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 basic 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 Skull 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 to 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 sculpts.

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 Lasertron.

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

Saturday 2 June 2018

Heroes for Hire

I’m not entirely sure how I’d got to a position of having so many half finished models on my desk, but I’m quite enjoying clearing my painting queue. It’s giving me a really eclectic collection of things to paint, and a little tour of all the various projects I have on the go.

This time it’s my ad hoc Marvel project and my heroes for hire: Jessica Jones, Colleen Wing and Misty Knight.

All three of these are characters I’d never encountered until the Netflix Defenders shows appeared, and so my versions are based more on the characters as they appear in those shows, rather than the comics.

Jessica Jones is a Hasslefree sculpt, which is clearly based on the Netflix’s show. However,  when I first saw it, I didn’t make the connection as I assumed the model was adopting an odd boxing pose. Only later did I realise that she’s actually in the process of putting a hood up.

I kept the colours simple (which is my way) and quite dark, which suits the Netflix rendition of the characters. I messed up the eyes (which as ever, looks worse on the photo than I can see in real life), but the fact she’s looking down helps to disguise this well.

Colleen Wing has red/orange hair in the comics, but as I said, I’ve never read a comic with her in, so I’ve gone for a look based more on Jessica Henwick, who plays her in ‘Iron Fist’. In line with this, I’ll probably make her available to be used by The Hand when I get round to making 7TV cards for them. The model is one of the Daughters of Shiva from Crooked Dice.

In terms of outfit, the comic book Colleen Wing wears a white catsuit with ‘whupass’ (seriously) written on the thighs in pale blue. This costume is referenced in Iron Fist when she wears a white tracksuit to take part in some cage fights. I’ve gone for white clothing, but rather than add blue details to the clothing, I’ve used it for the belt and straps that appear on neither version of the character.

Using another Crooked Dice model, this time and Angel of Justice, Misty Knight was very straightforward to paint.

I’ve gone for the all red outfit she wears in the comics as, so far, the character that appears in Luke Cage is just a cop and doesn’t have a specific outfit as such. You have to look closely to see that I’ve given her a bionic arm, as only the hand is showing. The studs were tricky, and I’ve made a couple of mistakes, but not enough to worry about.

Whilst we’re on the subject of Marvel, I need to add this guy, whose been painted for months but just needed some static grass on his base.

Doctor Doom.

Although the costume is not really right on this Crossover Miniature, it should have a green tunic too, with the right colours he’s close enough that it’s obvious who it’s meant to be.

I bought this figure with the intention of using him as Doom a long time ago, but he got caught in the hiatus this project suffered when Knight Models released their short lived Marvel range. When it became obvious that the line was not going to last, and I want going to buy them all, I returned to my ad hoc Marvel project and this Doom was back in favour.

I suppose that the reason he’s taken so long to finish is that I still don’t really have an outlet for this project. There are various character building options out there, including 7TV, but this is likely to be something I do solo, and so I’m not sure that these options fit.

7TV remains the most likely option, and it’s a system that really suits low powered characters like the Heroes for Hire, but I’m not sure how it would cope with a powerhouse like Doctor Doom.

I need to do some thinking.

Anyway, that’s my quick wins done for now. Tomorrow...He-Month 2: Masters of the Juniverse!

Friday 1 June 2018

Let slip the dogs of war...

Continuing with my ‘quick wins’ focus, these are two guard dogs for use with my Resistance force in Terminator: Genysis.

As they are really just markers of which models have dogs with them (the game actually uses cardboard tokens for this), I didn’t take too much time or effort over them.

However, they are better than cardboard.

This is the last of the Copplestone huskies I picked up cheaply several years ago, with the aim of them becoming Soviet mine dogs.

They’ve actually been used in a variety of projects, and noticeably not as mine dogs.

Personally, I think he looks good as a guard dog; alert, attentive, focused on the job at hand...

...unlike this chap.

This dog actually came in a pack of Native American villagers from Redoubt Enterprises, and is more suitable as part of a vignette than as a game piece. However, the addition of a crate, no doubt chock-full of essential supplies, for him to urinate on adds a touch of humour to a bleak future for humanity.

In game, guard dogs give the Resistance a better chance of spotting T-800 Infiltrators, which has become more important now Matt has started sneaking these into his Machine forces.

They add a massive 10 points to my force, but they could be crucial.