Thursday, 22 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Tentacles and Lavamen

One monster type that is common to both of the Shadows of Brimstone boxed starter sets (City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death) are the Tentacles. You get six Tentacles in each set and they come in two each of three different sculpts. They are all one-piece castings.
Bursting through the ground or up out of the water, these enormous, writhing tentacles lash about smashing anything in their path. Straight from the Void, it is unclear as to whether these appendages operate on their own or are part of a larger creature below the surface. Two rows of vicious suckers line the underside of each tentacle, gripping and pulsating as they undulate overhead. Waiting for the moment to wrap themselves around their victims and pull them screaming into the darkness.
None of these figures have been converted. I did add small pieces of bark to their bases to show that they have punched through rocky ground. The tentacles are not that great a threat if the Heroes encounter them at a distance where they can pick them off with Ranged Attacks. However, they are far more deadly if they make an Ambush Attack.
Here are all twelve of my Tentacles grouped together. These are really well sculpted with a nice chunky feel to them. My colour schemes are a straight copy from the artwork in the two Adventure Books. They range in height from 32mm to 42mm.
The main featured Enemies of the Caverns of Cynder expansion set are the Lava Men. Beastly creatures formed from molten magma, Lava men are monstrous guardians that roam the other worldly Caverns of Cynder. Forged by dark and ancient magic, these constructs rise up out of the lava to attack unwary travellers, and pull them down into the fiery depths. Their bodies have a flowing core of burning lava which cools to a hardened outer shell on the surface, creating an armoured skin of blackened rock, while their gaping maw and Cyclopean eye shimmer with the searing heat of their hatred. Even the very ground they walk on is set ablaze with every step they take. Lava Men are seemingly the ambassadors to Hell itself and they are waiting for those greedy and foolish enough to enter their world.
You get three Lava Men in this big boxed expansion set. Each is a one-piece sculpt made of hard plastic. They come with 40mm diameter bases and each one is about 50mm tall. I covered their bases with Milliput and used a wooden cocktail stick to scribe in the lava flows whilst the Milliput was still unhardened. To paint them I started off by painting them white around their mouths and eyes then gradually spread out with lemon, yellow, orange, red and dark red the further I got away from the mouths and eyes. The bases got progressively lighter the further away from the bodies the lava flows went. Once the paint was dry I then added all of the black bits, which was a lengthy process. I found it easier to do it this way than starting by painting them black and filling in the gaps. I'm very happy with how they have turned out. They certainly stand out on my gaming table.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Colonel Scafford and his Mutant Outlaw Gang

The boxed set of Colonel Scafford and the Scafford Gang is an expansion set for Flying Frog Production's Shadows of Brimstone game. It includes 32mm scale plastic figures of the Colonel and six Mutant Outlaws (three figures of each of two sculpts) as well as a small rules booklet for using them plus new Encounter, Gear and Threat cards. This was a set I very much wanted and I bought it as soon as it was released.
The Scafford Gang is the most ruthless band of Mutant Outlaws in the South-West. A veteran of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, their leader, Colonel Benjamin Scafford, turned to crime after the South fell. Fleeing West, he started his own gang of ex-Confederate, thugs and criminals, as well as his five sons; all men loyal to his cause... and to getting rich! When the Dark Stone boomed in Brimstone, the Scafford Gang was the first group of Outlaws to sweep in and steal a cut for themselves. Making their hideouts up in the caves and mines around Brimstone, they have grown hideously mutated by the corrupting influence of the black rock and the Void energies that pour out of every gateway opened to another world. The Scafford gang is a motley crew of Mutant Outlaws, each plagued with mutations of various sizes and shapes. Fused with rock and Dark Stone, or twisted with masses of tentacles, all are embittered by their deformities. They are predominantly Ranged Enemies that have the Shootout Standard Ability, which is also shared by the Bandits from the Frontier Town expansion (see last post).
At the far left of the two photos directly above and below is Colonel Benjamin Scafford. His strong leadership and ruthless cunning have earned him the unending loyalty of his gang and made him one of the most successful Outlaws alive. As a Legendary Enemy, Colonel Scafford is a dangerous foe, giving bonuses to other Enemies around him! With qualities of an anti-hero, he has the ability to use Grit and even a Revive Token in some cases! His figure was a multi-piece casting, which was easy enough to ft together, even without assembly instructions. Note his partially gold-plated pistols.
The three Outlaws alongside the Colonel came with separate right arms. This made it very easy to convert them simply by repositioning this arm. The Mutant Outlaws at the left and right of the group had their arms glued as if firing and just drawing from the holster respectively. For the one in the middle I glued his arm in place midway between the other two. I also cut his hat off and modelled the top of his head with Milliput. I deliberately gave them all totally different colour schemes to further individualise them.
The second batch of Mutant Outlaws were one-piece castings. The one at the far left has been left as he came in the set.
The other two have been converted, although both are simple and minor conversions. For the Outlaw in the centre I cut his hat off and remodelled the top of his head with Milliput. The Outlaw at the far right has had his left arm repositioned by making a small cut inside his elbow. Then I gently repositioned the forearm so his pistol was pointing down and I filled in the gap at his elbow with Milliput. Once again, different paint schemes helps to make them look non-identical.
Here is a group shot showing Colonel Scafford and six of his Mutant Outlaws. I haven't yet tried out this gang in any games, but looking at their stats I can see they are tougher opponents than the Bandits from the Frontier Town set. These are fearsome opponents and Colonel Scafford is truly dangerous. I am looking forward to using them.
I also think they would make a great gang of Mutants from the Cursed Earth in a Judge Dredd game or even a Strontium Dogs game. I can just imagine Judge Dredd or Johnny Alpha tracking down Colonel Scafford and his gang in a futuristic setting. Actually, I may well do this when I start my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign. There is no reason to restrict them just to the Weird West of Shadows of Brimstone. Prices for this set vary depending upon the seller. I got my set for £24.99 from a seller on eBay, which was a very good price, as I have seen them going for a lot more than that. I have just checked on eBay and there are quite a few sets for sale ranging in prices from £27.42 to £48.16.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Bandits

Having shown you the main Heroes of Shadows of Brimstone last post, it is time to turn to the Enemies. The vast majority of Enemies in this game are not human. However, this was fixed when the Frontier Town expansion set was released. It introduced a new type of Enemy, known as Bandits. Six 32mm scale plastic Bandit models were included and all were identical one-piece castings. Cattle rustlers, horse thieves and bank robbers, Bandits are rough and rowdy outlaws. They are not terribly tough, but can pack a serious punch with the hail of bullets from their six-shooting pistols or rooftop rifles. Bandits often ambush Heroes from the rooftops of buildings when they are in town. Down on the ground they favour their pistols. Bandits prefer a running gunfight rather than closing in to get their hands dirty. Because their main focus is making Ranged Attacks, they will attempt to stay back, away from the Heroes and attack them from a distance. Note that Bandits can be added to the list of Enemies who may be encountered down in the mines.
As I said above, all six figures from this set are identically sculpted. This, naturally,  did not sit well with me and I set about converting five of them. I wanted my Bandits to all be unique. The Bandit at the far left is the only unconverted figure in my group.
The Bandit in the centre had the billowing flap of his coat repositioned and bent forward. I achieved this by holding the figure over the flame of a candle until the plastic softened. I quickly repositioned the coat flap then dunked the figure into a cup of cold water to fix the conversion in place.
For the Bandit at the far right, I cut his pistol off and glued it in place in his left hand. I added a knife blade from my spare parts box to his right hand.
Moving on, I made three changes to this Bandit at the far left. First, I made a cut under the elbow of his right arm and carefully bent his forearm upwards. The gap in his arm was filled with Milliput. Secondly, I made his money-bag a lot bigger by increasing its size with more Milliput. Thirdly, I painted him with dark brown skin to make him a former African slave.
For the Bandit in the centre, I made a small cut above his elbow and gently bent his forearm downwards. He appears to be pointing his Pistol at the ground but if he was on a rooftop, he'd naturally be pointing it downward at a target below him. I also added an extra money-bag to him, made out of Milliput, which he holds in his left hand. I had to remodel his left hand.
The Bandit at the far right was converted very similarly to the previous one. He was also given an extra money-bag to hold in his left hand. I also bent his right arm slightly so that it was pointing more to his front. His coat tail has also been slightly repositioned, but not as much as the second Bandit I reviewed.
These were all very simple conversions. One obvious way to make these figures look different, if converting isn't your thing, is to paint them in different colour schemes. I decided to keep them all with black hats and black coats, to tie them together, but their bandanas, shirts and trousers were all painted differently.
Finally, here are all six bandits grouped together. They are rather basic sculpts but not bad at all. I do wish that the set came with a three/three split of pistol armed Bandits and rifle armed Bandits. I'll be looking out for similarly dressed Bandits wielding rifles to use in place of these when they ambush from a rooftop in a game. Black Scorpion have quite a few Outlaws who would fit the bill perfectly.
I haven't bothered naming any of these figures. For the most part they will just be unnamed mooks with a low life expectancy.
Expect more outlaws next time, but with a warped twist!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Heroes 01

Over the next few weeks I am going to be reviewing all of my 30mm scale figures from the Shadows of Brimstone game by Flying Frog Productions. So, saddle up and let's head back in time to an alternative Wild West where the supernatural is very real and demons and monsters threaten to spill out into the world unless they can be stopped. I'm going to start by looking at the four heroes from each of the two big boxed starter sets - City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death.
The first thing you should note is that I have designed a new backdrop to photograph all of my Wild West figures against. My Victorian style cobbled street scene that I used before didn't feel right. Incidentally, I have re-shot the pictures of my Wild West figures that I had taken for my three previous figure review posts and they all feature this new backdrop now. It is made up of walls and ground tiles from a couple of the  World Works Games TLX Deadfall sets - Building Essentials for the walls and Streets of Blood for the ground tiles.
I'll start with the four heroes from the City of the Ancients set beginning with the Bandido. With a healthy mix of stubbornness, a raging temper and a lust for life, Bandidos are unpredictable to say the least. Between blasting away at everything in sight with a hail of bullets and casually tossing dynamite across the room, there's never a dull moment when  a Bandido is in the group.
Bandidos are truly a wild card in that they can be played in so many different ways. Their built-in ability to recover Grit mixed with a low Ranged To Hit value means that the Bandido tends to roll a lot of dice and then Re-roll a lot of dice just to blow things up. This gives them a lot of swing in luck but makes for a fun adventure! It also means that they rarely have a shortage of Grit for activating abilities or using more powerful Grit-based items they find along the way.
In the comic strips in the two starter set Adventure Books, the Bandido is one of the four heroes featured. He is called Rico and I kept the name but gave him the surname of Jimenez.

Perhaps the most classic Old West archetype is the Gunslinger. Fast on the draw and deadly with a pistol, Gunslingers are the best shots in the West, though often they are more frail and gaunt than the more hearty frontier folk. Living a fast life of drinking and gambling, a Gunslinger knows that life is short and unforgiving; the only way to survive is to kill them before they kill you.
Gunslingers are one of the best Classes for the sheer amount of Damage they can deal out. They are also the fastest Class in the game! Of course this comes at a price in that they do not have a lot of Health or defence, and even as they go up in Hero Level, they are slow to earn more Health. This can be compensated for a bit with Clothing Items that add Health.
I have named my Gunslinger as Jackson Krieger.
U.S. Marshals are "tough as nails" bounty hunters, working for the government. No stranger to working alone, they travel the land looking for those who need a a little justice. When the need arises though, they step up to lead those around them, descending into the very depths of hell if necessary to get the job done.
U.S. Marshals are one of the toughest Hero Classes in the game. With a defence of 3+, they can easily be a frontline fighter, blocking a hall or wading into groups of Enemies, shrugging off most incoming Attacks. With their Shotgun and Double Shot ability, a U.S. Marshal can also deal out large amounts of damage as a virtual one man army. The Marshal's Badge makes them a solid team player, waiting until just the right time to flash the Badge and give every Hero a boost to their next Attack.
The U.S. Marshal also appears in the two comic strips, where he is known as Kane. Again, I have kept this name but this time made it his surname and so I christened him Wilbur.

No nonsense Saloon Girls dance, sing and perform while in town, but use those same skills to dodge, leap and kick when it comes to fighting down in the mines. Sassy and full of moxy, a Saloon Girl is just as good at using her charms to keep the posse going as she is at fighting dirty.
Saloon Girls (and male Piano Players) are extremely agile and fast moving. This gives them the edge in dodging Enemy Attacks and getting where they need to go, but leaves them something to be desired when it comes to absorbing damage. Be careful to not get yourself surrounded, or you may find yourself on the wrong end of a tentacle1 With built-in Healing, Saloon Girls are good at moving amongst the group and reinvigorating the party, and their Hold Out Pistol is a solid Free Attack that can be used in every Fight.
I named my Saloon Girl as Holly Anne Mercy, after the character portrayed on p.41 of the Swamps of Death Adventure Book. She looks just like the figure does.
Next up are the four Heroes from the Swamps of Death starter set, starting with the Indian Scout. It is not uncommon for Native Americans who openly trade with frontier settlers to become more westernised in their appearance and dealings. Often they become scouts for the local cavalry or fall in with bands of adventurers or even outlaws. The Indian Scout is a fast and spirited fighter that is light on his feet and an expert tracker.
The Indian Scout is probably the most versatile Hero Class to play. He starts out with a solid Ranged Attack in the form of the Carbine as well as a sturdy Hatchet to do extra damage if you are up close. With a built-in ability to re-draw an Encounter or Exploration Token, the Indian Scout is great at helping the posse find objectives quickly.
In the comic strips of the two Adventure Books, the Indian Scout is known as White Crow. I have kept this name for my own character.

Next in line is the Lawman. Protecting and serving in the lawless towns of the South-west is just about the hardest job there is on the frontier. Small town lawmen need to have the diplomacy skills to settle down rowdy ranchers and saloon folk without it turning bloody, while having the cold nerve to stare down a group of ruthless outlaws threatening to roll over the town. On the frontier, justice is swift and unforgiving.
Lawmen are a fantastic choice for a leadership role in the posse. They are well-rounded, have good damage dealing potential and several options for healing and boosting the group as they go up in Hero Level. The Sheriff's Badge also gives the whole team a solid bonus once per adventure and can really save you when things look grim.
I gave my Lawman the name of Tom Morgan.
The holy man on a mission is one of the most classic staples of the West, and in the blighted and shattered lands around Brimstone, there are countless people to save and demons to smite! Wielding Sermons as weapons in the never-ending war on evil, a Preacher deals out Blessings to the good and Judgements to the damned.
The Preacher has the powerful ability to cast Sermons (another name for spells) during the game, Blessing the Heroes in the posse and dealing out harsh Judgements to the wicked Enemies you find along the way. Though slow in Initiative and low in Defence, a Preacher has a high tolerance for sanity and can strike down foes up close with his trusty Holy Book.
My Preacher is called Father Marcus O'Sullivan.

Finally, here is the Rancher. Creating a life for yourself on the frontier is no small feat, and those who do are just about as tough as they come. On the open range, Ranchers favour long range rifles over smaller guns, allowing them to pick off their targets at a safe distance. They also tend to become adept at many different skills, as they do not have the support structure of living in a town.
Ranchers are a tough breed and tend to do well at a distance. Their ability to Rapid Fire with a Rifle can make them a killing machine if you get on a roll, and having a leg up can be a great advantage in a Fight. If they do get close up though, a Rancher has many options for frontier survival.
The fourth character to appear in the two comic strips was Annie the Rancher. No surprise that I kept the name Annie, but I have added the surname, Hatcher, to her.
Here is a group shot showing all eight heroes together. From left to right are Rico Jimenez the Bandido, Holly Anne Mercy the Saloon Girl, Jackson Krieger the Gunslinger, U.S. Marshal Wilbur Kane, Sheriff Tom Morgan, Father Marcus O'Sullivan, Annie Hatcher the Rancher and White Crow the Indian Scout. I will be splitting them into two groups. The most obvious split is to keep them together from their respective starter sets. I won't be doing this. A 4-4 split is not as good as a 3-5 split. This is because a posse of four starts off with no Revive Tokens. A Revive Token allows you to restore a KO'd character to full Health during an adventure. These Tokens are very useful but can not be found or purchased during a game. The only way to get them is to start with the requisite number of Heroes. 1, 2, 3 or 5 Heroes give you Revive Tokens. 4 and 6 Heroes get none.
Something else to note is that you can play male or female versions of the eight Hero Classes but figures are included for just one gender of each Class. This isn't that big a problem as alternative figures to represent the opposite sex can be found in the ranges of other companies. I may possibly find a female Bandido and start with an all female group of the Bandido, Rancher and Saloon Girl and a second all male group of the Gunslinger, Indian Scout, Lawman, Preacher and U.S. Marshal. These are just my initial thoughts and things may yet change once I start my campaign. I'm very much looking forward to getting started.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Heroclix Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I must admit that I had not planned on buying the Heroclix Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set as I was more than happy with the My Way Miniatures 28mm scale versions I had of them. See here for a link to them. What persuaded me to get them was an enthusiastic e-mail from my good friend and  co-editor, Steve. He was going to order the set but because the seller was based in Spain and wouldn't ship to Ireland, he asked if he could have them sent to me so that I could forward them to him? We have had this arrangement in place for a while now so I was only too happy to help him out. As I looked more closely at what the boxed set contained (plus watching a few videos of it on YouTube) I became convinced that not only did I want it but I needed it as well! Yes, it was that good and I'm delighted I did end up ordering a set for myself as well. Obviously, you got the four Turtle heroes as Heroclix figures in the set, but you also got a huge double-sided map (the biggest Heroclix map I've ever seen) as well as separate room and corridor tiles to extend the playing area even further. Be warned, you would need a very large table to fit everything on! A full colour rulebook and loads of counters of allies, enemies and terrain items rounded out the set. Let's take a closer look at the figures.
Here they all are arranged in alphabetical order from left to right - Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael. The sculpting of these figures is superb and I love their poses. The paintwork is perfectly acceptable to me so I won't be repainting them. For their Heroclix stats they each have six clicks of powers before they become KO'd. Their powers change after 3 clicks and most of them have two powers for each stat. All four Turtles have the Swim ability, so they can freely move through water terrain squares.
Donatello has Range 2. For his Speed he has Leap/Climb 6 followed by Sidestep 6. For his Attack he has Quake 10 followed by no power 9. For his Defence he has Willpower 17 followed by Energy Shield/Deflection 17. His Damage is Outwit 1 followed by Support 2.
Leonardo has Range 0. For his Speed he has Charge 6 followed by Sidestep 6. For his Attack he has Precision Strike 10 followed by Blades/Claws/Fangs 10. For his Defence he has Combat reflexes 16 followed by Willpower 17. His Damage is Leadership 2 followed by Empower 1.
Michelangelo has Range 0. For his Speed he has Sidestep 6 followed by Charge 6. For his Attack he has Incapacitate 10 followed by no power 9. For his Defence he has Willpower 17 followed by Super Senses 16, His Damage is no power 2 followed by Perplex 1.
Raphael has Range 4. For his Speed he has Flurry 6 followed by Running Shot 6. For his Attack he has no power 9 followed by Penetrating/Psychic Blast 10. For his Defence he has Combat Reflexes 16 followed by Willpower 17. His Damage is Shape Change 2 followed by Exploit Weakness 1.
They are a well rounded and balanced group of Superheroes.
I am certain someone would have asked me to show a size comparison shot to show how they compare with the My Way Miniatures figures. As you can see here with Donatello and Leonardo the Heroclix figures are much taller than my resin cast figures. But note just how thick the new style Heroclix bases are. I am not a fan of these "Oreo" bases and I may well ditch them. The two Donatello figures are very similarly posed. The My Way Miniatures Leonardo is more animated than his Heroclix counterpart and I like him slightly more than his bigger version.
Once again, the size difference is very evident, even allowing for the thickness of the bases. I am undecided which figure of Michelangelo I like best. Both are very good. However, for Raphael, I much prefer the Heroclix version.
Amazon UK still have a couple of the boxed starters sets for sale for £29.99. Here's a link if you're interested - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B019NCZZ8W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
They are really nice figures. I had planned on buying a load of Greebo Games not-TMNT enemies, especially the Mousers, but they are an Italian based company and now that the UK has left the EU I am very wary of ordering anything from abroad given how poorly the pound  has dropped in value. Let us hope things pick up but I'm not holding my breath.