Thursday, 22 June 2017

Assorted Wild West Children 01

As I mentioned in a reply to one of the comments made last time, finding figures of Wild West female townsfolk is hard but finding figures of children for this genre is even harder. Fortunately, I do have some. Here's a sample of some of them.
All of these are plastic figures, with the four to the left coming from an old boxed set of Airfix 1/72nd scale (20mm scale) Cowboys. I got these as a child during the 1960's, and I still have the figures from that boxed set. Seeing as I was after figures of children, their lack of height compared to 28mm scale figures actually worked to my advantage. The small girl and boy at the far left were designed as children for that set. Now they fit in as young children, in the 4 to 7 age bracket.
The next two figures in line were adults from that set but work well as older children in 28mm scale. I have to admit that the detail on them is muted, especially on their faces, which are very featureless. But, no matter. They suffice for my needs as crowd fillers. The figure at the far right was given to me by my dad. He used to collect Lledo vintage cars and vehicles and this figure came with an old newspaper delivery van. He is true 28mm scale and although he is meant to be from the 1930's I thought he'd fit in with my Wild West figures. He is also the only one of these children whom I have named. I called him Joey Black, after an NPC of the same name who appeared in an old TSR Boot Hill scenario called Mad Mesa. Joey was a paperboy working for the Mad Mesa Gazette, so it seemed appropriate to use this figure for him.
I'm currently painting a couple of child heroes for the Shadows of Brimstone game - male and female orphans, and they are superb sculpts. Not all children need be innocent bystanders. I strongly approve of Flying Frog's decision to include children as hero characters in their Weird West game. I'm planning on buying the two Wild West children figures from Reaper's excellent Chronoscope range next month, so expect to see some armed children here soon.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Assorted Wild West Female Civilians 01

In this post I'm reviewing some of the assorted Wild West female civilians that I've amassed over the years. It is rather sad that figure manufacturers make far more male characters for Wild West gaming than females. Actually, this is true of most genres. Certainly amongst the civilian population you'd expect a roughly 50/50 split, but that is most definitely not the case when it comes to the Wild West. For sure, civilians are mainly used for background fodder or for obstacles to be helped or avoided. But even if they are just used to populate a town without taking any part, they are worth having to add a sense of realism to a gaming board.
At the far left is a 25mm scale Ral Partha female homesteader with baby. She is beautifully sculpted and whilst she is on the small side, I don't mind. Females are, generally speaking, smaller than males. My one criticism of this figure is that I'm not happy with the way I painted the baby's face. It looks more like a doll than a real baby!
Moving on, next to her is a very old Hinchliffe Models townswoman. I recently repainted her, as I wasn't happy with my original paint scheme. She has the look of a plucky woman who is up for a challenge. For such an old figure, she looks remarkably good.
 The next two ladies were both produced by Citadel Miniatures. Yes, I know, Citadel never made any Wild West figures. The woman in the light brown dress was part of a long out of production Mythos Investigators range. She is supposed to be used in a 1920's setting, but I thought she'd work just as well as a Wild West townswoman.
 The old lady at the far right is a conversion of a Judge Dredd perp known as Mad Ma Mahaffy. I cut her arms off and remodelled them out of Milliput. She has such a timeless look about her that she could fit in anywhere from the 1800's to the present day. I'm using her in my Wild West setting as a shop owner.
At the far left of this trio is another Hinchliffe Models 28mm scale figure - a Victorian lady, who certainly doesn't look out of place in a Wild West setting. She has also benefited from a recent repaint. With her bright yellow dress she'll certainly stand out in a crowd.
I close with a pair of female civilians who are amongst the oldest figures in my 28mm scale Wild West collection. They are from a small range of Wild West figures made by Minifigs in the late 1970's and have been out of production for many years now. They were designed as 25mm scale figures but being old women, I think their lack of height, when placed next to 28mm scale figures, works to their advantage. The old lady in the black dress is the original sculpt. On the other one, I removed her bible and repositioned her right arm. I also added a collar to her dress.
They certainly aren't the most exciting figures I've shown on my blog but they serve their purpose as innocent bystanders that I'll use in Six Gun Sound. Plus, you can never have too many civilian figures.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Assorted Wild West Gamblers 01

I like to mix things up on my blog so I'm returning to my Wild West figures for a few posts. The theme this time is gamblers. Here are four 28mm scale gamblers from assorted manufacturers.
At the far left is Jacques Villard, who is a Dixon Miniatures 25mm scale Old West civilian. He is listed as WG12 Gambler Standing with Cigar and he costs £1.40. I'm not that bothered that he's smaller than the other figures on display here. People come in all shapes and sizes in real life, so why not in miniatures?
Next up, is Commodore James Duvall, who was made by Grenadier Miniatures as one of 10 figures in a boxed set called "Western Gunfighters". He is loosely based on the character, Commodore Duvall played by James Coburn in the 1994 film of Maverick. He is, in my opinion, the best sculpted figure of this quartet. Note the card sticking out of his sleeve on his left arm in the photo below. Probably his ace up his sleeve! That is such a cool touch.
The figure second from the right is as yet unnamed. I can tell you that he is a very old figure made by Hinchliffe Models, who have been out of business for many years now. I bought him in the very early 1980's. His right arm was originally hanging by his side but I bent it to give him a less static pose. Hinchliffe figures were usually tall and slim, but I think he stands the test of time very well.
Finally, is "Hoodoo" Brown, a figure sculpted by me. He is an exact copy of a 54mm scale figure I made for my long running Wild West campaign that I ran in the 1980's. Back then, all of my Wild West games were played with 1/32nd scale figures, buildings and scenery. It might not be immediately clear from the front view, but he is smoking a cigar. Also, note that he is left-handed.
These figures are mainly intended for use with Six Gun Sound, my go to Wild West rules, but could also appear in Shadows of Brimstone.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Forgotten Heroes 2017 Update 01

Following on from my intro to the 2017 Forgotten Heroes challenge (see here - Forgotten Heroes Challenge 2017 - Intro), here is an update of my work so far. As I said before, I was originally just going to make the two human heroes, Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber from The Bug Hunters series. The good news is that I have sculpted both figures and they are undergoing paintwork right now. Both have come out really well, but I'm particularly impressed with my figure of Melissa.
I was lucky enough to find the parts needed to convert an old Citadel Paranoia robot into B-Con. He was an easy conversion to do, and he's also being painted right now. I am not going to show these three just yet. I want to wait until all six figures are completed.
I had no intention of making the other three robots, OTISS, X and Big Red for this challenge. I thought it would be too much work, especially making Big Red, who is huge. However, things soon changed and when I realised that OTISS and X looked a lot like RoJaws and Hammerstein from 2000 AD comic's ABC Warriors and Robusters series I knew I could make them as well. Wargames Foundry make excellent figures of RoJaws and Hammerstein. How hard could it be to convert them? So I ordered them last week and they arrived two days later.
I had to add a bit of Milliput to the base of Hammerstein as he kept falling over, due to his centre of balance being off kilter. So, now all I had to do was find a suitable figure for Big Red. I did not have high hopes, but anyway, I decided to check out toy robots on Amazon UK... and found the perfect robot for Big Red. This big fellow is Baymax from the Disney animated film of 2012 - Big Hero 6. He is a posable action figure, but he'll be a lot less posable after I've finished with him. As always, Amazon were very quick to post him to me.
Size-wise he's just about perfect, although I will be lengthening his legs. As soon as I saw the figure, I knew I could work with him and make, what I thought would be a very difficult challenge, a much easier task. Yes, there is a lot of work to do on him, but I have the basis of his figure all ready to go. Most of the hard work has already been done for me. I just have to add some detail to him. Hah! That's all!
The first thing I had to do was remove certain body parts from the three figures. RoJaws had his arms and head cut off. Hammerstein lost his head and right arm. I had to saw them off. I've drilled and pinned a paper clip into his shoulder so that I can sculpt his new arm around it.
Baymax has had his head and shoulder pads removed - they just clipped off quite easily. I sawed off the mounts on his back for his wings. His wings came separately but were never going to be used by me.
Now I can get to work on them with my Milliput and hopefully get them finished by the end of June. I'm pretty confident I'll meet the deadline. I don't usually do work in progress posts but I especially wanted to do this one, just to show you how Big Red was going to evolve. Next time you see him he'll be looking a lot different.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

John Carter of Mars Heroes 01

When Dave Stone recently visited me, he discussed how his sci-fi gladiators game, Death Match, originated. It was whilst watching the 2012 film, John Carter, where John is fighting in an arena, that Dave thought how cool it would be to create a sci-fi gladiators game. Despite the film getting panned by many critics, Dave and I are both fans of the film. So from that germ of an idea, the game was developed. Anyway, what I forgot to tell Dave was that I had a small selection of 28mm scale John Carter figures. They are produced by Tin Man Miniatures and I bought them at the beginning of this year when TMM had a 30% discount sale. Funnily enough, they are also offering this same discount this month up until the 18th. Dave's comments about John Carter got me to thinking about how perfect these figures would be for his Death Match game. Currently, he only has one human gladiator (a female) for sale in his webstore. More will be available later.
From left to right are John Carter, Dejah Thoris and Woola. Most likely for copyright reasons, Tin Man Miniatures have renamed them as Jack Carson, Princess Dari and Moola. Jack Carson/John Carter is available as shown above or in a nude version. He is armed with a cavalry sabre and a pistol and he would be right at home in a game of Death Match. I won't go into any details about who John Carter is, as I'm sure most, if not all of you, are familiar with him. If not, check him out on Google or Wikipedia... or get the book the film is based on, A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Princess Dari/Dejah Thoris is a native of Mars (called Barsoom by the inhabitants of Mars) who falls in love with Carter. I am quite familiar with Dejah from the comic book series by Dynamite. Indeed, she once teamed up with Vampirella and Red Sonja in the epic Swords of Sorrow series as one of the three wielders of the aforementioned swords. Once again, Tin Man offers a clothed and nude version of this figure. This time, I opted for the nude version, although as you can see, she isn't totally nude, just topless. Whilst she is a very good fighter in the books, comics and film, I don't think she'd fare well in Death Match. Her lack of armour and single weapon puts her at a big disadvantage. At least Carter has a pistol to deal with opponents at a distance, even he is also lacking in protection.
Moola/Woola is described as a "Calot" - a large creature that resembles an amphibian and behaves like a loyal dog. He becomes devoted to Carter and is rarely far from his side. He has ten legs and thus is very fast.
I bought these figures because, A) I liked the film, B) I'm a big fan of Dejah from her comics and C) because they were on offer at the time. I can certainly find uses for all three figures in some of the games I play. I'm undecided about buying more figures from this range to recreate a Barsoomian skirmish game. I received very good service from TMM, who are based in America. They quite often have these sales, so it is well worth waiting for one to come along if you want to place an order with them.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Forgotten Heroes Challenge 2017 - Intro

So, it's June and that means it's time for the Forgotten Heroes challenge, which is run by fellow bloggers, Jez and Roger. I very nearly gave it a miss this year because the figure I was planning on converting (a Twilight Knight) by Soda Pop Miniatures into a Chibi Lady Death was discontinued earlier this year before I could buy her. But having greatly enjoyed the challenge last year, I decided to take a totally different tack and a one that no one could possibly envisage.

I'm currently heavily into sci-fi gaming. So I have decided to make a couple of 28mm scale sci-fi figures. Yes, make them. They will not be conversions but rather will be sculpted by me from scratch. The two figures I'm going to make are the two human heroes from the old comic strip, The Bug Hunters, Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber. Already I can hear everyone saying, "Huh! The Bug Hunters? Never heard of them!" Understandable! Let me give you some background info on them taken from the Comics Corner section of the Weird Retro website.

"Back in October 1985 a serialised comic began to appear in the pages in Computer and Video Games (C+VG) magazine. The series ran almost every month until February 1987. For any teenage computer geek growing up in the 80s, C+VG was the must buy computing and gaming magazine, and the addition of The Bug Hunters only made the magazine all the more worth buying. The sight of Melissa Ravenflame on that first panel, set many an adolescent comic book/computer geek's heart a flutter. (As sad as that is!) See the picture to the left.

The Bug Hunters was scripted by Jerry Paris, whose early work was for Marvel UK on titles such as Freefall Warriors; drawn by Pedro Henry (the pseudonym of renowned British comic book artist, Steve Moore), who gave Alan Moore his leg-up as a comic book artist; and inked by Garry Leach, who worked on the seminal British comic book 2000 AD, and also collaborated with Alan Moore. Both Steve Moore and Garry Leach worked on the regular feature in 2000 AD Tharg's Future Shocks. During the period of The Bug Hunters appearing in C+VG, Leach also worked on Judge Dredd. For a comic strip series appearing in a computing magazine, The Bug Hunters was exquisitely pencilled by Paris and inked by Leach, creating some of the most memorable images of comic book art in the mid-80s UK.

Computer and Video Games was first published in November 1981, and was the world's first dedicated video gaming magazine. The first issue featured an article on the arcade game Space Invaders. The magazine ceased appearing in a printed format in 2004, but continues as an online magazine format as it has since 1999. In the 1980s, C+VG was the multi-format magazine of choice for all gamers and computer geeks. It featured news, reviews, as well as hints, tips, game maps and long list of programming code for readers to laboriously type into their home computers to create games.

However, in 1985 when The Bug Hunters first appeared it was a shift for the magazine, as they used the images and characters from the comic series to promote various sections of the magazine. Set in 23rd Century London, the aforementioned Melissa Ravenflame was working on a new project for IDEAS Corp. (Institute for the Development and Expansion of Advanced Systems). Three years earlier they had created the most addictive computer game ever, called GOD. She teams up with Jackson T. Kalliber, an ex-military man who looks like a cross between Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson. He's put a team together of robots, that include OTISS (Overt Technical Information Suburban System), Big Red (Relocation of Explosives for Demolition), B-Con a security droid who helped with a prison break, and X a "fascism" droid who can pirate anything. Thus a rag-tag team of robots.

Over their time in C+VG, The Bug Hunters went through a darkly comic series of adventures. Beautifully illustrated, told with a quintessentially British sense of humour. An almost forgotten gem of a comic book series, that stands as an example of the genius of comic book artists working in the UK at the time. Especially those that went through the 2000 AD stables. It was one of the greatest multi-serialised story, multi-artist comic books in the world."

I'm just happy that due to copies of C+VG now being in the public domain on www.archive.org I was able to download all 15 episodes of this series to keep as a permanent reminder of one of my secret pleasures of the 1980's. My brother used to subscribe to C+VG and whilst I had no interest in computer gaming (I still don't) I absolutely adored The Bug Hunters comic series.

So, I plan on making Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber as my entries for this year's challenge. I would love to make/convert the four robots but that can keep for another day. Perhaps they might be next year's challenge.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

JDMG Scenario 07 - Citi-Def Suspects

When my good friend, Dave Stone, came to visit me recently, he asked if we could play a game of the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game? I was only too happy to oblige. I had been thinking of running a follow up scenario to the last one, Devereux's Debut, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to implement it. Previously, Judge Scott and Psi Judge Devereux had foiled a gun smuggling plot. They arrested the buyers but the seller, Mr. Johnson, managed to escape. However, the most important concern was that they captured all of the stolen guns - a crate load of Spit Gun Rifles. Tek Division went over the evidence and discovered that the guns came from the Citi-Defence armoury of the James Caan Block in Sector 13. Judge Stone was assigned to bring in the James Caan Citi-Def leader, Byron Hazlett, for questioning. He may have been unaware of the missing guns or he might have been either directly or indirectly involved in the crime. Either way, he had to be questioned. As a precautionary measure, Judge Stone requested back-up from Judge Moore and Med-Judge Nash. It proved to be a wise decision!
THE FORCES - MEGA CITY ONE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
Street Judge Stone - Level:3 Infantry Hero with 4 Experience Points and worth 200 Credits.
Stats - Move 5", Agility +2, Shoot +2, Melee +1, Melee Dice 2D, Will +2, Armour +5, Hits 4.
Equipment - Boot Knife, Daystick, Lawgiver Mk II Pistol, Stumm Gas Grenades and Standard Issue Armour.
Talents - Armour Buster, Incendiary, Pour it on and Warning Shot

Street Judge Moore - Level:3 Infantry Hero with 5 Experience Points and worth 200 Credits.
Stats - Move 5", Agility +2, Shoot +3, Melee +1, Melee Dice 2D, Will +1, Armour +5, Hits 3.
Equipment - Boot Knife, Daystick, Lawgiver Mk II Pistol, Stumm Gas Grenades and Standard Issue Armour.
Talents - Accurate, Close Combat Shooter, Crackshot and Luck of Grud.

Med Judge Nash - Level:3 Infantry Hero with 4 Experience Points and worth 200 Credits.
Stats - Move 5", Agility +2, Shoot +2, Melee +1, Melee Dice 2D, Will +2, Armour +5, Hits 3.
Equipment - Boot Knife, Medi-Kit, Lawgiver Mk II Pistol and Standard Issue Armour.
Talents - Doctor, First Aid, Medic and Paramedic. 

THE FORCES - JAMES CAAN BLOCK CITI-DEF SOLDIERS
Byron Hazlett - Level:3 Citi-Def Officer Infantry Hero with 4 Experience Points and worth 165 Credits.
Stats - Move 5", Agility +1, Shoot +1, Melee +0, Melee Dice 2D, Will +2, Armour +5, Hits 4.
Equipment - Spit Gun Rifle and Shell Jacket.
Talents - Agile and Quick Dodge.
Special Rules - Rallying Cry and True Leader.

Joe Markowitz - Level:2 Citi-Def Soldier Infantry Hero with 2 Experience Points and worth 205 Credits.
Stats - Move 5", Agility +1, Shoot +2, Melee +1, Melee Dice 2D, Will +1, Armour +5, Hits 3.
Equipment - Spit Gun Rifle, Hand Bombs and Shell Jacket.
Talents - Aim, Frag out and Suppressing Fire.
Special Rule - Trigger Happy.

Nick Lewis - Level:1 Citi-Def Soldier Infantry Hero with 1 Experience Point and worth 150 Credits.
Stats - Move 5", Agility +1, Shoot +2, Melee +1, Melee Dice 2D, Will +0, Armour +5, Hits 2.
Equipment - Spit Gun Rifle and Shell Jacket.
Talents - Aim and Suppressing Fire.
Special Rule - Trigger Happy.

Russ Kokin - Level:1 Citi-Def Soldier Infantry Hero with 1 Experience Point and worth 150 Credits.
Stats - Move 5", Agility +1, Shoot +2, Melee +1, Melee Dice 2D, Will +0, Armour +5, Hits 2.
Equipment - Spit Gun Rifle and Shell Jacket.
Talents - Aim and Suppressing Fire.
Special Rule - Trigger Happy.

Semel Javan - Level:1 Citi-Def Medtech Infantry Hero with 1 Experience Point and worth 105 Credits.
Stats - Move 5", Agility +2, Shoot +0, Melee +0, Melee Dice 2D, Will +2, Armour +4, Hits 2.
Equipment - Spit Gun Rifle, Hand Bombs and Shell Jacket.
Talents - First Aid and Medic.
Special Rule - Lifesaver.

For this scenario, the Justice Department forces totalled 600 Credits and the Citi-Def soldiers totalled 775 Credits. In theory, it should have been a close match, but that did not take into account the number of critical hits that were rolled!
SET UP
I played this scenario on a single 2' by 2' sci-fi battle mat by Battle Systems to represent part of the interior of the James Caan Block. Dave and I quickly put together some interior walls and added various furniture items to many of the rooms.
The three Judges started in the lower south-west corner.
SPECIAL RULES
The five Citi-Def soldiers on this floor are represented by dice, with each number representing one particular character. I knew which numbers corresponded to which characters but Dave, who was controlling the Judges, didn't. This added a degree of uncertainty to the proceedings. Until he drew Line of Sight to a die, he wouldn't know who he was facing. Just out of interest, the numbers were
  1. Nick Lewis - Level:1 Soldier
  2. Joe Markowitz - Level:2 Soldier
  3. Byron Hazlett - Level:3 Officer
  4. Semel Javan - Level:1 Medtech
  5. Russ Kokin - Level:1 Soldier
VICTORY CONDITIONS
The Judges must remove Byron Hazlett from the table, preferably alive. The Citi-Defence soldiers win if they prevent this from happening.




AFTERMATH
This was a fun game that was played in good spirits and much amusement. Dave had never played JDMG before, but the rules are very simple and he quickly picked them up without any difficulty. He also quickly learned the value of being in hard cover for his Judges! It looked like an easy victory for the Judges and it certainly was. That was almost certainly down to Dave's amazing dice rolls. He scored an incredible ten 10s on the night! A roll of 10 is an automatic critical hit, which, if it penetrates, will do double damage. Neither of us could believe Dave's good fortune!
When it came to working out the wounds the Citi-Def lot received, things took a turn for the worse. Both Byron Hazlett and Joe Markowitz, the leader and second in command respectively, were killed outright. Oops! Nick Lewis suffered an injured left leg wound (-1 to his Movement stat), Russ Kokin suffered a crippling left arm wound (-1 to his Agility and Melee Dice stats) and Semel Javan took an injury to his left arm (-1 to his Agility stat). All three served time in the iso-cubes.

Judge Stone earned the following experience points -
+1 for surviving the battle.
+1 for slaying a Level:1 Hero.
This earned him 2 experience points, which took him up to 6. Sadly, this was one short of what he needed to reach Level:4. Bad luck, Dave! However, do read the conclusions below!

Judge Moore did exceedingly well. He earned -
+1 for surviving the battle.
+3 for slaying a Level:3 Hero.
+2 for slaying two Level:1 Heroes.
This earned him 6 experience points, enough to raise him to Level:5. However, a character can only advance one level at a time, so he rose to Level:4 with 10 experience points, just one point short of Level:5. He added +1 to his Will score, bringing it up to +2 and +1 to his Hits, bringing them up to 5. He also acquired a new Talent from the Punk Breaker list - Voice of Justice, which allows him to re-roll a failed arrest attempt. He has obviously been taking lessons from Judge Scott.  His credits score increased by +25 to 225.

Med-Judge Nash earned the following experience points -
+1 for surviving the battle.
+2 for slaying a Level:2 Hero.
This earned him 3 experience points, bringing him up to 7, which was just enough to make it to Level:4. He added +1 to his Movement score, bringing it up to 6", so that he can reach wounded colleagues quicker, and +1 to his Hits, bringing them up to 5. He also acquired a new Talent from the Gunslinger list - Accurate, which allows him to re-roll a failed 1D Shoot attempt. His credits score increased by +25 to 225.

CONCLUSIONS
So, was Byron Hazlett innocent or guilty? After an extensive search into his past history, it was determined that he was innocent of any wrongdoing and if had surrendered to the Judges instead of shooting at them, he would have been released without charge. However, when the Judges turned their investigation over to Joe Markowitz they discovered an entirely different story. It was he who "misappropriated" the crate of Spit Guns and it was he who sold them on to a certain "Mr. Johnson". It seemed that Markowitz was in the pocket of the Mob and a search of his financial records uncovered a number of other illegal dealings he was directly involved in. He got his comeuppance in the end but purely because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The other point I want to cover is why all three Judges didn't level up in this scenario. It certainly could have happened. When Russ Kokin shot and wounded Judge Moore that ended Turn 3. At the start of Turn 4 Dave could have chosen any of his three Judges to act first. If Judge Stone acted first he would have almost certainly shot and KO'd Kokin, thus getting the extra experience point he needed to level up. But Dave acted very selflessly and said it just made sense that Judge Moore would lash out at the perp who had just shot him and act first. So, it was Judge Moore who got the last available experience point, even though he didn't need it. It was wasted on him because he was already at the maximum experience points he could attain at Level:4. I have to applaud Dave for such a sporting gesture. Simon, you owe him one!
The campaign is starting to gel really well, and I like how the scenarios are starting to link together. We haven't seen the last of the mysterious "Mr. Johnson" or indeed, Malexica the Necromancer. Hopefully in my next scenario I'll get to feature Judges Burnett, Huntsman and Webb and see if I can get them advanced to Level:4.