Friday 29 December 2017

Happy New Year - Keeping the Flag Flying

Happy Christmas...belatedly!
I trust the annual festival of over-indulgence and pretending it's 'for the kids' is treating you well. I've been a little out of sorts with blogging for the past couple of weeks as life gets a bit busy at this time of year and so finding time to actually paint has been quite tricky. I'm pleased, however, to be able to squeeze something in under the wire.
These two are the very last Soviet models that I had unpainted for my Bolt Action army (barring a single sniper/AT rifle figure that I don't know what to do with.
The woman on the left is an excellent miniature I picked up at Salute this year as the free model that everybody gets on entry. Although technically from the Russian Revolution, she makes an excellent banner bearer for my WW2 army, and allows me to make use of the special rules for banners that are included in the Ostfront Campaign book.
The plastic chap on the right was the previous intended recipient of the army banner, however, I never got round to actually adding the flag. As a result, he's had his arms pulled off and replaced. I decided to give him a Panzerfaust to increase the already many and varied anti-tank options (tanks, bigger tanks, AT rifles, AT guns, grenades, dogs!) in my army. I'm a bit concerns with his face looking weird (probably the paint was too thick), and so he may very well get a head swap too. And, no, that isn't a mould line on his's a seam!
Amusingly, not sooner have I finally finished off my Soviets, I have now bought an armoured car with some Christmas funds. Helped by a voucher from the kind folks at Warlord for late delivery (which I never noticed at the time I got it) and a free shipping offer, the BA-6 will only be costing me £10. Less amusingly, the day after I ordered, Warlord put the damn thing in their sale and knocked another £5 off, although I don't think I'd have been able to claim the free shipping at that point, so I'm not too miffed.

With only two days of 2017 remaining, it's time for a review of...
Last Year's Gaming Resolutions
1. Paint my Dropfleet Commander force
As followers of the blog will know, I have had an intermittent stream of silver, tentacly spaceships popping up on the blog throughout the year. I still have more to do, but this is mainly because I ended up with loads thanks to various trades that I did. I still have a sprue of frigates to build and another half dozen or so cruisers to assemble. Despite this, I have been able to play games of varying sizes and there's been no real rush to complete the others. When Matt eventually challenges me to game using his battleship, I will probably do some speed painting of the rest. I'm calling this one a partial success.
2. Complete a battle report for 7TV at least once a month

I did well for a while on this one, but things have slowed down since the summer. Perhaps the main reason for this was that I've just not had that many games of anything since then. I did manage to do some playtesting on behalf of Crooked Dice in September, and I have posted pictures to the 7TV Directors group on Facebook that hasn't made it to the blog. Whats more, casts for TMNT, Scooby Doo, Doctor Who and other genres have been completed. I also appeared in the pages of Wargames Illustrated following the 7TV Day in June. However, I didn't meet the letter of the resolution, so this one is only a partial success too.
3. Play more big games
This one is a definite fail. I need to find a board solution for my house which allows me to play 6x4 games.

4. Paint what I want to paint
This, however, is a definite success. My output of painting has increased, and so has the variety of what I paint. I appreciate that it can be frustrating to more focused folk that I still haven't got around to finishing off my DZC resistance, but I'm enjoying painting more than I ever have done. I just need to do something about the fact that my eyesight is definitely getting worse!
5. Run a campaign of something...anything!
This is also a success. Earlier in the year I ran the 'Gibraltar of the West' campaign for Black Powder (the campaign is actually written for the 'Altar of Victory' game) and Matt and I marshalled the Union forces to a fabulous 'against the odds' victory in the largest battle of the campaign, but then got our flank set upon and smashed by the notorious secessionists Pete and Wes as we tried to encircle Vicksburg and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It was fun though. I've also been making slow progress through my solo Walking Dead campaign, and with everything painted for Days Gone Bye, there is more to come.

So, all in all, a largely successful year. And now for...

This Year's Resolutions

1. Finish of old projects

Despite enjoying my more haphazard approach to painting, my painting backlog has grown. I have taken great pleasure from finishing things off like the Walking Dead and TMNT miniatures, so I still want to finish off and draw a line under at least three of the following: DZC Resistance, DFC Scourge, War of 1812 Americans, FOW Americans, Necromunda Orlocks and Marvel Heroes.

2. Sort out a big table

I need to come up with a way to make a 6'x4' in my kitchen, despite only having just over a 3'x3' table. This means not only finding a way to support a larger board, but I also need to find somewhere to store the damn thing. Any helpful suggestions which don't require an extension will be gratefully received.

3. Pulp gaming

I've been slowly amassing a small collection of pulp figures suitable for lost jungles and ancient temples which I want to paint. However, I will also need to build some suitable terrain. I've made some headway in this direction already and there has been a series of truly inspiring articles by Mr Awdry over at 28mm Victorian Warfare which have shown me the way forward. Dinosaurs, archaeologists, Nazis and cavemen coming soon!

4. Play another multiplayer campaign

I thoroughly enjoyed the ACW campaign and I think it hit the sweet spot of having a sense of development without being too onerous for those taking part. I want to do something else like this, perhaps for Dropzone, Sharp Practice or Blackpowder again. However, I'm also keen to play some more games of classic Necromunda. My solo campaigns will chug on in the background.

5. Increase my blogging rate

I'm conscious that this has been my least productive year for blogging since 2014, and this has been due to some particularly fallow periods. I've also had some extremely productive periods as well, which may or may not have tallied up with school holidays. I want to achieve a more even posting rate next year.

And that's it. I really appreciate the support that I receive on this blog, as it genuinely helps maintain my motivation for painting and modelling. Have a great new year!

Sunday 10 December 2017

War of 1812ish US Regulars

This week I’ve painted another half dozen War of 1812 US Regulars from Matchlock Miniatures. This time, however, they are in the 1814 uniform (yes, the ‘War of 1812’ wasn’t just confined to 1812...terrible name for a War) and accompanied by an officer. They’ve also been complemented by some appropriately Canadian weather.

I’ve always been aware of the fact that Napoleonic uniforms kept changing and have never really thought about why.

I know it won’t apply to every change of uniform, but whilst I was painting these guys it occurred to me that the US Army changed its uniform to make it easier to produce during the war as the later uniform lacked the facings and lace details of the earlier design. This made painting them much faster, and I can only assume it did the same for the manufacturing process.

Sadly, they kept the labelled backpacks...

I think the single epaulette on the left shoulder  indicates that the officer is a lieutenant (I need to check that), which makes him perfectly appropriate to lead my small scouting force as he’ll only actually have 16 regulars directly under his command, along with a motley collection of other detachments.

Despite them being somewhat old fashioned in their style, I’m quite enjoying painting the Matchlock Miniatures. However, next up are some Woodsmen from Wargames Foundry.

Sunday 3 December 2017

“A Mere Matter Of Marching”

In August 1812, former president Thomas Jefferson proclaimed that, “the acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching; & will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, & the final expulsion of England from the American continent.”

And so, as a follow up to my Rifles, here are some US Regulars in their 1812 uniforms, the sort of soldiers that Jefferson believed would simply march to victory. The fact that they’re in a marching pose is suitably fitting.

I feel like I’ve had a taste of the full Napoleonic experience with painting these: having to research uniform dates; bemusement at nineteenth century fashion choices; painting crossbelts, packs, collars and cuffs; repetitive poses; repainting bits I discover too late that I’ve got wrong. It’s

My favourite moment was discovering that the US army embroidered ‘US’ on their packs for no apparent reason other than ‘bling’, this meaning that I’m going to need to freehand in every...single...model!

I’m happy enough with how I’ve done.

The models are Matchlock Miniatures from Miniature Figurines. They’re fairly stodgy miniatures with decent detail. Their proportions mean that they won’t mix in the same units with the Knuckleduster Miniatures, but they don’t look daft on the same table. The faces are also a bit ‘simian’ (this is worse in some of the other sculpts).

However, the most important detail is that I already have them, after picking up the occasional random pack at wargames shows a few years ago.

Currently I only have six 1812 US Regulars (an issue with getting random packs), which is only enough for a Flank Company skirmish group in Sharp Practice. I do have other infantry and so the initial force I’m putting together will have a fairly ‘cobbled together’ feel to it, at least until I can get to some more shows.

However, I now have two groups painted. With the addition of an officer or two, I should be able to have a small test game of Sharp Practice, putting my Americans against a Native force.  

Sunday 19 November 2017

The Forgotten War

I’m sure I’m not alone in having projects that I keep coming back to, but just never get off the ground. For me, the most prominent of these is the War of 1812.

Despite appearances to the contrary on this blog, I am, deep down at heart, a historical wargamer. My passion for the hobby was sparked by my dad’s collections of Romans and Carthaginians, both sides at Flodden, ECW Scots and his Black Brunswickers as they appeared at Waterloo. 

If you were to look at my gaming history closely, you’ll see the influences these roots. I always preferred the rank and flank of WFB to the ‘modern’ warfare of 40k. My collection of armies include my own Carthaginian and Hoplite armies. I once began an ECW project but it lost steam and the miniatures were added to my dad’s collection. And every so often I will begin furiously reading up on the War of 1812, pondering the gaming possibilities and impulse buying a few miniatures.

Why the War of 1812? What is it that draws me to this obscure and largely forgotten little conflict - an addendum to both the Napoleonic Wars and the War of Independence?

Mainly, the manageable scale (small, certainly compared to   Napoleon’s outings), the sheer variety of actions (small raids, ambushes, sieges, pitches battles), and the variety of combatants (British Redcoats, ragtag militia, and Indians!). Oh, and there’s a lack of cavalry - have I mentioned that I hate horses?

The trouble is, I never really got further than buying a few packs of miniatures from shows (and one rather random lot on eBay) because frankly, Napoleonic armies are quite intimidating. Most rulesets focus on the big battalions and even though the War of 1812 was small, the idea of painting even a couple of units of the same thing terrified me. Also there was the issue of who I’d play against.

What I needed was a combination of a few things:
  1. A fun rule set that didn’t require me to paint a lot, but still felt appropriate.
  2. An opponent who was doing something similar that could provide some motivation.
  3. The Napoleonic urge to come round again.
The first point had been tricky. I have a copy of Muskets & Tomahawks, but that would need adapting. However, about a fortnight ago I stumbled on a Beasts of War video featuring Sharp Practice 2 from Too Fat Lardies. Not only did this look fun (focusing as it does on the exploits of individual commanders) and manageable (30-40 models per side initially), it also had a War of 1812 supplement to help with army building.

As for an opponent, I remembered that Matt has both an unpainted (well, apart from 8 Riflemen and a few Light Infantry) Napoleonic British army (which is frankly ideal as the 1812 models I have are American), he also has a penchant for trying to paint more than he buys - and so was open to the idea of working on them.

That left the Napoleonic urge. As you can probably tell, it’s back.

So, my first ever Napoleonic unit are a small group from the 1st US Rifle Regiment.

These models are from Knuckleduster miniatures, and although a little rough around the edges compared to what I’ve been painting in recent times, they’ve turned out okay. I’m always amused by Napoleonic uniforms - green coats with yellow fringe, over white trousers, topped off with a plumed stovepipe shako...and this is a fairly tame uniform!

Sharp Practice requires troops to operate in groups of 6 or 8 (depending on their type) and join up with similar group to create formations like lines, columns and squares. Therefore these guys are a complete unit, although they’re currently missing an officer (or ‘big man’) to command them.

A quick scan of my ad hoc collection of War of 1812 miniatures pointed me to the ‘Scouting Force’ army list as being the closest fit. For this I will be building 6 Rifles (done), 6 Woodsmen, 16 Regulars, 8 Cavalry (I know...), and 4 Officers. Later on I have the makings of an artillery group too, and if I wish I can add the Woodland Indians I painted some time ago, although the Indians were more typically on the British side.

So there you have it. A new army started. I’m not sure how quickly they’ll come together, and I’m probably going to upset some Napoleonic purists along the way (my cavalry will be all kinds of wrong). However, I’m hoping Matt an I can at least take few models out for a spin in some skirmish rules before long as further motivation.

Tuesday 7 November 2017

The Walking Dead - Issue #3

Following the splurge of painting achieved during Zomtober, I know have everything I need to complete all of the scenarios from the Days Gone Bye expansion pack.

I know some of you will be wondering how things turned out for the Governor, and I will get back to him, but I’m not keen on the third scenario from Prelude to Woodbury so I’m more drawn to other scenarios at the moment.

So here goes...

Days Gone Bye - Part 1: Gun Running

Rick Grimes has woken from a coma, finding the world a changed place. After finding refuge in the home of Morgan Jones and his son, Duane, the three companions set out for Rick’s old police station to secure a stash of weaponry with which to weather the storm...

This was a fun game that became significantly easier when the car alarm went off. My only gripe was that the best strategy ended up being sneaking round the edge of the board, which is always a bit odd when a game is set in a wider world (i.e. not a sports game like Bloodbowl).

One thing I really like about this game is the way the narrative ends up writing itself. Although Morgan found nothing in the first car he visited, the turn he spent there did explain why a convenient car alarm went off. Rick finding a tyre iron in a car was a nice touch too.

I do worry that after the effort of painting him, this might be the last time we see Duane gracing the pages of the comic, so I’ll have to see if I can come up with some scenarios for the Jones boys before Rick returns to Cynthiana (assuming he survives) in the dim and distant future.

Meanwhile, in the next issue Rick is off to Atlanta. I wonder how he’ll get there...

Friday 27 October 2017

Zomtober: Wave Gone Bye

Back in April, at Salute, I'd bought all of the first wave of Mantic's Walking Dead game (along with Glenn, who's technichally Wave 2, but, you know, it's Glenn!) with the intention of painting them before I started buying more stuff. As detailed earlier in the month, I came to a bit of a grinding halt, and so for this Zomtober I wanted to make a dent in my backlog of Walking Dead miniatures. 

Suffice to say, I have succeeded in my goal. The end of Zomtober conveniently coincided with half-term, and due to Sheffield and Derbyshire refusing to admit that they are next door to each other, I've been on holiday whilst my daughter hasn't. Therefore I've been able to power through almost all of my remaining miniatures for The Walking Dead.

First up, the Atlanta camp. The tents and campfire are from Renedra and cheap as chips. They're not my finest work, but they don't have to be. The larger tents have been painted cream and green to all ow them to also be used as terrain in pulp games and Bolt Action respectively. The smaller ones were done brightly to make the camp seem suitably modern. Ideally, there should have been some different shaped tents in there, and there are several available (Crooked Dice, for example, do a dome tent), but for essentially two scenarios, I'm not going to worry too much.

Dale's RV is an MDF model from Mantic. I'm still not entirely convinced about MDF vehicles, as they are a bit flat and never quite match with the diecast cars I usually use as terrain. However, it's affordable (definitely a factor if you look at the costs of getting an diecast American style RV in the UK), fun to build (this one was infinitely better than the infamous SWAT van from Knight Models) and look fine in scenarios without loads of other vehicles - which is true of Dale's RV.

Glenn is a recognisable character from the TV show and is one of the characters who is most faithful to the comics. I like this pose as is suits his role in the game and the story in the early stages as a nimble and resourceful supply runner. Hist feet, however, are massive...which might explain why Maggie falls for him...

Allen is a character who doesn't really appear in the TV show in any recognisable form, although certain elements from his story-line (losing a leg in the prison, the twins) do pop up. This is a very simple sculpt, with an equally simple paint scheme.

Carl, or "CORAL!", Grimes. This is a cool little model from the starter set. I went with a black for his hoodie, rather than the more standard red, as I'd already given Duane a red hoodie and I did't want them to look like they're using the same shops. Although given that they're both from Cynthiana, that's not beyond the realms of possibility.

There are lots of nice details on the model which made it fun to paint. My only gripe (a small one), iis the fact that his hat, which is meant to be Rick's, is a different style to the hat on the Rick on a Horse model. I suppose this is more to do with models being taken from comic images, and so the mistake is more likely to be due to the artists (of different artists) than Mantic.

Jim is a character who is briefly in both the TV show and the comic books. He gets bitten before the group leaves Atlanta and in the TV show gets left tied to a tree to allow him to kill himself in his own time.

The colours I went for were inspired by the character Kenny from the Telltale game series. I still have the Lee and Clementine set which is based on the same game and Kenny is a significant character. Interestingly he not only looks a bit like Jim, but Jim's repair ability is a decent match to Kenny as well. My only slight issue that he's ended up looking a bit like Ted Glen from Postman Pat.

Dale, the unsurprising owner of Dale's RV, was another simple model to paint. Fortunately the comic Dale is more sedately dressed than the TV show version, who favours Hawaiian shirts. He comes armed with a scoped rifle (the equipment cards for which are also provided) which provides the opportunity to take out walkers from a safe distance.

Donna is Allen's wife, and as you can probably guess from her pose, things don't end well for her in the comics. Amusingly, in the game she's a low cost and low nerve character who almost seems designed to die as Allen gets a boost if she does.

Naturally there were more walkers to do. These four have been done as the inhabitants of an old people's home (it's also the third time I've painted the model on the left, as I keep getting it as a freebie at shows). It strikes me that in the early days of an outbreak there should probably be a higher proportion of old zombies appearing due to the inability of the grey vote to get away quickly, along with the proportions of people in hospitals, which are likely to be the source of any outbreak.

Speaking of hospitals...

I like the individuality of the Mantic zombies and each one tells a little story. Here are two first responders and a patient. The cop has clearly been bitten on the arm whilst dealing with what appeared at first to be intoxicated vagrants. The patient received a bite on the hand (which is now bandaged) and was treated in hospital before succumbing to the virus. The doctor appears to have been bitten around the mouth. Perhaps she was giving CPR to the patient?

Interestingly, the doctor is possibly the zombie with the least detailed face in the range. One of the nice features of painting zombies are that any sculpting or casting issues are easily covered up as wounds.

Finally, a slice of Americana. A punk with the strongest hair gel in the world. A plus-size walker who fell foul of rule #1 for suviving Zombieland: cardio. A hillbilly rocking what I can only assume is a mullet, making me want to call him Billy-Ray. Which means that the girl must be Miley. They both seem to be missing an arm which perhaps means they have had an encounter with a survivor wielding a machete, or even a katana?

So that's all of Wave 1 finished. The only Walking Dead models I have left to paint are Lee, Clementine and a Zombie from the show-only booster, Lacey Greene (she came with Glenn and will wait until I'm doing the rest of the Greene family), and a Hasselfree Michonne that I've bought to make use of the free game card that came with Tabletop Gaming Magazine.

I swore I wouldn't buy any more Walking Dead models until I'd finished Wave 1, and so I'm free to spend again...and guess who's going to Leeds Fiasco this weekend.

I've also started playing through the Days Gone Bye scenarios, so you can expect my comic battle reports to start popping up over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy them.

That concludes my Zomtober for 2017, and it's probably been my most successful for a while. Well done to all my fellow Zombtoberists who've been producing their own legions of the undead. We must do this again sometime...

Sunday 22 October 2017

Zomtober: I Hate Horses!

As promised, this week's offering for Zomtober is Rick, on a horse, from Mantic's Walking Dead game booster called, 'Rick on a Horse', which features a model of Rick on the aforementioned horse, and a zombie, one of the aforementioned walking dead. It's an example of extremely clear labelling from Mantic, something that other companies could possibly learn from.

Taking a similarly Ronseal-like approach to labelling, the post title for this week, 'I Hate Horses,' is because I hate painting horses, and Rick's horse is no different. I think it's because the smooth contours of miniature horses don't really suit my wash 'n' go style of painting, and I lack the inclination to become better at painting them because I hate painting horses.

My antipathy towards painting horses has caused many a wargaming project to falter in the past:
  • my Bretonnians for Warhammer never really got past 1500 points and featured far too much infantry,
  • I abanadoned my Bretons for Saga before I really started assembling them,
  • there have been some Napoleonic Dragoons for the War of 1812 sat in my lead pile for at least half a decade,
  • my Bolt Action Russians will never be joined by Cossacks, 
  • my 6mm ACW Union army is distinctly lacking cavalry or artillery (which are pulled by horses) for the same reasons.

And so you can understand why I approached this week's offering with some trepidation.

And I have to say, I'm still not happy with the horse. I think I need to go back and maybe put a bit more effort into highlighting it. However, I always reach this stage, where the horse is passable and any attempt to improve it, might actually make it worse and cause me to have to spend even more time painting something I dislike painting. Have I mentioned that I hate painting horses?

Also, looking at the pictures, I've not only noticed that I've forgotten to do the eyes properly, but there's an ugly mould line above the left eye that I'd not seen.

Gah! I hate horses!

What I don't hate, is Rick. Another cracking and characterful sculpt which I've painted to match the version on foot that I finished at the beginning of the month. I'm very happy with how he's turned out. So much so, that he probably does a good enough job of drawing my eyes away from the hated horse to make my not worry too much about it, especially as this isn't a model I can see myself using all that much. The horse only features in one of the solo scenarios, and in regular games I'm not sure how useful the horse would be, as despite making a character much faster, it also causes lots of noise and so will constantly be moving zombies towards it.

As well as hating horses, I also hate free-handing writing on models, it never goes well. Therefore I love it when models have raised text sculpted onto them, as it helps me out immensely. The lettering on the police bag is an excellent example, and adds a nice detail to what would simply be blank if it were left to my 'skill'.

And so there we have it it for another week. This coming week is half-term for me, and so I have plenty of time to work on what will hopefully be a decent finale for this year's Zomtober. I also hope to find time for a few solo scenarios now that I have the necessary models, and so there might even be a return of my comic strip game reports if you're lucky. See you then.

By the way, I am fully aware, that if they are reading this, my usual gaming group will now be plotting to get me some horses should they draw my name in our annual Secret Santa. Yes, they are bastards. However, so am I, and I am also plotting along similar lines. Mwahahaaaaaaa....

Saturday 14 October 2017

Zomtober: Equal Bites

After poor light last week, a sudden spurt of good weather has meant the I was battling with it being a bit too bright to photograph this week's offering. I got there in the end, but many pictures were taken in a variety of locations.

The observant amongst you will have noticed that all of the zombies I've painted are African-American, and this has been a deliberate choice for my week's painting for several reasons:
  1. Some people (actually, quite a lot) are black. Therefore, surely the same would be true of zombies. In fact, roughly 50% of the population of Atlanta (where the early parts of 'The Walking Dead' are set) is black, and although the demographics on the outskirts of the city (such as in Woodbury) would be different, I felt it necessary for the purposes of authenticity.
  2. The walkers I've already done for this game are all white, and games were potentially going to look like this short!
  3. Some of the models in the game are clearly meant to be black, and would look daft if this were ignored.
Interestingly, the lack of equal representation amongst the zombies is something that's been commented on about 'The Walking Dead' TV show. There's some interesting discussion about this issue which raises ideas such as unconscious bias in the casting process, acting (and therefore extra work as zombies) not being viewed as a viable career choice by the black community leading to more white extras being available, and even 'scientific' arguments suggesting that as bodies decompose, the skin would lose pigment leading to more zombies looking white.

Whatever the cause, I prefer a 'freshly dead' look to my zombies, and so, to cut a long story short ("Too late!" they cried.) I felt that there was a need for me to paint some African-American zombies.

This lady came in the Morgan booster and even though all the sculpts in the game are based on images from the comic series, Mantic have cunningly boxed Morgan and Duane with a walker who bears more than a passing resemblance to Morgan's wife in the TV show - she doesn't appear in the comics.

You may notice the use of a flash during daylight in this image. This is because that the bright day was causing me issues with picking out the details on the darker colours I used. You can't quite see, but he's dragging his mangled foot behind him.

This model, I actually have two of, and the first has already been painted. It's one of two zombies that Mantic were giving out at Salute in April, and my diversity project this week seemed a good way to avoid obvious repetition in my shambling horde.

I really liked painting this model. There's something almost cliche about the zombified waitress lurching out of the kitchen in an abandoned diner. I've actually already done a waitress in the same uniform when I painted my Wargames Factory zombies - I like to think that they both worked in the same diner chain, just in different locations (due to basing and sculpt size/style I'm not going to use my Mantic and WF zombies in the same games).

So that's this week done.

Next week you can look forward to Rick. Yes, I know I've already done him, but this time...he's on a horse!

Sunday 8 October 2017

Zomtober: The Walking Dad (and his son)

Ahhh...Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That can mean only one thing...

...crap photos start showing up on my blog because the light outside is rubbish.

This time the crap photos (severely adjusted to ensure that you can see anything at all) are of Morgan and his son Duane.

This is an odd pair of models as they were a booster set is was really keen to get my hands on. Partly because they feature in the earliest scenario from Days Gone Bye, but also because Morgan and Duane offer some interesting gaming opportunities as you can play out their off-screen antics whilst Rick is in Atlanta.

However, the reason why they're odd, is despite how keen I was to get them, I'm not keen on the models themselves. In fact, I think it was these two that cause my initial hiatus in painting my TWD collection.

Morgan is a bit of a dull pose in comparison with almost every other model in the range. He's just stood there (this also contrasts quite sharply with Duane's action pose). He just doesn't stir the imagination.

I think I may have gone for too much of a dark colour scheme and I can't shake the feeling that I'd like to repaint his shirt in white to liven him up. Overall, my impression is of a drab model painted drably. What's more, I feel I might need to highlight his skin a bit more, but I have a constant struggle with getting black skin right.

Despite the dullness, Morgan is at least well sculpted. Duane isn't. His face and head are distinctly characterless. I don't know if I've just got a duff one, but it's not good. You can't even say it's because he's a child and so smaller, as Sophia is probably my favourite TWD model I've painted so far.

Again, like Morgan, I may need to go back to highlight and brighten the model up a bit.

Anyway, they're done, and the gods of Zomtober are appeased for another month. At least I can start playing through the campaign now.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Zomtober: Give That Man A Hand

I'm back!

It's Zomtober!

It's Rick Grimes!

I've had a slightly enforced break from blogging due to being, well, busy. However, Zomtober is here and it's given me a bit of a kick up the backside to get painting again. Starting with my backlog of models for The Walking Dead from Mantic Games.

Rick, pre-amputation, is one of the models in the main game box and, obviously, features in most of the scenarios from the Days Gone Bye expansion, so it's quite important to get him done.

In all honesty, he was mainly painted back in May when I lost my mojo for the Walking Dead, and so he was an ideal candidate for getting finished for the first weekend in Zomtober. I've tried to make sure that his police jacket matches the one I did for Shane, so the can actually serve as partners, should I choose.

If you're wondering what the hell Zomtober is, it a little joint project a number of bloggers take part in each year where you commit to painting at least one zombie or survivor per week dueing October, with the deadlines being the weekend. If you're interested in joining in head over to Brummies Wargaming Blog to sign up.

I've already got Morgan and his son Duane in the pipeline for next week, with some Walkers shambling up behind them. My overall goal this month is simply to make a dent in my backlog, and I'll hopefully find time to do some solo games as further motivation. 

Thursday 31 August 2017

Master & Servants

So I said I needed some Dr Who villains, so I decided to get some from 1971. Enter the Master and some Autons, ostensibly from 'The Terror of the Autons,' which was the Master's first appearance in Doctor Who, but the Autons' second.

Yes. I've been Googling.

The Autons are the, now unavailable, Crooked Dice Plastons that were part of the goody bags participants received at the Wargames Illustrated 7TV last month. They are a remarkably undynamic bunch, which isn't really a surprise seeing as they are meant to be shop window dummies come to life.

Because of this necessary lifelessness, I tried to keep the colours fairly drab, although I couldn't resist giving one of them a purple polo-neck - because all polo-necks in the seventies were purple (in my head, at least).

Here they are looking like the aryan Beatles...

To lead them, I have the Master. This wasn't a plan, it's just fortunate happenstance that these villains appeared together. The model is another from Crooked Dice, it's their original version of the Guru, the leader of the 7TV evil secret society SHIVA. It was a model which, until recently was unavailable as it had been replaced with a more dynamically posed model.

I was delighted by the model being made available again for two reasons. Firstly, it's one of the models that drew me to 7TV in the first place, as it is packed with character. Secondly, there is the fact that the model bears more than a passing resemblance to Roger Delgado, who played the original master.

I actually had a bit of an accident when assembling him (the model comes with a choice of three heads - resembling Ernst Blofeld and Ming the Merciless respectively) and clipped off a bit of his beard (don't ask me how). Fortunately I was able to fix this with liquid greenstuff and I'm not sure that you'd know the difference.

This almost gives me a starter sized villainous cast for small games of 7TV, and I supposed I could add some regular henchmen under the Master's hypnotic influence to make up the numbers, but I'm looking at adding a few more Autons through the cunning use of alternate heads.

I've also got some Daleks. But they've currently got me hiding behind the sofa in terms of painting them.

Friday 25 August 2017

With A Little Help From His Friends

Just a short update today with a couple of models to round out the good guys for my Doctor Who themed games of 7TV: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and River Song.

The Brigadier is the last of the Army starter cast from Crooked Dice that I had left to paint. I'd left him until last because I wasn't sure how to reproduce the correct uniform colour. In the end I decided to stop worrying about it and use washes over a khaki base until I was happy with the colour. Any complaints can be forwarded to the BBC costume department.

He's a characterful little chap, with a great military bearing - very Graham Chapman. He's even holding a swagger stick behind his back. As well a serving in U.N.I.T. this model will be useful in other military scenarios with the rest of the army chaps I did recently. 

When I first saw a painted version of the model below, I immediately thought that is was specifically designed as a 'not' River Song. However, time and a little research has proven my memory to be flawed as Alex Kingston never wore an outfit like this in her many appearances in Doctor Who. I thin it was the blonde hair that made me not realise that the Science Officer, from the Counterblast range of Bombshell Miniatures is actually much more like Ellen Ripley in Alien.

However, she also works as River, and also completes my team of companions for the Matt Smith version of Doctor Who. I now just need to track down a Roman Centurion who looks a bit like Arthur Darvill. I had intended to swap the datapad for the blue book of spoilers, but then I realised that I couldn't be bothered.

Sorry. :)

So I now have the Doctor, Amy Pond, River Song, the Brigadier and U.N.I.T.

Looks like I need to do some villains...

Wednesday 9 August 2017

"Even gods must die!"

Regular readers of my ramblings will know that a few weeks ago, a combination of good fortune, wacky scenarios and a small field of opponents allowed me to come away from a Batman event victorious, and my chief prize was a starter set for the new LexCorp faction for the Batman Miniatures game. Had I not won them, this is not a set I would have bought. However, it was a choice between Lex Luthor and Professor Pyg, a character I REALLY hate, so the choice was obvious.

"Why might I not buy Lex?" I hear you ask. Well, those that know me, might be aware that I'm a bit fussy about what qualifies as 'proper Batman,' and this often leads to me disregarding the more outlandish reinterpretations of characters from the console games (Firefly, I'm looking at you), and frankly all of the New 52 versions of characters. Although Lex Luthor doesn't fit either of these categories, he is very much a Superman character, and Superman stays out of Gotham (mainly for fear of getting his ass kicked...again), so Lex was in now way a priority.

Nevertheless, with my recent push on breaking out of a painting rut, I decided to have a crack at LexCorp.

You'll notice that the set features Lex Luthor and three, rather futuristic looking, LexCorp troopers. These are another reason I wasn't overly keen on this set, as they're a reminder of the overly 'sci-fi' feel of most of the DC universe outside of Gotham City. As such, I have already taken to referring to them as the Lex Marines. Having said that, I quite enjoyed painting all three, and this has made me keen to build up a full LexCorp crew.

Lex Luthor himself, is a very classy looking model. A simple but menacing pose that oozes character, clutching a lump of kryptonite, which amusingly has no effect in regular games as there are no Kryptonians in the Batman Miniatures Game, although there is a special 'World's Finest' scenario that allows Lex and the Joker to be pitted against Batman and Superman.

Lex was ridiculously simple to paint, with the trickiest bit being deciding how bright to make the kryptonite.

In game he might be fairly tricky to use, as his abilities are mainly used in the set up to the game, and he is worth extra VP's to the opponent, making him a fairly soft and valuable target. An energy field might not be enough to keep him safe if I'm careless with placement.However, he should be able to upset enemy plans well, and brings additional funding that will provide his troopers with lots of extra equipment.

The LexCorp troopers were a bit trickier, as I experimented with washes and highlighting to get a green that I was happy with. However, this was more to do with decision making than actually difficulty, and so I enjoyed doing them.

LexCorp Trooper 1 is a close combat master, giving him re-rolls in combat, which is unusual in a henchman. Combined with his reinforced gloves and Strength of 4+, this means that he is a fairly reliable source of damage, and should be good for threatening the higher defence models in the opposing crew.

Trooper 2 is armed with an energy blade which wounds on a 3+ and does that magic blood/stun damage that converts to to two blood when delivering coup de grace. This makes him ideal for finishing off downed opponents, including those who have been knocked out by the reliable Trooper 1. He also comes with the Follow Me trait which is useful for getting the crew moving quickly.

Trooper 3 has the only ranged weapon in the set, and it's only short range. This means that he will have to get across the board quickly to use it. Fortunately, the LexCorp equipment list features a jet-pack, and the fact that his hand cannon is a beam weapon that largely ignores cover, delivers three blood damage and pushes opponents, potentially makes him really good for chasing down enemy snipers.

All of the LexCorp troopers come with medium armour, which will provide them with excellent protection from enemy attacks, especially in close combat. However, the fact that they are only Endurance 4 means that weight of ranged fire can bring them down fairly easily due to the 'just a scratch' rule. This probably means that this crew will need to be used fairly aggressively.

In terms of building the crew, I have already painted the comic version of Talia Al Ghul, who is affiliated with LexCorp, and brings a bit more speed and range without negatively affecting the budget for equipment. To bring this crew up to 350 reputation, I simply need to add the Heavy Trooper, who comes armed with a...Laser Cannon!

What did I say about sci-fi?

As a final bonus, this crew is part of the Multiverse range, which meant that it not only came with the game cards for BMG, but also with cards for the DC Universe Game. This is essentially the same system as for the, now defunct, Marvel Universe Game, and so they may also see action against Mike's Dark Avengers, Wes' Guardians of the Galaxy, or even Pete's Justice League (if he ever gets the urge to paint them).

All in all, for something I didn't really want, these have been surprisingly satisfying.