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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
For those interested, here is the list of the paints, etc. that I used in this project.
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:
Citadel “Imperium Primer”
Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
Vallejo “Flow Improver”
Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
Vallejo “Black Grey”
Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
Reaper MSP “Grey Liner” (wash)
Vallejo Game Air “Black”
Vallejo Model Air “Black (metallic)”
Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Ochre”
Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
Vallejo Model Air “Rust 080”
Citadel “Ceramite White”
Tamiya “Chrome Silver X-11”
Tamiya “X-20A Thinner”
Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
Vallejo Model Air “Medium Gunship Gray”
Tamiya “Copper XF-6”
Tamiya “Gun Metal X-10”
Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
Citadel “Hexwraith Flame”
P3 “Green” (ink)
Secret Weapons Washes “Just Red” (ink)
Citadel “Soulstone Blue”
Vallejo Game Air “Fluorescent Red”
Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
Secret Weapons Washes “Purple” (ink)
Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Fluorescent”
Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (wash)
Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!