Sunday 30 December 2018

Vampifans Views 114 - Monthly Musings 84

Welcome to my final Monthly Musings of 2018 and I have a lot to cover. I've just noticed that this will be my 100th post of 2018. Yay me! First up is another illustration of my beloved Vampirella by Spanish artist Sanjulian. It's not a bad portrait but he has done better. The bat behind her is really naff!

2018 seems to have flown over. It started very badly for me with my mother dying in January. She is sorely missed. But life goes on and despite this being the first Christmas I have ever spent on my own I was determined to make the best of it and to enjoy it as much as I could, which I did. In my first post of 2019 I'll show you what my brother bought for me for Christmas present and the items I added to it. It is impressive!

These past couple of weeks have been incredible for me as a gamer. I am a big fan of Kickstarters. I know some people hate them but for the most part I have had very positive experiences with them and I continue to back them. By nature, I am a very patient person, so a one year wait (or however long it takes) to receive my order is not a problem. I understand that games need time to be developed and that the manufacturing process can take quite some time. The reason I mention this is that I received two Kickstarter games I'd backed a good while ago these past two weeks.

First to arrive was the wave 1 delivery of Nemesis, a sci-fi horror game set on a space ship that has become infested with Alien-like creatures. This game grabbed my attention as soon as I saw it being announced. As soon as I received my copy I painted all of the figures that came with it - 6 humans and 20 Intruders. It can be played by 1 to 5 players and I played it for the first time on Christmas Day and I have to say it was one of the most tense gaming experiences of my life. Since then I have played it many more times. This game is just superb and easily one of the best board-games I've ever played! Mind you, it is not an easy game to win but that is a good thing in my opinion - I like a challenge. If you're a fan of the Aliens franchise, as I am, you'll love this game. I plan on showcasing the figures very early in 2019.

On the Saturday before Christmas, I received two big parcels. One was for the Here's Negan board-game, a stand alone supplement to Mantic Games' The Walking Dead games. This was not a Kickstarter, it was my main Christmas present that I bought for myself. Thanks to this year's Zomtober and Zomvember painting challenges I'm really back into The Walking Dead games and this was a perfect complement to what I already own. I primarily wanted this game for the six survivor miniatures, including a new version of Negan, shown in the photo above. The zombie figures are all duplicate poses of ones from the boxed starter set of The Walking Dead: All Out War, which was slightly disappointing but not the end of the world. I was uncertain what the game play would be like but I have played it once and found the game very challenging and a lot of fun. I'm now looking forward to playing the campaign mode of linked scenarios. Thankfully, this is another game that allows for solo players.

The second parcel I received that day was massive and very heavy. It contained all of the items I'd backed for the Resident Evil 2 Kickstarter board-game, and I think I ordered one of everything that was on offer. There were 11 separate boxes in the parcel! That is a heck of a lot of content. As a huge fan of zombie films and games there was no way that I wasn't going to buy this game. Although I am not a computer player and thus have not played any of the Resident Evil computer games, I do own all of the films and novels for this franchise and I'm a big fan of them all. I have only just finished reading the rulebook and I plan on trying it out this afternoon. Initial impressions are highly favourable and the figures look really great, with some of them being truly frightening - Birkin stage 5 and the giant alligator, for example. I can't wait to get them painted.

So, as you can imagine, I have had a great time playing games that I love, which is something I don't do enough of. I seem to spend far more time painting figures than in gaming with them. This Christmas, however, has been the opposite, with gaming taking precedence over painting. This doesn't mean that painting has stopped all together - it has just slowed down. Currently on my painting table are some more Strontium Dog figures by Warlord Games and some new Rumbleslam figures by TT Combat, as well as some really old Citadel sci-fi figures that I'm repainting for my The Ace of Spades Campaign on my WOIN blog.

2019 promises to be a good year for me. What I am most looking forward to the New Year is celebrating Vampirella's 50th anniversary. She first appeared in comics in 1969 and has been going strong ever since. I'm sure there are big plans to celebrate this milestone anniversary. What I would love to see but is unlikely to happen, is a big budget movie or a TV series for her.

I have more Kickstarters that I'm waiting for, the first of which should be the hard-backed rulebook of Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000 AD plus some extras by EN Publishing. That is due sometime in January and will receive a lot of coverage on my WOIN blog. February will hopefully see the release of Core Space, a sci-fi skirmish game with miniatures and awesome scenery by Battle Systems Ltd. This is their first foray into gaming and it all looks to be a smash hit for them. There are at least five others that I'm waiting for but in the short term, these two that I've mentioned are the two I'm most excited about.

I want to do more batreps for both of my blogs. I really enjoy doing them but they are very time consuming to produce. I started 2018 well with the 12 part scenario, Alien Base, for my The Ace of Spades Campaign, which appeared on my WOIN blog, but there were very few further batreps after that. My two Six Gun Sound scenarios that I ran on this blog were a lot of fun and I very much want to post more Wild West and Weird West batreps. In August I ran an introductory scenario for the Strontium Dog skirmish game by Warlord Games. Again, I hope to run more of them in 2019. I can say that I do have plans to run a short St. Trinian's scenario using the N.O.W. rules on my WOIN blog very soon, once I finish showcasing the cast. Hopefully, it'll be the start of a long running campaign. After that I plan on returning to Kimberley and the crew of The Ace of Spades as they visit a pleasure planet and Kimberley enters a high stakes gambling contest. Actually, my WOIN blog should be filled with batreps because once I get the Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000 AD rulebook I'm going to want to start a new campaign based on it. Honestly, I have so many plans for stuff I want to do, it's just hard to find the time to do them all. Thank God, I'm retired and have so much free time to devote to this wonderful hobby.

I am looking forward to 2019 and I hope it lives up to my expectations. I am content with my life and that is a good thing to be able to say. I'd just like to end by first of all thanking all of you who follow my blog and who take the time out to comment on my posts. Your continued support spurs me on and encourages me to continue blogging for as long as I can. Secondly, I wish every one of you a peaceful and prosperous New Year filled with love and happiness. God bless you all!

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Strontium Dog - Scum of the Universe

Where there are bounty hunters there must, by definition, be those who have bounty placed on their heads. Often these are violent outlaws, criminals or psychopaths.
A two-faced mutant gang leader from Paprika in the Spice System, Billy Joe forced Johnny Alpha into a duel with las-whips, the outcome a foregone conclusion as the gang leader was the system's champion for the last 16 years. Alpha faked his death, knowing he could not beat Billy Joe at that time. Billy Joe was enraged when he realised Johnny had tricked him, coming across a circus poster that read, "Johnny Alpha: Greatest Las-Whipper of All Time: 10,000 credits TO ANY MAN WHO CAN BEAT HIM!" It was a challenge he could not turn down  without losing his reputation and business. Billy Joe faced a far more dangerous opponent the second time, discovering to his detriment that Johnny had spent the months of his recuperation learning how to wield the las-whip.

One of Johnny's previous partners, Sniffer Martinez was gunned down by Kansyr on the planet Laz in Johnny's early days as an S/D Agent. Kansyr was caught by Alpha and handed to the authorities but was later freed with only a fine, on the grounds that killing a mutie S/D Agent warranted no greater punishment. The alien outlaw went on to commit hideous crimes across the galaxy for the next seven years, until Alpha and his partner, Wulf Sternhammer, took up the warrant for his termination.
Taking part in the ancient, annual death-rite known as The Killing, on the planet Zdwhkkrswrld (more commonly known as Zed!), Johnny and Wulf crossed paths with the android Steelkreeg. Holding the two S/D Agents off in a bell tower using his flamethrower, he eventually met his demise.

These are an eclectic mix of bad guys in this boxed set. The figures are all well sculpted but I would offer a word of warning when attaching Billy Joe's arms to his body. Try to fix them to two points, as I've done with mine (base and las-whip), otherwise they could well snap off at the hands. That seemed to me to be a weak point that could be a problem with constant handling. In addition to the three miniatures, the box also contains 3 Character cards, 2 Armoury cards (Electro-flare and Heat Beam) and 1 Chicanery card (Patient Hunter). This boxed set costs £15.00 from the Warlord Games webstore.

Saturday 22 December 2018

Strontium Dog - Bubo and his Bad Boys

Raiding convoys and towns on the planet Alzir, the vicious alien outlaws known as Bubo and the Bad Boys left a trail of devastation and terror in their wake. Riding their bipedal Mork steeds, Bubo and his Howler henchmen raided for valuables and meat - they cooked and devoured their prisoners! This reign of terror finally led to the mayor of the latest town to be hit by Bubo's gang to call on the Search/Destroy agency to send help. That help materialised in the form of Johnny Alpha and his partner, Wulf Sternhammer, who immediately set out on Bubo's trail...
Johnny and Wulf caught up with the Bad Boys as they attacked a train heading from Jobsville. After a violent showdown, Bubo tied the train's throttle and the train plunged off a bridge into a ravine below, trapping the unconscious Alpha. Wulf saved his partner, taking him to the nearest town for medical care before heading out to wreak bloody vengeance on Bubo and his Howler outlaws.
As with the previous set I showed (Johnny and Wulf on Morks) the figures are mostly two-piece castings with the right arms being a separate component. Note that the Bad Boy at the far right is a one-piece casting. They are extremely well sculpted and animated. This boxed set contains the three figures shown, two character cards (the Bad Boys share identical stats), 2 Armoury cards (Infrared Torch and Thermo-Bomb) and 1 Chicanery card (Lightning Charge). It costs £20.00 from the Warlord Games webstore.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Strontium Dog - Johnny & Wulf on Morks

I have been busy painting the wave 3 release figures for the Strontium Dog skirmish game by Warlord Games. These two figures show Johnny Alpha and his partner, Wulf Sternhammer, riding Morks.
Bounty hunters often need to track their quarry into the wildlands beyond towns and cities, and on many worlds the indigenous Morks are the mount of choice. These bipedal mammals combine speed and durability with a seemingly high tolerance of radiation making them ideal steeds for bounty hunter and outlaw alike. Mork farms are not an unusual sight in the homesteads on the fringes of society.
Johnny Alpha and his Viking partner, Wulf Sternhammer made good use of Morks on many of their bounty-hunting jobs - from tackling the vicious alien outlaws, Bubo and his gang of Howler Bad Boys to protecting alien farmsteaders from bullying neighbours intent on driving the Search/Destroy agents out. Allying speed and resilience, Morks can reliably get them to where they need to be - much to the chagrin of their quarry.
This set contains the two figures shown above, 2 character cards, 1 Armoury card (Medipack) and 2 Chicanery cards (Can I Borrow That? and Counter-Attack). It costs £15.00 from the Warlord Games store. I like these figures but I don't expect I'll get much use out of them. Incidentally, this is now my eighth figure of Johnny Alpha and my fifth figure of Wulf Sternhammer.

Saturday 15 December 2018

Crooked Dice Games UFO Aliens 01

Of all the Gerry Anderson TV series produced in the 1960's and 1970's my favourite, by far, was UFO. Made in 1970, the series lasted for 26 episodes. The series' premise is that in 1980 (a date indicated in the opening credits), Earth is being visited by aliens from a dying planet, who are abducting humans and harvesting their organs for their own bodies. The alien incursions may also be a prelude to a possible full-scale invasion. The series' main cast of characters are the staff of a secret, high-technology international military agency called SHADO (an acronym for Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organisation) established to defend Earth and humanity against the mysterious aliens and learn more about them, while at the same time keeping the threat of an alien invasion hidden from the public.
Crooked Dice games have recently released three of the UFO aliens, which I was most pleased to see. I like these a lot!
The three figures each come with a choice of two heads - bare-headed or helmeted. For this alien who is abducting a young female, I chose the bare-headed version. Note that his green skin is an effect of the life-sustaining fluid that fills his suit. A similar concept was used in James Cameron's film, The Abyss for the deep-sea divers, but that didn't have the green staining.
The other two aliens are wearing their helmets. Their rifles are ballistic weapons with scope-sight.
It has long been an ambition of mine to recreate UFO on the gaming table. I do hope that with the release of these aliens that CDG will release more figures from the show. They already have a figure for Commander Ed Straker, the commander in chief of SHADO. I want to see more SHADO personnel, the other named heroes, the SHADO troopers and most especially, the Moonbase personnel.
The alien carrying the female hostage costs £6.00 and the other two cost £4.00 each. Rather peculiarly, CDG offer a "deal" where you can buy all three for the price of £14.00, which is exactly the same price as buying each one individually. I don't see how that is a deal!
If you're interested in what the actual UFO from the series looks like, here's mine, along with a SHADO Interceptor, which operates from Moonbase. These 28mm scale die-cast models were produced by Product Enterprises and are exceedingly rare. They came together as a boxed set and I bought mine from a model shop in Newcastle that closed down quite a few years ago. There is a set currently available for sale on Amazon UK for the staggering amount of £325.00! I paid nowhere near that for my set. That said, they are incredibly detailed models made and painted to a very high standard.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Crooked Dice Spectrum Agents 02

I recently backed the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter by Crooked Dice Games and that got me looking back at their range of figures. So, I ordered a few figure sets to plug gaps in my current collection of their figures. One of those gaps was for their not-Captain Scarlet inspired figures, whom CDG call Time Lift Security. For me, however, I'm using them as Spectrum agents, the organisation created by Gerry Anderson for the 1960's TV series, Captain Scarlet.
At the far left is Lieutenant Lemon, a female agent. When I first ordered my Spectrum agents a few years ago, this particular figure was out of stock, and I've been meaning to buy her ever since. Lieutenant Lemon is a character created by me. She did not appear in the TV series and indeed, the only female agents in the series were the Angel pilots. Nevertheless, I'm pleased to finally have her, and I have no problem with including female agents in Spectrum.
Next to her, is Lieutenant Lime, another female agent. She is part of a set of three specialist agents and she is armed with a Netter, which obviously fires a net for capturing enemies. This is something that CDG have devised as it never appeared in the TV series, but I can see it being a useful weapon in Spectrum's arsenal. 
Second from the right is another specialist agent, Captain Brown. I do have a vague recollection of Captain Brown appearing in the TV series but he was not a regular character and he may have appeared only once. He is armed with a heavy assault gun. The weapon appears to be a beam weapon as opposed to a ballistic weapon, so perhaps it is a heavy electric gun as Spectrum's enemies, the Mysterons, are very vulnerable to electricity.
Finally is the third specialist, whom I have named Captain Turquoise. He is wearing a jet pack, which definitely did appear in the TV series, although Captain Turquoise did not - he's another of my own creations.
If you can remember my review of the first batch of Spectrum agents, well done! If not, or if if you just want a reminder, you can check it out here -
The specialist agent with jet pack costs £5.00 and the other two cost £4.00 each or you can buy all three for £12.00. The female agent with the pistol costs £4.00. Spectrum is green!

Friday 7 December 2018

Mantic Games The Walking Dead Scenery Items 01

Even though the Zomtober and Zomvember challenges are over, I'm still painting stuff from The Walking Dead game by Mantic Games. Having painted all of the wave 1 figures I next turned my attention to the scenery items that are supplied with the boxed starter set. In it you get 3D models of barricades, objective pieces and vehicles to replace the card counters that also come in the set. I have painted all of the barricades and objective tokens and I'll be showing them here. I've yet to start painting the four vehicles but they are high up on my "to do" list.
You get six barricades with two of each design. The front of the barricades are shown to the left of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes, whom I have included for scale purposes. This barricade is made up of  a wooden wall supported by five wooden crates.
The next barricade is made up of four sheets of metal panels resting against piles of breeze bricks and tyres.
The third type of barricade is made of two metal fences resting against wooden planks and a couple of traffic cones.
This photo above shows the various objective items. There are five basic designs of which you get two of each of them - wooden crates, metal cans, suitcases and backpacks. In addition, is one special objective - the bag of guns that Rick grabs from his old police station. This is used in a couple of scenarios as the main objective that must be found.
Although designed specifically for The Walking Dead, they are all generic enough to be used in any contemporary or near future games. They are very useful items and far better than the card counters they are meant to replace.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Battle Systems Red Rocket Garage Set

A couple of months ago in my Monthly Musings I mentioned that I had bought the Red Rocket Garage set from Modiphius for their Fallout game. Although sold by Modiphius Entertainment, the set was actually designed by Battle Systems, one of my favourite producers of 3D card scenery. It did not take me long to make the building and other items from this set and to paint the edges of them to give the set a more realistic look. I've been waiting a while to showcase this set and so here it is.
The set consists of the Red Rocket Garage, 2 petrol pumps, 2 power loaders, 2 crates, 1 sign, 1 short corrugated iron wall, 3 pieces of scatter debris and a 3' square neoprene gaming mat. For me, and many others, the best thing about the set is the gaming mat. It is compatible with Battle Systems' Wasteland terrain mats and is usable for so many games. I know I'll be getting a lot of use out of it in various post-apocalypse and sci-fi games.
The garage itself and most of the other items are made of thick card. The actual Red Rocket and the two petrol pumps are made out of resin and come unpainted. I have glued the rocket and its support struts in place. The walls of the garage have been glued to the floor.
 This set fits in perfectly with my background picture boards.
This being designed for a post-apocalyptic game, everything looks dirty and abandoned. Note how the Red Rocket sign is hanging askew - a clever touch.
 As with all Battle Systems sets, the texturing is just amazing and very highly detailed.
This photo above shows the front of the garage with the forecourt canopy removed. Here, you can see the two petrol pumps much more clearly. To the right, you can see one of the two power loaders, which my brother, who has played the Fallout games, tells me are used for carrying suits of powered armour. Suffice to say, he was able to tell me a lot about the garage. I should just mention that I do not play computer games at all, so my knowledge of them is very limited.
The canopy and the roof of the garage are both detachable. The interior of the garage consists of an L-shaped room and a square workshop. It does not include any furniture. Presumably, they were looted. Various posters adorn the interior walls.
I think this is a great set, even though I am not a Fallout fan. I won't be playing the computer game or the miniatures game. When I bought this set a couple of months ago it cost me £60.00. Checking in on the Modiphius webstore today, I see that they have increased its price to £75.00 and it is currently out of stock. I'm mighty glad I bought my copy when I did.