Return of the Argonauts – Enter the Spartoi

I’ve started on the first batch of miniatures from the Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter.

Enter the Spartoi – deadly regenerating robots created by evil genius Ulysses Argo!

These metal miniatures are lovely sculpts and required next to no clean up. After a quick wash in warm soapy water these were dried off and given a black undercoat from a can.

I decided on a dark metallic look so used a basecoat of Humbrol Bronze, followed by a light zenith of the Gold from the same range (both in spray cans). To add some depth I highlighted with a silver drybrush and an all over wash of Army Painter soft tone wash. Certain highlights were then re-picked out in silver.

My original plan was to use a set of old tank number decals on the shields to emphasise their autonomous robotic nature, however having completed the painting and with the shields having the same metallic look as the bodies I thought I’d try something different.

Constrast paints applied quite thinly over the metallic base gave a glass/gem like appearence to the shields. The addition of Humbrol gloss cote as a finishing touch further emphasises this. I like the idea that these are some form of energy absorbing device.

The skulls were painted in a yellow sand and then given a soft tone wash.

Plenty more to come soon (by your command…..)

The Time of the Machines

Dipping back into some post-apocalypse themed modelling and painting, I have recently been concentrating on a variety of robots and mechanoids.

Inspired in part by the classic Rifts roleplaying game by Palladium Books I have painted up a Tehnolog ‘cyber skeleton’ miniature as a ‘coalition robot’.

Inspiration – from the Rifts Sourcebook – Coalition Robots

I have purchased a large number of these models over the years and have used them for a variety of projects, however the original box art just screams Rifts to me.

Tehnolog packaging showing (in my mind) a clear Rifts influence

Quite a simple paint job on this using black contrast paint with a light dry brush of silver to bring out some edge highlighting and to give him that solid metallic look.

Next up we have a pair of tracked robots with more than a little nod to Skynet. These were from the recent Bombshell Miniatures Bikes and Bots Kickstarter and were printed on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer.

Printed in parts, I assembled with super glue and gave them a once over of a metallic grey car spray paint I picked up in a sale at Halfords. As an aside I would highly recommend Halfords for good quality, relatively inexpensive rattle cans. I’d particularly recommend their grey primer as a really effective undercoat.

Any how, these ‘drones’ were then detailed with some hightlights of gold and a dot of colour here and there. The tracks were done using my usual approach of a silver dry brush over a very dark brown base coat, followed by a ‘strong tone’ wash.

Finally how about a wasteland survivor to face down the machines? Another 3D print, again from Bombshell Miniatures, but this time from one of their monthly Pateon releases from earlier in the year.

Primarily painted with contrast paints, I’m not sure how much use those revolvers are going to be against the machines though.

It’s even more robots next as I have just received my Kickstarter rewards from the recent 7TV Argonauts campaign by Crooked Dice Game Design Studio.

Plenty to go at there, but I’m also working on another of the Bombshell models from Bikes and Bots as well…

The Martians are here!

You may remember me from such projects as Pulp and more Pulp

With the imminent arrival in the post of the Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter I’ve been trying to clear the decks a bit. That has mainly involved revisiting both my post apocalypse and pulp projects.

On the Pulp front I have had both Crooked Dice and miniatures from the Cthulu Death May Die boardgame half finished for quite a while.

First up some cultists from the latter. A mix of colours and paints (including some contrast) were employed here. The tommy gun armed female cultists are not from the core set and add a bit of variety. My intention is to use these miniatures in games of 7TV Pulp.

Continuing with the Death May Die miniatues I have also started painting up the character models, including this one which really caught my eye. A military veteran by the looks of things, with a Soviet flavour, I’ve not actually read much around the game so don’t know his actual background.

On the side of the heroes we have one of my favourite sculpts ever for 7TV. You may remember him from such insprirational sources as ‘The Land that Time Forgot’ and ‘Warlords of Atlantis’….

Slightly out of leftfield I also had this very characterful home guard figure from Warlord Games Bolt Action Operation Sea Lion range. I’ve painted quite a few World War II British miniatures in the past, but I wanted to try out a suitable contrast paint for the uniform for the first time.

I ended up going with Aggaros Dunes over a grey undercoat, which was a relatively good match (albeit a little light).

Finally, staying Pulp but switching to science fiction we have this bombastic fellow. I actually lost a couple of the bits for this model. He was suppossed to have wings and be wielding a mace, but both are lost somewhere on my cellar floor. So diving into the bits box I dug out a suitably retro rocket pack and ended up 3D printing a raygun holding left hand. The latter was from a past Bombshell Miniatures monthly Patreon release.

Red Shadows Specialist Troops and more Mutons

More minions for the evil Baron Ironblood! The Red Shadows were an iconic bad guy for me, almost up there with Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers (and about as accurate in their shooting).

The foot troops of the Baron. Original Red Shadows 3.75 inch scale action figures

One thing they didn’t have however was much variation. While Action Force has specialist teams for undersea (Q Force) and off planet (Space Force), the Baron could not really match this in terms of his rank and file troops, at least as the toys were concerned. As an aside, the Battle Action Force comic occasionally showed some interesting variations on the standard enemy troops such as frogmen and astronauts, but actual action figures were sadly lacking.

Although variations of Red Shadows troops such as these Frogmen made an appearence in the comics, they were never realised in the toy range.

So while I continue my quest to model and game Action Force and the Red Shadows in 28mm scale I’ve set about trying to redress this balance.

First up we have some ‘hostile environment’ or maybe special forces troopers. These are the rather excellent Wargames Atlantic Raumjager miniatures given a suitably red uniform. I imagine these guys would maybe be Ironblood’s special shock troops for fighting in hazardous or even alien environments.

To lead this squad I did a bit of kitbashing using a plastic body of a Bauhaus officer from the original Mutant Chronicles Warzone boxed game from the late 90s. I swapped the head out for one from my bits box that originated in the old Wargames Factory Greatcoat Troopers set.

Next up we have a Red Shadows space engineer. This miniature is from Gripping Beast and is itself inspired by the original Space Force Engineer figure. In my mind the Enemy wouldn’t be shy about stealing and repurposing Action Force technology and kit, and this guy represents that albeit with a suitably updated paint scheme.

Last but not least we have another variation on the Muton – the death robots of the Baron! These miniatures are ‘Harvesters’ and are a multi-part plastic kit found in one of the expansion from the Shadows of Brimstone board game. They have that ‘deep sea diver gone wrong’ look that really chimes with the aesthetic of the original action figure.

Now if I could only find a suitable miniature for this guy…

Original Kraken action figure

Riddle me this – a Batman painting update

A quick update on the long term project to paint up the miniatures from the Monolith Batman City Chronicles board game (which I am intending to use in games of 7TV).

I’ve switched over from doing individual characters to concentrating on getting through some bad guys and their minions.

I fancied giving the Riddler and his goons a go, and these are the results. I am concentrating on tabletop standard here so plentiful use of contrast paints and washes. To break up the monotony of painting lots of the same pose of miniatures and give them some variety on the table top I have played around with variations on a standard scheme – changing up the different shades of green and also varying skintones and hair colour.

All in all these have come out okay I think, but I have to say I am not a massive fan of the range of green contrast paints in the Games Workshop range. I am (as many others have), coming to the conclusion that contrast is just one of many tools in a painters arsenal and really aren’t always a complete solution. Without going off on too much of a tangent, the browns (and Snakebite Leather in particular) are wonderfully versatile and the Basilicanum Grey is my new favourite method of shading metallics. The greens however….not so great for me.

Back to the miniatures, I also painted the boss man himself, spending a little more time on the detail here.

Riddle me this!

I painted all of these miniatures based on what I think the characters should look like, rather than basing them on any reference materials (so I am sure any DC Comics fans would have a thing or two to say about some of my choices).

In addition I have also recently completed both Catwoman and Killer Croc figures from the set.

Catwoman (one of two versions in the game)
Killer Croc

Killer Croc was a joy to paint, certainly the larger miniatures like this in the set contain more detail and are perhaps of a higher standard than some of the more standard sized ones.

Much, much more to do, with Red Hood and his gang and the Court of Owls both contenders for my next job.

Reichbusters – Projekt X and other gribblies

I’m continuing to plough through the pile of unpainted miniatures that came with the Reichbusters Project Vril Kickstarter earlier this year.

Lots to be cracking on with!

One of my longest ongoing jobs has been the completion of the epic Projekt X. This massive chunk of plastic comes in it’s own boxed expansion and is some sort of horrific zombie mecha type beast. I’ve not read the background yet, so I am not quite sure on the exact details, but needless to say this bad boy would involve a mix of both armour and organic style painting. (Also it is possibly one of the heaviest miniatures I have ever held.)

The beast in it’s box, standard 28mm scale mini for scale comparison

Following a good soapy wash and drying the model was undercoated in black and then given a zenith highlight with a white spray. The armour panels were airbrushed up from a dark grey through two subsequent successive highlights using Vallejo Air paints.

Work in progress showing zenith highlighting and initial armour plate airbrush of grey

The organic parts were painted with a Citadel contrast flesh. The ‘pustules’ all over the model were then painted white before an application of a contrast yellow and then a purple wash.

Prior to weathering I dug into my decals stash and found some suitable World War 2 German transfers from both some historical kits, but also a big pile of Dust Tactics sheets I had left over from stock when I ran the shop.

Application of decals (shown prior to weathering)

These were applied on top of a gloss varnish and once dry I used a sponge to apply chipping across the armour plates using a dark brown. Metal parts were then blocked out and I used dark grey contrast to shade these.

The faces were further highlighted in purples and fleshes to help them stand out, with various other bits such as cabling and the base being detailed and finished off. The whole lot was then topped off with a good once over of Testors Dullcote.

The completed Projekt X

More recently I have also been working my way through some of the ‘minions’ in the set as well as some of the more ‘gribbly creatures’ that are included. For the latter I wanted a quick paint job so contrast was heavily used.

Baddies of various flavours.

The slightly more human figures were painted in a slightly more traditional style using one of the best paint sets I have ever invested in – a German uniform set from Andrea Color I bought from a show about 5 years ago. Makes painting field grey a joy and useful across historicals as well as weird war and science fiction. (In fact I have recently been working on some Star Wars Imperial types and this set has come in very useful – more on that soon.)

I’ve still got plenty to finish off with Reichbusters and have not yet had a look at any of the hero models. For board game miniatures they are a real step up in terms of quality and a joy to paint, which I am sure I will still be doing for many months to come.

Cobra Patrol and Transport

Although most of my Action Force in 28mm scale project is based around the Red Shadows as the primary protagonists, I do occasionally dip into the world of their successors, Cobra.

I’ve recently been kitbashing some Cobra infantry using various bits and pieces from my sprue mountain. The bodies and legs for these guys have all come from Warlord Games World War II US Infantry. The arms are are mixture of the same US infantry and the old Wargames Factory apocalypse survivors and biker sprues. These are also where most of the weapons were sourced from.

Cobra Troopers

The heads are all I have left from a set of specially produced GI Joe bits – two in the style of Cobra Troopers, the remaining two representing Cobra Vipers. The backpacks are from the same source.

Vipers

These are very much ‘inspired by’ conversions rather than an attempt to accurately model the old toys or cartoon and comics characters.

Vipers

Transport for these foot troopers is a 1:48 scale Tamiya model of a modern Japanese Defence Force Light Armoured Vehicle.

I built this a couple of years ago and it has been waiting on the painting table for quite some time. The transfers are in fact stickers from a small GI Joe toy.

The paint job on this was a basic blue block colour (applied by spray can) with detail added using an Army Painter wash. The kit as built was unmodified (although I didn’t bother with the interior detail – there is an upainted driver in there though!)

On patrol – watch out Action Force!

Space (Force) 1999 – 3D Printed Eagle Transporter

This is the culmination of about four months worth of work. I came across this excellent set of 3D print files by alpokemon on Thingiverse earlier this year. For those that don’t know this is the classic Eagle Transporter from Gerry Anderson’s Space 1999.

The original in action.

I set about printing this with the idea of using it as a centrepiece for 28mm scale gaming (more specifically 7TV). By doing some back of the envelope calculations I worked out that I would need to scale the files up in order to meet my favoured 1/48 vehicle scale for gaming.

So then the printing began……and it took a very long time indeed.

Back in March I was keeping a log of how much time the individual print jobs were taking. I soon gave up adding this up, but lets say we are talking about well over 100 hours worth of printing at least.

As per usual for scenery and vehicles I printed this using my FDM printer, a CR-10S by Creality. I originally chose this printer for the larger than standard print bed size and this was very useful when printing out this model.

I did use my resin printer for some of the smaller parts like thrusters and cargo pod feet.

The print quality (and tolerances) I am getting at the moment are really good, which helped significantly with this model as it did require quite a bit of fitting and assembly. The one weak point was the landing gear which have snapped numerous times and have been continually super glued back together.

At this point I started to think about painting and colour schemes. Rather than paint up in the traditional TV series colours I decided to merge this with one of my other ongoing projects – Action Force in 28mm scale. At this point I need to take a slight diversion, promoted by this project I have recently got into collecting the original toy line of 3.75″ (1/18) scale action figures and vehicle sets. One of the vehicles I have recently aquired is the Space Force Cosmic Cruiser. It is this that I decided to base the Eagle paint scheme on.

An original Palitoy Cosmic Cruiser Action Force toy.

Due to the current long summer hours and (occasional) decent days of British summer weather I switched my airbrushing to outside. This has been aided by the aquisition of a new mini-compressor. The completed model after getting an all over undercoat of black from a spray can was ready for airbrushing.

The outdoor painting setup

The main body and cockpit were given coats of progressively slightly lighter coats of grey.

The four ‘legs’ of the craft were then completed using the same technique with blue.

Finally the engines were also airbrushed using a base gun metal followed by a silver highlight. All paints were from the Vallejo Game Air or Model Air ranges.

I switched back to traditional brushwork for the orange of the frame. This was mainly because I would have struggled to effectively mask the model for airbrushing on top of the work I had already done.

I went to my stash of decals and transfers to add some detail (including some small reporduction Action Force logo toy vehicle stickers). The one thing I wasn’t able to source was the Space Force specific logo. While in the past for miniatures I have hand painted this I wasn’t confident I’d be able to do a good job of this freehand at this scale. I may subsequently add something to the nose cone of the ship if I can figure out printing on decal paper on my Inkjet printer.

The final stage was weathering, and as per usual I feel I may have gone a little overboard here. I used a mix of Plastic Soldier Company and Modelmates weathering spray cans for this, plus a sponge chipping technique using a dark brown paint. I do think the engines came out looking pretty good.

All in all I am really please with the result and I look forward at some point in the future (when face-to-face gaming can resume in earnest) using this in a game of 7TV. Perhaps as part of a Space Force versus The Argonauts game (the latter of which I am eagerly awaiting delivery from the most recent Crooked Dice Game Design Studio Kickstarter).

In the meantime here is a selection of images showing a Space Force Eagle Transporter being prepared for a mission by Action Force personel. All figures are from Gripping Beast and are heavily inspired by the original action figure line.

Pulp Sky Raiders

I bought these figures before Christmas and they had been sat mostly complete and just requiring some finishing touches for a while. I finally got round to tidying up and basing these the other day.

They are a mix here of miniatures from the Pulp Figures and Artizan Designs ranges, all in that niche Pulp genre that borders on Steampunk – the world of airships and rocket men. Think Sky Captain and World of Tomorrow and you’ll not be far away.

Zeppellin Trooper – Pulp Figures
Harpoon Gunner – Pulp Figures
My squad leader – Pulp Figures
Another harpoon armed pirate – Artizan Designs

In addition I dug out some miniatures I completed a while ago to join the team.

Pulp Figures
Statuesque Miniatures
Sky raider with Lewis gun – Pulp Figures

I’m looking at fielding these in games of 7TV Pulp and have some transport lined up for them in the shape of one of the more industrial looking airships from the recent Skys of Sordane Kickstarter which I backed earlier in the year and which is now starting to deliver (in the form of STL files for 3D printing).

I’m looking forward to printing this – though I suspect it will take quite some time

Finally here we have a group shot of the full team…..

Coming to raid the skies near you soon

Print, Paint, Exterminate!

I’ve been on a bit of a quest to paint up as many Daleks as I can recently. No idea why (although catching up with loads of old Doctor Who on Britbox may have something to do with this).

From a gaming perspective Daleks are pretty easy to come by nowadays due to the release of Warlord Games Into the Time Vortex range of miniatures and supporting Exterminate boxed game a few years ago. I’ve recently written about painting up some of these models.

Warlord Games Davros (metal), Special Weapons Dalek (metal), Dalek (plastic)

More recently I’ve also been painting up some of the redesigned ‘new paradigm’ Daleks. This radical new design of Dalek is now believe it or not ten years old, and while the TV series went back to the classic design quite quickly I managed to buy up quite a lot of the cheap plastic models that were given away on the front of magazines at the time. Just coincidentally these are also the perfect scale for 28mm gaming.

The one thing I have been really missing is a proper old school classic design of Dalek for the tabletop. Here’s where the wonderful world of 3D printing comes to the rescue. There are loads of designs for Daleks uploaded to Thingiverse of varying quality and accuracy, but I eventually settled on trying the files by Stryker123.

These look to be designed to be printed at a much larger scale than the 28mm tabletop standard. The design files are split into components, but there is also a completed (assembled) version in the files. By chance this defaults to a near perfect size for the tabletop (although in the end after some trial and error in printing I scaled them by 105%).

Printed on my resin printer (an AnyCubic Photon) these have come out well, albeit with some problems printing the sucker arms and gun sticks (that are just that bit too fine for the resolution I am printing at).

This particular batch were printed in clear resin, which made for quite a spectacle working on them in the summer sun!

In the end following further test prints I ended up printing the sucker arms and guns seperately and sticking them on to the ‘completed’ models on which the majority of these features had not come out. In fact the gun stick was so fine I just ended up using trimmed bits of scaffold to represent them in the end.

Based and ready for painting

Stryker123 has provided incredicbly accurate Dalek designs covering all the 1960s variants. While to the non-geek eye many of these look very similar I was delighted to see the effort that had been put in here.

I have concentrated mainly on the models from the very first Dalek story and also from the classic ‘Evil of the Daleks’. My painting has also followed these stories. However for the very first Daleks I went with the colour scheme that this model was given when appearing in more recent ‘Nu-Who’ story a few years back.

For my ‘original Skaro Daleks’ I went for the colour scheme shown here.

The models were given a black undercoat and this was followed by a complete coverage of silver. Both colours were car paints from spray cans obtained from the local Poundland.

I painted the ‘grills’ (between body and dome) in this case using Black Templar contrast paint from Citadel. This provided a nice deep shading will keeping the grills hightlighted in silver. Nodules and for the banding on the original Daleks without shoulder slats was acheived using a light blue. The nodules or domes on Dalek models are very definitely not one of my favourite things to paint!

A couple of the ‘Evil’ versions were painted with black domes to indicate that they were part of the Emperor Dalek’s guard. In addition to the standard silver models I undercoated a handful of others using Citadel Wraith Bone with the intention of painting these in red and gold liveries.

Not canon in terms of Dalek colouring, but a nice contrast to the silver hordes.

Finally I left one of the black undecoated models as it was in order to paint up a Dalek Supreme to command my new forces. These are all still work in progress.

I’m currently working on some profiles for the Daleks for 7TV and will cover them in a future article.

Ainsty Castings OOP resin scenery piece shown alongside a couple of troops.