A few years ago while hoovering up random bits and pieces on eBay to resell via my old online store I happened across a starter box for a tabletop miniatures game called Robogear.
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….