Thursday, 14 December 2017

Shadows of Brimstone Zombies

I don't know why it has taken me so long to paint these 12 zombies from the Shadows of Brimstone starter set, The Swamps of Death. I guess I was probably thinking, keep the best till last, but sadly, so much other stuff got in the way that I kept putting them further and further back. Anyway, I recently had a big painting session of zombies and they finally got done.
It is not uncommon nowadays, in the areas around Brimstone, for the dead to rise back up from their shallow graves and seek out the living to feed upon. And in these parts, there is no shortage of dead. As animated corpses, these undead nightmares are slow and shambling, but attack in large numbers to surround their hapless victims. Feeling no pain and without fear for their own well-being, Hungry Dead, as they are often referred to, are very difficult to kill. Often an inexperienced foe will empty shot after shot into them, doing little more than blowing off small chunks or fingers. This, of course, does nothing to stop them and often just leads to one or more zombie joining the ranks, as they tear him apart and infect him with their zombie plague.
These twelve plastic figures in the boxed set come in three poses. The six shown above are the most numerous. The two at the far left are the standard figure. They come in four parts - body and head, legs and separate arms. Having separate arms means you can pose them differently, which is a big help. For the other four figures, I have converted each one separately. The zombie third in line from the left has had a writhing mass of intestines sculpted on him, as they spill from a gaping stomach wound. It would have been remiss of me not to have done this particular conversion! Moving on, the next two have had hats added to their heads. The zombie second from the left also had a bandanna added around his neck and his left arm lopped off at the elbow. The zombie at the far left was a very clever conversion. By leaving his legs off I was able to pose him as a crawler zombie. A very simple but effective conversion.
You get three each of the other two poses. The males are meant to be zombie miners and once again, the one at the far left is the standard figure. The one second from the left had his hat cut off to donate to one of the zombies shown above. I sculpted the top of his head with Milliput to show him bare-headed. I also repositioned his pickaxe. For the third zombie miner, I simply cut off his hand and pickaxe and sculpted on a bit of bone showing through his wrist.
The three female zombies were all one-piece castings. The one in the red, black and white dress is not converted. The woman in the green and black dress has had her right arm cut off. The last one, in the blue and ochre dress, has had a head swap. I used one of my spare heads from the Warlord Games Project Z female zombies set to make her look different to the others.
These make a nice small horde of Weird West zombies. I quite like their poses and I certainly had a lot of fun making them all look different. I do enjoy converting zombie figures. I hope I have shown that they don't all have to look the same but if that's what you want then go ahead. Personally, I like my figures to appear unique. Although these are designed for use in Shadows of Brimstone, there is no reason not to use them in other games. Dracula's America and High Moon immediately spring to my mind. I'll be showing more Weird West zombies over the next few posts.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Rumbleslam Twisted Shadows

At the same time as I ordered my Cryptborn Nightmares team for Rumbleslam, I also bought this team - the Twisted Shadows. What particularly drew me to this team were the two Witch Elves. When it comes to fantasy I have a particular fondness for Dark Elves. Way back when I played Warhammer regularly my two biggest armies were Vampire Counts (obviously!) and Dark Elves. Of all of the Dark Elf units, the Witch Elves were my favourite. Those ladies were vicious!
From left to right, the Twisted Shadows team is made up of Lysintra the Witch Elf Brawler, Zeeriel the Witch Elf Grappler, Madame Medusa the Gorgon, Blink the Shadowling Brawler and Switch the Shadowling Grappler.
The Twisted Shadows team is agile, fast, hard-hitting, and very tough to face. But they're also extremely weak when punched back, so watch out! Twisted players of Gomorrah will love a little extra power in their teams.
Dark Elf Brawlers and Dark Elf Grapplers can take a bit more punishment, and are very good at their respective roles. Their Art of Seduction ability turns an already good attack into an even better one by incapacitating the opponent's ability to defend properly.
Shadowling Brawlers and Shadowling Grapplers are best used to sneak in, do a devastating special attack, and then Shadow Jump away again before the enemy even notices they were there!
Finally, the massive Gorgons are out and out damage dealers. Their special abilities are very powerful, but its their grapples and Crowd Pleasers that really make them a mainstay in any Gomorrah team.
As well as buying the Twisted Shadows team, I also bought a couple of Superstars for them - Comet and Phage. 
“Comet is an enigma wrapped in mystery and perversion. Known by many as the strangest wrestler to enter the ring, this painted elf has exhibited some very strange tendencies over the years. Whether it is admiring himself in the ring, or tracing out the blackened lines of his skin-tight suit, he has surprised and chilled many a wrestler and viewer. In interviews, he has shown a definite lack of personal space and social norms. His face is meticulously painted each day, and the ritual of brushing his hair sixteen times before a match is never missed. Comet seems to love his body and appearance more than anything, and should his opponent smear his paint, they had better be ready for pain.”
Wow! Just look at that stat card. Seriously. Umm... I don't know what else to say. So. Much. Gold. Comet is a great Superstar for... well... anyone really. Seriously. Wow!
"In nature it is sometimes the most beautiful of flowers that contain the most poison. The same can be said for this Dark Elf. A wrestler of nearly unparalleled beauty, Phage has enjoyed the adulation of her peers for years. Her seemingly shy and modest appearance however is merely a facade she wears to lull her opponents into a false sense of security. Behind her sweet and charming mask is a soul as black as pitch. This sadistic superstar takes great pleasure in inflicting serious and debilitating injuries on her foes. Several promising careers have ended early due to Phage crippling or maiming the superstar but nothing has been done to stop her. She pretends they are all accidents and even apologises openly to her victims, but it is all an act."
When is a Dark Elf better than a Dark Elf? When she's Phage. Increasing on a Dark Elf's already decent stat line, Phage really does have it all. With great attacks on top, she's a formidable opponent. That said, she costs a lot of Dosh! If you fancy adding her to a Gomorrah team, she pairs perfectly with the Twisted Shadows, who make her even more mobile!
I must admit that I just fell in love with the three Witch Elf figures for this team. 😍 They are as gorgeous as they are deadly. The other team members aren't bad either and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how they perform in the ring. There are a lot of parts to the Gorgon, but she went together very well without the need of any drilling and pinning. When I glued the tails onto the two Shadowlings I had to slightly widen and lengthen the holes for them to slot into but that was a simple job. Note that as with all of my Rumbleslam figures, I have glued them to MDF bases instead of the clear plastic bases that they are supplied with. And in case you're wondering, all of their clothing items were painted with Humbrol Gloss Black acrylic paint.
The Twisted Shadows Team costs £22.00 from the TT Combat webstore and Comet and Phage costs £7.00 each.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Rumbleslam Cryptborn Nightmares

Given my love of all things undead, it was inevitable that I would want the Cryptborn Nightmares team for TT Combat's Rumbleslam game. Let's take a closer look at them.
The Cryptborn Nightmares are a team made up predominantly of undead types. From left to right are the Mummy - Namhophar the Celebrated, Zed the Zombie, Wolffang the Werewolf, Crashnukh the Orc Skeleton and Boney Bonaparte the Human Skeleton. I gave them those names.
The Cryptborn Nightmares are a team of extremes. On one extreme are the skeletons: dime a dozen, but prone to collapsing into piles of bones. Whilst on the other extreme are the mummies: rock hard opponents that don't ever stay down for long – if you even manage to get them down in the first place! Teams from the Rolling Bones will find great longevity in these undead monsters.
Zombies and Mummies are some of the most reliable wrestlers in Rumbleslam. They have lots of power, and Rise From The Grave helps them to just keep going and going. Make sure to use those Crowd Pleasers!
The Werewolf is probably the best all round WEIGHT 3 wrestler in the game. Werewolves are quick and extremely efficient at throwing the opposing team out of the ring.
Finally, Skeletons and Ork Skeletons aren't too worrying on the face of it, but their special abilities hit extremely hard. Just be careful not to put them against far superior opponents, or Brittle Bones will make them explode from a particularly savage beating!
In addition to buying the standard team as shown above, I also bought two Superstars for the Cryptborn Nightmares - Fang and the Grave Digger.
“A vampire older than record books, this dark denizen of the night has plagued the land for millennium. For a while, that was enough to entertain the ancient entity. But like all things, the shine soon left the apple. He would sleep, and hope that the next century would be of more interest. One hundred years passed before his eyes opened once more. Awake, thirsty and eager to see what new delights the world had to offer, Fang ventured out into realm to find the city streets alight with life! The sound of cheers met his ears, and he grew curious enough to venture inside a building. What greeted him was Rumbleslam! For the first time in hundreds of years, the wicked man smiled.”
Fang has entered the ring! He's a fantastic all-rounder superstar, with decent stats and a couple of +1s on his card. He's fast and vicious! Superhuman Spinebreaker is a Grapple Ability you'll be using lots and lots. It's easy to do, and thanks to Fang's Vampirism Passive Ability, replenishes his Stamina at the same time. But that's not all, because if you pass a Crowd Pleaser, the whole team gain the same benefit!
Fang obviously fits in perfectly with The Cryptborn Nightmares, boosting their already decent regenerative capabilities and their reliance on grapple attacks. But he's also a great choice for any team with lower Stamina – The Deadly Divas and The Twisted Shadows come to mind – as his constant replenishing can make up for their main weakness!
Some of the Superstars are clearly based on WWE wrestlers from real life (see the Grave Digger below). But Fang appears to be modelled on Blade as portrayed by Wesley Snipes in the films of the same name. I'm cool with that.
"Little is known about The Grave Digger. He has declined all interviews and questions to date. Who was he before his death? How did he come to be undead? Many have asked and yet none have received more than a chilling glare from the towering giant of a superstar. An enigma both in and out of the ring, The undead superstar has amassed a cult following who worship his every match and claim he is the chosen one."
Want to play one of the most recognised wrestlers in all of Rumbleslam? Grave Digger is strong, tough, and surprisingly quick. Get a Crowd Pleaser off and he can do quite a lot of attacks in one turn, and his Deadeye ability stops enemy wrestlers from moving!
Grave Digger is a Rolling Bones superstar, and fits perfectly alongside The Cryptborn Nightmares.
I just had to buy this figure. He is based on one of my favourite WWE characters - the Undertaker. What I particularly like about this model is that he comes with a choice of two heads - bareheaded or with his hat. I had to choose the hat version as that was very much a trademark of the Undertaker. Please beware that the Cryptborn Nightmares team are made up of a lot of parts. The Werewolf comes in seven pieces not including his base. Also take care when handling the skeletons. They have very fragile limbs which I reinforced with a tiny amount of Milliput, Fortunately, I didn't have any breakages.
The Cryptborn Nightmares team costs £22.00 for all five figures and Fang and Grave Digger cost £7.00 each.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Shadows of Brimstone Dark Stone Hydra

I recently bought this huge monster, the Dark Stone Hydra, for my Shadows of Brimstone game. I was able to buy him for a reasonable price on eBay. In the first photo, I have included a figure of a 28mm scale female to give you a clear indication of the size of this monster. He is huge! Any one of those heads could easily swallow a man whole.
Not all creatures that stalk the canyons and mines around Brimstone are from an Other World. When the resonating horde of Dark Stone blew Brimstone off the map, it released waves of Void energy across the land, tainting the earth and mutating man and beast alike. The Dark Stone Hydra is one such creation; a common rattlesnake, found throughout the deserts of the South-west, grown massive by the twisting powers of the Dark Stone.
With multiple hissing heads, spiked Dark Stone shards protruding from its body, and a brutal Dark Stone rattle,these savage beasts are a terror beyond imagining, made all the more frightening by their common appearance throughout the region.
The Dark Stone Hydra is a gigantic and terrifying beast. It is not only massive, but also fast and deadly as it strikes, slithering between models to change targets and snapping with all of its fanged heads. The Dark Stone radiation that taints this creature also exudes from its body, corrupting those that stray too close, and its ability to regenerate damage offsets the fact that it loses power as you cut off its heads.
This figure came in ten parts, not including its 50mm diameter base. The assembly instructions for it were clear and precise. It went together very well. I copied the colour scheme for it from the box art, but I painted my Dark Stone rattle and shards in gloss black instead of purple. It is a most impressive model and the sculpting and pose of it is first rate. There are a few of these currently available for sale on eBay, with the cheapest being offered for just £20.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Vampifans Views 99 - Monthly Musings 71

November is always a special month for me - it's when my birthday is. More on that later. But first, my Vampirella portrait is by Bo Hampton, whom I recently showcased with his three illustrations of Vampirella and Batman. This black and white picture of Vampi shows her in a pensive mood as she is about to wipe away a dribble of blood from her chin. It is beautifully rendered and I like it a lot. What I particularly like about it is that she has been portrayed with realistic proportions, something that some comic artists fail to achieve.

I'll keep my birthday news until last. So what have I been up to this month? On the painting front I have mainly been painting undead - YAY! I have finished painting roughly two dozen Weird West zombies from three different companies and I'll show them all next month. I have also painted the undead wrestling team for Rumbleslam. They are the Cryptborn Nightmares. In addition, I have also painted the Twisted Shadows team for Rumbleslam. Both of them will be shown very soon. I have also made and painted my MDF wrestling ring that I ordered from TT Combat. This just takes the game to a whole new level and visually looks stunning.
Currently I'm working on some more figures to use in Dracula's America or any Wild West setting. I'm also painting some more figures for Judge Dredd, after Foundry Miniatures finally stopped selling their 2000AD range of figures. I already had most of the range but was missing just a few. Fortunately, I was able to get them just before the final day of their sale. I'm not sure if this decision to stop selling them has anything to do with Warlord Games acquiring the rights to make figures for all of the 2000AD series. Whatever the reason, I was sad to see this much loved and long running range bite the dust.
My brother has been printing out lots of 3D models for my gaming needs. He has a 3D printer and it is something I'd like to own but not just yet. The stuff he's been doing for me came from a few Kickstarters run by Hayland Terrain that I backed. I have terrain and furniture items for fantasy, Wild West, contemporary and sci-fi settings. Once they get painted up, they look fantastic. A post showcasing what I've painted so far is definitely on the cards. At the moment I'm mainly asking him to print out furniture items for me.

Speaking of Kickstarters, the latest one I've backed is Core Space produced by Battle Systems Ltd. As you know, I am a huge fan of their products. Core Space is a follow up to their superb Sci-fi 2 terrain sets which I recently acquired. It is fully compatible with that setting but has more of a gritty cyberpunk feel to it. But the biggest change is that it is also a skirmish game with miniature figures. For the first time Battle Systems are producing miniature figures in 32mm scale. They do look superb! Just check out these photos of the new scenery and figures.
 A game in progress as the Purge robots close in on the heroes.
 The crew of the Ion Hope - Roykirk, Arianna and Gak.
The crew of the Black Maria - Renton, Jace and Lars.
I must admit that I fell in love with this project as soon as I saw the photos for it. The scenery will fit in well for my JDMG and N.E.W. games and so will the figures. Having watched a couple of play-throughs of the game on YouTube I must admit to liking the game very much. The project is fully funded and I've already increased my pledge once. There is just so much great stuff being added to this project as more people back it. Sadly, it won't be released until November 2018, but that'll be a lovely birthday present for me.

So, birthdays. On the 24th of this month it was my birthday. So I decided to treat myself to something special and with the money my mum gave me, I ordered the new Necromunda: Underhive boxed set and the Necromunda: Gang War supplement. Now, those who know me well will know of my deep hatred of Games Workshop - they have done so much wrong that has hurt the hobby and the people who once supported them. But I do acknowledge they are trying to make amends nowadays. That said, I still won't buy anything from them other than a few of their ink-wash paints. So I ordered these two gifts to myself from Wayland Games, who were selling them for 20% cheaper than GW. That works for me! Better the money in my pocket than GW's!
In my mind, Necromunda was the best game that GW ever produced, and so I was very pleased to see it return. I ran a hugely successful Necromunda campaign in the mid-1990's which is still remembered fondly to this day. In it, I played two gangs - one from House Escher and one from House Goliath. And look at which two gangs are featured in the new boxed set - House Escher and House Goliath! 😍 That was incentive enough for me to want this new game. Plus, just look at how cool these new sculpts are. Note that the photos are from Games Workshop.
The brand new House Escher gangers, looking ultra-cool and awesome. These are my favourite gang in Necromunda.
The gangers from House Goliath - just as muscle-bound as I fondly remember them. Big brutes with big weapons!
There have been changes made to the game, which is inevitable, and in my opinion, the changes are all for the best. The biggest change is that with Necromunda: Underhive, the game is played on flat boards, rather like Zombicide. 3D doors, barricades and other items are provided but it is essentially a boardgame with miniatures. Those of you who remember the original game will recall that it was played on 3D terrain on different levels, which added an interesting dynamic to the games. Fear not, that element is still here, but the rules for using 3D terrain are presented in the Necromunda: Gang War supplement along with the campaign rules.
This is the first time in many a year that I've been excited by a GW release. I look forward to making and painting the gangs. I will be playing the game using the new rules - both sets. But in addition, I can see me using the scenery and gangs in my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game. I remember when I first saw Necromunda way back in 1995 my first thought was that is so like Mega City One! Welcome back Necromunda! You have been missed.