Halloween Diorama with Classic Movie Monsters from 1970’s Ral Partha

When I was young boy, the local TV station would show an old monster or horror movie on Saturday afternoon.  Sometimes these were the of the 1960’s Japanese Godzilla et. al. genre, other times they were the B-movie sci-fi stuff from the 1950’s.  Even the British Hammer remakes would be shown.  Those were all cool, but the best ones were the classic 1930’s and 1940’s films like “Dracula” (1931), “Frankenstein” (1931), “The Mummy” (1932), and “The Wolf Man” (1941).

My dad would enthusiastically watch these films with us and I have really special memories of those occasions.  Now of course every movie ever made can be had immediately, but back then you had to wait and hope that they would be coming on – and that made their rare showings quite eventful.  The subjects of those movies have seen numerous remakes, but the originals remain classics and have had a huge impact on popular culture.

One of those influences was in the creation of games with monsters, such as Dungeons and Dragons (and others) – and the miniatures that were used with them – such as 25mm scale figures from Ral Partha.  For US folks unfamiliar with 25mm scale – this is the common Ral Partha scale in the 1970’s and 1980’s and it means that each figure is only about 1″ tall.

I first was exposed to Ral Partha miniatures in 1982 – and have loved them ever since.  Sculptors such as Tom Meier, Julie Guthrie, and Dennis Mize made fantastic creations that were true scale, not “hero scale” as many of today’s miniatures are.  Ral Partha figures are still made today in Cincinnati by Iron Winds Metals.  When I returned to the hobby in 2014, I acquired many of the old figures in various lots of figures on eBay.  Among these of which I came into possession were several of the old classic movie monsters.  They often were encrusted with the types of thick enamel hobby paint that was commonly used back then.  I stripped many (with some damage), and put them away for future consideration.

That future consideration arrived this month.  A local hobby store, Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA, has gaming and other hobby events that you can read about here.   One of these events was “The Great Pumpkin Halloween Hobby Challenge”.  The store had a pumpkin patch for figures to be displayed – and the only rules were that there needed to be a pumpkin (provided for $5 as entry) as part of the figure – and that it needed to be submitted by October 28th.  I decided that my filed-somewhere Ral Partha monsters would make a nice diorama for the challenge.  I dug into my stash, and found that I had 5 suitable figures, two werewolves, one mummy, one Dracula, and one Frankenstein’s Monster.  I wanted to push myself with the mini-diorama – as I have been admiring many of those by theimperfectmodeler for years (check one of his recent dioramas here).  I am nowhere near his creative league (he is award-winning) – but his work is inspiring and I wanted to see if I could accomplish something of which I could be proud.  I decided to use an old DVD and card as a base and a Woodlands Scenics rock as elevation.  The edge of the pumpkin patch would be on the DVD so I could line it up on the display at the store.

The effect that I wanted was that of having these classic monsters coming from off the pumpkin patch and moving to prey upon the unwary townsfolk beyond.

1 4 bases
1976 and 1979 figures’ bases.  From left to right is Frankenstein’s Monster (1979), Dracula (1976), The Mummy (1976), and one of the two werewolves (both were 1979).
2 cd and stone and card
The base was an old DVD sanded down – and a Woodland Scenics resin stone.
3 cd and stone and card painted
I decided to brush paint the base with primer to keep the stone pristine (and away from any airbrush mistakes).  I also wanted to have a great bond between the stone and the DVD so I affixed it prior to painting along with a piece of polystyrene card to cover the hole.

Again, these are 25mm figures so they don’t stand out like larger models.  This is what we had back in the day!  I will share details of each of the five models, and then the completed piece.  As is my custom, I will list the paints and materials I used at the end of this post for those interested.  I did use many Citadel Contrast paints as base paints.

Dracula

The Dracula/vampire model was #01-014, a Tom Meier sculpt from the Personalities and Things that Go Bump In The Night line.  The base had “Ral Partha 1976” on it.  I probably over-cleaned it – but the details on it – especially the face – were not great.  Trying to get the right skin tone for Dracula was a challenge – and the lack of detail did not help.  I wanted Dracula to be the highest model on the diorama – like he was sending his evil minions forth.  The rock had a nice place for me to place Dracula’s base as its size and shape were considerations as well (it was not a removable base).

1 Dracula unpainted
Dracula after cleaning – I probably got aggressive trying to remove the old enamel (note the scratches).
2 Dracula mounted for painting
Dracula mounted and ready for airbrush priming and traditional brush painting thereafter.  I did use many of the new GW Contrast Paints on all of these models, but ended up needing other paints and products as well.
3 Dracula painted
Dracula painted and varnished.
4 Dracula mounted
Dracula mounted on the diorama.

The Mummy

The Mummy model was #01-020, another Tom Meier sculpt from the Personalities and Things that Go Bump In The Night line.  It was also from 1976.  This was the easiest to paint and I thought it came out as desired.

1 Mummy unpainted
After cleaning and stripping, there were still remnants of the old paint job, but these were not an issue.
2 Mummy prepped for painting
The Mummy, mounted for painting.
3 Mummy painted
After painting and varnish – looking very old school Egyptian.
4 Mummy mounted
The Mummy mounted on the diorama.

The Were Wolf (crouching model)

The were two werewolf models that I used.  The first werewolf was in a crouch.  This model was “Were Wolf” #01-061, (two words) – yet another Tom Meier sculpt from the Personalities and Things that Go Bump In The Night line.  However this one was from 1979.  I wanted to have this one climbing up the back slope of the rock, giving a little more depth to the piece.

1 Werewolf crouching unpainted
Some of the original paint can still be seen.
2 Werewolf crouching prepped for painting
The Were Wolf mounted for painting.  The detail on this model was still in good shape.
3 Werewolf crouching painted
A close-up shot of the model after I painted and varnished it.
4 Werewolf crouching mounted
The mounted monster climbs the back of the rock.  Here again, I needed to deal with the base.

The Werewolf (standing model)

This is the second of the two werewolf models that I used.  This model is standing (and this one is wearing pants).  It is “Werewolf” #98-003, (one word).  This could have been sculpted by Tom Meier, Julie Guthrie, or Dennis Mize, as the Lost Minis Wiki is not clear on that.  The sculpt is from the The Adventurers line and has 1979 on the base.  I wanted this beast standing in the front of the diorama.

1 Werewolf standing unpainted
The Werewolf cleanup up – I do not think this model was previously painted.
2 Werewolf standing prepped for painting
The Werewolf mounted for painting.  The size of the small base was helpful in mounting to the diorama.
3 Werewolf standing painted
The figure after completion.
4 Werewolf standing mounted
The Werewolf moves forward on the diorama.

Frankenstein’s Monster

Often called “Frankenstein”, this is actually Frankenstein’s Monster (created of course by Dr. Victor Frankenstein.  The model is another one from The Adventurers line and has the designation #98-003.  The detail on this was also fairly good for a model from 1979.

1 Frankenstein's Monster unpainted
The model after I cleaned it as best as I could – some old paint remnants remain.
2 Frankenstein's Monster mounted for painting
The Monster mounted for painting – I did not want to take away any detail here as I thought it was pretty good.
3 Frankenstein's Monster painted
The painted Monster.  I went with heavy eyebrows as before I did the effect of the brow was not what I wanted.  Close up it has a little Groucho Marx look – but at a distance it worked – at least for me.
4 Frankenstein's Monster mounted
Moving to the attack!

The Pumpkin

The pumpkin was a from a Reaper sprue -and had to be part of the contest submission.

Basing the models after painting them required a bit of landscaping.  To fit better on the hobby challenge table, I made a field edge with Citadel “Stirland Battlefield” on the field and “Agrellan Badlands” on the rest of the ground.  I added autumn leaves from 4Ground (now available from Warlord Games here) to the still-wet texture paints and some matte varnish droplets on the rock.  These were placed as how I thought they would naturally collect – as well as to break up the form of the flat mini bases that were mounted on the rock.  Then, I used a handheld hair dryer to dry the terrain (and crack the Agrellan Badlands a bit).    I added some grasses from Shadow’s Edge Miniatures.  These also helped to hide Dracula’s base a bit.

6 Dracula and crouching Werewolf mounted
The Dracula figure and the crouching Were Wolf are mounted on the rock here with Gorilla Glue.  For better adhesion, I scraped away the black primer where I was going to mount the other three figures.  This also allowed me to mount them sequentially.  Doing this made it easier to paint and hide the figures’ bases with the texture paint products.
7 figures mounted, front side
The texture paints are still wet here.  I created the pumpkin patch edge with “Stirland Battlefield”, the rest with “Agrellan Badlands”.  I put a few dots of matte varnish on the low spots on top of the rock for the leaves.  While the paints were still wet, I sprinkled the autumn leaves about as you see here, then used a hair dryer to dry and crack the ground.
8 figures mounted, left side
A right side view of the same as previous.
9 figures mounted, rear side
A rear view of the previous.
10 figures mounted, right side
A left side view of the previous.

Once it all had dried, I removed the piece from the poster tack.

11 finished
Finished piece.

I then drove down to Great Stories to get it entered.  There are a lot of nice pieces there, so we’ll see how it does – and of course most folks who will vote are not used to wee 25mm scale!  It did mesh well with the edge of the pumpkin patch.  At the least, I’ll have a Halloween decoration for many years!

12 on Hobby Challenge table
The Pumpkin Patch is alive with creatures!
12a on Hobby Challenge table
Side view of the previous shot.

Thanks for looking – and I always love getting feedback and any opinions in the comments section, so feel free to post there.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE FIGURES:

On the base:

  1. Gorilla Glue gel
  2. Poster tack
  3. Used DVD
  4. Polystyrene card
  5. Woodland Scenics resin rock
  6. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  7. Citadel “Stirland Battlemire” (texture)
  8. Citadel “Agrellan Badlands” (texture)
  9. 4Ground Loose Copper Foliage
  10. Shadow’s Edge Static Grass Tufts
  11. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Commonly used on all figures for mounting, priming, and varnishing:

  1. Poster tack
  2. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  3. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  4. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  5. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

On the Dracula figure:

  1. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gulliman Flesh”
  2. Citadel “Contrast Medium”
  3. Vallejo “Light Flesh”
  4. Army Painter “Flesh Wash”
  5. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  6. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  7. Vallejo “Black”
  8. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  9. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  10. Citadel “Astrogranite” (texture)

On The Mummy figure:

  1. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Apothecary White”
  2. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  3. Citadel “Longbeard Grey” (dry)
  4. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”

On the Were Wolf figure (crouching):

  1. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gore-Grunta Fur”
  2. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  3. Citadel “Contrast Medium”
  4. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  5. Citadel “Prayeti White” (dry)
  6. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Space Wolves Grey”
  7. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  8. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  9. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  10. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Apothecary White”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  12. Citadel “Astrogranite” (texture)

On the Werewolf figure (standing)

  1. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gore-Grunta Fur”
  2. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  3. Citadel “Contrast Medium”
  4. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Dark Angels Green”
  5. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  6. Citadel “Prayeti White” (dry)
  7. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Space Wolves Grey”
  8. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  9. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  10. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  11. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Apothecary White”
  12. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”

On Frankenstein’s Monster figure:

  1. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Plaguebearer Flesh”
  2. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Ork Flesh”
  3. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  4. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Militarum Green”
  5. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  6. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Dark Angels Green”
  7. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  8. Vallejo “Black”

On the pumpkin:

  1. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gryph-Hound Orange”
  2. Citadel “Astrogranite” (texture)
  3. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Ork Flesh”
  4. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)

Thanks for looking!

 

 

 

 

Remembrances etc. from my 35th West Point Class of ’84 Reunion

This blog has the subtitle Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions.  Mostly it has been focused on hobby stuff- notably miniatures and gaming – and less on the other – and often more important – aspects of Life.  This post will be a bit different for some of you regular readers and I hope that you find it interesting.  As of this writing I am happy to say that this blog has had nearly 25,000 visitors and over 100 followers from dozens of countries.  It’s an enjoyable aspect of my blogging, and I have been able to connect with many like-minded people all over the planet.  Here, I aim to give a limited view into my alma mater and a bit into my own related history.  It’s a personal glimpse to a large extent, and by no means complete, but one I decided to share some thoughts and photos.  Hopefully it’s not overly self-indulgent, but I wanted to write this up.  If you are my classmate, or fellow USMA grad, and reading this, I hope that you get that, and of course GO ARMY!   BEAT NAVY!

Last month I had the privilege of attending my 35th college reunion.

Thirty-five years – wow.

I am a proud member of the United States Military Academy Class of 1984.  Our class motto is “Best of the Corps” – which we chose while just fledgling members of the USMA Corps of Cadets.  That motto certainly did not endear us to the upper classmen from the classes of 1981, 1982, and 1983 at the time.  Some of you may be more familiar with USMA’s more common name – West Point.  We were all commissioned into the US Army in May 1984 as second lieutenants.  Only a handful are still wearing the uniform on active duty.

Regrettably, I had not attended any previous class reunions – something “always came up” with family or work.  Our class of 985 people has now lost 32 brothers and sisters.  Four of the lost are even former roommates of mine, and many more were friends I knew well.  Some of course I only knew from seeing their faces in obituaries.  No matter what, I was never going to see these fallen comrades again, and that really stuck in my craw.  This time, I was determined to attend, honor the fallen, and share some camaraderie with my classmates while it was still possible.  I fervently hope to attend more class events in the future, and hope that we all grow old well.  As for the lost – I also wanted to honor my late classmates by attending the Memorial Service for them.  Below is the program booklet from that service.

1 Page 1 Memorial2 Pages 2-3 Memorial3 Page 4 Memorial

The service was very classy and moving – and those who participated as lectors and speakers (noted above) all did an outstanding job.  I’ll always remember how Craig Bohn sat next to me in the pew and sang “The Corps” and “The Alma Mater” like an angel (really impressive).  On the list of the lost above, many I called friends.  I knew most, and roomed with four – Craig Hogan, Bill Fallon, Troy Overton, and Mike Wooley.  Too soon for all of them, and honoring them was a major motivation for my attendance this year.  God rest their souls.

After the service, which happened on Thursday, we had several activities through the weekend which I will share some shots of as well.

4 Memorial Service F-4
Mark Morin, Bruce Bruno, and Angie Gaston – all company F-4 Frogs – after the Memorial service.

The first reunion event was actually a class golf outing at the West Point Golf Course on Wednesday (the day before the Memorial Service).  I did not want to start with describing it here, as the Memorial Service, in my view, was more important.  I played with Glenn Goldman and Matt Johnson and we had a blast.  I did not play up to my desired level, but hey, we had fun.  I only wish that I had some shots of us playing.  I had not played the course since the early 2000’s – and the hole markers were awesome.  Each described a war/campaign/battle in a lot of detail (especially for a hole marker) and referred to the West Pointers involved.  They covered the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts.  I really liked them and thought I’d share them below.

The Thursday golf was a nice start to the weekend.  Much catching up occurred that night back at the Park Ridge, NJ Marriott – to continue all weekend.  Things started well with a few beers with Tom Eisiminger.  There was certainly a lot of socializing over the weekend – ending up with a class dinner on Friday night, a parade on Saturday, revisiting West Point, and of course an Army football game against Morgan State.  It was great to be among fellow classmates and graduates.

For those who are not USMA grads or classmates, some background.  As a start, I was in company F-4 (company F, 4th Regiment) for my last three years.  I was in C-1 during my plebe (freshman) year.  My yearbook photo was fine – well sort of.  Fellow F-4 Frog Bruce Bruno (from photo above) wrote my blurb underneath.  Only by the time it went to press the girl I was involved with (and had at the time planned to marry) had broken it off!  I also had Aviation branch listed (the wings).  I started after graduation as a helicopter pilot, but decided to leave flight school.  As I had failed a simulator check-ride in instruments, I was told that I’d have no chance to get into Apaches or Blackhawks as a result, only Hueys.  So, I changed branches, became a combat engineer officer, and enjoyed that greatly until I left the Army in 1992.

1 Me back in the day

5 Michie on Friday
At Michie Stadium on Friday after the Memorial Service.  I reported here on July 1st, 1980 and my parents left me in the loving arms of the US Army.  On May 23, 1984, we graduated at on this very field.
16a BOTC Beast squad
My “Beast” (Cadet Basic Training) Squad shot, summer 1980.  We got a ride in a UH-1 Huey which was awesome.  I am in the middle row on the far right.  Standing behind me is Pat Scanlan from Chicago – and we got to catch up a lot at the reunion which was nice.
6 Class Dinner Bruno, Morin, Sgro
Fellow Frogs Bruce Bruno, me, and Jeff Sgro.
7 Class Dinner Ray and Morin
One of the most fun classmates I ever hung out with – Kyle Ray.   Great dude!
8 Parade Cabacungan and Morin
Fellow Frog Gil Cabacungan and me at the parade.
9 Parade Cabacungans (Alec and Gil) and Morin
Gil’s son Alec has raised millions for Shriner’s Hospital for Children – and it was an honor to meet the fine young man.  He has been on TV nationwide for them, and is very inpiring.
10 Parade Line view
The view of The Plain from our place on the parade field.  Third and Fourth Regiments would march by our reviewing position.  The Plain is where we in our class all took our first oath to the Constitution.

You can see multiple pieces of equipment in some of these shots – helicopters, tanks, artillery, and more.  They were there to show the First Class as they decided which branch of the Army they might want to choose to enter after graduation next May.

11 Parade Line view
Third and Fourth Regiments in formation.
12 Parade Line view
A view down our reviewing line.

One of my classmates who has really served the nation well  (and there are many who have) is one hell of an impressive dude.  H.R. McMaster is a retired three-star general, the author of Dereliction of Duty, and formerly President Trump’s National Security Advisor.  We got a chance for a photo together on the Plain after the parade.  Today he’s at Stanford University.

13 HR McMaster and Mark Morin
H.R. McMaster with me…
13a HR McMaster and President Trump
…and H.R. McMaster with his previous boss…

At the parade in the reviewing stand was also the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, USMA Class of 1986.  With him was the current and Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, LTG Darryl A. Williams.   He is a member of the USMA Class of 1983, and was in my company F-4.  He was also a very tough football player.  More importantly, he was smart, decent, a true leader, and funny as hell.  He has had a stellar career.  My first semester Firstie (senior) year (1983),  he was assigned to my platoon as he was a December grad – so I was his last platoon leader – and the late Mike Wooley (from above) was with me as roommate and platoon sergeant.  It is very gratifying to see him as Superintendent developing new leaders for the US Army.  He was swamped with people after the parade, but we F-4 folks snuck in for a photo and that was great!

18b F-4 1984 in 2019
Gil Cabacungan, Bruce Bruno, LTG Darryl Williams, Angie Gaston, and me

 

14 LTG Darryl Williams and Mark Morin
A very impressive soldier and me

After the parade, we hit the old officers club for a pre-game tailgate and to change into more suitable game for an Army football game.  Angie Gaston and I took a stroll along the Plain to our old barracks, checked out the equipment, and watched the helicopters take off.

15 Chinook
CH-47
16 Scout, Apache, Blackhawk
Apache’s and Blackhawks – still serving!
17 Helicopters departing and equipment in front of barracks
You can see the aircraft moving away over the barracks and the other equipment on display.

17a Helicopters departingAngie Gaston and I then made a visit to our old home – that being the 43rd, 44th, and 45th Divisions – our old barracks, Scott Barracks, which dates from 1938.  The Divisions are very different from the other barracks.  Think of them as stacked milk cartons  put side-by-side with no connections horizontally (except occasionally on the first floors).  Divisions are thus arranged vertically – with four cadet rooms and a restroom per stacked floor (with 5 or 6 floors per Division) – if fading memory serves.  Again, as opposed to long dormitory hallways there are no horizontal connections between the Divisions.  It was a fun environment, though if you were on the top floor you got a workout going back and forth to class.  A current G-4 cadet was nice enough to take our pictures – and now this is part of G-4 as F-4’s current barracks is located elsewhere.

18 Angie and me in front of 43rd Division
Angie Gaston and I on the 43rd Division landing…
18a F-4 1984
…and our F-4 class 35 years ago.  GO FROGS!  I’m on the the top row second from the left.  Angie Gaston, Bruce Bruno, Gil Cabacungan, and even Darryl Williams are in this shot.  Jim Kelly and Larry Carroll attended the reunion but I did not get pictures of them for this post.  Of note, the late Bill Fallon and Mike Wooley can be seen here too.

19 Angie Gaston and me in front of 43rd Division

20 Morin and M1A2
Those who follow this blog know I love tanks – so here’s a shot of me and an M1A2 in 2019…
20a Morin and M1
…and one of me and an M1 in 1981 in Fort Knox, KY.  I’m happy I went Engineer, but part of me always wishes I’d gone Armor (and that I weighed the same now as here).
21 Artillery
Artillery and movers
21a Artillery
Self-propelled howitzer (155mm)

Then on the way to Michie Stadium, we got some shots of LTG Williams current home!

22 Supe's house

23 Supe's house
Angie Gaston on the front porch avoiding detection.
24 Supe's house
She wanted this shot for our friend Darryl!

The game was a blast – and it was a very warm and sunny day.  Hung out with Pat Scanlan and Kyle Ray – and even got some Steve Kreipe and Shamus Hanlon time in!

25 At the game
And on to Michie Stadium for the game!
26 Army's got this!
Army defeats Morgan State 52-21!

It was a great weekend, and one that I will cherish the memories of for a long time.  We are all getting older and a 35-year gap is frankly way too long between catching up.  That’s on me – I will do better.

Classmates Jack Picciuto and Curt Cozart did an outstanding job in organizing the reunion – and great thanks to them.   Also, a shout out to Steve Epling, Randy Lee, and Meg Gordon who keep us all connected on the world wide web.  Lastly, I want to thank all of my fellow classmates who I got to catch up with and who thankfully retained a memory (mostly good) of me.  I definitely was thrilled to relive memories with you.

As always, I appreciate any feedback you may have in the comments section – thanks for looking!

Until we meet again, GO ARMY!  BEAT NAVY!

 

The Mind and The Macron, Archive Miniatures from 1978/1979 for the Board Game Cosmic Encounter

Back in 1978 and 1979, Archive Miniatures produced a line of figures for the board game Cosmic EncountersAccording to the Lost Minis Wiki, at some point Archive Miniatures produced a line of figures for the board game.    These included four catalog items: “Wrack” (#2101), “Oracle” (#2102), “The Mind and the Macron” (two figures for #2103) and “The Healer, Zombie, and Sorcerer” (three figures for #2104).  I am not sure if that was a limited release as the research I could find on the 1977 version of Cosmic Encounter seemed to suggest that there were many alien races available for the game – many more than this page from the Lost Minis Wiki suggests were made.  Cosmic Encounter continues to be sold and is available in its current configuration here.

In any case, I stumbled on the Macron three years ago, and managed at some point since to acquire a complete set including The Mind since then.  My goal back then in acquiring the Macron figures was to have basically a squad of giant cosmonaut zombies for retro sci-fi games of Buck Surdu’s Combat Patrol™.  Having The Mind as the unit leader controlling the giant zombie cosmonauts seemed to be a nice concept for a unit.  I wanted a unit of ten, and I previously posted here how I made a mold and recast many more.  I had since shared these with Buck and IRO as shown here and here respectively.   I also wanted to complete these in September as part of Azazel’s “Scenic and Squaddie September ’19 Community Painting Challenge” that I try to share in when I can. Amazingly, it has been three+ years since I recast these figures, and I thought I’d better do something other than tanks for a bit!  As an aside, this last month has been a bit crazy, as I had my 35th West Point reunion, job interviews, BARRAGE in Maryland, etc.  I am hoping to catch up on reading others’ blogs and posting on the events of September soon!  It’s been a while since I managed to complete a blog entry too.

Ironically, the Macron figures were sculpted by Nevile Stocken in 1979 – and the current president of France, Emmanuel Macron was born in 1977!  So of any of you thought I was making that up, I have provided the links.

Back to the project – I found my recasts to be satisfactory, but I needed to do a good amount of filing and green stuff repairs to bring the recasts up to a good standard.  The figures are large – about 2¼” (about 57mm for you metric types).  The Mind is about half as high, but bulky.  However, as these will be used as aliens, I can get away with them as giant cosmonaut zombies!  I also have been looking at many posts from folks trying the new Contrast paints from Games Workshop.  I thought this project would afford a nice opportunity to try them and learn about how best to employ them in the future.

1 Cleaned and ready for filing
The original figures (the darker ones) and the original package – along with my recasts before any filing or washing.  I decided not to change their poses as that would have been more work than I wanted to take on for this project – besides, the contrast paints would make them different enough in my opinion.
2 2103 or 2107
The bottoms of all of the original Macrons say Archive, #2107, and date from 1979.
3 2103 or 2107
Interestingly, The Mind says it was #2103, the same number as the package.  It also says Archive Miniatures, NS (Nevile Stocken), and dates to 1978.
4 The Mind with green stuff repairs
The front of The Mind.  The figure is supposed to be a floating brain with a hideous single eye in front.  I needed to repair the old figure as you see here.
5 mounted for painting
Now I have a squad!  The figures are all mounted on 1.25″ steel washers for painting – and the bases are mounted to the specimen jars with poster tack.  One new feature was that I added water to my specimen jars to prevent unwanted tumbling during the project – and that worked well.

6 Contrast Paint Palette

I made this color palette for my Contrast Paints – and it was helpful.

7 Brain in Volupus pink
My first try with the contrast paints was “Apothecary White” on the Macron figures.  That worked but “Volupus Pink” on The Mind was an instant reject (I kept hearing the dad in “A Christmas Story” saying it looked like a pink nightmare)  I redid it as you will see below.
8 The Mind painted
Redone – and all the paints I used are listed at the end of the post.  There were a LOT of paints used here – nearly 50.
8a The Mind painted
Definitely styled in the ’70’s!  I wanted the eye and the brain to be menacing and bloody – and the final product (not this shot) was acceptable.
9 Macron with Apothecary White
Early on I decided to give each Macron its own contrast paint color.  I wanted to see how that worked, and I wanted to make it easier for game play identification.
10 Macron with Blood Angels Red
The contrast paint “Plaguebearer Flesh” was effective as a base coat on the faces.  Clearly, there was need for more washes and highlights.
11 With respective contrast paints
Each of the Macron with the contrast paint used on their space suits.  My thought was they might have worn different colors in life to denote their roles before they died and The Mind seized and reanimated their bodies.

11a With respective contrast paints

12 Macron in Shyish Purple
This is “Shyish Purple” after a wash – I ended up washing and highlighting these a lot.
13 Macron in Aethermatic Blue
Mid-project – “Aethermatic Blue”.
13 Macron in Iyanden Yellow
Later after using “Nuln Oil” and other washes – this one was “Iyanden Yellow”.
14 Macron in Volupus pink
Later after using “Nuln Oil” and other washes – this guy was done with “Volupus Pink”.
15 group painted first base step
After highlighting, I used “Astrogranite Debris” on the bases and washed them with “Druchi Violet”.
16 Close up of Macron in BA Red
This one was done in “Blood Angels Red”.  You can see that I dry brushed the bases.  I used 4 different paints in that process.  This is before varnishing.
17 Close up of Mind
The Mind before varnishing.

So after varnishing – The Mind and The Macron – and their base colors – for your enjoyment:

And a couple of group shots:

18 Group shot front19 Group shot front

My take on the contrast paints is quite similar to that of Azazel on his blog – he has a lot of experiments (he’s up to 12 at last look) and I did lean somewhat on his experiences a bit.  I will use them as base coats when the figures need some pop – but I really think they are not a be all and end all line of products.  Like every other paint/wash/glaze/ink etc., the user can find a niche – or a broad use – depending on the desire you have for the final product.  I like what the contrast paints did here – but I don’t want to use them on a Tiger II!  So, another tool in the kit bag – but I really think I’d want to continue to wash, shade, highlight, etc. on future projects.

Thanks for looking and hopefully you enjoyed reading about and seeing these.  Let me know your thoughts, faves, (or least faves if you want!).   I appreciate the feedback as always, and will be catching up on my blogging this week (I hope)!

 

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE FIGURES:

  1. Gorilla Glue gel
  2. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  3. 1¼” Everbilt steel fender washers
  4. Poster tack
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  8. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Apothecary White”
  9. Citadel “Contrast Paint – “Plaguebearer Flesh”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Steel”
  11. Polly Scale “WWII Luftwaffe Uniform Gray”
  12. Battlefront “Black”
  13. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  14. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Black Templar”
  15. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  16. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Dark Rust Wash”
  17. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  18. Citadel “Bloodletter” (glaze)
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  21. P3 “Red” (ink)
  22. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  23. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gryph-Hound Orange”
  24. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Shyish Purple”
  25. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ultramarines Blue”
  26. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  27. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  28. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  29. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Magos Purple”
  30. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  31. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  32. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  33. Army Painter “Quickshade Red Tone” (wash)
  34. Army Painter “Quickshade Dark Tone” (wash)
  35. Army Painter “Quickshade Purple Tone” (wash)
  36. Army Painter “Quickshade Blue Tone” (wash)
  37. Citadel “Coelia Greenshade” (shade)
  38. Citadel “Druchi Violet” (wash)
  39. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”
  40. Vallejo “Vermilion”
  41. Vallejo “Clear Orange”
  42. Vallejo Mecha Color “Purple”
  43. Vallejo “Dark Blue”
  44. Citadel “Contrast Medium”
  45. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  46. Vallejo Mecha Color “Magenta Fluorescent”
  47. Citadel “Astrogranite Debris”
  48. Citadel “Mechanicus Standard Grey”
  49. Citadel “Daemonette Hide”
  50. Citadel “Warpfiend Grey”
  51. Citadel “Slaneesh Grey”
  52. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish