Beware the Devil Shrimp…

Whilst my weekend post Where Walks the Wendigo was intended to be my last post for Scooby Doo month here at the Buffet, as Saturday is actually Halloween, I couldn’t really let this pass without a post.

However, the issue I have is that I am actually away from this evening until Sunday night, as it’s my birthday tomorrow and I’m off with the family to visit my eldest son, who’s reading History at Cambridge. Takes after his mother, obviously…

So, what that means is that you get a bonus midweek post, instead of a weekend post as normal. So, what have I in store for you? Read on…

Over the years, many manufacturers have attempted to model the  eldritch horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos, with varying degrees of success. Grenadier, currently distributed by Mirliton, RAFM, Black Cat Bases and even Reaper had a go at a few. And if you haven’t seen the current Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 2 Kickstarter, go and take a look at the insanity-inducing goodness, as you can pledge a $1, then choose whatever figure add-ons you want, which is ideal if you want the figures without committing to the actual game. This is actually the first Kickstarter I’ve been tempted by, so that’s saying something…

Anyway, one of the older ranges was Metal Magic’s Dunwich Detectives range, which is currently being distributed by eM-4 Miniatures and/or Moonraker Miniatures.

I bought this specific model – 2012a Dimensional Shambler Attacking (£2.10), for potential use as a monster in an unspecified-at-the-time game:

He (it?) languished in my paint queue for a while, having been undercoated in green, until the recent Scooby Doo project gave me the impetus to paint him (it?) up as a ‘monster’ for my mystery solving teens to face. However, I wasn’t happy with the colour scheme and undercoated it back to white. Looking at the figure, it suddenly occurred to me that this was…seafood. So, out came the necessary paints and it was repainted as the Devil Shrimp of Crystal Cove.

Devil Shrimp

Ruh-roh! Looks like Anne won’t be outrunning the monster this time. I think it came out rather well and when I finally get around to my Forbidden Planet retro sci-fi project, I think I may be buying a few more to menace the crew of my United Planets Cruiser.

That’s all for this month, be sure to join me in November, where things will be getting decidedly Frosty…

Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

 

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Where Walks the Wendigo

As the blue and cream VW camper van pulled to the side of the road, Blake turned round in his seat to address his team. ‘Okay, so we know that there have been reports of a monster roaming this area, but as we all know, it’s very unlikely that it’s genuine. So what we have on our hands is a mystery…so let’s go solve it!”

As promised, here is the culmination of ‘Scooby Doo’ month here on the Buffet, with an AAR of a solo play game I ran to test if my home brew rules could cope with Scooby Doo gaming. Turns out they can, but need a little tweaking.

Before we start, I have to apologise, as due to issues with my computer, this post and all content has been done via the app on my ‘phone. So it will probably be a little rough around the edges, so bear with me.

As I do not game often, I had to use what I had to hand, so the gaming area was built from Heroscape tiles and scenery. Here it is:

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This is the left hand side of the table, showing the road and rest area, a wooded hill and some mysterious ruins. The Enigma gang are alongside their camper van and there appears to be another vehicle parked in the rest area.

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This is the right hand side of the table, showing what appears to be an abandoned aircraft hangar, which cannot be seen from the road.

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As mentioned before, the gang started alongside the ‘Enigmobile’. Four clue tokens were placed on the gaming area – each clue successfully secured by the gang would increase their chance to catch the ‘monster’, but for each clue secured  there was a cumulative 20% chance the monster would appear. Here are the clues:

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Clue 1 – the news team.

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Clue 2 – hidden in the ruins.

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Clue 3 – concealed within a cave.

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Clue 4 – within the supposedly abandoned hangar.

On Turn 1, Blake used his Leadership ability on his first Action to activate Anne, Herman and Ace, leaving Joan to look after the Enigmobile. Herman and Ace headed for the ruins,  whilst Blake and Anne headed for the news team.

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Having reached the news team,  Blake attempted to use his Charm on the news anchor, but unfortunately rolled a 1, meaning that not only had he failed, he could not attempt this clue again.

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Luckily,  the dice were smiling on Anne, who used her Charm on Carl the camera man, securing the first Clue! This was footage of the ‘monster’, giving both Anne and Blake a +1 modifier to any Fear rolls when confronting the ‘monster’.
However, as the first clue had been secured, there was now a 20% chance the monster would appear – and a 2 was rolled! Enter the Wendigo!

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The green tile to the far right of this picture is the ‘monster’ spawn point and a 6 was rolled, it appeared 6 tiles closer towards the clue that was secured. This put it in line of sight of all characters on the board, except Joan who was behind the van and Ace, who was nosing about in the ruins. With their +1 modifier, both Anne and Blake easily passed a Fear test. The news team were not so fortunate and bundled into their car and squealed off into the distance. This left Herman…
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Being of stern Austrian stock, Herman took one look at the ‘monster’ and with a scream of “Uzi 9mm! ” opened fire. The dice were kind and he managed to damage the ‘monster’ which then ran away, dropping an additional clue token. Once it was out of LOS, in true Scooby Doo style, the ‘monster’ vanished!
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Herman then joined Ace in the ruins, searching for clues. Not being the brightest duo, here they would remain for some time.
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The clue token dropped by the ‘monster’ was then approached by Anne and Blake.
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Seeing what appeared to be a hank of fur caught on some briars, both Anne and Blake attempted to retrieve it.
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After some failed attempts, Blake managed to retrieve the fur. “There’s something not quite right about this…” he muttered.
Of course, that meant another chance the monster would appear – and the chance had risen to 40%! A 3 was duly rolled…
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Followed by a 4, meaning the Wendigo appeared only two spaces away! Both Anne and Blake failed their Fear rolls and ran for their lives! And in true Scooby Doo style, the Wendigo gave chase…
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A further Fear test against both character’s Resolve resulted in Blake passing and Anne failing miserably with a 1, meaning she would keep running – right off the table and out of play. Curses!

As the Wendigo was right behind Blake…
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He decided to use his Bamboozle skill – a combination of disguise and fast talking – to confuse the Wendigo. Luckily, the dice favoured Blake and the Wendigo was stunned for two actions, allowing Blake to run away and hide.
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Looks pretty pleased with himself, doesn’t he?
Meanwhile, Herman and Ace had secured the clue in the ruins, uncovering a set of speakers and tape recorder. Curious…

Moving out from the ruins, Herman and Ace decided to investigate the cave. However, as they were concentrating on their investigation of the cave, they failed to notice the Wendigo creeping up on them.
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Upon realising the monster was there, Herman failed his Fear test and ran. However, Ace, being almost insane, walked his Fear test and launched himself at the creature!
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Having savaged the creature, causing damage, the monster ran off out of sight and, of course, vanished once more!

Ace then secured the 4th clue, with no reappearance of the monster, meaning the gang now had 4 clues!
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Even though Joan, back at the van, had the Devise skill, the 4 clues still gave the remaining team a +4 modifier to catch the ‘monster’.
Having regrouped, Blake, Herman and Ace approached the disused hangar.
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And found and secured the final clue…
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Which resulted in the final appearance of the monster.
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Fear tests passed, Blake attempts to trap the ‘monster’, pitting his Awareness and Clues modifier against the Wendigo’s Vigour – and succeeds! Having trapped the Wendigo in an oil drum, Blake explains…

The footage I watched earlier was obviously filmed remotely on a tripod and the fur we found was obviously fake, the sound equipment Herman found created the howls that had been scaring everyone away and the evidence of digging in the cave revealed the reason. If you look in the rear of this black pickup, you’ll find gold ore. Our ‘monster’ had discovered an untapped seam of gold in an old mine and was using his skills and the legend of the Wendigo to scare people away…Our Wendigo is actually…Carl the camera man!”
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And the credits roll…

The system worked pretty well, although having the right people attempting the clues seems to be important, otherwise they get tied up for ages. The monster rules worked well, where if it is out of sight, it vanishes until another clue is secured. And it scaring, chasing and being Bamboozled by Blake was so Scooby Doo!

Needs a little tweaking here and there, but it was a fun game and ideal for solo play. Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed playing.

Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

Things That Go Bump in the Night

After my brief mid-week excursion into the vegetable plot in my last post (Unnatural Growths), we’re back to regular scheduled programming, looking at figures suitable for Scooby Doo gaming.

However, as it is Zomtober, I thought I really ought to post at least one zombie, in support of the excellent work that all involved are doing, so here he is:

Officer Downe

Yet another Dreamblade miniature, this time the Zombie Enforcer, a Common figure from the base set. The actual miniature came with an axe embedded in its head, which looked daft, so that was the first thing to go. Based on his armament and uniform, I decided to repaint him as a cop. Risen from the dead to punish his killers, delivering justice from beyond the grave, criminals beware the unrelenting vengeance of…Officer Downe.

Moving on…

Over the years I have collected, rebased and painted a lot of figures specifically with the idea of providing foes for mystery-solving teens, hunters of the “Supernatural” or paranormal exterminators. As Ghostbusters is my all-time favourite film, I have always had at the back of my mind a craving to do a Ghostbusters tabletop game. Of course, until the release of Crooked Dice’s Paranormal Exterminators, we didn’t actually have ‘ghostbusters’ and the proxies available just didn’t do it for me. However, this didn’t prevent me from buying ghost figures.

So our next section will highlight a handful of the ghosts I have collected over the years, so bring on the spooks!

Ghosts 1

As the Toxic Sludger figure I showed in A Catalogue of Creepy Kooks proved to be quite a popular figure, I thought I’d show off a few more transparent plastic figures that I’ve managed to acquire over the years. From left to right, we have Killer Frost from the DC Heroclix range, the Skeletal Maiden from the Horrorclix line, a Hypnotic Spirit from the Dungeon Command game and the Chillfire Destroyer from the D&D Miniatures range. All of these were bought as singles, the most expensive being the Chillfire Destroyer at £3.50.

The good thing about transparent figures is that they usually only require rebasing before you can use them and they make excellent ghosts, even if they were not intended as such. There are quite a few transparent plastic figures in the Heroclix range, usually depicting heroes or villains in energy or elemental forms, so this is a good place to start if you’re looking for ‘ghosts’.

Of course, with a suitably spectral paint job, any opaque figure, metal or plastic,  in your collection can join the ranks of the spectral undead. Here are a few of mine;

Ghosts 2

From left to right we have Husk from the Chaos in Cairo range, Tristessa the Banshee from the Denizens of Ravenloft boxed set from Ral Partha, an Animated Statue from West Wind Productions’ Vampire Wars range and a Solonavi Shade from the MageKnight CMG. As you can probably tell, the Husk figure’s paint job was heavily influenced by the monstrous form of the librarian ghost from the first Ghostbusters film. The Blue Nun was originally painted as a zombie, but I decided to repaint the figure as a ghost, as I thought it would look better, which it does.

So, as I was saying, if you have any odd historical figures in your collection that are not part of any genre you game, slap a white  or silver undercoat on them, paint with a pale thinned colour (not quite a wash) and then, if necessary, dry-brush with your base colour with a hint of white. Instant ghost and a use for a previously “useless” figure.

Our next couple of figures are for those of you who like a little more gore, such as Bryan from Vampifan’s World of the Undead, so are not Scooby Doo, as they are Not Suitable for Saturday Mornings. You have been warned…

Flesh Hulk

This crowbar-wielding  monstrosity is another Dreamblade figure, unsurprisingly called a Skinless. The original paint job was a little more restrained, but when I was repainting it, I decided to go for a more ‘freshly flayed’ look, so out came my red paints and I went town. Inspired by its definite ‘medical malpractice’ vibe, I decided to try my hand at a tiled floor base, adorned with leakage from what I have now dubbed a ‘Flesh Hulk’. I have to say that I was extremely pleased how this figure came out.

Our next figure may seem quite familiar to some…

Ginger

That’s right, it’s the figure I use as my avatar, a scratch-built 28mm homicidal gingerbread man. This was simply made by cutting out a suitably shaped piece of thin textured plastic, bending it into shape, then basing and painting it. Originally it was just supposed to be a giant gingerbread man (by giant, I mean compared to an ordinary gingerbread man, not Shrek 2 giant), but the juxtaposition between the smiling face and the blood splatters just completed the figure for me. Beware the hard-baked fists of the Gingerbread Maniac!

Finally, due to a comment made by jpattern2 on this TMP thread,  I decided to see whether I could recreate a specific Scooby Doo villain, using figures I already had. This is the villain:

It’s the Space Kook from the imaginatively titled Scooby Doo episode “Spooky Space Kook”. And this is what I came up with;

Space Kook

So, the body was sourced from a Heroscape Zettian Guard, which is frankly one of the crappest figures ever designed. However, once you remove its arms, giant shoulder pads and ridiculous marshmallow head, the body is actually pretty good. Add a couple of 1st generation GW Space Marine arms and a filed down GW skull, paint as per the source material and I now have a spooky Space Kook.

It’s not perfect, as the Space Kook was not armed (mine has a bolt pistol because, 1. I couldn’t be bothered to remove it and 2. it looks cool), and the major fail is that the head of the Space Kook is actually a skull floating within a wholly transparent dome, rather than a skull appearing at the front of a half-opaque dome.  This is what I get for relying on memory and a single image sourced from the internet. However, as it’s my figure, I’m satisfied that anyone looking at it will immediately know what it’s supposed to be and I’m particularly happy with the way the paint job came out, it doesn’t matter that it’s not 100% accurate.

Apologies for the lengthy nature of this post, but there was a lot to get through. Next time will be my first AAR, as the investigative journalists from Enigma Magazine take a drive into the northern woods and encounter mysterious goings-on…

Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

Unnatural Growths

As Zomtober continues apace, it would appear that the participants have been very busy, so much so that they’ve been slipping in sneaky mid-week posts prior to the Sunday deadline. Whilst I’m not taking part this year, I thought I’d follow suit, mainly because the content I had planned for my normal weekend post was getting slightly unwieldy and would have required the best part of a day to actually get uploaded…

So, whilst the title above might suggest something that requires a prescription of a topical cream, the subject of this post is the cold floronic menace of animate vegetation…

For his Zomtober project this year, Simon aka Blaxkleric is painting up several figures from his vast collection of Crooked Dice miniatures, for use in his “Doctor Who and the Seeds of Doom” Zombicide game. From the progress so far, it looks like it’s going to be awesome. For the first post regarding this project, go here. In a conversation in one of his posts on this project, I suggested that a specific figure would make a good “fattie” for the game. Having viewed the figure concerned, he agreed and ordered three. He doesn’t know what he’s let himself in for…

This is the figure concerned:

It’s the Gutsoup Golem from Wizards of the Coast’s Dreamblade CMG, specifically from the Chrysotic Plague set. Now, when I initially bought this figure, my intention was to paint it up in more ‘realistic’ meat tones, but once I’d undercoated it, it wasn’t saying “meat monster” to me. Rather it was saying “rampaging swamp beast”, so inspired in part by both Man-Thing and Swamp Thing, but mainly by the Doctor Who story “The Seeds of Doom”, out came the green paints and it was suitably re-painted. As I had mentioned to Simon that I’d done this, I thought it only fair to show what I’d done with mine, so here it is:

Mandragore

As you can see from the picture, it is now a suitably imposing hunk of malevolent vegetation, although the picture doesn’t really do it justice.

Continuing the theme of this post, I mentioned in my last post that West Wind Productions’ Pumpkin Headed Killer Scarecrows were not really suitable as Scooby Doo-esque monsters, as they were a little on the ‘skinny’ side, so couldn’t really pass as people in costumes. However, having dug mine out and arrayed them next to the unfortunate Blake Fredericks, I’ve now changed my mind, as they do look suitably Scooby Doo…

Pumpkins

That’s all for now – regularly scheduled programming will resume at the weekend, when we’ll be looking at more Things That Go Bump in the Night…

Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

A Catalogue of Creepy Kooks

It would appear that Zomtober is encouraging people to not only paint their entries for this challenge, but to also paint figures tangentially related to the subject matter, resulting in additional postings midweek. Whilst it gives me additional eye-candy to look at, it also makes me feel like I’m slacking…

I deliberately picked the Scooby Doo project for this month, as I was aware that the first half of the month work commitments would result in less hobby time, and as the majority of the figures were already painted, it gave me a bit of breathing space.

So, last week I introduced my gang of mystery-solving teens, so it’s time to bring on the monsters…

As the first episode of Scooby Doo was broadcast in September 1969 (which makes it one month older than me) and has remained on our screens in various incarnations ever since, the gang has encountered a vast array of “supernatural” threats. From haunted suits of armour to spectral yeti, pterodactyl men to headless horsemen and everything in between. So, from a gaming point of view, this means that you can effectively use any “monster” figure you want.

However, as Scooby Doo was originally a Saturday morning kids show, to preserve the look and tone of the show, you need to be a little selective when it comes to choosing figures. Whilst the various ghosts and monsters encountered by the gang were supposed to be scary, they weren’t horrific. So whilst you may have a large collection of gore-splattered zombies in your collection, if you’re trying to replicate the show, don’t use them. The dead may (allegedly) walk in Scooby Doo, but they’re unlikely to want to chew your face off…

So, bearing in the mind the above, here is my first gallery of ghastly ghouls…

Toxic

Our first figure is the Toxic Sludger from Wizards of the Coast’s short-lived Dreamblade CMG. As you can see from the picture, this is a substantial piece of plastic. Cast in translucent green plastic and depicting a oozing radioactive spirit rising from a barrel of toxic waste, this is a cool figure. As I was happy with the pre-painted barrel as it was, all I did with this figure was rebase it, which probably took as long as repainting the whole figure would. All Dreamblade figures, although cast in a flexible rubbery plastic, are attached to 1.5″ square plastic bases, possibly constructed from the hardest substance known to man. Be warned, if you are considering buying any Dreamblade figure with plans to rebase it, to remove the base takes time, effort, a variety of tools and much swearing. When the Earth is reduced to a radioactive cinder, all that will be left are super-intelligent cockroaches and the bases from Dreamblade figures…

eBay is probably your best bet for finding Dreamblade figures, as the game wasn’t popular enough to spawn a thriving secondary market for singles, such as those that exist for Heroclix.

Fishman

Next we have a Deep One from Wizkids Horrorclix game. Another figure that I just rebased, as the pre-paint was pretty good and I didn’t think I could replicate the glossy finish. A very nice figure, although not strictly as described by Lovecraft. But as a finned fiend to bedevil my mystery-solving teens, it does the job. Horrorclix figures are easier to find than Dreamblade figures, but you’re probably looking at £3.00 upwards to get one of these.

Nosferatu

Another Horrorclix figure, this time the Nosferatu. Whilst I did re-paint this one, it ended up being similar colours to the pre-paint, just better applied. Vampires have appeared in Scooby Doo several times, but are more commonly depicted as the “classic” vampire stereotype, i.e. Bela Lugosi-style, rather than the ultimately more creepy Nosferatu-style vampire from the film of the same name. As this figure is cartoonish, yet creepy at the same time, I felt it an ideal fit for Scooby Doo gaming.

Sacrecrow

Next we have a Scarecrow with Shovel, from Ral Partha Europe. This figure is readily available as part of the Die Grauzone range, for £2.75. Another nicely sculpted figure, this sack-headed scarecrow armed with sickle and scythe looks exactly the kind of “monster” that would be unmasked as a criminally inclined property developer or some such. Whilst I do own some pumpkin-headed scarecrows from West Wind Productions, as they are quite obviously made from sticks they don’t really fit the criminal-in-costume vibe we’re looking for, even though they’re nice figures. Unfortunately, the site only shows one of the four you get, but they’re all of similar quality.

Spectre

Our final figure for this week is the Spectre, from Citadel’s Night Horrors range. A fairly substantial piece of lead, depicting a classic sheet-style ghost, with the nice touch of making the sheet partially moth-eaten. As the Night Horrors range came out in 1989, you might have a little bit of difficulty finding one of these. I bought it new, because I’m old, and this figure has been many different colours until I settled on the colour scheme you see above. Totally Scooby Doo, in my opinion.

So, that’s all for this week. Next week we’ll have the second part of the gallery, with another selection of monsters and ghosts suitable for Scooby Doo gaming. However, I may slip one or two in that are Not Suitable for Saturday Mornings, as sometimes you need a little bit of blood…

One thing you won’t be seeing, however, is the monster that will be featuring in the proposed AAR scheduled for the end of the month. Got to maintain a certain element of mystery, after all…

Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

View from the Crow’s Nest – October

October is upon us and whilst it is the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” according to Keats, for the majority of my wargaming peers, the 1st of this month signifies the beginning of the annual painting challenge known as…Zomtober! For full details of all those taking part in depicting the shambling dead in their myriad forms, pay a visit to PulpCitizen’s excellent blog – Eclectic Gentleman Tabletop Wargamer – specifically this post.

However, as the handful of zombies I own are already painted, I won’t be taking part this year. But I will be celebrating the season with suitable content for October…

My initial idea for this month was to paint up some superheroes and villains, but with a suitably seasonal twist. However, in typical Carrion Crow style, I changed my mind.

So, for the month of October we will doing something slightly different…

Way back in 2007 I was craving some tabletop Scooby-Doo gaming, but as this was before Hasslefree Miniatures released their excellent and accurate versions of the Scooby gang, I had to get a little creative. Having scoured the web, I found some suitable proxies, based them and painted them. I now had my version of the Scooby gang, table-ready, but they then languished in my figure case for the next 8 years…

So, the plan for October is to resurrect these figures, paint up some suitable “monsters” for them to encounter, create some “clue” tokens and using a ruleset that I have been tinkering with for a number of years, actually post my first AAR on my blog!

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to my mystery-solving teens…

Blake Fredericks, lead investigative journalist and ‘face’ of Enigma magazine. A lazy, arrogant, yet charming bastard, Blake usually takes the lead in investigating mysteries, although he has no real deductive abilities, but is a master of disguise.

Blake

This figure is DW110 Steven Taylor from Black Tree Designs Doctor Who range, specifically the 1st Doctor collection, available for £2.75.

Anne “Ginger” Rogers, personal assistant to Mr. Fredericks. Anne is an attractive yet naive young woman, whose good nature is regularly exploited by Blake – usually as bait to attract whatever “monster” the team are currently investigating.

Anne

This is also a Black Tree Designs Doctor who figure, specifically DW155 Vicki, also from the 1st Doctor collection and also available at £2.75.

Joan Heath-Robinson, programmer and technician for Enigma magazine. Joan’s looks belie her fierce intellect and deductive reasoning abilities. She is also responsible for the construction of the elaborate traps that are usually responsible for the unmasking of the “monsters” the magazine investigates.

Joan

This is another Black Tree Designs Doctor Who figure, DW602 Peri from the 6th Doctor collection, also £2.75. Incidentally, I had a major crush on Nicola Bryant when I was younger.

Herman Dinkley, security. Herman is a slightly psychotic and grotesquely strong man, with a thick Austrian accent. He regularly carries a Uzi 9mm submachine gun, which he has “cunningly” disguised as a super-soaker. This deception lasts until the lead starts flying, which happens more often that you’d think…

Herman

This is 0035 Bodyguard from Moonraker Miniatures (and eM-4 Miniatures), available for £1.50.

This final member of the team is Ace, the Cluehound. This ex-police dog is savage and almost uncontrollable, but has proved an asset to the team, with his ability to sniff out fake “monsters” and complete disregard for his own personal safety, due to being a foaming mouth short of being rabid…

Ace

This figure is from Ral Partha Europe, from the 01-028 War Dogs & Master pack, available for £7.95. This is a nice pack, as you get one ‘master’, which is an armoured warrior type, two Dobermanns and two of the above figure, which is I believe is a German shepherd. Worth getting if you need some war dogs for Frostgrave.

And obviously, if you have a team of investigative journalists, you need to transport them around the country…

Enigma

So, I tried to match the colours of the original Scooby Doo characters, so you know which of my gang correspond with the originals. Obviously, Scooby snacks were loaded with steroids, which explains how Shaggy and Scoob have become more…bulky.

I’ve decided that I will be repainting the rims of the bases what I call “Halloween” green for the gang, and all “Monsters” for this particular project purple. I’ll also be using some spare 25mm square bases the same green, with question marks in purple for the clue counters.

Tune in next week for the first batch of “Monsters”. Thanks for visiting – comments and feedback appreciated, either here or on The Miniatures Page.