July 31, 2013

Playing a Bit of Catch-Up!

The past seven days have been jam-packed with nerdy goodness. Let me break it down for youz...

First thing's first, last Wednesday I got to meet Richard Comely, the creator of Canada's very own Captain Canuck. Yeah anyone who lives outside of Canada probably has no idea what I'm talking about and that's fine. Basically, Captain Canuck was the first independently created and published Canadian superhero. Some of the first comics I remember reading were issues of the original Captain Canuck series published in the late 70s. I actually don't know where they came from, but I read most of those issues dozens of times.

Last year I had a chance to meet the main colourist for the series Claude St. Aubin, who was a tremendously nice fellow. I'm pleased to say that Richard was equally so. Truly a pleasant fellow, and it was quite a thrill to get to meet him in person and have some of my long-cherished books signed.

Keeping on the comic-book theme, I finally picked up a bunch (actually ALL) of the trades from Dynamite Entertainment's Project Superpowers line. I'd been interested in a few of the characters for quite some time, but never actually read anything. I also grabbed their two Stargate titles. I haven't read them all yet, but what I have done is quite entertaining. Some of the characters are very compelling (Black Terror, 'Devil, The Ghost), while others are really rather generic (V-Man, Masquerade, Dynamic Man). Perhaps I'll do some figure conversions in miniature at some point.

Also had a chance to play a few board games over the weekend. Level 7 [Escape] and Touch of Evil both hit the table in cooperative mode. I enjoy both games for different reasons. If I were to level one complaint it would be at Level 7. The game is actually a lot of fun, but the presentation of the cards is rather stale. I think they missed a big opportunity to add flavour on the event and adrenalin cards. Instead of saying "Discard to gain 1 fear" it would have been cool if it had some sort of description of sounds or sights to explain why your fear might be going up. It seems small, but I feel like it would have added a lot to the theme and immersive quality of the game.

And finally...my Reaper Bones Vampire pledge package has finally arrived! This massive box of plastic goodness was quite the surprise arrival. The reason for it being unexpected was due to my UPS tracking number not really tracking anything. After I received the tracking notice from Reaper it merely sat at "Ready for UPS." After contacting Reaper about it I realize that it was through no fault of theirs, and was beyond their control. My guess is that it had something to do with the customs processing it had to go through so that I didn't pay taxes on the box.

All that said though, it is indeed quite the box. I only ordered a few add-ons: 2x Cthulu, 2x figures cases, 2x deep dweller packs, an extra NOVA and IMEF squad each, and a Frost Wyrm. One of the Cthulus and a deep dweller pack were for a friend, the rest of this mad pile of plastic is for me! It took me HOURS to go open all the individual baggies and sort the figures out to ensure that everything was included, but it was a fun couple of hours.

I'll leave you with a photo of my nicely sorted collection of Reaper Bones.

July 26, 2013

Masters of the Universe in 28mm: Panthor and Skeletor!

I mentioned acquiring some old 28mm Masters of the Universe figures (produced by Grenadier in the 80s) several months ago, and I've finally gotten a start on them. While working on my Etherian Horde and Avion Warriors for Dreadball I was thinking about the coach models for my teams. Since I have no Hordak figure at the moment my thoughts immediately turned to Skeletor.

My Orx/Goblin team the Snake Mountain Smashers are going to be Skeletor's, even though thematically it would make more sense for them to be Caligars coached by Whiplash. Perhaps later on I'll do another team for that. The Smashers aren't ready for prime time yet, but their coach is all set for his debut appearance.

The paint work was pretty simple. Army Painter Crystal Blue for the skin, a little GW Liche Purple mixed with AP Uniform Grey for the cloth on his armour, and P3 Greatcoat Grey for the leather armour bits. Matte black for the spear shaft and fuzzy shorts, gloss black for his claws. GW Bleached Bone for the bones on his chest and P3 Thrall Flesh for his face. I painted his eyes white first and then put some Tamiya Clear Red over top, as well as on the gem in the middle of his chest. Finally I used GW Gorthor Brown for the straps on his back.

To finish things off I gave him a liberal coat of GW Badab Black, then highlighted the skin with AP Electric Blue. A quick dry brush on his underoos with GW Fortress Grey and some standard basing work to finish.

Naturally Skeletor needs his favourite pet: Panthor. In the assortment of models I received there was a Battle Cat, but no Panthor. In fact, the range never included a Panthor figure to my knowledge. I had tested out some of my Army Painter quickshade dip on a sabretooth tiger model from Horrorclix and happened across it in a drawer. "Perfect," I thought, and set about painting it purple.

I think he turned out great, especially considered how mediocre I thought it looked as a sabretooth tiger. It was an easy paint job to put together: AP Alien Purple, GW Bleached Bone, Testors Gloss Black, P3 Flesh and a very liberal dash of GW Leviathan Purple wash. His eyes were done by painting them white, applying a light wash of GW Thraka Green wash, and then a tiny dot of P3 Necrotite Green on top.

Panthor is pretty intimidating size-wise compared to the MotU figures (Battle Cat is even BIGGER!), because they're pretty much true 25mm figures. I suppose on their bases they're 28 - 30mm, but compared to more contemporary figures they're quite small. I'm not too concerned about that though, simply because they're awesome.

July 18, 2013

AvP: Alien and Predator miniatures

Ah the travesty of a game that was Horrorclix. Bastard cousin to the juggernaut superhero game Heroclix. Is it any wonder that no one laments your demise? Alright, perhaps that's a little bit unfair. However, I just couldn't get into Horrorclix, no matter how much I liked Heroclix at the time. The horror theme just didn't come through for me. On the positive side though Horrorclix did leave people like me with dozens of great figures for kit-bashing and converting.

I bought both box sets for Aliens and Predators, as well as the Alien Queen set that came with an additional warrior for each side. The models were pretty nicely produced, even if their 'cross-compatible' dials were mostly useless in both games.


These figures are a simple rebasing job, with no repainting done to them at all. I stripped them off the clix bases, and removed a human figure from one of them. Actually I lied, there was a very minor touch up to that figure to hide the spot where I removed said human from.

The reason I converted these in the first place was to replace the awful 'shrimp' tokens in the board game Panic Station. It's essentially a rip-off (but I don't mean that in a bad way) of the movie Aliens. I didn't have any magnetic bases at the time, but I wish I had...because the box for Panic Station is a steel tin.

I haven't yet done any modifications to the Alien Queen due her base. She has a huge egg sac mounted on the large clix base that the queen figure's smaller one snaps into. It'll take some thinking to sort out how to keep them both useable. The easiest solution will be to simply use the existing base and pretty it up directly over the clix stuff with some sand and stones etc...


I re-based all eight of these figures on magnetic 25mm round bases. This was my second attempt at doing some jungle basing, using a dark brown wash for a base coat instead of my standard black. I'm happy with this batch, and they were very quick conversions. The only paint touch ups I did wash a wash/highlight on the human girl's skin and repainting the chest-burster being held by one of the warriors.

I put all of these models together so that I could play a couple of games of Mutants and Death Ray Guns by Ganesha Games. I designed a scenario for two to four players pitting Aliens, Predators, Terminator robots and some Wretched (basically zombies) up against one another in a free-for-all battle. You can see my first test run of the scenario using the aliens and terminators here.

July 17, 2013

Painting Bones - Countdown To Vampire: 4

I own a few of the actual packaged Bones figures by Reaper, this one being my first purchase. While awaiting my Vampire pledge box I thought I'd actually tackle a few of the other Bones miniatures I already have. So here we go with a werewolf figure.

I bought this model long ago for use in Strange Aeons, probably a few months before Reaper's kickstarter campaign was announced. If I remember correctly it cost me $2.99 plus tax, which I thought was ridiculously cheap. I'd never seen the Bones figures before, and all the metals and plastics this size were way more money!

I based and primed it shortly after purchasing it, and finally got around to painting it a few weeks ago. With the flood evacuation a while back he sat around on my painting table awaiting some finishing until now. Over the black primer I dry brushed it with two levels of grey (GW Fortress Grey and Codex Grey), and a final white just on the highest spots. P3 Ember Orange on the eyes, with a dot of AP Daemonic Yellow. P3 Carnal Pink around the ears and mouth. A quick dash of GW red wash on the pink areas and some flock/shrubbery on the base. Done.

Total time for this model was probably around an hour and a half, maybe two if you include priming and final basing. Personally I think this is a great looking figure. It was super cheap and very easy to paint.

July 12, 2013

Get Your Sports Gaming Right Here!

Yesterday I had a chance to pit my newly-minted Etherian Horde robot team up against the Snake Mountain Smashers Orx/Goblin team in a game of Dreadball. William was coaching the Smashers, who were sitting at a whopping 145mc team value from their experience in the Trilogy league this spring. My Horde were at their starting 100mc, which gave them four rolls on the free agent table netting them two human strikers, an Orx guard and a Forge Father guard.

The Smashers started the game with home advantage and the punishment followed quick and painfully. My robots went from new and shiny to dented and decapitated in short order. They couldn't transform, or when they were successful simply got hammered back to the pitch, or knocked into the sin bin.

Whoa it's getting crowded in here!

At one point near the 3/4 mark of the game I had two dead robots, and only two players on the pitch...neither of whom were robot players. Without my human striker (lucky #7) in there scoring points I certainly would have been out of the game near the half.

The score bounced around a bit because I started the game wanting to use my robots as much as possible. Against the extremely smashy Orx it rapidly became clear to me that my free agents would be the only way I could hope to compete. Once I made the adjustment I scored a quick two points, followed by a two point swing in favour of the Orx. However once I was set up offensively I was able to push a landslide victory of 7 (thanks to human striker number 7 exclusively!) on my final rush.

A shocking landslide victory!

Since we treated it as a league game, we tallied up all the experience and damage. The Smashers guard 03 racked up a whopping FIVE experience points, which put him into rank 4, with 3 points left over. The Horde suffered rather badly, losing two players. However, rolling 7 income dice they netted a hefty 35mc to help them recover.

I lost two players: 02 and 03. One was revived on the cheap and suffered minor brain (hard drive) damage and now has a skill of 5+. The other was simply recycled for 5mc and replaced.  With the left over income I purchased a second card and second coaching die. If the Horde can make some more income in their next game I'll be considering adding a seventh player to the roster


Over lunch break I gathered a few co-workers and we fired up a game of Big League NHL Manager. The game sounds silly, and looks a lot like a version of Monopoly, but is honestly a lot of fun with the right players. In the interest of time we played to three match wins instead of five.

A lot of wheeling and dealing happened early in the game, with all the GMs vying for the strongest starting line-up. We had some crazy rosters arise out of those deals, and a few quick matches played to get things rolling. The game went without any matches for quite a while, but the GMs continued dealing feverishly, with the salary cap becoming an issue for most, and the bargains becoming fewer. The agreements grew more and more cut-throat as well.

All the GMs were up to two wins each for their teams, and it came down to whoever played the next match. That ended up being Wally's Edmonton Oilers vs my Florida Panthers. Wally started the game with a solid lead and hammered me 11 to 8 to take the match, and win the game!

Bargaining GMs

July 10, 2013

Painting Dreadball - The Etherian Horde

You know what's really sad? I've got all four season 1 Dreadball teams in varying states of painted-ness, but none of them are actually finished. My corporation team was pretty much finished until I messed them up, but I'll be posting more about them soon enough.

Anyway, after over two weeks of being displaced from my home I was finally given the go ahead to return Sunday. With hot water and electricity restored I had to begin cleaning unspeakable organisms from my fridge and freezer, start vacuuming, do dishes that had long languished in the sink, and of course...laundry. All the stuff people love to do right?!

With most of that complete or in progress I sat down to some (in my opinion) much-deserved personal time. I flipped the TV on and broke out some figures that I thought would be relatively quick and easy to work my way through: Season 2's robot team!

These things look a lot like the robotic Horde trooper minions that work for Hordak (from Masters of the Universe / She-Ra). Since they can transform, or at least Hordak can from what I remember...it seemed to be the obvious choice to make them The Etherian Horde!

I had put the figures together several weeks ago, but hadn't cleaned them up yet. It took me over an hour to remove most of the mold lines from my dozen digitally-inclined Dreadball miniatures. I'm sure the final few could have been done better, but by then I simply wanted it to be finished. Cleaning models is one of the components of the hobby that I don't exactly love. If I had one complaint about the Dreadball models it would be that the lines often cross details on the chests and faces of the figures. It can be dealt with, but it's time-consuming to do.

With the models finally ready for paint I sprayed them with some Army Painter plate metal colour primer. After an hour or so to dry and set, and I was finally going to get started! The first thing I did was touch up the primer coat on the undersides that the primer spray couldn't reach...and then I broke them up into batches.

The robot team always starts with six Jacks on the pitch so I started with those. I painted one figure from start to finish so that I knew what I was going to get, or at least have a general idea for the rest of them. Once I had a baseline idea of what I wanted I finished up all six Jacks. The paint scheme is easy: Plate Metal primer/base coat, AP Daemonic yellow for the eye lenses, GW Mephiston Red for all the red bits and GW Abaddon Black for the black parts.

The Strikers were next, as they're the smallest and would have the pickiest detailing...and I knew my hands would only get shakier as I went along. It was while doing these that I hit upon a chest 'bat' design that I really liked. It resulted in my going back to the jacks and redoing theirs as well. The extra five minutes was easily worth it in retrospect.

Finally came the Guards. These guys look the part with more armour and bigger size over the other two robot model types. I think it's a cool touch that their glove is actually integrated into their backs, showing that they do indeed transform from role to role.

As a final touch I coated all of the figures with some GW Badab Black wash then did some highlighting with the metal and red to pick out the details. I certainly could go over them again with an even brighter highlight, but I don't think that's necessary. All that's left is to give them all a liberal coat of matte varnish. The figures for Dreadball get handled a lot, so it only makes sense to protect them.

I haven't painted the robot MVP Firewall yet. Since he'll play for anyone I'm not certain if I want to use the same colour scheme on it or not. It'll take some thinking first. I'm leaning towards an inverted scheme with black as the primary colour instead of silver.

The other issue I've got is the numbering on the figures. Due to their ability to transform, any of the jacks (assuming they're numbered 1 thru 6) could turn into a guard OR a striker. If I apply decals directly to the figures that could pose some problems. The jacks I think can have numbers directly on them, but the other roles perhaps not. It does pose a bit of a quandary...