Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Foreven Shipyards Ships Painted

So, despite some minor issues with the primer (Testors grey) interacting with the Smooth Fine Detail Plastic of which the Foreven Shipyards models are composed, I'm well pleased with the results.

Gazelle-class Close Escorts
Vargr-class Corsair
Type M Merchant
Type M Merchant
The solution to the slow-curing tack seems to have been to hit the model with a puff of dull-cote. This was mainly an issue on the Vargr.  The Gazelles and the Merchant where primed with an oil-resistant base that's meant to cover grease spots for latex house paint. Worked a treat.

After the convention, I may go back and pick out some more details, but by-and-large, they're ready for the table top....

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Traveller Starships from Foreven Shipyards

In the run up for this years TravellerCon/USA convention, I ordered some classic ships from Foreven Shipyards, a Shapeways supplier of licensed Traveller ships.

This year's TravellerCon theme is the Vargr, the genetically uplifted canines often referred to as "the Wolves of Space", so imagine my delight when I realised that Foreven Shipyards offered a Vargr Corsair ship in 1/1000 scale.

Personally, I've never cared much for the Vargr. In our classic Traveller campaign of my youth, there was always one fringe player who insisted of playing one, and it usually made the session feel "off". Certainly, his character was not allowed on the settee. The irony of this year's theme is not lost on me.

All models displayed on a 1" grid.

Vargr Corsair

The ships are very nice - they are also, in some cases, rather pricey. This is due in some part to the materials in use, as well as the manufacturing process. Still and all, worth every penny.

Also ordered was a set of four Gazelle-class Close Escorts and a March-class Type R Subsidized Merchant.

Gazelle-class Close Escorts

In each case, the classic lines of the original artwork is faithfully reproduced, making these models a joy to behold. Cast in Smooth, Fine Detail Plastic, the detail is excellent. One thing to watch for is there seems to be a lengthy curing time for the plastic. I'm not sure how long, except to say that the models have a slightly tacky feeling, except for two models I purchased in October of 2018. I have had some 15mm Rhodesian Alligator APCs that had to sit atop the hot water cistern over the winter before the Smooth, Fine Detail Plastic lost it's tack.

Type M Subsidised Merchant

Flight stands were ordered from Litko, at the suggestion of the model maker.  I had a bad experience with them in the past, but Litko seems to have improved on both delivery time as well as customer service. My complaint with the execution is the post pieces have not been cut straight.

The idea that a company with "Aerospace" in its name making Out-of-Tolerance parts is rather droll....Ω

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

28mm Soul Sisters

STOP!, in the Name of Get Christy Love!

Several packages arrived earlier this month from various manufacturers, and the one which leapt out and demanded painting was "Destiny" from the nice folks at Hasslefree Miniatures.

Miniature by Hasslefree Miniatures

Despite Kev's obvious talent, I don't order a lot from Hasslefree - I might have a baker's-dozen HF miniatures at best. Kev's interests are far more eclectic than mine, and his modern figures tend to follow the lines of Post-Buffy, Post-BSG, Post-GoT and suchlike. Not that this is a bad thing, just not my cuppa rosy...

However, once I saw 70's icon Teresa Graves aka Christie Love sporting her best Charlie's Angel's (the original series, not the wretched wreboot) pose, it was an instant purchase, along with several other figures to round out the order.

Painting the blue jeans on this model was a lot of fun, as was the 70's-style vibrant colour palette. I'll need to go back and shade her platform shoes a bit, then find her a car model - maybe a 1969 Corvette Stingray.

Also jumping out at me was one of Copplestone Castings Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang series, titled the Soul Section. These minis shout "SHAFT!" (watch your mouth). I often wonder why this period failed to achieve greater popularity as a gaming genre.

Miniature by Copplestone Castings

I tried to simulate a late 60's/early 70's print pattern for her dress, plus nylon stockings. Once the orange colour started flowing, the metallic orange wig seemed to fit. The contrast is very attractive, I think.

Next up will be the other two minis from the Soul Section pack - a Richard Roundtree analogue and a shotgun wielding street preacher...Ω

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Painted 28mm Tcho-Tcho Gang from Black Cat Bases

Figures from Black Cat Bases

The first batch of Tcho-Tchos are finished, and I must admit, I'm rather pleased with the result. I decided to use a mix of US army green and Chinese grey for the trousers, as though the gear was scavenged.  I leave the details of that to your imagination...

Here's another pic of recent finished figures for height comparison:

Left to Right: Crooked Dice, Black Cat, Reaper

Until next time...Ω

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Horace "Action" Jackson and Ebony Foxx by Reaper Miniatures

Continuing my Philadelphia Chronicle 1970s campaign setting, here are two private investigators from the west Avenue.

Miniatures from Reaper, 1/43 '65 Pontiac GTO by Welly

These are two delightful minis from Reaper's Chronoscope line.  Horace "Action" Jackson is a tall mini, made all the more imposing by his 'fro. In his silk-rayon disco shirt, heavy gold-plated medallion, platform shoes and flared black slacks, this mini embodies the spirit of the 70s like an Isaac Hayes 8-track..

The Ebony Foxx miniature has a tied top with flared collar (lovely), flared slacks, platform shoes and sports a .357 magnum, with a Pamela Dobson attitude - kind of a "Tell it to the fuzz, sugah!" vibe.  Also a tall mini, which matches up well with Pam Dobson's 6' 2" height.

Both of these minis are forming a Private Investigator/Angel of Justice team for 7TV1:

Scipio "Africanus" Norman and Charelle "Foxy" Love are solid cats, keeping the peace on the neighborhood streets. Unless the Fuzz drop in to jock your jaws - then, it gets heavy.

Can you dig it?

I knew you could....Ω

Monday, July 22, 2019

28mm City Police from Crooked Dice

It's not easy, finding miniatures that will suit the style of the 1970s, and without Crooked Dice, it would be less easier still.  Submitted herein are pictures of painted, pistol armed police officers, in the livery of mid-70s Philadelphia, aka the Roundhouse Boys.

Miniatures by Crooked Dice

These minis were purchased from Noble Knight Games, who stock a goodly amount of Crooked Dice miniatures. This particular batch were not quite up to the usual CD standards - two of the stances were a bit off, and the mould lines in the hard-to-reach areas were more pronounced than usual. Possibly the moulds are wearing out.

That minor quibble aside, these are really brilliant miniatures. They are sculpted in shirt sleeves, without body armour (again, hard to find). They have old-style "walkee-talkee" radios. One figure is female, which is I don't think was the practise in the 70s, but let's run with it.

These figures will be incorporated into a squad in my 7TV1 Disco Wars games. I've also ordered some police with shotguns. Whether mutant alligators in the sewer, rampaging androids in the Jewelry District, or minorities driving with a headlamp out, the Roundhouse Boys will bring extensive firepower to resolve the situation....Ω

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Horror at Hedge House

The Secret Cellar of Hedge House - shut for 70 years

This past weekend, a group of friends met to finish a a Call of Cthulhu game that I had started some five years ago.  For various reasons (rusty referee, discompatible player characters, etc.) the first session failed to "gel" and so a reboot was conducted last month, with the concluding episode played last night.

It was a basic "Haunted House" scenario, with the original owner disappearing some 70 years in the past, and a team of Investigators being dispatched from the local newspaper to do a story on the subsequent history of the house. That history includes violence, madness and murder.

The action and setting of the story took place in early 1970's West Philadelphia, where the relics of grand old houses, now crumbling, can still be seen today.  One of my players ran the address through Mapquest and found a small factory is there today, so the house was probably demolished sometime after the players cleansed it.

The scenario was taken and adapted from Last Rites, by Ian Winterton and published by Chaosium. It is now out of print. It has four adventures set in the 1990s, which are easily adaptable to the 1970s.


If you think you might play an investigator in a Cthulhu game (probably set in the Modern Period - 1990+) and might play this scenario, continue reading ONLY at your own risk.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Seventy-five years ago, an English sorcerer named Cedric Hedge moved to West Philadelphia, built a grand old house, and settled in to practise black magic.  Hedge created a life-sized idol of his favourite deity - Tsathaggua, the Great Toad - and after sacrificing some cats, rats, dogs, raccoons and a couple of his neighbours, brought said idol to life, with the notion that it would serve his will.  Things went agley, as aft they will do, and the idol instead tried to sacrifice Hedge. Landing a lucky blow with an enchanted Bengali war mace, Hedge knocked the idol into the cellar strongroom, where it shattered into nearly two dozen pieces. Hedge, mortally wounded by the fight, was just able to shut the strongroom door and throw the bolts, before shock and loss of blood took him. He died in that drear and dreadful cellar.

Over the next few years, the idol's fragments re-animated, but lacked the power to rejoin into a single form. Instead, they reformed into nearly two dozen tinier idols, homonculi, each a miniature clay replica of Tsathaggua, but a part of a greater whole. Unable to escape the strongroom, they instead would try to influence subsequent tenants of the house, with chittering whispers and evil visions, sent by the power of their inhuman group mind.

After 70-odd years, the house stands, decayed and empty. Several banks have substantial liens on it. The property tax collection has been suspended. Vagrants, drifters and addicts squat in the upper levels. Some of them have nightmares, and an odd compulsion to find the secret way into the hidden cellar.

Then, the player characters arrive...

"That looks like a locked door..."

The stairwell and the antechamber yielded a few clues - skulls of small animals, and a couple from Homo Sapiens, left over from those  sacrificed to Tsathaggaua.

Halloran and Knox go first
Beneath an arched vault, a strange mosaic was discovered.  A symbol of Tsathaggua, still charged with necromantic energy that gave the Investigators the tingles as they walked across the ivory and obsidian surface.  Static electricity built up on their polyester-fibred clothing, and anyone wearing a mood ring could watch as the stone turned black.

As they entered the next room, they found the skeletal remains of Cedric Hedge, Bengali mace at his side - his left ribcage stove-in. His remains seemed to be facing a locked door.

The Thrice-Barred door is opened. 
The Investigators also found Hedge's journal, where he detailed how he created the idol from clay, and how it could be deactivated. They settled in to try and learn the deactivation spell, as periodically they would be plagued by the whispers and chitterings from behind the thrice-barred door.

One of the Investigators, Halloran the Private Eye, tried to damage the mosaic sigil with a hammer and chisel, receiving only static shocks and the attention of the Idol's Fragments, who sent visions of darkened vaults where shapeless things oozed along obsidian troughs, venerating and worshiping an obscene, bloated toad shape. As the sanity left the investigators in slow drips,  the first feeble rays of dawn began to filter in from the upper stairs, and they were ready to cast the spell.

Only something was missing.

The Games a-foot.
As the Thrice-barred door was opened, the horde of homonculi poured out, some leapt at the investigators, biting and scratching, while some ran for the mosaic sigil. The players had their hands full, as it was nearly impossible to shoot the little clay demons and only slightly easier to hit them. Fortunately, they had bought some baseball bats from a local department store (Lit Brothers - Market and 8th Streets), which proved effective against the tiny horrors, if they scored a hit.

The Idol, quickened.
Meanwhile, the five or so homonculi that reached the mosaic sigil
merged together into a larger image - the idol was reforming itself.

PI Halloran found himself squared off against a miniature monster, about the size of a large child, which raked him with its claws. Halloran had retained the Bengali mace, and he now struck hard and true.

The statue fell and shattered, a few pieces laying inert, while more reformed into homonculi and raced upstairs to attack the vagrants.

"Wow, you're bigger up close..."
The Reporter, Carl Boughman, who had first read the journal and learned the spell, now understood what was amiss - the spell of deactivation would only work against the single statue. They would have to let it reassemble.
Stepping aside, the players either kicked or hurled the snapping homonculi at the sigil, where they began to reassemble.  Now was their chance, and joining hands, they lent their will to Boughman.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh N'kai T'sath'aggua wgah'nagl Gluy-VHO!" 

And the player rolled his dice.

And he rolled just under what he needed.

And the Idol collapsed, fell over and disintegrated.

Gain ten points of Sanity.  And lose five points as the screams of the vagrants having their faces chewed off by the couple of escaped homonculi filters down to the cellar.

Bring the baseball bats.


Great Tsathaggua is from RAFM's Cthulhu Mythos line.  He was a joy to paint, mostly with Vallejo paints. I painted him as he would be in life, and not a clay statue. Also, iparticularly like the human skull behind his right foot. Tsathaggua doesn't strike you as all that big a monster, until you realise his mouth is the size of a car boot/trunk, and he could easily swallow a human, whole. His is a personal menace, unlike Cthulhu's more abstract, cosmic peril.

The Homunculi are from Khurusan Miniatures.  I have had issues with Khurusan in the past, but my wife noticed I liked these figures and bought them for me as a present. I asked her if there was any issue, given the source, and she told me that the order ran late, but he was pretty apologetic and included a free, not-yet-released miniature as an apology.  Really?  I might change my mind on Khurusan Miniatures and feature some of his stuff on this blog in future...possibly.

The Investigators are a mixed bunch, from Crooked Dice and Brigade Games. Both are excellent sources for that difficult to find "70s Look"

The cellar piece is part of the Terra-clips Sewers, for the Malfaux game. I don't really like the set as presented, and will probably give it a review on my Victorian Sci-Fi blog "The Burning Sands of Syrtis Major".  Suffice to say, I cut up portions of the set to make it conform to the cellar floorplan, provided in the Last Rites supplement, and this was the most use I've had for the set to date.

And so, the end, to a very enjoyable episode of my 1970s Philadelphia Chronicle Campaign...Ω