Sunday 30 June 2019

"You may remember me from such films as..."

Another week and another bit of pulp productivity with two models based on my favourite low budget action hero and rubber dinosaur wrangler: Doug McClure.

Star of such cinematic marvels as Warlords of Atlantis, At The Earth's Core and The Land That Time Forgot, McClure was a pivotal figure in my never focussing my efforts on anything useful and ending up the sort of person that blogs about toy soldiers.

Therefore it seemed only right that this paragon of seventies middle-aged heroism should be suitably honoured as part of my Lost World project, not once, but twice.

Both of these miniatures are homages to Doug, with the model on the right from Crooked Dice being the more obviously recognisable, sculpted by the frighteningly talented Ernst Veingart. The model on the left from Antidiluvian Miniatures has only a vague resemblance to the big man, but is definitely him because he's equipped in the same way as McClure was in At The Earth's Core,  and he came in the same pack as the Peter Cushing model from the same film.

The Crooked Dice miniature is frankly an amazing rendition of McClure and I've tried to do justice to it with my painting, even down to trying to capture the right hair colour and actually painting eyebrows. I've been experimenting with the white contrast paint from GW, on the shirt, and I'm very happy with the result.

The only downside to the contrast paint is that I find it needs to be done before I've done other colours because the inking of other colours adds some necessary edging. This means that I'm having to be more careful as I paint.

The Antidiluvian Miniature is more cartoonish, and so somewhat easier to paint. In planning my lost world cast, I want to have a Ship's crew stranded with my heroes, and so I've painted this model up to join the sailors (when I eventually get them). I may get round to turning the spear into a boat hook in time.

Another two miniatures painted, but this week saw the joyous arrival of the 7TV: Pulp box, along with 6 villains and 9 macguffin I acquired as part of the recent kickstarter campaign, and so my progress totals have taken a hit.

Acquired: 92
Painted: 78

However, I'm still within reach of a positive tally, and those macguffin shouldn't take long. I'll be doing a review of the pulp box shortly and you'll see what I mean.

Saturday 22 June 2019

Beating Hydra To A Pulp

The Wargames Illustrated 7TV: Pulp day is edging ever closer, so I thought I'd better pull my finger out and get my cast sorted.

I had considered using my cultists, but that felt lazy and also cults are organised a bit differently in 7TV: Pulp. I also thought about my Atlanteans, but they're a bit short of numbers and I'd like to find more models that are appropriate to the film.

However, when I realised that the new 7TV: Pulp set included a profile for a Costumed Champion and his Stalwart Sidekick, I realised that I'd already started a suitable cast, and that completing it would enable me to use one of the many sprues that Wargames Illustrated have seen fit to add to my lead/plastic pile this year.

This is my 30 ratings cast ready for action. My choice is not only fortuitous in that it was announced this week that the theme of the day is a race for supremacy between the SSI (the people who made Captain America) and the nefarious nazi offshoot that is HYDRA, but also Captain America features in one of the very movie serials that 7TV: Pulp has taken as its inspiration.

My own Captain America and Bucky are from What The? Miniatures and were painted some time ago.

The soldiers, on the other hand have been done in the last week and have handily used up miniatures that might have tempted me to start a new army.

They've also reiterated my feeling that I'm just not keen on building or painting multi-part plastics anymore. I'm much happier with metal that someone more talented than me has posed.

Painting them was more involved than I thought they'd be as for some reason I'd developed the idea that American uniforms were pretty much the same colour all over. They're not. Its not like they're massively involved, it was just more than I was expecting.

The Army unit in 7TV: Pulp includes an officer and a sergeant who are largely identified by their weapons, but I've had a go at rank insignia too, along with unit patches. My freehand work is never that great, but I'm happy enough with the results.

I'm much happier with the helmet on the medic, who's making up the numbers in the cast.

The final member of the cast is a bit of an odd one out, deliberately so. He's actually a model destined for my lost world cast (hence the different basing) and is another Antidiluvian Miniatures sculpt, this time bearing a striking resemblance to Peter Cushing in At The Earth's Core.

Yes, that is Doug McClure with him.

I've not painted mine exactly as Abner Perry, Cushing's character, mainly so I can convince myself not to do a project on this film as well as Warlords Of Atlantis. Instead I have gone for a brighter waistcoat for a bit of colour. I've also noticed that I've neglected to paint his watch chain, and so I'll have to go back and do that.

This miniature also represents my first foray into using GW's new contrast paints. Rather than grabbing the whole set I've just gone for the white as I often struggle with it, and I have to say I really like the results and would recommend it. The only major change I'd make is that I usually leave white until last, but I'd now probably undo it first because the paint runs onto other colours you've used and I had to tidy things up.

And so there we have it: Captain America, Bucky, a squad of GIs and an accompanying academic, ready to smash the plans of HYDRA in a suitably action packed way.

Now I just need my 7TV: Pulp box to show up.

This week's efforts have made only a tiny dent in my tallies as some Masters of the Universe miniatures I ordered a while ago showed up, but it's still a positive swing of two whole models and I'm now extremely close to being in positive equity.

Acquired: 77
Painted: 76

Saturday 15 June 2019

Nightmare in Silver

Actually, it’s not been a nightmare at all. It’s been really rather easy.

I took advantage of Warlord Games’ recent sprue sale to pick up some Cybermen from their Doctor Who: Exterminate! game. Even though I don’t play that game, I’ve wanted some of these for a while for my 7TV games that feature a certain time-travelling Timelord.

In terms of painting these were ridiculously simple: base coat silver, black wash, drybrush silver to highlight, black in the eyes and then blue in the light on the chest.

I did try putting some white in the blue to make it look like it was glowing...but it didn’t work.

There are only a limited range of poses, with three slightly different bodies, and three variant arms. However, Cybermen aren’t especially dynamic, so this isn’t a problem and I’m really happy with how they’ve come out.

My production line approach has also had a positive income on my painting tallies, and I’ve resisted buying new things for a whole week!

Acquired: 72
Painted: 69

Sunday 9 June 2019

Warlords Of The Land That Time Forgot At The Earth’s Core

I’ve finally finished some painting.

I’ve been out of sorts for about a month and not really been in the mood to paint. There’s been a variety of causes but most of this batch of figures have been in my painting queue for quite some time. However, I’ve been spurred into getting them finished by the impending arrival of 7TV: Pulp.

First up is the T-Rex I picked up at Chillcon in February. It’s from Wizkids’ Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures line of unpainted, pre-primed plastic miniatures. They are really inexpensive given the size of the model (I got mine for about £12).

It’s a really nice sculpt with a very good level of detail. There were a couple of gaps to fill, especially around the tail (which came separate), which also needed some work to make it fit properly. The sharper points, like the teeth, lose a little because of the material, and there were some mould lines (some of which I missed), which were easy enough to remove.

All in all, I’d really recommend this line, and I’ll definitely be picking up their Triceratops at some point. However, I want to explore the range properly to see what I can use.

The other miniatures are from Antediluvian Miniatures and more than resemble the bad guys from one of my favourite films when I was younger, ‘Warlords of Atlantis.’

Atmir, the leader, was tricky to paint because his costume is so pale, with it largely being white and silver. I’m also not overly pleased with the face, but I’ve decided to leave it ether than keep adding layers of paint.

The Guardians looked easier to do than they were, and I think I made a mistake by undercoating in black instead of my usual pale grey. It had an effect in the skin which I didn’t like and so I ended up doing it twice.

I’m pleased to have got them done though, as I  was beginning to get frustrated at my lack of progress. These seven models also have a positive effect on my current painting tallies, although this is undermined by me picking up four LotR models:

Acquired: 72
Painted: 57

I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on the 7TV Pulp box as it’s arguably more up my street than the Apocalypse set (excellent as it is) and I’ve go dozens of ideas of mini projects to do.

Friday 7 June 2019

Counter Attack in Crete

After our initial forays into the Fallschirmjager assault on the Maleme Airfield during the invasion of Crete in 1941, Pete and I returned to the action as the soldiers of the 22nd New Zealand battalion made a valiant assault against their own defences to recapture the airfield.

We were taking the scenarios from an article in Wargames Illustrated #371 and according to our rudimentary campaign scoring, honours were all square at 2-2. 

However, there were a grand total of four points available in the final game. Pete would score 1 point eac for recapturing up to two of the four trenches, and another 2 point range for getting an unbroken unit within 6” of my table edge by the end of turn six. I would score the same points for preventing him doing these things.

The 22nd New Zealand Battalion (Regular) were arrayed a follows:

HQ - 2nd Lt (Pistol) + 2 Riflemen
Squad 1 - NCO, 7 Riflemen, LMG Team
Squad 2 - NCO, 7 Riflemen, LMG Team
Squad 3 - NCO, 7 Riflemen, LMG Team
RAF Crew - NCO, 4 Riflemen
Light Mortar Team - 2 Men
Matilda II

Despite having a tank, Pete was hampered by the fact that the scenario rules had the Matilda behaving erratically dying the game, which was fortunate for me as I had extremely limited anti-tank assets available in my Fallschirmjager (Veteran) force:

HQ - 2nd Lt (SMG) + 1 Riflemen 
Squad 1 - NCO (SMG), 4 Riflemen, LMG Team
Squad 2 - NCO (SMG), 4 Riflemen, LMG Team
Squad 3 - NCO (SMG), 4 Riflemen, LMG Team
Medium Machine Gun Team - 3 Men
Light Mortar Team - 2 Men
Anti-Tank Rifle Team - 2 Men

Despite being outnumbered, I had experience and tenacity on my side, and this time I’d have the advantage of a strong defensive position, while the Commonwealth troops would have to attack over open ground.

Please ignore the fact that the uniforms are late war, some of the Germans have assault rifles and the tank is a Cromwell and not a Matilda.

The New Zealander’s mass near the airfield, ready to assault.

Elsewhere, there is movement in the tree line.

The Germans prepare for the coming attack in their newly captured trenches that look a bit like walls.

Reserves are called forward from the formerly British camp.

The Kiwi Mortar team are the first to advance in a bold move, but are shot down for their daring.

The New Zealanders move up en masse, making use of whatever cover they can find, whilst the Matilda provides supporting fire.

They are met by largely ineffective for from the Fallschirmjager in the trenches.

However, more Germans arrive at the tree line and add to the weight of fire.

With the Matilda stranded for a turn, the assault edged forward, firing as it comes.

Accurate light mortar fire pins one of the Kiwi squads in place, whilst the RAF are similarly held by rifle fire.

One New Zealand squad gets close, but their assault fizzles out under sporadically successful fire.

With the Kiwis on the left pinned, the Fallschirmjager squad in the trees takes the fight to them.

The RAF fail to muster the courage to charge.

The second New Zealand squad’s assault loses impetus when it is hit by an air strike. However, despite low numbers, one of the squads of Fallschirmjager looked vulnerable.

The Fallschirmjager squad from the camp risks fire from the Matilda as they rush to support their comrades.

The British left behind to wither under accurate Mortar fire.

However, despite the New Zealanders melting away, the reserve squad freezes on the road under point blank fire from the tank.

A handful of Kiwi regulars assault the German veterans in the trench and miraculously succeed in grabbing their first objective.

There’s now a break in the pictures as things got exciting.

The Fallschirmjager in the second trench assaulted the Kiwis in the first and madehezvy weather of it, losing half their numbers.

On the final turn, they also assaulted the New Zealand officer (who was in the same trench) and made a complete pig’s war if it, getting wiped out by a man with a stick.

My only chance to stop a Kiwi victory was to activate the pinned unit in the road and try to kill the exposed unit before it advanced to the scoring zone at the edge of the table.

My unit failed it’s orders test! S**t!

However, in a fabulous display of chivalry, Pete also failed his orders test with what was left of his remaining squad, and his officer had to leave the captured trench to grab the more valuable objective.

With no trenches under Kiwi control, but their officer behind German lines, we’d managed to achieve a pyrrhic draw, 2-2.

This was actually an extremely tough scenario for Pete, to advance over open ground against a similar number of dug in veterans with unreliable support was a tall order. If my shooting hadn’t been so ineffective, it could have been over quickly. Furthermore, if my assaults had gone anything like with the odds, Pete would have not been able to hold on to his gains.

After playing three of the four scenarios from WI371, I’m not sure how much they’d been tested for balance. However, as a historical venture, they were fun. Primarily we played this campaign as a focus for building up our new armies and that objective was achieved so all in all it was a success.

I’ve not been doing much painting recently, but I have sold another 3 Space Marines that came with Conquest magazine when I was after cheap paint. Unfortunately, Warlord Games has extra phases to their sprue sale and so I bought some Cybermen (13 models to a sprue!) and a few more Terminator Endoskeletons, and so the picture has got a touch less rosy:

Acquired: 68
Painted: 50

This isn’t as worrying as it looks, as the number includes 14 Cybermats that are very small and really just need a coat of silver and a wash, so they’ll take no time to do.

I’m slowly getting back to painting, soexpect progress to pick up in the next few weeks.