Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Big-Ass Winter 2016 Wrap Up!

It's been a few months, so I present to you this week's mega post that catches you up on all the hobby that has been going on at the lab in the last 75 days. Let's take a look!

I've got some great news in the form of my career status. Since late last summer I've been working with the founders of Punch-It Entertainment, Jesse and John, on helping them to develop their first offering - Battle for Sularia! First some visuals...

Animus Vox | Art by Chunli Thien Nguyen
This is the Synthien machine empire, lead by the cunning cyborg Animus Vox, self-proclaimed lords of the Western Wastes, and forebears of the red eye.

Feedback | Art by Wizyakuza

Furtim Braccae | Art by Tots

Hekaton Warhulk | Art by Filip Dudek

Master Mining Program | Garrett Post

Perimeter Alert System | Art by Filip Dudek

Art of War | Art by Ascary Lazos
And their arch-rivals, creators, Norse-inspired genetically enhanced super-warriors, and self-proclaimed inheritors of the planet Sularia - the Jotune.

Cloud Fortress | Art by Garrett Post

Lord Fenris "the Wolf" | Art by Chunli Thien Nguyen

Lord Oathki "the Hawk" | Art by Tots

Security Post | Art by Filip Dudek

Spoils of War | Art by Ascary Lazos

It's a Trap | Art by Ascary Lazos
Not everyone is a Synthien or Jotune on Sulaira, in fact, we have two yet to be released factions coming down the pipeline. If the Syntien are big stuff stompy + burn, and the Jotune are agro to mid-range threats, the two upcoming factions are control and swarm agro.
Don't forget about the mercenaries though! Mercenary elements can be used with any faction (the others don't play nicely together), but mercs fight for coin. And they do a darn good job of it.
Which brings us to the cards...
I'll hold comments on the complete rundown on how the game works and instead direct you to these nifty introductory articles I wrote!

Like what you see and want more info? Visit our website, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! If you're a die-hard tabletop gamer, don't dismiss this one out of hand. The strategic combat, attacking enemy sites, all have a dynamic feel of maneuvering on the tabletop. As an avid miniature hobbyist for well over 13 years, Battle for Sularia really scratched my tabletop itch in an easy to play format and was the reason I offered to pitch in and help the founders. I'm also proud to say that I write the fiction!
I'm also pleased to display the miniatures of a good friend, Danny J. Danny has really progressed in his skills since I've known him and is doing a lot of great work.

He even did a commission for a mutual friend's Guild Ball team. Pat's playing the alchemists and I really dig the steampunk look of these guys.

A robot butler with healing and mana potions? Why not?

Danny works for a very fair price, so don't hesitate to shoot him an email at and ask him to quote your next project!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rumblings of War - Dissent

Hey guys, I'm writing the fiction behind the game Battle for Sularia, and I'm thrilled about the world we're building. So far we've seen through the eyes of the cyborg Novum Spero as he struggles with his newfound sentience and  his place in Jotune society and we've descended into the seedy underbelly of Sularia's outland ruins with Solomon Fayde, a wanderer who is searching for a purpose greater than survival.

If you're looking for a sci-fi read in a post-apocalyptic world of robots vs. machines, check out this week's post!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday Special!

Only one thing can make an epic sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, robots vs genetically modified super soldiers game better.

Lazer beams?

That's a given.

Stunning visuals?


Free stuff??

You got it.

Don't miss your opportunity to pick up the breakout game of 2016 and get an exclusive alternate art promo card today when you order at! The battle begins 2016, get ready!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Introducing Rumblings of War

It has been centuries since the cataclysm of the Fracture ravaged Sularia, and now the self-proclaimed Lords of the world, the Jotune, and the rising machine empire known as the Synthien, are locked in an epic struggle to determine the fate of a waning world. They aren't alone either. Mercenary companies play opportunistic middle-men in the conflict, bartering blood for coin, weapons, or worse... and there are others lurking on the periphery, ready, waiting for their moment to strike.
Dive headfirst into the sci-fi fiction adventure with the first installment of Rumblings of War, a semi-weekly novelette that brings this heroic cast of characters to light and sees who will rise triumphant in the only conflict that matters - the battle for survival.
Check out the articles homepage and get the latest from the post-apocalyptic world teetering on the edge of total annihilation!

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Sneak Peek at Battle For Sularia

A brand new strategy card game landed on the Monster Lab desk, and we're psyched to debut it! Launching January 22, 2016, the game is available for pre-order. Check out the world of Sularia, the game, and their card image gallery, where epic heroes are depicted by some of the best established and up-and-coming artists! Dive right into the post-apocalyptic sci-fi dystopian world and check out the daily articles section!

More to come soon! Heed the call and join the battle today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

DLBlog 6: Tara Finished & Build Binge

Hello again! This week I've got another completed crew to show, Tara's Herald of Obliteration crew. As mentioned last week, this is the special edition transparent 'smoke' plastic set that Wyrd first sold at GenCon a few years back (one which I didn't attend) and some holiday specials since. As this was my first time working with this type of material I did research and testing on my own on how to best approach it. Plastic cement unfortunately doesn't work. Superglue does, but it fogs the clear plastic. The best adhesive was said to be clear canopy glue mainly used for windows on scale model planes and cars. I picked up a bottle to test out, but the instructions said to tape the pieces in place and then wait 3 hours... I'm not that patient and that had me questioning the durability of the bond for gaming pieces. So I just used superglue to stick everything together. It did indeed fog around the application area, but since I planned on green-stuffing and painting over the seams anyway, it was acceptable for my purposes.

I wanted to leave large portions of the Nothing Beast and Void Wretches transparent to reflect their otherworldliness. I started with a thin layer of rattle can matte varnish over the bare plastic. This would act as a sort of primer for the areas I wanted to paint traditionally as nothing was going to stick to the bare super slick surface. It also gives a neat frosted effect. Most of the models have hollow cavities inside which aren't attractive to look at and there were surface scratches from scraping off the mold lines (which are really hard to find on clear plastic, by the way). The matte coat conveniently hides all of these imperfections and gives more depth to the surface.

The Void Wretches were done up in much the same way as the Beast. I had seen others use a wash on clear plastic for depth so I tried that on the middle Wretch's legs. But the combination of matte coat and wash all but eliminated the transparent look. I did try a wash on the bare plastic before the varnish as well, but nothing stuck and I just ended up with nasty looking pools in the recesses. They must have used a much clearer varnish to give the wash some tooth to grab on to.

Tara and Karina had much less surface area I wanted to leave unpainted and thus mask off with tape. Tara's monster arm and sword were good candidates but I wanted to fully paint Karina. I went through a couple of basing options for these two. I started out with Micro Art Studio 'Chaos' bases for the whole crew, but wasn't happy with how they painted up. My initial plan was to have an OSL effect coming from between the cracks in the rocks, but the glow on the models would have covered up the transparency. I stuck with the chaos bases for the Wretches, but for the humanoids I switched over to custom bases of floating stone inspired by other's work posted in Wyrd's forums.

The rocks are just small pieces of cork board superglued together with chunks of the edges torn off with pliers to blend the horizontal slabs of cork together.

After painting up the minis I gave them each a light airbrush of green from below as a quick glow effect, leaving masking on the pieces I wanted to stay clear, as I imagine ethereal bits wouldn't reflect light all that well.

Beyond completing Tara's crew. I've been on an assembly binge. I put together and based my remaining Outcast minis and also decided on basing for my already assembled Yan Lo crew. Outcasts got a simple rocks+sand scheme (with some post-painting bushes/grass to follow), whereas Yan Lo got fancier treatment with Micro Art Studio 'Ancient' bases.

All were then zenithal primed: black primer all over with a top-down spray of white, out to about 45 degrees.

Batch 1: assorted Outcast mercs. 3 Desperate Mercenaries (1 metal, 2 plastic), 3 Convict Gunslingers (1 metal, 2 plastic), and a Malifaux Child (metal).

Batch 2: plastic Friekorps models. Librarian, Trapper, Specialist, and 2 Freikorpsmann.

Batch 3: Yan Lo and a Lone Swordsman. I had already assembled Yan Lo's crew box (with superglue rather than plastic cement unfortunately, so I had to green stuff some seams), but hadn't yet based or primed them.

Finished up with assembly of Jack Daw's crew and a pair of Hanged who got my remaining 'Ancient' bases, but have not yet been primed.

That's all for this update. Just want to wrap up by saying how awesome plastic cement is! Back when I started hobbying all I used as superglue. After dealing with the fragility and messiness (always had scales of glue to pick off of my fingertips) I finally switched over to the good stuff. Aside from the rock-solid bond between the parts, it nearly eliminates the need for any green stuffing to hide joints, something I loath doing. Simply squish the melted plastic into the crevice and scrape any excess of with a knife after it dries for a perfect, clean seam.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

DLBlog 5: Blood and Rust

Hello again! It's been a very productive couple of weeks of painting. With a total of 16 models I can now call complete and a good amount of work done on a handful more there's a lot of pics below

First up is a group shot of the newly painted Malifaux Outcasts. Most are thematically from Leveticus' crew: Rusty Alyce, 2x Desolation Engines, 3x Hollow Waif, and 8x Abominations. Also, returning from the last post is Vanessa. And finally there's the mercenary grenade-launching robot Lazarus.

Lots of the same techniques were used on most of the models: gratuitous amounts of blood splatter and rusty steel. My blood splatter formula is Tamiya Clear Red mixed with a bit of Agrax Earthshade to darken and thicken it up. Suck up a bit in the end of a plastic pipette, squeeze it a few times to blow out the big chunks, and then spray the remaining little drops onto a model. For the rusty metal I start with a base coat of dark red-brown, heavy drybrush a dark steel metallic, dab on Citadel dry rust paint in random crevices, wash with Agrax Earthshade and then a light drybrush of a bright steel paint. Both are nice quick techniques that give a great result for the time investment.

First up are the master/henchwoman pair Leveticus and Rusty Alyce. Leveticus was previously painted as part of the diorama that was mentioned a few posts back so he simply got a gameplay-legal base. He's just pinned to this new base so he can live on the diorama while on display but be shifted to the 30mm base when he's ready to mix it up. I do need to do a bit more detail work on the gaming base, as Leveticus has some green underglow that makes sense on the diorama, but needs some light source on the small base. Luckily he's standing above a grate so glow can easily be added there.

Rusty Alyce is a straightforward paint job with brighter colored coat and a rusty mechanical arm made for clocking chumps in the face. Her eye looks huge from this low angle, whereas it looks more normal from a typical gaming angle. I have been running into this problem lately and think I'm getting too much white paint on the underside of the eye socket which is only visible when seen from below.

Next are the Hollow Waifs; Leveticus' totems. Fluff wise these girls are soulless shells which, if Leveticus is killed which happens quite often, he can burst out of one of these 'horcruxes' to be reborn. Not quite sure how that works in practice, but whatever. To reflect their soulless nature I left the skin in white tones. I cheated pretty hard on the skin tone as it is simply the original black/white zenithal priming with a few highlights, but it gives much smoother transitions than I have the patience to paint! The dress colors were done to match their box artwork. My favorite Waif is the lady in red; the mini's pose, face, and subtle dress highlights turned out the best IMO.

Here are the two different sculpts for the massive Desolation Engines. On the left is the new plastic version; old metal version on the right. Although I think these minis should have been scaled a good bit larger to reflect their high in-game cost and abilities, I really like how they turned out. The plastic sculpt has quite of bit of seams that needed to be green stuffed and the head didn't fit onto the body very well, but I got everything smoothed out in the end. Metal sculpt is like two pieces, so no issues there.

These are the Abominations. First set of four are older metal sculpts, rest are the new plastic minis. I really like the aesthetic of the models and how different each of them are. The same steps were followed for painting these in assembly line fashion. Airbrush dark then light skin tones all over, followed by some brush highlights and red and purple shades for the shadows and to pick out the scars. After painting the rusty metal as described above, that's the majority of the surface area of these models: skin and metal. Then details were picked out with one or two highlights for each: bone, clothing, gore, and tubes.

 That wraps up the rusty, bloody mess that is Leveticus's crew. The next two are models that were ongoing works in progress. Vanessa, as seen last week as an unfinished member of the Viktoria's crew, is now finished this week. I really like how the strong glow effect turned out, it really brings life to the otherwise generic brown-trenchcoated woman. The glow effect was a simple airbrush spray of blue from below after the model was painted normally, and I then finished painting the magic cloud itself.

Finally there is Lazarus. He's a model who's been based for a long time and I've tried several color schemes on him, none of which I was happy with. And being a pretty goofy looking model to begin with (Wyrd's only posable mini, albeit not posable enough to get it out of a Baymax pose) I just wanted to wrap it up. Lore-wise he's powered by the trapped soul of a Guild Guardsman who was murdered during a science experiment, and sensibly now hates the Guild. So I gave him a heavily weather red paint scheme. The scratches in the armor don't have enough contrast for my liking, so I may go back and line the edges of the gouges to give it more depth.

And that's about it! Now I've moved onto working on the Herald of Obliteration special transparent box set. I plan on painting the top surfaces and leaving the lower portion transparent with a light wash to better define the surfaces.

The 'scrap' bases used above and the 'chaos' bases below that I'll be using for the new crew are from Micro Arts Studio. This is the first time I've used them and they're very nice and easy to use. Since I paint the lips of my bases to match the mini's faction it's super easy to paint them separately and them glue the insert in at the end. However, they are difficult to magnetize. With the normal slotted bases and even resin bases (drill a well in the solid bottom) I could insert a magnet for use with my metal transportation box. There's no recess in the bottoms of these bases and not much meat to drill into. Thankfully, since I've shifted my hobby more away from actually gaming and more toward painting that's not a big deal for just placing them in the display case.

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