More minions for the evil Baron Ironblood! The Red Shadows were an iconic bad guy for me, almost up there with Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers (and about as accurate in their shooting).
One thing they didn’t have however was much variation. While Action Force has specialist teams for undersea (Q Force) and off planet (Space Force), the Baron could not really match this in terms of his rank and file troops, at least as the toys were concerned. As an aside, the Battle Action Force comic occasionally showed some interesting variations on the standard enemy troops such as frogmen and astronauts, but actual action figures were sadly lacking.
So while I continue my quest to model and game Action Force and the Red Shadows in 28mm scale I’ve set about trying to redress this balance.
First up we have some ‘hostile environment’ or maybe special forces troopers. These are the rather excellent Wargames Atlantic Raumjager miniatures given a suitably red uniform. I imagine these guys would maybe be Ironblood’s special shock troops for fighting in hazardous or even alien environments.
To lead this squad I did a bit of kitbashing using a plastic body of a Bauhaus officer from the original Mutant Chronicles Warzone boxed game from the late 90s. I swapped the head out for one from my bits box that originated in the old Wargames Factory Greatcoat Troopers set.
Next up we have a Red Shadows space engineer. This miniature is from Gripping Beast and is itself inspired by the original Space Force Engineer figure. In my mind the Enemy wouldn’t be shy about stealing and repurposing Action Force technology and kit, and this guy represents that albeit with a suitably updated paint scheme.
Last but not least we have another variation on the Muton – the death robots of the Baron! These miniatures are ‘Harvesters’ and are a multi-part plastic kit found in one of the expansion from the Shadows of Brimstone board game. They have that ‘deep sea diver gone wrong’ look that really chimes with the aesthetic of the original action figure.
Now if I could only find a suitable miniature for this guy…
Although most of my Action Force in 28mm scale project is based around the Red Shadows as the primary protagonists, I do occasionally dip into the world of their successors, Cobra.
I’ve recently been kitbashing some Cobra infantry using various bits and pieces from my sprue mountain. The bodies and legs for these guys have all come from Warlord Games World War II US Infantry. The arms are are mixture of the same US infantry and the old Wargames Factory apocalypse survivors and biker sprues. These are also where most of the weapons were sourced from.
The heads are all I have left from a set of specially produced GI Joe bits – two in the style of Cobra Troopers, the remaining two representing Cobra Vipers. The backpacks are from the same source.
These are very much ‘inspired by’ conversions rather than an attempt to accurately model the old toys or cartoon and comics characters.
Transport for these foot troopers is a 1:48 scale Tamiya model of a modern Japanese Defence Force Light Armoured Vehicle.
I built this a couple of years ago and it has been waiting on the painting table for quite some time. The transfers are in fact stickers from a small GI Joe toy.
The paint job on this was a basic blue block colour (applied by spray can) with detail added using an Army Painter wash. The kit as built was unmodified (although I didn’t bother with the interior detail – there is an upainted driver in there though!)
I set about printing this with the idea of using it as a centrepiece for 28mm scale gaming (more specifically 7TV). By doing some back of the envelope calculations I worked out that I would need to scale the files up in order to meet my favoured 1/48 vehicle scale for gaming.
So then the printing began……and it took a very long time indeed.
Back in March I was keeping a log of how much time the individual print jobs were taking. I soon gave up adding this up, but lets say we are talking about well over 100 hours worth of printing at least.
As per usual for scenery and vehicles I printed this using my FDM printer, a CR-10S by Creality. I originally chose this printer for the larger than standard print bed size and this was very useful when printing out this model.
The print quality (and tolerances) I am getting at the moment are really good, which helped significantly with this model as it did require quite a bit of fitting and assembly. The one weak point was the landing gear which have snapped numerous times and have been continually super glued back together.
At this point I started to think about painting and colour schemes. Rather than paint up in the traditional TV series colours I decided to merge this with one of my other ongoing projects – Action Force in 28mm scale. At this point I need to take a slight diversion, promoted by this project I have recently got into collecting the original toy line of 3.75″ (1/18) scale action figures and vehicle sets. One of the vehicles I have recently aquired is the Space Force Cosmic Cruiser. It is this that I decided to base the Eagle paint scheme on.
Due to the current long summer hours and (occasional) decent days of British summer weather I switched my airbrushing to outside. This has been aided by the aquisition of a new mini-compressor. The completed model after getting an all over undercoat of black from a spray can was ready for airbrushing.
The main body and cockpit were given coats of progressively slightly lighter coats of grey.
The four ‘legs’ of the craft were then completed using the same technique with blue.
Finally the engines were also airbrushed using a base gun metal followed by a silver highlight. All paints were from the Vallejo Game Air or Model Air ranges.
I switched back to traditional brushwork for the orange of the frame. This was mainly because I would have struggled to effectively mask the model for airbrushing on top of the work I had already done.
I went to my stash of decals and transfers to add some detail (including some small reporduction Action Force logo toy vehicle stickers). The one thing I wasn’t able to source was the Space Force specific logo. While in the past for miniatures I have hand painted this I wasn’t confident I’d be able to do a good job of this freehand at this scale. I may subsequently add something to the nose cone of the ship if I can figure out printing on decal paper on my Inkjet printer.
The final stage was weathering, and as per usual I feel I may have gone a little overboard here. I used a mix of Plastic Soldier Company and Modelmates weathering spray cans for this, plus a sponge chipping technique using a dark brown paint. I do think the engines came out looking pretty good.
All in all I am really please with the result and I look forward at some point in the future (when face-to-face gaming can resume in earnest) using this in a game of 7TV. Perhaps as part of a Space Force versus The Argonauts game (the latter of which I am eagerly awaiting delivery from the most recent Crooked Dice Game Design Studio Kickstarter).
In the meantime here is a selection of images showing a Space Force Eagle Transporter being prepared for a mission by Action Force personel. All figures are from Gripping Beast and are heavily inspired by the original action figure line.
All of these figures were designed using the Hero Forge tools and then purchased as STL files and printed in resin on my AnyCubic Photon 3D printer.
First up we have the villainous Doctor Mindbender. Not a character I remember much about from my childhood. He was never part of the ‘Battle Action Force era’ Cobra team and to be honest I cannot remember him from the Marvel UK title or subsequent toy ranges either.
However, having been catching up with GI Joe in comics over the last few years I felt that his distinctive look would be a good fit with my tabletop forces.
Next it is the iconic Baroness. I’ve previously painted up and used a miniature from Hasslefree to represent her, but wanted something a bit closer to the source material.
The Baroness was painted mainly with Citadel Contrast paints with the (very basic) Cobra logo freehanded.
Finally (although not yet painted up) we have Copperhead, the Cobra Water Moccasin pilot.
This started off as something else, an oft stated phrase that applies to most of my hobby projects. In this case I was looking for 3D models from the ‘so bad it’s good’ 1982 cinematic masterpiece Megaforce.
I’m going to be covering Megaforce in it’s own project at some point soon, but having purchased and printed some excellent versions of the buggies from the movie I once more got distracted.
So here we have some more additions to the 28mm scale Action Force motor pool. This time it’s SAS Force getting some new wheels.
The buggies in the Megaforce film had a nightime adaptive camoflage and this idea of a fast stealth single man attack vehicle kind of fits in with the SAS aesthetic.
The 3D print files were scaled down from their original 1/24 scale to 1/48 (my chosen vehicle scale for 28mm gaming). After an unsuccessful test print on my FDM printer (too many tiny parts), I switched to the DLP resin printer and mangaged to get two done in a single print.
Painting was a simple black undercoat followed by a grey drybrush, concentrating on edge highlights.
Details were picked out in yellow to match the colour scheme of the classic toy line. Weapons and windscreen were painted silver (with the later getting a blue wash). Reproduction stickers were from Vintage Star Wars Collectibles.
My plan from a gaming perspective is to use these in 7TV, with the vehicle rules from the 7TV Apocalypse box set.
Painted primarily in contrast paints, I’m still trying to think of a suitable moniker for her. Red Fury perhaps?
Next we have a miniature I have painted quite recently in the past, but which once I’d completed I knew I would have to re-do as one of the Baron’s fanatics. This guy is from the Prince August Future Shocks line of vintage post-apocalyptic models. Getting on for 40 years old, these sculpts are lovely and benefit from being 32mm scale (which of course dating from the 80s means they match up well with modern 28s).
Again I used contrast paints for the block colours, but then highlighted up using more traditional methods. I’ve gone for an Asian skin tone here using Citadel Darkoath Flesh contrast over a white undercoat. I’m quite pleased with how it has turned out.
Finally we are onto a 3D print. This is the ‘Enemy Escape Armour’ (more familiar to GI Joe fans as the Cobra Snake Armour). A 3D print design by ‘Jabberwock’ on Thingiverse (based on the original toy), this was scaled to 45% and printed in resin on my Anycubic Photon.
I’ve recently been on a roll with the 3D printing and have got a setup I am really happy with now for both FDM and resin.
On the FDM side (using my Creality CR-10S) I have been concentrating on vehicles and scenery. This has given me the opportunity to go back and visit models I previously tried to print with limited success.
One such example is the excellent SHADO mobile by AlPokemon that is available free to download on Thingiverse. I had previously tried to print this before I had got my settings ‘fully dialed in’. Armed with a new found (if not slightly tentative) confidence I loaded up the printer bed and set to work on not one, but three of these iconic vehicles.
At the same time I have been going back to my ‘Action Force and the Red Shadows in 28mm scale‘ project. Having done something similar before (albeit with a commercial model kit) I decided it was time for the Action Force teams to buy up some of that surplus SHADO inventory and kit themselves out with some mobile support.
I printed two variants this time, one the standard SHADO mobile, but the other with a ‘turret’ option. The STL files contained options for a gun turret and a couple of different communiations arrays. In order to provide some flexibility for gaming I decided to magnetise these turrets and their attachments.
In the end I went with a tiny magnet and a 5p piece, which just perfectly fit the recess in the model.
It’s probably important to note at this point that I made no scaling changes to the file prior to printing, and the models I would say at a rough guess are approximately 1:48 scale (more than good enough for 29mm gaming).
Top tip if using coinage with magnets – check them first. Apparently not all 5p coins are magnetic (who knew?).
For the Z Force Mobile (which I envision as a HQ vehicle or forward observer) I went with the traditional green and black camo. The airbrush was used for this with Vallejo Russian Green as the base over a black undercoat.
Camo was black with grey highlights and details were picked out in red and yellow as a nod to the original toy line.
Decals and stickers were primarily reproduction Action Force toy stickers from Vintage Star Wars Collectibles. However I also added some waterslide decals from my stash. In both cases I applied a coat of Humbrol gloss varnish to the area prior to application.
For sticker application I did not wait for the varnish to dry; this enabled me to reposition these with relative ease. Once dry I then re-applied gloss varnish as a top coat to seal both the stickers and decals.
Finally some highlights were picked out in yellow and red and some weathering was applied (more on which later).
The end result, ready to take on the Baron!
On to the Q Force variant. Unlike the Z Force mobile I went for one of the turreted versions. Many of the Q Force toys had a strong yellow, blue and red livery and I decided to try and, if not replicate, at least give a nod to this.
Unlike the previous version, the majority of this model was painted from spray cans, rather than using the airbrush. Undercoat for this one was Citadel Wraith Bone (which is a kind of off white) applied from a can.
Basecoat was a dark yellow using again a spray can, this time Averland Sunset.
Highlights were achieved with a lighter yellow Humbrol spray.
Interestingly this is a gloss paint, but I was trusting to the final coat of Dullcote to sort this out.
Highlights were picked out in blue, with an orange tint for the windscreens. Next up was weathering, which as per usual I went unintentionally a little overboard with. Chipping on both this and the previous model was achieved using a sponging technique. A weathering spray (from Plastic Soldier) was further added for a really grimy look.
On the assumption that the Q Force vehicle would spent a lot of time by the sea I also added in some streaking using a Modelmates rust effect.
For both models, tracks were simply painted dark grey, dry brushed with a ‘plate mail’ silver and then weathered down with Army Painter Dark Tone wash.
So you may have noticed from the photos that I printed three models and have only mentioned the two so far. Well the final one isn’t going to the Action Force motor pool, it’s destined for another fighting force, a Megaforce if you will….
One of the great joys I take from my gaming and modelling hobby is the ability to mash-up all different aspects of my favourite pop culture into something I can play with on the tabletop. This is one of the reasons I love 7TV so much. As well as having a decades long obsession with cult TV and movies, I’m also able to use the flexibility of the game to introduce some of my favourite comic book and toy characters from my youth.
I was born in the mid-seventies and so most of my childhood was spent growing up in the neon lit, shoulder pad wearing, verging on nuclear apocalypse, 1980s. Comics were a huge part of my youth, but not perhaps in the way they were for other generations or in other parts of the world. Superheroes were never really my thing. In the early eighties the UK was culturally still living in the shadow of the second world war. The war generation was very much still around and this was reflected in the popular culture of the time. I had loads of toy soldiers (in the Action Man / Action Force / army men vein), war films were ten a penny on TV and in the cinema and the weekly adventure comics for boys were pretty much all focussed on war!
I existed on a weekly dose of Battle, with the occasional foray into Victor or the self contained Commando books (still going strong today). Then things started to change, Marvel UK started gobbling up those toy licenses, including the ridiculously popular Transformers. These were usually full colour comics on proper paper (unlike the war weeklies which were produced on standard newspaper stock). Unlike their American equivalents, the output from Marvel UK titles like Transformers was weekly. Most of the content was reprinted from the US titles, but due to the higher frequency of publication soon original UK content was required to fill the gaps. It was here that some of the best characters and writing in the Transformers title occured.
Anyway this is a hobby blog, so what has all this to do with tabletop gaming? Well, as I alluded to above, I love taking some of my favourite characters from back in the day and dropping then into a game.
Therefore I present to you Death’s Head, the freelance peacekeeping agent (don’t call him a bounty hunter), who first graced the pages of the Transformers UK comic, before spinning off into other titles (including Doctor Who, Dragon’s Claws and his own eponymous title, before eventually ending up facing off against some of the giants of the Marvel Universe).
Originally a Transformers sized mechanoid, he was eventually shrunk down to human size following an encounter with the Time Lord known as the Doctor (yes more crossovers!). It is the human sized Death’s Head I am working with here.
As a Marvel character the easiest way to get hold of a figure was to look at the Heroclix range and success there is one available. I picked him up off eBay a couple of years ago, but it is only recently I’ve managed to get round to deciding what to do with him.
As a Heroclix figure he came pre-painted. Often the Heroclix sculpts are great and only let down by a poor paint job. In this case I was fairly happy with both, but in order to add some more defintion and match up with other tabletop miniatures I may be using alongside him I decided on a ‘splash on’ of Army Painter Dark Tone Quickshade. I applied this by brush, being careful to soak up any excess before leaving it to dry for a day and then giving it a once over with Testers Dullcote. I’d already removed the figure from it’s original ‘clix’ base and added to a standard 30mm round base which I then did a basic drybrush and flock job on.
Now the figure was done it was time to think about the statistics. I used the excellent online 7TV Casting Agency app to create a profile card. I based this on the ‘Mean Machine’ profile from the 7TV Apocalypse set (itself a homage to a certain time travelling Austrian cyborg type chap). Using the rules for customising stars and co-stars from the 7TV Apocalypse Producer’s Guide I switched a few stats and special effects around and have ended up with the following:
For those of you who are interested in the ‘recipe’ for this, here are the steps I took from the base ‘Mean Machine’ profile, following the customisation rules. Note that the starting point in terms of ratings cost for the base profile was 10:
Renamed Star Quality from ‘Ill Be Back’ to ‘Freelance Peace Keeping Agent, yes?’ (no ratings cost)
Removed Military Training special effect (reducing ratings value to 9)
Decreased Body stat from 5 to 4 (reducing ratings value to 8)
Increased Mind stat from 2 to 3 (increasing ratings value to 9)
Added Loner special effect (increasing ratings value to 10)
Replaced UZI 9mm attack with Grenade, Electrical attack (no ratings cost)
Renamed ‘Steel Grip’ attack to Hand Power Axe (no ratings cost). Death’s Head had a nifty range of switchable hand weapons.
In the meantime this has got me thinking about how to mix in some bigger ‘mechanoids’ in with the standard 28mm scale 7TV figures I am using. Cue both Wizkids and their new range of unpainted pre-primed Transformers and my 3D printer…..
Since my last visit the store had expanded into the full building it previously only occupied a part of. In fact the day of the event was the last full day at that location as they are moving to new expanded premises. As someone who struggled in the retail side of the industry it is heartening to see a local games store doing well and able to expand in this way.
While hosted by Simon of Board in Brum, the event was organised by the talented Mike Strong, who has a track record of adding some great additional narrative to these events. In true 7TV style this involved the ‘production studio’ having to cut back on costs, so across the three games in the day there were various additional objectives added in to try and keep the accountants at ‘Baron Studios’ happy. At the end of each game, based on your success at meeting these objectives (for example moving your cast the least amount of space across the board to save on cost) additional bonuses or abilities were made available for the next game. There was even a ‘scoreboard’ so the accountants could keep track of which producers were in the black and which were in the red.
The event followed a standard pattern of three games at 40 ratings each. This allowed for compact games run on either 3 by 3 or 4 by 4 tables with some flexibility on the number of stars and co-stars. This allowed me to take a reasonably sized cast, for which this time I chose Baron Ironblood and his Red Shadows using the ‘official’ profile cards for these characters published in the 7TV 1967 Annual.
There were a number of excellent tables available on the day, some provided by the venue, others brought by attendees. I brought along my secret Nazi rocket base complete with V2 launch site and Haunbau flying saucer (neatly parked in a stone circle).
Also worthy of mention was Mike’s Venetian layout (complete with what I can only assume was a lost submarine), David’s sinister funfair and Paul’s hex based ‘Children of the Fields’ themed setup. In fact there was a surplus of boards available on the day and we ended up sharing these with a Marvel Crisis Protocol event that was also taking place at the same time. (Which reminds me I need to finish of painting up my set for a game at the next Dales Meeting in February).
My first game was against my old adversary Kieron, who had somehow made his 40 ratings stretch to a 30 plus figure cast. There was a reason for this and that reason was…..zombies. Now I usually have epic bad luck with dice when playing against Kieron and this was no different.
Playing on my V2 rocket site board things started off bad and continued from there as two of my extras were immediately infected and replaced with zombies and the rest of the horde started their relentless stumble across the board towards the Baron and his fanatical followers. I’m terrible at remembering the specific details of games so I’d point you towards Kieron’s blog for an excellent narrative overview of the ‘episode’.
Unlike previous games between us, we did at least get through the first act and in fact managed to play through to the end of the countdown deck. The upshot was a win in terms of victory points for my opponent and ‘a slip into the red’ for me as a producer.
The second game of the day followed on from lunch and I found myself up against Simon and his gang of wasteland marauders.
This cast took a similar approach to the zombies with a single star and lots of lots of expendable extras. While not quite the size of the previous cast I’d faced, it did give me plenty of opportunity for some target practice for my fanatical Red Shadows.
Somehow all the bad dice luck I had had in the previous game was immediately passed over to my opponent who had some truly horrendous bad luck with his rolls. Again we managed to play through the full episode (the cost saving aspect for the studio here was that a bonus was conferred to the player who burnt through the most countdown cards). Despite losing a larger proportion of my cast I just about sqweaked a win in terms of victory points, although we both ended up with the same number of countdown cards, which at least meant I’d moved out of the red into the ‘grey’ prior to the final game of the day.
My final game of the day was against David and his biker gang. We played this on Kieron’s city table. It was a standard ‘steal’ scenario in which the defender had to keep and defend the Macguffin from the attacker.
I ended up with the Macguffin to start with and to my delight and my opponents dismay the random gadget I ended up drawing for this was the jet pack. Queue a game of cat and mouse, where the mouse was airbourne for much of the time, in what can only be described as a valiant rearguard action (i.e. I spent much of the game, running away).
The added cost saving objective for this game was to end the episode with the most left over plot points. Running entirely against type I managed to achieve this as David my opponent valiantly tried but ultimately failed to retrieve the Macguffin, burning through many of his remaining plot points to do so on the final turn.
All in all three cracking games, a well organised event at a friendly venue against a great bunch of opponents with lots of laughs. Just what a 7TV event should be.
I was also delighted to come away from the day with the prize for best table layout (goodies already ordered from Crooked Dice).
The next day at Board in Brum (at their new venue) is tentatively scheduled for September or October this year. I’d heartily recommend checking out the 7TV Productions Facebook group for all the latest news.
As is often the case this little hobby activity was in no way planned. Having bought a few cheap Heroclix figures from eBay in order to try out a new set of rules, I found the following in the booster packs I was opening….
Now I am not a massive Marvel or superhero comics chap, but I do know that this is Magneto, nemesis of the X-Men. However my immediate thought was, with a bit of work that could easily be Cobra Commander seated in his throne room.
So, first up basing. This looked to be a flying model so rather than being directly attached to the usual Heroclix chunky base, all I had to remove and replace was the clear plastic around the bottom of the model.
In my bits box I knew I had a hooded Cobra Commander head (sourced from a limited run of private commission GI Joe miniatures). So one quick snip and a touch of superglue later and the king snake himself was pretty much done (at least in terms of modelling).
Now the only problem I had with making this a convincing conversation was the facts that the original bare headed figure has his hand placed on a helmet. As it happens the choice of going with the ‘hooded’ version of Cobra Commander proved fortuitous. With a bit of filler I could convert the helmet in hand into his alternate head wear. In fact even better I could go with the ‘Action Force’ version of the Commander and model the helmet as his previous ‘Baron Ironblood’ persona.
(For those readers not familiar with the British Action Force mythology, Cobra was born out of the ashes of the Red Shadows organisation, with Cobra Commander previously being the head of that organisation, the fearsome Baron Ironblood. You can read more about my Action Force project and Baron Ironblood in my past blog posts.)
Next step, painting. I gave the pre-painted figure a covering with a white primer applied with the airbrush. Then it was down to a combination of Citadel Contrast and ‘traditional paints’ to finish things off. All in all a quick but effective conversion, which will probably see some action on the tabletop in games of 7TV at some point in the future.
What this has reminded me is that while some of the pre-paints on Heroclix models can be a bit ropey, there are often some good sculpts hiding underneath. Heroclix can be incredibly cheap to pick up and the vast array of characters means that these can be a really good source for conversions (whether you choose to re-paint them or not).
Thing is this all started off with a desire to do some super hero hobby and gaming. I still plan on pursuing this (especially in light of the theme of this years Wargames Illustrated 7TV Day). Well these turned up recently (I ordered them, but has kind of forgotten about them)….new unpainted X-Men Heroclix, including of course a certain Magneto….