Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Into the Unkown...

You know what this year needs?

Another new project!

This time I'm off into the world of pulp adventures, specifically Lost World type settings - jungles, dinosaurs, ancient treasures, inexplicably attractive cave women, you get the idea.

The prompts for this are threefold. Firstly, I like the genre, ‘Warlords of Atlantis’ was one of my favourite films when I was younger (narrowly edged out by ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Battle Beyond the Stars’), and I’m incredibly nostalgic about it. Secondly, Crooked Dice are planning to release a pulp expansion for 7TV at some point next year and I’m a sucker for their product. Finally, they’ve also released a miniature that has more than a passing resemblance to Doug McClure, you may remember him from films such as ‘At the Earth’s Core’ and ‘The Land that Time Forgot’, and I needed a reason to buy him. And so a new project was born.

My first offerings for this setting are two miniatures from Lucid Eye’s Savage Core game which I picked up some time ago with one of those handy vouchers Warlord Games send me from time to time because I don’t buy enough from them.

Both have actually been almost fully painted for a few months but as I’m sure my loyal readers are aware by now, my focus does wander somewhat.

The explorer is a characterful model I’m currently referring to in my head as ‘Indiana Jane’. I see her as an archaeologist, tomb raider, feisty heiress type who won’t conform to her family’s expectations.

The red hair is part of the feisty persona - yes, this is a stereotype, but it’s also pulp, so what do you expect? The green scarf round the neck was chosen to contrast with the hair.

Overall, I really like her and can see her as one of the central characters in my campaigns.

The jungle lord fits all sorts of archetypes for the genre, from ‘white apes’ like Tarzan to the helpful savages in the Doug McClure films. I’d actually intended to give him black hair, but Leon (Pulp Citizen, Eclectic Gentleman Gamer) suggested that blond hair would allow him to pull double duty as Ka-Zar of the Savage Land in my ongoing Marvel project.

Ever one to embrace a money saving opportunity and get a two for one deal, I changed the hair.

In terms of terrain, I think the jungle terrain I’ve been making for the He-Man project will also work perfectly for pulp adventures, although with the way my ideas balloon, I can imagine boats and temples and even a bloody volcano in my future.

I’d blame Doug McClure...

...but how could I with awesome moment like this to look forward too?

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Glimmer of Hope

I freely admit that this Masters of the Universe thing is getting out of hand.

Not only do I now have a pleasingly large collection of Eternian heroes and villains to use, but I’ve taken a tentative first step into Etheria, home of He-Man’s twin sister, She-Ra.

However, before the Princess of Power shows up to lead the Great Rebellion, the responsibility for gathering resistance to the Evil Horde will, just as in the cartoons, have to fall on Princess Glimmer of Brightmoon.

This model is actually Princess Alluria, from Hydra Miniatures’ Retro Raygum range. Before the Quest Miniatures appeared on the scene, I’d mentally pegged this miniature as a potential Teela. However, I’m glad these things have worked out as they have as she makes a much better Glimmer.

The only conversion work needed was replacing her ray gun with a staff. I’m not ecstatic about the staff head, but it’s the best my bits box had to offer, and is close enough.

In terms of painting, I’m satisfied, although the face irritates me a little as I mucked up the left eye several times. She looks a bit too furtive for the gormless idiot that Glimmer sometimes is, however this is more to do with the face of the miniature - I think Princess Alluria is meant to be a villain.

I’ve decided to do something different with the bases for the Great Rebellion miniatures, and use more foliage than rocks due to the fact that their base is in the Whispering Woods. I’m not, however, going to go for pink fluffy bushes, but it does allow me to use the vibrant lichen I bought in error.

I’ve not done a character card for her yet, but she will probably be a mixture of the Plucky Assistant (due to Glimmer’s propensity for getting captured) and the Investigative Academic (who is armed with a dazzling torch). I’ll probably put the card on my next post, as Glimmer isn’t the only Etherian that I’ve been working on...

Saturday, 30 June 2018

“What a lovely day!”

Today I attended the 7TV: Apocalypse day run by Wargames Illustrated at the Wargames Foundry Shop in Nottingham, the purpose of which was to try out the new vehicle rules.

It was a lovely day, but before I get to all that, I’d like to take you back a few weeks to when I was wracking my brain about what cast to take as I don’t really do post-apocalypse gaming (unless you count zombies).

After much faffing around with ideas I settled on using things that I already had that might suit an apocalyptic setting. It seemed that of my miniatures, the group that would be most likely to exist in such an environment in a tricked out vehicle was HYDRA, led by Red Skull. This was mainly because it was likely that HYDRA had caused the apocalypse in the first place.

Regular readers of the blog will be aware that I’d painted Red Skull and some HYDRA goons a while ago, but I needed to add a suitable driver and so quickly painted up a helmeted goon to finish up the cast.

For my vehicle I made use of a WW2 German halftrack (HYDRA are nazis after all) that I’d bought without realising it was 1/43 scale and too large to use with Bolt Action. However, if Captain America: The First Avenger taught me anything, it’s that HYDRA like BIG vehicles.

The basics vehicle was quite bland looking, but I added a few items from the bits box (such as a bulldozer blade) to the outside, and a pile of stowage inside.

To add a HYDRA theme to the vehicle, a massive flag was a given. However, given that in my head, HYDRA had caused the apocalypse, this could only have been achieved if Red Skull had finally got the better of his nemesis, Captain America, and so I also added his shield as extra armour and his head as a hood ornament.

So with my crew ready, Matt and I piled into the car to get to Nottingham in time for some post-apocalyptic fun.

Game 1: The Race
Opponent: Simon
Cast: The Vuvalini (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Simon (of Brummie’s Wargaming Blog game) and I haven’t played in quite some time, due to not living near each other and us both stopping attending BMG tournaments, and so when we were given a free choice of opponents for the first game, we took the opportunity to catch up whilst shooting the hell out of each other.

His cast was based on the Vuvalini (or Many Mothers) from Mad Max: Fury Road, and featured Mad Max, Furiosa and a mixture of Vuvalini Wartiors and Black Thumbs (mechanics).

The game began with the usual scramble for objectives and countdown cards being used to make each other’s lives difficult.

I made straight for Furiosa, who was on foot, and despite failing to machine gun her to death, Red Skull was able to drive up beside her, stun her with a fire extinguisher and then steal the scene to shoot her where she lay.

However, this left Red Skull trapped in a corner, and when Mad Max had had enough fun running over the goons, he proceeded to repeatedly ram the halftrack until it was down to only one health and had lost all but one modification.

Red Skul managed to slip away but the final turn saw Mad Max use a nitro boost to ram the halftrack again, but the armour held.

I’d taken a battering in this game, and despite killing Furiosa and two of the Vuvalini, I’d lost about six or seven HYDRA goons (yes, I didn’t have that many in the cast), but Red Skull’s Endless Subordinates rule kept them coming back and meant he gained no victory points for axing my cast.

To add insult to injury, the one objective I’d picked up turned out to be the maguffin and netted me three points and a thoroughly undeserved victory.

Final Score: HYDRA 5 - Vuvalini 2

Game 2: Skirmish
Opponent: Dave
Cast: The A-pocalypse Team

Dave’s cast was a crack commando unit,  sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade and today, they survive as soldiers of fortune...etc.

You can see where he’s coming from here.

I didn’t get a photo of the beginning of the game as things happened remarkably quickly.

Red Skull and the gang made straight for the A-pocalypse Team racer, which had stalled thanks to a rather vicious countdown card, opening fire and, in a display of the most appallingly unlucky dice rolling I’ve ever seen from Dave, blew up the car in short order, killing one of the team and leaving the others vulnerable to Red Skull on the roof machine gun.

Before long, Dave was reduced to a single cast member. However, he’d amassed a ridiculous amount of plot points and was able to use them to ensure he was passing his tests for breaking and also stole the scene to gather up two objectives and stay in the game.

In order to track down the errant Action Hero without risking dangerous turns with the halftrack, I dismounted the goon unit who were immediately set on fire by some sort of pyrotechnic trap. Fortunately, only one of them died.

With my forces closing in, and time running out, Dave hatched a daring plan and decided to jump aboard the halftrack and try to punch Red Skull to death.

He almost succeeded.

With only one health remaining, Red Skull smashed the Action Hero over the head with a rusty bear trap, ending the game.

Final Score: HYDRA 9 - The A-pocalypse Team 3

Game 3: Demolition Derby
Opponents, Matt, Shaun & Benny
Cast: Grand Top Gear Tour, Hawkwind, Dr Who & Friends

The final game was a four way battle, with the winner supposed to be  the last vehicle standing.

Figuring that he might make more headway against the Doctor’s smaller vehicles than the Top Gear pick up, Red Skull ordered the halftrack forward, all guns blazing, but only managed to scratch the paintwork and kill the Doctor’s driver.

However, my quarry slipped away when my driver was suddenly mysteriously replaced by the Stig from Top Gear and Red Skull lost control of the halftrack.

Meanwhile, the Top Gear tow truck ploughed into Hawkwind’s tour bus, who retaliated by using their afterburner to try to ignite Clarkson and co.

The Brigadier did a drive by and one of his soldiers dropped a grenade in the Top Gear window killing a producer and Dave the AA guy.

After a colossally terrible attempt to beat up the Stig, I eventually wrested back control of my halftrack by shooting him in the back of the head.

However, by this time, the vehicles were all trapped together. Red Skull poured fire into the Top Gear windows, they retaliated with a rocket that killed almost all the Goons. Hawkwind finally succeeded in setting fire to James May’s Jag and the Brigadier was throwing grenades willy nilly. There was much ramming.

However, by the end of the game, none of us had made a dent in the others and so the final thrilling score was...

Final Score: HYDRA 0 - Top Gear 0 - Hawkwind 0 - Dr Who 0

Although we were technically the top table, our collectively uninspiring performance meant that none of the four of us ended as the ultimate winner.

But it didn’t matter, as everybody left with some sort of prize. I picked up a box of Wild West Exodus mechanical zombies that looked like they might work for Necromunda, 7TV or even Terminator. However, I have now picked up several bits and pieces for Wild West Exodus as freebies, so I may explore this in more detail.

All in all, it was a lovely day.

May you ride eternal, shiny and chrome!

Sunday, 24 June 2018

He-Month 2: Out with the new and in with the old...

With all the new Masters of the Universe inspired miniatures popping up, it’s easy to forget that Grenadier produced an official line of miniatures in the dim and distant past.

I recently managed to get my hands on a couple of these classic miniatures for characters that had not, at that point, had any new miniatures sculpted and were a tricky prospect to proxy: Zodac and Man-E-Faces.

Zodac, the Cosmic Enforcer, is a solid sculpt that scales well with what I’ve done so far. The design is based on the toy and Filmation version of the character (as you’d expect from a model designed in the 80s), but I’ve decided to reflect the 2002 decision to make the character black (a decision made to introduce a bit more diversity into the cartoon).

In retrospect, I feel that the decision wasn’t the right one, as I’ve arguably made the skin tone too dark and the 80s character this model is based on was white.

I may end up ‘whitewashing’ this character as it’s bugging me.

In game terms, I’ve decided to make Zodac a star to reflect his power level, and also to discourage his use in smaller games unless it’s pretty much just him and He-Man (as his cartoon appearances tend to be). I’ve also made him neutral and not given him any genre symbols, meaning he can be on both sides (as befits the enforcer if cosmic balance), but he doesn’t open up any extras.

With the exception of his gun and one special effect, this profile is basically the Unearthly Traveller from the 7TV box, which seemed appropriate.

Even before I’d received Man-E-Faces, I knew I was going ti have to do something about the legs. The design of the original model makes his legs look really short and stubby, out of proportion to the rest of the model. Also the pose was less than dynamic.

A quick dive into the bits box located, of all things, some Space Marine legs. Although not totally true to the character, they fit with the armoured look of the model and more importantly, made the whol thing seem more in proportion to my eyes.

I find blue quite hard to paint well and so I’m not delighted with the armour, but I have worked hard to get to a point that I’m at least satisfied as a result. I also think I’ve learned a bit about highlighting on the way.

I went for pink as the colour of the pipes and plates (there are versions with both red and purple) to add greater contrast and brightness. He is a good guy after all.

For 7TV, Man-E-Faces is probably the character that is furthest away from any of the base game cards. Loosely it’s built on the Security Guard Commander, but I’ve designed a Star Quality which allows Man-E-Faces to move between his personalities and gain access to different abilities and attacks.

I’m happy enough with what I’ve done, but my bonfire has been a bit peed on by the announcement from Quest Miniatures that wave two of their Masters of the Universe range will actually include Man-E-Faces.

I’ll see how I feel about replacing him, when I see the final sculpt.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

He-Month 2: Stay away from that Trap Jaw!

I continue to plough an almost solitary furrow for this He-Month, although there has been a little movement (and when I say ‘little’, I mean Orko) on the other blogs.

However, I shall persevere, and this week I’ve done one of my favourite MotU characters, Trap Jaw.

This model is another custom sculpt which has been specifically designed to work in Necromunda, probably as either a heavy (look at the size of that gun) or a pit slave (the miniature comes with an alternate claw arm. He just happens to look ‘a bit’ like Trap Jaw.

As it’s been scaled to fit with newer GW miniatures, this guy actually towers over the Quest Miniatures, however, he’s so good, I don’t give a damn.

In terms of painting, as is my way, I’ve kept things simple and let an excellent miniature speak for itself. Dry-brushing on the blue and washes elsewhere meant that this was actually a quick job.

As ever, these pictures highlight a few places I want to go back and clean up as my own eyes missed them.

In 7TV I’ve give Trap Jaw the Robot special effect to reflect his cyborg nature, and Thick to reflect the fact that he’s not the sharpest tool in the box.

Speaking of tools, I’ve chosen to reflect Trap Jaw’s many and varied arm attachments with the Gadget special effect, allowing him to do more than just blast away with his Lssertron.

One odd side effect of painting Trap Jaw has been that every time I say, type or even think of the name Trap Jaw, the theme tune of 90’s children’s animation ‘Trap Door’ runs through my head.

It’s getting a bit annoying.

Friday, 8 June 2018

He-Month 2: Mechanical Minions

I’m getting in early with this week’s offering for He-Month, and given that He-Man received support in the form of Ram-Man last week, Skeletor, being the dastardly fellow that he is, has decided to up the ante.

Enter the imaginatively named ‘Hover Robots’...because they’re robots that, erm, hover.

These chaps are from Killer B games and needed a little bit of work to remove a crest that the models had. However, this was easy enough to achieve with a good dose of clipping and filing.

Technically, to be more accurate to the cartoons, I should also have removed the ‘collar’ too, but that would have been a much more problematic job, and not really worth the effort for what are essentially cannon fodder.

In terms of painting, these were don’t with base colours, washes and dry brushing grey and silver and took very little time to do.

Ultimately, I’m pretty happy and they make a good fist of looking the part.

Arguably, they are a little large, but the Filmation cartoons, as cheap animation often is, were fairly inconsistent on the size of these things and so I’m not worried. I’ve also neglected to give them yellow eyes as the models just have holes for eyes, so I wasn’t sure how I’d do the yellow. I think they look fine.

In game terms, although I haven’t actually made a card for the Hover Robots yet, these are going to be the weakest characters I’ve designed so far, and rightly so, as when they did turn up in the cartoons, they would get wrecked by He-Man and chums with wanting abandon. However, sheer numbers should give the good guys pause for thought.

You may have noticed that I was slightly isolated in celebrating He-Month last week. This was unsurprising, as with the weekend being right at the start of the month, the other participants were fairly open about not meeting last week’s goal.

I’m hoping to have more to share with you by the end of the weekend.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

He-Month 2: He put the ram in the ramalamadingdong

And so another He-Month begins.

Last time I was already aware that I had more villains than heroes and so I decided to try to address this imbalance in the first week of the challenge.

Enter Ram-Man.

This model is a custom sculpt under the name ‘Flat Top’ which you might still be able to pick up if you head over to the MotU Gaming, or Masters of the Underhive Facebook groups.

It’s a chunky piece of resin (that’s a 40mm base he’s on) and was really simple to paint. Mainly this is because I’ve copied the Filmation colour scheme, which was also very straightforward. I’ve realised after doing the photos that I’ve neglected to paint the laces on the front of his tunic, and so I’ll need to go back and do this.

The sculpt is very blocky and thick set, which really suits the character, who is not especially bright and favours a tactic of charging (or bouncing) into battle head first.

If you have clear memories of the cartoon from the eighties, you may be wondering why he’s so big, as in those days Ram-Man was short and stocky.

The reason for his height change is that the model is more based on the 2002 cartoon in which Ram-Man was one of the characters with the biggest redesigns. They made him much bigger, towering over the other good guys, and instead of bouncing into battle, he simply charged head first.

Personally, I like this concept more, as I really disliked the original Ram-Man as the seven-year old me had real issues with the toy version. Not only was the toy not in scale with the rest of the line (just like the Orko toy, who was huge), but also in order to give him a bouncing action, his legs were welded together and his arms didn’t have full movement. What was the point of that?

Therefore, given the size of the model, I’ve based my version of Ram Man for 7TV on the 2002 version, making him large and giving him the Rage special effect to simulate his devastating charge.

And so He-Month 2: Masters of the Juniverse has made a smashing start. There are a handful of people joining in, although not all of them will be posting every week (it is a niche idea, after all). Below are the blogs of some of them  for you to check out, and I’ll be doing round ups during the month to show off other people’s contributions, including those without blogs, if anybody else wishes to join in.

Pulp Citizen - Eclectic Gentlemen Gamer
Blaxkleric - Fantorical
Whit E Knight - Wargaming Masters of the Universe
Ridmasta - Fanplastic Little Men