Friday, May 19, 2023

Stargrave Ticket to Ride monorail train (and some models) finished

This week I added more Stargrave scenery to my collection. The monorail train you see behind the models is 3D-printed. This is actually one of the first STL's (3D printable files) I purchased after getting a 3D printer. It thought me what not to do when 3D-printing (I think this is train number six to be honest). Aside from painting the train, I rebased a few older models and finished a few new Die Hard Miniatures and 3D-printed ones. 

Don't worry I'm not moving into model railroading (I'm already out of space as-is). Here's a wonderful blog about crossing over to that hobby though. 

I wanted a train for my scenery to play the third scenario in the Quarantine 37 expansion for Stargrave. It is a mission called 'Ticket to Ride' and the objective is to get to a waiting monorail train. When I got my first 3D-printer, I went looking for a suitable model and found the Cendre Secundus Monorail files over at Cults3D. I only just now (looking to copy paste the URL) noticed the original files are actually meant for 6mm-8mm Epic Adeptus Titanicus play :D. I did scale the model up a bit (around 125%) to make it look better with the models. Aside from that, I figured if a Rhino can hold ten angry space marines, this train can hold plenty of passengers (perhaps I should paint one of those 'people on board pushers' you see in footage of the Japanese subways*). 

* GW should add a model for that in the Rhino kit as well. 

I should really make the time to paint a few more classic Dark Eldar. 

I'll blab a little bit more about the train later. Lets move on to a few models first. I own a rather large bag of metal Dark Eldar from the line that nobody likes. Well almost nobody, I like some of them for their campy 'Buck Rogers'-style outfits (and yes I'm referring to the awesome glory of the eighties tv-series here). That includes this classic Dark Eldar Archon. It is one of the few female models GW ever put out (and even rarer: a female model with a female face!). Unfortunately I based her on a 25mm 'mud and tuft'-base way back when. Rebasing her on 32mm rusted plates, makes her fit in better with the rest of my Stargrave models. The classic Dark Eldar are a fascinating (and hideous) line. I quite recently pulled a few more of them out of the bag to get some extra camp going in my games :).

Three years on I'm still extremely chuffed about how his face turned out. 

Another model in need of a new base was Lieutenant Varras (I presume it is pronounced leftenant as this is a British game). I originally put him on a 25mm Necromunda base. This rust base makes him fit in better with the other models in my Stargrave games. Besides I really like making these bases (painting the rims, apparently not so much ;). After painting models I glue cardboard, screen door, cardboard straw (the only thing these are good for) and whatever bits I find lying around on my paint station to the base with PVA. Then its a quick blob of Vallejo Red Brown primer, followed by some rusty colors (usually I don't even wait for the PVA to dry). I also occasionally superglue bits of metal wire (or paperclip) to the bases and paint these yellow or green to represent loose cabling. It's a nice, quick and easy technique and I think it works well. 

When I applied the dot to his eye, I couldn't stop giggling because of the look it gave him. This grunt really needs a commander to point at where to shoot. I love it. 

Next up is this guy by Die Hard Miniatures. I joined their Kickstarter last year and got a nice big haul of awesome sci-fi models that I've been (too) slow to start working on (especially considering I joined their next Kickstarter too (it's an addiction (do NOT send help))). This is one is called Drax-Bounty Hunter. I like the no nonsense pose of the model. He's a perfect fit for any warband that wants a rifle toting alien in heavy armor in its ranks. 

One of the wonderful oldschool sensibilities in Die Hard Miniatures is the lack of pointless pouches, buckles and bric-a-brac GW indulges in these days. Yes I'm getting older ;)

For some reason I can't stop putting models in orange jumpsuits. I think this behavior comes from watching Star Wars too many times. I mean: if the white and orange combo is good enough for Luke Skywalker, it is good enough for anyone. 

Every time I look at this model, Whip It by Devo start playing in my mind. I do exchange whip with flame though. 

Another Die Hard Model I got around to painting is Lilith - Sci-fi Bounty Hunter, She was also part of the Die Hard Kickstarter. One of the fun things about these Kickstarters is that there tend to be no painted examples when you receive your models (well except for the ones you get in the updates during the Kickstarter). Seeing the one painted by Die Hard makes me realize I have read the model :). I also went a bit wild on the conversion side of things, adding a flamethrower because I wanted to add just a little extra psychotic touch to her madness. 

I've decided to become more confident and proactive in modding models in the future. No more 'I'll glue this one as intended and convert another later'. 

I also really felt the need to paint more leopard spots on someones cloak, and here she was. I used a bit of spring and a GW flamer I had lying around to turn the jet pack into a fuel tank. I have to admit it feels quite liberating to just go to town on a model and add my own flair. I may have to do that more often in the future. I also may have to go back and weather that flame thrower a bit more. 

Repair bot or killer assassin bot on wheel? You decide!

The last model for this write-up is this random robot (that I forgot to include in the group shot). It is a 3D print from MyMiniFactory and it is quite a lot bigger than you'd expect (the base is 32mm). I decided to practice both my grungy white painting skills and my self control on this one, applying a reces wash instead of just slathering the Agrax on. It worked out quite nicely (I think). I'm also rather fond of the coppery bronze color on the tubing on top of it. I recently rediscovered my bottles of Vallejo Air Brassy Brass and Bright Bronze and now I'm using them (a lot).

Choo! Choo! Ding, ding, ding, ding! menas money in the bank. (Railroad Tycoon 2 veteran's will get this reference).

With all that said, let's get back to the train. The printing process went a bit like that Monty Python castle in the swamp joke. I've printed a too small version of it first, then one that was too large, the next one was sized okay, but it exploded due to hollowing it out without making drain holes. The fourth one warped and then exploded and the fifth one, once again, was too small. But this sixth one is okay. It stood around on the paint station for a bit until I decided to drybrush along with a random 'how to paint metal'-video on Youtube (I'm still planning on painting Iron Warriors at some point in the (near) future). 

Gaining the confidence (or being insane enough) to point an airbrush loaded with a highlight color at a painted vehicle without applying masking, is an important step to getting quick (and in my opinion nice looking) results.

After the entire thing was looking properly metallic I added blue to select parts to make the train look a bit more interesting. I used an airbrush to highlight the blue a bit. As I was too lazy for masking I needed a rather steady hand (and some touch-ups). I spent quite a lot of time applying thin layers of Averland Sunset on the fuel tank (about three thin coats). I airbrushed Vallejo Medium Yellow to highlight the fuel tank. The windows have a glob of Waystone Green added to make it look like thick armored glass. I finished up by applying streaks of AK Streaking Grime and AK Rust Streaks wherever more points of interest where needed (I uesed a random brown contrast paint as well). The rails themselves I painted using my standard rust recipe. I feathered a bit of Nihilakh Oxide in recesses to add a dab of color and I sponged metallics on the rail tracks themselves, figuring they would be scraped clean of oxidation by the trains passing over them (at a later stage I realized that monorail trains levitate above the rails with magnetism, mooting this point. I solved that by not thinking about it any more ;)). And here we are. More models to use in games and an interesting looking train with (in total) 36 inches of track. I can't wait to get another game on and don't mind if it's a stand up fight, or another bug hunt. 


  1. Excellent as always. That monorail is awesome.

    1. Cheers, I'm quite happy with the way the blue made the entire thing pop.

  2. Love the tale. I don't print yet, but I understand the struggles from my buddy's adventures. The monorail turned out great in the end. Really like the blue coloring, and the yellow tanker makes it pop. Lot's of great additions to the Stargrave family too! I particularly like that bounty hunter. Cool coloring and the eyes are particularly interesting!

    1. Thanks, I wouldn't want to see those eyes staring back at me from a dark spaceship's corridor.