Re-Scaping

In my last but one post (I’ll Put a Hex on You…), I discussed my plans regarding re-purposing my Heroscape hex terrain to make it less ‘cartoon-y’ looking. I have decided to christen this “Re-Scaping” because…I can.

Now, I am aware that not everyone is as familiar with Heroscape as myself, so I thought I’d do a quick history bit first. It was originally published/released in 2004 by Milton Bradley and was a complete turn-based miniature wargame, which came with 30 pre-painted miniatures. The main difference from other games of this ilk is that it came with interlocking hex tiles, which could be combined in whatever fashion you chose, to create your battlefield. Lego for wargamers, essentially.

Until it was discontinued in 2010, several expansions were released, introducing different coloured tiles to represent different types of terrain, including dungeon, snow and lava field tiles.

At one point, I had a copy of every terrain expansion released, bar the castle set, but various financial issues resulted in me selling off the Volcarren Wasteland (lava-themed), Thaelenk Tundra (snow and ice-themed) and the Battle for the Underdark (Dungeon-themed) sets.

This still left me with a fair amount of tiles of varying types of terrain, which are shown below:

Starting from top left and going clockwise, the green/brown tile is a Grass tile and the grey/brown is a Stone tile, both from the Rise of the Valkyrie base set. Grass tiles are those you get the most of. Next we have a cobbled Road tile, from the Road to the Forgotten Forest set. You get about 20 of these, so not enough to cobble the entirety of Blackwell. The black tile is an Asphalt tile and the light grey is a Concrete tile, both from the Marvel base set The Conflict Begins. I ended up with three of these sets, as The Entertainer was selling them off at £10 a set. The two-tone green tile is a Swamp tile, from The Swarm of the Marro set and the yellow tile is a Sand tile from The Arena of the Planeswalkers set.

Typically, each type of terrain comes in 1-hex, 2-hex, 3-hex and 7-hex tiles, with certain variations, like the 24-hex Grass tiles.

Those who are fully conversant with the game and the sets I have mentioned will have noticed that one type of terrain tile is missing – the cream/brown Sand tile which featured in the base set as well as a few other places.

This is because I took ALL my Sand tiles and with a can of ‘Soft Taupe’ Gloss Acrylic Spray from Wilkinsons (£4.00 for a 400ml can), re-coloured them all. However, whilst the spray gave a nice coverage, it did teach me two important things regarding doing this type of re-colouring. Firstly, don’t apply the spray too thickly, otherwise your interlocking tiles will fit a bit TOO snugly together and it will be a bugger to get them apart and, secondly, the colour of the can’s lid and the sample board showing the spray applied will not match the actual paint that comes out. Both the lid and sample board suggested that ‘soft taupe’ was a browny-grey colour. It is…but it’s not as dark as it appeared, as you can see if the picture below:

The bottom tiles are a light grey concrete tile on the left and a dark grey Road tile on the right. Above them is the ‘soft taupe’ tile, which is a pretty similar colour to the Concrete tile.

After some gnashing of teeth and a bit of compound swearing, I resorted to Plan B – in which the B stands for ‘Burnt Umber’. Utilising a bottle of Docrafts Acrylic of this hue, I grabbed the 24-hex tile that I’d sprayed with ‘Soft Taupe’ and gave it a liberal coating of this, as a test piece.

And do you know what? It came out rather well, as can be seen from the quick scene I set up below, featuring some of my other ‘Re-Scaped’ hexes that had cheap trees from China attached and a Time War Dalek, who is hunting squirrels…

So, as I now have a solution, I just need to give all my ‘Soft Taupe’ sprayed tiles a coat of Burnt Umber and I will have my first set of Re-Scaped tiles, which I think shall be dubbed Mud tiles. Should double up as patches of earth, dirt roads in the countryside or possibly compacted dirt roads in urban environments.

Of course, the comparison with the original Grass tiles now shows that they need Re-Scaping too. Luckily, Wilkinson’s does have at least 3 different shades of cheap green spray paint, so hopefully at least one of them will be a closer match to the colour I want.

I shall finish up with a small piece of good news – it appears I will be attending Salute this year after all, so keep your eyes peeled for the grumpy old crow stalking the aisles and descending upon the Bloggers Meet in a flurry of feathers.

Jez

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It’s a Kind of Magic…

Those who regularly follow this blog will know that I’m not usually the sort to buy boxed games. Not only do they tend to be somewhat pricey, but they also don’t really represent good value for money, in my opinion. And as I don’t have a huge gaming budget, they merely represent ‘nice ideas’ rather than potential purchases.

However…

Sometimes you come across, purely by chance, an absolute bargain and just have to snap it up…such as this:

This is the Magic The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers boxed wargame, which contains 35 plastic miniatures and 6 interlocking cardboard tiles to create your battlefield, which has a recommended retail price of £29.99. However, Amazon in the UK are currently selling this game for £8.48…

You read that correctly…£8.48 for a boxed wargame with thirty-five plastic miniatures…even if you don’t actually ever play the game, that works out at approximately 24p per figure. Bargain!

However, as I’m not known for knee-jerk purchasing, why exactly did I get this game?

Well, whilst it may be branded “Magic the Gathering”, this is just a variation of Heroscape. The only real difference I can see from reading the rules is that your hero character – the Planeswalker – can cast a certain number of spells per turn, as well as having special abilities like a standard Heroscape character. The movement, dice rolling and general look of the ‘army cards’ is very reminiscent of original ‘Scape, which is unsurprising really, as this game was written by Craig Van Ness, the chap responsible for the original game.

To be honest, though, I wasn’t aware of this until after I’d got it. I bought it because you got 35 figures for under a tenner and each one is an individual sculpt. But you also get these:

Six interlocking cardboard tiles, that cover an area of just over two feet square. The tiles feature pre-printed artwork depicting desert wastes with water features, and can be rearranged is several different configurations, depending on the particular scenario you’re playing. You also get two cardboard ruins (not shown) and two 3-hex sand tiles and 2 1-hex sand tiles – which ARE actual Heroscape tiles, but in a solid yellow colour.

But let’s move on to the figures. As Magic the Gathering has five different types of mana, unsurprisingly there are five factions, one for each colour. Each faction gets a pre-painted Planeswalker figure and two squads of three figures, representing the forces that particular faction can bring to bear.

The White Planeswalker has a squad of Rhino men, which are the weakest sculpts in the whole box and a squad of desert tribesmen types. I could look up the actual names, but it’s the actual figures you’re interested in, so you probably don’t really care what their “official” names are…

Next we have the Black Planeswalker, and her two squads of Undead – three axe-wielding skeleton/zombies and three ghoul/ghast types.

Next we have the Green Planeswalker and her elven archers and nature elementals.

The Blue Planeswalker and what it apparently illusionary doubles and “Leyline Phantoms” – which are the four-armed demon-types.

And lastly, the Red Planeswalker and her squads of phoenixes and firecats.

Each individual figure is a unique sculpt and is cast as a one-piece in a the relevant coloured plastic, except for the Planeswalkers themselves.

Other than the Rhino-men, who could have been cool – but just aren’t, all the figures are pretty decent sculpts. Some of the bases don’t sit flat, due to how they’ve been shipped, but as they plastic is fairly flexible, the old hot water/cold water trick should restore the slightly warped back to their correct poses.

Whilst the overall theme of the set is Fantasy, I think it’s fairly obvious that once you’ve got these figures, what you do with them is up to you. I’m currently trying to decide if the ghoul types would be better used as minions of Skeletor or some kind of Aztec tomb-guardians.

Lots of figures, lots of possibilities, not much outlay – typical Jez-type post.

Should you want a box yourself, it can be found here.

I’ll Put a Hex on You

The combination of a 3-hour daily commute and the reduction of your gaming budget does give you a lot of time to think about what you actually have sitting in boxes or on shelves in cupboards, rather than compiling a ‘wish list’ for the upcoming Salute…

Which, due to my current circumstances, I probably won’t be attending this year. Which is a bit shit, but them’s the breaks…

So, having discovered that my ‘cheap and cheerful’ vinyl gaming tiles have not stored well and need replacing before I can venture back on to the streets of Blackwell, I cast my mind through my ‘mind cupboard’, where I memorise all the gaming stuff wot I’ve got, to see what alternatives I already had.

Now, I DO actually have some modular, interlocking cobbled tiles…namely those that came with the Road to the Forgotten Forest expansion for Heroscape. They are pretty nice=looking, have the necessary texture and are pre-weathered, but you don’t get that many. For those of you unfamiliar with this product, this is what they look like;

Heroscape - Large Expansion Set - Road to the Forgotten Forest by Hasbro

You only get 28 hexes in this set, which just about covers a 10″ square. Even taking into account the churchyard and pavements – which could be constructed using other ‘Scape hexes, I would end up with not much in the way of cobbles, which are pretty much needed for this genre. So, a potentially nice idea scuppered by lack of available hexes…

However, this did lead me down the avenue of thinking about my collection of Heroscape hexes in general. I like the modularity of them, but am envious of those who play on detailed battlemats or custom boards…so was there a way to customise my existing Heroscape hexes to make them less plastic-looking and more game=board-ish?

Now, I’m not the first to think this, as there is a whole thread on the Heroscapers site for custom terrain and scenery, and the end results do look rather nice, but it involved painting and gluing and flocking, which even with the best will in the World, requires a lot of resources and time and the end result will shed. The whole point of the plastic hexes is that they are robust and can be lobbed into a box with no major issues. Can’t really do that if you’ve spent all that time applying flock to each individual hex top, can you? This is the kind of results you can get if you put you’re mind to it;

As the Marvel Heroscape ‘concrete’ and ‘asphalt’ hexes are uniformly one colour, I was thinking of using some cheap spray paint (hobby or car) to re-colour the ‘grass’, ‘sand’ and ‘stone’ hexes, so the grass hexes would be all green, the sand hexes would be all yellow and the stone hexes would be all dark grey.  A further application of stippling or sponging in a lighter shade on the tops would then give the illusion of flocking, but without little bits dropping off all over the floor.

So, if all goes according to plan, I get a modular battlefield that looks closer to those wonderful yet expensive rubber mats that all the cool kids are playing with, for the price of a couple of cans of spray paint. Of course, that still doesn’t solve my cobbles problem, but moving slowly forward is better than not moving at all.

Jez

Better Late Than Never

Having checked the calendar, it’s actually over a month since I last posted on my blog and, embarrassingly, I missed posting on the 4th anniversary of this blog, which was 6th February…

Yep, that’s right, I’ve been unleashing my inner vision and opinions on hobby-related stuff for just over 4 years!

But regular visitors will have noted that I’ve been rather quiet of late, both here and on as a visitor elsewhere. This is not entirely through choice, as 2019 has proved somewhat challenging – in respect of both time and finances.

My ‘new’ job eats up a lot of my time, both in commuting and additional hours required to ensure that you’re meeting your quota/target, meaning that there’s not a great deal of evening left by the time I get home. And, like the M-113 creature from the classic Star Trek episode “The Man Trap”, it sucks the life right out of you…

Image result for m113 creature

Combine this with a…financial miscalculation…on my part regarding certain monies payable to HMRC and I find myself in somewhat of a hole.

When you have various personal issues hanging over your head, like the allegorical sword of Damocles, it’s not surprising that getting some miniatures out and either painting them or playing a game with them is not top of your agenda. Especially when what free time you have is either spent searching for alternative employment or cataloging a reasonably sized comic collection, with a view to selling it on (other than the bits I simply cannot possibly part with, naturally).

In respect of this blog, and hobby-related content for it, it means that posts may be somewhat infrequent and there will be little in the way of ‘new’ content, as my hobby budget has been reduced to zero for the foreseeable future.

However, this does mean that I will be concentrating, when time permits, on completing those figures I already own, those projects that have been started…and not finished and “making good use of things that I find”.

So, please bear with me…normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Jez

“I Love This Town!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This being the first;

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

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

Yeah, baby! Who you gonna call?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jez

“Everyone Can Relax, I Found the Car…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join me next time for further progress on this project.

Warfare 2018

Last Saturday saw my annual visit to our local wargaming show here in Reading – Warfare, run by the Wargames Association of Reading.

Even before I started attending Salute (which has now become my other gaming show), I would always attend this one, as it’s really close, gives me the opportunity to see the models up close and, as it occurs just after my birthday, I usually have a few spare pennies to spend.

Now, Warfare takes place in the Rivermead leisure centre, spread over four separate rooms. There’s plenty of space in the competition/club demonstration room, which takes place in the indoor bowling green, but traders hall always seems rather cramped, as the aisles are fairly narrow and some attendees are less considerate than others.

As I arrived rather later than usual and the trader shall was heaving, I headed straight into the competition hall, as sometimes the table are worth looking at. Now, there are usually a few nice-ish tables on display, but nothing that usually makes me want to take out my camera. However, this year, there was, so I did actually take some photos.

First, a rather nice 28mm Pegasus Bridge set-up for Bolt Action, which wasn’t actually being played upon, but I felt warranted a picture because it was so nice.

Not sure where the kid with the 70’s haircut came from…possibly from off the set of The Omen remake…

Next up, one of several 28mm full-size galleons for a (probably) pirate-themed game.

This one was the biggest and loaded to the gunnels with British seamen. The fort they were attacking was okay, but the ships themselves were lovely.

The final table was probably another Bolt Action table, as it appears to be a war-torn city.  An absolutely HUGE amount of detail – trains, planes, a crane, plumes of smoke, etc. Just click on the picture and enjoy.

After wandering up and down the aisles for a while, I decided to brave the traders hall. And found it somewhat…lacking. It would appear that some of the standard traders that usually attend had decided to forego this year. And the traders who were there didn’t appear to have very much in the way of new stuff.

A couple of manufacturers did – Sally 4th being one (as noted by Simon over at Fantorical) and Warbases, who have extended their range of laser-cut MDF buildings into several areas that I wasn’t aware of such as sci-fi, ancient Rome and soon to be the Orient. Worth a look on their website if you haven’t visited in a while, as their range has expanded a fair bit, their prices are reasonable and they have a good range of 28mm animals, should you need to populate your British countryside with both farm and wildlife.

And it was Warbases who manged to part me from some of my cash, as they had a set of two MDF handcarts, complete with metal ‘loads’ and attendants. Ideal for adding to colour to your street-scenes and reasonably generic clothing-wise to be used from Victorian up to Post-war, as shown below.

Two metal figures, two loads and two MDF handcarts…for £7.00. Bargain! Unsurprisingly, the handcarts don’t come with instructions, but it’s pretty obvious how they go together, with the T-shaped part being the stand which prevents it from tipping over – which will be used for the vegetable seller.

So, a couple of likely lads ready and waiting to be purvey their wares on the streets of Blackwell.

My only other purchase was the main reason for attending. Earlier in the year, Crooked Dice launched a Kickstarter for their ‘Children of the Fields’ range of figures and programme guide. Obviously, as this is Crooked Dice and 7TV, this was a range of creepy villagers, sinister Morris Men, devious Huntsmen, possibly possessed scarecrows and all the other various accoutrements of a 70’s British village that welcomes strangers, but doesn’t let them leave. I was almost tempted by this KS, but felt that for the models I did want, I’d end up with some models I didn’t.

However, there was one model I knew I had to have. Now, I could have taken advantage of the ‘pledge a £1’ option that allowed you to just select an add-on, but I worked out that if I did this, the model I wanted would actually cost me more, taking into account the postage, than waiting until it was released and picking it up at Warfare.

So that’s what I did…and here ‘he’ is.

This is The Straw Man, an 80mm tall corn/wheat golem and he’s rather bloody cool. A nice three-part model which looks like it will go together with no issues, with nice, crisp detailing. Basically, it does look like it’s made of bundles of hay…or possibly “Shredded Wheat”. And, not being period specific, I can use this for Age of Unreason, Tales of the Black Museum, Ghostbusters, Scooby-Doo and even Doctor Who games should I wish.

Now, it’s not cheap – being £15.00, but I do feel it’s worth it, as there is literally nothing else like it on the market. And if you want lesser minions for your giant Straw Man, Crooked Dice do a Straw Bear (which is a Morris Man dressed in sheafs of straw, rather than an actual bear), as part of the same range.

Mummers Procession

So, whilst not as good a show as previous year’s, was still worthwhile me going…and I did get to have a nice long chat with Karl from Crooked Dice, where I suggest stuff I want him to make and he laughs at me or says “funny you should mention that…”

Until next time.

View from the Crow’s Nest – November

Regular visitors to this blog come expecting certain things, be it cunning scratch-building using inexpensive materials, mini-projects revolving around life-long passions, creative after-action reports combining atmospheric photography and unusual participants or free rules to download and play. Of late, there hasn’t been much of what attracted YOU, my gentle readers, to this blog in the first place.

Unfortunately, due to employment issues, my free time has been spent attempting to secure regular employment of a level that not only keeps the wolves from my door, but also stops my wife from accusing me of “wasting my time” on hobby-related pursuits, instead of looking for a “decent job.” Understandably, when you have this hanging over your head, hobby mojo does tend to get stifled and you find yourself unable to concentrate properly on any particular hobby project – hence the sporadic and somewhat lacklustre nature of the last few posts.

However, after much scampering back and forth to London for various interviews, I have now been offered a new contract, at a decent daily rate, working in central London, which will be starting in a couple of weeks.

As this will result in becoming a commuter from Reading to “that London”, this may result in not as much free time to do hobby-stuff, but the relief in finally getting a “decent job” has revitalised my mojo and my mind has started lining up projects in my head for me to do within whatever free time I find myself with.

Image result for murder of crows

So, this will hopefully signal the end of my fallow patch and see more regular and better postings than you have seen of late.

As for what exactly you’ll see, well…I’m pretty certain they’ll be Ghostbusters, maybe some Scooby Doo, probably some Doctor Who and potentially a return to Blackwell, although my cobbled streets need replacing as they’ve warped during storage, so that might have to wait until I come up with a cunning alternative.

Until next time, “Never backwards, always forward”.

Jez

Carrion Crow – The Return

Since my last post on 19th August, there has been speculation in certain quarters as to the reason for my absence in the blogosphere – both posting and commenting.

I can categorically state that I was not spirited away to the Red Planet, fighting four-armed green warriors in the company of pneumatic scantily-clad natives, nor was I ensconced in an Arctic crystalline fastness, brooding in solitude. I was also not trapped in a either a Welsh coastal Village or digitised virtual world, with or without a spoon.

However, I may have been on a sun-kissed Mediterranean island…

I may have followed directions found hastily scribbled on a flyer in a hotel lobby to a certain ecclesiastical building…

And I may have found myself wandering subterranean passages, hewn from Limestone, where I encountered something that frightened me quite badly…

However, being made of somewhat sterner stuff that an Investigator with a low SAN score, I was not reduced to a gibbering wreck and returned relatively unscathed to the shores of good ol’ Blighty.

However, you don’t visit my blog to hear about my trials and tribulations – you’re here for the gaming stuff.

So, whilst the next instalment of The §ingularity War, which will feature two quartets of Cosmic adventurers battling to secure a valuable prize, still remains unfought, I thought it might be time to introduce the instigator of this war – Kronus.

Now, a fair old while ago, I was outbid on some Colossal scale Heroclix figures on eBay. However, I really fancied owning the DC Heroclix Anti-Monitor figure (which was part of the auction), but couldn’t find it at a price I was willing to pay. So, remembering that Eaglemoss did a range of statuettes of various Marvel and DC characters, I searched for this character from them instead and managed to get the figure for less than the original retail price – including postage.

And this is what it looks like in its original format:

Image result for eaglemoss anti monitor

Suitably imposing and an ideal character to be re-purposed, as it’s not quite as well-known as some of the other characters produced by Eaglemoss. Obviously, it would need re-painting to match my vision of Kronus, Rewriter of Reality, Destroyer of Universes and ALL-Round Bad Egg, so the first step was to give it a thorough undercoating of white, like so;

Having decided that my colour scheme would echo both Dr. Doom AND would follow the time-honoured tradition of villains wearing costumes that featured both purple and green…because villains apparently have very little in the way of fashion sense, I block-painted the various parts of Kronus in the colours I had chosen.

And this was the result;

Not bad, although it does look like he’s wearing green wellies (Wellington boots for our non-UK audience).

So, the GW Worm Purple parts were highlighted with GW Purple Ink, the GW Chainmail parts with a wash of Docrafts Noir and the GW Woodland Green with a wash of this mixed with more Noir. The base was also painted with Chainmail, then given a generous wash with GW Brown Ink, to give a oily metallic look. The eyes were my own “Pumpkin Orange” blend and the mouth was painted in Docrafts linen, then given a wash of Docrafts Burnt Umber.

And the finished article looks like this;

The actual shading is more noticeable on the real thing and my camera is playing up a bit, so it might not look quite a detailed as it actually is.

And to give a sense of scale, here he is with a Warlord Games plastic Cyberman fawning about his ankles, like some kind of tin-plated cat…

If you have a villain with a ridiculously convoluted and sinister plan, he should be a bit more impressive than a bald guy in a suit…

Now, that I’ve got my hand back in, expect posts on a more frequent basis.

The Crow has returned to it’s nest…

The Singularity War – Episode 1: Hell and High Water

Since the events of December 23rd 1944, Tarmagant Island has garnered a sinister reputation and it, and the waters surrounding it, are avoided by those living nearby.

However, it is carefully monitored for signs of preternatural activity, and when lights and strangely garbed forms were spotted on the island, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence were immediately notified. Given the importance this locale in his own history, it was inevitable that Hellboy himself would be sent to investigate.

However, his arrival is not only expected, but has been planned for…

I appreciate that is has been a fair old while since I’ve posted anything on the Buffet, but real life threw me a series of curve balls and I’ve been attempting to restore a little bit of normality. As such, I haven’t really had any spare time in which to do anything hobby-related and, to be frank, haven’t really had any motivation either.

But having now secured some temporary employment, my thoughts have returned to my beloved gaming and I’ve finally got around to playing the first episode of The §ingularity War.

Now, I decided to play the first episode using the Clobberin’ Time rules developed by Alan aka Kaptain Kobold, which are available to download from his blog here, which are specifically designed for small-scale superhero skirmish gaming and are relatively straight-forward. These were chosen, as I’ve not yet had a crack at using them and wanted to see how they played out.

So, on with the AAR. I decided to utilise my Heroscape hexes once more, to provide the terrain upon which this conflict would take place. As Tarmagant Island is off the coast of Scotland and has ruined buildings upon it, I think it does do a good job of representing it on the table, like so;

So, the forces of good are represented by Hellboy and two B.P.R.D. agents, Agent Collins at the back and Agent Brown at the front. Under the Clobberin’ Time rules, Hellboy is a Level 3 Hero, whereas the agents are Level 2 Sidekicks. This means that each character gets their level in d6’s to roll for both attack and defence, with a 4+ being considered a success.

In addition, Hellboy has a Medium (6″) Ranged attack, which I decided was ‘weak’, meaning he only got a success if he rolled 5+, as Hellboy is renowned for being a rubbish shot, and both Strength and Resilient. For the agents, I gave them standard Medium Ranged attacks for their pistols and Accuracy, meaning they get a single die re-roll on any ranged attacks per turn.

And these are the forces of easily swayed and/or bought evil – Powerfist, Flashpoint and Count Zero.

These are all characters from my own superhero universe and are currently working on behalf of Kronus, as there is something on Tarmagant Island he needs.

They are all three Level 3 Villains, with Powerfist having the abilities Martial Arts and Strength, Flashpoint having Power Blast Medium and Teleport, and Count Zero having Block, Flight and Hinder.

As you can see from the first picture, each group started at opposite ends of the “island” and the intervening terrain prevented them from seeing each other for a while.

Initiative is determined by dealing each model in play a card from a standard deck of cards, with the characters acting when their assigned card comes up – from Aces down to twos. When activated, each character can move and perform an action. So, a character can move, then shoot or shoot then move. However, it appears that if there are no additional actions you can perform, all the model can do that turn is move. All models have a standard move of 6″, which for the purposes of this game, I’m assuming is the equivalent of 3 hexes, as the hexes are 1 3/4 inches across.

The first two turns saw both groups just moving forward, as the terrain prevented them from seeing each other, so they couldn’t actually do anything else. The actual cards dealt didn’t actually mean anything at this point, as they were just creeping forward, so whether one character or another went first was irrelevant.

At the end of Turn 2, the villains had moved close to the central ruins from one side…

…whilst the heroes had moved to the exterior wall of the ruins from the other side.

At the beginning of Turn 3, Count Zero, being a somewhat hot-headed Russian, (which is strange given his control of ice and snow) got fed up with all this creeping about and launched himself into the air using his Flight ability,so he could get an idea of where their opponents were.Flying up and over the ruined building, he spotted both Agent Brown and Hellboy of the ground below him and decided to freeze Agent Brown is his tracks (Hinder 6″ range). Whilst the Count rolled a single success, Agent Brown managed two successes and dodged the icy blast.

Hellboy moved forward and lined up a shot at Count Zero, hoping that on this occasion his aim would be true and although rolling Weak dice (5+ for a success), managed to get a single success. Count Zero attempted to Block this with an ice shield and failed, taking a wound.

Agent Brown also moved forward and fired his pistol at the Count, and only managed to get a hit from the re-roll allowed by his Accuracy. However, the Count was more successful this time, managing to get an ice shield in the way to prevent further damage.

Flashpoint, who’d been skulking behind the wall, moved into the central part of the ruins and aimed his flame pistol at Agent Brown, unleashing a 4 dice Power Blast at him. He managed to get two successes and therefore two potential hits – Agent Brown managed to block one of them and took a point of damage, reducing him to only one point (the number of Health points equals the character’s level).

Powerfist moved next, but as he was further away, he can hear the sounds of battle on the other side of the wall, but can’t see anyone yet and therefore cannot do anything.

Agent Collins moved around the other wall and can now see Flashpoint, who has just torched his friend, so he shoots at Flashpoint, scoring 2 successes, once of which is blocked, so Flashpoint takes a point of damage.

At the end of Turn 3, Agent Brown, Count Zero and Flashpoint have sustained wounds.

Turn 4 saw Agent Collins up first, who shot at Flashpoint again, causing another wound, then diving into cover behind the wall.

Powerfist finally moved into battle, charging into hand-to-hand combat with Hellboy and scoring a massive 4 successes due to his Martial Arts and Strength. And even though Hellboy is Resilient, he only managed to block two of these, taking two wounds and reducing him to single point of health!

Being slightly annoyed with this turns of events, Hellboy gives Powerfist the smackdown with the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ scoring 3 successes. However, Powerfist’s Martial Arts training allows him to dodge the majority of these, but Hellboy clips him for one.

Count Zero descends to the ground and, as per their plan, attempts to freeze Hellboy in his tracks. However, Hellboy nimbly jumps out of the way, and the wall behind him is covered in rime.

Agent Collins runs down behind the wall and, once in the open, opens fire on Count Zero, whose hastily summoned ice shield manages to block his shot.

Flashpoint, being somewhat of a sadistic bastard, fires his flame gun once more at Agent Brown, and manages to incinerate him. His smoking corpse drops to the ground.

Turn 5 saw both Count Zero and Powerfist attempting to freeze Hellboy in place and then pummel him into submission. However, the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator managed to avoid both villains. However, Flashpoint moved forward and unleashed a Power Blast from his flame gun, scoring a single hit on Hellboy, which unfortunately he failed to block. As this was his last point, Hellboy dropped to the ground unconscious.

Realising that he was now alone against three super-powered individuals, one of which had effectively taken down both his fellow agents, Agent Collins decided to take a shot at Flashpoint – and took him down! Collins then retreated, desperately trying to radio for back-up.

Turn 6 saw Agent Collins win the initiative, and he turned and fired at Count Zero, scoring two successes. Unfortunately, both were blocked by the Count.

Powerfist then leaped forward and punched out Agent Collins (4 successes, only one block, 3 hits taken and only 2 wounds).

Count Zero approached the unconscious form of Hellboy and was soon joined by Powerfist, his gauntlets humming with power.

“Our employer will be pleased, comrade.” said the Count, “We have secured the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ as tasked, with only the loss of one of our number.”

Powerfist reached down, lifted and hefted the recumbent form of Hellboy across his back. “Best get back to the portal, then.” he grunted, then paused sniffing.

“Can you smell dry-roasted peanuts?”

Next – Episode 2…