Friday, 20 September 2019

“I Am Locutus Of Borg.”

"Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward, you will service us."
This 32mm scale resin miniature of Locutus of Borg is produced by “Modiphius Entertainment” and can be found inside the company's eight-figure strong Iconic Villains boxed set for “Star Trek Adventures”. “The Borg designation forced upon Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard after his assimilation in late 2366”, this intended “spokesperson for the Human race” made his first appearance in the June 1990 “Star Trek: The Next Generation” televised story “The Best Of Both Worlds”.

Having re-based the Borg Queen’s “equal counterpart” onto a 28mm lipped circular plastic base, the figure was primed with two coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black, heavily dry-brushed using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal” and later much more lightly dry-brushed with “Citadel” Ironbreaker. This technique allowed me to provide the assimilated Picard with an all-encompassing metallic-looking highlight, plus gave me an opportunity to properly see all the cables, ribbed tubing and metal implants which snaked about his body and populated his bald head.
Captain James T. Kirk stands alone against Locutus of Borg
I then applied some extra “Citadel” Ironbreaker to Locutus’ mechanical Borg arm, much of his facial circuitry, and on several of the wires coiling around his legs. These areas, along with my original dry-brushing, were subsequently tidied up using a little more “Citadel” Abaddon Black and shaded with Nuln Oil. In addition, his armoured stomach coverings were ‘picked out’ using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal and “Citadel” Nuln Oil.

According to “Star Trek: The Next Generation” make-up artist Michael Westmore, the Borg’s paler skin demonstrated that “as humanity was drained away so was the colour of life”, so I was keen to give Picard the selfsame necrotic look I have used for all my Borg. As a result I layered his face with “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey, washed it with “Citadel” Nuln Oil and finally added some extra dabs of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey to the man’s nose, cheek and brow.
"Black Tree Design" WIPs - This Auton has been primed, shaded, and dry-brushed
With Locutus now mostly finished, I applied some “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion to his electronic eye-piece and shaded it with a spot of “Citadel” Bloodletter. I also managed to ‘squeeze’ in a few dabs of “Vallejo” Dead White into the Borg’s eyes, and tidied the surrounding sockets up with either a smidgen of “Citadel” Abaddon Black or a little line of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey.

With such a detailed miniature now 'in the books' I have begun work on a much more straightforward pilot piece by "Black Tree Design". This Auton is from the infamous company's "Doctor Who" range, and is hopefully the first of a somewhat large faction I'm planning to progress featuring both the Nestene Consciousness' life-sized factory-floor plastic dummies and their more 'friendly-faced' variants manufactured at Farrel Autoplastics...

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

"I Am The Borg.”

"I am the beginning. The end. The one who is many."
This 32mm scale resin miniature of the Borg Queen is produced by “Modiphius Entertainment” and can be found inside the company's eight-figure strong Iconic Villains boxed set for “Star Trek Adventures”. Named by the Federation scientists who discovered her existence, this “central nexus for the Borg Collective” made her first appearance in the November 1996 motion picture “Star Trek: First Contact” and was played by actress Alice Krige.

Designated Species 125, the figure was initially primed using a double-coat of “Citadel” Abaddon Black, heavily dry-brushed with “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal and ‘highlighted’ with a much lighter dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker. However, having compared the ‘look’ of this colour scheme with that of the film character’s actual costume, I realised that my normal Borg recipe contained far too much silver, and that the Queen’s (latex) bio-mechanical body suit designed by Deborah Everton was actually predominantly black with a little gold showing in places.
The Borg Queen leads an attack against a Romulan raiding party
Resultantly, I applied some watered down “Citadel” Abaddon Black over the entire model and (once again) heavily dry-brushed the female drone co-ordinator using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal. I then ‘picked out’ a few of the cybernetic entity’s synthetic implants with “Vallejo” Brass and shaded them using a little Strong Tone Quickshade by “The Army Painter”. 

Despite the Borg Queen’s mottled skin-tone in the movie being quite pink in comparison to the dead-like grey of her drones, I decided to still paint her bare head in the same “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey I’ve used for the rest of my assimilating extra-terrestrials. This, along with the female humanoid’s black body suit, limbs and (gloved) hands were all later washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
"Warcry" WIPs - These two Iron Golems are all having their metalwork 'picked out' and shaded
Finally, I ‘picked out’ the metallic tubing encircling the model’s head with “Citadel” Ironbreaker, and drenched them in Nuln Oil. This just left me with the conundrum as to ‘spotting’ the miniature’s eyes, and having unsuccessfully tried to dot the figure’s incredibly tiny pupils a few times without making her look cross-eyed, I settled upon them being pure “Citadel” Abaddon Black.

With the perfect “blending of the organic with synthetic” completed, I have momentarily turned my attention back to my Iron Golems for “Warcry”. Now I’ve finally settled upon an agreeable palette for the plastic warriors’ red and brass-coloured armour, I’m starting to quite quickly plough through my “Game Workshop” warband’s ranks, with both its Ogre Breacher and Dwarf Armator heading towards completion…

Monday, 16 September 2019

"It's Turning The Eggs."

"What species is this?"
These three 1:160 scale metal miniatures of "egg laden nests of different sizes" are manufactured by “Magister Militum” and can be bought from their "Menacing Monsters" range as Code DIN112 Dinosaur Nests. Sculpted so "you choose what hatches", these models represent any pre-Tertiary period nest and have been super-glued onto the standard 40mm circular bases I use for the vast majority of my objective markers.

Originally primed with two coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, the actual nests themselves were treated to a double layer of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, before being generously shaded in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. I then heavily dry-brushed the mud so as to 'highlight' its ridges, and applied a combination of "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey to the eggs. Finally, each shell was carefully dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" White.
Iconic Villains WIPs - Locutus of Borg, the extra-dimensional being known as Q, and the Queen Borg
The rest of each ensemble was given a rough dry-brush of "Citadel" Doombull Brown, followed by a slightly lighter application of Rakarth Flesh. These areas were later drenched in "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade, before being protected with a coat of PVA glue and flocked using some static grass. The nests are supposedly for use with 10mm models, but due to their large size appear entirely appropriate for many other wargaming scales.

With the first of my "Colours" 2019 loot finished, I have managed to make some additional progress on a few of the “Modiphius Entertainment” figures from their "Star Trek Adventures" Iconic Villains boxed set. For now I'm focusing upon those characters who have some association with the Borg, so unsurprisingly have begun work on Locutus, the Borg Queen and the entity responsible for the Federation's first encounter with the cybernetic organisms, the immeasurably powerful Q.
"Warcry" WIPs - These two Iron Golems are slowly having their metalwork 'picked out'
I've also finally gained some momentum pigmenting the first of my Iron Golems for "Warcry" by "Games Workshop", in particular my Ogre Breacher. This particular miniature has had his brass leg armour repeatedly re-painted over the past couple of weeks as I've struggled to get to grips with the Nottingham-based company's "Citadel" Colour Contrast paints.

Initially, I had hoped to 'get away' with creating the warband's infamous metallic red armour with a couple of applications of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson over a "Vallejo" Brass undercoat. But this didn't quite give me the bold colour I was looking for. I then tried some "Citadel" Flesh Tearers Red with a similar result. So in the end I've bought some "Citadel" Contrast Medium and watered down my Flesh Tearers Red to the point where at least some of the "Vallejo" Brass underneath is visible... and left it at that.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

"The Reign Of Biological Life Forms Is Coming To An End."

"I need you to help me build a future for the Borg."
This 32mm scale resin miniature of Lore is manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” and can be found inside the London-based company's eight-figure strong Iconic Villains boxed set. Based upon the "Soong-type android constructed by Doctor Noonian Soong and Juliana Soong at the Omicron Theta colony", this killer robot has been sculpted to show Data's maniacal brother as he appeared in the June 1993 "Star Trek: The Next Generation" television serial "Descent".

The positronic brained figure was initially undercoated with two coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black and had his limbs heavily dry-brushed using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal”. I then 'picked out' the automaton's 'yellowish' flesh with a combination of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade, before painting his phaser using a little “Citadel” Ironbreaker, and his hair with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna.
The British and Americans line-up against the Germans and the Cologne Clown
Both of these areas, as well as Lore's arms and legs were later washed in "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Lastly, I tried to 'dab in' the murderous automaton's eyes with "Vallejo" White and provide his face with a few Iraqi Sand highlights. However, these additions actually proved far more time-consuming than they were arguably worth as my brush-tip repeatedly failed to find the precise spots I wanted, and the Soong-type android's featureless face was far too smooth for my usual 'eye-bags, cheeks and chin' technique.

One of the biggest problems I'm encountering with these "Star Trek Adventures" figures though are their eyes, which whilst too large to simply wash over with a dark shade or pigment pure "Citadel" Abaddon Black (so as to claim they're 'in shadow'), are frustratingly not quite large enough for me to proficiently apply two "Vallejo" White dots either side of each iris either. As a result I'm simply trying to imply the outside 'white of their eyes' can be seen, without making them look too boss-eyed. 
The Vancouver Canuck leads a charge against the German Undead
I have also paid another visit to the LVL Up Gaming Store in Bournemouth so as to spend a few hours Weird War Two war-gaming using my homemade rule-set "M.I.S.S." This visit saw me setting up a distinctly trench-filled tabletop, over which the Allies strongly contested a desperately needed "Wargames Terrain Workshop" out-house stuck squarely in the centre of the battlefield.

Disappointingly for the British/American forces, the gas-mask wearing Germans ultimately proved the victors across our three hard-fought games, with their zombies and heavy assault firearms helping them to win the day. However, the confrontation also allowed us to field the despicable Cologne Clown and brave, baseball bat-wielding Vancouver Canuck from "Kitbash Games" as super-heroes; which led to a couple of stand-out moments, such as when Canuck leapt into a trench full of goose-stepping swine and swiftly bludgeoned them into submission... 

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Top Ten Manufacturers Of 2015 - A "Fantorical" Viewpoint

The fourth article covering my favourite miniature manufacturers over the years, this period was clearly dominated by my love of British science fiction television programmes such as “Doctor Who” and “Blake’s Seven”, as well as an affection for the Doug McClure fantasy movies of my childhood. Interestingly, I also found my participation in the “Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge” something of a catalyst to start ploughing through my sizeable collection of Bob Murch’s painter-friendly “Pulp Figures” and a dalliance with the free rule-set “Pillow A-go-go” by “Fiendish Fabrications” a surprising motivator to pigment numerous “Heroclix” super-heroes and villains…

No.10 (Joint) - "Reaper Miniatures” - "Chronoscope"
Bought as an experiment to ascertain the difference between their “Bones” sculpts and metal castings, this particular sojourn into the world of “Reaper Miniatures” pigmenting a pair of Black Mist models certainly helped me make up my mind that I wouldn’t purchase any of the company’s unpainted polymer 28mm-sized humanoid figures in the future, as I found their loss of detail disconcerting. However, it did lead me to eventually purchase a fair few of the range’s larger monsters as the financial savings were quite significant. Sadly, both of my Black Mists actually ended up in Canada as payment for entering the Fifth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, and I have yet to purchase a (second) metal version of the crime-fighting vigilante to use on my own tabletop.

No.10 (Joint) – “Antediluvian Miniatures” – “Lost World”
Basing their sculpts upon some of my favourite fantasy childhood films, such as the 1976 cult classic “At The Earth’s Core”, this Ross-shire based company completely caught me off-guard with its characterful castings in the Summer and seemed destined to be one of my most popular manufacturers of the year. Disappointingly however, having quite quickly pigmented Professor Peter Cushion, I then found my attention wandering elsewhere, and not even their subsequent release concerning a squad of Guardians of Lemuria (heavily influenced by “The Warlord Of Atlantis”) managed to restore my motivation.”

No.10 (Joint) – “Steamforged Games Limited” – “Guildball”
Intrigued by this alternative to the legendary sports tabletop game “Blood Bowl” by “Games Workshop”, I actually spent quite some considerable time plugging away at the contents of a Union Starter Set for “Guildball”. Yet was ultimately beaten by the incredibly fiddly detail found on each sculpt, an utter aversion to the complexity of the actual rule-set, and a serious dislike for the ‘difficult to reach’ pose of my team’s captain, Blackheart. In fact, my problems progressing the central midfielder with a brush-tip alone were enough to put me off “Guildball” for life, especially after his head fell off part way through the painting process, and I discovered that a far more paintable pose of the player was available; albeit at a significant cost.

No.7 – “Wizards Of The Coast” – “Star Wars”/“Dreamblade”
Fuelled by the speculation concerning the imminent release of J.J. Abrahams’ “American epic space-opera film”, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", this dalliance with “Wizards Of The Coast” was initially confined to just a pair of their models from the long defunct “Star Wars Miniatures Game”. However, as part of my “Zomtober” challenge I later decided to re-paint three plastic “Dreamblade” Gutsoup Golems in order to turn them into proxy Krynoids for a “Doctor Who” flavoured game of “Zombicide” based upon the February 1976 six-part television story “The Seeds Of Doom”. Lamentably, this rather over-ambitious project was never fully finished, and despite some temptation to simply pigment a few more of the collectable miniatures game’s innovative-looking models just for the ‘fun of it’, no more of the “spawning dream creatures” saw a paint-brush.

No.6 – “Nexus Miniatures” – “Super-hero Dinosaur Zombie Apocalypse”
Encouraged by Simon Quinton’s enthusiastic postings over on “Brummie’s Wargaming Blog”, I rather badly fell in love with this company’s D-Rangers and Caprican Legion Troopers courtesy of their sculpts bearing more than a passing resemblance to the main characters from Glen A. Larson’s 1978 “Battlestar Galactica”. Admittedly, the figures themselves were a little crude and mis-proportioned, with the ‘Cylons’ significantly smaller in stature than their human counterparts. But their attention to the detail of a ‘Colonial Warrior’ uniform more than made up for this, and resultantly I eagerly painted up proxies for Apollo, Starbuck and Boomer, alongside a trio of the Imperious Leader’s finest centurions.

No.5 – “SLAP Miniatures” – “Moon Howlers”
Heartily recommended to me by Bryan Scott of “Vampifan’s World Of The Undead” blog fame, I ended up painting eight He-Wolves as an entourage for my repainted “Heroclix” model of the Hyena. Slightly painful to assemble, with plenty of super-glue, green-stuff and pinning definitively required, these furry fiends were still a joy to paint in a multitude of appropriate browns and greys, and were completed within the space of a fortnight before having them subsequently devour Batman in a Caped Crusader-inspired game of “Zombicide” by “Guillotine Games”. Sadly, my plans to pigment Skipper Fred, Bosun Ace and Steward Gladys for the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge as a (not) “Popeye” entry never materialised into anything more than a trio of colourfully-primed miniatures…

No.4 – “Pulp Figures” – “Lost Tribes”
Originally planned to be part of a much larger “Pulp Figures” contribution to the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, these Bob Murch sculpts seemed destined to be the start of a significant expedition into the savage worlds of pulp. However, despite both Jai and Cheetah joining Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor for a mid-year “Doctor Who”/“Tarzan” tabletop team-up, my enthusiasm for the somewhat cartoony range of miniatures never materialised into a full-blown painting spree, and resultantly I simply ‘scatter-gunned’ a few hominids here and gun-toting gangsters there.

No.3 – “Black Tree Design” – “Doctor Who”
It’s incredible to think that a New Year clear-out uncovered the vast majority of this “Doctor Who” treasure trove, and lead to the creation of a sizeable Cyberman force for the tabletop. In fact, with hindsight it is hard to imagine my eventual immersion into “Age Of Sigmar” by “Games Workshop” the following year, if I hadn’t been inspired to pigment quite so many Mondasian and Mark II Cybermen during this period and subsequently used them play-test the fantasy rule-set. At the time though, I was simply determined to provide my “Eaglemoss Collections” Cyber-King with a suitably large retinue, and these silver giants were reasonably straightforward to paint.

No.2 – “Wizkids” – “Heroclix”
Arguably initiated by a desire to field the numerous members of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, this range of collectable plastic figures proved consistently popular throughout the year, and helped me add a significant number of models, both large and small, to my ever-growing collection of finished re-painted “Marvel Worldwide” and “DC Comics” characters. In addition, this range of super-heroes and despicable villains caused me to re-imagine the “Pillow A-go-go” ruleset by “Fiendish Fabrications” into a short series of rooftop battles which occurred across both the Gotham City and New York City skylines.

No.1 – “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” – “7TV”

Indisputably down to my love of the BBC science fiction television series “Blake’s Seven” and “Doctor Who”, I not only managed to paint a formidable force of black-clad Federated Troopers, including a heavily-moustached Commander and cybernetically-enhanced Stefan Travers. But also progressed a significant number of Spawn, Robo Rodents and grotesquely-mutated Failed Experiments with which to vex the time-travelling Tweedy Mattinson and his Plucky Assistant. In addition, my enthusiasm for “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” saw me involve their miniatures in a number of popular Battle Reports which either saw their Freedom Fighters teaming-up with the likes of Rocket Raccoon and Judge Dredd, or the company’s Robo Rodents proving pivotal as proxy Runners for “Zombicide” by “Guillotine Games”.

Monday, 9 September 2019

"Colours" Loot 2019

"Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" WIP - The resin Giant Robot has been pinned and assembled
This past Saturday I was once again able to make the trip to Newbury Racecourse and attend the annual Newbury & Reading Wargames Society's show “Colours”. Last year's 'happening' was arguably the best I've attended since it was disappointingly reduced in length to just a single day, and despite not finding any bargains in the event's 'Bring & Buy' sale this time round, I felt the attending traders still put on a worthy gathering. It was certainly nice to once again briefly meet up with fellow blogger Tamsin Piper of the website “Wargaming Girl” fame.

"Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" have always held a special place in my hobby heart ever since I encountered their wares on the eve of them first distributing their "7TV" rule-set, and I have been patiently collecting their substantial range of miniatures ever since. Recently, amongst an Occult Statue, Mushrooms, Dead Forest and trio of Protoplasmic Terrors, they announced the imminent release of a 90mm tall Giant Robot and fortunately I was able to find a pair of these resin models available at their stall.
"Magister Militum" WIPs - A pair of feathered Velociraptors and an egg nest
Sculpted by Andrew May, each kit actually comes with two hands, a fearsome pincer and a death ray, so I've decided to build one as a right-handed maniacal clawed monstrosity, and the other as a laser-gun firing fiend. As the robots are cast in resin, I found them really easy to assemble using a little grey-stuff, some super-glue and pins, and even went so far as to pin my test automaton to its "Citadel" 60mm circular base.

My other purchases were actually motivated by a pang of nostalgia, and a sudden desire to return to one of my favourite vendors and scales. Approximately eleven years ago, back when this blog was hosted on "CoffeeCup", I began work on a 'War That Time Forgot' project using both the 10mm Prehistoric monsters and World War One figures of "Magister Militum". I actually managed to finish a fair few dinosaurs, British, German and French soldiers, and even played a few games using them, but soon found myself put off by some of the Salisbury-based company's military sculpts.
"Pendraken Miniatures" WIPs - Two British Airborne armed with rifles, and one with a Sten gun
Having more recently spent some considerable time painting both 6mm and 10mm models I figured a re-boot of a 'War That Time Forgot' might be in order, especially as I believe I still know where my antediluvian backlog may well be buried gathering dust. As memory serves I actually already own a fair few of the range's larger flesh-eaters, so with this in mind I bought several blisters of the smaller dinosaurs, such as Protoceratops, Gallimimus, and Velociraptors, as well as three egg nests to use as objective markers.

In addition, I thought I'd inject some extra enthusiasm in the project by turning to "Pendraken Miniatures" for my soldiers, and relocating my 'war' to 1939-1945 instead. As a result, I decided to pick up a British Airborne Army Pack, plus some Bren Carriers and Churchill Tanks, and establish whether from these I could possibly build some semblance of a force with which to triumph over a horde of angry dinosaurs using some homemade rules...

Friday, 6 September 2019

"They're Called The Borg."

"Protect yourself, Captain, or they'll destroy you."
These five 32mm scale resin miniatures of male Borg drones are manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” and forms part of their ten-figure strong Borg Collective boxed set. “Designed for use with the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game”, these models are based upon the American science fiction franchise’s "cybernetically enhanced assimilating race" which made their first television appearance in Maurice Hurley's May 1989 episode “Q Who”.

Having re-based the "recurring antagonists" onto 28mm lipped circular plastic bases instead of their sculpted 30mm scenic stands, each figure was undercoated with two coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black, heavily dry-brushed using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal” and later much more lightly dry-brushed with “Citadel” Ironbreaker. This technique provided each 'part of the collective' with both a metallic-looking highlight, as well as allowed me to see all the cables, tubes and metal implants which curled around their limbs, torsos and heads.
"Interesting, isn't it? Not a he, not a she. Not like anything you've ever seen. An enhanced humanoid."

I then applied some extra “Citadel” Ironbreaker to each cyborgs’ multi-purpose prosthesis, some of their facial circuitry, and numerous wiring assemblies. These areas, along with my original dry-brushing, were subsequently tidied up using a little more “Citadel” Abaddon Black and then shaded with Nuln Oil, before being lightly dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker. Some other parts of the Borg’s bodysuit, such as their armoured stomach coverings, were also ‘picked out’ using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal and “Citadel” Nuln Oil.

As I wanted to give the Borg’s flesh a somewhat necrotic look, I layered their faces and the odd elbow with “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey, shaded these with “Citadel” Nuln Oil and subsequently added some extra “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey to their noses, cheeks and brows. Having previously just spotted the female drones' eyes with a dab of “Citadel” Abaddon Black, I decided to add a little more 'menacing life' to these significantly larger male figures by dotting the outside of their eyes with a single spot of "Vallejo" Dead White.
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Three Romulan Uhlans
Lastly, I placed a small glob of “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion at the end of each model’s “sophisticated ocular implant” and shaded it with “Citadel” Bloodletter. I did actually consider painting some of these areas in green, but ultimately decided to stick with red for the entirety of the box. I do however now own a second set of Borg Collective miniatures, so plan to distinguish a few of them with "Vallejo" Heavy Khaki lenses (perhaps to use as proxy Runners if I decide to utilise the models in a "Star Trek" themed game of "Zombicide" by "Guillotine Games"..?).

Despite so many Borg threatening to assimilate my painting table, I have still managed to make some additional progress on the three remaining Uhlans from the Romulan Strike Team. Having previously finished pigmenting my Romulan Commander, these extra "Star Trek Adventures" figures will provide enough "lowly" members of the Romulan Guard to form a well-led squad, and I can then add some Romulan Centurions to the mix at my leisure...

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

"You Did This! You Sabotaged My Ship.”

"I cannot deactivate the auto-destruct..."
This 32mm scale resin miniatures of a Romulan Commander is manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” and forms part of their ten-figure strong Romulan Strike Team set. “Designed for use with the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game”, this model depicts the franchise’s redesigned fictional extraterrestrial species as first seen in the May 1988 “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Neutral Zone”.

Having re-based the female officer onto a 28mm lipped circular plastic base instead of its sculpted 30mm scenic stand, the figure was undercoated with two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, and had her quilted tunic shaded using some "Citadel" Nuln Oil. I then delicately dry-brushed the model with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, in order to bring out some of the Romulan uniform’s detail, before applying a coat of “Citadel" Abaddon Black to her boots.
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Three male Borg from the "Modiphius Entertainment" Collective set
With the potentially ‘messy’ phase of my painting complete, I applied a coat of "Vallejo" Dark Grey to the Commander’s trousers, washed them with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and subsequently 'picked out' her flesh using my usual combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. Finally I pigmented the officer’s “harness-like belt structure” with “Citadel” Ironbreaker and shaded it with Nuln Oil.

Originally I had intended to ‘proxy’ this figure as Commander Sela, “the product of a union between Starfleet officer Tasha Yar’s counterpart from an alternate timeline and a Romulan general.” But having used some “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre on the figure’s hair, I simply didn’t like the contrasting colour’s overall effect, so resultantly decided to go for the “Citadel” Abaddon Black hair of Sub-Commander Taris; the commanding officer of the warbird Haakona.
"Star Trek Iconic Villains WIPs - Locutus of Borg, the Borg Queen and Lore
Sticking with “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, I have also been beavering away on the five male Borg drones found inside the Borg Collective box by “Modiphius Entertainment” and now only predominantly need apply some “Citadel” Nuln Oil to the figures to finish them. Currently, I’m actually in something of a hurry to complete this faction set too, as a second box of the cyborgs has recently arrived from the Delta Quadrant, and it’d be nice to get them all painted before the end of the month in order to use for a “Star Trek” themed “Zombicide” campaign I have in mind…

In addition I have assembled, primed and started dry-brushing three Borg-related baddies from the recently released "Star Trek Adventures" Iconic Villains collection. With the exception of the Borg Queen, who seems to be crouching low in a very odd pose, I'm really pleased with just how much easier these resin miniatures were to assemble when compared to some of the range's earlier releases, especially Lore who was a single-cast piece. 

Monday, 2 September 2019

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Warcry" September 2019

Iron Golems WIPs - An Ogre Breacher, Armator and Dominar
This month's themed attempt to shrink my ever-increasing mass of metal, plastic and resin models will see me once again returning to "Games Workshop" in an effort to pigment at least one of the disparate warbands which regularly make the dark pilgrimage to the Eightpoints, “seeking the favour of Archaon the Everchosen.” Considering my love of both “Age Of Sigmar” and the Chaos gods of the Mortal Realms, I’m actually surprised I’ve managed to hold off for an entire month since the opportunity to “enter the dark world of Warcry” first emerged, but now I’ve finally purchased the new skirmish game’s enormous starter set I’ve immediately found myself busy preparing for my ‘big push’ by assembling my “indomitable warband hailing from the Realm of Metal.”

Fortunately, unlike many of the Nottingham-based company’s modern-day plastic miniatures, the eight Iron Golems I’ve mustered together were reasonably straightforward and quick to paint, with only the three Iron Legionaries causing me a moments consternation on account of the multiple variants it is possible to build. Indeed even the construction choice between fielding a banner-bearing Signifier or a massive hammer-wielding Prefector was pretty simple to visualise, courtesy of a comprehensive assembly instruction guide-book, before I’d snapped a single piece from a sprue.
Revamped Wargame Hobby Bingo - Several squares have been replaced with more likely achievements
This somewhat substantial project should also provide me with a partial in-road into completing another of the (amended) Wargame Hobby Bingo Challenge squares I’ve set myself over the next twelve months; to paint all of the miniatures in a board game, and play it. Fortunately, due to last month’s completion of both “The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Prisoner Booster Pack by “Mantic Games” and a converted female Borg Drone from the “Modiphius Entertainment” Borg Collective box, I’ve already managed to ‘strike through’ two of the twenty-four squares, so am currently on track to achieve my twelve-month goal.

Of course there may be some who will argue that “Warcry” is not a proper board game, but alongside its Untamed Beasts, Chaotic Beasts and scenery the box is listed as containing “a double-sided 22” x 30” folding gaming board to battle on”, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, there’s always the possibility of undertaking a less figure-filled 'proper' board game in the future, in which case I’ll be arguing that the completion of the set’s Bell Tower, statue head, barricades and ruins should count as "a scenery set."
August 2019 - The most productive August since my records began in 2014
Statistics is something I’ve tried to keep to a minimum on this blog, but the reasonable success of my “Top Ten Manufacturers” 2016-2018 series has suggested that perhaps a brief dalliance into the number of miniatures completed throughout the year might be of interest to some. I’ve actually been scoring my finished figures using the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’s points system as far back as 2014 (e.g. 5 Points per 28mm infantry model), and as a result am able to not only ascertain how industrious I have been from year to year, but also identify my favourite painting genres and ranges.

Predominantly thanks to my concerted effort to complete a number of “Star Trek Adventures” models by “Modiphius Entertainment”, alongside a dalliance into “The Walking Dead: Call To Arms” by “Mantic Games”, last month was actually my most productive period on record for this time of year, and has me well on track to possibly break my annual painting tally record. In addition, another significant batch of “Doctor Who” miniatures by “Black Tree Design” has seen the frustratingly unreliable manufacturer continue to stretch ahead of the majority of the pack, and now only needs to overtake “Lucid Eye Publications” and their characterful “Toon Realms” range to disconcertingly become my most popular company of 2019…

Saturday, 31 August 2019

"One Day They Will Awaken…”

"...And reclaim their world."
These two 28mm scale metal miniatures are manufactured by “Black Tree Design", and can be purchased as Code DW315 Silurian Attacking from their "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Placed “in suspended animation, deep below the surface" of prehistoric Earth, these “remnants of the Silurian race” first appeared in Malcolm Hulke's January 1970 BBC Television story "Doctor Who And The Silurians".

Both of the reptilian humanoids were undercoated with "Vallejo" Heavy Brown, thoroughly washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Brown. They were then treated to a few splashes of "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green in and around their heads, necks and hands, before being given a second, significantly lighter dry-brush of (even more) "Vallejo" Heavy Brown.
A Yeti armed with a Web-gun (in grey fur) provides covering fire against the Nimon
The Silurians’ sharp claws were given a coat of "Vallejo" White and subsequently washed with Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter". Finally, their 'third eye' was spotted with a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson, whilst their normal eyes were ‘picked out’ with Abaddon Black and ‘tidied up’ with some “Vallejo” Heavy Brown.

Sticking with “Black Tree Design” I recently paid another visit to the LVL Up Gaming Store in Bournemouth so as to play a couple more games of ‘Doctor Who” using my homemade rule-set "M.I.S.S." This particular ‘stopover’ proved especially useful as it provided us with an opportunity to play-test a few faction rules I wanted to add to the various extra-terrestrial races currently vying for universal domination in our ongoing “Doctor Who” campaign.
The mighty Myrka is felled early by Sutekh's gift of death, as the Silurians are slaughtered
Our first battle involved the Nimon fighting the Great Intelligence and a gaggle of its robot yeti. Fought across a 2' x 3' debris-inspired tabletop populated with a couple of forests, a pair of pools, and some small futuristic buildings, the confrontation ultimately ended in a tightly-fought draw, but gave us the opportunity to utilise the Nimon’s (new) ability to siphon off part of their opponents’ health (or rather energy in this case) so as to regenerate some of their own.

In sharp contrast the second conflict between Sutekh’s mummies and the Silurians ended in a complete massacre, with the Osiran’s ‘once a game’ ability to bring Sutekh’s “Gift of Death” to a single wounded enemy model (regardless of whether it had any remaining health left) felling the mighty Myrka very early on. This devastating loss enabled the robot mummies to fearlessly close in upon the Silurians knowing they had a distinct advantage when fighting them hand-to-hand, and soon the tabletop was littered with dead reptiles…

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

"My Life Was A Wreck -- All Because A' My Addiction."

"I couldn't function, y'know..."
This 28mm scale model of Andrew is produced by “Mantic Games” and can be found inside "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Prisoner Booster Pack. Sculpted to represent the "ex-junkie convict" trapped in the cafeteria of the Meriwether County Correctional Facility, the drug dealer fled "into the surrounding countryside" following the death of Dexter in Issue 19 of "The Walking Dead" comic book.

The African-American figure was initially primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, and had his prison overalls shaded with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. I then ‘picked out’ the narcotics addict's rifle holster and shoulder strap with "Citadel" Doombull Brown and his skin with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna. All of these areas were later shaded in “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
"Hey. You guys want some meatloaf?"
The prisoner's actual rifle was treated to a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Badab Black. Whilst I delicately picked out the tiny tip of Andrew's shirt with a spot of "Vallejo" Dead White and later a splash of Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter". Finally, the inmate's shoes and hair were tidied up with a lick of "Citadel" Abaddon Black.

With all four of my Meriwether County Correctional Facility survivors now completed, and suitably armed with an additional Shiv and Tear Gas Grenade, I’m pleased to say that I’ve accomplished the second of my Wargame Hobby Bingo challenges this month by painting all of the models in a faction starter box. In addition, this short sojourn into the post-apocalyptic world of comic book creator Robert Kirkman has lead me to both dig out my still unopened starter set for "The Walking Dead: All Out War", as well as purchase a few new items from the "Mantic Games" webstore...
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Sulu, Uhura and a Romulan Commander
Of course, my determination to complete a faction for “The Walking Dead: Call To Arms” hasn’t distracted me from my desire to continue pigmenting a number of “Star Trek Adventures” figures by “Modiphius Entertainment”, especially as I’ve now dug out the models from their Original Series Bridge Crew boxed set to join my remaining Romulans and Borg. Disappointingly, I am definitely finding these miniatures a tad problematic to assemble on account of their separate limbs supposedly only requiring the tiniest amount of superglue to stay permanently affixed, despite some of their poses being rather dynamic.

Hikaru Sulu’s model is a good case in point, where the smallest of ‘ball and cup’ sockets is all that holds his out-stretched arm to his shoulder. As a result I have opted to pin the Starfleet officers together instead, but in doing so have found their true alignments somewhat difficult to replicate. Fortunately, due to being resin, any positioning errors on my part, such Nyota Uhura’s right arm initially protruding from her shoulder, can easily be rectified courtesy of some very careful filing…

Monday, 26 August 2019

"Black Tree Design" 28mm Battle Report: Sutekh Verses The Voord

This game was played using some homemade rules (M.I.S.S.) in order to allow us to continue a universe-sized campaign utilising many of my painted "Doctor Who" 28mm miniatures by "Black Tree Design", and took place upon a 2' x 3' "Deep Cut Studio" Tundra Playmat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of scenery produced by "Gale Force Nine"; most notably several Rocky Outcrops from their "Battlefield in A Box" range.

“The story so far… The Cybermen, Voord, Great Intelligence, Sutekh, Nimon and Silurians have all decided to try and establish their dominance over the Universe once and for all, by conquering numerous planets, moons, stars, and galaxies in an effort to be declared the undisputed master of all space and time. Most recently however, this furious fight has been made all the more ferocious by the appearance of outlaw Sharaz Jek and his highly-developed android army..."
"The campaign so far... With the Nimon Empire suffering severe losses to both Sharaz Jek and the Silurians, all attention has seemingly turned towards Voord controlled space. A sudden attack by the robotic Yeti of the Great Intelligence soon sees the extraterrestrial mutants' territory split asunder, and resultantly Sutekh has dispatched his own automatons, lead by his black-clad servant, to oversee the capture of another Voord planet. Desperate to maintain a grip on his fast-dwindling galactic kingdom, Yartek orders his flipper-footed warriors to push back the Osiran service robots, but it just might be that the Voord will need more than sharp-edged knives to defeat the forces of Sutekh the Destroyer..."
The Voord, which started along the western edge of the battlefield, consisted of four warriors and their white-robed leader, Yartek. They were all armed with knives and due to their aquatic nature would suffer no movement penalties for traversing the partially-frozen lakes. Across from their position, along the eastern edge, stood the Servant of Sutekh and four Osiran service robots. None of these carried any particular weapons but were all capable of delivering death with their 'bare' hands. The snow-covered tabletop had five strategic locations, each worth an unknown number of victory points. These would only be revealed once they had been discovered during the confrontation and could only be claimed by an unopposed unit being in direct contact with it at the end of Turn Six.
Winning the initiative, the Voord rushed east and succeeded in reaching the Destroyed Robot [Objective One] on the edge of the Small Frozen Lake. This was revealed to be worth an encouraging 4 Victory Points. Meanwhile, the much more ponderous Mummies of Sutekh lumbered towards their master's enemies, whilst the Destroyer's servant rushed to claim the Fuel Barrels [Objective Four] and discovered they were only worth 1 Victory Point.

One of Sutekh's robots made its way to the Destroyed Dalek [Objective Five], and ascertaining it was worth just 2 Victory Points, indicated to his fellow automatons that they needed to press on towards the Cosmic Cube [Objective Three]. As a result the Osiran service robots ended up bunching together near the northern edge of the Large Frozen Lake.
In response a lone Voord captured the Ruin [Objective Two], temporarily acquiring 3 Victory Points in the process, and compelled Yartek to head towards the Cosmic Cube with a pair of bodyguards. With two such wealthy objectives already 'in the bag', the Voord leader realised that all he needed to do was prevent Sutekh from taking control of the battlefield's centre to successfully stave off the invaders.

Determined to push past Yartek's black wet-suited blockade, one of Sutekh's Mummies charged into the Voord leader's northernmost bodyguard. Behind him, the Destroyer's Servant lead the rest of the Osiran robots west towards their opponents, including the unit momentarily guarding the Destroyed Dalek [Objective Five].
Sensing this was the 'make or break' moment in the battle already, Yartek rushed east with his remaining bodyguard into one of the Mummies slowly approaching the Cosmic Cube [Objective Three]. The pair savagely hacked through the automaton's bandages and after a plethora of satisfying strikes finally saw their electronic enemy fall to the ground lifeless. The Voord by the Destroyed Robot [Objective One] also joined the fray by utilising his "Water Walker" ability to cross the Small Frozen Lake and significantly damage one of the Mummies by the Servant of Sutekh. The Voord by the Ruin [Objective Two] also deserted his prize post so as to advance towards the Osiran Robot previously by the Destroyed Dalek [Objective Five].

 With the fighting clearly favouring the flipper-footed Voord, the Mummy moving away from the Destroyed Dalek [Objective Five] suddenly found himself facing a ferocious opponent, whose dagger tore away at his protective bandages. Fortunately for the Osiran Robot though his cytronic particle accelerator was undamaged, and he managed to stand his ground. To the north, Yartek's frenzied assault upon the automatons accompanying the Servant of Sutekh destroyed a second Mummy.
With little but poor scoring objectives behind him, and down two units already, the Servant of Sutekh decided to enter the fighting himself, and almost immediately made an impact by practically frying the first Voord he touched alive. The one remaining nearby Mummy managed to cause another Voord a debilitating wound with a powerful hand chop, whilst the robot battling beside the Destroyed Dalek [Objective Five] caused a single wound upon his rubber-clad assailant.

The penultimate turn saw some ferocious fighting in the centre of the table with a second Voord joining the attack on the Servant of Sutekh. The darkly-dressed mysterious character almost fell under such blows, but somehow managed to evade a fatal wound and then utilised his all-powerful master's regenerative power to start healing himself. The huge Mummy beside him however was finally starting to take a toll on the Voord with his enormous hand chops, so when an opening appeared, the Servant of Sutekh killed one of Yartek's weakened warriors seemingly with the simplest of touches...
What was clear was that all the battlefield's objectives had been utterly forgotten about, and what initially had appeared to be an easy victory for the Voord had suddenly turned into a tense kill count contest. The Servant of Sutekh continued to regenerate himself back to full health, before launching a harrowing attack upon his nearest flipper-footed opponent. The assault wasn't quite enough to destroy his foe, but it was only a momentary lapse as a Mummy crushed the injured Voord to death with his bare arms. It was neck and neck...

The close combat by the Destroyed Dalek [Objective Five] was also reaching a tense conclusion, as the Osiran Robot there clubbed his enemy with his mighty hand, and almost killed the Voord. However, because the automaton was just in range of the Servant of Sutekh's "Command" ability, he was able to re-roll one of his attack's misses and sensationally successfully felled the knife-wielding warrior with the new result.
Throwing himself into an 'all or nothing' assault, Yartek futilely hurled himself at the Mummy before him, but simply couldn't seem to find an opening through the machine's torn bandages to damage a vital internal component. The Voord beside him was similarly as unsuccessful in penetrating the dark robes of the Servant of Sutekh, so as the battle ended it was clear that the Destroyer's forces had won a most unlikely victory for the Osiran who "planned to destroy all life in the universe."