Monday, 5 December 2016

JDMG Illegal Aliens - The Dark Judges

Hailing from another dimension where life itself was deemed to be a crime, the Dark Judges are possibly the worst threat that has ever befallen Mega City One. They cannot be killed and have made the decision to bring their own brand of justice to the city. Despite being beaten back several times, they still represent utter peril for the city and each appearance is marked with massive death tolls that only seem to grow larger each time. Their greatest success was Necropolis, an event that saw the death of 60 million people in Mega City One as they held reign over the entire city. You can learn a lot more about them here -
The four Dark Judges are arranged in alphabetical order from left to right in my photos - Judge Death, Judge Fear, Judge Fire and Judge Mortis. Both Wizkids Indyclix and Warlord Games made versions of the four Dark Judges but the four that I'm showcasing here are all made by Wargames Foundry from their 2000AD range of figures. They are slightly taller than the Warlord Games figures and about the same size as the Indyclix figures.
A young sadist thrilled by inflicting pain, Sidney De'ath  would soon go on to murder three bullies from his school. He joined the Judges in order to be able to kill people legally, gaining the nickname "Judge Death" for his hard-line stance on executing all lawbreakers. The psychopathic and obsessive Judge shortly afterwards encountered the witches, Phobia and Nausea, aka the "Sisters of Death", who he saw as a means to achieve his vision of total justice - the complete extermination of all life. He reasoned that since all crime is committed by the living, life itself is a crime. Hence the monster's catchphrase: "The crime is life, the sentence is death!" Using their dark magic, he had himself transformed into the unstoppable undead Judge Death. Along with the "Sisters of Death" and his three fellow Dark Judges, Fear, Fire and Mortis, he wiped his world clean of all life.
In JDMG, all four Dark Judges are frighteningly powerful opponents and are classed as Level: Infinity Illegal Heroes. Judge Death has two Special Abilities - The Crime is Life means all of his Close Combat attacks ignore Armour (his hand phases through it) and are not Weak (quite the opposite!). Secondly, is The Sentence is Death, in which each successful close combat attack will remove a number of Hits equal to the roll of 1d10. Nasty!
When passing judgement on victims, Judge Fear opens his visor to reveal a sight of unspeakable terror that scares the living to death as they are forced to confront fear beyond their capacity to comprehend. In JDMG, Judge Fear has two Special Abilities. The first is Gaze into the Face of Fear. When he opens his visor, Judge Fear reveals a face of unspeakable terror that causes the hearts of those who view it to stop instantly. To do this, Judge Fear makes a normal close combat attack with one Melee Die, which automatically rolls a 10. If he succeeds in causing damage, both models must make opposed Will checks. If Judge Fear wins, his opponent is automatically reduced to 0 Hits. His second special ability is Mantrap. Judge Fear is fond of immobilising his enemies with thrown mantraps. Each mantrap is treated as a shooting weapon with Range 10", Shooting Dice 1, Damage 1 and AP -4. If a mantrap inflicts any Hits on an Infantry model, it will automatically immobilise it. The target may not take any Move actions and may not move at all during Melee actions. As a Special action, it may make an Agility check in order to attempt to free itself from the mantrap. A model may only be affected by one mantrap at a time.
Judge Fire is wreathed in flames from head to foot, from which leers a crisp, blackened skeleton. He wields a fiery trident and revels in burning his victims to death. In JDMG, Judge Fire has two special abilities. The first is Body of Fire. Any model involved in close combat with Judge Fire will automatically catch on fire, with the same effects as a flame-thrower. Judge Fire is himself immune to all effects of all forms of fire. Secondly, he has Flame Strike. His trident is a close combat weapon that has a Damage Score of 3, AP -3 and the Parry special rule. It may also launch a shooting attack with a Range of 18", Shooting Dice 1, Damage 3, AP -3 and the Blast and Explosive 1 special rules.
Often the Dark Judge tasked to prepare the physical bodies of the others, Judge Mortis has the bare skull of a sheep and causes everything he touches to instantly decay. He is the personification of entropy. In JDMG Judge Mortis only has one special ability - Decaying Touch. Entropy follows in the wake of Judge Mortis. At the start of every turn, every model within 4" of Judge Mortis will automatically lose 1 Hit. Each successful close combat attack by Judge Mortis will remove a number of hits equal to the roll of 1d10.
The Dark Judges can never be truly killed. In JDMG when any of them is reduced to 0 Hits, replace their models with their spirit form figures, shown directly above and below. These four figures were all produced by Warlord Games. The spirit form may only perform Move or Special actions and is a Flyer with a Move score of 6" and Hits 2. All other characteristics remain the same as for the Dark Judge the spirit form came from. The spirit form is immune to all forms of attack except Psi Talents. If the spirit form is reduced to 0 Hits, the Dark Judge will dissipate to rebuild its strength (and will be back another day!). Remove the figure as a casualty but do not make any injury roll.
A spirit form may attempt to possess any other model except a robot, within 1" with a Special action. Both models make opposed Will checks and, if the spirit form wins, the enemy is automatically killed and replaced with a model of the Dark Judge. The Dark Judge is restored to full Hits and from the next Turn onwards, may take actions normally.
At the time of writing I have no plans for using the Dark Judges in my JDMG campaign but I still wanted to show you them. The figures made by the three companies I mentioned are all very well sculpted. If you want to collect the Indyclix versions be aware that Judge Death is a Unique figure and is extremely hard to find. The Warlord Games versions were sold individually and as a boxed set with their spirit forms. I bought their spirit forms separately. Of the three versions that were available, I much preferred the Foundry figures. They are still available to buy.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

JDMG MC1 Civilians 01

Before I start a series of reviews of the perps that I have for my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game, I want to take a brief look at some of the civilians who populate Mega City One. I should point out that I have loads of 28mm scale sci-fi civilians that I have collected over the years, most of whom are very usable for my JDMG campaign.  These nine that I'm showing here are the ones I most wanted to highlight. There will be more posts to come in the future, showcasing the rest of my civilian collection.
I'll start with a trio of females, all of whom were produced by Warlord Games as official MC1 civilians. Rather unusually I have named all of the figures I'm reviewing here, which will help identify who's who. When naming MC1 citizens, it seems appropriate to go for more unusual names. So, at the far left is Caramel Maribel, a nice rhyming name. This dark skinned lady has something of a weight problem but not enough to put her into Fattie territory. (Fatties will be reviewed at a later date.) It looks Caramel has been on a shopping trip and is returning home with new clothes from "Miz Meg" a well-known upmarket clothes store. Note Caramel's orange lipstick and eyeliner and her turquoise hair. She likes to stand out in a crowd!
In the centre is long-haired blonde, Kylie Tchoryk. Just like Caramel, she is carrying an oversized handbag. Her lilac and brown outfit has been accessorised with that most ubiquitous and famous clothing item - the knee-pads. I don't know why, but knee-pads are extremely popular in the Judge Dredd series.
At the far right is Betty Umble, a young lady with flame red hair. Betty is wearing a short green dress with big pale green shoulder-pads. There is nothing remarkable about her - she is just a righteous upstanding citizen and an unemployed mother trying to make ends meet. Yes, they do exist. Not everyone is a criminal in Mega City One.
Next up, are three male civilians, and these were also produced by Warlord Games to go with the female Citizens. At the far left is Mitch Feig. He's wearing a bronze masked helmet, which could be deemed as suspicious. The one other thing that makes him stand out are the big fluffy bobbles on his shoes. What was he thinking when he bought them?
Wendell Sprot is the name of the dark-skinned gent in the centre of the group. He is an employee of the White Star Cruise Company, which caters for the more affluent citizens of Mega City One. He is lucky to have a job as unemployment stands at over 90% in Mega City One, which goes a long way to explaining why crime is so rampant.
At the far right of this trio is Erik Zumwalt. He works as a robotics engineer in a small company that manufactures service robots. He is carrying a large parcel under his right arm. What's inside is a mystery.
Moving on, these three figures were produced many years ago in the mid-1980's by Citadel Miniatures for the long gone Judge Dredd role-playing game by Games Workshop. They produced a huge range of figures and I bought almost all of them. Some of the Citadel figures look too small when compared to the likes of those produced by Warlord Games (their Judges especially look under-scaled). But many others do fit in well, like these three. These three civilians were part of the Citadel range of Uglies. The whole craze of looking ugly was created by Otto Sump, who built up a very lucrative empire selling products that made people look ugly. Sump was murdered by his mother in 2124 but his Ugly Clinic empire lives on.
This trio are all best friends and are all Juves (a term used to denote children and teenagers). At the far left is Ainsley Goit. He has huge buck-teeth and boils on his face and a mullet hair-do. In the centre is Jimi Gimboid. He has cadaverous green skin, dark rings around his eyes and a long protruding incisor tooth. His hair has been cut into three clumps. The leader of this small gang is Jools Smeghead, who has also opted for cadaverous green skin from the Ugly Clinic. In addition, his face sports pus-filled zits, he has a nose ring and a bright green Mohican haircut. None of them are particularly bright and although all have records for minor crimes, they are extremely small-time perps, barely worth bothering with. However, they will be appearing a lot in my campaign - mainly as bystanders, simply because they amuse me so much. By the way, Goit, Gimboid and Smeghead were all terms of mild abuse from the TV series, Red Dwarf, as I'm sure most of you knew.
When I play my campaign I want to populate my games with lots of innocent bystanders. Mega City One is huge and is filled with people despite numerous major disasters in its recent past. I do not want my games to be just about Judges verses Perps. Civilians have a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and can pose a nuisance and distraction to either side of the Law. This is the kind of chaos and unpredictability I want to bring to my games. The Blood on the Streets supplement has a set of optional rules for creating random events in a game. I will definitely be using them in my own games and will most likely add some of my own.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Vampifan's Views 85 - Monthly Musings 59

As the dark, cold nights draw in, it is time for another one of my monthly musings. The painting to the left is another fine piece of art from Joe Jusko, showing Vampirella standing in a waterfall of blood... or should that be a bloodfall? Is there such a word?

October was a very busy month for me but November has been a very quiet month. However, I have managed to get a lot of painting done, which has pleased me immensely. I mentioned last time that both Mongoose Publishing and Warlord Games had lost their licences to sell the Judge Dredd range of figures. This was really bad timing as I am getting ready to start what I hope will be a long running Judge Dredd campaign using the rules from the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game and its supplement, Blood on the Streets. I made mention of the fact that I was missing just a few figures from the JDMG range. Well, thanks to a few very reasonable sellers on eBay and especially to one of my followers, Paul Smith, my collection is completed to my satisfaction. I am still missing a few sets but they are ones that are of no great interest to me (the Judda and Oz Judge on Trike). I'd like to offer a massive and heartfelt thanks to Paul for going above and beyond the call of duty for selling me the figure sets I most wanted (Assassinator Droid, Electro Cordon and Zombie Conversion pack) as well as throwing in some unexpected extras (a weapons pack, two Zombie Judges and six pre-made Mantic Zombies using the Zombie Conversion pack). He also totally surprised me by offering to sell me his Justice Department Pat Wagon, a model that I never expected to own, due to it being only available to a few people who made a pledge for it on the Judge Dredd Kickstarter project. I chose not to back this particular Kickstarter. Seeing as how badly it has been run, I suspect I made the right decision.
A Justice Department Pat Wagon in 28mm scale.
When the parcel arrived I was both surprised and impressed at how big the Pat Wagon was. I quickly made it and it is currently on my painting desk getting painted right now. However, whilst I am using a similar colour scheme of the photo above, I will not be adding all of the lettering on that model.

Speaking of parcels, a couple of weeks ago I received the Wave 1 parcel for backing Mantic Games'  The Walking Dead miniature skirmish game on Kickstarter. To the left of here is the box it came in, all very cleverly packaged so that all of the figures and components fitted into the box perfectly. I have played a fair few of the introductory scenarios from the Quick Start rules booklets. My verdict is that this is a very good little skirmish game. You can play solo, co-operatively with other players or competitively against other players. I took to it straight away and I certainly enjoyed playing it far more than Project Z by Warlord Games. One thing I must mention about the game is the figures. They are all one-piece castings made of hard plastic and are incredibly detailed and just gorgeous to look at. Yes, you do get a lot of zombies with this set, as you'd expect, but what really surprised me was that every one was a unique figure. No duplicates here, like in Zombicide. Massive respect to Mantic Games for making this decision. It is fair to say that being a big fan of The Walking Dead, I backed this project heavily. One of the add-ons I was very happy to get was this scenery booster set.
Ignore the fact that it says "Shipping Wave 02". It shipped with Wave 01, albeit without the two Neoprene Mats (they are coming with Wave 02). These plastic 3D scenery items replace the card counters that represented them and will be usable in many other games. Those vehicles are not solid castings but have hollowed out shells to keep the weight and cost down. Unless you turn them over you'd never know.
A game in progress with unpainted figures and scenery.
I should point out that this game is based on the comic series of The Walking Dead and not the TV series. So, the likes of Daryl will not be appearing as an official figure but there's nothing from stopping you adding him if you so wanted to, as there are rules for creating your own survivors. You could well ask, do I need another zombie apocalypse game? Well, only you can answer that one. For me, however, this is a very welcome addition to both my collection of games and figures. Highly recommended!

Finally, if any of you scored a bargain on Black Friday then well done to you. If not, well done for not succumbing to the hype. Personally, I hate it and I spent precisely nothing on the day.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

JDMG Allies 01

I'm taking a short break from reviewing my figures for the Mega City One Justice Department. There will be more to come later, specifically Heavy Armour Judges, Mechanismo Robots, Judges on Lawmaster Bikes and an assortment of vehicles used by the Justice Department. For now I'm reviewing three well-known allies of the Justice Department - Max Normal, Galen DeMarco and Travis Perkins.
At the far left is Max Normal, who was, for a while, Judge Dredd's best informant. In a city teeming with citizens dressed in unusual, eccentric or downright bizarre fashions, Max stood out for dressing conservatively in clothes which in the mid-20th century would have been perfectly normal: a pinstripe suit and a bowler hat, an umbrella, and a carnation in his buttonhole. In contrast to his looks, Max spoke in futuristic 'streetwise' slang and had many bizarre habits and affections. In Max's first appearance, Dredd expresses disgust at Max not dressing in "decent wild clothes" like everyone else and asks "why do you young people always have to be different?"
He had refined tastes, eschewing water and only ever drinking "shampagne" (real champagne being illegal): this saved him from being affected by the Block Mania contagion which infected the city's water supply in 2104. His one concession to 22nd-century living was his fondness for playing shuggy, an advanced version of billiards played on an uneven surface of hills and valleys. He stopped working for Dredd after criminals held him hostage in an attempt on Dredd's life.Years later, he was used again as a hostage in an attempt on Dredd's life, this time by the Fighting Heart Kwoon.
Although Warlord Games made a perfectly acceptable figure of Max, I preferred this version from Wargames Foundry - AD54 Max Normal. In JDMG, Max is a Level:4 Infantry Hero with the following Special Ability - Nark. If Max Normal is within 12" of a Judge, he may perform a Special action to finger a suspect. The Judge gains a +1 bonus to all Arrest checks he attempts in the same Turn.
Next up is private investigator, Galen DeMarco. She is the daughter of a billionaire, who had her inducted into the Academy of Law as a Cadet Judge. When her father died, she inherited his immense wealth, but chose to forgo it in order to pursue her career. Her fortune was held for her in a trust.
Considered one of the most capable Judges of her generation, at age 23, she was in line to rise to the rank of Senior Judge, when she instead refused promotion and requested a transfer to – of all places – Sector 301, also known as "The Pit", a notorious crime black spot and dumping ground for Judges who fouled up. She served with distinction and was part of the small cadre of completely honest officers at the largely corrupt Sector House. In 2117 the then Sector Chief was killed in suspicious circumstances. In response Chief Judge Volt ordered the legendary Joe Dredd to take over as Sector Chief with orders to clean up the place. Dredd's hatred for the administrative side of the job was well known (he had personally turned down the Chief Judge's chair many times to avoid it), but he went to work in his usual style. Dredd took the sector by storm and worked regularly with DeMarco until the reason she had come to 301 was revealed: she was having an affair with another Judge, Judge Warren. When this was revealed, Dredd reprimanded her and dismissed her lover from the force for dereliction of duty. DeMarco escaped that fate because she had responded to an emergency call even though it meant revealing her misconduct, while Warren had not. During the massive battle between the Judges and crime syndicate the Frendz Mob that ended the storyline, Warren kidnapped DeMarco with the intent of using her money to set up a new life for himself. Instead she ended up killing him.
Sometime later, Dredd led a Hot-dog Run (training mission) into the Cursed Earth and requested DeMarco to assist him. The two worked well together. Later still she rose to Sector Chief of Sector 303 and found Dredd reporting to her. To his astonishment he discovered that in the interim she had fallen in love with him. Dredd uncharacteristically let this breach of regulations slide and the two parted company once more.
However Judge Edgar of the Public Surveillance Unit, who vehemently disliked Dredd, uncovered the incident and attempted to use it to prove that Dredd and DeMarco had had an non-judicial liaison. Dredd was reprimanded by the Chief Judge, and DeMarco chose to resign from the Justice Department rather than undergo demotion and compulsory re-education. However, Galen was heir to the DeMarco fortune which, once she left the Judges, was turned over to her: a fortune that ran to about 17 billion credits. Dredd also arranged for Galen to have a gun permit and work as a private detective so she could continue to have something to do. During the Second Robot Wars of 2121, DeMarco fought bravely even though she was now a civilian. Meeting Dredd again, her love for him finally died when he again spurned her advances.
This beautifully sculpted figure of DeMarco was produced by Warlord Games. I have always liked DeMarco. The Dredd series has certainly created many very strong and noteworthy females, which I applaud. In JDMG, she is a Level:8 Infantry Hero. She can arrest enemies as if she was a Judge, but she is not required to.

Known as the Simian Sam Spade, Travis Perkins is a partner and bodyguard to Galen DeMarco. Despite being a gorilla with full sentience, Travis was once a Judge, working in the Wally Squad during one of the Justice Department's more lax recruiting periods. This is another figure that was produced by Warlord Games. In JDMG, Travis is a Level:5 Infantry Hero. He has two Special Abilities. First is For DeMarco, in which he may be taken by any force that has selected Galen DeMarco PI as a Mercenary. He may not be used without her. Secondly, he has Swinging Apes, in which he can treat any sheer surface as clear terrain, so long as he begins and ends his Phase on a flat surface, and he can move across any open gap up to his Move without making an Agility check.

Monday, 21 November 2016

JDMG MC1 Cadet Judges and Long Walk Judges

I could have called this post "The New and the Old" because I am looking at the two opposite ends of the Justice Department - Cadet Judges, who are are training to become fully-fledged Judges, and Long Walk Judges, who have come to the end of their career.
Though spending most of their time concealed within  the Academy of Law, Cadets are occasionally allowed into the city, under the strict watch of a Judge. Despite being barely in their teens, a well-trained Cadet has been the ultimate nemesis for more than one perp. A Cadet is inducted into the Academy either as a cloned infant (as Judge Dredd did), or as a child aged five (although older children have been recruited). After this, unsupervised contact with the city outside is forbidden, in order to maintain the strictest discipline and mental conditioning. Training usually lasts for 15 years, although in some exceptional cases, this is shortened by a few years. Cadet Judges must leave both the Academy and the city itself during their "Hot-dog Run" - a training mission into the Cursed Earth, to test the Cadets under combat conditions; fatalities are not unknown. A senior Judge will command and assess the Cadets during the Hot-dog Run. On graduating from the Academy, Cadets are known as Rookie Judges.
After a career on the streets of Mega City One, retiring Judges usually become Academy of Law Tutors or take the Long Walk, choosing to bring the Law to Lawless regions such as the Cursed Earth or the Undercity. Many die quickly to the hazards they encounter but a select few will survive, even thrive, on the adversity, becoming a dangerous force for those who choose to hide beyond the walls of Mega City One.
The four Cadet Judges to the left of my two photos directly above and below were produced by Mongoose Publishing. I have not yet named any of them. All four of them are the same sculpt but three have been converted. The one at the far left is the original sculpt. The Cadet second from the left has had his arms repositioned and his feet re-sculpted in different positions to the original. I also painted him as an African/American to further distinguish him from the others. For the Cadet third from the left, I added Milliput breasts to the figure to make her female and I repositioned her arms. For the other one, third from the right, I cut off his Lawgiver Pistol and glued it on his right hand. His arms have also been repositioned. I'm still not sure why I bought four of them but there was no way I could leave four looking the same.
The two Cadet Judges at the right were produced by Warlord Games and are, in my opinion, much better sculpts. Second from the right is Cadet Judge Aurens and at the far right is Cadet Judge Vincent, who is female. Will any of them see action in my JDMG campaign? Very possibly.
Moving on, these are to date, my only two Long Walk Judges. At the left is Judge William Minty, who was a very minor character in the comic series. He appeared in a one-off strip in 1980. In the story, Judge Dredd is assigned to assist an older Judge in the routine arrest of a gang of criminals. During the tracking down and apprehension of the 'perps' Dredd remarks on a number of flaws in Minty's methods. Eventually Minty is wounded when he hesitates to shoot one of the gang. As Minty recovers in hospital, Dredd informs him that he had to file an adverse report and that Minty is going to be retired from the streets. Minty gives a poignant response, "It had to come... I -I always knew you were on this case just to watch me... When you get old, you start gettin' strange notions... like maybe people aren't so bad. Maybe if we treat 'em with kindness, the good in them will come out! I guess that's when it's time to quit." Dredd explains that due to his excellent record Minty is eligible to become a Tutor at the Academy of Law. However Minty declines the offer "I've been on the streets too long, there's only one way for me... The Long Walk!" 
This excellent figure was sculpted by Hasslefree's Kevin White. It was designed as a limited edition figure for the Cancer Research and Multiple Sclerosis charities. When I ordered my figure, I also received a signed photo of Edmund Dehn, who plays Judge Minty in the fan film (see below). It is much treasured.

The other Long Walk Judge, whom I have not named yet, was produced by Warlord Games. He looks like he has been surviving outside for quite a while. He has either lost his Lawgiver Pistol or perhaps it ran out of ammo, and he has replaced it with a Sawed-Off Stump Gun. Note that he is using his left shoulder pad as knee pad, which is a nice touch.
I mentioned earlier that the actor, Edmund Dehn, played Judge Minty in a fan film. Here he is above in a scene from the film. You can watch it on YouTube here -
You can also find more information about the film here-
I don't want to say too much about it in case you haven't seen it but I can highly recommend it. For a fan film, the production values are very high. Note how accurate his uniform and Lawgiver Pistol are.