I have been very busy – too busy to effectively write blog entries lately. I have been working on terrain and game support for the two games I will be running at HAVOC on April 5th and 6th. Each will support 10 players – and its my goal that all have a blast! So, in the interim, please enjoy these two announcements – hopefully I get some other stuff painted and blog-worthy for you dear readers! The link for the convention is here.
I am looking forward to seeing a number of friends – including my old USMA classmate (and HAWKS member) Dave Wood who is also running a couple of games – so that’s exciting too.
I’ll be running these two games!
I updated this game with my Space Roos and have new terrain!
Some of the items on the activity list below could be fairly called double-counting, but hey, no blood no foul! I tend to count projects in terms of their distinctive nature, ie the building/assembling/creating processes to me are different than painting, as is converting figures. I did not cast anything this year or make any molds as I still have plenty of figures to paint, and my hope is to knock out more of them in 2019, as I will not need to make as many game pieces/game aids.
This list, which is a separate page on my blog, helped me to stay focused. The adding of the hyperlinks that you see on the items below helps me to review past projects as prologue for future ones.
Thanks for checking this out – and good luck to all in 2019! Hope I keep you amused and entertained!
2018 Total Projects: 2,036
244 figures painted
0 figures cast
47 figures assembled
33 terrain pieces made or assembled
28 terrain pieces painted
10 figure conversions
867 creations or components sculpted or scratch-built
0 molds made
807 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted
January: 91 projects
Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (91):
2 A9 Cruiser Mark I tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR020)
1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
1 A13 Cruiser Mark IVA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR026)
1 Valentine III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR061)
1 Crusader II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR032)
1 Crusader III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR034)
1 M3 Grant tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR100)
1 Churchill II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR070)
5 M3 Stuart “Honey” tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR006) – Brits will get two, I am saving one for future Soviet Lend-Lease, one for future captured German use in North Africa, and one as an American M3 for future captured Japanese use in Burma or the Philippines.
Back in 2016, I had finally completed an original Ral Partha “Rooman War Party” (#01-044) from 1977. This effort culminated in my building a 21-figure phalanx of pike-armed anthropomorphic kangaroos, replete with Australian 7-pointed stars on their shields.
At that time, I also began to see that others, like the wonderfully named Imperial Rebel Ork (IRO for short) were doing amazing “kit-bashes” and conversions with different models. Of course, IRO uses plastic, and I’m more of an old school metal guy. I also was getting more into retro sci-fi figures and using them for skirmish games. I was inspired by IRO and Azazel (both Aussies) to push myself to do my own conversion. So, I combined two figures – a Ral Partha Rooman (25 mm scale) and a Reaper #80010, “Nova Corp Sergeant” (28 mm scale), made a mold, and cast a bunch of “Space Roomans” (in metal of course). You can read about that somewhat massive project here. Getting around to painting these took a bit longer, and even my good friend Buck Surdu painted some that I gave him much quicker than I did.
Azazel is kind enough to run a monthly community painting challenge – and October’s was “Unit-ed October”, and focused on units. So, I took this opportunity to get these done. Of course, this effort was slightly affected by some gaming and the Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series (YES!), but I got them (the Space Roos that is) done by October 31st, 2018. I will use them in Combat Patrol™ games.
I decided to paint the Roos similar to the way I did the Roomans, except that I wanted a more dusty and dirty look to them, as they are intrepid infantrymen (infantryroos?). I also wanted to convert a couple of figures per squad (yes, a conversion of a conversion) to carry different weapons. In this case, I used a grenade launcher sprue from RBJ miniatures to make two Roos into grenadiers, and a different RPG sprue from RBJ to make two other Roos into anti-tank troopers. So my 28-figure platoon would consist of:
2 Space Roo Squads consisting of:
1 Squad Leader in each squad
2 teams of:
1 TL per team
4 Space Roos with assault rifles/blasters per team
1 Space Roo per team with either a grenade launcher or anti-tank weapon
Two squads make a light platoon, but I think that they will be a potent elite fighting force on the tabletop. Also, these Roos are equipped with body armor on their torsos, and importantly, jet packs! I will also give them a higher rate of movement similar to what I did for the Space Phraints (1½ cards of movement). I cleaned and filed the models, and prepared them for conversion and priming by mounting them on 1″ steel washers.
I had a tough time reorienting the arms of the RPG-armed Roos, and I needed to break them and use green stuff to create a proper pose. Pinning was not feasible unfortunately. I also used green stuff to mount the grenadiers’ launchers and to give them bandoleers of grenades. The grenadiers looked fine enough for the tabletop, but I was unhappy with the RPG Roos, as they looked “Popeye” like in their arms. As the Space Roos body armor gives them an angular body look, I decided to use a series of very small 2 mm polystyrene chips to create an “armored look” over the arms by affixing them with Gorilla glue.
I ended up double priming these figures, as I knew that I would need to fix much with brushwork and painting. For example, there was a large indentation on the Roos’ left feet (paws?) that I needed to paint over. I thought that a thinned brush priming followed by a thinned airbrush priming would help. I think it did.
For their base colors, I went with a yellowy/sandy look for their armor, which I thought would reflect a desert or dusty deployment.
One of the issues I really want to focus on when I build a platoon is to make it easy for the players (some of us with “experienced” eyes) to see and identify a figure’s squad and team. I got some steel punches, and some jewelry stamps to make 1/4″ and 5/16″ placards that I could mount on the figures’ bases.
Next, I washed the figures twice with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”. I then mounted the RPG’s with Gorilla glue.
Lastly, I used a whole bottle of Citadel “Armageddon Dunes” to fill and shape around the bases and let them dry and harden. The placards were mounted into this paint. Then I gave the bases a wash with “Agrax Earthshade” and two different dry brush applications (Polly Scale “WWII German Armor Light Tan” and Vallejo “Light Brown”). Then I gave everything two coats of matte varnish.
After adding some tufts from Shadows Edge Miniatures for even better identification, the platoon was finally done (I LOVE their tufts). I am happy with it, given the work and effort it took to bring it to life. So, now, appropriately, I will share with you some eye candy!
I am looking forward to seeing these guys in action soon. I appreciate your looking and hope that you enjoyed this post. I always read your feedback, so please let me know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
I dedicate this post to all my Aussie friends!
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 Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
Vallejo Game Air “Red Terracotta”
Citadel “Flayed One Flesh”
Americana “Bleached Sand”
Americana “Black Tie – Satin”
Vallejo “US Dark Green”
Tamiya “Copper XF-6”
Tamiya “X-20A Thinner”
Tamiya “XF-49 Khaki”
Vallejo Game Air “Weiss”
Tamiya “Gun Metal X-10”
Vallejo Game Air “Steel”
Vallejo Game Air “Beasty Brown”
Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Steel”
Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Steel”
Vallejo Mecha Color “Metallic Blue”
Vallejo Game Air “Electric Blue”
Vallejo Mecha Color “Metallic Green”
Citadel “Hexwraith Flame”
Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
Secret Weapons Washes “Just Red” (ink)
P3 “Brown” (ink)
Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (wash)
Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
Citadel “Armageddon Dunes”
Polly Scale WWII “German Armor Light Tan”
Vallejo “Light Brown”
Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
Shadows Edge Miniatures 6 mm “Dark Forest Red” (tufts)
Shadows Edge Miniatures 6 mm “Dark Blue” (tufts)
Shadows Edge Miniatures 12 mm “Wild Tufts” (tufts)
Thanks again for looking and for your feedback! ESPECIALLY AUSSIES!
The H.A.W.K.’s held their BARRAGE convention in Havre de Grace, Maryland at the end of September 2018. They had over 70 gaming events, and it had been on my “hoping to attend” list for most of 2018. Also on my wish list was to be able to run my “Attack of the Warbots” game using the Combat Patrol™ card-based system. I was hoping to attend but was unsure (for several reasons) up to a week beforehand as to whether I was going to be able to go or not. In the end, the stars aligned, and I also got to run my game! Box checked!
There was a lot going on here – and I saw a lot of great games. The following is just a snippet, through my eyes, of the experiences that I had. The games and the game masters that I saw did an incredible job. Truly impressive. Certainly, the H.A.W.K.’s put on a great gaming convention and my kudos to all of them and the other game masters.
I started on Friday with running my latest iteration of “Attack of the Warbots” with my Archive, Mega Miniatures, and Wargames Supply Dump figures, all of which are OOP. I had seven players, with three on the Warbot side, and four on the defending side. Of note, I was lucky to have had as players both Buck Surdu (my old West Point buddy and the author of the Combat Patrol™ rules) and Dave Wood (my old West Point roommate who introduced me to tabletop gaming in 1982). I also had the good fortune to have Greg Priebe playing alongside Buck – and Greg wrote the Star Wars supplement for Combat Patrol™. Buck is very fond of ducks (in a good way of course), and was in command of Duck Wader and some Star Ducks, while Dave was on the Warbot side with a couple of Mark 1 Sphere tanks. Greg commanded the Aphids and the Frinx. A few other players were there but I did not get their names (sorry). The Warbots needed to recapture a lost Mark 1 before the defenders could repair it and get it off the board.
I then turned into a player, and decided to try a Lion Rampant game ably run by Philip Jones. We were the Vikings who had seized prelates, monks, and treasure in a raid, and were trying to escape to their longship, while being pursued and blocked by Welsh troops.
Our casualties mounted! The game points were tallied, and rightly called for the Welsh. I did find the system fun, and Philip ran the game in a very fun way.
After this, I was walking around, and was recruited for a “What a Tanker” game run by Brian Lipscomb. It was set in North Africa, 15mm scale, with the British set against the Germans and Italians. Brian asked if I wanted to have a German or Italian tank. Being a sucker for a challenge, I of course said Italian. I was given a Fiat M13/40 tank.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this game and the mechanics. Brian is a superb GM. More on that in a bit…but this was a fun way to end Friday!
On Saturday, I had really looked forward to playing Buck’s Sea Lion game. There weren’t enough players, so it was called, BUT I wanted to share the unbelievably beautiful game set up. Buck will run this game at Fall In and you can read about a play test of the game here.
So again, I wandered around, and saw another Brian Lipscomb “What a Tanker” game, this time set on the Eastern Front. After Friday, I was happy to give it another go. I was teamed with two others who had not previously played the game. We had a certain number of points, so I volunteered to take a lesser tank (a T-70 light tank) so that they could have better ones – in this case a T-34 and an SU-76.
At this point, Don Hogge and Buck Surdu visited the table put up a dollar each for anyone to kill me! Talk about motivation! We were being outmaneuvered by the Germans at this point, so I moved back and used my kill points to upgrade my T-70 to an SU-85.
The scenario that Brian devised also had infantry (controlled by him as the GM and using a random events chart) – with the town as an objective. I used the SU-85 to hammer the German infantry as Soviet infantry was arriving. I killed four stands and got a bunch of kill points. I reminded my teammates that I had started off as a T-70, and they gave me one extra kill point, which allowed me to get a monster ISU-152. At the same time, the Germans were reinforced with a Jagdpanther and a Sturmgeschutz III.
Immediately I maneuvered the ISU-152 to hit more infantry. The Germans decided to try to get me with their Jagdpanther and the Sturmgeschutz III. I moved my tank destroyer next to a building to face the Jagdpanther down the main street. He fired.
I returned fire and destroyed the German tank destroyer.
At this point, the Sturmgeschutz III was maneuvering to get a flank or rear shot on me. As the ISU-152 is very heavy and slow, I was only able to spin to face the Sturmgeschutz III. It was a question of initiative – and I got it, hit the German assault gun, and got kill #6 for the weekend (and the $2 bounty on me!).
I then participated in a play test for a near future warfare scenario using cyber warfare with the Look Sarge No Charts system. It was run by Dave Wood and was interesting to do.
Every BARRAGE there is a pickup WWI air combat game that is a hoot. I’ve never managed to get a kill in the game before, but I did this year as a German. Eventually, I got shot up and had to glide home.
The last tabletop game that I played in was a First Boer WarCombat Patrol™ game. I was on the Boer side and we had to defend our wagon from being seized by the British. The game was fun, but there was a low point. We had a couple of players from New Jersey who vanished mid-game without so much as a notice that they were leaving. I think they hated defending. Anyways, we struggled on and ended up winning the game. The other players were great sports, and were great company.
After this game at the end of the con, I got to play in the traditional LARP pirate game. I had a nerf crossbow (treated by the GM as a musket) that took out Buck with a shot to the glutes. My weapon later misfired, and the resultant damage took me out. That LARP is always a fun game though!
The flea market presented many vendors and items for sale. I grabbed a Verdun game that I had last played with a gaming club in Monterey, CA in 1985! I’m not sure when I will get to play it, or with whom, but it was OOP in 1985, so a nice find! Buck and I visited the Verdun battlefield in 1987 or so, so it was nice to get this game here.
I must congratulate again the H.A.W.K.’s on a well-run con. Little Wars TV attended and filmed so you can see more of the convention here.
Thanks for looking and as always, I love any feedback!
We had a good showing on Saturday at the September Mass Pikemen Gaming Club session. We played an “Attack of the Warbots” scenario using the Combat Patrol™ system.
The biological Alliance (Star Ducks, Space Dwarves, Frinx, and Aphids) have captured a Warbot Mark 1 Sphere tank and are attempting to repair and convert it to their use. The Warbots have landed a large force and aim to deny their enemy this loss of technology. Can the Warbots be stopped?
This one, like all of the games that I run, was modified for playability based on experience and the number of available players. This time I also got to add some new terrain and my new Wastelands gaming mat (which I described here and here). I did not take as many pictures as I had wanted to – but what I have is below.
The Aphids held up the Warbot attack and were almost wiped out by the Warbots. However, they did delay them enough to achieve a victory, however, the tide of battle was about to turn so it could have ended differently. Time just ran out on the Warbots.
The photos below are the set up and a bit of initial play.
Set up from the attackers side. Reinforcements await deployment on the table’s edge.
This fun scenario, with some minor tweaks, will be coming to BARRAGE on 9/28/2018!
For August, I decided that my efforts needed to be directed towards a few new areas that would be challenging for me. I wanted to get more terrain for my games, specifically some that would be useful in making my Combat Patrol™ games more visually appealing to the players. I also wanted to try to use some new techniques and incorporate new materials into my hobby kit bag.
This would involve working on things and using multiple materials with which I am less than fully experienced. My goal was to stretch my horizons as it were, and this goal also dovetailed nicely with the monthly painting challenge run by our Australian friend Azazel. The theme for August was “Technical August”, which was a wide-open challenge to try or improve upon techniques that we had little to no experience in doing previously. With that said, I decided that assembling, building, and painting some Armorcast terrain would be a good way to do that. Mainly my goal was to focus on using the five 4-pigment bottle sets of Vallejo Pigments that I have not really used (Dust & Dirt, Mud & Sand, Rust & Corrosion, Soot & Ashes, and Stone & Cement). I did use the Soot & Ashes set on some cheap 3D printed buildings, but otherwise not much.
I acquired three types of Armorcast resin terrain (all suitable for 28mm scale) for the August challenge – craters, ruined buildings, and sci-fi ruined walls:
1 ACCR001 3-crater set (includes 3 differently-sized impact craters – 6″, 4″, and 3″ – and the set is the subject of this post)
5 ruined building corners (subjects of a future post)
As for my technical goals, my list of “challenge” skills, materials, and techniques include:
Assembling, building, and basing terrain
Use of materials to create weathering and rusting effects, to include:
Vallejo Pigments, to include application and fixing (covered in this blog post)
Vallejo Mecha Color weathering products
Weathering and rusting/oxidizing effect products, to incude:
Citadel Technical paints:
Vallejo and Vallejo Mecha Color rusting and weathering products
Vallejo Pigments (various)
Vallejo Game Air rusts (71.069 and 71.080)
Vallejo Mecha Color Weathering products
Oil Stains (gloss)
Rust Texture (Matt)
Create a new storage system for my terrain pieces
The ones above in bold font are ones I worked on for the 3-crater project. Others will be used for the remaining projects, even if that lasts into September (which is likely).
I had previously worked on some Armorcast sci-fi pieces and grenade blasts. I like their products, but wanted to get better at getting them on the tabletop.
I got good advice from Armorcast (Gin Fritter) and Buck Surdu about preparing the resin for painting. I ended up using a few Exacto knives to remove flash, and then used Scotch-Brite pads to lightly (imperceptibly in fact) give the pieces a rubdown to achieve a “bite” for airbrush priming. Additionally, I used a 180 grit sandpaper sheet to scuff up the craters’ bottoms so that they would glue better to their planned bases. I then washed the pieces thoroughly with dish washing soap in the sink and let them dry.
For basing, I chose to incorporate a few different materials. First, I cut irregular shapes from Evergreen Scale Models #9020 polystyrene sheets – which is quite thin (.020″/0.5 mm). I mounted the crater pieces to the cut shapes with Gorilla Glue. Then, I also used a number of differently sized thin steel bases from Wargames Accessories to mount under the shapes for both strength and to be able to later store and transport securely in magnetically lined storage boxes (which is another project in and of itself that I have planned). Here, I also used Gorilla Glue.
From my minimal experience with using pigments, I knew they had the potential for a huge mess. I learned that using a cafeteria-type tray would make using them easier. I hit my local Salvation Army and found four trays for this use. Interestingly, three of them were from a former Digital (DEC) facility (there were a lot of them in Massachusetts before Compaq and later Hewlett Packard consumed them in 1998). I removed what appeared to be ancient chili from them, and put them into use. I also got a small palette from Michael’s craft store to use just for pigments. I put that palette into a deep plastic Rubbermaid salad container, and I thereby effectively limited the migration of pigments from my work space. You definitely do not want to have a fan or strong air circulation going while using pigments!
I then used PVA glue (good old Elmer’s) to affix some play sand and some Woodland Scenics stones to the bases, and let them harden.
Next, in order that I could handle and work with the craters, I affixed their bases with poster tack to upside-down plastic plates before priming. I marked each plate with a brown ink line for reference, and proceeded to airbrush prime the set with Vallejo “Surface Primer – Gray”.
I then worked on the three craters sequentially, going from smallest to largest. For the smallest one, I dry brushed with multiple shades of brown (there is a list of materials that I used at the end of this blog). I was not sure that I needed to or if the pigments would be enough. Primarily, I used the four pigments from the Vallejo “Mud and Sand” set (“Light Yellow Ochre”, “Natural Umber”, “Light Sienna”, and “Light Slate Grey”) plus the Vallejo “Faded Olive Green”. I looked at the Vallejo YouTube video on pigments, and used some of the different techniques to apply and fix the pigments.
After this, I moved on to the next larger crater, and also dry brushed it and used the same method of fixing the pigments. One downside that I discovered was that the airbrush thinner tended to dissolve the PVA holding the rocks in place (but not the sand). I replaced the displaced rocks on the bases after the airbrush thinner dried.
Lastly, I worked on the largest crater. Here, I passed on doing any dry brushing. For this one, I employed Vallejo “Pigment Binder” instead of the airbrush thinner to fix the pigments – and to prevent the dissolving issue under the added rocks. I also needed to use Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water” to give better shading. While the pigment binder worked, it did lead to a thicker application of pigment as you see below. I thought it blended too much – and I believe that one should use that product selectively. I subsequently added more pigments to make the crater less of a solid olive green, fixing them with airbrush thinner. It worked.
Lastly, I decided to airbrush varnish the craters. Did I need to? I wanted to protect the paint work, so I did. I do think I needed to thin the varnish more, as I had some crazing to deal with, something I had not seen previously with its use on miniatures. To help with color variety, I applied Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” and “Athonian Camoshade” washes, mixed with a little varnish and applied with a brush to the affected areas. I then applied Army Painter “Wasteland Tufts” and some 12 mm grasses from Shadow’s Edge Miniatures.
As an aside – I can say without a doubt that the Shadow’s Edge Miniatures products are far superior to Army Painter’s – they need no additional gluing, and they are visually stunning. I plan on using their products, especially the flowers, on future unit bases to help with tabletop differentiation.
My lessons and thoughts from the project:
The cleaning and scrubbing of the resin helped with the priming. The Scotch-Brite pads work well for this use.
For terrain pieces that will be totally covered in pigments, dry brushing with paint is not needed. When I get to doing vehicles, such as tanks, it will be interesting to see how that works.
Fixing pigments with airbrush thinner is easier than with pigment binder. However, add any additional large features, such as extra rocks later, or use pigment binder on the rocks.
Having trays and palette wells (such as the one I put my palette in) while working with pigments cuts down on the mess considerably. Be ready to use multiple brushes, both wet and dry. The mess vacuumed up or washed off easily from my palettes and trays.
Always ensure your pigment bottles are shut tight. I see how they could spill over easily (and I was lucky enough not to have this problem).
PVA glue and play sand are an inexpensive winner.
The combination of thin steel and thin polystyrene yields a model base with little to any “rise” from the tabletop at its edge, and is strong.
Thin your varnish to prevent the crazing! (Speaking with Buck today, he uses varnish to fix his pigments, so that needs to be considered). I also want to see how well airbrushing the thinner fixes pigments in future projects, like my ruined buildings.
Washes help in the end for touch ups.
Shadow’s Edge Miniatures tufts are fantastic – need no extra glue and dry clearly.
Now the three craters are now ready to join my other terrain. Hopefully I can get more done this month.
Thanks for reading and if you have feedback, especially on my results or suggestions from your experiences, please, share them in the comments section. I do so much appreciate them!
PAINTS, PIGMENTS, INKS, GLUES, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:
Vallejo “Surface Primer – Gray”
Generic play sand
Evergreen Scale Models #9020 0.5 mm plain polystyrene sheets
Wargames Accessories steel bases (various)
Americana “Raw Umber”
American “Burnt Sienna”
Citadel “Skrag Brown”
Citadel “Balor Brown”
Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
Vallejo “Faded Olive Green” (pigment)
Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
Vallejo “Airbrush Flow Improver”
Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water” (wash/shade)
Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”
Citadel “Athonian Camoshade”
Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
Army Painter “Wasteland Tufts”
Shadow’s Edge Miniatures “12 mm tufts”
Thanks again – I hope this helps you or please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section. After all, I am no expert in these – and I am just sharing my lessons learned – and I KNOW there are many other ways to accomplish what I did (I just don’t know them all!!).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I then used Vallejo “Gloss Varnish” for my first varnishing application. I planned on adding a matte coat after I finished the bases.
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.
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!
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!