On Saturday, July 27th, the Mass Pikemen met for our monthly gaming session – this time it was another go at “Attack of the Warbots“. This game uses the Combat Patrol™ rules system, and the figures are Archive (from the late 1970’s/early 1980’s), Mega Miniatures (late 1990’s/early 2000’s), Wargames Supply Dump (now OOP), or my own creations. The links below for each can tell you more about them if you’re interested.
On the first turn, the Mark 1 above did not get to activate as no “5” came up. The Warbots chose not to pay one of their bonus chits to get a “5”. This allowed Leif to jet pack up a Space Roo with an RPG – who got a lucky hit and destroyed the tank.
Christine’s Aphids meanwhile took heavy fire from the Warbots and Juggerbots, and were in danger of being wiped out. The remaining Mark 1 approached the wall. Leif jet-packed a lone heroic Space Roo over the wall to attack the tank with a satchel charge, only to stun it. The Aphid Platoon Leader, Lt. Hemipteran, valiantly attacked the other side of the tank with a satchel charge, and the remaining Mark 1 brewed up from the explosion.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the board, Mike was making good progress with his Martians and his Roberker. Unfortunately for Roberker, a lucky Space Roo bullet hit his CPU, causing him to go rogue. In the game, a rogue robot attacks whatever he can see. Luckily for the attackers, he went rogue at the enemy Space Roos (commanded by Leif), who were eventually able to put him down with rifle fire and some of Christine’s Mortar duck supporting fire (called down ON TOP OF the Space Roos position). This was done with Leif’s approval – his Roos were valiant. Of course, several Roos bought the farm here.
Meanwhile, the Warbots on the other end managed to fire a plasma arc weapon and breach the wall such that one of Chris’ Warbot figures could go through at a time. Simultaneously, Leif successfully pulled some high cards and luckily repaired the captured Mark 1!
At this point, the game was called with a marginal victory for the Biological Alliance. They would have had to get the tank off the table, and there were Warbot reinforcements coming. My new ruined chemical plant had a lot of action!
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!
Back when I was acquiring the Texican Space Rangers from Michael Thomas’ site, classicminiatures.net, Michael let me know that he had some other cool figures that were not listed on his miniatures list. One of these was a cool robot that he called “Advancing Robot”. Supposedly, it was from the now-shuttered Mega Miniatures company as part of its Salvage Crew Robots & Vehicles line, with a product number of DEAL-0372. Michael sent me a picture, and I bought 11 for a squad for Combat Patrol™ games, along with some others that I will hopefully be able to share with you all when they are painted. The figures are 28mm in size. Certainly, Michael is great to work with if you have any interest in buying from him
However, when I looked at the Lost Minis Wiki, I was perplexed – it was not there! I reached out to the Old School Miniatures group on FaceBook as I thought these might be old, but no luck was to be found there. Then I tried The Miniatures Page (TMP), and got a bit luckier with this information. So, my newly acquired robots were indeed from Mega Miniatures but circa 2008, which ironically makes them relatively young in my collection. Still, I had no luck with any catalog or descriptor info, until Neil at Lost Minis Wiki helped me out with a 2012 Mega Miniatures catalog and there on page 60 was my robot.
I now knew the figure was DEAL-0372, Robot Peacekeeper from Mega Miniatures! It was armed with an automatic weapon left hand and a claw on its right hand. As I had 11 of these, I decided that it would be a squad of two teams of five robots (four each plus its own team leader) and led by a squad leader.
I cleaned the figures, and filed and cut away any flash (of which there was very little). I mounted them on ¾” steel washers with Gorilla Glue. Then I affixed them to poster tack on top of specimen jars for painting. I used my airbrush to prime them white with Vallejo “Surface Primer-White”.
As for a painting scheme, I decided that I wanted them to pop color-wise, so I again used paints that are more likely to be used models of muscle cars. Createx makes some really cool pearlized colors that I like for metallics – they really work well as long as you use the proper pressure in your airbrush and you thin them appropriately. What I really like is that they put the appropriate pressure setting on the bottle.
For the squad leader, I used “Pearlized Red”. Each of the two team leaders got “Pearl Copper”. Team A got “Pearl Tangerine”, and Team B got “Pearl Plum”. Each of these had different pressure requirements, but switching between paints was extremely easy and cleanup afterwards was a breeze.
At this point, my daughter Ellen, who was visiting with her daughter (our granddaughter) Tabitha, saw them and said, “cool, they look like Skittles”. As a result, I kept thinking about candy as I worked on them! Of course, a song crept into my mind, and so from 1982, here’s the theme for this blog post, from Bow Wow Wow for no other reason that it stuck in my head.
Try getting that out of your head now!
Back to the project! I then used a series of washes and paints on them to bring out details better and to make them easier to use on the tabletop. I decided that the optics (can’t really say that the robots have eyes) would be the key differentiating feature between Team A and Team B. I painted the optics white, then lined them with “Nuln Oil Gloss” (the gloss version works much better on metallics). Then, using fluorescent colors (yellow, magenta, and green) from Vallejo Mecha Colors, I painted each robots peepers (I needed another word for optics) multiple times until I got a nice radiant glow from them. I highlighted the group with brushing on more of the aforementioned pearlized paints. All the paints that I used are listed at the end of this post for those interested.
I then used an airbrushed gloss varnish to protect the paint jobs. But wait you say, gloss? On already shiny minis? Yes – and after that dried it allowed me then to work on my bases.
For this group, I wanted to use a less Martian-like red on the bases – and go with a more lunar look. For this, I used Citadel’s “Astrogranite”, a texture paint on the bases. With all of Citadel’s texture paints, I find it useful to use a hand-held hair dryer to get better effects from them in terms of cracking or making crevices. I did not see that effect with the “Astrogranite”, but it did dry enough for easy dry brushing later. After it dried I was able to effectively apply a wash of Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” to darken the low spots. For dry brushing, I applied Vallejo “Wolf Grey” to the bases. That turned out to be a bit too plain for my tastes, so I added a glaze of Citadel “Gulliman Blue” which made a nice tint on the bases. Now I had a good lunar look.
Lastly, I finished the models with a second coat of varnish, this time Vallejo “Mecha Varnish Matt Varnish” with my airbrush. This did a nice job on the models and the bases.
I am pretty satisfied with how the unit came out. The sculpts are retro-looking enough to work with my other Archive stuff – I think they look “Robocop-ish”, and I’m sure I can use them to augment any force, maybe even the Texican Space Rangers. The Lost Minis Wiki is now updated with the Salvage Crew Robots & Vehicles range.
I hope you enjoyed these Robot Peacekeepers! Please leave your feedback in the comments section – I enjoy your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks and hopefully I get another group done soon.