Painting for Gamma World

I finished the last of this group last weekend, but only got around to photographing them today. We had been using most of these figures for some time, but unpainted.

 

2017-07-06 GW-1

So here’s the group from left to right:

Red Desert (Green Folk, Cacti), Hack (Pure Strain Human), Ambo (Altered Human), Bitcoin (Live Metal), Ironbark (Green Folk, Tree) and Where (New Animal, Feline).

I didn’t paint the humanoid feline – that’s actually a D&D pre-painted mini that I specifically bought for the campaign. I may have to rework it, since the game character is male but the figure turned out to be female. There is a second D&D catfolk figure that I thought was female – I’ve seen more images now, that make me think that one is actually male, but rather effeminate looking.

Three of these figures are from my West End Games Star Wars figures – two from the Bounty Hunters set, and one from the Rebel Characters set. The two bounty hunters appeared in “The Empire Strikes Back”.

 

2017-07-06 GW-2

 

Dengar, Female Gambler and IG-88: I didn’t want to copy the colours from the movie for my Dengar/Hack. That has a pale grey/white under-suit and dark rusty brown armour. My armour is more a dark grey/gunmetal, with silver edges and the occasional brownish patch. IG-88 in the movie looks shiny silver and/or dark brown rust, depending on the shot/image. I started with a dark grey, then gunmetal. Touches of silver, antique copper and antique gold add some variety. The Bitcoin character is an android – he looks human at first glance, but has glowing red eyes. Using a distinct robot figure makes the figure stand out on the table and helps remind me that he’s ‘live metal”. At some point I may find another human-looking figure and paint him up “correctly”, maybe with silver showing under wounds or something. The ‘Rebel Characters’ set aren’t based on specific movie characters so I just went with colours I felt comfortable with.

 

2017-07-06 GW-3

 

The two plants in the group were mostly scratch built. I got some plastic trees in a $2 tube of plastic dinosaurs! Most of one of these was trimmed slightly, glued into a base and given a full repaint over the former green plastic. I’ve been doing garage roof repairs recently and kept a bunch of thin silicon “bits” with this in mind. The tree roots are glued silicon (trimmed where necessary) and with moulding paste to fill the gaps and blend the edges together before painting. A bit more glue and some sand helped texture the bases.

 

2017-07-06 GW-4

 

“Ironbark” was my first plant; I then went on to making a cactus. My first attempt at this looks like a mutant Christmas tree (no picture) and the second is the one on the right. Paddle pop sticks cut to make a cross-shaped stalk and then foam-core board carved to shape and glued on top. Plastic tree “leaves” made great spines once stuck into pin holes. My wife (who plays Red Desert) said she’d been thinking of a mexican-style cactus, so after collecting some more cacti images (Saguaro cacti) I collected small sticks/branches from the garden and produced the figure on the left. I was hesitant to break the “arm” branches and glue them to the more upright shape that the Saguaro actually has. I may try that with another branch and see if I can get it to the right shape without making it too fragile and do yet another cactus. I’d like to do a more realistic tree and a bush too, but I’ll need to go model shopping – I could do with some flock for leaves. I’ve got wire, so some green-stuff wouldn’t hurt for this type of work either!

 

Star Wars – Painting Stormtroopers

Star Wars 40307 “Stormtroopers” (Lucasfilm, West End Games)

10 Stormtroopers SW61 – SW70.

 

When my Gamma World game got going this year, I dug out my Star Wars minatures thinking that they would be of more use than most of my fantasy figures, since most of these figures held guns! The Stormtrooper set has been particularly useful, since we’ve been playing GW1 “The Legion of Gold”. They have been perfect to represent the many golden-armored warriors that are fought in groups of generally five or more.

They were unpainted in the first session I used them, then got a spray white undercoat soon after. I’ve spent the last week finishing the set as well as the main Rebels/Bounty Hunter figures that I’d picked out to represent the player characters. (The PC’s should be my next post.)

A squad of ready Stormtroopers!

The best part about this ten piece set of one-piece metal figures is that each one is unique. While a couple have similar poses, this variety isn’t common now unless you buy a large set of multi-part figures.

Nearly all the Star Wars figures I purchased at this time (3 sets back about 1989) have been well produced figures, nicely posed, well detailed, not much flash to clean up, and few mold lines. I’m quite sure they came in a neat cardboard box at the time. I’ve still got the insert sheet with names, images and film/RPG detail that came with each set.

I decided to try something different with my last lot of painting: These got an extra spray of white undercoat, then a very good coat of black ink. It really picked out the detail and while looking more grey than the typical bright white, they looked good. I put them all onto 25mm round bases, and started going over each one with more white paint. Black for the “body-glove” and on helmets, black and gun metal on weapons. I’d painted the bases with a mid/dark grey then realized I needed more contrast, so went over them with a blotchy coat of black, then gun-metal. It can vary slightly with lighting, but the bases now appear to be black with a shiny silvery sheen.

These troopers don’t look like they just walked out of the clone factory! I could have gone back over them with another coat of white paint, but I like current appearance. They aren’t bright and shiny – they look like they actually been out and wearing the armor for some time.

 

One-shot games (or “What to do when players aren’t free?”)

Long gone are the days when my gaming group played some sort of game multiple times a week. Work, partners and/or family, and life in general means my group now averages a gaming day/night twice a month. My main D&D game has six players, and I generally don’t feel like running it if two people can’t make it. The Pathfinder game I play in came about in part for this reason – so that we could still role-play when the two busier people in our larger group weren’t free.

Sometimes a player can drop out at last minute, or you may have a few people who still want to get together. Occasionally, we’ll still play and one player runs two PC’s. We have also ended up playing board games (like Dungeon Quest, Talisman, Minion Hunter), card games (Munchkin, Flux, Unexploded Cow) or I’ve run a one session RPG. In the past we have played two Call of Cthulhu games (I’ve got “Blood Brothers” – designed with this in mind) and last year we did three separate one-shot (/playtest) Gamma World games. I’ve still got another CoC adventure ready to run if required.

Earlier this year, one of the blogs I read – Dungeon Fantastic – detailed two sessions where he ran S2 “White Plume Mountain” (AD&D) as a change from his normal GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. It sounded like a lot of fun, both as an alternative from normal gaming and a chance to play a few adventures from early D&D versions without converting them to d20/PF (which is what I mostly do now) and/or having to make changes to suit my player’s character levels. It inspired me to look at the rule books on my gaming shelves and produce a couple of single-session adventures to have ready for one of those days when someone can’t make a game or we just feel like something different.

Over the last two months I started working on two One-Shot adventures – one for Star Wars and another for Middle Earth. This gave me a theme – Movie/TV – that I’ve been expanding to nearly every RPG I own. Generally I’m taking a part of a movie (or the general idea from the film/TV program) and building something for 4-5 players. I enjoy coming up with adventure ideas and I love making characters, so two ideas have grown into six – so far!

Here’s the adventures I’m working on; titles are subject to change.

Star Wars (d6 W.E.G.) – “The Pit of Carkoon”

Middle Earth Role Playing – “Dol Guldar: The Necromancer”

Gamma World (d20 Pathfinder) – “We’re not in Kansas anymore”

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – “Inconceivable!” (Or “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…”)

Shadowrun (3rd Edition) – “Asgard has fallen.”

Oriental Adventures (D&D 3.5) – “Gandhara/Journey to the West”

Now, it’s possible that the titles don’t mean anything to you, or only sound a little familiar. If so, here’s some more detail:

  1. The “Pit of Carkoon” is the resting place of the Sarlaac from “Return of the Jedi”. Six minutes in the movie makes a great set-up for a major combat on two skiffs and Jabba’s Sail Barge. For five PC’s, with an optional sixth being Boba Fett, fighting against the rest of the players. The session could be expanded with something in Mos Eisley where the players have to get back to the Millennium Falcon.
  2. Dol Guldar is a fortress in southern Mirkwood forest, where the White Council drive out Sauron – “the Necromancer”. There’s a scene that interprets the events from “The Lord of the Rings” in the movie “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”. The LotR book lists the “White Council” as being “the Wizards, Elrond, Cirdan, Galadriel, and other lords of the Eldar” so I’ve made nine characters that can be chosen from by Players, and I’ll modify Dol Guldar from the MERP sourcebook “Mirkwood”.
  3. The classic movie “The Wizard of Oz” converted to Gamma World. Five PC’s (including Toto) are sent by the “Tech Wizard from Oz” to remove the threat of the “Wicked Witch” (an Esper) and her flying monkeys.
  4. Another classic movie – “The Princess Bride”. Westley, Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Fezzik and Miracle Max have to defeat Prince Humperdink, Count Rugen and maybe Vizzini. This adventure will draw on the characters more than the actual story in the movie.
  5. I’ve done little work on this so far. The idea is to have a Shadowrun session where the PC’s are all off-duty military/security named after characters (or actors?) from the “Olympus has fallen” movies who have to rescue the President and his son from terrorists. My big change is to relocate this to Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. Downloading basic maps/floor-plans was easy. I mostly need to make-up the PC’s and NPC’s.
  6. The novel “Journey to the West” is the fictional story of an actual Chinese monk who traveled to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures. Most people are more familiar with the 1978 Japanese TV series “Monkey”. The five main characters (including Horse) recreated in d20 and doing something similar to an episode of the series.

For most of these I’ve completed the PC’s and thought about NPC’s and creatures. Specific adventure detail comes next. Once finished, I’ll probably add the adventures to the blog.

 

Z:BP The Abominotaur!

I finished this figure last weekend, which is much too long after I started it. I could have finished it to a better standard, but after all this time I just wanted it done!

2017-05-20 Abominotaur-2

Originally, I base coated the figure with burnt sienna, but that looked rather more orange than mid brown. After putting some different colour on various parts (mouth, horns, claws, etc) I went over the skin with a better brown, did a bit of highlighting to claws, horns and the tumors/lumps on his back and arm. I inked it next to get some dark shading in skin folds, etc, but it didn’t work as planned – the overall brown darkened more than I’d expected and I ended up with very little ink sitting where I wanted it.

This meant a lot more highlighting to lighten raised skin/ridges. Then I did more detail/highlighting, particularly on the swollen arm. Finally teeth, eyes, some touch ups to claws and hooves, and copper on the chain belt. Gun metal on the metal/armour plates and a little black ink on most of those. Some darker brown in grooves or behind other pieces that stuck out to hide bits of the base coat that hadn’t been covered, etc. Fluoro yellow in the eye sockets and some bright red on the eyes over that.

Abominotaur – left side

Abominotaur – right side

The weather was good today, so he got spray varnished this morning and left out to dry. I’ll probably give him another quick spray coat tomorrow.

There’s nice detail on the figure and it wasn’t a hard paint… just time consuming when my ideas didn’t match what actually happened during painting. I’m very pleased to have finally finished all my Zombicide Abominations now!

 

Zombicide BP: The Abominalpha

I finished painting the Abominalpha about three weeks ago and had hoped to finish the minotaur as well and post both of them. The minotaur is nearly done, but light was good this morning so I finally got some pics of the Alpha! The photos came up really well and show the colour and detail as I see the figure, with the only exception being that the claws are slightly darker (and flecked with black) in RL.

A long, hot and humid summer in Melbourne meant I really didn’t feel like painting for most of Feb/March and only got back to the last two Abominations in April. I really like the Alpha figure – good sculpting and lots of detail. It wasn’t until I started painting and paying a lot of attention to the box pamphlet image that I realised he’s wearing human skin – there’s two feet hanging down at the front!

 

Abominalpha – front

I started with a mid grey base coat, rather like my Wolf Abominations, and a dark blue-grey on the arms and back of the head with the longer ‘fur’. A little dark brown ink (or black – I can’t remember now) for shading. A mix of yellows and light browns for the skins, and some brown ink for detail. Then lots of white dry brushing all over – I like the white fur of the original image – and over the grey I feel the shading/highlight has worked really well. I wanted a dark constrast with the horns and thought black wouldn’t show the detail there, and tried red over the gray base-coat. This looked good and got some black paint that sits in most of the grooves. I’d had a few ideas for the claws that didn’t seem to work and after the way the horns worked, decided to do all the claws the same way.

 

Abominalpha – rear

I could have done some more work on the skins, but I’m happy with the look I have. I would have liked to do more with the shrunken heads, but anything better is beyond my current ability. Look at this site to see what someone has produced – I don’t know if their heads had better detail, or they have steadier hands to create the detail and better painting skills! (Probably the latter from looking at the claws.)

I might take him out this afternoon for another coat of spray varnish while the weather’s nice!

 

A tree, a cactus and an android walk into a bar…

No, it’s not a joke – this is my new Gamma World campaign. Not only did I finish writing my conversion to Pathfinder rules, but also my gaming group rolled up characters and we’ve played about six sessions.

Three play test sessions (mostly last year) had helped me to establish what skills I wanted, and tweak my races, classes and feats. My mutation system seems fine, but the mutations themselves have had small adjustments, even into our first two gaming sessions, as both my players and I realised what wasn’t defined or could be refined – especially things like range for powers and whether something needed an attack roll or saving throw.

My full GM Rulebook is 90 pages long (so far) and I’m now converting GW creatures to the Pathfinder system. I’ve even built the basics of the system in Hero Lab – Races, Classes, Skills, Talents, Feats, basic weapons and all armour working properly. I still have to code the mutations and artefact equipment/weapons.

So this is what I have now:

5 Genotypes (Races, with 15 Animal subtypes, and 6 plant subtypes)
10 Classes
30 base Skills (8 Crafts, and 8 Knowledge expanding those)
78 Talents (Class abilities)
101 Feats
120 Positive Mutations
25 Mutation Defects
A heap of armour, weapons and misc equipment
7 Prestige Classes
1 NPC Class
32 Creatures

An abridged PDF of my rules is available on my Resources page.

 

The Campaign so far has been converted 2nd edition adventures. We started with GW2 “Famine at Far-Go”, then the mini-adventure “The Albuquerque Starport”. The group is currently halfway through GW1 “The Legion of Gold”. They have reached second level and have an assortment of the ancients equipment – mostly “Pre-war” stuff, but a couple of “advanced” items. Most of them can’t wait to level up to 3rd so that they can get a Tech Familiarity feat (so they don’t use things like guns and lasers with penalties), or to get a new mutation! I have a theme that I introduced in the first adventure (“Have you heard the words of the Electron Prophet?”) that will reveal itself again soon, and steadily build up to something I’ll have to write myself later. My next blog post should be about this group and gameplay.

Gamma World is a weird blend of crazy, humorous role-play that can suddenly turn deadly serious. Our last session has good examples. A huge bright orange lion flew down out of the sky yelling at the group. It landed and looked the group’s main warrior up and down. “It’s awesome, I’ve got to have it. It looks just like the one I ate last week – what do you want for it?” Tense concern melted into laughter when they realised that Yexil’s eat cloth, especially synthetics and it wanted Hack’s pre-war armour, less the ceramic plates. They managed to trade some fabric they recovered from a clothing store (on a space station!) for two photon grenades. The very happy Yexil flew off looking for Elvis – it had seen an image and wanted his jacket. A few hours later the players were fleeing in a panic because the four screaming mutants they’d just encountered in a bunker all had life-leech – a mutation power that drains hit points from living things within 30 feet and heals the mutant. The android in the party keeps proving a valuable choice.

 

Apart from Gamma World – I haven’t done much this year (more reading and playing computer games than usual). I’m determined to finish painting my Zombicide abominations over the next week or two. I also have plans for a new painting project. I undercoated 20 Star Wars figures from Ral Partha this morning – with the expectation to use many of them for GW. More detail on that as it comes.

2016: The Year of Zombicide!

Looking back over 2016, I note that I painted from scratch about half as many figures as the year before (27 compared to 60). But it’s easy to see what I did spend a lot of time on – Zombicide: Black Plague! I spent more time playing Zombicide than any of my usual RPGs, or any other game. My game review of Z:BP was my most seen post, with 771 views (8 times as popular as the 2nd place comer) Of the figures I did paint – 12 were from Zombicide.

On New Year’s Eve, I ran my third playtest of Gamma World 4.5 (my d20 rule set is pretty much complete now) and played two games of Zombicide!

2016 was a pretty good year for the blog. Compared to 2015, I tripled my number of visitors (3041 views, 2045 visitors from 67 countries!) I had a lot of fun – revisiting old game systems that I hadn’t looked at for a decade or more (MERP, Gamma World), finishing a major part of the D&D campaign I run, and starting a Greyhawk/Pathfinder project for Hero Lab.

This year has started off with me enjoying my annual leave break (but I go back to work tomorrow) and I’ve spent a lot of it playing World of Warcraft, some more Zombicide, and a lot of sleeping in. I’ve been reading through the “Sword of Truth” series by Terry Goodking (in book four now) and had a couple of sessions of Pathfinder.

 

2017-01-16-abtroll-1

 

Yesterday I finished my first miniature painting of the year – the Abominatroll from Zombicide: Black Plague.

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He was enjoyable to paint. Mostly a dark green base coat, some brown paint and dark tone ink for give some depth and shading, then a lighter “field grey” (more dull green than any grey) for highlighting. Touches of yellow, pink, red, white etc for various detail. Mostly flesh and white, then brown ink for finger & toe nails, with a distict “light olive” for the lumps. It’s a bit brighter in colour than the images make it look.

2017-01-16-abtroll-3

 

I still have the minotaur and wolf alpha to go – then I hope to get onto painting heroes/survivors!