Photo post test for Tumblr to WordPress integration. Greg’s Blog.
Photo post test for Tumblr to WordPress integration. Greg’s Blog.
Doctor Who, especially the Doctor Who Miniatures Game ruleset, have been the bread and butter of my convention games ever since I reentered (with any seriousness) the miniatures wargaming hobby 2010. Designed by Graeme ? and Karl Perrotton, (currently the brains behind 7TV and Crooked Dice), DWMG was simple for new players to pick up and most importantly for me, really captured the feel of the Doctor Who universe. With its status as an unofficial, fan-designed product, it was cheap to adopt and supported by an active and friendly player-base. Even though regular updates ceased during the middle of the Matt Smith era, there are still a wealth of expansions and supplemental material available from the rules website.
Late last year, when Warlord Games announced their acquisition of the official license for a Doctor Who miniatures game, what should have been exciting news, instead had me feeling a bit anxious for all the long term unofficial producers of “Whovian” miniatures. Would Warlord go on an IP crusade and cut off the supply? The notion has already forced a few “not-Who” miniature projects underground.
After some conversation with friend, game designer, and fellow HAWK, Buck Surdu, I’ve decided to inventory what Doctor Who figures I already have so that I can plan to get the few items I need before figure lines potentially disappear.
First up are the Cybermen, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. These silver cyborg precursors to Star Trek’s Borg have appeared many times in my games from my 2011 “Victoria Hawkes and the Silver Menace” to my Schlegel’s Ferry offering for the 2016 HMGS Cold Wars convention.4
I’ve relied on the former Harlequin sculpts (now owned by Black Tree Designs) for most of my force. They have almost every design from the Mk.I Cyber-Mondasians from the Hartnell era, through the Tomb Cybermen and “Invasion” models, but I settled on the Cyber NeoMorphs from the 5th-7th Doctor series, since it was the best of the available sculpts and while not always 100% accurate, mix well in earlier Doctor’s adventures.
First up, are the 3 old FASA/Citadel Models I had lying around in my collection since the late 80s:
I find the detail on these guys to be a slight step above the Harlequin ones, but due to their age, they are a bit vertically challenged and measure up closer to the 25mm than to the 28mm standard.
Next, is the Harlequin/Blacktree Cyber Controller:
A very good mini overall, but he seems to be a bit skinnier and shorter than the rest of his troops.
Now for the bulk of the collection. Over the years, I’ve had some boughts of selective amnesia when placing my Doctor Who orders and have wound up purchasing these guys in groups of 10 every time I wanted something from Black Tree. The results are below:
There they are in all their glory. 24 painted Cyber NeoMorphs, ready to upgrade the universe. As a postscript, I found 6 more of their completed brethren in another box right after I took the photo, so my actual fieldable force numbers stretch to 30.
With this many troops to command, I decided early on to paint up the alternate sculpt as Cyber Lieutenants in order to give the Cyber Controller some flexibility in his force deployment.
Until recently, sources for the revived series Cybermen have been a bit scarce and anyone wanting to run a Cyberman game from the 10th Doctor forward has had to resort to a lot of “make do” measures. I’m sure this will change under the watch of Warlord Games, but I’m afraid that they will just do the redesigned Cyber model from the end of the Matt Smith era and bypass the tried and true Cybus industries Cyberman.
I was lucky enough to get in on MicroUniverse’s Doctor Who line while it was briefly available and obtain two of their Cybermen. While a bit more realistically proportioned than standard 28mm offerings, they did serve me well as a token presence for the cybermen in my early games of DWMG.
On the complete opposite end of the quality spectrum are these lovelies from the Doctor Who Adventures UK kid’s magazine. Packaged as a free giveaway along with some equally horrid Sontarans, these mildly bendy plastic monstrosities allowed me to bulk up my modern era cyber force quickly at a decent price. The results are really lacking. In fact, I had to draw on their eyes since they weren’t molded on.
On the positive side, I was able to obtain 20 “not-cybermen” from an undisclosed source, and they are an absolutely excellent rendition of the now classic Cybus model Cyberman. I hope to have these guys assembled and painted up in time for the 2016 Cold Wars convention.
Next up- Daleks!
In part one of the story, I set about to build up a 28mm, SAGA-compatible, all-metal warband that would still provide enough troop variety to flesh out either Battle Troll or Song of Blades and Heroes games. With HMGS Cold Wars Convention approaching, I did the research and the math and thought I had a pretty good handle on what the market had to offer.
Hitting the dealer’s hall when it opened on Friday at noon, I made a B Line over to the Age of Glory stand and started combing through the Crusader miniatures rack. Going through the SAGA rules, I decided that the Anglo-Saxons or the Scots matched my playing style the best, but after mentioning my Norman ancestry (Willy’s my 28th great grandfather) the dealer gave me a look and asked why the heck I wasn’t going with the Normans.
As luck would have it, Steve from Age of Glory had worked up some special SAGA sets composed of the Crusader lines that matched the Gripping Beast boxed sets almost exactly and the Normans were marked down from $76 to $67. Since it was nearly twenty bucks less than the comparable Gripping Beast Pack, I grabbed an additional 8 pack of Normans with Crossbows (DAN005) too.
8 mounted milites (hearthguard) built from sets DAN100, DAN101, and DAN105
1 mounted warlord (the sword wielding bloke from DAN105)
8 dismounted spearmen in chainmail (warriors) built from a mix of DAN001 and DAN002
12 Unarmoured archers (levy) built from DAN006
So the normal “butcher’s bill” for a force (minus the crossbowmen) this size would be around $79 (still a good price vs GB), but getting it at a discount made it a complete steal.
Quite pleased with myself, I returned to the HAWKs roost in the Lancaster Host’s Paradise Room and thinking my mission complete, waited for Wally’s Basement’s flea market to open…this is where the insanity ensued:
On my first visit, I ran across someone selling four packs of Black Tree Designs Normans, two 12 packs of the unarmored slingers and two 12 packs of the unarmored archers and while it would give me way more peasant levy troops than I would ever need, I couldn’t pass up the price of $30 for the lot.
If that weren’t enough, on my Saturday morning visit, ran across a pack of Crusader 8 Norman Spearmen in Quilted Armour (DAN003) and a pack of 8 Unarmored Norman Spearmen (DAN004) and snatched the lot of them up for $12.
I will definitely tackle the Crusader miniatures before moving onto the Black Tree. i will probably draft the flea market find Quilted Armor guys as my primary dismounted warriors with the unarmored guys as back up and leave the chainmail for the rare occasions my milites have to dismount or use them as “counts-as” Flemish Mercenaries to assist with the rather gallopy-shooty Normans’ lack of ground staying power. The crossbowmen will fill another warrior slot for the time being.
As for as the peasant levy, i will obviously paint up the Crusader ones first so I can be all matchy-matchy. the slingers can’t be fielded by the Normans in SAGA, but will be great as throw-away troops in “Song” or “Battle Troll” or I could loop them into a future Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Danish army as young-uns who haven’t grown beards.
Taking advantage of the weekend leading up to last Monday’s snow day, I put the finishing touches on the “I.M. Schlegel” scrap yard for my Cold Wars game.
The yard itself consists of a square of plasticard coated with a layer of brown, textured spray paint, and the fences are made from craft sticks dry brushed with several shades of brown/beige paint.
The pipes in the background are based on a shaped piece of plasticard that was coated with textured white craft paint before the entire thing was primed black. I found that the plain textured paint worked just as well, if not better than the far more expensive versions that Games Workshop sells.
A bit anachronistic for 1964, but the wrecked car is a plaster cast made a few years ago at an HMGS Hobby University session, all in all, I think it painted up pretty good. I still plan to make a few more wrecks out of the otherwise-useless vehicles that come with Plasticville buildings.
The name on the sign is an homage to the “I.M. Foreman – Scrap Merchant” sign seen in the first William Hartnell episode back in 1963, which would appear again during the tenures of the 6th, 7th and ultimately during the 50th anniversary special last year.
Now, most of the Doctor Who games I ran featured the David Tennant, Tom Baker, or Matt Smith Doctor’s, but I felt it was time to give old “Billy” a chance to shine again, so I painted up the Black Tree Design’s versions of the 1st Doctor, his granddaughter Susan and original companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright.