Sunday, 18 March 2018

From JohnM: A Plunge into the Dark (210 points)

I have decided over the last couple of years to take the opportunity afforded by the AHPC to do something different. Last year saw my foray into a 6mm miniatures with a Blood Angels Epic army. This was quite novel for me as I had never painted any 6 mm models nor had been involved in anything to do with Fantasy wargaming. For this year's Challenge, an unusual series of events and observations sent me down a path I would have never predicted.

This past fall found me with far fewer wargaming opportunities than had previously been the case. What was I do? Through a Kickstarter a Boardgame had landed in my lap. I gave it a go and discovered that boardgaming was a possibility but at the same time it was still a challenge to play solo. Somewhere along the way, I believe Curt mentioned that there were Boardgames out there where the story line was driven by a computer programme. In fact he had recently painted some figures for a same said game. 

So I bought Mansions of Madness. I had heard of HP Lovecraft but had never read him and the Cthulthu Mythos was unknown to me, although I had wondered what it was. I like main stream Science Fiction but had never really been into the horror genre aside from maybe Steven King and TED Klein. I set up a game and found it quite interesting and fun to play and as a bonus one day my wife and sister-in-law were watching me play and quickly got talked in to having a go. They were immediately drawn in by the character profiles of the Investigators in the game. At the end of a 2 hour session, they both said when are we going to play again!

Being obsessive, I really could not play with unpainted figures, so I set about painting them. A further conversation with Curt gave me the idea that it might be interesting to paint the Investigators in polychrome while painting the Monsters in a monochrome. But while putting the project together, I started to ask myself who was HP Lovecraft?

Well I suppose this is where I started to lose control of myself. Reading about him certainly revealed a somewhat unusual character; both parents going mad and dying in an asylum, riches to rags, and a quite extraordinary fan base. His books are out of copyright, so Kindle versions are easily obtained. I read The Dunwich Horror, a strange story and I liked the writing style. But what was this Cthulhu Mythos. While researching this, I discovered that many of his stories have spoken versions and are easily available without cost. I discovered HorrorBabble and I was hooked. 

I suspect in the last two months I have listened to maybe 20 of HP Lovecraft's short stories and novellas over and over again! At the Mountains of Madness is my favourite, but close behind is The Shadow over Innsmouth and of course The Call of the Cthulhu. I suppose it does not help that I live in Salem, Massachusetts, the dead centre of Lovecraft Country

This immersion has also sparked an interest in 1930 and 40's pulp magazine cover art. I am going to have to stop myself from starting a collection.

I could go on and on, but I should stop. If you would like to take the plunge, here is a link to my YouTube playlists of HP Lovecraft stories.

Anyway, please excuse my ramblings, time to get back to the challenge! Below find the start of my Mansions of Madness figure collection. The figures are mostly semi-hard plastic, the faces are somewhat soft but generally I enjoyed painting them. The polychrome Investigators were easy enough to paint but I am not really sure if you can call my Monsters true greyscale, so I decided to use the term monochrome. The black background is a real challenge to get right. I have photographed all the figure 3-4 times. I initially tried my iPhone 8 but I just could not get it right. I then went back to my Cannon and in iPhoto I was able to adjust the background (make it black) using the blackpoint adjustment without destroying the image. Still not an hundred percent but improving.

The Investigators

Carson Sinclair, Joe Diamond, Father Mateo
Kate Winthrop, Rita Young, Agatha Crane
The Monsters
Hunting Horrors
Cult Leader, Witch, Priest of Dagon
Innsmouth Rioters
Deep One Hybrids, Barnabas Marsh
Ghost, Hound of Tindalos, Maniac
Deep Ones
Star Spawn
Well another year's challenge has gone by: Many thanks to Curt and a very patient Sarah. Also thanks to my minion Ray as well as all the other helpers. And finally congratulations to all the participants, each year the submissions are just more and more brilliant.


I can't express how stoked I was when I saw this entry. John had dropped me a line a few months ago asking me about figure-based boardgames and I had suggested he look into the various cooperative titles out there like Kingdom Death and Mansions of Madness. Well John, to see that you've not only been having a good time with the game and figures but also enjoying the literature of HP Lovecraft makes me very happy. It's such a rich 'world' and so very thematic that I always love seeing others get immersed in it. (As a quick aside, if you enjoy Lovecrafts writing then you HAVE to check out Peter Rawlik's writing - it's sooo horrifically good.) I also had to smile when you said that your lovely wife and her sister had a good time with the game. Sarah is a big fan of the genre as well, so these games (Elder Sign, Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror, Mansions, etc.) are perennial favourites in our home. We've even travelled with them so we can play them with friends abroad (Phil and Alice had to put up with a multi-day marathon game in Avignon a few years ago.). As you can tell, I'm a huge fan of the setting.

Back to your post! I really love how you've done your figures John. I especially admire how the punchy colours of the Investigators are wonderfully juxtaposed against the greyscale of the eldritch monsters. Such a great effect. I also see that you've adopted using clear bases for your figures which I think is such a good idea, especially with tile-based games where it's nice to see the varying artwork below the figures' feet. (And I see you've discovered my 'secret' of using the blackpoint adjustment in iPhoto. ;P Good one! ) 

210 points for you John. Tremendous work and thanks for sharing your newly discovered love of all things eldritch horror! 



  1. Great investigators and really nice greyscale bad guys!
    Best Iain

  2. Nice work John! I realy like the contrast between the heros and the monsters.

  3. Really nice! Great idea on poly/monochrome and very finely executed here.

  4. Mansions of Madness is a great little game, and you’ll enjoy it even more with these lovely figures!