Monday, November 9, 2020

Pass in Review: Reaper Pulp Action Figures

While my siblings, friends and I grew up after the Age of  Serial Films, many of them run on the New York City network-affiliated stations.  These shows aired before the prime time hours, or late Saturday mornings after the cartoons. 

I remember watching some episodes of Buck Rogers, and Flash Gordon, and probably a few others I can’t remember; along with listening to a few episodes of  The Shadow which our hometown radio stations brought back on the air for a bit. 

The show that caught our attention the most when we were little kids was Our Gang/The Little Rascals.  One or more of our pet dogs would follow us around on our own misadventures, and we often tried building similar contraptions—go-carts, tree forts and the like—based on what the rascals did in the series. Often with the same calamitous results. 

Then as we got a bit older we got into The Bowery Boys (previously known as The Dead End Kids and East Side Kids).  We use to tussle around in our back yards and re-enact the fight scenes of the most recent episode we watched.  I guess the idea of fighting bad guys (as the “light side” Bowery Boys) in and around New York City appealed to us pre-teen Upstate New Yorkers.

But our lives didn’t just revolve around what was on the “boob tube.”  We read the comic book versions of pulp magazines, primarily Conan the Barbarian, and Solomon Kane.  

Although our moms were a bit leery of the Vampirella comics we read as teenagers, they didn’t outright forbid us from buying any issues. 

Anyway, spicy adventure stories aside, sometime between buying my last issue of Vampirella and the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, I got into wargaming and role-playing games.

While my main focus is on historical, science fiction and heroic fantasy, I have a few pulp action games in my collection.

I bought Fortune and Glory and the two boxed expansion sets shortly after they were released.

A few years ago, I stumbled across a copy of Justice Inc at Half Price Books.

After last month’s shopping therapy session, I added Rattrap Productions.45 Adventure (1st Edition).

Eventually, I’d like to get my Fortune and Glory pieces painted, but in the meantime, my friend Peter finished the handful of pulp action figures for me.

While writing this post I took the time to concoct a title using my Comic Life program:

What follows is my Gallery of Pulp Heroes from Reaper Miniatures (Modern), somewhere on the grimy streets of Midnight City (you may have to scroll down on the linked pages to see the unpainted figure):

1. Agatha Fox, female spy, front view...

...rear view:

2. Sister Maria, front view...

...rear view:

3. Sascha DuBois, time chaser, front view...

...rear view:

4. Nightslip, pulp era heroine, front view...

...confrontation view...

...rear view:

5. The Black Mist, front view...

...rear view:

6. Rex (Dark Future Hero), front view...

...rear view:

7. Meanwhile, Frank Buck, adventurer, is exploring some remote part of the world, front view...

...rear view:

Uh-oh.  Looks like Frank got more adventure than he bargained for...

The "giant" snakes are some cheap kids' gag toys I bought years ago for just such occasions.

Here's a group photo:

Well, it seems like Frank made it back from his Adventure in the Cave of the Giant Snakes, but Agatha Fox must have disappeared on one of her clandestine missions.  (Translation:  I forgot to include her).

When the chips are down, my gang of heroes aren't above to plagiarizing catch-phrases:

Monday, November 2, 2020

Pass-in-Review: Reaper Western Miniatures

Image from: DL Online--Westerns Are A Unique American Genre

I’ve had mixed feelings about the Western genre my whole life.  While I like western movies, I’ve only read one or two western novels, and a handful of comic books.

The same goes for gaming.  

During my teen years, my friend Jim hosted rousing western games, like Boot Hill...

...and Gunslinger, that my fellow “eastern city-slickers” and I still remember with great fondness.

But I never bought my own copies, nor purchased any figures or terrain.  Gunslinger was a tabletop game using cardboard counters and a map board, while we played Boothill old-school style—with papers and pencils.

So after I left my hometown, my interest in Old West skirmish games or role-playing games (RPGs) went into hiatus. 

Until now.

It’s not a question of whether or not I like the genre, I do.  It’s a problem of my limited storage space, prioritizing my meagre gaming time and finding a group interested in playing.

Maybe my interest in the Old West was rekindled when I finally got to see the remakes of  True Grit, and The Magnificent Seven, along with Hostiles.

While I still prefer the original movies over the remakes, I thought the recent reboots did a credible job.

Whatever my true motivations were, I managed to get a copy of Legends of the Old West... Half Price Books for a reasonable price, and was able to cram it into a spot on my bookshelf.

Even though I was armed with a set of rules, it took two more years to buy the few western figures from Reaper Miniatures that I stumbled across at The Game Matrix.

Thanks to my friend Peter’s painting skills, I now have the cadre of an Old West posse.

The three figures are from Reaper Miniatures’  Savage Worlds line, geared for Pinnacle Entertainment’s Deadlands, a Weird West (Wikipedia) sub-genre of the Savage Worlds RPG. 

Here’s the final results:

1.  I think this is "Stone."  If so, then Peter painted him as a normal human instead of an undead gunslinger.

The back view of “Stone:”

2. Male Texas Ranger, front view:

Male Texas Ranger, back view:

3. Female Texas Ranger, front view:

Female Texas Ranger, back view:

Here’s my Weird West (TV Tropes) posse, or not-so weird Old West gang:

Some day, my posse might look like this:

(Image from: Red Dead Redemption 2)

As with the fantasy figures I reviewed in my last post, I superglued heavier square bases to the figures’ original ones, then painted and flocked them.

The backdrop for this photoshoot is the same one I used for my Warhammer 40K collection, which is a terrarium background I bought at a local Pet Smart

The desert floor was considerably more expensive, but is the same Kill Team Sectors Fronteris gameboard I used for my Warhammer 40K photo shoots.

My last Reaper Miniatures post will feature my pulp genre figures—so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Pass-in-Review: Reaper Bones Fantasy Miniatures


Some years ago, I bought the Learn to Paint Kit: Core Skills, by Reaper Miniatures, during a “fly-by” at one of our annual Enfilade!  (This year’s convention was cancelled due to the Coronavirus Pademic). 

Well, I finally got the kit’s three plastic fantasy figures painted—but it wasn’t by my hand, or with the kit’s paints.

I had the three figures, along with several other Reaper Miniature figures, painted by my friend Peter.

Here’s the results:

1. Orc Fighter, front view...

...back view:

2. Animated Skeleton Archer, front view...

...back view:

3. Paladin in Plate Armor, front view...

...back view:

While Peter painted the figures, I added a couple minor modifications.  

Since the figures are lightweight plastic, I superglued the bases to washers, heavy stands or even pennies to give them better stability and balance.  Then I painted and flocked the entire composite base of each figure.

The cave entrance backdrop is from a picture I downloaded and printed, but I can’t remember where I got it from.

The cave floor is actually the reverse side of the WH 40K Kill Team Starter Kit’s game board.

Next up will be another short post about my American Old West figures.

So stay tuned partner. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Going Out of Business Shopping Spree

I have a confession to make.

Despite the amount of money I spend on my wargaming hobby I can be a cheapskate thrifty.  There are lots and lots of games, miniatures, supplemental material and playing aids that I’d be interested in buying—I just don’t want to pay full retail price for them.

But in my defense, space is now a limiting factor.  When I buy something to add to my gaming collection, chances are I have to get rid of something else to make room for my new acquisitions.

Well, regardless of the excuses justifications of my buying habits, my fellow gamers and I were stunned and saddened to hear the The Panzer Depot was going out of business.

I’ve frequented the store often, but since it’s a bit of a drive for me, my visits weren’t often enough and I was never able to stay long enough to get involved in any of their gaming sessions.  Most of the times I was in the Kirkland, WA, area were on Sundays when the store was closed.

The only sliver of a silver lining was the Depot’s going-out-of-business sale.

So while the “angel on my right shoulder” is sad to see the store close, the “devil on my left shoulder” was all-to happy to take advantage of the 70%+ discounts on the remaining items. 

I made it up to the Depot last Monday and met up with my friend Jim, who was happy to purchase my collection of 25mm French and British Napoleonic figures, done-up by our mutual gaming buddy “Dean the Painting Machine.”

It was also great to catch up with him on personal topics we didn’t want to broadcast all over social media, away from the ability of the <insert name of nefarious group here> hackers to harvest.

Anyway, Jim & I spent nearly two hours wandering around the small store collecting small piles of goods.

Jim bought numerous miniatures along with all the shield and flag decals remaining—3 full boxes.

As for me, I’m still getting my remaining unpainted & unassembled Warhammer 40K figures worked on, plus plugging along at painting my Cruel Seas collection, 

So I wasn’t in the mood to buy any more items that needed to be cut, pasted, painted and assembled, and therefore “limited” myself to buy rulebooks and supplement books I was too cheap thrifty to buy at full price. 

Normally, my rule-of-thumb regarding boardgames and miniature rules, I don’t buy subsequent editions unless I’ve played the 1st edition game at least once.

However, proving there’s exceptions to every rule, the first thing I grabbed was the last remaining Bolt Action 2nd Edtion rulebook, despite having an unused 1st Edition copy.

Thanks to my frequent ventures to a nearby Half Price Books, I picked up the Rapid Fire core rulebook a few years ago for about $5, but haven't bought any supplement material since then.

There were several copies of various Rapid Fire books, and I scooped up the following rules supplements: Battle of the Bulge, NW Europe, Monty’s Desert Battles, Russian Tank Units ‘41-42, and German Tank Units ‘41-42.

I’ve always been intrigued by the Skirmish Campaigns booklets, but I usually found scores of them stuffed into vendor boxes at crowded game conventions with little or no time to make an impulse buy informed purchasing decision.  Plus there were other goodies to buy with my “convention budget.”

Now there were several books available for a fraction of their retail cost.  So I picked up the following titles:  Finland ‘39-‘40, Poland ‘39, Norway, France ‘40, Russia ‘41–Minsk, Russia ‘41--Ukraine, Russia ‘41–Smolensk, The Gross Deutschland Division at Kursk, Normandy—Red Devils and Normandy—The Firs Hours.

Continuing with what was evolving into my World War II-themed shopping spree, I picked up Nuts! The Final Edition by Two Hour Wargames...

...and Patrol: WWII by fellow NHMGS alum Damond Crump.

While I said I didn’t want to buy anything I needed to cut, paste, paint or assemble, I couldn’t pass up the remaining two copies of Panzer Digest, Issues 2 & 4, which are currently out of print but may be available in PDF format.

My final purchase, was a slight detour from historical World War II, and into the world of Two-Fisted Tales with Rattrap Productions Amazing War Stories (not listed on the website).

I haven’t played any pulp magazine—style games, my friend Peter just finished painting some modernwestern, and various other figures from Reaper Miniatures.

My total bill was $283 for $660 worth of goods, but at the risk of sounding like a credit card commercial, getting together with a fellow gaming buddy was priceless.

When I returned home with my ill-gotten gains, my shopping spree didn’t end thanks to on-line shopping.  I logged on to The Miniatures Market and Noble Night Games to “fill in the gaps” of game systems I bought during the last days of The Panzer Depot