I found a small robot miniature on eBay, listed as “Hardy Toot Toot” from the Archive Miniatures Star Rovers line of miniatures and game. Using The Lost Mini’s Wiki , I was able to see it listed as “Hardy Toot Toot/RV86”. This did not make sense to me as When I looked at the Archive Miniatures catalog from 1981, there was no such listing. I reached out to my fellow miniature collectors on Facebook, notably David Wood (the British version) and Nevile Stocken (who was Archive and probably sculpted this figure) but still I had no luck at identifying it. All I knew was it was between 36 and 40 years old.
While I continued to research which figure this actually was, I filed down any unneeded edges, cleaned it in soap and water and let it dry. I then glued it to a 1″ steel washer with wood glue. Then I lightly glued the washer base to a popsicle sick for ease of painting. Next, I brush primed it twice with Citadel “Imperium Primer” thinned with Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”. I then gave it a heavy dry-brush application of Tamiya “Chrome Silver”. The figure then waited for a few weeks…
Luckily and surprisingly, I heard back from Nevile Stocken that he thought the figure was on the box cover of the Star Rovers game – which I have! By the way, RV86 is the Robot Cook (2203).
I took a picture of it with my iPhone, cut and pasted it into a PowerPoint file, and printed it. When blown up to 8½” x 11″, I could clearly see on the robot “RT22”! Mystery solved! I verified this by cross-referencing with the catalog as shown below. It was listed as 2205, “Servodroid, RT22, Short Robot”, and retailed for $1.25 back in the day. Many of the old Archive Star Rovers figures were named with a clever nod to Star Wars characters, and this RT22 certainly can claim to be one as a somewhat satirical R2D2.
I decided that it would be a neat idea to honor the colors on the robot’s depiction on game box and try to replicate them on the RT22. To achieve the metallic light blue shown on the box, I used a 50/50 blend of Tamiya “Chrome Silver” and Craftsmart Ultra-Bright Metallic “Sapphire”. That seemed to do the trick, and I gave the entire figure a heavy dry brushing with the combination.
I then looked at the drawing of RT22, and there were some subtle differences between it and the figure. To give depth to the figure, I used a couple washes with Citadel “Nuln Oil”. Then, I wanted to replicate the drawing as much as possible, so I used Americana “Kelly Green” and Vallejo “Vermilion” on the body’s lower parts in squares thinly outlined with Vallejo Model Air “Black”. On what looks like an anchor (with Mickey Mouse ears) on the front, I used Vallejo Model Air “Gold” on the background, and Citadel “Yriel Yellow” on the raised portion. The robot had two traffic signals on it – yes really – forward and aft. I used “Kelly Green”, “Yriel Yellow”, and Vallejo Model Air “Signal Red” on the stoplight signals. I then used the Vallejo Model Air “Black” metallic to outline the gold and on the brackets under its arms. I outlined the arch-like structure in front and various wires on the top, back, and sides with Vallejo Model Air “Aluminum”. On the top, I painted the raised structure ridges and its springs with Vallejo “Arctic Blue” – with “Yriel Yellow” highlights as an eye and on the top of the robot. On the top “ring” part of the robot (which was more akin to a hex nut), I used first a light coat of Vallejo Model Air “Fluorescent Red” (which was more orange than red). I then outlined on the angled edges with a thin line of “Aluminum”. I then used two more layers of “Fluorescent Red” on the ring. The rear battery packs got an application of Vallejo Model Air “Copper” and “Arctic Blue”. I then selectively used “Nuln Oil” where I needed more depth on the figure.
For highlights, I used Craftsmart “Bright Yellow” on all the “Yriel Yellow” surfaces. On the arms and chassis, I employed a lighter mix (more “Chrome Silver”, less “Sapphire”) of the original combination with which I started the light blue dry brushing. I also used a little of both yellows on the tips of the robot’s feet to match the box.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the project was writing the “RT22” on the miniature as shown on the drawing. That was indeed a delicate task that took a steady hand!
I then moved on to the base – and used Citadel “Lustrian Undergrowth” to conceal the washer and make the ground on which figure stood to be more realistic. I really like this paint as it has a rough consistency and takes both dry brushing and application of washes really well.
Once that had dried, I applied Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” to the base, and let it dry. I then dry brushed the base sequentially with Armory “Musket Brown” and Citadel “Niblet Green”.
I then moved on to the varnishing of the figure. As it was a robot, with a very metallic surface, I thought best to use a coat of Krylon clear “Glossy”, followed by two coats of Testors “Dullcoat”, allowing for adequate drying between applications. This worked well, but the base was still too shiny. To fix that, I used a combination of Citadel “Athonian Camoshade” and Army Painter “Anti-shine” brush varnish. It seemed to do the trick.
The research for this project took a lot longer than the actual painting did. I have submitted corrections to The Lost Minis Wiki, so future collectors may be helped. As for this figure, I plan to use it as part of an objective in a sci-fi version of Combat Patrol™.
Just like R2D2 perhaps?
In any case, I am pretty happy with the miniature, and I am especially glad I used the color scheme from the box. I think it is quirky, and still fun! Feel free to let me know your thoughts!
This month, in between other projects and recovery, I worked on several terrain pieces for use with my Star Rovers figures and the Combat Patrol™ gaming system. Some I got earlier in the year from WorldWorks Games on Amazon, others I got on eBay that were from Armorcast Battlefield Scenery, others I made – and some I just don’t know who made them. I’m hoping to use these at The Battle Standard in Auburn soon after coordinating with the owner, Jared Brodeur.
Normally I have more detail (how-to), but I lost most of the details of these terrain projects, as I had a few that I had to rework. I think the pictures below are hopefully sufficient. I was really happy to try new techniques with rust applications using a “pointillism” technique with a combination of Polly-S (“Rust”) and Vallejo (“Rust” 71.069 and 71.080) paints. I mounted all of the terrain pieces on flat steel basing pieces.
The mostly Armorcast “set” I got on eBay were various refinery or industrial pieces that were airbrushed silver and gold, and that did not work for me. I wanted the industrial ones to be more dirty and rusty. I ended up painting some of them with various colors, and then using Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” to shade. I was not happy with most of these results, especially the Quickshade effects. I repainted them, some with bright colors for the newer pieces of terrain, and with rust for the grittier ones, and then used spray varnish to seal. Luckily, the Testors “Dullcoat” actually had a “crackling” chemical effect on one of the industrial tanks which worked well – (note – this was not an Armorcast piece and was likely homemade with some type of Styrofoam). I was surprised as there was already a lot of paint and varnish on it at that point – but it was minimal and I liked it anyways.
The WorldWorks Games set consisted of a bunker, and three barricades. They are for 28mm for sure. The bunker was used, and difficult to assemble well with super glue. I ended up using steel base material, popsicle sticks, wood glue, and cardboard to assist in the construction. Here, I really liked my use of the rust pattern that I discussed earlier.
Lastly, I had three slag mounds that I mounted on two old CD’s. The slag was a byproduct of my casting projects. For these, I had a “Red Planet” plan, and used Citadel “Martian Ironcrust” and “Martian Ironearth” to good effect, as well as different washes.
It’s a good start and I’m sure I could use some buildings and other things, but that I will get to in due time!
A great tutorial from Buck Surdu’s blog on scratch building retro sci-fi space ships! And not just because it carries a Mark 1 Sphere Tank!
This was a very large project that ended up with producing a 45-figure platoon. I hope that you find this story interesting, if only to see the determination I had to have to see this through! I am going to give some background, and then show the photos for the finished unit. After that, I will give a detailed description for my fellow hobbyists as to how I completed the various aspects of this unit – this will allow you to see the final product earlier in the blog – and those who want more details can go past the completed photos to see more detail.
I first saw the Archive Star Ducks (#2002) and Duck Vader (#2326) on the Lost Minis Wiki as I was researching some other Archive Star Rovers figures. These were made by Archive between 1977 and 1981 or so. They are made of lead and tin alloy. These were sculpted by Nevile Stocken. He sent me the drawing below via Facebook Messenger.
The rights to some of Archive’s figures have been sold off a few times. Several have been reproduced, but they are not currently in production. I searched through eBay, and these are very hard to find. I did manage to find only 4 Star Ducks and one Duck Vader, but that paltry number does not make a unit. My stretch goal was to create a platoon for use with Buck Surdu’s Combat Patrol™ system for tabletop skirmish gaming. I thought that I would need about 40 or more figures to make the unit, and I ended up with 45, which is a good size for a traditional platoon. In this process, I ended up making a mold and casting 40 for myself and some for Buck as previously described in this blog and Buck’s. I converted 4 Squad Leaders with War Games Supply Dump retro sci-fi weapons – which I was lucky to get as WSD closed on March 31st, 2017. I converted 6 figures to make up the mortar crew, to include making the mortars, ammo boxes, and mortar rounds. I also converted three figures to make up an Anti-Tank section (now known as the Bazookaducks) by arming them with Reaper Chronoscope bazookas.
The platoon is composed of 45 figures as described below. Five of the figures, including the platoon sergeant and the platoon leader are original castings. The remaining 40 are all Star Ducks that I cast over the last year.
Star Duck Platoon
The Completed Duck Platoon
Overall, I am very happy with the unit. I did use Army Painter Quickshade (Soft Tone) which darkened them much more than I expected. The effect was acceptable, but some of my identifying colors were muted.
I will now go into the how-to’s of the making of the unit.
How to Section
All of the figures that I converted were missing the ray gun ends. These were either original casts or my own. I used a jewelry saw, wood carving knives, files, an awl, and an Exacto knife to remove the ray guns and make room for the weapons. Some of the figures lost limbs in this process, but I was able to use green stuff to recreate arms and hands for these figures. I drilled any “amputees” with a pin vise, and used 24 gauge wire as an armature for these.
a. Mortars and Mortarducks
The mortars and mortarducks were the first conversions I attempted for this unit. I envisioned two teams of three – made up of a loader, and two crewducks with ammunition boxes. I made the ammo boxes from Plastruct styrene plastic and special styrene adhesive. I had acquired some Army Painter green stuff, and decided to give it a go for the mortars and rounds. I ended up using my steel sculpting tools, but quickly learned that I needed something different for green stuff, so I got some silicone- tipped tools that worked much better (less stickiness problems). I used paperclip wire with the green stuff for the mortar legs and the rounds. I tried to make a form for the mortar round bases out of 1/8″ plywood, with mixed success. Eventually, I found that correction with an Exacto knife was a good way to go. I made the bases with Apoxie Sculpt and steel washers. In the case of the mortar base, this made sense as I was able to make a strong base with room for the loader using two slightly different washers. The mortars themselves were made with screw extenders, washers, and servo parts for a model airplane. Testors super glue was the means by which I glued the rounds to the loaders and the ammo boxes. Additionally, I found that having some small hobby mirrors from Michaels made the sculpting and assembly process much easier. I decided to leave the two crewducks with their original weapons as the loader conversion had proved to be a lot of work and I did not think it made a difference as I already had the ammo boxes.
I wanted the unit to have an anti-tank capability beyond the mortars. I had previously converted some Frinx for this purpose, and decided to do the same for the Star Ducks. The bazookas are from Reaper and came with several other weapons. I basically carved away the ray gun and made the bazookas “fit”. There were amputees in this group, but I think the conversions worked well.
c. Squad Leaders
The squad leaders were simply converted with the same tools. I gave them the War Games Supply Dump blasters from the Dirk Garrison line.
3. Painting and Basing
The biggest challenge with painting was the color orange – I had not used it much before – and it took several iterations of trying different combinations until I found what I liked.
a. Duck Vader
The sequence was as follows:
b. Mortar and mortar rounds
The sequence was as follows:
c. Star Ducks
To wrap up, I am very happy that the unit is done. I am on the fence as to the use of the Army Painter “Quickshade” – the figures are darker and well-shaded, and should be well protected, but some details are obscured. I enjoyed my new Vallejo products and found that they really worked well. I also learned that orange as a color requires multiple applications and glazing to work well.
I learned much that I can use for future projects, and I hope that you enjoyed this blog entry.
Please leave comments and feedback! Thanks!
As described earlier in this blog (here), I had acquired and cast some Archive Star Rovers figures – “Power-Armored Frinx” (#2040 or #2305) last year. As these were made between 1977 and 1981, it became difficult to acquire enough of them for a unit, and Archive no longer exists to purchase them. I cast several of them for myself and friends.
My goal was to create a platoon-sized unit of these Frinx for a retro-sci-fi battle using Combat Patrol™. My concept of these figures is that they are reptilian, and that they wear suits of “power-armor” that protect them, while negatively affecting their movement. They are armed with a blaster-type weapon. My castings did not pick up the details of the helmets which had a light-like feature similar to that of a miners helmet. What they did pick up yielded a look similar to a beret (if a helmet could become a beret), and I incorporated that feature into my painting scheme.
For fun, below is a catalog shot that came with my Star Rovers game. Note that it lists “Frinx” and “Nude Frinx”. I do have one of the latter, and its a Frinx out of armor!
After I had 32 figures, I organized them for the platoon. I needed to convert several troopers to make a platoon leader, a platoon sergeant, and an anti-tank section. I also plan on attaching the Mark 1 Sphere tanks I previously created into the platoon. The organization of the platoon is below.
Power-Armored Frinx platoon structure (32 fighting figures plus 3 vehicles):
I used a jewelry saw and some blades to remove the blaster on two figures, as well as the left arm on the platoon leader. I had some sci-fi weapons that I had gotten on eBay and from Buck Surdu (perhaps from War Games Supply Dump). I gave the platoon leader a light cutlass (instead of a light saber) and a blaster pistol.
I then moved on to the AT section, which reports to the platoon sergeant. After removing the blaster and shaving some space, I used a pin vise drill to make space for the bazookas on 3 Frinx. I used 3 bazookas from 3 Reaper Chronoscope Weapons Pack III’s (#5o234). I split the bazookas in half and sized them to the figures. For the platoon sergeant, I removed the blaster, and gave him a cool automatic grenade launcher.
I mounted all the figures on ¾” steel washers with wood glue, and let them dry. Subsequently, I used white glue to lightly mount the figures to numbered popsicle sticks. I covered the numbers with scotch tape, and primed the lot with Krylon “Ultra Flat Gray”. I then removed the tape so as to know what stick I was working on and have a reference point for the beginning and the end as painting units can cause one to forget. Using Citadel “Nuln Oil”, I gave the unit a wash to better identify their features. This gave me a surprise for the platoon sergeant!
The automatic grenade launcher already had a couple of hands on it! The Frinx hands are gloved – similar to say 1920’s Mickey Mouse for lack of a better comparison. I had to create a left arm with Milliput for the figure that would cover up the left glove and extend to the left hand under his weapon. For the right extra hand, I filled in the fingers with Milliput and made it look like part of the grenade launcher.
As far as my painting scheme, I wanted to try something new – and use a lot of metallic paint for a few purposes. First, to create the image of the “power armor” I used a series of DecoArt metallic paints. These had a side benefit of also allowing me to easier differentiate my squads into three (Jade, Pearl, and Amethyst). I used other Citadel Technical Paints to denote leaders, and parts of weapons. Additionally, I used a few Tamiya metallic paints as I will describe. The net effect of the metallic was to make this a difficult project due to the thicknesses of the metallic paints – but I think the results worked (but the reader can be the judge). These photos are ok, but I found it difficult to get the lighting right for them.
Basically, I had to abandon the typical assembly line approach I normally take to when painting units due to the properties of the metallic paints (especially the viscosity and the clotting). Thinning helped, but to get the desired effects I went slow and methodically. Each figure was base coated with a DecoArt Dazzling Metallic or Craftsmart metallic main color (DecoArt “Festive Red” for the platoon leader, Craftsmart “Sapphire” for the platoon sergeant, DecoArt “Festive Green” for the AT section, DecoArt “Crystal Green” for the Jade squad, DecoArt “Peacock Pearl” for the Pearl squad, and Craftsmart “Amethyst” for the Amethyst squad. Tamiya “Chrome Silver” was my choice for the breathing regulators, straps, part of the blaster sights, and the center of the helmets. Tamiya “Gun Metal” was what I used for the blasters and the remainder of the helmets. For the Frinx faceplates, gloves, and boots, I used another metallic, Craftsmart “Onyx”. The main part of the breathing tanks was coated with another metallic, DecoArt “White Pearl”, while the tanks themselves got Tamiya “Copper”. Inside the faceplates, I painted the eye wells with Citadel “Ceramite White”, then dotted the eyes with “Onyx”. Using Citadel Technical “Waystone Green”, I filled in the rest of the eye well, creating an eye. I ten used Citadel “‘Ardcoat” to create a lens-like effect on the faceplate – this took a while as I had to do one side at a time, and let each dry. I also used the “Chrome Silver” as a base for “Waystone Green” on parts of the blasters, the platoon leader’s light cutlass, and on the team leaders’ helmets. For the squad leader’s and platoon sergeant’s helmets, I used the same approach but with another Citadel Technical paint, “Soulstone Blue”. The platoon leader’s helmet got Citadel “Spiritstone Red” (yet another “Technical” paint).
I then used “Nuln Oil” for shade, and highlighted all the areas overly darkened by it with the original colors to add depth. For the black gloves, I used highlights of “Chrome Silver” intermixed and slightly covered by “Onyx”. For the bazookas, I used my first Vallejo paint, “US Dark Green” – and I loved the paint. It was so easy to use after all the metallics! I shaded the bazookas with Citadel “Athonian Camoshade”.
For the bases, I tried a new approach to hide the raised bases. Using Citadel “Lustrian Undergrowth” (a thick “Texture” product), I carefully filled in around each base. This was better than I thought as far as effects. After the bases were dry, I washed them with Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” and let them dry. I was able to dry brush the bases successively with Armory “Musket Brown” and Citadel “Niblet Green”. Due to the cold weather, I was not able to varnish at home. Luckily, my friend Jeff Smith has a nice heated workshop that he was kind enough to let me use. There I gave the platoon a couple of coats of Testors “Dullcoat”.
Lastly, I used tufts to better differentiate for play between A and B teams on the squads. Jade team A got one Army Painter “Swamp Tuft”. Pearl Team A got Army Painter “Wilderness Tuft”. Amethyst Team A got Army Painter yellow “Meadow Flowers”. The platoon leader and platoon sergeant got white “Meadow Flowers”.
I tried a number of new things for this project and learned some things: