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!
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!