“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.

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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:

image

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;

image

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;

image

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;

image

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…

image

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

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

“We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Its Ass!”

And with one of the most famous quotes from Ghostbusters, I am announcing a brief hiatus from my Ghostbusters Project, as next month sees the return of the popular Buffet feature – He- Month – which, based on the month it is occurring in, just had to be called “March-sters of the Universe.” Luckily, the quality of the figures far outweighs what passes for ‘humour’ round here…

So, as this was quite an ambitious project, which did go off on tangent here and there along the way, what have I to show for all my ‘hard’ work? Let’s have a look…

Firstly, my plan was to convert the Plasticville Fire Station into my Ghostbusters HQ, which started off looking like this:

Firehouse

And now looks like this:

Firehouse6

Not completely operational, as we need to give the interior and exterior walls, doors and windows another coat of paint, finish the detailing on the containment grid and other equipment and obviously put some signage up.

Then we had their mode of transport, which started off as a Lledo Ambulance:

Ambulance

and now looks like this:

Ecto1

It still requires one more coat of white before I’m entirely happy with it and the roof-top equipment needs some final detailing, but other than that, it’s almost done. But what of the logos, I hear you ask? Well, my freehand painting skills are not precise enough to replicate the Ghostbusters symbol, so I’m going to cheat…

I found a Canadian company called FX Miniatures, who produce replica decals as both waterslide transfers and vinyl stickers, in a variety of scales, running from 1/87 to 1/10. They seem to mainly concentrate on police decals, but do have a selection of ‘Movie & TV’ stickers, including decals to transform the vehicle of your choice into a Mystery Machine, Love Bug or General Lee. And an Ectomobile, of course. So, I shall be purchasing some to not only decorate my Ectomobile, but also the Ghostbusters HQ as well – probably in 1/64, as I reckon this will be the right size.

As for the Ghostbusters themselves, they started off like this:

Ghostbusters1

And currently look like this:

Ghostbusters5

As these figures are quite detailed, I didn’t want to rush them, so they’re not quite finished yet. As you’ve probably noted, Vin’buster currently has different coloured boots, as I’m currently in two minds as to how best to do them. My female scientist’s scarf will (hopefully) end up tartan, but so far all I’ve done is the base colour…

During the project, we were also introduced to the Soul Takers…

Soultakers3

…who have added a further monstrosity to their number. The figure in the centre is an D&D Miniatures Cerebrilith from the Night Below set. I originally bought this to bolster my Marro forces in Heroscape, as someone had produced a custom card for this figure, but as I’d already re-purposed my Marro Warriors as Soul Takers, I decided to repaint the Cerebrilith in the same colours. Not quite finished, but I think it makes a good addition to their forces, as it has a similar look. The figure is available from Troll and Toad for a very reasonable $3.49.

Finally, I did promise a look at my ghostly horde – so far, that is – so here they are:

Ghosts2

As you can see, there are now quite a few, including my home-made Ithaqua the Wind-Walker, details of which can be found here. And this only includes the ‘ghosts’, as we still have were-creatures, mummies, vampires and some more pumpkin-headed monstrosities to come – although these may make an appearance when Enigma Investigations revisits the Buffet (details of their last visit can be found here).

So, the Ghostbusters Project is officially on hold, but it will return, as I need to finish the HQ, Ectomobile and Ghostbusters off. And I will no doubt have thought up some other cool stuff by the time it returns – which will hopefully not involve me jamming sweets onto plastic stands this time…

As noted above, March sees the return of He-Month, where Roger Webb over at Rantings from Under the Wargames Table and myself here will be re-creating characters from the Masters of the Universe franchise in 28mm, with varying degrees of success.

As a final tease, these are the figures I am planning on converting…

Masters3

However, you’ll have to wait until the next post to find out who they will (hopefully) end up as – feel free to guess away in the meantime.

Comments and feedback appreciated.

 

“More Sightings Are Reported…”

Due to parental responsibilities this week, I haven’t had any ‘hobby-time’. However, as last week was very productive, I do have some ‘banked’ figures, which I decided not to post last week, as my last post was rather lengthy.

I still haven’t completed my Ghostbusters, but I have managed to increase the number of ghosts haunting the city, so once they are completed, they will be rather busy…

Having thought myself rather cunning, I have finished off some Nurglings to use as ‘ghosts’, only to find that great minds think alike and Simon over on Fantorical had also posted some painted Nurglings! However, Simon’s appear to be the one-piece plastic ‘stack’ of Nurglings, whereas mine are the individual metal miniatures, from when they were first released.

Nurglings

I based them individually, with a minor conversion on the one with the outstretched arms to make a more ghostly ghost, by adding a Milliput tail, which you can’t actually see in the photo above, because I took it from the wrong angle. D’oh! The converted one was painted GW Sunburst Yellow, then given a coat of GW Brown Ink, so actually looks like he’s made of brass, which looks quite cool, but also doesn’t show up in the photo. Brilliant start, Jez…

Next we have some re-based Heroclix  and a repainted Ral Partha zombie from the Ravenloft line, all re-purposed for Ghostbusters;

Ghosts

We have, from left to right, the DC Heroclix Orange Lantern Construct, DC Heroclix Fire, Marvel Heroclix Living Lightning and the Ral Partha zombie.  Yay, more transparent ghosts!

Finally, I’ve managed to finish (almost) my repainted Marro Warriors from the Heroscape games as the Ghost World’s equivalent of the Ghostbusters, the Soul Takers. When we last saw them, they looked like this:

Soultakers1

And now they look like this:

Soultakers2

The reason I say they’re ‘almost’ finished, is that when I was dry-brushing them I noticed that I’d failed to repaint the figure on the far left’s left hand – it was still green! So I had to repaint it red and have yet to finish the dry-brushing on this.

A relative straightforward paint job on these – bodies were undercoated in GW Red Gore, with the ‘guns’ being painted with Docrafts Linen. The figures were then dry-brushed in their entirety with the same colour, giving that exposed bone look. The guns were then washed in GW Spearstaff Brown, which makes them look slightly pink and bony-looking. The globes on the guns were then painted with GW Mithril Silver, followed by a coat of GW Purple Ink, which was also used to colour the eyes.

The Soul Hound (a Grenadier Hound of Tindalos, now re-named as a Bloodsniffer of Chaos by Mirliton), received the same treatment, but his tongue was given a thin coat of GW Imperial Purple, which is actually a dark pink.

And there we have a particularly unpleasant band of undead and/or ghostly warriors to plague the Ghostbusters, or anyone else I feel like…

Join me back here next week, where I will hopefully have finished my Ghostbusters, as the number of ghosts seems to be increasing in both size and number.

You know who to call…

“Something Lonely and Untamed, Wild and of Abominable Power…”

Due to various factors, details of which I won’t bore you with, my last post was over a week ago, so things have been a little quiet here at the buffet. However, as today is the first anniversary of my blog, I couldn’t not post today.

And what a year it has been – we’ve had superheroes, Frostgrave, Oriental fantasy, dinosaurs in smoking jackets, the unstoppable juggernaut that this the Ghostbusters Project and not one, but two visits to Eternia! During this period, I have enjoyed the support, feedback and comments from my fellow bloggers, which has made this first year a pleasurable experience, so here’s to Year 2!

So, what have a planned for the next 11 months (we’ll take it up to December, this time)?

More Ghostbusters, obviously, as the monster I have unleashed shows no sign of slowing down or stopping. However, as a sorbet, during March we will see the return of He-Month, or March-sters of the Universe as He-Month 3 is currently being known. Once more both Roger Webb over at Rantings from Under the Wargames Table and myself will be recreating the heroes and villains of our youth in 28mm, with varying degrees of success. For my first foray into Eternia, go here and for He-Month 2, go here.

The reason I’m announcing it so soon is to give others a chance to join in. The ‘rules’, such as they are, are simple. You pledge at the beginning of March the number of Masters of the Universe characters you intend to create during the month, then post regular updates throughout the month. Both Roger and I include links to each others sites during this period, and should anyone else want to join in, we’ll do the same for you.

Now on to other “things”…

The above quotation is taken from the Algernon Blackwood story The Wendigo, written in 1910. This particular tale first saw publication in the collection The Lost Valley and Other Stories, but remains one of his most published tales. It features a possible encounter with the titular creature in the backwoods of Canada, and was the inspiration for the creature known as Ithaqua the Windwalker in the Cthulhu Mythos. It’s very atmospheric and very creepy, so well worth a read.

Anyway, as the Cthulhu Mythos has spawned numerous fiction, role-playing games and miniatures over the years, it was fairly certain that it would also spawn board-games, the most recent of which is Cthulhu Wars.

An expansion pack for this game is the Windwalker Expansion, which has a figure representing Ithaqua the Windwalker, cast in one-piece plastic. It’s a really nice figure and a unique interpretation of the creature, depicting a swirling ghostly entity with clawed hands. However, the Windwalker Expansion has a recommended retail price of $59.00 and whilst you do get a bunch of other figures, this was a little out of my price range.

However, Fenris Games here in the UK do Cthulhu Wars singles, cast in resin, including Ithaqua. Here he is:

FGCW26 - Ithaqua the Windwalker

However, whilst it may be 110mm tall, it’s still £28.00, which, whilst getting closer to my price range, is still a bit steep.

But I wants it, my precious…

So, weighing my desire against my limited gaming budget, and wanting a big-ass ghost for my Ghostbusters to fight, I decided to make my own…

So, for a large figure, you need an armature and I decided to use these:

Pipe Cleaners

That’s right, Dr. Plumb’s finest pipe cleaners. Who Dr. Plumb is, I have no idea. I bought this pack around ten years ago for a couple of quid, as uncoloured pipe cleaners are a lot cheaper than the coloured ones you get in craft shops.

There are two ways of using them – the first is to cut a suitable length and glue to a figure, then paint. This creates shaggy hair, as the paint colours the fibres, but does not clot them together. I’ve used this technique to give hair to my Oni and Oriental Dragon conversions, the results of which can be seen here.

The other use is to twist the pipe cleaners together into the shape you want, then paint the whole thing with watered down PVA glue, which glue the fibres together and gives you a lumpy texture, like a Twiglet. I’ve used this technique to make tree armatures, which is a cheaper alternative to buying them from Woodland Scenics.

So, the first thing to do was create my armature and a number of pipe cleaners were twisted together, to create the ‘body’ and ‘arms’ of my ghostly Windwalker. I tried to go for a swirling shape, to give a sense of movement and that it was a manifestation of the North Wind.

Wendigo1

At this stage, you can kind of see where I’m going with this. The problem I discovered was that whilst pipe cleaners are not particular heavy, the top part of this ‘model’ was, so it wasn’t going to stand up on its own, which is why it’s leaning against my brush pot. I therefore needed a suitable circular base, and appropriated one from a set of Scooby Doo figurines I had bought (which were too large for my purpose). The circular base came in 4 quarters, which I glued together and then added a piece of self-adhesive floor tile to, to give it added heft and strengthen it.

I then discovered a problem – none of the hobby glues I had wanted to stick the Wendigo to the base. In hindsight, I could have used some ‘Non-Solvent Adhesive’ from the toolbox, the sort of stuff you stick brackets to walls with, but you don’t always think clearly when something’s going wrong, so I resorted to smearing Milliput all over the top of the base, then blending the ‘tail’ of my ghost into it, so it wouldn’t fall over.

It was then ‘painted’ with a solution of watered down PVA, the idea being that I’d get the ‘knobbly’ surface I’d had before. However, the solution was too watered down, which meant that I still had a slightly ‘shaggy’ look to the figure, which actually looked better.

Out came the Milliput, as although the main armature was fine, it had no face and the individual pipe cleaners were fairly obvious where the ‘fingers’ of the hand split from the arm. After much moulding, blending and teasing, the whole figure was given an undercoat of Docrafts Light Grey acrylic and looked like this:

Wendiog3

Pretty cool, eh? Once dry, I gave the whole thing a Black wash, then dry-brushed it with more Docrafts Light Grey, followed by Docrafts white, then picked out the eyes, nose and mouth with some Black. The base was given a wash of Black, to resemble concrete/asphalt and this is the finished article.

Wendigo3

And to give a sense of scale, here’s one of my currently unfinished Ghostbusters, facing the “Spirit of the North Wind”…

Wendigo4

As you can see, he’s a big lad, approximately 110mm tall (so just as tall as the figure which inspired him) and is mounted on a base which is 65mm in diameter. And best of all, it cost me nothing, as I already had all the bits I used to make him.

Hopefully this has been a worthy ‘Anniversary’ post and shown how useful pipe cleaners can be, with a little ingenuity.  That’s all for this post, but next up will be more ghosts and my finished Soul Takers (and their dog), which I’m pretty pleased with.

Comments, feedback and Anniversary cake welcome…

“Get In My Belly!”

Whilst the above is exclaimed by the character Fat Bastard in Austin Powers – The Spy Who Shagged Me,  we are not yet venturing into the realms of inch-high spy-fi, but continuing with the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is the Ghostbusters Project. So, why this particular quote? Read on and all will be revealed…

As regular visitors to the Buffet will know, I have garnered the reputation of “thinking outside the box”, usually by re-purposing miniatures from a wide variety of genres into whatever project I’m currently indulged in. However,  long-term followers will also know that sometimes I go so far ‘outside the box’, that the box is but a teeny,  tiny brown dot on the horizon. So, bearing that in mind, this post is either a work of inspired genius or, to quote Mr Michael Awdry,  “Bonkers”. I’ll leave that for you to decide…

Whilst researching figures for my last post (Beyond Ghostbusters – Part 6), I was trying to find suitable figures to represent the ghosts haunting the cinema in Return of the Ghostbusters. Whilst I did eventually find something that would work, I wasn’t entirely happy with my choice.

From my knowledge of the various incarnations of the Ghostbusters franchise, I’ve gathered that non-human ghosts tend to be semi-transparent blobs of various colours, with rudimentary features and vestigial limbs. But where to find such a thing?

How about in the confectionary aisle of your local supermarket?

That’s right, I’m referring to the fruit flavoured sweets known as Jelly Babies. You are probably questioning my sanity at this point, but bear with me, as it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds.

As the majority of this type of ghost tend to float, the idea was to ‘mount’ (I.e. jam the Jelly Babies onto) a suitable transparent flight stand, which I’d run out of. A quick visit to eBay netted me 10 GW flight stands for £1.79 including postage. Next was a trip to my local supermarket, where a 230g bag of “own brand” Jelly Babies cost me 85p. I then proceeded to assemble my ‘ghosts’ and this is the result:

Jelly1

As the average Jelly Baby is approximately 30mm tall, they are pretty much in scale for 28mm figures, as shown in the picture below.

Jelly2

Putting aside the whole ‘playing with your food’ aspect of this idea, there are several advantages to doing this. Firstly, it’s cheap – the total cost of this was £2.64, including the flight stands, and for this I got 39 ‘ghosts’. Secondly, Jelly Babies are readily available pretty much everywhere. Thirdly, when you bust a ‘ghost’, you get to eat it…

Jelly3

nom nom nom…

That’s all for this instalment, but be sure to join me next time, when I may have actually done some painting. I’m not promising anything, however…

You know who to call…just hopefully not the men in the white coats…

Beyond Ghostbusters – Part 6

As mentioned in my previous post (Beyond Ghostbusters – Part 5), after the success of Freddy vs Ghostbusters in 2004, Braxtan Films decided to film a sequel 3 years later, the aptly named Return of the Ghostbusters.

After the events of the first movie, the Ghostbusters continue to provide their services to he citizens of Denver. Ed Spengler (Tim Johnson) has been developing new Ghostbusting equipment, including remote-controlled traps and the experimental Neutrino pack, whilst also hosting a science-based TV show. Neil Anderson (J. Michael Weiss) is described as a ‘ladies man’, but does not appear to be having much luck on this front, probably because he’s become a little bit of a dick since the first movie. Eugene O’Fitzpatrick has been replaced by Pavel Karnov (Joel Hanson) a laid-back Russian, although no explanation is given as to why. A bit of digging on my part has revealed that Braxtan Films published a webcomic covering a diastrous mission to Egypt, in which Eugene lost his life and Pavel joined, but I’ve yet to find a copy online.

However, when a face from Pavel’s past utilises a particular aspect of stolen Ghostbusting equipment (with a nice nod to what appeared to be a throwaway line in the original Ghostbusters) to power an ancient Egyptian artifact, the city is threatened with a supernatural invasion from another dimension. So it’s up to the boys in beige to prevent an interdimensional crossrip and save the Mile High City.

Whilst Freddy vs Ghostbusters essentially followed the general outline of the plot from the original movie, but gave us Freddy Krueger as the main antagonist, Return is an original story, building on the characters and premise set out in FvG. At 85 minutes, Return of the Ghostbusters is a much more ambitious film. Freddy vs Ghostbusters was created on an estimated budget of $500, whereas Return boasts a budget of $3,000. And it shows. We have more ghostly encounters, improved special effects, a larger cast and better acting. And the script is again engaging and funny, with the longer running time allowing for more character development.

Both Weiss and Johnson continue to shine as Neil and Ed, and Hanson’s addition to the cast makes it feel like a proper team of Ghostbusters. Ron Vischer, who plays the main antagonist of the film, Klaus Konstantin, also gives a stand out performance.

As both Freddy vs Ghostbusters and Return of the Ghostbusters are referenced in the official canon Ghostbusters: The Video Game, as the developers of the game were fans, can this also be considered ‘canon’? I’ll leave that up for debate, but I’m happy to include both within my “expanded” Ghostbusters universe, as the tone and content mirrors that of the original movies.

Whilst a friend of mine managed to download and burn a copy onto DVD for me, sadly the official site is no longer live. However, as always, someone has uploaded the full movie to YouTube, so you can go and watch it here.

As I have already ‘cast’ Ed Spengler and Neil Anderson in my previous post, it’s not necessary to do this again, although Neil now sports a hairstyle similar to Crooked Dice’s Paranormal Exterminator A (Venkman) and no longer has a goatee, so this figure can be used as is.

Paranormal Exterminators

For the new addition to the crew, Pavel Karnov, we need to decapitate one of the existing Paranormal Exterminators (your choice) and add the bearded Travelling Tweedy head from the pack of the same name, also from Crooked Dice.

Travelling Tweedy heads

For Klaus Konstantin, I have found the perfect figure, from Black Hat’s Mutants & Masterminds range:

MM101E – civilian 10 1

This is MM101E Civilian 10, available direct from their website for £2.50, who is not only wearing the correct dishevelled outfit, but also has the slightly crazed expression of this character.

For the ‘campfire’ ghost at the beginning of the movie, we have this:

This is 77369 Shadow from Reaper Miniatures ‘Bones’ range, available for $2.99. It also comes in metal as 03027 Spectre for $4.99, but as ghosts are supposed to be transparent, I’d go for the purple one…

The two ghosts haunting the cinema proved a little more tricky, and the closest I could find was this:

DC Heroclix War of Light #001 Orange Lantern Construct

This is the Orange Lantern Construct from the DC Heroclix War of Light subset, available from Blue Rat Games (amongst other places) for £0.99. Whilst it may have more arms than is strictly necessary and is wearing a domino mask (no idea why), this is not a deal-breaker for me, as the extraneous arms can be trimmed off and a quick wipe with nail-polish remover will take the painted on mask right off.

Finally, during the finale, Denver is invaded by what the female reporter in the movie calls “ghost dragon-things”, which are essentially spectral dragon-worms. I had almost given up on finding suitable proxies for these, but whilst browsing Reaper’s ‘Bones’ range, I came across this:

This is the ‘Bones’ Hydra, available direct from their website for $19.99. As I am assuming that the heads are separate castings and you get five of them, you could mount four on suitable flying bases and still have a single-headed dragon!

That’s all for this instalment, but be sure to come back to see where the currently unstoppable juggernaut that is my Ghostbusters project takes me next. I think I can guarantee that you definitely won’t be expecting what’s coming next…

Beyond Ghostbusters – Part 5

The advent of YouTube in 2005 allowed anyone with access to a computer and some form of digital recording equipment to upload video content to the Internet. For amateur film-makers, this was a Godsend, as it allowed them to share the fruits of their labours with the World. It also meant that fans could create their own unique visions of their favourite television shows or movies. But just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should

As Ghostbusters proved to be both popular and enduring, the amount of fan-made content on YouTube is reasonably large. However, as with most fan-films, whilst you may love something (remembering that the word ‘fan’ is derived from ‘fanatic’), it doesn’t follow that your enthusiasm will match your talents, so the quality of the available content is…variable. I know, because I have taken it upon myself to watch it, just so you don’t have to. Consider it a public service.

So, having endured low-quality ‘special’ effects, wooden acting, stilted dialogue and vanity scripts, it’s always nice to find something of unexpected worth. Such was the case when I viewed Braxtan Films Freddy vs Ghostbusters, made in 2004.

As you’ve probably gathered from the title, this 34 minute short film features that razor-fingered antagonist of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Freddy Krueger. However, whilst his name may feature in the title, this is, first and foremost, a Ghostbusters movie.

Set in Denver, we are introduced to Neil Anderson (J. Michael Weiss), who has been suffering from a recurring nightmare, where he is chased through his dreams by the aforementioned deep-fried nutjob, always managing to wake before he is caught. Help arrives in the form of Ed Spengler (Tim Johnson), an old friend and the nephew of Dr. Egon Spengler, who has been sent from New York to investigate a recent surge of Psychokinetic Energy. He is accompanied by his colleague, Eugene O’Fitzpatrick (Jason Cook).  The rest of the film follows very closely to the format of the original Ghostbusters movie, with the trio dealing with a poltergeist in a local bar, then effectively setting up as the Denver branch of the Ghostbusters, complete with a video montage and magazine covers.

When Freddy finally manages to escape from his ‘prison’ (which I’ll leave you to discover what this actually is), things take on a slightly darker tone, with various secondary characters being targeted by him, forcing a final confrontation with the Ghostbusters.

What could have essentially been a cheesy one-gag mini-movie is saved by a genuine love and respect for the franchises involved, some very good special effects and make-up, a director who knows what he’s doing and a script that is both engaging and funny. Whilst some of the secondary actors do suffer from one-dimensionality and stilted acting, both Weiss and Johnson bring their characters to life. And Bradley J. Roddy as Freddy Krueger appears to be channelling Robert Englund, as his characterisation is pretty much spot-on. The only slightly jarring note for me was the inclusion of a cameo by “Jared from Subway”, a joke that was lost on me, as this ad campaign was not shown in the UK.

Of all the Ghostbusters ‘fan-films’ I’ve endured, this has to be one of the best, as it captures the tone and feel of the original movies and does feel like it’s a spin-off, like the pilot for a proposed TV series. And as it was so popular, it managed to spawn a sequel in 2007, which I will be covering in the next instalment of ‘Beyond Ghostbusters’…

So, where can you watch this little gem? Well, as implied above, it’s available on YouTube, so follow this link, which will take you to the best copy on there (without Spanish subtitles)…

But where would a ‘Beyond Ghostbusters’ post be without me ‘casting’ it in 28mm?

So, as the Denver Ghostbusters are using the same equipment and literally the same uniforms (once you’ve watched it, you’ll know what I mean), our first port of call is obviously Crooked Dice and their Paranormal Exterminators. Ed Spengler looks remarkably like his supposed uncle, so painting Paranormal Exterminator D (Spengler) with blonde hair and we have our Ed. As Eugene Fitzpatrick sports sideburns and a plaid cap, taking Paranormal Exterminator B (Stantz) and Greenstuffing his Ecto-visor into a cap should be within the realms of even the most ham-fisted modeler.

However, Neil Anderson, as he has the whole Jason-Priestly-90210 floppy haircut and goatee, will require a little more talent with the Greenstuff, with Paranormal Exterminator A being the most likely figure ripe for conversion.

The poltergeist featured caught by the Denver ‘busters shares a very similar look to ‘Slimer’, so using Crooked Dice’s Ectoplasmic Entity (from the same link as above) is probably your best bet…

Paranormal Exterminators

As for Freddy Krueger, ideally we would turn to the Horrorclix line form Wizkids and this figure:

But as this only appears to be available as part of the Freddy Vs Jason collector’s set, which is going for silly money online, bearing in mind that it’s six plastic figures. However, unless anyone else can think of a better proxy, it’s the only choice you have.

So that’s all for this instalment. In my next post we will be looking at and ‘casting’ the 2007 sequel to Freddy vs Ghostbusters, aptly named Return of the Ghostbusters

“Now Where Are the Ghostbusters?”

For those of you who have been faithfully following my Ghostbusters project, you may have been wondering exactly the same as the Mayor in Ghostbusters II, as whilst there has been progress made on the firehouse HQ, we have seen little in the way of actual Ghostbusters…

As the firehouse has had the majority of the basic painting done now, it meant that I could actually concentrate on other parts of the project, i.e. painting the figures.

However, before you start cheering, I have to confess that I may have got a little distracted, so whilst there has been progress on the Ghostbusters, it’s not as much as you’d expect. Hopefully, as there’s other Ghostbusters project stuff to show you, I will be forgiven.

So, to the answer the question posed by this post, here are the Ghostbusters…

Ghostbusters4

Not a huge amount of progress – an additional coat of GW Kommando Khaki on the jumpsuits and trousers of the crew, all footwear has now been block painted and the ‘buster on the far right has had his hair painted. And that’s it.

But I haven’t been sitting on my laurels, so let me introduce you to representatives of Ghostbusters rival in the field of paranormal investigation and elimination – EcTerminators, Inc.

Ecterminators1

The figures are from Moonraker Miniatures, from their Future Skirmish range, the two on the left being Troopers with Light Lasers, one helmeted and one bareheaded and the figure on the left being a Female Rebel, whose backpack I removed as I was intending her to be a Ghostbuster. However, as her outfit is very similar to the Troopers, I decided to make her additional support for them instead. Each figure is £1.50. The name ‘EcTerminators’ comes from an adventure published for the Ghostbuters RPG published by West End Games, namely ‘Scared Stiff’, which was one of only two good ideas in the adventure, the other being the introduction of the Ectosabre…

I see EcTerminators, Inc. as being a cross between the Ghostbusters and a SWAT team, with military style uniforms, hi-tech looking equipment and modern flashy vehicles, so appearing to be a more professional organisation than the local Ghostbusters franchise. Do we like big corporations like EcTerminators, Inc. or Gozer-Cola coming along and taking away the livelihood of local businesses? We do not!

However, there are worse things out there…

If the Ghostbusters (and Ecterminators, Inc.) have been operating for a number of years, effectively incarcerating spooks, spectres and ghosts in containment facilities, surely some-thing from the Ghost World will have noticed and possibly organised some form of retaliation, a team of entities armed with the latest in ecto-tech, and sent them into our world. And if they had, they may be known as Soul-Takers and might look something like this…

Soultakers1

The above figures are a squad of Marro Warriors, from the first Heroscape boxed set. I’ve always liked these figures, as they combine techno-organics with undead-ness and as I had two sets, I decided to repaint the spare set as my Soul-Takers. I initially painted them GW Rotting Flesh and then trialled a wash of GW Worm Purple mixed with the black on one of the figures. It looked absolutely awful. So, out came some GW Red Gore and they were repainted red, which looks a lot better. The general idea is to have them look like they’ve been flayed, armed with soul-rifles made from bone, so variations on reds and pinks will be the order of the day, with touches of white. I also discovered that I started painting a Mirliton Bloodsniffer of Chaos (which was originally Grenadier’s version of a Hound of Tindalos), which looks like this:

In exactly the same colours. As it is effectively a flayed, skeletal hound, it looks like my Soul-Takers may have got themselves a tracking beast…

Finally, a couple of repainted Heroclix figures. The first is Freak from the Invincible Iron Man subset:

Marvel Heroclix Invincible Iron Man #003 Freak

When I saw this figure, I knew that I would have a use for it, but wasn’t sure what that was going to be. However, when I started the Ghostbusters Project, I immediately knew how I was going to repaint it – as the spirit of a murderer sent to the chair…

Electrogeist

So, after an undercoat of GW Mithril Silver, the exposed skin was painted light grey and the tattered remains of his prison uniform was painted orange. A wash of black was then followed by dry-brushing with Mithril Silver, although this doesn’t show up very well in the picture. The eyes and mouth were picked out with gloss white, then given a further wash of black. Not entirely how I thought the figure would come out, but I’m pretty happy with it. It’s an inexpensive figure (mine cost 29p), and as you can see from the picture above, is fairly substantial.

Our final figure initially started out as Blockbuster from the DC Heroclix Legacy subset:

However, after an undercoat of black, then a coat of blue ink and his eyes picked out in orange and you get this…

Shadowlord

A shadowy figure from the Ghost World, possibly the ’employer’ of the Soul-Takers…? It also struck me that this figure would make a good super-evolved simian, as the facial featured are quite ape-like. This figure is even bigger than the Freak, but cost the same amount of money, a paltry 29p.

So, that’s all we have for this week. Join me midweek for more ‘Beyond Ghostbusters’ and next weekend, where hopefully I’ll have got a little bit further with everything.

You know who to call…

Beyond Ghostbusters – Part 4

Take one 1980’s teen idol more famous for shuttling backwards and forwards through time, add the patriarch of a ‘kooky’ family and Lovecraft’s mad doctor, sprinkle liberally with ghosts and wrap in a script by those responsible for translating Tolkien to the Big Screen and what do you get?

This:

Released in 1996, The Frighteners was a comedy horror movie co-written and directed by Peter Jackson and starring Michael J. Fox in his last film role.

“In 1990, architect Frank Bannister’s (Michael J. Fox) wife, Debra , dies in a car accident. He abandons his profession, and his unfinished “dream house” sits incomplete. Following the accident, Frank gained the power to see ghosts and befriends three: 1970s street gangster Cyrus (Chi McBride), 1950s nerd Stuart (Jim Fyfe), and The Judge (John Astin), a gunslinger from the Old West. The ghosts haunt houses so Frank can then “exorcise” them for a fee. Most locals consider him a con man.”

Okay, so I pinched the above directly from Wikipedia, but I was trying to sum up the movie and realised that what I’d written was pretty much what was already on there.

Frank starts to see glowing numbers on the foreheads of inhabitants of the town, who then mysteriously die and both the local police and Special Agent Milton Dammers (Jeffery Coombs) believe he is responsible. However, the actual culprit appears to be the Grim Reaper…

This is a fun movie, with star turns from Fox, Astin and especially Coombs as the definitely unhinged Agent Dammers, and manages to be both funny and creepy at the same time. The special effects are very good and the ‘Grim Reaper’ makes an effective and deadly foe. Whilst a little darker than Ghostbusters, as the ‘Reaper’ does amass a rather high body count (no gore though), it has the same tone and feel. As Bannister is effectively a “Ghostbuster”, albeit a fake one, I do feel this sits comfortably within my “expanded” Ghostbusters universe and so therefore joins my list.

So, on to ‘casting’ the movie. Frank Bannister, as portrayed by Michael J. Fox was probably the hardest figure to find and I’m still not 100% happy with my choice…

HFA066 William

This is William, who is obviously supposed to be Spike from Buffy, available from Hasslefree Miniatures for £3.75 + VAT. Not perfect, but this is the closest I could find to Bannister’s main outfit in the movie. Should anyone think of a better suggestion, please let me know.

Special Agent Milton Dammers was surprisingly easy, once I’d remembered that he has a distinctive hair style:

Professor Eddie Coffin

This is Professor Eddie Coffin, from RAFM’s USX miniatures range, available from their website for $5.95. RAFM also provided the figure for Cyrus, the 1970’s Gangster;

Action Jackson

This is Action Jackson, also $5.95. Whilst Cyrus is not armed in the movie and does have a moustache, the other options I looked at were not wearing the correct outfits or had the wrong hair, so I’m pretty happy with this choice.

Our final three figures are all from the same manufacturer, namely Reaper Miniatures. For Stuart the 1950s nerd, we have;

This pack from Reaper is aptly named Townsfolk: Jock, Chick, Nerd, available directly from their website for $8.99, which is pretty good value for three figures. Stuart is obviously the one on the left, but the other two figures are pretty useful too.

For the Judge, the undead gunslinger, we have this from Reaper:

This is the Undead Outlaw, available in metal for $6.29 or in ‘Bones’ for $2.99, depending on your budget and preference. You may have to add a little facial hair to match the character exactly, but this is another nice figure for those who prefer the dead to the quick.

Finally, after an exhaustive search of all things both grim and reaper-ish, I found this to represent the ‘Grim Reaper’ from the movie:

This is the Death Shroud, available for $5.99. Almost perfect and would also make a very serviceable Dementor, should you want to game in the world of Harry Potter.

Join me back here at the weekend, where there will hopefully be some progress on my Ghostbusters and their foes, rather than boring pictures of buildings…

Comments and feedback, both welcome and appreciated.