Sunday, February 2, 2014

Announcing the 4th Fortnight Bonus Round: 'Hero or Heroic Group' & Curt's Dekard (or the sixth Nexus 6)

Just as the last round, this weeks entries, whose focus is on Heroes, are incredibly diverse and creative. From flights of fantasy to historical icons, from movie tough guys to venerated heroes of ancient sagas - the gallery runs the gambit. So please enjoy and remember to leave a comment with your selections of your favourites. Remember you can vote for as many as you like so don't feel constrained.

For my own part I knew that the Challenge would start taking its toll by this point so I had planned beforehand to have a fairly streamlined, single-figure entry. But streamlined does not mean flippant. Oh no, I really pondered on this one. 

"They don't advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession. 
Ex-cop. Ex-Blade Runner. Ex-killer."

I clearly remember seeing Blade Runner in 1982 and being struck by its clear-eyed vision of our dystopian future. Since the film's original release, the protagonist, Rick Dekard, has become iconic due to the controversy behind his origins. The film's remake in 1992 'revealed him' as one of those he himself was hunting, a Replicant, a synthetic human, a type of robot whose genetic design made them virtually indistinguishable from humans ('More Human Than Human' as the Tyrell Corporation claimed). 

Personally I've always preferred the original cut with him clearly portrayed as a human. It seems less contrived and somehow more honest. In the original film, Dekard begins to question what it is to be human, what it means to take a life, to die and ultimately what it means to fall in love with that very thing which you've been taught to revile. I think this resonates closer to us today as we've become more polarized, suspicious yet increasingly intertwined with our social media and digital identities. We have become increasingly insular, yet strive to be connected. Wanting to be engaged yet demanding a level of detachment from others. How wonderfully troubling.

Anyway, enough of my 2nd year pop psychology blather. I think Rick Dekard is a film hero tailor-made for our modern sensibilities and so I bring him here in 28mm from Aberrant Rezolution. A very nice sculpt and quite a clean casting, it was a pleasure to work with. Nonetheless, I find it odd when sculptors, who dedicate themselves to painstakingly portraying a particular character, seemingly refuse to follow through with all the details. I really like the subtle posing of the figure, the facial features are amazing and Dekard's clothes are spot-on, but why in Ridley Scott's name isn't his pistol correct? Dekard's 'Steyer-Mannlicher Police Bulldog' is almost as iconic as the character himself, but it's not properly conveyed in the figure. Aggravating. This all being said, I had no inclination to fiddle with putty to try to mod it so I merely added the two LED lights often seen in the film and called it close enough. But this is a tiny quibble, all-in-all a great figure for the collection.

Remember to check the gallery of all the theme's entrants - there are some real corkers in there!

15mm Imperial Roman Racing Chariots & 40K Recognition Priest (53 points)

Here is a small morsel to hopefully distract the Challengers a bit longer while I scramble to get the 'Heroes' theme round completed today:

I often have the pleasure to host our local gaming group's weekly get-togethers which is always a lot of fun. This past year we've been creating various campaign environments for the periods that we like to play. For example, we keep track of the fates our various teams of occult investigators in Strange Aeons, we're also in the midst of running a Formula One racing season for Formula De and we log our flight missions for Wings of War. All of these are pretty simple games which makes it pretty easy for us to dig out our rosters and pick up where we had last left off. This is great as it gives our games a bit of wider context and it's always fun to get reacquainted with old characters and see how they fair on their next adventure.

This week we started a new one, a chariot racing campaign using Charioteer by Two Hour Wargames. The game is a complete blast, allowing players to keep track of their teams as they progress from the fringe of the Empire to the 'Big Show': the Circus Maximus itself. On top of enhancing the skills for the charioteers and horse teams there is also bidding, gambling, auctions and assorted dirty tricks you can undertake to help give your team the edge. The games are very fast playing and typically quite nasty. In short it's a boat load of fun.

Ed Teixeira, the owner of Two Hour Wargames and the creator of Charioteer, also sells these great little chariot models in retina-searing bright plastic to use as markers in the game. I'd say their scale is between 15-20mm. They're one piece castings which makes them almost indestructible - a good thing for our booze-fuelled gaming nights. While the detail is a bit dodgy in a few spots they nonetheless provide a great sense of movement which I think is pretty darn cool.

While the models are perfectly fine to use on their own, I thought it would be fun to base them up and paint them to pimp out our game a bit more. So here are the first four chariots done up in the primary team colours. I have another four that I will do up as duplicates in case the guys want to bring in more than one team or we have more folks in for a game.

Scoring these is a bit challenging. While they are a vehicle with a team of horses and a driver they are still a single blob of plastic. So I'm going to be a bit conservative and place them at 12 points each. With this being the case these four teams will give me 48 points. 

On a final note, I noticed yesterday that the blog had achieved 40,000 hits during the month of January. I know that's not much in relation to the leviathans of the blogging world (Fran? Ray?), but it's an all-time high for my little corner of the nerdiverse.  It also tells me how much the Challenge is beginning to reach out to other hobbyists - which is fabulous. So to mark both the number and the quasi-achievement I thought I'd quickly do up this 40K figure: a hard-as-nails warrior priest, a prophet of the God-Emperor of the Imperium of Man (aka: A self-righteous psychotic loon with a chainsaw).  

Back when I used to play 40K, I had a Redemptionist squad that rolled out as part of my Inquisitorial retinue. I sold almost all of those models years ago but I kept back a few unpainted castings of my favourite sculpts (and have added some more since then from various extortionist eBay auctions). 

Anyway, I had a couple of these in the Lead Reserve, so while I was working on this guy I was thinking that I'd do the other one without the book, skulls and chainsword, perhaps replacing them with a simple walking staff and pistol. I think he would make a great post-apocalyptic survivor for my 'Metro' collection. Hmm, something for another day perhaps...