Travellers in Time

It has been a while since I last posted, as the reality of lockdown is that you spend a fair bit of your time catching up on all the jobs around your home that you’ve put to one side until you had the time to do it – especially if your partner is of the opinion that painting figures, building scenery or playing games with them does not constitute a “constructive” use of your time.

However, as the list of jobs has been whittled down to a bare handful, I have actually spent some time progressing various miniatures, the majority of which are intended for the upcoming “launch” of my take on Doctor Who, as the events which happened in what the BBC claimed were series 11 and 12 are clearly some kind of fever dream that is thankfully now over.

So, first up we have a vehicle kit which was bought back in November of last year, the idea being that it would be used by my Dominion forces in my Distant Stars project – the Warbases Saracen APC, available from their website for a very reasonable £10.00.

This kit is a mixture of laser cut card and MDF, which comes flat-packed and complete with a set of magnets, so the turret can swivel in place. The kit doesn’t come with instructions, but these can be downloaded from the website and are reasonably straight-forward. However, there were two parts which were left off my build, as I couldn’t make head nor tails of the instructions as to how and where they were supposed to be attached, as the photograph was unclear and it wasn’t obvious where they were supposed to go. I used standard PVA glue for the majority of the kit, just using superglue to attach the magnets.

The barrel on the turret is my addition, as it doesn’t come with any kind of weaponry, and I wanted it to look a bit more sci-fi.

After it was assembled, both it and my snowspeeder conversion were given an undercoat of black spray paint, followed by a coat of Wilko Taupe spray paint, as I was trying to match the colour of the original snowspeeder.

The Dominion Outrider figure gives an idea of the how both vehicles scale with a 28mm figure.

Now, the Saracen APC had been sitting in my games cupboard, waiting to be completed, but one of the planned episodes of my version of Doctor Who required a military vehicle armed with “advanced” weaponry. As this adventure was on Earth, the modified Saracen would be ideal… other than the colour.

I had previously decided that whilst it was a cool model, it didn’t really fit in with the aesthetic I was going for with the Dominion. However, it would make a suitable vehicle for the Union – and their main colour was a dark green, similar to British military vehicles. So, I repainted the main body in Docrafts Jungle Green, the advanced weapon in in GW Chainmail and gave the tyres an initial coat of Docrafts Noir.

And this is what it currently looks like, with UNIT Special Operative Tara Hunt alongside, for scale purposes;

Looks very Action Force, if you ask me (which was the 3 3/4″ precursor to G.I.Joe figures here in the UK and was tied in to the Action Man line. Still have some knocking around in the loft somewhere.)

Next up, we have some additional progress made on the Black Pig of Sodor Gardens, destined to cause havoc upon the streets of Blackwell.

The ‘hell boar’ was given a cost of Docrafts Noir, followed by a wash of GW Marine Dark Blue mixed with more Noir, to give a midnight blue hue, which brought out some of the detail of the molding. Its tusks and lil’ piggy eyes were painted Docrafts Linen and the base tidied up somewhat.

Tara Hunt for scale, once more, as the previous picture I posted didn’t really give an idea of its size. It just needs a darker wash on the tusks, the snout re-coloured and some mad lil’ piggy pupils, probably in red, to show that it’s EVIL

And whilst Tara may very well be allowed to play with heavy ordnance, encountering the Black Pig was not her only brush with the unknown, although she doesn’t recall anything about the second one…

Understandable, given that it involved the Silence. I managed to just about correct their tendency to emulate Michael Jackson is the Smooth Criminal video and gave them an undercoat of GW Corax White, followed by some Docrafts Flesh on hands and face, then a first coat of Docrafts Noir on their suits, followed by a coat of GW Elf Grey. Apologies for the blurry photo, as the camera focused on Tara, rather than the Silence, but as we’re just at the block painting stage, this isn’t an issue.

Next, as mentioned in my previous post, I decided I needed a figure to represent one of the Doomlords of Nox, specifically Servitor Vir, the fourth such alien visitor to Earth and a planned foe for the Doctor in the future.

And here he is;

The idea was to reposition the arms of the base Red Skull figure using the boiling/cold water trick. However, this appeared to be successful initially, but then the arms slowly returned to almost the same position. As this wasn’t that important, I decided to let him do what he wanted.

The addition of the ears caused a few choice expletives. Due to the fact that they needed to be both thin and small, I cast around for a suitable material, plumping for some coated thin cardboard (actually an old greetings card). I then had to cut two very, very small ear shapes – that were exactly the same shape and size – from this card. Suffice to say, this wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but I finally got two ears that were roughly the same size and shape. I then used an old dental probe to create some detail, i.e. ear canals, etc. on one side of the ears. Then it was just a case of attaching them to the sides of the figure’s head.

More swearing, as tiny ear-shaped pieces of cardboard slipped from the tweezers a number of times and pinged across the table. One was irrevocably lost into the carpet, so another tiny ear was created and finally both were glued into place.

An undercoat of GW Corax White, then Tamiya Khaki for his raincoat, Docrafts Noir for the boots, GW Chainmail for the Lugers, GW Enchanted (?) Blue for his trousers and GW Rotting Flesh for his face and hands. Quite pleased how this has turned out so far, but the finishing touches will be what swings it for me.

And explaining the title of this post, we have TWO travellers in time, with their respective time machines.

First, he featured in a previous post, but was not identified, it’s Lord Edmund Blackadder and his time machine, ready to unscrupulously alter the course of history… as long as HE comes out on top.

And a complete counterpoint, MY version of the 13th Doctor and his Tardis, ready to prevent alien incursions, multiple deaths and people meddling with history.

Obviously, the Tardis needs finishing off, but I’m quite pleased with how the Doctor has come out.

“Hang on,” I hear you cry out there in your isolation cubes, “If you’ve now finished the Doctor, and you’ve already completed the other figures and scenery you needed for the first episode, does that mean the next post will be a Doctor Who AAR, the first adventure of the REAL 13th Doctor?”

Indeed it does, children. There’s a title sequence and everything.

Join me next time from behind your sofas, as the newly regenerated 13th Doctor faces his first challenge in… “Who Goes There?”

“Master of Life…Bringer of Death!”

In these strange times, we all seek distractions to keep us sane and stop us climbing the walls. Luckily, our hobby does provide us with various avenues, be it clearing a backlog of half-finished figures, building that scenery or terrain that you’ve been promising yourself or indulging in a bit of solo dungeon-crawling.

Of course, it also affords us the opportunity to visit our favourite blogs and comment on what others are up to during self-isolation/quarantine/shelter in place or whatever other term your respective governments have decided upon.

This is usually a good thing, but sometimes, a conversation you’ve had in the comments section leads you on a merry chase across the Internet, as a little spark goes off in your head and you suddenly realise that you want…no, NEED, a specific figure in order to complete your collection and/or the project you’re working on. And this is what happened to me recently… and I blame Roger.

So, Roger had posted a picture of a 42mm Dan Dare figure he had painted over on his blog, which led to a discussion about Dan Dare, in which I stated that my first experience of this character was from the relaunch of the Eagle comic in 1982. Of course, this wasn’t the original Dan Dare, but his great-grandson who, for some reason, was also named Dan… go figure.

This strip was the only penciled strip, with the remainder of the strips within the comic being photo-stories, with actors portraying the various characters, overlaid with speech bubbles, etc. also known as fumetti.

Now, one of these strips was entitled Doomlord, written by Alan Grant and John Wagner, and told the story of an alien visitor, whose purpose was to judge whether the human race was a threat to the rest of the universe and, if so, eliminate it. This alien had the ability to absorb the knowledge and abilities directly from a human’s mind (which seemed to kill the victim), then shapeshift into the victim’s form, thus replacing them. He was also armed with an “energiser ring” which he could disintegrate the bodies of his victims.

This was quite a interesting strip and the rubber mask used to represent Doomlord in his true form was quite distinctive, although it appears this was actually just bought off the shelf in a local costume shop;


The Origins of Eagle's Doomlord – Caricatures Ireland by Allan ...

So, having been reminded of this rather cool character from my youth, I stated that it might make a good choice for Forgotten Heroes 2020.

However, to paraphrase Vic and Bob, my mind “wouldn’t let it lie” and I found myself first thinking that Doomlord would make an ideal villain to oppose my version of the 13th Doctor AND then speculating on where I could get myself a 28mm Doomlord miniature.

As Doomlord first made his debut in 1982 and Karl from Crooked Dice had mentioned on the CD website that there was a 7TV: The 80’s supplement coming out in the near future, I emailed him to suggest that Doomlord would make a good miniature to represent the ‘Otherworldly Invader’ archetype. I also asked if this supplement would feature the Tron-inspired “digital commandoes” I suggested a couple of year’s back.

He was a little cagey on the second question (so if they DO show up, you know who came up with the idea), but did state he was way ahead of me regarding Doomlord, directing me to these figures:

Alien Command

These are the Alien Command figures, which were originally the not-Gallfreyian soldiers, before Warlord Games secured the Doctor Who licence and sent out Cease and Desist letters to anyone producing figures that resembled characters from the show. To get around this, Crooked Dice released the figures with the same bodies, but with a Doomlord-inspired head on the tab for the figure – with the Gallifreyian guard heads sold separately.

However, as the alien heads were coloured completely differently, I never realised they were inspired by Doomlord until Karl pointed it out.

Now, I could have bought one of the Alien Command figures, but would require another body to enable me to create my Doomlord figure, which would result in having to spend £8.00 for one figure, plus all the faffing about of having to pin the alien head to whatever body I chose. Not an ideal solution.

I also considered using a Heroclix Skrull as a base figure, but as we no longer have a reliable seller of Heroclix singles in the UK and the Skrull facial structure was, other than the chin and ears, almost human-looking, this would take some re-modelling skills that I currently do not possess.

However, speculating on Doomlord’s facial structure, did lead me to a solution. If you cover his ears, and ignore the eyes and pointed teeth for the time being, what you are left with is a stylised skull. And I HAD seen such a thing before, lurking in one of my figure cases.

So, this is the base figure upon which my Doomlord conversion will be based;

Red Skull - Unique Hero – All Things Heroscape

This is the Red Skull figure from the Marvel Heroscape game, which I ended up with two sets of, so had duplicates of the ten base figures, some of which have been converted into other original characters.

Having dug out my duplicate, I feel that his arms need re-positioning, so as to be less ‘gung ho’; he needs to be re-based, as Heroscape bases are a touch bigger than standard 25mm bases; and lastly, he needs some distinctive pointy ears. We shall see how successful I am with this.

Once this is done, a decent paint job should transform him from Captain America’s arch-enemy into the arch-enemy of the ENTIRE human race, as he becomes the fourth Doomlord to be dispatched to Earth to pass judgement upon it.

However, a certain Timelord may have something to say about that…

Until next time, stay safe everyone.

The Tray of Shame

Having now spent the best part of two weeks in imposed self-isolation, two things have become clear.

Firstly, until you have a surfeit of “free time” you don’t realise just how many jobs around the house you have put off until you had the time to do it. Luckily, your partner will kindly remind you of this, and handily write these all down on a list and pin this in a prominent place, as a daily reminder…

Secondly, until you have the time to assess you collection, you’re probably not quite aware of just how many unfinished miniatures &/or hobby projects you have.

Fortunately, I don’t have nuns following me about, ringing the Shame Bell. What I do have is… The Tray of Shame.

As I have no permanent hobby space, all my paints and the figures I am currently working on are all contained in a handy desk tray, which means that it can be carried to wherever I’ve set up my paint station. The space not taken up by paint has enough room for approximately 30 28mm miniatures – which is a reasonable amount and means that as one set of figures is drying, can work on something else or if you have a specific colour open, you can paint all the red bits (on the figures that have red bits) in one go.

The general idea is that you have all the figures for a particular project in the one place, so that you’re only painting the figures you need, rather than endless serried ranks of everything you own, stretching far away into the distance and making you cry…

And once the miniatures are finished, they are allowed to leave the Tray of Shame.

So, let’s take a look at some of the inmates of the Tray, all from the current Doctor Who project, and see how far they are progressing.

Firstly, the Ur-Ghuls, as mentioned in my previous post;


These plastic figures come in two parts – head and body – and two different poses. They have been assembled, the bases given a light covering of sand, then undercoated in White, followed by a base coat of GW Corax White, which is actually a pale grey, as you can see from the picture above. As I am currently contemplating their final colour scheme, this is as far as I’ve got with them.

Next, my Weeping Angels; 

The two on the left are the rubbery figures from the front of Doctor Who Adventures and the ones on the right are Reaper Bones Angels of Sorrow. Whilst different styles, both sets have been painted in exactly the same way, white undercoat, Corax White base coat, then a wash of a darker grey, which, whilst partially dry, was given a thorough brushing with a dry brush. This has a similar effect to dry-brushing, except rather than adding paint to the figure, you’re actually just taking paint off the raised parts, allowing the base colour to show through. This means that you won’t accidentally add too much paint to the figure, which can happen on the first pass.

I’ve seen these figures have additional green washes given to them, to suggest moss growing on the “statue”, but am undecided on whether I want to go this route, so may just paint the bases and be done with them.

Next, some Timelords:

The left-hand and middle figures are from Crooked Dice, and the right-hand one from North Star Military Figures, as detailed in this post. These are MY versions of – from left to right – the Rani, the 13th Doctor and the Master.

The Doctor is almost finished, with more work to be completed on both the Rani and the Master.

And the final figures that have escaped from the Tray of Shame and are now finished, a trio of… time travellers? Or supporting cast? You will have to wait until they are formally introduced to find out…

The left-hand figure is from Miniature Figurines and the middle and right-hand figure are from Crooked Dice. And yes, I know that the Miniature Figurines “Chrononaut Grandfather” was previously introduced as Dr. Wilton Hume, but this “actor” will be serving another purpose elsewhere.

As you can see, I’ve FINALLY managed to successfully paint the eyes of these figures. Took more than one attempt on all three figures – got one eye right and cocked the other one up, so had to repaint the eye and, in some case, the whole side of the face, but I’m now no longer as wary of doing this is the future, so that’s a good thing. Although I may have been a little heavy handed with the female figures eyebrows…

The final figure in the Tray of Shame is actually destined for Blackwell, as I’ve had this cheap plastic figure for a while and kept meaning to tidy up the mold lines, base and paint it, to represent the Black Pig of Sodor Gardens;

A toy wild boar from a ‘toob’ of wild animals, which is slightly over-sized to be in scale with my 28mm miniatures, but fine for representing a ‘Swine of Unusual Size’. I filed or scraped away the obvious mold lines on the figure, which left a slightly ragged appearance to the figure in certain areas. However, I felt that this looked a bit like fur, so decided to leave it as it was. 

I then cut out a section of expired plastic giftcard, big enough to hold the figure, ensuring that the ends were the same radius as my other based figures, by using a 2 pence piece as a template. This means that the base is approximately 25mm across and won’t look out of place with my other figures. This was then given a thin covering of Milliput, which was then textured and the figure pushed in, then left overnight to dry.

The figure and base then received an undercoat of white. The base got a coat of Chocolate Brown, and the pig had a base coat of Corax White, followed by a couple of coats of Elf Grey, just to build up some base colouring. There will be some black paint in this little piggie’s future, as you can’t have something known as the Black Pig not actually being black.

Right, that’s all for this post, as I’ve just received a delivery and need to construct a day bed/sun lounger before my wife gets home from work.

See you next…time.