The Robo-Hordes of Argo

I’ve been spending some time recently painting up more of the figures I got as part of the recent Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter. In addition to the miniatures that I received as part of my pledge I have also been expanding the force with other suitable models from my collection.

For those not in the know, the Kickstarter was to fund a programme guide for 7TV with associated miniatures and profiles to represent the evil Doctor Ulysses Argo and his monstrous robotic creations. As a ode to fantastic and cult TV and cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, the original ‘spy-fi’ version of 7TV has always had a place in my heart. In painting up and modelling this cast for the game I very much wanted to reflect that style of the times, so have gone with a suitably ’70’s beige’ palette.

The majority of my robotic characters would have heavy gold and bronze accents, with my more human types wherever possible sticking to the mustards, yellows and browns from the decade that fashion forgot.

Nowhere is this more pronounced that in my representation of Argo himself. This was mainly painted with thin layers of various contrast paints and tied together with washes.

Following on we have ‘the Nightmare’, a tribute to frankly one of the most terrifying characters and scenes from an 80s movie of my youth – yup computer cyblorg lady from the end of Superman III. I had originally painted her with blue metallic hair but switched this over to a gold to tie it more in with the rest of the cast.

The Argonauts themselves are robots bearing a not disimilar look to a certain race of metallic beings from a 70s (and susequent noughties) space opera TV show. I have painted these up in a more traditional manner befitting the original source material as I am planning on a separate Battlestar Galactica set of casts in future.

Next up are a diversion from the 7TV models to my old favourites the Tehnolog plastic cyborgs (of which these four represent the last I have in my stash). While I had previously experiemented with a purple colour scheme for one, I have done the rest in the ‘team Argo’ colours of gold and silver. My gold technique is achieved using Humbrol spray paints using Brass as a base and then a light top down highlight of Gold. I intend to use these as proxies for the ‘titans’ in the programme guide.

While I am doing the robot thing, I’ve also added a couple of 3D prints from the Titan Forge Miniatures Cyber Forge Patreon, of which I am a member. While nominally for a more ‘cyberpunk’ setting I have again gone for an Argonauts colour scheme here to tie them in with the rest of the team.

One thing I have additionally done here and in other paint jobs for this team is to pull out some spot colours. In particular I like the idea that not all of Argo’s tech is necessarily homegrown and maybe he has had some outside (even alien help) in constructing his robotic hordes. As such I have used some of the Citadel technical gemstone paints to pick out across various models some glowing red, green and blue lights. This is really an ode to the martians from the War of the Worlds and is particularly apt when it comes to the following two centrepieces for the force.

I’ll be going in to more detail about both the Crooked Dice and Bombshell Miniatures tripod models in more detail in an upcoming blog.

Return of the Argonauts – Enter the Spartoi

I’ve started on the first batch of miniatures from the Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter.

Enter the Spartoi – deadly regenerating robots created by evil genius Ulysses Argo!

These metal miniatures are lovely sculpts and required next to no clean up. After a quick wash in warm soapy water these were dried off and given a black undercoat from a can.

I decided on a dark metallic look so used a basecoat of Humbrol Bronze, followed by a light zenith of the Gold from the same range (both in spray cans). To add some depth I highlighted with a silver drybrush and an all over wash of Army Painter soft tone wash. Certain highlights were then re-picked out in silver.

My original plan was to use a set of old tank number decals on the shields to emphasise their autonomous robotic nature, however having completed the painting and with the shields having the same metallic look as the bodies I thought I’d try something different.

Constrast paints applied quite thinly over the metallic base gave a glass/gem like appearence to the shields. The addition of Humbrol gloss cote as a finishing touch further emphasises this. I like the idea that these are some form of energy absorbing device.

The skulls were painted in a yellow sand and then given a soft tone wash.

Plenty more to come soon (by your command…..)

The Time of the Machines

Dipping back into some post-apocalypse themed modelling and painting, I have recently been concentrating on a variety of robots and mechanoids.

Inspired in part by the classic Rifts roleplaying game by Palladium Books I have painted up a Tehnolog ‘cyber skeleton’ miniature as a ‘coalition robot’.

Inspiration – from the Rifts Sourcebook – Coalition Robots

I have purchased a large number of these models over the years and have used them for a variety of projects, however the original box art just screams Rifts to me.

Tehnolog packaging showing (in my mind) a clear Rifts influence

Quite a simple paint job on this using black contrast paint with a light dry brush of silver to bring out some edge highlighting and to give him that solid metallic look.

Next up we have a pair of tracked robots with more than a little nod to Skynet. These were from the recent Bombshell Miniatures Bikes and Bots Kickstarter and were printed on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer.

Printed in parts, I assembled with super glue and gave them a once over of a metallic grey car spray paint I picked up in a sale at Halfords. As an aside I would highly recommend Halfords for good quality, relatively inexpensive rattle cans. I’d particularly recommend their grey primer as a really effective undercoat.

Any how, these ‘drones’ were then detailed with some hightlights of gold and a dot of colour here and there. The tracks were done using my usual approach of a silver dry brush over a very dark brown base coat, followed by a ‘strong tone’ wash.

Finally how about a wasteland survivor to face down the machines? Another 3D print, again from Bombshell Miniatures, but this time from one of their monthly Pateon releases from earlier in the year.

Primarily painted with contrast paints, I’m not sure how much use those revolvers are going to be against the machines though.

It’s even more robots next as I have just received my Kickstarter rewards from the recent 7TV Argonauts campaign by Crooked Dice Game Design Studio.

Plenty to go at there, but I’m also working on another of the Bombshell models from Bikes and Bots as well…

The Martians are here!

You may remember me from such projects as Pulp and more Pulp

With the imminent arrival in the post of the Crooked Dice 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter I’ve been trying to clear the decks a bit. That has mainly involved revisiting both my post apocalypse and pulp projects.

On the Pulp front I have had both Crooked Dice and miniatures from the Cthulu Death May Die boardgame half finished for quite a while.

First up some cultists from the latter. A mix of colours and paints (including some contrast) were employed here. The tommy gun armed female cultists are not from the core set and add a bit of variety. My intention is to use these miniatures in games of 7TV Pulp.

Continuing with the Death May Die miniatues I have also started painting up the character models, including this one which really caught my eye. A military veteran by the looks of things, with a Soviet flavour, I’ve not actually read much around the game so don’t know his actual background.

On the side of the heroes we have one of my favourite sculpts ever for 7TV. You may remember him from such insprirational sources as ‘The Land that Time Forgot’ and ‘Warlords of Atlantis’….

Slightly out of leftfield I also had this very characterful home guard figure from Warlord Games Bolt Action Operation Sea Lion range. I’ve painted quite a few World War II British miniatures in the past, but I wanted to try out a suitable contrast paint for the uniform for the first time.

I ended up going with Aggaros Dunes over a grey undercoat, which was a relatively good match (albeit a little light).

Finally, staying Pulp but switching to science fiction we have this bombastic fellow. I actually lost a couple of the bits for this model. He was suppossed to have wings and be wielding a mace, but both are lost somewhere on my cellar floor. So diving into the bits box I dug out a suitably retro rocket pack and ended up 3D printing a raygun holding left hand. The latter was from a past Bombshell Miniatures monthly Patreon release.

Riddle me this – a Batman painting update

A quick update on the long term project to paint up the miniatures from the Monolith Batman City Chronicles board game (which I am intending to use in games of 7TV).

I’ve switched over from doing individual characters to concentrating on getting through some bad guys and their minions.

I fancied giving the Riddler and his goons a go, and these are the results. I am concentrating on tabletop standard here so plentiful use of contrast paints and washes. To break up the monotony of painting lots of the same pose of miniatures and give them some variety on the table top I have played around with variations on a standard scheme – changing up the different shades of green and also varying skintones and hair colour.

All in all these have come out okay I think, but I have to say I am not a massive fan of the range of green contrast paints in the Games Workshop range. I am (as many others have), coming to the conclusion that contrast is just one of many tools in a painters arsenal and really aren’t always a complete solution. Without going off on too much of a tangent, the browns (and Snakebite Leather in particular) are wonderfully versatile and the Basilicanum Grey is my new favourite method of shading metallics. The greens however….not so great for me.

Back to the miniatures, I also painted the boss man himself, spending a little more time on the detail here.

Riddle me this!

I painted all of these miniatures based on what I think the characters should look like, rather than basing them on any reference materials (so I am sure any DC Comics fans would have a thing or two to say about some of my choices).

In addition I have also recently completed both Catwoman and Killer Croc figures from the set.

Catwoman (one of two versions in the game)
Killer Croc

Killer Croc was a joy to paint, certainly the larger miniatures like this in the set contain more detail and are perhaps of a higher standard than some of the more standard sized ones.

Much, much more to do, with Red Hood and his gang and the Court of Owls both contenders for my next job.

Space (Force) 1999 – 3D Printed Eagle Transporter

This is the culmination of about four months worth of work. I came across this excellent set of 3D print files by alpokemon on Thingiverse earlier this year. For those that don’t know this is the classic Eagle Transporter from Gerry Anderson’s Space 1999.

The original in action.

I set about printing this with the idea of using it as a centrepiece for 28mm scale gaming (more specifically 7TV). By doing some back of the envelope calculations I worked out that I would need to scale the files up in order to meet my favoured 1/48 vehicle scale for gaming.

So then the printing began……and it took a very long time indeed.

Back in March I was keeping a log of how much time the individual print jobs were taking. I soon gave up adding this up, but lets say we are talking about well over 100 hours worth of printing at least.

As per usual for scenery and vehicles I printed this using my FDM printer, a CR-10S by Creality. I originally chose this printer for the larger than standard print bed size and this was very useful when printing out this model.

I did use my resin printer for some of the smaller parts like thrusters and cargo pod feet.

The print quality (and tolerances) I am getting at the moment are really good, which helped significantly with this model as it did require quite a bit of fitting and assembly. The one weak point was the landing gear which have snapped numerous times and have been continually super glued back together.

At this point I started to think about painting and colour schemes. Rather than paint up in the traditional TV series colours I decided to merge this with one of my other ongoing projects – Action Force in 28mm scale. At this point I need to take a slight diversion, promoted by this project I have recently got into collecting the original toy line of 3.75″ (1/18) scale action figures and vehicle sets. One of the vehicles I have recently aquired is the Space Force Cosmic Cruiser. It is this that I decided to base the Eagle paint scheme on.

An original Palitoy Cosmic Cruiser Action Force toy.

Due to the current long summer hours and (occasional) decent days of British summer weather I switched my airbrushing to outside. This has been aided by the aquisition of a new mini-compressor. The completed model after getting an all over undercoat of black from a spray can was ready for airbrushing.

The outdoor painting setup

The main body and cockpit were given coats of progressively slightly lighter coats of grey.

The four ‘legs’ of the craft were then completed using the same technique with blue.

Finally the engines were also airbrushed using a base gun metal followed by a silver highlight. All paints were from the Vallejo Game Air or Model Air ranges.

I switched back to traditional brushwork for the orange of the frame. This was mainly because I would have struggled to effectively mask the model for airbrushing on top of the work I had already done.

I went to my stash of decals and transfers to add some detail (including some small reporduction Action Force logo toy vehicle stickers). The one thing I wasn’t able to source was the Space Force specific logo. While in the past for miniatures I have hand painted this I wasn’t confident I’d be able to do a good job of this freehand at this scale. I may subsequently add something to the nose cone of the ship if I can figure out printing on decal paper on my Inkjet printer.

The final stage was weathering, and as per usual I feel I may have gone a little overboard here. I used a mix of Plastic Soldier Company and Modelmates weathering spray cans for this, plus a sponge chipping technique using a dark brown paint. I do think the engines came out looking pretty good.

All in all I am really please with the result and I look forward at some point in the future (when face-to-face gaming can resume in earnest) using this in a game of 7TV. Perhaps as part of a Space Force versus The Argonauts game (the latter of which I am eagerly awaiting delivery from the most recent Crooked Dice Game Design Studio Kickstarter).

In the meantime here is a selection of images showing a Space Force Eagle Transporter being prepared for a mission by Action Force personel. All figures are from Gripping Beast and are heavily inspired by the original action figure line.

Pulp Sky Raiders

I bought these figures before Christmas and they had been sat mostly complete and just requiring some finishing touches for a while. I finally got round to tidying up and basing these the other day.

They are a mix here of miniatures from the Pulp Figures and Artizan Designs ranges, all in that niche Pulp genre that borders on Steampunk – the world of airships and rocket men. Think Sky Captain and World of Tomorrow and you’ll not be far away.

Zeppellin Trooper – Pulp Figures
Harpoon Gunner – Pulp Figures
My squad leader – Pulp Figures
Another harpoon armed pirate – Artizan Designs

In addition I dug out some miniatures I completed a while ago to join the team.

Pulp Figures
Statuesque Miniatures
Sky raider with Lewis gun – Pulp Figures

I’m looking at fielding these in games of 7TV Pulp and have some transport lined up for them in the shape of one of the more industrial looking airships from the recent Skys of Sordane Kickstarter which I backed earlier in the year and which is now starting to deliver (in the form of STL files for 3D printing).

I’m looking forward to printing this – though I suspect it will take quite some time

Finally here we have a group shot of the full team…..

Coming to raid the skies near you soon

Print, Paint, Exterminate!

I’ve been on a bit of a quest to paint up as many Daleks as I can recently. No idea why (although catching up with loads of old Doctor Who on Britbox may have something to do with this).

From a gaming perspective Daleks are pretty easy to come by nowadays due to the release of Warlord Games Into the Time Vortex range of miniatures and supporting Exterminate boxed game a few years ago. I’ve recently written about painting up some of these models.

Warlord Games Davros (metal), Special Weapons Dalek (metal), Dalek (plastic)

More recently I’ve also been painting up some of the redesigned ‘new paradigm’ Daleks. This radical new design of Dalek is now believe it or not ten years old, and while the TV series went back to the classic design quite quickly I managed to buy up quite a lot of the cheap plastic models that were given away on the front of magazines at the time. Just coincidentally these are also the perfect scale for 28mm gaming.

The one thing I have been really missing is a proper old school classic design of Dalek for the tabletop. Here’s where the wonderful world of 3D printing comes to the rescue. There are loads of designs for Daleks uploaded to Thingiverse of varying quality and accuracy, but I eventually settled on trying the files by Stryker123.

These look to be designed to be printed at a much larger scale than the 28mm tabletop standard. The design files are split into components, but there is also a completed (assembled) version in the files. By chance this defaults to a near perfect size for the tabletop (although in the end after some trial and error in printing I scaled them by 105%).

Printed on my resin printer (an AnyCubic Photon) these have come out well, albeit with some problems printing the sucker arms and gun sticks (that are just that bit too fine for the resolution I am printing at).

This particular batch were printed in clear resin, which made for quite a spectacle working on them in the summer sun!

In the end following further test prints I ended up printing the sucker arms and guns seperately and sticking them on to the ‘completed’ models on which the majority of these features had not come out. In fact the gun stick was so fine I just ended up using trimmed bits of scaffold to represent them in the end.

Based and ready for painting

Stryker123 has provided incredicbly accurate Dalek designs covering all the 1960s variants. While to the non-geek eye many of these look very similar I was delighted to see the effort that had been put in here.

I have concentrated mainly on the models from the very first Dalek story and also from the classic ‘Evil of the Daleks’. My painting has also followed these stories. However for the very first Daleks I went with the colour scheme that this model was given when appearing in more recent ‘Nu-Who’ story a few years back.

For my ‘original Skaro Daleks’ I went for the colour scheme shown here.

The models were given a black undercoat and this was followed by a complete coverage of silver. Both colours were car paints from spray cans obtained from the local Poundland.

I painted the ‘grills’ (between body and dome) in this case using Black Templar contrast paint from Citadel. This provided a nice deep shading will keeping the grills hightlighted in silver. Nodules and for the banding on the original Daleks without shoulder slats was acheived using a light blue. The nodules or domes on Dalek models are very definitely not one of my favourite things to paint!

A couple of the ‘Evil’ versions were painted with black domes to indicate that they were part of the Emperor Dalek’s guard. In addition to the standard silver models I undercoated a handful of others using Citadel Wraith Bone with the intention of painting these in red and gold liveries.

Not canon in terms of Dalek colouring, but a nice contrast to the silver hordes.

Finally I left one of the black undecoated models as it was in order to paint up a Dalek Supreme to command my new forces. These are all still work in progress.

I’m currently working on some profiles for the Daleks for 7TV and will cover them in a future article.

Ainsty Castings OOP resin scenery piece shown alongside a couple of troops.

Pulp Painting Update

In between everything else I am finishing off at the moment I got the chance to put the final touches to a few Pulp themed miniatures (some of which I have had on the painting desk for a long time).

First up a trio of ‘bad ‘uns’ from Warlord Games. A BUF section leader and two blackshirt goons. Ostensibly for the ‘Very British Civil War’ or ‘Operation Sealion’ settings, I’ll be using these guys in my games of 7TV Pulp. Always good to have a few fascists to give a damn good thrashing to.

Extensive use of contrast paints on these chaps.

Next, more evil! This time a tommy gun armed cultist from the CMON board game, Cthuhlu Death May Die. Just slightly bigger than 28mm this lady owes her allegience to Hastur and is from that same expansion set.

Combination of airbrush base coat of light green with a yellow wash.

Next up, another rotter! This time a Crooked Dice 7TV Pulp era gangster. The base for this no good scoundrel was aquired from a set of Batman Miniatures Game figures I have not yet done anything with.

I used flock and a Modelmates mould effect to cover the slotta base and add some character to the flagstone base.

This next guy could sit in any number of settings or factions. I have had this figure for years (it is in fact from some of the left over stock I had when I ran the shop). He’s a Kung Fu master from the Ral Partha Europe Pulp Adventure range.

With the advent of contrast paints, I’m not longer actively avoiding painting white

Finally for now, some space based adventure. Here is one of the macguffin markers from the recent 7TV Pulp Science Fiction Kickstarter. Wouldn’t look out of place inside an Imperial palace on a far off world.

Warp Lightening green contrast paint over a silver base coat, highlighted with a dry brush of silver.

It is joined by some ‘Alien Legionaries‘ in an alternative blue garb (as opposed to their movie inspiration red).

I love these minis, but have really struggled to paint them to my satisfaction. Switching from red to blue has strangely helped.

“Fire in that direction!”

Reich Busters Vril Panzer

I recently got a rather large box in the post all the way from France.  Inside, my Reichbusters Kickstarter pledge rewards.  I am a bit of a sucker for Weird War settings and games and from what I saw when the campaign was running, the game looked right up my street too.

However it was really the miniatures I was after.  I fully intend to play the game, but like many things in my collection the thought ‘I could always use this for 7TV‘ is never far from my mind.

Now, there are a LOT of figures here.  The scale is somewhat larger than standard 28mm and probably sits somewhere between 35 and 40mm.  Fine on there own in any game, but might look a little odd alongside other parts of my collection.  Where this isn’t really a problem is with the ones that immediately caught my attention when opening the boxes for the first time.  The ‘Vrill Panzers’ – basically big stompy (piloted) robots.

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Vrill Panzer top right (more on the big chap in a bit…..)

There are two of these in the set of boxes I received, they are (like all the miniatures) one piece casts in a very hard PVC style material.  Absolutely no sign of warping or bending weapon syndrome from what I have seen so far.  The Vrill Panzers are chunky, really nicely detailed and heavy; however they are by no means the biggest models in the set (more on that later).

So in terms of getting the Vrill Panzers painted up I thought I would go for a ‘late war’ dunkelgelb, by really weather it up.  With there being two in the set I could afford to experiment a bit on this first one.

First step was a wash in warm soapy water.  This is something I never used to do on any models, but now religiously do whether I am painting PVC, hard plastic, resin or metal.

Once dry I undercoated with a can of black primer and followed this with a base coat of dunkelgelb (from Plastic Soldier Company – again in a can).

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Once dry I applied decals.  There were none provided with the game, but I have a huge stash of World War II and Dust Tactics decal sheets that I have amassed over time, so I had plenty of choice.  My usual approach, which I used here, is to paint the area I am going to apply the waterslide decal to with gloss varnish first.  Once dry I applied the decal itself and again let it dry before another coat of gloss.  I placed a few markings strategically then moved on to the weathering.

The first stage was to stipple using an old bit of sponge both dark brown and then silver across the most worn areas of the model.  Next it was time to dirty it all up. My plan here was to paint on Army Painter Quickshade Dark Tone.  I have had some success in the past with a fairly light coat of this brushed on to models.  It leaves them very shiny, but protected and I always apply matt varnish as the final step in these cases.

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Ready for Quickshade

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It’s all about to go wrong

The problem I hit here was my can of Quickshade was quite old and hadn’t been sealed properly the last time I used it.  As such I had to remove a thick skin from the surface of the shade within the tin before application to the model.  This is where the alarm bells should have run, however I proceeded to ‘slap in on’.  It was at this stage I noticed how thick and gloopy it was.  I stirred it up as usual but once applied it became obvius that something was wrong.  Rather than apply the subtle shading I was after, and rather than immediately receeding into the contours and crevises of the model it just sat there like some vile dark slime.

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Bit much?

Through excessive mopping up with a brush I was able to dave things to some degree, but the weathering has ended up being much, much heavier than I intended.  Once the matt varnish (Testors Dullcote) was applied things looked a lot better, although I had made some of the decals rather difficult to make out.

The final weathering stage was to add some rust (it seemed apt with how heavy beat up the mech now looked).  I drybrushed on some Citadel Dry Ryza Rust and in the end I think this turned out OK.

The base was in part basecoated in silver and then painted over with Citadel Basilicanum Grey (a contrast paint, this is my new favourite way of painting a gun metal effect).  All the bases in the game have a metal gantry / walkway look to them, so this fitted quite well especially when finished up with some more drybrushed rust.  The areas that looked more stone like were done in greys.

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The finished article

All in all I think I managed to rescue it.  Apart from the Quickshade incident it was an enjoyable model to paint.  As I have another one in reserve I might go with a different, cleaner, more fresh of the production line look.

In addition to the Vrill Panzer I also painted a couple of the ‘troop’ models from the game to test out some colours and techniques.

I’ve also started on the monstrous Projekt X mech.  Remember when I said the Vrill Panzers weren’t the biggest model, well this fella is truly gigantic (and actually quite difficult to lift).  He is still work in progress and I’ll cover this in another article.