Sunday, February 11, 2018

Stargrunt 15mm Armored Alien Infantry (or are they Battledroids?)

Just a quick showcase of my latest stab at painting Ground Zero Games' Crusty aliens in armored environmental suits.  I've painted these several times over the years, and I think this is my favorite color scheme to date.  The models are single piece casting with an optional separate backpack with odd "mantis claw" arms on them and what might be jump jets or just extra air tanks.  In this case I've left off the packs since I wanted the model to look a bit less busy.

There are three different sculpts of the basic trooper with energy rifle, sold in packs of six models.

As well as a special weapons pack with three each of two different weapons.

The backs of the models are fully detailed, which you can't see when the backpacks are glued on.  With them left off they're a bit less alien looking but still pretty clearly non-human.

Personally, I think they'd also make pretty good alien combat robot types, and would probably fit in a Star Wars game comfortably as a battledroid of some kind.  So, pretty versatile, maybe more so than the "naked" Crusty models are.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Dreadful Things: Mashaaf

Latest model off the workbench, Reaper's Mashaaf from their first Bones Kickstarter.

A VERY large model, seen here re-based onto a 120mm base with some added alien eggs from Troll Forged Games/

The figure is Bones plastic, and really exemplifies the main beef many people have with Bones.

Mashaaf is only about $30 retail, much cheaper than it would be in metal or resin, which is nice.  Comparably sized GW plastics would run at least twice that, maybe more - and the model is a boxed set rather than a blister, which probably added a good $5 to the cost.

But the little side claws (which are part of the main body casting) and the two bigger claw arms (which are separate) are not well served by being made of Bones.

They're disturbingly flexible, much like the weapons on many smaller Bones figs.  Admittedly they're almost impossible to damage, but it still feels very wrong.

Reaper could have (and I would argue should have) cast the flexible bits either in metal or the harder plastics they've been using on some Bones scenery and terrain pieces.  A multi-media kit might have driven the cost up another $5 or even $10, but even at $40 this thing would be a bargain - and making less fancy custom packaging could have pulled the cost back down.

I've seen several people replace the claws with hard plastic Tyranid parts, which indicates I'm not the only one who disliked the bendy Bones plastic.

Still, it's a nicely sculpted model, and inexpensive enough that I can't say it's a bad buy.  Just feels like a waste of an opportunity to make a good kit even better by going with a multi-media design.

Mashaaf was a first-wave Bones release though, so maybe now that Reaper's had more experience with the stuff maybe we'll see them do multi-media at some point down the road.  The material is great for the big chunky parts of any model, no two ways about it.

And it sure does loom menacingly over your average 28mm trooper, doesn't it?

Monday, January 29, 2018

15mm Scifi: Ion Age Prang Raiders & Army Platoon

My latest 15mm scifi project comes from Ion Age's Prang range.  The Prang are an amphibious alien race that are best described as militaristic bipedal hippos with weapons and armor to suit their physique.  There are basically two different types available, the mercenary/outlaw raiders and the actual Prang army troops.

The Raiders are pretty diverse lot, although a lot of their gear is clearly "borrowed" from the regular Army arsenals.  The background fluff for them makes it clear that they're pretty much in it for the loot and will make off with anything they can carry.

I particularly like the captain's "pet" here.  Much more fun to paint than a parrot.

As you can see, their guns are kind of huge.  Plenty of pouches and bags for hauling off plunder, too.
The Army troops are a bit more uniform in appearance, and they tend to come in larger numbers.  As you can see here, they're much more massive than your average human being (or Terminator robot, in this case).
I've got this platoon split into three squads of eleven, each with a different leader and three heavy weapons.

They've also got a nice medic (who could also be some kind of scientist or civilian merchant or something) and a couple of casualty figs.  Those are always fun to paint, and make good markers for objectives even in rules systems that don't track injured troops on the tabletop.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Dreadful Things: Custom monster kitbashing with Reaper Bones models

Every now and then I need a break from painting fleets of starships or platoons of dirtside troops, and over the last few years my "relaxation" jobs have frequently been large monster kitbashes using Reaper Bones minis.  The plastic they're made of is ideal for conversion work, and their low cost makes it relatively inexpensive to get suitable models for parts.  The most recent examples of these are the critters I call the Wormkin Beholder and Leechmaw Horror.

I've done several of the Wormkin Beholders over the years, refining my technique a little each time.  This one's built out of a Great Worm and an Eye Beast.  Requires some hacksaw work to remove part of the front end of the worm and some putty to join the beholder to the worm, as well as adding the weird dangling globes to the "chin" tendrils (which are cut to remove the model from its integral base).

It's quite a large model, and sits comfortably on a Reaper 60mm base.  Seen here menacing a human-sized 28mm trooper from the old Vor Neo-Sov range.

The concept comes from D&D, obviously, where Beholders are prone to weird mutations and genetic instability. 

How one managed to crossbreed with a Purple Worm is beyond me.  Maybe a worm ingested a beholder spawn and it somehow got lodged in the critter's digestive tract as a parasite and eventually grew into this nightmare?

Regular (using the term loosely) beholders probably hate these things, given their intolerance of physiological deviations from their own phenotypes.  Or is that no longer a thing in the days of 5E?

Now, building the Wormkin Beholder left me with a leftover worm maw just crying to be used.  I briefly debated using it as a "surfacing" worm (a trick I've done many time in the past) but after some test fitting I decided it would make an interesting head swap for a Toad Demon instead.  The resulting nasty I'll call a Leechmaw Horror.

Another big model on a 60mm base, and it barely fits at that.

The demon's original (tiny) head was carefully clipped off and the worm maw attached upside down, where it fit snugly.

I then sculpted a larger spinal hump on while blending over the join between the parts.  Bit more work than the Wormkin was, but I like the way it came out in the end.

The overall shape reminds me of the old Vor Growler Bull models, and it would make a decent Warpfang (the growler "weird mutant" subfaction) for the game if anyone actually played it these days.  The paint scheme was inspired by some Google images of actual leeches, which turned out to be more colorful than I thought they were.  They aren't all boring blackish-green lumps, who knew?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Rogue Stars Science Fiction Skirmish Rules: Alien Psionic Cult & Alien Cyborg Crew

I suspect the Cultist theme in Rogue Stars was meant for something a bit more Grimdark, but I like it for seriously weird alien types.

Built using the old "Large Sadistic Demons" from Asgard, currently in production as "Flesharons" through Alternative Armies.  I love these nostalgic old models, simple as they are.

As far as Rogue Stars stats go, I'd use the following:

Theme: Cultist

Tactical Discipline: Gestalt

3 x Servicer Xenopods (the little guys) each with the Vegetable and Psionic traits and the psionic abilities of Blink, Healing, Levitation, and Telekinetic Push (30XP each)

2 x Enactor Xenopods (the mid-sized ones) each with Vegetable, Psionic, and Psionic Mastery level 1, and the psionic abilities of Blink, Levitation, and either Nightmares or Telekinetic Strangle (30XP each)

1 x Director Xenopod (the big critter) with Vegetable, Psionic, and Psionic Mastery level 3, and the psionic abilities of Blink, Mindscream, Nightmares or Telekinetic Strangle, and Teleportation (50XP)

No equipment at all, relying on their mix of psionic abilities for offense, defense, and mobility.  They get a huge +6 to psi rolls initially due to Gestalt, but if you can inflict casualties on them they fall apart pretty quick.  Early priorities for spending XP would be levels in Psionic Mastery, followed by more psi abilities and eventually defensive and buffing traits.  They really don't want to melee anyone (which is, again, probably not what the designers were thinking of with the theme) and focus instead on using psi abilities to move themselves and their enemies around, heal damage, accomplish goals (or foil the other guy's) and generally be irritating.  The Director's ability to teleport (at +9 to the die roll!) and then pop a Mindscream is the biggest offensive trick, and the Servicers' TK push lets them make juicy clumps of targets for to aim for with it.  Robots are a problem for the crew as a whole, although TK strangle (aka "mentally unplugging your CPU, tin man") gives you something to use besides unarmed combat.

The species aren't really Vegetables, but the trait seems like the best way to represent their extremely alien nature.  Bit of extra durability, immunity to some effects, resistance to others, but (as with all horrific infestations) they don't like being purged with flame.

The other "Flesharons" make a very different crew, this time relying on integrated cybernetics.  Some background fluff, the "Awfuls" (as humanity has nicknamed this largely incomprehensible species) are undergoing a schism.  The Purists in the first post are the Old School faction, using psionics for virtually everything.  These guys are the Melded, a recently arisen group that eschews native psi power for biomechanical cyborg enhancements.

Suggested game stats:

Theme: Cyborgs

Tactical Discipline: Hard to Kill

2 x Sickle Drones (the little guys) each with the Ambidexterity, Claws, Tough level 1, and Vegetable traits and two Bionic Arms (30XP each)

2 x Warmasters (the big guys) each with Ambidexterity, Big, Claws, Tough level 3, and Vegetable traits, with two Bionic Arms, Cyborg Body, and two Torso Weapon Mounts (laser rifle and sonic rifle) (70XP)

Extremely tough for critters with no actual gear, with even the little guys getting a +4 on most damage result rolls against them and the big guys going to at least +7 (more if a hit lands on a bionic arm).  Hard To Kill makes it hard to make early wounds stick on them as well.  They're usually going to be outnumbered, but having Ambidexterity on everyone lets them get more attacks per action than you'd expect.  Not very accurate attacks, but lots of them and with some fairly nasty weapons.  Don't forget all their Claws have Crunch due to the twin Bionic Arms, so you can remove troublesome enemy equipment if need be.

This was originally posted last year over on Lead Adventure Forum, but I'm mirroring it here since my original photo links have died.