The 11th Company 40K Podcast

Welcome to the 11th Company BLOG. The 11th Company is a Warhammer 40K podcast dedicated to players, strategies, and tactics.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Forced Perspective

This is old technique that gamers and movie makers have been using for years. I have looking for an opportunity to try this out in terrain for a while since my initial experimentation and I wanted to share.

The concept is simple: your brain and eyes have been trained to see things a certain way. Objects far away are smaller than objects up close within the same frame.

Gamers have been doing this forever. We paint the recesses of our models darker than the base coat & highlight the upper edges to make a 0.5mm edge seem like epic forged armor.

Movie makers have done the same and you make not even have realized it. Make in the 1930's, model makers (how cool was that job?) would create objects in exaggerated scale to show sizes that look out of this world. Some examples that are probably in your DVD collection:
  • Godzilla is a guy in a rubber suit. The city of Tokyo he is trashing is a bunch of scale models. The scenes with screaming people running for their lives is actual footage. The original background was cut out (by hand) and the film was superimposed on the footage of the guy in the rubber suit, giving the illusion full sized people are being chased by a giant monster..
  • The opening scene to Bladerunner (the most awesome terrain scene ever) is a brass etch model filmed by a camera on a crane arm
  • Don't be fooled by the hi tech wizardry of green screening: the concept is the same only you don't need to hand cut the film anymore. And you can use Photoshop to erase wires that are holding up flying actors
  • Many film sets, especially in spaghetti westerns, the bottom floors of buildings are full size but the unused upper floors are only 75% of the actual size to make the building look taller. The same technique is used in the original George Reeves Superman show & on Main Street USA at Disney
  • Model Train guys use different scale models to make backgrounds seem farther away. Lets look at that in depth

The basic concept starts with breaking your scene into segments. We will start from front to back:
  • The Foreground - This where the action is. This your full scale model and should have the maximum detail
  • Partials - this is the first layer of your background. This should be full scale & still have as much detail as your foreground. The trick is that these are not full sized models. Instead, the look great from the front but when you look from the size, you will see the object is only a fraction of the depth.
    •  In the movies, prop makers will build a full size house front, but the house will only go back 3 feet. Clever window dressings and keeping the door closed keeps the illusion alive.
    •  In modern movie making, the windows and doors are replaced with green screens so movie footage can be added to the scene later
    • For example, your favorite starship commander is not looking out his view screen at a space battle. He is staring at a green screen with a taped X so he knows where his eyes should be focused.
  • Flats - this layer is the critical layer for the execution of the effect. The objects in this layer should be 75% the size of the true scale counterparts. The detail here is minimal, maybe some raised sections but not nearly the level of your other elements
  • Background - the farthest most object, usually a wide landscape or picture. Items in the picture should be about 50% the size of your foreground items.
Using Kevin's display board, let us put this into use

First I cut Foamcore to size. Notice I spring for the black foam to help hide unsightly white edges, and I use a metal T Square to ensure straight lines
Attached Background Image using spray adhesive to ensure an even (ie no bubbles) application

Now I work on the flats. I cut out the portion of my original background image that the artist intended to be in front of the background. I cut the Foamcore to match the shape of the image

Attach image via Spray Adhesive

Even upside down (damn camera phone) the illusion that the hills & shrubs are in front of the background hills

As you can see, it is a illusion. The block of wood holding the Flat to the Backdrop is only 3/4" thick

Backdrop with Flats. The key is getting the spacing between Flats & Backdrop is essential. Too close, not effect. Too far, looks cartoony. Most recommendations is 1/2" to and 1"

Now we add the partials. In this case, I used dark colored hills that are 2" tall. The color creates contrast between the background, flats, and foreground. The 2" height is essential to gauge a size relationship between the models on the foreground & background elements

As you can see from these angles, the illusion is only 3" deep, but from the front it seems to stretch the view into the far distance

Finished illusion

Try this on your display board or on your gameboard's short edge. I did this where the short edge butt up against the wall of my basement

Hope you enjoyed and please comment below

Friday, February 28, 2014

Craftworld of the Elements

Hello all,

For our Adeptiteam this year, we have commissioned a concept army which are calling the Craftworld of the Elements.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the the Adepticon Team Tournament, essentially it's a 2v2 format with 4 man teams, thus 2 x 2v2 games take place per round.  Each person on the team bring a 1,000 point army with some restrictions.

For this year, our team wanted to go with Eldar which is good for the format.  At Adeptiteam, though, you get points for good themes, and we decided to go with the theme of the four elements, creating a Craftworld of the Elements.

We've commissioned the work to Dan from Valhalla Games all the way in New Zealand.  Dan is a crazy good artist who offers paint services ranging from the quick and simple to the DaVinci.   You can find his work here:

I'm going to keep you updated on the progress of this army both via Podcast and BLOG to post pictures as work gets done.

Concept drawing for the Earth Caste

Progress on the Water Caste

Super snazzy work on the cockpit glass

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DIY Bastion

Wanted to share my experience in making a Bastion from scratch. I am well aware GW makes a Chaos Bastion, but really, they expect me to pay extra money for a few spikes on the Imperial Bastion? I don't think so. 

Even if you are not a Chaos player you can follow the basic principles to build any Bastion for your desired codex.

One of the most abused Model for Advantage crimes is taking creative freedoms with the size & firepoint locations. Best to mimic the original model as close as possible to avoid any grief on Tournament Day. The base is a 6" square that rise about an 1" before tapering into a 4" by 4" column

The Bastion with battlement is just over 6" tall. On the North & South Sides, there are 3 fire points and 1 Heavy bolter, while on the East & West sides there are one Fire Point and one Heavy Bolter. There is one access point on the South side. 

This top view shows clearly that the bastion is really only 4" by 4" at the top

I start with my base. One myth I cleared up quickly is, like the Rhino model, your squad cannot actually fit inside. That meant I did not have to worry about the Bastion actually being hollow to place models inside. So I started with a 6" by 6" by 1" slab to be my base.

I chose to ignore the taper and went with 4" walls. Notice that the East & West walls need to be slightly smaller due to the thickness of the foam. Remember the final product needs to be 4" by 4".

I added a support piece to the corners to keep the walls from collapsing in on itself. The same basic technique you would use when building ruins by supporting the 90' corner

Side view to see how the walls were slightly smaller to compensate for the foam thickness (FYI I used 1/2" foam which actually measures about 3/4")

Time to add the Chaos. I traced the walls onto a 1" slab of foam. Originally I used Pumpkin Carving kits, but after a while I got bold & freehanded the design with an ordinary pen. I was trying to mimic the towers on the old Chaos Horde box from Epic.

At this stage you can vary your Bastion to your codex.
Tyranids could do more of a rib cage pattern
Orks can use varying textured plasticard and corrugated cardboard to simulate the hodge podge orkitechure
Tau & Eldar will need a little more work to get those rounded edges. For Eldar, I would start with carving glyph from the codex like the ones for each Craftworld or Aspect Warrior
Dark Eldar use more curved claws coming out of the corners
Necrons I would invert the bottom to simulate the casket shape. So the base would be 4" by 4" that expands out to 6" by 6" about 1" from the ground, then taper again back to 4"
Space Wolves you can mimic a wolf's head instead of this Chaos skull

Using a plunge tool I cut out my pattern

Since I did not want a smooth finish to the outside, but need a smooth inside to attach to the Bastion structure, I used by table saw hot wire tool to cut the sections in half, creating 2 pairs of each
I glue the detail walls to the structure. Not happy with the corners, I shaved them down with a knife and later sanded them to make them more even

Lost some of the in progress photos of this next step. The battlement was another 6" by 6" by 1" slab of foam. I freed handed the Chaos Star to give it a corrupted look using the table saw tool so the vertical edges are straight. I then used a plunge tool to carve out the middle section. In my haste, I made the hole too large. No worries, I used a diamond plate textured plasticard to make the floor, then glued everything to the top of the tower.

The paint job is sloppy but that is what happens when you attempt to make a bastion from scratch 72 hours before a GT. Paint job was base coat black, then dry brush with Downpour (Behr paint) then drybrushed with Grey Area (Behr paint). Shown here at Duelcon 2013
So save your money and try customizing your own Bastion. It is easier than it looks!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Save a codex, bash a TO

I find it interesting that are giving TO's a hard time about what they ban/allow/FAQ's etc, especially on the internet. I am going to pick on Carl from the IC's, mainly because i know him fairly well and i know he won't get his panties in a wad. I am picking on him not for his comment, but as an example of an average poster. Here is a gentleman who lives on the West Coast, commenting on a small RTT/GT which he probably has no intent of attending ever, because of distance and size. 

I also happen to know the type of player Carl is, because of his show, he loves his toys, the excellent products that FW comes out with, the skill/love/care it takes to assemble/paint them. Then again, he is not a regular tournament player, and does not routinely play games to develop lists to take to a tournament or regularly play 'meta' games.

TO's have a thankless job:
-you deal with fronting the cost (although they clearly make money hand-over-fist :)  )
-player's bad behavior
-depending on the crowd, clean up (i came in on Sunday at 6:30am to clean of half empty booze bottles and abandoned spit-cups (that's you John))
-outrage when you don't rule a ruling right (and internet ridicule afterwards)
-and anything else wrong they can lay at your feet instead of taking personal responsibility for their failings in the game/character/personal life/whatever...

TO's get a lot of local pressure and feedback. Neil entertained the notion of Forge World briefly, because some registered attendees asked. He put out a poll on email. We received no positive feedback for inclusion of FW, yet numerous 'I-will-take-my-ball-and-go-the-@#$%-home' emails, some rather negative and nasty. We tend to ignore forum and other internet feedback, since you can't tell if it is from a stakeholder or not.

Most TO's make decisions based on their knowledge of their previous and local attendees. Why? Because they invest time and money into running an event, rarely at a profit. If people fail to show, it costs money. At a local store, it might cost them the prized time slot and space. Why run a barely attended 40K event, if the store owner can just add another magic/heroclix/insert-other-game-that-pays-the-bills? Every failed event has a cost of some type to the community.

People fear change, period. Lets give the new stuff a while to feather out, just like the release of a new codex. Leave local tournament decisions to locals and give it some time. Let people play how they play. Who am I to judge a local group for having specific house rules? Why should i care that Reecius includes Forge World in his tournaments? Especially since i hate flying and will probably never get to the West Coast to attend one of his excellent events. Who am I to complain about Nova/BAO/Adepticon/insert-other-event missions? if i don't intend to play at such an event. People don't like others dictating how they should play. Why do that to someone else?

Some people will complain, "but my local TO uses @#$% missions at our local events". Have that discussion locally. Get involved with the process, offer your help. Maybe rotate with the sole guy who runs events all the time at your local store/group/hangout. I am sure that individual would like to play in an event once in a while. RTT TO's will adopt larger event FAQ's/Missions/whatever because it is less work than making this up by yourself and they may not have the time, especially if they are a one-man-show.

The larger events usually have large groups getting together to determine what is best for their event, taking all kinds of feedback. They usually have the larger tournament crowd in mind, not the top 10% of the tournament. Events like nova can not survive by only catering to the 40 or so 'internet famous' players. They need the other few hundred attendees to have a great experience so they keep coming back. That said, every community tends to have a 'tournament player' in the group that helps people to become motivated to go, helps design their lists, helps them become better prepared players. There is a fine balance between keeping happy the hyper competitive players (think Neil) and the people wanting to play some awesome 40K in a large crowd (me).

As a player you have some options. Get involved in your local community, help make it better. Don't allow your local TO to get trampled by the vocal minority and internet pundits with no stack in your local community and events. Ultimately, if an event is not responsive, it will fail because players will not show up. So if you feel your feedback is not heard, vote with your feet and don't attend, go elsewhere. When you read blogs like Faeit or Bols, listen to a podcast like 40KUK or even us, think about what stake we have in your local area. Who are you going to trust to run a good event for you, your TO or someone like me who may never have set a foot in your local meta.

I have a long list of TO's who i trust to run an excellent event for me. It includes people like Mike Brandt, Reecius and local TO's like Brock. I can't name them all of the top of my head, and i apologize for not mentioning anyone else, i am horrible with names. Ignore the internet screamers, work in your local community to make it better. Be active in fixing/protecting the gaming experience you like and love, don't let GW steal your xmas and the content of your wallet. Look at what is offered, use what fits in your group.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Eldar Tournament Board Update

So last time I presented the concept, time to create some prototypes. The hardest part will be to match the look of the iconic Eldar and make the size and proportions make sense on a 28mm battlefield.

This was the original concept. It failed miserably as dice kept getting caught in the all of the grooves
Here is the template I made for the iconic Webway Gate. As you can see, it is simply a series of ovals stacked on top of each other. 
Plan B - I start drafting a new plan for the board creating a mock up that fits on a normal sheet of paper
Once I was happy with a design, I create a full 6' by 4' copy of the design to make templates. Notice I allocated a space to place the terrain pieces later

Cut out each of the templates and trace onto the foamcore
Cut out the shape
Shape is ready for placement
Repeat until all pieces are attached to the six 2' by 2' foam tiles 
Here I am sizing the hill to make sure it still fits
The Hills were cut from a three templates, the bottom, the next to bottom, and the top which was used three times to form the spiral staircase. The key to making this look "Eldar" was using a magic weapon known as sandpaper. Insulation foam is easy to cut & sand which is essential for these curves. Notice the the unsanded (left) vs the sanded (right)
The Center Blocker was made from a template I drew on a napkin and ran through a copier to expand it to it final size of 18" across. I knew shipping this and assembly by someone else would force my design. I chose the Ikea route using a simple groove so the pieces slide together, but can ship perfectly flat 
Meanwhile I use my gateway screw ups to create the bottom of the platform
Slide all the pieces into place
Time for a base coat of paint. To capture wraithbone look is used a Behr paint appropriately named Airy.
Now drybrush all the edges with Caliente Brown
The Warpgates as ruins were a nightmare. As cool as they looked, the do not block Line of Sight at all. After experimenting with adding walls, I went with simply carving a hole to create a crater for cover. To aid with shipping & assembly, I cut grooves in the base so the gates would slide in with no glue required. 
Final look at the hill. The trick to this was painting first, then assemble to get each of those nooks and crannies covered with paint. Nothing worse then pink foam showing through
The final product. The cracks in the wraithbone to make the difficult terrain were simple cuts done with my plunge tool. The key was to have an infantry model handy to make sure the holes were not too big so a model falls through to the floor
Hope you enjoyed this and look forward to your comments.
Listen to my additional commentary during the 11th Company Podcast during the Tactical Terrain segment

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Helturkey Cordon Bleu

First Step - Primer Model Black
Second Step - using a stencil, I airbrush my flame pattern using Opaque White so it will pop against the black

Third Step - Using the airbrush, I apply Translucent Blue. The color is not strong enough to color the black but the white areas scream blue. Think of it as the airbrush version of glazing
Repeat steps Two & Three. The lower layers of flames will be darker since they have more of the blue painted on while the upper layers will be more white since they have fewer coats of the blue. I did three layers, but you can easily do more.

Fourth Step - I used whatever the new Boltgun metal is via brush on all the edges

Super simple. Try it with other ideas like screaming skulls, or make your own stencil using GW transfer sheets as a starting point. There also some great alien skin texture stencils for you Tyranid and Demon Players. For you Tau players, check out the hexagon camo patterns

Hope you enjoyed and please a comment below