Monday, 30 May 2016

Triplicate to Marvel - Part 2

As if by magic, some more paint appeared on my Triplicate Girl to Marvel Girl Heroclix conversion.

Unfortunately the matt spray varnish has come out all glossy, which is annoying. I will try and find some more during the week, and try to fix it.

In the meantime I have parted the former Triplicate Girl from her base. She's properly Marvel Girl now, whether she likes it or not. Here she is ready to be pinned to her new perspex base.

And finally ... Marvel Girl, with friends. And enemies.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Triplicate to Marvel - Part 1

With the Forgotten Heroes project I've foolishly said I'd be part of approaching I thought I'd better get my hand and eye in on a Heroclix conversion, just to make sure I know what I'm letting myself in for. Forgotten Heroes is supposed to showcase lesser-known Marvel and DC characters, or characters from outside of those two companies, so this conversion, which I've had in mind for a while, wouldn't have been suitable for the project anyway.

A couple of years ago I acquired this figure of the Legion of Superhero's Triplicate Girl. Whilst I have a bit of a soft spot for the wonderful sixties colours of her mini-dress costume, I don't really have a lot of use for Triplicate Girl in my games. Actually I know nothing about her, but the Legion of Superheroes has always struck me as about as interesting as a game of DBA 2.2.

Her pose is pretty neutral, though, and I realised the figure was more than suitable for a character I do need in my collection: the X-Men's Marvel Girl.

Here's Triplicate Girl.

And here's Marvel Girl:

Looks like a pretty straightforward conversion to me.

I started by slicing some of the decorative trim Triplicate Girl has on her boots, as well as smoothing off the tops of them. She has thigh-high boots on, so there's a small 'lip' up by the skirt. Marvel Girl sports bare legs above the knee.

With the limited amount of shaping done, I added the two accessories Marvel Girl needs. Firstly the belt. This is just a thin strip of paper, glued on and then trimmed. A square of paper was added over the join for the buckle, but I hadn't done that when this photo was taken.. Secondly the mask. I cut a few of these before I got one the size and shape I needed - again it's just paper, but with a generous coating of PVA glue to stiffen it. I will need to carefully widen the eyeholes later, but I will probably do that at the painting stage, so I can see just how much I have to model and just how much I can fudge with the painting itself.

Here's the modelling mostly completed, and then a grey undercoat applied. I used grey because it gives the figure a monotone look, covers the colour underneath better than white and doesn't obscure the detail as much as black.  Now I can see how the figure looks in terms of shape. And I'm pretty happy with it so far.

On to the painting.

The initial stages. Possibly the dress could do with being a little darker.

I'll finish her off in the next post.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Marrying Mr Darcy

I got a little bit of money for my birthday the other week, the acquisition of which coincided with a new shop selling games and pop-culture stuff opening next to where I worked. I walked in and a few minutes later came out with the card game 'Marrying Mr Darcy'.

The game is exactly what you think it is; it's Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' translated into a card-game. Each player takes the role of one of eight heroines from the book - the Bennet sisters, plus three other ladies. As various events, parties, balls and encounters from the book occur, you attempt to acquire cards to improve various characteristics in order to convince the man of your choice to propose to you. Fail to make a match and you end the game as an old maid. The value of your characteristics, plus the points you make from making a good marriage (or not) dictate who wins.

Here are the ladies:

And the gentleman they are competing for. :

A few sample cards:

As you can see, the text and art-work are utterly charming, and very much in keeping with the style of the book. One interesting feature is that the heroines score different points for a particular suitor. That is, Mr Darcy is not every girl's idea catch, and even the odious Mr Collins is a target for at least one lady. Thus you have to keep you eye not only on your own suitability with regard to your chosen man, but also how likely your rivals are to pick up their choice of husband. Obviously things can get nasty if it's obvious that you're vying for the same chap.

We played a couple of games yesterday evening. In the first I took the bookish, intelligent Mary Bennet, Maya the flighty Lydia Bennet and Catherine their elder sister, Jane. After a hectic season of balls, visits and tea-parties poor Jane completely failed to interest any of the men in marrying her, end ended up unwed, but reasonably well-off. Lydia snared Mr Denny for a respectable, but not massive, final score, leaving Mary, who had spent much of the game ruthlessly improving herself, able to win by marrying any of the available suitors, most of whom could potentially consider her as an eligible wife. A proposal came from Mr Wickham, and would have given me a win by the narrowest of margins, but who wants to marry Mr Wickham? I went for the big win, tipping my bonnet at the boring, but safe, Mr Collins. But despite my many accomplishments he wasn't interested, and neither was Colonel Fitzwilliam. With no further proposals, poor Mary also ended up an old maid, whilst Maya rejoiced in Lydia's victory.

In the second game Catherine took everyone's favourite Bennet, Elizabeth. Maya and I dropped the Bennet family. She took the wealthy Georgiana Darcy, whilst I went for the accomplished, but not very nice, Caroline Bingley. Maya and I competed with each other, building our beauty, reputation and other attributes, whilst Elizabeth failed to improve herself in any great way at all. Utter disaster seemingly struck Maya when, towards the end of the game, she eloped with Mr Wickham, utterly ruining her reputation and destroying a lot of her final victory score. Despite her wealth, and some very unladylike persistence, Caroline couldn't get Colonel Fitzwilliam to propose to her, and once again I finished up an old maid, dependent on the goodwill of a rich uncle. This left Maya and I with an equal score. At that point Catherine waltzed up with poor, plain, Elizabeth Bennet, caught the eye of Mr Darcy, and made a perfect marriage to win the game. There's probably a moral there.

Like a lot of games of this nature, it probably doesn't have huge replay value, but is certainly interesting enough to drag out from time to time when you need an hour's diversion. It does capture the feel of the books and, whilst it has a high degree of luck, it does allow for a certain amount of tactical play, as well as sabotaging other players - in a suitably ladylike manner, of course.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Wooden Oaths

We played Saga last night, with a epic four-player scenario. I was pondering how to even begin writing this up, when Caesar posted his report to our club's Yahoo group, a report of such brilliance that I decided to steal it wholesale:

"We had four players, each fielding a six-point warband, beginning the scenario “Wooden Oaths” in two teams of two. The oaths were wooden because at the end of each turn players could choose which side they wanted to play on the following turn, without knowing what everyone else was going to bid. There was a running score kept of red team versus black team kills, which was the only known, apart from the troop dispositions on the field. A situation ripe for treachery and intrigue!

And so it was that Gary led his Normans, allied with John Purvis’ Vikings as the black team. Against them, Alan headed the Welsh, allied with my Anglo-Danish as the red team. Those alliances remained for the first two turns. The Welsh occupied a farmhouse in the centre with a unit of levy bowmen and repulsed a determined attack by Viking bondi who suffered heavily for their courage.

Meanwhile, on the distant flank the Norman bow released an effective barrage against Anglo-Danish ceorls, cutting down their ranks. The Anglo-Danish infantry commenced a slow advance and then the strike force of the Norman faction, the knights, swept in causing more carnage. The horses fatigued and in the open, were vulnerable to a counter attack by the Anglo-Danish, led in person by their warlord. And then, in true Hastings style, another unit of Norman knights charged down the Anglo-Danish warlord using the “crush” ability to double their hits. There just weren’t enough expendable Thegns to throw in the path of oncoming lances and the Anglo-Danish warlord went down.

On the third and fourth turn everyone bid for red team, which resulted in a truce for those turns (i.e. you skip them). Finally, at the end of turn four, in accordance with the scenario, we each bid for the alliance that we were to be stuck with until the end of the game on turn six. Alan and Gary both bid red and John and I bid black, resulting in balanced teams, but a switch of allegiances! This had the interesting effect of wedging the Normans between the hostile Vikings and Anglo-Danes, with the Welsh somewhat isolated in their ivory farmhouse.

The Vikings fell upon their former allies, and after the effort the Normans had expended in dealing with the Anglo-Danish, picking up plenty of fatigue thrown at them along the way, they could put up little resistance to Viking berserkers, bondi and a warlord sweeping away crossbowmen, knights, and finally the Norman warlord himself.

The running score was close for both teams. With the Welsh completely intact and the Vikings not overly chopped up, victory would go to either of these factions if they could push the body count their way. The Welsh skirted around the woods, catching Viking hirdmen with a scathing javelin attack and almost halving their numbers. The remaining Viking bondi in the open around the farmhouse were shot down or took refuge in the woods. However, the Norman dead continued to rise from the Viking onslaught and a final Anglo-Danish assault with double-handed axe armed huscarls on Norman mounted sergeants. Astonishingly after all the treachery and slaughter the team scores were equal towards the end of turn six. Then in the very final action of the night a couple of exhausted Norman crossbowmen collapsed (a sneaky Anglo-Danish ability).

Triumph was therefore narrowly seized by the Scandinavian alliance, first place claimed by John and his more intact Viking warband, who certainly deserved victory after marshalling a battle board and six-point warband so masterfully in his first game of SAGA. Alan’s efforts too were impressive, wielding the Welsh with cunning and lethal efficiency, taking no casualties but inflicting many. As for Gary, my deadliest opponent, showcasing the devastating potential of a Norman cavalry charge, made our end of the field a pitched battle to remember.

I think with two novice players, six point warbands all round, the crazy yet engrossing scenario special rules, and our first go at urban combat, the game went very smoothly. The only thing we forgot was to apply fatigue to friends near a broken unit but I don’t think that would have greatly changed the outcome. Thanks to all involved for our biggest and best SAGA battle yet.

What I can contribute are pictures.

This is the Welsh firebase in the ruined building - twelve levy archers (not all of the figures had to be deployed before you start counting).

The table. My Welsh were poised to occupy the woods at the bottom of the picture. Most of the action took place at the other end of the table where the Normans faced the Anglo-Danes.

The Welsh deployed.

To their right, the Anglo-Danes.

Opposite them the Vikings, in a dispersed formation.

Finally the mighty attacking force that is the Normans.

The Welsh archers taunted a group of Viking bondi into range, before cutting them down with well-aimed shots. When the bondi charged the Welsh used their superior numbers to drive them off. I've become quite a fan of the Welsh Saga board.

The main fight. The Normans and Vikings attacked the Anglo-Danes in the early part of the game, before the Vikings switched sides and fell of the flank of their Norman allies. The Welsh ended up allied with the Normans purely because they were still enjoying fighting the Vikings - my enemy's enemy and all that ...

Norman knights cut down the Anglo-Dane warlord and his retainers.

The Norman warlord did little to enhance his reputation, riding down a single, tired, enemy warrior.

With the scores very close the Welsh closed in on a group of Viking hearthguard, and cut them down with a hail of javelins. They needed sixes to hit, and scored five sixes off six dice.

More javelins thrown from the other side pushed the Welsh/Norman alliance into a slight lead.

Vikings in a very uncomfortable position.

The final acts. The Anglo-Danes charged some Norman horse, with the traded casualties evening the score.

But this group of Norma archers was tired, and a cunning play from the Anglo-Dane battle-board saw two of the collapse and die, giving the Anglo-Dane/Viking alliance the victory.

The Welsh-controlled part of the table. Most of it, in fact. The Welsh didn't lose a single figure during the game

Two turns out of six with no actions left me stuck out on a limb when it became obvious the main battle was taking place elsewhere, but I did my best with the position I had, and our side nearly pulled off a famous victory for Wales; a victory bought at the cost of worthless Norman lives.

I'll admit I'm not a great fan of Saga, but on a Thursday evening any game is better than no game, and any game with good company is always worth playing. This was a lot of fun, and a very interesting (if bizarre) idea for a scenario, with possible applications in other games.

Thanks to Gary, Caesar and John for a most entertaining evening.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Forgotten Heroes

I don't post a lot of painting and modelling stuff on this blog. This is for two reasons. The first is that this is a blog for wargaming; I'd rather document what I actually do with my toys, as opposed to explaining how I put the toys together in the first place. The second reason is that, on the whole, I don't do a lot of painting and modelling.

However I came across the Forgotten Heroes challenge the other day, and foolishly decided to give it a go.

Here's the blurb from the BLOG set up to run it:

"Whilst there are a vast array of official Marvel and DC superhero and supervillain figures, both in metal and plastic, available AND various unofficial miniatures of both the big two’s characters and other heroes/villains, there will always be that little hole in your collection for a particular favourite or obscure character that they just don’t make. And that’s what Forgotten Heroes is about.

During the month of June, Jez* and I are inviting you to join us in creating/converting an existing figure into a costumed superhero or villain of your choice, from any source (be that Comics, TV, Film, Adverts, Toy lines, Novels; basically anywhere you can think of). The rules, such as they are, are quite simple.
  • The character you create must not yet have had an official or unofficial miniature made for it. 
  • The figure must be in 28mm scale. 
  • The figure must be completed during the month of June. 
  • In your first post, you should provide a bit of detail on the character you’ve chosen and why. 
And that’s it basically. It can be as simple as repainting a DC Heroclix Blue Beetle as Marvel’s Goldbug, to as elaborate as converting a GW Imperial Guard Commissar into Marshal Law.

As there are a vast number of costumed heroes and villains out there (the Leopard of Lime Street, the Private Eye, the Savage Dragon, Megamind, Mr Incredible, Thermoman, Green Cross man, the list goes on and on), the only question you have to ask yourself is this – Who will be your Forgotten Hero?

We’re announcing it now, to give you time to gather your thoughts and the necessary figure ripe for conversion. It’s open to all, just let me know if you want to join in and I’ll make sure links to your blogs are posted on here whilst it’s going on.

So it just remains for me to say thanks to Jez, for a) coming up with this idea and b) letting me pinch the above from his blog. So come on why not join the fun, you know you want to.

Cheers Roger.

And one update to the rules from The Miniatures Page:

"There has a been a slight 'rules' update in respect of who you can create, namely you CAN create a hero or villain who has already had an official or unofficial figure made, PROVIDING you don't use this figure to create your own.

This is for those who want a particular hero or villain, but are unhappy with the versions made so far. Don't like version of , now's the chance to make the "definitive" version! It's like an online version of a multi-company crossover event, without having to buy every single issue! And you KNOW you've always wanted a 28mm Hypno-Hustler…

Now obviously it's possible that I could take a whole month just to get around to doing a simple repaint of a figure, so that may be all I do, But I have made the effort to come up with a few ideas, some, or all, of which I will implement during June, opting for a quantity over quality approach to the challenge. I'll post my initial entries closer to the date, of course.

Obviously I'm posting this here so that you can think about having a go. If I know my loyal reader is attempting the same challenge, I won't feel so bad about submitting my own, paltry, efforts.

One thing I do promise is that I will post at least one game featuring any figures I do produce. I'm making toys for playing games with here, and I intend to play games, not just make ropey eye-candy. although, that said, the only reworked Heroclix in my collection - Captain Britain's arch-foe The Fury - is still waiting for that elusive first game. But then how do you even begin to use The Fury?

June also sees the annual Supanova event in Sydney, and once again my wife and I will be inflicting our ropey, cheapass cosplay on the event. But we trialled it the other week at Wollongong's Comic Gong, going as characters so obscure that even a cosplay website had to look them up.

Here we are:

Catherine is Dr Venus from Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5'. I dug deep into comic history and emerged in 1940 to portray Madam Fatal - seemingly a harmless little old lady, with a penchant for beating up criminals wherever she finds them, but in reality a retired actor in a very convincing, long-term and somewhat dubious (for the time), disguise.

If I can find a suitable base figure in time, perhaps I should produce a Madam Fatal miniature.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Excalibur in 'Bank Heist!'

Breaking News! Three costumed villains, led by the enigmatic Mysterio, have robbed the Rymansville bank and stolen two cases of rare and valuable jewels! Even now they are making their escape. The police are helpless to stop them (aren't they always).

The villains: Mysterio, Hobgoblin and Mr Hyde.

Fortunately members of the superteam Excalibur are on hand to stop them - Captain Britain and Nightcrawler - plus this week's special guest-star, The Scarlet Witch.

The scene is set. All the villains have to do is get the jewels past the heroes and exit off their base-edge.

The heroes took the initiative and moved into position - Nightcrawler teleported to a rooftop, Captain Britain flew boldly down the centre of the street and the Scarlet Witch hung back ready to provide support where needed.

The Hobgoblin was carrying one case of jewels but launched into an attack on Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler easily dodged the fiend's rocket-sled.

Mysterio and Mr Hyde raced towards Captain Britain.

Mr Hyde stopped to try and heft a nearby car at Nightcrawler, but couldn't get a decent grip on it and abandoned the attempt.

Meanwhile Nightcrawler rained a flurry of blows on the Hobgoblin and took him down ...

... before teleporting behind Mysterio in order to distract him ...

... so that Captain Britain could zoom into the attack!

The Scarlet Witch attempted to hold up Mr Hyde with her hex-bolts, but he shrugged them off.

With Mysterio now locked in combat with the Captain, Nightcrawler teleported over to Mr Hyde, trusting to his agility to protect him from the monster's mighty fists.

It didn't. Momentarily disorientated by his teleport Nightcrawler fell to a single mighty punch.

An overview of the fight, with both sides now down by one character.

The Scarlet Witch moved up to try and slow Mr Hyde, who was trying to pick up the Hobgoblin's case of jewels. However she was surprised when Captain Britain charged towards her, hypnotised by the malevolent Mysterio into thinking that *she* was one of the villains. Fortunately Mysterio's control over the Captain wasn't strong enough, and he stopped short at actually attempting an attack.

The distraction was enough for Mr Hyde to recover the second case of jewels, however.

Enraged, Captain Britain piled into Mysterio again, landing a damaging blow.

Meanwhile Mr Hyde lumbered down the street towards the Scarlet Witch who, once more, found her hex-bolts unequal to the task of slowing him down.

Seeing the he'd been distracted from the task in hand, Captain Britain attacked Mr Hyde, and scored a decent hit on him.

However Mysterio's trickery dazzled him for a moment, allowing Mr Hyde to return the favour.

Mr Hyde continued to make his escape.

Mysterio moved up, and used his illusions to convince the Scarlet Witch that her companion was, in fact, the Hobgoblin.

As Captain Britain flew past to engage Mr Hyde once more, she launched a hex-bolt at him. Fortunately, in her confused state, her aim was off.

She moved to the sidelines to recover, as the Captain and the monster traded blows ...

...  and with her wits now returned, engaged Mysterio.

WHAM! Britain's protector downed Mr Hyde!

Tricking the Scarlet Witch once more, Mysterio broke away from her, and ran to where the jewels were, hoping that his illusions would protect him from Captain Britain.

They didn't. The Captain had had quite enough of Mysterio's smoke and mirrors, and took him out of the fight as well.

The heroes had won the day, and prevented the robbery!

But wait. Was that really Mysterio they had defeated. Things are sometimes never what they seem ...

This was a game of Clobberin' Time, my own fast-play, low-detail superhero skirmish rules, which can be found on the Free Stuff part of this blog. The stats for the protagonists are as follows:

Mysterio - Shape-Shift, Hinder (M), Mind Control (S)
Mr Hyde - Superstrength, Resilience
The Hobgoblin - Flight, Charge, Ranged Attack (S), Hinder (S)

Captain Britain - Strength, Block, Flight + 3"
Nightcrawler - Teleport, Agility, Adhesion
The Scarlet Witch - Hinder (M), Ranged Attack (M)

All characters were Level 3.

The mix of abilities worked well to give an interesting game. Both sides had a hard-hitting close-combat specialist, one with more mobility and another that could provide support. Mysterio's mind-control came close to giving the villains a superior position twice during the game, especially the second attempt which saw the Scarlet Witch in a position to hinder Captain Britain sufficiently long enough for Mr Hyde to take him down and make his escape. Only a bad roll on her part prevented this.

I still need to fiddle with some of the abilities in the game; at its core it's a very workable system, but there ideas I've had floating around in my head for new things characters can do, and refining some of the existing abilities.

Observant readers will notice that the characters have all been removed from their Heroclix bases, and transferred to very nice perspex ones from Aetherworks. Whilst the clear perspex has its issues - highly reflective and prone to reacting to superglue being two of them - it does mean that the character blend in to any environment on which I place them. I'm not sure what colour I'm going to do the flying stands yet, though. The white looks less obtrusive than I thought it would be. The stands are florist's wire, with an outer sleeve made from the plastic tube of a cotton bud. The wire acts to pin the character and the base together, since it can be glued into good, deep holes on both. The plastic tube stops the wire bending, as well as providing a small amount of additional support.
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