Saturday, 31 August 2019

"One Day They Will Awaken…”

"...And reclaim their world."
These two 28mm scale metal models 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."

Saturday, 24 August 2019

"I Was Never Out There."

"I was never in danger, hunted, terrorised by those things."
This 28mm scale model of Axel is produced by “Mantic Games” and can be found inside "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Prisoner Booster Pack. Sculpted to represent the armed robber found by Rick Grimes in the cafeteria of the Meriwether County Correctional Facility, "the old biker" died defending the prison during the Governor's attempt to take it for himself in Issue 47 of "The Walking Dead" comic book.

Originally primed with a double application of "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, the "gentle" character's prison overalls were shaded with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade and his thick leather belt ‘picked out’ using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. I then applied some "Citadel" Ironbreaker to both his belt buckle and holstered pistol, before shading these areas with Nuln Oil.
"Your life as it has been is over."
A "trusted member" of Rick's group, the man's "grizzly" beard was initially pigmented with a coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey and subsequently repeatedly washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Ordinarily, I usually then later return to such areas and dry-brush them, but the detail on the prisoner's hair was so soft that I didn't feel such a technique would work particularly well. Resultantly, I simply applied some "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone to Axel's flesh and splashed it with a little "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade before calling him done...

In addition to my "Mantic Games" model, I have also completed another pair of 32mm scale resin female Borg drones from the Borg Collective boxed set by “Modiphius Entertainment”. Undercoated with “Citadel” Abaddon Black, the cyborgs were enthusiastically dry-brushed using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal” and then much more lightly dry-brushed with “Citadel” Ironbreaker.
Deadzone WIP - The cube has been assembled and partially primed with "Citadel" Abaddon Black
Finally I added some “Citadel” Ironbreaker to their multi-purpose prosthesis, as well as to their facial implants and odd cable, before drowning them both with Nuln Oil. To recreate the Borg’s necrotic-looking flesh I applied a little “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey to their face and elbows, and washed these areas with “Citadel” Nuln Oil.

With half my box of Borg completed, I have set to work trying to build some appropriate-looking scenery for them to place on my tabletop. Fortunately, I have found a few sprues of unused "Deadzone" science fiction buildings which I bought as part of that board game's first ever "Kickstarter" in 2013, so intend to build half a dozen cubes before painting them in an almost identical palette to that of the drones.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

"Remove This Tohzah From My Sight. "

"I take it you have never seen a Romulan before."
These two 32mm scale resin miniatures of Romulan Uhlans are manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” and form part of their ten-figure strong Romulan Strike Team set. “Designed for use with the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game”, this pair of models are "biological cousins of Vulcans" and made their first television appearance in the December 1966 episode “Balance Of Terror”.

Despite coming with their own 30mm scenic stands sculpted to look like some sort of galvanised steel walkway, I actually re-based the duo onto 28mm lipped plastic bases instead so as to better fit in with the rest of my collection. Once super-glued, grey-stuffed and gritted in place, the Romulans were primed using a double undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, and had their Late Twenty-Fourth Century tunics shaded in "Citadel" Nuln Oil.
The "Supers Unlimited Miniatures" Kickstarter by "Kitbash Games"
The "lowest rank of commissioned officers" in the Romulan Star Empire, the Uhlans were then delicately dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, before having their boots and hair pigmented using some "Citadel" Abaddon Black. I applied a coat of "Vallejo" Dark Grey to the soldiers' trousers, washed this with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and 'picked out' their flesh using my usual combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade.

At this stage I was somewhat tempted to add a little dab of "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green to the Romulans' skin as I've always envisaged their "Star Trek: The Next Generation" incarnations as having just such a hue in my mind's eye. However, considering just how difficult I found it simply 'dotting in' the odd eye on their faces, the last thing I wanted to do was make my brush-tip's job even more unenviable by splashing them the vibrant "Games Workshop" shade. Resultantly, I just finished the figures' disruptors and belts off with a touch of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and dash of Nuln Oil.
The Super War Early Bird Pledge
Ordinarily, I don't tend to harp on too much about current enterprises on "Kickstarter". But as I'm currently painting a generously-gifted pre-sale copy of Doc Cosmos by "Kitbash Games", it seemed extraordinarily rude not to give their "Supers Unlimited Miniatures" crowdfunding project a big shout-out. Described by Leon Mallett of "Pulp Citizen" blog fame as a "new range of miniatures for supers tabletop gaming", these "high-quality" resin models are specifically "designed to be size-compatible with many supers miniatures ranges and all characters will come with profiles for the Pulp City and Super Mission Force gaming systems!"

Having previously painted Punchline and Roughneck from this range, both of which spookily feature as stretch goals for this particular Kickstarter, I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on more of Empire City's super-powered inhabitants and getting them onto my tabletop soon. In addition, for the "first three days only" the Super War Early Bird pledge will bag you both the Covenant of Justice and Shadow Axis teams, as well as the formidable-looking Granite...

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

“We’re Going To Hang Him.”

"The man barely spoke and he gave me the willies anyway."
This 28mm scale model of Thomas Richards is manufactured by “Mantic Games” and can be found inside "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Prisoner Booster Pack. Sculpted to represent the bloodthirsty "psychopath convict, who survived the outbreak" trapped in the cafeteria of the Meriwether County Correctional Facility, the quiet “nerdy” homicidal lunatic was killed by a Maggie Greene “when she unloaded her entire sidearm’s magazine” into him in Issue 18 of "The Walking Dead" comic book.

The balding bespectacled 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 murderer’s tiny blade and glasses with a layer of “Citadel” Abaddon Black, before applying a little Ironbreaker to his hand-weapon and frames, as well as a smidgeon of “Vallejo” Dead White to his lenses. All of these areas were later treated to a wash of “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Three male Borg from the "Modiphius Entertainment" Collective set
Thomas’ skin was painted using a base coat of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone and shaded with a splash of “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade. I then ‘highlighted’ his fingers, hands, and some facial features, such as his ears and nose, with a careful second application of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone. Finally, the killer with a penchant for decapitation, had his receding hairline pigmented with some “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.

With the second of my prisoners finished for “The Walking Dead: Call To Arms”, I have momentarily turned my attention towards some more Borg drones for “Star Trek Adventures” by “Modiphius Entertainment”. One of the most disappointing elements to the Fulham-based tabletop game publisher’s Borg Collective ten-figure boxed set is that despite its lack of variety concerning female poses, it frustratingly still contains an even split between the cybernetic organisms sexes.
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Three Romulan Centurions
Fortunately, there’s a bit more diversity to the male drone sculpts, so I haven’t felt obliged to chop/convert any of their prosthesis on this occasion; albeit if I purchase a second set such extra preparation prior to priming will become a necessity. In addition, they are significantly larger than their more slender-sized counterparts, which has provided my brush-tip with more opportunities to pick out the extra-terrestrial’s surgical augmentations in “Citadel” Ironbreaker and “Vallejo” Dark Grey.

Lastly, I have been busy building and undercoating the remaining miniatures from my Romulan Strike Team. I’m not admittedly a fan of these figures’ joints, as the tiny ‘ball and socket’ mechanism doesn’t seemingly survive contact long despite my super-glue’s best efforts. So instead I’ve been busy pinning the militaristic aliens’ limbs to their torsos. This has disconcertingly lead to a couple of misaligned elbows, which I’ve subsequently had to carefully file smooth, at some cost to the detail of their ‘quilted’ uniforms.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

"Do We Look Like Prison Guards To You?"

"I'll make it very simple for you, Farmer. We got here first..."
This 28mm scale model of Dexter is produced by “Mantic Games” and can be found inside "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Prisoner Booster Pack. Sculpted to represent the "towering, physically intimidating inmate who survived the outbreak" trapped in the cafeteria of the Meriwether County Correctional Facility, the convicted murderer was fatally shot in the head by Rick Grimes whilst fighting off a mass of zombies released from A-block in Issue 19 of "The Walking Dead" comic book.

Having been supplied already assembled to a base, the figure was primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, and had his prison overalls washed with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. I did consider dry-brushing the man's trousers with some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, as I ordinarily do, but as with all this range's models, I didn't feel the soft detail would respond as well as I would like to my brushstokes, so I ultimately left all the garments alone.
The Voord quickly gain the upper hand over the much-slower Yeti and seize some early objectives
Dexter's heavily pouched belt was painted in "Vallejo" Heavy Brown, his vest in Dead White, and his skin in Heavy Sienna. All of these areas were then shaded using “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Lastly, I 'picked out' the inmate's infuriatingly 'soft' chest holster in "Citadel" Abaddon Black, finished off both his pistol and shotgun with a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and (OOP) Badab Black. 

Shifting across from pigmenting prisoners to wargaming, I have played another battle in my ongoing “Doctor Who” campaign exclusively using just my collection of “Black Tree Design” miniatures and some home-made rules. This conflict saw the Great Intelligence launch an attack upon the Voord on a frozen planet and resulted in some serious close combat scraps. Fought across a 2’ x 3’ rock-infested landscape, with a pair of freezing lakes partially separating the two factions, the game initially saw the flipper-footed Voord using their quicker speed and "Water-Walk" ability to seize the initiative.
The robot Yeti batter the Voord into submission with their incredible strength and armoured fur bodies
Yet it soon became clear that the robot Yetis' armoured fur covering, and single Web-gun, was going to make them incredibly hard to shift once they got themselves into a significant victory-point winning position. Admittedly, the Voord were both lead by the commanding presence of Yartek, which  permitted any friendly unit within 12 inches to re-roll a single dice roll once per turn, and armed with knives. But it took a lot of effort to take down just one of the Great Intelligence's shaggy minions, whereas the Yeti soon started chopping down the Voord with great clubbing swings of their claws.

Increasingly low on the numbers needed to fell their opponents, Yartek's faction soon lost control of the space between the two frozen lakes at the centre of the battlefield, and before long were pushed further and further back from their goals. In the end, the sheer physicality of the Yeti saw the Great Intelligence achieving twelve victory points to the Voord's one point, providing the mysterious disembodied entity with a foothold upon Yartek's fast-dwindling empire...

Friday, 16 August 2019

“You Will Be Assimilated."

"Resistance is futile."
These three 32mm scale resin miniatures of female 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”.

Despite coming with their own 30mm scenic stands, I actually re-based the trio onto 28mm lipped plastic bases instead, and also took the opportunity to convert a couple of the drones following my discovery that three of the five female figures inside the box were identical sculpts. As a result I cut off one of the miniatures’ more-pointed metallic appendages at the elbow and swapped it with the crude-pincer limb of another, courtesy of some drilling and pinning.
"I don't believe in no-win scenarios."
Created by executive producer Maurice Hurley, the Borg were initially primed with two coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black, heavily dry-brushed using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal” and much more lightly dry-brushed with “Citadel” Ironbreaker. This process provided each incredibly-detailed drone with a metallic-looking highlight, as well as allowed me to see all the cables which formidably snaked around their limbs and torsos.

I then applied some additional “Citadel” Ironbreaker to the cyborgs’ multi-purpose prosthesis, some of their facial implants, and numerous cables. 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 bodysuit were also ‘picked out’ using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal and “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
"Your life as it has been is over."
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. Having previously painted the range’s limited edition James T. Kirk in the past, I was highly sceptical about ‘dotting’ each drone’s eyes, so ultimately decided to simply spot them 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. Having finished these Borg I’m delighted to say that I’ve already accomplished the first of my Wargame Hobby Bingo challenges by converting a model (can be as simple as a weapon swap, or re-pose)...

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

“Time For Rough Justice!”

"Roughneck is a self-appointed protector of the streets."
This 28mm scale resin miniature of Roughneck is produced by “Kitbash Games” and will be one of the company's stretch goals for its upcoming "Supers Unlimited" "Kickstarter" in late 2019. Originally "a mechanic working the family auto-shop he inherited", Mike Ruiz "refused to pay protection money to the local mob when they came calling" and was subsequently pulverised by a "low-rent super-crook named Smash." Triggered by "a strong sense of right and wrong" Mike eventually recovered from his injuries to "become a heroic protector of the streets against villains..."

The vigilante was initially primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, before having his boots painted with "Citadel" Abaddon Black and his clothing treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Dark Grey. The anti-hero's trousers and short-sleeved shirt were then shaded with "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and later dry-brushed with some (more) "Vallejo" Dark Grey.
"Taking to the streets Roughneck was born."
At one point I actually tried my hand at pigmenting a city camo pattern over the crime-fighter's long pants, but in the end went with the far more straightforward palette after my time-consuming attempt simply didn't look right. Roughneck's pouch-laden combat belt was 'picked out' using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Grey and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green, whilst its buckle was given a dab of Ironbreaker and a splash of Nuln Oil.

The imposing figure's "own crude body armour" and face mask were initially coated in "Vallejo" Dead White before being washed in Pale Grey and delicately dry-brushed with (more) Dead White. The 'official' paint-scheme shows the bruiser's ice hockey mask to carry some red markings (as per "Friday The Thirteenth"), and have eye openings wide enough for you to actually see part of his cheeks underneath. This is something I've done before in the past on a Zorro model by "Boot Hill Miniatures" 
"Mantic Games" WIPs - Three of the Prisoners from "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Booster Pack
However, as Roughneck's background describes him as being "compromised by now-often violent and erratic behaviour" I wanted to give the ferocious fighter a seriously scary visage, so went with the all-white, disturbingly dark eye sockets of Jason Voorhees, but without the slightly distracting red triangles. That way all your attention is hopefully drawn straight to the brute's maniacal stare...

Finally, I applied a coat of "Vallejo" White to both the street warrior's bandaged arms, and Heavy Sienna to all his leather straps. All of these areas were then shaded using a generous amount of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, before I completed the vigilante's reinforced baseball bat off with a mixture of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.

Monday, 12 August 2019

"You Have Walked Into My Ambush!"

"And I have brought my biggest combat spoon -- to eat your tasty brains!!!"
This 60mm tall model of Ape-X is produced by “Reaper Miniatures” and can be bought as Sku: 80001 from their Chronoscope range. Sculpted by Jason Wiebe, this polymer model appears to be a post-apocalyptic descendent of one of the "shaggy, intelligent apes" known as Dakon, which originally appeared in the 1981 edition of the "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" product the "Fiend Folio".

Super-glued onto a 50mm circular lipped based the figure was primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal, drowned in "Citadel" Nuln Oil and enthusiastically dry-brushed with (more) Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal. I then applied "Citadel" Abaddon Black to the giant monkey's chest, belly, toes and fingers, layered these areas with some additional "Vallejo" Charcoal, and finally blended them into its fur with extra "Citadel" Nuln Oil.
"Mantic Games" WIPs - Dexter, Axel and a zombie
All of Ape-X's cybernetic implants and adornments were first 'picked out' with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, and subsequently treated to a combination of Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. They were then dry-brushed with some (more) Ironbreaker before being tactically dabbed with a touch of “Mig Productions” Extreme Rust Wash. This application was later ‘toned’ down with another dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker and a considerable splash of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.

Finally, the bionic Dakon's teeth were treated to a coat of "Vallejo" White, followed by a dash of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, and his tongue pigmented using a "Vallejo" Heavy Red basecoat and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson wash. Interestingly, it was whilst painting the giant gorilla's mouth that I realised just how much of the sculpt's detail had been lost in its transition from metal to "Bones", for in all the old pictures I was using as a reference guide, the primate's individual lower teeth could clearly be seen. Whereas on the plastic version of Ape-X I was painting, his bottom molars consisted of just a solid single line running right along the mouth...
"Modiphius Entertainment" WIPs - Three female Borg drones from the collective
Having completed my latest model for my "Gamma World" campaign, I have also been making some progress on my Prisoner faction for "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" by "Mantic Games". I still have some way to go with Axel, but have added a lone zombie miniature into the painting mix simply to help break up the monotonous orange jumpsuits worn by all four of the inmates I want to field.

Lastly, I have completed all the base layers to my first three drones from the "Star Trek Adventures" Borg Collective boxed set by "Modiphius Entertainment". These resin miniatures now just need their cybernetic weaponry, tubing, eye attachments, body armour and pale grey flesh to be washed, before some minor metallic dry-brushed and "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey highlighting will see them done.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Top Ten Manufacturers Of 2016 - A "Fantorical" Viewpoint

The third article in my ongoing look back over the years at my favourite miniature manufacturers, this particular period interestingly precedes my utter obsession with “Doctor Who” and his adventures through Time and Space, and instead clearly demonstrates an almost unhealthy preoccupation with comic book super-heroes; both those created by “Marvel Worldwide” and “DC Comics”. In addition, I was just starting out with the then highly-controversial fantasy-based world of “Age Of Sigmar” by “Games Workshop”, and surprisingly popular “Frostgrave” by “North Star Military Figures”…

No.10 (Joint) - "Black Tree Design" - "Doctor Who"
Predominantly pigmented simply because Yeti were quick to paint and I needed some figures to post reasonably quickly, this horde of half a dozen abominable snowmen was actually the second such time I had finished an assortment of the Great Intelligence’s automatons, having previously painted a sizeable batch when the sculpts were originally produced by "Harlequin Miniatures". Bemusingly, I did later add the animated gargoyle Bok to my overall tally, but other than that “Black Tree Design” simply hit my radar through necessity/quantity as opposed to a desire to actually game with its models.

No.10 (Joint) – “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” - "7TV"
Building upon the back of a huge push during the previous year to paint up enough plant-infected humanoids with which to play a “Doctor Who And The Seeds Of Doom” flavoured game of “Zombicide”, as well as a similar desire to use “Guillotine Games” cooperative adventure board game to recreate Terry Nation’s world of “Blake’s Seven”, the only surprise concerning “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” was that more miniatures from its coffers weren’t finished during the year. Disappointingly, this was undoubtedly due to my “Doctor Who” game never being fully realised, and the “Blake’s Seven” campaign, which was actually using the original “Space Hulk” missions as a basis”, was brought to an abrupt halt after just a couple of battle reports.

No.8 - "Irregular Miniatures" - "Star Trek"
Featuring in the very first of my (Lead) Mountain Musings, a themed monthly attempt to try and reduce my backlog of unpainted lead, plastic and resin, this assortment of 6mm spaceships were predominantly posted during the month of September, and whilst the reimagined “Star Trek” vessels have never seen any actual tabletop action, the likes of ten tiny Blitzspear Class Corvettes (Romulan Raiders) and Perry Class Frigates (Soyuz-class Federation starships) still managed to leave a lasting mark upon my annual painting tally. Indeed, not only did this mini-project take on a life of its own as my initially modest ‘Federation Starfleet’ quickly dwarfed that of the ‘Romulan Star Empire’, but “Irregular Miniatures” Kitakami Class Tug (U.S.S. Enterprise) was voted my Eighth most popular model of 2016 by Dick Garrison in his annual Top Ten Miniatures - A "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" Viewpoint post.

No.7 - "Mongoose Publishing" - "Judge Dredd"
For any pledgers badly burnt by the “Judge Dredd Miniatures Game” “Kickstarter” run by “Mongoose Publishing” in September 2012, my participation in Zomtober 2016 was doubtless something of a sore point, as I showcased several of the Undead models financed by that particular farcically-run crowd-funder. However, despite predominantly utilising the plastic torsos of “Mantic Games” zombie sculpts, there is no doubting just how strongly these figures sparked my imagination for the Undead denizens of Mega-City One, and I even went so far as to personally contact ‘Mongoose Matt’ in order to secure supposedly the last of his Zombie Judge figures.

No.6 (Joint) – “Pulp Figures” – “Weird Menace - The Strange Villainy of Pulpdom"
Despite having previously pigmented Bob Murch’s marvellous Boys In Blue collection some twelve months earlier, there can be no doubt that the motivation behind painting this particular batch of sinisterly-robed goons was entirely due a need to safely reach my target tally in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge rather than wanting to progress any actual opposition for my characterful cops. However, that didn’t stop me undertaking a simple conversion so that at least one of the fearsome figures would be better armed with a rifle (as opposed to a lantern) should their diabolical machinations ever be interrupted by the law.

No.6 (Joint) – “Warlord Games” – “Doctor Who”
This ‘handful’ of “Doctor Who” figures initially caught my eye due to representing characters from “Nu Who” as opposed to the classic BBC Science Fiction Television programme, and resultantly helped me overcome my initial scepticism concerning both their significantly larger 32mm scale and my somewhat negative perception that the Nottingham-based producer was behind a number of other popular casters receiving ‘cease & desist’ orders for their ‘not-Who’ models. In addition, the re-booted Zygons were an absolute joy to paint, despite depicting the somewhat contentious ‘official’ paint-job of blackened hands/feet, and quickly became one of my favourite factions to field whilst playing  the “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” tabletop game.

No.4 – “North Star Military Figures” – “Frostgrave”
Arguably the successor to the old “Games Workshop” skirmish game “Mordheim”, I was ultimately somewhat disappointed by the sheer brutality of combat within Joseph A. McCullough’s rule-set, and as a result found my desire to continue playing “Frostgrave” rather fleeting. However, that dissatisfaction didn’t set in until after I had finished painting both an entire warband with alternative Mage and Apprentice, and a sizeable menagerie of animals. In fact, towards the end of my time exploring the frozen ruins of Felstad I even started trying to progress enough hard plastic skeletons so as to play the skirmish game’s Mausoleum scenario.

No.3 – “Reaper Miniatures” – “Chronoscope”
Churned out like so many cans on a food factory production line so as to provide me with a plethora of points for the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, this assembly of automatons actually proved much more time-consuming that initially envisaged due to both the need to pin several of their stick-thin limbs in place and my concern that any heavy-handed dry-brushing would actually result in a breakage. Fortunately, despite these fears, I actually managed to paint a staggering sixteen of the Cyber-Reavers up, plus finish the second member of a travelling party I planned to have wander the post-apocalyptic wasteland of “Gamma World”.

No.2 – “Games Workshop” – “Age Of Sigmar”
Definitely something of a fantasy gaming revelation for me, “Age Of Sigmar” firmly took me by the scruff of the neck and before long had me producing Plaguebearers like the puss-filled daemons were going to go out of fashion. Not only did this “successor to the discontinued… Warhammer” capture my imagination enough to paint a plethora of the Chaos Gods’ finest, ranging from the diminutive Nurglings, to monstrous Beast of Nurgle, but it additionally encouraged me to complete a whopping ten-strong unit of Bloodletters as well. In fact, I probably haven’t felt quite so strong a motivation to be able to field a fully-finished faction since I worked on both a British and German force for “Secrets Of The Third Reich” by “West Wind Productions” in 2014.

No.1 – “Wizkids” – “Heroclix”

By far and away the most popular genre, these pre-painted plastic superheroes dominated my hobby table, starting with a quantity of readily re-painted OMAC robots for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, and ending with the far more time-consuming stars and stripes of Captain America. In between times I also managed to whittle my way through an entire nine-strong swarm of “Horrorclix” Aliens, a ten-man squad of U-Men, and five members of “DC Comics” Metal Men, as well as converting a few of the New Jersey-based company’s Lackey figures into the bobble-hat wearing minions of Mister Freeze during the annual “Forgotten Heroes” challenge.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

"I've Gone Mad."

"My name's Sullivan. Surgeon Lieutenant Harry Sullivan, actually."
This 28mm metal miniature of U.N.I.T.'s medical officer is manufactured by “Black Tree Design", and can be purchased as DW422 Harry Sullivan from the company’s "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Instructed to attend to the freshly regenerated Fourth Doctor by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, the "rather old-fashioned" naval officer made his first appearance in Terrance Dicks' December 1974 BBC Television story "Robot" and ended up travelling aboard the TARDIS with Sarah Jane Smith "for several subsequent adventures."

Initially primed with a double layer of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, the figure's trousers were painted in "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and dry-brushed using some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey. Described as being "rather old-fashioned and stereo-typically English in his attitudes", I applied some "Vallejo" Heavy Blue to Harry's coat, splashed it with "Citadel" Nuln Oil" and dry-brushed it using (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Blue.  
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Two Romulan Uhlans and a Romulan Commander
I then 'picked out' all of the garment's buttons with a combination of "Vallejo" Gold and The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. Before 'highlighting' the visible edges of his shirt and its collar, and shading them with a drop of "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade. Finally, Surgeon Lieutenant Sullivan's hair and sizeable side-burns were pigmented in "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and considerably darkened using "Citadel" Nuln Oil.

Sticking with science fiction, albeit stepping across to Gene Roddenberry's futuristic vision, I have managed to make some substantial progress on the first pair of Uhlans from the Romulan Strike Team boxed set by "Modiphius Entertainment". These two "Star Trek Adventures" miniatures have so impressed me that I've already assembled some more of the "lowly" members of the Romulan Guard, as well as cracked on with the faction's Commander.
"The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" WIPs - Dexter is slowly having his straps, vest, side-bags and weapons painted
Currently I'm actually in two minds as to how to paint the pointy-eared Starfleet Captain equivalent, as I'd really like the figure to stand out that extra bit on the tabletop, so was thinking of giving her the blonde locks of the ever-devious Sela. However, I'm also a big fan of the likes of Toreth, commander of the warbird IRW Khazara and have recently been encouraged that Denise Crosby's fair-haired character might receive her own specific model should "Modiphius Entertainment" decide to produce a second Iconic Villains boxed set...

Lastly, I have spent some time patiently applying a brush-tip to all the straps, pouches and pieces of vest poking out on my Dexter mode for "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms". Just like a couple of sprouts in a roast dinner, I've tackled this particular "Mantic Games" miniature first, as he looked like the most difficult to get through, but now I'm fairly happy with all the leather-work and clothing being blocked in, I am hoping to get the "towering, physically intimidating inmate" of Meriwether County Correctional Facility finished quite quickly.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

“The Robot Has Demolished Most Of The Shopping Mall..."

"It's shrugged off everything the police throw at it!"
This 43mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of a Carnage Bot is miniature number 011 from The Lab “Horrorclix” expansion set, and depicts Pandora Labs’ rogue robot just as its heading towards a High School. Released in January 2007 as part of an initial 96 figure-strong expansion set with “a sci-fi/horror theme”, this miniature was a most welcome gift from Bryan Scott of “Vampifan’s World Of The Undead” blog fame.

Removed from its 'clicky-base' and subsequently super-glued on to a lipped 40mm circular stand, I actually decided to use this particular automaton as something of an experimental piece by priming it with two layers of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna rather than my usual “Abaddon Black”. I then simply gave it a heavy-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker and darkened the ensemble with a generous splash of Nuln Oil to blend its rusty palette together.
"Mantic Games" WIPs - Three of the Prisoners primed from "The Walking Dead: Call To Arms" Booster Pack
As I plan to use this homicidal machine for my “Gamma World” gaming as a maniacal wanderer of the post-apocalyptic wasteland with corrupted logic circuits, I applied a second (lighter) dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker over the robot and later brazenly dabbed some “Mig Productions” Extreme Rust Wash all over the multi-tentacled figure. This “extra touch of realism and accuracy” was ‘toned’ down with a third dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker, whilst a sporadic wash of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade helped dull down much of the automaton’s inappropriate shininess.

Lastly, I ‘picked out’ the Carnage Bot’s somewhat bulbous eye-piece with a layer of “Vallejo” Heavy Red and a dash of “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson. I also contemplated adding some additional colour to the model’s torso by painting its rear gas canister a dirty green. But having laid down a coat of “Citadel” Abaddon Black over the piece of junk, I decided to simply apply a smidgeon more “Mig Productions” Extreme Rust Wash to it, and leave the miniature resplendent in all its decaying glory…
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Three Borg from the "Modiphius Entertainment" Collective set
Having throughly enjoyed my recent play-through of “The Walking Dead: Call To Arms” by “Mantic Games”, I have decided to dip my toe into this “walker-infested world” by pigmenting the plastic Survivor models found within the game’s Prisoner Booster Pack. These inmates of the Meriwether County Correctional Facility who survived the outbreak actually total 140 points including their two equipment cards, so in order to field them in the future I need to either add an extra 10 points worth of guns, knives and baseball bats, or simply find a reasonably priced additional (neutral) member for the team.

Finally, I have settled upon a painting scheme which I hope will help me quickly finish the incredibly detailed Borg Collective miniatures manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” for their “Star Trek Adventures” game. The current recipe will consist of an “Abaddon Black” undercoat, followed by a strong dry-brush of “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal, significantly lighter dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker and some Nuln Oil shading. Hopefully this will then let me simply ‘pick out’ all the grey(ish) flesh, body plating, weaponry and light-emitting diodes.