Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Workbench, December 2012


It's been a little while since I posted.  In part that is because I've been taking a break over the Christmas period (and it's amazing how much time is sucked up in entertaining the children, cooking, shopping and other such activities at this time of year).  Secondly, I've got a bit of a cold right now and am feeling quite tired and lethargic.  So today's post is going to be something very simple.

The Workbench

Back in July, I showed the world what was on my workbench at the time (here).  Since then, many items have been finished and stored, while many new models have been started.  Here's what it looks like now:
Hmm.  Some things are exactly the same, though I think I'll leave it up to you to work out what, if you care to.  I suppose we could think of this as a real-life "spot the difference" puzzle, but without any prizes!

So, what am I working on currently?

HotT Barbarians

Black Tree Design are having a big sale at the moment, so just before Christmas I ordered a 28mm barbarian army deal and separate leader at 50% off.  Of course, the miniatures were promptly taken off me by my family, who wrapped and tagged them and handed them back on Christmas day.  Thanks, it's a horde of hairy, smelly, uncouth model warriors!  Just what I wanted :-) !

These figures will be made into a warband-heavy force for Hordes of the Things.  So far I've managed to base the hero general (front left), cleric (front right, still needing a sacrificial altar, rune stone or similar) and a number of warband elements (behind).  Yet to come are a couple of bases of shooters and possibly a horde or two of young hopefuls. Sadly I've run out of pre-cut 60mm x 30mm bases and will therefore have to order or make some more before I can proceed.

West Wind Motorcycle Gang

Few manufacturers make 28mm models of bikers actually on their motorcycles - but West Wind Productions do!  These models are a real b*gger to put together, so I've only managed to assemble 4 so far despite having the set (of 10) for some months now.  Still, I think they'll look good when they are finished.

Zombies, Survivor, Scots

At the front are a couple of zombies and a survivor that are near completion.  The zed with the surfboard and the bald guy with the axe are from Hasslefree, while the zombie in the middle is another Blue Moon figure.

Behind them are 8 of the warriors from my Saga Scots warband.  I've mentioned before how hard I'm finding it to get these guys painted.  Well, I've finished the 8 hearthguard and so only have 16 warriors to go.  At least these lesser troops shouldn't be as ornate as the nobility; they ought to be quicker to finish!

Egyptian Skeletons

For Pulp games involving a bit of tomb raiding, what better adversaries could there be other than reanimated ancient warriors (especially if I throw in some Nazis as well)?  Here are 4 Egyptian warriors to back up the Mummy.  They are built from Games Workshop's Khemri skeletons, though I didn't like the oversized weapons in the GW kit.  Instead, I've replaced them with some oversized weapons from Crocodile Games "Warlords of Aegyptus" range.  At least they're not covered with skulls...

Barrel Zombie

Here's something I'm making just because I had the parts; I'm not sure how I'd use it in a game.  The zombie crawler is coming out of the tipped barrel, which will also be releasing a stream of goo of some kind when the model is finished.

The Back of the Bench

Anything that ends up on the board at the back of my work area is only semi-active.  It could be moved from there, part complete, into storage (this has happened to a very large number of models of mine).  Or it might be brought forward and get further attention.  The decision usually occurs on the rare occasions that I tidy up.

Anyway, here you can see a variety of cowboys, spaceships, medieval townsfolk and zombies.  And Tarzan.  And the A-Team (or at least, 2 members of it).


Last, but not least, is a part-built paper/card shuttle from Genet Models [ex-Ebbles Models].  The body is complete, but the undercarriage or landing skids are not attached.  Despite being described as 1:60 scale, this is a huge model in comparison with any ground vehicles in my collection.  Perhaps that's reasonable, but I'm debating whether to finish this one or to print another at a reduced size and build that instead.

So there we are - another collection of part-finished toys.  I really need to get some of these completed, if only to recover some table space (as if that's ever going to happen!).

Thursday, 20 December 2012

HOTT: It Was The Week Before Christmas...


Just before midwinter, the Knights of Lyonesse received an appeal for help from a reclusive toymaker who lived in the northern wastes, near the edge of the world.  It seemed that a large band of goblins was marching towards his settlement and threatening to pillage it.  The Grand Duke of Lyonesse felt morally obliged to help; in part this was because the Knights are sworn to protect the weak and helpless, but also he felt a certain amount of guilt because his forces had displaced the goblins from their usual haunts and set them on their path into the wilderness (see here for that story).

On reaching the toymaker's workshop, the knights were entertained royally, with a feast of roast poultry and root vegetables followed by many steamed puddings and fruit pies.  Served alongside this were copious amounts of mulled wine.  Most of the knights, anticipating the oncoming battle, were restrained in their intake.  However, the heroic Red Knight had a few tankards too many...


In the morning, the massive goblin army approached from the west.  They had the usual mixture of hordes of foot soldiers, packs of wolves (both ridden and loose) and a scattering of trolls.  The Knights lined up on either flank, while the toymaker's forces were positioned in front of his house.

The toymaker had an eclectic mix of local troops to help defend his domains.  He himself went to battle in a large sleigh drawn by flying reindeer.  Some of his elven helpers had been armed with what their boss called "sten guns" and ".303 Lee Enfield rifles", though the Knights understood little of such peculiar devices.  These elves were strange to them, being short, round and jolly; quite unlike the tall, thin, serious types of which they knew. A few of the local ice bears would fight alongside the toymaker and some enchanted wooden soldiers manned a popgun.  Finally, all of these allies had been busy making snowmen, though the knights didn't see how that would help!

The Battle

In the centre and north, the goblin hordes moved forwards steadily.  The knights advanced rapidly across the stream and through the woods, while the ice bears and elves also moved forward.  The Red Knight, his brain addled by too much drink, attached himself to the bears and followed them.

After a hesitant start, the southern lines of wolf riders and knights met in a thunderous charge which left both sides reeling.

At the other end of the field, the knights emerging from the stream and the woods were surprised by the ferocity of the counterattack.  In particular, the wolves caused much difficulty for the horsemen.  To assist them, the toymaker flew his sleigh over the heads of the goblin chief.  However, he didn't dare to land in case he was swamped and surrounded; the goblins just ignored the flying sleigh as they put more pressure on the knights.  No matter how many of them fell, there always seemed to be more goblins coming up from the rear!

Back in the centre, the ice bears were all busy chasing hordes of goblins, in some cases almost back to their starting lines.  The Red Knight was having trouble, however.  He could barely stay on his horse and certainly couldn't defeat even a single horde - which was very poor indeed for such a famous hero!  The popgun made loud noises and occasionally the goblins would step backwards in fright, but then they'd realise that they weren't hurt and so they just kept on coming.

Finally, the toymaker saw his chance.  From high in the air, he saw that the southern block of knights had lost their general and were wavering.  He flew across the battlefield and landed with a rush, careering downhill into (and over) an unfortunate troll.  The behemoth was obliterated instantly by the heavy sleigh (a hero general, attacking downhill, has an impressive combat score in HotT).

This inspired the knightly hero (a distant relative of Roger the Castellan and others who had all perished while wearing the same livery) to attack the closest goblin warlord.  The knight brushed aside the bodyguard and rained blows upon the creature, leaving him broken on the grass and the nearby goblins leaderless and demoralised!

 In the north, the fighting was intense and chaotic.  All semblance of organisation was now gone and troops fought in confused, individual melees.  One unfortunate knight was pushed off the edge of the world by wolves, thus disproving those savants who claim the world is round (as if)!  The knights couldn't sustain the losses they were taking for long; the goblin hordes just kept on coming.

Again, the toymaker flew the length of the battlefield to assist.  He managed to find the goblin's general and attacked, pinning him against a block of unyielding wolves.  With nowhere to go, the goblin leader perished beneath the hooves of the magic reindeer.  Two of the 3 goblin armies were now demoralised, though the northern knights had also had enough!

In the centre, 2 huge trolls advanced on a group of snowmen.  They pulverised one base, but the other snowmen retreated.  The slow behemoths just couldn't finish off the more nimble snowmen, no matter how far they pursued them (and there's a sentence I never thought I'd write!).
Nearby, the Red Knight was still having difficulties against a single goblin horde.  Even with the assistance of some nearby snowmen, the famous hero just couldn't land a single blow on his opponents.

The toymaker was on a roll now!  He took to the skies again and returned to the centre.  In the plains before his house, he spied the last remaining goblin general and swooped to attack.  Such was the ferocity of his assault that he ran straight over the accursed creature, shouting as he did so "HO HO HO!  YOU'VE BEEN A VERY NAUGHTY BOY, HAVEN'T YOU!"

One goblin horde did finally reach the popgun, just before their entire force collapsed and routed.  They were laughing too much to achieve anything against it, though and so this last small fight ended in a stalemate.

Goblin of the Match

Probably the southern goblin general.  He killed the knight general who faced him in single combat and nearly defeated the army facing him.

Man of the Match

Definitely the toymaker.  He intervened in 3 critical fights, defeating a troll in the south and goblin warlords in the north and centre.  All of these were decisive turning points!

The Red Knight gets an award for "most inept model".  As a hero, he was expected to sweep through many hordes without breaking a sweat, but he spent the whole game tussling with the very first one he encountered.  Even with aid, he was unable to defeat it!  The popgun comes a close second; it made a lot of noise but achieved very little.


A Merry Christmas to all my Readers!

Thanks to you all; without your support, this blog wouldn't have happened.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Fresh Zombies - and a Survivor


Recently I published a short review of Studio Miniatures' new plastic zombies.  In that article, I claimed that the completed figures I was showing had been painted in too much of a rush and that I could do better.  Well, I took a bit more time and care over this lot.  See what you think...

More Zombies

Here are another 4 of my Studio Miniatures builds.  I've done some things a little bit differently from my first efforts:
  • Firstly (and most obviously), I've cut off the bases that were moulded onto the figures.  Instead, they have been glued to the thin Renedra circular bases that were provided in the kit.
  • Secondly, I've taken a little bit off the necks on each figure.  It was probably only about 0.5mm on each figure, but I think it does help to avoid the "ostrich effect".
  • Thirdly, some of the arms have been trimmed a little to enable them to hang down close by the figure's sides (rather than sticking out a bit).  This was a very easy modification and is most obvious on the second figure, with the white shirt and green tie.
  • Finally, I've added a sandwich board with an appropriately doom-laden slogan to the final zombie.  This is a small conversion that I had been thinking of for some time; these zombie figures are ideally suited to it.

 There are another 3 new zombies in this second picture.  The extra model (at the left hand end) is one of my original builds; this shows clearly the difference between the small, moulded base and the larger, separate ones.

A Survivor

I said before that I thought the plastic Studio Miniatures' zombies could be converted into (living) people without too much effort.  Here's one I prepared already, called "Earl".  I've equipped him with a large spanner or wrench.  The tool came off some vehicle stowage kit (I cannot remember where I got that) but could just as easily have been made from scratch from plastic card or green stuff.  I've remodeled the open right hand so that it is clenched around the spanner, but the other arm hasn't been altered at all.  Other than the hand, the only other modification was to fill a small tear in the back of his jacket.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Three Doctors. Who?


Long before I started this blog, we sometimes played the Doctor Who Miniatures Game (DWMG) at my local games club in Helensburgh.  Each time we did this, I always felt that it hadn't worked quite as well as I had wished.  This is in no way a fault of the rules, but rather because most of the published scenarios are for small forces and therefore are not really suitable for the 6 or more players typically wishing to participate in my games.

Eventually, succumbing to pressure from my son and others, I revisited this.  I remembered a very grand scenario, designed for conventions: "The Five Doctors".  Now this is a bit beyond my resources, requiring as it does a large tower, cliffs with caves, mountains with traversing ropes, 5 doctors plus assorted gamesmaster-controlled monsters and so on.  However, maybe I could take the basic concept and adapt it to my needs...

The Scenario

The Master is up to his old tricks again.  Somehow he's got hold of a device that is scooping random groups of aliens from all over time and space and depositing these creatures in a desolate, icy, ruined city.  Why?  I don't know - maybe he just likes to mess with things?  Anyway, amongst the groups thus displaced are 3 incarnations of the Doctor, each with some companions.

  • The Master is at the centre of the table, very much in control of events.  To fly away with the Tardis, one of the Doctors must approach him and win an opposed intelligence test.  No companions are allowed for this challenge; the Master automatically hypnotises them into inaction when they come close.
  • To get to the Master, a team must deactivate one of the force fields.  This requires an intelligence test with a -6 modifier.  Each scientist companion present gives a bonus of +2 to whoever is taking the test.
  • Each force field is assigned a colour.  Scattered around the table are a number of face-down clues, most of which have a coloured dot on them.  For each matching clue held by a team, a bonus of +2 is granted when trying to deactivate the matching force field.
  • A few of the "clues" are marked as encounters with monsters, rather than coloured dots.
  • The Angels are just statues (i.e. they're not monsters) - but the players don't know that.  Ain't I a stinker?!  They cannot be activated or damaged in any way.
  • I didn't have a single game mat large enough for my plans, so there is a snow field to the west of the ruins; the remainder of the terrain is arid.
  • There are 3 locations where supplies are present and inventions may be attempted: the hut to the east, the pile of crates to the west and the cockpit of the crashed spacecraft to the north.
  • Each team would be dealt 3 random event cards, as per normal in DWMG.

The Forces

 The players were divided into 3 teams.  Each team would take 1 doctor (plus some companions) and would be in charge of one group of monsters.  They could use these monsters to confound the other Doctors or to aid their own (i.e. by attacking the other teams' monsters).  The only restriction was that the various Doctors and companions may not attack each other.  So:

Team Pertwee consisted of the 3rd Doctor, Jo Grant (a screamer) and K-9 (the robot dog).  They also had control of 3 cybermen on the opposite side of the board.

Team Smith had the 11th Doctor and a couple of UNIT soldiers.  They had 2 daleks with which to terrify the opposition.

Team Tennant was made up from the 10th Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith (screamer) and Adric, the boy wonder (scientist).  This group controlled 3 Sontarans.

The Game: At The Beginning

In early moves, Team Pertwee were chased around the snowfields by daleks on one side and Sontarans on the other.  Although neither set of monsters could get a clear shot at the good guys, they did prevent them from making any progress.

Eventually the daleks lost interest and moved off to chase Team Tennant instead.  The Sontarans thought they had finally caught the 3rd doctor in the open, but Team Pertwee played a devastating Booby Trap card which stunned all 3 of the short aliens.

Team Smith had split up to search for clues (and isn't that such a cliché!).  The Doctor was investigating the crashed spacecraft when one of the UNIT troopers discovered what happens if a clue card doesn't have a coloured spot on the reverse.  In this case, he disturbed a giant wasp!

Meanwhile, Team Tennant had been merrily collecting clues, quite unthreatened by anything.  Sadly for them, they just couldn't find matching sets.  By the end they had collected exactly one clue for each of the 4 possible colours.
Eventually the 2 daleks managed to get in range of Sarah Jane and opened fire.  They would probably have hit too, but Team Tennant avoided that by playing a Wildly Inaccurate card at an opportune moment.

Team Tennant then ran for the shed.  The daleks followed, though at a slower pace.

The Middle Game

In the snowy ruins, the first clue that Team Pertwee investigated turned out to be a giant wasp attack.  Fortunately for them, the insect chose to attack K-9, who could at least fight back with his nose laser.    Even when the stunned Sontarans started to recover from the booby trap and approach the team, Jo and the 3rd Doctor refused to leave the tin dog even though they were not really able to assist in the fight.

Team Smith's trooper used a Dazed & Confused card to escape from the wasp that he was facing.  In true Doctor Who style, he and his companion then fired repeatedly at the beast without managing to inflict any damage on it.

At about the same time, the 10th Doctor and Adric (Team Tennant) entered the shed to look for items with which to invent something.  It looked as if it might be a close-run thing, as the daleks were approaching steadily.  Sarah Jane stayed outside, hoping to lead them away by using her monster magnet ability, if necessary.

The previously dormant cybermen suddenly decided to make a move; they approached the 11th Doctor from behind, whilst he was working.  A quick Behind the Sofa event card moved them all 2" further away than they had been - which meant that they were not in range after all!

Much to his annoyance, the 10th Doctor was also moved 2" by the same event card.  This took him right out of the shed where his invention had been progressing steadily and into open sight of the approaching daleks!

He dived back into the building just in time to avoid being shot.  Fortunately for Team Tennant, the daleks decided that it was vital to their plans to capture Sarah Jane in preference to any other activity.  The Monster Magnet ability has rarely been so useful - had it failed, all the daleks had to do was wait at the shed door!

Team Pertwee was still in trouble, watching K-9 fight the wasp.  After a number of rounds of shooting, the 2 Sontarans who had recovered from the booby trap managed to hit Jo Grant.  She had to use 2 of her luck points just to stay alive, but still took a wound.  This finally spurred K-9 into using some of his own luck to kill the wasp.

The UNIT troopers from Team Smith had found a couple of green clues, but then one of them ran into another wasp.  This time, a single accurate, aimed shot from his companion was enough to dispatch the beastie.  Quite surprising for an unnamed character!


Both Team Tennant (working in the shed) and Team Smith (in the wrecked spacecraft) now came up with inventions.  Oddly enough, they both identified the Achilles heel in the plans of a group of monsters!

The 10th Doctor (Team Tennant) discovered a hole in the dalek's plan: they were relying on an old spatial coordinator to report their progress to their leader.  This vulnerability was placed near the edge of the board, where the cybermen promptly pounced on it.  From now on, the daleks would be demoralised and would require a morale test (at -1) in order to perform any action!

Over in the ruined spacecraft, the 11th Doctor (Team Smith) discovered that the cybermen had intended to steal the tardis itself.  The token for their vulnerability was placed beside the blue box and was therefore inside the force field.  Cunningly, the cybermen had managed to adjust the token's position so that nobody could reach it (unless they had virtually won the game, that is)!

The End Game

Sarah Jane (Team Tennant) had spent much of the game running from the lovelorn (?!) daleks.  They were not fast enough to catch up, but hadn't given up their intent to capture her.  Eventually, though, she ran into another giant wasp.

For a moment, it looked touch and go for the small woman.  The daleks were approaching from the rear, cybermen from ahead and the wasp was buzzing furiously and trying to sting her.  However, all ended well for Sarah Jane when the cybermen tried to shoot her.  She used 1 point of luck to shift the only successful shot from herself onto the wasp, which was promptly fried by the blaster hit!

The 11th Doctor made it up to the force field, on the green-coded side.  He already had 1 green clue and the second UNIT soldier was bringing another, so the chances looked good for Team Smith's next turn when they would attempt to deactivate the barrier.

Seeing this, all of Team Tennant raced up to the yellow-coded force field.  Luckily for them, the 10th Doctor had a spare action left after his move.  Despite having only 1 yellow clue, Adric's scientist bonus gave the Doctor the advantage he needed to switch off the force field.

The cybermen were now the only hope of stopping either team from challenging the Master.  They moved into range of Team Tennant and opened fire - but missed with all their shots!

Team Smith managed to drop the green force field and the UNIT troopers rushed in to disrupt the cybermen's plans (by finding their Achilles Heel token)...

...but it was too late.  The 10th Doctor stepped forward to challenge the Master.  In a dazzling display of wit and cunning, he persuaded the evil mastermind to step aside and relinquish the tardis.  Team Tennant had won the game, thus conclusively proving the superiority of the 10th Doctor beyond dispute!


And what of Team Pertwee?  The 3rd Doctor and K-9 were still assisting the wounded Jo Grant through the ruins, pursued doggedly by 2 Sontaran warriors (the 3rd one never did regain consciousness after the booby trap).  Occasionally the Sontarans would have a clear line of sight, but the odd long range shot only managed to scratch K-9's paintwork.