Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Vampifans Views 103 - Monthly Musings 74

It has been another very busy month for me. My mum's funeral went very well - the sun shone on the day and it was quite mild for February; the church service was very beautiful and well attended. Everything went so well, and I'm sure my mum will have been delighted with the send off she received. God bless her.

Now that life has returned to normal, I start off with a portrait of Vampirella painted by Miguel Sanjulian, who painted many of the front covers of the original Vampirella Monthly Magazine produced by Warren Publishing, which ran from September 1969 until March 1983. Over the next few months I'll be showing more of this talented artist's work. I do love the idea of Vampirella being the queen of hearts. On a related note, earlier this month, I received a Vampirella tarot deck of cards that I'd ordered. I'm not into tarot at all, but I did think they were a cool memento to have. Sanjulian's artwork appears on a number of the cards, which all feature artwork from the Warren Publishing series of front covers.

On the hobby front, the game that is taking up so much of my time is Necromunda. This new version has me very excited. I have only just finished painting my new plastic Eschers and they look fantastic. Expect a review very soon. I only recently received some new stuff that I'd pre-ordered including the new plastic House Orlock gangers. See picture to the right. Note this picture was taken from the Games Workshop webstore and these are not my painted figures. I'm probably going to go for a similar colour scheme but I haven't fully decided yet. I won't be basing them on the "official" Necromunda bases but on MDF bases instead.
I also received the new set of Zone Mortalis gaming tiles called Badzone Delta-7. This boxed sets adds nine new double-sided tiles to the game that are fully compatible with the ones found in the boxed starter set. These offer new perils and challenges to your Underhive battles. Rules for them can be found in the Gang War 2 supplement, which I also bought. This book also covers the rules for the House Orlock gang, hiring bounty hunters, hive scum and/or hangers on, making it an essential purchase if you plan on expanding your games.

Speaking of Bounty Hunters and Hive Scum, my willpower failed me and I ordered the Hired Guns Collection set of four figures from Forge World. They were very pricey (£38 for all four) but really gorgeous figures. I relented because I really wanted that figure of bounty hunter Yolanda Skorn, formally of House Escher, shown at the front. The beastman at the back is a large and impressive multi-part figure called Gor Half-horn. He is also a bounty hunter. The other two are both hive scum, Grub Targeson aka Lumpy Nox at the left and Mad Dog Mond at the right. These are all resin cast figures. The detailing on them is very impressive. Once again, these are not my painted figures.

I have ordered 200 rare earth magnets to attach to the sides of my Zone Mortalis scratchbuilt walls and columns, acting upon Vagabond's excellent suggestion. However, they are coming from China and delivery time is an estimated four weeks, so I'm in for a bit of a wait. It can't be helped. I have also been buying some Warhammer 40,000 scenery items to use in Necromunda and other games, but not from Games Workshop. Companies like Element Games and Wayland Games offer considerable discounts, usually 20% off GW's prices. I have bought from both companies and found them very reliable. I'll show what I got when I paint them.

I do like to have a few projects on the go at any one time, just so I don't get bored and I am still forging ahead with my other two passions - Weird Wild West and my N.E.W. campaign. Last year I backed the Tombstone Kickstarter run by Black Scorpion Miniatures. I ordered all of the figures that were on offer and they arrived at the start of this month. This consisted of 7 gangs of 15 figures plus assorted add-ons, so that's well over 100 figures to paint. Gulp! Some folk are put off by them because they are made of resin, but I have never had any problems with any of the resin figures I have ordered. The sculpts are up to Black Scorpion's usual high standards. I did not order the rulebook as I already have three sets of Wild West/Weird West rulebooks - Dracula's America, Shadows of Brimstone and Six Gun Sound. I don't really need another set. I did, however, get a free PDF copy of the Tombstone rulebook and whilst they look okay, there is nothing new in them that isn't covered in my other three rulebooks. On my painting desk at the moment are yet more Shadows of Brimstone figures and Dracula's America figures.

As for N.E.W. I'm pleased to announce that I have begun the second scenario of my The Ace of Spades Campaign on my WOIN blog, called Alien Base. You can check out part 1 here -
If you like narrative driven scenarios, you should enjoy this one. My The Ace of Spades Campaign concentrates more on the characters and the story than on dice rolls and rules. The first scenario ran to an impressive 16 parts, but I don't think the second scenario will run quite as long. If you'd like to read them in chronological order, I collected them all together on this page here -
I am still making scenery items from my Battle Systems Sci-fi 2 terrain sets and they really add so much to the look of my scenarios. On the figure front, I have just finished painting a bunch of North Star 28mm scale Rogue Stars figures to use in my campaign. I also found some more robots to use in my Alien Base scenario that were freebies I received from Johnny Lauck but had somehow overlooked. The actual aliens from Alien Base were converted and painted months ago but I'm keeping them secret until it is time to reveal them in the scenario. I am also rebasing and in some cases, repainting some of my old 28mm scale sci-fi figures that I used in my first two The Ace of Spades Campaigns. You wouldn't believe just how many sci-fi figures I have!

So, there is lots to keep me busy. March will be another month heavily influenced by Necromunda  posts on this blog, and by my Alien Base scenario on my WOIN blog. I hope this cursed winter weather isn't making your lives too miserable. Personally I HATE snow with a deep passion. I didn't ask for it and I don't want it! The sooner it goes, the happier I'll be.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Necromunda: House Orlock Gangers 01

Having just bought the new Games Workshop plastic House Orlock gangers for Necromunda, I thought I'd show you my old Orlock Gangers as a prelude to seeing the new figures. Of all the Necromunda gangs I owned, the Orlocks were the biggest in terms of numbers. As a consequence, many of the figures I'm showing you were not used in my campaign. Only 12 out of my 31 figures made an appearance. Also, because this gang was run by another one of my playing group, he kept their gang roster sheet, so I only have names for a few of the gangers. He decided to call this gang, Murder Inc. In this post I'll showcase the leaders, heavies and juves and cover the gangers in my next post. All of these lead figures were produced by Citadel Miniatures in the mid-1990's
At the far left is the gang's leader, Don "The Godfather" Makowski. Neil, who ran this gang wanted a Mafia vibe to them. Don is armed with a Meltagun, Las Pistol, Chainsword and a Knife. He was an average leader and he did survive the campaign. I can't recall any notable actions of his. They were the first gang to be defeated by the Badland Bastards, a match that was reported in the Necromunda News weekly newsletter. "Big Fub and the Badland Bastards met new arrivals, Murder Inc. at Toxic Sills and gave them a warm, friendly Goliath greeting by kicking the crap out of them. Big Fub had this to say about them, "We don't need no need no stinkin' Orlock scum infesting our turf, so we had to teach 'em some manners and respect... just to keep 'em in their place!" When asked for a comment after his gang's defeat, Don "The Godfather" Makowski had this to say, "Hey, wassamatter you? Gotta no respect? Ah, shaddappa your face!""
The figure to the right of Makowski is an alternative leader type, armed with a Bolter, an Axe and a Las Pistol. He is unnamed and was not used in my campaign. Neil was right to chose the other figure for his leader as he has much better weapons.
Next up are the three Orlock heavies. In the centre of this group is Kelvin "Boom Boom" Okawitz. Although he is shown here armed with a Heavy Flamer, a Las Pistol and a Knife, he later replaced the Heavy Flamer with a Heavy Plasma Gun. He went down in history as the ganger who spectacularly failed to assassinate Big Fub. Despite hitting Big Fub with the first shot of the game and taking him out, he not only failed to wound the Goliath leader, but gave him a set of Impressive Scars, which further enhanced Big Fub's reputation. The term, "epic fail" springs to mind!
The other two heavies are unnamed and were not used. Second from the right, this heavy is armed with a Heavy Bolter, a Las Gun and a Knife. The heavy at the far right is armed with an Autocannon, an Auto Pistol and a Knife.
Next up are the juves of the gang. I don't have names for any of them and I believe only two of them were used in my campaign and they were the first and fourth in line from the left. The one at the far left is armed with an Auto Pistol, Frag Grenades and a Knife. Next to him, this juve is armed with a Stub Pistol and a Club. The next juve in line was a conversion of the previous figure. I repositioned his right arm and replaced his Stub Pistol with a Bolt Pistol.
The last three juves in line are armed with an Autopistol and Knife, a Stub Pistol and Knife, and a Las Pistol and Knife respectively. The juve second from the right is a conversion of the one at the far right and has had his Las Pistol replaced with a Stub Pistol. Just like the Goliaths I showed last time, these are very cool sculpts and I don't think there is a bad sculpt amongst them.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Necromunda: House Goliath Gangers 03

I continue my trip down memory lane with the second of my two reviews of my original House Goliath gang - the Badland Bastards. This time I'm showcasing the bulk of the gang - the rank and file gangers. All of these figures were produced by Citadel Miniatures for Games Workshop's Necromunda skirmish game and are a mix of metal and plastic figures. The original boxed game came with plastic figures for Houses Goliath and Orlock. As a consequence, these ended up being my two biggest gangs.
I start off with my six metal ganger figures, who are all superb sculpts. At the far left is Johnny Flambo who is armed with a Hand Flamer, a Shotgun and a Knife. Second from the left is Brak Skullsmasher (what a cool Goliath name!). He is armed with a Las Rifle, a Stub Pistol, Frag Grenades and a Knife. I like how he has his Knife strapped to the side of his Las Rifle. Sadly, he was not used in my gang. Next in line is Steeljaw, who is armed with a Las Rifle, an Autopistol, Frag and Krak Grenades and a Knife.
Moving on, is Konrad Kilgore, another ganger whom I didn't get round to including in my gang. He is armed with an Autogun, a Las Pistol and a Knife. Second from the right is Blitzen, who is armed with a Shotgun, Stub Pistol, Frag Grenades and a Knife. Last but by no means least, is "Mad Axe" MacRae, who, as his name implies, is armed with an Axe, as well as an Autogun, Frag and Krak Grenades and a Knife.
Not nearly as well sculpted as the metal gangers are my plastic gangers. These came with a choice of two bodies and a selection of right arms holding assorted weapons. I have ten of them and only three of them were used in my gang. At the far left is Flange, who was a member of my Badlands Bastards gang. He is armed with a Chainsaw, Autopistol and Knife. I replaced his sword with the Chainsword. Slicer is another ganger who was part of my gang and he is armed with a Power Sword, an Autopistol and a Knife.
The next three gangers were not used but I still named them. They are from left to right, Hagen, Spikey and Ghork. Hagen is armed with an Autopistol and a Knife, which I took from one of my plastic Orlock gangers. Spikey is armed with a Las Rifle and a Knife, whilst Ghork is armed with an Autogun and a Knife.
In the next batch of plastic gangers, I start at the far left with Arnie the Armoured Fist, a close combat specialist, armed with a Power Fist, Power Sword, Las Pistol and Knife. Obviously, he was used in my gang. His Power Sword and Power Fist replaced his original weapons.
The other four gangers were not used and they are from left to right, Ukak (armed with Shotgun, Stub Pistol and Power Sword), Ed Crusher (armed with Shotgun and Knife), Gund (armed with Las Pistol and Sword) and Bone Snapper (armed with Bolt Pistol, Frag Grenades and Knife).
These gave me a total of 27 House Goliath figures, my second largest gang after my Orlocks. I do like all of the metal figures that were produced for them but the plastic figures are disappointing. On some of them I have lengthened the size of their Mohican haircuts with Milliput. The new plastic Goliath gangers that came out last year are a vast improvement over these. If I were to field all of my Badland Bastards, they'd be a formidable force. In my original Necromunda campaign, this gang finished second out of twelve with a total of 3,900 points.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Necromunda: House Goliath Gangers 02

When Necromunda was first released by Games Workshop in the mid 1990's I collected just about every miniature that was produced for it. My favourite gang was from House Escher, but the gang whom I had the most fun playing were the Badland Bastards from House Goliath. I plan on showcasing all of my old Necromunda figures alongside the new figures as and when they are released. To start off with I'm going to show you my Badland Bastards, starting with the leaders, heavies and juves in this post and following up with the ordinary gangers next post. The Badland Bastards were the second largest gang I collected, so it makes sense to split their review into two parts.
At the far left is their legendary leader, Big Fub (Fub stands for Fucking Ugly Bastard!). I describe him as legendary, and in my campaign, he certainly was. The Badland Bastards got off to a terrible start. In their first five games, they lost two, won one, and lost the next two. However, their fortune changed in their sixth match, against House Orlock. They won and went on to win their next ten games afterwards. It was an impressive winning streak. In one memorable skirmish, House Orlock  arranged an assassination attempt on Big Fub. In turn one, he was hit by a Plasma Cannon and was taken out of the fight. It narked me that my gang never got a chance to make a move but I had my revenge when I rolled to see what wound Big Fub would sustain. Not only did he score a no injury but he also gained impressive scars. Justice was seen to be done, in my opinion, and Big Fub claimed that game as a victory! When my campaign ended, the Badland Bastards were in second place out of 12 gangs. I converted my figure of Big Fub, to give him a Plasma Gun to go with his Melta Gun, Plasma Grenades, Power Sword and Knife. The Plasma Gun replaced his Slug Pistol. Such was his strength that he could use a rifle weapon in each hand!
Standing next to him is an alternative leader figure, whom I didn't get to use. I named him Torus the Bull. He is armed with a Grenade Launcher, Chainsword, Frag Grenades and an Autopistol.
The three heavies are from left to right, Stubber Orman (armed with Heavy Bolter, Las Pistol and Knife), Chebs (armed with Autocannon, Las Pistol and Knife) and Li'l Butch (armed with Las Cannon, Las Pistol and Knife). In the original rules, a gang could have no more than two heavies at any one time, so Stubber Orman was not used by me. Stubber Orman and Chebs were official Citadel House Goliath heavies but Li'l Butch was a conversion of a Citadel Golden Heroes supervillain.
Moving on, here are my juves for the Badland Bastards, although two of them made it to ganger status.  At the far left is Cheney, who made it to ganger status. He is armed with an Autopistol and Chainsword. I converted him when he made it to being a ganger and I replaced his Knife with a Chainsword. Next up are the two twins, Brokk and Grokk. Brokk is armed with a Slug Pistol and Knife, whilst Grokk is armed with a Las Pistol and Knife. Neither were used in my gang.
Fourth in line is "Deadeye" Dick, who is armed with an Autopistol and a Knife. Second from the right is Spitz, a young juve armed with a Las Pistol, Frag Grenades and a Knife. Finally, is "Two Gun Billy" Small, armed with a pair of Las Pistols and Krak Grenades. He also achieved ganger status and he is a converted version of Spitz. I replaced his Knife with a second Las Pistol and repositioned his right arm.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Necromunda: Limited Edition Figures 01

I have been lucky enough to acquire some very rare limited edition figures to use in Necromunda and I want to share them with you here. In this post I am showcasing two gangers for House Goliath and one for House Escher.
At the far left is Kolossus, who I'm going to use as the leader of the Brass Brutes gang I showed you in my last post. This means that Skullshank will now be downgraded to a Champion. I have had this figure for many years now but I never used him in my old Badlands Bastards gang. When I got the new Necromunda game I dug him out and decided he'd fit in much better with my Brass Brutes gang as their leader. I added the Furnace Plate Armour to his chest, which was made from Milliput, so that he fit in with the other figures and also because I didn't want him to be bare-chested. I had forgotten who made him. I originally thought he was a Kevin White sculpt, but I recently discovered he was sculpted by Steve Buddle for Heresy Miniatures before he left to work for Games Workshop. This figure was a limited edition variant of the Barbarian Warlord, who is still available for sale. This version has a different head and his axe has been replaced with a shotgun. For me, the cloak makes him stand out as a leader. I'm looking forward to finally getting to use this superbly sculpted figure.
The next two figures were produced by TT Combat and they are incredibly rare. They were only available during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend of November 2017. If you spent £100 you'd get one of them for free (your choice of which one). They were also available to buy separately but only during that short time period. As it happened I had a big order I wanted to place with TT Combat, so I got the Escher for free and I paid for the Goliath. They are both made of resin and are very nicely detailed and sculpted.
The Goliath ganger has been named Cyber Monday for obvious reasons. He is fitted with a cybernetic right eye and a cybernetic right arm with a circular saw attachment. In addition, he carries a Power Hammer and he has a Stubber Pistol in a holster on his left thigh.
The Escher ganger was named Black Friday. Her pink and blue hair colouring was a deliberate nod to my favourite DC Comics supervillain, Harley Quinn, whom she reminded me of. She is armed with a Shotgun and a Power Sword. Note that she has been painted in the alternative colour scheme I'm adopting for my new House Escher gangers. I'm replacing the traditional yellow armour pieces with pink armour. Pink will be the predominant colour for my new Eschers. I'm hoping to get them painted soon.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Necromunda: House Goliath Gangers 01

The new boxed set for Games Workshop's Necromunda contains 20 plastic multipart figures for gangers from two of the six main houses - House Goliath and House Escher - 10 for each gang. As luck would have it, these were the two gangs I used to play when I ran my original Necromunda campaign way back in the mid 1990's, so that made me very happy. Both gangs did well in the campaign. I have made all of the figures for the two new house Goliath and House Escher gangs and recently finished painting the Goliaths. Below, I present the Brass Brutes of House Goliath.
These five gangers shown above and directly below are my close combat fighters. From left to right are Skullshank the gang Leader, Kruger, "Splitter" Korg the first Champion, Nox the Ripper and Brakk. Note that these are the names given to them in the boxed set and they are all made as per the build instructions provided.
Skullshank is armed with a Power Hammer and a Combi-Pistol that combines a Plasma Pistol and a Stubber Pistol. Kruger is armed with a Brute Cleaver and a Grenade Launcher which can fire Frag or Krak Grenades. "Splitter" Korg wields a two-handed Renderizer. Nox the Ripper is armed with a Brute Cleaver and a Spud-Jacker as well as Frag and Krak Grenades. Brakk is armed with a Spud-Jacker, a Stubber Pistol and Frag Grenades.
These next five gangers are my ranged combat fighters. From left to right are Grendel the second Champion, Varik, Drago, Rork and Bonesnapper. These were also named and made as per the instructions provided with the game.
Grendel is armed with a Rivet Cannon and a Fighting Knife. Varik, Drago and Rork are all armed with Stub Cannons. Varik also has a Fighting Knife and Rork has both Frag and Krak Grenades. Bonesnapper is armed with a Combat Shotgun and Frag Grenades. All of the gangers wear Furnace Plate Armour.
These are exceptionally detailed plastic models, allowing for a lot of customisation, if that's what you want. I was quite happy to make them as instructed. They do look different enough to the original plastic and metal Goliaths, whilst still being recognisably Goliath. As such, I decided to paint them in a totally new colour scheme, and replaced the red armour with gold armour. There are still parts of them that are red, as a nod to other House Goliath gangs.
My first Goliath gang was called the Badland Bastards led by the legendary Big Fub. I could tell you some stories about them! I had so much fun playing them. I will showcase them, and all of my original Necromunda figures in future posts.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Necromunda: Underhive Scenery WIP

Ever since I bought the new version of Necromunda last November, I have been doing a lot of work for it so that I can showcase it to its best advantage on my blog. This new version of the sci-fi skirmish game comes in two flavours. The boxed starter set is a boardgame played with miniatures and is referred to as Zone Mortalis, whereas the old style Necromunda, that many players like myself, are familiar with, is played with on 3D scenic gaming boards, and that version is known as Sector Mechanicus. In this post, I'm concentrating on the Zone Mortalis version.
The starter set comes with 9 double-sided heavy card tiles that can be set up in various configurations to show the area your gangers will be contesting.
This photo shows a typical set up, with the addition of some of the plastic doors and barricades that also come in the box. Obviously, no figures have been placed yet. It looks fine and I'm sure many people would be more than happy to play their games in this manner. But, when browsing the internet for Necromunda scenery, I came across this picture below.
It's got proper walls! I was hooked. I wanted my boards to look like that. I quickly discovered who produced these walls - an American firm called Death Ray Designs. These walls are made of MDF and come in kit form, unpainted. If you are interested in purchasing them, it is the Deadbolt's Derelict: Corridors Bundle set and it costs $130.00. For that you get 24 columns, 20 single walls and 18 Double walls, which is more than enough for any of the scenarios presented in the Necromunda: Underhive rulebook. I don't mind MDF models at all but I saw a few problems with this set. Although $130 wasn't a bad price for the amount of stuff you're getting, the $82 post and packing charge was too high for me. Plus, such a heavy parcel coming from America would most certainly incur customs and excise charges, which I most certainly did not want to face. So, I shelved the idea of buying this set. But the idea of having 3D walls wouldn't go away, and I started thinking, how hard would it be for me to make my own? And that is exactly what I did!
Here is the same board set up that I showed above, but this time with my scratchbuilt 3D walls added to it. How cool is that? I'm really pleased with how they have come out.
 Here's a different view of the same game board.
Here is a close up of my columns, single walls and double walls. They are all made of black foam-board, which is 5mm thick. I based their dimensions on the ones used by Death Ray Designs. I added strips of thick cartridge paper to them. The front and backs of the walls are recessed and I made use of the scenic bases that Games Workshop provide their ganger figures with, and thankfully, also sell separately. I had no intention of using these bases with my figures. Instead, I used circular MDF bases and coated them with sand and gravel to match the bases of all of my other 28mm scale figures. However, I did think that the new bases would look good as part of a scenery piece. I used the smaller 25mm diameter ones on my single walls and two of the larger 32mm diameter ones on my double walls. For my columns, I added a single control panel from TT Combat's Industrial Hive Control Panels set. There are three different designs for these panels and I used a mixture of all three. I had to buy two sets to cover all that I needed, as you only get 18 in a set and I needed 25.
 I made 25 columns and here they all are. Each column only has one control panel on it.
I made 15 double walls and 20 single walls. This gives me enough to play any of the scenarios from the Necromunda: Underhive rulebook. The one thing that my home-made walls don't do, which the MDF walls do, is link together. That's not a problem for me. I'm not in the habit of knocking over  scenery on my gaming table, so I should be okay.
Painting them is going to be a major task, simply because there are so many of them. I'll be keeping the paint schemes simple - a base coat, a wash and a dry brush, should suffice. I may add some little touches like graffiti and blood splatters on some of them, but not too much. It just goes to show what can be achieved with a little bit of imagination and a little bit of skill. Making these saved me a fortune over what the MDF ones from Death Ray Designs would have cost.