So in amongst all the other stuff I have going on (including a new resin 3D printer, more on which another time), I am still working my way through the big pile of lead from the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter.
This time up its the turn of the Creepers! These miniatures were multi-part so required a bit of superglue magic (i.e. activator) to get built. They are very much an ode to those killer plants from an early eighties BBC TV adaption of a classic sci fi novel. They are ‘triffic’ sculpts.
Having had a break from the airbrush for a few months (I tend to do all my spraying with rattle cans, especially basecoating outside while the weather is good), I decided to crack it out again for these guys. Over a white undercoat, building up a couple of successively lighter layers of green worked really well. I supplemented this with the use of yellow washes/glazes and a purple contrast paint to make it all look suitably organic and plant-like.
I went to town on the basing with these, swapping out to some of the (now standard for Space Marines anyway) 32mm round bases from Games Workshop. I added in various tufts, flock and static grass to tie in with the theme.
I also found the time to complete another of the cultists from the set, a rather lost looking survivor and am continuing to work on the motorbike gang.
A while back something caught my eye. Not unusual for a hobby butterfly, this was on Kickstarter and was for the Monolith Games Batman Gotham City Chronicles board game. Ultimately a bout of common sense took over and I didn’t hand over the big bucks for this.
Fast forward a couple of years and now that 7TV Pulp has been released the alure of doing a game if not with full blown superheroes at least with costumed vigilantes was strong. What really attracted to me Gotham City Chronicles originally was (as with a lot of things) the miniatures. I’d previously owned and played the Conan game upon which Batman was based, and liked it, although I found it a bit over complicated. But the figures….
Quick trip to eBay and I found a reasonably priced base pledge from the Kickstarter and after an abortive attempt to play the game at one of my regular Wednesday night gaming sessions I then switched my attention to getting some paint down on some figures. Oh, of course, thinking about how to port this to 7TV.
First off the issue of scale. The miniatures in Gotham City Chronicles are (in the majority of cases) one-piece. They are all PVC plastic, but don’t suffer at all from ‘bendy sword syndrome’. They are also on the big side – I’d say on the upper end of 32 to 35mm scale – almost ‘heroic 1:48’.
So is that actually a problem for 7TV? Well obviously not if you are playing exclusively with these miniatures, but what if you want to do some mixing and matching? To be honest, I can live with it. In true 7TV style if it was noticeable it could always be passed off as a continuity error in the production! I have in fact played a game using a standard 28mm scale cast against some chibi miniatures before – in my mind we were filming a crazy mix of animation and live action – ‘who framed Hugo Solomon?’ if you will.
One of four Batman minis in the base set
The Dark Knight
So far I have been concentrating on the good guys. As alluded to above, the thing that helps with the Batman setting (at least within the confines of the majority of the figures I have available) is that super powers are not really a major thing. Most of the good guys (Batman, Robin, Batgirl and so on) are gadget laden combat specialists – sounds an ideal fit for the archetype approach 7TV takes to customising casts. Likewise with the villians. In fact even the addition of some limited super powers into the mix could probably be easily modelled using the guidelines in the various boxed sets available from Crooked Dice.
So far I have only got the Batman himself stated up. I used the base stats from the ‘Crusading Crimefigher’ profile in the 7TV Pulp box and then adjusted the star quality and abilities according. I wanted to give some Batman flavour to these, but avoid creating any new rules and abilities. I therefore looked across the different 7TV books and profiles to see what I could switch out.
I switched in the ‘Pulse Pounding Action’ star quality from the Pulp ‘Intrepid Adventurer’ profile (but renamed this ‘Dark Knight). This gives me a super strong close combat option, which seems about right, and I supplemented this with the ‘Martial Arts’ ability from the ‘Spy-Fy’ profiles. Bruce Wayne loves gadgets, so to replicate this for his alter ego I included the ‘Gadget’ ability and then to make sure Batman’s detective skills are (kind of) represented I also added ‘Spy’ (again renamed for ‘flavour’). Trying to stick to only four abilities became tricky here – there are loads of things that fit, but in the end I went for ‘Jump’ at the expense of ‘Climb’.
So still work in progress, and yet to be tried in a game, so likely to be changed. I am planning on adding Robin to the initial cast and will need to profile him up. As for extras I’ll go with the existing 7TV cop profiles to add some of Gotham City’s finest into the mix.
A month or so back I went along to my regular club meeting without any real plans for a game. Last minute I arranged to play a game with one of my mates who had some World War II micro-armour and a few different rulesets he wanted to try out. Having had a flick through the different books we settled on Iron Cross by Great Escape Games.
What appealed about this was both it’s simplicity but also its approach to getting a lot of toys on the table at once. Add to this a (welcome) lack of weapon ranges and things seemed to add up to this being the one to try.
Iron Cross in 6mm scale
Iron Cross in 6mm scale
The rules themselves only span about ten pages and what immediately appealed was the use of ‘command tokens’ to activate, react and plan your actions. This put me in mind of the use of plot points in 7TV, so of course this immediately drew me in. It’s fair to say that I have not played that many historical wargames in my admitedly long gaming career, but I have done extensive painting and modelling of particularly WW2 in primarily 28mm.
Playing in 6mm scale (and adjusting inches to centrimetres for movement) on a 2 foot square board resulted in some really fun and fast paced games. Although the placement of tokens on the board to represent activated units provded a unique problem with this scale as the glass beads we were using were in some cases as big as the models. What became apparent to me as we played through (and was backed up by reviews I have read of the game) was that this would be ideally suited to a larger scale on a larger battlefield. 15mm seemed an ideal way to go. So emboldened with yet another new project I started plotting.
I wanted to put together two forces (rather than just build up a single army) and knowing that Flames of War 4th edition is currently hot I sought out the new (and really good value) Hit the Beach starter set. This provided me with a good basis for two starting forces and I supplemented this with some eBay purchases and also managed to track down a reduced price full German army box by Plastic Soldier Company.
My start in 15mm scale WW2 gaming
The contents of the current good value Flames of War starter set
15mm had never really appealed before, but with the enthusiasm gained from my first outing with Iron Cross in 6mm I really begun to see the attraction of getting a lot of figures and armour on the table at once.
Having agreed to give the game another go game at this larger scale at the next meeting which was only a few weeks away I got to work assembling and painting.
Most of the armour was a pleasure to put together. I’d probably say that the Battlefront Miniatures Flames of War stuff is slightly easier to assemble with the Plastic Soldier kits being slightly more fiddly. I also picked up a couple of Zvezda 1:100 scale snap fit kits to add a few of the big cats to the German forces (including a King Tiger). While cheap and ‘snap-fit’ I found that these do need a lot more after-assembly love and care (gap filling in particular).
In addition I’ve also done a bit of 3D printing to expand some forces. You can see a comparison between the Zvezda King Tiger and a 3D printed version below. While not a bad model, the obvious issue with 3D printing at this scale for a large game is simply the length of time it takes. We are not yet in the position I don’t think where the availability of 3D printing files for WW2 armour is going to have much of an impact on traditional kit sales for this very reason.
Painting the tanks and vehicles was case of keeping it quick and easy. Basecoat, dry brush highlight, wash, silver drybrush and spong chipping. For the allied armour I used a Halford Camo Green spray for the basecoat, which I would highly recommend.
The German armour was basecoated using Plastic Soldier’s Dunkelgelb yellow from a spray can. Trying to keep things at least a bit historically accurate I did various camo patterns on some of the German tanks. I am not hugely happy with these as I think they were a bit rushed. I hand painted these, whereas really I ought to have broken out the airbrush to get a better result.
Both allied and German decals have been purchased, but I haven’t yet got round to applying these.
So, the elephant in the room for me with respect to painting were the infantry. I’ve never painted anything smaller than 25mm so this was going to be interesting. In the end as the majority of the miniatures I was working with were one-piece I decided to try painting them on the sprue. In general this has worked quite well so far.
Anyhow after a productive couple of weeks assembling models and painting, this last weekend at the club we got a couple more games of Iron Cross this time on a 6′ by 4′ table in 15mm scale. Taking a very relaxed approach to matching up our forces, in the first game I got the upper hand as the Germans. In the second game we adjusted the forces to be slightly more realistic in terms of numbers (with the allies outnumbering the superior German tanks) and it went as you would expect with a victory for the British/Americans.
The rules worked really well again, we spotted some mistakes we had made last time and both games played through relatively quickly. I think we have found our go to club game for 15mm. I didn’t have enough infantry done to include them, so I think this will add an interesting new dynamic next time and that’s what I’ll be concentrating on painting wise.
So the moral of this story is don’t be afraid to try something new; however accept that it will add to your plastic/lead pile and project to-do list.
The journey through the post-apocalyptic landscape that is my pile of unpainted models continues.
Next up some of the cultists that were released by Crooked Dice originally as part of the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter campaign and now available via their webstore.
These are nice chunky models and were a pleasure to paint. Resisting the temptation to go down the contrast paints route on these like I did on my ‘protect and survive’ miniature, I concentrated on a more traditional approach.
I wanted to tie these guys together as a warband / cast while still reflecting their indivduality. As such I chose a ‘german field grey’ as this base.
Feeling the call of the ‘fury road’, I also had a go at a test colour scheme for one of the ‘war boys’. Trying to match the washed out white skin of the characters from the most recent Mad Max film was a bit of a challenge, and in the end I went for a combination of white drybrushing over a grey undercoat with some restained use of flesh wash. Oh and don’t forget the chrome!
I also wanted to expand my generic cast of ‘survivors’, with the intention of using these not only in games of Apocalypse, but also in other settings. A while ago I bought the Walking Dead miniatures game from Mantic, purely for the figures.
These are plastic and one-piece (and also by far the best miniatures I think Mantic have ever produced – at least from a quality control perspective). I’m thinking that these would also make an ideal ‘resistance’ for modern day 7TV (perhaps facing down an invasion of visiting alien invaders)?
Next up (and in the same vein as the ‘Mantic survivors’), a female member biker, built from the Warlord Games Project Z Motorcycle Gang set. These are former Wargames Factory models and are somewhat more spindly than their Mantic counterparts. That said I found this a really enjoyable kit to put together and paint. The majority of the figures on the sprue were bike mounted, but there was the opportunity to build a few ‘foot troops’.
Finally (and from way way way back), we have a Prince August Future Shock ‘police scientist’. This is a one piece metal miniature – I decided again to paint him in a way that he could be used across multiple settings (he has a touch of Spy-fi evil genius about him. Black Templar contrast paint was used for the primary colouring here, with some fluroescent green and yellow on the flask / syringe.
I’m finding Black Templar a really useful colour for doing black leathers and fatigues on modern setting miniatures. It works particularly well for me over a grey undercoat, giving a nice coverage of black while retaining the highlights that both the undercoat and constrast paint emphasise
Next up for this project is a biker gang (and police opponents) which I am pulling together from Crooked Dice, Project Z and Future Shock ranges with a bit of kit-bashing on the way…..
In between everything else I have getting on with (to varying levels of success) over the last few weeks I’ve been gradually grinding through the 7TV Apocalpse lead pile.
One of the sets I picked up were the cultists. My favourite figure from this selection is definately ‘billboard man’. What could he be advertising though? Probably not insurance, but maybe something more sinister?
Having grown up in the eighties I have a certain morbid fascination with nuclear armageddon and in particular the whole area of civil defence and in the termonuclear age, the utter pointlessness of it. No better is this encapsulated than in the infamous ‘Protect and Survive’ booklet and films of the period.
Now my freehand painting leaves a lot to be desired, but I gave it a go anyway. I decided to try and paint the majority of the miniature using Citadel contrast paints. I’m still playing around with finding the best use for these, but am finding them particularly effective on ‘organics’ and ‘clothing’, especially over a white undercoat.
The board itself was painted with a grey contrast paint over white as a base. I then freehanded on to the best of my ability a rough approximation of the Protect and Survive logo (including the mushroom cload) on the front and the phrase itself on the back.
I’ve still got plenty of more stuff to do on the post-apocalypse lead pile, and am still not really approaching this with any real plan over ‘what looks cool next’. Next up then (probably) will be a biker gang. I picked up a couple of sets of these from the Kickstarter, but have also recently built a couple of the now out of production Warlord/WGF Project Z biker gang. Really impressed the quality and options on this kit and wish I had picked up more while they were still widely available.
Also recently completed (and again another majority ‘contrast job’) is this guy from Mantic’s Walking Dead, who will be added to my pool of generic PA survivors.
As I continue to prepare my 7TV secret base board I’ve been thinking about the sort of rooms and components that make up a good lair.
One thing that evil geniuses such as Baron Ironblood are always keen on is some form of twisted scientific research. Part of the lore of the Red Shadows organisation both in the toy line and the accompanying comic strips in Battle Action Force was the idea of the Kraken.
The Kraken in toy form was originally only available via a special offer leaflet in some Action Force vehicle boxes. In the story line this was a bit more of a science fiction diversion for what primarily up to this point was a more hard military tale. Discovered in stasis beneath the artic ice the Kraken was then engineered by the Baron and his servants into servant of the Enemy, armed with ‘trident gun’ and net (and then cloned many times over).
I’m yet to model a Kraken for inclusion in my cast (an official stat card exists for the creature in the 7TV 1969 Annual), but undoubtedly this will happen at some point. However in the meantime and considering my focus on pulling a secret base layout together I’ve gone back to the early stages of the Baron’s experiments.
I’ve been waiting for a while to do anything with them so have decided to paint them up as features for a laboratory in the base.
The kit is all metal apart from the clear plastic tubing. A quick paint job on the metallic parts using some washes and Citadel Ryza Rust gave me the kind of murky grimy evil lab setting I was after. For the ‘specimens’ it was another excuse to use some Citadel Constrast paints. Guilleman Flesh over a white undercoat is one of the best results I have come across yet for this new range and it works particularly well for these gribbly creatures. I also used some ‘Nurgle’s Rot’ to add a bit of slime to the bases.
One mistake I made was the overuse of super glue to fix the clear plastic tubes to the metal ends resulting in a bit of frosting. In the end though I think this kind of adds to the effect.
The accompanying white coated scientist becomes a red coated scientest and voila I have some set dressing for the lab. I can also use the scientist in my 7TV cast as an extra, so bonus.
I’ll be adding a few more bits and pieces to the lab (including of course some walls and doors) and a thinking about a command centre.
One idea is to add some of the plant based post-apocalyptic miniatures from 7TV to the mix. Can’t help but think that the Baron would certainly be in the market for a few Triffids.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.