The 3D printers have been running hot recently outputing a whole host of Star Wars miniatures. I am concentrating mainly on building an Imperial force at the moment and have turned my attention away from the troops to the top brass.
(I have, as usual, included links to where I have obtained these models, but to make things a bit clearer have also included a useful table at the end of the article summarising what came from where.)
First: the big boss man, Emperor Sheev Palpatine. This model complete with diorama base and guards is from the Patreon of Madox.
It is part of the welcome pack that becomes available when you sign up. The three figures were printed in resin on my AnyCubic Photon, with the base done in filament on my Creality CR-10S FDM printer.
Next up a model from Skull Forge Studios, which I actually purchased and painted a few months ago, but dug out again for this article. Sold as the ‘Authority Grand Duke’, this is my take on Grand Moff Tarkin.
Like my other Imperial officers this paint scheme was primarily based on a German Field Grey paint set I have from Andrea Color.
I’ve recently been getting my Star Wars fix, post -Mandalorian by binge watching (for the first time), the animated Rebels series on Disney+. I tried watching ‘The Clone Wars’ a few years ago and couldn’t get into it, but I absolutely loved Rebels. Two of the key Imperial villains in the last two series are Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Pryce is based on a female Imperial officer figure available from the Patreon of BigMillerBro, while I found the Thrawn miniature files free to download from Thingiverse.
Thrawn’s all white uniform was made slightly easier through the use of contrast paints. (Interesting the version of this model I downloaded from Thingiverse no longer appears to be on the site; however if you search for ‘Thrawn’ it looks like there are a few alternatives available.)
Next we have two of the Emperor’s advisors who appear briefly in Return of the Jedi. Like Thrawn these were free downloads from Thingiverse (designed by McAnultyMiniatures – well worth checking out – there are even Ewoks!).
Last but not least is the only model I have completed as part of this batch that is not 3D printed. The standing version of Palpatine is the actual Star Wars Legion model (albeit with the base swapped out for a 3D printed base I also purchased from the Madox Gumroad store).
A few years ago I got heavily into Star Wars Legion, but then relatively quickly sold the collection I had built up. This was partly due to a lack of gaming opportunities, but primarily because I needed the cash. However recently my Star Wars enthusiasm has been stoked again by the Mandalorian TV series and I have found myself wanting to ‘hobby Star Wars hard’!
Two big things have changed in my world since my last foray into the tabletop of a galaxy far, far away. These things are Games Workshop’s Citadel Contrast Paints and 3D printing. With the former I am no longer averse to painting lots of white Stormtooper armour and the latter (combined with the availability of designs online) means I have a lot more options available in terms of scenery and vehicles.
Game-wise I am yet to decide whether to give Legion itself a try again (this would require investing in a new core set), but what I do know I want to do is give the 7TV version of Star Wars ago.
Published a few years ago and still available (for free) from the Crooked Dice Game Design Studio website this is a ‘programme guide’ of profiles and gadget cards based on the 7TV second edition rules. These profiles are based on the original trilogy and being 7TV I am fully intending to expand on some of these and add in some support the Mandalorian cast and potentially other characters.
The recipe for painting these guys was to start with a white undercoat (in this case GW Corax White from a can), slap down some contrast Apothecary White, dry brush highlights in Corax again and then fill in the under armour gaps with contrast Black Templar.
Weapons were picked out in a gun metal and given a wash of contrast Basilicum Grey.
Also 3D printed (files from the Patreon of ‘BigMillerBro’ who specialises in Star Wars Legion compatible models) were my Imperial Officers and Navy Troopers. The officers were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily an Andrea Color German Field Grey paint set I have. Not my best work, but a nice addition to the force.
I really enjoyed doing the Navy Troopers – again they were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily dark greys and washes. With both these and the officers I used a gloss Nuln Oil wash from GW for the leather boots and also in the case of the troopers the signature helmets.
Basing? Well I’ve gone in this initial batch for an Endor style base (I have a Scout Walker I am working on – also a 3D print) and I think this goes well with the Scouts.
The good thing about 3D printing and having a quick and easy paint scheme is of course if I want to base some of these guys for other environments I can just batch out a few more. I’d like to do some more with an interior basing scheme (imagine running a game in a Star Destroyer or the Death Star and you get the idea).
I’m also working on a 3D printed Imperial Shuttle – but more on that soon…..
Earlier in the year I got really invested in Legion, the tabletop miniatures game in the Star Wars universe, published by Fantasy Flight Games. Having spent some time assembling and painting minis, I immediately got distracted (as all good hobby butterflys do) by terrain and re-utilising old toys for the tabletop. A couple of vintage Kenner / Palitory AT-ATs were purchased from eBay (and then resold as I say sense), as were some Rebel Transports, a U-Wing and various other bits and pieces.
Then as often happens I just didn’t get to play the game. I had a learning game with my good friend and gaming compadre, Mr.Hawkins, back in the Spring and then nothing. This was partly due to the distraction of other shiny things, and partly because my best chance of getting a game was at my local club. Due to other commitments I wasn’t able to get down and I missed most of the monthly meetings over the summer.
However this last Sunday I was finally able to Legion to the tabletop for a couple of games at Matlock and Dales WRG (at the request of another member who similarly had sat on the game for quite a while without actually playing).
MDF Shield generators by TTCombat
Game was played on a 6 by 4 table
My heroes – The Rebel Fleet Troopers
Spot the recycled old toy
Snowtroopers in entirely the wrong choice of coats
Captain Antilles about to be ambushed
I’m no good at reviews, but will say this (and have said so before); it’s a good game. A very good game. Bearing striking similarities to other Star Wars games in the Fantasy Flight catalogue (lots of tokens and cards, custom dice, the ‘surge’ mechanic), it seems to have ironed out some of the inconsistencies and clunkiness of games like Armada and Imperial Assault. Adding to the mix an alternative unit activation mechanic and innovative and intuitive command and control element, this puts it above many similar games I have had experience of in the past. My opponent and I did get quite a few things wrong in the early rounds, but this wasn’t really noticed and didn’t interupt the cinematic flow of the game (I was making a lot of ‘pew pew’ sound effects in my head).
The second game of the day was played on a smaller mat with no vehicles (due to time)
Paper mat courtesy of the Doctor Who Exterminate Miniatures Game
In getting ready for the game I wanted to just share a couple of hints and tips, both on the painting and army construction side of things.
While I had got at least a basecoat down on most of my miniatures (the contents of two core boxes and a handful of expansions), there were a few I had not yet touched. It wouldn’t be realistic to get everthing done in time for the game (real life is quite hectic at the moment), but I at least wanted to be avoid playing with any completely unpainted models.
Therefore I concentrated on detailing up all the Imperial Stormtroopers I had previously undercoated white, adding in some basic detail and making them tabletop ready (with the intention of going back and finishing them off to a higher standard later). Here, the humble toothpick was my friend. Rather than rely on a brush and a steady hand to pick out the black details on helmets and armour and to minimise the chances of despoling that trademark white with any overbrushing I found toothpicks gave me the control and steadyness I needed (but maybe not the patience!). This was particularly useful when doing helmet eye lenses and something I will try out for painting eyes in general moving forward.
My next job was to paint up the only fully unpainted squad I had not yet tackled, the Rebel Fleet Troopers. These are the guys who valiantly get slaughtered by Darth Vader at the begining of the very first Star Wars film (and of course we now know this fight continued on from the end of Rogue One). As figures go, I think these are some of the nicest that have been released so far. Very characterful sculpts and true to the films. I’d picked these guys up at UK Games Expo back in June, assembled them and then, well, got distracted…
Taking a very methodical approach I blocked out each colour (having applied a grey undercoat). Following a production line approach of doing all of one colour across the squad before returning to the first and adding the next hue I was able to get these guys done in only a couple of hours. I left the dark grey undercoat showing through for the mainly black coloured vests and let Army Painter washes do the rest.
Building up basic block colours over a dark grey undercoat
Guest appearence from Princess Leia (she didn’t get finished for the game)
The squad leader is based on Captain Antilles from the film and follows a different scheme. The intention with these is that I will go back and do some proper basing and highlighting at a later date.
I have to say I’m not a huge fan of painting armies or even squads (I much prefer to do more individual character models): however the fact I was actually going to able to field these in a game was a real motivator.
Pre-wash and tidy up
Wash and basic base colouring done. Highlighting and basing to be completed at a later date
The Rebel Fleet Troopers proved to be a really solid choice in play (and are my new favourites), having almost taken down Vader in the first game. Some form of sweet revenge for their on screen performance perhaps?
I also just wanted to give a quick mention to the Tabletop Admiral online army building application for Legion. I used this to quickly knock up the forces the night before the game allowing me to sort out cards, tokens and minis quickly beforehand and enabling us to setup quickly on the day. If you are a player of Imperial Assault or Runewars this also might be of interest to you.
At the beginning of the month I had the pleasure of spending two days with friends at the NEC in Birmingham at UK Games Expo 2018. This was my second year attending as a punter (I first attended in 2016 when I was trading as Twisted Pinnacle Games).
Lots has been said elsewhere on the interweb about the show so I’m not going to do a full review here, just to say what an enjoyable and excellent time we all had. Since moving from being solely at the Hilton Hotel to the NEC proper in 2016 the event has continued to grow and this year spread into a second exhibition hall.
There was the usual eclectic mix of traders and exhibitors (including a noticeable incease in the number of wargaming companies this year). If one lacks self-control (like I tend to) then there is a tempatation at this sort of thing to go on an orgy of shopping. While this is certainly possible at UKGE it is somewhat eclipsed by the sheer number of opportunities to actually sit down and play games of all different shapes and sizes. Be this companies demoing on their own stands, distributors like Esdevium/Asmodee UK or the much expanded open gaming areas (a real success this year with the opening of the second hall), there was simply so much choice.
It’s also worth making a note on the atmosphere and demographic. This is a very family friendly show and it was encouraging to not only see lots of kids and families present, but also a good male-female split (very different to wargaming shows). My friend’s ten year old lad had a fantastic time at the specially organised children’s roleplaying games area. There was also a family zone run by Imagination Gaming which provided the opportunity to play lots of different sorts of games aimed at the younger age groups. I am thinking that next year it’ll be possible to bring my six year old daughter along and keep her entertained for the duration.
So, I wasn’t that good and did end up spending quite a bit while I was there (to be fair I had been saving and have had a massive clearout recently). My swag for the day is pictured above – I was mainly concentrating on stuff for Star Wars Legion and was luckly to pick up one of only a handful of the newly released Rebel Fleet Trooper boxes on the Friday. TTCombat ended up getting a lot of my money with their really affordable MDF scenery (mainly for Legion again). My other big love at the moment is 7tv and Crooked Dice were present selling all sorts of cult TV and cinema related miniatures.
All in all a great couple of days, and I’mm looking forward to next year already.
Oh, and talking about 7tv, ‘The Apocalypse’ is coming – more on that soon…..
First step was a clean up (yet another way baby wipes are awesome!) Being unsure of how 35 year old toy plastic would take paint I settled on an initial top coat of Testors Dullcote.
In the UK we have had unseasonably good weather (even for late Spring), so I concentrated on using spray cans outdoors rather than the airbrush. As such the next stage was a base coat of Army Painter Uniform Grey. (By the way, I love my airbrush, but with the volume and area I was going to have to cover, aerosols seemed like a quicker and more convenient route for this project).
The next stage was an airbrush highlight with Vallejo Game Air Light Grey. I wasn’t too careful here, just tried to get a consistent highlight without worrying too much about the panels. The deep lines on the main body of the toy were panel lined using a medium tipped black Gundam Marker.
The weathering was done in stages with some brushed on streaking using Army Painter Strong Tone wash, some oil brush pens from ‘Ammo of Mig Jimenez‘ and then a bit more wash through the airbrush. Following this to tie it all together I used a can of Plastic Soldier Company ‘Light Brown’ Weathering spray. Now sadly out of productions these are water based weathering sprays that you apply and then partly wipe off to get a really grimy look (they are great for WW2 tanks).
I’ve concentrated initially on the upper half of the body. The lower half contains a bit more detail which according the the reference images I am using needs a bit more variation in colour and detail. That will be the next step, then following that onto the ‘storage solution’ part of the project.
All in all I am relatively pleased with the outcome so far. I think the grey colour scheme is actually a bit too dark when comparing to images of the ships from the films, but it will do for me. I may have gone a bit over the top on weathering, but I like the idea that this is a proper battered old ship that perhaps the Rebels have been reduced to using out of desperation. The one thing I will probably change when I come to starting the second ship is the approach to the panels on the hull which had stickers on. This time round I just sprayed over them and then coloured them red using a Gundam marker. I think the red is a bit too stark (plus the paint ran a bit), and also the stickers underneath did start to lift slightly.
So a bit of one down and one to go. Trying not to get distracted but I may just have got hold of an AT-AT or two (oh dear)….
I finally got round to having a game of Star Wars Legion last weekend. This was very much a training and learning game, so was played with unpainted miniatures (the horror!) on a 3 by 3 table with only infantry squads and an open acceptance we would more than likely get things wrong.
First impressions are very good. There are some obvious commonalities with other Fantasy Flight Games both in terms of presentation (lots of tokens, high quality components) and gameplay (custom dice, use of ‘surges’ etc). I’ll need a few more games to get to grips with things.
Having read some warnings online we played with the full supression rules (which are excluded from the Learn to Play rules) and it was fairly obvious that vehicles will be key moving forward.
The rulebook is worth a mention – it’s not great. FFG provide a printed ‘Learn to Play’ booklet in the core box which attempts to introduce the rules in a step-by-step manner, but to me was just confusing and contradictory. The full (freely downloadable) Core Rules are much clearer and I’d highly suggest that you skip straight to these.
So since then (and as a direct result of the excellent weather here in the UK at the moment) there has been lots of undercoating and painting (including the addition of an extra core box).
However I cannot seem to stay away from old Star Wars toys…..
Having decided that I really wanted an Imperial Lambda shuttle for the tabletop, I promptly changed my mind when I saw how much the toy versions (which are the ideal) size were on eBay. (Revell do a kit, but it is far too small at 1:100ish scale.)
Seperately I had been thinking about investing in some figure cases for the growing Legion hordes, and then it struck me. Combine the two – scenery piece and storage, and I remembered this…
I’ve managed to source two reasonably cheap and am awaiting their arrival. Originally designed as carry cases for the action figures, I’m thinking the trays inside could easily be adapted with a bit of foam for miniatures. Add a bit of weathering and Hoth board here we come…..!
In addition to the model kits I’ve been playing around with for Star Wars Legion I’ve also been looking at toys!
I’ve talked a lot about getting the scale right (or at least as close enough to meet the ‘rule of cool’) with the model kits. Even more so scale is a key factor when looking at using toys; or more specifically relying on the scale disparity between action figures and their vehicles.
This won’t work for everything. Star fighters are far too big, but there one or two key vehicles that lend themselves brilliantly to 32mm scale gaming.
Perusing the popular auction site I have managed to pick up an Attack of the Clones Slave 1 which looks great. Really nicely weathered and an ideal size (plus only a few quid!)
As a kid in the early eighties I never actually had that many Star Wars toys (Action Force was more my thing – more on that another time). I always of course coveted a Falcon. My cousin had one (and an AT-AT, the jammy git) and I used to love playing with it. I was particularly fascinated by the little pegs that you could fit into the holes on the feet of the figures, being able to sit Luke upside down in the gunners chair and of course that little ‘chess board’. The fact that if the Falcon was really in scale with the figures it would have taken up the whole house doesn’t really twig when you are a kid.
But 35+ years later when you are starting out with a new war game the penny suddenly drops.
So off to eBay I went, and boy were these battered old toys expensive. Eventually I narrowed my search down to the mid-90s ‘Power of the Force’ version and the Hasbro Hero Series released in 2004 (in the US this was exclusive to Walmart).
The latter is huge! It is around 2 foot across. Not actually a toy for the action figures, but part of a series of releases of big toys a few years ago. Very much a scenery piece (no interiors); this looked like the thing to go for.
After a few days of searching I managed to track one down mint in box going for not a lot of pennies, but collection only on eBay (as I said it is huge!). Chanced my arm and it paid off. Spent a couple of hours in the car one Sunday, and here is the result….
Fresh out of the box
Luke for scale
Putting on the stickers required patience
Ready for some weathering
Going to need a bigger table
There’s some nice detail here. Stickers were supplied and have been applied. Next step will probably be a top coat followed by a bit of airbrush weathering. That said, at present I’m more than happy to use this ‘as is’ on games (although simply due to the size of the thing this will probably have to wait for a bigger table at the next club meeting).
(Just an honorable mention to the Legacy Series toy released a few years ago – similar size to the Hero Series, but made for the action figure range. If you can get one for less than a few hundred quid good luck!)
The obvious final toy vehicle!
But as it is I seem to be spending more and more time looking at models and toys and not actually painting any miniatures this one might have to wait…
The lure of the dark side was too much though and a few weeks ago I dived into Star Wars Legion, purchasing the core set, the AT-ST and the Airspeeder expansions.
I’ve not had a chance to play the game yet, but I’m aiming to get one in at our next club meeting in Matlock in May.
Then I got distracted…..
By toys….. (actual toys).
More specifically toys and model kits that I could use on the table top to enhance my games of Legion. Inspired in part by the excellent coverage and similar ideas raised on Beasts of War I started scouring the popular auction site.
First off, let’s cover model kits…
So the elephant in the room then: scale. Legion figures are chunky (controversially so, but that is a discussion for another time). At best guess I’d go for 32 to 35mm or in model kit speak about 1:48. The two best sources for scale model kits at present are Bandai and Revell.
Bandai kits are high quality, usually pre-coloured, snap-fit and relatively inexpensive. However they are not that easy to get hold of. Bandai hold the Star Wars license in the far east only, so even via eBay you are looking at potential a long wait and customs charges if you are unlucky.
1:48 AT-ST by Bandai
1:72 TIE Interceptor by Bandai
Scale wise they vary – most star fighter kits are 1:72 (too small), but they do one or two kits in 1:48 which are pretty spot on (ironically the two vehicles that are available anyway for Legion – the AT-ST and the Airspeeder).
Revell on the other hand are much easier to get hold of (even on the ever more sparse high streets of the UK). However here’s the catch, the scales are really all over the place! 1:106, 1:44, 1:50, 1:78 to name but a few. That said there are a few gems in the current range that fit really nicely on a Legion tabletop.
The A-wings above are 1:44 scale, easy assemble and pre-coloured (they also come with added light and sound effects).
Also pretty spot on in terms of scale is the First Order Special Forces TIE fighter.
A word of warning on this one though. Revell do two different versions, this is the 1:50 scale ‘build and play’ kit; there is also a larger 1:35 kit. Obvious problem with these? They aren’t classic trilogy era; but you know for a bit of flavour on the tabletop I can over look that!