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By Jordan Peacock
I've been on a Fallout kick, digging through various unpainted and incomplete minis on a quest of, "Could THIS be useful for a Fallout-themed campaign?" So, I've been looking for anything vaguely retro-futuristic or overtly post-apocalyptic ... and for some reason, when I looked at Sugar (I'd gotten a couple of these as part of a clearance "grab bag" deal a while back), I was reminded of an old, old 1970s TV show called "Happy Days" (that gave me some weird ideas of what actually went on in the 1950s) -- particularly of a character called Pinky Tuscadero. No, the mini wasn't wearing "hot pants," but I think it was just the tied top that made me think of that. Somehow I got to thinking that with some putty, I could extend that micro-skirt to look more like a poodle skirt, and then I could transform this figure into a new member of the Atom Cats gang (or some facsimile thereof).
(In Fallout 4, the Atom Cats are a Boston-based gang based at a Red Rocket service station, with a bit of a greaser/hot-rodder vibe going on, though they specialize in power armor rather than hot rods. I'm a fan of their flame paint jobs for power armor.)
So, I used some "brown stuff" ribbon epoxy to lengthen the skirt a bit, and to make a kerchief "tied" at the neck. It's still short for a poodle skirt, but I figured it would still get the general idea across.
That poodle looks a bit mutated but ... hey, that's entirely appropriate for Fallout, right? Maybe she doesn't even know what a poodle looks like. ;)
By Jordan Peacock
For my miniatures games at Necronomicon, I like to have some sort of terrain piece on the table that stands out as a potential attention-grabber, in the hopes of attracting any wandering undecided players in the game room prior to start time, and perhaps motivating them to go sign up for the game. The trouble is that such terrain pieces with a strong vertical element BLOCK LINE OF SIGHT for seated players. For a miniatures wargame, that wouldn't be such an issue, when you usually just have two standing people with laser pointers maneuvering around the table. In an RPG scenario, it's maybe 6 people (plus me), and I'm usually the only one standing. Some tall building in the middle of the table means that one or more players can't see the zombies/mutants/whatever behind the building, or their status tokens, even though the PC should have no such trouble (being right there).
Therefore, certain toy play sets I find at the thrift store can fit the bill. This "facade" or "backdrop" piece helps to set a scene, but it's on the GM's side of the table, in lieu of a GM screen. It serves as a staging area to hide minis and reference sheets (not die rolls -- I roll them out in the open), and since it's right next to me (and I am standing up for most of the game), it shouldn't be blocking line of sight for any of the seated players. (If a PC moves to a position where he's going "behind" the facade, then he's leaving the table zone, and I either need to set up a new area as the action shifts, or just resolve that we're going "theater of the mind" for whatever that PC is doing poking around off-stage rather than staying and joining in on the fight or whatever other action is dominating the main scenario area).
The price for such a play set varies according to the moods of the price-setter, I guess. One day, I'll find some elaborate play set and it's just $1-$2. Another day, I'll be excited at finding the perfect set piece ... and then I see it's been set at $25 (and it's not even remotely COMPLETE), so I pass it over. I confess, there are a number of items I've gotten because I figured I'd get some sort of use out of it (without a specific plan) ... and after a while, some of those toys have gone right back to Goodwill after I figured that I needed some more garage space, and it was highly unlikely I'd actually get around to doing something with that toy within my lifetime.
Well, one acquisition I found at the thrift store was an incomplete version of the Nickelodeon TMNT play set:
Sadly, it's not the newer Toys 'R' Us version with the nicer details and bits. Also, it was lacking the building-top water tower or billboard pieces (or the action figures). I figured that this might be useful for a street scene either for a superheroic scenario, or perhaps post-apocalyptic. And for $2? Why not?
I started by removing the big neon green pipe in the back, the lower "sewer" level of the play set, and the electronic talking box (behind the central "Chinatown" roof section), along with the button and the giant turtle "foot" meant to kick whatever figure has the misfortune to be standing there when the button is pressed. I used a Dremel tool to remove the protruding tabs on the bottom that would have linked up the "sewer" section, so the "sidewalk" could rest flat on the table. One danger immediately was that I'd removed some important structural supports (the sewer level, the electronics box, and the green pipe), so at this point the remaining play set was a LITTLE bit wobbly. It's rigid enough plastic, however, that it's not much of an issue, but I might have to reinforce the base.
By Jordan Peacock
Reaper Chronoscope #50051, "Max Decker, Private Eye," painted up and slightly modified to represent a ghoul pre-gen character for a Savage Worlds RPG "Fallout"-themed scenario or two at Necronomicon (http://www.stonehill.org/necro.htm) in Tampa, Florida.
My concept was heavily inspired by a character from Fallout 4. In my take on it, this fellow was -- prior to the bombs being dropped -- a traveling ElectroSux door-to-door salesman and certified service rep. AFTER the bombs dropped ... well, somehow he was still around, though his voice got a lot raspier and he had a bit of a skin condition, and some 200 or so years had passed. He still talks as if the Great War hadn't happened -- talking about his pet Brahmin (mutant cow, typically two-headed) was a car ("Let me see what I have in the trunk of the Corvega," as he checks the saddlebags....), talking about raiders as if they're just "spirited youths," and so on ... even though he pulls his own weight, and his custom ElectroSux Junk Jet is surprisingly lethal (and easy to find ammunition for) in combat.
The "vacuum cleaner" is a random bit I got as part of a bits grab-bag at a "game bazaar" at the old Rhubarb Games store in Orlando, Florida. (Ah, how I miss that store! But even more so, I miss the game bazaars. Great source for "bitz.") I believe it was from a Games Workshop Warhammer Fantasy Dwarf set, as part of some sort of miner contraption.
The cow toy used for the Brahmin was originally from a Safari Ltd "Down on the Farm / Toob" set, with some Instant Mold and some Apoxie Sculpt epoxy putty used to grant it the second head. For the stuff on its back, I used some more putty and then assorted Games Workshop and Hirst Arts bits. The labels on the barrels (printed paper) are based off of actual labeling from Cold-War era bomb shelter supplies.
The rusty tractor in the background is also from the "Down on the Farm" Toob. Some of the other contents are going to be a bit more of a challenge to make use of (as grossly out of scale as they are from each other), but I think I might turn one of the over-sized chickens into a sign element for some roadside chicken shack, and similarly put other not-nearly-25-to-32mm scale elements to use. (Similar to how if you ever end up with some 54mm scale knights and you're making 25-32mm scale terrain, they can become statues ... or really big iron golems. ;) )
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