Category Archives: Modeling & Painting

How To Make Your Own Dice Bag

So I was sitting in my hobby room tonight trying to figure out what article I was qualified to present to the Librarium as penance for my LPC failure, having some trouble. I’ve done a couple of tutorials that I wasn’t able to submit while the Librarium was down, but it didn’t seem right to recycle something I’ve already done. Not penance enough, right? But there’s not a lot that I can do that’s not already covered or really basic. I tried to think of things that were peculiar to my skill set, and the it hit me: my dice bags.

1. So we’ve all got gobs of d6 in various colors, and we need them all. Didn’t get on the bandwagon for the cool B&C dice bag? Don’t feel like paying a lot of money down at the FLGS? Have I got a deal for you!

2. Two squares of craft felt from the hobby store, about 99¢ a piece. For a two color bag you need two, obviously, but for a one color bag just the one.

3. I’m going two color. I cut the pieces in half, and now have two different colored rectangles of roughly the same size.

4. Holding them together I round off the two close corners. This doesn’t have to be perfect. Think hand grenades and government work.

5. Hold the two pieces flat against each other, and then use straight pins to stick them together.

6. Have some button thread and a sewing needle. Make sure it’s button thread, or stronger, because ordinary sewing machine thread will be too thin.

7. On the square end make a basic stitch, leaving about a thumb’s width free on the ends. I just push it through once and then tie it off in a square not and trim the excess down.

8. Begin a simple loop stitch, at least an 1/8″ into the fabric, making sure to get both sides somewhat equally, and space the stitches about 1/4″ apart.

9. I use long lengths of thread because I hate to run out. It’s easy for the thread to twist and knot up as you’re pulling the thread through, so I keep a finger through the loop as a guide to keep that from happening. It’s a righteous pain to untangle a knot in your needlework because you were in a hurry and got sloppy. Trust me.

10. When pulling tightly on the thread don’t pull from the needle, pull the threads themselves from below the needle to keep the metal of the eye from wearing through the thread. This is especially easy to do if you hold the needle in your lips and the thread gets damp. Bad times if it breaks.

11. As you make your loop stitches along the edge, pulling each firm (but not too tight), pull out the straight pins as you go along. You’ll probably poke yourself in the finger tips, so make sure the kids or your ma aren’t listening…

12. Once you get the hang of it, this part goes quickly. I find the steady pace and attention to method relaxing, sort of like painting minis.

13. When you get to the end (don’t forget to leave the thumb’s width free!) make a final stitch, then carefully pull one of the threads back out of it. Tie these two loose ends together in two square knots then trim down, leaving about 1/4″.

14. Lay two separate pieces of cord for your drawstrings. I got a handful of colorful cord from the hobby store, but shoelaces will do in a pinch. Make sure that both ends are on the same side for each cord, but that each cord has its own side (is that confusing?).

15. Carefully fold down the loose ends (what we left the thumb’s width for) with the drawstrings at pressing at the very top.

16. Slowly stick straight pins through to hold the flaps down, mind that you A. only go through the top layer of fabric, and B. don’t run a pin through a drawstring. You want the straight pins as close to the drawstrings as you can get without crowding them.

17. When both sides are secured with straight pins, make a stitch through all four layers on one end. Keep the drawstrings on the opposite side of the straightpins when you’re making your stitches. For this first stitch leave about four fingers length free when you trim the loose ends of the thread.

18. Stitch a simple through-and-back type stitch (these are not technical terms I’m using…) as you go around each side. Leave a decent bit of room as a channel for the drawstrings, maybe 1/2″ or so. I don’t know how to make these stitches neatly myself, but I’ve convinced myself it doesn’t really matter. Go all the way around, and then tie off the extra to the tail you left on the first stich, trimming the ends down after to 1/4″ or so.

19. Going back to the drawstrings, tie a square not in each end, trying to keep the two sets even. Again, if you’re not tying each cord to itself to make two circles, you’ve screwed up somewhere and will have to be creative to fix it. But you’re probably fine, so let’s keep going, because the next step involves fire!

20. Cut the loose ends off the drawstrings, and if you’ve used a synthetic material you should carefully melt the ends with a match or lighter to keep them from unraveling at a later date. FFS do not set your bag, yourself, or anything but the very tips of the loose ends on fire! Get them wet to make sure they’re not hot, because you don’t want to melt the craft fabric, which is probably acrylic based.

21. Tuck the knotted ends into the channels you’ve sewn. This is purely for looks.

22. Turn the whole contraption inside out, so that the stitches and knots are hidden and the whole thing looks clean and neat.

23. Fill your new dice bag full of your many dozens of various colored little d6!

24. The hobby store should have a wide variety of colors and designs, and if you play many other wargames or RPGs you’ll probably have a ton of dice, like me. The orange and black bag is for my 40k dice, the colors chosen to match my Chaos Space Marine warband’s colors. The black and white checked bag was recently created for my RPG dice, because I was tired of pouring out pounds of dice a couple of times a week depending on what game I was going to play. This whole process took me less than the length of an ‘Erasure’s Greatest Hits’ album, so they’re easy to knock out once you’ve got the knack of working with needle and thread.

I certainly hope this is useful or interesting to my brothers of the Legio, helping them to keep their necessary gaming accessories well disciplined and ready for transport in an instant’s notice, as well as due penance for my crimes against painting this year.

Ave Dominus Bellum!


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200th Post & Some WIP 40k Painting & Modeling

This is my 200th post on RA, so of course it has to be a self referential reflection.

Here’s the stats for RA so far:

I started in August of 2009, went through several site reorgs, spiked in July 2010 when I was blogging from Cambridge in England, then climbed back up to those levels after I accumulated enough hobby posts to interest random people from the internet and now I’m sitting at 600+, which was where my Cambridge journals spiked in 2010.

My post about what’s inside the Battletech 25th Anniversary box is a popular search. Less so but still a regular search is my unboxing of the 4th Edition D&D Essentials “Red Box”. And for whatever odd reason a lot of people search for “home made camper” and wind up reading about when I went to the 10th Annual Greaserama Car Show. My 40k modeling and painting posts drive most of my non-subscribed traffic, and following on that are people looking for posts about Asatru/Heathen holidays. Today somebody came here after searching for “fat sensei”, and I’m still puzzling that one out. My kendo and iaido posts, as sadly as infrequent as they’ve become (due to my busted knee and busy school schedule) pull in regular traffic too, but much less so than my hobby posts.

This isn’t a terribly busy website, as far as blogs go. There are folks who get 600 hits in an hour, probably, but I don’t care. It’s not about that for me, but it does indicate a healthy amount of activity and at least some levels of usefulness. This is a vanity page for the most part, an online journal and blog of my own activities, but here and there people do find it worth looking at, so that’s good. It also gives me something to do, and a soapbox, however small, for certain varied opinions of mine.

Enough of that mess, here’s some Warhammer 40k models I’m currently working on:

So last night was Halloween, and anybody following this shouldn’t be surprised when I say that the Iron Hounds are a Halloween inspired warband. It’s my favorite holiday and I really dig orange/black, so why not? I thought it appropriate to kill some time today to work on my Chaos Sorcerer before the son came over to help me carve pumpkins and hand out candy. His paint scheme is more in line with what my very first scheme for these guys was, which is orange all over with black trim instead of the quartered scheme. I decided to make him different since he’s a unique and important part of the warband.

Astute observers may also have noticed that my character names have all been directly taken from or inspired by by-names for Odin from the sagas. This fellow’s name is Forn Grimnir, which means “Old Masked One”. I named him so because 1. he is the original corrupter of the Iron Hounds mentioned in my IA; 2. he sometimes recruits by traveling through Imperial space masquerading as a Loyalist Librarian; 3. he’s a generally mean, sneaky, treacherous old man.

Here he is with a base coat and initial wash:

The Bolt Pistol is magnetized and was painted for a different model, so it’s just there as a prop right now. I really like the horn he wears on his hip, which comes from a Space Wolves sprue like his head (which I’ve trimmed the braids off his beard):

His Force Scythe is from a WHFB Vampire Counts Zombie Regiment box. It was originally going to be a spear, but I saw the scythe and thought that was just too cool not to use. I use the heck out of WHFB bits in conversions:

The trim is going to be black on the chest piece, the skull on his right knee will also be black as well as the trim around the jump pack intakes and the decorative Iron Halo he’s got. Why a jump pack instead of wings, you ask? Because I thought it would fit in with the Iron Hounds better that way, and the “Storm Crows” Raptor squad was conceived of as a retinue for him so I didn’t reckon he would need to be able to fit into a transport.

I’m probably going to field him along with his protege (Brynhild the Jealous, my Fallen Sister of Battle Aspiring Sorceress from earlier in this thread) against my friend’s Grey Knights. I’d like to give him a taste of his own medicine with his ridiculous psyker attacks every round. He’s got a psyker enclave that can generate a high strength AP1 psychic attack every round. Very nasty. Let’s see how he likes one of them turning into a Spawn and eating his mates.

Now I gotta fiddle me up a Spawn…

And speaking of Halloween, here is a photo of me and my son posing with out Jack-O-Lanterns from last night:

As an Asatruar/Heathen I celebrate Halloween as a part of, or at least hand in hand with, Heathen Winternights. I’ll be attending an actual Winternights celebration next week (postponed from this past weekend) with some “free holding” Heathens. I was to attend another Winternights with my friends in Tyr’s Helm Tribe two weeks ago, but an acute case of gastroenteritis kept me home all weekend. Nasty stuff, but I’m over it now. Except for the paying for it part. Life is hard when you’ve no insurance sometimes. But anyway, my personal Halloween tradition is to carve my three Jack-O-Lanterns the day of Halloween as the sun is going down. They sit on my porch all night guarding the homestead from baneful wights, and in the morning (or when I wake up) they get a shot of liquor and a journey to the spirit realms via hatchet execution. One of my Jack-O-Lanterns is always the traditional “triangle eyes” type, and another more religiously motivated (that’s supposed to be Odin with the one eye there), and the third carved by whatever whim moves the family member assisting me. Often Ma carves with me, but the children have come over in the past, as my son did this year.

Moving right along…

Sitting around fiddling with some parts the other day I went ahead and started modeling my Noise Marine cult squad. I figure that their Aspiring Champion is a good start for tonight, because I’m tired and don’t feel like doing a bunch of drilling and whatnot for their sonic weaponry options.

So anyway, here is Anton Valentine, leader of an as-yet-unnamed squad of Noise Marines employed as auxiliaries by the Iron Hounds:

A pretty straight forward conversion, he’s mostly CSM with a WHFB Beastman head and, just for giggles, a SM chest plate with an Aquila on it as an allusion to the Emperor’s Children:

I gave him the option of mounting a Doom Siren, but fixed him with a Power Sword. The magnet on the base there is for a Melta Bomb if I decide to give him one while making a list:

And that’s that.

The Iron Hounds are almost completely modeled so far as my squads go. I want to make a couple of Apocalypse formations from Space Marine datasheets to represent their well funded flexibility, but the core warband is pretty much able to be fielded as is (minus paint). And it’s only been over a year and a half since I started on them. And a new codex is rumored on the horizon.

Ah well.


This is a work of “fan fiction”, and is not authorized or endorsed by Games Workshop Ltd. For a fuller explanation of copyright see this website’s legal disclaimer concerning third party intellectual property.

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Filed under Faith, Family, Hobby, Modeling & Painting, Personal Reflection, Right Living, The Heathen Gods, Works In Progress

Frithrik Ritter

Change to the website: I’m collecting images of my RPG characters on a page in the Rec Room section called the Character Gallery. It’s a regular page and not a post, so unless you are just wandering around the website for some reason you probably wouldn’t have seen it. I think most of the people who come to RA are either friends of mine who have me on RSS feed (and so only see the blog posts), or stumble in from web searches. A lot of people are looking for “homemade camper” for some reason, which I briefly mention in a blog about a car show I went to a while back. But I digress…

Last week I painted a miniature to represent my regular gaming group’s side adventure. It’s a break from our 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons to take on an old style 2cnd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game in the Ravenloft setting. It’s a thing to add variety to the ongoing game, a throwback for the experience gamers, and something new for the couple of newer gamers in the group. Personally I prefer AD&D 2E over D&D 4E, but if I let myself start typing any more about that this post will cease to be about my new mini, and become a long, insane tirade…

So here is the bleeding miniature I painted:

I’m still using my iPhone to photograph minis, and I still don’t have a photo-box set up to do it in. I put a piece of white hard canvas on top of my kitchen stove so I can use the fluorescent lighting in there. Sometimes I will select out the mini and remove the background, but for most of my pictures I don’t. On the newer 40k minis I’ve been photographing them on the cutting mat, and I would have a hard time explaining exactly why if anybody asked me. But for a one off model, why not go through a little extra trouble?

I think I’m getting better at painting, and I’m very pleased with good old Frithrik Ritter here.


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Filed under Finished Projects, Hobby, Modeling & Painting, Right Living

Painting the Plastic Minis from the Battletech 25th Anniversary Boxed Set

When I posted an unboxing for the Battletech 25th Anniversary Boxed Set I promised to do some further writing about the included miniatures. To start off with I decided to do up one of the “cheap” battlemechs that are included. I talked about how cruddy the plastic was and how slapdash the molding seemed, so the question is how well do they look after they’ve been painted. I’m not a great painter, I’d say I probably an average or middle level painter. I don’t get fancy, but I can thin my paints and stay in the lines.

Since I’m a House Kurita loyalist I decided to grab the PNT-9R Panther from the boxed set and experiment with the idea I’ve been kicking around for a paint scheme for my Goryō Dragoons. The Goryō are similar to the Ghost Regiments, but with my own DIY twist to them. I won’t get into all that here, I only mention it because of the paint scheme I am developing. The Ghost Regiments paint their ‘mechs white and add Yakuza irezumi themed designs to them. I want to go more with the ghostly theme. A Goryō is traditional Japanese ghost, a spirit of vengeance of a martyred or otherwise wronged noble. The Ghost Regiments are made up of gangsters and scum, the Legion of Vega is for disgraced but still useful mechwarriors. So in the theme of the Goryō I have created a regiment of the sons of disgraced mechwarriors who are deceased, serving to reestablish the honor of their families in their ancestors stead. This follows the Japanese tradition of “rehabilitating” the disgraced. An executed noble would be feared to return as an angry spirit, a Goryō, so it was honored to bring it peace (not to mention placate the potentially vengeful familial survivors). Sometimes the honoring of these angry spirits transformed them over time into benevolent spirits, patrons of some aspect of life related to the deceased somehow. It was a neat system; you got rid of an enemy and got a patron saint out of it. So the Goryō Dragoons are not gangsters or disgraced mechwarriors in a suicide battalion, but fanatical sons and daughters trying to restore the honor of their families. Neat. OK, so I did go into all that…

So, after that diversion, instead of just white with “gangster” drawings like the Ghost Regiments I wanted a full-on Japanese ghost theme. I painted the ‘mech white, washed it in a heavily thinned Ice Blue and then painted the legs black to mimic the popular Japanese image of a legless specter. Let’s see how it turned out:

Yes, these are both the same mini. I am not the best at photographing minis. I don’t have a special box set up with good lights and all that, and the overhead lights of my house cast unfortunate shadows, and I use my smart phone to do it instead of a real camera. In the first photo it’s so bright you can’t see the wash. In the second photograph the wash shows up really well. The truth of this mini is somewhere in between. For the base I was trying to replicate the colors of the standard Battletech maps, with dubious results. But this was a test for the scheme as well. Note: this is the first Battlemech I’ve ever painted. Back when I was a kid I never bought the minis, though I really wanted to. I didn’t paint minis as a kid anyway, so I’ve only been doing this a little over a year in general. It was different than painting Warhammer 40,000 figures, so doing more of these will take getting used to.

But as far as the “painting the cheap battlemechs from the boxed set” test goes, I’d say it was a success. I used all my normal paints and primer and washes and all that. I didn’t have to do anything wonky on account of the plastic. I would say to make sure to primer the whole base, because some of that base was covered by the tape I used to hold the mini to my “painting board”. Where I painted directly onto the plastic on the base it didn’t want to go on smoothly, but the primer went on same as any other model I’ve done and the paint went on the primer same as any model I’ve done. Everything held fine while handling it during the process. I’ve done things where something wasn’t right and stuff flaked off before I was even done. I painted a plastic toy dinosaur once where the paint just didn’t like the plastic and everything crackled off. Oil and water based paints not mixing well, probably. But that wasn’t a problem for the “cheap” battlemech from the boxed set.

They feel cheap when you handle them. It may be the lightness of them, even more so considering the weighty metal-ness of Ral Partha or Iron Wind Metals. But GW plastics are light too, and they don’t feel cheap. “Cheap” and “Games Workshop” don’t even really belong in the same sentence, but that’s neither here nor there. But despite the cheap feel of them they paint up real nice. If you get one that the molding wasn’t all wacky then I would say you wouldn’t even have to buy a fancy version later. But seriously, some of these have crazy mold lines or casting flaws. And some of them have got crappy glue jobs at the factory in China and will need to have limbs torn off and put back on with quality glue. But some of them are nice, and with nice paint wouldn’t need replacing. If something crazy happens to my painted cheap plastic ‘mechs, like I wake up tomorrow and all the paint has fallen off, I will immediately edit this to reflect that, but I currently feel safe being happy with them.

Next time I write on this I will cover the multi-part plastic Omnimechs that came with the boxed set. It turns out that the Thor was already assembled, which surprised me. The Chinese fellow who assembled it seemed to have been in a hurry, but I’ll save that commentary for later…


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Filed under Hobby, Modeling & Painting, Reviews & Reports, Right Living