Category Archives: Sci-Fi

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.

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!

Monster May(hem) 2021: The Ripper Beast!

Not quite a week into Monster May(hem), and I have finally completed my first submission. I present: the Scourge of Planet X: The Ripper Beast!

This miniature from Rattrap Productions has been primed and sitting on my desk since last year’s Monster May(hem). I never got a chance to get to him and moved on to other projects; so I made him my first priority this year. Partially, this is because I’m sick of looking at him; but it’s also because he has been so patient and understanding; two traits not normally associated with Ripper Beasts of Planet X.

The Ripper Beast, as the lore goes, is the most feared predator on Planet X. It loves nothing more than to live up to its name by ripping things, usually into bloody chunks. The Ripper Beast is doubly feared because it seems to regenerate as soon as it is wounded, making it nigh-impossible to put down for good.

Despite its renowned savagery, this Ripper Beast seems to be wearing clothing. It has two spiked wristbands and no dangly unmentionables to speak of. This either makes it smarter than you would think, able to clothe itself and perhaps forge weapons; or just oddly modest. The only picture of the Ripper Beast I could find was the one on the cover, there; so I couldn’t verify this. The only example of a painted Ripper Beast miniature I was able to find was the one inside the book, which doesn’t help because it’s black and white.

So I went with the clothing look, and I tried to get it as close to the cover as possible. It’s a retro sci-fi creature, so perhaps some space-spandex is appropriate after all. While I may never use this miniature as intended, it can sure get some use as a super-villain for games of Super Mission Force!

I have at least two more projects for Monster May(hem) I’m trying to get done by month’s end. Both require a lot of base work, so they’re taking longer than usual. Check back soon, but in the meantime, be sure to stop by and see what everyone else has been up to!

Here’s the blogroll:

Don’t see your name here yet? No problem! Just email me at angrypiper@angrypiper.com or drop a comment below and let me know you want to participate! It’s never too late to paint a monster!

More coming soon…

Monster May(hem) 2021 Begins!

It’s May 1st! Time for Monster May(hem), so get painting! Those monsters aren’t gonna paint themselves!

Here’s a list of all the current participants, along with links to their blogs (where applicable):

Don’t see your name here yet? No problem! Just email me at angrypiper@angrypiper.com or drop a comment below and let me know you want to participate! It’s never too late to paint a monster!

(Unless it’s June; it which case it’s technically too late.)

Here’s what’s happening so far:

We have our first submission! Matt from PM Painting is Johnny-on-the-spot already! Check out his awesome-looking Lovecraftian Elder Thing!

Although technically not submissions for this year, Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop is showcasing some amazing Dragons he sculpted AND painted (both masterfully) over on his site right now!

Tom from The Good Ground jumped into the pool with a very cool Red Slaad!

And Azazel painted this beautiful Coral Golem! I love it!

I’m running behind already; and I’m the guy hosting this challenge! It’s the same every year…

Gonna go start mine…

Monster May(hem) fast approaches!

Gather ‘round, ladies and gents! (Are there any ladies in the house?) It’s almost May; time for the second annual Monster May(hem); to be hosted right here at Dead Dick’s Tavern! But wait…SECOND annual? It seems like this has been going on for more than two years…

Aaaah. Yes. Three, actually. It used to be known as Monster Month, but then Roger changed it. (Sigh. Roger. I friggin’ love that guy.)

Anyway, what is Monster May(hem)? Why, it’s the month you paint monsters, of course. Any monster will do, although it should be a proper MONSTER; not an orc or a vampire, or something equally as lame. I mean something truly beastly; like a dragon or manticore or giant sandworm. Check out the last couple of years by looking at that handy “Archives” drop-down menu on the right and picking any May (starting in 2018); or, if you’re too lazy to do that, you can get a pretty good idea what I’m talking about by looking at this post and this post.

I can hear the choruses now. “I wanna join the club, PIper! But, how do I participate?”

It’s easy! Simply let me know in the comments below, or shoot me an email at angrypiper@angrypiper.com. I’ll add your name and website to the blogroll once May starts; and, if it’s not there already, I’ll post a link to your site in my sidebar menus. You might even pick up a few regular visitors to your blog! Don’t have a blog or a website? That’s ok. Send me your pictures, and I’ll post them here and ensure you receive proper attribution.

If you’re looking for some good monster miniatures but don’t want to break the bank, Reaper Bones or Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures are your friends! You can get some great plastic monsters for under 5 bucks, and even more for under ten. Or you can splurge and spend fifteen bucks and get something like this T-Rex from Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures:

But no one’s saying it has to be a Fantasy monster. Got a particularly nasty Tyranid or Elder God you want an excuse to paint? Well, look no further. Here’s your excuse. You can also sculpt your own, if you have the inclination and you’re the daring sort. Roger did just that last year, and he even named it after me! The likeness is uncanny… (I told you I love that guy.)

Monster May(hem) officially starts on the first of May (duh). Chances are I’ll be posting something soon after. I have a couple of miniatures in mind, including one really big project planned. I’ve been pretty productive in past years; but invariably I post a few stragglers in early June as my reach tends to exceed my grasp. Guess we’ll see if this year is the same…

Board games, too, now.

Since this pandemic started, I have picked up quite a few board games based on recommendations, reviews and…well, just because. Sadly, this isn’t something I can blame Roger for; rather I must blame a guy I follow on Instagram, @geekdesignergorssky, for always posting about board games that are on sale on Amazon. Some of the deals are pretty hard to resist (35%-50% off!). For example: Gloomhaven, a game I DID manage to resist buying, was on sale for $79.00 USD not too long ago (with free shipping, of course). The game retails for $150.00 USD retail, and the box weighs over 20 lbs. (really). That’s an insane deal. But I said no and I don’t even think about it every single day. (It’s currently $114.00 USD on Amazon.) The fact that I have no one to play these with never even entered my mind.

These are some of the games I have purchased (or been gifted) over the last year. I say some, but what I mean is these are the ones with miniatures. There are others, like Ravensburger’s JAWS game and, oddly enough, a Pac-Man board game (with real arcade sounds!) I bought because I thought it would be a fun pandemic activity. Apparently I’m the only one who thinks that, since I haven’t played any of them yet.

This month, in addition to my Character of the Month (still to come), I’ve decided to focus on getting some of these miniatures painted and ready for the table. I picked the game I’m most excited about playing: Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps, by Gale Force 9. It comes with 7 Marines and 16 Xenomorphs that will require paint; plus I picked up this miniatures expansion because all 4 minis are awesome. (You get a gooey Bishop, which either sounds like a weird drink or a depraved act, take your pick.)

I assembled most of the miniatures yesterday. The marines go together pretty easily; but as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I have no patience for plastic miniatures anymore. I found the Xenomorphs to be needlessly complex with a two part body, a separate head, two separate arms, a tail and a base, for a total of seven pieces each. Four pieces (a solid body/head, two arms, a tail and the base) would have been better; and far less time-consuming and annoying to assemble. They look cool, but their tails are flimsy and fiddly as fuck. I just know they’re going to be constantly snapping off.

The other game isn’t technically a board game at all; it’s Warlord’s’ Cruel Seas, my first foray into naval wargaming (if I ever get to play it). This starter box was a gift from Santa (who is absolutely not interested in playing this or any other tabletop game, and has said so on multiple occasions). The starter comes with 4 German S- Boats and 6 British Vospers; but I have a few extra German boats thanks to the free sprues I got with wargaming magazines. This game was all over the place a couple of years ago, but I don’t see much written about it now, although they’ve made expansion fleets for the US, Italy, Japan and Russia in addition to the German and British ships you get in this starter set, so someone must still be playing it.

Anyway, I expect the Colonial Marines will take the most time; and I may not get them all done by the end of April. On the other hand, Xenos and PT boats are hardly challenging models to paint and I should be able to zip right through them just in time for Monster May(hem) in May!

More on that…and a brand-new After Action Report…coming soon!

Star Trek: Iconic Villains and some Heroclix Repaints

Four posts with no miniatures? This will not stand! Let me fix that…

In December, I usually focus my attention on my “side pile”, i.e. those unfinished and partially-painted miniatures that have accumulated off to the side of my workspace over the course of the year. Some have been primed, others basecoated; some have just a dab or two of color on them from when I squeezed out a bit too much paint and didn’t want to waste it. There they indefinitely sat, clogging my workspace and staring at me accusatorily; until finally, a few years ago, I made the conscious choice to clear the workspace. It’s worked out great.

Yeah, well…I didn’t do that last month.

I painted a LOT of Star Trek miniatures in 2020; both Modiphius miniatures and Heroclix repaints. Since I started playing Days Gone last month, I simply haven’t had the motivation to paint as much (funny how most of my hobby dry spells coincide with periods of video game obsession). But I only had a few Star Trek miniatures left, and I was bound and determined to get them all done by the end of the year.

I have succeeded. First up: the Heroclix repaints.

I picked up these Heroclix to supplement my Modiphius Romulans. They’re not perfect, because I didn’t remember what paints I used way back when; but they’ll do.

Next, I did the same with these Klingons. Everyone can use more Klingons, and I have plans for these guys…

Sadly, I only managed to get my hands on two Heroclix Cardassian soldiers. I repainted the TNG-era brownish uniform to DS9 black, since I like it much better.

Next, some Ferengi salvage crew, and Daimon Bok. These miniatures are obviously based on the early TNG costuming, which was…well, pretty fucking awful. Don’t believe me? Here’s what the Ferengi uniform was on TNG:

Yikes. I’m guessing most of the show’s first-season budget was blown on special effects, because that looks like medical scrubs and cheap carpet. Dig those fur booties.

Finally, the last of the Heroclix: I did a couple of TNG character repaints: Geordi, Worf and Lt. Barclay; as well as a couple of generic TNG-era Starfleet crew.

I repainted Mugato and some Talosians, as well as a whole bunch of generic Starfleet crew for the TOS era.

Moving on, I finally finished the last Modiphius set: the Iconic Villains. I have a lot of opinions about this set, and let’s start by saying I would never have bought it if I didn’t find it on Amazon for an obscenely low price (like $18 or so). The truth is, I didn’t need or want most of these miniatures, and I think there were a lot of better choices available for the “iconic” Trek villains. Let’s go through them, best to worst. These are my opinions, of course…your mileage may vary.

First: Locutus, Lore, and the Borg Queen. All of these are solid choices for iconic villains. What’s more, Modiphius made a Borg Collective miniature set and the Next Generation Bridge crew and TNG Away team, which makes them easy to use in a miniature wargame or for their Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game. I have no issue with any of these. Love them.

Next: Gul Dukat. He’s a great sculpt, and my personal favorite villain in all of Star Trek; so of course I’m happy to have him. The problem is that Modiphius hasn’t done the Deep Space Nine station crew yet, and also hasn’t done any Cardassians (both of which I’m DYING for); so, he’s of limited gaming utility at the moment. Still, he’s Gul Fucking Dukat, and he’s holding Sisko’s baseball, so I can’t complain too much; although it would be really nice if Modiphius made those other sets soon. In the meantime, I think they could have included a villain that would better compliment the sets they have already released.

Next: Q, in his judge’s robes. As far as iconic villains go, Modiphius would have been remiss not to include Q. BUT: why would you need a Q miniature? Q can do anything and is pretty much invulnerable and omnipotent. I get I’m nitpicking here. Star Trek Adventures is a roleplaying game, and anyone using miniatures for that purpose may have need of a Q miniature simply to show where he’s standing at any given time. But it’s not like Q needs to worry about things like difficult terrain or line-of-sight. He doesn’t need to worry about cover saves. He’s Q. Like I said, Modiphius kinda needed to include him, but the miniature is of limited use in a game setting, particularly a wargame. Also, although the judge’s robes are cool, I would have liked to see him in a Command uniform. But that’s me.

Next: the Gorn Captain. Calling him an iconic villain is a bit of a stretch to me. Also, since he’s the only Gorn miniature made by Modiphius (kinda like Gul Dukat is the only Cardassian), unless you want to replay the classic TOS episode Arena, there’s no point in gaming with him. Meh.

Finally, for some inexplicable reason, Modiphius decided to include two Star Trek movie-era villains: General Chang, and KHAAAAAAAAN!!!!. Why they did this when they haven’t released the movie-era TOS crew is frankly baffling to me.

As for General Chang, he’s my least favorite miniature in the set; not because he’s a bad sculpt, but because I’m at a loss as to why he’s here. Sure, he was the bad guy in Star Trek VI, and he was ably played by Christopher Plummer, and he’s a Klingon. And…I got nothing else. Who the hell was asking for a General Chang miniature? Again, the fact that he’s from the movie era and Modiphius hasn’t released any movie-era miniatures makes his inclusion perplexing.

Finally, arguably the MOST iconic Star Trek villain, Khan definitely deserves to be here. His sculpt is pretty good overall, although I don’t think he needed to be clutching a Ceti eel (it looks kind of silly). While Khan should definitely be included, they should have made the younger version of him from “Space Seed” to work with the current TOS Enterprise crew and landing party sets. (Heroclix made a young Khan, but he’s a rare miniature that fetches about $50 on the secondary market; or, as I like to call it: “fuck that expensive”.)

So, aside from replacing old Khan with young Khan, who do I think should have made it into the set instead of Chang, the Gorn Captain, and (even though I love him) Gul Dukat?

Gowron. Played by “Crazy Eyes” Robert O’Reilly in 11 episodes of Star Trek: TNG and DS9, Gowron is definitely an iconic villain who should be here. I am personally offended that he is not, because how can you not love Gowron?

Lursa and B’etor: The Duras Sisters are also recurring antagonists in TNG and DS9 before finally meeting their end in Generations (spoiler alert). Both of them would be welcome.

Sela: The Half-Romulan daughter of Tasha Yar would be a welcome addition, too; although Modiphius seems to have had her in mind when designing the Romulan set. The commander is female, and can easily be painted as Sela. (In fact, I did just that, as you know because you followed my link to the Romulans above.)

Harry Mudd: One of the only recurring characters on TOS, Harry Mudd would be an awesome addition to the set. I love both Mudd episodes (Mudd’s Women and I, Mudd“) and would love it if someone made a miniature of him!

These are my choices for iconic villains that compliment sets already released by Modiphius. Assuming they release DS9 and Voyager crews down the road; who should make it into Iconic Villains 2? (I’m not including Enterprise because I’ve only seen the first season and honestly don’t know if there are any iconic villains to include.)

From Deep Space Nine: Kai Wynn (of course), Weyoun, Damar, the Female Changeling, Enabran Tain, Minister Jaro, Liquidator Brunt and Michael Eddington; from Voyager: Seska. (She’s the only one I can think of, and the only recurring villain other than the Borg Queen, and she’s already been done.)

I actually completed a project! I’m happy to say I’m done with Star Trek for now. I have no more Trek miniatures to paint, although I do have a couple of bridge scenics to get to, courtesy of Wargames Terrain Workshop.

Coming soon: my resolutions for 2021!

Star Trek Adventures: Outpost 51; The Inquiry

The crew returned from the Shakedown Cruise of the U.S.S. Adventure two months ago. Since then, the vessel has been docked at the Denali substation at Outpost 51 pending an inquiry into the loss of Captain Boardman and the subsequent actions taken by Commander Logan, particularly those that caused a diplomatic incident with the Cardassian Union and the Ferengi Alliance. The ship received minor repairs, mostly cosmetic; while the data collected on the mysterious alien vessel was analyzed and processed. The Maquis agents discovered at the mining colony were sent to Security for interrogation.

The Adventure‘s captain’s chair remained vacant while Starfleet conducted an inquiry. Over the next few weeks, all senior staff and department heads were interviewed by a panel of four of Starfleet’s top brass. The panel was chaired by Admiral Alynna Nechayev, and consisted of Fleet Admiral Shanthi, Admiral Owen Paris, and Captain Tomek.

It was not a trial, at least officially; but it sure felt like one. One by one, the officers were all called before the panel to give statements on their role during the maiden voyage of the U.S.S. Adventure. They faced some hard questions, particularly from Admiral Nechayev, who lived up to her reputation for being no-nonsense, tough-as-nails, and–quite frankly–scary.

“So, to be clear,” she said at one point, “On her very first mission, the Adventure lost her Captain and her Chief Science Officer, both of whom seem to have been mentally unbalanced; and managed to provoke and antagonize both the Cardassians and the Ferengi, both of whom are demanding concessions and satisfaction from the Federation. Sounds like a resounding success.”

Despite this, Admiral Nechayev seemed mostly concerned with the Cardassians; what they were doing, why they crossed into the Neutral Zone, and what the crew’s opinion was of the Cardassian officers they interacted with: Legate Jabrel and Gul Drazel. Fleet Admiral Shanthi and Admiral Paris questioned Commander Logan’s decisions and the decisions of Captain Boardman, up to and including his rash decision to abandon ship on a seemingly suicidal mission. They asked if there was any warning of Boardman’s tenuous mindset beforehand; any indication that he should have been relieved of duty by his First Officer ( Commander Logan) or by the Chief Medical Officer. They also asked about Chief Science Officer Shazak Fulexian; wondering aloud how anyone so unstable could be tapped to lead the science department on a Federation starship.

Throughout the proceedings, Captain Tomek said very little. In fact, he seemed to accept the official version of events presented at face value.

Eventually, the discussion turned to who would captain the Adventure now that Boardman was gone. As a new, Akira-class vessel; the Adventure would need a strong captain. Although Commander Logan assumed command under dire circumstances, was she the right person to sit in the captain’s chair permanently?

Admiral Nechayev made the case that Commander Logan is known to the Cardassians now; that putting her in command of the Adventure may be sending a message to the Cardassians that “cowboy diplomacy” is an option that is on the table, should it be required. This term elicited a collective chuckle from the three admirals; but predictably, Captain Tomek, a Vulcan, showed no reaction. Rather, he began to speak.

“I feel it is necessary to remind everyone that I never supported the decision to give Captain Boardman command of the Adventure.”

Fleet Admiral Shanthi sighed. “Gloating doesn’t become you, Tomek.”

“Gloating is something humans do,” said Tomek. “It is illogical to take pleasure in the knowledge you were correct when your counsel went unheeded, nonetheless. Rather, it is more productive to consider a future course of action in light of past lessons. I merely state that I believe now, as I did then, that there are better candidates for command of the Adventure. Commander Logan has exhibited sound judgement and has performed her duties competently. But she is not the best choice.”

Admiral Paris spoke up: “I feel like we’ve discussed this before.“

“That is because we have discussed it before,” Tomek said. “Ronan Lyko should captain the Adventure. It is only logical.”

“Captain Lyko commands the Ostrander,” said Admiral Nechayev.

“An antiquated, Cheyenne-class vessel, well past its prime,” said Tomek. “His abilities and experience would be better utilized in command of the Adventure.”

Fleet Admiral Shanthi cleared her throat. “After Wolf 359, Captain Lyko was offered his choice of vessels. He has made his feelings on the matter clear. He wishes to remain in command of the Ostrander.”

Tomek looked at each of the admirals in turn. “It is my understanding that Captain Lyko’s is still a Starfleet officer, and thus subject to assignment, regardless of his personal wishes.”

“Might I suggest we table this conversation for now?” Admiral Nechayev rang the bell to adjourn the inquiry. “This inquiry has concluded. You will be notified of our findings within a few days.” Everyone slowly filed out of the room.

The Adventure was docked for the duration of the inquiry; thus the senior staff was assigned to other duties around Outpost 51 and the Denali substation until it was concluded. Lieutenant Kl’rt Beta, Helm Officer, had to content himself with piloting shuttlecraft between the outpost and the substation, carrying personnel and cargo back and forth. It was a big step down from being at the conn of an Akira-class starship. Since all he really did was pilot the Adventure, his actions weren’t in question as far as the inquiry panel was concerned. His testimony was brief, merely verifying the version of events as presented by Commander Logan and the ship’s own combat data.

Chief of Security Daris Pak had a bit more to account for. She was in charge of the tactical station; so it fell to her to explain every phaser blast and photon torpedo launched during the course of the Adventure’s clash with the Cardassians and Ferengi. Until the Adventure was flying again she was assigned to menial duties aboard the Denali docking substation; cargo inspections and routine security details: a complete waste of her talent and ability. She supplemented her time by teaching self-defense classes to enlisted personnel who would likely never have need for her training. One of her classes was disrupted by a few rowdy Klingons who scoffed at Starfleet security training, since it emphasized de-escalation and non-injurious conflict resolution. Commander Pak took the opportunity to instruct one Klingon in particular about the danger of underestimating an opponent.

Chief Engineer Suvak was most worried about retaining his post aboard the Adventure; not because of anything he did or failed to do; but rather because he never would have been assigned to the Adventure in the first place if it wasn’t for Captain Boardman. Boardman was a strong advocate for the Vulcan, despite the fact the Suvak had spent decades in an alternate dimension. As a result of a transporter accident, he was now somewhat behind as far as current Starfleet technology was concerned. Nonetheless, Boardman saw something in Suvak that made him pass up more qualified candidates in favor of the Vulcan. In light of his obvious mental instability, would Boardman’s favor ultimately harm Suvak?

Suvak decided to spend his time as productively as possible. He proposed some modifications to the Adventure: remove the extensive shuttle bays in favor of improved power systems. After all, the Adventure didn’t need two runabouts and six shuttlecraft. It seemed destined for a more martial role; improved power systems would ensure the ship had power to phasers when it needed to fight, or power to warp drive when it needed to flee; and it would still allow Adventure to carry one runabout and three shuttlecraft. HIs proposal was accepted. He and Chief Station Engineer Malcolm Khofi spent most of the two months overseeing the modifications.

Commander Logan, meanwhile, was temporarily relieved of command duties while the Inquiry was ongoing. When not answering the panel’s questions, she spent most of her time in her quarters, wondering if she made the correct decisions in light of what had occurred. She was confident she had; in hindsight, she would not have done anything differently. She did not know either Captain Boardman or Commander Fulexian well, nor was she a counselor. She had no way of predicting their aberrant behavior.

She received an unexpected visit from Captain Tomek, who came to her quarters to inform her that the Maquis operative, Hoddek, had finally cracked under interrogation and was giving up some valuable information. Tomek was on his way to the Denali substation to meet with Kalar Duren, the Betazoid interrogator who was questioning Hoddek, and wanted Logan to accompany him. Duren was both Counselor and Chief of Security aboard the substation, dividing his time between the two positions as needed. Tomek seemed to hold him in high regard.

Tomek and Logan met in shuttle bay 3 an hour later to find Lieutenant Beta awaiting them. It was the first time Logan had seen her helm officer since the Adventure’s return. Beta flew the two senior officers to the substation, where he left them to pass some time playing dom-jot with Master Chief Engineer Holt Belmont, a likeable enlisted man whom everyone–including Beta–seemed to owe a favor. Along the way to the interrogation room, Logan picked up Commander Suvak, who took the opportunity to brief Logan on the modifications to the Adventure as they walked. All three arrived at the Security Office to find Lt. Commander Pak was there already, checking her duty roster.

Suvak, Pak, Logan and Tomek met with Kalar Duren to hear the results of the interrogation. Hoddek revealed that a high-ranking individual operating around Deep Space Nine was a key Maquis agent. He claimed not to know the person’s identity, and Duren believed him. Still, it wasn’t long ago that Lieutenant Commander Calvin Hudson had deserted Starfleet to join the Maquis; causing a significant amount of damage and security risk. Tomek recalled that Hudson was a personal friend of Commander Benjamin Sisko. Now, news of another high-ranking Maquis operating around Deep Space Nine was of great concern, and a bit too coincidental for the Vulcan’s liking.

Upon leaving the Security Office, Tomek pulled Logan aside. “I see no need to draw this out. The panel has decided that you are to retain command of the Adventure. Congratulations, Captain Logan. Unfortunately, there will be little time for formal recognition. Please ensure the Adventure is ready to depart, and make any changes to your personnel as you see fit. We leave for Deep Space Nine in three days.”

Logan saluted Captain Tomek, who returned the gesture solemnly. “Thank you, Captain.” She said. It sounded odd to her, not having to call him “sir” any longer.

Word of the Adventure’s destination spread rather quickly as Logan assembled her crew. Over the dom-jot table, Holt Belmont grinned at Lieutenant Beta. :So,” he said, “I hear you’re back behind the wheel, headed to DS9.”

“That’s what they tell me,” said Beta.

Belmont’s smile widened. “Beta, buddy…I was wondering if you could do me a favor…”