September 2017 Gaming Night – Star Ducks Attack The Frinx!

To round out September, the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club ran a game during which the Star Ducks attacked the positions held by the Power-Armored Frinx.  Both of these forces are from Archive Miniatures circa 1979-1981.  You can learn more about their origins here.  Click on Star Ducks or Power-Armored Frinx to learn more about their platoons.  We used the Combat Patrol™ system, with modifications to approximate the abilities of the Star Ducks to use their jet packs, and the durability of the Frinx as a result of their power armor.  The Frinx also had the support of two Archive RVS86 “Robot Cooks” which were analogous to small self-propelled guns.

 

3-archive-robot-group-2-2011-completed
Two RV86 supported the Frinx

The scenario was one where the Frinx, led by Lieutenant Ma’k were defending some old ruined buildings that held some lost technology – and the Star Ducks, led by Duck Vader, were hell-bent on getting into the building and killing Frinx in general.  The Frinx, on their part, desired to dispatch the Star Ducks with extreme prejudice.

 

 

01 Sep 28 MP Gaming night
The Star Ducks advance in the foreground, the Frinx defend the buildings and barriers.

The Star Ducks used their jet packs to quickly advance towards the buildings on the Frinx’s left flank.  You can see the small purple rubber bands on the Star Ducks, which indicate the number of “jumps” that they have taken.  Due to limited fuel, the Star Ducks have only three jumps per game, but they do help!

 

 

02 Sep 28 MP Gaming night
Approaching the Frinx positions, the Star Ducks move quickly using their jet packs.

The initiative switched to the Frinx, who then bracketed them with bazooka fire.  The white rubber bands indicate wounds, while the glass beads indicate a team must take a morale check for each one the next time they are activated.  We use red rubber bands to denote a weapon that has jammed or is out of ammunition.  We also use black rubber bands to denote figures who are stunned.

 

 

03 Sep 28 MP Gaming night
The smoke from the Frinx anti-tank rockets surrounds the Star Ducks, as they take wounds from the explosions

In the middle of the table, a pitched ray gun/blaster battle left several dead and wounded Frinx.  The Star Duck team making this assault was however, annihilated, as Frinx Staff Sergeant A’Haze led his Frinx ably and directed their fire.

 

 

04 Sep 28 MP Gaming night
The Star Ducks do significant damage to the Frinx defending the barriers and slag mounds – note the dead Frinx, the multiple wounds, and the multiple morale pips.  The Star Duck A team was wiped out here.

The only Star Duck survivor in this area was Staff Sergeant Bufflehead.

 

 

05 Sep 28 MP Gaming night
SSG Bufflehead watches his A team die valiantly.

And then this happened…and the other RV86 was immobilized as well by bazooka fire from the other flank.

 

06 Sep 28 MP Gaming night

Meanwhile, back at the buildings, the Star Ducks jumped again, going over the ruined buildings, and assaulting the Frinx from the rear.  This move was met effectively by the Frinx with Platoon Sergeant First Class Grengelu’s automatic grenade launcher, wounding and killing several Star Ducks.

 

07 Sep 28 MP Gaming night
After the vertical envelopment, the Frinx make the Star Ducks pay.  Note Frinx LT Ma’k in the upper floor on the left – his blaster also hit several Star Ducks.

However, there were enough Star Ducks to close with the Frinx in hand-to-hand melee (or is it claw-to-wing?) and begin to clear the buildings.  SFC Grengelu was overcome and killed in the scrum.

 

 

08 Sep 28 MP Gaming night
Everybody gets in the fight!

 

 

09 Sep 28 MP Gaming night
SSG Bufflehead is surrounded by Frinx in melee

At this point, the game was called due to time and was determined to be a draw.  While the Star Ducks had cleared one building completely, and another one partially, they still had a couple more to go.  Casualties were high on both sides!

The game was a lot of fun and the battle was touch and go all night.  Once again, Buck Surdu’s Combat Patrol™ system demonstrated its great versatility and ease of play!

 

I hope you enjoyed this battle report – please share your feedback in the comments section!

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8/31/2017 Mass Pikemen Gaming Night

Last Thursday Night we had our monthly gaming night for the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  Turnout was light but we were able to have a couple of games.  We had a brief card game from 1983 – Flying Buffalo’s “Nuclear War” in honor of our nights game master Jared Burns.  Why?  Well the game has a B-70 Bomber card which was a semi-prototype of the B-1, which Jared served on in the US Air Force.

The second game was an X-Wing demo game run by Jared.

Our next gaming night is September 28th at the East Brookfield Senior Center hall.  We should have a sci-fi skirmish game (retro sci-fi) and more.  The pics below tell the tale of the night – overall my daughter Ellen Morin was the night’s big winner!

 

1 Nuclear War
While Jared set up X-Wing, we broke out this old cold war card game – and all were annihilated – no winners of course!

 

2 x wing me
The rebels side – me -with a 60 point team consisting of Ibtisam in a B-Wing and Blue Ace in a T-70 X-Wing

 

3 x wing me
My B-Wing and my X-Wing

 

4 x wing Ellen
The Imperial side – Ellen Morin – with Tomax Bren in a TIE Bomber and Countess Ryad in a TIE Defender

 

5 x wing Ellen
Ellen Morin’s ships

 

6 Ellen and Jared talk
Early maneuvering

 

7 Ellen plans the destruction of her Dad
Ellen prepares to destroy her Dad’s (my) X-Wing

 

8 Mark rolls BLANKS
My defensive rolls for my X-wing – yes – ALL BLANKS!  Blue Ace, we hardly knew ye…

 

9 Ellen rolls BLANKS
Later Ellen returns the favor by rolling 5 blanks – ensuring the destruction of her TIE defender.  I was still out gunned though…

 

10 Jared GMs with glee
Jared the able GM

 

10 Mark rolls HITS
The Empire gets on a roll, and I am getting hammered…

 

11 Close encounters
Too close!

 

12 I am undone
And my B-Wing dies…Ellen is the winner!

It was a fun night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Khang Robots

This post is about another group of miniatures that I acquired in March from the recently closed Wargames Supply Dump (thanks so much Roger!).

These are DG-08 and DG-09, Khang Robots.  One model is tracked, the other has legs.  I purchased 2 kits of each type of robot.

I’m currently planning on building out a series of different squads and platoons for use in retro-sci-fi skirmish games using the Combat Patrol™ system of rules.  I have described previously here in this blog my casting work on making a platoon of Archive Miniatures Mark III Warbots.  I thought these Khang Robots would be great as leaders for that platoon.  They look so very retro!  The tracked version really evokes the old “B9” from the 1960’s TV series Lost in Space.

00 b9

Additionally, I eventually will be painting up a unit of WSD Khang troopers, and I can use these four robots to augment those forces as well.

The kits arrived, and I washed them with a light scrub with soap and water, and let them dry.  Once dry, I assembled them with super glue.  I tried to glue each robots’ arms so that they would each have a different position for better aesthetics.  After they were together, I affixed them to 1¼” steel washers using Loctite glue for ease of eventual magnetic box storage.  Then, I used poster tack to affix the models to popsicle sticks for ease of painting.  This is now my new favorite tactic as it is very easy to remove after painting.

I then primed them (top and bottom) with Krylon “Ultra Flat” white matte spray paint.  This allows me the option to write (with a fine-tipped Sharpie) on the washer bottoms with info that I’d like to have on them, such as the model’s name, the date of completion, my name, and any unit identification.

After the primer dried, I gave the models an aggressive wash with Citadel “Nuln Oil”.

 

1 in bag robots
The kits as they arrived

 

 

2 unassembled Khang robots
The Khang Robots unassembled and drying after cleaning

 

 

3 assembled Khang robots
Assembled and based awaiting priming

 

 

4 primed Khang robots
After priming

I used Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Steel” as the primary base coat for the models’ helmets, shoulders, belt, and claws.  I painted the waist/ribbed chest area with Citadel “Mechanicus Standard Gray”.  Then, for a shiny rubber-like look on the ribs, boots, and legs, I applied a coat of Armory “Gloss Black”.  For the front of the tracked bases and the chest-mounted cannons, I used Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Gun Metal”.  Then I highlighted the shiny parts on the shoulders and helmets with Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Aluminum”.  For the voice box (cannot really call it a mouth!) I added a light coat of Citadel “Spiritstone Red”.

Moving on to some of the details on the helmet, arm sockets, “ears”, and back components, I found a great solution with Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Copper”.  There were several lights on the front and back of the robots, and for these I used a spotter brush with Citadel “Yriel Yellow”, Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Signal Red”, Craftsmart “Sapphire”, and DecoArt “Crystal Green” – varying the lights a bit in the front.

For the vents in the front of the tracked figures, I used “Gloss Black”, with “Steel” on the vents.  I then extensively used Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Gold” and Craftsmart “Onyx” on bolt straps and bolts respectively throughout all the models.  I also used “Onyx” to highlight the “Gloss Black” painted parts.

I then chose some bright-colored metallics to theme the robots and make them easier to identify on the gaming table.  My four choices were: DecoArt “Crystal Green”, “Festive Red”, “Peacock Blue”, and Craftsmart “Amethyst”. I painted with these as you see below – as highlights on  the robots’ helmet crests, “ears”, belts, boots, and backs of the lower chassis (all depending on the models).  I did a lot of highlighting!

This completed my initial base coating and highlighting.  For the bases, I thought I’d use Citadel “Martian Ironcrust”.  This texture paint has a nice crackling effect if you use a blow dryer between applications (as I did) to dry the paint.  I also added some Army Painter “Black Battlefield” into it when it was still moist – and this worked well to give a realistic texture.  For the tracked models, I tried to make a track and chassis impression with the “Martian Ironcrust”.   I also tried to show the accumulation of dust on the tracks and boots with this texture paint.  I think it worked well enough.

 

 

5 mid stage base coat on Khang robots
Early base coating, front view

 

 

6 mid stage base coat on Khang robots back
Early base coating, back view

I then moved on to serial washes with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” on some lighter parts and “Nuln Oil” on others such as the ribs.  For the robots’ claws, I found that Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” gave a unique metallic tone to the claws.  On the bases, “Agrax Earthshade” really enhanced the cracks and gave a lot of depth to them.  I used a lot of washes to give depth to the figures.

 

 

16 Khang Robots prevarnish
Ready for varnish

 

 

17 Khang Robots prevarnish base closeup
Close up of my attempt to create track and chassis marks, and accumulation of dirt

I then waited  a day or so for the humidity to go down and for the temperature to be adequate for varnishing.  I sprayed the models with one coat of Krylon “Clear Matte”, followed by two coats of Testors “Dullcoat”, allowing for adequate drying time between applications.

 

 

21 3 way red
The Red Khang Robot

 

 

25 3 way blue
The Blue Khang Robot

 

 

29 3 way green
The Green Khang Robot

 

 

33 3 way purple
The Purple Khang Robot

 

 

35 group shot 2 top
Nice view of the tops of the Khang Robots

 

 

34 group shot 1
Group shot!

These are pretty cool figures – and the downside is that pretty cool figures have a lot of details!  The upside is they give the painter a tremendous opportunity to create a nice visual product.  These are really fun retro sci-fi figures – and I hope that I did achieve success with these four.  I really like them, and am motivated to get going on the Mark III Warbots to complete the platoon – and to use my new airbrush to prime, base coat, and varnish this my next project.  Stay tuned, and let me know your thoughts in the comments section!  Thanks!

 

 

Announcing the New South Pacific Supplement for Combat Patrol(TM): WWII (from Buck’s Surdu’s Blog)

This is from Buck Surdu’s blog – nice addition to the Combat Patrol rules!

Announcing the Release of the South Pacific Supplement for Combat Patrol™: World War II. Like all the previous supplements for Combat Patrol™, this supplement is FREE to download as a .pdf. Why a South Pacific Supplement? Fighting in the South Pacific during World War II was unique compared to other theaters, even other parts of…

via Announcing the New South Pacific Supplement for Combat Patrol(TM): WWII — Buck’s Blog

Robo Sentry Guns from WSD

Back in March of 2017, I read that WSD (Wargames Supply Dump) in the U.K. was shutting down its website and its figures from the Dirk Garrison line would no longer be available.  Very bad news!  I had not yet had the chance to buy any of these, and their retro sci-fi look lured me in to try to get a few before it was too late.

I was able to get a few different sets, which I will be painting up and using in my retro sci-fi games using the card-based Combat Patrol™ system.

The first ones I started were MIS06 “Robo Sentry Guns“.  These came in a two-pieces per kit.  As you can see below, the models were not greatly detailed, but very nice for what I wanted – unmanned and immovable guns for attacking infantry (or vehicles) to deal with during a skirmish.  They were sculpted by Jason Miller.  I wanted to buy 10, but only 5 were left by the time I tried to buy them.  I grabbed them as they were heavily discounted!

 

1 in bag
The Robo Sentry Guns as shipped

 

 

2 robo guns primed
The Robo Sentry Guns primed

I affixed the bases to a 1¼” steel washer using Loctite glue.  This tactic allows me to use magnetic sheets to easily store them in plastic boxes.  I then primed them with Krylon “Ultra Flat” matte spray paint.  I also made sure that I painted the bottoms white as well, as I find that leaves me the option to place information on the bottom that I’d like to have once the models are done, such as the model’s name, the date it was finished, and any unit identification, etc.  I just use a fine-tipped Sharpie.

I decided to paint the two parts separately, base coat both, and then assemble the kit after that.  I also made a change in my process in that I used 3M white poster tack from Michael’s to affix the bases to popsicle sticks for painting instead of white glue.  This worked MUCH better – and the tack is reusable – so I was happy to discover this would work and so well.  The models stayed affixed very well.

I started brushwork with a wash of Citadel “Nuln Oil” over both pieces.  I followed this with a heavy dry brushing with Citadel “Mechanicus Standard Gray”.  Then, I switched to Vallejo Model Air “Medium Gunship Gray” for the tripod legs (with a brush – no airbrushing was done on these models).  For the tripod feet, and the center mount, I used Vallejo Model Air “Steel”.  The gun itself was mounted on a rock-like structure on a washer disk.  I thought the rock made little sense for a robo sentry gun, so I decided to obscure it with Armory “Gloss Black” (still good from 1996!). I then shaded the tripod base with “Nuln Oil”.  I subsequently used Secret Weapons Washes “Heavy Body Black” on the base, followed by lightly dry brushing and stippling it with “Mechanicus Standard Gray”.

At this point, I glued the two pieces together with wood glue, and let the assembly dry overnight.  To further obscure the rock, I used Vallejo Model Air “Gold” on the washer – with an eye towards mimicking the coloration of the lunar modules from the Apollo missions.  I thought it worked well, though it took three coats to get it properly covered.

On the gun, I used Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal”, with Vallejo “Aluminum” on the optics.  On the optics I then painted the ends with “Gold” and Citadel “Spiritstone Red”.  I finished the gun with Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash”, with some light highlighting with “Gun Metal”.  Once dry, I applied two coats of Testors “Dullcoat”, allowing for adequate drying between coats.

 

 

3 robo guns finished facing forward
Robo Sentry Guns facing forward

 

 

4 robo guns finished pic
Robo Sentry Guns in different poses

 

 

5 robo gun close up
Close up of Robo Sentry Gun
6 robo gun close up with Star Duck SFC Mallard
Showdown with SFC Mallard

I think these will be a nice addition to my Combat Patrol™ games, as I can use these in multiple situations as a GM.  I like the retro sci-fi look, and as I move into building a Robot army, these will fit in nicely (more to come on those in future blog posts).  I also added a photo to the Lost Minis Wiki on the model, as there was none there.  Still, sad to see that WSD will no longer produce these cool minis.

 

Archive Miniatures Frinx on Glyptodon – Resurrection!

I have long been searching for the Archive Miniatures Frinx on Glyptodon (#2042) from the Star Rovers line.  This three-figure kit was made in 1978, and was composed of two power-armored Frinx riding a glyptodon.  So what is a glyptodon?  A glyptodon is basically a prehistoric armadillo – and the size of a small car.  Its a quirky kit, reminiscent of a Tusken Raider riding a Bantha in Star Wars.

At long last, my good friend Buck Surdu acquired one kit at exorbitant price on eBay.  The plan was to create some Frinx recon sections for use in retro-sci-fi games using the Combat Patrol™ gaming system by recasting.

 

0 in bag
The original kit in unopened bag

 

 

0a in bag
Archive card in bag

 

 

3 close up contents
Contents of the kit

 

The kit itself held two glyptodon halves, two rear feet, two bridle bits, one metal reins set, one forward facing Frinx, and one Frinx facing right.  Clearly, I needed to consolidate in order to effectively cast this set via gravity casting.  My first decision was to abandon any idea of casting the metal reins.  I wanted to use the bridle bits, and use some string or similar material for reins when I paint the kit.

The bridle bits were very small as you see below.  I used a small pin vise and drilled out a place for the bits on the glyptodon.  I secured the bits with super glue, then filled in around them with green stuff.  I also opened the bridle bits up, for if I left them closed they would not been locked in by the Quick-Sil and would not have cast well.

 

4 bridle bits on fingertips
The small bridle bits

The other challenge was that the original glyptodon figure was not well formed or cast.  There were large seam lines and gaps on each side.  My concern was that this gap would wreak havoc with molding as the Quick-Sil RTV that I use would easily expand into every crevice.  It also would look lousy.

 

 

5 glyptodon showing gaps and seams
Good view of the gap between the glyptodon halves on the right side

 

 

6 glyptodon showing gaps and seams no feet
Similar gap issue on the left.  Note the rear feet are unattached.

 

 

11 glyptodon interior
Interior view of the bottom glyptodon half – note the Archive 78

 

 

12 glyptodon interior top
Top half of the glyptodon 

As you can see, because the glyptodon was in two pieces with a hollowed out middle, I needed to address this and the seam issue.  Therefore, I decided to fill the middle and the gaps with green stuff.  I then affixed the rear feet with super glue, followed by adding green stuff around the gaps there as well.

 

 

13 glyptodon interior and bottom with green stuff
Green stuff to the rescue

 

 

14 glyptodon top with green stuff and bits
Nice view of the modified bridle bits

While I smoothed out the seam lines, I still had unsightly lines that would show up on every cast.  I decided to use more green stuff to add a band of tiny armor plates around the base to smooth out the seams – and it worked.  I thought that I should keep the figure as original as possible, so the additional plates were left as a lower band, and not over the whole figure.

 

 

15 glyptodon repaired with green stuff and bits
The glyptodon with its new armor plates added, left side view – no unwanted lines!

 

 

16 glyptodon repaired with green stuff and bits rear view
Rear view after adding armor plates

 

 

17 glyptodon repaired with green stuff and bits right side view
Right side view after adding armor plates

 

I then moved on to the riders, and was surprised to see the beginnings of lead rot under their saddles.  This discovery made me very happy that I was going to preserve this kit through cleaning and ultimately recasting.  I did my best to clean off the oxidation with soap, water, a toothbrush, and an aqueous pewter cleaner.

 

18 rider with rot on bottom
Lead rot begins…before cleaning

 

 

 

19 ready to cast
Ready for molding

 

I made two new mold designs – one for the glyptodon and one basic type for the two riders as shown below.  The major concerns that I had with the glyptodon mold were easy flow of alloy, adequate venting, and adequate cooling with so much molten metal.  With the smaller molds, I had the same, but I really just wanted great details.

 

20 glyptodon mold first half
First half of the glyptodon mold 

 

 

22 front frinx mold 1st half
First half of the front Frinx rider

 

 

23 back frinx mold 1st half
First half of the rear Frinx rider

 

 

24 all molds
All three molds completed

 

All three molds worked well, with small modifications to ensure good casting.  I was able to successfully cast 14 sets (42 total figures).

 

27 day 3 production
14 sets!

 

You can see below a comparison of the recasts and the master figure.

 

28 side by front
Frontal view of recast and modified master figure

 

 

29 side by left side
View of right side

 

 

30 side by rear
Rear view

 

 

31 side by right side
Left side view

They are officially now in my painting queue (which has grown a bit long so I will wait to cast more figures until I have painted some).  Overall, I am pleased with how they came out – please let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

 

 

 

Combat Patrol with Star Rovers and an X-Wing game

It’s been a bit busier on the gaming front.  Jared Burns (USAFA ’04) and I (USMA ’84) got together last Sunday afternoon in preparation for the launch of the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club .  We play-tested Combat Patrol™ with Star Rovers figures that I have previously posted about in this blog, as well as an X-Wing game.
The scenario was one where the Frinx and some Aphids were protecting RT22 in a bunker behind an old factory.  The Star Ducks, led by Duck Vader, were attacking to seize RT22, using their jet packs to quickly assault through the open ground which the Frinx had covered with anti-tank weapons.  I gave the Star Ducks 3 chances in the game to use their jet packs at 3 movement cards per try – and that worked well rules-wise.
Highlights of the battle!  There was a grenade-throwing fest in the center (one of my grenades scattered back into me adding to my losses) between one Star Duck team and a green Aphid team.  This resulted in multiple casualties, especially when one of my Aphid’s grenade attacks rebounded from a rock, but the Star Ducks had the better of that fight.
I gave Duck Vader the ability to deflect incoming direct fire, but I got lucky.  Duck Vader was in the open at short range and got lit up by two Frinx bazookas and the Frinx platoon sergeant with an automatic grenade launcher.  End even though I gave him a 5 endurance, his goose (or rather duck) was cooked with about 7 wounds.  His demise  then caused the entire Star Duck force to lose heart, effectively ending the game.
1 Ducks hit right flank
The Star Ducks effectively advance on the escarpment.  The purple bands indicate jet pack uses.

 

2 Frinx defend with AT
The Frinx guard the factory ruins with anti-tank weapons and an automatic grenade launcher.

 

3 hapless Aphids defending
A green (in terms of morale and literally!) Aphid Squad awaits its doom from a storm of grenades.

 

4 Ducks prepare to move out
Star Ducks deploy.

 

5 Hey, who shaot at us with Bazookas
The Star Ducks take multiple incoming rockets, wounding a team leader.

 

6 every body throw grenades
The Star Ducks put the hurt on the Aphids with a storm of grenades.

 

7 top of the hill while behind grenade hell
In the foreground, the Star Duck AT team prepares to rain doom on the Frinx.  In the upper left, the Aphids attempt to return grenade for grenade, only to bounce them back at themselves.

 

8 Duck Vader dies
In the upper center, the Star Ducks jet pack and prepare to flank the Frinx.  However, in the foreground, Duck Vader is mortally wounded. 

 

9 end game
The viewpoint of the Frinx who killed Duck Vader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then played X-Wing, and it was time for the USAF guy to beat (really thrash) the Army guy…ironic…he was the Empire so the day evened out.  It was a good playtest for our first game night on July 27th.  Jared did a nice job in teaching me the game – and then avenging the previous game.  He was the Empire, and I was the Rebels with two ships each.
10 xwing
I successfully pilot my X-Wing into an asteroid…and fail to hit the Empire’s ships.

 

11 xwing
With my X-Wing dispatched, the Empire finishes off my hapless B-Wing.

 

I really liked the game and the ease at which I learned the basics.  Thanks to Jared for a great day!