Tuesday 31 December 2013

2013 Round Up

Four colour super agents
2013 has been a very 'productive' year for me for a figure painting point of view. I have managed to finish 280 figures in the year, which is insane! I have completed two SAGA warbands, a Chindit army, a WW2 Japanese army, a Finland based zombie apocalypse game with scenery and over 30 zombies, 50+ urban zombies and survivors (with my son Charlie's help), an angry mob of modern civilians and African Union Peace Keepers. I have started a blog, Hotel Zugando, dedicated to my modern warfare setting in my imagi-nation of Zugando, complete with background.  
Phew! It's a wonder I found any time to go to work!

A converted Panhard VBL for my Nigerian Army

The downside for me for all this frenzy of painting is that I can't help but feel that the standards of the painting has slipped, as it has become a case of trying to get 'boots on the ground' at the expense of painting quality. That is something I want to address in 2014- paint a few less figures- but make them better.  

A couple of my modern Angry Mob
The highlight of the year was probably Zombtober- which began last year as a silly idea to get Pulp Citizen to actually finish some of the massive pile of lead zombies he has accumulated, but which this year, thanks to the help and support of Pulp Citizen and Simon (the Brummie lad) had blossomed into a mini-phenomenon, with dozens of zombie enthusiast from all over the world joining in, adding zeds and survivors to their groaning, moaning piles of living lead. 

A close up of my Finland Supermarket's fire escape
I haven't got as much gaming done as I would have liked- I am desperate to get some more VBCW, Saga and Force on Force games in, but want to get some Bolt Action and Muskets and Tomahawks next year too.

My ASBO zombie apocalypse survivors

I also had cause, during the year, to reflect on the mess of games and periods I have been working on, and I realised that I have spent 2012 and 2013 flitting from one project to the next. Like many games I am attracted to new shiny things, and in the past I have, given into the urges, which is why when I made a list of current projects I was working on there were at least fourteen of them! This is unacceptable as it means I often never finish projects, and it is also very expensive as it adds to the lead mountain- and right now I just can' afford expensive!
The solution, it would seem, it to set realistic objectives at the start of as project, and to not begin another one without first completing the last one. Business types out there will no doubt have headr of SMART objectives- this is when the goal of a project is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. I will be applying these objectives to all current, and any new projects. In other words I will set out at the beginning of the projects exactly what I am doing, so I will no longer say 'I am going to paint some French and Indian Wars figures'; instead I will say 'I am going to paint a 200pt French irregulars force for Muskets and Tomahawks, by the end of February.' I don't know if that is how everybody else does it, but that is what I am going to try, and that way I hope I will be able to finish some projects before I start more.

My VBCW armoured car (just before it got blew up) in another Herefordshire game

And so, with that in mind, what is for 2014? Well current ongoing projects will be

  • 200pt French Irregulars and British Regulars for M+T, 
  • 5pt Norman Warband for SAGA, 
  • A platoon of USMC for my Zugando campaign (when the KS figures arrive from Empress games). 
  • Finish a Platoon of African Union peace keepers for Zugando
Future projects will include 
  • A company for In Her Majesties Name (someting to do with cowboys and zombies)
  • Another WW2 force (Dads army, Winter War or more forces for Burma Campaign)
  • Some more supervillians and henchmen
The start of my Norman SAGA warband- just need the rest of them
Other possible projects that have caught my eye, based on the availability of time and money might include

  • Modern Winter War (Russians vs Finns- using Force on Force)
  • Mexican Revolution (skirmish- probably using Triumph and tragedy) 
  • Sharp Practice (Napoleonic skirmish)
  • Ronin
  • Lord of the Rings Breeland army
  • Elizabethan pirates (using Mordhiem)
  • More survivors and terrain for my zombie apoc games. 

Rangers for my Breeland army

So, there you go- 2013 is all but done, and 2014 is about to begin. I hope the year has been goon to you, and I hope the next is even better. Happy New Year.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Burma: Imperial Japanese Army

As promised- my Bolt Action Imperial Japanese Army is now finished- so I have completed my Chindit and Japanese forces in 12 months- no mean feat, especially given that I have taken a great dislike to painting Japanese.
These models are a mix of Bolt Action (Warlord Games) and The Assault Group. I reserve a special dislike of the Bolt Action Figures, which I found to be poorly cast, difficult to assemble (they have separate heads- lord knows why) , and badly sculpted- except the Jungle fighters, which where OK.
I would like to add a few soldiers to bulk up the command sections, and one of the infantry sections needs an MG, but on the whole here it is complete. 

Artillery FOO and Radio operator


HMG Team

Jungle Fighters

Light Mortar

Thursday 26 December 2013

Killer Gorilla

Killer Gorilla is believed to have been another attempt by the evil Dr Otto's experiments to try to create a perfect super-soldier. 
Dr Otto, one a respected government scientist, was disgraced when his super solider program ended up a failure, and since them he had continued his work in secret, financing his research through crime. his super-soldier program is responsible for creating a wave of supervillains- the rejects from his experiments, cast aside as he pursuits other areas of study. 
Killer Gorilla isn't Dr Otto's first attempt to 'up-lift' an ape- it is believed that Deathorilla, the criminal super-genius, was the result of one of his experiments, but while Deathorilla had his intellectual capacity was greatly enhanced, Killer Gorilla has tremendously augmented physical prowess. The great ape has been  pumped full of the mutogenic agent, and he is now a giant, standing twelve feet tall. While few can match his physical strength, Killer Gorilla has been further 'enhanced' by Dr Otto's experiments, addition of an array of cybernetic weaponry, including a gauss cannon and an electro-gauntlet. 

Killer Gorilla is another of the Reaper Bones, purchased from Miniature Heroes- this model is a lovely one to paint. I am very aware that I have been a bit poor at painting any four-colour supers figures for ages, and that this blog has 'strayed' somewhat from it's roots as a 28mm supers blog, and so I thought that for the end of the year I would have to paint something suitable...I hope you like it. 

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Christmas Madness 2013: Once upon a Time in Lapland

It's that time of year again when our thoughts turn to the festive fun we can have playing Pulp City (well, that's what I think of!). Mr Pulp Citizen and I have got together and managed to get another holiday themed Pulp City game in. Last years game ended in a win for Bad Santa, leading to a generally dull, cheer-free year for the unfortunate citizens of Pulp City. This year the Bad Santa and his Villainous allies go toe to toe with the Good Santa and the Heroes of Pulp City in a rumble in the frozen forests of Lapland. 

Basically it was a game of 'grab as many Christmas spirit markers (the red and green presents and the snow man) and get them back into your board edge.' Steeling Christmas Spirit of the enemy is fine too, especially for the villains.  

We deliberately went for Pulp City characters we haven't used many times before, to keep things fresh (and to stop me whipping Pulp Citizens ass with the primate mercenaries of ARC- my favourite team).


The Pulp City figures are all from Pulp Citizens collection- the snow men and zombies are mine. The scenery was mostly scratch built by me, as were the Christmas spirit markers. The log cabins were by 4Ground and the snow covered board was custom made by Total System Sceneics.

Many thanks to Pulp Citizen for editing the photos I took into this super AAR. 

Thursday 19 December 2013

Review: Rare Exports (Film)

Christmas Eve: Film 4. 12.45am

Back in the summer when I was working on my Finnish Village for my 'It Snows in Hell' zombie game, one of the Finnish guys on Lead Adventure Forum strongly recommend that I get hold of Rare Exports, a Finnish film set in the same region of Finland as my own zombie games. I dutifully followed his advise, but then, because I was decorating the lounge and my Blue-ray player was packed away I never got round to watching it. This week I fancied watching a Christmas movie with my wife, and was about to put 'The Holiday' on again, when I remembered I had this film, still in its cellophane wrap. 
Digging it out I slipped the disk into the player and was immediate immersed in a story set in snow-bound rural Finland. Its a very strange story, built around old Finnish folk stories where Santa was not the guy who brings the good children pressies, but rather a monstrous demon who punishes naughty children by killing them in nasty ways. Now I don't know if this plot is actually based on real folk stories or if it is just a construct to drive the movie, but I think this is a cracking idea for a story. 

The film is nicely shot, with some stunning scenery and is darkly funny in a way that I suspect in uniquely Finnish. The acting is very good, especially the young boy (Onni Tommila) who is very believable and funny. The story moves along a a lively pace, and even though it is in Finnish with subtitles, I found the I got very engaged in the characters. The film has a 15 certificate, and that is probably deserving- it is dark and twisted, but not really a horror movie as such- It probably wont make you jump too much, but it is creepy. 

All in all, if you want an different sort of Christmas Movie, I would highly recommend this one- its should be a cult classic!

Here are my own Finnish survivors from 'It Snows in Hell'

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Atlantis: Mythical Beasts

My son 13 year old  Charlie has been quietly and industriously working on a Greek Myth inspired collection of Greek hoplites and mythical beasties. This started when he picked up a pack of plastic armoured hoplites, but his enthusiasm has been enhanced by watching Atlantis on the BBC and the Brad Pit movie Troy. 
I have enough on my hobby plate so I have left him too it, apart form showing him how to put the first few together (and bank rolling the whole thing).
I ordered a few monsters from Reaper (off the Miniature Heroes website). These are the Reaper Bones series- made form a moulded rubbery plastic. I went for this option because they looked good, and because they were very cheep. This pair cost less that £4 each.
I was very surprised the high quality of the castings and the lack of mould lines. What lines there were, however, were very difficult to remove, as the material can not be filed very easily. For the cost, I was very impressed. 

Charlie painted this Minotaur. I was very impressed with his work, and I really think it shows how he is coming on as a painter.  

This Cyclops is mine- my only contribution so far to the Atlantis project. He began life as an Ogre chieftain, but I cut away the top of his face and pushed a dress makers pin into the back and sculpted up the face in green stuff. It was a surprisingly easy and effective conversion, with the soft rubbery material of the Reaper Bones being very easy to work with. 

I hope you like the background in these pictures- I took them outside in the garden, and I thought the red berries looked suitable festive.  I suspect that today might have been the last sunny day for some time. 

Sunday 15 December 2013

French and Indian Wars: French Canadians

Here are a few daring Frenchies to fight the dastardly oppressive British Army. Or some sneaky Frog bushwhackers terrorising God-fearing English settlers, depending upon your perspective. 

The guys on the right are the Coureur des Bois that I have just rebased on the round bases, but the ones on the left are Canadian militiamen. The figures are from Redoubt.

Friday 13 December 2013

French and Indian Wars: Civilians

Here are a few of the F+IW civilians I have been working on- they are from Redoubt. The one on the right was badly cast ans missing part of the face- which is a shame because the quality of the casts from Redoubt are normally very high. I used Liquid Green Stuff form Games Workshop to build up the side of her face and sculpted in some details- its not 100% but it looks passable enough on the tabletop. 

Tuesday 10 December 2013

French and Indian Wars- British

It's been a bit quite on the blog front of late- part in thanks to getting a bit fatigued with Zomtomber's marathon slog, but I am back on target and am working hard to finish the 2013 projects- namely WW2 Burma and the French and  Indian Wars.
To that end I have rebased my F+IW British on round bases- now this goes against the advice in the Muskets and Tomahawks rulebook, which recommends square bases, but I can't help it, I just happen to think everything looks better on a round base. 
Over on Lead Adventure Forum there are a few other guys working on M+T armies, and they all use round bases, and so I thought 'why not join them'. It was a bit of a hassle to rebases them, but I am glad I did as they look cooler now. 
Also note that I have added three Mohawk Indians too as allies to the British- local scouts I guess. I need to paint a few more to make it 'game legal' but they are in the pipe line. 
PS- sorry about the disgusting green hue- the lighting was poor and so I was forced to use electric lighting. You might need to turn you monitor display down a bit. 

Friday 29 November 2013

VBCW: Street Lamps

I think that when it comes to stocking a table with scenery for VBCW it is the little details that make all the difference and set it in the right 'Period'. For example, you might have a 16th century timbered farm house, but if it's next to a Bright Red 20th century phone box suddenly it is in a very specific time and place. These Lampposts are very much the same sort of thing- a little detail that helps make it all seem more 'realistic'. 
These were a pressie of my old mate Pulp Citizen and they are from the Tamiya military roads signs set (1/48 scale). I have ten of the painted up- and they should be good for any game set from Victorian times to modern day. They were quick to assemble and paint- makes you wonder why it took me twelve month to get round to doing them?

Monday 25 November 2013

Burma: Chindit Force Ready For Action

I began work on my 'Burma Campaign' at the beginning of the year- intending to build an a Chindit army and a Japanese army to play Bolt Action. I though it would only take a few months but then I got distracted by zombies and what have you- and so it has taken a bit longer than planned, but now I can finally say that the Chindist are finished( for now) and that the IJA will be finished before Christmas. Here they are...

 This is a 1000 PV force for Bolt Action. It is based on a Chindit force from 1943-44. There is s a mix of Stens and Thopmson SMG's, and the Boys ATR has been replaced with the PIAT. 

Here is my Platoon CO. He is wearing a cap instead of the more usual bush hat.

 Medical Officer. Not this one has taken to wearing a side arm- not really in keeping with the spirit of the Geneva Convention- but in Burma things got a bit nasty. 

A Chindit MMG crew

The Chindit Figures are from various sources- Warlord Games, Wargames Foundry and The Assault Group.
 I think the Officers might be Black Tree Designs, but I am not sure. 

I also painted some scenery- bunkers and rocks- I am not sure who made the bunkers- I bought/swapped them on Lead Adventure Forum.  I don't even know if they are made by the same manufacturer.  The rocks are by Total System Scenics and will be generic enough to work in the middle of a Burmese jungle, or Middlesex or even Middle Earth. I love generic terrain. 

Thursday 21 November 2013

VBCW: Black and White Timbered Building

The relentless scenery painting surge continues unabated- this week you can see that I have painted a black and white timbered building- this is one of the laser cut ones. I am not sure who made this one, but I bought and assembled it about a year ago, but haven't got round to painting it. Until now.
Nowadays you can buy preprinted buildings- like the F+IW ones I finished last week, which might have saved a bit of bother, but I am happy with the way it tuned out. 
Now historical purists might pint out that these Tudor period timbered buildings were not actually black and white, as they tended to be left the natural colours- and in parts of England were even pink as the daub was stained with ox blood (you learn many things on this blog): But to those people I say 'Bhar! You know nothing!'. This building has been painted up for my own Very British Civil War campaign, which is set in 1938 in the environs of Chester- where in the 1920-30s local history enthusiast thought black and white was the appropriate colour for old Tudor buildings and went around nagging people to repaint their buildings in the 'authentic' colours. 

This building will also be useful for WW2, and even pirates, so it should see some use. 

Sunday 17 November 2013

French and Indian Wars: Two Log Cabins

Following my rather exhausting Zomtober I have been having a change of pace and trying to finish some 
half-complete building projects. here are a couple of log cabins I can use for my French and Indian Wars- I am going to use Musket and Tomahawks as a rule set.
These cabins are from 4Ground and are quite lovely- they are pre-painted too, which is a bonus. I did, however, repaint the roofs as I din't like the finish that they had. that was a quick and easy job that only took 1/2 hour. 
I love the fact that these models have nicely detailed interiors too!

Thursday 31 October 2013

Halloween Madness 3: The Dead Walk

Regular readers will know that each year Pulp Citizen and I get together and have a game of Pulp City themed on Halloween. This years wacky game features a LOT of zombies. Superhero on zombie action- What's not to like? 

Pulp citizen has take my photos and tuned them into a story in is usual style- It's very cool but its epic, so rather than reproduce the entire battle report here, I would rather refer you to his excellent blog. 

Pulp citizen is a Pulp City obsessed nut, but he is also one of the writers working on the second edition of the rules, so we used a play test version of second edition. If there is anything that seems a bit odd, that is probably why. 

Anyway, with out further ado here is a link to Pulp Citizen's Blog- I hope you enjoy. 

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Zomtober 2013: Final Round Up

Hi Guys and welcome to the final round-up of this months Zomtober for the dynamic duo painting team. This month Charlie and I have managed to paint a staggering 30 zombies and 11 survivors (it was meant to be 12 survivors but one went missing before he could be painted). That gives us enough zombie apocalypses stuff to start our own campaign. We cold do with a few more bits of scenery, but we have made a good start. 

Butch: Generally known as 'Fat Bloke' by Charlie. Butch spent too long playing Battlefield and Call of Duty on his Xbox. He is very over weight, but is convinced his virtual experience has given him the skills to survive a zombie attack. (painted by Charlie)

Joe the mechanic: Joe might not be the best fighter, but he can fix anything- just what you need when you need to hot wire a hummer in a hurry.
(painted by me)
Here are all the survivors including the luckless Graham. Figures are plastic from Wargames Factory

And here are all 30 Zombie. Again they are plastic and are from Mantic