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…

 

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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…

“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:

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And currently look like this:

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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:

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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…

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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…