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).

White Line Nightmares – A 7TV Apocalypse Event

A few weekends back we finally held the much delayed 7TV APocalypse event at the Dales Wargames club in Darley Dale near Matlock. This was pushed back from April 2020 due to the pandemic and saw eight brave road warriors brave the wastelands for some games of vehicular mayhem.

Players arriving and setting up at our wonderful venue (Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale)

The original plan was to run three games during the day with the final game being a multiplayer ‘destruction derby’ type affair. In the end time beat us and we only got the two games in. (Lessons learned for next time – 50 ratings was probably too large a cast especially when taking into account the vehicle rules were not that fresh in everyones minds. Also standardising on table size might have resulted in more consistent game lengths.)

There was a great selection of casts (including some classic Road Warrior style marauders, the Joker and his crew, bikers, a forsaken BBC motoring programme, future judges and more).

On the table setup the highlight was the table brought by Paul O, the culmination of over twenty years work – a fantastic take on the refinery compound from Mad Max 2 (with matching cast) .

Paul’s amazing refinery board in action

So what follows is a mainly pictorial summary of the day.

Harley attempting to carjack Pen-E’s racer
Taking out the trash!
Stop signs are for losers.
Tonight, we test drive….Stig’s Lambo
This did not end well….
….neither did this….
….or this.

Some more shots below of the action on the refinery compound board…

The Gotham City style board also saw a lot of action…..

Meanwhile in the ‘cursed Earth’…..

Following the ‘night of the war’, survivors stumble across evidence of a Soviet submarine landing…

Another empty ruin of a city…..

And finally some shots of the huge table that was setup for the final multiplayer game that sadly did not get used (I am going to write about the scenario and rules tweaks I had planned for this game in a seperate article soon).

Next up on the 7TV events calendar is a ‘Fantasy’ day at Board in Brum in February. At Dales we hope to run another 7TV day next Spring, theme to be agreed, but with some tweaks to the format it would be great to try a vehicles based Apocalypse set of games again.

7TV Star Wars Day and Partizan 2021

I’m pretty late to the party with both of these, but over the last month or so I have actually attended some real events with real people.

Star Wars 7TV Day, 18th September 2021 @ Board in Brum

First up back in September was a visit to Board in Brum in Walsall for a day of gaming in a galaxy far far away. Using the 7TV rules, Star Wars was the order of the day. This was my first time playing 7TV since the participation game I ran at Hammerhead back in March 2020. Much fun was had, all three games were lost (of course) and it was just great to be out there rolling dice with folk again.

Games in progress at Board in Brum

I’m terrible at remembering the detail of games, other than to start with I had my first ever match up with my good buddy Wayne (of Tangent Miniatures fame). My force was mainly 3D printed and based around a post Return of the Jedi ‘Imperial Remnant’ faction. Most of the models were from SkullForge Studios, with some coming from Miller Bros. Sculpting and Design and a couple of actual ‘Legion’ plastic minis thrown in too.

Wayne’s bovine and cheese based cast (as in the dairy product not the game approach) were too much for my ragtag band. Some pictures of the glorious defeat below (including some of the Imperial Terrain scenery I had printed and painted for the event). Note Obi Wan ‘Cow-nobi’ in action!

My second game was against my regular 7TV nemesis Keiron, who had pulled together a really effective cast based on the most recent Star Wars trilogy. Played on a rather splendid Hoth based table with a vintage Kenner AT-AT toy as a centre piece, my cast (led by Grand Moff Hertzog) valiantly tried to complete the mission objectives, but were rather humbled by the new generation of Rey, Finn and a very pesky BB-8 who managed to fly across the board and steal the main episode objective on the first turn!

After an extended lunch break (lots of catching up and chat), my final game of the day was against Simon C (head honcho at Board in Brum). Simon and I had not played each other before despite being at many of the same events over the last few years, so it was great to finally get a game together.

The scenario laid down in this final game was the culmination of a narrative that ran through the day which saw the oppossing casts trying to locate a lost fleet of ships. The aim of this finale was to activate (or deactivate) a number of shield generators in the centre line of the table. This was an Imperial on Imperial engagement and despite actually getting to at least one of the objectives I ended up defeated (primarily because all of my cast were wiped out by the surprisingly and out of character accurate shooting of Simon’s Stormtoopers).

A rather nice Scariff setup at Board in Brum (I didn’t get to play on this one though).

All in all an excellent day playing a favourite game in a favourite setting with some splendid opponents. A big thanks to Simon for hosting and Mike Strong for organising the games and storyline for the day.

The next 7TV event I am attending I am also arranging and this will be at Dales Wargames at Darley Dale near Matlock on Sunday 21st November. It’s the (pandemic) delayed 7TV Apocalypse Event, White Line Fever. Following that there is another event at Board in Brum in January which will be 7TV Fantasy oriented.

Partizan on the Ground, 10th October 2021 @ Newark Showground

The other weekend I attended my first show for about 18 months, helping out Wayne at Tangent Miniatures on his trade stand (and also selling some licensed 3D prints).

This was my first time at Partizan (though I had been to the venue previously for Hammerhead) and it was also my first time trading at a show since I wound up Twisted Pinnacle Games a few years ago.

Tangent’s ever growing display case of metal miniatures.

As one of the first shows after the extended pandemic closure of such things it was very well attended with people obviously really keen to get back into the swing of both playing games and spending money (which was great for us).

A selection of the 3D prints I was selling on the day (including designs from BMT3D and Monstrous Encounters)

All in all a very enjoyable day in good company with the added bonus of selling some toys. I was also very good and only bought a couple of spray cans (from the Colour Forge range who had a stand next to us). More on this newish range in a future article.

Mike Tongue’s (BMT3D) Pen Top Droids were especially popular on the day.

Next up for Tangent is the big one at Salute in London’s Docklands in November. I shall be there helping out again, though not sure I’ll be able to be so controlled when it comes to the spending this time!

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!

Stargrave Miniatures Painting and Modelling

I’ve been having fun playing around with the three new(ish) Stargrave plastic kits from North Star Military Figures and Osprey Games. Released to coincide with the game launch a couple of months ago, there are three sets: Crew, Mercenaries and Troopers. Alongside these plastic kits I also picked up the metal miniatures as part of the launch deal.

These all have a great (almost generic) hard science fiction aesthetic to them and fit in well alongside some of the other minis and scenery modelling I have been working on as part of my long gestating space port project.

The plastic kits all intermix really well (and also fit in well with the fantasy Frostgrave kits) – also included in the launch deal from North Star were a sprue of the Gnolls and Cultists and have been playing around with these too.

First up – troopers! The troopers sprues are probably the least varied of the three sets but provide a good basis for building grunt squads or expendable space minions for your games. Having recently rewatched the awesomeness that is the (original) Total Recall, my first paint job attempts to replicate the ‘Martian federal forces’ from the film (i.e. the Arnie cannon fodder).

However nothing says dystopian nightmare future like black uniforms. My next batch of miniatures were primarily from the troopers set with some bits from the mercenaries mixed in. I went with a Citadel Contrast Abaddon black over a white undercoat, followed by some lighter grey drybrush highlight. Simple block colour highlights finishing off the scheme.

The helmet visors were painted using a Vallejo neon green.

Faceless minions of a brutal regime!

Inspiration here from both the classic Blakes 7 Federation troopers and the Dalek troopers from the classic Doctor Who serial ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’. In fact regarding the former having a spare head from the Beast in the Broch range I created my own version…

The kits support head swaps from other ranges really well.

I also did a variation on the colour scheme with another squad based more around dark greens and turquoise. Wasn’t quite as pleased with how these turned out, but did like the look of the hex bases I put these on. (I think hex bases are my thing at the moment!)

Taking a break from squad building I moved onto using the sprues from across all three sets to put together some more individual looking miniatures. This gave me the opportunity to be a bit more creative with the colour palette. I was also able to utilise some of the cool non-human heads available on the frames.

I went for an X-wing pilot vibe with this fella
In part this guy is inspired by an old Action Force / G.I. Joe figure

On to the metal miniatures. There are some lovely and varied sculpts here.

His bark is worse than his bite!

While most of the non-trooper models I have built and painted have been done in an individual style, I’ve gone for a bit of a black/red/gold theme on some of them with half an eye on building a crew for the game at some point.

Another G.I. Joe inspired paint job – Space Destro!
Space cult leader

To finish off this batch I had a go at kit bashing with the Frostgrave Cultists sprue.

Certain Adeptus Mechanicus Skitari vibes to this one
The beginnings of a crew

So a lovely set of kits and individual miniatures which have been a joy to paint. From a gaming perspective I can see them being used in not only Stargrave, but also of course my perenial favourite 7TV.

I’m on a sci-fi burst at the moment and have also been painting up a number of Blakes 7 miniatures as well as looking at a number of 3D printing options for fleshing out possible tables and scenarios for these games.

More on these to follow soon…

7TV Fantasy and Krull Slayers!

I’ve just received my copy of the recently released 7TV Fantasy boxed set and what a corker it is. I’ve not had a full look through it all yet, but as a big fan of the game system I cannot wait to get playing. The sheer volume of content (including literally hundreds of profiles) and the absolutely lovely old school fantasy gaming aesthetic and graphic design have really got me thinking about fantasy as a genre again.

The contents of the 7TV Fantasy boxed set from Crooked Dice Game Design Studio

Fantasy was my first love in gaming, though over the past few years it has fallen into the background for me in both terms of playing games and also hobby. This is just the kickstart I need, and there are a number of ideas starting to perculate. I have a whole load of CMON Song of Ice and Fire plastic Lannister miniatures to paint up and no shortage of STL files to print out.

Being a 7TV game of course, the focus is never too far from popular culture and as per the spy-fi, apocalypse and pulp editions there is the added meta in the game of playing the role of producer of a film or TV series.

VHS (remember that teenagers?) cover – for me this was best viewed on a Sunday afternoon on Channel 4 however

One of my favourite fantasy films of all time is Krull. That strange early 80s mix of sword and sorcery with a few lasers thrown in. That is not to mention of course a stellar cast including early appearences from Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane as well as a post Grange Hill, pre-Eastenders Todd Carty and Carry On legend Bernard Bresslaw as the Cyclops.

The iconic baddies of the movie and minions of the evil ‘Beast’ are the really quite weird Slayers. These ‘imperial stormtrooper’ proxies have a strange almost sci-fi look and feel, enhanced by their laser beam shooting spears and their very odd death throes. Yup when these boys get killed they let out a strange scream and a little wiggly creature bursts out of their cracked open heads. Ironically this film came out the year after the villainous Khan had inserted something similar into Commander Chekov’s ear in Star Trek II.

Slayers!

I mentioned earlier the massive number of profiles (all represented by cards) in the boxed set and it just so happens there is one that very tips a very big nod to the Slayers of Krull. There also happens to be a very iconic looking ‘throwing star’ included as a maguffin card in the set and a scenario that involves a teleporting citadel manned by familiar looking ‘Sorcerous Sentinels’.

Sorcerous Sentinel and the Galive Maguffin card

From a miniatures point of view, well you wait thirty years and three different sets come along at once. First up Crooked Dice themselves are releasing a set to support the 7TV Fantasy release and these are due out soon. Wayne at Tangent Miniatures (for whom I produce 3D printed masters) also has plans for the Beast’s hordes.

Sorcerous Sentinels – coming soon from Crooked Dice
Also coming soon from Tangent Miniatures

However in terms of what is available right now, I was able to purchase a set of STL files from the excellent Mike Tong (aka BigMrTong) via his CG Trader store front. There are ten different poses available and I initially printed out twenty (two of each pose) in Elegoo standard grey resin on my Elegoo Mars Pro 2.

Unlike a lot of 3D printed files these came with a traditional slotta base tab modelled onto the miniature. This enabledme to easily base these on some existing plastic bases I had available. Rather than go with the usual round bases I opted in this case to keep the old school gaming vibe by going with hex bases. Those who are old enough may remember back in the day that Citadel Miniatures in particular released certain (usually non-Warhammer ranges such as their Elric line) on these. I didn’t have to do any rescaling on these figures, they are pretty much standard 28mm scale and fit in very nicely for example with Crooked Dice’s miniatures.

Printed miniatures about to be undercoated in a white primer.

Using some source photos from the film I decided to go with a very dark brown (rather than grey or black) scheme for the majority of the Slayers. It’s pretty difficult to work out the exact colours, but I liked the deep brown that the Citadel Wyldewood contrast paint gives. So basically a couple of thin coats of this followed by a brown wash for further definition meant I could power through these quite quickly.

Grey or black? I couldn’t decide so went brown instead!

I seemed to recall in the film (it is a while since I have seen it), that there were some white coloured Slayers in the climax of the film which takes place in the Beast’s teleporting Black Fortress. As I was working from a white undercoat for all these figures I put about half a dozen aside to paint up as these ‘Fortress Guard’. Again Citadel Contrast paints to the rescue with a thin coat of Apothecary White.

Fortress guard

For both sets I painted the heads grey and the weapons black and silver. Basing was completed using textured Valejo basing paste (of which I have a couple of big pots which have lasted me years). Black base coated and then drybrushed up in grey these were then finished with various flock, static grass and tufts (keeping the look as swamp like as possible to mirror one of the major set pieces of the film).

All in all I am pretty happy with these. Twenty miniatures printed and then painted up in a pretty short time period to a decent tabletop standard.

There are far too many here to use in 7TV Fantasy but at least I have options when it comes to posing and colours.

I’ll most likely pickup both the designs from Crooked Dice and Tangent in the future, but for the time being I’d highly recommend anyone with a 3D printer checks out these files.

Oh and also buy 7TV Fantasy – as we said back in the day – “it is skill and also decent”.