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By Jordan Peacock
Okay, so I've been trying to cobble together some ideas for adventures to run at Necronomicon 2018. For me, the process of kit-bashing the minis and assembling the scenery goes hand-in-hand with writing up my adventures. I might be inspired to tweak the pre-gen character set based on a figure (e.g., he's got a gun in each hand, so Ambidextrous and Two-Fisted would be ideal Edges for Savage Worlds stats). I'm also likely to stage the big action in such a way that I actually have supporting terrain -- and I want to have some nice scenery to put out as the "showcase" on the table before the game starts, to potentially interest last-minute types who are milling about and haven't yet signed up for a scenario.
At the thrift store, I found a few Geo-Trax set pieces, including most of a "Grand Central Station" set. Originally, I grabbed it with the vague idea that I could turn it into some sort of a "monorail station" I could use for a ruined urban area, but the trouble was in trying to find a suitable monorail (or "ruined" portion thereof) that would actually fit in the space provided. Scale is rather SQUISHY where the GeoTrax toys are concerned (they ARE toys, after all), but enough of the features looked passable for being able to position 32mm miniatures on and about them that I thought I'd give it a shot.
Along the way, I got the idea of trying to run a wild west scenario for Necronomicon, inspired by the work of Karl Keesler on the maps and other details of the "Fort Griffin" supplement from Dog House Rules. I found an Ertl "Cow Town" play set (or portions thereof -- most of the buildings, at least) and got the idea to paint it up as a "Wild West" town facade ... and then, for my traditional three different RPG scenarios, try to run three different adventures in three different settings that would each have reason to make use of the same "wild west" scenery. So ... one adventure in the genuine old west (DHR "Fort Griffin" or "Buckshots") ... then one "Ghostbusters" style adventure with paranormal pest-control specialists investigating a haunt at a local "wild west" tourist trap ... and then, hey, Fallout 4 has a "wild-west" theme park at Nuka-World, in the form of "Dry Rock Gulch" (part of the Nuka-World DLC), so why not set an adventure there? But what exactly to do? Someone suggested I really ought to run a Scooby-Doo-inspired mystery adventure, but that would be ANOTHER game slot ... so why not mash up Scooby and Fallout together? I mean, Scooby-Doo is a little late for the usual time period inspiration for Fallout (I haven't seen much "flower power" influence in the Fallout universe), but ... eh, close enough for horseshoes, hand grenades, and one-shot convention RPG scenarios, I figure.
Now, one thing about the Fallout universe is that it tends to treat any pop-culture references by "filing off the serial numbers." Why, you can't even have real-world brand names in the universe. (Except for gun manufacturers, for some reason, but I digress.) So, the big soda brand is Nuka-Cola, for instance, and the big car manufacturer is Chryslus.
I decided that instead of Scooby, we'd have R00-B, a talking cyberhound. The Rooby Gang would consist of Ted Bones (standing in for Fred Jones), Stephanie Drake (standing in for Daphne Blake), Wilma Winkley (standing in for Velma Dinkley), and Raggy (standing in for Shaggy). I dug through my Chronoscope minis, and decided to go with 50032 "Jake Ryan, Hero Explorer" for Ted/Fred, 50238 "Farrah, Sci-Fi Heroine" for Stephanie/Daphne, 50024 "Candy, Anime Heroine" for Wilma/Velma, and 50199 "Denver, Zombie Survivor" for Raggy/Shaggy.
For our titular star, Rooby, I'm still digging through the bits box for some old HorrorClix pieces that might be useful for the cyberhound conversion. More on that later.
By Jordan Peacock
Recently, I got a combo deal on a box of the Mantis Games "Mars Attacks" Scenery Upgrade Pack pieces, plus five pewter miniatures from Worlds End Publishing's "This Is Not a Test" miniatures game.
First off, I really should have assembled my minis before base-coating them. There are some similar-but-not-interchangeable break points in a couple of the figures -- particularly the second long-coat figure from the left, and the second body-armor figure from the right. Both of them have an arm piece (minus the hand) and a two-handed weapon (shotgun or assault rifle), but as I found out, they are NOT interchangeable. Although I have the assault rifle at the feet of the body-armor-wearing model on the second-from-right, it actually fits with the second long-coat figure (with a slight indent in the chest piece where the rifle neatly nestles).
Assembling the figures varies in how fiddly they can be. The heads, once properly trimmed of flash, nestle into the collar sockets of the figures pretty well, and pinning them might have been overkill on my part. The female sniper was probably the easiest to assemble, as the sniper rifle scope and stock nestled neatly into a couple of slight indents on the chest armor area (I can see one of the larger notches in the picture); I chose to go with the ranger hat for her rather than the pony-tail head, since I figured this might pass for an NCR Mojave Ranger.
The far left figure I imagine is supposed to be the leader; he has three head-swap options (beard + ponytail, mustache + ranger hat, and helmet + gas mask), and two right-hand weapon options (pistol or futuristic bullpup SMG). The bullpup looked a little too futuristic in the wrong way for Fallout, so I went with the pistol (with some very delicate pinning) and I chose the ranger hat head to keep with the NCR look as much as possible.
I borrowed the gas-mask head for the remaining long-coat figure (2nd from left), and experimented until I figured out that the assault rifle was the proper weapon, and which arm was meant to fit in place with it.
The two remaining figures without long coats I figured I'd paint up as Vault-Tec Security: The right-most figure came with two face-shielded helmet pieces -- one with the face shield up, and the other with the face-shield down. I divided the two helmets among the two remaining body-armored minis. One model got the shotgun (another bit of fiddly assembly involved), while the other has a spiked baton, plus a choice of either the shield or a hand gun (and I went with the shield).
Once past the challenge of assembly, the miniatures had a nice balance of detail, IMHO. Most of them have boots with spurs -- making me wonder whether in the world of "This Is Not a Test," they still have horses. (I wish they did in Fallout. I can't help but feel that a perfect game for me would be a mash-up between Red Dead Redemption and Fallout: New Vegas. I'd even settle for a full-sized Giddyup Buttercup, if that's what it takes to stay true to canon. ;) ) Ack. Now I have that song going through my head: "Oh these spurs, that jingle-jangle-jingle! (Jingle jangle!)"
That's #80056, Reaper Bones "Jersey Barrier" up front. It's one of the few I haven't yet plastered with pseudo-graffiti, caution stripes, or paper postings. I love how it has enough textural variation to it that all I need is a warm grey base coat and some granite-grey dry-brushing, and it's pretty much ready to go. In the background is #80036, Reaper Bones "Shipping Container," of which I have several, and likely will get even more. One of these days, I ought to kitbash a few of them into "junktown" shelters.
The truck is just a 1:43 toy with some 40K bitz and paper decals. It's a bit large for 32mm, but it's entirely fitting in the Fallout universe for cars to be on the too-big side. (Now if only the ROADS in the Fallout games weren't so ridiculously SMALL. Traffic in Pre-War 2076-AD Boston must have been an absolute nightmare.)
Most of the rest of the terrain is from a "Mars Attacks" Scenery Upgrade Pack from Mantis Games, supplemented with some papercraft and cardboard. I printed the "Travel Service" sign from a Fallout: New Vegas screenshot, did a mirror-flipped version in Photoshop (keeping the text the right way) for the reverse side, then layered some thin cardboard around a plastic rectangular shingle piece included in the set, so I could get a suitably retro-looking sign. The Upgrade Pack includes 4 wall-connector pieces that have a plug-in spot for either one of two rectangular sign pieces, or one of two hanging planter pieces. I plan on digging through my spare sprue bits to find something else of appropriate diameter so I can make some alternative signs to plug into the side of the ruined building. That way, the same ruin could play the role of a Travel Service here, or Cherry Liquor next time, or Buck's Steak House, etc.
The street is from a bunch of Secret Weapon Miniatures "Tablescapes" tiles I'm still working on, from the "Urban Streets (Clean)" set. So far, I've just base-coated it grey, spritzed some black on the street, white on the sidewalk, then re-dusted it with grey again (to reduce the contrast), dry-brushed it with various tones of dirty grey to bring out the crack details and grunge things up a little, and swirled around the bottom of the paintbrush water cup to get some watery sludge to dribble into the gutters and around the various grills and grates to suggest weathering and the residue of the sewers backing up during heavy rains (since nobody's keeping things clear after the bombs dropped, after all).
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
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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