Iron Man: Hands of the Mandarin

Before reading this collection I hadn’t really much of a clue about War Machine and had never heard of the Force Works.

I found the story a bit hackneyed and the characters quite two dimensional. I’ve not read a story with the Mandarin before and his anti-technology stance is quite interesting but as a character he’s a pretty dull cookie-cutter villain.

Not sure if I’ll knock myself looking for any sequels to this series…


Superman: Earth One Volume 1

Superman_Earth_OnePicked this one up at the library and was very pleasantly rewarded for trying a pure Superman yarn. This book contains a retelling of the origin story but gives much more detail about some of the finer points of why Clark Kent chose to become a report at the Daily Planet. He shows that he could have had any job he wanted and finally to have fitted in with society. It also explains why he doesn’t wear a mask…or rather the mask is the nerdy persona he has to be when he’s not Superman.

The basic story is very similar to “Man of Steel” although Zod is not the antagonist but a character called “Tyrell” who had links to Krypton. As this book came about in 2010 and MoS started it’s process in 2008/2009 with the film released in 2013.

The artwork of Shane Davis was very good too and I will be definitely be keeping my eye out for any of his work in future.

I found this story well worth the read and a fresh imagining of the Superman origin story. I might take a look at another volume if one if I find it at the library but for now I feel that this was a good story and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Batman: Arkham Unhinged Vol 1 & 2

Batman_Arkham_Unhinged_Vol_1_1Pick up Volumes 1 and 2 of “Batman: Arkham Unhinged” and thought it worth a look. These are based on the game storyline for Arkham City (which I have yet to move onto yet) and involves all of Arkham being annexed into one giant penitentiary.

The artwork in this series is pretty good and some of the stories are better than others. I especially liked the Killer Croc origins story as I was unfamiliar with his story-line.

One thing I found tired was the interplay between Catwoman, Ivy and Harley. They (predictably) ended up at each other’s throats once a bloke (Batman) got involved and the writer could have been a bit more innovative.

51Z1UnRA0UL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Throughout the series is a vendetta between Penguin and Joker which looked as though it could get quite interesting.

I may pick up any future volumes at the library but I’m not going to knock myself out with them for the moment.

Aoshima Thunderbird 2 & 4 model kit: Part 2

I kept saying I’d leave the Thunderbird 2 and 4 kit until later as they are my favourite (they’re everyone’s favourite, right?) but decided “why not?” and got on with it.

The kit is very well made with lots of a detail, well designed parts and excellent manufacture. It’s been a dream to make and I used acrylics for ease of adding shading and highlighting.

I started with the basic structure of TB2 (without the pod) and primed it with white Vallejo primer.

Initially I used Warpstone Glow which was much too blue and eventually settled on Warboss Green (the old Goblin green) which I think is a perfect shade of “Thunderbird 2 Green”. It should be noted that the shade varied wildly in the show with a dark, British racing green sometimes and a light yellow green at others. I personally prefer the green I settled on as it’s nice a colourful and Thunderbirds was supposed to be a kid’s show, full of bright colours right?

Moving on to the pod, the design is great including a sliding and tilting track for TB4. None of the interior was particularly challenging so I used Dawnstone generally with dark tone ink and highlighting with Administratum Grey.

Thunderbird 4 was the next challenge and even after carefully assembling there were still a number of very slight gaps in the model. This is to be expected as at this scale (1:350 I believe) TB4 is only a couple of centimeters long. Whilst at my local model shop I noticed a pot of “Liquid Green Stuff” and so thought it’d be worth a try. I gently painted it on with an old/almost dead brush and worked it into all the gaps (avoiding any detail like the end pods for example). I then gently swiped any excess off with some tissue and let it dry. It gave a nice solid fill to the gaps and painting over meant they completely disappeared.

I base coated with a coat of Yriel Yellow which gives a nice bright, warm yellow on which to start. A shaded the yellow using the lovely Averland Sunset ink as there are lots of crevices in around the engine pods which needed some shade. For the engine intakes and the nose (where the various tools come out) I used Dark Tone ink.

The next consideration was fixing to the ramp and I decided that rather than stick in place I would use magnets (as I had for Dropzone Commander) to fix TB4 in place. I put 2x2mm magnets into the base of TB4 and a corresponding pair on the ramp. TB4 now snaps into place but can be removed so if I want to use the models for a diorama I have some flexibility in how I can set it up.

The other issue was that the ramp was not heavy enough to stay tilted down. I fixed this by carefully trimming/levelling the back corners of the ramp (those which end up touching the roof of the pod) and I used 4 x 3mm magnets here to ensure the ramp would click up and into place. After these modifications TB4 is able to stick to the ramp which itself can tilt and slide freely remaining in either the up or down positions.

Finishing off TB4 required some Flash Gitz Yellow plus Evil Sunz Scarlet for the red stripes. Transfers were done using MICROSOL/MICROSET.

As I’m keen to iluminate the pod from the inside (I reckon it would look really cool!) I’m going to keep the lid to the pod separate for now. But you can see how the whole launch sequence works in the strip below:

In the next part I’ll look at finishing the model itself and ideas I have for a diorama.

Lunch-time X-wing…

As it’s quite difficult to make time for gaming, a friend at work suggested we try to get some X-wing action in during a lunch-time at work. It only takes around half an hour so was an obvious choice (much quicker than Armada for example).

20170119_124422.jpgWe booked a meeting room over lunch and set a quick game of 35 points. I played the Resistance and used a sole T-70 (although flown by Poe Dameron) whilst I was up against a TIE-fighter/interceptor pairing. Unfortunately, although I managed to get the X-wing in tight, it received a lot of punishment and ended up in a ball of flame…

The whole game took around 30min and we’ve got much quicker at interpreting the rules. A turn only took 2-5 min each.


Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War

A friend of mine has a copy of the original Dawn of War and was wondering if we could play it multiplayer. I got a copy from Steam for £10 and have completed the tutorial plus played a couple of games. As it’s quite an old game (10+ years old, DoW3 is due out soon) it runs well even on my tablet/laptop.

I obviously chose Dark Angel Space Marines as my force of choice and am really loving the way you can build up quite a powerful infrastructure in order to build and support your attacking forces at the front line. It’s not really a case of just throwing loads of firepower at the enemy as your resources are limited.

I’m looking forward to having a go with my friend (who will probably field Eldar) and kicking his arse (virtually). We both have physical armies but as we live quite far apart we’re not able to play that way at the moment. (Kids get in the way somewhat)