Monday, 3 August 2015

Penguin's Duck Tank


With the first game for the Penguin crew pencilled in for this weekend, most of my time will need to be spent cobbling together some terrain pieces, but perhaps one more flight of fancy before the Caped Crusader darkens the mood?  


'Batman Returns', Tim Burton's second outing with the Batman franchise saw Danny DeVito splendidly take on the role of the Penguin and make it his own, but the film came with other memorable moments.  The 'Rocket Penguins' have already made an appearance, but there was one more iconic piece of imagery that I wanted to try my hand at recreating - the Duck Tank! This ridiculous charabanc is an amphibious vehicle, perhaps salvaged from a fairground ride, and used by the Penguin as he emerges from the sewers below Gotham City - ridiculous, yet undeniably iconic!


I had a plan to fashion something together from a small bath time rubber duck, but a particularly productive session of 'Google Fu' unearthed a Matchbox Hot Wheels toy and at a reasonable price. Advertised at 1/50 scale, this was too good to pass up and so within 24 hours, I was the proud owner of a Duck Tank! It was perfect, just the right scale and required very little work. In the end I repainted the wheels from pink to red and added a little dry brushing here and there. The interior was given a lick of paint ant the steering wheel and gear stick matched to the Duck's onscreen variant; all the remained was a liberal coating of matt varnish and it was good to go.


I wanted to put my own stamp on the project and after a good root around my box of bases I eventually unearthed a 100mm x 50mm rocky slate chariot resin display base that I had picked up, for goodness knows what, an eon ago from an eBay seller known as 'Tiny Worlds Wagaming'.  A plan was forming in my addled brain and so I set to work with my trusty Dremel, attacking the base so as to add all manner of bits and pieces including a ruptured oil drum, sewer pipe, metal beams and bricks.


Once the mica gel flakes and red oxide paste had dried, I undercoated in black before starting to bring the various elements to life, trying to convey a damaged road complete with white lines.*  Finally, some fun with Bostik all purpose glue to recreate something horrible and toxic escaping from the drum and the piece was complete.

*When I removed the masking tape the lines looked too perfect and so had to be distressed. 


All that remained to do was to pin the duck to the base and "et voilĂ !"  Totally ridiculous, I grant you, but great fun to do; I'm not sure about the use of vehicles in the game so at the moment I envisage this as a terrain piece, something for my little villain to hide behind when the Batarangs start flying!


I have a couple more thugs to finish off before the Batman comes calling, but hopefully I should then have everything I need for an enjoyable day.


Saturday, 1 August 2015

Mr. Sickle

a.k.a. Captain Abramovici

I present, for your delectation, just a single miniature this morning, but what a fearsome lump of lead!  If truth be told, I've been putting off working on Mr. Sickle for a while now, as not only is it a considerably larger model from the 'Knight Model' stable, but acres of rippling muscle are not my favourite thing to paint simply because there is nowhere to hide. 


A bizarre abominiation, legend has it that Mr. Sickle was one half of a conjoined twin performing in a Russian circus with his brother Mr. Hammer.  Their brutality brought them to the attention of the Joker, but only needing a 'right hand man', the clown persuaded them to be separated before callously discarding Mr. Sickle.  Now a Lieutenant in the Penguin's crew, Mr. Sickle has come a long way from the small Siberian village of his birth.


Fortunately, for yours truly, a relatively simple miniature to put together with just his sickle hand requiring a pin, again based on an 'Element Games' resin 'old factory' base.*   Having made a rod for my own back with the camouflage trousers used on the other crew members, this detail clearly needed to be carried through here with the addition of some tattoos to represent his affiliation.  A formidable addition to the crew, Mr. Sickle will surely have the Batman running for the shadows?

*albeit a much larger one at 40mm.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

More Penguin thugs.


Some more additions to the Penguin Crew in the shape of 'Ice Penguin' with his sawn off shotgun and 'Savage Penguin' with his mini uzi.   I have also plucked up the courage to revisit 'Penguin Emperor' and had a go at fixing his broken electric baton using some beading wire, it is now fairly flexible so shouldn't snap off at the slightest touch.


These were by far the easiest 'Knight Models' that I have had to assemble to date with a sensible number of composite parts to deal with.  A little pinning and the liberal application of the ubiquitous greenstuff and they were ready for paint.  It seemed an obvious decision to mirror my previous crew members with regards to colours and camouflage trousers and taking a lead from the talented Simon Quinton, of 'Brummie's Wargaming Blog' fame, I used in the same purple for 'Penguin Emperor's' body armour as I used for the Penguin's waistcoat, unifying the group. 


Progress is currently being made on two more members of the crew and a more sinister henchman, Sickle, along with a couple more flights of fancy; hopefully more updates soon! 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Safe and well.

When starting this mad dash into the comic book world of Batman, I was greatly inspired by a series of posts by the 'Dark Templar' and 'Bullcher Feb'. Both gentlemen were busily building their crews ahead of an initial showdown when their attentions turned to terrain building and objective markers. If truth be told this is where the original idea for the 'Rocket Penguins' sprang from, but it also spawned another idea with regards to a solution for the 'Loot Marker'.



When stumbling around the '4Ground' stand at 'Salute 2015' my eyes fell upon a curious pack, simply entitle 'Safe'.  I would imagine that it was conceived to play a part in some sort of western game, but I initially thought what a wonderful objective for the villains of Gotham City.


From the the outset I need to stress that this was a bit of an indulgence*, but I do like putting together these models.  That said a closer inspection of the assembly instructions might have prevented a couple of schoolboy errors, namely putting the back on the wrong way round and allowing my fat fingers to manhandle a particularly delicate piece of infrastructure.  Still both obstacles were overcome with aplomb, and in the case of the glue mark, I simply covered it over with a rust effect to give the piece some 'age'.

*£6 worth or indulgence to be exact!


When completed I could't resist adding a little detailing to make Gotham's nefarious ne'er-do-wells' efforts more worthwhile.  Some pieces of plastic rod, beads and gold coloured glitter became the much sort after loot.  I have to say that I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, believing that I had stumbled onto a rather ingenious and original solution until, quite by chance, I saw that 'Element Games' were stocking a new release from 'Knight Models', yes a safe pack that not only gives you two models, but is cheaper as well - originality, it would seem, is fleeting! 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Penguin Rockets are go!




Finally, I have this mildly amusing diversion completed and photographed for your delectation.  I think that I underestimated just how much Tim Burton's magical imagery affected the young Awdry as, from the outset, the idea of recreating the Rocket Penguins from 'Batman Returns' became almost obsessive as my 'Penguin Crew' developed.


The project got off to a flying start* with Mark Complestone's 'Frisky Penguins' proving to be the perfect base for my machinations.  Once pinned to 25mm 'Old Factory' bases, again from 'Element Games',  I was left scratching my head and thinking, "now what?"  I knew what I wanted to achieve, but how to get there?  Old biro pens were dismantled and discarded, a thorough rummage through the spares box failed to yield exactly what I was after, but finally inspiration struck!  Yes the 'Google Fu' was strong with me as I stumbled across 'Bitz Box', a site specialising in Warhammer and Warhammer 40K parts.  I rushed around the virtual aisles loading up the trolley with various ordnance, the Burnas, Lootas and Flash Gitz sections yielding a particularly fine array of projectiles!

*Perhaps an unfortunate turn of phrase given that these are flightless birds!


The postman, oblivious to his complicity, delivered my plastic arsenal and the fun began.   'Awdry Towers' was alive with a frenzied snipping, sawing and filling and finally I emerged from my build with the a hearty 'Eureka' and the Rocket Penguins were born!


I have to confess that once paint was applied I was delighted with how they came to life,  although I had absolutely no idea as to any reasonable use for them.  Subsequently, Kieron of 'Cheaphammer!' fame has suggested that they might make good ammunition objectives for the Batman Miniatures game, justifying my flight of fancy by giving my waddling weapons a purpose!


"Some birds fly South for winter, whilst others tough it out!"

Monday, 13 July 2015

There was me, that is Alex, and my three Droogs.


It seemed only fitting to me that one of the first miniatures painted for the annual 'Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' should be my entry fee to that splendid chap, Curtis Campbell Esq.  The brief was, in keeping with this year's Fawksian theme, to supply and paint a single 28mm figure characterised as an antihero, rogue or person of dubious character but undeniable charisma.  




To that end much thought was given as to a suitably roguish anti hero and as luck would have it I rediscovered this rather charming miniature amidst the masses of forgotten lead.  A Bill Thornhill sculpt for 'Crooked Dice', this is one of four 'Eavies available from their web store and a passable likeness for Malcolm McDowell’s character, Alex DeLarge, in Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel, A Clockwork Orange. A charismatic, sociopathic delinquent, there is no question that Alex is a person of dubious character but also undeniable charisma and so seemed a reasonable choice for my entry fee.


A lovely miniature to work on, I was a little concerned with painting the white and in the end went for a variety of shades with definite tints to help distinguish the different fabrics.  With the challenge successfully completed my thoughts turned to packing up my entry fee for its long trip to Canada; knowing that 'Alex' already had company for the voyage in the shape of 'Dim', the Provost Marshal's entry for the same challenge, I still felt a strange pang of guilt at separating these two from the original crew and so set about painting the rest of the Droogs, I just hope that the additional miniatures makes up for their late arrival!


On the subject of the Provost Marshal's entry, I shall let him explain in his own words:

"Along with just about everything else this Challenge, I changed my mind about the Curtgeld. My original plan was to paint a certain Napoleonic cavalry officer, but then a visit to the master of the arcane at Awdry Towers changed everything. For once I was on the receiving end of a small plastic bag of lead. Michael informed me that it comes from Crooked Dice set under the nom de guerre 'Eavies. They are, of course, based on Alex and his Droogs from Kubrick's film of Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange, released in 1972.

This anti-hero is 'Dim', played in the film by the late, great Warren Clarke. Fat, gormless, and favouring a bike chain as a weapon, much put upon by Alex, Dim finally has enough. To stop him escaping from the clutches of the police, Dim smashes a milk bottle across Alex's face. Dim may well have acted out of a desire to stop Alex's ultra-violence, but his real motive is much less heroic. Dim's motive is revenge. He becomes a policeman who extracts his own punishment on his former leader!


It was a great figure to paint, and hopefully will stand next to Michael's figure* of 'Alex' in Curt's 'trophy cabinet'. Those with good eyesight, or high res monitors, may just be able to spot a musical homage to one of my favourite bands, and their 5th album, also dating from 1972."



*He is currently standing with them now, second from the left in the above picture! 


“It’s funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Ghoul King



In the spirit of completion, I would like to offer up my final 'Heresy Miniatures' Ghoul - the Ghoul King himself!  There are two versions of this reassuringly large miniature available for purchase on the company's webstore, a shy retiring type and this one, who is happy to just let everything hang out.  



Again expect a little construction, but given this model's larger size there wasn't anything too taxing to overcome.  The paint scheme followed the the rest of the tribe and had to go through that uncomfortable 'blue' period, but ultimately holds together with the others.  The rat familiar is a nice touch on this model, but I wasn't overly enamoured with a large, scarab like beetle on his right thigh so this was removed.


Basing was again carefully matched to tie them all together and a slathering of gore completes the look. The fearsome Noctelinger are now a force to be reckoned with, but will their Master make an appearance before the end of the summer?

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