Sunday, 14 January 2018

"Warlord Games" Battle Report: Doctor Who - Battle For A Draconian Desert Moon

THE TENTH DOCTOR AND SOME FRIENDS BATTLE DALEK SEC'S INVASION FORCE
This game was played using some homemade rules in order to allow us to field the vast majority of my painted "Doctor Who: Exterminate" miniatures, and takes place upon a 3' x 3' "Deep Cut Studio" gaming mat. The battlefield was populated with a variety of pre-painted scenery produced by “Gale Force Nine”, most notably several Badlands rocks, Desert palms and a couple of toxic pools. The Doctor and his allies, which started in the west, comprised of a mix of Silents, Sea Devils, Judoon and Zygons. Whilst Dalek Sec and his forces began the fight in the east, and consisted of some Daleks, Cybermen and a unit of Vashta Nerada. The desert moon has five strategic locations, each worth an unknown number of victory points. These would only be revealed at the end of Turn Six, and could only be claimed by an unopposed unit within 6" of it.
THE TABLETOP - A DRACONIAN DESERT MOON
“The story so far… Dalek Sec intends to invade the home planet of the Draconians, but before doing so, he has landed a Dalek invasion army on one of the world's moons. Realising that the race of reptilian humanoids will need time to prepare their planetary forces, the Doctor has assembled an army from some of the Earth's mightiest defenders, and hopes to buy the Draconians some additional time by thwarting the Dalek leader's plans. Unfortunately, having landed upon the desert satellite, the Time Lord has discovered that the Skaro mutants are not alone in their ambition to conquer Draconia, and have brought some 'friends' of their own..."
DALEK SEC COMMANDS HIS FORCES FROM ATOP A BADLANDS BLUFF
Gaining the initiative, the Tenth Doctor sent both Zygon units on his force's flanks forwards, whilst the Silents used their speed to reach Objective Two (a destroyed Dalek hulk). The Sea Devils also moved east and reached the lip of the medium-sized swamp pool. To the ancient amphibious creatures' north, the party of Judoon and (more) Zygons pushed forwards too in between some Palm Trees and a Badlands Pillar.
THE SILENTS TAKE OBJECTIVE TWO AS THE DOCTOR WATCHES ON
The Cybermen in the south-east corner by some Palm Trees immediately opened fire upon the Zygons opposite them, but found the "solidly built humanoids with large, cone-shaped heads" too difficult to hit. Alongside them, more of the silver giants, accompanied by the Vashta Nerada, pressed west towards Objective Five (a container of green goop). The Daleks south of the Badlands Bluff fanned out for a better view of the battlefield, as did the golden-coloured drones to the north of the large land mass. Dalek Sec however, fired upon the Sea Devils... and missed. Finally, the Cybermen in the north-east corner pushed forwards.
THE DALEKS, CYBERMEN AND VASHTA NERADA MOVE FORWARDS TO ENGAGE THEIR ENEMIES
The Doctor maintained his force's momentum by tasking the Zygons in the south-west to guard Objective Two. This released the Silents to approach Objective Three (an ancient bronze statue of a Draconian Emperor). The "Members of the Church of the Silence" appeared to move with incredible speed, as everyone kept forgetting that they'd seen them. The Time Lord and his TARDIS crew moved up behind the Confessional Priests, so as to allow his Command ability to reach the vast majority of his units [allowing any of them within 12" to each re-roll any single dice per turn].

The Sea Devils moved into the middle of the medium-sized swamp pool, utilising their Water-Walker ability to avoid any of the usual penalties incurred by land-based creatures. In the north-west the Zygons swarmed around Objective One (a Stargate). The Judoon fired upon the Cybermen approaching along the northern edge of the battlefield. But despite hitting them, the "race of cybernetically augmented humanoids" survived due to their Heavy Armour [Saving roll of a 5 or 6], and the unit's ability to re-roll one of these courtesy of being within Dalek Sec's Command range.
A MASS OF ZYGONS CAPTURE TWO OBJECTIVES
The Cybermen in the south-west corner pressed further west, whilst the Vashta Nerada took Objective Five. Beside them, more Cybermen fired upon the Silents but failed to strike their target. However, this was not the case for Dalek unit south of the Badlands Bluff, whose extermination blasts felled two of the Papal Mainframe members. Dalek Sec again sought to eradicate the Sea Devils in their swamp pool, yet were unsuccessful once again. To the north, the Dalek leader's drones had more luck, and managed to destroy one of the many Zygons positioned around Objective One. Lastly, the Cybermen in the far north poured their energy beams into the orange-coloured, sucker-covered aliens... without result.
THE VASHTA NERADA TAKE AN OBJECTIVE AS THE SILENTS BEGIN TO FALL
Realising that his allies were starting to take some casualties from the Daleks increasingly formidable firepower, the Doctor encouraged the Zygons by Objective Two to utilise their electrical discharges upon the enemy. Two Cybermen had arrogantly stepped within range of the short (10") attack and despite their Heavy Armour, were brought low in a shower of sparks and fizzes. Weakened by their losses the Silents retreated west behind a boulder, and watched as the Sea Devils ineffectively returned fire upon the Daleks just south of the Badlands Bluff. To the north, the Judoon moved into a better firing position, ready to support a unit of Zygons who bravely pushed east towards Objective Four (a space-radio system).
THE SILENTS RETREAT AS THE JUDOON ADVANCE TO BATTLE THE DALEKS
Determined to finally feast, the Vashta Nerada rushed towards the Zygons guarding Objective Two, whilst the partially depleted Cybermen nearby retreated back to Objective Five. The other Cybermen in the area stomped west to also challenge for Objective Two. The Daleks south of the Badlands Bluff continued to fire without result against the Sea Devils, and the drones to their north were equally as unsuccessful against their Zygon targets. Dalek Sec however, finally managed to fell one of the Judoon, despite the "mercenary police" wearing Armour [Saving roll of a 6].
WEAKENED BY DALEK FIREPOWER A UNIT OF ZYGONS IS ATTACKED BY SOME CYBERMEN
To the north, the Cybermen charged into the Zygons and began chopping away at their necks with their metal hands. Incredibly though, despite the amount of attacks made by the silver giants [4 Attacks = 2 from statistics and 2 more for charging], the refugees from Zygor were able to utilise their Stupefy ability [Only hit on a roll of a 6] to remain unharmed. It was deadlock, with everything still to fight for...

Dum Da Dum, Diddly Dum, Oo-ee-oos…

Friday, 12 January 2018

"We Shall Destroy Man And Reclaim The Planet."

"We want revenge on the human species. Many of my people have been killed."
These three 38mm tall metal Sea Devil miniatures are produced by “Warlord Games” and can be purchased from their "Into The Time Vortex" range. Making their "Doctor Who" debut in Malcolm Hulke's 1972 six-parter "The Sea Devils", these Homo Reptilia "were given clothing, designed by Maggie Fletcher", and feature in the only Pertwee era story where the Timelord actually uses the catchphrase "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow."

All the models were initially primed with "Vallejo" Verdigris, drenched in "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade and dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Verdigris. Their webbed feet were painted using "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and their legs Heavy Green. These areas were then dry-brushed with Heavy Sienna in order to blend the two colours together, and subsequently washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
Paternoster Gang WIPs - The detectives have been based, primed and dry-brushed
The amphibious Earth reptiles' weapon belts were 'picked out' using a combination of "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey, whilst the dull metallic look of their hand-weapons was created using "Citadel" Ironbreaker and a heavy shade of Nuln Oil. The ancient aquatic creatures' hands and heads were originally treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and the webbing covered with Heavy Green. These areas were then dry-brushed with Heavy Sienna and washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.

As a final touch, each Sea Devil's string vest was darkened/dirtied with a random application of both "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. These garments were additionally lightened in places with some more "Vallejo" Verdigris being slowly drawn across them.
Abzorbaloff and Victor Kennedy WIPs - The villain has been based, primed and dry-brushed
Having recently reviewed the Twelfth Doctor and Companions "Doctor Who: Exterminate" boxed set for "Doctor Who News" I thought I'd best get my own Paternoster Gang painted, and have resultantly based, primed and dry-brushed the "group of detectives active in Victorian London." These really are marvellously animated sculpts, and should hopefully prove reasonably straightforward to get finished considering that they bear a predominantly black palette.

Lastly, I have also unpacked, based and primed my "Warlord Games" miniatures of Victor Kennedy and his contemptuous alter-ego the Abzorbaloff. I wasn't that much of a fan of the somewhat tongue-in-cheek television episode "Love and Monsters" or the Abzorbalovian from the planet Clom, but the "Into The Time Vortex" miniatures are rather nice and should paint up both simply and quickly...

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

"Known As The Chameleon By Her Fans..."

"...Snakeskin is a master of disguise."
This 23mm tall metal model of the Union Winger, Snakeskin, is made by “Steamforged Games Ltd” and can be purchased as part of the “Guild Ball” Halloween-themed boxed set, "The Dark Harvest". Chillingly depicting the young woman's grave, complete with burning candle, broken face-mask and rising undead hand, this figure can be used as either an in-game harvest marker or "may be alternately used" as a player in your team.

Disappointingly, despite the "sinewy and powerfully built" player coming as a single cast piece, I did find the edge of the burial mound to be slightly warped. This caused the miniature to sit a little too proud above its plastic lipped circular base, and discouragingly, no amount of filing or sanding seemed to rectify the situation. In the end I therefore had to shelve my obsessive–compulsive disorder, and simply prime the piece with "Citadel" Abaddon Black. 
The Union - "A mismatched bunch o' mercenaries, scum and criminals for the most part."
As the majority of the figure was actually mud, I simply dry-brushed all the earth in precisely the same manner as I do almost all of my gritted bases, using first Doomsbull Brown, then Rakarth Flesh, and finally a heavy wash of Agrax Earthshade. Once the shade had dried, I 'picked out' the dead Sultarish's shattered mask with "Vallejo" Gold and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, and used a combination of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green for her decaying claw-like limb.

Snakeskin's tombstone was painted using a base-coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey, a wash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and then some more "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey; which was lightly drawn over the grave marker in order to highlight all of its detail. In addition, I used some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna to pigment the plant's branches, and a spot of Heavy Green to colour its leaves. These areas were subsequently washed with "The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green where appropriate.
"Vixtrix Limited" Frenchman - The soldier has yet to have his eyes, face and hat finished
Finally, I spent a little time busying myself on the miniature's solitary half-burnt out candle, sputtering away on top of the head-stone. I have seen its wax painted red previously, and was sorely tempted to replicate just such a colour scheme. But in the end I decided to stick to the usual off-white palette by using some "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and a dab of Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter”.

Obviously such a 'simple' subject has given me a little extra time to focus upon some of my other partially-painted models. Not wanting to waste this valuable opportunity, and in dire need to catch up with my Napoleonic tally marker, I have spent a considerable period 'picking out' all the straps, baggage and rifle parts on another "Victrix Limited" bicorne-wearing French Fusilier from Bonaparte's 1804 - 1807 army...

Sunday, 7 January 2018

"If You Want To Save The Remaining Souls On This Planet..."

"...You'll face me -- alone!"
This 43mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of Darkseid is miniature number 123 from the "DC Comics" Hypertime “Heroclix” range, and depicts "the tyrannical ruler of the planet Apokolips" as his imperious best. Created by Jack "King" Kirby as "one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe", the New God is "a staple Superman villain" and made his first comic book appearance in the November 1970 issue of "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen".

Omnipotent, and able to fire disintegrating Omega Beams from his hands or eyes, I initially primed the figure with a thinned down layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, in order to 'mask' its clumsy pre-paint without softening the sculpt's underlying detail too much. I then 'picked out his belt with "Citadel" Ironbreaker and layered his legs, arms and head with a coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey. Once dry, all of these areas were treated to a wash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Ideally, I would have liked to have highlighted some of Boss Dark Side's grey flesh with some dry-brushing, but as the model's detail was already somewhat soft and smooth I decided to leave well enough alone and simply leave the pooling Shade where it settled.
"Heroclix" WIPs - The Black Panther, Superman and the Flash
With the bulk of Darkseid's painting done, I dabbed his eyes with some "Vallejo" Heavy Read and "Citadel" glaze Bloodletter. Whilst his discomforting grimace was tackled using a little "Vallejo" Dead White and a smidgen of "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade. Finally the the immensely powerful villain, who can even break a green lantern's ring with his bare hands, was 'protected' with a covering of "Coat D'arms" Gloss Varnish.

Sticking with "Heroclix" it seemed silly not to also add Lord of Apokolips' greatest adversary, Superman to my painting queue, as well as probably my favourite "DC Comics" super-hero, the Flash. Both of these miniatures have rather embarrassingly been languishing in drawers or boxes for a good eight or so years, so it seemed high time that I finally put brush-tip to model and finished the "Justice League" duo off.
Dire Wraith WIPs - These enemies of the Spaceknights have been primed, layered and washed 
In a similar vein I have additionally plonked some, hopefully straightforward, Dire Wraiths onto my painting table. I was recently reminded by how much I like this villainous extra-terrestrial race by reading the Micronauts/Rom team-up comic book "Micronauts First Strike" by "IDW Publishing". Sadly the publication itself is awful, and not a patch on the "Marvel Worldwide" series which ran from December 1979 until February 1986, yet it did at least remind me that I had previously based and primed four of these shape-changing horrors.

Finally I have made a little more progress on my "Wizkids" Black Panther. I did originally start painting this figure whilst he was crouched atop a big cat's carved stone head, but didn't like the way the vines were sculpted on the statue, so cut T'Challa loose and simply super-glued him to a normal circular base. This move has though made me realise just how (overly) large the King of Wakanda is compared to some of the other "Heroclix" miniatures I've re-painted, so I may well source a second version of him at a later date...

Friday, 5 January 2018

"The Ogrons Are Mercenaries."

"Other life forms use them to do their dirty work."
These 35mm tall "pewter" models of three Ogrons are produced by “Warlord Games” as part of their "Into The Time Vortex" range. Employed for their services by likes of the Daleks and the Master, these "ape-like hominids" attempted to help start a war between Draconia and Earth in the February 1973 BBC television story “Frontier In Space”, and have much more recently appeared in the "Big Finish" audio dramas "Return of the Daleks" and "The Romance Of Crime".

Initially primed with two coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, these miniatures were all heavily dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal and had their trousers layered using some Heavy Brown. The 22nd Century "police officers" then had their shirt sleeves painted with Iraqi Sand and their belts, straps and wrist bands layered with Heavy Sienna. All of these areas were subsequently washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
Sea Devils WIPs - Jon Pertwee's famous foes still need a little work on their faces and tunics
With the larger areas of the Ogrons completed I applied a combination of "Vallejo" Charred Brown and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to their hair and arms. I also dry-brushed some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna across each brute's furry face and hands, but later washed these facial areas with "Citadel" Nuln Oil in order to darken them quite considerably. Finally, the super-strong extra-terrestrials had their disintegrator guns 'picked out' with Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.

Staying with the Nottingham-based manufacturer and their "Doctor Who: Exterminate" miniatures game, I have made plenty of progress on the last three Sea Devils that I own. These relatives to the Silurians have been sat on my painting desk unfinished for the past three months, but now that the Recruitment Cards for their faction have been teased (featuring Sea Devil Ancients and an Overlord), I have been galvanised into action.
Darkseid WIPs - Jack Kirby's creation still needs his face finishing before being varnished and having his base flocked
Likewise, my "Wizkids" figure of Darkseid has been patiently stood waiting on my panting table for exactly a year, having been started during the first few weeks for last year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I was absolutely aghast at the cost of "the tyrannical ruler of the planet Apokolips" when "Knight Models" released his "white metal kit" in April 2017, as despite his formidable size, a £40 price tag for a single miniature is arguably extortionate.

The Spanish company have now admittedly released the self-same model in "high quality resin" for half the money as part of them "switching over to Pre-Coloured Plastic/Restic/Resin for their DC & Batman range". But as I already own this, admittedly less impressive-looking, "Heroclix" sculpt of Darkseid I thought I'd stick to what I've got and get him ready for the tabletop instead.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Heroclix" January 2018

"Heroclix" WIPs - Invisible Woman, Black Panther, the Scourge and a Blood Vamp
This month's randomly themed attempt to try and reduce my overwhelming throng of metal, plastic and resin miniatures will see me painting up a number of "Wizkids" sculpts from their "Heroclix", "Horrorclix" and "Indyclix" ranges. I rather embarrassingly own a significant number of these figures, having been prolifically purchasing them since Marvel's Infinity Challenge was first released way back in 2002, and as a result already have literally dozens (re)based, primed, layered, shaded or even highlighted.

Such models will hopefully prove a significant boon as I enter the second month of my inaugural, Partially-Painted Pledge challenge, due to my already falling a little way behind my intended milestone. Fortunately though, quite a few of the 'super-heroic' models I've selected for my 'first batch' are quite monotone in colour, so should be relatively straightforward to complete over the next few days or so. 
"SuperFigs" WIPs - Old paint-jobs on the Dark Avenger and Red Bolt
I'm also hoping that they'll help me fill in a few holes in my 'tabletop ready' "Wizkids" collection, such as Sue Richards; the only founding member of the Fantastic Four which I haven't yet finished. To be honest I've not been particularly impressed by the various "Heroclix" sculpts of Invisible Girl to date, but have now decided, for completeness sake, to go with an early version of the Human Mutate from the Clobberin' Time "Marvel Comics" expansion.

Similarly, I'm eager to expand the size of my Avengers super-team with the likes of T'Challa, the Black Panther, and Captain America's Rogues Gallery; hence the inclusion of the Scourge of the Underworld - a masked assassin who was actually created in order to "thin [out] the criminal population of the Marvel Universe." I don't however, plan to simply stick with the New Jersey-based company's main range, and having recently taken advantage of a significant "Horrorclix"re-stock at "Troll And Toad", I have a fair few of their "wicked fun" figures, such as this Blood Vamp, to also finish painting.
Ogron WIPs - The aliens will be shaded using "Citadel" Nuln Oil & "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade
Spookily, whilst trying to locate some of my partially-painted "Heroclix" miniatures, I also stumbled across a pair of old 33mm scale "SuperFigs" from when I very first started gaming as an adult. I've subsequently re-based the duo, Red Bolt and Dark Avenger, and will use their pre-existing pigments as an undercoat for the palettes I now plan on applying. At one time this range of very "old school" figures by "West Wind Productions" was all I painted/played, so having found a couple I'm now quite keen to try and locate some of the many others I have stored away somewhere...

Lastly, "Warlord Games" have announced several of their upcoming new releases for the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" model range, and that means I need to clear up a substantial space on my painting table in preparation for them. I've already recently finished three Ogrons, so with a backlog of Sea Devils, Draconians, Clockwork Droids, Tetraps, Vervoids, I want to get the last trio of the Daleks' mercenary foot-soldiers varnished and flocked, before I become too overwhelmed.  

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Top Ten Miniatures Of 2017 - An "Undercoat" Personal Choice

I was somewhat surprised but also extremely chuffed to be asked to choose my top ten miniatures of 2017 as posted upon Blaxkleric’s “Fantorical” blog. My selection is a personal choice and I am sure people will disagree with some or all of my choices, but if we all the liked the same things the world would be a dull place.

Before I get to the miniatures however, I just wanted to add a small amount of context to my choices. I have known Simon for a long time and vividly recall my first gaming session with him. I had been a long time collector of miniatures but unenthusiastic painter, so seeing his fully painted forces with superb terrain to play on was a revelation and inspired me to paint more. Indeed, I have painted more miniatures in recent years than I have for the previous few decades, and that in part is down to the motivation of wanting my forces to be painted so I can face Simon’s. “Fantorical” has also been a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me too, as well as those websites it links to.

When I started looking for my top ten it quickly became apparent there were a lot to pick from and my choice would be very hard. It is clear that this has been a year when “Doctor Who” has massively influenced this blog, as there are numerous gorgeous models I could have picked but sadly left off the list as I did not want it to become the “Doctor Who” show! Anyway, enough rambling from me, here is the top ten in time honoured tradition starting with number 10 and counting down to the top slot.

'The Interceptor' - Accompanied by Mad Max and Imperator Furiosa
I have cheated here and included two miniatures as one, but in my defence the two go together and can’t really be separated. I must confess to really enjoying the film “Mad Max: Fury Road” as I feel it really captures what a post-apocalyptic world could be like. The figure of Max is well painted and captures the film character well. However, what elevates this entry to the top ten is the imaginative use of an historical armoured car to become Max’s new interceptor. Who would think of that? Not me, that’s for sure. But you know what, the madness works and they look brilliant together. Also the car’s excellent rusting techniques really stand out and make this a memorable 2017 entry.

"Supplies of all sorts were inadequate, discipline was breaking down, desertion was increasing..."
I didn’t think I would choose this model as there are far more appealing miniatures that have appeared during the year in my opinion. However, when I took the time to look at the paint job it made me realise the effort that had gone into it. Massed ranks of soldiers don’t normally get this amount of love, so the fact the face was painted with great eyes and features, combined with the clean bright colours and straps that make soldiers from this period really stand out, makes this more than worthy of appearing in the top ten.

"You are curious. You have seen the words, too. I can hear them tick inside you."
The “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” range of miniatures from “Warlord Games” have featured quite prominently on this blog and Simon has shown he clearly loves these models with the amount he has painted. I love how his Daleks and Cybermen are great examples of just how metal should be painted, but the Fisher King stands out for me for a number of reasons. Firstly, the creature itself is different and imaginative, secondly it looks evil and has a presence on the table top, and thirdly, it is a great example of painting with a limited pallet that captures the feel of the on-screen creature perfectly. The cloth pieces look old and dirty and compliment the bone-like sections of the monster really well, whilst at the same time providing just the right amount of contrast too. Great paint job.

"The Gorgon is a magical beast that resembles a bull, covered in dusky metallic scales."
I always thought a Gorgon was from Greek myth, but again I was educated in the wider world of miniatures when this gigantic brass bull smashed onto the blog and took my breath away. First of all it is a great sculpt, but painting metal can be a tricky thing, especially if you don’t want it to look boring. This is weathered to look like it has a patina of age about it and the verdigris effect is just brilliant. I find this aspect of painting quite a challenge, so this is how you pull it off with style. A formidably-posed "Bones" model with its great paint job has consistently kept this one in my mind.

No. 6 - Putrid Blightlord by "Games Workshop" - March 29th
"Each of their number has been touched by Nurgle..."
One “Games Workshop” miniature that demonstrates just how the Nottingham-based company are so clever at creating models with depth and negative space, such as the intestines looping out of the stomach, is the Putrid Blightlord. Simon has been perfecting his rotting Nurgle skin for a while now and his Chaos Host as a whole is worthy of praise as an army that looks amazing on the table top. But this particular figure, which both looks great and poses a challenge to the painter, stands out for me for a number of reasons. The skin is done well and conveys that diseased and bloated gift the plague god gives to his followers, yet on top of that Simon has picked out boils, pustules etc, as well as created areas of distressed skin that just make this thing really stick in my memory. Another example of a good "Age Of Sigmar" sculpt and a good paint job coming together to create something special.

"Ahhhh... Excuse me. Your device will do what? Triplicate the flammability?"
I included these three “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” miniatures as they sum up what a well painted model should do: they make you smile and inspire you to paint and create something as good. The paint job is relatively simple in terms of the colours used, but that shouldn’t take away from what is achieved here. Firstly, if you have seen “Doctor Who” you instantly know what this is! Secondly, it captures these slightly comical aliens perfectly, and thirdly, it makes me want to have these figures. The bright colours, the well-executed painted job, everything about this is just awesome!!

"Dr Pepper, so misunderstood."
I usually prefer miniatures over scenery, but this "Dr Pepper" vending machine is just a superb creation. Painted to be a rusted and forgotten piece of machinery on a starship for his “Barrier Peaks” project, this has everything for me. Excellent painting, a masterclass in weathering and the use of a decal that has been blended into the paint job seamlessly. A highly imaginative piece that just looks awesome.

"See the target, shoot the target is his philosophy."
I had heard of “G.I. Joe”, but that was about the limit of my knowledge of this miniatures range. So when these models first appeared on “Fantorical” it reinforced my opinion that Simon will always be able to surprise me with the figures he finds and paints. This for me was a great paintjob first and foremost. The face is just excellent and is the focal point for me, but then the other elements are so well done, such as the naval shirt, the lovely blue trousers and that superb parrot - the whole thing comes together brilliantly. Having seen this miniature for real it is even better than the blog posting! Just a great overall piece.

"Hand me down the shark repellent Bat-spray!"
Comics and super heroes were not something I was that interested in until I met Simon. But his painted miniatures for this genre, combined with his encyclopaedic knowledge on the subject when he answered my never ending questions, made me look into them more. His “Brown Bag” comic blog also got me inspired, so now I am a fan of the Batman Miniatures Game and even read the comics (I am currently catching up on “Batman Rebirth” at the moment). This posting stuck in my mind for a number of reasons. The paint job is great and captures the sixties version of the Batman character perfectly, with the bat symbol lovingly picked out and the cape well shaded showing the care that went into it. However sometimes emotions elevate things in your consciousness and the fact that this was posted as a tribute to the actor Adam West, who had sadly just passed away, made it more than just a well painted model. It became a tribute; something done and posted with feeling, and you can never underestimate the power of that.

No. 1 - Balewind Vortex by "Games Workshop" - February 2nd
"...Summoned by a wizard as a platform from which to cast powerful spells."
“Games Workshop” seem to divide opinion like no other, although I am not always sure why. The company has made significant strides in 2017 to engage with the community and I feel it has changed for the better; albeit their technically impressive kits are not always the easiest to paint. Having faced this fiendish creation while battling in the’ Mortal Realms’ I can confirm it is quite annoying when the Balewind Vortex is conjured into existence. However, it’s always a delight to look at because of how well painted it is. It’s made of several contrasting elements such as the magical vortex and the platforms made of various materials such as stone, metal and bone. All of these are done to a high standard: the vortex looks magical when you see it and the stone elements of the platform just look brilliant. Time and effort clearly went into this and it shows.

Well that concludes the top ten and the reasons behind them. Happy New Year to all the readers of “Fantorical”.