Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy Meal Mystic Portal

My latest terrain project is this Mystic Portal made from a McDonald's Happy Meal toy. It's intended to be similar to the Stargate, or the portal seen in the classic episode of Star Trek (Original Series), guest starring Joan Collins, entitled, "The City of the Edge of Forever".

It all began a couple months ago when my wife and a colleague stopped at a McDonald's while returning from a meeting, and on a whim ordered Happy Meals. The toy included with the meal was from the Happy Feet 2 movie. It consisted of a plastic disc-shaped snow mound with a rotating disc in it, that when you spun it, the disc made yodelling sounds.

My wife, knowing I had made things from Happy Meal toys before, brought hers home for me. When I saw it I was immediately struck by how the snow texture resembled a rocky outcropping and the idea of some sort of ancient portal came to my mind.

First thing I had to do was separate the front and back halves to remove the 'guts' from the toy. I thought this would be easy as it appeared to be only held together by three screws in the back. This was not the case. After removing these screws and doing lots of prying and hacking I finally separated the two halves. The problem is that there are five internal glue points as well as the screws. They really don't want kids swallowing the electronic sound components that were inside the toy.

Separating the two halves had left lots of bangs and dents in the seams where I had used a screwdriver to pry the halves apart, but these were easily covered when I used miliput to fill the screw, and speaker holes, as well as help smooth the seam between the two halves.

I then cut down a CD to make a base, and glued the toy to it, as well as some gravel and sand around the edges. It is shown above with a 25mm figure.

Next step was to spray it with black primer. I used Krylon Flat Black Camouflage with Fusion technology to help it stick to the plastic toy.

After priming, I drybrushed the exterior of the toy and the gravel and sand on the base with various shades of grey to give a rocky look. I then glued assort foliage on the portal, and flocked the base. The final step was to fill the opening in the portal with pillow stuffing to give it that misty void look.

Overall I'm pleased with the result, and can see this being used as an objective, or a source of reinforcements in any Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Pulp, or VSF game. I have a second one of these toys so may make a pair of portals which would make for some interesting scenarios where figures can actually transport across the battlefield.

French Foreign Legion troopers on Venus investigate a mysterious artifact of an ancient civilization.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dum Dum Dugan Figure Conversion

So now that I had a movie style Captain America figure, (see previous entry), I decided I wanted to convert a Dum Dum Dugan figure. Dugan is one of the Howling Commandos, and is recognizable as the soldier wearing the distinctive bowler hat near the center of the picture below.

I did a bit of scrounging around in some of my boxes of unpainted lead, and was able to come up with the two necessary components I was looking for: An old Foundry Wild West gunslinger wearing a bowler hat(who also had a nice big mustache), and a pack of Harlequin Miniatures U.S. BAR Gunners.
I selected one of the BAR Gunners that was sculpted wearing a scarf, as I figured it would help hide the neck seam. After two quick head removal operations, I glued the bowler hat wearing head onto the G.I. body, and voila...a passable Dum Dum Dugan figure!

Below, a look at the Heroclix Captain America next to the Dum Dum Dugam figure. Size wise they match up pretty well.

Another picture of Cap', and Dugan, this time as they battle a sinister Nazi robot!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Captain America Heroclix Movie Uniform Repaint

After seeing the Captain America movie last year, I wanted to get a Captain America figure to use in my Pulp/Weird War WWII games. I believed that looking at the Heroclix line, and repainting one of those, would be my best bet. So after perusing the different styles of Captain America figures available I settled on this one from the recent Captain America set:

I believed it had a look that was close enough to make a convincing movie style Cap. Next I went online to find a good still photo from the movie to copy my paint scheme from, and selected this one:

I cut the Heroclix figure from it's base, and remounted it on a fender washer. I then spray primed it black using Krylon Camouflage Ultra-Flat Black with Fusion. Then I painted it using a mix of basic hobby acrylics and some GW paints.

I'm pleased with the results, and can't wait to see him go up against the Nazis and Hydra in a future game.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Annual HAWKs New Year's Eve Party

The Surdu's hosted their annual HAWKs New Year's Eve party and gaming night last night. Besides the great food and the great company, the highlights of the evening were a Christmas War game that I ran and a Pulp era game Buck ran, both using GASLIGHT rules.
My Christmas War game was a follow up scenario to last year's game (See my 2011 January blog entry for more details)which was loosely based on Tolkien's "The Father Christmas Letters" book. That scenario pitted nasty goblins trying to steal presents from Santa's compound against the brave defenders at the North Pole. The outcome of that game was a sound victory for the goblins. This year, the goblins were back for more, this time hitting Santa's toy production facilities, and the associated rail line, in the hopes of stealing more presents.

here is an overview of the set-up. The presents were located in the hopper car of the train, on the train station platform, and the loading dock of the toy factory.

At the start of the battle the North Pole defenders had only a unit of Elf Militia, Teddy Bears and their cannon, and a unit of Snowmen along with Santa and Polar Bear at the compound. Santa had with him a clockwork "elf-bomb" that when triggered and set on the ground would walk four inches in a straight line each turn until it contacted something and detonated. On call were Moonracer's Marauders (a para-drop unit of misfit toys) and winged snowmen (a unit of drop infantry) Rushing to aid these defenders were more units entering from the far table edge.

The goblin forces consisted of various units of spear armed goblins, two goblin archer units, two 5-trooper goblin wolf-rider archer units, a unit of evil snowmen, a catapult, a troll, a pair of giant evil snowmen, and a chief, hero, and shaman

As the game began the North Pole Defenders, including this Snowman unit on the left flank, moved forward to engage the approaching enemy.

In the center, the Elf Militia, Teddy Bear Cannon, and Polar Bear move into position behind a nearby fence.

Meanwhile, Moonracer's Marauders drop in behind the goblin catapult, taking the crew by surprise and wiping them out.

The column of reinforcements, including Toy Soldiers, Snowball-throwing Kids, a unit of Gingerbread-men, more Teddy Bears, a Giant clockwork Nutcracker, two Clockwork Santas and Yukon Cornelius, Hermie, Rudolph and the Bumble reaches the outskirts of the compound

A unit of goblin wolf-rider archers take their toll on the Elf Militia.

The broken remains of the Elf Militia try to stem the tide as the goblin horde and their evil snowmen allies come crashing into the compound.

The goblins had formulated a plan in which their chief was going to unhitch the part of the train containing the present car from the engine and use the troll to pull it away down the tracks. The goblin chief climbed up on the car to do this but was met by Santa coming up from the other side. Several rounds of close combat followed, but Santa eventually fell to the goblin. I gave Santa a chance to trigger the elf-bomb he was carrying in a desperate measure, as he took his last breath, by rolling less than half his Save number. He failed, and the bomb fell harmlessly into the hopper car as Santa's body magically vaporised in a whirl of glitter. The goblin chief turned back to the task of unhitching the car.

On the right flank of the North Pole Defender's line, the Elf cooks had set up their Hot Chocolate Catapult and with one good shot decimated a unit of goblin wolf-riders.

Also on the right flank, around the toy factory, the Giant Clockwork Nutcracker engaged the goblin hero on a giant spider as the kids pelted the remnants of the wolf-riders with icy snowballs.

Meanwhile, back at the train, just as the goblin chief went to unhitch the train, the Bumble moved up and engaged him in melee, as a unit of goblin spearmen moved up to support their chief.

As the Bumble and the goblin chief fought, Yukon Cornelius climbed up into the present car to retrieve the elf-bomb (visible in the photo on the left hand side of the car in the hopper.) He retrieved it, but was hit by a goblin archer. I gave him the same opportunity I had given Santa; that with a half-Save roll he could, with his dying breath, trigger the bomb and drop it over the side of the car into the unit of goblins below. Yukon Cornelius rolled a 20 instead! (Always a bad thing in GASLIGHT) As GM, I ruled that this meant that he had triggered the bomb, but had dropped it back into the car instead of over the side. The bomb went off and blew all the presents in the car sky-high. I took all the presents out of the car, held them two feet above it, and dropped them, scattering them far and wide. The goblin players groaned at this unfortunate occurrence. Subsequently, they had more disappointment as the Bumble killed their chief. The battle hung in the balance, as the goblin forces now focused their efforts on eliminating all the defenders to achieve their goal.

The battle on the goblins' right flank, as they are hard pressed by a unit of reinforcing teddy bears, and the Snowman unit and the Bumble.

An overview look at the table as the battle nears it's conclusion.

The goblin's had spent themselves on both flanks, and were relying on a fresh unit of spears, and the troll to carry the day in the center. Their hopes were dashed as a hit from the Hot Chocolate Catapult and the remnants of the Snowball-throwing kids shattered the spear unit as the remnants of the Toy Soldier guard held off the troll. The game was called at this point and the defenders were declared the victors as the goblins had nothing left to carry the day. Everyone had a blast and are looking forward to next year's rematch.

The second game of the evening was Buck's Pulp GASLIGHT game. His scenario pitted dastardly Venusians and their gangster allies, against Duke Morrison and the forces of good, which included some soldiers, sailors, the police, and the Deadend Kids. The Venusians and their allies were tasked with locating Dr Nannini's lab and stealing the secret weapon he was constructing. Duke Morrison and his friends were tasked with preventing this.

A group of female Venusians land their spacecraft in a woods outside of town.

A group of gangsters searches the floors above a pizza parlor looking for the hidden laboratory.

An overview of the table. The gangsters quickly located the lab in the top floor of the pizza parlor building and everyone rushed that way. The forces of good were able to gather their strength their quickly to defend the lab, as the Venusians and Gangsters attacked it piecemeal.

Towards the end of the game a car load of Venusians is rammed by a truck driven by a Deadend Kid who didn't survive the wreck, but managed to take three Venusians with him. Ultimately, the game was a victory for the forces of good.

Afterwards, we broke out the Red Dragon Inn boardgame, and had a great time playing that until about 11:30 at which point we stopped gaming and turned on the TV to watch the New Year ball drop in Times Square.

I hope you all have a great New Year!