Two minutes to midnight – 7TV Apocalypse update

In between everything else I have getting on with (to varying levels of success) over the last few weeks I’ve been gradually grinding through the 7TV Apocalpse lead pile.

One of the sets I picked up were the cultists.  My favourite figure from this selection is definately ‘billboard man’.  What could he be advertising though?  Probably not insurance, but maybe something more sinister?

cultists

Having grown up in the eighties I have a certain morbid fascination with nuclear armageddon and in particular the whole area of civil defence and in the termonuclear age, the utter pointlessness of it.  No better is this encapsulated than in the infamous ‘Protect and Survive’ booklet and films of the period.

Protect and Survive

These are widely available to view on YouTube and the booklet itself has recently been republished by the Imperial War Museum.  The iconic branding of the ‘nuclear family’ on the cover of the booklet and as a bumper to the films seems perfectly ironic and fitting for ‘billboard man’.

Now my freehand painting leaves a lot to be desired, but I gave it a go anyway.  I decided to try and paint the majority of the miniature using Citadel contrast paints.  I’m still playing around with finding the best use for these, but am finding them particularly effective on ‘organics’ and ‘clothing’, especially over a white undercoat.

The board itself was painted with a grey contrast paint over white as a base.  I then freehanded on to the best of my ability a rough approximation of the Protect and Survive logo (including the mushroom cload) on the front and the phrase itself on the back.

 

I’ve still got plenty of more stuff to do on the post-apocalypse lead pile, and am still not really approaching this with any real plan over ‘what looks cool next’.  Next up then (probably) will be a biker gang.  I picked up a couple of sets of these from the Kickstarter, but have also recently built a couple of the now out of production Warlord/WGF Project Z biker gang.  Really impressed the quality and options on this kit and wish I had picked up more while they were still widely available.

 

Also recently completed (and again another majority ‘contrast job’) is this guy from Mantic’s Walking Dead, who will be added to my pool of generic PA survivors.

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Project Kraken – Red Shadows Laboratory

As I continue to prepare my 7TV secret base board I’ve been thinking about the sort of rooms and components that make up a good lair.

One thing that evil geniuses such as Baron Ironblood are always keen on is some form of twisted scientific research.  Part of the lore of the Red Shadows organisation both in the toy line and the accompanying comic strips in Battle Action Force was the idea of the Kraken.

Kraken Action Figure

The Kraken in toy form was originally only available via a special offer leaflet in some Action Force vehicle boxes.  In the story line this was a bit more of a science fiction diversion for what primarily up to this point was a more hard military tale.  Discovered in stasis beneath the artic ice the Kraken was then engineered by the Baron and his servants into servant of the Enemy, armed with ‘trident gun’ and net (and then cloned many times over).

Battle Action Force Kraken datafile.jpg

I’m yet to model a Kraken for inclusion in my cast (an official stat card exists for the creature in the 7TV 1969 Annual), but undoubtedly this will happen at some point.  However in the meantime and considering my focus on pulling a secret base layout together I’ve gone back to the early stages of the Baron’s experiments.

Suppose rather than happen across a conveniently frozen lizardman in the snow, the Baron had to work for it and develop his own super soldier mutant.  Many years ago I picked up this excellent set of miniatures from West Wind Productions Secrets of the Third Reich range.

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West Wind Productions Cloning Tanks

I’ve been waiting for a while to do anything with them so have decided to paint them up as features for a laboratory in the base.

The kit is all metal apart from the clear plastic tubing.  A quick paint job on the metallic parts using some washes and Citadel Ryza Rust gave me the kind of murky grimy evil lab setting I was after.  For the ‘specimens’ it was another excuse to use some Citadel Constrast paints. Guilleman Flesh over a white undercoat is one of the best results I have come across yet for this new range and it works particularly well for these gribbly creatures.  I also used some ‘Nurgle’s Rot’ to add a bit of slime to the bases.

One mistake I made was the overuse of super glue to fix the clear plastic tubes to the metal ends resulting in a bit of frosting.  In the end though I think this kind of adds to the effect.

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If not the Kraken then what?

 

 

The accompanying white coated scientist becomes a red coated scientest and voila I have some set dressing for the lab.  I can also use the scientist in my 7TV cast as an extra, so bonus.

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One of the Baron’s science team

I’ll be adding a few more bits and pieces to the lab (including of course some walls and doors) and a thinking about a command centre.

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Some already completed components for the control room

One idea is to add some of the plant based post-apocalyptic miniatures from 7TV to the mix.  Can’t help but think that the Baron would certainly be in the market for a few Triffids.

Day of the Triffids BBC

 

World Enemy Number One

My long running Action Force in 28mm scale project has suddenly got a bit more focus.  I am attending the next 7TV campaign day at Board in Brum in Walsall in September.  This requires a 40 ratings cast and having fielded Space Force last time, I figure it’s time for the Enemy this time round.

Baron 3
Action Force will never succeed in eliminating the Baron! (A classic illustration from the pages of Battle Action Force Issue 508 January 1985)

In addition to the cast I am also putting together a table layout for the day, which is going to be themed around said cast – so Red Shadow secret base it is then.

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They will come like a red horde from the shadows!

I’ll be documenting my progress over the next few weeks.  The casting is mostly complete, so most of the focus will be on the table.  What this is allowing me to do is also stress the 3D printer with terrain and vehicles for the Baron!  I’m not planning on including any vehicles in my cast, but I figure any secret base worth its weight is going to have a pretty well stocked motor pool.  So a great excuse to go wild and finish off a number of things I have had part completed for quite a while.

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Bits of base – all 3D printed – all work in progress

First up is a 1:43 scale die cast World War 2 German Puma.  Following a black undercoat I airbrushed on some successively lighter layers of red and a picked out the basic highlights on the tools, metalwork and other features.  Decals wise I was lucky to chance upon some custom ‘Enemy’ decals from eBay a while back.  I applied these on top of a gloss varnish and subsequently weathered up using a sponge chipping technique.

All in all I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.  The WW2 German aesthetic fits the Red Shadows well (the original figure being based on the German Stormtrooper).

Next up are the Hyena tanks (known more commonly by GI Joe fans as the Cobra HISS tank).  I’ve got a stash of gift style toys released a few years ago that are perfect for 28mm scale and have previously painted one up, but I want a whole squadron for the motor pool.  This also gave me the chance to experiment with the new Citadel Contrast paints on a vehicle rather than a miniature.

Decals were from the same source as the ones used on the Puma.  The contrast paint went down well, but I have to say (as many others have commented) I feel it works much better on ‘organic’ models with plenty of folds and creases.  The paint tends to pool on flat surfaces and although it does run into panel lines it is not as effective as a wash.  I used Flesh Tearers Red over a white undercoat and ended up doing some dry brush highlighting afterwards in order to bring it up to a better and more consistent finish.  Interesting note, wary of some reports of the adherence of contrast paints not being as good as standard acrylics, I did seal the model with Dullcote between these steps.

Finally on the vehicles I needed Shadowtraks.  The eponymous Red Shadows vehicle, from both the toy line and the pages of Battle Action Force.

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The original toy

Luckily a fellow fan and wargamer has produced an excellent 3D model and made it freely available on Thingiverse.  I’ve printed this at 160% and made some ‘after print modifications’ to get the wheels positioned correctly.  A few more of these will be rolling off the Baron’s production line shortly.

Featured in one of the photos above is a new Baron Ironblood miniature I am working on.  I’ve previously modelled a Baron using a 7TV ‘not Blakes 7 Travis’ figure, but all in all wasn’t that pleased with the outcome (mainly on account of the rough job I did on the helmet using some very basic greenstuff skills).

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Classic take on the Baron I am keen to emulate in miniature form

While purusing my bits box a few weeks ago I happened across a figure I’m still struggling to identify.  Helmet wise I’ve gone with a ‘welders mask’ head from the Crooked Dice 7TV henchmen set.  Revel ‘Plasto’ putty has been used to make the mask into a full helmet.  I snipped off the right hand which was holding a hypodermic needle and replaced this with a fist from a random plastic sprue and added some electrical wire as a whip.  In honour of the original action figure I’m arming the Baron with an UZI which I sourced from an old Dreamforge Games Eisenkern Troopers frame.

Painting is yet to be completed but I’ll be using it as an opportunity to try both the black and white constrast paints.

More soon, including the plans for the rest of the base.

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What lies within?

Blood for the Baron!

Baron 2
A portent of things to come

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.

 

Emperor Ming’s Big Stompy Super Weapon of Doom

A quick update on the 7TV cast I am pulling together for the Wargames Illustrated campaign day on 6th July.

I’ve now finished the ‘super weapon’ that attendees were invited to bring along for the final game of the day.  Not quite sure how these are going to work in game and looking across the posts on the 7TV Productions Facebook page there is quite a variety of stuff being worked on by attendees.

I settled on finally painting the Mantic Mars Attacks robot that I have had for years and have now finished this off with the addition of a pilot and some suitable basing to tie it into the rest of my cast.

stompy robot 1
The finished model (unless I can find out the clear plastic dome – and if I do assuming it fits over the pilot!)
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Metal ‘rocket ship pilot’ from Cold War Miniatures
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The Giant Robot kit was originally released by Mantic for their now defunct Mars Attacks game.  A lovely kit to put together with loads of potential uses – they are becoming particularly hard to find now
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The base was decorated to match the rest of the cast, giving it a cartoon-like alien vibe

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.