Saturday, 30 June 2018

"There'll Be A Cold Time In The Old Town Tonight!"

"This man's jaw feels like it's made of solid ice!"
These two 37mm tall “Wizkids” models of Solomon Grundy are both miniature number 018 from the Arkham Asylum DC Comics "Heroclix" range and have been converted into members of Mister Freeze's "Cold Pack" for this year's annual "Forgotten Heroes" challenge. Based upon the poor unfortunate millionaires who foolishly underwent one of Victor Fries' cryogenic treatments in an attempt to have their lifespans greatly increased, the living zombies first appeared in the February 1979 edition of "Batman" and were created by Len Wein and penciler John Calnan.

As the plastic pre-painted models originally carried a formidable-looking tree branch, they both had to momentarily suffer under the blade of a sharp modelling knife so as to appear as empty-handed as they do in the "DC Comics" publication. I then primed one with two layers of "Vallejo" USA Olive Drab and the other with Charred Brown.
Volturnos WIPs - The High King's mount has been primed, shaded and dry-brushed
The "failed experiments commanded by Freeze" subsequently had their shoes painted in "Vallejo" Black and their frozen flesh layered with Dead White. Their icy skin was later shaded using a little watered-down "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade and patiently dry-brushed with some (more) "Vallejo" Dead White.

I was briefly perplexed over the choice of colour for my Cold Pack members' shirts. They were always going to be predominantly "Vallejo" Dead White, but I was somewhat worried this 'whiteness' might easily merge in with their pallid undead flesh if I simply washed the areas with some Pale Grey. In the end I therefore applied some Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter" over their ragged shirts, as well as more heavily across their jacket and trousers.  
Stormcast Eternals WIPs - Sigmar's warriors have all had their armour layered
With two of my planned three ice zombies finished before the "Forgotten Heroes" deadline, I have started to make some increasing inroads on my Idoneth Deepkin general for "Age Of Sigmar", their Akhelian King, Volturnos. The Sea Aelf High King's serpentine mount has now been primed, shaded and dry-brushed along with it's base's marine-based scatter terrain, and I'm hoping to turn my attention to the water-beast's rider over the next week or so.

In addition, along with the Errant-Questor I recently purchased from "Warhammer World", I have also progressed the three "Games Workshop" Stormcast Eternals which come in the Nottingham-based company's "Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire" starter set. These "Sigmarines" are incredibly detailed and well-posed, and more importantly can also be used for an Order Army on the "Age Of Sigmar" battlefield too.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

"I'm The Dandy Highwayman..."

"...Who you're too scared to mention."
This 40mm tall metal model of a Dandy Highway-Fox is sold by “Oathsworn Miniatures", and can be bought as Code BB69 from their "Burrows And Badgers" range. Originally part of the County Durham-based company's "Fur And Feathers" kickstarter, Dead-Eye Jack comes equipped with a formidable-looking pistol.

The hefty omnivorous mammal was super-glued onto a 40mm plastic circular lipped base, and primed using a couple of coats of "Vallejo" Black Green. I then washed the cunning creature's long scoundrel coat with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and 'picked out' his long boots, holster, leather straps and Tricorn hat using some "Vallejo" Black.
"Stand and deliver!"
The dashing rogue's breeches were pigmented with "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, his coat's underside with Heavy Sienna and his leather waistcoat with Charred Brown. All of these areas were subsequently treated to a wash of Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter". In addition I 'highlighted' a couple of buttons with "Vallejo" Brass.

As I wanted this miniature to particularly stand-out on the table-top as a result of being my warband's leader, I used the rather vivid "Vallejo" Dark Vermillion for his fur, dampened it down with a splash of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and then brought back some of its reddish colour with a hearty dry-brush of more "Vallejo" Dark Vermillion.
"Heroclix" Solomon Grundy WIPs - The undead criminal is slowly being transformed into three ice zombies
Once this was finished, I slowly started drawing "Vallejo" Dead White over the fox's tail and nose in order to increasingly build up the animal's distinctive pelage. Lastly, I used the combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil to paint the majority of the bold bandit's firing piece, belt buckle and cocked hat pins.

With my "Burrows And Badgers" warband now complete, I have had more time to progress the 'converted' "Heroclix" pieces I am submitting for this year's "Forgotten Heroes" challenge. Having initially intended to work on five Solomon Grundy "Wizkids" miniatures, I've actually since decided to scale down my plans and simply produce three ice zombies for Mister Freeze to use as mindless minions. Not only does this total make the mini-project far more manageable, but it also means Victor Fries' ordinary goons won't be out-numbered by the more specialist, heavy-hitters; a far more realistic ratio in my mind.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

"Warhammer World" Loot 2018

"Warhammer World" - The main building complete with giant statue and "Warhammer 40K" game display
This past weekend saw the start of what will hopefully be a semi-regular pilgrimage to Lenton Lane, Nottingham, and the supposed "Mecca for collectors and gamers across the globe" known as Warhammer World. I haven't actually visited the global headquarters of the "Games Workshop" hobby since its early days, and was surprised by just how many different games, genres and miniatures the company currently produce. Certainly, I found my willpower simply to pick-up the odd little trinket wilting the moment I arrived and came face-to-face with the place's gigantic statue of a Space Marine and Rhino armoured troop carrier.

Having therefore found myself already considerably enthused with "Warhammer 40K" I set foot inside the Visitor Centre and promptly came face-to-face with a marvellous display of Ultramarines storming an incredibly detailed mining facility which had been unfortunate enough to fall prey to an infestation of Nurgle's chaotic disciples. Somewhat overshadowed by a formidably-sized statue of Lurtz from "The Lord Of The Rings", not to mention a second Space Marine (perhaps the original sculpt which stood outside?), this enclosed miniature display in some ways actually made me want to drive back home and start painting up the contents of my "Dark Imperium" boxed set straight away...
Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader - "Produced to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Warhammer 40,000" 
Naturally there was still plenty more to see, and resultantly I spent some time moving around the various downstairs display cabinets before venturing up into the building's main store. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly for a manufacturer who is literally just about to release the second edition of their "Age Of Sigmar" rule-set though, it was not until I ventured up these steps that I started to notice its publicity; the vast majority of which came in the form of large cloth advertisement banners displaying some of the games more popular factions, such as the Stormcast and Daughters of Khaine.

However, as you can probably imagine, this momentarily banished all thoughts of their "dystopian science fantasy universe" from my mind and had me making a bee-line past the welcoming member of staff, and straight to their substantial "Age Of Sigmar" miniature exhibits. It was at this point though that I realised I really had ill-prepared myself for the sheer volume of plastic, metal and resin "Games Workshop" produce, and the presence of "Forge World" and their entire resin range didn't help matters either.
Errant-Questor WIP - The Stormcast Eternal has been assembled, based and primed
Luckily I was able to take a moments breather and libation at the wonderfully atmospheric Bugman's Bar, before returning to the store area and pressing on with my plan to view every single model on display. This refreshing respite momentarily allowed me to regain my wits and logically decide to only purchase from the centre's 'exclusive' range, rather than rampage through the fully-packed aisles of wares which I could doubtless purchase online (and at a significantly reduced cost).

To that end I was rather pleased to simply walk away with just a "special edition facsimile" of the original "Warhammer 40,000" rule-book, in order to replace my badly battered copy of "Rogue Trader", and the rather enigmatic-looking Errant-Questor multi-part plastic model for the Stormcast Eternals. Of course, paying £20 for a single average-sized miniature, even when it comes in a myriad of small fiddly pieces, is definitely not something I plan on doing everyday, especially when at one point I had been torn between purchasing either "the lone survivor of a retinue" or an entire "Blood Bowl" team for exactly the same price. But it was hopefully a one-off, and perhaps the start of another army for "Age Of Sigmar"...

Sunday, 24 June 2018

"Wizkids" Battle Report: Fantastic Four - The Black Panther Strikes

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 "Warlord Games" 32.5" x 22" rubber Science Fiction Playmat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of scenery produced by "Wargame-Model-Mods", “Wargames Terrain Workshop” and "Mantic Games"; most notably an abandoned vehicle, three ruined buildings and some street furniture.

The Fantastic Four, who started in the south-west consisted of the super-team's original line-up, Mister Fantastic (10pts), Invisible Girl (10pts), The Thing (10pts) and the Human Torch (10pts), as well as the Black Panther (10pts). Whilst Doctor Doom's forces began the fight in the north-east corner, and consisted of the Latverian Monarch himself (15pts), three Doombots (total 30pts) and Dragon Man. 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… Doctor Doom has reactivated the super-strong android, Dragon Man and plans to use the automaton to kill the royal leader of Wakanda. Deducing the Latverian's scheme to usurp T'Challa's throne, Reed Richards and the rest of the Fantastic Four have intercepted the mad tyrant's assassination squad, and together with the Black Panther plan to put a stop to the diabolical plot..."
Having won the initiative, Doctor Doom confidently strode [Move: 6"] to Objective Four (Oil Barrels) and from his position commanded his robotic slaves to fly up into the air and fan out south-west towards his hated opponents.

In response Sue Storm-Richards closed to within almost touching distance of Objective Two (Grave), whilst her younger brother flew fast [Move: 8"] beside her east towards Objective Five (Drinks Machine). The Thing slowly thundered along behind the pair [Move: 4"], admiringly watching the lighting quick Black Panther race away north-east in the direction of Objective One (Bin). Finally, Mister Fantastic rolled his rubbery-form up into a ball and bounced after the King of Wakanda.

"The first superhero of African descent in mainstream American comics" swiftly reached Objective One [Move: 8"] and impatiently waited as Reed Richards approached. The Human Torch continued to fly east towards Objective Five (Drinks Machine), noting that his sister was somewhat behind his fiery trail. Ben Grimm lumbered up to Objective Two (Grave).
The super-heroes were making far too much progress for Victor Von Doom's liking, so with a motion of his armoured gauntlet, the Latverian ruler directed one of his three Doombots and Dragon Man [Move: 4"] to head ever closer to Objective Five (Drinks Machine). In the mean time the powerful Sorcerer ordered his remaining two Doombots north-west to tackle the Black Panther.

Doctor Doom fixed Johnny Storm with a hard stare, and chuckled as his armour's targeting sensor's locked onto the flaming human mutate's form. Laser beams poured out of the despot's metallic glove [Shooting: 2 dice] and caused a single wound. First blood to the super-villain, albeit the Human Torch was far from out of the fight yet.

With an audible roar, Dragon Man flew ever faster towards towards Objective Five (Drinks Machine) and landed a foot-step away from it. The increase in pace however, had made Professor Gregson Gilbert's creation significantly more vulnerable for a short while [causing him to be hit on a roll of 4, 5 or 6 rather than a 5 or 6]. The two Doombots to the north split up so that one was heading straight for Objective Three (Debris), whilst the other flew past an abandoned car towards the Black panther and Objective One (Bin).
The other Doombot joined his fearless master's barrage upon Johnny Storm by firing his own laser-weapons at the flaming youth [Shooting: 2 dice]. Initially the robot failed to strike its target, but due to Doom's proximity and leadership ability [Command: A friendly unit that is within 12" may re-roll a single dice roll once per turn] eventually damaged the Human Torch, reducing the Hothead down to just two health before the battle was even half-way through.

The Fantastic Four and their Wakandan ally may well have covered more ground than Doctor Doom's less agile, robotic force, but in doing so they had exposed themselves to the mad Latverian monarch's withering firepower...

To be continued...

Thursday, 21 June 2018

“They Have A New Type Of Robot.”

"Quarks. You will set up the drilling site in accordance with the instructions of..."
This 27mm-tall "pewter" model of a Quark is produced by “Warlord Games” and forms part of the Nottingham-based company’s five-miniature strong "The Dominators" boxed set. Designed as an “attempt at creating a merchandise property” similar to the Daleks, the rectangular robots were “portrayed by children” and made their debut on “Doctor Who” in the August 1968 BBC television story "The Dominators".

“Cuboid in shape with a sphere on top”, the servitor was primed using some "Vallejo" Black Surface Primer, treated to a double coat of “Citadel” Ironbreaker and washed with Nuln Oil. It was then dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker before having the internal areas around its folding arms, retractable claws and pole-like legs, darkened using a splash of additional Nuln Oil.
70mm x 70mm x 42mm MDF WIPs - The MDF box/building has been painted "Citadel" Ironbreaker
In order to try and replicate the more popular palette choice found from the reference material I used, I ‘picked out’ the tiny rectangular areas beneath the bipedal machine’s sensory hemisphere with a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey and “Citadel” Nuln Oil. I had actually been strongly tempted to simply leave these parts alone and keep them ‘metallic silver’, but in the end liked the ‘official’ “Warlord Games” paint-job so much that I later returned to these areas and ‘highlighted’ them with an extra dab of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey and (even more) “Citadel” Nuln Oil.

The actual sensors used for “detecting changes in heat, light and motion” were initially ‘outlined’ with some thinned-down Black and then layered with “Vallejo” Bluegrey and a splash of “Citadel” Nuln Oil. I subsequently lightly dry-brushed these tiny nodules with some “Vallejo” Bluegrey and Dead White.
100mm x 100mm x 60mm MDF WIPs - The second MDF box/building has been built and embellished
The Quark’s directional crystal beam transmitters gave me a moment’s pause, as I’ve previously read that “the spore spikes were red along with the rim attaching them all.” However, no-one seemed to have ever pigmented the robots in such a fashion, and all the photographs of the costumes I could find seemingly showed them to be white in colour. As a result I simply repeated the aforementioned process I used to paint the miniature’s sensory hemisphere.

Alongside completing the first of my three Quark figures, I've also spent some additional time working on the MDF boxes I recently bought from Tepic2000 on "Ebay", and plan to ‘transform’ into a Cyber-City to use with the "Warlord Games" rule-set "Doctor Who: Exterminate". "N-FX Game Design Studio" have very kindly sent me even more of their 3D decals to try out, and as a result I have not only begun washing the smallest of my planned buildings with some “Citadel” Nuln Oil, but assembled a slightly larger 100mm x 100mm x 60mm box and applied a number vents, electronic interfaces and metallic panels to it…

Monday, 18 June 2018

"So Timid Toad, His Eyes A-Popping..."

"...Into the woodland night went hopping."
This 23mm tall metal model of a Toad Mage is produced by “Oathsworn Miniatures", and can be purchased as Code BB66 from their "Burrows And Badgers" range. Originally part of the County Durham-based company's "Fur And Feathers" kickstarter, Grarrp Croaak comes equipped with a Mage's Focus and Mage's Pouch.

The short-legged frog was super-glued onto a 30mm plastic circular lipped base, and primed using a couple of coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Khaki. His "dry, leathery skin" and "large bumps covering the parotoid glands" were then washed using some Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter" and later dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Khaki.
70mm x 70mm x 42mm MDF WIPs - The "N-FX Game Design Studio" three-dimensional decals are self-adhesive
"Often viewed with suspicion or even outright hostility" due to it being a Magic User, the tailless amphibian had its bone staff painted with "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, and both his leather bindings, as well as his satchel, 'picked out' with Heavy Sienna. All of these areas were subsequently shaded using "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, before the skeletal stave was treated to a light dry-brush of (more) "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand.

Initially, I had pigmented the Mage's feather charms using some "Vallejo" Turquoise, but felt the deep blue was a little too incongruous with the rest of the creature's muted palette. As a result I settled upon a combination of Heavy Red and Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter". In addition I also considered applying a green ink over the Toad's 'warty' skin in order to help differentiate it from the rest of his body. In the end though, having returned to some of the wildlife photographs I'd been using as a colour guide, I simply settled upon a second application of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade over the bumpy areas.   
70mm x 70mm x 42mm MDF WIPs - Primed "Vallejo" Black, the building fits nicely inside the next-sized box
With my "Burrows And Badgers" warband now almost complete, I've spent a short period of my hobby-time assembling some simple MDF boxes sold by Tepic2000 on "Ebay". This biggish project should see me create a few straightforward sci-fi buildings to use as a Cyber-City for the "Warlord Games" rule-set "Doctor Who: Exterminate". The smaller of these planned buildings will not only be able to be stored inside some of the larger ones (to help save on storage), but will also be used to store my cards, dice, rules etc...

The first box is just a humble 70mm x 70mm x 42mm square affair which I have glued together, and stuck some three-dimensional decals on in order to 'space it up'. The decals are by "N-FX Game Design Studio", and should provide plenty of sci-fi detail once I've painted the piece silver and weathered it a bit.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

"I'm A Part Of The New Frightful Four!"

"I'm not taking a back seat to anybody in this group!"
This 50mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of Hydro Man is miniature number 012 from the Sinister Marvel "Heroclix" range and is based upon the water manipulator who formed part of "the antithesis to the Fantastic Four", the Frightful Four. Transformed into a "man-of-water" when he was accidentally immersed "in a deep ocean dwelling bacteria" and exposed to an unknown radiation, Morris "Morrie" Bench's villainous alter-ego was created by Dennis O'Neil and artist John Romita Junior for the January 1981 issue of "The Amazing Spider-Man".

"Able to bodily transform himself into a watery liquid substance", the former the U.S.S. Bulldog crewman was initially primed with two coats of "Vallejo" Dark Blue so as to 'mask' its transparent, blue-coloured plastic and washed with "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade. The "typical low rent super criminal" machine was then dry-brushed using several more applications of "Vallejo" Dark Blue, with each one having a little more "Vallejo" Dead White added to the mix.
"Heroclix" Solomon Grundy WIPs - The undead criminal is slowly being transformed into a horde of ice zombies
As a last touch to Hydro Man's arms and lower torso, I applied a second, final wash of "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade over the areas and lightly dry-brushed the cusps/ridges of the waves with some extra "Vallejo" Dead White. In addition, I applied two coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black to the supposed expert street fighter's body and a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to his hair.

Sticking with "Heroclix" I am currently making some slow progress on my test piece for this year's "Forgotten Heroes" challenge, as organised by Dick Garrison and Carrion Crow. Having already done a fair bit of chopping on the five Solomon Grundy "Wizkids" miniatures I aim to 'convert' into some ice zombies for Mister Freeze to use as mindless minions (as per the plot to the February 1979 edition of "Batman" by "DC Comics", I'm now just slowly 'picking out all the "Vallejo" Dead White flesh on the frozen corpses...
"Scarlet Midget" Cosplay Starship Crew WIPs - The four miniatures have simply been primed
Having received a much-anticipated white cardboard package through the post yesterday, I have also added a few more miniatures to my painting queue which will undoubtedly work their way up through my queue in ultra-fast time. Previously produced by "Y.F.T. Design" as part of their "Nexus Miniatures" range, these models from the Perkūnas Mining Corporation "Scarlet Midget" Cosplay Starship Crew are already out of production, but once finished should provide me with some science fiction-based "character-driven comedy" tabletop action.

I've actually managed to 'track down' the entire discontinued range, so expect to see future postings featuring Krissy-K, Rocky, Wildfire, Aunt Petunia, N.O.R.M. and Sputter-bots, as well as an alternative Charley. For now though, I'm working on Barry, Felix, Charley, Kry-10 and a fair few lazookas...

Monday, 11 June 2018

"Although Such Beasts Are Rare, You May See Lizards..."

"...Marmots, and even such strange creatures as armadillos and the platypus."
This 28mm metal model of a Green Lizard is sold by “Oathsworn Miniatures" and can be purchased as Code BB13 from their "Burrows And Badgers" range. Originally part of the manufacturer's first "anthro animal miniatures" kickstarter, Bassk uz' Drasst comes equipped with a one-handed weapon and is sculpted wearing light armour.

The "squamate reptile" was super-glued onto a 30mm plastic circular lipped base, and primed using a couple of coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Green. His wonderfully detailed scaly skin was then heavily shaded using some Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter" and later dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Green.
Dandy Highwayfox WIPs - The cunning criminal has had his coat and red fur layered
Despite presumably being based upon the European 'lacerta viridis', which can be found "across European mid-latitudes from Slovenia and eastern Austria to as far east as the Black Sea coasts of Ukraine and Turkey", I rather fancied my insect-eater as having travelled from a far hotter climate such as central Mexico, and resultantly decided to give him a more Mesoamerican feel. His armour plates were therefore coated with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, subsequently coloured with a combination of Brass and Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter", and then finally aged with a small application of "Citadel" Nihilakh Oxide.

I did contemplate making the lizard's sword bronze too, but ultimately decided a seasoned warrior would soon swap such a weapon for one fashioned from finest steel instead. In addition, I had also chosen to partially follow the official "Oathsworn Miniatures" paint-scheme by covering the warrior's hands and feet with some "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre. This pigment would arguably make it difficult to discern from anything gold-coloured which the model was holding.
Boromite Work Ganger WIP - The alien miner still needs his rocky hide to be shaded
As a final phase I 'picked out' all the long-tailed reptile's leather straps with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and treated them to a wash of Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter". At this point I was momentarily tempted to apply some light blue to the figure's face. However, I felt such a strongly contrasting colour would distract the eye away from the flecks of verdigris on the fighter's armour.

With my fourth "Burrows And Badgers" miniature finished, I have additionally made a bit more headway on the last few Boromite Work Gangers I need so as to finally field a 500-point Scouting Force for “Beyond The Gates Of Antares”. These “Warlord Games” extra-terrestrial miners are absolutely covered from head-to-toe in highly detailed bits of equipment, sensors and armour, so are taking me an incredibly long time to paint using my 'black-lining' method. Still, the end may finally be in sight...

Friday, 8 June 2018

Top Ten Miniatures Of 2017 - A "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" Viewpoint

Well a little later than usual (quite a bit later to be honest) Simon has asked me to share with you, his dear readers, what were in my humble opinion the “Top Ten” miniatures he painted way back in 2017. Now I know this has already been more than ably done by “Undercoat”, who stepped into the breach when I was indisposed at the tail end of last year, but Simon has been kind enough to allow me the chance to continue the fine tradition of “sticking my oar in” and inflicting my opinions upon you as well (I think he just likes getting the compliments to be honest!).

So as I sit here with my list of twenty three possible inclusions I’ll try and whittle it down to my final ten. Some may be the same as “Undercoats”, many I think will not, though it will be interesting to compare the two come the end of my list. Before I start I firstly have to congratulate Simon on his very impressive output, his work is quite simply sublime, and though we always say this it really does get harder to pick just ten every year.

Napoleonic’s are really a staple of wargaming. To the uninitiated they are probably the image that is most conjured up in the mind of what our hobby is all about - vast armies of brightly coloured figures advancing in lines across tables of green. As we all know the modern take on the hobby is very rarely like that, but that is where I started many years ago albeit with Marlborough’s wars rather than “Nappies”. Along with his Gallic chums, this figure took me right back to those heady days in a friend's back room pushing lines of troops to their black powder smoked doom, though his were nowhere as well painted as Simon's figures. Great painting skills were on show here with real character in every figure, this chap just stood out to me, I think it’s his face with his jaunty moustache.

Another great characterful figure at number nine, this little undead cowboy is just about as “gosh tooting cute, as a horse fly on a prairie dog!”. Perhaps “cute” is the wrong word to use to describe a member of the living dead, but there is something terribly appealing about the oversized Stetson and baggy “chaps” this chap is sporting. All of Simon’s “Wild west zombies” were great but this is my definite favourite.

It seems I always end up with a big gold animal somewhere in my list. Last time it was a “Foo dog” and this time a very impressive “Bull” construct. Standing a massive 90mm long, not including his tail, it was the painting that really drew me to this nasty looking beastie. The brass colour and oxidised highlights on this “Bones” plastic creature give it a truly realistic look that is highly impressive. Oh and it’s by Bob Olley, and that’s a good thing too!

We stay in September for the figure at number seven. Now I’m not adverse to the odd “toy” based figure myself so my interest was definitely raised when I saw this smashing figure of one of the stalwarts of the “G.I. Joe” range of “Action figures”. Sadly not commercially available, Simon was lucky enough to receive this from a private collection. The wonderful paint-job Simon has given him just makes me covet him even more. I especially love the parrot perched on his shoulder.

This was one of those “I’d never of thought of that” ideas which I fully intend to steal shamelessly at some point in the future. I’d seen the “drinks can machines” over on Dave “WTW” site and though they are very nice, they weren’t something I’d thought of adding to my “Wish List”. That is until Simon set to work turning them into rusted out pieces of set dressing brilliance! Instead of the shiny new machines gracing a corridor or “mall”, they now looked like they had been sat out in the desert for a hundred years! Perfect on any post-apocalyptic shop front or forecourt! I’ve got to get me some of these, after all what’s the worst that could happen!

When Jez, of “Carrion Crows Buffet” fame first came up with the idea that became “Forgotten Heroes” month, we thought that maybe a couple of other bloggers might join in, so we were both shocked by the number of participants we did get and by the sheer quality of the entries too. Simon, joined in of course (like he had a choice), and his entries were up to his usual high standard, even if they did take him a little longer to finish than some of the other competitors! This conversion of a footless "Heroclix" figure into the alien member of the “Howling Commando’s” was a “kit-bashing” masterclass. Add to this the deep shimmering paintwork on his skin, and you can see why he was my pick of the bunch.

The first of two “Doctor Who” related figures comes from Jon Pertwee’s tenure in the role. These highly detailed miniatures of the water born versions of the ancient Silurians have been beautifully and faithfully rendered by Simon, and are really a joy to behold. The colours are absolutely bang-on, and they could have just walked out of the sea! (Maybe that’s why they are still shiny ;-) ). Beautiful figures, beautiful painting, just a shame they are 38mm tall.

This was another of those out of the blue, “that’s brilliant” figures. It is well known that I am not the biggest fan of “Nu Who”, but when I first saw this unfortunate little “Pepperpot” on Simon’s blog, I was struck by what a simple yet effective piece it was. To think that it was only created because the miniature would not go together properly and so was irrevocably damaged. Yet rather than throw it out, he recycled it into this wonderful objective maker. You can tell I really like this piece as I really want to do something similar myself at some point.

He had to get in to my top ten and very, very nearly made the top spot. Adam West’s portrayal of the caped crusader may not of been completely true to the original, and is a million miles away from the dark brooding hero we’ve come to know today. But is there really anyone out there who doesn’t have a soft spot for these “camp”, “psychedelic” exploits from our youth. Simon's figure is a fitting tribute to the great mister West, who we sadly lost that year, with colour choices that are as always spot on, and a deftness of touch that brings the wonderful likeness to life.

So if Batman is only in second spot, who made it to the top of the pile?  Well it’s not a who but a what. When Simon first put forward his idea of using a world war one armoured car as the purveyance of choice of mister Max Rockatansky, I have to admit to being a little doubtful (actually I thought “Ok, this time he’s gone too far!”). But I was completely wrong on this, as the finished article just works so well! Though the painting is as good as ever with the black (he does black so well), and rust application being seamless, (it does look like it’s been out in the desert for years), the thing that pushed this to the top spot for me was the concept and vision behind this piece. I absolutely love the way Simon drags items from different settings and makes them work in his post-apocalyptic world. Great work all round!
So that was my Top Ten for 2017, as usual mentions have to be given to the “almost” boys who made the short list but didn’t quite make the final ten, so “nod’s” have to be given to… The Fisher King, Karanak, Slambo, Zygons and Torquemada to name just a few. There are of course many others...

I’ll have to start work on this year’s offerings soon as Simon is a rather prolific poster there are always plenty to work back through. It just leaves me to thank Simon for once again allowing me free rain upon his excellent blog (even if I am late doing this), please keep reading it as the content will return to the normally high level you are used to, as soon as Simon starts writing it himself again.

Many thanks for reading, cheers Roger.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

"I Am The Foamasi Government."

"I am an ambassador. To interdict my departure would be an act of war."
This 28mm metal Foamasi figure is produced by “Black Tree Design", and can be purchased as Code DW436 from the company's "Doctor Who" miniatures range. “A race of stocky, reptilian humanoids”, these aliens “were involved in a twenty minute war with the Argolin, during which they attacked Argolis with 20,000 missiles” and made their debut in the August 1980 BBC Television story "The Leisure Hive". 

The figure was first primed with two coats of “Vallejo” Heavy Green, generously shaded with “Citadel” Biel-Tan Green and dry-brushed using some (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Green. It then had it’s eyes carefully ‘picked out’ with a couple of spots of Heavy Red and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson, before its claws received a layer of “Vallejo” Iraqi Sand and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
Dandy Highwayfox WIPs - The furry footpad has had his breeches and leather waistcoat layered and washed
Setting aside my three-claw handed extra-terrestrial, I have been making some sound progress upon the last of my current batch of “Burrows And Badgers” models. This strikingly tall Dandy Highwayfox was sculpted by “Oathsworn Miniatures” as part of their successful “Fur And Feathers” kickstarter, and was one of my (many) impulse buys during “Salute” 2018.

Named Dead-Eye Jack during the creative project’s funding drive, I’ve decided to try and stick as close as possible to the robber’s ‘official’ paint-job, and resultantly have spent some time working my up his torso utilising some of my lesser used “Vallejo” paints in the process, such as USA Olive Drab, Black Green and Dark Vermilion. I’ve still got some way to go on my warband’s charismatic leader, but hope to have the dastardly fox finished before the week is done.
Boromite Work Ganger WIP - The alien miner still needs a number of pieces of his armour to be 'picked out'
A far less straightforward proposition has been the first of three Boromites I need to complete in order to finally field a 500-point Scouting Force for “Beyond The Gates Of Antares” by “Warlord Games”. Rather embarrassingly, I have actually been persevering with this particular project for an entire year, and only recently have found myself once again inspired to try and ‘grind’ the remaining rocky-skinned miners out with my paint-brush.

Fortunately, the Nottingham-based manufacturer is currently providing plenty of inspiration for their "war-torn universe" wargame, courtesy of the Virai's imminent release. This "long-forgotten threat introduces a new range of exquisite science fiction models" alongside a new campaign supplement which will actually allow me to field a combined Freeborn/Boromite Privateer force on the tabletop...

Monday, 4 June 2018

"At Dredgard Ridge I Opened The Throats Of Three Duardin..."

"...With a single swing."
This 28mm scale multi-part "push-fit" model of Targor is from the "Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire" starter set sold by "Games Workshop", and can additionally be used as part of Garrek's Reavers unit for "Age Of Sigmar". Behaving "very similarly to Arnulf", apart from becoming "a little more powerful when inspired" the bloodthirsty warrior is actually "a recent addition to the warband, choosing to walk the path of skulls rather than being slowly tortured to death like the rest of his conquered tribe."

Initially primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone so as to cover the plastic model's vivid red colouring, the Bloodreaver's trousers, pony-tail and leather wrist bracelet were painted with "Vallejo" Black, whilst his leg armour and gut protector were both treated to a combination of Heavy Sienna, Brass and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. In addition, Targor's axe and large knife were treated to a layer of "Citadel" Ironbreaker, before being shaded with Nuln Oil and dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker.
"Blinded by battle madness and lost to the exultant sensations of combat..."
The Khorne-worshipper's leg-straps, broad belt and axe-handle were painted with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and Strong Tone Quickshade. I also managed to get my paint-brush tip onto the trophy skull swinging at his waist, and resultantly applied some "Vallejo" Dead White, "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to the grisly prize.

In order to create the murderous cannibal's bare, self-mutilated flesh, I applied another coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone over all his skin areas, and subsequently splashed them with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. As a final touch I used a thin, carefully drawn line of (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone to 'highlight' the manic's scars and carefully filled the Chaotic Khorne symbol across his chest with "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
Toad Mage WIPs - The magic user simply needs some washes to be added to his "dry, leathery skin"
Alongside ensuring the model matched  my Chaos Host for "Age Of Sigmar" by pigmenting its highly-detailed base with "Citadel" Doombull Brown, Rakarth Flesh and "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade, I also treated his leather loin-cloth and hair band to a pairing of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Similarly, I gave my model's painful-looking shoulder-blade spikes a dab of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and then shaded both them and the surrounding areas of flesh with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.

With my Garrek's Reavers warband for "Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire" now finally complete after a staggering eight months, I've been able to increase the amount of hobby-time I spend upon my "Burrows & Badgers" models. Cast by "Oathsworn Miniatures", this Toad Mage will be my six-figure strong party's magic user, and actually, now I've re-visited his staff's feathers, just needs some additional washes upon his "dry, leathery skin" before being gloss varnished...

Friday, 1 June 2018

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Forgotten Heroes" June 2018

"Heroclix" Solomon Grundy WIPs - The undead criminal is to be turned into five ice zombies
This month's randomly themed attempt to try and reduce my sadly 'significantly increasing' collection of metal, plastic and resin miniatures has been put on the back burner as a result of the announcement by Dick Garrison and Carrion Crow that "Forgotten Heroes" is back for another year. Collated on the 'official' "Forgotten Heroes" website, this wonderful challenge specifically encourages bloggers to create/convert "an existing figure into a costumed superhero or villain" of their choice, "from any source (be that Comic’s, TV, Film, Adverts, Toy lines, Novels basically anywhere you can think of)."

Previously, I have rather naively attempted to complete a considerable number of conversions for "Forgotten Heroes", many of which have rather embarrassingly taken several months longer to finish than I had initially anticipated. This time round however, I'm sticking to five relatively straightforward figures, which after a bit of cutting, will rely solely upon their paint-jobs in order to change their appearance rather than heavily rely upon my usual 'spot of kit-bashing'.
Volturnos WIP - The High King Of The Deep has been assembled and primed "Vallejo" Black
With this in mind I have turned to arguably my favourite "DC Comics" publication, the February 1979 edition of "Batman", and hope to create the band of hulking mindless ice zombies Victor Fries mistakenly creates for himself as a result of his failed experiments to make some of Gotham City's richest inhabitants immortal. Currently my "Heroclix" crew for Mister Freeze only consists of a gang of bobble-hat wearing goons, so these brutishly heavy minions will help provide the "former cryogenics expert" with a bit of extra muscle.

Having done a bit of research I've chosen five Solomon Grundy miniatures from "Wizkids" "Arkham Asylum" range for this project, as the lumbering slow-minded revenant is the perfect sculpt to replicate the wealthy suit-wearing cryogenic rejects. Initially, I actually considered leaving the gnarled branch the figure was carrying in one of his hands, and converting it with a sharp modelling knife into a menacing-looking icicle. But in the end I just cut the wooden weapon off, leaving the menacing model with two closed fists instead; besides the frosted fiends didn't use any weapons in their comic book appearance.
Akhelian King WIPs - The multi-part plastic miniature will lead an Idoneth Deepkin host
In addition to "Forgotten Heroes", this month also sees the start of a much longer-term project collecting, building and painting an Idoneth Deepkin force for "Age Of Sigmar". These marvellously marine-based "Games Workshop" miniatures have really captured my imagination with their turtle-riding tanks, shark-riders and tentacled spell-casters, so I plan to construct at least 1,000 points worth of units during the summer.

To begin with, I have patiently assembled the army's leader, their Akhelian King, Volturnos - High King of the Deep and his serpentine mount. This massive, multi-part plastic kit actually costs over a quarter of my host's in-game costs alone, so I'm currently planning on only needing four-five other units, including some mandatory battle-line, before my force is complete...