Sunday 29 September 2019

"Ring's Still Working."

"That's all that matters."
This 40mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of a Green Lantern Boxing Glove is miniature number R100.10 from the War of Light DC "Heroclix" set, and depicts one of the interstellar law enforcement agent's telekinetically controlled solid light constructs. Announced in January 2014, this "six-month story-line Organized Play program" actually included the release of a Green Lantern Corps' Power Battery, along with several differently-shaped constructs, such as an axe, wall, net and bulldozer.

The 3D Special Object was initially removed from its tiny "Wizkids" base and super-glued onto one of the thin 40mm circular bases I use for the vast majority of my objective markers. It was then treated to three coats of "Vallejo" Dark Green so as to ensure its translucent green plastic was completely covered in paint.
Iron Golems WIPs - The highly detailed figures' "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey skin simply hasn't worked out
The miniature was later thoroughly washed with "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green Shade and enthusiastically dry-brushed using some (more) "Vallejo" Dark Green. I did consider whether to apply a second, somewhat lighter green, dry-brush to the model. But in the end decided I liked the deep green colour I have already achieved, so left well enough alone, and simply flocked the boxing glove's base.

So straightforward a painting subject has really been a blessing considering the amount of problems I've experienced trying to finished even one of this month's planned "Warcry" figures by "Games Workshop". I have already had to previously re-paint parts of my Ogre Breacher in order to get a grip upon the Nottingham-based company's Contrast colours, and now I've found it just impossible to reach other parts of the imposing figure with my brush-tip due to all the intricate detail on the sculpt.
"Knight Models" WIPs - Beast Boy, alongside his Tiger and Gorilla forms
To make matters worse, I do not like the way the Chaos warriors' pale grey skin has turned out either, despite watering down its somewhat obligatory "Citadel" Nuln Oil wash. This combination appears especially poor-looking when I'm only able to blindly dab it beneath an overshadowing shoulder-pad or alongside an irregular running metallic chain-belt. As a result I've briefly set the project aside, to ponder upon a change in palette and re-order which areas of each fighter should be painted first...

Fortunately, I have already taken stock of the Batman Miniatures:Teen Titans Boxed Set I plan to progress over the course of October, so have spent some time assembling and priming some of the various "Knight Models" resin figures depicting Beast Boy in both his human, and animal forms. To be honest, I have never had much fun building anything for the "Batman Miniatures Game", and this trio were absolutely no exception to the rule. Overall they are incredibly dinky, and appear liable to snap at a mere moment's notice.

Friday 27 September 2019

"You’re My Prisoner."

"Congratulations. Surely a strategic triumph for the Romulan Empire."
These three 32mm scale resin miniatures of Romulan Uhlans are produced by “Modiphius Entertainment” and form part of their ten-figure strong Romulan Strike Team set. Originally created in 1966 by writer Paul Schneider to potentially represent “what the ancient Roman Empire might have looked like had it developed to the point of spaceflight”, the extraterrestrials were re-introduced after the launch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the episode “The Neutral Zone”.

Just like all the other previously painted Romulans I’ve finished, this trio were actually based upon simple 28mm lipped bases rather than the 30mm scenic stands which they came supplied with, and primed using a double layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey. The Uhlans were then shaded in "Citadel" Nuln Oil before being carefully dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey.
"Para Drop Armour is the pinnacle of German technological achievement."
With their tunic’s quilt-pattern now somewhat visible I applied some “Citadel” Abaddon Black to the officers’ boots and hair, before treating each soldiers’ trousers to a combination of "Vallejo" Dark Grey and "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Later I pigmented their flesh by using my ‘tried and trusted’ technique of applying a wash of “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade over a coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone. As a final touch I went over the Romulans’ disruptors, belts and collar emblems with a little “Citadel” Ironbreaker and splashed these areas with some Nuln Oil.

Shuffling across from science fiction to weird war, I have managed to re-base a few more figures from my long-forgotten collection of “West Wind Production" models. These particular miniatures belong to Andy Cooper’s "Secrets Of The Third Reich" German range, and consist of a well-camouflaged Mech Grenadier Sniper and a pair of heavily-weaponed Paratroopers in Drop Armour.
Two units of British Airborne drop between the German lines just as Nazi zombies storm the Tommy's trenches
At their original time of painting I was clearly in a great hurry to get the Paratroopers on the tabletop, as I not only just predominantly painted them dark grey as opposed to something more akin to their official camo-colour scheme. But I also super-glued them to a couple of under-sized 25mm stands. Resultantly, I have been able to use this opportunity to both super-glue/green stuff them upon some 30mm lipped bases, as well as strip away most of the unsightly white powdery modelling putty surrounding each sculpt’s metal feet tags.

My enthusiasm for this particular genre has further been re-fuelled by a couple more “Weird War Two” battles using my home-made rule-set “M.I.S.S.” These games featured the first deployment of some British Airborne behind enemy lines, and proved a great success in forcing the opposition to hold back some of their troops in order to safeguard its early won objectives from being suddenly overrun later in the day…

Wednesday 25 September 2019

"Man. But You Can Call Me Ant."

"Pick on someone your own size!"
This 28mm scale plastic “Wizkids” model of Doctor Henry Pym was one of the several miniatures found inside the "Heroclix" Marvel: Ant-Man Boxed Set and depicts the founding member of the Avengers" as the costumed superhero Ant-Man. Debuting during the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, and made his first appearance in the January 1962 issue of "Tales to Astonish" by "Marvel Comics".

Just 16mm in height, the diminutive figure was originally undercoated in "Vallejo" Heavy Red, washed with "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson and dry-brushed using (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Red. The leading authority in myrmecology research then had his boots, gloves and pants carefully picked out using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Blue and "Citadel" Drakehnof Nightshade.
The Avengers - The Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America, Ant-Man and the Black Panther
I applied a smidgen of "Citadel" Abaddon Black to the cybernetic helmet Pym created for "achieving rudimentary communication with ants and other higher order insects", later pigmented it with a dash of Ironbreaker, shaded it with Nuln Oil and finally dry-brushed the futuristic-looking head-piece with some (more) Ironbreaker. The "Wizkids" pre-paint actually had some pink blobs on the face presumably indicating that part of Henry's skin was visible, but for my sanity's sake I decided to leave well enough alone with just an all-over metallic look.

Interestingly, I did consider treating the dynamically-sculpted miniature's 'visible leap effect' stand with a little "Vallejo" Heavy White and Pale Grey, so as to try and replicate the model's transparent plastic base. However, I didn't think I'd like the look of that, so quickly decided to simply give the area a lick of "Citadel" Doombull Brown, some Rakarth Flesh, and dash of Agrax Earthshade using precisely the same method as I do with all my gritted bases.
"Star Trek Adventures" WIPs - Three Borg from the "Modiphius Entertainment" Collective set
Alongside my latest Avenger, I have started working on the contents of a second Borg Collective boxed set by “Modiphius Entertainment”. Having previously settled upon a reasonably straightforward recipe for the ten 32mm scale resin drones, I have actually taken the unusual step of trying to batch paint them all at once.

Indeed, I've even gone as far as to time how long its going to take me to complete the cybernetically-enhanced reinforcements, so I'll have a vague idea as to whether the 'factory line process' works for me or not. Currently, not counting the models' actual pinning and assembly (which I tend to do in pairs whilst waiting for the paint to dry on other projects) I have spent just ninety minutes on the Borg, and already found myself at the point where I'm 'picking out' their multi-purpose prosthesis...

Monday 23 September 2019

"No Eyes, No Hair, Just Stares."

"Men. Creatures! Made in the factory!"
This 28mm scale metal model is manufactured by “Black Tree Design", and can be purchased as part of the DW1013 - Autons boxed set from their "Doctor Who" miniatures range. "Automatons animated by the Nestene Consciousness, this 'race' of life-sized plastic dummies “remnants of the Silurian race” first appeared in Robert Holmes' January 1970 BBC Television story "Spearhead From Space".

The featureless figure was undercoated with "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, drenched in "Citadel" Drakehnof Nightshade and subsequently dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Blue. The Auton's belt-buckle and hand-gun barrel were then 'picked out' using some "Citadel" Ironbreaker, and its neckerchief with "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey. Both of these areas were later shaded using a little "Citadel" Nuln Oil.
"Terror has many faces in 1949 - some great and some small."
The factory floor dummy's hands and face were treated to a layer or two of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone before being washed with some "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. Finally, its fingers, nose, mouth and eye ridges were 'highlighted' with some additional lines of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone.

With the latest addition to my ever-increasing collection of "Doctor Who" miniatures by "Black Tree Design", I have suddenly found myself spending a considerable amount of my time re-basing a number of old(ish) "West Wind Production" models. These figures belong to the Oldham-based company's "Secrets Of The Third Reich" range, and have suddenly acquired a new lease of life as a result of me suddenly wanting to return to 'Weird War Two' after quite a considerable break.
"MI-13 is the United Kingdom's answer to enemy super science and occult activity."
Indeed, up until very recently, the last time I used some of these models in anger was when I first got hold of the "Konflikt '47" rule-book by "Warlord Games". This time round I'll be returning to an updated version of my homemade rules "M.I.S.S.", but found myself needing to 'upgrade' a fair few of the soldiers from their original 25mm stands to my much preferred 28mm lipped circular bases; a change I started to implement a handful of years ago.

As a result I have found myself scraping away the 'water-logged' sand, grit and flock from the bases of a British Sniper, a few British Paras and Gas-Mask wearing Commandos carrying Bren light machine guns. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've also taken the opportunity to 'touch-up' a couple of the paint-jobs as well, albeit this was predominantly due to my damaging the figures during 'Operation Relocation'...

Friday 20 September 2019

“I Am Locutus Of Borg.”

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 18 September 2019

"I Am The Borg.”

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

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

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

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

Monday 16 September 2019

"It's Turning The Eggs."

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

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

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

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

Saturday 14 September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Top Ten Manufacturers Of 2015 - A "Fantorical" Viewpoint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 9 September 2019

"Colours" Loot 2019

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

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

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

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

Friday 6 September 2019

"They're Called The Borg."

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 4 September 2019

"You Did This! You Sabotaged My Ship.”

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

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

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

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

Monday 2 September 2019

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Warcry" September 2019

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

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

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

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