Thursday, 31 December 2015

Top Ten Miniatures Of 2015 - A "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" Viewpoint

2015 has been a good year for me. I started some new projects, made some new friends, and got to see some wonderfully painted figures showcased on Simon’s excellent blog. Now to top it all off, we have agreed to continue the trend we began last year with my writing the year's final post on “Fantorical” and listing my top ten favourite figures 'Blaxkleric' has painted in the last twelve months. Whilst he does the same over at my own blog.

Not as easy a task as you might first imagine, for as I delve deep into the past twelve month's posts looking at some of the smashing figures I vividly remember for inclusion, there are also numerous little gems that “pop out” at me that I’d clearly forgotten. So the first job was to pick out figures for the short list (sadly this wasn’t actually that short!), and then work my way through this in order to select the final ten. Fortunately I take December off from painting so I have had a little “down time” in which to apply my considered opinion over this.

As Simon is now fully immersed in the “Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge”; a marathon of frenzied figure painting that I would not dare go near with a barge pole (or a really big brush!) due to my somewhat relaxed (see slow) attitude to painting miniatures, I would like to start by apologising to Simon for momentarily distracting him from his painting duties for a while, and wish him and anyone else who takes up this event's call the best of luck.

Anyway enough rambling on I’m here to do a job so I’d best be getting on with it. Therefore in reverse order here is my top ten of Simon’s year…

"You mean you have a homicidal maniac on the loose?"
One of the highlights of this year was taking part in “Zomtober” where you had to paint up at least one Zombie per week for the month. “Simple” you might say, well yes, but Simon of course had to put his own spin on this too. So rather than your normal run of the mill “Zom’s” we were given “Krynoids” from the Tom Baker Doctor Who story “The Seeds of Death”. Now there aren't any official figures for these so to add a little variation into the mix Simon pulled figures from a variety of different sources, including these plastic pre-painted figures from the "Wizards of the Coast" customizable miniatures game "Dreamblade" (on the recommendation of fellow blogger Jez). Originally painted a bloody pink colour, another of Simon's now legendary re-paints ensued leaving us with this rather splendid monstrosity, and a perfect match to the source material.

"I died before. It was boring, so I stood up."
 The first of Simons excellent "Heroclix" re-paints in this Top Ten (but by no means the last), is a character I rather like, though I haven’t read many issue of his adventures myself. However this figure of Marc Spector’s alter ego has made the top ten because of the way the white of his costume has been depicted. One of the things Simon seems to excel at is taking a really simple paint-job and giving it a subtlety that belays its monotone appearance. At first glance this figure is nearly all white but it’s when you look closer you can see the delicate shading around the muscles and ripples in his cloak. Like music or a painted background in a movie, easy to miss but very difficult to get right.

"It's enough to fry your eyeballs."
Last year when I did my list of Simon's top ten of 2014, his rendition of “Roj Blake” from the seventies BBC sci/fi series “Blakes Seven” came in at number three on my list. But as I stated at the time, if Jenna had been finished it might have been a different story. Well two days into the new year she was and Simon did not disappoint on the painting either. A great level of detail has been added to this figure, especially around the collar and belt equipment, and another cracking face full of charm and character. I know a lot of effort has gone into getting the colours just right to match the source material and that level of attention to detail really shines through. Her lower position just goes to show how good the rest of the figures in this year’s chart are. However I did notice that there are still a few miniatures from this project not yet painted... More fodder for next year’s list perhaps?

No. 7 – Ben Grimm by "Wizkids" - April 13th
 "First guy to ask me ta make a speech gets a fat lip."
Well he had to be in my top ten really didn’t he? Simon is well aware what a fan I am of the orange-hued powerhouse better known as The thing. Though when I first saw this figure pop up on his blog, I have to say that I was less than impressed with the sculpting and pose of this version. However, as the work-in-progress postings went by, the figure grew on me mainly due Simon's excellent brushwork. I am particularly impressed with the way he picked out the orange flesh that is visible under his hat and on his hand. Whilst tonal quality of his overcoat and hat give a quintessential 'Film Noir' quality to the overall piece.
No. 6 – Adolf Hitler by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" - November 20th
"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
Last year Simon posted “Jesus Of Nazareth” as one of his entries into our “face-fuzzed” themed Mo'vember challenge and completely stole the show. This year he followed Jesus up with probably the second most famous character in the world adorned with facial hair, Adolf Hitler (and it’s not often Jesus and Hitler appear in the same sentence!). Yet another smashing figure I’d never seen before, the paint work is quite superb with the shading and colour choices absolutely spot on. A great little face full of character and the tiny swastika decal applied to his armband all adds up to a belting little figure.
No. 5 - Federated Security by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" - January 7th
"Unit Three move in."
I have a dark secret I am afraid. Black is one of my problem colours. I always have trouble painting it convincingly and so have great admiration for anyone who can get the shading and tone of such “noir nightmares” right. Annoyingly, Simon is very good at this as these predominately black-costumed chaps demonstrate perfectly. You can see it’s a fellow wearing a complete black leather suit without it having great splashes of grey all over it. The shading is subtle and realistic, and even the gloss finish (which Simon knows I’m not a fan of myself) works beautifully to his advantage with this figure. Added to this the green band around his helmet is also a work of genius, as it too looks exactly like what it’s supposed to be, “a band of clear green plastic!”. A simple figure yes, but I know I could not do it this sort of justice.
No. 4 - Chemo by "Wizkids" - March 22nd
"The explosion of the entity known as Chemo will have a lasting impact in Bludhaven for years to come."
Another figure where Simon's gloss finish really works well is this seventy millimetre tall version of “Chemo” from the "DC Comics" universe. The simplicity of the model belays the effort and thought that has gone into its painting and you can see what he is supposed to be... a swirling ball of toxic waste. The perfect dotted eyes in sinister red complete the sense of menace the figure pervades nicely too and makes this paint-job a vast improvement over the original.

No. 3 - Doctor Who: The Movie Doctor by "Black Tree Design" - November 15th
"You are privileged, young man, to be the first visitor to our time and space machine."
Another figure I never knew existed here at number three. Peter Cushing is one of my all-time favorite actors and his portrayal of the “good doctor” is often over looked. Simon's colour choices here are once again spot on and by not muting down the brightness of the paint work too much, along with his use of black lining around the different colour areas, he has managed to embody the whole ambience of the Sixties movie doctor to perfection.

No. 2 - Frostgrave Witch by "North Star Military Figures" - December 25th
"Contrary to popular belief, most Witches are not ugly old women..."
A late entry at number two in this year’s chart is this glorious Witch from the official line of miniatures for the game that everyone seems to be talking about. One of the highlights of this year for me has been the camaraderie I’ve shared with Simon and Jez (Carrion Crow’sBuffet) and our "Frostgrave" Mo’vember was a hoot from start to finish; even if some of us got further through our warbands than others (Simon). However this chap was well worth the wait. The paintwork is simply stunning and in my humble opinion even better and more subtle than the rulebook original! And as that one was painted by the legendary Kevin Dallimore you can see that this is praise indeed.

No. 1 - Sarah Jane Smith by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" - November 17th
"You must complete your mission for the Time Lords!"
And so we come to my number one. This will probably come as no surprise to Simon as I have been positively gushing over this little lady from the first moment I saw her on his blog. As a long-time fan of classic “Doctor Who”, especially Tom Baker's era, the divine Miss Smith is firmly entrenched in my heart and this lovely figure is as perfect a rendition of “SJS” as one could wish for. Then we come to Simon’s excellent brushwork and he has certainly done her credit in this department too. His choice of colours is predictably perfect, as is the shading. But what really stands out for me is her face. It is so easy to end up making female figures look like a “chap in a wig”, but not here, she is genuinely pretty! This is a definite must purchase for me and as my hard earned cash drops into the coffers of "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" they will have Simon to thank. The only slight problem I have is will I have the nerve to paint it after seeing this one as I know I’ll be disappointed in mine!

So that’s it, my top ten of the output from the talented brush of Blaxkleric. As I said at the start of this post it was not easy picking just ten figures for this list and honourable mentions have to go to the Cyberking, Queen Victoria, Dr Abner Perry, Starbuck, Black Mist… and the list goes on. There really aren’t any losers on “Fantorical” and there isn’t a figure on display that I wouldn’t have been proud to have painted myself. Simon is a very talented chap and a really nice guy to boot.

Another of this year’s highlights was meeting him face to face at “Salute”. Something I hope we can repeat in the not too distant future as it's your turn to buy the tea if I recall correctly!. 

That just leaves me to say many, many thanks to Simon for letting me loose on his excellent blog for the day, and thank you for reading my nonsense. Normal service will soon be restored I assure you...

If you wish to read what Simon picked as his “top ten” from my years efforts (If he could find ten decent ones that is!), then please follow the link below….
I’ll finish by wishing you all a very good New Year and may your paint pots never dry up.
Cheers Roger.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

"What's The Matter? Can't Talk With A Gun In Your Mouth?"

"Now you think about that when I beat the rap."
These two 28mm miniatures come from “Pulp Figures” Gangland Justice range and comprise of Frank ‘The Mailman’ Cory from Code PGJ 02 Bugs Malarchy’s Mob and one of the of Hired Killers from code PGJ 04 These Guns For Hire.

As I wanted to try and match Bob Murch’s colour scheme for the two gangsters I gave Frank an undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey and his pistol-carrying colleague an initial layer of Heavy Sienna. I then picked out Cory’s trousers with a combination of Heavy Blue and “Citadel” Nuln Oil. Before using “Vallejo” Charred Brown” and some “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade on his violin case. Having picked out the hitman’s buttons with “Citadel” Ironbreaker I finished the model off with a wash of Nuln Oil across his entire overcoat.

Having finished ‘The Mailman’ I used some “Vallejo” Heavy Brown with more Strong Tone Quickshade on his companion’s trousers and a combination of Heavy Bluegrey with “Citadel” Nuln Oil for his hat. Finally the gunman’s brown long jacket was thoroughly washed with (even more) “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
Hulk WIP - The big green giant just needs his teeth, hair and trousers painted to be finished
 I actually started painting these models at the start of the year, but like my Hairy Hominids I somewhat surprisingly lost interest in finishing them a short time later. As they’re not eligible for this year’s Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge I’ve used them as practice pieces for the remaining eight gangster figures I plan to submit as part of this year’s Pulp genre Side Challenge.

In addition to painting some of my “Pulp Figures” I have also managed to make some good progress on one of my “Heroclix” Hulk models, and have not only finished his white shirt. But built up most of green skin as well. All the gamma-giant now needs is for me to finish ‘picking out’ his teeth and dark green hair and he’ll be complete… and I can then get started on a second identical sculpt which will feature his original grey-skinned colour scheme.
"Frostgrave" WIPs - My Bestiary is finally starting to take form.
Lastly I have been pottering away on both some of the models I received courtesy of my much-appreciated Secret Santa gift and another of my “Frostgrave” miniatures. All three of these figures should be reasonably straightforward to complete, given enough time and attention. Although I have decided to go with the “North Star Military Figures” paint scheme on my Imp and paint him partially grey; something which suggests to my mind at least that the tiny demon is partially transforming from stone into living red flesh. 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2015 - WIP - Week Two

Hulk WIPs - The second (original) version will be grey-skinned with blue trousers and a yellow ripped shirt
With the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge now into its second week, I’ve spent quite some considerable time working on the first of hopefully two identical “Heroclix” models of the Incredible Hulk, which I hope to submit into the event's Nostalgia Themed Bonus Round.

Having finally finished painting the green behemoth's feet and torn purple trousers, I'm now slowly working my way through all the rips and tears of Bruce Banner's horrifically torn white shirt. This really is proving rather time-consuming as despite the model being one of my favourite "Wizkids" sculpts, a lot of the jagged pieces of cloth appear to 'melt' into the anti-hero's flesh; so I'm having to paint in some of the detail.

Once finished however, the garment will be washed with some watered-down "Citadel" Nuln Oil, which hopefully should not only give the distressed garment some depth but cover up any especially obvious mistakes I've made. I'm pretty confident that once this stage of painting the miniature is completed that the rest of him, including his teeth and dark green hair, should be reasonably straightforward to finish.   
Cyber Reaver WIPs - The robots still need to washed with a brown ink before their final highlight
In addition to progressing my "Wizkids" models I have also been painting eight Cyber Reavers by "Reaper Miniatures". These rather 'iconic' looking robots are part of a far larger "Gamma World" project including giant walking mutant brains and flying gorillas, which I hope to significantly develop during the duration of the Challenge. However for now I've just been concentrating on these figures as they're proving to be incredibly fragile and prone to bending and the occasional breakage whilst being painted.

Having undercoated them with "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey, washed and then dry-brushed them, I now just need to make them somewhat 'rusty-looking' before I apply a final dry-brush of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and then get to work painting their weapons.
Indiana Jones WIPs - The Carson Smith model comes with a choice of whip or machete
Lastly I've based, gritted and primed three more miniatures from my "Pulp Figures" collection. These figures come from a couple of Bob Murch's packets, and will hopefully form the beginnings of an "Indiana Jones" project I want to get started over the next few months. Many of the models should also be useful as submissions for the Challenge's Gambler/Risk-Taker Bonus Round. For now though I thought I'd see whether I can get my proxies of Marcus Brody, Henry Jones Senior and the famed archaeologist himself finished over the next few weeks... 

Friday, 25 December 2015

"Witches Draw On The Subtle Powers Of Nature For Their Magic..."

"Contrary to popular belief, most Witches are not ugly old women..."
This 28mm pewter model of a Witch is made by “North Star Military Figures” and can be bought together with an appropriately attired apprentice as code FGV110 from their “Frostgrave” range. A hoarder of “oddly-shaped rocks” this Hedge Wizard is to be the leader of a warband destined to scour “the frozen ruins of the city of Felstad” in the near future. But currently only leads a party of one crossbowman

As I wanted this miniature to be similar in appearance and colour to that illustrated within the “Frostgrave” rulebook published by “Osprey Games” I initially undercoated him with some “Citadel” Abaddon Black before working my way up his numerous furs using “Vallejo” Heavy Brown and Heavy Bluegrey. These areas were then washed with either “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade or “Citadel” Nuln Oil. In addition I painted the occasional piece of hairy hide with “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal.
Secret Santa WIPs - These demonic gifts have all been given "Vallejo" Heavy Red undercoats
 As the wizard also seemed to be adorned with a red waist-sash and neckerchief, I painted these garments with Heavy Red, before washing them with “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson. I also used this colour combination on the model’s totem banner. To try and give the impression of the magic-user wearing a leopard-skin shoulder shawl, I first painted the animal skin with “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre, dappled it with spots of Heavy Sienna and then finally applied a layer of Strong Tone Quickshade over the entire piece of clothing.

Lastly I painted the Witch’s skull face and helmet using “Vallejo” White, and gave the figure’s headwear a heavy wash of more Strong Tone Quickshade, before dry-brushing it a little with some additional “Vallejo” White.
Gangster WIPs - Simple but effective sculpts, these "Pulp Figures" should soon be finished
Keeping with the “Frostgrave” theme, I have managed to base, grit and prime my very much appreciated Secret Santa gift. This Imp, Minor Demon and Major Demon will make some wonderful additions to my “North Star Military Figures” collection, and will definitely contribute towards my Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge “Frostgrave” submissions in the near future. Thanks very much indeed.

In addition I have started painting ten gangster models from Bob Murch’s “Gangland Justice” range. I actually started painting the shoes and trousers of these first two criminals during last year’s event, so they aren’t actually eligible entrants for my current Pulp Genre Side-Challenge. But working on them has certainly helped me to obtain an ‘eye’ as to how to paint the rest of these very characterful sculpts and I still own eight more of the ‘hired killers’ which were never progressed beyond basing and an undercoat.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

6mm Zombicide Report: The Middle Eastern Alliance Verses The British Army

This game was played predominantly using the ‘Season One’ rules of “Zombicide” by “Guillotine Games”. However in order to better represent the spirit of "Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat" by "Mongoose Publishing" we used some homemade "Hurlbat" terrain tiles and a handful of resin buildings produced by "Baccus 6mm". As I wanted to try out the rules playing with modern military forces, and have plenty of painted “Micro Armour” models ready for the table, we simply swapped the Survivors and Walkers, with Fedayeen, Rifleman sections and Land Rovers.

“The story so far… The British Army have recently seized control of Carrion City. From there they plan to strike west and capture Vampiville; a heavily fortified town which comprises of inner and outer settlements. Aware of its military importance the local Revered Leader has deployed a small number of dedicated civilian troops armed with AK-103 automatic rifles to delay the British until such time as the Middle Eastern Alliance can arrive. Realising they must strike now the British have ordered the Land Rovers of Alpha Team to race west and establish a cordon around Vampiville. Whilst the riflemen of Bravo Team are to follow and once reunited with their colleagues take both parts of the town...
Before we started Alpha Team were awarded the skill 2 Zones per Move Action on account of their transportation. Whilst Bravo Team started the game already armed with L85A2 assault rifles. The objective was simple in that both Teams had to reach the interior of Vampiville. All the other rules of the "Zombicide" Tutorial scenario, such as a reduced Fedayeen deck and special starting equipment, were followed. Which meant that the game started with two of the Revered Leader’s Fedayeen Squads already in play….
Better equipping themselves for the task at hand Alpha Team lingered within Carrion City in order to collect some L85A2 assault rifles. While Bravo Team made contact with some local 'friendlies' who would assist them in stealthily departing the settlement. To the north and west the Fedayeen squads moved in to surround the British Army and pin them inside. Sensing that battle was about to commence the Revered Leader motivated another group of the fanatically dedicated troops to arrive.
Bravo Team fired into the Fedayeen to Carrion City's west, before striking out along the south coast. Alpha Team took a little longer to dispatch their opponents to the north. but having done so drove their Land Rovers hard and reached the northern coast. The remaining Fedayeen squad travelled east. Whilst their Revered Leader created another group of troops.
Alpha Team drove to the outskirts of Vampiville, deployed its riflemen, and dispatched the enemy soldiers who had been travelling east from the location of the Revered Leader. Bravo Team shortly arrived at their location, and prepared to use their 'friendlies' to create an opening through the settlement's outer defences. The one remaining Fedayeen Squad travelled towards the British positions, and no new troops appeared.
Bravo Team used the 'friendlies' intelligence to enter Vampiville's outermost buildings and were horrified to find two Fedayeen Squads guarding them. British surveillance also revealed a third squad of enemy troops stationed within the settlement's inner area. The town was clearly well-garrisoned. Bravo Team set to work trying to clear the buildings of the Middle Eastern Alliance forces and managed to destroy one of the squads protecting the outer dwellings. Alpha Team provided additional support and helped completely clear the immediate area of both Fedayeen Squads; including the civilian troops approaching from the south. Eager to repel the British from their settlement, the Revered Leader's soldiers deep inside Vampiville moved east to set up operations in the town's now vacant defences. Whilst their commander created two more Fedayeen Squads in the south-west.
Alpha Team poured all their firepower into the town's remaining defenders. But failed to budge them. It therefore fell to Bravo Team to (finally) take Vampiville's outer buildings, and garrison the place before the arrival of the imminent Fedayeen reinforcements. The troops recently created by the Revered Leader rushed north and into the settlement, inspired by the creation of yet another squad behind them.
As the desperate city fighting ensued Bravo Team managed to disperse one of the Fedayeen Squads. The British's effort was not going to be enough to hold the outer town however until Alpha Team drove their Land Rovers down the settlement's streets and finally cleared them of opposition. Such a hard-fought victory was only fleeting though as more of the Middle Eastern Alliance's forces arrived to contest Vampiville from the south and the Revered Leader even managed to conjure up enough support for another squad to appear in the south-west.
Realising it was 'do or die' Alpha Team defeated their Fedayeen opponents in the outer buildings and pushed west to take the undefended interior area of the settlement as well. The British Army now held the entirety of Vampiville...

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2015 - WIP - Week One

"Heroclix" WIPs - Daredevil should soon be finished. But as for the detailed incredible Hulks...
With the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge now (finally) underway, I’ve started applying some paint to the first of my planned submissions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the quantity of “Wizkids” models I (re)paint, the first figures on my painting table are three “Heroclix” sculpts, which once complete should not only provide me with my ‘Tip to the Croupier’. But should also give me my entry into the Nostalgia Themed Bonus Round.

I have already tidied up the all-red costume of my ‘Man Without Fear’ by applying a second layer of “Vallejo” Heavy Red to the super-hero’s undercoat, and black-lined the areas around his mask and baton. All Daredevil really requires now is a strong red wash, and some work on his flesh and he’ll be ready for a trip across the Pond as my ‘Curtgeld’.
"Frostgrave" WIPs - The Ice Toad and Medium Construct need a little tidying up before being washed
I don’t however think my two versions of the Hulk will be quite so easy to paint. Having started work on their bases and (imminently purple) trousers, I’ve discovered just how painstakingly well-sculpted the brutes are as the artisan who fashioned these figures has clearly gone to town making their torn garments fantastically irregular and shredded. Certainly it’s going to take some time to pick out with a paintbrush all their little jagged areas of ripped cloth… I do however have a back-up plan though if the deadline for the Themed Bonus Round gets too close; six not-Cylon models by “Nexus Miniatures”.

In addition to my main priorities I hope, over the next week or so, to apply some paint on a handful of the “Frostgrave” animals and constructs I currently own, and get some points on the table for one of my Side-Challenges. I don’t now plan to order any more models from “North Star Military Models” until the New Year, as my ‘Secret Santa’ has arrived from that very company and I don’t want to risk already owning whatever figures are contained within my gift. It really is early days yet for these sculpts, with the Ice Toad proving especially time consuming on account of its long slender fingers and toes.
Brave And The Bold WIPs - These futuristic versions of the Flash and Batman carry big guns 
 Finally an impulse ‘Black Friday’ purchase has arrived from Poland in the shape of some plastic “Puppets Of War” science fiction superheroes. I’m hoping I can use this heavily-armoured futuristic Batman and the Flash to take on some of the “Prodos Games” armed zombies I bought whilst at “Salute” earlier this year…

Friday, 18 December 2015

"Although They Are Uncommon In The Ruins..."

"... Some soldiers do carry crossbows."
This 28mm model of a crossbowman is manufactured by “North Star Military Figures” and is comprised of assorted pieces from their Frostgrave Soldiers twenty multi-part hard plastic boxed set. Carrying a crossbow and dagger, as well as wearing leather armour, the soldier is the first of two such armed men I plan to have within my wizard’s warband, and costs 50 gold pieces.

Having initially built the figure using some ‘Contacta Professional’ liquid glue for plastics by “Revell”, and then added even more equipment from one of the box’s sprues onto the infantryman’s back, I gave the model an undercoat of “Citadel” Abaddon Black. Once this was dry I slowly worked my way up the model, using various combinations of “Vallejo” paints and “Citadel” washes as I went.

The most predominant colours used were “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna for the mercenary’s boots, gloves and backpack, Charred Brown for one of his pouches and crossbow, Heavy Brown for his leggings, a rope coil, another pouch and his waist bag, and “Citadel” Doombull Brown for his flesh. All of these areas were then given a coat of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
Witch WIP - The warlock now needs only his skull helmet to be painted White to be completed
 To add some brighter colours to my Crossbowman’s assemble I used “Vallejo” Heavy Green and “Citadel” Thrakka Green for his robe, “Vallejo” Heavy Blue and “Citadel” Nuln Oil for his undergarment and leggings, and “Vallejo” Heavy Red and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson for his scarf and waistband. As I wanted the Moor’s simple cauldron-shaped helmet to appear an old battered piece of armour, I gave that a coat of “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey before heavily washing it with “Citadel” Nuln Oil.

Having completed the first of my party’s members, I’m now close to completing its leader, a Witch. This ‘brewer of potions’ from a distant, much hotter land, has proved to be as equally difficult and time-consuming to paint as the Crossbowman, because the sculpt is absolutely packed full of intricate and brightly-coloured detail; such as his totem’s bright red face.
"Frostgrave" WIPs - A Snow Leopard, a Medium Construct and an Ice Toad 
Finally I have based a few more “North Star Military Miniatures” in anticipation of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and my participation in the event’s “Frostgrave” Side-Challenge. This four-way battle will determine who can paint the most points of “Frostgrave” related figures; including both official figures as well as other fantasy models which are thematically appropriate. The losers have to construct and paint the winner a piece of suitable scenery… So I’m already thinking about using up some of the spare parts from my plastic sprues as half snow-buried weapon caches and statues, and offering the eventual ‘champion’ their choice of my efforts. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2015 - Preview - "Lizard Nazi Soldiers" By "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio"

Lizard Nazi Soldier WIPs - These dinosaur-headed fiends have already had their tails pinned in position
With the start of the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge less than a week away I’ve been basing and priming a number of small mini-projects which I hope to complete over the next three months.

One of these planned undertakings will be to complete a number of “models from season one of Danger 5” by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio”. The company actually produce a range of official models based upon the Australian action comedy television series, including the “bizarre, 1960’s inspired version of World War Two” spy team which are sent on a mission “to kill Adolf Hitler”.
Human Nazi Soldier WIPs - These typical German goons will be painted as Sturmabteilung
Having previously painted the Fuhrer I’ve subsequently bought six Human Goons, all armed with Schnesisser machine guns “and Aryan haircuts”, as well as nine of their wonderful looking Lizardmen of the Third Reich. Advertised as being “ideal for guarding Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace” I actually plan for these miniatures to be led by none other than Johann Shmidt, perhaps better known as the Red Skull. So have prepped their “7TV” Second Edition Hugo Weaving lookalike Despotic Dictator model as well
Despotic Dictator WIP - The villain will conceal his trademark disfigured face beneath a normal-looking mask
In addition I have also started to undercoat some of the other figures from the "Crooked Dice" "Danger 5: Starter Set". Colonel Chestbridge is the eagle-headed leader of the international task force and comes armed with his infamous "Sit down gun!"

Sunday, 13 December 2015

"Sure The Fight Was Fixed. I Fixed It With A Right Hand."

"I'm a winner each and every time I go into the ring."
This 28mm metal of Butch ‘Killer’ Davis is made by “Reaper Miniatures” and comes from their “Chronoscope” range. Sculpted by Tim Prow, this figure arguably makes a somewhat svelte-looking George Foreman; the two-time world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medallist.

As the boxer had originally been undercoated with the now OOP “Citadel” Dark Flesh, it was initially given a thin layer of Doombull Brown so I could correct any subsequent mistakes without worrying about my new-pigmented paint jarring with the old colour. The athlete’s boots and shorts were painted using predominantly a combination of “Vallejo” White and the transparent acrylic Pale Grey. Although I did also dab a little “Citadel” Nuln Oil around the outside of the fighter’s laces in order to try and give them a little more shadow.

In order to emulate one of Foreman’s more prevalent kit colour schemes, the model’s boxing gloves were given a coat of “Vallejo” Heavy Red, before being heavily washed with “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson. Finally the American’s skin was treated to a coat of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
Cyber Reaver WIPs - Sixteen of these rather fragile robots will eventually be stalking my tabletop
Butch 'Killer' Davis is the first in a whole line of “Reaper Miniatures” I plan to paint as part of my resurrected “Gamma World” project. Some of these models I actually began working on quite a few years ago. Whilst others have simply been sat gathering dust in their blisters or on my shelves. The 2015 Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge should hopefully prove a good opportunity to get many of my untouched backlog painted; especially my small(ish) collection of Cyber Reavers. I plan for these Terminator-like robots to be the main villains of my games, searching the radioactive wastelands for “precious Omega Tech whilst battling” any survivors of the world’s “mythical future disaster.”

In addition I’ve found myself motivated to prime and base a couple of miniatures found on some of my fellow Bloggers’ websites. I actually bought Denver, Zombie Survivor, as a result of seeing Bryan’s terrific posting on “Vampifan’s World Of The Undead”. I’m not actually sure I’ll be using the model as an actual “mutant hero” for my games. But will probably use him as either an objective or encounter which will provide my protagonists with an opportunity to acquire supplies and weapons from within his wheeled suitcase. Having said that though, I didn’t want to rule out using Denver entirely so have based him upon a lipped base as opposed to the flat circular stands I ordinarily use for my objectives.
Giant Worm WIP - The "Bones" model stands a formidable 69mm in height
 My “Bones” Great Worm was bought on a whim whilst visiting the “Orcs Nest” store in London a couple of years ago. Unlike Denver, it has actually been out of its packaging and based for quite a while. But having seen Hugh’s very recent posting of his painted version on his blog “Colgar6 And The infinite Legion Of Toy Soldiers” I thought it was high time to get the impressively large plastic model undercoated and ready for painting…

Friday, 11 December 2015

"By Your Command."

 "All base ships are now in range to attack the colonies."
These three 28mm metal Caprican Legion Trooper miniatures are made by “Nexus Miniatures” and are from their “Superhero Dinosaur Zombie Apocalypse” range. The figures were bought as part of the manufacturer’s ‘By Your Command’ deal and come in multiple parts with two different heads and a choice of hand-weapons. They make for cracking Cylons, as seen in the 1978 Science fiction television series “Battlestar Galactica”.
"Our raiders are all destroyed. Apparently, it was not as big a surprise as we had hoped for."
 The robots were initially all undercoated with “Citadel” Abaddon Black and two of the Centurions then had their numerous armour plates painted with Ironbreaker. These areas were then washed with Nuln Oil before being roughly dry-brushed, using a number 2 “Winsor & Newton” brush, with more Ironbreaker. The Cylon’s sword/dagger scabbards were then painted using a combination of “Vallejo” Charred Brown and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.

As I wanted the third model to represent the Commander Vulpa, from the two-parter “The Gun On Ice Planet Zero”, I gave the sculpt’s various areas of armour a coat of “Vallejo” Gold, as opposed to “Citadel” Ironbreaker, and then gave the Command Centurion a wash with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Finally I ‘dry-brushed’ these parts with more “Vallejo” Gold.
Colonial Pilot WIPs - Once the warriors' trousers are finished, their brown jackets will be painted next
 I actually own six more of these characterful Caprican Legion Troopers. But having based and primed them, I don’t now plan on painting them until after the beginning of the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge later this month. I have though instead continued painting the three ‘Colonial Warriors’ I started working on a short while ago. These miniatures, code NXDT Dino-Rangers (Helios, Galicia & Joey). have all been converted using the D-Ranger Helmets from code NX-16. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2015 - Preview - The Pulp Challenge

Pulp WIPs - Clark Savage Junior, Brigadier General Brooks & Colonel Renwick
As the start of the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge looms ever closer I have been busily basing and priming a number of miniatures from my collection I’ve identified as being suitable submissions for one of the event's side-challenges, namely the Pulp Challenge. This four-way titanic tussle will determine who can paint the most points in Pulp adventure figures over the three months of the event; with the eventual winner receiving a painted figure from each of the vanquished.
Pulp WIPs - Lieutenant Colonel Mayfair, Major Roberts & Britt Reid
Last year I ended up painting the rather mysterious heroic-looking Black Mist by “Reaper Miniatures” having been bested by Curt towards the end of the event. This Challenge I hope the outcome will be somewhat different, and as a result I am in the process of preparing my sizeable collection of “Pulp Figures” in readiness.

To begin with I hope to work my way through Bob Murch’s obvious ‘sculpted take’ of Doc Savage and some of his infamous aides. Sold as “Doc Thompson & His Fabulous Four”, these figures should prove great fun to paint and represent the Man of Bronze, along with Monk, Ham, Renny and Long Tom. Only the geologist Johnny would appear to be missing from the set. But fortunately the range has a suitable figure in another of its packets; along with an infinitely more recognisable archaeologist…
Pulp WIPs - Richard Wentworth, Louise Mason & Kato
I have also ‘made ready’ all of the miniatures found within Bob’s terrific Mysterious Masked Avengers set. These really are four cracking figures, and should make for a very nice looking Green Hornet & Kato, The Spider and Blonde Phantom. In addition, as these sculpts stem from the 'pulp fiction' past, they’ll make for an excellent alternative entry to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’s Nostalgia themed bonus round if I can’t manage to get my intended submission painted in time.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

"This Is A Story Of Long, Long Ago; When The World Was Just Beginning."

This metal model of Raquel Scotch is from “Antediluvian Miniatures” range of 28mm Adventurers. The sculpt is clearly based upon the character of Loana, a member of the Shell Tribe from the 1966 Fantasy-Adventure motion picture “One Million Years B.C.”.
Three adventurers battle Hairy Hominids at the Earth's core
The cave woman was initially undercoated with “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone. Her furs were painted using Heavy Sienna and her spear with “Citadel” Doombull Brown. Both of these areas, along with the savage's "Vallejo" Heavy Brown hair were then washed with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. The figure’s flint spear-point was painted using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey and “Citadel” Nuln Oil. Finally all of Loana's areas of skin were given a wash of watered-down Reikland Fleshshade.
Butch Davis WIP - This boxer's colour scheme will be very similar to that of George Foreman
In addition to finishing the third and last of my 'Lost World Adventurers' I have also once again started work on my backlog of partially painted "Chronoscope" figures by "Reaper Miniatures". This sculpt of Butch 'Killer' Davis has been either sat in a drawer or left discarded upon my painting table for quite a few years now and was bought as part of a number of science fiction figures I still hope to use for some games based upon "Gamma World"; "A wacky, wily game of postapocalyptic peril" by "Wizards Of The Coast".

Friday, 4 December 2015

"It's Accelerating. How Long Before A Medical Team Arrives?"

"Good grief! It wasn't like that an hour ago."
This 28mm metal model of a Failed Experiment Minion is from code SKU: 26 and is made by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio”. The figure is one of several similar miniatures I am currently progressing in order to represent some of the hapless staff of botanist Harrison Chase, from the 1976 British Science Fiction television serial "Doctor Who And The Seeds Of Doom". 

Having first pinned and superglued a Human ‘Hard Hat’ Minion Head to the torso, as well as a Failed Experiment Arm to his sleeve, I gave the 'doomed' Chase Manor Security Guard an undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy Blue. I then picked out the ‘infected’ plant-zombie’s zipper and name badge clipper with “Citadel” Iron Breaker before washing both these metallic areas and the chap’s headwear and jumpsuit with Nuln Oil. The goon’s tendril was painted using a combination of Vallejo “Heavy Grey”, Heavy Red, “Citadel” Thrakka Green and Carroburg Crimson, and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. This heavily-suckered vegetable growth was then dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Heavy Grey. The former human’s flesh was painted predominantly using Heavy Skintone and some watered down “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade. Although for the 'infected' hand and part of his face I used Vallejo “Heavy Grey” and "Citadel" Thrakka Green.
A.S.P. Trooper WIPs - The Gold Centurion's armour will be be muted by a Strong Tone Quickshade wash
In addition I've been working my way through my growing collection of "Nexus Miniatures" and been concentrating on some of the company's A.S.P. Trooper models. These sculpts are wonderfully reminiscent of the Cylons from the 1978 American Science Fiction television series "Battlestar Galactica". I've a number of such figures already undercoated, ready for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. But as I had already started to paint a few of the robots up, in both silver and gold armour, I thought I would use them as test pieces. I have even started to try and finish another of the first of my 'faceless' Colonial Warriors using a converted NX15 (D-Ranger Codenamed Joey) torso and one of the D-Ranger Helmets from code NX16.
Dust Tactics WIPS - These three models have been gathering dust for many months
Finally, as my long-awaited and highly-anticipated Second Wave of miniatures from the "Dust: Operation Babylon" kickstarter has finally arrived, I have started to recommence work on a small number of my "Dust Tactics" models, starting with these Allied Grim Reapers.