Owen’s Miniatures: Part 1

I first met my friend Owen when we were in college, almost 30 years ago (Christ, that’s depressing as hell.) We quickly found we had much in common. Some examples: we both had a brother with the same name. We both played role-playing games. We both worked at a (now) defunct electronics retailer, albeit at different stores (at first). We both took the same hellish philosophy class taught by a crazed Jesuit who was banned from practicing mass because…well, because he was batshit crazy, among other things. We had a mutual friend that neither of us knew about until the first time I joined Owen for a gaming session and found him at the table.

Most significantly, we discovered that we both collected and painted miniatures. Prior to meeting Owen, I didn’t know anyone else who was the slightest bit interested in miniatures at all. Neither of us played wargames; we collected and painted miniatures purely because of our interest in rpgs. We bought mostly Ral Partha and Grenadier miniatures, as these were the ones commonly available at the time. We even bought them at the same store, but we didn’t know that until later.

I got into Warhammer in the mid-90’s, but Owen never did. Eventually, we both stopped painting for a while here and there over the years. I took a hiatus for about 5-6 years between 2002-2008, and I think he may have done the same, only sooner. I jumped right back into the hobby, whereas Owen never really did.

Two years ago or so, Owen gave me all his miniatures; hundreds of them, possibly more. Most of them are in various stages of paint; many complete, many primed or dabbed with color here and there, all stored in Plano tackle boxes. As I remembered, they’re mostly Ral Partha and Grenadier. In fact, I already own many of them already. But Owen’s miniatures also include many Reaper miniatures purchased in the early years of that company, as well as some impulse buys over time (as is any miniatures enthusiast’s wont). Owen told me he just doesn’t have the interest to paint them any more, and he would rather have the space than hold onto the lead. He knew I would give them a good home (and I have).

It broke my fucking heart.

This may surprise readers of this blog for several reasons. First, that I have a heart at all may come as a shock. Second, it may be surprising to some that I would be sad at the gift of so much lead. But both are true.

I offered to pay him for them. We have yet to discuss this in any meaningful way. This is because he’s not in a hurry to get paid, and also because I’m not in any hurry to pay him. In fact, I have been hoping very much that he would come to his senses and take them back. But that hasn’t happened.

I have a problem assigning value to any miniatures I have painted, as to me their value goes far beyond money. If I were to ever sell my miniatures (I can’t see how), I would likely overvalue them. Even though I may never again play the games they were designed for or use them for what was intended, the fact remains that I spent time, effort and money (obviously), on them; and I can’t easily part with them for those reasons.

I suspect many gamers feel the same way, although I know a significant number do not. (Our mutual friend, for example, had no problem painting and playing any number of Warhammer armies, only to sell them off at a significant loss whenever he got bored. He would then buy another army and repeat the process, only to eventually end up back where he started, with his original army that he needed to repurchase and repaint.)

Which is why, as I look at Owen’s miniatures, many of which he affixed to cardboard hexes that he lovingly cut out by hand (the better to fit on a combat map; unlike me, Owen actually USED his miniatures when he ran a game), I feel defeated. I want him to want his miniatures back. I want him to want to paint them again. I want him to be a miniatures nut like me, looking at painting tutorials online, geeking out over new releases, and planning and playing games. But it seems unlikely.

So, after a couple of years of ignoring his boxes, hoping he’ll ask for them back, I have decided to take a new strategy. I’m gonna start painting some of them. I don’t have the heart to strip his paint jobs and repaint any of his miniatures, but Owen was kind enough to supply me with some primed figures he never got around to. I’m hoping he will look at my work (on HIS miniatures) and get inspired.

Up next: the first two “Owen” miniatures, painted by yours truly.

“A Good Day to Die!”

I recently got a good deal on some Modiphius Klingons for the Star Trek Adventures game (they just weren’t selling at my FLGS, hence the discount). Having little self-control, I bought them.

Klingons have never been known for a vibrant fashion color palette, so painting these guys was more challenging and less fun than I thought it would be. Mostly dark greys and metallics; not exactly eye-catching. I decided to add some red here and there to give some contrast to an otherwise boring look.

The good news is that I like the poses on these, and I like the overall look of the warband. This female Klingon lieutenant is by far my favorite miniature of them all. I love the bat’leth over the shoulder pose, casually daring you to try your luck.

Continuing with the good news: the rest of the set looks pretty good, and the inclusion of a few female Klingons is certainly nice. There is a nice assortment of weaponry; bat’leths are prominent, and this lieutenant swinging a mek’leth is pretty cool. Almost all miniatures sport at least two weapons (in true Klingon style). Where does it rank up among my Trek miniatures? Well, it’s better by far than the TNG bridge crew, better than the Romulan warband, and not as good as the TOS crew (despite Scotty’s bizarre pose). Just my opinion, of course.

And now the not-so-good news…

In my previous reviews of the Modiphius Trek miniatures I have thus far painted, I stated that they’re made of shitty, brittle plastic and that they absolutely suck to put together, because they’re fiddly and unnecessarily complicated. This remains true. If I didn’t love Trek so much I’d never put up with this level of annoyance, especially at the prices they charge. Put simply: these miniatures could and should be designed better and made out of stronger material. And, despite their obvious digital sculpting, noticeable gaps remain at all the glue points after assembly, making green stuff a necessity.

Also, the 30mm “scenic base” is really just a deck plate, much like the bases in the Romulan set. I actually don’t mind this that much, but calling it “scenic” is kind of a stretch.

Get your shit together, Modiphius, especially since you have the balls to charge over $50 per set. (Not that I paid anywhere near that, because that’s just bullshit.) Thankfully, these scale well with Heroclix (which are a lot cheaper), so you can use them alongside less-expensive options for Trek gaming, should you desire.

A recent visit to the Modiphius website revealed they are conducting a survey on which miniatures gamers would like to see next. I cast my vote for some Cardassians (my favorite alien Trek species), along with the DS9 station crew and a Dominion/Jem’Hadar warband. Some TOS-era Klingons and Romulans would be nice, too; but I can make do with Heroclix until then.

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 69

Miniatures Painted: 136

Total: +67

Behold: My Workspace!

It was high time I got organized, so I recently stripped everything off my painting desk and did that. I’m so proud of this I took a picture.

In setting things up, I realized I have a shitload of paints, many of which I use infrequently at best. Many bottles have never even been opened, and many are duplicates purchased because either I thought I would need a replacement sooner than I did, or (more likely) because I forgot I had the color in the first place. I also suffer from the compulsion to always have the right tool for the job, even if it’s a job I will perform once and never again. For example, if I watch a painting tutorial that I like, I will slavishly buy the paint brand and color used rather than seek or mix an alternative. (This isn’t limited to my hobby; it’s why I bought an angle grinder to hone an axe.)

I have a clean area to the left to hold the projects I’m working on, and to the right to hold painted miniatures awaiting Dull Cote (I do my priming and sealing in another room). I bought an office organizer to hold my sculpting tools, my green stuff, my glue, my basing tufts and my brushes, because prior to this they were scattered all over my desk. My paints were always grouped (I won’t say organized) by color; but now they are arranged in logical color progression, i.e. dark-light. We’ll see how long that lasts.

In fact, take a good look now because I give this about 3 painted miniatures before it’s utter chaos again.

“Strongest One There Is!”

Jealousy. I has it.

The source? Not an unfaithful wife. Not another’s success, wealth or good looks. Not even another’s superior painting skill or bagpiping prowess. None of these. Yet my particular jealousy was a daily, unwelcome guest for many months. It would arrive when unexpected and stay far too long, like an irritating relative, or an annoying ghost. It consumed me and I could think of little else.

Put simply, I coveted the Knight Models Hulk miniature possessed by frequent Dead Dick’s visitor and owner of Cheaphammer, Kieron, and wanted it for my own.

I’m not proud of this. Although I nursed my envy closely and didn’t let Kieron know how hotly it burned, it remains that jealousy is unbecoming. It diminished me as a person. And over what? It’s just a miniature. A MINIATURE.

Well, I am happy to report that all that is past, and that I am no longer consumed with burning jealousy. I would like to say that is because I have evolved as a person. That I have now realized that jealousy is a base, toxic emotion that is an obstacle on my path to self-actualization. I would like to say that, but I can’t.

Because the real reason I am no longer jealous of Kieron’s Knight Models Incredible Hulk miniature IS ‘CUZ I GOT MY OWN!

I finally managed to snag one off of eBay! The price? More than I would typically pay for any miniature, but certainly nowhere near what the “standard” starting point is for this particular model on the secondary market. With shipping, it was still less than almost everything on Games Workshop’s site.

And I love it so.

This model is HUGE, and it’s all metal.  It’s also an asshole of a miniature. It’s seven pieces (not counting the base), and because it’s a Knight Models miniature, it was a pain in the ass to put together, requiring much in the way of gap-filling green stuff and Magic Sculpt.

I knew right away I wanted my Hulk to be darker in hue than the Knight Models version. I was never a big fan of the neon green Hulk. (I have a Hallmark Hulk Christmas ornament that’s particularly egregious; he might as well be yellow. If it wasn’t stored away in my attic with all my other Christmas decorations, I’d show you.)

To achieve this, I first primed him black. Then I painted his skin Citadel Caliban Green, followed by Vallejo Uniform Green, and finally Coat D’arms Goblin Green. Then I applied a wash of Citadel Waywatcher Green, followed by a final application of Yellow Wash. The pants were painted Citadel Naggaroth Night, followed by Vallejo Royal Purple, highlighted with Citadel Screamer Pink. The final highlight was a thinned-down wash of Vallejo Warlord Purple. The shirt (what’s left of it) was based with Reaper’s Bone Shadow, highlighted with Reaper’s Polished Bone and Vampiric Skin.  I applied two coats of Citadel Stirland Mud to the base before I drybrushed it with Reaper Stained Ivory and added all the grass and tufts.

To give you a better idea of how enormous the KM Hulk is, here he is between a Reaper Hill Giant (also all metal) and a Heroclix Hulk. Most impressive, n’est ce-pas?

Last year I played a Super Mission Force scenario based on Hulk #300, in which pretty much every Marvel hero in New York tries to stop the rampaging Hulk from destroying the city. One of my friends who is a lifelong Hulk fan controlled the Hulk, while the rest of us took teams of various heroes. For that, I used the Heroclix Hulk shown above. Nice, but…

You see what I’m saying?

Above: The Leader is using his super-brain to calculate to the nearest power just how exponentially fucked he is.

With the release of SMF 2nd Edition and my acquisition of this model, I think it might be time to fire up that scenario once again, to prove once and for all that “HULK IS STRONGEST ONE THERE IS!”

This is the first miniature I’ve painted in a while, as Terrain Time had been my focus last month. The insanity pile has suffered a bit, as in addition to the Hulk I bought a box of Modiphius Klingons, too…

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 69

Miniatures Painted: 123

Total: +54

How AWESOME is this???

A couple of weeks back I was pleasantly surprised to receive a PM on Lead Adventure Forum from Scott Pyle, creator of Super Mission Force. Visitors to this site probably know that I am a huge fan of this game, so I was very happy to find that he wanted to send me a copy of the new second edition in appreciation for my support!

I certainly don’t trumpet my love for SMF in the hopes of getting freebies, but I’m not about to say no to one, either. I’m very grateful for the gift, which arrived today. I chose the coil binding, so the booklet can lay flat if I’m referencing something during play.

Although I didn’t have any problems with the first edition, it looks like Scott has expanded the archetypes, powers and team composition rules quite a bit. The inclusion of a blank hero sheet is a welcome addition, too. I’m sure there are other changes I have yet to discover, and I will be giving it a good look-through this weekend.

As if getting a copy for free wasn’t cool enough, there’s also this:

Another surprise! I am happy that I could contribute in any way.

Once again, a heartfelt thanks to Scott Pyle both for his generosity and for creating one of my favorite games of all time. I can’t wait to try out the new edition!

The Pipes are Calling…

If wishes were horses, I’d have made more terrain…

TerrainTime 2019 is over, and I managed to complete only ONE terrain project all month, a gas (or sewer) pipeline. So much for all the other stuff I wanted to get done.

A while ago, I picked up this pumping station and this storage tank from Joerg Bender over at Things from the Basement. Joerg sells laser-cut MDF kits and dollhouse furniture. His stuff is awesome. I really can’t say enough good things about it. Many of his gaming kits are designed to fit commonly available supplies like electrical boxes, PVC pipe fittings and, in the case of the storage tank, a Chock Full o’Nuts coffee can. (I don’t drink Chock Full o’Nuts, but I bought some just to get the can.) They’re scaled for 28mm miniatures, but I plan on using the pipeline both for 28mm supers/pulp/sci-fi games and for Gaslands, as you will soon see.

The elevated pipe stands, spacer rings and terminal grates are all purchased from Things From the Basement. The pipes themselves are simple 1/2″ PVC pipe along with standard elbow, T and coupler fittings; readily available at Home Depot for super cheap. I think I spent less than $10.00 on this entire setup.

Once I cut the pipe into varying lengths, I gave it and the fittings a spray with this Rustoleum Metal Primer. I also primed the pipe platforms with a rusty bronze primer. Then, I painted the inside of the pipes a few centimeters deep with some Vallejo acrylic black primer, as I didn’t want the white pipe interior to be visible from the outside.

I want to add some of these buttons that look like steampunk gears as valve handles, but I wasn’t able to by month’s end. They don’t look right sitting flush against the pipe and require a spacer. (Ideally, I could just replace the faux-screw in the center with an actual screw and put it directly into the pipe, but I don’t have screws that small at present.)

Once I started playing around with my pipe (not what you think, Roger), I decided they would look better if the pipe ends were mounted on bases rather than just sitting flush on the table. The problem I encountered is that the pipe stands are designed to hold the pipes so that the ends rest flush against the surface, so if I used a base, would it lift the pipe off the stand? How much difference can 5 mm MDF make? Another quick order to Joerg for some 50mm circular bases (among other things) and I was good to go.

As you can see, I constructed a very sophisticated device to hold the pipes upright while I primed and weathered them. This took a lot of my time this month, which is why I didn’t complete as many projects as I would have liked.

Once assembled and primed, my pipes looked a bit too shiny for me. So, I decided to weather them up with some rust and grime. I used some Weather System rust pigments, after applying some black/brown wash made from craft paint. Once dry, I drybrushed more of the rust anywhere that made sense, in progressively lighter shades. This got messy real quick. I advise wearing gloves when using pigments. A mask wouldn’t hurt either. (I discovered I was breathing it in unaware when I sneezed later and thought my nose was hemhorraging.) After each layer of rust, I sealed the pipes with Dullcote.

I drybrushed the stands and pipe end rings with some Reaper brass, then washed it in Citadel Nihilakh Oxide, to get the verdigris effect. Then I sealed the whole shebang with Mod Podge, to ensure that the paint wouldn’t rub off when I was assembling the pipes in different configurations later. That didn’t work so well. The edges still chip easily.

For the pumping station, I also used a different rust technique for the electrical box.  I applied some Citadel Typhus Corrosion in patches and drybrushed some Citadel Ryza Rust over those areas.

Sadly, the storage tank was one of several planned projects that didn’t get done this month. But I did manage to make some burned out car wrecks for Gaslands, using cheap cars, Magic Sculpt and plenty of Stirland Mud.

My technique for these is quite simple, separate the top half of the car, apply a hammer liberally to the car body to simulate damage, then affix it to the base with some loose wheels and other detritus as you see fit. Prime, cover the base with Stirland Mud or the texture of your choice, and paint the car whatever color you want. Then apply a black wash and rust effects to make it look like burned-out wreckage. These are so easy and quick to do that I will probably do several more. They’ll look great as Gaslands scatter terrain.

As you can see, the pipeline works equally well for Gaslands as a large, aboveground sprawling rust monster….

…as it does for 28mm skirmish, as you can see with these Heroclix Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

One look at this and I decided I need more pipe, and more fittings, in order to have maximum variation in my layouts. I bought another 5′ piece of 1/2″ PVC pipe, which will be more than enough. In addition to the extra fittings I already have, I purchased a few more. So I’m pretty much set to have games in a maze of pipes, should I desire.

My thanks to all who participated in TerrainTime 2019! You can see their contributions at their respective blogs. While you’re visiting, check out their other posts and drop a comment or two if so inclined!

Jeremy at Carrion Crow’s Buffet  scratch-built a terrific Star Wars Imperial bunker.

Kieron at Cheaphammer! made some ruins and a jungle board (complete with submerged alligator) for TerrainTime, as well has prolifically posting a lot of other cool stuff over the course of the month.

Daniel at Wade’s World of Wargaming  made a spectacular Wizard’s Tower from scratch.

Anton at Anton’s Wargame Blog  really went all out, scratchbuilding a hexagonal “Dark Tower”, complete with spiral staircases, and basing/converting a Playmobil coliseum that looks amazing! Inspiring work, Anton!

Charles the Modeller at All Hell Let Loose painted some 6mm Brigade Models buildings and made some terrain plates, complete with walls and foliage. I envy you, Charles. 6mm terrain must be so much easier to store…

Codsticker at Codsticker’s Historicals  made the Hornet’s Nest, an area of terrain specific to the Battle of Shiloh (ACW) which includes a road and lots of trees. It looks fantastic, and you can see it and the battle report in which it was used over at his site.

Thanks again to all who participated and all who dropped by to check out the results. I still want to get that storage tank done (and probably make some more pipes) but for now I’m happy to get back to some good old-fashioned miniature painting for a while.

TerrainTime 2019 kicks off!

This month is the first ever TerrainTime challenge, hosted by yours truly, The Angry Piper! If you need a refresher on the quote unquote rules of the challenge, you can go here (or just scroll down).

This month I’m fixin’ to do a whole heap of terrain, both for Gaslands and for some Old West gaming.

For Gaslands, I’m going to complete a rusty pipeline that has been in my partially-done pile for over a year now, along with some car wrecks. The good part of this is the pipeline can also be used in 28mm skirmishes (as somewhat smaller pipes).

I’m going to make some “badlands” terrain for Old West skirmishes…you know…cacti, cow skulls, dead trees…you get it. Then I’m planning on weathering some ERTL Cow Town buildings I bought off eBay. Finally, if time permits, I may weather my Marx Fort Apache playset (another recent rummage sale acquisition) or assemble and paint up a Western MDF building or two.

Lofty goals. But I am not alone in them. Joining me on this terrain-making journey are the following folks, all with their own projects for the coming month…

Jeremy at Carrion Crow’s Buffet

Kieron at Cheaphammer!

Daniel at Wade’s World of Wargaming

Anton at Anton’s Wargame Blog

Charles the Modeller at All Hell Let Loose

Peter at the Single-Handed Admiral

Codsticker at Codsticker’s Historicals

Feeling left out? Don’t! Just let me know you want to participate and I’ll add your name and site to the blogroll forthwith!

Now, let’s make some terrain!

TerrainTime 2019

One of my 2019 Resolutions was to make more terrain; a goal I have thus far failed to achieve this year. With that in mind, I’ve decided to host a terrain challenge for the month of August. I figure it’s the only way I’m going to get off my ass and do it.

I have some projects in mind, many of which have been waiting patiently for years. Gaslands, Old West…even some generic hills…it’s high time I worked on some table dressing rather than miniatures for a change.

So, without further ado, here are the “rules” of August’s Terrain Challenge, which I have dubbed “TerrainTime”:

  1. Construct and/or assemble and paint at least one piece of terrain in the month of August.
  2. “Terrain” can be anything that would grace a playing surface, i.e. something your miniatures can stand on, use as cover, move through or occupy; for example: hills, trees, forests, ruins, buildings, waterways…all these are fine. So are things like wreckage, objective markers, walls, barricades, statues…pretty much ANYTHING you would use as terrain.
  3. You can scratch-build it if you wish, but you don’t have to. You can assemble pre-fab terrain or buildings, whether resin, plastic or MDF kits. You can even repaint or “weather” existing terrain you have, like toy kits or model train terrain. Just do something terrain related.
  4. Scale and genre are of no consequence, as far as the challenge is concerned. Whatever scale(s) or genre(s)you game in are fine. If you can create a piece of terrain that works across different scales or genres, even better.
  5. To summarize, work on a piece of terrain (at least one, feel free to do more) in the month of August. This could be anything from a complete scratch-build to a quick paint or repaint, as long as it’s terrain related. Scale and genre don’t matter. It’s for your games, so do whatever works for you.

Drop me a comment or email me at angrypiper@angrypiper.com if you want your blog or site to be included in the blogroll for this challenge.

Lastly, I’ll include some links to two YouTube channels I enjoy that deal primarily with terrain building. These are great for inspiration and are cool places to visit regularly. There are many more channels such as these, but these are the ones I frequent. Feel free to share your own in the comments section, if so inclined.

The Terrain Tutor: Mel the Terrain Tutor is the undisputed king of terrain, a veritable terrain-making genius. He has an extensive library of posts dealing with basic terrain-making techniques all the way through advanced projects. His terrain basics series is a must; particularly his tutorials on foam board and extruded polystyrene (insulation board here in the USA).

The DMs Craft: DM Scotty makes some pretty interesting terrain on a budget, primarily for roleplaying games. You’d be amazed what he makes from wet paper towels, PVA glue and other cheap stuff. Not everything’s a winner, and some may not hold up to the rigors of regular wargaming, but if you need something inexpensive and fast for a one-off game, his channel is worth a look. His Tilescape series is pretty good.

That’s it. Hopefully I’ll post more in July, but if not, expect a terrain-fest in August!

Buried on a Sunday…Born on a Monday…

I never heard, or even knew of, the Solomon Grundy nursery rhyme as a child. I think perhaps this is a more common nursery rhyme overseas than here in the States. It wasn’t until I got older, fell in love with Celtic music and started listening to the Pogues that I heard it for the first time, at the very, very end of Billy’s Bones.

As a comic book fan, though, I knew who Solomon Grundy was very early on. The guy was in the Legion of Doom on Superfriends (a cartoon that absolutely does NOT hold up). Later, I remember seeing a Bernie Wrightson portfolio with a couple of plates depicting Solomon Grundy, but that was about the extent of my exposure to him.

Now, of course, EVERYONE knows that Solomon Grundy was born on a Monday… et cetera, et cetera. He was a significant character on TV’s Gotham, and I remember cackling with glee the first time I realized that…

SPOILER ALERT

…Butch’s real name turned out to be Cyrus Gold.

Anyway…Grundy has about 12 different origin stories (look it up if you don’t believe me), but a common thread throughout all of them was that he was once a man named Cyrus Gold, who was murdered and dumped in Slaughter Swamp, the location of which changes but is usually outside of Gotham City. Something in the water reanimates him, so he is basically an indestructible zombie. He’s super strong (he can go toe-to-toe with Superman), nigh-invulnerable and impossible to permanently put down. He doesn’t have to breathe and he doesn’t bleed. He’s also usually, but not always, really dumb.

He started out as a villain for Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, but now he’s more of a Batman villain. The thing is, I can’t figure out why he’s a villain at all. Most villains have schemes and plans, things they wish to accomplish. Grundy just usually shows up and fights whoever happens to be around until he gets beat up or killed. Then he rises again some time later and starts all over. Not really a “big picture” kind of guy.

I bought this Knight Models Solomon Grundy because it’s AWESOME, and the Heroclix Grundy looks laughably small next to him.

I primed him black and drybrushed some Citadel Celestra Grey on him to pick out the details. Then I painted his skin using Citadel’s Rakarth Flesh, followed by a wash of Agrax Earthshade, then highlighted with Flayed One Flesh and finally, Pallid Wych Flesh. For the suit, I did a thin layer of Coat D’Arms Deadly NIghtshade, followed by an even lighter coat of Army Painter Dark Sky. This covered the Celestra Grey and provided some nice highlights to the clothing. His shirt was based in Citadel Tau Light Ochre, washed with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted up to Dorn Yellow. I used GW’s Stirland Mud to texture the base and stuck an old Armorcast broken tombstone on it before flocking the whole thing.

And that was the end of Solomon Grundy, and of Supers Month here at Dead Dick’s Tavern.

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 58

Miniatures Painted: 122

Total: +64

Forgotten Heroes 2019: Viva La Bandera!

I must thank my friend Carrion Crow for coming up with Forgotten Heroes. It is a challenge in more ways than one. For example, last year I converted my very own Wundarr the Aquarian, who I consider to be one of the worst Marvel characters ever. Even though my results weren’t great, I was pretty proud of myself for converting such a terrible character. The Aquarian was  met with much amusement, and I thought I would never find another character so lame.

Until now, that is. May I present: La Bandera!

Some background. Once upon a time, Wolverine (along with the rest of the X-Men) was supposed to be dead, so he ditched the superhero life to open a bar in seedy Madripoor. He took the identity of “Patch” (Logan with an eyepatch, get it?) which shouldn’t have fooled anyone with vision better than Mr. Magoo, considering he kept popping his claws all the time. To make matters worse, Wolverine soon started dressing up as fucking WOLVERINE, and everyone sat around scratching their heads at the strange short guy in the Wolverine costume. No one seemed able to put  two and two together and come up with “Hey…that guy is Wolverine.”

Anyway, at one point, Wolverine travels to the South American dictatorship Tierra Verde, hot on the trail of Roughhouse, a Madripoor-based bad guy he beat the shit out of a few times. Roughhouse was kidnapped by a guy named Geist, who was a Nazi “scientist” who was working for Caridad, the mustachioed dictator of Tierra Verde. Geist was experimenting on people in the hope of creating a superhero for Tierra Verde at Caridad’s request.

Sigh. Enter La Bandera,  a teenage girl who was born in Cuba to Castro revolutionary parents, who then moved to Miami, where her father became a drug addict and died of a drug overdose. When she got to be a teenager, she manifested her mutant power, inspiration. She can influence the emotions of others, so she used this to inspire the common folk to fight drug dealers in Miami. Oh, and she can also shoot power blasts through a stick she carries, but these seem to be dependent on how may people she is currently inspiring. When their morale tanks, she loses this ability.

Yawn. Moving on, La Bandera pissed off the Kingpin, because her rabble-rousing started fucking with his bottom line: his Miami drug profits. So he hired Tiger Shark to kill her. But before Tiger Shark could, she traced the drugs to Tierra Verde, and traveled there to inspire the populace to overthrow their evil dictator, Caridad. Wolverine saved her from Tiger Shark, who was in the process of removing La Bandera’s head from her shoulders. Then he saved her from Geist, who, in addition to a Nazi scientist and expert barber, turned out to be a giant, evil fungus. Then they overthrew the dictator together and saved Roughhouse.

Yaay.

This all took a very long seven issues of Wolverine. There was more to the story (Caridad suffers from migraines and his ex-wife, a nun named “Sister Salvation”, is the only one who can soothe his pain) but just forget it.  If you’ve never heard of La Bandera, you have missed nothing. But the reason is because she, and the story she rode in on, sucks out loud.

La Bandera is one of those annoying, purposeless characters that festooned the X-books throughout the late eighties and nineties. She’s a stereotype (a Cuban-born revolutionary), but at least we are spared the “Claremont-ization” of her speech patterns (a la Black Tom Cassidy, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Moira MacTaggart, Gambit and countless others…) because she was created by Archie Goodwin, not Chris Claremont; but although there’s nary a “Madre de Dios!” to be found, she’s still pretty damn lame.

Perfect for Forgotten Heroes. Although her national allegiance isn’t clear, she’s definitely a patriotic character, as she inspires feelings of nationalism in others. so, she’s kind of a patriotic everyman. And she has a colorful costume. That’s about all I got.

As my base figure, I used a Heroclix Nikki. I have no idea who the hell Nikki is, but she’s apparently affiliated with the Defenders. She’ll do.

I removed her from her dial and took her arm off at the shoulder. I considered just clipping off the gun, but her arms are so thin I was worried about attaching a staff to both sides of her hand. So I opted to just remove the hand and replace it with this GW skink spear hand. I removed the spear head and hoped no one would notice that La Bandera has a freakishly-large right hand, and that it only has three fingers.

Then I started applying green stuff and magic sculpt to build up her poofy sleeves. Although I suck at sculpting, I took my time. I built it up in several sessions rather than trying to get it all done at once.

Finally, I sculpted her mask and her flowing belt and mask ties. This took a while. I rolled out the magic sculpt in a long ribbon, flattened it out, twisted it and let it dry. Then I clipped it and super-glued it to the miniature. A final dab of putty secured both belt and mask tie in place.

Finally, all that was left was to paint her. You may notice that my paint job doesn’t match the artwork above. That’s because throughout that excruciating seven-issue run, La Bandera’s costume lacked a consistent color scheme, which may have been a printing error, or may have just been indicative of how much anyone working on her story gave a fuck. I went with the one that was shown the most. I’m not happy with her mask. Perhaps I should have just painted her face instead of sculpting a mask, as it looks a little weird. But I take comfort in the fact that although I’m probably one of the only people in the world with a La Bandera miniature, I will, in all likelihood, never have to use her in a game.

Unless she teams up with the Aquarian. Damn. Now I’m thinking about it.

That brings my Forgotten Heroes submissions to an end for this year. I really wanted to do General Glory from the post-Legends JLI, but I didn’t have the time. Maybe next year, although I’m pretty sure the Crow will have a new challenge by then…

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