Meeples & Miniatures – Episode 256 – View from a Twisted Pinnacle

I was recently given the opportunity to go on the long running Meeples and Miniatures Podcast as a guest presenter.

I talk to regular presenters Mike and Neil about my background in the hobby, current projects and purchases and also spend sometime discussing my experiences of working in the industry.

The episode is now available to download for free from their website (or via your favourite podcasting app). They also have a Patreon account setup up if you feel like donating a few pennies to the upkeep and ongoing production of the show.

Meeples & Miniatures

Download Episode 256

Neil Shuck & Mike Hobbs are joined by a guest presenter in the shape of Patreon backer James Aldridge for this episode of the podcast.

  • 00:00 – Introduction – We chat with James and discover how he got into the hobby and what his favourite games/miniatures are.
  • 21:20 – Confessional – Time to own up to all those hobby purchases we have made recently.
  • 57:55 – Our Hobby – We talk about our recent gaming, including Keyforge, 1066 Tears for Many Mothers and Kill Team. James tells us about his recent trip to Warhammer World whilst Hobbsy reveals all about his adventures at Grogmeet.
  • 1:34:35 – Tales of a Twisted Pinnacle – James tells us his somewhat cautionary tale of his brief foray into the hobby as a retail seller. On a more positive note, he then shares with us his passion for repurposing toys as wargaming…

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Toys for Tabletop – Corps Elite Battle Cruiser

I’ve blogged extensively about my project to realise my favorite action figure toys from back in the day, Action Force.  I have a young daughter, but despite not pushing her in any real direction toys, she has gravitated towards traditional girls toys.  Therefore I am not really up-to-speed with boys stuff, and in particular action figures.  So other than knowing that Star Wars is obviously still a thing I’ve no ideal if there is a modern and up-to-date range of military action figures similar to those I used to play with.  However a few weeks back while stocking up on instant noodles during my lunch break in the local discount shop I happened into the toy aisles.  And there I spotted it!

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It also has sound!

So this is the Corps Elite Battle Cruiser.  Corps Elite appear to a modern day (but budget version) of Action Force / G.I.Joe, and boy does this one look like it would be perfect for 28mm scale.  As per usual 7TV is never far from my mind when considering these things.

Having succumbed and picked one up, upon initial inspection the vast majority of the components looked like they could easily stay and represent the ‘down-scaled’ versions of themselves.

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Straight out of the box

Having opened the box and inspected the ship, the scale looks pretty spot on for 28mm scale minis.  The flat bottom / ‘water line’ means this will look great on the tabletop.

 

There are a few things that will have to be removed and replaced to really hide the larger scale aspects of the thing, namely:

  • The turret and ‘machine gun’ on top of the bridge will be removed and replaced with something more realistic (aerials, radar etc. maybe)
  • The clear plastic ‘fin’ and aerials will need some work
  • The large hatch/doorway molded on the side of the bridge will need hiding

 

Painting wise, it looks like a relatively easy job and will be down to a combination of spray cans and airbrush.  The existing decals were easy to peel off and the entire ‘model’ was given an undercoat of black (using a couple of layers in order to effectively mask the painted on pattern on the hull).

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It’s also worth mentioning that I’ve had a bit of a look at the wider Corps Elite range.  While most of the accessories and vehicles are way out of scale for the tabletop, I’ve got to say with a bit of work the ‘Beast Bomber’ could make for an excellent centre piece!

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Post Apocalypse Gaming Inspiration

When I first started at secondary school in the late 1980s we had rather strange setup in my home town.  At eleven years old we went to what was effectively a middle school, this was co-ed and following a couple of years the majority of pupils transferred to either the local girls or boys school, which catered for 13 to 18 year olds.  The other unique thing about my particular middle school was that it was split across two sites about a mile apart.  Break times were often spent on the transfer bus moving between buildings.

The main site (long since demolished), was kind of open plan with primarily outdoor corridors.  Believe me when I say this was actually the better of the two.  What however has any of this got to do with drawing inspiration for post apocalyptic tabletop gaming?  Well apart from the prison camp styling of the architecture, one thing that really sticks in my mind was the school library.  At the time I couldn’t really look beyond the classic Target novelisations of Doctor Who serials (I was slightly obsessed), but I do remember in particular another series of books with very striking covers.  I never read these at the time as something about the content was too close to a very frightening possible reality that hung over us all in the Cold War – nuclear armageddon.  These novels were the ‘Survivalist’ series by Jerry Ahern.

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Recently as I have been working on my 28mm scale post apocalypse projects (with 7TV Apocalypse very much my cross-hairs) I’d started thinking about backgrounds and settings for my games and models.  Aside from the obvious Mad Max style road warrior scenarios, my memory of the old school library and the ‘Survivalist’ came to the fore.  Needless to say a quick trip to Amazon and eBay and I’ve got the first few volumes.

First things first.  These books are very much of their time.  The hero is in that Reagan era 80’s mold. They are not literary masterpieces, they are pulp, but by heck (as they say round here) I’m enjoying them.  Needless to say the basic premise is following the titular ‘survivalist’ John O’Rouke in his adventures in a nuclear war ravaged United States.  John has to fight off marauding gangs, invading Soviets and the like, while searching for his wife and children.  Our hero is not only a survival specialist, but also a trained medical doctor, former CIA operative and weapons expert.  There is an almost lurid amount of detail in these books about guns and weapons with the caliber of ammo, background and description of rifles and machine guns all being describe in minute detail each time they are used (and they are used a lot).  There is also a lot of cigarette smoking in these books (check out the covers)!

There’s certainly plenty in here to act as inspiration for gaming on the tabletop.  I particularly like that the Soviet Union is attempting an occupation of the US (somehow this is possible after a nuclear exchange), but this gives a bit more scope for scenarios, rather than just the usual marauding gangs versus gangs setup.

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Unsurprisingly I’ve been looking into miniatures for John O’Rourke, and remembered the Wargames Factory Male Survivors multi-part plastic kit.  This came out originally a few years ago and was more recently re-packaged and re-released by Warlord Games as part of their Project Z range.

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Is that John McClane or John O’Rourke on the cover?

It seems uncannily like the creators of this set had read some of these books as out of the box I was quite easily able to pull together a figure which is almost a spitting image of the Survivalist from the book covers.  The next stage will be to paint him up and get some stats created for 7TV.

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Inspired by this I’ve also been looking into other background material and thanks to an excellent article in the November 2018 issue of Wargames Illustrated on ‘near apocalypse’ gaming have come across the old GDW Games Twilight 2000 source books.  But more on that another time…..

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For more information on the Survivalist series, I’d heartily recommend this article on ‘We are the Mutants’.

Warhammer World Road Trip

I’ve recently started playing Kill Team, the Warhammer 40k small scale skirmish game by Games Workshop.  While I’ve never really been that into the whole ‘grimdark’ thing something about Kill Team really appealed and I’ve had some very enjoyable games recently.  I think it’s the mix of being able to collect and build multiple small squads, the undeniable quality of the Citadel Miniatures and the objective based missions that make it (even though the rules follow the quite clunky and old fashioned to hit/to wound/save approach of most GW games).

With Warhammer World only about 30 miles away down the motorway, I’ve been a couple of times in the past (mainly to look round the exhibition), but never to play games.  This changed earlier this week when I ventured down to Nottingham with a few friends for some gaming.

Surprisingly (to me anyway) is that there is no charge to play, so you can go along and take advantage of the amazing gaming tables quite freely (providing you are of course playing GW games with GW miniatures).  We booked a single 8 foot square city table, with the intention of playing multiple games of Kill Team in parallel (originally there were going to a few more of us in attendance).  In reality this was far too big, but we were able to scout out some really great potential tables for Kill Team on a future visit.

The games themselves were very enjoyable and there is something special about the venue.  Yes the fake castle walls are a bit tacky, but they kind of really build an atmosphere, especially with a room full of people all sharing the same passion for gaming.  There is of course plenty of opportunity to shop and visit the exhibition, and Bugman’s Bar provides a great range of food, snacks and drinks (at reasonable prices).  There are even some painting and modelling stations, so if you really can’t wait to get your new purchases assembled you can get straight to it.

Personally I crashed and burned in all three games I played (losing my leader in the first round of each).  Somehow this poor performance was achieved using Death Guard, who are supposedly one of the most resilient factions on the game!

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My Nurgle Death Guard Kill Team 

If you are a wargamer  and even if Warhammer is not your thing, I’d highly recommend a visit.  Entrance to the gaming hall, shops and bar is all free, with the only charge being for the (optional) exhibition tour.  I’m even tempted to expand my forces so I can play a full game of 40k there sometime soon!

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Obligatory photo of the 1:1 scale Rhino at Warhammer World

7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter Campaign

Much of my recent hobby activity has been around the modelling and painting of 28mm scale post apocalypse figures and vehicles.  This was inspired by my involvement in the beta testing of 7TV Apocalypse which is now coming towards it’s conclusion on Kickstarter.

Currently over three times funded, but with plenty of good stuff still to be unlocked I’d heartily recommend backing this (if not so we can please unlock the Alien Invaders (‘Visitors’).

The campaign is running until 9pm (GMT) on Tuesday 6th November.

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Some of the new miniatures…..

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