Tag Archives: 40k

Turn Signals on a Land Raider

(Title tribute to the much-missed web-comic)

Seeing as I’ve got too many painting-projects on the go at the moment, I have decided to resurrect an old idea I had: Adding some electronic circuits to my 40k vehicles, for keeping track of their in-game status, and, just for fun, some sound-effects.

Land Raider

God Hammer pattern Land Raider from the Dark Angels Death Wing

For those familiar with Warhammer 40k, I started off with a Land Raider Crusader, destined for the Death Wing of my Dark Angels army. I already have a God-Hammer, so some anti-infantry fire might be useful (translation: tank with lots of machine-guns!). Initial thoughts included a switch to indicate speed, LEDs to show remaining Hull Points, and lights and sounds for the guns and engine.

After brushing the dust from my 20+ year old electronics box, and realising there was very little worth salvaging (I think the resistors are still OK, and a few unidentified transistors), I headed to Electronics Point to get some advice. The very kind people there talked me through the relative merits of Arduino microprocessors, and I plumped for a Nano 3.0 clone (£3.50 from e-bay, rather than £15 from Maplins). I then needed to start figuring out how to program it, and design a circuit.

Several false-starts later, and a visit to Bits Box, I have a breadboard stuffed with components, and some code that lights up LEDs by pushing buttons! 🙂 And I only blew up one Arduino!*

Breadboard of electronic components

Breadboard full of worky-gubbinz

Features include:

  • Speed switch lights appropriate LED.
  • Hull Points start with all 4 LEDs on. Buttons record Damage Taken and repaired, altering display.
  • Status Lights: Tank may be Shaken, Stunned and/or Immobilised, with a button toggling each.
  • While Immobile, Speed is set to STOP, no matter the position of Speed Switch.

I’m using Resistor-ladders (Voltage Dividers) on Analogue pins for the inputs, reading the voltage levels to determine which buttons are pressed. Outputs to the LEDs are done with two 74HC595 Shift-Register chips. While I’m a little rusty with C++, the code is relatively simple, once you get to grips with the Arduino-specific stuff (defining pin-Numbers, remembering to set them as input or Output).

For testing, I’m powering from my PC’s USB port, but for in the field, I’ve got a 4x AA battery holder, and designed (by which I mean Googled!) a Voltage regulator circuit (7805 Chip) to drop the 6V down to a stable 5V. I can build this on a small piece of veroboard that fits onto the end of the battery holder!

I am now waiting on several things, to progress. The Audio circuit is taking longer than I expected to design/get advice one/send for parts/build. It is based around a LM386 op-amp chip, powering an 8 ohm speaker. The sound quality will not be brilliant, as the Arduino can’t cope very well with hi-fi sound. But it should be good enough. I also have to rig up an SD card reader, as I am hoping to use several files for each sound effect, and randomly choose which plays (e.g. the “Gun” sound might be a long burst, or a few short bursts.)

Amplifier circuit

Amplifier circuit

A friend has access to PCB etching, so I am am learning ExpressPCB to design the boards I need. So far, so frustrating! Just about got them built though (subject to expert advice). The Main Section consists of the Arduino that will not be on a board, the Shift Registers, and wires leading to LEDs/Switches (with associated resistors). These will be built into the top plate of the Tank.

Early prototype, with Land Raider.

Early prototype, with Land Raider.

Top Plate

Top Plate of Land Raider with LEDs and buttons.

So, there you go!

There will be more updates as I go along, and more detail can be provided if you wish. And I may even add Turn Signals! 🙂

For now, I am going to start painting it, before loading in all the circuits, or I’ll just get paint over everything!

*(Pro-tip: Do not short-circuit the 5V pin of an Arduino directly to the GND pin!)


Ristul’s Extraordinary Market

I was browsing Facebook the other day, when I saw a “Suggested Post” that seemed to be relevant to me! Imagine my surprise when I found out it was a small Miniatures/Scenery company, offering their wares! After a quick check of their website, I took the plunge and ordered a few bits!

Ristul’s Extraordinary Market (http://ristulsmarket.com/) are a small company based in Poland who make resin scenery pieces. The parts that initially caught my eye were the Food Crates and Baskets.

A selection of food crates and baskets.

A selection of food crates and baskets.

I noticed that they also had a similar offering, but made of individual pieces (cast together on bases) :

Individual Food Containers

Individual Food Containers

These can be cut away and used separately, unlike the first, which are larger blocks.

While browsing the rest of the site, I found a couple more sets:





Book Holders

Book Holders

Book Holders (Reverse View)

Book Holders (Reverse View)

All of the Pieces Together

The Whole Lot!

So, Do I like them?
I like the speed of response! On glancing at the website, I sent a Facebook message to Ristul with a few queries. Answered within the hour. I replied to let Ristul know I had ordered, and he gave me an estimate on timing for shipping. I ordered late Friday, so he said he’d get them out Monday Morning, should be with me by the end of the week. (website states 1-3 weeks). They arrived Saturday. Can’t complain.

The models themselves are very detailed, as I hope the photos show. The food section has a selection of apples, pumpkins, carrots, fish and others, all very nicely carved. I hope my painting does them justice!

Close up of Food Containers

Close up of Food Containers

The mushrooms are more simplistic, but still more detailed than the ones I throw together out of spare Milliput. Should be useful for sprucing up anything Orky. I’d like to get more, but, although they are not overpriced, I’m not sure I can justify spending money on things I can make myself.
The books, on the other hand, are very nice. Small, but still well detailed, with lots of character, and the Holders really set them off nicely.

There is an amount of ‘flash’ from the moulding process on some of the pieces, especially the “runs” of mushrooms and books, but it is very flimsy, and looks like it will be no trouble to clean up. Much less than I have seen on some Games Workshop offerings! (Yes, I’m looking at you, “Fine”Cast! Yes, you should look ashamed!) But the actual pieces are very well cast – little to no mould lines, and very crisp corners, no ‘blurring’ or softened edges. There are a couple of cracks in the resin in some of the “runs”, but they are on the holding-section, not the actual pieces, so nothing to worry about.

I’ve just been gifted a new X-acto knife, so these cut-away pieces are the perfect test for it!
The thinner pieces were actually very brittle, making it easy to snap away from the scenery – useful for tidying up, but it does make me worry for the strength of the smaller pieces!
The thicker sections, on the other hand, were quite solid, and took some careful work to cut through, but, when eventually removed from the frame, looked very neat.

Price-wise, I was reasonably impressed. You can check out the individual prices on the website, but the full sets that I bought (two different Food sets, one Mushroom set (two ‘runs’), one Book set, one Book Holder set) came to a few pennies over £25 (35 Euros).

So, overall, I’m going to give a Twenty Two out of Twenty Three*, with just one mark deducted for minor ‘flash’. I recommend that you check out http://ristulsmarket.com/, as I’m sure you’ll find something you like.


*Scoring System: I decide how much I like it, and pitch an appropriate number out of an arbitrary total. The judges decision is Final. Until I change my mind, which has been known.

Shooting Gallery

The Fun Fair continues, with the latest addition of a Shooting Gallery!

View along the Shooting Gallery

The Shooting Range

Da Boyz can choose between using the old, rusty las-gunz, or trying their luck with Da Big Shoota (Customised Terminator Assault Cannon)

View of three guns

Choose your Weapon!

As can be seen from this view along the Range, someone has already had a go with the Big Shoota:

View along the Range, with one destroyed Target

New Target Please!

Partly to avoid “bowling green syndrome”, and partly due to my first layer of flock going horribly wrong, the range is covered in three types of flock; dark grass, light grass and sand. I only added one mushroom this time. I find that just by varying the shades of flock, and adding minor fauna and flora you can turn a piece from OK to Impressive.

For those of you interested in technical details, the fence is made from cocktail sticks, while the bench and Banner are wood-textured plasticard. The Struts holding up the banner are pre-made plastic struts set into milliput “concrete securing sections”. The targets are plasticard with a Beakie silhouette PVA’d on.

A rear view of the targets, with mushroom


So now, even if the Beakies refuse to play ball, Da Boyz will always have something to shoot at! And may even win a Prize!

Li’l Miss Stompy

Due to the warmer than usual weather, sawing up pencils has taken a back seat. A friend has acquired a band saw, but its not up and running yet. When it is, I’ll be testing it for pencil-worthiness.

In the meantime, our regular readers may remember my looted Stompa (from the same guy who has the band saw! So he only has himself to blame!).

I did attempt to paint it in gingham style, but due to several factors outside of my control, plus my inherent cack-handedness, it turned out cack. Luckily, my Mum is a dab hand with a needle and thread! After a quick explanation (which ended with “Don’t tell me any more! I’ll make you a dress, just be quiet!”), Li’l Miss Stompy now has a new outfit! I still have some work to do on her accessories (such as Buzz-Saw arm and Soopa-Gatling-Kannon), but hopefully she’ll be ready soon!

I’ve magnetized her head, so it can be removed to represent a fatal hit, and will be trying to magnetise her arms, so they can be removed when destroyed, and also to prepare for other weapons to become available.

So, a sneak preview of my Lady Of War (or Shrine to War Gods, if used as Scenery!) :

Stompa in Gingham Dress

Li’l Miss Stompy

Even Models are Scenery!

Amongst my new acquisitions for expanding my army ready for the upcoming Seventh Edition WH40k, 

HA! Me looted a Stompy!


Stompa, ready for painting

As i won’t always be playing the scale of game that allows for Super-Heavies (such as this Stompa), I’ll be using it as Scenery – maybe it is broken, and needs to be salvaged, or I could build a repair-shop around it. Or it could be a shrine to Gork (or is it Mork?).

(See, even though I haven’t done any new scenery, and want to build my Stompa, I can still justify it as Scenery! EVERYTHING is scenery! 🙂 )

As you can see, the original owner has primed it in Metal (black base coat, heavy Silver dry-brush). This is similar to my usual start, but for this model, I have had a new idea. As a lot of the 40k forums refer to the lower armour plating as a “Skirt”, I first thought I might paint it in tartan to match my McHaggis orks



Caba Tossa

Caba Tossa

Skottish Kanz

Skottish Kanz

but then I thought that a much scarier idea would be to have it in a flowery summer dress, maybe something from Laura Ashley.  But this looked an absolute swine to paint, and I can’t model those heels, so … my mind wandered. Summer dresses … plaid … young girls skipping across the meadows … and it hit me! GINGHAM!

Rimmer in Gingham Dress

Rimmer in Gingham Dress

OK, its still going to be a tough paint-job, and sourcing the right sized penguin-puppet could be a task in itself, but once it is on the battlefield (either as Super-Heavy War Machine of Doom, or Shrine To Mork (or was it Gork?), the foe will be quaking in their boots!

More Pencils

Several packs of pencils, a Dremel and some PVA later, I now have the basics of my Giant’s Causeway! There’s still a long way to go, but I can see how it will come together.

I have expanded each section so that it is just larger than a standard model base, and looked at how to include all the pencil points.

Individual Hex-Pieces

Individual Hex-Pieces

These pieces will fit together to form a larger piece, that will then be glued into place. It’s just going to take a lot of cutting up of pencils!

I did get some longer pencils, so I’ll  have less points to deal with, as I’m not over happy with how they come out. Maybe a spray with rough-coat will take the edge off them?

Beginnings of a Causeway

Beginnings of a Causeway

Once I’ve got enough to cover a square (hex) foot or more , I’ll glue them all in place and paint them up. For now, more cutting. And filing down the rough edges. And clearing up all the sawdust. And finding somewhere to store them all.
Oh, the hardships of being a model-terrain builder!

All the fun of the fair!

Not so much a way to make scenery from household junk, as a new project for what kind of scenery to make. I’ll be trying to use as much throw-away material as possible, in line with my ecological reuse and recycle ethos.

Back in the day, I started to make a roller coaster for my Epic-Scale battle-table, and although it never got finished, I have always wanted to revisit it. So now that I have restarted my scenery building, it is time to see what I can do. The roller-coaster will be a background section for an Orkish Fun-Fair!

So far, the Fair will have:
Arcade Machines (I’ve got a length of balsa wood to carve the cabinets out of, and plan to print out artwork for them). Extra Credit – Coin-push game (Orks use their teeth as currency, so I need to find a way of modelling this!)

Arcade Cabinets

Arcade Cabinets

Hook-a-Duck, Ring-Toss, Darts, and other Stalls – I’ve got a basic design for the stalls: hexagons made of lolly-sticks with a central game section. They should be just about the right size to use a CD as a base, and I’ll be dredging my bitz-boxes for Prizes (ammo-belts, gunz, knives, helmets and other war-gear. maybe the odd cuddly-squig toy)

Hook-A-Squig Stall

Hook-A-Squig Stall

Shooting range – simple design, with some rifles chained to the stall. and pictures of Foes as targets. I’m thinking Space Marine silhouettes.

Test-Your-Strength machine – not much conversion needed. I can make a Big Hammer from odds and ends.
Ghost Train – A covered area with painted entrance, and a couple of carriages on tracks. Orks aren’t actually scared of much, so some humorous pictures of Chaos Demons, Dark Elves and other “fearsome” creatures might work.
Boxing Ring – “Go three rounds with the Ogre!” Once I find the right Ogre model (preferable an ‘old classic’), I can model it some Big Shorts, maybe a glittery dressing gown with “Da Brooser” across the back, and some big red boxing gloves! Gretchin holding buckets and towels.
As previously mentioned, a roller-coaster. This is a huge project, and needs a lot of thought.
Helter-Skelter – Another large project, but should be able to be built out of lolly-sticks, unless I can find a sweetie-jar or similar to form the main tower.

I’m sure we thought of a few others, and will add to this list as I go along.

Watch this Space!

The Tower Continues …

I got round to giving the Quality CD Tower a quick spray with Games Workshop Rough Coat (No longer available, I believe – no loss!). Its not very rough, more of a slight texture.

Tower with Rough Coat

Tower with Rough Coat

I’ll give it another layer, and see if that gives it more texture, and I’m very tempted to put Stone Coat over the top, which, last time I used it, gave a much deeper effect.

I have also dug out some Imperial Architecture to liven it up with:

Tower With Buttresses

Added Buttresses!

For now, these have only been propped into place to show how they will look. Once the surface is finalised, they’ll be glued and painted up nicer.
I’ve got a load of extra bits for the top, including skulls, Imperial Aquila and some lamps which will be placed around the rim. I’m not sure what to crown the piece with, maybe a radar dish, or gun-platform. Of maybe I can find a “statue” or monument to put on top.

Watch this space!
(Or leave feedback!)


The Loss Of Epic

Epic Scale Space Marine used 6mm figures to play out mighty battles, where huge armies would clash and Ancient Titans strode the battlefield while lines of artillery pounded the enemy forces.

Unfortunately, support was withdrawn, and now very few people play. Which is a shame, as scenery for Epic Scale is very easy to make!

My original Matchbox buildings were designed for Epic Scale, as evidenced by the small Ork Battlewagons used for scale alongside a 40k “Barry”.
Being small, just about anything could be turned to scenery for Epic Scale, with yoghurt pots and blister packs forming a great deal of our battlefields. Hills were formed from off-cuts of polystyrene and empty paint pots were saved to become silos and towers.

With 32mm scale WH 40k getting all the attention, Epic Scale passed into the mists of HIstory, and scenery had to become larger. Matchboxes would only make small houses rather than fortresses. yoghurt pots are now tents or makeshift shelters and paint pots are little larger than tank traps. To fashion large, impressive scenery, more raw material is needed, and many previous inspirations are sadly unusable. (Another effect was that more detail had to be modelled, but that is another story).

The knock-on effects of this meant that more space is needed for storing material, workbenches need to be larger, and pieces waiting while their paint/glue dries take up a lot more space. When making particularly large or numerous pieces, it means eating of your lap for a week, as the dining table is set over to construction.

The main loss is the sheer amount of day-to-day items that I look at and think “That would make a great building!” only to realise that I am still thinking on Epic scale, and 40k-scale models would be able to step clean over it.

Ah, for the halcyon days of yore!