Sunday, 20 October 2019

Cold War Double Agents

A couple of weeks ago I showed some Pulp City miniatures that I'd originally bought for other purposes which will now be used for Pulp City.

This time I have two miniatures which have specifically been bought to round out my team for Pulp City, but which have another simultaneous purpose.

These two are Professor Hammer and Sneischinka, both of the Red Republik, a faction based on the concept of Cold War Soviet supers (like the film 'The Guardians' but with a better narrative...and acting).

Professor Hammer is the leader of the team, boasts rocket propelled fists and inspires his comrades with communist propaganda. The colour scheme I've gone for is based on the villain Nuclear Winter from the PC game 'Freedom Force', and that will be his alternate role.

Nuclear Winter is a communist agent who gets bathed in a combination of liquid nitrogen and the mysterious Energy X when a nefarious scheme goes wrong.

I was prompted to do this by a particular miniature in the Kitbash Games Kickstarter which bears a good resemblance to another Freedom Force character, and with some other projects coming to a close, creating the Freedom Force and their villains, using Super Mission Force for rules, will become a new niche project for me. I've already spotted how I might put together Liberty Lad from my bits box.

Sneischinka is a versatile character who can take on either snow or ice forms and fulfil the role of either blaster or tank as needed.

In terms of painting, I've done her as a combination of the old and new versions of Frosta in the She-Ra cartoons to add to the Great Rebellion.

Personally, I'm quite pleased with how she's come out as she sort of seems like a grown up version of the Netflix character.

I did have to perform a little ankle surgery as the model had broken in the post, but I think I've done a decent job of repairing her.

In addition to being used as Sneischinka and Frosta, there's also a potential for her to serve triple duty as the Ice Queen, one of Nuclear Winter's lieutenants. The model isn't perfect for this, but she's certainly a decent proxy for a minor character until I find something better.

So two models done, but a new project started which will result in purchases, so questionable progress when considered in the long term.

Acquired: 178
Painted: 172

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Zomtober: Telltale Signs Of Infection

A slight change of theme this week. I've jumped ship from my 7TV zombie horde to my Walking Dead zombies and survivors that have been on hold for some time.

As well as two generic zombies, I've completed Lee and Clementine, the main characters from Telltale Games Walking Dead app game, which were show only exclusive models.

I'm really pleased with how Lee has come out, especially his shirt. I was really concerned about whether he would end up looking too much like how I've painted Morgan. However, instead of using a pale blue for his shirt, I simply washed white with Drakenhof Nightshade and it's come out not too dissimilar to a denim shirt effect.

Clementine was the trickiest of the four to paint as the t-shirt lacks definition against the backpack straps and arm. I also probably should have done more with her shoes and sleeves, but I didn't want to ruin it.

I was a bit concerned that I wasn't going to like the finished product until I got to the backpack and cap. The molded details really help to lift the model and give some focus to what could be a very bland paint job.

The two zombies I've done using my usual methods, keeping their outfits really simple. 

The male zombie was put in green overalls as a nod to Shawn Greene (brother of Maggie) who appears in the Telltale game (spoiler doesn't go well for him).

The old lady is possibly meant to be Herschel's wife, one of the key occupants of 'the barn'. I gave her the sort of random collection of night clothes that an old lady who'd taken to her bed with an infection might wear.

Next week I might jump to yet another game system for my zombie fix, but for now,  that's four more on the painted pile. Things are looking good...

Acquired: 178
Painted: 170

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Zombtober: A Heavy Week

It's been a bit of a long week at work, so I've not got a lot of painting done, but I have managed to meet my Zomtober commitments with this chap...

In my quest to add a bit more variety to my zombie horde, my 'Tank' from last week is now joined by the somewhat politically incorrect 'Bloater', a large zombie that explodes when killed, spraying infected guts everywhere.

The miniature isn't actually a zombie, but a henchman-type from Pulp Figures, but I've felt since I got him as a Secret Santa gift that there's something about the shape of the model that doesn't seem right. However, he's fine as a bloated and distended corpse.

I've held back on the blood as there aren't a lot of places that seemed appropriate for it. I have used some on his arms to disguise a couple of mould lines that I failed to remove properly.

Only one model painted, and two more Quest Minis for my He-Man project arrived in the post, so not a lot of movement in either direction.

Acquired: 178
Painted: 166

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Zomtober: A Strong Start

It's that time of year again, when myself and several other gaming bloggers cease shambling alone through our hobby wasteland and cluster together to create a frothing horde of necrotic flesh.

Yes, it's Zomtober!

My first entry is a repurposed Reaper Bones Clay Golem. He was really simple to do, as he's almost naked and so pretty just needed my zombie skin recipe over the whole model.

For reference, this is a base coat of Kislev Flesh, wash with Biel-Tan Green, drybrush with Ushabti Bone and wash again with Agrax Earthshade. I then finish off the eyes (Ushabti Bone again) and liberally slop red paint and Blood For The Blood God about.


I suppose that I probably should have more blood on him given the state of his hands and mouth, but realism is never my biggest concern when it comes to zombies.

The only other painting that was needed was his loincloth, which, when painted blue have amusingly ended up looking like a pair of Daisy Dukes. In my head this is because this chap was bitten whilst at the gym or on Muscle Beach.

Aficionados of the blog will be aware that I have two zombie hordes, one for Mantic's Walking Dead game, the other for general use. The big guy is for the latter as the 7TV: Apocalypse box added more variety to a potential zombie movie cast, and so one of the things I want to do this month is add models to reflect this greater diversity.

If you are a blogger and want to take part in Zomtober, the rules are simple.
  1. Paint one Zombie or Survivor (or more!) each week, in any scale you like,
  2. Post pictures of your work posting it to your blog by that week's Sunday (that means if you want to join in this week you've got a day),
  3. It's also helpful to post a link to your blog in the comments of this post on Brummie's Wargaming Blog, as I think Simon is coordinating things this year,
  4. There are no prizes, just sharing motivation with like minded gamers trying to spread the zombie gaming  virus.
Blogs currently taking part are:

Brummie's Wargaming Blog link 
Four Colour Super Minis link
 Eclectic Gentleman Tabletop Gamer link
 Saturday Mornings link
 Doctor Merkury's Lab link
 Fantorical link
 The Lost and the Damned link
Colgar6 and the Infinite Legion of Toy Soldiers link
 Miniature Mayhem link
 Azazel's Bits Box link
 Dizbusters Gaming Ephemera link
The Wargames Addict link

So that's it for now, apart from the fact that 'Tiny' adds another one to my painted pile.

Acquired: 176
Painted: 165

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

The game that came in from the cold

One of the interesting features of the Kitbash Miniatures Kickstarter that I backed recently was that each of the miniatures will come with profile cards for Super Mission Force and Pulp City.

Although I have plans for the miniatures I've bought, it occurred to me that I'd accidentally acquired a decent sized Pulp City team from the Shadow Axis faction. This prompted me to remember that I'd accidentally acquired miniatures from another faction, the Red Republik.

When I say 'accidentally,' I actually mean that I'd bought each of them to use in another project. As it happens, I'd not actually followed up on adding any of them to each project, and they'd say unloved on my shelf for some time.

Pulp City is also a game that had been put 'on the shelf'. Despite being a game with fantastic miniatures and, from what I'd seen, interesting gameplay, lack of opponents and customisation had made me look elsewhere for supers gaming.

However, as I said, realising I was not only about to acquire a full team, but also already had the best part of a team in my possession promoted me to finally start painting with the aim of at least  being able to put on a demo game.

Chernobog was obviously bought to serve as Thor in my Marvel project. Despite already having the Knight Models Thor, I'd figured that this model would scale with my 28mm project better.

The trouble was that motivating yourself to repaint the same character a second time when you don't have to (Thor should be fairly big), and so Chernobog has had to wait until motivation arrived.

As you can see, I've still painted him to look like Thor because...well...I still have the 28mm Marvel project and he does scale better. It was also simple to do and allow me to use him as his heroic version 'Perun' should I choose to.

S.P.U.T.N.I.K. was another model bought for my Marvel project, but less obviously so. My intention was to use him as a proxy M.O.D.O.K. but I decided that there was too much conversion work to do and I didn't fancy painting loads of A.I.M. goons (so much yellow!).

The model itself is my favourite of the three and the face is really characterful. There is lots of detail to play with which worked well with my over use of washes.

The only fly in the ointment was that I'd foolishly assembled the whole model, which made getting the paintbrush to certain points awkward. If any of my loyal readers are considering getting this model, I'd highly recommend not attaching him to the chair until he's done.

Siberian was bought to use as Tiger Claw, a villain from the 2012 animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, a combination of 7TV not having a profile for Tiger Claw, and the need to give him an eye patch, jet pack, guns and cut off his tail made me not bother.

To say that the tiger stripes intimidated me would be putting it mildly and I had to strip the model twice after two abortive attempts (one had a horribly bright orange, the other was aiming at a white tiger which just looked unpainted). However, I watched a couple of videos, studied pictures of tigers and I'm really happy with how he's come out.

The Red Republik are meant to be themed as a Cold War Soviet force and I've tried to tie the team together with red items on each model and the snowy bases.

I'm going to give the game a try solo, using the Avengers I finished last week as the Supreme Alliance faction (to which they bear an uncanny resemblance) before I try luring others in.

In terms of my painting progress, not only have I painted these three, but I also spent some time with my terrain haul, removing trees from bases, fixing trunks and trimming errant branches. The cork bases have also been broken up to uses as basing material, such as can be seen on S.P.U.T.N.I.K. As I counted the woods as four models acquired, I'm counting them as four models completed.

Acquired: 176
Painted: 164

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Avengers: Endgame

I've finally finished off the last of my Knight Models Avengers, from their ill-fated Marvel Universe Miniatures Game (MUG for short), after them sitting part painted for a couple of years.

I was prompted into action by the news of the impending release of the new Marvel: Crisis Protocol game. Much as I'm very tempted, the game will be 40mm, and so not fit with my other models and terrain, and has a release schedule which would probably bankrupt me. Also, I've painted Captain America, Iron Man and Black Widow twice already, and I'm not keen on doing them a third time.

Therefore I decided to redirect my returned enthusiasm for all things superhero into getting a project finished.

Hawkeye was relatively simple to paint, despite being in a somewhat odd pose, which really doesn't look right when you're assembling it.

With Vision I made the decision to chicken out of painting yellow to fit with the classic comics look, and went for the much easier gold, which helps convey his robotic nature.

Although technically this is Moonstone disguised as Ms/Captain Marvel, as part of the Dark Avengers, I wanted to add her to the team as she plays a big part in the second series of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, which is my primary source material. Also, I really like the model.

However, as is typical for Knight Models, the arm behind her back is needlessly fiddly to attach and there's sadly a little bit of a lump at the join. That's why I'm not showing you another angle.

So that's my Knight Models Avengers completed. I'm really quite attached to them and although most of them don't really fit with my 28mm Marvel collection, I do have a fiendish plan to use them with another game system. More on that soon.

In addition to the three Avengers painted, it was clearly evident that this radar dish/super-weapon from my haul last week does not need any additional work doing, and it has already featured as an objective in a game of Dropzone Commander. Therefore, with no work at all, it joins the painted tally.

Although Wargames Illustrated again saw fit to give me free models I didn't ask for (this time it's a Frigate for Black Seas, something I'm a bit tempted by), I've also managed to palm off an earlier sprue onto Matt, and so this week has been a broadly positive for my personal challenge to 'paint' more than I 'acquire' (although those terms are getting increasingly loose).

Acquired: 176
Painted: 157

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Sun, Sea, Sand and EVIL!

Yesterday saw me taking a trip to Walsall to participate in the third Board in Brum 7TV event: On Location.

The suitably thin premise of the event was that Sidney Barron, the CEO of 7TV studios had decided to commission a range of new programmes and invest heavily in some location filming. As ever, things wouldn't go to plan on set and there were complications aplenty to negotiate during filming. However, never one to miss an opportunity Sidney Barron had insisted on plenty of product placement in the new shows.

On Location

Part of the attraction of the Board in Brum events is that attendees are encouraged to bring along their own terrain, and this prompted all kinds of creativity in terrain building, including my own efforts.

There's no real doubt that without this event to work towards I wouldn't have made such progress on my lost world terrain. There's still more to do (and possibly a better mat to buy) as it felt a bit spartan next to some of the other boards on display. However, I am very pleased with what I've done so far.

There was a prize for best board, voted for by participants, which was understandably won by Tavis Hill's outstanding desert island at the top of the post. However, there were loads of great boards, and here are a selection.

The Evil Horde Abroad

The show I was commissioned to direct was a live action spinoff from She-Ra: Princess of Power in which Hordak, jealous of Skeletor's lucrative advertising contract with a price comparison website, sets out on a journey of introspection, self discovery and late night TV violence to determine just how evil his 'Evil' Horde is.

The regular cast of the show were:

Hordak (Alien Tyrant) - Jack Balance
Catra (Ruthless Lieutenant) - Kelly Alley
Scorpia (Serpent Man Naga) - Kirsty Le Brock
Grizzlor (Shocktrooper Commander) - 'Riotous' Ronnie Drummer
3 Horde Troopers (Shocktroopers) - Various
2 Hover Bots (Mechanical Men) - Various
Slime Pit Victim (Grave Haunter) - a different Cameo each week

Episode 1 - The Road to Evil Dorado (written by Benedict Quintiliani)

The series was beset by problems from the outset as the original plan was to make a big splash with Hordak facing off against fellow Saturday morning favourite Tex Hex from Bravestarr. However, due to complicated character rights negotiations breaking down, Tex and his gang were replaced with generic western bandits. In a desperate attempt to fix the situation, most of the bandit were cast as young women in the hope that cowgirls, cleavage and corsets could provide the necessary audience impact.

To add to the problems that beset this production, location scouts had misunderstood instructions to find somewhere reminiscent of 'El Dorado'. Whereas the writer's intention had been to evoke the 1966 Robert Mitchum film of the same name, this was read in the context of popular cartoon series such as 'Mysterious Cities of Gold' and so the film crew found themselves in a blisteringly hot South American jungle adorned with polystyrene ruins.

The heat not only exhausted the actors, sapping their energy for the action scenes, but also caused severe discomfort for those in heavy costume. Lou Ferrigno was this episode's Slime Pit cameo and got very angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

The script itself held up pretty well with Hordak beginning his quest for evil supremacy by confronting a group of villainous (and somewhat buxom) bandits as they tried to rob the fabled city of gold.

The pyrotechnics budget was blown (literally) as first Hordak unleashed a hail of fire from his arm cannon, and then a Horde Trooper followed up with a grenade.

Jack Balance chewed the scenery with relished as he wallowed in his villainous starring role, dispatching incapacitated female bandits with glee.

The last minute casting decisions actually played into the advertiser's hands as Le Brock's semi-clad Scorpia rounded corner with a wry "Hello Boys!" only to be confronted with several equally uplifted cowgirls responding "Hello Back!"

The heat got to Ferrigno, encased in sweltering rubber, at one point causing him to faint mid scene. Although he wasn't scripted to be defeated in combat, it was decided to leave it in rather than reshoot the scene. The opportunity was taken for a little impromptu product placement as one of the extras joked "I bet he drinks Carling Black Label," about the surprise victor of the confrontation.

There was some excellent, if underused, footage of Cally, the bandit leader, stalking Horde Troopers through the jungle.

The episode ended with a healthy amount of camera shake signifying an earthquake, forcing everyone to leave the city. Hordak had proved his supremacy of evil over nefarious desperados and was now on the hunt for a bigger challenge.

Episode 2 - Raiders of the Lost Reich (by Carl Packham)

Fully aware that the problematic first episode might not have had the desired effect on the audience figures, it was decided to bring the script from the series finale earlier in the run to generate newspaper column inches.

Deliberately controversial, this episode saw Hordak challenge the ultimate evil of Moon Nazis trying the reestablish the Reich by locating ancient Egyptian artifacts of power.

The production flew to North Africa for filming, but drew criticism for not employing any local actors whilst they were there. In fact, the streets of 'Cairo' in the episode are suspiciously clear of any evidence of people actually living there.

The episode itself is interesting in that unlike the mass brawls that typify the genre, the climax sees Hordak leading a surgical strike against the Moon Nazi High Command, including a reanimated robotic Hitler played with relish by Sam Kelly of 'Allo 'Allo fame.

The only real limitation is that the fight scenes lack the necessary spectacle thanks to the overuse of the pyrotechnics budget in the previous episode.

The battle features a three pronged attack on the Moon Nazis, with Grizzlor darting in and grabbing one of the artefacts, before leaving his Troopers to cover his escape...and die.

Catra leads a full on assault over the rooftops against the weakest point in the Moon Nazi lines. In this episode the Slime Pit cameo was played by Gary Busey, who demanded the part be expanded as part of his contract, and there is an extended scene of the slime pit creature inexplicably having the intelligence to search for and find one of the artefacts, before making his escape.

Hordak was arguably underused in the episode and apart from a scene of him rushing in, grabbing an artefact, then rushing out of shot, he doesn't feature in the climax.

Catra's assault is an action packed sequence full of wall vaulting, tail whipping, and pithy quotes. At one point, Catra observes that cats like her are better than the dog-like Wulfen of the Moon Nazis simply because "They're grrreat!"

This scene plays out with the Wulfen hunting down Catra to prove to her that dogs are grrreater.

Although Busey had demanded that the Slime Monster secure victory for the Horde, however, this wasn't what the overarching plot of the series demanded. Hordak was supposed to have his nose bloodied and doubt whether he was really evil enough, and so the correct ending was filmed after Busey had left the set.

The finale sees a combination of accurate sniper fire and a dynamic aerial assault from the rocket troopers bringing down the Slime Monster just before he escapes.

The Moon Nazis had staged a powerful counter assault and the monacled scientist was heard to mutter, whilst checking his expensive Swiss watch, "Success is just a state of mind."

Episode 3 - The Evil Strikes Back (by Wayne Bollands)

The script of this episode saw Hordak convincing himself that challenging other evil doers wasn't what real evil doers did. Instead, he would prove his evilness by unleashing his unspeakable evil upon 'heroes'.

The band selected for this demonstration of evil were the crew of the star freighter Greenfly, known throughout the galaxy for doing the right thing when push game to shove. The captain, San Holo (accompanied by his loveable, if derivative, furry sidekick, Ooowaka), was played by none other than David Hasselhoff, a fact which meant that there was no money for a star cameo in this episode, and so the Slime creature barely featured.

The Greenfly landed on the ruined mining colony of Dust City in need of repairs, but with the crew on the hunt for some very incriminating holovids of a planetary governor willing to pay well to protect his daughter's reputation. San Holo was horrified to find out that the Horde Troopers had arrived just before him.

The episode was filmed on the half built back lot of a period drama called Downtown Shabby .

Much of the early action of the episode saw witty and characterful dialogue as the crew searched the area for the holovids, failing to notice the figures lurking in cut away shots.

Perhaps the best scene in the series featured in this episode as Hordak sprang his trap, unleashing a hail of fire upon the hapless crew. There was a particularly touching moment as Astra, who we'd seen earlier flirting with San Holo, declared her love for him over the comm-link as Scorpia closed in for the kill.

As this tragic scene cut back and forth, Catra, having secured the holovid - and watched it, suggestively musing on the fact that there was clearly no hope for the governor's daughter, because, "Once you pop, you just can't stop..." - also ambushed San Holo and used a mind control ray to turn Ooowaka upon his own crew.

Facing off against Catra, San Holo shot first and then in a melodramatic moment, wracked with grief and faced with destruction, muttered, "Have it your way," down the comm-link to a snorting Hordak and took the desperate step of unleashing an alien virus that killed the rest of his crew and several of the Horde.

The epilogue showed Hordak cackling with delight because he'd proved how evil he was with a vicious ambush and driven a good man mad whilst he was at it. This was desitined to launch the narrative of the rest of the series with Hordak being more and more evil until he ultimately heads to Etheria to conquer the planet.

Unfortunately, this was not to be. Lackluster viewing figures combined with outrage from various parenting groups at the combination of violence and nazis with children's TV characters meant that the show was cancelled after three episodes.

Other episodes were filmed, and it is possible that these may come to light one day, but The Evil Horde Abroad would remain largely forgotten save for it's role in the creation of another cult classic.

The on screen chemistry of the crew of the Greenfly saw Hasselhoff and company given their own series, which made it to 14 episodes before being cancelled due to poor scheduling decisions. It developed some extremely loyal fans, known as Greencoats, who have spent years lobbying for a potential return of their beloved San Holo.

Director's Cut

The day was great again, and I heartily recommend both 7TV as a game and the events this game engenders. There is zero competitiveness at play as like minded gamers come together for a bit of a laugh.

There were prizes for best board, best cast (Paul Smith's clown which I foolishly didn't photograph) and best opponent, but not for winning, which is largely irrelevant.

I did, however, walk away with a prize of my own as Wayne very generously gave me some terrain that he'd had in his garage for years to incorporate into my terrain projects.

I'm not sure how to count it in terms of my tally, as I'm going to reorganise, rebase and reconstruct it in a variety of different ways. However, as there are currently 14 pieces, I'm going to add that to my acquired score and add 2 to my 'painted' score for the hills that don't need anything doing to match my existing Rohan terrain. 

In addition I completed four more bits of jungle terrain in the run up to the event. Mainly this was just basing bits I already had, but it still took work, so it counts.

Acquired: 181
Painted: 153