Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodons – Archive #2042, circa 1978 – Completed!

The Power-Armored Frinx are back, and this time as cavalry riding glyptodons into battle!  The Frinx were a creation of Archive Miniatures back around 1977 or 1978.  They are a smallish lizard-like race, often wearing power armor.

Glyptodons on the other hand were very real and existed from the Ice Age until about 11,650 years ago (give or take).  They were prehistoric cousins of the modern armadillo, only they were mega fauna – and were as big as a Volkswagen bug.  Plus, there is that massive spiked tail to consider.  Why Archive put these two together is anyone’s guess, but the combination is indeed quirky and fun.

7 Glyptodon
Artist conception of a glyptodon – as big as a car

 

6 Armadillo
For you non-US folks, this is an armadillo. It’s about the size of a cat or small dog.  None are around me in New England, but I saw plenty as road kill when I lived down South.
0 Star Rover rules pic
Sketch of Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon from page 3.10 of the Star Rovers Module 1 rules

As a Frinx backgrounder for those interested, I have previously written several posts on the venerable Frinx, going back to my casting of their infantry in February 2016 (here), my painting and figure conversions of my Power-Armored Frinx infantry platoon in February 2017 (here), my May 2017 discovery and acquisition of an original Star Rovers RPG (here), and my casting of the Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon (Archive #2042) in July of 2017 (here).  So this journey has already been 2½ years in the making.  Phew!

Interestingly, the 1981 Archive catalog that came with my Star Rovers game does not have the #2042 listed, despite the drawing shown above being in the rule book.  My guess would be that the kit was uneconomical to produce and/or difficult to produce well.  I document several these issues in my casting post – but originally the kit contained no less than 11 pieces as shown below.  As reference, the scale of the set is 25mm to 28mm.

3 close up contents
Original Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon kit

I made my own modifications to this particular set and made molds to recreate the kit.  It is indeed rare and given that it was already OOP by 1981, there cannot be many of these around.  I thought they would serve well in a traditional cavalry role for my Frinx platoon.  I cast several and shared with Buck Surdu (who graciously provided me the original you see above so that we both could have some).  Buck did a great job painting seven of my recasts of these back in 2017 which you can see here.

This month to add to my Frinx forces I managed to finish 5 Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodons (let’s call them PAFOG for short!) models.  As shown above, each set has two Frinx riders on a glyptodon.  I chose 5 because I felt that 10 Frinx riders would be a good number for a cavalry squad in either the recon or screening role in my Combat Patrol™ games.  It also would give the unit enough punch if deployed as a mobile counterattack force.  I sorted out what figures that I had, and chose the ones I would use for the cavalry squad.  Some of the riders’ weapons were not very well cast, so I converted these weapons.  I used Bombshell Miniatures sprues of Arc Weapons (#36013) to replace six of the blasters.  My initial plan is currently  to give these weapons better capabilities versus robot foes, which should prove interesting given that I have a lot of robots now.

1 Frinx on Glyptodon - collection
My initial assortment of PAFOG before I cleaned the chosen 5 – you can see that I still had modeling clay on the original on the bottom right.
2 Frinx on Glyptodon - collection ready for cleaning
Boot camp time – must select the best for the cavalry!
3 Frinx on Glyptodon - final 5 and weapons
The final five plus the Bombshell Miniatures Arc Weapons.  I decided to use the largest arc weapons that you see here as their sizes worked well.
4 example casting front
Washed and ready for priming.  As you can see, the details are much less crisp than I would like.  His weapon was replaced with an arc weapon.   This is the front rider (recast).
5 example casting back
This is the back rider (recast).

In order to make these Frinx “pop”, I needed a plan.  Clearly, my painting was going to do a lot to overcome the plainness of the riders.  I also needed to figure out how I was going to base them for painting and handling – unlike other Archive Miniatures these had no bases.  These are also very heavy (solid lead/tin).  The feet of the glyptodons were not level, so choosing the right basing was a big quandary for me for several reasons.  I tried several approaches in my mind, but eventually chose to emulate Buck’s choice and use washers.  I did choose smaller ones than Buck did – using #8 steel washers and E6000 epoxy under each foot, allowing for hardening overnight.

8 basing on #8 washers
On their washers for an overnight set.

Once they had set, I began by priming the bottoms, letting that cure, and then doing the tops.  My goal was to make the bottoms reddish brown, leading to a more brownish top as the drawing of the glyptodon above shows.  It was not easy!  I had to do a lot of handling of the paint jobs and eventually I moved them to popsicle stick frames with poster tack, which was good for a temporary, if imperfect, solution.

10 glyp base coating
Early stages of priming and base coating of the glyptodons.
12 glyps on frames
Eventually I mounted the glyptodons on these temporary frames for painting – still not ideal.

After carving away 6 defective metal weapons, I mounted the riders on poster tack mounds on specimen jars.  The saddles really did not present me with many other options for mounting them for painting.

As for a color scheme, I decided to go with the branch color of the US Army Cavalry (now Armor), that being yellow.  Besides, yellow is a difficult color to pull off, so I thought it would pose a nice additional challenge.  I primed them, and subsequently airbrushed the riders with Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow” as a base coat.  I then used Reaper MSP “Grey Liner” over the riders to help show me what parts I could paint to bring out the best details.  This step really was useful.

11 riders airbrushed
Frinx riders after airbrush the primer and base coat.
13 mid stage on riders
Early stages of painting the riders
14 mid stage on riders
Adding some metallics to the riders and inks to the arc weapons
15 riders painted need wash
Painting completed for riders – awaiting a wash application
16 washed awaiting affixing of weapons
The 10 riders washed and waiting for their weapon conversions.  I converted 6, and yes, I painted an extra arc weapon just in case!  I primarily used inks on the arc weapons over a chrome base coat for a retro sci-fi look.  After this, I applied a gloss varnish to them.

It was time now to return to the sturdy mounts – and I had gotten to the point that I was happy with my painting on them.  However, what was missing was a set of reins for each glyptodon.  When I cast them, I did use the original bits in their mouths, but the original reins were totally inadequate in my view.

I decided to make reins from the smallest jewelry chain I could find.  Figuring out how to affix the chains was a lot of trial and error on one of the extra unpainted glyptodons that I had.  I tried using wire, thread, as well as just hooking the chain to the mounts – all for naught.  Then, a light bulb went off – toothpicks!

I determined that I needed 27 links for the main chain loop for the reins.  I threaded the last chain link through a wooden toothpick.  I then inserted the toothpick into the bits by the mouths.  I used a push pin to slide the link into position on the toothpick, and applied a very small amount of Gorilla Glue on the wood/chain/bit connection.  After the glue dried (often with the assistance of a hand held hair dryer), I snipped the toothpick with a sprue cutter as close as I could to the bit.  The net effect was like a tent peg and a rope, securing the chain to the glyptodons’ bridle bits.  I repeated the process on both sides, then tack glued the chain at the top and above the ears to make a loop.  Then I dry brushed the chain with Tamiya “Gun Metal X-10” and let it dry.  Lastly, I applied Citadel “Nuln Oil” to the chain.

17 glypts on frame mid stage
Painted glyptodons before final wash application and addition of reins.
18 glypts after gloss wash
I applied Citadel “Agrax Earthshade Gloss” on the back, expecting the later matte varnish to dull it down.  Still need reins!
18a old reins
These are the original reins – not acceptable!
19 chain
Time for some jewelry making, I mean rein making (sounds weird huh!).
20 27 links
27 links, no more no less!
21 toothpick design
He looks a bit like he needs an orthodontist.  This is how I mounted the chains into the bits.
22 after snipping toothpick and gluing chains
Main chain loop mounted, before painting it and the bits.

After this, I removed the glyptodons from the frames in order to give the mounts a matte varnish airbrush treatment.  Then I mounted the riders to the mounts with E6000 epoxy, and let it harden.  I wanted to connect the chains to the front riders hands.  For this I needed a massive 4 links of jewelry chain per model, push pins, and patience.  I used Gorilla Glue, push pins, and the blow dryer to get the additional chain segments in place.  I then applied the same painting and wash techniques to the 4 links.

23 4 links
4 links, no more, no less!  I used push pins to help as I cut the links.

 

24 with extra chain and waiting final matte
The glossy riders on the matte glyptodon with the new chain attachment which has not yet been painted.  Subsequently, the whole PAFOG got a couple of matte varnish coats.
25 dinner anyone
After final varnish of an airbrush matte coat.
26 metric
For you metric system users, an idea of the weight and size of the model as completed.
27 english pounds 4.64 ounces
For us in the USA, its a mere 4.64 ounces of heavy metal goodness…not a quarter pounder I’d eat by the way…

The PAFOG squad project was now complete – except that I needed to make corrals for them as they are so heavy as to slide in my other Frinx box.  No worries, as I want them to survive for many future games, and I’ve done that for other outsized figures

This project also counts for me in a community painting challenge that my Australian friend Azazel has sent out for July 2018.  It is for a “Jewel” project – and given all the work that went into these from acquisition to casting to conversion to final painting – I’m confident that these will meet the requirement!

The eye candy follows, and hopefully you will find these as cool as I did.  I always appreciate your feedback dear readers – let me know your thoughts and suggestions.  Thanks for looking!

29 group shot 2
Frinx, form up!
30 moving out
Move out!
32 square trooper for casualty cards
This is the section leader’s mount.  The section leader has blue markings.  These figures are the originals and have the original weapons.  In a Combat Patrol game, they will draw two cards for movement.  Between the power armor and the glyptodon’s armor, they should have some ability to take damage.
33 rear shot
A good view of the back ends where the bony spiked tails are found.  Here, on the right is the section leaders mount, and on the left is a mount with one Frinx armed with an arc weapon and the other with a blaster.
34 group front
Nice group shot – note the conversions with the arc weapons.
35 trooper side
Close up of the right side.
37 conferring with Texicans
A conference with Lt. Ma’k (the Frinx platoon leader in red), some Frinx Amethyst Squad infantry, and the Texican Space Rangers.
38 surrounding space dwarves
Surrounding the Space Dwarves in a final charge!

For those interested, here is the list of the paints, etc. that I used in this project.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  2. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  3. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  4. Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
  5. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  6. Vallejo Game Air “Beastly Brown”
  7. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  8. Vallejo “Red”
  9. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  10. Vallejo “Black Grey”
  11. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  12. Reaper MSP “Grey Liner” (wash)
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Black (metallic)”
  15. Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Ochre”
  16. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Rust 080”
  18. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  19. Tamiya “Chrome Silver X-11”
  20. Tamiya “X-20A Thinner”
  21. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  22. Vallejo Model Air “Medium Gunship Gray”
  23. Tamiya “Copper XF-6”
  24. Tamiya “Gun Metal X-10”
  25. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  26. Citadel “Hexwraith Flame”
  27. P3 “Green” (ink)
  28. Citadel “‘Ardcoat”
  29. Secret Weapons Washes “Just Red” (ink)
  30. Citadel “Soulstone Blue”
  31. Vallejo Game Air “Fluorescent Red”
  32. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  33. Secret Weapons Washes “Purple” (ink)
  34. Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Fluorescent”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sand Yellow”
  36. Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” (wash)
  37. Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”
  38. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade Gloss” (wash)
  39. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (wash)
  40. Citadel “Castellan Green”
  41. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  42. Vallejo “Thinner Medium”
  43. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  44. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again!

 

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!