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!

2020-02-01 19.08.59
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.

300px-Deathshead113heardofme

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.

deaths_head_doctor
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.

2019-12-25 21.49.18
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.

2019-12-25 21.51.37
Re-based
2019-12-29 14.23.34
Post Quickshade, pre Dullcote
2019-12-29 14.53.00
Close up showing the shading effects of the Quickshade Dark Tone dip I painted on.
2019-12-30 00.08.31
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)
2020-02-04 16.51.11
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.

 

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….

2019-11-24 14.39.56
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.

cobra-commander-on-throne
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).

2019-12-14 13.59.02
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.

2020-01-13 23.47.59
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).

2020-01-13 23.40.58
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….

2020-01-11 10.37.10
Wizkids ‘Deep Cuts’ unpainted Marvel Heroclix miniatures.

 

Legions of Mongo – The Skull Crawler!

For some time I have been working on a ‘pulp science fiction’ set of miniatures and models primarily for gaming with the 7TV ruleset.  I’ve previously blogged about the excellent range of ‘Flash Gordon’ style figures from Cold War Miniatures, including their wonderful 3D printed rocket ship.

9d3e8ebc38e603f11fd63b5100e264ff_original
Coming soon from Crooked Dice

With the recent completion of the 7TV Pulp Sci Fi miniatures Kickstarter I have a load more reinforcements coming over the next few months.  (For the record the 1980 version of Flash Gordon is my all time favourite and probably most watched film of all time).

7-ming-royal-guards

In the meantime I’ve been thinking about how to expand the legions of Mongo to include some themed vehicles to my selection of troops and personalities.

A while ago I picked up a Heroclix model of ‘Brainiacs Skullship’.  You can see the original below.  This was ostensibly in order to model a Roboskull for my Action Force project, but in the end I never quite got round to that.  However as a model it has a certain ‘pulp appeal’ and so I set about repainting this in some suitably Ming-like colours.

DC-HEROCLIX-BRAINIAC-SKULL-SHIP-EDICION-ESPECIAL
The ‘out of the box’ model

The model was first removed from it’s Heroclix base using a hobby saw (and a bit of blunt force).

2019-10-19 18.03.50

A basecoat of red primer was applied with the airbrush and a couple of progressively lighter reds (all Vallejo Game Air) were applied as highlights.  The clear plastic green panels were masked so that they could be left in place.

Detail was picked out in gold and black lining was done with Tamiya panel line wash.

All I am quite pleased with the result.  I think it has a aesthetic that matches the style of the Flash Gordon movie well.  I have another one sat on my shelf that I think I am going to do something similar with, but maybe in the black and gold of Klytus’s Imperial Secret Police.

2019-12-14 16.15.58
The finished Mongo Skull Crawler

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.

Baron 3
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.

2019-07-26 18.14.50
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.

2019-08-02 18.36.11
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.

action-force---enemy-force---shadowtrak--loose--p-image-348114-grande
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).

Baron_Ironblood_and_Red_Shadows
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.

2019-08-02 18.11.58
What lies within?

Blood for the Baron!

Baron 2
A portent of things to come

7TV Apocalypse Vehicles – Interceptor and The Compact Pussycat

More work on the post-apocalyptic motor pool as I prepare for my first full game of 7TV Apocalypse.

Never one to start one new project, when I could do two in parallel, I’ve embarked on building the Crooked Dice V8 Interceptor resin kit and also a conversion of a die cast toy.  The latter is going to be the wheels for my PA ‘Penelope Pitstop’ figure which along with the Interceptor I picked up as part of the recent Kickstarter.

PA cars 1

The (second to) last of the V8 Interceptors

So first off the Interceptor kit.  I originally got hold of one of these when they were released last year and made sure I included another in my Kickstarter pledge.  This is a really nice, crisply cast resin model with loads of accessories.  Taking it’s inspiration from the Mad Max films, the extra bits and pieces allow it to be built in a number of configurations.

I had previously built and painted this as a ‘Main Force Patrol’ police pursuit car from the original Mad Max.  Looking back I wasn’t too keen on paint job I’d done, so the chance to built another one and make a better fist of it wasn’t to be passed up.

I’ve decided to go with a much more wastelands ‘last of the V8s’ look for this one, with the addition of the massive rear shield (which puts me in mind of the Death Race remakes of recent years).

V8 1
All the bits for the build (leaving plenty left over)

Following a soak in warm soapy water and using pound shop superglue the pieces went together really well (with minimal clean up required).  I was also left with plenty of accessories left over to use on other kits and conversions.

V8 2
Flipping the chassis over to attach the exhausts shows just what an amazingly clean cast the kit is
V8 3
Exhausts attached
V8 4
Bonnet and air intake / super charger (I think, I’m not really a car person)!
V8 5
Wheels attached – I’d attached one of the exhausts too far down the chassis, so one of the rear wheels needed some ‘persuasion’ to put into place
V8 6
Ready to attach the bonnet – the engine enclose contains sculpted detail in case you wanted to leave it open (just one of the nice touches on this kit)
V8 7
Finished kit ready for painting (bumper and rear shield in place)
V8 8
That rear shield should afford some protection out on the roads!

The Compact Pussycat (with claws)

Despite having a huge pile of figures to paint up from the Kickstarter all of which are excellent, there are a couple that stuck out that I really wanted to get to the top of the queue. One of these was the aforementioned Penny.  Now of course, Penny needs a ride for the ‘wacky wasteland races’, so off the the big pile of unused Teamsterz cars it was then.

CP 1
Teamsterz Street Machine (approximately 1/43 scale) with conversion bits from Crooked Dice

Using some of the left over Interceptor bits and bits from the stowage set I’ve come up with my own interpretation of the ‘Compact Pussycat’ (only this time with guns)!

CP 2
The guns were left over from the Interceptor kit.  Glued together as a twin linked set.
CP 3
The pimped up ride, ready for paint
CP 4
Bull bars adding a bit of grunt!
CP 6
Stowage bits from Crooked Dice

Paint job has yet to be finalised, and as I have now got the full boxed set of rules through for 7TV Apocalypse I shall also be shortly stating up this motor.

You can purchase the Interceptor kit directly from Crooked Dice, where you will also find the stowage sets and loads of other PA goodies for the tabletop.

You can find Teamsterz (sometimes called Roadsterz) in various discount stores and toy shops up and down the UK.

More soon…..

7TV Apocalypse Vehicles – Tamiya conversion

Having recently taken delivery of both the rules and a huge set of miniatures from the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter I decided I should probably finish off some of my incomplete PA projects before diving into any new stuff.

Back at the Wargames Illustrated 7TV day last summer I came away with a 1/48 scale Tamiya kit from the prize pool.  This was a World War II SS-100 aircraft tractor, but I immediately saw the opportunity for some conversion work to make this suitable for the wastelands.

Tamiya SS-100

The build of the basic kit was fairly straightforward and I cut some corners in terms of the detail (for example leaving out the interior and some of the smaller body work bits) to make it both more suitable for conversion and more sturdy as a gaming piece.

Tamiya-conversion-1

Using some of the conversion parts made available by Crooked Dice and a few bits and pieces from the spares box (including some 1:1 scale car body mesh) I gave it a suitably shabby and cobbled together PA look.

I completed the build last year and it has sat on my hobby work bench ever since.  Inspired by the arrival of lots of lovely figures from the Kickstarter I was spurred on to finish painting and weathering it.

Basecoat was a from a spray can (Plastic Soldier Company Olive Drab) with a few suitably muted block colours used for stowage.  The exception being the fuel tanks on both the original kit and the conversion parts which I picked out in red.

Tamiya-conversion-7

Weathering was completed using a thinned down wash of Army Painter Strong Tone wash and chipping was done using a dark brown using the sponge technique (a cross between dry brushing and stippling using a piece of foam).  The gunner was picked out in blacks and greys – the gas mask giving him an almost SAS look.

All in all I’m pretty please with the overall result.  It was quite a quick, but I think effective paint job.  I’m also thinking that this vehicle would go really well with the ‘Mutant Hill Mob’ cast, so I think they are going to move close to the top of my 7TV Apocalypse to-do list.

7TV Mutant Hill Mob

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.

chopper4
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).

chopper5
Humbrol gloss crimson applied – shiny!
chopper6
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.

chopper7
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.

chopper12
Decals – originating from a Tattoo studio in the US
chopper10
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!

chopper14
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….

chopper15