Monday 31 October 2016

Vampifan's Views 85 - Monthly Musings 59

As October closes on one of my favourite days of the year - Halloween, I start as usual, with a stunning portrait of Vampirella painted by Joe Jusko. This painting is a particular favourite of mine. I have a small (10" tall) cardboard cut-out of Vampirella based on this particular painting. I bought it years ago and it still stands on one of my bookshelves in my bedroom. This painting shows Vampirella on her home world of Drakulon, where rivers of blood flowed freely. She is reclining in a waterfall of blood, which some may find disturbing... but not me!

I have a lot to say this month, so I'll start by telling you what I have been doing. I have been playing a few practice games of Shadows of Brimstone, as I familiarise myself with the rules before I post my first batrep for the game. I made a few mistakes, which is only to be expected but it is better to catch them early on whilst gaming in private, and I always learn from my mistakes. The games went well, but I quickly discovered you need a lot of table space to play Shadows of Brimstone. This game uses a lot of cards, a lot of counters and the map tiles take up loads of space unless you remove old ones before adding new ones, which is definitely recommended if you are playing on a small or regular sized table. My dining table measures 5' by 3' and it has to be cleared completely for me to play Shadows of Brimstone.

On the painting front, I am continuing to paint figures for my Shadows of Brimstone game and Judge Dredd Miniatures Game, as well as edging furniture and scenery items from my Battle Systems Urban Apocalypse Terrain sets. I have finished painting a lot of figures this month, so progress is good. They will all be featured on my blog in due course.

Speaking of Battle Systems, they have just launched their next Kickstarter campaign, which is Sci-Fi II Terrain. This is a complete overhaul of their original sci-fi terrain sets with the added bonus that it will be fully compatible with the Urban Apocalypse Terrain sets. The guys at Battle Systems learnt a lot from the Urban Apocalypse Terrain project and have vastly improved their very first project, which was the original sci-fi terrain set. I was in on Day One and was fortunate enough to secure an "Early Bird" pledge for two of each of the options. As I write, there are currently two sets you can pledge for. This project was fully funded within 10 minutes, and it is going to be hugely successful.
The Frontier Pledge at £78 per set. This is a gritty, used set, most likely found on fringe worlds, or in my case, Mega City One. This photo shows all that you get from one set, but does not include the many free Add-Ons you'll get for backing the project. Impressive, huh?
The Galactic Pledge, also at £78 per set. This has a much more clean and pristine look to it. I'll be using it for the more well off areas of Mega City One. Once again, the photo shows all that you get for one set. The gaming mat for both sets measures 2 feet square. You can combine both sets if you want or, as I plan on doing, combine them with the Urban Apocalypse sets. The sets can be used to make spaceship interiors or cityscapes. My imagination is working overtime on what I can do with these sets. If you are at all uncertain about backing this project or just want to know more about it click on the following link and be amazed at what is on offer.
There was never any doubt that I'd be backing this project. Primarily, because I was so blown away by their Urban Apocalypse Terrain sets, and second of all, this will really bring my 3D version of Mega City One to life. It is such a shame it won't be released until August 2017. I want it NOW! I know, I must remain patient. Each day I click on the site and see what new stuff has been added, thinking, can it get any better than this? The answer is always YES, IT CAN! As you can tell I am very, very excited about this project.

All of this is great news, but sadly, I also have some bad news as well. Mongoose Games and Warlord Games have lost their current license to sell the 28mm scale figures for the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game. I e-mailed Warlord Games to see what was going on and received the following reply,
Good afternoon Bryan.

Thank you for your message and interest in our models.
As our license on Judge Dredd has almost reached its end, we are currently planning the future for its range and game and re-negotiating our agreements with the brand owners.
Please stay tuned on our website pages and newsletter for imminent news on Judge Dredd developments!
Have a nice weekend! 
The fact that they are re-negotiating gives me some hope that an agreement can be reached and that the line continues. I would hate to see this range go for good. I'm praying for the best but fearing the worst. Warlord Games are currently holding a sale of their JDMG figures with everything half price and with free delivery. But the figures on offer are very limited, with over 95% of their stock apparently being sold out. So what does this mean if you want to buy any 2000AD related figures? Well, the good news is that Wargames Foundry still have their 2000AD range going. Unfortunately, they haven't added to it for years and years and I doubt if they ever will. With Mongoose Games, Warlord Games and the old Indyclix range now defunct, we won't see anything new produced for the game until someone does a deal with Rebellion who hold the licence for 2000AD and its characters. At the moment, eBay would seem to be your best bet to pick up any figures you are missing or would like but sadly, they only have a limited selection to choose from. Personally, I don't mind who picks up the license, just as long as someone does. It would be nice to see the full range available for sale again and even nicer if it develops as new models are added. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a positive outcome.
I came very close to collecting the full range of JDMG figures and I'm only missing a few individual figures (Assassinator Droid, the Electro Cordon Pack, Kenny Who, the Mini-Bots set, Oz Judge on Trike, Sabbat and the Zombie Conversion set) and one boxed set (the Judda). I'd have liked to get a few Assassinator Droids and Zombie Conversion sets but I'm not bothered about missing the others. There are plenty of other robots I own that I can use as proxy Assassinator Droids and I can always use Milliput to convert zombie figures with.
The timing of this is bad because I will be devoting most of the next few months to my JDMG campaign, starting with my next post. I have all the figures I need to make it last a good few years and with the Battle Systems Urban Apocalypse Terrain I have and the Battle Systems Sci-Fi II Terrain coming next year, my batreps will look stunning. The reason I say that the timing of no-one currently holding the licence to sell the JDMG figures is bad is that my posts are likely to inspire a few followers to want to start their own JDMG games. It would be such a shame if someone sees something they'd really like to buy on my blog but can't find it for sale. My good friend and fellow blogger, Simon Moore, aka Blaxkleric has been showcasing his Mega City One Zombies this month and he has attracted a lot of positive comments about the figures and the game. The Judge Dredd franchise still remains very popular and I only hope it will grow stronger.
Yesterday I had a mammoth photography session and I took about 60 photos of figures from my Judge Dredd collection - more than enough to showcase for the rest of this year and beyond. I do like to maintain a library of photos I can use on my blog.

2000AD Prog 2000 Competition Winner
In my last Monthly Musings post I celebrated the publication of prog 2000 of the 2000AD comic with a simple competition. Not many people bothered to enter which was good news for those who did as it increased their odds of winning. However, there could only be one winner and I got my mum to draw a name from a list of entrants I placed in my baseball cap. So, many congratulations to -
Andy Nash aka Da Gobbo. 
You win a box full of 2000AD themed 28mm scale figures. I'm sure you will treasure them and hopefully use them in your own games, although probably not in Bushido! I'll get them posted to you as soon as possible, Andy.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Thursday 27 October 2016

Assorted Chinese Laundry Workers and Soiled Doves

Every Wild West game needs civilians. People to trade with, interact with, defend, manipulate or just get in the way at the most inappropriate moment. I have been building up my collection of 28mm scale Wild West civilians and I'm reviewing two particular types today - Chinese laundry workers and "soiled doves".
The three figures to the left of this photo and the one below are from the Brigade Games American West range - set BG-AWE006 Chinese Laundry, which retails for $10.00 for all three figures. I ordered these and the Brothel set below at the same time as I ordered my Wild Bunch outlaws, which I reviewed last time. At the far left is the aged owner of the laundry. Most likely he is exactly what he appears to be - an unassuming old man. But perhaps there is more to him than meets the eye. He could be a martial arts master or the leader of a gang of Tong assassins. Next in line is a young worker carrying two buckets of water for the laundry. He is using a wooden yoke to help carry them. Third line is a worker with a batch of freshly cleaned clothes.
The guy at the far right is produced by Wargames Foundry and is the Chinaman from their Old West set OW11/2 Out on the Town, which retails at £12.00 for six figures. He is only available for sale as part of the set. He carries a large bag across his back, which could contain clothes ready for delivery to either the laundry or their owners.
The three figures to the left of this photo and the one below are from the Brigade Games American West range - set BG-AWE003 The Brothel, which retails for $10.00 for all three figures. At the far left is the madame, the brothel owner. She oversees her "stable" of soiled doves and makes sure her establishment runs smoothly. Soiled dove is an archaic term for a prostitute. The woman standing next to the madame is dressed alluringly as she waits to attract a client, Third in line, this soiled dove has stripped down to her underwear, corset and pantaloons, whilst keeping her boots on.
The young lady at the far right is produced by Hasslefree Miniatures for their Fantasy Villagers range and she is HFV003 Strumpet. She sells for £3.50. Although designed for a fantasy setting, she fits in very well in a more modern setting, but especially so in the Wild West as a sexy Mexican seƱorita. She is expertly sculpted by Kevin White and yes, her flimsy top is see-through. Out of the four soiled doves I've shown here, she is definitely the one I'd go for.
All are useful figures even if they won't see much action.

Monday 24 October 2016

Brigade Games Wild Bunch Outlaws

I'm moving away from my Shadows of Brimstone figure reviews for the time being but I am still sticking with the Wild West theme. This time I'm looking at a set of five 28mm scale figures produced by Brigade Games from their American West range. This is set BG-AWE015 Western Characters IV, which retails for $15.00 for all five figures. That's pretty good value for money, although I did order mine before the UK left the EU. As soon as I saw these figures I recognised them as the main characters from the 1969 Sam Peckinpah Western, The Wild Bunch. This is one of my all-time favourite Western films and I knew I had to buy them.
From left to right are the Wild Bunch outlaws, Tector Gorch (played by Ben Johnson), his brother Lyle Gorch (played by Warren Oates), gang leader, Pike Bishop (played by William Holden) and Dutch Engstrom (played by Ernest Borgnine). At the far right and separate from the gang is Deke Thornton (played by Robert Ryan). He used to be a partner of Pike Bishop but now he has turned his back on Pike and he leads a posse hired by the railroad to hunt down the Wild Bunch.
The plot of the film starts with the Wild Bunch robbing a railroad office containing a cache of silver. However, they are ambushed by Deke Thornton and his posse of bounty hunters. The gang escapes after a bloody shoot-out but discovers they have been tricked - the silver is nothing more than worthless metal washers. They head across the Rio Grande to Mexico, where they hole up in a town run by Mapache, a corrupt and brutal general in the Mexican Federale Army. They agree to do a job for him - the theft of a U.S. Army weapons shipment from a train. Thornton and posse briefly catch up with them but arrive too late to prevent the robbery. Escaping the posse again, Bishop expects Mapache to double-cross him and of course, he does. The Wild Bunch use some of their captured weapons to kill Mapache and in the extremely bloody gunfight (mostly shot in slow motion) that follows they are all killed. Deke and his posse arrive after the battle. Thornton leaves his posse, who decide to return the corpses of the Wild Bunch back across the border to collect the bounty on them. This proves to be a wise move on Deke's part as the posse are ambushed and slaughtered. Unlike most Hollywood films, there is no happy ending in this movie!
The figures are superbly sculpted and capture the likenesses of the film characters extremely well. The only difference is that the figures are all armed with Winchester repeating rifles whereas in the film they mainly used 12 gauge pump-action shotguns. The film was meant to be set in 1913 so I can understand why the sculptor has decided to go for an early Western vibe and have them armed with the iconic Winchesters. I'm okay with this change. There is no reason not to have them in an earlier setting in the 1870's or 1880's. My only complaint with the rifles is that their barrels are very thin and bend easily. I fear, if not handled very carefully, they could easily snap off. I strengthened mine by coating them in superglue before I painted them.
This still from the film must have inspired the sculptor a lot. Apart from Lyle Gorch (second from the left) the figures are in the exact same poses as the actors. The picture shows the Wild Bunch on their way to kill General Mapache. It's about to get very violent and very bloody! I'd love to recreate that last battle on the tabletop. The Six Gun Sound rules by Two Hour Wargames would be the rule-set I'd use.
Here is a still taken of Deke Thornton near the start of the film with his unsavoury posse in the background. He still retains some honour and dignity. The posse have none at all. They are just scum.

Thursday 20 October 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Targa Custodians, Pylons and Guardian

I'm reviewing two Enemy Packs for the Shadows of Brimstone game today and both are related. I present to you the Custodians of Targa and the Guardian of Targa. These constructs obviously come from the other world known as the Targa Plateau.
Ancient caretakers from the Targa Plateau, these large spider-like robots roam the halls and chambers of the ancient alien city, maintaining the systems and repairing damage done by intruders and the rigours of time. On occasion the Custodians of Targa will stray through a portal and begin terraforming whatever world they end up in, building new pylons and converting the area into a remote extension of Targa itself. The Custodians of Targa are a dangerous enemy to fight, as they not only have a powerful Electro-shock if you get too close, but also a Defence Laser that they blast away with as they close in for melee. The primary function of a Custodian is its Repair protocols, allowing them to repair damage to themselves and other robots and pylons nearby. This makes them extra difficult to defeat in groups.
These three models are just slightly bigger than the Void Spiders I showed recently - roughly 18mm tall. They are two-piece castings, with the heads being separate from the bodies and limbs. They are not supplied with bases and I chose not to glue them to a base. All three Custodians are identical but with the one at the far left I slightly bent his legs to make him appear taller. I also glued their heads on slightly differently so that they are not all facing directly forward.
Throughout the city of the Ancients on the Targa Plateau, stand a series of tall, Dark Stone Pylons. Re-activated after countless aeons as a defensive measure, these Pylons power up with a low hum of energy resonating through their master-crafted stonework. Atop each Pylon is a laser eye, ready to fire searing blasts of super-heated plasma at any invaders or unwelcome guests of the city. Though Targa Pylons are immobile, they have the ability to fire their defensive lasers in all directions. This makes them difficult to approach and virtually impossible to sneak up on. Frequently found in pairs, these Pylons stand as silent sentries left behind to watch over the once great city.
These simple sculpts came in two halves, cut diagonally down the column. They stand 60mm tall and have been glued to 30mm diameter bases. They were without any doubt, the easiest figures I have had to paint for Shadows of Brimstone. Their main colour is Foundry Granite 31.
The frozen over alien city of the Targa Plateau is home to many ancient terrors that have lain dormant for aeons. While the robotic Custodians of this long gone civilisation still roam the halls, maintaining the systems, there are also massive robotic Guardians that are awakened when the city is in danger. these mechanical monstrosities pull free from their alcoves to hunt down and eliminate whatever threat was detected. Easily standing three or four times the height of a man, these Guardians are cold and calculating in the execution of their duties to defend the city against all intruders. Many explorers have found their way to the Targa Plateau... far fewer have returned. The Guardian of Targa is a gigantic and terrifying construction. Its Hardened Shell has withstood the ages and can easily withstand simple gunfire. With four crushing arms, the Guardian smashes his foes, rocking the very foundation he stands upon. Though mainly a melee fighter, the Guardian also has a Burning Laser it fires from its lifeless eye at the start of each of its Activations. Though difficult to destroy, the Guardian can have its Control Systems damaged as it takes Wounds, reducing its effectiveness as more and more of its systems shut down and its arms go dead.
The Guardian is a multi-part model comprising 25 separate components, which includes its 60mm diameter base. Fortunately, detailed instructions on how to assemble the robot are provided. Because the arms are attached to the body by ball and socket joints, you have a fair degree of flexibility in how to position them. Both the Custodians and the Guardian were very easy models to paint. Note that I added some cut-offs from the model's sprue to add to its base, which I painted in light metallic blue. I added the Saloon Girl to my first photo of the Guardian to give you an idea of how tall he is. He actually stands 70mm tall. He is one incredibly impressive model.
I end with a group shot showing the figures from both sets together. I must admit that I am toying with the idea of using them in my upcoming Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign. They certainly wouldn't look out of place there.

Monday 17 October 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Void Hounds and Void Sorcerers

The first Deluxe Enemy Pack that I bought for Shadows of Brimstone was the Masters of the Void set, which contained plastic 30mm scale figures of three Void Hounds and three Void Sorcerers, along with a deck of cards, which includes new Artefacts, Encounters, Threat cards and a new card deck - Void Magik.
In the Void between worlds, outside of space and time, eldritch horrors beyond fear or imagination reside. These ancient beings come in many forms, from malign entities of hate and rage, to writhing masses of tentacles, to fiendish sorcerers, locked in towers of knowledge and madness. These masters of the Void extend their tendrils of influence through the cracks in reality that bridge countless worlds across existence! Of all these dreaded beings, Void Hounds and Void Sorcerers are some of the most frightening. Void Hounds are beastly creatures that stalk their prey from beyond the veil, hunting in packs and phasing through the barriers of reality to strike.
The Void Hounds were cast in two halves and come in two poses. the Void Hounds at the left and right of my photos are the same sculpt, but I slightly altered the pose of the tails on the one at the right. They are glued onto 30mm diameter bases and are roughly the same size as a similarly scaled horse. Savage beasts, Void Hounds lay in wait within the Void, choosing just the right time to strike! Attacking as a pack, Void Hounds phase in and out of reality as they move. This results in them having a variable Defence value that is equal to the current initiative Level in that turn order. For example, if a Saloon Girl that Activates at Initiative 5 attacks a Void Hound, the Void Hound's Defence counts as 5 for those attacks. Void Hounds are not generally immune to Critical Hits though, which can bypass the effectiveness of their Void Phasing, by hitting them at just the right moment.
Void Sorcerers are nefarious mages that use dark and powerful magik, seeking out occult knowledge and collecting arcane tomes and artefacts to add to their vaunted vaults of Valitore. To fight these fiends is to stare into the abyss. These ancient and dreaded sorcerers prefer to fight at a distance, slinging Void Bolts at their opponents and ominously chanting in alien tongues as they cast their foul spells. Their powerful magik both protects them and allows them to rain down destruction on their foes.
These figures were also two part castings, with the heads being a separate part. They stand 42mm tall and come with 30mm diameter bases. All three are identically sculpted but I have slightly repositioned the arms of the two blue-robed Void Sorcerers. I painted one of them differently, in the purple robes, so I could use him as a more powerful Void Magus, who can appear as an Epic Threat, with enhanced stats and abilities.
It has been noted that some of the monsters from this game would fit in well in a Call of the Cthulhu setting. This is certainly the case with these Void monsters. With their tentacled faces, the Void Sorcerers could stand in for Avatars of Cthulhu, and the Void Hounds with their ability to phase in and out of reality remind me of the Hounds of Tindalos.

Thursday 13 October 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Goliath and Harbinger

Last time I showed you the smallest monsters from the Shadows of Brimstone game - the Void Spiders. This time I'm going to the opposite end of the scale and reviewing the two largest monsters from the core sets of City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death - the Goliath and the Harbinger. Most monsters encountered in Shadows of Brimstone conform to one of three Threat Levels - Low, Medium or High, depending upon the size of the Hero party - the bigger the party, the greater the Threat Level. However, depending upon the scenario being played, there is also an end-of-game threat that may be encountered and it is known as an Epic Threat. The Goliath and the Harbinger can only be encountered as Epic Threats.
"Hunched and lumbering, this towering behemoth dwarfed all other creatures my expedition had encountered. Its large head covered in soulless black eyes with a wide, round mouth surrounded by an array of sharp teeth, A dozen long tongues erupted from its face and writhed in a hypnotic dance."
An excerpt taken from the journals of Dr. Tobias Hedgebrook.
With a gigantic muscular body and horrendously long, flailing tentacle arms, the Goliath is an unspeakable horror like no other. Its bellowing roar and dripping mass of tentacle tongues consume all that stray within reach, smashing, crushing and devouring the souls of those who would dare to stand before it. But perhaps the most frightening aspect of the Goliath is the cold intelligence clearly visible behind its multitude of soulless, black eyes. It knows you're here... it knows why you've come... and it knows you have made a terrible mistake.
As you can see from the figure of the saloon girl I have placed alongside the Goliath in the first photo, this is a massive monster. It stands 65mm tall and measures 130mm from the tip of its tentacle tongues to the tip of its tentacle arms. It stands on a 60mm diameter base. I decorated the base with half of a plastic barrel taken from a Renedra pack of wooden barrels. This useful scenery set contains five large barrels measuring 15mm tall and five small barrels measuring 10mm tall. The barrels come in two halves, so I used one half here and the other half on the base of my Harbinger (see photos below). I used the large barrel for my bases. I also added a few pieces of cork bark to the base and a smashed wooden plank.
For the paint scheme I simply copied that found on page 49 of the City of the Ancients Adventure Book. The idea of adding the extra scenery items to the base came from a painted example of the creature found on page 45 of the same book. Its paint scheme is very similar to my own. A Goliath is potentially a party killer and must be treated with utmost respect, caution and extreme prejudice.
The massive, demonic Harbinger is one of the most fearsome creatures yet encountered by those that delve down into the cursed mines near Brimstone. With sprawling bat-like wings and long, sinewy limbs, nothing can escape the Harbinger's foul reach. Its bony, horned skull-head holds no eyes but rather two rows of pitted nostrils to sniff out its prey in the dark, and consume the flesh of the unwary explorers with its vicious maw of razor sharp teeth. Often accompanied by a swarm of slithering Hellbats, the Harbinger brings doom to all who gaze upon him and despair to those that hear his name.
The Goliath was a huge monster but the Harbinger is even bigger! Because it is crouched down, it is only 55mm tall from the soles of its feet to the top of its horns but its wings make it even bigger. The top of its left wing reaches 140mm above the ground and its wingspan is an impressive 230mm. Like the Goliath, it is glued to a 60mm diameter base, which I decorated in a similar manner to the Goliath. The Harbinger was amongst the first batch of figures I painted for this game, closely followed by the Goliath. These two figures are stunning, show-piece models that never fail to grab your attention when they make an appearance in a game. 

Monday 10 October 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Void Spiders

I have just the one creature type to review this time but there are a lot of them. These are the Void Spiders from the Shadows of Brimstone core set - City of the Ancients.
Inhabitating the space between the Void and reality, these scurrying beast infest virtually every world their portals open into. With six segmented spiny legs and two large mandible claw arms, Void Spiders can scale any surface and are often found nesting on the walls and ceilings as well as the floor. On the underside of the creature is a large mouth, lined with jagged teeth and articulated jaws within the body of the beast. Void Spiders' primary form of attack is to lunge at their prey and get on top of them, using these under mouths to chomp and tear at their victims. Many Void Spiders secrete a Void Venom, paralysing their target before cocooning them in sticky webs to feed upon slowly.
The first photo shows them from the front, which is where their mandible arms are located. This photo shows them from behind. These figures are one-piece castings and come without bases. I did consider gluing them to bases but then decided they were better left as is. They are roughly 40mm in diameter and are 15mm tall.
Here is a group shot showing all twelve Void Spiders. Their pale grey colouration is great camouflage on the arctic world of Targa. I leave you with this cool piece of artwork taken from the City of the Ancients adventure book.

Friday 7 October 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Night Terrors and Slashers

I return to my reviews of the Weird West figures from Flying Frog Productions' Shadows of Brimstone game. This time I'm featuring the Night Terrors from the City of the Ancients core set and the Slashers from the Swamps of Death core set.
Standing nearly ten feet tall, the Night Terror is a hideous demon with sunken glowing eyes, a grotesquely wide mouth, lined with razor sharp teeth, and covered in dark blue fur and rocky skin. Often found roaming the icy halls of the long dead cities of the Targa Plateau, the Night Terror's dark and thick fur allows it to move unseen in the shadows. Its clawed hands can rend a man limb from limb in a single sweep of its mighty arms, yet it often prefers to grab hold of unwary explorers and steal away with them into the dark night. Where it takes the unlucky victims is unknown, but it is rare that any have escaped the clutches and lived to tell the tale. Many times the only indication of the presence of a Night Terror is the faint menace of its gurgling and hissing in the dark, the likes of which will cause a chill to the bone on a primitive level of sheer terror.
These three multi-part plastic figures stand about 50mm tall and come with 40mm diameter bases. The Night Terror at the far left is unconverted. Just to add some variety to their poses I converted the other two by altering the position of their arms. The one in the middle of the group had his left arm repositioned at the elbow so it bent closer to its body. For the one at the far right, I repositioned both arms, again by making cuts to the elbow joints and filling in the gaps with Milliput. Painting them was a very easy task.
Large beasts with thick chitinous shells, Slashers are insectoid creatures with brutally efficient slashing claws. Burrowing through rock and stone with their powerful hooked arms, they greedily search for Dark Stone to feed on. Two pairs of heavy mandibles surround their mouth, used mainly to hold their prey and pull it closer so their powerful jaws can crush and devour. A pair of large, black and soulless bug eyes belie their cold dispassionate hunger, and the hateful chittering sound they make would chill all but the most stalwart to the bone. Just one of these creatures is difficult to overcome but they most often travel in small packs of two or three, scouting ahead of a larger Slasher hive and searching for their next source of food, be it Dark Stone or humans.
These three multi-part plastic figures are roughly 40mm tall and come with 40mm diameter bases. Because their arms were separate components it was easy for me to convert two of them simply by glueing the arms in different positions. The Slasher at the far left has not been converted - the other two have. I must admit that when I first saw their colour scheme I knew it would be quite a challenge for me to replicate it but in truth, it was not as hard as I feared. The hardest part was the blending between the black, red and orange. I'm very happy with how they have turned out.

Monday 3 October 2016

Celebrating 2000 Issues of 2000AD Comic

Last week saw the publication of issue 2000 of one of my all time favourite comics - 2000AD. I have been collecting this weekly anthology ever since it first launched in 1977. Yes, I do have all 2000 issues of it! I wouldn't normally write a post about a comic I like but this is a very special occasion and it warrants both a mention and a celebration. I have grown up with this comic. I have watched it grow and evolve. Originally produced as a children's comic, it has now matured and has a more adult outlook. We have grown up together and 2000AD is very much a part of my life. I look forward to getting my thrill power fix every week. I have remained loyal to it throughout its chequered history. It has had some low points and frankly, dire stories, but they are vastly outnumbered by its hits and successes.
This quote taken from the comic's Betelgeusian alien editor, Tharg the Mighty One, in the editorial of issue #2000  sums up why the comic has endured. "How has my illustrious organ managed to keep going for so long, in an industry marked by multiple reboots and retcons? Because we all - I, my meks, and you, my Squaxx dek Thargo - believe in it. We invest in it. And we know that 2000AD and its spirit of independence and rebellion, and all that it represents, is too important to lose."
Issue #2000 comes with a bigger page count than normal and contains six new stories featuring many old favourites and one brand new series. Each story is preceded by a one page introduction from Tharg, printed in black and white and illustrated by different artists. First up is the comic's greatest hero, and longest lasting character - Judge Dredd. This one-off story gets the comic off to a great start with artwork by the brilliant Carlos Ezquerra, an introduction from the legendary artist, Brian Bolland and script by John Wagner. The story sees Judge Dredd once again teaming up with Johnny Alpha in a time-travelling adventure that is a load of fun. (If you're reading this, Simon, Johnny Alpha is back from the dead!)
Nemesis the Warlock was always another favourite of mine but in this one-off story I found both the artwork by Kevin O'Neill and story by Pat Mills to be rather lacklustre. This was my least favourite story of the comic.
Next up, comes another return of an old favourite - Rogue Trooper. Scripted by Gordon Rennie with artwork by Richard Elson, this was a nice reminder of why Rogue was so popular, although the story goes over far too quickly and we don't see enough of Rogue himself.
The next story, Psi Judge Anderson, features stunning artwork by David Roach and an excellent script by Alan Grant. Anderson's long time nemesis, Judge Death, returns to haunt her once more. This was my favourite story in the comic although, Judge Dredd comes a close second.
Next up is the return of Downlode's lovable hit-men duo, Finnigan Sinister and Ramone Dexter. The story, scripted by Dan Abnett and drawn by Mark Sexton, sets up the next arc of their ongoing adventures and made me wishing for more. I have always been a fan of the Sinister Dexter stories.
Finally, is the comic's one totally new series - Counterfeit Girl. This cyberpunk yarn was written by Peter Milligan and artwork was assigned to Rufus Dayglo. The basic premise of the story is to do with identity theft and it certainly gets off to a promising start.
All this, plus a free poster, drawn by Cliff Robinson, showing many of the comic's favourite characters, makes this a must have edition. 2000AD goes from strength to strength and shows no sign of ever stopping. Long may it continue, I say. It is certainly far superior to anything produced by the big name American publishers like Dark Horse, DC, Image or Marvel. It is such a shame it isn't more popular in the U.S.A.
Anyway, to help celebrate this landmark event I want to offer a prize giveaway. To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave a comment stating what you like the most about the comic. Make your answer as long or as short as you want - amusing or serious.  I'll announce the name of the winner in my next Monthly Musings post on Halloween (Monday 31st of October). So what's the prize? It's a bundle of 28mm scale 2000AD figures.

First up is this rather over-scale figure of Hammerstein from the ABC Warriors. He was produced by Wargames Foundry. He stands roughly 55mm tall but for a combat droid that doesn't bother me too much.

Next up is this Warlord Games figure of a Mega City One Street Judge. He is nicely sculpted although his shoulder pads look a bit odd. They appear to be standing too high on his shoulders. He would make a good figure for a player character.

Also from Warlord Games is a Cursed Earth Desperado with Dual Weapons (Spit Gun and Sawed Off Stump Gun). He makes a great gang leader. I have mine leading a street gang known as the Apathetic Anarchists. I called him Major Apathy. You'll be seeing him and his gang in my upcoming Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign.

These seven figures from Warlord Games make up an Ape Gang for use in Judge Dredd. They consist of three Chimp Punks, three Gorilla Enforcers and an Orang Utan Sniper. I ended up with them when I ordered the Orang Utan Gang Leader (not shown) and rather generously received the whole gang instead. So these guys are surplus to my requirements. If anyone plays 5150 by Two Hour Wargames, they will make great figures for Zhuh-Zhuhs.
Finally, I'll add a selection of 8 Indy Heroclix 2000AD characters (Judge Dredd, Judge Hershey, Judge Fear, Judge Fire, Judge Mortis, a Brit-City Judge, Johnny Alpha and Torquemada). Please note that the metal figures are all unpainted and the Heroclix figures have their basic paint jobs. I may well add a few other figures to the mix before announcing the winner. Best of luck!