My ever-expanding Predator review keeps on going. Three more Predastore miniatures have now been added: Stalking-Hunter, Executioner-Hunter and Mermaid-Predette. Go check out the full review here.
Posts Tagged ‘Predators’
I haven’t bought a lot of miniatures recently, but I have pledged to a few Kickstarters. A short recap:
This was actually a joint pledge with people from our D&D group. The game has been going on for years, and we’re using a varied collection of miniatures and Descent board game pieces. We figured that a selection of generic fantasy stuff wouldn’t do any harm, although it’ll take ages before we actually get the minis. All the more reasons to keep the game going! Bones 2 was of course massively funded, making over $3M with almost 15000 people joining in. While most of the minis will find use in role-playing games, there are a few lovely weird creatures in the Numenera range that’ll find their way into scifi games as well. Mashaaf the Great Old One is a nice example.
To any reader of this blog it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I got in on this one. I was a bit hesitant at first – at £75+£10 for shipping it’s not pocket change. However, it looks like it’s taking off quite nicely, so there should be plenty of lovely free add-ons and the like on the way. I didn’t go for the bigger pledges, since I already have more Aliens, Predators and Colonial Marines than I have time to paint them. Still, I can’t really miss it, can I? It’s about time someone picked up the licence! From what I hear, Prodos Games has done a nice job on bringing back Warzone, so my hopes are reasonably high.
Anvil Industry is a small UK company mostly known for their 40K conversion parts and such. AFTERLIFE is a game of their own, which I mainly chose to back since I liked the look of the minis and because Anvil Industry seem like a nice, small company. Joel, one of the directors, basically sold me on the Kickstarter over on LAF simply by being a nice guy and being very open about their policies regarding their project. Not a bad job! Free shipping is a lovely, added bonus. There’s still six days left in the Kickstarter, so do consider joining in – £21 gets you six resin minis and a bunch of artwork and background material. I went in for £45, which gets me 19 minis, the background material and possible stretch goals.
That’s my Kickstarter world for now. Any other interesting ones out there?
I just updated my ongoing 28mm Predator review with three new offerings from Predastore: Crossbow-Predette, Austral-Hunter and 2Blades-Hunter. See the review here!
Wow, this is actually my 250th post. While the blog hasn’t been updated as frequently as before, I ensure you it’s still going strong. As the blog now has a quarter of a thousand posts, I figured I’d give you a look at what’s up.
As you can’t have failed to notice, I’ve been running a near future military scifi campaign for a while now. With seven games played (AAR #7 coming soon!) this is the longest campaign I’ve run in good long while, and both I and the players have really enjoyed it. You can find the associated posts by checking out everything tagged Utopia. The campaign has not only allowed me to use a lot of my miniatures, but also has really inspired me to paint minis and build terrain a lot. Deadlines help too!
Anyway, it’s on with the minis in chronological order. First up is a hunting beast for my Predators. The miniature is actually a hellhound by Heresy with the choice of a skeletal head. I really liked the idea of Predators using dog-like hunting creatures as shown in the Predators film. This one’s by no means a full match, but I think it looks fearsome and alien enough. Like practically all of the Heresy multipart minis, I had plenty of work getting the hound to a paintable state. There were some heavy mould lines and the fit of the parts really wasn’t stellar. After I’d all but finished painting it, I found out to my delight that I’d missed a glaring mould line on the hound’s side. As I didn’t want to ruin the paintjob, I painted some scarring over it, which I think turned out nice.
Next up is a conversion. While originally painted for Utopia, this fellow hasn’t appeared on the field so far. It’s actually the late-ish Pvt. Jane, who was captured fighting the Terminators. As you can see, he has been subjected to horrible experimentation and has been made into a cyborg. The model is a warbot from Pig Iron Productions with a head from Puppetswar and a minigun from Maxmini. I think the parts work nicely together and combine well to make a really intimidating figure. The paintjob is super simple, with basically just washes and drybrushing on the bulk. I paid more attention to the face, and I think it turned out looking pretty good. That resin head is pretty awesome, and I basically made this conversion just so I could justify buying the head…
Up next is a bunch of Utopia troopers – Trill, Cohl, Abdul and Dastevan. Nothing too special here, they were all given my typical trooper treatment. Trill is a Hasslefree mini, Cohl is a SWAT sniper from Foundry and Abdul and Dastevan are both from em4. I think Cohl is a good example of how a paint job can really change the way a model looks.
Topping off the post is General Hyun – set to appear in the upcoming Utopia AAR #7. Hyun is a Copplestone Castings miniature and I’m really really happy with him. Somehow those greys just turned out lovely and the uniform looks very crisp. I rarely get the feeling that I really nailed a mini, but with this one I’m patting my own back. Please refrain from posting ego-crushing comments!
I’ve never been much of a scratch builder. While I’ve often stuck together pieces of different models and assorted rubbish, I haven’t really viewed it as something I’m very good at. Nevertheless, when I found myself needing a shuttle for my Predators and my old computer mouse decided to break down…
The ship is a combination of the old mouse, a bunch of leftover Robogear bits and a few decoration beads. I thought the basic shape of the mouse was very similar to that of a Predator’s mask. I didn’t follow any particular logic, but simply went on a greebling rampage. I tried to keep the ship as sleek as possible.
I then gave it a quick paintjob with black spray and several layers of drybrushing, sticking to the same palette as with my Predators’ gear.
Really pleased with how this turned out, and will definitely try my hand at this again! The players were pretty dumbstruck when I plonked this onto the table, too. I hope that’s why they were laughing…
Comments welcome as always!
We just finished the third game of Utopia a few hours ago. If you’ve been following the progress of the campaign, you’ll know the last game ended with Sergeant Salt Brauer promising his superiors they’d make amends for killing the Predator they encountered – by capturing a live one. The orders were simple: no firearms, bring the creature back alive.Off went Utopia squad 16 (“The Sweet Sixteen” as they were instantly named), armed with tasers, flashbangs and a tranquilizer rifle, to bring down a Predator in the jungles of Triton-4. The squad’s sniper Wu managed to use his contacts in the munitions department to set himself up with some heavy duty poison darts for the tranq rifle. Hey, if the Predator died, it would be the scientists’ fault for supplying the wrong kind of darts! Meanwhile, trooper “Dog” Lau stole a thermal camera to help the squad get a bead on their prey.
With Cpl. Rodriguez injured and Pvt. Iljutsh dead, two new troopers joined the squad:
Pvt. Hämäläinen – a dour, quiet Finn. Hämäläinen keeps to himself and tends to his gear meticulously. His sullen mood prompted the squad’s medic Evans to arrange for Hämäläinen to receive a call from his mother to help his wellbeing.
Pvt. Bedford – the Brit Bedford is a passionate feminist. Coming from a career in private security and joining the military due to “workplace disagreements”, Bedford is a tough woman who can hold her own.
The squad set down and spread out towards three possible target sightings (we were using three Predator models on the table, with only one being the actual creature), with the exception of Pvt. Lau, who just happened to wander off alone – right into the line of sight of all the potential attackers. A moment later there was a flash of plasma, and Lau went down screaming. Before he fell, he managed to catch a glimpse of the attacker, eliminating the other two possibilities.
While the tech Ghillian ran to check on Lau, the squad turned their attention towards their so-called prey. At this point it became painfully obvious, that their weapons had a dreadfully poor range, and they would need to close with the Predator to actually knock it out.
The Predator wasn’t going to stand around waiting. Instead it charged out and impaled Pvt. Bedford with its wristblades. As the cloaked creature raised the screaming, thrashing trooper into the air, a wave of panic rippled through the squad. Brevet Corporal Haugen-Ankerson fled into the jungle, while a few others retreated. The squad was in shock over Bedford’s fate, and they were unable to stop the now de-cloaked Predator from charging across the clearing at Pvt. Ghillian. Having just checked that Lau was ok, Ghillian barely had time to register that she was under attack before the Predator’s vicious blades slashed her apart. Covered in blood and panicking, Lau clambered away on his hands and knees.
The creature’s charge had brought it out in the open, and Wu wasted no time. The sniper selected one of his poison darts and sent it into the Predator – to apparently no effect. The alien strode towards Lau, who desperately fired his taser. Laughing, the Predator tore out the darts and wires and then promptly keeled over, Wu’s potent poison working its way through the alien’s system.
No time was wasted by the squad as they mobbed the Predator. Sgt. Brauer tased the creature once more for good measure, and they swiftly tied up its hands and feet. Meanwhile, Hämäläinen got on Ghillians radio and called the dropship in. It was now only a matter of waiting for pick-up.
Problems did appear, though. First of all, the Predator was dying, its breathing slowing down and foam coming out of its mouth. Secondly, as if the Predator wasn’t enough, it was becoming apparent what they had been hunting, as Xenomorphs were suddenly appearing and could be seen skulking in the jungle.
The medic Evans did what she could with the Predator. Whether it was due to her xenobiologist ex-boyfriend or just luck, she managed to actually stabilize the creature. Around her the rest of the squad were throwing flashbangs and frag grenades (that weren’t expressly forbidden in the mission briefing) to keep the Aliens at bay as they waited for the dropship to arrive. Amidst all the chaos, Hämäläinen managed to establish radio contact with Haugen-Ankerson, who was returning from her panicked flight. The only problem was that Haugen-Ankerson’s way back brought her very close to one of the approaching Aliens…
Finally the dropship roared in, guns blazing. Sgt. Brauer quickly gave the order to fall back, and the squad packed itself into the dropship. Brauer himself heroically stood in the doorway as his second in command Haugen-Ankerson sprinted through the jungle and dived in the ship with the Xenomorphs snapping at her heels. The dropship soared into the sky, and squad 16 finally left Triton-4 behind. While their two missions had both been successful, victory had come at a heavy price: two troopers were dead and one missing and presumed dead. It was now apparent why ghost stories were told about the planet.
The third game of Utopia was as fun as the previous two, and for the same reasons. It was filled with drama, excitement and cinematic moments. I was a bit worried that I might’ve made the Predator a bit too powerful as it slashed its way through two troopers in two consecutive turns, but luckily our heroes turned the tide and put the creature down. The small RPG session at the start of the game are an essential part of the game, and they really breathe life into the characters. Sgt. Brauer’s drinking problem has evolved to the point where he simply eats powdered beer without bothering with the water anymore, while Pvt. Haugen-Ankerson is busy writing her wedding invitations and the Sweet Sixteen fight with Sgt. Hiroshi’s 12th squad over bragging rights.
Yes, I think this game actually works.
I’m happy to report that we played the second game of Utopia yesterday. After the events of Kessler-11, our group of misfits was in for another adventure. The mood was pretty low – the first combat deployment of the squad had left two members dead and one hospitalized. Imagine then the joy of a safer mission, one of reconnaissance and protection! Three new troopers joined the squad:
Pvt. Iljutsh – a former Russian truck driver who got into trouble for doing some illegal business on the side back on Earth. Generally likable despite his somewhat dishevelled appearance.
Pvt. Jane – A young, hulking man straight from the academy. Jane knows the manual back to front and is very motivated by the service in general. He’s also a very good poker player.
Pvt. Ghillian – Replacing the deceased Bjornssen as the squad’s technician, Ghillian is a young woman and a wizard with computers. She has a nice collection of retro 21st century music, which now replaces the Union of Terra official background music playing in the crew quarters.
In happier news, Pvt. Haugen-Ankerson had just gotten engaged, and the crew threw her a party. For some reason this made Sgt. Brauer even more sombre than usual. Not even the fact that his service would come to an end in a few days would cheer him up, nor would the sangria made from moonshine and powdered synthetic orange juice.
A team of scientists would be setting down on a planet to research strange signals and energy bursts that seemed to be alien in nature. Might it finally be a contact with another civilization? Oh, it was.
Unfortunately for the squad, the planet turned out to be none other than the notorious Triton-4, a place on par with LV-426 when it comes to ghost stories and urban legends. Even more unfortunate was the fact that the civilization encountered was that of the Yautja, more commonly known as Predators.
The squad set down on Triton-4 to look for a science team that had gone missing. They were looking for clues that would explain the team’s disappearance. The squad was also tasked with mapping the area and discerning the source of the weird signals picked up by the orbital platform’s scanners. Accompanying the squad were Dr. Ernest Klein and his three synthetic assistants (quickly named “Fucking Huey, Dewey and Louie” by Sgt. Brauer), cordially provided by Weyland-Yutani to help with the information gathering. Pvt. Kenny wasn’t too fond of this, his football career ending due to replicant technology being used on players leading to higher performance compared to unmodified ones.
At first, everything went nicely. The squad spread out and found some clues. Sgt. Brauer did stumble into a patch of poisonous fungus, but his iron constitution and high tolerance to toxic substances helped him shrug it off. Pvt. Kenny had his flamer fill up with treacle, but was luckily able to clear it up to keep the team’s heavy weapon operational. There was a spot of miscommunication, with the synthetics and the good doctor wondering out from the safety of the landing site, resulting in some heated words from Sgt. Brauer (“You haul those electronic asses back to the landing site on the double!”). Eventually a compromise of sorts was reached, and the civilians allowed to move about a little.
The squad had been hearing animal roaring and howling since landing, and this finally culminated in an attack by giant dog-like creatures. Despite their fearsome appearance, the beasts were brought down with heavy firepower and things quieted down once again. Pvt. Ghillian managed to repair the communications satellite the previous team had set up, allowing her to locate the source of the signals – it was a clearing on the far side of the area.
Upon reaching the clearing, the squad was surprised to find nothing but some shimmering air, as if distortion from heat. That’s when things started happening. Three red laser dots appeared on Sgt. Brauer, followed by a heavy energy blast that he evaded through sheer luck. The squad went on full alert. A few moments later the communications satellite, at this point unattended, exploded.
Pvt. Kenny approached the shimmering air in the clearing, and found himself bumping into an alien space shuttle. As the squad started wondering about this, an energy blast from an unseen enemy put Pvt. Iljutsh down, heavily wounded. Things started happening. The medic Evans ran over to Iljutsh to help, while most of the troopers nearby did this (with the same effect):
Further away, another energy blast put down the newly promoted Cpl. Rodriguez – instead of one attacker, the squad was facing two. Luckily, Pvt. Wu was at hand. The sniper took careful aim and managed to land a shot on Rodriguez’s nearly invisible attacker, disabling the Predator’s cloaking device in the process. The creature dived into the underbrush to hide and reactivate its cloaking system – hampered by the constant rain.
Further away, the torrent of fire unleashed by half of the squad had failed to even injure the second attacker, who promptly emerged from the trees, picked up Iljutsh and then disappeared into the jungle amidst a steady stream of pulse rifle fire. Iljutsh would never be seen again by his squadmates, although he would make an excellent trophy.
Meanwhile the other Predator had managed to activate its cloak and was making haste towards its ship, trailing green blood. In its haste it had completely failed to notice Pvt. Kenny, who was slowly making his way back from the ship towards all the action. Luckily for the Predator, it was able to ambush Kenny and charged into close combat…only to be brought down by a masterful shot from Wu. Despite Sgt. Brauer’s orders, Kenny decided to play it safe and turned his flamer on the wounded creature, torching it. With its last strength, the Predator managed to activate its self-destruct device.
The drop ship had been called, but it wouldn’t make it in time. There was only one thing to do: run! The squad went running for the relative safety of the encampment, with one of the synthetics carrying Cpl. Rodriguez. They made it just seconds before a massive explosion tore through the jungle, scrambling one of the synthetics despite it reaching the landing site. While Iljutsh was missing and Rodriguez was down, the squad had survived.
In their debriefing session Sgt. Brauer was dragged over hot coals for allowing his men to kill a sentient, advanced creature that they had managed to incapacitate. Despite Weyland-Yutani calling for Brauer to be taken to court-martial and executed, Cpt. Jensen allowed Brauer to keep his life and his squad, although it did mean the sergeant’s service would continue until terminated. Brauer also might have accidentally promised to lead his squad to capture a live specimen…
Man, this was another fun game. Lot’s of action and tense, cinematic moments. Suitably frustrated players (“What do you mean I missed? What the hell kind of stats do those Predators have?!”) who still managed to pull off a victory of sorts. No, seriously. Losing only one trooper and managing to complete the main objective plus an additional one to boot – not to mention bringing down one of the Predators – was no mean feat.
The narrative is now really starting to build up, as we were following characters from the previous game. We were also all familiar with the Predator movies, and this game managed to recreate the feel of those quite nicely. The Predators were very hard to kill or even target, resulting in lots and lots of useless shooting. When the Predators shot back, it was basically a trooper down per each shot. I was worried about balancing issues, as I didn’t have time to playtest the scenario, but everything turned out nicely.
I was happy that I could deploy my jungle terrain for a change, and as you can see from the pictures, I managed to get the Zuzzy mat painted as well. There are only a few pictures unfortunately, as due to the poor lighting all the other pics came out very blurry. Things you can’t really see are the Predator shuttle that I scratchbuilt and the hellhounds from Heresy that are almost finished as I write this. Not to worry, they’ll feature in upcoming posts.
Utopia will continue in a few weeks, most likely with our heroes trying to capture a live Predator. Good luck with that, guys and girls!