Thursday, 27 October 2016

Assorted Chinese Laundry Workers and Soiled Doves

Every Wild West game needs civilians. People to trade with, interact with, defend, manipulate or just get in the way at the most inappropriate moment. I have been building up my collection of 28mm scale Wild West civilians and I'm reviewing two particular types today - Chinese laundry workers and "soiled doves".
The three figures to the left of this photo and the one below are from the Brigade Games American West range - set BG-AWE006 Chinese Laundry, which retails for $10.00 for all three figures. I ordered these and the Brothel set below at the same time as I ordered my Wild Bunch outlaws, which I reviewed last time. At the far left is the aged owner of the laundry. Most likely he is exactly what he appears to be - an unassuming old man. But perhaps there is more to him than meets the eye. He could be a martial arts master or the leader of a gang of Tong assassins. Next in line is a young worker carrying two buckets of water for the laundry. He is using a wooden yoke to help carry them. Third line is a worker with a batch of freshly cleaned clothes.
The guy at the far right is produced by Wargames Foundry and is the Chinaman from their Old West set OW11/2 Out on the Town, which retails at £12.00 for six figures. He is only available for sale as part of the set. He carries a large bag across his back, which could contain clothes ready for delivery to either the laundry or their owners.
The three figures to the left of this photo and the one below are from the Brigade Games American West range - set BG-AWE003 The Brothel, which retails for $10.00 for all three figures. At the far left is the madame, the brothel owner. She oversees her "stable" of soiled doves and makes sure her establishment runs smoothly. Soiled dove is an archaic term for a prostitute. The woman standing next to the madame is dressed alluringly as she waits to attract a client, Third in line, this soiled dove has stripped down to her underwear, corset and pantaloons, whilst keeping her boots on.
The young lady at the far right is produced by Hasslefree Miniatures for their Fantasy Villagers range and she is HFV003 Strumpet. She sells for £3.50. Although designed for a fantasy setting, she fits in very well in a more modern setting, but especially so in the Wild West as a sexy Mexican señorita. She is expertly sculpted by Kevin White and yes, her flimsy top is see-through. Out of the four soiled doves I've shown here, she is definitely the one I'd go for.
All are useful figures even if they won't see much action.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Brigade Games Wild Bunch Outlaws

I'm moving away from my Shadows of Brimstone figure reviews for the time being but I am still sticking with the Wild West theme. This time I'm looking at a set of five 28mm scale figures produced by Brigade Games from their American West range. This is set BG-AWE015 Western Characters IV, which retails for $15.00 for all five figures. That's pretty good value for money, although I did order mine before the UK left the EU. As soon as I saw these figures I recognised them as the main characters from the 1969 Sam Peckinpah Western, The Wild Bunch. This is one of my all-time favourite Western films and I knew I had to buy them.
From left to right are the Wild Bunch outlaws, Tector Gorch (played by Ben Johnson), his brother Lyle Gorch (played by Warren Oates), gang leader, Pike Bishop (played by William Holden) and Dutch Engstrom (played by Ernest Borgnine). At the far right and separate from the gang is Deke Thornton (played by Robert Ryan). He used to be a partner of Pike Bishop but now he has turned his back on Pike and he leads a posse hired by the railroad to hunt down the Wild Bunch.
The plot of the film starts with the Wild Bunch robbing a railroad office containing a cache of silver. However, they are ambushed by Deke Thornton and his posse of bounty hunters. The gang escapes after a bloody shoot-out but discovers they have been tricked - the silver is nothing more than worthless metal washers. They head across the Rio Grande to Mexico, where they hole up in a town run by Mapache, a corrupt and brutal general in the Mexican Federale Army. They agree to do a job for him - the theft of a U.S. Army weapons shipment from a train. Thornton and posse briefly catch up with them but arrive too late to prevent the robbery. Escaping the posse again, Bishop expects Mapache to double-cross him and of course, he does. The Wild Bunch use some of their captured weapons to kill Mapache and in the extremely bloody gunfight (mostly shot in slow motion) that follows they are all killed. Deke and his posse arrive after the battle. Thornton leaves his posse, who decide to return the corpses of the Wild Bunch back across the border to collect the bounty on them. This proves to be a wise move on Deke's part as the posse are ambushed and slaughtered. Unlike most Hollywood films, there is no happy ending in this movie!
The figures are superbly sculpted and capture the likenesses of the film characters extremely well. The only difference is that the figures are all armed with Winchester repeating rifles whereas in the film they mainly used 12 gauge pump-action shotguns. The film was meant to be set in 1913 so I can understand why the sculptor has decided to go for an early Western vibe and have them armed with the iconic Winchesters. I'm okay with this change. There is no reason not to have them in an earlier setting in the 1870's or 1880's. My only complaint with the rifles is that their barrels are very thin and bend easily. I fear, if not handled very carefully, they could easily snap off. I strengthened mine by coating them in superglue before I painted them.
This still from the film must have inspired the sculptor a lot. Apart from Lyle Gorch (second from the left) the figures are in the exact same poses as the actors. The picture shows the Wild Bunch on their way to kill General Mapache. It's about to get very violent and very bloody! I'd love to recreate that last battle on the tabletop. The Six Gun Sound rules by Two Hour Wargames would be the rule-set I'd use.
Here is a still taken of Deke Thornton near the start of the film with his unsavoury posse in the background. He still retains some honour and dignity. The posse have none at all. They are just scum.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Targa Custodians, Pylons and Guardian

I'm reviewing two Enemy Packs for the Shadows of Brimstone game today and both are related. I present to you the Custodians of Targa and the Guardian of Targa. These constructs obviously come from the other world known as the Targa Plateau.
Ancient caretakers from the Targa Plateau, these large spider-like robots roam the halls and chambers of the ancient alien city, maintaining the systems and repairing damage done by intruders and the rigours of time. On occasion the Custodians of Targa will stray through a portal and begin terraforming whatever world they end up in, building new pylons and converting the area into a remote extension of Targa itself. The Custodians of Targa are a dangerous enemy to fight, as they not only have a powerful Electro-shock if you get too close, but also a Defence Laser that they blast away with as they close in for melee. The primary function of a Custodian is its Repair protocols, allowing them to repair damage to themselves and other robots and pylons nearby. This makes them extra difficult to defeat in groups.
These three models are just slightly bigger than the Void Spiders I showed recently - roughly 18mm tall. They are two-piece castings, with the heads being separate from the bodies and limbs. They are not supplied with bases and I chose not to glue them to a base. All three Custodians are identical but with the one at the far left I slightly bent his legs to make him appear taller. I also glued their heads on slightly differently so that they are not all facing directly forward.
Throughout the city of the Ancients on the Targa Plateau, stand a series of tall, Dark Stone Pylons. Re-activated after countless aeons as a defensive measure, these Pylons power up with a low hum of energy resonating through their master-crafted stonework. Atop each Pylon is a laser eye, ready to fire searing blasts of super-heated plasma at any invaders or unwelcome guests of the city. Though Targa Pylons are immobile, they have the ability to fire their defensive lasers in all directions. This makes them difficult to approach and virtually impossible to sneak up on. Frequently found in pairs, these Pylons stand as silent sentries left behind to watch over the once great city.
These simple sculpts came in two halves, cut diagonally down the column. They stand 60mm tall and have been glued to 30mm diameter bases. They were without any doubt, the easiest figures I have had to paint for Shadows of Brimstone. Their main colour is Foundry Granite 31.
The frozen over alien city of the Targa Plateau is home to many ancient terrors that have lain dormant for aeons. While the robotic Custodians of this long gone civilisation still roam the halls, maintaining the systems, there are also massive robotic Guardians that are awakened when the city is in danger. these mechanical monstrosities pull free from their alcoves to hunt down and eliminate whatever threat was detected. Easily standing three or four times the height of a man, these Guardians are cold and calculating in the execution of their duties to defend the city against all intruders. Many explorers have found their way to the Targa Plateau... far fewer have returned. The Guardian of Targa is a gigantic and terrifying construction. Its Hardened Shell has withstood the ages and can easily withstand simple gunfire. With four crushing arms, the Guardian smashes his foes, rocking the very foundation he stands upon. Though mainly a melee fighter, the Guardian also has a Burning Laser it fires from its lifeless eye at the start of each of its Activations. Though difficult to destroy, the Guardian can have its Control Systems damaged as it takes Wounds, reducing its effectiveness as more and more of its systems shut down and its arms go dead.
The Guardian is a multi-part model comprising 25 separate components, which includes its 60mm diameter base. Fortunately, detailed instructions on how to assemble the robot are provided. Because the arms are attached to the body by ball and socket joints, you have a fair degree of flexibility in how to position them. Both the Custodians and the Guardian were very easy models to paint. Note that I added some cut-offs from the model's sprue to add to its base, which I painted in light metallic blue. I added the Saloon Girl to my first photo of the Guardian to give you an idea of how tall he is. He actually stands 70mm tall. He is one incredibly impressive model.
I end with a group shot showing the figures from both sets together. I must admit that I am toying with the idea of using them in my upcoming Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign. They certainly wouldn't look out of place there.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Void Hounds and Void Sorcerers

The first Deluxe Enemy Pack that I bought for Shadows of Brimstone was the Masters of the Void set, which contained plastic 30mm scale figures of three Void Hounds and three Void Sorcerers, along with a deck of cards, which includes new Artefacts, Encounters, Threat cards and a new card deck - Void Magik.
In the Void between worlds, outside of space and time, eldritch horrors beyond fear or imagination reside. These ancient beings come in many forms, from malign entities of hate and rage, to writhing masses of tentacles, to fiendish sorcerers, locked in towers of knowledge and madness. These masters of the Void extend their tendrils of influence through the cracks in reality that bridge countless worlds across existence! Of all these dreaded beings, Void Hounds and Void Sorcerers are some of the most frightening. Void Hounds are beastly creatures that stalk their prey from beyond the veil, hunting in packs and phasing through the barriers of reality to strike.
The Void Hounds were cast in two halves and come in two poses. the Void Hounds at the left and right of my photos are the same sculpt, but I slightly altered the pose of the tails on the one at the right. They are glued onto 30mm diameter bases and are roughly the same size as a similarly scaled horse. Savage beasts, Void Hounds lay in wait within the Void, choosing just the right time to strike! Attacking as a pack, Void Hounds phase in and out of reality as they move. This results in them having a variable Defence value that is equal to the current initiative Level in that turn order. For example, if a Saloon Girl that Activates at Initiative 5 attacks a Void Hound, the Void Hound's Defence counts as 5 for those attacks. Void Hounds are not generally immune to Critical Hits though, which can bypass the effectiveness of their Void Phasing, by hitting them at just the right moment.
Void Sorcerers are nefarious mages that use dark and powerful magik, seeking out occult knowledge and collecting arcane tomes and artefacts to add to their vaunted vaults of Valitore. To fight these fiends is to stare into the abyss. These ancient and dreaded sorcerers prefer to fight at a distance, slinging Void Bolts at their opponents and ominously chanting in alien tongues as they cast their foul spells. Their powerful magik both protects them and allows them to rain down destruction on their foes.
These figures were also two part castings, with the heads being a separate part. They stand 42mm tall and come with 30mm diameter bases. All three are identically sculpted but I have slightly repositioned the arms of the two blue-robed Void Sorcerers. I painted one of them differently, in the purple robes, so I could use him as a more powerful Void Magus, who can appear as an Epic Threat, with enhanced stats and abilities.
It has been noted that some of the monsters from this game would fit in well in a Call of the Cthulhu setting. This is certainly the case with these Void monsters. With their tentacled faces, the Void Sorcerers could stand in for Avatars of Cthulhu, and the Void Hounds with their ability to phase in and out of reality remind me of the Hounds of Tindalos.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Goliath and Harbinger

Last time I showed you the smallest monsters from the Shadows of Brimstone game - the Void Spiders. This time I'm going to the opposite end of the scale and reviewing the two largest monsters from the core sets of City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death - the Goliath and the Harbinger. Most monsters encountered in Shadows of Brimstone conform to one of three Threat Levels - Low, Medium or High, depending upon the size of the Hero party - the bigger the party, the greater the Threat Level. However, depending upon the scenario being played, there is also an end-of-game threat that may be encountered and it is known as an Epic Threat. The Goliath and the Harbinger can only be encountered as Epic Threats.
"Hunched and lumbering, this towering behemoth dwarfed all other creatures my expedition had encountered. Its large head covered in soulless black eyes with a wide, round mouth surrounded by an array of sharp teeth, A dozen long tongues erupted from its face and writhed in a hypnotic dance."
An excerpt taken from the journals of Dr. Tobias Hedgebrook.
With a gigantic muscular body and horrendously long, flailing tentacle arms, the Goliath is an unspeakable horror like no other. Its bellowing roar and dripping mass of tentacle tongues consume all that stray within reach, smashing, crushing and devouring the souls of those who would dare to stand before it. But perhaps the most frightening aspect of the Goliath is the cold intelligence clearly visible behind its multitude of soulless, black eyes. It knows you're here... it knows why you've come... and it knows you have made a terrible mistake.
As you can see from the figure of the saloon girl I have placed alongside the Goliath in the first photo, this is a massive monster. It stands 65mm tall and measures 130mm from the tip of its tentacle tongues to the tip of its tentacle arms. It stands on a 60mm diameter base. I decorated the base with half of a plastic barrel taken from a Renedra pack of wooden barrels. This useful scenery set contains five large barrels measuring 15mm tall and five small barrels measuring 10mm tall. The barrels come in two halves, so I used one half here and the other half on the base of my Harbinger (see photos below). I used the large barrel for my bases. I also added a few pieces of cork bark to the base and a smashed wooden plank.
For the paint scheme I simply copied that found on page 49 of the City of the Ancients Adventure Book. The idea of adding the extra scenery items to the base came from a painted example of the creature found on page 45 of the same book. Its paint scheme is very similar to my own. A Goliath is potentially a party killer and must be treated with utmost respect, caution and extreme prejudice.
The massive, demonic Harbinger is one of the most fearsome creatures yet encountered by those that delve down into the cursed mines near Brimstone. With sprawling bat-like wings and long, sinewy limbs, nothing can escape the Harbinger's foul reach. Its bony, horned skull-head holds no eyes but rather two rows of pitted nostrils to sniff out its prey in the dark, and consume the flesh of the unwary explorers with its vicious maw of razor sharp teeth. Often accompanied by a swarm of slithering Hellbats, the Harbinger brings doom to all who gaze upon him and despair to those that hear his name.
The Goliath was a huge monster but the Harbinger is even bigger! Because it is crouched down, it is only 55mm tall from the soles of its feet to the top of its horns but its wings make it even bigger. The top of its left wing reaches 140mm above the ground and its wingspan is an impressive 230mm. Like the Goliath, it is glued to a 60mm diameter base, which I decorated in a similar manner to the Goliath. The Harbinger was amongst the first batch of figures I painted for this game, closely followed by the Goliath. These two figures are stunning, show-piece models that never fail to grab your attention when they make an appearance in a game.