Dreadball: Bad Call

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A few months ago, before I ran my first Dreadball league, I asked around for extra event decks. A gentleman reached out to me that he had several, and a few other DB bits I may be interested in. He tossed in extra bases, male Corp minis, dice, etc. Most importantly, he had two models he claimed were test figures for a never released MVP for the Dreadball Xtreme Kickstarter campaign…Bad Call.

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I wasn’t into the DB scene at that time, so had no idea what he was talking about, but sure, I took the extra ref figs. Come to find out he was a former Mantic employee who had these unreleased prototypes. It appears her stretch goal was never met and Mantic found the sculpt to be lacking. I did have to green stuff the ankles as they were so thin her legs snapped off her feet.

I have a ton of minis to paint (don’t we all), and painting ref models is low on the list. Fortunately, I dig how Dreadball has a future-retro 80’s vibe, so with that…why not paint these ladies as homages to Hajime Sorayama? Straight up silver all the way? Easy.

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Now, I’m not sure why ref robots models need mammaries, but it is what it is.

I wasn’t sure what to do with her card, so went with the classic green, yellow, red. I figure it’s vague enough to mean any number of things. Is she sending a player off to the Sin Bin for two turns? Is she signalling to a jack?

Perhaps one day the popularity of Dreadball will explode and this unreleased fig will be worth as much as the famed Warhammer Nuln Spearman. Himself never released, but a scant few in existence…recently selling for over $1,500!

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WHQ: Silver Tower – Sister of Silence & Blood Bowl Star Player

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Ending the year with a couple of new heroes entering the Gaunt Summoner’s Silver Tower.

I’m a big fan of this game’s setting and the idea that champions from across time and space can be summoned to challenge the Tower.

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First is the Sister of Silence. I was never really a 40k player, but I like these models in the new Horus Heresy: Burning of Prospero board game because they don’t have any visual sci-fi bits. The models for the Sisters fit in with fantasy figures, so good to go. Don’t need any space marines with bolters…yet. However, the bigger draw is that the Sister now gives my game a whopping _fourth_ female option. Silver Tower as is only has two, but I’ve now added the Branchwych and Sister of Silence.

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The Blood Bowl Star Player  is the character that initially had me looking outside the Age of Sigmar model range. I’m a big fan of Blood Bowl and with the new edition released by GW, I had an opportunity to get a model that is close in scale to the new Age of Sigmar line. In my mind, the orc is the quintessential representative of Blood Bowl, so one of those ‘ard boyz is what I went with. I had some old Gorkamorka transfers knocking around and the red lighting looks to provide the flair of a star player. In fact, the ‘flash’ reminds me of another football player out of place on a foreign world…

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If you’re also a Blood Bowl fan and prefer to go with a human hero, I tricked up the same card with the human image. Enjoy.

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DreadBall Team: Glamrokk Systems Dynamo

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Finished up another DreadBall team this weekend, the Brokkr, and the first that I topped off with the upcoming team captain player in mind. Seems that in next year’s DreadBall release a lot of what where MVP characters will have their minis moved to a team captain role which will provide some coaching benefits while on the pitch.

Anyway, when coming up with the color scheme for this team I looked to Italian glam rock band Giuda’s 2013 release “Let’s Do It Again”. Besides being an incredible album, the cover and interior are done up as if the band were a 70’s RollerBall team.

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Initially, I was going to go with the darker main color, almost black, but with the black bases in DreadBall, I decided on something a bit lighter to provide contrast. I may have gone a step too light, hoping the shading process would darken it up a bit more, but with a large pile of unpainted minis yet to knock out, I decided this was good enough. I went with the solid uniforms, but yellow trim on the shoulders/sleeves, but the main bit of inspiration I got from the cover is the grease or ‘eye black’ under the eyes. Not sure why I’ve never applied that to any of my Blood Bowl or Dreadball teams yet, but it makes perfect sense. Particularly with the neon lights, shine, and glare of a DreadBall pitch.

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For the name I leaned on the Rollerball motif some more. James Caan’s team is from Houston in the flick and my MLS team is the Houston Dynamo, so there ya go. Glamrokk as a nod to Giuda’s music, while sounding like a viable sci-fi locale or entity, but two k’s because, well….Brokkr. Finally, continuing the idea of each team having a corporate sponsor and I introduce the Glamrokk Systems Dynamo.

Krokodil Tears – Dark Future Novel Report

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I recently finished off the second book in Jack Yeovil’s Demon Download cycle.

To be honest, this one took me a little longer to get through as it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in a Dark Future tale. It’s not that it was bad, but there wasn’t too much in the way of Sanctioned Ops vs Gangcults vs US Road Cavalry action.

Krokodil Tears actually takes place after the events in the Route 666 Anthology, but prior to the previous book in the cycle, Demon Download. Last surviving member of the Psychopomps street gang, Jessamyn ‘Jazzbeaux‘ Bonney, is on the run from Nguyen Seth’s minions – a Californian surfer Op, a serial killer that’s a parody of Hannibal Lector, and some outer dimensional Lovecraftian beast. Jessamyn, herself a cyborg, ends up a vassal for some spiritual force becoming an ultimate weapon of sorts…Krokodil.

Jack Yeovil, again a pen name for Kim Newman, loves pop culture references, so there’s a lot to spot. In fact, my favorite chapters were the ones about media news outlets broadcasting events around the world. The actual story of Krokodil v Seth wasn’t as engaging and with its focus on demon action felt more like something from a twisted World of Darkness novel rather than what I was wanting to explore in the Dark Future setting.

I understand in the next book, Comeback Tour, Krokodil teams up with retired Sanctioned Op Elvis Presley, yes him, so I’m hoping we get into more road war there.

One thing that does jump out at me from the Dark Future setting, as told through these novels, is that there are no shortage of strong, female protagonists. In fact, the main characters of the setting (outside of Seth) are all female: Vatican hitwoman Sister Chantal Juillerat, former ganger turned spiritual warrior Jessamyn/Krokodil, and Sanctioned Op Redd Harvest. For the past 20 years, it’s felt like GW’s universes lacked leading female characters. I can only think of the vampire Genevieve in the Warhammer Fantasy universe from the early 90s…another character created by Kim Newman. I believe that at one point there were even going to be some Dark Future action figures with Redd Harvest leading the series. Artist Pete Knifton mentioned it earlier this summer on Auroch Digital’s FB page. Would have been neat to see.

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Note – The book has inspired me to resurrect the Psychopomps as an underhive gang the next time I play Necromunda.

WHQ: Silver Tower – Branchwych & Bittergrub

Cranked out another Silver Tower character. Oddly, this is the second character I’ve painted for this game yet all of the actual Silver Tower minis are still on their sprues. I’ve got a Dreadball and a Blood Bowl team to knock out, then I’ll dive in and hit the actual Silver Tower minis.

Anyway, this game has a real dearth of female characters, so was glad to hear this Sylvaneth character was recently included in the app. I prefer analog over digital, so looked to see if she was also included in the recent card pack. She isn’t….too recent. The plan was to get an image of a Branchwych and crop it into a card template. Until I saw the following image…

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What’s that…? The Bittergrub not riding on her shoulder? This could be a duo like the Warpriest and Gryph-hound? Both of the kids could use characters with ‘pets’? Hmmm…

So, I went into assembling the model with the idea that I may need to green stuff some gap in her back where the grub would be glued on…there’s no such space. You just glue it on…or not! So, it was easy to find a good sized rock to have the Bittergrub scuttling over. And here we go…The Branchwych and Bittergrub enter the Silver Tower…

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These images came out a bit more dull than I had expected. It’s hard to tell, but after sealing the models, I went back over the scythe end with gloss so it’s has a neat shiny look in person.

Well, being two models now the character needs a few new rules, so I’ve cooked up the following looking at the orginal Branchwych Silver Tower character, her Age of Sigmar Warscroll, and the Silver Tower Warpriest. I’ve reduced her stats, but gave her a weak area attack to reflect her more wizardly nature…using a spell she has in Age of Sigmar.

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WHQ: Silver Tower – Slaughterpriest Warduke

 

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The September 2016 issue of White Dwarf was a return to form of sorts of putting actual game content back in the monthly magazine. This issue contained new rules for nine board games as well as included a free ‘Slaughterpriest’ figure for their Age of Sigmar game. Well, he’s also usable in Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower and the newly released GORECHOSEN. Having recently acquired Silver Tower, I was able to get my hands on this figure to add to my set. Desired because he looked to fit an old school Dungeons & Dragons character I was a fan of as a kid…Warduke.

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I poured through what was left of my bits box, to see if I had any wings or anything for the iconic Warduke helmet, but no such luck. Beyond, that the Slaughterpriest looked like a great model to use as re-imagining or ‘Warduke in the Age of Sigmar’ as it were. Warduke’s left arm is encased in blue chainmail. The Slaughterpriest doesn’t have any chainmail on his arms, but his left arm is swole as if he received a gift or mutation. I attempted to make it look like this gift resulted in a blown up blue arm and his skin color fades from the Kislev Flesh to blue. I also needed to add in two very small green stuff orbs in his helmet to paint red for his glowing eyes. I had considered going with a glow/lighting effect around these orbs on the helmet, but there doesn’t look to be enough space for my meager talents. I think I’ll leave it as is.

At any rate, here he is…Warduke arrives in the Age of Sigmar ready to challenge the Gaunt Summoner’s Silver Tower.

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I’ve also debated on how I was going to do the bases on the minis for this game as he is the first figure painted for Silver Tower. I had considered going with dungeon tiled bases, but think I’m going to stick with blue/grey sand as it’s more versatile should I actually use these models in an Age of Sigmar game proper, GORESHOSEN, or whatever.

Note, a few posts back I mentioned seeing the reunited Misfits and some less than positive thoughts I had about Danzig’s banter. Well, ironically, since then I’ve pretty much been listening to the first three Danzig albums a lot. ‘How the Gods Kill’ has been the theme song of this Warduke model.

Demon Download – Dark Future Novel Report

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Written by Jack Yeovil (Kim Newman) and published by Games Workshop in 1990, Demon Download is the first book in a quartet and continues the story that began in Route 666 anthology. Going into the book I thought it would star Sgt. Quincannon from Route 666, but it’s actually centered around other members of the US Road Cavalry. Well, actually the main character is a nun named Sister Chantal who I kept envisioning looked like a more well dressed Aeon Flux.

Anyway, Elder Seth is back and this time one of his acolytes is carrying around a demon in his gut that he uploads into Slim’s Gas ‘N’ BBQ, some gas station out in sandside (the desert wasteland). From there this creature possesses an interceptor, which it uses to drive to a hub in a rundown church in Welcome, Arizona..a well connected hub hosted by the Catholic Church. Much ensues in Welcome as the local priest, Father O’Pray, attempts to keep the possessed vehicle at bay. Unfortunately, the beast jacks into the hub and takes over the Fort Apache US Road Cavalry facility on its way to its objective in El Paso. If it can make El Paso all chaos will break loose between what’s functioning of the US of A and the countries of South and Central America. Sister Chantal and Trooper Nathan Stack attempt to thwart the demon before it gets out of Fort Apache.

I’m not sure how much background Newman was given on the setting, or perhaps how much leeway he was allowed, because there’s a slight difference in tone between the novels and the fluff in the Dark Future rulebook as I read it. Where the rulebook focuses on the ‘state of the world’ and has fun adverts from megacorps of dystopia 1995, Newman’s tale is centered around cultists, demons, and those fighting to keep them at bay. Very much a post-apocalyptic Warhammer Old World fighting against chaos rather than Mad Max versus the Humongous. The  ‘Dark Future’ title font isn’t even the same between the novels and game components. Not sure how this happened. Maybe GW wanted these tales to be more widely read and not just seen as game literature?

I’m not saying this tale couldn’t, or shouldn’t, take place in Dark Future, it’s just not what I was expecting. Sanctioned Ops, road gangs, etc are mentioned but more as dressing in the background. We do get mentions of Nurgle and Khorne though…

Another bit of disconnect is looking at the governing law enforcement. The GW police minis by Alan Perry have a sort of 1940s retro vibe. The US Road Cavalry in Demon Download look like they belong on horseback defending the western frontier. I like how Newman has them up like this as they are essentially defending the wasted frontier, but again, it’s just a bit different than the aesthetic of the game pieces.

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This all makes sense when reading Graeme Davis’ recollection on Dark Future. It seems it was an rpg setting developed by Jervis Johnson and Marc Gascoigne bolted onto a game of road combat that Richard Halliwell had put together.

No matter though, its a great read. We learn a lot more interesting tidbits about the world, but interestingly not a lot on how it came to be. It’s almost as if the world as we know it went a bit off the rails decades ago, say the 1960s, rather than just taking a hard turn in the 90s. Newman incorporates lots of pop culture references but with a twist and these are fun to spot. There is a bit with a horseman helping out Stack while stranded in the desert. I couldn’t make out who he was supposed to be though…Eastwood’s Man with No Name?

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I know this book was later republished in the 00s and I think the timeline was then advanced a bit, so maybe instead of 1999 it takes place in 2023 or something? I’m not sure. I also have no idea if Newman updated any of the pop references in the latter edition, if some GW ghostwriter did, or if there were no changes at all.

How will this impact my return to the Dark Future game? I do like the chaos tint so will likely incorporate a little of that in some future scenarios. Forces of chaos are definitely the big antagonist of GW’s settings, so it wouldn’t be out of place here. Again, I’ll probably not go overboard. I’ll also likely update the timeline and look of the US Road Cavalry compared to the General Custer look of these guys. Maybe a bit more armored a la Judge Dredd.  Or maybe use the colonial marines from Stan Johansen. Demon Download includes some battle droids employed by the US Road Cavalry. These droids are golden and nicknamed ‘Oscars’…from the trophy. I do like this and will see I can find some decent ones at 20mm scale when I hunt down infantry for this game in a few months.

Finally, the book sleeve fancies the tale as ‘Arcane cybergoth fiction set in the nightmare world of the near future’. I knew cybergoth was a subculture, but I don’t think it’s related to this book series. Well, I doubt it sprang from here. Despite my initial setting confusion, this was a fun tale and am looking forward to continuing the story of Sister Chantel and Trooper Stack…though if the mortality rate of characters in this book is any indication…they may not be long in the next one…