Sunday, 7 February 2016

28mm ZTV2 Report: Lobster Johnson, Molly Hayes, Moon Knight & Doctor Who Verses Rasputin, The Joker, Travis & The Grey Hulk - Act One

This game was played predominantly using “The Battle” episode rules of “ZTV2” by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio”. However in order to better accommodate the fact we were playing on a 2’ x 2’ game board, the Special Rule that models within 6” of an objective token could each reroll one die every turn was shrunk to just 3”. As I wanted to try out the rules ‘straight from the box’ all of the Stars and Co-Stars used were taken from the sixty cast members which come with the Starter Set.

“The story so far… The mad monk Grigori Efimovich Rasputin has lured some of the multi-verse’s most despicable villains to the dimension of the Ogdru Jahad in order to help him open a permanent portal to our world. Forewarned of the fiend’s plan, Lobster Johnson has put together a team of heroes in order to thwart the servant of the Dark Gods. But having traversed the interspatial gap between realities and subsequently tracked down his foe, the New York City vigilante realizes the only way he is going to be able to stop the black magician is by winning an out-and-out fight…"
Before the game started a number of boulders were positioned randomly about the tabletop, as well as a small toxic pool and a somewhat larger one. In addition five objective tokens (some oil barrels, a broken robot, a grave marker, a statue and some ducklings) were also placed on the board. It was then determined that the super-villains would be the attackers, so Moon Knight, Molly Hayes and Doctor Who (as the defenders) were all deployed in the southwest corner of the battlefield. Whilst Rasputin’s forces were situated in the opposite corner. Finally Lobster Johnson, a Flamboyant Agent Star, was placed close to the robot objective in the centre of the table on account of being a Spy.

Having finished determining the two casts' start locations, the episode’s countdown deck was created using five randomly drawn cards from each Act One, Act Two and Act Three category; totalling fifteen cards. In addition both sides created their own gadget pools with the heroes forming a formidable pool of weaponry and equipment on account of Doctor Who’s Impressive Junk Pile special effect. With the TV show’s director just about to call “Action!” both sides rolled for initiative adding Lobster Johnson and Rasputin’s Mind statistic to their respective totals. As a result the heroes got the first turn and the villains immediately gained two plot points.
Turn One began with some last minute “Script Editing” which saw Molly Hayes and Travis immediately swap positions on the table; an unexpected occurrence which arguably placed both Co-Stars in jeopardy. Fortunately the mutant child was able to take full advantage of the exchange by using her star quality Beat Back to knock Rasputin over. Having then utilized her Special Effect Mighty Blow to gain +2 to her next attack, the super-strong girl seemed certain to be about to pulverize the one-time Nazi agent when he expended a plot point of his own to use his own Psychic special effect and change Molly’s successful roll of a six into a failing one… Surrounded by the Joker and the Grey Hulk, the diminutive Strongarm looked to be in real trouble until she pulled out a Jet Pack from under her cuddly animal hat and blasted 12” south away from the damnable rogues.

Back in the southwest corner things were not looking too good for Moon Knight either, as Travis had ‘materialized’ behind him, forcing the ‘caped crusader’ to turnaround in order to face his foe rather than simply charge the Space Commander and acquire a free attack in the process. As it was the Fist of Khonshu had to use his last action to assault the Jackbooted Sadist and found his Martial Arts wanting… at least until the vigilante’s Luck granted him a re-roll and caused Travis to take an early wound. Meanwhile Lobster Johnson moved east up to the broken robot objective and claimed the prize; gaining two plot points to his side in the process. Demonstrating he could be equally as productive, Doctor Who moved 6” northeast to the grave marker objective, collected it up and earnt the heroes two more plot points, meaning that Johnson’s group were already in the lead with two victory points.
Turn Two started with the makings of a "Blooper Reel". But as neither cast had any Extras, no-one was knocked down. Rasputin however was already on the floor on account of Princess Power’s earlier Beat Back, so was forced to spend an action picking himself up off the ground. The Sinister Mystic’s Leader(2) special effect did mean though, that the monk activated both The Joker and the Grey Hulk for free. In addition the Russian moved 6” southwest towards some boulders and the statue objective marker. Growling Bruce Banner’s alter-ego moved 8” south straight towards Molly Hayes. Whilst the Clown prince of Crime followed behind him before firing one of his jokerfish pistols at the girl… and wounding her as a result.

Meanwhile Travis confronted Moon Knight and tried to punch the costumed crime-fighter. Two failed swings later and things were not looking good for the Terran Federation officer. Fortunately though Servalan’s right-hand man had his cybernetic Laseron Destroyer (Pen Gun) fully charged, and managed to wound the Egyptian God’s agent with a one-shot blast from it. Angry at such a cowardly attack the Moon deity’s servant utilized his Fight Back special effect and took Travis out of the game with a second wound. Two more Victory Points for the good guys.
 Somewhat strangely Turn Three began with some "Set Dressing" as the large toxic pool was shifted 2” southwest in order to allow for some better camera work. However all eyes were upon Molly Hayes as the little girl charged the Grey Hulk and a battle of Spirit as well as body took place. Because the gamma-irradiated behemoth was a Marauding Monster, and therefore Fearsome, the young mutant needed to pass a Spirit test before she could attack him or halve her strike’s strength against the model until the end of the turn. Having initially balked at the huge creature Molly used her Luck to successfully pound away at the Grey Hulk. But found all her efforts were for naught. Realizing she needed to get away fast, Hayes Beat Back Bruce Banner’s alter-ego onto his backside and then used a Grappling Gun to whiz her 12” south to a pile of boulders.

Eager to give his Strongarm some covering fire, Lobster Johnson stood in the centre of the board and fired his (Two Shots) pistol at Rasputin. One bullet would have wounded his foe if not for the mad monk’s Psychic ability to turn the vigilante’s dice roll to a one. Sensing this fight might be won by brains rather than brawn, Doctor Who concentrated on Cobbling Together a Rocket Cigarette from the gadget pile and then moved north. Whilst Moon Knight sprinted east towards Molly’s side.
 Concerned at the dominating position Lobster Johnson held, the villains were delighted at the start of Turn Four as the Star momentarily found some of his future scenes on the "Cutting Room Floor". As a result the Flamboyant Spy would be unable to activate next turn. Although the heroes did gain a plot point for this inconvenience. Rasputin used this turn of events to his full advantage by moving west towards the somewhat ‘immobilized’ New York City vigilante and successfully Weakened him by casting his Disorienting Gaze upon him.

Laughing insanely the Joker fired one of his jokerfish pistols at the debilitated Johnson. But the Evil Mastermind found himself out of range so moved west to join Grigori. Bellowing ferociously the Grey Hulk stood up and lumbered west towards the statue objective marker.
The final turn of Act One provided some "Off Camera Action" as Moon Knight was permitted to take one action immediately. Taking advantage of the large toxic pool’s earlier repositioning, the Fist of Khonshu moved north near to the barrels objective. Ensuring the Clown Prince of Crime was well within the sights of his throwing crescent moons by taking an Aim action, the Action Hero scored a wound on the giggling ghoul. Then, hoping to press his advantage Marc Spector utilized his star quality to give himself a Burst Of Action and threw a second crescent moon at the Joker. Sadly this attack missed its mark.

To the far west Doctor Who, a Crackpot Inventor, continued his trek towards the ducklings objective marker, all the while Cobbling Together some (ultimately rather useless) Climbing Suckers. On the opposite side of the battlefield Molly Hayes sprinted round an outcrop of boulders in order to finish alongside the barrels objective marker.
 With the advertisements starting, and Act Two some minutes away, it currently looked like the heroes were well on top of the situation leading Rasputin’s depleted villainous super-group by four Victory Points to none… But during the second part of this episode the action would soon begin to heat up as the Countdown Phase mainly focus' upon attacking the opposing cast.

Friday, 5 February 2016

"The Creature Impassively Raised One Huge Foot Up And Stamped Down Hard Onto The Fisherman's Head..."

"The red mist that flooded the creature's vision dissipated, along with the murderous rage." 
This formidably large 28mm metal miniature of the “Guild Ball” Union centre back Fangtooth is made by “Steamforged Games Limited”. The model comes as a single cast and standing at 40mm in height is actually as wide as he is tall.

As the Ethraynnian’s main ‘kit colour’ was going to be red, I undercoated the entire bloated sculpt with “Vallejo” Heavy Red before picking out his numerous lengthy chains with “Citadel” Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. I then applied a coat of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone to the monster’s quite considerable areas of flesh and then washed them with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade.

Because one of the player's character traits is Foul Odor, a three inch aura which causes open-ground to be treated as rough-ground, I started to additionally apply a wash of Carroburg Crimson and Thrakka Green to Fangtooth's blubbery hide. But found the results rather disappointing when dry, so rather frustratingly ended up re-painting and washing the "impossibly huge bulk" "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone a second time.
"A mismatched bunch o'mercenaries, scum and criminals for the most part."
The beast's numerous plasters were painted using a combination of "Vallejo" White and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Whilst his wooden face mask was treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna. Finally this piece of head-wear was washed with some more Strong Tone Quickshade.

Having finished this "large expanse of pasty, blotchy pink flesh" I now finally have enough painted "Guild Ball" miniatures to field a Union Captain (Blackheart) along with a Team of two (Rage and Fangtooth). Such a small side is ideal for a few introductory games over a two foot square pitch. All I now need do is find them some opposition...

In addition to completing the human centre back, I have also been busily working on some more "North Star Military Figures" for "Frostgrave". Like Fangtooth, I have actually been pottering away on my warband's Barbarian since before the start of this year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. But the 'Cimmerian' is now almost finished as I simply have to wash and dry-brush his double-handed sword, and ink the warrior's thick bearskin cloak.
"Frostgrave" WIPs - The Ice Toad and Stone Construct will soon enter the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge
There is also little more to do on my model of an Ice Toad, for having recently finished washing him with "Vallejo" Pale Grey and picked out his pointed teeth with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, I now need only finish painting the boulder upon which the foul creature squats and dab some "Vallejo" White over his skin.

Lastly I have been dry-brushing and washing the fantasy wargame's rather uninspiringly diminutive model of a Stone Construct. Admittedly the miniature does require a 40mm circular base on account of it's girth. But I was rather hoping for "North Star Military Figures" to produce a model which towers over its opposition, rather than squats low upon its knuckles.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

"And You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry!"

"It's Princess... Powerful!"
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of Molly Hayes is miniature number 41 from the Marvel “Heroclix” Hammer Of Thor range. Despite being the daughter of two evil telepathic villains, the mutant child’s powers are superhuman strength and invulnerability. Indeed the young girl is already the fourth toughest female in the “Marvel Universe”, after Rogue, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel. Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Princess Power first appeared in July 2003 within the pages of Issue One of “Runaways”.

The figure originally had three ducklings on its ‘Clicky’ base which the adolescent had torn up some concrete to protect. However as I wanted to use the birds as a possible objective marker in my games, I re-based them upon the thin 40mm circular bases I use for such purposes. In addition I quickly painted the feathered fowls with a couple of coats of “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre and then washed them with “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade. Finally I dry-brushed the tiny creatures with some more “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre.
"You know, I get angry when someone makes my friends cry..."
I initially undercoated Molly with “Vallejo” White and then painted her jeans with a combination of Heavy Blue and “Citadel” Asurmen Blue. I next applied a layer of “Vallejo” Squid Pink to her T-shirt and cuddly animal hat. These areas were then given a wash of “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson, before I painted her flesh with “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone. Once I had applied some watered-down “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade to her skin, and picked out her facial features and fingers with a little more “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone, I finished the model by painting the large piece of concrete the powerhouse was using in order to defend the ducklings from any danger, with a combination of Heavy Bluegrey and “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
Barbarian WIP - Once the flesh has been washed and highlighted, there's just the bearskin and sword to finish
Having entered Molly and the Ducklings as my submission for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge Defensive Terrain Themed Bonus Round I have managed to spend some time progressing this awesome Conan-like "Frostgrave" Barbarian by "North Star Military Figures". I actually started painting this two-handed warrior a little while ago. But stopped painting the metal miniature after I became somewhat disillusioned with the quality of the range's multi-part hard plastic Frostgrave soldiers boxed set.

However as I am partaking in a "Frostgrave" Side-Challenge as part of this year's AHPC, I thought I'd nominate this month as "Frostgrave February" and try to paint up as many visitors and residents of the wintry ruins as I can. Sadly this heavily-cloaked mercenary isn't actually eligible for the event itself. But painting such a wonderfully charismatic sculpt has certainly reinvigorated my enthusiasm for some fantasy wargames in the frozen city.
Rasputin, The Joker, Travis & The Grey Hulk verses Lobster Johnson, Moon Knight, Molly Hayes & Doctor Who

Sunday, 31 January 2016

"I Am Dmitri Bukharin -- The New Crimson Dynamo!"

"The Crimson Dynamo knows Iron Man -- and you -- brought down so easily -- are no Iron Man."  
This 28mm pre-painted plastic "Wizkids" model of the Crimson Dynamo is miniature number 52 from the Marvel "Heroclix" Xplosion range. "Considered to be the definitive version of the character", Dmitri Bukharin was the fifth man to don the Soviet power armour and made his debut within the pages of Issue One Hundred and Nine of "Iron Man" in April 1978.

Having given the figure an undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Red, Tony Stark's nemesis was treated to a heavy wash of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson, before being dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Heavy Red. I then gave the Russian super-villain a glaze of "Citadel" Bloodletter.

"Star Wars" WIPs - IG-88 and Chewbacca should soon be finished
Such a simple paint-job has given me a little time to potter about on three of my favourite "Fantasy Flight" plastic miniatures for the company's "Star Wars" board game "Imperial Assault". I've only just started to apply an initial layer of "Vallejo" Bronze on the brown-coloured leg-armour worn by Dengar but have already encountered something of a dilemma. The sculpt of the heavily bandaged bounty hunter really does contain an incredible amount of detail, and although I've initially 'picked out' the thin metallic straps holding his outfit together, I may eventually need to compromise such delicate brushwork simply to retain my own sanity.

Both IG-88 and Chewbacca however are proving reasonably easy to progress and have been appropriately dry-brushed and washed with brown and black ink respectively. The assassin droid just needs some additional highlighting, as well as some straps and wires to be painted, before being finished. Whilst the Wookie now needs another couple of brown dry-brushes before I start work on his weapon, satchel and ammunition belt.
Cyclopean Alien WIPs - The shaggy hide of these 'pulp' extra-terrestrials will be green
One of my aspirations for this year is to try and paint all the wonderful miniatures people have generously gifted me in recent years. These six Cyclopean Aliens were a surprise present from Roger of "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" fame when we met at Salute 2015. Made by "Wargames Supply Dump", the metal multi-limbed creatures can be found within the manufacturer's Miscellaneous Miniatures range.

Friday, 29 January 2016

"Project OMAC Complete."

"The skies darken with the corrupted technology of his mentor."
These eight 28mm plastic “Wizkids” models of an OMAC are all miniature number 83 from the DC Comics “Heroclix” Collateral Damage range. These cyborgs were some of the many humans transformed by a virus into living machines in order to destroy all beings with superpowers. The OMACs were created by American comic book writer Greg Rucka, having been based upon a Jack Kirby character with the same name, and first appeared in “The OMAC Project” in June 2005.

To cover the miniatures' pre-painted colour scheme each figure was initially given an undercoat of “Vallejo” Gunmetal Blue before being washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil. The Cape-killer’s were then slowly dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Gunmetal Blue before their cyclopean eye was painted using a combination of Heavy Red and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson. Their chest eyes were simply ‘picked out’ with “Vallejo” White before also being washed with the “Citadel” shade Carroburg Crimson.
"Annihilation Protocol Status - Engaged..."
These figures are incredibly difficult to buy in the United Kingdom, so in order for me to create myself a sizeable gang of Brother Eye’s minions I ended up ordering these eight models from the American E-Store Troll And Toad...

In addition to these wonderfully sinister sculpts, and sticking with "Wizkids" miniatures, I am almost 'done' painting the “Heroclix” model of Molly Hayes which I hope to submit into the Defensive Terrain Themed Bonus Round of the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.
Molly Hayes WIP - Having completed the mutant child's clothing, I now need only paint the concrete block
Having based and painted a trio of passing ducklings from the figure's original 'clicky base' separately, and completed Princess Power's pink T-shirt, cuddly animal hat and flesh, I need only 'touch up' and wash the large piece of grey concrete she is holding above her head for my small 'vignette' to be finished. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

"In Space No One Can Hear You Scream."

"Bring back life form. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded."
This somewhat oversized 40mm pre-painted plastic "Wizkids" model of an Alien is from the "Horrorclix" AVP Alien Verses Predator: Aliens Collector's Set. Based upon the "highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature that stalks and kills the crew of a spaceship" in the 1979 science-fiction horror film "Alien" and designed by "Swiss surrealist artist" H.R. Giger, the success of this creature has "spawned a media franchise of novels, comic books, video games and toys."

Unsurprisingly, considering the simplicity of the monster's colour scheme, I initially gave it an undercoat of "Citadel" Abaddon Black and then simply dry-brushed it with "Vallejo" German Grey. The model was then washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil before I gave it a second, much lighter dry-brush of more "Vallejo" German Grey. Finally the Alien's mouth was painted using a combination of "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey and "Citadel" Nuln Oil, whilst its head's carapace was given a coat of Abaddon Black.
Alien WIPs - The central extraterrestrial is Grid, the Alien who killed Chopper and Celtic in "AVP"
Having finished this test piece, I have subsequently started painting several more of the Alien miniatures found within the 'Whoever Wins, We Lose' boxed set. These additional figures are a very much appreciated gift from the incredibly generous Bryan, who runs the highly popular "Vampifan's World Of The Undead" website.

Based upon the 2004 motion picture "Alien verses Predator" a few of the models actually come attached to some rather nice looking Aztec-influenced stone columns. These little vignettes are very dynamic but would look rather out of place upon some of the tabletops I want to use these lethal extraterrestrials with. So I somewhat regretfully separated the figures from their 'clicky bases'. However as I wanted to use the terrain as some objective markers, I then just re-based the ornately carved columns on to some thin 40mm circular bases.
Alien WIPs - The Alien Spawn Marker will require some careful dry-brushing once the alien is finished
I did though leave one of the miniatures attached to its column, as I felt the pose would look silly simply being stuck to a bare base, and also thought it would look rather good as an Alien Spawn Marker. As a result I only removed the overly large human upon whom the creature was about to launch. Initially I had hoped to super-glue the hapless explorer to a base of his own. But unfortunately the sculpt was noticeably bigger than even some of my 35mm miniatures and thus has simply been put to one side for now...

In the meantime I have managed to undercoat all the Alien models with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, and heavily apply a dry-brush of "Vallejo" German Grey to them.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2015 - WIP - Week Six

Molly Hayes WIP - The mutant child's pink top needs finishing before being shaded, as does her toy animal hat
With the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge now into its sixth week, I’ve spent a little time working on the “Heroclix” model of Molly Hayes, which I hope to submit into the event's Defensive Terrain Themed Bonus Round.

Having finished painting the little girl's white trainers and dark blue jeans I'm now slowly applying several layers of pink onto the mutant's top and cuddly animal hat. In addition I've started work on the huge piece of grey concrete the diminutive powerhouse is holding above her head in order to protect a trio of passing ducklings from any hazards.
"Imperial Assualt" WIPs - Chewbacca and IG-88 could leap ahead of the painting queue
Along with a trio of Rebel soldiers, I still have one more “Fantasy Flight” bucket-head to complete from the company's "Imperial Assault" Stormtroopers Villain Pack. But that hasn't stopped me basing and priming a wonderfully hairy sculpt of Chewbacca for the board game, as well as a model of the assassin droid IG-88.

As I've previously painted a "Wizard Of The Coast" version of the Wookie, and plenty of "Reaper Miniatures" Cyber-Reavers recently, I'm hopeful that these two figures shouldn't take too long to finish, especially the Holowan Laboratories robot.
Fangtooth WIP - Still lots to do on this bulky metal miniature
Finally I am still trying to paint my Union "Guild Ball" team, and have found some time to progress Fangtooth's flesh despite the miniature itself not actually being eligible for submission to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. This rather formidable-looking brute by "Streamforged Games Ltd" is covered in plasters and bumps, and as a result has proved rather time-consuming. Once all the foul-smelling player's flesh is finished I will still need to shade and highlight it, along with his chains...