Workbench: Modern Rita, from Hero Forge

A screen cap of the mini design.

A screen cap of the mini design.

Hero Forge is a custom miniature service associated with Shapeways, and no review of any of their models is complete without a quick overview of the service itself. Simply put, Hero Forge is a computer-aided design app that will let you assemble a miniature from provided options and print that miniature on demand through Shapeways.

(For those of you who missed my original Shapeways reviews, the space station one is here, and the planet one is here.)

Because Hero Forge provides the choices, they are finite — but there are a lot of them, and Hero Forge is adding more all the time. In between when I ordered this figure and when I began writing this review, they added about a dozen new held items.

All this comes at a cost, of course — the model I got is currently $29.99, which is comparable to the cost of a Games Workshop hero model. (Click the pic above to see it in 3-D.) Note that I got ordered the model in “Premium” plastic, because the previous plastic model I got from Shapeways was the “White Strong & Flexible, Polished” plastic.

Time for a quick digression: it’s not exactly clear which Shapeways plastics that Hero Forge is referring to. Hero Forge labels them “Plastic” and “Premium.” Based on their description in their Materials Guide, my interpretation is that the “Plastic” is Shapeways’ “White Strong & Flexible,” and “Premium” is Shapeways’ “Black Premium Strong & Flexible.” As a result, I ordered the Premium plastic to keep the details on the model, and (as we’ll see later in the review) I believe this was the right choice.

Once you order the figure, you sit back and wait. I only had to wait the minimum two weeks, but Hero Forge claims it could take three. Here’s what mine looked like out of the box (from here on out, clicking on the picture will take you to the full-size version):

Rita in the Center

Center, Rita

The Hero Forge miniature is in the center. On the left is Shad Coalshadow (from Reaper Miniatures), on the right is Games Workshop’s Witch Hunter from the original Warhammer Quest line. I deliberately made the mini a little short; the character it’s based on is 5-foot-nothing, but she stands tall against figures made in the “Heroic Scale” that’s common these days.

One of the down sides of it showing up black is that I couldn’t see any flash that needed cleaning — and there was some. They were tiny bumps of the kind I hadn’t seen before. It was the only sign of the printing process, though.

Rita after priming

Rita after priming

One of the things I like about priming white — besides how nicely the skin tones turn out — is how much detail you can see. And there’s a lot of it.

Rita's back, primed

Rita’s back, primed

It’s worth mentioning that the certain details are very fine. The miniskirt, especially, shows detail in the belt loops, the zipper cover, and the lower hem. But we were talking about printing artifacts; if we zoom in on her left arm …

Printing artifacts on the left arm

Printing artifacts on the left arm

I couldn’t see those weird little bumps before I primed the figure, and they were kind of a pain to clean off. Usually, I’d just get out the clippers and snip them off, but I had to play games with an X-ACTO knife to clean these off. I had to re-prime the figure after that, but I had to re-prime it anyway, given the horrid job I did on the back side of the figure.

Here’s the point where I admit that I repainted this figure a couple of times because I was out of practice. This figure will take washes and dry-brushes and all the usual techniques just fine — assuming you’re delicate with your touch. I wasn’t, plus I realized I was out of the right skin tones. The Master Model Paints I lost in the last post were my “rosy flesh” triad, and a tawny tone didn’t look right on the figure:

Rita with tawny flesh

Rita with tawny flesh

Obviously, I start from the eyes out on my figures, and this one was turning out OK. Except … I didn’t have the rosy flesh, so I kept lightening her face until it looked over-powdered like something out of a silent film. But I include the picture here so you can see how well the washes took on her hair, her legs, and the book.

Here’s what it looked like after I availed myself of my Prime membership, and got Reaper’s Rosy Flesh triad:

Rita with rosy flesh

Rita with rosy flesh

You might notice some subtle differences in technique on the repaint. I got into a mood, and used a Dallimore-style technique on the repaint. That is, instead of paint the base with the main color, wash with a darker shade, then drybrush with a lighter shade; I painted the figure with the darkest shade first, then painted the middle shade (with a wet brush, so it blended a bit), and then finished with another wet brush of the lightest shade.

Before I show you the final result, I want to show you the details on the left boot. (Did I mention that Hero Forge lets you mismatch shoes?) I ended up painting the whole thing yellow, and then repeatedly using a black wash to pull this off:

The "out" side of the boot

The “out” side of the boot

The flair on the inside of the boot was a little harder to paint well:

The "in" side of the boot

The “in” side of the boot

Here’s the final result with our buddies from the first picture:

Rita after painting

Rita after painting

So what’s the verdict? It all depends on whether you can get the look you want out of the customization tool, because the mini itself is of the quality you’d expect of a custom mini at the price. I, at least, am going to use the service again.

Maybe on another one of this exact model. Man, I’m out of practice …

The tools used on this model include:

Clicking on the links will send you to Amazon, and buying there will help defray the costs of running the site. Thanks!

Year-Old Paint Review

So …

You know how it was a year since the last post? It had been that long since the last time I painted anything, so here’s a quick review on how well the paints survived.

Anything that was in a dropper bottle survived. A small paper clip cleared the nozzle, and we were off and running again. In my collection: Reaper Miniatures and Army Painter.

The Citadel Paints didn’t hold up quite as well, which had been a complaint of the previous incarnation of their flip-top bottles. They’re great for quick work — when you need only one drop of paint — but their seals don’t hold perfectly. There’s also something different about Citadel’s formulation that dooms a paint when it separates; I ended up discarding some because the pigment had turned into rubber, and I couldn’t get it stirred back into the emulsion. I lost about a third of the base and layer paints, and all of the textures and dries.

I also had four bottles of Testors acrylics, specifically their rosy flesh tones that I hadn’t otherwise been able to find locally. They were all dead — those old-school bottles still don’t work for long-term storage.

Lastly, I had one lonely bottle of Tamiya Smoke. Leanne swears by this for certain effects — it’s a smokey glaze that she puts over other paint to give it that ‘behind glass’ look that you’ll see on some of her models. It survived, but I’m pretty sure one bottle is the very definition of ‘small sample size.’

Until next time!

Alive Again

So it’s been a year since the site’s last update, but now we’re back. One of the things that’s true is that most of the traffic that’s come to the site (even without updates!) has been to the review pages, so we’re re-launching as a place that primarily does reviews, and occasionally produces rules.

To that end, the parent company of Purple Fuzzy Monster (Autumnside Productions) has become an Amazon Affiliate, and you’ll be able to support our reviews by buying stuff from Amazon. You can still pick up a copy of PFM-01 Starships at WargameVault, of course, but I can’t see you needing more than one copy.

In that vein: Shop Amazon Gift Cards. Any Occasion. No Expiration.

We’ll see you next with a review of a Hero Forge model that’s on my work bench.

EmDrive and Physics in General

So, if the news can be believed, the EmDrive has triggered some re-thinking about how the universe works. Obviously, this all supposes that the engine actually works. Today’s related link comes fromYahoo! News:

EmDrive: UK scientist claims ‘new physics’ explains galaxy rotation and theoretical space propulsion

The original article is from IB Times UK, who blocks you if you’ve got an Ad Blocker on.

(And, yes, I’m alive. The day job is still really busy. In retrospect, it’s amazing that I made any conventions at all last year.)

Comic-Con 2016 Information

So I’ve got more information: we’re going to be in Room 15AB this year. That’s in the main hall, on the Mezzanine level. We’re officially there from 1 to 5 on Friday and Saturday, and from 1 to 4 Sunday — but there will be some bleed both directions, as we’ll be setting up and tearing down every day. (The Comic-Con page is here.)

The games and what we’ll be doing:

Starships: I’ll be running the usual demo that can accommodate up to four players. The quickest I’ve run it has been about 15 minutes. We’ll be using Lego this year instead of painted minis. I’ll also be passing out SDCC discount codes for the PDF. (More details on the game here.)

Aliens Built My Hot Rod: We’ll be running the demo. We’re still using the prototype decks, without art. (See my post here for why.) The game will support up to six players, and takes longer to explain than play. (It was the game designed to be played while waiting for Hall H.)

The Skating Dead: Zombies playing hockey. It’s for two players, and we’ll be running a playtest. Teaching the rules should take a couple of turns and 10-15 minutes. Finishing a game will take longer, and I’ll be asking folks to fill out surveys.

And because no post is complete without a picture, here’s how badly I ground down my stick blade before I replaced it recently (I play roller on concrete):

Yeah, that's my stick.

Blade Wear from playing on Concrete

More about the EM Drive

From Futurism, we have an article on the latest theory about the EM drive.

In short: the drive is not reaction-less, but emits photons. They’re not being detected because they’re coming out of the drive in pairs with opposing phases. Those photons escape the EM drive’s cavity because the phase conflict eliminates the photons’ magnetic field — which also means that the photons can’t be detected by normal means.

Obviously, add “theoretically” to most every sentence above. The cool thing about this theory is that it fits the observations and doesn’t seriously challenge what we already think we know about physics.

The monkey in the wrench? It’s finding those emitted photons to prove the theory. In the Daily Mail’s version of the article, the author suggests that they’ll need an interferometer to do it. (That’s the same device that was just used to detect gravity waves.)

Comic-Con 2016

Lego Starships

Lego Starships

So the good news is that we’re going to be at Comic-Con again this year. The bad news is that we didn’t get invited until the last minute, so are rushing to get things prepared. (The lateness of the invite isn’t anybody’s fault. I think they assumed they’d invite us at Kingdom Con, but the day job prevented that.) If everything comes together, then we’ll be in the Game Room on the afternoons of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

What we’ll be doing:

  • Demoing Starships with Lego (hence the picture above). Based on last year, this audience will be more receptive to toy gaming over miniatures gaming.
  • Demoing Aliens Built My Hot Rod, with the intent to find a publishing partner and/or an artist who likes cars and aliens.
  • Demoing a very raw version of The Skating Dead. The tag line: “After the Canadian Apocalypse, there is only hockey.” At this point, you’ve probably figured out that it’s a Zombie Hockey game.
  • Lastly, there’s going to be a bit of networking for a video game, Bandar Rig. We’ve got access to a third-party CRPG engine, so we’ll be able to concentrate on the story. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery crossed with Indiana Jones, this game is for you. Well, will be, when it’s finished.

State of the Purple Fuzzy Monster (May 2016)

As you might have noticed, my last post was in November of last year. For the last six months, I’ve been on Mandatory Fun Overtime for the Day Job. The good news (for me) is that they paid me for it.

The bad news, obviously, is that Purple Fuzzy Monster suffered. Badly.

That PFM went dark for six months has led me to re-evaluate my priorities, so there are going to be a few changes around here. PFM will be focusing on products that can be left to sell themselves if I’m unavailable. By that, I mean either PDF/print-on-demand products like Starships, or software built around existing engines and third-party assets. Any other games that tumble out of my brain will be looking for others to publish.

This means, of course, that I’m looking for a partner to finish Aliens Built My Hot Rod.

There will still be occasional workbench articles — they hit that happy spot where I find them fun to produce, and they sell copies of Starships. I have pictures of my last project uploaded onto my computer, so you should see something in the next week or so while life gets back to normal.

Workbench: a Xuvaxi Fleet

Raw metal from Studio Bergstrom

Raw metal from Studio Bergstrom

As you may have gathered from the last post, I made another order to Studio Bergstrom. For this post, the important parts of that order are more samples of the Xuvaxi, working my way through the smaller models that match up with the other Starships fleets. As usual, click on the pictures to see the full size versions.

Continue reading

On the Workbench: (Bergstrom) Terran Cruiser

So the holidays are coming up, and I’m starting to get swamped. I have a little free time this week, so I’m going to try to clear a couple of workbench posts out of the backlog. This one is a Studio Bergstrom model, their Terran Cruiser. Not be be confused with any other Terran Cruisers.

Terran Cruiser right out of the box.

Terran Cruiser right out of the box.

Like the caption says, that’s a top view of the Terran Cruiser. The coin on the left is a Susan B. Anthony dollar, and the models up top are Bergstrom “Cobra Fat Boy” fighters. (Is that what they call a teaser?)

As usual, click on the picture to get a full size version. Continue reading