Sunday, 15 July 2018

Knuckleduster Dismounted Horses

Okay, I'll admit that this is certainly not the most exciting figure review post I've done but here it is any way. A couple of months ago when I was about to run my first Six Gun Sound batrep, I knew that one element that was missing from my Wild West scenery items were unmounted horse. I had loads of hitching posts but no horses, apart from one pack mule, to make use of them. Fortunately, quite a few companies produce figures of horses without a rider, so it was just a question of finding one that best suited my needs. In the end I chose this range of GBA03 Standing Saddle Horses from the Knuckleduster Gunfighters Ball range of 32mm scale Animals.
Each pack comes with two horses, one of each of pose and they cost £7.50 for the pair. I ordered three sets to give me six horses.
Being 32mm scale, the horses are a nice size, not too big and not too small, and they fit in well with my other Wild West figures. The horses are nicely equipped with saddlebags, blankets, saddles and reins. Note that on the one in the centre I added a small sack made out of Milliput to the saddle. Quite often if I mix up too much Milliput for what I need, I'll use the excess for making little bags like this.
These next three horses have their heads bowed and their legs are positioned differently to the previous three. Once again, the horse in the centre has had a small sack added to it.
Reading comments from other bloggers it seems that many of you don't like painting horses. I must admit that I thoroughly enjoy painting them. I find them a lot easier to paint than humans. As is usual when painting animals, I refer to Google Images for appropriate colour schemes so that my horses look as realistic as possible.
Look out for these figures in upcoming Wild West batreps. I can see me getting a lot of use out of them. If you are interested in purchasing them, here's the link for them - http://www.caliverbooks.com/figures/catviewer.php?i9nop6ugfsuggnci21s9hqonk7&producer=126&range=32mm%20Animals&menu=2

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Grenadier Old West Heroes

Way back in the early 1990's I bought a boxed set of ten 32mm scale Western Gunfighters produced by Grenadier Miniatures. They were beautifully sculpted by Andy Chernak but at the time were over-scaled as most Wild West figures back then were either 25mm or 28mm scale. Now, however, they are a perfect fit with the majority of my collection of Wild West figures. I have shown one of them - the Gambler - in a previous post (see here - http://vampifansworldoftheundead.blogspot.com/2017/06/assorted-wild-west-gamblers-01.html ). Two of the figures - the Gunfighter and the Rifleman - never got painted and have gone missing. I have no idea where they went. So that leaves just seven to show you and here they are.
First up is the easily identifiable Man With No Name as played by Clint Eastwood in the Dollar trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns. I do love this figure but I must admit I was conflicted when I bought the Shadows of Brimstone male Drifter, who was a superb sculpt of The Man With No Name (see here - http://vampifansworldoftheundead.blogspot.com/2017/10/shadows-of-brimstone-heroes-03.html ) as to which one is the best. On reflection, I do think the Shadows of Brimstone version only just edges this Grenadier version. The boxed set lists him as a Range Rider and not a Bounty Hunter. It also shows him in an alternate colour scheme, which I may use if I decide to repaint him. It is a distinct possibility because I don't want two versions of the same character.
In the centre is the U.S. Marshal whom I have named as "the Duke" due to his uncanny resemblance to John Wayne. Note the way he is cocking the lever of his Winchester Rifle - a nice touch.
At the far right is the Cowpoke, whom I named Johnny West. When I was a young lad growing up in the 1960's my parents bought me a 12" action figure of a cowboy called Johnny West as a Christmas present (see below). This figure reminded me of him so much and so I had to name him Johnny West. Johnny will be a recurring character in my Six Gun Sound campaign, although not as a Cowboy. Most likely, he'll be a Bounty Hunter or a Gunfighter. Johnny is armed with a Winchester .44 Rifle, Colt .45 Peacemaker Revolver, .41 Derringer Pistol and Bowie Knife, just as his taller version is.
Moving on is Saloon Girl Madeleine DuBois, who is described as being "vivacious" by Grenadier Miniatures. Yep, that's a good description of her.
She works for Bartender Guthrie Fullwright, who is an expert gambler. He is armed with a 12 Gauge Scattergun, which he keeps behind the bar to deal with troublemakers.
Last up are the two outlaws. Second from the right is Mexican bandida, "Hole in Juan" Gomez, who is armed with a pair of Colt .44 Army Revolvers and a Knife. He is a crackshot pistolero.
Finally, is young Bank Robber Gil Hardy, who goes by the nickname of "The Cheyenne Kid". He is left-handed and is armed with a Colt .45 Peacemaker Revolver.
Sadly, this set is long out of production. I think it would sell very well if it was re-released today as all of the figures are superbly sculpted and because of their size will fit in so well with so many other ranges.
To the left of here is this wonderful picture of 12" action figure, Johnny West, showing him and all of his accessories that came with him. This figure was produced in 1965. I still have mine but some of his accessories have gone missing. In the same year as I received this figure, my brother got the 12" action figure of Chief Cherokee and a horse to go with him as his Christmas present. I also got a horse who was named Thunderbolt and my brother's horse was named Comanche. Note that unlike the humans, the horses were not pose-able. These figures were made by the Louis Marx company. The Johnny West range of figures were very popular. In later years, Johnny gained a family, wife Jane, daughters Janice and Josie, and sons Jay and Jamie. Chief Cherokee also gained a family - his wife was Princess Wildflower. Other figures like Sheriff Garrett and Outlaw Sam Cobra were added to the range but my brother and I never got any of the others. Below is the complete range of figures. If they were sold now I'd definitely want them all but whether I could afford them is another matter entirely.



Saturday, 7 July 2018

Assorted Heroines of Western Films 01

I have always been a big fan of Western films and I still am. In recent years I've noticed that more and more Westerns are featuring females in the starring roles, and this is a good thing in my opinion. I have already shown the two heroines from the film, Bandidos in action in my first Six Gun Sound batrep. In this post I want to show the figures I've collected for two more of my favourite Westerns - Bad Girls and The Quick and the Dead.
Bad Girls was made in 1994 and very briefly the film follows four former prostitutes on the run following a justifiable homicide and prison escape, who later encounter difficulties involving a bank robbery, a train robbery and being chased by Pinkerton detectives.
The four Bad Girls who aren't really that bad.
In this still from the film are the four Bad Girls, who are from left to right, Eileen Spenser (played by Andie MacDowell), Anita Crown (played by Mary Stuart Masterson), Cody Zamora (played by Madeleine Stowe) and Lily Laronette (played by Drew Barrymore).
These are the figures I've used to represent the gang and they all came from different companies. At the far left is the gang's leader, Cody Zamora. Cody is based on the Reaper Chronoscope figure, 50111 Diamond Sue Dawson, who costs £5.22 from the Miniature Heroes webstore. Diamond Sue Dawson was far too good a name not to use, so one of my Black Scorpion Tombstone ladies has adopted that name.
Next up is Eileen Spenser and her figure came from the Knuckleduster Gunfighter's Ball range and is GBF37 - Elly. I added her waistcoat, made out of Milliput, which was a really simple conversion. Her figure costs £3.50 from the Caliver Books webstore.
Second from the right is Anita Crown, and she was produced by Black Scorpion as one of four figures in the Tombstone Cowgirls 1 set, which sadly was just withdrawn from sale at the beginning of this month. I suspect that was because the new range of Tombstone Females were released at the same time, but that seems like a strange decision to me. Surely more choice is a good thing? I do wonder if these older figures will ever return? If not, that is a sad thing, but I'm glad I bought mine when I did.
The last figure in line is Lily Laronette produced by Belt Fed Gaming in foot and mounted versions. I've already shown her once before in this post, https://vampifansworldoftheundead.blogspot.com/2018/05/belt-fed-wild-west-ladies-01.html However, she is worth showing again, only this time with her three cohorts.
I have created stat cards for these four to use in my Six Gun Sound games. I feel a team up with my two ladies from Bandidos would make for a fun game.

Sharon Stone as "The Lady" or Ellen
Another strong female lead who greatly impressed me was Sharon Stone's character known only as "The Lady" or Ellen from the 1995 film, The Quick and the Dead. The story focuses on "The Lady", a gunfighter who rides into the frontier town of Redemption controlled by corrupt mayor John Herod (played by Gene Hackman). She joins a deadly duelling competition in an attempt to exact revenge for the death of her father by Herod.
"The Lady" character is a popular figure for sculptors of Wild West miniatures. I know of three such figures and there may well be more. Probably the most well known of them is the Reaper Chronoscope figure - 50003 Cowgirl Ellen Stone. I do like how they have combined Sharon's surname with the character's first name. The only thing that prevented me from using that figure as "The Lady" was the fact that she was armed with a double-barrelled scattergun, which she never used in the film.
However, the figure I have chosen for my own Ellen Stone (somehow that name is so appropriate for her) is this new release from Black Scorpion. This is the female leader on foot and mounted from the Female Faction of the recent Tombstone Kickstarter range. I backed this project as soon as it was launched last year. As soon as I saw this figure, I knew that I wanted to use her as "The Lady".
I copied her colour scheme from the photo shown above. All of the leaders of the seven factions from the Tombstone skirmish game come in foot and mounted versions, which I do like a lot. This is a fantastic sculpt, very animated and a darned good likeness of Sharon Stone. As I said earlier, the female faction has only just gone on sale at the start of this month and the foot version of the female leader costs £4.50 and the mounted version costs £9.50. Expensive, I know, but they are high quality resin sculpts, full of detail.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Shadows of Brimstone Undead Outlaws

As soon as I saw that Flying Frog Productions were bringing out a new boxed set of figures called Undead Outlaws for Shadows of Brimstone I knew I wanted them. I bought my set from an eBay seller for a much cheaper price than buying them direct from the Flying Frog webstore. Plus postage was free and I had no customs charges to worry about. A win-win deal!
These are actually smart zombies, in that they have retained the memory of how to fire a gun, much like the Smartie Zombies in High Moon.
Outlaws are a common occurrence throughout the region around the ruins of Brimstone. Even before the town blew up and the portals began to open, the gold rush and Dark Stone rush that grew the town out of control also lured in outlaws and bandits by the thousands. Once the devastation occurred and the Darkness came, countless number of these outlaws fell into shadow. Some became mutants, others fell to the curse of the Lycan or began meddling in dark Magiks, and many more began to rise from the grave as Undead. It wasn't long before the Undead Outlaws fell back into their old ways of robbing, rustling and mayhem. Perhaps it was just faint memories of their old lives seeping back in, or maybe they have a cold purpose, with a mind for revenge on the land of the living.
The most famous of all is a dark, rotting figure known only as the Undead Gunslinger. Whoever he was in life, no one can say for sure. But in death, he has become the most cold killer in the land, earning the nickname of the "Fastest Dead in the West". He travels the roads and shadows, challenging any who cross his path to a duel. Few survive to tell the tale. Feared for his quick draw, his cold silence and his sinister stare, the Undead Gunslinger is an unstoppable force, back from Hell and hungry for revenge. As a Legendary Enemy, the Undead Gunslinger is a dangerous foe to face. He is capable of dealing out horrendous amounts of damage with his six-shooters, using special Deadman's Shots bullets to terrorise his opponents.
I think it's safe to say, he is clearly based on Clint Eastwood's "The Man With No Name" from the Dollar trilogy of films. He is a superb sculpt in a very dramatic pose, with his ragged poncho flowing in the wind behind him. With his cheroot clamped in his mouth he just exudes menace as he fires away with both guns blazing.
The other three Undead Outlaws are all the same sculpt. However, they came with separate left arms, so by gluing them on in different positions I was able to make each one look unique. Varied paint jobs helped to differentiate them even further.
Thieves, rustlers and robbers in life, these Undead Outlaws have returned from the grave to bring death to the world of the living. Memories of their past lives have lead them to continue the life of the outlaw, robbing banks and trains, and gunning down any who would stand in their way. Undead Outlaws are predominantly Ranged Enemies that have the Shootout Standard Ability to guide how they move and attack each turn. As Undead, they also have high Defence and are fearsome Enemies to engage in a firefight.
These three figures were all identical one-piece sculpts. The one at the far left is the original sculpt. For the other two, I cut off their left arms and repositioned them so that each outlaw looks unique. I don't like having multiple figures all in exactly the same pose.
Although designed for use in Shadows of Brimstone, I will most certainly be using this set in my High Moon games as well. I am absolutely delighted with this set. The Undead Outlaws boxed set of seven 32mm scale figures costs $39.95 from the Flying Frog webstore plus a minimum $24.00 postage and whatever charges Customs and Excise want to extort you for and you can see why I opted for eBay. There is currently a set on eBay for sale at £34.86 plus free post and packing if any one is interested. It's dearer than what I paid, but still a good price. Better still, Amazon UK have 12 sets in stock for sale at £33.72.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Vampifans Views 108 - Monthly Musings 78

With half the year gone already it's time for another of my Monthly Musings. The painting to the left of here was produced by Miguel Sanjulian, whose work I am showcasing this year. It is a stunning portrait of Vampirella surrounded by an assortment of evil creatures. I have no doubt at all that Vampi will prevail against them all.

This has been a good month for my favourite vampire as she has appeared in two batreps within the space of a week. First up was my first High Moon scenario set in Stillwater, New Mexico in 1875, in which Vampirella travelled back in time on the start of a quest to challenge Count Dracula, who had taken over the presidency of the USA. Here's the link to it - http://vampifansworldoftheundead.blogspot.com/2018/06/high-moon-scenario-01-high-moon-at.html
Then John aka Vagabond surprised me by introducing Vampirella to his ongoing Gothic Horror campaign and I couldn't have been more happy to see her. That girl sure gets around. Here's the link to John's batrep - http://vagabondswargamingblog.blogspot.com/2018/06/gothic-horror-hunt-for-mary-scroggins_23.html
I do plan on continuing Vampirella's quest in the Old West, so look out for part two coming soon.

I bought a ton of new stuff for my Wild/Weird West projects, including assorted cacti from Great Escape Games, Shellhole Scenics and Wargames Terrain Workshop, fences from 4Ground and the Tree Fellas (thanks for that link, Solo Wargamer), outside toilets from 4Ground, a stagecoach and a wagon both with horses, drivers and passengers from Great Escape Game's Dead Man's Hand range, 6 unmounted horses from Knuckleduster Miniatures (all painted now), the Graceful Seven figures (also from Great Escape Games and also painted) and the Black Fang Tribe supplement for Shadows of Brimstone. All in all, quite a haul. As you can probably tell, I am very enthusiastic about this project. My next batrep will hopefully be a scenario from Dracula's America. I know I want to include the Red Hand Coven faction of vampires in it, but I haven't decided whether to pit them against the Twilight Order faction or the Crossroads Cult faction. I'll make a decision soon.
The Graceful Seven as they appear on the Dead Man's Hand webstore. They are really beautiful figures.

Whilst I am still painting loads of Wild West and Weird West figures, plus some sci-fi figures for my The Ace of Spades Campaign, it was nice to have a change of direction with the annual Forgotten Heroes challenge. This year I only submitted one figure - a conversion of vampire Chastity Marks -but I completed her on time and was very happy with how she turned out. You can see my finished entry in the previous post to this one.

July sees the release of the Strontium Dog skirmish wargame by Warlord Games. I have read a lot of negative comments about the figures for this game, especially the sculpts for Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer, the two stars of the strip. Judge for yourselves. There is something odd about the way the arms are attached to the bodies. Their faces are very well sculpted but I will admit that I prefer the versions made by Wargames Foundry, which thankfully, I do own.
As for the game itself, and the other figures, I am very excited about them. My Battle Systems Sci-fi Terrain sets (the Shanty Town set in particular) will be perfect for this game. I have pre-ordered the complete collection as this saves me £21 over the cost of buying everything separately plus, I do want everything for this game. I am huge fan of the 2000 AD comic and Strontium Dogs was always one of my favourite strips. Indeed, my all time favourite 2000 AD character is the mutant vampire bounty hunter, Durham Red, who first appeared in this strip before going on to her own stories. I've seen an advanced preview picture of her figure for this game and it's fair to say, hers is the figure I most want. With all of the Strontium Dog figures I already have from Wargames Foundry (now sadly, out of production), which are all painted,  plus my scenery, this is a game I could start playing as soon as I've read the rulebook. Bring it on!