Saturday, December 28, 2019

Entrry #3 to AHPCX: SAS Jungle Operators and a Huey

Hi All!

Today Sarah's Balloon drops me onto Bromley's Butte to challenge its mysteries. 

Dave asks us for: 'An individual figure or squad of tactical stealth troopers.' With this in mind, I present a team of SAS operators (or perhaps private military contractors), kitted out for jungle ops, deploying from an unmarked Huey chopper.

The models are from Spectre Miniatures' SAS range. I'm a big fan of Spectre's stuff and have found myself snapping up almost everything they have to offer. It's a bit silly as, really, how many figures do you need for a modern skirmish-based game? Well, apparently loads if you look at my lead pile! It's a little out of control. 

To be honest I have sort of a love-hate relationship with the modern gaming genre in general. I find that while I really enjoy the figures, gear and kit, I find that to 'do' the period justice, the settings and scenarios need to go beyond the typical 'lets go flatten another Middle Eastern compound' mindset. So when I'm thinking of modern-era gaming I'm often more interested in scenarios that are more nuanced, really gritty and more often than not, morally opaque. 

As an example: The SAS had a presence in Columbia beginning in the late 80s and extending to around 2010, ostensibly to train government forces in fighting the local drug cartels. Nonetheless, there are many analysts who would argue that their deployment was more to protect and project British corporate interests than anything else. In fact it's probably no coincidence that a significant portion of the private security detail at British Petroleum's site in Casanare were ex-SAS members. These personnel were also involved in training Columbian police units - the same units often associated with death squads targeting Columbian civilian leaders, academics and government protestors.  As I say, morally opaque and perhaps an interesting way to turn the accepted roles of Good Guys / Bad Guys on its head. 

Anyway, enough on the civics lesson and back to the minis. I painted these guys using the handy-dandy digital camo tutorial on the Spectre website - a great resource for those like me who have little experience with painting this kind of stuff. To simulate the spooky facepaint you often see these guys sporting, I painted most of their faces in camo as well.

The Huey began as a diecast model that I picked up on ebay a while ago. I remember it being quite inexpensive, probably due to it being in the cherry red livery of the Texaco Company (perhaps a fitting provenance considering how it's being featured in this post). 

The 'red-goes-faster' paintjob was easily fixed with a quick blast of primer and sprayed olive green and dirtied up a bit. It's a little rough around the edges, but I think it's quite serviceable for the tabletop. 

My lame attempt at a rotor wash using a coffee can glued over with spraypainted pillow ticking. Oh well, you get the idea... 

Thanks for dropping in. I hope everyone is recovering from the hustle and bustle of the 25th and is preparing for the upcoming New Years celebrations!


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Agnes Baker - Entry #2 to AHPCX

Hi All!

As I need to traverse Challenge Island for a future entry I've prepared this lass as my transit fee on Sarah's Balloon. 

This is Agnes Baker, one of our favourite characters in Fantasy Flight Games' series of Cthulhu-themed games. As a backdrop I've included Agnes' character card from 'Mansions of Madness', but she is also featured in 'Eldritch Horror', 'Arkham Horror', 'Elder Sign' and the 'Arkham Horror - The Card Game' (Yes, I am a bit of a Cthulhu fanboi, er, cultist).

To many, Agnes is just a simple waitress, working shifts at Thelma's Diner in Arkham, but little do they know that behind that placid demeanour Agnes is in fact a powerful reincarnated witch from ancient times. In the game Agnes is quite kick-ass, using all sorts of nasty arcane magic, and with the right 'build' can be quite the combat monster.

This figure is from the 'Mansions of Madness' boxed set, which produces its characters and monsters in a semi-soft plastic. They can be a little hit-or-miss in definition and mold quality, but Anges is one of the better ones. I painted her to resemble the art on her character card and chose to use a fairly punchy colour palette to help players spot her on the tabletop.

I have few other ladies from Arkham waiting in the painting queue, but I'll need to be judicious in doling them out for my anticipated air travel (sort of like AirMiles).

Where will I be going for this balloon journey? Hmm, I think 'Bromley's Butte' looks quite interesting and is reportedly supposed to have great views of the Island - I'll have to do a... reconnaissance. See you when I land!


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hook - Entry #1 for AHPCX

The Captain twirls his moustache and glowers at the headland. Another blasted reef! He wanted to make landfall at the shallows. He'll have to have a few choice words with that fathead First Mate of his, Smee.  That git's navigation is for the birds. Oh well, at least they were here, they were here before anybody else AND, better yet, there was not a cursed crocodile in sight.  

He draws his cutlass and points to the distant shore and roars to the crew, 'There it is mateys! Challenge Island! The land of all our hearts' desires. Prepare the jolly boats, we make for shore within the glass. We camp inland tonight and then make for our next waypoint tomorrow. I want US to be the first to find where... X MARKS THE SPOT!!'


This year for the 10th edition of the Painting Challenge we have a new addition to our regular programming in the form of 'Challenge Island'. On the Island participants are invited to travel to various named locations, completing a variety of hobby challenges, as they make their way to the summit of Snow Lord's Peak, where 'X Marks the Spot'. Once there they have to complete a final nefarious unique hobby task in order to claim their prize. 

Now, how fun is that?! I'll tell ya: Heaps of fun. It's going to be a blast.

So, to kick off the event I made landfall at 'Reidy's Reef' on The Path of the New Shiny. 

The hobby challenge at this location asks us: to 'paint up a miniature with a nautical theme, be it boat, fish, sailor/pirate or aquatic terrain. Bonus points will be awarded if this is a new project for you, or that the motive power of the model(s) is provided by sails.' 

Fair enough. I managed to dig up a figure from the 'On the Seven Seas' Nickstarter from a few years ago and found this excellent casting of a childhood favourite of mine, 'Hook'. 

Granted, it's a fast job, but Citadel's new(ish) Contrast Paints came to the rescue and helped me streamline a few steps.

My plan is to award the Captain to another worthy adventurer who makes the summit and finds where X marks the spot.

Thanks for dropping in and Happy Holidays everyone!