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...

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

“Hold It. Alpha’s Smart. Double Back For Sure.”

"Escape pods Level K. Watch 'em."
This 30mm tall metal model of one of the Stix Brothers is produced by “Warlord Games” and can be purchased as one of three miniatures from the Nottingham-based manufacturer's "Strontium Dog" range. Part of "a clan of apparently identical mutants of indeterminate number" the bounty hunters were created by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and artist Carlos Ezquerra in October 1980 for a "2000 A.D." comic book story-line which featured Johnny Alpha hunting down Adolf Hitler.

Initially primed using two layers of "Vallejo" Dark Sand, the Vancleef System-born brother was shaded using "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and later dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Dark Sand. The Search/Destroy agent's badge was 'picked out' using a combination of Dark Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson, whilst his numerous straps and top of his broad-brimmed hat were treated to a coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna before being washed with (more) Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter".
Rocket Raccoon, Monkey Joe, Molly Hayes and Groot approach a dangerous-looking objective marker
As some final steps I painted the cold-hearted villain's hair with "Vallejo" White and "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and treated his skin to some "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. I also slightly 'hummed and hawed' over whether to 'spot' the ruthless gunslinger's eyes or not, but in the end decided to leave them "Vallejo" Black as if heavily overshadowed by his spaghetti western styled head-wear and highlight around the cheekbones and nose with a dab or two of "Vallejo" Skintone.

Recently I've become more determined than other to play at least a handful of games a month, and was therefore delighted to grasp the opportunity this past weekend to throw down some of my repainted "Heroclix" collection, randomise a few objective markers across a desert settlement and play a few rounds of my homemade Super-hero rules, "M.I.S.S." This veritable mash-up was a real hoot and based upon the unlikely premise of the Black Manta and his U-Men clambering up out of a desert well so as to invade a settlement and surprisingly finding themselves face-to-face with the forces of the Dark Knight instead.
As Batman strives to reach Ben Grimm, the Man-Thing, Robin and Molly Hayes hold some of the other objectives
At the start things actually looked pretty good for the villainous David Hyde and his firearm-carrying frogmen with the black-costumed knaves shockingly gunning down both Rocket Raccoon and Monkey Joe as the heroes tried to approach an undercover Benjamin Grimm (Objective). However, once Batman and Nightwing joined the fray not even the sinister presence of Black Manta himself could prevent that particular flank from folding under a torrent of bat-shaped throwing stars.

To make matters worse, my formidably-sized contingent of nine U-Men were quickly whittled away courtesy of a nasty combination of gun-fire and jaw-dropping punches, leaving Commissioner Gordon and Molly Hayes to successfully push through to the battlefield's central objective, the Cosmic Cube. Despite my taking down Howard the Duck with a harpoon through the dratted bird's wise-cracking cigar-chomping beak, I was unable to subsequently mount any sort of counter-attack and ultimately watched helplessly as the Boy Wonder beat up the last of my surviving frogmen who were desperately trying to protect a Doctor Pepper drinks machine. What a diabolical performance...    

Monday, 20 August 2018

"Join Us Then As We Open The Great Book Of Nuffle..."

"...To learn about one of the most violent and entertaining teams of them all... The Chaos Chosen!"
"Greetings sports fans old, young and deceased. I'm Jim Maddenberg, and along with my co-commentator Thom Grassyglade I'd like to welcome you all to another edition of Monday Night Football. This time round we'll be focusing upon the Doom Lords first player purchase of the pre-season, 'Brutal' Frank. Thom, what can you tell the viewers at home about this Chosen Blocker?"

"Well having been assembled from pieces clipped off of one the hard-plastic sprues found inside The Doom Lords boxed set, this 28mm scale miniature by "Games Workshop" was primed using "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and had his heavy boots, belt and straps 'picked out' using a combination of Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The well-built Chaotic Human then had his leg armour, helmet and left shoulder-pad painted with "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson, whilst his groin guard and wrist armour was treated to an undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna before being layered in Brass and shaded with (more) Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter".
Chosen Blocker WIPs - The model is slowly having all his armour and straps 'picked out'
"In addition, Frank's gloves and right shoulder-pad were treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Black and later his helmet blade, shoulder-pad blade, alongside a few metal clips, were all pigmented using some "Citadel" Ironbreaker and a wash of Nuln Oil. Finally, this Dark Gods-worshipping maniac had his fingers, arms, legs, chest and throat painted with "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone, and then shaded with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade."

"Phew! That's quite a work-out, Thom, especially for a player who cost the team 100,000 gold pieces and comes to the pitch without any discernible skills whatsoever. I guess club owner 'The Overfiend of the Lead Citadel' knows what he's doing though, otherwise he'd have never convinced Harry the Idolator to leave his previous coaching position with Khaine's Killers."
Beastmen Runner WIPs - The models will be painted using a variety of browns for their skin, fur and straps
"Too right, Jim, and don't forget Frank won't be the only Chosen Blocker protecting The Doom Lords goal zone whilst under the gaze of their dark patrons. The 'Red and Black' are actively seeking to field at least three more similar-sized Humans, along with a veritable herd of horn-headed Beastmen."

"Indeed, Thom, and rumours from inside the dressing room would suggest that Harry should soon be delivering a press conference announcing the names of some of these latest rookie recruits. Until then however, that's all we've got time for during our transmission, so until next time, don't let your demonic possession get too out of hand..."

Friday, 17 August 2018

"Y.F.T. Design Studio" Battle Report: Red Dwarf And The Homicidal Killer Gelfs - Part Two

LISTER AND RIMMER FACE A WALL OF ONCOMING HOMICIDAL KILLER GELFS
"The story so far… Whilst taking Rimmer on an asteroid spotting trip, Kryten has crash-landed Starbug on a swamp moon. Fortunately, Holly's scan of the local area has revealed several deposits of machinery which could be used to help repair the shuttle-craft. Armed with a couple of blazookas and a hand-hoover, the Boys from the Dwarf have managed to almost collect the necessary parts but now face an attack from a tribe of homicidal killer Genetically Engineered Life Forms..."
THE TABLETOP - A SWAMP MOON

Somehow sensing that the intruders' intentions were about to change, the Gelfs wobbled towards their prey with four of them approaching Objective One (Genesis Ark). Rimmer meanwhile made his way to Objective Five (Damaged Robot) and recovered the final component needed to complete Starbug's repairs.

However, the Gelfs had certainly not been thinned out enough yet to enable the scavengers to escape, so both Cat and Kryten remained by Objective Two (Space Radio) in order to better fire upon the oncoming storm of genetically engineered life forms. Dave Lister also wanted to make some room for his blazooka blasts, so ran past Arnold to the eastern edge of the Large Toxic Pool.
CAT AND KRYTEN PREPARE THEMSELVES AS RIMMER COLLECTS ANOTHER SPARE PART
Four of the Gelfs approached Rimmer's postion, whilst three more closed in upon Cat and Kryten. Despite his hard light body, Arnold scurried to hide beside his bunk-mate and watched in amazement as the former chicken-soup vending machine cleaner dispatched one of the homicidal aliens. To the north, Cat also fired his firearm at the extra-terrestrial blob nearest to him, and purred with satisfaction as it exploded into tiny globules. Unfortunately Kryten was not so good a marksman with his hand-hoover and missed his intended target.
LISTER AND ARNOLD FACE THE GELFS FACE-TO-TENTACLE
Enraged by the loss of their comrades in blobbiness, the remaining Gelfs near Objective Two (Space Radio) charged into Cat and Kryten, their tentacles flailing and mutated claws snapping [Attack: 4 + 2 dice for the Charge]. Cat staggered back from the assault with three wounds, whilst his robot-in-arms received two wounds despite his mechanical body [Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 6].
CAT, KRYTEN AND RIMMER BATTLE THE FAST-APPROACHING GELFS
Fortunately, the Gelfs attacking Rimmer were far less successful, with the hologram avoiding any damage whatsoever. Some of the genetically engineered life forms did rush past him though, in an effort to reach Lister. Dave, however, was not about to swap kisses with a giant green blob or two, so ran north into the middle of the Large Toxic Pool. He remained uninjured and the Gelfs had now left a gap in their line which lead straight back to Starbug, but the goop did halve his movement, making his progress slow going...

Realising that the human was trying to escape, one of the Gelfs wobbled north to intercept Lister, whilst another charged Rimmer. Despite the hologram's hard light form [Heavy Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 5 or 6], the technician suffered a single wound. The Cat did less well though, and a savage blow to the head knocked the smartly-dressed scavenger out for the count. A moment later Kryten joined him as the robot was overwhelmed by the tentacles of his assailant.
DAVE LISTER MAKES A BREAK FOR IT WHILST RIMMER IS OVERWHELMED
Arnold desperately tried to fend off the Gelf attacking him, but failed to hurt the blobby fiend. Lister however, aimed his blazooka at the Gelf moving between him and Objective One (Genesis Ark) and with a cheer shot it to pieces.

With both Cat and Kryten fallen, the Gelfs by Objective Two (Space Radio) moved towards Dave, who was still stood knee deep within the middle of the Large Toxic Pool. Rimmer finally managed to overpower one of the Gelfs wrestling with him, and with some delight saw that Lister had also gunned down the first of the aliens to place a tentacle into the gloopy green water near him. The homicidal killers were definitely closing in upon the two remaining Red Dwarfers, but they were now few in number.
LISTER AND RIMMER FEND OFF THE FINAL GELF ATTACKS BY THE LARGE TOXIC POOL
Despite the thickness of the goo surrounding them a Gelf charged into Dave and caught the curry-loving scavenger with a blow to the head. Incredibly in return though, Lister battered the extra-terrestrial to bits with the butt of his blazooka and looking up, saw Rimmer dispatch the final homicidal killer with an exaggerated karate chop. They'd won... and now needed to simply drag the unconscious bodies of Cat and Kryten back to Starbug before beginning their repairs...

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

"I Am Immutably The Master."

"I deplore such unsophisticated coercion, but your cooperation's necessary to me."
This 36mm-tall "pewter" model of the Master is manufactured by “Warlord Games” and can be purchased as part of their "I Am The Master" boxed set. Based upon Anthony Ainley's incarnation of the renegade Time Lord, this particular version of the Doctor's archenemy made his first appearance in Johnny Byrne's January 1981 BBC television story "The Keeper Of Traken" and would last be seen in the 1997 computer game "Destiny of the Doctors."

Originally primed using two layers of "Vallejo" Black, the recurring villain was dry-brushed with Heavy Charcoal and later shaded using some "Citadel" Nuln Oil. In addition I 'picked out' his shirt and its sleeves with a dabble of "Vallejo" Dead White, and applied a little Pale Grey to these areas in order to try and generate some shadows.
"Warlord Games" kindly publicise my posting of Roger Delgado's Master
The Master's face and hands were undercoated using "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and washed in "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. I subsequently used some (more) "Vallejo" Skintone to highlight his nose, ears, mouth area and parts of his forehead, alongside his fingers and hands. As a final touch, I painted his hair and beard using pure "Vallejo" Black.

This particular sculpt has somewhat disconcertingly drawn some criticism due to it actually being produced from a photograph of the Doctor's shape-shifting robot Kamelion, rather than an actual picture of Ainley, and as a result does not portray the goatee-bearded fiend wearing his usual high-collared, somewhat Shakespearean black suit. In addition, the miniature is significantly taller than Roger Delgado's "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" model despite the difference between the two actors themselves only being a couple of inches...
General Staal, Dominator Toba and Donna Noble WIPs - The three miniatures are at various stages of completion
I'm currently rather enjoying working my way through the "I Am The Master" boxed set, with a view to perhaps pitting three versions of "the master of all matter" up against three Doctors on the tabletop in the near future. Delightfully, "Warlord Games" would appear to be sharing my enthusiasm too, as they recently kindly posted up my paint-job of Roger Delgado's incarnation on their main "Facebook" page.

Having finished my third figure of the Master though I'm momentarily turning my attention towards a few of the Nottingham-based company's other "Doctor Who: Into The Time Vortex" miniatures, with some work on General Staal, Dominator Toba and Donna Noble. Sadly, it has recently been announced that the highly anticipated "Second Doctor & Companions" boxed set will be significantly delayed, so I'm hoping to use the time to 'catch-up' on a number of my unfinished 'assistants'.

Monday, 13 August 2018

"You Are An Enemy Of The Human Race. I Must Destroy You."

"Please do not resist. I do not wish to cause you unnecessary pain."
This 28mm metal figure of Professor Jeremiah P. Kettlewell's experimental prototype robot K1 is produced by “Black Tree Design", and can be purchased as Code DW411 - Robot from the company's "Doctor Who" miniatures range. The National Institute for Advanced Scientific Research's automaton was made from a "living metal" and made its debut in the December 1974 BBC Television story "Robot". 

The figure was initially undercoated with two layers of “Citadel” Abaddon Black and subsequently painted using Ironbreaker. The humanoid-shaped machine was then washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil before being dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker. At this point I found myself in something of a quandary as actor Michael Kilgarriff's burdensome costume does have some red markings visible on it, especially those banding the robot's brain pan.
My Boromites launch a brave attack upon the Algoryn forces who are cowering behind some sandstone buildings
Unfortunately, having spent some time trying to delicately 'draw in' the prototype's detail, I settled upon simply colouring the (giant) robot's hard-to-reach head segments with a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson, then left its shoulder stripes for potentially another day. As a last touch though I did go back and darkened some of the experimental machine's joints with a second application of "Citadel" Nuln Oil.

Having taken fifteen months to finally complete my 500-point Boromite Scouting Force, I was rather pleased to get the extra-terrestrial miners on the tabletop over the past weekend, and see what "Warlord Games" rule-set for "Beyond The Gates Of Antares" was really like. My initial thoughts were rather positive as I played a very simple firefight between one of my Gang Fighter Squads and an Algoryn Infantry Unit using a version of the Nottingham-based company's free Quick Start Rules. 
The 'thin red line' remains despite some noble assaults by my Boromite Overseer and my mass compactors
Despite being five models apiece I believe my Boromites were somewhat more expensive than my opponent's group, and this advantage tellingly told in the straightforward firefight to come, as the red-armoured villains were mercilessly obliterated. However, things were to prove decidedly different in our main contest when we fought across a 3' x 3' desert moon with our full forces. In particular, my foe's cheesy choice to deploy an Algoryn Avenger Attack Skimmer to what I had thought was a friendly foot-soldier only fight gave me plenty to worry about, most notably the vehicle unit's Multiple Order Dice (MOD) which permitted it to both move and fire twice per turn...

In addition the dice gods were definitely not favouring my rocky monsters' thirst for close combat action, as my leader's formidable tractor maul failed to drill through the armour of my weakling opponents as expected. Indeed, even the scything ability of my Gang Fighters' mass compactors only finally chopped down the frustratingly resilient Algoryn Command Squad after the battle was already effectively lost. Still, the Algoryn Prosperate's steadfastness before the might of the Boromites shall not go unpunished for long, and a rematch is already well and truly planned for the near future...

Friday, 10 August 2018

"Y.F.T. Design Studio" Battle Report: Red Dwarf And The Homicidal Killer Gelfs

THE RED DWARF CREW ENCOUNTER HOMICIDAL KILLER GELFS
This game was played using some homemade rules (M.I.S.S.) in order to allow us to quickly field a handful of my painted "Y.F.T. Design Studio" and "Crooked Dice Game Design" miniatures, and took place upon the "Deep Cut Design Studio" 35" x 2" cloth Swamp game mat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of scenery most notably some Dalek-themed objectives produced by "Warlord Games" and some toxic pools manufactured by "Gale Force Nine" as part of their "Battlefield In A Box" range.

The Red Dwarf crew, who started on the western edge of the table, were made up of Dave Lister (10pts), Kryten (10pts), Arnold Rimmer (10pts) and Cat (10pts). Whilst the pack of homicidal killer Gelfs consisted of eight warriors (5pts each) and would only enter the battlefield from the western edge at the end of Turn Two. The swamp moon had five objective markers each worth an unknown number of repair points dotted about its eastern half. These would only be revealed when a player had searched them. In order to be victorious the Red Dwarf crew had to accumulate eight points worth of repair points and have at least one model escape back off the western edge of the table, or kill all of the Gelfs.
THE TABLETOP - A SWAMP MOON
"The story so far… Whilst taking Rimmer on an asteroid spotting trip, Kryten has crash-landed Starbug on a swamp moon. Fortunately, Holly's scan of the local area has revealed several deposits of machinery which could be used to help repair the shuttle-craft. Believing the parts are just beyond a small forest the Boys from the Dwarf, armed with a couple of blazookas and a hand-hoover, have set off unaware that the planetoid is inhabited by a tribe of homicidal killer Genetically Engineered Life Forms..."
THE BOYS FROM THE DWARF LAND ON THE MOON OF THE PEPPERPOTS
Not willing to wait around and find out what is making the horrible squelching sounds behind them, Dave, Arnold, Kryten and Cat all ran [Run Move: 8 Inches] east towards Objective One (Genesis Ark) safe in the knowledge that their pursuers wouldn't be appearing at the outskirts of the woodland for some time yet. They had a plan too, with Lister and Rimmer agreeing to pepper the gelfs with shots, so as to allow Kryten and Cat to race for the various objectives and collect the repair parts needed.

Still unable to see their foes, the quartet split into their appropriate pairs with Dave and Arnold running ever closer to Objective One (Genesis Ark), and Kyrten and Cat heading north-east towards Objective Two (Space Radio). Suddenly, the gelfs appeared from out of the tree-line. They were in three groups, with the larger central warband clearly planning to make a bee-line straight for Lister and Rimmer.
THE GANG SPLITS UP AS THE GELFS CONTINUE THEIR PURSUIT
Keeping the initiative, an exhausted Arnold reached Objective One (Genesis Ark) and was delighted to find five points worth of salvageable repair parts. It meant the guys were already half-way to achieving their first goal. Dave meanwhile, ran further southeast towards Objective Five (Damaged Robot) and took up a position to sweep the gelfs with blazooka fire as soon as they got within range. Kryten and Cat continued running north-east towards Objective Two (Space Radio), all the time hearing the sounds of the tentacled terrors behind them gurgling their way across the swampland towards them.

Moments later, the Red Dwarf crew continued their excellent momentum as Kryten discovered two more points worth of parts whilst examining Objective Two (Space Radio). This called for a change of plans as the quartet now needed just one more part to fix Starbug with. Cat therefore opened fire with his blazooka upon the nearest gelf [Shoot: 3 dice] and despite the life form being hard to hit [Stupefy: A unit always suffers –1 to its dice roll when firing at an enemy unit with ‘Stupefy’] it fell lifeless before the torrent of exploding bullets.
RIMMER AND KRYTEN COLLECT SOME VALUABLE SPARE PARTS
Lister likewise opened fire but lacked the feline skills of his fanged friend and missed. Rimmer meanwhile, huffing and puffing, raced towards Objective Five (Damaged Robot). The gelfs were getting ever closer and they still almost outnumbered the Red Dwarf posse two-to-one, so even when Arnold did collect the final part needed for Starbug's repairs, they'd still need to thin out the homicidal killer aliens somewhat before heading back to the shuttlecraft...

 To be continued...

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

"I've Been So Worried I Haven't Buffed My Shoes In Two Days."

"I'm so gorgeous, there's a six month waiting list for birds to suddenly appear, every time I am near!"
This 28mm miniature of Felix was made by "Y.F.T. Design Studio" and forms part of the company's limited release 'Scarlet Midget' - Cosplay Away Team. Wonderfully similar in appearance to Danny John-Jules’s character in the "British science fiction situation comedy Red Dwarf", the "Felix sapiens" was initially undercoated with "Vallejo" Dark Vermillion and then later had his hair, shoes, trousers, and shirt painted Black.

Having decided to somewhat darken the descendent from the house cat's jacket, I applied a couple of layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Red to his outer garment and waistcoat, shaded these areas with some "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and subsequently dry-brushed them with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Red.
"Boys from the Dwarf."
I 'picked out' the vain feline's blazooka using a combination of "Vallejo" Black, "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, whilst applying some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to his flesh. Later I applied a wash of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson over the Cat's coat in order to slightly improve its colour and provide a subtle contrast between the jacket and his waistcoat.

Kieron Mulholland has recently caught my eye with his excellent "Cheaphammer!" blog in which he's been exploring the use of the "Marvel Heroic Roleplaying" rule-set by "Margaret Weis Productions" to run a miniatures campaign based upon a story-line from the 2005 "New Avengers" comic book series. This inspirational project, which features a superb battle report entitled "Count On Spider-Man", got me thinking about my younger days playing "Marvel Super Heroes" by "Tactical Studies Rules" and whether a return to the 1984 game would be a worthwhile investment of time...
S.H.I.E.L.D. WIPs - The two agents and "Dum Dum" Dugan need their dark blue uniform 'picking out'
Before I had a chance to dive into my loft however and dig out my original boxed set, I discovered that "Steve Jackson Games" have just released "Munchkin: Marvel Edition", along with a series of expansions concerning the X-Men, Guardians of The Galaxy, Doctor Strange and Deadpool. I've a little experience of the original "mega-hit card game about dungeon adventure" so immediately thought that perhaps the "humorous take on role-playing games" may lend itself to some fun tabletop action too.

Somewhat disappointingly, the starting players for "Munchkin: Marvel Edition" are all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and I don't have any re-painted "Heroclix" models of them... yet. As a result I've dug out a couple of basic espionage operatives, along with a languishing model of Dan "Dum Dum" Duggan, and plan to get these guys painted pronto whilst I get better acquainted with the rules. If the worse happens and my idea doesn't work out then I've at least finished a few more miniatures, and my copy of "Marvel Super Heroes" is still waiting for me in the loft...

Monday, 6 August 2018

"Welcome To The World Of Blood Bowl..."

"...Where as the coach of your team, you'll be seeking to defeat your rivals..."
"Greetings sports fans, and welcome to another edition of Monday Night Football. Jim Maddenberg here with all the pre-season news as a second team has raised its head above the severed head laden parapet and looks set to challenge the Doom Lords for fame, fortune and the adulation of this great sport's fans. Thom?"

"That's right, Jim, we're still a long way before the first match of the season starts, yet the head coach of the Reikland Reavers, Helmut Zwimmer, has set his human followers' tongues a wagging by releasing a picture of his club's game ball. One of four similarly-shaped pieces taken from the bright blue-coloured plastic sprue found inside the "Blood Bowl" starter set, this spiked ball was super-glued upon a 25mm circular base and primed using "Vallejo" Black."
Human Blitzer WIP - The player has been assembled, based and primed "Vallejo" Heavy Blue
"Reports then suggest it was painted using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade." The ball's metallic areas were subsequently 'picked out' using some "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, whilst its laces were layered with "Vallejo" Heavy Brown before being washed with (more) "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade."

"And I understand coach Zwimmer hasn't stopped there either, Thom, by announcing that owner J.J. Griswell Junior has already purchased the Reavers' first new player of the year, none other than a Blitzer. We've heard previously that the Doom Lords' Chosen Blockers and Beastmen consisted of seven-eight piece multi-part kits, is this the case with the human team?
Chosen Blocker WIPs - The Dark God Worshipper is slowly having his armour 'picked out'
"No, Jim. Arguably the most flexible player on a human team, the Blitzer has been designed to essentially be a simple three-piece 'push-fit' model, which can quickly take to the field once its slotta stand has been firmly attached to its 30mm circular base. The figure even comes in the iconic blue used by the Reavers, so it doesn't necessarily even need painting..."

"And finally, I understand that the Doom Lords have made considerable progress preparing the first of their Chosen Blockers to get on the pitch. Something of a pilot palette piece this formidable-looking Dark God worshipper will take to the field wearing "Vallejo" Black cloth undergarments with Heavy Red and Brass armour."

"Well that about wraps it up for this show, folks. A big thanks to fellow co-commentator Thom Grassyglade, and next time we'll hopefully see more from both the Doom Lords and Reikland Reavers."

Friday, 3 August 2018

"The Xon Poets Claimed That The Boromites Were Set To Wandering The Stars..."

"...Ever in search of their ancient home and that one day they would return to it."
This 28mm metal Boromite Ganger is produced by "Warlord Games" and forms part of the Nottingham-based company's Boromite Work Gang boxed set for "Beyond The Gates Of Antares"; a "science-fiction tabletop wargame written by 40k author Rick Priestley, that pitches technologically advanced human civilisations into a conflict for the undiscovered systems that lie through the gates." Sold "unassembled and unpainted" this "genetically-engineered" miner is the last of five miniatures I required in order for me to field a 123-point costing Work Gang armed with Mass Compactors and Implosion Grenades, and concludes my fifteen month long project to complete a 500-point Scouting Force.

Originally primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, the extra-terrestrial was shaded with "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and then had some "Vallejo" Black painted over all its weaponry, ammunition packs and hip-flask. The Ganger's metallic areas, including its firearm's nozzle, were subsequently treated to a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, whilst its Mass Compactor had its main body slightly corroded with a light touch of "Mig Productions" Extreme Rust Wash.
Boromite 500-Point Scouting Force
The power lighting on the Boromite's weapon was 'picked out' with "Vallejo" Heavy Khaki and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green, plus his pouch was painted using "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and a splash of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. Lastly, the figure's yellow(ish) armour, his numerous "multi-functional nanite receptor nodes" and cumbersome tool's distortion compensator were all layered with "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre and washed with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade.

Alongside this particular unit armed with mining tools I have previously painted two five-model squads of (standard) Gang Fighters, all equipped with Mag Guns and Plasma Grenades, as well as an Overseer Squad complete with Spotter Drone, with which to command my Boromite Army. In addition, I've spent some of my force's points supplementing the infantry units with some "Army Options" such as "Block! - The Order Dice drawn from the bag is returned and another random dice is drawn", "Well Prepared - If you take any single re-roll you can add plus one to the value tested against", and "Superior Shard - At the start of the turn you can remove one of your opponent's order Dice from the dice bag. This means your opponent will have to fight without one of his dice this turn."
Freeborn Feral Squad WIPs - The warriors have been re-primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Blue
Despite taking so long to complete this core force, I already aim to expand my Boromites into a 750-point Skirmish Force by adding some support options, such as a Support Team with X-Launcher (which can fire munitions such as Scrambler, Arc, Blur, Scoot, Net and Grip) or a more straightforward Support Team equipped with a Mag Light. Alternatively, I rather like the look of some of the alien miners' mounted units, and believe a three-model strong Rock Rider Squad would attract a lot of attention on the tabletop for fear of their "Rapid Sprint" special ability outflanking an opponent's army.

Beforehand however, I rather fancy exploring another of the factions fighting within Antarean space, in the form of the Freeborn. These great "merchants and travellers" should provide an entirely new set of challenges to the yellow and grey of the Boromites, and a humble Feral Squad requires only six miniatures to be completed before I can field a simple 100-point unit for some rule-set familiarisation fun...