Battleshed Diaries

Sunday 3 January 2016

It's probing time!

Aliens have landed. They are the archetypical Greys that according to their advance spokesperson on Earth, the self-titled protagonist from the movie, Paul, have been totally misrepresented and us earthlings have nothing to fear. As he explained to two, rather incredulous Brits on a geek trip to the USA:
Graeme Willy: You are an alien!
Paul: To you I am, yes.
Graeme Willy: Are you gonna probe us?
Paul:  Why does everyone always assume that? What am I doing? Am I harvesting farts? How much can I learn from an ass?

These aliens are 12x 28mm Greys from C-P Models. I purchased them as the advance force for UFO Squad  - a set of rules based on the original X-Com video games using the Ganesha Games system.

The rules are from Crossover Miniatures, based in the US, who have a 28mm Heroic scale miniature range to support the ruleset, amongst other goodies. To save on shipping costs or import issues, their European distributor is Minibits.

However, although Minibits do stock some of Crossover's other ranges, (Heroes and Villains, Paramilitary Goons, Thugs, Ninjas, Cops, Robots, Head Shoppe, Robot Animals), I couldn't find any for UFO Squad. Helpfully though, Leon from Minibits explained the situation in an email:

Unfortunately, we’re not stocking the Aliens at the moment, and I’m not sure if we’ll be getting them in the future. The regular Crossovers are manufactured in the UK so they can be shipped directly to me here. The Aliens are produced in the US though, so we’d have the shipping and VAT costs to deal with on those, making them less viable to stock at the moment.

Which explains why I ventured over to C-P Models. That said, both Minibits and C-P have some fantastic ranges between them, so I'm sure I'll be making a purchase or two! Leon also reassured that the guys over at Crossover are very helpful if I wanted to arrange a direct delivery. Cheers Leon!

So what about the C-P Greys? I bought 12 for my advance force. They're described as 28mm metal miniatures, which come supplied with 20mm plastic slot-bases. My order comprised of:
UX7 Grey Alien scientist (£2) & UX22 Grey alien with optical viewer (£2)

UX5 Grey Aliens x4 (£7.25)

UX18 Grey aliens with energy weapons x 3 (£5.50)

UX2 Grey Alien, advancing (£2)
UX20 Grey alien with energy weapon / advancing I (£2)
UX21 Grey alien with energy weapon / advancing II (£2)

They are fine sculpts, with nice facial detailing, especially the big oval eyes! Hardly any evidence of flashing or burrs, so after a quick wash and prime they were ready for painting. Now, this is where I thought this would be a quick job. After-all, they are supposed to be just grey, right?

Well, as I mentioned in a previous post, my son then put his two-penneth' in and we embarked on a bizarre debate on the colour and texture of alien skin. I was starting to get alarmed when he tried to support his arguments by Googling 'real alien skin texture'. I know he's in the throws of teenager-hood, but I did have to refer him to consider the opening lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody, from one of his favourite (retro) bands, Queen:

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy? 
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.

So, with him away to his lair, with the sounds of a vaguely Queen'ish tune being plucked from his electric guitar, I reconsidered. Maybe he had a point? I mean, if I just painted them grey, then I may as well just use the primer and add a bit of wash here and there.

I decided to to go with a more 'sickly', mottled alien skin tone. I added in some light green, blue and flesh colours using a 50/50 mix of paint and water. Then I just built up the tones with a number of layers of coloured washes. I still wanted them to look decidedly grey'ish from a distance, but with enough subtleties in skin colour close up. Enough to make them a bit more interesting anyway. I think I pulled it off.

One thing that was obvious when these miniatures arrived was the scaling. They are described as 28mm, but they are much closer to 25mm, or slightly less. But then again, aren't the greys supposed to be shorter with spindly limbs? From that perspective, they are spot on.

Here's a bemused 28mm Empire archer being abducted from the Warhammer world:

Alien abduction!

With these aliens ready to establish a forward operating base prior to invading earth, all I need are around 8 miniatures to stand in for our heroic UFO Squad defenders. I think the proxies I've been using for Infinity will work in the meantime, so I just about ready to try out the rules. I just need to sort some suitable contemporary terrain now. 

Oh, and if you haven't seen the film Paul, I recommend it. It's a wonderful comedic homage to all things Sci-Fi. And Sigourney Weaver is in it.
It's probing time!

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