Sunday 28 April 2024

O' Brother, Where Art Thou?

When I picked up the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare starter set on a Black Friday Deal five years ago, the first model I painted was Aspirant Goddard of the Brotherhood of Steel. 

Sadly, Goddard saw very little table time as he was the only member of the Brotherhood that I owned...

...until now!

Due largely to the impact of the excellent Fallout TV show on Amazon, birthday money came and went rapidly on a couple of boxes of miniatures for the tabletop game.

I picked up the Frontline Knights box and the Raiders Core box to give me two more useable factions, alongside the Survivors and Super Mutants, to offer variety in my games.

The box contains three Knight Patrol (or Blades?) to accompany a Knight, who are all armed with laser rifles and are really characterful sculpts.

Notably, these are resin miniatures that are a real step up in quality from the PVC models in the starter set, and make me feel better about the price tag (although I did also get these at a good discount).

In terms of painting, I did them backwards to how I would usually approach a miniature. I started with the uppermost layers, drybrushing and washing that armour first before filling in and picking out details.

They were remarkably straightforward to do, and in fact the sculpted bases probably took about the same amount of time as the miniatures.

I really like the bases on this range as there's a fun game of, "What the hell is that?" to be played. The broken lamppost on this model really gave me pause.

It also gave me the opportunity to paint something a coppery colour and whack verdigris (or Nihilakh Oxide technical paint) all over it to see how it came out. I'm quite pleased with the outcome.

The Knight himself was even more straightforward than the patrol, which was the reason I began with Goddard five years ago.

Actually, the trickiest part of painting him was getting his armour to match Goddard's, as I'd clearly messed about with different silvers and washes.

Here they are together.

I'm looking forward to getting these guys on the table. I think I might have approaching 500 points of Brotherhood of Steel, although don't quote me.

Here's the Brotherhood assembled together.

However, I'm more likely to engage in some solo games as Fallout: Wasteland Warfare has a really good AI system for solo games and a campaign mode.

You know how I am about campaigns.

Acquired: 28
Painted: 247
Lead Mountain: 836

Monday 22 April 2024

The Scavenger

Have you seen the Fallout TV series on Amazon?

It's good. Even if you've not played the games. This is a hard recommendation to watch it.

Naturally, this has spurred me to paint some miniatures for Fallout: Wasteland Warfare. The only problem being that I don't currently have any unpainted.

What I do have is a handful of 30mm bases that are not only the right size, but also don't have the height of GW bases and so fit well with the Fallout range.

I also have a bitz box and a Lead Mountain to scavenge through; leading to these four...

Basically I had a rummage to see what I had that might conceivably work in the Fallout setting with inspiring howls of outrage about getting it wrong (mainly from Matt and Pete).

The thing is, what I've learned as a relative newcomer to the setting, Fallout has quite a specific look. It shares quite a few post-apocalyptic tropes l, but with a 50's slant, meaning that you can't just include any old Mad Max wannabe.

Also, the guns and other technology are very specific to the setting, ruling out another chunk of models.

However, these four miniatures are me taking a stab at trying to get it vaguely right.

First up is this Grenadier/Mirliton Miniatures Future Savage that I've had for decades, who was clearly designed at the height of the popularity of the Mad Max franchise. I had to replace his blade as his original knife had been removed as he'd been destined for life as a Goliath Juve in Necromunda and was meant to gain a gun.

I'm using him as a Raider (a faction which have more than a touch of the road warrior about them), and as nods to the setting, I've given him blue leggings taken off a vault dweller (or was he originally a vault dweller?) and a Nuka-Cola badge.

Although his mohawk is probably a bit much, and he's probably a little to muscular compared to the miniatures in the range, this works for a potential leader or key henchman in a Raider gang. 

I'm calling him 'Scorpio' due to the symbol on his medallion.

This kid has clear roots in Mad Max and came as a free stretch goal when I backed the 7TV: Apocalypse Kickstarter a few years ago.

There's nothing that rules her out of the setting, except perhaps the pith helmet, but if Super Mutants can wear leather flying helmets, I'm allowing this.

I like her matter of fact stance, and I have a mind to use her as a Scavenger (hence the variety of items I've added to her base) or a Free Tech, as she is actually wearing a tool belt.

This is an attempt to create a specific character, and as such is most likely to be declared wrong, even though I've tried hardest to get her right, using the Wargames Factory female survivors sprue I've had for years.

The character she's based on is called Cait and is a substance abusing put fighter (I think) who can become a companion in Fallout 4.

I've broadly got the outfit, look and equipment right, but it's the details such as the boots and belt that miss the mark. It's not something that bothers me, having no attachment to the character, and I'm just pleased to be able to add a bit more variety to my Survivors faction.

The model I'm least happy with is another Wargames Factory creation. She's not based on anyone in particular, her clothing is a bit too modern, the pose lacks any real dynamism and the shotgun is wrong.

However, nothings so bad that the model is going to jar against the main range, I'm just less happy with her. She's probably best used as a Settler, and as such is not likely to stay on the table long.

All in all I'm happy with how they've turned out. The slightly different scaling of heads (especially on Cait) is noticeable, but only if your looking for it. Also, as a pit fighter you might expect her to be a bit more thick set.

However, I've scratched an itch, added to my models for the setting and killed time whilst waiting for an order of official miniatures to arrive.

Did I not mention that?

Of course there's been an impulse purchase in direct response to watching a TV programme. I'm a slave to pop culture.

Some Raiders and Brotherhood of Steel will be entering the vault under Lead Mountain very soon.

Acquired: 17
Painted: 247
Lead Mountain: 825

Sunday 21 April 2024

The Longbeard's Tale

These seven Dwarfs are certainly not dopey, but do look somewhat grumpy.

I've really been enjoying painting older metal miniatures recently, and so I took the opportunity to continue painting some 1980s Citadel Dwarfs: which include some of the very first miniatures I owned.

The range of Imperial Dwarfs were released in 1987 and I think I must have picked up my first pack of three around that time, making them almost 40 years old.

They are great, dynamically posed sculpts that hold up against modern cad designed miniatures. They just seem to have more life and personality about them.

The blue and white colour scheme is a nod to Wayne England's Dwarf Longbeards, featured in White Dwarf #135, which to my mind have always typified how Warhammer Dwarfs should look.

This mailed chap was actually on display in the history of Warhammer display when I went to Warhammer World last week. I'd painted him the night before.

It's a bit of a reminder that you are getting on in years when your childhood toys feature in what is essentially a museum. It also emphasised that I needed to finally get the rest of them out of the paint queue.

One of the downsides of randomly packed blister packs was that you ended up with duplicates, especially when your only supplier was a model shop that only had a single small rack of GW miniatures available.

I took what I could get.

The duplicate Dwarf came in a pack of Norse Dwarfs that included this berserker and an 'ulfhednar' that I no longer have.

I don't think the Norse Dwarfs are anywhere near as good as the Imperial Dwarfs as the sculpting is not as good. The left side of his face is a bit mushed up and the whole miniature is just a lot less crisp.

This fella is the most venerable of the bunch. He's from the Citadel Dungeon Adventurers box (BDD01), part of a range released in 1985 to accompany Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The box featured one of each type of character you could play and name on his tab is 'Dwarf'.

He was one of six miniatures I think my brother was given before I was collecting, and so is probably one of the very Citadel Miniatures I ever set eyes on.

He's great.

Packed full of detail and character, perfectly encapsulating the stereotypical Dwarf D&D character. At some point I'll use him as my PC mini.

The final one of the bunch is the youngest. He's a Marauder Miniatures Giant Slayer released in the early nineties. As such there's a slightly different look to him.

I used to drool over the Marauder army deals that featured in White Dwarf, but I was never able to afford them. However, I believe the metal Trollslayers GW are re-releasing for Warhammer: The Old World are from this same range, and do he might end up with some friends.

I'm not sure if this is going to turn into an army. I do have a few equally old plastic Dwarfs to add, but nowhere near enough to make anything that could be described as an army. However, I am really enjoying painting them so this might be something I add to...slowly.

In other news, it's my birthday.

I think I mentioned in the last post that I took the opportunity whilst at Warhammer World to pick up reprinted copies of the two Realms of Chaos books that I foolishly sold some years ago (although, technically I've made a profit on the exchange).

I also picked up six Questing Knights, and the Green Knight for my Bretonnians as birthday presents as I'm really enjoying painting metal and they are great miniatures. However, this does mean I've technically made no progress.

Finally, it's not a present, but Matt has kindly printed out my V Shuttlecraft from the 7TV 80s Kickstarter, but this acquisition is cancelled out by me giving the Stormcast wizard I had from the first issue of Stormbringer magazine to the Cheapling to encourage her new interest in painting.

It's in her Lead Molehill now.

Acquired: 17
Painted: 243
Lead Mountain: 829

Saturday 13 April 2024

The Pilgrimage

Not a painting or gaming post, just a few pictures from my recent visit to Warhammer World, somewhere I've not actually been to in over ten years.

The last time I went there was just the gaming hall, Bugman's Bar and the shop. It was interesting to see that the gaming hall was about half the size, Bugman's actually had plenty of space and you couldn't get anywhere without going through the shop twice

There's some subtext to unravel about the development of Games Workshop in those changes, but I'll leave that for your consideration.

On top of this was the exhibition, which, if you were unsure, is well worth a visit. The opening section covers the development of their games and settings and features a number of classic miniatures.

It's a bit weird seeing models that are still in my painting queue in what is essentially a museum. There's subtext in that too.

It was a shame there wasn't more of their older ranges on display, I feel they could have done some interesting demonstration of the development of things like Terminator armour or a close up look at how sculpting has changed.

But maybe the museum aspect isn't what they were going for.

Having said that, this section included classic dioramas that I remember seeing in several publications, such a this piece by John Blanche, which I thing was in the 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle rulebook.

Or this one inspired by Warhammer Quest. There was actually much more to it but it was quite hard to photograph in a way that captured the way it was put together on different levels.

What was very noticeable with these older dioramas, particularly with what came later, was how small they were, despite looming so large in my memories.

For example, this classic piece by Mike McVey based on art from the Realms of Chaos: The Lost And The Damned, which is (I think) the only representation of the Emperor in miniature to appear in the pages of of White Dwarf.

It's about the size of a shoebox.

In contrast there's the newest diorama in the exhibition is this massive scene done to coincide with the launch of Warhammer: The Old World, which is essentially the Battle of the Pelennor Fields but in a desert, with Tomb Kings and Bretonnians taking the parts of the forces of Mordor, Gondor and Rohan.

The diorama was packed with detail, such as these Tomb Scorpions and Necropolis Knights (or are they the other ones?) emerging in a market square within the city.

On the subject of Tolkien inspired wargaming, it was reassuring that the fantasy area of the exhibition had a healthy amount of Lord of the Rings miniatures and dioramas on display.

As I was accompanied by Mrs Cheaphammer and the Cheapling, these scenes were a great access point for them to see things they could relate to and make sense of more easily, especially when surrounded by Age of Sigmar displays which I have only the most tenuous and out of date grasp of.

In a real turn up for the books, this particular scene from the Shire evoked some interest from Mrs Cheaphammer in making some similar terrain.

She's never that keen on the violence inherent in this hobby, although she was impressed with the dynamism of the newer Age of Sigmar sculpts.

We didn't spend too long on the Age of Sigmar displays, although they are impressive. I was able to handily explain the four Chaos gods in terms that the family understood with visual references: disease and despair; change and magic; pleasure and sauciness; ANGRY!

The Cheapling showed some affinity towards Nurgle, although this was more than likely related to the massive Nurgling plushie in reception.

I'd suggest that the exhibition at Warhammer World is a really good place to explain certain aspects of the hobby without having to go into boring detail.

For example, in the 40k section, Mrs Cheaphammer spotting that "those red ones are like yours" allowed me to quickly explain that Space Marines come in a variety of colours which allow players to paint them how they choose.

I'm fact, in one corner there is what amounts to a Dulux colour chart made up of different chapters.

I'm terms of setting, scenes like this provide a neat shorthand to convey to overwhelming totalitarian nature of the Imperium and will potentially offer context in future exchanges.

I was at one point asked what 'lore' was and I explained that it's what people who take this all too seriously call backstory, what used to be referred to as 'fluff'.

The Horus Heresy sections being placed next to the 40k displays helped explain why I needed two apparently similar armies and what the difference was, and also allowed me show how much of a reasonable person I am by having 'red ones' in both settings and being able to use some of them in both.

Perhaps the best outcome of the tournament was the fact that, at least for the GW aspects of my hobby, I was able to clarify which game was which along with why and how they were different.

Finally there was the offensively large Battle of Angelus display. At which point I opted to point out that, no, I don't have 'a lot' of context.

After leaving the exhibition we obviously stopped by the shop, it's my birthday next week and so purchases were made; more on that when I actually get my hands on them.

Also, the Cheapling and I spent a while painting together and potentially piqued her interest in the hobby (albeit in Age of Sigmar) in a way I've never been able to. The staff throughout the venue are excellent, especially the guy who was overseeing the painting area (although the brushes were atrocious), and they really made everything welcoming and accessible to people who weren't already immersed on the hobby.

If you have more than a passing interest in GW stuff, I'd highly recommend going to Warhammer World, especially if you haven't been recently. I was really pleasantly surprised and even without gaming, there was enough there to fill an afternoon.

Also, the food's pretty good too.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

A Short Interlude

Sometimes I need a palette cleanser. A break from my many and various projects to just paint something for the hell of it.!

These are some Games Workshop Dwarf Villagers, first released in 1987, but probably purchased by my a couple of years later.

I've no idea why I bought them, but given that I'd enjoyed painting some nostalgic Ratskins, my mind turned to other ancient metal miniatures I had lurking in my backlog.

These appealed because they are really simple sculpts, as can be seen by the labourer and the peasant, and I've generally kept to simple earthy colours to reflect the fact that they are just villagers.

They are a nice reminder of the charm of the Warhammer Old World; most people aren't mighty heroes or eldritch horrors, they're just ordinary folk trying to get on with their jobs.

The models have bags of character, from the closed eyes and buck teeth of the drunkard to the comb-over and innane grin of the town crier.

The drunkard's chainmail means I could probably sneak him into a unit of Dwarfs (if I had one). I went with bright red and yellow for the town crier as a nod to the ornate dress of ceremonial town criers that still exist.

The faces amuse me as some of them remind me of famous people, and I've leant into that in my colour choices.

The thinker has more than a little Billy Connolly about him, whereas for the lady I can't shake the idea that she sits somewhere between Eddie Izzard and 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair, with a torch of Warwick Davies thrown in.

Sadly, I have two copies of the jailer, one of the issues with random blister packs, and both of them have the same weird hand, suggesting that it's not a miscast, just bad.

Obviously I need to explain this as I've cunningly hidden their similarity through the ingenious use of different colours.

I have no idea what I will use these for, they were clearly designed with the more roleplay element of early editions in mind and really don't fit on the battlefield, although I could conceivably stand a couple of them (the drunkard, the labourer and a jailer) next to a Dwarven war machine and get away with it.

I do really like them, so I will find a use for them. I'm also going to explore more of my oldest miniatures as I'm really enjoying painting these older models.

Acquired: 10
Painted: 236
Lead Mountain: 829

Monday 8 April 2024

Going Downhive

After so long spent plodding through tidying my armies for Warhammer: The Old World, I fancied a bit of a palette cleanser. More specifically I was keen to paint something from scratch and finally make some inroads into the Lead Mountain.

Therefore, with a Necromunda campaign (the original version, not that new-fangled thing) being mooted in our group, I turned my attention to a group of models that have sat unpainted for over 25 years: the Ratskin Renegades.

The Ratskins are absent from the current incarnation of the game, probably because Games Workshop are a much more globally aware company than they were in the nineties and returning to this somewhat ham-fisted reference to the western tropes of Necromunda could probably lay them open to more than a few accusations of cultural appropriation and insensitivity.

These Native Necromundans are the tribal remnants of the original inhabitants of the underhive, fiercely guard their spiritual sites, raid settlements, wear bone totems and even have warriors called 'Braves'. Although not ostensibly presented as 'bad guys', clothing them in the hides of Giant Rats really wouldn't help GW's PR department, especially as the internet just won't let them forget the sins of their past... for example, the Pygmies...

To put it bluntly, I don't expect these guys to return to Necromunda any time soon.

However, I do not have a shared price to worry about and lazy 'it was a different time' 90s stereotypes aside, these are really lovely miniatures. There's a real joy to be had painting older metal sculpts from this period as there is a charm and character to the models that I find to be missing from GW's more modern, cad-designed and (in theory) better plastic miniatures.

When it can to painting I adopted an approach of using contrast paints as a base coat and then applying dry brushes, washes and highlights.. this has allowed me to get a wider variety of different browns on the models than I would had achieved previously.

I've gone with yellow as a spot colour for the gang mainly because I'd bought some Nazdreg Yellow contrast paint and wanted to experiment with using it as a yellow base. It's been highlighted with Averland Sunset and I can confirm that it works and will be an approach I'll use again.

When it came to basing, I used AK Terrains Muddy Ground. I have recently been enjoying using Stirland Mud, but it's a bit pricey if you're going to use a lot of it, and with the AK Terrains texture pastes you get significantly more for your money. In case you are wondering, the Muddy Ground has more green in it than Stirland Mud, but fundamentally that achieve the same effect.

I've topped that off with pools of Nurgle's Rot technical paint, as the Ratskins inhabit the gooey end of the Underhive, and it provides a nice contrast to all the brown.

Whilst I was in a Necromunda frame of mind I also took the opportunity to rebase my old Orlock gang, The Core, ready for the campaign. They had previously been moved onto 30mm bevelled bases, and so they've returned to the classic 25mm round bases to allow more of them to be blown up by a grenade whilst clustered behind some barrels.

Once rebased it was time for The Core to take on Matt's Orlocks, the Tunnel Snakes (apparently these are named after the tutorial mission in Fallout 3) in what would become known as the 'battle of the bandanas'; an attempt to prove once and for all that purple is a better sartorial choice than orange.

Two very similarly armed crews lined up for this gang fight and, as is traditional, hugged whatever cover they could find.

I had a narrow advantage in terms of longer ranged weapons, but Matt had a swarm of Juves ready to get up close and personal.

Look at how many of my gang can cower behind that bulkhead now that they're on smaller bases.

This group were tasked with getting up close on one flank, whilst my lasguns and autoguns held off the Juves on the other.

My Heavy Stubber, Drake (the gang is derivatively named after the colonial marines from Aliens), was positioned at a vantage point and sprayed bullets at anything that appeared. He didn't achieve a great deal, but I think the Tunnel Snakes took longer to engage whilst they were hiding from him.

Conversely, Matt's Heavy Bolter only managed one shot before running out of ammo. However, he did take Crowe, my Lasgun guy, out of the game.

The main part of the battle was my close assault team taking on Matt's terrifying (he has a Melta Gun) leader and two other gangers, and we both took advantage of whatever cover we could find.

Fortunately for me, Flamers and Shotguns ignore cover and so I was able to gain an advantage and down several of the opposing gang, however Matt passed his bottle checks and, despite being set on fire, his leader stayed in the fight.

Hudson did manage to get in close with the Tunnel Snake ganger with a shotgun to administer a coup de gras. The obligatory war cry of, "game over, man, game over!" was issued.

Matt had sought to bring reinforcements into the fight and covering fire began to spray down from above, repeatedly pinning Frost (Flamer) and Hudson, but failing to take them out of the fight.

Although he'd been flamed twice and survived, the real turning point was Matt's leader needing to stop, drop and roll, allowing my Juve, Spunkmeyer, to rush in and raise his status in the gang immensely by capturing the enemy boss.

Although the battle was by no means one-sided, this meant that when my leader, Apone, finally wone the ranged duel he'd been having, Matt's bottle check was taken on a lower value and therefore failed, giving victory to The Core.

Purple bandanas are best!

Somewhat appropriately for an 'in-house' fight, nobody was killed. An amicable prisoner exchange resulted in everyone back where they should be and me getting a Grapnel Gun for my trouble. Hicks (Shotgun) lost a point of Initiative but most of the gang gained advances. Spunkmeyer got three and is almost a fully fledged ganger.

This was a reminder of just how much of an enjoyable game Necromunda has always been. I've never played the newer version, but I've never felt the need to switch up, as the original always delivers.

Acquired: 10 
Painted: 228
Lead Mountain: 837