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

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!

7TV Day 4 at Board in Brum

This last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the latest 7TV event at Board in Brum in Walsall.  Having missed the previous event in the Autumn (due to an inability to organise my diary properly) it was almost exactly a year since the last event at this great location.

Since my last visit the store had expanded into the full building it previously only occupied a part of.  In fact the day of the event was the last full day at that location as they are moving to new expanded premises.  As someone who struggled in the retail side of the industry it is heartening to see a local games store doing well and able to expand in this way.

While hosted by Simon of Board in Brum, the event was organised by the talented Mike Strong, who has a track record of adding some great additional narrative to these events.  In true 7TV style this involved the ‘production studio’ having to cut back on costs, so across the three games in the day there were various additional objectives added in to try and keep the accountants at ‘Baron Studios’ happy.  At the end of each game, based on your success at meeting these objectives (for example moving your cast the least amount of space across the board to save on cost) additional bonuses or abilities were made available for the next game.  There was even a ‘scoreboard’ so the accountants could keep track of which producers were in the black and which were in the red.

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My Red Shadows, ready for action.

The event followed a standard pattern of three games at 40 ratings each.  This allowed for compact games run on either 3 by 3 or 4 by 4 tables with some flexibility on the number of stars and co-stars.  This allowed me to take a reasonably sized cast, for which this time I chose Baron Ironblood and his Red Shadows using the ‘official’ profile cards for these characters published in the 7TV 1967 Annual.

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Blood for the Baron!

There were a number of excellent tables available on the day, some provided by the venue, others brought by attendees.  I brought along my secret Nazi rocket base complete with V2 launch site and Haunbau flying saucer (neatly parked in a stone circle).

Also worthy of mention was Mike’s Venetian layout (complete with what I can only assume was a lost submarine), David’s sinister funfair and Paul’s hex based ‘Children of the Fields’ themed setup.  In fact there was a surplus of boards available on the day and we ended up sharing these with a Marvel Crisis Protocol event that was also taking place at the same time.  (Which reminds me I need to finish of painting up my set for a game at the next Dales Meeting in February).

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The zombie hoard led by the preacher (played by Dick van Dyke)!

My first game was against my old adversary Kieron, who had somehow made his 40 ratings stretch to a 30 plus figure cast.  There was a reason for this and that reason was…..zombies.  Now I usually have epic bad luck with dice when playing against Kieron and this was no different.

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Playing on my V2 rocket site board things started off bad and continued from there as two of my extras were immediately infected and replaced with zombies and the rest of the horde started their relentless stumble across the board towards the Baron and his fanatical followers.  I’m terrible at remembering the specific details of games so I’d point you towards Kieron’s blog for an excellent narrative overview of the ‘episode’.

Unlike previous games between us, we did at least get through the first act and in fact managed to play through to the end of the countdown deck.  The upshot was a win in terms of victory points for my opponent and ‘a slip into the red’ for me as a producer.

The second game of the day followed on from lunch and I found myself up against Simon and his gang of wasteland marauders.

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Wes and gang.

This cast took a similar approach to the zombies with a single star and lots of lots of expendable extras.  While not quite the size of the previous cast I’d faced, it did give me plenty of opportunity for some target practice for my fanatical Red Shadows.

Somehow all the bad dice luck I had had in the previous game was immediately passed over to my opponent who had some truly horrendous bad luck with his rolls.  Again we managed to play through the full episode (the cost saving aspect for the studio here was that a bonus was conferred to the player who burnt through the most countdown cards).  Despite losing a larger proportion of my cast I just about sqweaked a win in terms of victory points, although we both ended up with the same number of countdown cards, which at least meant I’d moved out of the red into the ‘grey’ prior to the final game of the day.

My final game of the day was against David and his biker gang.  We played this on Kieron’s city table.  It was a standard ‘steal’ scenario in which the defender had to keep and defend the Macguffin from the attacker.

I ended up with the Macguffin to start with and to my delight and my opponents dismay the random gadget I ended up drawing for this was the jet pack.  Queue a game of cat and mouse, where the mouse was airbourne for much of the time, in what can only be described as a valiant rearguard action (i.e. I spent much of the game, running away).

The added cost saving objective for this game was to end the episode with the most left over plot points.  Running entirely against type I managed to achieve this as David my opponent valiantly tried but ultimately failed to retrieve the Macguffin, burning through many of his remaining plot points to do so on the final turn.

All in all three cracking games, a well organised event at a friendly venue against a great bunch of opponents with lots of laughs.  Just what a 7TV event should be.

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I didn’t get to play against Paul’s ‘Children of the Fields’; however he deservedly won the award for best cast.

I was also delighted to come away from the day with the prize for best table layout (goodies already ordered from Crooked Dice).

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Mike’s sailors (no monkeying around here).

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The monkey theme continues with part of Simon Clarke’s cast (including at least one Marx brother).

Next up in terms of 7TV events is the day I am hosting at Dales Wargames in Darley Dale on Sunday April 5th.  This is a 7TV Apocalypse focussed event. 

White Line Nightmares

Also later in the year on Saturday July 4th there is the annual Wargames Illustrated 7TV day at Foundry Miniatures near Newark.

The next day at Board in Brum (at their new venue) is tentatively scheduled for September or October this year.  I’d heartily recommend checking out the 7TV Productions Facebook group for all the latest news.

 

 

The 7TV Open University – a report

On Sunday 17th November 2019 I had the pleasure alongside the rest of the Dales Wargames Club of hosting our latest 7TV event.

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Titled the 7TV Open University, this event was a follow up to the games day we held earlier in the year and was again held at the Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale near Matlock in Derbyshire.  The focus was once more on narrative play rather than competition, with an additional aim of getting new players into the game.

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I wanted to make the event beginner friendly in order to spread the joy of 7TV as far and wide as possible.  For the first event earlier in the year we really didn’t have any overarching theme and I was keen to address this for our second outing.  Therefore I came up with a theme of the ‘7TV Open University’ which would encompass both the scenarios we’d play through on the day in addition to the focus on new players.

To get new players into the action as quickly and easily as possible I created a number of pre-built casts for new players to pick from.  Cast size was set at 40 ratings for the event and for what I referred to as the ‘pick and play’ casts on the day I stuck to profiles from the core 7TV 2nd Edition ‘Inch High Spy Fi’ set.  These also happen to be the same profiles that can be obtained from Crooked Dice as a free download and are also available within the casting agency application.  This was a concious decision to demonstrate to new players how much fun can be had ‘out of the box’ with 7TV.

Eight ‘pick and play’ casts were created and I’ll be writing about each of these in future articles.  Basically it was a case of matching what painted miniatures I had in my collection against the core profiles and using a bit of imagination.  And it was a lot of fun.  Heres the list of casts:

  • Department XS (‘Excess’)
  • The Guru and the Spacemen
  • Knight Industries 3000
  • The Tuetonic Order of Luna
  • United Nations Alien Countermeasures Force
  • The Revengers
  • Cobra
  • The Cult of Fu Manchu

After a sudden surge of interest in the few days leading up to the event, I had my fingers crossed that I had casts for budding new players.  That also meant we had to get at least seven tables setup on the day.  I was able to dip into the clubs scenery collection as well as my own and we ended up with an eclectic mix of setups including a V2 launch site, a woodland area with mysterious stone circle, a dockside loading area, a cobbled townscape and a couple of post apocalypse wastelands.

A couple of attendees also brought along tables, including Simon Quinton and his excellent PA diner and highway.  Thankfully as well, there were enough sets of cards and templates and tokens to go around.

So, what about the scenarios (or more correctly in 7TV parlance, the episodes)?  To tie in with the university theme I came up with a narrative that had the studio obtaining a government grant for educational programming.  This was then immediately diverted into their adventure series and as bonuses for their top stars with the producers then having to work the system to avoid getting closed down by the government regulators.

Using the basic scenarios from the 7TV Spy-fi set I added some extra narrative tweaks.  This introduced events that included shoehorning famous scientists into the episode (guest starring as themselves) or potentially having to deliver public services messages at the expense of action sequences.

In future articles I’ll go into a bit more detail around how the episodes were setup and how they worked, as well as making them available for others who might want to try them out.

While not a tournament in any way, the kind offer of prizes from Karl at Crooked Dice and Wayne at Wargames Illustrated meant that we did need to find a couple of ways of measuring some degree of success on the day.  In addition to the usual ‘most sporting player’ (aka ‘best director’), we also had on offer a prize for most victory points accumalted and a wooden spoon for biggest margin of defeat.

I was busy moving between tables and didn’t get to see much of the action over and above helping out with rules and scenario queries (and taking lots of photos).  However a few of the attendees have kindly written up reports of the action on the day and you can find these here:

The day itself went really well.  It was extremely tiring but very satisfying experience and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who turned up and especially the veterans who helped guide the new players through their first games.  All in all there were a lot laughs had, which is really what it is all about isn’t it?

We are going to do it all again in 2020 with a 7TV Apocalypse day scheduled for Sunday 5th April with the working title of ‘White Line Nightmares!”.  In the meantime the club have agreed to run a couple of participation games at upcoming shows (more on that soon), but I’m also really looking forward to actually getting a game or two in myself.  First up in January is another event at Board in Brum in Walsall which promises to be great, with the now annual Wargames Illustrated event scheduled for the summer.

In amongst all this good stuff Crooked Dice are also (at the time of writing) running another Kickstarter campaign to fund a new set of ‘flashy’ retro sci-fi figures.  It’s a good time to be a 7TV fan!

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The 7TV Open University – coming soon…

I’m delighted to announce after the success of our first event, Dales Wargames are holding a follow up 7TV games day on Sunday 17th November.  We still have plenty of spaces left, so if anyone is reading this and is interested please see the full details here.

7TV University

Three full games at 40 ratings, any casts from across any 7TV sets (although for balance, no Apocalypse vehicles), custom casts welcome.

We are keen to spread the 7TV love, so if you’ve never played before or are just curious there will be pre-built casts available to borrow on the day and support available to learn the game. It is 7TV University after all. (Kipper ties are mandatory!)

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7TV ready to ‘start shooting’ at a recent Dales meeting

Cost is £7.50, paid either in advance or on the day (just let us know you are coming).  It’s also a normal meeting date for the Dales Wargames club, so if for some (crazy) reason you don’t want to play 7TV ago come along anyway, there’s bound to be something of interest (including cake).

The venue is the beautiful Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale, near Matlock on the edge of the Peak District with easy access from the M1.

The Cabinets of Wonder at Wargames Foundry

I recently attended a 7TV campaign day at Foundry Miniatures (aka Wargames Foundry).  Dotted throughout the venue are cabinets upon cabinets of wonderfully painted vintage Citadel Miniatures.

Many of these are recognisable to those of us of a certain vintage from the pages of White Dwarf back in the day.

First off, some classic Warhammer 40k miniatures:

 

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Space Crusade

Some smaller scale classic ‘Epic’ miniatures:

 

Citadel fantasy and medieval, including Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest, Talisman and Warhammer.

 

 

A bit of Bloodbowl (and Dungeonbowl)!

And finally a selection of Foundry Miniatures:

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The shop at Foundry which contains all these wonders is well worth a visit.  It is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm – more details on their website.

Pulptastic – A 7TV Campaign Day

On Saturday 6th July I attended the now annual 7TV campaign day, organised by Wargames Illustrated and hosted at Foundry Miniatures just outside Newark.  This is the second year I have attended following last years event which focussed on playtesting the Apocalypse ruleset.

This time round the focus was Pulp and the newly released 7TV Pulp boxed set.  As per usual Mr. 7TV himself, Karl Perroton was in attendance.  Also there was Peter Wright from Edge Hill University and some of his students who had worked on the rules in collobaration with Crooked Dice.

As a change this year attendees were invited to bring along a board or table setup.  The 7TV community is well known for really pushing the boat out when it comes to scenery and terrain and there were some excellent setups in attendance.  The gaming area was spread across the Foundry shop, marquee and also a spare stable!

For those who don’t know, Wargames Foundry has for a few years now been based in the stable block at Stoke Hall.  The stable block is a circular building with a central exterior courtyard in which is based a semi-permanent hospitality tent.  The shop itself is large and filled with a huge number of blisters containing just about every type of 28mm scale metal wargames figures you could imagine.  Even more exciting for a man of my age, there are cabinets full of beautifully painted ‘old skool’ miniatures.  Many of these are old Citadel Miniatures sculpts from the 1980s that once graced the pages of White Dwarf back in the day (Bryan Ansell who owns Foundry is the former head of Games Workshop).  Any how, more on the cabinets in another blog!

The day was split up into three games and we were organised into two groups.  The ‘baddie’ casts were fighting for the sinister Hydra organisation, while the ‘goodies’ were on the side of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR).  A general theme running throughout the day saw the games oriented around the scouting out and collecting of parts for a sinister super weapon, with the final game being a battle to ultimately control these doomsday devices.

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A super weapon!

Attendees were also encouraged to model and bring along their own super weapon.  I’ve already documented my adventures in putting together my big stompy robot for this purpose, and there were a wide variety of ‘devices’ on show (including a mysterious pyramid, various mechanical men and a plank of wood with some nails in).  My favourite however had to be a television set – symbolising the rise of TV in the home and the death of the cinema serial!

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A possible super weapon?

Casts were many and varied (according to Wayne from Wargames Illustrated this is by far the most popular event they put on) and in total there were about twenty four attendees playing.  Although there was the overarching Hydra versus SSR theme, this did not mean a restiction in the types of casts fielded.  There were mobsters, adventurers, Lovecraftian horrors, space aliens from beyond the stars, rocketeers and many more.

My first game was against Peter James and his Rocketeers and was played on the Nazi flying saucer / V2 launch site table I had quickly put together for the event.  This was my first ever game using the Pulp variant of the rules and it was interesting to see how a few little things here and there had been tweaked.  The new countdown deck (now called the cliffhanger deck) provided a suitably ‘pulpy flavour’ to proceedings.  My cast from Mongo didn’t fair too well here, with Emperor Ming and his cronies being axed only just as we entered Act 2!

This gave me a bit of extra time to have a browse round the Foundry shop and discover that despite not being aware of it at the beginning of the day, I suddenly really needed to start an Elf army for Saga Age of Magic!

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Unexpected purchase in the hobby area!

Lunch followed including a question and answer session with Karl and the gang from EHU.  A few tasty titbits of info on upcoming activities and 7TV releases were forthcoming.  As you can probably guess I was particularly excited by the upcoming ‘classic sci-fi’ range of figures which are coming to Kickstarter soon.

Mongo Secret Police

The afternoon’s games soon came round.  First up I was up against Simon Clarke and his excellent ‘North Pole’ cast, which included a heavily armed Father Christmas as well as a particularly violent red nosed reindeer!  Two highlights in this game for me.  First off Princess Aura being gored off the top of a building by Rudolf.  Second (having survived and ultimately being the only cast member I had left), Aura attempting to seduce Santa in the last act of the game.  Needless to say my run of luck continued and the invaders from Mongo were once again banished (surely Hydra must have been offshoring to Mongo by now).

The final game of the day was against an old adversary, Kieron Mulholland.  I’d previously played Kieron at the Dales 7TV event earlier in the summer and got roundly spanked after about three turns when Skeletor and his crew totally decimated my cast of orange jumpsuited fascist space lizards.  Surely history couldn’t repeat itself?

It did.

While it wasn’t quite as short a game this time, my dice luck and tactical choices were similary awful and I was axed during act 2 as I valiantly tried to defend my stompy robot from Captain America, Bucky and pals.  All in all though another excellent game and a reminder (not that it’s needed) how much fun 7TV is to play.

After all the results were totted up and points allocated, stunningly (although in keeping with the cliffhanger nature of the pulp serials) it was a dead heat between the forces of Hydra and the SSR.  A number of prizes were allocated and a few freebies given out.  It was a fantastic day all in all.  Great to catch up with old faces and meet new ones.

A massive thanks to Wayne at Wargames Illustrated and the staff at Foundry for the organisation.  A big shout out to all the attendees and their brilliant casts and tables, and an especially loud ‘pip pip’ to Karl, Peter and the brilliant student team from EHU for crafting a fantastic new version of our favourite game.  Looking forward to next year already.

 

Klytus I’m bored – Preparing for Pulp Day

Next weekend I am taking the relatively short drive over to Wargames Foundry at Stoke Hall near Newark for the sold out Wargames Illustrated annual 7TV event.  I attended last years gathering where the focus of the day was all about play testing the Apocalypse version of the game.

WI 7TV Pulp Day

This year things are a little different.  The theme is ‘Pulp’ and the day is focused around playing the newly released 7TV Pulp rules.  Now, there is a lot of debate on what Pulp means, but in this case we are talking primarily the movie serials of the 1930s and 1940s and associated settings.  I picked the new box set up at UK Games Expo this year and recently also received the initial set of supporting figures which were funded and released via a Kickstarter earlier this year.

7TV Pulp Kickstarter

I’ve spoken a little about the background to the Pulp boxed set before.  A collaboration between Crooked Dice and Edge Hill University Press, development of the game gave the opportunity to get involved to students and we punters are now able to reap the benefits of their hard work.

Back to the theme, having booked in for the day quite a while ago, but before the game was publicly released there was a bit of a dilemma as to what sort of cast to go for.  I kid of course, there was never any doubt I’d be going down the Flash Gordon route!  The only question really was I going to do Flash and chums, or turn to the villainy of Mongo?

Zarkov and Flash
Zarkov and Flash (they like short shorts!)

 

I have fond memories of watching the Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe serials in the early eighties when they were often repeated daily during the school summer holidays.  However my number one love is the 1980 camp spectacular that is the Mike Hodges film.  Having already decided on the excellent Princes of the Universe range from Cold War Miniatures to form the core of my cast I then needed to decide which version of Flash I was therefore going to go for.  The range is very much based on the old black and white serials in terms of style and I did start down that route in terms of colour schemes (yes that is a weird thing to say about a black and white set of films, but really I was also taking inspiration from the aesthetic of the original Alex Raymond comic strips).

However at the point at which I started to paint up my 3D printed rocket ship I knew that going with the over the top awesomeness of the later film was the way to go.  It was also at this point that I settled on the bad guys as the cast I would be taking to the campaign day.

Ming and Klytus
There was only one choice of allegiance really

The main bulk of my force is made up of ‘Imperial Fleet Troopers’ from the Cold War Miniatures range.  Finding a Ming the Merciless figure was a bit problematic as they don’t really do one.  I settled on Hydra Miniatures to fill this gap, although I had to source the figure I wanted from the US as I couldn’t at the time find it closer to home.

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Cold War Miniatures Princes of the Universe – Imperial Fleet Troopers – more of a ‘Buster Crabbe’ era vibe to the colour scheme on these

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My Ming is ‘Xurr the Exalted’ from Hydra Miniatures Retro Raygun range

With only 30 ratings to work with for the campaign day I was somewhat limited to what additional characters from Flash lore I could bring in.  I really, really wanted a Klytus, but again couldn’t find a suitable figure.  Long term I am probably going to look at converting a Marvel Heroclix Doctor Doom, or keep my fingers crossed that Karl at Crooked Dice has this on his radar for a future release.  Therefore I decided to go with Princess Aura instead.  There is a great ‘Renegade Royal’ miniature in the 7TV Pulp kickstarter, but unfortunately this didn’t arrive in time, so I ended up using the ‘Dale’ from Cold War in this role.

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My version of Princess Aura is ‘Gail’ from Cold War Miniatures

While I’ve hit my ratings limit I have also carried on expanding the cast to include some robots, utilising the ever flexible range of 54mm scale plastics from Tehnolog.

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Death Robots of Ming – Tehnolog plastics (54mm scale or in this case ‘large’ 28mm)

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These guys were the inspiration for my robots

The schedule for the campaign day gives the option for attendees to bring along a super weapon for folk to fight over in the last game of the day.  Having scoured the internet for something suitably retro to 3D print I then remembered the ‘giant stompy robot’ I’ve got from Mantic Games now defunct Mars Attacks range.  I had started to prime this in the thought that it would go into a German ‘weird war’ force, but a quick airbrush job later and Ming has a new threat to bring to those pathetic Earthlings.

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Ming’s super weapon – at this point I’d totally switched over to the 1980 movie colour scheme

I’ve gone similar colours to the rocketship, trying to keep that red/gold/black theme that pervades in the movie.  For a pilot I’ll be using a seated Fleet Trooper from Cold War which fits just about perfectly (although being quite a chunky bit of metal on top of a plastic model might mean some weight has to be added to the base).

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Just the pilot to add (and maybe some ballast)

So apart from a few finishing touches I am raring to go and looking forward to what promises to be an excellent day next Saturday.