Contrast Cowboys

A while back I picked up a box of the multi-part plastic 28mm scale Old West ‘Gunfighters’ from Great Escape Games.

These have been a joy to put together and I recently built two posses based on the lists in the Dead Man’s Hand rules (also from Great Escape Games).

These miniatures have been really easy to paint using Citadel Contrast paints, particularly due to the plethora of browns and tans in the range that suit the setting down to the ground.

I’m hoping to try out the rules sometime soon and at this rate should have two opposing factions completed relatively quickly.

I call this fella ‘The Colonel’ – he’s chicken licken good
He is the law!
A couple more members of the posse.

Elucidian Starstriders Kill Team

Most of my current gaming (that isn’t 7TV) is Kill Team, the skirmish level Warhammer 40k ruleset from Games Workshop.

I recently bought the Elucidian Starstriders, a Kill Team based around a Rogue Trader and her retinue of followers. Previously released for the first edition of the game, this was recently re-released for the latest version along with rules support in the 2022 annual rules supplement.

This team is quite diverse in terms of it’s models, however I wanted to choose a single colour to try and tie them in as a squad. Wanting to do something different to the box art / studio colour scheme I decided to go with an emerald/jade green as this theme.

So here are my Elucidian Starstriders who I’m looking forward to bringing to the table for my next game.

Elucia Vhane (Rogue Trader) and Canid (good boy)
Rejuvenat Adept
Death Cult Executioner
Lectro-Maester
Voidmaster and Voidsman
Voidsmen

Random Red Shadows

I have been neglecting the blog for a while, so in an effort to get back into gear and start posting more regularly again, what better thing to revist than my neverending Action Force Red Shadows project.

I was delighted to find some 3D sculpts based on Baron Ironblood and the boys available on the Patreon of Random Miniatures. The offerings on here are as the title says very Random, but there have been a number of ‘G.I. Bro’ (sic) releases over the last year or so. Then out of the blue a few months ago came some wonderful old school Action Force Enemy inspired sculpts for download and printing.

So here are some of the Baron’s mechanical legion, namely Red Jackal and a pair of Mutons. These printed really nicely and were painted up from a Wraith Bone primer undercoat using primarily Citadel Contrast paints. I’ve tried to stick to simple colour schemes following the original toys.

I’ve got a few more to complete including the Baron, the Black Major, some Krakens and Skeletrons, Red Laser and of course the Red Shadow legions themselves.

More to follow soon…

Warhammer World Kill Team Roadtrip

I had a great day yesterday down at Warhammer World with some chums, playing a bit of Kill Team and trying not to spend too much money.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve made the short trip from Chesterfield down to Nottingham to the spiritual home of wargaming. Myself and three of my best friends arranged the day as a self-described ‘nerd road trip’ in order to play the second edition of Kill Team in the home of Warhammer.

Middle aged gents reading rules

First up we played across two of the excellent ‘sector mechanicus’ tables which were approximately 3 foot square boards packed with scenery – ideal for the game.

Secondy in terms of factions I was rocking a very quickly painted team of veteran Imperial Guardsmen (in the form of the Death Korps of Krieg models from the Octarius starter set). I painted these ten models up over the previous week using mainly contrast and speedpaints. I wanted to go slightly different in terms of colour scheme to the usual WW1 inspired trench warfare look.

My inspiration was actually the Red Shadows of Action Force fame, however I tend to think they ended up looking much more like a squad of Victorian firefighters.

The original intention between the four of us who went was to get a couple of games in. However with the majority of us having only played 2nd edition once before it took a bit longer than planned and we only got the one game in each. My guard went up against Darren’s Ork Commandos in what was effectively a battle of the starter set!

Now, I will admit to not being that impressed the first time I played last year, however this time round we got more of the rules right, set things up properly and (certainly in my case I think) used more interesting lists. I think the atmosphere of playing in the gaming hall at Warhammer World helped as well.

The upshot of this was that something clicked this time and I came away with a new appreciation for the mechanics of the game a real desire to play it more regularly. I’d still say that the rulebook in particular is not that well laid out or easy to understand in some cases, but the general flow and feel of the game is lot smoother and more refined than for example 1st edition Kill Team, and really appeals to me in a way that full on 40k doesn’t.

Meanwhile on table 2…..

Anyhow a great day of gaming was capped off with a bite to eat at Bugmans and a browse around the shop (coming only away with a set of Necormunda Zone Mortalis plastic tiles which I already have ideas for).

Although I am not a massive player of Games Workshop games, there is something quite inspiring about visiting and playing at Warhammer World and I suspect this might become a semi-regular thing. Booking a table was easy (and free) and being in the general company of other gamers and hobbyists doing what they enjoy is always a great feeling. Bring on the next visit.

(Oh yeah, I lost horrendously.)

7TV Flashing Blades, Penguins and Speedpaints

On the last Saturday of April I made the short journey down the M1 to Nottingham to attend the ‘7TV Flashing Blades’ event being hosted by Wayne Bollands at the Rose and Crown in Lenton.

Along with eight other gamers it was time to assemble our casts of swashbuckling heroes for a few games of 7TV Fantasy. While nominally based around the idea of ‘flashing blades’, the casts present were the usual varied set of ideas, limited only by the imaginations of the respective ‘directors’.

This very much included myself, bringing as I did a cast comprised entirely of penguins. Now admittedly these were heavily armoured medieval fighting penguins, but penguins all the same. My original plan was to go with a ‘Robin of Sherwood’ themed band using some lovely metal minis I have had in my backlog for quite a while now. This would have included a magic user in the form of ‘Herne the Hunter’ and other cast members based on the classic 1980s TV series. In the end though I just left it too late to get all the figures I was wanting to use painted up to the standard that the sculpts deserved, so I need to look elsewhere.

Despite my final choice of cast and my initial musings about Robin Hood, of course this is what first sprang to mind!

I came across the Anthro Armies Penguin Army STL files on Kickstarter a few weeks ago and really liked the look of them. Having backed the project and then received the files pretty much straight away (often an advantage of backing a 3D printing crowd funding campaign) I got to work printing and then painting.

I also happened to receive in the post around the same time the new ‘Mega set’ of Speedpaints from the Army Painter, and with only a week to go at the time to the event, what better opportunity to test them out.

Prior to painting the minis were given an undercoat of Citadel Wraithbone spray

The figures as you can see are cartoony and therefore quite bulky. With minimal clothing, what uniforms there were in the most part provided a good canvas for the use of browns and tan shades from the set. This is not intended to be a full review of Speedpaints, but in summary they work really well. Some of the colours (particularly the blues) to my mind cover and shade with more contrast (and therefore work better) than their equivalents from the Citadel Colour Contrast range. In other cases (like for example with the reds) I prefer the effect that the Citadel versions give. Basically and in conclusion, they are all tools that are useful and I’ll be using both moving forward. The Speedpaints browns for example a different enough to the Contrast ones in colour to provide quite a range now of different shades and you can really never have enough browns when painting miniatures!

So in the end the penguins got painted in a mix of Speedpaints, Contrast and (for the metallics) normal acrylics. I didn’t do any highlighting, but did selectively apply washes (particularly over the metallics). A final note on the Speedpaints before I move on – they really are a one coat solution and I have noticed that if you do try to highlight and particularly dry brush they can have a tendency to ‘rub off’ even when dry.

Completed penguin with crossbow

So I had got the bulk of my cast done, but really needed some stars and co-stars in place. Looking at the available profile cards in 7TV Fantasy, rather than go for an anthropomorphic theme, I basically decided to go with a standard fantasy warband (who just happened to be penguins). As such I needed some leaders and magic users. Luckily a previous release from the same sculpter who released the Penguin Army covered these more specific ‘adventuring party’ tropes (but in Penguin form). As such I ended up with a Paladin, Barbarian and Wizard to flesh out the cast and these were printed and painted up at the same time.

Paladin and Barbarian ready for painting

In the end I fully completed painting miniatures for the cast (and then some) over only a few days, probably only about four and five hours in total.

The completed kingdom of Findus!

The day of gaming itself was hugely enjoyable and followed the usual casual format which 7TV enables and I love so much. I threw together a very quick table setup using a grass matt, some trees and a fantasy airship model I 3D printed a couple of years ago and brought that along for the day too.

Table setup on the day

My first game was against 7TV newcomer Torin and his band of adventurers and soldiers. To say it did not go well for the penguin kingdom would be an understatement. Documentary evidence below in the form of photos. The scenario was based around trying to collect objective tokens which could then be traded for a free draw from the artefact deck. Although I managed to pick up a couple I ended up getting decimated prior to the final act and Torin scored an ‘Epic Victory’ with a score of 10 to 2. A hugely enjoyable game and a great opponent.

The second (and as it turns out, due to time last) game of the day was against Carl, who was running with a cast based around the Three Musketeers using some beautiful 40mm scale miniatures. I fared not much better in this game, in which the scenario allowed us to pickup and recruit extra animal companions, extras and artefacts as the game went on. Yet again like literal fish out of water the Kingdom of Findus was defeated, although this time we did manage to make it through the full trilogy deck.

Another epic victory for my opponent, this time 16 victory points to 4!

All in all it was a great day at a great venue, well organised and run by Wayne. Next up in terms of 7TV events I am attending includes the ‘official’ Crooked Dice 7TV Fantasy day at Foundry Miniatures in July. Then Wayne is organising a follow up event to Flashing Blades with a very different theme at the end of November with a ‘Doctor Who’ event.

In the meantime I am hoping that there may be another event at Board in Brum in the interim and we may even squeeze in another 7TV day at Dales over the next few months.

In terms of my next gaming day out, I am visiting Warhammer World for the first time since pre-pandemic times soon and have to speedpaint some Death Korps of Krieg Imperial Guard for the games of Kill Team we are planning on playing on the day. These miniatures are currently sat primed and ready for painting and I will definitely approaching these in much the same way as my penguins in terms of speed painting (both in terms of the techniques and products I’ll using), after all I only have a week to get these guys battle ready for the grim dark future!

7TV Games and Events Update

Due to a new real world job and lots of work on the 3D printing side of the hobby, it’s been a while since the last article on the blog.

I’m therefore picking things up again with a post about some recent (and not so recent) games and events I have attended, primarily focussed on 7TV.

First up back in January I attended the 7TV Fantasy ‘Voyage to the West Midlands’ event at Board in Brum in Walsall. About a dozen players were in attendance and it was my first time trying out the Fantasy version of the ruleset from Crooked Dice Game Design Studio.

My ‘cast’ was based around the 1980s Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. Entirely 3D printed the majority were from Monstrous Encounters, with my ‘Dungeon Master’ Gnome wizard being a freebie I found on Thingiverse.

“Hey look, it’s the Dungeons and Dragons ride….”

Three entertaining games were played and I got utterly hammered in each (so no change there then). However it was (as it always is with 7TV) immensely fun.

The fantasy version of the rules add some interesting new mechanics including a suitably cinematic magic system and a focus on more melee based combat.

There follows a pictoral representation of some of the action on the day.

Game 1 – versus the Undead hordes of Mike Wilkins!

Game 2 – the Saturday morning crossover we all wanted to see (perhaps) – Masters of the Universe take on the D&D kids!

Game 3 – versus the Barbarian hordes!

Some of the other casts and tables

A few weeks later I was at the monthly meeting of the Dales Wargames Club at our new venue in South Darley near Matlock.

New member of the club – didn’t pay subs though, so is now barred!

With no game planned I threw a load of minis in the back of the car with my fullset of 7TV cards and rules just in case. Well, the ‘just in case’ happened and a very impromptu and entertaining game was quickly setup with the limited amount of club scenery there was available on the day.

We went with a ‘V’ inspired game – alien invaders versus resistance!

The next event I am attending is the ‘7TV Flashing Blades’ event towards the end of April in Nottingham, organised by my good friend Wayne of Tangent Miniatures fame.

Which is a smooth segway into a big shoutout I want to give to Tangent’s first Kickstarter which is currently live with funding for a new post-apocalyptic cyberpunk set of rules called ‘Dystopia City’. There are also some excellent miniatures available via the campaign (I know because I have been printing the masters for some of these and they are lovely). You can check the Kickstarter out here.

Dystopia City rules artwork by Fish Lee

Let me be your fantasy (miniatures)

The vast majority of my gaming and hobby activity falls firmly under the category of science fiction or pulpy type stuff (be that historical or modern but with that certain twist).

However with the release of 7TV Fantasy last year (including an upcoming gaming day at Board in Brum) and a plethora of 3D printing options open to me (especially via Patreon), I have been delving back into the worlds of fantasy.

Like many, my start in the hobby was inspired by reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in my early teens. It was this that ultimately got me into initially role playing games and then miniatures.

The paperback versions of The Lord of the Rings from back when I first read it (late eighties)

With that in mind I have been slowly painting up a number of fantasy miniatures in between other projects over the last few months.

First up we have a likely pair – a renegade wizard and a sneaky advisor from ‘The Printing Goes Ever On’. These are 3D prints from their Patreon (also available for purchase via MyMiniFactory). I scaled them up by 114% from the default size which is obviously designed to be used with The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. This effectively changed them from ‘true 28mm’ scale to more ‘heroic’ 32mm scale, which more closely matches most of my miniatures.

Staying ‘old skool’ I have popped them on hex bases. It’s been a while since I completed these and so I cannot remember the exact paints used, but it is a mix between traditional acrylics and Citadel Contrast paints.

From the same range (and similarly scaled up) here is an Uruk-inspired mini. He was painted up from a dark base coat and given a red skin colour as an alternative to the usual green used for Orcs and Goblins.

A servant of the white hand

Next up there is a model obviously inspired by the Dark Lord himself (you know the proper one, not the one that was ‘ROFL-stomped’ by a boy wizard). This is another 3D print from the Patreon of RN EStudio (also available on MyMiniFactory).

3D prints prior to undercoating. These were both undercoated black.

This was a fantastic model to both print and paint. By default this was more heroic scale so I didn’t have to do any resizing. He was given a black undercoat and liberal amount of metallics were then drybrushed on, with traditional highlighting to complete the look. The ‘magic fire’ effect was then achieved using Tesseract Glow from the Citadel Technical paints range on top of a white base.

A big bruiser of an Orc next from the Tusklands range by Rocket Pig Games. This guy is really chunky and I have a bunch of his mates in various states of completion at the moment. Again I have gone for a ‘non-traditional’ Orc skin colour here, with a yellow base coat washed down with various shades.

Finally and still WIP are my ‘lost adventuring kids’ who will be forming the core of my cast for the upcoming 7TV Fantasy event. These are 3D prints of files from Monstrous Encounters. (Not shown is the little Barbarian who had gone off on a side quest at the time of taking this photo.)

Red shirts and blue shirts – expendable extras

I’ve been finishing a lot of half completed projects recently. Two have synced in and completed at the same time. Although inspired by different franchises they have something in common. They are the expendable extras or cannon fodder of their respective universes, which are in this case Star Trek and G.I. Joe.

First up we have a set of ‘away team’ operatives, ready to beam down to a planet to be bumped off by whatever alien life awaits them. These are 3D prints from the Patreon of Bill Thornhill aka Lost Heresy.

With a very ‘star fleet’ vibe I have painted these guys up not just as the titular red shirts, but also in some of the other common colours from the original series. (I’m not a massive Star Trek fan, so not sure on the exact meaning of each colour uniform, however I have gone with the ‘rule of cool’.)

I scaled these up slightly from the originals to be more 32mm than 28mm, and like the chunky look that this helps enhance.

I’ve been trying to improve on my painting of faces recently and have taken some tips from the excellent Sonic Sledgehammer YouTube channel. I am now going all Citadel for my caucasian skins tones using the following steps (starting from a grey undercoat):

  • Base coat – Bugmans Glow
  • Wash – Reikland Fleshshade
  • First highlight – Cadian Fleshtone
  • Second highlight – Kislev Fleshtone (extreme highlights only)

I’m quite pleased with how these have turned out for a tabletop standard paint job and will probably be sticking to this method for faces moving forward. (I am also really enjoying the effect of using various contrast paints for non-white skintones.)

I am currently working on some other prints from this range armed with phaser rifles to go alongside these chaps, who I expect may end up getting some homebrew profiles for 7TV soon.

The second set of ‘minions’ of the painting production line are also 3D prints – this time by Monstous Encounters. Switching over to the bad guys this time these are ‘Venom Troopers’, obviously inspired by G.I Joe’s snake themed bad guys.

Not as pleased with the paint job on these guys, but as gaming pieces these will go well with some of my other Action Force / G.I. Joe minis I continue to add to (again mainly for 7TV).

White Line Nightmares – A 7TV Apocalypse Event

A few weekends back we finally held the much delayed 7TV APocalypse event at the Dales Wargames club in Darley Dale near Matlock. This was pushed back from April 2020 due to the pandemic and saw eight brave road warriors brave the wastelands for some games of vehicular mayhem.

Players arriving and setting up at our wonderful venue (Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale)

The original plan was to run three games during the day with the final game being a multiplayer ‘destruction derby’ type affair. In the end time beat us and we only got the two games in. (Lessons learned for next time – 50 ratings was probably too large a cast especially when taking into account the vehicle rules were not that fresh in everyones minds. Also standardising on table size might have resulted in more consistent game lengths.)

There was a great selection of casts (including some classic Road Warrior style marauders, the Joker and his crew, bikers, a forsaken BBC motoring programme, future judges and more).

On the table setup the highlight was the table brought by Paul O, the culmination of over twenty years work – a fantastic take on the refinery compound from Mad Max 2 (with matching cast) .

Paul’s amazing refinery board in action

So what follows is a mainly pictorial summary of the day.

Harley attempting to carjack Pen-E’s racer
Taking out the trash!
Stop signs are for losers.
Tonight, we test drive….Stig’s Lambo
This did not end well….
….neither did this….
….or this.

Some more shots below of the action on the refinery compound board…

The Gotham City style board also saw a lot of action…..

Meanwhile in the ‘cursed Earth’…..

Following the ‘night of the war’, survivors stumble across evidence of a Soviet submarine landing…

Another empty ruin of a city…..

And finally some shots of the huge table that was setup for the final multiplayer game that sadly did not get used (I am going to write about the scenario and rules tweaks I had planned for this game in a seperate article soon).

Next up on the 7TV events calendar is a ‘Fantasy’ day at Board in Brum in February. At Dales we hope to run another 7TV day next Spring, theme to be agreed, but with some tweaks to the format it would be great to try a vehicles based Apocalypse set of games again.

7TV Star Wars Day and Partizan 2021

I’m pretty late to the party with both of these, but over the last month or so I have actually attended some real events with real people.

Star Wars 7TV Day, 18th September 2021 @ Board in Brum

First up back in September was a visit to Board in Brum in Walsall for a day of gaming in a galaxy far far away. Using the 7TV rules, Star Wars was the order of the day. This was my first time playing 7TV since the participation game I ran at Hammerhead back in March 2020. Much fun was had, all three games were lost (of course) and it was just great to be out there rolling dice with folk again.

Games in progress at Board in Brum

I’m terrible at remembering the detail of games, other than to start with I had my first ever match up with my good buddy Wayne (of Tangent Miniatures fame). My force was mainly 3D printed and based around a post Return of the Jedi ‘Imperial Remnant’ faction. Most of the models were from SkullForge Studios, with some coming from Miller Bros. Sculpting and Design and a couple of actual ‘Legion’ plastic minis thrown in too.

Wayne’s bovine and cheese based cast (as in the dairy product not the game approach) were too much for my ragtag band. Some pictures of the glorious defeat below (including some of the Imperial Terrain scenery I had printed and painted for the event). Note Obi Wan ‘Cow-nobi’ in action!

My second game was against my regular 7TV nemesis Keiron, who had pulled together a really effective cast based on the most recent Star Wars trilogy. Played on a rather splendid Hoth based table with a vintage Kenner AT-AT toy as a centre piece, my cast (led by Grand Moff Hertzog) valiantly tried to complete the mission objectives, but were rather humbled by the new generation of Rey, Finn and a very pesky BB-8 who managed to fly across the board and steal the main episode objective on the first turn!

After an extended lunch break (lots of catching up and chat), my final game of the day was against Simon C (head honcho at Board in Brum). Simon and I had not played each other before despite being at many of the same events over the last few years, so it was great to finally get a game together.

The scenario laid down in this final game was the culmination of a narrative that ran through the day which saw the oppossing casts trying to locate a lost fleet of ships. The aim of this finale was to activate (or deactivate) a number of shield generators in the centre line of the table. This was an Imperial on Imperial engagement and despite actually getting to at least one of the objectives I ended up defeated (primarily because all of my cast were wiped out by the surprisingly and out of character accurate shooting of Simon’s Stormtoopers).

A rather nice Scariff setup at Board in Brum (I didn’t get to play on this one though).

All in all an excellent day playing a favourite game in a favourite setting with some splendid opponents. A big thanks to Simon for hosting and Mike Strong for organising the games and storyline for the day.

The next 7TV event I am attending I am also arranging and this will be at Dales Wargames at Darley Dale near Matlock on Sunday 21st November. It’s the (pandemic) delayed 7TV Apocalypse Event, White Line Fever. Following that there is another event at Board in Brum in January which will be 7TV Fantasy oriented.

Partizan on the Ground, 10th October 2021 @ Newark Showground

The other weekend I attended my first show for about 18 months, helping out Wayne at Tangent Miniatures on his trade stand (and also selling some licensed 3D prints).

This was my first time at Partizan (though I had been to the venue previously for Hammerhead) and it was also my first time trading at a show since I wound up Twisted Pinnacle Games a few years ago.

Tangent’s ever growing display case of metal miniatures.

As one of the first shows after the extended pandemic closure of such things it was very well attended with people obviously really keen to get back into the swing of both playing games and spending money (which was great for us).

A selection of the 3D prints I was selling on the day (including designs from BMT3D and Monstrous Encounters)

All in all a very enjoyable day in good company with the added bonus of selling some toys. I was also very good and only bought a couple of spray cans (from the Colour Forge range who had a stand next to us). More on this newish range in a future article.

Mike Tongue’s (BMT3D) Pen Top Droids were especially popular on the day.

Next up for Tangent is the big one at Salute in London’s Docklands in November. I shall be there helping out again, though not sure I’ll be able to be so controlled when it comes to the spending this time!