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.

Way of the Crow – Part Three

The supplicant had returned to the House of Crows, for whilst Master Crow had taught him much, he felt that was much more to learn.

Entering the shadowy interior of the dojo, the supplicant was alarmed to see Master Crow lying face down on his tatami, surrounded by empty Guinness cans. Moving closely, he noted that Master Crow was snoring gently and a musty smell, reminiscent of dusty feathers. As he stepped closer still, he accidentally kicked one of the cans, sending it skittering across the floor. Master Crow immediately sat bolt upright, his eyes staring, although not completely in focus. Turning his head, he stared at the supplicant and said a single word…

“Oonagi.”

Gathering himself, Master Crow shrewdly looked the supplicant up and down. “I am assuming that you have returned to learn more of the Way of the Crow, yes?” The supplicant nodded.

“Master Crow,” the supplicant said nervously, “do you have a drinking problem?”

“Very perceptive, young Padawan.,” answered Master Crow, “I do indeed – my beak is not designed to sup from cans, so I must use…a straw.”

“But enough of the burdens I labour under, it is time for you to learn. Let us begin…”

Welcome back to the third part of my home-brew skirmish rules, currently known as Karasudo or The Way of the Crow. In Part One, I discussed my ‘design philosophy’ and detailed how to stat up characters. In Part Two, I explained weapon skills and gave a brief overview of the main rules and discussed melee combat. Now it’s time to get…crunchy.

Karasudo – The Power of One

No matter how lucky you are, or how good your dice-rolling skills are, there will be occasions that you will roll an unmodified 1 on a d10. This is a Bad Thing, for not only have you reduced the chances that you will succeed in whatever endeavour your character is attempting, in Karasudo it also signifies that your ancestors have forsaken you and something Bad has happened.

This may sound familiar to some and, to be honest, I may have appropriated this idea from the Ghostbusters RPG published by West End Games. This was a d6 based system, which was the precursor of the d6 system utilised in the original Star Wars RPG and used on nearly every game published by West End Games afterwards. When rolling a number of d6’s in the game, one of these dice had to be the ‘Ghost Die’, which had the 1 replaced by the Ghostbusters symbol. If a character rolled this, even if they rolled high enough to succeed, something Bad would happen. If a ghost or other supernatural foe rolled the ‘ghost’, then something Good happened – for the entity. Either way, rolling a ‘Ghost’ was detrimental to the players.

As I liked this concept, I originally integrated this into the missile combat system, whereby rolling a 1 usually meant that the missile weapon had failed in some way – the roll may still have been a success and hit the target, but the weapon was now jammed or broken, and would require a couple of Actions to fix. Not such a problem when supported by other characters, but if you’re pinned down in a mall clothing store by advancing zombies, having your SMG jam at an inappropriate moment can be a little hairy…

So, rather than restrict it to just missile combat, it has now been applied to any dice roll. You roll an unmodified 1 and something detrimental happens. Obviously, depending on what the roll is for, depends on what actually happens, so I’ll break it down by types of roll.

Initiative – Should a player roll an unmodified 1 when rolling for Initiative, not only do they lose the opportunity to go first, one of their characters will not be able to activate this turn. This will usually be the character with the lowest Awareness score or, if more than one character has the same lowest score, the figure furthest from the designated leader. This represents a combination of garbled instructions from the leader and the character in question not paying attention. He’s probably seen a squirrel or something…

If the player who lost the Initiative roll only has one character or model in play, then that character will only activate after the winner of the Initiative has activated all their models. Should have been paying attention, shouldn’t he…

Melee Combat – If a character rolls an unmodified 1 for an Attack Roll during Melee combat, even if they succeed in hitting their target, they’ve managed to disarm themselves. The must now use an alternative equipped weapon (if they have one) or spend their next Action attempting to retrieve it, which is something their opponent may not allow.

If a character rolls an unmodified 1 for an Attack Roll during Unarmed combat, even if they succeed in hitting their target, they immediately lose 1 Health point. This represents a particularly cack-handed attack, such as punching someone right in the armour.

The same rules apply if the character rolls an unmodified 1 for a Defence roll – if Melee combat, they are disarmed of their weapon or shield (controlling player’s choice) and if in Unarmed combat, they take an additional 1 Health point of damage, over and above any they may have received from the attack itself. In the latter case, even if the character managed to soak the damage caused by their opponent’s Attack roll via Vigour and Armour, they would still receive a single point of damage.

As I will be discussing Missile Combat further down, I will explain what an unmodified roll of 1 signifies in that section.

Movement

As previously explained, a character can move a number of Units equal to their Agility score for each Action expended on movement. However, this only applied to Clear terrain, such as grass, pavements, roads, etc. Terrain is divided into three categories – Clear, Rough and Impassable.

Clear terrain, as described above, constitutes flat, even terrain, where there are no obstacles in impede movement and therefore has no penalty to a character movement across it.

Rough terrain constitutes terrain that does impede movement, such as shallow water, thick mud, swamps, marshes or ground that is littered with a large amount of stones or gnarled tree roots. When passing through Rough terrain, a character can only move half their Agility score in Units. However, this only applies to the area of Rough terrain itself.

To give an example of how this works, a character has an Agility of 4 and can therefore move 4 Units per Action. The character could therefore move 2 Units across Clear terrain, but when entering Rough terrain would have their remaining movement allowance reduced by half, meaning that they could only move a further 1 Unit through the Rough terrain before halting. On their next Action, as the Rough terrain continues for a further 2 Units, they could only move 2 Units (4/2 = 2).

There are certain Abilities that a character may have that allow them to move their full movement through Rough terrain or ignore it altogether, which will be discussed when we get to the post about Abilities.

To keep things easy, Rough terrain also includes vertical surfaces, but with an additional complication. Each vertical surface, be it a tree, cliff face or building will have a Difficulty rating, depending on how easy it is to scale. Any character attempting to scale the vertical surface will need to roll 1d10 plus their Agility score and get higher than the Difficulty rating. If they succeed, they may move half their Agility score in Units vertically for each Action expended. Each further vertical movement Action necessary to reach the top of whatever they’re climbing requires a further roll. A success means a further vertical movement of half their Agility, a failure means they remain where they are and an unmodified 1 means they’ve fallen, automatically taking 1 Health point of damage for each Unit fallen. It doesn’t matter how tough you are or how much armour you’ve got on – if you fall, you’re gonna get hurt.

As with horizontal Rough terrain, there are Abilities that will make scaling vertical surfaces easier or prevent falling altogether.

Impassable terrain is just that – terrain that cannot be passed on foot. This may be deep or swiftly flowing water, molten lava, very dense vegetation or solid structures, such as walls or buildings. However, what may be Impassable to an average character, may only be considered Rough terrain to others. Certain types of Impassable terrain will have a Vigour rating, meaning that a character which has a Vigour score equal to or greater than the Vigour score of the Impassable terrain can treat it as Rough terrain.

So, if the Impassable terrain was a fierce and swiftly flowing river with a Vigour rating of 6, an average human with a Vigour of 3 would immediately get swept away by the torrent. However, an Oni, with a Vigour score of 8 would be able to force their way through the river, although at half their normal movement score. The same would apply to dense vegetation.

Buildings and structures are treated slightly differently. Whilst they will have a Vigour rating, they will also have a Health score. This represents how much damage the structure or part of the structure can take before being breached. A character makes an Attack roll as normal, adding any modifiers and deducting the Vigour rating (and any other defensive modifiers) of the structure. The end result is how many ‘Health’ points the structure has lost. Once these have been reduced to zero, the structure has been breached and any character can now go through the breach created. Particular weak structures, such as paper walls or thin wooden panelling will obviously be easier to breach than solid stone. However, if you roll an unmodified 1 when attempting breach a structure, you have either broken your weapon or got it jammed into the material from which the structure is made, so it now unusable for the remainder of the game. If you’re attempting to breach a structure using an Unarmed attack (suggested only for weak structures or very Vigourous characters), an unmodified 1 results in automatically receiving 1 Health point of damage. Unless you’re the Hulk, don’t try to punch your way through a wall.

As with the other types of terrain, there are Abilities that allow you to ignore Impassable terrain, such as Intangibility of Flight.

Missile Combat

Missile combat in the majority of rules I’ve read is pretty complicated, with modifiers for range, the time of day, the weapon being used and then there’s the headache of recording how much ammunition has been expended, ad infinitum. So, I’ve attempted to make it as simple as possible, because all that faffing about annoys me.

Unlike Melee weapons, which provide a bonus to your damage roll, and Unarmed attacks, which the base damage is based on the Vigour of the attacker, all missile weapons have a fixed damage they can do, which is expressed as a Vigour rating. So a Matchlock Rifle has a Vigour rating of 5, or V5. Similarly, every missile weapon has a Range, which is the number of Units the weapon can be used within. This is typically double the Vigour rating of the weapon, so our Matchlock Rifle would have a Range of 10, or R10. The shorthand way of recording this under Abilities is as follows:

Matchlock Rifle (V5/R10)

Typically, missile weapons cost their combined Vigour and Range, unless they can only be used every other Action. So, whilst the Matchlock Rifle above should have a points cost of 15, as it has to be reloaded after every shot, it cost half (rounded up) in points, so 8 points. Weapons that can be used every Action, such as automatic weapons or bows, cost their combined Vigour and Range. To show what I mean, I’ll list some typical Oriental weapons and their costs:

Shuriken (V3/R6) – 9 points

Matchlock Pistol (V4/R8) – 6 points

Longbow (V5/R10) – 15 points

Matchlock Rifle (V5/R10) – 8 points

Okay, so strictly speaking an archer does need to reload each shot, but this is just a case of pulling another arrow from his quiver, rather than loading powder, shot, etc. so he’s going to be a lot quicker.

To make a missile attack follows the same process as attacking in melee, so Agility plus Marksmanship plus 1d10. However, you have to take into account whether your target is in range and you can actually see them – this is what is known as Line of Sight.

So, we’ve established that there are no range modifiers, so a character with a Matchlock Rifle can shoot at any opposing character within 10 Units of them. However, if they can’t see them, they can’t shoot at them. There are three categories that apply to Line of Sight – No Cover, Partial Cover and Full Cover.

If the attacking character can see the opposing character with nothing impeding their view, it counts as No Cover – so you roll as normal.

If the attacking character cannot see the opposing character at all, it counts as Full Cover and they can’t shoot at them.

Pretty simple so far.

However, Partial Cover is where it gets a bit crunchy, but still relatively simple. If the attacking character can see the opposing character, but they are partially obscured by anything else, such as a low wall, vegetation of anything else on the battlefield, they are considered to have Partial Cover. The attacking character adds their Agility score and any relevant modifiers (such as Marksmanship) and then halves this amount. They then make their standard 1d10 roll and adds this to their base Attack roll. The defender rolls their Defence roll as normal and the result follows the standard rules for success or failure.

So, say we have an Ashigaru with an Agility of 3 and Marksmanship of +1, armed with a Matchlock Rifle. We’ve established that his target is within 10 Units and in Partial Cover. Therefore the base roll for the attacker will be Agility + Marksmanship divided by 2, which is 2. We roll our d10 and get a 6, giving a total of 8. The target has an Agility of 3 and rolls a 4, meaning that we’ve beaten the target’s score by 1. Add this 1 to the base damage of 5, means that the target could potentially take 6 health points of damage. Our target has a Vigour of 2, a Health of 4 and no Armour. we deduct the Vigour score of the target from our 6 damage, meaning 4 points got through and as he only had 4 Health points – Boom! – he’s dead.

So, as you can see, a lot simpler than most missile combat.

Of course, we still have to take into account the dreaded unmodified 1. For missile weapons that require reloading every other Action, an unmodified 1 means the weapon has become jammed and will require 2 Actions to un-jam. For weapons that don’t require reloading every other round,  an unmodified 1 means that the character is out of ammunition and needs to ‘reload’, which takes 1 Action. I know this is not particularly realistic, but it does work and saves a lot of book-keeping.

Right, that’s all for this instalment. If you have any questions or think that a particular part could be clearer or needs more explanation, please feel free to provide feedback and comments.

Forgotten Heroes – Final Issue! (For now…)

When I first conceived the idea of ‘Forgotten Heroes’ back in April, my initial idea was that it would be a bit of fun for people who don’t usually get involved in this sort of thing – no pressure, no ‘competition’ – just a group of like-minded individuals all having a go at making figures of characters that the commercial companies haven’t got around to yet. Little did I know it would prove so popular!

I would just like to personally thank Roger Webb of Rantings from Under the Wargames Table fame, without who we would not have had a central site to display the hard work, ingenuity and inventiveness of those who’ve taken part. If you’ve yet to visit the site, go there now and marvel at the cornucopia of characters  created!

Right, having had some additional hobby time available this week, I’ve managed to complete my three ‘Forgotten Heroes’ and a certain side project I’ve been working on…

So, my ‘Extra Credit’ Forgotten Hero was Stegron the Dinosaur Man, who I made from a Godzilla collectible miniature released to coincide with the 2014 film of the same name. All I needed to do to finish him was paint his base, so not  a lot different from last time we saw him.

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Yes, it’s a big orange lizard…wearing jewelry. I think he’s come out very well and matches the most recent depictions of the character.

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Not someone I’d want to meet in a dark alley…

Next was Super-Soldier, from the DC/Marvel crossover ‘company’ Amalgam Comics, who is an amalgamation of Captain America and Superman. This was originally a Heroclix Captain Atom, who I gave a belt, fancy boots and a shield to.

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Whilst the conversion work was minimal, I’d forgotten that the details of his costume included painting a white star on his chest and back, red and white stripes around his mid-riff and the iconic ‘S’ shield, which took a lot of concentration and a steady hand.

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I’m pretty happy that I’ve managed to capture the look of the character, but have just remembered that I failed to paint the straps on the rear of his shield, which luckily you can’t see in the photos above. Might need to get the paints back out…

Finally, we have the Man of Peel himself, Nutty comic’s Bananaman, who was created from a Heroclix Bizarro. This figure required the most conversion, as I had to shave his head, trim his cape, add banana boots and gloves and sculpt his cowl.

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As you can see, he now has his red ‘B’ belt buckle and the banana skin lines on his gloves, boots and cape.

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Given that I was quite worried about whether he would end up looking like he was supposed to, I think I’ve managed to pull it off and now have a one-of-a-kind Bananaman figure. Which is pretty cool.

And to finish with, here’s a group shot of all three figures.

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So, my work on ‘Forgotten Heroes’ draws to a close…until next time. As this was so popular, it will definitely return at some point…I’ve still got several figures I want to do, but have other fish to fry over the next couple of months.

Talking of frying…I have also finished the Jwar Islands ‘Cupid Burgers’ franchise, which sounds more impressive than what it actually is, which is a cart and a grill.

This was a side project for Andy of da Gobbo’s Grotto, who has been beavering away at populating his gaming table with factions and terrain to play games of GCT Studios Bushido. But he hadn’t made a burger cart and grill, so I offered to make him one. And here it is:

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The cart was looking a little bare, so I added some decoration along the side, and a couple of hunks of meat hanging from the cart, as the burgers have to be made from something, right? And you would also need to slice the meat, so there are a couple of knives on the cart.

Here’s another shot of the side of the cart, showing the decorations a bit more clearly;

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I built the cart separately and was intending on attaching it to the scenic base, but decided it would be more useful as a separate piece. Here’s the scenic base, with completed grill:

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As you can see, the flag is in place, but this is also removable, for ease of transportation and storage. The grill itself has been put into place, which unfortunately covers the work I spent on the charcoal – making sure it looked right and was the right colour – but what can you do? As you can see, we have two burgers cooking away – looking pretty much done to me – and a kama resting next to the grill, to discourage those who want a burger for free.

And when you put it all together, it looks like this:

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Andy has already hired a feisty Oriental cook to man the grill, so all that needs to be done is for the above to be packaged up and sent winging its way down to him. Looks like the Jwar Islands Cupid Burger stand will be opening soon – down by the docks.

So, as the burger cart and grill is complete and my Heroes are no longer Forgotten, what’s next for the Buffet? Well, having been inspired by Andy’s Bushido posts, I shall be returning to Oriental gaming for July, but Carrion Crow style…

Like the idea of Oriental Fantasy gaming, but your budget cannot currently stretch to buying the rules and miniatures for Bushido? I will be showing you how you can still play the game without shelling out for ANY official products.

AND I will be finally revealing my own set of skirmish rules, which I will be using to run a game in which a Samurai and his retainers attempt to cross a bridge, as an alternative to using the Bushido rules…

AND there will be more Japanese-inspired goodness, as I try my hand at sculpting personalised Chibi-style figures, after some people got a bit excited (and jealous) of this

Bring your chopsticks, as it’s an Oriental Buffet next month!

Super Dinosaur Banana Forgotten Heroes!

Since my mid-week announcement that I was adding another character to my ‘Forgotten Heroes’ roster, I have managed to progress quite well with all three characters. When we last saw Super-Soldier, he looked like this:

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I would just like to say that the quality of this ‘photo is down to the frankly crappy photo-editor App on my phone. The actual photo was in focus, but wasn’t particular close, so I fiddled with it using the App and it ended up looking like this. In future, I will take better pictures.

Anyway, Super-Soldier now looks like this:

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And from the rear:

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So, he just requires some washes and a bit of detailing, including the ‘S’ on his shield, which I’m not looking forward too.

Next, when we last saw Bananaman, he looked like this:

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I was a bit concerned that he didn’t really look like he was supposed to, but colours do make a difference, so a little bit of paint and he now looks like this:

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Certainly looking like he’s supposed to now. And a rear view, showing his split cape;

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I’m pretty pleased with how he’s come out. As with Super-Solidier, he just needs a few washes and some detailing, including a tiny red ‘B’ on his belt buckle.

Now, my last post introduced you to my ‘Extra Credit’ Forgotten Hero’, Stegron the Dinosaur Man, for which I had decided to use this Godzilla collectible figure as a base:

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As I knew not only how I was going to paint this one, but also how I was going to add the extra details to make it truly Stegron, work has progressed well, as you can see below:

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So, as Stegron is a stegosaurus-man, one of the defining attributes of this particular dinosaur is the spinal plates, which the base figure already had. However, The other defining attribute is the tail spikes, which the model didn’t have. So, out came a push pin (a very useful tool for making holes through plastic figures) and two holes were made through big G’s tail. I then inserted two pre-cut and pre-bent lengths of wire paperclip, the ends which I’d filed to points. And we now had the necessary tail spikes.

Now, Stegron also sports a couple of gold bracelets – no idea why. For these, I used the same method I used when creating He-Man’s wristlets way back in July 2015. Taking a cotton-bud stem, which is essentially a thin plastic tube, I cut two sections the length of the bracelets I wanted to create. Once these teeny tiny bits of plastic tube were cut, I then cut the tube length-ways and pried them open. I then clipped these two ‘bracers’ to Stegron’s wrists, adjusted them so they were in the right place, and then glued them. Then I painted him, as can be seen from the pictures above and below;

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I think he’s come out rather well. He just needs his base tidying up a bit and he’s done.

That’s all for Forgotten Heroes, but as I’ve also been working on Andy’s burger cart and grill for his Bushido games, I thought I really ought to show my progress so far with it.

Whilst it has mainly been painting, I did ask whether Andy wanted the ‘flag’ to be in English or Japanese Kanji – he obviously went for Kanji, so I had to do a bit of Internet research to find the appropriate ones. The model below is assembled for photographic purposes only, as the flag is a separate piece which plugs into a socket on the base and the cart is actually a separate piece too, as this made it easier to paint;

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So, the top two kanji are for ‘beef’, the third one is for ‘bread’ and the heart is the corporate symbol of Cupid Burgers, as are the beautiful shades of pink!

The cart requires some decoration, as it’s a little bare at present, the grill needs another coat of Linen, then the necessary symbols added. The actual grill itself, which will sit on top of the cylindrical base, still needs painting and adding, but I need to finish off the charcoal coals first. Then just comes a few bits and bobs to finish it off, such as burgers, buns and maybe some cooking utensils.

So, everything appears to be progressing well and looks like it will all be finished by the end of June – unless I have another ‘brilliant idea’ and decide to do another character…

Forgotten Heroes – Extra Credit

Even though I went off at a tangent last week and built Andy from Da Gobbo’s Grotto a burger cart and grill for his Bushido games, I am well on my way to completing my two pledged ‘Forgotten Heroes’ – Super-Soldier and Bananaman.

Having slapped some base colours on both figures, I am happy that Bananaman does not require any further trimming of his banana ‘horns’, as once the paint was on they looked fine. However, referring to my copy of Super-Soldier #1, I realised that my version needs a haircut, as his mask cover the back of his head, so I need to file down his hair before applying the next coat of paint. However, you will have to wait until the weekend for pictures of that…

As I have some extra time, which is always a blessing when it comes to hobby stuff, and everyone else seems to be either further ahead than me or producing more characters (for details of their progress, check out the official Forgotten Heroes site), I thought I’d try an earn some ‘extra credit’ by doing an additional figure. I did have a couple of potential back-up figures, but the first I’m still not entirely sure how to do and the second I wasn’t particularly enthused about.

Luckily, an additional figure I purchased on a whim when ordering my last batch of ‘clix from Blue Rat Games gave me an idea. A quick bit of online research and I realised that this figure, suitably repainted, would make an ideal proxy for the more recent depictions of this character.

So, the ‘Extra Credit’ character I will be attempting to complete before the end of June, which will especially please Michael Awdry of 28mm Victorian Warfare fame, is…

Stegron, the Dinosaur Man!

Stegron first saw print in Marvel Team-up #19, published in March 1974 and was created by Len Wein and Gil Kane. In his first appearance, Vincent Stegron was hired by S.H.I.E.L.D. to work with Dr. Curt Connors (better known as the Spider-Man foe the Lizard) to analyze dinosaur DNA sourced from the Savage Land. Inspired by the experiment that transformed Dr. Connors into the Lizard, Stegron stole some of this DNA and injected himself with it. As you do. Unsurprisingly, he was then transformed into an orange-skinned dinosaur-man, who was mentally able to control dinosaurs. Transporting several of these to New York from the Savage Land, he planned to take over the world by transforming the human race into dinosaur men like himself. It took the combined efforts of Spider-Man, the Black Panther and Ka-Zar to stop him.

Even though Stegron is very derivative of the Lizard and decidedly funky, he has regularly popped up on many occasions since then, primarily as a foe of Spider-Man, but also acting as the protector of the Savage Land in concert with Ka-Zar on a number of occasions. Initially, his appearance was more stream-lined and human-looking, but more recent depictions show him more bulked out and dinosaur-looking and this is the version that I’m going to try to replicate.

So, what was the additional figure I picked up that will be (hopefully) transformed into Stegron? This one:

This is the 2014 movie version of Godzilla from NECA’s tie-in range of collectible miniatures, specifically the ‘Atomic Breath’ variant. It’s a nicely detailed miniature and cost me a grand total of £2.49, which given that’s it 2″ tall, is a bit of bargain. To give some idea of scale, here he is next to a 28mm HeroScape Spider-Man figure:

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He’s a bit of monster, isn’t he? As you can see, I’ve removed his ‘Atomic Breath’, which was just a case of tugging it free. This has joined my bits box, as I’m sure I’ll find some nefarious use for it. To complete his transformation from iconic Kaiju into orange-hued Spider-Man villain, he ideally needs tail spikes and a couple of bracelets, which all the best ‘dressed’ dinosaur-men are sporting this season. I have some ideas on how to achieve this, but we shall see exactly how successful I am. Other than that, it will be just a case of repainting him.

Join me at the weekend for updates on all three ‘Forgotten Heroes’, as well as a further update on Andy’s burger cart. As Stegron would say “When I’ve got a monster appetite, only Cupid Burgers can satisfy my primal urges.”

 

Forgotten Heroes – Super-Soldier & Bananaman

I blame Andy…

Along with most of my peers, I have been enjoying the regular posts from Andy on his Da Gobbo’s Grotto blog regarding the game Bushido from GCT Studios. Not only has he been beavering away painting up miniatures from the two factions he has chosen, but he has also been producing some lovely scenery, objective markers and ‘control zones.’

Having complimented him on his last such post here, I jokingly said that the only thing he was missing was a “Cupid Burgers” franchise (for more details regarding this purveyor of fast food advertised by a fat winged baby, go here), but given the historical period, this was more likely to be a ‘burger cart’ rather than a building. I then (stupidly) suggested that I ought to make him one. As he got rather excited at this prospect, I felt that I really should actually do so. I get the feeling that letting Andy down is a bit like kicking a puppy…you’ll feel really bad afterwards.

And that’s why I blame Andy…

So, there will be some ‘Forgotten Heroes’ action later in this post, but let’s see what I managed to come up with…

The first thing I did was a little bit of online research, as I felt that I should try to be somewhat historically accurate. Traditionally, the Japanese did not eat a lot of meat, as being an island nation, they had access to rather a lot of fish. Obviously, as we’re inserting a historically inaccurate burger vendor into Edo era Japan, I needed to find out how the vendor would prepare the burgers he was going to be selling. Which led me to this:

This is a shichirin, which is a small portable charcoal grill, typically made from ceramic. They have, apparently, remained largely unchanged since the Edo period and come in a variety of shapes, with cylindrical, square and rectangular being the most common. Basically, it’s what we Brits refer to as a barbecue, but looks so much…cooler.

So, having now worked out how the vendor would cook the burgers, I set out to gather the materials for a little vignette, which would consist of the shichirin, the vendor’s cart and an Uma-jirushi, which were the flags used to identify the daimyo on the field of battle, but which we’re going to use for advertising purposes.

And here’s all the bits…

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So, the black plastic circle will be the base, which is 3″ in diameter; the coffee stirrers will be the shafts of the hand-cart; the toothpicks will be the frame for the flag; the poppers, cup washers and length of paperclip will be the wheels and axle for the cart; and the circular object on the far right will be the shichirin.

But what of the cheap plastic tea strainer and cobblestone sheet, you may ask? Well, a section of the cobblestone sheet will be cut out and inserted into the shichirin below the rim, to create the coals and a section of the tea strainer mesh will become the grill.

Now, sometimes when doing a build like this, what you thought was a brilliant idea doesn’t actually work in practice. I had intended using the thin piece of balsa in the picture above as a curved ‘canopy’ over the base of the cart. However, even though I’d soaked the balsa for a long period of time, it didn’t bend, it snapped. Twice. So I had to re-think. And what I came up with as an alternative I actually prefer, which is a tiled roof supported by bamboo ‘poles’. This is currently what the whole thing looks like;

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The flag pole is removable, with a ‘socket’ in the base, for easy transportation and storage. I just need to paint it up, install the grill and maybe make some teeny-tiny burgers and buns. And then it will be winging its way down to Kent, so Andy’s monks and samurai can get their fill of Cupid Burgers. Andy will be providing his own cook, however…

Right, enough digressing, on with the ‘Forgotten Heroes’…

When we last saw my two base figures, they looked like this:

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For my Super-Soldier, I removed the figure from his Heroclix flight-stand, drilled a hole in a two pence piece the same size as his ‘peg’ and using Milliput, created a scenic base that looks like paving slabs. As the majority of his costume will be created during the painting phase, I just needed to add his boot-tops, shield and belt buckle, as this actually sticks out.

The boot-tops were relatively simple, just Milliput ‘sausages’ wrapped around and then teased into shape, although I did have to prise his legs apart a bit, to allow me to access the whole of his left leg. The shield was cut from a small piece of plasticard and took two attempts to get the shape right and make it symmetrical. For the belt buckle, I had the genius idea of using a small slice of cotton bud stem. However, actually getting this the right thickness and gluing it in place proved to be a chore. But, I managed it and he now looks like this:

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Still needs some straps on the back of his shield, but after that he’s ready for some paint.

Next up is Bananaman. Having cut down the plastic molded tab, I glued the base figure to a two pence piece, and using Milliput, created a scenic base representing ‘rough ground’. I intend on adding some rubble or bricks to this, as Bananaman is renowned for (inadvertently) destroying buildings. I then cut a section out of the cloak, as Bananaman has a distinctive two-pronged ‘banana-cape’ and filed down the mohican that the base figure came with.

I then carefully attempted to sculpt his ‘banana-gloves’, ‘banana-boots’ and his cowl. However, having started with the gloves, I failed to notice that whilst I was doing the boots, I was holding the figure by his hands, so had to go back and do some remedial work on the banana ‘tufts’ a couple of times. As the figure’s head was a bit rough from filing, I decided to add the back part of his cowl, with the intention of painting his mask on afterwards. As my sculpting skills weren’t up to the task of creating the banana ‘horns’, I cheated and used some tiny curved pieces of plastic, which were positioned in place whilst the Milliput was still slightly tacky…which promptly fell off. These were then superglued in place, which took a while, as I couldn’t find any tweezers, so ended up trying to pick up the tiny bits of plastic with a pair of pliers and then position them correctly. I chased each ‘horn’ across my work surface and onto the floor a number of times. (Note to self: Buy tweezers.) So, this is what he currently looks like:

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Unfortunately, due to the ‘horns’ being a little longer than anticipated and the fact that he’s not been painted the correct colours yet, he doesn’t look like Bananaman – in fact he looks like this obscure Marvel villain…

This is Aries, part of the Zodiac Cartel, each of which is based on a sign of the zodiac. Yes, a supervillain who is essentially a goat. Scary…

I’m hoping that once I’ve got some paint on ‘Bananaman’, he will start to look like he’s supposed to. If not, I may have to trim his horns a bit. Or just remove the cape, add a tail and claim that this is what I intended all along…

Until next time…

Forgotten Heroes – Secret Origins

Forgotten Heroes month is finally here, where myself and a group of like-minded individuals will be attempting to recreate in 28mm those superheroes and villains who have been sadly overlooked by the purveyors of gaming miniatures. For a detailed explanation of the ‘rules’ and an explanation of what’s going on, please pay a visit to the official Forgotten Heroes site, which was kindly put together by Roger Webb of Rantings from Under the Wargames Table fame.

As I was the instigator of this little project, I thought you might like an insight into how this came about. Back in July last year, Roger and I decided to indulge our childhood love of the Masters of the Universe franchise and recreate characters from Eternia in 28mm. Almost a year later and there have been three ‘He-Month’s and about a dozen or so characters created. Roger was keen to return to Eternia, specifically so he could call it “Masters of the June-iverse”, but I had an altogether different cunning plan in mind…

As recreating He-Man and crew is a little niche for most of those within my immediate blogging circle, I suggested to Roger that by choosing a different subject matter, we might get a larger number of people involved, especially is the subject matter was those superheroes or villains that had not yet had an official or unofficial miniature made for them yet.

To be honest, the response I received was lukewarm at the time, but as with most of my ideas, they have a way of worming their way into your mind and taking over, so a couple of days later Roger was an enthusiastic supporter. I put together the rules, but Roger came up with the name, as my original suggestion was a bit…pants. He also put together the ‘official’ website, to allow those who wanted to take part, but did not currently have their own blog to do so. So, massive thanks to Roger for that.

As for the subject matter, when I started miniature gaming, the only superhero miniatures available were the Living Legends range from Lance & Laser. These were true 25mm figures and were decently sculpted, but weren’t the heroes and villains I was reading about. So, in true Carrion Crow fashion, I made my own. My first forays into converting commercially available figures into something else started with making my own versions of Captain America and Spider-Man from figures from the Living Legends range. They weren’t perfect, but at least I had the heroes I wanted. I next converted a GW Imperial Guard commissar into Marshal Law and could see an improvement in my ‘skills’. The last ‘super-conversion’ was to make the version of Devil Dinosaur who appeared in issue #12 of NextWave, complete with smoking jacket, revolver and champagne glass;

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Yes, it is bonkers, but also kind of awesome. Full details on this particular version of this character and how I made him can be found here.

So, having done one or two of these before, I thought I’d offer some advice to those of you starting your first conversion or contemplating having a go.

Firstly, don’t underestimate your own abilities. Just because you haven’t done a full conversion yet, doesn’t mean you can’t. If you can paint figures (which I’m assuming everyone who’s reading this can), the simplest ‘conversion’ is to repaint an existing figure, such as the DC Heroclix Blue Beetle into the obscure Marvel villain Goldbug – the costumes are almost identical, it’s just the colouring that’s different.

Secondly, don’t make too much work for yourself. Try and pick a base figure that has most, if not all, of the features you want your planned conversion to have. If your chosen character has a cape, choose a figure with a cape. You have to get used to looking beyond the paint job, to the figure beneath.

Thirdly, if you’re doing a conversion, try to pick an inexpensive figure as a base. That way, if you do muck it up beyond recovery, you won’t have invested too much money in it. I tend to use Heroclix or other collectible pre-painted figure for my conversions, as they’re cheap (the cheapest I’ve bought being 29p!) and easily available.

Fourthly, do not limit yourself to just using the modelling putty of your choice to add details to your figures. Not all of us are blessed with the ability to tease putty into the features we require (unlike Roger, who’s a bit of a dab hand). I’ve used shirt buttons, paper, lengths of cotton bud shafts, paper clips, plastic bags and the odd limb or appendage ‘donated’ from other figures. A good example of a simple yet effective conversion is the transformation of the DC Heroclix figure Triplicate Girl into the Marvel character Marvel Girl, done by Kaptain Kobold here and here. I actually prefer his version to the official Heroclix version!

Now, conversions aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the satisfaction you get when you end up with not only a version of the character that matches your vision of the character, but also a figure that no-one else has got or will ever have is worth it, in my opinion.

Right enough rambling, time to reveal my ‘Forgotten Heroes’…

The first character I will be doing comes from the 1996 DC vs Marvel event, which was a 4 issue limited series collaboration between the ‘big two’. The basic premise of the series was that heroes from each universe were pitted against once another, with each victory scoring a point for that universe, with the losing universe being erased. The victor of the majority of the battles had been pre-decided by the writers, but a few match-ups were decided by the fans voting for who they wanted to win.

However, between issues #3 and #4, in April 1996, due to events within the storyline, both universes were merged, and out of this was born the Amalgam universe, in which characters from each universe were ‘amalgamated’ into a new character which shared aspects of both existing characters. Wolverine was combined with Batman and became the vigilante Dark Claw, Ghost Rider and the Flash (with elements of the Demon) became Speed Demon and Dr. Doom and Doomsday became, unsurprisingly, Dr. Doomsday. And my favourite character from this event and the first of my ‘Forgotten Heroes’, Captain America was combined with Superman, to become…Super-Soldier.

For those of you who want to know more about the Amalgam universe and the characters it contained, this Wikipedia article is strangely more accurate than the one on the Marvel Wiki.

The second character I will be doing first saw his exploits published in the inaugural issue of the British comic Nutty in 1980, then went on to appear in both The Dandy and The Beano. In 1983, he also got his own televised cartoon, courtesy of the BBC, with the voice talents of Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie, better known as the comedy trio The Goodies. I am, of course, referring to the costumed superhero described as having “the muscles of twenty men, and the brains of twenty mussels”, the Man of Peel himself…Bananaman!

For those unfamiliar with this character, a detailed history of Bananaman can be found here.

So, one sensible character and one daft one, which will be crafted from these base figures:

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Both from the DC Heroclix range, we have Captain Atom on the left who will become Super-Soldier and Bizarro on the right, who will become Bananaman. As noted above, I tried to pick figures that were as close a match to the end result as possible. The pose, lack of fussy detail and hair made Captain Atom ideal for Super-Soldier, whereas the physique, cape and awkward pose of Bizarro made him ideal for Bananaman.

Captain Atom will require careful trimming of the star on his chest, which is raised, sculpted boot-tops, a belt and the addition of a shield, whereas Bizarro requires a haircut, reshaping of his cape and the addition of ‘banana’ gloves, boots and cowl. The rest will just be down to painting.

A relatively modest goal compared to the various iterations of He-Month, but this allows me the time to get them right. Depending on how much time I have available, I do have a third possible figure in mind, but I have been receiving threatening messages from Wayne Enterprises regarding the delayed opening of the Gotham City branch of Cupid Burgers (see my last post)…

“Yes, I am Batman and I know what you’re thinking…the answers to your questions are, yes, I do want fries with that and yes, the Batmobile does have a cup-holder…”