Stationery Wars – PEN TOP Bots for 7TV

I’ve recently been printing and painting the excellent ‘Pen Top Droids’ from BMT3D. These are a lovely set of sculpts that evoke a variety of aesthetics, from steampunk and dieselpunk to pulp and sci-fi.

To me however they scream spy-fi and therefore would be ideal for a 7TV cast. Before I go into the background I have come up with for these automatons a note about how I painted them.

The squad – printed and ready for painting

Following printing and curing I based them on hex slotta bases (because for some reason I cannot adequetly explain I am really into hex bases at the moment). I then proceeded to undercoat them with a spray can of silver paint. My usual source of cheap silver paint from Poundland seems to have dried up (not literally, they just haven’t had any in stock for a while). So I went slightly up market and bought from my local branch of Boyes a can of Rustoleum Metallic Silver.

Rustloleum Metallic Silver

Wanting to paint the squad of ten miniatures quickly I dispensed with a usual grey or white undercoat and went straight on with this silver. It went on really well but is much more highly pigmented with metallic than normal miniature paints. Conclusion – very ‘sparkly’ and ideal therefore as a base for contrast paints.

WIP – heads / domes painted – showing how the silver shines through.

At this point I have to switch back to the lore and background that I have created for these robots. Being based on the design of a pen top I decided to colour code their heads based on the typical colours you would get in a set of writing pens or biros. My original idea was to have my troops with blue tops (as the common rank and file), but the blue Ultramarines contrast paint is quite thick and the silver didn’t sparkle through as much as I would have liked. Also wanting to avoid black for the same reason I eventually went with the following colour coding.

  • Unit leader – Blue
  • Section leaders – Red
  • Troops – Green
  • Specialists – Yellow
Green top troopers
Blue unit leader

The rest of the bodies were given a wash, first with black and then sepia to give them a slightly worn appearence. The small piece of tubing on the guns was painted grey and one of the Citadel ‘gem effect’ paints was used for the red power indicator. The gun barrel was painted bronze. A nice touch on the sculpts were some ammo pouches on the back of the models and these were painted a light canvas brown. These were all then also washed as per the main body.

Yellow specialist

To keep the domes ‘sparkly’ I dispensed with the matt varnish phase for once and finished up the bases with some texture paint, a simple drybrush and some tufts. The edges of the bases were finished with grey.

Red section leaders

So once the miniatures were painted I turned my attention to getting them organised and usable in games of 7TV. Using the rules for customising profiles and the excellent casting agency app I have pulled together so far a profile for my unit leader and troops.

These are based on the Minion Commander and Minion profiles from the 7TV 2nd Edition (aka Spy-Fi) core set, which can be both purchased as a boxed set and is available also as a free download from Crooked Dice. There have been some minor tweaks based on the cutomisation guidelines and these are outlined below:

  • Addition of the ‘Robot’ special effect to both profiles
  • Replacing melee attacks in both cases with Shield Bash (renamed to Body Bash – I can imagine these guys using their shape just to push assailants away)
  • Removal of all ranged attacks bar SMG (which is what I feel matches most closely the miniatures as sculpted)
  • All of which has resulted in slightly higher ratings costs for each compared to the base profiles
PEN TOP Bot Leader profile for 7TV 2nd Edition (created in the 7TV Casting Agency app)
PEN TOP Bot profile for 7TV 2nd Edition (created in the 7TV Casting Agency app)

What about the background then? Well I am imagining a series called ‘Stationery Wars’ where the evil genius and crackpot scientist ‘Doctor Ryman’ has unleashed his robotic creations on the world. Created deep within the bowels of the secretive B.I.C (Binary Input Conglomerate) organisation the hordes of P.E.N.T.O.P (Positronic Enhanced Neural Tactical Operational Prototype) bots are ready. Their aim? Nothing less than world domination and the implementation of a new world order based on Rymans twisted science.

Who can stop them? Rumour has it that an initial prototype was smuggled out of the B.I.C labs many years ago by a disgruntled employee alarmed and disgusted by the direction in which the research was going. Wanting to adapt robotics for good and the service of mankind, maybe the S.T.A.P.L.E.R (Super Tactical Armed Prototype Laser Enhanced Robot) programme is our only hope.

STAPLER – coming soon

A quick postscript – Mike at BMT3D does some lovely 3D designs. You can find some of these on Thingiverse, but his full range is available via his Patreon. If you haven’t got a 3D printer and would like to buy printed copies of these and his other minis I have a license to do so and they are available through either my Etsy store or online at Tangent Miniatures.

Twisted Pinnacle 3D Printing Services

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog recently as I have been super busy with hobby (write up of the recent 7TV Star Wars event soon) and 3D printing.

So I’ll be honest upfront – this post is a bit of an advert for what I have been doing with 3D printing over the past year or so and to give a bit of a shout out for both my services and some of the clients I have been working with.

I have talked extensively about my 3D printing journey in terms of my hobby in some past articles. To recap it has been a long old road, filled with if I am honest no small degree of frustration and expense, however I think the results and the positive impact on my hobby have been worth it.

Some of my recent 3D printing (files from Big Mr Tong 3D – BMT3D)

So much so, that last year I was confident enough with the quality of what I was producing to start printing for other people. Initially this started as a favour to some friends but quickly developed into something slightly more commercial. I was approached in Spring 2020 by Wayne Bollands (who some people reading might know from his past work at Wargames Illustrated and various rulesets for Caliver Books, and whom I’d got to know on the 7TV circuit) about printing some resin masters for a range of miniatures he was looking to launch. I knew I had the skills now to produce decents prints on the machines I was running, but needed to do a bit more research on the type of resin I would need to use that would capture enough detail and survive a mold making process for the metal figures Wayne ultimately wanted to produce for his new company Tangent Miniatures.

Check out our friends at Tangent Miniatures

Working from the STL files supplied by his sculptor and following a bit of trial and error I was able to successfully produce the masters that would go on to provide the molds for his initial range of ‘Cosmic Travellers’.

The Cosmic Travellers from Tangent Miniatures – they really know where their towels are. (Painted by Joe Joda)

Since then we have not looked back and Tangent have released dozens of miniatures. I’d highly recommend checking these out, especially if you are a fan of cult TV and film. Let’s just say these would fit really nicely into games of 7TV (to pick a game at random!).

A selection of the miniatures available now from Tangent (all masters 3D printed by yours truly – sculpts by Carl Stoelzel, painting by Joe Joda).

This has led on to a bit of work for other folk including Kitbash Games. For potential industry clients I’m happy to provide a free sample based on any supplied files (so feel free to get in touch).

Furthermore this has also given me the confidence to look at producing under licence miniatures from other sculptors. For example I currently am licensed to produce physical models from the eclectic Big Mr Tong 3D (BMT3D) range. These are available to buy either via Tangent Miniatures website or via my new Etsy store.

Here are some examples from the BMT3D range printed by me and supplied in the same high quality resin I also use for masters. (If you are wanting endless minions, be they robot, alien or even laser sharks, then I am your man!)

The addition of an extra printer last year has also expanded my capacity and I am now able to offer 3D printing services for individual gamers as well as industry clients. I’m currently in the process of updating my social media to advertise my services, but in the meantime if you have a file for a model or miniature that you want printing please feel free to drop me a line at james@twistedpinnaclegames.co.uk for a time and materials quote.

Please note (and I feel this is really important, in order to support all the cracking 3D artists out there), I will only print out files subject to them being already purchased or freely available. So if there is an STL you have bought from MyMiniFactory or Hero Forge for example that you would like printing that is great, but I won’t print files that are not properly licensed or purchased.

I’m currently in the process of updating my social media to advertise my services, but in the meantime you can drop me a line on my email above or contact me via this blog.

This blog will continue to be hobby focussed moving forward so please excuse this bried commercial break. Normal service will be resumed shortly, including……

Not the asset that ‘The Client’ was looking for!