7TV Flashing Blades, Penguins and Speedpaints

On the last Saturday of April I made the short journey down the M1 to Nottingham to attend the ‘7TV Flashing Blades’ event being hosted by Wayne Bollands at the Rose and Crown in Lenton.

Along with eight other gamers it was time to assemble our casts of swashbuckling heroes for a few games of 7TV Fantasy. While nominally based around the idea of ‘flashing blades’, the casts present were the usual varied set of ideas, limited only by the imaginations of the respective ‘directors’.

This very much included myself, bringing as I did a cast comprised entirely of penguins. Now admittedly these were heavily armoured medieval fighting penguins, but penguins all the same. My original plan was to go with a ‘Robin of Sherwood’ themed band using some lovely metal minis I have had in my backlog for quite a while now. This would have included a magic user in the form of ‘Herne the Hunter’ and other cast members based on the classic 1980s TV series. In the end though I just left it too late to get all the figures I was wanting to use painted up to the standard that the sculpts deserved, so I need to look elsewhere.

Despite my final choice of cast and my initial musings about Robin Hood, of course this is what first sprang to mind!

I came across the Anthro Armies Penguin Army STL files on Kickstarter a few weeks ago and really liked the look of them. Having backed the project and then received the files pretty much straight away (often an advantage of backing a 3D printing crowd funding campaign) I got to work printing and then painting.

I also happened to receive in the post around the same time the new ‘Mega set’ of Speedpaints from the Army Painter, and with only a week to go at the time to the event, what better opportunity to test them out.

Prior to painting the minis were given an undercoat of Citadel Wraithbone spray

The figures as you can see are cartoony and therefore quite bulky. With minimal clothing, what uniforms there were in the most part provided a good canvas for the use of browns and tan shades from the set. This is not intended to be a full review of Speedpaints, but in summary they work really well. Some of the colours (particularly the blues) to my mind cover and shade with more contrast (and therefore work better) than their equivalents from the Citadel Colour Contrast range. In other cases (like for example with the reds) I prefer the effect that the Citadel versions give. Basically and in conclusion, they are all tools that are useful and I’ll be using both moving forward. The Speedpaints browns for example a different enough to the Contrast ones in colour to provide quite a range now of different shades and you can really never have enough browns when painting miniatures!

So in the end the penguins got painted in a mix of Speedpaints, Contrast and (for the metallics) normal acrylics. I didn’t do any highlighting, but did selectively apply washes (particularly over the metallics). A final note on the Speedpaints before I move on – they really are a one coat solution and I have noticed that if you do try to highlight and particularly dry brush they can have a tendency to ‘rub off’ even when dry.

Completed penguin with crossbow

So I had got the bulk of my cast done, but really needed some stars and co-stars in place. Looking at the available profile cards in 7TV Fantasy, rather than go for an anthropomorphic theme, I basically decided to go with a standard fantasy warband (who just happened to be penguins). As such I needed some leaders and magic users. Luckily a previous release from the same sculpter who released the Penguin Army covered these more specific ‘adventuring party’ tropes (but in Penguin form). As such I ended up with a Paladin, Barbarian and Wizard to flesh out the cast and these were printed and painted up at the same time.

Paladin and Barbarian ready for painting

In the end I fully completed painting miniatures for the cast (and then some) over only a few days, probably only about four and five hours in total.

The completed kingdom of Findus!

The day of gaming itself was hugely enjoyable and followed the usual casual format which 7TV enables and I love so much. I threw together a very quick table setup using a grass matt, some trees and a fantasy airship model I 3D printed a couple of years ago and brought that along for the day too.

Table setup on the day

My first game was against 7TV newcomer Torin and his band of adventurers and soldiers. To say it did not go well for the penguin kingdom would be an understatement. Documentary evidence below in the form of photos. The scenario was based around trying to collect objective tokens which could then be traded for a free draw from the artefact deck. Although I managed to pick up a couple I ended up getting decimated prior to the final act and Torin scored an ‘Epic Victory’ with a score of 10 to 2. A hugely enjoyable game and a great opponent.

The second (and as it turns out, due to time last) game of the day was against Carl, who was running with a cast based around the Three Musketeers using some beautiful 40mm scale miniatures. I fared not much better in this game, in which the scenario allowed us to pickup and recruit extra animal companions, extras and artefacts as the game went on. Yet again like literal fish out of water the Kingdom of Findus was defeated, although this time we did manage to make it through the full trilogy deck.

Another epic victory for my opponent, this time 16 victory points to 4!

All in all it was a great day at a great venue, well organised and run by Wayne. Next up in terms of 7TV events I am attending includes the ‘official’ Crooked Dice 7TV Fantasy day at Foundry Miniatures in July. Then Wayne is organising a follow up event to Flashing Blades with a very different theme at the end of November with a ‘Doctor Who’ event.

In the meantime I am hoping that there may be another event at Board in Brum in the interim and we may even squeeze in another 7TV day at Dales over the next few months.

In terms of my next gaming day out, I am visiting Warhammer World for the first time since pre-pandemic times soon and have to speedpaint some Death Korps of Krieg Imperial Guard for the games of Kill Team we are planning on playing on the day. These miniatures are currently sat primed and ready for painting and I will definitely approaching these in much the same way as my penguins in terms of speed painting (both in terms of the techniques and products I’ll using), after all I only have a week to get these guys battle ready for the grim dark future!

Let me be your fantasy (miniatures)

The vast majority of my gaming and hobby activity falls firmly under the category of science fiction or pulpy type stuff (be that historical or modern but with that certain twist).

However with the release of 7TV Fantasy last year (including an upcoming gaming day at Board in Brum) and a plethora of 3D printing options open to me (especially via Patreon), I have been delving back into the worlds of fantasy.

Like many, my start in the hobby was inspired by reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in my early teens. It was this that ultimately got me into initially role playing games and then miniatures.

The paperback versions of The Lord of the Rings from back when I first read it (late eighties)

With that in mind I have been slowly painting up a number of fantasy miniatures in between other projects over the last few months.

First up we have a likely pair – a renegade wizard and a sneaky advisor from ‘The Printing Goes Ever On’. These are 3D prints from their Patreon (also available for purchase via MyMiniFactory). I scaled them up by 114% from the default size which is obviously designed to be used with The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. This effectively changed them from ‘true 28mm’ scale to more ‘heroic’ 32mm scale, which more closely matches most of my miniatures.

Staying ‘old skool’ I have popped them on hex bases. It’s been a while since I completed these and so I cannot remember the exact paints used, but it is a mix between traditional acrylics and Citadel Contrast paints.

From the same range (and similarly scaled up) here is an Uruk-inspired mini. He was painted up from a dark base coat and given a red skin colour as an alternative to the usual green used for Orcs and Goblins.

A servant of the white hand

Next up there is a model obviously inspired by the Dark Lord himself (you know the proper one, not the one that was ‘ROFL-stomped’ by a boy wizard). This is another 3D print from the Patreon of RN EStudio (also available on MyMiniFactory).

3D prints prior to undercoating. These were both undercoated black.

This was a fantastic model to both print and paint. By default this was more heroic scale so I didn’t have to do any resizing. He was given a black undercoat and liberal amount of metallics were then drybrushed on, with traditional highlighting to complete the look. The ‘magic fire’ effect was then achieved using Tesseract Glow from the Citadel Technical paints range on top of a white base.

A big bruiser of an Orc next from the Tusklands range by Rocket Pig Games. This guy is really chunky and I have a bunch of his mates in various states of completion at the moment. Again I have gone for a ‘non-traditional’ Orc skin colour here, with a yellow base coat washed down with various shades.

Finally and still WIP are my ‘lost adventuring kids’ who will be forming the core of my cast for the upcoming 7TV Fantasy event. These are 3D prints of files from Monstrous Encounters. (Not shown is the little Barbarian who had gone off on a side quest at the time of taking this photo.)

Red shirts and blue shirts – expendable extras

I’ve been finishing a lot of half completed projects recently. Two have synced in and completed at the same time. Although inspired by different franchises they have something in common. They are the expendable extras or cannon fodder of their respective universes, which are in this case Star Trek and G.I. Joe.

First up we have a set of ‘away team’ operatives, ready to beam down to a planet to be bumped off by whatever alien life awaits them. These are 3D prints from the Patreon of Bill Thornhill aka Lost Heresy.

With a very ‘star fleet’ vibe I have painted these guys up not just as the titular red shirts, but also in some of the other common colours from the original series. (I’m not a massive Star Trek fan, so not sure on the exact meaning of each colour uniform, however I have gone with the ‘rule of cool’.)

I scaled these up slightly from the originals to be more 32mm than 28mm, and like the chunky look that this helps enhance.

I’ve been trying to improve on my painting of faces recently and have taken some tips from the excellent Sonic Sledgehammer YouTube channel. I am now going all Citadel for my caucasian skins tones using the following steps (starting from a grey undercoat):

  • Base coat – Bugmans Glow
  • Wash – Reikland Fleshshade
  • First highlight – Cadian Fleshtone
  • Second highlight – Kislev Fleshtone (extreme highlights only)

I’m quite pleased with how these have turned out for a tabletop standard paint job and will probably be sticking to this method for faces moving forward. (I am also really enjoying the effect of using various contrast paints for non-white skintones.)

I am currently working on some other prints from this range armed with phaser rifles to go alongside these chaps, who I expect may end up getting some homebrew profiles for 7TV soon.

The second set of ‘minions’ of the painting production line are also 3D prints – this time by Monstous Encounters. Switching over to the bad guys this time these are ‘Venom Troopers’, obviously inspired by G.I Joe’s snake themed bad guys.

Not as pleased with the paint job on these guys, but as gaming pieces these will go well with some of my other Action Force / G.I. Joe minis I continue to add to (again mainly for 7TV).

Stationery Wars – PEN TOP Bots for 7TV

I’ve recently been printing and painting the excellent ‘Pen Top Droids’ from BMT3D. These are a lovely set of sculpts that evoke a variety of aesthetics, from steampunk and dieselpunk to pulp and sci-fi.

To me however they scream spy-fi and therefore would be ideal for a 7TV cast. Before I go into the background I have come up with for these automatons a note about how I painted them.

The squad – printed and ready for painting

Following printing and curing I based them on hex slotta bases (because for some reason I cannot adequetly explain I am really into hex bases at the moment). I then proceeded to undercoat them with a spray can of silver paint. My usual source of cheap silver paint from Poundland seems to have dried up (not literally, they just haven’t had any in stock for a while). So I went slightly up market and bought from my local branch of Boyes a can of Rustoleum Metallic Silver.

Rustloleum Metallic Silver

Wanting to paint the squad of ten miniatures quickly I dispensed with a usual grey or white undercoat and went straight on with this silver. It went on really well but is much more highly pigmented with metallic than normal miniature paints. Conclusion – very ‘sparkly’ and ideal therefore as a base for contrast paints.

WIP – heads / domes painted – showing how the silver shines through.

At this point I have to switch back to the lore and background that I have created for these robots. Being based on the design of a pen top I decided to colour code their heads based on the typical colours you would get in a set of writing pens or biros. My original idea was to have my troops with blue tops (as the common rank and file), but the blue Ultramarines contrast paint is quite thick and the silver didn’t sparkle through as much as I would have liked. Also wanting to avoid black for the same reason I eventually went with the following colour coding.

  • Unit leader – Blue
  • Section leaders – Red
  • Troops – Green
  • Specialists – Yellow
Green top troopers
Blue unit leader

The rest of the bodies were given a wash, first with black and then sepia to give them a slightly worn appearence. The small piece of tubing on the guns was painted grey and one of the Citadel ‘gem effect’ paints was used for the red power indicator. The gun barrel was painted bronze. A nice touch on the sculpts were some ammo pouches on the back of the models and these were painted a light canvas brown. These were all then also washed as per the main body.

Yellow specialist

To keep the domes ‘sparkly’ I dispensed with the matt varnish phase for once and finished up the bases with some texture paint, a simple drybrush and some tufts. The edges of the bases were finished with grey.

Red section leaders

So once the miniatures were painted I turned my attention to getting them organised and usable in games of 7TV. Using the rules for customising profiles and the excellent casting agency app I have pulled together so far a profile for my unit leader and troops.

These are based on the Minion Commander and Minion profiles from the 7TV 2nd Edition (aka Spy-Fi) core set, which can be both purchased as a boxed set and is available also as a free download from Crooked Dice. There have been some minor tweaks based on the cutomisation guidelines and these are outlined below:

  • Addition of the ‘Robot’ special effect to both profiles
  • Replacing melee attacks in both cases with Shield Bash (renamed to Body Bash – I can imagine these guys using their shape just to push assailants away)
  • Removal of all ranged attacks bar SMG (which is what I feel matches most closely the miniatures as sculpted)
  • All of which has resulted in slightly higher ratings costs for each compared to the base profiles
PEN TOP Bot Leader profile for 7TV 2nd Edition (created in the 7TV Casting Agency app)
PEN TOP Bot profile for 7TV 2nd Edition (created in the 7TV Casting Agency app)

What about the background then? Well I am imagining a series called ‘Stationery Wars’ where the evil genius and crackpot scientist ‘Doctor Ryman’ has unleashed his robotic creations on the world. Created deep within the bowels of the secretive B.I.C (Binary Input Conglomerate) organisation the hordes of P.E.N.T.O.P (Positronic Enhanced Neural Tactical Operational Prototype) bots are ready. Their aim? Nothing less than world domination and the implementation of a new world order based on Rymans twisted science.

Who can stop them? Rumour has it that an initial prototype was smuggled out of the B.I.C labs many years ago by a disgruntled employee alarmed and disgusted by the direction in which the research was going. Wanting to adapt robotics for good and the service of mankind, maybe the S.T.A.P.L.E.R (Super Tactical Armed Prototype Laser Enhanced Robot) programme is our only hope.

STAPLER – coming soon

A quick postscript – Mike at BMT3D does some lovely 3D designs. You can find some of these on Thingiverse, but his full range is available via his Patreon. If you haven’t got a 3D printer and would like to buy printed copies of these and his other minis I have a license to do so and they are available through either my Etsy store or online at Tangent Miniatures.

Stargrave Miniatures Painting and Modelling

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

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

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

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

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

The helmet visors were painted using a Vallejo neon green.

Faceless minions of a brutal regime!

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

The kits support head swaps from other ranges really well.

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

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

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

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

His bark is worse than his bite!

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on these to follow soon…

7TV Fantasy and Krull Slayers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slayers!

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

Sorcerous Sentinel and the Galive Maguffin card

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

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

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

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

Printed miniatures about to be undercoated in a white primer.

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

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

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

Fortress guard

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

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

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

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

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

A Billions Suns – First Play and Fleet Building

After nearly fourteen months out of action due to the pandemic, my local club recently was able to start having meetings again. So it was a couple of weeks back that myself and my good buddy Dorian ventured over to Darley Dale from Chesterfield to actually roll some dice in person.

We chose to give ‘A Billion Suns’ by Mike Hutchinson from Osprey Games a go. I picked the rule book up a couple of months ago because I had heard good things about it. I particularly liked the idea of there being no before-game force building (with ships requisitioned as required), and the concept of playing across multiple tables. Being part of the Osprey Wargames ‘blue book’ series the rules are concise and the author has good pedigree with Gaslands (a game I have not played, but have heard very good things about, particularly from the point of view of being an easy to ‘pick up and play’ game).

As a spaceship combat system I of course needed to source some ships. Having had a previous daliance with Gunpla I was aware of a range of Bandai kits based on the Japanese anime series ‘Space Battleship Yamato’ (known in the US as Starblazers). These inexpensive plastic kits (even taking into account the postage from the far east) have a really cool ‘warships in space’ vibe, so I picked up a few from Hobby Link Japan. (This was of course dangerous as I got distracted by Gundam models, but that is another story.)

The other advantage of these kits apart from the cost is the ease of assembly. As with most modern Bandai kits these are hugely well engineered and push fit (no glue required). Although not designed as gaming pieces, each comes complete with a flight stand which is useful for the game, and most are pre-coloured in mutliple shades (with the aim being of getting them on the table quickly, a quick wash / panel lining would make them look presentable).

While these kits gave me some really interesting and unique models for the game I also wanted to bulk out my available fleets with some more utilitarian designs. It is here that I remembered that Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) often released ‘grab bags’ of plastic ships from their space based version of Commands and Colours called Red Alert. I duly picked up a huge number of ships and stands from them for around £10 to £20 in total.

The club meeting soon came round and in the spirit of our club (where play is the most important thing), Dorian and I played our first game with a completely unpainted set of models!

We managed to get two games in during the day and I have to say it was a lot of fun. The rules were easy to digest and navigate round. I had the night before spent some time downloading and laminating tokens, cards and other game aids from the A Billion Suns website and this certainly helped keep the game flowing.

P

I am not going to fully review the rules here, other than to alude to the fact that being a game where the outcome is based on earning credits from contracts (with the cost of your ships coming out of your total budget), it was an interesting variation on other much more crunchy games I have played in the past (I am looking at you Star Wars Armada!). Both games we played during the day were quite different (and this was due to the generation of the contracts you play for at the beginning of the game). This also resulted in a situation where in game one we were playing over three tables, while in game two it was entirely focussed on a single table.

I made the mistake of jumping in a massive battleship in game one, which while it looked cool (my primary reason for doing it), did mean I was in financial defecit from the get go and didn’t really figure out how I was going to earn this back. One of the things that became apparent during the game from a modelling perspective was that while we had lots of bigger ships we were lacking a bit when it came to the smaller stuff like fighters.

So with the aim of playing again at the next meeting (and doing a three player game next time – the rules seem to support multiple players very well and I can see that being a lot of fun), I have gone back to the modelling and painting.

This has primarily involved painting up the Red Alert ships, but also sourcing some additional ‘smaller mass’ ships to act as the recon, fighter and bomber wings the rules dictate.

For these I remembered that EM4 Miniatures (who I used to stock when running the store) did inexpensive plastic sprues of spaceships that would fit the bill. I picked a couple of these up and set about basing them on the spare stands I had picked up from PSC. (Interesting it has been pointed out to me that these designs actually hark back to a very old game by I.C.E. called Silent Death).

From a painting perspective both these and the Red Alerts ships were given a variety of base coats with a view to using both drybrushing and contrast paints to quickly get them done. I like the idea of replicating in part that 1970s sci-fi paperback cover style of spaceship, art by the likes of Chris Foss or similar to the old Terran Trade Federation books, so I have gone for quite a colourful palette.

To make them pop a bit more I did some selective highlighting with spot colours to represent lighting and variation in panel colours. I then touched up the bases painting them completely black (to match the tables).

One other idea picked up after playing the first game that I am going to do is to mark on the bases the in-game mass of the ships. This should make it a lot quicker and easier to requisition ships of different sizes during a game.

Next up will be to do some more work on the Bandai ships. Many of these come with decals or stickers, which once they are applied will be followed by a top coat and them some subtle shading and panel lining.

Of course I would be remiss not to mention 3D printing here, and I have added to my fleets with some resin 3D prints, most of which I sourced from Thingiverse and printed on my Elegoo Mars Pro 2. I picked the designs based on one of my favourite animes from back in the day (based more on my experiences of playing the role-playing game rather than watching the series) – Robotech. These will be painted in a similar way to the PSC and EM4 models.

From a hobby perspective I really like the flexibility the game gives you with fleet modelling (and this is mainly due to the fact as previously mentioned ships are requisition during play rather built into lists beforehand).

I’m looking forward to many more games to come.

Listen very carefully I shall say this only once…

Or – painting up some World War II French Resistance miniatures from Wargames Atlantic.

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog recently, but that is mostly because I have been busy on a number of different hobby projects. Primarily I have been preparing spaceships for games of Osprey’s A Billion Suns, as well as revisiting my 28mm scale 7TV Apocalypse bits.

Despite this I have still found the opportunity to get distracted and try something different. Wargames Atlantic have for the last couple of years been releasing some really interesting hard plastic 28mm scale kits across loads of different periods and settings. I’ve got into the habit of buying individual sprues from eBay of sets that interest me, more often than not just to have a look at the kits and painting something up a bit different.

One of their recent releases was a set of World War II, (nominally French) resistance fighters. However I could see these guys working in a range of games and settings from pulp and inter-war right through to later twentieth century armed civilians.

There were loads of options on the sprue and I went with a mix of armaments, inclusing quite a crazy looking dual stick genade weilding chap.

For the most part I used contrast paints to paint these fellas up. I am quite pleased with the way these turned out and they will be going into my pool of figures for 7TV.

I recently also picked up some other releases from WGA I also liked the look of, including a sprue each of the Napoleonic British Riflemen and the Classic Fantasy Lizardmen.

The latter come with some sci-fi options on the sprue and as I am currently reading the alt-history World War series of novels by Harry Turtledove I am somewhat inspired to build some members of the so called alien ‘Race’. (This is a truly bonkers series of novels by the way where some space lizards decide to invade Earth during the second world war!)

The Race from Harry Turtledove’s World War series of alt-history novels.

Kung Fu Freak of Nature

One of the many figures I have recently 3D printed is ‘Jerick Raval’, designed and released by Papsikels as part of their Patreon last year (and now also available from their MyMiniFactory store).

Eagle eyed readers may recognise a certain similarity to Kung Fury, the frankly and totally intentionally bonkers short film from a few years ago.

If you haven’t seen it and have half an hour to spare, watch it!

I don’t really have the eloquence or prose to adequetly describe the movie, but here are a few keywords: 80s, swearing, kung fu, dinosaurs, vikings, time travelling Hitler, gore, Tricerocop, loner maverick cop kung fu chosen one.

It is the last ‘apect’ I am exploring here on the tabletop, both in terms of the 3D printing and painting of the eponymous Kung Fury, but also through presenting a game profile for him for my favourite game, 7TV,

First up the miniature. There were two poses available to download and print and I did both of these on my SLA resin printer (an AnyCubic Photon) using Elegoo standard resin. The figure is on the heroic side of the 32 to 35mm scale I’d say, nice and chunky and therefore relatively easy to paint.

Starting with a white undercoat I used a lot of Citadel contrast paints and tried to stick to as close a match to the movie representation as I could. I’ve found the ‘wolf grey’ paint applied thinly over white is particularly good for blue denim. (I did notice when I rewatched the film AFTER finishing the painting that Kung Fury sports a snazzy pair of red trainers and I had gone for white on the mini!)

Due to the size of the miniatures and in particular one of the poses I went for 32mm round bases and decorated these up using tufts and flock to represent the ‘Viking’ section of the film.

From a gaming perspective I used the 7TV Casting Agency online app to modify one of the standard 7TV 2nd Edition archetypes. Using the ‘Action Hero’ as a base I tweaked the name of the ‘Star Quality’ and swapped around some of the Special Effects (using the rules from the Producers Guide). The ‘Action Hero’ attacks and stats were left as is and overall the ‘ratings’ value remained at 10 (as per the majority of profiles of ‘stars’ in the game. You can see the resulting profile card below and this is also available from the 7TV Productions Facebook page.

If I can find a suitable miniature I think Hackerman has got to be next on the list…..

Star Wars Legion Imperial Shuttle 3D Print

There are many iconic spaceships in the Star Wars universe. One of my favourites has always been the Imperial (Lambda Class) Shuttle, originally featured in Return of the Jedi.

In part this is because it is a clean classic design, but primarily it is because I have a soft spot for the original toy version. Now I never had this, but I do distictly remember the TV ad (probably because this was one of the last things to be released in the original toy line).

Any how, I have wanted a centrepiece model for Star Wars gaming for a now while and some time ago came across a set of STL files on Thingiverse. The issue here was that I wanted to do this Legion scale so from the off this was going to be a long project in terms of print time.

The model as available for download would not fit on my print bed when scaled up to the size I wanted (and I wasn’t keen on the suggested way of splitting the file on Thingiverse). I therefore spent some time ‘re-cutting’ the model in Meshmixer in order to come up with parts that would both scale up and fit on the print bed. From a scaling perspective I dropped a Stormtrooper model into the slicer alongside the cockpit to try and get an approximate scaling factor. I know I am bound to be asked at some point what the scaling was, but to be honest I cannot remember I’m afraid.

Scaled against a Stormtrooper model from Skull Forge Studios – for info the build size of my printer is 300mm by 300mm

In the end I cut the model into seven parts – main hull, cockpit, fin and then each wing split in two.

How the cockpit section looked before removal from the print bed. I used eSun PLA+ filament.

The printing on this took a VERY long time. My Creality CR-10S FDM printer has a relatively large build area and even with the model split as I did I totalled the time at approximately 22 days!

Once printing was completely I needed a way of adequetly assembling the model. I’m no expert in 3D modelling, so when cutting the model up I did this very simply with ‘flat cuts’ – I’m sure someone more skilled would have been able to create pegs and or plugs to align the model parts. I went somewhat old school here however and got the hobby drill and a few wooden kebab skewers out in order to do some traditional pinning.

Green stuff was used to gap fill and the whole model was given a good going over with sandpaper to smooth out any layer lines from the printing process.

Sanding was completed during and after assembly of the individual parts.

A comment on the 3D model itself at this point. This had been designed to have foldable wings, and I was keen to maintain this feature. However the truth of the matter is that as a tabletop ‘scenery’ piece it would be for the most part in landing configuration with wings folded up. The kebab skewers were used again this time thread through the model to provide the ‘axle’ for the folding mechanism. Due to some variance in the tolerances of the print I did have to realign some of the holes in the wings in order to get these to fit.

In addition, there was no means of holding the wings in this position as part of the 3D model itself, so again the drill and some cut down kebab skewers were the answer to the problem.

The 3D design also missed a couple of features of the original ship. While I could live without the wing cannons, I really wanted to do something to add in a landing gear and ramp. There is something very iconic about the scenes in the film where first Vader and later on when the Emperor emerges from the shuttle.

After studying some reference photos I realised that the landing gear of the shuttle comprised of two legs mounted mid way down the hull. The key here from a modelling perspective was finding something that I could get it to balance on while keeping the shuttle stable as gaming piece on the tabletop.

A brief scan of the bits box resulted in almost the perfect parts for this. Originally from the Mantic Deadzone scenery set these small ‘stumps’ (originally the base of some sort of cannon) were perfect. I then positioned these in such a way that the shuttle with wings folded up would balance perfectly.

A perfect bits box find
The painted landing gear – I trimmed off the nub on the top prior to fixing these to the model and then highlighted

At the same time I found a similar suitable piece from my spares box, again part of a Mantic scenery kit. I was keen that this could be opened and closed and after a quick visit to my daughters Lego collection I ‘borrowed’ a few bits to fashion a hinge. A small square base was then used to hide the visible Lego.

I actually added the landing gear and ramp after I had begun the painting of the model, but for the purposes of narrative I’ll cover the painting process now. The assembled model was given a once over of grey Halfords car primer with the intention that I then airbrush on successively lighter shades of grey.

Undercaoted shuttle (with Star Wars Legion Emperor’s Royal Guard)

It soon became apparent that this would take way too long. The undercoat colour was close enough to what I was aiming for, so I simply stuck with this while I picked out some of the panels with a darker grey. I tied the whole thing together with an overall drybrush of light grey, concentrating particularly on edge highlights. The cockpit was painted black and then given a coat of Games Workshop Nuln Oil gloss wash to give it a shiny appearence. The images below also show the ramp attached and in place.

The engines were painted white and then given a blue contrast coat, followed by an off-white drybrush highlight.

The final touch was to add a few subtle decals (the Galactic Empire was never much for strident liveries). I happened to have a couple of left over Imperial symbols from a Bandai AT-ST kit I had built a few years ago. I placed a couple of these on the cockpick as well as on the main fin.

And there we have it, probably one of the longest hobby projects I have ever done from start to finish and another reminder that while 3D printing is an excellent addition to the tabletop hobby it comes with a signficiant requirement for patience. At some point soon I intend to setup the shuttle with some of my recently painted Star Wars miniatures in order to take some additional photos, but for the time being I am calling this project done.

I have to say that one of the most enjoyable bits of this project for me was the additional kitbashing on top of the 3D printed model and this is something I have taken to the extreme in my next big spaceship project, more of which soon….