Saturday, 21 April 2018

"Our Invasion Force Is Not Yet Complete."

"The data will be computed and the invasion details transmitted to you. Discussion terminated."
These three 28mm metal Cyberman figures are produced by “Black Tree Design", and somewhat oddly can only be bought as part of the company's "Doctor Who" boxed set DW1014 - Cyberman (7); albeit a similarly posed sculpt, arguably far less cute-looking, is available separately as Code DW206 - Invasion Cyberman. Temporarily allied to the Managing Director of International Electromatics, "the sinister Tobias Vaughn", this version of the silver giants appeared in Derrick Sherwin's eight-part 1968 BBC Television adventure "The Invasion".

Each miniature was originally primed "Citadel" Chaos Black and subsequently coated with two layers of Ironbreaker. They were then washed with Nuln Oil, before being dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker. Finally, each of their firearms' barrels was 'picked out' using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
Abzorbaloff WIPs - The Clom-born extra-terrestrial has been primed, shaded and dry-brushed
Sticking with "Doctor Who" I've managed to spend a little hobby time progressing an Abzorbalovian which I've had gathering dust in my painting queue for quite a while now. The figure itself is absolutely packed full of gruesome detail, especially the faces of the alien's victims, which can clearly be seen embedded in his blubbery flesh.

The only disappointment with the metal miniature is the monster's limitation field cane, which not only came out of the box rather bent, and resultantly required urgent straightening, but also seems dangerously thin in places too; particularly when it so extravagantly juts out from the side of the model. In addition, I'm not really sure what use I'll find for Victor Kennedy's alter-ego on the tabletop, as "Warlord Games" don't currently have any unique gaming cards for him in their "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" game.
"Burrows And Badgers" WIPs - This Adder Warrior needs just some washes to be 'added'
One of the highlights of "Salute" 2018 for me was stumbling upon the "Oathsworn Miniatures" stall and impulsively purchasing their "Burrows And Badgers" rule-book, as well as an assortment of "anthropomorphic animal" figures. I plan on spending a fair bit of time working on these inhabitants of the Kingdom of Northymbra next month, yet still couldn't stop myself dabbling with the first model which caught my eye on the manufacturer's well-populated blister rack.

Indeed, the Adder Warrior has had me repeatedly listening to Keith Michell's superb Eighties-based musical telling of "Captain Beaky And His Band" since the pewter reptile first 'fell' into my grip, and it'll therefore come as no surprise that I've named him Hissing Sid for my 'evil' warband. I also couldn't help noticing that the sculpt pays more than a passing resemblance to Thulsa Doom's snake-form as depicted in the 1982 motion picture "Conan The Barbarian", so expect to see the scaly-serpent popping up in one of my Hyborian-set battle reports too once I've finished painting him...

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

"Salute" Loot 2018 - Part Two Of Two

"The Dominators" WIPs - All the models have been based and primed
Undoubtedly my main reason for attending this year's "Salute" 2018 was to visit the "Warlord Games" stall and buy the Nottingham-based company's latest two releases for "Doctor Who: Exterminate!". This range is really starting to 'take-off' and I was particularly pleased to see this blog featuring once again in the latest "Into The Time Vortex" digital newsletter, which specifically focused upon Dalek conversions, 'tip-top' paint-jobs and their "ever-growing loyal customers."

Patrick Troughton's incarnation of the travelling Time Lord has always held a high place in my memories of the BBC science fiction television programme, even if my first encounter with the Second Doctor only occurred during "The Five Faces Of Doctor Who" season of repeats in November 1981. The recent announcement that "Warlord Games" will be releasing his miniature, along with "Zoe, Jamie, Victoria and the Brig" later this year, has only helped fuel my enthusiasm for this 'black & white' period, so I was absolutely delighted to get my hands on a set of models taken from the Gallifreyan's August 1968 five-parter "The Dominators".
"Warlord Games" Newsletter Wednesday 11th April 2018
Featuring formidable sculpts of both Navigator Rago and Probationer Toba, I have already set to work basing the two male "humanoids from Drahb", as well as applied a double undercoat of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand over the pair. Initially I did think these 'conquerors of the Ten Galaxies' would be fairly straightforward to paint, due to the majority of their clothing being black. However, colourised pictures of the duo, as well as the studio's official paint-jobs, actually shows them to be wearing dark green costumes...  
"The Ninth Doctor & Companions" WIPs - Rose, The Ninth Doctor and Captain Jack
Far easier to paint, at least upon first impression, are the three "robot work-soldiers" which accompany their taller masters in the box. Despite providing enough models to both deploy a complete Quark Recruitment Card and have one spare to 'defend' a Dominator ("must always stay within 4") I can still see me buying a second set of the servitors once I've finished work on this initial batch. This should then give me enough Quarks to field a second Recruitment Card and provide Toba with a 'cuboid-shaped guard' too. Of course that'll give me duplicates of the two Dominators, but I can always utilise them as scenic statues or as an extra ethereal ghost for my Fisher King.

In addition to picking up some figures from the show's Sixth Season, I was also able to buy the Ninth Doctor And Companions set. Featuring sculpts of Christopher Eccleston's character, Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness, Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler, I have immediately set to work priming the "sole survivor" of the Last Great Time War, as well as two of Nu Who's most popular assistants Rose and the "con man Javic Piotr Thane."
Copyright "Warlord Games" - The 'Nu Who' Sontarans
Lastly, I was thrilled to see one of next month's releases in the fully-pigmented flesh, the Sontarans. The stunning detail on these "militaristic clones from the planet Sontar" was absolutely breath-taking, despite the somewhat poor lighting of the ExCeL convention centre, and I'm really looking forward to picking up a couple of boxes of them in the near future... 

Monday, 16 April 2018

"Salute" Loot 2018 - Part One Of Two

"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Two Romulan Uhlans and Khan Noonien Singh
This year's annual pilgrimage to the ExCeL convention centre in Custom House, East London has undoubtedly added somewhat to my collection of metal, plastic and resin miniatures, as well as greatly widened my interest in a couple more of our hobby's vast pantheon of genres. Indeed, having only travelled up to "Salute" 2018 with just one 'definite' purchase on my shopping list (some OOP "Nexus Miniatures" Caprican Legion Troopers kindly sold to me by "Wargames Terrain Workshop"), I was rather surprised by the sheer range of loot I found within my various carrier bags upon leaving the disagreeably stuffy, dimly-lit venue...

My first impulse purchase however, courtesy of a flyer found within a disconcertingly sparse goodie bag, was arguably a no-brainer for a science fiction fan such as myself, and actually caused me to make a bee-line straight for the "Modiphius Entertainment" stall just as soon as the show started. Apparently an exclusive miniature, this resin model of Khan Noonien Singh from the 1982 motion picture "Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan" was being given away for free by the British games and entertainment publisher "with every Star Trek Adventures purchase whilst stocks last!"
"Burrows And Badgers" WIPs - A Sparrow Warrior, Adder Warrior and Mouse
Disappointingly however, I wasn't that impressed with what I had to pay in order to make a "Star Trek Adventures purchase", and in the end slightly begrudgingly handed over a whopping forty quid for a measly ten 32mm Romulan Strike Team miniatures; a somewhat expensive outgoing considering that I have subsequently found the company's resin to easily 'tear' when being cleaned with a modelling knife or file, and the figures' stands awkwardly bent - to the point where I've decided not to use them at all and replaced them with plastic 28mm lipped bases instead...

Offering a free miniature was clearly the right way for a manufacturer to go though, in order to grab both my attention and hard-earned funds. I have never really considered gaming with cute furry animals before, but simply couldn't help myself from buying a warband or three at the "Oathsworn Miniatures" stall when I spotted the free mouse adventurer which came with their "Burrows And Badgers" rule-book.
"Wild West Exodus" WIP - This Viridian Alpha has simply been assembled, based and primed 
It's clear I'm going to have to dedicate a month or so to this "tabletop skirmish game that takes place in the Kingdom of Northymbra", as I went a bit silly and picked up quite an array of warriors, mages and cut-throats from their "range of [metal] anthropomorphic animal miniatures." In particular I was rather taken by a heavily-armoured Adder Warrior and heroically-posed Sparrow Warrior...

I also happened upon another irresistible temptation whilst passing the "Warcradle Studios" "Wild West Exodus" display. Their extra-terrestrial Watchers simply smack of 'Cowboys verses Aliens' to me, and thus I now own a copy of their remarkably well-priced Viridian Clade Starter Set. Not only does this hefty box contain enough resin/plastic models to form a posse, but it also includes a softback rule-book, tokens, templates, dice and cards.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

"Plans For Invasion Are Nearing Completion."

"Nothing must be allowed to interrupt them."
This 28mm metal Cyberman model is produced by “Black Tree Design", and can be bought as part of their "Doctor Who" boxed set DW1014 - Cyberman (7). Unlike the other miniatures in this set, this 'Cyber-Leader' does not appear to be available separately. "Hidden in the sewers beneath" London and intent upon utilising a megatron bomb in order to conquer the planet, this particular incarnation of the "race of cyborgs" were created by "Derrick Sherwin, from a story by Kit Pedler" for the November 1968 BBC Television story "The Invasion".

The silver giant was initially undercoated with a base-coat of "Citadel" Chaos Black. It was then treated to a double layer of Ironbreaker, shaded with Nuln Oil, and dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker. As a last stage, I picked out the barrel of its "long range... more powerful gun" with a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
"Black Tree Design" "Doctor Who" WIPs - Vicki, Harry Sullivan and Kamelion
With the basic beginning of a Cyber-invasion force complete, I have momentarily turned my attention to painting a few companions for my current Movie Doctor. Rather than 'stick to the script' however and prime Little Susan and Barbara 2150 A.D., I have simply turned to a few of the more readily accessible assistant figures in my "Black Tree Design" lead mountain.

Slightly embarrassingly, I originally thought the first of these companions was actually a sculpt of the Second Doctor's "young astrophysicist" Zoe Heriot, and accordingly treated her all-white attire to a wash of "Vallejo" Pale Grey and a dry-brush of Dead White. Only having done this did I realise that she is in fact a model of the First Doctor's "orphan from the 25th century" Vicki, and therefore requires a black dress with a suggestion of blue to it...
Dino-Rangers - The warriors still have plenty of detail left to 'pick out' upon their uniforms
In addition to this "survivor of a spaceship crash on the planet Dido" I have started work on the Fourth Doctor's "Surgeon-Lieutenant" Harry Sullivan, as well as the Fifth Doctor's "shape-changing android" Kamelion. Like Vicki, both of these companions should prove pretty straightforward to complete and I have already got to the stage the Xeriphas robot simply needs his green-hued internal electronics to be 'picked out' before being ready for a varnish.

Finally, in order to help thwart my recently discovered remaining Caprican Legion models by "Nexus Miniatures", I have re-started work on three Dino-Rangers. These particular sculpts will make some excellent proxies as Colonial Warriors for a "Battlestar Galactica" skirmish game, albeit I was hoping to paint one up as Commander Adama in a blue version of the uniform. Sadly however, having done some 'Google-Fu' research, it would appear that "the spiritual leader of the surviving colonists" never wore such 'combat fatigues', and neither did the battlestar's executive officer Colonel Tigh. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

"I Mean, Daleks Don't Have Names, Do They?"

"A secret order above and beyond the Emperor himself."
This 38mm scale "easy-fit plastic" model of a Dalek is produced by “Warlord Games” and comes from the Nottingham-based company's Davros & the New Dalek Empire Expansion Set. Sold as part of the "Into The Time Vortex" range, I've painted this particular drone up to represent one of the "secret order" of Daleks known as The Cult Skaro; four Kaled mutants "assigned the task of furthering the Dalek cause through the development of new and unorthodox ideas and strategies."

Created by Russell T. Davies for the July 2006 BBC Television story "Army Of Ghosts", in which the Cult's Void ship was being unwisely experimented upon by the Torchwood Institute, this "ordinary" Dalek was super-glued onto a 40mm lipped circular stand and subsequently undercoated with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna. I then gave the individual named unit a double coat of Brass, thoroughly shaded it with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and finally gave the model a heavy dry-brush of more "Vallejo" Brass.
Vervoid WIPs - The three 'plant creatures' have simply been primed, prior to being shaded
With the basic painting phases completed, I 'picked out' the Dalek's eye stalk, control arm and multi-range variable power destructor with some "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, as well as additionally pigmented the pepper pot's audio scanners with "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey. As a final step, so as to make this particular miniature stand out from my previously finished 'rank and file' Daleks, I applied a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil to its fender.

Despite having already completed the Cult's leader, Dalek Sec, I still need to complete two more figures in order to utilise the "Cult Of Skaro" Recruitment Card for the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" "fast-paced tabletop miniatures game". This "Unique" unit can actually utilise both the "Dalek Science" and "Emergency Temporal Rift" Adventure cards without either counting "towards the faction's Adventure card allowance."
Copyright "Warlord Games" - Two Dominators, along with three Quarks
In addition to slowly progressing this pair of additional Daleks, I have started work on nine Vervoids from Colin Baker's tenure as the Sixth Doctor. These "artificially created humanoid plant(s)" have rather embarrassingly been sat within my grit box since they were first released in November last year. Predominantly a 'leafy' green, I'm planning on using one of the figures as a pilot piece to see whether some simple shading and dry-brushing will suffice in quickly bringing out most of the sculpt's detail.

With "Salute" 2018 just around the corner and my painting queue still crammed to capacity, "Warlord Games" have announced that their "Dominators" expansion set will apparently be available at the show alongside their "Ninth Doctor & Companions" box. As a huge Patrick Troughton fan, this set will prove irresistible, so expect plenty of Quarks and "humanoids from Drahb" being based and primed soon...

Sunday, 8 April 2018

"To Nurgle, Every Raddled Corpse Is A Welcoming Nursery..."

"...For wriggling maggots and cloying plague spores."
This 40mm tall Putrid Blightking is one of the five multi-piece plastic miniatures which can be built from the sprues found inside the “Games Workshop” Putrid Blightkings boxed set. However, as I had actually already used the legs I wanted for this figure on a previously painted "favoured mortal servant" of Nurgle, I actually took the somewhat expensive step of purchasing a second pair of limbs from a 'bitz' seller and subsequently 'stuck' a different torso upon them in order to help satisfactorily mask their similarities.

As a result of this 'Exalted Champion of Nurgle' wearing so much armour and chainmail I initially primed the model with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, before brushing on a couple of coats of "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey over it. The warrior was then shaded with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey. The bloody desecrator's stained loincloth was treated to a little "Citadel" Abaddon Black, two thin coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Red", some "Citadel" Nuln Oil" and a gentle dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Red.
"Black Tree Design" "Doctor Who" WIPs - These Late Sixties Cybermen needs some detailing work 
With the basics finished, I began slowly working up the highly-detailed figure blessed by "the touch of Nurgle's insectoid messengers" and 'picked out' his pouch, skull trophy and brass symbol of the Plague God with a cacophony of colourful combinations, such as "Vallejo" Heavy Blue and "Citadel" Nuln Oil, as well as "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. A couple of splashes of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson were also thrown into the mix to give the impression of dried blood.

I applied some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna to both the Blightking's hand-axe, shield and shoulder-pad as a base-coat, and later treated the age-corroded areas to coat of "Vallejo" Brass, a wash of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and some dabs of the "Citadel" Technical paint Nihilakh Oxide. These parts were all then later dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Brass so as to blend in the patina. In addition I decided to change the brute's ghastly green-hued face to a deep reddish one, as if the entire head was grotesquely swollen, so simply re-painted it with Vallejo" Heavy Red" and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
"Nexus Miniatures" WIPs - These Caprican Legionnaires still have some armour plating to 'pick out'
Wanting to progress something a little less taxing than another Putrid Blightking, I have taken the opportunity to dig ever deeper into my recently discovered drawer of old "Black Tree Design" miniatures, and dry-brush some previously painted Cybermen. All of these figures come from one of the company's "Doctor Who: Invasion Earth" boxed sets, and are based upon the silver giants' tear-drop eyed version from the 1968 BBC Television story "The Invasion".

Lastly, sticking with a silver-coloured theme, I have also found some of my long-lost Caprican Legion models by "Nexus Miniatures". These armour-plated extra-terrestrials, which seem to be out of stock these days due to 'someone ordering a bunch', make great-looking Cylons and once finished should finally permit me to get a "Battlestar Galactica" skirmish game on the tabletop... 

Friday, 6 April 2018

"Field Major Styre Reporting From Earth Base."

"The results of my experiment indicate that they are puny beings..."
This 28mm metal Sontaran model is produced by “Black Tree Design", and can be bought from their "Doctor Who" range as code DW475 Sontaran Warrior. A "race of belligerent and militaristic clones from the planet Sontar", the "humanoids with large, bulbous heads" were created by Robert Holmes and made their BBC Television debut in the 1973 story "The Time Warrior".

The miniature was initially undercoated with two layers of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, and heavily dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal. The figure was then shaded with "Citadel" Nuln Oil, before having its knee-pads, belt and helmet layered with "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey. These areas were also subsequently washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil, whilst the alien's rheon carbine was 'picked out' with a combination of "Vallejo" Dead White and Pale Grey.
"Black Tree Design" "Doctor Who" WIPS - A Cyber-Leader, the Master and a Mandrel
Having completed my Sontaran, I have started to recommence work on another three of the Penzance-based company's partially-painted models which have lurked unloved for far too long within one of my hobby drawers. As I want to use these figures for some large scale tabletop battles using a set of homemade rules, I thought it would make sense to have the 'forces of evil' marshalled by none other than the Doctor's arch-nemesis, the Master.

I've actually already completed a mobile version of the renegade Time Lord's TARDIS, known as the Melkur, so thought having the decayed incarnation of that time machine's Gallifreyan owner would make sense; especially when the "Black Tree Design" version of the model appears such a nice little straightforward sculpt. As a result I've tidied up and finished the dying criminal's base, as well as put down a couple of thinned base-coats of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand in preparation to paint his rancid flesh.
Putrid Blightking WIPs - The warrior has yet to have his bronze hand-weapon weathered and shield finished
In addition to my putrefying Master, I have also made some progress on a couple of pilot pieces for a horde of Mandrels and a party of ("The Invasion") Cybermen. The "large, dangerous predator" from the planet Eden should prove somewhat simple to paint, despite his rather colourful appearance, whilst the Late Sixties silver giant is actually a Cyber-Leader taken from an old boxed set which I have repeatedly tried (and failed) to finish over the past decade...

Lastly, I am now on the 'home straight' as far as completing my minimum-sized "Games Workshop" Putrid Blightkings unit is concerned. I have been plugging away at these infuriatingly well-detailed plastic warriors for some months now, and just need to paint this "favoured" mortal servant of Nurgle to field a five-strong figure force for my Chaos Host in "Age Of Sigmar".