Due to a new real world job and lots of work on the 3D printing side of the hobby, it’s been a while since the last article on the blog.
I’m therefore picking things up again with a post about some recent (and not so recent) games and events I have attended, primarily focussed on 7TV.
First up back in January I attended the 7TV Fantasy ‘Voyage to the West Midlands’ event at Board in Brum in Walsall. About a dozen players were in attendance and it was my first time trying out the Fantasy version of the ruleset from Crooked Dice Game Design Studio.
My ‘cast’ was based around the 1980s Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. Entirely 3D printed the majority were from Monstrous Encounters, with my ‘Dungeon Master’ Gnome wizard being a freebie I found on Thingiverse.
Three entertaining games were played and I got utterly hammered in each (so no change there then). However it was (as it always is with 7TV) immensely fun.
The fantasy version of the rules add some interesting new mechanics including a suitably cinematic magic system and a focus on more melee based combat.
There follows a pictoral representation of some of the action on the day.
Game 1 – versus the Undead hordes of Mike Wilkins!
Game 2 – the Saturday morning crossover we all wanted to see (perhaps) – Masters of the Universe take on the D&D kids!
Game 3 – versus the Barbarian hordes!
Some of the other casts and tables
A few weeks later I was at the monthly meeting of the Dales Wargames Club at our new venue in South Darley near Matlock.
With no game planned I threw a load of minis in the back of the car with my fullset of 7TV cards and rules just in case. Well, the ‘just in case’ happened and a very impromptu and entertaining game was quickly setup with the limited amount of club scenery there was available on the day.
We went with a ‘V’ inspired game – alien invaders versus resistance!
Which is a smooth segway into a big shoutout I want to give to Tangent’s first Kickstarter which is currently live with funding for a new post-apocalyptic cyberpunk set of rules called ‘Dystopia City’. There are also some excellent miniatures available via the campaign (I know because I have been printing the masters for some of these and they are lovely). You can check the Kickstarter out here.
I’m pretty late to the party with both of these, but over the last month or so I have actually attended some real events with real people.
Star Wars 7TV Day, 18th September 2021 @ Board in Brum
First up back in September was a visit to Board in Brum in Walsall for a day of gaming in a galaxy far far away. Using the 7TV rules, Star Wars was the order of the day. This was my first time playing 7TV since the participation game I ran at Hammerhead back in March 2020. Much fun was had, all three games were lost (of course) and it was just great to be out there rolling dice with folk again.
I’m terrible at remembering the detail of games, other than to start with I had my first ever match up with my good buddy Wayne (of Tangent Miniatures fame). My force was mainly 3D printed and based around a post Return of the Jedi ‘Imperial Remnant’ faction. Most of the models were from SkullForge Studios, with some coming from Miller Bros. Sculpting and Design and a couple of actual ‘Legion’ plastic minis thrown in too.
Wayne’s bovine and cheese based cast (as in the dairy product not the game approach) were too much for my ragtag band. Some pictures of the glorious defeat below (including some of the Imperial Terrain scenery I had printed and painted for the event). Note Obi Wan ‘Cow-nobi’ in action!
My second game was against my regular 7TV nemesis Keiron, who had pulled together a really effective cast based on the most recent Star Wars trilogy. Played on a rather splendid Hoth based table with a vintage Kenner AT-AT toy as a centre piece, my cast (led by Grand Moff Hertzog) valiantly tried to complete the mission objectives, but were rather humbled by the new generation of Rey, Finn and a very pesky BB-8 who managed to fly across the board and steal the main episode objective on the first turn!
After an extended lunch break (lots of catching up and chat), my final game of the day was against Simon C (head honcho at Board in Brum). Simon and I had not played each other before despite being at many of the same events over the last few years, so it was great to finally get a game together.
The scenario laid down in this final game was the culmination of a narrative that ran through the day which saw the oppossing casts trying to locate a lost fleet of ships. The aim of this finale was to activate (or deactivate) a number of shield generators in the centre line of the table. This was an Imperial on Imperial engagement and despite actually getting to at least one of the objectives I ended up defeated (primarily because all of my cast were wiped out by the surprisingly and out of character accurate shooting of Simon’s Stormtoopers).
All in all an excellent day playing a favourite game in a favourite setting with some splendid opponents. A big thanks to Simon for hosting and Mike Strong for organising the games and storyline for the day.
The next 7TV event I am attending I am also arranging and this will be at Dales Wargames at Darley Dale near Matlock on Sunday 21st November. It’s the (pandemic) delayed 7TV Apocalypse Event, White Line Fever. Following that there is another event at Board in Brum in January which will be 7TV Fantasy oriented.
Partizan on the Ground, 10th October 2021 @ Newark Showground
The other weekend I attended my first show for about 18 months, helping out Wayne at Tangent Miniatures on his trade stand (and also selling some licensed 3D prints).
This was my first time at Partizan (though I had been to the venue previously for Hammerhead) and it was also my first time trading at a show since I wound up Twisted Pinnacle Games a few years ago.
As one of the first shows after the extended pandemic closure of such things it was very well attended with people obviously really keen to get back into the swing of both playing games and spending money (which was great for us).
All in all a very enjoyable day in good company with the added bonus of selling some toys. I was also very good and only bought a couple of spray cans (from the Colour Forge range who had a stand next to us). More on this newish range in a future article.
Next up for Tangent is the big one at Salute in London’s Docklands in November. I shall be there helping out again, though not sure I’ll be able to be so controlled when it comes to the spending this time!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
It’s been a bit quiet on the blog recently as I have been super busy with hobby (write up of the recent 7TV Star Wars event soon) and 3D printing.
So I’ll be honest upfront – this post is a bit of an advert for what I have been doing with 3D printing over the past year or so and to give a bit of a shout out for both my services and some of the clients I have been working with.
I have talked extensively about my 3D printing journey in terms of my hobby in some past articles. To recap it has been a long old road, filled with if I am honest no small degree of frustration and expense, however I think the results and the positive impact on my hobby have been worth it.
So much so, that last year I was confident enough with the quality of what I was producing to start printing for other people. Initially this started as a favour to some friends but quickly developed into something slightly more commercial. I was approached in Spring 2020 by Wayne Bollands (who some people reading might know from his past work at Wargames Illustrated and various rulesets for Caliver Books, and whom I’d got to know on the 7TV circuit) about printing some resin masters for a range of miniatures he was looking to launch. I knew I had the skills now to produce decents prints on the machines I was running, but needed to do a bit more research on the type of resin I would need to use that would capture enough detail and survive a mold making process for the metal figures Wayne ultimately wanted to produce for his new company Tangent Miniatures.
Working from the STL files supplied by his sculptor and following a bit of trial and error I was able to successfully produce the masters that would go on to provide the molds for his initial range of ‘Cosmic Travellers’.
Since then we have not looked back and Tangent have released dozens of miniatures. I’d highly recommend checking these out, especially if you are a fan of cult TV and film. Let’s just say these would fit really nicely into games of 7TV (to pick a game at random!).
This has led on to a bit of work for other folk including Kitbash Games. For potential industry clients I’m happy to provide a free sample based on any supplied files (so feel free to get in touch).
Furthermore this has also given me the confidence to look at producing under licence miniatures from other sculptors. For example I currently am licensed to produce physical models from the eclectic Big Mr Tong 3D (BMT3D) range. These are available to buy either via Tangent Miniatures website or via my new Etsy store.
Here are some examples from the BMT3D range printed by me and supplied in the same high quality resin I also use for masters. (If you are wanting endless minions, be they robot, alien or even laser sharks, then I am your man!)
The addition of an extra printer last year has also expanded my capacity and I am now able to offer 3D printing services for individual gamers as well as industry clients. I’m currently in the process of updating my social media to advertise my services, but in the meantime if you have a file for a model or miniature that you want printing please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for a time and materials quote.
Please note (and I feel this is really important, in order to support all the cracking 3D artists out there), I will only print out files subject to them being already purchased or freely available. So if there is an STL you have bought from MyMiniFactory or Hero Forge for example that you would like printing that is great, but I won’t print files that are not properly licensed or purchased.
I’m currently in the process of updating my social media to advertise my services, but in the meantime you can drop me a line on my email above or contact me via this blog.
This blog will continue to be hobby focussed moving forward so please excuse this bried commercial break. Normal service will be resumed shortly, including……
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
The aim here is to pull together a 4′ by 4′ table for playing science fiction based games on (obviously) using primarily the 7TV rule set, but also with half an eye on the upcoming release of Stargrave by Osprey Games.
Thematically I am trying to keep the terrain generic enough to be used across multiple sci-fi settings including games inspired by or directly set in specific fictional universes. Star Wars is the obvious choice here (certainly based on my recent hobby activity), but I also aspire at some point to do something with the Gale Force 9 Aliens miniatures I recently bought and additionally the Future Freedom Fighters 7TV Programme Guide from Crooked Dice . I certainly have a work in progress ship for this one!
However initially I wanted to be a bit more freeform in the way I populate my (as yet unamed) spaceport. I particularly like the idea of a far future setting with no particular overarching story, more a freely adaptable ‘make it up as you go along’ approach if you like.
I used to read a comic called Starblazer in my youth (and have recently started collecting old issues again). These were self-contained 63 page stories (from DC Thomson, the same publishers of the more famous Commando comic). While there were the odd recurring characters and settings, it was pretty much something different each time (albeit with a heavy recurring vein of spaceships, aliens and lasers running throughout).
In fact some years ago Cubicle Seven released a role-playing game based on these comics which I am lucky to have in my collection. Called Starblazer Adventures – The Rock and Roll Space Opera Adventure Game, this effectively provided a sandbox for creating your own settings and adventures in a ‘generic’ science fiction setting. One of the suggested settings within the book is referred to as ‘The Cosmopolitan Era’ and is described as…
The Cosmopolitan Era or ‘Who Elected the Guy with Two Heads’ is set around the rise and fall of galactic civilisation – thousands of strange alien races share every corner of the galaxy with mankind who is now just part of the melting pot.
Chris Birch and Stuart Newman, Starblazer Adventures, 2008, Cubicle Seven
It is this feel exactly I want to go for in terms of miniatures with which to populate the spaceport initially. Luckily there has been an explosion in the availability of science fiction miniatures (that are not Warhammer 40k) recently, particularly in the field of 3D printing.
My initial spaceport denizen comes from Titan Forge Miniatures and was originally released as part of their monthly CyberForge Patreon, but is also available via MyMiniFactory. Crocko Bo is a cape wearing, big gun wielding space crocodile man, and that is really all you need to know about him.
I printed him in resin alongside a base that was also released as part of that month’s release and started off with a white undercoat. From that it was mainly a Citadel contrast based paint job for the skin tone, with additional detail picked out using coloured metallics from the Scale75 range. Rather than go with a metallic look base I stuck with the method I have been using on my Star Wars stuff recently and went for an ‘industrial grey’ colour scheme, primarily via drybrushing.
Keeping on the ‘aninals in space’ them, next up is a ‘Tortle’ by Manuel Boria (also available for download from MyMiniFactory ). I took a similar approach with this chap, again sticking with contrast paints for the skin tones and webbing with used metallics elsewhere.
Back with Cyber Forge and next up is a rather squat gentleman. This is Harry Stone – in my setting he is a space marshall travelling onbaord frieghters and passenger ships providing extra security (for a price). Another fairly simple paint job which I over complicated for myself by trying to do a desert camo pattern on his combats. In the end I think this worked OK, and although he probably as designed was intended for a more Cyberpunk setting I think he will fit in OK.
First up a group of human soldiers called ‘The Alliance Patrol’ which I am using as my port authority security detail. These printed really nicely and I went for a white undercoat here followed by contrast. The difference here is that I tried an all over shade of dark tone wash before applying the contrast layer. This work particularly well with the yellows and whites I concentrated on for their colour scheme.
Finally also from the Novus Landing range we have an alien arms dealer. Again I went with a dark wash over a white undercoat to start with and this really helped particaulrly with the orange of his spacesuit in terms of getting a suitably quick and effective shading. One thing I will say about contrast paints is that they have made me more likely to consider painting colours I would have previously avoided, in particular white.
One thing you may have noticed with the miniatures above is that they are all 3D printed. I am not restricting myself to just 3D prints, it just seems to be the way things have gone so far on this project. It is perhaps at this point worth pointing at that Wayne at Tangent Miniatures has recently aquired a license with EC3D studio to supply physical copies of the miniatures from Novus Landing. These will be cast in metal and the first few packs should be available soon from the Tangent website. (Coincidentally I will be producing the resin masters for these for the mold making process, part of the reason I chose these miniatures to test print for this project.)
In terms of next steps I have more miniatures to print, have various ships in various stages of completion and have also started on the actual terrain pieces. This includes the part 3D printed, part scratch built port authority control tower. More of which soon…
I printed these all on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer and was really pleased with the results (despite the odd misprint due to my missing some supports). In general I was able to get a lot printed in one go and in the end finished with around 30 models in various poses.
My intention was to speed paint these and so I settled on spray cans and contrast paints as the chosen method. Undercoating in grey, I then basecoated using a ‘Poundland’ silver car spray. This resulted in a very bright finish – a good match for the highly shiny Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica.
Black details were picked out in, well…. black! However using Citadel contrast black allowed me to quickly get these done and had the added bonus of letting the underlying metallic basecoat shine through giving a nice robotic look.
The models included a short ‘skirt’ at the back. While in the original TV series I believe these were also black, I fancied added a bit of colour so these were done using a Contrast Blood Angels red. Again with the very bright silver underneath this ended up looking quite metallic, which was quite pleasing.
I went ‘off-piste’ again in terms of screen accuracy with the weapons, choosing a copper from Vallejo to add additional contrast to the rest of the scheme. This was then dulled down with a Contrast paint wash using Astronomicon Grey (which I have found to be hugely effective as a finish for metallics on many different colours).
The most fiddly bit was left until last – the addition of the famous eye scanner. Just a drop of red in this case.
For some variation (and to indicate an officer class perhaps), I decided to paint a handful of the ‘Centurions’ in a gold livery. I cannot honestly remember if gold Cylons appeared in the original series (I have a feeling they may have been in the re-imagined series later on in the run). These were basecoated using a combination of Humbrol acrylic sprays (these can be easily picked up from model shops and shops such as Boyes and Hobbycraft in the UK and I think are oft overlooked as an option for tabletop gaming hobbyists).
My approach here was to lay down a solid ‘Brass’ base and then to a light top down dusting with ‘Gold’. The remaining steps were as per the standard silver troops.
So what about a leader for these robotic menaces? Well it just so happens that over the past few months I have been providing 3D printing services for a new company called Tangent Miniatures. Tangent produce a lovely range of figures in 28mm scale inspired by popular TV series and films that wonderfully slot into 7TV and complement the range from Crooked Dice. So far Wayne at Tangent has produced galactic hitchikers, space fighter heroes and some dimension hopping adventurers and cops. I have had the pleasure of 3D printing the resin masters for all of these and some ranges that are awaiting release in the new year (January). These include some ‘space heroes’ that would fit in really well as enemies for my Galactic Centurions, and also excitingly a ‘supreme imperious leader’ for the shiny robot men.
I’ve painted up one of the masters for the imperious leader, however I felt like he could use an imposing throne from which to order his legions.
So a couple of coke cans and a dip into the bits box later I have this. While in no way exactly the same of the screen version I think this works really nicely. The base I put on the leader fits exactly into the top of the can and I have not glued this so I can use the figure away from this scenery piece in games.
The paint job on the ‘throne column’ was again kept very simple and achieved entirely through the use of spray cans (the weather being kind to me on enough days to get this completed relatively quickly).
So there we are, a legion of Galactic Centurions and their leader, ready to pursue and hunt down the remaining human fleet.