7TV is a regular skirmish wargame in all respects apart from one. The nominal setting is that your models do not represent spies, minions, futuristic freedom fighters or cultists at all, but rather they represent actors who are playing these roles during the filming of a TV show.
Up till now, this hasn't made any difference at all to the game and players could choose to ignore the whole "making a TV show" thing if they wanted. However, Crooked Dice recently released what I hope is the first of many "Production Crew" miniatures: the cameraman. And yes, 7TV does have special rules for this model, so he can take part in games as more than just set dressing!
Of course, using a cameraman (or 2, or more) is entirely optional; the game works very well even without any crew.
So, what can I say about this model? Well, firstly, it is quite a big piece; it's supplied with a 40mm round base. The camera itself comes in 2 parts (body and pedestal), as does the operator (his right arm is a separate piece).
The moulding of most of these parts was very good, but I had to apply some remedial filler to the camera. The top was very sunken, whilst the left hand side of the part was also a tiny bit bowed in. Some of the repairs can just about be seen in a work-in-progress shot somewhere in this earlier post, if you're interested. I'm hoping that this was just a single bad casting rather than an issue for all production from the same mould, but I cannot be sure.
The camera fitted to the pedestal well enough (though I pinned it for strength). However, I had some issues fitting the operator's right arm in any position that looked plausible. In the end, I use a combination of filing & cutting the parts and more filler to hide the gaps. This isn't a huge issue for a model-maker of my experience and I think the result doesn't look awkward or uncomfortable.
I had to think a bit when it came to the base. The rest of my models are typically fitted to textured bases that depict dirt, grass, roads, rubble or other outdoor surfaces. However, the camera wouldn't really work in such an environment - at least, it would be virtually impossible to trundle it about on anything other than a hard, smooth floor.
In the end, I chose to mount the model on a really smooth base and rely on stippled paintwork to make it look like a studio's concrete or lino floor. I did add a trailing cable made from a small length of wire, just so there would be at least some texture present.
When it came to painting this miniature, my research online suggested that a 1960s/1970s camera and pedestal would likely be different shades of grey. I used a slightly greenish grey for the camera and a straightforward battleship grey for the rest. After a dark wash, I then added details:
- Control panels and cover plates were done with a variety of gunmetal, silver and white colours.
- I painted the small dome on the top of the camera as an identification mark. I suspect that this isn't quite what the sculptor had in mind as this protuberance is rounded rather than flat-sided. If I were to change anything about the camera, it's this: I would replace this dome with a small cube instead. Anyway, this miniature is now "camera 2" (no, I don't have a "camera 1" model!)
- Finally, I added my TV company's logo to the side of the box. This is formed from a white disk (hand painted) with a simple "CTV" logo in the middle (from a home-made decal). Why "CTV"? Have a guess!
This is a model that is perfect for 7TV (at least, as long as you want to go along with the "making a TV show" backstory). It probably doesn't have many uses outside of that game, though!
I had some slight issues with the casting and fit of the camera - nothing that couldn't be fixed quite easily, but mildly irritating all the same. I don't think that anyone would know this just by looking at the model, though; it's a fine piece once finished.
At the time of writing, the camera and operator cost £5.00 from Crooked dice. This is very roughly 1.5 times as much as the price of one of their single 28mm figures, which seems quite reasonable given the size of the camera.
So, I'm now hoping that Crooked Dice will bring out more "Production Crew" models, with suitable rules for 7TV of course. I've a hankering for a sound-boom operator, a makeup artist and a harried scriptwriter, at least. Perhaps there also ought to be figures for the financial backers (who've arrived on set to find out where the money is going) and for the local rep. of the Electrician's Union (threatening to shut the place down if his comrades don't get the right number of tea breaks)? And then there could be stunt doubles, a tea lady (with trolley, of course) and ... I'm getting a bit carried away here, aren't I? Let's leave it at that, for now.