Sunday, 29 March 2015

Vampifan's Views 62 - Monthly Musings 40

Miss Vampirella March 2015 - Avery Misuraca
I start this month's musings post with a look at the third of my Vampirella models - Avery Misuraca. Avery was an actress with a deep fascination for the horror genre. She is probably best known as the inspiration behind the character, Countess Vladimira, who appeared in a number of comics of that name in the 1990's. This photo was taken when she was invited by Harris Comics to join their stand at a New York comic convention in 1996. Her costume is very good apart from the garish yellow bat logo over her crotch. It should be gold and the wings should be much shorter. On her right wrist she has a plastic bat bracelet which doesn't impress me much. It looks cheap and naff. Although you can't tell from this particular photo, she is wearing strappy high heel shoes, which is just so wrong for Vampirella. Still, I can't fault her looks. Physically, she certainly looks the part.

Moving on to hobby news, this has been another very busy month for me. I have finally finished painting my Super Dungeon Explore figures by doing the Rocktop Turtle Gang from the Caverns of Roxor expansion set. So that ends my foray into Chibi miniatures for a while. I know this will please some of you. Currently on my painting table are a real mix of figures - 5 Reaper contemporary Survivors, an ultra rare Zombicide Survivor and Zombivor (Kyoko, whom I bought from e-Bay just last week), 5 Zombicide Toxic Zombies (an Abomination and 4 Fatties), 4 A Touch of Evil Heroes, 1 Rackham Wolfen and 1 Mantic Deadzone Plague Demon. The last two were gifts from my good friend, Lord Siwoc. I recently bought the two Zombicide paint sets and so, naturally, I am using them to paint my Toxic Zombies. My initial thoughts on the paints are highly favourable. Reviews of all these figures will follow soon.

Although my card modelling has taken a rest for the time being I did buy and make this 28mm scale detached house you see to the right earlier this month. It is from the 4Ground World at War range and is described as Detached House 2 on their website. This is the first time I have ever bought anything from this firm and I must say I was very impressed by the quality of the model, the very clear instructions on building it and on the speedy delivery. It cost me £30.00, which I think is a fair price to pay for an MDF model that comes fully painted with removable floors and roof, interior detail and working doors. This photo was taken from the 4Ground website. As I said, I have made the house but I don't know whether to review it soon or wait until I make and add furniture items for it. Although it is sold as part of 4Ground's WW2 range there is no reason not to use it in a modern day setting, which is what I intend do.

I have been playing a few more games of Super Dungeon Explore using the Von Drakk Manor expansion set. Von Drakk is one seriously powerful opponent and is hard to kill. However, I have mostly been playing A Touch of Evil and you can expect to see a review of this mighty fine board-game and its figures in my next few posts.
I'd like to say a few words about Super Dungeon Explore and The Forgotten King and which set should you buy? The simple answer is both. TFK changes the rules in a BIG way. It will come with four books, offering differing ways of playing the game. These will supercede the rules in SDE. In addition, the stat cards are changing, although in some cases it is nothing more than a change of graphics. Some characters, however, will change more dramatically. An upgrade deck of cards for all SDE figures currently available (this includes the Von Drakk Manor and Caverns of Roxor expansion sets and the unique figures that don't come with the boxed sets) will be available to buy separately for about $15.00. So what does SDE have to offer given the changes that are afoot? Quite simply, the figures. The figures are not changing and if you want the original figures then you should buy SDE whilst it is still available. The expansion sets of Caverns of Roxor and Von Drakk Manor will be re-released but will contain the newly designed stat cards. SDE will eventually be phased out. I don't know when (probably after TFK goes on sale) and I don't know if the figures will be re-released. I hope they are. It would be a huge shame if they were discontinued.

I received a huge parcel this month that contained all of the figures I had ordered for the Reaper Bones II Kickstarter project last year. My god, I had forgotten just how much I had ordered! There were so many figures in the box. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my Zombicide season 3 Kickstarter parcel, which should be soon. I recently received an e-mail saying it had been posted. Fingers crossed it will arrive next week. Looking further ahead, the Studio Miniatures Z-Clipz: Outbreak set of figures are due for release in April; The Forgotten King expansion set for SDE is due to be released in May and Rum and Bones should be released in July. I am very excited by what lies ahead. It's going to be a great year for gaming and figure collecting!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

SDE Monsters 10 - Captain R and Succubus Vandella

I haven't quite finished reviewing my SDE Undead figures. Here are two limited edition figures that I bought from e-Bay - Captain R and Succubus Vandella. Both are Mini Bosses and both would make suitable replacements for the Death Spectre in Von Drakk's Manor.
ARRRR! The Drowned Isles be a constant headache for sailors an' ships of tha Clockwork Cove. Tha dreaded land mass be swarmin' wit cutthroats an' scallywags to spare an' none be as successful as the courageous Cap'n R. They say 'ees plied tha seas fer a hundred years an' sent just as many ships to tha deep. Riches will flow fer tha Hero who finally gets tha best of 'im because he who gets tha Cap'n gets 'is gold.
Captain R is an Undead Skeleton Pirate Mini Boss and a very interesting villain. He has a decent set of stats but not too powerful. Movement: 6, Wounds: 5, Actions: 3, Attack: 1 blue die and 2 red dice, Armour: 2 blue dice and 1 red die, Will: 1 blue die and 1 red die and Dex: 1 blue die and 1 red die.
Captain R has 1 ability - Pirate Hoard. This model may equip Loot and Treasure cards. When spawned, draw one Treasure card and equip it on this model. When defeated, Heroes gain all Loot and Treasure cards this model has equipped. That's pretty darned cool!
He has 1 Special Ability - X Marks  the Spot. If he spends 2 Action points he may draw and equip himself with 1 Loot card.
He also has 2 Special Attacks - Flintlock and Deep One Attack. Flintlock is a Missile attack with a range of 6 squares and adds a bonus +1 red die to his Dexterity. It costs 1 Action point to use. Deep One Attack is a Magic attack with Cross:5 (it forms a cross of 5 squares in four directions centred on him) and adds +1 red die to his Willpower. It costs 2 Action points to use.
The Dark Tower's shadow stretches across the whole of Crystalia and is a bleak reminder of the Consul's strength and power. Succubus Vandella represents a more subtle aspect of the Consul's power, the power to corrupt and beguile. She delights in tormenting her prey and sowing chaos within even the most steadfast Hero's heart.
Succubus Vandella is a Demon Mini Boss who should not be underestimated. She only has 4 Wounds but she is cheaper to activate than most other Mini Bosses, costing just 3 Skulls instead of 4. However, she has improved Movement and Action points with scores of 7 and 4 respectively.  Her attack is above average with 1 blue die and 1 red die. Her Armour is a very average 2 blue die. Her Will is much better with 3 blue dice and 1 red die and her Dexterity is best of all with 3 red dice.
She has 4 Abilities - Dodge, Fly, Magic:4 and Pacify. A model with Dodge may use their Dexterity when making defence rolls unless they are suffering from Immune, Knockdown or Slow. Fly is self-explanatory. Magic:4 allows her to cast spells up to 4 squares away and if successful will  also pacify the target. Pacify prevents a target from using any Special Attacks.
She has one  Special Ability - Come Hither, which costs 2 Action points. It has Wave: 3 and Compel:3 so any target within 3 squares of her may be moved 3 squares in any direction. Very useful for pushing enemies away or drawing them next to her.
Her one Special Attack, Alluring, also costs 2 action points to use. This Magic attack adds +1 red die to her Will and if the attack is successful she immediately heals one Wound.
These two figures were on my want list for quite some time and so I was pleased to be able to buy them on e-Bay. I love it when sellers include the Buy Now option! Captain R is a great figure. Who doesn't like undead pirates? His ability to collect Treasure and Loot like a Hero makes him unique amongst the villains.
I love the figure of Succubus Vandella. I love the way she is blowing a kiss with one eye opened and one eye closed. I've used her once in a game and she was a tough opponent to kill due to her ability to heal wounds. She is not Vampirella but she is the closest representation of my favourite vampire in SDE so naturally I have a deep affection for her.
These figures are currently out of production although they sometimes appear on e-Bay. However, they will be re-released with new stat cards once The Forgotten King goes on sale. I was delighted to see that the new stat cards will allow Vandella to be played as a villain or as a Hero. That just made my day!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

SDE Monsters 09 - Von Drakk and Nocturne

And so I come to the last of my reviews of the figures from the Von Drakk Manor expansion set. I have saved the best (in my opinion) and most powerful until last.
Von Drakk has despoiled his homeland like an eternal plague. Once teeming with life the Glauerdoom moorlands are now a haven for witches' covens, foul swamp creatures and the unquiet dead. Von Drakk cares not, so long as his manor retains its splendour and his dark appetites are sated.
As you would expect, Von Drakk is an Undead Vampire Boss. Consequently, his stats are extremely powerful. He can move 8 squares, making him incredibly fast. He has 6 Wounds - most heroes only have 5. He can perform 4 actions per Turn - most Heroes can only perform 3. His Attributes are most impressive - Attack is 2 automatic successes plus 4 blue dice, Armour is 2 red dice, Willpower is 1 automatic success plus 2 red dice and his Dexterity is 3 red dice.
Von Drakk has 2 Abilities - Blood Drinker and Dodge. When a model with Blood Drinker rolls a Heart they gain 1 Heart in exactly the same way as a Hero. What this means is that Von Drakk can heal his wounds. A model with Dodge may use their Dexterity when making defence rolls unless they are suffering from Immobile, Knockdown or Slow.
The vampire lord has 3 Special Abilities - Shapeshift, Ghostly Vigour and Tide of Bones. Shapeshift costs 1 Action and allows Von Drakk to transform into Nocturne (see below). Ghostly Vigour is an Augment ability (it only affects friendly figures) with a range of 3 squares surrounding Von Drakk. All Undead gain a +1 blue die bonus to their Attack rolls. Tide of Bones has Wave:2 (a cone that reaches out for 2 squares). This affects Bone Pile counters. The counter is removed from play and is replaced with a model with the Risen Ability (that means Rattle Bones at present). If a model is in the same square as the target square Tide of Bones has no effect.
Those who meet the gaze of Von Drakk say it is like staring into the soul of the beast. None realise how correct they are. When in the full throes of bloodlust Von Drakk is overtaken by a hideous transformation; his new form ideally suited to bringing carnage and ruin to his foes.
Nocturne is the Shapeshift form of Von Drakk and he is one extremely frightening and powerful foe. His Wounds, Movement and Actions per Turn are the same as Von Drakk's. His Attack is 2 automatic successes plus 2 blue dice plus 2 red dice (gulp!). Armour is 2 blue dice and 2 red dice, Willpower is 3 red dice and Dexterity is 2 red dice.
Nocturne has 3 Abilities - Berserk, Blood Drinker and Fly. During its activation a model with Berserk may make a single melee attack costing no action points. That's 5 attacks per Turn he can make and with his Attack stats that can prove lethal for most Heroes (yikes!). Blood Drinker is described above for Von Drakk and Fly is self-explanatory.
He has 1 Special Ability - Shapeshift, which allows him to transform back to Von Drakk. He also has 1 Special Attack, which costs him 2 Actions - Terrifying Screech. This has Wave:3 and will Stun all enemies in that cone. A model suffering from Stun discards the highest result rolled any time it makes a roll using its Will attribute. This will prove most inconvenient against magic using Heroes.
Okay, what are my thoughts on these two figures? First of all, I was blown away by how well they were sculpted. Von Drakk may appear a bit too comical but I say, so what? I still think he is a great figure. Note how he is hovering above the ground. I like that! Nocturne is one of my favourite sculpts for SDE. There is nothing Chibi-esque about him. He looks scary and powerful... and he is.
Von Drakk is incredibly difficult to defeat. His ability to heal wounds is a huge bonus to his survival chances. His stats are truly frightening and in four games using this set the Heroes have only defeated him once. However, Nocturne is even worse if you're playing the Heroes. I like playing Von Drakk but I much prefer him as Nocturne. Nocturne is a party killer supreme and some may think he is over-powered but not me. He can be killed but it is no easy feat to vanquish him, which is exactly how it should be when facing a Dungeon Boss.
As promised, here is my group shot of all the villains from Von Drakk Manor. I really like this expansion set. This was the set that convinced me to buy Super Dungeon Explore due to my obsession with all things undead. You can clearly see just how large the Crypt Spider, Nocturne and the Death Spectre are. Those three are very frightening figures, both in appearance and in abilities. This expansion set is very different to the base set and a truly welcome addition. It is currently out of production but you can still buy it on e-Bay if you don't mind paying over £100 for it! However, the good news is that it will return after the new expansion set, The Forgotten King, goes on sale in a few weeks time. If you really want it I'd advise waiting a while until it is re-released. Blax, that's for your benefit.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

SDE Monsters 08 - Crypt Spider and Death Spectre

As I draw closer to the end of my reviews of the figures from the Von Drakk Manor expansion set it is time to look at a couple of the "big guns" of this set - the Crypt Spider and the Death Spectre.
Spiders are favoured guardians of the many crypts and barrows of the Glauerdoom. They have no interest in the dead nor in their treasures. Cruel, cunning and immeasurably patient they wait in elaborately spun webs. They know the lure of treasure and plunder is irresistible to the living. Soon enough foolish Heroes will come and then the Crypt Spider will feast.
A Crypt Spider is a denizen spawned from the Pumpkin Patch. It costs 3 Skulls to spawn, has 3 Wounds and 3 Actions per turn. With an Attack stat of 2 red dice and an Armour stat of 3 blue dice it is a fearsome foe. It has one ability - Surefoot, which allows it to move across dangerous terrain without penalty. Its one Special Ability is Silk Spinner which has Spray 3 (hits targets in a cone up to 3 squares in range), Slow (causes the target to halve its Movement score, rounding up, during its activation) and Dangerous, meaning it affects friendly models as well as enemies. Finally, it comes with one Special Attack, which costs 2 points to activate. This is Enervating Bite which grants it +1 red die to hit and causes Poison as well as a wound. A model suffering from Poison loses 1 action point during its activation.
Death comes to us all, but within the shrouded mists and fog of Glauerdoom Moor death is all too common.  One might even say that death is a certainty.
The Death Spectre is an Undead Mini-Boss. It costs 4 Skulls to activate, has 4 wounds, 3 Actions per turn and an unbelievably low movement rate of just 1. However, this is not that big a disadvantage, as you will see below.
The Death Spectre has no normal abilities but does have one Special Ability - Ghost Form. This allows it to Teleport up to 10 squares away and in line of sight of his current square. He has a very poor Attack stat of just 1 blue die but this is countered by his one Special Attack, which is quite awesome! Lifesap has a range of 1 square. The Death Spectre does not roll to hit. Instead the target automatically takes 1 Wound and Death immediately heals 1 Wound. Damn, but that is nasty!
This are BIG models. You'll see just how big when I publish a group photo of the Von Drakk Manor Undead figures next time. Soda Pop Miniature figures now come pre-assembled and in most cases this is a good thing, although I certainly didn't mind making the figures from the basic boxed set. However, as soon as I saw the Crypt Spider I could see it was going to be a bitch to paint its underbelly. Fortunately, it was only attached to the wall behind it by one peg in its belly. I deliberately cut this peg to detach the spider from the wall, thus making it far easier to paint both spider and wall. I'd recommend doing this if you are at all concerned about painting it properly. I then glued it back in place once I'd finished painting both parts. I also added a spot of superglue to the ends of its legs to make the spider even more secure in place.
Moving on to the Death Spectre when you look at his stats he is not particularly impressive. In fact his Movement value of 1 and his 1 blue die for Attack are downright pitiful. But, and it is a big but, he is one of the nastiest Mini Bosses in the game. His two abilities more than make up for those low stats. With Teleport there is no hiding from him. As for Lifesap, there is no defence against it and he can use it even if he isn't wounded. The only downside to Lifesap, if you're playing the bad guys, is he can only use it a maximum of three times in a turn. Still, that's three guaranteed hits and in two Turns he can kill ANY Hero without having to roll a single die, provided they don't heal. Just think about that! Death Spectre can be killed but your Heroes had better make sure they inflict 4 Wounds on him in one Turn. He is one extremely scary dude!
The two figures are superbly sculpted. The Crypt Spider would not look out of place in any fantasy game. There is nothing Chibi-esque about him. As for the Death Spectre, if you thought Chibi meant cute then I suggest you reconsider. He looks evil and he is evil!

Monday, 16 March 2015

SDE Monsters 07 - Bone Heads and Dread Knights

Today I'm reviewing two more types of skeletons from the SDE Von Drakk Manor expansion set - Bone Heads and Dread Knights.
Bone Heads make up the ranks of Von Drakk's and the Dark Consul's undead legions. Drawn from the lucky few Rattle Bones who survive their first engagement with heroic adventurers, they are clad in the rusty and battered armour of those who have fallen before them, to hopefully survive their second.
Bone Heads are Undead Skeleton Minions with very average stats, 1 Wound and 1 Action per Turn. They have an Armour stat of 1. This is a fixed value. Their Attack stat of 3 blue dice is above average.
They have only one Ability, which is Bone Pile. When this model is destroyed leave a Bone Pile counter in the same square it occupied. This counter is ignored for purposes of Movement and Line of Sight. A model may spend 2 points of Movement to stomp on a Bone Pile's counter to remove it from play.
Bone Heads have no Special Abilities or Special Attacks.
In life Dread Knights were vaunted warriors, serving their lords with steadfast devotion. Their loyalty continues even into death and they remain highly prized as some of the Dark Consul's deadliest minions.
Dread Knights are Undead Skeleton Minions and are considered the elite of the skeleton warriors. They cost 2 Skulls to spawn, have 2 Hearts and 2 Actions per Turn. They have an Armour stat of 1 and an Attack stat of 1 blue die and 1 red die.
They have two Abilities - Bone Pile (see above) and Cold. Any Wound caused by the Dread Knight also inflicts Cold. A model suffering from Cold discards the highest result rolled anytime it makes a roll using the Dexterity attribute.
Dread Knights have one Special Attack, Cursed Blade, which costs 2 Actions to use. It grants a +1 red die to hit and in addition to causing 1 Wound it inflicts Fragile on the target model. A model suffering Fragile discards the highest result rolled anytime it makes a  roll using its Armour attribute.
I like these figures a lot. I've always been a fan of skeleton warriors. The rust effect on their armour and swords was achieved by a heavy wash of Citadel Seraphim Sepia. The Bone Heads are the most numerous of the skeletons in this set, with a total of six. There are only two Dread Knights in the set. All of my skeletons in SDE have glowing green eyes to indicate that some supernatural power is animating them.