The 2021 Season of Scenery To-Do List

With one month gone already in Dave Stone’s Season of Scenery, I am lagging a bit behind. I’ve decided to do a bunch of small pieces that have been sitting around for far too long. Hopefully I can get the majority of them done by the end of August; but if not, at least I’ll have made some progress. Much of it is either 3D-printed or resin cast stuff, some of which I’ve owned for almost a decade.

Pretty much everything that’s black up in that picture is 20mm Gaslands scenery: fuel tanks, fuel barrels and tire stacks. These should be very easy to paint and hopefully will go fast. The white stuff is some new 3D-printed cargo piles I picked up in 28mm scale. Again, not hard to do, just time-consuming. The gray stuff is what’s left over from a 3D-printed sci-fi crate order I got last year. I used the other crates in my Star Trek Forgotten Worlds scenarios, but since I didn’t need these large ones I didn’t bother to paint them. Then there’s the vending machines and the Victorian weird science dynamo, both from Armorcast, and both purchased so long ago I can’t remember when. (I don’t even think they make the dynamo anymore.) Those damn vending machines have been sitting on my desk in their respective basecoats for almost ten years. It’s time, man.

Finally, I have three resin barricades I’ve owned since 2003 or so. I bought them for Warhammer 40K, but I never really went back to playing 40K so I never needed them. Primed black on the left side of the picture is a ruined wall fortification, another 40K piece I never got to. While these are the oldest and largest pieces of scenery; they’re also the lowest priority. Still, it would be nice to get to them…maybe if time permits.

Sarapen Moonsilver, Druid

For July’s Character of the Month, I chose to do one of my least favorite character classes: the Druid.

Loan the Barkwarden first came upon the girl in a glade deep in the Rowanwood, a basket of mushrooms nearby and a dead fox cradled in her lap. He knew who she was, of course; her silvery-white hair and slightly pointed ears made that much obvious. She was Sarapen, the herbalist’s daughter. That explained the mushrooms; but not the fox. Nor did it explain why the girl was so deep in the wood. No young girl should venture this far into the wild, dark and ancient Rowanwood unaccompanied, for Loan knew of at least a dozen creatures and plants within a stone’s throw that could easily kill her as dead as the fox in her lap. It was unlikely she was lost, though; she seemed unconcerned and unafraid. In fact, she was humming softly.

Sarapen Moonsilver looked up as Loan strode out of the surrounding wood to tower above her. The Barkwarden was huge, a head taller than most men, with tangled brown hair and deep, cobalt blue eyes. His matted and filthy beard hung to his waist, home to all manner of woodland vermin. Various crystals, dried herbs and roots dangled from his tattered robes and from the crooked blackthorn staff he bore. His hands and nails were black with dirt and he stank of the forest. Most children would have screamed and cowered in terror of such a man, but Sarapen Moonsilver did not.

Loan the Barkwarden gazed upon her with blue eyes ablaze. She stared back. “That fox is dead,” he said. The girl nodded. “Did you kill her?”

“No. She was my friend,” said Sarapen Moonsilver. “She was dying and asked me to stay with her.” Gently, she lifted the fox from her lap and lay it down next to her on the grass. She smoothed her skirt, retrieved her basket, and stood.

She shrugged. “It was her time.” Loan watched her in silence. A strange girl to be sure, but nothing simple about her. Suddenly, she gave the Barkwarden a penetrating look. “Are you my father?”

Loan the Barkwarden would have laughed, but it had been so long he had forgotten how to do so. “No,” he said gruffly. “I am not your father, child. Your father was a vain elf stooge named Veril who cared nothing for your mother and cared even less about you, if he knew of you at all.”

If she was hurt by his brutal words, she gave no sign. “You know him?”

“Knew of him, yes. He’s dead now; and no great loss, that. He tried to kill a troll that was minding its own business, simply being a troll. It wanted no trouble, but Veril, pompous ass that he was, decided he would kill the troll, and was killed by it instead.”

“Oh,” said Sarapen Moonsilver.

Loan snorted in derision. “Another fool dead, and never has there been a race more riddled with fools than the elves. Elves live long, and they are the biggest fools of all, because they are fools who think they are wise. In truth, no elf has had a single original thought or come up with a new way of doing anything for thousands of years. What do they do instead? They sit around and sing. How much fucking singing can you do in a thousand years, child?”

Sarapen Moonsilver said she didn’t know.

“Yes, the elves are old,” continued Loan the Barkwarden. “That is why they fear humans, and that is why humans fear elves. And why humans and elves alike fear you.”

“Fear me?” asked Sarapen Moonsilver. “Why should anyone fear me?”

“Because you half-elven, and half-human. You are too much the human for the elves, and too much the elf for the humans. It is no accident you and your mother live apart from both; ignored by the elves while giving out stomach remedies, love potions and hedge-cures for the superstitious folk in the village. Your ears and hair mark you as elvish: fey, magical and exotic, everything humans hate. Your wide hips and strong arms mark you as human: impulsive, brash and new, everything elves despise. Both see in you what they fear the most in each other.”

He had not spoken so many words aloud since before she was born. Loan the Barkwarden turned and walked away into the woods. Sarapen Moonsilver watched him go.

Over the next few years he kept a watchful eye on her secretly, or so he thought at first. She always seemed to sense him, whether he wore his own form or that of a beast or tree of the Rowanwood. She grew to into a beautiful young woman and a fine herbalist in her own right; but it was obvious she was much more than a mere hedge-witch.

Unlike with the fox, Sarapen did weep when, several winters later, it was her mother’s time to die. Sarapen had not encountered Loan the Barkwarden since their first meeting in the clearing years ago; so she was surprised to find him at her mother’s cairn a week after her passing. He had swept the snow from the stone and there was a great number of her mother’s favorite summer flowers and blossoms surrounding the grave. Sarapen knew it was Loan’s magic that caused them to bloom out of season. She knew then, too that Loan the Barkwarden had known her mother well and cared for her in his own way, yet neither had ever spoken of the other.

She approached the old man in the company of her friend and protector, a great bear named Sharn. Loan knew this wise and fierce bear, and he nodded in satisfaction that these two had formed a bond. It meant she was farther along the path than he had realized. He reached out and absently scratched the bear’s muzzle, heedless of any danger; for no creature of the forest held any danger to the Barkwarden of Rowanwood.

“So,” said Loan the Barkwarden, “Your mother’s time of dying has come and gone. You are herbalist now.”

“I suppose that’s true, for now,” she answered. “But it will not soon be so. The trees have spoken to me.”

“What did the trees say, Sarapen Moonsilver?” Loan asked. His voice was uncharacteristically soft. Was she so skilled already?

“They told me that I will be Barkwarden one day,” she said.

“I am the Barkwarden of Rowanwood,” the old man said. “I have been such since many of these trees were saplings.”

“But you will not be forever. All things have their time of dying, Loan.” Sarapen Moonsilver turned from the grave and smiled up at the Grand Druid. “Even you.”

“Yes. Even me.” Loan the Barkwarden nodded, his own smile lost in his great beard.

He suddenly remembered how to laugh.

Sarapen Moonsilver is Reaper’s Juliana, Herbalist; a new sculpt by Bobby Jackson from the Reaper Bones Black line.

As soon as I looked at this miniature I knew I wanted to paint her hair white, so I thought that should be the most striking part of the model, not her clothing. I opted to paint her in subdued colors, in simple clothes that a woman who walks through the forest foraging for herbs and mushrooms would likely wear. Once again, I knew I was going to do a lot of base-work on this one, so I thought her plain clothing would also contrast well with all the color on the base.

I can’t resist using this Vallejo Water Effect stuff since Roger introduced me to it, so I sculpted a pool of water for her to kneel by. I used some railroad-scale flowering bushes to finish it off, and I think it looks pretty darn good.

Fun fact if you want to use this Vallejo stuff: it interacts poorly with super glue. I know this because I was applying drops to the base to affix the flowers, when I discovered there was a little bit of air in the glue nozzle. It spit a small glob of glue directly onto my perfect, shiny and pristine water effect that I had spent two days waiting to dry. Five minutes later, the water effect was clouded and the glue had encapsulated. I had to take it out with a pair of tweezers; but it continued to react to the water effect for about 10 minutes.

My name is The Angry Piper, so can probably guess how I reacted to this development. Afterwards, I applied another layer of the water effect. It seems to be ok now. As am I.

Coming soon, in no particular order: another Battle Report, this time for some Super Mission Force; but don’t worry. The Green Hornet and Kato will return soon…

Also, it’s the Season of Scenery over at Dave Stone’s place; and I ain’t done shit yet. I have a bunch of small pieces I want to get done this year. Things that have been sitting undone for far too long.

And finally, I’m almost done with my Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps miniatures. Once they’re done I will, of course, post them here. Then it’s on to Imperial Assault; if for no reason than to justify my crazed purchases of that discontinued franchise.

Wise Uncle Wei

The Green Hornet returned to consciousness, the back of his head throbbing. He tried to reach up to massage it only to find he was bound, his hands tied behind his back around a thick support column. The smells of exotic spices assailed him as he suddenly remembered where he was: The “Happy Pepper” Spice Company, a warehouse in Chinatown, the domain of ruthless gang boss “Wise Uncle” Wei. It all came rushing back. He had been attacked from behind; surprised. He was used to having Kato there to watch his back, but not tonight.

He was alone. He could feel the cold floor on the back of his legs. He had been here a while. His head was bare. He had lost his hat. He peered around in the dim light. There it was, a few feet away on the floor. Alarm gave way to relief as he realized his domino mask still concealed his features. A small comfort, but he’d take what he could get.

A soft scuffle, and Kato was suddenly there, flowing like ink out of the darkness. The Hornet breathed a sigh of relief as his friend began to work away at the knots that bound his hands. “I told you to stay in bed,” the Green Hornet said.

“Right. I can see you obviously had everything under control here,” said Kato.

“I did, and you’re terrible at following orders.”

“I don’t work for you,” said Kato.

“Yes, you do.”

“Not when the masks are on. What happened?”

“I got jumped from behind,” said the Hornet. “Big guy. Uncle Wei’s enforcer. What’s his name?”

“Why are you asking me?” asked Kato. “Because I’m Asian? We don’t all know each other, you know.”

The Green Hornet flushed scarlet. “I didn’t mean–” he stammered, then chuckled softly as he caught sight of Kato’s grin in the dim light. “OK, very funny. You got me.”

“Iron-Skin Liu,” Kato said, as the bonds fell free. “You’re lucky he didn’t take your head off.”

“Sure feels like he did,” said the Hornet, rubbing his wrists and standing up. He bent to retrieve his fedora as the lights suddenly blazed, illuminating the warehouse.

They were in an open, circular area, surrounded on all sides by stacks and pallets of shipping crates and containers filled with spices and other imported goods. “Wise Uncle” Wei sat upon a small platform a few meters distant, flanked by his bodyguard, the massive, scowling “Iron-Skin” Liu; and his lieutenant, “Clean-Head” Chang. Several rough-looking Tong gangsters began to move from between the stacks of crates and barrels, surrounding the heroes on all sides.

“You see, Chang?” asked Wei. “It is as I predicted. Where there is one, the other cannot be far behind. It was only a matter of patience.”

“You are wise, Uncle Wei,” said “Clean-Head” Chang, smiling wickedly.

“Thank you, Chang; but I know my own name, ” said Wei. Chang stopped smiling and looked confused. Wei continued. “Now, we have them both: the Green Hornet AND his sidekick.”

“Sidekick,” the Hornet said softly, smirking. “You hear that, old friend?”

“I heard it. Remind me to show you a “side kick” when we get out of this,” murmured Kato, watching as more gangsters surrounded them.

Clean Head” Chang told me how you broke up the meeting last night at the storage yard,” said Wei. “No doubt you are seeking the mysterious man behind it all. Who could it be? What does he want? Well, you will not find him here. You might check the Waterfront District, if you survive. Donnelly seemed to be the only one interested in the mystery man’s proposal.”

“What proposal? Why are you telling us this, Wei?” asked the Green Hornet. “You’re being very helpful.”

“Why not? It matters nothing to me, my friend. In a short time you will both likely be dead; and if not, then you will come into conflict with another of my enemies, “Big Eddie” Donnelly, as you seek to thwart their alliance. Yes, an alliance is what they intend. Either way, I cannot lose.”

“Depends. You can lose a lot of men in the meantime,” said Kato, moving back-to-back with the Hornet and taking a ready stance. “All of them, maybe.” He flashed a wicked smile. The Tong shifted uneasily, looking to each other for reassurance.

“My men are expendable until they prove otherwise,” said “Wise Uncle” Wei. “None of these men have so proven themselves. Now, enough talk!”

The full scenario was detailed in the last post! Check it out if you missed it!

Turn 1: The first card drawn is a three, so two more Tong thugs come out to play and join their fellows on the perimeter of the circle. The Tong get initiative, and “Clean-Head” Chang wastes no time, knowing that his every move is being watched by “Wise Uncle” Wei. Waving his cleaver menacingly he rushes towards Kato, but doesn’t have enough movement to reach him. This does put himself within Kato’s range, however. With a loud Kiai, Kato leaps into combat, easily outclassing Chang, who falls beneath a flurry of blows from the black-masked vigilante! So much for Chang!

The remaining Tong rush into the circle; but, like Chang, they lack the movement necessary to reach the heroes. The Green Hornet counter-charges the closest Tong gangster; and with his patented one-two punch, he drops the goon like a sack of cement!

Turn 2: Another card is drawn…it’s a Two! Three more Tong surround the circle, ready to fight! The heroes seize the initiative this turn, though; and the Green Hornet moves swiftly to engage another opponent, knowing that letting up for an instant could mean that he and Kato will be overwhelmed! The gangster is no match for his emerald-clad fists, and falls just as another Tong charges the Hornet from behind. Once again, the Green Hornet prevails, punching the Tong so hard he leaves his feet! Kato takes one gangster out before he is mobbed by three more, who act in concert to try and bring him down. One manages to wound Kato! Finally, the remaining Tong thug charges the Green Hornet and meets the same fate as his friends. The Hornet now has made a small pile of three unconscious thugs; while Kato is surrounded by three very angry and very conscious opponents!

Turn 3: The card drawn is a Five: Look Out Below! A barrel of peanut oil shatters on the ground, turning the entire area into a slippery mess! Everyone scrambles to get out of the way. Kato and two of the goons he’s fighting manage to avoid it, but the barrel lands squarely on the remaining goon, knocking him unconscious. The Green Hornet is also hit. He takes a wound and is knocked prone, covered in peanut oil!

The villains gain initiative and immediately attack Kato, but even with two-to-one odds, they don’t stand a chance. Kato leaps into the air, lashing out with both legs in a corkscrew kick that sends them both flying, their senseless bodies sliding away on a sheen of oil. (Kato beat them on their turn, taking one out; then attacked on his own activation, taking out another.) The Green Hornet manages to stand up. Looking around, it seems that for the time being, at least, there are no Tong to threaten them!

Turn 4: The card drawn is a Nine. Nothing happens! With no events, no Tong to defend against and still no way out, this lull in the action seems like a good time for some dramatic dialogue, especially since…

Turn 5: The card drawn is the King!

“Wise Uncle” Wei clapped softly, gazing at Kato with undisguised admiration. “Your skill is quite impressive, ah…mmm…what IS your name? A thousand apologies, but I don’t seem to know.” Kato scowled. The Green Hornet tried and failed to cover a smile.

“You seem to be out of soldiers, Wei,” said the Green Hornet.

“There are always more soldiers,” Wei replied irritably, waving his hand in dismissal. He continued to address Kato. “You must know your talents are wasted with this green fool.”

“Hey!” protested the Green Hornet. ” There’s no need for name-calling.”

“You should join me, instead,” Wei continued smoothly. “Such skill as you possess would be well-compensated in my organization.”

“No chance,” said Kato, “the green fool needs me.”

“Really?!” exclaimed the Hornet, “You, too? I’m standing right here!”

“As you wish, then,” said Wei. “I grow weary of this entertainment.” He stood up. “See to it they do not leave this warehouse alive, Liu.”

“Iron-Skin” Liu nodded, hopping down from the platform as more thugs entered the circle. The Green Hornet and Kato found themselves back-to-back again, waiting…

Turn 6: I drew the Ace. Three more Tong show up! I deployed these three as a squad rather than scattering them around the circle. They will move and act together, because this one-at-a-time crap isn’t working out for the Tong! Close up on the faces of the Tong, all scowls and menace; cut to the Green Hornet, brow furrowed in determination; quick zoom on Kato’s mask, where his eyes can be seen, narrowed; while the final shot shows a slow, evil grin spreading across the brutal visage of “Iron-Skin” Liu…

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Greetings. I am “Wise Uncle” Wei. I cannot help but notice you admiring my Dragon Bell. An exquisite piece, wouldn’t you agree? It must have cost a fortune, you must think. But no, this is not so.

You may ask, why am I called wise? The answer is simple. It is because I get all my Dragon Bells at Wargames Terrain Workshop. After all, I may be the head of a very lucrative criminal enterprise; but just because I can afford expensive bell decor doesn’t mean I frivolously throw money away. That would be foolish, and I am not known as “Foolish Uncle” Wei.

This is my associate, “Iron-Skin” Liu. He is a man of few words; but when he does speak, it is often of Wargames Terrain Workshop, and of the unparalleled product quality and customer service they offer. Liu suggests most strongly that you shop there. If you do not, then “Iron-Skin” Liu will become unsettled, and that would be most unfortunate.

For you.

END COMMERCIAL

Turn 6, Continued: The heroes gain initiative. Seeing the group of thugs and “Iron-Skin” Liu about to close on Kato, The Hornet charges the group of thugs, hoping to cut them off. With a quick haymaker he drops one of the Tong; while “Iron-Skin’ Liu, bellowing in challenge, charges Kato and knocks him clear off his feet! Kato is wounded again and knocked back a full 3”! Liu isn’t far behind and immediately closes the gap; but he’s a bit overzealous and underestimates his opponent. With a natural 10, Kato slugs Liu right in the breadbasket, knocking the wind out of the giant and stopping him in his tracks! “Iron-Skin” Liu is wounded and staggered! The remaining two thugs attack the Green Hornet, hoping to overpower him, but the Emerald Avenger easily puts them both down in the dirt with two well-placed socks in the jaw!

Turn 7: A Ten is drawn. Nothing happens! Initiative goes to the heroes. Kato fends Liu off with a lightning-fast flurry of strikes to Liu’s face, but he’s not called “Iron-Skin” Liu for nothing! Liu smiles at Kato, completely unhurt! Kato looks at his fists in disbelief and betrayal as the Green Hornet barrels into Liu from behind! He bounces off the giant’s back, but doesn’t get too far before Liu lashes out in a mighty sweeping attack that barely misses Kato but swats the Hornet down like his namesake! The Green Hornet is knocked flying and is KO’ed!

Turn 8: A Seven is drawn. Back off! Kato grabs a rope and pulley from the ground and swings it around, clearing some space. “Iron-Skin” Liu retreats warily as the Green Hornet makes his roll to recover. He stands up slowly, shaking his head, trying to remember if he’s ever been hit that hard before. Initiative goes to the heroes again. Kato charges at Liu, but rolls poorly and Liu gets the better of him; grabbing Kato by the back of the neck and slamming his elbow into the hero’s face! Kato staggers back 3″ and collapses, unconscious!

Liu lunges at the Green Hornet next, but once again, he underestimates his opponent. The Green Hornet meets his charge with green-gloved fists of fury, striking Liu twice hard enough to hurt. Hard enough, in fact, to drop the giant in his tracks! “Iron-Skin” Liu is KO’ed!

Turn 9: A Queen is drawn! The Green Hornet spies an opening as Kato makes his Will roll to recover. Bloodied and exhausted, both heroes beat feet to escape before more goons show up!

Turn 10: Success! Victory for the Heroes!

The Green Hornet and Kato staggered back to the Black Beauty, secreted about a block distant from the Happy Pepper Warehouse. Both men were seriously injured, but they would recover. Kato slid behind the wheel while the Hornet climbed in the back, wincing in pain.

In the rear-view mirror, the two men stared at each other in silence. “So,” said the Hornet, finally, “Looks like “Big Eddie” Donnelly’s getting a visit from the Green Hornet next.”

“Sure, Kato replied. “But maybe tomorrow. Or the day after.”

“Kato…thanks. Thanks for coming after me.”

“Of course.” Kato grinned. “Green fool.”

The two men laughed as the Black Beauty roared off into the night.

Brawl at the Happy Pepper Warehouse!

IN TWO DAYS!!! Another challenge for the Green Hornet; his aide, Kato; and their rolling arsenal the Black Beauty! If you missed the first scenario of this campaign, you can find it here! Once again, I’m using the .45 Adventure rules by Rattrap Productions, with a few modifications I have made myself. You can find out all about the changes I made here!

Scenario: The Green Hornet has been captured by “Wise Uncle” Wei’s men. Kato has managed to free him, but now both men have been caught at one of the Tong gangster’s warehouses. They must survive wave after wave of Tong until they can somehow find a way to escape!

Victory Conditions: The Green Hornet and Kato must run out the clock and survive against hordes of mooks until they can make their escape. If they escape, they win; if not, the villains win, and they are captured again!

Forces: The Hero player controls the Green Hornet (Grade 3 Crimefighter) and Kato (Grade 3 Crimefighter). The Criminal Player starts with Clean-Head Chang, a Tong Enforcer (Grade 2) armed with a cleaver; and 3 Tong thugs (Grade 1), who are unarmed.  In addition, “Wise Uncle” Wei has left his right-hand man and bodyguard, “Iron-Skin” Liu (Grade 2 Heroic Warrior), to make sure the heroes don’t leave the warehouse. Liu will watch from the sidelines until he takes a more active role (see below); also, more and more goons will continue to show up until the heroes either escape or get overwhelmed.

Setup: Play is on a 24”x24” surface, representing one of Wise Uncle Wei’s warehouses. There is a raised platform on one end of the board. In addition, there are shipping containers, crates, barrels and oil drums liberally scattered about the warehouse around a central, circular area free of debris. The Green Hornet and Kato start in the middle of this circle. “Clean-Head” Chang and the three Tong are deployed around the perimeter of the circle, at least 6” away from any of the heroes. They should be deployed such that they block egress from the circle. “Iron-Skin” Liu and Wise Uncle Wei are deployed on the platform, watching the fight. During the course of the combat, reinforcements may be deployed anywhere around the perimeter of the circle as they arrive.

Special Rules:

Event Deck: At the start of every turn, draw a card from the 13 card event deck and resolve it before rolling for intiative.

  • Ace-Two: Reinforcements! The villain player may add three Grade 1 Tong (unarmed) to the board. They must be deployed around the perimeter of the circle, at least 3” away from any of the heroes. They may move and attack this turn.
  • Three-Four: Reinforcements! The villain player may add two Grade 1 Tong (unarmed) to the board. They must be deployed around the perimeter of the circle, at least 3” away from any of the heroes. They may move and attack this turn.
  • Five-Six: Look out below! An unseen goon pulls a lever, dropping a suspended crate from above, which crashes down into the circle!  All models in the circle must pass a Dodge test or take a STR 6 hit. If a model is wounded but not KO’ed, he is buried under the crate and Knocked Down. Models that are Knocked Down have their Heater and Shiv skills halved. On a subsequent activation they must pass a Brawn test to extricate themselves and stand up. In addition, roll a die to see what the crate contains on the table below.
  • Seven: Back off! Someone left a weighted rope and pulley laying around. The Green Hornet or Kato (hero player’s choice) snatches it up and whirls it around, clearing some space. All enemy models in hand-to-hand with the hero get pushed back 2” in a 360° arc.
  • Eight: Back off! The Green Hornet or Kato (hero player’s choice) topples a stack of crates, clearing some space. All enemy models in hand-to-hand with the hero get pushed back 2” in a 360° arc. In addition, roll a die to see what the crates contain on the table below.
  • Nine-Ten: Nothing happens.
  • Jack-Queen: A way out! (If this card is drawn during the first three turns, ignore it and shuffle it back into the deck.) The Green Hornet and Kato spot a way out of the warehouse that coincidentally takes them right past the Green Hornet’s gear. The heroes have an opportunity to disengage and flee combat without suffering any attacks (no test necessary). They may leave the circle in whichever direction they choose. The goons will pursue and attempt to stop them; but if the heroes can reach the edge of the board, they escape! If he hasn’t already joined the fight, “Iron-Skin” Liu hops off the platform and enters the fray, while Wise Uncle Wei makes his escape.
  • King: Wise Uncle Wei has seen enough. He leaves, telling “Iron-Skin” Liu to make certain the Green Hornet and Kato don’t leave the warehouse. Liu hops down from the platform and will join the Tong this round. (If this has already happened, then ignore this result.)

No Escape!: The Green Hornet and Kato may not leave the circle until either a Jack or Queen is drawn from the Event Deck. This symbolizes the constant threat of the circling Tong; until an opening presents itself, the heroes must tough it out!

Hordes of Mooks: The board has the potential to fill up with goons pretty quickly. If there are 3 or more Tong thugs within 3″ of each other at any time, they immediately form a squad; rolling once for combat at +3d10 rather than rolling individually.

“Do not disappoint me”:  As long as Wise Uncle Wei is on the board, all the Tong (including “Clean-Head” Chang) are considered to have Undying Loyalty, and do not need to make Guts checks no matter how many of their fellows fall in combat.

Falling Crates: If a card result indicates that a crate explodes, roll a d10 and consult the following table to determine what happens:

  • 1-3: Pepper! A barrel of hot pepper flakes explodes into the air. Every model in the circle must make a BRAWN test or have their Shiv and Dodge scores halved and their Move score reduced to zero for two rounds as they uncontrollably cough and sneeze.
  • 4-6: Peanut oil! A cask of peanut oil bursts on the ground, making the entire circle slippery terrain for the rest of the scenario. If a model attempts to move more than half its speed it must pass a DODGE test or be Knocked Down. If it attempts to run, it must pass a DODGE test twice or be Knocked Down.
  • 7-8: Flour! The crate contained sacks of rice flour, which burst, producing clouds of powder that obscure vision. Every model in the circle has their Heater and Shiv scores halved for two turns until the flour settles.
  • 9-10: Fish Sauce! A barrel of smelly fish sauce crashes into the circle. If a hero is hit, he is covered in fish sauce in addition to taking a wound and being Knocked Down; but he smells so bad that any goons in hand-to-hand immediately break away 1” and won’t attack again for two rounds.

The Characters

The Green Hornet (Grade 3): DR 5 Brains 4 Will 3 Brawn 3 Guts 10 Heater 5 Shiv 5 Dodge 4 Speed 5 Brawler +1d10, Pugilist +1, One-Two Punch, Sharpshooter +1, Quick +1, Nerves of Steel +2, Observant, Quick Recovery, Heroic Action

Kato (Grade 3): DR 5 Brains 2 Will 4 Brawn 5 Guts 8 Heater 2 Shiv 6 Dodge 4 Speed 5 Brawler +1d10, Pugilist +2, Multiple Attacks +1, Shiv Thrower, Driver +1, Battle Cry, Leap, Devotion, Nimble

“Clean-Head” Chang (Grade 2): DR 4 Brains 2 Will 3 Brawn 3 Guts 7 Heater 2 Shiv 3 Dodge 3 Speed 4 Brawler +2d10, Sharpshooter +1, Rapid Fire, Fearful Presence, Nimble, Quick Recovery

“Iron Skin” Liu (Grade 2): DR 4 Brains 2 Will 3 Brawn 5 Guts 7 Heater 2 Shiv 5 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Brawler +1d10, Ferocious +1, Sweep, Intimidate, Immune to Fear, Toughened Hide +1, Extra Wound

Tong Thugs (Grade 1): DR 4 Brains 2 Will 2 Brawn 4 Guts 5 Heater 2 Shiv 3 Dodge 3 Speed 4 Brawler +2d10, Ferocious +1, Bruiser

Coming in TWO DAYS! The Sinister Schemes of “Wise Uncle” Wei!!!!!

Forgotten Heroes 2021: The Crimson Hound

Visitors to Dead Dick’s Tavern may recall me lamenting the fact that I don’t get to play many games any more, especially roleplaying games. Since I opened an Instagram account about a year ago, I’ve met some pretty cool hobbyists and gamers, many of whom live much too far away from me for us to ever be able to sit around the same table. Because of remote play during the COVID pandemic, that hasn’t been as much of an obstacle, and I’ve been able to get some gaming in with some very cool people.

One of them, my friend Bruno, has a YouTube channel called The Chronicles of the Crimson Hound, and through this, he has come up with something truly ingenious that all but guarantees he gets to play a ton of games. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t envy the guy.

Bruno created a character: the Crimson Hound, a vampiric vigilante super hero in a cyberpunk-style city. Bruno’s brilliance is that he gets other people to GM games for the Crimson Hound, using whatever rules system and running whatever story they like; then he puts the game sessions up on YouTube. So far, the folks running the games have mostly been gamers who have websites and podcasts of their own; so viewers get to see a variety of game mastering styles and get a feel for diverse methods of storytelling and gaming. The serials are broken down into sessions of about 15 minutes each, so they’re great to listen to while you’re…oh, say, cooking dinner or painting miniatures. Check them out!

Anyway, Bruno asked me to GM a game for the Crimson Hound, which made me feel immensely flattered. Run a game for a vampiric vigilante in a pulp/cyberpunk setting? Yes, please! On YouTube? No, thank you. Some folks, like Bruno, are handsome and charismatic enough to be on YouTube. Others, like me, are far too handsome for YouTube but lack any charisma whatsoever. Sad, but true.

Still, I felt bad because Bruno was kind enough to playtest one of my Call of Cthulhu adventures that I am planning to submit to the Miskatonic Repository. In other words, when I asked, he said yes; while when he asked, I declined. Kind of a dick move on my part. (See? No charisma.)

So, as a way to say thanks, I decided to immortalize Bruno’s creation, The Crimson Hound, for Forgotten Heroes. The Crimson Hound isn’t “forgotten”, of course; his legend is only just beginning! But this challenge gave me all the excuse I needed to practice my green stuff kung-fu. (Special thanks to Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop for the quick assist in answering my noob sculptor questions.) Besides, Carrion Crow is usually pretty lenient when it comes to enforcing the rules.

The base miniature was Captain Griffon, by Reaper, from their Chronoscope line. (If I remember right, Bruno wanted to use this miniature himself for the Hound, once upon a time.) I couldn’t find anything better in my rather extensive pile of Heroclix. I had considered using a Robin miniature as a base, but I picture the Hound is bigger (and cooler) than Robin.

In his single-minded pursuit of vigilante justice, the Crimson Hound has used stun batons, handguns and even an enchanted short sword. I considered giving him one or more of these, but in the end I decided just to stick with his bare hands. The Hound is a brute, after all. He’s not too subtle when it comes to kicking ass.

I added some green stuff to bulk out his shoulders and his collar, and sculpted his mask and his knee pads. Then I let him dry and sanded him down with an emery board, because Dave said to.

Of course, unbeknownst to Bruno, while I was IN THE MIDDLE OF sculpting and painting the Crimson Hound, Bruno put up a new Instagram post, showing the Hound’s upcoming NEW COSTUME. In other words, not this one anymore.

D’oh!

Here he is, all painted up. I tried to be as faithful to the top picture as I could, but there was no way in hell I was going to even attempt that belt. It’s way beyond my green stuff skillz. As it is, looks like I could have done a better job sanding him down. Hope you like him, Bruno!

Here’s a funny little anecdote: for my final touch, I decided to give the red parts of the costume a light wash of Citadel’s Bloodletter glaze, which really does a good job of highlighting and tying together the different shades of red. It was supposed to be the very last thing I did, but shortly after the application, I noticed a bunch of mysterious white spots all over the model, wherever I put the Bloodletter. Seems my glaze went bad somehow, and I had to redo all the red. Isn’t that funny? Ha ha ha.

Ha.

That’s probably it for my Forgotten Heroes submissions this year, although I could still pull something out last minute. Stranger things have happened. In the meantime, I will continue to watch the other participants with great interest!

Forgotten Heroes 2021: Grips

Back in 1986, a small comics company called Silver Wolf Comics put out a handful of black and white titles. The company was owned by Kris Silver, who also created and wrote most of the comics. One of those comics was Grips.

Grips is a “hero” who kills criminals because he’s a psycho himself. He gets off on giving and receiving pain and can will himself into a murderous rage. When he’s not doing the psychotic murderous vigilante thing, Grips likes long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners. He’s also a comic book artist; the artist of Fat Ninja, which was another Silver Wolf comic of the time. But mostly he’s all about killing and maiming bad guys in bloody and vicious ways.

He has long blades that slide out of his forearms that he uses to eviscerate people, like so:

He also shoots little projectile spiky things out of his gloves, like so:

And he uses a pair of spring-loaded tonfa when he feels like beating people’s brains in instead of gutting them, like so:

And he fucking LOVES IT.

When I was in high school, I thought this shit was AWESOME. Looking at it now (something I haven’t done since high school), I realize it is not awesome.

The first Grips comic lasted only 4 issues (I have 1-3). While researching this, I was surprised to find it came back for a second series a few years later, but that one only lasted 5 issues. Sprinkle in a very few appearances in other titles, and that’s about it. Grips would pretty much define the term “Forgotten Hero”, if he wasn’t notable because his book featured art by Tim Vigil. Vigil would later go on to draw Faust (the comic that he is most famous for), which showcases truly shocking levels of violence and hardcore pornography. If I recall correctly, Faust shows lots of graphic sex (consensual and not-so-consensual) with demons, and orgies with lots of blood and other bodily fluids. Not my cup of tea, but YMMV.

Anyway, this is the miniature I used for Grips. He’s Zenith, Superhero; from Reaper’s Chronoscope line. He’s meant to be a speedster, methinks.

First thing I’d need is some blades. I thought of using tines from a plastic fork, but these proved too thick. I ended up cutting them out of some plasticard (actually my expired health insurance card) instead.

Next I used some green stuff to fashion his gauntlets, epaulets, belt and mask. I made sure to include the capsules for his spring-loaded tonfa on his belt.

Then I painted him. I painted the brown parts of his costume GW’s Doombull Brown, then gave them a generous wash of Nuln Oil and highlighted with Coat D’Arms Rat Brown. The black was painted black (surprise!), then highlighted with Vallejo Heavy Charcoal. The belt and gauntlets were painted GW Gehenna Gold and highlighted with Vallejo Gold, while the blades were GW Canoptek Alloy, highlighted with GW Mithril Silver.

I actually kind of like the way he looks. Maybe I’ll use him in a game of Super Mission Force. It’s been too long.

I will have one more Forgotten Heroes submission between now and July. Until then, I’ll be watching to see what everyone else does!

“Nothing but…STAR WARS!!!!”

Back in 2015, I started painting the miniatures that came with the Imperial Assault core rules. I was proud of myself when I finally got them all done and ready for the table a year later. Then I managed to play a total of TWO games with my friends, who can’t commit to a fucking ham sandwich without 8 weeks notice and an escape clause; so my Star Wars gaming came to an abrupt end and the miniatures have pretty much languished unused since then.

Last year, after six big box expansions and forty miniature expansions to the Core Set, Fantasy Flight Games ceased production of Imperial Assault; choosing to focus on Star Wars Legion instead (a game I don’t play). Now, if you want IA, you’re forced to find existing product; because ain’t no more being made by Fantasy Flight. You would think that because I only managed to play two games, I wouldn’t consider putting my money into this game any more. After all, I have a fully-painted Core Set and all the Wave One miniature expansions, which is enough to play plenty of games, especially at my current rate of gameplay.

You’d be wrong. Recently, for reasons I truly cannot articulate, I went ALL THE WAY IN on Imperial Assault. Well, almost. The later “expanded universe” expansions don’t really interest me all that much. (Although it would be cool to have a Thrawn miniature, especially since his name was dropped in The Mandalorian last season, I don’t need it. But I might pick it up anyway, for the right price.)

Normally, I take opportunities like this to blame Roger for my own shortcomings (and I encourage you all to do the same); but in this case, the blame falls squarely upon the brawny shoulders of Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop; who has been on a Star Wars project streak for what seems like forever, sculpting, building and painting some truly inspiring stuff. Because of Dave, I have now resolved to watch all things Star Wars in chronological order. Some will be re-watches, of course; but some I’ll be watching for the first time. (I seem to have missed out entirely on The Clone Wars and Rebels, for example.)

I’ve decided to get cracking on more Imperial Assault miniatures in between my other projects. I’m not going to commit to anything specific, but I will paint them according to expansion release. That way if I get bored or annoyed I can sell them off as complete lots. (It could happen.) I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Mark Sorastro’s YouTube Channel is spectacular. I followed his tutorials for many of the Core Imperial Assault miniatures; I expect I’ll be doing the same going forward.

I’ll post my progress periodically. First up: The Twin Shadows expansion, which introduces the “OG” Mandalorian, Boba Fett, to Imperial Assault.

Berjotr Skaldisson, Monster Slayer

For June’s Character of the Month, I decided to do a Barbarian.

From the night Berjotr Skaldisson was born, it was assumed he would follow in the footsteps of his father Gilvi and become a skald; but by the time he reached his tenth winter, it became apparent that Berjotr had no skill for it. He could not sing, nor could he compose poetry. He could not remember the lineage of his own Jarl, never mind the lines of the Kings of Old. Berjotr could not so much as keep time with a drum while his father sang. He was a disappointment, that was certain; the son of a skald who had none of his father’s skill. But before long, Berjotr Skaldisson discovered where his true skills lay: he was very strong, and he was very good at killing things.

The Winter of Despair is remembered well by the people of Thord. Many died that year, not as warriors, but of starvation; for the summer raiding parties had not returned with plunder enough to last beyond the first snows. To make matters worse, that was the winter of Vargyr, the Great Bear; who devoured livestock and men equally and had no fear of Jarl Hranulf’s warriors.

One night, one of Hranulf’s thanes burst into the hall, bloodied and raving. He told of how Vargyr the Great Bear had devoured his family, after first crashing through the heavy oak door of his house. The warrior had no chance to even fetch his sword before the bear was upon them. He was lucky to escape at all. While the Jarl’s men listened to the thane’s tale in fear and awe, young Berjotr took up a greataxe and quietly left the mead hall. He set out into the cold darkness, pausing only long enough to retrieve two things from a nearby hut: a shovel and a young pig. When he judged himself far enough away from Hranulf’s hall, Berjotr used the shovel to dig a shallow ditch in the frozen ground, big enough for him to lie in. Then he used his greataxe to kill the pig, splitting its body in twain. He pulled the bloody corpse of the pig over him as he lay in the ditch and waited. Vargyr scented the kill and came before the pig’s blood had time to freeze. As the beast began to drag the pig’s corpse away, Berjotr sprang up and–in the time it takes for a man to draw a single breath–killed Vargyr, the Great Bear. The beast didn’t even have time to bellow in pain.

Thus Berjotr, son of Gilvi, decided that if he could not sing the songs of the skalds, he would instead give them songs to sing.

In his twelfth winter, already bigger and stronger than any of Hranulf’s warriors, Berjotr hunted and killed a pair of mated Thunderwyrms. The year after, he killed a snow spider that had built a nest too close to the settlement. Jarl Hranulf began to worry for his throne as Berjotr Skaldisson’s legend began to grow, so Hranulf sent the boy south with raiding parties for the next three years in the hopes he would not come back. Always Berjotr returned.

Unlike the others, Berjotr did not enjoy raiding. He felt always apart from his fellows and though he fought beside them, he called no man friend. He cared nothing for loot. He killed men easily enough, but his heart wasn’t in it. After three years of raiding, he decided he would go no more. He craved more of a challenge than plundering villages could provide, and besides, the longboats made him seasick.

The raiding party returned to Thord to find Hranulf’s mead hall destroyed, the Jarl dead, and most of the villagers gone; taken by trolls several weeks earlier. Berjotr followed the trolls’ trail into the mountains, entered their cave lair, rescued what remained of the villagers, and killed every male, female and young troll he found. Over several more years, he killed countless ogres, serpents, wolves, draugr, tree-men, cold ones, ice toads, and of course, men; for Berjotr Skaldisson’s legend had grown, and always there were those foolish enough to believe the legends untrue. There seemed to be nothing and no one Berjotr Skaldisson could not kill.

Berjotr was known throughout Thord by the time songs of his deeds finally reached the ears of the ice giant Brynnga, who flew to the settlement on his great frost dragon, Orl. From high above the mead hall, the enraged Brynnga bellowed his challenge to Berjotr Skaldisson: meet him in battle or he would lay waste to the hall and slay all the people within. So, Berjotr took up his greataxe once again and strode out to meet the giant, wearing the skin of Vargyr, the Great Bear he killed in the Winter of Despair.

Striding fearlessly into the plumes of Orl’s icy breath, Berjotr killed the dragon. Then, one arm frozen to his side and half his face burned black with frostbite, he killed the giant.

The people of Thord wanted Berjotr to be Jarl, but Berjotr had no interest in sitting in a mead hall while his warriors brought him treasure. Likewise he had no interest settling down and taking a wife. Although he swore he was finished with raiding, he did embark on a longboat once again, this time for lands unknown; for by the age of twenty-one, Berjotr Skaldisson had killed everything he could kill in Thord, and the skalds were hoarse from singing the songs of his deeds. It was time for him to move on.

Berjotr Skaldisson is Reaper’s “Barbarian Axeman of Icingstead” (14620), from their Warlord line. While the backstory is different and the miniature no doubt looks nothing like what he imagines, this Character of the Month is based loosely on my friend’s character in our current D&D 5E game.

Forgotten Heroes 2021: Jon Sable, Freelance

Jon Sable: Freelance was a comic book (and a comic book character) created by Mike Grell, the same guy who created DC’s Warlord. It was one of the First Comics flagship titles and ran from 1983-1988; with another series, simply titled Sable, following afterwards. (That series didn’t last very long.) Unusual for its time, Jon Sable: Freelance was wholly owned by Mike Grell; who presumably still owns the rights to this day.

Jon Sable has had a somewhat bumpy publication history. Once First Comics folded in 1991-1992, Jon Sable didn’t get another comic book series until 2005, when IDW published a six-issue miniseries. The character hasn’t been seen in a comic book since 2010.

Jon Sable was an Olympic athlete at the 1972 Munich games. After witnessing the massacre there he moved to Rhodesia where he used his training as a mercenary and bounty hunter to organize safari trips and become a game warden (because why not?). His family was murdered by poachers, so Sable killed the poachers and moved back to the US to resume work as a freelance mercenary. When he’s working, he paints his face, dresses in black and carries a 1917 Broomhandle Mauser, which he uses to shoot people. When not working, he hides in plain sight by masquerading as B.B. Flemm, an author of children’s books. Yes, he writes the books and supposedly, they’re pretty good, because his publisher is always on his ass about his deadlines, even though she knows he’s really a merc-for-hire and not a children’s book author.

There was a (mercifully) short-lived TV series, Sable, that ran for only seven episodes in the 80’s. It’s based on the comic, with some minor differences, like a character called Cheesecake who is a hacker who (wait for it) likes cheesecake; and the fact that Sable is the alter-ego of author NIcholas Fleming (not B.B. Flemm), not the other way around, as it is in the comic. The series starred Lewis Van Bergen as Sable, who you may remember from nothing you’ve ever even remotely given a shit about; and a young Renee Russo as Sable’s publisher, Eden Kendall. I remember watching it in high school as I knew about the comic, but I forgot about most of it until Tom found the pilot episode on YouTube and told me about it. I warn you…it’s a tough slog. Van Bergen’s 80’s mullet is truly extraordinary, however, and it may be worth the watch for that alone.

For my Jon Sable conversion, I was going to use these two Heroclix: Daredevil and Quicksilver. (Quicksilver has served me well in past Forgotten Heroes challenges; I used his head for Jack Frost and his body for Water Wizard before). I also needed to find a 28mm Broomhandle Mauser; which you think would be easy. It’s not. I had to buy this weapon pack from Pulp Alley to find one.

Before I got the Pulp Alley accessories, I noticed this Bullseye Heroclix. He’s carrying a submachine gun that could pretty easily be converted into a Mauser. D’oh! I decided not to use Daredevil or the Pulp Alley accessories after all.

One quick head-swap and some filing, and here’s the result. Kinda looks like Jon Sable already. I also cut off a bit of the back of his gun, so it looks more like a Mauser pistol.

Here’s the finished result. It wasn’t particularly difficult, considering Sable’s “costume” is a black outfit with a holster for his pistol and some face paint. Sometimes he uses a knife, too.

This close-up shows I wasn’t as thorough as I could have been when filing off bits of Bullseye’s costume. In my defense, I can’t see shit anymore. Now that I’m aware of it, I could fix it. Or not, considering I’ll never use Jon Sable for anything, ever.

Forgotten Heroes has provided me with a chance to make miniatures for several First Comics heroes: Badger, Nexus, and now Jon Sable. Add one of the Grimjack miniatures my friend Jeremy (Carrion Crow) gifted me with, and it’s almost the full roster! Still, I hesitate to really call this a submission, as it took almost no time to complete once I had the idea.

I have at least one more entry coming this month, possibly two. In the meantime I look forward to seeing what everyone else is doing!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

It’s June, and that means it’s time for my most favoritest, bestest painting challenge ever, Forgotten Heroes! I look forward to this every year, and I will always take part unless Carrion Crow says I can’t, or I’m dead.

What is Forgotten Heroes? Go here. The Crow will explain all.

So…what do I have planned for this year? Two submissions; one that’s going to be easy as pie (I hesitate to call it a proper submission); and another that may take a little more effort. Two submissions is not much for me, but I’m still trying to get through my Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps miniatures, and finish up my British Vospers for Cruel Seas; both of which were put on pause for Monster May(hem) last month. Plus, I will have June’s Character of the Month to do…

Still, a mere two submissions isn’t sitting well with me. This is Forgotten Heroes, man. It’s time to bring it, brah! (I call people “brah” now.)

So if YOU want to take part in Forgotten Heroes, drop by Carrion Crow’s Buffet if you haven’t already and let the man know. Bring something shiny (crows like shiny things) and/or something dead (crows like carrion) to improve your chances.

Just kidding. He lets everyone join. Even me.

Don’t bring him anything dead.