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Super pop culture showdown!

July 27, 2016

You’ve heard of pirates vs. ninjas, haven’t you? It’s one of those pop culture tropes that just sort of sprung up, most likely [citation needed] through the following chain of reasoning:

  1. Everyone loves ninjas.
  2. Everyone loves pirates.
  3. Ninjas are tougher, though.
  4. No, pirates are.
  5. Pirates vs. ninjas it is.

I’ve long known Paul “Cheetor” Shorten – who runs the wonderful sho3box blog – from the miniatures blogosphere, as we started our blogs around the same time and were both initially blogging about zombie miniatures. He’s lately been working on his wonderful pseudohistorical fantasy Japan project (see the tags Shonen Knives and Kurîpu jima), and with me working on my pirates…it figures. When I made the travel plans for our Spring UK trip, we threw in a week in Ireland and set aside time for a blogger meet-up! This gave us not only the chance to spend some quality time with Mr. & Mrs. Cheetor, but also the opportunity to put the question of pirates vs. ninjas to rest through the gentlemanly art of wargaming.

I won’t bother with a long write-up of the game itself. It was a fairly quick one, using the Song of Blades and Heroes mechanics roughly cobbled together from various Ganesha Games titles. The dread undead pirate captain Armitage Shanks brought his dastardly crew to the peaceful town of Kurîpu Jima to steal their obviously cursed treasure.

To be honest, we kept the game short and sweet, spending much more time setting up the table and talking about miniatures, wargaming and everything related long into the night. The result of the game, perhaps luckily, didn’t solve the question of pirates vs. ninjas – Cheetor’s ninjas soundly destroyed my pirates in combat, yet what was left of wily captain Shanks’ crew managed to make off with the treasure.

Without further ado, here’s a bunch of photos! Most are fantastical reconstructions instead of actual in-game pictures. You can click on any photo for a larger version.

All in all, we had a great time! My sincere thanks to Cheetor and Mrs. Cheetor for accommodating us and making all this possible. It was a pleasure playing on such a beautiful table against such a gentlemanly opponent. I was very happy to finally get to meet a fellow blogger who I think of as a friend after years of online-only communication.

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Different upcoming zombie goodness

June 22, 2016

I can’t remember when I’ve last made one of these posts, but it was years ago. While this blog has obviously drifted far from its roots as a zombie blog with miniature gaming elements, I haven’t lost my interest in the genre. In the last few days I’ve come across two zombie movies that seem interesting and different enough to warrant sharing.

The Girl with All the Gifts 

(Note! The text below contains spoilers for the book of the same name)

The near future; humanity has been all but destroyed by a mutated fungal disease that eradicates free will and turns its victims into flesh-eating “hungries”. Only a small group of children seem immune to its effects.

At an army base in rural England, this group of unique children are being studied, subjected to cruel experiments by biologist Dr. Caldwell. Despite having been infected with the zombie pathogen that has decimated the world, these children retain normal thoughts and emotions. And while still being subject to the craving for human flesh that marks the disease, these second-generation “hungries” are able to think and feel, making them a vital resource in the search for a cure.

The children attend school lessons daily, guarded by the ever watchful Sergeant Parks. But one little girl, Melanie, stands out from the rest. Melanie is special. She excels in the classroom, is inquisitive, imaginative and loves her favourite teacher Miss Justineau.

When the base falls, Melanie escapes along with Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks and Dr. Caldwell. Against the backdrop of a blighted Britain, Melanie must discover what she is and ultimately decide both her own future and that of the human race.

 

In general I’m not too partial to the idea of thinking zombies, but I do like the concept of this one. It also seems to be a refreshing take on the genre, even if we’ve seen the “this child is the key to the cure” storyline many, many times. It might be Britain as a backdrop, but this one also reminded me of 28 Days Later. That’s always a good thing. The movie is coming to UK theatres on September 23.

Seoul Station

Yeon Sang-ho earns his place in the zombie pantheon with this biting animated feature that takes a look at some of South Korea’s biggest social issues through a tale of a father searching for his runaway daughter just as a zombie outbreak is spreading throughout Seoul Station’s homeless population.

I have a soft spot for adult animation (oh, that sounded wrong…) so an animated zombie movie with a Romero-ish political take sounds like a treat. This South-Korean film is apparently doing the festival rounds at the moment.

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From the painting desk #41 – Caribbean pirate

June 4, 2016

This year’s third (oh dear) miniature is unsurprisingly yet another pirate, this time from Foundry. To add some more diversity to my roster, I decided to paint him with a distinctly non-Caucasian skintone, which I think fits not only the model’s facial features, but my pseudo-historical pirate setting as well. For the jacket I wanted to use a colour I don’t normally break out, namely VGC Electric Blue. I’m not too happy with my shading of the colour, so will need some work with that on future models.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

This pirate brings my crew to a total of nine. While I’ll need a lot more to crew my ship – whenever I finish it – for now they’re a suitable raiding party for skirmish games and such. I’m thinking of making up several groups of pirates lead by different captains, and this miniature completes the pirate queen’s retinue for now at least.

For some reason, this mini looks much worse in photos than at hand, which frustrates me more than a little. Oh well, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Rather than get stuck on a mini I’m not completely happy with, I’ve already moved on to something a little different, albeit for the same project. More on that soon, hopefully!

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From the painting desk #40 – Pirate queen

May 28, 2016

I’m back from five weeks of travel (more on that in a later post), and it’s time to get this show on the road again. What better way to do it than by showing off a new, painted miniature?

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The miniature in question is Melisande Wavecutter, a female pirate by Reaper Miniatures. Lovely mini and great fun to paint! She’ll be leading one of my pirate crews, and I’ve dubbed her “the pirate queen” in my head. Her relaxed but no-nonsense pose makes her a wonderful leader figure. I also like the fact that she’s not sporting the “breasts out, bikini bottoms and thigh-high boots” common to most female pirate miniatures. That’s why I tend to browse through Bad Squiddo Games’ Believable female miniatures collection if I’m on the lookout for a smartly dressed female mini.

I went for a Spanish look, with dark hair and a skintone that was a touch darker than the one I normally use. I stuck to strong colours, but a fairly simple paintjob. This was my first time using a wet palette, and as I hadn’t been painting lately, I decided to devote some more attention to blending than normal. I hope it shows in the end result, at least I’m happy with it myself! The glaring mould line in the hat is luckily a trick of the light and not really as visible as in the photo. I don’t usually paint facial detail apart from the occasional beard stubble, but here I tried adding a touch of colour to the lips to make the character that extra bit more feminine.

It’s really fun to be back to blogging and painting, so expect to see a lot more in the future, including the usual Salute shopping report.

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Pirate housing

April 11, 2016

I’ve managed to finish another building for my pirate town. This is another one from Warbases – a combination of their single storey modular building and a piece from the lean-to set. I’ve covered them in coffee stirrers, and hidden rough spots with more coffee stirrers. The window sills and lintels are made from matchsticks, and the roofing tiles are laser-cut strips also sold by Warbases. The flowery grass tufts are from The Army Painter and the barrels are from Ainsty.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I wanted to paint a different colour from my usual fare, so went for a yellow finish. Yellow tends to be a right pain to paint, so I was happy that I could make it intentionally grubby. The end result is fairly pleasing and adds another touch of colour to the table. The building is intended to be fairly generic, representing a typical house in the pirate town.

This piece is my last hobby production for a while, because next Tuesday I’m off for a five week trip to the UK and Ireland with my girlfriend! Plenty of hobby related things in store on the trip, from Salute in London (let me know if you’re there, come and say hi!) to visiting Warhammer World in Nottingham to some pirates vs. ninjas gaming hosted by Paul who runs the wonderful sho3box blog. Add to that all the museums, geeky stores and battlefields, and I’m in for a treat! I will be updating the blog as I go – and as I have time – but understandably no new miniatures or scenics will be finished during April and most of May.

Comments and everything else welcome, dear readers!

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The fountain of de-slump

April 3, 2016

Brought on by a combination of a cold, plenty of things to do and a general lack of inspiration, I’ve been having yet another of my painting and modelling slumps. Yesterday I was finally able to break it with a few small things, and I’m back on the right track again!

I finally got to work on the fountain originally shown in this post and also finished the second one of the two market stalls. They’ve been sitting half-finished for a long while – as often tends to happen to pieces that require only a little somewhat dreary work to finish. This makes completing them even more satisfying.

The fountain was given a coat of VGC Stonewall Grey followed by successive coats of a lighter grey (I just added white to the base colour) and pure white. After that I grubbied it up with Citadel Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil washes and glued on various tufts and flocks to show the fountain has been out of use for quite a while. For something built mainly out of trash, I think it looks fine, and the details help draw the eye away from its humble origins.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

It wasn’t until I’d finished painting the second market stall, that I realised the scale was somewhat off – the boxes on the stand were really high for a 28mm mini to reach. I rectified this by painting up two more boxes and placing them on the ground, which I think helps somewhat. To stay on a quasi-historical track I filled two of the boxes with oranges and lemons, as they were eaten to combat scurvy. Fun fact: did you know the word limey used to describe Englishmen comes from the British Royal Navy’s 1795 policy of issuing lime juice to sailors for scurvy prevention? I didn’t. Anyway, the fruit add a lovely touch of really bright colour to the table. The boxes of goods are from Ainsty Castings.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

This is how they look on the table. Two vigilant pirates keep watch while their friends go grocery shopping.

market

Click for a larger version

That’s it for now! I have another Warbases building almost finished, so that will likely be up next. Looking to finish a few more things before taking off for the UK on April 12 – more on that later!

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Blood & Plunder

March 17, 2016

A few days ago I ran into an upcoming miniatures Kickstarter that has me very, very excited. Blood & Plunder by Firelock Games is a new, historical pirate game focusing on Spanish Main in the 17th century. This distances the game a little from the usual pirate wargaming fare, as most games – as far as I know – tend to focus on recreating the Hollywood-style swashbuckling view of pirates. And hey, that’s what I’m doing as well! The historical aspect is definitely not a deterrent for me, as I find pirates intriguing on the whole. The miniatures, marketing shots and concept art are looking lovely, and I’m definitely waiting for the Kickstarter. My favourite minis of the lot have to be the buccaneers, who look suitably rough and pirate business-like. As you can see it’s looking pretty inspiring. You can click on any image for a larger version. All images are © Firelock Games and used with permission.

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For more information, you can visit Firelock Game’s website or check out their interview on Beasts of War. Oh, and just to make it clear, I’m in no way affiliated with the company nor is this bought or requested advertising. I just haven’t been this interested in an upcoming miniatures Kickstarter since Alien vs. Predator (which after a million delays is still failing to deliver), and wanted to share it with you! Any others interested?

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