Thursday, 19 October 2017

Dracula's America Red Hand Coven Faction

In the wake of the American Civil War, with the country struggling to regain its balance, Dracula seized power. The Count's thralls assassinated President Lincoln and his entire administration in a single night and, in the ensuing chaos, their master made his move. Dominating the Senate, he declared himself President for Life, and now rules the Union with fear and an iron fist. His vampire progeny, the Coven of the Red Hand, infest every strata of society and enforce Dracula's will with ruthless efficiency.
In this post I'm going to review my figures for the Red Hand Coven, my favourite faction for the Dracula's America: Shadows of the West game. This is currently my largest faction because I have combined the official North Star figures with a set of vampires from Pontoonier Miniatures. The two ranges complement each other rather well, in my opinion.
At the far left of this group of male vampires is a Brood Sire, the Boss of a Red Hand Coven faction. He, and the two figures to the right of him, are official Dracula's America figures produced by North Star. This ugly-looking creature looks just like one of the vampires of Clan Nosferatu from Vampire: the Masquerade.
The next two figures in line are both Broodkin. A Red Hand Coven faction may have two Broodkin in its posse. Like the Brood Sire, they are Supernatural, have a Move rate of 6", are Hard to Kill and they have the Transfix Arcane Power (even though they are not Arcanists). Note that they are both wearing red-tinted glasses. I have painted all of the other figures here with red eyes just to reinforce their supernatural aspect.
The two vampires at the far right were produced by Pontoonier Miniatures. The chap with the sabre is a lot taller than the other one. He is clearly 28mm scale and the other appears to be 25mm scale, unless he is meant to be so short. Curious! I had to stick the smaller one on a slottabase just to raise his height a bit to make him not look too under-scaled. The vampire with the sabre could be a Brood Sire or a Broodkin, whilst the smaller one is most likely a Broodkin.
Moving on, we have the female vampires. The one at the far left is my second favourite figure out of the official North Star Dracula's America range to date. My favourite is the Seraphim, whom I showed here. Sadly for me, she is classed as a Vampire Fledgling, a creature who appears as an Unwelcome Guest on the Supernatural Events table. These feral creatures, still clad in ragged clothing, were once ordinary folks but are now in the first throes of vampiric infection. They are little more than ravenous animals, driven only by the urge to feed. Vampire Fledglings are Supernatural and Mean. Given my love of female vampires, I will most likely use her as a Brood Sire, despite what the rulebook says.
The remaining three female vampires are all from the Pontoonier Miniatures Old West Vampire Cabal set of five figures. Again, these all appear to be 25mm scale, but I still find them usable. These would also be classed as Vampire Fledglings. I have given them all blood-smeared mouths to emphasise their feral natures. Note that all of my figures, apart from the Nosferatu, are wearing items of red clothing, as a nod to them being members of the Red Hand Coven.
The five Pontoonier Miniatures are set OWS010 Old West Vampire Cabal and they cost £12.50 from the Newline Designs webstore -
The Nosferatu Brood Sire and two Broodkins are set DRAC104 Red Hand Coven and they cost £7.50 on the North Star webstore -
You can get the female Vampire Fledgling as one of three figures from DRAC118 Dracula's America Characters (the other two are a Preacher and a Dark Confederate Revenant) also costing £7.50 from the North Star webstore -
I am looking forward to pitting this faction against the Twilight Order in my first Dracula's America batrep. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Assorted Androids 01

Let me start this post with a question - what is the difference between an android and a robot? It is the issue of free will. An android is self-aware and has rights - a robot does not. In RPG games such as N.E.W. and Starfinder, androids can be player characters. This is another one of my posts that could have appeared on this blog or on my WOIN blog. I'm posting it here simply because it has crossover potential for other systems and isn't limited to just N.E.W.
These five 28mm scale figures come from a variety of companies. At the far left is a very old figure produced by Grenadier Miniatures for Cyberpunk 2020 and/or Shadowrun. He is a cyborg cop, heavily influenced by Robo-cop from the films of the same name. In the few games where I have used him, I've always referred to him as "Robo-cop". I have no idea if this figure is still available for sale or not. I know a lot of old Grenadier figures are still available but I'm uncertain about this particular one.
Next in line is a figure I bought very recently. She is Maria the female android produced by Reaper Miniatures as part of their Chronoscope range. She looks like a female version of C-3PO from Star Wars. However, her name is a dead giveaway on who she is really based on - Maria the Maschinenmensch (German for machine-person) or robot in Fritz Lang's 1927 film of Metropolis. The figure is a very good likeness of her and the sculpting of her is quite exquisite. You'll find her in the Reaper Chronoscope webstore as 50246: Maria - She-Bot where she is priced at £5.22.
In the centre of this group is Narindan, who is an android produced by Space Vixens From Mars. I have been buying quite a few figures from them this year to use in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I only recently became aware of this company and I have been very impressed by their friendly and swift service... and reasonable prices. This figure is listed as SV36 and costs a very cheap £2.00.
Finally are two androids produced by Alternative Armies for their Ganesha Games sci-fi range. They bear a slight similarity to the B1 Battledroids seen in some of the Star Wars films but they are different. However, it is fair to say that my colour scheme for them was directly influenced by the B1 Battledroid. They are listed as PSY04 Combots and they cost £2.00 each.
Anyone who is following my The Ace of Spades Campaign on my WOIN blog will know that one of the crew of The Ace of Spades is an android. Celeste is the most mysterious of all of my player characters and could well be the most powerful if she really is a Forerunner survivor. That should tell you that I like androids. My main use for these figures will be for N.E.W. but don't be too surprised if some of them appear in my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Alternative Armies Sci-Fi Figures 02

Following on from my last post here are some more of the Ganesha Games 28mm scale sci-fi figures produced by Alternative Armies. These four figures come from set PSY01 Psi Paladins. I guess the most obvious association with figures looking like these is with the Jedi Knights from Star Wars, and there is no reason why you couldn't use them in a Star Wars game. But for me, the reason why I bought them was to use them as Star Knights in the N.E.W. role-playing game.
In N.E.W. Star Knights are an elite order of warriors who are respected throughout the galaxy. They rarely use ranged weapons, preferring to engage their enemies with their laser swords. They also possess psionic powers, which makes them very similar to the Jedi Knights, albeit more openly accepted by society. Once again, I have taken the optional rules from N.E.W. to denote the types of laser swords they wield, with the colours being highly significant.
At the far left is a novice warrior who wields a blue laser sword. Blue is the standard laser sword colour and is the one described in the N.E.W. rulebook (see p.92). Technically, laser swords are not lasers; they are made of plasma contained in a magnetic field.
The female armed with twin green laser swords is slightly more proficient. If blue laser swords are classed as basic rank 1 weapons, then green laser swords are slightly better and are classed as rank 2. They represent peace and defence and are often used for deflecting energy blasts.
Moving up the ranks, yellow laser swords are classed as rank 3 and they are focused on melee defence, used by guardians throughout the centuries. The size of this figure's head suggests he is an android, which certainly could be possible, despite the fact that androids are non-psionic. Playing a non-psionic star knight would be an interesting challenge. Or conversely, perhaps he does possess psionic powers, making him unique amongst androids.
Finally, at the far right is the ultimate star knight, armed with a rare rank 5 purple laser sword. This weapon is a potent mix of offence and defence. His oriental look makes me think of him as a futuristic samurai. Certainly, he is a character to be respected.
Red laser swords, which I mentioned in my last post are classed as rank 4. The rarest of all laser swords are the black ones (rank 6), mainly (although not exclusively) used by those who have succumbed to the dark side of the Force. They cause damage which cannot be healed except by psionic (or magical) means.
There was an excellent article about laser swords published in EONS, the online magazine for WOIN a while back. I'd post a link to it but you have to be a subscriber to read it. Most of the info I have presented here came from that article.
These figures are all very beautifully sculpted with exquisite detailing. The hands holding the laser swords are separate castings and have to be glued in place. They cost £3.00 each and are available from here -
I have yet to name any of these characters or work out their stats. I have already created one star knight character for my The Ace of Spades Campaign and she is a female Venetian. I'll show her in a later post. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Alternative Armies Sci-Fi Figures 01

I recently discovered a range of figures produced by Alternative Armies for their Ganesha Games 28mm scale sci-fi range. I was instantly attracted to them and ordered the complete range. I want to start my reviews of them with a look at the following four figures shown below.
At the far left is Graul Granite, a rock-like alien and a bodyguard of Lord Phalag. He does look a lot like Ben Grimm aka the Thing from Marvel Comic's The Fantastic Four. I have yet to decide what race he is. He could be a Boromite from Warlord Games Beyond the Gates of Antares game but seeing as I have no interest in that game at present, I doubt if I'll go down that path. Most likely I'll come up with my own stats for him. The figure is a two piece casting - upper body and lower body.
The figure that most intrigued me from this set is the one second from the left. He is Lord Phalag and most likely a human. He looks every inch the cruel despot, powerful crime-lord or planetary governor. I plan to use him as a crime-lord in my The Ace of Spades Campaign for my N.E.W. RPG that I'm running on my other blog. I also think he would be a great rival of Lord Valatrix in the Death Match game by Wargames Terrain Workshop. The figure is made of resin with the four lower panels of the hover chair and the familiar sitting on his shoulder being made of metal. The alien familiar very much reminds me of Salacious Crumb, Jabba the Hutt's familiar in the Star Wars films. Note that he is not supplied with a flying base. Fortunately, I have loads of spare ones. I attached him to the base with a piece of copper tubing.
The light turquoise skinned female second from the right is another member of Lord Phalag's retinue. She is called Skarra and is described as a mutant mindblaster, so that means she is a psyker. To me, she looks like a Yazirian, an ape-like race with wings who appeared in TSR's Star Frontiers sci-fi RPG. Or she could be a totally different species.
Sticking with the Death Match theme, the final figure is Lord Phalag's champion gladiator - Silas the Strong. He is clad in tight-fitting silver armour and he wields a laser sword. Note that in the N.E.W. game, the colour of a laser sword denotes its core properties. Red laser swords symbolise aggression and anger. They do more damage than other laser swords. That seemed highly appropriate for him. I'm in two minds about whether to add a shield to him. The way he's holding his left arm means it would easily fit on.
These figures are all currently available from the Alternative Armies web-store, see here -
Prices are £8.00 for Graul Granite, £5.00 for Lord Phalag, £2.00 for Skarra or £15.00 for all three. Silas costs £2.00 and is also available as part of the Techno-Barbarian pack of three figures. I am very impressed with this range of figures, especially as I can get double use out of them in Death Match and in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I realise that I could just as easily have posted this review on my WOIN blog, but by posting it here, ensures it gets seen by a wider audience.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Shadows of Brimstone Heroes 03

I recently showed some of the new resin cast sculpts by Flying Frog Productions for their Shadows of Brimstone game. As well as making alternative figures for the eight original Heroes in the two starter sets, they also make new Heroes that you can add to your posse. I have three of the new Hero archetypes so far, but more are available. The ones I own are the Drifter, the Orphan and the Prospector. Each set comes with male and female versions, which I most certainly approve of.
At the far left are the two figures for the Drifter. A Drifter is an enigmatic and deadly force to be reckoned with. An expert shot, and the grittiest Hero around, the Drifter's skills as a fighter and a survivor are unmatched. His long years of experience can prove invaluable in helping the posse as a whole, but a darkness surrounds his past and seems to be almost drawn to him, making his presence a danger to all. No prizes for guessing who the male Drifter is based on - Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name from the Dollar trilogy of films. To me, the female has a Mexican vibe about her. They're both great figures.
In the centre are the two Orphans. Orphans have low Health, but can constantly bounce back from damage with their Youth ability. They are Quick and agile, moving before enemies at their Initiative level, and automatically passing all Escape tests, but do not have the discipline or strength to Dual Wield guns. An Orphan's greatest asset is her speed and manoeuvrability. Combine that with a mission of vengeance, and you have one tough cookie. It is nice to see some youngsters added to the mix of Heroes, as they are most often overlooked.
Finally, are the two Prospectors, at the far right of the group. One of the most hearty classes around, Prospectors have very high Health and Sanity, as well as a Miner's Canteen to heal up either. With a powerful Heavy Pick Axe and the ability to make Deathblows (a critical critical hit, or Crit Crit if you will), Prospectors may be slow but they can deal out horrendous damage when the chips are down. This combined with their Crotchety nature, preventing them from using guns or Tech items, means the Prospector's focus is as a close quarters tank in the field. Their Expert Miner ability also means that they will never be short of Gold or Dark Stone, and can even help those around them get rich along the way. The male Prospector is very heavily laden with loads of gear. The female looks quite formidable with her dark glasses.
Every one of these figures has been superbly sculpted in resin. The detail on them is crisp and sharp. Sadly, these are not easy to get hold off outside of the USA, and they are quickly sold out when they appear in the web-store. I acquired all of mine from sellers on eBay. None of these were cheap as they are highly sought after and are swiftly snapped up. It is such a shame they aren't more widely available.
I haven't named any of these yet, but the male Drifter will almost certainly be used as the Man With No Name in my games.