I’m still stalwartly ploughing through the (possibly radioactive) lead pile that is the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter.
Recently I have completed the first of the two Hazmat Troopers from the set. I have deliberately gone with a bright colour scheme for these guys and based them in such a way that suggests they might be ‘lost’ on a mysterious island somewhere, perhaps doing some work for a scientific ‘initiative’.
For the first time in a while I went with the technique of blocking in the base colours and then painting on Army Painter Quickshade dark tone dip. This can be an effective way of shading miniatures providing you are careful to ensure that the dip is mixed well to start with, doesn’t pool too much and spend some time re-highlighting up afterwards.
Next up are the ‘Mutant Hill Mob’, a small band of ‘wacky racing’ wasteland warriors. A lot of skin on display here, which always puts me off a bit, however utilising the wonder that is Citadel Reikland Fleshshade over a dark skintone base and then dry brushing and highlighting up with a lighter tone worked OK.
I also felt that these guys would really benefit from spending the time to properly paint the eyes. A very steady hand was required to varying levels of success.
For the first time I also had a go at using the Citadel ‘blood effects’ technical paint – Blood for the Blood God! This provided a nice glossy and gloopy effect that I used both on some of their weapons and also on their ‘skin conditions’.
I’ve also finished my favourite figure from the entire release, the SLR armed traffic warden attempting to hold the ‘threads’ of society together in post-nuclear Sheffield. I felt like this deserved a scenic base.
Next up I’ll be completely the ‘Road Warrior’, and then possibly dipping into some of the marauders, savages and militia.
The model was provided in parts to print up, clean and assemble. It features a detailed interior with a removable roof and the option to model with steps up or down. Once put together this would provide me with a great centre piece to go with my Flash Gordon cast for 7TV Pulp.
The print time was fairly long across all the different components. I didn’t track it exactly, but when adding everything together I’d suggest that it probably took well over twenty four hours.
I printed the parts a few weeks ago when I was still tweaking the settings on my printer, overall however they came out with the need for minimal cleanup. I used a bit of plastic putty in some areas to smooth over rough parts of the print. As there are quite a few curved surfaces I also spent some time sanding.
Once I’d cleaned up the parts, assembly was straight forward. Superglue was used to assemble the components, all of which were printed using PLA filament. The roof is designed to sit loose on the model to allow miniatures to be placed inside and I also chose not to permanently attach the steps so these could be swapped out with the ‘ramps down’ version in future.
In terms of painting the plan was to go full on chrome and silver, however right at the last moment I changed my mind and went for a striking red and gold colour scheme. Although retro-styled to the 1930s pulp serials (as is the majority of the Princes of the Universe range); I wanted at least a nod to the classic 1980 Flash Gordon movie and this colour scheme fitted in well.
To further minimise print lines on the body of the ship I tended towards over spraying both when undercoating and base coating. I also wanted a glossy look to the paint job and just so happened to have a can of Humbrol Red Gloss acrylic lying around. By spraying closer to the surface that I would normally I was able to get a smooth finish on the (albeit not too course) surface of the print.
Other block colours were done using a variety of bright metallics in order to maintain the shininess. Black was used to pick out the windows and fine details.
In the second part of this article I’ll detail the interior and look at other similar models that are available for 3D printing.
At the recent 7TV campaign day I fielded my Visitors cast from V. You know V, the one about the fascist space lizards who came in peace but really just wanted to eat us (and as many rodents as they could get their hands on). Oh yeah and I’m not referring to the 21st Century remake (which frighteningly is around ten years old now).
I’m a big fan of V and quite rightly the original mini series is held in high regard, as is the slightly more action packed sequel, The Final Battle. However I personally have a soft spot for the really quite terrible TV series that followed.
Possibly because this was my first exposure to the series as a teenager when Sky repeated it in the UK in the early nineties. While (I think) the series starts off well with the whole concept of Los Angeles as an open city after the second alien invasion it quickly goes downhill and degenerates into ‘space Dynasty’ by the end. For me the ‘jumping the shark’ moment was the exit of (the frankly excellent in anything) Michael Ironside from the main cast; for others I suspect this downward spiral came much earlier.
Anyhow, the point of this is that when considering a cast for my alien visitors I have included possibly an unexpected bias to some of those characters from the TV series.
Crooked Dice Alien Invaders
I based these guys using left over bases from the old Sedition Wars game
My approach has been to base these on the base 7TV second edition profiles rather than use the alien cards from the recent Apocalypse edition of the game. Following the (not too subtle) allegory of the rise of Nazism that the original mini-series followed I felt that using base profiles such as ‘Despotic Dictator’ and the various types of ‘Minion’ was a better fit.
The excellent recent releases from Crooked Dice
Supreme Commander John
Fifth Columnist Martin
The one profile that has proven tricky to get right is the iconic Visitor shock trooper. I based these guys originally on ‘Minions’ but once the advanced alien weaponry was added they felt overpowered for the number of ratings they cost. In the end I have aligned these more with the X-Commando profile from the Department X programme guide.
Visitor Shock Trooper
These guys proved challenging to build a profile for
I roughly followed the guidelines for modifying profiles which you will find in the Producers Guide of the second edition rules. In many cases this was just a case of changing the names of existing special abilities to make then fit thematically. One good example being Diana’s ‘Conversion Process’ which is simply ‘Alien Duplicate’ from the Otherworldy Invader renamed.
Now as I may have mentioned before I am rubbish at writing up battle reports. I simply cannot remember all the details of what happens in a game to a level at which I could write up something interesting. Therefore this little narrative is more about my experience of the day as both a participant and the chief organiser.
The event was put together at pretty short notice, but following the mantra of ‘if you build it, they will come’ we got a good number of players expressing interest, primarily through the highly recommended and super friendly 7TV Productions Facebook group. In the end we got about ten ‘producers’on the day, with the furthest distance being traveled from Cambridge!
The theme of the day was ‘Invasion Earth’, and there were some interesting casts fielded both in the defence of and plotting against our blue planet. So Skeletor and his evil minions rubbed shoulders with the likes of Diana’s ‘Visitors’, some ‘ack, ack’ Mars Attacks aliens and robotic centurions from the 12 colonies. Meanwhile our stalwart defenders included the SG-1 team, some special forces troops, Murtaugh and Riggs with uniformed support and of course (because it is 7TV) some East End gangsters. Of course the Guru and Shiva also chanced their arm by trying to cash in on the chaos, as did the slippery Cobra Commander and his Cobra hordes.
Following the example of other events I have attended this was very much about having fun and telling a story, rather than being in any way competitive. As a number of the Dales club members were also very new to the game I was keen to keep it as beginner friendly as possible. We worked on the basis of 30 ratings casts drawn from either the Spy-Fi or Apocalypse versions of the game (but without the use of the Apocalypse vehicle combat rules). I provided a few sample casts for folk to use who might not have access to figures and made sure we had access to quick reference sheets as well as trying to pair folk off together so veterans could play against novices.
Running at 30 ratings meant we could get at least 3 games in, and we sized most of the tables and terrain layouts to support the smaller sized games. As well as using some of my personal terrain and scenery we also lent on the extensive collection at the club. In addition we also asked for attendees to bring along a board if they could. Special mention to Carl for his airbase setup (complete with cargo transporter) which took away the prize for best ‘set designer’.
Talking of prize support, a very special thanks must go out to Karl at Crooked Dice for donating a 7TV boxed set as the top prize and Wayne from Wargames Illustrated (who attended with his Cyclons) for additional prizes of annual subscriptions to the magazine. Also massive thanks to Wayne for also donating a significant number of miniatures and models which we were able to offer to attendees for a donation to the club coffers.
So how did my games go? OK I think is the answer. I was fielding my ‘V’ cast which is pretty much exclusively based on 7TV core profiles (with some minor tweaks) using a mix of the excellent recent models from Crooked Dice as well as some older miniatures from Nexus/YFT Design Studio.
My first game was against a new club member Nigel who had turned up on the day just wanting to watch some games and was immediately drafted into the event. Fair to say I think we got another convert there. We played pretty much a ‘learning game’ on the airbase setup where the Visitors took on Hugo Solomon and Department X. Let’s just say it didn’t end up well for the lizards from Sirius.
My second game was against fellow club member and recent 7TV evangelist Robin on our ‘Weird World War’ table. This time Diana and her orange glad goons were up against the sinister Guru and his Shiva organisation. Another fun game on one of the larger boards on the day. For the life of me I cannot remember the outcome of this (I think it was a tie). The highlight had to be the draw of that classic countdown event card (‘script editing’ I think) that resulted in our stars swapping places, with hilarious consequences (not many of which were good for either of us).
Finally I was up against Kieron and his excellent ‘Masters of the Universe’ cast. Comprising of Skeletor, Beastman, Trap Jaw and other undesirables from Eternia, they just happened to find themselves in the cargo area of a typical industrial sea port. I do remember the details of this one pretty well, because due to a combination of excellent dice rolling on the one hand, terrible dice rolling on the other and really effective use of tactics I conspired to lose this game about four turns in. For the uninitiated a typical game of 7TV can last anything up to twenty or more turns! Now as we know it’s all about the narrative with a game like this, but I take some pride in being able to say I lost eleven victory points to nil in such record time.
Needless to say we had time for another game, but consigning Diana and co to the long list of failed invaders of Earth I swapped out for a small G.I.Joe Cobra cast I had put together. A much more even (and indeed longer) game was had. Again a lot of laughs and a very tight finish.
All in all an excellent day. Our club venue worked well as did the format. I think one lesson learned for future events is not to hold these on a bank holiday weekend, we had quite a list of people who were unable to attend because of this.
As I’ve already mentioned Carl won a years subscription to Wargames Illustrated for best table. Kieron won best Director (players favourite cast) with Skeletor and friends, and Colin won the overall prize for best Producer for most sporting player and favourite opponent. All awards were voted for by the participants.