Mark III Warbot Platoon & Juggerbot for Combat Patrol

Followers of this blog may have wondered where I have been, why have I not been posting?  Well, I have been working on building a platoon of Archive Miniatures “Mark III Robots” (#2323).  The platoon will be led by Archive Miniatures “Juggerbot” (#2331).  Both of these sculpts are from the vibrant imagination of Nevile Stocken, who was way ahead of his time with his work.  Given that these figures were from the late 70’s and early 80’s, I have to think that they were inspired (especially the visors) by the original Cylons from the 1978 TV series Battlestar Galactica.  I loved that show when I was a kid!  So, I had to make them shiny!

 

Cylons-rock
Mark III Warbot inspiration?

 

These will be used in upcoming games using the Combat Patrol™ set of card-based rules.  The figures are effectively 25-28mm, being large robots (larger than humans).

This long project started with making a mold and casting 38 out of the 40 Mark III Robots as described previously here.  I wish that I could have just bought them, but my time machine is broken…and that made purchasing them an impossibility.  The platoon will have 4 squads of 10 (5 per team), plus 4 squad leaders, and Juggerbot – so the platoon is composed of a total of 45 figures.

The original Mark III’s (there were no Mark I’s or II’s!) were from the Star Rovers line of figures made by Archive in the 1979-1981 timeframe.  They are very tough to find on eBay or anywhere else.  I managed to acquire two originals, but only one was fully intact, and it became the master for my recasting efforts.  The other original I converted with another weapon.

I found the Juggerbot kit on eBay, and decided that it would make an excellent platoon leader.  For squad leaders, I have four War Games Supply Dump Khang Robots that were previously described in this blog here.   Each Khang is color-coded (red, green, blue, and purple), and each squad in my platoon follows that scheme.  Each Mark III Warbot Squad consists of the Khang Squad Leader, and two teams of five Warbots.

I converted one Warbot per team with a special weapon.  Each squads’ Team 1 had a conversion with Bombshell Miniature’s “particle beam weapon” (BOM36016).  I gave the Team 2’s two different weapons each.  Two teams got Bombshell Miniatures large “arc weapon” as their conversion, while the other two got a large War Games Supply Dump retro sci-fi weapon from the WP01 “Weapons Pack 1”.  All of the conversions I did were with these weapons, which are no longer available from either Bombshell or the now-shuttered War Games Supply Dump.

Conversion of these figures, as well as cleanup in terms of cutting and filing were major efforts in this project.  I use mostly tin (about 67%) in my casting, and this made sawing away and filing pieces from them tedious as they are not as soft as a higher-lead alloy would be.  Still, I was able to convert 7 of my castings plus the extra original for a total of 8 conversions.  In most cases, I needed to bend the arms to accommodate the new weapons.  My concept was for Team 1 to have one Warbot with a higher rate of fire weapon, while the Team 2’s would have specialized breaching or anti-armor capabilities.

 

1 Archive Mark III Warbot - Copy
My original Mark III Warbot with weapon intact.  I had one other with a broken weapon, which I converted to another weapon.

 

1 Juggerbot
Juggerbot as received from eBay – obviously cast from a mold in the post-Archive era
2 Juggerbot
Juggerbot contents – needed some TLC…glue, and pressure while the glue set
3 Juggerbot
Assembled and straightened Juggerbot

 

0000 Arc Weapon sprue 36013
Bombshell Miniatures arc weapon sprue -I used two of the ones on the far left
0000 Particle-Beam-Weapon-Sprue
I used the far left particle beam weapon for each Team 1 conversion
0000a Catalog Closeup
From the 1981 catalog
000 Archive Star Rovers juggerbot
Juggerbot drawing from the 1981 Star Rovers game rule book
000 Archive Star Rovers Mark III Warbot a
Mark III Warbot drawing from the 1981 Star Rovers game rule book

After cleaning up the figures, I made a plan to complete the conversions.  I also wanted to try a few new things in making this platoon.  I wanted to use my new airbrushes and spray booth, and I wanted to use poster tack on specimen bottles and grocery store coins to have greater ease of painting with both the airbrushes and traditional brushes.

01 Warbot Platoon with Juggerbot
After cleanup but before conversion – I ended up using 2 arc weapons (far left), 2 of the WSD weapons (2nd from left), and 4 of the particle beam weapons (far right) in my conversions
02 Warbot first conversions
After conversion – arc weapon on left, particle beam on right
03 Warbot second conversion
War Games Supply Dump weapon conversion
04 Assembled platoon on washers
Mounted on steel washers and ready for the poster tack and the specimen jars

After all of my conversions were complete, I mounted the figures on steel washers for eventual magnetized storage.  I had to use a bigger washer for Juggerbot.  The platoon was then affixed to outdated grocery store bonus coins and specimen bottles or just to the bottles themselves with poster tack.  In the future, I will not use the coins, as it was just easier to use the bottles minus the coins.  I used an Aztec airbrush to prime the figures with gray Vallejo “Surface Primer”, giving the figures 24 hours to dry.  I had read that doing that is desirable so that this primer paint can harden.

06a primedAssembled platoon on coins and bottles
Primed on the specimen jars

I then used Createx “Wicked Aluminum” airbrush paint (very sparkly) to base coat the Warbots using an Iwata Eclipse air brush – and I found this brush to be a much easier tool than the Aztec.  I used Vallejo Model Air “Gold” to base coat Juggerbot with the airbrush.

08 Juggerbot primed
Juggerbot base coated
09 Close up primed
Close up of Warbots base coated

I saw that the Createx paint had given the Warbots the appropriate shiny starting point for further development of the paint scheme I wanted, which was to be very retro sci-fi metallic, and reminiscent of the Cylons.  Then I went back to the regular brush!

For my color schemes of red, blue, green, and purple on the Warbots, I went with DecoArt “Festive Red”, “Peacock Pearl”, “Crystal Green”, and Craftsmart “Amethyst” respectively.  These metallic paints are great, but thick, and not easily thinned.  Still, they worked well and I put these colors on the ankle, knee, and wrist joints for ease of tabletop play.  I chose to use them as well for the visor interior colors, with Vallejo Model Air metallic “Black” for the outer parts of the visors.  I then used “Gold” for the Warbot voice boxes and weapons tips on the unconverted troopers.  “Black” was my choice for the rest of the weapons, offset with Vallejo Model Air “Steel” and Martha Stewart Crafts “Duckling” (this was a nod to my friend Buck Surdu, whose love of all things ducky and his take on the Mark III Warbots helped me plan out my approaches here).

For the common weapon barrels, I employed Vallejo Model Air “Copper”, and complemented them with Vallejo Model Air “Medium Gunship Gray”.  Juggerbot had several lights on him, so Vallejo Model Air “Arctic Blue” and “Signal Red”, and “Aluminum” helped me with these details.  I used these as well on the conversion weapons.

I then used several applications of Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” and “Black” on Juggerbot to shade the recesses of the figure.  Moving back to the Warbots, I used “Aluminum” on the bodies, then similar to what I did with Juggerbot, I shaded with “Black” and “Nuln Oil Gloss”.  Interestingly, I found that the inks really rolled off the figures, and the “Black” paint really helped with the shading.

I then added a healthy coat of Citadel “Ardcoat” to all visor and lighted surfaces.  As a final highlight for Juggerbot and the Warbot weapon tips, I used Citadel “Retributor Armour”.

 

10 Juggerbot basecoated
Juggerbot mid-stage
11 Red original Mark III base coated mid stage
Early stage painting of Red Squad Warbot
12 Purple cast Mark III base coated mid stage
Early stage painting of Purple Squad Warbot
14 Green cast Mark III base coated mid stage
Early stage painting of Green Squad Warbot

I decided that I wanted to be able to differentiate between the two teams within each squad.  To do this, I experimented with kneadatite (green stuff) and Apoxie Sculpt and some numbered stamps.  I found that the Apoxie Sculpt was easier to form, stamp, and once dry, cut.  I applied these numbers to the figures’ bases with Gorilla Glue.

16 numbers applied
Figures with the numbers applied

I used Citadel “Imperium Primer” on the Apoxie Sculpt numbers, then added Citadel “Martian Ironearth” to them.  Then, I built up the bases with Citadel “Martian Ironcrust” with a light sprinkle of Army Painter “Black Battleground” for more texture.  After using both “Ironearth” and “Ironcrust”, I dried them to a crackly surface with a hand-held hair blow dryer.  I highly recommend this technique.

After a day of drying, I dry brushed the bases with Armory’s “Red Brown” and  “Brick Red”.  I filled the numbers in with “Imperium Primer” for all troopers, with the team leaders getting “Retributor Armour” on theirs.  Then it was back to the paint booth for two coats of varnish, this time with an Iwata Neo airbrush, allowing for adequate drying between applications.

17 varnishing in the paint booth
Juggerbot ready for varnish
18 varnished group shot
The platoon all varnished

I now needed to remove the figures from the bottles and coins.  The poster tack was easier to remove when I did not use the coins.  I lightly painted the underside of the bases with Craftsmart “White” so I could use a black fine-tipped Sharpie to write information on the figures’ bottoms.

25 Red Team Mark III Warbot conversion with Bombshell Mini particle beam
Red Team 1 conversion with particle beam weapon – this is the other original Warbot that had a broken weapon
26 Green Squad Mark III Warbots with SL
Green Warbot Squad with Khang Robot Squad Leader
27 Green Mark III Warbots with conversions
Left to right, regular trooper, particle beam weapon conversion, and arc weapon conversion of Green Squad
28 Purple squad Mark III Warbots with SL
Purple Warbot Squad with Khang Robot Squad Leader
29 Purple Mark III Warbots with conversions
Left to right, regular trooper, particle beam weapon conversion, and War Games Supply Dump weapon conversion of Purple Squad 
30 Blue Squad Mark III Warbots with SL
Blue Warbot Squad with Khang Robot Squad Leader
31 Blue Mark III Warbots with conversions
Left to right, regular trooper, particle beam weapon conversion, and War Games Supply Dump weapon conversion of Blue Squad
32 Juggerbot right side
Fear the Juggerbot!
33 Juggerbot front side
Coming at you
34 Juggerbot left side
Mr. Universe pose
34 Juggerbot rear view
The back view
40 Assembled Mark III Warbot Platoon, front view
Assembled Mark III Warbot Platoon, front view
41 Assembled Mark III Warbot Platoon, side view
Assembled Mark III Warbot Platoon, side view

I cannot express enough how much I like this platoon!  The figures started off pretty rough, but in the end, I was able to make a nice unit for tabletop gaming.  It did take me a couple of months, but it was worth it.  They will be in action this upcoming weekend, as they make their tabletop debut – stay tuned, and let me know your thoughts below!

 

 

 

 

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!