Getting Big-Headed

I have, on occasion, been known to blow my own trumpet. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I do usually feel it is justified.

This may be one of those times.

As mentioned in my previous post, for this year’s Forgotten Heroes, I will be creating my own version of MODOK…

Yes, I know that there are a couple of Heroclix versions AND the Crisis Protocol one, but my version cost me nothing, rather than the £35 that FFG want.

Anyway, first order of the day was to prepare the donor head. My initial thought was to file down the hair on the sides and back, just leaving the top intact.

However, I discovered that the hair was actually a separate piece. The head itself is hard plastic, whereas the hair is more of a rubbery plastic.

So, I scalped him.

This was after I’d already cut off the Hulk’s ears and filed down his forehead.

Now that I’d got a better idea of the diameter of the Hulk’s skull, I could test the various tubes I’d been collecting for this project.

None of which were the right size… naturally. So out came by bits box (GW aficionados, note the spelling – not a Z in sight) and a rummage produced a fluorescent tube motor actuator, from which the guts were removed.

I then cut (carefully, as it’s quite brittle plastic) a panel out of one side to insert the head.

After a fair bit of trimming shaving and filing, the base of the “Doomsday Chair” was filled with hot glue and the head stuck in place.

The following day, out came the bits box again, supplemented by some spare sprues from the Distant Stars project.

Not a great deal of WIP shots, so I’ll just list what I used.

The actuator was glued onto a 2 pence piece, as I needed a solid disc greater than the diameter of the actuator and this was the simplest option. A small transparent plastic washer was glued below this as the hover jet that allows the chair to fly. The armrests are Void 1.1 Junker backpacks, which also provided the legs. The arms are from a Void 1.1 Viridian space marine. The tech gizmo beneath his chin is a Mantic Forge Fathers backpack and the head gem (mounted on a strip of cardboard) is the head of a hammer from the same sprue.

The cavity around the top of his head was filled with hot glue, to act as a base for the hair I will be sculpting on as the final stage before painting.

“And your little dog too…”

Sometime, just sometimes, I am touched by genius.

Today is one of those days.

If This Be Forgotten Heroes 2021…

Many moons ago, I collected Marvel action figures from the Marvel Legends range, which was initially released in 2002. One of the first releases was the Hulk.

Over the intervening years, these figures were stored away and a couple of years back, whilst having a clear out, I discovered this box of figures. Some I sold, some I kept, but the Hulk figure had suffered some damage – his head had fallen off.

Not being one to toss away useful ‘bits’, I decided to keep the head, with some vague idea of using it at some point for something else.

That day has come…

So, which character has a massively over-sized head in relation to the rest of his body? Could it be the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing?

That’s right, boys and girls, I will be attempting to craft my very own version of MODOK, utilising my Hulk head, spare arms and legs from some plastic multi-part figures and various other bits.

How successful I’ll be will only be judged by the end of the annual madness we call…

Forgotten Heroes!

Joining me this year are;

Dave from Wargamessculptors Blog, Simon from Fantorical, Roger from Rantings from Under the Wargaming Table, Keith from Dead Dick’s Tavern & Temporary Lodging, Alan from Golden Age Heroes, Harry from War Across the Ages, Matt from PM Painting and Tom from The Good Ground.

To quote Pinhead, “We have such sights to show you!”

The Call of the Wild

As June is creeping ever closer, I thought I really ought to sit down and get my Wendigo finished before the end of May – especially as I failed to complete my monsters for last year’s Monster May(hem).

And as Forgotten Heroes 2021 is due to start on the 1st June, I need to clear the decks for that project.

Work stuff got in the way, as it does, along with this side project:

That’s right, baby, more beer! 5 gallons of Irish Stout to be precise. I may have strayed a little from the recipe – by adding a tin of dark treacle to the mix – but I am confident this won’t fuck it up.

Well, as confident as I can be, bearing in mind this is only my second brew.

Anyway, enough beer talk, on to the monster…

When we last saw it, it looked like this;

I decided that a Burnt Umber wash was called for on the entire model, as this should give a good base for the next step.

This does work a treat combined with the Linen I used for the bones and antlers, as it does give an aged bone look.

It also tones down the Chocolate Brown I’d used for the base and gave some shading to the model.

Once this had dried, I broke of the White paint and a small sponge. This was used to gently dab all exposed parts of the monster, which gave a bit of a mottled appearance to the plain bits and acts as dry-brushing on the raised parts.

I then moved on to the base, dry-brushing with Jungle Green, Goblin Green and Orc Brown to give the impression of vegetation.

The teeth and exposed rib cage were given a wash of hand mixed pink, and the ‘mane’ given a wash of Marine Dark Blue. The latter was not watered down quite far enough, so out came the sponge again to mottle the fur.

The final touches were to add some Cherry Red to the lower jaw and the tips of each clawed hand, to suggest that the spirit of cannibalism had been rooting around in someone’s chest cavity and paint the eyes with Classic Gold, as when you’re driving at night and your headlights pick out a deer or fox by the roadside, it does look like their eyes are glowing gold.

I think the sponging has worked quite well, as it has added some texturing to what was a flat surface and also makes it looks like it has been dusted with snow, which is appropriate given that it is a creature of the Great White North.

Pretty pleased with how it turned out, as it does look suitably horrific.

My next post will be the first for Forgotten Heroes 2021, which with be the 6th year we’ve indulged in this madness, where I shall be introducing my chosen subject and explaining how I intend to create him.

Joining me this year (so far) are Dave from Wargamessculptors Blog, Simon from Fantorical, Roger from Rantings from Under the Wargaming Table, Keith from Dead Dick’s Tavern & Temporary Lodging, Alan from Golden Age Heroes and Harry from War Across the Ages. They will ge joined by Matt from PM Painting and Tom from The Good Ground.

So, to paraphrase Cap “Assemblers… Assemble!”

And if anyone else wants to get involved, just comment on this post and I’ll add you to the list.

“A Kind of Desolate and Terrible Odour…”

Whilst players of the tabletop RPG Call of Cthulhu may be aware of the Great Old One named Ithaqua the Wind-Walker, it is less likely that they may have read the original tale by Algernon Blackwood that this entity is based upon, The Wendigo, from which the above quote comes.

And as my entry for The Angry Piper’s Monster May(hem) challenge is ParagonStar’s version of this creature, I thought it appropriate.

However, whilst we are two weeks into this challenge, I have been somewhat lax in getting anything done…

So, first order of the day was to water down some PVA glue, then paint this all over the base. This was then sprinkled with sand, then left to dry.

Once dry, the entire model was given a coat of GW Corax White, which is a pale grey.

I then tried painting the antlers and exposed bones with Docrafts Linen, but discovered that it had partially dried up, so the first coat was too thin, so repainted them with Docrafts Blanc (i.e. white).

The base was then painted Docrafts Chocolate Brown.

Deciding that the antlers and exposed bones looked too white, I added some water to my Docrafts Linen to rejuvenate it – successfully – and repainted them, then painted the rest of the body in Docrafts Light Grey, which is actually darker than the Corax White.

So, due to the issues with repainting, whilst I spent a long time on this model, it doesn’t look like I’ve actually done very much.

However, unlike last year, I will finish the challenge this time – and then it’s on to Forgotten Heroes 2021 in June! For further details on that, take a look at my previous post.

Forgotten Heroes 2021

As wargamers, we are fortunate to live in an age where if you want a particular character in 28mm, then you can pretty much find a manufacturer who makes it.

Want the original Ghostbusters from the 1984 film of the same name, the Visitors from the original 1983 V series or Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica? Off to Crooked Dice you go.

Din Djarin, Bo-Katan Kryze or Paz Vizsla from The Mandalorian? Diehard Miniatures is where you need to go.

And if you want the cast of the 1981 BBC adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Colonial crew, Imperious Leader and Lucifer from Battlestar Galactica or the cast of The Last Starfighter – Tangent Miniatures has got your back.

However, you may crave a more obscure character, such as Marshal Law,

The Crimson Bolt from the 2010 James Gunn movie Super,

Or Thermoman from the BBC tv series My Hero,

Well, that’s what Forgotten Heroes is all about – an opportunity for you to unleash your creative side and make the figure you have always wanted.

So, the rules of this community art project are as follows;

During the month of June, you must create a figure of a recognisable hero or villain in whatever scale you desire. However, you cannot use a base figure that is an official or unofficial version of that figure.

This can be as simple as repainting a Heroclix Blue Beetle as the obscure Marvel villain Goldbug, converting an existing figure, like I did with my version of the Eighth Doctor last year, or sculpting a figure from scratch, if your talents lie in this area.

To take part, all you need to do is comment on this or subsequent posts, stating you wish to be involved and I’ll add you to the list.

I’m posting this now to give those who DO wish to take part a chance to gather the necessary components for their chosen figure.

I already know exactly who I’m going to do… and it’s not Big Wheel (sorry Keith).

However, it IS someone suitably ridiculous – because that’s how I roll.

Next up, the Wendigo gets some paint…

A Monstrous Wait

It has been a while since I’ve posted on the Buffet, due to issues with work, but Keith over at Dead Dick’s Tavern & Temporary Lodgings has tempted me back to my hobby bench with Monster May(hem).

Having looked through my box of unpainted miniatures, I decided that the figure that best suited the description of a monster was this one;

This the Wendigo from ParagonStar, which I bought a while ago to see if resin 3D printed figures were actually any good – plus it’s a cool looking version of this creature.

As this particular resin-printed figure is relatively smooth, the challenge will be to try and give it some texture. I shall be doing this by adding some fine sand to the base and using sponging on the figure itself. We shall see how successful I am.

Now, as people who regularly follow this blog will know, I don’t usually back Kickstarters – however, I have actually backed my first one today.

This is because I have been following the development of these figures on this guy’s blog and felt that they fit the aesthetic I wanted for my Distant Stars project, as they remind me of the Bespin cloud car pilots.

So, the 1000ft General has released his first Kickstarter for his Astro Guards, which can be found here. The lowest pledge level is $40, which gets you 9 metal miniatures, all different, as shown below.

He has already met and exceeded the amount he needed – not bad seeing it only went up today. I think they’re pretty damn cool and as they will be delivered around my birthday, I consider this as an early present.

Now, as the rules of Monster May(hem) mean that I have to complete my monster before the end of May, it won’t be as long between this post and my next.

Once Tried, Never Forgotten

As mentioned in my last post, thanks to a Christmas gift of a home-brewing kit, I have made a foray into a new and different outlet for my creativity.

Now, before you become concerned that this blog will turn into a platform for the discussion of such arcane terms as ‘mouthfeel’, ‘lacing’ and ‘wort’, fret not. This is merely a brief diversion and I shan’t be growing a beard and insisting all ale is served at room temperature.

The kit I received came with all the necessary ingredients to brew an India Pale Ale with a target ABV of 6.2%, which was branded as ‘Docker’s Merseyside IPA’.

Now, whilst I did follow the instructions to the letter, as it was my first time and I didn’t want to cock it up, as this was brewed in my own “brewery” (the corner of my dining room), I felt that I should be able to name both the “brewery” and the beer myself. And maybe get some labels printed up to stick on the bottles.

Because… well, why not?

Regular readers may recall that a certain Constable Rowan walked past a brewery on his way to work, so it seemed obvious that any beer I made would come from The Blackwell Brewing Co.

As for the name of the beer, it had to reflect both the type of beer and be significant to me. And this is how my mind works…

It’s an IPA, which stands for India Pale Ale and as I’d already decided it’s from The Blackwell Brewing Co., I’m in the Victorian mindset, so thinking the Raj. It’s 6.2% ABV, which is pretty strong… India, strong…elephants. Elephant beer already exists, so can’t do that. However, one of the most famous Victorian circus elephants was named Jumbo…which also happened to be my nickname when I was a baby, due to being quite big. Boom! Jumbo IPA it is…

“Once Tasted, Never Forgotten.”

And the proof is in the pouring…

Tune in next time, when will return to you regular scheduled programming…

Fighting Lockdown Ennui

When the first lockdown was announced, the hobbyist in us all rubbed its hands together in the anticipation of ‘extra time’ to indulge ourselves.

However, the reality of enforced isolation, especially when the second national lockdown was enforced here in the UK, was that with no actual end in site, what I have termed ‘lockdown ennui’ sets in, as you get into the habit of putting off doing things, because there’s no real sense of urgency about anything.

Case in point, I received a home brewing kit for Christmas (as I am a bit of a beer fan), and rather than immediately start on my first foray into making my own beer when the Christmas alcohol had been consumed, I waited until the 7th February…

However, it is merrily bubbling away in the corner of my dining room and has reached the stage where it is ready to be bottled for secondary fermentation, so when this is done and labels I’ve ordered arrived (as why make your own beer if you’re not going to name it?) expect to see it annouced here.

So, in the spirit of battling against Lockdown Ennui (LE from now on), I have not only finished the first chapter of the book I’ve been promising I’d write for far too long, but also based some figures I’d had sitting around for ages, built some more troops for Distant Stars and slapped some paint around.

I combined the legs, body and head from a Void 1.1 Viridian Interdict Marine, the backpack from a Void 1.1 Junker Legionnaire and the arms and heavy weapon from a Mantic Steel Warrior to create a Dominion Support Legionnaire.

Shown alongside a standard Legionnaire to show the slightly bulkier armour, as I decided that adding pauldrons would make them look sufficiently different, yet still appear as part of the same army.

Next up, three ‘drones’, also for Distant Stars, bought over a year ago at the last wargames show I attended. These are The Droids from Ainsty Castings, three figures for £5.00.

I was initially going to go for colour schemes inspired by R2 units from Star Wars, but then decided to use the same colour scheme as the droids they’re based on – namely Huey Dewey and Louiey from Silent Running.

Finally, just to prove that I do still love pre-Chibnall Doctor Who, we have my versions of the 10th Doctor and Clara Oswald.

The 10th Doctor is a converted eM-4 Miniatures Future Skirmish Suit, available for £2.00. I filed down his flat top and resculpted his hair, then tweaked and filed his gun into a sonic screwdriver. This will represent the 10th Doctor as he appeared at the Battle of Canary Wharf, complete with 3D glasses.

Clara IS actually a Black Tree Design Doctor Who figure, but was designed to be Vicki, but I always though the figure looked like Clara, so Clara she will be. It would also make a pretty good Star Trek TOS crew member.

As I seem to be winning in my battle against LE, let’s hope that the next post won’t be so long in coming.

And that I don’t miss the anniversary of this blog, as I should have celebrated my sixth year of inflicting my own brand of crazy on you all on 6th February – two weeks ago.

Bloody ennui…

“What a Piece of Junk!”

Due to my current shift pattern, I work one Saturday in every three, meaning I get a day off in the week in lieu. Usually, this ‘day off’ gets eaten up by a list (lovingly prepared by my wife) of jobs for me to do.

However, yesterday’s list was quite short, so was completed in good time leaving me with some free time…so, out came the paints.

First up, my APC;

Black gloss enamel was used on the skirt and windscreen, GW Chainmail on the front nozzles and turret gun and Docrafts Noir on the side panels and turret.

I noted that every picture I took of this vehicle didn’t really highlight the sloped nature of its shape, so took so lower down photos to show this.

Looks a bit like Maximillian from The Black Hole movie – which although it was a bit naff, did have some cool robots.

Speaking of cool robots, I next went to work on my drone cargo sled, but I won’t bore you with the exact colours I used, just show you some pictures;

Just a little bit more detailing and I think it’ll be done. I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out.

Just goes to show that a little bit of creativity with stuff you’d normally throw out can produce a pretty cool model.

This Is The Way…To Save Money

Regular visitors to this humble blog will know that whilst I enjoy my gaming, I tend to balk at some of the prices charged by certain companies for the “necessary” components for <insert game of the month here>.

So, when inspired to try a new genre or game, I will tend to look for inexpensive options, rather than go for the official figure lines.

Such is the case with my Distant Stars project, which is my alternate reality Star Wars-inspired project, the last piece of kit I built for this being my scratch-built drone operated cargo sled, in this post.

Well, since last time, I have managed to slap some paint on it and it now looks like this:

The model was undercoated with Wilko Taupe spray paint on the top and Wilko Gunmetal spray underneath, which gave it a nice two-tone look. The drone ‘pilot’, terminal, thrusters and cargo bed were given a coat of GW Chainmal, with the cargo bed getting a wash of GW Brown Ink, to make it look oily.

The main body got a couple of coats of GW Orc Brown, which is a nice dark yellow, as you can see from the picture above.

Now that it’s got some paint on, it’s starting to look a bit more like an actual vehicle, rather than a conglomeration of bits.

Of course, whilst it’s nice to have some background vehicles, as the Dominion is a military force, it would be good if they had some war machines, right?

I knew roughly what sort of look I wanted and ideally would have gone for the latest iteration of the GW Land Raider – but wasn’t prepared to drop £60.00 on a single plastic kit. (NB: It was the Land Raider Crusader I craved…)

As with most things I do, I spend a fair bit of time trawling the Internet trying to find some thing suitable at a price I’m prepared to pay, before realising my time and money would be better spent just MAKING what I want myself.

So, after finally managing to secure an empty margarine tub (as I kept putting them next to the sink to wash up and my wife KEPT throwing them away), we were ready to begin.

I’s settled on this particular receptacle as a base for a tank/APC for two reasons; firstly, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no such thing as single use plastics and, secondly, when you turn it upside down, it looks like an armoured hovercraft:-

The next stage was to dress it up, with suitable “armoured panelling” and weapon mounts.

Two oblong panels of transparent plastic, scored and with portions cut out, were glued to the front and rear of my vehicle, to represent the cockpit and rear access door.

Two of the remains of the plastic ‘bulbs’ I used to make my Sontaran soldiers helmets were glued as forward-mounted weapons on the front, two GW cavalry bases were glued to either side to act as armoured panels and a turret was constructed from various plastic bits I had.

And to give a better sense of scale;

Unfortunately, as with my previous model, the use of transparent plastic means that some of the detail is not evident, so rather than leave it at that, I gave it an undercoat of Wilko Taupe spray, as this is the main vehicle colour of the Dominion.

And the rear;

A fairly substantial and imposing looking model, for very little outlay. And it actually looks like it could fit a squad of troops in, unlike some of the sci-fi vehicles out there.

Now, to fully justify my use of the above title, we have to mention The Mandalorian at least once.

Should you wish to add the title character of the above show to your tabletop games, a search of the internet gives you a few options, ranging in price from £10.00 to £15.00. However, all of these figures are 3D printed and whilst some are resin printed, the majority are not, meaning the quality of the figures are variable.

So, how about a METAL figure to represent Din Djarin for £6.00?

This is Brando from Diehard Miniatures. It comes with a resin base and alternate head, should you wish to have a bare-headed version.

And if you want to add some of Clan Wren to your games, but don’t want the full compliment from Legion’s £28 boxed set, then Diehard has you covered there to.

I mean, who wouldn’t like to get their hands on Katee Sackoff?