Ruined Buildings & Rusty Sci-Fi Walls

As I described in my previous blog post, I wanted to work on expanding my collection of terrain in order to enhance the visuals and improve play for my retro sci-fi Combat Patrol™ games.  Specifically, I wanted to add some ruined and battle-damaged buildings and rusty walls.  However, I wanted them to look great – […]

As I described in my previous blog post, I wanted to work on expanding my collection of terrain in order to enhance the visuals and improve play for my retro sci-fi Combat Patrol™ games.  Specifically, I wanted to add some ruined and battle-damaged buildings and rusty walls.  However, I wanted them to look great – and weathering is a relatively new area of painting for me, hence the challenge!

Working with some new materials was a central aspect – especially with regards to weathering and rusting techniques.  My journey started in August with Armorcast’s 3-crater set and using Vallejo Pigments.  Subsequently, I followed that project up with putting together five ruined buildings and six sci-fi walls (both from Armorcast as well).  They included:

To complete the project, and work on my techniques, I made a list of goals.  I desired to employ several new (to me) technical skills, materials, and techniques.  I ended up checking off on all of these except for using the Citadel “Nihilakh Oxide” and the Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Oil Stains (Gloss)” as they proved to be unneeded.

Below is my initial list of goals – the ones in bold were ones used and apply to this post.

  • Assembling, building, and basing terrain
  • Use of materials to create weathering and rusting effects, to include:
    • Vallejo Pigments, to include application and fixing (covered in this blog post)
    • Vallejo Mecha Color weathering products
    • Weathering and rusting/oxidizing effect products, to incude:
      • Citadel Technical paints:
        • Typhus Corrosion
        • Ryza Rust
        • Nihilakh Oxide
      • Vallejo and Vallejo Mecha Color rusting and weathering products
        • Vallejo Pigments (various)
        • Vallejo Game Air rusts (71.069 and 71.080)
        • Vallejo Mecha Color Weathering products
          • Oil Stains (gloss)
          • Rust Wash
          • Rust Texture (Matt)
  • Create a new storage system for my terrain pieces

I am glad that I got to use most of them.  The buildings will be discussed first, and then the walls, and finally my storage box work.  I will aim for plenty of visuals, and there will be eye candy at the end!  I will list a lessons learned section and a materials section at the end of the post for those interested.  This should hopefully be useful for some of you.

Ruined Buildings

1 Armorcast Building as received
My one ACRB009 as received.  The resin was definitely in need of a clean up with an Exacto blade, but that’s to be expected.  I also found that using Scotch-Brite pads on the resin and washing them thoroughly aided with priming.
2 T section clean up
This is the T-section as received.  It had some larger areas of excess resin on the lower portion to remove as you see here.
3 section with door blast hole
My one ACRB008 as received.  I was intrigued by the battle damage on all of these, especially on the garage door here.
4 base polystyrene
After assembling my buildings with Gorilla Glue and some green stuff, I based them on this polystyrene.  I had cut the sheets into irregular shapes.  I glued steel bases from Wargames Accessories on the bottoms for strength and future magnetic storage.
5 basing
Some of the buildings on their polystyrene bases before I added a play sand/rocks/PVA glue mix to act as a rough surface gradient.  The sci-fi walls are on steel bases that are similar to those under the buildings’ bases (more on them below).
5a basing
Here you can see the irregularly-cut shapes of the polystyrene.  My thought was to create pieces that were diorama-like for gaming.
6 buildings based and primed
Good close-up shot of the ruined buildings after the PVA/sand/rock mix had hardened and they had been primed gray.  I had affixed the bases to upturned plastic plates with poster tack, and put a mark on each plate to help as a locator reference for airbrushing.  This allowed me to avoid handling the painted surfaces.
7 early base coat on buildings holes
I was not sure how best to do the shell holes.  I started with black paint, then tried to ashen them up with some pigment later.  You may notice the rocks are tan – this was because I applied Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” pigment and Vallejo “Pigment Binder” on them – after I learned with the crater project that using airbrush thinner loosened the rocks.
8 Tsection base coated
I focused on completing the T-section first as a “guinea pig”.  I thought I could dry brush the bricks, but that did not work well at all.  I painted each brick by hand individually with Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”…on ALL of these.  As I grew up in an old industrial area in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, old factory walls were something with which I was familiar.  These had a goodly amount of old plaster sculpted on them, which got some old Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”.  Clearly, there would be a need for weathering!
9 fixing pigments on t section
So now the weathering!  Here I have dirtied up the walls with Vallejo “Dark Slate Grey” pigment, and put a mix of four Vallejo pigments (“Light Yellow Ochre”, “Light Sienna”, “Natural Umber”, and “Faded Olive Green”) on the base.  I fixed the base pigments with the capillary technique (Vallejo airbrush thinner drops applied from a brush), and then airbrushed the walls with thinner.
10a tsection view 1
I used the “wet mode” technique and the “Faded Olive Green” to make the bottoms of the walls appear as if moss and mold were growing.  The Vallejo Pigment video on YouTube is very helpful.  The T-section was varnished with Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish” and allowed to dry overnight.  I added tufts from Army Painter and Shadow’s Edge miniatures.  Later, I would darken this with a gray wash.  As this is a T-section, there are three views.
10b tsection view 2
View 2 of T-section.
10c tsection view 3
View 3 of T-section.  Interestingly, one of the reasons that I had difficulty with the dry brushing of the bricks is that they are sculpted differently on different sides.  I found that using the gray as plaster to cover areas I thought needed help was able to mask this.
12 all buildings base coated with t section
After finishing the T-section, I moved on to the other buildings in a similar way, except that these had remnants of window sills, shell holes, and rusty doors to paint and weather…and about a million bricks (or at least it felt that way when I was painting them).
13 early rust work on the doors
My attempts at rusting here were not pigment-based.  Here, I used a combination of Citadel rusting products (“Typhus Corrosion” and “Ryza Rust”) in conjunction with Vallejo Mecha Weathering products (“Light Rust Wash”,”Dark Rust Wash”,  and “Rust Texture Matt”), and Vallejo Game Air “Rust” (2 types – 080 and 069).  I layered them on, dry brushed, and layered more.  I wanted the ground to show that rust had been accumulating on the ground for some time, and the Vallejo “Dark Rust Wash” was my go-to here.
14 interior after rusting door
Another view of the ACRB008 interior.
15 drying ground pigments in sun
After using similar pigments to those that I used on the T-section, I let them dry in the sun on my driveway (it was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit!).  I then varnished them similar to the T-section. After I saw my results, I was happy, but wanted a dirtier look even still, so all of the buildings got an additional wash with Secret Weapons Washes “Stone”.  That did the trick!
16 buildings washed, flocked, done
All my ruined buildings complete.

Sci-Fi Walls

1 wall with blast hole as received
Moving on to the walls!  This is my one ACW007 as received.  I liked the battle damage here as well.
2 other wall as received
This is one of my two “High Tech Walls 1”.  This is one side…
2a other wall as received reverse side
…and here is the other side.  I prepped these pieces similarly to the way I did the buildings.
3 based on steel
My basing for these would just be steel bases from Wargames Accessories.  I wanted to be able to line them up on the tabletop.  I also put these on upturned plates as before.
4 on plates and primed
Instead of sand and PVA for flocking, here I just used Army Painter Black Battlefields.  Priming was then done on them in my usual way.
5 base coated in light steel
After priming, I base coated them all with Vallejo Game Air “Steel” with my airbrush.  My goal was to build the rust up from here.
6 after a wash with light rust
Next, I used my airbrush to apply Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Light Rust”.
7 bulding up the rust
Next, I airbrushed both Vallejo Game Air Rust (080 and 069) in bursts and along deep areas.  The label on the Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Rust Texture (Matt)” says it is able to be airbrushed…please note IT IS NOT!!!  It jammed up both of my airbrushes badly (one needed a new nozzle afterwards).  After this, I decided to use a regular brush and use “Typhus Corrosion”, “Ryza Rust”, Nuln Oil (Gloss)”, as well as my previous products to give the walls and the battle damage a randomly -rusted and realistic appearance.  Washing, dry brushing, stippling, etc…
8 washes and more washes
The walls all painted, awaiting pigments on bases and varnish.  I decided not to use rusting pigments here as I was happy with the way these looked.
9 high tech walls 1 front and back
After pigments, varnishing, and flocking – this is both High Tech Walls with each side completed and shown for display.
10a high tech walls 2 view 1
This is the completed ACW007 – one side…
10b high tech walls 2 view 2
…and the other side.
000 a month of terrain
All my Armorcast terrain work from August and September together.

New Storage System/Box

Now that I had all this new terrain, especially the buildings, I needed a good efficient way to store and transport them to my games.  I decided to use a 32-liter Really Useful Box and to design a level inside to optimize its volume.  Essentially, I built a tray with legs to insert into the box and make it into multiple levels.  I plan on repeating this for other terrain in my collection.  Note that I use Aleene’s Magnetic Tacky Sheets from Michael’s to line the storage surfaces.   

1 Box
Box from outside showing the two levels.  I used a thin sheet of plywood and 5/8″ square dowels with #6 wood screws to make the tray.  I cut two small handle slots so that the tray could be picked up easily.  Luckily, the magnetic sheets cut easily with scissors for sizing.
2 Box
The box bottom with the tray removed on the left.
3 Box
Good view of the tray next to the box.
4 Box
Here’s a top view of the tray in the box.

Lessons Learned

I have several “lessons learned” about this project, and I also got great feedback on my last crater post.  One area of feedback that I got was from Azazel who suggested I needed a gaming mat.  I had wanted to get one or two, but they are indeed expensive.  Thanks to advice from him on my last post (and all of you who give me feedback – I thank you all from the bottom of my heart) – and that’s the truth!

Anyways, I got two neoprene (mouse pad material) mats from Gamemat.eu in the Czech Republic.  One is “Wastelands”, and the other one is “Highlands in War”.  I think both will work well with my terrain, and you can see them in the “eye candy” section below the lessons learned.

So here are the lessons and thoughts I have from the project – some are the same as the crater project, and some are new – but I though I’d try to be complete and list them all here:

  1. The cleaning and scrubbing of the resin helped with the priming.  The Scotch-Brite pads work well for this use.
  2. Armorcast terrain pieces are fairly priced and a good value.  The quality was easy to work with, and any issues were easy to address with green stuff.
  3. For terrain pieces that will be totally covered in pigments, priming them is not needed.  
  4. You can indeed airbrush a wash, but NEVER try to airbrush anything with “texture” in it, no matter what the label says (maybe a bigger nozzle might work, but I only have one size).
  5. Fixing pigments with airbrush thinner is easier than with pigment binder.  However, add any additional large features, such as extra rocks later, or use pigment binder on the rocks.
  6. Affixing larger models to plastic dinner plates is a good option for handling without touching the painted surfaces. 
  7. Having trays and palette wells (such as the one I put my pigment palette in) while working with pigments cuts down on the mess considerably.  Be ready to use multiple brushes, both wet and dry.  The mess vacuumed up or washed off easily from my palettes and trays.
  8. Always ensure your pigment bottles are shut tight.  I see how they could spill over easily.
  9. PVA glue and play sand are an inexpensive winner.
  10. The combination of thin steel and thin polystyrene yields a model base with little to any “rise” from the tabletop at its edge, and is strong.
  11. Real rusting takes time and is random.  So is weathering it.  The Vallejo and Citadel products I used were really nice.  I do see how the pigments would be useful for rusting and will have to try that too sometime.
  12. Thin your varnish to prevent the crazing! You can airbrush the thinner easily directly on pigments, just need to watch the airflow so they are not blown off.
  13. The Vallejo pigments video is a must see for newbies.
  14. Washes help in the end for touch ups.
  15. Love my storage box design!
  16. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures tufts are fantastic – need no extra glue and dry clearly.
  17. I love my new game mats!!

Eye Candy!

17 defense of the buildings frogs v Martians and Robot Peacekeepers
The Highlands mat showing the F.R.O.G. Commandos defending the ruined buildings and craters against the Martians, the Robot Peacekeepers, and a couple of Mark 1 Sphere tanks.

18 MArtians swarm building and the craters19 Frogbot holds the gap20 root peacekeepers swarm other flank21 top view of setup22 defenders view23 holding!24 holding! (2)25 last

Now for the walls on the “Wastelands” mat!  Here we have the F.R.O.G. Commandos getting picked on again and getting assaulted by Archive Warbots, Roberker, and more Mark 1 Sphere tanks – will they hold?

11 top view frogs behind walls v robots
Go Frogs, RIBBIT!

11a top view frogs behind walls v robots12 left wall view frogs behind walls v robots

13 tight wall view frogs behind walls v robots
Time for fried frog legs – and the rest too!

13a tight wall view frogs behind walls v robots

Hopefully you found this post fun and informative.  Please leave any feedback or suggestions in the comments section – and I realize that this was a long post, so if you’re still reading, THANKS!

PAINTS, PIGMENTS, INKS, GLUES, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Gray”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Airbrush Flow Improver”
  4. Army Painter “Black Battlefields” (flocking)
  5. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  6. Generic play sand
  7. Elmer’s “Glue-All”
  8. SceneARama “Rocks”
  9. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  10. Evergreen Scale Models #9020 0.5 mm plain polystyrene sheets
  11. Gorilla Glue
  12. Wargames Accessories steel bases (various)
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Wood”
  14. Vallejo Game Air “Steel”
  15. Americana “Raw Umber”
  16. Polly Scale “WWII Luftwaffe Uniform Gray”
  17. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Steel”
  18. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  19. Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”
  20. Vallejo “Black”
  21. Vallejo “Dark Slate Grey” (pigment)
  22. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  23. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  24. Vallejo “Faded Olive Green” (pigment)
  25. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  26. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  27. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  28. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  29. Polly S “Rust”
  30. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Rust Texture (Matt)”
  31. Vallejo Game Air “Rust 069”
  32. Vallejo Game Air “Rust 080”
  33. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  34. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Dark Rust Wash” (wash)
  36. Citadel “Valhallan Blizzard”
  37. Vallejo “Titanium White” (pigment)
  38. Vallejo “Carbon/Smoke Black” (pigment)
  39. Secret Weapons Washes “Stone” (wash)
  40. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  41. Citadel “Nuln Oil (Gloss)”
  42. Citadel “Niblet Green”
  43. Citadel “Athonian Camoshade” (wash)
  44. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  45. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  46. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  47. Army Painter “Wasteland Tufts”
  48. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures “12 mm tufts”

Thanks again – and please let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section!

 

 

 

Armorcast 3-Crater Set (ACCR001)

For August, I decided that my efforts needed to be directed towards a few new areas that would be challenging for me.  I wanted to get more terrain for my games, specifically some that would be useful in making my Combat Patrol™ games more visually appealing to the players.  I also wanted to try to use some new techniques and incorporate new materials into my hobby kit bag.

This would involve working on things and using multiple materials with which I am less than fully experienced.  My goal was to stretch my horizons as it were, and this goal also dovetailed nicely with the monthly painting challenge run by our Australian friend Azazel.  The theme for August was “Technical August”, which was a wide-open challenge to try or improve upon techniques that we had little to no experience in doing previously.  With that said, I decided that assembling, building, and painting some Armorcast terrain would be a good way to do that.  Mainly my goal was to focus on using the five 4-pigment bottle sets of Vallejo Pigments that I have not really used (Dust & Dirt, Mud & Sand, Rust & Corrosion, Soot & Ashes, and Stone & Cement).  I did use the Soot & Ashes set on some cheap 3D printed buildings, but otherwise not much.

I acquired three types of Armorcast resin terrain (all suitable for 28mm scale) for the August challenge – craters, ruined buildings, and sci-fi ruined walls:

As for my technical goals, my list of “challenge” skills, materials, and techniques include:

  • Assembling, building, and basing terrain
  • Use of materials to create weathering and rusting effects, to include:
    • Vallejo Pigments, to include application and fixing (covered in this blog post)
    • Vallejo Mecha Color weathering products
    • Weathering and rusting/oxidizing effect products, to incude:
      • Citadel Technical paints:
        • Typhus Corrosion
        • Ryza Rust
        • Nihilakh Oxide
      • Vallejo and Vallejo Mecha Color rusting and weathering products
        • Vallejo Pigments (various)
        • Vallejo Game Air rusts (71.069 and 71.080)
        • Vallejo Mecha Color Weathering products
          • Oil Stains (gloss)
          • Rust Wash
          • Rust Texture (Matt)
  • Create a new storage system for my terrain pieces

The ones above in bold font are ones I worked on for the 3-crater project.  Others will be used for the remaining projects, even if that lasts into September (which is likely).

I had previously worked on some Armorcast sci-fi pieces and grenade blasts.  I like their products, but wanted to get better at getting them on the tabletop.

0 Lots of terrain
My collection of resin awaiting work

I got good advice from Armorcast (Gin Fritter) and Buck Surdu about preparing the resin for painting.  I ended up using a few Exacto knives to remove flash, and then used Scotch-Brite pads to lightly (imperceptibly in fact) give the pieces a rubdown to achieve a “bite” for airbrush priming.  Additionally, I used a 180 grit sandpaper sheet to scuff up the craters’ bottoms so that they would glue better to their planned bases.  I then washed the pieces thoroughly with dish washing soap in the sink and let them dry.

1 clean up of armorcast craters
Cleaning the resin craters – one was gray, the other two were not.  You can see the sandpaper, pads, and removed resin.

For basing, I chose to incorporate a few different materials.  First, I cut irregular shapes from Evergreen Scale Models #9020 polystyrene sheets – which is quite thin (.020″/0.5 mm).  I mounted the crater pieces to the cut shapes with Gorilla Glue.  Then, I also used a number of differently sized thin steel bases from Wargames Accessories to mount under the shapes for both strength and to be able to later store and transport securely in magnetically lined storage boxes (which is another project in and of itself that I have planned).  Here, I also used Gorilla Glue.

2 mounting materials
The polystyrene sheets that I used for bases
3 after mounting
My craters and a ruined building on my polystyrene sheet bases

From my minimal experience with using pigments, I knew they had the potential for a huge mess.  I learned that using a cafeteria-type tray would make using them easier.  I hit my local Salvation Army and found four trays for this use.  Interestingly, three of them were from a former Digital (DEC) facility (there were a lot of them in Massachusetts before Compaq and later Hewlett Packard consumed them in 1998).  I removed what appeared to be ancient chili from them, and put them into use.  I also got a small palette from Michael’s craft store to use just for pigments.  I put that palette into a deep plastic Rubbermaid salad container, and I thereby effectively limited the migration of pigments from my work space.  You definitely do not want to have a fan or strong air circulation going while using pigments!

4 magic trays
Trays for using pigments.  Oh DEC, your cafeteria trays soldier on…

I then used PVA glue (good old Elmer’s) to affix some play sand and some Woodland Scenics stones to the bases, and let them harden.

6 sand and rocks
My sand and rocks for the bases

Next, in order that I could handle and work with the craters, I affixed their bases with poster tack to upside-down plastic plates before priming.  I marked each plate with a brown ink line for reference, and proceeded to airbrush prime the set with Vallejo “Surface Primer – Gray”.

7 after flocking
Primed craters

I then worked on the three craters sequentially, going from smallest to largest.  For the smallest one, I dry brushed with multiple shades of brown (there is a list of materials that I used at the end of this blog).  I was not sure that I needed to or if the pigments would be enough.  Primarily, I used the four pigments from the Vallejo “Mud and Sand” set (“Light Yellow Ochre”, “Natural Umber”, “Light Sienna”, and “Light Slate Grey”) plus the Vallejo “Faded Olive Green”.  I looked at the Vallejo YouTube video on pigments, and used some of the different techniques to apply and fix the pigments.

8 large one dry brushed
The smallest crater after heavy dry brushing.
9 middle one with pigments and capillary
The first crater after applying multiple pigments in a dry fashion.  I then fixed them with Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner” with a capillary action technique, leading to this mucky wet look.

After this, I moved on to the next larger crater, and also dry brushed it and used the same method of fixing the pigments.  One downside that I discovered was that the airbrush thinner tended to dissolve the PVA holding the rocks in place (but not the sand).  I replaced the displaced rocks on the bases after the airbrush thinner dried.

10 middle one just dry umber
The middle-sized crater before fixing the pigments – I also added more colors before fixing them here – this is a lot of “Natural Umber”.

Lastly, I worked on the largest crater.  Here, I passed on doing any dry brushing.  For this one, I employed Vallejo “Pigment Binder” instead of the airbrush thinner to fix the pigments –  and to prevent the dissolving issue under the added rocks.  I also needed to use Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water” to give better shading.  While the pigment binder worked, it did lead to a thicker application of pigment as you see below.  I thought it blended too much – and I believe that one should use that product selectively.  I subsequently added more pigments to make the crater less of a solid olive green, fixing them with airbrush thinner.  It worked.

11 large one before varnish and tufts
The largest painted crater before varnish

Lastly, I decided to airbrush varnish the craters.  Did I need to?  I wanted to protect the paint work, so I did.  I do think I needed to thin the varnish more, as I had some crazing to deal with, something I had not seen previously with its use on miniatures.  To help with color variety,  I applied Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” and “Athonian Camoshade” washes, mixed with a little varnish and applied with a brush to the affected areas.  I then applied Army Painter “Wasteland Tufts” and some 12 mm grasses from Shadow’s Edge Miniatures.

As an aside – I can say without a doubt that the Shadow’s Edge Miniatures products are far superior to Army Painter’s – they need no additional gluing, and they are visually stunning.  I plan on using their products, especially the flowers, on future unit bases to help with tabletop differentiation.

12 on the table
The three craters on the tabletop.  The thin bases made them quite flush with the tabletop.
12a underside showing steel
The bottom of the craters showing the use of the Wargames Accessories steel bases.
13a large done
Close up of the large crater as finished. 
13b middle done
Close up of the middle-sized crater.  I liked this sculpt the best of the three.
13c small done
The smallest crater.  I like the way the pigments made the bottom look realistically muddy.
14 Star Ducks in all 3
Some Star Ducks defend the craters.  I decided that the craters would be more useful looking as if they were from an older battle.  I was thinking of those I have seen at Verdun, though there are no historical records of ray gun armed ducks at Verdun…
15 Martians vs SFC Mallard
…or Martians…SFC Mallard defends the small crater against a Martian assault.
16 Martians vs SFC Mallard & Duck Wader
The Martians assault the middle-sized crater defended by Duck Wader and SFC Mallard.
17 Star Ducks vs the Space Dwarves
The Space Dwarves’ large crater is assaulted by the Star Ducks.

My lessons and thoughts from the project:

  1. The cleaning and scrubbing of the resin helped with the priming.  The Scotch-Brite pads work well for this use.
  2. For terrain pieces that will be totally covered in pigments, dry brushing with paint is not needed.  When I get to doing vehicles, such as tanks, it will be interesting to see how that works.
  3. Fixing pigments with airbrush thinner is easier than with pigment binder.  However, add any additional large features, such as extra rocks later, or use pigment binder on the rocks.
  4. Having trays and palette wells (such as the one I put my palette in) while working with pigments cuts down on the mess considerably.  Be ready to use multiple brushes, both wet and dry.  The mess vacuumed up or washed off easily from my palettes and trays.
  5. Always ensure your pigment bottles are shut tight.  I see how they could spill over easily (and I was lucky enough not to have this problem).
  6. PVA glue and play sand are an inexpensive winner.
  7. The combination of thin steel and thin polystyrene yields a model base with little to any “rise” from the tabletop at its edge, and is strong.
  8. Thin your varnish to prevent the crazing!  (Speaking with Buck today, he uses varnish to fix his pigments, so that needs to be considered).  I also want to see how well airbrushing the thinner fixes pigments in future projects, like my ruined buildings.
  9. Washes help in the end for touch ups.
  10. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures tufts are fantastic – need no extra glue and dry clearly.

Now the three craters are now ready to join my other terrain.  Hopefully I can get more done this month.

Thanks for reading and if you have feedback, especially on my results or suggestions from your experiences, please, share them in the comments section.  I do so much appreciate them!

PAINTS, PIGMENTS, INKS, GLUES, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Gray”
  2. Generic play sand
  3. Elmer’s “Glue-All”
  4. SceneARama “Rocks”
  5. Evergreen Scale Models #9020 0.5 mm plain polystyrene sheets
  6. Gorilla Glue
  7. Wargames Accessories steel bases (various)
  8. Americana “Raw Umber”
  9. Citadel “XV-88”
  10. American “Burnt Sienna”
  11. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  12. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  13. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  14. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  15. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  16. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  17. Vallejo “Faded Olive Green” (pigment)
  18. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  19. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  20. Vallejo “Airbrush Flow Improver”
  21. Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water” (wash/shade)
  22. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”
  23. Citadel “Athonian Camoshade”
  24. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  25. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  26. Army Painter “Wasteland Tufts”
  27. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures “12 mm tufts”

Thanks again – I hope this helps you or please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section.  After all, I am no expert in these – and I am just sharing my lessons learned – and I KNOW there are many other ways to accomplish what I did (I just don’t know them all!!).

 

 

 

 

“Mars Aliens” from Mega Miniatures, circa 2001, for Combat Patrol (TM)

I am always searching for cool old school figures that are out of production that I could use in my Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games.  This is firstly because I like to find neat stuff that time has passed by – and expose the figures to a brand new audience.  Secondly, it allows me to run really fun games – as the rules are so easy to play and learn even for true newbies – while older gamers are simultaneously having a good time.

Fortunately, I came across Michael Thomas’ site, classicminiatures.net.   There I found many Archive Star Rovers figures that he could cast (as he has a spin caster and now owns many original molds).  I acquired my Space Dwarves (Archive’s Long Gone Jones) from him, and he suggested two others that I might like.

One was also previously described in this blog – that being Mega Miniatures Robot Peacekeepers.  These were my first figures from that now-defunct company.  Michael piqued my interest with a second figure, which was Mega Miniatures “Mars Alien”  (#71501 seen here in the Lost Minis wiki) from their Sci Fi Future range Aliens subset.  It looks like the figure is the only one in that group, and was OOP in 2003.  It was sculpted by Hermann Grassnick, and the rights were sold by Mega Miniatures in 2011 (I am assuming to Michael Thomas).   I got 19 of the figures for a two-squad Martian platoon.

So when looking at these, one immediately sees their resemblance to the Martians in Tim Burton’s 1996 film, Mars Attacks.  You remember, the Martians speak “ack-ack” (which was the sound of a duck quacking played backwards).

Interestingly, I wonder if there was a copyright issue that caused a cessation of production?  I was also completely unaware that a UK company called Mantic Games put out a Mars Attacks game complete with figures and terrain.  I looked through the Mantic website, but it looks like the game is not really available or at least not supported much, or that Mantic is just selling whatever inventory it has of its components.  (Side note – I did also see the Kings of War game there which I have seen referred to often in the blogosphere. If I ever get back to fantasy armies, perhaps this will be a resource!).

Back to my Martians…

I did see that the figures from Mantic were colored like the movie, so I adopted that scheme for my Mega Miniature figures, which is a turquoise and lime green combination.  Of course, I thought I could finish these in time for a painting challenge by Azazel called “Jewel of July”  – after all turquoise is a jewel right?  But it was not to be, so these Martians got completed in early August.  There were no helmet bubbles or air tanks, but otherwise the figures were comparable.

I cleaned off any unwanted sprue residue, filed, and washed the figures.  They cleaned up easily, and the casting quality was good.  They are probably 25mm in scale (Star Duck size).  I mounted the figures to ¾” steel washers with Gorilla Glue, and then used poster tack to affix them to my painting jars.

0 Mega Mini DEAL 71501 Mars Attacks
The Martians as received

I wanted there to be an easy way for the platoon to be used on the tabletop.  I decided that I needed a painting plan.  So I made one, using different colors for the weapons, armored vests, belts, and accouterments – it was 11 PowerPoint pages – and you can see one such example below.  This helped me to keep it all straight.  I list all the paints that I used at the end of this blog post for those interested – there were a number used!

Mars attacks ppt painting plan
I usually use some details to denote who is who.  Usually red for officers, blue for higher NCO’s, and green for lower NCO’s.  I used two different colors on the trim to denote each squad.

As for the figures’ details, I did have an issue with the teeth and the brain folds (who doesn’t), as they tended to fill up quickly even with light airbrushing.  Eventually, I figured out how to present them in a game-worthy way.

1 Base coated
After priming and base coating with turquoise
1a Base coated
The B squad after priming

I ended up using multiple very thinned applications of Citadel “Ceramite White” on the Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise” so that I could get the other colors to be more vivid.

2 after white on heads
White heads – trim and belts next!

I tried to match the colors from the movie on the skulls and brains.  It was tough, but I found that using multiple inks, dry brushing, and washing here was a winning approach.  My initial tries were too dark or too light as shown below.

3 working on the brains
Need a middle ground!
4 brain solution and belts
Eventually, using patience, dry brushing, inks, and washes, I got my Martians’ brains to be close to the desired result.
5 close up mid point
I worked on the heads first, then inside to out on the torsos and legs.

After the painting was at a stage that I was happy with and what I wanted, I gave the torsos downward a good wash with Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss”.  I like the results it gives with metallics. Still, the damn teeth were bedeviling me,  Washes were not working, and dry brushing them was not either.  They were fairly snaggle-toothed dudes.

6 after painting and wash
The platoon leader after an application of wash on his torso.  But the teeth were unacceptable!

My dental solution was to use a very thin and slightly jagged line of Vallejo Game Air “Black” just under the upper teeth – and I settled on that.

7 wash and no wash comparisons
A member of A squad (fluorescent magenta highlights) on the left and a B squad member (fluorescent yellow highlights) on the right.  The B Martian has not yet gotten a wash with the Nuln Oil Gloss.  Here, the teeth are improved.
8 b team after wash
B squad after the Nuln Oil Gloss wash on their torsos and legs.

I then used Vallejo “Gloss Varnish” for my first varnishing application.  I planned on adding a matte coat after I finished the bases.

9 B team after gloss varnish
Shiny happy people…err Martians…after the gloss varnish (apologies to REM)

I then worked on the bases.  I decided to use Citadel “Martian Ironearth” on them.  I really like to get the crackling effect from that paint when you use a hand-held hair dryer on it as it dries.  So yes, I used a blow dryer on dudes that not only had no hair, but no scalps…in any case the bases came out fine.  Instead of using a wash on them, I dry brushed the bases sequentially with Armory “Brick Red” (from 1996) and P3 “Ryn Flesh”.  I liked the effect better than my previous uses.

10 after base prep
B squad figure after base completion but before the matte varnish
11 matte applied group shot
The platoon all done and waiting for the matte varnish to dry
12 closeup of PL complete on jar
Closeup of the platoon leader
13 closeup of trooper complete on jar
An A squad trooper from Team 1 (denoted by the copper colored weapon)

Overall, I am happy to have some more “bad guys” to add to my retro sci-fi forces.  I do not think that they are my best work, but they are good enough, and should be fine for gaming.  And now, some action shots!

14 group shot in formation
The Martian platoon
15 leadership
Martian Platoon leadership – platoon leader is in the center, with the A squad leader and his two team leaders on the left of the photo, and the B squad leader and his two team leaders on the right.
15a belts and leadership
An example of how I painted the belts differentially.  From left to right, the platoon leader (red), the A squad leader (blue), a B squad team leader (green), an A squad trooper (magenta), and a B squad trooper (yellow)
16 A Squad moves out
The A squad moves out around some Armorcast terrain.
17 B Squad moves out
The B squad checks out the cooling units and power generator
18 A1 team with ball tank
The A squad’s Team 1 moves up alongside a Mark 1 Sphere tank
19 A2 team surrounds Texicans
The A squad’s Team 2 surrounds some Texican Space Rangers
20 PL and B1 take on Hurraku
Size does not matter as the platoon leader and the B squad’s Team 1 move in to kill the Hurraku Space Phraints…or at least try to do so!
21 B2 charging into Space Dwarves
The Space Dwarves throw grenades at the advancing Martians – the Team 2 from B squad
22 second group shot
ACK ACK ACK!

I hope you enjoyed this post – please let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section.  And no, I will not have a Slim Whitman weapon that will kill these guys!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  2. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  3. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  4. Tamiya “Gold Leaf X-12”
  5. Vallejo Model Air “Gold”
  6. Citadel “Retributor Armour”
  7. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  8. Tamiya “Gun Metal X-10”
  9. Tamiya “Chrome Silver X-11”
  10. Tamiya “Copper XF-6”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Purple”
  12. Vallejo “Metal Medium”
  13. Vallejo “Gloss White”
  14. Tamiya “X-20A Thinner”
  15. Vallejo “Thinner Medium”
  16. DecoArt “Dazzling Metallic – Berry”
  17. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  18. Secret Weapons Washes “Parchment” (ink)
  19. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (wash/shade)
  20. Craftsmart “Ultra Bright Metallic – Amethyst”
  21. DecoArt “Dazzling Metallic – White Pearl”
  22. Vallejo “Light Orange”
  23. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Green”
  24. Vallejo “Vermilion”
  25. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  26. Citadel “Drakenhof Nightshade” (wash/shade)
  27. Vallejo Game Color “Livery Green”
  28. Vallejo Game Air “Sick Green”
  29. Polly S “Venetian Dull Red”
  30. Secret Weapons Washes “Just Red” (ink)
  31. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  32. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green”
  33. Secret Weapons Washes “Blue” (ink)
  34. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Color “Magenta Fluorescent”
  36. Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Fluorescent”
  37. Citadel “Martian Ironearth”
  38. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  39. Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
  40. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  41. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  42. Armory “Brick Red”
  43. P3 “Ryn Flesh”
  44. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (wash)
  45. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again – hope this was fun to see!!

Retro Sci-Fi Combat Patrol – Texican Space Rangers & Space Phraints defeat Space Dwarves & Robot Peacekeepers

The July 2018 session of the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club was fun time for all.  We had an epic battle using the Combat Patrol™ gaming system.  The battle (called “Get The Data!”) was between the attackers (an alliance of the Texican Space Rangers and the Hurraku Space Phraints) and the combined forces of the Robot Peacekeepers and the Space Dwarves.  The objective for the attackers was to seize weapons design data from a computer in an abandoned and ruined factory/research facility.  The defenders mission was to exact a high price in casualties from the assault force.

So why did I align the Texicans and the Hurraku?  One picture in the Star Rovers game shows them having a drink at Moondog Maude’s Cantina – so I went with that.

21 bar image of rangers
Hey, after this drink, let’s go to battle!

I assigned points differentially for the attackers and the defenders based on the mission.  The Hurraku attacked on the defenders’ left, and the Texican Space Rangers attacked from the defenders’ right.  The defenders also had Robo-Sentry guns deployed run by RT22.   I also gave them Roberker, a flame-throwing giant robot to help with their defense.

1 0718 Startwith Will Valentine (2)
Will prepares to defend
2 0718 the cowboys get cover
The Texicans destroy a Robo-Sentry gun, then take cover.  You can see the defenders in position in the building.  If only the defenders had mortars!
3 0718 the cowboys get hit
Two Texicans are dispatched by automatic weapons fire.  I use casualty cards to designate fallen figures and to help score the battle at the end.  Plus I think it shows the battle’s progression without having a bunch of minis tipped over. 
4 0718 the cowboys assault the bunker
Chris Comeau (Texican commander) made a bold move and had his gray squad jet pack directly into a bunker filled with one of Will’s Robot Peacekeeper team.  The bots passed a reaction test and the Rangers took massive fire and three dead before they could fire.  The red beads mark morale checks for them, the blue for the bots.  This sacrifice was to prove worthy, as follow on teams of Space Rangers were able to clear the stunned robots from the bunker.
5 0718 the cowboys take out a rsg
Another of the 5 Robo-Sentry guns is cleared by the Space Rangers.
6 on the other flank Jared Burns and Michael Morgan
On the other flank, Jared Burns and Mike Morgan were able to use the long ranges of the Hurraku blasted to keep the defenders’ heads down.  They maneuvered to flank the defenders.
7 bugs hiding
One of the Agribot automatic weapons did hit a team of Hurraku for one wound.  Unluckily, the team promptly failed morale and became pinned behind a boulder.  They were eventually able to rally.
8 Roberker moves out
Back on the right flank, Will and Dave decided that it was time for Roberker to counterattack with his dual flame throwing arms.  Roberker successfully roasted a number of the purple-sombreroed Space Ranger team.  However, he put himself in the open…
9 Chris Comeau happy as Roberker dies
…and he took automatic weapons fire from multiple Rangers.  The plume from his smoking hulk is next to the bunker…Chris Comeau smiles…he also killed Roberker in his last game BTW!
10 Carnage by the bunker
The Robot Peacekeepers in the bunker then drew an unfortunate morale result that caused them to perform a banzai charge (I have robots use the WWII Japanese in the Pacific cards for morale).  Thus, they left the nice safe bunker and got mauled.  Note the large number of blue morale checks to be performed after the banzai charge.
11 sdas last stand
By this point, Will and his dad Dave had to leave, so I took over.  The defense was collapsing, so I withdrew the front line defenders as best as I could.
12 sith smash
The sacrifices of the Texican Space Rangers allowed the Hurraku to penetrate the defensive position.  The first in was their Sith warrior, who used the powers of the Force to smash two robots (RT22 and a Robot Peacekeeper) with a Telekinesis attack by sending them into the factory walls.  This destroyed them.  As you can see, the morale checks were piling up…
13 satchel charge
…so why not add more to the carnage with a satchel charge thrown by a Hurraku Space Phraint into the Space Dwarves (the smoke plume here)!  Meanwhile, the Hurraku Space Phraints swarmed in.
14 the end
The attackers swarm the compound.  Game over.

The game was fun, and when the tide turned, the attackers did a good job of exploiting the openings presented.  I love it when maneuver is executed well.  The Texican Space Rangers aggressiveness resulted in nearly 50% casualties, but helped the Hurraku press their assault on the other flank.  The defenders did get some very unlucky morale results, but so did the attackers so it was a wash there.  Next time I run this scenario, I probably will include some defensive indirect fire support as well as some time constraints on the attackers.

Still, it was a fun session, and I am appreciative to the players!  It was nice to meet everyone, and I’m glad that they got to learn the system so quickly.  Our next session is tentatively scheduled for August 18th.

 

 

 

 

Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodons – Archive #2042, circa 1978 – Completed!

The Power-Armored Frinx are back, and this time as cavalry riding glyptodons into battle!  The Frinx were a creation of Archive Miniatures back around 1977 or 1978.  They are a smallish lizard-like race, often wearing power armor.

Glyptodons on the other hand were very real and existed from the Ice Age until about 11,650 years ago (give or take).  They were prehistoric cousins of the modern armadillo, only they were mega fauna – and were as big as a Volkswagen bug.  Plus, there is that massive spiked tail to consider.  Why Archive put these two together is anyone’s guess, but the combination is indeed quirky and fun.

7 Glyptodon
Artist conception of a glyptodon – as big as a car

 

6 Armadillo
For you non-US folks, this is an armadillo. It’s about the size of a cat or small dog.  None are around me in New England, but I saw plenty as road kill when I lived down South.
0 Star Rover rules pic
Sketch of Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon from page 3.10 of the Star Rovers Module 1 rules

As a Frinx backgrounder for those interested, I have previously written several posts on the venerable Frinx, going back to my casting of their infantry in February 2016 (here), my painting and figure conversions of my Power-Armored Frinx infantry platoon in February 2017 (here), my May 2017 discovery and acquisition of an original Star Rovers RPG (here), and my casting of the Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon (Archive #2042) in July of 2017 (here).  So this journey has already been 2½ years in the making.  Phew!

Interestingly, the 1981 Archive catalog that came with my Star Rovers game does not have the #2042 listed, despite the drawing shown above being in the rule book.  My guess would be that the kit was uneconomical to produce and/or difficult to produce well.  I document several these issues in my casting post – but originally the kit contained no less than 11 pieces as shown below.  As reference, the scale of the set is 25mm to 28mm.

3 close up contents
Original Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon kit

I made my own modifications to this particular set and made molds to recreate the kit.  It is indeed rare and given that it was already OOP by 1981, there cannot be many of these around.  I thought they would serve well in a traditional cavalry role for my Frinx platoon.  I cast several and shared with Buck Surdu (who graciously provided me the original you see above so that we both could have some).  Buck did a great job painting seven of my recasts of these back in 2017 which you can see here.

This month to add to my Frinx forces I managed to finish 5 Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodons (let’s call them PAFOG for short!) models.  As shown above, each set has two Frinx riders on a glyptodon.  I chose 5 because I felt that 10 Frinx riders would be a good number for a cavalry squad in either the recon or screening role in my Combat Patrol™ games.  It also would give the unit enough punch if deployed as a mobile counterattack force.  I sorted out what figures that I had, and chose the ones I would use for the cavalry squad.  Some of the riders’ weapons were not very well cast, so I converted these weapons.  I used Bombshell Miniatures sprues of Arc Weapons (#36013) to replace six of the blasters.  My initial plan is currently  to give these weapons better capabilities versus robot foes, which should prove interesting given that I have a lot of robots now.

1 Frinx on Glyptodon - collection
My initial assortment of PAFOG before I cleaned the chosen 5 – you can see that I still had modeling clay on the original on the bottom right.
2 Frinx on Glyptodon - collection ready for cleaning
Boot camp time – must select the best for the cavalry!
3 Frinx on Glyptodon - final 5 and weapons
The final five plus the Bombshell Miniatures Arc Weapons.  I decided to use the largest arc weapons that you see here as their sizes worked well.
4 example casting front
Washed and ready for priming.  As you can see, the details are much less crisp than I would like.  His weapon was replaced with an arc weapon.   This is the front rider (recast).
5 example casting back
This is the back rider (recast).

In order to make these Frinx “pop”, I needed a plan.  Clearly, my painting was going to do a lot to overcome the plainness of the riders.  I also needed to figure out how I was going to base them for painting and handling – unlike other Archive Miniatures these had no bases.  These are also very heavy (solid lead/tin).  The feet of the glyptodons were not level, so choosing the right basing was a big quandary for me for several reasons.  I tried several approaches in my mind, but eventually chose to emulate Buck’s choice and use washers.  I did choose smaller ones than Buck did – using #8 steel washers and E6000 epoxy under each foot, allowing for hardening overnight.

8 basing on #8 washers
On their washers for an overnight set.

Once they had set, I began by priming the bottoms, letting that cure, and then doing the tops.  My goal was to make the bottoms reddish brown, leading to a more brownish top as the drawing of the glyptodon above shows.  It was not easy!  I had to do a lot of handling of the paint jobs and eventually I moved them to popsicle stick frames with poster tack, which was good for a temporary, if imperfect, solution.

10 glyp base coating
Early stages of priming and base coating of the glyptodons.
12 glyps on frames
Eventually I mounted the glyptodons on these temporary frames for painting – still not ideal.

After carving away 6 defective metal weapons, I mounted the riders on poster tack mounds on specimen jars.  The saddles really did not present me with many other options for mounting them for painting.

As for a color scheme, I decided to go with the branch color of the US Army Cavalry (now Armor), that being yellow.  Besides, yellow is a difficult color to pull off, so I thought it would pose a nice additional challenge.  I primed them, and subsequently airbrushed the riders with Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow” as a base coat.  I then used Reaper MSP “Grey Liner” over the riders to help show me what parts I could paint to bring out the best details.  This step really was useful.

11 riders airbrushed
Frinx riders after airbrush the primer and base coat.
13 mid stage on riders
Early stages of painting the riders
14 mid stage on riders
Adding some metallics to the riders and inks to the arc weapons
15 riders painted need wash
Painting completed for riders – awaiting a wash application
16 washed awaiting affixing of weapons
The 10 riders washed and waiting for their weapon conversions.  I converted 6, and yes, I painted an extra arc weapon just in case!  I primarily used inks on the arc weapons over a chrome base coat for a retro sci-fi look.  After this, I applied a gloss varnish to them.

It was time now to return to the sturdy mounts – and I had gotten to the point that I was happy with my painting on them.  However, what was missing was a set of reins for each glyptodon.  When I cast them, I did use the original bits in their mouths, but the original reins were totally inadequate in my view.

I decided to make reins from the smallest jewelry chain I could find.  Figuring out how to affix the chains was a lot of trial and error on one of the extra unpainted glyptodons that I had.  I tried using wire, thread, as well as just hooking the chain to the mounts – all for naught.  Then, a light bulb went off – toothpicks!

I determined that I needed 27 links for the main chain loop for the reins.  I threaded the last chain link through a wooden toothpick.  I then inserted the toothpick into the bits by the mouths.  I used a push pin to slide the link into position on the toothpick, and applied a very small amount of Gorilla Glue on the wood/chain/bit connection.  After the glue dried (often with the assistance of a hand held hair dryer), I snipped the toothpick with a sprue cutter as close as I could to the bit.  The net effect was like a tent peg and a rope, securing the chain to the glyptodons’ bridle bits.  I repeated the process on both sides, then tack glued the chain at the top and above the ears to make a loop.  Then I dry brushed the chain with Tamiya “Gun Metal X-10” and let it dry.  Lastly, I applied Citadel “Nuln Oil” to the chain.

17 glypts on frame mid stage
Painted glyptodons before final wash application and addition of reins.
18 glypts after gloss wash
I applied Citadel “Agrax Earthshade Gloss” on the back, expecting the later matte varnish to dull it down.  Still need reins!
18a old reins
These are the original reins – not acceptable!
19 chain
Time for some jewelry making, I mean rein making (sounds weird huh!).
20 27 links
27 links, no more no less!
21 toothpick design
He looks a bit like he needs an orthodontist.  This is how I mounted the chains into the bits.
22 after snipping toothpick and gluing chains
Main chain loop mounted, before painting it and the bits.

After this, I removed the glyptodons from the frames in order to give the mounts a matte varnish airbrush treatment.  Then I mounted the riders to the mounts with E6000 epoxy, and let it harden.  I wanted to connect the chains to the front riders hands.  For this I needed a massive 4 links of jewelry chain per model, push pins, and patience.  I used Gorilla Glue, push pins, and the blow dryer to get the additional chain segments in place.  I then applied the same painting and wash techniques to the 4 links.

23 4 links
4 links, no more, no less!  I used push pins to help as I cut the links.

 

24 with extra chain and waiting final matte
The glossy riders on the matte glyptodon with the new chain attachment which has not yet been painted.  Subsequently, the whole PAFOG got a couple of matte varnish coats.
25 dinner anyone
After final varnish of an airbrush matte coat.
26 metric
For you metric system users, an idea of the weight and size of the model as completed.
27 english pounds 4.64 ounces
For us in the USA, its a mere 4.64 ounces of heavy metal goodness…not a quarter pounder I’d eat by the way…

The PAFOG squad project was now complete – except that I needed to make corrals for them as they are so heavy as to slide in my other Frinx box.  No worries, as I want them to survive for many future games, and I’ve done that for other outsized figures

This project also counts for me in a community painting challenge that my Australian friend Azazel has sent out for July 2018.  It is for a “Jewel” project – and given all the work that went into these from acquisition to casting to conversion to final painting – I’m confident that these will meet the requirement!

The eye candy follows, and hopefully you will find these as cool as I did.  I always appreciate your feedback dear readers – let me know your thoughts and suggestions.  Thanks for looking!

29 group shot 2
Frinx, form up!
30 moving out
Move out!
32 square trooper for casualty cards
This is the section leader’s mount.  The section leader has blue markings.  These figures are the originals and have the original weapons.  In a Combat Patrol game, they will draw two cards for movement.  Between the power armor and the glyptodon’s armor, they should have some ability to take damage.
33 rear shot
A good view of the back ends where the bony spiked tails are found.  Here, on the right is the section leaders mount, and on the left is a mount with one Frinx armed with an arc weapon and the other with a blaster.
34 group front
Nice group shot – note the conversions with the arc weapons.
35 trooper side
Close up of the right side.
37 conferring with Texicans
A conference with Lt. Ma’k (the Frinx platoon leader in red), some Frinx Amethyst Squad infantry, and the Texican Space Rangers.
38 surrounding space dwarves
Surrounding the Space Dwarves in a final charge!

For those interested, here is the list of the paints, etc. that I used in this project.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  2. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  3. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  4. Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
  5. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  6. Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
  7. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  8. Vallejo “Red”
  9. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  10. Vallejo “Black Grey”
  11. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  12. Reaper MSP “Grey Liner” (wash)
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Black (metallic)”
  15. Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Ochre”
  16. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Rust 080”
  18. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  19. Tamiya “Chrome Silver X-11”
  20. Tamiya “X-20A Thinner”
  21. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  22. Vallejo Model Air “Medium Gunship Gray”
  23. Tamiya “Copper XF-6”
  24. Tamiya “Gun Metal X-10”
  25. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  26. Citadel “Hexwraith Flame”
  27. P3 “Green” (ink)
  28. Citadel “‘Ardcoat”
  29. Secret Weapons Washes “Just Red” (ink)
  30. Citadel “Soulstone Blue”
  31. Vallejo Game Air “Fluorescent Red”
  32. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  33. Secret Weapons Washes “Purple” (ink)
  34. Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Fluorescent”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  36. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (wash)
  37. Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”
  38. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade Gloss” (wash)
  39. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (wash)
  40. Citadel “Castellan Green”
  41. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  42. Vallejo “Thinner Medium”
  43. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  44. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again!

 

Space Dwarf Assault Squad

Archive Miniatures Star Rovers game and miniature range had a lot of very fun figures, many of which I have painted and discussed in past entries in this blog.  A couple of the line that caught my eye were “Long Gone Jones” (Archive #2211), a space dwarf, and “Agribot S1L1” (Archive #2204).  Both were sculpted and put into production around 1977.  I’m not exactly sure of the name derivations, but methinks there was some degree of Archive humor there based on the late 70’s – and I leave it to you readers to make your own guess!

I had previously acquired one Long Gone Jones (let’s call him LGJ) miniature on eBay, but had not found any others.  However, Michael Thomas at classicminiatures.net (who produced the Robot Peacekeepers I previously described here) also had the molds for these figures.  So I placed the order from him, and got ten LGJ’s to add to my original one in addition to three Agribots.  I thought I would now have enough to build a squad for sci-fi games using Combat Patrol™ .

Each LGJ is in power armor, has a jet pack, and is armed with an automatic weapon coming out of his right arm.  The Agribots look like they have a hovering mechanism, and are armed with what looks like a machine gun.

For the unit’s organization, I decided to have a LGJ squad leader with a dedicated Agribot as the squad headquarters.  He would lead the squad’s two Space Dwarf Assault teams (A and B).  Each team would have its own LGJ team leader, 4 LGJ troopers, and an Agribot.  I’ll probably treat the LGJ weapons as analogues to sub-machine guns, and the Agribots as mobile medium machine guns.  This made a total of 14 figures for the squad.  I was thinking about the organization of Soviet Machine Pistol squads in WWII as inspiration.  My numbers aren’t exactly the same, but we are talking about Space Dwarves here!  To round out the end of June, I finished off the Space Dwarf Assault Squad.

0 Long Gone Jones Archive
The Space Dwarves I got from Michael Thomas
0 Archive Agribots
The three Agribots I got from Michael Thomas
1 Long Gone Jones Archive 2204 as received
Frontal view of my original Long Gone Jones (darker one on the left) and the one I got from Michael Thomas (right).  The mold he uses has held up well.
2 back Long Gone Jones Archive as received
Rear view of LGJ’s before any work on my part
3 bottom Long Gone Jones Archive as received
The bottom of the original LGJ – “© 77 ARCHIVE”

 

4 Agribot S1L1 (2211)Archive as received facing left
One of the Agribots I got from Michael Thomas.  It has the typical crispness one would expect from a 1970’s mold – clearly I needed to be creative to make this one look good.  The other side cast better as you see below.
5 Agribot S1L1 (2211)Archive as received facing right
Agribots better side

First, I cleaned and washed the group.  Then I filed off the mold lines and flash on the figures.  After this, I mounted them on ¾” steel washers with Gorilla glue, and affixed the washers to poster tack on top of specimen bottles.  I primed the squad white with Vallejo “White Surface Primer” with my Iwata Eclipse airbrush, and let that harden.

I wanted to give these figures a totally retro sci-fi look – so I again used the Createx paints to airbrush even more colors (added Pearl Blue, Pearl Lime Green, and Pearl Green) onto the squad than I had done with the Robot Peacekeepers.  I figured the dwarves would want more individuality!  For ease of play on the tabletop, I did plan to similarly color coordinate the lenses on the LGJ’s and the Agribots with Vallejo Mecha Color fluorescent paints.  On the optics/lenses, the squad leader and his Agribot would get Vallejo Game Air “Fluorescent Red”, Team A got Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”, and Team B got Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”.  These would take multiple light thin coats to get the desired effects.  And of course with so much metallics, I needed to use a lot of Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss”.  I list the paints and materials I used at the end of the blog for those interested.

6 squad on bases filter
The squad awaits mounting and priming
7 squad on bases primed
And here they are primed and mounted!  I labeled the specimen jars to keep track of which one was in which squad, and what the color plan was for each figure.
8 squad on bases base coated
After airbrushing the base colors.
9 paints
Pearlized Createx colors used (bottle backs)
10 paints
Createx bottles fronts – I love that many of them are designated “Wicked Colors”.  “Wicked” is a common term here in Massachusetts to designate much more than “very”.
11 close up after wash and optics
After a painting the small details and using multiple washes, I detailed the optics/lenses with white to help with the adhesion and look of the fluorescent paints.
12 close up after wash and optics painted
Awaiting the first coat of gloss varnish

My plan for varnishing the group and the bases was to initially apply an airbrush coat of Vallejo “Gloss Varnish” before working on the bases.  The bases would then get a treatment of Citadel “Astrogranite Debris”.  I like it better than “Astrogranite” – it sets up better for dry brushing later.  Once that was dry, I washed it with “Nuln Oil”, let that dry, and then dry brushed the bases with Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”.  To give the bases a nice lunar look, I added Citadel “Gulliman Blue” glaze and let that dry.  Lastly, I gave the entire squad a second coat of Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish” for protection and to dull the shines down to an acceptable level.

13 real close up after wash and optics painted
After application of gloss varnish – shiny new space dwarves…
14 shiny leader
Squad leader close up after gloss varnish
15 shiny Agribot
Squad leader’s Agribot after gloss varnish

I think you’ll see below on the finished figures the difference that the matte varnish adds, while preserving the metallic look of the power armor that I was attempting to capture.

16 Leadership of Space Dwarf Assault Squad
Finished Long Gone Jones squad leader and Agribot.  Their base color was “Pearl Red”.
17 Team A of Space Dwarf Assault Squad
Team A
18 Team B of Space Dwarf Assault Squad
Team B
19 Space Dwarf Assault Squad Leadership
Space Dwarf Assault Squad leadership – the team leaders are in “Pearlized Copper”.
20 Space Dwarf Assault Squad Agribots
The three Agribots, arranged to see the side and back details.
21 Space Dwarf Assault Squad Team Leaders
Front and back details of the team leaders.
22 Space Dwarf Assault Squad Tangerine Troopers
Front and back details of the Space Dwarf troopers in “Pearl Tangerine”
23 Space Dwarf Assault Squad Plum Troopers
Front and back details of the LGJ troopers in “Pearl Plum”
24 Space Dwarf Assault Squad Green Troopers
Front and back details of the LGJ troopers in “Pearlized Green”
25 Space Dwarf Assault Squad Blue Troopers
Front and back details of the LGJ troopers in “Pearlized Blue”
26 Squad moves out
Space Dwarf Assault Squad moves out for action!

27 Squad moves out

I am pleased with the final product – and I can see them being on one side or the other of many future tabletop conflicts.  Whoever is paying them the most of course!  That’s the nice part of not needing a Codex!  I do think that they are colorful enough, but power armor covers them nicely.

I hope that you enjoyed looking at this – and this was my most productive month ever in terms of painting – 57 figures in total (3 units) for “Junit”, a community painting challenge run so very well by our Aussie friend Azazel.  If you’re reading this and are not familiar with his blog, it’s well worth the look.

28 June 2018 production
June’s production – 32 Archive Texican Space Rangers, 11 Mega Miniatures Robot Peacekeepers, and 14 in the Space Dwarf Assault Squad.

I always read your comments and feedback – and as the goal of this blog to entertain and bemuse you – let me know if I did (or did not).  So let me know your thoughts – and as always, thanks for looking!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  2. Createx “Pearl Red”
  3. Createx “Pearl Copper”
  4. Createx “Pearl Tangerine”
  5. Createx “Pearl Plum”
  6. Createx “Pearl Lime Green”
  7. Createx “Pearl Green”
  8. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  9. Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
  10. Createx “4012 High Performance Reducer”
  11. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  12. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  13. Vallejo “Black Grey”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Chrome”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Copper”
  16. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Black (metallic)”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “Steel”
  19. Vallejo Game Air “Fluorescent Red”
  20. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”
  21. Vallejo Mecha Color “Magenta Fluorescent”
  22. Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal”
  23. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  24. Citadel “Astrogranite Debris” (texture)
  25. Citadel “Gulliman Blue” (glaze)
  26. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again!

 

Robot Peacekeepers

Back when I was acquiring the Texican Space Rangers from Michael Thomas’ site, classicminiatures.net, Michael let me know that he had some other cool figures that were not listed on his miniatures list.  One of these was a cool robot that he called “Advancing Robot”.  Supposedly, it was from the now-shuttered Mega Miniatures company as part of its Salvage Crew Robots & Vehicles line, with a product number of DEAL-0372.  Michael sent me a picture, and I bought 11 for a squad for Combat Patrol™ games, along with some others that I will hopefully be able to share with you all when they are painted.  The figures are 28mm in size.  Certainly, Michael is great to work with if you have any interest in buying from him

This unit is also one I can use for the June Community Painting Challenge from Azazel as my second unit for the month.

00 unknown pic
The photo that I got from Michael Thomas

However, when I looked at the Lost Minis Wiki, I was perplexed – it was not there!  I reached out to the Old School Miniatures group on FaceBook as I thought these might be old, but no luck was to be found there.  Then I tried The Miniatures Page (TMP), and got a bit luckier with this information.   So, my newly acquired robots were indeed from Mega Miniatures but circa 2008, which ironically makes them relatively young in my collection.  Still, I had no luck with any catalog or descriptor info, until Neil at Lost Minis Wiki helped me out with a 2012 Mega Miniatures catalog and there on page 60 was my robot.

23 Mega Minis catalog (2)
There it is!  Bottom row, second from the right.

I now knew the figure was DEAL-0372, Robot Peacekeeper from Mega Miniatures!  It was armed with an automatic weapon left hand and a claw on its right hand.  As I had 11 of these, I decided that it would be a squad of two teams of five robots (four each plus its own team leader) and led by a squad leader.

0 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372
As delivered

I cleaned the figures,  and filed and cut away any flash (of which there was very little).  I mounted them on ¾” steel washers with Gorilla Glue.  Then I affixed them to poster tack on top of specimen jars for painting.  I used my airbrush to prime them white with Vallejo “Surface Primer-White”.

2 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372
The squad assembled and primed for painting

As for a painting scheme, I decided that I wanted them to pop color-wise, so I again used paints that are more likely to be used models of muscle cars.  Createx makes some really cool pearlized colors that I like for metallics – they really work well as long as you use the proper pressure in your airbrush and you thin them appropriately.  What I really like is that they put the appropriate pressure setting on the bottle.

For the squad leader, I used “Pearlized Red”.  Each of the two team leaders got “Pearl Copper”.  Team A got “Pearl Tangerine”, and Team B got “Pearl Plum”.  Each of these had different pressure requirements, but switching between paints was extremely easy and cleanup afterwards was a breeze.

4 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 after base coat
All base coated
5 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 paints
The base coat paints

At this point, my daughter Ellen, who was visiting with her daughter (our granddaughter) Tabitha, saw them and said, “cool, they look like Skittles”.  As a result, I kept thinking about candy as I worked on them!  Of course, a song crept into my mind, and so from 1982, here’s the theme for this blog post, from Bow Wow Wow for no other reason that it stuck in my head.

Try getting that out of your head now!

Back to the project!  I then used a series of washes and paints on them to bring out details better and to make them easier to use on the tabletop.  I decided that the optics (can’t really say that the robots have eyes) would be the key differentiating feature between Team A and Team B.  I painted the optics white, then lined them with “Nuln Oil Gloss” (the gloss version works much better on metallics).  Then, using fluorescent colors (yellow, magenta, and green) from Vallejo Mecha Colors, I painted each robots peepers (I needed another word for optics) multiple times until I got a nice radiant glow from them.  I highlighted the group with brushing on more of the aforementioned pearlized paints.  All the paints that I used are listed at the end of this post for those interested.

6 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress whites and fluorescents
Mid stage, showing the optics in progress
7 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress painted less bases
Completely painted and shiny (too shiny)
8 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress painted less bases close up
Yes, too shiny…but it was all part of a plan…

I then used an airbrushed gloss varnish to protect the paint jobs.  But wait you say, gloss?  On already shiny minis?  Yes – and after that dried it allowed me then to work on my bases.

For this group, I wanted to use a less Martian-like red on the bases – and go with a more lunar look.  For this, I used Citadel’s “Astrogranite”, a texture paint on the bases.  With all of Citadel’s texture paints, I find it useful to use a hand-held hair dryer to get better effects from them in terms of cracking or making crevices.  I did not see that effect with the “Astrogranite”, but it did dry enough for easy dry brushing later.  After it dried I was able to effectively apply a wash of Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” to darken the low spots.  For dry brushing, I applied Vallejo “Wolf Grey” to the bases.  That turned out to be a bit too plain for my tastes, so I added a glaze of Citadel “Gulliman Blue” which made a nice tint on the bases.  Now I had a good lunar look.

9 SL close up before matte
After bases painted before applying the matte varnish

Lastly, I finished the models with a second coat of varnish, this time Vallejo “Mecha Varnish Matt Varnish” with my airbrush.  This did a nice job on the models and the bases.

10 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress complete drying
Drying on the deck in the sun
11 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress complete drying side
Catching some rays, not ray guns…

I am pretty satisfied with how the unit came out.  The sculpts are retro-looking enough to work with my other Archive stuff – I think they look “Robocop-ish”, and I’m sure I can use them to augment any force, maybe even the Texican Space Rangers.  The Lost Minis Wiki is now updated with the Salvage Crew Robots & Vehicles range.

12 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress complete squad
The squad assembled.  The red Robot Peacekeeper is the squad leader.  The yellowish ones are the team leaders.  Orange is the color for Team A (with green optics) and purple (or plum) is the color for Team B (with yellow optics)

13 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress complete squad better

14 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 leadership
The leadership
15 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 Team A
Team A
16 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 Team B
Team B
17 SL Square for casualty card
Robot Peacekeeper Squad Leader close up, frontal view.  Contrast this one with the shinier version I showed before.
18 SL Square for casualty card rear
Robot Peacekeeper Squad Leader, from the back
19 Tm A ldr Square
Team A leader
21 Tm A trooper Square
Team A Robot Peacekeeper
21 Tm B Trooper Square
Team B Robot Peacekeeper
22 Assembled Squad
The squad moves out!

I hope you enjoyed these Robot Peacekeepers!  Please leave your feedback in the comments section – I enjoy your thoughts and suggestions.  Thanks and hopefully I get another group done soon.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  2. Createx “Pearl Red”
  3. Createx “Pearl Copper”
  4. Createx “Pearl Tangerine”
  5. Createx “Pearl Plum”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Createx “4012 High Performance Reducer”
  9. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  10. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Metallic Blue”
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Magenta Fluorescent”
  14. Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Fluorescent”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal”
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Black (metallic)”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Chrome”
  18. Vallejo “Black Grey”
  19. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  20. Citadel “Astrogranite” (texture)
  21. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  22. Citadel “Gulliman Blue” (glaze)
  23. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again for looking!