Tuesday, 27 February 2018

"Hey! You There! Stop!"

"Our Axon friend has just walked straight into the furnace of the main reactor."
This 28mm metal model of an Axon Monster is manufactured by “Black Tree Design” and can be bought as code DW310 from their "Doctor Who" range. "A scavenger entity which came to Earth, supposedly for fuel, the aliens' real motivation was "to drain all energy from Earth" and made their first appearance in the March 1971 BBC Television science fiction serial "The Claws Of Axos".

The model was originally primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Orange and washed with "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. It was then dry-brushed first with more "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, and later with some Heavy Red. Finally, the entire figure was once again washed with "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
"Excalibur Captain Harris and first officer dead. Many casualties."
I don't ordinarily get the opportunity to post other people's painting on this blog, but Roy Williamson, who runs the excellent "Never Mind The Yankers!" website, very kindly sent me a rather splendid-looking re-painted constitution-class starship earlier this week. It's a plastic "Wizkids" model for their "Star Trek: Attack Wing" tactical space combat miniatures game, and comes complete with a mind-boggingly tiny hand-painted NCC-1664 registry number on top of its saucer section.

Of course that marks the 23rd century Federation vessel out as the USS Excalibur, with Captain Harris as its commander. Sadly, both the starship and skipper were destined to be destroyed by the U.S.S. Enterprise "during the disastrous M-5 Starfleet battle simulation war games" depicted in the broadcast episode "The Ultimate Computer".
Grishaks WIPs - The beaked-birds have all been primed and are ready for shading
In addition to the odd bit of painting, I've been sorting through my worryingly burdensome lead mountain and separating all the miniatures I've based, prepped or even started working on, from those I've never touched, and even more embarrassingly never even unsealed/opened. There's been a few trips down memory lane as a result, and once such quartet of models was four Grishaks by "Twilight Miniatures".

As I recall I picked these weird dinosaur birds up as part of a starter set bought at "Salute" several years ago, and clearly made some sort of effort to get them 'up and ready' as they'd all been based, primed and one even shaded. Sadly however, they subsequently fell out of favour and have been lost to time... until now. I have little intention of actually playing "The World Of Twilight" with them, but because they're on the self-same 28mm lipped bases I use for my "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" models I thought they might make interesting 'killer birds' for a scenario or two...

Sunday, 25 February 2018

"-- The Baboon! He Too Was Affected By The Cosmic Rays!"

"He now has the power to change his shape -- To turn into a copy of anything!"
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of the Super Ape Igor is miniature number 019 from the Supernova Marvel "Heroclix" range and is based upon one of the three trained apes the Red Ghost used in order to attack the Fantastic Four when he battled the super-group on the moon. Mutated by Cosmic Rays, the baboon had the "ability to transform himself into any shape" he wanted as long as the shape was "roughly equal to his normal size." He was created by Stan Lee and artist Jack "King" Kirby for the April 1963 issue of "The Fantastic Four".

"Trained to assist in lab work and in operating spaceships" the monkey was initially given a double undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Brown, so to completely cover its original pre-paint, and then shaded with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The model was subsequently dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Heavy Brown and had his eyes 'dotted in' with a dab of "Citadel" Abaddon Black.
Putrid Blightking WIPs - The warrior has had all his bronze weaponry weathered and dry-brushed
I'm rather keen this month to try and finish at least another three Putrid Blightkings for my "Age Of Sigmar" Nurgle Host, but despite being a lot of fun to paint, these multi-part plastic "Games Workshop" miniatures contain an incredible amount of detail to apply a brush to. Moreover, the recent release and immediate purchase of the faction's "Blightwar" boxed set means that I'm fast becoming overrun with pustules to 'pick out', glistening pink entrails to paint and plenty of boils to burst.

To matters worse, I've also started collecting the "corpulent cornucopia of new models" the Nottingham-based company have begun selling in order to support their "Battletome: Maggotkin of Nurgle", and have an eye on expanding my Khorne force with Marakarr Blood-Sky, due to the much-publicised "Malign Portents" campaign which is currently running nationwide...
Daleks and Fisher King WIPs - Early days on all three miniatures currently
"Warlord Games" are proving equally as troublesome in the sheer amount of boxed sets they are currently producing. This month alone they've already helped stack my shelves with "The Eleventh Doctor And Companions", "Voyage Of The Damned" and "Tomb of The Cybermen" boxed sets, and these have followed almost straight upon the heels of last month's "Movellans" and "Maximum Extermination!" kits.

With next month arguably looking just as tempting I've shuffled into my queue a pair of their "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" plastic Daleks (with one being painted up as an Emperor's Personal Guard), as well as pinned my spare Fisher King model on top of a resin podium, in order to 'convert' it into another bronze statue. I'm hoping to get both Kaled mutants finished reasonably quickly, with the terrain piece probably taking a bit longer to complete...

Thursday, 22 February 2018

"Hulking Warriors Of Nurgle..."

"...the Putrid Blightkings carve their way through the enemy with slime-encrusted axes..."
This 28mm scale Putrid Blightking is one of the five multi-part models which can be assembled from the sprues found within the “Games Workshop” Putrid Blightkings boxed set. Built and painted to represent a simple "favoured mortal servant of Nurgle" I therefore equipped the Rotbringer with a large well-used scimitar, a Nurgle sign-shaped shield and a few tiny tentacles. I already own a finished Blightlord, so need just four more of the bloated infantrymen to field a unit as part of my "Age Of Sigmar" Nurgle Host. 

Having assembled the figure using the 105-piece plastic kit's instruction booklet, the warrior was initially primed “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and washed with “Citadel” Thrakka Green. The big-bellied brute was then dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and had details such as his face mask, stomach plates and armour base-coated with “Citadel” Abaddon Black. These areas were subsequently painted using "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey, and washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Because I wanted the battered helmet's grill to especially stand out, I also highlighted it with some Ironbreaker.
"N-FX Game Design Studio" Flip Card Box WIPs - The MDF has been primed black and layered silver 
The lumbering murder's skirt and plume was painted using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Nuln Oil. However the areas were later dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Heavy Red in order to bring a little colour back to them. The rotting fighter's pouch was simply 'picked out' using "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. Whilst the severed head dangling from his stomach was treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, a wash of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and a dry-brush of more "Vallejo Iraqi Sand. 

So as to try and encapsulate the warrior's Virulent Discharge ability, which can cause any non-Nurgle units within 3 inches to suffer D3 mortal wounds on the roll of a 6, I dabbed a combination of “Citadel” Biel-Tan Green, Agrax Earthshade and Carroburg Crimson over the Blightking's decaying flesh. As a last touch all of the figure's numerous zits were ‘pimped out’ with “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre and treated to a coat of “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade.
"Black Tree Design" "Doctor Who" WIPs - A Sontaran, an Axon and a Kroton
As I want all my Putrid Blightkings to really stand out on the battlefield, I used both "Vallejo" Brass and then the "Citadel" Technical paint Nihilakh Oxide on the "blessed" model's "filth-encrusted" hand-weapon, shield and right shoulder-armour. These areas were subsequently dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Brass to help blend in the patina.

With so much detailed-painting taking up the majority of my hobby-time, I've been working on another, far more straightforward, piece of MDF from "N-FX Game Design Studio". Their "Flip Card Box" is obviously designed to just hold cards off-table, but I thought the shape made for a potential Cyber-vault, so I've added a resin air-lock by "Second City Games" to one of its sides and primed the entire ensemble silver. Hopefully I'll be able to shade and dry-brush it over the next few days, and then get some "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" cards in it...
The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise ready to face Klingons, Romulans, Andorians and a Horta
Finally, I have been having a bit of a major sort through my back-log of partially-painted miniatures, and stumbled upon a load more "Doctor Who" miniatures by "Black Tree Design" which were, rather disconcertingly, probably based and primed over a decade ago. Having dusted a few down, I'm hoping to make some in-roads on these over the next few days, and start clearing my increasingly cluttered painting queue.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

"What In The Name Of? What, What Is This Place?"

"Recently we learned our world was destroyed in a stellar explosion."
This excellent resin scenic piece is made by "N-FX Game Design Studio" and can be purchased from their Illuminating Terrain range. "Perfect for your sci-fi or fantasy game table" and "suitable for both 28mm and 38mm scales" the model is supplied with "an unpainted base and three clear crystals [which are] available in a range of colours." All that is then needed is one battery (not included) and "away you glow!"
"So now we must make this planet ours."
As I was very keen to use this 'piece of landscape' predominantly for my "Doctor Who: Exterminate" wargames, in order to represent a surviving part of Zygor, the home planet of the Zygons, I decided to paint the terrain in a way similar to that of the now extinct world's shape-shifting refugees, and resultantly primed it with a double undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone. I next applied a heavy wash of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson over the entire model and subsequently gave it a dry-brush of (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone in order to help 'pick out' all the sculpt's marvellously rendered crags and crevices.

With the basics finished, I additionally added a haphazard wash of "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green and Carroburg Crimson to some of the resin's various peaks and troughs, and lastly treated the entire ensemble to a final, somewhat lighter, dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone. This approach not only helped 'blend in' all the different shades, but hopefully produced an effect close to the colour scheme seen upon the aliens' organic control consoles in the 1975 "Doctor Who" serial "Terror Of The Zygons".
"Heroclix" WIPs - Super-Ape Igor, a Dire Wraith Queen and Dragon Man
Having finished the Illuminating Terrain, I have once again started trying to clear my currently overly-cluttered painting table by progressing a handful more super-heroic miniatures by "Wizkids". These plastic "Heroclix" models really do range in height from the diminutive Super-Ape Igor at just 16mm, through my 29mm-tall Dire Wraith Queen, and up to Dragon Man's impressive 67mm. I'm hoping to get these figures varnished within the next few days, and then get them involved in some upcoming confrontations with the "Fantastic Four"...

Another range which has suddenly caught my attention, is a handful of  “Newark Model Soldier Company” models I'm rather embarrassed to say I first started painting over eight years ago. As memory serves these arguably crudely-carved sculpts were actually given away free upon entrance to a number of the “Partisan” wargaming conventions, and were going to form part of a much larger gaggle of ghosts I wanted to use for some ghost-busting.
"Newark Model Soldier Company" WIPs - The ghostly apparitions have been primed and shaded
Courtesy of a quick look-a-round, I have tracked down my completed Laurence the Asylum Attendant, Paul the Postman, Stuart the Telegrapher, Harold the Hero and Little Lau the Chimney Sweep. So subsequently hope, once I have sourced some alternatives to my original combination of "Citadel" Thrakka Green and Devlan Mud, to add both a few duplicate figures to their number, as well as the likes of James the Swordsmith.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

"Wizkids" Battle Report: Fantastic Four - The Cosmic Cube Of Doom

This game was played using some homemade rules (M.I.S.S.) in order to allow us to quickly field a handful of my re-painted "Heroclix" miniatures, and took place upon the Atlanta Suburbs 20" x 20" rubber gaming mat produced by "Mantic Games". The battlefield was populated with a variety of scenery produced by “Wargames Terrain Workshop” and "Mantic Games", most notably an abandoned vehicle, a ruined building and a series of wooden fences.

The Fantastic Four, which started in the north-east, consisted of the super-team's original line-up, Mister Fantastic (10pts), Invisible Girl (10pts), The Thing (10pts) and the Human Torch (10pts). Whilst Doctor Doom's forces began the fight in the south-west corner, and consisted of the Latverian Monarch himself (15pts), along with three Doombots (total 30pts). The New York City battlescape had five strategic locations, each worth an unknown number of victory points. These would only be revealed at the end of Turn Six, and could only be claimed by an unopposed unit touching it.
"The story so far… The Cosmic Cube has mysteriously appeared within a derelict suburb of New York City. Detecting the object's great power using his equipment inside the Baxter Building, Reed Richards has rushed to the device in order to take it into safe-keeping. But having arrived, Mister Fantastic has realised that he is not the only one to have uncovered the Cosmic Cube's location. Doctor Doom has speedily travelled from his Latverian Castle to seize the cube for himself..."
Having won the initiative, Doctor Doom ordered his robotic companions to fan out away from the south-western corner. The Doombots were slower than their master [Move: 4"] so he impatiently commanded for Doombot Alpha to run north towards Objective One (Debris) and Doombot Beta to run east in the direction of Objective Five (Statue). Although this extra impetus enabled the automatons to travel further than normal [an additional 2" each], it also meant that the two Doombots were now easier targets to attack [causing them to be hit on a roll of 4, 5 or 6 rather than a 5 or 6]. Doombot Omega simply secured Objective Two (Oil Barrels) and watched his armoured monarch approach his position, making sure to place an abandoned vehicle between his himself and his hated opponents.

In response, Johnny Storm took to the sky [using Flight - ignore all terrain] and used his impressive speed [Move: 8"] to quickly close the gap between himself and Objective One (Debris). The Human Torch's sister, Sue Storm-Richards, made her way to Objective Four (Bin), whilst Benjamin Grimm slowly stomped [Move: 4"] towards Objective Three (Cosmic Cube). To the south, Reed Richards headed towards Objective Five (Statue).
Seizing the opportunity, the Human Torch flew over the ruined building in the north-west corner, and landed right beside Objective One (Debris). The Thing got ever closer to Objective Two (Cosmic Cube) and Mister Fantastic continued moving south towards Objective Five (Statue). Invisible Girl however, decided that it was time to take the fight to Doctor Doom's forces, and resultantly sent a pair of her force field projections [Shooting: 2 dice] flying towards Doombot Alpha. One of the projectiles struck the automaton, but failed to damage it due to its "advanced armour" [Heavy Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 5 or 6].

Despite being under-fire from Sue Storm-Richards, Doombot Alpha continued north and approached the ruined building within which both Objective One (Debris) and Johnny Storm were housed. Doombot Beta pressed east towards Objective Five (Statue), whilst Victor von Doom moved further around the abandoned vehicle and placed himself between his more vulnerable robot and The Thing. The Latverian Monarch not only wore the same armour as his automatons [Heavy Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 5 or 6], but because of his "elaborate schemes" was far harder to successfully hit [Stupefy: Opponent's are -1 Attack/Shoot when fighting this model].

Doombot Omega aimed his energy gauntlet at Mister Fantastic's 'bendy' form and unleashed the weapon's beams [Shoot: 2 dice]. The leader of the Fantastic Four was soundly struck by one of the attacks, and despite his elastic body providing him with a modicum of protection [Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 6], Reed Richards took a wound.
With the battle already approaching its half-way point, Doombot Alpha ignited its jet-boots and flew into the Ruined Building and straight at the Human Torch. The charge gave the automaton some additional momentum [Attack: 2 + 2 dice for the Charge], and one its devastating karate chops found its mark. Johnny Storm admittedly had some protection from such blows on account of his fiery physique [Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 6], but it wasn't enough to prevent the successful strike.

Realising that Ben Grimm was getting ever closer to his precarious position, Doctor Doom fired at the Human Mutate [Shooting: 2 dice] and hit with both. The Thing's rocky hide gave him superb protection [Heavy Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 5 or 6], yet was readily penetrated by the Latverian Monarch's lethal laser beams [Armour Piercing: Opponent's are -1 Armour Saves]. Turning at his team-mate's roar of pain, though Aunt Petunia's favourite nephew still had plenty of gas left in his tank, Reed Richard found himself to be the target of an energy blast from Doombot Omega, and promptly screamed as the robot's laser beam wounded him for a second time...

To be continued...

Friday, 16 February 2018

"While The Darkmantle Remains Motionless..."

"...It is indistinguishable from a cave formation such as a stalactite or stalagmite."
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of a Darkmantle is miniature number 015 from the Night Below "Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game" range and is based upon the "strange magical beast which lives in caves." Resembling "something akin to a dark brown coloured squid, roughly four feet long, with webs of membrane between the tentacles", the creature "first appeared in the third edition Monster Manual (2000)" and "attacks by attaching itself to the ceiling of a cave and disguising itself as a stalactite."

Smothering its victims by wrapping its tentacles around their heads, the monster was initially primed with two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The neutrally-aligned cephalopod was then first dry-brushed with pure "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and then delicately highlighted with some a mix of Heavy Sienna and Dead White.
Sue Storm & Dragon Man WIPs - Invisible Girls has been re-shaded, and Dragon Man primed
Interestingly, despite having numerous eyes, a Darkmantle actually 'sees' by using "echolocation, much the way a bat does", and momentarily I was therefore tempted to simply stick to the "Wizkids" colour scheme and leave his eyeballs brown. However, having done a little research it seemed clear that the creature is predominantly depicted with red eyes, so accordingly I 'picked out' each one with a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.

With my latest "Dungeons & Dragons" model finished, I have managed to find a brief period of precious hobby-time with which to return to one of my previously completed "Heroclix" figures. Ordinarily, I tend to wait for a while before 'touching up' anything I've varnished, but with my mind firmly fixed upon playing some games using Stan Lee's "Fantastic Four", I found myself continually frustrated by the darkness of her blue uniform and have thus attempted to rectify the situation somewhat.
Draconian WIPs - The aliens have had their scaly legs base-coated with "Vallejo" Heavy Brown
Disconcertingly, I was faced with something of a dilemma however, in that Invisible Girl had already been fully-based and resultantly had grass flock all about her feet. Luckily, I spotted a moment of inspiration from the original "Wizkids" palette, which depicted Reed Richards' wife sporting black boots and gloves. Obviously I didn't want to completely travel down that path, but thought I could leave those areas dark blue, and simply re-paint the rest of her costume with "Vallejo" Heavy Blue. Incredibly, I've even managed to find an old pot of "Citadel" Asurmen Blue with which to shade the super-heroine with, and whilst I was waiting for it to dry, primed the old "FF" foe Dragon Man too.  

Finally, I have turned my attention to several "Warlord Games" Draconians I want to paint for "Doctor Who: Exterminate" collection. I currently have eight of the "tall, reptilian species" in my painting queue and have started working on the scaly legs of the first three miniatures...

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

"Don't Try And Attack Me While I'm Talking."

"And you'll remember who's the most powerful member of the FF!"
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of Invisible Girl is miniature number 043 from the Clobberin' Time Marvel "Heroclix" range and is based upon one of the founding members of the Fantastic Four, Susan Storm-Richards. Capable of causing herself to turn invisible, as well as project energy constructs and force shields, the superheroine was created by Stan Lee and artist Jack "King" Kirby for the November 1961 first issue of "The Fantastic Four".

Receiving "her powers after being exposed to a cosmic storm", the figure was originally given a double undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Blue in order to 'mask' its clumsy pre-paint, and then washed with some "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Unfortunately, at this stage I realised that I had clearly recorded how I painted Mister Fantastic's all-blue costume wrong, and set to work trying to find a similar match using a mixture of "Vallejo" Heavy Blue dry-brushes and applications of "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade.
The Fantastic Four alongside the Silver Surfer
With Sue's attire pigmented as close to her husband's palette as I could muster, I applied a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Goldbrown and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to her hair, before applying a dry-brush of (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Goldbrown across that area. The human mutate's skin was 'picked out' using a base coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and a somewhat watered-down wash of "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade.

Recently, I've been reading the exploits of one of "Marvel Comics" latest super-teams, "The U.S. Avengers", and become reacquainted with the powerhouse known as the Red Hulk. Admittedly, the current comic book version is actually the second incarceration of the creature, but that hasn't stopping me pulling out my old previously-primed "Heroclix" sculpt of General Thunderbolt Ross' alter-ego, and starting to 'cut in' all the tears in his black shorts.
"Heroclix" WIPs - The Red Hulk, a G.C.P.D. officer and a Hulk Robot
Alongside my "Super Rare" "Wizkids" figure, I also happened upon a collection of five Hulk Robots. As memory serves I bought these miniatures in order to provide my unfinished model of the "X-Men" super-villain Arcade with some much-needed minions, but for whatever reason then moved on to pastures new having simply under-coated them. For now, I simply plan to paint a pilot piece in order to test out a simple paint scheme for the brute. However, the prospect of a robot army of converted ne'er-do-wells is somewhat tempting, so I might look at some kit-bashing in the near future with some of my duplicate "Heroclix" characters.      

Finally, turning my attention to "DC Comics" and my "Gotham" Campaign, I have started work on three more G.C.P.D. (Gotham City Police Department) cops for Commissioner Gordon's law enforcement department. I've yet to actually field this faction 'in anger' on the tabletop using "Mutants & Death Ray Guns", so want to ensure I have plenty of points-worth for when the time arrives.

Monday, 12 February 2018

"It's All Based Upon Symbolic Logic, The Same As You Use In Computers."

"Doctor Who" Cybermen Miniatures Display Stand by "N-FX Game Design Studio" & "Warlord Games"
This 170mm tall Cybermen Miniatures Display Stand is sold by "Warlord Games", and produced for the Nottingham-based company's "Into The Time Vortex" range by "N-FX Game Design Studio". Made of MDF and already painted a wonderful metallic silver, the rack does come in several pieces, so requires some assembly. However, the part's fit together very snugly, so no glue seems to be required.

Indeed, the joints are so tight that I'd actually recommend you don't try to simply push them together, but rather cover the pieces with a piece of cardboard, and then gently tap them in place with a small modelling hammer. This process really does transform the platform into an extremely stable plinth for your Mondasians, and despite the stand being advertised as "comfortably" accommodating nine miniatures, with three on each row, I'd argue it can easily handle twelve of the silver giants if you've mounted them on 25mm circular bases.
Darkmantle WIPs - The "strange magical beast" has been primed, washed, dry-brushed and highlighted
Ordinarily, I wouldn't post about a simple display stand, but in this case the detail etched into the frame is so good, that I actually plan on purchasing a few more and turning them into Cyber-platforms for a Cyber-base. The "Tomb Of The Cybermen" emblem at the rack's top, as well as all the grating and buttons carved into its sides, really look like they'd stand out magnificently with just a black/brown wash (perhaps suggesting age) and a dry-brush.

Considering that "Warlord Games" are imminently about to release both an actual Tomb scenic set (also designed/produced by the excellent "N-FX Game Design Studio") and an accompanying set of metal miniatures tied into the September 1967 classic serial, I think a bank of these platforms down one end of the tabletop (as they've been "designed so they can be stacked next to each other"), or perhaps positioned in each corner, would look awesome, and add some additional height to the battlefield... 
Putrid Blightkings WIPs - Both models have now had all their armour primed, shaded and highlighted
One of the benefits of my inaugural Partially-Painted Challenge is that its spurring me on to revisit long postponed projects. My old plastic "D&D Miniatures" sculpt of a darkmantle being a good case in point, as its been sat upon a gritted base for more years than I'd care to remember. Fortunately, I've now managed to get the cave-dwelling creature primed, washed, dry-brushed and even highlighted, and simply need to pick out its fiery red eyes before varnishing it.

Of course, that doesn't mean I've stopped trying to progress this month's goal of (at least) four "Age Of Sigmar" Putrid Blightkings. Despite having to continually revisit the miniature owing to "Vallejo" Brass flecks ruining previously painted portions of the figure, I have almost finished the first of the "enormous, bloated warriors" and started working on a second; albeit a last minute head-swap on this "Games Workshop" miniature has put me a little behind schedule...

Sunday, 11 February 2018

"Warlord Games" Battle Report: Doctor Who - Battle For A Draconian Desert Moon - Part Two

“The story so far… Dalek Sec has landed a Dalek invasion army on one of Draconia's moons. But the Doctor has assembled an army from some of the Earth's mightiest defenders, in order to buy the Draconians. Unfortunately, having landed upon the desert satellite, the Time Lord has discovered that the Skaro mutants are not alone in their ambition to conquer Draconia, and have brought some 'friends' of their own..."

"Warlord Games" Battle Report: Doctor Who - Battle For A Draconian Desert Moon - Part One

With Dalek Sec's forces pressing ever further west, the Vashta Nerada attacked the Zygons stationed by Objective Two (a destroyed Dalek hulk), and literally ate two of the shape-shifting extra-terrestrials in mere moments. Behind the microscopic beings a group of Cybermen fired at the recently retreated Silence, but to no avail. Disappointingly for the race of cybernetically augmented humanoids, the silver giants near Objective Five (a container of green goop) were equally as unsuccessful when shooting at the close-by Sea Devils.

From his position atop the Badlands Bluff, it was clear to Dalek Sec that his allies were failing in their tasks. The leader of the Cult of Skaro subsequently directed some ineffective covering fire towards the Judoon whilst his two drone units re-positioned themselves to cover Objective Three (an ancient bronze statue of a Draconian Emperor) and Objective Four (a space-radio system).
The fighting around Objective One intensified as the surviving Zygons fought back against the Vashta Nerada and electrocuted enough of the swarm to cause an astronaut suit to crumple to the ground. Sensing electrical discharges might be a solution to the ravenous "dust specks", the Silence moved up behind the refugees from Zygor in support. Sensing the moment was at hand, the Tenth Doctor closed in with the Cybermen just south of the large swamp pool and used his sonic screwdriver to bring down one of the Mondasians.

The Sea Devils and Judoon poured their combined firepower into the Daleks just in front of the Badlands Bluff, and scored three hits. But the drones were all saved by their dalekanium armoured shell-casings [Saving roll of a 5 or 6]. En mass the Zygons in the north continued to battle with the Cybermen and incredibly managed to 'fry the circuits' of three of the silver giants.
With the battle on a knife's edge, and the invaders northern flank seemingly close to buckling, the Tenth Doctor cried out in frustration as the Cyber-centre held fast despite the buzzing of his sonic screwdriver. Momentarily exasperated, "Sandshoes" turned to see his Zygon allies proving far more successful against the Vashta Nerada as another two space-suited skeletons collapsed onto the moon's surface.
However, all was not lost for the Time Lord, as the orange multi-suckered aliens to the north swarmed the remaining Cybermen in that area, and stood poised to assail the nearest Dalek unit - if they could only survive the imminent rain of destructor rays... Fortunately, not all the golden drones were focused upon the Zygons though, as the energy blasts belonging to the Sea Devils and Judoon finally destroyed one of the Daleks in front of the Badlands Bluff.

The thousands strong swarm of Vashta Nerada tried to re-inflate their fallen space-suits [At the start of their turn, they must roll a D6 for each missing model. Upon the roll of a 6, that model is returned to the unit], but failed, and additionally struggled to bring down any more Zygons. The story was the same for all of Dalek Sec's forces, with both the Cybermen and entire Dalek firing line all proving successful in their attacks.
As the battle entered its final stage, the Vashta Nerada managed to eat another Zygon, whilst poor Wilfred Mott was brutally chopped down by a Cyberman's hand. One unit of Daleks quickly trundled towards Objective Three, whilst the other fired upon the northern 'horde' of Zygons, and killed one of them. Dalek Sec hovered down to Objective Four to claim four Victory Points for the glory of the Supreme Dalek. This was subsequently added to the single Victory Point the Cybermen attained by holding Objective Five.
The Zygons fried the remaining Vashta Nerada, and were awarded three Victory Points for Objective Two. The Tenth Doctor was unable to overcome the Cybermen in the centre of the battlefield, so only attained a stalemate against the silver giants. The Sea Devils captured Objective Three, earning two Victory Points, whilst the Judoon charged into the nearby Dalek unit and almost destroyed it.

Further north, one party of Zygons launched themselves upon Dalek Sec, and incredibly took out the commander of the Seventh Incursion Squad's two bodyguards. Nearby, the other group of Zygor refugees travelled west back to Objective One and five Victory Points.
It quickly became clear that despite the combined might of the Dalek/Cyberman invasion force, that the Doctor's rag-tag army had somehow managed to thwart the Skaro mutants' plans to conquer Draconia... for now at least.  

Thursday, 8 February 2018

"Fist To Fist With The Savage Fury Of Wen-Di-Go!"

"This is my territory, intruder! Mine!"
This 33mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of Wendigo is miniature number 046 from the Armour Wars Marvel "Heroclix" range and is based upon the "legend of the Algonquian peoples" which curses "anyone who commits an act of cannibalism in the Canadian north woods." Super-humanly strong and nearly indestructible, the "fur-covered monster" was created by Steve Englehart and artist Herb Trimpe. The creature made its first comic book appearance in the April 1973 issue of "The Incredible Hulk", and would go on to battle not only Bruce Banner's gamma-green alter-ego, but Wolverine and Alpha Flight.

"Normally depicted as a savage beast with no control", the model was initially primed using some "Vallejo" Dead White and shaded with Pale Grey. The figure was then patiently dry-brushed with more Dead White, before having its eyes 'picked out' with a delicate dab of Heavy Red.
"Money's nice. What's the body count?"
Considering that Wendigo is predominantly depicted in the comic books as fighting his adversaries in the snow, I was originally tempted to flock his base accordingly. However, having scanned through my magazines, and spotted several examples where those afflicted by the villainous condition have actually been confronted in green woodland, I decided to stick with my usual "Citadel" grass texturing.

Such a straightforward paint-job has also provided me with enough hobby-time to finish the final three "Gotham" gang members I want to accompany my criminally-minded cryogenics expert, Mister Freeze. The trio of converted 28mm plastic "Wizkids" Lackeys have all been painted almost identically to their predecessors, albeit the odd white and blue bobble hat, and bring to an end an exhausting eighteen month long project I first started as part of the 2016 "Forgotten Heroes" challenge.
"N-FX Game Design Studio" Illuminating Terrain WIPs - The scenic piece has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
In addition to super-villains, I have also been working on a piece of Illuminating Terrain by "N-FX Game Design Studio". I'm very grateful to the Nottingham-based company for gifting me this brilliant piece of battery-powered resin scenery, as it should make an ideal glowing rock formation for my "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" Zygon base.

Resultantly, I've stuck to precisely the same pigment palette as I've previously used on my "Warlord Games" Zygon models, and subsequently applied a double undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone, a wash of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson and a dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone over the model. I now need only apply some green and red washes to the terrain, dust some more "Vallejo" Skintone across it in order to replicate the technique I've applied to a few of the shape-shifting aliens' fungi-adorned bases, and it should be good to 'light up'..!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

"Hear Me, Odin!!"

"The stakes of thy tournament have been raised!"
This 47mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of the Destroyer is miniature number 041a from the Mighty Thor Marvel "Heroclix" range and is based upon the "suit of Asgardian armor animated by magic" which predominantly acts an opponent of the Thunder God, Thor. Created by Stan Lee and Jack "King" Kirby, the suit was forged "of an unknown metal and enchanted to be more durable than Uru" by Odin. It made its first comic book appearance in the July 1965 issue of "Journey Into Mystery".

"First seen residing in the Temple of Darkness in Asia" the "practically invulnerable" figure was originally undercoated with "Citadel" Ironbreaker and washed with Nuln Oil. The armour was then dry-brushed using some more Ironbreaker (which had a little hint of "Vallejo" Gold added to the mix). Finally some Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter" was dabbed across the suit's visor area in order to suggest the tremendous energy contained inside.
Invisible Girl, Hydro-Man and Black Mask WIPs - The models are in various stages of painting
Sticking with "Heroclix", I have made some more progress on a few other partially-painted "Wizkid" miniatures I own. I was actually hoping to have finished my old model of Invisible Girl and thus completed the Fantastic Four's original quartet. But disconcertingly, I have found that my recipe for the dark blue costume I pigmented her husband, Mister Fantastic, in was not correctly recorded. As a result, I am having to experiment a little with different washes of "Citadel" Nuln Oil and Drakenhof Nightshade in order to find a similar 'fit'.

Finding the right mix of blue for Hydro-Man has not proved so difficult fortunately, as I've been progressively dry-brushing the Frightful Four member with ever lighter shades of "Vallejo" Turquoise, and subsequently blended all the colours together with an application of "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade. One of Spider-Man's arch-villains, the criminal now only needs for his shirt and face to be 'picked out' before being ready for the tabletop. 
Garreck's Reavers WIPs - The two warriors are slowly being painted from their feet up
Ordinarily I don't like to keep my "Heroclix" miniatures on their bases, even when they're rather elaborately made. However, in Black Mask's case I've made an exception, as I both love the look of the rusty metal pier the gangster is standing on and saw it as an excellent opportunity to once again use some "Mig Productions" Extreme Rust Wash on a figure. I'm hoping the silver and orange will quite nicely contrast with the all-black attire of the "DC Comics" kingpin.

Finally, with an eye of establishing an "Age Of Sigmar" Khorne army which could one day rival my Tallyband of Nurgle, I have spent a little time making completing some minor areas on a couple of "Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire" Bloodreavers. These two members of Garrek's Reavers can delightfully be used within both "Games Workshop" rule-sets, and I'm hoping their completion will spur me on to instigate some further battles between the Plague God and Blood God...

Sunday, 4 February 2018

"Nein, Little Man. You Will Help Us Find Your Friend..."

"...If you want to keep that face of yours."
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of Plasmus is miniature number 015 from the DC Comics "Heroclix" Arkham Asylum range and is based upon the super-villain Otto Von Furth, who, whilst working as a mine worker in East Berlin, Germany, was accidentally exposed to radioactive radium during an unexpected cave-in. Created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, the unstable protoplasmic mutate can liquefy solid matter with "his burning touch" and made his first comic book appearance in the December 1981 issue of "The New Teen Titans".

The former member of the Brotherhood of Evil was initially primed with "Vallejo" Squid Pink in order to eradicate his somewhat garish-coloured pre-paint and subsequently washed with "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade and Carroburg Crimson. The figure was then dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Squid Pink before having receiving an all-over wash of watered-down "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
Putrid Blightking WIP - Having finished his leg armour and sword's patina, the warrior's bloated belly is next 
At this point I was rather tempted to finish the model off with a coat of my usual "Coat D'arms" Gloss Varnish. However, having studied Otto's entry in the "DC Comics" Wikipedia, I noticed that his main illustration depicted Plasmus wearing a pair of black shorts. Glancing at my figure's chemically converted body I spotted that the sculpt was indeed wearing a similar costume; albeit "Wizkids" had clearly decided not to 'pick it out'. As a result I applied some "Citadel" Abaddon Black to Von Furth's attire, and then decided to 'highlight' his eyes with a dab or two of "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre.

Moving on to this month's "Maggotkin Of Nurgle" goal, I have made some additional progress to the first of my four Putrid Blightkings. However, as there's so much detail on this particular model I'm finding for every couple of steps forwards I take, I inevitably have to return to a previously painted part and rework it as a result of somehow managing to erroneously catch it with my paint-brush. Luckily though, I'm currently finding the favoured of Nurgle to be so much fun to pigment that I'm not finding the repeated 'touch-ups' too arduous a task...
Plaguebearer & Nurgling WIPs - The followers of the Plague God have been primed, washed and dry-brushed
In addition, I have started work on four of the tiny Nurglings which come with the "Games Workshop" Plaguebearers of Nurgle boxed set. These little chappies don't play any actual purpose in "Age Of Sigmar", but are instead ordinarily utilised to adorn the bases of other Nurgle warriors. I thought these particular sculpts though were worthy of their own stands, and thought they'd make 'cute' damage markers for some of my Host's larger creatures.

Lastly, I've applied a little paint to the first of nine Plague Drones I own. These Rot Fly riders will hopefully provide my Tallyband with some much needed missile attacks, as well as speed, and weigh in at a hefty 200 points per three models. For now I'm simply focusing on the drones' "high-ranking Plaguebearers", but expect to see the odd "Prehensile Proboscis" being primed soon...

Thursday, 1 February 2018

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Maggotkin Of Nurgle" February 2018

Putrid Blightking WIP - The warrior has had the majority of his armour base-coated in either black or brown
This month's randomly themed attempt to try and reduce my overwhelming collection of metal, plastic and resin miniatures has been superseded by the release of the "Maggotkin Of Nurgle" Chaos Battletome by "Games Workshop", and my utter inability to resist many of the Nottingham-based manufacturer's latest models for this "Age Of Sigmar" army. However, as I have now entered the third month of my inaugural, Partially-Painted Pledge challenge, and am somewhat behind my tally target, I felt I should first finish painting a number of formerly started Nurgle figures, before I embark upon any of the range's newest "vile and wretched beings".

To begin with I have turned my gaze upon four Putrid Blightkings which have sat hidden within a metal tin for far too long. I actually painted the leader of these "enormous, bloated warriors", the Blightlord, early last year and subsequently done little else with the rest of the boxed set except assemble and prime its contents. Fortunately, a unit of five Blightkings costs 180 points in-game, and their completion will finally allow me to attain something of a mini-goal in being able to field over 1,000 points of pure Nurgle units; as opposed to my current ploy of selecting a Balewind Vortex (spell), Slambo or Khorne allies in order to make up the points...
Vertical Wall Bookshelf WIPs - The resin and mdf piece has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
Considering that the Putrid Blightkings boxed set is a "105-piece plastic kit" there's a tremendous amount of detail to be found on the miniatures, so I've picked a fairly standard 'sword and shield' "favoured mortal" to begin with which should allow me to paint some rusty armour and bronze patina, as well as dirty reds, browns, boils and sores. In addition, it should help re-familiarise me with the painting palette/techniques I usually apply to any of models which are "festering with pustules and plague."

Stepping out of "the Mortal Realms" momentarily, I was recently very pleased to be sent a four-piece Vertical Wall Bookshelf by "N-FX Game Design Studio". This "resin and mdf" terrain piece is wonderfully sculpted, packed full of all sorts of books and tomes, and makes for a marvellous backdrop for the "Doctor Who" monsters, the Vashta Nerada. Indeed, having primed, washed and dry-brushed the scenic shelves, I've every intention of eventually recreating one of the British science fiction television series' classic corridor chase scenes as shown during the 2008 story "Silence In The Library".
"Heroclix" WIPs - The Wendigo, the Destroyer, and a converted Easy Company Soldier
I also plan to continue progressing a number of my unfinished "Heroclix" figures by "Wizkids", such as the NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) subsidiary's sculpt of the "Marvel Comics" villain Wendigo; a curse which "strikes different people over time if they commit acts of cannibalism in the northern parts of Canada." In addition, I have a fair few straightforward paint-jobs planned for some of my more recent "Troll And Toad" acquisitions from across the Pond, like Thor's arch-nemesis, the Destroyer.

Lastly, I hope to take full advantage of my 'super-heroes' mojo by finishing off a conversion of "G.I. Zombie" which I actually assembled for the 2014 Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I first encountered the lead for "DC Comics" sadly short-lived "Star-Spangled War Stories" series earlier that same year and decided to create my own version of Jared Kabe from a spare Easy Company Soldier when I disappointingly discovered "Wizkids" hadn't produced an official miniature of the "immortal".