIR compliance based on the cards is silly.  However!  this made me wonder why some behaved differently than I expected and looking more into it discovered some inks are very bright or translucent in the NIR.   I then remembered a strange phenomena I dismissed a while ago where the printed labels on my paints were blank white in the NIR.  So food for thought, consider mixing inks in with dark paints to push their NIR compliance, depending on if the ink is reflective or translucent in the NIR.  Broader solution space for painting investigations!

But back to my regularly scheduled program. All this painting of big things got me itching to paint smaller as well so I started a few Silent Death Spaceships,  Alt-WW2 fighters etc.   Soon to a blog near you.

NERF camo extravaganza

Well I didnt care for the grey nerf gun, so I repainted it.
I actually like this one a bit better even though it appears to be worse in the NIR.  I also painted up a nerf grenade launcher (shoots the big red darts) which accounts for my two favorite action nerf guns.  I much prefer pumping each round than relying on batteries.   I went with a messy concrete'ish top for the grenade launcher and a quasi tech camo with mostly classical earthy colors for the smaller pump action.   However (shoulda done a color sample test in the NIR first) it turns out the base earth color I used for these is pretty darned dark in the NIR.  Oh well I still like them.    And they add nicely to my eclectic nerf arsenal.

Friday, April 7, 2017

"Stealth" camo exp 1

It was time to start playing with colors.   While Im not thrilled with this color set, or rather the set with the camo scheme as I think an all technical pattern may have looked better aesthetically, the pattern makes an ok camo  in the visible but seems to blend pretty well in the NIR.  These colors were made to mimic duracoat paint chips aug green, arctic shadow, tactical dark blue and tactical coyote brown.   Interestingly when I tried to use model paint (cheaper and I have some) to mimic the blue its NIR signature was radically different.   After playing a bit I managed to make a mixture of blood red with a deep blue to push the NIR reflectivity up without making much noticeable effect in the visible.   Look closely as the blue which contrasts fairly strongly in the visible all but disappears in the NIR. ...all with just a little red added in....

I think the primary mistake was using gray as a base. I think I should have used coyote brown as a base and had a lot less gray, or ditch the visible camo completely going for high visibility in visible and make it primarily camo in the NIR.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Uniform Camo Exploration

Going to a local Army Surplus for less in Denver on Pecos one of the employees was kind enough to let me get some images of a few camo uniforms.  I believe they were Tru-spec but I cant be sure all were.

The surprises were I expected the multicam and ACU to behave like the hats I got from there on previous trips (pictures seen in previous post using hats as references).

A few interesting notes:
>ABU, a bit more low contrast than I expected, eve with other images taken directly on it.  Apparently the green is not as dark as it appears in NIR.
>Desert Digi, decent but not as contrasting as the ACU
>Multicam: not as contrasting as I expected, I want to look more into this a bit.
>Urban Digi: very contrasting,  would be interested in looking about a city to see if the contrast is warranted or poorly thought though.
>ATAC LE: quite dark, see urban digi above. Except for the nylon velcro, glows like a glow stick at NIR.  not well thought through.
>ATAC AU: not bad contrast compared to the ACU

>Navy Digi, not as dark in NIR as I expected. Likely due to the blues used being much lighter in NIR.  Need to keep this in mind, leverage blues, greens, and dark reds if you want darker VIS camo but lighter NIR to match typical background reflectances.

I may need to go back and repeat but taking a few leaves, grass bushel, pine cone or such for comparison against real things its trying to hide you among.   Next time do the experiment with pants, they are easier to arrange.

Once again, thanks to the good people at the Army surplus in Denver.

And for a bit of silly fun...
No the pink camo is cute but glows like a beacon.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

NERF Rapidstrike quasi-sci-fi NIR "compliant"

Ok so not quite so NIR compliant but getting closer.  This partially satisfies my goal of stands out a bit in the visible but is decently camo'ed in the NIR.  Top image is in the visible meant to look a little sci-fi 'ish with semi-camo colors for arid-urban.  Bottom the NIR view with an ACU camo and multicam hat on some grass, leaves, and dirt.  I was surprised the techno-patterns blend act as a decent shape breaking pattern.  If I didn't leave the large black sections this might work well.  I may try some dark blues or purples since those seem to be quite dark in the visible but can be fairly compliant in the NIR as seen in the previous post. These paints were just model paint, not duracoat.  Im not that rich by any stretch to put duracoat onto a nerf rifle.

Also if your interested in more the company hyperstealth appears to do great work in this realm.

Also here is an interesting paper on oxide nanoparticles and their NIR properties.
just beware some nanoparticles may be a health hazard prior to proper binding. 

I also put a small bit of paint onto a few sudden death ships that have been sitting on my desk forever screaming at me to start painting again.

Now the question, do I paint another nerf or move on to an airsoft rifle.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

NERF Hailstorm: Rival Kryptek

Seeing videos of people converting their nerf rivals I had to give one a shot.  Since C and D batteries are so passe I first replaced its 6 C cells with 3 8000mah lithiums which allows this thing to spit out 12 rounds in well under a second.   I modified the trigger to be a two stage trigger pull half way to spin up the flywheels and a high power ducted fan for the feed tube, wait a quarter second then pull all the way to open the gate and unleash nerf hell.  When this bad boy spins up you know its time to duck and cover. The balls also dont feel very good when you get hit so WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES.

I havent spent enough time to work out the feed issues with the backpack. At present Im thinking some sort of cork screw to prevent clogs.  A project for later...

I decided to paint it with a kryptek style staying with light blue grays or silvers. Other than the backpack clogging issues, and that there is no reasonable way to play with others with this, I am quite proud of this bad boy.  Next I need to develop a filtered vacuum cleaner to pick up the hundreds of balls this baby can fire in a minute. 

Parents get sabers too!

It was unfair for the kids to get sabers so the wife and I get sabers now.
I have a light staff under way but at this rate itll be another 6 months.  Too many other projects.
She gets one that looks vaguely sith like with scratch marks for grip while I get two black and silver handled  more classical style.  Both handles are aluminum with a mild level of polish and the grip black is a duracoat for maximum durability.  

She got the bight teal on the top while I got an aqua and ice blue.  Hers is brighter because its a fixed LED while mine are RB and RGB. 

For the internals I used lightsaberos for arduino as found many places on the net.  Modifed the code a bit, and after a lot of playing figured out a stack which allows an arduinonano, a sound amp, an mp3 player, voltage regulator etc all on one board.   later I further added a 5V boost because on powerup with high power blades we often got a brownout on the boards causing a reboot or glitch state.  a buffered 5V boost allows the arduino to stay powered at 5V even while the batter takes a large initial hit. 

Further powering a few hundred milliamps up to an amp for the LED array takes a fair amount of fet power.  I milled aluminum heatsinks that socket some FETS and allow a set screw in the handle to press the heatsink into contact on the ID of the lightsaber aluminum tube turning the entire handle into ground and a heatsink.  Otherwise these fets overheat and blow within 30 seconds.  It turns out using red is even worse because it has such a low potential drop  compared to blue and green that the fet has to dump a ton of power.  Thus why people making red blades often run half of their LED's in series with the other half.  Blues have such a nice high voltage that the fets down have to dump much heat.  The quad fet below is powering an RGB saber. with two fo them running the Red led's.  The 6 fet sink runs the blade in segments with a common ground (or anode, I forget which) making the blade power up in sequence.