I recently picked up an inexpensive die cast toy helicopter and have set about quickly adding it to the ranks of Baron Ironblood’s forces. This was a relatively quick and easy conversion using as it’s basis a Teamsterz Rescue Helicopter, which cost me about £4.
Taking advantage of the unseasonably good weather I was able to spray this up quickly outside using Halfords Black as a primer followed by an all over of Humbrol Crimson and then a zenith highlight (well a top down spray) of Humbrol Red.
The Humbrol sprays while being acrylics were gloss. I’d didn’t think this would look too out of place for a chopper, however it ended up being a little too shiny, so this was solved with a once over of Testors Dullcote (which also provided a good base for the details and highlights).
The toy had some decent panel lined detail, so I highlighted this using a black marker pen (designed for lining Gundam models). Windows were painted with Citadel Magragge Blue and tints were applied using a white Gundam marker this time. Other bits and pieces were painted black or silver and really that was it.
It wasn’t until after I had nearly finished that I noticed the screw holes holding the model together on one side. Had I realised from the start these would have been filled, however as a gaming piece I can live with this.
Final touch was the addition of some decals which I had picked up a few months back on eBay.
There we have it – air transport for the Baron. Scale is just about OK for 28mm scale miniatures, if anything it is slightly large, but hey, more room for Mutons!
Next up for the Shad motor pool is an armoured car based on a 1/43rd die cast Puma….
This was a science fiction game with plastic miniatures and vehicles, released in the UK by Airfix in the noughties. As an aside, I’ve since found out that the background to the game is slightly more complicated than simply an attempt by an (at the time) ailing scale model company to grab a piece of Games Workshop’s 40k market. More on that in a bit.
The starter set I got hold of contained a lot of half built models and in the end I sold it off for not much more than I bought it for. Not a hugely interesting story so far I’m sure you’ll agree.
However over the past few years as my gaming and hobby has become (slightly) more focused I got to thinking about how much potential there was in the Robogear starter box for a couple of the projects I have on the go. In particular the set contained some interesting plastic terrain (in the form of platforms and gantries), that would not only do for Kill Team, but also would slot quite nicely into some of the post-apocalypse scenery I have been building for 7TV. Similarly the vehicles could be cannibalised for bits for wasteland vehicles, but more specifically many had a 40k Imperial Guard feel to them.
So back to ‘the online auction site’ it was. After a bit of searching around I managed to pick up two nearly completed starter boxes for only a tenner (albeit with the terrain bits missing), as well as complete unopened box for not that much more.
First thing to say is that the infantry figures are really not very good. They are pretty large (maybe 1/48 to 1/35 scale) and very basic. They are multi-part but are built with articulation that really puts them in the category I feel of a mini action figure rather than a wargames miniature. Some of the hand weapons may get reused, but I suspect these will find themselves either in the back of a drawer or re-sold at some point soon.
The vehicles on the other hand have a lot of potential. Stylistically they are a bit ‘confused’. There are elements of hard science fiction here, but also a touch of the grim dark too, as well as a bit of Battletech. Various vehicles are included and these can be built in a number of ways – either with tank tracks, mech-style legs (think Astra Millitarum Sentinel) or insectoid (think Zoids!).
The weapons are of variable styling and quality and it has to say, again, that some of these look quite toy like. There is a reason for this however, in the rules for the Robogear game you can either play with ‘virtual combat’ (i.e. rolling dice), or physical combat (yes the weapons actually fire mini missiles in some cases)! All of this however could be worked out by swapping out bits and pieces from other spare parts in the bits box. There are also a couple of ‘flyers’ in the box, again these have potential, but maybe not as much as the ground vehicles.
As I mentioned, only one of the three boxes I acquired contained the scenery components. Now these do look useful. Designed to be reconfigurable, they are provided with a ‘clip’ system to hold everything together (but not necessarily permanently). Looking into the current availability of these terrain kits I discovered more about the background of Robogear itself. It turns out that Airfix bought the rights in for the system from a Russian company called Tehnolog (similarly in the US the same game and kits were released and marketed by both IMEX and Pegasus Hobbies).
A further search on eBay and I found a trader in Russia selling brand new Robogear kits for a bargain price of about $8 a kit. I’ve ordered a few of this, with my eyes on the flyers as Imperial Guard air support and the buggy to be added to the wastelands of my post-apocalypse gaming.
Furthermore I also happened at the same time across this beauty of a kit from the same stable. A modular chemical plant kit that snaps together and will be another fine addition to my stock of terrain pieces for multiple games. Like a lot of the Tehnolog kits this appears to have been released by another firm for the Western market (in this case Pocketbond).
All in all I can see a huge amount of potential with all these purchases for conversions and kit bashing and can see them working across loads of my existing projects (and maybe spawning a few new ones).
First on the list, a proxy for an Imperial Guard Sentinel and we’ll then see where things go from there….
I’ll be doing a quick write up of Robin and an overview of the Apocalypse Kickstarter items in another post shortly, but in the meantime I just wanted to point you the reader in the direction of the 7TV Pulp blog.
7TV Pulp is due for release at UK Games Expo later in the year, and is a unique collaboration between Crooked Dice Design Studio and Edge Hill University. You can find out more about the game on their new blog, which includes a game design and development diary.
The Pulp version of 7TV is an ode to the cinema serials, crime novels and ‘pulp’ magazines of the 30’s and 40’s; with a serious nod also to the cosmic horror of HP Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, as well as the cinematic outings of Nazi bashing archaeologists everywhere.
I was lucky enough to have Karl show me some of the figure previews for the Pulp range and there are some corkers in there. With such a wide genre definition, there’s sure to be something for everyone. I for one am working on a ‘Flash Gordon’ cast that should slot in nicely, that said I have a lot of post-apocalypse to get through in the meantime…..
I recently posted about my return to Warhammer 40k after a couple of decades off. My faction of choice for both 40k and the smaller scale Kill Team are the Imperial Guard. There is something appealing to me about the freedom that fielding a Guard army gives in terms of background and modelling (especially if you look beyond the official line of Games Workshop / Citadel Miniatures). I also really like tanks!
As per usual I’ve got more than one related project on the go at once. On the back burner are my ‘Empire of Men not Death Korps of Krieg’ troops. I started off thinking I’d use this in a Weird World War game (and painted the armour accordingly); however since the Kill Team bug has bitten I think I’ll be diverting them to the front line of the Grim Dark.
In the meantime however I’ve been continuing to expand my basic guard force from a Kill Team to a full 40k army. Having concentrated on tanks initially I’ve recently gone back and continued to flesh out the grunts. Primarily using the standard Cadian models with some head swaps from the Tempestus Scions kit to distinguish my veterans. I have stuck with the colour scheme that harks back to the original Rogue Trader plastic set.
I’ve also started to think about the background for my regiment. So these guys originate from the planet Skaro. In ancient times the home of a mythical race of metallic war like creatures….
Over the millenia mutations have come full circle and the inhabitants of this once irradiated world have come full circle and back into the light of humanity!
A few months ago I waxed lyrical about some inspiration for post-apocalypse gaming and in particular the Survivalist novels of the 1980s by Jerry Ahern. As fulfilment of the Crooked Dice 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter gets closer I’ve decided to revisit this irradiated world where men were men, women were women, guns were cool (and overly described repeatedly in the prose) and the red menace was real.
As a reminder this pulpy post-apocalyptic novel series racked up over 20 titles telling tales of the titular Survivalist, John Rourke and his adventures following the nuclear devastation of World War III and a subsequent Russian occupation. In case you had forgot our hero had the following traits:
Survival and wilderness expert
Super-sensitive eyesight (so has to wear mirrored shades ALL the time)
Motorbike rider (almost exclusively always a Harley Davidson)
Smoker (because it was respectable in the 80s)
Fluent in multiple languages
Irresistible to women
His middle name is Thomas (yes really)
This guy is crying out for the tabletop!
So two things to do. Find a figure to represent this alpha male in 28mm scale, and stat him up for 7TV.
Miniature choice first! Rourke has many weapons of choice, but the most iconic are his ‘twin Detonics Combat Master .45, shoulder holstered pistols’. The novels are very focused on the exact name, model, calibre and so on of the various weapons being used, in fact arguably more effort is put into the description of military hardware and material than is expended on characters. But I digress, the key thing is I had a couple of sprues of the old Wargames Factory Male Apocalypse survivors laying around and a quick snip round with the clippers and plastic glue and I had the vested, shade wearing, pistol wielding post-nuclear survivalist I need.
In terms of the stats, I used the excellent fan built Agency Casting Tool for 7TV to produce a suitably matching profile for 7TV. I based the core profile on the generic Action Hero, but made a few changes to the attacks and special abilities to match the unique range of skill our hero has. With a star quality of Burst of Action coupled with Blown Clear, Hard, Fight Back and Lucky as base special effects for this profile I felt we were nearly there, I swapped out Lucky for Medic (as previously mentioned Rourke is of course also a fully trained MD, and he’s so damned good he’s no need of luck).
The only problem I really came across was how to represent the ‘twin Detonics’. 7TV doesn’t have any rules for dual wielding; the 2 shot ability most pistols have doesn’t really cut it as it simply allows more than one shoot action to be taken a turn. What I wanted was double the fire power in just one attack. After some head scratching I decided to swap out the standard pistol from the Action Hero profile with a high powered pistol from the military weapons list. This gave me a boost to the strike value and still gave me the 2 shots option, but I didn’t really think that it still represented that balletic gun play action I was after. Rather than invent any rules I think I solved the problem but adding the ‘Deadly’ effect to the attack profile. This would allow me to chuck in an extra attack dice, so to me gave a nice approximation of the extra punch you might get from firing two pistols at once.
Of course non of this came cheap. Following the rules in the 7TV Producers Guide for customising profiles has led to John costing a chunky 15 ratings (points). The vast majority of stars in 7TV only cost 10. However as I’m sure you can appreciate our Survivalist has a very unique set of skills and is in effect a one man army, so I’m not too worried about this.
With 7TV Apocalypse due out in March John will be getting some action soon I’m sure. Might even build him his ride if I can find that Project Z bikers sprue anywhere…..