“You weak minded fool! He’s using an old Jedi mind trick.”

A long time ago…

Well, 1977 to be exact, George Lucas unleashed the first movie in what was to be one of the longest running and most popular sci-fi franchises of all time.

Being a young lad with an unfortunate haircut and a predilection to wearing dungarees at the time (it was the 70’s, after all), I thrilled to the exploits of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and the rest of the Rebellion’s heroes, as they squared up against the might of the Empire, with their white-clad Stormtroopers and the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader. Any long object, be it a garden cane, cardboard tube or French stick became a lightsabre in my hands, sliding doors were opened by the use of my Force powers, rather than the automatic sensors and it was acceptable to wear a dressing gown in public, as this was the garb of Jedi Knight.

And if you wanted to recreate the daring adventures you’d witnessed on the screen from the original trilogy, you had 3 3/4″ action figures of all your favourite characters, from the lowly Power Droid up to Boba Fett, plus all their vehicles and some pretty inventive playsets.

Now, confession time – I always preferred the Imperials. Not due to their ethos, but due to their uniforms and vehicles. They just looked cooler than the Rebellion’s outfits – probably because they were sufficiently different from what we had seen before. An X-Wing was basically a jet fighter, but TIE fighters were like nothing we’d seen before.

And I loved that the Empire had specialist troops, with a unifying look and colour scheme, so you knew that these were Imperial forces. A New Hope gave us Stormtroopers and TIE Fighter pilots, The Empire Strikes Back gave us AT-AT Drivers and Snowtroopers and The Return of the Jedi gave us Scout Troopers. All slightly different, but similar enough that you knew they were part of the same organisation. The two ‘anthology’ films Rogue One and Solo added to this, by giving us Death Troopers, Shoretroopers, Patrol Troopers, Range Troopers and the rather crappily named Wet-Weather Troopers. All slightly different, but sharing the same aesthetic.

Now, from a wargaming perspective, if you wanted to recreate ground=based battles in the Star Wars Universe, up until 1991, you had to find suitable proxy figures. However, in 1991, West End Games released both the Star Wars Minatures Battles rules and accompanying 25mm metal miniatures. These was succeeded by Wizard of the Coast’s Star Wars Miniatures game in 2004, which upped the scale to (apparently) 34mm, the figures for which are still available from online sellers, but expect to pay a pretty penny for the rarer figures. The WEG metal miniatures are rarer than hen’s teeth, so you’re unlikely to find them for a sensible price anywhere.

Fast forward to today.

If you want to play official tabletop miniatures games set in the Star Wars universe, your only real choice is Fantay Flight Games, who offer Imperial Assault – a “a strategy board game of tactical combat and missions” or Star Wars: Legion – “a miniatures game of thrilling infantry battles.”

Now, both of these games require an initial “buy in” of the core boxed set, then offer you various supplements to expand your universe. Both Imperial Assault and Star Wars: Legion have a recommended retail price of £89.99, but by shopping around you can get them significantly cheaper. However, as both games are scaled larger than 28mm AND Legion’s figures are bigger than IA’s, they are not really compatible with one another or any other figures. Basically, if you want to play a tabletop miniature game with official Star Wars figures, you HAVE to but they product. Which, whilst the initial buy-in might seem quite reasonable, when you look at the supplements and expansions, can get somewhat pricey. Fine if you have the resources to invest into these games, but for those of us with a limited gaming budget, our initial reaction was to coo over the miniatures, make a list of what we’d like, tot up the overall cost – then go and weep in a corner.

However, just because FFG hold the license for OFFICIAL Star Wars tabletop miniatures, does this mean that you can’t play a Star Wars themed game utilising other available miniatures that are significantly cheaper? Of course not!

But, it will be down to how much of a purist you are. Prior to the release of the Sequel Trilogy, which began with The Force Awakens, there existed something called the “Expanded Universe.” This was made up of various creator’s visions of what occurred prior to or after the original trilogy. All of this work is now considered non-canon and had now been dubbed “Legends” to separate it from the “Official” timeline. So, any characters created for the Expanded Universe won’t be showing up in any of FFG’s games.

But if we take the general premise of the Star Wars universe – a militaristic organisation dominating the galaxy, an alliance of free worlds that are resisting this expansion and a quasi-religious order of psychic warriors who choose either side depending on their moral compass – could we not create our OWN version of the Star Wars universe, using a suitable set of rules and miniatures? Think of it as an Alternate Universe, rather than an Expanded or Canon one.

So, where can you find suitable proxy miniatures to enable you to do this? Read on and I will show you…

Firstly, I shall be concentrating on 28mm miniatures, as this is my preferred scale, so if someone usually games in 15mm and wants to do this, you might have to do your own research.

Our first port of call is North Star Military Figures and their Rogue Stars range. This is heavily influenced by Star Wars and has energy sword-wielding psionics, dodgy smugglers, combat robots and a few interesting looking aliens.

Psionics

Packs are £6.00 each, in which you get either two normal figures or one big one. However, as some of these were sculpted by the extremely talented Mark Copplestone, if your go to the Copplestone Castings section, you can but some of these figures individually.

Next stop is Hasslefree Miniatures, who have several ‘Mystic Warriors’ (i.e. Jedi), in their Sci-Fi Humans range. Incidentally, the miniatures listed as ‘Kami Riko’ and ‘Larran Jax’ do bear a striking resemblance to Rey and Finn from The Force Awakens

However, this has to be my favourite Not-Jedi figure they do;

HFSF107 Mystic Warrior Panda

Prices are about £4.50 per figure, so you won’t be building an army from here, but you might want to pick up a few heroes (or villians), so worth a look.

On the topic of Not-Jedi, Ganesha Games (who are distributed by Alternative Armies in the UK) have their Psi-Paladins;

Four variants, £3.00 each. Designed for their expansion to their Post-Apocalyptic rules Mutants and Death Ray Guns, entitled Psi-Paladins and Techno Barbarians. Also worth looking at the rest of the range, for additional characters.

This covers the named characters, but what of the troops? Those faceless minions of the authoritarian government or the hardy partisans resisting them? Well, as you need a fair few of these, you don’t want to be paying TOO much per figure, do you?

So, for our not-Rebels, I would suggest Moonraker Miniatures and either the Troopers from their Future Skirmish range, of which there are 14 variants, including three heavy weapons, at £1.75 each.

28mm Near Future military miniatures for Kill zone, Combat Zone, Starship Troopers, Imperial guard, and any gaming system or RPG

Or the Yoyodyne Shigaru from the Spacelords range, three figures for £5.50, with several different variants;

28mm Spacelords Yoyodyne miniatures for any science-fiction game or RPG  Space Samurai

You might also want to look at the Yoyodyne Elite Skychargers, if you wanted a unique Don Quixote-esque Not-Jedi;

28mm Spacelords Yoyodyne miniatures for any science-fiction game or RPG  Space Samurai

Having already got some of Moonraker Miniatures Future Skirmish Troopers, these will be MY Not-Rebels or, in my Alternate Universe, my Union of Free Worlds troopers. Here they are, waiting to be suitably repainted;

For your Not- Imperials, you could use Moonraker’s Future Skirmish Troopers in NBC suits;

28mm Near Future military miniatures for Kill zone, Combat Zone, Starship Troopers, Imperial guard, and any gaming system or RPG

Or the same company’s Cybertech Bunkerbreakers;

28mm Spacelords Cybertech miniatures for any science-fiction game or RPG

However, as I’ve seen the Reaper Bones Nova Corp Soldiers;

Nova Corp:Soldier (3)

painted up as proxies for Clone Troopers;

And they’re only £5.99 for three figures (albeit in the same pose), but there are five variants, this should give a good range of different troops.

However, if you want mult-part hard plastic miniatures, which work out at less than £1.00 per figure, go to Scotia Grendel and their Void 1.1 range. You have a choice of Viridain Interdict marines, £5.00 for enough sprues to make 10 figures;

3191402 - 5 Viridian plastic sprues and bases

Or Junkers, £8.25 for enough sprues to make 10 figures.

3191401 - 5 Junkers plastic sprues and bases

Or buy one of each and mix-and match the parts, which is what I’m going to do. These will be my Dominion troops.

The only thing missing is a Sith Lord, as whilst the Not-Jedi I have found are good for heroic Jedi, those seduced by the Dark Side of the Force tend to be masked. As the Jedi Order is inspired, in part, by Samurai, using a suitable masked Samurai subtly modified and painted appropriately should work.

The Heroclix Death Demon or Samuroid could work;

Image result for heroclix death demon

Image result for heroclix samuroid

Alternatively, using either of these Armoured Samurai from Ral Partha Europe (£4.00 for both figures) with the addition of lightsabres would also work, especially the one on the right;

04-306 Armoured Ninjas (2) - Click Image to Close

However, it is all down to personal choice – what do YOU think a Dark Jedi would look like? Perhaps one of the Psi-Paladins shown earlier, but with skin colouring similar to a Drow?

However, as I had TWO figures representing the same character, one of which is the classic version of the character and one an ‘updated’ version, which I didn’t like as that character – but WILL make a good Not-Sith, I am using this HeroScape Doctor Doom figure. All he needs is a lightsabre and a repaint;

“I find your lack of pants…disturbing.”

So, I have scenery, I have my Rebel Union troopers, I have my Dark Jedi Black Rukh and my Imperial Stormtroopers Dominion Shocktroopers are on their way. I just need to finish my initial draft of the revised Feast of Crows rules and I’ll be able to play my first Star Wars-inspired game.

And for an initial outlay of less than £20.00 on my part.

To paraphrase Watto from The Phantom Menace – “I’m Carrion Crow, your marketing tricks won’t work on me.”

Until next time.

Jez

 

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Forgotten Heroes – All Around the World

When I first instigated the Forgotten Heroes challenge back in June 2016, it was initially just a bit of fun for those in my immediate blogging circle – an opportunity for a few like-minded souls to stretch their creative muscles and produce a comic book hero or villain that had yet to have a figure made of them yet.

Over the next two years, it spread beyond my immediate blogging circle and evolved into a celebration of ANY fictional hero that had yet to have a figure created for them.

This year there were a few changes, as my long-term co-conspirator during the first three years, Mr Roger Webb, decided to retire from the hobby. As he had created and run the Forgotten Heroes blog, in order to continue with this challenge, I decided to host the challenge on my own blog.

As 2019 appears to have thrown several real life challenges in the paths of those who had previously taken part in this challenge, I was dubious about how many people would actually be taking part this year, if any. Especially as I had announced it would have a theme this year…

Luckily for me (as you can’t really call it an event if it’s just you taking part) some previous AND some new contributors stepped up to the plate.

This year the theme was patriotic superheroes and everyone taking part produced at least one figure that met this criteria. In fact, some created more than one.

So, a big thank you to Keith aka the Angry Piper, Mezmaron, Wampley and Scott Pyle for joining in and making it into an actual event this year, rather than just me converting figures on my own.

Keith converted a Heroclix figure into Zangief from Street Fighter, who although doesn’t strictly meet the criteria, everyone knows is Russian…

This was followed later in the month by La Bandera, a really obscure Marvel hero hailing from AND wearing a costume inspired by the flag of Cuba.

Full details on how Keith converted the base figures into these characters can be found on his blog Dead Dick’s Tavern and Temporary Lodging.

Mezmaron decided to create an original hero and their sidekick in 15mm, to match the rest of his collection – the Winged Hussar and Wotjek 3000, patriots hailing from Poland;

Full details of how Mezmaron created these figures can be found on his blog Mezmaron’s Lair.

Wampley created FOUR superhero characters, two of which met the criteria for Forgotten Heroes this years, G.I. Jingo;

And the national hero of Catalonia, Estelada;

He also provided full origin stories for both of these characters, as well as his other two characters in both English and Catalan, so an opportunity to learn a new language too! Full details can be found on his blog Wampley’s Castle.

Scott Pyle, as in THE Scott Pyle of Super System and Super Mission Force fame, created two new characters, Uban the Defender and his loyal golem, Ptah;

I’m getting a definite Egyptian vibe here, especially with the Dr. Fate-esque helmet. The back story for these two characters and additional photos can be found on Scott’s blog, Super Mission Force, but as this is a Tumblr blog, you might need to sign up to view the content.

As everyone taking part in this year’s Forgotten Heroes challenge has now completed and submitted their entries, I can officially announce that it is closed.

But fear not, gentle readers, for it will return once more next year, for it’s 5th outing. Next year will be a more open playing field. A single figure, in the scale of your choosing, converted from an existing base figure into a fictional character who has yet to have a miniature created for them, or has, but the figure was not how YOU thought the character should look.

Any genre, any era, any scale, but MUST be completed during the month of June. No prizes, just the fun of taking part and ending up with a figure that no-one else has. Over the four years this has been running, I’ve created Super-Soldier, Stegron the Dinosaur Man, Bananaman, Crystal Man, Neon Queen, Kid Dynamo, The Planet, Rom the Space Knight and this year, El Aguila;

Maybe next year will finally see me creating…Big Wheel.

That’s all for this time, but join me next time… when who knows what will be served at the Buffet.

Jez

 

Forgotten Heroes – The Eagle Has Landed!

As has been proven in my last post, my language skills are rudimentary at best, so I chose not to utilise Google Translate (other programs are available) to render the post title into Spanish. However, the above sentiment is broadly correct – El Aguila, my entry for this year’s Forgotten Heroes event is now finished – bar some detail work that my failing eyesight and lack of strong enough glasses prevented me from accomplishing.

So, join me as we journey through the various stages that have led me to the finished article…

This was the starting point – a Heroclix figure of Stonewall, whose was removed from his Oreo ‘Clix base, re-based on a 2 pence piece and had his base textured.

Due to various issues with glue and things not drying the way they were supposed to, my first painting pass was to block paint El Aguila’s torso in GW Woodland Green, his legs in Docrafts Blanc and the base in GW Orc Brown. These are really old GW paints, like a good 10 or so years old, but they’re still going strong and to find the equivalent from GW now, I’d have to probably pay quadruple the price and they’d have a silly name…

Realising the base was a little TOO yellow, I repainted this with Docrafts Linen, which I also used to paint his hands, the bottom half of his face and his eyeholes, as I wanted the cowl to look as much like a Mexican wrestler’s mask as possible. His belt and wristlets were given a coat of Docrafts Burnt Umber  and his boots a coat of Docrafts Cherry Red. His tights got a coat of Tamiya White X-2, which unlike the Docrafts Blanc, is more of a gloss paint, so it made them look more like lycra…

Now the main colours of the Mexican flag were on and he was looking kind of how I’d envisaged him, I had to work out what his chest symbol/icon should look like. I knew I wanted a stylised eagle, but was unsure exactly how to depict it.

Various supers have bird symbols on their chests – Phoenix, Nightwing…even Marvel’s Aguila, whose name I’ve appropriated for MY hero, who looks like this;

Image result for aguila marvel

Brings new meaning to the expression “the gay blade…”

Anyway, I needed something a bit simpler and easy to paint…and then I remembered that there was another Marvel character with a stylised bird chest emblem… Thunderbird!

Image result for thunderbird marvel

From Giant Size X-Men #1 (May 1975), Thunderbird made up the first change in roster since the introduction of the X-men back in 1963. He was the Native American representative in the new, more diverse line-up and was killed on his very next outing…probably because his powers were covered by Colossus, so why have two strong guys? Absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he was a Native American…

Blankets? what blankets? I see no blankets…

Anyway, I thought that his stylised “thunderbird” symbol would prove to be a reasonably easy one to replicate, so initially painted this in Docrafts Burnt Umber. i.e dark brown, as this is the colour of the eagle on the Mexican flag…

But it looked shite. Not enough contrast and not superhero-y enough. So, taking inspiration from the Aztecs, I repainted it in Docrafts Shining Gold. Much better.

I then attempted to paint the studs on his belt with the same colour…and failed, so repainted the belt and wristlets in Docrafts Shining Gold, then washed them in GW Brown Ink, then painted the buckle in Docrafts Bronze. The flesh parts were given a wash of GW (the label’s fallen off and I can’t remember what it’s called) Brown, to give him a Mexican skin tone.

I then tried to paint on a moustache using my thinnest brush and some more Brown Ink. Which would have worked if I could have seen what I was doing. New, stronger glasses are needed before I attempt any teeny, tiny detail work in future. I then had to repaint his face, to rectify the mess I’d made. Rather than continue and risk fucking it up, I wisely decided to stop.

And here he is…El Aguila, national hero of Mexico.

I’m my own worst critic, so I’m 90% happy with him, but he does embody the look I was going for and doesn’t look like a cheap Captain America knock-off. And he’s pretty beefy too, as can be seen in the following picture, with a Crooked Dice figure.

“No hablo ingles…”

Still a few more days left in this year’s Forgotten Heroes, so please be sure to check out the other participants blogs to see how they’re doing – Angry Piper, Mezmaron and Wampley.

And join me next time, when I’ll being doing a wrap-up of this year’s event.

Jez

Forgotten Heroes -The Fastest Mouse in All Mexico?

So, we’re now about a third of the way through Forgotten Heroes 2019 and those taking part, Mezmaron, the Angry Piper and Wampley have all progressed somewhat faster than myself, so rather than being “the fastest mouse in all Mexico!”, I seem to be channelling Slowpoke Rodriguez, including his demeanour…

Related image

That’s one miserable mouse…

Anyway, Mezmaron is currently crafting a patriotic Pole and his bear companion in 15mm, Keith aka the Angry Piper has converted a ‘clix into Zangief from Street Fighter, who as he rightly points out, EVERYONE knows is Russian, so I’m letting it slide…this time, whilst Wampley has created G.I. Jingo, taking the militaristic bent of the American patriotic heroes to its extreme. Plus he has also kindly posted in both his native Spanish AND English, for those of us who are too lazy to have learned anything other than “dos cerveza, por favor…”

And in cool Forgotten Heroes news, Scott Pyle, acclaimed writer of both Super System and Super Mission Force, the former of which probably got a lot of people into Supers gaming, has expressed an interest in taking part in this year’s event!

You heard me right – the ACTUAL Scott Pyle. How cool is that?

Right, now the frothing and what-not is out the way, what actual progress have I made over the last ten days?

The answer is…some.

First order of the day was to remove my base figure of Stonewall from his ‘clix base and glue him to a 2 pence piece, to give the plastic figure a bit of heft. I then built up the surrounding base with Milliput, smoothing this down to create a nice even dome. The reason for this was that I had the bright idea to then coat this in fine sand, to represent the desert landscape from which El Aguila hails…

Now, I have mentioned this in a previous post, but it is worth repeating here – Always use the right glue for the job! I failed to follow my own advice and used Polystyrene Cement, which doesn’t like gluing sand. It didn’t dry properly, even after 24 hours, so when attempting to paint the figure, bits kept coming off and the paint also puddled on the base, which meant that I couldn’t get ALL the base colours on. Note to self – use PVA next time.

Anyway, whilst I had decided that I was going to be creating El Aguila, national hero of Mexico (and not the cheesy Spanish Zorro knock-off that appeared in Power Man & Iron Fist), which had given me the colours red, white and green for his costume, I was undecided on how these would appear. I considered vertical bands of colour, potentially just on his torso, but thought this would just look like he was wearing the flag. I also considered him being mainly green, with red boots and gloves and white highlights…but this looked too much like both Captain America’s and the “Captain Mexico” costumes, so discarded this idea too. Then I had a bit of a brainwave – there does already exist a group of individuals who represent Mexico to the World at large and wear the national colours – the national football team. A quick bit of Googling and I came up with this version of their kit;

Image result for mexican national football team kit

So, this is the look I will be attempting to replicate – green torso, white tights and red boots. There won’t be a cool Aztec face staring out of his chest, but once I’ve finalised the design, there will be a stylised eagle emblem in brown.

So far, due to the drying issues mentioned above, this is as far as I’ve got.

Hmmm, and is that the Mictlan Codex in the background? I thought that was being shipped to the Rookhaven Museum of Natural History…

Some progress, no matter how small, is better than no progress. Join me next time, when hopefully “The Eagle” will have gotten his wings.

Jez

Forgotten Heroes – Variations on a Theme

Whilst it is the last day of May and, strictly speaking, Forgotten Heroes 2019 doesn’t start until tomorrow, I thought I would explain how the idea to make this year’s Forgotten Heroes a themed event came about.

And also tell everyone exactly what I’ve got planned for this year.

So, as previously explained in the announcement (Patriot Games), this year is all about patriotic superheroes. During the month of June, those taking part will produce a figure of a costumed patriotic superhero, representing the country/state/county/planet of their choice, in whatever scale they feel most comfortable with.

It can be an existing hero, such as Captain America, Union Jack or Red Guardian, or a completely new made-up superhero. The only criteria/rules are that;

1. the base figure you use should not be a representation of the character, i.e. it must be a conversion, but this could be as simple as a repaint, and

2. it must be reasonably obvious to anyone viewing the character which country they are representing, so using the colours from the national flag or a symbol strongly associated with that country on their costume, such as a shamrock for Ireland, would be a wise idea.

But where did this idea come from? Well, I have always been a massive fan of both Captain America and the revised (Alan Moore) version of Captain Britain.

Being a long-term fan of the former and having a reasonably large collection of his ongoing exploits in comic book form, I have watched as various other costumed patriots from both America and other countries crossed his path and how the idea, and ideals, of this character were reinterpreted over different time zones, realities and in other non-Marvel universes. So, whilst Marvel has the Iron Patriot, Miss America, the Spirit of ’76 and U.S.Agent, you will find Cap-inspired heroes such as Sergeant States, the Golden Age Public Spirit, Super-Soldier and the Star-Spangled Kid lurking amongst the comics racks from a variety of other publishers.

However, it was the finale of Avengers: Endgame that finally cemented this idea in my head. If you’re a superhero fan and you haven’t seen this movie, where on Earth have you been?! However, as, the next part of this post will contain a minor spoiler for the movie, if you haven’t seen it, look away now…

At the end of the movie, Steve Rogers is no longer able to continue as Captain America and hands the shield on to Sam Wilson/the Falcon to continue as the new Cap. This has historic comic book precedent, as this did actually happen, but whilst this is the way the future of the Captain America mantle appears to be going in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (even though Sam was holding the shield the wrong way up! Jeez, Sam, get it right…), this got me thinking along the lines of who I would prefer to see as the new Cap in the MCU, which led me to thinking about other patriotic heroes I would like to see and thus this year’s themed event was born, as I thought it might be fun to see what other might do with this idea, once the shackles were off.

Right, you can look back now.

So, having decided what the theme would be, my next step was to decide what I was actually going to do. And I cheated a bit here, as I had already bought a figure many moons ago with the intention of turning him into a patriotic hero for a country other than America, but had not got around to it yet. And this is the figure I will be using;

Image result for heroclix stonewall

This is a character called Stonewall, from the Heroclix Uncanny X-Men subset. I saw him and immediately thought “Hmmm, he looks a bit…Mexican.”

My original intent was for him to become…Captain Mexico, a south of the border knockoff of Captain America and kind of a joke character. However, it appears that there is already several variants of Captain Mexico out there, including a cos-player…

Image result for captain mexico costume

Not only that, Marvel themselves had done an Aztec alternate reality version of Captain America, Captain Mexica from Earth-1519, who featured in Marvel Zombies 3, having been turned into a flesh-eating zombie, the title of the series kind of giving away what was going to happen…

Image result for captain mexica

Now, regular readers will know that I like to plough my own furrow, so as someone has already done both a Captain Mexico AND an Aztec-themed Captain Mexica, I had to come up with something different and uniquely my own…

Now, Mexico does have a history of masked heroes, dating back to 1942, when a man in a silver mask stepped into a wrestling ring and forever changed the sport of lucha libre. I am, of course, referring to those masked Mexican wrestlers known as luchadores enmascarados, the most famous of which was the silver-masked wrestler known as El Santo.

Image result for el santo

So, by combining the colours and symbolism of the Mexican flag, the moustache of Zorro and heavuily influenced by the luchadores enmascarados, I am intending on transforming my base figure of Stonewall into…

El Aguila, national hero of Mexico.

“An eagle cannot be bound by walls”

So, join me next time to see how this crazy little project is progressing and be sure to check out what the other participants, Angry Piper and Mezmaron, are up to on their respective blogs.

 

Small Objects of Desire

One of the problems of this wonderful hobby of ours, is the desire to own more…which can sometimes get in the way of painting what we already own and/or playing with them.

I think we ALL fall victim to this at some stage or another, and unless you are extremely strong-willed, have a limited budget or have some kind of epiphany that allows you to stop hoarding all those figures and games you’re never actually going to play with, you will end up buying something that you don’t really want and will never use.

Now, you may be forgiven for thinking that this signals one of my infamous soapbox speeches, which divides those who follow this blog between those who understand what the Hell I’m banging on about and those who think I’m launching a personal attack on them – you will know into which camp you fall – but you would be wrong.

This post is actually about one of my ongoing hobby-related obsessions and what those cursed folk who manufacture tiny lead man are releasing, when I haven’t got any money to buy things with. Cue much gnashing of teeth, wailing and general poutyness – which may not have been a word before, but is now.

I have two ongoing hobby-related quests; the first is to have a 28mm representation of every version of the Doctor, from William Hartnell up to Pater Capaldi. Yes, I am aware that Warlord Games are doing every version of the Doctor, but I want 28mm versions, so as to fit in with ALL my other figures, rather than the whatever scale WG are using. And yes, I am aware that you may think there is another iteration of the Doctor after Capaldi, but you are mistaken. The Universe is lying to you…there has not been a 13th Doctor…nothing to see here, move along….

Anyway, I am missing the 8th, 9th, 10th and War Doctor, but do have plans to convert my own version of the 8th, as the Black Tree Design one is a bit…pants.

My second quest is to have 28mm versions of every Blackadder and their respective supporting cast…which is where the gnashing of teeth comes in, because people keep releasing MORE figures…

In my previous post on this matter, I highlighted that Rogue Miniatures did a version of Edmund, The Black Adder and King Richard IV from the first series, but it appears that their website no longer exists and the owner is selling off the molds/business, so if you want these figures, you might have to contact him direct via the Rogue Miniatures Facebook page. However, as Studio Miniatures released these just prior to Salute this year;

THE BLACK PRINCE & AIDES

You can get Edmund, Percy and Baldrick in their original iterations for £12.00 from their online shop here.

Of course, if you’re still craving someone to bellow “Fresh Horses!” whilst fighting Saracens, this Heroclix movie version Volstagg would make a good proxy;

Image result for heroclix movie volstagg

Now, whilst The Assault Group does the Elizabethan versions of Edmund, Percy and Baldrick, that’s all the characters you get. However, Space Vixens from Mars actually do a Queen Elizabeth I, for a very reasonable £2.75.

Elizabeth I

Whilst hunting for Lord Melchett, I did find a possible figure to use for Lord Flasheart, from Wargames Foundry.

Top right, with the right paint job, I think would work. This is SB022 Squire Edward’s Swashbucklers, from the Seadogs and Swashbucklers range, It’s £12.00 for the whole pack, but you do get 6 figures, so £2.00 a figure.

And talking of Lord Flasheart, whilst Scarab Miniatures provided you with nearly everyone from Blackadder Goes Forth, including Bob the driver AND the drinks cabinet, our dashing aviator was nowhere to be seen. However, this has now been rectified by the latest entry in Wargames Illustrated’s ‘Giants in Miniature’ range;

LORD ‘FLASH’

Available from North Star Military Figures for £3.50. However, you will have to provide your own “woofs”…

We wants them, my precious…

Anyway, as June fast approaches, this signals that the next month will be taken up with Forgotten Heroes 2019. Currently, we have three participants; myself here on the Buffet, Keith aka The Angry Piper over at Dead Dick’s Tavern and Temporary Lodging and a new participant Mezmaron over at Mezmaron’s Lair. Still time to join in, should you so wish and the full details can be found in my previous post about this event here.

 

Carpathian Kitten Loss

The title of this post is a phrase used by Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters II, referring to what Vigo the Carpathian is suffering from and why he looks so grumpy in his painting.

It’s also… The. Best. Title. Ever.

After my brief diversion to announce the Forgotten Heroes 2019 event, we return to my ongoing Ghostbusters project and something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but not got around to yet.

As I’d previously built the first room of my museum ‘board’ (go here if you missed this genius idea) and discussed in the comments that it could be used for any large internal space, including an art gallery, this started those insidious cogs turning in my brain…

As the villain of the second Ghostbusters movie spent the majority of the film as an oil painting, to have a ‘complete’ collection of 28mm Ghostbusters and related characters, I really needed a scale representation of this. I mean, I’d just built a museum hall, so how difficult could it be?

Turns out there were some teething issues, but as I’ve now overcome these, I can show you the best way to create scale paintings for your scenery, that are; 1. easy to make, 2. dirt cheap and, 3. with the right bits, can be added and removed from your scenery without any issues.

So, the first thing to do is to find the relevant images that you want to replicate. I decided that my portrait of Vigo should not hang alone, so decided to source some other images of like-minded folk. Having selected my ‘Rogue’s Gallery’, I used Google Images to find the largest, most detailed version of the picture I wanted, then simply copied and pasted these into a blank Word document.

Using the Formatting facility, I then reduced these images in size to what I felt was the correct proportions, ensuring that the aspect ratio was locked, so it didn’t distort the image. Using the ‘Picture Styles’ Formatting option, I then added a “frame” to each picture, using ‘Compound Frame, Black’. Having done this, I then printed this out on a piece of A4 paper, using my colour printer, along with one other image, like so:

So, Vigo is at the bottom left of the portraits and above him is a portrait of Ivo Shandor’s mother, which features in Ghostbusters – The Video Game, which I’ve mentioned before. As for the other three portraits, they are all historical personages and anyone who can name all three gets bonus points and my everlasting respect.

The final image is the actual logo for Stay-Puft Marshmallows that appeared in the first Ghostbusters movie, on the packet that Dana had on her kitchen counter. Yes, I am THAT much of a geek…

Interestingly, the image of Mr. Stay-Puft is a bit more angular than the one that manifested in the final reel and I’m tempted to try and recreate this…but maybe not full size.

Anyway, as I had printed this out on A4 paper, I decided to cut out the pictures and glue them on to thin card using a gluestick…

This was a mistake, so don’t do this.

The glue make the colours run and you get weird lumps everywhere. Instead, print the images straight on to card, as most home printers will take the sort of white card they give to kids to make greetings cards from and is therefore available from most stationers and handily comes in A4 size. (As a side note for any overseas readers, A4 is a standard paper size in the UK, equivalent to 8.27 × 11.69 inches, because having it 9 x 12 would be FAR too easy…)

Once you’ve done that, use a steel rule and a craft knife (as even with the best will in the world AND a steady hand, you won’t cut ’em straight) to cut out your paintings, like so:

You will then need to colour the edges of your ‘paintings’, as otherwise when viewed from the side, you’ll see the white card they’re printed on. This can easily be done with a black felt tip such as a Sharpie, although someone’s wandered off with mine, so I had to paint the bloody things. Don’t do this – it takes too long and you can end up with paint, ironically, on your ‘paintings’.

The next stage is to cover the paintings with transparent sticky=backed plastic. I used a 50p roll from Wilko, intended for covering school books. This is to protect the images when being handled, as ink from an inkjet printer will wear off if treated too rough and gives the ‘paintings’ that sheen that you see on oil paintings. Once you’ve done this, flip them over and glue 1 pence pieces to the back of each one, like so;

It doesn’t have to be a 1 pence pieces, you can use any coin of your choice, or a washer, although washers do tend to be more expensive than a penny each. The important thing is that the coin (or coin substitute) be of a composition that is ferromagnetic…

And the reason for this is because that way, by placing a strong enough magnet on the reverse of the wall you are intending hanging the ‘picture’ on, it can be placed anywhere on the wall and removed just as easily, so will not be a permanent fixture.

To show you what I mean, here’s Dr Floyd Petersen of the Rookhaven Ghostbusters franchise, examining a portrait he has discovered hanging in the museum, which appears to be giving off a significant amount of Psychokinetic Energy…

“There are no strings on me…”

Did I hear someone say… ‘genius’?

Until next time…

Patriot Games

As it has been somewhat quiet of late here on the Buffet, as 2019 has thrown various curve balls my way, you may be thinking that as June creeps ever closer and that my stalwart supporter and faithful sidekick (that’s you, Roger) has hung up his tights, that the annual craziness known as Forgotten Heroes would not be happening this year…

Well, it is.

Now, as alluded to in a previous post, things will be a little different this year.

Firstly, Forgotten Heroes 2019 will be run exclusively from this site and to take part, you have to either post a comment here or send me an direct email. I will then post a list of all those taking part just prior to the start of the event, with links to the participants blogs or websites, so everyone can follow along and see the fruits of your labours. This ‘blogroll’ will feature in all my posts during the month of June, which is Forgotten Heroes month, for those of you unfamiliar with this event.

Secondly, the rules have changed a little bit, as this year we have a theme, hence the title of this post…

Captain America Shield

So, during the month of June, you must create a single wargaming figure, in a scale of your choice, representing a costumed patriotic hero. He, she or it, may be an existing patriotic costumed hero, such as Captain America, Red Guardian or Union Jack, or a new creation of your own devising, but if the latter, must have a costume that will enable anyone viewing the character to be able to recognise what country (or state) they represent. Furthermore, the base figure from which you are creating this figure must not be a representation of the character you are creating. Other than that, go wild.

So, relatively straight-forward and simple rules, and an opportunity to let those creative juices flow. Will you choose a patriotic hero that has yet to have a figure made of them, such as Jack Staff, the Fighting American or Yankee Poodle?

Image result for jack staff   Image result for fighting american      Image result for yankee poodle

Or will you venture into the uncharted reaches of the Multiverse and bring forth such creations as Captain Cornwall, Liberté or U.S.Ape?

Image result for captain cornwall

Hmm, turns out there already IS a Captain Cornwall…who have thought, eh? Although, strictly speaking, it should be Kapten Kernow…

Anyway, enough digressing. The announcement has been made and you have been given just over three weeks in which to plan and prepare your patriotic pièce de résistance!

Forgotten Heroes 2019!

Only Available on Carrion Crow’s Buffet!

Accept No Substitutes!

Come join the fun…

Unnatural History

Anyone who has visited one of the big museums, such as the British Museum or the Natural History Museum in London, will know that not only are they filled with cool and interesting things, but they…are…HUGE. I’m not just talking about the exteriors, but once you walk in through the front doors, you find yourself within a cool, marble-floored hall, whose ceiling and walls stretch away from you – almost to infinity. This sense of scale, of grandeur, is deliberate, as it puts you in the right frame of mind to full appreciate the artefacts that you will shortly be viewing.

Now, back in 2009, Sony released Ghostbusters: The Video Game across various home console platforms, including PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and the Wii. There were two ‘versions’ of the game – realistic and stylised – depending on which console you had, but the general plot was the same.

It was set in New York in 1991 and the Ghostbusters, with the addition of a new “Experimental Weapons Technician” (controlled by the player), attempted to thwart the convoluted plan of Ivo Shandor to return from beyond the veil and complete the work he had begun back in the 1920’s.

Now, unlike a lot of the games published under the Ghostbusters banner, the script and story for this had been created by Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis, and featured the actual vocal talents of the majority of the original cast, including the notoriously reclusive Bill Murray.

And it was awesome, especially on the Wii, as you actually felt like you WERE a Ghostbuster.

You may be wondering how this video game and my introduction regarding museums are related to one another…or to wargaming, which is the purpose of this blog and probably why you’re here in the first place. All WILL be explained, so read on.

So, one of the levels of this game featured the American Museum of Natural History, star of the first Night in the Museum movie and novel Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (NB: the movie based on the latter – The Relic (1997) – whilst not too bad, moved the action to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, so not the same place.) You got to explore various parts of the museum and bust a variety of supernatural menaces along the way.

This got me thinking that having a tabletop representation of a museum – a museum ‘board’ if you will – would be a great location to play a variety of games on. A heist of a valuable artefact could be thwarted by costumed vigilantes or uniformed police; a group of stalwart, square-jawed adventurers could sneak in to prevent cultists from opening a portal to another dimension and releasing some squamous horror; paranormal exterminators or meddling teens could investigate and eliminate a haunting, whether real or faked. Just think of all the movies you’ve seen that have featured a museum or art gallery as a major location and think of what fun YOU could have with your figures, if you had one yourself…

Now, I am aware that Sally 4th does as part of their Terra Blocks range, under the sub-heading of Exotic Locations, The Museum of Antiquities, which is constructed from 17 100mm cubes, that can be rearranged to your heart’s content, for £17.50.

However, whilst nice, this doesn’t really convey the scale of the big museums to me, so I sat on this idea for a while until I had one of my unbelievably genius ideas. You may be somewhat sceptical at this point, but just you wait and see…

Right, first thing you need is a box, but not just any box. You need a box that is pretty big, robust and deep. I was initially going to use a box file for this, as they’re pretty cheap and easy to get hold of wherever you happen to be in the world, but then remembered that Ikea do black storage boxes for a very reasonable £2.00 each. Obviously, being Ikea, you’ve got to build them yourself, but no tools are necessary, as these are the only parts you get:

As you can see from the instruction sheet, this box is called ‘Tjena’, and comes in three parts; the pre-assembled lid, the sides and folded bottom and a flat insert to go in the bottom of the box for added stability. The box is 13 3/4″ long, 9 3/4″ wide and 4″ tall (or 35cm, 25cm and 10cm, if you use Metric) and looks like this once you’ve built it;

You can now see why you have a insert, as the folded part of the base of the box means it hasn’t got a flat bottom.

Each one of these boxes will represent one hall within our museum, so depending on how large you want your museum to be depends on how many boxes you buy. As each ‘hall’ is only £2.00 (in the UK at least), your playing area and budget will dictate how many halls your museum has.

Once you’ve decided how many halls you are going to have and the approximate layout, you need to cut openings in the relevant walls of your halls, so that the visitors can move between halls. Make sure that the openings in each hall are the same size, so that when you put them together, they marry up. I have decided that as my museum may have exhibits such as prehistoric animals or modern art in the form of giant plastic pigs, the openings need to be 3″ wide and this hall will have three openings, so I cut these out.

The reason I did this first is because whilst the box, insert and lid are coloured black, the card it’s made from isn’t, so the cut parts show the original colour of the cardboard it’s made from. As the next stage involves paint, it’s better to have all the bits you’re going to paint on show at the same time.

As museums tend to have neutral coloured walls, out came my £4.00 can of Wilko ‘Soft Taupe’ spray paint and the interior walls (and the cut parts showing the base card colour) were given a liberal coat, then left to dry whilst I moved on to the next part. And this is what it looked like once it was dry.

However, whilst it was drying, I tackled the ‘floor’. The idea here was to cover the card insert with suitably patterned self-adhesive decorative vinyl. Having found a role of said product that featured 1 inch squares, that looked like floor tiles (and is actually fairly similar to the tiled floor of the British Museum) in Poundland, I thought it would be ideal.

So, I cut a section big enough to cover the insert and overlap the edges, peeled of the backing paper and carefully applied the sticky-back plastic to my card insert, like so;

As the walls of my hall were now dry, I simply dropped my floor into place and had the first of my basic museum halls completed;

And to give a sense of scale, here’s Jake Hudson of the local Ghostbusters franchise facing off against some Oriental beastie stalking the halls of the Rookhaven Museum of Natural History;

Now, it’s not complete, as I am intending on adding skirting boards, light switches and power outlets to the walls, to make it look more ‘real’, but I wanted to get this up on the blog so others could see just how simple, quick and inexpensive creating a large interior space to play in was. It doesn’t need to be a museum – it could be ANY interior. And it doesn’t need to be a room this size – it could be easily divided up into smaller rooms, to represent a secret base or a prison or…well anything YOU need.

And, once you’re done playing, pop the lid on and stack it up with the other halls you’ve built. Robust, quick and easy to build and store, and cheap.

Genius.

‘Nuff said.

Size of a Cow…

Like the other seasonal holidays, whilst Easter does see the shelves of our favourite discount stores filled with suitable bits and bobs, unlike Halloween, these don’t tend to be of any use to the average wargamer.

Having purchased a small wicker basket from Poundland, with the intention of filling it with a veritable cornucopia of small chocolate goodies for my wife, I found that I’d left it a touch late to buy the ‘goodies’, so had to buy normal eggs instead.

This left me with an unwanted and unnecessary item. As I detest waste and have absolutely no shame, I took it back to Poundland and exchanged it for something else…because that’s how I roll.

And what I got was these:

Five injection-moulded hollow plastic bath toys, representing various farm animals, in suitably restrained colours. For a £1, so that makes them 20p each. Bargain!

Now, you might be wondering why on Earth I bought these in the first place and why am I featuring them on the Buffet. Well, in typical Jez fashion, I saw these and immediately started thinking outside the box. The cartoon-like styling of these, their size (they are approximately 3 inches long and 2 inches tall) and their weight (being hollow, they don’t weigh very much) means that I immediately started thinking they could be used as parade balloons, fibre-glass restaurant signs, or corporate mascots brought to unholy life and unleashed on the Ghostbusters…

This give a better idea of how big these toys scenery items are, compared to a standard 28mm Crooked Dice figure. The horse/pony and the chicken are a bit taller, being 3 inches tall and the chicken certainly looks like it should be gracing the roof of a “Chicken Shack”…

However, looking at the pig next to my Ghostbuster figure….

And remembering the beginning of the second Toy Story, where the evil Dr. Porkchop has a vast pig-shaped spacecraft, I thought that this would make a good shuttlecraft for….Pigs in Space!

Of course, in order to do that you’ll need some 28mm Space Pigs…

Luckily, Interloper Miniatures has some;

Join me next time, when we’ll be off to the museum…