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

Let me be your fantasy (miniatures)

The vast majority of my gaming and hobby activity falls firmly under the category of science fiction or pulpy type stuff (be that historical or modern but with that certain twist).

However with the release of 7TV Fantasy last year (including an upcoming gaming day at Board in Brum) and a plethora of 3D printing options open to me (especially via Patreon), I have been delving back into the worlds of fantasy.

Like many, my start in the hobby was inspired by reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in my early teens. It was this that ultimately got me into initially role playing games and then miniatures.

The paperback versions of The Lord of the Rings from back when I first read it (late eighties)

With that in mind I have been slowly painting up a number of fantasy miniatures in between other projects over the last few months.

First up we have a likely pair – a renegade wizard and a sneaky advisor from ‘The Printing Goes Ever On’. These are 3D prints from their Patreon (also available for purchase via MyMiniFactory). I scaled them up by 114% from the default size which is obviously designed to be used with The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. This effectively changed them from ‘true 28mm’ scale to more ‘heroic’ 32mm scale, which more closely matches most of my miniatures.

Staying ‘old skool’ I have popped them on hex bases. It’s been a while since I completed these and so I cannot remember the exact paints used, but it is a mix between traditional acrylics and Citadel Contrast paints.

From the same range (and similarly scaled up) here is an Uruk-inspired mini. He was painted up from a dark base coat and given a red skin colour as an alternative to the usual green used for Orcs and Goblins.

A servant of the white hand

Next up there is a model obviously inspired by the Dark Lord himself (you know the proper one, not the one that was ‘ROFL-stomped’ by a boy wizard). This is another 3D print from the Patreon of RN EStudio (also available on MyMiniFactory).

3D prints prior to undercoating. These were both undercoated black.

This was a fantastic model to both print and paint. By default this was more heroic scale so I didn’t have to do any resizing. He was given a black undercoat and liberal amount of metallics were then drybrushed on, with traditional highlighting to complete the look. The ‘magic fire’ effect was then achieved using Tesseract Glow from the Citadel Technical paints range on top of a white base.

A big bruiser of an Orc next from the Tusklands range by Rocket Pig Games. This guy is really chunky and I have a bunch of his mates in various states of completion at the moment. Again I have gone for a ‘non-traditional’ Orc skin colour here, with a yellow base coat washed down with various shades.

Finally and still WIP are my ‘lost adventuring kids’ who will be forming the core of my cast for the upcoming 7TV Fantasy event. These are 3D prints of files from Monstrous Encounters. (Not shown is the little Barbarian who had gone off on a side quest at the time of taking this photo.)

Red shirts and blue shirts – expendable extras

I’ve been finishing a lot of half completed projects recently. Two have synced in and completed at the same time. Although inspired by different franchises they have something in common. They are the expendable extras or cannon fodder of their respective universes, which are in this case Star Trek and G.I. Joe.

First up we have a set of ‘away team’ operatives, ready to beam down to a planet to be bumped off by whatever alien life awaits them. These are 3D prints from the Patreon of Bill Thornhill aka Lost Heresy.

With a very ‘star fleet’ vibe I have painted these guys up not just as the titular red shirts, but also in some of the other common colours from the original series. (I’m not a massive Star Trek fan, so not sure on the exact meaning of each colour uniform, however I have gone with the ‘rule of cool’.)

I scaled these up slightly from the originals to be more 32mm than 28mm, and like the chunky look that this helps enhance.

I’ve been trying to improve on my painting of faces recently and have taken some tips from the excellent Sonic Sledgehammer YouTube channel. I am now going all Citadel for my caucasian skins tones using the following steps (starting from a grey undercoat):

  • Base coat – Bugmans Glow
  • Wash – Reikland Fleshshade
  • First highlight – Cadian Fleshtone
  • Second highlight – Kislev Fleshtone (extreme highlights only)

I’m quite pleased with how these have turned out for a tabletop standard paint job and will probably be sticking to this method for faces moving forward. (I am also really enjoying the effect of using various contrast paints for non-white skintones.)

I am currently working on some other prints from this range armed with phaser rifles to go alongside these chaps, who I expect may end up getting some homebrew profiles for 7TV soon.

The second set of ‘minions’ of the painting production line are also 3D prints – this time by Monstous Encounters. Switching over to the bad guys this time these are ‘Venom Troopers’, obviously inspired by G.I Joe’s snake themed bad guys.

Not as pleased with the paint job on these guys, but as gaming pieces these will go well with some of my other Action Force / G.I. Joe minis I continue to add to (again mainly for 7TV).

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!

Stationery Wars – PEN TOP Bots for 7TV

I’ve recently been printing and painting the excellent ‘Pen Top Droids’ from BMT3D. These are a lovely set of sculpts that evoke a variety of aesthetics, from steampunk and dieselpunk to pulp and sci-fi.

To me however they scream spy-fi and therefore would be ideal for a 7TV cast. Before I go into the background I have come up with for these automatons a note about how I painted them.

The squad – printed and ready for painting

Following printing and curing I based them on hex slotta bases (because for some reason I cannot adequetly explain I am really into hex bases at the moment). I then proceeded to undercoat them with a spray can of silver paint. My usual source of cheap silver paint from Poundland seems to have dried up (not literally, they just haven’t had any in stock for a while). So I went slightly up market and bought from my local branch of Boyes a can of Rustoleum Metallic Silver.

Rustloleum Metallic Silver

Wanting to paint the squad of ten miniatures quickly I dispensed with a usual grey or white undercoat and went straight on with this silver. It went on really well but is much more highly pigmented with metallic than normal miniature paints. Conclusion – very ‘sparkly’ and ideal therefore as a base for contrast paints.

WIP – heads / domes painted – showing how the silver shines through.

At this point I have to switch back to the lore and background that I have created for these robots. Being based on the design of a pen top I decided to colour code their heads based on the typical colours you would get in a set of writing pens or biros. My original idea was to have my troops with blue tops (as the common rank and file), but the blue Ultramarines contrast paint is quite thick and the silver didn’t sparkle through as much as I would have liked. Also wanting to avoid black for the same reason I eventually went with the following colour coding.

  • Unit leader – Blue
  • Section leaders – Red
  • Troops – Green
  • Specialists – Yellow
Green top troopers
Blue unit leader

The rest of the bodies were given a wash, first with black and then sepia to give them a slightly worn appearence. The small piece of tubing on the guns was painted grey and one of the Citadel ‘gem effect’ paints was used for the red power indicator. The gun barrel was painted bronze. A nice touch on the sculpts were some ammo pouches on the back of the models and these were painted a light canvas brown. These were all then also washed as per the main body.

Yellow specialist

To keep the domes ‘sparkly’ I dispensed with the matt varnish phase for once and finished up the bases with some texture paint, a simple drybrush and some tufts. The edges of the bases were finished with grey.

Red section leaders

So once the miniatures were painted I turned my attention to getting them organised and usable in games of 7TV. Using the rules for customising profiles and the excellent casting agency app I have pulled together so far a profile for my unit leader and troops.

These are based on the Minion Commander and Minion profiles from the 7TV 2nd Edition (aka Spy-Fi) core set, which can be both purchased as a boxed set and is available also as a free download from Crooked Dice. There have been some minor tweaks based on the cutomisation guidelines and these are outlined below:

  • Addition of the ‘Robot’ special effect to both profiles
  • Replacing melee attacks in both cases with Shield Bash (renamed to Body Bash – I can imagine these guys using their shape just to push assailants away)
  • Removal of all ranged attacks bar SMG (which is what I feel matches most closely the miniatures as sculpted)
  • All of which has resulted in slightly higher ratings costs for each compared to the base profiles
PEN TOP Bot Leader profile for 7TV 2nd Edition (created in the 7TV Casting Agency app)
PEN TOP Bot profile for 7TV 2nd Edition (created in the 7TV Casting Agency app)

What about the background then? Well I am imagining a series called ‘Stationery Wars’ where the evil genius and crackpot scientist ‘Doctor Ryman’ has unleashed his robotic creations on the world. Created deep within the bowels of the secretive B.I.C (Binary Input Conglomerate) organisation the hordes of P.E.N.T.O.P (Positronic Enhanced Neural Tactical Operational Prototype) bots are ready. Their aim? Nothing less than world domination and the implementation of a new world order based on Rymans twisted science.

Who can stop them? Rumour has it that an initial prototype was smuggled out of the B.I.C labs many years ago by a disgruntled employee alarmed and disgusted by the direction in which the research was going. Wanting to adapt robotics for good and the service of mankind, maybe the S.T.A.P.L.E.R (Super Tactical Armed Prototype Laser Enhanced Robot) programme is our only hope.

STAPLER – coming soon

A quick postscript – Mike at BMT3D does some lovely 3D designs. You can find some of these on Thingiverse, but his full range is available via his Patreon. If you haven’t got a 3D printer and would like to buy printed copies of these and his other minis I have a license to do so and they are available through either my Etsy store or online at Tangent Miniatures.

Twisted Pinnacle 3D Printing Services

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog recently as I have been super busy with hobby (write up of the recent 7TV Star Wars event soon) and 3D printing.

So I’ll be honest upfront – this post is a bit of an advert for what I have been doing with 3D printing over the past year or so and to give a bit of a shout out for both my services and some of the clients I have been working with.

I have talked extensively about my 3D printing journey in terms of my hobby in some past articles. To recap it has been a long old road, filled with if I am honest no small degree of frustration and expense, however I think the results and the positive impact on my hobby have been worth it.

Some of my recent 3D printing (files from Big Mr Tong 3D – BMT3D)

So much so, that last year I was confident enough with the quality of what I was producing to start printing for other people. Initially this started as a favour to some friends but quickly developed into something slightly more commercial. I was approached in Spring 2020 by Wayne Bollands (who some people reading might know from his past work at Wargames Illustrated and various rulesets for Caliver Books, and whom I’d got to know on the 7TV circuit) about printing some resin masters for a range of miniatures he was looking to launch. I knew I had the skills now to produce decents prints on the machines I was running, but needed to do a bit more research on the type of resin I would need to use that would capture enough detail and survive a mold making process for the metal figures Wayne ultimately wanted to produce for his new company Tangent Miniatures.

Check out our friends at Tangent Miniatures

Working from the STL files supplied by his sculptor and following a bit of trial and error I was able to successfully produce the masters that would go on to provide the molds for his initial range of ‘Cosmic Travellers’.

The Cosmic Travellers from Tangent Miniatures – they really know where their towels are. (Painted by Joe Joda)

Since then we have not looked back and Tangent have released dozens of miniatures. I’d highly recommend checking these out, especially if you are a fan of cult TV and film. Let’s just say these would fit really nicely into games of 7TV (to pick a game at random!).

A selection of the miniatures available now from Tangent (all masters 3D printed by yours truly – sculpts by Carl Stoelzel, painting by Joe Joda).

This has led on to a bit of work for other folk including Kitbash Games. For potential industry clients I’m happy to provide a free sample based on any supplied files (so feel free to get in touch).

Furthermore this has also given me the confidence to look at producing under licence miniatures from other sculptors. For example I currently am licensed to produce physical models from the eclectic Big Mr Tong 3D (BMT3D) range. These are available to buy either via Tangent Miniatures website or via my new Etsy store.

Here are some examples from the BMT3D range printed by me and supplied in the same high quality resin I also use for masters. (If you are wanting endless minions, be they robot, alien or even laser sharks, then I am your man!)

The addition of an extra printer last year has also expanded my capacity and I am now able to offer 3D printing services for individual gamers as well as industry clients. I’m currently in the process of updating my social media to advertise my services, but in the meantime if you have a file for a model or miniature that you want printing please feel free to drop me a line at james@twistedpinnaclegames.co.uk for a time and materials quote.

Please note (and I feel this is really important, in order to support all the cracking 3D artists out there), I will only print out files subject to them being already purchased or freely available. So if there is an STL you have bought from MyMiniFactory or Hero Forge for example that you would like printing that is great, but I won’t print files that are not properly licensed or purchased.

I’m currently in the process of updating my social media to advertise my services, but in the meantime you can drop me a line on my email above or contact me via this blog.

This blog will continue to be hobby focussed moving forward so please excuse this bried commercial break. Normal service will be resumed shortly, including……

Not the asset that ‘The Client’ was looking for!

A Billions Suns – First Play and Fleet Building

After nearly fourteen months out of action due to the pandemic, my local club recently was able to start having meetings again. So it was a couple of weeks back that myself and my good buddy Dorian ventured over to Darley Dale from Chesterfield to actually roll some dice in person.

We chose to give ‘A Billion Suns’ by Mike Hutchinson from Osprey Games a go. I picked the rule book up a couple of months ago because I had heard good things about it. I particularly liked the idea of there being no before-game force building (with ships requisitioned as required), and the concept of playing across multiple tables. Being part of the Osprey Wargames ‘blue book’ series the rules are concise and the author has good pedigree with Gaslands (a game I have not played, but have heard very good things about, particularly from the point of view of being an easy to ‘pick up and play’ game).

As a spaceship combat system I of course needed to source some ships. Having had a previous daliance with Gunpla I was aware of a range of Bandai kits based on the Japanese anime series ‘Space Battleship Yamato’ (known in the US as Starblazers). These inexpensive plastic kits (even taking into account the postage from the far east) have a really cool ‘warships in space’ vibe, so I picked up a few from Hobby Link Japan. (This was of course dangerous as I got distracted by Gundam models, but that is another story.)

The other advantage of these kits apart from the cost is the ease of assembly. As with most modern Bandai kits these are hugely well engineered and push fit (no glue required). Although not designed as gaming pieces, each comes complete with a flight stand which is useful for the game, and most are pre-coloured in mutliple shades (with the aim being of getting them on the table quickly, a quick wash / panel lining would make them look presentable).

While these kits gave me some really interesting and unique models for the game I also wanted to bulk out my available fleets with some more utilitarian designs. It is here that I remembered that Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) often released ‘grab bags’ of plastic ships from their space based version of Commands and Colours called Red Alert. I duly picked up a huge number of ships and stands from them for around £10 to £20 in total.

The club meeting soon came round and in the spirit of our club (where play is the most important thing), Dorian and I played our first game with a completely unpainted set of models!

We managed to get two games in during the day and I have to say it was a lot of fun. The rules were easy to digest and navigate round. I had the night before spent some time downloading and laminating tokens, cards and other game aids from the A Billion Suns website and this certainly helped keep the game flowing.

P

I am not going to fully review the rules here, other than to alude to the fact that being a game where the outcome is based on earning credits from contracts (with the cost of your ships coming out of your total budget), it was an interesting variation on other much more crunchy games I have played in the past (I am looking at you Star Wars Armada!). Both games we played during the day were quite different (and this was due to the generation of the contracts you play for at the beginning of the game). This also resulted in a situation where in game one we were playing over three tables, while in game two it was entirely focussed on a single table.

I made the mistake of jumping in a massive battleship in game one, which while it looked cool (my primary reason for doing it), did mean I was in financial defecit from the get go and didn’t really figure out how I was going to earn this back. One of the things that became apparent during the game from a modelling perspective was that while we had lots of bigger ships we were lacking a bit when it came to the smaller stuff like fighters.

So with the aim of playing again at the next meeting (and doing a three player game next time – the rules seem to support multiple players very well and I can see that being a lot of fun), I have gone back to the modelling and painting.

This has primarily involved painting up the Red Alert ships, but also sourcing some additional ‘smaller mass’ ships to act as the recon, fighter and bomber wings the rules dictate.

For these I remembered that EM4 Miniatures (who I used to stock when running the store) did inexpensive plastic sprues of spaceships that would fit the bill. I picked a couple of these up and set about basing them on the spare stands I had picked up from PSC. (Interesting it has been pointed out to me that these designs actually hark back to a very old game by I.C.E. called Silent Death).

From a painting perspective both these and the Red Alerts ships were given a variety of base coats with a view to using both drybrushing and contrast paints to quickly get them done. I like the idea of replicating in part that 1970s sci-fi paperback cover style of spaceship, art by the likes of Chris Foss or similar to the old Terran Trade Federation books, so I have gone for quite a colourful palette.

To make them pop a bit more I did some selective highlighting with spot colours to represent lighting and variation in panel colours. I then touched up the bases painting them completely black (to match the tables).

One other idea picked up after playing the first game that I am going to do is to mark on the bases the in-game mass of the ships. This should make it a lot quicker and easier to requisition ships of different sizes during a game.

Next up will be to do some more work on the Bandai ships. Many of these come with decals or stickers, which once they are applied will be followed by a top coat and them some subtle shading and panel lining.

Of course I would be remiss not to mention 3D printing here, and I have added to my fleets with some resin 3D prints, most of which I sourced from Thingiverse and printed on my Elegoo Mars Pro 2. I picked the designs based on one of my favourite animes from back in the day (based more on my experiences of playing the role-playing game rather than watching the series) – Robotech. These will be painted in a similar way to the PSC and EM4 models.

From a hobby perspective I really like the flexibility the game gives you with fleet modelling (and this is mainly due to the fact as previously mentioned ships are requisition during play rather built into lists beforehand).

I’m looking forward to many more games to come.

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…..

New arrivals via the Space Bridge from Cybertron

I’ve recently finished off the remaining Wizkids Deep Cuts Transformers miniatures that have been sat half completed on my painting desk for a long while.

First up we have the Decepticon Soundwave. I’ve gone for a cartoon/comic colour scheme on these models, so primarily bold colours with some strident edge highlighting. This is not the way I usually paint but I think this is quite effective for these kinds of models.

Next up is Arcee. Introduced around the time of the Transformers movie in the mid-eighties Arcee was the first female Robot in Disguise. Of course because this was the eighties and she was a lady the colour scheme at the time was predominantly pink!

I’ve tried to replicate the original characters’ colour scheme on the mini and have again gone with some edge highlights to complete the look. As with all models in this range they came pre-undercoated in a Vallejo grey primer out of the box. An application of white contrast paint over that did me the job of panel lining and gave a good off-white colour for the main body.

In addition to the two miniatures I also recently finished off painting a ‘space bridge’ scenery piece that I 3D printed some time ago. Designed by ‘Doctor Merkury’, this is freely available for download from Thingiverse.

Finally here is a scale shot showing the two completed miniatures alongside an old pre-painted AT-43 figure. As you can see for 28mm (ish) scale gaming these could work quite well.