The 3D printers have been running hot recently outputing a whole host of Star Wars miniatures. I am concentrating mainly on building an Imperial force at the moment and have turned my attention away from the troops to the top brass.
(I have, as usual, included links to where I have obtained these models, but to make things a bit clearer have also included a useful table at the end of the article summarising what came from where.)
First: the big boss man, Emperor Sheev Palpatine. This model complete with diorama base and guards is from the Patreon of Madox.
It is part of the welcome pack that becomes available when you sign up. The three figures were printed in resin on my AnyCubic Photon, with the base done in filament on my Creality CR-10S FDM printer.
Next up a model from Skull Forge Studios, which I actually purchased and painted a few months ago, but dug out again for this article. Sold as the ‘Authority Grand Duke’, this is my take on Grand Moff Tarkin.
Like my other Imperial officers this paint scheme was primarily based on a German Field Grey paint set I have from Andrea Color.
I’ve recently been getting my Star Wars fix, post -Mandalorian by binge watching (for the first time), the animated Rebels series on Disney+. I tried watching ‘The Clone Wars’ a few years ago and couldn’t get into it, but I absolutely loved Rebels. Two of the key Imperial villains in the last two series are Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Pryce is based on a female Imperial officer figure available from the Patreon of BigMillerBro, while I found the Thrawn miniature files free to download from Thingiverse.
Thrawn’s all white uniform was made slightly easier through the use of contrast paints. (Interesting the version of this model I downloaded from Thingiverse no longer appears to be on the site; however if you search for ‘Thrawn’ it looks like there are a few alternatives available.)
Next we have two of the Emperor’s advisors who appear briefly in Return of the Jedi. Like Thrawn these were free downloads from Thingiverse (designed by McAnultyMiniatures – well worth checking out – there are even Ewoks!).
Last but not least is the only model I have completed as part of this batch that is not 3D printed. The standing version of Palpatine is the actual Star Wars Legion model (albeit with the base swapped out for a 3D printed base I also purchased from the Madox Gumroad store).
The miniatures from this range are generally themed around modern combat with a slight science fiction twist. Ideal for games like Zona Alfa, Black Ops or 7TV Apocalypse.
I have been concentrating so far on the ‘Biohazard’ figures. These printed out a treat on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer and are definitely on the ‘chunkier’ side when it comes to scale.
The miniatures are one piece and there is a mix of suit styles. Most of these guys are armed, and there are a variety of weapons from modern style automatics to more fantastical plasma guns.
However I have to say my favourite sculpt of the lot is the guy holding the vial (probably of something very nasty).
When it comes to painting I have tried out a number of colour schemes using a combination of contrast paints, washes and dry brushing. The yellow chaps in particular were inspired by the Dharma Iniative from Lost.
Albino Raven continue to produce a great range of 3D designs on a monthly basis via Patreon and some of their files are also available on MyMiniFactory.
A few years ago I got heavily into Star Wars Legion, but then relatively quickly sold the collection I had built up. This was partly due to a lack of gaming opportunities, but primarily because I needed the cash. However recently my Star Wars enthusiasm has been stoked again by the Mandalorian TV series and I have found myself wanting to ‘hobby Star Wars hard’!
Two big things have changed in my world since my last foray into the tabletop of a galaxy far, far away. These things are Games Workshop’s Citadel Contrast Paints and 3D printing. With the former I am no longer averse to painting lots of white Stormtooper armour and the latter (combined with the availability of designs online) means I have a lot more options available in terms of scenery and vehicles.
Game-wise I am yet to decide whether to give Legion itself a try again (this would require investing in a new core set), but what I do know I want to do is give the 7TV version of Star Wars ago.
Published a few years ago and still available (for free) from the Crooked Dice Game Design Studio website this is a ‘programme guide’ of profiles and gadget cards based on the 7TV second edition rules. These profiles are based on the original trilogy and being 7TV I am fully intending to expand on some of these and add in some support the Mandalorian cast and potentially other characters.
The recipe for painting these guys was to start with a white undercoat (in this case GW Corax White from a can), slap down some contrast Apothecary White, dry brush highlights in Corax again and then fill in the under armour gaps with contrast Black Templar.
Weapons were picked out in a gun metal and given a wash of contrast Basilicum Grey.
Also 3D printed (files from the Patreon of ‘BigMillerBro’ who specialises in Star Wars Legion compatible models) were my Imperial Officers and Navy Troopers. The officers were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily an Andrea Color German Field Grey paint set I have. Not my best work, but a nice addition to the force.
I really enjoyed doing the Navy Troopers – again they were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily dark greys and washes. With both these and the officers I used a gloss Nuln Oil wash from GW for the leather boots and also in the case of the troopers the signature helmets.
Basing? Well I’ve gone in this initial batch for an Endor style base (I have a Scout Walker I am working on – also a 3D print) and I think this goes well with the Scouts.
The good thing about 3D printing and having a quick and easy paint scheme is of course if I want to base some of these guys for other environments I can just batch out a few more. I’d like to do some more with an interior basing scheme (imagine running a game in a Star Destroyer or the Death Star and you get the idea).
I’m also working on a 3D printed Imperial Shuttle – but more on that soon…..
Continuing my Action Force in 28mm scale project and expanding ‘The Enemy’ forces of Baron Ironblood I present my version of ‘The Kraken’.
Kraken was initially a mail away figure in the Palitoy Action Force range and in the Battle Action Force comics was discovered frozen in the Arctic by the evil Baron before being reproduced in his labs as part of his army.
I designed these in Hero Forge and printed them out on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer. I did three designs in Hero Forge, all based on the ‘Dragon-person’ template.
I’ve not attempted to do a ‘screen accurate’ version of the original toy, these are more a homage. However I have tried to replicate some of the key features of the figure. Primarily this meant arming my Krakens with some form of trident and trying to replicate the clothing (which to me always looked like some sort of swimming costume).
For two of the designs I added backpacks and to maintain the look armed them with a suitably sci-fi looking blasters.
I’m rather pleased with the results – one of the tridents snapped while I was handling the miniature post-print. Rather than re-print I left as-is and I think it works as a variation on the weapon.
I went for a fairly straightforward paint job using primarily Citadel contrast paints, washes and some basic highlighting.
These guys are going straight into my Red Shadows cast for 7TV. The 7TV 1967 Annual contains an ‘official’ profile for the Kraken and I look forward to bringing one or more of these guys to the gaming table soon. Action Force beware!
I printed these all on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer and was really pleased with the results (despite the odd misprint due to my missing some supports). In general I was able to get a lot printed in one go and in the end finished with around 30 models in various poses.
My intention was to speed paint these and so I settled on spray cans and contrast paints as the chosen method. Undercoating in grey, I then basecoated using a ‘Poundland’ silver car spray. This resulted in a very bright finish – a good match for the highly shiny Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica.
Black details were picked out in, well…. black! However using Citadel contrast black allowed me to quickly get these done and had the added bonus of letting the underlying metallic basecoat shine through giving a nice robotic look.
The models included a short ‘skirt’ at the back. While in the original TV series I believe these were also black, I fancied added a bit of colour so these were done using a Contrast Blood Angels red. Again with the very bright silver underneath this ended up looking quite metallic, which was quite pleasing.
I went ‘off-piste’ again in terms of screen accuracy with the weapons, choosing a copper from Vallejo to add additional contrast to the rest of the scheme. This was then dulled down with a Contrast paint wash using Astronomicon Grey (which I have found to be hugely effective as a finish for metallics on many different colours).
The most fiddly bit was left until last – the addition of the famous eye scanner. Just a drop of red in this case.
For some variation (and to indicate an officer class perhaps), I decided to paint a handful of the ‘Centurions’ in a gold livery. I cannot honestly remember if gold Cylons appeared in the original series (I have a feeling they may have been in the re-imagined series later on in the run). These were basecoated using a combination of Humbrol acrylic sprays (these can be easily picked up from model shops and shops such as Boyes and Hobbycraft in the UK and I think are oft overlooked as an option for tabletop gaming hobbyists).
My approach here was to lay down a solid ‘Brass’ base and then to a light top down dusting with ‘Gold’. The remaining steps were as per the standard silver troops.
So what about a leader for these robotic menaces? Well it just so happens that over the past few months I have been providing 3D printing services for a new company called Tangent Miniatures. Tangent produce a lovely range of figures in 28mm scale inspired by popular TV series and films that wonderfully slot into 7TV and complement the range from Crooked Dice. So far Wayne at Tangent has produced galactic hitchikers, space fighter heroes and some dimension hopping adventurers and cops. I have had the pleasure of 3D printing the resin masters for all of these and some ranges that are awaiting release in the new year (January). These include some ‘space heroes’ that would fit in really well as enemies for my Galactic Centurions, and also excitingly a ‘supreme imperious leader’ for the shiny robot men.
I’ve painted up one of the masters for the imperious leader, however I felt like he could use an imposing throne from which to order his legions.
So a couple of coke cans and a dip into the bits box later I have this. While in no way exactly the same of the screen version I think this works really nicely. The base I put on the leader fits exactly into the top of the can and I have not glued this so I can use the figure away from this scenery piece in games.
The paint job on the ‘throne column’ was again kept very simple and achieved entirely through the use of spray cans (the weather being kind to me on enough days to get this completed relatively quickly).
So there we are, a legion of Galactic Centurions and their leader, ready to pursue and hunt down the remaining human fleet.
Despite waxing lyrical recently about my choice of 20mm scale for a ‘cold war gone hot’ project I got distracted by some shiny things. These things cooincided with the annual black friday sales, the result of which being I now have two parallel projects.
So, I’ve ended up with quite a collection of 15mm (1/100) scale miniatures, the majority of which are from Battlefront’s Team Yankee range. I’ve picked up some British, US and Soviet tanks and vehicles and added to this some infantry (which I am multi-basing for use with Seven Days to the River Rhine by Great Escape Games).
I’ve been concentrating on British armour and Soviet Infantry so far. The British armour has been a joy to build and paint. I have been ploughing through the relatively new British Starter Force box set which is based around a core of Challenger 1 and Chieftain tanks.
Again concentrating on a mid-80s European theatre I have gone with the standard BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) camo scheme using Army Painter Army Green as the basecoat with an airbrush application of Vallejo Air black. Details are then picked out with a watered down all over wash of Army Painter Dark Tone wash. I then highlight/drybrush up with a Citadel Death Guard green and a final overall light drybrush of Army Painter Brainmatter Biege.
Tracks are basecoated with a flat earth brown, Strong Tone wash and metallic drybrush.
I have only finished one Chieftain to completion so far (as a test model for the overall scheme); however as I am batch painting I have a lot (including more Chieftains, Challengers, armoured cars and other AFVs all in various stages of completion).
The Soviet Infantry is from Plastic Soldier Company. There are an amazing 141 figures in this set.
I followed a fairly basic scheme for the uniforms. Following an undercoat these were base coated with Vallejo Air Khaki followed by a Strong Tone wash. Webbing was picked out with Death Guard Green, helmets with Russian Green from Coat d’Arms and shoulder boards (very carefully) in red.
I’ve rarely painted 15mm scale miniatures, and I really had to adjust my mindset. Rather than trying to paints loads of mini-masterpieces, at this scale it is really more about the overall effect and how things look at a distance on the gaming table. At all scales I think consistent basing can hide a multitute of painting sins, and this was my goal here.
My 20mm stuff I am continuing with but am going to hold over for more skirmish level gaming. I recently picked up some 1/76 scale Airfix kits that I am going to start work on soon.
Let’s hope I can actually get some of these to the table sometime in 2021.
I have been looking for a while to do some ‘what if’ World War III (or cold war gone hot gaming). Growing up in the 80’s I have a morbid fascination with how close we came to the end of all things at the time, with 1983 being in retrospect a key year. A lot of things nearly went very badly wrong (for more background I’d highly recommend the book 1983 The World at the Brink by Taylor Downing).
With gaming pretty much on hold at the moment due to the pandemic my momentum for starting a new project stalled for a couple of months, but I have recently been inspired to revisit this after listening to the audiobook version of Harold Coyle’s Team Yankee. It would be remiss at this point to not mention the game by the same name based on the Flames of War system by Battlefront Miniatures as another potential gaming option.
I’m also very much aware of the issue of scale when it comes to gaming a theoretical World War III in the 1980s. Of course, assuming things didn’t immediately start and then end in nuclear destruction (a big assumption) we are basically talking about masses of tanks moving across the planes of northern Europe. From a gaming perspective this lends itself well to scales at 15mm and less (i.e. getting as much armour as possible on the table). The aforementioned Team Yankee and it’s supporting model range means there is no lack of availability when it comes to models and miniatures. However, while I have dipped my toe in 15mm scale in the past for World War 2 gaming, I fancied trying something a bit different.
I’m really into narrative gaming and so want the flexibility to flick between those bigger games concentrating on tank-on-tank battles to maybe some sort of special forces missions behind enemy lines (perhaps a Soviet raid on hidden Harrier launch sites or NATO forces seeking out some mobile nuke launchers). To this end infantry are important to me and the ability to work on a one figure to one man ratio is equally as key. I also haven’t really enjoyed painting really tiny fighting men in the past (and painting is my primary source of joy when it comes to the hobby).
So the ideal compromise seems to be 20mm (or more specifically 1/72 and 1/76 kits and miniatures). This would allow me to explore something else I have wanted to do for quite some time – using traditional soft plastic figures for wargaming. This is an oft overlooked source of good value miniatures for wargaming and I was first turned on to this by the excellent Wargaming Compendium written by the Henry Hyde a few years ago.
While Henry’s focus in the book was on Napoleonics, the principle is the same- there are a lot of them out there, they are cheap and readily available and a really good way to build up large armies quickly.
From a manufacturer perspective we are looking at the big scale model kit manufacturers here, the likes of Airfix, Italeri, Revell and so on. My initial plan is to concentrate on British and Soviets as my opposing forces. Finding figures for 80s style British infantry was slightly harder than I imagined.
I picked up a box of Italeri NATO troops which included a handful of Brits, however some of these were armed with the SA-80 rather than the SLR, which put them slightly later than my desired early 80’s timeframe. Therefore I also picked up a box of Revell Falklands British Paratroopers and House of Campaign British Infantry of the 1970s (which I am yet to start) which were closer to what I needed in terms of small arms.
The former were interesting in that they were actually sold as 1/76 rather than 1/72 scale. However a scale comparison using the excellent resource that is the Plastic Soldier Review website showed that these wouldn’t look too small if mixed in with other figures. The latter were interesting in a different way in that they were very familiar – it turns our that these are scaled down versions of the Brittains toy soldiers I had as a kid (ironically probably about the time I am looking to represent!).
Once I had gathered all the necessary figures (I also added in an Italeri Warsaw Pact box of figures from Italeri) I set about preparing to paint. I have never really painted soft plastics before, but was aware of their reputation for not necessarily holding paint well. Therefore I made doubly sure that any figures I was working on were thoroughly washed in hot soapy water before giving them an undercoat. A lot of advice I have read also advises an initial coat of watered down PVA glue before painting, but I decided to skip this step and went straight to an undercoat (in white).
My biggest challenge with painting these guys (over and above the slightly smaller scale than I am used to) was to effectively represent the DPM camo of the time. I ended up referencing a number of Osprey books and online sources and went for a very basic representation using a Vallejo Uniform Green as a base coat with camo gently stippled and painted using Army Painter Basilisk Brown, Vallejo Flat Earth and Citadel Abaddon Black. The whole thing was then tied together with a Athonian Camo shade (green) wash from Citadel. I mixed things up with the uniforms a bit, leaving some with plain trousers (as per some of the reference materials I looked into). For these I used a Citadel Death Guard Green again with the camo shade.
A key part of choosing the 20mm equivalent scale was the desire to single base the miniatures. Some of these have been based on 1p peices, but I eventually invested in some 20mm round plastic bases from Renedra.
In addition to the British infantry I have also started painting up some of the Warsaw Pact Italeri figures. Not much done so far, other than this Czech tanker (who fits in quite nicely with the 1/72 scale Plastic Soldier Company T55 I’ve also painted). Once completed and dry all finished models were given a good going over with Testors Dullcote.
With 1/72 scale being so ubuquitous in the scale modelling world I have no shortage of potential models to add in for various games and scenarios. Referring back to my ideas about narrative scenarios earlier, here are a selection of kits that might fit in nicely. (The Matchbox kits I purchased from eBay over the last few months have a particular nostalgia for me, as long prior to my gaming hobby I used to buy and build kits like this from the local newsagent or model shop.)
Next up will be some armour for the British. I’ll be looking at firing up the 3D printer and getting some Chieftain tanks on the table.
I’ve been spending some time recently painting up more of the figures I got as part of the recent Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter. In addition to the miniatures that I received as part of my pledge I have also been expanding the force with other suitable models from my collection.
For those not in the know, the Kickstarter was to fund a programme guide for 7TV with associated miniatures and profiles to represent the evil Doctor Ulysses Argo and his monstrous robotic creations. As a ode to fantastic and cult TV and cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, the original ‘spy-fi’ version of 7TV has always had a place in my heart. In painting up and modelling this cast for the game I very much wanted to reflect that style of the times, so have gone with a suitably ’70’s beige’ palette.
The majority of my robotic characters would have heavy gold and bronze accents, with my more human types wherever possible sticking to the mustards, yellows and browns from the decade that fashion forgot.
Nowhere is this more pronounced that in my representation of Argo himself. This was mainly painted with thin layers of various contrast paints and tied together with washes.
Following on we have ‘the Nightmare’, a tribute to frankly one of the most terrifying characters and scenes from an 80s movie of my youth – yup computer cyblorg lady from the end of Superman III. I had originally painted her with blue metallic hair but switched this over to a gold to tie it more in with the rest of the cast.
The Argonauts themselves are robots bearing a not disimilar look to a certain race of metallic beings from a 70s (and susequent noughties) space opera TV show. I have painted these up in a more traditional manner befitting the original source material as I am planning on a separate Battlestar Galactica set of casts in future.
Next up are a diversion from the 7TV models to my old favourites the Tehnolog plastic cyborgs (of which these four represent the last I have in my stash). While I had previously experiemented with a purple colour scheme for one, I have done the rest in the ‘team Argo’ colours of gold and silver. My gold technique is achieved using Humbrol spray paints using Brass as a base and then a light top down highlight of Gold. I intend to use these as proxies for the ‘titans’ in the programme guide.
While I am doing the robot thing, I’ve also added a couple of 3D prints from the Titan Forge Miniatures Cyber Forge Patreon, of which I am a member. While nominally for a more ‘cyberpunk’ setting I have again gone for an Argonauts colour scheme here to tie them in with the rest of the team.
One thing I have additionally done here and in other paint jobs for this team is to pull out some spot colours. In particular I like the idea that not all of Argo’s tech is necessarily homegrown and maybe he has had some outside (even alien help) in constructing his robotic hordes. As such I have used some of the Citadel technical gemstone paints to pick out across various models some glowing red, green and blue lights. This is really an ode to the martians from the War of the Worlds and is particularly apt when it comes to the following two centrepieces for the force.
I’ll be going in to more detail about both the Crooked Dice and Bombshell Miniatures tripod models in more detail in an upcoming blog.
A couple of years back my long standing gaming buddies bought me a copy of the Lord of the Rings Journeys In Middle-Earth by Fantasy Flight Games for my birthday. I have since been (very occasionally) working through painting the miniatures in this app-driven board game. My aim was always to have a fully painted set of miniatures before giving the game a go, however the pandemic has rather extended that timescale.
So I have not actually dived into the rules much, but as you have probably guessed the minis caught my attention. The nature of the games publisher’s licence agreement means that rather being based on the movie likenesses the miniatures are based on original art. This gives them in my opinion a more generic feel and opens up more possibilities outside the boxed game.
With 7TV Fantasy coming soon, I decided to look at painting up some of the character miniatures for use in a ‘high fantasy’ setting. Most of the following figures were painted with a mix of tranditional acrylics alongside contrast paints.
First up we have the main Hobbit himeself – Bilbo Baggins. I decided to add a splash of colour here giving him a deep red waistcoat, but to tie together with the rest of the band I went for a green cloak (see the other pictures below).
Next, the King returns, it is Aragorn in his ‘Strider’ guise. Again I have concentrated on greens here to tie him in with the other characters. I’ve gone for a darker more weathered skin colour to reflect his time out in the wilderness as a ranger.
I’ve gone for more earthy and warm tones for Gimli. A lot of use of my favourite contrast paint, Snakebite Leather, for the armour.
Again I have tied the group togehter using green for the cloak.
Next up is Legolas…
And finally we have a new character introduced for the game, Beravor, a Dunedain ranger.
I appear to have missed out one character from the core game that I need to find out and finish, Elena the Elven bard.
The miniatures are all approximately in the standard 28 to 32mm scale and are going to mix well with other models which bodes well for using them in 7TV Fantasy. As one piece miniatures they were easy to prepare and paint (all the minis above were undercoated in white). There was very little clean up required and for board game miniatures very few cases of ‘bendy sword syndrome’.
I’m looking forward to painting up the rest of the miniatures from the box and who knows (7TV Fantasy aside) I might even get to field them in a game of Journeys in Middle Earth at some point in the future.
A couple of weeks back, prior to the latest pandemic restrictions kicking in in our particular area of England I actually managed to play a game of something. In this case Warhammer 40k, which I have not played for over a year.
This was the first time playing 9th edition and having sold most of my 40k miniatures I was able to borrow a force and be guided through a game by my good friend Jamie.
We played the new ‘combat patrol‘ rules which allows you to play smaller quicker games, but without skimping on the big units (and in my case as a dyed in the wool Imperial Guard player….TANKS!).
Now I am not brilliant at remembering rules and am never paricularly scientific about analysing games, but my main conclusion here is that 9th was a lot, lot more fun than 8th.
I played Guard facing off against Orks. Extra narrative was added by using the new set of ‘Open War‘ cards. These allow you to setup and play fun games really quickly and include things like deployment, objectives, twists, ruses and sudden death!
The game started off well for me with an initiative win and proceeded fairly positively from then on. It was back and forth and most importantly based on my previous more negative experiences was fast! Even though the turn sequence followed the standard IGOUGO format that Warhammer has been using for decades it felt fluid and interesting. This was helped significantly by some of the new rules (in particular the ability for vehicles to fire in close combat and not get bogged down), but also by the open war cards and the smaller force and table sizes enabled by the combat patrol rules.
The game lasted about two and half hours (yes we actually played a game to a five turn conclusion) – thank you again combat patrol! Apparently this was one of the longer games Jamie has played in the format. This bodes well for evening games once we are able to meet face-to-face again.
And, although it is never my reason for playing any game, I actually got a victory under my belt. Yup, I actually won something! The MVPs in my borrowed Cadian force were my mortar team and my off table support. Nuking the site from orbit – it is always the only way to be sure.