Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Evil Robots

A group photo for the album

I picked these guys up a few weeks ago for two reasons.

Firstly, I thought they looked really creepy.

And secondly, because I thought they’d do well as a sort of an undead analogue for games of Stargrave. My take on Stargrave is going to be effectively turning it into the light Warhammer 40K roleplaying game with miniatures that I’ve been scratching around for since the mid-nineties. I really enjoy the setting and while I love Blackstone Fortress, that game is a bit too limited for what I want to mess around with.

Us evil? A nasty prejudices caused by hurtful stereotypes about skulls

I had thought at first that these were conversions of old Space Crusade Chaos Androids with some Necron parts added, but looking at them more closely they seem to be a mixture of Marine parts and Necron parts with a few other odds and sods thrown in.

Those really are impressive claws

I’ve been messing around with Stargrave for a bit and it seems to be solid. I’m not completely sure as I haven’t played a face to face game yet and no game really survives until players have been let loose on it.


Dakka dakka dakka

I think this particular piece, the gun arm specifically, comes from the old Space Crusade Dreadnaught but I'm not 100% on that. It does occur to me though that a man who was concerned about verisimilitude in his Evil Undead Robots might wonder where exactly the ammunition hopper for those rotary cannon is.

But that would the thought of a churl and a nincompomp and therefore is beneath consideration.

A skull bathed in eerie orange light? That must be Henry

I suspect these fellas will be appearing on some sort of desolate planet or in a deep dark vault or possibly in a derelict starship stuffed with secrets that man was not meant to know.


"Whirr - clank - evil cackle"

They really are quite big

I could see these working quite well in some sort of solo scenario as they could be pre-programmed to act in a particular way, perhaps with cards or a simple table of instructions that you roll on to select what happens.

The elder lemon

(click to embiggen)

This chap is a Space Crusade Chaos Android. These were in the dim and dark past of Warhammer 40k corrupted robots possessed by demonic intelligences crafted by Squats that had been seduced by Chaos. They never had official figures behind these plastic Space Crusade figures and some Epic figures, but I've always had a weakness for them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A Mixed Bag

Something grey and stoney

I am blessed with some truly remarkable and extremely generous friends.  I'm currently running a game of Rangers of Shadowdeep for some pals at the moment and game requires a few ruins for them to explore.  My friend Siskey was kind enough to use his 3D printer to run up a few.  The result were very impressive.  

Something a bit more Mediterranean

I painted these using tan colour as a base and then adding a bit of variety to the stonework with a mixture of brown, greys and other tans.  Interestingly though the two buildings look quite different the only actual difference is that I put a black wash on one and a burnt umber wash on the other.  

I'm quite happy with the results, though I think I prefer the more Mediterranean looking burnt umber wash myself. It's such a change from the usual grey fantasy stone. 

Another view

The top lifts off

Positively Maltese

I've always quite fancied going to Malta. It looks beautiful in pictures and there's lots of history to look at it.  I'd imagine the food it pretty good too.  

Painting these more Mediterranean looking building did put me in mind of Malta.  I think these could do with just one more drybrush as a highlight, but I'm really pleased with them.  

I tried making a couple of washes up from recipes I found on the internet, but when I tested them out on the building they didn't look quite right.  In the end I settled on a mix of Daler Rowney Burnt Umber Ink mixed 50/50 with Matte Medium and the resultant mixture diluted about 50/50 with water.  

The result ran into the pointing of the stonework in a very satisfactory manner and I intend to do the rest of the buildings with it. 

Wargaming with the Kinchlets

The Kinchlets are much taken with space at the moment.  We can recite all the planets in the solar system and have just about figured out the concept of the Universe, Galaxy and Solar System and how each fits inside the other. 

They also wanted to play a game with some of Daddy's toys, so I pulled out the mat and ships from Richard Borg's Space Alert.  The game was simple.  The Kinchlets were given some ships.  They were allowed set them up anyway they liked. They were allowed two shots per turn and could  flick a counter any of their ship at their opponents. Any ship hit was removed.  Each ship could move two hexes before shooting, if they wished.  

The result is a fun, bloody little game that at least gets them used to the business of taking turns and winning and losing.  It's also less likely to drive Daddy to distraction than Snakes & Ladders. 

Strelets Chasseurs tangle with Zvesda Guard Cossacks

I wrote a piece on wargaming in 1/72 and why it is a good idea for the most recent issue of Miniature Wargames.  While taking some shots for the piece, I had a few left over and I thought you might like to see a few.  These are Strelets Chasseurs of the Guard facing off against Zvesda Cossacks of the Guard. 

A bold officer

I really love the animation of the Zvesda figures,  they have a bounce and lightness to them that is hard to find elsewhere.  I really must get some Napoleonics on the table sharpish. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

T-62 - Soviet Heavy Metal

Somewhere in Germany circa 1979

Courtesy of my pal Tamas, I took delivery the other day of three Grubby Tanks T-62.  This brings my count of T-62s to six now, which with three left to go - is almost a full combat.  

The figures themselves are resin and metal and have their problems.  There's a bit of bubbling in the resin, which I had to attack with green stuff and I'm not sure the game was worth the candle. Regardless Tamas has done a lovely job on them and hopefully they will be storming across the North German Plain before too long.  

The T-62 equipped units in the 62nd Shock Army, which is the unit I'm sort of modelling.  Armed with substantial armour and a powerful 115mm gun, they were a match for the Centurions and M60s they were arrayed against.

Steel beasts unleashed

I had five minutes and threw a bit of set dressing together to snap some pics.   If there is one piece of advice I can give the budding Cold War gamer it is get yourself some toy cars in your preferred scale because they dress a battlefield like nobodies business. 

I had originally collected these with a view to using them with Battlegroup Northag, many many moons ago, but lost interest when they decided to shift to 12mm figures.  I've run a fair bit of Cold War skirmish stuff using Savage Worlds, Force on Force and Black Ops.  Of those Black Ops is the best wargame, but it is firmly a skirmish wargame and doesn't lend itself to tanks. 

Tom is making noises about Seven Days to the Rhine which is very much a tank heavy game and I do have a copy, so I might have a look at that.  Though between COVID and everything else, God knows when these will finally see the field. 

Not the best picture I've ever taken

I wasn't going to use this picture, because I'd framed it badly, but it does at least give you a decent view of the tanks. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Sabre Toothed Lion

The new Rangers of Shadowdeep expansion “Menagerie” calls for all sorts of beasts including lions and tigers and bears (oh my!).  The scenario actually calls for a tiger, which for some reason doesn’t sit right with my slightly grubby 12th century kind of Fighting Fantasy Allansia vision of the Kingdom of Alladore where the game is set. 

I have no idea why a sabre toothed lion makes more sense to me as an exotic animal to find in the setting,  but it does and here we are 

The figure itself is from Northstar and is a crisp one piece casting that’s a joy to paint.  I had a look at some pictures of real sabre toothed lions and they were quite spotty.  I couldn’t make that work - so I started again. 

Base coat is Vallejo Khaki with a drybrush of GW Screaming Skull.  Any warm off white will do. 

Then I added a couple of coats of old GW Flesh wash to bring out the colour. I concentrated it on the rougher parts of the fur. 

That all done I used GW Wyldwood contrast paint to colour the muzzle, add shadows under the tummy and to defund the musculature a bit.  I edged the “mane” and used the paint thinned with medium to do a gradually darkening colour going towards the end of the tail. The face and muzzle got some highlights with Screaming skull again.  

I through a mix of red and wyldwood contrast paint into the mouth. Then picked the teeth out with screaming skull. Agrax Earthshade at the base of the teeth and then a highlight with whatever white I had to hand. Much the same story with the claws.

All in all, a nice model given a quick paint job.  Pleasant to do and none too demanding. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A Tower on a distant planet - Cheap Sci Fi Terrain

A Robot, a squat and a blind psychic walk into a bar. 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. 

The Squat is an old Rogue Trader figure, while the psychic is from the Astropolis Kickstarter.  The Robot is a privately produced model that I picked up via the Oldhammer Facebook group and he is just lovely. 

I picked this up in Lidl for about the price of a pint.  At the price it seemed foolish not to.  I actually picked up two.  With Stargrave just around the corner I’m hoping that I’m going to be able to get some science fiction games in. 

Rangers of Shadowdeep has hit just the right kind of role playing game with miniatures feel that I really like.  I’m hopeful that Stargrave will scratch that itch.  I’m aware it’s more of a competitive skirmish game - but Frostgrave is very easily modded into a semi-RPG,  so I’m cautiously optimistic. 

The kit itself went together in about five minutes and actually scales well with 28mm figures.  To be honest, while it's not perfect - it's actually pretty good even without a lick of paint and wouldn't disgrace any tabletop it was on. 

These guys are old Rogue Trader era Space Marine Scouts painted by my pal, Kriztian Takacs.  I popped them up here to get a sense of scale and they seem to fit right in.  Which reminds me, I must do something to dolly up those bases. 

A long shot

In brief, these were an excellent buy for the money and while I might do something with them in future, they look fine to use as is, for the time being.  I might also need to invest in a new backdrop for my figures.  I can't imagine whatever God forsaken planet this is having blue skies with fluffy white clouds very often. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Boars & Bears!

This bear is partial to bacon sandwiches

The last few weeks have been packed.  Work has been demanding and family life in lockdown is a bit of a juggling process. Add that I'm doing a course at night and the whole thing is getting a little bit overheated.  My gaming for the past little while has been devoted to producing articles for Miniature Wargames and while that is fun, it's nice to do something that is just for my own amusement. 

Rangers of Shadowdeep has been my casual game of choice for a while now.  The latest expansion for the game "Menagerie" involves the players taking on a sinister caravan of evil animal tamers. 

A grumpy bear in pursuit of a boar

The expansion came with a list of animal figures that were required and I wombled over to Northstar Figures to ordered a few.  These bears and the boar are from their Wild West range, but they work perfectly for Rangers of Shadowdeep.  They are lovely clean castings and the customer service from Nick at Northstar is top notch as always. 

I painted these over a couple of evenings while doing other things and I'm quite happy with them. 

The running bear is a big chunk of pewter that has a pleasing heft in the hand. 

Northstar Bear rearing

These required the minimum of prep and were painted using a mixture of Citadel and Vallejo colours.  I undercoated the bears in white, then gave the figure an all over coat of Citadel Contrast Wyldwood (a dark brown).  They then got a drybrush of Citadel Tallarn Flesh all over concentrating on the top down. I then hit the upper parts with a light drybrush of Vallejo British Uniform Highlight (any cream or off white would do). 

The whole thing then got an all over wash of brown wash.  I used Citadel Flesh wash because it was what I had to hand and my Agrax Earth shade was in the other room and I am the laziest man that ever stood in shoe leather.  I let the wash dry over night, then hit the raised portions again with the Vallejo British Uniform Highlight. Added some Vallejo dark wash to the eyes to darken them up a bit and a dab of Citadel Contrast fleshtearers red to the mouth to lighten it a bit. 

Et voila. 

Quite happy with the detail on the face

I'm quite happy with how this bears face turned out.  I wanted to keep the look simple and not too cartoony and I think I succeeded. 


A Boar

The boar was a puzzlement.  I had originally intended to go with something quite close to European boar, but they were quite monotone and also this chap had a much pronounced mohawk than his real world contemporaries. 

Ultimately I decided I'd try something a bit starker than with the bears. Again working from a white undercoat I gave all his fur a lash with some Citadel Contrast Goregrunta Fur.  This did the job like a trooper.  I did his snout and other fleshy bits with Citadel Bugman's Glow. His trotters got a quick dab of Citadel Contrast Skeleton Horde and threw some Citadel Flesh Wash over his snout. I then left him to dry overnight. 

He then got a quick drybrush of  Vallejo British Uniform Highlight on the top parts, just to add a little tonality and bring out the mohawk.  There's probably a name for that part of the boar now that I think of it. 

Making a quick getaway

I highlighted the face and snout with Citadel Tanned Flesh and gave his mouth a little Citadel Contrast Fleshtearers Red. I then highlighted the trotters, tusk and teeeth with Vallejo British Uniform Highlight  and declared victory. 


In one of my madder moments,  I decided that in my copious amounts of free time I would contribute to a noble project that is taking place under the umbrella of Waterloo Uncovered.  This is the building of a massive Waterloo diorama in 1/72.  My contribution is a measy fifty Prussian Landwehr, but it's nice to be a part of something like this.  So while I was waiting for my bears to dry, I kept knocking off a few Prussian fleshtones and overcoats. 

My contribution is a very small one and there will be tens of thousands of figures used in the diorama. If you want to get a proper sense of the scale of this project, uou can see some pictures here at General Picton's blog

Monday, February 22, 2021

Better dead then red

With lockdown and all the challenges that has brought, the only game I’m managing to play regularly at the moment is Rangers of Shadowdeep.  If you’re not familiar with it - it is a co-operative fantasy wargame/role playing game. 
The specifics aren’t important, but the Kingdom is threatened by the Shadowdeep - a sort of land plague that takes over neighbouring kingdoms. All sorts of gribblies come out from the Shadowdeep, but amongst them are men corrupted by its evil who serve it. Sort of like cultists, but not exactly,  there isn’t much in the way of explanation. 

This chap is their leader.  He is one of the official Rangers miniatures from Northstar and he is a lovely sculpt.  Very clean casting which painted up quickly. 

I was pleased with how he turned out.  I primed him, hit him with some red contrast paint from GW and added some highlights.  I added green ink as a wash to the brass face mask to suggest verdigris, but I think the effect was too subtle. 

In retrospect, I have have gone a little overboard with the edge highlighting on this one. 

One of the strengths of the Northstar plastics is that there is a fair range of them and thus far I've found them quite interchangeable.  This figure is a sort of chief henchman sort of character, so I took the arms from the Northstar Frostgrave Soldiers set with the big montante style blade. 

They fit fine and he doesn't look out of place with his fellows. 

These are Temple Guardians.  Metal figures from Northstar's official Rangers of Shadowdeep range.  They painted up relatively quickly and I think they look suitably menacing. 
I might have gone a little overboard with the edge highlighting again, but I also tried to give their bronze face masks a sort of verdigris look by washing them in green ink.  I'm not sure I was bold enough and the effect seems a bit lost. 

Notwithstanding my reservations about my paint job, they do the job and most importantly they are finished!  I'll be using these for Temple of Madness, one of the later Rangers of Shadowdeep scenarios.  

Sometimes you just need a chap in a red hood with a club.  And these are very big and very stompy clubs.  The hats reminded me of Trotsky's pointed hatted armoured train guards - who probably have the coolest looking uniform of any military force of the last 100 years.  Sort of like a cross between Communist chic and the Wizard of Oz.    

Contrast paints did a lot of heavy lifting and they will work well as faceless mooks. 

I did four of them, which is about as many as I'll expect I'll need - given that the players will be attacking them from the get go.  In earlier times, I would have painted the maximum possible number required, but these days I try to be a bit more economical with my painting time. 

Proof, if proof were needed, that the crossbow is a bad guys weapon. 

The scenario actually calls for four Temple Guardians archers, but by long standing convention the bad guys always use crossbows in my games.  These are again from the Cultist box.  I think the crossbow arms might be from something else - but they fit like a glove regardless. 
If you look at the chap on the right, you'll see that one of the crossbowmen has a cloth cover covering part of his bow.  Unfortunately due to a mess up while transporting the figures, I managed to break part of his bow and I then, doubly foolishly, lost the piece, so I couldn't reglue it. 

I added a cloth cover with greenstuff as the best way to cover the lack and while it's not the best job, it serves it's purpose. 

These guys will be doing their worst in the Temple of Madness before too long. I hope.