Hero Forge versus Cobra

During the month of May, Hero Forge ran a discount on their website which I took advantage of to design up a few characters for my Action Force in 28mm scale project.

I’ve tended to concentrate so far on modelling and gaming with the original Action Force teams and the Red Shadows. However I do have a growing set of Cobra forces to add to the mix. (You can read more about Cobra and their relationship with the Red Shadows in my previous article.)

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.

Doctor Mindbender

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.

Digital render
The printed and painted miniature

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

The Baroness was painted mainly with Citadel Contrast paints with the (very basic) Cobra logo freehanded.

Digital render
The printed and painted miniature

Finally (although not yet painted up) we have Copperhead, the Cobra Water Moccasin pilot.

SAS Force Attack Buggy

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.

The inspiration

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.

Render of the 3D model purchased from CGTrader (original scale 1/24)

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.

Black undercoat applied with spray can

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.

So, what is next for SAS Force…..?

Red Shadows New Recruits

The ranks of the Red Shadows have recently expanded with the addition of three new recruits.

First up we have this great model from Crooked Dice Game Design Studio, ‘The Jack Booted Sadist’. Bearing a not disimilar look to a 90s Bond villian I decided to go full on Red Shadows with the uniform.

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.

Yet again Blood Angels Red contrast paint was used for block colours. The highlighting and stripes were based on consulation of the excellent Palitoy Collectors Guide published by Blood for the Baron.

Action Force SHADO Mobiles

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.

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There were three in the bed…

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.

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Fresh off the printer.  One standard, two with turret options.  Note the size of the recess for the turret, I’ll come back to that later.

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.

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Tracks are one piece but applied to individual pegs which were extremely fiddly to glue in place on the model (as opposed to my fingers)

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.

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Turret recess

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?).

Having previously tackled Space Force I decided that it was the turn of Z Force (infantry) and Q Force (naval) to add to their arsenals.

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.

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Z Force camo for that 80s cold war flavour!

Camo was black with grey highlights and details were picked out in red and yellow as a nod to the original toy line.

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Windows were base coated white prior to a coat of Citadel Contrast Space Wolves Grey

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.

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Designed for the original toy vehicles which were scaled to the 3.75″ action figures these were also perfect for wargaming scale.

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.

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The original Q Force Swordfish toy provided some of the inspiration for the colour scheme as did the primarily yellow action figures.

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.

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Taken outside this photo shows the Wraith Bone much more grey than it actually is ‘in the flesh’.  It is nearer to a cream colour.

Basecoat was a dark yellow using again a spray can, this time Averland Sunset.

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Highlights were achieved with a lighter yellow Humbrol spray.

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Interestingly this is a gloss paint, but I was trusting to the final coat of Dullcote to sort this out.

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Tools of the trade.

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.

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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.

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Finished and ready to take the fight to the Red Shadows.

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….

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Death’s Head in 28mm scale, yes?

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.

Ancient Relics - Action Force and Transformers
Comics crossovers are common now, but when I was eleven this was the most exciting thing EVER!

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!

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Some recent eBay purchases through which I have been attempting to relive my youth (and get gaming inspiration of course!)

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.

Transformers 117

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.

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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).

DH - Shockwave
A legitimate WTF moment for me in the 80s (before the phrase was invented), was the brutal slaying of my fave Decepticon Shockwave at the hands of Death’s Head.  (Marvel Transformers UK, amazing art by Geoff Senior.)

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.

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The Doctor shrunk Death’s Head down to human size using one of the Master’s Tissue Compression Eliminators.

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.

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My starting point – a pre-painted Heroclix model

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.

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Re-based

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Post Quickshade, pre Dullcote

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Close up showing the shading effects of the Quickshade Dark Tone dip I painted on.

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Finished, matt coated and based, ready for the tabletop.

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:

7TV_cast-Deaths-Head

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.

I’ll be making the profile downloadable from the 7TV Productions Facebook group shortly.

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…..

Transformers 28mm scale comparison
Wizkids Transformers miniatures painted up (with 28mm scale figure for comparison)

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Is a possible revenge match on the cards?  Shockwave (scaled to the Wizkids Transformers size and so 28mm scale compatible).  Printed on my resin 3D printer.

 

7TV Day 4 at Board in Brum

This last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the latest 7TV event at Board in Brum in Walsall.  Having missed the previous event in the Autumn (due to an inability to organise my diary properly) it was almost exactly a year since the last event at this great location.

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.

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My Red Shadows, ready for action.

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.

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Blood for the Baron!

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).

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The zombie hoard led by the preacher (played by Dick van Dyke)!

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.

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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.

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Wes and gang.

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.

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I didn’t get to play against Paul’s ‘Children of the Fields’; however he deservedly won the award for best cast.

I was also delighted to come away from the day with the prize for best table layout (goodies already ordered from Crooked Dice).

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Mike’s sailors (no monkeying around here).

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The monkey theme continues with part of Simon Clarke’s cast (including at least one Marx brother).

Next up in terms of 7TV events is the day I am hosting at Dales Wargames in Darley Dale on Sunday April 5th.  This is a 7TV Apocalypse focussed event. 

White Line Nightmares

Also later in the year on Saturday July 4th there is the annual Wargames Illustrated 7TV day at Foundry Miniatures near Newark.

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.

 

 

Cobra Commander Heroclix conversion

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….

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The original model (minus base)

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.

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Cobra Commander – arch enemy of GI Joe (or Action Force, if like me you grew up in the UK)

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).

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Ready for painting.

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.)

Introducing Cobra Commander
Baron Ironblood is reborn as Cobra Commander (from the pages of Battle Action Force comic).

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.

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The Commander will see you now.

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).

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Have throne – will travel

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….

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Wizkids ‘Deep Cuts’ unpainted Marvel Heroclix miniatures.

 

Action Force Hovercraft (3D Printed)

The Action Force project continues.  I’ve recently arranged to run a participation game of 7TV at an upcoming show in 2020, and am going to run an Action Force scenario.  This is likely to be an assault on the Baron’s secret base by our brave heroes.

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Footage from a previous episode. Z Force troops led by SAS Force’s Eagle face off against the Black Major (7TV).

I’ve already got ideas around the setup and my recently completed submarine will be making an appearence.  Therefore an amphibious assault on a port seems like a great idea.  As such I need a way to deliver my forces to the combat zone.

Enter the Action Force hovercraft.

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AF Hovercraft data file from the pages of IPC’s Battle Action Force comic

More commonly known as the G.I.Joe Killer W.H.A.L.E this was a toy that was released originally in the third wave of releases by Palitoy in the mid-1980s.  By this stage the range was almost exclusively repackaged G.I.Joe figures and vehicles.  The background (supported by the weekly Battle Action Force comic) had shifted to a combined Action Force team facing off against the forces of Cobra.

Now at the time I loved this change, but in retrospect my heart always lay with the original Baron Ironblood and the Red Shadows setup.  Subsequently this is where the focus of my 28mm scale Action Force wargaming has been.

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Cover art from the amazing Palitoy Collector’s Guide available from BloodfortheBaron.com

However, never one to let ‘canon’ get in the way of a good gaming project I’ve decided to model my hovercraft, rather than as a combined Action Force vehicle, as if it were part of the Q Force armoury.  As a reminder the original Action Force organisation was split into four arms; Z Force (the infantry backbone), SAS Force (special ops), Space Force (does what it says on the tin) and Q Force (the naval team).

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Q Force (like Space Force), never got quite as much love as their land based cousins, so the toy range wasn’t quite as wide in terms of figures or indeed vehicles.  What there was though was great.  The vehicle sets were original and designed by Palitoy (i.e. they were not G.I.Joe repaints).

 

 

Wanting the hovercraft to feel like part of Q Force means looking at an alternative to the quite dull green original scheme.  So we are looking primarily at greys and blues with red and yellow accents.

 

All this talk of colour schemes is very good, but first of course I needed a model.  Enter Thingiverse and the world of 3D printing.  Having located an amazing model I set this going on my 3D printer and a mere 45 hours later I had the following:

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Underneath all that stringing is a rather nice print.  Stringling easily removed with clippers and a heat gun (and since eliminated by some mucking about with settings)

Interestingly this model was originally scaled as per the original toy, which was huge (and always coveted by me as a boy).  In order to scale this for 28mm gaming I reduced the print size by 45%.

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A cleaned up model (sanded and supports removed) prior to undercoat

Clean up was a challenge particularly removing the generated supports on the propellors.  I basically had to break these and manually rebuild them (with the addition of some plasticard and plastic filler).  The plan is to print two more in the future, and I think I will try printing without supports next time and see what happens.

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Patching up the props!  I’ve since worked out some less destructive support settings.

The model was undercoated using a light grey Halfords car primer. I went quite close and thick with this in order to compensate for some of the layer lines that are an artefact of this type of 3D printing.  In combination with a pre-undercoat sanding the finish turned out quite smooth.

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Post clean up and priming

 

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Halfords grey primer is my current ‘go to’ spray can undercoat

So back to the colour scheme and working out a Q Force style livery.  I wanted to keep the main body of the craft a traditional naval style grey so went at this with the airbrush using three successively light coats.  Once this was dry it was time to block out some colours.  It was all brush work from this point on.

The skirt was done using the black Citadel contrast paint, which I think over the grey gives a good ‘rubberised’ look.  In fact I’d go as far as saying the slightly visible layer lines actually helped in achieving this effect.

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Post airbrushing (various Vallejo Colour Air greys) and the still wet Citadel black contrast paint applied to the skirt

Following this I chose various points of interest to block out in a limted colour palette of yellow, blue and red (all Citadel base paints).  To be true to the toys I probably should have continued the block colouring on the weapons and props, but I went for a more ‘realistic’ dark metallic colour for these (Foundry Blackened Barrel C).  The windows were done using the Space Wolves grey Citadel contrast paint.

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Block colours applied

Next up, markings.  Luckily the original stickers for many of the original toys are still available.  A quick visit to Vintage Star Wars Collectibles set me up with a reproduction sticker sheet for the Q Force Swordfish.  I applied these stickers direct to the model and sealed them using a gloss varnish.

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Reproduction Action Force toy stickers.

Finally the model was finished off with a few basic highlights and a matt top coat.  I had considered a final weathering step, however something about the finish with the primary colours and the similarity to the toy range stayed my hand.

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The finished model with stickers applied.

All in all I am pretty pleased with the outcome.  Since I completed this project I have further refined some of my 3D printer settings, which should reduce damage when removing supports and ease the clean up prior to printing should I attempt a similar model in future.

Final touches will be to add some Q Force personel.  I have some Crooked Dice frogmen that will fit the bill well.  In the meantime I have to stick with ferrying the SAS boys around…

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SAS force troopers (Crooked Dice 7TV X-Commandos with head swaps).

World Enemy Number One

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

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

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

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They will come like a red horde from the shadows!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The original toy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What lies within?

Blood for the Baron!

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A portent of things to come

Red Shadows Helicopter

I recently picked up an inexpensive die cast toy helicopter and have set about quickly adding it to the ranks of Baron Ironblood’s forces.  This was a relatively quick and easy conversion using as it’s basis a Teamsterz Rescue Helicopter, which cost me about £4.

Taking advantage of the unseasonably good weather I was able to spray this up quickly outside using Halfords Black as a primer followed by an all over of Humbrol Crimson and then a zenith highlight (well a top down spray) of Humbrol Red.

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Halfords Black primer provides a wonderfully Matt finish when dry

The Humbrol sprays while being acrylics were gloss.  I’d didn’t think this would look too out of place for a chopper, however it ended up being a little too shiny, so this was solved with a once over of Testors Dullcote (which also provided a good base for the details and highlights).

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Humbrol gloss crimson applied – shiny!

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Red highlight – even shinier!

The toy had some decent panel lined detail, so I highlighted this using a black marker pen (designed for lining Gundam models).  Windows were painted with Citadel Magragge Blue and tints were applied using a white Gundam marker this time.  Other bits and pieces were painted black or silver and really that was it.

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Post Dullcote, windows done, awaiting panel lining

It wasn’t until after I had nearly finished that I noticed the screw holes holding the model together on one side.  Had I realised from the start these would have been filled, however as a gaming piece I can live with this.

Final touch was the addition of some decals which I had picked up a few months back on eBay.

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Decals – originating from a Tattoo studio in the US

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Survivalist for scale!

There we have it – air transport for the Baron.  Scale is just about OK for 28mm scale miniatures, if anything it is slightly large, but hey, more room for Mutons!

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Battle Action Force – Operation Bloodhound – helicopter getaway

Next up for the Shad motor pool is an armoured car based on a 1/43rd die cast Puma….

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