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Doctor Who Cybermen Display StandBookmark and Share

Friday, 2 March 2018 - Reviewed by Simon Moore
Cyberman Stand (Credit: Warlord Games)
N-FX Game Design Studio
Warlord Games
Released January 2018

For many fans of the classic “Doctor Who” Television Series, there isn’t a more iconic image than that of the Cybermen stirring from their lengthy hibernation in the first story of Season Five, “Tomb Of The Cybermen”. Carefully choreographed, with a hauntingly eerie music track and terrific sound effects, the sequence has been burnt into the memory of many a Patrick Troughton devotee since it was first broadcast way back in September 1967.

 

Now, for those wargamers who have long sought both the vault and its striking Cyber-head insignia as an appropriate backdrop for their Cybermen models “N-FX Game Design Studio” have released their excellent-looking “Doctor Who Cybermen Display Stand” as part of the “Doctor Who: Into The Time Vortex” miniatures range by “Warlord Games”.

 

Standing 170mm in height and made of MDF, this rack additionally comes already painted in a bright metallic silver, and despite its several pieces requiring some assembly, the parts fit together so snugly, that arguably no glue seems to be required whatsoever. Indeed, the joints are so tight that I'd actually recommend you don't try to simply push them together using brute strength, but rather cover the separate pieces with a piece of cardboard or some such, and then gently tap them into place with a small modeling hammer.

 

This process really does transform the platform into an extremely stable plinth for your Mondasians, and even though the stand is being advertised by the Nottingham-based company as "comfortably" accommodating nine figures, with three abreast on each row, I'd argue it can easily handle twelve of the silver giants if they’ve been mounted on just 25mm circular bases.

 

Ordinarily, I’d leave a review concerning a simple display stand there, but in this case the detail etched within the frame by “N-FX Game Design Studio” is so good that I’d recommend purchasing a few of them for use as Cyber-platforms within a Cyber-base. One could certainly bring out both the Cyber-head emblem at the rack's top, as well as all the grating and buttons carved into its sides, with just a straightforward black/brown wash (perhaps suggesting age) and subsequent silver dry-brush.

 

Considering that "Warlord Games" are imminently about to release both an actual “Tomb Of The Cybermen” scenic set (also designed/produced by the excellent "N-FX Game Design Studio") and an accompanying set of metal miniatures tied into the classic story, I think a bank of these platforms down one end of the tabletop or perhaps positioned in each corner, would look awesome and add some additional height to any Telosian battlefield...





Warlord Games - Twelfth Doctor And CompanionsBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 10 January 2018 - Reviewed by Simon Moore
Warlord Games: Twelfth Doctor and Companions (cover) (Credit: Warlord Games)
Warlord Games
Released July 2017

Comprising of no less than five “unpainted pewter miniatures” for the Nottingham-based company’s “Doctor Who: Exterminate” skirmish game, the “Twelfth Doctor and Companions Set” contains plenty of models with which to keep tabletop fans of Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the traveling Timelord happy. True, the sculpt chosen for this incarnation of the Doctor is arguably somewhat contentious, as it’s seemingly based upon ‘The Hybrid will stand in the ruins of Gallifrey…’ BBC publicity poster issued for the December 2015 story "Hell Bent", and thus includes both his character’s debatably divisive sonic sunglasses and electric guitar. But it’s a striking pose, well-suited to a model which represents a confident thinker, not a fighter, and is so wonderfully cast that it proves a straightforward joy to paint; albeit the shades do cover up the Doctor’s infamous “attack eyebrows”…

Sadly, the stance of Clara Oswald’s figure is a little unassuming and sedentary, given that it’s taken from the companion’s ‘swangsong’ story “Face the Raven”. Sporting a grey and lace jumper, with her arms limply hanging at her sides, there isn’t really a great deal of dynamism going on, and this is especially disappointing for an ‘assistant’ who has brought such energy and vigour to the TARDIS console room. Having said that though, the official paint-job on the miniature, as found on the back of the packaging, really does demonstrate just how great a likeness the sculpt is of actress Jenna Coleman.   

Infinitely more action-packed are the models of the Paternoster Gang, with Madame Vastra’s ‘sword almost at the ready’ stance proving my particular favourite. Rather than depict the female Silurian wearing her Victorian dress and veil, “Warlord Games” have instead shown the warrior from prehistoric Earth at her fighting best and ably attired in the costume worn by the character in “Deep Breath”. From a painter’s perspective, this apparel is an absolute dream to paint, with the reptile-like humanoid’s green scaly skin contrasting well with the dark purple leggings and sleeves.

Less colourful, but just as vibrantly posed, is Jenny Flint, whose weapon wielding-posture looks particularly fierce and suitable for a tabletop fighter. Considering that the formidable hand-to-hand combatant is dressed entirely in black, this miniature’s excellent attention to detail is crying out for a delicate dark grey dry-brush in order to highlight all the lacing, stitches and seams on her bodice and boots.

Lastly, is this marvelous boxed set’s version of the Sontaran nurse, Strax. Perhaps somewhat disappointingly unarmed, the violent manservant’s stance is no less impressive due to the distinctive glowering expression on his potato head, and his raised imperious fist. Indeed, it’s quite clear that the clone would be very willing to cause someone a horrendous mischief with his rolled up newspaper, should a person be unwise enough to provoke him.

For those interested in using these models specifically for the “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” tabletop game then there’s a distinct advantage to have already bought a copy of the miniature game’s starter set, as all of these characters’ official Recruitment and Adventure cards are included within that box rather than this one. As a result, if you want to play “Timey-Wimey”, “Sontaran Blaster” or “Sword” during a battle then you’re going to need to own the main game…





Time Vortex VRBookmark and Share

Thursday, 14 December 2017 - Reviewed by Peter Nolan
Time Vortex (Credit: BBC Worldwide)
Time Vortex VR
Developed for the BBC by Goodboy Digital,
For use with cardboard headsets, Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive
Originally Released December 2017
 
An update of the previous Time Vortex 360 game, now fully deployed for VR, Time Vortex isn’t going to change the world but it doesn’t intend to. Based on the single line elevator pitch “Imagine you could play the Doctor Who titles,” it’s a fun, if slight, idea well executed.

A brief tutorial requires you to play through the basic elements of the game while huge block capital instructions on what to do fly down the vortex in true 2005 style and gets you up to speed quickly, though thankfully, unlike some games, it only appears on your first play and you did have to sit through it over and over. Those elements are pretty straightforward – as you fly the TARDIS down the vortex, you have to hit glowing balls flying towards you, dodge asteroids, and pilot your way through the gates of force fields that block your way. Each energy ball collected, or hazard avoided, gets you points.

The real selling point here is the gameplay, which involves tilting your device left or right to steer, or tilt forward or back to pull up or dive down as you hurtle onward. If you have a full VR set like Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR or HTC Vive, or even a cardboard set up to slot your phone into, it’s better again as it’s actually moving your head as you look around the environment which directs your course. A particular delight is the fact you get ‘attacked’ from behind by asteroids that are travelling up the vortex faster than you – requiring you to turn around on the spot to face them so you can avoid them, meaningly you wind up flying backwards with the ‘past’ receding away from you.

These things can be tough to play, and we’ve all seen VR environments where the program gets easily confused and insists the walls are on the floor or slight turns of your head cause you to spin madly through the virtual world like a top, but none of these problems are apparent with Time Vortex VR. It’s responsive, but not annoyingly oversensitive and all the movements you make result in what you instinctively expect to happen. That’s important as there’s few things worse than a game that has a good idea but is infuriately difficult to actually control. In contrast to that, this is an easy joy to play and should be especially embraced by younger kids getting to swish their way around their living room in the TARDIS.  That’s particularly impressive as this is presented up front as a “Taster Experiment” with the warning that “Ideas May Break.”

All of this is accompanied by a suitably jaunty and enthusiastic version of the Doctor Who theme, while the Police Box itself probably looks most like the 1980s prop but is plainly intended as a compromise version that simultaneously resembles, to some degree, all and none of the TV incarnations. This ties in to the game’s take on the vortex itself which regularly transforms itself in a flash of light from one era to another. Not designed to be exact, they still raise a smile of recognition of the decade they represent. So there’s a distinctly 2005 looking one, one that’s in more open space with lots of asteroids ala 1987, and a rainbowtastic one that’s very Colin Baker. There’s also a 1960s inspired one, though it’s effectively a modern vortex rendered in black and white rather than the sweeping horizontal sheets of the Hartnell titles. It also creates the only slight quibble with Time Vortex VR, as it can be devilishly hard to tell the difference between the asteroids and the walls of the vortex itself when both are in black and white.

Time Vortex VR won’t be anybody’s idea of the big Christmas present under the tree, but it’s a perfectly judged stocking filler sure to provide kids from six to six hundred with a fun diversion as they jump around the house, getting under the feet of Mums, Dads and guardians as they try to serve up the Christmas dinner this year. Plus, it’s free to play for the first three months (what exactly happens after that is a little… vague) so there’s literally nothing to lose by giving it a literal spin.

 





Warlord Games - The Return Of Doctor MysterioBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 - Reviewed by Simon Moore
Warlord Games: The Return of Doctor Mysterio (cover) (Credit: Warlord Games)
Warlord Games
Released January 2017

Of all the “Doctor Who” Christmas specials to choose from, “Warlord Games” decision to produce a two-figure collectible boxed set based upon “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” during the initial few months of its “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” miniature range’s release, doubtless had many a wargamer scratching their heads in mild bemusement. Admittedly, the “jolly detour to superhero goofiness” was apparently the sixth most watched show on Christmas Day in 2016, and, as the “first new episode in twelve months”, Steven Moffat’s adventure attracted an incredible amount of publicity and interest. But with hindsight, there surely could have been a few better alternatives to have gone with, not least of which may have been “The Next Doctor”; whose Cybershades and Miss Hartigan would have very nicely tied into the Nottingham-based company’s release of some plastic Cybermen just a few months later…

Selection quibbles aside though, as not everyone eats the Orange Chocolate Crunch first, these “beautifully sculpted pewter figures” really are a wonderful pair of models, and are packed full of intricate detail that can, at first, be easily missed. Indeed, in many ways, the ‘bare metal’ photographs of the duo as shown upon the range’s official “Into The Time Vortex” website, really don’t do their meticulous designs justice and it isn’t until one looks at the professionally painted versions that you can see the subtle niceties of Doctor Sim’s facial scar or the angular-markings on the Ghost’s face-plate.

Painting these two pieces is also great fun, as both poses, admittedly somewhat sedentary in nature, allow the brush-tip full accessibility to the entire casting. As a result, Aleksandar Jovanovic’s dastardly extra-terrestrial can quite quickly be brought up to table-top standard with a mixture of different greys and black washes for his jacket and trousers, whilst “the mysterious superhero” can have all of his ‘ribbed’ body armour efficiently ‘highlighted’ with just a dark blue dry-brush. Simple stuff for even the most inexperienced of hobbyists.

Naturally though, for those with both a steadier hand than I, as well as a talent for detail, there’s still the opportunity to emphasise Sim’s coldly ruthless stare with some deft touches upon the figure’s incredibly well-sculpted face, or to ‘draw in’ all of the cross-hatchings upon the Ghosts’ leggings; the latter of which is astonishingly evident on the “Warlord Games” publicity paint-job. 

Unfortunately, gamers wishing to utilise either the New York branch leader of the Harmony Shoal corporation or the masked vigilante in their “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” battles, won’t yet be able to do so, as “Warlord Games” have yet to actually produce either Recruitment Cards or Adventure Cards for them. However, the company has already ‘leaked’ online the Ghost’s statistics for their skirmish game and armed with traits such as “Wounds (4)”, “One man Army”, “Melee (3)”, “Fly” and “Fearless”, the character looks set to be an indomitable force for truth and justice (and probably the American way) once the cards are released as a PDF…





Warlord Games - Nightmares In Silver: Cybermen Collectors SetBookmark and Share

Monday, 4 December 2017 - Reviewed by Simon Moore
Warlord Games: Cybermen Collectors Set (cover) (Credit: Warlord Games)
Warlord Games
Released May 2017

Whilst some fans might argue that the dreaded Daleks have had their own share of physical ‘upgrades’ during the course of their time on “Doctor Who”, few would surely disagree that it is actually the ‘look’ of the Cybermen that has both changed the most and the more often. In fact, one of the genuine thrills of “Warlord Games” Nightmares in Silver: Cybermen Collectors set, is that as the ten-figure pack features all of the cyborg’s “key designs from over the decades” it quickly becomes abundantly clear just how markedly different the first Mondasians appear when compared to the modern-day chic design of those which featured in Neil Gaiman’s 2013 televised adventure.

Equally as evident from these “finely-sculpted scale pewter” sculpts is the silver giants’ journey through the past fifty years and the productions canny evolution from a staggeringly complex attire which was seemingly “tacked together from anything the costume designers could find at the time” to one which relied upon “converted flight suits for their bodies” and “spray painted cricket gloves.” Each and every one of the miniatures is discernibly different from its counterparts, with even the superficially similar 2006 Cybus Industries Cyberman and its Twelfth Cyber Legion contemporary containing detailed divergences such as the removal of the Cybus logo from the later cyborg’s chest.

Unsurprisingly, painting these “emotionless space-faring” creatures to a table-top standard could not be easier, as the majority of the soulless automatons pigmentation can swiftly be achieved courtesy of a silver-coloured prime, a simple black wash and a subsequent silver dry-brush. However, those hobbyists who fancy trying to patiently ‘pick out’ all the cybermen’s tubes, tear-drop eye rings and rectangular mouths, will arguably be in for a much tougher time, on account of the detail being rather ‘soft’ in certain areas; most notably the models’ faces.

Indeed, just how the “Warlord Games” resident painter managed to achieve the sensational results shown on the boxed set’s packaging is absolutely mind-blowing and surely involved the witchcraft of a Machiavellian Carronite. Their brush-work on the likes of the 1967 “Tomb of the Cybermen” miniature is particularly impressive, with all the cyborg’s various flashing light-emitting diodes being individually highlighted, and proves to be an incredibly comprehensive painting guide to boot.

Pose-wise, this Collectors Set really does contain it all, from the rather sedentary stance of the 1976 “Revenge of the Cybermen” ‘hand-on-hip’ variant, through to the somewhat controversial mid-running sculpt of the 2013 War Cyberman; which is actually a direct copy of the silver giant depicted on the 2013 “Nightmare in Silver” advertisement poster. There’s even a thoroughly menacing version of “The Wheel in Space” Cyberman from 1968, who only seems to be missing a dejected Zoe Heriot with which to loom over, and a Legion Cyberman carrying what can only be described as a big freakin’ gun…

Sorrowfully, anyone wishing to use any of these models within the “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” table-top game itself, will have to stick to simply using the statistics and cards found for the Cyber Legion Cybermen in the starter box, as “Warlord Games” have not currently produced any Recruitment or Adventure cards based upon any of the different incarnations. True, the Nottingham-based company are planning on producing a future boxed set focusing upon “The Tomb of the Cybermen” which may well contain game cards relating to the 1967 television classic. But as to whether additional expansions concerning “The Tenth Planet” and “Earthshock” will follow depends upon sales figures.





Warlord Games - The SilenceBookmark and Share

Monday, 20 November 2017 - Reviewed by Simon Moore
Warlord Games: The Silence (cover) (Credit: Warlord Games)
Warlord Games
Released November 2016

Described by Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, as "…the best monsters since the Weeping Angels” and “certainly some of the scariest" in the television show’s history, the Silence have surely terrified many a ten-year-old since their first appearance in Steven Moffat’s 2011 serial “The Impossible Astronaut”. Indeed, the gaunt, gangly ghoulish species who have manipulated mankind “since the Wheel and the Fire”, probably had many a petrified parent joining their nipper behind their living room sofa.

As a result, it should be no great surprise that “Warlord Games” have released a boxed pack of three 38mm scale metal models based upon the mouthless extra-terrestrials as one of their first expansions for their “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” miniatures game. Nor that they seem to have gone to quite extraordinary lengths using BBC material to precisely duplicate the “genetically engineered” confessional priests’ most memorable poses; with the Silent “absorbing electrical energy from the air” and then “discharging it from their hands” genuinely capturing all the sinister power of the alien as its about to obliterate its prey.

From a painting perspective this trio of figures really should prove a straightforward project on account of their television counter-parts being predominantly black and “Warlord Games” providing a simple palette guide for the Silence on their “Into The Time Vortex” website. In addition, the miniatures have been so well sculpted that a quick dry-brush of charcoal or dark grey should very easily highlight all their suits’ crinkles, creases and folds without any real effort whatsoever. Admittedly, I personally had a bit of a struggle to pick out each monster’s stained collar and shirt as they peek out beneath the creatures’ bulbous heads, but such difficulties are undoubtedly down to my own lack of skill with a fine-tipped paintbrush as opposed to any flaw with these models’ excellent detail.

Spookily though, there will be those who buy this product that will become a little disappointed that its delightful box doesn’t also contain the official Silence Recruitment and Adventure cards for the “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” rule-set. As with the Judoon, such rather crucial cards currently can only be found within the miniature game’s starter set, and is something which the more vocal followers of the tabletop game have repeatedly voiced their displeasure over. Impressively, “Warlord Games” have responded to this feedback by slowly publishing such essential statistical data as PDFs for their most recent products yet presently, the Silence cards “Hypnosis”, “Electrical Discharge”, “Enhanced Strength”, “Adapted Tech” and “Distraction” still aren’t available digitally.

Those wargamers wishing to use the Silence to their full potential will also need to buy a couple of extra boxes of miniatures, depending on whether they want to utilise the faction’s “Silent Reinforcements” Adventure card; which under certain conditions allows a player to bring on a further three Silents. For those happy to simply deploy a basic force however, just six models should suffice and, coupled with the ability to ‘bend/re-adjust’ the odd figure’s arm here and there with nothing more than a little gentle pressure, will allow enough pose diversity for a Silent Leader, two Silent Veterans and three Silents.