“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!!

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

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

  1. Another cracking post, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the film, I love these little guys! great work on the brains by the way, they look suitably squishy and disgusting.

    Mantic are a pretty good company, (my eldest loves them!), Kings of War, though 28mm plays more like a 15mm or smaller game, with blocks of figures taking morale checks rather than losing troops, my son has it, but I can’t help feeling it would work better in a smaller scale.

    I few of us are having a “Mantic” month in September, painting up the figures from one of their games “Dungeon Saga”.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Roger, the film is suitably campy and satirical for my twisted tastes. Maybe my brain is like this?

      Appreciate the Mantic take. Looking at KoW for my 25mm and 28mm fantasy stuff. Thumbs up or down?

      Like

      1. Depends on what you want to be honest, if you are a WHFB player you might not like the simplified casualty and “blockiness” of the movement (the individual is not king in this game), however you are coming to it from say HOTT then you might love it. It is a good game and plays well another alternative is “Fantasy warriors” the old Grenadier Miniatures rules set, its free top down load here…

        http://www.grenadier.it/fantasy-warriors-ruleset.php

        Might be worth a look.

        Cheers Roger.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Roger, I actually wrote my own stuff with Buck but looking for a better option for company level combat. Not sure what HOTT is? In KoW, do the units have to be a certain number? That’s important to me as I have odd sized units, based on the premise that levied armies would never be uniform in unit size. I’ll have to check out the Grenadier stuff, appreciate the sharing! Best, Mark

        Like

  2. “Don’t run! We are your friends! *brrrzzzzzzt!*”. 😀

    Nice find and lots of work going into those paints once again! I’d be tempted to paint one pink, like a spongy brain thing, even though it’s totally not the colors of the Martians.

    Mantic also made Dreadball and Deadzone. I backed both Kickstarters, and am still bitter about it. Guess I hold my grudges. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pink would be cool! Maybe you should get some from classic miniatures? I’d love to see your take on them, maybe for OMM!

      Ok I have to delve into your Mantic comments. Are they trustworthy or was it just a bad Kickstarter? I had issues with Team Frog and I also won’t return to a bad vendor. Details?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A good bit of my rant is funneled through this series of posts, starting here: https://doubledowndice.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/dreadball-vs-blood-bowl/

        The short, is that it was an early Kickstarter for me, and the only thing to scratch my Blood Bowl itch at the time. So my expectations likely ran a bit high. The Kickstarter took longer than expected, so long, that I backed other stuff by them. Then packages arrived of unmarked plastic bits. Inventorying was a complete pain in the butt, with no instructions/directions. Missing parts, crappy plastic. A bit of a nightmare.

        They have some great ideas though, and every project I see of theirs, I kinda want. I just feel like the execution doesn’t meet the advertising. Maybe they are better at it these days, but I feel like when I already have a ton of stuff to work on, why even bother with them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Faust I just read all three. Not a Bloodbowl or Dreadball player, but was interested in your perspectives, which I think you did a great job of explaining where you are coming from. I am a GW paint customer, but their minis to me are as you say, too unrealistic in many cases. That being said, one only needs to look at what you do with Blood Bowl, or what IRO does, or what was shown on theAzazel Jewel post to see that there are some cool and beautiful results. Of course, I’m a metal mini guy, and the idea of having to fiddle with plastic solely is unattractive. Also, the idea of how GW does its marketing and the focus on discarding past games and codexes does not smack of customer focus to me. Azazel’s recent post covered this well.

        Plus my gaming time is limited, so I’m looking for trustworthy companies. I don’t want this:

        http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=478733

        Or this:

        http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=306566

        I guess the risk with smaller companies is less surety. I did get into Iron Wind Metals Ral Partha Kickstarter, (but have not painted anything from it yet). Had the same issue on chaotic delivery of my orders/inventory, but I contacted them and they sent me PDFs of the stuff and that enabled me to deal with it. https://markamorin.com/2016/01/07/the-iron-winds-metals-ral-partha-kickstarter-orc-goblin-legion-briar-rose-knights-on-giant-flying-bees-dwarf-steam-cannon-more/

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alex! That would be fun to use the Slim Whitman attack, but not sure how to deploy in a game! I’m still working on their data card, thinking they will be weapons equivalent to my Frinx or Star Duck infantrymen

      Liked by 1 person

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