First up we have ‘Klytus’ and ‘General Kala’ of the Imperial Secret Police. Both fantastic sculpts and with inspiration clearly taken from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie (also known as the best film ever).
This pair were painted mainly using Citadel contrast paints. I’ve found I can get fairly pleasing results using Black Templar over a white undercoat.
Similarly inspired from the same source are these ‘Alien Legionnaires’. These are quite iconic and one of my favourite designs from the movie, as such I went a bit overboard and ended up with quite a lot of these to paint (including two heavy weapons teams).
Also bought in bulk were the ‘Otherworldly Guards’. I’ve seen these painted up as both allies (Treemen) and enemies (Ming’s guards). I’ve gone for a similar colour scheme here to Klytus and Kala, this guy being a grunt in the secret police.
Finally in this first batch of Crooked Dice miniatures I’ve painted is the big dog himself, the Emperor Ming. The styling of this sculpt is more of an ode to the classic comic strips and Buster Crabbe serials of the 1930s than the movie. In fact there is a touch of Defenders of the Earth about this Ming, so the big question was whether to go ‘green skin’ or not. In the end I decided on a more human look, but in contrast to the blacks and reds I had themed most of the previous figures on I decided to go mainly white and ‘royal’ purple. Again I used contrast paints for this (in the past I would never even of attempted this much white on a figure, which makes me wish contrast had come out back when I was painting a lot of Star Wars Stormtroopers for Legion).
This also gave me the chance to break out the airbrush after a long hiatus and I subesequently went with what I am now referring to as a ‘Mongo Military’ red and gold colour scheme. I don’t think a galactic despot can really have enough robots when it comes to it!
Next up I’ve got some of the good guys to paint, including the ‘saviour of the universe’ himself.
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.
First off, many thanks to Karl at Crooked Dice for asking me to help out and run a game alongside his trade stand on the day. As many may know Hammerhead is quite unique in the wargaming calendar in being a show that is 100% based around participation games. No ‘just watching’ here; it’s all about having a go.
I therefore wanted to make it as easy as possible for folk to play and to that end I had a set of pre-built casts ready to go.
I stuck mostly with the format and setup I had trialled at the club a few weeks earlier, with some minor changes to the bad guys in particular (as I had finished painting a squad of Pulp Figures Jet Troopen that I really wanted to field).
I also made a few changes to the scenario, dropping the peril cards but utilising the ‘Ark of the Convenant’ macguffin card. I fleshed out a bit of the background and set the game up as the last part of a 12 part cinema serial called ‘The Doom of Stahl Mask’. Stahl Mask was the titular villian and another great mini from Pulp Figures.
In addition to the ‘opening crawl’ I also dug out some quick reference sheets I’d picked up at a previous event and made sure each player had easy access to a plentiful supply of tokens for plot points and that dice and tape measures were close to hand.
I arrived in plenty of time to setup and having done a test setup of the table earlier in the week was able to set out the game fairly quickly.
Despite a bit of waiting around after the doors opened I soon had my first punters. A chap and his teenage son who had played the game before (at Hammerhead the previous year) and who were keen to give the new Pulp rules a go. This game was a joy to run as they both really got into the spirit (and ridiculousness) of the game and plot. I am terrible at remembering the details of games, but this went pretty much down to the last ‘cliffhanger’ card.
Almost immediately I had another set of players keen to give the game a go. Another father and son duo with previous experience, this was again a fun game to run through and at times attracted quite a crowd (viewing figures were high!)
And then straight into yet another game! This time with a pair of novices. Now this was a bit more of a challenge, partly because I had to spend longer on laying out the rules and helping out with some decision making; but mostly because my players were also trying to keep a couple of young ones from getting too board while they were playing.
All of a sudden it was 3.30pm and the show was nearly over! Just like that! I’d done three full back-to-back games without much of a break in between. I managed to get a very quick look round the show and was able to pick up a few goodies from Karl (as well as a set of command cards for Iron Cross from the Great Escape Games stand).
I packed up utterly exhausted, but really pleased I had been able to run the game without too much of a hiccup and almost constantly throughout the day. This was my first visit to Hammerhead (and the Newark Showground venue) in any capacity (I never managed to get in when I was trading). I obviously didn’t get too much chance to look around, but it seemed quite busy (I think a lot of people realised that this might be their last chance to get out to a show for a while) and the venue was light and airy (albeit a bit chilly too).
I really look forward to the opportunity to do the same again sometime. Sadly with the current global situation all shows (including planned games at Chillcon Sheffield and the next 7TV day at Dales Wargames) are now on hold, but I see this as an opportunity to plan out some new episodes and maybe get that ‘secret’ base finally finished!
Oh and of course I mustn’t forget the fact that I was able to pickup my 7TV Pulp Sci Fi pledge on the day…..
On Saturday March 14th I will be running a participation game of 7TV Pulp at Hammerhead. Karl from Crooked Dice kindly offered me some space on his stand to run a game and I have been preparing for this for a few weeks now.
Originally I was going to run a game based around the original core set of 7TV and make it a ‘spy-fi’ adventure. I had a hankering to build a secret base and although I started the project (and will finish it at some point), I soon switched my focus to doing something based on the lastest Pulp setting and rules.
Part of this change of plan was the amount of time I had available to prepare. The day job is kind of hectic at the moment, and so I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew with respect to the table build. Also I’m aware that there are a few Pulp releases up coming and I wanted to help Karl promote the most up-to-date range.
To that end I looked at re-purposing the V2/flying saucer table I had taken to both the last Wargames Illustrated 7TV day and the recent event at Board in Brum. Other than some hybrid games using casts and cards from across the 7TV sets I had not played a game solely using the Pulp rules and was keen to try out some of the new profiles and features (such as peril cards).
So a couple of Sundays ago I went through a test game at our monthly Dales Wargames meeting. Playing against my friend Darren and his son, I wanted to use to game to get a handle on some of the new rules introduced in Pulp, check out the use of peril cards to enhance the episodes and check the table layout and casting.
Having never run a game at a show before I wanted to also make sure that I made setup and play as straightforward as possible for new players and to enable folk to easily drop in and out of play. I decided to this end to preset the placement of objectives and choose the defenders based on the ‘plot of the episode I was going to film’.
To that end, my bad guys (Stahl Mask and his evil sect of third reich fanatics) would be the defenders and my heroic adventuring archeologist and his team of allied misfits would be the attackers. I preset also the starting positions of the the majority of the figures, only allowing the players to place their spy models.
We played a straight ‘Battle’ episode from the Producers Guide but with the addition of the macguffin using one of the new Pulp macguffin cards. In this case, ‘The Ark of the Covenant’. We also used a peril card to enable two pieces of scenery to be secretly (by the defender) be marked as booby trapped.
The casts were set at 40 points each, but for narrative purposes I slightly bent the rules on one third extras for the heroes (they were under by a couple of ratings points). I hadn’t yet finished painting the majority of the extras for Stahl Mask’s lot, so ended up proxying in some ‘Moon Nazis’ in place of Jet Troopers and Lizard Men.
On the heroes side I used a mix of models, including some of the Crooked Dice releases for Pulp, as well as a really old Peter Cushing Dr.Who as my eccentric inventor (a Harlequin miniatures release from back in the day). In addition I added in a selection of other figures from Crooked Dice (including Danger 5) as well as some Artizan Designs and Statuesque miniatures. These covered most of the main archetypes I wanted to use from the Pulp profiles, including my spies, a Gadgeteer, a Soldier of Fortune and others.
The main man, my archeologist, was from the Cthulhu Death May Die board game by CMON. There are some excellent figures in here that fit the period, they are slightly larger than standard 28mm scale, but don’t look too out of place.
Talking of larger figures, on the bad guys side I proxied in a few figures including an SA officer from the Mantic Hellboy game. Now this fella was a bit too big – although I guess he could fit in in terms of being some sort of ‘super soldier’.
For those of you who are interested here is the make up of the casts in terms of the 7TV Pulp cards used:
The game itself flowed well, back and forth, with some epically bad dice rolling on both sides. The basic conceit of the episode was that as the third reich was falling and the red army closely in, our villain Stahl Mask is making a last ditch effort to escape with his collected treasures and weird technologies in his protoype flying saucer. Would he escape to the safety of the secret Antarctic base and then perhaps on to Luna, or would Professor Harrison Jones and his gang finally catch up with him put him to justice and save the sacred artefact?
We ended up making into the finale act of the episode with neither cast being axed, although Stahl Mask was mightly bruised and was lucky he had his mask as there was a bit of an ‘open the ark face melting incident’.
All in all I think the game is setup well for the upcoming shows. In addition to Hammerhead I’ll also be taking the game to Chillcon in Sheffield at the end of the month.
It was also good to get a proper game of 7TV Pulp in for the first time too. Although not a big fan of the newly introduced ‘one melee action’ per activation rule, I can see why this has been done as some of the new card special effects and star qualities key off this. Another comment was the brutality of the cliffhanger deck. These seemed to be weighted more towards bad stuff happening that the original 7TV countdown card deck, although that could of course been down the deck of cards we dealt on the day.
I also really liked the macguffin and peril cards. For the purposes of the show games I will probably only use the former, so there is not too much to remember, especially for new players.
Since the game at Dales I have managed to borrow some of the clubs scenery to flesh out the board and have also nearly finished painting some additional miniatures which will enable me to both tweak the casts slightly and just give me some more options……
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….
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.