Tuesday, 6 October 2015

"You Will Die One Day!!"

"But Being Dead Again Is Just The First Step In The Process!"
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of a Hand Ninja is miniature number 6 from the Marvel “Heroclix” Xplosion range. This evil mystical assassin first appeared in the September 1981 issue of “Daredevil” and was created by Frank Miller.

To cover the model’s fairly ghastly pre-painted colour scheme the figure was initially given an undercoat of “Citadel” Abaddon Black and was then dry-brushed with “Vallejo” Heavy Red in order to create some red highlights to the occult practitioner’s dark garb. The Tengugui was then re-painted with more “Citadel” Abaddon Black. The mercenary’s sword was painted using a combination of Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. Finally his flesh areas were first given a layer of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone and then washed with some watered down “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade. Finally the fingers, and cheekbones were highlighted with some more “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone.
The Hand WIPs - Plenty of fiddly areas of flesh yet to paint
Having finally finished this ‘test piece’ from the end of last year, I have based up and started work on another five of these deadly mercenaries. Once finished I actually plan to use these nicely generic-looking figures to represent both the Hand and the minions of Lady Shiva, a martial arts expert from “DC Comics” who I plan to use as one of the crime bosses for my ‘Gotham City High-Rise’ campaign.
The Joker's Gang WIPs - Early days yet but these models have plenty of character to encourage painting them
Lastly, I’ve been slowly pottering away on four minions to accompany my “Heroclix” Joker. All of these miniatures are actually from “Wizkids” “Horrorclix” range and are either Undead zombies or, in the case of the big chap with the hammer, a Vampire Roustabout. The original yellow Yama actually only had half a head with his brains showing, so I have used some Green Stuff to sculpt him a more appropriate-looking clown wig.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

"Pod Carries Infection."

"Winlett seriously ill. Medicaid needed urgently."
This 28mm metal model by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” is one of two miniatures from the company's code SKU: Deal 87 Spawn and has been painted up as the first of my Krynoid plant-zombies for Zomtober 2015. The model was initially given an undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy Grey before being haphazardly washed with “Citadel” Thrakka Green and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Having finished this somewhat ‘mucky’ task I dry-brushed the carnivorous alien with more “Vallejo” Heavy Grey and then painted its ‘eyes’, bulges, crab-like claw and blisters using either Heavy Kakhi, Heavy Sienna, Heavy Brown or Heavy Red. All of these areas were treated to an appropriate “Citadel” coloured wash including Carroburg Crimson, before I applied a final dry-brush of “Vallejo” Heavy Grey.
Plant-Zombie WIPs - Plenty of puss-filled bulges and tentacles yet to still paint...
Having used this figure as my test-piece, I have now started to paint up the remaining seven Spawn miniatures I want to use as ‘Roamers’ for a “Doctor Who And The Seeds of Doom” inspired game of “Zombicide” at the end of Zomtober. These models are at various stages of my painting process but should all be finished within the next seven days.
Supporting Cast WIPs -  Keeler will be the first of my 'Runner' Krynoid-infected zombies
In the meantime, and in order to keep my sanity having ‘picked out’ little more than numerous ‘lumps, bumps and blobs’ this week with my paint brush, I have also based and undercoated some more wonderful miniatures by “Crooked Dice” which I paint during Zomtober. These figures will be used to represent the hapless scientist Arnold Keeler, the mercenary Scorby and the main villain of the piece Harrison Chase. 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Doctor Who - "The Seeds Of Doom" - WIP - Part One

Krynoid WIPs - These plant-zombies have all been under-coated, washed and dry-brushed
With ‘Zomtober2015’ starting this week I have packed away most of my side-projects in order to predominantly concentrate upon this month’s undead-related challenge. As I wanted my entries to have a single theme I’ve decided to glue together, base and start painting a number of models by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” in order to try and replicate the 1976 British Science Fiction television serial “Doctor Who and the Seeds of Doom”.
Stages 2 to 4 - Green wash, brown wash and then a dry-brush of more green paint 
This six-parter was essentially about an alien plant monster, the Krynoid, infecting humans and essentially turning them into leaf-covered zombies. As a result for my first couple of submissions I plan to paint up eight of the company’s Spawn miniatures as the ‘humanoid’ variant of the carnivorous alien plants. Currently “Crooked Dice” sell two different models of their “single-celled organisms” so I’ve already undercoated them all green and having haphazardly splattered them with various inks, given them all a dry-brush in order to bring out their wonderfully sculpted detail.
Stages 5 to 7 - Black outline, various blobs, growths and splotches 'picked out' and then more washes
 As I usually do when I approach painting a group of the same (or similar figures), I have concentrated on a test model first and foremost, and have thus managed to work out which areas of the plant-zombies I plan to ‘pick out’ with a variety of greens, browns and dark red. Hopefully I’ll be able to make each of my murderous creatures unique-looking as a result.

In addition to painting up my ‘roamers’ I have also started work undercoating my three main protagonists for this project. As my ultimate aim at the end of Zomtober 2015 is to use these models as Survivors for a game of “Zombicide” by “Guillotine Games” I’ve gone with three of the programme’s most memorable characters of the period, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sarah Jane Smith and of course, the Doctor.
Doctor Who WIPs - Early days yet for these undercoated "Zombicide" Survivors
Admittedly the leader of U.N.I.T. wasn’t actually in “The Seeds of Doom”, as he was temporarily replaced by Major Beresford, and by this stage of the show Tom Baker was playing the Timelord, not (the Third Doctor) Jon Pertwee. But these terrific sculpts of General Gordon and Hugo Solomon are the only miniatures “Crooked Dice” currently sell which bare any sort of resemblance to the period I’m trying to recreate, so I have gone with them.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

"Wh-What Do You Think I Am? Crazy?"

"What are you really scared of Bats? Not being able to save Commissioner Gordon in time?"
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of the Joker is miniature number 97 from the DC Comics “Heroclix” Hypertime range. Apparently created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, this archenemy of Batman made his first comic book appearance in the 1940 opening issue of “Batman” by “DC Comics”.

The model was initially given an undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy Violet in order to cover-up its pre-paint, before I applied some Heavy Red to the super-villain’s shoes. Both the Clown Prince of Crime’s jacket, trousers and footwear were then washed with “Citadel” Druchi Violet. Once dry I then painted the maniacal mastermind’s waistcoat with “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and “Citadel” Thrakka Green, his bow tie with “Vallejo” Heavy Blue and “Citadel” Asurmen Blue and his flower with “Vallejo” Heavy Red and the “Citadel” glaze Bloodletter. The colourful character’s Jokerfish were simply given a coat of “Vallejo” Heavy Orange and then washed with “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade.
Rage WIP - The Medieval footballer's bloody waist-cloth, white shirt and flesh areas have been finished
 Finally the Joker’s face was initially using “Vallejo” White and treated to a layer of the transparent acrylic “Vallejo” Pale Grey. Unfortunately this technique simply confirmed my fear that the sculpting of the model’s head, whether as a result of an overly thick pre-paint or simply poor casting, was quite hard to discern detail on. For example I couldn’t determine where the figure’s ears actually were, so when I initially painted the psychopath’s famous green hair with “Vallejo” Heavy Grey and “Citadel” Thrakka Green, I had to then paint in a pair of white ears or else he’d have simply had a mop of hair running straight down the sides of his face. The insane killer’s smile was brushed on using a combination of “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson.
Re-basing The Undead - Having damaged two of these models' legs I've been busy repainting them as well
 In addition to finishing the “goofy prankster” I have also made some considerable headway with my model of Rage by “Steamforged Games Ltd”. This “Guild Ball” miniature has proved something of a challenge in order to paint his arms and hands as a result of my lazily supergluing his limbs to each side as opposed to spending the time and pinning them.

Finally I’ve rebased, and significantly repainted a few more of my old “Copplestone Castings” zombies; all of which come Code FW4 Plague Zombies, which is part of the company’s Future Wars Range.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

"To Me, My Board!"

"A lifetime of endless adventure beckoning before me!"
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of the Silver Surfer is miniature number 76 from the Marvel “Heroclix” Supernova range. This cosmic space-travelling herald of Galactus was created by Jack Kirby for “Marvel Comics” in 1966 and made his first appearance within the pages of Issue Forty-Four of “The Fantastic Four”. This particular uncommon figure of Norrin Radd actually proved impossibly hard to acquire for a reasonable price this side of the Pond, so I ended up purchasing it from “Troll And Toad” in America as part of a bulk order.

I initially painted straight over the miniatures’ silver pre-paint with “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey, before applying a wash of “Citadel” Nuln Oil over the entire model. Once this had dried I then heavily dry-brushed the former astronomer from the planet Zenn-La with more “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey. I next gave the figure a dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker before finishing with a light dry-brush of Mithril Silver.
Plant-Zombie WIPs - I plan for a number of these 'man-eaters' to stalk the corridors of Chase Manor
Lastly I attached the model to one of the transparent plastic flying stands which used to be sold by “Mongoose Publishing”. Rather frustratingly I found that in order to properly fit the surfboard to the flight base I had to drill right through it as otherwise it would not stay connected.

As Zomtober 2015 is fast-approaching I have started to prepare and base a number of models and some scenery to paint-up during the challenge. My inspiration for this year is “Doctor Who and the Seeds of Doom”; a wonderful 1976 six-parter from the British science fiction television series, which saw the Earth threatened by the alien Krynoids and had a couple of zombie-like plants running around trying to kill people. To this end I plan to attempt to host a game of “Zombicide” based upon this theme at the end of October using a plethora of miniatures by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and some scenery from the “Mars Attacks – The Miniatures Game” by “Mantic Games”.
Chase Manor - The ruins of Chase Manor all undercoated and ready for Zomtober 2015...
 As a result I have started undercoating the first of my Krynoid-influenced plant-zombies and an unfortunate member of "crazed Botanist" Harrison Chase’s security staff, who has already been infected. The two Spawn creatures are wonderfully-detailed single castings. Whereas all my infected will be constructed using the various heads and mutation sprues “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” currently have available.

In addition I have assembled a number of ruined walls, doorways and debris from the “Mars Attacks” Scenery Upgrade Pack. These will be free-standing terrain which will indicate which areas of my "Zombicide" tabletop are actually part of the semi-ruined Chase Manor.  

Thursday, 24 September 2015

"The Avengers Don't Get To Negotiate On Behalf Of Mutantkind."

"To me, my X-Men."
This 28mm metal miniature of the F.O.N. Operative (Psychic Hero) is made by “Nexus Miniatures” and is model NX01 from their “Superhero Dinosaur Zombie Apocalypse” range. The figure, sculpted by Ian Mountain, comes in two pieces and with the Visor head from NX03 Extra F.O.N. Heads Set, makes a wonderful proxy for the “Marvel Worldwide” mutant super-hero Cyclops.

The leader of the X-Men was initially undercoated with “Vallejo” Heavy Blue and then washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil. I then picked out his boots, knee-pads, belt and shoulder-pads with “Vallejo” Heavy Goldbrown, before applying the “Citadel” Shade Reikland Flesh to these areas. Finally his belt buckle and visor were painted using a combination of “Citadel” Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.
A.S.P. Trooper WIPs - The officer may well now jump to the head of my painting queue
Carrying on with my “Nexus Miniatures” obsession, I’ve continued to progress some of the company’s A.S.P. Trooper models from their By Your Command deal. Having looked at a few ‘stills’ of the Cylons from the 1978 science fiction television series “Battlestar Galactica” I’ve realized that I’ve painted the robots with far more metallic silver armour than their small screen counterparts, so have re-painted my first batch of humanity’s greatest foes. In addition I’ve discovered that one of the models I own is actually an A.S.P. Officer with a pistol, so I have duly started applying a brown undercoat on his armour so as to later paint him gold.
D-Ranger WIPs - What with the By Your Command deal, I thought my Colonial Warriors needed some reinforcements.
 Finally, I thought I’d prepare and convert three more Colonial Warriors from my collection, using the D-Ranger Helmets from NX16. In addition I’ve take the extended right arm of NX15 (D-Ranger Codenamed Joey) and cut off his gun hand before reattaching it at a different angle. I have also bent the arm down in order to bring it a bit closer to the Viper pilot’s side.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

28mm Battle Report: New York City High-Rise - Moon Knight & Howard The Duck Verses Stilt-Man & The Silver Samurai

This test game was played essentially using the “Pillow A-go-go” ruleset, originally made available as a free PDF by Australian-based company “Fiendish Fabrications”. However as we’re planning on using it as the basis of a superhero verses villain campaign, a few modifications were made in order to start to give the “brutal pillow combat” more of a “Marvel Comics” feel. The battle took place on a rectangular 7” x 9.5” rooftop with a central chimney stack, created using some of the resin scenery from the Streetwise: Flatroof range by “Ainsty Castings”. 

“The story so far… Having tracked Wilbur Day across New York City following a series of bank robberies the masked vigilante Moon Knight has finally cornered his foe on top of a high-rise rooftop. Unfortunately however Stilt-Man was simply rendezvousing with his partner-in-crime, the Silver Samurai, and the rest of their gang. Offering a pray to his Egyptian deity Khonshu, Moon Knight is astonished to discover that the Master of Quack-Fu, Howard the Duck has also been tracking down the criminals. Determined to bring the villains to justice, the masked man and cigar-smoking bird decide to team-up…"
Unlike the “Pillow A-go-go rules” where each of the combatants’ three attributes are allotted points in order to improve their statistics neither of the Silver Samurai’s two thugs were given any at all; although the Goon with a Crowbar was awarded the special ability of being able to knock his opponents back 2” when he hit them on account of his weapon. Howard the Duck was awarded one point for Defence and two points for Agility. Whilst Stilt-Man was given one point for Attack and twos points for Agility. As something of a more deadly villain, the Silver Samurai was not only allocated two points for Attack and one point for Defence. But also had the special ‘Sword-Master’ ability of +1 to hit. Finally Moon Knight, nominated a Super-Hero, was given two points for Attack and Defence, and one point for Agility. He was also awarded ‘Throwing Darts & Nunchaku’, which gives him two attacks per Turn.
The fight started with Howard the Duck throwing himself straight at the unarmed Thug in the southeast corner. Spluttering on his stogie the funny animal missed. To one-side the feathered foul spotted the Goon with a crowbar swinging his weapon at his beak and managed to dodge the formidable blow. Stilt-Man meanwhile lumbered into Moon Knight and knocked the hero back onto the northern ledge. Desperate to press home an early advantage, the Silver Samurai rushed to his unlikely partner’s side (or at least his telescopic legs). But it was too late, as the Fist of Khonshu leapt back down onto the roof’s surface and rushed southeast to aid his diminutive friend. Unfortunately however Marc Spector arrived just in time to see the Thug pick the water-bird up and throw him up over the eastern ledge. With a “Waughhh….” and some feathers, Howard the Duck was gone…
Angered by the apparent demise of his companion, Moon Knight gave the Thug a ‘Double Whammy’. Stunned, the criminal tottered back onto the southern ledge. The Goon with the crowbar swung at his all-white foe but missed and then froze as Stilt-Man lurched behind the cowled super-hero and knocked him deeper into the south-east corner of the roof.

Realising how dangerous a position he was in, the Fist of Khonshu attempted to knock the Goon over the southern ledge but unfortunately missed his blow. However his opponents were equally as unlucky with their attacks and panting all three combatants sized one another up for another series of furious blows. Now came though as seizing the moment Stiltman collided with Moon Knight from behind and automatically sent the Moon-God’s servant crashing into the Thug on the roof ledge. With a startled cry of betrayal the man plunged to his death, whilst Moon Knight replaced him as an enticing figure tottering on the southern edge of the roof top…
With a ferocious yell the Silver Samurai was on the roof’s ledge swinging his enormous sword at the hero’s head. The two mercenaries exchanged a series of blows, but all were to no avail. Suddenly Stilt-Man grappled with Moon Knight once again and needed only the smallest of advantages to send Marc Spector to his doom. Sadly for the villains both players rolled a six which meant the contest was a draw.

Wilbur Day again attacked Moon Knight but was emphatically dodged this second time, and then watched in horror as his partner, the Silver Samurai, first missed an attempt to slice the vigilante’s head off and then fell to his doom courtesy of a ‘Round House’ from Marc Spector. The villain’s forces were steadily being whittled away.
 Knowing just how hazardous it was to remain upon the roof ledge any longer Moon Knight jumped down and started to pound away at the Goon with the crowbar. Stilt-Man made a third attempt to hurl his hated foe off of the rooftop. But once again when the dastardly inventor needed just the slimmest of edges over the caped crime-fighter, both players rolled another six apiece.

The final turn saw Moon Knight, who was enjoying a sensational run of initiative wins, thwack the goon with the crowbar with a ‘Round House’ off of the edge of the southern ledge. It was just him now and Stilt-Man. But before another punch could be thrown, the engineer was off on his telescopic legs and the contest a draw.
This battle clearly didn’t go according to the heroes’ plan and with hindsight Howard the Duck should never have charged straight into the enemy, even if his swift removal was due to an incredible dice roll. However it’s really clear just how powerful a character can be if they’re awarded five attribute points plus a special ability (i.e. Moon Knight).

As a side issue this frantic fast-paced game also let us settle upon a rule called ‘Ganging Up’ where any model attacking gains +1 Attack per other friendly model in contact with target, and also rewrite ‘Stunned’ from the “Pillow A-go-go" rules so that just such a model now has no movement during their Turn and any Defence bonus’ which they have are ignored. In addition should the model be a minion (i.e. it starts with Defence of 0) then the model’s Defence is -1 for the Turn. Stunned models also don’t count towards ‘Ganging Up’.