Sunday, 14 September 2014

Black Scorpion US Army Infantrymen 02

And so we come to the last (for the moment) review of my Black Scorpion 32mm scale US Army infantrymen. These 12 figures are the last of the soldiers to make up my infantry platoon, which is made up of four squads of 9-10 figures.
 These first four figures are all identically armed with the 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle. The African/American soldier who is third in line from the left is wearing sunglasses.
Note that the first and fourth figures in line are wearing Night Vision Goggles, which negates any penalties for night time vision.
Moving on, we have four more infantry privates armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles. The soldier standing second from the left is wearing sunglasses.
At first glance a lot of these poses seem identical but most have subtle differences. Wherever there are two identical figures I get round that by painting one as a Caucasian and the other as an African/American.
These last four soldiers have a bit of variety in their choice of weapons. Second and third line are armed as would be expected with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles.
The soldier at the far left is armed with a a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). The private kneeling down is a sniper and he is armed with a 7.62mm M24 Sniper Weapon System (SWS), which is the military version of the Remington 700 Rifle. It is called a Weapon System because it comes with a telescopic sight and other accessories. It is loaded with a five-round box magazine.
I went to check the prices of these figures on the Black Scorpion website and you can buy the majority of the range in packs of five figures for £10.00. Do remember that these are labelled as being 32mm scale and that they are now cast in resin. I discovered that there is a female medic that can be used with this range. I ordered her and she arrived a few days ago. For a resin cast mini, she is very nice. Some of you may be put off by her having her jacket open showing off a mighty fine pair of boobies. They are covered up, by the way. Such cheesecake doesn't bother me in the slightest but not everyone thinks as I do... thank God! I'll review her just as soon as I paint her.
I have a real treat in store for you with my next post. For those of you wondering where my card models are, just wait until you see Brummie's Burgers fast food restaurant.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Black Scorpion US Army Infantrymen 01

In my last two posts I've reviewed my Black Scorpion US Army Officers, NCOs, Snipers and Heavy Weapons Troopers. Today, I turn my attention to the ordinary infantrymen in part one of of a two part review.
The two infantrymen to the left of the photos directly above and below are armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles. Note that the private at the far left is wearing Night Vision Goggles (NVG).
The two infantrymen at the far right of the group are each armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles with an under-slung 40mm Colt M203 Grenade Launcher. The kneeling private is wearing a pair of sunglasses. Note that three of these four figures are left-handed. Even though I'm right handed myself I do like to see diversity in the handedness of figures.
Three of the second group of four are also armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles with an under-slung 40mm Colt M203 Grenade Launcher. That's a lot of firepower!
The private at the far right is kneeling with a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).
No doubt someone (Mathyoo, cough, cough!) will tell me that they have far too many M203 Grenade Launchers but I don't care. They look good to me and that is all that matters. I should point out that my company of figures are split into four squads, each consisting of 9-10 men. Once again, I do not know or care if this is historically accurate. In each photo the first figure in line, starting at the far left, belongs to squad one, the second figure in line belongs to squad two and so on.
Next time I'll review the final twelve soldiers from the range. Nearly all of them are armed with the standard M16A2 Assault Rifles.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Black Scorpion US Army Heavy Weapons Troopers and Snipers

As I continue my review of my collection of Black Scorpion US Army soldiers I thought I'd show the company's heavy weapons troopers and snipers. There are four of each.
My four heavy weapons troopers are all armed with an 84mm Saab Bofors AT4-CS Light Armour Weapon. The AT4-CS (Confined Space) is a man-portable shoulder-launched disposable anti-tank missile system designed specifically to be fired from confined spaces. The system fires a single-shot high velocity 84mm warhead and comes complete with a shoulder strap, crew protection and sights that can fold up from the system. The launcher casing itself is produced with fibre-glass reinforced construction and offers up a lethal dose of anti-armour protection for the standard infantryman. The "confined space" approach means that the system can be fired from openings in rooms without the fear of tremendous and deadly "back-splash" occurring to the firer or the occupants around the firer. The system is also designed to be recoillless and is thus resistant to forms of self-degrading damage that make the weapon more reliable than other weapons of this type. The launcher container is fully watertight.
The soldier at the far left of the group has his AT4-CS slung over his shoulder. He also has a 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle slung over his other shoulder. He is using a pair of binoculars. The next two soldiers are identical sculpts that I have made different by painting one as an African/American and the other as a Caucasian. The fourth soldier in line is kneeling down to fire his AT4-CS.
The four snipers are actually just prone figures. Only one of them (the fourth in line from the left) is armed with a sniper rifle. The first soldier in line is firing a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). The next two are armed with the 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle. The only difference between them is one has a pair of goggles and the other doesn't. The one true sniper is armed with a McMillan TAC-308 Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle, which is chambered to fire the proven .308 Winchester cartridge from its heavy match-grade free-floating barrel. It comes with a five-round box magazine and is fitted with a scope-sight. I must admit that I am not a big fan of prone figures (unless they're corpses) but these came with the various figure packs so I couldn't avoid getting them. Fortunately, there are only four in the range so that's not too bad. They are mounted on two 20mm diameter slottabases that I glued together and filled in the gaps between them with Milliput.
Last time I promised I'd tell you how I painted the camouflage uniforms of these figures. My colour scheme is based on the current Army Combat Uniform (ACU) which uses the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) as shown in the photo to the left. Sadly, my efforts did not come out strictly accurate as they are far too green. No matter. I'm happy with how they came out. This is how I painted them. First I gave each figure a base coat of Foundry Cadaverous Green Shade 46A. This was then given a Citadel green ink wash, which is now called Biel-Tan Green. Next I dry-brushed the figure with Foundry Cadaverous Green 46B. Then came the hard part - the stipple effect for the digital camo pattern. I used Foundry Cadaverous Green Light 46C and Foundry Forest Green Shade 26A for the light and dark spots respectively. Because everything has to be painted in this colour scheme (helmets, pouches, knee pads, body armour) I had to use my black line technique to identify them. The boots are painted in Foundry Deep Brown Leather 45B with a dry-brushing of Foundry Deep Brown Leather Light 45C.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Black Scorpion US Army Officers and NCOs

Over the next few posts I'll be reviewing my collection of Black Scorpion 30mm scale US Army figures. Believe me, this review is long overdue as I have had these figures for about five years now. I can't even say I've just painted them as an excuse to wait until now for showing them to you. The fact is, I painted them almost as soon as I bought them and then promptly forgot about them. Shameful, I know! They have never seen action in a game. So, why am I reviewing a group of contemporary US soldiers? Simple. At some point they will make an appearance in my zombie campaign. I have used military types in a few old ATZ-BDTZ scenarios but in them, I rolled for National Guard types rather than the regular US Army. National Guard soldiers appear if you roll 1-4 on a d6, whereas regular US Army soldiers appear if you roll a 5 or a 6. My National Guardsmen wear different coloured camouflage uniforms to my regular Army troops. I'll begin my series of reviews with a look at the officers and NCOs.
From left to right are my staff sergeant, first lieutenant, chief warrant officer and master sergeant. The staff sergeant is armed with a 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle, the standard firearm of the US Army since the mid-1980's. He also wears Night Vision Goggles (NVG), which in ATZ removes any penalties for sight at night or in darkness.  The first lieutenant is the overall leader of this company and he is also armed with a 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle. In addition, he carries a 10mm Colt Delta Elite Pistol, a modern version of the famous .45 Colt Government M1911 Pistol. In ATZ it would be classed as a Big Ass Pistol.
Both the chief warrant officer and master sergeant are armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles. The kneeling master sergeant is using a pair of binoculars.
Next up, from left to right are two corporals and two sergeants. The two corporals and the second sergeant in line are armed with the standard 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles but all have fitted an under-slung 40mm Colt M203 Grenade Launcher.
The first sergeant in line is armed with a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Note that the first corporal and first sergeant both wear Night Vision Goggles. In ATZ, these would be classed as Luxury Items.
I'm afraid I have not got round to naming any of my modern US Army soldiers. They will be given names when I use them. These figures have been available for a long time now. Technically, they should be US Marines, as this is what Black Scorpion call them, but I think they work just as well as regular US Army troops.
Be aware that these are over-scale when compared to a lot of 28mm scale figures. This did not put me off from buying them but it may influence some of you. I recently showed them to Mathyoo when he stayed with me last month and he commented that they look a lot better in real life than in their photos. He's right - they do. They are well sculpted, even if they do look a bit bulky and tall. Anyway, I'm happy with them and that is the main thing.
The two officers (my first lieutenant and chief warrant officer) are available in a USM Command pack priced at £5.00 for the pair of them. The rest appear in an assortment of multi-packs, containing five figures for £10.00. Please note that my figures were cast in metal but nowadays all Black Scorpion figures are cast in resin. This may influence your decision as to whether to buy them or not. I must admit that I prefer metal to resin but these figures are very reasonably priced.
Next time I'll review my heavy weapons troopers and snipers.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Vampifan's Views 55 - Monthly Musings 33

Vampirella by my favourite Vampi artist, Joe Jusko. She looks gorgeous!
So another month draws to a close. It has been a month of ups and downs for me. The big good news story for me was that I recently had a check up at Sunderland Eye Infirmary to see how I was getting on after my cataract operation on my left eye last month. That went amazingly well. The nurse who examined me asked me to read an eye chart with my right eye first. This is my bad eye. I could read the top three lines okay but I struggled with the fourth line. Lines five and six were just a complete blur. However, when I read the chart with my left eye I could read all six lines. Even the bottom line, which was very small was perfectly legible. The nurse was delighted and I felt just amazing. I later saw a consultant, who was just as pleased with my progress and she booked me an appointment in October to have the operation done on my right eye. I can't wait to get it done so I can have perfect vision in both eyes. I came home feeling ten feet tall and utterly delighted. This check up that I had last week gave me a massive boost and also something to look forward to. Having already undergone one cataract operation I now know what to expect and I have no fear or anxiety about the operation. I wish I could get it done sooner but fortunately I'm very patient.
On the hobby front, things have gone really well. I have just about finished making my Stoelzel's Structures' Brummie's Burgers fast food restaurant. All of the furniture, fittings and props have been made and glued in place. All that remains to do is the roof, which I have started on. It looks fantastic and I can't wait to finish it. I should complete it next week, then I'll photograph it and review it as soon as I can. So what will I make next? Whenever I complete a building I like to switch tactics and make some more card vehicles. I haven't made any of Carl's vehicle's from his Auto Park set, which is something I really must remedy. Top of my wish list for vehicles are a fleet of black SUVs. I'll probably make four of them and as luck would have it, they are an option in the Auto Park set. The black SUV is such an iconic vehicle with a multitude of uses.
On the figure painting front, I have now finished painting the last of my Zombicide season 2 survivors and zombivors. Currently, I am painting more Zombicide season 1 zombies. I have 30 left to do, which will complete the second and final tray of zombies from the original boxed set. I have split them up into two lots of 15 to make painting them a bit easier. With both trays of zombies you get four of each pose, giving you eight of each sculpt in total. I differentiated between them in the first tray by painting each set of four in different colours. For the second tray I have decided that all 32 will be converted. Remember, I have already made my Laurel and Hardy zombies from this tray. So, I have recently converted two lots of four zombie Runners, four female zombie Walkers and three zombie Fatties. Most are simple conversions but I did push the boat out on one of the Fatties by converting him into a chef. Once they are finished I'll convert and paint the remaining 15 - 11 male zombie Walkers and 4 female zombie Walkers. Getting the second tray of zombies painted will give me enough zombies to play the game without having to resort to using unpainted figures, something I hate doing.
The picture of Vampirella I used for this post was painted by Joe Jusko, who, in my opinion, paints her better than any other artist. This painting was one of a number used for the front cover to celebrate the recent relaunch of the new Vampirella monthly comic. Dynamite Entertainment went overboard with variant covers for this relaunch, producing a staggering 26 different covers! Despite being one of Vampi's biggest fans I only bought one Vampirella #1 comic - the variant cover painted by Joe Jusko.
Incredible as it may seem, I have now read all of the novels I own. This leaves me with the option(s) of buying something new or revisiting some old favourites. I've gone for the cheaper option and have begun re-reading one of my all-time favourite vampire trilogies - The Vampire Odyssey by Scott Ciencin. It is over 15 years since I last read them. I just know I will enjoy them all over again. All three were originally published in 1992 and I can vividly remember buying them on one of my holidays to Florida, USA.
That's all for now, folks. Take care and be happy.