Tuesday, 30 May 2017

“But Through Our Sacred Leaders. The Terminators. We Were Saved.”

"The alien was cast out and Mighty Terra rose again."
Inspired by the fanatical warriors of Terra as drawn by Kevin O’Neill in the “2000 A.D.” comic book series “Nemesis The Warlock”, this multi-part 28mm hard plastic ‘Terminator’ has been built using parts taken from the Frostgrave Cultists boxed set by “North Star Military Figures” and the Nottingham-based company’s Cultist Sci-Fi Accessory Pack. This model is the third such member of Tomas de Torquemada’s “quasi-religious order” I have painted in recent weeks, and completes the human Purity Squad I want to accompany the Grand Master in some games of “Mutants And Death Ray Guns”.

The miniature was initially primed with “Citadel” Chaos Black and dry-brushed with “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal in order to help me see all of the figure’s detailed leatherwork, armour and straps. I next painted the Terminator's boots and belt with Heavy Sienna’, and later washed them with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
"And it was decreed that all aliens must be exterminated..."
So as to bring some colour to the Termight warrior, as opposed to their predominantly all-black palette as shown on the cover illustration of Issue 230 of “2000 A.D.”, I used some “Vallejo” Heavy Red to ‘pick out’ the model’s undergarment and sleeves, and subsequently washed these areas with a healthy dose of “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson. In addition, I painted the fervent alien-hater’s body armour and maniacal plated face mask with a coat of “Vallejo” Gold and shaded it with “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade.

With all the Terminator’s clothing finished, I turned my attention to his formidable-looking heavy machine gun and treated the entire firearm to a coat of “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey. The weapon was then washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil, lightly dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey, and finally had its ammo belt covered in “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade so as to give the bullets a ‘coppery-feel’.
Gang Fighter WIPs - The Boromite has had his armour, pouches and equipment painted
Lastly, I tackled the model’s rather poorly sculpted hands by painting them “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone, and subsequently washing them with “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade”. Unfortunately, the casting of the warrior’s fingers was rather indistinct in places, so I used some extra “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone to ‘draw’ some onto the hands where I could.

Despite this distraction, I have still managed to dedicate plenty of hobby-time towards my ongoing ‘battle’ with a scouting force of “Warlord Games” Boromites. Currently, I’m still working my way through the first five (of ten) Gang Fighters I wish to field for “Beyond The Gates Of Antares”. But having returned to simply painting them up in ones and twos, as opposed to batch painting a load of them, I feel as if I’m finally seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel; at least as far as this first tactical infantry unit is concerned…

Monday, 29 May 2017

"And Then Came The Sickness."

"Forests rotted from the inside, and the filth of Chaos streamed forth in noxious waves."
These two 28mm Plaguebearers can be assembled from the sprues found inside the "Games Workshop" Plaguebearers of Nurgle boxed set, and are the final pair of miniatures needed so I can finally field a twenty-strong unit of the Plague God's loathsome Lesser Daemons for "Age Of Sigmar". Destined to form the centre of my Befouling Host of Nurgle's 'battleline', and flanked by at least one Herald of Nurgle, I'm hoping these boil-covered Tallymen will prove well worth the 200 points the rule-set's "General's Handbook" currently states they cost. 

Both figures, as well as the Nurgling, were initially given an undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and washed with “Citadel” Biel-Tan Green. The bloated warriors were then dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki before having their horns, open sores and teeth ‘picked out" with “Citadel” Abaddon Black.
The Ghost WIPs - The industrial saboteur has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
In order to represent the diseased Plaguebearers' long suffering with Nurgle’s Rot, I coated various parts of their stomach-churning anatomy with either “Vallejo” Heavy Red or Heavy Warmgrey, and subsequently washed these areas with “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson. Finally the pair's boils and pimples were dabbed with a spot of “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre and then treated to some “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade.

This year's visit to the "MCM London Comic Con" has also helped refuel my interest in "Age Of Sigmar" as I was able to purchase a copy of the "Games Workshop" Skirmish rules whilst there. This latest publication from the Nottingham-based company promises the opportunity to "take command of a small but elite group of warriors in fast-paced, objective-focused battles", and has already seen me assemble a 50-renown warband of Nurgle.  
"Expedition To The Barrier Peaks"
In addition, the country's leading event for all "sci-fi fans, gamers, comic collectors, movie buffs and anime enthusiasts" also featured both a display of the leading actors costumes worn during "DC Films" 2017 motion picture "Wonder Woman", and the formidable presence of "The Incredible Hulk" television actor Lou Ferrigno. This has undoubtedly given me something of a 'superhero' bug currently, and as a result I have found myself re-basing and priming a number of straightforward "Wizkids" figures.

My "Heroclix" figure of the Ghost is a case in point, who, despite being sculpted to represent the industrial saboteur as he looked when he was originally Iron Man's arch-nemesis, as opposed to the version who later repeatedly battled Spider-Man, has leapt up my painting queue and been quickly undercoated "Vallejo" White, washed with Pale Grey and dry-brushed.
Daleks battle Cybermen and Cybermats in order to locate the cargo of a crashed space freighter
However, perhaps my biggest 'motivator' at "MCM London Comic Con" was my chance find of the "Dungeon & Dragon" module "Expedition To The Barrier Peaks". This out-of-print 1980 "playing aid" by "TSR Hobbies Inc", which includes a "deluxe set" of over sixty illustrations, was "the official Dungeons & Dragons Tournament scenario at Origins II", and was written by Gary Gygax as an introductory adventure into the world of "Metamorphosis Alpha". As you can probably imagine it'll now form the basis of a sci-fi/fantasy campaign using the "Mutants And Death Ray Guns" rule-set by "Ganesha Games"... 

Friday, 26 May 2017

"Daleks Do Not Take Orders."

"But you have no weapons! No defenses! No plan!"
These three 28mm scale models of a Dalek are produced by “Warlord Games” and can be assembled from the plastic sprues found within the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" "fast-paced tabletop miniatures game". Created by Terry Nation (and Raymond Cusick) in 1963, this particular variant of the Kaled's Mark III travel machine is based upon their Time War shell and first appeared in the April 2005 BBC Television series story "Dalek".

As I have already finished my force's Patrol Leader and three Daleks, these particular new additions will now provide me with enough Skaro mutants to field the three Dalek recruitment cards needed for the rule-set's opening scenario "A Meeting Of Metal"; an introductory six turn battle which sees the Daleks and Cybermen fighting over the scattered cargo of a crashed space freighter. 
"We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek!"
Having super-glued the 'Metaltrons' onto 40mm lipped circular stands, the miniatures were initially primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna before being treated to a double coat of Brass. I then generously washed all three models with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and gave them a heavy dry-brush of more "Vallejo" Brass. 

With the 'easy phase' finished, I subsequently picked out each of the Master Race's eye stalks, control arms and multi-range variable power destructors with a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. In addition, the Daleks' audio scanners were 'picked out' with "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey, whilst the pepper pots' fenders were painted with "Citadel" Abaddon Black.
Destroyed Dalek WIPs - The objective marker has been primed, washed, and dry-brushed 
Despite having yet to play "Doctor Who: Exterminate!", I am already somewhat keen to build up my Dalek faction to four Recruitment cards. This will enable me to then use Davros' pitiless creations as the attackers in the rule-book's second scenario, "Ship Of Death", where they'll be attempting to thwart the Cyber-Leader from launching a powerful starship which "will end the war."

Unfortunately however, one of my remaining "easy-fit plastic" Dalek models simply refused to go together, and resultantly has become an early casualty of their war with the Cybermen. This change of fortune for the figure in question though does not mean it won't see any tabletop action, as I have simply glued it to a 40mm thin-lipped circular stand in order to use it as an objective marker.
Necron Raider Objective WIPs - The partially destroyed robot has been thoroughly rusted
I actually seem to be on something of a 'run' of painting distressed robots and broken automatons, as I've also been progressing a second partially destroyed "Games Workshop" Necron Raider at the same time. This old Second Edition "Warhammer 40K" miniature has lost both its legs, and is seemingly defunct. But one can never tell with the "race of mechanical warriors" and it may well be, should the vignette be utilised as a 'spawn marker', that it is simply the first of the Necrontyr's creations to reach the surface...

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

"Explorators Report... Status Priority Red."

"Fate has delivered into our hands the remains of one of the enemy raiders."
This 28mm metal model of a Necron Raider was produced back in 1997 by "Games Workshop" and is one of five mechanical warriors which were included in the "Warhammer 40K" race's boxed set. Previously mutilated in order to provide some other figures with cybernetic limbs, this formidable sculpt was very generously gifted to me by Dave Stone of "Wargames Terrain Workshop" fame, and has resultantly become the first of three Necron-themed objective markers I have planned to accompany my small-sized 'Oldhammer 40K' Necron raiding party. 

Having first been super-glued to a thin 40mm base, and appropriately angled with the aid of some "Gale Force Nine" Grey Stuff, the defunct automaton was primed with "Citadel" Abaddon Black and subsequently layered with Ironbreaker. The skeletal robot was then washed with Nuln Oil, roughly dry-brushed with more Ironbreaker, liberally treated to a coating of "Mig Productions" Extreme Rust Wash, and finally given a second dry-brush of Ironbreaker.
Ultron-14 WIPs - The robot has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
A similar technique was applied to the Necron warrior's Gauss Flayer using "Citadel" Abaddon Black and "Mig Productions" Extreme Rust Wash; albeit the weapon's tip was painted using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Khaki and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green. As a last touch, so as to imbue the distressed machine with an Egyptian aura, the robot's detailed collar was 'picked out' using "Vallejo" Gold and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, Vallejo "Heavy Blue" and "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade", as well as "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.

Sticking with the metallic robot theme, I have started work on an Ultron-14 "Heroclix" model I found whilst scrambling through my pre-painted "Wizkids" collection for some odds and ends to send Steve from "The Game Cupboard". I've painted up a previous incarnation of the Avengers' nemesis before, but felt this upgraded variant, capable of "Thermal Targeting", would make a welcome addition to my ever-growing horde of insane comic book automatons.
Time War Daleks WIPS - The Kaleds have had their eye-stalks, sensors, weapons and plungers all 'picked out'
For now I have simply primed the model with some "Citadel" Abaddon Black, and started building up the artificial intelligence's adamantium outer armour with a combination of Nuln oil and patiently dry-brushed Ironbreaker. However, before Ultron-14 is finished I hope to have 'picked out' his red optical sensors and darkly foreboding skull-like maw.

Finally, I have finished all the layers needed on three more of my "Warlord Games" Daleks, and now simply need to apply a variety of washes over the Kaled Mark III travel machines to finish them. As a result I'm hoping to get these models varnished and flocked over the next few days, and finally settle down to play "A Meeting Of Metal"; the opening scenario to the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" "fast-paced tabletop miniatures game."

Monday, 22 May 2017

"Boromites Are Always Ready To Up Sticks..."

"...And move on should the need arise."
This 28mm metal model of a Gang Fighter is manufactured by "Warlord Games" and is one of five miniatures which come as part of the Boromites' Gang Fighter boxed set. Heavily detailed, almost to the point of frustration, with all manner of pouches, electronic equipment and reflex armour, the mag gun-carrying soldier will form part of my Scouting Force's two main Tactical Infantry Units, and has been additionally armed with plasma grenades ("at 2pts per model"). 

Originally undercoated with "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, the figure was washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil, before having a layer of Chaos Black applied over all of its weaponry. The mining model's armour was then slowly 'picked out' with "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre, and subsequently washed with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade in order to dirty it up somewhat.
"Frostgrave" Sci-Fi Terminator WIPs - The model now simply needs some washes to be applied
As I didn't like the predominantly black pouches and weapons illustrated within the "Beyond The Gates Of Antares" rule-book, I instead painted the miniature's pocket-bags with a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Brown and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, whilst shading its "Citadel" Ironbreaker mag gun with Nuln Oil. As a last touch I highlighted the firearm's power source using some "Vallejo" Heavy Khaki and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green, and the occasional piece of wiring with "Vallejo" Heavy Blue and "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade.

Despite so much time now being spent 'picking out' all the fiddly detail on my Boromites, I have still managed to give my "Nemesis The Warlock" mini-project a little more attention by working on the last of the "North Star Military Figures" figures I plan to use as one of Tomás de Torquemada's infamous Terminators. This particular model, much like his two predecessors, has been assembled using the disappointing mix of a plastic "Frostgrave" Cultist torso and the Nottingham-based company's Cultist Sci-Fi Accessory Pack.
Time War Daleks WIPS - The Kaleds have been primed, washed and dry-brushed
Admittedly, I think the resin heavy machine-gun, complete with lengthy ammunition belt, looks awesome, should certainly help Terra's "quasi-religious order" eliminate plenty of extra-terrestrials. But the poor, rough-hewn sculpting of the 'fascist' warrior's hands has once again caused me a few issues with my paintbrush. Fortunately however, I have persevered, and the model now simply needs the application of a few washes, some dry-brushing and highlights.

Lastly, eager to play my first game of this year's main "Salute" purchase, "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" by "Warlord Games", I have primed, layered, washed and dry-brushed the other three Time War Daleks I require for the introductory scenario "A Meeting Of Metal". These multi-part plastic miniatures really have proved to be a 'bit of a swine' to assemble, on account of their supposed "easy-fit" snap-together bodies, and resultantly, at least one of my Kaled force's other models will now be used as a 'destroyed Dalek' objective marker; having lost a battle with a pair of pliers...

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Guild Ball Report: The Union Verses The Engineers

This game was played using the Quick Start rules of “Guild Ball” by “Steamforged Games Ltd”, and is the first in a series of 'friendlies' between the Union and the Engineers Guild, which should hopefully allow us to slowly build up our Season Three teams. For the opening match, both clubs will field the minimal number of players (the captain and two team members) on a 2' x 2' pitch, with the winner being the side to attain six victory points. In addition, apart from two small trees representing the teams' goals, there will be no extra scenery or terrain in place to affect either "how the ball reacts" or "how models traverse the pitch."

"Greetings sports fans, and welcome to today's so-called 'friendly' between the mismatched bunch o’ mercenaries, scum and criminals known as the Union, and the clockwork machines of the Engineers Guild. Both sides have everything to play for, with the losing side vowing to finance their opponents for an entire nights worth of ale at landlord Stone's Whisky & Beer Workshop. Leading out the home favourites is the ruthless pirate king of the sea, Union club captain, Blackheart, followed by the deadly Rage and formidably-sized Centre Back, Fangtooth. Whilst only now emerging to the boos of the crowd are their opposition, Ballista and the Mechanica, Velocity and Hoist..."
Having won the coin toss and elected to kick-off, Fangtooth ponderously jogged forwards towards the pitch's centre circle and attempted to punt the ball across the half-way line into the Engineer's side of the field. The excited crowd roared as the massive brute's bare foot successfully connected with the inflated pig-skin and heaved it into 'enemy territory'.

Utilising one of her two influence, Velocity sped northwest towards to take possession of the ball, and then used another influence to re-position herself (using "Dodge") further south, deeper inside her team's half of the field. Blackheart, spotting that his centre-back had clearly kicked the ball far too close to the Engineer's best goal-scorer activated his character trait "Shadow Like", and moved 2" towards the Mechanica striker for free. With a swirl of his cutlass he then sprinted a further 6" towards his target.
Sensing his team-mate was already in some danger, Ballista moved east towards Velocity and with a 'thunk' hit Blackheart square in the chest with a crossbow bolt. The Figeon's "Deadbolt" character play caused the sea pirate to suffer a 2" push backwards, knocked him down and caused him three damage. It was first blood to the Engineers, and the already hostile crowd started to murmur about invading the pitch and stringing the portly defensive midfielder up by his ankles. Realising he might be in imminent danger from attack, and not just from the players on the opposing team, Ballista spent his final two influence activating his "Minefield" ability, and surrounded himself with a 4" wide aura of mines...

Skirting Fangtooth's "Foul Odour" (a character trait which automatically forces any model within 3" of the Ethraynnian to treat open-ground as rough-ground), Rage spent his only influence to sprint 7" towards the centre of the pitch, and then watched as Hoist moved northeast to intercept him. However, before the Mechanica could reach the "Maverick", Fangtooth was upon him, charging into the clockwork player with a frightening bellow, and subsequently adding four dice to his attack pool. Nine dice rolls and four hits later, the battered Engineer automaton had just eight health points left, and would have had less if not for his "Tough Hide".
Snatching the initiative, the Union pressed home their attack on the Engineers' attacking midfielder, and quickly had the crowd roaring in pleasure as Fangtooth seemingly floored Hoist. Unfortunately though, the Mechanica used his "Sturdy" character trait to "ignore the first knocked-down condition placed upon it". But didn't manage to stay on its wooden feet for much longer as the foul-smelling behemoth battered it down into the mud, and gained the Union some valuable momentum in the process.

Meanwhile, somewhat east to the centre of the pitch, Ballista charged into the prone Blackheart, and rolled ten attack dice as a result. Despite suffering -1 to his Defence due to being "Knocked-down", the pirate king's armour deflected two of the Engineer's seven successes. But that was not enough to prevent him from suffering two damage and being pushed 2" back. In addition, the unsportsmanlike assault gained Ballista's side a valuable point of momentum, something which would prove invaluable in the near future...
Suspiciously smirking at Blackheart's fate, the butcher-like Castellyian clearly has his eye on the Union captain's armband for himself, Rage charged Hoist and, thanks to Fangtooth's 'Ganging-Up' bonus, attained an impressive eight hits. Sparks started to fly from the internal workings of the Mechanica, as he was reduced to five health points and suffered a "Concussion"; one of Rage's character plays which robs its target of one influence.

With a blood-thirsty roar, and entering an absolute "Frenzy", the meat carver-carrying psychopath attacked Hoist again, and then again. Pieces of wood flew from the attacking midfielder's limbs, as Rage literally began chopping him to bits, and by the time the maniacal Union player had finished, the automaton had but a couple of health points left.
Unwisely though, all eyes had strayed away from Velocity, and suddenly the Engineer's striker sprang into action with an 8" sprint straight up the centre of the pitch towards the Union's goal. With a series of clicks, and using its side's momentum, the Mechanica kicked the ball directly towards the tree in front of her. The Ethraynnian rolled four dice, needing just one to succeed, and watched as they landed on a one, two, three... and finally, a four. The automaton had scored, and the Engineer's Guild were 0-4 victory points up over their opponents...    

Despite a crescendo of boos and yells the ball somehow found its way back onto the pitch, in the northwest corner, behind Rage and Fangtooth. Blackheart, sensing his team needed his leadership now more than ever, used a momentum to "Take A Breather" (and remove his Knocked-Down" condition), and then charged into the goal-scorer velocity. The Union captain rolled ten dice, but as a result of requiring 5+ to hit (due to the Mechanica's high Defence), the pirate king only caused two damage and created a single point of momentum.
Hoist, likewise, similarly used a momentum to "Take A Breather" and then flung himself at Rage. The wooden attacking midfielder managed to cause one damage, push the Union player back 1" and generate a momentum point. But was less successful in his assault upon Fangtooth, as the Human centre back simply relied upon his "Gluttonous Mass" to ignore "the first time each turn" that he is "hit by an enemy attack or character play".

With the match already entering its final phase, Fangtooth finally silenced the annoying clockwork machine desperately trying to pummel his huge frame with brass-knuckled fists, by knocking Hoist's head clean off. The Engineers' bench would need some time to properly re-assemble the mechanical construct and in the meantime the Union were awarded two victory points for the Take-Out; bringing the team of cut-throats back into the game with a score of 2-4. Incredibly however, the smelly behemoth was far from finished, and spending two influence subsequently lumbered into Velocity and started battering the Engineer's star striker for three points of damage. 
Realising that he must act quickly or lose his second Mechanica to the Union's attacks, Ballista fired his crossbow at Blackheart, but cursed as he saw the bullet ineffectively fly wide of its target. With a shout of fury, the portly captain charged into his cutlass-wielding foe, and sensationally caused five points of damage with a successful 'wraparound' attack.

Staggering, the pirate king lashed out at both Ballista and Velocity, and managed to inflict a single wound upon both with a swish of his formidable blade. In return, the clockwork striker caught Blackheart a solid blow to the side of the head, causing the Union Captain one point of damage. But the Sultarish wasn't too phased, as to his west Rage collected the ball, and looked towards an unprotected Engineers goal.

To the south, a large amount of booing indicated that somehow the Engineers' "Icy Sponge" had miraculously managed to get Hoist back upon his wooden feet, and despite sparks flying all over the place, the attacking midfielder was once again in the game. With smoke pouring out from inside the Mechanica's central workings, the automaton sprinted towards Rage, but was soon wallowing in the mud on account of his intended target anticipating his intention and charging into him first.
The Union player's meat cleaver viciously hacked into Hoist's wooden torso, and momentarily left the Mechanica bleeding black oil all over the place as a result of 'nicking' a "Crucial Artery". The sight incensed Rage, and going "Bezerk" the attacking midfielder tore into the automaton for a second time, causing two more damage and generating another momentum point for his club.

Sadly though, a gasp of despair from the blood-mad baying fans, alerted the homicidal Castellyian to the fact that Ballista had finally brought Blackheart down onto his knees, with a blow from the butt of his enormous crossbow. The pirate king had fallen, the rotund captain had been awarded two victory points and the Engineers Guild had won the match 2-6. The game was over...

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

"The Daleks Are Never Defeated!"

"I am a soldier, I was bred to receive orders."
These three 28mm scale "easy-fit plastic" models of a Dalek are made by “Warlord Games” and form part of a twelve-strong force found within the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" "fast-paced tabletop miniatures game". Conceived by Terry Nation and designed by Raymond Cusick in 1963, these particular sculpts are based upon Henry van Statten's so-called "Metaltron" shell, which first appeared in the April 2005 BBC Television series story "Dalek".

Having previously painted my force's Patrol Leader, Dalek Sec, these three Skaro mutants will provide me with enough miniatures to field one of his faction's two Dalek recruitment cards. These 'bring in three Daleks each' and will ultimately allow me to field seven of the "master race" for the rule-set's introductory scenario "A Meeting Of Metal".
Necron Raider Objective WIPs - The partially destroyed robot has been thoroughly rusted
As I dislike playing with unbased figures, and because these models were a little too large for the 30mm lipped bases I have used for the rest of the "Into The Time Vortex" range, the Kaled Mark III travel machines were super-glued onto 40mm lipped circular stands before being primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna. I then gave each Dalek a double coat of Brass, liberally washed them with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and then gave them a heavy dry-brush of more "Vallejo" Brass. 

With the basics finished, I subsequently picked out their eye stalks, control arms and multi-range variable power destructors with some "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, and additionally painted the Daleks' audio scanners with "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey. As a last touch, I used some "Citadel" Abaddon Black to coat the pepper pots' fenders.
Gang Fighter WIPs - The Boromite has had his armour, equipment and wiring finished
As something of a distraction from the world of "Doctor Who" I have been merrily distressing a partially destroyed "Games Workshop" Necron Raider. This old Second Edition "Warhammer 40K" miniature has been based on its side in order for it to represent a battered, rusty objective marker. But has also provided me with an opportunity to try out a colourful Egyptian-theme on part of its metal exo-skeleton before I finish 'weathering it'...

Finally, in order to restore some of my "Beyond The Gates Of Antares" sanity, I have momentarily stepped away from trying to batch paint ten Boromites, and instead simply worked my way up just one of "Warlord Games" science fiction sculpts. Interestingly, this change of pace has worked wonders for my brush speed, and the miniature now only needs to have his grey flesh retouched and washed before being finished. 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

"In The Beginning Our World Was Beautiful And It Was Called - Terra."

"Then the aliens came and tried to destroy us - driving the people below ground..."
This multi-part 28mm hard plastic 'Terminator' has been built using pieces taken from the Frostgrave Cultists boxed set by "North Star Military Figures", as well as Nick Eyre's Cultist Sci-Fi Accessory Pack, and is inspired by the fanatical warriors of Terra as pencilled by Kevin O'Neill in the "2000 A.D." comic book series "Nemesis The Warlock". Indeed, this member of Tomás de Torquemada's "quasi-religious order" is the second of three similarly-influenced miniatures I plan to field as part of the Grand Master's human Purity Squad for "Mutants And Death Ray Guns".

The figure was originally undercoated with "Citadel" Chaos Black and dry-brushed with "Vallejo "Heavy Charcoal in order to help bring out the sculpt's details. The Termight soldier then had his boots and waist-pouch 'picked out' with Heavy Sienna and Heavy Brown. Both of these areas were subsequently washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
"Frostgrave" Barbarians WIPs - The heavily bearded warriors has simply been assembled and primed
As I didn't want the model's clothing to be entirely black, I used some "Vallejo" Heavy Red to add some seemingly appropriate colour to the model's undergarment, waist-band and shirt, and then washed these areas with "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. In addition, I painted his shoulder armour, dagger sheath and top's rear lacing with a combination of "Vallejo" Gold and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. As a final touch, the fanatic's formidably large firearm was given a coat of "Citadel" Ironbreaker, before being heavily washed with Nuln Oil.

Sticking with "North Star Military Figures" and their plastic boxed sets, I have found myself rather inspired by James M. Ward's science fiction setting "Metamorphosis Alpha". Published these days in a collector's edition by "Goodman Games", and recommended to me by Hils of "The Game Cupboard", this 1976 sci-fi RPG concerns the inhabitants of the starship Warden fighting for their lives against all manner of humans, robots and mutants in a "radiation-saturated world", whilst being completely ignorant of the fact that they're aboard "a seventeen-level colony ship, fifty miles long and twenty-five miles wide..."
Boromite Gang Fighters WIP - The majority of these alien miners have had their girdles finished
As a result I have assembled five Neanderthal-like savages using components from the Frostgrave Barbarians sprues, in an effort to replicate the pre-Stone Age party Gary Gygax originally play-tested the RPG's rules upon. In addition, although I plan to use "Mutants And Death Ray Guns" as my actual rule-set for my adventures amidst the Warden's corridors, these figures will also enable me to build, over time, a suitably large Barbarian party for "Frostgrave" itself.

Lastly, I have made some considerable progress on several of the ten Boromite Gang Fighters I am hoping to field as part of a 500-point Scouting Force for "Beyond The Gates Of Antares". These "Warlord Games" sculpts continue to take up a vast amount of my hobby time, on account of the extraterrestrial miners' numerous pieces of armour and equipment, but some of the miniatures are now, at least, a good two-thirds finished...

Friday, 12 May 2017

"The Most Numerous British Cruiser Tank In The Desert War Was The Crusader..."

"...which entered service in 1941."
This 15mm scale plastic model of a Crusader II tank is made by “Battlefront Miniatures”, and is one of the three British armoured vehicles supplied as part of the company's "Battle of El Alamein: War in the Desert" starter set. Assembled to represent the cruiser's two-pound gun variant, this "fast mechanised cavalry" unit relies more upon its speed than its armour in "Flames Of War", and has so far proved rather ineffective against the firepower of the two German Panzer tanks which accompany it inside the game's box.

Initially primed with a double coat of "Vallejo" Dark Sand, the miniature was washed with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade and then dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Dark Sand. Partially using the camouflage painting guidance given within the pages of the "Desert Rats: British Forces In The Desert 1942-43" Army book, I then used some Black Green to 'draw' some "cloud-shaped patches" on predominantly "the lower parts of the tank" and shaded these areas with "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green.
Necron Raiders WIPs - The skeleton robots have all been primed and washed
Having 'picked out' the vehicle's tank tracks with Abaddon Black, and 'dusted' the entire model with a very light dry-brush of "Vallejo" Dark Sand in order to suggest the miniature's "disruptive camouflage" was battered and worn in places, I applied some tactical markings to the tank using a decal sheet taken from the "Battlefront Miniatures" Monty's Desert Rats boxed set. Disappointingly, these 'transfers' don't offer much in the way of choice regarding geometric symbols, so the Crusader II had to carry the red square of B Squadron on its turret, as well as carry its "divisional symbol of the left-hand mudguards, and a regimental number of the right."

Sadly, my enthusiasm for "Flames Of War", or rather "Battlefront Miniatures", has somewhat soured after I experienced some incredibly poor customer service whilst at the company's stall during this year's "Salute". True, their customer service department have since offered me a free copy of "Battle of El Alamein: War in the Desert" as 'compensation', but that was over two weeks ago, and I've heard nothing from them since. In addition, I find it hard to support any manufacturer who attends a wargaming show and charges £15 more for their own product than a neighbouring retailer...
Boromite Gang Fighters WIP - The majority of these alien miners have had their leg armour finished
Fortunately, the excellent Dave Stone of "Wargames Terrain Workshop" has recently demonstrated to me (yet again) just why his company have such an excellent reputation within the hobby community, and he himself is viewed as a tip top chap. I wasn't actually planning on painting up more than five of my old Second Edition "Warhammer 40K" Necron Raiders for this month's 'Oldhammer 40K" painting project. But Dave has put paid to such thinking by very generously sending me some additional "Games Workshop" miniatures from his personal collection and resultantly added to my modest goal. Indeed, I've even managed to make use of a couple of his mutilated models, by re-basing them as rusty objective markers.

Finally, I am slowly working my way through the ten Boromite Gang Fighters I require as the 'backbone' to my 500-point Scouting Force for "Beyond The Gates Of Antares". These "Warlord Games" sculpts are incredibly detailed, with all kinds of devices and pouches attached to their armoured girdles, and are therefore proving a real challenge to progress in any great number whatsoever.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

"This Is Not War. This Is Pest Control."

"I am Dalek Sec, leader of the Cult of Skaro."
This 28mm scale plastic model of Dalek Sec is produced by “Warlord Games” and is one of the twelve Kaled Mark III travel machines found within the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" "fast-paced tabletop miniatures game". Conceived by Terry Nation and designed by Raymond Cusick in 1963, this particular sculpt is based upon the warrior race's Time War shell, which first appeared in the April 2005 BBC Television series story "Dalek".

As I plan to use the genetically engineered mutant in order to play the game's introductory scenario "A Meeting Of Metal", and resultantly required an individual-looking figure to represent my force's Dalek Leader, I decided to paint him using the palette of Dalek Sec. "Known for being given the capability to think beyond the normal scope of a conventional Dalek", this particular pitiless alien commanded the Cult of Skaro, and initially featured in the July 2006 episode "Army Of Ghosts".
Clockwork Androids WIPs - The repair robots have all been based and undercoated
Originally primed with two layers of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, this survivor of the Last Great Time War was subsequently dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal, and washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil. I then picked out his eye stalk, control arm and multi-range variable power destructor with a combination of Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, and his audio scanners with "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey quick drying transparent acrylic. As a final touch, I then used some more "Citadel" Abaddon Black to make the former commander of the Seventh Incursion Squad's fender stand out from the rest of the predominantly black model.

Sticking with "Salute" purchases, I have managed to find the time to base and prime six "Doctor Who" Clockwork Androids. These repair robots are sold by "Warlord Games" in boxes of three single-cast metal miniatures, and are all "dressed as [18th Century] French courtiers and wearing ball masks". The detail on these figures is frightening in places, with lots of buttons and retractable repair tools on show. However, even simply just super-gluing the 'male' models onto their bases made me blanch on occasion due to the sculpts' fragile ankles; which worryingly appear inclined to bend whenever the automatons need to be handled for painting...  
Herald Of Khorne WIP - The Chaos Hero has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
Lastly, I have also found the time to finally assemble this month's addition to my "Age Of Sigmar" Nurgle Host, a Herald of Khorne. This seven-part "finely detailed resin kit" by "Games Workshop" should hopefully help give my force's 'allied' Khorne contingent a bit more 'bite' as the Chaos Hero will actually allow my unit of Bloodletters to immediately pile in and attack after him.

This "Citadel Finecast" miniature has taken a little while to get on my painting table as it came without instructions, and whilst the limbs were simple to super-glue in place, it was a lot more difficult identifying how to attach all the skulls trailing from his hip to the ground, without doing some research on the internet; something which I find a little annoying considering the model costs £15 and comes with a large 'bendy' Blade of Blood...

Sunday, 7 May 2017

"Do Not Fear. We Will Take Your Fear From You."

"Emotions eradicated. Conversion complete."
These four 28mm scale plastic models of the Cyberman are produced by “Warlord Games” and represent a third of the silver giants found within the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" "fast-paced tabletop miniatures game". Created by Dr. Kit Pedler and story editor Gerry Davis for William Hartnell's finale "The Tenth Planet" in 1966, these particular incarnations of the "fictional race of cyborgs" are based upon the "technologically advanced Cybermen" which appeared in the May 2013 BBC Television series story "Nightmare In Silver", and, due to their sprue containing a selection of separate right arms, were assembled in a variety of poses.

As I plan to add these Mondasians to some I previously painted last month, I primed them all with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, and then gave each 'automaton' a double coat of Ironbreaker. The models were subsequently washed with Nuln Oil, and as a final touch, having carefully 'picked out' their tear-drop eyes and mouth with a thin line of watered-down Abaddon Black, dry-brushed with more "Ironbreaker".
"Cybermats are infiltrators. Very small, very deadly. They collect power like bees collect pollen."
In order to play the game's introductory scenario "A Meeting Of Metal", I also required a base of Cybermats to act as the Cyber-Leader's retinue. The models for these robotic guards are understandably rather tiny, as they're seemingly based upon the 'wee beasties' as depicted in the September 2011 story "Closing Time".

The boxed set's rule-book, "Guide To The Time Vortex", dedicates an entire section to these "reconnaissance drones" and even suggests going so far as painting in their underbellies' red lights. However, as I knew my basing technique would mask any such detail, I stuck to the same 'tried and tested' method I used to paint their creators, and also decided to paint up an additional stand simultaneously.
Torquemada WIPs - The Grand Master of Termight has been undercoated, washed and dry-brushed
At last year's "Salute" I rather impetuously acquired two old "2000 A.D." themed models manufactured by "Wargames Foundry" and which were being sold by "Warmonger Miniatures". Perhaps understandably, considering how I'm currently working on a "Nemesis The Warlock" mini-project, I found that history repeated itself in April 2017, and left this year's show with a few more similarly-themed figures.

One such sculpt was a cracking version of Tomás de Torquemada, resplendent in his formidable-looking battle armour. Arguably more akin to the despot as personified by penciller Bryan Talbot than original artist Kevin O'Neill, I intend to paint Termight's one-time Chief of the Tube Police in his infamous all-red armour, as opposed to the metallic silver version I've previously posted, and perhaps use the additional purchase as an excuse to field two versions of the tyrannical leader in a game of "Mutants And Death Ray Guns" by "Ganesha Games".

Saturday, 6 May 2017

"Nowhere Do They Live In Any Great Number..."

"...Forming small, closed communities within larger societies."
This 28mm metal model of an Overseer is manufactured by "Warlord Games" and is one of three miniatures which form part the Boromites' Overseer Squad blister pack. Equipped with a Tractor Maul, as well as a Plasma Carbine, this "limited choice" Infantry Commander will be the leader of my slowly-growing 500-point Boromite Scouting Force.

Initially undercoated with "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, the figure was washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil, before having a layer of Chaos Black applied over all of its weaponry. The model's reflex armour was then slowly 'picked out' with "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre and subsequently washed with some watered-down "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade.

As I didn't want the extraterrestrial miner's pouches and firearm to be predominantly black I painted a few of the miniature's pocket-bags with a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Brown and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and its "highly sophisticated and adaptable" plasma weapon with "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. The "hard hitting" "highly focused energy" device also had its plasma coil highlighted using some "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
Dalek Sec WIPS - The Dalek leader has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
Finally, the Boromite leader's delicately sculpted wires leading from the soldier's formidable-looking hand-weapon into his reflex-armoured girdle were 'traced' using "Vallejo" Heavy Blue and washed with "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade. Whilst his "work tool" was treated to a coat of "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey and a splash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil.

Ordinarily costing 105 points for an Overseer and two similarly armed Gangers, I have decided to pay an additional 5 points for the senior Boromite to actually wield the Tractor Maul his sculpt shows him carrying. This "badge of office" actually denotes his importance on the battlefield and is designed "to extend a suspensor field around and object or area and pull it away or aside." As a result in-game, they provide a model with the ability to have two attacks in hand-to-hand fighting", as "they... can quite literally tear an enemy limb from limb."
"Frostgrave" Sci-Fi Terminator WIPs - The model now simply needs some washes to be applied
With all of my focus for "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" by "Warlord Games" now falling upon the completion of the Dalek Patrol needed in order to play the game's introductory scenario "A Meeting Of Metal", I have become working on Dalek Sec, the leader of the Cult of Skaro. Unlike the other 'gold-coloured Kaleds', the former commander of the Seventh Incursion Squad has been predominantly painted "Citadel" Abaddon Black and dry-brushed with some "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal.

Lastly, I have made some significant progress on another of the "North Star Military Figures" figures I plan to use as Tomás de Torquemada's infamous Terminators whilst playing "Mutants And Death Ray Guns" by "Ganesha Games". Assembled using pieces from both the Nottingham-based company's Cultist Sci-Fi Accessory Pack and plastic "Frostgrave" Cultist boxed set, this heavily-armed addition to my "Nemesis The Warlock" mini-project should mean that I'm about three-quarters of the way towards being able to field an all-human Purity Squad based upon Pat Mills' "2000 A.D." comic book despot.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Mutants & Death Ray Guns Report: Star Wars - "Rogue Two"

This game was played using the basic rules of “Mutants And Death Ray Guns” by “Ganesha Games”, and was 'thrown together' using some pre-painted "Wizards Of The Coast" miniatures in order to represent the Rebellion's attempt to steal a second copy of the Death Star plans on the planet Scarif. The scenario comprised of a party of six Pure Human characters facing a smaller (but better equipped) gang of Pure Humans across a 2’ x 2’ tabletop populated with Island Palms by “Battlefront Miniatures”.

“The story so far… During the Battle of Scarif a shuttle containing a copy of the Death Star plans has been blasted into pieces before it could reach Princess Leia's CR90 corvette. Believing that she could still recover the data from the wreckage, Organa has enlisted the help of Jedi Knight Ben Kenobi and flown to the planet's surface on a recovery mission. Unfortunately, Grand Moff Tarkin, aware of the shuttle's fate, has also arrived at the crash site, and together with Darth Vader, is personally scouring the area for the battle station's schematics..."
Landing on of northwestern corner of the tropical planet, the Rebel's mission was to visit three debris locations (Objectives Alpha, Beta and Omega) and extract as much valuable data as was hidden there. The Empire, arriving in the southeastern corner, had to try and stop Princess Leia, and additionally retrieve as much of the Death Star plans as they could. No-one would know how much information had survived the crash at the three locations until they had used an Action to search for it.

Because all of the Stormtroopers were wearing their instantly recognisable white armour, they were all treated as having Flak Jackets, and carried Assault Rifles to represent their E-11 blaster rifles. Darth Vader had some additional special rules for being both a Hero [always automatically rolls one success, regardless of their Quality] and the group's Champion [+1 to Combat Score]. He was armed with a Powered Weapon [+2 in Melee Combat unless opponent is wearing a force field] and was given a Force Field in order to better replicate a Sith at the height of his defensive powers. Grand Moff Tarkin was armed with a Pistol and a Fragmentation Grenade, and was the group's Leader [Quality increases by +1].
The Rebel Troopers all wore Flak Jackets, and were armed with Pistols (to represent DH-17 blaster pistols). They were also given the Slippery skill to allow them to retreat from hand-to-hand combat without penalty. Obi-Wan Kenobi had the special rules Hero and Champion. He was armed with a Powered Weapon, and was treated as wearing Flak Armour to represent his aged skills with a 'swirling' lightsaber. Princess Leia was armed with a Pistol and a Fragmentation Grenade, and was the group's Leader.

Confidently striding northwest, Lord Vader made his way directly towards Objective Beta in the centre of the battlefield. Behind him, Tarkin began moving west, just south of some palm trees, with an accompanying stormtrooper providing the Grand Moff with some protection. Two more 'bucketheads' headed north in the direction of Objective Alpha.

Realising that the Sith Lord could not be allowed to dominate the middle ground, Ben Kenobi began hurrying towards Objective Beta himself. Perhaps it was time for the former friends to meet one another a final time..? Behind the 'Clone Wars' general, a couple of Rebel troopers started to fan out towards Objective Omega. Whilst Leia and another of her men, raced east towards Objective Alpha.
Straining his elderly muscles, Obi-Wan managed to get within touching distance of the crash debris at Objective Beta. He momentarily smiled as he realised he had arrived before his 'young' padawan. Surely the Force was with him. Unfortunately however behind him, perhaps somewhat intimidated by how powerful Anakin Skywalker had become, the Rebel advance faltered and no-one else moved...

To the north, one stormtrooper continued on his journey towards Objective Alpha, whilst his companion fired at the 'crazy old wizard'. Sensing the attack, Ben easily batted away the shot with a flick of his lightsaber. Hearing the sound of battle commencing, Tarkin increased his pace west and momentarily spotted Darth Vader purposefully stomping up to the elderly Jedi Master; an epic confrontation was about to occur...
Standing amidst the shuttle's wreckage at Objective Beta, Vader launched himself at the old man in front of him, and frustrated, stepped back when he saw his blow parried by the bearded Jedi Knight. The northernmost Stormtrooper continued on his trek towards Objective Alpha, but perhaps enthralled by the lightsaber duel taking place in the middle of the battlefield, no-one else from the Imperial party moved.

Realising she had a chance to strike for the Rebellion, Princess Leia fired at the Stormtrooper fast approaching Objective Alpha. The shot flew wide, and frustratingly was all the offence Organa's party would muster. Had Obi-Wan missed an opportunity to strike down his protege..?

Firing again at the seemingly hapless Imperial trooper in the northeastern corner, Alderaan's senator cursed as she saw her intended target remain untouched. Padmé Amidala's daughter was clearly far deadlier in the senate's debating chamber than she was with a laser pistol. To the south Obi-Wan Kenobi attempted to defeat his opponent with a powerful strike, mistimed his blow and was killed by Vader gruesomely... Fortunately for the Rebellion, no other Rebel troopers were within range of the Jedi Knight's death to warrant an obligatory Morale Test. But Ben's death clearly rattled Leia's forces as they all momentarily stopped to grieve.
Successful in his personal duel, Darth Vader retrieved the Death Star data located at Objective Beta and discovered it was worth two victory points. Turning northeast, the Sith Lord then started to make his way towards Princess Leia and Objective Alpha. He would soon crush the Rebellion with one swift stroke.

However before Anakin Skywalker could get any further, the stormtrooper by Objective Alpha arrived at the shuttle's debris field, and managed to fire at Organa's approaching figure. The Alderaan senator was hit, and crumpled to the ground dead. Horrified at their inspirational leader's demise, and already unsettled by Vader's seemingly simple victory over General Kenobi, all but one of the Rebel Troopers fled. With Grand Moff Tarkin close to Objective Omega it was clear the day belonged to the Galactic Empire and the Dark Side of the Force...