Monday, 29 June 2015

La Grande Hotel - Part 1: The Grand Stone Hotel.

A while back I took the plunge and treated myself to the 4Ground 'Hotel Complex' as a Christmas present while it was on sale (trust me I didn't pay that price!) and I finally got around to building the thing.

I am pretty familiar with the 4Ground stuff already so I started off with the 'Grand Stone Hotel' building. Digging out the multitude of parts from the box it was clear this was going to be an epic job...

If you decide to purchase this beast, I would suggest having a large work area to spread out on and familiarise yourself with the parts. The instructions are fairly clear in the main but sometimes the pictures themselves are not entirely clear. I also found it was easiest to dry fit first before slopping on the glue.

Pegs and elastic bands are supplied with the two large buildings - keep hold of them for the rest as they come in useful!

Other than that, the build is reasonably instinctive. It took me a few evenings to complete the first one but once you have built one of the big hotels the second one is a doddle!

The only fiddly bits are the stairs and the windows but they all fitted well and wasn't a chore.

The completed 'Grand Stone Hotel' with its first owner The Red Queen.

As you can see, this is one large building and this is only part of it! More of this in another post.

Next up - The Stone Hotel.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Pulp - The Big Ship.

After having several salty seadog types painted up I realised they needed a ship to ply their trade.

Spotting the amazing 'Doreen' on the Lead Adventure Forum and another conversion at 'Sir Peters' I decided to track down the huge Playmobil cargo ship.

After an easy (and relatively cheap) find on ebay, here she is in all her glory...

The general scale is actually pretty good for 28mm with a figure on a 2p base just about fitting into the gangway.

The pilothouse / bridge is okay but obviously needs a lot of work to make it 'in scale' and usable.

I am not a particularly skilled (or brave) model maker so I doubt I will do anything anywhere near as incredible as 'Doreen' but hopefully I can make a few modifications and a splash of paint to get it looking 'ship-shape' (groan)

The large central cargo bay can be opened up and is quite deep too so all sorts of things could be placed in here - cargo, troops, or maybe a surprise dinosaur or zombie horde!

There is another opening hatch at the front (forecastle?) and room underneath.

A close up of part of the cargo hold.

 And here are her ruffian crew lined up on the cargo deck.

Captain Oscar Morley and the crew of the 'Harlan Ellison'.

Figures are from Brigade, Statuesque and Artizan.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Doctor Who - The Terror at Devils Bay.

The sea laps quietly along the shoreline of Keavaig Bay...

...little do the residents of 'UNIT Deep Sea Research Facility 7' realise that the peace is about to be shattered.

Pvt. Smith guards the Tech Lab / workshop while Pvts. Stratton and Joey are on duty at the main gate.

The Doctor, Liz, Prof. Urqhart and Sgt. Benton discuss recent events and study one of the Mobile Technical Platforms that had been used to create the missing sea probe.

The Doctor feels with a few minor modifications he can recreate the experiment, with hopefully better results.

At the dockfront area, Pvts. McBrain and Dickenson patrol by the old store shed.

Sgt. Affection, Pvt. Murray, Pvts. Harris and Burr patrol on the other side of the shoreline by the science buildings, radio mast and communications array.

Suddenly, without warning, there are strange movements out in the water. Awful humanoid shapes slowly pull themselves out of the shallows and begin their relentless march towards the stunned UNIT troops on the dockside!

Pvts. McBrain and Dickenson are the first to spy these hideous undersea monsters emerge. With a cry, the two men react instinctively. Sensing these creatures are clearly not here to be friendly, they both open fire but their bullets seem to have little effect, literally bouncing from the torsos of the foul 'Sea Devils'...

Hearing small arms fire from the dockside, Sgt. Benton moves quickly, warning the Doctor and the others to keep under cover whilst he investigates. Pvt. Smith is not far behind the brave Benton as the technicians and Miss Lympkiss emerge from the Tech Lab to join Urqhart and the Doctor...

..."Just as I thought." says the Doctor "Reptiles, like those creatures in the caves. Completely hostile."
Liz can't help herself and follows Benton to see what the hell is going on..."Get back Miss Shaw!!" shouts Sgt. Benton.

Almost as soon as the commotion at the dockside begins, an unwelcome visitor to the base makes his first move. Skulking around in the UNIT living quarters, the Master is stunned to find (in the first place he looks) the missing component from his TARDIS taken by the Doctor. It seems the rather absent minded Technician Grealish had simply left the component on his bunk! Using this fortuitous opportunity, the Master sets about sabotaging the nearby UNIT land rover to hinder any potentially annoying chases when he makes his escape.

Back at the dockside, Sgt. Benton has been marshalling the defence of the base. Pvts. McBrain and Dickenson lay down a constant stream of fire at the Sea Devils as they climb from the water. Pvt. Harris and Pvt. Murray move to defend the centre ground as Sgt. Affection joins Pvt. Burr on the wooden jetty and both open fire at the approaching monsters. One of the creatures lets out a gutteral screech and slips back under the water!

The Sea Devils continue their relentless assault, using bizarre disc shaped weapons but the UNIT troops are lucky and narrowly avoid harm.

The Doctor calls to Liz and Prof. Urqhart to join him. "If we work together, we can come up with something to repel these creatures..."
Sgt. Benton shouts back at the Doctor "Better work quickly then Doc. There's more of 'em coming!"

As if on cue, a second wave of the sea dwelling beasts appear along the waterline...

...two of them climb up on the wooden jetty...

...and open fire with their 'sonic discs' - with a scream, poor Affection and Burr are both caught fully by the blast and drop to the floor!

The Sea Devil leader utters in a strange gutteral tone "Thisss isss our planet. My people ruled the Earth when man wasss only an ape." Another round of fire from the disc rays and Dickenson falls clutching a large smoking hole on his chest.

The Sea Devil leaders urges his brethren forward and McBrain is next to join the growing list of casualties.

(Helicopter shot: an overview of the battle)

Meanwhile the Master continues with his nefarious plans, sneaking quietly around the base, out of sight, sabotaging whatever he can in his destructive wake.

The techs and Miss Lympkiss take cover behind supply crates as the battle rages...

...while the Doctor works frantically on modifying the platform into something more useful!

The fight is not going well for Benton and his men. Smith, Harris and Murray all open fire on the advancing enemy but their bullets struggle to penetrate the Sea Devils armour.

At the main gate, Pvts. Stratton and Joey stand guard but the desperate battle at the shore end of the base is becoming a priority. Both men look at each other and make their decision to go and help the 'Sarge.'

As Stratton and Joey rush up to join the defence of the base, Burr pauses for a second as something flits through the corner of his eye...he pauses, turns, then spots the Master trying to sneak up to Bessie, no doubt with the plan to steal her!

Pvt. Joey does not see his comrade stop and continues to run down the main access way to the sounds of fighting...

The Master chuckles. For a moment he deliberates on whether to steal Bessie and ride down the hapless UNIT man...but no, that would be too uncivilised....

...he calmly raises his hands and slowly walks towards the soldier. "I surrender..." he calls out " have bested me sir." Pvt. Stratton can't believe his luck. The Master, captured by him, just a lowly private!

Meanwhile the battle at the waterfront rages on. Things are not looking good for the beleaguered UNIT men as Harris takes a hit from a disc gun and collapses in a heap.

Lucky shooting by Sgt. Benton, now behind cover, takes out another of the Sea Devils. With its expressionless face, the Sea Devil leader strides forward, urging the others on and shooting down Pvt. Smith before he can flee to better cover.

The Sea Devil forces continue to edge forward.

Pvt. Murray now stands alone between the invaders and the defenceless science team in the building behind him.

The terrified scientists, Allen, James and Marks, huddle in abject fear at the main science building. Dr. Marks points out at the carnage unfolding before them whilst the other two can only look on in silent horror.

As Pvt. Stratton secures the Master, he calls out to his pal Pvt. Joey who duly turns around to make his way back with a happy look on his face. As Stratton turns back, the Master quietly whispers in the excited privates ear..."I am the Master, and you will OBEY me!".

For a moment, Pvt. Stratton is he looks round he finds not the Master but Pvt. Joey standing next to him??? Joey (who's voice seems strangely different) barks at Stratton "the Master has escaped!!" and points up the access road...and somehow, there he stands, the Master has somehow swapped places with Pvt. Joey...

"Open fire, shoot him!! The Master is getting away!!" cries out Pvt. Joey. Despite the Master actually running towards him, for some reason, Stratton thinks this is clearly the right thing to do and opens fire with his SMG at the Master...only to realise too late that he has just shot his own buddy! "No. Noooo, JOOOEEEEYYY!!" The Master strokes his beard and smirks as he uses the moment to slip away from his distracted guard.

The Master is not quick enough...Pvt. Stratton speedily turns around and is just in time to see the evil manipulator before he vanishes. Taking no chances this time, Stratton unleashes a hail of bullets from his SMG cutting the Master down as he runs! His apparently lifeless body flops to the ground.

With a few final tweaks, the new 'weapon' is ready! The Doctor shouts orders and the two technicians, with the help of Liz and Dr. Urqhart, move the modified platform forward.

The Doctor stands behind the invention as it is wheeled into place. A concerned Sgt. Benton points at the worryingly close Sea Devils as the raise their disc guns...Pvt. Murray puts up a brave fight but the assault is too much and he too finally falls.

But...the Doctor fires a single shot from the weapon...and one of the Sea Devils immediately drops to the ground! Another shot forces their leader to retreat back to the shore.

The weapon is a success! The demoralised Sea Devils realise they cannot beat this weapon and slowly retreat back into the safety of the sea. The base was safe at last but at the loss of several loyal UNIT troops. Only Sgt. Benton and Pvt. Stratton remain standing.

Victorious, the Doctor stands by the modified Mobile Technical Platform and is joined by Liz, Urqhart and the other scientists as they gaze in awe at the Doctors handiwork. "How did you do it Doctor, I thought we were done for?" asks Dr. James. "My dear fellow. I reversed the polarity of course..."

But what of the Master? When Sgt. Benton returns to the place where the Master fell there is nothing to be found! Where is he??

"You musssst come with usssss...."


So, the Master managed to escape death / captivity again with the help of the Sea Devils in a post credits sequence...

Another great game of DWMG! Robafett took on the command of the Doctor and his UNIT allies, Andrew, playing his first game of DW was the Master and the Sea Devils whilst I GM'd it.

This one was tight again for the heroes of the piece. The superior Sea Devils with their armour came very close to over-running the base and the UNIT soldier detachment was almost wiped out to a man. At the last moment, the Doctor, with help from Liz and Prof. Urqhart (adding to the Invention rolls) managed to come up with an 'anti-Sea Devil' weapon that pretty much spelt doom for the assault, although if we had played it through to the bitter end, judging by the carnage they were causing it is possible the Sea Devils could have still won.

Going by the original scenario in the rules, technically the Master could have won it within the first few turns. A fortuitous roll by Andrew meant he picked up the missing component of the TARDIS almost immediately and with most of the UNIT force at the 'shore' end of the base, he only had to get past the two UNIT troops guarding the gate. Andrew decided to have some fun with this and proceeded to sneak around the base, sabotaging all the UNIT vehicles with the plan to steal Bessie and drive out of the base! When he was finally spotted by Pvt. Stratton (as he wasn't really aware of Andrew's little secret, the look on Robs face when the figure of the Master was placed on the table was a real picture!) he hypnotised him and managed to get him to shoot the other trooper (poor Joey) before fleeing. Stratton came to his senses and with Rob getting the initiative, the Master didn't get far enough and the angry UNIT soldier shot him down as he ran. (in an 'alternate' take Andrew jump-started Bessie and drove over the UNIT man, but we decided this was too uncivilised for the Master so we moved the game back a step to have him use his hypnotism skill instead - much more of a 'Master thing to do) Of course, the Master can't be killed by a lowly 'extra' so made his escape with the aid of the Sea Devils. Of course, he doesn't realise at this point they have seen through his lies...

Ultimately the game was probably a draw but I leave that to the players to decide!

Looking forward to some more DWMG.

Figures are a mix of Black Tree, Crooked Dice, Copplestone, Pulp Alley, Gripping Beast and Black Cat Bases painted by me, Robafett and Matt Slade. Buildings are from Wargames Model Mods, Warbases, Plasticville, Sarissa, Timeline and 4Ground. Other terrain is from Products for Wargamers, old PMC, Ainsty, Tablescape, Battlefields in a Box and cars are mainly Corgi die cast.