Thursday, 29 July 2010

July Painting Summary

Not a good month. In fact a month of painting frustration more than anything. I finished Gentleman Sniper and did Twilight pretty quickly (for me - it is all relative!), and did some work on Iron Train, but put him to one side as I am still struggling to get to grips with NMM.

So I started on four Necro GI's (two spare for when they convert hapless Citizens etc.), I thought I'd try and employ the approach that allowed me to finish the Sentry Bots fairly quickly, yet this time things have just not worked well. The Necro GI's have taken me most of the last week or so in terms of any painting time, and a lot of that is covering mistakes, covering stuff I am unhappy with and worst still touching up after dropping them, knocking them over - you name it, if it can be done to chip the paint I have done it with these four. So clumsiness has played a part in limiting my painting progress, but there have been a couple of diversions as well.

On the writing front I have finally finished up an interview I conducted with Maciej (of Pulp Monsters) a few months ago, and so hope that will be available somewhere soon. I have been doing some other writing-related 'work' as well, making a small contribution to something that will be visible sometime around August-September; more on that closer to the time.

Anyway, here is hoping for a better month next month, and finally finishing these Necro GI's...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

JLA - Grant Morrison's Tenure (an era of big superheroics)

I love that Grant Morrison works in comics. I consider myself a fan of his, not a completest, but a fan nonetheless. In saying that, I don't agree with all of his storytelling choices, or that everything he does is great or even 'just' good, but instead that when he hits a note that resonates with me, it is in a way that I think is brilliant. I'd include work of his like Zenith and currently Batman & Robin. And especially a book like JLA that he tackled in the late 90's.

Morrison oversaw the relaunch of DC's premier super-team - the Justice League of America - when re-launched in 1997. The concept had been altered and watered down in the preceding decade and a half, first jettisoning the 'big guns' - Superman, Batman (for a while), Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman etc. - then seeing a whole new direction with comedic overtones during the mid to late 80's. Morrison chose to reinvigorate the concept by returning to a 'big 7' line-up based on the original incarnation from 35 or so years earlier: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, J'Onn J'Onzz - the Martian Manhunter, and Aquaman. Not precisely the same characters, or the same as they had been characterised during the inception of the JLA, they represented the modern representation of that original incarnation. Primarily aided by Howard Porter and John Dell amongst others, Morrison made a decision to go back to basics and use that as a building block for big ideas. And it worked.

This JLA series covered the spectrum of big ideas, while trying to faithfully represent the core characters. The ideas covered everything from Earth-shattering threats, alien invasions, renegade angels, all manner of metaphysics, time travel, to multi-dimensional perceptions, military-political machinations, an enraged Earth, silver age-inspired silliness, as well as the more perfunctory alliance of villains plot. The great thing is that Grant Morrison tackled these concepts with verve and aplomb, and would do so over, 1 to 2 or 3 or however many issues he needed, making a dense read. Compared to many overly decompressed comics of the past decade, JLA today reads like the biggest comic book blockbuster brimming with ideas and a sense of purpose. It leaves many other modern books in its wake. Porter is not my favourite artist by any stretch, yet his style suited this era of big superheroics. The overall package they delivered creatively was and remains a great one in my view - a high watermark in mainstream superhero comics.

I have recently re-read much of the run through the JLA Deluxe collections (see pictures right for volumes 1 to 3), and highly recommend them to any superhero fan.

Characters and images are © 2010 DC Comics.

Friday, 23 July 2010

BOOM - Mentalist

While I continue to paint my remaining Pulp City minis (Twilight was finished yesterday; Necro GI's have had some more work today; Iron Train has some shading and highlighting done; C.O.R.E. has his main base colour; only 9 models currently remaining to paint), I thought I'd post another BOOM creation, this time with two cards to represent both Hero and Villain options.

[Click on card images for larger versions]
The Mentalist is intended to be a low-level psionic. I worked him up as a Support Minion, based on a model from Black Hat's Mutants and Madmen line. The mini was painted some time ago and re-based last year to be in-keeping with my Pulp City minis - something I will likely do again for a lot of models soon. Well soon-ish. To be honest I have a mountain of minis that I would like to re-base, but tackling that goal seems very daunting as a consequence of sheer volume.

[Click on card images for larger versions]
There are are two variations of this Minion as noted, one hero and Villain. The specific difference is that Support Minions have a differing specific ability depending on Faction. The other abilities are supposed to convey a minor telekinetic shield (Shield Generator), telekinetically enhanced movement (Levitation) and ESP (Target Acquired).

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


The blog has another new Follower, this time bladelord123 who is also following the excellent 'Pulp City Planet'. As always i am very pleased to have someone else join the blog, so a big thank you.

Bits and pieces this week. Work continues on Twilight. Yesterday I splashed a base colour onto 4 Necro G.I.'s. Iron Train has most of his base colours blocked out and shading and highlighting begun on the predominant colour. Hopefully by Monday there will be some newly painted Supremes and maybe Minions to see.

Custom Cards - Take Two

Regular visitors may remember my disappointment when I received my first attempt at my own custom Resource cards recently. Undeterred, I tried again this time with ArtsCow. The difference in the two can be readily seen in the picture (picture right; ArtsCow deck is to the left, CustomStuff deck to the right).

Now I have ordered from ArtsCow ( previously, which is what inspired this little project. Larkin Vain, a fellow Pulp City enthusiast, and a moderator/member of the Pulp City Forum, made some cards of his own some time ago and I got a set of those. That in turn inspired me to create this deck for my own gaming.

With the various Minions I have created, I thought it was high time I made my own cards, and you have been seeing the fruits of that labour under the BOOM tag. So this deck has a number of my home brew Minions (using the BOOM rules), as well some other...stuff.

I can highly recommend ArtsCow, and thanks to some kind of offer/discount, I only paid shipping on this deck.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Then & Now (Photography)...

As I mentioned recently I have changed my photographic/lighting set-up recently. This has followed on from having to get a new digital camera this year (a unrelated issue, really). Of course it means getting used to a new set-up and hopefully sharpening my limited skills.

The upshot is that I am still getting used to the changes I am making, in terms of camera and subject positioning, backdrop (I prefer the new blue one), picture quality etc.

To that end I thought a quick sample of how I have hopefully made some improvement and progress may be of a little interest. These are the four stages of change in my miniatures photography, handliy having shot pictures of the same mini (Mourn) during each phase of my development.

PICTURE 1 (TOP): current set-up (yes not as well focused as I would like). Now using a small light tent type thing with two extra lamps with daylight bulbs point unfiltered into the subject area. I probably need at least one more daylight bulb in there.

PICTURE 2: the backdrop was actually pale-blue but usually showed up as off-white which I didn't like. Using daylight bulbs by this time.

PICTURE 3 (RIGHT): early set-up 'formula' - normal lamps (2x 40 W and 1x 60W I think), and the same backdrop as above (the subsequent set-up); the pictures were very yellow which required some manipulation using Picture Manager (for ease).

PICTURE 4 (BOTTOM): one of my earliest pictures; no use of macro function, no tripod, use of the flash rather than lamps! Oh dear! Here enthusiasm exceeded knowledge, understanding or experience, and so the fruit of my eagerness was this.

Monday, 19 July 2010

BOOM - Minotaur

This mini was finished long before I took up dice and brushes to play and paint in Pulp City in earnest. This Minotaur mini was originally based to accompany my extensive and somewhat eclectic mix of generic supers themed minis. When the BOOM rules came around, allowing players to make up their own Minions, then it seemed obvious to re-base the big fella.

Now even though my mocked-up card for the Minotaur indicates it can be either a Hero or Villain Minion, it seems most fitting as the latter. Furthermore, I can primarily see the Minotaur as some kind of follower of the Forgotten, since that Sub-Faction owes its origins to the classical Greek myths, which is where tabletop Minotaurs owe their lineage to also, of course.

As is the case with many of my BOOM creations the Minotaur has Solo, becoming a Character Minion. Add in Fury 1 and Deadly Rush and this is a Minion designed to be fairly effective in Close Combat. I envisage its Hurl Weapon Action as being objects picked up and thrown. It is tough like the Giant Ice Golem, but the Minotaur is nonetheless a bit faster on its feet since it doesn't have Slow.

The mini is from the Reaper Warlord line, simply with a weapon removed.


I am always pleased to post another 'welcome' - especially is it means someone reading this gets some benefit from doing so, which I hope is the case.

I guess that theitalainoak is a fan of minis sites, and so hope to have some newly finished stuff to show off in the next week or so. So thank you for joining up.

I have recently finished Gentleman Sniper (yet to be photographed), and have been doing more work on Iron Train. Work has stagnated on Chronin, but on the plus side I have been hitting Twilight with the hairy stick much sooner than anticipated.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Mini Update

Just one completed mini so far in July; however I am off work for 8 days from next week so I expect that to turn around fairly soon. In addition the following have all had a few slaps with the hairy sticks and some paint applied:

- Chronin
- Iron Train
- C.O.R.E.

All Heavy Metal oddly enough. I'll try and get some base colours on a few more next week.

In the mean-time I have finished Gentleman with sniper rifle (a variant of the two-gun Gentleman). I am not wholly satisfied with the end result, mainly because in painting it I realised that I had not cleaned the mini up fully, leaving some pitting/roughness on the right side of the face of the mini. On the plus side there are a couple of bits of highlighting that came out well (but others that didn't). At least it is done and I have another copy of the mini that I can tackle at a later date.

I am looking forwards to seeing some new releases, hopefully soon. I think I have been under-motivated on the challenge due to lack of new Pulp City stuff in the past two and half months. I think some new minis will kick-start extra enthusiasm for painting which will see increased painting productivity.


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Tactica: Dead Eye

NAME: Dead Eye
SUBFACTION: unaligned heroes at EL 12+
FUNCTION: team-builder in larger games.

BRIEF: Dead Eye is one part beat-stick, one part galvanizing leader and one part forward observer; he is tough and durable and great fun to play. The Supreme Quarterback, both literally and metaphorically. Of course he is all about the big games, only appearing at EL 12+. Because of that he brings some limits despite the fact that he will be opening up a special Team Power.

POWERS: Dead Eye has only a couple of skills; both are useful in their own right, lending themselves to Dead Eye moving to engage his foes more directly and being at the centre of the action – like any good quarterback. His actions on the other hand, are where he excels. Due to the multiple modes for Dead Eye Pass and Field Tactics, Dead Eye has 7 choices of exclusive actions (but these are limited to only 1 of the Dead Eye Passes and 1 Field Tactics being used in a given round, of course). Certain of Dead Eye’s actions (Cyberfist, Field Tactics: Coach, Target) really work best and most efficiently when used early in the round, either in his first activation, or better yet if he is the first of your models activated.

In the right circumstances Cyberfist* is truly devastating. At AP 2 the cost-investment is always better paid up-front to maximize use of Dead Eye’s 3 Strikes available per round. Against fairly clustered foes (i.e. within Dead Eye’s Charge range), Dead Eye could theoretically Charge 3 different targets in the same round, circumstances permitting. In that case play the odds – a basic Cyberfist Charge Strike against a target eligible for the Power-Up is going to yield a result of between 10 and 17, with the mean result of 13-14 (13.5). Certain L1’s can be vulnerable to being taken out in a single blow, especially if already weakened. Look for synergies, and with luck Dead Eye could seriously dent or take down 3 models in a single round. To make maximum and most efficient use of Cyberfist look to make 2 Strikes minimum in the round.

Dead Eye Pass has 2 modes. Low Pass is great, and is arguably most useful against models lacking the ability to Get Up* without it counting against limits of Movement Actions/AP Pool. Use it to keep an enemy in place for Dead Eye or his allies to close on them. High Pass will be used less often by virtue of handing on a Burdening objective.

Field Tactics offers 3 great choices. Like Cyberfist, timing is key. Sprint* moves need to place friendly models in useful positions without compromising them or leaving them vulnerable. Pointless moves mean Sprint arguably can be a waste of AP; use judiciously. Coach* requires the models benefitting to be reasonably close to Dead Eye, however at AP 1 it is a dirt-cheap option, especially as it lasts through the round. Consider using it early in the round to maximize benefits – models passing within 7” of Dead Eye can then use the movement boost accordingly (especially for Charges). Turtle* offers a useful protection buff to models that can get into base to base – the downside being that suddenly the enemy has a nice cluster of targets for Blasts, Rays and Self-Blasts; basically the cons could outweigh the pro of gaining Invincible 1. I tend to favor Sprint the most, probably followed by Coach.

Target* is a nice and simple ability. Use to concentrate on and take down a durable foe. Use early in the round to maximize benefit for the greatest number of allied models. Consider combining with Low Pass or Strike depending on the circumstances. If considering the better of Cyberfist or Target against the model to be taken down, then think whether you want a team effort (saving Dead Eye’s AP allowance for other activations) or whether the big guy can do the job alone. Consider Power-Up synergies for friendly models benefitting from attacking the model affected by Target.

Finally don’t forget Dead Eye’s Final Game Resource. If used right (and it has a great range of 14”), it can really inconvenience your opponent, for example: dropping a Burden (maybe an objective); moving a model away from a position where it can utilize Blend; moving a model away from cover; moving a model into potential LOS of a team-mate of Dead Eye.

Local Patriot isn’t too limiting (at present), yet will offer considerable benefit when the Ulthar are finally unleashed.

My City really helps his team by extending the deployment zone. Perhaps more importantly Heroic Call is a brilliant freebie. While the Adrenaline Boost is nice for the team-wide healing, Battlefield Control can really play on Dead Eye’s other abilities. Consider using Battlefield Control to maneuver Dead Eye into an attack position (Move* and Strike) and move 2 other models, then following up Dead Eye’s activation with that of another attacking model. That model can either Move* again and attack (assuming sufficient Movement Actions available), or attack then Move* to get away from threats (basically a hit and run attack). There should be lots of options that work well, especially those where in an ideal world you would like to combine 2 actions but also need to Move* first to get the option to do so. For example when out of Charge* range of a suitable target, but only by an amount less than 4” (the first ‘free’ Move*). Alternatively use Battlefield Control with Low Pass (perhaps combined with Target) to make an enemy prone and more vulnerable to a follow-up attack by one of Dead Eye’s friends: if charging the friendly model will be at +2 (plus any other bonuses they can manage) and the target at -2 (for being prone) which is effectively a net +4 bonus; Power-Up to add to the result and a devastating attack can result, especially if the action used has any extra effect beyond simple damage (think how this could work with Harrier’s Rake ability to probably/possibly wipe out the AP allowance of the target; or with Stoner Hawk’s Rumble ability to Knock Down multiple models).

Vigilantes - they are not exclusive to Dead Eye, but really come into their own alongside him; so if using Dead Eye, then don't leave home without them is my advice. With him they add to your AP Pool and spread your Activation options, while being amongst the most formidable of Minions out there - all good.

WEAKNESSES: Dead Eye has few, if any, major weaknesses. However, even though two of the defensive Traits are his Trumps, he is comparatively weaker against most ENERGY attacks due to his AGILITY not being trumped. That said, Dead Eye has decent Damage points and his AGILITY is still good. Unlike some other Level 3’s he doesn’t come with a suite of Personal Resources equal to his level, and he has only a couple of skills: thus as a character he is tough, but as a Level 3 option he has his limitations in terms of breadth of capability when compared to other L3’s. Finally, his Heroes Team Power is limited by the Supremes that qualify: all Supremes have to have no Allegiance/Subfaction otherwise none benefit from this ability. As more models become available (like the forthcoming Jade Hawk & Skyline), the restriction actually lessens.

SYNERGIES: as a level 3, and by virtue of most of his actions, Dead Eye is all about team-building. L3’s shape the way a team is formed to benefit from the extra buffs that accompany their L3 Team Power. The current options are 3 of – (L1’s) Kitty Cheshire (due to Freelancer), Vector, Acorn, Harrier, Gentleman (using Greed); and 3 of – (L2’s) Father Oak, Stoner Hawk, Solar, Ace of Wraiths, Trail. Also don’t overlook the major boost Vigilantes gain and give: they add 4 AP for a full card (at the cost of losing the Minion cost-break on Strike and Move*; as well as needing to activate as Supremes), and are low-power L1 Supremes without counting against your Supreme limit for Team Selection. Their pros far outweigh the only real cons in my view.
In regard to team selection, then specific further synergies between team members is very much worth considering (e.g. if taking Acorn and/or Father Oak, then they do work better in tandem). Field Tactics: Sprint* can be useful for characters who you want to Move* but when you wish to reserve their AP allowance, perhaps if it is limited (Vector) or you wish to keep AP’s aside for Power Ups; similarly Coach* sets up a zone of movement buff. Field Tactics: Coach can work well to boost more free-moving characters such as Harrier, Vector and Solar. All Field Tactics are about buffs to the team, as is Target*. The buffs are pretty universal so work well with pretty much most character selections. And as noted Low Pass can set up Stoner Hawk’s Rumble buff.

BOOM - Giant Ice Golem

Continuing the BOOM line.

I picture the Giant Ice Golem as the product of arcane rites; raised either by Heroes to stand firm against Villainy or by Villains to aid their diabolical machinations. Therefore I can see the Giant Ice Golem being used in a Team with at least a couple of Mystery Supremes.

The mini is one of the excellent Malifaux line from Wyrd Miniatures. The paint-job was a quick and dirty combo of dry brush and minimal washes. Not the most stunning of work, but adequate and effective for the tabletop.

The Giant Ice Golem can operate independently as a Character Minion (Solo), and has limited ranged capability (I envisage it showering a target with shards of ice - using Hurl Weapon), and can even be used for moving objectives around - keeping precious AP Allowances freed up for your Supremes.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


The latest welcome goes to Bob (CPBelt) Waller. I am always glad to see new additions to the list, and as ever I hope that anyone following the blog finds something diverting or even useful to read.

Bob's own blog - League of Ordinary Gamers - looks to be pretty eclectic on the miniatures front (link here) - so I know I will certainly be checking it out.

June Summers - And The Winner Is...

So, despite the best efforts of my valiant independent judging panel (Beermonkey, Varagon and John S. - all Heralds from the Pulp City Forum; thanks so very much guys, I really appreciate your help!), I was left with an evenly tied result. This meant calling in a special extra judge to break the tie.

So I asked Maciej, the creator and driving force behind Pulp City for his favourite, and this was his verdict:

"I like the Wong’s Emporium the best ;)
Seems almost like a location I would come up with!"

Maciej came up with his decision based on the favoured results of the judges. The winning entry he selected is by Rob Bresnen, a Follower of the blog and more pertinently my main gaming buddy, which is why the entries were judged blind.

Congratulations to Rob (your figure will be with you soon), and thanks to those who entered - a bit of fun for me and a way of getting a mini that is not currently widely available to be 'out there'. Thanks again to those who entered.

For those who are interested this is a pdf download of the entries (here) and this is the winner:

Rob Bresnen

Doctor Wong’s Emporium (A Pulp City Location)

The uninitiated are unlikely to ever find Doctor Wong’s store. It is not in any Pulp City directory, and has no web site. There is no advertising except for a small cardboard sign pinned to a faded blue door, at the top of a staircase, over a Chinese takeaway. The sign is written in a very neat script, in English and Chinese, and reads “Doctor Wong’s Emporium: Antiquities, Herbalist, and Feng Shui.”
Beyond the blue door the tiny store is comparatively spartan, as it is painstakingly laid out with the archaic principles of Feng Shui. The interesting curios on display for sale are likewise carefully positioned to permit the flow of positive energy through the room. Perhaps an interested customer might stumble upon a rare herb, or an ancient jewellery box, but they are as likely to come across a moth-eaten monkey paw or a cutting from an old newspaper. What Doctor Wong values seems to defy the logic of an ordinary shopper.
Only a handful of people outside Pulp City’s Chinese community know of the existence of Doctor Wong’s store, and they tend to frequent it because they appreciate its authentic ‘ethnicity’. Even they would probably be shocked to discover that the strange, bespectacled old man who potters around the little shop is actually a powerful supreme, and more ancient that they could ever imagine.
Doctor Wong is a healer. His touch can mend any bones, knit together damaged tissue, eradicate infection, calm troubled spirits and restore health and vigour. All he asks in return for his miraculous healing is for a small portion of his patient’s life force, to sustain his own ancient, frail body a little longer. How much he takes depends upon the damage or the disease he must treat, but who would begrudge a few days, or even a few weeks, off their lifespan to ensure good heath?
Doctor Wong heals both heroes and villains, as dictated by the principles of Yin and Yang. His own Karmic balance depends upon his neutrality, and thus he is largely ignored by the Supremes of Pulp City.
Ignored, that is, until they need his unique healing touch.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

BOOM - High Tech Ninja

BOOM - this was a term coined to describe the fruits of the Minion Creation rules: Build Our Own Minions. I'll be posting pictures of non-Pulp City minis representing some of my creations along with the associated home-brew character card to go with them. First up is the High Tech Ninja.

I envisage the High Tech Ninja as a shadowy figure that could walk in the world of grey between the Heroes and Villains of Pulp City.

The model is from the Infinity range, which I feel sits well alongside Pulp City minis both in scale and proportion. A simple paint-job and voila. This was painted some time before most of my Pulp City minis and was re-based to match them.

Thanks to the Solo ability, the model is treated as a Character Minion - this basically means the High Tech Ninja Activates as a Supreme would without needing to be Commanded. Advanced Scout means the High Tech Ninja can deploy further than usual onto the battlefield, while Deadly Rush increases the Minion's mobility.

Custom Cards

I created some jpegs of various custom Minions as well as game aids, and had them printed by an online retailer. I am extremely disappointed with both the results and the quality.

The cards have had the content re-sized by the supplier to be about half the expected width, while a couple have thumb-print ink smudges. The supplier is, and I cannot endorse their product at this time. They are not cheap or even inexpensive, they have no contact details on their website (not a good sign, and something I should have checked before ordering), and so there is no easy or obvious means of addressing the issue of receiving goods that are poor in quality and execution.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Magic Markers (3)

Let there be rock(s).

I have been working on more markers/Tokens lately, and these are some of the latest results of my endeavours.

I'll show more in a the next few weeks as I build up more of them. I like doing these as they add to the visual narrative of the game, even if they are not strictly required.


Well stones, maybe. These latest markers (Tokens) are intended to represent Stoner Hawk's Stoneshapes creations. Stoneshapes allows Stoner Hawk to make one stone marker per AP spent, creating a very formidable barrier; useful to for inhibiting enemy movement or attacks, as well as defending objectives.

The astute reader may note that with his AP 5 Stoner Hawk can only create 5 markers. And I have made 7. It is future-proofing basically, anticipating that one day Stoner Hawk may be able to create more thanks to the Actions of friendly Supremes.

June Summers Contest - Update

My judging panel of three gave me their verdicts last week - and they produced a tied result. Consequently I am seeking a special extra judge to break that tie and declare a result.

As soon as this happens I'll post the result here.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Victory at last!

Played another game today against Rob, my erstwhile main gaming buddy, having lost my previous two games against him - and this time I won. The photographs didn't come out too well, so the best few show some action on one of the flanks of the battlefield.

It was a close fought game, and we played one of the Plots that we used last time out. If you remember my past comments, I mentioned how Rob kept a closer eye on the objectives that time, and so went on to win convincingly. This time I focused fully on the objectives and took an early march on scoring AGP (Agenda Points), so a close games ended 9 AGP to 11.

In my Team I had taken June Summers, but her AGP contribution (just 1 today) was not what swung the result. In addition I fielded Harrier who did very little, and Six Feet Under who made a big splash and was quickly targeted and taken out. My main successes were through Androida (grabbing AGP); Dr. Mercury as part-'beat stick', part harassment/hit and run (using his Meld* Action) and Starting Roll Supreme; Ace of Wraiths (dealt some big damage taking out Chimp Chi and later Nuke); and Blood Rose (her healing Actions kept a couple of models going).

It seems that reflecting on this game, and the last couple, we used some big Actions that don't often get used. By this I mean those Actions that use up all or almost all of the AP available to a given character. Nuke twice used Radiation with a Power-Up; Blood Rose got to use Blood Roses Bloom (a healing and movement combo); Ace of Wraiths got to use the Ace of Wraiths Action - taking out a Supreme and a couple of Minions and staying out of trouble in the last Round. These Actions are often infrequent due to their inherent cost and restrictions, but when the are used can have a big impact - which I think is a great feature of the game.

Rob used Apebot and Virus and they were fun to see used, facing off mainly against Androida and Dr. Mercury. Howler was also in Rob's Team, but wasn't his usual effective self, but that maybe because I targeted him knowing how dangerous he can be. Harrier is a Supreme I just can't seem to use effectively enough, although she has featured in my Teams on many occasions.

And if you are wondering about the acrylic markers? We use flame and smoke markers of different sizes to track damage on scenery; it saves book-keeping/writing stuff down and adds an extra visual element. Small counts as 1 point of Damage, medium as 5 points and large as 10 points. Works well for us. And the blue one? Rob suggested it would be fun if we had a marker to represent the water spraying out after a fire hydrant is ripped up for a Smash or Throw Action; I remembered I had possibly just the right thing and so voila! No effect on the game, just a little narrative touch to the battlefield.

Friday, 2 July 2010


I started reading this only very recently, and is one of a growing number of series that I will be picking up in trade paperback (tpb) format (I also get Invincible in the hardcover collections that turn up fairly sporadically).

It is ironic, I think, that if I could read only one - just one - comic book each month, then it would not be a book like Irredeemable. That isn't a commentary on the quality of the book, but rather a reflection that I would prefer to read simpler, more action-orientated stuff that isn't awash with visceral violence, and some measure of shock value, something that is very much present in a lot of work I have enjoyed lately. I see a certain sense of nihilism in a lot of these works, something that I am not wholly comfortable with - which should be the point from the creator's perspective, I suppose.

In recent years a growing number of creator-owned books have ploughed what looks to be a Modernist or more likely a Postmodern approach; deconstructing the underlying mythos of comic book superheroes, something that stretches back to publication of Watchmen. And it is among these books (most of which I will say I have enjoyed), that a degree of nihilism is frequently part of the fundamental work in plot, imagery and dramatic beats. Books like Irredeemable, Black Summer (enjoyed this), Cla$$war (didn't enjoy this), etc. all take a view of superheroics beyond the norm of good guys versus bad guys in bright colours and vivid action. And all share a theme of violence which could be argued to be excessive or gratuitous. But that is not to say that they are not worthwhile works of course, but it is just that I have a dichotomy that I want to read different comic books for different reasons, yet if I had to read just one, it would be the kinder, gentler type.

So on to Irredeemable - the premise is simple, not precisely original, but interesting nonetheless. A great and powerful superhero (the Plutonian - a Superman analog) becomes the greatest, most powerful supervillain, and the world suffers for it.

Without giving too much away about plot and characters beyond the essential premise, the book (from writer Mark Waid and artist Peter Krause; from BOOM! Studios) tries to offer point of view to see why - really why - this hero descends into villainy. It is captivating but bleak - but then it has to be. The hero has to be seen to become so awful, so mired in atrocity, that to make the book work a dark tone is necessary. Yet due to that, the book is able to rise above the simple premise of good versus evil (which is of course at the heart of the story) to become an exploration of characters. Which in turn means it rises above what is probably the necessary violence depicted within.

Having read only the first tpb volume (collecting issues 1-4), I suspect that as the series progresses we will see parallels drawn between the Plutonian and those fighting to resists him (the heroes of the team known as the Paradigm). I will be along for the ride if the quality is sustained. DC and Marvel have done similar things in the past, but have ultimately retconned those character changes away. Waid isn't tied into any external drivers of licensing etc., as Irredeemable (and its subsequent companion title, Incorruptible) inhabits its 'own universe', so I hope he sticks to his guns and the title of the book and that the Plutonian does remain Irredeemable, at least until the end or near end, whenever that may be.

Irredeemable is a book I would recommend, especially for people who enjoy titles like Watchmen, Black Summer, Ultimates (volumes 1 & 2), the Authority and the like. If reading in tpb form, be mindful that the first volume doesn't feel like a concluded story arc, but instead very much like a chapter of a much larger story.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Quarterly Update (2)

The second quarterly update showing what is and what isn't painted on my Pulp City Painting Challenge.

Here is the current list of available Pulp City minis, organised by sub faction; the ones that I have painted already are in italics:

Heavy Metal
Chronin (L1)
Androida (L1)
Iron Train (L2)
Nuclear Jones (L2)
Dr. Mercury (L2)
C.O.R.E. (L3)

Blood Watch
Red Riding Hoodoo (L1) and Zombie Wolf (Minion)
Blood Rose (L1)
Six Feet Under (L2)
Sgt. Bale (L2)

Unaligned Heroes
Ace of Wraiths (L2)
Deadeye (L3)
Vigilantes (Minions; x2)
Solar (L2)
Harrier (L1)
Trail (L2)
Stoner Hawk (L2)

Dr. Red (L2)
Virus (L1)
Apebot (L2)
Chimp Chi (L1)
Guerilla (L2)
Howler (L1)

Kitty Cheshire (L1)

Unaligned Hero/Villains
Acorn (L1)
Father Oak (L2)
Vector (L1)

Rook (L2)
Twilight (L1)
Francis Gator (L1)

Dr. Tenebrous (L3)
Mourn (L1)
Necro GI's (Minions; x2)
Supreme Zed (L2)
Sanguine (L1 or L2) and Draku (Minion)

Boreas (L2)
Hellsmith (L2)

Unaligned Villains
Mysterious Man (L3)
Xenobi (L1)
Gentleman (L1)
Gentleman with sniper rifle (L1)
Nuke (L2)
Tangent (L2)
Seabolt (L2)
Sister Bedlam (L1)

Sentry Bots/Advanced Sentry Bot (Minions)
June Summers (Minion; promo from last year)
Herald (L?)

Next Wave (coming soon)
Looks to be:
Skyline (H; L1?)
Jade Hawk (H; L1?)
Silverager (V/V; ARC; L2?)
Le Murtiple (H/V; ARC; L1?)

The quiet phase between the April acquisitions and the next wave meant that my overall deficit came down on the whole in the second quarter; all the while I managed to produce 13 Tokens (and counting), and did some other hobby stuff.

June Painting Summary

A particularly slow month, with only 3 models finished, but I am okay with that, since I have also been working on some 'other stuff'.

This month I painted:
- Virus
- Apebot
- June Summers

In addition to the minis, I completed some Tokens (objective markers etc.), which was something lacking in my array of Pulp City gaming pieces, and did some other bits and pieces. The result is that despite the month being as sparse on the minis front as my other 'worst month' (January), in this month I managed to a lot of other stuff so in all much more productive. Add to that I also put some more paint on Chronin and I am about 70-80% through painting Gentleman Sniper, then things are progressing satisfactorily.

Amongst the 'other stuff' I have been engaged with, has been creating home brew cards for some of my self-created Minions, using the rules developed by Devon Peterson and others which should make it into the final book I hope, and that have been floating around the Pulp City Forums in a beta version (often referred to as the BOOM - Build Our Own Minions - rules). The cards were created with the great assistance of a member of the Pulp City Forums, and an example can be found to the right. Inspired by another forum member's past efforts, I have sourced a UK based custom playing cards supplier and created a deck of self-created Minions cards (packed out with some other useful stuff) for my personal use, which I hope will turn up soon.
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