Sunday, 28 February 2016

"Constructs... Have Been Animated With A Magic Semblance Of Life."

"Known as golems when built in vaguely humanoid forms..."
This 28mm metal model of a Medium Construct is made by “North Star Military Figures” and can be bought together with a Small Construct as code FGV303 from their “Frostgrave” range. As I originally planned on painting the artificially created object all the same colour I initially undercoated my 'wood golem' with “Vallejo” Heavy Brown. However I then changed my mind and applied some Heavy Sienna to some of the animated creature's limbs, and washed all of these areas with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.

I actually tried to let the ink pool in certain places on the model in order to try and give the impression of the wood being somewhat rotten on account of Felstad's chilly damp climate and frequent snowy weather causing the construct to become wet and somewhat slimy. As a result, believing this would make the miniature look a little too dry, I decided against lightly brushing the figure with more "Vallejo" Heavy Brown and Heavy Sienna; a technique which I would ordinarily employ in order to bring out the sculpt's detail.
Evil Hooded Minions WIPs - These staples of the Pulp Era fiction have been primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Violet
In addition to painting another "Frostgrave" construct I am also steadily basing and priming the rest of Bob Murch's wonderful Evil Hooded Minions for the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I plan to submit ten of these "Pulp Figures" next week as part of my entry in the event's Pulp Side-Challenge and get 'Murch March' off to a flying start...

One of the things I have been struggling to find inspiration for has been the weird god these "nefarious members of a criminal cult" could be worshipping beneath the streets of New York City. Fortunately Jez of "Carrion Crow's Buffet" fame came to my rescue by very kindly sending me an impressivelt detailed (and large) "Heroscape" Dund. Initially I had intended this "four-eyed mutant dog-thing" to be an encounter for my slowly progressing "Gamma World" project. But as I imagine the "Weird Menace" threatening the Free World to have it's headquarters deep underground within the metropolis' sewers, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than them praying to a mutated rat-creature.
"Heroscape" Dund WIP - This hunting hound of Nullondia is destined to be the Dark God 'Carrion'
Having re-based the 'Dark God' upon a "Citadel" 70 x 25mm Oval base, I've so far managed to undercoat 'Carrion' with some "Vallejo" Heavy Warmgrey and subsequently wash him with some watered-down "Citadel" Druchi Violet.

Friday, 26 February 2016

"Constructs Are Artificially Created Objects..."

"But constructs made of stone, bone, plants and even paper are all possible."
This 28mm metal model of a Stone Construct is made by “North Star Military Figures” and can be bought together with a Flesh Golem as code FGV306 from their “Frostgrave” range. 

The model was given an undercoat of “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey before being heavily washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil. To bring out the sculpt’s detail the “artificially created object” was then dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey and treated to some intermittent washes of “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. These areas were then given (yet) another dry-brush with “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey.
Evil Hooded Minions WIPs - These staples of the Pulp Era fiction have been primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Violet
In addition to adding a construct to my ever increasing "Frostgrave" bestiary I have also been basing and priming some of Bob Murch's wonderful Evil Hooded Minions for the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. These "Pulp Figures" will hopefully be submitted as part of my entry in the event's Pulp Side-Challenge and prove worthy tabletop adversaries to the 'Boys In Blue' that I completed this time last year.

I've actually undercoated all ten of the "nefarious members of a criminal cult" purple in order to help replicate the eye-catchingly rich violet colour scheme of the miniatures as depicted on the sculptor's website. Though as a handful of the figures come with detachable hands and weapons, I have tried to differ a few of the model's arrangements from those shown within the "Weird Menace" range catalogue.
Batman Miniature Game WIPs - Batman, Alfred and the Red Hood (Joker)
It was perhaps inevitable given the recent release of "DC Comics" eight-issue limited series "The Dark Knight III: The Master Race" by Frank Miller, as well as the amount of attention the miniatures receive from various notable bloggers, that I would finally purchase and start to paint some of the sculpts from the "Batman Miniatures Game" by "Knight Models".

Indeed I've actually had these three beautifully detailed models waiting in the wings for some time. However, having bought the Frank Miller version of Batman, I found the somewhat unbalanced metal figure rather difficult to keep upright on its moulded base despite desperately trying to weigh the miniature down. In the end I came to the grim conclusion that in order to stop it consistently toppling over I would have to remove the Caped Crusader from his perilous rooftop perch and plumb for an infinitely more stable 40mm lipped circular base instead.

To dampen my enthusiasm for the skirmish game even more so I also encountered a few issues whilst pinning the Red Hood (Joker) together, as the "exclusive" miniature's billowing cloak and thin straight gun arm both required some significant drilling in order to remain solidly attached to the sculpt's main torso. Only Alfred the Butler proved an easy model to base and undercoat.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

"This Whole Thing Was A Trap."

"Besides it looks like the bones were bent straight out."
This rather large 40mm pre-painted plastic "Wizkids" model of an Alien is from the "Horrorclix" AVP Alien Verses Predator: Aliens Collector's Set. The sculpt is based upon the extra-terrestrials which attacked Charles Bishop's doomed expedition to Antarctica in the 2004 science-fiction horror film "Alien Verses Predator", and like the vast majority of my "Horrorclix" collection was generously gifted to me by Bryan from the "Vampifan's World Of The Undead" website.

The miniature originally came complete with a hapless scientist as part of a small vignette. But as I initially planned on just using the Alien I removed it from the model's 'clicky base' and set about trying to work out whether I could also detach the "serpent" as well. After a bit of head-scratching it became evident that the creature would be hard to place upon an essentially flat-surfaced stand without it's pose looking especially odd. So I eventually decided to leave the monster attached to his ornately carved Inca-inspired stone column and simply superglue the assemble onto a thin-lipped circular 40mm bases in order for me to use it as an Alien spawn marker.
"The hunters would battle with these great serpents to prove themselves worthy to carry the mark."
Having decided how I was going to use the model on the tabletop I gave the vicious monster an undercoat of "Citadel" Abaddon Black and subsequently dry-brushed the model with "Vallejo" German Grey. Once I was satisfied I had 'highlighted' all of the Alien's well-sculpted detail I washed the figure with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and then applied a second, significantly lighter dry-brush of "Vallejo" German Grey over its more prominently raised surfaces. The Alien's mouth was painted using a combination of "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey and "Citadel" Nuln Oil, whilst its head's carapace was given a coat of Abaddon Black.

Finally I painted the Alien's stone column using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Brown and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. This piece of scenery was then dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Heavy Brown.

In addition to my Alien spawn marker I have also painted three more of the Xenomorph drones which Weyland and his team encountered deep beneath Bouvet Island. These Aliens were all painted in exactly the same way as all my other "Horrorclix" models of the endoparasitoid extraterrestrial arthropodal species.
Daughter Of S.H.I.V.A. WIPs - These masters of unarmed combat will all be dressed in purple with grey fur
With the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge now heading towards its home straight I have started to turn my attention towards the last of the miniatures I want to submit as entries into one of the event's side-challenges, namely the Pulp Challenge. This four-way 'fist-fight' will determine who can paint the most points in Pulp adventure figures, with the competition's winner receiving a painted figure from each of the vanquished.

To begin with I'll actually be starting with three models I only purchased recently, on account of "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" finally (and fleetingly) making their Daughter of S.H.I.V.A. (classic) sculpts available again. Ultimately, when I can purchase some additional models, I plan to use these "lithe, beautiful, agile and extremely deadly... female assassins" as minions for my "Heroclix" Lady Shiva. But for now they'll simply suffice as some of the more colourfully-costumed pulp goons for my Evil Mastermind.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

28mm ZTV2 Battle Report: Lobster Johnson, Molly Hayes, Moon Knight & Doctor Who Verses Rasputin, The Joker, Travis & The Grey Hulk - Act Two

“The story so far… Lobster Johnson and a team of heroes have cornered the mad monk Rasputin in the dimension of the Ogdru Jahad, in order to thwart the servant of the Dark Gods' latest nefarious plan. Having already defeated the Federation Space Commander Travis, the New York City vigilante must push home his numerical advantage against the Mad Monk and his remaining villainous brethren..."

Turn One of Act Two began with the Joker behaving like a “Diva!” and insisting that no-one could strike at him until the start of the villain’s next turn. The Clown Prince of Crime then opened fire with his pistols upon Moon Knight, and despite Marc Spector desperately trying to be Lucky, caused his opponent a single bullet wound. Nearby the Grey Hulk elected to collect the statue objective marker and gain is side two additional plot points before lumbering south towards an injured Moon Knight and Molly Hayes. Rasputin meanwhile, found his mad self just within range of Lobster Johnson and charged into his foe. The Sinister Mystic’s target was already weakened, and courtesy of the monk’s Psychic special effect and Crystal Knife suffered two murderous wounds.
Fortunately for the heroes, Turn Two saw Rasputin suddenly suffer with “Stage Fright” and therefore count his Defence at -1 for the turn. Molly Hayes quickly collected the oil barrel objective marker, whilst Doctor Who kindly rescued some hapless ducklings simultaneously. This generated four additional plot points for Lobster Johnson’s super-team and Moon Knight quickly put them to good use by inadvertently forgetting the Joker’s “Diva!” status and wounding the green-haired crook with a crescent moon-shaped throwing blade. Hoping to press home his advantage, and finish off the cackling maniac, the Action hero activated his Star Quality Burst of Action in order to make an (another) immediate shoot action. Sadly Spector’s aim was off-target… utilising a plot point himself in order to remove his weakened status, Lobster Johnson punched the mad monk straight in the nose, causing Rasputin to gain the weakened status himself. The vigilante then produced a Sleep Spray and stunned the villain with the gadget.
As Turn Three would entail some “Location Filming” Rasputin and his comrades in crime could only spend half of their meagre plot points in activating models for this turn. Fortunately the Joker’s Leader(2) special effect meant his colleagues could activate for free as they were both within six inches of the Clown Prince of Crime. The grinning psychopath continued to rain hot lead towards Moon Knight. But the Egyptian deity Khonshu was clearly watching over his agent, as not a single bullet struck the white-cowled superhero. Worryingly however, the Grey Hulk stomped southwest towards Marc Spector’s location and would have attempted to smash him to the ground if not for his pedestrian four inch Move. Rasputin used a plot point to remove his stunned status, stood up and then failed miserably to capture Lobster Johnson with his Disorientating Gaze.
Turn Four began with a “Stuntman [being] Required”. But as there were no Extras on the set the Countdown Card had no effect on the battle taking place. Instead Lobster Johnson opened up with his pistol at Rasputin and wounded the mad monk with the first of his two shots. Inspired by the vigilante’s success, Moon Knight charged the Grey Hulk and having successfully passed a Spirit Test in order to attack the Fearsome Marauding Monster, Marc Spector actually managed to wound the brute. Meanwhile Molly Hayes moved east towards the Grey Hulk, whilst Doctor Who scampered east and rested beside a boulder.
With the second load of advertisements starting in but a turn's time, and Act Three due to commence once they'd finished, it currently looked like the heroes were likely to attain a momentous Decisive Victory over Rasputin and his diabolical brethren by six Victory Points to one… But during the third part of this episode anything could happen and the Dark Gods' black-robed servant would demonstrate just how dangerous a foe he really was...

Friday, 19 February 2016

"These Large And Ponderous Amphibians Have Devastatingly Powerful Jaws..."

"It is generally best to avoid them."
This 28mm metal model of an Ice Toad is made by “North Star Military Figures” and can be bought together with a Snow Leopard as code FGV301 from their “Frostgrave” range. The model was given an undercoat of “Vallejo” White before being heavily washed with Pale Grey. The back of the short stout-bodied beast was then dabbed with more White using a face blusher pad. Finally its sharp pointed teeth were painted using a combination of White and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade.
Templar WIPs - The soldier now just needs his waist-dagger, sword and amour painted
Sticking with this month’s “Frostgrave” theme I have been persevering with the painting on my warband's Templar. Having decided that I was going to paint the mail armoured soldier's tunic pure white, I have been busy shadowing the garment with "Vallejo" Pale Grey. In addition I have used some Heavy Sienna to pick out his belt and shoulder strap. Now all I need do it apply some metallic paints and appropriate washes to his waist-dagger, chain mail, two-handed sword and helmet, and the warrior will be finished...

One of my (many) ongoing side-projects is to paint up a sizeable force of plastic "Wizkids" Alien models from the company's "Horrorclix" AVP Alien Verses Predator: Aliens Collector's Set to use as replacement 'toxic zombies' for some H.R. Giger-inspired games of “Zombicide”.
Marrden Nagrub WIPs - These H.R. Giger-inspired models simply need a black wash to be finished
I was actually close to finishing this 'diversion' and had thought the four plastic 40mm miniatures I was planning on posting next week would be the end of the matter. Clearly Jez of "Carrion Crow's Buffet" fame had other ideas for me though, and very kindly sent me three "Heroscape" Marrden Nagrub figures to bolster my aggressive extra-terrestrial forces. 

These wonderful "Wizards Of The Coast" sculpts were originally pre-painted bone with green chitinous armour. But as I thought they'd make excellent Alien dog-creatures, and act as 'toxic runners' for "Zombicide", I have undercoated them black and highlighted them with "Vallejo" German Grey in exactly the same way as I have with my "Horrorclix" Aliens. All these evil-looking canines now need is some additional washing with "Citadel" Nuln Oil in order to be finished... and a good job too as I have another eighteen currently making their way to me from across the Pond courtesy of the store "All Things Herocape".

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

"If The Yeti Are In London, Then The Intelligence Is Here Too."

"Don't run, Victoria, but there's a Yeti over there, on the platform."
These six 28mm metal models are based upon the robot Yeti from the British Science Fiction television adventure “Doctor Who” story "The Abominable Snowmen". This six-part serial formed part Season Four back in September 1967 when Patrick Troughton was the (second) Doctor.

Produced by “Black Tree Design” under codes DW204 Yeti and DW209 Yeti Attacking, the Great Intelligence’s mechanical monstrosities were first undercoated with either “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna or Heavy Brown and then all given a healthy wash of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Each miniature was then treated to a further wash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil" around their eyes and claws.
"The Yeti have dealt with the explosives here, and I'm willing to bet they'll do the same... at Holborn as well."
Having finished shading all the ‘hairy beasties’, they were then dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna or Heavy Brown (as appropriate) before I picked out their eyes with “Heavy Goldbrown”, and their claws with White. Both of these areas were then washed with more of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Finally the eyes were highlighted with some additional “Vallejo” Heavy Goldbrown.

As I've now decided to plough full steam into "Age Of Sigmar" by “Games Workshop”, and bought the rather impressive Starter Set as a result, I have spent a little time over the past few days putting together a few of Plaguebearers of Nurgle which I found still sat in their original "Warhammer 40K/Warhammer Fantasy" box. Indeed their container had sat upon one of my shelves unloved for so long that I even still had to remove its cellophane before I could get to work on the ten assorted multi-part figures inside...
Plaguebearers Of Nurgle WIPs - These daemons need to be dry-brushed and have their putrid details picked out
I've a few ideas as to what rule systems I want to use these incredibly characterful miniatures for, not least of which will be "Zombicide: Black Plague". But as initially I hope to use them with "Age Of Sigmar", I have super-glued them on to some of the game's new (and apparently somewhat contentious) 32mm round bases. This additional girth has actually given the models a bit more stability, as well as some extra room with which to place a few of the little Nurgling figures found accompanying them on their plastic sprues.

For now though I have simply gone with three reasonably straightforward poses, and kept their stands clear of any distractions. As with the three bases of Nurglings I've currently got in my painting queue, I have initially undercoated these daemons with "Vallejo" Khaki and rather liberally washed them with "Citadel" Thrakka Green.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

"The Largest And Most Vicious Of The Big Cats Around Frostgrave..."

"They have no fear of humans and will attack if they are hungry or feel threatened."
This 28mm metal model of a Snow Leopard is made by “North Star Military Figures” and can be bought together with an Ice Toad as code FGV301 from their “Frostgrave” range. As I originally planned to paint the “big cat” with the black and cream rosettes depicted on the blister’s packaging illustration artwork I initially undercoated the “dangerous hunter” with some “Vallejo” White and washed it with the transparent acrylic Pale Grey. I then dry-brushed the animal with more White before trying my hand at its markings.

Disappointingly I found my skill with the fine brush somewhat lacking, and after a couple of failed attempts elected to simply give my Snow Leopard a slightly discoloured fur coat by dabbing some watered-down “Citadel” Rakarth Flesh over the top of it using a face blusher pad. This rather simple painting technique allowed the Base paint to blend in with the beast’s undercoat and leave its underbelly and inner legs an untouched white.
Hydro-Man WIPs - The criminal still needs lots of increasingly light blue layers to be dry-brushed 
Having finished painting another of the "random encounters" documented within the "Frostgrave" Bestiary, I have managed to undercoat and start dry-brushing a wonderfully large "Horrorclix" sculpt of the Reaper of Souls which was kindly gifted to me by Bryan of "Vampifan's World Of The Undead" fame. This model of Death, complete with enormous scythe, genuinely towers over his 40mm circular base and will hopefully make many a 'guest appearance' on my "Zombicide" tabletop as an alternative Abomination. 

With just two weeks until the Nautical Themed Round of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge I have begun work on a "Heroclix" figure of Hydro-Man. This pre-painted model of Morris Bench is predominantly comprised of clear blue plastic. But as I wanted to try and highlight the wave crests found upon his watery limbs, I have painted the entire miniature with an initial coat of "Vallejo" Turquoise, washed it with "Citadel" Asurmen Blue" and started to try and build up the super-villain's liquid layers.
007 WIPs - It's early days yet for both Bond and Blofelt
Finally I have received my latest order from "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio", amongst which were both a cracking pulp secret agent and dastardly criminal mastermind. Perhaps unsurprisingly I plan to paint these two models as James (Sean Connery) Bond and Ernst (Donald Pleasance) Blofeld; with the characterful sculpts immediately leaping to the top of my painting queue as a result.

In addition they have helped galvanise me into starting to paint the first of my Nazi Henchmen, as my proposed 'brown shirt' colour scheme for the Fuhrer's goose-stepping goons perfectly matches that of the global criminal organisation's leader.

Friday, 12 February 2016

"-- Men Settle Their Quarrels Like Men!"

"But the stranger only grinned a wolfish unsettling grin --"
This 28mm metal model of a Barbarian is made by “North Star Military Figures” and can be bought together with a Thief as code FGV201 from their “Frostgrave” range. As I wanted to paint this wonderful sculpt to represent a young Conan the Cimmerian from the 1932 short story “The Frost-Giant’s Daughter” I initially undercoated the figure with “Citadel” Abaddon Black and then painted his leggings and wrist wrappings with “Vallejo” Heavy Brown, and his wolf-skin boots with Heavy Bluegrey. These areas were then washed with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade and “Citadel” Nuln Oil respectively.

The rest of the warrior’s fur garments were painted using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna and more Strong Tone Quickshade in order to give the impression of the mercenary being well-wrapped in a thick billowing bearskin. The miniature’s adornments, ranging from a number of pouches and ornaments, were painted using “Vallejo” Heavy Blue, Heavy Red, White and Gold. These oddities were then predominantly washed with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade as well as a little “Citadel” Asurmen Blue.
"Frostgrave" WIPs - The Medium Construct should soon be finished
Sticking with this month’s “Frostgrave” theme I have subsequently been painting a rather nice model of a wooden Medium Construct and re-started work on the range’s Templar figure too. I’ve actually had the mail armored soldier undercoated and ready for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge for quite a while. But recently noticed that I had clearly gotten a little carried away applying different layers to the basing of the figure for it to actually remain eligible for entry. As a result I have re-painted over all that initial groundwork and started again from scratch…

Few fantasy gamers will not have heard of the furor caused by “Games Workshop” last year when the company replaced its legendary “Warhammer Fantasy Battles” with “Age Of Sigmar”; having rather unceremoniously destroyed the Warhammer Universe. Personally I was rather indifferent to the drastic change in the so-called Evil Empire’s marketing strategy. But recently have found myself drawn to what is essentially a free set of fantasy rules where two people can play a seemingly very fast game with just a handful of miniatures.
Nurglings WIP - Lots of fiddly detail, boils and sores to be picked out on this unruly back row of daemons
Having scoured my plastic mountain, and perused the downloadable war scrolls for Nurgle and Khorne, I thought perhaps I could dip my toe into these ‘new waters’ by setting up a sort of battle between the Warhammer Chaos Gods. As a result I’ve started to try and paint three bases of Nurglings as a starting point, and simply see where this takes me. The malevolent Daemons are absolutely chock full of cheeky character as well as somewhat annoyingly detailed. But hopefully I’ll be able to get them, and a few Plaguebearers finished at some point over the next few months.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

"You Want A Piece Of Me? You Ugly Son Of A..."

"It's common in ritual sacrifice to take the heart of the victim."
This rather oversized 40mm pre-painted plastic "Wizkids" model of the Alien Grid (also known as Nethead) is from the "Horrorclix" AVP Alien Verses Predator: Aliens Collector's Set. The figure is based upon the "alpha-Alien" which kills the predators Chopper and Celtic in the 2004 science-fiction horror film "Alien Verses Predator" and carries the distinctive head injuries caused by its being momentarily incapacitated by a net launcher.

I initially gave the vicious extra-terrestrial an undercoat of "Citadel" Abaddon Black before simply dry-brushing the model with "Vallejo" German Grey. Grid was then washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil before I applied a second, significantly lighter dry-brush of more "Vallejo" German Grey over its more prominently raised surfaces. The Alien's mouth was painted using a combination of "Vallejo" Gunmetal Grey and "Citadel" Nuln Oil, whilst its head's carapace was given a coat of Abaddon Black. Finally I picked out its ‘bleeding’ head injury with some “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and “Citadel” Thrakka Green. As the fresh lacerations were very fine, I tidied up my brush work by dabbing a face blusher pad with some Abaddon Black on it over the area. These helped cover up any stray areas of “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and restrict the bright green paint to just the deepest recesses of the mutilation.
"Hey. Hey, hey, come here, take a look at this."
In addition to Grid I have also painted three more of the Xenomorph drones which the motion picture "AVP" shows being born inside the pyramid Weyland's archaeological party find beneath Bouvet Island. These Aliens were all painted in the same way as their formidable 'leader'. Although one of them, a terrific sculpt of an alien whose tail had been partially severed, required the acidic blood spurting from out of its wound to be painted using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Khaki and “Citadel” Thrakka Green.
Xenomorph Drones lead by the alpha-Alien Grid
Originally a couple of the miniatures generously gifted to me by Bryan from "Vampifan's World Of The Undead" were actually based upon either a piece of ornately carved stone or masonry. Having removed the Alien figures from these pieces of terrain I decided to turn them into objective markers by super-gluing them to my usual thin-lipped 40mm circular bases and undercoating them with "Vallejo" Heavy Brown. The scenery was then heavily washed with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade before being dry-brushed with more "Vallejo" Heavy Brown. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

28mm ZTV2 Battle Report: Lobster Johnson, Molly Hayes, Moon Knight & Doctor Who Verses Rasputin, The Joker, Travis & The Grey Hulk - Act One

This game was played predominantly using “The Battle” episode rules of “ZTV2” by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio”. However in order to better accommodate the fact we were playing on a 2’ x 2’ game board, the Special Rule that models within 6” of an objective token could each reroll one die every turn was shrunk to just 3”. As I wanted to try out the rules ‘straight from the box’ all of the Stars and Co-Stars used were taken from the sixty cast members which come with the Starter Set.

“The story so far… The mad monk Grigori Efimovich Rasputin has lured some of the multi-verse’s most despicable villains to the dimension of the Ogdru Jahad in order to help him open a permanent portal to our world. Forewarned of the fiend’s plan, Lobster Johnson has put together a team of heroes in order to thwart the servant of the Dark Gods. But having traversed the interspatial gap between realities and subsequently tracked down his foe, the New York City vigilante realizes the only way he is going to be able to stop the black magician is by winning an out-and-out fight…"
Before the game started a number of boulders were positioned randomly about the tabletop, as well as a small toxic pool and a somewhat larger one. In addition five objective tokens (some oil barrels, a broken robot, a grave marker, a statue and some ducklings) were also placed on the board. It was then determined that the super-villains would be the attackers, so Moon Knight, Molly Hayes and Doctor Who (as the defenders) were all deployed in the southwest corner of the battlefield. Whilst Rasputin’s forces were situated in the opposite corner. Finally Lobster Johnson, a Flamboyant Agent Star, was placed close to the robot objective in the centre of the table on account of being a Spy.

Having finished determining the two casts' start locations, the episode’s countdown deck was created using five randomly drawn cards from each Act One, Act Two and Act Three category; totalling fifteen cards. In addition both sides created their own gadget pools with the heroes forming a formidable pool of weaponry and equipment on account of Doctor Who’s Impressive Junk Pile special effect. With the TV show’s director just about to call “Action!” both sides rolled for initiative adding Lobster Johnson and Rasputin’s Mind statistic to their respective totals. As a result the heroes got the first turn and the villains immediately gained two plot points.
Turn One began with some last minute “Script Editing” which saw Molly Hayes and Travis immediately swap positions on the table; an unexpected occurrence which arguably placed both Co-Stars in jeopardy. Fortunately the mutant child was able to take full advantage of the exchange by using her star quality Beat Back to knock Rasputin over. Having then utilized her Special Effect Mighty Blow to gain +2 to her next attack, the super-strong girl seemed certain to be about to pulverize the one-time Nazi agent when he expended a plot point of his own to use his own Psychic special effect and change Molly’s successful roll of a six into a failing one… Surrounded by the Joker and the Grey Hulk, the diminutive Strongarm looked to be in real trouble until she pulled out a Jet Pack from under her cuddly animal hat and blasted 12” south away from the damnable rogues.

Back in the southwest corner things were not looking too good for Moon Knight either, as Travis had ‘materialized’ behind him, forcing the ‘caped crusader’ to turnaround in order to face his foe rather than simply charge the Space Commander and acquire a free attack in the process. As it was the Fist of Khonshu had to use his last action to assault the Jackbooted Sadist and found his Martial Arts wanting… at least until the vigilante’s Luck granted him a re-roll and caused Travis to take an early wound. Meanwhile Lobster Johnson moved east up to the broken robot objective and claimed the prize; gaining two plot points to his side in the process. Demonstrating he could be equally as productive, Doctor Who moved 6” northeast to the grave marker objective, collected it up and earnt the heroes two more plot points, meaning that Johnson’s group were already in the lead with two victory points.
Turn Two started with the makings of a "Blooper Reel". But as neither cast had any Extras, no-one was knocked down. Rasputin however was already on the floor on account of Princess Power’s earlier Beat Back, so was forced to spend an action picking himself up off the ground. The Sinister Mystic’s Leader(2) special effect did mean though, that the monk activated both The Joker and the Grey Hulk for free. In addition the Russian moved 6” southwest towards some boulders and the statue objective marker. Growling Bruce Banner’s alter-ego moved 8” south straight towards Molly Hayes. Whilst the Clown prince of Crime followed behind him before firing one of his jokerfish pistols at the girl… and wounding her as a result.

Meanwhile Travis confronted Moon Knight and tried to punch the costumed crime-fighter. Two failed swings later and things were not looking good for the Terran Federation officer. Fortunately though Servalan’s right-hand man had his cybernetic Laseron Destroyer (Pen Gun) fully charged, and managed to wound the Egyptian God’s agent with a one-shot blast from it. Angry at such a cowardly attack the Moon deity’s servant utilized his Fight Back special effect and took Travis out of the game with a second wound. Two more Victory Points for the good guys.
 Somewhat strangely Turn Three began with some "Set Dressing" as the large toxic pool was shifted 2” southwest in order to allow for some better camera work. However all eyes were upon Molly Hayes as the little girl charged the Grey Hulk and a battle of Spirit as well as body took place. Because the gamma-irradiated behemoth was a Marauding Monster, and therefore Fearsome, the young mutant needed to pass a Spirit test before she could attack him or halve her strike’s strength against the model until the end of the turn. Having initially balked at the huge creature Molly used her Luck to successfully pound away at the Grey Hulk. But found all her efforts were for naught. Realizing she needed to get away fast, Hayes Beat Back Bruce Banner’s alter-ego onto his backside and then used a Grappling Gun to whiz her 12” south to a pile of boulders.

Eager to give his Strongarm some covering fire, Lobster Johnson stood in the centre of the board and fired his (Two Shots) pistol at Rasputin. One bullet would have wounded his foe if not for the mad monk’s Psychic ability to turn the vigilante’s dice roll to a one. Sensing this fight might be won by brains rather than brawn, Doctor Who concentrated on Cobbling Together a Rocket Cigarette from the gadget pile and then moved north. Whilst Moon Knight sprinted east towards Molly’s side.
 Concerned at the dominating position Lobster Johnson held, the villains were delighted at the start of Turn Four as the Star momentarily found some of his future scenes on the "Cutting Room Floor". As a result the Flamboyant Spy would be unable to activate next turn. Although the heroes did gain a plot point for this inconvenience. Rasputin used this turn of events to his full advantage by moving west towards the somewhat ‘immobilized’ New York City vigilante and successfully Weakened him by casting his Disorienting Gaze upon him.

Laughing insanely the Joker fired one of his jokerfish pistols at the debilitated Johnson. But the Evil Mastermind found himself out of range so moved west to join Grigori. Bellowing ferociously the Grey Hulk stood up and lumbered west towards the statue objective marker.
The final turn of Act One provided some "Off Camera Action" as Moon Knight was permitted to take one action immediately. Taking advantage of the large toxic pool’s earlier repositioning, the Fist of Khonshu moved north near to the barrels objective. Ensuring the Clown Prince of Crime was well within the sights of his throwing crescent moons by taking an Aim action, the Action Hero scored a wound on the giggling ghoul. Then, hoping to press his advantage Marc Spector utilized his star quality to give himself a Burst Of Action and threw a second crescent moon at the Joker. Sadly this attack missed its mark.

To the far west Doctor Who, a Crackpot Inventor, continued his trek towards the ducklings objective marker, all the while Cobbling Together some (ultimately rather useless) Climbing Suckers. On the opposite side of the battlefield Molly Hayes sprinted round an outcrop of boulders in order to finish alongside the barrels objective marker.
 With the advertisements starting, and Act Two some minutes away, it currently looked like the heroes were well on top of the situation leading Rasputin’s depleted villainous super-group by four Victory Points to none… But during the second part of this episode the action would soon begin to heat up as the Countdown Phase mainly focus' upon attacking the opposing cast.

Friday, 5 February 2016

"The Creature Impassively Raised One Huge Foot Up And Stamped Down Hard Onto The Fisherman's Head..."

"The red mist that flooded the creature's vision dissipated, along with the murderous rage." 
This formidably large 28mm metal miniature of the “Guild Ball” Union centre back Fangtooth is made by “Steamforged Games Limited”. The model comes as a single cast and standing at 40mm in height is actually as wide as he is tall.

As the Ethraynnian’s main ‘kit colour’ was going to be red, I undercoated the entire bloated sculpt with “Vallejo” Heavy Red before picking out his numerous lengthy chains with “Citadel” Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. I then applied a coat of “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone to the monster’s quite considerable areas of flesh and then washed them with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade.

Because one of the player's character traits is Foul Odor, a three inch aura which causes open-ground to be treated as rough-ground, I started to additionally apply a wash of Carroburg Crimson and Thrakka Green to Fangtooth's blubbery hide. But found the results rather disappointing when dry, so rather frustratingly ended up re-painting and washing the "impossibly huge bulk" "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone a second time.
"A mismatched bunch o'mercenaries, scum and criminals for the most part."
The beast's numerous plasters were painted using a combination of "Vallejo" White and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. Whilst his wooden face mask was treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna. Finally this piece of head-wear, along with his trousers was washed with some more Strong Tone Quickshade.

Having finished this "large expanse of pasty, blotchy pink flesh" I now finally have enough painted "Guild Ball" miniatures to field a Union Captain (Blackheart) along with a Team of two (Rage and Fangtooth). Such a small side is ideal for a few introductory games over a two foot square pitch. All I now need do is find them some opposition...

In addition to completing the human centre back, I have also been busily working on some more "North Star Military Figures" for "Frostgrave". Like Fangtooth, I have actually been pottering away on my warband's Barbarian since before the start of this year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. But the 'Cimmerian' is now almost finished as I simply have to wash and dry-brush his double-handed sword, and ink the warrior's thick bearskin cloak.
"Frostgrave" WIPs - The Ice Toad and Stone Construct will soon enter the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge
There is also little more to do on my model of an Ice Toad, for having recently finished washing him with "Vallejo" Pale Grey and picked out his pointed teeth with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, I now need only finish painting the boulder upon which the foul creature squats and dab some "Vallejo" White over his skin.

Lastly I have been dry-brushing and washing the fantasy wargame's rather uninspiringly diminutive model of a Stone Construct. Admittedly the miniature does require a 40mm circular base on account of it's girth. But I was rather hoping for "North Star Military Figures" to produce a model which towers over its opposition, rather than squats low upon its knuckles.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

"And You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry!"

"It's Princess... Powerful!"
This 28mm plastic “Wizkids” model of Molly Hayes is miniature number 41 from the Marvel “Heroclix” Hammer Of Thor range. Despite being the daughter of two evil telepathic villains, the mutant child’s powers are superhuman strength and invulnerability. Indeed the young girl is already the fourth toughest female in the “Marvel Universe”, after Rogue, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel. Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Princess Power first appeared in July 2003 within the pages of Issue One of “Runaways”.

The figure originally had three ducklings on its ‘Clicky’ base which the adolescent had torn up some concrete to protect. However as I wanted to use the birds as a possible objective marker in my games, I re-based them upon the thin 40mm circular bases I use for such purposes. In addition I quickly painted the feathered fowls with a couple of coats of “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre and then washed them with “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade. Finally I dry-brushed the tiny creatures with some more “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre.
"You know, I get angry when someone makes my friends cry..."
I initially undercoated Molly with “Vallejo” White and then painted her jeans with a combination of Heavy Blue and “Citadel” Asurmen Blue. I next applied a layer of “Vallejo” Squid Pink to her T-shirt and cuddly animal hat. These areas were then given a wash of “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson, before I painted her flesh with “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone. Once I had applied some watered-down “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade to her skin, and picked out her facial features and fingers with a little more “Vallejo” Heavy Skintone, I finished the model by painting the large piece of concrete the powerhouse was using in order to defend the ducklings from any danger, with a combination of Heavy Bluegrey and “Citadel” Nuln Oil.
Barbarian WIP - Once the flesh has been washed and highlighted, there's just the bearskin and sword to finish
Having entered Molly and the Ducklings as my submission for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge Defensive Terrain Themed Bonus Round I have managed to spend some time progressing this awesome Conan-like "Frostgrave" Barbarian by "North Star Military Figures". I actually started painting this two-handed warrior a little while ago. But stopped painting the metal miniature after I became somewhat disillusioned with the quality of the range's multi-part hard plastic Frostgrave soldiers boxed set.

However as I am partaking in a "Frostgrave" Side-Challenge as part of this year's AHPC, I thought I'd nominate this month as "Frostgrave February" and try to paint up as many visitors and residents of the wintry ruins as I can. Sadly this heavily-cloaked mercenary isn't actually eligible for the event itself. But painting such a wonderfully charismatic sculpt has certainly reinvigorated my enthusiasm for some fantasy wargames in the frozen city.
Rasputin, The Joker, Travis & The Grey Hulk verses Lobster Johnson, Moon Knight, Molly Hayes & Doctor Who