Sunday, 31 January 2010


The latest welcome goes towards Jonathon, who has started following today it seems. A hearty 'welcome aboard' to Jonathon; I am glad to see more following.

I hope I can repay interest in the blog by Jonathon or anyone else following or simply stopping by, with posts and discussion about various related interests.

If anyone has any thoughts of doing things a little differently, then don't hesitate to let me know.

January Painting Summary

Well, I launched into my Pulp City Painting Challenge last month, and this was the first full month of the challenge, a month in which I hoped to paint at least 5 miniatures.

I managed just 3. And one of those wasn't from scratch, but a finishing job of something started months ago. Not as successful as hoped then.

This month I painted:
- Xenobi
- Howler
- Ace of Wraiths

I was happy to get Xenobi done; pleased with how Howler turned out; not so pleased with Ace of Wraiths (yet to be photographed, I hope to take some pictures of Ace and another miniature yet to be photographed for the blog - Solar - when my next day off comes around).

I am still determined to press on with the challenge to help me get my minis finished. Hopefully February will be more successful.

Saturday, 30 January 2010


Welcome to netministrator, who appears to be another comic book fan, and while the Pulp Citizen's blog isn't primarily about comics, there will be more and more comics posting as I carry on.

So again welcome, and glad to have you aboard.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Salute 2010

The Pulp Citizen will be attending Salute 2010 with his main gaming buddy (Rob), the first time we have attended this UK show.

Both of us have been miniatures hobbyists for many years, primarily around Games Workshop, but for various reasons both of us are moving away from a GW-centric hobby. Going to Salute seems to me a natural reflection of that. Last year we attended the Games Expo 2009 in Birmingham (UK) for the first time, which we enjoyed a lot, especially talking to some miniatures manufacturers such as Mark Copplestone (if he follows through with his expressed plans to some do supers miniatures the Pulp Citizen would be very pleased - more Minion models please!).

If we get to have a day like that, meeting more manufacturers and checking out their wares we will be very happy, I am sure. More importantly I am hoping that Pulp Monsters will have a presence at Salute 2010, showing off Pulp City. If they do I will try and help out, while stalking around other minis makers' stands to see what they have on show. I'll try and post if and when Pulp Monsters confirm their attendance. I am looking forwards to this show a lot.


The latest welcome goes towards Chris who has started following the blog - I hope I can reward your decision Chris with posts of interest. :)

A quick note to anyone following - any feedback through comments is really welcome: whether it is commentary, critique, advice or questions, or just general chat about the post in question. I won't moderate (read - censor) except for rudeness or swearing, my only rules I guess. But as I say, I have read all the comments so far and will continue to do so, and there will hopefully be stuff that I can take away from the comments, or that others can, so it is helpful for me.

Anyway, glad to have everyone aboard. The more the merrier - invite your friends if you like! ;)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Urban Battle Boards

Any miniatures-based tabletop game needs somewhere for those battles to be fought. This blog post is intended to describe how I built my own urban battle boards, particularly for use in Pulp City games, but the principles can be applied to any urban setting, or easily adapted I feel to historic or sci-fi gaming.

Above: gaming/battle boards, miniatures, scenery, tokens and elbow are all Pulp Citizen's own.

Now the most important disclaimer - I can't claim credit for this idea. Rather, that belongs to Larkin Vain, another Pulp City fan and Herald and a Moderator on the Pulp City message boards. His thread (here) and that of Hjelmen, another board member (thread here), are what inspired me.

The basic materials are:
- plywood sheets (12" x 12"; 6mm thickness); picture 2
- cork sheets (12" x 12"; 5mm thickness); also picture 2
- PVA glue and glue stick
- thin card (160-200 gsm)
- Rustoleum Textured - spray paint (Aged Iron)
- paints (I used Vallejo Neutral Gray and Light Gray with some browns added for washes for the lighter parts; German Grey for the darker areas)
- Ready Grass vinyl mat

Step 1
Decide how many tiles to make, and roughly what configurations of public squares (raised to pavement/sidewalk height), straights, t-junctions, crossroads and corners you want. I drew the placement of lines for pavement/sidewalk edges (cork cut to size) - see picture 3. In doing so, I made certain the width of all inner road sections was the same, a uniform 6" since the ply boards varied in size but up to 1/4" to 1/2". Cork was glued to ply with PVA.

For public squares at pavement/sidewalk height, cork was simply glued straight onto ply (picture 4). Careful use of the cork across the various boards means you will need less sheets of that than the ply. I would advise making more boards than needed for usual gaming just for variety.

Step 2
To give some basic surface detailing beyond that of the textured paint, I used the thin card to create a vaguely paved effect. I wasn't worried about scaling here, just that it 'feel' right, since at the end of the day the minis are the focus, not the battle boards. There was a gap of approximately 1-3mm between pieces of card.

It is possible to create a more scale-appropriate effect if desired, time permitting of course! The card was glued to corked areas with glue stick, but PVA should work also. I left an exposed edge where the 'kerb' is of about 5mm. The public squares just used 4 larger pieces of card, with a slightly larger gap. Both the public squares and the pavement/sidewalk areas have card running up to the outer edges.

Step 3
The boards were all spray undercoated outside (needing good weather, of course) with Rustoleum. I haven't used this stuff before, but bear in mind:
- it needs a lot longer to dry than acrylic model undercoats
- it took 1 can to undercoat approximately 6-8 boards

The finish is tough and rough, just what is needed. I wasn't too worried about complete coverage, especially on the cork, as with the cork it has a rough texture also.

Step 4
The raised areas (pavement/sidewalk and public squares were painted first with Neutral Grey, then some occasional washes of Neutral Grey with various browns, then some light dry brushing with Light Grey).

The public squares probably got more attention in the form of washes since there is less surface and colour variation, but you don't need to go overboard since terrain is going to be placed on top anyway.

Step 5
The roads were then finished with German Grey. At this time I haven't added road markings, but I may do so later.

Step 6
I also created some park areas using a plastic-backed static grass sheeting (I used Ready Grass vinyl mat - see right). To make these I just constructed a board with ply and cork, and then added the sheeting, gluing it in place with PVA after roughing up the back (plastic side) with sandpaper.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Sgt. Bale Extreme (2)

I had planned to assemble this conversion piecemeal, to do something when I didn't feel up to painting. Of course no plan survives contact with the enemy, or so they say*. In other words I built this in just an hour or so. So no time-filler on the painting challenge at this time, then.

At this stage some more green-stuffing is needed to fill a couple of gaps and build a finger on the M4 trigger. Overall I am happy with the basic construction. I could have tried to reposition the gun arm, but that would have been both tricky and would possibly have switched focus to the gun more than the flaming hand or skull.

I'll try and log the progress on this model as I finish various major stages. Next up is waiting for the weather to warm up enough to spray undercoat the model.

*They actually said:
No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
And they was he, Field-Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke, also known as Moltke the Elder. Note that Graf is a title, not a name. A seemingly pragmatic strategist and theoretician, von Moltke postulated that only the beginning of a military operation was plannable. Wise man, methinks.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Sister Bedlam

The world first learned of Bethany Bates when Pulp City Planet printed a front page story “Miss Frankenstein” accompanied by a gruesome picture of a basement full of bodies and by graphic revelations from the authorities who tried to stop the serial killer.

First off - I really like this model. But boy, has it proved a pain! An excellent James van Schaik sculpt has caused me a couple of different problems for a common reason. The mini has a separate arm, which is where the sense of depth created by having the two arms pointing along different planes works well. On the downside the separate arm has dislodged itself once already after painting commenced, and also has meant it too me three attempts to adequately photograph it due to the variable points of focus.

Those issues aside (i.e. my own shortcomings) I love the mini. James van Schaik has done an excellent job, from the well-realised body-suit to the caduceus-inspired snake-motif helm (very Cobra and VIPER as well).

In game terms the model is well-placed to offer Support capability (healing through the Heal-Kill exclusive action as well as her Team Ability), and also ranged offensive capability.


You would probably call Howler the "early adopter" since when his mates just started appreciating the convenience of wearing clothing, using guns and explosives, Howler is truly enjoying life as it comes.

Crime is a disease. Meet the cure. The tag line for the 1986 Sylvester Stallone movie, Cobra, seems very fitting to apply to a mini sculpted with that movie character in mind. Howler was a mini that I wasn't too enamoured with when I first saw it, although I don't know why. When it came to painting it however, that all changed. I really enjoyed painting the model, and finished it quite quickly, basing the colour scheme on the classic 'Cobra' image.

In game play Howler offers good mobile fire support, which can be exploited by Hero or Villain teams. He can also offer battlefield control through two of his exclusive actions - Howls and Stare Down. At heart though, Howler remains a quintessential 80's action hero, which means he works best alone in some ways.

In my view this is a great fun sculpt by Paul Muller, that confounded my initial reservations, so much so that it is one of the most enjoyable models to paint that I can recall in years.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Comics: Red Circle - the Shield and the Web

I have been a tabletop miniatures gamer for probably circa 20-plus years, but before gaming, and for something like thirty years now, my main diversion was comic books, particularly American comic books, and among them the adventures of gaudy superheroes and supervillians.

I still read comic books regularly, although the volume is diminishing due to increasing dissatisfaction that the 'Big Two' publishers (DC and Marvel) are focused on hanging much of their output onto 'events', whereby something significant or potentially catastrophic is happening on a line-wide basis. In the past five years for DC, and seven my admission of their own marketing for Marvel, event has segued into event, meaning that the business of just telling good standalone stories has been overlooked in my opinion. This is what brings me to discussing two titles that are among those that I await most eagerly each month - The Shield (right) and The Web (below). Both titles launched out of a series of one-shots written by J. Michael Straczynski, reimagining old characters from a different publisher (Archie Comics) to fit in the wider DC Universe (DCU).

The Shield tells the story of Lt. Joe Higgins, US Army superhuman asset (he doesn't see himself as a superhero), whose father is missing, and who suffered injuries that were healed and compensated for by a bleeding edge technology nano-tech war suit. The Web features John Raymond, a playboy whose worthy brother is murdered by criminals, and so John invest in advanced technology to become a costumed crime-fighter. If you are thinking Batman, then this tale is a fantastic inversion of that, featuring a hero who makes understandable mistakes and tries to take short-cuts on his journey, learning lessons as he does so.

For me the two titles are refreshing as they are not burdened by the weight of the line-wide events, the downside is that sales have probably been hurt as a consequence, something that has been suggested by the architect behind their relaunch:

J. Michael Straczynski (from Newsarama interview): See, it's my view that a Big Event should be in service to the individual titles, not the other way around. In other words, the BE serves as something of a sampler platter for characters who you might not otherwise read. You read the BE, find Character X interesting, then go and check out his or her book. Now it seems like the tide flows the other way, with the titles bent in service to the Big Event in ways that may actually reduce accessibility to or interest in that character for new readers.

Both titles are early into their runs, with the ongoing monthly issues in the hands of other writers following the launch by JMS. Each has a second feature with one of the other characters from the line (the Shield is accompanied by Inferno - right - a kind of superpowered take on a mix of the Bourne Identity and the Fugitive; the Web is backed up by the Hangman - below - a supernatural avatar of justice empowered by forces that may be good or nefarious - he does not know which).

I really enjoy these books. They evoke for me the magic of comic books that I had from the early days of reading them, something very few titles do these days. They are not hamstrung by having to adapt to massive events elsewhere in the DCU, and each month they deliver good stories and art, which is all I ask for. There are four different stories being told, each with a different focus and tone.

The stories were launched with an interlinked series of one-shots under the banner Red Circle - a nod to the history of the precursors to these reimagined versions. Although not now under that banner formally, there is a strong sense of cohesion between the stories, not least that three of the authors (Eric Trautmann, Matt Sturges and Brandon Jerwa) are working closely together to make their stories and plans as entertaining as possibly. Of all the lead and second features the Web surprised me most as I probably had the lowest expectations of it going in, and so it wholly and unequivocally confounded those expectations - in the first four issues Angela Robinson crafted an engrossing and surprising, and ultimately refreshing read. I am posting about them just to share my enthusiasm for these titles. If you are a comic book fan, and possibly nostalgic for less event-driven stories, then you may be pleasantly surprised if you give them a try.

A Little Bit of History Repeating
This isn't DC Comics first foray with these characters. In the early 90's they had a short-lived line called !mpact Comics which was set outside the DCU, and featured different versions of the characters/concepts, again a reimagining of the source material.

The Red Circle characters were originally published by MLJ Comics (later called Archie after the success of that character) in the 1940's. In the late 1950's Archie tried some new heroes (the Fly and a new iteration of the Shield called Lancelot Strong). This was followed in the next few years by other new characters (the Jaguar, Fly-Girl), as well as the return of the 1940's heroes with a few changes along the way. In the mid 60's the characters featured for a short-lived period in some highly camp stories under the Mighty Comics banner.

The late 70's saw a few new tales and the use of the Red Circle label, and in the early 1980's the heroes came back under the Red Circle (later Archie Adventure), in a number of once-again short-lasting titles. !mpact followed after that, as well as at least one more aborted-before-it-began relaunch (Spectrum), and eventually Archie would publish a small handful of comic books featuring the characters in a quite disparate way. Cut to 2009 and DC's licensing and reimagining (for the second time) of the characters, and the launch of the DC Red Circle heroes and The Shield and The Web comic books.

Images copyright © DC Comics.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Team Building - The Pulp City Way

Players in Pulp City use 'teams' of miniatures of their own choosing, as long as those models (Supremes) are all Heroes or Villains, with each side representing one of those two factions in opposition.

Building a team can be a considered affair, and so here are a few thoughts on the subject. These are not hard and fast requirements, but things to maybe consider when putting together a team. Of course with the wealth of options in the game no discussion is exhaustive nor without caveats. And of course building a team can be just about picking the models that you like most, and there is nothing wrong with that either.

Putting aside the team assembled for aesthetics, and going for the considered approach, I feel there are four main areas to think about:

- Supreme Type
- Flexibility
- Allegiance and team synergies
- Origin

Supreme Type
'Type' here is shorthand for battlefield role. I can't claim to have conceived of these, instead they have developed amongst some of the Pulp City community and are reflected in the Minion creation rules. Type in this context is a label to think about how a model is used in games, but some models can cross over between types.
A way of thinking of types is as:
- Brawler: primarily melee combatants that need to close into base-to-base with enemies to be really effective; they will usually be characterised by decent STR and DEF, and STR trump trait or abilities designed around base-to-base engagement; with STR trump trait they can often throw scenery around as makeshift ranged attacks. Mobility becomes very important for these guys.
- Blaster: the ranged attackers, usually (but not always) less durable than Brawlers, they can range form sniper types to characters able to target many opponents with single actions.
- Support: their abilities are characterised by working to aid (sometimes healing) or boost/buff allies, or impede enemies to the benefit of team-mates.

Now, in thinking about these roles/types, there is no rigid or even 'best' way to incorporate these elements into a team, especially as some characters do well in more than one function (Guerilla makes a pretty effective Brawler/Blaster, and Solar perhaps more so; Iron Train is a Brawler with secondary Support capabilities; Sister Bedlam is a Blaster/Support and so on).

These labels come into play as a way of thinking about team composition. A fairly balanced mix of Brawlers and Blasters is a good starting point; too few ranged attacks against a mobile or ranged-heavy enemy team means potential tactical disadvantage. Too many Support Supremes and attack capability is greatly reduced in many ways, especially as some Supports (Trail for example) have no specific damaging actions. I'd favour a balance of Brawlers and Blasters, and more of each than Support as a starting point. In lower level games Support Supremes can be a costly investment, less so in larger (greater EL) games.

Synergy between the types is also something that comes into play: one example is using the Exclusive Actions of Trail to prep another model with held actions before transporting them using Blood Rose (usually best being a Brawler with good durability and some standalone capability like Six Feet Under) across the board to target enemy models.

Some models can fill multiple (usually binary) roles quite well, and so are very worthwhile utility inclusions in any team.

Following on from balance of Supreme types within a team is the issue of tactical and strategic flexibility. Pulp City can be played in a number of ways, either as straight up slugfest; games with agendas (objectives); or even as specific scenario encounters. Factor in that it is likely that precise formulation of the opposing team may not be known, and then a number of variables are in effect before play begins.

Strategic flexibility is about the meta-game - the decisions taken about team selection, Resource selection and any other such decisions. Tactical flexibility will involve the individual and synergistic actions of your team and Minions.

Flexibility may be seen in a number of ways. One is to have an adequate array of Supreme types as seen above. Another is to have a tactically flexible force, which can include Resource selection. In games where agendas are determined after deployment this becomes a vital factor.

Flexibility can be offered by choosing a good mix (adjusted to personal taste) of Supreme types. But it can be further enhanced by having variation within those types. Two models fulfilling similar roles (types) in similar ways offers a degree of redundancy. This can be useful if tactics are built around a specific model or models, but when teams only number a handful of Supremes usually, then it may be wasteful. Variation then is paramount - highly mobile Supremes can occupy objectives but may struggle to hold them, which is where durable Supremes are vital.

It may be worthwhile looking at having a mix of mobility and durability within each type (particularly Blasters and Brawlers, Supports are usually too varied and less in the thick of action to require this). Few models are both durable and mobile, and so having a balance is important.

Similarly models with ranged attacks may have potent short to medium range attacks or more limited (high AP cost or lower trait) longer range attacks. Too many high trait/potent attacks may allow an enemy to close more readily to your own models or to objectives. Too many limited attacks (Gentleman's Sniper Rifle shot taking an AP to reload is a good example due to his low AP allowance) is restrictive and therefore also inflexible, since while pot shots can be taken, they may be too infrequent or too costly to use as often as desired. Covering both options allows a greater range of responses to battlefield conditions (objectives) and enemy actions as well as in target selection - it is little good having long-range pea-shooters against highly durable targets or over killing weak enemies at high resource cost (this includes AP's).

Arguably the key with flexibility is having a mix of models able to withstand some damage where needed and other models able to move quickly to support allies or takes objectives (with agendas or scenarios), and a mix of attacks (good base-to-base; short-medium range high potency attacks; and longer range attacks), as well as adequate support to exploit the abilities you are fielding and keep you models in the game in terms of damage taken as well as actually contributing effectively.

The obvious answer to the above needs is to have models in a force that cover multiple types, or offer a degree of mobility and durability. However these models are usually not quite as capable or potent in their roles as more specialised alternatives and so are not necessarily the automatic answer.

Finally managing Resources is worth some thought - pick the best tools for the job. Think about how Minions are intended to be used and who you will use to Command them. Personal non-Minion Resources need to be allocated to the right Supreme. More often than not the exclusive Resources for most Supremes are pretty much must haves, which then may necessitate choices determined by play-style. However in picking the tools you may not know in advance what the 'job' (agendas selection) is. Therefore more defensive and recovery orientated Resources may be the way to go.

Allegiance and Team Synergies
Some models give bonuses to followers of a specific Allegiance (or indeed no Allegiance), so teams can be readily built around that factor. Models with the Merc/Mercenary skill are especially useful here since they are counted as being amongst the majority Allegiance.

At the present time Gentleman is the Supreme with this skill, but it means he can fill in a gap to gain a bonus such as that given by Dr. Mercury's Mercurial Matrix, as well as being able to fill-in the numbers to make a full EL 12 Heavy Metal team led by C.O.R.E.. The team exploits Gentleman to fill numbers (since there are not yet enough Heavy Metal models to field a full team), while Gentleman with his Sniper Rifle benefits through the game from Range 14 and potentially a single use of Deflect 1, making the Gentleman a hard to target fire base unit. Other options exist such as an unaligned villain team (at EL 12) built around Mysterious Man and employing Gentleman, but the synergies here are less obvious and relate more to resource management, which is nonetheless a key game-feature. Hopefully we will see more Mercs in the future to exploit this nifty skill.

Origin is also useful to think about for a couple of reasons. Some resources require certain origins to be employed. Some Agendas (in-game objectives) may focus on specific Origins, and some skills and abilities play to or against specific Origins also.

Another factor, which should not be over-valued, but nor discounted, is the resolution of tied opposed rolls. In this case the Origins triad is considered (Mystery beats Nature, Nature beats Science, Science beats Mystery). Given that so few Nature Supremes are in the range at present, they have a disproportionate value potentially, especially if used less numerously than Mystery or Science characters. This is because (assuming that fewer Nature Supremes are in play) Science is advantaged of Mystery base on proportionality of prevalence to a degree, yet not disadvantaged since there are fewer Nature Supremes. This is not a game-breaker, nor a game-winner, but it means Science Supremes can be favoured to a small degree, and both Nature and Science have a slight edge in value. But only very slight. However since such situations are comparatively infrequent, it is more of interest to understand the effect than to think too strategically about the matter.

In summary, a good team in terms of game-play should try to exploit the synergies between models (due to abilities), as well as complementing the array of abilities offered by individual Supremes. Some models are great in isolation, but a ‘weaker’ model (Gentleman is the classic example) can really benefit from synergy and allegiance boosts as well as offering good battle capability and enhancement elsewhere (his Minion buff), so raw individual power is not the only name of this (team-building) game

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Sgt. Bale Extreme - conversion (1)

I just thought I'd post a bit about a conversion I am going to start work on. It is a Pulp City mini, a copy of which (not converted) I have already started tentatively painting. But when a percolating idea met another inspiration from my main hobby buddy, then this idea was born.

I had seen Sgt. Bale converted to have a larger than equipped gun, which was an idea I liked a lot. The aforementioned gaming buddy (Rob - whose own blog can be found here: Four Colour Super Minis) had mentioned - over rather tasty sandwiches while out shopping - about using a flaming head from a Wyrd Miniatures basing and accessories pack on an unrelated conversion of his own.

Suddenly I had a eureka moment. Visualising at that moment the contents of the pack (I was pretty familiar with it) I thought the head and a couple of other pieces would nicely complement the Sgt. Bale model, as well as the planned conversion. Such was the birth of this mini project. Which means I am adding another mini to my Pulp City Painting Challenge log of models to get finished before the end of the year.

The components are:
- Sgt. Bale
- parts (flaming skull head, base insert, flame piece) from the Wyrd miniatures Flame Base & Accessories pack
- a RAFM USX Modern M4-type gun (yes they weren't in use until years after the Pulp City setting of the 1980's, but I think it looks cool!)

Ready-to-play Shipping Containers

I ordered these ISO shipping container models from TableScape recently. They come in a pack of three and are ready-painted, which is a good thing for gamers like me with limited time for various activities. The packs come with all three colours of containers as standard. I only bought one pack initially as I didn't have any concept of scale or size, so I have included an image alongside a couple of minis to give some reference.

Having handled them they need a little paint touch up, but that will be just a few minutes work, so on balance I am pleased with the purchase, and will buy more. They are made from some kind of foam I think, so are very light-weight. Dimensions are 112mm (w) 52mm (h) 50mm (d).

In games I can foresee them serving two purposes, both to block line of sight as well as being something to throw around the battlefield. I can imagine them around a docks area, or around a warehouse or factory.


Malicious, vulnerable to his own unstable mutations, he may be a goofy little mutant reject, but he can kick some hero butt too.

The first and only model I have painted this year - my self-imposed painting challenge isn't going as quickly as hoped! I just wanted to get something done and couldn't spray up anything new due to recent snow. In addition I had ground to a halt painting two big models, so wanted to finish something. In hindsight I may touch up a few places before varnishing, but I find the outcome at least to be fairly agreeable.

Sculpted by James van Schaik, this is a tiny little model, which may not be wholly obvious at first, so I wanted a base that raised him up a tad. A fun little model that I look forward to suing in games.


One of the cool things about the Pulp City game in my opinion, is that the rules are very accessible - they are available for free as download, and I understand that they will remain so even when the printed rulebook emerges (presumably sans fluff and hobby materials that the printed book will have).

In this there have been efforts in the past few months to develop a set of rules allowing creation of Minions (henchmen resources basically), called BOOM from 'Build Our Own Minions'.

The BOOM rules are still undergoing development, the process of which is open to feedback and thoughts from interested gamers. Check out early and later posts in this thread in particular from the Pulp City forum/message board (the thread as a whole is worth a read, if only to mine for ideas).

You may have noticed that I have created game-stats for some BOOM resources, which of course may need adjusting as things progress, which is no bad thing - as it means the voices of those willing to get involved can be heard, which feels pretty good to this gamer. That more companies are listening to their consumers in terms of game play, using communication technology to their advantage in getting feedback (message boards for example) shows a commitment in my mind that not all such manufacturers recognise as being necessary. I think some larger companies could learn from smaller companies like Pulp Monsters, as well as the not-so-small entities employing such approaches.


Welcome to the latest follower of the blog - Andrath. Nice to have you aboard.

I continue to hope that in charting my efforts and travails with the Pulp City game and anything that comes to mind tangentially, that anyone who visits this blog will find something that hopefully sparks an idea somewhere.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

High Tech Assassin - Minion

I picked this model up a while ago and painted it probably last year or the year before. It was rebased (for the better - trust me) after I started looking at broadening my options to make use of the BOOM rules for creating Minions in Pulp City games.

The model is a Yu Jing Ninja from the Infinity game and range by Corvus Belli. I don't play Infinity, but have heard good things about it. All the Infinity minis I have picked up have been for other games, so this was always intended by me for use in contemporary superhero games. The model has gone by the codename Manticore when used previously. It also forms the basis of a conversion I have built and am waiting to finish painting.

High Tech Ninja

Level 2 Brawler
Damage: 3

Abilities and Skills:
Deadly Rush, Blend 2, Hurl Weapon, Solo, Skilled, Surprise Stab, Under Strength

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Black Hat Superheroes - Minions

This model is from the Mutants and Madmen range from Black Hat Miniatures. The line features a selection of pretty nice generic superhero and supervillain miniatures, as well as some henchmen and Minion types, but the civilians are over-sized in my view, and so the range is quite variable as a whole. I painted the model some time ago, using a colour scheme vaguely influenced by a Doom Patrol character called Mento (who used a helmet giving him mental powers) - the colours are switched around from how they appeared there, but that was my inspiration. I photographed it after rebasing it to match the Pulp City minis I had been doing. I plan to use the model as a Minion.


Level 1 Support
Damage: 3

Abilities and Skills:
Protectors (Hero) or Anarchists (Villain), Shield Generator, Smoke Cloud, Survival 1, Target Acquired, Under Strength

I envision the various abilities as applications of psychic powers. The model could become a Level 2 Minion, maybe adding +1 DEF, +2 ENG and 2 damage points, or other upgrades as desired.

This one was painted to simply look like some kind of sludge or muck monster. Comics have a long history of such characters and more famous muck monsters have been DC's Swamp Thing and Marvel's Man-Thing, both preceded by a number of decades by the Heap, in turn possibly inspired by another source (a short story by Theodore sturgeon, "It").

Sludge Monster

Level 1 Brawler
Damage: 3

Abilities and Skills:
Deadly Rush, Deflect 1, Slow(*), Solo, Survival 1, Under Strength

Slow* is not in the current iteration of the BOOM rules, but a look through the thread identified in an earlier post will lead to a description of the skill. It basically reduces movement by 1".


If Danny Ortega is to be called ever a victim, he is a victim of fashion and trends.

One of the earliest Pulp City sculpts, the Gentleman is available in two versions: this two-gun version and a sniper re-sculpt.

The Gentleman offers good fire support but cannot stand up to concerted attack. He benefits from two very useful skills - Greed (allowing him to be used by Hero teams; and pretty cheap to do so in my view) and Merc/Mercenary (which means he counts as being of the majority Allegiance represented in the team with all of the attendant bonuses; great for building teams that can exploit Allegiance-related buffs and bonuses).

The inspiration for the colour scheme was the 'Tarantino' gangster look from Resevoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, using dark greys and GW Badab Black washes. I have started one sniper in a cream suit as contrast and will probbaly do a second sniper to match this first Gentleman. The head beneath his foot I have assumed to be something Ulthar-related.

I plan to use the two-gun version as the basis for a conversion alter this year.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Other Minis - Minions

Here are a couple of other minis I am planning to use in some future Pulp City games, but that I chose to base in a fairly neutral manner that should (hopefully!) fit in with the bases I have done for Pulp City without looking out of place elsewhere.

There are currently some Beta-test rules that allow players to create their own Minions, so that is what I have used to create stats for these guys (follow this link to the forum page with the current rules). The create your own rules have been nicknamed BOOM (Build Our Own Minions), the nick-naming of which I may be guilty for...

Ice Golem

Level 2 Brawler
Damage: 6
Abilities and Skills:
Deadly Rush, Fury 1, Big, Nonliving, Solo, Strong Creature, Survival 1, Under Strength

It could be a companion to a Mystery Supreme or a fiendish creation of the Mysterious Man. The model is from the Malifaux range by Wyrd Miniatures, and the painting was a quick and cheerful drybrush with minimal highlighting and small amount of wash. Not brilliant, but acceptable for the tabletop for me at any rate.


Level 2 Brawler
Damage: 6
Abilities and Skills:
Deadly Rush, Big, Fury 1, Hurl Weapon, Solo, Survival 1, Under Strength

Most likely a creation of the Mysterious Man or an underling of the Forgotten (especially Hellsmith). The model is by Reaper Miniatures from their Warlord range, with the simple conversion of removing the weapon that it had. It was painted a couple of years ago and rebased when the BOOM rules emerged.

More Street Furniture/Scenery

Here are a few painted up example of stuff I use in games which can be picked up and thrown as well as being used as cover. There are also links to sellers.

This dumpster is from Old Crow Models as part of the Ainsty range that Old Crow acquired. It isn't currently listed in the catalogue, but you can always contact Old Crow by email and Jez should reply within a couple of working days. For those who may be curious, the dimensions are (h) 36mm (w) 40mm (d) 28mm.

These vending machines are also Old Crow/Ainsty, under the Vacant Lot section (codes 5922 and 5923). I didn't trust myself to do freehand logos so they are a little blank for the time being.

It may not be apparent immediately, but the green fronted machine is bow-fronted (2 in a pack, code 5923); (h) 32mm (w) 19mm (d) 13mm. The other two - red and blue - are flat-fronted (2 in a pack, code 5922); (h) 33mm (w) 19mm (d) 15mm. The Old Crow stuff is generally well cast with often little cleaning of mould lines etc, so I am always happy to buy from them.

These crates are just simple resin pieces (with separate lids for the larger ones) from Atenociti's Workshop, an online retailer focused on offering all sorts of scenery bits. The crates may look old fashioned for an 80's set game, but they offer something quick and easy to both place on the table for a modicum of cover as well as improvised missiles for Supremes able to throw stuff around. The small crates are (h) 14mm (w) 14mm (d) 14mm, the large are (h) 19mm (w) 20mm (d) 20mm. There is no detailing on one facing (the 'bottom').

Blood Rose

Blood Rose is an alien from a collapsed astral reality, that has hidden amongst the humans for a couple of centuries.

Sculpted by James van Schaik, Blood Rose is the Blood Watch's healer and teleporter, and she brings many intriguing options to the battlefield. In this regard she very much occupies a slot on a team as a 'Support' model. In this regard there are no official designations as such, but rather most Supremes can be categorised as Brawler (close combat), Blaster (ranged attack) and support (healing and boosting/buffing other models). Of course some models transcend such categorisation, straddling more than one area of expertise, but it is a potentially useful tool to look at team construction. In Blood Rose's case she is very support-focused, which means she opens up some devastating tactics. Combine her with Trail and Six Feet Under to land the latter amid the enemy (having been already buffed by Trail's actions) and possibly able to take down a foe in one round. Not my tactic, but potentially very destructive, so kudos to the mastermind who came up with it.

As for painting Blood Rose, I found the mini really hard to tackle, more so than I originally expected. As a consequence I am not satisfied with the robes and especially the roses, and so will certainly want to do another at some point. I realise I am saying that a lot, and that may be the theme for my personal challenge in 2011...

Monday, 11 January 2010

Dr. Mercury

Dr. Mercury is a Heavy Metal Supreme able to shift forms and shape his body into weapons.

Sculpted by Jarek Smolka, Dr. Mercury is in some ways a 'utility' character, able to offer a variety of talents as well as crucially supporting Heavy Metal supremes through his exclusive resource. He is primarily suited to close combat or a support role, but in the latter he will use up precious Action Points. Interestingly the character was inspired by a contact known Pulp Monsters/Pulp City's mastermind and chief architect, who in turn felt that the creation known as Dr. Mercury would be a perfect fit for the game.

The character by virtue of his background is intended to be made of living metal. Planning for use in another game (more on that one day...), I decided to paint the first Dr. Mercury I did as a kind of 'living darkness' - well that was the intention anyway. It probably did not work quite as well as I hoped, so I will try again some day.

Paper Terrain (papercraft scenery) 2

A couple or more extra links on the subject to add to those from the earlier post.

Miniature Wargaming - this link goes to a list of over 250 links to various papercraft options. Somelinks are dead though, and some I have already sourced in the previous post. That said, I thought that it worth looking closely at the links since there is no particular order to them. Happy hunting. - another collection of links. Probably a lower yield of useful stuff than from Miniature Wargaming's vast array, but that depends on tastes. Again some links are dead, but the site is worth a look if interested.

CG Textures - for those wanting to try their hand at creating their own paper terrain, this link has masses of differnt textures to use for free. Their are also some tutorials about using the textures to create or achieve different effects with various software.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Ultimates - volume 1

One of my favourite comic book series of the past 10 years, and likely amongst my current all-time favourites list are the 26 issues of the first 2 volumes of the Ultimates. I plan to offer a few thoughts on volume 1 here.

In 2000 Marvel launched the Ultimate Universe, a reinvention of many of their most popular (and eventually less-stellar) superhero and supervillain characters in new titles that were started from scratch, without the weight of continuity and back-story that hampered the main Marvel Universe titles. Of course after 10 years of the Ultimate Universe it now has its own fair share of weighty continuity, but more on that at another time possibly.

Beset by delays through the course of publication of volume 1, the reputation of artist Bryan Hitch was hurt by his own admission in some ways, yet very much positively cemented by the quality of the work he turned out. Like it or otherwise however, without Mark Millar's writing the book would surely not be what it is - a solidly-conceived contemporising of the Avengers (Marvel's premier super-team of headline characters, that was surpassed in popularity and so overshadowed in the 70's and 80's by the X-Men). This update and modernisation of concepts changed some of the trappings associated with each hero, whilst they remained fairly recognisable. Millar went a step further however, by tying in themes that are recognisable to contemporary news-watchers, making a heady mix of updated scientific ideas around the heroes as well as adding a strong political dimension.

The first issue (of 13) that I picked up was issue 7. I was intrigued. However it was the next issue that really grabbed me. Opening with what I can only describe as a very much Matrix-influenced set-up as two super-able characters walk calmly into a target building, we are treated to a level of action I feel few comic books have managed to equal, let alone better. Given the medium has no real budgetary constraints in terms of depicting action, very few artists achieve a depiction that could be likened to 'cinematic', but Hitch did exactly that in issue 8. Frank Miller and Alan Moore have highlighted that comics are their own medium, capable of things that film is not, yet that does not mean that comics cannot benefit from trying what can be done in a movie, and I felt that one issue delivered a breath-taking level of action that few comics ever achieve. I can only put that down to the sense of 'realism' (well as realistic as these things get) that Bryan Hitch provided, while Mark Millar was able to devise a genuinely thrilling sequence of events, even if as noted the shadow of the Matrix looms large in many ways, at least in my view it does.

Ultimates volume 1 is very much a tale of two stories. The first (Super-Human) deals with the creation of the Ultimates team (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man, the Wasp and the Hulk, organised by a Nick Fury drawn like Samuel L. Jackson) and their use to deal with a threat from within. It very much addresses the notion of power accorded to recognisably human and imperfect people. The second arc (Homeland Security) adds new heroes (Hawkeye and Black Widow particularly) and gives a whole new level of threat as various forces work against the Ultimates from their past and also from elsewhere, updating a staple Marvel alien race in the process.

I loved all 13 issues of volume 1, and recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone who likes big action with a dash or more of politics in their super-heroic fiction. The art is gorgeous, and the writing shows that the title had specific designs in the mind of Mark Millar. Some have criticised the changes he made, or indeed the depth of his work, however I feel that such criticisms miss the point that I feel he intended - writing a comics blockbuster, something comparable to a movie in terms of high-concept, beats and execution. I loved it. Luckily for me, there was more to come in volume 2.


The latest 'welcome' goes out to Darth Tater (great web-name, by the way), who has joined the blog followers. I hope I can offer some reward through at least the odd item or post of interest.

I have come to start to know Darth Tater via a couple of fora I frequent. This makes me think about the types of fora I enjoy, which could be the basis for a post at some point in the future. Once again welcome, and the more the merrier.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

New Minis in the Post

I received a package this morning that I have been looking forwrds to with a strong degree of eagerness (as alluded to in a previous post). Inside were the two latest releases (Mysterious Man and his little critter-mutant helper Xenobi, and C.O.R.E. and Nuclear Jones of the Heavy Metal team).

Mysterious Man (sometimes called Hooded Man) and C.O.R.E. are both Level 3 Supremes meaning only games of Encounter Level 12 and above (therefore at least 7 minis-plus per team) can field them. The Level 3 Supremes really influence the way you may want to want to construct a team as each offers boosts to certain Supremes or allegiances (or even to those without any allegiance).

I am looking forwards to painting these, and Xenobi will probably be first as he should be quick to do and so should get me ahead with my painting schedule. He may even be assembled and finished before Hellsmith and Six Feet Under at the rate I am getting on with them, just to help me feel something is 'done'.

In the package was a currently limited availablity mini cast in resin - June Summers, plucky TV news reporter. I'll try to get her done soon.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Ancible - magazine

I picked up issue 1 of this new science fiction and fantasy tabletop gaming magzine a few weeks ago and found it a diverting, enjoyable and generally well-constructed read.

The Ancible is an independent gaming magazine aimed at the tabletop miniatures gamer, something which has been sorely lacking for a long time I feel. The first issue does a good job of offering overviews of some tabletop miniatures games. These kind of overviews are the kind of thing I enjoy reading, so I was pleased to see them included.

As the magazine develops and matures, I imagine design and content will change over time, so it will be interesting to see where it goes in terms of direction. The audience represents a broad church of gamers and hobbyists with tremendously varied backgrounds in terms of tastes and experiences, so pitching the magazine to a sufficiently large readership may be tricky - I hope they have every success in this regard.

I have picked up a subscription, having finally dropped my White Dwarf subscription after many years, and recommend the magazine on the basis of that first issue.

2010 - the year ahead

I am looking forwards to getting my teeth into my self-appointed painting challenge. Work has kept me busy in the past week or so, which has meant that I have painted for a few days - my two current Pulp City painting projects remain in varying states of (un)completion, but I'll be pleased to get them done.

As the next couple of months are likely to have other diversions as I have mentioned in another post, I will probably target painting some of the 'easier to finish' models that I have outstanding.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...