Recently I’ve been catching up with some ‘Pulp’ painting, finishing off a group of figures I didn’t get round to for the 7TV game at Hammerhead and also completing a number of half painted minis that have been on the table (in some cases for years).
First up are my ‘Sky Pirates’. A mix of figures I have been planning for us with some of the lovely looking 3D printed airships I’ve been working on recently. The red headed heroine is an out of production mini from Statuesque Miniatures from their Pulp Alley line. Talking of Pulp Alley, her team mates are from some Pulp Figures packs I picked up over Christmas.
Next up we have a really characterful figure from Artizan Designs. This chap has been sat undercoated on my workbench for quite a few years now, so it was great to be able to finally get round to finishing him. Kind of has the look of either a dependable sidekick, a guide or perhaps even an evil henchman?
Shifting forward about a decade to more 1940s style aesthetic we have a Warlord Games ‘female agent’ style figure who wouldn’t look out of place next to a certain WW2 era star spangled Captain.
Next we have a dastardly German office from the Thrilling Tales range of figures from Artizan Designs.
Finally here is a set of security guards from Crooked Dice for 7TV Pulp.
Across all of these I’ve used a mix of normal acrylic paints from the likes of Vallejo, Army Painter, Citadel, Coat d’Arms, Reaper and Andrea Colour, as well as contrast paints from Games Workshop.
I’m beginning to learn which contrast paints suit my painting style the best, with black, white and red being particular favourites. I’m sure this is going to prove handy as I have started on the Pulp Sci Fi rewards from the latest Crooked Dice 7TV Kickstarter.
Just prior to Christmas I picked up a copy of the newly released Cthulhu Death May Die board game by CMON. This was another case of miniatures, rather than game driving my purchase decision. In fact it was yet another case of thinking ‘oh I could use them in 7TV’, 7TV Pulp to be precise.
I’ve played quite a few Cthulhu themed games and continue to quite regularly with my weekly board gaming chums. Favourites include, Mansions of Madness and the epic Cthulhu Wars. The general consensus in our circle when Death May Die was launched originally on Kickstarter some time ago, was that although it looked nice and had the usual high quality components and miniatures that CMON regularly knock out, the theme and general approach seemed a bit too ‘shooty’ and not ‘investigator focussed’ enough for the setting.
Fast forward and I am browsing the posts on the 7TV Productions Facebook page and see a size comparison of 28mm scale Crooked Dice minis and the one-piece pre-assembled plastics from Death May Die. The size is almost spot on, maybe a touch larger than 28mm, but certainly not too noticeable. The sculpts themselves are lovely, with a nice mix of character models, minions and monsters. Way back in the day I went in heavily on the original Zombicide game and expansions. I have to say in comparison to this, the quality of the minis that CMON are producing for their board games has improved leaps and bounds. Clean and crisp, with none of the old problems of thin bendy bits or soft detail. There is the usual issue when using board game miniatures with skirmish wargames that your troops or minions tend to be all of a single or limited number of poses, but I can live with that.
With 7TV Pulp having a very much Cthulhu inspired theme as one of its genres I took the opportunity not only to pick up the core box of Death May Die, but also a few of the expansions. There are some really nice big monster models here that I hope to be able to use with the upcoming release of the 7TV Menagerie of Terror card set.
The miniatures themselves are all one piece or pre-assembled in a quite hard PVC plastic which has made painting relatively easy. Using mostly contrast paints over primarily a white undercoat I have started so far on the minions and monsters with a view to ploughing through these and spending more time on the character models later.
While I will probably give the actual game a try at some point,in the meantime I am cracking on with the painting, including the big fella himself…..
The 3D printing aspect of my hobby is both a source of great joy and great frustration. I started off last year with no experience at all and ended the year with two 3D printers, an even bigger pile of unpainted models and a new level of zen-like patience I would never have though possible.
For all the great stuff that I’ve been able to do there are times when I just want to throw the damn things out of the window. I made the decision last summer to invest in a resin printer (Anycubic Photon S). This has been utterly fantastic (so far) – the quality that I have been able to get at home printing out miniatures is in my opinion a game changer for the industry moving forward.
As an aside it has been interesting to note how the industry is starting to adapt to this new technology. Patreon seems to be a very popular route for digital sculptors for tabletop games. I have gone down the rabbit hole a bit with this recently and backed some amazing creators, many of which are pumping out quality designs for print at a heck of a rate. In fact some of the ‘traditional’ miniatures companies are also seeing the value in this – I’ve recently subscribed to both Titan Forge Miniatures and Bombshell Miniatures patreon campaigns.
So the older (larger) FDM printer (Creality CR-10S) has now been put purely on scenery and vehicle printing duty and is still doing a good job. However (and back on the subject of frustration) I have had a lot of breakdowns recently, much of which I am putting down to the hammer I have been putting it through. I have noticed an unspoken law that seems to dictate that only one of my printers can be working at any one time!
Moaning aside I have recently been working on some airship models I have printed. These are nominally for use in games of 7TV Pulp (I fancy doing an inter-war sky pirates type thing), but these would also be useful for steampunk or even fantasy type games. In fact the two models I have picked up were really designed for the latter (think Age of Sigmar’s ‘air dwarves’ or Dungeons and Dragons Eberron setting).
The first vessel was obtained from Dark Realms via their Patreon campaign and was made available to patrons during October last year. This was printed almost exclusively on the FDM printer with some of the smaller parts being done in resin.
Blimp rear – showing I had to switch filament part way through the print.
The print time on this was long, probably 80 plus hours in total. The model went together OK once printed. I was a bit over aggressive on some of my support settings and there was a bit of warping on some bottom layers leading to some slight deformities in detail (note the top of the doors). That said, as a gaming model I am pretty pleased with how this came out.
All the main components
The deck was printed in two parts
The connector to the blimp was resin printed.
The two halves of the blimp connected.
Another view of the connector piece in resin.
The two main sub-assemblies prior to painting.
I didn’t spend too much time cleaning the model up (I’d probably invest some more time on sanding and smoothing out the layer lines if I did this again). However I did use a heat gun to remove some of the wispier bits of plastic filament that are often left over after a print.
The blimp and ship parts of the model were assembled seperately and undercoated in black primer.
For the blimp a simple block colour paint job was applied. The body of the ship was painted primarily with diffferent brown shades from the Citadel contrast range. This worked really well on the wood grain panels that make up most of this part of the model.
Basic block colours applied.
Ready for Quickshade.
It was a case of painting on some Army Painter Quickshade Dark Tone. I went very heavy with this, partly to give it a really dirty ‘steampunk’ luck and partly to smooth out some of the surfaces.
Once dry (after 24 hours) this was tidied up, specifically successivly lighter shades of grey were applied to the canvas parts of the blimp and the metal work was rehighlighted and some rust effects applied.
I applied a mix of decals (I have gone for an Imperial German / Great War style), and then painted up the port holes using a white base over which I applied a blue contrast paint.
The base was supplied as a file with the rest of the model, so this was printed and then painted and adorned in such a way as to try and hide it as much as possible to give the illusion of flight.
Blimp, ship body and base were all then put together. Despite a desire to try and magnetise the blimp connector to the deck this wasn’t possible due to the weight of the components. Therefore a bit of drilling and pinning was done to hold the whole thing in place.
I’m really pleased with the finished result, despite the fact that it has been pointed out to me that the design shares some similarities with the ‘Pinky Ponk’ of In the Night Garden fame.
I mentioned at the begining of this article that I was working on a second airship model. This one is from Titan Forge Miniatures and I will cover this in a separate blog.
I’ve also been alerted to the fact that there is a Kickstarter launching soon for 3D print designs for fantasy airships called Skies of Sordane and this is certainly something I may just get involved in….
As is often the case this little hobby activity was in no way planned. Having bought a few cheap Heroclix figures from eBay in order to try out a new set of rules, I found the following in the booster packs I was opening….
Now I am not a massive Marvel or superhero comics chap, but I do know that this is Magneto, nemesis of the X-Men. However my immediate thought was, with a bit of work that could easily be Cobra Commander seated in his throne room.
So, first up basing. This looked to be a flying model so rather than being directly attached to the usual Heroclix chunky base, all I had to remove and replace was the clear plastic around the bottom of the model.
In my bits box I knew I had a hooded Cobra Commander head (sourced from a limited run of private commission GI Joe miniatures). So one quick snip and a touch of superglue later and the king snake himself was pretty much done (at least in terms of modelling).
Now the only problem I had with making this a convincing conversation was the facts that the original bare headed figure has his hand placed on a helmet. As it happens the choice of going with the ‘hooded’ version of Cobra Commander proved fortuitous. With a bit of filler I could convert the helmet in hand into his alternate head wear. In fact even better I could go with the ‘Action Force’ version of the Commander and model the helmet as his previous ‘Baron Ironblood’ persona.
(For those readers not familiar with the British Action Force mythology, Cobra was born out of the ashes of the Red Shadows organisation, with Cobra Commander previously being the head of that organisation, the fearsome Baron Ironblood. You can read more about my Action Force project and Baron Ironblood in my past blog posts.)
Next step, painting. I gave the pre-painted figure a covering with a white primer applied with the airbrush. Then it was down to a combination of Citadel Contrast and ‘traditional paints’ to finish things off. All in all a quick but effective conversion, which will probably see some action on the tabletop in games of 7TV at some point in the future.
What this has reminded me is that while some of the pre-paints on Heroclix models can be a bit ropey, there are often some good sculpts hiding underneath. Heroclix can be incredibly cheap to pick up and the vast array of characters means that these can be a really good source for conversions (whether you choose to re-paint them or not).
Thing is this all started off with a desire to do some super hero hobby and gaming. I still plan on pursuing this (especially in light of the theme of this years Wargames Illustrated 7TV Day). Well these turned up recently (I ordered them, but has kind of forgotten about them)….new unpainted X-Men Heroclix, including of course a certain Magneto….
With the recent completion of the 7TV Pulp Sci Fi miniatures Kickstarter I have a load more reinforcements coming over the next few months. (For the record the 1980 version of Flash Gordon is my all time favourite and probably most watched film of all time).
In the meantime I’ve been thinking about how to expand the legions of Mongo to include some themed vehicles to my selection of troops and personalities.
A while ago I picked up a Heroclix model of ‘Brainiacs Skullship’. You can see the original below. This was ostensibly in order to model a Roboskull for my Action Force project, but in the end I never quite got round to that. However as a model it has a certain ‘pulp appeal’ and so I set about repainting this in some suitably Ming-like colours.
The model was first removed from it’s Heroclix base using a hobby saw (and a bit of blunt force).
A basecoat of red primer was applied with the airbrush and a couple of progressively lighter reds (all Vallejo Game Air) were applied as highlights. The clear plastic green panels were masked so that they could be left in place.
Detail was picked out in gold and black lining was done with Tamiya panel line wash.
All I am quite pleased with the result. I think it has a aesthetic that matches the style of the Flash Gordon movie well. I have another one sat on my shelf that I think I am going to do something similar with, but maybe in the black and gold of Klytus’s Imperial Secret Police.
So in amongst all the other stuff I have going on (including a new resin 3D printer, more on which another time), I am still working my way through the big pile of lead from the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter.
This time up its the turn of the Creepers! These miniatures were multi-part so required a bit of superglue magic (i.e. activator) to get built. They are very much an ode to those killer plants from an early eighties BBC TV adaption of a classic sci fi novel. They are ‘triffic’ sculpts.
Having had a break from the airbrush for a few months (I tend to do all my spraying with rattle cans, especially basecoating outside while the weather is good), I decided to crack it out again for these guys. Over a white undercoat, building up a couple of successively lighter layers of green worked really well. I supplemented this with the use of yellow washes/glazes and a purple contrast paint to make it all look suitably organic and plant-like.
I went to town on the basing with these, swapping out to some of the (now standard for Space Marines anyway) 32mm round bases from Games Workshop. I added in various tufts, flock and static grass to tie in with the theme.
I also found the time to complete another of the cultists from the set, a rather lost looking survivor and am continuing to work on the motorbike gang.
A while back something caught my eye. Not unusual for a hobby butterfly, this was on Kickstarter and was for the Monolith Games Batman Gotham City Chronicles board game. Ultimately a bout of common sense took over and I didn’t hand over the big bucks for this.
Fast forward a couple of years and now that 7TV Pulp has been released the alure of doing a game if not with full blown superheroes at least with costumed vigilantes was strong. What really attracted to me Gotham City Chronicles originally was (as with a lot of things) the miniatures. I’d previously owned and played the Conan game upon which Batman was based, and liked it, although I found it a bit over complicated. But the figures….
Quick trip to eBay and I found a reasonably priced base pledge from the Kickstarter and after an abortive attempt to play the game at one of my regular Wednesday night gaming sessions I then switched my attention to getting some paint down on some figures. Oh, of course, thinking about how to port this to 7TV.
First off the issue of scale. The miniatures in Gotham City Chronicles are (in the majority of cases) one-piece. They are all PVC plastic, but don’t suffer at all from ‘bendy sword syndrome’. They are also on the big side – I’d say on the upper end of 32 to 35mm scale – almost ‘heroic 1:48’.
So is that actually a problem for 7TV? Well obviously not if you are playing exclusively with these miniatures, but what if you want to do some mixing and matching? To be honest, I can live with it. In true 7TV style if it was noticeable it could always be passed off as a continuity error in the production! I have in fact played a game using a standard 28mm scale cast against some chibi miniatures before – in my mind we were filming a crazy mix of animation and live action – ‘who framed Hugo Solomon?’ if you will.
One of four Batman minis in the base set
The Dark Knight
So far I have been concentrating on the good guys. As alluded to above, the thing that helps with the Batman setting (at least within the confines of the majority of the figures I have available) is that super powers are not really a major thing. Most of the good guys (Batman, Robin, Batgirl and so on) are gadget laden combat specialists – sounds an ideal fit for the archetype approach 7TV takes to customising casts. Likewise with the villians. In fact even the addition of some limited super powers into the mix could probably be easily modelled using the guidelines in the various boxed sets available from Crooked Dice.
So far I have only got the Batman himself stated up. I used the base stats from the ‘Crusading Crimefigher’ profile in the 7TV Pulp box and then adjusted the star quality and abilities according. I wanted to give some Batman flavour to these, but avoid creating any new rules and abilities. I therefore looked across the different 7TV books and profiles to see what I could switch out.
I switched in the ‘Pulse Pounding Action’ star quality from the Pulp ‘Intrepid Adventurer’ profile (but renamed this ‘Dark Knight). This gives me a super strong close combat option, which seems about right, and I supplemented this with the ‘Martial Arts’ ability from the ‘Spy-Fy’ profiles. Bruce Wayne loves gadgets, so to replicate this for his alter ego I included the ‘Gadget’ ability and then to make sure Batman’s detective skills are (kind of) represented I also added ‘Spy’ (again renamed for ‘flavour’). Trying to stick to only four abilities became tricky here – there are loads of things that fit, but in the end I went for ‘Jump’ at the expense of ‘Climb’.
So still work in progress, and yet to be tried in a game, so likely to be changed. I am planning on adding Robin to the initial cast and will need to profile him up. As for extras I’ll go with the existing 7TV cop profiles to add some of Gotham City’s finest into the mix.