Sunday, December 9, 2018

Dreadful Things: Mortal Arrow Flail Snail

Latest commission job finished up, one of Mortal Arrow's flail snail minis.
A large resin kit that comes in four pieces - shell, body, and two of the four flails are separate.  There are also variant shell and (non-flail) bodies available, which can be swapped around.  This one is actually a "riding snail" shell on a flail snail body.

The kit is very cleanly cast and goes together well.  There are pour spout plugs on each piece that require trimming, but they're easy enough to remove and doing so won't affect visible parts except for the body.  The body plug is on the bottom toward the rear and taking it off does mess up the detail there a bit, but carving it back in was a two minute job and even that could be skipped if you don't plan on looking at the bottom of the model.

Did need just a little putty to fill in the shell-body join but again, it was a trivial job of gap-filling, no sculpting required.

As you can see the belly is fully detailed.  Quite  a lot of teeth on this thing, too.

The repaired plug point on the body is pretty much invisible with paint on it, and you can't even see the putty under the shell. 

A big and impressive model, and well made.  The Reaper Call of Cthulhu investigator there is probably developing molluscophobia even as we speak.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Moongrunt Civilian Cargo Sled

Moongrunt's got a decent array of military figures, but the First Lunar War was fought over burgeoning industrial complexes and the colonial habitats that supported them.  So clearly we need some civilian (or at least noncombatant) minis to get caught in the crossfire.

Like many "Moonie" workers, these two "space truckers" are using Chinese equipment.  The stuff's not fancy but it's rugged, reliable, easier to repair than fancy US or French stuff, and most importantly it's relatively cheap.

Their sled was bought used through UNSC channels, and has seen some heavy use over the years.  Still flying though, even if some of her venturis are blown out and her frame's been through multiple re-welds.

Her payload bed's large enough to do some light hauling of high-priority items, although only the desperate would risk loading anything really fragile.  Her landings aren't as smooth as they used to be.

Usually she's found hauling a mix of spares and replacement machinery, various tool cases, and the odd hazardous material container.

The crew is unarmed of course, but in a real pinch I suppose the co-pilot could resort to doing "bombing runs" with some of the cargo.  Having 50 kilos of machine tools dropped on your collector array from a hundred feet up is going to break some stuff.  Not much chance of hitting a moving target or anything as small as a man, but air combat got its start with people throwing bricks at each other from biplanes.  Mankind's first extraterrestrial conflict starting over someone dropping crates on people they don't like?  That could absolutely happen. 

The models in this post are currently available on ebay here:
The rocket sled and cargo are available from the Ground Zero Games web store here:

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Dreadful Things: Mortal Arrow Tikki Troll Warband

Showcasing a warband of Mortal Arrow's Tikki Troll miniatures, painted on commission for  a customer.  These figures were funded via Kickstarter a while back and are on sale here:
The models are very modular with a mix of extra arms, heads, and add-on bits, and as far as I can tell any of the parts will work on any of the bodies (which come in a torso-and-legs single piece casting).  They're very cleanly cast and come with 40mm bases.  All are quite large, with the shortest pose around 40mm tall and the Big Kahuna about 60mm.
The customer's brief was to do them up as group of troll shamans and witch doctors, so I tried to avoid using too many melee weapons in favor of more "spellcaster-ish" builds.  The exception is the "runt" with the club, who was actually purchased off of ebay before the rest of commission was established.  All in all I think they came out quite well, and the sculpts have a ton of old-school D&D flavor to them.  A fun job.
The Big Kahuna is probably my favorite of the range, in part because of that crazy club made out of severed (but still fighting) troll arms.  I figure this guy is the head shaman of the group and his weapon doubles as a beatstick and a crude but powerful magical staff - perhaps the individual limbs can each cast a different spell each day or something.  I've deliberately painted each attached arm to match the skin tone of a different member of the group.  Donating a limb to the boss is part of the initiation ritual to join up, because trolls are just like that.  

He also carries a severed troll head in his off hand, which we can say is his "familiar" and the noggin of the former chief shaman.  In pinch it also makes a dandy thrown weapon.  He's also got a couple of potion bottles on his belt and a smattering of shrunken heads as trophies. 

This big brute is the second in command of the warband, a shaman who dabbles in alchemy.  His primitive sickle is more for harvesting material components than fighting, which he prefers to do with either touch spells or by simply ripping his enemies into small pieces.  He is a troll, after all.  Claw/claw/bite isn't just for dragons.  

He carries a few magical potions at his belt as backup weapons or tools, which have been shared (under threat of violence) with his kahuna.

This one's a minor conversion, a witch doctor with a magical wand/rod thing and a bunch of ogre skulls as trophies and impromptu armor.  The "wand" is a handswapped and cut down spear from a different figure, and the ju-ju dance pose is the result of a careful trim and repose. The skulls are add-ons from a GW kit to further alter the base model.

A bit of work to make but it does show off how much variety you can get out of the basic figures, especially if you have several of them and a deeper pool of parts to draw from.

This is a more stock build of the kit used for the witch doctor above.  Blowpiper with ammo pouch and hand weapon.  Probably a witch doctor specializing in concealment and ranged attack spells.   He looks like a sneaky type.

Well, as sneaky as an eight foot tall troll with bright orange hair can be, anyway.

And finally there's the "runt" of the group, or at least that's what Mortal Arrow calls him.  He's still pretty big.  I figure he's the apprentice in the group, with minimal spellpower.

He's got enough brains to realize that hitting people with a club made out of a chunk of bullette jawbone is more effective than relying on magic or brute strength.  There's probably something nasty in that belt pouch too. 


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Full Thrust PAU heavy carrier Unity

I've always been a fan of Full Thrust's default setting, generally known as the Tuffleyverse.  It's not a very fleshed-out universe compared to many game worlds but there are enough teasers scattered throughout the two Fleet Books and the various future timeline notes to really get your imagination going.  The Tuffleyverse is very open to customization, reinterpretation and head canon.  Plenty of room for custom fleets and scenarios without worrying about someone telling you you're doing it wrong.  Is it a little silly with some of its factions and future developments?  Sure, but it was written way back in the 90s and never really intended to be all that serious.  As a background to push minis around it's just about perfect for me.   

So, why all the gushing about a decades-old game setting that was little more than an afterthought from the author to justify scenarios?  Well, today's post is a bit of Tuffleyverse history showcasing how you can take minis from almost any range and plug them in to the universe without a real struggle.  Let me introduce you to the Pan-African Union heavy carrier Unity.

The Unity began service as an ESU Chairman-class assault carrier during the later days of the Second Solar War.  The initial production run consisted of six ships, with four out of a second run of six more ships completed by the war's end.  The class was never particularly successful, suffering three outright losses during combat and having a fourth ship so badly damaged that it was scrapped as unrepairable.  The remaining six completed ships were put into fleet reserve by 2161 where they remained until the outbreak of the Third Solar War in 2165.  Only two were brought back into service at that point, the remainder having been largely stripped for spares.  Both were lost in action by 2171, by which point new carrier doctrines and construction standards were coming into place in the ESU military.  

In 2172, a diplomatic agreement led to the sale of many ESU fleet reserve ships to the PAU in exchange for their assistance in the ongoing war.  The ship that would become the CVH Unity was delivered by FTL tug to the PAU shipyard facilities off the Grand Mountain colony where refitting and refurbishment began.  The original Chairman-class had sported a fairly heavy mix of missile systems as well as a moderate fighter complement, and suffered from a drive system that had never managed to perform quite up to design specifications.  The ship was delivered without offensive weapon systems, although it did retain its extensive defensive weapons array.  The PAU refit installed a ventral hanger bay in place of the former missile magazines which greatly improved fighter handling operations, upgraded the engines and inertial compensators, and strengthened some main structural supports.  The result was a specialized heavy carrier with no real offensive weaponry but better handling and a larger fighter complement. 

The ship was commissioned as the PAU SS Unity in 2173, the name being reference to both PAU "United Africa" internal politics and the loose alliance they'd formed with the ESU.  It served throughout the remainder of the Third Solar War with fair success, avoiding close action while providing fighter support to multiple combat operations.  The start of the Xeno War found her in the Sol system on a diplomatic mission.  By the time the PAU was ready to join in UNSC-led defensive efforts against the Kra'Vak, it had become apparent that offensive carrier tactics worked poorly against the alien foe.  As such, the Unity was held in the core systems on convoy escort and defensive patrol duties.  During the Siege of Sol she (like many specialized carriers) served as mobile bases for the waves of planetary fighters committed to break up Kra'Vak assaults.  In one notable action her flight crews managed to service 320 fighters over the course of a six-hour engagement.  Fewer than 30 survived to be evacuated to the Omega Defense Line on board the Unity afterward. 

TMF 161
NPV 409 + fighters / CPV 563 + fighters
Thrust 4
q 2 q
Level 1 Screens q
1 Fire Control
1 Area Defense Fire Control q
6 Class 1 Beam Batteries qqqqqq
6 Hanger Bays
Hull 36 (9/9/9/9) - 9 DCTs, one every 4th box

There's been some discussion lately about giving different factions special rules to differentiate them more.  I'm not a huge fan of the idea, but here's an idea if you want to go along those lines.
The Pan-African Union Military Star Fleet emphasizes carrier tactics and has a long tradition of training fighter crews who can best be described as "unusually enthusiastic" about their jobs.  Cults of personality often form around established aces, and flight corps recruitment numbers are excellent.  While the technical end of their training is solid the final results can be more than a bit erratic as pilots often compete for kills.
To represent this, when using the optional Fighter Pilot Quality rules from More Thrust, if you roll a 2-5 "normal" result, you must reroll the die once and take the second result instead.  This greatly increases the odds of getting an Ace pilot - but it also increases the odds of getting a Turkey group.  

The Unity miniature comes from Brigade Models' CDSU range, and is to date the only Chinese ship to get the 3D remaster treatment.  It's a well-made model with a mix of resin and metal components that fit together very well.  I suggest leaving the "flying bridge" part off till you finish painting so you can get at the inside of the "tunnel" and the detail there.
The fighter brood illustrated here are also from Brigade Models, this time from their Neo-Soviet range.  The "spider" flight bases are from Ground Zero Games, although these are the older metal version rather the new acrylic ones they now sell.


Friday, November 23, 2018

J. Carter's Guide to Barsoomian Wildlife

Another nostalgia post showcasing the White Apes of Barsoom from the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  These particular figures are made by Bronze Age Miniatures, who are currently running a sale till November 30th.  Timely that I stumbled on these old photos right now, eh?
The web store listings are here:  These are older paint jobs from half a decade ago or more, but I think the paint jobs still show off the sculpts to good effect. 

There are three poses, and they're based here on steel washers.

It's been a while, but if I remember correctly two of the three poses are multi-part castings with the third being single piece.  No idea which is which after all this time though.

Aside from the obvious use in Barsoomian gaming, they'd also work well as D&D Girallons, alien wildlife from other settings, weird post-apocalyptic critters, or (in 6mm scale) as small kaiju.

As you can see, they're good sized minis and well cast.  Also really, really cheap right now.  I'm off to order some more Bronze Age Stuff.  If you any kind of ERB fan you probably ought to as well, these are just part of his Barsoomian-inspired catalog.