Thursday, 22 August 2019

"Remove This Tohzah From My Sight. "

"I take it you have never seen a Romulan before."
These two 32mm scale resin miniatures of Romulan Uhlans are manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” and form part of their ten-figure strong Romulan Strike Team set. “Designed for use with the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game”, this pair of models are "biological cousins of Vulcans" and made their first television appearance in the December 1966 episode “Balance Of Terror”.

Despite coming with their own 30mm scenic stands sculpted to look like some sort of galvanised steel walkway, I actually re-based the duo onto 28mm lipped plastic bases instead so as to better fit in with the rest of my collection. Once super-glued, grey-stuffed and gritted in place, the Romulans were primed using a double undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, and had their Late Twenty-Fourth Century tunics shaded in "Citadel" Nuln Oil.
The "Supers Unlimited Miniatures" Kickstarter by "Kitbash Games"
The "lowest rank of commissioned officers" in the Romulan Star Empire, the Uhlans were then delicately dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, before having their boots and hair pigmented using some "Citadel" Abaddon Black. I applied a coat of "Vallejo" Dark Grey to the soldiers' trousers, washed this with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and 'picked out' their flesh using my usual combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade.

At this stage I was somewhat tempted to add a little dab of "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green to the Romulans' skin as I've always envisaged their "Star Trek: The Next Generation" incarnations as having just such a hue in my mind's eye. However, considering just how difficult I found it simply 'dotting in' the odd eye on their faces, the last thing I wanted to do was make my brush-tip's job even more unenviable by splashing them the vibrant "Games Workshop" shade. Resultantly, I just finished the figures' disruptors and belts off with a touch of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and dash of Nuln Oil.
The Super War Early Bird Pledge
Ordinarily, I don't tend to harp on too much about current enterprises on "Kickstarter". But as I'm currently painting a generously-gifted pre-sale copy of Doc Cosmos by "Kitbash Games", it seemed extraordinarily rude not to give their "Supers Unlimited Miniatures" crowdfunding project a big shout-out. Described by Leon Mallett of "Pulp Citizen" blog fame as a "new range of miniatures for supers tabletop gaming", these "high-quality" resin models are specifically "designed to be size-compatible with many supers miniatures ranges and all characters will come with profiles for the Pulp City and Super Mission Force gaming systems!"

Having previously painted Punchline and Roughneck from this range, both of which spookily feature as stretch goals for this particular Kickstarter, I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on more of Empire City's super-powered inhabitants and getting them onto my tabletop soon. In addition, for the "first three days only" the Super War Early Bird pledge will bag you both the Covenant of Justice and Shadow Axis teams, as well as the formidable-looking Granite...

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

“We’re Going To Hang Him.”

"The man barely spoke and he gave me the willies anyway."
This 28mm scale model of Thomas Richards is manufactured by “Mantic Games” and can be found inside "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Prisoner Booster Pack. Sculpted to represent the bloodthirsty "psychopath convict, who survived the outbreak" trapped in the cafeteria of the Meriwether County Correctional Facility, the quiet “nerdy” homicidal lunatic was killed by a Maggie Greene “when she unloaded her entire sidearm’s magazine” into him in Issue 18 of "The Walking Dead" comic book.

The balding bespectacled figure was initially primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, and had his prison overalls shaded with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. I then ‘picked out’ the murderer’s tiny blade and glasses with a layer of “Citadel” Abaddon Black, before applying a little Ironbreaker to his hand-weapon and frames, as well as a smidgeon of “Vallejo” Dead White to his lenses. All of these areas were later treated to a wash of “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Three male Borg from the "Modiphius Entertainment" Collective set
Thomas’ skin was painted using a base coat of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone and shaded with a splash of “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade. I then ‘highlighted’ his fingers, hands, and some facial features, such as his ears and nose, with a careful second application of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone. Finally, the killer with a penchant for decapitation, had his receding hairline pigmented with some “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.

With the second of my prisoners finished for “The Walking Dead: Call To Arms”, I have momentarily turned my attention towards some more Borg drones for “Star Trek Adventures” by “Modiphius Entertainment”. One of the most disappointing elements to the Fulham-based tabletop game publisher’s Borg Collective ten-figure boxed set is that despite its lack of variety concerning female poses, it frustratingly still contains an even split between the cybernetic organisms sexes.
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Three Romulan Centurions
Fortunately, there’s a bit more diversity to the male drone sculpts, so I haven’t felt obliged to chop/convert any of their prosthesis on this occasion; albeit if I purchase a second set such extra preparation prior to priming will become a necessity. In addition, they are significantly larger than their more slender-sized counterparts, which has provided my brush-tip with more opportunities to pick out the extra-terrestrial’s surgical augmentations in “Citadel” Ironbreaker and “Vallejo” Dark Grey.

Lastly, I have been busy building and undercoating the remaining miniatures from my Romulan Strike Team. I’m not admittedly a fan of these figures’ joints, as the tiny ‘ball and socket’ mechanism doesn’t seemingly survive contact long despite my super-glue’s best efforts. So instead I’ve been busy pinning the militaristic aliens’ limbs to their torsos. This has disconcertingly lead to a couple of misaligned elbows, which I’ve subsequently had to carefully file smooth, at some cost to the detail of their ‘quilted’ uniforms.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

"Do We Look Like Prison Guards To You?"

"I'll make it very simple for you, Farmer. We got here first..."
This 28mm scale model of Dexter is produced by “Mantic Games” and can be found inside "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Prisoner Booster Pack. Sculpted to represent the "towering, physically intimidating inmate who survived the outbreak" trapped in the cafeteria of the Meriwether County Correctional Facility, the convicted murderer was fatally shot in the head by Rick Grimes whilst fighting off a mass of zombies released from A-block in Issue 19 of "The Walking Dead" comic book.

Having been supplied already assembled to a base, the figure was primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, and had his prison overalls washed with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. I did consider dry-brushing the man's trousers with some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, as I ordinarily do, but as with all this range's models, I didn't feel the soft detail would respond as well as I would like to my brushstokes, so I ultimately left all the garments alone.
The Voord quickly gain the upper hand over the much-slower Yeti and seize some early objectives
Dexter's heavily pouched belt was painted in "Vallejo" Heavy Brown, his vest in Dead White, and his skin in Heavy Sienna. All of these areas were then shaded using “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Lastly, I 'picked out' the inmate's infuriatingly 'soft' chest holster in "Citadel" Abaddon Black, finished off both his pistol and shotgun with a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and (OOP) Badab Black. 

Shifting across from pigmenting prisoners to wargaming, I have played another battle in my ongoing “Doctor Who” campaign exclusively using just my collection of “Black Tree Design” miniatures and some home-made rules. This conflict saw the Great Intelligence launch an attack upon the Voord on a frozen planet and resulted in some serious close combat scraps. Fought across a 2’ x 3’ rock-infested landscape, with a pair of freezing lakes partially separating the two factions, the game initially saw the flipper-footed Voord using their quicker speed and "Water-Walk" ability to seize the initiative.
The robot Yeti batter the Voord into submission with their incredible strength and armoured fur bodies
Yet it soon became clear that the robot Yetis' armoured fur covering, and single Web-gun, was going to make them incredibly hard to shift once they got themselves into a significant victory-point winning position. Admittedly, the Voord were both lead by the commanding presence of Yartek, which  permitted any friendly unit within 12 inches to re-roll a single dice roll once per turn, and armed with knives. But it took a lot of effort to take down just one of the Great Intelligence's shaggy minions, whereas the Yeti soon started chopping down the Voord with great clubbing swings of their claws.

Increasingly low on the numbers needed to fell their opponents, Yartek's faction soon lost control of the space between the two frozen lakes at the centre of the battlefield, and before long were pushed further and further back from their goals. In the end, the sheer physicality of the Yeti saw the Great Intelligence achieving twelve victory points to the Voord's one point, providing the mysterious disembodied entity with a foothold upon Yartek's fast-dwindling empire...

Friday, 16 August 2019

“You Will Be Assimilated."

"Resistance is futile."
These three 32mm scale resin miniatures of female Borg drones are manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” and form part of their ten-figure strong Borg Collective boxed set. “Designed for use with the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game”, these models are based upon the American science fiction franchise’s cybernetic aliens which made their first television appearance in the May 1989 episode “Q Who”.

Despite coming with their own 30mm scenic stands, I actually re-based the trio onto 28mm lipped plastic bases instead, and also took the opportunity to convert a couple of the drones following my discovery that three of the five female figures inside the box were identical sculpts. As a result I cut off one of the miniatures’ more-pointed metallic appendages at the elbow and swapped it with the crude-pincer limb of another, courtesy of some drilling and pinning.
"I don't believe in no-win scenarios."
Created by executive producer Maurice Hurley, the Borg were initially primed with two coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black, heavily dry-brushed using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal” and much more lightly dry-brushed with “Citadel” Ironbreaker. This process provided each incredibly-detailed drone with a metallic-looking highlight, as well as allowed me to see all the cables which formidably snaked around their limbs and torsos.

I then applied some additional “Citadel” Ironbreaker to the cyborgs’ multi-purpose prosthesis, some of their facial implants, and numerous cables. These areas, along with my original dry-brushing, were subsequently tidied up using a little more “Citadel” Abaddon Black and then shaded with Nuln Oil, before being lightly dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker. Some parts of the Borg’s bodysuit were also ‘picked out’ using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal and “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
"Your life as it has been is over."
As I wanted to give the Borg’s flesh a somewhat necrotic look, I base-coated their faces and the odd elbow with “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey, washed them with “Citadel” Nuln Oil and later added some extra “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey to their noses, cheeks and brows. Having previously painted the range’s limited edition James T. Kirk in the past, I was highly sceptical about ‘dotting’ each drone’s eyes, so ultimately decided to simply spot them with a dab of “Citadel” Abaddon Black.

Lastly, I placed a tiny dollop of “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion at the end of each model’s “sophisticated ocular implant” and shaded it with “Citadel” Bloodletter. Having finished these Borg I’m delighted to say that I’ve already accomplished the first of my Wargame Hobby Bingo challenges by converting a model (can be as simple as a weapon swap, or re-pose)...

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

“Time For Rough Justice!”

"Roughneck is a self-appointed protector of the streets."
This 28mm scale resin miniature of Roughneck is produced by “Kitbash Games” and will be one of the company's stretch goals for its upcoming "Supers Unlimited" "Kickstarter" in late 2019. Originally "a mechanic working the family auto-shop he inherited", Mike Ruiz "refused to pay protection money to the local mob when they came calling" and was subsequently pulverised by a "low-rent super-crook named Smash." Triggered by "a strong sense of right and wrong" Mike eventually recovered from his injuries to "become a heroic protector of the streets against villains..."

The vigilante was initially primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, before having his boots painted with "Citadel" Abaddon Black and his clothing treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Dark Grey. The anti-hero's trousers and short-sleeved shirt were then shaded with "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and later dry-brushed with some (more) "Vallejo" Dark Grey.
"Taking to the streets Roughneck was born."
At one point I actually tried my hand at pigmenting a city camo pattern over the crime-fighter's long pants, but in the end went with the far more straightforward palette after my time-consuming attempt simply didn't look right. Roughneck's pouch-laden combat belt was 'picked out' using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Grey and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green, whilst its buckle was given a dab of Ironbreaker and a splash of Nuln Oil.

The imposing figure's "own crude body armour" and face mask were initially coated in "Vallejo" Dead White before being washed in Pale Grey and delicately dry-brushed with (more) Dead White. The 'official' paint-scheme shows the bruiser's ice hockey mask to carry some red markings (as per "Friday The Thirteenth"), and have eye openings wide enough for you to actually see part of his cheeks underneath. This is something I've done before in the past on a Zorro model by "Boot Hill Miniatures" 
"Mantic Games" WIPs - Three of the Prisoners from "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Booster Pack
However, as Roughneck's background describes him as being "compromised by now-often violent and erratic behaviour" I wanted to give the ferocious fighter a seriously scary visage, so went with the all-white, disturbingly dark eye sockets of Jason Voorhees, but without the slightly distracting red triangles. That way all your attention is hopefully drawn straight to the brute's maniacal stare...

Finally, I applied a coat of "Vallejo" White to both the street warrior's bandaged arms, and Heavy Sienna to all his leather straps. All of these areas were then shaded using a generous amount of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, before I completed the vigilante's reinforced baseball bat off with a mixture of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.

Monday, 12 August 2019

"You Have Walked Into My Ambush!"

"And I have brought my biggest combat spoon -- to eat your tasty brains!!!"
This 60mm tall model of Ape-X is produced by “Reaper Miniatures” and can be bought as Sku: 80001 from their Chronoscope range. Sculpted by Jason Wiebe, this polymer model appears to be a post-apocalyptic descendent of one of the "shaggy, intelligent apes" known as Dakon, which originally appeared in the 1981 edition of the "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" product the "Fiend Folio".

Super-glued onto a 50mm circular lipped based the figure was primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal, drowned in "Citadel" Nuln Oil and enthusiastically dry-brushed with (more) Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal. I then applied "Citadel" Abaddon Black to the giant monkey's chest, belly, toes and fingers, layered these areas with some additional "Vallejo" Charcoal, and finally blended them into its fur with extra "Citadel" Nuln Oil.
"Mantic Games" WIPs - Dexter, Axel and a zombie
All of Ape-X's cybernetic implants and adornments were first 'picked out' with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, and subsequently treated to a combination of Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. They were then dry-brushed with some (more) Ironbreaker before being tactically dabbed with a touch of “Mig Productions” Extreme Rust Wash. This application was later ‘toned’ down with another dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker and a considerable splash of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.

Finally, the bionic Dakon's teeth were treated to a coat of "Vallejo" White, followed by a dash of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, and his tongue pigmented using a "Vallejo" Heavy Red basecoat and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson wash. Interestingly, it was whilst painting the giant gorilla's mouth that I realised just how much of the sculpt's detail had been lost in its transition from metal to "Bones", for in all the old pictures I was using as a reference guide, the primate's individual lower teeth could clearly be seen. Whereas on the plastic version of Ape-X I was painting, his bottom molars consisted of just a solid single line running right along the mouth...
"Modiphius Entertainment" WIPs - Three female Borg drones from the collective
Having completed my latest model for my "Gamma World" campaign, I have also been making some progress on my Prisoner faction for "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" by "Mantic Games". I still have some way to go with Axel, but have added a lone zombie miniature into the painting mix simply to help break up the monotonous orange jumpsuits worn by all four of the inmates I want to field.

Lastly, I have completed all the base layers to my first three drones from the "Star Trek Adventures" Borg Collective boxed set by "Modiphius Entertainment". These resin miniatures now just need their cybernetic weaponry, tubing, eye attachments, body armour and pale grey flesh to be washed, before some minor metallic dry-brushed and "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey highlighting will see them done.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Top Ten Manufacturers Of 2016 - A "Fantorical" Viewpoint

The third article in my ongoing look back over the years at my favourite miniature manufacturers, this particular period interestingly precedes my utter obsession with “Doctor Who” and his adventures through Time and Space, and instead clearly demonstrates an almost unhealthy preoccupation with comic book super-heroes; both those created by “Marvel Worldwide” and “DC Comics”. In addition, I was just starting out with the then highly-controversial fantasy-based world of “Age Of Sigmar” by “Games Workshop”, and surprisingly popular “Frostgrave” by “North Star Military Figures”…

No.10 (Joint) - "Black Tree Design" - "Doctor Who"
Predominantly pigmented simply because Yeti were quick to paint and I needed some figures to post reasonably quickly, this horde of half a dozen abominable snowmen was actually the second such time I had finished an assortment of the Great Intelligence’s automatons, having previously painted a sizeable batch when the sculpts were originally produced by "Harlequin Miniatures". Bemusingly, I did later add the animated gargoyle Bok to my overall tally, but other than that “Black Tree Design” simply hit my radar through necessity/quantity as opposed to a desire to actually game with its models.

No.10 (Joint) – “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” - "7TV"
Building upon the back of a huge push during the previous year to paint up enough plant-infected humanoids with which to play a “Doctor Who And The Seeds Of Doom” flavoured game of “Zombicide”, as well as a similar desire to use “Guillotine Games” cooperative adventure board game to recreate Terry Nation’s world of “Blake’s Seven”, the only surprise concerning “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” was that more miniatures from its coffers weren’t finished during the year. Disappointingly, this was undoubtedly due to my “Doctor Who” game never being fully realised, and the “Blake’s Seven” campaign, which was actually using the original “Space Hulk” missions as a basis”, was brought to an abrupt halt after just a couple of battle reports.

No.8 - "Irregular Miniatures" - "Star Trek"
Featuring in the very first of my (Lead) Mountain Musings, a themed monthly attempt to try and reduce my backlog of unpainted lead, plastic and resin, this assortment of 6mm spaceships were predominantly posted during the month of September, and whilst the reimagined “Star Trek” vessels have never seen any actual tabletop action, the likes of ten tiny Blitzspear Class Corvettes (Romulan Raiders) and Perry Class Frigates (Soyuz-class Federation starships) still managed to leave a lasting mark upon my annual painting tally. Indeed, not only did this mini-project take on a life of its own as my initially modest ‘Federation Starfleet’ quickly dwarfed that of the ‘Romulan Star Empire’, but “Irregular Miniatures” Kitakami Class Tug (U.S.S. Enterprise) was voted my Eighth most popular model of 2016 by Dick Garrison in his annual Top Ten Miniatures - A "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" Viewpoint post.

No.7 - "Mongoose Publishing" - "Judge Dredd"
For any pledgers badly burnt by the “Judge Dredd Miniatures Game” “Kickstarter” run by “Mongoose Publishing” in September 2012, my participation in Zomtober 2016 was doubtless something of a sore point, as I showcased several of the Undead models financed by that particular farcically-run crowd-funder. However, despite predominantly utilising the plastic torsos of “Mantic Games” zombie sculpts, there is no doubting just how strongly these figures sparked my imagination for the Undead denizens of Mega-City One, and I even went so far as to personally contact ‘Mongoose Matt’ in order to secure supposedly the last of his Zombie Judge figures.

No.6 (Joint) – “Pulp Figures” – “Weird Menace - The Strange Villainy of Pulpdom"
Despite having previously pigmented Bob Murch’s marvellous Boys In Blue collection some twelve months earlier, there can be no doubt that the motivation behind painting this particular batch of sinisterly-robed goons was entirely due a need to safely reach my target tally in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge rather than wanting to progress any actual opposition for my characterful cops. However, that didn’t stop me undertaking a simple conversion so that at least one of the fearsome figures would be better armed with a rifle (as opposed to a lantern) should their diabolical machinations ever be interrupted by the law.

No.6 (Joint) – “Warlord Games” – “Doctor Who”
This ‘handful’ of “Doctor Who” figures initially caught my eye due to representing characters from “Nu Who” as opposed to the classic BBC Science Fiction Television programme, and resultantly helped me overcome my initial scepticism concerning both their significantly larger 32mm scale and my somewhat negative perception that the Nottingham-based producer was behind a number of other popular casters receiving ‘cease & desist’ orders for their ‘not-Who’ models. In addition, the re-booted Zygons were an absolute joy to paint, despite depicting the somewhat contentious ‘official’ paint-job of blackened hands/feet, and quickly became one of my favourite factions to field whilst playing  the “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” tabletop game.

No.4 – “North Star Military Figures” – “Frostgrave”
Arguably the successor to the old “Games Workshop” skirmish game “Mordheim”, I was ultimately somewhat disappointed by the sheer brutality of combat within Joseph A. McCullough’s rule-set, and as a result found my desire to continue playing “Frostgrave” rather fleeting. However, that dissatisfaction didn’t set in until after I had finished painting both an entire warband with alternative Mage and Apprentice, and a sizeable menagerie of animals. In fact, towards the end of my time exploring the frozen ruins of Felstad I even started trying to progress enough hard plastic skeletons so as to play the skirmish game’s Mausoleum scenario.

No.3 – “Reaper Miniatures” – “Chronoscope”
Churned out like so many cans on a food factory production line so as to provide me with a plethora of points for the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, this assembly of automatons actually proved much more time-consuming that initially envisaged due to both the need to pin several of their stick-thin limbs in place and my concern that any heavy-handed dry-brushing would actually result in a breakage. Fortunately, despite these fears, I actually managed to paint a staggering sixteen of the Cyber-Reavers up, plus finish the second member of a travelling party I planned to have wander the post-apocalyptic wasteland of “Gamma World”.

No.2 – “Games Workshop” – “Age Of Sigmar”
Definitely something of a fantasy gaming revelation for me, “Age Of Sigmar” firmly took me by the scruff of the neck and before long had me producing Plaguebearers like the puss-filled daemons were going to go out of fashion. Not only did this “successor to the discontinued… Warhammer” capture my imagination enough to paint a plethora of the Chaos Gods’ finest, ranging from the diminutive Nurglings, to monstrous Beast of Nurgle, but it additionally encouraged me to complete a whopping ten-strong unit of Bloodletters as well. In fact, I probably haven’t felt quite so strong a motivation to be able to field a fully-finished faction since I worked on both a British and German force for “Secrets Of The Third Reich” by “West Wind Productions” in 2014.

No.1 – “Wizkids” – “Heroclix”
By far and away the most popular genre, these pre-painted plastic superheroes dominated my hobby table, starting with a quantity of readily re-painted OMAC robots for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, and ending with the far more time-consuming stars and stripes of Captain America. In between times I also managed to whittle my way through an entire nine-strong swarm of “Horrorclix” Aliens, a ten-man squad of U-Men, and five members of “DC Comics” Metal Men, as well as converting a few of the New Jersey-based company’s Lackey figures into the bobble-hat wearing minions of Mister Freeze during the annual “Forgotten Heroes” challenge.