Monday 28 November 2022

The Scarab Corps

So it seems as if I'm in a bit of a superhero phase. Long time readers of the blog will know that I go through peaks an troughs of interest in certain projects, and currently I'm back with superheroes.

Therefore, I've decided to turn my attention to the few remaining Pulp City miniatures I had lying around assembled and undercoated: the Scarab Corps.

The Scarab Corps are a team of chromatically themed heroes (somewhat akin to the Power Rangers) from Kitbash Games' Supers Unlimited Kickstarter from a couple of years ago. They are quite versatile in who they join with, as they are not only all Freelancers, but they enable a team to access leader cards without needing to have a Leader supreme present.

In terms of painting, I did these quickly with contrast paints. The single colour theme for each model and the chain/scale mail suits they are wearing responded well to the contrast treatment.

Blue Scarab was the first of the Scarabs to be designed, and was part of the initial Kickstarter campaign, with the others being added as a stretch goal add on later down the line. As such, she is the only level 2 supreme in the team, and her buxom nature belies the fact that she's actually a 'Tank' and by far the toughest of the bunch.

She was done with Talassar Blue over Grey Seer and served as an excellent test of this combination for some more Tzeentch Daemons I have in the pipeline.

Red Scarab is a Speeder who I suspect is designed for achieving objectives or tagging targets rather than getting into the rough and tumble of the main fight. He's possibly my least favourite of the bunch as the pose and facial expression combine to make him look like he's been caught doing something embarrassing.

Red Scarab was painted with Flesh Tearer's Red over Grey Seer.

Although I like the design of Indigo Scarab, I find him problematic. Not only is there that debate over how purple or blue the colour indigo is (seriously, why wasn't he Green Scarab?), there's also the fact that he's a Brawler with only 5 hit points. I'm not sure he's going to be brawling with anybody for very long.

Indigo Scarab wasn't painted with contrast paints, he was done with a couple of coats of Drakenhof Nightshade wash over Grey Seer.

White Scarab seems incredibly fragile. She only has four hit points. However, as a Support supreme with psychic abilities she's actually unlikely to be put too much in harm's way...although I do suspect that harm may go out of its way to find her.

She was done with Apothecary White over White Scar and so it actually more of a Pale Grey Scarab than this photo suggests.

Finally, there is the Black Scarab (a little bit too on the nose there...) who is the team's 'Powerhouse'. Although I'm no expert in Pulp City, the Powerhouses are normally the big, hulking models that are designed as line breakers and intended to smash stuff. Black Scarab seems a touch small and low level for this roll, so I'll have to see how he does.

Unsurprisingly, Black Scarab was done almost entirely with Black Templar over Grey Seer.

All in all I'm quite pleased with this crowd. Combined with the few heroes I've already painted (Doc Cosmos, Roughneck, Tox and Plasmatron) I can now field 13 levels of good guys to combat the rather terrifying array of villains that the Red Republik, Shadow Axis and A.R.C. can muster (yes, I know that the villainy of the A.R.C. is homo-sapien propaganda, but you get my drift).

I actually only have a single Pulp City miniature left to finish painting. I do have one coming from Kitbash's most recent Kickstarter last month, and I do have an inside track on something coming down the pipeline that I'm very excited about. Also, I took some steps towards arranging a game or two of Pulp City in the not too distant future.

Exciting times!

Acquired: 116
Painted: 209

Sunday 27 November 2022

Freedom Force: Prehistoric Panic

One of my slowest growing and most niche projects is Freedom Force. The 2002 point-and-click superhero game remains one of the best and most engaging games I've ever played and brilliantly captured the feel of classic comic book adventure.

Having put together a small selection of the heroes and a smattering of villains, I was in a superhero mood and so decided to get them out of the table for a solo game based on one of the original scenarios: Prehistoric Panic.

I opted to use 7TV for the game for a few reasons. Firstly, I'd already spent some time a while back making profile cards for my Freedom Force models using the 7TV Casting Agency. Secondly, I would be able to use the free 7TV solo rules, written by yours truly, for the scenario and simply replace the zombies for dinosaurs.

Finally, I have a bee in my bonnet about the idea that 7TV can't be used for superhero gaming. My argument is that it's all about the setting. If your superheroes demonstrate the sort powers that could be shown on 70's and early 80's TV (think The Incredible Hulk or Linda Carter's Wonder Woman) then you're good to go. Hell, you can easily stretch to any fairly low budget effort from later than that (e.g. 2001's Mutant X), just doesn't expect to throw Doomsday against Thanos.

Freedom Force is right in this old school/low level/low budget ball park.

Prehistoric Panic sees the introduction of the mystical character Alche-Miss as she and her new allies , the Freedom Force, try to close a time-portal opened up by a mysterious villain. They team I sent out included Alche-Miss, Sea Urchin and Mentor (who are all available for this scenario in the game) and Microwave (who isn't), standing in for El Diablo, who I haven't managed to find a miniature for yet.

Below you can also see my card for Eve, who's not appearing in this episode.

I've pitched the Freedom Force (all custom profiles), alongside 6 Scared Bystanders from the free Scooby Doo programme guide against 6 Velociraptor and a T-Rex from 7TV Pulp. I'm using Pulp as the base set for the game as it totally suits the setting of Patriot City.

Finally, in a slight change to the scenario, I only have 3 spawn points for the dinosaurs, representing the portals, but to balance this, only Alche-Miss is able to close them by taking an action to perform a spirit test. The team deploy on one edge, the portals are in the centre of the other three edges, and the bystanders had to begin within 6" of one of the portals. The dinosaurs were randomly scattered about the board.

And now, time for action...

The scenario worked really well as it was touch and go whether the team were going to succeed. I was working on a 3x3 board and Alche-Miss had to really get moving to even stand a chance of getting there in the nine turns the solo rules give her. If I was to do this again, I might start the heroes further on the board, or bring the portals in from the edge, or just make them bigger.

In terms of the profiles, I think I've got them about right. Mentor and Sea Urchin sucked and Microwave nearly broke the game (his teleport and cloning abilities meant he could lead a bunch of the AI raptors away from the action with ease). To be fair to Mentor, his powers weren't really suited to these enemies (raptors have two health points and so are immune to his mind control), and Sea Urchin really needs Man-O-War to be worth taking (as in the game). The bystanders died horribly, but did prove useful as human shields...which is really heroic.

I'm going to have a look at my collection and see what appropriate opponents I can throw at them. I do have Pinstripe's gang, but I'm not sure the solo rules work that well with stars and units. I'm also looking at building up some henchmen to join with Nuclear Winter.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Orsa The Fearless: Trollhold

Following the kidnapping of Skuld and the devastation of the Thing of the North, Orsa sets out to recruit the Svartalfar, the ancient allies of the northern tribes, to her cause of vengeance.

With her go her faithful pet, Karhu the black bear, and Wulf and his Cuhlan mercenary band.


Yes, we're returning to 7TV our Italian TV remake of the 1980s fictional cult classic fantasy movie, Orsa the Fearless, starring amazonian glamour model Alessandria di Napoli as the titular warrior maiden.

The second scenario of the feature pack, Trollhold, sees Orsa and her chums trying to rescue King Snorri of the Svartalfar from the clutches of the Marsh King.


Upon making contact with the Svartalfar, Orsa learns that they will only aid her if she rescues their king, Snorri, from the fearsome Jotun of the Trollhold Swamps.

If Snorri still lived he would doubtless be being kept in some dank pit or hole until his fate is decided.

King Snorri was lured into a trap by the grossly cunning Marsh King of the Jotun, who is constantly protected by his loyal brute of a bodyguard, Gudrun the Ettin.

What's more, the Trollhold Marshes are haunted by all sorts of aquatic monsters, including the legendary sharktopus, all teeth and tentacles.

Rescuing King Snorri will be no easy feat.

Nevertheless, Orsa, Wulf and Karhu plunge into the Trollhold Swamps, intent on searching every inch of it for the captured Snorri. Wulf sends his Cuhlan Mercenaries on a sweeping flanking manoeuvre to draw the attention of the Jotun whilst the search continues.

Before long, the travellers have drawn the attention of several hungry sharktopi, which begin slithering and squelching their way towards our heroes.

However, the beasts are no match for the cold steel of Orsa and Wulf, and Karhu proves to have a taste for seafood as the creatures are despatched quickly.

Meanwhile, the mercenaries find themselves assailed by the towering forms of the Jotun lumbering out of the mists. The sounds of battle ring out across the swamp, and Wulf believes his distraction is working.

He is disabused of this notion when the Marsh King, who is too cunning to fall for such a ruse, comes rushing towards them, his bellowing roar and thundering stride knocking both Wulf and Orsa from their feet, leaving them stunned and vulnerable.

Just as the Marsh King seems about to end Orsa's tale with his mighty club, Karhu erupts from the water, distracting him long enough for the prone Orsa to slide her blade in between his ribs, felling the monstrous monarch for good.

Despite having taken significant casualties, the mercenaries begin to get the upper hand on the thinning ranks of Jotun causing them to retreat. Is this another trap?

Small parties of mercenaries are seen prowling through the swamps, taking shots at the huge creatures as they disappear into the mist.

A weary Orsa tries to get to her feet , but is struck down again by the two-headed form of Gudrun, the Marsh King's bodyguard, trying to make up for his failure to protect his king.

It's at this point that Orsa mysteriously disappears from the narrative for some time. Several of her scenes were cut from the broadcast version of the series, more on this later, which gave the impression that Gudrun had slain her. This was not the case.

With Orsa apparently out of the fight, Wulf is also stricken by the fearsome Gudrun and struggles to retain his feet in the face of such an onslaught.

The mercenaries across the swamp are also seen being beset by dangers as the are picked off one by one by the denizens of the swamp.

Wulf distracts Gudrun and fights bravely to give Karhu time to search for Snorri (don't ask me how he was able to communicate with the bear, it probably works a bit like Lassie).

What happens next is the most confusing part of the final edit. Wulf appears to be overcome by Gudrun, who then unleashes the Ymir Mother and her brood from their lair. However, what was meant to happen was that Orsa would reappear, save Wulf's life, slay Gudrun and battle the Ymir. However, the scenes where the scantily clad Orsa was assailed by several pink, fleshy, tentacular appendages were considered far too suggestive, even for Italian TV, and were cut from the final version.

Continuity errors are apparently better that dealing with the censors.

Instead of this climactic fight scene, we cut away to Karhu searching for King Snorri.

Many fans still feel shot-changed to this day given that all the promotional material feature shots of Orsa battling the Ymir Mother.

The Ymir brood (who should have been driven away by Orsa) inexplicably now show up battling the last of the mercenaries.

The Ymir begin to fall to the blades of the mercenaries. Again, Orsa should have joined this fight, however, any and all shots featuring both Orsa and the Ymir were removed from the final cut, and so it appears that the mercenaries are doomed.

The editing decisions made in this episode made for a confusing mess of a TV show. Over the years numerous animators and artists have 're-imagined' what Orsa's battles with the Ymir might have looked like. Given the frankly indecent nature of some of these re-imaginings, the studio was probably right to remove the footage.

Anyway, the final scenes of the episode show Orsa, Wulf and Karhu rescuing Snorri with no clear explanation of how this happened. Snorri pledges the Svartalfar to helping Orsa in their final confrontation with Skadi.


In game terms, both Wulf and Orsa were defeated by the frankly indestructible Gudrun, and Snorri was never found. However, the battle was closer than it appeared as the loss of several sharktopi (polar bears in the scenario), the Marsh (Mountain) King and some Jotun meant that Matt was taking axed tests for most of the game until the Ymir were released. Annoyingly, he passed them all and then the heroes (i.e. me) went on to fail the first test they were required to take as the scattered soldiers and mercenaries had kept the cast above the axing point despite the failure of the stars.

The final score was 6-3, meaning that Orsa and Wulf will begin the final battle with the weakened status.

I'm not sure when we'll get to the final chapter as we only got through two of the scenarios on the day we played. Hopefully it will not be too long as I have several other feature packs to work my way through.

Saturday 19 November 2022

Orsa The Fearless: The Thing of the North

Over the last year I've been putting together the various miniatures and bits of terrain to allow me to play through the Orsa the Fearless feature pack for 7TV Fantasy. 

All I needed was someone to play and the requisite amount of time. So, when Matt, JP and I planned for a mini 7TV day, Orsa the Fearless seemed the obvious choice for a theme.

The version you are about to see is not the original (fictional) 1981 classic fantasy action movie following the adventures of the beautiful warrior orphan Orsa, her stalwart ally and ex-mercenary Wulf, and her pet bear Karhu, as they seek to foil the evil machinations of the Witch-Queen Skadi in her attempt to subdue the free lands of Valhannon on behalf of the wicked Atlan Empire.

No. This is the low budget and copyright infringing Italian version, starring glamour model Alessandria di Napoli. This low budget made-for-TV three part series took more than a few liberties with the story, not least the setting of it in warmer climes, facilitating skimpier and more revealing outfits for di Napoli in a cheap attempt to increase ratings.

Nonetheless, Orsa Gli Impavidi gained a cult status of its own for its effective use of a limited budget and managing to completely miss the point of the original film.


The movie begins with the sun coming up on a typical Valhannon village in which the 'Thing' (a gathering of the clan chieftains) has been called to address the growing threat of the Atlan Empire to the south.

Suddenly horns sound in alarm and the chieftains, their warriors and turncoat mercenary Wulf rush out to meet the threat.

With them is the warrior maiden Orsa, and her faithful ursine companion Karhu.

The threat is revealed to be Atlan Hoplites, who are pushing into the village, searching for something...or someone.

They are lead by the fierce and intimidating figure of General Aeolus, the strong right hand of the Atlan Emperor.

With the Atlan invaders is the hag Gullveig, who has allied the feral Vild to the Atlan cause. These cannibalistic men-like beasts seek only to sow carnage amongst the clans and feast on the fallen afterwards.

Deep within the village, the ancient seeress, and Orsa's foster mother, Skuld emerges from her hut. She knows the invaders have come for her on behalf of her sister, the treacherous Skadi.

She dies not flee, but awaits whatever fate has in store for her and Valhannon.

The Atlan hoplites plunge deep into the village, driven on by Aeolus.

Meanwhile, Gullveig urges the Vild into the other side of the settlement. Arrows are loosed and several northern warriors fall.

Wulf is an experienced soldier. He knows a diversion when he sees one. He spots that the Atlan hoplites are the real threat and at his insistence the chieftains order their men to get between the imperial troops and their quarry, Skuld.

The Vild riding with Aeolus is unhorsed when his mount his killed by a flung spear ensuring that Skuld cannot be spirited away.

Meanwhile, a party of warriors are despatched to slow down the marauding Vild.

However, they run straight into a storm of arrows and find themselves horribly outnumbered by the man-eating fiends.

The hoplites plunge into the defensive line and cut down many warriors and even a chieftain. Things look grim for the tribes of Valhannon.

Suddenly a stirring score strikes up and the lithe figure of Orsa strides into the fray. With balletic skill and the aid of Wulf, she cuts down the hoplites to a man.

As the men fall to her blade she feels a ferocious and bloodthirsty hunger come upon her. Although raised by Skuld, she is Vild by birth and faces a constant struggle to contain her brutal urges.

Suddenly isolated, Aeolus is set upon from the rear by the ferocious form of Karhu.

However, with the aid of the dismounted Vild, Aeolus is able to drive off Orsa's companion and continue his terrifying march forwards.

Aeolus launches towards Orsa. His brute strength overpowering the warrior maiden, tearing her clothing in a fetching manner and leaving a small cut on her perfect cheekbones, just below her heavily made up eyes.

In a desperate and chivalric bid to protect this valiant lady, Wulf manages to grab Aeolus in a headlock and starts dragging him out of the village.

Despite this, the Vild continue to drive through the village, their arrows scattering their foes, but repeatedly failing to bring down the clansmen.

Wulf is unable to hold on to his prize and Aeolus breaks free, kicking Wulf heavily in the back. Despite a warrior rushing to his aid, Wulf looks to be overmatched by the towering warrior.

The poor accuracy of the Vild allows the northern warriors to launch a viscious counter attack, cutting several of the cannibals down.

Recovered somewhat from Aeolus's frightful assault, Orsa joins the fray and finishes off all but one of the Vild and the hag Gullveig.

Famously, there follows a few frames of what appears to be Gullveig and Aeolus on fire. The story goes that somebody had meddled with the pyrotechnics for the burning of the village later in the scene and they went off too early, delaying filming for several hours.

These few frames slipped into the final cut by accident, but a more lasting effect was that the burning of the village was dropped from the film as there wasn't enough money to redo the effects.

Despite his bravery, Wulf was not match for Aeolus and was knocked sprawling and unconscious into the unlit warning beacon (this was the moment that was supposed to start the fire).

With the burning of the village cancelled, what was left of the pyrotechnics were redeployed to give Gullveig some magical fire, which briefly engulfed Orsa and the last Vild, but both walked away unharmed as the script demanded it.

With revulsion in her heart for what she truly was, Orsa and the northmen cut down Gullveig and the last of the Vild raiders. Orsa wondered aloud if her people could be redeemed now the baleful influence of the hag had been removed.

With Wulf out of the fight, Aeolus unceremoniously cuts his way through the only warrior standing in his way.

Despite being truly alone, Aeolus stands tall and strides towards Skuld. He casts a spear in the direction of Orsa, striking her in the chest (which is seen in slow motion and close up as this is a low budget Italian movie in the eighties). Although protected by her improbably uplifting armour, Orsa is flung backwards and falls unconscious, draped glamourously and provocatively amongst the long grass, as if she's sleeping.

We do not see the rest of the fight, and Orsa does not see Aeolus bind Skuld and lead her out of the village as a captive to whatever fate Skadi has in store for her.

Upon waking in a devastated (but not burning) village, Orsa learns that her foster mother has been taken. 

Realising that the north needs help if they are to resist the Altan Empire and rescue Skuld, Orsa, Wulf and Karhu set out to seek the land of the Svartalfar to renew the old alliances.


This game was lots of fun, had a brutal death toll and went to the wire, with both sides needing to take axed tests from Act Two onwards. Aeolus was a terrifying foe who got the drop on Orsa and was able to complete his mission single-handed.

For those that care, the final score was 7-4 to the villains.