Thursday, 4 May 2017

Here be dragons...

I bought these dragons a few years ago but they languished forgotten in a box in the loft until a week or two ago.  They were about 50p each from a gift shop which was closing down and I thought they would be pretty good repainted in a suitable colour.  As purchased, they had been daubed with a huge amount of coloured glitter but as I had hoped, it came off pretty easily with warm water and an old toothbrush.

Note the little patch of glitter remaining on its back!

 They look pretty good in their original colours now the glitter is gone!  They'll make excellent denizens for my dungeon.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Action Force - helicopters

As a belated final thought, I found these helicopters in one of the local discount shops.  At 99p each they're almost the exact correct scale for my Action Force project.

This red helicopter is a good size for landing an SAS raiding party.

The Red Shadows were sometimes depicted with Russian Mil MI 24 Hind A gunships in the comics.  This certainly isn't a Hind but it will stand in OK and shares the 2-part windscreen.

The searchlight under the front will be cut off and replaced witha ball-mount chin gun made from a plastic BB pellet and a bit of brass wire.

For Z Force I've got some slightly heavier helicopters than the SAS choppers.

These have some nice details moulded into the windscreen as well.

I've got enough to airlift in most of my Z Force and  Red Shadows.  There are only 2 helicopters for SAS Force but they're not likely to need such a large capacity for airlift anyway.

These will obviously all need a new paint job!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Action Force - future plans

That's my initial Z Force unit completed for now but there are plenty more to come including additional AT-4s, M240 and M249 teams, infantry etc.

Now I just have to manage to get a game in with them all!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Action Force - Red Shadow machine gun team

Being outnumbered by the combined Z Force and SAS Force troops I've completed, the Red Shadows need some reinforcements.

A Peter Pig MG34 team needed only a little work to turn it into a Red Shadow machine gun team, ready to suppress those pesky Action Force troops!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Action Force - Z Force weapons teams

I've added a few support weapons to my Z Force unit, Peter Pig modern US again.  They're mounted on 2p pieces for use as weapon teams in Force on Force.

The Browning .50 cal teams come with some extra crew but they've been incorporated into the infantry.  3 crew per base would make it rather crowded anyway.

I also have some M240/FN MAG gun teams, though I haven't taken a particularly good photograph of this one!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Action Force - Z Force LAWs

Although none of the original Z Force action figures were armed with anti-tank weapons, for gaming purposes I'll need some.  These Peter Pig AT-4 troopers fill the role well.

The chap on the left seems to have a Minimi/M249 as well as his AT-4.  They'll add some good firepower.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Action Force - Z Force sappers

Codename "Tracker", Raoul Santilliana the Z Force Sapper was a repaint of the British Commando action figure.  He came armed with an M60 but I preferred the Peter Pig modern US M249/Minimi (which replaced the M60 in US service in 1995) and M240/MAG gunners to the Vietnam-era M60 gunners.

 The only alterations to these are head swaps for British Commando stocking caps.

Obviously only one of these is Tracker, but I'm sure Z Force had more than one support weapon!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Action Force - Z Force Captain

 Commanding Z Force is Grant Campbell, "Skip".

Skip is a Peter Pig modern US M203 grenadier.  His head has been swapped for a WWII para beret head, though for some reason it seems to have a Bruce Forsythe chin.

I prefer the M203 gunners to the actual squad leader/command figures Peter Pig make, I think they'll fit better with the small-scale actions I'll be fighting.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Action Force - Z Force radio operator and medic

Sven Inglesen, code-name "Doc" is an unmodified modern US medic. He has a white medical kit and white webbing, helmet and vest to match the action figure.  The figure had a large red "flare launcher" but I haven't tried to give him one of these, though I might experiment with another medic later.

Radio operator Gianni Paulo Brazzi, code-name "Breaker", has been converted from a Peter Pig WWII 14th army sten gun figure.  He has a head swap with a peaked cap that came from a GZG figure which was the itself the leftover of an earlier head swap.  This gives him the headgear and weapon of his action figure counterpart.  A guiter string aerial turns his backpack into a passable radio pack.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Action Force - Z Force

Z Force launched the main assault on Ascendancy Island, taking advantage of SAS Force's diversionary attack to secure a beachhead and advance inland.  Once the bomb was located and dealt with, it appeared that the threat from Baron Ironblood was over.

It took a while to decide on which figures to use for my Z Force infantry.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've tried to go with the spirit of the figures rather than slavishly copying every detail.  The original Z Force infantryman figure came with an MP5 SMG, but those shown in the comics usually seem to have the FN FAL/L1A1 SLR.  An assault rifle is more practical for general combat troops than an SMG and Peter Pig professionals were one possibility - lots of great details with webbing and backpacks to match the action figure plus an SLR as the main weapon to match the comics.  The only problem here was the head, the bush hat doesn't match any of the action figures.

Rather than try to hand-sculpt the heads for 40+ 15mm figures, I went for the easier option of using Peter Pig modern US troops instead.  Heads and weapons aren't exactly right but they'll do for now!  Helmets aren't unprecedented anyway, Z force minesweeper "Scout" and medic "Doc" both had helmets, as did tank commander "Steeler".  A few head swaps will create a more varied force, red berets and black commando stocking hats being present on some of the action figures.  Many of the infantry pictured in the comics wore the commando style stocking hats too, especially on Vanyo's excellently illustrated strips "Desert Strike" and "Jungle Terror".  I will buy some more Peter Pig professionals and swap their heads for the spare US helmet heads and some more of the stocking cap heads to give me SLR-armed Z Force troops.  For now, the modern US have a great range of dynamic poses.

Base colour is Vallejo medium olive green with matt black webbing and tiger-stripe camouflage.  A 50/50 Pledge/sepia wash provides subtle shading, though my second batch seems to have come out rather darker thean the first ones.  Helmets don't have the camo striping, the hooded infantryman and minesweeper action figures just had plain headgear.  Red googles are something I particularly remeber from the action figure so that was a big reason for going for these specific figures.  Webbing, weapons, boots and gloves are black with a dark grey drybrush.  The final touch is a very carefully painted military stencil type red "Z" on the shoulder.  Trying to paint this 4 times on each figure (first in white on each shoulder, then overpainting both in red) was a real pain!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Action Force - SAS Force

Action Force moved swiftly to retake Ascendancy Island, and this time the operation went like clockwork.  Q Force, the naval element, reconnoitred Ascendancy Island, capturing a Red Shadow.  Space Force satellites observed the Baron's movements.  SAS Force parachuted secretly behind the Red Shadow defensive lines, ready to attack from the rear when the moment came.

I've used Peter Pig WWII British 14th Army figures with sten guns and tommy guns for my SAS Force soldiers, the original heads swapped for British commando stocking cap heads.  These match the SAS force action figures fairly well, "Quickfire" having been equipped with a Thompson SMG.  The 14th army figures are carrying plenty of equipment which compares well with the action figures and ties in with their appearance in the Battle Action Force comics.  Some of the SAS action figures were finished in a grey and black camouflage pattern, others were all in black.  For the moment I've opted for the all-black colour scheme, I don't know how well the grey and black pattern would show up at 15mm scale but I might experiment with the next batch to see what result I get.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Action Force - Red Shadows

The disaster in Antarctica could have spelled the end of Action Force but fortunately the chance to redeem themselves followed quickly.  Baron Ironblood invaded Ascendancy Island, a small sovereign nation in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.  Concealing a nuclear bomb on the island, Ironblood demanded a ransom or he would detonate the device.

The Red Shadows are the footsoldiers of the evil Baron Ironblood.

These started off as Peter Pig late war Germans.  The Sg44 assault rifles are a good match for the weapons used by Red Shadows in the comics.  Heavy weapons will be a mixture of Panzerschrecks, which are close enough to the bazooka issued with the original action figure, and MG42 light machine guns.  All my Red Shadows have needed some conversion work to the helmet to create that distinctive shape.

Base colour for them all is my trust old pot of GW red gore.  A Vallejo sepia ink wash brings out the detail and prevents them looking too bright.  Weapons, webbing and boots are matt black with a Humbrol 36 grey drybrush.  Final details are the black triangles on the shoulders and helmet, followed by white edging on the collar, "V" shapes on the sleeves and a teeny-tiny skull and crossbones on the helmet.

*Update* - Found one of my Red Shadows, so here's what I was aiming to achieve...

Monday, 6 March 2017

Action Force - The Black Major

With the ink barely dry on the Action Force treaty, the fledgling military unit was called into action in the Antarctic.  Being a continent over which no nation has control and governed by international treaty which prohibits military activity by individual nations, Action Force was effectively the only unit which could investigate attacks on research outposts by a man calling himself "Baron Ironblood".  At this early stage, the 4 fighting arms were not yet established and Action Force was still a disparate mix of different soldiers.

It was not an auspicious start for Action Force - ambushed by "Red Shadow" infantry working for the Baron, the Sea Kings of the investigating marines were riddled with bullets.

Quick thinking by one Action Force officer killed the ambush party but not before the Colonel leading the operation was killed.  The remaining Sea Kings were destroyed by anti-aircraft missiles launched from a hidden submarine and wave after wave of Red Shadows overwhelmed the survivors of the expedition.  Only 2 Action Force troops survived, John Shepherd and Chas Dillon, both experienced Royal Marines who had been plucked from their SBS training to join the new unit.  Baron Ironblood employed brainwashing techniques on both men and eventually Shepherd turned on his former colleague and joined the Baron.  Now known as the Black Major, Shepherd became Ironblood's trusted right hand man, leading the Red Shadows in many attacks.  He was at the forefront of their attack on a small Andean village which Ironblood had chosen to house his new lair.

My Black Major is a Peter Pig German officer.  It's a fairly simple colour scheme, Vallejo matt black with a Humbrol 32 dark grey drybrush.  The boots are Vallejo black which for some reason always comes out gloss.  In this instance, I made a point of using it so that his boots stand out from his uniform.  Vallejo Dwarf Flesh face with mixed sepia/flesh wash and an Elf Flesh highlight.  The officers' cap is GW Red Gore with a Vallejo sepia ink wash, as are the shoulder markings.  A skull-and-crossbones logo on the chest finishes him off.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Action Force!

It is the early 1980's.

The threat of global terrorism is on the rise.

Recognising the need for a multinational force with the ability to respond quickly to threats anywhere on the planet, world leaders propose the creation of a new elite military unit known simply as "Action Force".  The best and the brightest will be handpicked from military forces on every continent and formed into 4 fighting arms:

Z Force - the infantry backbone of Action Force.
SAS Force - the special operations force.
Q Force - naval operations team.
Space Force - maintaining a watch over the planet from their orbiting satellite station.

Red Shadows vs Z Force
My Action Force project is based on a mixture of the 1980's Palitoy action figures, the Battle Action Force comic which ran concurrently with the toy range and whatever 15mm figures I can get which seem to match them.  An exact match hasn't always been possible, especially given the very disparate nature of some of the figures used in the original Action Force range (a WWII British "Desert Rat" armed with a Vietnam War era US M60 machine gun?!).  I've tried to go with the spirit of the figures rather than slavishly copying every detail and Peter Pig has supplied the vast majority of the figures that I've used.

 Stay tuned over the coming days for more of my Action Force project!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Oldhammer goodies part3!

 My next box contains all sorts of bits and pieces...

A few Alcatani Fellowship pikemen.These date from the "Dogs of War" mercenaries when GW relaunched their "regiments of renown", I think it was late 1990's?

The pikeman on the left has a great expression!

I have a few halflings scattered about my collection, this is the only unpainted one.  Like many of my other older citadel figures, he game from the second hand tub in our 1980's-90's local games shop Truro Micro.

Some undead, I think it's a Reaper undead houndmaster on the left, a Ral Partha liche on the right, both from the fantastic Games Room on Elm Hill in Norwich.  A proper games shop selling a wide range of different figures and lots of games books, many out of print, do be sure to pop in if you ever visit Norwich!

Beast of Slaanesh, also from the second hand tub in Truro Micro.  Its tongue has fallen off but it's in the box somewhere.

Skaven night runner, very heavily inked (back then it never occurred to me that they might need to be diluted!) and now coated in dust and fluff.

Citadel Lords of Battle.  I already have 3 others painted in my Heroquest box, again all from Truro Micro.

Brettonian musicians and a standard bearer.

Vampire.  I think this was actually the last GW model I bought from a GW shop, some 15-20 years ago.

A plastic wizard who came free with White Dwarf.  He'll be visiting Frostgrave pretty soon.

An adventurer from the late '80s Citadel Catalogue.  I had him cast when I visited GW in 1998, the same as the zombies in my previous post.  I'd always loved this particular figure and decided that if I didn't get him cast especially on my visit, I'd probably never get him.  Shame I still haven't painted him after almost 20 years!

A couple of Night Horrors, slime and a ghoul, also from the Truro Micro bargain box.

"Slime" is a particularly creepy figure, all tentacles and large teeth.

A slinky vampiress on her throne.  A Heroquest end-of-level baddie if ever I saw one.

This multi-part figure is possibly a Scylla?

A couple of nice shields, possibly Marauder?

 An old Citadel knight.  I also have a box of about 10 plastic horses so I must get him assembled and mounted.

Marauder Chaos Warrior in need of a replacement weapon.  I think some sort of axe or mace would be appropriate.

Mithril Miniatures barrow wight from their Lord of the Rings range.  Their figures were always more delicately sculpted than the GW range and came ready-undercoated, a bonus for an inexperienced novice painter like my 12 year old self.  Shame about the thick humbrol varnish I used afterwards.

Dwarf miners, part of a pack of 5 which I bought mainly because I loved the tools that came with them.  There is a pick, small wheelbarrow and a couple of other items somewhere amongst my collection. Just imagine, 5 figures plus a load of accessories for only £2.99!  Those were the days...

Chaos Dwarf bazooka.

Chaos warrior.

Original 40K/Rogue Trader Tarantula weapon platform with twin Lascannon.

A couple of monstrous demon head decorations which will probably end up gracing the wall of one of my dungeon rooms.

What's left in the box?  A few Marauder wood Elf archers, a metal horse's head, another Brettonian standard bearer, Brettonian mounted musician, plastic Skink, assorted bases and shields.

Plastic Saurus from the WFB boxed set - possibly the 5th Edition?  I picked the boxed set up for £5 in the GW mega sale along with vast quantities of Epic 40K - of which more another day.

Last few items in the box include another of those free-with-White-Dwarf Mordheim Elf characters and a mounted Elf standard bearer.  I'm not sure how I ended up with him, having never had an elf army.

I might take a break for my next post and head back to the world of 15mm, though still with a 1980's theme.