Friday 30 November 2018

Vampifans Views 113 - Monthly Musings 83

Greetings, one and all, to another of my Monthly Musings. As usual, I'm starting with another Sanjulian painting of Vampirella, whose work I have been featuring all year. This is a beautiful piece of artwork that I am most impressed with.

November has been a very good month for me. In my past few posts, I have been reviewing the Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats game. The game is very good and I plan on playing many more games of it. Having bought the two Crew expansions sets, they will improve it immeasurably. Extra Crew and new Jobs greatly add to the re-playability of the game, which is no bad thing.

I have finished my Zomtober and Zomvember challenges for this year. Concentrating on making a start on my collection of The Walking Dead figures certainly revived my enthusiasm for the game. The biggest problem I have with these monthly painting challenges is that they are only meant to last one month and then a new one comes along. For me, as soon as Zomtober ended I wanted to carry on painting more of my The Walking Dead figures, which is what I did. Having completed all of the wave 1 figures, I have now turned my attention to the scenery items. I'm working on the 3D barricades and supplies. I have ordered a few scenery sets from Mantic Games for the game as well as the Here's Negan spin-off game. One of the scenery items I ordered was Hershel's barn, which will fit in very well in Wild West games as well as contemporary games.

Currently on my painting table are a mix of sci-fi figures. I'm painting figures from Gerry Anderson's Captain Scarlet and UFO TV series (both produced by Crooked Dice Games) as I decided it was long overdue that I plug a few holes in my collections of them. In addition, I am also painting the newest figures from the Strontium Dogs skirmish game by Warlord Games. I have also been painting more 3D scenery items that my brother has printed out for me to use in a variety of games.

For my WOIN games, I have rebased and repainted some more of my old sci-fi figures to use in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I have also made a start on creating characters from the Judge Dredd and Worlds of 2000 AD book. As you may well be aware, I have a huge collection of Judge Dredd themed figures, so I have loads to create character stats for. Fortunately, character creation is something I very much enjoy doing so it is no great hardship - it's just very time-consuming.
Thanks for reading and all the best to you.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Firefly Adventures - a Review

As promised, here is my review of the Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats board-game with 28mm scale miniatures produced by Gale Force Nine.
I'll start with a look at the contents of the game. At the left are the assorted counters used in the game. Made of thick card, I keep them stored in a small plastic container box.
The bottom of the box contains ten small boxes, which also double as buildings to use in the game. This is a great idea and even the big box can be used as a large building. The six game boards are stored under the ten small boxes. The large rectangular box at the top contains the Hero stat cards and a wad of paper money in various denominations that is used as rewards for Jobs completed, purchasing equipment and perhaps bribing opponents. In the four square boxes, I have placed the 5 Cowboys, 5 Thugs, 5 Casual Crew and 5 Heroic Crew. In the five small rectangular boxes at the right are from top to bottom, the 30 Tech Challenge cards, 30 Negotiation Challenge cards, 40 Equipment cards, 10 Goon stat cards and the 6 dice. The dice have a Firefly symbol in place of the 6. For each Firefly rolled, you may roll an additional bonus die and add it to your results. Each Firefly rolled adds 6 to the Test result. The opposite sides of the dice have a Disgruntled Icon instead of a 1. If you roll more Disgruntled faces than Heroic dice things have gone awry and you fail the Test. Disgruntled Faces never add to the dices' total.
To the right of the big box are the four Jobs sheets, which detail the missions, any special rules and what rewards apply.
In these next photos I have set everything up for the start of a mission. The six game boards are double-sided. Note that I have set them and the buildings up for an imaginary Job, just to show you all of the components. The smaller buildings are numbered from 1 to 10. Doors to the buildings may be locked or unlocked. If locked, they will require some form of a Challenge Test to unlock. The Goons will ignore the Heroes as long as the Crew act Casual. Once a Crew acts Heroically, any Goon who has line of sight to him or her will be Alerted and react accordingly. Thugs will Brawl if they can, otherwise they'll move to the Hero. Cowboys will Shoot if the Hero is within 6 squares of him, otherwise he will move closer. If a Cowboy is adjacent to a Hero, he will Brawl. If a Hero defeats a Goon, the Goon figure is replaced with a dead body counter. Dead bodies will also alert Goons if they are seen. However, the Heroes can move dead bodies to place them out of sight. Although it takes extra time to move a body, it is a useful tactic.
The Crew start with five items of Equipment, which are drawn randomly. Any Hero may hold up to four items of Equipment. If playing a campaign, Equipment may be carried over from Job to Job, thus improving your chances of success. Extra items of Equipment can sometimes be found during the course of a Job.
Crew have their Wounds listed on their Heroic side (between 3 and 5). Once wounded, a Character must act Heroic until they are fully healed. You can't casually bleed all over the place! When a Crew is reduced to 0 Health, that Character has been Downed. Place a Downed status card over their Heroic Actions. The Downed cards are shown in the bottom left of the above photo. Some Characters have the ability to heal Wounds. To heal a Wound, the healer must be standing next to the Wounded Character. A Wounded Character may be healed multiple times in a turn. Healing counts as Heroic if in sight of a Goon. A Downed Crew Member must be healed before they can take Actions other than waiting or healing themselves.
In this photo, I have set the Crew next to or on their M.U.L.E. transport vehicle. This being the start of the game, they are all acting Casual. On their turn, a Character may take two of the Actions listed on their Character card. This may be the same action both times. Actions listed on Equipment cards count towards a Character's two Actions on their turn. Goons always take two Actions. At the end of each Crew's turn, check to see if any Goons have been Alerted, either because they took Wounds or because they can now see a Heroic Crew.
Probably the most important component of the game is the Timeline Tracker, which runs around the edges of the board. It is used to track how much time the Crew has to complete a Job. Different Actions take different amounts of time. Each character on the map has their own Time Marker, which tracks how much time they have spent so far. As the Crew moves, shoots and attempts Challenges, they'll advance their Time Marker up the Timeline. I have placed the Time Markers for the Crew on the first five segments of the Timeline Tracker. Once their turn is over, the Character at the back of the Timeline takes their turn. So in this case, Wash will act first. Sometimes a Character's Time Marker will end up on top of another Character's. In this case, the marker which is on top is considered to be behind the markers below it.
I played this game for the first time on my birthday and I absolutely loved it. I chose a simple Job - Questionable Objectives - which I successfully completed. For almost the whole game, the Crew acted Casual. When they did act Heroic, I made sure that no Goons could see them, apart from in one instance, when a Thug had line of sight to Kaylee, who was acting Heroically. Before he could move, Zoe shot him dead. I'd have preferred to have played the game without killing any Goons but it was necessary to take out that particular Thug. The objective my crew had to find turned out to be a safe, which they had to move off the board. This they did easily since they'd moved all of the closest Goons out of sight of them, giving them a clear run off the board.
There is much to admire about this game. The figures are nicely sculpted, despite their facial details being a tad soft. The idea of having Casual and Heroic Crew is an excellent one. I like that the boxes for holding the components also double as the buildings. Sure, they don't have roofs, but that doesn't bother me. It's what's inside them that is more important. The Timeline Tracker adds a great deal of tension to the game.
I found the game very easy to play. Obviously, I had to frequently reference the rulebook, but that's only to be expected with any game you're playing for the first time. Best of all, I didn't make any mistakes, which pleased me greatly.
My only criticism of the game is that it only comes with four Jobs sheets. I'd have expected more. It does rather limit re-playability, although tactics that work once may not work a second time depending on dice rolls. However, extra Jobs can be downloaded from If, like me, you buy the two Crew expansion sets, each set contains another three Jobs, which gives you 10 in total if you don't download any. This is much more acceptable. Plus, with extra Crew, you have far greater choice on who to take on your Jobs, giving even more options.
As a massive fan of the TV series and spin-off film, I was expecting great things from this game. It goes without saying that I was not disappointed. Highly recommended, especially if you're a Firefly/Serenity fan. If you do fancy buying it, Amazon UK have it for sale at £33.00. See here -

Saturday 24 November 2018

Firefly Adventures - Goons

It's my birthday today and this afternoon I'll be playing my first game of Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats, which I'm very much looking forward to. In my last post I showed you the Heroes of the game and this time I want to turn my attention to the bad guys, collectively known as the Goons. There are two types of Goons - Cowboys, who are ranged combat specialists, and Thugs, who are melee combat specialists.
The Cowboys are made of brown plastic, so I have stuck with shades of brown for my colour scheme for them. The Cowboys can be played in easy mode or hard mode. In easy mode, they all have identical stats and just 1 Fight and 2 Wounds.
However, in hard mode, shown on the reverse of their stat cards, each one is an individual with unique abilities and variable Wounds. From left to right, they are identified as Duellist, Grizzled Gunman, Roper, Sharpshooter and Tracker. I have to say that I really like these figures and they wouldn't look out of place in a Wild West setting or the Strontium Dogs game or as Cursed Earth bandits in Judge Dredd. I particularly like the Sharpshooter with his incredibly long-barrelled pistol.
Moving on, we have the Thugs. Just like the Cowboys, these can be played in easy mode, where they all have identical stats or in hard mode. These were moulded in grey plastic, so I have given them all dark grey clothing to unify them.
From left to right are the Bodyguard, the Bruiser, the Butcher, the Martial Artist and the Punk. These would make fine scum and villainy in any sci-fi game.
By the way, yesterday I received these two Crew Expansion Sets from Amazon UK, which add the four passenger figures from the Serenity into the mix. As with the five Heroes from the starter boxed set, they come in Casual and Heroic modes. I plan on getting them painted real soon. All is shiny!

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Firefly Adventures - Heroes 01

It is my birthday next week on the 24th of November. Now that I have finally gotten the probate sorted out with my mum's will and have received a very tidy sum of money, I splashed out on a few presents for myself. One of those was for Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats, a board-game with 28mm scale miniatures produced by Gale Force Nine, which I bought from Amazon UK. It is a game designed for 1-5 players, so as a solo player, that was a big draw for me. Secondly, I am a huge fan of the TV series and spin-off film.
Firefly Adventures is a co-operative, mission based, skirmish level game where the players need to use their different skills and abilities together to succeed. When you play Firefly Adventures, you'll follow one of the Job Briefings, which determines what your Crew needs to accomplish, how they might succeed and how long they have to work.
Some jobs are easier and faster, some are longer and more involved. What type of Job you want to tackle is up to you. You can work a single Job or play a story of multiple Jobs. In a Story, you'll use the credits you earn from one Job to equip the Crew for the next Job. Each Job will detail how to set up the map for that Job, how long the Timeline should be and how much you'll be paid for completing the Job.
I'll go into more detail into how the game is played in a later post. For this post and my next one, I want to showcase the miniature figures. The game comes with 20 plastic 28mm scale figures, all of which are unique sculpts. You get 10 Heroes split into 5 Casual and 5 Heroic poses and 10 bad guy Goons, split into 5 Cowboys and 5 Thugs. I'll show the Goons in my next post. For now, I want to concentrate on the Heroes.
I guess the Unique Selling Point of the game is that the Heroes come in two flavours - Casual and Heroic. When a Hero is acting Casual he or she can move around the board and take actions without attracting the attention of the Goons. However, once they start acting Heroic, which isn't just limited to combat actions, then the Goons will go on the alert and try to stop them. I like this effect. In some cases it'll pay you to go stealthy and casual but other times you'll need to go gung ho.
The five Heroes of the game are the basic crew of the Serenity. So, from left to right, are Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, a cunning and capable leader and a skilled fighter. During the Unification War, he fought as a Browncoat.While he is not above petty theft, smuggling or even killing to maintain his free lifestyle, he is generally honest in his dealings with others, fiercely loyal to his crew and closely follows a personal moral code. He is openly antagonistic toward religion as a result of his war experience.
Next up is Jayne Cobb, a mercenary and macho man who often acts dumber than he is. Despite his amoral mercenary persona, he sends a significant portion of his income to his mother, again suggesting that there is more to his character than what he presents to the rest of the crew.
In the centre is Kaywinnet Lee "Kaylee" Frye, the ship's engineer. She is the heart of the ship, a genuine and sweet person who has an intuitive grasp of mechanics, despite having no formal training in engineering.
Second from the right is Hoban "Wash" Washburne, the pilot of the Serenity and devoted husband of Zoe. He is very light-hearted and tends to make amusing comments, despite the severity of any situation.
Finally, is Zoe Alleyne Washburne, who fought alongside Mal in the Unification Wars. She is a capable fighter who keeps calm even in the most dangerous situations.
For the Heroic versions of the Crew, most are armed with their favourite weapons, apart from Kaylee who is a pacifist. Mal is armed with his trusty revolver. Jayne is carrying his favourite assault rifle, whom he has named "Vera." Kaylee is crouching down, making use of her tool box. Wash is firing a pistol in a two-handed grip and Zoe is firing her Sawn-Off shotgun from the hip.
I should point out that I bought this game last month in order to give me plenty of time to paint the miniatures in time for my birthday. The detail on these figures, particularly on the faces, is rather soft. They are made of hard plastic but are not of the same quality as Mantic Games' The Walking Dead figures. On the plus side, each figure is a unique sculpt and it is very easy to tell at a glance which version is Casual and which is Heroic. Note that if you were playing the game with unpainted figures, the Casual versions are made of grey plastic and the Heroic versions are light green plastic.

Saturday 17 November 2018

Zomvember 2018 part 4 - Zombies

This is my final post for my Zomvember challenge and I'm showcasing the last 8 zombies from the wave 1 releases of The Walking Dead skirmish game by Mantic Games.
These four zombies are to be found in the Prelude to Woodbury Solo Starter Set and are all unique sculpts. The female at the far left appears to have been a corporate suit from her attire. She has been bitten in the neck and her right leg is broken. There is a splinter of bone protruding from the wound in her leg.
The male next to her is dressed in casual clothing and has suffered numerous bites all over his body and limbs.
The female in the ochre top has suffered a massive wound to the centre of her torso as well as bites to her legs.
Finally, is a topless male who is feasting on a someone's intestines, which he holds in both hands. I do like to see feasting zombies but they are very rare.
The female at the far left also came from the Prelude to Woodbury Solo Starter Set. Her lower jaw has been removed so that is going to make it impossible for her to bite a victim. However, she can still make claw attacks with her hands.
The female in the pale blue night dress is the zombie figure you get with the Morgan Booster Set. She has been bitten in her neck.
The male zombie wearing the jeans and white vest is from the Rick on Horse Booster Set. He has suffered numerous cuts and bites.
Last of all is a swap of the zombie crawler from the starter boxed set. I repositioned his left arm and gave him black hair to make him look slightly different to the original figure who had brown hair. His wounds are truly horrific and disgusting.
Once again, these were an absolute pleasure to paint. I haven't played many games of The Walking Dead seeing as I don't really like playing with unpainted figures, but now that I have all of the wave 1 figures painted I can see me playing this game more often. I would like to play all of the campaign scenarios in chronological order. Whether I chronicle them on my blog remains to be seen.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Zomvember 2018 part 3 - Zombies

These 8 zombie figures were part of the Kickstarter boxed set for the wave 1 releases of The Walking Dead game by Mantic Games. Although they did not appear in the top tray of figures that I painted for the Zomtober challenge, they were included in the bottom tray, which also included all the cards and scenery items. Six of them are duplicates of zombies in the top tray and two are unique sculpts.
These four zombies are all duplicates but I have given them different paint jobs and some of them have been converted. The zombie wearing the baseball cap at the far left simply had a different paint job done to him as I painted his clothes in faded denims. He has lost his left arm and his lower torso has been ripped open, so his internal organs are spilling out.
For the female next to him I repositioned her arms by bending them at the elbows by holding her over the flame of a candle for a few seconds to soften the plastic. Once I'd repositioned the arms I dunked her in a glass of cold water to harden the plastic again. Then I painted her in a different colour scheme to the first figure of her. She has had half of her face bitten off.
For the female in the black miniskirt, I took my inspiration for her colour scheme from Clint, when he painted her for his Zomtober challenge. See here -
Many thanks, Clint! She has numerous cuts and bites and has lost her right arm.
I cut the left arm of the zombie female at the far right off at the elbow then gave her a new colour scheme. This was a very simple conversion.
For the zombie at the far left, I modelled a gaping hole in his stomach and added the intestines spilling out from thin sausages of Milliput. Once painted it looks very effective and is a really simple conversion to do.
The zombie next to him was also converted. I simply cut his left hand off with a scalpel. Cutting limbs off zombies is the easiest way to convert them. His gaping stomach wound with spilling intestines was a part of the original figure.
Finally, we come to the two non-duplicate figures and they're both females. For the one second from the right, I painted her in a pastel green hospital gown. Note the bandage around her left hand. I reckon she must have been killed whilst in hospital and then reanimated. Her left cheek has been bitten off.
Last up is a zombie lurching forward rather awkwardly. Her face is very emaciated, suggesting she's been dead for quite some time. She has a couple of bullet wounds in her back but no exit wounds in her chest, so they were probably low calibre bullets that hit her.
I really had a lot of fun painting these and I have another eight zombies to show in my next post.

Saturday 10 November 2018

Zomvember 2018 part 2 - The Walking Dead Survivors

Here are the last Survivor figures from the wave 1 of the releases for The Walking Dead skirmish game by Mantic Games. These are all named characters from the comic series and the TV series.
First up is Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes on horseback. He found and used this horse to ride into Atlanta. On his back is a bag full of guns that he grabbed from his former police station. The ride into Atlanta went well but the return journey did not go so well and he lost the horse to a horde of zombies. It is an unusual figure that is of limited use but it is superbly sculpted.
Next up is Morgan Jones, who was the first human that Rick encountered after he woke up from his coma. Morgan is a good man but is haunted by the death of his wife, who returned to his home as a zombie. He helps Rick by explaining the zombie apocalypse that began when Rick was still in a coma but does not go with him to the survivor camp, preferring to stay at home with his son. He is armed with an axe and a rifle.
The figure of the boy is Duane Jones, the son of Morgan. When he first sees Rick, he wrongly assumes he is a zombie and he whacks Rick in the back of his head with his shovel, knocking Rick out. Sadly, Duane later gets attacked and killed by zombies. Morgan finds him and brings him back home and chains him up. He feeds him by shooting passing survivors.
Finally, is Brian Blake aka The Governor, leader of a group of survivors who reside in the ravaged town of Woodbury, Georgia. The Governor is charming and charismatic, but also murderous, violent, sociopathic, power-hungry, completely sadistic, and horrifically ruthless. He sees himself as the community's only hope for survival, and is thus willing to imprison, abuse and/or kill anyone he sees as a threat to his authority; for him, torture and mass murder are a means to an end. The figure of him portrays him before he meets with Rick's group. That first meeting does not go well for either side.
The figure of Rick on horseback can be found in the Rick on Horse booster pack, which also contains one zombie. Morgan and Duane appear in the Morgan booster, which also contains one zombie. Brian Blake appears in the Prelude to Woodbury Solo Starter Set, which is a stand alone supplement that contains figures of Brian, and five zombies, as well as rulebook, cards, counters and dice.

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Black Scorpion Female Gunfighters 01

Black Scorpion make my favourite 32mm scale Wild West figures and by far my favourites amongst them are their females. Here I take a look at their Female Gunfighters, all of whom have been sadly withdrawn from their website to be replaced by the Female Gunfighter Faction from last year's Tombstone Kickstarter. I think this is a crying shame. Why they couldn't sell both is a mystery to me. Anyway, let's take a closer look at these beautifully sculpted figures.
I start with two figures who came in mounted and foot versions. At the left is Missy Scarlet who wears an unfashionable for the time, short buckskin dress and a top hat. She carries a lasso and a 12 Gauge Double-Barrelled Shotgun.
Next up is Barbara Allen, who is much more appropriately dressed in jeans, shirt, duster coat and Stetson hat. She is armed with a .44 Winchester Rifle and a .45 Colt Peacemaker Revolver.
The scantily clad lady at the far left is "Diamond Sue" Dawson and she is the cover girl of the Tombstone skirmish game rulebook. She was offered as a stretch goal in the Kickstarter launch. This sassy lassie is armed with a 12 Gauge Double-Barrelled Sawn-Off Shotgun and a .44 Colt Army Revolver. She is one of my favourite figures and I'll certainly be making her a Star in my Six Gun Sound games.
The next two ladies have not been named yet. The one in the centre has a 12 Gauge Double-Barrelled Shotgun slung over her shoulder and a .45 Colt Peacemaker Revolver in a holster on her right hip.
The Gunfighter at the right is carrying two .45 Colt Peacemaker Revolvers by her sides.
In this next batch, none of whom are named. I start at the left with a Native American female who is carrying a .45 Colt Peacemaker Revolver in her left hand. It is unusual to see an armed female Native American but I welcome her wholeheartedly.
The lady next to her appears to be unarmed but I'm betting she has a Derringer Pistol hidden away on her person. To me, she looks more 1920's than 1870's and wouldn't look out of place in a gangster setting.
The lady in the olive green dress wields a .44 Colt Army Pistol in her left hand and looks like she knows how to use it.
Last in line is a young lady with incredibly long blonde hair. She is armed with a pair of .44 Colt Cavalry Revolvers. From the waist up she is perfect for the Old West period but from the waist down, she appears more suited to a contemporary period with her mini-skirt.
This final batch of female gunfighters are not how I'd expect women of the Old West to dress. As modern day cowgirls they'd be perfect with their shorts, miniskirts and crop tops showing acres of cleavage. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love them! I just don't think they're appropriate for the 1870's. Anyway, let's take a closer look at them. Once again, I have yet to name them.
At the far left dressed in a duster coat and skimpy denims, this lady is armed with a .44 Colt Cavalry revolver and .45 Sharps Rifle.
The busty beauty next to her carries a pair of .44 Colt Army revolvers by her sides.
Second from left, this miniskirted blonde is armed with a 12 gauge Double Barrelled Shotgun.
Last in line is a brunette firing a .44 Colt Army Revolver left handed.

Saturday 3 November 2018

Zomvember 2018 part 1 - The Walking Dead Exclusive Figures

Yes, I know that Zomvember is not an actual thing, but seeing as I enjoyed the Zomtober challenge so much, I'm carrying on painting my wave 1 The Walking Dead figures by Mantic Games. I have another 20 figures that were produced for wave 1 of the game on my painting table right now and they should be finished soon. For this post I'm showcasing the four exclusive figures that were stretch goals for those who bought the starter boxed set from Kickstarter.
At the far left is Michonne, wielding her katana. She is a fan favourite in both the comic and TV series, and I love her. A former defence lawyer, she is introduced as a mysterious stranger towing two armless and jawless zombies behind her (they were her ex-boyfriend and his best friend). She joins the group of survivors led by Rick Grimes and quickly proves to be a valuable asset. She is truly remarkable at killing zombies with her katana.
Next up is Abraham Ford. In both mediums Abraham travelled the country with his girlfriend Rosita Espinosa to escort Dr. Eugene Porter to Washington, D.C. where the supposed cure for the outbreak is located, eventually recruiting Rick Grime's group to accompany them. Though tough, and a skilled shooter, Abraham displays aggressive outbursts and has volatile tendencies towards the other group members, but over time he gains a strong sense of respect for Rick and becomes one of his right-hand men. He is also displayed as being emotionally broken from the pain he endured due to his family being killed by zombies. His figure is armed with an AK47 assault rifle and he rests his left foot on the corpse of a zombie crawler.
Bad guy Negan is the leader of a group of roughly 1,000 survivors in the Sanctuary, called the Saviours, a group that oppresses other survivor communities and forces them to pay tribute to him. He is known for his brutality and foul mouth. His favoured weapon is a baseball bat with barbed wire wrapped around it. He calls it Lucille, the name of his dead wife. His figure is armed with his trusty baseball bat, a knife and three hand grenades.
Finally, is Walker Ronnie. I admit I have no idea who Ronnie is. I don't recall seeing him in any of the comics or the TV series. Still, he's not a bad figure, and he has been shot in the chest and his right leg appears to be broken, given how he is dragging his foot behind him.
These figures are currently available on the Mantic Games webstore as part of their Mantic Points offers. You can get Walker Ronnie for 10 Mantic points and the other three cost 15 Mantic Points each.