Monday, 24 July 2017

Warlord Games Daleks

The Daleks are without doubt, one of the most iconic race of bad guys in the sci-fi universe and one of the most enduring. They first appeared in the Doctor Who TV series in a December 1963 episode called simply, The Daleks. Like the Cybermen, the Daleks have evolved over time and whilst the basic shape and form of a Dalek remains constant there are subtle differences between the many variants. The Daleks shown here, produced by Warlord Games as part of their Exterminate! miniatures skirmish game, are known as the Time War Daleks, who first appeared in the 2005 episode of Doctor Who called Dalek. This is one of my all-time favourite episodes of Doctor Who as it showed the Daleks in a new and terrifying light, making them enemies to be truly afraid of.
Here are the four types of Dalek I have from the Warlord Games range. At the far left is Davros, the supreme leader and creator of the Dalek race. He is the only metal Dalek figure made by Warlord Games at the time of this posting, and he comes in three parts. He is available in the "Davros and the New Dalek Empire" boxed set, which contains him and 12 plastic Daleks.
The Dalek Leader is easily identified as being all black in colour. In the Exterminate! game he is a unique figure. Note that I painted the 52 sensor globes around his lower body and the two waistbands in gloss black paint. He is one of the plastic multi-part models and I gently bent his eyestalk, sucker arm and exterminator weapon to reposition them.
The black headed Dalek is a member of the elite Imperial Guard. Whilst they are also a unique choice in the Exterminate! game, you are allowed to field three of them as a single unit. As you will see below, this is what I have done.
Finally, we come to the standard patrol Dalek and the only limit to how many of them you can field is the points total you have decided on for your force. They are cheap, but very tough and hard to kill. I currently have 20 of them.
For those interested in how I painted them I first primed them with Foundry Black Shade 34A. I then painted the bodies in Citadel Skullcrusher Brass. When dry, I gave them a Citadel Agrax Earthshade ink wash. The 52 sensor globes around the lower body and the two waistbands were painted with Citadel Liberator Gold. The three appendages were painted with Foundry Spearpoint 35C. The two side lights on the head and the middle section of the eye stalk were painted with Foundry Arctic Grey Light 33C (basically, it's white by another name). I used Foundry Black Shade 34A to paint the bulbous end of the eyestalk, the three recessed rings of the head, the plunger end of the right arm, the tip of the exterminator weapon and the lower skirt. I painted the upper half of the skirt with Foundry Stone Shade 57A and finally, I painted the end of the eyestalk with Foundry Vivid Blue Shade 22A. It looks like a lot of work, but really, they were very easy to paint and I was able to plough through them very quickly.
Unlike most of the other figures in the Warlord Games Doctor Who range, the Daleks do not come with separate bases. To be honest,they don't need them but some gamers like to affix them to bases anyway. I haven't, but what I have done is glue a piece of thin card to their undersides, to hide the ugly hole there and to give them a perfectly flat base, which I cut to fit snugly. I painted the card black and as is custom with my figures, I stuck small adhesive stickers to them to identify each one.
Here are all 25 of my Warlord Games Daleks lined up in rank, with Davros and the black Dalek Leader in the front, just ahead of the 3 Imperial Guard Daleks. Behind them is the bulk of my horde, the standard patrol Daleks.
That is quite an impressive sight and a very formidable force. I have to admit to being a huge fan of the Daleks and they are without doubt, my favourite Doctor Who alien race. These figures are just superb, extremely well sculpted and fit together very easily.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Warlord Games Cybermen part 01

I mentioned a couple of months ago that I had bought the Exterminate! skirmish game by Warlord Games along with the "Missy and the Cybermen" and the "Davros and the Daleks" boxed sets to go with it. The Exterminate! games contains 12 plastic 32mm scale Cybermen and 12 plastic 32mm scale Daleks, as multi-part models, that can be snapped together or glued. Mine are all glued. The two expansion sets contain a further 12 Cybermen and Daleks along with their respective leaders, Davros and Missy, who are sculpted in metal. There have been numerous versions of the Cybermen over the years as they have evolved into more efficient machines. These models are the latest version, which first appeared in the 2013 episode of Doctor Who called Nightmares in Silver. The sculpting of them is top notch. I have really taken to the Warlord Games Doctor Who miniatures range and the Exterminate! game is a great little sci-fi skirmish game.
The sprue that the plastic Cybermen comes on contains six Cybermen bodies (two standing still, two advancing with right leg leading and two advancing with left leg leading), six right arms in three different poses, and seven tiny Cybermats (four on bases, three unbased). This gives you a lot of variety in the way you can pose them. On some of mine, I cut off their left arms and repositioned them to add even more variety to my horde.
Painting them was so simple and I was able to paint them all in just over a week. I first covered them with Foundry Gunmetal Light 104C, followed by a Citadel Nuln Oil ink-wash. Then I dry-brushed them with Foundry Gunmetal Light 104C and a second dry-brushing with Foundry Spearpoint 35C for that shiny silvery look. Eyes, mouths and joints were picked out with Foundry Black Shade 34A and the light in the centre of their chests was painted with Foundry Vivid Blue 22B.
Here is my horde of Cybermen and Cybermats. Please note that the Cyber Leader at the centre front is an old plastic 30mm scale figure from the 2007 Doctor Who Micro Universe range of collectable miniatures produced by Character Options. I cut him off his integral base and glued him to a 25mm diameter slottabase. He fits in so well with the Warlord Games figures that I decided to include him as my Cyber Leader.
For those who keep count of such things, there should be four more Cybermats in these two horde photos but I deliberately omitted them, because this formation looks aesthetically pleasing without them to me. If it bothers you, please don't come complaining to me!
I'll be posting my review of Missy in a separate post as well as reviewing the Warlord Games Nightmares in Silver boxed set of 10 versions of Cybermen through the ages. But next time, the spotlight will shine on the Daleks.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

JDMG MC1 Perps - Cyclos Street Gang 02

Having looked at the leaders and heavy weapons team of my Cyclos street gang last time, in this post I'm reviewing the rest of the gang - the grunts. These figures are also part of the Scotia Grendel 28mm scale set of Nexus humans from their Kryomek range.
At the far left is "Fixer" Hicks, a Level:1 Punk Infantry Hero. He is well armed with a Hand Cannon Pistol, an Electro Prod and a Knife. His two talents are Accurate and Skilled and Deadly. He costs 90 Credits.
To his left is "Killer" Kane, who is a Level:0 Punk Infantry Minion. He is also armed with a Hand Cannon Pistol and he costs 50 Credits.
In the centre of this group is "Mad Dog" Dallas, a Level:0 Punk Infantry Minion. He is armed with a Spit Pistol. He costs 50 Credits.
Second from the right is "Bitchin" Ripley, who is a Level:1 Punk Infantry Hero. She carries a Hand Cannon Pistol and an Electro Prod. Her starting talents are Accurate and Luck of Grud. She costs 85 Credits.
At the far right is "Woolly" Lambert, a Level:0 Punk Infantry Minion. Her only weapon is a Hand Cannon Pistol. She costs 50 Credits.
These final four figures are all cheap Level:0 Punk Infantry Minions. At the far left is "Bad Boy" Brett who is armed with a Handgun Pistol and an Electro Prod. He costs 40 Credits.
Standing next to him is "Jiz" Spunkmeyer, whose only weapon is a Handgun Pistol. He costs 30 Credits.
Next in line is "Fingers" Bishop, whose weapons are a Handgun Pistol and a Club. He costs 35 Credits.
Finally, crouching down, is "Azza" Newt, whose nickname was shortened from "pissed as a newt!" She is armed with a Handgun Pistol and a Knife and she costs 35 Credits.
This is a large gang, made up of 18 figures. They are extremely well armed but their total lack of armour means they'll suffer casualties very quickly. A small force of Judges, like Judge Scott's team, ought to be able to take them out relatively easily but not without picking up a few wounds. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Cyclos gang fares on the tabletop.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

JDMG MC1 Perps - Cyclos Street Gang 01

One thing that Mega City One is not short of is street gangs. Every sector and every citi-block has them. Here, I present another one of my many 28mm scale street gangs. This one is called the Cyclos Gang and all of these figures were produced by Scotia Grendel as part of the Nexus human faction of their Kryomek range of figures. They are still available on their webstore at £6.00 for three to four figures per pack of five packs that make up the set. There are 18 figures in total. This gang originally appeared in my old Gangs of Mega City One campaign, and was run by one of my players, Dave, who was a huge fan of the Alien and Aliens film franchises. It was he who came up with most of the names of the gang, basing them on names of characters from those two films. In this, the first of two posts, I'll review the leaders and the heavy hitters of the gang. The grunts will appear next time.
At the far left is the leader of the gang, "Yappy" Kotto. He is a Level:3 Punk Infantry Hero, armed with a Sawed-Off Stump Gun Rifle and an Electro Prod. In JDMG, if an Electro Prod hits a target, it does no damage but will automatically stun the target for one round. He has four Talents - Accurate, Brave, Luck of Grud and Voice of Command. He costs 140 Credits.
Standing next to "Yappy" is his second in command, "Ape" Apone, who is a Level:2 Punk Infantry Hero. He is armed with a Long Rifle, upon which he has written, "Rock and Roll". His three Talents are Accurate, Brave and Crackshot. He costs 115 Credits.
In the centre of this group is "Marlene" Dietrich, a Level:1 Punk Infantry Hero. She is also armed with a Long Rifle and she has scrawled "I aims ta please!" on it. Yes, she's a sniper. Unsurprisingly, her two talents are Accurate and Crackshot. She costs 90 Credits.
Second from the right is "Nosey" Parker and at the far right is "Giddy" Giger. Both are Level:1 Punk Infantry Heroes with identical stats. They are each armed with a Sawed-Off Stump Gun Rifle. They have the Accurate and Brave Talents. They cost 80 credits each.
 Next up is the heavy weapons team, who are all armed with Heavy Spit Guns. They are led by "Wetback" Vasquez, a Level:2 Punk Infantry Hero. She has the Talents - Guided Shot, Maximum Firepower and On Their Knees. She costs 170 Credits, making her the most expensive member of the gang.
Next in line is "Duck" Drake, a Level:1 Punk infantry Hero. His two talents are Brave and On Their Knees. He costs 145 Credits.
Second from the right is "Screamer" Hudson. He is also a Level:1 Punk infantry Hero and he has the Talents - On Their Knees and Swift and Deadly. He costs 145 Credits.
Finally, there is Jackie Frost, yet another Level:1 Punk Infantry Hero. She starts with the following two Talents - Luck of Grud and On their Knees. 
Note that they all have the On Their Knees Talent. This means that any Infantry model hit by their Heavy Spit Guns, must make a Will check or suffer Knockdown, in addition to any damage they might take.
I've had this gang a very long time now and I think they're a great set of figures. I particularly like the fact that they have an almost even split of males and females in it - 10 males and 8 females. They remind me of a gang of penal troops with explosive collars around their necks and neural cameras fitted to the tops of their heads. However, in my JDMG campaign, they are just another street gang, trying to make it big.

Monday, 10 July 2017

JDMG MC1 Robots 04

The three 28mm scale robots that I'm reviewing this time are all designed for death and destruction.
The two large robots (they stand 45mm tall) to the left are a pair of Assassinator Droids. These appear in the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game rulebook, but as part of the Mobsters gang roster and not the Renegade Robots roster, although they may be recruited by a Renegade Robot force. Also, these are not the official Assassinator Droids for the game. I do have a pair of official figures produced by Warlord Games but I haven't made them yet. These robots were originally produced by Alternative Armies as part of their Ion Age Firefight range of figures. They were SK12 Psychoborg (the one in the centre) and SK15 Psychoborg II (the one at the far left) and they were part of the Shia Khan forces. I have no idea if they are still available or by who if they are. I only know that Alternative Armies no longer sell them.
Highly illegal, Assassinator Droids are used by mobsters in high-end heists or raids against the Justice Department, when even a team of Blitzers will not suffice. Extremely expensive, only the most successful outfits will be able to afford more than one. Normally, Assassinator Droids are fitted with Flight Packs, but these ones aren't. Instead, they have been fitted with much heavier weaponry. The one at the far left is armed with a Missile Launcher, and the other one is armed with three Spit Gun Rifles, which fire simultaneously. The Assassinator Droid's usual weaponry is a Club, a Laser Pistol and a Spit Gun Rifle. A standard Assassinator Droid is a Robot Infantry Minion and costs 195 Credits. I haven't worked out the stats for these two yet but when I do I'll be upgrading them to Infantry Hero status. They will be tough!
The robot at the far right is a non-standard Combat Droid, whose design was clearly influenced by the ED-209 robot from the original Robocop film. He is a multi-part model and unfortunately, I can't remember who produced him. If anyone can recognise who produced this figure, please let me know. He is roughly 35mm tall and he is a very old figure probably from the late 1980's or early 1990's seeing as Robocop was released in 1987. He has two Heavy Spit Guns mounted on both sides of his body in place of his arms, and has a pair of Laser Pistols popping out of his mouth. That's a lot of firepower!
All three figures are superbly well sculpted, very heavily armed and they just look as menacing as hell! They'll prove to be very tough opposition for my team of Judges.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

JDMC MC1 Robots 03

In these past couple of months I have more than doubled the amount of robots I have for my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign, as I have dug deep into my collection of 28mm scale sci-fi figures to increase their numbers. I'll be reviewing them in this and the next post. In this post I'm looking at Servo-droids, Robo-docs and a unique Combat droid.
First up are a pair of very old and long out of production Grenadier Servo-droids. This robot was part of a boxed set of 20 Gamma World figures. I bought two boxed sets, which is how I have ended up with two of them. The robot was a two-piece casting with his two left arms (cast as one piece) being separate from the rest of the figure. As such, I was able to glue them on in different positions to give them some variety in their poses. These servo-droids have four arms, two with normal hands and two with specialist attachments - a hoover nozzle and a large sucker contraption. These are fantastic sculpts from the 1980's and are as good as, if not better, than many contemporary designs.
In the centre of the group is another very old figure, bought in the early 1980's. I have no idea who produced him, other than it was an American company. He has only recently been repainted and rebased. To me, he looks like a typical butler, which would certainly tie in with him being a Servo-droid. He's probably called Jarvis or Jeeves or something similar.
At the far left are two more ancient figures, who were also bought in the very early 1980's. These were made by Irregular Miniatures, who are still going today, but these are no longer in their catalogue, as far as I can tell. They too, have been recently repainted and rebased. I see them as little maid robots, programmed for domestic duties. They are average sculpts but look a lot better with their new paint schemes. Irregular Miniatures are renowned for their inferior sculpts, but their figures are extremely cheap.
Moving on, we have a pair of Robo-docs. These are very similar in design to the Grenadier Servo-droids shown above, which is hardly surprising as they are from the same boxed set of Gamma World figures. These also came with separate left arms. There are a few slight differences with the Servo-droids - back packs and hand attachments, but they are, essentially, the same design. I think these are far better than the official Robo-doc that Warlord Games made for JDMG.
Finally, we have my unique combat droid. He is unique because he was sculpted by me. His name is Chunky, and he is based on a robot character from a Stainless Steel Rat story that appeared in the 2000 AD comic many years ago. The strip was drawn by Carlos Ezquerra and just looking at Chunky, he has the feel of a Carlos creation. In the story, Chunky was bristling with weapons, which were all hidden away behind panels in his body. He was very polite but also had a sarcastic sense of humour. Jimi DiGriz had a tough time defeating him. Chunky clearly made a huge impression on me, because I wanted to make a figure of him as soon as the story ended. In common with the other robots shown here, he was made in the 1980's. I once used Chunky in a GURPS Space Opera campaign as the guardian of a lost Forerunner site and his points total was a staggering 2500 points. He was designed as a party killer... but my PCs defeated him! How they did it is a story for another time.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Wargames Terrain Workshop Wasteland Scavengers 01

A relatively new range of figures from the prolific Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop is this range of Wasteland Scavengers, which at present comprises of these three figures shown below.
At the far left is the child. He is 19mm tall, although he is sitting down. All the figures are made of resin and come with integral 25mm diameter bases. He appears to have found the steering controls of a vehicle, possibly a jet bike, and he is pretending to drive it. He costs £3.00.
My favourite figure out of the trio is the adult woman. I think she's a great sculpt, but I must warn you that she stands 39mm tall, which may make her far too tall for some of you. Scale creep or is she just a very tall woman? I'm going with the latter. She carries a large wrench in her right hand and has a bag of assorted items slung over her left shoulder. She costs £4.00.
Finally, is the old lady. She is hunched down as she drags along a sack of looted items, including a robot arm. She looks rather furtive, but who can blame her? She is 24mm tall and she costs £3.00.
These three figures are generic enough to appear in many settings from a contemporary zombie apocalypse world, to near future and sci-fi. I have then stored away with my Judge Dredd figures as  I figure they'll fit in well in either Mega City 1 or in the Cursed Earth.
I know that Dave has plans for expanding this range and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
Here, I have repainted the female, giving her blue skin, and I have added my figure of Vampifan to the photo to show you just how tall Dave's figures are.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Vampifan's Views 93 - Monthly Musings 66

This has probably been the busiest month of the year for me so far. More on that later, but first here is a delightful painting of Vampirella done by Mike Mignola, whom comic fans will know as the artist and writer of the Hellboy series of comics. He also wrote the screenplays for the two recent Hellboy films. He has a very distinctive style that makes his work instantly recognisable. I have to say, I am a fan of his. As far as I know, this is the only artwork he has done of Vampirella. To date, Hellboy and Vampirella have not teamed up, but who knows what might happen in the future?

The project that has really dominated my time this month has, of course, been the Forgotten Heroes 2017 Challenge. You can see my final entry in my previous post, as I managed to make and convert all six heroes from The Bug Hunters comic strip. It took a lot of time and effort on my part to accomplish this huge task I had set myself, but I succeeded and from the comments I've received so far, it was more than worth it. It is fair to say, this challenge took up a large chunk of my time but it wasn't the only work I've been doing this month.

I mentioned in my last Monthly Musings that I had bought the Exterminate!, Davros and Missy Bundle from Warlord Games. It worked out cheaper buying all three boxed sets together than individually. I am delighted to say that I have made and painted all of the figures from these three sets - that's Davros and 24 plastic Daleks, Missy, 24 plastic Cybermen and 28 plastic Cybermats. Fortunately for me, these were very easy to make and they didn't take long to paint. I plan on posting a batrep between these two forces soon, although I won't be using all of them and more importantly, I'm not going to be using the rules or cards that come with the Exterminate! game. Instead, I'll be using the rules for the N.E.W. sci-fi RPG. Intriguingly, this game does provide stats for Cybermen and Daleks, but they aren't called as such. The Cybermen are known as Assimilators and the Daleks as Exterminators. I've made a few minor tweaks to their stats to make them even closer to their Doctor Who counterparts. I'm very intrigued to see how the game goes with these rules. Reviews of the figures should be posted soon and the batrep shortly after.

Do you remember that on Tuesday 16th of May, I posted an article celebrating this blog's one million views? I also ran a simple competition at the time, with first prize being £50 and two second prizes of £25 each. Well, it is time to announce the winners. First prize went to Roger Webb, and Clint and Luis bagged the second prizes. Roger and Luis have already received their prizes and interestingly, both turned down the offer of a free Tweak and/or Judge Heston figure made by Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop. Clint has been notified and I'm just waiting to hear back from him on how he wants the money and whether he wants either or both of the bonus figures. Anyway, thanks to all of you who took part and many congratulations to the three winners. I hope you have fun spending the money.

I don't have much else to report this month. Next month should see lots of sci-fi related posts.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Forgotten Heroes 2017 - The Bug Hunters

 
My work for the 2017 Forgotten Heroes challenge is now completed. My entries are based on a little known sci-fi comic strip that appeared in Computer and Video Games magazine between October 1985 and February 1987 called The Bug Hunters. I loved this story back then and I still love it today. It has long stuck in my memory. My initial plan for this challenge was to sculpt the two human characters from the story - Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber. But I soon realised I could convert various robot figures into B-Con, OTISS and X. The big stumbling block was the robot, Big Red. He is huge and I didn't fancy sculpting him from scratch. But, a big part of me wanted to make all six of The Bug Hunters heroes, so I searched on Amazon for a suitable robot toy to convert into Big Red. I struck lucky when I discovered a 5" tall action figure of Baymax from the animated film Big Hero 6. Now the challenge was on to get the conversions done before the end of this month. At that time, Melissa and Jackson had been sculpted. B-Con was a very simple conversion. OTISS, X and Big Red were much harder conversions but I finished them all last week and got them painted in just three days. Now at last I can present to you, The Bug Hunters.
From left to right are Melissa Ravenflame (an executive working for the Institute for the Development and Expansion of Advanced Systems (IDEAS) Corporation, Jackson T. Kalliber (head of IDEAS Security), B-Con (a former prison security droid), OTISS (Overt Technical Information Suburban System droid), X (a former bouncer and black marketeer) and Big Red (Relocation of Explosives for Demolition droid and not the sharpest tool in the box). Their mission was to find and fix bugs and glitches in artificial intelligence systems, computer systems and other robots. It is fair to say, they met with varying degrees of success. Big Red accidentally managed to totally destroy more than one children's home and orphanage!
I am immensely proud of my two sculpts and four conversions. Just compare these two photos above with the picture at the top of the page, taken from issue #1 of the comic series to see just how close they resemble the artwork. So, what are my plans for them? I will use them in some one-off adventures using the N.E.W. sci-fi RPG by What's Old Is New. I've already worked out the stats for Melissa and Jackson and I'm currently working on the stats for the four droids.
Here's a reminder of what OTISS, X and Big Red started out as - RoJaws, Hammerstein and Baymax. That's quite a change, huh? Note how much taller Big Red is to Baymax. His lower legs were lengthened considerably. The word RED on his chest was made out of cartridge paper, cut out and glued in place. Incidentally, Big Red is a lot less posable than he was as Baymax. His arms can still move up and down, but that's it.
I'd just like to end by saying how much I enjoyed this challenge. This was a project that grew bigger for me as the days passed by. At the start of June 2017, I never imagined I'd have the full set of The Bug Hunters in 28mm scale. But I have and I feel I have surpassed myself with this challenge and right now I'm feeling incredibly proud.
Finally, just for Roger, is this photo of my six entries taken against a plain white background. I'm sure you'll appreciate it, mate!
STOP PRESS
I have been asked about what figure was B-Con based on? Well, I can tell you he came from a range of very old (mid 1980's) Citadel 28mm scale Paranoia robots. This range of robots came in two halves - upper and lower bodies. The idea was that you could swap them around to come up with an infinite variety of robots. I bought loads of them and never got round to painting any of them, let alone making them. So, as a consequence, I had a large amount of robot body parts just lying unwanted in one of my spare parts boxes.


Fortunately, I remembered I still had them and as I rummaged through them I saw the perfect upper and lower body parts to make B-Con. His upper body came from the robot shown in the picture at the top right of here and his lower tracked body part came from the robot shown to the bottom right of here. All I did to convert him was add the searchlight on his chest, his hat and his sunglasses. Oh, and I cut the weapons off his lower body. As I said, a very simple conversion.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Assorted Wild West Children 01

As I mentioned in a reply to one of the comments made last time, finding figures of Wild West female townsfolk is hard but finding figures of children for this genre is even harder. Fortunately, I do have some. Here's a sample of some of them.
All of these are plastic figures, with the four to the left coming from an old boxed set of Airfix 1/72nd scale (20mm scale) Cowboys. I got these as a child during the 1960's, and I still have the figures from that boxed set. Seeing as I was after figures of children, their lack of height compared to 28mm scale figures actually worked to my advantage. The small girl and boy at the far left were designed as children for that set. Now they fit in as young children, in the 4 to 7 age bracket.
The next two figures in line were adults from that set but work well as older children in 28mm scale. I have to admit that the detail on them is muted, especially on their faces, which are very featureless. But, no matter. They suffice for my needs as crowd fillers. The figure at the far right was given to me by my dad. He used to collect Lledo vintage cars and vehicles and this figure came with an old newspaper delivery van. He is true 28mm scale and although he is meant to be from the 1930's I thought he'd fit in with my Wild West figures. He is also the only one of these children whom I have named. I called him Joey Black, after an NPC of the same name who appeared in an old TSR Boot Hill scenario called Mad Mesa. Joey was a paperboy working for the Mad Mesa Gazette, so it seemed appropriate to use this figure for him.
I'm currently painting a couple of child heroes for the Shadows of Brimstone game - male and female orphans, and they are superb sculpts. Not all children need be innocent bystanders. I strongly approve of Flying Frog's decision to include children as hero characters in their Weird West game. I'm planning on buying the two Wild West children figures from Reaper's excellent Chronoscope range next month, so expect to see some armed children here soon.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Assorted Wild West Female Civilians 01

In this post I'm reviewing some of the assorted Wild West female civilians that I've amassed over the years. It is rather sad that figure manufacturers make far more male characters for Wild West gaming than females. Actually, this is true of most genres. Certainly amongst the civilian population you'd expect a roughly 50/50 split, but that is most definitely not the case when it comes to the Wild West. For sure, civilians are mainly used for background fodder or for obstacles to be helped or avoided. But even if they are just used to populate a town without taking any part, they are worth having to add a sense of realism to a gaming board.
At the far left is a 25mm scale Ral Partha female homesteader with baby. She is beautifully sculpted and whilst she is on the small side, I don't mind. Females are, generally speaking, smaller than males. My one criticism of this figure is that I'm not happy with the way I painted the baby's face. It looks more like a doll than a real baby!
Moving on, next to her is a very old Hinchliffe Models townswoman. I recently repainted her, as I wasn't happy with my original paint scheme. She has the look of a plucky woman who is up for a challenge. For such an old figure, she looks remarkably good.
 The next two ladies were both produced by Citadel Miniatures. Yes, I know, Citadel never made any Wild West figures. The woman in the light brown dress was part of a long out of production Mythos Investigators range. She is supposed to be used in a 1920's setting, but I thought she'd work just as well as a Wild West townswoman.
 The old lady at the far right is a conversion of a Judge Dredd perp known as Mad Ma Mahaffy. I cut her arms off and remodelled them out of Milliput. She has such a timeless look about her that she could fit in anywhere from the 1800's to the present day. I'm using her in my Wild West setting as a shop owner.
At the far left of this trio is another Hinchliffe Models 28mm scale figure - a Victorian lady, who certainly doesn't look out of place in a Wild West setting. She has also benefited from a recent repaint. With her bright yellow dress she'll certainly stand out in a crowd.
I close with a pair of female civilians who are amongst the oldest figures in my 28mm scale Wild West collection. They are from a small range of Wild West figures made by Minifigs in the late 1970's and have been out of production for many years now. They were designed as 25mm scale figures but being old women, I think their lack of height, when placed next to 28mm scale figures, works to their advantage. The old lady in the black dress is the original sculpt. On the other one, I removed her bible and repositioned her right arm. I also added a collar to her dress.
They certainly aren't the most exciting figures I've shown on my blog but they serve their purpose as innocent bystanders that I'll use in Six Gun Sound. Plus, you can never have too many civilian figures.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Assorted Wild West Gamblers 01

I like to mix things up on my blog so I'm returning to my Wild West figures for a few posts. The theme this time is gamblers. Here are four 28mm scale gamblers from assorted manufacturers.
At the far left is Jacques Villard, who is a Dixon Miniatures 25mm scale Old West civilian. He is listed as WG12 Gambler Standing with Cigar and he costs £1.40. I'm not that bothered that he's smaller than the other figures on display here. People come in all shapes and sizes in real life, so why not in miniatures?
Next up, is Commodore James Duvall, who was made by Grenadier Miniatures as one of 10 figures in a boxed set called "Western Gunfighters". He is loosely based on the character, Commodore Duvall played by James Coburn in the 1994 film of Maverick. He is, in my opinion, the best sculpted figure of this quartet. Note the card sticking out of his sleeve on his left arm in the photo below. Probably his ace up his sleeve! That is such a cool touch.
The figure second from the right is as yet unnamed. I can tell you that he is a very old figure made by Hinchliffe Models, who have been out of business for many years now. I bought him in the very early 1980's. His right arm was originally hanging by his side but I bent it to give him a less static pose. Hinchliffe figures were usually tall and slim, but I think he stands the test of time very well.
Finally, is "Hoodoo" Brown, a figure sculpted by me. He is an exact copy of a 54mm scale figure I made for my long running Wild West campaign that I ran in the 1980's. Back then, all of my Wild West games were played with 1/32nd scale figures, buildings and scenery. It might not be immediately clear from the front view, but he is smoking a cigar. Also, note that he is left-handed.
These figures are mainly intended for use with Six Gun Sound, my go to Wild West rules, but could also appear in Shadows of Brimstone.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Forgotten Heroes 2017 Update 01

Following on from my intro to the 2017 Forgotten Heroes challenge (see here - Forgotten Heroes Challenge 2017 - Intro), here is an update of my work so far. As I said before, I was originally just going to make the two human heroes, Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber from The Bug Hunters series. The good news is that I have sculpted both figures and they are undergoing paintwork right now. Both have come out really well, but I'm particularly impressed with my figure of Melissa.
I was lucky enough to find the parts needed to convert an old Citadel Paranoia robot into B-Con. He was an easy conversion to do, and he's also being painted right now. I am not going to show these three just yet. I want to wait until all six figures are completed.
I had no intention of making the other three robots, OTISS, X and Big Red for this challenge. I thought it would be too much work, especially making Big Red, who is huge. However, things soon changed and when I realised that OTISS and X looked a lot like RoJaws and Hammerstein from 2000 AD comic's ABC Warriors and Robusters series I knew I could make them as well. Wargames Foundry make excellent figures of RoJaws and Hammerstein. How hard could it be to convert them? So I ordered them last week and they arrived two days later.
I had to add a bit of Milliput to the base of Hammerstein as he kept falling over, due to his centre of balance being off kilter. So, now all I had to do was find a suitable figure for Big Red. I did not have high hopes, but anyway, I decided to check out toy robots on Amazon UK... and found the perfect robot for Big Red. This big fellow is Baymax from the Disney animated film of 2012 - Big Hero 6. He is a posable action figure, but he'll be a lot less posable after I've finished with him. As always, Amazon were very quick to post him to me.
Size-wise he's just about perfect, although I will be lengthening his legs. As soon as I saw the figure, I knew I could work with him and make, what I thought would be a very difficult challenge, a much easier task. Yes, there is a lot of work to do on him, but I have the basis of his figure all ready to go. Most of the hard work has already been done for me. I just have to add some detail to him. Hah! That's all!
The first thing I had to do was remove certain body parts from the three figures. RoJaws had his arms and head cut off. Hammerstein lost his head and right arm. I had to saw them off. I've drilled and pinned a paper clip into his shoulder so that I can sculpt his new arm around it.
Baymax has had his head and shoulder pads removed - they just clipped off quite easily. I sawed off the mounts on his back for his wings. His wings came separately but were never going to be used by me.
Now I can get to work on them with my Milliput and hopefully get them finished by the end of June. I'm pretty confident I'll meet the deadline. I don't usually do work in progress posts but I especially wanted to do this one, just to show you how Big Red was going to evolve. Next time you see him he'll be looking a lot different.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

John Carter of Mars Heroes 01

When Dave Stone recently visited me, he discussed how his sci-fi gladiators game, Death Match, originated. It was whilst watching the 2012 film, John Carter, where John is fighting in an arena, that Dave thought how cool it would be to create a sci-fi gladiators game. Despite the film getting panned by many critics, Dave and I are both fans of the film. So from that germ of an idea, the game was developed. Anyway, what I forgot to tell Dave was that I had a small selection of 28mm scale John Carter figures. They are produced by Tin Man Miniatures and I bought them at the beginning of this year when TMM had a 30% discount sale. Funnily enough, they are also offering this same discount this month up until the 18th. Dave's comments about John Carter got me to thinking about how perfect these figures would be for his Death Match game. Currently, he only has one human gladiator (a female) for sale in his webstore. More will be available later.
From left to right are John Carter, Dejah Thoris and Woola. Most likely for copyright reasons, Tin Man Miniatures have renamed them as Jack Carson, Princess Dari and Moola. Jack Carson/John Carter is available as shown above or in a nude version. He is armed with a cavalry sabre and a pistol and he would be right at home in a game of Death Match. I won't go into any details about who John Carter is, as I'm sure most, if not all of you, are familiar with him. If not, check him out on Google or Wikipedia... or get the book the film is based on, A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Princess Dari/Dejah Thoris is a native of Mars (called Barsoom by the inhabitants of Mars) who falls in love with Carter. I am quite familiar with Dejah from the comic book series by Dynamite. Indeed, she once teamed up with Vampirella and Red Sonja in the epic Swords of Sorrow series as one of the three wielders of the aforementioned swords. Once again, Tin Man offers a clothed and nude version of this figure. This time, I opted for the nude version, although as you can see, she isn't totally nude, just topless. Whilst she is a very good fighter in the books, comics and film, I don't think she'd fare well in Death Match. Her lack of armour and single weapon puts her at a big disadvantage. At least Carter has a pistol to deal with opponents at a distance, even he is also lacking in protection.
Moola/Woola is described as a "Calot" - a large creature that resembles an amphibian and behaves like a loyal dog. He becomes devoted to Carter and is rarely far from his side. He has ten legs and thus is very fast.
I bought these figures because, A) I liked the film, B) I'm a big fan of Dejah from her comics and C) because they were on offer at the time. I can certainly find uses for all three figures in some of the games I play. I'm undecided about buying more figures from this range to recreate a Barsoomian skirmish game. I received very good service from TMM, who are based in America. They quite often have these sales, so it is well worth waiting for one to come along if you want to place an order with them.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Forgotten Heroes Challenge 2017 - Intro

So, it's June and that means it's time for the Forgotten Heroes challenge, which is run by fellow bloggers, Jez and Roger. I very nearly gave it a miss this year because the figure I was planning on converting (a Twilight Knight) by Soda Pop Miniatures into a Chibi Lady Death was discontinued earlier this year before I could buy her. But having greatly enjoyed the challenge last year, I decided to take a totally different tack and a one that no one could possibly envisage.

I'm currently heavily into sci-fi gaming. So I have decided to make a couple of 28mm scale sci-fi figures. Yes, make them. They will not be conversions but rather will be sculpted by me from scratch. The two figures I'm going to make are the two human heroes from the old comic strip, The Bug Hunters, Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber. Already I can hear everyone saying, "Huh! The Bug Hunters? Never heard of them!" Understandable! Let me give you some background info on them taken from the Comics Corner section of the Weird Retro website.

"Back in October 1985 a serialised comic began to appear in the pages in Computer and Video Games (C+VG) magazine. The series ran almost every month until February 1987. For any teenage computer geek growing up in the 80s, C+VG was the must buy computing and gaming magazine, and the addition of The Bug Hunters only made the magazine all the more worth buying. The sight of Melissa Ravenflame on that first panel, set many an adolescent comic book/computer geek's heart a flutter. (As sad as that is!) See the picture to the left.

The Bug Hunters was scripted by Jerry Paris, whose early work was for Marvel UK on titles such as Freefall Warriors; drawn by Pedro Henry (the pseudonym of renowned British comic book artist, Steve Moore), who gave Alan Moore his leg-up as a comic book artist; and inked by Garry Leach, who worked on the seminal British comic book 2000 AD, and also collaborated with Alan Moore. Both Steve Moore and Garry Leach worked on the regular feature in 2000 AD Tharg's Future Shocks. During the period of The Bug Hunters appearing in C+VG, Leach also worked on Judge Dredd. For a comic strip series appearing in a computing magazine, The Bug Hunters was exquisitely pencilled by Paris and inked by Leach, creating some of the most memorable images of comic book art in the mid-80s UK.

Computer and Video Games was first published in November 1981, and was the world's first dedicated video gaming magazine. The first issue featured an article on the arcade game Space Invaders. The magazine ceased appearing in a printed format in 2004, but continues as an online magazine format as it has since 1999. In the 1980s, C+VG was the multi-format magazine of choice for all gamers and computer geeks. It featured news, reviews, as well as hints, tips, game maps and long list of programming code for readers to laboriously type into their home computers to create games.

However, in 1985 when The Bug Hunters first appeared it was a shift for the magazine, as they used the images and characters from the comic series to promote various sections of the magazine. Set in 23rd Century London, the aforementioned Melissa Ravenflame was working on a new project for IDEAS Corp. (Institute for the Development and Expansion of Advanced Systems). Three years earlier they had created the most addictive computer game ever, called GOD. She teams up with Jackson T. Kalliber, an ex-military man who looks like a cross between Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson. He's put a team together of robots, that include OTISS (Overt Technical Information Suburban System), Big Red (Relocation of Explosives for Demolition), B-Con a security droid who helped with a prison break, and X a "fascism" droid who can pirate anything. Thus a rag-tag team of robots.

Over their time in C+VG, The Bug Hunters went through a darkly comic series of adventures. Beautifully illustrated, told with a quintessentially British sense of humour. An almost forgotten gem of a comic book series, that stands as an example of the genius of comic book artists working in the UK at the time. Especially those that went through the 2000 AD stables. It was one of the greatest multi-serialised story, multi-artist comic books in the world."

I'm just happy that due to copies of C+VG now being in the public domain on www.archive.org I was able to download all 15 episodes of this series to keep as a permanent reminder of one of my secret pleasures of the 1980's. My brother used to subscribe to C+VG and whilst I had no interest in computer gaming (I still don't) I absolutely adored The Bug Hunters comic series.

So, I plan on making Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber as my entries for this year's challenge. I would love to make/convert the four robots but that can keep for another day. Perhaps they might be next year's challenge.