Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Let's Rock

A punny title for a post all about rocks, or more specifically, rocks usable for wargames. Now that I am heavily involved in Strontium Dog and my Wild West and Weird West projects I knew I needed more pieces of rock scenery to use in my games and in this post I want to show you my current collection.
First up are these three rock towers produced by Warlord Games as part of their terrain items, where they are called Hoodoo Rocky Terrain. Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and "broken" lands. Hoodoos are most commonly found in the High Plateaus region of the Colorado Plateau and in the Badlands regions of the Northern Great Plains. While hoodoos are scattered throughout these areas, nowhere in the world are they as abundant as in the northern section of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.
These three towers come in a boxed set and are fully painted. You can buy them in black or brown colours. I opted for the brown coloured set. I'm not sure what they're made of - it feels like some sort of hardened polystyrene. They are very light. Sadly, when I checked the Warlord Games webstore, they were currently out of stock. No price was given for them but I do remember they were very cheap. I bought mine over a year ago. You may remember I used them for the first time in my introductory Strontium Dog batrep, not too long ago.
Moving on, we come to some of the best rocky terrain pieces on the market and they are made by my good friend Dave at Wargames Terrain Workshop. First up is the impressive piece - a Large Natural Arch as it is described on Dave's webstore. This is a huge and chunky piece of resin. It comes in two parts. The thin "leg" at the left is a separate piece. I drilled and pinned it before using epoxy resin to glue it in place. I hid the join with Milliput and added lots of Milliput to the inner surface of the leg, which was flat, in order to give it a more natural look.
I'm using my 28mm scale figure of Vampifan in all of these photos to give you a true sense of scale of the rock pieces. According to the WTW webstore, this piece measures 240mm long by 55mm wide by 140mm tall. Incredibly, for such a huge chunk of resin, it only costs £10 unpainted or £18 if you want Dave to paint it for you. I bought all of my WTW rock pieces unpainted. My painting recipe was to prime them in matt black, then cover them in Foundry Rawhide Shade 11A. I gave them a wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade. Finally, I dry-brushed them in Foundry Rawhide Shade 11A, then Foundry Rawhide 11B and last of all, Foundry Arctic Grey Shade 33A. I used an old half-inch paintbrush for all of the painting, which was ideal for covering such a large area quickly.
Moving on, is the WTW Natural Arch/Bridge. The piece in the centre of these two photos above and below was supposed to sit atop the two outer pieces to form an arch or a bridge. I decided to keep the pieces separate to give me more smaller pieces. Besides which, I already had two arches and I didn't want a third one. In addition, I glued the top of the pillar from below to the long flat part to give it more height and to offer more protection for those hiding behind it. Also, note that the bottom part of both these pieces were flat. If I'd used them as intended, I'd have wanted to make them look more natural by filling out their bases with Milliput.
I'm very pleased at leaving them as separate items as they give me more bang for my buck. This three piece set costs just £8 unpainted or £14.40 if you want it painted.
Here we have three smaller rock pieces that I bought from the WTW webstore. At the far left is a small rock pillar. This was supposed to have the small rock slab that I glued on top of the bridge above sitting on top of it. Instead, I kept it separate and I rounded off the top of the pillar with a small amount of Milliput. This little piece costs £3 unpainted or £5.40 painted.
Next in line is the Rock Formation - Natural Archway. This piece has been made as intended. Because the base of the crosspiece on top of the two pillars was smooth and flat, I added Milliput to it and gave it a more textured and natural look. It was glued in place with epoxy resin.
The final piece of Dave's rock terrain that I bought is the Small Escarpment, a sloped slab of rock that measures 110mm long by 55mm wide by 50mm high. There's not much more to say about it other than it costs £4 unpainted or £7.20 painted. I have to say that I am mightily impressed with these pieces. They are superbly sculpted, looking very natural, and are great value for money. They are definitely some of Dave's best work.
Finally, because I'm devoting this post to rocky terrain pieces, I thought I'd end with something I sculpted myself many years ago. I made this skull rock piece to go with my Dark Elf army for Warhammer as part of the kingdom of Naggaroth, also known as the Land of Chill. It did appear in a few battles I played as unpassable terrain. I built it around a circular plastic pill/tablet box and covered it in Pronto Das modelling clay, which I sculpted into the shape you see here.
The base, made of very thick card, was covered in small stones taken from my back garden. Sand and gravel were glued to the base to fill in the gaps. The sides of the pillar upon which the skull rested were covered in sand. The whole piece was primed in matt black then dry-brushed with successively lighter shades of grey. I'm really proud of this piece and I'm sure it'll get used again in the future, although not in Warhammer, which I doubt I shall ever play again.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Vampifan's Superheroes and Supervillains 09

Deathwish is a GURPS Supers scenario book that features a heavy metal band called Deathwish, who are all super-villains. I played this scenario with Vampirella, Wolverine and Gothique as the heroes. You can check out this old post to see who the three heroes are -
This was one of the best scenarios I ran when I was playing my GURPS Supers campaign in the 1990's with my gaming buddies, Dave (Wolverine) and Rob (Gothique). They were triumphant in the scenario but the final battle was a tough one as I considerably beefed up the stats of Deathwish to make them more of a challenge against three very powerful superheroes.
At the far left is Sorceress, aka Morwena the lead singer of Deathwish. Her real name is Amanda Carazone. She is the daughter of a wealthy politician from New England. She spent her childhood in the lap of luxury - anything she wanted, she got. Amanda was 21 years old, attending a small girls' college, when her father skipped the country with his secretary and every dollar the family owned. For the first time in her life, Amanda found herself penniless. Wandering the streets,stunned and confused, she was taken in by the Black Moon Society. The leader of this group recognised the magical potential that lay just below her conscious. She spent the next year learning to use her powers, but eventually left the society. She wanted her good life back.
She travelled to Los Angeles and took a singing job in the nightclub of a ritzy hotel - it afforded her the perfect opportunity to meet wealthy men who could be set up and taken for every penny they had. It was at this hotel that she met Necrovore who recognised a good voice when he heard one. Much to her surprise, she found herself attracted to him and the two began working as a team. On his advice she changed her name to Morwena.
They linked up with a crazy young man, Bobby Anderson (aka Demolition Man) and law student Harry Johnson (aka Psytron). Bobby played bass guitar and Harry played drums. Together they formed the nucleus of the heavy metal rockers known as Deathwish. They auditioned for a lead guitarist and accepted a teenager called Arvyn Runeweaver. That was three years ago. They burst onto the music scene with the sizzling Wish upon a Star album. This was followed by the controversial but phenomenally popular Wishcraft album, which was banned in many stores because of its cover. Disaster struck when Arvyn Runeweaver tragically died of spontaneous combustion. He was replaced by Eddie Traynor (aka Whirlwind) who proved to be a more talented guitarist.
The group released their third album, Wishing Hell earlier this year and are planning on recording a live double album, Blow out the Napalm and Make a Wish. Their fans, predominantly young (under 25) have a well earned reputation for causing violence and mayhem. The official Deathwish fan club has over 100,000 members known as "Death-heads" who are obsessed with the band's music. Deathwish themselves recently used their superpowers in the pursuit of crime, particularly museum robberies. For the past year they have successfully raided nearly a dozen museums throughout the USA, amassing a small fortune in artefacts and treasures.
Morwena has been described as "sex incarnate" by Rolling Rock magazine. It went on to add, "Watching her move is more erotic than most porno movies. She does not just sing to the crowd - she makes love to it with her voice. She wrenches emotion out of every syllable she croons."
Her figure is a Grenadier superhero who was not converted. She was a perfect match for Sorceress. For my GURPS campaign I increased her points value from 500 to 900. her superpowers include Control Weather, Insubstantiality, Magical Aptitude level:3, Shockwave level:10 and Surge level:5.

Next in line is Eddie Traynor the lead guitarist of Deathwish and a supervillain known as Whirlwind. He is a native Californian - he surfed, skated, grew his hair waist-length, bleached it blond and did everything a "typical" California boy should do. His consuming passion since he was seven years old has been his guitar. He practised for at least two hours every day, rain or shine, until he could make the instrument do anything he wanted. When puberty hit, Eddie found he had several other talents - flight, for instance, and the ability to control winds. At first he only used this power to provide good windsurfing weather - but when he found he could turn invisible the temptation to do some crimes became overwhelming. About this time Eddie got the chance to try out for Deathwish. Much to his surprise, but not to anyone who heard him play, he got the job. As far as Eddie is concerned, he has died and gone to heaven. Not only is he playing with one of the hottest bands in the world, but he is working with an accomplished group of meta-villains that can teach him the ropes on how to most effectively use his abilities.
His figure is also an old Grenadier superhero. I re-sculpted his hair and added his long ponytail out of Milliput. I increased his GURPS points value of 650 points to 750 points. His superpowers include Control Winds level:5, Damage Resistance +20, Flight, Invisibility (Switchable), Invisibility to Machines, Super Flight, Whirlwind level:16, Wind Blast level:10 and Wind Jet level:10. 
In the centre of the pictures is Harry Johnson aka Psytron. Harry knew he was cut out for a career in law and diplomacy from an early age. When he turned 13 he gained the ability to sense what others were thinking. He also had another passion in life - the drums. These two forces held him in a mental tug of war throughout his teenage years, resulting in an internal compromise when the time came to choose a good college. He could go to a good school, but it would be a good school near Los Angeles, the musical Mecca. So Harry ended up at U-Cal Berkeley, studying by day and drumming by night. He had never considered adding crime to his list of hobbies until he met Demolition Man. Something about Bobby's hedonistic passion for life rubbed off on Harry. He began using drugs and collaborating with Bobby on jobs. Finally they met up with Morwena and Frank, and a partnership was formed. Harry (who adopted the name H.I. Jynx at Frank's behest) had developed a serious cocaine problem at this point, and had also become convinced that he didn't have to fool with the existing political structure. With the help of his team-mates he could take over the world!
The figure of Psytron is yet another old Grenadier superhero. I added his Uzi sub-machine gun to him. He cost 500 points and his superpowers included Telepathy level:10 and Teleportation level:22

Next up is Frank Birmingham aka Necrovore, the band's keyboard player and only non-superpowered member. Frank had always been the best at anything he tried. He was smarter, stronger, faster and quicker than any of his friends at high school, and he excelled in sports in college, where he lettered in track, baseball and basketball. Instead of a career as a professional athlete, however, he was drawn to music. He loved the creativity involved in starting with a blank piece of paper and a melody in his head ending up with a song or sonata. Although he worked extensively with various symphonic groups, his true love was rock and roll. After graduation, Frank headed for the best recruiting spot in the world for musicians - Los Angeles. It was here that he met Amanda and convinced her that Morwena was a much more commercial name. The pair met Harry and Bobby shortly thereafter and the nucleus of Deathwish was formed. Frank is slightly uncomfortable as the only non-super in the group, but makes up for it by being the organiser and planner. He is still more interested in being in a good band than in committing crimes, but is willing to go along with it if it keeps everyone else happy.
The figure of Necrovore comes from the Citadel Golden Heroes range of superheroes. I added his Uzi from my spare parts box. Despite being a non-super, he still cost 500 points, which is very high for a "normal" GURPS character.

Finally, is Bobby Anderson, bass guitarist of Deathwish and supervillain known as Demolition Man. Bobby grew up on a farm in rural Kansas. He would have undoubtedly ended up working at the local cement plant, just like all his friends, except for a life-changing incident when he was 16. His mother got sick and he was sent to Los Angeles to stay with his aunt whilst his father cared for his mom. L.A. opened his eyes to a whole new world - he returned home six months later with an earring, a skateboard, a bass guitar and an attitude problem. Upon his 17th birthday he left home and wandered around for several weeks before stumbling across a commune called Avalon. It was run by the infamous Society for Creative Anarchy. Armed with a confused notion of what anarchy meant (he was expecting wild parties, uninhibited sex and no work) he joined. He began to notice some strange goings-on in the commune. Visitors, some obviously superhuman, were flying in and out, and there seemed to be a lot of action centred around the storage building in particular. One night he slipped the lock to the building and began exploring. A huge grin appeared on is face - he had found some sort of weapons locker. The walls were line with suits of armour ranging from medieval plate mail to high-tech battle armour. But one suit in particular caught his attention - it was silver and red and had a huge morning star attached to it. He tried it on and found that a small display inside had a menu explaining the suit's various powers. Demolition Man was born. He left that night and headed back to Los Angeles where he began playing with different bands and robbing banks. He met Psytron in a bar - the drummer was intrigued by someone whose mind he couldn't penetrate. The two of them became friends and then partners in crime before linking up with Sorceress and Necrovore to form Deathwish.
I couldn't find a suitable figure to use as Demolition Man and so I sculpted him myself. His morning star came from my spare parts box. He calls it Dorothy! I increased his points value from 750 to 800. His superpowers all come from his battlesuit which grants him Damage Resistance +30, Dark Vision, Enhanced Strength 120, Insubstantiality, Invisibility, Invisibility to Machines, Move through Earth and Penetrating Vision. The morning star could do a whopping 16 dice of damage!
I had wanted to highlight this group when I was doing my posts about my own superhero and supervillain figures but I couldn't find the figures. Then quite by accident last month, I found them in a box that I never thought they'd be in. It was a lucky find. I rebased them and photographed them so that I could type in this post.
Here are the portraits of Deathwish that I used for their GURPS character record sheets. The illustrations of them in the scenario book were very poorly drawn, so I drew the portraits of Sorceress, Whirlwind, Psytron and Necrovore based on the poses of the figures. The portrait of Demolition Man was taken from the cover of the scenario book and you can see it below.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Strontium Dog - Darkus's Howlers

Not all Strontium Dogs are mutants. The alien howlers that follow Darkus are a good example of individuals willing to kill a few humans for some credits. With a reputation for eating those they served termination warrants on, Darkus and his crew travelled from their home world of Kunghung to the planet Burrito when the amnesty on the 49th Territory was lifted and a veritable army of bounty hunters assembled to take down the many outlaws and ne'er-do-wells that had been hiding in the Badlands.
The bloodthirsty ways of Darkus and his howlers brought them into conflict with the other Strontium Dogs. After learning that Johnny Alpha and his companions, Wulf Sternhammer and Middenface McNulty, were after a massive six million credits reward for galactic criminal, Xen the Brainwraith, Darkus used a combination of torture, superior tracking skills and low cunning to go after the big bounty, leading to an inevitable shoot-out with the howler's fellow bounty hunters.
These figures of Darkus and two of his howlers are terrific sculpts, and are among my favourites from Warlord Games' Strontium Dog range. They are part of a boxed set that includes the three figures shown here as well as two character cards (one for Darkus an done for a howler), two Armoury cards (Dimension Warp and Psi-tector) and one Chicanery card (No Honour). The boxed set costs £15.00.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Strontium Dog - Rogue SD Agents

Not all S/D agents play by the rules - in fact not many worry about the law at all! Sometimes a Strontium Dog goes too far and ends up becoming the hunted rather than the hunter. Fly's-Eyes Wagner is such a case in point, going rogue after killing his partner. A termination warrant was placed on him and was taken up by Johnny Alpha. He returned to his home town of Sharpville to kill his father, whom he blamed for his mutation.
With Johnny on his heels, Fly's-Eyes used a dimension warp to escape, and Johnny, along with Wulf and the Gronk, jumped after him. They ended up in a hellish dimension where anything that died came back to life - fortunately for Fly's-Eyes, who was shot by Johnny, but resurrected. Together, Fly's-Eyes and his would-be captors forged across the bizarre dimension to find a way back to Earth, earning themselves a special ticket to do so. Alpha used his to send Fly's-Eyes back to the offices of the Galactic Crime Commission to get his bounty. His Fly's-Eyes mutation gives him a +1 bonus to his Evade stat but he is automatically Pinned if he ever gets Stunned or Injured.
Second from the left is Slabhead, an unremarkable Search/Destroy agent and an occasional ally of Armstrong Jones and Big Cynthia. His most notable asset was the two Dervish Dogs that accompanied him - Spiro and Giro. Utterly relentless, these wildly gyrating, slashing and slicing monsters could demolish a tank and smash through concrete walls, though were barely under the control of their handler or themselves. 
Although these are all minor characters they are all well sculpted and I particularly like Spiro and Giro, who follow the Pack rules, meaning they activate together as one. These four figures are available to buy in a boxed set priced at £15.00. The set also includes 3 character cards (Spiro and Giro share the same stats), 2 Armoury cards (Live Wire and Time Trap) and 1 Chicanery card (Last Gasp).
I noticed that Warlord Games have just shown the wave 3 figures that are available for pre-order. It is great to see this game getting such solid support and, of course, I'll be buying all of them.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Strontium Dog - Blubberlips, Kid Knee & Maeve

In my last post I showed you two of the five figures you can get in the S/D Agents boxed set by Warlord Games. In this post, I'll show you the other three figures from that set - Blubberlips, Kid Knee and Maeve the Many-Armed.
At the far left is Blubberlips. There have been two mutants with the Blubberlips moniker. One was gunned down by a Stix Brother - the other (shown here) aided Johnny Alpha, Middenface McNulty and other leaders of the Mutant Resistance Army as they fought against the mutant war criminal, William Blood Moon. I can't help but wonder if Blubberlips was based on Mick Jagger? He is a minor character and his big lips mutation is purely cosmetic although he can make a surprising range of vocalisations, which can Pin any enemy within 8" of him if they fail a Cool test. Doing so counts as a single action.
Next up is Kid Knee, a lesser known Strontium Dog who enjoyed a modicum of success with the Search/Destroy agency before falling on hard times in his later career. Turning to bottles of Mac-Mac to ease his woes, he lost his edge and his nerve. However, he never lost his eye for a potential job and travelled to the artificial station of Mab Garden City on the trail of a highly dangerous mutant known as the Mutator. There he ended up teaming up with Johnny Alpha, Wulf Sternhammer and the Gronk to track down the shape-changer as it masqueraded as Emperor Odgood the Okay. Kid Knee's head is located in his right knee, making him difficult to head shoot.
Hailing from Ireland, Maeve the Many-Armed is easy to spot - aside from her many arms, she dresses as the Queen of Connaught from Irish mythology. Maeve rides a chariot pulled by two mutant horses with disagreeable personalities. Her five arms allow her to wield multiple weapons - from pistols to the sword of Irish hero, CuChulainn. I have to admit to liking Maeve immensely. She is a beautifully sculpted figure and quite heavy compared to the other figures in this set.
In addition to the five figures I've shown in this post and the previous one, you also get stat cards for all five characters, four armoury cards (Beam Polariser, Bottle of Mac-Mac, Chameleon Cloak and Medipack) and one Chicanery card (Distraction). The boxed set of S/D Agents costs £20.00.