Wednesday, February 25, 2015

28mm Servitors of Nyarlathotep from ‘Achtung! Cthulhu’ and Greyscale Mat from Deep-Cut Studio

This entry sees me return to some pulp adventure figures. This time it's a trio of models from the game where the world of H.P. Lovecraft meets the Second World War: ‘Achtung! Cthulhu’.

Several weeks ago a friend had mentioned that many of the Cthulhu miniatures currently available are not really horrific enough to convey the vision of the literature.  For the most part I tend to agree, but I think there are some exceptions, such as these creepy fellas below. 

These rather disturbing creatures are described as Servitors of Nyarlathotep. They’re beings that use a human host as both an incubator and delivery device.  Lurking until their dark designs are required and then tearing themselves into our reality in order to wreak havoc.  Sort of like tax assessors with a skin condition. ;)

These are 28mm figures from Modiphius Entertainment’s ‘Achtung! Cthulhu’ range.  Nice figures, with very fine features and excellent detail.  They're perhaps a smidge smaller than most other 28mm WWII lines, but not markedly so.

Many of the paint schemes I’ve seen online for these figures depict the emerging creatures' bodies as a single uniform colour/texture.  As the figures' design reminded me of the art of H.R. Giger (famous for his conceptual art of the first Alien movie) I chose to portray them as something almost quasi-sexual, with a nasty pink pseudopod emerging from a carapace.  Ewww, yeah, sorry about that.

Okaaay, so to help take your mind away from that disturbing image I’d like to point out to you the wonderful cobblestone mat that I've used in my photos. Yes, if you look closely you’ll see that the mat is in greyscale. Now, how neat is that!

You see, when I approached the good people from Deep-Cut Studio about the possibility of them being a Challenge sponsor they recollected my Great War greyscale work and so offered to do up a cobblestone PVC mat in a similar motif.  Very flattered, I happily accepted and am extremely delighted with how it turned out.  


Georges Boillot and his Renault 'Taxi de la Marne'
As you can see it works very well with my greyscale collection and building facades.  The original coloured mat had a few manhole covers as part of the design, but I did not want to have to work around them in laying out my buildings so I asked to have them removed.  No problem, the designers quickly made the necessary adjustments and I now have a wonderful 4x4 cobblestone layout for my Great War and Pulp gaming. Thank you very much Deep-Cut Studio - you did a brilliant job!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

28mm Retiarii Gladiators (Retiarius) armed with Trident and Net

Here are a couple more gladiators to add to my existing Ludus.  This time it is two Retiarii ('net-men') which were gladiators whose fighting style focused on the use of the trident and throwing net.  From historical evidence it seems these fellows were often set against two Secutors ('chasers'), with the Retiarius placed on an elevated platform, sometimes over water, and the Secutorii set to assault him.  Sounds like pretty harrowing stuff - it would seem that gladiators didn't have a very good Workplace Health & Safety policy...

These two 28mm figures are from Brigade Games (It would seem that I'm on a bit of a tear with Brigade's stuff lately). Great sculpts and very easy to work with. Similar to my previous gladiators, I’ve done the groundwork with a gratuitous amount of gore so it better blends with the ‘Spartacus’ game-board.

The last shot is of the Ludus as it stands now, with all seven gladiators arrayed for the arena.

‘Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant.’

Friday, February 20, 2015

28mm Napoleonic Spanish Guerrillas

Cripes, I started these figures back in December and have been slowly nudging them along in fits and starts. It’s funny; I find that when I’m not following a common uniform ‘template’ it can take me forever to come up with the goods. I’ll hum and haw over how to paint every item of clothing, every strap, every hat, almost paralyzing myself with indecision. It’s quite silly really. I know I could have probably done-up the majority of these figures in simple browns, greens and blacks, but that seemed pretty uninteresting and frankly a bit of a cop out for such fine figures. So I painfully plodded through them, model-by-model, and I’m have to say I'm happy to finally see the backs of them. 

These fifteen 28mm castings are from Brigade Games. Most are listed as ‘Napoleonic Guerrilla’ figures, but a few are actually Napoleonic naval crew, nonetheless, I found they blended together relatively well. By the looks of them I would say that Paul Hicks was the sculptor, but I’m not sure on this. No matter, they are excellent models – requiring little in the way of preparation and were a real joy to work on. 

From my understanding many of these guerrilla units were composed of Spaniards from all walks of life so I decided to paint them in a motley assortment of civilian garb and re-purposed bits of uniform, both Spanish and French. (And, yes, you apparently have to have a fierce priest and armed monk with any Spanish guerrilla unit.)

I stuck to my standard method of basing for these. For ease of identification the force commander is based on a hex base, while the lower level leaders are on squares and the troops are on rounds. 

The roadside shrine below is from Grand Manner. It’s quite a nice hunk of resin. I often find a small characterful terrain piece can speak volumes to a setting than a bunch of nondescript models. When I put this on the tabletop it immediately says to me, ‘We’re in the Iberian Peninsula. Genuflect, put on your wide-brimmed hat and enjoy some hot chocolate and churros.'

I picked up this shrine along with a few other pieces from Grand Manner this past Christmas during a promotion. It was the only way I could rationalize getting them, as with shipping they’re quite expensive. Nonetheless, while some of their range has been around for quite awhile, I still find Grand Manner offers some of the best terrain available, so it's nice to be able to treat oneself from time to time. 

Next up for this little project will be some dismounted French dragoons for these Guerrillas to tangle with…

Saturday, February 14, 2015

'Bring up the Guns. The British are Landing' - Egypt, 1801

In the early spring of 1801 General Friant, commanding approximately 2000 French along with 10 guns, obstructed the British amphibious landing at Abukir, near the Nile Delta, causing serious casualties amongst the Redcoats assembling on the beach. 

Under the hot Mediterranean sun, enduring a fierce bombardment, the British managed to gather enough men, send them forward with the bayonet and force the French away from the heights commanding the landing area. This campaign ultimately led to the French surrender at Alexandria on September 2nd and their ejection from Egypt (and, as part of the spoils, securing the Rosetta Stone for the British). 

This small 28mm vignette is from Brigade Games. The palm tree is home-made: wire wrapped with medical gauze, painted and then topped with hot-glued artificial leaves (my thanks to Brian H for the recipe for this).

The group  images show some mounted troopers from the French Dromedary Corps which I painted last year. The obelisks are from Scotia Grendel the desert mat is from the good folks over at Barrage Miniatures.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Limerick Twins - 'See You in the Funny Papers...'

(Please excuse this cross-post from the Challenge blog.)

We played a big game of ‘Strange Aeons’ the other night and I quickly realized that, while I have quite a good collection of nasty beasties, I'm woefully short of heroes or, well, at least humans unencumbered by eyestalks, creepy robes and tentacles. True, I have a few figures set aside for my continuing ‘Carro Family’ pulp project, but my collection needs a big injection of two-fisted heroes and savy heroines to do the heavy lifting for the Good Guys in our games. So I put on my winter boots, toque and parka and tromped off to the ‘Lead Shed’ to see what I could excavate as possible candidates. 

As it turns out I have more than a few castings from Copplestone, Pulp Miniatures and Musketeer that fit the bill, and all of them are just crying out to be introduced to a paintbrush. 

As a result, I present to you the first pair of figures of what I hope will be an expanding series of guys and dolls from the interwar period: ‘The Limerick Twins’. 

The Twins are Sean and Sioban Ryan, a pair of talented ‘cleaners’ who have recently emigrated from the Emerald Isle to make their fortune in America. 

The Ryan twins are known (or perhaps notorious) for their preternatural connection with one another and as such are very difficult to surprise, always working in tandem, covering each others' back. We’ll have to see if they have the Luck of the Irish when they make their debut on the tabletop. 

These figures are from Copplestone Casting’s excellent ‘Gangsters’ range. I’ve decided to paint them in an over-saturated, quasi ‘Dick Tracy’ style – something I may try to continue with a few more figures just for the fun of it.

In watching the last season of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ one of lines that stuck with me was 'Lucky' Luciano saying, ‘See you in the funny papers.’ So as a tip of the hat to this I thought I’d add a few pages of discarded newsprint at their feel along with some still-hot spent .45 shell casings from their Thompsons. 

'Here's looking at you, kid...'