Friday, 22 September 2017

Dracula's America Twilight Faction

Last month I mentioned that I had received a whole bunch of figures and rulebook for a Weird Wild West skirmish wargame called Dracula's America: Shadows of the West. I have already painted quite a few of the official 30mm scale figures produced by North Star for this game and in this post I want to show you the figures belonging to one of the six main factions of the game - the Twilight Order.
The Twilight Order are amongst the bravest and most skilled of the forces of good and light as they fight to keep at bay the insidious forces of darkness and evil. Their forces are made up of Crusaders, Templars, preachers, ordinary gunmen and very occasionally, majestic otherworldly Seraphim.
From left to right are two Crusaders equipped with plate armour and weapons loaded with silver bullets. A Twilight Order faction may include two Crusaders in its posse. In the centre is a Seraphim. Wrathful, angelic beings borne aloft on majestic white-feathered wings, the Seraphim are Heaven's warriors in the guise of hauntingly beautiful gunslingers sent to aid the righteous in their war against evil. This creature must be summoned before it may join a posse and will leave when the encounter is over. She is armed with two Blessed pistols loaded with silver bullets that will never jam. Next in line is a Templar. A throwback to the Twilight Order's medieval origins, the Templars' methods of combatting the forces of evil have remained unchanged for centuries. Though somewhat out of place in the modern age, many posses have found cause to be thankful for the presence of these determined and ruthless warriors. He is armed with a Blessed great sword and wears full plate armour. Finally, is an ordinary preacher, whose stern admonishment or uplifting verse can inspire even the yellowest of hearts. He is armed with a sawn-off shotgun.
The reason why I chose to complete this faction first is simply because it contains my favourite figure out of the full range of Dracula's America figures and she is the Seraphim. Most surprising, given how much I like vampires, it was this one figure that captured my imagination the most. I think she is simply stunning! The full page illustration of her in the rulebook is even more beautiful than the figure is. To be fair, all of the figures in this range have been superbly sculpted by Mark Copplestone, but for the Seraphim I think he has really outshone himself.
I have the leaders of all six factions painted and once I finish painting the other figures for a faction I'll showcase them on this blog. I'll also be showing other figures that are extremely compatible with this fun little game. I do want to post a batrep of the game but sadly that must wait until next year by which time I ought to have amassed enough Wild West buildings to do it justice.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Death Match Horned Hominid and Recnac

Here are two more beasts produced by Wargames Terrain Workshop to use in the Death Match arena. Sculpted by Dave Stone, these are very tall figures but seeing as they are alien beasts, does that really matter? Here then are the huge Horned Hominid and the deadly Recnac.
The huge Horned Hominids originate from a lush vegetative planet. In the wild, Horned Hominids live in family pods of one alpha male and several females. As the male young get older, they split off and create a new pod. Only the males are used in the arena as they are highly aggressive and a lot easier to provoke into fighting. The females have a strong aggressive nature as well, however, it only comes out when protecting their young from imminent threat. In Death Match, the Horned Hominids have two special abilities. First is Charger - whenever this beast moves, treat that move as if it were a charge and add 1 hit to this beast's attack. Second is Large - certain rules and abilities apply to large beasts. Large beasts are easier to hit with a ranged attack - any stars rolled in a ranged attack against a large beast count as hits. This impressive figure stands 93mm tall and is a multi-part model. Note the little lizard crawling on its base. That's a nice touch that I like.
Found on desert planets, Recnacs hunt using heat vision. They have a deadly sting in their tail. However, their mouth can be just as dangerous. Territorial creatures, the Recnac is usually found alone, however, there have been cases where more than two have been found sharing territory. Ultimately, a predatory creature, it attacks when its territory is being invaded. In Death Match, the Recnac has three special rules. First is Heat Vision - when selecting a "nearest player or beast" for the Recnac to approach, the Recnac will select a Scabendi if it is within 4 inches. Any further than that and the Recnac is unable to "see" the Scabendi. A Lava Salamander will always count as the "nearest player or beast" for the Recnac. Second is Stinger - if the Recnac is engaged with a player or beast that has suffered less than half damage, it will attack with its tail. It has a base attack of 1 hit, rolls 2 red dice and scores a knock-back on 2 successful hits rather than the usual 3. Third is Powerful Jaws - if the Recnac is engaged with a player or beast that has suffered half damage or more, then it will attempt to finish it off with its powerful jaws. The jaws have a base attack of 2 hits and roll 2 red dice. The figure of the Recnac stands 78mm tall and is 78mm long.
Both beasts are available to buy from the Wargames Terrain Workshop (see here - http://wargamesterrainworkshop.co.uk/?product_cat=death-match&paged=2
) The male Horned Hominid costs £15. Note that Dave also makes a female Horned Hominid (price £8.00) and a baby Horned Hominid (price £2). A set of all three is available for £20.00, saving you a fiver. The Recnac costs £9.00. By the way, Dave told me that Recnac is "cancer" spelled backwards. A piece of useless trivia for you! Given the size of these two beasts, they are very impressive models and I found them a joy to paint.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Death Match Lava Salamander and Deathcoil Beast

In Death Match, not only must the gladiators fight each other, but also various alien beasts. The sabre-tooth razorback, an animal indigenous to Traventi, was the first exotic beast to be introduced to the games in 2588. To accommodate the latest addition, four pods were built around the outside of the arena equidistant from each other. With large sliding doors, the sabre-tooth razorbacks were housed in those pods before being released one at a time into the game. Since then, Lord Valatrix has assembled numerous teams of hunters to bring even more beasts into the arena, as the introduction of the sabre-tooth razorback was so successful. Here are two of the newer beasts to appear in the arena - the Lava Salamander and the Deathcoil Beast.
The Lava Salamander, shown at the left in my two photos, is native to volcanic regions and the sight of it jumping in and out of lava pools is truly majestic. Hunting armoured fish, their teeth are adept at tearing through armour finding weak spots. Tough armour plating covers its body to protect itself in its natural environment. Its special ability in the game is that it treats any stars it rolls on its defence dice as blocks.
Various species of Deathcoil Beasts have been found in varying climates from dense jungle to vast deserts. They were originally considered to be only from the Scabendi home planet, however, they have since been found on other planets. Their front legs are used to drag themselves along and can move at lightning fast strike speeds. However, this speed cannot be used for a prolonged period. Victims are crushed, making it easier for the Deathcoil Beasts to swallow them. Prey can be as large as themselves, with a triple jaw, their mouth can open as large as needed.
In Death Match, the Deathcoil Beast has two special abilities. Constrictor - if the beast's combat roll scores 2 stars, then in addition to any normal damage inflicted, the victim also becomes ensnared in the beast's constricting tail. An ensnared victim may take no action other than a fight action against the Deathcoil. Secondly, Down in One - when the Deathcoil Beast is in combat with an ensnared model, its dice roll becomes 2R instead of 1R,1G. In addition, if its combat roll against an ensnared model scores 2 stars then the opposing model is swallowed whole. A swallowed model has one more chance to fight its way out of the beast's stomach. When it next activates, it rolls 2 red dice - on a score of 3 hits or more the victim escapes and the Deathcoil suffers 4 damage. On a score of 4 hits, the victim bursts forth from the beast's gut with a flourish - the Deathcoil is killed and if the escaping model is a gladiator, he gains 1 Favour Token.
Only a model smaller than the Deathcoil can be ensnared or swallowed. If the Deathcoil already has an ensnared victim and rolls 2 stars against another model, the original victim is freed in favour of the new one.
These are two interesting beasts. I like the Deathcoil Beast the most, despite suffering very badly against it when I played Death Match with the game's creator, Dave Stone. My gladiator got ensnared by it, allowing Dave's gladiator free attacks against me, which eventually killed my poor gladiator.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Death Match Lord Valatrix and Concubines

In the year 2579, the planet Traventi had become a cesspool of crime. The poor were either preyed upon or forced to turn to a life of crime just to survive. The planet contained 40 provinces each with its own Lord. Each province was struggling with criminal activity with more of the population becoming imprisoned by the day.
A year later the prisons were overrun. With more criminals arriving each week the prison wardens looked for a way to keep the population down. Some of the wardens started to pit criminals on death row against each other in trials of combat to help keep the prison numbers down. These trials were crude and barbaric; two inmates were tossed swords and instructed that one would eat that day and one would die. Inmates surrounded the the two in combat lining the walls and watched until one triumphed. Lord Valatrix was asked to visit his prison as the wardens had run out of ways to keep the prison population down. A trial of combat had just been started by the wardens and upon entering, Valatrix caught the exchange. Struck by an idea that could help keep the prison populations down permanently and create massive riches, the Death Match games were created. They became a huge success and soon saw alien races and beasts being introduced into the games as their popularity extended far and wide across the galaxy.
These three figures from Wargames Terrain Workshop show Lord Valatrix, the creator of the Death Match gladiatorial games, and two of his alien concubines. I should point out that these are all very big figures, that may be too big for some of you. The fact that they are aliens means I'm not at all bothered how tall they are. Lord Valatrix. in the centre of the group, is 48mm tall and 60mm wide from the edges of his cushions. The blue-grey skinned mutant concubine is 60mm long and the feline concubine is 57mm long from the tips of her toes to the tips of her fingers.
I have to say that I like these figures a lot and whilst they don't do anything in the actual Death Match game, I just think they are great spectator figures. I'd certainly like to develop Lord Valatrix as a non-player character for my N.E.W. role-playing game. He'd make an ideal crime lord. Note that the blue-grey skinned mutant concubine has three breasts. I shall say no more on that matter. The feline concubine is by far my favourite figure out of this set. As a cat lover, I have a fondness for feline alien races. This particular figure has been exquisitely and very cleverly sculpted. I say "cleverly" because incredibly, she is a one-piece casting. When Dave Stone, who sculpted her came to visit me, I asked him how on earth it was possible to cast her in one piece? Dave enigmatically replied that it was a trade secret. The more I look at her the more I'm stumped how he did it! Dave, you're a genius!
Lord Valatrix costs £7.00, the mutant concubine costs £6.00 and the feline concubine costs £5.00. All are available from the Wargames Terrain Workshop web-store found here - http://wargamesterrainworkshop.co.uk/?product_cat=death-match&paged=1
If anyone would like them for free I have a spare set available. Just leave a comment saying you'd like to own them and I'll draw out the lucky winner by the end of this month and announce his name when I post this month's Monthly Musings. Note that my spare set is unpainted.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Deathmatch Ceratid and Human Gladiators

Apologies for the delay in my postings but  I was hit by a double whammy of my internet router dying, followed soon after by my PC developing a serious fault. My PC is away getting repaired and I have received a brand new router. I'm typing this on my laptop. Anyway, here is part 2 of my review of the gladiator races who appear in the Death Match by Wargames Terrain Workshop. This time, I'm looking at the Ceratids and the Humans.
The Ceratids are large hulking brutes who resemble bipedal rhinoceroses. They hail from the planet Craxis, an earth-like planet. Being herbivores, Ceratids flourished on Craxis with its high levels of vegetation. As a race, they place great emphasis on gaining knowledge and they are noted for their magnificent and well-stocked libraries. The Ceratids are known throughout the galaxy as the zen species, as they will maintain peace wherever possible. The gained knowledge has been used to further their technology, building starships to travel the universe. Although a peaceful race in general, they are formidable fighters when defending their planet. The arena and inclusion in the games is looked upon as a way of protecting their planet, as they strive to discourage other species from invading them.
The three Ceratid gladiators currently available stand about 50mm tall and are sculpted onto integral 40mm diameter bases. They come with separate arms and weapons. Knowing that these figures are made of resin I did think that the weapon shafts would snap very easily. However, Dave Stone, who sculpted them, has been very clever by reinforcing the shafts with metal rods. Nice move, Dave! Lacking dexterity, all Ceratid weapons demand brute strength and are often too heavy for others to lift let alone use. At the far left is a male Ceratid carrying a Battle-shield and a Pugile Stick, which comes with a built-in projectile barb. In the centre, this male wears heavy armour and is armed with a Doom Flail. At the far left is a female Ceratid equipped with a Battle-shield and Scythe Mace. The Ceratid have 15 Life Points and their special ability is if a Ceratid inflicts at least 2 damage after making a charge, it causes a knockback.
My colour scheme for them matches that chosen by Dave for his figures in his web store.
Earth is a desolate wasteland, ruined by years of war and misuse. By the 26th century (Death Match is set in the year 2587) humans were wandering the stars looking for a new home. After many failed attempts to find a suitable planet, humanity discovered the Ceratids (see above). They were allowed to build bio-domes on specially selected parts of the planets the Ceratids were not inhabiting. Being an expansionist race, the humans encroached on Ceratid territory, despite agreements not to. The Ceratids reacted furiously and ousted the humans from their planets, earning all humans the nickname, revili, which translates as wandering scum. Unfortunately, for the humans they were unable to translate this word properly and they believe revili means regal and revered. No other species will allow humans to inhabit part of their planet and so, they continue to wander the stars, looking for a new home.
So far, there is only one human gladiator figure available from the WTW web-store but more will appear soon. The figure shown is a female wearing heavy armour and armed with a Laser-blade and an Energy Shield (both separate parts). The sword and shield are made of translucent green resin, which I have lightly dry-brushed. My only criticism of the figure is that she is very tall - about 38mm, which is way over-scale for 28 to 32mm scale figures. In Death Match humans have 12 Life Points (the same as the Scabendi) and their special ability is when making an initiative roll, they may add any stars to their total.
I copied my colour scheme for this figure from the front cover of the Death Match rulebook.