This started off as something else, an oft stated phrase that applies to most of my hobby projects. In this case I was looking for 3D models from the ‘so bad it’s good’ 1982 cinematic masterpiece Megaforce.
I’m going to be covering Megaforce in it’s own project at some point soon, but having purchased and printed some excellent versions of the buggies from the movie I once more got distracted.
So here we have some more additions to the 28mm scale Action Force motor pool. This time it’s SAS Force getting some new wheels.
The buggies in the Megaforce film had a nightime adaptive camoflage and this idea of a fast stealth single man attack vehicle kind of fits in with the SAS aesthetic.
The 3D print files were scaled down from their original 1/24 scale to 1/48 (my chosen vehicle scale for 28mm gaming). After an unsuccessful test print on my FDM printer (too many tiny parts), I switched to the DLP resin printer and mangaged to get two done in a single print.
Painting was a simple black undercoat followed by a grey drybrush, concentrating on edge highlights.
Details were picked out in yellow to match the colour scheme of the classic toy line. Weapons and windscreen were painted silver (with the later getting a blue wash). Reproduction stickers were from Vintage Star Wars Collectibles.
My plan from a gaming perspective is to use these in 7TV, with the vehicle rules from the 7TV Apocalypse box set.
Painted primarily in contrast paints, I’m still trying to think of a suitable moniker for her. Red Fury perhaps?
Next we have a miniature I have painted quite recently in the past, but which once I’d completed I knew I would have to re-do as one of the Baron’s fanatics. This guy is from the Prince August Future Shocks line of vintage post-apocalyptic models. Getting on for 40 years old, these sculpts are lovely and benefit from being 32mm scale (which of course dating from the 80s means they match up well with modern 28s).
Again I used contrast paints for the block colours, but then highlighted up using more traditional methods. I’ve gone for an Asian skin tone here using Citadel Darkoath Flesh contrast over a white undercoat. I’m quite pleased with how it has turned out.
Finally we are onto a 3D print. This is the ‘Enemy Escape Armour’ (more familiar to GI Joe fans as the Cobra Snake Armour). A 3D print design by ‘Jabberwock’ on Thingiverse (based on the original toy), this was scaled to 45% and printed in resin on my Anycubic Photon.
I’ve recently been on a roll with the 3D printing and have got a setup I am really happy with now for both FDM and resin.
On the FDM side (using my Creality CR-10S) I have been concentrating on vehicles and scenery. This has given me the opportunity to go back and visit models I previously tried to print with limited success.
One such example is the excellent SHADO mobile by AlPokemon that is available free to download on Thingiverse. I had previously tried to print this before I had got my settings ‘fully dialed in’. Armed with a new found (if not slightly tentative) confidence I loaded up the printer bed and set to work on not one, but three of these iconic vehicles.
At the same time I have been going back to my ‘Action Force and the Red Shadows in 28mm scale‘ project. Having done something similar before (albeit with a commercial model kit) I decided it was time for the Action Force teams to buy up some of that surplus SHADO inventory and kit themselves out with some mobile support.
I printed two variants this time, one the standard SHADO mobile, but the other with a ‘turret’ option. The STL files contained options for a gun turret and a couple of different communiations arrays. In order to provide some flexibility for gaming I decided to magnetise these turrets and their attachments.
In the end I went with a tiny magnet and a 5p piece, which just perfectly fit the recess in the model.
It’s probably important to note at this point that I made no scaling changes to the file prior to printing, and the models I would say at a rough guess are approximately 1:48 scale (more than good enough for 29mm gaming).
Top tip if using coinage with magnets – check them first. Apparently not all 5p coins are magnetic (who knew?).
For the Z Force Mobile (which I envision as a HQ vehicle or forward observer) I went with the traditional green and black camo. The airbrush was used for this with Vallejo Russian Green as the base over a black undercoat.
Camo was black with grey highlights and details were picked out in red and yellow as a nod to the original toy line.
Decals and stickers were primarily reproduction Action Force toy stickers from Vintage Star Wars Collectibles. However I also added some waterslide decals from my stash. In both cases I applied a coat of Humbrol gloss varnish to the area prior to application.
For sticker application I did not wait for the varnish to dry; this enabled me to reposition these with relative ease. Once dry I then re-applied gloss varnish as a top coat to seal both the stickers and decals.
Finally some highlights were picked out in yellow and red and some weathering was applied (more on which later).
The end result, ready to take on the Baron!
On to the Q Force variant. Unlike the Z Force mobile I went for one of the turreted versions. Many of the Q Force toys had a strong yellow, blue and red livery and I decided to try and, if not replicate, at least give a nod to this.
Unlike the previous version, the majority of this model was painted from spray cans, rather than using the airbrush. Undercoat for this one was Citadel Wraith Bone (which is a kind of off white) applied from a can.
Basecoat was a dark yellow using again a spray can, this time Averland Sunset.
Highlights were achieved with a lighter yellow Humbrol spray.
Interestingly this is a gloss paint, but I was trusting to the final coat of Dullcote to sort this out.
Highlights were picked out in blue, with an orange tint for the windscreens. Next up was weathering, which as per usual I went unintentionally a little overboard with. Chipping on both this and the previous model was achieved using a sponging technique. A weathering spray (from Plastic Soldier) was further added for a really grimy look.
On the assumption that the Q Force vehicle would spent a lot of time by the sea I also added in some streaking using a Modelmates rust effect.
For both models, tracks were simply painted dark grey, dry brushed with a ‘plate mail’ silver and then weathered down with Army Painter Dark Tone wash.
So you may have noticed from the photos that I printed three models and have only mentioned the two so far. Well the final one isn’t going to the Action Force motor pool, it’s destined for another fighting force, a Megaforce if you will….
So first up we have a Hawkman prince from Cold War. This was a resin miniature that was a bit fiddly to glue together but was relatively straight forward to paint. The scale of this range is slightly bigger than the Crooked Dice figures at about 32mm scale, but they don’t look too out of place together. Anyhow the character on which this miniature takes it’s inspiration is somewhat larger than life!
Back to the Crooked Dice figures, I had not yet given the ‘spider queen’ a lick of paint. Looking somewhat like a good girl gone bad (perhaps Dale succumbed to Ming’s charms), I decided to go for a white colour scheme to contrast with the darker tones of some of my other villains.
I’d added some additional Otherworldly Guards miniatures to my base Kickstarter rewards in order to have a plentiful supply of expendable minions. I’ve been trying various colour schemes on these with intention of being able to use them as either good guys or the hordes of the Emperor Ming.
While recently tidying up my hobby area I came across a set of Scale 75 coloured metallic paints that I had previously stocked when trading but never really used. Many of these were the usual golds, silvers, bronzes and coppers you get across similar ranges, but there were a few primary and secondary colours in here too. One in particular, Ruby Alchemy, caught my eye as being ideal for a slightly camp set of space soldiers.
With some additional details picked out with Emerald Alchemy from the same range, I am quite pleased with how these came out. Depth was added using Army Painter washes and the metallics were picked out with a standard Citadel gold. Unlike most of my recent painting there was very little in the way of Citadel Contrast paints used here, with only skin tones applied in this way.
The final addition to this little troupe is a 3D print from Bombshell Miniatures. Printed on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer this was a free sample model that was made available to promote their recent Bikes and Bots Kickstarter.
All in all I’ve really enjoyed the variety and freedom of palette painting these style of miniatures.
While I only have a few of the 7TV Crooked Dice Miniatures left to paint, this months’ set of printable files from Bombshell Miniatures have recently landed via their monthly Patreon and the theme is similar.
The 3D printing aspect of my hobby is both a source of great joy and great frustration. I started off last year with no experience at all and ended the year with two 3D printers, an even bigger pile of unpainted models and a new level of zen-like patience I would never have though possible.
For all the great stuff that I’ve been able to do there are times when I just want to throw the damn things out of the window. I made the decision last summer to invest in a resin printer (Anycubic Photon S). This has been utterly fantastic (so far) – the quality that I have been able to get at home printing out miniatures is in my opinion a game changer for the industry moving forward.
As an aside it has been interesting to note how the industry is starting to adapt to this new technology. Patreon seems to be a very popular route for digital sculptors for tabletop games. I have gone down the rabbit hole a bit with this recently and backed some amazing creators, many of which are pumping out quality designs for print at a heck of a rate. In fact some of the ‘traditional’ miniatures companies are also seeing the value in this – I’ve recently subscribed to both Titan Forge Miniatures and Bombshell Miniatures patreon campaigns.
So the older (larger) FDM printer (Creality CR-10S) has now been put purely on scenery and vehicle printing duty and is still doing a good job. However (and back on the subject of frustration) I have had a lot of breakdowns recently, much of which I am putting down to the hammer I have been putting it through. I have noticed an unspoken law that seems to dictate that only one of my printers can be working at any one time!
Moaning aside I have recently been working on some airship models I have printed. These are nominally for use in games of 7TV Pulp (I fancy doing an inter-war sky pirates type thing), but these would also be useful for steampunk or even fantasy type games. In fact the two models I have picked up were really designed for the latter (think Age of Sigmar’s ‘air dwarves’ or Dungeons and Dragons Eberron setting).
The first vessel was obtained from Dark Realms via their Patreon campaign and was made available to patrons during October last year. This was printed almost exclusively on the FDM printer with some of the smaller parts being done in resin.
Blimp rear – showing I had to switch filament part way through the print.
The print time on this was long, probably 80 plus hours in total. The model went together OK once printed. I was a bit over aggressive on some of my support settings and there was a bit of warping on some bottom layers leading to some slight deformities in detail (note the top of the doors). That said, as a gaming model I am pretty pleased with how this came out.
All the main components
The deck was printed in two parts
The connector to the blimp was resin printed.
The two halves of the blimp connected.
Another view of the connector piece in resin.
The two main sub-assemblies prior to painting.
I didn’t spend too much time cleaning the model up (I’d probably invest some more time on sanding and smoothing out the layer lines if I did this again). However I did use a heat gun to remove some of the wispier bits of plastic filament that are often left over after a print.
The blimp and ship parts of the model were assembled seperately and undercoated in black primer.
For the blimp a simple block colour paint job was applied. The body of the ship was painted primarily with diffferent brown shades from the Citadel contrast range. This worked really well on the wood grain panels that make up most of this part of the model.
Basic block colours applied.
Ready for Quickshade.
It was a case of painting on some Army Painter Quickshade Dark Tone. I went very heavy with this, partly to give it a really dirty ‘steampunk’ luck and partly to smooth out some of the surfaces.
Once dry (after 24 hours) this was tidied up, specifically successivly lighter shades of grey were applied to the canvas parts of the blimp and the metal work was rehighlighted and some rust effects applied.
I applied a mix of decals (I have gone for an Imperial German / Great War style), and then painted up the port holes using a white base over which I applied a blue contrast paint.
The base was supplied as a file with the rest of the model, so this was printed and then painted and adorned in such a way as to try and hide it as much as possible to give the illusion of flight.
Blimp, ship body and base were all then put together. Despite a desire to try and magnetise the blimp connector to the deck this wasn’t possible due to the weight of the components. Therefore a bit of drilling and pinning was done to hold the whole thing in place.
I’m really pleased with the finished result, despite the fact that it has been pointed out to me that the design shares some similarities with the ‘Pinky Ponk’ of In the Night Garden fame.
I mentioned at the begining of this article that I was working on a second airship model. This one is from Titan Forge Miniatures and I will cover this in a separate blog.
I’ve also been alerted to the fact that there is a Kickstarter launching soon for 3D print designs for fantasy airships called Skies of Sordane and this is certainly something I may just get involved in….
The Action Force project continues. I’ve recently arranged to run a participation game of 7TV at an upcoming show in 2020, and am going to run an Action Force scenario. This is likely to be an assault on the Baron’s secret base by our brave heroes.
I’ve already got ideas around the setup and my recently completed submarine will be making an appearence. Therefore an amphibious assault on a port seems like a great idea. As such I need a way to deliver my forces to the combat zone.
Enter the Action Force hovercraft.
More commonly known as the G.I.Joe Killer W.H.A.L.E this was a toy that was released originally in the third wave of releases by Palitoy in the mid-1980s. By this stage the range was almost exclusively repackaged G.I.Joe figures and vehicles. The background (supported by the weekly Battle Action Force comic) had shifted to a combined Action Force team facing off against the forces of Cobra.
Now at the time I loved this change, but in retrospect my heart always lay with the original Baron Ironblood and the Red Shadows setup. Subsequently this is where the focus of my 28mm scale Action Force wargaming has been.
However, never one to let ‘canon’ get in the way of a good gaming project I’ve decided to model my hovercraft, rather than as a combined Action Force vehicle, as if it were part of the Q Force armoury. As a reminder the original Action Force organisation was split into four arms; Z Force (the infantry backbone), SAS Force (special ops), Space Force (does what it says on the tin) and Q Force (the naval team).
Q Force (like Space Force), never got quite as much love as their land based cousins, so the toy range wasn’t quite as wide in terms of figures or indeed vehicles. What there was though was great. The vehicle sets were original and designed by Palitoy (i.e. they were not G.I.Joe repaints).
Wanting the hovercraft to feel like part of Q Force means looking at an alternative to the quite dull green original scheme. So we are looking primarily at greys and blues with red and yellow accents.
All this talk of colour schemes is very good, but first of course I needed a model. Enter Thingiverse and the world of 3D printing. Having located an amazing model I set this going on my 3D printer and a mere 45 hours later I had the following:
Interestingly this model was originally scaled as per the original toy, which was huge (and always coveted by me as a boy). In order to scale this for 28mm gaming I reduced the print size by 45%.
Clean up was a challenge particularly removing the generated supports on the propellors. I basically had to break these and manually rebuild them (with the addition of some plasticard and plastic filler). The plan is to print two more in the future, and I think I will try printing without supports next time and see what happens.
The model was undercoated using a light grey Halfords car primer. I went quite close and thick with this in order to compensate for some of the layer lines that are an artefact of this type of 3D printing. In combination with a pre-undercoat sanding the finish turned out quite smooth.
So back to the colour scheme and working out a Q Force style livery. I wanted to keep the main body of the craft a traditional naval style grey so went at this with the airbrush using three successively light coats. Once this was dry it was time to block out some colours. It was all brush work from this point on.
The skirt was done using the black Citadel contrast paint, which I think over the grey gives a good ‘rubberised’ look. In fact I’d go as far as saying the slightly visible layer lines actually helped in achieving this effect.
Following this I chose various points of interest to block out in a limted colour palette of yellow, blue and red (all Citadel base paints). To be true to the toys I probably should have continued the block colouring on the weapons and props, but I went for a more ‘realistic’ dark metallic colour for these (Foundry Blackened Barrel C). The windows were done using the Space Wolves grey Citadel contrast paint.
Next up, markings. Luckily the original stickers for many of the original toys are still available. A quick visit to Vintage Star Wars Collectibles set me up with a reproduction sticker sheet for the Q Force Swordfish. I applied these stickers direct to the model and sealed them using a gloss varnish.
Finally the model was finished off with a few basic highlights and a matt top coat. I had considered a final weathering step, however something about the finish with the primary colours and the similarity to the toy range stayed my hand.
All in all I am pretty pleased with the outcome. Since I completed this project I have further refined some of my 3D printer settings, which should reduce damage when removing supports and ease the clean up prior to printing should I attempt a similar model in future.
Final touches will be to add some Q Force personel. I have some Crooked Dice frogmen that will fit the bill well. In the meantime I have to stick with ferrying the SAS boys around…
A month or so back I went along to my regular club meeting without any real plans for a game. Last minute I arranged to play a game with one of my mates who had some World War II micro-armour and a few different rulesets he wanted to try out. Having had a flick through the different books we settled on Iron Cross by Great Escape Games.
What appealed about this was both it’s simplicity but also its approach to getting a lot of toys on the table at once. Add to this a (welcome) lack of weapon ranges and things seemed to add up to this being the one to try.
Iron Cross in 6mm scale
Iron Cross in 6mm scale
The rules themselves only span about ten pages and what immediately appealed was the use of ‘command tokens’ to activate, react and plan your actions. This put me in mind of the use of plot points in 7TV, so of course this immediately drew me in. It’s fair to say that I have not played that many historical wargames in my admitedly long gaming career, but I have done extensive painting and modelling of particularly WW2 in primarily 28mm.
Playing in 6mm scale (and adjusting inches to centrimetres for movement) on a 2 foot square board resulted in some really fun and fast paced games. Although the placement of tokens on the board to represent activated units provded a unique problem with this scale as the glass beads we were using were in some cases as big as the models. What became apparent to me as we played through (and was backed up by reviews I have read of the game) was that this would be ideally suited to a larger scale on a larger battlefield. 15mm seemed an ideal way to go. So emboldened with yet another new project I started plotting.
I wanted to put together two forces (rather than just build up a single army) and knowing that Flames of War 4th edition is currently hot I sought out the new (and really good value) Hit the Beach starter set. This provided me with a good basis for two starting forces and I supplemented this with some eBay purchases and also managed to track down a reduced price full German army box by Plastic Soldier Company.
My start in 15mm scale WW2 gaming
The contents of the current good value Flames of War starter set
15mm had never really appealed before, but with the enthusiasm gained from my first outing with Iron Cross in 6mm I really begun to see the attraction of getting a lot of figures and armour on the table at once.
Having agreed to give the game another go game at this larger scale at the next meeting which was only a few weeks away I got to work assembling and painting.
Most of the armour was a pleasure to put together. I’d probably say that the Battlefront Miniatures Flames of War stuff is slightly easier to assemble with the Plastic Soldier kits being slightly more fiddly. I also picked up a couple of Zvezda 1:100 scale snap fit kits to add a few of the big cats to the German forces (including a King Tiger). While cheap and ‘snap-fit’ I found that these do need a lot more after-assembly love and care (gap filling in particular).
In addition I’ve also done a bit of 3D printing to expand some forces. You can see a comparison between the Zvezda King Tiger and a 3D printed version below. While not a bad model, the obvious issue with 3D printing at this scale for a large game is simply the length of time it takes. We are not yet in the position I don’t think where the availability of 3D printing files for WW2 armour is going to have much of an impact on traditional kit sales for this very reason.
Painting the tanks and vehicles was case of keeping it quick and easy. Basecoat, dry brush highlight, wash, silver drybrush and spong chipping. For the allied armour I used a Halford Camo Green spray for the basecoat, which I would highly recommend.
The German armour was basecoated using Plastic Soldier’s Dunkelgelb yellow from a spray can. Trying to keep things at least a bit historically accurate I did various camo patterns on some of the German tanks. I am not hugely happy with these as I think they were a bit rushed. I hand painted these, whereas really I ought to have broken out the airbrush to get a better result.
Both allied and German decals have been purchased, but I haven’t yet got round to applying these.
So, the elephant in the room for me with respect to painting were the infantry. I’ve never painted anything smaller than 25mm so this was going to be interesting. In the end as the majority of the miniatures I was working with were one-piece I decided to try painting them on the sprue. In general this has worked quite well so far.
Anyhow after a productive couple of weeks assembling models and painting, this last weekend at the club we got a couple more games of Iron Cross this time on a 6′ by 4′ table in 15mm scale. Taking a very relaxed approach to matching up our forces, in the first game I got the upper hand as the Germans. In the second game we adjusted the forces to be slightly more realistic in terms of numbers (with the allies outnumbering the superior German tanks) and it went as you would expect with a victory for the British/Americans.
The rules worked really well again, we spotted some mistakes we had made last time and both games played through relatively quickly. I think we have found our go to club game for 15mm. I didn’t have enough infantry done to include them, so I think this will add an interesting new dynamic next time and that’s what I’ll be concentrating on painting wise.
So the moral of this story is don’t be afraid to try something new; however accept that it will add to your plastic/lead pile and project to-do list.