Saturday, 31 January 2015

28mm Battle Report: Batman and Daredevil Verses Nazi Zombies

This game of “ZombieTV” takes place upon my usual 2x2 gaming board which has been heavily populated with lots of sandbags, trenches and bunkers. This lay-out was created in order for us to play the scenario “the Dead Will Rise” from the “ZombieTV” skirmish spin-off rule book by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio”; albeit our game replicated a battlefield not a modern-day cemetery. The survivors have to simply get across the tabletop, corner to corner, zig-zagging through the defensive emplacements. We selected this scenario in order to get further acquainted with the variant “7TV” rules “ZombieTV” brings with it, and thought it would provide us with an excellent storyline with which to use some of my “Secrets Of The Third Reich” models by “West Wind Productions”.

“The story so far… The Phantom Stranger has recruited the help of several super-heroes in order to help him track down and stop something sinister which is happening in the past and threatening to destabilize the present as we know it. Tasked to investigate strange tales of the dead rising from their graves during the end of World War Two, Batman and Daredevil are dispatched to the Eastern Front in 1944 and immediately come under attack from Nazi Zombies. Eager to put some distance between themselves and the walking dead the two costumed crusaders embark upon a perilous route across a deserted battlefield… But just because nothing now lives within the eerily quiet trenches and bunkers, doesn’t necessarily mean nothing actually dwells there.”
Batman and Daredevil were placed in the northwest corner of the table, whilst a pair of zombies were placed in the northeast and southwest corners. The zombie officer leading the Undead was placed in the southeast corner. The game started with the Nazi corpses all simply slowly lurching towards the super-heroes. Batman ran east along the north edge of the table. Whilst Daredevil, snatching up a pistol from a severed hand lying on the ground, followed him. Both looked around sharply as a loud groan came from close by as a corpse clawed its way out of the ground before them.

“The Restless Dead” Event Card then caused another cadaver to pull itself from the muddy earth and before they knew it, the dynamic duo were facing two fresh Nazi zombies. With a ‘thwack’ the Dark Knight embedded a bat-a-rang into one of the zombies and moved south. Behind him, the Man Without Fear felled the latest Undead arrival with a bullet round. The noise was bound to attract further hungry zombies and to the east three more corpses stirred from their resting places.
Batman could now hear the scrambling of dead limbs clambering over battlefield emplacements all around him, and decided now was the time for a “Stirring Speech” to rouse the courage in his companion. Inspired Daredevil charged into a nearby zombie and floored it with his billy clubs. Then the blind vigilante doused the twitching corpse with gasoline from a handy nearby can of gas, and torched the fiend to oblivion. That’s one zombie that won’t be rising again. With a triumphant shout Hornhead then charged into a second walking German carcass and battered it to the ground as well.
Over the barbed-wire battlements however both heroes could hear more groaning, as their activity alerted “The Wandering Dead” and some more Third Reich walking corpses entered the table from both the northern and western edges. Batman and Daredevil swiftly headed south through the trenches as more zombies clambered over the sandbags and into the bunkers behind them. Movement up ahead alerted the Dark Knight to another corpse staggering towards him, whilst three more of the Undead were crawling out of a trench to the west.
Aware that they were being encircled, the two costumed crime-fighters sought for an opening in the approaching sea of clawing walking dead. A hand latched onto the Man Without Fear, and his billy club knocked the half-rotting ghoul to the ground. With a shout Daredevil charged into another cadaver and felled the fiend as well. Batman, sensing an opportunity to possibly split the hungry zombies rushed east using a (less than) Heroic Surge. Realising his back was no longer being covered, Daredevil used his Heroic Surge to leap over a wall of sandbags in front of him and put some distance between himself and the living German dead.
Despite rushing ahead, the caped crusader once again found himself facing Nazi zombies as two more rose from the mud before his very eyes. Doubtless woken by the low moan coming from the upright corpse of a German Officer in a nearby bunker. With a daring leap the Dark Knight leapt over a nearby pile of sandbags and past the hungry zombies. Daredevil too was facing many more of the living dead to the north, so charged into the fiends, breaking the head of one with his billy club. The Man Without Fear then started clambering up over an empty gun emplacement. But suddenly three more zombies pushed free from the muddy ground and staggered towards him.
With a loud groan, one corpse caught hold of Daredevil’s shoulder and pulled him back into the horde of snapping jaws behind him. The zombies were all around him now, tearing at him, desperate to get a firm hold and bite his flesh. Batman, sensing his comrade’s fatal plight, turned to give assistance and… “Cut!”

 The zombies were now assailing Daredevil with great energy. Hornhead punched one ghoul but failed to hurt it. He lashed out at another. But again their grip on him never slackened. One fiend tried to take a bite out of his shoulder, but missed. Whilst another, tottering over some nearby sandbags lurched towards him its arms outstretched for a deadly painful embrace. The Undead were also trying to take hold of Batman, but the caped crusader managed to dodge away from their fatal reach.
Deciding now was the time to “Seize The Moment” and automatically win the initiative Batman punched a nearby zombie in the face before heading southeast and safety. Behind him he could hear The Man Without Fear vainly resisting the advances of the surging Undead. A cry alerted Bruce Wayne to the fact that Daredevil had at last been bitten by the zombies; Matt Murdock’s death was now sadly but surely inevitable. A tug on his cape brought Batman back to reality as he tore free of the Third Reich corpse’s grip and utilised “Behind The Sofa”; allowing him to move that bit closer to the southeast corner.
Tasting blood the zombies swarmed over Daredevil, and with a faint final cry his red costume disappeared beneath a sea of German field-grey uniforms. Meanwhile, uncovering a hidden tunnel beneath the final obstacle to his goal and safety, Batman quickly cleared his escape route of debris and slipped away like a ‘Sewer Rat’ to continue the Phantom Stranger’s mission…
Having ended the game we looked to the Victory Points to establish just who had won. As Batman has survived with his 3 Hits still intact the super-heroes were awarded 3 Victory Points. Unfortunately, the Undead were awarded 2 Victory Points for 'overwholeming' Daredevil and a further 3 Victory Points for reducing the Survivor Side to half their models... so a win for the long-dead Third Reich. For now anyway...

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2014 - WIP - Week Seven

Abominable Snowman WIP - Light brown undercoat, brown wash and light brown dry-brush
This rather large model of Sasquatch by "Pulp Figures" was going to be the first of the two models from Bob Murch's code PLT07 Hairy Hominids that I was going to submit to the Myth themed bonus round of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

However I actually found myself trying to rush painting the figure in order to ensure it was ready for this weekend’s deadline, and as a result I was making foolish mistakes with my brush; such as missing portions of the miniature when applying my wash. Because of this I have taken some time away from the work table in order to recharge my batteries.

I was originally planning on painting the troglodyte white, in order to create a nice yeti for my games but in the end, I decided upon a much more warmer brown colour which would better suit a jungle environment than a polar one. This have given me a chance to see just how good “Vallejo” Heavy Brown and Strong Tone Quickshade by “The Army Painter” work together. Both this model and its similarly-sized companion figure still have some way to go yet before being finished but they should certainly be finished before the end of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.
Ape WIP - The third picture shows that the black wash has helped smooth the contrast of the charcoal dry-brushing
I was also planning on submitting the three models from “Pulp Figures” code PLT10 Killer Apes this weekend as well. But again found myself rushing and therefore messing up the models. I’ve previously been impressed with the way “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal has worked on black models as a highlight; especially with a couple of “Citadel” Nuln Oil washes. I thought the more heavily detailed large gorillas would establish whether the same technique would work on much rougher surfaces. Having applied just one liberal coat of the Shade over the ‘off-black’ I am admittedly somewhat uncertain. But the model won’t actually be finished until after I’ve highlighted the skin areas with more “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal so I'll wait until after that phase in its painting is completed before I decide whether the combination works or not.

Finally I have taken stock of just what I am actually finishing at present, and realised that I’m partially painting an awful lot of miniatures. This seems to be because I start painting something new every time a themed bonus round deadline imminently looms, and then afterwards I simply move on to the next new shiny, leaving numerous models, both metal and plastic, discarded on my shelf. As a result I don’t now plan to submit anything else to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge themed bonus rounds unless I happen to have something near completion when a deadline looms. I’m going to try and simply complete painting what I have currently got on the go.
Fist Of Khonsu WIP - The model now needs to be dry-brushed white before I can 'pick out' its details (again) 
Having said that, I have started one final “Heroclix” model in order to use him for a ‘street-level war’ “7TV” campaign I have planned for March. In addition this model of Moon Knight will be an excellent test piece to try out the “Vallejo” wash Pale Grey, before I finish painting the flowing white dress of a certain Supreme Commander of the Terran Federation.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

"The Most Perfect Killing Machine Ever Devised."

The Raston Warrior Robot from "The Five Doctors"
This 28mm metal model of a Raston Warrior Robot is from the British Science Fiction television series “Doctor Who” and made by “Black Tree Design” under code DW512. Whovian officionardos will recognise it as the the silver android which appeared in the 1983 twentieth anniversary special “The Five Doctors”.

This model is actually another of my long-forgotten “Black Tree Design” repaints. As a result I re-undercoated the miniature with “Citadel” Abaddon Black and then gave it a layer of “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey. Once dry I then washed him with “Citadel” Nuln Oil.

Despite being an extremely simplistic-looking ‘monster’ it unfortunately isn’t really all that well sculpted. Not only does it have rather large hands but it is far too short and squat for the lightning-fast acrobatic killing machine seen on the television programme. However what detail there was on the figure was drawn out with an initial dry-brush of “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey and then a lighter dry-brush of “Citadel” Mithril Silver.

Because ‘on-screen’ the robot’s featureless face is just a bright silver dome which is far shinier than its greyish (leotard-wearing) torso, I applied several heavier dry-brushes of Mithril Silver across the front of the face and blended it in with the rest of the model around the back.
"Tenth Planet" Cyberman - Washed, dry-brushed and face 'picked out' with black
To be honest I’ve used the Raston Warrior Robot as something of a test piece for the “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey, as I wanted to use a different metallic paint to that of my dwindling pot of “Citadel” Boltgun Metal” for the four “Tenth Planet” Mark I Cybermen miniatures I’ve recently found.
The Mark I Cyberman will have a grey-cloth face and human hands
As these original silver giants pre-date my bright silver “Tomb Of The Cybermen” models I thought the darker paint would give them a less sophisticated appearance. Having washed and dry-brushed them, including a highlight of “Citadel” Mithril Silver, I have now started picking out their grey-cloth faces and flesh hands. Both of which should really help make these “Black Tree Design” figures stand out from the rest of my growing Cyber Force.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

28mm Battle Report: Doctor Who Verses The Cybermen

This game of “ZombieTV” takes place upon my usual 2x2 gaming board which has been populated with a smattering of trees, through the centre of which runs a snaking road. At the north end of the road is a broken down truck and at the south are some fuel drums. This lay-out replicates that advised by the set up for the scenario “Break Down” in the “ZombieTV” skirmish spin-off rule book by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio”. The survivors have to get to the gas, bring it back to the truck and then escape in the vehicle. We selected this scenario in order to get reacquainted with the variant “7TV” rules “ZombieTV” brings with it, and thought it would provide us with an excellent storyline with which to use some long-neglected models by “Crooked Dice” and “Black Tree Design”.

“The story so far… Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and his UNIT scientific advisor, Doctor John Smith, are travelling back from some underground cave investigations at Wenley Moor, when they hear a Cyberforce has landed nearby and an invasion started. Eager to return to UNIT Headquarters and evade the attack, UNIT driver Gwyn Evans forgets to stop at a fuel depot en route and their truck grinds to a halt in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately some abandoned petrol barrels were seen just a mile back down the road, so the three UNIT members decide to disembark and collect them. But with Cybermen and Cybermats now roaming the countryside it isn’t just a simply matter of walking back, and there’s also a Cyber Controller to think about…”
All of the models were placed in their respective deployment zones as per the Episode’s set up. A number of House Rules were agreed in order to allow the Brain Survivor, Doctor Smith, to better represent the skills of Doctor Who; so his character was awarded the special effects Boffin and Gadgets – both of which aren’t ordinarily allowed in “ZombieTV”. 

As several weapons were also drawn as part of the Prologue’s Scavenger rules, this meant a number of pieces of equipment were shared out amongst the three men. Of note, Driver Evans was handed a useful one-shot miniature laser by his scientific advisor, the Brigadier grabbed a fire-axe from the truck, and the Doctor packed away a handy Matter Reducer ‘an old friend’ had once lent him.
Turn One saw the first of the “ZombieTV” Event Cards being played “Desperate Last Stand”. This caused Driver Evans, terrified at being ordered to remain and guard the truck, to rush west along the northern edge of the table, into the woods and towards three approaching Cybermen. Petrified the UNIT soldier was allowed to chance one shot from his high calibre rifle and he didn’t miss. A silver giant fell to the ground without a head – these alterations the Doctor had made to UNIT’s standard rifles were marvellous. Meanwhile to the east the scientific advisor spotted three fast-moving Cybermats scurrying from out the trees – doubtless attracted by the noise of Evans’ rifle. Swiftly he turned his sonic screwdriver towards one of the metal monsters but it was out of range. With a “Splendid fellow” the Brigadier jogged past the Doctor heading south down the road towards the fuel.
Turn Two saw the military officer suddenly collapse in a “Dead Faint” as his current twenty-four duty took its toll on the old soldier. Aghast the Doctor turned to see the Cybermats were now pouring out from the north-eastern woods towards them and Cybermen were stamping out from some foliage to the west. Evans, retreating back to the UNIT truck discharged the Doctor’s gift, and his miniature laser stopped another Cyberman. Only this one was simply deactivated and could shudder back to life again at a moment’s notice. Fortunately Lethbridge-Stewart gave a groan and got back to his feet… just as the silver giant Evans had just hit also began moving again.
In order to ensure the UNIT staff had the Initiative for the third turn, the Brigadier used his Star Quality, “Last Man On Earth”, to automatically give it to them. As a result the soldier marched briskly south down the road and shot a Cybermat. The bullet deactivated the robo rodent but attracted the attention of three more, who trundled towards him. Driver Evans, returning to the truck he was ordered to protect, deactivated another Cybermat with his rifle. But the high calibre weapon was quickly attracting the attention of the Cyber insects. Meanwhile the Doctor ran up behind the Brigadier and set his sights on running down the road after the petrol. But Cybermen were now appearing from amongst the trees all over the place; especially from the south-western woods. Though the main problem was the swarm of 5-6 Cybermats heading from the east and already scuttling across the road’s surface.
To make matters worse for UNIT, the event “The Restless Dead” caused a Cyberman to rise up out of the ground just behind the main Cybermat pack at the start of Turn Four. Another of the silver giants reached Evans, but the driver dodged the attack. From the western wood a Cyberman was fast approaching the Doctor. Whilst the Cybermats finally closed in on the Brigadier, one snapping at his feet but missing. Driver Evans managed to club the Cyberman grabbing at him and with a stroke of Luck did enough damage to the alien’s head to bring it to the ground for good. Using a shot of scavenged adrenalin he then placed the Cyberman about to attack the Doctor in his rifle’s sights and squeezed the trigger. The weapon jammed!!! Meanwhile Lethbridge-Stewart, Cybermats worrying his feet already caught sight of more of the tiny cyborgs racing to his position and pulled out the fire-axe. He chopped one but despite a Heroic Surge failed to hit any more of the fast-moving robo rodents. Doctor Smith, spun to confront the Cyberman about to apply a devastating karate chop to the Timelord’s neck, and fired off his Matter Reducer… He looked down at the small robot at his feet. It looked like a child’s toy.
Turn Five saw the Brigadier give a “Stirring Speech” which saw Driver Evans unjam his rifle and move towards his inspiring Leader. The Doctor managed to deactivate another Cybermat with his sonic screwdriver before disappearing into the western wood saying “I’ll be back in a moment old chap.” However Lethbridge-Stewart was too busy fending off the attacks of three Cybermats to respond.
Turn Six began by the Brigadier deactivating another Cybermat with his trusty fire-axe and the Doctor used the distraction to run even further south behind the western woods, down towards the petrol stash. He would have to be quick however as the Cybermats were now swarming around UNIT’s Commanding Officer, and they were finally under the specific leadership of the newly arrived Cyber Controller…

Dum Da Dum, Diddly Dum, Oo-ee-oos…

With Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart about to be submerged beneath a wave of Cybermats, and the Cyber Controller having finally arrived to personally lead his Cyber Forces, things did not look too good for UNIT and its scientific advisor. However at this point, as we called it a night, the military organisation technically still had 7 victory points and the Cyber Force had 0 victory points. Giving Doctor John Smith and his UNIT friends a momentary moral victory... at least until we play Part Two...

Thursday, 15 January 2015

"Witness Me, Mankind, As CyberKing Of All!"

This 160mm resin model is the CyberKing figurine made by “Eaglemoss Collections”. The steampunk-flavoured Cyber creation appeared in the British science fiction television series “Doctor Who” at the conclusion of the Christmas Day Special, “The Next Doctor” in 2008. Whovians will know that it was created by Russell T. Davies in order to have “A great big Cyberman… striding all over Victorian London!”
I was actually rather unimpressed when I first saw this model as it forms part of the publisher's 90mm "Doctor Who" figurine collection which up until its release, had actually managed to keep everything in scale with one another; despite having previously produced the TARDIS, a Slithereen and even the enormous Emperor Dalek from the 2005 story "The Parting Of The Ways". This CyberKing model however is horrifically undersized as its mouth alone should be the height of two Cybermen. As a result I wasn't planning on buying one but then thought it might be more acceptable on a 28mm battlefield.
The model was originally pre-painted an awful metallic blue with loads of brown rust all over it. The figure was also attached to a rather formidable thick resin stand. Indeed, when it came time to remove the CyberKing from its base, it was so firmly attached that the resin model broke into several pieces before it could be properly removed. This meant I had to drill and pin a number of pistons and chains back into place before I could even begin undercoating him. The disaster did however afford me the opportunity to both strengthen the clearly fragile legs of the figure and slightly alter his pose, so instead of standing straight up I was able to slightly manipulate his stance in order to try and portray him stepping slightly forward.
Once firmly attached (with screws) to his large oval 120mm wide base the CyberKing was given two thinned coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black in order to completely eradicate the previous rather garishly-coloured paint-job. The model was then painted Boltgun Metal and thoroughly washed with the Shade Abaddon Black. I then dry-brushed the entire model with more Boltgun Metal. This was an extremely time-consuming process as a lot of the detail on the sculpt was rather soft, and its former metallic blue paint-job had been rather liberally applied in places. In addition I had to keep stopping and re-doing the previous painting phases in order to deal with pockets of casting sand which the "Eaglemoss" painter had clearly simply plastered over.
Obviously Cybermen in general don’t rust, but as the Cyberking was made of metals scavenged from across Victorian London as opposed to Cyber technology, and he had been hidden beneath the Thames, I figured there would be some metal fatigue in some areas. As a result I dabbed some watered-down “Vallejo” Copper in appropriate areas, such as gears and leg pistons, and then washed these areas with some gloopy “Citadel” Devlan Mud.
Once dry I then dry-brushed back over these areas with Boltgun metal in order to blend them in with the rest of the model. Finally to give the mechanical behemoth a more Cyberman look I dry-brushed the entire model with a light covering of Mithril Silver in order to help bring out the finer detail.
One thing I did not especially like about the model was its glowing eyes, which I thought made it look a bit too ‘Metal Mickey’ for my liking. As a result I drilled out the eyes and left them as dark soulless holes similar to those of the normal Cybermen.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

"You Belong To Us. You Shall Be Like Us."

All of these 28mm metal models are based upon the Cybermen from the British Science Fiction television series “Doctor Who” story "The Tomb Of The Cybermen". This four-part serial opened Season Five back in September 1967 when Patrick Troughton was the (second) Doctor. They're made by “Black Tree Design” and "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio".
These eight Cybermen miniatures are all code DW207 Tomb Cyberman by "Black Tree Design". All of the Cybermen were first undercoated with “Citadel” Abaddon Black and then given a layer of Boltgun Metal. Once dry each was washed with the Shade Nuln Oil. The models were then dry-brushed with more Boltgun Metal before receiving a light dry-brush of Mithril Silver. Finally I picked out their chest and shoulder piping with Abaddon Black and washed around these areas with more Nuln Oil to blend them in.
This Cyber Controller figure is code DW217 by "Black Tree Design". The model does suffer from being slightly smaller in size than his fellow cybermen. Something which is greatly at variance with his television presence as the Cybermen's leader should be somewhat taller than his silver minions. But there’s a nice lot of detail on him to be brought out through dry-brushing. In fact too much detail, as the Cyber Controller does not actually have a chest device in "The Tomb Of The Cybermen".

The model was painted in exactly the same way as the Cybermen except his (slightly skewed) command dome was finished off with a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
These Cybermats are all Robo Rodent models by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio". I've previously painted five of the small 28mm miniatures before, but felt an additional five would allow me to 'table' a serious cyber-swarm. The cybernetic creatures were also painted the same way as my other Cybermen, with the exception of their eyes. As I wanted these models to mix with my previous Cybermats, I first painted all of their eyes with "Vallejo" White and then dabbed a spot of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson" in each pupil. This had the effect of giving the robo rodents nice deep pink eyes which lighten as the Shade bled out towards the area's edge.
When I first found this long-forgotten collection of "Doctor Who" miniatures I promised myself I was only going to paint one a week. Clearly I have finished far more models than that already, and frankly I have no intention of stopping any time soon. Indeed I have picked out a few more "Black Tree Design" figures which I hope to complete within the next few days. Both the Warrior Raston Robot and "Invasion" Cyberman will hopefully prove to be simple re-paints. Whilst the "Tenth Planet" Cyberman is one of four of the same miniature I hope to have ready for this Saturday's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge submission window.  

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Base Commander Escon Reporting, Sir."

This Federated Security Guard Commander with Balaclava is by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" and is from their excellent Federated Security Starter Set. Like the rest of their models in this (video-like) boxed set he's a ‘dead-ringer’ for one of the despicable black jump-suit wearing minions of the Terran Federation from the BBC science fiction television series “Blake’s Seven”.
The figure was initially given a double undercoat of “Citadel” Abaddon Black before being rather roughly dry-brushed with “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal. In my opinion this is an excellent paint to use when highlighting black, though I do find it still needs a few washes of “Citadel” Shade Nuln Oil just to tone down its contrast a little. Once dry I picked out his belt buckle and key chains with Mithril Silver and his Federation carbine rifle with Boltgun Metal. All of these areas were then washed with more Nuln Oil.
In addition to the commander I have also painted up four more Security Guards. A previous posting of mine explains how I painted the Security Guards, which can be found here:
I still have to finish painting quite of few more of these retro space liberators by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio", as well as some 'seductive' opposition. However whilst basing these three miniatures I realised that my 'Oleg Gan' had not been properly cast and was missing most of his right foot, so I've sculpted him a new one using green-stuff.

Friday, 9 January 2015

"Feelings? Yes, We Know Of This Weakness Of Yours."

The Mark II Cyberman from "The Moonbase"
This 28mm metal model of a Cyberman from the British Science Fiction television series “Doctor Who” is by “Black Tree Design” and is code DW207 Tomb Cyberman. Whovian officionardos will naturally recognise it as the Mark II Cyberman, which first appeared in the 1967 four-parter “The Moonbase”. However it is far more widely recognised as the Timelord’s foe from the story “Tomb Of The Cybermen”, which was broadcast later that year.

This model is actually a repaint, having found him amongst a box of long-forgotten miniatures during my New Year clear-up. Most of these “Black Tree Design” models were still in their blisters, so I’ve opened them all out into a container and plan to try and paint my way through them as the year progresses. Originally this figure’s paint-job simply comprised of a silver dry-brush over a black undercoat but I’d like to think I can paint a bit better these days, so I re-undercoated the miniature with “Citadel” Abaddon Black and then gave it a layer of Boltgun Metal. Once dry I then washed him with Nuln Oil.

I must confess to this figure being one of my all-time favourites, despite its rather static pose, but some of the features on the sculpt are a little soft. As a result I was rather worried if I put too much paint on him I’d ‘swamp’ some of the finer detail on his piping and chest unit. I was therefore very slow and patient when it came to dry-brushing the model first with a small amount of Boltgun Metal and then with Mithril Silver. Finally, as this was a 'Moonbase' Cyberman, I picked out his chest and shoulder piping with Abaddon Black.
More Mark II Cyberman reinforcements from"Black Tree Design"
At some point I’ve clearly bought quite a few of this particular miniature, and having repainted this one as a bit of a ‘test piece’ I have subsequently based them all and set to work building up their silver layers. I plan to enter them into this week’s Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge as part of a larger Cyberman Invasion Force, including a rather formidable-sized model for the Victorian Theme Bonus Round.
My original Cyberman paint-job, flanked by some Cyber Controller WIPs
Indeed I have been so taken with this particular "Doctor Who" distraction that I’ve also based and started painting this nice looking “Black Tree Design” Cyber Controller as the ground force’s leader. The model does suffer from being slightly smaller in size than his fellow cybermen. Something which is greatly at variance with his television presence as he should be somewhat taller. But there’s a nice lot of detail on him to be brought out through dry-brushing. In fact too much detail, as the Cyber Controller does not actually have a chest device in "The Tomb Of The Cybermen".
Some Robo Rodents by "Crooked Dice Design Studio" and something much larger...
 Finally I have been working on something larger than anything I have painted before. However one of the things I have really enjoyed about the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is that it is giving me an opportunity and motivation to tackle models I would ordinarily think twice about working on. This monster is 160mm in height and has proved to be a major nightmare to work on as a result of breakages, hidden pockets of casting sand lurking beneath its original lack-lustre paint-job and just generally trying to hold something so big and heavy with one hand in order to get a brush on it. Still it’s now close to completion and will be my submission for the Victorian Theme Bonus Round tomorrow.

What I especially like about this particular period in the Cybermen's history is that they did not have any significant built-in weaponry. Admittedly they did use x-ray laser cyberguns and could incapacitate ‘fleshy ones’ by electrocuting them. But predominantly they were unarmed and killed by delivering a karate chop to the neck. Unarmed implacable monsters slowly stalking their prey in order to get their hands on them sounds like a fine foe for some “ZombieTV” to me.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

"Unit Three Move In."

These five 28mm Federated Security models are by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and are ‘dead-ringers’ for the dastardly black-clad henchmen of the Terran Federation from the BBC science fiction television series “Blake’s Seven”. Three of the miniatures, which are slightly thinner than ‘heroic 28mm’ scale and are somewhat sedentary, have been sculpted by “Crooked Dice” regular Ian Mountain. Whilst the more dynamically posed and slightly thicker-set Federation goons are by Martin Buck. All of the models came with separate heads.
Each figure was initially given a double undercoat of “Citadel” Abaddon Black before they were all rather roughly dry-brushed with “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal. This is a new paint to me, although I have owned it for quite a while as it came as part of a larger set of dropper bottles, so I wasn’t entirely sure what effect it would actually have on the models. Needless to say I’ll be using it in the future to highlight all of my predominantly black coloured figures as it really brought out the detail of each model’s sculpting. However I did feel the need to tone down its contrast to the undercoat somewhat so I applied the first of three eventual washes of the “Citadel” Shade Nuln Oil over each miniature.
Once dry I painted each helmet’s green trim with a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and “Citadel” Thrakka Green, and all of the figures’ visors with “Vallejo” Heavy Red. Finally their belt buckles and Federation rifles were painted with “Citadel” Boltgun Metal and their key chains with “Mithril Silver”. All of these areas, except the helmet trim, were then given two coats of Nuln Oil to tie them all together.
I am currently working on a second squad of these 'terrifying troopers', having bought both the Federated Security Starter Set from "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio", as well as a few additional carbine-carrying guards. Indeed, having almost finished their Guard Commander with Balaclava I have managed to dry-brush four of the henchmen's jump suits with charcoal and 'pick out' the trim on their gas mask helmets.
Originally I had swapped two of the models' heads with those from the company's Balaclava head sprue in order to create a couple of non-commissioned officers. But I found the heads to be slightly too large for my liking and as a result they seemed to actually make the miniatures marginally taller than those wearing the helmets; something which irked me to the point where I swapped the heads back.

Instead my Terran Federation forces will now be lead by Space Commander Travis, using the wonderfully understated Stefan Travers miniature by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio".

Monday, 5 January 2015

28mm Battle Report: Blake's Seven, Rocket Raccoon and Groot Verses Ultron

This “7TV” adventure takes place using my “Space Hulk” board sections confined within a 2x2 gaming area. Five areas were identified to contain objective markers, ranging from values 1 – 5. The winner was the side who held the most points at the end of the sixth turn. However no-one knew how many points each objective was worth until the end of the game. This scenario was designed to establish how the High Maintenance and Boffin rules, found within the “Villains Programme Guide” “7TV” rule supplement worked.
“+++Information+++ The Liberator is in orbit above the Federation Research Base Pym One, having intercepted a distress call from the scientists there that the facilities have been invaded by a humanoid robot called Ultron. Orac has ascertained that the computer banks within the base contain large amounts of data which would be useful to the Liberator crew in their fight against the Federation. However before teleporting down, Blake has been contacted by the starship Rack ’n’ Ruin and agreed to conduct a joint expedition with its captain, Rocket Raccoon and his partner Groot…”

Because we were using board sections instead of an ‘open’ playing surface, in order to replicate the atmosphere of tight corridors, a House Rule was agreed that although the Dreadnought robots’ 40mm bases were wider than some of the floor sections, they’d still be able to walk through them. But nothing else would be able to get past unless it could fly or climb across the ceiling. This was important to clarify as during the Prologue Ultron was equipped with both Climbing Suckers and a Jet Pack, amongst other items. In addition it would take the models one complete action to download the computer information from each of the data terminals. They could then carry the information with them. However if they were knocked out or killed then they’d immediately drop the data chips they were carrying. 

The heroes’ deployment zone was in the north-eastern corner, whilst Ultron and three Dreadnought robots would start in the opposite corner of the complex. As Ultron had the disadvantage Cameo, we rolled a 1D3 to determine the turn which the model could first activate. The robot would not start the game until Turn Two. In addition the villain also had the disadvantage Love To Hate, which meant his ‘cast’ would receive one less Audience Appreciation marker each turn.
At the start of Turn One, Roj Blake, Rocket Raccoon and Groot teleported down to their start location. The freedom fighter was immediately thrown as the sentient tree-like creature had a bright blue bucket on his head. Apparently this was Rocket’s idea of a Disguise Kit for his friend, which gained Groot the Infiltrator special effect and would allow him to move within 2” of Ultron and his Dreadnoughts without detection. Shaking his head the human ran off west up the northern edge corridor towards the base’s north-western room and the computer terminal within it [Objective One]. Rocket and Groot moved south together with the plan that the anthropomorphic raccoon could download the data from the ‘central’ terminal [Objective Four] whilst the Monarch of Planet X, hoping his ‘robot disguise’ would keep him safe from enemy fire, would carry on towards the base’s south-eastern room [Objective Five]. Sensing the presence of living life-forms within the lay-out two of the Dreadnought robots marched out from their robotic master’s ‘throne room’.
Turn Two saw Ultron emerge from his private chamber. One Dreadnought headed north towards a computer terminal located at a corridor cross-way [Objective Two] near the western edge of the complex. Whilst the other tall robot marched east down the southernmost corridor towards another alcove-situated computer terminal [Objective Three]. Blake continued running west towards the north-western room [Objective One] and fleetingly caught sight of one of the huge metallic blue-armoured robots as he dashed past a corridor. Meanwhile Rocket reached the computer terminal housed within the facility’s central room [Objective Four] and downloaded its data.
At the beginning of Turn Three we realised that we hadn’t played the Event Longstanding Grudge during the Prologue, but agreed to play it now instead. Hopefully this game would be the start of a long-running battle of wits between the mighty Ultron and the inferior human Roj Blake – How dare the puny fleshy one challenge the will of one powered by an internal nuclear furnace!?! In game terms however it simply meant that these models could re-roll failed hits made against one another. Certainly Blake was already becoming a major concern for the villain as he reached the north-western room [Objective One] and downloaded the data stored there.  Meanwhile, trusting Groot could get the job done on his own, Rocket raced west up a U-bend of corridors in order to support Blake. Dispatching a third (and final) Dreadnought from his Throne Room, Ultron received news that the non-sentient robotic combat instrument had downloaded the data from the terminal located in the southern corridor [Objective Three].
Disconcertingly for Ultron, the next turn saw the Event card No Faith In The Plan being played, which in effect made his robotic brain realise that his Dreadnoughts were moving too slowly throughout the research facility to assure his victory. As a result Hank Pym’s creation activated his Jet Pack and flew straight down the southern-edge corridor, over the head of one of his robots, and landed just behind the Dreadnought with the data chip. Utilising his Climbing Suckers, Ultron then scuttled past this giant robot as well, and ended his move close to the complex’s south-eastern room [Objective Five]. Turning, the nearest Dreadnought marched down the corridor directly behind his master. Groot, realising he was fast running out of time, increased his own pace towards the south-eastern room. Meanwhile in the opposite corner of the research facility, Blake, sensing the imminent approach of a Dreadnought, tucked himself away in a corner at the end of the corridor and prepared to step out and fire his weapon.
With the anticipation of a fire-fight starting at one end of the table and a fist-fight at the other, there was stunned silence as the Casting News Event card was played, and both actors playing Ultron and Roj Blake were recast; predominantly Sally Knyvette replacing Gareth Thomas. As a result, and as a bit of fun, we swapped the models of Ultron and Blake for those of Jocasta and Jenna Stannis.

Blake, now wearing high heels and sporting bright blonde hair, stepped out in front of the approaching Dreadnought and fired… missing. Using her Luck, the freedom fighter fired once more but again missed. Utilising Heroic Surge, and gaining two more actions as a result, Blake took careful aim [+2 Shooting dice roll] and hit the tall robot. But although the blast penetrated its titanium steel alloy shell it failed to damage the brute. Elsewhere, Groot, throwing off the blue bucket from his head, charged into Ultron with all his might. But to no effect due to the villain’s Invulnerable Adamantium armour. However all was not lost as the Dreadnought behind Ultron decided to open fire upon the Monarch of Planet X, despite him being locked in combat with Hank Pym’s creation. Fortunately for the sentient tree-like creature the Dreadnought’s shot struck Ultron but despite being a high calibre energy blast, it also was unable to penetrate the villain’s armour.
The final Turn saw Ultron try and pull out all of the stops and bring down Groot before the ‘possibly malfunctioning’ Dreadnought behind him inadvertently shot him again. Activating a hidden blade [Dagger Shoe] from one of his feet, the robot kicked out at Groot, but found the bark of the Flora Colossus just as impenetrable as his own adamantium shell. As a result a slug-fest begun but each blow failed to damage the Monarch of Planet X. Exasperated, Ultron activated an Adrenaline Boost for a final ‘last gasp’ action but rolled a one. With a sense of horror, the villain then heard the Dreadnought behind him power up his weapons once again and felt the idiotic robot’s energy blast burn into his back for a second time. Fortunately for the robot, his armour was proving to be as Invulnerable as Groot’s bark. Finally, aware of an awful racket taking place far behind him, Rocket scurried up to Blake’s position. Whilst the freedom fighter downloaded the data from the nearby computer terminal [Objective Two].

As the game ended and the three heroes teleported back to their respective space vessels, it was revealed that the Dreadnought with the data chip had 4 points worth of information and Rocket only had 1 point. However Blake had acquired a total of 5 points from his two data chips, giving the crews of the Liberator and Rack ’n’ Ruin victory.