“Mars Aliens” from Mega Miniatures, circa 2001, for Combat Patrol (TM)

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.

Fortunately, I came across Michael Thomas’ site, classicminiatures.net.   There I found many Archive Star Rovers figures that he could cast (as he has a spin caster and now owns many original molds).  I acquired my Space Dwarves (Archive’s Long Gone Jones) from him, and he suggested two others that I might like.

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.

So when looking at these, one immediately sees their resemblance to the Martians in Tim Burton’s 1996 film, Mars Attacks.  You remember, the Martians speak “ack-ack” (which was the sound of a duck quacking played backwards).

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.

0 Mega Mini DEAL 71501 Mars Attacks
The Martians as received

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!

Mars attacks ppt painting plan
I usually use some details to denote who is who.  Usually red for officers, blue for higher NCO’s, and green for lower NCO’s.  I used two different colors on the trim to denote each squad.

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.

1 Base coated
After priming and base coating with turquoise
1a Base coated
The B squad after priming

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.

2 after white on heads
White heads – trim and belts next!

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.

3 working on the brains
Need a middle ground!
4 brain solution and belts
Eventually, using patience, dry brushing, inks, and washes, I got my Martians’ brains to be close to the desired result.
5 close up mid point
I worked on the heads first, then inside to out on the torsos and legs.

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.

6 after painting and wash
The platoon leader after an application of wash on his torso.  But the teeth were unacceptable!

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.

7 wash and no wash comparisons
A member of A squad (fluorescent magenta highlights) on the left and a B squad member (fluorescent yellow highlights) on the right.  The B Martian has not yet gotten a wash with the Nuln Oil Gloss.  Here, the teeth are improved.
8 b team after wash
B squad after the Nuln Oil Gloss wash on their torsos and legs.

I then used Vallejo “Gloss Varnish” for my first varnishing application.  I planned on adding a matte coat after I finished the bases.

9 B team after gloss varnish
Shiny happy people…err Martians…after the gloss varnish (apologies to REM)

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.

10 after base prep
B squad figure after base completion but before the matte varnish
11 matte applied group shot
The platoon all done and waiting for the matte varnish to dry
12 closeup of PL complete on jar
Closeup of the platoon leader
13 closeup of trooper complete on jar
An A squad trooper from Team 1 (denoted by the copper colored weapon)

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!

14 group shot in formation
The Martian platoon
15 leadership
Martian Platoon leadership – platoon leader is in the center, with the A squad leader and his two team leaders on the left of the photo, and the B squad leader and his two team leaders on the right.
15a belts and leadership
An example of how I painted the belts differentially.  From left to right, the platoon leader (red), the A squad leader (blue), a B squad team leader (green), an A squad trooper (magenta), and a B squad trooper (yellow)
16 A Squad moves out
The A squad moves out around some Armorcast terrain.
17 B Squad moves out
The B squad checks out the cooling units and power generator
18 A1 team with ball tank
The A squad’s Team 1 moves up alongside a Mark 1 Sphere tank
19 A2 team surrounds Texicans
The A squad’s Team 2 surrounds some Texican Space Rangers
20 PL and B1 take on Hurraku
Size does not matter as the platoon leader and the B squad’s Team 1 move in to kill the Hurraku Space Phraints…or at least try to do so!
21 B2 charging into Space Dwarves
The Space Dwarves throw grenades at the advancing Martians – the Team 2 from B squad
22 second group shot
ACK ACK ACK!

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!

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

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  2. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  3. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  4. Tamiya “Gold Leaf X-12”
  5. Vallejo Model Air “Gold”
  6. Citadel “Retributor Armour”
  7. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  8. Tamiya “Gun Metal X-10”
  9. Tamiya “Chrome Silver X-11”
  10. Tamiya “Copper XF-6”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Purple”
  12. Vallejo “Metal Medium”
  13. Vallejo “Gloss White”
  14. Tamiya “X-20A Thinner”
  15. Vallejo “Thinner Medium”
  16. DecoArt “Dazzling Metallic – Berry”
  17. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  18. Secret Weapons Washes “Parchment” (ink)
  19. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (wash/shade)
  20. Craftsmart “Ultra Bright Metallic – Amethyst”
  21. DecoArt “Dazzling Metallic – White Pearl”
  22. Vallejo “Light Orange”
  23. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Green”
  24. Vallejo “Vermilion”
  25. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  26. Citadel “Drakenhof Nightshade” (wash/shade)
  27. Vallejo Game Color “Livery Green”
  28. Vallejo Game Air “Sick Green”
  29. Polly S “Venetian Dull Red”
  30. Secret Weapons Washes “Just Red” (ink)
  31. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  32. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green”
  33. Secret Weapons Washes “Blue” (ink)
  34. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Color “Magenta Fluorescent”
  36. Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Fluorescent”
  37. Citadel “Martian Ironearth”
  38. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  39. Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
  40. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  41. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  42. Armory “Brick Red”
  43. P3 “Ryn Flesh”
  44. Citadel “Carroburg Crimson” (wash)
  45. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again – hope this was fun to see!!

Robot Peacekeepers

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

This unit is also one I can use for the June Community Painting Challenge from Azazel as my second unit for the month.

00 unknown pic
The photo that I got from Michael Thomas

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.

23 Mega Minis catalog (2)
There it is!  Bottom row, second from the right.

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.

0 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372
As delivered

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”.

2 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372
The squad assembled and primed for painting

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.

4 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 after base coat
All base coated
5 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 paints
The base coat paints

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.

6 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress whites and fluorescents
Mid stage, showing the optics in progress
7 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress painted less bases
Completely painted and shiny (too shiny)
8 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress painted less bases close up
Yes, too shiny…but it was all part of a plan…

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.

9 SL close up before matte
After bases painted before applying the matte varnish

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.

10 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress complete drying
Drying on the deck in the sun
11 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress complete drying side
Catching some rays, not ray guns…

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.

12 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress complete squad
The squad assembled.  The red Robot Peacekeeper is the squad leader.  The yellowish ones are the team leaders.  Orange is the color for Team A (with green optics) and purple (or plum) is the color for Team B (with yellow optics)

13 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 in progress complete squad better

14 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 leadership
The leadership
15 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 Team A
Team A
16 Advancing Robots Mega Minis DEAL 0372 Team B
Team B
17 SL Square for casualty card
Robot Peacekeeper Squad Leader close up, frontal view.  Contrast this one with the shinier version I showed before.
18 SL Square for casualty card rear
Robot Peacekeeper Squad Leader, from the back
19 Tm A ldr Square
Team A leader
21 Tm A trooper Square
Team A Robot Peacekeeper
21 Tm B Trooper Square
Team B Robot Peacekeeper
22 Assembled Squad
The squad moves out!

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.

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

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White”
  2. Createx “Pearl Red”
  3. Createx “Pearl Copper”
  4. Createx “Pearl Tangerine”
  5. Createx “Pearl Plum”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “”Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Createx “4012 High Performance Reducer”
  9. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  10. Citadel “Ceramite White”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Metallic Blue”
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Fluorescent”
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Magenta Fluorescent”
  14. Vallejo Mecha Color “Yellow Fluorescent”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Gun Metal”
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Black (metallic)”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Chrome”
  18. Vallejo “Black Grey”
  19. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  20. Citadel “Astrogranite” (texture)
  21. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”
  22. Citadel “Gulliman Blue” (glaze)
  23. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again for looking!