Sunday 28 February 2016

Vampifan's Views 76 - Monthly Musings 51

I start with another painting of Vampirella by the extremely talented Joe Jusko. She looks ravishing!

I have a bit of bad news to report. My camera has died. I had a Nikon D40 digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera and after ten years of faithful use it has ceased to function and shed its mortal coil. Photography is such an important part of my hobby and I need a decent camera for my blog. So, I have ordered a new one from Amazon UK. This time I'm going for a Canon EOS 1200D digital SLR camera. I've used cameras by Canon and Nikon before and I wouldn't dream of buying anything else. It has cost me £225, which is a lot of money but that is reduced from £400, which was a hell of a saving. Plus, this model is the #1 best seller for cameras on Amazon. I'm hoping it won't take me too long to get used to it as I have a stack of photos I need to take. I was expecting it to arrive yesterday but it didn't. Hopefully, I'll get it early next week. It's just as well that I'm very patient.

My painting mojo is at a peak at the moment. Here is a list of all of the figures I have painted this month -
  1. 3 Ainsty Weird Wild West Heroes
  2. 3 Ainsty Weird Wild West Villains (vampire, werewolf and zombie)
  3. 4 Assorted contemporary sheriff and deputies (for Scooby Doo)
  4. 7 Crooked Dice Games coppers (6 male, 1 female)
  5. 5 Crooked Dice Games detectives
  6. 2 Crooked Dice Games gang bosses
  7. 4 Crooked Dice Games guard dogs
  8. 1 Crooked Dice Games 3rd Doctor Who (aka Jon Pertwee)
  9. 1 Crooked Dice Games April O'Neil conversion (friend of the TMNT)
  10. 1 Mantic Games Splinter (mentor of the TMNT)
  11. 4 My Way Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  12. 6 Zombicide: Black Plague Survivors
  13. 11 Zombicide: Black Plague Zombies (includes the Necromancer)
Quite a haul, huh? 52 figures in just one month! All of them need photographing so this really was a bad time to lose my camera. Plus, I now have all the figures that I need for my first 7TV2e batrep fully painted. I'm itching to get that game played as soon as possible. I plan on running The Ambush scenario with characters from 7TV2e's very own cop show, The Beat, hence all of the cops and crooks I've been painting. I have also bought a few vehicles to use in this batrep and future ones. I am busy painting two Crooked Dice Games resin cast Ford Transit vans, one as a police van and the other as a generic white van. I'm not bothered if I don't finish painting them in time for my batrep as I have alternative die-cast vehicles I can use. Indeed, I recently placed an order on eBay for the Ashes to Ashes vehicles set, featuring DCI Gene Hunt's red Audi Quattro and a Ford Grenada 2.8 police car. You can buy them from a number of sellers for about £25 instead of £40. Perfect for a UK-based 7TV2e cop show!
"Fire up the Quattro!"

With all of the painting I've been doing there has been less time left for gaming. However I still managed to play a few more games of Ninja All Stars and Zombicide: Black Plague. Gaming is back down to one game per week, despite my hope to play twice weekly, but I'm okay with that. More time spent painting means I'm reducing my unpainted figures mountain. Yay me! Currently on my painting table are 10 EM4 pre-painted Wild West figures (I just need to texture and paint their bases), 7 assorted dogs by various companies and an SDE Chibi figure of Vampirella that I converted, following on from a suggestion by Jez. After that lot I'll either paint some more of my Zombicide: Black Plague zombies or make a start on some of my Rum 'n' Bones pirates.

I do hope I can show some of my newly painted figures next time. If not, I have a few filler posts planned instead. Tune in next Wednesday.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Zombicide Zombies - Season 2 Berserker Female Walkers 02

My second post reviewing the female Berserker Zombies brings to a close my reviews of all the Berserker Zombies for the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak supplement. These figures are not former prison inmates but former prison guards and one fast food restaurant server.
The four figures shown directly above and below are from the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak supplement. At the far right is my second fast food restaurant server. She will accompany the male employee I showed earlier. She has not been converted but her colour scheme makes her look very different to the others in this group.
The two zombie prison guards in the centre have not been converted either, however, I did add a spare severed arm I had to the base of the one second from the right. As you know, I like cutting limbs off and I always keep them. Speaking of cutting body parts off, the Berserker Zombie at the far right has had her right hand cut off.
These three female Berserker Zombies came from the Box of Zombies - Set 3: Angry Zombies. All three have been converted. I decided that I wanted a couple of them armed, even though they no longer know how to use weapons. It just looks cool. So I added a Truncheon to the one at the far left and a Pump-Action Shotgun to the one in the centre. Both weapons came from a box of Wargames Factory Survivors.
For the Zombie at the far right, I drilled a few small holes into her chest and upper right arm, but none of them have penetrated all the way through the body, suggesting they were low calibre bullets that hit her.
It is always immensely satisfying when a painting project comes to a close. I'm very pleased with just how many zombies I have painted for Zombicide and its first two supplements, Prison Outbreak and Toxic City Mall. I still have few more normal Zombies to paint for the original set, and all of my zombies for the Angry Neighbors and Rue Morgue supplements. So, still lots more to do but I'm slowly getting there.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Zombicide Zombies - Season 2 Berserker Female Walkers 01

My last group of Berserker Zombies to show you from the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak set are the female Walkers. For some reason, they outnumber the male Berserker Zombies. I'll start with this lot, all of whom were prison inmates.
The four female Berserker Walkers shown directly above came from the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak supplement. The two at the left of the group are straight from the box sculpts. I gave them differing colours for their hair and panties.
For the two at the right of the group I drilled a hole through the chest of one to show she had been shot. There is a massive exit wound between her shoulder blades. For the female Walker at the far right I chopped off her left arm just above the elbow. Again, they have different coloured hair and panties.
These three female Berserker Walkers came from the Box of Zombies - Set 3: Angry Zombies. They are based on the sculpts shown above and all three have been converted by me.
The one at the far left has had her left arm repositioned so that her hand is clutching at her stomach. The Walker in the centre has been shot in the neck, as shown by the hole I drilled through her. Finally, the female at the far right has had my trademark guts spilling from a huge stomach wound conversion done to her.
These five female Berserker Walkers are unique sculpts not found in the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak boxed set. The three at the left of the group came from the Box of Zombies - Set 3: Angry Zombies, whilst the two at the right were free stretch goals I received for backing the Zombicide Season 2 Kickstarter project. The female Berserker Walker at the far left has had her left arm repositioned so it is pointing down more than usual. Note the large bite on her upper left arm, which I made to make the bending of the limb that much easier. The next Walker in line has had her left arm bitten off. The wound is far too ragged to be a clean cut from a sword or axe. This was achieved by adding and shaping a very small amount of Milliput.
The remaining three female Berserker Walker Zombies have not been converted at all. The one in the centre looks like she is stuffing her intestines back inside her stomach but this is just done by a clever piece of painting. Ditto for the Walker to her left. For the two females at the far right I decided to cover up their bare breasts and gave them short wraparound tops. It was difficult to decide if these females should be bare breasted or not. On the one hand, none of them show any nipples. I had to paint them on. However, neither are there any obvious marks to show them wearing any form of clothing on their upper bodies. So what to do? To bare or not to bare? Nudity doesn't bother me so I favoured the topless option in most cases. Your tastes may differ.
Next time - female prison guards and another fast food restaurant employer. No nudity either!

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Zombicide Zombies - Season 2 Berserker Male Walkers 02

Here are the second batch of my male Berserker Walkers from the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak supplement. Not only are there prisoners but also prison guards, which makes a nice change.
The five Berserker Walkers shown directly above and below are not from the Prison Outbreak set. Instead, the three at the left, came from the Angry Zombies Box of Zombies set and the other two were free stretch goals I received for backing Zombicide Season 2 on Kickstarter.
I am quite surprised to see that I have only converted one of them - the zombie at the far left. He has had his left arm cut off just above the elbow. The other four differ by their hair colours and where I have added the gore effects. I assume that because I painted these five in two different batches I must have overlooked the fact that only one had been converted. Ah, well, such is life.
Still sticking with the prison theme, we now come to the prison guards. Looking at their uniforms I was immediately inspired to paint one of them up as a fast food restaurant server. So, there he is at the far left of this group, dressed in his red and white uniform. See how a simple change of colours transforms him.
Of the other three, only the Walker at the far right has been converted. I first cut off his left hand, then I drilled a small entry hole in his neck and a larger exit wound in his back, indicating he has been shot from above. The bullet, on a downward trajectory, entered his neck before expanding and exiting out of the centre of his back between his shoulder blades.

Rather spookily, this is the 666th post of my blog which began just short of 8 years ago! It's the number of the beast! In hindsight I should have marked it with some sort of special celebration or competition. Oops!

Sunday 14 February 2016

Zombicide Zombies - Season 2 Berserker Male Walkers 01

I have quite a lot of Berserker Walkers from the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak supplement to show, so let's start with this lot. These seven figures are all identical sculpts, which is why so many of them have been converted.
The four shown directly above and below are from the Prison Outbreak boxed set and have had the least amount of conversion work done to them. The two  Berserker Walkers at the far left have not been converted at all. It is only my paintwork that makes them different.
For the Berserker Walker second from the right, I added a baseball cap from one of the prison guards to his base. You can see it better in the first picture. The zombie at the far right has had his left hand chopped off, which wasn't an easy conversion as the hand was flush against his leg and required a bit of fiddly cutting to remove.
These three male Berserker Walkers came from the Angry Zombies: Box of Zombies set, which contains three new Berserker Zombie sculpts (a male Fatty, a male Walker and a female Walker). All three have been converted. The zombie at the far left has also had his left hand cut off but in addition, he has had a hole drilled into his neck (for a gunshot wound) and half of his face has been chewed off.
The Berserker Walker in the centre of this trio has been shot with an assault rifle or sub machine gun across his chest as you can see by the row of bullet wounds I drilled into him. The Berserker Walker at the far right is holding onto his intestines to stop them from spilling out of a huge wound in his stomach. The intestines aren't that noticeable but I assure you they are there. I probably added too much Tamiya Clear Red to them!
More male Berserker Walkers next time including a few that aren't former prisoners.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

7TV 2nd Edition

For a long time now I have thought about buying the 7TV skirmish war-gaming rules produced by Crooked Dice Games (CDG). I have bought quite a lot of figures from CDG over the past few years and I really like them but I kept putting off buying the rules. Things changed earlier this year when 7TV 2nd Edition (7TV2e) was released. Spurred on by excellent reviews by bloggers like Blaxkleric and Brummie (aka the two Simons), I finally relented and sent away for the starter boxed set last week. Two days later it arrived!
The front cover of the new boxed set.
Department X boxed set. Not painted by me.
I also ordered the Department X boxed set of 12 figures at the same time. In hindsight I should have ordered an extra set of counters and tokens but I'll add them to my next order. The Department X set consists of Dr. Hugo Solomon (who is instantly recognisable as Jon Pertwee in his role as the third Doctor Who), Pandora King (aka Emma Peel from the Avengers (UK series, not the Marvel superheroes)) and 10 Department X Commandos including a heavy weapons team. I mainly wanted this set for the figure of Pandora King, who I've converted into April O'Neil, the reporter friend of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So why didn't I just buy her separately? Well, she is currently out of stock as a single figure option. Not that I minded because the other figures are very useful.
So, for those not in the know, what is 7TV2e all about? This is a simple skirmish game designed to recreate classic spy and sci-fi films and TV series from the 1960's and 1970's, or you can come up with your own ideas of appropriate genre TV shows or films. Films like Austin Powers, Ghostbusters, and James Bond, and TV series such as Captain Scarlet, Department S, Doctor Who, Scooby Doo, Space 1999, The Avengers, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Sweeney heavily influence the game. Fans of any of these classic shows will recognise many of the figures that CDG use for 7TV2e. To avoid copyright problems, CDG created their own fictional studio, 7TV, which made such cult TV series as AKA, A.R.C., Department X, The Beat, The Daredevils and The Man From 2000.
Film and TV terms abound in the game. The player characters and non-player characters (heroes and villains) are defined as Stars, Co-Stars or Extras. Combined, these make up your Cast. A single game is an Episode, split into three parts - Act 1, Act 2 and Finale. A campaign would be a Series.
The game length is determined by a deck of Countdown cards split up into the three Acts of the Episode. Players draw 1 or 2 cards per turn until the deck runs out, indicating the end of that Episode. Episodes can also end if one side is wiped out or loses more than half its cast. The Countdown cards vary from Act to Act. In Act 1 they mainly focus on movement, whilst in Act 2 the focus shifts to attacking the opposition. In the finale, anything can happen! Games are best played on an area 4 feet square but this can vary up or down.
Cast members are either heroes, villains or neutral and all come with their own Profile cards. Each cast member costs a number of Ratings Value points, which are usually 9 or 10 for Stars, 5 or 6 for Co-Stars and under 5 for Extras. The stats of Stars and Co-Stars can be changed if you want to alter any to come up with how you feel that cast member should appear. Changes will invariably alter the Ratings Value.
Game play is simple and the rules themselves are easy to learn. Obviously, the more figures you use in an Episode, the longer it will take to complete. But there is no limit to the size of your cast providing heroes and villains share the same overall Ratings Value. A starter cast might be 20 Ratings, a small cast 30 Ratings, a standard cast 50 Ratings and an epic cast might be 100 Ratings.
Activated characters can take any two of the following actions per turn - Move, Strike, Special or Free. Move is obviously movement, which also includes changing facing; Strike can be a Melee action or a Shoot action; Special includes anything not covered by Move or Strike, such as administering first aid or picking up an objective. Free actions do not count towards your limit of two actions per turn. They cover things like making a statistic test, using a star quality or a gadget.
Both sides acquire Plot Points at the start of every turn, which can be used to activate a character or group of characters, enhance combat rolls, use some of their special effects or gadgets, or to recover from a debilitating status. Unused Plot Points can be carried over from turn to turn.
At the end of a game, both sides add up their Victory Points total and the side with the highest score wins.
I am very much looking forward to playing 7TV2e and already I am thinking up scenario ideas and Casts I want to use. Seeing as my blog is primarily dedicated to the undead, is there an option for including undead creatures in 7TV2e? Yes, there is, although not in the basic set. To date, there are three supplements available for 7TV2e, all of which are downloadable PDF files. These are guides for using characters from Ghostbusters, Scooby Doo and Star Wars. The Ghostbusters guide costs £3, but the other two are free. Ghostbusters includes stats for zombies. Hopefully, further undead types will be covered in future supplements.

The basic boxed set costs £50 and contains the following items -
The Director's Guide (the core rules of the game)
The Producer's Guide (rules for building a cast, customising Stars and Co-Stars as well as 6 scenarios)
2 decks of Profile cards (heroes and villains)
45 Countdown cards
20 Gadget cards
20 Plot Point tokens
27 Status and Objective counters
A Blast and Flame-thrower template
A pewter 28mm scale Maguffin figure (it's a TV set used as a vital objective)
6 six-sided dice
I know nothing about the rules for the first edition of 7TV, which I've been told is a good thing as I don't have to unlearn them to play 7TV2e. This is a game that looks like a lot of fun to play and if you want to check it out further take a look at Blaxkleric's first 7TV2e batrep here.

Saturday 6 February 2016

Zombicide Zombies - Season 2 Berserker Runners 02

Looking at the four photos I'm showing here, you could be forgiven in thinking that they are the same as the four photos I showed in my previous post. But look closely and you'll see the differences. This is the second half of my 2 part review of the Berserker Zombie Runners from the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak supplement.
All eight Berserker Zombie Runners shown here have been converted by swapping their upper bodies and lower bodies around. For most, this was good enough for me to make them look (slightly) different to the eight I showed last time.
A select few had additional conversions done to them, like the one second from the left has had a couple of holes drilled through his left shoulder and upper chest to indicate gunshot wounds.
Also, when I glued the two body halves together (I made my cuts at the waist) I slightly altered how the two halves met. This is a subtle change, but it helps make each zombie unique.
For the Runner second from the left, I converted his bandana into a head band made of Milliput. The Runner who is second from the right has been shot twice in the torso by a higher calibre bullet to the similarly shot zombie shown previously. I simply used a wider drill bit on him. Giving them all different hair colours, as well as making a couple of them bald, also helps to further differentiate them.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Zombicide Zombies - Season 2 Berserker Runners 01

I'll continue my review of the Berserker Zombies from the Zombicide: Prison Outbreak expansion set with part 1 of a 2 part look at the Runners. These were all former prison inmates, hence their orange jumpsuits.
Berserker Zombie Runners are every bit as nasty as other types of Zombie Runners in that they get two Actions per Turn, but they have an advantage in that they can only be killed by melee weapons or ranged weapons that affect all figures in a Zone (like Molotov Cocktails of Flame-throwers). This makes them especially dangerous.
Three of the four Berserker Runners shown above have not been converted. Their main differences is that they have different coloured bandanas. The Runner third from the left has suffered three gunshot wounds to his chest and back. I simply drilled three holes through his body to represent the wounds - a very simple but effective conversion.
The first two Berserker Runners in the photo above are straight from the box and unconverted. I gave them different hair colours.
The two Berserker Runners to the right are conversions. The second from right Zombie has been badly wounded in the stomach, causing his intestines to start spilling out. They were made from rolled up strips of Milliput. The Runner at the far right had his left arm hacked off. These are all simple conversions and help to individualise the group by making them not be clones of one another. I like my Zombies to look unique.