Sunday, 21 January 2018

"...Bonaparte Crossed The Scivia On June 13th..."

"...And near to San-Guiliamo, integrated with Victor's corps (Gardanne and Chambarlhac's division)..."
This 28mm plastic French Fusiliers have been built using parts taken from the “Victrix Limited” French Napoleonic Infantry 1804 – 1807 boxed set, and resultantly has provided me with enough finished soldiers with which to populate a fifth musket-armed infantry quartet to use for Bob Cordery's "The Portable Wargame". Pigmented to replicate a Line infantryman, the soldier was initially undercoated with "Citadel" Skull White and had his boots, musket, pouches, backpack and hat layered with Chaos Black.

I then started the somewhat painstakingly slow process of 'picking out' all of his straps with either "Vallejo" Dead White or Heavy Sienna, and washed these areas with Pale Grey or "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The uniform was painted using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Blue and "Citadel" Asurmen Blue, whilst his cuffs and collar were treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Bloodletter.
"Joined later in the morning by Lanne's corps they had seen no sign of the enemy on the left bank."
Lastly, having decided against 'highlighting' each and every one of the Frenchmen's numerous buttons, I applied some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to the wooden areas of the private's flintlock firearm, as well as some "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil to the weapon's metal parts. The Fusilier's bicorn hat, "worn throughout the Revolutionary Wars" and "during the famous Austerlitz Campaign in 1805", had its additional details picked out using "Vallejo" Gold, "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and "Vallejo" Dead White.

With four Fusiliers completed, I arranged them appropriately upon a single 40mm x 40mm plastic base, and later glued some modelling grit over it in order to try and replicate the same 'texturing' I used on my previous infantry bases a few years ago. Later, I dry-brushed the small sedimentary rocks using "Citadel" Abaddon Black, Doomsbull Brown and Rakarth Flesh, and gave the stand a heavy wash of Agrax Earthshade, before partially flocking it with static grass.
Spoilpox Scrivener WIPs - The "downright dour creature" has been primed, washed and dry-brushed"
The "Maggotkin Of Nurgle" battletome for "Age Of Sigmar" continues to tease and tempt me with its marvellous array of recently released "Games Workshop" miniatures, so despite my best intentions I have simply had to purchase this multi-part plastic miniature of a Spoilpox Scrivener. Essentially a third Herald of Nurgle for my ever-expanding Chaos Army, this particular mortal "who resisted Nurgle's Rot for a lengthy period" is specifically "responsible for ensuring that the Plaguebearers of their Tallyband do not shirk" from their duties during a battle.

This particular Plaguebearer will also provide my force with a much-needed range attack, on account of his "Disgusting Sneeze", and, like so many of the Nurgle models, is entirely compatible with "Warhammer 40K". Such dual-usage really is a great motivator for me when it comes to painting up this sort of arguably over-detailed sculpt, as it means that I can justify, in my own mind at least, the significant time it takes me to just paint-up one of these figures...

Friday, 19 January 2018

"Warrior! Leader! Black Panther!"

"Where he steps, we follow! Where he fights, we fight!"
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of the Black Panther is miniature number 24 from the Marvel "Heroclix" Avengers range and originally consisted of "T'Challa, king and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda" crouched atop a roughly-carved stone sculpture of a humanoid leopard's head. However, as I wasn't happy with the vines shown wrapping around the scenic feature, and already a little concerned as to the figure's evident scale-creep, I cut the Avenger off of his towering stand and instead super-glued him to one of the 25mm round bases I use for the majority of my "Heroclix" re-paints.

Created by Stan Lee and Jack "King" Kirby for the July 1966 issue of "Fantastic Four", the member of the Marvel Universe's Illuminati was primed using "Citadel" Abaddon Black, heavily dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal and washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil. I then picked out the expert martial artist's belt with a combination of "Vallejo" Gold and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and his eyes with a couple of dabs of "Vallejo" Dead White.
Feculent Gnarlmaw WIP - The scenic piece has been patiently assembled and primed "Vallejo" Charred Brown
One of my most earnest desires for this year was to try and not purchase any more miniatures until "Salute" in April, and thus give me at least a fighting chance to reduce the size of my formidably-tall 'lead mountain'. Sadly however, the recent release of the "Age Of Sigmar" battletome "Maggotkin Of Nurgle" by "Games Workshop" has rather scuppered that, as I have already succumbed to temptation and purchased one of the (new) range's Feculent Gnarlmaws.

This disgusting tree really does look unbelievably dynamic once assembled, but additionally contains some of the flaws which make the Nottingham-based company's multi-part plastic kits so difficult to work with. To begin with, this particular scenic piece appears to be made of a somewhat sterner material than that used for the actual tabletop wargame's miniatures, so it was rather unforgiving in 'budging a little' whenever I had (seemingly) erroneously misaligned a piece and thus subsequently needed it to sympathetically bend to where its join needed to be.
Feculent Gnarlmaw WIPs - The tree has been dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Charred Brown and Heavy Sienna
The model's instructions for assembly also fail to include that you really don't want to permanently attach the Gnarlmaw to its wonderfully detailed stand (as I have done) until you have, at the very least, undercoated the "struggling creature" and its maggot-infested base. This phenomenally important aspect to successfully painting the entire ensemble has completely caught me off-guard, as the boxed set's accompanying "Citadel" booklet indicates this is one of the first things you must do, in order to correctly affix all of the kit's other pieces.

As a result I have only managed to prime my model's very visible interior by using a mixture of "Vallejo" Black, Charred Brown and "Citadel" Nuln Oil" and then literally pouring the concoction through its heavily-fanged maw in the hope that it'll cover all the bare plastic inside. The Gnarlmaw also is not a six-component kit, as advertised, but one which consists of twenty-nine parts. Indeed, just the tree's three "large bulbs describing a Nurgle icon, covered in chitinous bumps and boils" comprise of more than half a dozen plastic pieces...

Sunday, 14 January 2018

"Warlord Games" Battle Report: Doctor Who - Battle For A Draconian Desert Moon

THE TENTH DOCTOR AND SOME FRIENDS BATTLE DALEK SEC'S INVASION FORCE
This game was played using some homemade rules in order to allow us to field the vast majority of my painted "Doctor Who: Exterminate" miniatures, and takes place upon a 3' x 3' "Deep Cut Studio" gaming mat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of pre-painted scenery produced by “Gale Force Nine”, most notably several Badlands rocks, Desert palms and a couple of toxic pools. The Doctor and his allies, which started in the west, comprised of a mix of Silents, Sea Devils, Judoon and Zygons. Whilst Dalek Sec and his forces began the fight in the east, and consisted of some Daleks, Cybermen and a unit of Vashta Nerada. The desert moon has five strategic locations, each worth an unknown number of victory points. These would only be revealed at the end of Turn Six, and could only be claimed by an unopposed unit within 6" of it.
THE TABLETOP - A DRACONIAN DESERT MOON
“The story so far… Dalek Sec intends to invade the home planet of the Draconians, but before doing so, he has landed a Dalek invasion army on one of the world's moons. Realising that the race of reptilian humanoids will need time to prepare their planetary forces, the Doctor has assembled an army from some of the Earth's mightiest defenders, and hopes to buy the Draconians some additional time by thwarting the Dalek leader's plans. Unfortunately, having landed upon the desert satellite, the Time Lord has discovered that the Skaro mutants are not alone in their ambition to conquer Draconia, and have brought some 'friends' of their own..."
DALEK SEC COMMANDS HIS FORCES FROM ATOP A BADLANDS BLUFF
Gaining the initiative, the Tenth Doctor sent both Zygon units on his force's flanks forwards, whilst the Silents used their speed to reach Objective Two (a destroyed Dalek hulk). The Sea Devils also moved east and reached the lip of the medium-sized swamp pool. To the ancient amphibious creatures' north, the party of Judoon and (more) Zygons pushed forwards too in between some Palm Trees and a Badlands Pillar.
THE SILENTS TAKE OBJECTIVE TWO AS THE DOCTOR WATCHES ON
The Cybermen in the south-east corner by some Palm Trees immediately opened fire upon the Zygons opposite them, but found the "solidly built humanoids with large, cone-shaped heads" too difficult to hit. Alongside them, more of the silver giants, accompanied by the Vashta Nerada, pressed west towards Objective Five (a container of green goop). The Daleks south of the Badlands Bluff fanned out for a better view of the battlefield, as did the golden-coloured drones to the north of the large land mass. Dalek Sec however, fired upon the Sea Devils... and missed. Finally, the Cybermen in the north-east corner pushed forwards.
THE DALEKS, CYBERMEN AND VASHTA NERADA MOVE FORWARDS TO ENGAGE THEIR ENEMIES
The Doctor maintained his force's momentum by tasking the Zygons in the south-west to guard Objective Two. This released the Silents to approach Objective Three (an ancient bronze statue of a Draconian Emperor). The "Members of the Church of the Silence" appeared to move with incredible speed, as everyone kept forgetting that they'd seen them. The Time Lord and his TARDIS crew moved up behind the Confessional Priests, so as to allow his Command ability to reach the vast majority of his units [allowing any of them within 12" to each re-roll any single dice per turn].

The Sea Devils moved into the middle of the medium-sized swamp pool, utilising their Water-Walker ability to avoid any of the usual penalties incurred by land-based creatures. In the north-west the Zygons swarmed around Objective One (a Stargate). The Judoon fired upon the Cybermen approaching along the northern edge of the battlefield. But despite hitting them, the "race of cybernetically augmented humanoids" survived due to their Heavy Armour [Saving roll of a 5 or 6], and the unit's ability to re-roll one of these courtesy of being within Dalek Sec's Command range.
A MASS OF ZYGONS CAPTURE TWO OBJECTIVES
The Cybermen in the south-west corner pressed further west, whilst the Vashta Nerada took Objective Five. Beside them, more Cybermen fired upon the Silents but failed to strike their target. However, this was not the case for Dalek unit south of the Badlands Bluff, whose extermination blasts felled two of the Papal Mainframe members. Dalek Sec again sought to eradicate the Sea Devils in their swamp pool, yet were unsuccessful once again. To the north, the Dalek leader's drones had more luck, and managed to destroy one of the many Zygons positioned around Objective One. Lastly, the Cybermen in the far north poured their energy beams into the orange-coloured, sucker-covered aliens... without result.
THE VASHTA NERADA TAKE AN OBJECTIVE AS THE SILENTS BEGIN TO FALL
Realising that his allies were starting to take some casualties from the Daleks increasingly formidable firepower, the Doctor encouraged the Zygons by Objective Two to utilise their electrical discharges upon the enemy. Two Cybermen had arrogantly stepped within range of the short (10") attack and despite their Heavy Armour, were brought low in a shower of sparks and fizzes. Weakened by their losses the Silents retreated west behind a boulder, and watched as the Sea Devils ineffectively returned fire upon the Daleks just south of the Badlands Bluff. To the north, the Judoon moved into a better firing position, ready to support a unit of Zygons who bravely pushed east towards Objective Four (a space-radio system).
THE SILENTS RETREAT AS THE JUDOON ADVANCE TO BATTLE THE DALEKS
Determined to finally feast, the Vashta Nerada rushed towards the Zygons guarding Objective Two, whilst the partially depleted Cybermen nearby retreated back to Objective Five. The other Cybermen in the area stomped west to also challenge for Objective Two. The Daleks south of the Badlands Bluff continued to fire without result against the Sea Devils, and the drones to their north were equally as unsuccessful against their Zygon targets. Dalek Sec however, finally managed to fell one of the Judoon, despite the "mercenary police" wearing Armour [Saving roll of a 6].
WEAKENED BY DALEK FIREPOWER A UNIT OF ZYGONS IS ATTACKED BY SOME CYBERMEN
To the north, the Cybermen charged into the Zygons and began chopping away at their necks with their metal hands. Incredibly though, despite the amount of attacks made by the silver giants [4 Attacks = 2 from statistics and 2 more for charging], the refugees from Zygor were able to utilise their Stupefy ability [Only hit on a roll of a 6] to remain unharmed. It was deadlock, with everything still to fight for...

Dum Da Dum, Diddly Dum, Oo-ee-oos…

Friday, 12 January 2018

"We Shall Destroy Man And Reclaim The Planet."

"We want revenge on the human species. Many of my people have been killed."
These three 38mm tall metal Sea Devil miniatures are produced by “Warlord Games” and can be purchased from their "Into The Time Vortex" range. Making their "Doctor Who" debut in Malcolm Hulke's 1972 six-parter "The Sea Devils", these Homo Reptilia "were given clothing, designed by Maggie Fletcher", and feature in the only Pertwee era story where the Timelord actually uses the catchphrase "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow."

All the models were initially primed with "Vallejo" Verdigris, drenched in "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade and dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Verdigris. Their webbed feet were painted using "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and their legs Heavy Green. These areas were then dry-brushed with Heavy Sienna in order to blend the two colours together, and subsequently washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
Paternoster Gang WIPs - The detectives have been based, primed and dry-brushed
The amphibious Earth reptiles' weapon belts were 'picked out' using a combination of "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey, whilst the dull metallic look of their hand-weapons was created using "Citadel" Ironbreaker and a heavy shade of Nuln Oil. The ancient aquatic creatures' hands and heads were originally treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and the webbing covered with Heavy Green. These areas were then dry-brushed with Heavy Sienna and washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.

As a final touch, each Sea Devil's string vest was darkened/dirtied with a random application of both "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. These garments were additionally lightened in places with some more "Vallejo" Verdigris being slowly drawn across them.
Abzorbaloff and Victor Kennedy WIPs - The villain has been based, primed and dry-brushed
Having recently reviewed the Twelfth Doctor and Companions "Doctor Who: Exterminate" boxed set for "Doctor Who News" I thought I'd best get my own Paternoster Gang painted, and have resultantly based, primed and dry-brushed the "group of detectives active in Victorian London." These really are marvellously animated sculpts, and should hopefully prove reasonably straightforward to get finished considering that they bear a predominantly black palette.

Lastly, I have also unpacked, based and primed my "Warlord Games" miniatures of Victor Kennedy and his contemptuous alter-ego the Abzorbaloff. I wasn't that much of a fan of the somewhat tongue-in-cheek television episode "Love and Monsters" or the Abzorbalovian from the planet Clom, but the "Into The Time Vortex" miniatures are rather nice and should paint up both simply and quickly...

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

"Known As The Chameleon By Her Fans..."

"...Snakeskin is a master of disguise."
This 23mm tall metal model of the Union Winger, Snakeskin, is made by “Steamforged Games Ltd” and can be purchased as part of the “Guild Ball” Halloween-themed boxed set, "The Dark Harvest". Chillingly depicting the young woman's grave, complete with burning candle, broken face-mask and rising undead hand, this figure can be used as either an in-game harvest marker or "may be alternately used" as a player in your team.

Disappointingly, despite the "sinewy and powerfully built" player coming as a single cast piece, I did find the edge of the burial mound to be slightly warped. This caused the miniature to sit a little too proud above its plastic lipped circular base, and discouragingly, no amount of filing or sanding seemed to rectify the situation. In the end I therefore had to shelve my obsessive–compulsive disorder, and simply prime the piece with "Citadel" Abaddon Black. 
The Union - "A mismatched bunch o' mercenaries, scum and criminals for the most part."
As the majority of the figure was actually mud, I simply dry-brushed all the earth in precisely the same manner as I do almost all of my gritted bases, using first Doomsbull Brown, then Rakarth Flesh, and finally a heavy wash of Agrax Earthshade. Once the shade had dried, I 'picked out' the dead Sultarish's shattered mask with "Vallejo" Gold and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, and used a combination of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green for her decaying claw-like limb.

Snakeskin's tombstone was painted using a base-coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, a wash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and then some more "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey; which was lightly drawn over the grave marker in order to highlight all of its detail. In addition, I used some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna to pigment the plant's branches, and a spot of Heavy Green to colour its leaves. These areas were subsequently washed with "The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green where appropriate.
"Vixtrix Limited" Frenchman - The soldier has yet to have his eyes, face and hat finished
Finally, I spent a little time busying myself on the miniature's solitary half-burnt out candle, sputtering away on top of the head-stone. I have seen its wax painted red previously, and was sorely tempted to replicate just such a colour scheme. But in the end I decided to stick to the usual off-white palette by using some "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and a dab of Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter”.

Obviously such a 'simple' subject has given me a little extra time to focus upon some of my other partially-painted models. Not wanting to waste this valuable opportunity, and in dire need to catch up with my Napoleonic tally marker, I have spent a considerable period 'picking out' all the straps, baggage and rifle parts on another "Victrix Limited" bicorne-wearing French Fusilier from Bonaparte's 1804 - 1807 army...

Sunday, 7 January 2018

"If You Want To Save The Remaining Souls On This Planet..."

"...You'll face me -- alone!"
This 43mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of Darkseid is miniature number 123 from the "DC Comics" Hypertime “Heroclix” range, and depicts "the tyrannical ruler of the planet Apokolips" as his imperious best. Created by Jack "King" Kirby as "one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe", the New God is "a staple Superman villain" and made his first comic book appearance in the November 1970 issue of "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen".

Omnipotent, and able to fire disintegrating Omega Beams from his hands or eyes, I initially primed the figure with a thinned down layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, in order to 'mask' its clumsy pre-paint without softening the sculpt's underlying detail too much. I then 'picked out his belt with "Citadel" Ironbreaker and layered his legs, arms and head with a coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey. Once dry, all of these areas were treated to a wash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Ideally, I would have liked to have highlighted some of Boss Dark Side's grey flesh with some dry-brushing, but as the model's detail was already somewhat soft and smooth I decided to leave well enough alone and simply leave the pooling Shade where it settled.
"Heroclix" WIPs - The Black Panther, Superman and the Flash
With the bulk of Darkseid's painting done, I dabbed his eyes with some "Vallejo" Heavy Read and "Citadel" glaze Bloodletter. Whilst his discomforting grimace was tackled using a little "Vallejo" Dead White and a smidgen of "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade. Finally the the immensely powerful villain, who can even break a green lantern's ring with his bare hands, was 'protected' with a covering of "Coat D'arms" Gloss Varnish.

Sticking with "Heroclix" it seemed silly not to also add Lord of Apokolips' greatest adversary, Superman to my painting queue, as well as probably my favourite "DC Comics" super-hero, the Flash. Both of these miniatures have rather embarrassingly been languishing in drawers or boxes for a good eight or so years, so it seemed high time that I finally put brush-tip to model and finished the "Justice League" duo off.
Dire Wraith WIPs - These enemies of the Spaceknights have been primed, layered and washed 
In a similar vein I have additionally plonked some, hopefully straightforward, Dire Wraiths onto my painting table. I was recently reminded by how much I like this villainous extra-terrestrial race by reading the Micronauts/Rom team-up comic book "Micronauts First Strike" by "IDW Publishing". Sadly the publication itself is awful, and not a patch on the "Marvel Worldwide" series which ran from December 1979 until February 1986, yet it did at least remind me that I had previously based and primed four of these shape-changing horrors.

Finally I have made a little more progress on my "Wizkids" Black Panther. I did originally start painting this figure whilst he was crouched atop a big cat's carved stone head, but didn't like the way the vines were sculpted on the statue, so cut T'Challa loose and simply super-glued him to a normal circular base. This move has though made me realise just how (overly) large the King of Wakanda is compared to some of the other "Heroclix" miniatures I've re-painted, so I may well source a second version of him at a later date...

Friday, 5 January 2018

"The Ogrons Are Mercenaries."

"Other life forms use them to do their dirty work."
These 35mm tall "pewter" models of three Ogrons are produced by “Warlord Games” as part of their "Into The Time Vortex" range. Employed for their services by likes of the Daleks and the Master, these "ape-like hominids" attempted to help start a war between Draconia and Earth in the February 1973 BBC television story “Frontier In Space”, and have much more recently appeared in the "Big Finish" audio dramas "Return of the Daleks" and "The Romance Of Crime".

Initially primed with two coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, these miniatures were all heavily dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal and had their trousers layered using some Heavy Brown. The 22nd Century "police officers" then had their shirt sleeves painted with Iraqi Sand and their belts, straps and wrist bands layered with Heavy Sienna. All of these areas were subsequently washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
Sea Devils WIPs - Jon Pertwee's famous foes still need a little work on their faces and tunics
With the larger areas of the Ogrons completed I applied a combination of "Vallejo" Charred Brown and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to their hair and arms. I also dry-brushed some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna across each brute's furry face and hands, but later washed these facial areas with "Citadel" Nuln Oil in order to darken them quite considerably. Finally, the super-strong extra-terrestrials had their disintegrator guns 'picked out' with Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.

Staying with the Nottingham-based manufacturer and their "Doctor Who: Exterminate" miniatures game, I have made plenty of progress on the last three Sea Devils that I own. These relatives to the Silurians have been sat on my painting desk unfinished for the past three months, but now that the Recruitment Cards for their faction have been teased (featuring Sea Devil Ancients and an Overlord), I have been galvanised into action.
Darkseid WIPs - Jack Kirby's creation still needs his face finishing before being varnished and having his base flocked
Likewise, my "Wizkids" figure of Darkseid has been patiently stood waiting on my panting table for exactly a year, having been started during the first few weeks for last year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I was absolutely aghast at the cost of "the tyrannical ruler of the planet Apokolips" when "Knight Models" released his "white metal kit" in April 2017, as despite his formidable size, a £40 price tag for a single miniature is arguably extortionate.

The Spanish company have now admittedly released the self-same model in "high quality resin" for half the money as part of them "switching over to Pre-Coloured Plastic/Restic/Resin for their DC & Batman range". But as I already own this, admittedly less impressive-looking, "Heroclix" sculpt of Darkseid I thought I'd stick to what I've got and get him ready for the tabletop instead.