Tuesday 21 June 2011

The Duke's Black Russians

The latest unit for my Very British Civil War army is an Assault Company for the Chester Local Defence Force. The Assault company, also known as the Duke's Black Russians, is made up of Russian Emegre's living in Paris, who have volunteered to fight for the Duke of Farnham against the hated Socialists and Communists of the Liverpool Free State and the Wirral Socialist Council. They are famed for being fearless (and often drunk), and have a preference for close quarters battle.

These figures are from Black Tree Designs, Bolt Action Miniatures, West Wind games and Artizan Designs. A couple of them have been converted.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Scum and Villany (Part 3): Trench

Life in the darker pats of the universe are often brutal and short. A man like Trench can make good money hiring themselves out as bodyguards, bounty hunters, or just hired killers. When times are hard, Trench is not above resorting to piracy too.
Trench never leaves his squalid little den without being armed to the teeth, and his favored weapon is an over sized Vallian Shotgun, capable of stopping the most determined attacker. Trench particularly likes the variable power setting, which means that it is still effective, even on high gravity worlds, unlike most conventional solid slug weapons.

Trench is an old Necomunda ganger I had floating about in the garage. His gun is ludicrously big, but I think it's kind of fun, and will make him useful for AE bounty too. I am quite pleased with the way he turned out.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Junia Verano- News Reporter

Junia Verano is a much respected Cuban-American freelance reporter. She has traveled the world reporting from danger spots around and war zones. She is particular interested in Superhumans, and their roles in society, something which often gets her into trouble. She famously tried to get an interview with Dr Apocalypse and had to be rescued from the Supervillain's death-trap by Monarch.

This miniature is a Pulp City model- June Summers. She is cast in resin- not a material I normally buy (see my comments on Finecast), but I won thin miniature in a writing competition hosted by Pulp Citizen, and judged by the Pulp City Forum. I finally got round to painting her.

I am not too happy with the trousers, which look too shiny, but I am pleased with how the Hispanic skin tone and the tee-shirt came out.

Monday 6 June 2011


Headman is not a criminal genius, by any means. He is what he is: A brutal thug, who will fight anyone for the right money. This hulking giant of a man is rightly feared by members of the public and the criminal fraternity alike, having been involved in numerous crimes. He tends to affiliate himself with smarter supervillains rather than organised criminals, who have a habit of mocking his flamboyant costume and ludicrous axe.
One criminal Headman will have nothing to do with, however, is The Executioner- the two axe-wielding villains have a long and bitter rivalry going back many years. No one is quite sure why, and the pair of them are curiously tight lipped over the whole affair.

This model is one I got of my mate Leon in a grab bag of old lead he decided he could live without (Cheers mate). I believe it is a Reaper miniature. It had an integral base, which I clipped off and pinned it onto a resin base by Fenris Games

Friday 3 June 2011

Scum and Villainy (Part 2): Asteroid Miners

Asteroid mining is a dangerous profession, but one where the rewards can be immense. More than one intergalactic tycoon served their time strapped to the sides of a frozen chunk of rock, hurtling through space. Small wonder then that humans are constantly drawn to the dangerous profession, given their in built, gene-driven desire for self-improvement.

Dirk Sallee is just one such prospector, risking everything to work his claim. Although Dirk has yet to strike it rich, he has a good claim and has made enough money to make a living. He knows he must defend his claim against the bandits, pirates and claim jumpers who would seek to take from him what he has risked his life for.

Dirk is wearing a Mars-pattern environment suit, a protective garment favoured by the asteroid miners. Although the Mars-pattern is considered obsolete by most nowadays, it is still the suit of choice for most miners, who admire its ruggedness and the simplicity of its self repair systems.

Dirk is assisted in his endeavoured by Rustbucket, and EVA robot Dirk picked up at auction on Gallead IV. Rustbucket is practically an antique, having seen service on numerous mining colonies and asteroid mines, and its experience is invaluable to Dirk. As is it's tough polarised titanium shell.

Dirk is a Necomunda figure from Games Workshop. I am not sure when or where I got it, but I found it kicking around in a box of bits and thought it would fit the bill as a miner. Most of my other SciFi figures are lightly armed, as I wanted a sort of Serenity/Firefly look, but the rules for AE Bounty kind of dictate that most crewmen models need a rifle of some sort, so Dirk might well see service in my pirate crew too.

Rustbucket is one of a collection of robots made by Black Cat Bases. Its obvious (and purely coincidental, I am sure) similarity to a certain robot in a certain SciFi film about a Black Hole did it for me. Just too cute!

Thursday 2 June 2011

Britain's Latest Hero

Red Coat is Britain's newest, and coolest, super-patriot hero. the Birmingham based superhero has been causing quite a storm in the media since his sensational appearance dealing with an outbreak of the Zombie Contagion near the law courts. Red Coat claims to have undergone a super-soldier program on behalf of the British army, but official sources in the government and army have so far remained tight-lipped out the validity of his claims.
The gun Read Coat is wielding is a Type IV Stunner made by The Hay-Don Corporation and is carried under a special licence issued by West Midland's Police. Red Coat claims his sword, a ninetieths century cavalry saber, is the reincarnation of Excalibur, and than he has been entrusted with it until King Arthur returns. While most dismiss this bold claim as fantasy, or at best grand-standing for the press, it has been noted that members of the countries super-natural community have been seen to show Red Coat unusual deference.

This figure is Sovereign, made by Pulp City, only with the addition of some dreadlocks in green stuff. I am not 100% pleased with the paint job, but to be honest paining in Red, white and blue are my least favorite paints to use.

Citadel Finecast Reviewed

Games Workshop has finally unveiled their new business, namely the Citadel Finecast models. These are resin cast versions of their more popular figures from their white metal range. This appears to be and attempt to move out of the business of making ‘lead figures’ entirely.
The economic reasons for this move are well documented, as the rising cost of the white metal alloys had driven up the costs of the metal miantures across the industry. Games workshop, however, have blazed the way in passing on these price hikes to it’s consumers, with a figure that might have cost £4 a couple of years ago now retailing for £10-12. And as it looks likely that prices will remain high, or increase in the future, it is easy to see why GW is looking for alternatives. Their plastics ranges are doing well, and without doubt GW have been a leader in the industry in this area, however, for some figures plastics are never going to be economically viable- the moulds just cost too much money for the likely return.
GW also assert that their Finecast range is made from a resin that takes up more detail than the white metal, meaning that the resin figure is much closer to the original ‘green’ sculpt.

A picture from GW's own website- Nice!

There are members of the war-gaming community on the Internet, who see GW as the ‘Evil Empire’ of the gaming community, will always heap criticism on GW. While I don’t collect any GW stuff any more, I wan certainly not one for these rabid, frothing fanatics who will bleat on about how terrible GW is. That said, there is a lot of criticism about the quality of the Finecast products on the forums, and I have to say some of it seems justified.

A picture from LAF- Not so nice!

Resin is always going to be a hard product to cast in- trapped bubbles can ruin a miniature, and once cast it can’t be melted down like white metal can- this means you need a vigilant quality control. Unfortunately, GW seemed to have rushed out their Finecast product, and there are endless complaints online about their figures being incomplete, mis-cast or requiring some green stuffing just to get it to look right.
I went down to GW too look at this product myself, and I have to say that the quality of the resin was generally high. It was indeed possible to see much more of the detail on the Finecast model than on the white metal version. However, I looked at about 10 packs, and even a very cursory examination revealed that one of the Eldar charters had a miscast wing- Not a very scientific study, I will grant you, but 1 in 10 is far too high.
Another criticism, and one aimed at resin stuff in general, is that it is just too fragile. It was not hard to see that the Finecast figures will simply not withstand the rigours of war gaming. Resin has, by and large, been used in the industry for collectors and diorama painters, and not for gamers. As GW are just casing resin versions of their metal figures, they have a great many spiny bits and fiddly bits that will easily break off. This is especially true of the Lord of the Rings stuff, which is sculpted with much more delicate weapons etc. I looked at Aragorn on a horse, with his sword held aloft. There is no way that sword would even survive the painting process, never mind gaming.
The third consideration, I would say, is the cost. GW were quick to increase the prices of their white metal figures as soon as the going got rough, but there is no sign of them reducing the price for the Finecast product. This means your still paying £7-8+ for a model on foot, so you’re no better off than when you had to buy white metal figures. To conclude, the introduction of Citadel Finecast to replace white metal is a bold, or desperate move. The miniatures produced are indeed more detailed than the white metal, but the quality control needs to be stepped up a lot to reduce the amount of faulty products reaching the shelves. Further more, while Finecast will certainly suit the painters and collectors, the gamers out there are going to wonder why they are paying just as much for a fragile figure that is less ‘fit for purpose’ that the white metal ones- it’s a compromise at best and this product should either be better, or cheaper.