Thursday, 15 March 2018

"Wizkids" Battle Report: Star Trek - The Devil In The Dark Returns - Part Two

"Captain's log, Stardate 3196.1. A distress call from the pergium production station on Janus Six has brought the Enterprise to that long-established colony. Mister Spock and I have beamed down to locate some odds and ends which will help Chief Engineer Scott rig up a spare circulating pump. However, we've encountered a killer silicon-based life-form known as a Horta, and whilst my First Officer bravely risks his life keeping the creature occupied, I must continue in our mission alone..."

Despite not being able to receive a 'costed action' this turn, the Horta was still able to 'poison' Mister Spock as a 'free action' due to the alien's "This Creature's Body Secretes An Extremely Powerful Corrosive" trait. However, whilst this attack ordinarily deals "1 damage to all adjacent opposing characters", the previously wounded half-Vulcan was now utilising "The Occipital Area Of My Head Seems To Have Impacted With The Chair", which meant he could "reduce damage taken by 1" and was resultantly unharmed by the "silicon-based life-form".

Believing he could now both capture the rocky beast's full attention and simultaneously deal it a telling blow, the "hero for the ages" boldly announced "This Is Captain James Kirk Of The United Spaceship Enterprise" and opted for a 'Running Shot'. Halving his speed, "the quintessential officer" moved into a position to blast his pointy-eared friend's attacker, and fired his phaser. The U.S.S. Enterprise's captain rolled a 5 and 4, which was then added to his Attack of 11. In addition, because he had the Starfleet keyword, Kirk was able to utilise Spock's "I Have Analyzed Their Tactics, Captain" and "modify [his] Attack +1." The Horta's Defence was only 18, so the creature momentarily shuddered under the 'death ray'.
Unfortunately though, the rock-eating monster currently had the "A Silicon-Based Life Would Be Of An Entirely Different Order" trait, making it Impervious and reducing "damage taken by 2." Kirk's phaser presently only caused two damage, so the terrifying tunneller suffered no wounds...

Hoping to catch the understandably distracted Horta unawares, Spock tried to chop the brute, but rolled a 5 and 1, which when added to his Attack 10 was less than the Horta's Defence. In retaliation, the creature tried to assault back yet also failed to roll higher than the half-human's Defence. It was stalemate.

Realising his phaser was currently completely ineffective against his foe, Kirk raced west to Objective One (Hand Container) and with a triumphant shout realised that it contained more than enough parts for Scotty to temporarily fix the pergium mining colony's damaged main circulating pump. He flicked open his communicator and quickly relayed the good news to his Science officer.
Receiving the news Spock knew that all he needed to do was momentarily escape the clutches of the Horta in order to be beamed to safety aboard the orbiting U.S.S. Enterprise. To do so though he needed to attain a 4-6 on the roll of a D6, and successfully rolled a 6. Travelling east back towards his starting co-ordinates, the green-blooded half-Vulcan contacted his Constitution-class starship and gave directions for the mission's party to transported immediately. Spock's second action on-the-trot, dealt him "1 unavoidable damage", but he didn't care.

The Horta however, infuriated by the blue-shirted intruder's departure, quickly followed the Human who had unwisely tried to burn him with the phaser. Using its "Astonishing That Anything Of That Bulk Could Move So Rapidly" trait the "silicon-based life-form" had soon closed upon Kirk. The fearsome fiend shuddered as it suffered "1 unavoidable damage" on account of receiving a second consecutive costed action, and readied its extremely corrosive acid for next turn.
Maddeningly, there would be no 'next turn' though, as both Kirk and Spock vanished, only to momentarily reappear victorious on the teleporter pad in the U.S.S. Enterprise's transporter room.

Monday, 12 March 2018

"Nurgle Wishes To See Rot And Contagion Bloom Across The Mortal Realms..."

"...Drowning the bastions of his enemies in a tide of putrid filth."
This 28mm scale Putrid Blightking is one of the five multi-piece plastic figures which can be assembled from the sprues found inside the “Games Workshop” Putrid Blightkings boxed set. I had initially thought to use the predominantly plate armoured combatant to represent a particularly blessed Plaguebearer, and resultantly super-glued a Plagueridden's head upon the stump of his neck to better illustrate the point. However, the "hulking warriors of Nurgle" aren't actually daemons but blighted mortals, so I later ended up replacing the head with a formidably horned one from the kit and repaired any damage with a bit of grey-stuff.

Due to the "favoured mortal servant" wearing so much armour and chainmail I undercoated the model with "Citadel" Abaddon Black, before laying down a couple of layers of "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey over it. He was then washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey. The brute's soiled loincloth was treated some "Citadel" Abaddon Black, two thin coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Red", some "Citadel" Nuln Oil" and lastly a careful dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Red.
"Yet Nurgle is not malicious - far from it."
With the basics finished, I began slowly working my way up the miniature by picking out all the severed skulls handing from his armour with a combination of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green. Each grisly ornament was subsequently lightly dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, and made a little more gory with a dab of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.

In addition I applied some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna to both the Blightking's sword and shield as a base-coat, and then treated the "slime-encrusted" armaments to some "Vallejo" Brass, a shade of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and then the "Citadel" Technical paint Nihilakh Oxide. These areas were later dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Brass to help blend in the patina.
Polar Bear WIP - The 'Ursus Martimus' needs to have his claws, eyes, snout and mouth picked out 
Whilst picking out the few spots of pustule-covered flesh on the "Age Of Sigmar" model, I also took the time to simultaneously apply the exact-same recipe of “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and “Citadel” Biel-Tan Green to a couple of Nurglings. I plan to use a plethora of these tiny pot-bellied gremlins as Wound Markers for some of my host's larger miniatures, so was pleased to get a pair finished as I waited for the paint to dry on my Putrid warrior.

Finally, I have salvaged a Polar Bear by "Copplestone Castings" from out of my partially-painting backlog, and applied a fresh undercoat, wash, dry-brush, shade and second dry-brush to the animal. Originally I did consider placing 'Ursus Maritimus' on a lipped circular base and using him for "Frostgrave", but then felt he might make an excellent addition to my ever-increasing "Gotham" crew for Mister Freeze...

Friday, 9 March 2018

"Wizkids" Battle Report: Star Trek - The Devil In The Dark Returns

This game was played using the 2017 "Heroclix" Quickstart Rules by "Wizkids" in order to allow us to quickly field a handful of pre-painted miniatures from the New Jersey-based company's "Star Trek HeroClix Away Team: The Original Series" range, and took place upon six of the cardboard game tiles found within the "Necromunda: Underhive" boxed set by "Games Workshop".

The Federation faction, which began on the western edge of the tabletop, consisted of Captain Kirk with Mister Spock, and cost 100 points. Whilst their opponent, a single Horta, started in the east and also cost 100 points. The planet Janus VI had five strategic locations identified and at each of these sites was placed a piece of the pergium mining colony's dismantled main circulating pump. However, until either Kirk or Spock examined the component it would not be know just how many parts it would provide Scotty's repairs with. The U.S.S. Enterprise's Chief Engineer required eight parts to "rig one up" before the reactor went super-critical in ten turns time...

In addition, it was decided not to utilise the Star Fleet officers' Team Ability: "United Nation Of Planets"; which provided each figure with +1 Speed whenever "given a Move action". As we were only playing with 100 points per side, each faction's starting Action Total was only one. But because Kirk started the game with "I'll Keep That In Mind, Mister Bailey, When This Becomes A Democracy", the Federation were allowed "Action Total +1" on account of this Leadership; providing both the Captain and his First Officer with the ability to act whenever possible.
"Captain's log, Stardate 3196.1. A distress call from the pergium production station on Janus Six has brought the Enterprise to that long-established colony. Mister Spock and I have beamed down to locate some odds and ends which will help Chief Engineer Scott rig up a spare circulating pump. However, somewhere within these passageways lurks a killer silicon-based life-form known as a Horta..."

Taking the initiative, Captain Kirk directed Mister Spock to travel west towards Objective Three (Drink Dispenser). The Starship skipper was ordinarily quicker than his First Officer with a Speed of 8 to the Vulcan's 7, but currently the blue-shirted scientist could utilise "Fascinating"; which courtesy of a Sidestep provided a Free "move up to 2 squares." The green-blooded half-human easily reached his goal and gathered up two spare parts to aid Scotty in building his temporary fix.
James Tiberius Kirk meanwhile, headed north to Objective Four and incredibly collected four more parts. The U.S.S. Enterprise crew-mates were already only two pieces shy of completing their mission. And yet, before the Constitution-class vessel's captain could celebrate, he heard Commander Spock gasp in surprise as the Horta, using its "Astonishing That Anything Of That Bulk Could Move So Rapidly" trait, travelled east straight up to Objective Three and closed with his pointy-eared friend...

Mister Spock attempted to break away from his rocky opponent, and see whether Jim could make a Running Shot at the creature. To do so though he needed to attain a 4-6 on the roll of a D6, but rolled a 2 and failed. His action was over, and to make matters worse because this was his second action on-the-trot, he was dealt "1 unavoidable damage".
"The first and only student at Starfleet Academy to defeat the Kobayashi Maru test", Captain Kirk was torn between making a break for it and heading towards Objective Five or racing south-west in order to help his friend. In the end he decided to simply stay put and catch his breath. He couldn't help his half-Vulcan colleague by arriving at his side winded (i.e. also being dealt "1 unavoidable damage" for receiving an action on two turns consecutively).

The Horta however, infuriated by the Humans invasion of his territory had no such qualms and immediately utilised its "This Creature's Body Secretes An Extremely Powerful Corrosive" free action to "deal 1 damage to all adjacent opposing characters." Spock cried out in pain and then watched in increasing horror as the "silicon-based life-form from Janus VI" launched an attack at him. The creature had an Attack Value of 10, and rolled a 1 and 4, thus totalling 15. Fortunately for the blue-shirted scientist his Defence Value was 16, meaning the U.S.S. Enterprise's Commander narrowly avoided the assault.
Despite owning a "physiology [that] was very different from the carbon-based norm more commonly found in the galaxy", the Horta gave an involuntary shudder. Like its green-blooded target it had received a second action on-the-trot, and been duly dealt "1 unavoidable damage" through its exertions.

Believing his pointy-eared friend could manage on his own, James Kirk decided to take advantage of the rocky creature's inability to momentarily do anything, and struck out west for the far away Objective One. If Spock could escape the acidic clutches of the Horta then he'd be able to retreat back towards Objective Five, and having scoured four separate objectives the Federation officers would definitely own enough spare parts to help Scotty complete his temporary repairs. It was a gamble for sure, but one "Starfleet's youngest starship captain" was willing to risk...

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

"Hey! This Ain't No Blamed Super-Robot!"

"Whatever in Sam Hill it is -- It's alive!"
This 70mm tall plastic “Wizkids” model of Dragon Man is miniature number 020 from the Avengers Marvel "Heroclix" range and is based upon the "artificial dragon-like humanoid android who was animated via alchemy." "Built by Professor Gregson Gilbert of Empire State University as an experiment", the "former supervillain" was created by Stan Lee and artist Jack "King" Kirby for the February 1965 issue of "The Fantastic Four".

Super-strong, as well as being capable of both flight and breathing fire, the automaton was originally primed with two coats of "Vallejo" Dark Grey and washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil. The "initially non-sentient" machine was then dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Dark Grey, before having its shorts painted using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
"I ain't afraid of no ghost!"
Sadly, despite the great sculpting for the rest of Dragon Man, his head is significantly too small in size when compared to the robot's classic massively beaked look under the pencil of Kirby or John Byrne ("Captain America" #248). However, despite this disconcerting inconsistency with the robot I managed to momentarily set aside my disappointment and picked out his teeth and eyes with "Vallejo" Dead White, as well as his tongue with Heavy Red.

In addition to Dragon Man I have also finished working on five “Newark Model Soldier Company” miniatures which were given away free upon entrance to a number of the “Partisan” wargaming conventions many years ago. They consist of Paul the Postman, Stuart the Telegrapher, James the Swordsmith and two copies of Little Lau the Chimney Sweep.
"Copplestone Castings" Deinonychuses WIPs - The dinosaurs have been primed, shaded and dry-brushed
Because the sculpting of these figures is a little 'crude', I've previously painted some of this range up as ghosts, and have simply replicated that recipe upon these too. As a result I undercoated them all with "Vallejo" Dead White, subsequently shaded them with a wash of "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and then dry-brushed them with (more) "Vallejo" Dead White.

Finally, I have discovered two poorly-primed Deinonychuses by "Copplestone Castings". This pair of dinosaurs were in poor-shape to be honest, but I felt as part of my Partially-Painted Challenge, it might be nice to breathe life back into them with a decent couple of layers, a wash and dry-brush. Now I just need to decide whether to give them any markings, or simply paint the maned-one's feathers red...

Sunday, 4 March 2018

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Boromite Work Gang" March 2018

Boromite Work Gangers WIPs - The alien miners have an incredible amount of armour
This month's themed attempt to try and reduce my potentially insurmountable collection of metal, plastic and resin miniatures is to simply focus upon a unit of five Boromite Work Gangers which I desperately need to finish in order to finally complete my 500 point Scouting Force. I've been occasionally beavering away at these "Beyond The Gates Of Antares" sculpts for a few months now, and actually managed to complete the squad's first figure at the end of January. However, since then I haven't really found the motivation to get the other "Warlord Games" models tabletop ready...

Admittedly, part of my reluctance to tackle these extra-terrestrial miners is due to their incredibly time-consuming detail, but the recent loss of their leader (who most probably fell into my bin unobserved) has meant that I simply couldn't face painting them until I had obtained a suitable replacement. Now that has been done, along with a few extra personnel, I plan to have the "genetically engineered" workforce varnished, flocked and fighting for their survival within the next few weeks.
Putrid Blightking WIPs - The warrior has yet to have his bronze weaponry weathered and dry-brushed
Of course that doesn't mean I'll be turning my gaze away from the remaining Putrid Blightkings I require in order to field a five-strong unit of the "enormous, bloated warriors", nor the four tiny Nurglings I plan to use as wound markers for some of my larger "Age Of Sigmar" Chaos models. I want these miniatures to be finished sooner rather than later in order to be able to field a 'genuine' 1,000 point Nurgle Host and then begin work building up the strength of my Khorne forces.

There's also a lot of new models on the horizon for this rule-set too, with the Daughters Of Khaine army looking set to include harpies (Khinerai Heartrenders) and serpent-bellied warriors (Melusai Blood Sisters); all of which are going to be nearly impossible to resist purchasing. Plus I've been sat upon a boxed set of Kharadron Overlords for far too long, so its time to start thinking about working on a sky-fleet of iron-clad warriors, all "aboard fantastical machines of war armed with powerful aetheric weapons."
"Since its founding, the Black Templars have campaigned on a never-ending crusade."
Finally, I couldn't help but notice that the Nottingham-based company are about to embark upon a new subscription service involving "Warhammer 40K" which appears similar to their 2002 "Battle Games in Middle-Earth fortnightly magazine (published by "De Agostini"). As seems to be the way with all these offers "Warhammer Conquest" thus includes a number of deliveries per month "with minis and gifts included with each issue." Of particular interest to me though is the prospect that the publication will teach me how to play Warhammer 40,000 "in bite-size chunks"; something I enjoyed doing when learning their "Lord Of The Rings" tabletop rule-set almost two decades ago.

Hopefully this investment will help me finally get some use out of the "Dark Imperium" boxed set I bought last year, as it has already encouraged me to seek out my old Black Templars and re-grit/flock them. Admittedly, these members of the "second Founding chapter derived from the Imperial Fists" are on smaller bases than the Adeptus Astartes stand upon these days, but the models date back to a time when I 'protected' my figures using PVA glue as opposed to varnish, so I didn't want to risk needing to repaint any of them if I damaged one whilst re-basing them...

Thursday, 1 March 2018

"Wizkids" Battle Report: Fantastic Four - The Cosmic Cube Of Doom - Part Two

"The story so far… The Cosmic Cube has mysteriously appeared within a derelict suburb of New York City. The Fantastic Four want to take it into safe-keeping, but Doctor Doom intends to seize the cube for his own nefarious plans. Accompanied by three Doombots, the Latverian Monarch has therefore already launched a devastating attack upon Reed Richards and Johnny Storm..."

With a loud bellow of "It's Clobberin' Time!", The Thing charged into Doctor Doom, using his additional pace to buckle the plating of the medieval-looking monarch's armour [Attack: 5 + 2 dice for the Charge]. The "skilled sorcerer" was ordinarily had to hit due to his armour's augmentation [Heavy Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 5 or 6], and his "elaborate schemes" [Stupefy: Opponent's are -1 Attack/Shoot when fighting this model]. But the sheer formidability of Ben Grimm's assault meant that Victor Von Doom suffered two wounds.

Sensing her husband's plight, Sue Storm-Richards stopped trying to whittle down her opposition with force field projectiles and headed towards Objective Three (Cosmic Cube). Mister Fantastic headed west towards the abandoned vehicle in order to get his elastic fists into range of the evil doctor's Doombots [Short Range Shoot: 2 dice]. Meanwhile the Human Torch attempted to melt the mechanoid confronting him in the ruined building. Unfortunately though, the robot was proving to be annoyingly fire-proof.
Reed Richards charged into Doombot Omega, and managed to penetrate the android's armour. Only Doctor Doom could save the automaton now [Command: A friendly unit that is within 12" may re-roll a single dice roll once per turn], but it wasn't to be and the construct exploded into flames.

Johnny Storm attempted to continue the destruction by burning his way through Doombot Alpha, yet was once again thwarted by the machine's tenacity to survive. Ben Grimm continued to pound away at Victor von Doom, but the Latverian Monarch's armour was proving difficult to best. It truly was looking set to be a slug-fest of Stan Lee proportions in the centre of the battlefield. Sue Storm-Richards attempted to connect with another of her force field projectiles at Doombot Beta, however the missile missed its intended target.

Inspired by it's creator's commanding presence nearby, Doombot Alpha chopped away at the Human Torch inside the ruined building, and struck the human mutate a painful blow. Only Johnny's fiery form [Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 6] prevented the youth from taking a final, unconscious-rendering wound. Things weren't looking good for Flame-head.
Doctor Doom continued to wrestle with Ben Grimm, the two powerhouses testing each other for physical weaknesses, whilst Doomboot Beta ineffectively returned fire upon Invisible Girl.

Mister Fantastic reached Objective Two (Oil Barrels) and readied himself to throw a far-reaching punch at his arch-nemesis should the fiend overcome the Thing. However, Reed didn't think he needed to worry too much as he saw Ben Grimm jolt the "skilled sorcerer" with an earth-shattering punch. Victor von Doom didn't look as if he was going to last much longer...

In the north-west corner, buried within the ruined building, Johnny Storm continued to struggle with Doombot Alpha, whilst his sister, Susan, made a mental note to visit the X-Men's Danger Room at some point in the near future and brush up on her marksmanship.
Doctor Doom realised that the battle was now brutally balanced. The Latverian Monarch failed once again to hurt his rocky-hided foe, whilst his armour's in-built sensors informed him of Doombot Alpha's stalemate with the Human Torch. A scream to the east however, informed him that Doombot Beta had finally caught Invisible Girl a glancing blow. The woman's invisibility [Stupefy: Opponent's are -1 Attack/Shoot when fighting this model] had made her a difficult target, but once struck, the Storm-Richards' defensive shield [Armour: Saves any hits on a roll of 6] had easily been penetrated by the automaton's armour-piercing laser technology [Armour Piercing: Models with Armour may not make any saving roll].

With the fight having entered its final stage, Doombot Beta took Objective Five (Statue) revealing a single Victory Point, whilst its fellow robot attempted to defeat a wilting Human Torch. Fortunately for the Fantastic Four the fiery youth survived the attack. Enraged at his androids' failure to overcome their foes, Doctor Doom battered Ben Grimm with a ferocious wallop which caused the Thing to visibly shudder. However, it was not enough to fell the former pilot, and Aunt Petunia's favourite nephew had enough still in him to return the favour...
With an alarming bang and shower of sparks, Victor Von Doom broke apart as a result of Benjamin Grimm's latest punch, collapsing to the ground and revealing himself to be a simple facsimile of the Latverian Monarch. Sensing victory was at hand, Sue Storm-Richards captured Objective Three (Cosmic Cube) which was worth five Victory Points and Reed Richards remained by Objective Two (Oil Barrels) claiming four Victory Points. The battle was over and the Fantastic Four had clearly outfought Doctor Doom's evil robotic forces...

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

"Hey! You There! Stop!"

"Our Axon friend has just walked straight into the furnace of the main reactor."
This 28mm metal model of an Axon Monster is manufactured by “Black Tree Design” and can be bought as code DW310 from their "Doctor Who" range. "A scavenger entity which came to Earth, supposedly for fuel, the aliens' real motivation was "to drain all energy from Earth" and made their first appearance in the March 1971 BBC Television science fiction serial "The Claws Of Axos".

The model was originally primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Orange and washed with "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. It was then dry-brushed first with more "Vallejo" Heavy Orange, and later with some Heavy Red. Finally, the entire figure was once again washed with "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
"Excalibur Captain Harris and first officer dead. Many casualties."
I don't ordinarily get the opportunity to post other people's painting on this blog, but Roy Williamson, who runs the excellent "Never Mind The Yankers!" website, very kindly sent me a rather splendid-looking re-painted constitution-class starship earlier this week. It's a plastic "Wizkids" model for their "Star Trek: Attack Wing" tactical space combat miniatures game, and comes complete with a mind-boggingly tiny hand-painted NCC-1664 registry number on top of its saucer section.

Of course that marks the 23rd century Federation vessel out as the USS Excalibur, with Captain Harris as its commander. Sadly, both the starship and skipper were destined to be destroyed by the U.S.S. Enterprise "during the disastrous M-5 Starfleet battle simulation war games" depicted in the broadcast episode "The Ultimate Computer".
Grishaks WIPs - The beaked-birds have all been primed and are ready for shading
In addition to the odd bit of painting, I've been sorting through my worryingly burdensome lead mountain and separating all the miniatures I've based, prepped or even started working on, from those I've never touched, and even more embarrassingly never even unsealed/opened. There's been a few trips down memory lane as a result, and once such quartet of models was four Grishaks by "Twilight Miniatures".

As I recall I picked these weird dinosaur birds up as part of a starter set bought at "Salute" several years ago, and clearly made some sort of effort to get them 'up and ready' as they'd all been based, primed and one even shaded. Sadly however, they subsequently fell out of favour and have been lost to time... until now. I have little intention of actually playing "The World Of Twilight" with them, but because they're on the self-same 28mm lipped bases I use for my "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" models I thought they might make interesting 'killer birds' for a scenario or two...