Friday, 21 September 2018

"The Robot Wars" - Coming To Kickstarter Soon

"The Robot Wars"
I've previously posted about the exciting announcement that Russ Morrissey's “Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game” is coming to Kickstarter soon both here and on the "Dawn Of Comics" website. However, up until recently, I hadn't seen much about the W.O.I.N. (What’s Old Is New) engine-based rule-set's first supplement which firmly focuses upon the veteran street judge's experiences during "The Robot Wars". Fortunately "EN Publishing" have now kindly released some of its contents...

The below is the second article in my coverage and was originally published on the "Dawn of Comics" website...
"All across Mega-City One, the Robots are turning against their human masters."
Hot on the heels of their announcement that “The Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD” Tabletop Adventure Game will be up on “Kickstarter” on Tuesday 25th September 2018 at 5pm GMT, “EN Publishing” have now revealed a significant insight into one of their core rule-book’s adventure supplements, the 101-page sourcebook “The Robot Wars”. Based upon “the first extended storyline of the comics character Judge Dredd” which was originally published for the British anthology comic “2000 A.D.” in 1977, this incredibly exciting expansion will not only allow players to take on the role of the Judges during John Wagner’s tale of droids rising up against their human masters, but also allow them to act “as Civilians and Perps in Saving Matt Damon Block, as war rages across the embattled city.”
"Chaos reigns as the charismatic Robot leader, Call-Me-Kenneth, rallies the city's Robots to his side..."
The hefty tome’s attention to detail is truly breath-taking due to its inclusion of “expanded rules for Robot characters”, from affordable animal pet robots through to expert assassination models, and an in-depth discussion of the robot's role in society; which delves into both the changing of their original programming, as well as their power being harnessed by criminals “for a variety of tasks”. In addition, before handing over the situation to the player characters, Andrew Peregrine’s work provides its readers with “a quick rundown” of what happened to Dredd in each episode’s original storyline and how he dealt with the challenge, plus exciting “summaries of Dredd's earliest case files”.
"Play as Judges... or as Civilians and Perps in Saving Matt Damon Block, as war rages across the embattled city."
Arguably this essential addition to the Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD roleplaying game’s biggest highlight however, is in its coverage of the future lawman’s mechanical manservant Walter the Wobot and “the charismatic Robot leader, Call-Me-Kenneth”. All of the statistics for both the “small sentient mechanoid” and murderous “carpentry robot” are supplied within this sourcebook, including a comprehensive look at just how their various machine-driven appendages and skills, such as Walter’s extendable limbs and annoying lisp, can impact gameplay. Indeed, fans of the “new Messiah for robot-kind” should be particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity of not only being able to utilise the entire array of Call-Me-Kenneth’s integrated power tools whilst perhaps leading an attack on the Grand Hall of Justice, but also portray the automaton on the tabletop in his resurrected form sharing a sense-shattering showdown with old Stoney Face atop a huge flying oil tanker…"

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

"Colours" Loot 2018

"Wizkids" Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. alongside the likes of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man
This past Saturday I was lucky enough to make the trip to Newbury Racecourse and attend the annual Newbury & Reading Wargames Club’s show “Colours”. To be honest I haven’t been that impressed with this event since it was reduced in length to a single day a few years ago, but having come away with a motley collection of models and scenery pieces, including the obligatory ‘I never would have expected to buy that’ goody bag, I feel this was probably the best one I’ve experienced for some considerable time.

In addition, there seemed to be far more games being played on the two upper stories that I was interested in perusing than I can recall too, with an “Infinity” tournament proving to be particularly eye-catching, if not off-putting, with all the numerous colourful tokens being required in order to record each (predominantly unpainted) figure’s status. Sadly, for those anticipating a review of these wonderfully-adorned tabletops I won’t be providing any coverage here. However, one of the highlights of the day was briefly meeting up with fellow blogger Tamsin Piper, and she has done a first-rate job of detailing seemingly every battlefield present at the show on her excellent website “Wargaming Girl”.
"Doctor Who" WIPs - Romana, the Fourth Doctor & K-9, and Harry Sullivan 
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who pays even a passing attention to my wargaming habits to know that I’m a big fan of ‘Wizkids” and their pre-painted “Heroclix” range. These plastic ‘clicky’ super-heroes and dastardly villains have been about for many years and I’ve re-painted more than my fair share of them to use with such notable systems as “7TV” and “Mutants And Death Ray Guns”. Resultantly, when I stumbled upon a stall containing a shoe box of some of the New Jersey-based manufacturer’s earliest figures for ‘50p a pop’ I had a darn good rummage and picked up both the entire Fantastic Four, as well as my favourite “DC Comics” Silver Age comic book character, the Blue Beetle.

Now admittedly I already own these miniatures and have actually re-painted the vast majority too. But recently I’ve found myself yearning to play a few games of “Heroclix” using the system’s somewhat simple 2002 “Clobberin’ Time” rules, and Reed Richard’s quartet would allow me to do that rather nicely. In addition, I was later lucky enough to ‘pick up’ the ‘out of production’ “Hellboy And The B.P.R.D.” Action Pack from the show’s Bring & Buy area; a boxed set I’ve previously only partly-collected and re-painted as individual models.
"Epic" Khorne Army - Just the smallest of smatterings, as the plastic container was crammed full of tiny figures 
Equally as popular a genre with me as super-heroes is currently “Doctor Who”, so there was no way I was going to resist grabbing a set of the Fourth Doctor And Companions from “Warlord Games”. Featuring “medical officer” Harry Sullivan, “the noble savage” Leela, both incarnations of Romanadvoratrelundar and K-9, as well as Tom Baker’s instantly recognisable scarf-wearing time traveller, I’ve already popped all the models onto bases and given them a quick undercoat.

Perhaps somewhat bizarrely, I also succumbed to temptation at “Lesley’s Bits Box” by purchasing a plastic container full of “Epic” scale Khorne miniatures by “Games Workshop” for a tenner. It’s recently occurred to me that I’ve been firmly focusing upon 28mm sized figures for a considerably long time, much to the detriment of all the other scales I’ve collected, so thought a momentary future flurry with 6mm science fiction might make a pleasant change of pace.
"Blotz" Sci-Fi Style Wall Sections WIPs - The MDF pieces come in numerous pieces to add to their detail
Lastly, and by far my most enthusiastic ‘grab’, was from the excellent people at “Blotz”. I’ve been considering going all in for some “Necromunda” scenery ever since I latched on to the idea of blending it with Frank Herbert’s “Dune” universe and painting some Goliaths up as if they were from House Harkonnen. Many of the gangs arguably lend themselves to such an idea with the Escher (Bene Geserets), Delaque (Guild) and Van Saar (Fremen), as well as the Cadian Astra Militarum (Atreides), all appearing reasonably similar in looks to their ‘silver screen’ counterparts.

Impressively, the marvellous “selection of 28mm scale sci-fi style wall sections” “Blotz” produce in MDF was the final piece to my jigsaw, and should quite quickly help me progress a campaign set upon a nice three-dimensional Arrakis spice refinery using the “Necromunda” floor plans as a base. Somewhat foolishly, I only picked up a few of their pillars and walls at “Colours”, but have since ordered more along with some of their “terrain suitable for use with 6mm games such as Epic…”

Monday, 17 September 2018

"Others Are Outcast Humans Swollen Beyond Recognition By Chaos..."

"...Into barbaric mountains of flesh and sinew."
"Bienvenue Blood Bowl buffs, and welcome to another broadcast of Monday Night Football. I'm your host Jim Maddenberg, and along with pundit Thom Grassyglade I'll be bringing you all the hot news, gossip and chaotic mutations currently erupting from out of the league. First up, is Harry the Idolator's recent announcement that the Doom Lords have purchased their second Chosen Blocker, Dave The Merciless. Thom, what do we know about this latest addition to a club who reportedly have the best cheerleading squad in the NAF?"

"Well for starters, Jim, this 28mm scale mass of muscle was super-glued together using hard-plastic pieces taken from inside The Doom Lords boxed set, and primed using "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone. The rookie then had his heavy boots, belt and straps 'picked out' using a combination of Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, whilst his leg armour, helmet and left shoulder-pad were pigmented with some "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson."
Chosen Blocker & Beastmen Runner WIPs - The models are slowly having their fine detail 'picked out'
"Dave's groin guard and wrist armour were treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and later painted in Brass before being shaded with (more) Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter". The player's gloves and right shoulder-pad were treated to a coat of "Vallejo" Black, and his helmet blade, along with a few metal clips, were all given a lick of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and a wash of Nuln Oil. Lastly, this mightily merciless warrior had his fingers, arms, legs, chest and throat painted with "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone, and then shaded with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade."

"Wow! If that doesn't terrify the opposition then I don't know what will, Thom. 100,000 gold pieces clearly well spent, and this Chosen Blocker isn't the only defensive line news coming out of The Overfiend of the Lead Citadel's club either. As I understand the team are expecting at least one more similarly-sized player to join their roster real soon, along with a few Beastman Runners for good measure?"
Nurgle Rotters WIP - The Bloater has been assembled, based and primed
"You're spot on, Jim, and such rumours are bound to be in response to the news of Papa Nurgle's favourites apparently taking to the pitch in the near future. Details are admittedly rather sketchy as anyone getting too close to the Nurgle Rotters' stadium have all died of the plague, but it looks certain that Grandfather is at least readying a fat-bellied Bloater for his team." 

"Ugh, that pile of puss makes you feel like you're going to break out in boils just by looking at him. What a disgusting sight he'll make on the pitch with his gangrenous entrails spilling out over any opposing player foolish enough to come between him and the ball... And with that charming thought, we'll be leaving you until next time when we'll doubtless be having an even closer look at the rancid mutations the Dark Gods can offer the truly ambitious Blood Bowl player."

Friday, 14 September 2018

"The Necromancer's Lips Moved Without Sound..."

"...As he caressed the intricate runes and magical symbols carved into the door."
This 28mm scale Skeleton Warrior is one of the "twenty six detailed and fully assembled miniatures in coloured plastic" found inside the "Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King`s Quest" boxed game by "Mantic Games". One of two identically sculpted figures found within the starter set, the scythe-welding soldier forms part of the Necromancer's initial welcome for Rordin and Orlaf, as the Dwarf and Barbarian heroes undertake their first "introductory" adventure "Journey From The West".

Primed with two coats of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, the Undead creature was shaded using "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and subsequently dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo Iraqi Sand. I then pigmented his farming tool's curved blade with a combination of "Citadel " Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, and later dry-brushed that with (more) Ironbreaker in order to give it's curved edge something of a lethal-looking glint.
"Dungeon Saga" WIPs - A nearly finished Skelton Warrior, Ghost and Elshara
The scythe's shaft was picked out using some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter". Finally, I dotted the skull's deep-set sockets with a dab of "Vallejo" Black and then tidied up around their edges with a little line of Iraqi Sand.

Considering the impressive quality of the "Mantic Games" Skeleton Regiment I own for "Kings Of War", alongside the 28mm hard plastic skeletons I've previously built and painted using pieces taken from the Frostgrave Cultists boxed set by "North Star Military Figures", I've found these "Dungeon Saga" skellies to personally be rather flimsy and underwhelming. Something which has greatly disappointed me considering that one of the main reasons I initially pledged on the game's kickstarter was because of the Nottingham-based company's suggestion the game's figures could be used with their large-scale tabletop fantasty wargame.
Intercessor Space Marine WIP - The Adeptus Astartes has been assembled and primed
In contrast to "Mantic Games" "fantasy adventure for up to five players", I have also built and primed the "free" space marine which comes as part of the "Games Workshop" "Getting Started With Warhammer 40,000" soft-backed book. I actually picked the surprisingly hefty yet cheap tome up during a recent visit to the manufacturer's Portsmouth store and rather enjoyed assembling the 'push-fit' six piece plastic model together.

With my enthusiasm for "Kill Team" currently riding rather high, I'm keen to see just how well this 'larger' Adeptus Astartes model turns out, as it may well be the start of an appropriately-sized Intercessor squad. In addition, as my "Age Of Sigmar" Chaos Host readily transfers over to "Warhammer 40,000", I wouldn't be opposed to building a few hundred points worth of Ultramarines to give the rule-sets latest edition a try-out or two...

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

"But You Don't Understand! It's The Draconians."

"They've got the Doctor!"
This 39mm-tall "pewter" figure of a Draconian Bodyguard is produced by “Warlord Games” and can be bought as part of their "Draconians" boxed set. Based upon the "extraterrestrial race from the planet Draconia", this "tall, reptilian species" made their first appearance in Malcolm Hulke's February 1973 BBC television story "Frontier In Space" and were cited by Jon Pertwee as being "his favourite of all the monsters he had encountered during his time as the Third Doctor."

Originally primed using two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Green, the articulate alien's limbs and head were painted using Heavy Brown and a wash of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The warrior's robes were then shaded with "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green and delicately dry-brushed using (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Green".
Hong Kong Killer Robots WIPs - The automatons have been primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Blue
The Draconian's rather lavishly embroidered Feudal Japanese shoulder pads and golden flowing sashes were simply pigmented using a base of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and subsequently treated to a coat of Brass before being shaded with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. I later carefully drew some additional "Vallejo" Brass over the costume's ridges in order to highlight all the intricate patterns woven onto the material. As a final touch I tidied up some of the adjoining "Vallejo" Heavy Green areas with a thin line of watered-down Black and 'picked out' the soldier's hand-weapon with "Citadel" Ironbreaker and a dash of Nuln Oil. 

Alongside working on my Draconian faction for "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" I have built the last of my Hong Kong Killer Fembots by "Statuesque Miniatures". Originally, apart from an alternative blue uniform, these automatons were going to all look similar to the other faceless androids I've previously painted for my "Ghost In The Shell"/"Terminator" mash-up. But that was before I inadvertently drilled straight through the neck of one of the figures down into my finger. Fortunately flesh heals, however mutilated metal doesn't and my painful mishap left me with one Fembot having a deep gouge running the length of her back.
"Dungeon Saga" WIPs - Straightforward stuff on Elshara, a Ghost and a Skeleton Warrior
To be honest I was tempted to simply bin the broken piece or lay it face-up on an objective base so as to use as a casualty marker of some kind. But a thought then occurred to me that "Statuesque Miniatures" didn't actually produce an obvious rival to their Mei-Lin Mayfair 2.0 model, so I started to think about converting/covering up my damaged bot. A quick rummage through my "Games Workshop" "Warhammer 40K" bitz box, alongside a few cuts with a sharp modelling knife, and my 'kitbash' was complete; including a rather nice spare head which came with the original figure.

With this month also being Dungeon Saga'Tember I have been busy priming and base-layering a few of my Overlord's denizens ready to try out the opening adventure for "Mantic Games" "Dungeon Saga" in a few weeks time. Admittedly, I've gone slightly off-track by incorporating a couple of Ghosts and Elshara the Banshee into the mix, but these plastic models will actually prove useful test pieces for a potential future Nighthaunt host I have in mind for "Age Of Sigmar" by "Games Workshop"...

Sunday, 9 September 2018

“Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game” - Coming To Kickstarter Soon

"Judge Dredd & The Worlds Of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game"
It's not every day that I am able to combine work with my one of my main hobby interests, so I recently took full advantage of Russ Morrissey's invitation to send me one of his company's press kits in order to help promote the “Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game” on both the "Dawn Of Comics" and "Sci-Fi Movie Page" websites. I have admittedly only recently come into contact with the game's W.O.I.N. (What’s Old Is New) engine, courtesy of Mike Myler's "N.O.W. The Modern Action Role Playing Game" and Morrus' “The Moons Of Boria”, but the additional promise from "EN Publishing" to be sent some sneak peek page scans of their upcoming hardback was too good an opportunity to miss and I have already gained the approval of my editors to start waxing lyrical as to the virtues of this new worldwide licensed game.

The below is the first article in my coverage and was originally published on the "Dawn of Comics" website...
Dusting down my miniatures ready for some new tabletop adventures
Wargaming devotees of either the weekly British science fiction anthology publication “2000 A.D.” or its most successful serial “Judge Dredd”, will have much to look forward to on Tuesday September 25th 2018 at 5pm GMT, for that is when “EN Publishing” will be bringing all the tabletop gaming potential behind Mega-City One’s toughest lawman to “Kickstarter” in the form of their marvellously exciting “Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game”. Featuring “a full colour hardcover book which contains the core ‘Worlds of 2000 AD’ rules as well as setting information enabling the players to… play Judges… civilians and perps in Mega City One”, this first release also brings with it all the highly-positive consumer confidence one might expect from a product which has been co-written by Russ Morrissey and additionally utilises the publisher’s well-established W.O.I.N. (What’s Old Is New) engine.
"Dawn Of Comics"
In fact, those familiar with either Morrus’ marvellous manual “N.E.W. – The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game”, or the “EN Publishing” owner’s enthrallingly detailed “visit [to] the Borian Homeworld” in the supplement “The Moons Of Boria”, will doubtless take great heart from the fact that this “incredibly flexible” system will be used to “cater seamlessly for the Celtic environs of Slaine” as well as the scrotnig “spacefaring hijinks of the Ace Trucking Co.”, and should certainly be exhilarated by the seemingly endless stream of sense-shattering sneak peek pages being presently ‘leaked’ to all the dice-throwing disciples of Tharg the Mighty.
The Front of the Game Master's Screen
Equally as encouraging are Nick Robinson’s plans for “a series of books starting with the Robot Wars”, which the Line Developer states “will not only allow players and GMs to play through the events that took place in the comic arc, but also add to the game setting with additional rules or source material relevant to the period or location.” This minute attention to detail is already one of the “N.E.W.” game engine’s most attractive and rewarding features, so the suggestion that “Robot characters will be expanded in The Robot Wars whilst in Luna-1” should see ‘squaxx dek Thargos’ being provided with engrossing “detailed information on the moon colony and life there.”
"2000 AD has forty years of rich history and storytelling..."
Continuing along such heartening tracks “EN Publishing” are additionally promising to support “Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD” by means of “a series of adventure
Source books giving players and Game Masters the opportunity to play through the story
arcs that made Judge Dredd such an enduring character.” The opportunity to potentially partake in such chronological classics as Pat Mills’ “The Cursed Earth” or John Wagner’s “The Day The Law Died” will surely protect this planet from any unwanted thrill deprivation, and that’s not even taking into account the plethora of plots featuring the “ABC Warriors”, “Indigo Prime”, “Nikolai Dante” and “Rogue Trooper” which may well yet come. Zarjaz news indeed, Earthlets…

Friday, 7 September 2018

"Wizkids" Battle Report: The Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Verses Dire Wraiths - Part Two

THE HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. CONTINUE TO BATTLE THE DIRE WRAITHS
"The story so far… Having received intelligence that a band of Dire Wraiths are weaving a spell which will resurrect the formidable Hybrid, the Howling Commandos have been dispatched to an abandoned village in the Sahara desert, Tunisia. However, upon their arrival Warwolf's team realise they have very little time with which to stop the extra-terrestrial Queen's dark arts and resultantly have immediately launched an assault upon the shape-changing aliens' location..."
THE TABLETOP -  A GHOST VILLAGE IN THE SAHARA DESERT

With the green-hued Dire Wraith matriarch in her sights, Vampire By Night hot-footed her way east into the settlement believing her ability to regenerate any wounds would ensure her survival until she at least reached her intended target [Regenerate: At the start of its turn, a model may roll a D6 for each missing Mass point. Upon the roll of a 6, a single Mass point is returned to the model].

Nearby, Manphibian fired at the northernmost alien and despite the evolutionary offshoot of a Skrull taking on the appearance of an innocent villager so as to 'throw off' the Howling Commandos' aim, the Dire Wraith was struck by a bullet and injured. Determined to put an end to his red-skinned foe, Manphibian utilised Warwolf's Command ability [Command: A friendly unit that is within 12" may re-roll a single dice roll once per turn] and trained his firearm at the snarling, vaguely humanoid-looking creature from the Andromeda Galaxy. The monster fell dead under a hail of bullets.
VAMPIRE BY NIGHT LEADS THE CHARGE AGAINST THE DIRE WRAITH QUEEN
Sensing the close proximity of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s super-powered agents, the Dire Wraith Queen weaved her sorcerous arts and generated a staggering 6 points of Dark Magic. It would not be long before the Hybrid was returned to her coven. In the meantime, one of the monarch's sisters by the settlement's western wall charged into Vampire By Night, causing the blood-drinker one wound [Attack: 2 + 2 dice for the Charge].

To the south, the Dire Wraith watching the large palm trees sent a magical blast hurtling towards the Man-Thing and due to the fiery attack's supernatural origin it caused Ted Sallis' alter-ego some noticeable discomfort as it scorched his vegetable matter. Disconcertingly however, the Howling Commandos' mission was about to become even more difficult as Warwolf was twice struck by more missiles summoned from within the Dark Nebula and fell unconscious to the sand...
THE DIRE WRAITHS AMBUSH NINA PRICE WHILST THEIR QUEEN PERFORMS HER DARK ARTS
Encouraged by James Marks' manifestation being close at hand, the Dire Wraith Queen used her arcane spells to produce two additional points of magic. The alien was now just three points away from success, and her human opponents were leaderless. With a haunting shriek she directed one of her fellow witches, who was just north of the tower, to charge into Vampire By Night. Already locked in close combat with one Dire Wraith, Nina Price was unable to fend off this second onslaught and sadly fell before the extra-terrestrial's numerous blows.

The defeat of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s vampire/werewolf hybrid left the shape-shifter who had originally been fighting her free to unleash a sorcerous blast upon Man-Thing. The Howling Commando was partially protected by a small rocky outcrop [Cover: -1 to hit], but still caught the best part of the magical attack. The Dire Wraith south of Theodore also fired at him, and the former Legion of Monsters member shook in pain. Having been wounded thrice the "large, slow-moving, empathic, humanoid swamp monster" was literally on his last legs.
MANPHIBIAN SLOWLY CLOSES IN UPON THE DIRE WRAITHS' STRONGHOLD 
Bravely however, Man-Thing was still determined to stop the Dire Wraith Queen in her unholy ritual, and ploughed into the Dire Wraith who had vanquished Vampire By Night, partially crippling the alien [Mass: 2]. Elsewhere Manphibian moved northeast to the northern edge of the settlement's wall.

For a moment time seemed to stand still as the Dire Wraith's monarch weaved her spells for a fifth time. But the matriarch only managed to generate two points of magic meaning the Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. had one move chance to stop her foul machinations. Unfortunately for Nick Fury's special agents though, the Queen's sisters took the opportunity to 'swamp' Man-Thing, and brought Ted Sallis' vegetable matter-made form down under a flurry of blows.
THE DIRE WRAITH QUEEN SUCCESSFULLY SUMMONS THE HYBRID
Alone, with no hope of reaching his mission's target before she uttered the final incantation necessary to bring about the resurrection of the Hybrid, Manphibian decided that a tactical retreat was probably the better part of valour. The super-strong gill-man had gained some valuable intelligence on the Dire Wraith menace, and would return for revenge...

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

"These Terrible Creatures Are Half-Beast And Half-Man..."

"...The twisted descendants of people and animals, who have been mutated by the power of the Chaos gods..."
"Salutations fellow sports fans. This is Jim Maddenberg, and congratulations on tuning in to this Mid-Week Football special. With the season's opening match getting ever closer, let's see what news Thom Grassyglade has heard coming from out of the dressing room of the Doom Lords... Thom?

"Thank you, Jim. Well just a few hours ago, club head coach Harry the Idolator announced he had signed his team's first Beastman Runner, Darkhide Doubledown. Well known for his skill with his horns, the 28mm miniature by "Games Workshop" was assembled using some of the hard-plastic pieces found inside The Doom Lords boxed set and undercoated with a couple of layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Brown."
Chosen Blocker WIPs - The models are slowly having all their details 'picked out'
"The Cloven One's fur was painted using "Vallejo" Charred Brown, whilst his leather belt and straps were 'picked out' using Heavy Sienna. All of these areas, alongside the mutant humanoid's flesh, were then generously washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The Beastman's knee-pad, elbow-pad and head plate were pigmented via a double-coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and subsequent shade of "Citadel" Nuln Oil."

"I understand that owner, The Overfiend of the Lead Citadel, also insisted the Child of Chaos had his torn pants, fingerless gloves and right shoulder-pad painted "Vallejo" Black, Thom? And the Runner's left forearm armour treated to a combination of "Vallejo" Brass and (more) Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter"..."
Beastmen Runner WIPs - The models are being painted using a variety of browns for their belts, fur and straps
"That's right, Jim. The Doom Lord's mysterious benefactor was very keen to ensure the Red and Black will be wearing a unified colour scheme when on the pitch. But don't forget this player's horned head was given a lick of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, followed by a significant splash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil."

"That's great, Thom, and I'm sure those viewers who remember this team's victory in the 2487 Orcidas Cup will be delighted to know that Harry looks set to announce the arrival of three more Beastmen, as well as an additional pair of Chaos Chosen Blockers over the next few weeks. Plenty to look forward to there then in our next programme, so until then, don't forget to get some Shaman's cream for that itchy arm unless you want to be blessed with a huge crab-like claw..."

Monday, 3 September 2018

(Lead) Mountain Musings - Dungeon Saga'Tember 2018

"Dungeon Saga" WIPs - Early days for a pair of Skeleton Warriors and Rordin the Dwarf
This month's randomly themed attempt to try and reduce my overwhelming collection of metal, plastic and resin miniatures has been rather waylaid by Dick Garrison's recent announcement, over on his brilliant blog "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table", that he'll be spending the next few weeks hosting a "Dungeon Saga" Challenge where fellow wargamers should try "to complete as many of the figures from the board game... as possible." Having rather embarrassingly owned "the classic dungeon crawler of swords and sorcery" since its successful "Kickstarter" in October 2015, yet never even taken it out of its cellophane wrapping, I thought now might be the time to give the rule-set a go, whilst simultaneously applying a lick of paint to some of its models.

As a result I've decided to firmly focus my attention upon all six of the figures required to play the game's opening adventure "Journey From The West", and see how far that takes me. Only Orlaf the Barbarian and Rordin the Dwarf are used in this particular adventure, plus four Skeleton Warriors, so I have added the large double doorway which stands between the heroes and their prize into the mix as well.
Hong Kong Killer Robots WIPs - The automatons have been primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Green
Initially preparing the miniatures for painting seemed refreshingly easy, as all of the models already come attached to their slab-stone square bases in the box. But having scrutinised my ensemble it quickly became clear that a few of the plastic skeletons required both a little straightening and better fixing to their bases. I therefore spent a little time re-positioning some of the Undead on their stands and gluing a small smattering of grit around these new joins.

Ordinarily this would make for some odd-looking dungeon denizens but as I plan to paint the bases in the same brown-tan palette I use for the vast majority of my figures, I wasn't too bothered. In addition, "Mantic Games" also produce the "mass combat fantasy" game "Kings Of War" too, and repeatedly suggest that miniatures from both rule-sets are potentially compatible with one another.
Beastmen Runner & Chosen Blocker WIPs - The models are almost finished
Despite this potentially sizeable project ahead, I have continued building more Hong Kong Killer Fembots by "Statuesque Miniatures" for my "Ghost In The Shell"/"Terminator" mash-up. However, rather than simply paint them all using one overall colour-scheme, I have decided to go with a green-gold palette for these three particular automatons; potentially indicating they have different skills or role from their robotic kin.

Finally, I am hoping to 'broadcast' a few more editions of my "Blood Bowl" blog posts "Monday Night Football". Despite some significant hobby-time spent on my Doom Lords team, I've still got eleven more players to finish, so I'm planning on giving this Chaos Chosen club some much-needed attention over the next few weeks as well, and get them 'match-fit' in time for their season opener at the start of October 2018...

Friday, 31 August 2018

"My Name Is Major Mira Killian..."

"...And I Give My Consent."
This approximately 32mm tall "finely detailed" metal model of Mei-Lin Mayfair 2.0 is sold by “Statuesque Miniatures” and can be purchased as Code SM020 from the Lochgilphead-based manufacturer's Sci-Fi range. "Following the disastrous Kowloon Incident, Hong Kong Security Operative Mei-Lin Mayfair's consciousness was downloaded into a high-tech gynoid body."

"Only during a routine check of her coding was it discovered she was a double agent. Mei-Lin managed to evade the shut-down and reset protocols initiated on her discovery and escaped with a small number of slaved gynoid drones. She continues to thwart the plans of her former masters, though she knows she is hunted mercilessly by multiple versions of her own self, each now utterly loyal to the ESU cause."
Hong Kong Killer Robots WIPs - The automatons have been primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Red
After assembling the four-part figure (including its choice from two heads), I initially primed the Renegade Gynoid Operative using two layers of "Vallejo" Dead White, and shaded her using Pale Grey. The miniature was then dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Dead White and had her two firearms 'picked out' using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.

As I planned on using Mayfair as a proxy for the main protagonist in Masamune Shirow's "Ghost in the Shell" anime and manga series, Major Motoko Kusanagi, I applied a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Violet to her hair and washed it with "Citadel" Druchii Violet. Later I delicately dry-brushed this area with more "Vallejo" Heavy Violet and used both Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade on her face.
Khorgus Khul & Grizzlemaw WIPs - The Chaos Warlord and Flesh Hound are slowly being progressed
In addition to Mei-Lin I have also 'built' three of the range's Hong Kong Killer Fembots as well. I've actually purchased nine of these "multi-part metal figures" as they "feature interchangeable arms and heads" so should make 'good' terminator-type robots for my planned "Ghost In The Shell"/"Terminator" mash-up. However, rather than simply paint them up as somewhat plain metallic automatons, I wanted to try and incorporate some of the palette choices employed by the Geisha androids seen during Rupert Sanders' somewhat controversial 2017 movie adaption, and resultantly have applied some "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade as a base.

Speaking of "Vallejo" Heavy Red, I have managed to find a little time to start pigmenting the blood-coloured armour of my "Games Workshop" Khorgus Khul, as well as primed the Chaos Warlord's Flesh Hound of Khorne, Grizzlemaw. Having previously finished all five members of the "Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire" warband, Garrek's Reavers, I plan to stick to a similar scheme for this highly-detailed plastic miniature, and hope to get the unique leader finished and on the tabletop soon(ish)...

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

"Stix Wins. You Die."

"Bang Bang."
These two 30mm tall metal figures of two Stix Brothers are produced by “Warlord Games” and can be purchased as part of a boxed three-model expansion set for the Nottingham-based manufacturer's "Strontium Dog" Miniatures Game. Ruthless Bounty Hunters "that will kill anyone for money", the clone Search/Destroy Agents were created by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and artist Carlos Ezquerra in October 1980 for the British anthology comic book "2000 A.D."

Originally undercoated using a double layer of "Vallejo" Dark Sand, the strontium-90 mutated siblings were washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and subsequently dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Dark Sand. Their Search/Destroy agent badges were 'picked out' using a combination of Dark Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson, whilst the stone-cold killers' numerous straps and broad-brimmed hats were treated to a coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna before being shaded with (more) Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter".
Mei-Lin Mayfair 2.0 WIPs - The mini should make a good proxy for Major Motoko Kusanagi
In addition I painted the "unprincipled, untrustworthy and utterly ruthless" villains' hair with "Vallejo" White and "Citadel" Nuln Oil, as well as pigmented their skin using some "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. As I had previously left their brother's eyes "Vallejo" Black, given he was wearing a spaghetti western styled cowboy hat, I decided against 'spotting in' this pair's eyes too and instead simply highlighted around their cheekbones and nose with a dollop of "Vallejo" Skintone.

Having finished off some of Johnny Alpha's most famous antagonists I have made some more in-roads into my 'spur-of-the-moment' project inspired by "Ghost In The Shell" and utilising several models by "Statuesque Miniatures". One of this company's figures, Mei-Lin Mayfair 2.0, has particularly caught my imagination as a proxy for Major Motoko Kusanagi, and resultantly I have primed, shaded, dry-brushed and even started detailing the sculpt ready for the tabletop.
Khorgus Khul WIP - The Mighty Lord of Chaos has been assembled, based and primed
Stepping away from metal miniatures and instead turning to the hard-plastic of "Games Workshop" I have also started working on the General for my "Age Of Sigmar" Khorne Army, Khorgus Khul. This "Mighty Lord of Chaos" was actually rather straightforward to assemble as he only came in six pieces, but will clearly prove something of a challenge to paint considering all the warrior's incredible detail and 'hard to reach' areas.

Currently I only own 270 points of painted Khorne models to field on the table, so considering that bloodthirsty murderer costs a whopping 180 points in "The General's Handbook 2018", he should help me near my force's half-way point reasonably quickly; albeit the figure also comes with his formidable Flesh Hound of Khorne, Grizzlemaw on his unit's base too. Fortunately, repeated listenings of the audio novel "Realmgate Wars, Book 1 - The Gates of Azyr" by Chris Wraight is keeping me well-motivated as Khul features prominently throughout and is superbly voiced by Jonathan Keeble...

Monday, 27 August 2018

Nurgle Is A Perversely Paternal God..."

"...Generous with his foul gifts and proud of his worshippers' every disgusting achievement."
These two tiny 28mm scale Nurglings are by "Games Workshop" and can be found inside the company's Plaguebearers of Nurgle boxed set for "Age Of Sigmar". Ordinarily, these little solitary chaps don't actually serve any purpose as part of the tabletop wargame, except as simple scenic adornments upon the bases of my other Nurgle units. However, I've previously felt that they'd make 'cute' thematic damage markers for some of my Plague Lord Host's larger creatures, such as my Putrid Blightkings or Rotbringer's Sorcerer, so resultantly decided to paint-up another pair in order to (once again) re-familiarise myself with the palette I employ when usually pigmenting my Maggotkin of Nurgle.

Initially given a double undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki, the lesser daemons were washed with “Citadel” Biel-Tan Green and dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki. I then ‘picked out’ any spilling guts or innards with a combination of Squid Pink and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. In addition, I applied some "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to the pair's horns, and some "Vallejo" Dead White and Heavy Red to their teeth and eyes respectively. I also applied a little Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter" to their bodies in order to create a little extra shadow and blended this in with a superficial dry-brush of (even more) “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki.
The Stix Brothers WIPs - The "ice-hearted killers" are almost ready for their shades to be applied
The release of the new edition of "Warhammer Age of Sigmar" has really captured my imagination, to the point where I'm now planning on participating in the official Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Doubles Tournament at Warhammer World towards the end of next year. This "classic event" will be an entirely new experience for me, as I've never played Matched Play or Pitched Battles before, but have been somewhat pleased to discover that in line with the new point costs found within the General's Handbook 2018, I already have more than enough painted Nurgle units to field the required 1000 point force, including my favourite spell the Balewind Vortex.

However, what I do lack is an understanding of the new rules, especially the changes to Summoning, the Magic System, and Command Abilities, so expect plenty of future battle reports, after action write-ups and of course extra models for both my ever-expanding Nurgle Host and its numerous enemies, like Khorne. I'm also hoping to assemble and 'field' a few other Vanguard-sized armies over the next twelve months which are currently still cellophaned up and gathering dust upon my shelves, such as the Stormcast, Death, Beastmen, Sea Aelves and Kharadron Overlords...
Resistance Fighters WIPs - The Soviet-influenced models have been assembled, based and primed
Of course, that doesn't mean I haven't been working on this month's mini-project to paint the three models found within the "Warlord Games" Stix Brothers expansion box for their "Strontium Dog" skirmish game. Despite their rather uninspiring static poses, my two remaining cloned Search/Destroy agents are almost ready for shading and highlighting. A good job too, as the Nottingham-based manufacturer has just released even more figures of the "2000 A.D." comic book-based body hunters, including my favourite "unsavoury aliens" Darkus and his Howler henchmen.

Lastly, I have discovered some wonderfully characterful Resistance Fighters by "Statuesque Miniatures". I'm planning on using the heavily-armed ladies for a 'Ghost In The Shell/Terminator' mash-up of some kind, and strongly influenced by the Soviet's uniforms during World War Two, I have already started applying a few base coats to the first four of my soldiers.

Friday, 24 August 2018

"Wizkids" Battle Report: The Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Verses Dire Wraiths

THE HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. BATTLE THE DIRE WRAITHS
This game was played using some homemade rules (M.I.S.S.) in order to allow us to quickly field a handful of my re-painted "Heroclix" miniatures, and took place upon my 3' x 3' "Deep Cut Studio"  Desert Playmat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of scenery produced by "Gale Force Nine"; most notably several buildings and walls from their "Galactic Warzones" range.

The Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. started along the western edge of the tabletop and consisted of Warwolf (10pts), Vampire By Night (10pts), Man-Thing (10pts) and Manphibian (10pts). Whilst the Dire Wraith Queen's forces started the fight dotted throughout the town situated on the eastern side of the desert, and consisted of the extra-terrestrial monarch herself (10pts), and four of her sorcerous sisters (total 40pts). At the start of each of her turns the Dire Wraith Queen would roll a D6 to establish how much Dark Arts energy she had been able to summon. Once her combined total exceeded 18 points worth of magic, then the evil alien would successfully summon The Hybrid and win the game. The Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. would only win if they killed the Queen and prevented the summoning from taking place.
THE TABLETOP -  A GHOST VILLAGE IN THE SAHARA DESERT
"The story so far… Nick Fury has received intelligence that a band of Dire Wraiths have assembled at an abandoned village in the Sahara desert, Tunisia in order to resurrect the formidable Hybrid. Unable to contact the Space Knight, Rom, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s director instead dispatches his Howling Commandos in a desperate bid the stop the magic ritual before it is too late. But no sooner has Warwolf's team landed than they realise the Dire Wraiths occupy the entire township, and to make matters worse, their Queen herself has already begun the spell..."
WARWOLF'S TEAM MAKE THEIR PLANS AS THE DIRE WRAITH QUEEN STARTS HER SPELL
Ignorant to the arrival of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s strangest agents close by, the Dire Wraith Queen weaved her sorcerous arts and generated an impressive 5 points of Dark Magic. Hissing with the success, the red-coloured alien furthest south waddled west to wards the edge of the dusty derelict township, having thought she her the sound of hated humans approaching her sisters' location [Move: 6"]. Elsewhere, the other extra-terrestrials were also responding to the noise coming from behind a pair of palm tree plantations to their west, and started running to wards the edge of the village using its walls as cover [Run: 8"].

Activating the gene package embedded on his right mechanical arm in order to transform into a werewolf, Martin Reyna used his superior speed to head east straight towards the co-ordinates S.H.I.E.L.D.'s satellite had provided him with as the Dire Wraith Queen's position [Move: 8"]. Similarly as fast due to her lycanthrope form, Vampire By Night kept pace with Warwolf and noticed with satisfaction as Man-Thing lumbered his straight into the large plantation of palm trees without the trees impinging upon his speed whatsoever [Forest Walker: Does not have its movement rate halved whilst crossing a woodland or forest]. Manphibian meanwhile, shouldered his large blaster rifle and run east using the southern edge of the smaller palm tree plantation as cover.
MAN-THING MAKES HIS WAY THROUGH A PALM TREE PLANTATION
Man-Thing continued to lurch east through the large spread of palm trees, all the time under the protection of the towering tall plants from any sorcerous blast or attack. Vampire By Night also continued travelling east, this time using the rocks around her to protect her flank, whilst Manphibian confidently strode behind her to provide some additional firepower should Nina Price's sharp claws and fangs fail in their mission to cut down any dire wraith foolish enough to get in the white-furred immortal's way.

Using his supernatural sight to its limits, Warwolf's eyes drew a clear line straight across the battlefield to the Dire Wraith Queen's position, and immediately started firing at the blubbery-shaped, green-skinned monarch [Shooting: 2 Dice]. Unfortunately, the leader of Area 13's S.T.A.K.E. (Special Threat Assessment for Known Extranormalities) subsequently gave a howl of frustration, as he was still too far away for his bullets to reach the alien.

Realising that her mission to summon James Marks back from beyond using the blood pillar her incantations had already created, the Dire Wraith Queen set her arcane spells to work for a second time, and successfully produced three more points of magic. The alien was already almost halfway to achieving her goal, and her opponents had not yet even reached the village's sand-blasted walls.
VAMPIRE BY NIGHT AND MANPHIBIAN NEAR THE DIRE WRAITH INFESTED TOWNSHIP
Spotting the trees swaying as if some massive monster was lurching through them, as indeed the Man-Thing was, the southernmost Dire Wraith made her way to the entrance of the town's tower and faced the large pal tree plantation in front of her. Another of the Skrull evolutionary offshoots hid themselves by the wall by the western edge of the settlement and motioned for one of her sisters to sneak around the northern tip of the self-same wall so as to blast their attackers with dark magic just as soon as they spotted them.

Silent and sombre-faced, Man-Thing suddenly strode out from the large palm tree plantation. Ted Sallis knew he was in plain sight of one of the Dire Wraiths, but trusted upon his body being "practically invulnerable to harm" to keep him safe [Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 6]. In addition, Warwolf appeared to his north, having used his werewolf-based super-speed to lead his freakish team from the front...

To Be Continued...