The Hex Files – Things are Getting Strange…

“Things are getting strange, I’m Starting To Worry, This could be a Case for Mulder and Scully …” (Catatonia)

Heroscape Krav Maga figures 32mm could double up for the FBI … extreme hourglass corseting by Agent Scully here?

What series or TV programmes distract from or inspire your gaming scenarios?

Painting has slowed considerably in the Man of TIN Towers and Pound Store Plastic Warriors thanks to the Disney+ subscription channel now hosting all seasons of the X Files from the early 1990s.

Part of the steady Lockdown year has been spent binge watching box sets of series and episodes in order such as Star Wars spin off series The Mandalorion, Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer …

I have been waiting years for the X Files to be available but the cost of video and DVD box sets has been off-putting.

These Heroscape suitably besuited characters could make FBI figures

I remember watching this series as it came out in the early 1990s. Watching them through again from Episode 1 and seeing the series and main characters develop, I remember some storylines and character monsters very well but I obviously missed quite a few episodes too – I was hard at work in my first job.

I enjoyed the stand alone one-off “monster episodes” in the early series far more than the tangled plot and subplots of conspiracy within conspiracy. Trust No One etc.

The series cleverly combined a US cop show and crime drama with every Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World case and conspiracy theory you can think of, exploiting the public mistrust of “government within government”, all recently dealing with the recent end of the Cold War and the shadowy activities of the CIA.

I like the small town America where anything weird can happen. It’s perfect Forgotten Georgia territory, although I think lots of the X Files was filmed in Vancouver, Canada.

It reminds me strongly of the old 90s high school horror teen comedy drama series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (recently rewatched – free on All4) or the more recent retro 80s Stranger Things series on Netflix with its cast of young teenage kids, another of the binge-watching delights of this last unusual year.

Somehow I don’t think such series could have been made in Britain, despite the weird West Country cryptozoology and other dark regional folklore. To be fair, we had Doctor Who grounded on Earth (or 70s Britain) fighting off monsters in the Jon Pertwee Third Doctor series (arguably the best Doctor?) with its fabulous Brigadier and and UNIT episodes. I have seen several such UNIT games on people’s blogs.

Obviously time spent enjoying watching the X Files is time spent not painting figures. I should be painting my ArmaDads Army figures and repairing hollowcasts but …

Sometimes X Files plots seem like possible gaming scenarios.

Who needs new figures?

In my boxes of figures I have these handy ready painted FBI figures which came with the useful boxes of plastic Heroscape hex terrain.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-figures/

And some weird looking alien crew from a downed space craft, avoiding the blue hats and awaiting rescue from above?

I can see a way in future to reuse the bodged hexagon (whoops octagon tiles) from recreating the old OOP Games Workshop Lost Patrol game:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/octagons-are-not-hexagons-or-my-diy-games-workshop-lost-patrol-tiles/

Pound Store Plastic stores stock lots of the 1990s and post Gulf War American troops that could be easily paint converted into the brutally efficient (fictional?) Blue Berets or Blue Hats US Army UFO Retrieval Team or the various SWAT teams.

Usually these plastic modern figures range in size from 30-32 mm to 40/45 – often 54mm plastic clones and copies, steadily downsizing as they become more distorted.

Even these distortions can be used as aliens as the Wargaming Pastor does with his alien Selanoids in his Death Zapp game. https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/battle-squadron/

Other sources of figures to hand:

These two metal Fantastic Beasts figures with a repainted brown trench coat almost make a Mulder and a Scully, if I repainted the hair – investigating wizardly goings amongst the young at a secret castle (somewhere in the north of Britain?)

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/14/a-quick-trip-to-the-works/

Size comparison of metal nano figures from The Works with my pound store plastic penny dreadfuls, Phoenix SD and STS Little Britons Boy Scouts 42mm range

Anyway I look forward to more adventures with clean cut boyish Agent Mulder, and “Gutsy Girl” intelligent, sceptical agent Dana Scully … it’s a great way to wind down from a busy working day!

What series or TV programmes distract from or inspire your gaming scenarios?

TO BE CONTINUED …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 24 March 2021

Hex-tagons? Pound Store Plastics DIY version of Games Workshop Lost Patrol game tiles

or why Octagons are not Hexagons!

Pound Store plastics, sharpie, paint and cardboard DIY version of the old Games Workshop Lost Patrol game:

Cross posted from my main Man of TIN blog 12 February 2021

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/octagons-are-not-hexagons-or-my-diy-games-workshop-lost-patrol-tiles/

Steampunk Pound Store Plastic Warriors or WW2 Tankers?

Readers of the Pound Store Plastic Warrior might recognise the penny or tuppenny dreadful plastic tat from pound stores and seaside shops that make up our blog header.

Looking at a group of these 45 – 50 mm figures, I picked out the figure pose carrying a rifle (second from right) as a possible space figure.

I had intended to do a larger version of my 32mm Pound Store Flash Gordon inspired space marines and opponents which you can read about at

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/little-green-men-pound-store-plastic-space-warriors/

32 mm pound store “1930s futuristic” space marines and orange suited enemies

I thought some bright Flash Gordon or Dan Dare type spacemen in 1950s cowboy type colours and toy soldier style would be the thing.

Which is of course why they ended up as steampunked French tank crew in leather jackets.

In the usual way, this vague plan of colourful space figures went awry as I searched through Pinterest for Steampunk and VSF (Victorian Science Fiction).

Researching images on Pinterest – French WW2 tank crew, re-enactors and steampunk cosplay

Highly influential in my eventual ImagiNations colour scheme were the stylish uniforms of French tank crew and despatch riders.

Source unknown: French tank crew with the very futuristic rear end of a WW2 French tank

There are some very nice 1/35 Alpine Miniature figures tank Crew in their Brown leather jackets, tan trousers and Flying style helmets c. 1939/40.

https://www.squadron.com/SPECIAL-ORDER-1-35-Alpine-Miniature-WW2-French-Tan-p/lp35198.htm

This gave me the base colours – they were going to be painted in gloss toy soldier style using a mix of available Revell Acrylic Aquacolor gloss and matt, finished off with gloss spray varnish.

The figures after gloss Varnish but before the Steampunk copper highlights were added.

At this stage before Steampunk copper highlights were added, some of them could pass vaguely as WW2 or modern figures.

I wanted them to keep that 1930s to 1950s shiny gloss hollowcast look including the pink cheek dot traditional toy soldier face, as if they had just been taken out of their red box.

Once the copper or brass highlights were added, picking up cloned and distorted webbing details, this looked more like power cables for their brass steam or laser weaponry, breathing gear or comms equipment. Nothing too specific …

Grey basing rather than green was chosen for the plain toy soldier style tuppenny base, reflective more of an urban setting or even steel plate metal, maybe even the decking of airships and space craft.

An Officer and An NCO figure (with dark blue tanker beret) can be seen amongst them

I was surprised at how practically well these two tone figures fitted into the landscape, despite the shiny Steampunk bits and gloss Varnish.

Add in some suitably weird Pound Store / playset type Chinese made plastic tat Steampunk Artillery

The closest I could do to the French tankers and the futuristic back of their tank photo here …

Quel petrolier!” or A rough French translation for Lardy tank rules fans of their mischievously named ruleset “What a Tanker!”

… was a rough reconstruction of this historic photograph using the backside view of my lovely cap firing action friction based US tinplate tank (Thunderbolt USA 4U, unknown maker)

So there you go, you start off intending to make Flash Gordon space marines and end up with French tanker inspired Steampunk activity.

Proof that all you need is some time, paint, distraction, a few tangents and you can make something smart out of these unloved overlooked cloned and distorted Pound Store type figures.

For my simple 54mm Donald Featherstone inspired sci-fi rules Close Little Space Wars

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/close-little-space-wars/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/in-a-garden-far-far-away/

For more futuristic sci-fi toy soldier figure fun https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/international-star-wars-day-may-the-fourth-be-with-you/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN

Seaside Pound Store Plastic Clockwork Airships and Paddle Steamers

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Potential airships from  submarines? Sky boats from Paddle Steamers? 

I spotted these lovelies in a seaside plastic gift shop whilst looking for plastic pirates and other plastic ‘tat’.

Into my Pound Store modelling brain leapt the thought – steampunk airship bodies? Silver and bronze and wood panelled?

Civil War Paddle Steamer bodies, reversed and given some planking at rear?

They wind up well and on a smooth wood floor just keep rumbling for a long time along like speedy WW1 era landships.

These will all need a jolly good wash before painting, so they may have some proper launching, sea trials and naval manoeuvres first (otherwise known as “putting them into the bathtub”). Just to clean them up you understand …

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Imported or distributed by Kandytoys, purveyors of lovely beach toys and seaside plastic tat across the Southwest. 

My steampunk brain started working overtime on the dirigible possibilities of wiring     on a plastic bottle ‘gas barrage balloon’  and fixing the whole on a stand. Maybe Steampunk Submarines and Paddle steamers will be easier.

A bevy of WAAF style balloon handlers might be required for such dirigible beasts (they were not nicknamed ‘pigs’ by their WAAF crews just because of their shape). So far Bad Squiddo only does suitable crews in the form of WW2 Ack Ack searchlight Girls in 28mm, which may be a little small?

I have seen the beautifully painted original of  Laura Knight’s  detailed painting of such balloon girls, well worth seeing if you can http://www.damelauraknight.com/artwork/a-balloon-site-coventry-1943/

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Dame Laura Knight, Barrage Balloon site Coventry 1943 (Imperial War Museum collection Art.IWM ART LD 2750) Non-Commercial reuse. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/15503

This whole airship business might be because I have just finished the second Mortal Engines book by Philip Reeve and have the third one lined up.

Post apocalyptic / Futuristic ‘Municipal Darwinism’ (city eats city, town and suburbs). Steampunk with strong echoes of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Star Wars. Airships, mech troopers, predator cities on gigantic caterpillar tracks, submarine ice breakers …  what’s not too like? (Did I mention Steampunk enough?)

It’s not a million pulp or steampunk miles away from the Edwardian to 1930s era Scout ‘Wide Game’ ideas over on my sister channel, the Man of TIN blog.

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32mm Pound Store conversion Airship Troopers? 

They will hopefully compliment my Flash Gordon style 1930s airship or starship troopers converted from Pound Store 32mm plastic figures

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Pound Store conversion  32mm crews for scale of these futuristic steam punk Paddle streamers and sky boats. At the very least, bronzed and silvered up, they would make a great steam punk submarine and Paddle steamer base for gaming scenarios. 

Distracting Cheap plastic joy! More tat for the painting table?

Blog posted by Mark,  Man of TIN on 6 May 2019.

BPS – Blog Post Script

I have yet to see the much maligned Peter Jackson directed Mortal Engines movie, as  I became too busy near Christmas to see it in the cinema. I will catch up with it on DVD soon. Watch the Trailer here: https://youtu.be/IRsFc2gguEg

 

 

 

Poundland Space Marine Pilot

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‘Pilot’ Pound Store Space Marine 
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Finished space marine ‘pilot’ figure alongside original penny / pound store 36mm figure.

Having finished my first desert warriors, my next Pound Store figure conversion job is a paint one.

One of my favourite of the Poundland penny plastic warriors (£1 for a bag or tub of 100) is this unusual figure.

Is he supposed to be WW2 US tank crew? Is he supposed to be modern infantry? Hard to tell. The laser type rifle was intriguing though!

Interestingly this figure crops up again in a bigger near 54mm size in another badly moulded set, so I can have space marine forces in two sizes: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/pound-store-space-marines/

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The poor moulding, copying or sculpting has inadvertently created a figure who looks like he belongs to the future.

I might try a little face wash with darker flesh or weak brown to bring out the ruggedfacial features along with a watery blue wash to bring out the white equipment, hopefully without losing the toy soldier look. Tiny pink dots on the cheeks aid or restore this toy soldier look.

The Romanesque helmet looks a little like the odd space armour in the 1930s black and white Flash Gordon serials repeated on Saturday TV when I was a child. The heavy moustache is a little Freddy Mercury nod towards the equally odd 1980 film of Flash Gordon with its pounding Queen soundtrack. Dan Dare, Buck Rogers  – a quick Pinterest scouting  and YouTube session should provide some design ideas. Orange jumpsuit and silver or  gold?   So very Star Wars rebel pilot …

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Several other figures in the tub have space police or space marine sci-fi  potential such as the centre figure with laser pistol. The distorted left arm looks well placed to hold a riot shield (made of clear plastic or a bronze drawing pin).

 

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Troopers: We pledge allegiance to the Pound Store Rebel Empire, one inexpensive galaxy indivisible under one flag etc etc 

Some of the other helmeted figures could pass muster as Star Wars type rebel figures or green faced, caped cloaked aliens.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/more-pound-store-warriors/

Early unpainted pound store space marines in interplanetary action can be seen here on my away team. More on the painting table here too.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/10/15/poundland-taking-the-old-round-pound-coins-until-31st-october/

If all other figure conversion Imagi-Nation or inspiration  fails, there is always the current trend for zombies. Flesh, aah, aah! Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum …

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN for my Pound Store Plastic Warrior blog, 24 October 2017.