Saturday, October 12, 2019

New Dark Alliance Figures

I just received the latest figures from the Dark Alliance line, consisting of one set of Mummies and two sets of Corsairs.

The Mummies are the first set of Egyptian undead in plastic that are actually the size of average humans.

The figures are well sculpted, with nice thin limbs and emaciated faces. Unfortunately, several figures had weapons that were short shot. In any event, the figures can easily be used as other types of undead like [well coordinated] zombies, skeletons, or Mrur.

I'm sure these will be a welcome addition for those who play Warhammer in 1/72 scale and have been waiting to assemble a Tomb Kings army.

The next two sets of figures are what I assume to be Corsairs of Umbar from The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien is said to have modeled the Corsairs after the Barbary corsairs of the 16th century. In the lore of Middle Earth, they are the descendants of Númenóreans who were corrupted after Sauron played on the hubris of their kings.

The Corsairs in the Peter Jackson adaptation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy look (to me) like a cross between OG and TNG Klingons from Star Trek.

Corsairs of Umbar

Klingons: TOS

Klingons: TNG

The Dark Alliance Corsairs are clearly modeled after the designs from the movie. Set 1 consists of melee weapon troops, which include corsairs armed with swords, axes and polearms, and nautical themed weapons.

Set 2 consists of missile weapon troops. The first image is of archers, with a Haradrim archer from the War of the Rings boardgame thrown in at the far right for comparison.

The next image is of crossbowmen, with the last two figures on the right being the crew of the ballistas included with the set.

If you don't do Middle Earth or fantasy gaming, I think that the figures (outside of the archers and the swordsman with the weird shield) could easily be used as generic 16th-17th century pirates if you are not too picky.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Calling Dick Tracy!

The heyday of Dick Tracy was before my time, but I was aware of the character from the comic strips, and I get the feeling that I may have actually seen the cartoon series in syndication though my memory about it is rather unclear.


The 1990 movie didn't do much to increase my interest in the franchise, though I did like the highly stylized art design of the movie itself.

What I didn't know back then, was that the merchandising associated with the movie would provide us with a 1/72 scale 1936 Ford Model 68 V8 Fordor sedan.

The Dick Tracy logo across the boot of the car detracts from it's appearance, but luckily, diecast car collectors have come up with a number of ways to get rid of unwanted tampos. The method that I used to get rid of the branding is shown in the following YouTube video.

The method works pretty well, though at certain angles, I can still see a faint outline of the Dick Tracy logo.

There are three other cars in the series, including a 1937 Studebaker Dictator, 1936 Ford V8 De Luxe, and a 1939 Chevrolet Master De Luxe, but they are all overscale. There is also a micro size set of four cars that can sometimes be confused with the larger ones.

Another interesting item from the Dick Tracy franchise, was the Space Coupe. I don't know what space travel had to do with a detective series, but I guess it was the late 60s, right in the middle of the Cold War Space Race, so the subject of space travel was popular.

A model of the Space Coupe was manufactured by Aurora, and various sources have suggested that the model is 1/72 scale. Since the vintage Aurora kits are always pretty expensive, I never bothered buying one to see if the rumors were true, but a while back I managed to pick up an inexpensive Polar Lights re-issue kit.

The kit includes four figures consisting of Dick Tracy, Moon Maid, Junior, and Diet Smith.

The figures are sculpted in a cartoony style that befits comic strip characters, but I don't think Moon Maid is a very good likeness.

Moon Maid wearing a hat to blend in with the natives.

I'm undecided about whether I really want to build this kit, but an amazing build was done over at Hobby Talk.

An image of Aurora Station, which is being touted as the first luxury hotel in space turned up during my Google search for the Aurora Space Coupe model. The center module of the station looks remarkably similar to the hull of the Space Coupe.

In the event that I don't want to build the kit as the Space Coupe, I was thinking about using it as the base for an Aurora Station conversion.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Giant Goldfish

from Goldfish Breeds and other Aquarium Fishes (1908)

The only appearance of giant goldfish in D&D that I am aware of was from module M4 Five Coins for a Kingdom.

Auratus: AC 7; HD 600; hp 2500; AT 0; D Nil; MV 120'; Save F36; AL N; THAC0 Nil.

The Aurati are colossal, hydrogen filled, 600–800' long orange and white telescope goldfish. They float through the air, and are used as a mode of transportation in the outer plane of Eloysia. Their temperament is described as docile and completely harmless.

A giant goldfish also appears in the Temple of the Jade Serpent in World of Warcraft.

The Talking Fish is a reference to a Chinese folktale.

The Talking Fish (as the goldfish is called) swims through the air in a watery ecosphere. It attacks with a Bubble Spray that inflicts cold damage.

The same model is also used for the goldfish pet in the WoW Pet Battle mini-game.

Most recently however, giant goldfish appeared in the manga Shibuya Kingyo (渋谷金魚). The story is essentially a zombie apocalypse story with giant goldfish in place of zombies. The Shibuya district of Tokyo becomes enveloped by a mysterious bowl shaped barrier infested with man-eating goldfish that swim through the air.

The goldfish make short work of the people in Shibuya, but it's lucky for the goldfish that the barrier was not centered around Tsukiji, or things could have easily been the other way around.

I know it might seem silly, but I think that they would certainly make for surprising and unexpected monsters if called up by a wizard with the Summon Monster spell.

I think that they would also make for unusual mounts (in the same vein as module M4) if you happen to run a more whimsical campaign.

金魚騎士只今推参!by 速水螺旋人

There are any number of models that can be used for miniatures, ranging from cheap rubber toys to the expensive gashapon from Yujin. The ones I own are just a couple examples of the wide variety of goldfish gashapon manufactured by Kaiyodo.

The first two models are Ranchu goldfish from the Furuta Choco Egg Pet Animals Collection (チョコエッグ・ペット動物コレクション no. 19 and 20).

The Ranchu are two piece models and come with a stand. They were made in clear plastic so the tail fins have a nice translucent appearance.

The next three models are Demekin goldfish from the Takara ChocoQ animaltales Pet Animals Series 3 (チョコQ・アニマテイルズ・ペット動物3 no. 86, 87, and 88).

The Demekin are four piece models and come with a stand. The tail fins are made in clear plastic, but I think the bodies are made with opaque plastic since the dorsal fins do not have the same translucency.

If I can find some really cheap plastic goldfish, I'm going to try my hand at adding some caparisons and saddles on a few of them for fun.