Sunday, 25 February 2018

Evil Warriors - Beastman

One of the essential minions of Skeletor's Evil Warriors, and yet somehow one of the few main characters I never had as a toy. Like with Skeletor, I went with a bright colour scheme, based on the Filmation look, while trying to embody the toy nature with an almost plastic look and feel. The miniature is another wonderful Boris Woloszyn sculpt released by Quest Miniatures. It's actually even more orange in the flesh, but for some reason all the pictures kept toning it down. The first picture is the closest to the actual skin tone.

Trying to ambush He-Man alongside his master:

Emerging from Snake Mountain:

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Eternia Scenery - Snake Mountain

Shortly after their Castle Grayskull, Icon Heroes went one better and released the whole of Snake Mountain as a polystone statue. Like the castle, this massive piece of scenery works well enough with 28-30mm figures and sports a glorious paintjob to boot.

30mm Skeletor in the center for scale:

The sides and back (tiny 30mm Skeletor for scale):

Bird's eye view:

 Some detail shots:

And a size comparison of the full Castle Grayskull set with Snake Mountain and the tiny He-Man and Skeletor figures:

Friday, 23 February 2018

Evil Warriors - Skeletor

A close contender for the first figure to get paint was Skeletor. The most evil looking badass villain in the history of Saturday morning cartoons and 80s boys' toys, superbly rendered in 30mm by the talented hands of Boris Woloszyn for Quest Miniatures. To say I'm in love is an understatement. Painting this figure (or figures) was the single most enjoyable painting experience I had to date and possibly the best paintjob I have delivered so far and I thought I was passed my prime.

Like with He-Man I had to do two versions, one built out of the box and one converted to have his sword as per the toy version. Both figures were glued to their plastic bases and then I sculpted some tile texture over it with putty. As he is based on the Filmation cartoon version, I went with a bright colour scheme to match that, which was not a natural thing for me to do as I have a tendancy to go for muted colours even when I'm not trying to do so. I'm very happy with the end result, but I'll let you make up your own mind.

Both Skeletors, side by side.
The first is the original sculpt built as is. I do like the pose with the staff, it's quite dynamic I feel. As I said, I went with a bright Filmation colour scheme and I'm particularly pleased with Skeletor's yellowish face and his blue skin. For the base, I went with a more understated purple so it wouldn't look too much like his clothes are made of the same material as the flagstone tiles. I will keep this theme for the other Evil Warriors.

The second version is a bit of a mix of Filmation and toy references. In the cartoon, when Skeletor had a sword, it was a regular one, where in the toy version, he had his half of the powersword that looked like a purple version of He-Man's and that's what I went for here. The sword was left over after my conversion of the spare He-Man figure to hold his axe, so that was just drilled and pinned into place. The swordhand is another plastic bit from the aforementioned Fireforge men-at-arms set. I cut away the left hand from the staff, filed it down and glued it into his open right hand. Easy.

Here we have Skeletor and He-Man crossing swords:

And taking their battle to the rooftop of Castle Grayskull:

"It's over, He-Man. I have the high ground!"

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Eternia Scenery - Castle Grayskull

A few years ago, Icon Heroes brought out a polystone statue of Castle Grayskull that seemed to be in a scale that's close enough to work with 28mm figures. It cannot quite be considered a scale model as scalewise it's all over the place, with doorways going from very big to very small, so it's very much a stylised represantion, but it works well nonetheless. The original castle was released as a single piece model. Not long after, Icon Heroes expanded the set with an accessory set that increased the footprint of the castle by adding the ramp and putting it on a bony/rocky platform. The accessory set also includes Point Dread, the Flying Talon Fighter, a Heroic flag and the laser weapon. The top of Point Dread can be removed from it's base to sit on one of the castle towers, just like the old toy and the minicomics.

While I initially intended to use this with the 25/28mmGrenadier range of figures, it will work well enough with the newer, slightly larger 30mm ones as well. Short of converting your own incorporating bits of the toy castle, this is your best option.

A scale shot with the Quest Miniatures He-Man, showing the separate Point Dread and the configuration where it's mounted on the castle. As can be seen, the towers are the weakest point regarding figure placement as the tops are quite shallow. The Talon Fighter is in itself a useful addition as it works well enough with the scale of the figures.

He-Man doing some more posing on the rooftop. There is enough room there to place some figures:

The other sides of the model:

He-Man waving you off (or kicking you out...):


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Heroic Warriors - He-Man

Of course, the first miniature to get some paint had to be He-Man, or should I say He-Men, as I painted two at once. The base model is sculpted in 30mm by Boris Woloszyn for Quest Miniatures. It comes with sword and shield, an empty sword scabbard for the back and a loose axe, like the toy, but is based on He-Man's appearance in the Filmation cartoon.

I converted both of my models. They were glued to their plastic bases and then I sculpted some tile texture over it with putty. The first was a minor conversion to be armed just with the powersword, like in the Filmation cartoon, without the shield or the empty scabbard. In the cartoon, the scabbard tended to appear when it was needed and disappear when it wasn't.

The second conversion was slightly more extensive. The powersword was cut off, and the hand was drilled, so the axe could be pinned into it. A new pommel was added under the hand with putty. In order to keep the powersword, I cut a plastic sword grip and crossbar from a sheathed sword from a Fireforge medieval men-at-arms set and glued it to the top of the empty scabbard, so my He-Man was complete.

Starting these was a bit daunting as it's been over a year since I painted anything in this scale and even then I wasn't too happy with it. But they came out well enough, I can look at them and have that feeling of familiarity and recognising the toys of my youth, so that's something. I think those two will be the only regular He-Man variants I will do (unless Quest Miniatures brings out another pose), but there is a wealth of "evil" clones to bring to life in miniature, such as Anti-Eternia He-Man, Negative He-Man, Slimemonster He-Man,...

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Wargaming Masters of the Universe - An Introduction

If you were a kid in the 80s, chances are you watched the filmation He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon and played with the musclebound action figures (they are not dolls!). The barbaric looking but honourable hero faced off against the so-evil-his-head-is-a-skull sorceror Skeletor, in a neverending conflict to protect, respectively conquer, the planet Eternia. Both the cartoon and toy range were heavy on the recycling department, with heavy reuse of animation sequences and toy bodyparts, but we lapped it up anyway, because reasons.

By the Power of Grayskull... I have the POWER!
He-Man, whose secret identity was the foppish Prince Adam, drew his power from his enchanted sword and the ancient Castle Grayskull. You might be confused for thinking this is Skeletor's lair (like the artist of the original art below) but this is really the good guys' base of operations, because these were the 80s and stuff like that totally made sense.

The Heroic Warriors trying to reclaim their home from the evil Skeletor...
Skeletor's actual lair was the called Snake Mountain for obvious reasons and had a lovely purple and lava theme going. From here he lead his monstrous minions to victory or, as it always turned out to be, humiliating defeat. We still thought he was badass regardless.

It's a giant snake on top of a mountain, get it?
Now we are adults pushing 40 and while some of us still collect action figures that throw us back to the years of our youth, others have moved on into other hobby's, like 28mm miniatures collections. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the two would get put together. There had been a small range released by Grenadier/Pinnacle Products in the 80's, who were very much stylised after the toys and have been going for a pretty penny whenever they show up on ebay. I'm lucky enough to own the complete 4 sets, including some unreleased variants that were to go into a fifth set, so they will make an appearance here in time. 

The inside flap of a Grenadier MOTU set showing the available miniatures
These have long been OOP though and while some people have done their own conversions to great results, it is only recently that more and more official and unofficial actual MOTU miniatures and scenery items have been popping up. And it's those who got me to get out the paint brushes and dig in.

This blog will document my journey into wargaming MOTU in 28mm scale.