Sunday, 28 January 2018

Vampifans Views 102 - Monthly Musings 73

Derrik and Mavis - my parents - much loved and much missed.
Somehow it seemed inappropriate starting this Monthly Musings with a picture of Vampirella, so I begin with this photo of my mum and dad, both now sadly departed. No doubt they are now reunited in Heaven and I'm sure they are looking down on me. In some ways losing my mum was a shock, because the last time I saw her she was in such good spirits and very much looking forward to getting back home. Sadly, on the day she was due to be discharged, she passed away. It all happened so suddenly. Thankfully she went peacefully in her sleep and the cause of death was recorded as frailty of old age. That was a blessing as I would not have wanted her to suffer. But, she had been very ill this past year so I was fully expecting her to die and was prepared for it. When she was admitted into hospital in December she was suffering from pneumonia and I did not think she'd make it. But she did, and she made a good recovery. There was no indication that her health would fail so rapidly. Within half an hour of receiving the phone call that she was seriously ill, she passed away. I would have liked to have been with her in her final moments but on the other hand I'm pleased that my last memory of seeing her alive was a happy one. That is how I want to remember her. The funeral won't be until mid-February. I'd have preferred it to be sooner but it can't be helped. I am coping well. The support from my friends and neighbours has been a great comfort to me, and once again, thank you for all your messages of sympathy. Living on my own has now become the norm for me. As mum spent most of the last year in hospital I have grown used to being on my own. That said, I will still miss her.

Life goes on and I have been keeping myself very busy, when not dealing with real life issues, with my hobby. I am now back to blogging. Yay! I have had quite a productive month. I have been making lots of sci-fi scenery items for the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game, Necromunda and my The Ace of Spades Campaign. On the figure painting front, I have just finished painting my new House Goliath gang for Necromunda. I was going to paint my House Escher gang straight after them but they got pushed back in order to make way for two dozen figures I bought to use in my The Ace of Spades Campaign.
I have been thinking for some time that I need multiple figures to represent the crew of The Ace of Spades. I have been specifically looking for space-suited versions of them without much joy, when quite by accident I stumbled across a set of three figures produced by Black Hat Miniatures - COBM25 Female Troopers in Spacesuits. They just looked perfect for what I wanted. Here they are to the right. With a bit of conversion work I could make each one unique, and that is what I have done. As soon as I finish painting them I'll showcase them on my WOIN blog. I need these real soon for my next scenario, Alien Base, which is set on a world with a methane atmosphere. Even though I wanted 12 figures to represent the non-android members of The Ace of Spades crew, I ordered five sets of them to give me a better selection of choice to match the space-suited figure with their casual clothing counterpart. Conversions have been done and they're getting painted now.

I seem to be concentrating on three projects at once - my The Ace of Spades Campaign, Necromunda and Weird West. For Weird West, which includes Dracula's America, High Moon and Shadows of Brimstone, I have bought a lot of 4Ground Wild West buildings, thanks to Colonel Bill's having an excellent sale on them during December and January. The service from them was first rate. Once I get them all built I'll finally be able to post some Weird West batreps. Up till now, the only thing holding me back was a lack of scenery. That is no longer a problem. I have also bought a fair few new Shadows of Brimstone figures thanks to some excellent deals on eBay. I also received the first supplement for Dracula's America called Hunting Grounds. I haven't read it yet but it does look good. To coincide with its release North Star offered a bundle of new figures to go with it - Tong Assassins, Plains Indians Skinwalkers and 7th Cavalry. I have ordered them and I'm expecting them in the next day or two. So, I have plenty to keep me busy. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Thanks for reading and take care.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Vampifan's Views 101 - Sad News

I am deeply saddened to have to announce that my mum passed away this morning. In many ways, it was a blessing in disguise as she had spent more time in hospital than at home this past year. Her quality of life had deteriorated to the point where she was just existing, not living. Now, at least, she is at peace. I have been expecting this moment to happen for quite a while now. I am okay but you will understand if I take a short break from blogging whilst I sort out the funeral arrangements and all the other things that need doing. I'll still reply to your blogs. Having something like my hobby to focus on will be a welcome distraction from the harsh realities of real life and give me a much needed break.

Take care and never take your parents for granted.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

MC1 Perps - The Brotherhood of the Sump

As I gear up to prepare for my next Judge Dredd Miniatures Game scenario, I thought I'd show you an old street gang of mine that I made many years ago. These are the Brotherhood of the Sump - part cultists, part toxic waste survivors and all round bad asses. The sump in their title refers to the devastated area of Mega City One they come from - a bombed out wasteland known as Sumptown - and has nothing to do with the late Otto Sump. It is one of the many slum areas of MC1 still waiting to be redeveloped.
At the left of the photo above is the leader of the gang - Father Mephisto - a Level 4 Punk Infantry Hero. He is armed with a Laser Rifle and a Knife. He has five Talents - Accurate, Brave, Luck of Grud, Skilled and Deadly and Voice of Command. He costs 245 Credits. All Brotherhood of the Sump gangers are equipped with Respirators and Rad-Robes, which offers a lowly +1 armour protection and helps them avoid radiation sickness. Rad-Robes cost 5 Credits and are something I added to the game.
Next up are the gang's two heavy weapons specialists - Dagoth and Gorath. They are both Level:2 Punk Infantry Heroes and they have identical weapons and stats. They armed with Heavy Spit Guns and they have three Talents - Brave, Maximum Firepower and On Their Knees. They cost 195 Credits each.
The rank and file footsloggers of the gang are these four Level:1 Punk Infantry Heroes. From left to right are Ikthalon, Zallatou, Kierrok and Karathos.
They, too, have identical weapons and stats. They are all armed with Long Rifles and their two Talents are Aim and Brave. They each cost 115 Credits.
Finally, are three Level 0 Punk Minions, named from left to right as Ikonn, Belthauzer and Shumal. Note that there are no Juves in this gang, only Punks.
They are armed with Handgun Pistols and they cost 55 Credits each. The gang has a total rating of 1,260 Credits.
All of these figures were sculpted by me around about 1990. They are based on the Cultist Gang shown below, who were a set of 20mm scale figures produced by Games Workshop for the Dark Future game - their version of Car Wars, also set in a near future post apocalyptic world. Dark Future came out in 1988. GW produced some really cool figures for this range but the fact that they were 20mm scale really irked me. Yes, they fit in well with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, but I wish they'd produced them in 28mm scale. At that time, I made quite a few 28mm scale copies of the figures from this range. For this gang, I also added some new sculpts of my own, most notably, the leader, Father Mephisto, whose Laser Rifle came from a plastic House Goliath ganger from the original Necromunda game.
This photo was taken from the Internet and is included just to show you how close my copies are to the original sculpts.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

MC1 Robots 05

Last year I backed a Kickstarter ran by Mega Miniatures for a whole load of 28mm scale robot figures. My main reason for getting them was to use in my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game. As it happens, I need these figures for another game - my The Ace of Spades Campaign that I'm running on my WOIN blog. These will play a major part in the campaign's second scenario, Alien Base, which I'll be posting soon.
Another reason for backing this Kickstarter, was that Johnny Lauck, who ran Mega Miniatures was closing down the company in late 2017. Whilst he was planning to sell many of his moulds to other companies, I didn't want to miss out on the chance of getting so many great robot figures for a decent price whilst they were on offer. Plus I've always found Johnny to be very friendly to deal with, having made numerous purchases from him in the past.
These six robots were listed as Large Tracked War Bots and they are multi-part kits with each one comprising seven parts - two tracks, lower body, upper body, head and two arms.
All of the lower bodies are identical. The tracks were split into left side and right side. There was an option for buying Bipedal War Bots that came with legs instead of the tracks but I much preferred the tracked versions. The upper bodies came in two versions and there were three types of head.
In addition, this set came with 13 different weapon arms, so you can immediately see there is loads of room for customisation. The weapon that I omitted was a huge cannon, about two inches long that just looked vastly over-sized on these robots. Each one stands roughly 30mm tall.
I painted them in Foundry Storm Green 27 to give them the look of military combat robots. In the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game, they would be classed as Combat Droids. I have covered the stats for them in an earlier post. These figures will fit in perfectly in a Judge Dredd game and should provide very tough opposition for a force of Judges.
In my N.E.W. scenario, Alien Base, I need 24 of these as defenders of the base. However, they are split up onto the four different levels of the base and so six should be sufficient for me to use at one time. If I do need all 24 at once then things have gone catastrophically wrong for my crew!
I end with an overhead group shot of the six robots. I think they are fantastic little models and I look forward to using them. I do hope that some other company acquires the moulds for them and gets them into production once more. This set of six models cost me $50.00.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Printed Hayland Terrain 3D Scenery Items 01

Late last year, I mentioned that my brother, Mikey, had been printing out some 28mm scale scenery items for me on his 3D printer. A few of you expressed an interest in seeing what he did for me and so in this post I'll show you my recent acquisitions, courtesy of my very talented brother. He is far more tech savvy than I'll ever be! Note that he printed them out in a lurid green colour. I didn't mind what colour he used because I knew I'd be painting them. The transformation from unpainted to painted is remarkable. Next time I do one of these posts I'll show you the printouts in their natural state.
These items are from the first Hayland Terrain Kickstarter set, which mainly concentrated on modern day furniture items. The basic pledge of £40.00 netted you over 230 different models, which works out at about 17 pence each. This particular set was an optional add-on - the sci-fi generators and powercells set. It was the first set that I asked my brother to print out for me. Note that I have only shown a few of the powercells he printed out. He printed four large cells and eight small cells. They are stackable.
The set came with two sizes of generator - large and small. I asked Mikey to print out one large one and two smaller ones. Note that to customise them further, I have added control panels to them, taken from my Battle Systems Sci-fi Terrain sets. If I hadn't told you, I doubt if you'd have noticed. To me, they really make them look a lot better and they blend in seamlessly.
As you can see, the two generators are identical in all respects except size. Whilst the set did come with the two variants of the generator, it should be noted that one of the cool features of a 3D printer is that you can rescale objects to print them out to whatever size you want, given the constraints of your printing area.
 I painted them in the three shades of Foundry Gunmetal 104 with a wash of Citadel Nuln Oil.
 To add a splash of colour to them, I painted the hexagonal lights in Foundry Vivid Blue 22
To give you a sense of scale to these items, in this photo I have added my 28mm scale figure of Vampifan. I have to admit that I am very happy with these. Once they are painted, they do look superb. Look out for these appearing in the engine room of The Ace of Spades on my WOIN blog and possibly in other sci-fi games.
From another Hayland Terrain Kickstarter (I have backed all of his terrain Kickstarters so far), I got a number of sets designed for Wild West games. This particular set was from the Forge. It consists of, from left to right, a tool cabinet, a water bucket, an anvil, a forge with fire and bellows, and a coal bucket. Once again, the paintwork really brings them to life. I'll be adding these to my Sarissa MDF Blacksmith's model, once I get it painted. Vampifan appears again just to show you how big these scenery items are.
I have a whole load of furniture items I want printing but I'm a patient person and I don't want to overwhelm Mikey with my wish list, so I send him a few files at a time for him to print out when he has a moment to spare. The hardest part for me is prioritising which items I want printing first, given that I have such a huge backlog of items. Regarding the painting of them, they painted really well. I under-coated them in matt black primer, then just painted them as normal. No problem!
3D printing hasn't taken off yet but I'm sure it will. This post just gives a small insight into what can be done, but really, the sky is the limit. From what I've seen so far, 3D printing excels at scenery items but is not so good for printing out miniature figures. Mikey has printed out a few 28mm scale figures for me, some which I will show you, but they are just okay. Unfortunately they lack detail on their faces, which can look very indistinct. But, it is still early days and I'm sure it won't be too long before that hurdle is surmounted and we can get crisp, finely detailed figures. Just look at the way plastic figures are produced nowadays compared to those of twenty years ago.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Hondo City Judges 01

Up until now I have only showed you the Judges from Mega City One. Every large nation on Earth has their own forces of Judges and I do own a lot of them. My two largest forces after the MC1 Judges are those belonging to the East Meg and Brit City. They will be appearing in future posts as I still haven't finished painting all of them. However, I can show you my fourth largest judicial force and they are the Judges of Hondo City. Covering most of Japan, Hondo City is one of the most technologically advanced Mega-Cities on the planet, and it has Judges to match. Constantly battling corruption from within from Yakuza infiltrators, Hondo City Judges are exceptional law-keepers.
I start with two versions of Judge Inspector Aiko Inaba. The one at the far left was produced by Wargames Foundry and the one next to her, by Warlord Games. A female Judge from a city that ignores women, Aiko Inaba has proved herself the equal of any other in Hondo City. Recently accepted into the ranks as Judge-Inspector, Inaba has already hit the Yakuza crime syndicates hard, and has travelled to Mega City One to hunt down international contacts. She has worked with Judge Dredd both at home and abroad. In the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game she is a Level:4 Infantry Hero with the following Talents - Academy Star, Agile, Black Belt Martial Artist, Head-breaking, Martial Artist, Parry and Skilled and Deadly. Note that Hondo City Judges get the Martial Artist and Skilled and Deadly Talents for free. The Foundry version of her is armed with a Katana and a Tendo Stave, which resembles Nunchakus, whilst the Warlord Games version is armed with a Laser-Shuriken Launcher and a Tendo stave. She costs 260 Credits to hire.
At the right are two standard Hondo City Judges, both produced by Warlord Games. The one at the far right has been converted as I gently twisted his arms at the elbows into new positions. They are armed with a Laser-Shuriken Launcher and Tendo Stave. The Laser-Shuriken Launcher is a nasty weapon with the following stats - Range 12", Shooting Dice 3D, Damage 1, AP-5 and the Blast Special Rule. These are Level:1 Infantry Heroes and they cost 175 Credits to hire.
Unfortunately none of these figures are available for sale as they are all out of production. I do hope the Warlord Games versions reappear when they relaunch their 2000 AD figures range.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

MC1 Assorted Judges 01

It has been a while since I posted anything for the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game but that does not mean I have forgotten about it. A new batrep will be coming soon as I continue my campaign. I'm looking forward to using my new Battle Systems Sci-fi Terrain sets to recreate parts of Mega City One. In addition, I have been collecting some new figures for the game and painting more of my current collection of figures. In this post I want to showcase an assortment of MC1 Judges that I have acquired this past year. What they all have in common is that they are limited edition figures and I feel very lucky to own them all.
At the far left is Judge Harry Heston, an ape Judge who was part of an experiment wherein the Justice Department was looking for more diversity with its Street Judges. The project was short-lived and never really took off. Heston is an intelligent gorilla who only appeared very briefly in the comic series. The figure is a very limited edition casting sculpted by Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop. Dave very kindly gifted me this figure. The figure came with a choice of two right hands - one holding a Lawgiver Mk.2 Pistol, and the other a long Day-stick. I opted for the Lawgiver because he can do more damage with that than a Day-stick. I have to say, this is one of Dave's finest sculpts.
Next in line is Judge Dredd 04 by Wargames Foundry. Yes, this is the fourth version of Dredd that they made, and whilst not the best, he's not the worst either. Just before Foundry ceased production of their entire range of 2000AD figures they added a couple of new figures to the range. This version of Dredd was one of them and a rather spiffy Don Uggie Apelino was the other. I bought them both a couple of days before their sale ended, thus giving me their complete range of 2000AD figures. I will be using this figure as a generic Street Judge in my JDMG campaign. Note that he is armed with the Mk.1 Lawgiver Pistol. He is a good sculpt but his shoulder pads are far too big! Compare them to the next two figures who are more accurately portrayed.
The Judge with the Scattergun was produced by Warlord Games, available only if you bought the JDMG rulebook and Blood on the Streets supplement together. Also in this deal was a limited edition female ganger. When this offer was made I already had both books, so I figured I'd never get either figure. But, fortunately for me, the two figures came up for sale on eBay and I successfully bid for them. I can't tell you how delighted I was to scoop them. It is nice to have a Street Judge armed with something different to a Lawgiver Pistol, although he still has his Lawgiver in his boot holster.
Last in line is another rare figure. This one was produced by Mantic Games as a Kickstarter exclusive referee for their Dreadball game. Once again, I acquired mine from eBay but this time with the "Buy Now" option. He only cost me £3.50, which was an absolute bargain. Because he is so small and slim I have converted him into a Rookie Judge. He is, in fact, my only Rookie Judge. You can identify a Rookie Judge by his chest badge, which is cut in half down the middle. Oddly enough, in JDMG, the stats for a Cadet Judge and a Rookie Judge are identical. Whilst Warlord Games did produce figures for Cadet Judges they ignored Rookie Judges. I simply took a craft knife to the chest badge of this figure and cut it in half to convert the figure into a proper Rookie Judge.
All in all, these are great additions to my growing force of Mega City One Judges.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Dracula's America Skinwalkers Faction 01

When Dracula's America was first published last year, there was only one Skinwalker faction figure produced for it, which seemed like a gross oversight, as the other five starting factions were well catered for with figures. Now, thankfully, the balance has been restored and North Star Miniatures have added a range of Apache Indians to use as the Skinwalker faction.
At the far left is the official Skinwalker shape-shifter. I showed him in an earlier post, but have included him here as he now comes with the rest of this posse. A Skinwalker posse may have two shape-shifter figures in its group. They can transform into either a bear or a wolf, but after they transform for the first time, that choice cannot be changed. I go into a lot more detail about him in my previous post here -
The other three figures in this photo are normal Apache Indians. From left to right they are armed with a tomahawk and holstered pistol, a rifle and at the far right, with a pistol and knife.
Next up are four more standard Apache braves armed in a similar manner to three above - pistol and knife, pistol and tomahawk, another pistol and tomahawk and single rifle respectively.
Looking at these figures there is nothing about them that makes them stand out as being supernatural. This means they could very easily be used as Apache Indians in a "normal" Wild West game. This set of eight 28mm scale figures (they are true 28mm scale) can be purchased as set DRAC207 Skinwalker Posse for £22.50 from the North Star webstore. Coincidentally, there is a Plains Indian version of the Skinwalker faction coming out soon. Here's a sneak preview of them.
I'll definitely be buying them as soon as they go on sale. By the way, if anyone wants the original Skinwalker figure, drop me a line and I'll send him off to you free of charge. First come, first served.