Thursday, 23 October 2014

“Strong As The Hulk. Twice As Mean.”

This hefty 28mm model of The Abomination is miniature number 33 from the “Heroclix” Marvel Avengers range. It is based upon the alter ego of Chinese scientist Chang Lam from “The Ultimates” comic book series and stands an impressive 56cm in height. As I’m a huge fan of the ‘original’ Abomination by “Marvel Comics”, I don’t actually like this alternate universe (Earth-1610) version of the super-villain; who was actually decapitated and eaten by the Hulk. But the pre-painted plastic figure is definitely one of the more impressive and dynamic sculpts from “Wizkids”.
The model was reasonably straightforward to paint despite its size and was simply given a double undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy green” before being heavily washed with “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade. I was actually close to simply stopping there but eventually gave the model a rough drybrush of more “Vallejo” Heavy Green. This really helped bring out the detail of all the muscles and sinews sculpted onto the figure. The toes and teeth were picked out with “Vallejo” White and then also washed with “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade. Originally the model also had its large thumb nails painted white but I thought these looked dreadful as they starkly stood out from the rest of the dark-skinned monster. As a result I decided not to pick out these areas on my model and simply left them green along with the other fingers.

If you’re interested in the original Abomination, Emily Blonsky, then I look at the character’s latest appearance in “Savage Hulk” on my daily American Comics Review Blog here:
As you can see from this week’s Top Ten Miniatures in my painting queue I’ve made a few additions, most notably more “Heroclix” in the shape of The Hulk and The Flash. I have also got a very nice Tweedy Mattison model from “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and the previously posted Masked Bandit from “Boot Hill Miniatures”. I am currently just painting the spirit form of Judge Death and then I’ll start work on this ‘living’ version of the Deadworld Judge by “Mongoose Publishing”. I’ve not been able to make any progress on either my “Crooked Dice” Blake’s Seven project or The Shadow by “Graven Images”.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

"Bullets Go Right Thru Him - - Don't Even Phase Him!"

This rather large 28mm pre-painted plastic “Wizkids” model is of N’Kantu, The Living Mummy. First appearing in the August 1973 issue of “Supernatural Thrillers”, the three thousand year-old super-hero was actually conceived by American comic book writer Steve Gerber; better known for creating Howard The Duck. The miniature is number 11 from the Marvel Amazing Spider-Man “Heroclix” set and is a common figure. As I joined Zomtober 2014 a week late I have been trying to play a bit of catch-up with the other contributors, and this miniature’s submission means I’ve finally caught up.
After initially undercoating the model with “Vallejo” Iraqi Sand, I applied a heavy wash of the “Citadel” Shade Agrax Earthshade over the entire figure. I then drybrushed more “Vallejo” Iraqi Sand across all of the papyrus bandages N’Kantu is wrapped in. I actually did this with an old fine detail brush as despite being rather time-consuming, it gave me much better control over how heavily I applied the technique. This was important as I wanted some of the areas to remain quite dark, damp with the millennia, and others reasonably light. I even considered applying a light drybrush of white over the model as a final highlight, but then thought it would make the Living Mummy look a bit too clean for my liking.
Painting the figure’s face was an adventure in its own right as the “Heroclix” model not only had no wrappings across N’Kantu’s mouth but had the Living Mummy moaning with visible white teeth. Having painted both the white eyes and teeth on several occasions and not being happy with any of my attempts I finally decided to abandon the open mouth and give the model a closed tight-lipped grimace. As a result I used a sharp knife to cut out the tiniest of slivers of plastic and then simply applied my “standard zombie flesh “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey undercoat across the area. Once washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil and Thrakka Green, the mouth area merged in with the rest of N’Kantu’s face but left a satisfying pool where his lips were pursed. Having solved the problem of the mouth I then turned my attention to the miniature’s eyes, and eventually plumbed for simply undercoating them with “Vallejo” White, washing them with “Citadel” Nuln Oil and then picking them out again with a tiny spot more of “Vallejo” White.
Dick Garrison over on the “Rantings From Under The Wargames Table” blog has come up with a cracking idea for a challenge during November. In line with ‘Movember’ the plan is paint up a moustached model for each weekend during the month, so I present to you my roster of miniatures. They’re all 28mm “Heroclix” pre-painted plastic figures and consist of Dracula, Wulf Sternhammer, Lockjaw, Puck and Doctor Strange. If you’re interested in joining in just for fun then simply drop Dick a comment at his blog:

Sunday, 19 October 2014

28mm Battle Report: The Thing And Nightwing Verses Blockbuster

This third simple game of “7TV” by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” is designed for us to get more familiar with some of the Event cards printed at the rear of the core rulebook. As a result I’ll only be using a couple of Heroic Co-Stars against a handful of Villainous Extras and their Leader. As I’m not using any actual Stars or Villains all the Gadget cards have been put to one side.
The adventure takes place upon my usual 2x2 board, with a large number of crates and barrels covering the playing surface. The objective is for The Thing and Nightwing to ‘collect’ as many clue pieces as they can by the end of the sixth turn. The clues range in value from 1 point to 5 points worth of information and are dotted about the tabletop. However the heroes won’t know the value of their clues until the end of the game when they are revealed (back at the Batcave). To win the heroes’ clues must be worth more than those being held by the villains.
“The story so far… Batman is apparently dead and Gotham City has gone to hell as a result. The Penguin and Two-Face are carving up the crime rackets between themselves in a large scale gang war. But a mysterious third player has entered the game, and Dick Grayson needs to find out who that somebody is. Unwillingly to yet don the cape and cowl of Batman, Nightwing locates a downtown warehouse believing it to hold enough clues to reveal the identity of this third criminal mastermind. However it’s guarded by a group of ‘Eavies lead by the superhuman Bruiser, Blockbuster. As a result Grayson teams up with native New Yorker Ben Grimm, and together they break into the warehouse…”
As both heroes would deploy upon a random table edge, a D6 was rolled for each co-star. The Thing started on the eastern side of the building, protected to his south by a large wall of radioactive barrels. Whilst Nightwing began the game from the southern edge, with an unobstructed route straight to the warehouse’s centre and Blockbuster (as well as an ‘Eavy and a clue). The Audience Appreciation fell in the favour of the heroes, and (as opposed to dealing out some Event Cards to each player as per the core rulebook) they were awarded the first Event Card to be revealed – Faulty Gadget; which would have no effect upon the turn as no villains were carrying any.
Ben Grimm spotted a useful looking clue to his right, and the ‘Eavy (number two) guarding it a moment later. Discretion never being the behemoth’s greatest strength the former test-pilot moved straight towards the crowbar carrying criminal and with a loud “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” [Rage Special Effect] knocked the man cold. Meanwhile Dick Grayson charged into the ‘Eavy (four) in the southwest corner and utilising his knowledge of Pressure Points, stunned the man.
Realising something was amiss ‘Eavy (one) travelled down from the north-west corner of the warehouse and ‘Eavy (five) moved west towards the figure of Nightwing. As there were some crates in between the hired muscle and the Bludhaven vigilante, the ‘Eavy had to hurdle the obstacle, and did so with ease.
Blockbuster, using his Leadership to activate a nearby ‘Eavy (three), rushed off to face The Thing, and spotting Ben Grimm with his back to him, charged into the founding member of the Fantastic Four. Using the charge to boost his Strength, Blockbuster negated The Thing’s rocky hide armour and using some Audience Appreciation stunned Grimm. Falling to the floor, the blue-eyed super-hero guessed Blockbuster had been taking advice from some of those damn Yancy Street Gangers. Sensing his hapless foe was at his mercy, the Bruiser started putting the boot in…
Concerned at his friend’s incapacitation, and noting that none of the fallen had sufficiently recovered in order to get to their feet, Nightwing gritted his teeth and ensured he passed his Shaken test. With the Audience Appreciation once again falling in the heroes favour, Dick Grayson snatched up a clue and charged into the oncoming ‘Eavy (three).
However despite trying his Luck, he failed to land a punch upon the hired muscle. Now was the time for a Heroic Surge and Nightwing lashed out with an ‘All or Nothing’ attack… so down went the ‘Eavy. Then leaping over the fallen body, the Strongarm charged into another fast-approaching ‘Eavy (five) and decked him as well.
Blockbuster, sensing that his men were dropping around him like ninepins rushed towards the Blundhaven police officer but had to stop short. Seeing the three fallen senseless ‘Eavies surrounding Nightwing, none of whom roused themselves at the end of the turn, the Bruiser’s morale broke and he fled the table top with the surviving ‘Eavy (one). The tabletop and all the clues belonged to the super-heroes.

Friday, 17 October 2014

"Born on a Monday..."

This large-sized 28mm “Wizkids” model of Solomon Grundy is my second submission for Zomtober 2014. The pre-painted plastic miniature is number 73 from the “Heroclix” DC Hypertime range.
After initially undercoating the model with “Citadel” Abaddon Black, I applied a few layers of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey to the figure’s shins, hands and face. I then simply washed these areas of undead skin with the “Citadel” Shade Nuln Oil. I painted the model’s footwear with “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna. Because I wanted to make the large wooden tree branch stand apart from the zombie’s big shoes, I gave that a coat of an old OOP pot of “Citadel” Dark Flesh. Both areas were then washed with Agrax Eartshade. I then simply dry-brushed more Dark Flesh over the club.
Solomon’s hair and shirt were originally just painted with “Vallejo” White and washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil. But as the two areas bordered one another so closely, especially at the back of the model, I decided to apply a “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade wash to the shirt, and dry-brush more “Vallejo” White across his hair.
These two “Mongoose Publishing” models of Judge Death will be my fourth (and fifth) submissions for Zomtober 2014. I wasn’t planning on painting any more miniatures from the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game range after all the ‘fun’ I’ve had this year with some of their Judge sculpts. But as I want my models for this splendid Undead painting event to be zombie characters rather than run-of-the-mill brain-eaters, the Deadworld Judge fits the bill admirably.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Retained Knights - Part Four

These two 15mm miniatures are from "The Ion Age" miniatures selection IAF008 Retained Knight Post Charlie (Launcher) and IAF001 Retained Knight Post Alpha (Loader). I’ve based them on a small “Battlefront Miniatures” stand in order to represent an Anvil 888 Launcher team. The models were initially undercoated with "Vallejo" Heavy Blue before being washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Their hands were then picked out with "Vallejo" Heavy Red, before I treated them to a glaze of "Citadel" Bloodletter. Finally the models' weapons were painted using the "Citadel" combination of Boltgun Metal with Nuln Oil.
I’m also close to finishing off the layers on my next two “Heroclix” pre-painted miniatures by “Wizkids”. Solomon Grundy just needs the large tree branch he’s wielding to be painted and washed, and his hair inked, and he should be finished. I’m not that happy with the zombie’s all-white eyes, as they appear to be at an odd angle to one another. But that appears to be where the sculptor put the pupils. The Abomination needs even less work to be done, though I’ll probably repaint his right leg as the brown wash seems to have pooled rather thickly on this area, so it has gone a slightly darker green to the rest of the behemoth’s body. This really is a monster of a miniature and dwarfs the Frankenstein’s Monster by “Graven Images” I’ve recently finished.
I’ve ‘borrowed’ an idea from Bruno “Count Von” Beveridge’s excellent blog “Lead of Alive” for a Top Ten miniatures posting. But rather than do a list I thought I’d simply show the top ten miniatures in my painting queue at present; a bit of a ‘What’s on the Painting Table’ if you will. There’s a bit of a mix as I continue to plod away at the remaining Thug “Heroclix” models from my (final) painting Challenge of 2014. Plus a couple more, the Living Mummy being this week’s Zomtober submission. My “Crooked Dice” Blake’s Seven project hasn’t really progressed much this week, except that I’ve repainted and re-inked Roj Blake’s sleeves. Finally The Shadow by “Graven Images” has momentarily been ‘overshadowed’ by my determination to finish my “Frankenstein’s Monster” first. Hopefully painting on a few of these figures will shift gear in the next few days and they’ll be an all-new roster…
For a more well-thought out Top Ten though here’s the link to “Lead or Alive”:

Monday, 13 October 2014

"Look! It's Moving. It's Alive. It's Alive..."

This 40mm “Graven Images” model of Frankenstein’s Monster (Code CH101) has been an absolute pleasure to paint and is the first of my four submissions for Zomtober 2014. It comes from the late Jim Bowen’s “Cliffhanger” range, which focussed on early science fiction and fantasy characters from both literature and the cinema. Originally distributed by “Monolith Designs”, the miniatures are now owned by “Waugh Games” and are being re-released on their store’s website [].
After initially undercoating the model with “Citadel” Abaddon Black, I applied a few layers of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna to the figure’s trousers and jacket. I then washed these with the “Citadel” Shade Nuln Oil. As I wanted to try and give the creature a greenish hue, the face and hands were initially painted with “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey. I then washed the areas with ordinary tap water in order to make them wet and applied a combination of “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade and Thrakka Green. Because the areas of skin were already wet the Shade and Wash formed a good swirling mix over the undercoat. I also wanted to give the monster a ‘Boris Karloff’ look, all whites of the eyes, so simply draw a black line around the eye sockets and filled in the eyeballs with a dot or two of “Vallejo” white. The neck bolts were picked out with “Citadel” Boltgun metal and then washed with Nuln Oil and Agraz Earthshade.
My second and third submissions for Zomtober are plastic pre-painted “Wizids” models from their “Heroclix” line. Solomon Grundy is a ‘genuine’ zombie, and has actually taken a bit of time to even get this far as I’ve struggled to get his grey skin right; my earlier attempts all giving him a Hulk-like greenish glow. Fortunately as the majority of this clothing is black, he should be swiftly finished now I think I’ve got his undead skin wash right. The Living Mummy is another of the walking dead models I own which I thought would both be simple to paint, and fit in quite nicely with Zomtober. In addition I think he’d make an excellent team-up with Batman in a game of "7TV" as King Tut attempts to raid the Ancient Egyptian exhibition at Gotham City Museum.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

28mm Battle Report: Rocket Raccoon And Groot Verses Mega-City Judges

This second simple game of “7TV” by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” is designed for us to get more familiar with the shooting mechanics of the core rulebook. As a result I’ll only be using a couple of Heroic Co-Stars against a number of Villainous Extras. All the Gadget and Event cards have been put to one side, as I hope there to be more than enough bullets flying around as it is.
The adventure takes place upon a 2x2 board, with a large walkway dominating the table, and some collections of barrels providing some additional cover. The objective is for Rocket Raccoon and Groot to ‘snatch’ a wanted criminal from out of Mega-City One custody and escape with him back to their teleportation site. The Senior Judge in charge of the prisoner will be calling in reinforcements and they’ll slowly arrive upon the table at a random edge once per turn. The Guardians of the Galaxy must therefore risk the firepower of the Judges in order to grab their bounty and escape with him.
“The story so far… Rocket Raccoon and Groot have time-travelled to the Earth in the twenty-second century in order to collect a bounty on an inter-galactic temporal trickster. Unfortunately their prize has already fallen foul of Mega-City One’s justice system and as a result been arrested on the street by a Senior Judge. Realising that they’ll never be able to claim their reward once the criminal has been placed in an iso-cube and is ‘doing five’, the anthropomorphic raccoon grabs his hefty rapid-fire blaster and begins a very unwise ‘rescue attempt’…
The game started with the (first) Judge appearing just north of where Rocket and Groot have teleported onto the street, causing the pair some consternation. Having won the Initiative Groot was immediately activated and started running towards the opposite corner of the gaming area. Whilst Rocket, utilising his sidekick special effect, opened up with his weapon on the freshly arrived Judge. A ‘Good offense’ and an ‘Audience Appreciation’ token later, the Judge was out of action for the rest of the game; probably destined for the Long Walk having been bested by a large mutant squirrel. Rocket then ran to a nearby ladder which lead to an overhead walkway.
Hearing the gunfire the Senior Judge, right boot still pinning her prisoner’s face to the pavement, spun round to see Groot fast approaching and opened up with her Lawgiver. Two bullets struck home but failed to penetrate the alien’s body armour.
Fortunately a (second) Judge appeared alongside her, doubling their firepower at the fast-approaching Monarch of Planet X. Six bullets whizzed towards the seemingly invulnerable sentient tree-like creature and none could penetrate its bark. In the meantime Rocket scurried up a ladder before racing along a walkway. Reaching a large gas tower the raccoon got ready to give his over-sized partner some covering fire once he freed their prize.
Behind Rocket a (third) Judge ran into the action and immediately started clambering up after the raccoon. Believing that they now had their targets in a crossfire the Senior Judge opened up on Groot but was again thwarted by his super-tough bark. Nestled beside the gas container Rocket launched a salvo of bullets towards the seasoned street judge, and took her down for the count.
Another (fourth) Judge appeared from the south and immediately broke cover from behind some barrels to chase after Groot, as the alien was fast-approaching the prisoner. The (third) Judge reached the walkway, unable to properly aim due to his weapon’s high burst of fire, sent a hail of bullets towards Rocket Raccoon. Fortunately not even the use of a couple of Audience Appreciation tokens was enough for the Lawman to wound the mammal.
Groot however was not as lucky as the (second) Judge guarding the perp finally got one of his Lawgiver’s bullets to penetrate the alien’s bark and the extra-terrestrial took a wound. With an “I’m comin’ Pal!” Rocket scampered down the gas tower’s ladder and brought down the (second) Judge with three bullets despite his lengthy range.
Another (fifth) Judge entered the fray from the north, and ran towards the action until he saw the towering plant monster charging towards him. With an “I am Groot!” the Flora Colossus flattened the newly-arrived Judge straight into the sidewalk. Meanwhile Rocket spun round to put a bullet or two into the (third) Judge on the walkway, partially clearing the way for his friend to free the target of all their endeavours.
Sensing his dire predicament, as Control reported there were no more available units to respond to his assistance call, the (fourth) Judge clambered up the gas tank’s ladder and started peppering the small furry mutant with his Lawgiver. One of the bullets struck home, and Rocket gave a startled yelp of pain.
Having dragged the criminal to his feet and encouraged him to move towards their teleportation site with a fierce “I am Groot” scowl, the Monarch of Planet X rushed to his friend’s aid and clambered up to the top of the gas tower. Despite his -1 penalty, as the (fourth) Judge had the advantage of the high ground, the alien pounded down upon the Lawman, ending the Grand Hall of Justice’s threat long enough for the duo to ‘retreat’ back to their orbiting spacecraft…