Wednesday, 13 November 2019

"More Than Just Warriors, The Iron Golem Are Superb Smiths..."

"...Believing flesh to be impermanent where metal is eternal."
This 28mm scale model of an Iron Legionary is one of the eight multi-part plastic miniatures which can be found inside the Iron Golem "Warcry" warband boxed set by “Games Workshop". Harnessing "the raging magma-flows" the Ferrium Mountains "spits forth" so as to forge his weapons and armour, this figure came in five separate pieces and included the option to either be armed with some spinning bolas or a pair of battle hammers.

Having glued the "living battering ram" upon its 28mm circular base, the entire ensemble was primed with two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and had all of his numerous pieces of armour, as well as some tiny symbolic hammers dangling from his crescent moon-shaped chest-plate, painted using a combination of Brass and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. The vast majority of these areas were then given to a coat of the "Citadel" Flesh Tearer Red, which had been previously 'watered down' using some Contrast Medium.
Iron Golem WIPs - The Legionaries "Vallejo" Brass armour was slowly 'picked out' before being shaded
This Contrast colour emboldened the warrior's shoulder-pads, helmet, shin-plate, back-plate, chest-plate and gut-protector with a metallic red hue, which partially allowed some of the "Vallejo" Brass underneath to shine through. I did however, decide to leave the Legionary's spiked knee-guard and right wrist bracelet 'pure' Brass in order to help break-up the fighter's somewhat overpowering ruby palette. The Iron Golem's chain-mail loincloth, face-plate, chain-link belt, straps, and brain-bludgeoning hammers were painted in "Citadel" Ironbreaker, and subsequently shaded with Nuln Oil.

To be honest, it was at this stage that I was really starting to regret adding the spare bolas to the grisly combatant's left hip, as not only did the extra weapon make it frustratingly difficult to reach the sculpt's now partially covered details underneath it. But it also repeatedly 'caught' my brush, disconcertingly deflecting its tip to strike either the Chaos soldier's left-handed weapon or his left leg's armour. Many a time this annoying 'bump' caused me to have to repaint either the aforementioned battle hammer or his limb. 
"Knight Models" WIPs - The Trigon Portal has been slowly dry-brushed in increasingly lighter colours
In addition I also stepped away from the warband's 'official' "Games Workshop" pale grey skin and instead applied a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to all the chaos warrior's flesh. Lastly, I 'picked out' the shafts of the Iron Golems' hand-weapons with a little "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, and later shaded them using some out of production "Citadel" Badab Black.

Alongside my "Warcry" figures, I have been slowly making some more progress on the contents of the Batman Miniatures: Teen Titans boxed set by “Knight Models”. I still have a fair few of the models to assemble and base, but spotted the Bat-box's Trigon Portal as a reasonably straightforward painting project which is also central to the expansion's Teen Titan free scenario entitled Portal of Evil...

Sunday, 10 November 2019

"We Must Return To The Collective."

"The sick and injured are reabsorbed. Others take their place."
These three 32mm scale resin miniatures of Borg drones are manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” and form 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 cybernetic aliens which made their first television appearance in the May 1989 episode “Q Who”.

Created by executive producer Maurice Hurley as an alternative to the disappointingly unthreatening Ferengi, the Borg were simply based on 28mm lipped plastic bases instead of their supplied (sometimes slightly warped) 30mm resin scenic stands, and primed with two coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black. They were then heavily dry-brushed using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal”, and much more lightly dry-brushed with “Citadel” Ironbreaker so as provide the myriad of cables that snaked around their bodies with a metallic-looking highlight.
"On a Borg ship we live with the thoughts of the others in our minds.
I later applied some additional “Citadel” Ironbreaker to the cyborgs’ multi-purpose prosthesis, some of their facial implants, and wiring. 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 parts of the Borg's bodysuits 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 base-coated their faces and the odd elbow with “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey, washed them with “Citadel” Nuln Oil and later added some extra “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey to their noses, cheeks and brows.
"Warcry" WIPs - This Iron Golem has had all his chainmail and weapons primed, washed and dry-brushed
Having previously painted several of the television series' "recurring antagonists" previously, I stuck to ‘dotting’ the male drone’s eye with "Vallejo" Dead White, and straightforwardly spotted the female eye sockets with a dab of “Citadel” Abaddon Black. Lastly, I placed a tiny dollop of “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion at the end of each model’s “sophisticated ocular implant” and shaded it with “Citadel” Bloodletter.

Shifting focus to my much more time consuming collection of "Warcry" miniatures by "Games Workshop", I have made some strong progress on the second of my Iron Golem warband's Legionaries. Armed with two formidably-spiked fighting hammers, this hard plastic sculpt is definitely making me regret gluing some optional bolas onto his left hip, as the spare weapon has ended up almost completely blocking my brush-tip's access to the figure's frustratingly detailed 'under-carriage'...

Friday, 8 November 2019

"Turns Out A Talking Bengal Tiger Freaks Everyone Out."

"Maybe I should've picked something a little cuddlier to change into?"
This 28mm scale figure of a Tiger is one of the eleven multi-part resin miniatures which can be found inside the Teen Titans Bat-Box for the "Batman Miniatures Game" by "Knight Models", and represents the superhero Garfield Logan in his tiger form. Inadvertently given his transformational powers by his parents, when they subjected him to "an untested serum" based upon the West African green monkey in order to save his life, Beast Boy was created by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown, and made his first appearance in the November 1965 issue of "The Doom Patrol" by "DC Comics".

The Panthera tigris came in three pieces, and as a result was reasonably straightforward to assemble, albeit the thigh of its separate back leg left a bit of a gap when fitted against its hind quarters. The entire model was simply primed with a double-layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Green and shaded using a generous amount of "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green.
"Crooked Dice" WIPs - These Great Apes have been primed and dry-brushed
I then heavily dry-brushed the entire ensemble with some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Green, before finishing the "solitary but social predator" off with a couple of spots of "Citadel" Abaddon Black for its eyes. To be honest I was sorely tempted at this stage to leave the figure well enough alone, especially as I had seen a few others plainly paint the megafauna. Yet even I soon succumbed to the necessity of having to pick out some stripes along the tiger's back, underbelly, limbs and tail.

Originally, I tried using some pure "Citadel" Abaddon Black for the animal's markings, similar to those seen on the real McCoy. However, these appeared a little too dark for my liking, so ultimately I mixed some "Vallejo" Dark Green with a smidgen of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, and used this combination for my stripes. As a last touch I applied a second dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Green across the entire tiger in order to better blend everything together.
"Crooked Dice" WIPs - These multi-part Protoplasmic Terrors have been primed and dry-brushed
Staying within the animal kingdom, I have also received, based and primed three Great Apes from "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio". These dynamically-sculpted metal miniatures are significantly smaller than the Lincoln-based company's Giant Ape, but are a huge improvement over the paltry pre-painted plastic "Heroclix" figure of Mikhlo the gorilla I recently painted.

In addition, I have bought some their disconcertingly different Protoplasmic Terrors, which I stupidly failed to buy when I visited the "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" stall at "Colours" 2019. These resin kits have proved a lot of fun to assemble, as they come with a variety of tentacles which can be attached (or in my case pinned into place) in a number of ways...

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

"Those Blasted Rays Made Him Stronger Than Me!”

"He tossed me like I was nuthin'!!"
These two 28mm scale plastic “Wizkids” models of Mikhlo the gorilla and Peotr the orangutan are miniatures number 020 and 021 from the "Marvel" Supernova "Heroclix" range, and represent two of the Red Ghost’s three trained primates created by Stan Lee and Jack “King” Kirby for the April 1963 issue of “Fantastic Four”. However, the actual figures were mistakenly attached to the wrong bases when first released, and are disappointingly, significantly under-sized considering that they were both heavily exposed to the self-same cosmic rays which gave Reed Richards’ team their super-powers.

Indeed, Mikhlo’s superhuman strength supposedly “makes him roughly the equal of the Thing”, and this “has continued to increase over the years, such that he can probably now lift (press) roughly eighty-five tons." Whilst Peotr “possesses the ability to project magnetic forces, enabling him to attract or repel objects containing iron or steel”, and can assist in both “lab work and in operating spaceships.”
"You dare think you can stop the communist march of conquest!?!!"
Having removed the duo from their erroneous ‘clicky-bases’ and super-glued them onto 25mm circular stands, I primed Peotr with “Citadel” Doombull Brown and Mikhlo with “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna. At one stage I did consider re-painting the lowland gorilla black so it was closer to the stereotypical image of a silverback I picture in my mind’s eye, but having looked at the original character’s early comic book palette I decided to leave well enough alone.

Both models were then thoroughly drenched in “The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, before being roughly dry-brushed with (more) “Citadel Doombull Brown” and “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna respectively. As a final touch touch I dabbed a little “Citadel” Abaddon Black into the eye sockets of the two villains, and subsequently tidied these areas up with a line or two of their appropriate base colours.
"Wizkids" WIPs - The Red Hulk, Metallo and the Crimson Dynamo
Sticking with "Wizkids" I have dusted down a few more long-forgotten "Heroclix" figures in an effort to clear my painting queue of some of its larger models. All three of these miniatures rest upon 40mm circular bases and represent foes taken from the comic book pages of both "Marvel Worldwide" and "DC Comics".

My somewhat costly sculpt of General Thunderbolt Ross's alter-ego, the Red Hulk, predominantly just needs his dark red flesh to be shaded before being finished, whilst Superman's arch-foe, Metallo, requires his metallic areas to be tidied up following my 'picking out' of all his cable ligaments with "Citadel" Abaddon Black. Once completed I should then be able to continue progressing an alternative armoured version of the Russian agent, the Crimson Dynamo...

Sunday, 3 November 2019

"The Demon's Fist Belongs To The Shadows"

"No, Trigon -- They might not fight you, but I will."
This 28mm scale figure of Raven is one of the eleven multi-part resin miniatures which can be found inside the Teen Titans Bat-Box for the "Batman Miniatures Game" by "Knight Models", and depicts the Cambion wearing a costume which is similar to that worn when she reformed "the Teen Titans as the New Teen Titans [so as] to fight her father." A "powerful empath who can sense emotions and control her soul-self" Rachel Roth's alter-ego was created by Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez, and made her first appearance in the October 1980 issue of "DC Comics Presents".

Despite the "daughter of a demon father" coming in just two pieces, the model still proved something of a problem to prepare for priming, courtesy of the delicate cloaked head and separate main torso resisting all efforts to remain super-glued together. However, after a lengthy wait I was finally able to prime the figure with two coats of the old 'out-of-production' "Citadel" Foundation colour Necron Abyss.
"Star Trek" WIPs - These Borg drones have been base-layered prior to being washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil
Perhaps understandably, this paint took a fair bit of stirring in the pot before it provided an even pigmentation, but it eventually gave Raven a nice disconcertingly blue undercoat, which I could then later shade with "Citadel" Nuln Oil. The miniature was subsequently dry-brushed using (more) "Citadel" Necron Abyss, and this process took a fair amount of time as I was very aware of just how fragile the connection was between the magic user's petite feet and her circular slotta base. 

With the vast majority of Trigon's daughter now complete, I 'picked out' her flesh using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. These areas, especially her face were later highlighted with a touch more "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone. I also used this opportunity to angle the dark shadows masking the woman's eyes, and dabbed a spot of "Vallejo" Heavy Violet and "Citadel" Druchii Violet over her lips.
"Black Cast Bases" WIPs - These tiny squirrels just need a bit of a tidy up before being finished
Finally, I applied a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna across the empath's belt, covered this with some Gold, and later washed it in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. To be honest, there are a number of extra details on the official "Knight Models" paint-job which I would dearly loved to have followed with this figure, but for sanity's sake simply could not tackle, or, in some cases, even see on the physical model. These were most notably some of Raven's fingers poking out through her fingerless gloves, her hood's throat clasp and her all-white eyes.

Every now and then I stumble upon a range of miniatures which makes me scratch my head in wonder, and then purchase a few to test my painting skills. One such genre are these 28mm scale Squirrels by "Black Cat Bases", which can be found as part of the Hampshire-based company's Small Animals collection. I've bought a few as I hope to use them as potential 'wound' makers for my "Heroclix" Squirrel Girl once I've finished her re-paint...

Friday, 1 November 2019

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Savage Mini-Crate" November 2019

"King Conan - The Savage Minicrate VIP Mini"
This month's themed attempt to try and reduce my embarrassing backlog of metal, plastic and resin models will focus upon my efforts to paint the first of my figures to arrive from “Privateer Press” as part of their “Savage MiniCrate: Heroes and Villains of Robert E. Howard” range. As a massive fan of the Thirties Texas-born American author, and a wargamer who has yet to experience the “service that delivers exclusive, limited-edition miniatures directly to players”, this line of fantastic-looking sculpts seemed a great, if rather expensive, opportunity to enjoy two aspects of our great hobby simultaneously.

Disconcertingly though, the road to receiving Solomon Kane, King Conan and Dark Agnes has been far from smooth, with my purchases being significantly delayed by over a month due to “Privateer Press” wrestling with "some technical issues with the software we use to manage subscriptions while also being in the middle of a massive company move”. To make matters worse, when my late models did finally arrive they came wrapped in an envelope as opposed to being boxed in a mini-crate, as apparently the promised packaging doesn’t fit though European letterboxes. Hardly the V.I.P. experience I paid for… 
"Privateer Press" WIPs - Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes
To be fair “Privateer Press” have apologised “for any delays or inconveniences” I’ve experienced, and provided “a unique, one-time code for $10 off any purchase from the Privateer Press Online Store… until the end of 2020”. But the manufacturer’s “online store is currently experiencing delays” due to its aforementioned factory move and its minimum shipping cost for items to get across the Pond is $14.25. As a result this entire situation has arguably proved even more frustrating than my most recent dealings with “Black Tree Design”, and I certainly don’t plan on funding any extension to my initial six-month mini-crate programme plan.

Fortunately, both the multi-part sculpts and their corresponding collector’s cards are excellent, with the figures containing plenty of character, as well as some deeply gouged contact surfaces for my super-glue to latch onto during assembly. However, as a final disappointment, Kane and Agnes were accompanied by two 30mm circular lipped bases which meant that neither fancifully-posed figure actually stood flat upon their stands, but rather frustratingly had a foot perched on top of the lip. I’m not a fan of this look, so subsequently re-based the pair onto 40mm bases instead.
October 2019 - "Black Tree Design" continues to prove very popular despite its significant postal delays
Painting wise, the past four weeks have proved to be my most productive October ever, and as a consequence I have already attained my annual goal of achieving 1,000 points of painted models (approximately 200 x 28mm figures) with two months to spare. Part of this productivity was understandably due to the completion of five (more) Borg drones by “Modiphius Entertainment” for “Zomtober” 2019, whilst yet another dalliance with “Black Tree Design” and their “Doctor Who” range didn’t hurt my overall output either.

Nonetheless, the biggest contributor to my 'bumper crop' was another glut of repurposed plastic miniatures by "Wizkids". Exclusively focusing upon super-villains and evil monsters this time around, these pre-painted "Heroclix" have dominated my hobby-time for as long as I can remember, and will doubtless feature strongly during November now I have acquired some substantial reinforcements from the recently released "Marvel" The Uncanny X-Men set...  

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

"Willpower Isn't A Problem For Something Like This."

"John's constructs are built from the inside out."
This 37mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of a Violet Lantern Stop Sign is miniature number R106.13 from the War of Light DC "Heroclix" range, and could be found inside the New Jersey-based company's Lantern Corps Power Batteries Red & Violet boxed set. Depicting one of the Star Sapphires' telekinetically controlled solid light constructs, this 3D Special Object was released as part of a "six-month story-line Organized Play program" in 2014 which actually included the release of a Violet Lantern Corps' Power Battery, along with several differently-shaped constructs, such as a decoy, catapult, crossbow and scissors.

The construct was first removed from its dinky "Wizkids" base and subsequently super-glued onto one of the thin 40mm circular bases I use for the vast majority of my objective markers. As I wanted to use this model for my Green Lantern Corps, it was then treated to three coats of "Vallejo" Dark Green so as to ensure its translucent pink plastic was completely masked in paint.
"Heroclix" WIPs - A Gotham City Police Officer, Squirrel Girl and a Skrull Commando
The miniature was later thoroughly washed with "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green Shade and heavily dry-brushed using some (more) "Vallejo" Dark Green. It's stand was initially primed with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, and dry-brushed using both Doombull Brown and the base colour Rakarth Flesh. Finally, it was somewhat drowned in Agrax Earthshade, sealed using some PVA glue and flocked with static grass.

I'm currently nitpicking my way through quite a few partially-painted "Heroclix" miniatures, following the recent discovery of a sizeable tub full of the debased and/or broken plastic figures. This find has proved additionally distracting on account of its contents featuring some of my favourite comic book characters, such as the shape-shifting Skrulls, Gotham City's always outgunned Police Department, and the bushy-tailed Great Lakes Avenger known as Squirrel Girl.
"Star Trek" WIPs - These Borg drones need to be tidied up before being washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil
Hopefully, many of these models will see some tabletop action as a result of my desire to return to the zed-covered streets of both "Zombicide" by "Guillotine Games" and "Resident Evil 2: The Board Game" by "Steamforged Games Limited"; albeit with a super-heroic twist. But having downloaded the rules to "Marvel: Crisis Protocol" by "Atomic Mass Games", I might just see whether I can give that skirmish game a try-out before my pre-ordered starter set arrives...

Despite the final "Zomtober" 2019 weekend already being 'in the books', I am also still hoping to finish painting the last five “Modiphius Entertainment” Borg drones I have remaining from their "Star Trek Adventures" role-playing game before the end of the month. These nicely-detailed figures have now all been dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal and "Citadel" Ironbreaker, so just need to be tidied up with a little Abaddon Black before being doused in Nuln Oil...

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Iron Legionaries Are The Core Of Any Iron Golem Warband."

"Those fighting in the Eightpoints hope to prove themselves to Archaon..."
This 28mm scale model of an Iron Legionary is one of the eight multi-part plastic miniatures which can be found inside the Iron Golem "Warcry" warband boxed set by “Games Workshop". "Boasting an excellent toughness... when armed with shields", this figure came in five separate pieces and included the option to either be armed with a spiked mace or battle hammer.

Having glued the close-range fighter upon its 28mm circular base, the brutal warrior was primed with two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and had all of his numerous pieces of armour, as well as some tiny symbolic hammers dangling from his chest, pigmented using a combination of Brass and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. The vast majority of these areas were then given to a coat of the "Citadel" Flesh Tearer Red, which had been previously 'watered down' using some Contrast Medium.
"Heroclix" WIPs - These Skrulls are all having their black boots, pants and gloves 'picked out'
This Contrast colour provided the superb smith's shoulder-pads, helmet, spiked knee-guard, shin-plate, back-plate and gut-protector a metallic red hue, which also allowed some of the "Vallejo" Brass underneath to shine through. The Legionary's chain-mail loincloth, face-plate, chain-link belt, straps, vicious-looking hammer and bolas were painted in "Citadel" Ironbreaker, and subsequently shaded with Nuln Oil.

Due to some poor results in the past, I stepped away from the warband's 'official' "Games Workshop" pale grey skin and instead applied a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to all the chaos warrior's flesh. Lastly, I 'picked out' the shaft of the Iron Golems' hand-weapon with a little "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, and later shaded it using some out of production "Citadel" Badab Black. 
"You are an imperfect being, created by an imperfect being."
With the complexity of another "Games Workshop" highly-detailed plastic miniature behind me, I have attempted to regain some of my hobbying sanity by quietly persevering with a quartet of Skrulls by "Wizkids". These old "Heroclix" Skrull Commando sculpts are proving significantly easier to progress, and should hopefully soon be ready to face the likes of Reed Richards and the rest of the Fantastic Four on my tabletop.

This being the fourth week of "Zomtober", I have also been busy progressing three more female Borg drones by “Modiphius Entertainment”. These identical resin figures were predominantly painted in the same way as the rest of my Borg Collective, with the exception of their "Vallejo" Dark Green and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green eye lenses, and a couple of entirely "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil cybernetic limbs...

Friday, 25 October 2019

"Weird War Two" 28mm Battle Report: Dunkirk Evacuation

THE BRITISH BRAVELY TRY TO HOLD OFF A NAZI ZOMBIE INVASION AT DUNKIRK
This game was played using some homemade rules (M.I.S.S.) in order to allow us to play out a game utilising many of my painted "Secrets Of The Third Reich" 28mm miniatures by "West Wind Productions", and took place upon a 3' x 3' "Deep Cut Studio" Beach Playmat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of sandbagged positions produced by "Tablescape" from their dugout range.

The British started 'holed down' inside a series of trenches running the length of the tabletop's eastern half and consisted of two units of Commandos armed with carbine rifles (20pts), a unit of Commandos armed with Bren light machine-guns (10pts), a heavy machine-gun team (10pts) and a two-man sniper team (10pts). Whilst the German forces started the fight along the western edge of the table, and consisted of two units of Mech Grenadiers armed with 45 auto rifles (20pts), a unit of Mech Grenadiers armed with assault rifles (10pts), a unit of Mech Grenadiers armed with sub-machine guns (10pts), a two-man sniper team (10pts), and five zombie packs (50pts). In order to win the Germans had six turns in which to either eradicate all of the British, or have a unit still at full strength reach the English Channel.
THE TABLETOP - DUNKIRK BEACH
“The story so far… British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has authorised Operation Dynamo and initiated the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in northern France. Cut off from any reinforcements and surrounded by German troops, a small force of British infantrymen decide to make a final stand so as to give their colleagues as much time as possible to escape. However, the brave Tommies soon realise that they won't just be facing the Wehrmacht, but an undead enemy which is desperate to feed upon their brains...!"
THE BRITISH FRONT LINE AWAITS THE WALKING UNDEAD OF NAZI GERMANY
With a disconcerting groan of "Brainssss" the forces rushed east towards the British lines with their zombie packs leading the way. Stumbling forwards on their cumbersome legs, the flesh-chomping ghouls didn't worry about seeking any cover in the grassland and were completely exposed to the weaponry of their enemies. Behind them, the Axis infantry matched their pace, using the walking cadavers as a 'meat shield'.

Only the Nazi's Sniper Team held back, simply adjusting their position so as to have a better view of the Allies' Heavy Machine Gun Team. However, this availed them naught when it came to the Shooting Phase. Indeed, the German's firepower was sporadic and ineffective as their bullets sought to bypass the flailing zombies just in front of them in order to penetrate the sand-bags of the British positions. A lucky shot from the Second Wehrmacht did though manage to take down one of the British Heavy Machine Gun Team's operatives.
THE GERMAN ZOMBIE PACKS RACE TOWARDS THE BRITISH POSITIONS
In return, the British remained steadfast at their posts with the First Rifles, Sniper Team and Bren-carrying Commandos unsurprisingly focusing all of their firepower upon the oncoming zombie packs. All of the zeds in front of the Mech Grenadiers armed with Assault Rifles fell before this stinging attack, whilst another brain-hungry cadaver fell further north was brought down by a shot from the Second Rifles. Ominously, the British Heavy Machine Gun Team utterly tore up a second zombie pack, yet despite being riddled with holes the German Undead continued to rush forwards with loss...

The zombie pack's continued to rush east regardless of the casualties they had already taken, and would soon potentially be in charge range of their decidedly mortal prey. At their backs, the German infantry kept stride, lining themselves up into positions so as to wreck havoc across the entire length of the British lines once they opened fire. Both the German Assault Rifle section and those Grenadiers armed with submachine guns poured bullets into the British First Rifles, killing one of the brave Tommies. To the north, the British Heavy Machine Gun Team were similarly peppered by the Nazi Sniper Team and the Second Wehrmacht. The Allied crew was reduced to a single soldier, and he only survived thanks to his bullet-proof vest sparing him from a bullet.
AS THE GERMAN ZOMBIES CLOSE THE BRITISH SOLDIERS START TO GIVE GROUND
Realising that the Germans were about to overrun their first defensive position, all the British units apart from the Heavy Weapons Team began to fall back. This move invariably lead to an impotent firing display, with only the Second Rifles and the lone member of the heavy weapons team causing any casualties to a fast-approaching zombie pack.

Desperately outnumbered and on the back foot, the British continued to retreat behind the sandbags of their secondary line, with only their Heavy Machine Gun Team remaining in its initial position. Disappointingly, the Allied southern flank continued to fire poorly, causing the British to once again rely upon the Second Rifles to finally dispatch the last zed of a zombie pack. However, in a moment of heroic magnificence though, the British Heavy Machine Gun Team also managed to mow down an entire unit of flesh-craving cadavers too.
THE GERMAN FORCES REACH THE CLOSEST BRITISH TRENCHES
Despite the sudden appearance of three large holes in their Undead 'meat shield', the Germans continued to advance east, with their southern zombie packs finally reaching the Allied trench vacated by the British First Rifles. Behind them, the bulk of the Axis infantry marched on, with the Second Wehrmacht even cautiously approaching the noble British Heavy Machine Gun Team in the hope that their Sniper Team would take out the lone Tommy operating the lethal gun before they died before it themselves. With the Allied forces hunkered down behind their sandbags, the Germans had few targets except the somewhat exposed Commandos carrying Bren guns, and resultantly, two of these brave lads fell dead into the sand.

With a savage snarl the zombie pack closest to the surviving Commandos armed with Bren guns, launched themselves into a frenzied charge upon the infantrymen and tore them to pieces. To their south, the other zed horde closed in upon the British First Rifles' position, whilst to the north the Second Wehrmacht dispatched the Allied Heavy Machine Gun Team with some murderous bayonet work. The vast majority of the German forces were now stood in the first line of British trenches, and peppering the Allies' sandbags for all their worth. This formidable firepower slowly started to whittle away at the Allied numbers, as a Tommy from the Second Rifles fell to a Nazi Sniper's bullet.
THE BRITISH START TO FALL BENEATH THE TEETH AND BAYONETS OF THE THIRD REICH
The situation for Winston Churchill's men was getting increasingly desperate. However the firing from the First Rifles and their Sniper Team managed to reduce the zombie packs swirling about them. But disappointingly the British Second Rifles were unable to wound any soldiers from the Second Wehrmacht.

Gritting their teeth, the First Rifles gripped their carbine rifles tightly and bravely charged the Undead enemies before them in the south-east corner of the battlefield. Medals were clearly in order for all, as unbelievably the Tommies emerged from the brutal slaughter victorious, having wiped the gruesome cadavers out. Inspired by their colleagues' 'steel' the Second Rifles charged the Second Wehrmacht, and managed to topple one of the German soldiers.
NAZI ZOMBIES OVERRUN THE BRITISH TRENCHES WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE WEHRMACHT
In retaliation, the Axis response was game-winning, with the remaining zombie pack tearing through the British Sniper Team in seconds. Behind them the First Wehrmacht raced east to reach the coastline, but victory wasn't claimed until after the combined firepower of the German's assault unit, submachineguns and First Wehrmacht had completely eradicated the heroic First Rifles. Only the battered British Second Rifles survived, and wearily they were forced to surrender to the Second Wehrmacht.

Adolf Hitler's forces had won the day, and now only the English Channel stood between the Axis army and the green grasslands of the United Kingdom...

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

"This Is Not A High-Brain. It Is A Primitive."

"Class three one nine eight. Selected male, Doctor-Gond."
These three 28mm metal Kroton models are manufactured by “Black Tree Design” and can be purchased as Code DW214 - Kroton Armed from their "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Having "evolved from predatory quasi-organic tellurium based crystals which could mimic their prey's abilities", these aliens enslaved the Gonds for several generations and made their first appearance in Robert Holmes’ December 1968 BBC Television story "The Krotons".

Plagued with "poor eyesight in daylight" the trio were primed using "Citadel" Abaddon Black and layered with two coats of Ironbreaker. Each figure was then washed with Nuln Oil and some Drakenhof Nightshade, before being dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker.
"Warcry" WIPs - This Iron Legionary has had all his brass and red armoured 'picked out'
As with the previous pair of Krotons I've painted I 'picked out' their featureless crystal heads with some "Vallejo" Dead White, shaded them with some heavily-watered down "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade, and subsequently gave them a dry-brush of (more) "Vallejo" Dead White. In addition, having perused some 'official' photographs of the extra-terrestrials in their "combat-shape configuration", I realised that the tubing to their pincer arm needed to be pigmented "Citadel" Abaddon Black.

Moving across to some infinitely more complicated (and resultantly much more difficult) miniatures, I have been slogging my way through my Iron Legionaries for "Warcry" by "Games Workshop". With hindsight I really should have pigmented these Iron Golems in sub-assemblies, as their multiple tiny hammers and sweeping chainmail have consistently blocked my brush-tip from getting anywhere close to some of the figures' nooks and crannies.
"Heroclix" WIPs - These Skrulls have all been re-based and primed
In addition, my utterly mad decision to attach a ball and chain onto each model's hip has caused me some considerable consternation too, with the 'spare' weapon blocking access to a fair bit of each warrior's lower limbs and leg armour. Hopefully however, the rest of my warband's poses are infinitely more accessible, and I feel I am slowly getting better at pushing the "Citadel" Flesh Tearers Red Contrast paint around each sculpt's detail...

Lastly, I have dug out a handful of unbased "Wizkids" miniatures from my pre-painted plastic mountain to work on as adversaries for my Fantastic Four super-team to battle. The old "Heroclix" Skrull Commandos are admittedly a little two-dimensional, but their formidably powered leader, the Super Skrull, should prove a far more colourful subject to work on...

Monday, 21 October 2019

"Yes, It Appears The Monoids Have Become Overlords."

"You speak of the distant past. Following the recent revolution we are now the masters."
These two 28mm metal miniatures of some Monoids are manufactured by “Black Tree Design", and can be purchased as Code DW112 Monoid and DW138 Monoid II from the Penzance-based company’s "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Thwarted by the First Doctor "from wiping out the last of humanity with a bomb" secretly planted inside the head of a giant statue, these one-eyed humanoids made their first appearance in Paul Erickson and Lesley Scott’s March 1966 BBC Television story "The Ark".

The aliens from "at least ten million years in the far distant future" were undercoated using two layers of “Vallejo” Heavy Green and drenched in The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The figures were then dry-brushed with (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Green, before having their distinctive “mop-top” heads painted using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
"Black Tree Design" WIPs - The Krotons just need their heads to be shaded and dry-brushed
Finally, the Monoids' large cyclopean eyes were 'picked out' with a couple of dabs of "Vallejo" Dead White at either side of a "Citadel" Abaddon Black pupil. Despite these old sculpts lacking much of the equipment their television counter-parts carried, such as a voice box and heat prod, I'm really rather fond of these miniatures, and am grateful to John Olsen for including them in my latest order as freebies following its significant delay in arriving...

Staying with "Black Tree Design" and early "Doctor Who" I have also dusted down a trio of Krotons from the Second Doctor's era which I purchased way back in April 2018, and are were already partially finished, courtesy of the Ninth Analogue Hobbies Challenge. Unlike the other crystalline aliens I've painted though, these three are armed with the unwieldy canister weapons that the extra-terrestrials used so ineffectively to try and destroy the TARDIS.
"Assault a vampire's lair with Paddy Mayne and the MI-13 Commandos."
In addition to painting I have also been busy re-basing some more of my "Secrets Of The Third Reich" figures by “West Wind Production". Having dug out the ruleset's old "Doomsday" expansion book and perused its numerous missions I'm all set for a Weird War Two 'Unternehmen Seelöwe' campaign using some homemade 'quick-play' rules.

I'm actually planning re-fighting the evacuation of Dunkirk first, so already have enough basic British Commandos carrying Carbine Rifles with which to put up a staunch defence of the French beach. However, for the invasion of Britain, I thought the Allies would want to bring out some of their 'big guns', and resultantly got to work on two armour-suited Tommies; with one carrying a Flamer and the other, a Vickers Machine Gun...

Saturday, 19 October 2019

"Put ‘Em On The Endangered Species List!”

"There's no such thing as a grey gorilla."
This 51mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of a Lab Gorilla is miniature number 061 from The Lab “Horrorclix” expansion set, and depicts an “unstoppable… Mankiller” presumably escaping captivity from Pandora Labs. Released in January 2007 as part of an initial 96 figure-strong expansion set with “a sci-fi/horror theme”, this miniature is another of my entries in this year’s “Zomtober” Challenge.

Hacked from the undersized 28mm circular stand I had previously super-glued the figure onto, and subsequently attached to a far more accommodating 40mm lipped circular base, the “beast’ was undercoated using two layers of “Vallejo” Dark Grey and enthusiastically covered in “Citadel” Nuln Oil. The ape was then heavily dry-brushed with (more) “Vallejo” Dark Grey, before his fur was treated to an additional highlight using a mixture of three parts Dark Grey and one part Dead White.
"Someone's not dead until they're completely dead."
With the bulk of the Lab Gorilla finished, I ‘picked out’ all the model’s flesh with “Vallejo” Dark Grey and its metal sutures with a little “Citadel” Ironbreaker. Both of these areas were shaded “Citadel” Nuln Oil. I also applied a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Red and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson to the brute’s partially-closed wounds, and then gave the front of the undead experiment a generous dry-brush of (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Red so as to suggest just how much blood the animal had lost whilst it was alive.

The monster’s neck bolts, presumably connected to the primate’s “Vallejo” Squid Pink brain, were pigmented with a little “Vallejo” Brass and dash of The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Whilst the miniatures rotting teeth were given a coat of “Vallejo” Iraqi Sand and “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade. As something of a final touch, the walking corpse’s eyes were simply spotted using “Vallejo” Dead White.
"Enter the ultimate competitive miniatures game with the Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave core set."
Lastly, the steel cage door was primed with “Citadel” Abaddon Black and coated twice with Ironbreaker. It was then shaded using plenty of Nuln Oil and dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker. As I wanted the animal pen to look rather run-down, I also applied some spots of heavy corrosion to the metalwork, courtesy of “Mig Productions” Extreme Rust Wash, and gave the entire ensemble a second dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker to help tie-it all together.

This week has also seen me assemble both Grashrak’s Ravagers and Skaeth’s Wild Hunt from the "Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave" core set, as well as all the hard plastic scenic pieces from the "Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave – Primal Lair" box too. I'm not sure just when I'll get around to actually priming or painting any of these "Games Workshop" miniatures, but the "thematic scenery elements" look very useful for any fantasy-based tabletop, and not just exclusively for a hex-grid game.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

“Cringe, You Pitiful Human Worms!”

"You... And unsuspecting millions... shall perish!"
These eight 28mm scale plastic “Wizkids” models of an Ultron Drone are all miniature number 015 from the "Marvel" Age Of Ultron "Heroclix" range, and represent some of the numerous basically-programmed replica robots the adamantium armoured super-villain Ultron has created during his various attempts to destroy the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Capable of creating an overwhelming “robotic swarm” around an adversary, these bio-synthezoids were initially bought in bulk from “Ebay” as a potential quick-scoring entry for the Ninth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, but ended up being sidelined in favour of some Dire Wraiths…

Following the semi-patient removal of each figure from their ‘clicky-base’, the automatons were super-glued onto 25mm circular stands, and roughly undercoated with "Citadel" Abaddon Black so as to predominantly ‘cover-up’ their bright silver pre-paint. I then applied a double-coat of Ironbreaker to all eight models, before enthusiastically washing the horde in Nuln Oil, and later dry-brushing them with (more) Ironbreaker. 
"My sensors are locked on target!"
With the basics completed, I turned my attention to ‘picking out’ each Ultron Drone’s small internal nuclear furnace, which is visible through their eye-slits and mouth. This was actually quite easily done in the main, using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Red and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson. However, having reviewed the official “Wizkids” colour scheme, I quickly spotted that their paint-job showed the red hot energy source glowing through the front of the robot’s jawline too.

Honing my “Windsor & Newton” University Series 233 000 brush-tip to a particularly fine point, I therefore attempted to ‘dab in’ this extra detail, but quickly discovered that any noticeable trace of a gap between the metal machine’s forward-facing rectangular choppers was long-gone. As a result my additional ‘dollop’ of “Vallejo” Heavy Red looked decidedly odd, so I swiftly set about ‘correcting’ all eight of the replicas with a dash of “Citadel” Ironbreaker and splash of Nuln Oil…
"Diehard Miniatures" WIPs - This Skeletal Spaceman has been primed, washed, and had his axe picked out
Recently I've been pointed in the direction of "Diehard Miniatures", and as a result thought I'd pick up a parcel of metal miniatures to potentially submit for "Zomtober" 2019. One such figure is an awesome-looking undead astronaut from the company's Skeletal Spacemen collection, which I thought I might paint as a predominantly white-suited luckless NASA cosmonaut.

To be honest this particular range has really sparked my imagination, so I'm hoping to build up quite the brain-munching horde over the next few months. In addition, I've purchased some of their colourful Chaos characters too, which are enjoyably reminiscent of the worlds of "2000 A.D.", "Star Wars" and some other science fiction-flavoured genres.

Monday, 14 October 2019

"Wings Away -- !"

"Never thought my Beast Boy talents would earn me a leading role..."
This 28mm scale figure of a Hawk is one of the eleven multi-part resin miniatures which can be found inside the Teen Titans Bat-Box for the "Batman Miniatures Game" by "Knight Models", and represents the superhero Garfield Logan in his bird of prey form. "A shapeshifter who possesses the ability to metamorph into any animal he chooses, Beast Boy first appearing in the November 1965 issue of "The Doom Patrol" by "DC Comics", but was then later re-invented by Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez into the Changeling for the October 1980 issue of "DC Comics Presents".

The large bird came in two pieces, yet still proved something of a problem to prepare for priming, courtesy of the resin resisting all efforts to super-glue itself together. In the end I was therefore frustratingly forced to pin the model's tail feathers to the 'puff of cloud' created by Logan's transformation. Disconcertingly, I also had a bit of a nightmare attaching the miniature to its correct cobble stone street base too.
Teen Titans WIPs - Dove, Beast Boy and Raven
As the Bat-Box "contains a complete Teen Titans team" I foolishly assumed that despite the sculpt's impressive wing-span that it would sit upon one of the numerous 30mm bases supplied in the 350 reputation points starter set. However, after green-stuffing the "able hunter" onto just such a sized stand, I built a few more of the box's contents and quickly discovered that none of the much larger human heroes, including a couple which surprisingly stood upon significant pieces of rooftop, were supposed to use the (spare) 40mm lipped base I had mistakenly set aside for one of them...

Fortunately, once Beast Boy's Hawk Form had been re-based, the bird was a straightforward pleasure to paint. It was undercoated using a double-layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Green, drowned with "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green, and heavily dry-brushed with some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Green. Lastly, I applied a couple of dots of "Citadel" Abaddon Black for the creature's eyes.
"Black Tree Design" WIPs - The Monoids just need some shading and their cyclopean eyes 'spotted' 
Over the past few years whenever I have found myself planning a foray into the wargaming world of "Doctor Who", it has been courtesy of the "Warlord Games" miniatures range. But over the past ten months the Nottingham-based company has been disappointingly quiet with their releases for the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" rule-set. Most recently they have sadly announced on their "Facebook" Group" that "the Doctor Who releases have been placed on the back burner for the time being" due to their staff focusing on such projects as "the launch of our Dredd range."

This demoralising situation has inevitably lead to me turning my attention back to my quite embarrassingly large "Black Tree Design" backlog, and the arrival of a (perhaps final) order made in July has caused me to start slowly making my way through some of their more simple-to-pigment figures. This pair of predominantly green Monoids is a good case in point, as the cyclopean duo are already almost finished having just been primed, shaded and dry-brushed...