Return to the Wastelands

I’ve been recently revisiting my 28mm scale post-apocalypse miniatures. In particular those that have been in a state of semi-completion for some time.

Prior to the current pandemic I had organised a 7TV Apocalypse event at our club, which sadly had to be put on hold. (As an aside we are starting up club meetings again at the end of May after a 14 month hiatus – some actual gaming, can’t wait). Any how as part of the prep for that cancelled event I had continued to work on my 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter miniatures. In addition since then I have added to the unpainted pile by adding in a whole load of 3D printed models. So plenty to revist.

First up is a vehicle – this has sat 80% done for about the last two years. Based on an Warhammer 40k Ork Wartruck kit I swapped out the greenskin crew with a Crooked Dice ‘vehicle gunner’ and some bits from the old Project Z biker sprue.

The kit I based the conversion on

I had already weathered this bad boy up a fair bit, but I tied it all up with a brush on application of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. Once dry ,a once over with a matt varnish sealed everything together.

Weapons and stowage from various sources – but mainly Crooked Dice

Most of the figures I am painting up for this project at the moment would, I suggest, fit into the category of ‘marauder gangs’. Working up from a white undercoat most of the following were painted up using Citadel contrast paints.

An old Mantic Mars Attacks miniature joins the gang
Bombshell Miniatures (3D print)
Anvil Digital Forge (Anvil Industries 3D print)

To maintain consistency across the ‘gang’ I’ve tried to keep the basing similar, using a dark yellow basecoat followed by a strong tone wash and then a bone drybrush highlight. I’ve used some deep red flock and some wasteland tufts to add some features.

I’ve tried to tie the basing together across these miniatures

A good gang needs an awesome leader and I have a couple to choose from. First up a 3D print from Cyber Forge (Titan Forge Miniatures). QB Turner has a certain resemblance to someone who perhaps might be at home running some sort of dome based gladitorial games. (She also doesn’t need another hero.)

She’s a private dancer

Secondly there is the big fella himself – the humungous one, who for the purposes of my games is henceforth to be referred to as the Lord Beefcake. This is another 3D print, this time from the recent Kickstarter by Kirstie Greyskull of Powersword Miniatures.

3D print (Powersword Miniatures)

(I also have a similar model from Crooked Dice that I am also going to paint up shortly.)

The good guys (if there is such things in the wastelands) don’t miss out totally either. These two are both 3D prints from Cyber Forge again. I particularly like the child who is a sort of mix of the feral kid from Mad Max 2 and Newt from Aliens.

That’s it for the time being, but I have really got the PA bug again, so am continuing to paint up more from the genre from my pile of shame. I’ve also recently picked up a really interesting looking model kit that I think will fit in with these guys really well.

Listen very carefully I shall say this only once…

Or – painting up some World War II French Resistance miniatures from Wargames Atlantic.

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog recently, but that is mostly because I have been busy on a number of different hobby projects. Primarily I have been preparing spaceships for games of Osprey’s A Billion Suns, as well as revisiting my 28mm scale 7TV Apocalypse bits.

Despite this I have still found the opportunity to get distracted and try something different. Wargames Atlantic have for the last couple of years been releasing some really interesting hard plastic 28mm scale kits across loads of different periods and settings. I’ve got into the habit of buying individual sprues from eBay of sets that interest me, more often than not just to have a look at the kits and painting something up a bit different.

One of their recent releases was a set of World War II, (nominally French) resistance fighters. However I could see these guys working in a range of games and settings from pulp and inter-war right through to later twentieth century armed civilians.

There were loads of options on the sprue and I went with a mix of armaments, inclusing quite a crazy looking dual stick genade weilding chap.

For the most part I used contrast paints to paint these fellas up. I am quite pleased with the way these turned out and they will be going into my pool of figures for 7TV.

I recently also picked up some other releases from WGA I also liked the look of, including a sprue each of the Napoleonic British Riflemen and the Classic Fantasy Lizardmen.

The latter come with some sci-fi options on the sprue and as I am currently reading the alt-history World War series of novels by Harry Turtledove I am somewhat inspired to build some members of the so called alien ‘Race’. (This is a truly bonkers series of novels by the way where some space lizards decide to invade Earth during the second world war!)

The Race from Harry Turtledove’s World War series of alt-history novels.

Kung Fu Freak of Nature

One of the many figures I have recently 3D printed is ‘Jerick Raval’, designed and released by Papsikels as part of their Patreon last year (and now also available from their MyMiniFactory store).

Eagle eyed readers may recognise a certain similarity to Kung Fury, the frankly and totally intentionally bonkers short film from a few years ago.

If you haven’t seen it and have half an hour to spare, watch it!

I don’t really have the eloquence or prose to adequetly describe the movie, but here are a few keywords: 80s, swearing, kung fu, dinosaurs, vikings, time travelling Hitler, gore, Tricerocop, loner maverick cop kung fu chosen one.

It is the last ‘apect’ I am exploring here on the tabletop, both in terms of the 3D printing and painting of the eponymous Kung Fury, but also through presenting a game profile for him for my favourite game, 7TV,

First up the miniature. There were two poses available to download and print and I did both of these on my SLA resin printer (an AnyCubic Photon) using Elegoo standard resin. The figure is on the heroic side of the 32 to 35mm scale I’d say, nice and chunky and therefore relatively easy to paint.

Starting with a white undercoat I used a lot of Citadel contrast paints and tried to stick to as close a match to the movie representation as I could. I’ve found the ‘wolf grey’ paint applied thinly over white is particularly good for blue denim. (I did notice when I rewatched the film AFTER finishing the painting that Kung Fury sports a snazzy pair of red trainers and I had gone for white on the mini!)

Due to the size of the miniatures and in particular one of the poses I went for 32mm round bases and decorated these up using tufts and flock to represent the ‘Viking’ section of the film.

From a gaming perspective I used the 7TV Casting Agency online app to modify one of the standard 7TV 2nd Edition archetypes. Using the ‘Action Hero’ as a base I tweaked the name of the ‘Star Quality’ and swapped around some of the Special Effects (using the rules from the Producers Guide). The ‘Action Hero’ attacks and stats were left as is and overall the ‘ratings’ value remained at 10 (as per the majority of profiles of ‘stars’ in the game. You can see the resulting profile card below and this is also available from the 7TV Productions Facebook page.

If I can find a suitable miniature I think Hackerman has got to be next on the list…..

Denizens of the spaceport or crocodiles in space!

I’ve been 3D printing a lot of spaceship models recently and have also started pulling together a few ideas for a spaceport table setup to use them on.

The aim here is to pull together a 4′ by 4′ table for playing science fiction based games on (obviously) using primarily the 7TV rule set, but also with half an eye on the upcoming release of Stargrave by Osprey Games.

Thematically I am trying to keep the terrain generic enough to be used across multiple sci-fi settings including games inspired by or directly set in specific fictional universes. Star Wars is the obvious choice here (certainly based on my recent hobby activity), but I also aspire at some point to do something with the Gale Force 9 Aliens miniatures I recently bought and additionally the Future Freedom Fighters 7TV Programme Guide from Crooked Dice . I certainly have a work in progress ship for this one!

I’ll be doing an article on my Scorpio build soon.

However initially I wanted to be a bit more freeform in the way I populate my (as yet unamed) spaceport. I particularly like the idea of a far future setting with no particular overarching story, more a freely adaptable ‘make it up as you go along’ approach if you like.

I used to read a comic called Starblazer in my youth (and have recently started collecting old issues again). These were self-contained 63 page stories (from DC Thomson, the same publishers of the more famous Commando comic). While there were the odd recurring characters and settings, it was pretty much something different each time (albeit with a heavy recurring vein of spaceships, aliens and lasers running throughout).

Some of my Starblazer collection

In fact some years ago Cubicle Seven released a role-playing game based on these comics which I am lucky to have in my collection. Called Starblazer Adventures – The Rock and Roll Space Opera Adventure Game, this effectively provided a sandbox for creating your own settings and adventures in a ‘generic’ science fiction setting. One of the suggested settings within the book is referred to as ‘The Cosmopolitan Era’ and is described as…

The Cosmopolitan Era or ‘Who Elected the Guy with Two Heads’ is set around the rise and fall of galactic civilisation – thousands of strange alien races share every corner of the galaxy with mankind who is now just part of the melting pot.

Chris Birch and Stuart Newman, Starblazer Adventures, 2008, Cubicle Seven

It is this feel exactly I want to go for in terms of miniatures with which to populate the spaceport initially. Luckily there has been an explosion in the availability of science fiction miniatures (that are not Warhammer 40k) recently, particularly in the field of 3D printing.

A mightly tome that is not only a RPG rulebook but a useful and interesting reference guide to the comics

My initial spaceport denizen comes from Titan Forge Miniatures and was originally released as part of their monthly CyberForge Patreon, but is also available via MyMiniFactory. Crocko Bo is a cape wearing, big gun wielding space crocodile man, and that is really all you need to know about him.

Crocko Bo by Titan Forge Miniatures (Cyber Forge)

I printed him in resin alongside a base that was also released as part of that month’s release and started off with a white undercoat. From that it was mainly a Citadel contrast based paint job for the skin tone, with additional detail picked out using coloured metallics from the Scale75 range. Rather than go with a metallic look base I stuck with the method I have been using on my Star Wars stuff recently and went for an ‘industrial grey’ colour scheme, primarily via drybrushing.

Keeping on the ‘aninals in space’ them, next up is a ‘Tortle’ by Manuel Boria (also available for download from MyMiniFactory ). I took a similar approach with this chap, again sticking with contrast paints for the skin tones and webbing with used metallics elsewhere.

Back with Cyber Forge and next up is a rather squat gentleman. This is Harry Stone – in my setting he is a space marshall travelling onbaord frieghters and passenger ships providing extra security (for a price). Another fairly simple paint job which I over complicated for myself by trying to do a desert camo pattern on his combats. In the end I think this worked OK, and although he probably as designed was intended for a more Cyberpunk setting I think he will fit in OK.

Finally we have a few models from the recent Novus Landing Kickstarter by EC3D Design.

First up a group of human soldiers called ‘The Alliance Patrol’ which I am using as my port authority security detail. These printed really nicely and I went for a white undercoat here followed by contrast. The difference here is that I tried an all over shade of dark tone wash before applying the contrast layer. This work particularly well with the yellows and whites I concentrated on for their colour scheme.

Finally also from the Novus Landing range we have an alien arms dealer. Again I went with a dark wash over a white undercoat to start with and this really helped particaulrly with the orange of his spacesuit in terms of getting a suitably quick and effective shading. One thing I will say about contrast paints is that they have made me more likely to consider painting colours I would have previously avoided, in particular white.

One thing you may have noticed with the miniatures above is that they are all 3D printed. I am not restricting myself to just 3D prints, it just seems to be the way things have gone so far on this project. It is perhaps at this point worth pointing at that Wayne at Tangent Miniatures has recently aquired a license with EC3D studio to supply physical copies of the miniatures from Novus Landing. These will be cast in metal and the first few packs should be available soon from the Tangent website. (Coincidentally I will be producing the resin masters for these for the mold making process, part of the reason I chose these miniatures to test print for this project.)

In terms of next steps I have more miniatures to print, have various ships in various stages of completion and have also started on the actual terrain pieces. This includes the part 3D printed, part scratch built port authority control tower. More of which soon…

Port Authority control tower under construction.

Imperial Entanglements – Rebuilding my (Star Wars) Legion

A few years ago I got heavily into Star Wars Legion, but then relatively quickly sold the collection I had built up. This was partly due to a lack of gaming opportunities, but primarily because I needed the cash. However recently my Star Wars enthusiasm has been stoked again by the Mandalorian TV series and I have found myself wanting to ‘hobby Star Wars hard’!

Two big things have changed in my world since my last foray into the tabletop of a galaxy far, far away. These things are Games Workshop’s Citadel Contrast Paints and 3D printing. With the former I am no longer averse to painting lots of white Stormtooper armour and the latter (combined with the availability of designs online) means I have a lot more options available in terms of scenery and vehicles.

Base coat – contrast – highlight – Contrast paint actually making white fun!

Game-wise I am yet to decide whether to give Legion itself a try again (this would require investing in a new core set), but what I do know I want to do is give the 7TV version of Star Wars ago.

Published a few years ago and still available (for free) from the Crooked Dice Game Design Studio website this is a ‘programme guide’ of profiles and gadget cards based on the 7TV second edition rules. These profiles are based on the original trilogy and being 7TV I am fully intending to expand on some of these and add in some support the Mandalorian cast and potentially other characters.

So far I have been concentrating on the bad guys. My Stormtroopers are 3D files from Dark Fire Designs (printed in resin on my AnyCubic Photon) and mix in well with a box of Legion Scout Troopers I recently aquired.

A mix of Star Wars Legion plastics (Scouts) and 3D printed models (everything else)

The recipe for painting these guys was to start with a white undercoat (in this case GW Corax White from a can), slap down some contrast Apothecary White, dry brush highlights in Corax again and then fill in the under armour gaps with contrast Black Templar.

Weapons were picked out in a gun metal and given a wash of contrast Basilicum Grey.

Also 3D printed (files from the Patreon of ‘BigMillerBro’ who specialises in Star Wars Legion compatible models) were my Imperial Officers and Navy Troopers. The officers were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily an Andrea Color German Field Grey paint set I have. Not my best work, but a nice addition to the force.

I really enjoyed doing the Navy Troopers – again they were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily dark greys and washes. With both these and the officers I used a gloss Nuln Oil wash from GW for the leather boots and also in the case of the troopers the signature helmets.

Basing? Well I’ve gone in this initial batch for an Endor style base (I have a Scout Walker I am working on – also a 3D print) and I think this goes well with the Scouts.

AT-ST – file from Dark Fire Designs

The good thing about 3D printing and having a quick and easy paint scheme is of course if I want to base some of these guys for other environments I can just batch out a few more. I’d like to do some more with an interior basing scheme (imagine running a game in a Star Destroyer or the Death Star and you get the idea).

I’m also working on a 3D printed Imperial Shuttle – but more on that soon…..

Ironblood’s Creature – The Kraken Awakes

Continuing my Action Force in 28mm scale project and expanding ‘The Enemy’ forces of Baron Ironblood I present my version of ‘The Kraken’.

The Kraken in my vintage Action Force collection.

Kraken was initially a mail away figure in the Palitoy Action Force range and in the Battle Action Force comics was discovered frozen in the Arctic by the evil Baron before being reproduced in his labs as part of his army.

The Kraken data file from the Battle Action Force comic

I designed these in Hero Forge and printed them out on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer. I did three designs in Hero Forge, all based on the ‘Dragon-person’ template.

Digital render of one of the designs from my Hero Forge account

I’ve not attempted to do a ‘screen accurate’ version of the original toy, these are more a homage. However I have tried to replicate some of the key features of the figure. Primarily this meant arming my Krakens with some form of trident and trying to replicate the clothing (which to me always looked like some sort of swimming costume).

The prints in the bare resin.

For two of the designs I added backpacks and to maintain the look armed them with a suitably sci-fi looking blasters.

I’m rather pleased with the results – one of the tridents snapped while I was handling the miniature post-print. Rather than re-print I left as-is and I think it works as a variation on the weapon.

I went for a fairly straightforward paint job using primarily Citadel contrast paints, washes and some basic highlighting.

These guys are going straight into my Red Shadows cast for 7TV. The 7TV 1967 Annual contains an ‘official’ profile for the Kraken and I look forward to bringing one or more of these guys to the gaming table soon. Action Force beware!

By your command – Galactic Centurions and Imperious Leader

Spiralling out of painting up some of the ‘not-Cylon’ models from the recent 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter I found myself (as often happens) searching the internet for other similar models.

Over on Thingiverse I found a free 3D file for a ‘Galactic Centurion’ designed by ‘BigMrTongue’ (aka Mike Tongue). I liked the look of this and it got me thinking about building a Cylon army/cast for 7TV.

Over on Patreon I discovered that Mike has a page and offers a whole load of variations on this design with lots of poses and variations in weaponry. A quick click later I was signed up and downloading.

I printed these all on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer and was really pleased with the results (despite the odd misprint due to my missing some supports). In general I was able to get a lot printed in one go and in the end finished with around 30 models in various poses.

My intention was to speed paint these and so I settled on spray cans and contrast paints as the chosen method. Undercoating in grey, I then basecoated using a ‘Poundland’ silver car spray. This resulted in a very bright finish – a good match for the highly shiny Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica.

Black details were picked out in, well…. black! However using Citadel contrast black allowed me to quickly get these done and had the added bonus of letting the underlying metallic basecoat shine through giving a nice robotic look.

The models included a short ‘skirt’ at the back. While in the original TV series I believe these were also black, I fancied added a bit of colour so these were done using a Contrast Blood Angels red. Again with the very bright silver underneath this ended up looking quite metallic, which was quite pleasing.

I went ‘off-piste’ again in terms of screen accuracy with the weapons, choosing a copper from Vallejo to add additional contrast to the rest of the scheme. This was then dulled down with a Contrast paint wash using Astronomicon Grey (which I have found to be hugely effective as a finish for metallics on many different colours).

The most fiddly bit was left until last – the addition of the famous eye scanner. Just a drop of red in this case.

For some variation (and to indicate an officer class perhaps), I decided to paint a handful of the ‘Centurions’ in a gold livery. I cannot honestly remember if gold Cylons appeared in the original series (I have a feeling they may have been in the re-imagined series later on in the run). These were basecoated using a combination of Humbrol acrylic sprays (these can be easily picked up from model shops and shops such as Boyes and Hobbycraft in the UK and I think are oft overlooked as an option for tabletop gaming hobbyists).

My approach here was to lay down a solid ‘Brass’ base and then to a light top down dusting with ‘Gold’. The remaining steps were as per the standard silver troops.

So what about a leader for these robotic menaces? Well it just so happens that over the past few months I have been providing 3D printing services for a new company called Tangent Miniatures. Tangent produce a lovely range of figures in 28mm scale inspired by popular TV series and films that wonderfully slot into 7TV and complement the range from Crooked Dice. So far Wayne at Tangent has produced galactic hitchikers, space fighter heroes and some dimension hopping adventurers and cops. I have had the pleasure of 3D printing the resin masters for all of these and some ranges that are awaiting release in the new year (January). These include some ‘space heroes’ that would fit in really well as enemies for my Galactic Centurions, and also excitingly a ‘supreme imperious leader’ for the shiny robot men.

I’ve painted up one of the masters for the imperious leader, however I felt like he could use an imposing throne from which to order his legions.

So a couple of coke cans and a dip into the bits box later I have this. While in no way exactly the same of the screen version I think this works really nicely. The base I put on the leader fits exactly into the top of the can and I have not glued this so I can use the figure away from this scenery piece in games.

The paint job on the ‘throne column’ was again kept very simple and achieved entirely through the use of spray cans (the weather being kind to me on enough days to get this completed relatively quickly).

So there we are, a legion of Galactic Centurions and their leader, ready to pursue and hunt down the remaining human fleet.

The Robo-Hordes of Argo

I’ve been spending some time recently painting up more of the figures I got as part of the recent Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter. In addition to the miniatures that I received as part of my pledge I have also been expanding the force with other suitable models from my collection.

For those not in the know, the Kickstarter was to fund a programme guide for 7TV with associated miniatures and profiles to represent the evil Doctor Ulysses Argo and his monstrous robotic creations. As a ode to fantastic and cult TV and cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, the original ‘spy-fi’ version of 7TV has always had a place in my heart. In painting up and modelling this cast for the game I very much wanted to reflect that style of the times, so have gone with a suitably ’70’s beige’ palette.

The majority of my robotic characters would have heavy gold and bronze accents, with my more human types wherever possible sticking to the mustards, yellows and browns from the decade that fashion forgot.

Nowhere is this more pronounced that in my representation of Argo himself. This was mainly painted with thin layers of various contrast paints and tied together with washes.

Following on we have ‘the Nightmare’, a tribute to frankly one of the most terrifying characters and scenes from an 80s movie of my youth – yup computer cyblorg lady from the end of Superman III. I had originally painted her with blue metallic hair but switched this over to a gold to tie it more in with the rest of the cast.

The Argonauts themselves are robots bearing a not disimilar look to a certain race of metallic beings from a 70s (and susequent noughties) space opera TV show. I have painted these up in a more traditional manner befitting the original source material as I am planning on a separate Battlestar Galactica set of casts in future.

Next up are a diversion from the 7TV models to my old favourites the Tehnolog plastic cyborgs (of which these four represent the last I have in my stash). While I had previously experiemented with a purple colour scheme for one, I have done the rest in the ‘team Argo’ colours of gold and silver. My gold technique is achieved using Humbrol spray paints using Brass as a base and then a light top down highlight of Gold. I intend to use these as proxies for the ‘titans’ in the programme guide.

While I am doing the robot thing, I’ve also added a couple of 3D prints from the Titan Forge Miniatures Cyber Forge Patreon, of which I am a member. While nominally for a more ‘cyberpunk’ setting I have again gone for an Argonauts colour scheme here to tie them in with the rest of the team.

One thing I have additionally done here and in other paint jobs for this team is to pull out some spot colours. In particular I like the idea that not all of Argo’s tech is necessarily homegrown and maybe he has had some outside (even alien help) in constructing his robotic hordes. As such I have used some of the Citadel technical gemstone paints to pick out across various models some glowing red, green and blue lights. This is really an ode to the martians from the War of the Worlds and is particularly apt when it comes to the following two centrepieces for the force.

I’ll be going in to more detail about both the Crooked Dice and Bombshell Miniatures tripod models in more detail in an upcoming blog.

Return of the Argonauts – Enter the Spartoi

I’ve started on the first batch of miniatures from the Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter.

Enter the Spartoi – deadly regenerating robots created by evil genius Ulysses Argo!

These metal miniatures are lovely sculpts and required next to no clean up. After a quick wash in warm soapy water these were dried off and given a black undercoat from a can.

I decided on a dark metallic look so used a basecoat of Humbrol Bronze, followed by a light zenith of the Gold from the same range (both in spray cans). To add some depth I highlighted with a silver drybrush and an all over wash of Army Painter soft tone wash. Certain highlights were then re-picked out in silver.

My original plan was to use a set of old tank number decals on the shields to emphasise their autonomous robotic nature, however having completed the painting and with the shields having the same metallic look as the bodies I thought I’d try something different.

Constrast paints applied quite thinly over the metallic base gave a glass/gem like appearence to the shields. The addition of Humbrol gloss cote as a finishing touch further emphasises this. I like the idea that these are some form of energy absorbing device.

The skulls were painted in a yellow sand and then given a soft tone wash.

Plenty more to come soon (by your command…..)

You may remember me from such projects as Pulp and more Pulp

With the imminent arrival in the post of the Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter I’ve been trying to clear the decks a bit. That has mainly involved revisiting both my post apocalypse and pulp projects.

On the Pulp front I have had both Crooked Dice and miniatures from the Cthulu Death May Die boardgame half finished for quite a while.

First up some cultists from the latter. A mix of colours and paints (including some contrast) were employed here. The tommy gun armed female cultists are not from the core set and add a bit of variety. My intention is to use these miniatures in games of 7TV Pulp.

Continuing with the Death May Die miniatues I have also started painting up the character models, including this one which really caught my eye. A military veteran by the looks of things, with a Soviet flavour, I’ve not actually read much around the game so don’t know his actual background.

On the side of the heroes we have one of my favourite sculpts ever for 7TV. You may remember him from such insprirational sources as ‘The Land that Time Forgot’ and ‘Warlords of Atlantis’….

Slightly out of leftfield I also had this very characterful home guard figure from Warlord Games Bolt Action Operation Sea Lion range. I’ve painted quite a few World War II British miniatures in the past, but I wanted to try out a suitable contrast paint for the uniform for the first time.

I ended up going with Aggaros Dunes over a grey undercoat, which was a relatively good match (albeit a little light).

Finally, staying Pulp but switching to science fiction we have this bombastic fellow. I actually lost a couple of the bits for this model. He was suppossed to have wings and be wielding a mace, but both are lost somewhere on my cellar floor. So diving into the bits box I dug out a suitably retro rocket pack and ended up 3D printing a raygun holding left hand. The latter was from a past Bombshell Miniatures monthly Patreon release.