Monday 18 March 2019

Unwelcome Visitors?

Unwelcome? Quite the opposite. This is the 7TV cast I always wanted but didn't realise until they became available.

The Visitors from ‘V’.

One of the abiding memories of my childhood was in the summer of 1984 or 85 (whichever year it made it to British TV) and the Cheaphammer clan were due to head off on holiday, starting with a long drive to Portsmouth to catch the ferry to Normandy. 

However, we delayed setting off (later forcing a frankly dangerous level of speed from my dad) as we were completely hooked on ‘V’, and the final two hour episode was being broadcast that night.

Such luxuries as Sky+ or catchup were not even imagined, and nobody in the early 80s ever trusted their VHS recorder to do anything other that miss the programme and record Ceefax instead.

A bleary eyed little me watch with mounting joy as the heroic resistance pulled off a classic bait and switch to successfully drive the reptilian aliens off the face of the Earth once and for all...well, at least until the TV series began.

7TV thrives on this sort of nostalgia, and so when these aliens were revealed as a stretch goal in the 7TV: Apocalypse Kickstarter I got very excited. Even though they weren’t unlocked in the campaign, they were put into production anyway and I was able to pick them up at Vapnartak.

Let’s begin with two regular Visitor troopers. I stole an idea from someone else on the 7TV Facebook group to put them in the black armoured vests rather than the plain orange. 

This is partly because it gives more uniformity, but also because the female Visitor reminds me very much of resistance leader Julie Parish when she’s disguised during the recon of the water pumping plant, and I wanted to break that mental link for myself and have this model just be a regular Visitor.

Next up are two Visitor shocktroopers, the armoured fist of the invasion. I’ve always liked the design of these uniforms and I’m likely to buy a few more. The only slight hiccup is that the Alien Spearhead unit card inly allows for one shocktrooper per unit.

As ever, the camera on my phone proves much better than my own eyes and has shown up parts of the helmet that need touching up as the red undercoat (more on that in a bit) I used is showing through.

I’d assumed that this model was based on either Pamela from V: The Final Battle, or Lydia from V: The Series. Both were domineering, power hungry women who tanged with the main antagonist, Diana. Despite the links to these two, this model lacks the command insignia and so I’ve kept the model in the plain orange (rather than trooper black) to keep my options open.

On the subject of the uniforms, there is some debate about whether to paint them red or orange. I’ve decided to go with orange in the grounds that the uniforms were actually orange. :)

In my quest to get the right colour I took the unusual step of starting with a red undercoat, then did the orange basecoat and gave it a Agrax Earthshade (liquid talent) wash. After picking out the black elements I gave the whole model a very light drybrush of pale grey. This was finished off with a yellow wash which turned the grey from dusty looking to highlights and gave the dulled down orange a bit more strength. I’m really quit happy with how the colour has come out.

John, the Supreme Commander is an excellent sculpt, with a jowly face perfectly capturing the original character. I copped out a bit with the rank insignia with relying on highlighting black rather than doing actual stripes.

Similarly, I’ve bottled doing the Visitor logo on the troopers’ hats and chests. My eyesight is not great and I don’t want to worry to much about messing up freehanding.

On the subject of my eyesight, I need to revisit a couple of bits on John’s belt and brighten up the orange in places. He’s probably the model I’m least happy with.

This one makes me smile because it’s clearly based on Marc Singer, the ‘actor’ who played Mike Donovan, the star of the show. It makes me smile because the sculpt is so good that there’s no hiding who it’s meant to be.

Whenever I use it I’ll always think that he’s about to turn on them (at least the Questionable Ally trait makes sense) and I’ll always be reminded of his completely hammy acting.

Finally is the model I’m most proud of, Diana, the villainous mastermind of the invasion as she appears at the end of the original miniseries when the attack on the resistance camp is drive off, complete with torn face.

This is a great sculpt and I’m really proud of how she’s come out and she’s a fitting star for my cast (even though John was in charge, Diana was the star). Although these models were released with 7TV: Apocalypse, ‘V’ seems to fit with the core box better and I’ve already identified the Otherworldly Invader profile for her as the Alien Duplicate special effect handily reflects the conversion process she uses to create spies.

 I’ll finish this tour of the cast with a gratuitous shot of Jane Badler’s bum - something that’s totally in keeping with the show.

This also allows me to focus on the basing, which was simply done with some asphalt flock I had knocking about. I went for this partly because the Visitors always seemed to spend time in car parks, but also because it was much easier than going for spaceship interiors.

I’ve also painted up a Sloth Fuel Crawler from Ainsty Castings that I won as a prize at the first Wargames Illustrated 7TV day I went to. In all honesty I’ve messed this up a couple of times with overdoing the spray paint, and the sculpt itself is a bit rough and ready (I sense it was donated as a prize because of this) so I’ve been very simplistic in how I’ve painted just to get it out if the queue as it’s begun to annoy me.

I’ll mainly use this as terrain in sci-fi games like Necromunda, but I can easily see it as a transport for the mysterious chemical the Visitors manufacture as a cover for their real reason for coming to Earth.

We’re moving in the right direction again with my tallies, but worryingly I’m going to Chillcon next weekend...

Acquired: 74
Painted: 36


  1. I never heard of the show, it must be a Brittish thing :D.
    This doesn't affect at all that this is a great looking cast and your good text helps a lot.
    Nicely done!

    1. Thanks. It’s actually a US show set in LA with fantastic 80’s hair.

  2. Great write up. These are some of the best figures Crooked Dice have done in my opinion. Like the choice you made on the black vests for the standard troops. Gives me an excuse to buy more and paint them up differently.

    Oh and you are definitely right about the orange!

    1. It does give the option of buying more, I’ve also noticed that there’s plenty of scope for head swapping on some of the others.

      I’ve got a sneaky plan to convert some into crew for a vehicle, but more on that another time... šŸ¤«

  3. I well remember the TV series "V" and the shock when the Aliens are first shown eating a guinea pig (or similar) and these minis and your paint-job, certainly catch their look.

    1. Thanks. Take a look at those shocking special effects on YouTube. It’s amazing that it didn’t break the immersion at the time.

  4. Great stuff Kieron! Much like Joe I remember 'V' from back in the day, but my shock moment was when they pulled their skin off for the first time revealing themselves to be lizards - traumatizing for a 10 year old lol!

    1. I think it was the first ‘grown up’ programme I was allowed to watch. I found Julie’s conversion harrowing at the time.

      Now, less so.



    1. Thanks for the tip. My birthday is coming up so I’ll suggest it.

  7. Cracking job. You could always use the standard aliens from the core set inst3ad of the shock trooper ones

    1. Cheers. There’s more scope in head swaps to be honest, also the other aliens aren’t quite right.

  8. Very nicely done Kieron. I was away at summer camp when V was shown so never really got engaged with it, but funny that I can place where I was like you can. :)