Challenging the Unknown

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up, the Planet and Neon Queen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for star wars display arena

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

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

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

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

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

Like this:

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

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

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

The Quantum Quartet

Welcome back to Forgotten Heroes month here on the Buffet!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forgotten Heroes 2017 – The Return

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the results were these four:

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

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

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

Revenge of the Daleks

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

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

However, two things changed my mind.

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

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

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

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

This is the line – the shit stops here.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Father of the Daleks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for heroclix psion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Companion Piece

As I had already decided that my next Doctor Who AAR, following on from the events in Day of the Master, would feature the third incarnation of the Doctor AND would also feature the classic grey Daleks, these figures had taken precedence in my painting queue, along with my scratch-built TARDIS.

However, what I failed to take into account was that the Doctor very rarely travels alone and I didn’t have any companions to accompany him on his next adventure.

Knowing that he would be facing the Daleks, who do have a tendency to exterminate those they consider enemies of the Daleks, I needed some companions who either had some martial prowess or could be considered ‘cannon fodder’. As I didn’t have half a dozen Adrics to act as human shields (the only companion whose death I actually cheered), I went with the former. But having already used UNIT, I decided to go with something a bit different.

So, here are the two companions who will be accompanying the Doctor on his next adventure:

The figure on the left is Pandora King from Crooked Dice, available from their webstore for £4.00, whilst the figure on the right is RSF 04 Pepperpot Hunter from Miniature Figurines Retro Sci-Fi range, costing £2.75.

Those with an extensive knowledge of Doctor Who will recognise that the ‘pepperpot hunter’ is a representation of Abslom Daak – Dalek Killer, who first appeared in a back-up strip in the Doctor Who Weekly comic book in 1980. A hardened criminal who, when caught, was offered a choice between vapourisation and a one-man suicide mission against a planet full of Daleks, he chose the latter – and turned out to be rather good at killing Daleks. Whilst Daak encountered the Seventh Doctor in the comic book, he has never met the Doctor on screen, but an image of his face was seen in the Twelfth Doctor episode ‘Time Heist’, which means he IS canon. Which is cool.

This figure was actually a gift from Simon Moore aka BLaxkleric of Fantorical fame, because he’s a thoroughly nice chap.

So, having already got a psychotic Dalek-killer, I decided that I needed a female companion, ideally one who had experience of the Daleks and combat training. My mind immediately latched on to Sara Kingdom, a character introduced in the 1965 First Doctor serial The Dalek’s Master Plan. She had the necessary skills and abilities, being a member of the Space Security Service, but was unfortunately dead. However, as the Space Security Service is a large organisation, surely they would have more than just one agent? Taking inspiration from this character and from my good friend, the lovely Tarot Hunt (with her permission, of course) of The Games Cupboard, thus was born Tara Hunt, Space Security Agent and second companion for my next Doctor Who AAR – once I’ve painted them, of course.

Now, as I realised that there existed the possibility that the Doctor may end up being “killed” by the Daleks, causing him to regenerate, I also decided to base up the Fourth Doctor. And, just in case, the Fifth Doctor too. As I still had some Milliput left after this, I also based up my second gift from Simon, Miniature Figurines ‘Chrononaut Grandfather’, which is a much better likeness of the movie version of the Doctor than Black Tree Designs one.

And there was still some putty left over, so Aggedor, the Monster of Peladon got based up too.

So, not a huge amount of progress, as post-Salute I’d lost my motivation/momentum due to various external factors, but I’ve got it back now, so expect more regular posts in future.

Normally, I’d sign off at this point, but I do need to make an announcement. It’s currently the 6th of May, which means that June is less than a month away. And in June, the madness that is Forgotten Heroes returns! Those of you who took part last year will know what this is all about, but for those of you that didn’t, follow the link to the official site, which explains everything. And also shows what everyone got up to last year.

If you want to take part this year, just let me know by commenting on this or subsequent posts before the 1st of June. My partner-in-crime, Roger Webb of Ranting from Under the Wargames Table, has agreed to update the FH site with all participants details and posts, because he’s nice like that.

So, the Doctor Who project will take a break during June, as Superhero madness will take over, but join me next time for more Who-related goodness.

Cabbages and Kings

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

Whilst I was typing up my previous post on my visit to Salute this year, a number of things crossed my mind, as I remembered specific conversations and overheard snatches of speech from last Saturday. These thoughts clustered in my mind, and were added to as I perused the various post-Salute posts made on a number of other blogs and noted a trend. This finally crystallised into an idea for a post as I read some of the incisive comments made on the most recent post on the wonderful blog,  The Game Cupboard, which you can find here.

So, it is time to talk of many things…

Firstly, I’ve noted a bit of a trend when it comes to post-Salute reports. I have no problem in reading about your day or looking at the pictures of those demos or gaming boards that caught your eye, because that’s a very personal record of your day. However, do I really need to see a picture of everything you’ve bought? It’s not even as though it’s in context, as in the reason you bought those specific items. It’s just a heap of stuff. What am I supposed to do, congratulate you on your ability to buy things?

My second point relates to the above – the majority of vendors at gaming conventions, no matter what you may think, are NOT your friends. They are there for one reason and one reason only and that’s to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash, the more the better. When you rush up to their booths, with your enthusiasm for their product evident on your face, all they see is an opportunity to get their knife into the slot in the top of the piggy-bank and extract every last possible penny out of it.

Think back to what you bought at Salute – how much of what you bought had you intended to buy? Where you persuaded that if you just bought one more thing from a particular vendor, then it would be an even better deal and then found that you’d spent far more money than you’d anticipated? I heard one particular vendor trying to encourage a potential customer to buy their newest boxed game that he clearly wasn’t that interested in by offering to throw in something he did want as a sweetener.

Related image

Unfortunately, a lot of gamers have what I like to call the ‘Magpie Mentality’, i.e. they cannot resist shiny things. A whiff of a special offer and suddenly all restraint is gone and they’ve bought a new game that they probably had NO intention of buying and will probably be played once, then stacked on a shelf to gather dust. How many times have you bought something with the words “I don’t know what I’ll use it for, but I just had to buy it”? Did you really have to buy it? Or were you overcome by your inner magpie?

The same thing applies to pledging on Kickstarter. Some people seem to have developed ‘Kickstarter fever’ and just cannot seem to resist pledging for the next ‘big thing’. Which, by the time it finally arrives, is now been replaced by the next…and the next…and the next, ad infinitum. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to do this because you’re stinking rich, don’t then boast about how you’ve got so many Kickstarter games that you haven’t even bothered to take them out of their plastic yet, because that just means that not only are you NOT a gamer, but also that you give no consideration to those less fortunate than yourself.

I suppose from a certain perspective this might be considered a bit of a rant, but all I’m trying to do is make people think a bit more. Next time you find yourself in the position where you’ve already started to reach for your wallet or purse…STOP, and ask yourself these questions; Do I really need it? Can I buy it cheaper elsewhere? Is the ‘special offer/deal’ I’m being offered really that good? The majority of the time, by the time you’ve asked and answered these questions, your inner magpie will have subsided somewhat, allowing you to apply rational thought to your potential purchases. You may end up buying it anyway, but do it on YOUR terms, not the vendor’s.

Listen to the crow – not the magpie.

Post-Salute 2017 Thoughts

Having now returned footsore and weary from my second Salute, I thought I’d give a brief round-up of the day.

Last year, as it my was first-ever Salute, I was walking around in a partial daze, as I’d never attended a show as big as this before, so failed to take any photographs on the day. And because I got there around 11am last time, I missed on the extra freebies that the first 5,000 through the door get.

This year I vowed that not only would I get there as close to the opening time as possible, but would also take some photos. However, I didn’t take very many, just things that caught my eye.

Whilst waiting in the queue, I saw Andy of Da Gobbo’s Grotto fame, along with his ‘Nerd Herd’, but rather than interrupt his conversation, I’d thought I’d track him down once we’d been released into the main hall. Unsurprisingly, given his liking for a certain Oriental skirmish game, I found him merrily purchasing more Bushido miniatures at the GCT Studios stand, whilst the vendor stood there with little pound signs in his eyes.

I then collared him and introduced myself and had a nice long natter, in which I was introduced to the rest of the ‘Nerd Herd’ as well. The reason I did this first, rather than just rushing off to buy things, was so that Andy would have a ‘face’ to recognise at the 1pm ‘bloggers meet’, rather than standing there like he was waiting for a blind date – carnation in buttonhole and copy of the Financial Times optional.

We then went our separate ways and I started to have a good look around. The first port of call was the Warlord Games stand, as I had speculated that their first Doctor Who boxed game would be released at Salute and this was indeed the case. Here it is on their display stand:

The game features a force of Time War Daleks against the most recent version of the Cybermen, from the 12th Doctor episode ‘Nightmare in Silver’. For your £35.00 you get a dozen plastic Daleks in gold and approximately the same number of Cybermen in silver. The Cybermen sprues also come with Cybermats on them. Having handled the sprues, the detailing is pretty good, although I’m not overly keen on this particular model of Cyberman.

You also get a double-sided printed paper mat, pre-printed cards and dice. And probably some other stuff as well, but I didn’t memorise the entire contents. As I was only really interested in the Daleks and whether they would be compatible with my existing Black Tree and DWA Daleks, I didn’t buy the game, but from my estimations, if I choose not to base the Warlord Daleks, I think they’ll be fine to use with 28mm miniatures.

I then popped over to the Crooked Dice stall to say hello to Karl and pick up my pre-orders. He looked a little bit shell-shocked already and this was only about an hour in!

I then discovered that one of the vendors I was sure I’d read was attending, wasn’t actually there. As my ‘Salute shopping list’ had several items from this vendor on it, I found myself without the said items and with ‘spare’ cash. So I went shopping…

My first purchase was a new release from Renedhra Ltd, who make injection-molded gaming terrain and bases. They have just released some wrought-iron fencing with a brick base and gates – in fact they’re so new they’re not even on the website yet!

So, for £10.00, you get two sprues with four lengths of fencing 85mm long and a single brick column that the gate attaches to. So, that’s two gates, two columns and eight lengths of fencing molded in hard grey plastic. As you can see from the picture, each length has a post at one end, so it looks like a proper fence. Ideal for surrounding a graveyard or public park or maybe even a pumpkin patch. They also do a pack without the gate, so if you need to fence off a larger area, get one of these as well. Or just have two gates.

I then decided to take some photos, and I’ll give as much detail as I can recall regarding each one.

First up is a couple of photos of a rather nice Jurassic Park table, complete with the iconic gate;

Various dinosaurs were running about, chasing die-cast jeeps. Most of the Dinosaur models were from Shleich, which although not cheap, are pre-painted plastic so can be used straight away. (On a related note, if you want a ‘giant’ ape, rather than forking out for resin one from a games company, buy one of Shleich’s gorillas – it’s about 80mm tall and only about £6.50).

And here’s the velociraptor pen. A good use of teddy bear fur for the grass and a lovely table.

Next up was this beautiful table:

I initially thought this was for Greek Mythology inspired game, but it turns out it was for a fantasy game called “Darklands”.  Shame, as it could have done with some Greek heroes, maybe some harpies and a big stompy bronze statue. But still, it was a nicely modeled table

Next up was this board:

This was one of the demonstration boards for GCT Studios Bushido game and whilst a game wasn’t being played on it, it was so eye-catching, I just had to take a photo.

Staying with the Oriental theme, we have this:

This was Oshiro Model Terrain‘s participation game, which I believe was called “Storming the Castle”. It had the above Japanese town utilising Oshiro’s resin terrain, with docks and a moat, on the other side of which was this:

Just to give you an idea of scale, yes, those are 28mm miniatures. Whilst I was ogling the castle, one of the chaps came over and showed me that the castle itself was modular, with fully detailed interiors, built by the chap who runs the company. It was absolutely gorgeous.

Checking the time, I realised that I would just have enough time to get some lunch before the 1pm ‘bloggers meet’. I duly turned up just before one at what I hope was the right place, and was soon joined by the impeccably dressed Michael Awdry of 28mm Victorian Warfare, followed by Andy, and finally Simon Moore aka Blaxkleric of Fantorical. After introductions were made for those who hadn’t yet met one another, we had a nice long natter, before someone decided that a group shot of all the bloggers should be taken. Not sure who took the photos or where they’ll end up, but someone, somewhere has photographic evidence that I do actually exist.

I then bullied Simon, Andy and Michael into posing for a picture for me, primarily for the readers of this blog who were not able to attend:

So, from left to right we have Simon Moore, Andy Nash and Micahel Awdry. Obviously, Andy didn’t get the memo about wearing a waistcoat.

I then returned to one of the stalls where I’d earlier spotted some interesting and inexpensive figures, but was not able to get close enough due to some very rude Germans, and picked up a 28mm plastic Ogre in a wrestling suit with an Afro – because I needed him – for just £1.00! Bargain. I also spotted a couple more figures that would make extremely suitable and ideal gifts for someone, so bought them too.

My day at Salute finished with me being patted on the shoulder in passing by someone dressed in an extremely convincing Chewbacca costume, so I left with a big grin on my face.

Really fun day and can’t wait for next year.

United Colours of…Dalek

Regular visitors will have noted that things have been a little quiet here at the Buffet…

Unfortunately, various external factors have conspired against me, resulting in very little time to spend on hobby-related pursuits. In fact, the only painting I’ve done up until very recently was my fence, which is now ‘Forest Green’ in its entirety, including the parts that were replaced when the weather kindly decided to knock it down.

However, now that tedious and arduous task has been completed, I have returned to my painting queue and as a certain batch of militaristic war-machines were stridently clamouring for attention, I thought it best to focus on them.

When we last saw my Daleks, they had just been assembled and based (go here for a reminder).

So, first up is the ‘New Paradigm’ Daleks, which explains the title of this post;

Colourful bunch, aren’t they? So, I’ve given each a base coat of the relevant primary colour, then painted in the bumpers and neck grills in black. The plunger arms, guns and eyestalks have also all been given an initial coat of GW Chaimail. The two ‘Drones’ on the far right are supposed to be the same colour, i.e. red, but as both were a slightly different shade of red plastic, one looks a bit more orange-y than the other. I also think that the blue Strategist Dalek may be a bit too dark a blue and the yellow Eternal Dalek is not quite the right shade of yellow.

I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by the level of detail on these cheap plastic toys, although it’s clear that different molds were used for different Daleks, as the detail is not as crisp on some of them compared to others.

Next up, my ‘specialist’ Daleks;

The one on the left is the Special Weapons Dalek, who has been given a coat of gloss white and an undercoat of bronze on its bumper, central gun housing and head. Checking my references, this actually needs to be a dirty gold colour, so these parts will be repainted with an elderly pot of GW Shining Gold, then dirtied up a bit.

The one on the right is a plastic GW engineer Dalek, which I decided to give the livery of the most recent ‘classic’ model Daleks, i.e. silver and light blue. The shoulder slats need repainting silver and the bumper in black, but I like how this colour scheme differentiates it from my normal Daleks, which currently look like this;

That’s right, I decided to go for the classic grey and black colour scheme! However, as I wanted to replicate the shiny grey of this type of Dalek, I used a pot of Humbrol Satin Enamel. Whilst it does give the finish I wanted, I forgot that this type of paint takes absolutely ages to dry, so wasn’t able to do much more than this, annoyingly.

That’s all for this week. As Salute is mere days away, the next post will be a post-Salute round-up, similar to last year’s. However, this year I intend on taking at least some photos, so won’t have to scour the Internet for suitable proxy images of my fellow bloggers. You have been warned…

Day of the Master

The Master was not amused. Whilst en route to the scene of his next dastardly plot, a disruption in the Time Vortex has forced his TARDIS to materialise elsewhere. The TARDIS scanners have similarly been effected and the Master was forced to venture outside to discover where he was. Having noted that the chameleon circuit had reverted to the standard ‘factory setting’ on his TARDIS, the Master exited the structure he found himself in and was confronted by a red post box. 

Realising that he was on Earth, the Master decided to find a nearby newsagent to find out WHEN he was. Using his hypnotic powers, he deprived the newsagent of his will, a copy of the Times and several Mars bars – nefarious plotting always left him feeling a bit peckish.

Checking the banner, he noted that it was 1st April 1977. “How ironic,” he murmured, then folding the newspaper, he returned to the abandoned warehouse to continue his journey. 

However, the disruptions in the Time Vortex had continued and stranded four Cybermen, including a Cyber Controller, in the area. Drawn by the Artron energy generated by the TARDIS, the Cyber Controller is aware that a Timelord is in the vicinity and is planning on capturing him or her when they return, so that his troops can be transported back from whence they came.

Whilst armed with his Tissue Compression Eliminator, the Master realised he was ‘outgunned’, as his hypnotic powers would have no effect on the silver menace. However, as there was a nearby UNIT base and they were used to dealing with alien intruders, he decided to ‘recruit’ some help.

After all, he WAS the Master and they WOULD obey him…

Welcome to my first Doctor Who AAR, for which I used my own rules system, known as Way of the Crow. As the actual AAR would be far to long if I explained the entire rules as I went along, I will refer you all to the previous posts which detailed these rules, here, here and here. 

As this is a pretty straight-forward skirmish between the forces of UNIT and the Cybermen, the basic rules linked above are all you really need to know before reading the AAR, with a few exceptions, which will be noted as we go along.

So, the playing area was set up as follows:

So, 2′ square Mars Attacks Deluxe T-Junction mat for the base, with the abandoned warehouse containing the Master’s TARDIS and the Cybermen in the top left corner, with a van parked alongside and a post box on the corner.

On the other side of the road is the local branch of “Cupid Burgers”, purveyors of meat in a bun. And in the bottom half of the mat is ‘Rocket Comics’, next to which UNIT have deployed with “Colonel Masters”, having arrived in their black Landrover moments before.

And here are UNIT, all ready to investigate and eliminate the alien threat, with “Colonel Masters” leading…from the rear:

So, let’s take a look at their stats:

Unit Soldier – V4 A4 W4 Aw4 S3 – H8 #2 P8 – Abilities: Marksmanship +2, Rifle (V5/R10), Grenade x1 (V8/A2) – Cost: 52

So, above average in Vigour, Agility, Will and Awareness, a pretty good Stealth score and each soldier has 8 Health and 2 Actions each. Armed with Rifles with a Range of 10″ and the +2 Marksmanship means they know which end to point at the baddies. Each soldier also has a single Grenade, the range of which is based on the Vigour of the thrower, does base damage of 8 Vigour and has an Area of Effect of 2″.

The Master – V3 A4 W6 Aw5 S3 – H6 #2 P12 – Abilities: Bamboozle +3, Devise +3, Dominate +4, Leadership 3, Tissue Compression Eliminator (V10/R2) – Cost: 84

Whilst the Master has several Abilities over and above ‘standard’ troops, which explains his high cost, both Bamboozle and Devise weren’t used during the game. As the UNIT soldiers had been ‘Dominated’ prior to the start of the game, they were under the Master’s control. However, as soon as they were out of Line of Sight of the Master, there was a chance they could shake of his hypnosis and turn on him. But the Master does like to take risks, after all.

Leadership is a new Ability – a character can expend 1 of their Actions to activate up to their Leadership score of ‘friendly’ troops, effectively circumventing the usual Initiative rules and taking their turns immediately. As the Master has a Leadership of 3, he can activate 3 UNIT soldiers for each Action he uses. As there are 5 UNIT soldiers, this means if he wants to activate all five, he won’t have any Actions left to do anything himself.

The total cost of the Master and the 5 UNIT soldiers is 344 points.

And here are their cybernetic foes:

Cyberman – V6 A3 W8 Aw3 S0 – H15 #2 P16 – Abilities: Armour +1, Cybergun (V5/R10), Tough +3 – Cost: 65

So, the Cybermen have enhanced Vigour, normal Agility and Awareness, a really high Will (because they’re robots), but no Stealth. Additionally they are armed with Cyberguns and are lightly Armoured. The new ability here is ‘Tough’. For every point of Tough a character has, they add 1 additional point of Health. So whilst the Cybermen have a standard Health of twice their Vigour (i.e. 12), Tough +3 takes this up to a staggering 15!

Cyber Controller – V6 A3 W8 Aw5 S0 – H15 #2 P16 – Abilities: Armour +1, Cybergun (V5/R10), Tough +3, Leadership 5 – Cost: 130

Other than a slightly higher Awareness and a leadership score of 5, the Cyber Controller has the same stat line as the normal Cybermen.

The total cost of the Cyber faction, 3 standard Cybermen and 1 Cyber Controller is 325 points, 19 less than the UNIT faction. However, as the UNIT soldiers may turn on the Master at any point, I thought that this was relatively ‘even’.

Let the game begin…

On Turn 1, UNIT won the Initiative and the Master decided to use both his Actions to activate all 5 UNIT soldiers, who quick-marched across the street, intending to go through the restaurant and approach the warehouse from the rear.

“Go forth, my disposable minions…”

However, as I decided that unless the Cyberman stationed at the bottom right of the warehouse noticed the soldiers moving about (an Awareness vs Stealth roll), the Cybermen wouldn’t notice the solders and would do nothing. The Cyberman failed, so we moved on to…

Turn 2 – UNIT won Initiative again, and the Master used his two Actions to activate and move the UNIT soldiers. The first squad of three advanced through the restaurant towards the back door, whilst the two man squad crossed the road and entered the reataurant. However, this took all the soldiers out of Line of Sight of the Master, which meant that next Turn, they would be able to try to shake off his hypnosis.

Once again the Cybermen failed to notice the stealthy soldiers, so just stood around doing nothing.

Turn 3 – As the soldiers could no longer see the Master, they rolled their Will of 4 plus a d10, against his Will of 6 +4 for Dominate plus a d10. Unsurprisingly, they all remained under his control this turn.

UNIT won Initiative again and the Master moved the three man squad out the back door and started them across the road. The two man squad took up sniping positions in the window.

The Cybermen finally noticed something was going on and the Cyber Controller used his first Action to activate all three Cybermen. The first expended it  first Action opening the main doors of the warehouse, then moved. The second moved out of the front of the warehouse and took up position behind the van. The third burst out of the rear door of the warehouse and fired upon the leading UNIT soldier! Luckily, the Cyberman’s Agility of 3 plus its roll of 7 was not enough to beat the UNIT soldier’s Agility of 4 and roll of 10, so it was a miss.

However, the Cyber Controller then used his second Action to activate all three Cybermen again. The Cyberman who’d fired last turn fired again on its first Action, with a combined attack roll of 10 versus the UNIT soldier’s defence roll of 9, so a +1 modifier to the damage of the Cybergun (V5) meaning 6 points of damage, reduced to 2 after the UNIT soldier’s Vigour of 4 soaked the first 4 points. First blood to the silver menace! However, he then rolled a natural 1, meaning his gun had jammed. The Cyberman behind the van moved out and fired at the same soldier, hitting for 4 actual damage, taking the lead soldier down to 2 remaining Health points. The final Cyberman moved twice along the front of the warehouse to join the battle.

Turn 4 – Once again the UNIT troops made a Will role, with two succeeding! Ooops! The Master was in trouble now – as soon as the troops took care of the Cybermen shooting at them…

The Cybermen won Initiative finally! The Cyber Controller activated the three Cybermen again and the lead Cyberman used its first Action to unjam its gun, then fired once more, scoring a total of 1 point of actual damage, meaning the UNIT soldier was now down to its final Health point. The second Cybermen fired twice, hitting with its first shot and killing the lead Unit soldier. Its second shot missed. The final Cyberman moved out into the open and fired upon the second UNIT soldier, scoring a hit with 2 points of actual damage.

Then the Cyber Controller used its second Action to activate them again! The first Cyberman shot twice, scoring 2 points of damage on the first and missing on the second, The second Cyberman missed with both shots and the third Cyberman hit twice, killing the second UNIT soldier! This meant that both un-hypnotised soldiers were dead – luckily for the Master.

Two UNIT soldiers down and not a scratch on the Cybermen – things were not looking good.

As there were only three UNIT soldiers left, the Master used his first Action to activate them all. The UNIT soldier in the open used its first Action to throw its grenade, which was on target and exploded. The total modifier was +7, added to the damage of 8, meant 15 points of potential damage, reduced to 7 after the deduction of the Cyberman’s Vigour of 6 and the +1 for its armour. The Cyberman was still going! So the UNIT soldier ran away… and was now out of range *phew*

The two remaining UNIT soldiers opened fire from their partially hidden position in the restaurant, concentrating their fire on nearest Cyberman. The first soldier fired twice, scoring hits and damaging the Cyberman enough so that the second soldier’s first hit took him down! The second shot was fired at the next nearest Cyberman, hitting and damaging it and making it aware of where they were hiding.

The Master used his final action to advance towards the Landrover, as he wanted to be in a position to get to his TARDIS, once the Cybermen were distracted enough.

Turn 5 saw the remaining UNIT soldiers remaining under the hypnotic control of the Master, but the Cyber faction winning Initiative once more. The Cyber Controller activated the remaining two Cybermen, the first of which chased down the remaining UNIT soldier in the opened fire, scoring more damage. The other Cyberman moved along the road towards the front door of the restaurant, intending to enter and attack the two hidden soldiers, completely failing to notice the Master skulking behind the Landrover.

The Cyber Controller then used its second Action to activate both Cybermen again. The first shot twice at the remaining soldier in the open, missing the first time but managing to kill him on the second. The second Cyberman moved into the restaurant, and opened firs, scoring 4 points of actual damage on the nearest UNIT soldier.

The Master used his first Action to Activate the two UNIT soldiers, who both backed away from the Cyberman and then both grenaded him, blowing him up! Yay! Go UNIT!

The Master then used his final Action to scurry towards the warehouse, judging that the final Cyberman was too far away to shoot at him and the Cyber Controller he could deal with without any help.

Turn 6 saw both UNIT soldiers remaining under the Master’s control, but the Cyber faction winning Initiative, with both remaining Cybermen stalking closer to the Master.

The Master used one Action to activate the remaining two UNIT soldiers, moved them back to the window and firing on the last remaining standard Cyberman marching down the road towards him. Both scored hits and damaged it, but it still kept coming. The Master used his final Action to duck behind the postbox, figuring a large red hunk of metal might save him from getting shot.

Turn 7 saw UNIT still remain under the Master’s control and the Cyber faction winning Initiative once more. It was now getting rather tense.

The Cyber Controller moved forward into range and opened fire, but because the Master was in partial cover, due to being behind the post box, failed to hit him. The remaining standard Cyberman opened fire on the two UNIT soldiers in the restaurant, but also because of the partial cover rule, failed to hit anything other than the building!

Sensing victory and having a short-ranged weapon, the Master stepped out from behind the post box, strode forward whilst pulling out his TCE and fired upon the Cyber Controller. However, whilst he score a massive 12 points of actual damage, the Cyber Controller was still on its feet!

The eighth and final Turn…and it was all down to who won the Initiative. The dice were rolled and…the Master won! Using his both his Actions on movement, he sprinted the final 8 ” and ended his turn in base-to-base contact with his TARDIS. Victory was his!

“Curse you, Timelord!”

Whilst it had been quite tense near the end, the Master never really doubted that he would get away. Stepping through the doors of his TARDIS, he failed to see the figure in the shadows, who quickly struck him down from behind. As he lost consciousness, he heard a familiar voice say “No, don’t kill him – I need him alive….”

Roll credits…

And there we go. It was a fun game, which probably would have gone quicker if I hadn’t been making notes and taking pictures as I went along. The game was pretty straight-forward, without the Master having an opportunity to use his Bamboozle or Devise skills, but did get pretty tense near the end, as I wasn’t entirely sure who was going to win. Luckily, the Master managed to pull it out of the bag right at the end, having bravely sacrificed three members of UNIT.

That’s all for this instalment. The next couple of posts will probably feature the next set of figures for the second adventure, which WILL actually feature the Doctor this time and is likely to be set in a quarry on an alien planet.

Thanks for reading.