I found a small robot miniature on eBay, listed as “Hardy Toot Toot” from the Archive Miniatures Star Rovers line of miniatures and game. Using The Lost Mini’s Wiki , I was able to see it listed as “Hardy Toot Toot/RV86”. This did not make sense to me as When I looked at the Archive Miniatures catalog from 1981, there was no such listing. I reached out to my fellow miniature collectors on Facebook, notably David Wood (the British version) and Nevile Stocken (who was Archive and probably sculpted this figure) but still I had no luck at identifying it. All I knew was it was between 36 and 40 years old.
While I continued to research which figure this actually was, I filed down any unneeded edges, cleaned it in soap and water and let it dry. I then glued it to a 1″ steel washer with wood glue. Then I lightly glued the washer base to a popsicle sick for ease of painting. Next, I brush primed it twice with Citadel “Imperium Primer” thinned with Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”. I then gave it a heavy dry-brush application of Tamiya “Chrome Silver”. The figure then waited for a few weeks…
Luckily and surprisingly, I heard back from Nevile Stocken that he thought the figure was on the box cover of the Star Rovers game – which I have! By the way, RV86 is the Robot Cook (2203).
I took a picture of it with my iPhone, cut and pasted it into a PowerPoint file, and printed it. When blown up to 8½” x 11″, I could clearly see on the robot “RT22”! Mystery solved! I verified this by cross-referencing with the catalog as shown below. It was listed as 2205, “Servodroid, RT22, Short Robot”, and retailed for $1.25 back in the day. Many of the old Archive Star Rovers figures were named with a clever nod to Star Wars characters, and this RT22 certainly can claim to be one as a somewhat satirical R2D2.
I decided that it would be a neat idea to honor the colors on the robot’s depiction on game box and try to replicate them on the RT22. To achieve the metallic light blue shown on the box, I used a 50/50 blend of Tamiya “Chrome Silver” and Craftsmart Ultra-Bright Metallic “Sapphire”. That seemed to do the trick, and I gave the entire figure a heavy dry brushing with the combination.
I then looked at the drawing of RT22, and there were some subtle differences between it and the figure. To give depth to the figure, I used a couple washes with Citadel “Nuln Oil”. Then, I wanted to replicate the drawing as much as possible, so I used Americana “Kelly Green” and Vallejo “Vermilion” on the body’s lower parts in squares thinly outlined with Vallejo Model Air “Black”. On what looks like an anchor (with Mickey Mouse ears) on the front, I used Vallejo Model Air “Gold” on the background, and Citadel “Yriel Yellow” on the raised portion. The robot had two traffic signals on it – yes really – forward and aft. I used “Kelly Green”, “Yriel Yellow”, and Vallejo Model Air “Signal Red” on the stoplight signals. I then used the Vallejo Model Air “Black” metallic to outline the gold and on the brackets under its arms. I outlined the arch-like structure in front and various wires on the top, back, and sides with Vallejo Model Air “Aluminum”. On the top, I painted the raised structure ridges and its springs with Vallejo “Arctic Blue” – with “Yriel Yellow” highlights as an eye and on the top of the robot. On the top “ring” part of the robot (which was more akin to a hex nut), I used first a light coat of Vallejo Model Air “Fluorescent Red” (which was more orange than red). I then outlined on the angled edges with a thin line of “Aluminum”. I then used two more layers of “Fluorescent Red” on the ring. The rear battery packs got an application of Vallejo Model Air “Copper” and “Arctic Blue”. I then selectively used “Nuln Oil” where I needed more depth on the figure.
For highlights, I used Craftsmart “Bright Yellow” on all the “Yriel Yellow” surfaces. On the arms and chassis, I employed a lighter mix (more “Chrome Silver”, less “Sapphire”) of the original combination with which I started the light blue dry brushing. I also used a little of both yellows on the tips of the robot’s feet to match the box.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the project was writing the “RT22” on the miniature as shown on the drawing. That was indeed a delicate task that took a steady hand!
I then moved on to the base – and used Citadel “Lustrian Undergrowth” to conceal the washer and make the ground on which figure stood to be more realistic. I really like this paint as it has a rough consistency and takes both dry brushing and application of washes really well.
Once that had dried, I applied Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” to the base, and let it dry. I then dry brushed the base sequentially with Armory “Musket Brown” and Citadel “Niblet Green”.
I then moved on to the varnishing of the figure. As it was a robot, with a very metallic surface, I thought best to use a coat of Krylon clear “Glossy”, followed by two coats of Testors “Dullcoat”, allowing for adequate drying between applications. This worked well, but the base was still too shiny. To fix that, I used a combination of Citadel “Athonian Camoshade” and Army Painter “Anti-shine” brush varnish. It seemed to do the trick.
The research for this project took a lot longer than the actual painting did. I have submitted corrections to The Lost Minis Wiki, so future collectors may be helped. As for this figure, I plan to use it as part of an objective in a sci-fi version of Combat Patrol™.
Just like R2D2 perhaps?
In any case, I am pretty happy with the miniature, and I am especially glad I used the color scheme from the box. I think it is quirky, and still fun! Feel free to let me know your thoughts!
This month, in between other projects and recovery, I worked on several terrain pieces for use with my Star Rovers figures and the Combat Patrol™ gaming system. Some I got earlier in the year from WorldWorks Games on Amazon, others I got on eBay that were from Armorcast Battlefield Scenery, others I made – and some I just don’t know who made them. I’m hoping to use these at The Battle Standard in Auburn soon after coordinating with the owner, Jared Brodeur.
Normally I have more detail (how-to), but I lost most of the details of these terrain projects, as I had a few that I had to rework. I think the pictures below are hopefully sufficient. I was really happy to try new techniques with rust applications using a “pointillism” technique with a combination of Polly-S (“Rust”) and Vallejo (“Rust” 71.069 and 71.080) paints. I mounted all of the terrain pieces on flat steel basing pieces.
The mostly Armorcast “set” I got on eBay were various refinery or industrial pieces that were airbrushed silver and gold, and that did not work for me. I wanted the industrial ones to be more dirty and rusty. I ended up painting some of them with various colors, and then using Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” to shade. I was not happy with most of these results, especially the Quickshade effects. I repainted them, some with bright colors for the newer pieces of terrain, and with rust for the grittier ones, and then used spray varnish to seal. Luckily, the Testors “Dullcoat” actually had a “crackling” chemical effect on one of the industrial tanks which worked well – (note – this was not an Armorcast piece and was likely homemade with some type of Styrofoam). I was surprised as there was already a lot of paint and varnish on it at that point – but it was minimal and I liked it anyways.
The WorldWorks Games set consisted of a bunker, and three barricades. They are for 28mm for sure. The bunker was used, and difficult to assemble well with super glue. I ended up using steel base material, popsicle sticks, wood glue, and cardboard to assist in the construction. Here, I really liked my use of the rust pattern that I discussed earlier.
Lastly, I had three slag mounds that I mounted on two old CD’s. The slag was a byproduct of my casting projects. For these, I had a “Red Planet” plan, and used Citadel “Martian Ironcrust” and “Martian Ironearth” to good effect, as well as different washes.
It’s a good start and I’m sure I could use some buildings and other things, but that I will get to in due time!
May was a slow hobby month as I spent some time recovering from the surgeon’s blade!
One of the projects that I started in April and completed in May was another RAFM game set for the Settlers of Catan game. It was a gift from my daughter and son-in-law, and I had it in the painting queue for a while. The set is made of white metal (likely britannia). I had completed most of the painting in April, and finished and varnished the project in May. Each set consists of figures that represent 15 roads, 5 settlements, 4 cities, and one robber. This one is Chinese-themed, and joins my Viking and Egyptian sets. I opened the set, cleaned up and filed some loose casting remnants, and washed everything with mild soap and a toothbrush. After a good rinse and a thorough drying, they were ready to paint. I decided to go with a red and gray theme, which are my Fitchburg High school colors!
As you can see above, the details of the figures are variable. The robber really was not well-detailed, and I attempted to rectify this with the brush. On the previous two sets, I mounted all of the figures to popsicle sticks for ease of painting. I elected not to do that this time as I did not want to have to deal with painting the undersides with affixed glue. I did mount the robber on a 1″ steel washer. This was fine.
I made a change again and used a brush primer as April was very cold and I did not want to wait until New England cooperated with 50°F – and that was a good call. I used Citadel “Imperial Primer” slightly diluted with Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner” in two coats for priming. I then drybrushed all the figures with Americana “Santa Red”. My next step was to use Secret Weapons Washes “Red Black” ink and apply a thorough wash all over the figures. Then I painted the trees and bushes on the road sections with Armory “Chestnut Brown”.
On the roads (which resembled sections of the Great Wall), I painted the boulders with Americana “Zinc”. I then applied another wash with “Red Black” ink. To create the effect of the greenery, trees, and shrubs, I highlighted successively with Citadel “Niblet Green” and “Nurgling Green”.
On the settlements, I painted the paved spaces between the buildings and the river and the bridge with “Zinc”, followed by a coat of “Red Black” ink on the pavement. The river got a treatment of Americana “Sky Blue” followed by Reaper MSP “Blue Liner” as a wash. The river edges and buildings were highlighted and lined with Vallejo “Red”.
For the cities, I used “Zinc” on the stairways, and more “Red Black” ink as a wash. I then highlighted the walls and framework of the large temple with the Vallejo “Red”.
I did not go crazy with the robber as I really was unimpressed with the figure. He looked like a Japanese Ninja in a Chinese set! So I used the same patterns with the same reds as the other figures. I painted his bedroll with “Zinc”, his bandana and gloves with Americana “Ebony”, and his hair and boots with Americana “Onyx”. P3 “Midland Flesh” was my choice for his face, with Vallejo “White” and “Ebony” for the eyes. I highlighted his headband and his robes with Vallejo “Red”. On his dagger I used FolkArt “Gunmetal Gray” highlighted with Tamiya “Titanium Silver”. For the handle of his dagger, I gave him a splash of Citadel “Gehenna’s Gold”. On his base, I used Citadel “Martian Ironcrust” and a blow dryer to create the crackling effect. And again, I added more “Red Black”.
I also want to note here that the bottoms of all of these figures were painted with the same red combinations. Lastly, as these are game pieces, I wanted to give them a good protective coat of varnish from bottom to top. They all got three successive applications of varnish with sufficient drying time in between. Of course, I needed a warm day (above 70°F) for this. I used Krylon “Glossy”, followed by Krylon “Clear Matte”, followed by Testors “Dullcoat”.
I am satisfied with the project – and now I only need one more (the Bavarian set) to have all of them. Certainly a worthy gaming project!
A great tutorial from Buck Surdu’s blog on scratch building retro sci-fi space ships! And not just because it carries a Mark 1 Sphere Tank!
This was a very large project that ended up with producing a 45-figure platoon. I hope that you find this story interesting, if only to see the determination I had to have to see this through! I am going to give some background, and then show the photos for the finished unit. After that, I will give a detailed description for my fellow hobbyists as to how I completed the various aspects of this unit – this will allow you to see the final product earlier in the blog – and those who want more details can go past the completed photos to see more detail.
I first saw the Archive Star Ducks (#2002) and Duck Vader (#2326) on the Lost Minis Wiki as I was researching some other Archive Star Rovers figures. These were made by Archive between 1977 and 1981 or so. They are made of lead and tin alloy. These were sculpted by Nevile Stocken. He sent me the drawing below via Facebook Messenger.
The rights to some of Archive’s figures have been sold off a few times. Several have been reproduced, but they are not currently in production. I searched through eBay, and these are very hard to find. I did manage to find only 4 Star Ducks and one Duck Vader, but that paltry number does not make a unit. My stretch goal was to create a platoon for use with Buck Surdu’s Combat Patrol™ system for tabletop skirmish gaming. I thought that I would need about 40 or more figures to make the unit, and I ended up with 45, which is a good size for a traditional platoon. In this process, I ended up making a mold and casting 40 for myself and some for Buck as previously described in this blog and Buck’s. I converted 4 Squad Leaders with War Games Supply Dump retro sci-fi weapons – which I was lucky to get as WSD closed on March 31st, 2017. I converted 6 figures to make up the mortar crew, to include making the mortars, ammo boxes, and mortar rounds. I also converted three figures to make up an Anti-Tank section (now known as the Bazookaducks) by arming them with Reaper Chronoscope bazookas.
The platoon is composed of 45 figures as described below. Five of the figures, including the platoon sergeant and the platoon leader are original castings. The remaining 40 are all Star Ducks that I cast over the last year.
Star Duck Platoon
The Completed Duck Platoon
Overall, I am very happy with the unit. I did use Army Painter Quickshade (Soft Tone) which darkened them much more than I expected. The effect was acceptable, but some of my identifying colors were muted.
I will now go into the how-to’s of the making of the unit.
How to Section
All of the figures that I converted were missing the ray gun ends. These were either original casts or my own. I used a jewelry saw, wood carving knives, files, an awl, and an Exacto knife to remove the ray guns and make room for the weapons. Some of the figures lost limbs in this process, but I was able to use green stuff to recreate arms and hands for these figures. I drilled any “amputees” with a pin vise, and used 24 gauge wire as an armature for these.
a. Mortars and Mortarducks
The mortars and mortarducks were the first conversions I attempted for this unit. I envisioned two teams of three – made up of a loader, and two crewducks with ammunition boxes. I made the ammo boxes from Plastruct styrene plastic and special styrene adhesive. I had acquired some Army Painter green stuff, and decided to give it a go for the mortars and rounds. I ended up using my steel sculpting tools, but quickly learned that I needed something different for green stuff, so I got some silicone- tipped tools that worked much better (less stickiness problems). I used paperclip wire with the green stuff for the mortar legs and the rounds. I tried to make a form for the mortar round bases out of 1/8″ plywood, with mixed success. Eventually, I found that correction with an Exacto knife was a good way to go. I made the bases with Apoxie Sculpt and steel washers. In the case of the mortar base, this made sense as I was able to make a strong base with room for the loader using two slightly different washers. The mortars themselves were made with screw extenders, washers, and servo parts for a model airplane. Testors super glue was the means by which I glued the rounds to the loaders and the ammo boxes. Additionally, I found that having some small hobby mirrors from Michaels made the sculpting and assembly process much easier. I decided to leave the two crewducks with their original weapons as the loader conversion had proved to be a lot of work and I did not think it made a difference as I already had the ammo boxes.
I wanted the unit to have an anti-tank capability beyond the mortars. I had previously converted some Frinx for this purpose, and decided to do the same for the Star Ducks. The bazookas are from Reaper and came with several other weapons. I basically carved away the ray gun and made the bazookas “fit”. There were amputees in this group, but I think the conversions worked well.
c. Squad Leaders
The squad leaders were simply converted with the same tools. I gave them the War Games Supply Dump blasters from the Dirk Garrison line.
3. Painting and Basing
The biggest challenge with painting was the color orange – I had not used it much before – and it took several iterations of trying different combinations until I found what I liked.
a. Duck Vader
The sequence was as follows:
b. Mortar and mortar rounds
The sequence was as follows:
c. Star Ducks
To wrap up, I am very happy that the unit is done. I am on the fence as to the use of the Army Painter “Quickshade” – the figures are darker and well-shaded, and should be well protected, but some details are obscured. I enjoyed my new Vallejo products and found that they really worked well. I also learned that orange as a color requires multiple applications and glazing to work well.
I learned much that I can use for future projects, and I hope that you enjoyed this blog entry.
Please leave comments and feedback! Thanks!
This blog is about the second figure that I painted for Chris Smedile’s birthday. It is a 28mm Reaper Chronoscope figure, “Bonnie” (#80025) sculpted by Julie Guthrie in 2015 or 2016. This was a challenging project mainly as I have so little experience in this type of fashion (if it can be called that). This is also my first “Reaper Bones” figure (resin) as all my others have mainly been metal. You can see the website link for it here.
I noticed that the figure had visible mold lines, which I tried to remove with an Exacto knife and some light sanding. Then, I decided to apply a wash with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” over the figure so as to see the details better.
I initially had a struggle trying to have a vision for this figure. Basically, she is a well-armed (probably overly-armed) post-apocalyptic warrior or perhaps a zombie hunter. After looking at her attire, I decided that she needed to have a bright comic book look – after all, who wears this in the apocalypse? Also, early on I was not so enamored of the details (or lack of details) that were molded on her face. I ended up thinking about it a bit – and eventually going with a patent leather and purple/pink/violet and glossy black theme.
First, I base-coated the figure. I began with her flesh, using P3 “Midland Flesh”. I used Citadel “Ceramite White” for the whites of her eyes, and Americana “Ebony” for the pupils.
For her midriff vest/leather armor, I used Americana “Slate Gray”. Regarding her socks, halter top, and wrist wraps (I’m sure there is a name for them but hey, my fashion sense is limited!), I broke open my Americana “Bubblegum Pink”. I did not like the solid pink look on the top and the wrist wraps, so I mixed that with a little Americana “Vivid Violet” and “Dioxazine Purple” and that seemed to work better. For her hot pants (or shorty-shorts if you’re Larry the Cable Guy), I went with a very distinctive purple – Americana “Dioxazine Purple”. I gave her boots and straps a patent leather appearance with Armory “Gloss Black”. I decided that her hair should be black, so I went with Americana “Ebony” and a Citadel “Nuln Oil” wash. I gave her some hair highlights in with the three colors – “Vivid Violet”, “Dioxazine Purple”, and “Bubblegum Pink”.
For her two submachine guns, I applied Vallejo “Gun Metal”, which I also used for the triggers on her two sawed-off shotguns in holsters on her back. I painted the handles of the shotguns with Armory “Musket Brown”, followed by Vallejo “Wood”. For the base, I used Americana “Zinc”.
I moved on to some finer details and shading. I drybrushed her boot laces with “Bubblegum Pink”. I used Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” to shade the submachine guns and her midriff armor. I highlighted the guns with “Gun Metal”. I washed her flesh with a light use of Citadel “Reikland Fleshshade” . Also I highlighted her ribbed sock tops with “Dioxazine Purple”. For her bottom lips and the inside of her mouth, I chose Polly-S “Demon Deep Red”.
As you can see above, Bonnie looks pretty tan, and I felt as if she needed to look a little less of a tanning booth patron. So, I lightened up her skin by mixing in P3 “Ryn Flesh” with some “Midland Flesh”. I also tried to clean her up overall in a number of small fixes. I used Americana “Slate” to highlight the base, gave it a wash of Secret Weapons Washes “Heavy Body Black”, and painted the washer on the bottom “Ebony”.
I then gave the figure two coats of Testors “Dullcoat”, allowing for adequate drying between steps.
Overall, I thought the figure came out ok. I was disappointed at the lack of facial details, especially as this was a Julie Guthrie figure, but perhaps that is a function of the resin. The mold lines were harder to cut and sand than I would have thought. I would use Bones figures again, but I am still preferential to metal.
The good news is that Chris like it, and I hope that he has a lot of great gameplay with it!