A Perfect Ten?

A recent poll of Doctor Who “fans” (and you’ll see why I’ve referred to them as such shortly) organised by the Radio Times was run to find the most popular incarnation of our favourite Time Lord. When the 50,000 votes were counted it was discovered that said “fans” had voted David Tennant as the most popular Doctor with 21% of the votes.

However, Jodie Whittaker came in a very close second, having only been beaten by Tennant by about 100 votes.  Which, based on who organised the poll (i.e. the Radio Times, traditionally a mouthpiece for the BBC) and that the REAL fans, such as myself, didn’t know about the poll until AFTER the results had been announced strongly suggests that these results should be taken with a bag of salt…

Anyway, this announcement and the fact that I’d not been motivated hobby-wise for a couple of weeks encouraged me to order some stuff online from eM4 Miniatures. Further incentive was that browsing their site showed that they have more ‘Sold Out’ items than ‘in stock’ items, so this might be my last chance to get my hands on certain figures.

First up, this chap;



This figure is 0057 Suit Shades SMG Hand Gun at £1.75, part of their Future Skirmish range, which were sculpted by Mark Copplestone for Grenadier way back in the murky past. In fact, this particular figure does have the stylised G on its tab, showing it came from the original molds.

My intention with this figure is to do something similar to how I created my version of the 8th Doctor, but this will be MY version of the 10th Doctor, based on his outfit from the Battle of Canary Wharf – including 3D glasses!

All I need to do is alter the pistol into his sonic screwdriver and redo the hair. The rest will just be painting.

After this is complete, that will just leave me two Doctors short – the Ninth and the War Doctors.

Next we have this;


This is one of the five multi-part (and by multi-part I mean three pieces) plastic Space Rangers sold by eM4 at £2.99. That works out at about 60p a figure – Bargain!

As I said above it comes in three pieces – main body, hands holding a weapon and the backpack. You get four of this pose, one squad leader/sergeant armed with a pistol and sword and a sprue of three heavy weapons. So you could have four rangers with the standard gun, or three with standard and one heavy weapon of your choice, or any combination of the above. Very similar to the Space Marines that came with the Space Crusade boxed game from GW – which they were probably based on.

Now, the idea with these was to add to ranks of the Dominion from my Distant Stars project, by making these the ‘heavy’ troops of the Dominion, with the Outriders being the light troops and the Legionnaires being the medium troops.

However, whilst the backpack doesn’t look too obtrusive from the front, it is a big hunk of plastic, as you can see below;


TOO big, in my opinion, so off it came, which gives us a more streamlined, but still imposing figure.


For comparison, here it is compared to the figures I’m using for my Outriders and Legionnaires.


As the ‘ribbing’ on the armour joints matches of the Legionnaire figure in the centre, I think that with an appropriate matching colour scheme, I can tie all three troops together as part of the same organisation, so the Outriders and Legionnaires will be joined by the newest Dominion troop type – the Siegebreaker.

Now there is one slight problem with not using the backpacks, which is this…


A big freakin’ hole in the back of the figure, which the backpack clips in to.
However, this is ME, so no doubt I’ll come up with a cunning plan to get around this.

I hope everyone is keeping safe and well in these uncertain times, but rest assured, I’M still here and will continue to do what I do, for both my and your entertainment.

Until next time…

 

A Good Man Goes to War

Regular visitors to the Buffet will have noted that it’s been rather quiet of late. And whilst I have been keeping up with what others have been doing hobby-wise, a certain ennui regarding my own hobby had set in.

Given some “spare” time, I found myself picking up the latest Rivers of London novel, watching documentaries about My Little Pony on Netflix or, having my arm twisted by my daughter, sitting down to watch Frozen, which up to this point, I had successfully managed to avoid. (NB: I did trade the last one off – she has to watch a film of my choice with me, so she will be venturing Into the Spider-Verse in the near future….)

I finally bit the bullet, set up my painting station on the dining table, retrieved the Tray of Shame and made some inroads into the contents.

Unsurprisingly, it’s all Doctor Who related stuff…

First up, some modern Daleks. Weirdly, because of the way I paint, four of the five Daleks in the tray actually represent the stages in which I’ve painted these malevolent pepper pots, as you can see from the picture below:

So, from left to right; Stage 1- assemble Warlord plastic Dalek and glue to textured 2 pence piece, to give the figure some heft and stop it blowing around in a strong breeze. Paint the base and bumper Docrafts Dark Grey.

Stage 2 – Paint entire body in Docrafts Bronze, the bumper in a home-mixed dark grey, the plunger arm, blaster, eye-stalk and head lights in GW Chainmail and the end of the eye-stalk and plunger arm with Docrafts Noir.

Stage 3 – Give the neck rings a wash of Docrafts Noir to add some shading.

Stage 4 – Paint the slats and sensor globes with Docrafts Shining Gold. Give the neck rings another thicker wash of Docrafts Noir, then realise that you’re going to have to repaint the horizontal rings again, as it’s too bloody dark.

Stage 5 – sulk for a bit, then go and paint something else instead.

I did mention that four of the five modern Daleks were painted in the current livery. The remaining assembled Dalek has been given an alternative paint scheme, as I was quite taken with the idea of attempting to replicate the colour scheme of the Eternity Circle Daleks, which are from Engines of War by George Mann, the first Doctor Who novel to feature the War Doctor.

I’ve not actually read the book, but having seen images of the Eternity Circle Daleks, as below, I thought they looked rather cool;

Time War Eternity Circle Dalek by Librarian-bot on DeviantArt

So, I thought I’d give it a go;

Yeah, it’s a bit messy at the moment, but the silver paint was a little runnier than I’d anticipated, hence the splodginess of the silver trim. It will be tidied up, but the general idea is there.

My Rutan model is sharing this shot, as I finally managed to get out to Hobbycraft to try and find some varnish or the equivalent, to provide some needed ‘wetness’ to this model.

I ended up with some Tamiya Semi Gloss Clear, which is apparently an acrylic clear ‘paint’, which I liberally coated my Rutan with. It does kind of work,although you can’t really see this in the picture. I’m now wondering if I would have been better off just using some thinned PVA instead, but the 10ml pot was only £2.00, so not a major expense.

Finally, we have my (almost) completed Sontarans. All five of these chaps were given the same treatment. First, all weaponry was given a wash of Docrafts Noir. Not happy with the coverage, they got a second thicker wash until I was happy. The belts, which I’d failed to paint last time, were painted in with GW Enchanted Blue, to match the helmets and shoulder pads. Then the whole of the figure, except for the weaponry was given a wash of GW Marine Dark Blue.

This was a bit of a mistake, as it made them too blue, meaning that the body-suits almost matched their helmets, shoulder pads and belts. Much gnashing of teeth was heard. Out came the Docrafts Dark Grey and all the exposed parts of the body-suits were given a light drybrush, to tone down the blueness.

Belt buckles were painted GW Orc Brown (which is a dark yellow), followed by GW Sunburst Yellow. Vents on guns got filled with my own mix of ‘Pumpkin Orange’, whilst gunsights were dotted in with GW Bogey Green. The end of each barrel got a spot of Docrafts Noir to simulate the hole in the end, as did each helmet eyehole.

As the creation of the eye-holes for the helmets had left a little scurfing on the surface, I decided to lightly dry-brush these with GW Mithril Silver, as I felt it made it look like these were battle-damaged, with the blue paint having been scratched off where the helmets had been tossed aside in the heat of battle.

The final touch was to paint the bases with thinned down PVA glue, then dip into my jar of sand, to texture the base. The bases still need painting, as the grey still shows through, but I may try and replicate the colour of the sand  I’ve used, as the contrast works quite well.

However, whilst I did texture the bases last, having been convinced this was the way to do it by watching Sorastro’s Star Wars Legion painting tutorials on YouTube, I won’t be doing this going forward. PVA and sand is not the same as basing medium and does not act in the same way, so I’ll be texturing bases for plastic figures BEFORE I start painting next time. You live and learn.

However, I am pretty pleased with how my proxy Sontarans have come out. They LOOK like Sontarans, but unlike the ones appearing in NuWho, these ones actually look like they have been involved in a long-running war, rather than having just stepped out of the changing room. Sontarans you can believe in…

Now, I just need some Christmas baubles so I can build some scout ships.

Sontar-HA!

 

The Sontaran Solution

First came The Sontaran Stratagem – wherein I came up with the idea of creating alternative 28mm Sontarans using commercially available figures…

Then came The Sontaran Experiment – whereby I bought some of these commercially available figures, assembled them and then ‘Jezzed’ them up a bit…

Now comes The Sontaran Solution – where I finish off the necessary tweaks to make them look like Sontarans and slap a bit of paint on them to see what the best colour scheme is.

But first, it’s the Eighth Doctor…

As mentioned in the last Forgotten Heroes post of this year, I wasn’t entirely happy with either the Eighth Doctor’s hair or waistcoat colour, so whilst I had the paints out, I decided to rectify this. Much better now, in my opinion.

Now, on to the Sontarans…

So, having decided that I was going to attempt to make recessed eye-holes in the Sontaran helmets, I dug out my soldering iron… which is, in fact, a wood-burning iron from a pyrography kit, which means that it’s slightly smaller and has a finer tip.

Using the left over bits I’d saved from my cutting of the domes, I tested the iron out on the plastic, to see if this would work before applying it to the models themselves. I also managed to apply the iron to my finger whilst doing this, which resulted in a nasty burn and the offending tool being called a Motherfucker…

Satisfied that it would work and that the holes created were of the right size, I went to work on each model. However, as the bare plastic was white, it was quite difficult to judge whether the rim of each eye-hole was flush with the dome surface or not.

Once I’d finished burning things, each model was given a base coat of Docrafts Dark Grey, which is more of a light grey, followed by a cost of GW Chainmail on all weaponry. And this was the result;

This highlighted (literally) a problem with using a soldering iron, in that each eye-hole had a pronounced rim, where the melted plastic had pulled out when the iron was removed, leaving them looking like the had bags under their eyes.

Out came a sharp craft knife and my needle files, to smooth down the ridges and bore out the holes a bit more. Once this was done to my satisfaction (and the helmet ridges superglued back into place, as each one came off when tidying up the fronts), I went online to look at the general colour schemes used by the Sontarans in their televised appearances.

I decided to go for grey and blue, echoing the more recent iteration of this race, so main body of each model was given a coat of GW Corax White, which I have mentioned before is actually a pale grey. The helmets and pauldrons were then painted GW Enchanted Blue.

Whilst the images I’d Googled initially showed that this was the only variance in colour on the newest version of the Sontarans, I felt this looked a little…bland, so the hip armour was painted in as well. And this is where we have gotten to so far;

This is the leader, as he is armed with a laser pistol and swagger stick.

Two of the rank-and-file Sontaran troopers, armed with laser rifles;

And the five man Sontaran squad; leader, three troopers and a heavy weapons guy, with shoulder-mounted BFG.

Whilst I’ve been mostly successful with tidying up the eye-holes, there is still a little roughness to the front of each helmet, which I am going to attribute to “battle damage”, so I’m not overly bothered by it, but if you’re trying this for yourself, a pin vice and suitably sized drill bit would probably be a better way to do this.

And to provide a sense of scale, here’s a Sontaran trooper threatening the Eight Doctor… who seems entirely unconcerned – possibly due to the half-consumed bottle of red wine he’s holding.

Pretty happy with how these have come out and it will just be a case of finishing them off. Weaponry will receive a wash of Docrafts Noir, with the remainder of the figure getting a wash of GW Marine Dark Blue. I think I will probably add some detailing to each gun and will paint in the belts, as I have now double-checked the uniforms and the belts ARE actually blue. The belt buckles will be painted in yellow, mimicking the colour of the symbol on the interior of Styre’s scout ship from The Sontaran Experiment;

BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 12, The Sontaran Experiment - The ...

However, I won’t attempt the cross, as it might just end up making them look like they’re members of the X-Men…

Until next time.

For the Glory of the Sontaran Empire

You could say I’m easily distracted, but I prefer to think of it as heavily susceptible to flashes of inspiration. For the most part, I believe that my side projects do enhance my gaming and hobby life and, on occasion, have been a little bit genius…

However, as my current focus is Doctor Who in 28mm, I have been somewhat successful in ensuring that all flights of fancy have been at least tangentially related to this project – my Rutan build (here and here) being a good example of this.

As I now had a Rutan, I thought I should really have some Sontarans to go up against it – and as they are a militaristic race, they are an ideal force for wargaming and could be pitted against any other race in the Whoniverse.

Official options are limited to either Classic era Sontarans from Black Tree Design;

Miros' Games: Doctor Who Project - Sontarans

Painted examples above are from the Miros’ Games blog, and whilst they look pretty cool, Black Tree only has four poses, two of which have that weird pistol thing.

The other alternative is Warlord Games’ official NuWho Sontarans;

Wargames Illustrated | 35mm Sontarans

There are two problems with these:- firstly, like Caucasians according to the SONY tagline in the 1990 film Crazy People, “They’re too damn tall…” designed as they are for the official 32mm Warlord Doctor Who line. Secondly, they’re a bit…naff.

Whilst I like the idea of Sontarans, the redesign for NuWho, if you study it for an length of time, is effectively a blue rubber suit. No problem with the iconic domed helmets and shoulder pads, but the suit it a bit pants;

Skorr | Tardis | Fandom

Ahhhh, look at the ickle Sontaran in his baby-blue romper suit…

Andy Foster, over at Heresy Miniatures, got Sontarans right with his Sharclon troopers;

Sontarans

But, being unofficial, when the Cease and Desist letters were sent out by Warlord, these were taken of the shelves and are now quite difficult to get hold of.

The other stumbling block is cost. A set of five old school Sontarans from Black Tree will set you back £12.50 (£2.50 a figure), whereas a box of NuWho Sontarans will cost you £22.00 (£4.40 a figure). And that’s without shipping…

Of course, regular followers of this blog will probably have a good idea of what’s coming next…

That’s right, I’m going to show you how I made my OWN squad of five completely modular Sontarans, from readily available components for the grand total of approximately £8.00, including shipping costs – so that works out about £1.60 a figure.

I’m good to you, aren’t I?

Right, you will first need some Mantic Games Forge Father Steel Warriors, which are effectively ‘space dwarves.’  I picked these out of all the ‘space dwarves’ available, as I felt that the armour, weaponry and look of the figures (if you ignore the heads) said not only Sontaran, but cool Sontaran.

Forge Fathers Steel Warriors - Mantic Games

A box of these will set you back £14.99 for enough components to build ten Steel Warriors. However, as I didn’t want to fork out for a full box if my cunning plan did not work out, to eBay I went and found someone selling the sprues individually – enough parts to make five Steel Warriors for £6.99 including shipping.

The idea percolating in my head was to assemble the bodies, then sculpt the helmets separately, as they were effectively a ridged dome with two eye-holes – not exactly Michelangelo levels of sculpting skills needed there…

The sprues duly arrived and I went to work assembling my squad. Given the complexity of some modern multi-part plastic kits, I was pleasantly surprised at the relative simplicity of these. Each basic Steel Warrior comes in nine parts – two part torso, two shoulder pads, two arms, legs and groin, head and weapon with hands attached. You can also add a backpack, should you so wish. However, the sheer number of parts you get means that you can not only vary each warrior, you could effectively have five heavy weapons troops or five normal normal troops or a leader and whatever mix you want. There are enough variant heads that each warrior could have a different head and two alternative chest pieces, so you can have a fancier cuirass for your leader. Plus a whole bunch of cool looking sci-fi greeblies to stick on wherever you want. LOTS of spare parts for my Distant Stars project.

Anyway, I decided to go for a ‘uniform’ (heh) outfit, so all the same armour, and constructed three normal troopers, one leader with pistol and ‘swagger stick’ (by cutting off the head of the hammer) and a heavy weapons trooper with shoulder mounted BFG.

Each figure is also supplied with Mantic’s standard circular plastic base, which is smooth on one side and had a circle in the centre of the other, as a fair few of their figures come with integral circular base that fit into both these bases and their Kings of War square bases. And this was the result;

Close up of the front of the figure, showing the detail on the armour;

And a shot of the rear;

And a shot to give an idea of scale, in relation to a standard 28mm figure, in this case, the Eighth Doctor.

Right, so pretty much the right size for how Sontarans are depicted in the more recent series, but the armour and stockiness of the body does say “I’m a rock-hard, ass-kicking Sontaran warrior – call me a psychotic potato dwarf and you’ll be spitting teeth…”

Having assembled them, I had decided to call it a night and look to doing the helmets on another evening…

Of course, you may be thinking “Hang on a second… he said the squad cost around £8.00. He’s only spent £7, so where the other quid’s worth of stuff?”

As I am a hobby gamer AND modeller, I do have a tendency to accumulate crap. In other words, all those useful bits and bobs that might come in useful for some project in the future. I mean, I have a box filled with empty sprues, just in case I need a length of plastic rod of a certain diameter or cross section.

One of the things lurking in my bits box was a small jiffy bag containing half a dozen of these;

Injection molded plastic ‘bulbs’ that covered some £1 battery-operated garden lights. The lights were consigned to the bin when they stopped working, but I kept a handful of the tops, to potentially turn into streetlights.

I took one from the packet and offered it up to the neck hole of the bodies I had built, realising that the diameter of the ‘bulb’ was the same as the internal neck of the suit. So, taking one of my six, I cut the top off and offered it up.

It fit and looked right – so another four were cut, giving me five domes.

As there was a slight gap between the bottom of the domes and the hollow in the neck, out came the instant grab adhesive (No More Nails or equivalent), as this sticks anything and can also fill reasonably small gaps. And the domes were stuck to the bodies, like so;

To ensure that these were easily recognisable as Sontarans, five small strips of thin plastic were cut, bent, dropped on the floor and lost (much swearing – I really should have chosen opaque plastic), another set cut, then glued into place.

And this is the almost final result;

I now have to decide whether I risk taking a small soldering iron to each of my proxy Sontarans to make the eye-holes in each helmet or just paint them on.

I will probably do a test of the former, using the other halves of my bulbs (NEVER throw anything away – it might come in useful later) to see how the plastic reacts and whether I can get a uniform shape. If not, I’ll just paint them on.

I showed them to my eldest son, and his response, before I said ANYTHING, was “Ah, Sontarans… cool.” That’s a result in my book.

And he’s not wrong – they are frickin’ cool.

Until next time…

Three, Eight, Thirteen

Whilst there are a few scant hours before Forgotten Heroes 2020, the fifth such event since its inception, ends – allowing a few participants to slip a last entry into June – this will be MY last post for this year’s challenge.

Now, Forgotten Heroes offers quite a few different sorts of challenge. There is the challenge of choosing a suitable character to replicate, finding the base figure you’re going to use, converting it into as close a representation as possible and THEN painting it, so it matches the source material.

Obviously, if you’re using a figure designed, either officially or unofficially, to represent the character, all you have to do is paint the figure.

For example, you can use this image;

The Wertzone: Doctor Who at 50: The Third Doctor (1970-74)

To paint your representation of the Third Doctor like so;

“Reverse the polarity… you know you want to…”

Yeah, I decided to finish off my Third Doctor whilst I was waiting for the Eighth Doctor to dry between coats.

Speaking of my version of the Eighth Doctor, the idea was to replicate this look;

Doctor Who Official on Twitter: "Happy birthday to Paul McGann ...

And this is my final rendition of the Eighth Doctor, converted from an Artizan Designs ‘Captain Withnail’ figure;

Comparing the source material and the finished figure, I think I possibly need to repaint his ‘waistcoat’ in GW Shining Gold, my pot of which is now an antique-y gold, so not particularly ‘Shining’ anymore. This will bring the figure closer to the source picture. I did try to replicate the laces on his boots by painting crosses up the front of each boot, but I’m not sure how successful this was. And I think that I might need to darken his hair a touch too, as it looks too yellow.

So, other than a few minor painting tweaks, I’m pretty happy with how he’s turned out. As he was originally holding a revolver, I think this minor conversion has worked really well, showing that nearly any pistol can be turned into a sonic screwdriver, which gives me a greater range of figures to look at when I get around to doing the Ninth, Tenth and War Doctors.

And to explain the post title, here are the Third, Eighth and Thirteenth Doctor, in a crossover that you would never have expected…

Hmm, this does of course mean I can do multi-Doctor episodes now…

A big thank you to all those who took part this year; Roger, Dave, Harry, Keith, Alan, and Wampley  – follow the links to see what this creative bunch have been up to.

And remember, this is an annual event, every June, so if you feel like taking part next year, you are more than welcome. Put on those thinking caps and start planning what you’re going to do next year.

I might finally get around to doing Big Wheel… although I do have a spare action figure head that might be the right size to do a 28mm M.O.D.O.K. It will certainly be cheaper than coughing up for the Crisis Protocol one…

Right, that’s all for this post. Next up, more Doctor Who, as I offer a counterpoint to the ‘Evil Sprout’ from the previous post, by offering their arch-enemies, whom the Doctor has described as ‘psychotic potato dwarfs’, so expect “automated laser monkeys, scalpel mines and acid.”

“Do You Want to Build a Rutan?”

Twenty days gone of June, leaving ten to go… so how is everyone who is taking part in this year’s Forgotten Heroes getting along?

Well, Roger over at Rantings From Under the Wargames Table has completed the sculpting of his Panthor and Battle Cat from Masters of the Universe, Dave at Wargamesculptors Blog has given us several A.B.C. Warriors AND the spirit form of Torquemada, all from 2000AD, Keith at Dead Dick’s Tavern & Temporary Lodging has created the First Comics characters Badger and Nexus, Alan at Golden Age Heroes has given us the Golden Age heroes Fiery Mask, Black Widow, Green Lama, Hangman and the Comet, work progresses on Corky from Tales of the Gold Monkey from Harry over at War Across the Ages and Wampley has given us the Image character Vanguard over at Wampley’s Castle.

If you haven’t already checked these out, go and have a look, as the hard work and creativity that has gone into these figures is what this annual event is all about.

So, how have I got on since last you visited the Buffet? Well, my version of the Eighth Doctor currently looks like this;

“But Jez,” I hear you cry, “you’re only doing one figure this year, so why haven’t you finished painting it yet?”

Because, gentle readers, I haven’t just been painting him – as the title of this post suggests.

Between tidying up the paint job on the Eighth Doctor, I took the opportunity to finish off a couple of figures lurking in the Tray of Shame, namely Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer;

And Servitor Vir, one of the Doomlords of Nox;

But my main focus was on completing my scratch-built Rutan, as I was intending on transforming this;

20200613_1804042878872380338704860.jpg

Into this;

Rutans | Villains Wiki | Fandom

So, the model was given a complete undercoat of Docrafts Blanc, then the main body painted GW Bogey Green. Looking at this, I decided this wasn’t going to cut it, so some GW Goblin Green was mixed with GW Mithril Silver until I got a colour I was happy with, then watered down to create a thick wash, which was liberally applied to the body of the Rutan.

The main and secondary tentacles were painted with Tamiya White, which is a gloss rather than a matt paint, and the whole base was painted Docrafts Chocolate Brown, followed by a wash of Docrafts Burnt Ochre.

Looking at the reference pictures, I then decided that there was a green tinge to the secondary tentacles, so these were given a wash of GW Bogey Green and the main tentacles a second coat of Tamiya White, as this is quite a thin paint and does require one or two coats to get a strong hue.

The Tamiya White was then used to create the veins/swirls/markings on the main body. The final touch was to gently dry-brush the whole body with GW Bogey Green. I decided against adding the silver dots, as I felt that the model looked fine as it was.

And this is the finished article, ready to assume the form of those close to you, having dissected them to find out what makes them tick;

Yes, it may look like like a Brussel Sprout, but remember, it’s an EVIL Brussel Sprout…

And to give a sense of the size of our ‘Awful Green Thing from Outer Space’, here it is facing the Thirteenth Doctor;

I have to admit, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s come out, although the final picture above does show that the base needs a little more work on it.

It’s certainly a LOT better than the recent picture that has surfaced on social media of what the redesigned Daleks are going to look like when they return later this year;

Doctor Who Page on Twitter: "A photo has been leaked online of the ...

And this, along with the “Timeless Child” travesty, is why Chris Chibnall will Burn. In. Hell.

Join me next time, as Forgotten Heroes draws to a close for this year and all those taking part complete their final submissions.

“I’ve Made a Terrible Mistake.”

The annual Forgotten Heroes “challenge” not only engenders a sense of community, as like-minded hobbyists flex their creative muscles, but also gives those taking part an opportunity to add to their collection a figure (or figures) that they may have been wanting for a while – but no-one has yet to make.

So, Roger at Rantings from Under the Wargames Table is adding to his scratch-built Masters of the Universe collection, Dave is building up his A.B.C. Warriors over at Wargame Sculptors Blog and Alan is working his way through the alphabet over at Golden Ages Heroes.

Wampley has posted his conversion of the Image character Vanguard over at Wampley’s Castle and I know that Harry at War Across the Ages is planning on adding to his cast from Tales of the Gold Monkey. I’m not sure what Keith at Dead Dick’s Tavern & Temporary Lodging is creating this year, but there’s still a couple of weeks to go…

However, I’m not one to talk, as I failed miserably to complete the promised models for Keith’s own Monster May(Hem) challenge – which is kind of what the title of this post is about, as you will see.

Anyway, the character I’d decided upon for this year’s challenge was to create a version of the Eighth Doctor, utilising the Artizan Designs “Captain Withnail.” As mentioned in this post, the Thrilling Tales range this figure comes from has been removed from the North Star site, but I have been assured that the range will return later in the year.

When we last saw my work in progress it looked like this;

So, referring to my source material, it was clear that his lower legs were too chunky, so out came the needle files and craft knife, to ensure that they were pared down to a more acceptable size. I also took the opportunity to scribe a V shape on the front of each shin, to represent the lace-up part of each boot. Now that I was happy with the sculpting, it was time to start painting…

Undercoat in Docrafts Blanc (i.e. white), then hands and head got a base coat of Docrafts Flesh, boots and waistcoat in Docrafts Linen and his sonic screwdriver in GW Mithril Silver.

Now, the paints used for his overcoat and trousers (GW Ghoul Grey and Revell Beige) had partially dried out, so adding water to them meant that they acted a little like watercolours, in that they were quite thin. Each area being covered was given at least three coats of paint, to build up the required hue.

And this is where we have gotten to so far;

He’s starting to come together nicely.

And here he is with the Third and Thirteenth Doctor;

Now, I did get some paint on some of the other figures in the Tray of Shame, including the “monsters” I promised for last month’s challenge;

But no major progress was really made, so nothing really to show there.

However, I DID make some progress on another figure – which fits the criteria for BOTH Forgotten Heroes AND Monster May(Hem) – and explains the quote used for the title.

Horror of Fang Rock was a Fourth Doctor adventure, originally broadcast in 1977, and featured the Doctor and Leela joining the occupants of the Fang Rock lighthouse – including the passengers of a wrecked ship – as they were terrorised and murdered by a shape-shifting Rutan scout. The Rutan are in a bitter war of attrition with the Sontarans and are not doing so well. Rutans, in their natural form, look like a cross between a jellyfish and an amoeba.

Rutans – Doctor Who World

Or possibly a really big ball of snot. Now, Black Tree Design do make a figure of the Rutan

But I am of the opinion that anyone can make their own version of this creature, even if they have ZERO sculpting skills.

So, this is how I made mine, which is probably the simplest figure I have ever made.

First, I got a spare HeroScape base and covered the top in Milliput, textured to represent earth. I then cut a few lengths of wire (from a paperclip), bent these into suitably tentacle-y shapes and glued these to the base, like so;

My initial intention was to then just use a big blog of translucent silicone sealant to create the body of the Rutan, then paint this, so I painted the base and tentacles next.

However, looking back at the source material, I decided that I needed secondary smaller tentacles and that the main body of the Rutan needed to be textured, a bit like the shell of a sea urchin.

The secondary tentacles were created using a small length of pipe cleaner, folded around and teased out, then glued into place. A trick I’ve learnt with using pipe cleaners is that you can coat them with watered down PVA glue and they end up looking textured like Twiglets (or twigs for that matter). However, if you paint them directly using Acrylic paint, you can not only colour the pipe cleaner’s fibres, it will also separate the fibres out, making it look like hair, fur, or hopefully in this case, secondary thin tentacles.

Now, the final part of this model is the body of the Rutan. As this is textured, you could roll up a ball of your sculpting putty of choice, stick the blob in place and then carefully texture the outside until you were happy…

Or you could cheat, like I did, and just get some baking foil and scrunch it up into a oval blob the right size and shape.

The advantage of doing this is two-fold; firstly – you can get it exactly the right size and shape, as foil is easily shaped and you can add additional layers if it’s not quite big enough, secondly – the process of scrunching it up creates a lovely texture on the exterior surface. You can smooth this down, if you wish, but this lends itself to dry-bushing quite nicely and for my purposes, does replicate the textured skin of the Rutan.

Just glue your finished blob into place and you get something like this;

Unpainted, it does kind of look like a big silver brain, so a smaller foil lozenge or two glue together and added to the body of a plastic dog might make a pretty acceptable Intellect Devourer for D&D.

So, there you go – zero sculpting skills needed, materials that you probably already have around your home, so zero cost and, with a little time and effort, a pretty good version of a Fourth Doctor-era alien.

The Fourth Doctor may have believed he made a terrible mistake in regards to the Rutan in the episode in question, but I don’t think I’ve made a mistake creating my own version of this iconic alien, rather than paying for someone else’s version…

Join me next time, as the Eighth Doctor nears completion and I start painting my alien ball of snot. Luckily, I DO have some GW Bogey Green…

Flesheater of the Forests

The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody. Its body was unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, giving off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption.”

— Basil Johnston, Ojibwe teacher and scholar, Ontario, Canada

I think Basil conjures up a rather eerie description of the Wendigo – and one I shall be using when I paint up this chap;

Ordered from Paragon Star on Wednesday, confirmation of shipping sent on Friday, turned up this morning. Not a bad turn around, all-in-all.

“But Jez,” I hear you cry, “what’s the figure actually like?” Well, I have to admit to being somewhat impressed.

Those of you who have ever ordered or bought a 3D printed piece of terrain or figure will know that the process, no matter how high-spec the printer, always leaves striations or lines on the figure. The lower the specification of the 3D printer, the more obvious and raised these layer lines are. The advantage of resin printing (says the 5-minute Google “expert”) is that each layer is made from liquid resin, which remains liquid until such time as it is cured under UV light. What this apparently means is that there is no obvious layering and the surface of the miniature is smooth, similar to resin miniatures cast in the traditional way.

So, as you can see from the pictures, the surface of the figure is remarkably smooth and pretty well-detailed. As I picked a figure that has not got a particularly textured surface, I cannot really comment on how well this process depicts fur, chains or wood, like some of the other figures produced by this company.

The resin used seems similar to other modern resin figures I have, being a little flexible, non-brittle and with no noticeable odour.

I only have one very minor complaint, in that the figure I received had a crack in the base, running from the front right of the base for about 15mm towards the centre. Not enough to jeopardise the integrity of the figure and easily filled, but just a small niggle.

To be honest, looking at this particular figure for any length of time, does kind of remind me of the character of Jon Talbain, the werewolf from the Darkstalkers video game;

Jon Talbain | Darkstalkopedia | Fandom

However, I don’t think I’ll be replicating this colour scheme.

Weirdly, this figure has tiny wee legs, although they are split like the arms, so forked four legs.

Now, I ordered the 40mm base version of this figure, which means that that from base to horn-tip, this beastie is 70mm tall. Which makes it quite imposing when compared to a standard 28mm figure, like the 13th Doctor below;

“Legend of the Algonquians? I think you’ll find it’s ACTUALLY an alien. Trust me – they all turn out to be aliens in the end…”

Now, how does it compare size and cost-wise with other manufacturers’ products?

In the picture below, we have a Graveyard Golem from the Reaper Bones range in their polymer plastic on the left, at approximately £5.00. In the centre, the Paragon Star Wendigo in their printed resin, at £7.69 and on the far right, The Strawman from Crooked Dice (sans arms, as I’ve not yet assembled him yet) in normal resin, at £15.00.

20200608_1931053889363028269375275.jpg

Once the Wendigo realised that the “Strawman” was actually made from Shredded Wheat, it ate its arms…

If we compare the three, the Reaper Bones figure (and by extension Nolzurr’s Marvelous Miniatures) will be the cheapest option for your big monster needs, but not by a great margin. Normal resin figures will usually be about twice the price, but I would hazard a guess (purely based on the figure I chose) that the intricate detail of a sculpt may be better.

However, the BIG advantage of the resin printed figures is you can choose what size you want. I went for a 40mm diameter base, because I calculated that this would be the “correct” size for this monster. As there are 8 size options, going from 30mm up to 150mm diameter bases and the largest size is £29.99, I think it’s a cost-effective way to get a specific monster at exactly the size you want.

“Swamp Thing” anyone?

Swamp Men  Resin Miniature   28mm / 32mm Scale  Dungeons image 1

Forgotten Heroes, Hidden Monsters

Unlike last month, June in the UK has decided we’ve had far too much nice weather and we’re due some colder temperatures and some rain. Which means that whilst the easing of Lockdown means that you can have visitors in your garden, they’re probably going to get a bit soggy.

However, as June is also Forgotten Heroes month, the inclement weather means that you can stay inside and work on your fictional creations.

As we’ve had a few additional people express a desire to take part, I thought I’d list the participants first, before getting on to the meat of this post.

Dave over at Wargamesculptors Blog has cracked on with his A.B.C. Warriors, completing both Zippo and Hammerstein.

Roger at Rantings From Under the Wargames Table has made an impressive start on his conversions of a couple of cheap plastic toys into Battle Cat and Panthro from Masters of the Universe – to accompany the other characters he has created over the years from this franchise. I still need to add a few more to my own collection – I mean, who doesn’t need a 28mm version of Buzz Off?

Alan has decided to continue his A-Z of Golden Age Heroes, completing the entry for ‘F’ with Fiery Mask, an obscure Timely/Marvel hero… and no doubt will produce a few more before the end of the month.

The other participants have yet to put up their first post, but I’m sure these will follow shortly;

Keith at Dead Dick’s Tavern & Temporary Lodging, Harry at War Across the Ages and Wampley at Wampley’s Castle.

Roy has unfortunately bowed out, due to personal reasons, and we all wish him well and hope he can join us next year. As for Keith Frye, due to the wonders of time travel, did manage to complete his entry three months before the actual start of Forgotten Heroes – so unfortunately, it doesn’t actually count. However, I would go and have a look at his conversion of Col. Virginia Lake from U.F.O., as it is really good.

So, my plan is to turn this Artizan Designs figure (from the Thrilling Tales range, which strangely seems to have vanished from their website);

Captain Withnail

Into my version of the Eighth Doctor.

So, first order of the day was to sort out the revolver, as whilst the Doctor has used firearms on one or two occasions, he is not renowned for regularly carrying a weapon. Using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, I carefully bent the main body of the revolver upwards, until it was in the right position. Then using a flat needle file, the chamber and bulk of the revolver was filed down, until I had a column of metal extending from his hand, which will become the Eighth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.

However, in it’s initial state it was too long, looking more like a wand than a sonic screwdriver. Looking at the figure with his “wand”, I realised that he now kind of looked like Newton Scamander from the Fantastic Beasts franchise;

Newt Scamander Coat | Fantastic Beasts 2 Movie | 50% Off

So, if you want a “Wizarding World” proxy, this might work out a bit more affordable than an official Knight Models miniature…

As the wand was too long, this was trimmed down and the end rounded to be more sonic-y and less wand-y. However, during this process, I’d failed to notice that my handling of the figure had bent it a bit out of shape. This is due to the fact that the top part of the figure is fairly hefty, with the flapping coat being solid metal, whilst the figure’s ankles are quite slender – therefore being the weak point on this model.

After carefully straightening the figure up, the base was filed flat and glued to a standard 25mm plastic base, as all my other incarnations of the Doctor are based in this way. The integral metal base was then blended in to the plastic base with Milliput. As my intention was to try and replicate the knee-high lace-up boots that the Eighth Doctor wore prior to his regeneration AND this was a weak point on this model, some Milliput was added to and smoothed around the bottom half of the legs.

For some reason, this took far longer than normal and was scraped off and reapplied a couple of times, until I was happy with the ‘look’. I then left it to dry overnight.

Revisiting the figure the following morning, I realised that his boots were a little thick, so using various shaped needle files, I filed down both the Millput top layer and, where necessary, the underlying metal, until I reached a point that I was happy with.

This is the result so far:

I think the boots may need some further reshaping before the first lick of paint goes on, but I’m reasonably happy so far.

Right, that’s the “Forgotten Heroes” part dealt with… what about the “Hidden Monsters?”

Whilst I only managed to undercoat my monsters for Keith’s (Angry Piper) Monster May(Hem) challenge, I did enjoy visiting other participants websites to see what they’d done, one such being Matt’s PM Painting. He’d painted a Cloak Fiend, a figure I’d not seen before and was keen to find out where it was from, as I thought it was quite cool. I queried this on his blog, but did then use my Web-Fu – for my Web-Fu is Strong – to find it myself, discovering that it was a Reaper figure.

However… this also flagged up a couple of other figures with the “fiend” suffix, which led me to an Etsy shop called ParagonStar.

From what I could gather, this seller utilises a 3D resin printer to create gaming miniatures which can be in a variety of sizes, based on the diameter of the base – from 30mm up to 150mm, with 100mm and 150mm being printed in plastic, rather than resin.

Intrigued by the figure that had brought me to the site, I browsed the range (354 items), noting that figures started from £5.49 each, it was a UK based seller, so shipping was £2.99 and, whilst the pictures in the shop were renders, buyers had posted reviews with pictures of the ACTUAL models painted up.

Then I found this;

Urban Devil  Resin Miniature  Many Size Options dungeons image 0

I have been searching for a decent miniature to represent the Jersey Devil for a very long time and I had now found one that I was happy with.

Using a steel rule and the ability to expand the view on my mobile phone, I worked out that in order for the figure to be the ‘right’ size for 28mm, it would need to be on a 40mm base, which meant that the figure would be about 35-40mm tall. This meant that the figure would be £7.69 + £2.99 shipping, so a total of £10.68. Based on the level of detail and size, this was a bargain compared to other figures.

However, I decided that before ordering THIS figure, I’d test the waters by ordering a different figure, so plumped for Paragon Star’s Wendigo, which was very reminiscent of the illustration of it that appeared in issue #138 of Dragon magazine, way back in the dawn of time…

Dragon Magazine #138

Wendigo  Resin Miniature   28mm / 32mm Scale  Dungeons And image 0

Okay, so the Dragon version hasn’t got 4 arms, but Paragon Star’s one is pretty damn cool.

So, ordered last Wednesday and due to be delivered beginning of next week. Once it arrives, I will give it a full review and show everyone what it looks like compared to other figures. The seller is quite communicative, so if you have any questions prior to purchasing, send him a message. I asked what the height of the figures would be, based on a base size of 40mm and he came back the following day to advise, confirming my calculations.

As mentioned above, there are a LOT of monsters on there, and they are all non-standard – so while they may have a version of an Owlbear on there, it’s probably not what you’d expect – which is pretty cool. As long as the figure quality is decent, I may very well be ordering from there again. I’ve been needing a proper Jersey Devil for a while, but can I really resist getting a Keg Golem…?

Keg Golem  Resin Miniature  Many Size Options dungeons And image 0

Forgotten Heroes 2020

June has rolled around once more, which means it is once again time for…

Forgotten Heroes!

Yes, once again the Buffet descends into the creative madness that is the Forgotten Heroes challenge – although I prefer to think of it as a community art project, rather than an actual challenge…

So, to reiterate the “rules”, such as they are, are these; during the month of June, you must produce a single figure of a fictional character of which a figure has not yet been made or has been made, but was not how you felt the character should have been represented. The character you choose can be from any medium – film, TV, book, comics, etc. – and in any scale. The base figure you use should NOT be either an official or unofficial representation of the character you are producing. And your first post should explain who the character is – ideally with a picture so we can compare this with your finished figure. Your figure can be as simple as repainting a Heroclix Blue Beetle as the obscure Marvel villain Goldbug, converting the same figure into Zodac from Master of the Universe or sculpting the entire figure from scratch – it’s entirely up to you.

So, give your imagination free rein and finally create the figure YOU’VE always wanted.

Anyone who would like to take part who hasn’t already let me know, all you need to do is post a comment on this blog letting me know and I’ll add you to the blogroll of participants.

So, as I am currently in the midst of my ongoing Doctor Who project, surprisingly enough I am going to stay within this universe. As part of my ongoing love for the show (up until Chris Chibnall decided to crap all over my childhood), I intend to collect a model of every iteration of the Doctor, from First to Thirteenth.

Now, I have models from Black Tree Design representing the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctor, figures for the Third, Twelfth and MY version of the Thirteenth from Crooked Dice (although only the latter is still available, as it’s not specifically a representation of the Doctor… well, at least until the BBC realise MY version is far superior) and the Steve Buddle-sculpted version of the Eleventh Doctor, which WAS available from Heresy Miniatures, but sadly no more.

Which leaves me missing the Eighth, War, Ninth and Tenth Doctors to complete my collection. The latter three were available from Crooked Dice and Heresy up until the Cease and Desist notices went out and the Eighth Doctor IS available from Black Tree… but I don’t like this version of the figure.

So, my intention, for my Forgotten Heroes entry for this year, is to create my own version of the Eighth Doctor.

Now, this version of the Doctor has had three ‘looks’, two of which are canon and one of which appears on the covers of Big Finish adventures. The first look is from the Doctor Who TV movie, in which Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh regenerated into Paul McGann’s Eighth and looked like this:

Eighth Doctor Adventures – The Doctor Who Companion

In between his first appearance in the TV movie and his final appearance in The Night of the Doctor special, he gallivanted around in the Big Finish extended universe dressed like this;

8th Doctor Alternate Costume by rook971 on DeviantArt

Which is reminiscent of the Ninth Doctor’s outfit. And his final look was in The Night of the Doctor, when McGann regenerated into John Hurt – and this outfit was an echo of his first outfit, but less… flouncy.

The Night of the Doctor promo pics - The 8th Doctor looks ...

Now, as the first and third looks are canon, I’ve decided to disregard the Big Finish outfit and create MY version of the Eighth Doctor as the transitional stage between the two outfits. And the figure I will be using for this is PLP013 – Captain Withnail;

Captain Withnail

So, this will require turning his current footwear into a closer representation of his lace-up boots and turning the revolver into his sonic screwdriver, then a suitable paint job to tie everything together. I’m fairly certain that this will work…

Now, as I’ve failed to complete last month’s Monster May(hem) challenge, I have been given a stay of execution by Keith and my Cyclopian Aliens will be completed this month, alongside the Eighth Doctor.

So, that’s what I’ll be up to. Be sure to check out the other participants blogs to see what they’ll be creating;

Dave at Wargamesculptors Blog, who is intending to complete his compliment of A.B.C. Warriors from 2000AD.

The co-creator of Forgotten Heroes, Roger at Rantings from Under the Wargames Table, which he has assured me involves some kind of cat-themed characters… and no doubt some awful puns.

Keith aka The Angry Piper at Dead Dick’s Tavern & Temporary Lodging, who will no doubt be bringing to light another obscure superhero or villain.

And Roy from This Blog of Mine will be completing the Calista Secor version of Retro Girl from the TV show Powers.

Anyone else who wants to take part, just let me know in the comments and join us in our madness!!!