Monday, 11 October 2021

A few AvP special features

 Just before I put my hands on the AvP marines faction, I remembered I had some special minis I hadn't painted, so the moment was as good as any other to get those away from the queue.

First of all, a monster I previously knew nothing about, I have to confess. The so called Alien King. I honestly thought there was no larger, more terrifying creature than the Alien Queen, but Prodos proved me wrong.

Hail to the king, baby

Even with my hand for scale, you can hardly get an idea of the size of this monstrosity

Just a refresher. That's a regular Alien. That's the Queen. Ripley's nemesis. You all remember

That is the King. I guess it's a victory of the patriarchy

What can I say. I don't think this thing is even playable, nor that it makes any sense in a game this scale. But there it is. Though the theory for painting it is essentially the same than the regular Aliens, I didn't drybrush it, but highlighted the model using metallics and used inks a little bit more carefully. The result is but a menacing Alien, yet bigger. Because bigger means more badass, apparently.

Let's move on. I had more stuff to do. There are a couple of special characters that came out from the videogames world, rather tahn the movies. Well, sort of.

Major Dutch Schaeffer first appeared, of course, in the original Predator movie. After that, with Schwarzenegger not being back for the sequel, the character moved onto videogames, where he got a bionic arm and this aspect:

Catachan? What is Catachan?

Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa comes also from the AvP videogame. I'm afraid I'm not into the game, so this is the first time I've heard of her.

Nephew of Akira Kurosawa

Next character is known as Specimen 6. Again from another videogame, it is (she is?) quite a fearsome Xenomorph. The miniature itself is a tiny vignette, a pretty striking one, yet not easy to photograph.

Yeah, Number Six was quite different in Battlestar Galactica

I bet she's screaming but you know... in the space no one can hear you scream

Taking pics to Aliens is deceiving, to say the least. The metal bases and the reflection of the light on the bright surfaces of the Xenomorphs make it tricky to find the right angle. Then add my total inability to take decent pics and you have it all :S

The last vignette is called One Last Mission. And it's the ultimate challenge for my puny photo skills. My final boss:

I hope you get an idea of what's happening!

Stomp that bug!

Where does the metal end? Where does the Alien begin? Aaaargh. Looks much better in hand

With these I can close another chapter. Now I can say I only have the Colonial Marines to finish the project. Well, I said that last time, I know. But this time it is true!

I believe.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Prodos Predators

With the Aliens finished, it was time to work on the other half of the Aliens vs Predator title.

The faction has quite less minis, but they are, of course much more individualised. They are true monsters in the game, and all of them are characters on their own.

These are the three Predators from the core box (from the original KS)


The skin was pretty tricky. The base is German Fieldgrey from Vallejo. After generously inking it with Agrax, all the different highlights and skin tones were done adding browns and ochre/yellow to the base colour. It doesn't really show in the pic (grunt), but trust me, they are not monochrome :D

A pretty cool thing from the KS is that you could get cloaked Predators. I mean, clear resin ones:

The very same sculpts, yet transparent

In order to keep transparency, the minis came in hundreds (well, not as many, but they looked as hundreds!) of spare pieces. These were the first I glued of all the Predator batch, so I didn't notice they were exactly the same sculpts than the others! If only I had had the others as a visual reference, I guess the assembly would have been easier!:D

More Preds. These are the Warriors:

Power Rangers dressesd up as Predators, I would say
And the Berserker
Intense opera singer dressed up as a Predator

As I'm painting my pal's minis along with mine, I have several of these minis repeated. I think I can save you from identical pics, hehe. The only new thing is that I spared a few Predators of my own and gave them different bases, just in case I want to play something (yet to be determined!) on a jungle based board, which I think suits these guys as well.

More than enough for my purposes

The KS also included these Hounds. I'm afraid I'm not as familiar with the Yautja fluff to know anything about them, so I painted them this way. As the horns/spikes/whatever look horrible to me, I made a few slight variations on a couple of them, so they don't look so over the top.

They are over the top no matter what

So this is the Predator faction. But I'm not done yet!

Bonus content!

I have also painted the objective markers, both the generic from the core box and the Alien ones. If you look closer, you'll see the synthetic is not really Bishop, but he's as close as he can legally be (licenses and copyright issues, you  know :P)

Those skulls look awkwardly out of scale

This is it for now. So I only have the Marines to do, I tink I can be reasonably optimistic about the project... :)

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Ork Gargant. Da lowa parts

 Back to our regular programming, I've made some progress on the Gargant!

Nothing too spectacular, but some important pieces nevertheless. I've completed the lower parts of this monster, i.e., the belly gun and the rear tray.

The belly gun is split into two pieces, for storage purposes. One piece, the ordnance part itself, will be attached to the underbody:

Looks delicate

The best part of dividing it into these two pieces is that you can paint the 'face' on the projectile that will be inside the gun barrel

Don't do drugz, boyz

The other part is the conglomerate of gun barrels. I wasn't sure of what colours to use. At first I thought of metal or black, but on a second thought I considered it wouldn't stand out at that scale, so in the end I opted for this white/bone/whatever:

Boom. Big ba-da-boom

So when we put the two pieces together...

No ear plugs are enough for that
A front view:
Can't see the face?

Boo

 
You can see it better here

 The rear tray was pretty simple to paint, I did quite a straightforward job which I hope is enough for its purpose. I didn't want too many colours, would have been distracting, so bare metal it was.

Less iz moar. Unless itz less. Uhm. Ehm...

I may still paint some glyphs or something here

This is it for now, let's see how it looks when assembled:

Father, give me arms

Enjoy'n da viewz from da balcony

What do I have left? The arms, the back banner and the storage box. Hmm, this project finally looks feasible (Not easy! Feasible!)

Moar stuff comin' zoon!

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Last flight from Kabul

Legal disclaimer: After consulting with both MoD and NATO sources, all unclassified official reports conclude that nothing of what you are about to see... ever happened.

 

During the events of the evacuation of Kabul International Airport, chaos engulfed the whole country. Western nations were trying their best to evacuate their personnel, Afghan interpreters and other workers, as well as their families if possible. But not everyone could easily reach the airport compound. Embassies were contacting the local workers in order to ID them and their families and grant them pass through the checkpoints. But to achieve that, they had to reach Kabul first...

 

Three men were standing on the landing track while the monstrous plane behind them was getting ready to flight again. The lights of the airport made the night even more menacing, if that was possible.

- Tell him about the missing one- the Ambassador asked his assistant.

- All the workers in the area are identified -he responded- and we know they are outside the checkpoint. They all managed to reach Kabul. All but one. Habibullah Dustarrah, "Javi", the interpreter. Apparently his little brother was kind of an activist and the Taliban executed him just yesterday. They caught Javi last evening and will most likely execute him anytime soon.

-You see the situation? -the Ambassador asked to the soldier.

- Hm-m -he grunted-. What intel do we have on the place he's under custody?

- Last phone signal placed him right here -the assitant pointed some place on a map. An unpronounceable village kind of ten or twelve miles from where they were- apparently he had tucked a phone away and was able to give me a location. We lost contact six hours ago. We believe he will be executed in the morning.

The soldier looked around at the night and checked his watch. A few hours until dawn.

- If we're doing this, it has to be done now -he finally grunted.

- We know, Captain.

- I've been talking to the people in charge of the airport here. You get me clearance for the op from the Minister, I can get a helo, if you fill the paperwork.

- Consider it done, Captain -the ambassador was anxious to get things done.

- Right. I can't compromise more than a fire team. Well trained veteran spec ops team. Should be enough.

- I'll take what you give me -answered the Ambassador.

- Right, sir. You get the Minister on the phone and do your thing. You coming with me -the Captain told the Ambassador's assistant- with all the info available. We're briefing my team. We're against the clock.

.......

Before dawn came, the helicopter left the spec ops fire team far enough from the village to remain undetected. The five men would have to move fast. They got to the coordinates with the first lights of the day. It was nothing else than a few huts. A couple of armed guards and a pick-up in front of a door gave the place away.

- OK, guys, you see? That's the place. Everyone knows what to do?

- Yes, Sarge.

- Let's go then. Move!

 

This puny story is my excuse to play a game of Skirmish Sangin. It had been truly a long time since I last played, and the current events of these days provided me the perfect frame for a tiny game.

The fire team will try to get to the hut, rescue the interpreter and leave the board on the same point where they entered from. The Taliban guards will start the game unaware of the menace.

Spec Ops team on the right of the pic, will have to move quickly

First of all, please excuse the three buildings on the left. I was planning to paint them properly, but I had this little window of opportunity for a game with no prior notice, so I rushed it all and just glued and primed them.

I won't be detailing the game, as I already did here (with a bunch of monochrome pics like these of today!), so I'll just tell the story as it unfolds.

Ready for action?

Go, go, go!

The team moves stealthy

Guards fail to spot the quick movement

Things are going smoothly so long...

The team splits. Master Sergeant Martin will lead the rescue team while Pvt Lopez and Pvt Silva get to that roof to give support fire.

Pvt Sanz gets ready to cook a smoke grenade...

I had forgotten this. Skirmish Sangin is the Rogue Trader of modern warfare gaming

I mean it. There are charts for kind of everything

The grenade kicks the ground. Gaming wise the whole plaza is covered in smoke, limiting LoS for 6 rounds

Time to move!

Even at this range, Hakim misses his shot

Hakim is taken down while everybody runs

A second Taliban, Molla, is badly injured

Zabiulah shots Lopez, but misses

This is getting really nasty

If we had a drone, this would be what we could see

Despite the risk, MSG Martin decides to storm the hut, or else they can get pinned down on that corner.

The Taliban moral is falling down, so it was a calculated risk

Pvt Sanz stays on the door while MSG Martin and Pvt Aguirre confront the guard inside

Out! We have our man! Get outta here!

The shooting is intense, but no one gets injured during some rounds

You can see I'm getting into no detail at all, but trust me, this game deals with a lot of details. A lot. The alternate activation system is probably one of the best things of the game, but you do have to micromanage everything quite well and get sure you have each character perfectly identified.

Things were going incredibly well for the operation, but that can change any moment...

Reinforcements! They have a RPG!

At this point I took the fallen guys out of the table, just to get things easier

Ouch, this is going to hurt...

It misses and luckily hits the corner of the building. However, Silva and Aguirre get injured

Light wounds for both, these are the consequences

No one is left behind

They help their comrades while the interpreter is escorted out of the village

We're almost out. Keep formation!

Mission accomplished! Now get to the chopper! Wait, where did I hear that before?...

Well, you can see things were too smooth at the beginning, with the initial assault being incredibly successful, and then how suddenly everything changed. I have to say I didn't plan a symmetrical scenario at all. The stats of the spec ops team were absolutely decisive during all the game, and less veteran troops would have most probably failed. I'm pretty sure I did some things wrong during the game, but in the end it was enormously fun and the narrative kept coherent, which was my aim over all other considerations.

On a more serious tone, this is but a game, but I do hope (more a wish than a hope) the evacuation of Kabul ends well. All the best for the people on the ground (or in the air).