Carpathian Kitten Loss

The title of this post is a phrase used by Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters II, referring to what Vigo the Carpathian is suffering from and why he looks so grumpy in his painting.

It’s also… The. Best. Title. Ever.

After my brief diversion to announce the Forgotten Heroes 2019 event, we return to my ongoing Ghostbusters project and something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but not got around to yet.

As I’d previously built the first room of my museum ‘board’ (go here if you missed this genius idea) and discussed in the comments that it could be used for any large internal space, including an art gallery, this started those insidious cogs turning in my brain…

As the villain of the second Ghostbusters movie spent the majority of the film as an oil painting, to have a ‘complete’ collection of 28mm Ghostbusters and related characters, I really needed a scale representation of this. I mean, I’d just built a museum hall, so how difficult could it be?

Turns out there were some teething issues, but as I’ve now overcome these, I can show you the best way to create scale paintings for your scenery, that are; 1. easy to make, 2. dirt cheap and, 3. with the right bits, can be added and removed from your scenery without any issues.

So, the first thing to do is to find the relevant images that you want to replicate. I decided that my portrait of Vigo should not hang alone, so decided to source some other images of like-minded folk. Having selected my ‘Rogue’s Gallery’, I used Google Images to find the largest, most detailed version of the picture I wanted, then simply copied and pasted these into a blank Word document.

Using the Formatting facility, I then reduced these images in size to what I felt was the correct proportions, ensuring that the aspect ratio was locked, so it didn’t distort the image. Using the ‘Picture Styles’ Formatting option, I then added a “frame” to each picture, using ‘Compound Frame, Black’. Having done this, I then printed this out on a piece of A4 paper, using my colour printer, along with one other image, like so:

So, Vigo is at the bottom left of the portraits and above him is a portrait of Ivo Shandor’s mother, which features in Ghostbusters – The Video Game, which I’ve mentioned before. As for the other three portraits, they are all historical personages and anyone who can name all three gets bonus points and my everlasting respect.

The final image is the actual logo for Stay-Puft Marshmallows that appeared in the first Ghostbusters movie, on the packet that Dana had on her kitchen counter. Yes, I am THAT much of a geek…

Interestingly, the image of Mr. Stay-Puft is a bit more angular than the one that manifested in the final reel and I’m tempted to try and recreate this…but maybe not full size.

Anyway, as I had printed this out on A4 paper, I decided to cut out the pictures and glue them on to thin card using a gluestick…

This was a mistake, so don’t do this.

The glue make the colours run and you get weird lumps everywhere. Instead, print the images straight on to card, as most home printers will take the sort of white card they give to kids to make greetings cards from and is therefore available from most stationers and handily comes in A4 size. (As a side note for any overseas readers, A4 is a standard paper size in the UK, equivalent to 8.27 × 11.69 inches, because having it 9 x 12 would be FAR too easy…)

Once you’ve done that, use a steel rule and a craft knife (as even with the best will in the world AND a steady hand, you won’t cut ’em straight) to cut out your paintings, like so:

You will then need to colour the edges of your ‘paintings’, as otherwise when viewed from the side, you’ll see the white card they’re printed on. This can easily be done with a black felt tip such as a Sharpie, although someone’s wandered off with mine, so I had to paint the bloody things. Don’t do this – it takes too long and you can end up with paint, ironically, on your ‘paintings’.

The next stage is to cover the paintings with transparent sticky=backed plastic. I used a 50p roll from Wilko, intended for covering school books. This is to protect the images when being handled, as ink from an inkjet printer will wear off if treated too rough and gives the ‘paintings’ that sheen that you see on oil paintings. Once you’ve done this, flip them over and glue 1 pence pieces to the back of each one, like so;

It doesn’t have to be a 1 pence pieces, you can use any coin of your choice, or a washer, although washers do tend to be more expensive than a penny each. The important thing is that the coin (or coin substitute) be of a composition that is ferromagnetic…

And the reason for this is because that way, by placing a strong enough magnet on the reverse of the wall you are intending hanging the ‘picture’ on, it can be placed anywhere on the wall and removed just as easily, so will not be a permanent fixture.

To show you what I mean, here’s Dr Floyd Petersen of the Rookhaven Ghostbusters franchise, examining a portrait he has discovered hanging in the museum, which appears to be giving off a significant amount of Psychokinetic Energy…

“There are no strings on me…”

Did I hear someone say… ‘genius’?

Until next time…

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Unnatural History

Anyone who has visited one of the big museums, such as the British Museum or the Natural History Museum in London, will know that not only are they filled with cool and interesting things, but they…are…HUGE. I’m not just talking about the exteriors, but once you walk in through the front doors, you find yourself within a cool, marble-floored hall, whose ceiling and walls stretch away from you – almost to infinity. This sense of scale, of grandeur, is deliberate, as it puts you in the right frame of mind to full appreciate the artefacts that you will shortly be viewing.

Now, back in 2009, Sony released Ghostbusters: The Video Game across various home console platforms, including PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and the Wii. There were two ‘versions’ of the game – realistic and stylised – depending on which console you had, but the general plot was the same.

It was set in New York in 1991 and the Ghostbusters, with the addition of a new “Experimental Weapons Technician” (controlled by the player), attempted to thwart the convoluted plan of Ivo Shandor to return from beyond the veil and complete the work he had begun back in the 1920’s.

Now, unlike a lot of the games published under the Ghostbusters banner, the script and story for this had been created by Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis, and featured the actual vocal talents of the majority of the original cast, including the notoriously reclusive Bill Murray.

And it was awesome, especially on the Wii, as you actually felt like you WERE a Ghostbuster.

You may be wondering how this video game and my introduction regarding museums are related to one another…or to wargaming, which is the purpose of this blog and probably why you’re here in the first place. All WILL be explained, so read on.

So, one of the levels of this game featured the American Museum of Natural History, star of the first Night in the Museum movie and novel Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (NB: the movie based on the latter – The Relic (1997) – whilst not too bad, moved the action to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, so not the same place.) You got to explore various parts of the museum and bust a variety of supernatural menaces along the way.

This got me thinking that having a tabletop representation of a museum – a museum ‘board’ if you will – would be a great location to play a variety of games on. A heist of a valuable artefact could be thwarted by costumed vigilantes or uniformed police; a group of stalwart, square-jawed adventurers could sneak in to prevent cultists from opening a portal to another dimension and releasing some squamous horror; paranormal exterminators or meddling teens could investigate and eliminate a haunting, whether real or faked. Just think of all the movies you’ve seen that have featured a museum or art gallery as a major location and think of what fun YOU could have with your figures, if you had one yourself…

Now, I am aware that Sally 4th does as part of their Terra Blocks range, under the sub-heading of Exotic Locations, The Museum of Antiquities, which is constructed from 17 100mm cubes, that can be rearranged to your heart’s content, for £17.50.

However, whilst nice, this doesn’t really convey the scale of the big museums to me, so I sat on this idea for a while until I had one of my unbelievably genius ideas. You may be somewhat sceptical at this point, but just you wait and see…

Right, first thing you need is a box, but not just any box. You need a box that is pretty big, robust and deep. I was initially going to use a box file for this, as they’re pretty cheap and easy to get hold of wherever you happen to be in the world, but then remembered that Ikea do black storage boxes for a very reasonable £2.00 each. Obviously, being Ikea, you’ve got to build them yourself, but no tools are necessary, as these are the only parts you get:

As you can see from the instruction sheet, this box is called ‘Tjena’, and comes in three parts; the pre-assembled lid, the sides and folded bottom and a flat insert to go in the bottom of the box for added stability. The box is 13 3/4″ long, 9 3/4″ wide and 4″ tall (or 35cm, 25cm and 10cm, if you use Metric) and looks like this once you’ve built it;

You can now see why you have a insert, as the folded part of the base of the box means it hasn’t got a flat bottom.

Each one of these boxes will represent one hall within our museum, so depending on how large you want your museum to be depends on how many boxes you buy. As each ‘hall’ is only £2.00 (in the UK at least), your playing area and budget will dictate how many halls your museum has.

Once you’ve decided how many halls you are going to have and the approximate layout, you need to cut openings in the relevant walls of your halls, so that the visitors can move between halls. Make sure that the openings in each hall are the same size, so that when you put them together, they marry up. I have decided that as my museum may have exhibits such as prehistoric animals or modern art in the form of giant plastic pigs, the openings need to be 3″ wide and this hall will have three openings, so I cut these out.

The reason I did this first is because whilst the box, insert and lid are coloured black, the card it’s made from isn’t, so the cut parts show the original colour of the cardboard it’s made from. As the next stage involves paint, it’s better to have all the bits you’re going to paint on show at the same time.

As museums tend to have neutral coloured walls, out came my £4.00 can of Wilko ‘Soft Taupe’ spray paint and the interior walls (and the cut parts showing the base card colour) were given a liberal coat, then left to dry whilst I moved on to the next part. And this is what it looked like once it was dry.

However, whilst it was drying, I tackled the ‘floor’. The idea here was to cover the card insert with suitably patterned self-adhesive decorative vinyl. Having found a role of said product that featured 1 inch squares, that looked like floor tiles (and is actually fairly similar to the tiled floor of the British Museum) in Poundland, I thought it would be ideal.

So, I cut a section big enough to cover the insert and overlap the edges, peeled of the backing paper and carefully applied the sticky-back plastic to my card insert, like so;

As the walls of my hall were now dry, I simply dropped my floor into place and had the first of my basic museum halls completed;

And to give a sense of scale, here’s Jake Hudson of the local Ghostbusters franchise facing off against some Oriental beastie stalking the halls of the Rookhaven Museum of Natural History;

Now, it’s not complete, as I am intending on adding skirting boards, light switches and power outlets to the walls, to make it look more ‘real’, but I wanted to get this up on the blog so others could see just how simple, quick and inexpensive creating a large interior space to play in was. It doesn’t need to be a museum – it could be ANY interior. And it doesn’t need to be a room this size – it could be easily divided up into smaller rooms, to represent a secret base or a prison or…well anything YOU need.

And, once you’re done playing, pop the lid on and stack it up with the other halls you’ve built. Robust, quick and easy to build and store, and cheap.

Genius.

‘Nuff said.

Size of a Cow…

Like the other seasonal holidays, whilst Easter does see the shelves of our favourite discount stores filled with suitable bits and bobs, unlike Halloween, these don’t tend to be of any use to the average wargamer.

Having purchased a small wicker basket from Poundland, with the intention of filling it with a veritable cornucopia of small chocolate goodies for my wife, I found that I’d left it a touch late to buy the ‘goodies’, so had to buy normal eggs instead.

This left me with an unwanted and unnecessary item. As I detest waste and have absolutely no shame, I took it back to Poundland and exchanged it for something else…because that’s how I roll.

And what I got was these:

Five injection-moulded hollow plastic bath toys, representing various farm animals, in suitably restrained colours. For a £1, so that makes them 20p each. Bargain!

Now, you might be wondering why on Earth I bought these in the first place and why am I featuring them on the Buffet. Well, in typical Jez fashion, I saw these and immediately started thinking outside the box. The cartoon-like styling of these, their size (they are approximately 3 inches long and 2 inches tall) and their weight (being hollow, they don’t weigh very much) means that I immediately started thinking they could be used as parade balloons, fibre-glass restaurant signs, or corporate mascots brought to unholy life and unleashed on the Ghostbusters…

This give a better idea of how big these toys scenery items are, compared to a standard 28mm Crooked Dice figure. The horse/pony and the chicken are a bit taller, being 3 inches tall and the chicken certainly looks like it should be gracing the roof of a “Chicken Shack”…

However, looking at the pig next to my Ghostbuster figure….

And remembering the beginning of the second Toy Story, where the evil Dr. Porkchop has a vast pig-shaped spacecraft, I thought that this would make a good shuttlecraft for….Pigs in Space!

Of course, in order to do that you’ll need some 28mm Space Pigs…

Luckily, Interloper Miniatures has some;

Join me next time, when we’ll be off to the museum…

 

Ghostbusters – Down Mexico Way

The Universe works in strange ways…

I’d previously posted about my intention to add an Aztec-inspired villain to my Ghostbusters games on 1st April – and this was not a prank, although the subject matter may have led people to believe it was… You can read all about “The Jewelled Fowl” here.

Bearing in mind that I had already made a start on this project when I posted on 1st April, the fact that on 28th March I was notified from my Blog feed that Antediluvian Miniatures had just released their Conquistadors of Mictlan range in their shop, which contains Conquistador Zombies, Mictlan Zombies, Mictlan Jaguar Warriors and Mictlan Liches, seemed rather…serendipitious.

And then, on the 6th April, I attended Salute 2019 and although I failed to attend the “Bloggers Meet” (as I thought it was at 1pm, rather than 12pm) and didn’t actually buy anything (as nothing within my price range grabbed my interest), there were a couple of things that caught my eye…

Firstly, the American laser-cut MDF building company Things From the Basement are now working with 4Ground in the UK and one of their new ranges is The Lost Archipelago range, which I suspect was inspired by the Frostgrave – Ghost Archipelago game, but is suitable for all your Incan, Mayan and Aztec needs.

Then there was the injection-moulded plastic scenery from Archon Studio, who have some kind of link with Prodos Games. This system, called “Rampart” is a modular scenery system that was launched on Kickstarter and has a delivery date of May 2019, but you can enter a late pledge via the Archon Studio shop, the lowest level being the $49.00 starter pledge.

Now, I normally wouldn’t look at a Kickstarter, but having actually handled the components of this one, I was suitably impressed, especially as the second theme of the initial release is the Kazumi Temple, which looks like this:

As I am a big fan of plastic terrain items, especially stuff of this nature, this bears keeping an eye on, as I can see several uses for this kit. However, we will have to see if they deliver on their promised shipping date and how soon after this the items appear for general release.

All items that could enhance my intended venturing into the realms of Aztec horror…and all still with their manufacturers, as I have a tiny budget at present.

However, when has that ever stopped me in the past? Let’s see how the project is (slowly) progressing so far.

The “Blighted Reavers” from the Arena of the Planeswalker boxed game had most of their mold lines removed and a generous (perhaps a little TOO generous) layer of sharp sand added to their bases, then were undercoated in white. They were then given a couple of thin coats of grey, then their loincloths were painted beige and one of them (as a test) had his torc and bracelet painted gold.

20190415_0936166103593817544461524.jpg

Still a little darker than I originally envisaged, but a touch of high-lighting will sort this out.

With my human form Chalchiuhtotolin, he’s now been based and undercoated, but only his head-dress currently painted, as I was waiting for his base to dry properly.

I have got significantly further with his turkey from, as you can see below:

I decided to go with a the standard turkey colouration initially, which appears to be blacks, whites and greys for the plumage, with a red and blue head. I will be introducing a hint of green to the proceedings, as he is the “Jade Turkey” and am considering whether this would be better done as a green ink wash over his feathers, giving a slightly shiny, metallic look to them. Currently undecided on this, but was suitably impressed with the detailing on this cheap plastic toy, as it has come out rather nicely.

And finally, a group shot;

Coming along nicely and should you see these – or anything else strange in your neighbourhood – you know who to call…

Until next time…

Ghostbusters – Evil-ution

Having watched with interest as Steve Gilbert has taken a bunch of 54mm plastic figures (including cheap plastic army men and cowboys and indians sourced from China at 4p a figure) to re-fight the Anglo-Zulu war, over on his new blog Reveille, this has got me out of my gaming “funk” and re-focused my mind on what I want to achieve for the fourth year of Carrion Crow’s Buffet.

As you can probably gather from the title, I have returned to one of my true loves, that of the boys in beige themselves, the best, the beautiful, the only…Ghostbusters!

So, 2019 will see a return to the Ghostbusters project, as I complete painting up all the figures I have bought specifically to play GB games with and actually play some games with them. As my gaming budget has taken a bit of a hit, everything “new” for this project will be re-purposed from elsewhere or some of my usual innovative and inexpensive build solutions.

But it’s all very well talking the talk, but you’ve got to walk the walk as well, otherwise it’s all just hot air…

Let us begin with an insight into my fevered imagination, as I show you just exactly how my mind works. You have been warned…

So, the underlying premise of Ghostbusters, as a horror/comedy, is that whilst the ‘baddies’ should be somewhat horrific, they should also be a touch ridiculous. Take the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man – he’s quite cute, being the mascot of a confectionary company, but as the avatar of a “moldy Babylonian Sumerian God”, dedicated to destroying the World, he is pretty terrifying too.

Therefore, in order to create a new foe for MY Ghostbusters franchise, I need to embrace this premise and come up with something that is in equal parts terrifying AND amusing. I have done this once before, for the tabletop Ghostbusters RPG, where a franchise based in Reading, Berkshire had to deal with various Christmas-themed entities – The Ghost of Cows Past haunting a McDonalds, the Ghost of Christmas Presents – a giant jack-in-a-box trying to wrap the world and, finally, the big bad himself, Father Solstice – the Ghost of Christmas As It Should Be, the spirit of a Druid burnt at the stake trying to return the winter festival to its pagan roots. It was very silly, but a huge amount of fun, as the players embraced their pre-generated characters and just went for it.

One thing that had stuck in my mind from a visit to one of the farm parks that masquerades as a zoo, because it has a few things that aren’t strictly farm animals, such as otters (which absolutely reek) and penguins (which are pretty stupid, from my experience), was an encounter with a turkey. Having only ever seen pictures of them or as a Christmas dinner, I wasn’t prepared for the real thing. This was the grandaddy of all turkeys, being a good four feet tall and this bird slowly stalked forward, a malevolent look in its eyes that caused me to back away from the flimsy looking fence separating me from it. It was faintly ludicrous looking, but gave of a palpable aura of menace, as though it was thinking “you’re lucky that fence is there…”

So, when looking for a suitable villain, I was thinking along the lines of something turkey related and one of my bizarre google searches led me to Chalchiuhtotolin, the Jewelled Fowl, an Aztec God of disease and plague.

The idea that there was an evil Aztec turkey God, whose presided over disease and plague, started ideas bouncing around in my head – would he manifest just after Thanksgiving, having taken over the local dump and animated all the rotting turkey carcasses to plague the living? Where could I find 28mm zombie turkeys? And similar thoughts…

I picked up a Mayan Chief figure from Gringo 40’s 28mm Mesoamerican range to use as the human avatar of Chalchiuhtotolin at Salute, but that’s as far as I got…

However, with my recent purchase of the Arena of the Planeswalker game (as detailed in this post) and the realisation that three of the torc-wearing zombies would make pretty cool Aztec Ghouls, this encouraged me to revisit this idea. Of course, I needed an avatar of Chalchiuhtotolin in turkey form, so needed a big freaking turkey, so a quick rummage in my loft uncovered this:

Super-glued to a pre-puttied two-pence piece base, which, for our non-UK readers, is a copper coin approximately 25mm in diameter, this hard rubber toy is about 2″ (50mm) tall. Quite nicely detailed, it just needed a few mold lines removed and is now ready for painting.

To give a sense of scale, here is Chalchiuhtotolin in full-on turkey avatar mode (a sentence you never thought you’d ever read) with his Aztec ghoul minions, which are about 30mm tall, so pretty beefy themselves.

I need to base up his human avatar form and then we’ll be into painting him and his minions up, to bedevil my Ghostbusters.

Weird, unique, yet interesting content…I’m back, baby!

“I Love This Town!”

I must first apologise both to regular visitors to this blog for the lack of content over the last couple of weeks and to those whose blogs I follow for not posting any comments. I do have a valid reason though – I was out of the country from New Year’s Eve until last Thursday, so wasn’t really doing anything gaming-wise and didn’t have reliable cost-effective Internet access.

So, where have I been? Well, if the quote above was a little obscure for you, I think the following picture may give it away…

That’s right, boys and girls, the Crow spread his wings and flew (with a little help from British Airways) across the Atlantic and arrived in New York City in time to potentially join the thronging masses assembled in Times Square to watch the ball drop. However, we wisely decided that rather than attempting to breach the barriers set up by the NYPD to limit the revellers on the streets (they DO carry guns after all), we’d watch it on the TV in the hotel room instead. And, comparing the fireworks and general spectacle of New Year’s Eve in London, I was somewhat under-whelmed.

That aside, the Big Apple did not disappoint. As we were only there for three days, we weren’t able to do everything we wanted and some things took longer than we anticipated – I’d say we probably did about two-thirds of the things on our combined “to-do” list.

But I have been up both the Empire State Building by day, from which  managed to take this photo of a rather iconic NY landmark….

and the Rockefeller Centre by night, visited both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, wandered about Grand Central Station, ridden the subway, walked partway across the Brooklyn Bridge, visited the 9/11 monument and museum and eaten a grilled cheese sandwich in Central Park whilst watching members of my family ice-skate. I also watched members of family skate at the base of the Rockefeller Centre and Bryant Park – not that I can’t skate myself, I’m just not as confident as the others and all the rinks were rather busy. I’ve eaten both pretzels and hot dogs purchased from hot dog stands, slices of $1 ‘pie’ and numerous almond croissants – which seemed to be my go-to breakfast whilst in New York.

I took a huge number of photos, of which I’m not going to bore you with, as these were ‘holiday’ photos, rather than reference photos…except for a couple.

This being the first;

Apparently, fire hydrants in NYC are black and silver, rather than red or yellow, as I had assumed. Now I know, any future hydrant builds will be this colour if destined for New York.

The second photo I didn’t take – because I’m IN it! I actually promised myself that if I ever did visit New York, there were two things I was definitely going to do. This was the first;

Yeah, baby! Who you gonna call?

That’s right, ladies and gents, that’s me, on the streets of NYC, specifically outside 14 N. Moore Street, the location of Hook & Ladder No.8, which any die-hard GB fan will know was used for the exterior shots of Ghostbusters firehouse. As you can see, it is still a functioning FDNY firehouse, but does bear the Ghostbusters logo on both a banner and the sidewalks. As you can probably tell from the photo, I was quite happy to be there, and was grinning from ear-to-ear for a good hour or so afterwards. Just so many levels of awesomeness…

The other thing I’d promised myself was that I would find and purchase a die-cast American school bus to use in both my Ghostbusters and Supers games set in the U.S. The reason for this was that previous searches for American school buses online suggested that I would be paying through the nose for someting I wasn’t entirely sure of the scale of, dispacthed from America. Obviously, nowadays you can pretty much buy anything from anywhere for a reasonable price, but my quick search after I got back only turned up one potential model at 1:55 scale that would set me back around £20.00 including postage. However, after dropping $19.37 (which is about £15.00), I ended up with the following;

Okay, so it’s New York specific, but it does fit my needs admirably and was exactly what I was looking for. The next picture gives a better idea of scale – it’s not exact, probably about 1:50-ish, but close enough that I’m not bothered;

After my three days in New York, I got on board a boat and cruised back across the Atlantic – which involved no gaming whatsoever, but lots of eating and dressing up in tuxedos for formal dinners. Unfortunately, me in a tux looks like either Johnny English or Statler from The Muppet Show, so you won’t be seeing any pictures of THAT…

An lovely start to the New Year, courtesy of some very generous relatives.

I will be catching up on all the posts I missed during my digital exile, so expect to see a few comments popping up in the next few days.

Happy New Year to you all and join me next time, as we see exactly what’s on the menu at the Buffet during 2019.

Jez

“Everyone Can Relax, I Found the Car…”

Whilst I know it’s been almost a month since my last post, I do have a valid reason. The agency that sourced the contract that I was supposed to have started on 26th November telephoned me a WEEK before it was due to start, to inform me that it had been cancelled. This caused consternation in the House of Crows and much scrambling about to ensure that I actually had some kind of employment in the lead up to Christmas.

I DID manage to secure another contract, but am commuting via car to Aylesbury every day, rather than by train to London. Not ideal, but better than no work at all.

However, once this was secured and I had completed the first week on site, I felt I could relax slightly and take a look at what models/projects I had outstanding and what would be the best thing to progress with.

As Doctor Who has been on my mind of late, both because of Simon’s showcase of those Black Tree and Warlord models he’s been painting over on his Fantorical blog AND the adventures of the latest incarnation of the Doctor have been airing here in the UK (for more on my considered opinion on this series, you can read my views on my Corvuscope blog – however, those of a delicate sensibility may wish to avoid this, as there is a little bit of swearing – which I refuse to apologise for), I did consider completing some of my half-finished DW figures.

But then I changed my mind and decided to make a start on a couple of resin models very kindly gifted to me by Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop.

Whilst I’d been sitting on these for a while and had already earmarked one of the models for a particular project, I realised that another piece, when painted appropriately, could also be used for the same project.

And that project was my ongoing Ghostbusters project – and the two pieces are the Digestion Pool and the Post-Apocalyptic Falcon. Both of these were treated to an undercoat of matt black spray, left over from when I helped build my daughter’s theatre set (see Theatre Studies), like so;

As I’d decided that the Digestion Pool was going to be re-purposed as a terrain feature from the Ghost World, accompanying my Soul Takers (see here for details), there was only one colour the contents could be…pink.

As in psychomagnotheric slime (i.e. “mood slime”), not Angel Delight. As I’d not managed to get to the Range and pick up some pearlescent pink paint, I opted for giving the pool part of the model a coat of GW Mithril Silver, followed by a couple of coats of GW Imperial Purple…which is actually pink. Worked out pretty well, as you can see from the picture below:

That’s how far I have got with the simplest of the two models, as the other one took a bit more time and several coats of paint until I got it to a point where I was happy to leave it.

So the Post-Apocalyptic Falcon is going to become the transport for my Vin Disesel inspired Ghostbuster, as he needed a beefier car than the 1950’s style ambulance I used for my Ghostbusters main transport. Which meant it had to be white – ideally gloss white. As my previous Plastikote Gloss White had set hard, due to an imperfect seal, I had replaced it with some Tamiya Gloss White. The only problem with this is that it’s not particularly thick and as my matt white had run out, I had to do several coats to get it to a stage where it started to actually look white. rather than dirty grey.

If you look at the windows of the car, you’ll see what it originally looked like after one coat. Still needs at least one more coat, but at least it’s glossy white now. The under carriage, wheel interiors, fenders and engine were all given a coat of GW Chainmail and the rear tanks were given a coat of what Docrafts like to call Dark Grey. which is actually a fairly light grey. The idea is that these tanks will end up yellow, with hazard symbols on. I’ll have to check my Haynes Ectomobile Owners’s Manual (yes, such a thing does exist – and covers all three versions of the Ectomobile, including the wrong one) to decide what they actually contain.

So, it may not look like I’ve progressed very far, but it’s certainly more hobby-stuff than I’ve done over the last couple of months, so it’s better than nowt.

Join me next time for further progress on this project.

A Visit to the Workshop

As previously mentioned, I will be attending Salute again this year, but will be doing so on the other side of the fence, as I will be assisting Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop on his stand. So, I felt that I really should meet Dave in the flesh prior to April and therefore arranged to visit him in Gloucester last weekend.

Dave was a very welcoming host, plied me with copious amounts of coffee and treated me to a very interesting insight into the creative process behind the models he creates for WTW. We also managed to get a game of Death Match in, in which my Revilli Gladiator managed to slay her Ceratid opponent, TWO of the released beasts, then got pounded into the dirt by a Horned Hominid. If you haven’t had a chance to play this game yet at a show, make sure you visit the stand at Salute, where we will be running demonstration games for most of the day.

When I left, I was presented with a few items to take away with me. Some I was expecting, as these were prizes from the Death Match competitions run on The Game Cupboard last year, but Dave had very kindly added some extra items – namely a few bits that I’d enthused about when he’d shown them off on TGC.

Now, as a beneficiary of Dave’s generosity, I thought I’d take the opportunity to show some of the items Wargames Terrain Workshop does or will be releasing in the future, but with a standard 28mm miniature in the pictures, to give you some idea of scale. As the majority of the time, we gamers buy online, its always good to know exactly how big some of these models actually are…

First up, one of my competition prizes, the Creminisci;

This aquatic race was designed by Tarot Hunt for the Death Match universe, and are a race of fish-like mystics, who can harness their mental power to produce a variety of effects. As the DM range is nominally 32mm scale for standard humanoid races, you can see that the Creminisci are roughly the same scale as a DM Human, but are larger than the 28mm figure in the picture.

I asked for mine to be cast in translucent blue resin – because I’m an awkward bugger – but I believe the general release figures will be in opaque grey resin.

Next up, my winning contribution to the Death Match universe, the Nisari;

The Nisari are a sect that believes that ‘The Games’ are an abomination and have dosed their most fanatical warriors with a potion that increases their effectiveness as warriors, but also burns them up from the inside, hence the bloodstained bandages.

As you can see from the picture, the Nisari tower over a normal 28mm figure and are still pretty big in comparison to a standard DM human. But they are supposed to be, as they are Traventians, who are bigger than the humans in the game. The two figures shown are the Nisari male and the Nisari Priestess, currently milking a Dust Viper for its venom. The Nisari female comes with separate arms and as I’ve not attached these yet, I decided not to show her.

Now, as you may not be a Death Match player, you might be thinking why would I buy these models? The Creminisci would quite easily fit into any fantasy or sci-fi game of your choice. As for the Nisari…could you imagine Conan facing this in the wastes of Stygia? Or your Pulp Alley league being menaced by this because they opened the wrong tomb? Or maybe your Tomb Kings army needs a giant freaking insane mummy, because…well, who doesn’t?

Now, these aren’t on general release yet, but I’m sure Dave will let everyone know when they will be available.

Next up, the Venucian Man Eating Plant, which has been released;

The figure in the picture is one of my Victorian thugs from Ironclad Miniatures, which gives a good indication of the size of this terrain piece. Three open ‘traps’ and one currently digesting an unfortunate victim. If you play Congo, Pulp Alley or, to be frank, ANY game that ventures into the jungle, be it terrestrial or off-world, get this piece. It’s well-detailed, versatile and only £6.00.

Next, a model that came about from a conversation I had with Dave about monstrous pigs…the Grice;

I had mentioned in my ongoing Tales of the Black Museum a previous case featuring the ‘Black Pig of Awdry Gardens’. Now, I quite fancied having a model to represent this, and mentioned to Dave that I had not yet found something suitable. He queried what sort of beast I was after and after much to-ing and fro-ing, he’d got a good idea of what I was after. Thus was born the Grice. The name is actually that of an extinct Iron Age pig that was common in Scotland, but as this beast was supposed to represent a monstrous swine, either demonic or primeval, artistic licence was employed. The Grice is now an official part of the Death Match universe, but can be used wherever you need a bloody great porker. Available now for a very reasonable £7.00.

Next up, the Digestion Pool;

Designed for the Exuvium race in Death Match, which they use to break down the bodies of the animals they catch into a delicious and nutritious soup, this terrain piece has so many other uses. It’s reminiscent of the architecture in the Alien movies, but what the fluid bubbling away in it is, is entirely up to you and your paints to decide. As you can see from the picture, this is currently being scanned by one of my Ghostbusters, so it may contain psycho-reactive ectoplasm of ‘mood slime’. A nice solid bit of terrain for £5.00.

Finally, a lovely surprise for me – the Falcon Interceptor. Now, this is actually a “off-cast” (not sure if that’s the correct term). Basically, this was a model that Dave couldn’t sell, as it was mis-cast. You can’t see it from the picture, but there are a few cavities on the underside that will require filling. I’d commented that it would make an ideal alternative mode of transport for my Vin Diesel inspired Ghostbuster, especially with the tanks at the rear, but would need a light bar for the roof. Dave was already in the process of creating one of these for a new futuristic car, so Vin-Buster is now the proud owner of his very own Ecto-V8;

“It’s got, like, a cup-holder and…everything.”

He looks pretty pleased with it and it’s going to look awesome once painted in the appropriate livery.

Hopefully this post has given you an idea of how these particular items scale up against standard 28mm figures and maybe added a few items to your online or Salute shopping list.

Next time, we will definitely be back in Blackwell…

“Who Ya Gonna Call?”

The answer, of course, is…

GHOSTBUSTERS!

Given my previous postings on my ongoing Ghostbusters Project, which started back on 4th December 2015 and ran until 27th February 2016, you may be forgiven for thinking that I’d decided to drop all things Oriental and return to it. However, this is not the case.

On 15th July 2016, the ‘reboot’ of the Ghostbusters franchise was released upon the viewing public of the UK. Even though I don’t often venture to the cinema, as I find the prices extortionate, I had vowed that I would see this film. And last Friday, I did.

Whilst I had been aware of the controversy surrounding the ‘reboot’, from the casting of an all-female crew of Ghostbusters to the choice of director, AND I could honestly say that the original 1984 film is my favourite film of all time, having given it some considered thought, I put myself in the box marked “cautiously optimistic”.

As the release date got nearer, the trailers and images seemed to support the fact that the makers were striving to ensure that the fans of the original were going to be well-served by the new movie. Even the new logo was just a slight tweaking of the original:

As people who followed my posts during the Ghostbusters Project on here will know, I have very strong views on what does and doesn’t constitute “Ghostbusters”. Just because something has the official logo on it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it IS Ghostbusters. And the reverse can also be true, as I discussed in my “Beyond Ghostbusters” series of posts, which suggested addition non-canon entries into what I dubbed the “Expanded Ghostbusters Universe”, the first of which can be read here.

So, being an opinionated and self-confessed ‘expert’, IS the new movie ‘Ghostbusters’?

To sum it up in a nutshell, Yes.

 

 

It’s not perfect – the plot will seem very familiar to those who’ve seen either of the first two movies and it does represent a ‘reboot’, rather than a continuation of the film series. However, having said that, it manages to match the original’s balance between the supernatural elements and the comedy without swinging too far either way.  And it IS funny – I wasn’t the only one in the cinema laughing out loud,

There are several new additions to the Ghostbusting arsenal, all provided by McKinnon’s Dr. Jillian Holtzmann, and the way these are introduced and tested will remind many role-players of trips to R&D in Paranoia.

The ‘ghosts’ are wonderfully realised and come in a variety of shapes and sizes (including a couple of very familiar faces), and whilst comical looking for the most part, there are a couple of pretty creepy moments. The ‘big bad’ is particularly well-done, being both cartoonish and nightmarish at the same time.

So, it may not be the ‘Ghostbusters III’ that die-hard fans were clamouring for (which was actually covered off by 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game, featuring a script partially written by Ackroyd and Ramis and the vocal talents of all the original cast), but is does represent the ‘Ghostbusters’ for a new generation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the original. As soon as it’s released on DVD, it will be joining Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, Freddy vs Ghostbusters and the Return of the Ghostbusters on my shelf – more details regarding these rather good fan-films can be found by clicking the links.

Not-So-Grand Designs

The problem with celebrities is that you think you know them, due to having been exposed to them via television, magazines, etc.

Take Kevin McCloud, for example, the host of Grand Designs on Channel 4…

Comes across as an enthusiastic and passionate advocate of architecture and all-round nice chap, right? However, should you suggest that there might be room for another television show following the same format as Grand Designs, but concentrating on those of us in the hobby who scratch-build buildings for our games, possibly called “Grand Designs…in Miniature” and maybe hosted by everyone’s favourite Eagle Muppet lookalike, well, then you might get a different view of him.

Especially when he pulls a katana out of God-knows-where and launches himself across the table at you, whilst screaming “There can be only one!”in a French accent…

So, in the absence of my own Channel 4 television series, for the month of May I shall be concentrating on buildings for wargames, specifically scratch-built ones. And attempting to ‘complete’ some half-finished ones that have been gathering dust – literally in some cases.

So, as the majority of my gaming takes place in an urban environment, I need some-where to ‘place’ my buildings and currently I use this:

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This is a Mars Attacks Deluxe Gaming Mat, which used to be available from Mantic Games for a very reasonable £14.99. Strangely, whilst you can search for it and find it on their website, when you try and view it you get an error message, so perhaps they no longer want your money…

It’s 2′ square and has 3″ squares for the Mars Attack game, but these are so faint that they can be ignored. It’s a thin pre-printed cloth mat with rubber backing – so essentially a giant mouse mat. The detailing is very nice, although the roads are a little narrow for 1/43 scale vehicles, but if you’re primarily using it for skirmish gaming, this isn’t an issue. And for what you get, it’s very reasonable. I think I only paid half retail including shipping, which was a bargain.

However, I personally have two issues with it, 1. It would appear Mantic no longer sell it and 2. as my primary playing are has change from a 3′ x 4 1/2′ oblong table to a circular 3′-ish table, it’s no longer really suitable except for very small games.

So, I intend to replace it, when funds allow, with one of these:

Urban District 3'x3'

This is the Urban District 3′ x 3′ gaming mat from Urbanmatz. This will set me back 35 Euros, but is a rubber-backed cloth-topped gaming mat, similar to my Mars Attacks one, and comes with its own carrying bag. And the image above is of the 3′ square one – they do bigger sizes for those with greater table space. Follow the link above to see a gallery of the may being used for the Batman Miniature Games, which was one of the reasons I decided on it.

Digression over- bring on the buildings…

The first building I intend on completing is this one;

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This is my kura, from Oriental Fantasy month back in August last year. As I ran out of time, I failed to provide a scenic base and door, which means that as storehouses go, it’s not particularly secure. So, that’s the first building.

Next up is my converted firehouse, which is intended to be the headquarters of my Ghostbusters;

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Whilst I know this isn’t strictly scratch-built, it has been modified and still needs finishing, so it’s been added to the list.

Next is a building that has been used as a backdrop in a variety of my previous photos – the Bank;

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One of the first buildings I ever made, it’s a sealed unit on its own base. Lsts of nice fancy detailing, but I made the mistake of painting it a very dark brown and it needs a face-lift.

Finally, what will eventually become a fast-food restaurant, which may look a little familiar…

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I think the previous owner may have run it as a bar…

So, four weeks – four buildings. Let’s see how well I do…