Otherworldly Heroes and Villains

I’m actually in danger of finishing something!  For a while now I have been working through the pile of lovely metal I obtained from Crooked Dice as a result of their ‘Pulp Science Fiction’ Kickstarter.  With only a handful of figures left to paint, I’ve been supplementing these with some of the excellent Princes of the Universe range from Cold War Miniatures (all with an eye to playing games of 7TV Pulp).

So first up we have a Hawkman prince from Cold War.  This was a resin miniature that was a bit fiddly to glue together but was relatively straight forward to paint.  The scale of this range is slightly bigger than the Crooked Dice figures at about 32mm scale, but they don’t look too out of place together.  Anyhow the character on which this miniature takes it’s inspiration is somewhat larger than life!

2020-04-29 13.28.43
Dive!

Back to the Crooked Dice figures, I had not yet given the ‘spider queen’ a lick of paint.  Looking somewhat like a good girl gone bad (perhaps Dale succumbed to Ming’s charms), I decided to go for a white colour scheme to contrast with the darker tones of some of my other villains.

 

2020-04-30 23.37.53
Dale Arden or Empress of the Known Universe?

 

 

I’d added some additional Otherworldly Guards miniatures to my base Kickstarter rewards in order to have a plentiful supply of expendable minions.  I’ve been trying various colour schemes on these with intention of being able to use them as either good guys or the hordes of the Emperor Ming.

2020-04-30 23.37.02
Otherworldly Guards

While recently tidying up my hobby area I came across a set of Scale 75 coloured metallic paints that I had previously stocked when trading but never really used.  Many of these were the usual golds, silvers, bronzes and coppers you get across similar ranges, but there were a few primary and secondary colours in here too.  One in particular, Ruby Alchemy, caught my eye as being ideal for a slightly camp set of space soldiers.

With some additional details picked out with Emerald Alchemy from the same range, I am quite pleased with how these came out.  Depth was added using Army Painter washes and the metallics were picked out with a standard Citadel gold.  Unlike most of my recent painting there was very little in the way of Citadel Contrast paints used here, with only skin tones applied in this way.

2020-04-29 13.28.22
Tough and fabulous

The final addition to this little troupe is a 3D print from Bombshell Miniatures.  Printed on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer this was a free sample model that was made available to promote their recent Bikes and Bots Kickstarter.

2020-04-29 13.30.16
M4R14

All in all I’ve really enjoyed the variety and freedom of palette painting these style of miniatures.

2020-04-29 13.31.25
Space Adventure!

While I only have a few of the 7TV Crooked Dice Miniatures left to paint, this months’ set of printable files from Bombshell Miniatures have recently landed via their monthly Patreon and the theme is similar.

2020-04-30 12.45.53
An Imperial Princess and rugged Space Ace by Bombshell Miniatures (freshly printed)

The Legions of Mongo continue to grow…..

Go Flash go – A Legions of Mongo update

(Or – How much Ming is too much Ming?)

More work on the pulp sci fi project, and further in roads into the big pile of Crooked Dice goodies I received from the last Kickstarter.

First up we have the hero himself, that chap who will save every one of us.  The inspiration for this model is very clearly the original (and possibly the best) Flash of them all, Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe.  This is a lovely sculpt that perfectly captures that old school retro science fiction look.

2020-04-09 23.21.48
Stands for everyone of us.

Also a pleasure to paint, I went for a fairly traditional colour scheme here based on the original comic strips.  Citadel contrast was used for the majority of this model.

Following on from our lead, we have an ally and co-star in the form of the ‘Renegade Royal’.  This is one of two variations of this sculpt I received and has a passing resemblance to a certain James Bond from the eighties.  Again all painted in contrast, not so keen on the green here, maybe a bit too rich, but all the same a suitable shade for a prince of Arboria.

2020-04-09 22.34.59

To go along with the Prince I tried out another colour scheme on one of the ‘Otherworldy Guards’, this time as a tree man to accompany Barin. 

Finally for this update we have a slight diversion to the excellent Princes of the Universe range by Cold War Miniatures.  I’ve previously written about this excellent set of figures, and a few months ago picked up some of their then new ‘space Mongols’ range.  So yes, it is yet another Ming, but a bit more kitted out for action and leading the Legions of Mongo on the frontlines.

2020-04-09 22.31.08

This resin miniature is probably slightly bigger in scale than the Crooked Dice range, but it is close enough for me.

2020-04-09 22.31.28

Just as an addendum, I also completed one of the ‘macguffin’ tokens/models from the 7TV set.

2020-04-09 22.33.26
“You’ve saved your Earth. Have a nice day!”

2020-04-09 22.33.09

Next up some more expendable Mongo minions…..

Legions of Mongo – Hail Ming!

Having recently taken delivery of a big bag of ‘lead’ from Crooked Dice making up the recent Pulp Sci-fi Kickstarter I’ve gone back to my ‘Legions of Mongo’ project.

9d3e8ebc38e603f11fd63b5100e264ff_original

First up we have ‘Klytus’ and ‘General Kala’ of the Imperial Secret Police.  Both fantastic sculpts and with inspiration clearly taken from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie (also known as the best film ever).

2020-04-02 21.40.53
Kala – great at dispatching war rockets

This pair were painted mainly using Citadel contrast paints.  I’ve found I can get fairly pleasing results using Black Templar over a white undercoat.

2020-04-02 21.41.12
Are you bored?  Klytus can help.

Similarly inspired from the same source are these ‘Alien Legionnaires’.  These are quite iconic and one of my favourite designs from the movie, as such I went a bit overboard and ended up with quite a lot of these to paint (including two heavy weapons teams).

2020-03-27 22.55.27

Also bought in bulk were the ‘Otherworldly Guards’.  I’ve seen these painted up as both allies (Treemen) and enemies (Ming’s guards).  I’ve gone for a similar colour scheme here to Klytus and Kala, this guy being a grunt in the secret police.

2020-04-02 21.41.43

Finally in this first batch of Crooked Dice miniatures I’ve painted is the big dog himself, the Emperor Ming.  The styling of this sculpt is more of an ode to the classic comic strips and Buster Crabbe serials of the 1930s than the movie.  In fact there is a touch of Defenders of the Earth about this Ming, so the big question was whether to go ‘green skin’ or not.  In the end I decided on a more human look, but in contrast to the blacks and reds I had themed most of the previous figures on I decided to go mainly white and ‘royal’ purple.  Again I used contrast paints for this (in the past I would never even of attempted this much white on a figure, which makes me wish contrast had come out back when I was painting a lot of Star Wars Stormtroopers for Legion).

2020-04-02 21.42.04
Emperor of the Known Universe (easily bored).

Talking of Star Wars (which was of course inspired by Flash Gordon) I recently printed some ‘Battle Droids’ that I’d found files for freely available online.  I had no intention of adding them to the Legions of Mongo until I got hold of the other figures, but I kind of think the aesthetic of them fits in nicely.

2020-04-02 21.43.58

This also gave me the chance to break out the airbrush after a long hiatus and I subesequently went with what I am now referring to as a ‘Mongo Military’ red and gold colour scheme.  I don’t think a galactic despot can really have enough robots when it comes to it!

Next up I’ve got some of the good guys to paint, including the ‘saviour of the universe’ himself.

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

Emperor Ming’s Big Stompy Super Weapon of Doom

A quick update on the 7TV cast I am pulling together for the Wargames Illustrated campaign day on 6th July.

I’ve now finished the ‘super weapon’ that attendees were invited to bring along for the final game of the day.  Not quite sure how these are going to work in game and looking across the posts on the 7TV Productions Facebook page there is quite a variety of stuff being worked on by attendees.

I settled on finally painting the Mantic Mars Attacks robot that I have had for years and have now finished this off with the addition of a pilot and some suitable basing to tie it into the rest of my cast.

stompy robot 1
The finished model (unless I can find out the clear plastic dome – and if I do assuming it fits over the pilot!)
stompy robot 3
Metal ‘rocket ship pilot’ from Cold War Miniatures
stompy robot 2
The Giant Robot kit was originally released by Mantic for their now defunct Mars Attacks game.  A lovely kit to put together with loads of potential uses – they are becoming particularly hard to find now
stompy robot 4
The base was decorated to match the rest of the cast, giving it a cartoon-like alien vibe

Klytus I’m bored – Preparing for Pulp Day

Next weekend I am taking the relatively short drive over to Wargames Foundry at Stoke Hall near Newark for the sold out Wargames Illustrated annual 7TV event.  I attended last years gathering where the focus of the day was all about play testing the Apocalypse version of the game.

WI 7TV Pulp Day

This year things are a little different.  The theme is ‘Pulp’ and the day is focused around playing the newly released 7TV Pulp rules.  Now, there is a lot of debate on what Pulp means, but in this case we are talking primarily the movie serials of the 1930s and 1940s and associated settings.  I picked the new box set up at UK Games Expo this year and recently also received the initial set of supporting figures which were funded and released via a Kickstarter earlier this year.

7TV Pulp Kickstarter

I’ve spoken a little about the background to the Pulp boxed set before.  A collaboration between Crooked Dice and Edge Hill University Press, development of the game gave the opportunity to get involved to students and we punters are now able to reap the benefits of their hard work.

Back to the theme, having booked in for the day quite a while ago, but before the game was publicly released there was a bit of a dilemma as to what sort of cast to go for.  I kid of course, there was never any doubt I’d be going down the Flash Gordon route!  The only question really was I going to do Flash and chums, or turn to the villainy of Mongo?

Zarkov and Flash
Zarkov and Flash (they like short shorts!)

 

I have fond memories of watching the Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe serials in the early eighties when they were often repeated daily during the school summer holidays.  However my number one love is the 1980 camp spectacular that is the Mike Hodges film.  Having already decided on the excellent Princes of the Universe range from Cold War Miniatures to form the core of my cast I then needed to decide which version of Flash I was therefore going to go for.  The range is very much based on the old black and white serials in terms of style and I did start down that route in terms of colour schemes (yes that is a weird thing to say about a black and white set of films, but really I was also taking inspiration from the aesthetic of the original Alex Raymond comic strips).

However at the point at which I started to paint up my 3D printed rocket ship I knew that going with the over the top awesomeness of the later film was the way to go.  It was also at this point that I settled on the bad guys as the cast I would be taking to the campaign day.

Ming and Klytus
There was only one choice of allegiance really

The main bulk of my force is made up of ‘Imperial Fleet Troopers’ from the Cold War Miniatures range.  Finding a Ming the Merciless figure was a bit problematic as they don’t really do one.  I settled on Hydra Miniatures to fill this gap, although I had to source the figure I wanted from the US as I couldn’t at the time find it closer to home.

2019-06-22 23.11.09
Cold War Miniatures Princes of the Universe – Imperial Fleet Troopers – more of a ‘Buster Crabbe’ era vibe to the colour scheme on these
2019-06-22 23.10.16
My Ming is ‘Xurr the Exalted’ from Hydra Miniatures Retro Raygun range

With only 30 ratings to work with for the campaign day I was somewhat limited to what additional characters from Flash lore I could bring in.  I really, really wanted a Klytus, but again couldn’t find a suitable figure.  Long term I am probably going to look at converting a Marvel Heroclix Doctor Doom, or keep my fingers crossed that Karl at Crooked Dice has this on his radar for a future release.  Therefore I decided to go with Princess Aura instead.  There is a great ‘Renegade Royal’ miniature in the 7TV Pulp kickstarter, but unfortunately this didn’t arrive in time, so I ended up using the ‘Dale’ from Cold War in this role.

2019-06-22 23.10.42
My version of Princess Aura is ‘Gail’ from Cold War Miniatures

While I’ve hit my ratings limit I have also carried on expanding the cast to include some robots, utilising the ever flexible range of 54mm scale plastics from Tehnolog.

2019-06-22 23.11.38
Death Robots of Ming – Tehnolog plastics (54mm scale or in this case ‘large’ 28mm)
7-ming-royal-guards
These guys were the inspiration for my robots

The schedule for the campaign day gives the option for attendees to bring along a super weapon for folk to fight over in the last game of the day.  Having scoured the internet for something suitably retro to 3D print I then remembered the ‘giant stompy robot’ I’ve got from Mantic Games now defunct Mars Attacks range.  I had started to prime this in the thought that it would go into a German ‘weird war’ force, but a quick airbrush job later and Ming has a new threat to bring to those pathetic Earthlings.

2019-06-30 15.27.05
Ming’s super weapon – at this point I’d totally switched over to the 1980 movie colour scheme

I’ve gone similar colours to the rocketship, trying to keep that red/gold/black theme that pervades in the movie.  For a pilot I’ll be using a seated Fleet Trooper from Cold War which fits just about perfectly (although being quite a chunky bit of metal on top of a plastic model might mean some weight has to be added to the base).

2019-06-30 15.27.17
Just the pilot to add (and maybe some ballast)

So apart from a few finishing touches I am raring to go and looking forward to what promises to be an excellent day next Saturday.

Cold War Miniatures 3D Printed Rocket Part 1

“Dispatch war rocket Ajax to bring back his body”

A while back I enthused about the wonderful retro science fiction figures available from Cold War Miniatures in their Princes of the Universe range.

Cold War Miniatures - Episode 4 - Attack of the Hawkmen

At the same time as picking these up I also purchased a set of STL files to allow me to print out a suitably retro rocket ship using my newly acquired 3D printer.

Cold War Miniatures - print your own rocketship
An example print as featured on the Cold War Miniatures website

The model was provided in parts to print up, clean and assemble.  It features a detailed interior with a removable roof and the option to model with steps up or down.  Once put together this would provide me with a great centre piece to go with my Flash Gordon cast for 7TV Pulp.

The print time was fairly long across all the different components.  I didn’t track it exactly, but when adding everything together I’d suggest that it probably took well over twenty four hours.

2019-04-26 13.24.07
The majority of the parts printed

I printed the parts a few weeks ago when I was still tweaking the settings on my printer, overall however they came out with the need for minimal cleanup.  I used a bit of plastic putty in some areas to smooth over rough parts of the print.  As there are quite a few curved surfaces I also spent some time sanding.

Once I’d cleaned up the parts, assembly was straight forward.  Superglue was used to assemble the components, all of which were printed using PLA filament.  The roof is designed to sit loose on the model to allow miniatures to be placed inside and I also chose not to permanently attach the steps so these could be swapped out with the ‘ramps down’ version in future.

In terms of painting the plan was to go full on chrome and silver, however right at the last moment I changed my mind and went for a striking red and gold colour scheme.  Although retro-styled to the 1930s pulp serials (as is the majority of the Princes of the Universe range); I wanted at least a nod to the classic 1980 Flash Gordon movie and this colour scheme fitted in well.

To further minimise print lines on the body of the ship I tended towards over spraying both when undercoating and base coating.  I also wanted a glossy look to the paint job and just so happened to have a can of Humbrol Red Gloss acrylic lying around.  By spraying closer to the surface that I would normally I was able to get a smooth finish on the (albeit not too course) surface of the print.

Other block colours were done using a variety of bright metallics in order to maintain the shininess.  Black was used to pick out the windows and fine details.

In the second part of this article I’ll detail the interior and look at other similar models that are available for 3D printing.

 

 

Princes of the Universe by Cold War Miniatures

Or how Betamax changed my life.

Back in the heady days of the mid-eighties my Dad made a decision.  A decision that would resonate for the rest of my childhood.  A decision that would fundamentally change my outlook on life.  A decision that would be looked back on as one of the most important of the late 20th Century. He decided to buy a video recorder.

Not just any video recorder, but a Betamax video recorder.

sanyobetacordvcr4010_5
At least it was a front loader (‘stock footage’ – not a photo of the actual VCR, which was finally skipped a few years ago)

Those of you that know your history will recall that back in these times of big hair and constant fear of nuclear Armageddon there were a number of competing formats for home video.  Betamax (arguably technically superior) backed by Sony and VHS by JVC appeared as the top runners and therein entered into a brief period of competition from which one only would emerge triumphant (spoiler – it was VHS).  (Older readers may also remember other formats, including the curious Video 2000 with it’s curious two sided cassettes – something that remained in use in my school anyway well into the nineties, often wheeled into classrooms on giant wheeled trolleys also holding very flammable looking wooden framed TVs).

betatapecase
The classic L-750

So the fateful decision having being made we were then the proud owner of a technically great machine, but within a few months without the ability to rent or buy any tapes.  What this did mean was that as a youngster I was limited to those films we taped off the telly and the increasingly rare (and often ex-rental) tapes we could still buy.  Accordingly I had a relatively small pool of things to watch, and watch them I did, repeatedly.  Some of my all-time favorite films were discovered during this period, including the 1978 animated version of the Lord of the Rings, the second 60’s Peter Cushing Doctor Who movie (Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD) and of course the camp, cult classic Flash Gordon.

 

I must have watched the 1980 Flash Gordon film hundreds of times over the past few decades, and I’ve often thought about how I might bring Flash to the tabletop.  A successful Kickstarter was recently run to publish a Flash Gordon setting for the Savage Worlds roleplaying system.  I’m more of a miniatures person though, and although the Kickstarter produced a limited set of miniatures they weren’t quick what I was looking for.

 

Fast forward to last year and a random Facebook post pointed me in the direction of Cold War Miniatures.  This is a small Scottish based miniatures produced (who interestingly despite their name do not have any Cold War ranges), but do have a number of interesting lines, including a wonderful range called Princes of the Universe (retro sci fi minis with a Flash Gordon flavour in 28mm scale miniatures in both resin and metal).  I ordered a couple late last year to check them out and they are very well sculpted, clean and crisp with no flash at all.

gallery-rocket2_orig
Princes of the Universe by Cold War Miniatures

The style is very much based on the classic Flash Gordon comic strips of Alex Raymond from the 30’s and 40’s, with a significant nod to the Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe movie serials of the same time.  (The black and white serials were often shown daily during school summer holidays on TV in the UK and I remember watching  and loving these way before I got a view of the Technicolor delights of the 1980 Mike Hodges film.)

 

As regular readers of my blog may know, my go-to miniatures game is 7TV as it allows me to game pretty much what I want and allows me to field all those random cool toys that catch my eye.  So it is that my ‘Flash Gordon’ cast is beginning to take shape.  I’ve decided to concentrate on the good guys to start with, so an additional order to Cold War Miniatures has resulted in the fleshing out of the team to include not only the dashing hero, his muse and their mad scientist companion, but also a couple of alien princes (one at home in the forest kingdoms, the other a winged behemoth with a passion for shouting!)

flash

These guys are currently work in progress.  I am due to attend a couple of 7TV gaming days this year.  The one at Board in Brum in January might be a bit too soon to get these guys finished, however I’ve also recently signed up for the Wargames Illustrated 7TV day at Wargames Foundry in the summer (at which conveniently the new Pulp version of the rules will be being used).  (You can read about last year’s event elsewhere on the site).

 

I’d highly recommend checking Princes of the Universe and Cold War Miniatures in general.  Not only lovely miniatures but great service and very quick postage within the UK.  In addition to the miniatures I also bought from them a couple of the 3D print files for a rocket ship and some giant trees to go have a go at with my newly acquired toy (but that is a story for another time….)

48418282_10157024104785555_6945859340595101696_o
New toy