Thursday 31 August 2017

Vampifan's Views 95 - Monthly Musings 68

Hello and welcome to another of my Monthly Musings. This month's Vampirella picture is the second of a series of three paintings by Bo Hampton featuring Vampirella and Batman. I'm not sure why Vampi is hitching a ride on Batman's back when she can fly! Perhaps she wants to keep that ability a secret from the Caped Crusader.

Once again, I have had a very prolific month hobby-wise. I managed to finish painting my figures for the Death Match sci-fi gladiatorial game, although I'm still missing a few monsters. That will hopefully be rectified next month.

There are two games that I'm currently very passionate about - Dracula's America and N.E.W. I have a load of Weird West 28mm scale figures on my painting table right now, including some of the official Dracula's America figures and some Shadows of Brimstone figures, which are almost done.  I have bought quite a few Weird West figures this past month, including 5 vampires from New Line Miniatures, 13 assorted Wild West figures from the Reaper Chronoscope range (10 humans and 3 zombie miners), and I also backed a short run Kickstarter (it only lasted four days) by Bad Squiddo Games called My Last Sunrise, which contained 7 vampires, 6 vampire hunters and 2 monsters. I'm expecting delivery of them within the next few days as Annie wanted to get the figures out very quickly and she very kindly e-mailed me last night to tell me the figures were on their way. I've also been buying and making more Old West buildings from 4Ground. They are currently offering the Rogan's Bar and Bunkhouse complete set for £22.00 instead of £47.50, which was too good a bargain for me to pass by.
Rogan's Bar and Bunkhouse photo taken from the 4Ground website
Every Wild West town needs at least one saloon and this is my first. For that price, I was very pleased to buy it, as it is quite a big kit. By the way, my building looks a lot better than the one shown in the photo above because I paint all of the dark brown edges to match their surrounding colours. It makes my buildings look more realistic and less like a model kit. It is time consuming and fiddly (especially painting the window frames) but well worth the effort in the end. I'm slowly building up a nice collection of Wild West buildings (all from 4Ground so far) but I'd like a few more before I start posting any batreps.

The other game that I'm really enjoying playing is N.E.W. by EN Publishing. Yes, I have set up another blog, which is dedicated to the What's Old Is New role-playing games (see here - ). So why am I mentioning it here? I recently played a big game using the N.E.W. rules that I want to bring to your attention. It was based on the introductory scenario, A Meeting of Metal from the Warlord Games Doctor Who skirmish game - Exterminate! I converted the stats for the Cybermen and the Daleks to N.E.W. and played a most enjoyable game that must have been unique, because I don't know of anyone else who has played Exterminate! with the N.E.W. rules. Now I know that most of you are not fans of N.E.W. and I'm fine with that. But I also know that quite a few of you are Doctor Who fans, and so it is to you that I'm giving this heads up. I'll be posting part 1 of this batrep in a few days time, so if you want to give it a view please drop by at my WOIN blog. Here is a photo of the initial set up.
Twelve Cybermen versus seven Daleks as they battle to control the most Vortex Nodes. Who will win?
I did think that working on two blogs would have had a bigger impact on the number of posts I put out per month but actually, the numbers are very good. Seven posts for my Undead blog and eight posts for my WOIN blog this month is way above average for a month. I guess it helped that I already had 10 posts all fully prepared before I even posted the first one for my WOIN blog. It is unlikely that I'll be posting any Monthly Musings on my WOIN blog, so expect some crossover content in future Monthly Musings on this blog. The WOIN Blog has been well received so far. I was extremely delighted to have Russ Morrissey, the author of O.L.D. and N.E.W. as one of my first followers. He asked me if I had thought of publishing my The Ace of Spades Campaign as a book, which I hadn't, but now that he has put the idea into my head it won't let go. It won't happen soon but once I'm well into the campaign I will give it serious consideration. I'd also like to give a big shout out and thank you to Andy, Dave and Greg as the only three followers who have commented on every post so far. Thanks, guys, your enthusiastic support is greatly appreciated.
Just as I have been buying quite a few new figures for my Weird West games, the same is true for my N.E.W. games. I have recently bought a fair few 28mm scale figures from the Alternative Armies range of Ganesha Games sci-fi range and from the Space Vixens From Mars range of sci-fi figures. Most of these have already been painted. In addition, my range of miniature starships has grown considerably. My package of 30 starships from the Stars Reach Kickstarter by Twilight Game Designs arrived and I have also bought 10 merchant ships from Brigade Models (they have a huge range of starships). Starship combat is something I'm very keen to try out when I start my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I'm not planning on any large scale fleet battles (that doesn't mean it might not happen!) but I'll mainly be concentrating on small scale skirmishes involving The Ace of Spades.
The one thing I am most looking forward to in September is taking delivery of my Battle Systems Sci-fi Terrain sets. I made a huge pledge for this Kickstarter last year and I can't wait to get my hands on these new sets. The Urban Apocalypse sets that I already have are superb and are much loved by me. With these new sci-fi sets my Judge Dredd games will be vastly improved and of course, the new sets will feature heavily in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I'm expecting delivery of them in the next week or two. Oh, happy days!
Battle Systems Sci-Fi Terrain Set - this is all you get in just one set. I ordered lots of sets! Mega City One, here I come!

Thanks for reading and take care.

Sunday 27 August 2017

Death Match Exuvium and Scabendi Gladiators

Having introduced the Death Match sci-fi gladiatorial game to you last time I'm going to take a closer look at the figures used with this game. I'm starting with two sets of alien gladiators - the Exuvium and the Scabendi, simply because these are the two races that come with the two-player starter set deal.
The Exuvium are large, six-limbed insectoids from the planet Ectos. They are a peaceful race, who do not seek conflict or conquest. They are noted eco-warriors, sustaining their environment and using resources at a minimum. They are ruled by a queen in hive colonies and they live in huge skyscraper-like spires made of secreted resin and connected by walkways. Females are considerably larger than the males and they do not participate in the gladiator games. Despite their pacifistic nature, they decided to take part in the gladiator games to show the other races their deadly fighting skills. As a result, they have never been raided. The queen chooses which adult males will fight in the games and a select few are granted the Mark of the Queen to fight in her name for the good of the planet. The Exuvium are masters of bio-engineering and can craft living weapons.
These three male Exuvium insectoids stand roughly 50mm tall and are moulded onto 40mm diameter bases. Their arms are separate components that must be glued in place. At the far left is a gladiator with the Mark of the Queen (note his spiked carapace). He is armed with a Battle-blade and a Battle-shield. In the centre, this Exuvium is armed with a Heavy Battle-blade, which is a two-handed weapon. At the far right, this gladiator is armed with an Insectoid Whip (may also be used as a lasso) and an Insectoid Axe, which is a living weapon. In Death Match, Exuvium have the fewest hit points of any race - just 9, but they do have natural armoured exoskeletons, which can absorb a fair amount of damage. Their racial special ability reflects this - they have an intrinsic defence value of <2 blocks="">2 blocks. Also, in combat, they may re-roll one attack die (unless it is a fail) but the second roll must be accepted, even if it is worse than the original roll.
Note that I painted them using Foundry Forest Green 26 mixed with a small amount of Gold to give their carapaces that slightly metallic colouring. They were given a Citadel Coelia Greenshade ink wash, then dry-brushed with successively lighter shades of Foundry Forest Green mixed with Citadel Liberator Gold. Their weapons were painted with Foundry Boneyard 9, the shield with Foundry Ochre 4 and the living axe head with Foundry Nipple Pink 16.
The Scabendi are a reptilian race from the jungle planet, Scorullia, where they live in large tree houses. An aggressive race, the Scabendi seek out combat whenever they can. From the moment they hatch they learn how to fight. Each conclave of Scabendi is ruled by the Leader of the Hunt, who may be male or female. This position is always hotly contested. The longest known Leader of the Hunt maintained his position for four years and fought off 72 challenges before finally losing. When they were first encountered by human explorers, it was wrongly assumed that there were two species of Scabendi living together. This was because male and female Scabendi look so different. Males have spiky protrusions around their necks and squat faces. Females have no protrusions, slender faces and a crest upon the top of their head. The games are seen as a rite of passage to all Scabendi. Humans are considered to be the blight of the universe and the Scabendi relish fighting them in the games. It was the humans' mistake to underestimate the Scabendi when they originally entered the arena. Because of this, the Scabendi will head directly towards a human if they enter the arena together. No other race has been foolish enough to underestimate them since.
The figures are the same height as the Exuvium (50mm tall) but are sculpted onto smaller, 25mm diameter bases. I think Dave just likes sculpting tall figures! 😀 As with the Exuvium, these came with separate weapons and it is worth mentioning that both races have separate weapon packs, allowing you greater customisation for their choice of weapons. At the far left is a male Scabendi in Heavy Armour. He is armed with a Laser-blade and a Punch Pistol (may only fire once per round). The male gladiator in the centre is armed with a Heavy Battle-blade that looks a bit like a Klingon Bat'leth. The Scabendi at the far right is a female armed with a trident. The Scabendi have a decent amount of hit points - 12, which is the same as a human's. Their special ability is when making an action roll or a dodge roll, any stars rolled may be added to the total.
My colour schemes are similar to what Dave used but not an exact copy. The skin colours are almost identical but I have only painted the male heads red and not their upper bodies as well. Also, my armoured gladiator has Foundry Vivid Blue 22 armour instead of yellow armour, which I thought was too bright. Their blue skin is Foundry Sky Blue 21A with a Citadel Drakenhof Nightshade ink wash. The female head was painted with Foundry Yellow 2 and the male heads with Foundry Scarlet 38.
Next up will be the Ceratids and the humans.

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Wargames Terrain Workshop Death Match Game

Death Match is a simple sci-fi gladiatorial game with humans and alien races fighting one another as well as alien beasts and monsters in an arena. The game is produced by Wargames Terrain Workshop and I have to admit, the whole concept just grabbed from from the moment I first learned about it. I have always had a hankering for playing a gladiator game but I never found the set of rules that made me commit to playing them. THW's Red Sands, Blue Skies came close. I did buy them but never got round to playing a game with them. Part of me was looking for something more than just a Roman-styled historical game. I wanted something extra; a fantasy setting may have done it but I never found such a game. However, science fiction has always been my favourite gaming genre, so when Dave Stone, from WTW told me he was developing a sci-fi gladiator game I was immediately drawn in.
Dave kindly sent me an advanced copy of the rules in PDF format for me to play test. I printed them out and even designed my own arena using tiles from World Works Games' Arena Works set with a 1" grid overlay on them. The figures I used were mostly 28mm scale EM4 Roman Gladiators, a few appropriately armed sci-fi figures and some fantasy monsters (giant spiders shown here). The huge Sky Shark was an official Death Match figure and it is every bit as fearsome as it looks. The rules are very simple to learn. Players roll 2d8s which can be attack dice, defence dice or one of each. The dice are supposed to have symbols on them (swords for attacks and shields for defence) but Dave was, and still is, trying to find a cheap source for them. So, normal numbered d8s are used and the number rolled determines what symbol is used. High is good, low is bad. If both dice come up with double 1s or double skulls, that is very, very bad. Results are compared to see who scores the most hits or defences and if hits win, then damage is determined. When a figure suffers sufficient hit points lost he/she or it is removed from the game.
Fast forward to when Dave came to stay with me for a short while. Prior to his arrival, the Death Match game went on sale on the WTW webstore. I placed a large order for the game and enough figures for a four player match. Rather than post them to me, I asked Dave to bring them with him when he drove all the way to my house. This arrangement suited us both fine. That evening, we played a game on the official arena mat (beautifully made of neoprene plastic) and used some of Dave's own painted figures. It was a huge thrill playing with Dave, who had done much to design the game rules and of course, sculpt the figures for it. I got soundly beaten but I could have no excuses. Dave was simply the better player on the night.
Here is a game in progress using the official figures and gaming mat. The gaming mat measures 2' square and is made of neoprene plastic like a computer mouse mat. This makes it very strong and durable and is my favourite material for gaming boards. You'll notice the game board does not use a grid pattern, which I'm fine with. By having two types of arena, with and without grids, means I can use these in an even wider variety of games. For example, the What's Old Is New games use 1" grids for their ground based combats, so I can use my scratch-built arena if I decide to convert Death Match to N.E.W. (there's a good chance that will happen).
At present, the game features four gladiatorial races - the humans, the large horned Ceratids, the insect-like Exuvium and the reptilian Scabendi. In addition, are numerous beasts and monsters, a few of which are shown above. I have all of the gladiator figures, the bystanders, the 3D gaming tokens and most of the monsters. I will be buying all of the monsters in due time. Over the next few posts I will be reviewing the figures that are currently available for this game.
Dave has a number of expansions planned for the game, the most exciting of which are 3D stands to form a complete arena model. That will look most impressive. New races and monsters are also in the pipeline but I don't want to say too much about them, suffice to say, I'm interested in all of them. 
Death Match is a fun game to play that can be played solo or with 2 to 4 players. Matches do not usually last long and depending on the dice rolls can be over very quickly. If you fancy a really long match, try increasing the number of gladiators per side from one per side to two or three per side.
Regular followers of my blog will know that I'm a big fan of Dave's Wargames Terrain Workshop figures and models and this game has quickly become one of my favourite sci-fi skirmish games. My one and only criticism of the game is the lack of the official dice - a problem which Dave acknowledges and is working on to rectify. When it comes to buying the game you have a number of options. The cheapest option is to get a PDF copy of the rulebook for just £5.00. Alternatively, you can buy the two player deal set for £65 (RRP should be £80.50) which bags you 1 Exuvium and 1 Scabendi figure of your choice, 4 monsters (Deathcoil Beast, Horned Hominid, Lava Salamander and a Recnac), the rulebook, the gaming mat, and tokens for defensive stance, favour, initiative and knockdowns. If you go for the four player deal set, it will cost £75 (RRP should be £94.50) and you get everything from the two player version plus a human gladiator figure, your choice of a Ceratid gladiator figure and extra tokens. I went for the four player deal set to get me more bang for my buck. Here's a link to all of the Death Match products -

Thursday 17 August 2017

Massive Darkness - What I Got

I mentioned in my last post about my "Happy Thursday" where I received a load of parcels on that joyous day. I showed my Dracula's America Kickstarter package that I got last time. Now, it is time to show you what I got in the biggest parcel of all - my Massive Darkness Kickstarter package, which contains one of everything.
Massive Darkness is a dungeon crawl boardgame with 30mm scale miniatures created by Cool Mini Or Not that can be played with 1 to 6 players. No dungeon master is required as the enemy forces are controlled by an artificial intelligence in a similar manner to the zombie hordes in Zombicide. In this post I'll just show you all that I received for my Kickstarter pledge. I'll review the game itself in a later post. The picture above shows everything that came in a huge brown box. That is quite a hefty amount!
At the back here is the basic game box (it's big, heavy and packed to the gills) and the Lightbringer supplement, which adds crystal caverns and lava flows to the dungeon, plus loads more monsters. The other six boxes were optional buys containing more monsters and heroes. In the middle row from left to right are the Elementals set (contains 4 large elementals - air, earth, fire and water), the Ratlings set (contains 22 assorted Ratlings) and the Troglodytes set (contains 21 assorted Troglodytes and a large Minotaur). In the front row from left to right are the Reptisaurians set (contains 22 assorted Reptisaurians), the Bloodmoon Assassins vs the Hellephant set (contains 3 heroes and a large Hellephant monster) and the Warrior Priests vs the Spearmaiden Cyclops (contains 3 heroes and a huge Cyclops monster).
Two slightly smaller boxed sets feature the Noble Warriors vs the Cockatrice (contains 3 more heroes and a Cockatrice monster) and the Sorcerers vs Lord Tusk set (contains another 3 heroes and an Ogre Lord monster). To the left are three packs of crossover cards for using Zombicide: Black Plague heroes and zombies in Massive Darkness and for using the Massive Darkness heroes in Zombicide: Black Plague. I really love this so much. Kudos to Cool Mini Or Not for offering these cards! Finally are two boxed sets containing 3D plastic chests and pillars and doors and bridges to replace their card counters.
Here's a peak inside the basic game box. As with Zombicide: Black Plague, the heroes have a plastic dashboard to record their equipment, wounds and experience points on. I really like these a lot. The heroes are made of brown plastic and the monsters on grey plastic. The attention to detail of the sculpts is truly amazing and elevates the figures to miniature works of art. Beneath the big tray of monsters in the box are the tiles, dice, counters and cards.
Finally, here's a look inside the Lightbringer supplement, which contains three new heroes, a load more monsters, the crystal and lava tiles and a book of six new quests that makes use of the new tiles.
My mountain of unpainted figures goes up by another couple of hundred (sigh!) but do you know what? I don't care. I'm very happy with this purchase and the crossover potential with Zombicide: Black Plague was the icing on the cake and for me, made this a must have item. Plus, having read the rulebook, I can see that this is a great game in its own right. I very much look forward to playing it.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Dracula's America: Shadows of the West

Have you ever had one of those days when everything went right for you? They are rare but when they do happen it is such a wonderful feeling. Last Thursday was such a day for me. I received so many parcels that morning you'd think it was Christmas and my birthday rolled into one. From Amazon, I receive two plastic storage boxes that I keep figures and boardgame counters in. I received 12 miniature merchant starships from Brigade Models as well as five 28mm scale sci-fi figures from Space Vixens from Mars, and two big Kickstarter parcels. The first was everything produced for Dracula's America and the second, which came in a huge box, was everything that was produced for Massive Darkness, the new dungeon crawl game from Cool Mini Or Not. To top it all I had two hospital appointments that afternoon for check ups and both went amazingly well with the two consultants being delighted at my progress since my major operation in 2013. It was just a great day. Anyway, in this post I want to take a closer look at Dracula's America.
To give it its full name, Dracula's America: Shadows of the West is a skirmish wargame set in an alternate world Wild West where Count Dracula kills Abraham Lincoln in 1869 and becomes President for Life of the United States of America. Naturally, this intrigued me greatly and I quickly supported the North Star Nickstarter for this project by ordering one of everything that was on offer - rulebook, figures and dice.
I was very impressed by the quality of the products when I received them. the rulebook (shown to the left) is hard-backed, in full colour and runs to 140 pages. It is very easy to read and the rules are simple and easy to learn. The basic rule is if you roll a 5+ you have scored a success. On a roll of 1-4 you have failed. Characters come in three classes - novices, who roll d6s, veterans who roll d8s and heroes who roll d10s, so you can see, the more experienced your character is, the greater the chance he has of scoring a success. Some tests require one die being rolled, whilst others require three dice being rolled. Modifiers add or subtract the number of dice you roll but you can never roll less than one die. The more successes you roll, the greater the degree of your success is. That is the basic rules in a nutshell. Very simple.
The rulebook is split into three sections. Part 1 is The Rules, which cover the core rules, advanced rules, building your posse and 7 simple scenarios. Part 2 is Campaigns, which goes beyond one-off games into linked games that form a campaign. Part 3 is Dracula's America, which introduces the supernatural elements to the game. In here you will also find details of the six main factions of the game. The Twilight Order are the forces of good and light who have access to blessed weapons and ammo. The Red Hand Coven are the thralls of Dracula and his Shadow Union. The Skin Walker Tribes are native Americans who become shape-shifting guardians of nature. The Crossroads Cult are demon worshippers. The Congregation are sworn to stop the Dark Confederacy and to protect the remnants of the Free South with the power of Voodoo. The Dark Confederacy are made up of necromancers who raise the dead so that the Southern states may rise again in power.
I should point out that it is entirely possible to play this game as a straightforward Wild West skirmish game without using any of the supernatural elements... but where's the fun in that? This game is called Dracula's America and that is the setting I want to play in. I can't wait to get started. I can see crossover potential with THW's High Moon rules and maybe with Shadows of Brimstone, but that would require more work.
Here's a photo showing all that I received in my parcel. The rulebook, six of each type of dice used in the game and 42 beautifully sculpted 28mm scale figures. By ordering one of everything I earned a nice discount on the recommended retail price.
Here's a closer look at the figures. I based them all on the green plastic bases that came with them. Some of them, which I've glued to MDF bases, should have been glued to 40mm diameter plastic bases, but I thought they were far too big for the figures so I glued them on smaller sized bases. Only the summoned Temple Snake has been glued to a 40mm diameter base (see far left of the back row).
In the back row are the summoned creatures. In the fourth row from the front are The Congregation. In front of them in the middle are the Dark Confederacy. In the second row are from left to right, two Crossroads cult members, four Red Hand Coven vampires and two free exclusive figures I got for backing the Nickstarter, a Chupacabra and a Jackalope. In the front row are the forces of good - the Twilight Order and a single Skin Walker at the far right.
If you'd like a closer look at the figures, I've included this photo taken from the Nickstarter campaign which shows all of the figures except the Chupacabra and the Jackalope. The painted figures were painted by the highly talented Kevin Dallimore, a man whose work I greatly admire.
I'm a big fan of the Weird Wild West genre and I'm building up quite a collection of figures for this genre. I'm also slowly building up my collection of Wild West buildings and scenery. I think you can expect to see a lot of Weird West posts on this blog in 2018, by which time I should have enough painted figures and buildings to do it justice. I have to say that I am very impressed with the Dracula's America rulebook and setting. I see no reason to convert it to one of my other systems but to play it as written. But what has really impressed me is the quality and sculpting of the figures. Indeed, some of them are so good, they have jumped to the front of my painting queue. My favourite figure out of this range may well surprise you but I shan't say who it is until I have painted him or her. Yes, I am a tease!
The rulebook, dice and figures are all available from North Star. See here -
Highly recommended if you are at all interested in the Weird Wild West.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Warlord Games Manta Prowl Tank

Up until now I haven't looked at the vehicles of Mega City One that I'll be using in my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign. That changes now as I showcase one of the most awe-inspiring vehicles used by the Justice Department. The Manta Prowl Tank is a vehicle used by the Judges to deal with serious disturbances such as riots. It can also be used in wartime. It has antigravity and a powerful armament. It is not the Justice Department's biggest tank, however, which is the more powerful Heavy Tank, which runs on caterpillar tracks and is reserved for military use, as opposed to normal law enforcement.
This resin cast model was produced by Warlord Games and I was fortunate enough to buy mine just a month before the Judge Dredd range was temporarily suspended. It measures 29cm in length, 24cm in width and is 6cm tall. I don't know what it weighs but it is solid resin and quite heavy. It came in numerous parts which I glued together with two part epoxy resin for a strong bond. It comes with a small flight stand, which I have fitted for these photos but it has not been glued to the tank. It raises the model about 2 cm off the ground. I have placed my 28mm scale Wargames Foundry figure of Judge Scott alongside it in my photos to give you some idea of just how large this model is.
In JDMG, the Manta Prowl tank is classed as a Massive Hover Vehicle, so it is not affected by difficult or impassable terrain. If a Justice Department force wished to use one in a game, it would cost them a whopping 900 Credits, making it the most expensive vehicle in the game.
It has a crew complement of 2 drivers, 4 sensor operators, 5 gunners and can carry 30 passengers, including 4 Lawmaster bikes. Its JDMG stats are Move 12". Agility -2, Ramming Dice 10D, Front Armour +10, Side Armour +8, Rear Armour +7 and it has 30 Hits.
Its weapons are a High Intensity Laser Cannon (scarily powerful!) and two Anti-Personnel Laser Cannons in its turret as well as Stumm Gas Dispensers and Riot Foam Jets. Note, when activated, the Stumm Gas Dispensers and Riot Foam Jets will attack every model (friend or foe) within 6". However, they may not be used if the Manta Prowl Tank moves in the same turn.
The following rule applies to the drivers. If only a single model uses a Move action to drive the Manta Prowl Tank, its Agility becomes -4. Both drivers must use a Move action on the tank to avoid this; with the Manta Prowl Tank being moved on the second driver's action.
The following rules applies to the sensor operators. If the Manta Prowl Tank does not have any sensor operator crew positions filled, it may not use any weapons. If one or two sensor operators are present, it suffers a -2 or -1 penalty to all shooting attacks respectively. If four sensor operators are present, it gains a +1 bonus to all shooting attacks. Sensor operators must spend two Special Actions in each phase, or they will not count as being present at their stations.
There is no question at all that the Manta Prowl Tank resin kit is a very impressive model. Despite its very high price tag (I paid £125.00 for it) I have no regrets in buying it. It may not see much use in my campaign but when it does you'll just know that the Judges mean business! However, I do have one major criticism of the model and it is this - this is NOT a 28mm scale model. It is vastly under scale. There is no way you could fit 11 crew members, 30 passengers and 4 Lawmaster bikes inside it unless they were 15mm scale. Now I can understand the problem of scale here. To make this in true 28mm scale would mean doubling it in size, making it roughly two feet square, which is just unfeasible for tabletop skirmish gaming. So I accept the scale reduction on the grounds of playability. It is still a mightily impressive model and is one that I am incredibly proud to own.

Thursday 3 August 2017

Warlord Games Missy, Professor Yana and Chantho

I could have shown the Warlord Games figure of Missy when I reviewed my plastic Cybermen. After all, she was part of the boxed set that featured the Cybermen reinforcements. But I deliberately held back so that I could showcase her alongside Professor Yana and Chantho. These three characters do share a history as I'll explain.
At the left of these two photos are Chantho and Professor Yana. The kindly Professor Yana worked on the Utopia project at the end of the universe with his assistant, Chantho - a Malmooth whose every sentence started with "Chan" and ended with "Tho". However, Yana was actually the renegade Time Lord, the Master - his biology altered by Time Lord technology, the Chameleon Arch. When the Master discovered his true identity he fatally wounded Chantho with a live electric cable. In her final moments, Chantho managed to shoot the Master, triggering his regeneration as he stole away in the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS. The Master was once again unleashed upon time and space.
The Master makes numerous appearances in the Doctor Who TV series but it was in the 2014 episodes,  Dark Water and Death in Heaven that Missy revealed herself to be the latest regeneration of the Master or rather a female version of him, known as Missy, a shortened version of Mistress. This figure very faithfully captures the likeness of Michelle Gomez, who played Missy to such wonderful effect. Yes, I am a big fan of Missy.
Michelle Gomez maintained John Simm's (the previous Master) portrayal of the character, specifically the psychopathic behaviour and inappropriate emotional responses to certain situations, as well as the original traditions of ruthless, murderous behaviour and grandiose, Machiavellian criminal intelligence that have been consistent throughout all incarnations. However, she also displayed a much more coquettish manner, with her new female identity allowing her to fully express aspects of the Master's ambiguous bond with the Doctor (as previously explored by Simm's incarnation in The Sound of Drums). While determined to torment and corrupt the Doctor with moral temptation while inflicting pain and death to humanity, she frequently referred to him as her "boyfriend" or "friend" and appeared to ultimately desire his acquiescence and company. She is also well aware that she is even more dangerously psychopathic than before, describing herself as "Bananas" to UNIT agent Osgood right before killing her (Death in Heaven). However, when circumstances result in Missy being kept in a vault and monitored by the Doctor after an averted execution, Missy actually comes to show signs of remorse for what she had done in the past, to the point that she prepares to side with the Doctor over her own past self (The Doctor Falls).
The Master and the Doctor are shown to have similar levels of intelligence, and were classmates on Gallifrey, where the Master outperformed the Doctor. A similar connection between the two was also referenced in The End of Time in which the Master reminisces with the Tenth Doctor about his father's estates on Gallifrey and his childhood with the Doctor before saying, "look at us now". In the 2007 episode Utopia, the Tenth Doctor calls the transformed and disguised Master (Professor Yana) a genius and shows admiration for his intellect before discovering his true identity. The Tenth Doctor further expresses admiration for the Master's intellect in The End of Time by calling him "stone cold brilliant" and yet states that the Master could be more if he would just give up his desire for domination. The Twelfth Doctor states that Missy is "the one person almost as smart as me" (The Lie of the Land).