Friday, 30 September 2016

Vampifan's Views 84 - Monthly Musings 58

As we reach the end of another month, I once again present my Monthly Musings. I start, as always, with a painting of the lovely Vampirella. Joe Jusko, my favourite Vampirella artist, has painted her in black and white, which is unusual to see these days. I must admit, it is very effective and it looks like a still from a pre-1960's horror film.

Work continues apace on the three projects I am working on simultaneously - Battle Systems Urban Apocalypse Terrain, Judge Dredd Miniatures Game and Shadows of Brimstone. I have punched out all of my walls, floors, roofs and doors for the many sets I own. Finally, I have started making buildings. You can see the first of my builds in this article I posted on The Gamers Cupboard blog here - http://thegamerscupbard.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/battle-systems-urban-apocalypse-terrain.html
I'll be posting more of my builds there in the next month and beyond. What remains to do is to make all of the furniture and scenery items. That is proving to be very time-consuming. But I keep plugging away and I will get it all made. For me, it is more important to get the buildings done first. I am glueing all of my furniture items and scenery items. I have even glued together some walls (the fire station entrance, for example) that I know I won't be changing. I am also going to keep my buildings intact once I make them. Fortunately, I do have the room to store them, so that won't be a problem. This really is a fun project to work on And will reward me in a number of games.

I am working hard on getting my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign ready to launch. I have been buying a lot of figures for this game from Warlord Games. When I say "a lot" I do mean it. I wasn't planning on buying every mini they make for this game, but it's looking like I will. There are only a few I'm missing now. I would like to give the folks at Warlord Games a big thank you as they have sent me quite a few figures that I hadn't order as freebie extras. For example, I wanted the Orang Utan Gang Boss to lead my Ape Gang. He cost £5.00 to buy. Instead, Warlord Games sent me the complete Ape Gang set - eight figures worth £40.00 in total! What an incredibly generous gesture! I have a lot of JDMG figures on my painting table right now and I'm working my way through them. Thankfully, I have all of my player character Judges completed. My force of Judges has really grown in size. All I have left to paint for them are my Justice Department vehicles - Banshee Interceptor, Judges on Lawmaster bikes and most impressive of all, a Manta Prowl Tank. I have been after one of these ever since it first appeared on the Warlord Games webstore but the price of it kept putting me off. Now that I can afford it I'm really pleased to own one at last.
Speaking of Warlord Games, I was absolutely delighted to see their newest figures that they added to the Judge Dredd range - the ABC Warriors. Now I already had most of the ABC Warriors from the Wargames Foundry range but they never made a figure of Mongrol or Happy Shrapnel. Thankfully, Warlord Games have made figures of both of them. I am a very happy bunny!




In addition to painting figures, I have designed character record cards to use in my campaign. These measure 5" by 3", the same size as my ATZ-FFO character cards, and will prove invaluable when I play my campaign. The campaign should start soon - near the end of next month, hopefully. All is ready for the first scenario apart from the scenery. For that I'll be making some buildings from my Battle Systems Urban Apocalypse Terrain - Shanty Town Set very soon.

The third project that I'm working on - Shadows of Brimstone - came very close to seeing me paint all of the figures I have in my collection. I had exactly 100 figures and more than 80 have been painted so far. The biggest group left to paint, which I was keeping to last, were the 12 zombies. However, I have added a few new sets to my collection this month thanks to finding some cracking bargains on both Amazon UK and eBay. The most outstanding bargain was for this set to the left of here - the Harvesters. These three large multi-part figures cost me just £4.95. RRP should be over £16. The reason the seller was offering them so cheaply was because their box was slightly damaged. To be honest, it was a little crumpled on one side but not badly so. Frankly, I was more interested in the figures and they were just fine. I scored a real bargain with them.
Of the few monster sets I was missing, the one I most wanted to get hold of, was the Swamp Slugs of Jargano set. I'd seen them for sale previously but delayed buying them. Suddenly I found I'd waited too long and no one had any for sale. So, I resigned myself to never getting them. These things happen. Then, right out out of the blue, they reappeared on Amazon UK for the very reasonable price of £13. This time I did not hesitate and I snapped them up. They are going to make trips to the swamp world of Jargano just that bit more dangerous.
Another bargain I got from eBay was this set to the right - the Dark Stone Brutes. Containing three large figures, the Dark Stone Brutes are mutants working for Colonel Scafford and his outlaw gang. Their bodies have grown larger and become fused with rock and shards of Dark Stone. They are very strong but very slow. I was pleased to be able to add to my gang of mutants. Please note, there isn't a tentacle in sight! They remind me of the Thing from Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four, only without his intelligence, wit and personality. These are crazed killers.
Finally, I know that Flying Frog make a number of variant Hero figures, including opposite sex versions of the Heroes found in the two core sets, as well as unique archetypes. Typically they are made of resin and are virtually impossible to get hold of in the UK. Ordering them directly from Flying Frog is out of the question due to their extortionate postage charges. So, I was very surprised to see a UK seller on eBay with a few sets of the Drifter Hero sets for sale. I had to have them. They are superb sculpts. Being made of resin they are far more detailed than the normal plastic figures that come with the game. Best of all, the set includes both the male and female versions. I did not think I'd be adding to my collection of eight Heroes but I was wrong. These are so cool!

That's all for this month but I'd just like to mention that if you are a fan of the 2000AD comic, make sure you check in next time when I'll be offering a prize giveaway to celebrate issue #2000 of this great comic. Florix grabundae!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Hellbats and Stranglers

Here are two more of the monster types found in Flying Frog Production's Weird West game - Shadows of Brimstone. From the Swamps of Death boxed starter set are the Hellbats and from the City of the Ancients boxed starter set are the Stranglers (no connection to the pop group of the same name!). You get six figures of each type in their respective boxed sets and both types are multi-part sculpts.
Filling the skies overhead with clouds of black death, Hellbats descend in swarms to terrorise any who would dare travel the roads and countryside near Brimstone. With a long, swirling snake-like body and powerful demonic wings, Hellbats sweep through the air, lashing at their targets as they fly by. Emitting a nightmarish hissing wail, Hellbats are frightening creatures from the Void and can often be found in Other Worlds as well. More than virtually any other creature, Hellbats adapt easily to their local environment. This makes them an excellent vanguard for any wave of creatures flooding through an open portal.
These figures came with 30mm diameter bases and their wings and tongues were separate from their bodies. I have bent a few of the wings where they join the body to have them folding forward just to add a bit of variety. Plus it means they take up less space when bunched together on the game board.
Here I show all six Hellbats together, flying in a V formation. They are a scary group to deal with and very fast.
Vicious, headless demons with an array of squirming tentacle arms and claws, Stranglers stand just short the height of a man. Often hunched over, they they use their arms as well as their legs to move, charging at their targets with demonic speed. Ensnaring a foe with its powerful tentacles allows a Strangler to draw them into its gaping maw. Ringed with sharp teeth, the massive mouth of the Strangler is inset into its torso, allowing the creature to bite down on entire arms and even the heads of its victims.
The Stranglers are smaller in height than an average 28mm figure if you measure them from the bottom of their feet to the top of their bodies. But their tentacles give them extra height. The tentacles and tails were separate from the body and legs. These come in two different sculpts. Because they are so small I stuck them on 25mm diameter MDF bases instead of the 30mm bases they came with. The Hellbats and the Stranglers are just two of the myriad range of creatures to emerge from the Void and are clearly not from this world. They are a threat but as you will see over the coming weeks there are monsters much bigger and far more deadly than these!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Tentacles and Lavamen

One monster type that is common to both of the Shadows of Brimstone boxed starter sets (City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death) are the Tentacles. You get six Tentacles in each set and they come in two each of three different sculpts. They are all one-piece castings.
Bursting through the ground or up out of the water, these enormous, writhing tentacles lash about smashing anything in their path. Straight from the Void, it is unclear as to whether these appendages operate on their own or are part of a larger creature below the surface. Two rows of vicious suckers line the underside of each tentacle, gripping and pulsating as they undulate overhead. Waiting for the moment to wrap themselves around their victims and pull them screaming into the darkness.
None of these figures have been converted. I did add small pieces of bark to their bases to show that they have punched through rocky ground. The tentacles are not that great a threat if the Heroes encounter them at a distance where they can pick them off with Ranged Attacks. However, they are far more deadly if they make an Ambush Attack.
Here are all twelve of my Tentacles grouped together. These are really well sculpted with a nice chunky feel to them. My colour schemes are a straight copy from the artwork in the two Adventure Books. They range in height from 32mm to 42mm.
The main featured Enemies of the Caverns of Cynder expansion set are the Lava Men. Beastly creatures formed from molten magma, Lava men are monstrous guardians that roam the other worldly Caverns of Cynder. Forged by dark and ancient magic, these constructs rise up out of the lava to attack unwary travellers, and pull them down into the fiery depths. Their bodies have a flowing core of burning lava which cools to a hardened outer shell on the surface, creating an armoured skin of blackened rock, while their gaping maw and Cyclopean eye shimmer with the searing heat of their hatred. Even the very ground they walk on is set ablaze with every step they take. Lava Men are seemingly the ambassadors to Hell itself and they are waiting for those greedy and foolish enough to enter their world.
You get three Lava Men in this big boxed expansion set. Each is a one-piece sculpt made of hard plastic. They come with 40mm diameter bases and each one is about 50mm tall. I covered their bases with Milliput and used a wooden cocktail stick to scribe in the lava flows whilst the Milliput was still unhardened. To paint them I started off by painting them white around their mouths and eyes then gradually spread out with lemon, yellow, orange, red and dark red the further I got away from the mouths and eyes. The bases got progressively lighter the further away from the bodies the lava flows went. Once the paint was dry I then added all of the black bits, which was a lengthy process. I found it easier to do it this way than starting by painting them black and filling in the gaps. I'm very happy with how they have turned out. They certainly stand out on my gaming table.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Colonel Scafford and his Mutant Outlaw Gang

The boxed set of Colonel Scafford and the Scafford Gang is an expansion set for Flying Frog Production's Shadows of Brimstone game. It includes 32mm scale plastic figures of the Colonel and six Mutant Outlaws (three figures of each of two sculpts) as well as a small rules booklet for using them plus new Encounter, Gear and Threat cards. This was a set I very much wanted and I bought it as soon as it was released.
The Scafford Gang is the most ruthless band of Mutant Outlaws in the South-West. A veteran of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, their leader, Colonel Benjamin Scafford, turned to crime after the South fell. Fleeing West, he started his own gang of ex-Confederate, thugs and criminals, as well as his five sons; all men loyal to his cause... and to getting rich! When the Dark Stone boomed in Brimstone, the Scafford Gang was the first group of Outlaws to sweep in and steal a cut for themselves. Making their hideouts up in the caves and mines around Brimstone, they have grown hideously mutated by the corrupting influence of the black rock and the Void energies that pour out of every gateway opened to another world. The Scafford gang is a motley crew of Mutant Outlaws, each plagued with mutations of various sizes and shapes. Fused with rock and Dark Stone, or twisted with masses of tentacles, all are embittered by their deformities. They are predominantly Ranged Enemies that have the Shootout Standard Ability, which is also shared by the Bandits from the Frontier Town expansion (see last post).
At the far left of the two photos directly above and below is Colonel Benjamin Scafford. His strong leadership and ruthless cunning have earned him the unending loyalty of his gang and made him one of the most successful Outlaws alive. As a Legendary Enemy, Colonel Scafford is a dangerous foe, giving bonuses to other Enemies around him! With qualities of an anti-hero, he has the ability to use Grit and even a Revive Token in some cases! His figure was a multi-piece casting, which was easy enough to ft together, even without assembly instructions. Note his partially gold-plated pistols.
The three Outlaws alongside the Colonel came with separate right arms. This made it very easy to convert them simply by repositioning this arm. The Mutant Outlaws at the left and right of the group had their arms glued as if firing and just drawing from the holster respectively. For the one in the middle I glued his arm in place midway between the other two. I also cut his hat off and modelled the top of his head with Milliput. I deliberately gave them all totally different colour schemes to further individualise them.
The second batch of Mutant Outlaws were one-piece castings. The one at the far left has been left as he came in the set.
The other two have been converted, although both are simple and minor conversions. For the Outlaw in the centre I cut his hat off and remodelled the top of his head with Milliput. The Outlaw at the far right has had his left arm repositioned by making a small cut inside his elbow. Then I gently repositioned the forearm so his pistol was pointing down and I filled in the gap at his elbow with Milliput. Once again, different paint schemes helps to make them look non-identical.
Here is a group shot showing Colonel Scafford and six of his Mutant Outlaws. I haven't yet tried out this gang in any games, but looking at their stats I can see they are tougher opponents than the Bandits from the Frontier Town set. These are fearsome opponents and Colonel Scafford is truly dangerous. I am looking forward to using them.
I also think they would make a great gang of Mutants from the Cursed Earth in a Judge Dredd game or even a Strontium Dogs game. I can just imagine Judge Dredd or Johnny Alpha tracking down Colonel Scafford and his gang in a futuristic setting. Actually, I may well do this when I start my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign. There is no reason to restrict them just to the Weird West of Shadows of Brimstone. Prices for this set vary depending upon the seller. I got my set for £24.99 from a seller on eBay, which was a very good price, as I have seen them going for a lot more than that. I have just checked on eBay and there are quite a few sets for sale ranging in prices from £27.42 to £48.16.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Bandits

Having shown you the main Heroes of Shadows of Brimstone last post, it is time to turn to the Enemies. The vast majority of Enemies in this game are not human. However, this was fixed when the Frontier Town expansion set was released. It introduced a new type of Enemy, known as Bandits. Six 32mm scale plastic Bandit models were included and all were identical one-piece castings. Cattle rustlers, horse thieves and bank robbers, Bandits are rough and rowdy outlaws. They are not terribly tough, but can pack a serious punch with the hail of bullets from their six-shooting pistols or rooftop rifles. Bandits often ambush Heroes from the rooftops of buildings when they are in town. Down on the ground they favour their pistols. Bandits prefer a running gunfight rather than closing in to get their hands dirty. Because their main focus is making Ranged Attacks, they will attempt to stay back, away from the Heroes and attack them from a distance. Note that Bandits can be added to the list of Enemies who may be encountered down in the mines.
As I said above, all six figures from this set are identically sculpted. This, naturally,  did not sit well with me and I set about converting five of them. I wanted my Bandits to all be unique. The Bandit at the far left is the only unconverted figure in my group.
The Bandit in the centre had the billowing flap of his coat repositioned and bent forward. I achieved this by holding the figure over the flame of a candle until the plastic softened. I quickly repositioned the coat flap then dunked the figure into a cup of cold water to fix the conversion in place.
For the Bandit at the far right, I cut his pistol off and glued it in place in his left hand. I added a knife blade from my spare parts box to his right hand.
Moving on, I made three changes to this Bandit at the far left. First, I made a cut under the elbow of his right arm and carefully bent his forearm upwards. The gap in his arm was filled with Milliput. Secondly, I made his money-bag a lot bigger by increasing its size with more Milliput. Thirdly, I painted him with dark brown skin to make him a former African slave.
For the Bandit in the centre, I made a small cut above his elbow and gently bent his forearm downwards. He appears to be pointing his Pistol at the ground but if he was on a rooftop, he'd naturally be pointing it downward at a target below him. I also added an extra money-bag to him, made out of Milliput, which he holds in his left hand. I had to remodel his left hand.
The Bandit at the far right was converted very similarly to the previous one. He was also given an extra money-bag to hold in his left hand. I also bent his right arm slightly so that it was pointing more to his front. His coat tail has also been slightly repositioned, but not as much as the second Bandit I reviewed.
These were all very simple conversions. One obvious way to make these figures look different, if converting isn't your thing, is to paint them in different colour schemes. I decided to keep them all with black hats and black coats, to tie them together, but their bandanas, shirts and trousers were all painted differently.
Finally, here are all six bandits grouped together. They are rather basic sculpts but not bad at all. I do wish that the set came with a three/three split of pistol armed Bandits and rifle armed Bandits. I'll be looking out for similarly dressed Bandits wielding rifles to use in place of these when they ambush from a rooftop in a game. Black Scorpion have quite a few Outlaws who would fit the bill perfectly.
I haven't bothered naming any of these figures. For the most part they will just be unnamed mooks with a low life expectancy.
Expect more outlaws next time, but with a warped twist!