Wednesday, 31 July 2019

"The Warriors Have Survived."

"No hostile movements registered."
This 28mm metal miniature of "a Silurian companion of Icthar” is manufactured by “Black Tree Design", and can be purchased as Code DW514 Scibus from the company’s "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Defeated by the Fifth Doctor after he “tried to take over Sea Base 4” in 2084 and “start a nuclear war to wipe out humanity”, the Earth Reptile appeared in Johnny Byrne’s January 1984 BBC Television story "Warriors Of The Deep".

Having had a few casting defects around his hands filed down, Scibus was undercoated using a double layer of “Vallejo” Heavy Brown and washed in The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The figure was then dry-brushed with (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Brown before having his armoured carapace ‘picked out’ using a combination of “Vallejo” Iraqi Sand and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
"Black Tree Design" WIPs - Two Monoid sculpts, plus a Monoid II sculpt with brown hair  
This area was later highlighted with a delicate dry-brush of (more) “Vallejo” Iraqi Sand, whilst the Silurian’s eyes were spotted with a few dabs of Heavy Ochre. Finally, the Homo Reptilia’s third eye, which would “glow along with their speech” rather than be used as an energy emitting weapon as in the monster’s first appearance way back in 1970, was treated to a dollop of “Vallejo” Heavy Red and a splash of “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson.

Staying with “Black Tree Design” I have dusted down five Monoid figures to start towards another faction for my ongoing “Doctor Who” campaign. These one-eyed humanoids travelled on a generation starship with the last of Mankind during the 57th Segment of Time, and twice encountered the First Doctor during the 1966 serial “The Ark”. Unfortunately however, neither of the two poses available actually do the aliens justice, as there’s no sign of the voice boxes or heat prods the flipper-footed extra-terrestrials used in order to gain dominance over their one-time Human masters.
"Kitbash Games" WIPs - Doc Cosmos and Roughneck
I did momentarily contemplate converting some of the models, and may well do so in the future if I order any more, but ultimately just stuck to simply painting two of the miniatures with black and yellow hair instead of the scaly-skinned creature’s predominantly brown “mop-top”. This will at least allow me to more readily identify the leader of Monoids’ revolution, One, and his equally as evil subordinate the blonde-haired Three.

Lastly, I’ve made some more progress on some of the “Supers Unlimited” resin figures I've recently kindly received from "Kitbash Games". Roughneck is nearly finished and simply needs some work on his disconcerting hockey-mask, whilst I've gone with a far more patriotic palette for “Covenant of Justice” member, Doc Cosmos, than that seen on his official gaming card, as I plan for him to accompany my Allied forces in some future games of "Weird War Two" and wanted him to appear more American...

Sunday, 28 July 2019

“Fight On And Fly On To The Last Drop Of Blood..."

"...And the last drop of fuel, to the last beat of the heart."
This 28mm scale metal model of the Red Baron was produced by “Pulp Monsters", and could be purchased as Code PC-0093 from their “Pulp City” miniatures range before their store was temporarily 'closed for maintenance'. Fortunately however, I was able to purchase my figure as part of a small-sized second-hand consignment from Leon Mallet of “Pulp Citizen” blog fame.

Famous for strafing the ground where the British super-hero Sovereign stood in the ruins of Berlin during 1945, the villain was primed with a double-helping of “Vallejo” Dark Grey and had a layer of “Citadel” Abaddon Black applied to his leather boots, belt, holster and pistol. The Ghostly Tri-plane’s pilot then had his tunic and visor cap ‘picked out’ with “Vallejo” Heavy Red, before both it and his flying trousers were treated to a wash of “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
Led by a Myrka, the Silurians successfully assault the Nimon firing line 
The Red Baron’s heavy jacket was pigmented with “Vallejo” Charred Brown, whilst his fur collar was given a lick of Heavy Brown and his gloves some Heavy Sienna. All of these areas were subsequently shaded in “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. The fearless flier’s scarf was given a coat of “Vallejo” Dead White, washed with Pale Grey and then delicately dry-brushed with a little (more) Dead White.

Finally, I picked out the “leering skull-faced” German’s medal and cap badges with a combination of “Vallejo” Gold and Strong Tone Quickshade by “The Army Painter”, and highlighted his firearm with a dab of “Citadel” Ironbreaker and splash of Nuln Oil. The undead ghoul’s ghastly face was created courtesy of a “Vallejo” Dead White base layer, some “Citadel” Nihilakh Oxide, and a few deft scrapes of a fast-failing brush-tip containing some (more) “Vallejo” Dead White.
A brave Nimon charge is quickly wiped out by superior Silurian numbers
Moving across from painting to wargaming, I have managed to play another battle in my ongoing “Doctor Who” campaign exclusively using just my collection of “Black Tree Design” miniatures. This particular confrontation involved the somewhat beleaguered Nimon desperately trying to hold on to a second of their Empire’s ruined planets from a Silurian incursion. Fought across a 2’ x 3’ dilapidated cityscape, the game initially saw the defending alien Minotaurs’ taking a firm grip of the action by seizing a couple of crucial strategic objectives and seemingly pinning their opponents back with a notable flurry of Psionic mind beams.

However, once the Myrka managed its way to the tabletop’s centre things took a dramatic turn for the worse for the “parasitic species that operated on a galactic scale”, as their shooting attacks ineffectively bounced off of the reptilian creature’s “thick, rubbery skin”, and a somewhat impulsive charge straight into the Silurian’s numerically superior left flank failed due to its over-reliance upon the minotaurs’ bulk protecting them in close combat. Admittedly, by the end of the conflict the Nimon hadn’t been as badly mauled by the race of Earth Reptiles and their four-legged “heavy backup” as they had previously by Sharaz Jek’s Androids, but they still had disappointingly lost a second territory within the space of just a couple of campaign turns…

Thursday, 25 July 2019

"I Am Drathro, An L3 Robot."

"I am not immortal."
This hefty 45mm tall metal miniature of the "maintenance robot created by the sleepers to watch over them" on the planet Ravalox is produced by “Black Tree Design", and can be bought as Code DW603 Drathro from the manufacturer's "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Built in the Andromeda Galaxy and “placed as guardian… in the underground Marb Station (part of UK Habitat)” the automaton appeared in Robert Holmes' September 1986 BBC Television story "The Mysterious Planet".

Somewhat roughly cast with a couple of jagged edges disfiguring its detail, the model was initially smoothed down in places, particularly around its pincer-like hands, with a humble nail file and primed with two layers of "Citadel" Abaddon Black. “The Immortal” was then painted “Citadel” Ironbreaker, shaded using some Nuln Oil and dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker.
"How is it that you were able to walk past my androids?"
Finally, I applied some additional “Citadel” Nuln Oil around Drathro’s waist so as to quite considerably darken it, and ‘picked out’ his torso markings with either “Vallerjo” xxxx or “Citadel” Abaddon Black. This is actually the second L3 robot I’ve painted, as I acquired one back in the Late Nineties when I believe the licensed range was owned by “Harlequin Miniatures”. However, I bemusingly based that towering figure upon an undersized 25mm circular base and ‘protected it’ using a thick gloss varnish which over time has somewhat ‘browned’ with age.

Sticking with “Black Tree Design" and their “Doctor Who” miniatures range, I have additionally completed the last two of ten automatons I plan to field as part of an Androzani Minor force. Available as Code DW518 Sharaz Jek Android (Code DW518) the figures were primed with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, vigorously dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal and subsequently had their scruffy dark-coloured clothing shaded with plenty of "Citadel" Nuln Oil. As a last step, the pair’s submachine guns were pigmented using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.
"Beyond The Gates Of Antares" demonstration game: Algoryn verses Boromites on a lava planet
This past weekend I was also able to play a demonstration game of "Beyond The Gates Of Antares" at the “Warlord Games” Open Day in Nottingham, in order to reacquaint myself with the rules. Played on only a portion of a considerably-sized lava planet, I volunteered to take on a couple of Algoryn units using my beloved Boromites, and was resultantly handed a serious thrashing due to some disconcertingly underwhelming dice rolls. Indeed, I lost count just how many times my opponent apologised for my bad luck and shook his head at my lamentable fate in the hands of the gaming gods.

Fortunately, despite consistently defying the law of averages with some highly inept close combat fighting, I not only had a thoroughly enjoyable time, but learnt a few tactics regarding my stone-skinned extra-terrestrial miners which would ordinarily supposedly succeed nine times out of ten. Foremost was their apparent ability to charge into hand-to-hand combat, and, despite arriving a ‘bit blowy’ with an extra pin marker, still be able to ‘stick it’ to their far less resilient opponents due to an above average Leadership statistic…

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

"Warlord Games" Open Day - Part Two: "Doctor Who" Miniatures Game Preview

"I'm the Doctor and this is Ace. You must be with the military."
Continuing my account of my recent visit to the "Warlord Games" Head Office site at the Lenton Business Centre, Nottingham, where the company provided its customers with a "whole day packed with previews, gaming, demos, tours and game designer... talks", I was also able to find out about some future developments" for the "Exterminate: Miniatures Game". Indeed, I was not only able to simply browse at some of the stand-out, soon-to-be-released "Doctor Who" display models in a glass cabinet but had an opportunity to watch studio painter Kirsten Williams carefully progress a handful of figures taken from Ben Aaronovitch's October 1988 televised four-parter "Remembrance of the Daleks". 

Foremost of these models was undeniably a sculpt of Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor carrying the unwieldy-looking gizmo he assembled so as to save his companion at the start of Episode Three; "It works. It works!" The detail on this miniature is simply breathtaking, with Williams' mind-blowing paint-job picking out every line in the Time Lord's heavily-patterned trousers, scarf, tie and cardigan.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the Group Captain is expecting us."
In addition, its interesting to see "Warlord Games" finally produce an incarnation of the Time Traveller actually armed with a weapon, as opposed to just waving about his sonic screwdriver or standing in an iconic posture, such as Peter Capaldi's "Hell Bent" guitar-carrying stance. I appreciate that there have previously been some criticism of the Doctor's role within what has been described as a "fast-paced tabletop" battle-game, so I'm personally really pleased to see such a dynamically-posed Gallifreyan leading the charge for a change.

Equally as enigmatic are the sculpts of Ace, Sergeant Mike Smith and The Girl. There was arguably little chance that the Time Lord's travelling companion was ever going to appear in any position other than wielding her famous super-charged baseball bat. However, it was encouraging to see the traitorous Smith menacingly cradling his machine-gun so tightly, as well as the Dalek's innocent young pawn standing mid-zap rather than simply just standing with her hands in her pockets (or skipping)...
"Now I've not taken to seeing things. At least I don't think I have."
Just as exciting though was the significant sight of a substantial number of Second Doctor themed miniatures, most notably one based upon Patrick Troughton's incarnation and a large Yeti from the 1968 serial "The Web Of Fear". Firmly holding his Five Hundred Year Diary, the detail found upon the 'Cosmic Hobo' is excellent, whilst the fur upon the Great Intelligence's shaggy robot looks made for dry-brushing. One can only hope that the Abominable Snowmen will be available separately from Professor Travers (seen at the show but not photographed), possibly in some form of battle-pack like the Sontarans, and that perhaps one will be sold carrying their web-guns. 

Somewhat surprisingly, whilst there were some splendid models of companions Ben Jackson, Polly Wright, Zoe Heriot and Jamie McCrimmon on display, there wasn't a trace of Victoria Waterfield. Nonetheless, the inclusion of the Royal Navy Seaman and Professor Brett's Secretary means that there will shortly be some companions suitable canon-wise to team-up with the "Gale Force Nine" resin figure of the William Hartnell's First Doctor.

Monday, 22 July 2019

"Black Tree Design" Battle Report: Sharaz Jek's Androids Verses The Nimon - Part Two

"The story so far... Having witnessed the Nimon Empire and the Silurians creep ever closer to a destructive confrontation, the mad terrorist Sharaz Jek has decided to launch a surprise raid against one of the Nimon's ruined conquests in an attempt to establish his own territory. Dispatching a small task force of his highly developed androids, the facially disfigured outlaw soon learns that the parasitic species won't give up their valuable resources without a fight and swiftly finds his faceless automatons taking casualties..."

Realising that their firing line was about to be overrun by the large, black-skinned humanoids with bull-like heads, Sharaz Jek's robots retraced their steps back towards the eastern edge of the tabletop, ensuring that they were out of range of any more Psionic mind beams. They then returned fire with their sub-machine guns, and almost brought down the southernmost Nimon right there and then. One of the Minotaurs near the Chemical Sample [Objective One] was also reduced to his final wound of four following a ferocious burst of gunfire from the android near the Drinks Machine [Objective Four].
Despite taking some significant hits however, the Nimon were still seemingly dominating the battlefield, and shrewdly re-positioned its injured combatants back to secure both the Broken Robot [Objective Two] and the Space Antenna [Objective Three]. The rest of the Minotaurs stalked towards the automaton positioned by the Drinks Machine [Objective Four] and with a deafening roar sought to destroy the machine with a blast from their Psionic mind beams. Disappointingly though, they only managed to partially buckle the android's outer shell.

In response the southernmost robot moved south towards the Fuel Barrels [Objective Five]. Whilst the other featureless artificial beings aimed their weapons in the direction of the Nimon who was approaching the Drinks Machine [Objective Four] and reduced the alien to a lifeless heap on the ground. Having obliterated one Minotaur, the robots then turned their attention to another of the extra-terrestrials by the Chemical Sample [Objective One] and wounded it.
Sensing that their full-frontal assault was taking a distinctive turn for the worse, those Nimon that could sought cover behind whichever ruins they could reach. In front of them the injured Minotaur by the Chemical Sample [Objective One] tried to give some covering fire, and managed to score a palpable hit on one of Sharaz Jek's androids.

To the south, one of the robots moved to retake the Fuel Barrels [Objective Five]. Another automaton approached the Chemical Sample [Objective One]. It was becoming clear that the masked maniac from Androzani Minor's minions were slowly starting to win the day. To reinforce this viewpoint a scattering of automatic gunfire struck one of the Nimon hiding near the Broken Robot [Objective Two] and killed the black-furred beast.
With their ascendancy assured, one of Sharaz Jek's androids reached the Chemical Sample [Objective One], and injured the Minotaur nearby. This Nimon was then killed by another automaton hiding in the south-eastern ruins. Finally the Android by the Fuel Barrels [Objective Five] fired at the alien close to the Space Antenna [Objective Three] and felled the brute. The battlefield well and truly belonged to the Spectrox smuggler's forces...

Saturday, 20 July 2019

"Warlord Games" Open Day - Part One: "Judge Dredd Miniatures Game" Preview

"For Dredd there is only one thing in his life - the law."
This past Saturday 20th July 2019 saw what is fast becoming a regular pilgrimage up to the "Warlord Games" Head Office site at the Lenton Business Centre, Nottingham, for the company's annual Open Day event. Advertised as a rare opportunity to "come and play-test our new games Black Seas, Judge Dredd and a few top secret projects presented by our Studio Team", the highlight for me was undoubtedly the chance to both have a look at the new range of miniatures coming to the streets of Mega-City One, and their fast-developing battlefield based upon the futuristic metropolis itself.

Particularly impressive are the Judges themselves, which have been sculpted in a variety of poses, carrying an assortment of weapons, such as the Lawgiver, Daystick and what potentially looks like either an Arbitrator pump-action shotgun or a Widowmaker 2000. In addition, there will clearly be the opportunity for some of the Judges to ride some fantastic-looking Lawmasters, one of which was on display flaunting a mouth-wateringly impressive paint-job by Kirsten Williams.
"Only dead men walk of doors, lawbreaker - smart ones use the window!"
Of course, my eyes were also very quickly drawn to some of Joseph Dredd's most iconic adversaries, especially when the models were placed alongside figures of Cassandra Anderson and Old Stony Face himself. The sculpt of Judge Death was absolutely jaw-dropping, but I was a little disconcerted by the undead law enforcer from the alternate dimension of Deadworld being so intrinsically fashioned around Dredd's body.

Death's spectral form flows all around his nemesis' legs and has his right hand hovering over the Judge's Lawgiver, so it was almost as if the pair were a small vignette rather than a wargaming figure. I suppose quite possibly the piece could be a special limited edition miniature, similar to the bareheaded Johnny Alpha with Electronux which accompanies just the "Strontium Dog" rule book...? Mean Machine Angel and Oola Blint however are clearly designed to operate as standalone characters, and both looked suitably menacing.
"Mega-City One... 800 million people and every one of them a potential criminal."
Enjoyably, a few of the residents of Mega-City One were also on show, in the significantly rotund shape of a Fattie and extremely-elegant Bat-glider. In addition, I was allowed to have a sneak peek at the ongoing paint-job upon Judge Grice in his chief judge's uniform, and at the massive MDF tabletop which "Warlord Games" are currently assembling in order to showcase the "Judge Dredd Miniatures Game" upon its release in November 2019.

Interestingly, the wooden walkways and habitation modules look set to be adorned by a number of pieces taken from "Mantic Games" Terrain Crate range of Starship Scenery and Starship Doors, as a few presumably empty boxes were lying amidst the partially-assembled buildings and plastic pieces dotted throughout the streets. The terrain boards would also appear to be utilising the multi-use interlocking tile system recently announced by "Sarissa Precision Limited", an intriguing series of different-sized edged MDF tiles which can be repeatedly reconfigured and looked rather useful for rule-sets such as "Zombicide" by "Guillotine Games".

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

"Nothing Could Withstand Him, And No Weapon Seemed To Bite Upon Him."

"He tossed wolves and goblins from his path like straws and feathers."
This 33mm tall white metal figure of Grüf The Bear is produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range as part of the company’s “Where’s Runcorn?” Adventure Module 2 series. Sculpted by Trish Carden, I intend to use the hefty miniature to represent J.R.R. Tolkien’s skin-changer, Beorn, “who could assume the form of a great black bear and fought in the Battle Of The Five Armies.

Originally primed using two coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, the slayer of the Goblin leader Bolg was heavily dry-brushed with “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal and later enthusiastically washed in “Citadel” Nuln Oil. In order to somewhat break up this dark visage I then ‘picked out’ all of the bear’s claws and sharp teeth with a combination of “Vallejo” Dead White and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
"Reaper Miniatures" WIPs - The "Bones" Medium Air Elemental has been repeatedly dry-brushed
I also considered whether to give the furry beast a very light dry-brush of dark blue, just to add a little colour to its shaggy hide. However, in the end I decided to stick with the intimidatingly deep black palette I’ve often seen in “The Hobbit” illustrations. I did however, decide to break from tradition and provide Beorn with some rage-filled eyes, courtesy of shading a “Vallejo” Heavy Red base layer with “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson, and then highlighting them with a tiny spot of “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion.

With my latest “Toon Realms” model finished I have set to work on another figure from my “Reaper Miniatures” collection. This Medium Air Elemental was actually sent to me as a free gift by the “eBay” seller Hygienicporridge after I purchased a reasonable quantity of Dark Heaven Legends Aquatic Familiars from his webstore, and at one point was potentially going to be pigmented to represent a swirling Water Spirit for my imminent “Subnautica” project.
"Pulp Monsters" WIPs - The two "Pulp City" models are at various stages of completion
Ultimately though, I have decided to add the lovely sculpt to my increasing collection of bizarre foes for my “Gamma World” campaign, but disappointingly have found the transparent plastic a little problematic to paint due its “Vallejo” White undercoat consistently ‘flecking’ off and visibly cracking whilst I’ve been dry-brushing it. I think the majority of these issues is due to the sheer bendiness of the figure, which really does give way quite considerably under even the lightest of brush strokes, but hopefully my perseverance is paying off as the Elemental reaches its final stages…

Finally, I am also close to finishing the first of my “Pulp City” miniatures by “Pulp Monsters”. I plan on getting the ghostly World War One fighter ace, the Red Baron, completed over the next few days, before spending some considerable time working on the disconcertingly disturbing Comte Vendredi.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

"Black Tree Design" Battle Report: Sharaz Jek's Androids Verses The Nimon

This game was played using some homemade rules (M.I.S.S.) in order to allow us to begin 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" Urban Ruins Playmat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of scenery produced by "Gale Force Nine"; most notably several ruined walls from their Gothic "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..."
"The campaign so far... Having witnessed the Nimon Empire and the Silurians creep ever closer to a destructive confrontation, the mad terrorist Sharaz Jek has decided to launch a surprise raid against one of the Nimon's ruined conquests in an attempt to establish his own territory. Dispatching a small task force of his highly developed androids, the facially disfigured outlaw hopes to take the parasitic species completely by surprise but soon realises the large, black-skinned humanoids with bull-like heads won't give up the valuable resources of one of their worlds without a fight..."
The Nimon, which started along the western edge of the battlefield, consisted of five figures, all armed with Psionic mind beams. Whilst Sharaz Jek's android force began the fight along the eastern edge, and was composed of five sub-machine gun carrying robots. The dilapidated battlescape 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 touching it at the end of Turn Six.
Seizing the initiative, the two southernmost Nimon sauntered east towards the edge of the ruins overlooking the Space Antenna [Objective Three]. Whilst the lone Minotaur in the centre of their formation rushed towards the Chemical Sample [Objective One] hoping the small ruins surrounding it would protect him. Finally, the pair of Nimon to the north began moving around the walls blocking their route to the Broken Robot [Objective Two].

In response three of Sharaz Jek's androids took up a firing position alongside some ruins close to the Fuel Barrels [Objective Five]. The remaining two robots moved towards the Drinks Machine [Objective Four]. Utilising its sub-machine guns greater range than the Nimon's mind beams, one of the automatons managed to fire a burst of bullets at a Minotaur sheltering near the Space Antenna [Objective Three], and despite the difficulty of the shot due to the large alien being in cover, the android managed to cause a flesh wound. First blood to Sharaz Jek's forces.
Determined to seize control of the battlefield early, and despite already being under-fire, the southernmost Nimon moved around the southwestern ruins and claimed the Space Antenna [Objective Three]. This was revealed to be worth 3 Victory Points. In addition, the northern Nimon took control of the Broken Robot [Objective Two], and an extra 4 Victory Points. Invigorated by this achievement, the Minotaur in the centre of their formation strode east up to the small ruins close by the Chemical Sample [Objective One]. Unfortunately however, due to the close proximity needed for their Psionic mind beams, the Nimon were unable to attack any of their opponents.

In response, Sharaz Jek's forces moved west and quickly took the Drinks Machine [Objective Four] and the Fuel Barrels [Objective Five]. These were worth 2 Victory Points and 5 Victory Points respectively. The rest of the androids formed a firing line along the length of the ruins near their deployment position, and discharged a withering hail of bullets at the closest Nimon within range. The Minotaur which had previously been injured bellowed in pain as it was struck twice more. Just one more wound would see the formidably-tall beast fall...
With the exception of their badly injured brethren, who wisely sought shelter behind some ruins just north of the Space Antenna [Objective Three], the Nimon boldly marched east, lowering their horns in anticipation of discharging their Psionic mind beams and relying upon their great bulk to absorb the hotly anticipated returning fire from Sharaz Jek's androids. With a huge explosion the robot holding the Fuel Barrels [Objective Five] was blown asunder by the Minotaurs' attack, granting the parasitic species another Victory Point and costing the mask villain's minions control of a highly valuable objective. Fortunately however, the automaton by the Drinks Machine [Objective Four] managed to weather the Psionic storm without any injury to its circuits.

Dum Da Dum, Diddly Dum, Oo-ee-oos… 

Saturday, 13 July 2019

"I Was A Doctor Myself Once..."

"...Before the study of androids took over my life."
This 28mm metal miniature of the "outlaw who specialised in androids" is produced by “Black Tree Design", and can be bought as Code DW516 Sharaz Jek from the manufacturer's "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Scarred as a result of "his dealings with Morgus" and cursed "to wear a mask to hide the disfigurement" the facially-mutilated villain appeared in Robert Holmes' March 1984 BBC Television story "The Caves Of Androzani".

Originally primed with two layers of "Citadel" Abaddon Black I actually found this rather slightly-proportioned and diminutive figure of Sharaz Jek something of an enigma in that the sculpt initially appeared to show the former doctor without his famous mask and instead simply depicted the gruesome injuries he suffered following his immersion in boiling hot mud. However, upon a much closer study, all the lumps and bumps over his face were apparently just the small studs seen of his head-wear and had clearly just been over-exaggerated on the miniature. 
"Dungeons & Dragons" WIP - The Froghemoth has been re-based and primed
As a result I carefully applied some "Vallejo" Dead White to his mask, and later delicately washed it with Pale Grey, in an attempt to replicate the rather unique markings of the costume worn by the late Christopher Michael Gable. For sanity's sake however, I didn't attempt to copy the thin-lined pattern precisely, and ultimately settled upon a close approximation which from the tabletop would still clearly earmark the model out as Morgus' ex-business partner.

Unlike the insane terrorist's androids, several of which I've previously painted already, I also decided not to dry-brush his clothing with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal or heavily wash his leather attire in "Citadel" Nuln Black. Instead I simply left the figure predominantly "Citadel" Abbadon Black, with a solitary "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade hand on show crossing his waist.
"Dungeons & Dragons" WIPs - The three Xorn Ravagers have been shaded and dry-brushed
Every now and then a miniature comes across my radar which I simply can't resist, and as I'm already currently in something of a "Dungeons & Dragons" mood, the opportunity to buy a fairly-reasonably priced plastic Froghemoth from "Trixtex Games" was too good to miss, especially as the alien species is one of the original extra-terrestrials discovered on board a crashed interstellar spaceship during the 1980 adventure module "Expedition To The Barrier Peaks".

Absolutely packed full of tentacles and razor-sharp teeth, I've already managed to find a 120mm x 90mm base for the amphibious predator as big as an elephant, and also get the brute primed in "Vallejo" Heavy Grey. In addition, I've hooked out a trio of Xorn Ravagers which I rather embarassingly undercoated a good two and a half years ago. These "outsiders from the Elemental Plane of Earth" have subsequently been shaded and dry-brushed, ready for some detail work to take place...

Monday, 8 July 2019

"We Wish For No Strangers In The Land At This Time..."

"...Unless they be mighty men of arms in whose faith and help we can trust."
This "cartoon scale" white metal figure of the Your Hobby Place Knight Mascot is produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range as a single casting. Sculpted by Steve Saleh, I plan to utilise the miniature to represent the Man of Gondor, Ingold, who "was the leader of the soldiers guarding the northern gate of the Rammas Echor as it was being repaired just before the start of the Siege of Gondor during the War of the Ring.

Initially primed with two coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, the heroic warden was predominantly painted using some "Citadel" Ironbreaker, doused in "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and later dry-brushed using some (more) Ironbreaker. The “soldier of the realm” then had his belt, sheath, and straps 'picked out' with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, whilst his belt buckle, shoulder-pad decoration, shield emblem and sword-hilt were spotted in Gold. All of these areas were subsequently washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
"When I first came here, my androids surveyed and mapped the whole system.
Alongside pigmenting my latest addition to my "Toon Realms" collection, I have also finished three more of the 28mm metal automatons produced by “Black Tree Design" as part of the company's "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Available as Code DW518 Sharaz Jek Android, these robots fought General Chellak's federal troops on the planet Androzani Minor in the March 1984 BBC Television story "The Caves Of Androzani".

Designed by the facially mutilated Sharaz Jek, the trio of figures were all undercoated with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, vigorously dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal and later had their scruffy dark-coloured clothing shaded with plenty of "Citadel" Nuln Oil. The models' submachine guns were then pigmented using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.
"Reaper Miniatures" WIPs - The Large Earth Elemental and Ape-X
Lastly, I applied a double layer of watered-down "Vallejo" White over each android's featureless head, and later washed them using some "Vallejo" Pale Grey. As a final touch the humanoids' faces were dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" White so as to ensure their cyclopean eyes were made all the more distinctive from the rest of their craniums.

Despite having 'polished off' four models in quick succession, I have still managed to find a little hobby time to make some progress on my latest "Reaper Miniatures" destined for my "Gamma World" tabletop. Admittedly, I've only shaded the Large Earth Elemental with some "Citadel" Nuln Oil. But I have also applied the first coat of "Citadel" Ironbreaker onto the cybernetic appendages of my campaign's main antagonist, Ape-X...

Saturday, 6 July 2019

“My Name Is Sherlock Holmes.”

 "It is my business to know what other people don't know."
This 28mm model of a Sherlock Holmes is produced by “Reaper Miniatures” and can be bought as Code 50059 from their Chronoscope range. Sculpted by Michael Brower, the multi-part metal figure is clearly based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional private detective, who made his debut in the 1887 published novel “A Study In Scarlet”.

Supplied with the option of having Holmes holding either a lantern, magnifying glass, pipe or book, I initially attempted to assemble the amateur sleuth carrying his trademark pipe and iconic mounted convex lens. However, the magnifying device proved far too flimsy for my fat fingers and frustratingly broke off whist its hand was being super-glued in place.
Four brave adventurers confront a pair of Golems beside a stargate on "Gamma World"
As a result, I permanently attached the consulting detective’s handheld Victorian lantern instead, and undercoated the entire piece with two coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black. I then layered Sherlock’s travelling cloak with “Vallejo” Heavy Brown, shaded it with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade and finally dry-brushed the loose garment with (more) “Vallejo Heavy Brown.

Due to wanting to create some considerable contrast between the model’s outer and inner clothing, I decided not to try and replicate the detective’s somewhat recognisable light grey tweed suit, but instead supply him with some much darker men’s wear by applying a combination of “Vallejo” Dark Grey and “Citadel” Nuln Oil to his trousers and waist-coat. These areas were later lightly dry-brushed some (more) “Vallejo” Dark Grey, and actually worked out well for my sanity’s sake as I found some of the detail towards the top of the figure’s torso as little difficult to discern.
"Reapers Miniatures" WIP - The super-villain Ape-X has been primed, shaded and dry-brushed
I pigmented Holmes’ famous ear-flapped travelling cap or rather, deerstalker, with “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna, and despite the sleuth narratively seeming to prefer an “old and oily black clay pipe”, also applied this colour to his tobacco pipe. Both of these areas were then shaded using a splash of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, and his shoes were ‘tidied up’ courtesy of another coat of “Citadel” Abaddon Black.

With the last of my “Gamma World” adventurers completed, for now at least, I have made a little progress on one of my post-apocalyptic landscape’s main inhabitants; the diabolical Ape-X by “Reaper Miniatures”. I intend to use this “Bones” super-villain from the Fort Worth-founded company’s Chronoscope Range as my explorers’ main antagonist, pitting the polymer model’s seemingly endless army of Cyber-Reavers against Sherlock Holmes, George Foreman, Jacques-Yvette Cousteau and the robotic Missus Hudson in his quest to acquire “super-science artefacts”.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

"The Sea, Once It Casts Its Spell…”

"...Holds one in its net of wonder forever."
This 28mm model of a Deep Sea Diver is manufactured by “Reaper Miniatures” and can be purchased as Code 50085 from their Chronoscope range. Sculpted by Tim Prow, the underwater explorer is destined to join my party of adventurers on “Gamma World, as a proxy for the French conservationist and innovator Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Based upon the standard diving dress known as hard-hat or heavy gear which was apparently invented by the Deane Brothers and Augustus Siebe, the figure was undercoated with “Vallejo” Heavy Brown, and the waterproofed canvas suit washed with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. His weighted footwear and belt were then pigmented using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey and “Citadel” Nuln Oil, before being lightly dry-brushed with a little (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey.
George Foreman, Missus Hudson and Jacques-Yvette Cousteau face some Cyber-Reavers on "Gamma World"
The diver’s leather shoes were ‘picked out’ with a layer of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna, and this extra opaque acrylic paint was additionally utilised as a base coat for his helmet. I then applied some “Citadel” Ironbreaker to the miniature’s metallic shin-guards, shaded these areas with Nuln Oil, and then added a smidgeon of shine on them with a light dusting of (more) Ironbreaker.

The surface-supplied diving helmet was treated to a generous covering of “Vallejo” Brass, before being thoroughly drenched in “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. For sanity’s sake, I then used some “Citadel” Abaddon Black to significantly darken the rigid head enclosure’s view ports and delicately dry-brushed the ensemble with (more) “Vallejo” Brass.
Large Earth Elemental WIP - The huge "Bones" model has been based and primed "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey
Finally, I turned my attention to the ocean-bed explorer’s hands, which I have seen painted as both thick leather gloves and naked flesh. Having felt there was an amusing naivety to the idea of a clunky, predominantly enclosed adventurer walking around the radioactive wastelands of “Gamma World” with his bare fingers exposed, I decided to go with a mixture of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone and “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade.

Having almost finished my post-apocalyptic quartet, I have found some time to both base and prime another denizen of the science fantasy role-playing world “originally designed by James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet” in 1978; A Large Earth Elemental by “Reaper Miniatures”. This formidably-sized “Bones” sculpt, “summoned to the Material Plane” by some misguided magic-user will probably end up being used as a wandering monster in my games of “Gamma World”, as I’m quite keen on having a few such hazards randomly traversing my tabletop whilst the main opposing forces are busy battling it out over useful wreckage and loot objectives.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Pulp City" July 2019

"Kitbash Games" WIPs - Doc Cosmos and Roughneck
After the disappointment of my previous two themed months, where instead of painting a unit of “Warhammer 40K” Chaos Space Marines and team of “Blood Bowl” Halflings I ultimately pigmented some more additions to my “Age Of Sigmar” Blades of Khorne warhost and a fistful of “Reaper Miniatures”, I thought I’d try to whittle away a little piece of my sizeable backlog by simply working on a handful of super-powered “Pulp City” figures. I’ve actually been collecting the odd model from this skirmish game “set in the 1980s” for some years, but haven’t really applied myself to the range due to my not wanting to learn yet another rule-set chock full of super-heroic abilities, villains and action points.

Very recently however, my interest in the tabletop line has been piqued by the news that “Pulp Monsters” and “Kitbash Games” have formed a partnership, and resultantly the resin “Supers Unlimited” models I own will “have rules profiles for Pulp City!” This announcement has kickstarted my enthusiasm to finish off the Roughneck miniature Leon Mallett of Pulp Citizen blog fame generously gifted me, as well as apply a brush to a few of my “Pulp City” purchases too.
"Pulp Monsters" WIPs - Comte Vendredi, the Red Baron and Tritonious have all been primed
Indeed, I’ve even gone so far as to ‘pick up’ a few of Leon’s spares for a very reasonable price, and, as part of that modest transaction, receive another of his excellent “Supers Unlimited” resin sculpts as a much appreciated freebie. Resultantly, I have based and primed “Covenant of Justice” member, Doc Cosmos, and begun re-working my previously partially-painted figure of Empire City’s masked vigilante, Roughneck.

Both of these figures should soon join my already finished Punchline on the tabletop, but in a slight twist of lore I aim to have the pair accompany my “Weird War Two” allies in their fight against the Nazi horde during the Mid-Sixties using a homemade rule-set, rather than for “Pulp City”. This ‘change of direction’ should allow me to both get the models straight onto the battlefield once they’re finished, and also somewhat ties-in with a few of the war-themed metal Supremes I own, such as the Red Baron.
"Reaper Miniatures" WIPs - Sherlock Holmes and a Deep Sea Diver
In fact, I’ve become so enthused with the idea of ‘folding’ these super-heroes in with my quite extensive fully-painted collection of “Secrets Of The Third Reich” models by “Westwind Productions”, that alongside the spectre-faced fly-boy I have assembled and undercoated the aquatic power-house Tritonious and Comte Vendredi (“riding on top of a Death Guard”). Hopefully this enthusiasm should lead me to quite quickly ‘polish off’ this initial handful of “Pulp City” goodness, as, having done some digging into my lead mountain, I’ve uncovered a fair few more colourful residents of the American West Coast metropolis.

Of course, my fascination over “Kitbash Games” partnership with “Pulp Monsters” doesn’t mean that I’ve slowed down painting some more “Reaper Miniatures”, as I’ve made plenty of progress on both my Deep Sea Diver and Sherlock Holmes figures. These welcome additions to my party of adventurers exploring “Gamma World” should be finished reasonably soon, and then I plan to test the foursome out against the machinations of Ape-X and his robotic Cyber-Reavers…