Gone…But, Not Forgotten

Whilst I only had a very small amount to do to complete my Forgotten Heroes for this year’s event, due to issues at work over the last week and half, the first time I actually picked up a paint brush was last night!

That’s right – they almost didn’t get finished within my own self-imposed deadline, which obviously would have meant that I’d have to tell myself off…again.

As everyone else has been busy beavering away and producing far more accomplished and imaginative conversions than myself, it would have been a pretty poor showing for the crazed individual who came up with this idea to not actually finish his own bloody entries…

Luckily, some feverish daubing into almost the wee hours last night meant that my ‘quantum quartet’ are now complete. So, the task I’d set myself for this year’s Forgotten Heroes event was to create 28mm versions of the Image Comics Fantastic Four pastiche, Mystery Incorporated.

This ‘fantastic foursome’ are made up of the the malleable crystalline Crystal Man, the electrifying Kid Dynamo, the gaseous Neon Queen and the super-strong Planet. All were conversions from existing (and cheap) HeroClix figures, which initially looked like this:

However, with a bit of minor modification and repainting, we end up with this:

I decided to use the Star Wars interlocking tiles that I ‘improved’ as a backdrop for them, to represent their high-tech subterranean base beneath Manhattan, known as the Mystery Mile.

I’m pretty pleased with how they’ve come out, although in hindsight, I probably should have made the Planet’s head more spherical, as he looks like he’s got a jelly bean for a head. However, I did manage to paint the question mark logo on both Neon Queen’s and the Planet’s uniforms in one go without mucking it up, so that’s a plus.

I really need to make their arch-enemy, Doctor Apocalypse, in order to pit them against a worthy adversary, but that may have to wait. However, a certain resident of the Baxter Building, upon hearing that the Planet was a direct pastiche of him, decided to pay a visit to the Mystery Mile. I think you ALL know what time he chose to visit…

“Eat hot-dog cart, Ya big, green galoot!”

And that’s Forgotten Heroes done for another year. Be sure to pay a visit to the official site, where the dynamic half of this duo – Mr Roger Webb – has been posting and re-posting the efforts of all taking part this year and marvel at the sheer inventiveness of those who took part.

And now, an announcement. As I am taking a much-needed and long-delayed holiday during July, the Buffet will be closing its doors for the entirety of next month. I will still be dropping in on my favourite blogs and posting comments, but there won’t be any new content on here until at least the beginning of August. This should give me an opportunity to finish off some outstanding hobby projects and actually play a few more games, so hopefully they’ll be a few more AAR’s ready to be posted come August, including the next part of my Doctor Who adventure.

Until then, here’s a picture of a creepy girl and her equally creepy soft toy, which used to signify that transmission had been interrupted on the BBC here in the UK…

“I know where the bodies are buried…”

Thanks to all my followers and visitors and see you in August!

Challenging the Unknown

The mid-point of June has passed and those of us taking part in the communal craziness known as Forgotten Heroes can now see the finishing post fast approaching, so are gearing up for that final sprint.

Or that’s what you’d expect. However, some of us decided that the figures they were doing were really easy and would be finished with plenty of time to spare, so they became…distracted – by something else.

I can’t take the entire blame for this, as certain people who will remain nameless (but you know who you are) have commented that I talk a lot about doing hobby-related stuff, but the don’t follow this up with actually doing it. Looking at the various half-finished projects I have lying around, they do have a valid point…curse them and their feminine intuition!

So, I decided this week that not only would I work on my fantastic-ish four, but also work on a few outstanding projects as well.

First up, let’s look at where we’ve got to with Kid Dynamo and Crystal Man:

Actually, all I’ve done with these two is block paint both their bases with Docrafts Chocolate Brown. However, as I managed to take a photograph in natural rather than artificial light, you can see how effective my wash was on Crystal Man, so that he’s still semi-transparent.

Next up, the Planet and Neon Queen:

Having dug out my copy of Mystery Incorporated #1, I sat and read the entire issue – I was only supposed to be checking it for reference purposes, but sometimes you just have to read a comic book.

Whilst the cover does show that the non-white part of the uniforms is more pink than purple, all the interior art shows it more purple than pink, so I decided to repaint the two figures who do have part of the uniform on display. At the same time, I added the other purple detailing on their outfits – which was a bit more fiddly than I’d anticipated, especially on Neon Queen. She was also given an initial coat of GW Spearstaff Brown for her hair, before I used some GW Purple Ink to colour her gaseous lower form.

Just a few more details and their bases to finish off, and they will be done.

So, what other projects have occupied my time this week? The first will remain ‘under wraps’ at present, as this is intended to be a surprise for the person concerned, but it DID involve my first attempt to paint a 28mm Tweed jacket – which was a lot trickier than I thought it was going to be. And I still have Tartan to paint as well… *sigh*

The second was due to my realisation that whilst I have a whole stack of HeroScape tiles that I can use to construct ‘rural’ battlefields and a mat and scratch-built tiles for ‘urban’ gaming, if I wanted to play a game set in a space-station, starship or other sci-fi environment, I was a bit stuffed. I looked at the various options around, from the pre-printed slot together card terrain to the print-on-demand sci-fi tiles, but nothing really grabbed my fancy at a price I was prepared to pay (NB: I know that POD stuff is actually pretty cheap, but my printer isn’t that great for this kind of thing).

Ideally, I wanted something similar to HeroScape tiles, i.e interlocking plastic tiles, but NOT hexagonal and more science-fictiony looking. Of course, no bugger makes this kind of thing, which is a shame, because I reckon that it would be quite popular. However, it did remind me that lurking in my loft somewhere was this:

Image result for star wars display arena

This particular item is known as the Star Wars Display Arena, and was a mail-away special that you could get for a number of ‘proof or purchases’ and a postal order to cover the postage and packing. Designed for the 3 3/4″ Star Wars figures, the set contained four injection-molded L-shaped bases and four double-sided card inserts. Around the edge of each base are two projections, which the cards slot into, effectively making ‘walls’. The bases themselves were covered in little pegs that the figures could be attached to and each base had little hooks on every edge, so you could interlock the bases any which way you wanted.

So, having dug them out, I spent an evening removing every single bloody little peg on all four bases, then attempting to get the remaining nubs as flat as I could. Then, when I had a  fairly windless sunny evening, all four bases were taken outside and sprayed with Plastikote Fast Dry Project Enamel paint, specifically Chrome Effect. And this is the end result:

Ooooh, shiny! After the initial coat has dried, I did need to re-spray a couple of the tile sides again, as the underlying beige colour was still showing through, but as it was nice and warm, it didn’t take the paint long to dry.

So, these tiles can be put together any which way you fancy, as can be seen from the picture below:

All well and good, you say, but how big are they, Jez? Well, each tile is just under 8″ square, so if they were put together into a rectangle, the playing area would be 12″ x 16″ approximately. But that defeats the purpose of their interlockiness (new word – tell your friends). What you want to do is utilise them to build corridors and rooms, then maybe…I don’t know, stick some Daleks and the Third Doctor on them?

Like this:

And a slightly closer shot, that shows the detail and the tabs. As you can imagine, some greyboard painted suitable colours, could be slotted into these tabs to make actual ‘walls’, should you so wish.

Unfortunately, I only have four of these bases, and could really do with another set to expand the playing area, so might have to keep my eyes peeled on eBay of elsewhere for another set.

Right, that’s all for this week. Next week – the final Forgotten Heroes post, where Mystery Incorporated will be finished (I hope). As for what other things may also appear…well, you’ll just have to wait and see!

The Quantum Quartet

Welcome back to Forgotten Heroes month here on the Buffet!

It would appear that my little bit of fun from last year, in which a like-minded group of bloggers attempt to create their own version of a ‘Forgotten Hero’, i.e. a comic book style hero from print or screen who has yet to have a figure (or at least a decent version) made of them yet, in 28mm during the month of June, has gotten a little more popular this year. Last year we had about eight participants – this year it has grown to twelve and the variety of characters chosen has expanded as well. This year we have Eternians, shape-changing robots and carnivorous plants, along with the usual obscure costumed characters that you may or may not have heard of. So, please visit the official Forgotten Heroes site, run by my loyal sidekick (tights optional) Mr Roger Webb, where everyone’s work so far can be seen in all their glory.

As noted in my previous post, my stated goal was to turn these four figures:

Into the ‘Quantum Quartet’ from the 1963 Universe, also known as Mystery Incorporated – “four resolute adventurers living thrilling adventures in the strange lands at the edge of today’s science ! Craig Crandall – the Crystal Man! Biff Baker – the Planet! Tommy Baker – Kid Dynamo! And gorgeous Jeannie Morrow – the Neon Queen! From their uncanny mile-long high-tech base under Manhattan, these fantastic four challenge the unknown!”

So, how have I got on? Well, as I’d picked figures that were pretty close to the end result, I’m actually further on that I thought I’d be by this point.

For the first of my four, I removed Veil and the Living Lightning from their Heroclix bases and trimmed down Veil’s base, in order to reposition her in a more upright pose. Both of these figures were then glued to two pence pieces using some kind of super-stick white glue that my friend Chris had given me. Similar in consistency to toothpaste and of a similar colour, whilst not a contact adhesive, within about 5-10 seconds the glue has ‘stuck’ solid and will eventually set rock hard. I’m not sure what the brand was, but it’s really useful stuff. The other advantage it has over super-glue is that it doesn’t ‘fog’ transparent plastic and as it’s white, it means I don’t have to pre-paint the bases in order for the copper of the 2p not to show through the base of the figure.

Once the glue was dry, I built up the bases using Milliput, then gave the bases an undercoat of Docrafts White. As ‘Kid Dynamo’ required no actual painting to represent the character, I moved on to ‘Neon Queen’, whose upper torso was first undercoated in Docrafts White. Her head was then painted Docrafts Flesh, with her uniformed upper torso painted with Rustoleum Gloss White, with an initial cost of GW Imperial Purple on her gloves;

 

Compared to the picture of the cover above, the gloves do look a little too pink, but I’m not sure if this is due to the lighting in the pictures or the cover being a bit darker than I remember. Either way, I think that these need repainting a little more purple-y.

For ‘The Planet’ and ‘Crystal Man’, a similar procedure was followed regarding basing. I also added Milliput to the Planet’s head, as the base figure’s head was close, but not quite the right shape and had no craters in it. Having built up the head into a more rounded shape, a tablet stylus (which will never be used for it’s intended purpose) was pushed into the Milliput, creating the necessary craters on the Planet’s head.

Once everything had set, the Planet’s body was undercoated in white, then his uniform given a coat of gloss white, his boots and gloves Imperial Purple and his head GW Bogey Green.

With Crystal Man, I trimmed off the head fins on the original figure and made his head more angular in shape. As the original figure was transparent, I wanted to retain as much of this as possible, but also change the colour from blue/white to the pink/red, so I created a wash of Imperial Purple and liberally coated the figure in this:

So, I’m pretty happy with how the Planet has come out, although as noted above, I think the gloves and boots need to be more purple than pink. However, Crystal Man has come out exactly as I’d hoped. He’s now the right colour and retained a certain amount of transparency, so does actually look like he’s made of malleable crystal.

So, ten days in or one-third of the way through, and I think I’ll only need one more painting session to complete this fantastic foursome.

AND I had time to block paint a couple more of my Doctors for the ongoing Doctor Who project and an insidious villain for my own superhero universe! So whilst Forgotten Heroes is the ‘public face’ of what’s going on at the Buffet this month, there is much more going on behind the scenes…

Forgotten Heroes 2017 – The Return

It’s the 1st of June, which means that most people’s thoughts are turning to a hopeful change in the weather and the possibility of enjoying the sunshine, either here or Abroad.

However, here at the Buffet, June means it’s time for the creative madness that we like to call Forgotten Heroes! Yes, that’s right, it proved so popular last year, that we’re doing it again!

So, for the next 30 days, we will be taking a break here at the Buffet from the ongoing Doctor Who project to concentrate on creating at least one 28mm figure of a comic book character who has not yet had a figure created for them or, if it has, it was a bit pants. Full details of the ‘rules’ (such as they are), can be found on the official Forgotten Heroes website.

So, last year I created models of Super-Soldier, Bananaman and Stegron, the Dinosuar Man, as can be seen both on the Forgotten Heroes site and on this post. This year, I’m going one better, with FOUR figures! And the reason I’m doing this, is because this year, I’m doing a team…

Back in 1993, Alan Moore had developed a working relationship with Image Comics and had effectively been given free rein to create whatever he wanted. So, he drafted some of his comic book pals and came up with the 6 issue miniseries called 1963. This was an affectionate parody of the early Marvel comics of that era, with each issue featuring a different take on a famous title or character. We had Horus, Lord of Light an Egyptian-themed Thor analogue, Tales From Beyond featuring the Unbelievable N-Man (Hulk) and Johnny Beyond (Dr. Strange), Tales of the Uncanny featuring the Ultimate Secret Agent (Captain America) and the Hypernaut (Iron Man), No-one Escapes the Fury! which was the 1963 version of Spider-Man and The Tomorrow Syndicate which teamed up Horus, U.S.A., Hypernaut and N-Man with additional characters Infra-Man and Infra-Girl to form the 1963 version of the Avengers.

However, the team I’m going to do is the 1963 version of the Fantastic Four, who are known as Mystery Incorporated!

The ‘Quantum Quartet’ are made up of Crystal Man, Kid Dynamo, Neon Queen and the Planet, with a similar origin and power sets to Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, the Invisible Girl and the Thing, although with a few cosmetic differences – although Neon Queen transforms into gas, rather than becoming invisible.

So, four characters may seem like a tall order, but the thing I’ve learned about doing conversions over the years is – keep things simple. In other words, pick a base figure that is as near as damn it to the finished result you want. Why give yourself extra work? So, with this in mind, it was off to Blue Rat Games to see which singles would be suitable for my nefarious plans.

And the results were these four:

So, from left to right we have Veil, the Living Lightning, Prism and Blood Brother, all of which are Marvel characters. So, as you can see, there won’t be a great deal of conversion work before these are ready to be painted. Veil will need adjusting to bring her more upright and possibly a re-sculpt of her hair to make it more 60’s, the Living Lightning just needs basing, Prism needs his head ‘fins’ trimmed and Blood Brother may need a slight re-sculpt of his head. Other than that, it will just be a case of painting them the appropriate colours.

And the best thing about my ‘Quantum Quartet’ is that the total cost of all four figures was just £1.36! Bargain!

So, now I’ve given you a taster, join me next time to see how far I’ve progressed and make sure you check out the other participants progress either on the Forgotten Heroes site or their own blogs.

Revenge of the Daleks

Regular visitors to the Buffet will have no doubt noted that it has been rather quiet of late.

I have been suffering a crisis of confidence in my abilities and the value of my blog, so much so that I had considered giving it up.

However, two things changed my mind.

The first was fellow bloggers Hilary Gilbert and Tarot Hunt of The Game Cupboard, who when they became aware of my problem, offered unstinting and unselfish encouragement and support, and were unflagging in their enthusiasm.

The second was more recent. Your blog is your own personal expression of your hobby. By publishing this online, you are exposing your efforts, opinions and views to a Worldwide audience. Not everyone who reads you blog will agree with you, but unlike forums, those who disagree will usually just not comment or follow your blog.

Not long ago, I had a disagreement with the owner of a particular blog, the result of which was that I decided to no longer follow that blog, as the owner’s beliefs were not compatible with my own. Since this event, it appears the owner of this particular blog has created an avatar of me, which was then killed horribly in a batrep and publicly criticised the free rules I had published here. I found out about this purely by chance, and to be honest, this kind of petty vindictiveness is the reason I no longer follow this blog.

However, this particular person has now decided to target friends of mine, by undermining and belittling them and their ideas not only on their own blog, but also on other blogs I frequent. For a community that prides itself on acceptance and generosity, this kind of behaviour represents the ‘ugly’ side of our wonderful hobby. Currently, I am observing from the sidelines, but should this continue, I am quite prepared to speak up and ‘name and shame’ this person.

This is the line – the shit stops here.

By me giving up, I’m letting people like this win. So, Carrion Crow’s Buffet will continue, providing whatever content I bloody well decide I want to. It will be varied, on occasion it will be weird, but hopefully it will be entertaining, amusing and worth reading.

Right, now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s see what I’ve managed to get done during my ‘fallow’ period. First up, my ‘father of the Daleks’ has received a few more licks of paint and now looks a bit more Davros-like;

 

Strictly speaking, Davros’ skirt colour should be dark grey, but the contrast between the dark grey and silver ‘globes’ wasn’t working, so I repainted it black instead. Still a way to go, as he’s looking a little bit Mekon colour-wise, but he’s still pretty cool.

And a brief shout out to Roger from Rantings from Under the Wargames Table, who defended my Davros from those who criticised it on The Miniatures Page, for which I thank him.

Next up,  a bit of colour on Aggedor, the Monster of Peladon;

Having just decided to paint the figure without referring to pictures online, I initially gave him an undercoat of GW Orc Brown (which is the yellow on the base). I then realised that this was the wrong colour, so had to repaint him with Revell Tan. A few patches of yellow are still showing through, but at least he’s the right colour now.

Next up, we have progressed a bit further with the protagonists of the next Doctor Who AAR – Tara Hunt, the Third Doctor and Abslom Daak;

One more painting session should see these finished and ready to be used, which is quite convenient, because their opponents are finished;

Yes, that’s right, five battleship-grey old-school Daleks, and one Engineer Dalek in the livery of the new series Skaro Daleks!

As the nodules/globes are the part that usually put people off, I used a technique that I read online somewhere (thought it was Germy’s site, but couldn’t find it on there), which is to have a big blob of paint and then use a plastic tube of the correct diameter to ‘paint’ the globes. An empty biro tube or cotton-bud stem is ideal and this not only works really well, it’s really quick.

I’m really pleased with how these came out, as to me, they look exactly how I think they should.

Of course, this means that all I need to do is finish off my Doctor and his companions and the next AAR can be played! Hooray!

However, as June is Forgotten Heroes month, this may delay it. But my characters (yes, I’m doing more than one) are relatively simple, so there is a possibility that the next instalment of my Doctor Who adventure will be here before you know it!

Join me next week, when I reveal who I’ve chosen as the subject of Forgotten Heroes month and remember, it’s still not too late to join in – go here for full details.

Father of the Daleks

As the first half of the week had been ridiculously busy and rather stressful, I decided that I would dedicate the whole of Thursday evening to ‘hobby-time’, in order to actually get something done this week and to de-stress, as I find concentrating on painting, creating or playing does relax me.

So, I set up my painting station on the dining table and looked over what was currently in the painting queue, to try and work out what would be the most constructive use of my time. Obviously, as the Doctor Who Project rolls ever onwards, everything currently in the queue is related to this.

First up were my scratch-built Ogri, last seen here. They were almost done, but needed some dry-brushing and the bases painted in. They’re not quite done yet, but a bit further on than they were last time:

Looks like UNIT are investigating the recent spate of deaths near Boscombe Moor – I wonder if they’ve given blood recently…

Next up were some figures I’d based and decided to give a white undercoat:

So, we have the Movie, Fourth and Fifth Doctors, accompanied by Aggedor, the Monster of Peladon and two cyclopean aliens, which were a kind gift from Roger Webb of Ranting from Under the Wargames Table, from his own range of figures which, up until recently, were available from Wargames Supply Dump. These make ideal Doctor Who monsters, so were added to the painting queue.

And because I needed to get my protagonists for my next Doctor Who AAR painted up, the two characters I based last week were undercoated and given a bit of colour, as was my Third Doctor figure.

“But hang on, Jez,” I hear you cry, “You said that you had the whole of Thursday evening – even if you’re a ridiculously slow painter, you should have got a lot more done than just this…”

My reply would be to agree with you completely. Personally, I blame this chap:

Image result for heroclix psion

This is Psion, from the Teen Titans Heroclix subset, which I recently acquired as part of Blue Rat Games order. As they were having one of their seasonal 25% off sales and I needed some conversion fodder for next month’s Forgotten Heroes, he was included in the order as I had specific plans for this obscure DC villain…

As regular readers will know, whilst I have several incarnations of the Doctor, some recently drafted companions and quite a few iconic Who villians, one thing I don’t currently own is a 28mm version of Davros. Black Tree Designs did make a figure of him, but it appears that the mold has been retired, as when I ordered my Daleks, Davros was not available. I am aware that Warlord Games do intend to release the most recent version of Davros along with some of the Time War version of the Daleks, but this will be their preferred scale of 35mm, which means that he’ll be too bloody big…

So, in true Carrion Crow style, I decided to make my own. As I had already saved an unassembled Dalek from the patrol set with a vague idea of doing this, all I needed was a suitable torso – which is where Psion came in.

Looking at various pictures online, I decided that I wasn’t going to go for an exact version of Davros, as trying to match the exact shape of his control deck would be extremely fiddly and frustrating, so I raided my ‘box of bits’ for suitable parts, ending up with three GW plastic shields and a comm-unit. These were cut down to size, dry-fitted, adjusted a bit more, then glued into place, and with tiny screams of “I can’t feel my legs…”, Psion’s torso was attached. And this was the result:

Now, at this stage, he doesn’t quite look like the classic era version of this character, as Davros usually wears clothing that appears to be made from a bin-liner, rather than an orange jumpsuit, so out came the paints. After an undercoat of white, followed by an initial coat of Elf Grey, we ended up with this:

Certainly looks a bit more Davros-like now, doesn’t he? I did consider adding some fuse wire to create Davros’ head frame, but decided this would be too fiddly, so will probably paint these details on. And to give an idea of how he scales up with my classic grey Daleks, here he is with a couple of his ‘children’:

So, now you can see why I may not have got as much painted as I could have, but I hope you’ll agree it was time well spent.

Before I sign off for this week, another quick reminder that Forgotten Heroes is creeping ever closer. We’ve had a good response so far, with the majority of those who took part last year also planning to take part this year – with the addition of a few new faces. Still plenty of time to ‘sign up’ if you’re interested in a bit of fun, with the full details of what you need to do to take part available on the ‘official’ Forgotten Heroes site.

Next week, the Doctor Who project continues…but only ‘Who’ knows what will feature.

Welcome to Easy Street

Having spent so long concentrating on getting my pumpkin patch ‘just right’, as can be seen in my last post, this left me a little bit spent in regards to what to post next, as the majority of the other projects for the ongoing ‘Long Halloween’ required a bit more time than I had available.

Yes, I could have posted pictures of the half-painted Black Pharaoh and his Scarab Warriors or the Pumpkin King or the ‘sorcerer supreme’ of the Liberty Force universe, but they weren’t really in a fit state to be shown. So, in order to have something to post, I needed something quick and simple.

Now, in my first post regarding my pumpkin patch build, I mentioned that I wanted some 12″ modular gaming tiles and that I had plans for the remaining three self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles from the pack I bought from Poundland. I think you can see where I’m going with this…

So, this week I will be showing you how to create a good-looking 12″ modular gaming tile of a city street for less than £1.00. Yes, you read that correctly – the material components for this cost me less than a quid!

Let us begin…

So, in the picture above, you will see the materials I used for this ‘build’. We have a pack of self adhesive vinyl floor tiles from Poundland, 4 for £1.00 and as we will only be using one of these, the running total is 25p so far. To the right of the picture we have a pack of Poundland wet & dry assorted sandpaper, 16 sheets for £1.00. We only need one sheet of this, so we add another 6.25p, call it 7p, to our running total, which makes 32p. Our final component is a foam sheet in light grey from Hobbycraft at 55p each. We only need one of these as well, so the grand total for our components is 87p – see, less than a quid, like I said.

Now, the first thing I discovered during this project is that both packaging and labels lie.  The packaging for the sandpaper implies that the sheets are the same length as the tiles, i.e. 12″. Similarly, the label on the shelf at Hobbycraft states that the foam sheets are 30cm on their longest side. Both of these are incorrect, which meant I had to rethink my assembly.

The second thing I discovered was that cheap sandpaper does shed everywhere, so if you’re planning on using it for anything, make sure that your work area is covered and that you have a cloth on hand, as the sand gets on everything.

Having done some planning and sketches beforehand, I had established that for my first ‘test’ piece, I was going to make a straight road 6″ wide, with two 3″ pavements either side. So, I needed enough sandpaper to cover a 6″ by 12″ area for the road and enough foam to cover two 3″ by 12″ areas for the pavements. A bit of measuring and marking with pencil and we ended up with these bits:

The white square beneath the ‘bits’ is the reverse of the floor tile, with the backing paper still on.

Next, after removing the backing paper, revealing the glue, I carefully attached the two ‘road’ parts, ensuring they were centrally located. I then took each pair of ‘pavement’ parts and stuck these either side of the ‘road’. As the glue is already on the tile and is of uniform thickness, it was quick, simple and mess free. And this is what it looked like at that stage:

Actually, I was a little further on in the picture above and forgot to take an interim photo. The next stage, as you’ve probably gathered, was to use a standard HB pencil, not too sharp, to score lines into the foam to create the paving slabs. As my steel rule is exactly an inch wide, I decided to go for inch squares. As you can see in the picture above, once you’ve drawn your lines, you can’t actually see the join between the two separate pieces of foam which make up the top pavement.

However, the line between the two pieces of sandpaper is pretty obvious, due to the fact that the edges of the paper show. The other problem is that the sandpaper is still shedding crap everywhere. And the pavements are a bit too clean.  The next stage solves all of these problems in one fell swoop.

As the sandpaper was a little too black for blacktop and the pavements were a little too light, I mixed equal amounts of Docrafts Light Grey and Black and watered it down until I had a dark grey wash, which I liberally painted over the whole tile. This tones down the black sandpaper, covers any cut edges that can be seen and dirties up the foam.

However, a couple of issues with this. Until it dries, the wash will easily come off the foam, so try not to touch it until it dries. Secondly, cheap wet and dry sandpaper, when sodden, will start to lift in places and if pushed back down, will leave your fingertips covered in what looks like soot. The best thing to do is retain the backing paper and place this shiny side down on the sandpaper part only, then load it with heavy books of similar. This won’t leave an entirely ‘smooth’ surface, but what road is without some kind of imperfections? Once dry, the end result looks something like this:

As you can see, the wash has dried patchily, with some areas darker than other on both the road surface and pavement. The break between the two individual pieces of sand paper can still be seen, but is not so obvious and just looks like they’ve cut this part of the road and relaid the tarmac. And other than the drying time, the whole thing took less than an hour including painting. For 87p…

Now, the advantage of these materials is that they’re inexpensive, easily available and with a little bit of time and effort, give pretty good results. I’ve not put any road marking on yet, but a simple card stencil and a cheap sponge is all it would take to add whatever markings suit your roads. As the foam and the sandpaper are different thicknesses, you also get a definite ‘curb’ without it being too much, like the MDF pavements I’ve seen for sale. This can be seen in the picture below:

Yes, that is a scratch-built fire hydrant and yes, I will be showing you how I made it in a future post.

Finally, I thought I’d show you what it looks like with a bit of scenery and a couple of figures on it. As I’ve not only failed to finish the shop-fitting of my Cupid Burgers restaurant (see here for details), but also been repeatedly using the phrase ‘Long Halloween’ without permission, it was inevitable that Batman would turn up. However, as the Batmobile was having its MOT, he had to get a cab. With violence in his eyes, he paid the cabbie and stalked towards me shouting “Someone’s about to be Bat-tered!”

Sometimes, Batman is a bit of a Dick.

Luckily for me, Spider-man showed up, so whilst they were trading quips and scowls, I bid a hasty retreat.

That’s all for this week. Next week, we’ll be back on track with more spooky shenanigans, as the Long Halloween continues.

No Evil Shall Escape My Sight…

A little bit of an announcement before we launch into this week’s Noctober post – I was originally intending to complete all my Halloween-themed painting by the end of October and then join Michael Awdry of 28mm Victorian Warfare fame in Dinovember this year.

However, I’m having a bit too much fun with Noctober this year, so I’m declaring it a “Long Halloween”, which will last as long as I have figures to paint and scenery to build (Sorry, Michael…). So, to paraphrase the tagline from the Jurassic Park novel, “In the future, there will be dinosaurs…just not next month”.

So, what can you expect during my Long Halloween? More supernatural superheroes and villains, more creepy critters suitable for “Scooby-Doo” style games, more Ghostbusters, and some inexpensive scratch-built scenery suitable for all types of horror games. It’s going to be a lot of fun for me and hopefully for all of you too.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

This week the intention was to complete the final two members of the Night Brigade and their arch-nemesis, the techno-witch known as Spectra. And I did manage to do this. However, upon reviewing the figures prior to their photo-call, I was not entirely happy with the paint jobs for Nocturne and Spectra. As there was not enough time to repaint them prior to posting, their debut has been postponed until such time as I’m satisfied with them.

Luckily, the final figure of the trio I was intending to post about more than makes up for the lack of female company, so without further ado, let me introduce you to the most recent recruit to the Night Brigade, the costumed vigilante known as…Jack O’Lantern.

The base figure for this character is a Marvel Heroclix Jack O’Lantern, from the Sinister subset. The Marvel Jack O’Lantern first appeared in 1981 as a foe of Machine Man in issue #19 of his own title and was (and still is) a bit of a second-string villain. However, he does have one of the coolest costumes ever, so when I saw that Baron Von J of The Baron’s Blog had used this particular figure as a Golden Age superhero, I decided to pinch this idea myself.

Whilst I do try to give my own superhero characters ‘original’ names (or at least the same name as obscure superheroes and villains), as DC Comics also has a character named Jack O’Lantern (first appearance Super Friends #8 in 1977), my self-imposed “rules” meant that I could use the same name without any issues.

I decided to repaint the original figure, as whilst the pre-paint was quite good, with a little bit of effort, it could be better. I’d also deliberately saved some translucent orange plastic beads from when my daughter was clearing out her ‘kiddie stuff’,  to give my version of Jack O’Lantern a bit more armament. Each bead had a small length of gardening/florist’s wire (thin wire wrapped in green paper) glued in as stalks, and then each completed ‘pumpkin bomb’ was glued into his already open hands.

As he was originally on a standard Heroclix flight stand, I had to trim the peg off, then make a new hole in the base of the “pogo platform” (Marvel’s name for it – not mine), so I could mount it on a proper flight stand.

Whilst it was a relatively simple re-paint, with the addition of a bit more kit, I’m really pleased with how he came out.

And here’s one final picture, giving a criminal eye’s view of Jack O’Lantern, just before he unleashes his explosive brand of justice.

That’s all for this week, but join me for the next episode of Carrion Crow’s Long Halloween, where we will be building some Halloween-themed scenery that Linus would be proud to call his own. Beagles are optional.

All Hallow’s Evil

Whilst the shambling dead are taking their rightful place on blogs across the Internet during what most bloggers know as Zomtober 2016, here at the Buffet we like to do things a bit differently…

So, welcome to week two of Noctober, where I will be completing (where possible) figures that have been assigned to various supernatural projects.

Last week I introduced you to the first three members of the Night Brigade, my team of supernatural protectors in the Liberty Force universe (my own superhero universe).

The intention of the preceding week was to complete the final four members, but one required re-basing and the other needed more work than I had time to complete, so this week you get two more members of the Night Brigade and a supernatural villain, who may bedevil the Night Brigade, terrify Enigma Investigations or end up facing the Ghostbusters. I like multi-use figures…

Many cultures have myths or legends of water spirits, such as the Rhinemaidens, nereids, Jenny Greenteeth or Vodianoi, Strangely, the majority of these tend to have female characteristics, as does the member of the Night Brigade known as Undine. Some say that ‘she’ was once a marine biologist who was involved in an industrial accident, reborn as a being of animate water with no memory of her previous life. Others say that Doc Kraken used the Conch of Poseidon to summon one of his many daughters to serve him. The truth is unknown, but since joining the Night Brigade, Undine has proved her worth against the myriad foes they have faced.  

The base figure for Undine is Solstice, from the DC Heroclix Teen Titans subset. I have no idea who this character actually is, but as the model was both nicely sculpted, appeared to be translucent and was only 29p, she was snapped up for a potential ghost figure for my Ghostbusters project.

However, when she arrived, it turned out that she wasn’t as translucent as I first thought. A chance comment from a friend saying that he thought the figure would make a good dryad led me down the path of elementals and thus was Undine born.

After re-basing her, I used Milliput to blend her into the base a bit more, then she got a base coat of Goblin Green and her ‘hair’ was painted Woodland Green. A wash of Salamander Green was then followed with a liberal dry-brushing with Rotting Flesh. A relatively simple, yet effective, paint job.

The heroine now known as Catspaw was once a dabbler in the Dark Arts. However, when attempting to make a pact with one of the Dark Powers, the being in question took her request a little too literally and she was merged with her familiar, creating a being with the knowledge and features of a human woman, but the feral nature, fur and abilities of a feline. Now an outcast, Catspaw joined Doc Kraken in his crusade, hoping at some point to reverse her transformation. 

Another DC Heroclix figure, this one Cheetah from the Cosmic Justice subset. This is probably the most feral looking of the Heroclix Cheetah figures and when I saw it I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.

Another relatively straightforward paint job – base coat of Marine Dark Blue, followed by a coat of Blue Ink on her body and Black Ink on her hair. Eyes were painted in with Bogey Green, then the pupils with Chaos Black.

Our final figure for this week is a character I have dubbed Samhain.

In a change from the other two, this is actually a Dreamblade figure, specifically the Knight of Autumn Gate (whatever that means). The figure came with a slightly silly looking flaming sword in its right hand, so this was removed and it was re-based. The armour was initially painted with Chainmail, followed by Brown Ink. The head was painted Sunburst Yellow, then Pumpkin Orange, with the stalk being Goblin Green. The whole figure was then given a wash in Bogey Green, with additional high-lights of both Sunburst Yellow and Pumpkin Orange on the head, where the Bogey Green was a bit too green.

And I now have a particularly well-armoured personification of Halloween in the form of Samhain, Demon of the Gourd.

And to give you some idea of scale, here’s a group shot with our two lovely ladies going up against the armoured squash.

And that’s all for this week. Next week, I will hopefully be posting the final two members of the Night Brigade and one of their foes. And a group shot of all seven members.

And for the final week of Noctober? Hopefully something a little more…Peanuts?!

Monsters Unleashed!

October is once again upon us, which means that the cry of “Braiinnnsss!!!” will be echoing around the internet, as blogs become ‘all things zombie’ for the month they dub Zomtober

Once again, I will not be taking part. Whilst I do love October because it is the ‘Season of the Witch’ (and also the month of my birth), which means that the shops are decked out in black and orange and filled with Halloween goodies, I have to admit that I haven’t really ever been into to zombie gaming. So no ‘cold meats’ at the Buffet this month…

However, as with last year where we went all ‘Scooby-Doo’, I shall be  celebrating in my own unique style.

The Midnight Sons, the Legion of Monsters, the Howling Commandoes, the B.P.R.D., the Trenchcoat Brigade – nearly every comic book universe has a group of supernaturally powered individuals who have banded together to protect the world from arcane and mystical threats. Whilst some of these are practitioners of magic, for the most part, those who hunt the night are considered monsters themselves, such as Man-Thing, Werewolf-by-Night, the Living Mummy, Morbius the Living Vampire and Ghost Rider.

Inspired in part by the Amalgam comic Dr. Strangefate, in which the good doctor employed supernatural agents to do his bidding and the Tangent Comics title Nightwing, I decided that my own comic book universe required a team of ‘Accursed’ heroes, essentially monsters who have banded together to fight the real monsters of this world. Thus was born…The Night Brigade.

The Night Brigade has seven members, but only three of the seven have previously been finished, so during Noctober, I shall be completing the remaining four, and probably their main adversary, the techno-witch known as Spectra. As the majority of them are almost done, there may be time near the end of the month to paint up the figures I’ve found to represent Dr. Fettle and DC Slobotham from the classic 1966 movie Carry on Screaming!

So, without further ado, let’s introduce the first three members of the Night Brigade…

First up we have the founder and leader of the Night Brigade, known as Doc Kraken. This particular hero has been fighting against the rising tide of darkness, since his unfortunate encounter with cultists lurking in Egyptian catacombs in 1925, which resulted in his deformity and his virtual immortality.

This particular figure was from the Chaos in Cairo range and came as part of a double-pack with a character called Husk. This figure was called Shaitan, and within the background of the game I believe he(?) may have been some kind of mutated cultist. However, the figure just screamed weird pulp hero to me – who doesn’t want a tentacle-faced hero armed with a machine gun?

Realising that he would need allies to continue the fight against creatures that would prey on humankind and those that sought to break through the barriers between our reality and their own, Doc Kraken chanced across a clay jar securely fastened with the Seal of Solomon. After some research, he broke the seal and gained the services of the entity which came to be known as Djinn.

This is a Reaper Clay Golem from their Dark Heavens Legends range, which is also available from their Bones line. I’ve had the miniature for quite a while, as when I first started superhero gaming, their wasn’t a great deal of choice, so you had to make do with figures from other ranges. This was my ‘Hulk’ proxy at one point, although he was a radioactive purple previously and known as The Behemoth. However, needing some muscle for the Night Brigade and inspired by the sand golems from the 2011 Conan the Barbarian movie, he was repainted as though made from sand.

It is alleged that the vigilante known as the Wraith was once a crusading lawyer, who angered a gangland lord and was gunned down in cold blood. Now, when the moon is dark, his spirit rises up and continues his crusade for justice from beyond the grave – or so it is said.

This figure, converted from a Heroclix Black Panther from the Infinity Challenge set, has appeared on this blog before, but as he’s now part of the gang, I felt justified in showing him again. A relatively simple conversion, which was just a case of removing his ‘ears’, then a suitable repaint.

And here are the first three members of the Night Brigade together, in a suitably ‘Charlie’s Angels’ kind of pose.

That’s all for this week. Next week more super-powered supernatural protectors, as I hope to introduce you to the final four members of the Night Brigade – Catspaw, Jack O’Lantern, Nocturne and Undine.