Friday, January 14, 2022

Terrain Finished: Concrete Barriers

A while back, I had to order some items from Secret Weapon Bases for my Warhammer 40K/Kill Team stuff and had the usual space in the basket before the shipping jumped up. These Jersey Barriers were sold to me as "plastic", but are PVC resin, rather than unexpanded polystyrene that may be expected from that description. Still, they came together nicely with a little drybrushing and a couple of coats of varnish.

Five barriers isn't a huge amount, but should be enough for my 6'x4' table. 
 
A couple of Primaris Space Marines for scale because they were what I had laying around at the time. 
 
 If the grim dark future or post-apocalypse is more your jam, these would take some wear and bullet holes nicely. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Superhero Media: Batman & Robin

Zach Snyder apologists, bite on a belt or something, because Batman & Robin is actually a lot of fun to watch now that I'm an adult and don't care how other people perceive my sexuality. What's that, you think Batman & Robin is pretty "gay"? Well it is, though not in the pejorative term, but it is colourful, camp and very musical, all things that we've been conditioned to think Batman "shouldn't" be, and that's a damn shame. This film pays homage to the classic Adam West programme, complete with puns, team-ups, vehicles and gadgets and really deserves more credit and some positive attention once in a while. Do you have to enjoy it? No, if it's not your bag, no harm done. However, if the "gay" elements put you off, check your damn privilege and try to remember that Uma Therman spends most of the film in states of undress. Yes, parts like the nipples on the costumes and Bat-credit card are silly, but they actually pay off for great jokes in the moment. Also, if I can put my nerd hat on, Batman typically carries cash in his utility belt, why not an untraceable EFTPOS card? He has a robot T-rex after all. 


Once the puns start flying and Batman and Robin are fighting an ice hockey team, I'm charmed and much of the film was an enjoyable ride. The change in Bane bugs me, but honestly not as much as in The Dark Knight Rises, at least they kept the Luchidor mask and Venom, and didn't make him the most British Middle Easterner since Prince Faisal in Lawrence of Arabia. I honestly feel Batman & Robin would have been better received if it was a bit shorter, it really does drag on in places, especially with the rivalry between the titular characters, which flares up every few scenes. Robin, now clearly in his twenties, is chafing at being treated as the "Boy Wonder" and wants equal billing with the Dark Knight, who is being overprotective for fear of losing anyone else. It takes the near-death of Alfred for Bruce to realise that he needs partners, not subordinates and he allows Robin and Batgirl to take on more responsibility in the battle with Mister Freeze. There's a scene where Ivy and Bane take on a street gang in neon, day-glo warpaint which I love and would like to reproduce in miniature, if I could find the right paints. 


Batman & Robin isn't a particularly good film, but I do believe it is better than people give it credit for. Much as with the classic Adam West programme, this film provides a contrast to the prevailing image of Batman that really needs more attention. The next Batman film being close in tone to Batman & Robin would probably be pretty bad, but one in which Batman has partners, cracks jokes and smiles occasionally would be a welcome sight. I've said it before, but Batman is much better when he has a team around him, at least Robin, but please feel free to throw in Batgirl, Oracle, Nightwing, Batwoman, Spoiler and more. I have to say that I am now quite sick of Batman films and need to take a break. I think I'll load up on some more Marvel and international films for a little while.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Miniatures Finished - 19/05/19

Feels like my heroes got pushed to the back-burner for my Deathwatch, so I'm glad that I'm able to get some up here again. Even if there are two more Deathwatch in this lot.

Balder the Brave: Just a simple head-swap on this one, Balder comes into the 40k universe as a Deathwatch Veteran with shotgun. Converted Games Workshop. 

Kirby on Warp Star: My packet of Kirbys had more than a few spares in it, so naturally I had to make a Maximilian 1934 version to go with my Ghost Rider and Yamcha. The base is from an old Warhammer giant and it was in my box of spares. Toy. 

Thor (Jane Foster): Just another Heroclix head on a Space Marine, but I've developed a fondness for female Marines and the rage they induce in idiots on the internet. Naturally, Jane gets a hammer and a shield. Converted Games Workshop. 
 

Skrull Infiltrator: As I mentioned way back in my first Superhero Wargames Armies Ideas, making Skrulls is pretty fun and easy, so I've been working on a few to break up other projects. This one is Damien Wayne. Converted Heroclix. 

Juggernaut: After seeing Deadpool 2, I decided I needed a bigger version of Cain Marko. Until a version in prison fatigues is available, this one is pretty impressive. Heroclix. 

Skrull Infiltrator: It looks as if  the skrulls have agents even in the mysterious Foot Clan! Most of my Skrull conversions are based on whatever I have spare in my Heroclix, so there's no real plan, other than to avoid any major characters and avoid too much Marvel stuff. Heroclix. 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Superhero Media: End of Evangelion

One of the worst achievements of the internet is amplifying the voice of small and toxic elements of communities, particularly fanbases of niche genre work. Due to the unique and compelling elements of Neon Genesis Evangelion (NGE), it quickly developed a huge following, both in Japan and internationally, being one of the major features of early internet "Fandom" websites. As discussed in the NGE review, quite a large proportion of the fanbase was disappointed with the final episodes of the programme focusing on Shinji's internal struggle against his own depression and anxiety, rather than delivering on a final battle against the angels. Part of the reason behind the lower-energy episodes was a lack of budget and a need to recycle footage, but, as interviews with Hideaki Anno reveal, the end result was pretty close to how he had pictured it initially. With the negative reaction from the fans came not only complaints and online ire, but actual death-threats sent to Anno and the team that worked on NGE. With the demand for more NGE and a more satisfying ending, Anno and crew produced End of Evangelion, a massive "fuck off" to the angry fans and reinforcement for the original ending of the progamme. 


End of Evangelion is more heavy on the action, with one of the best fight scenes in the series as Asuka takes on the horrific Units 5 through 13, powered to full by her mother's unconditional love. Meanwhile, Shinji is curled into a ball, crying and waiting to die. In fact, nothing good really happens to Shinji for the entire film, he cries and refuses to help as the women that care about him fight and die; that is what Anno thinks about you, entitled fanboys. Whilst Shinji was never the best person, and more than a little selfish, in End of Evangelion he attempts to murder Asuka three times, commits sexual assault and presents as suicidal to get attention. I honestly can't think of a bigger authorial backlash against the fandom until The Last Jedi. I do believe that works belong to the author more so than the audience, so when there is a violent backlash against an author, I'm usually in their corner. That said, is taking shots at any part of the fandom ever really justified? Well, I believe so, but I'm getting less tolerant of arseholes as I get older, and the kind of person that insists that Shinji, the Joker, Travis Bickle and/or Tyler Durden are their hero[es], tend to be the biggest, nastiest arseholes. 


End of Evangelion is not a replacement to the finale of NGE, but is a compliment for Shinji's internal struggle as depicted in those episodes, showing the external behavior driven by the internal strife. Probably my favourite element of End of Evangelion is that everyone gets closure, but not what they want. Gendo completes his plan, only to not get his wife back and be killed by Rei. Risuko reconciles with her mother before Gendo kills her. Askua finds out that her mother loved her all along just before she is hacked apart brutally. Shinji no longer has to be alone, but the only other person in his world is the person who hates him the most. There's a They Might Be Giants song called "Don't Let's Start" which has the line "No one in the world ever gets what they want, and that is beautiful/Everybody dies frustrated inside and that is beautiful", and it is that sentiment which best sums up End of Evangelion for me. Everybody gets a bad ending and there is a beauty to that. Go, live you life and don't put so much emphasis on anime and the pop culture you use to define yourself.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Melee of Champions - Part 4

Been keeping an eye out for figurines in roughly the same scale as the Amiibos and Disney Infinity, picking up these few cheap at various stores.

Artorias (Dark Souls), Conker (Nintento/Rare) and Aquaman. 

A friend is a big fan of Dark Souls and Artorias in particular, so I nabbed him and Conker on a BOGOF sale. Got lucky and found this Aquaman FIGZ at a clearance place, sadly he was the only character left. I've been working on Super Mission Force stats for my collection of characters, so hopefully I'll be getting some more of those up sooner rather than later. 


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Superhero Media: Dredd

Man did Dredd come out of nowhere or what? Even I, who's willing to sit through anything involving superheroes and comics, missed this one at the cinema and had to rent it on DVD when it came out. It seemed everyone missed it, as it didn't make much money, even on its small budget and now we live for scraps of news of Karl Urban maybe coming back to the role for Netflix. It's strange to think that Judge Dredd (1995) actually has more references and a style closer in look to the 2000 AD comics, but is pretty poor overall, but Dredd strips a lot of it down to basics and works really well. Let's be fair, Dredd borrows a lot from Die Hard, The Raid and even Punisher War Zone, and dresses it up in Judge Dredd clothes, rather than try to adapt "The Day the Law Died" or "Mechanismo". Taking the framing of Judge Anderson's first day, Dredd and Anderson are quickly trapped in Peachtrees Block and have to fight their way to the top through the Ma-Ma clan. 


This "day-in-the-life" approach to Judge Dredd works because the dry humour and hyper-violence of the comics are retained, but the more grounded look somehow suits the tone well. The language is heavily peppered with 2000 AD references, from Iso Cubes and Resyk to Muties and Med Judges, but the background also provides lots of fun nods to the comics, like a Fatty with bellywheel and the word "drokk" spray painted everywhere. For a while, Dredd was something of a regular watch for me, as it's a tight 90 minutes and can be very satisfying when a good bit of action is needed. However, the more I watch Dredd, the more I notice just how cheap the film is. Much of the foreground costuming and props are excellent, but all of the cars, costumes for extras and misc-en-scene look scavenged from the studio and mates' garages. Little things like a couple of the one-line extras being a bit crap, or odd wigs on actors to hide the fact they die more than once or the same corridor looking like the same corridor no matter how they vary the lighting. 



I'm a bit torn on seeing more of the Dredd universe. On one hand, more of Dredd would provide a chance to explore some deeper elements of the setting, like the Cursed Earth, Muties or the East Megs, but it could just as easily be even cheaper and more generic. Dredd seems destined to be something of a cult classic, with fans lamenting that it never went further, and I don't think that's a bad thing to be. Much like with Mystery Men, having more would be nice, in theory, but being a stand-alone film, rather than a franchise, has its own merit. Part of me is just a little too cynical to not picture a potential Netflix series having too many episodes and too tight a budget to really be allowed to shine. For now, Dredd is a treat, flaws and all and I would be up for Urban donning the helmet again, if the circumstances were right. Mega City One and the rest of Judge Dredd's Earth, as well as the other wonderful stories from 2000 AD are ripe for adaptation with the right team and it would be a shame for the trend to end here.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Miniatures Finished: Solo Villains

You know what makes great superhero settings like Marvel 616, DC Animated Universe and Invincible really feel "real"? Having a huge cast of characters. This is something I feel is often missing from film and television series, though the MCU and "Arrowverse" have done pretty well on this front, given the huge amount of time they've invested in world building (seriously, Human Target is in several episodes of Arrow, that's pretty cool). Although most of my own SS4 stuff revolves around my Equalisers team and/or Ulysses' adventures, I do work at some of the fringes of the setting to keep some verisimilitude where I can. For example, members of a defunct team "Counter Culture" can be found in my NewGen and Pendragon Security teams, as well as below, though I'll probably never run Counter Culture in a game; they having appeared in the Mutants and Masterminds game I ran over a decade ago which help spawn the entire setting. 

Originally, the idea of having a pool of "solo" Villains was to work with the "Unexpected Ally" mechanic in SS4, and I'd put together a team of solo Heroes as well. The heroes have been delayed because of a lack of appropriate minis and the Villains have become more of, "Boss Monster[s]", I guess would be the best term. Although most of my SS4 characters come in at 85 Build Points, most of the villains here are at least 100. After all of these years, I still can't get SS4 to catch on at NWA, so I'm in the process of planning games in my own setting where I can provide the minis and get people playing. Hopefully you'll be seeing more AARs in the near future.


Villains menace the Earth! (from left to right) Bubblegum (its "Prime" form in the rear), the Ultraversal Umpire, Kiswah and Argon.

Bubblegum (D&D Miniature) and Bubblegum Prime (toy). 

Bubblegum: One of the first enemies Alpha Section ever battled, before the Equalisers and birth of modern superhero teams, Bubblegum was an experiment intended to help people that went horribly wrong. An "intelligent" polymer designed for medical use, it was intended that the substance would "seek" injuries on a patient, sealing wounds and applying anesthetic. However, something went horribly wrong and the substance started absorbing and devouring test animals, gaining intelligence and becoming more dangerous as it did so. By the time the authorities were aware of the threat, the substance had killed several people and been dubbed "bubblegum" due to it's sickly-sweet odor. Alpha Section (then Wildcat, the Unknown Soldier, Fury, Sledge, Pearl Diver, Krakatoa and Tempest) were able to capture Bubblegum and place it in a deep freeze. A couple of times since, Bubblegum has escaped and gone on other rampages. When it absorbs enough intellects, Bubblegum reaches what has been dubbed it's "Prime" form, more humanoid and far stronger, but less destructive. It has been theorised that, should Bubblegum be able to absorb enough intellect, it may achieve true sentience.

The Ultraversal Umpire plans its next round of games (converted Reaper) 

The Ultraversal Umpire: An enigmatic being from outside the known Omniverse, The Ultraversal Umpire is best known for using its seemingly-limitless power to draw super-powered beings into gladiatorial combat. A recurring foe for both Ulysses and The Champions of the Omniverse, The Ultraversal Umpire is so difficult a foe not only for its ability to open portals and cancel super-powers, but because of the seemingly endless supply of brainwashed superheroes at its beck and call. Of course, once these heroes realise that they've been duped, they tend to team up and defeat The Ultraversal Umpire, but these continual defeats never seem to put a stop to its machinations. Is this unknowable creature part of a larger scheme, or just a bored demigod looking for kicks? Only time will tell.

Kiswah (Eureka) and Argon (Heroscape). 

Kiswah: His original name being long lost to time, the man known as Kiswah has been fighting for the Nation of Islam since the days of the PLO. Kiswah is in possession of a strange and haunting superpower; he cannot die. As a young man, full of the fire of jihad, Kiswah was lured by tales of glory and paradise, willingly giving everything for his cause as he detonated a bomb vest and awaited his reward; when he woke up days later, unharmed, his life began to change. Kiswah still passionately believes in removing Western influence from the Middle East, and that his people must be free to decide their own destiny, but as a veteran of the fight, he now questions the methods of his compatriots. Kiswah has seen too many young people go to their deaths for the cause, and has chosen to do all he can to prevent further loss of life. Under Kiswah's leadership, only he will wear a bomb vest, as the pain is something he can actually bear and return from. 

Argon: Aaron Weber was doing time in Juvenile Detention for drug-related crimes, despite being 19 years of age, as his father's money and influence had kept him out of a State Prison. Weber ran a small gang of nere'do'wells, his age and natural charisma suiting him as a leader, but he wanted out so volunteered for an experiment that may kill him, but would reduce his sentence. Like all members of the original Counter Culture, Weber was granted amazing powers, in his case, the ability to control and project colourful plasma, which Weber felt clashed with the Goth aesthetic he modeled at the time. During a conflict with the Equalisers, Weber was seemingly killed, only to return moments later in a form of pure plasma, which was eventually captured by Wildcat and the Scarlet Blade. Weber was imprisoned at the Boomerang facility in Melbourne until it came under attack by Pendragon Security and he was able to escape. Since then, Argon has been a recurrent foe for heroes the world over, with his immense power making him a formidable opponent, though he often pursues petty goals with his strength.


Name: Kiswah  
BP: 85
Affiliation: None
AP: 4
Strike: 1
Strength: 3
Dodge: 4
Sense: 2
Toughness: 5 (1)
Mind: 3
Resolve: 6
Damage: 3/9 (3)
Powers
Lone Wolf – Does not gain nor grant Bonuses in Close Combat. May not benefit from Tactician Boon.
Regeneration – End of turn, roll 1D, heal 1 for each Goal, may not be re-rolled.
Hard to Kill – 4AP to Cuff or Ace Kiswah  
Detonation – 3 Vitality, 9” AOE, 9 (3) Damage, one use only.

Super Toughness 1
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
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KO


























Name: The Psychevore
BP: 130
Affiliation: None
AP: 12
Strike: 2
Strength: 2
Dodge: 2
Sense: 6
Toughness: 10
Mind: 10
Resolve: 9
Damage: 2/9 (1)
Powers
Soulless – Immune to Mind-based attacks and Healing. Automatically fails KO Checks 
Telekinesis – 2AP hovers 24” in the air until start of next turn, Immune to falling damage
Density Decrease (Always On) – Immune to Damage rolled against Toughness
Mind Attack 9, Super 1
Massive 3 - +3D to attacks against this Model
Slow Footed – Model cannot Charge
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X











KO


























Name: Ultraversal Umpire
BP: 165
Affiliation: None
AP: 20
Strike: 4
Strength: 4
Dodge: 6
Sense: 7
Toughness: 6
Mind: 12 (4)
Resolve: 8
Damage: 4/6
Powers
Dispel – 4AP 15” Range, Mind vs Power Dice, turns off Active Powers  
- Supress – Can target Attributes and constant effect Powers. Attributes lose super and drop to 2D
Telekinesis – 2AP hovers 40” in the air until start of next turn, Immune to falling damage
Force Dome 6D – 3AP 7”AOE Physical attacks hit dome first, modes get +2D Toughness when active
Mind Attack 6D – hits Mind resisted by Resolve, Ignores Cover
Super Mind 4 (Second Sight) – May use Mind for Initiative, target Mind Attack without LOS
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
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KO


























Name: Argon
BP: 85
Affiliation: None
AP: 11
Strike: 6 (1)
Strength: 3
Dodge: 6 (1)
Sense: 3
Toughness: 3
Mind: 5
Resolve: 3
Damage: 3
Powers
Density Decrease – 3AP, Immune to Damage rolled against Toughness, Cannot make melee attacks, may move through terrain, immune to fall damage, Cannot be Knocked Down  
Reflection – 3AP Ranged Strikes missing by 2+ Goals can be reflected to Short Range
Flight
Lone Wolf – Does not gain Friends in Combat bonus or Tactician
Super-Strike 1 – May use Strike for Initiative Rolls
Super-Dodge 1 - +1D to resist fall damage
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X





KO

























Name: Bubble Gum
BP: 100
Affiliation: None
AP: 7
Strike: 5
Strength: 4
Dodge: 3
Sense: 4
Toughness: 8 (2)
Mind: 2
Resolve: 2
Damage: 4
Powers
Elasticity - +2D to Grab rolls, 15” Melee attacks @ +2AP   
-       Parachute – immune to Fall Damage
Drain 5D – 2AP, Max 2 per Stat per turn, Restores Vitality
Regeneration – End of turn, roll 2D, heal 1 for each Goal, may not be re-rolled.
Soulless – Immune to Mind-based attacks and Healing. Automatically fails KO Checks 
Linked Power Framework
X
X
X
X
X
X
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X
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KO


























Name: Bubble Gum Prime
BP: 100
Affiliation: None
AP: 7
Strike: 5
Strength: 4
Dodge: 3
Sense: 4
Toughness: 8 (2)
Mind: 2
Resolve: 2
Damage: 4
Powers
Elasticity - +2D to Grab rolls, 15” Melee attacks @ +2AP   
-       Parachute – immune to Fall Damage
Drain 5D – 2AP, Max 2 per Stat per turn, Restores Vitality
Regeneration – End of turn, roll 2D, heal 1 for each Goal, may not be re-rolled.
Soulless – Immune to Mind-based attacks and Healing. Automatically fails KO Checks 
Density Increase (Always On) - +3D Toughness, +1 Super Strength + Toughness, All Attacks cost +1AP, Counts as a Class A Object
Massive 2 - +4D to target this model
Linked Power Framework
X
X
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X
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KO