Saturday, 30 November 2019

"Come On, Look Lively."

"Up the pace, go on. We haven't got all day now."
This 28mm scale metal miniature of a female X Commando is manufactured by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and are part of the company’s Heroes and Allies product line. "Lead by the flamboyant Doctor Hugo Strange," the pistol carrying member of Department X is one of many military specialists "tasked with protecting Britain from inter-dimensional, otherworldly and plain strange threats."

Having assembled the soldier by attaching her head to the torso courtesy of a little pinning and super-glue, she was primed "Citadel" Abaddon Black and enthusiastically dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal. I then 'picked out her hand-weapon using some "Citadel" Ironbreaker, her shoulder and beret badge with a couple of dollops of "Vallejo" Dead White, and her hip-holster in Heavy Charcoal. All of these areas were later shaded using "Citadel" Nuln Oil.
"It's not a person, damn it, it's a Borg!"
As I wanted my figure to proxy the U.N.I.T. troopers depicted during the April 2008 Doctor Who television story "The Sontaran Stratagem", I shied away from leaving the Commando's headware all-black and instead pigmented it using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. I also left her badges predominantly white, rather than 'draw in' the red cross upon blue background which the Department of Extraordinary Affairs use as their top secret organisation's emblem.

I painted the miniature's flesh using my standard technique of a "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone base layer, a splash of "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade, and finally a highlight on the fingers and cheekbones of (more) "Vallejo Heavy Skintone. Lastly, I applied some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to the soldier's hair, as well as a little "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson to the lady's lips.
"Wizkids" WIPs - An Abominable Snowman, Black Canary and Proteus
Besides finishing the first of my Department X combatants, I have also completed the last two Borg drones I own by “Modiphius Entertainment”. These well-detailed resin figures had the same palette applied to them as the rest of my Borg Collective, and takes my cybernetic extra-terrestrial tally up to twenty two, including a Borg Queen and Locutus of Borg...

Long-time suffering readers of this blog will know that around about this time of year I usually apply to enter the Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, and having successfully done so, I am once again beginning to prime a plethora of models for the event. Unlike my previous attempts though, I thought I'd try to use the opportunity to focus upon a particular backlog of figures I'm struggling with, so resultantly have started undercoating a number of "Heroclix" miniatures by "Wizkids".

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

"This Time Nothing's Going To Stop Me!"

"You don't have what it takes to be the Hulk."
This 43mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of the Red Hulk is miniature number 050 from the Marvel “Heroclix” Web Of Spider-Man range and depicts General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross following his transformation at the hands of Advance Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) and Intelligencia. Empowered “in order to be able to better fight the original Hulk”, the American soldier’s alter-ego first appeared in the January 2008 issue of “Hulk” and was created by Jean Loeb and Ed McGuiness.

Described by Marvel Editor Mark Paniccia as “absolutely uninhibited, [and] tactically intelligent”, the formidably-sized figure was super-glued upon a 40mm circular base before being undercoated in a double-layer of “Vallejo” Heavy Red. He was then shaded using some “Citadel” Nuln Oil, and heavily dry-brushed with (more) “Vallejo” Red so as to bring out all the sculpt’s marvellous muscles.
"It's working! I can feel the ring's power returning!"
Also known as Rulk or The IncREDible Hulk, I applied pure “Citadel” Abaddon Black to the behemoth’s ripped shorts, hair, and nails. I also dabbed his eyes, which can emit heat at will during non-engaged periods, with a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre and “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade.

Sticking with my mountain of “Heroclix” models, I have also finished a fifth hard light construct from “Wizkids” War of Light DC "Heroclix" range to use as a Green Lantern themed objective marker. This Violet Lantern Spotlight is miniature number R106.12 and was super-glued onto one of the thin 40mm circular bases I use for the vast majority of my scenario markers.
"Star Trek" WIPs - These Borg drones have been base-layered prior to being washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil
Initially I had contemplated painting the scenic piece as a proxy for the Bat Signal, but as “Wizkids” have actually produced just such a model, I ultimately decided to use this model for my Green Lantern Corps, and resultantly simply gave it a handful of coats of "Vallejo" Dark Green so as to ensure its translucent pink plastic was completely masked. I then thoroughly washed it with some "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green Shade, and heavily dry-brushed it using some (more) "Vallejo" Dark Green.

I was a bit disappointed during "Zomtober" 2019 that I never quite finished all of the "Star Trek Adventures" Borg Drones I had prepared for the month-long challenge. But fortunately, my last two  “Modiphius Entertainment” cybernetic aliens are finally ready to be drenched in “Citadel” Nuln Oil, before having some additional highlights added to their areas of flesh…

Monday, 25 November 2019

“Kryptonite Vision Is Only A Fraction Of My Power.”

"Now you can feel the rest!!"
This 60mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of Metallo is miniature number 085 from the DC "Heroclix" Unleashed expansion and depicts John Corben after Professor Vale transplanted the small-time con man’s brain “into a robotic alloy body, which was powered by a two-pound chunk of kryptonite.” Originally depicted as “an unnamed scientist calling himself Metalo who wore a powered suit of steel armour”, the supervillain was created by Robert Bernstein and Al Plastino, and made his first appearance in the May 1959 issue of “Action Comics”.

Initially primed “Citadel” Abaddon Black so as to cover its pre-existing paint-job, the member of the Injustice League was treated to a layer of Ironbreaker before being thoroughly washed with Nuln Oil. The Cyborg was then dry-brushed with (more) “Citadel” Ironbreaker, and had all the numerous thick cables snaking about his body ‘picked out’ with Abaddon Black.
"Heroclix" WIPs - Iron Man, a Skrull Commando and the Blue Beetle
Corben’s kryptonite power source, which quickly replaced his body’s less efficient uranium capsule, was pigmented using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Grey and “Citadel” Biel-Tan Green. This mixture was subsequently used for Metallo’s eyes after I decided against going with the red lenses seen on the official “Heroclix” paint-scheme.

The unexpected recent addition of several more “Wizkids” miniatures to my collection has definitely seen my super-hero batteries get recharged, and as a result I have been somewhat busy removing a range of pre-painted plastics from their ‘clicky bases’ and super-gluing them to an assortment of circular stands instead. Foremost of these has to be the Wild West flavoured Iron Man from the Battleworld: The Valley, whose steam-powered armour suit comes armed with a formidable-looking flame-thrower.
"Field a force of stalwart US Armoured Infantry against the horrors of the Armageddon!"
Alongside this alternative version of Tony Stark I have also primed a rather nice sculpt of Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle, and added two more Skrull Commandos to my ever-growing Super Skrull invasion force mini-project. To be honest, I'm not particularly a fan of the Blue Beetle's third incarnation, much preferring Ted Kord's Silver Age version. But I did start to warm to the Teen Titan following the youngster's adventures in the 2008 American animated television series "Batman: The Brave and the Bold".

Momentarily stepping away from painting figures, I have managed to re-base the first of two 50 Cal HMG 'Comanche' U.S. Battle Suits by "Westwind Productions" I want to see return to my tabletop. This hefty metal miniature comes from Andy Cooper's "Secrets Of The Third Reich" range, and is part of a ‘US Armoured Infantry’ starter set I pigmented nine years ago...

Friday, 22 November 2019

"So Let’s Get Nuts!”

"A squirrel with the proportional speed and strength of a squirrel!"
These two 28mm scale metal squirrels are produced by “Black Cat Bases” and are available to purchase from their Small Animals range. Sold as a pack of four medium-sized rodents, I potentially plan to use the diminutive sculpts as status markers for my partially-painted “Wizkids” figure of the “Marvel Comics” super heroine, Squirrel Girl.

Having carefully snipped the duo from their rather formidably thick metal sprue, the two bushy-tailed animals were super-glued upon a circular 25mm base and undercoated with two layers of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna. I then shaded them using some “The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, before roughly dry-brushing the two miniatures with (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna.
"Is that all your pitiful will can accomplish?"
I was actually tempted to call the tiny models done at this stage, but upon reflection decided to ‘pick out’ their eyes and noses with some “Citadel” Abaddon Black, as well as add some “Vallejo” Dead White to their underbellies. As I didn’t want to simply paint their stomachs with a finely pointed tip, I instead found an old, badly-battered brush and dabbed at the animals instead. This seemed to produce a far less precisely defined, somewhat mottled area of paler fur.

Alongside the completion of my Squirrels, I have also completed a fourth hard light construct from “Wizkids” War of Light DC "Heroclix" range to use as a Green Lantern themed objective marker. This Violet Lantern Wall is miniature number R106.04 and was super-glued onto one of the thin 40mm circular bases I use for the vast majority of my scenario markers.
"Warcry" WIPs - The final three Iron Golems have had all their brass-work base layered
As I wanted to use this model for my Green Lantern Corps, it was treated to a triple-thick layer of "Vallejo" Dark Green so as to ensure its translucent pink plastic was completely masked in paint. I then thoroughly washed it with some "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green Shade, before heavily dry-brushing it using some (more) "Vallejo" Dark Green.

Stepping over to three infinitely more highly-detailed (and significantly more time-consuming to paint) models, I have been slogging my way through the last of my hard plastic Iron Golem warriors for "Warcry" by "Games Workshop". These incredibly characterful miniatures have now had all of their brass-work brusquely bass-layered with "Vallejo" Brass, and I'm now slowly working my way up each Chaos fighter picking out their flesh, chain-link bindings and over-the-top hand-weapons...

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

"Welcome To The Bloodwind Spoil..."

"...A Chaos-twisted wasteland that stretches out before the Varanspire's fortified walls like an open wound."
This 28mm scale model of an Iron Legionary is one of the eight multi-part plastic miniatures which can be found inside the Iron Golem "Warcry" warband boxed set by “Games Workshop". Known for piling the corpses of their defeated enemies upon burning pyres, this figure came in five separate pieces and included a couple of hand-weapon options.

Having permanently attached the Chaos warrior upon its 28mm circular base, the close-range fighter was undercoated with two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and had all of his numerous pieces of armour, as well as some tiny symbolic hammers dangling from his chest-plate, painted using a combination of Brass and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. The vast majority of these areas were then given to a coat of the "Citadel" Flesh Tearer Red, which had been previously 'watered down' using some Contrast Medium.
"Glory or death."
This colour provided the model's shoulder-pad, helmet, shin-plate, back-plate, gut-protector and circular shield with a striking metallic red hue, which also allowed some of the "Vallejo" Brass underneath to shine through; especially once the model had been gloss varnished. The Legionary's chain-mail skirt, face-plate, chain-link belt, straps, formidable-looking spiked club and bolas were painted in "Citadel" Ironbreaker, and subsequently shaded with Nuln Oil.

Stepping away from the warband's 'official' "Games Workshop" pale grey skin palette, I applied a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to all the miniature's flesh. Lastly, I 'picked out' the shaft of the Iron Golems' hand-weapon with a little "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, and later shaded it using some out of production "Citadel" Badab Black.
"Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps."
With yet another time-consuming "Games Workshop" figure finished, I also managed to complete a third light construct from “Wizkids” War of Light DC "Heroclix" range to use as a Green Lantern themed objective marker. This Blue Lantern Mallet is miniature number R207.03 and was super-glued onto one of the thin 40mm circular bases I use for the vast majority of my scenario markers.

As I wanted to use this model for my Green Lantern Corps, it was treated to three coats of "Vallejo" Dark Green so as to ensure its translucent blue plastic was completely masked in paint. I then thoroughly washed it with some "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green Shade, before heavily dry-brushing it using some (more) "Vallejo" Dark Green.

Monday, 18 November 2019

"I Am Awake!"

"And I thirst for vengeance!"
This 28mm scale resin miniature of a Trigon Portal is one of the eleven resin miniatures which can be found inside the Teen Titans Bat-Box for the "Batman Miniatures Game" by "Knight Models", and is used as an objective marker during the Teen Titans scenario: Portal of Evil. Able to bestow two Victory Points to "its owner when they control it", this marker's owner can also score "an additional Victory Point for each friendly model controlling it after the first, up to an additional two Victory points", and can cause "all models within 8 inches" to suffer a "Push effect of four inches (no roll is required) directly away from the portal."

The single-piece casting was primed using a double coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Red, shaded in "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson, and thoroughly dry-brushed with some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Red. I then started building up the magical doorway's highlights using "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, Heavy Ochre, Iraqi Sand and a smidgen of Dead White. The entire ensemble was subsequently glazed using "Citadel" Bloodletter.
"Crooked Dice" WIPs - This Fishfolk Devil has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
Having ensured that I had one less miniature in my painting queue, I recently made the annual trip up to the Rivermead Leisure Centre in Reading for the Wargames Association of Reading's event "Warfare". Ordinarily, as "one of the largest [shows] in the country", this convention causes my wallet considerable pain, as I usually come away with a number of purchases I could never have anticipated buying prior to walking through its doors.

Disconcertingly however, I didn't find this year's array of traders to be especially enticing, with the notable exception of "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio", who not only ensured that I walked away with a handful of their characterful Fishfolk Devils. But also a reassuringly heavy copy of their 7TV: Pulp Boxed Set, a "tabletop skirmish game inspired by the American cinema serials and pulp magazines of the 1930's and 1940's", which was on sale at a modest discount for the weekend of the show.
"Warcry" WIPs - An almost completed Iron Legionary and Drillmaster
Indeed, even the much publicised "ever popular (and huge) bring and buy" sale didn't get close to making me put my hand in my pocket, and in the end the only 'out of production' figures I found of interest were three blisters of metal "Confrontation" models by "Rackham", which were simply sat on the table of a dealer in the main hall. It was though certainly nice to once again briefly meet up with fellow blogger Ray Rousell of "Don't Throw A One" fame.

Setting aside my disappointment with "Warfare", I have almost finished the fifth member of my Iron Golem warband for "Warcry". Chock full of excruciatingly annoying fine detail, these hard plastic "Games Workshop" figures have proved frustratingly time-consuming to progress, but having changed tactics so as to pigment their brass-work first, I'm hopeful that I've now discovered a method of painting the heavily-armoured warriors that little bit quicker than before...

Friday, 15 November 2019

"His -- His Skin! It's Turned Green!"

"We've made it! He'll remain in that form for twenty-four hours -- Until he's defeated the disease!"
This 28mm scale figure of Beast Boy is one of the eleven multi-part resin miniatures which can be found inside the Teen Titans Bat-Box for the "Batman Miniatures Game" by "Knight Models", and represents Garfield Logan during his tenure on the teenage super-group. "A shapeshifter who possesses the ability to metamorph into any animal he chooses, "Gar" first appearing in the November 1965 issue of "The Doom Patrol" by "DC Comics", but was then later re-invented by Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez into the Changeling for the October 1980 issue of "DC Comics Presents".

One of only two single-piece castings within the expansion set, this figure was infinitely more straightforward to prepare for basing than some of its multi-part compatriots, and was primed using a double coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Red. Beast Boy was then thoroughly drenched in "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson before being dry-brushed with some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Red.
"This is the most fantastic thing in the world!"
Unfortunately, this is where my frustration with this slender sculpt began to mount, as despite some careful brushwork, I found I simply couldn't see where all the white markings were which covered the metahuman's costume. I did attempt to try and 'pick out' the Changeling's chest chevron using some "Vallejo" Dead White, but soon gave up in exasperation when I found myself unable to find even the slightest indentation in the miniature's clothing for that particular piece of detail.

As a result I decided to stick to simply pigmenting Logan's gloves and legging bottoms with "Vallejo" Dead White, and kept the rest of his attire predominantly red. Slightly disconcertingly though, even this compromise proved a bit of a time-consuming challenge, as the edges weren't as smoothly-sculpted as I would have expected, and ultimately left little opportunity for me to subsequently shade them with a little "Vallejo" Pale Grey wash...
"Warcry" WIPs - This Iron Legionary is slowly having all his metalwork painted
Garfield's head, arms and legs were given a double-layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Green, drowned with "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green, and lightly dry-brushed with some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Green. Lastly, I applied a couple of dots of "Citadel" Abaddon Black to Beast Boy's eyes, and tidied his face up a little with a touch more "Vallejo" Heavy Green.

Despite my issues with my latest "Knight Models" model, I am still ploughing my way through my Iron Golem warband, and have almost finished the third of my Iron Legionaries. I've actually tried a different approach with this highly-detailed hard plastic "Games Workshop" figure by painting all of his extensive brass armour first, and then slowly working my way through all his flesh and plain metalwork afterwards...

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 10 November 2019

"We Must Return To The Collective."

"The sick and injured are reabsorbed. Others take their place."
These three 32mm scale resin miniatures of Borg drones are manufactured by “Modiphius Entertainment” and form part of their ten-figure strong Borg Collective boxed set. “Designed for use with the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game”, these models are based upon the American science fiction franchise’s cybernetic aliens which made their first television appearance in the May 1989 episode “Q Who”.

Created by executive producer Maurice Hurley as an alternative to the disappointingly unthreatening Ferengi, the Borg were simply based on 28mm lipped plastic bases instead of their supplied (sometimes slightly warped) 30mm resin scenic stands, and primed with two coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black. They were then heavily dry-brushed using some “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal”, and much more lightly dry-brushed with “Citadel” Ironbreaker so as provide the myriad of cables that snaked around their bodies with a metallic-looking highlight.
"On a Borg ship we live with the thoughts of the others in our minds.
I later applied some additional “Citadel” Ironbreaker to the cyborgs’ multi-purpose prosthesis, some of their facial implants, and wiring. These areas, along with my original dry-brushing, were subsequently tidied up using a little more “Citadel” Abaddon Black and then shaded with Nuln Oil, before being lightly dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker.

Some parts of the Borg's bodysuits were also ‘picked out’ using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal and “Citadel” Nuln Oil. As I wanted to give the Borg’s flesh a somewhat necrotic look, I base-coated their faces and the odd elbow with “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey, washed them with “Citadel” Nuln Oil and later added some extra “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey to their noses, cheeks and brows.
"Warcry" WIPs - This Iron Golem has had all his chainmail and weapons primed, washed and dry-brushed
Having previously painted several of the television series' "recurring antagonists" previously, I stuck to ‘dotting’ the male drone’s eye with "Vallejo" Dead White, and straightforwardly spotted the female eye sockets with a dab of “Citadel” Abaddon Black. Lastly, I placed a tiny dollop of “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion at the end of each model’s “sophisticated ocular implant” and shaded it with “Citadel” Bloodletter.

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

Friday, 8 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

"Those Blasted Rays Made Him Stronger Than Me!”

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 3 November 2019

"The Demon's Fist Belongs To The Shadows"

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

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

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

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

Friday, 1 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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