Saturday, 8 May 2021

Our Not-So-Tame Racing Driver

EXTERIOR. DAY. A montage of dead traffic lights, rusting road signs, and broken tarmac from the wasteland.

JEZZA (V.O.): You've seen our cars, and will have noted the excellent modifications I've made and the pointless tinkering from those two simpletons. But of course, our convoy has a fourth wheelman. Some say he caused the apocalypse with tremendous amounts of understeer, and that if he was bitten by a zombie, the zombie would turn into him. All we know is, he's call the Stig.

CUT TO: THE STIG looks directly into camera, arms folded. He does not move.

JEZZA walks into shot next to THE STIG. 

JEZZA (TO CAMERA): After we retrieved Stiggy here from the wreckage of the BBC, he told us that he also wanted to modify a vehicle to take out into the wastes and seek his fortune.

CUT TO: JAMES is walking, the camera pans with him. 

JAMES (TO CAMERA): That's right. Initially, one of the producers told him to take one of the many abandoned vehicles that are readily to hand these days, and work with that. 

CUT TO: HAMSTER, walking in the opposite direction, the camera panning with him.

HAMSTER (TO CAMERA): After the ensuing... debate, the surviving producers thought a bit more, and found this Lamborghini Gallardo.

CUT TO: The ARMOURED LAMBORGHINI. JEZZA is already examining it. JAMES and HAMSTER walk into shot.

JAMES: Did he really attack a producer?

HAMSTER: Very much so.

(JEZZA nods approvingly)

JEZZA: So, this is, somehow, a Lamborghini Gallardo. As you can see, the Stig has added some extra plating around the windows and doors, including something fairly hefty to cover the windscreen.

HAMSTER: He's only left a little window to see out of, look. He did tell us that he only needs to see things that won't get out of the way, though.

JAMES: He's added this oil dropper thing to the back, which can cause havoc for anything else on the road. But more worrying than that is the machine gun mounted to fire out of the back window.

JEZZA: There's not exactly a lot of space to fire that. Whoever he's got using it must be tiny!

HAMSTER: Don't look at me, I've got my mini to drive!

JAMES: Notice both his weapons work backwards? I think the theory is that anyone driving around the Stig is going to be behind him...

THE STIG walks into frame.

JEZZA (to THE STIG): Ah, Stig, do you want to show us around your car? We were just...

THE STIG gets into the ARMOURED LAMBORGHINI. The engine starts, wheels spin, and the ARMOURED LAMBORGHINI sets off in a racing start.

HAMSTER: Right. Shall we get on then?

Once again, the above presumably makes it obvious that I'm still amusing myself with my Grand Top Gear Tour post-apocalypse nonsense for 7TV. This is another die-cast car that I've glued things to and then painted, which I'm still finding a lot of fun. I've been trying to add enough details onto these to make it look like they've been repeatedly modified over time - but I figured that beyond making sure he isn't killed, the Stig wouldn't want to add too much to his ride as more weight means less speed!

There's still more to come of that stuff, but of course we're nearing the time when I'll be able to resume actually playing games with other people, so I might unfortunately get distracted into something more sensible. We shall see. 

I have also stuck to my own rule of continuing work on my Bolt Action Japanese as I go, so here's another 13 of those...

So, crucially, it's score time:

Painted: 44
Acquired: 31
Lead Pile Reduction: 13

Finally, the numbers have started to move in the right direction! Need to keep that up then...

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Hamster's Wheels

EXTERIOR. DAY. HAMSTER is walking through the wasteland.

HAMSTER (TO CAMERA): So, you've seen the orangutan's Jag, and been mightily underwhelmed by Captain Slow's taxi... tank... thing. Now let me show you how to approach the world after the end with a little more finesse.

CUT TO roads clogged with burnt out cars, rubble, and craters.

HAMSTER (VO): You see, with their big, lumbering vehicles, those two are bound to get bogged down and fall easy prey to cannibals or mutant hedgehogs or whatever we're going to have to deal with this week.

No, this situation calls for agility, so my first thought was, of course, a bike.

(A motorcycle picks through the debris. We can't identify the rider.)

HAMSTER (VO): That has some problems though.

(A machine gun opens fire on the motorcycle, hitting it and the rider several times. The bike crashes in a fireball.)

CUT TO the OVERLOADED MINI. HAMSTER walks around it.

HAMSTER (To camera): So here's my solution - a 1991 Mini Cooper, with a few modifications. 

The aim is combine agility with enough protection to see me through life outside the settlements. The Mini is small enough to make its way through the obstacles in the way, and I've been able to attach armour plating in a few key places.

I've also fitted a roof rack, and filled it with fuel, ammo and provisions.

I'll need the ammo for the machine gun mounted on the bonnet - so I can deal with any problems that I can't drive around by shooting them. Shooting them a lot.

JEZZA and JAMES arrive.

HAMSTER: It's good, isn't it?

JEZZA: It's absurd. Can it even move under that weight?

HAMSTER: Of course it can! Remember the one I had in India? This thing's a warhorse.

JAMES: "Mini masher"? Is it a kitchen implement?

JEZZA: Your machine gun is mounted on the bonnet. 

HAMSTER: Yeah. I can shoot it from inside, it goes through the windscreen, look.

JEZZA: So when it breaks down, you can't actually service it?

JAMES: Not without disarming yourself, anyway...

HAMSTER: You two don't understand great design. Let's get on the road!

As you'll have gathered, I'm still mucking about with toy cars, and working on my frankly nonsensical 7TV Apocalypse project. It's amazing the things you find time for when you can't actually play any games.

Hamster's mini is definitely my favourite of these so far, but I've still got more to come. 

In the same vein, I've also painted a cameraman!

I have a profile card for him that Karl from Crooked Dice kindly gave me a while ago. I've got a vague idea of having crew as a separate cast, or as things that move automatically, or... something.

Anyway! I'm also keeping up the plan of working on my Bolt Action Japanese at the same time, so here's the latest on those:

Right then, numbers time. 

Painted: 28

Acquired: 31

Lead pile reduction: -3

I'm almost back at where I was at the start of the year!

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Flames May

EXTERIOR. DAY. The camera tracks across the wasteland, past several burnt out vehicles.

JAMES (V.O.): The last time we were out in the wasteland, we'd been reduced to travelling together in Jezza's Jag, and even then we only made it through because of the timely arrival of Dave from the AA. Nice bloke, Dave.

After hardly any time at all, this became quite tedious. So, at the first opportunity, we scavenged some more vehicles, and set to work modifying them.

Pan to the HEAVILY MODIFIED DEATH TAXI, parked in the wasteland. JAMES stands by it.

JAMES: As you'd expect, I've done things properly. My base vehicle was an LTC TX4. It has a 2.5 litre diesel engine, and a very tight turning circle. It's also spacious enough inside to enable me to carry supplies, ammo, or any extra friends I might make along the way.

JAMES: I've looked to give myself some extra protection with the addition of some scrap metal and timber in strategic locations. 

JAMES: I've got hold of some tools, to sort myself out should I become stuck, or imperilled by zombies. 

JAMES: Most importantly of all, I've managed to build a turret and fit a flamethrower. This might compromise fuel efficiency, but it does have the benefit of enabling me to burn things. 

Right then, let's get out there!

Yep, I'm back on The Grand Top Gear Tour for 7TV Apocalypse - I've been meaning to do more for this for ages, and I have other things planned so I'm sure everyone is excited for that.

Of course, I still have to crack on with my Bolt Action Japanese, so here you go:

These will all be assistants for various HQ units. 

And of course, back to the scores:

Painted: 20
Acquired: 31
Lead Pile Reduction: -11

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Video Nasty

I've developed a cunning plan.

I have a variety of projects that I'd like to crack on with, but I also have lots of Japanese infantry that I'd like to get done to add to the Bolt Action army I painted during an earlier phase of interminable pandemic-related lockdown.

Basically, I'm going to do both together. I figure that just banging through dozens of very similar Japanese models with contrast paint will be effective, but also deeply tedious both for me and you, my valued and numerous audience.

So, you should find that each time I post for the foreseeable, I'll have some "new" thing, and then some number of Japanese bits that I've added to the pile.

Here we go then. New bit!

That's the McGuffin marker from the 7TV Apocalypse set. I'd like to claim it's part of some master plan that I've painted it now, but really it was just on my desk already so it was readily to hand as something to do.

Like all Crooked Dice models it's really well made with lots of details that all show up well. So that's nice.

Japanese bits!

Yep, there they are

These are the models I need to bring two of the squads I have up to full 15-man strength. So that's also nice.

Right, there you go. Six models painted, quick post written, job done. Have some scores.

Painted: 15
Acquired: 31
Lead Pile Reduction: -16


Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Black Hawk Down

Not much else to say about this! I've painted a big chunk of resin, in the form of this crashed UH-60 Black Hawk.

Time to swap insurance details with whoever fired that RPG

This comes from Britannia Miniatures, as part of their Mogadishu range. For me, though, it's going to be featuring in a variety of post-apocalypse setups - I've got plans to do more of that sort of thing this year as it's a genre I really like and I have various little projects that would fit. A side effect of endless Coronavirus lockdowns is that I've built up a few painted things that have either never seen a table yet, or have only been out once or twice, so I've no particular need to rush other stuff through and I can muck about with stuff like this for a while. 

Thankfully this wall broke its fall

It's a hefty chunk of resin, I'll give it that. Nice and cleanly done, too, although for my purposes the stone wall the helicopter is lying against is mildly irritating. Still, I'm happy to live with it and I don't think it was expensive (I've had it lying around for years) so overall I rate this model as "fine".

It's that kind of top-notch consumer advice that keeps people coming back here, I'm sure.

Anyway. Since the last post on here, I realised I'd not accounted for some models I got on the front of a magazine, so my scores are actually getting worse at the moment:

Painted: 9

Acquired: 31

Lead Pile Reduction: -22

Still, no further purchases planned at the moment and none of the shows are on, so things should start moving in the right direction again soon.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

2021... Begin!

It's a new year, and therefore, it's time for a new post. 

This time it's more on my Japanese Bolt Action force. Pete is the enthusiastic owner of a 3D printer, and as part of his constant trawling of files turned up a couple of designs for the type 98 320mm spigot mortar.

This unusual weapon has a profile in the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign book, so I have rules for using it at least, so I fiddled about with some plastic sprues to make enough crew.

Winter sun gives you some very long shadows

The only slight fly in the ointment is that they don't seem to feature in any theatre selectors, so I can technically only take them in a generic Japanese platoon list. Will have to see if we can house rule an exception. 

I also painted the second mortar...

One of these is a weird unit I'll
struggle to field, so two of them...

I'll need to cobble together a second crew for that at some point.

So, there you go. I've painted some things! 

Unfortunately I also received some things from a Christmas gift voucher, so it's still January and I'm already in negative figures. But still, let's have a look:

Painted: 8

Acquired: 26

Lead Pile Reduction: -18

More work needed there.


Wednesday, 30 December 2020

One Last Hurrah

2020 is, mercifully, coming to an end.

But before it does, I need to finish off the accounting and log the last set of models I've painted. If I didn't do that, well, you can imagine the potential consequences.

Right, let's kick off. First, a hangover from last time - I found a sprue with a single German model left on it, so I turned him into a forward observer. 

This photo came out ok.
This wasn't the case for the others. 

If my maths is right there should be another spare knocking about somewhere, but I can't find him up to now. Exciting, innit? 

Next, I finished off the remaining models for the Terminator Genisys board game. This will no doubt be thrilling news for those people who will be forced to play through it when lockdowns finally stop being a thing.

I already have better quality casts of two of these models.

It's the same guy three times!

I also have a better cast of this model.

Drones! A swarm of drones!

As I sat down to write this blog post, I realised that there are another six terminator models I've painted and not previously blogged. They're pretty similar to the ones above and I don't have a photo, so, you know, imagine that.

I've also painted six bits of ruined jersey barriers that Kieron gave me some time ago. I don't have a photo of those either. Sod it.

It's the end of the year, and I should really have some kind of summary, but I dunno. I painted some stuff, but lost a fair bit of time to general lockdown/childcare/homeworking business. I did manage to get some bigger stuff done with the contrast paints, and I now have Japanese and German Bolt Action armies that I didn't have before. I've also got the Terminator stuff ready to go when I can corner some victims. 

I suppose for the new year my main hope is to be able to get back to regular games, which is a bit obvious. I'd also like to move onto a couple of planned projects that I've not got to yet. On the other hand, I have a big stack of Japanese infantry and some 3D printed tanks to get to, and painting those would add to existing forces nicely. So... yeah. The main thing I think is to hope for more time for painting somehow. And, you know, the end of the once in a century global pandemic wouldn't go amiss either. 

Right, that went slightly bleak. Let's distract from that by honing in on the really interesting stuff, my scores for the year. When I account for unhelpful things like sales and people just giving me things, those come out as...


Painted: 210

I've had worse years! The main issue here is that I'm fairly baffled as to when I acquired that much stuff. That's something to try to improve on next year - can I keep the influx of new things under a hundred?

I'm sure we'll find out how I inevitably fail over the course of the coming year. Assuming there's no meteor strike or squirrel uprising, or whatever.

Happy new year!