Wednesday, 29 June 2016

"We're Not Going Anywhere, Orac, Until You Give Me Straight Answers..."

"Orac, what proof do we have that Blake is on Gauda Prime?"
This diminutive 28mm model of "a Box supercomputer", is produced by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and can be bought together with "a female psychic, full of hatred for the Federated Security" and her “computer expert” companion as code SKU: Deal 44 from the company’s Future Freedom Fighters range. “Programmed with its creator’s irascible personality” the tiny metal sculpt makes a terrific proxy for Ensor’s “most advanced [computer] in the galaxy” as first seen in the March 1978 "Blake's Seven" television episode "Orac”.

Initially undercoated with “Vallejo” White, the mobile super-computer was washed with Pale Grey, before being dry-brushed with more White. A few of Orac’s ‘whistles and bells’ were then predominantly ‘picked out’ using a combination of Heavy Red and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson.
Human Torch WIPs - Johnny Storm's flames have been base coated, shaded and dry-brushed 
 In addition to completing another miniature for the next instalment of my long-running “Alien Verses Blake’s Seven” campaign, I have been merrily progressing this “Heroclix” model of the Human Torch. I have now managed to not only finally base coat all of Johnny Storm’s flames with “Vallejo” Heavy Orange. But have also found the time to glaze each of these areas with “Citadel” Bloodletter and subsequently dry-brushed them with more “Vallejo” Heavy Orange.

As a result the founding member of the Fantastic Four, whose painting was motivated by the superhero’s inclusion in the Dice Masters” Avengers verses X-Men starter set, now needs only to have his flames highlighted with some yellow in order to be finished, and ready for the tabletop.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle WIPs - Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo have been under-coated
Similarly inspired by “Wizkids” recent release of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Dice Building Game, as designed by Mike Elliott and Eric M. Lang, I have finally moved three of the ‘heroes in a half-shell’ models I bought from “My Way Miniatures” up my painting queue.

These delicate resin figures of Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo were rather painstaking to put together. But are definitely worth the effort once the super-glue has dried. Having had my arm twisted by the likes of Andy at "Da Gobbo's Grotto" and Bryan at "Vampifan's World Of The Undead" I've actually bought all four of the martial artists, along with Shredder and a number of his henchmen, courtesy of "Greebo Games". 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

"-- Oh My Stars And Garters!"

"How could anyone forget the bombastic beast?!"
This 28mm pre-painted plastic model of Beast is by “Wizkids” and can be bought as number 005 from their “Heroclix” Marvel: Danger Room Collector Set. Originally introduced as a “mutant possessing ape-like superhuman strength and ability”, the Avenger would eventually transform into a blue-furred super-hero with pointed ears, fangs, claws and a genius-level intellect. Hank McCoy was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and made his first appearance in the September 1963 opening issue of “X-Men” by “Marvel Comics Group”.

Having removed Beast from his ‘clicky-stand’ and super-glued it onto a 25mm round base, the model was undercoated with “Vallejo” Heavy Blue. The figure was then heavily washed with “Citadel” Asurmen Blue before its raised areas of fur were carefully dry-brushed using more “Vallejo” Heavy Blue. The acrobatic mutant’s ‘X-Man’ belt was painted with Heavy Ochre and Heavy Red. Before his dark blue shorts were ‘picked out’ using a combination of Heavy Blue and “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
"Heroclix" WIPs - Spider-Man and the Human Torch should should be finished. Cappy will take longer
 With the first of my “Dice Masters” inspired super-heroes finished, I have been able to spend a little more time progressing the other three characters initially used within the Avengers Verses X-Men dice building game’s rulebook. Johnny Storm still has some way to go before all of his model’s many flames have been ‘picked out’ with “Vallejo” Heavy Orange, and I have only managed to finish the standing stone and red boots on my Captain America “Heroclix” figure.

However a little test on one of Spider-Man’s feet using a combination of “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion and “Citadel” Nuln Oil in order to replicate the Wall-crawler’s webbed costume appears to have worked very well, and helped me decide to finish painting Peter Parker’s alter-ego up next.
More "Heroclix" WIPs - Based and primed: Storm, Iron Man and the mighty Thor
Lastly I have spent some time basing and priming a few more “Heroclix” figures based upon the remaining characters found within the “Wizkids” collectible dice game’s AvX Starter Set. Something of a mixed bunch, I actually had to seek out this model of Storm from across the Pond, after I felt the version of Ororo Munroe which I already owned (from the Marvel Danger Room Collector Set) was rather diminutive in scale. Fortunately I am far happier with my sculpts of Iron Man and Thor, even if Tony Stark’s armoured form is probably a little too large, and the bearded God of Thunder isn't disappointingly wearing his 'classic' Jack Kirby costume.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

'Forgotten Heroes' - WIP - Part Three

Vampire By Night WIPs - Nina Price's wolf-form has already been washed and dry-brushed
As a result of the ‘Forgotten Heroes’ challenge rapidly approaching the end of its third week, I have increasingly been spending my hobby time assembling, priming and dry-brushing the three plastic "Wizkids" figures I intend to convert into members of the "Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D."; a disappointingly short-lived comic book series recently cancelled by "Marvel Worldwide" which featured the exploits of Director Maria Hill’s newest team of monster agents.

The simplest of these ‘conversions’ is my model of Nina Price in her lycanthrope guise. The niece of Jack Russell from the comic book “Werewolf By Night”, this hybrid actually also possesses the abilities of a vampire after sunset. However as Vampire By Night predominantly appears in the recent comic books as a white-furred Artic wolf creature I thought just painting a “Horrorclix” She-Wolf miniature appropriately would make for an easy representation of her formidable supernatural abilities.
Warwolf WIPs - Having undercoated Martin Reyna, the team leader's boots need 'picking out'
Somewhat harder to construct was my model of the S.T.A.K.E. team’s leader, Martin Reyna. But having now started to apply some basic layers to his somewhat ‘top-heavy’ frame, I think Warwolf is beginning to take shape nicely. I have already started work on the anti-hero’s standard-issue white S.H.I.E.L.D. boots and rich blue leggings, and hope soon to start washing and dry-brushing his were-wolf fur.

In addition I have also used “Citadel” Abaddon Black to undercoat his enormous cybernetic hand and the handful of grenades he’ll be wearing around his waist. I’ve also subsequently noticed that the original “Mage Knight” Feral Werewolf model has a shoulder-guard and some scraps of torn shoulder sculpted onto its torso, so these will be ‘picked out’ out in blue and white in order to suggest its part of his S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform.
Manphibian WIPs - The alien's pouches and automatic weapon have now been super-glued in place
Finally I’ve finished compiling my “Heroclix” figure of Manphibian. Having previously given the extra-terrestrial some much needed footwear courtesy of a “Games Workshop” Cadian soldier, I have since used grey-stuff to make a utilities belt for the webbed creature, and then covered my rough-work with all manner of grenades and pouches. Finally, as I wanted to illustrate the fact that the alien is actually a highly intelligent weaponsmith, I gave him an impressive-looking “Warhammer 40,000” automatic rifle.

As with Warwolf, just as soon as the superglue holding Manphibian’s pouches, belt buckle and weapon in place was dry, the model was given a rough undercoat so I could start painting in all his detail over the next few days. Disconcertingly this means the vast majority of his equipment will be S.H.I.E.L.D. white. But the monster’s scaly skin will hopefully be more readily highlighted via a combination of a “Citadel” Thrakka Green wash and some dry-brushing.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

"What's Happening, Bok? Why Do You Not Attack?"

"There's nothing to fear. It's just mumbo jumbo!"
This rather small two-piece 28mm metal model of Bok is by “Black Tree Design” and can be purchased as code DW314 – Bok from the company’s “Doctor Who” range. The figure is based upon “the gargoyle servant of Azal” and was played by Stanley Mason in the 1971 BBC television science fiction adventure “The Daemons”. Made of stone and bulletproof, the creature “reverts [back] to his statue form when Azal is defeated” in the story’s fifth and final episode.

Having super-glued the stone construct’s wings onto the monster’s back, the model was given a double undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey and then heavily washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil. The figure was then dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey. Ordinarily, I’d leave such stony subject matters at that. But as I didn’t feel the somewhat brusque technique had succeeded in bringing out a lot of the (admittedly soft) sculpt’s detail, I re-washed the gargoyle with “Citadel” Nuln Oil and then applied a second, much more delicate dry-brush of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey over its raised areas. Even this much gentler approach didn’t entirely succeed however, and I was forced to repeat this process a third time over Bok’s face before I was satisfied with the miniature’s overall look.
Melkur WIPs - The Master's TARDIS now requires a watered-down layer of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand
 Lastly, in an effort to illustrate that this model actually depicts a chap in a tight-fitting grey costume, I thought I’d highlight the fact that the leotard was attached to the actor’s somewhat visible hands by picking out his fingers using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone and “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade.

Having finished Bok, I've subsequently started work painting the "Black Tree Design" model for the Melkur; otherwise known as the Master's movable Tardis from the television serial "Doctor Who And The Keeper Of Traken". This embodiment of "pure evil" hasn't turned out quite as well as I expected on account of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade drying rather 'gloopily' for my liking, and thus making the figure's subsequent dry-brush a little too rough-looking for the angular-shaped monster. As a result I plan to give the miniature a layer of watered-down "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand in the hope of smoothing out its shading before 'picking out' its final details.
Human Torch WIPs - Johnny Storm has had all his flames 'picked out' with black
I have also made some more progress on the "Heroclix" models I have been inspired to paint following my recent purchase of the “Avengers Verses X-Men” “Dice Masters” game. In particular I am currently concentrating on Johnny Storm and picking out all of his flames with a combination of orange, a red wash, more orange and yellow.

The Human Torch's fiery ground-burst is already finished, and over the next few days I hope to carefully work my way up the figure painting in each of the sculpt's many flaming areas. Once completed, I'll only need to re-paint a miniature of the Invisible Girl from "Wizkids" Marvel Clobberin' Time range to be able to field the original Fantastic Four as part of my "Cosmic Cube Wars" campaign. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

"Destroy Blake."

"Where there's life, there's threat."
This 28mm model of Lady Winterly is produced by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and can be bought together with Travers, a “hard military brutalist", as code SKU: Deal 15 from their Classic Miniatures range. A “cold political calculator” and wearing a dress somewhat similar to that worn by actress Jacqueline Pearce in the April 1979 "Blake's Seven" television episode "Star One", the miniature makes a terrific proxy for Supreme Commander Servalan.

As the figure was going to be mainly white in colour she was initially undercoated with some "Vallejo" White before being washed with Pale Grey. The Federation leader’s costume was then dry-brushed with more White, before I picked out her areas of flesh using a combination of Heavy Skintone and watered-down “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade. Finally her earrings and heavy eye shadow were picked out using “Vallejo” Turquoise and a dab of “Citadel” Asurmen Blue.
"Nightmare Of Eden" WIPs - These menacing Mandrels need their claws and eyes painted next
Sticking with my current interest in Late Seventies science fiction television programmes I have managed to undercoat and dry-brush five Mandrel models from the “Doctor Range” of miniatures sold by “Black Tree Design”. I have high hopes for these impressive-looking humanoids from the planet Eden, as I plan to use them with my pre-ordered copy of “Lost Patrol” by “Games Workshop” to game the four-part story “Doctor Who And The Nightmare Of Eden”.

I actually have a lot of ideas surrounding the "fast-paced game of kill-or-be-killed", and hope to use it in order to create quite a few "Doctor Who" based scenarios set both within a jungle environment and elsewhere as well. I've even bought some hexagon-shaped pieces of MDF with which to create some 3D tiles, so expect to see the Timelord battling Voc robots on board a huge sandminer vehicle in the near(ish) future.
Super-hero WIPs - The Human Torch, Hank "Beast" McCoy and Captain America
I have also recently been playing an awful lot of “Wizkids” “Avengers Verses X-Men” “Dice Masters” game, and as a result of using Beast, Spider-Man, the Human Torch and Captain America in many of the battles, have found myself slowly progressing four “Heroclix” models of the aforementioned super-heroes. Indeed I’ve become so taken with the "critically acclaimed dice building game" that I have already almost finished my dynamically-posed sculpt of the X-Man Hank McCoy, and both washed and dry-brushed Johnny Storm. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Zombicide Report: Alien Verses Blake's Seven - "Exterminate" - Part Three

“The story so far… A Federation experiment on an extra-terrestrial life-form has gone horribly wrong. Having successfully secured the endoparasitoid species on board the orbiting Weapons Research Facility, Roj Blake has momentarily joined forces with Section Leader Klegg and two Federation troopers in order to help reduce the number of Aliens which they face. But can the Liberator's crew trust the Death Squad troopers, especially when the freedom fighters are already struggling to cope with the seemingly unending waves of murderous creatures and their jump-suit wearing colleagues seem intent on taking all the highly-prized objectives solely for the Terran Administration..?”


THE TABLETOP - THE "GORDON RICHARDS" FEDERATION WEAPONS RESEARCH FACILITY
Vila Restal moved north to the Stargate Room’s airlock and effortlessly picked the door’s lock. With a rasping hiss and enormous Alien Warrior loomed large from inside and with a scream the thief cowered before it. With a cry Jenna Stannis was beside him and her space shotgun fired. Sadly the ex-smuggler missed, but with ‘Plenty of Ammunition’ on her, she fired again and brought the large extra-terrestrial down to the ground.
VILA RESTAL DISCOVERS THE BIGGEST ALIEN YET AND UNSURPRISINGLY PANICS
Believing the room was now vacant of hostiles Section Leader Klegg swiftly moved inside and claimed the Stargate objective for Supreme Commander Servalan. Scanning his portable strategic computer, the balaclava-wearing Terran goon realised that the humans had now cleared out over half of the Aliens infesting this area of the abandoned space station. Victory was in sight… But to his south, the Federation trooper guarding the long western corridor was forced to fall back as he managed to kill only one of the five slavering monstrosities travelling east towards his position.

Blake meanwhile gave the Death Squad trooper beside him a quick order, and together they moved closer to the Alien Hound in the Green Room. Roj missed the beast with his weapon. However the Federation soldier did not, and the creature died a grisly death.
SECTION LEADER KLEGG CAPTURES ANOTHER OBJECTIVE FOR THE TERRAN FEDERATION
Startled by two Hounds who leapt into the junction between the Radio Room and Stargate Room, Jenna opened up with her shotgun, and, bringing down both brutes, gained enough experience to level up (to yellow). Klegg meanwhile took advantage of the distraction to quickly search the Stargate Room and uncovered… an Alien Stalker. Backing away, momentarily unable to fire upon the fiend due to his acidic blood, the Section Leader was amazed to see the extra-terrestrial crumple into a dead heap courtesy of a rifle shot from Vila.

Ordering the Federation Trooper to his north, Blake fired at two more Alien hounds that snarling, had padded into the Green Room. The Liberator’s captain proved a poor shot. But fortunately his Death Squad companion did not, and blasted the pair to bits. Meanwhile the trooper to Roj’s north blazed away at the writhing mass of Aliens pouring down the lengthy western corridor before ducking back south. The black-clad soldier had only dispatched a single Stalker.
BLAKE AND JENNA FACE A SEEMINGLY UNENDING TIDE OF ALIEN HOUNDS AND STALKERS

The harsh hissing of two Alien Hounds and a Stalker forced Vila to spin south. There he saw the fiends had come between himself, Jenna and Klegg and the route to Green Central. Terrified the thief fired his Space Rifle twice and grimaced as the extra-terrestrials all remained standing afterwards. Pushing the cowardly Liberator crewman to one-side the Section Leader fired thrice and sneering at his cowering companion as all three of the monsters slumped dead to the floor. Clearly Klegg was destined to be a Terran Federation Poster Boy…
TERRAN FEDERATION POSTER BOY - SECTION LEADER KLEGG
Stannis meanwhile took the opportunity of the western corridor being somewhat clear of Aliens and moved east down it. She was joined by one of the Death Squad Troopers. It was time to take the final fight to the extra-terrestrials. But already six Stalkers were fast approaching, with something much larger looming behind them.

Thinking somewhat similarly, Blake gave his accompanying Federation Trooper a quick order, and then entered the Green Room. A Stalker hissed at him from the south and exploded in a spray of green acidic blood as Roj’s gun (for once) proved true. Confident his rebel companion had cleared the area of threats the Death Squad soldier sauntered south past the freedom fighter, and spotted another Stalker to his west. Panicking, the Terran warrior missed his target, and with a victorious snarl the Alien was upon him.

THINGS LOOK BLEAK FOR THE LIBERATOR CREW AS THE ALIENS GET LARGER
Fearing his opponent’s acidic blood, the Federation trooper wisely backed away north from the hissing extra-terrestrial and then gunned the beast down with his firearm. Much farther north, the other Death Squad Trooper killed three of the fast-approaching Alien Stalkers. Klegg joined his team-mate and slew another two. Whilst Jenna charged east firing and brought down the enormous fully-grown Alien Warrior that had been towering over its deadly kin. Hoping everything was safe Vila quietly left the safety of the Stargate Room.
THE EX-SMUGGLER BATTLES ON AS MORE AND MORE ALIENS MENACE JENNA STANNIS
With matters finally under control south of the Green Room, Blake tapped an order to Klegg via his wrist communicator and continued to kill any Alien Stalker or Hound foolish enough to try and rush him from the adjoining corridor. The Section Leader joined Jenna Stannis and together blasted away at any and all the extra-terrestrials trying to pour west towards them. Eventually the slimy fiends’ numbers dwindled and stopped. The battle was over and the Federation had succeeded in killing enough of the monsters to make the creatures rethink their strategy for their human prey…

Saturday, 11 June 2016

'Forgotten Heroes' - WIP - Part Two

Warwolf WIP - The S.H.IE.L.D. operative still has some additional equipment to be glued into place
With the ‘Forgotten Heroes’ challenge entering its second week, and having already finished my initial submission of Imperator Furiosa (predominantly using a “Copplestone Castings” sculpt), I’ve started work on converting three plastic "Wizkids" figures into some of the lesser known members of the "Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D."; a comic book series published by "Marvel Worldwide" which depicts the escapades of a top secret division of operatives who "defend the world against super human threats too dangerous for normal men."

The first of these 'unusual' S.H.I.E.L.D. agents is the leader of Area Thirteen's S.T.A.K.E. team, Martin Reyna. Codenamed Warwolf, he has a Gene Package embedded on his right mechanical arm which he can use to transform into a werewolf. In order to approximate such an unusual anti-hero I have taken the top half of a "Mage Knight" Feral Werewolf and replaced one of its claws with a "Games Workshop" powerfist. I have then pinned the bulky torso to the waist of a "Heroclix" S.H.I.E.L.D. Trooper.
Howling Commandos Of S.H.IE.L.D. WIPs - Early days for Vampire By Night and Manphibian
The ensemble currently looks a little top-heavy. But I have already used some grey-stuff to make the waist fill out a little more smoothly into the hulking lycanthrope. I also plan to 'bulk up' the area somewhat by cutting off the model's current waist pouch and replacing it with a number of larger bags and grenades courtesy of a "Games Workshop" Cadian Trooper sprue I acquired for my 'Forgotten Heroes' conversions.

In addition to Al Ewing's co-creation, I have also started work on my models for Vampire By Night and Manphibian. The female blood-drinker should prove quite a simple task, as I plan to just repaint a "Horroclix" She-Wolf miniature Bryan over at "Vampifan's World Of The Undead" kindly gifted me a while ago. Whilst the green-skinned extra-terrestrial will require quite a bit of attention in order to turn it into something which more closely resembles his comic-book counterpart.
Mister Freeze Minions WIPS - The pipeline for these five bobble-hat wearing henchmen is at the jumper stage
Interestingly the "Heroclix" figure doesn't come with feet on account of it's original pose depicting the fearsome alien emerging from out of a pond. As a result I have pinned the boots of a hapless "Games Workshop" Cadian soldier onto the creature. Hopefully the addition of such footwear won't look quite so odd once I've given the Howling Commando some S.H.I.E.L.D. agent trappings and a weapon...

Lastly I've made some progress on the five ‘converted’ “Wizkids” Lackey figures I have adapted in order to represent the Sixties henchmen of “Mister Freeze”. Having completed these bobble-hatted minions' grey trousers I have begun working my way through their blue woolly pullovers using “Vallejo” Heavy Blue.