With the recent completion of the 7TV Pulp Sci Fi miniatures Kickstarter I have a load more reinforcements coming over the next few months. (For the record the 1980 version of Flash Gordon is my all time favourite and probably most watched film of all time).
In the meantime I’ve been thinking about how to expand the legions of Mongo to include some themed vehicles to my selection of troops and personalities.
A while ago I picked up a Heroclix model of ‘Brainiacs Skullship’. You can see the original below. This was ostensibly in order to model a Roboskull for my Action Force project, but in the end I never quite got round to that. However as a model it has a certain ‘pulp appeal’ and so I set about repainting this in some suitably Ming-like colours.
The model was first removed from it’s Heroclix base using a hobby saw (and a bit of blunt force).
A basecoat of red primer was applied with the airbrush and a couple of progressively lighter reds (all Vallejo Game Air) were applied as highlights. The clear plastic green panels were masked so that they could be left in place.
Detail was picked out in gold and black lining was done with Tamiya panel line wash.
All I am quite pleased with the result. I think it has a aesthetic that matches the style of the Flash Gordon movie well. I have another one sat on my shelf that I think I am going to do something similar with, but maybe in the black and gold of Klytus’s Imperial Secret Police.
I’ve now finished the ‘super weapon’ that attendees were invited to bring along for the final game of the day. Not quite sure how these are going to work in game and looking across the posts on the 7TV Productions Facebook page there is quite a variety of stuff being worked on by attendees.
I settled on finally painting the Mantic Mars Attacks robot that I have had for years and have now finished this off with the addition of a pilot and some suitable basing to tie it into the rest of my cast.
I’ve spoken a little about the background to the Pulp boxed set before. A collaboration between Crooked Dice and Edge Hill University Press, development of the game gave the opportunity to get involved to students and we punters are now able to reap the benefits of their hard work.
Back to the theme, having booked in for the day quite a while ago, but before the game was publicly released there was a bit of a dilemma as to what sort of cast to go for. I kid of course, there was never any doubt I’d be going down the Flash Gordon route! The only question really was I going to do Flash and chums, or turn to the villainy of Mongo?
I have fond memories of watching the Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe serials in the early eighties when they were often repeated daily during the school summer holidays. However my number one love is the 1980 camp spectacular that is the Mike Hodges film. Having already decided on the excellent Princes of the Universe range from Cold War Miniatures to form the core of my cast I then needed to decide which version of Flash I was therefore going to go for. The range is very much based on the old black and white serials in terms of style and I did start down that route in terms of colour schemes (yes that is a weird thing to say about a black and white set of films, but really I was also taking inspiration from the aesthetic of the original Alex Raymond comic strips).
However at the point at which I started to paint up my 3D printed rocket ship I knew that going with the over the top awesomeness of the later film was the way to go. It was also at this point that I settled on the bad guys as the cast I would be taking to the campaign day.
The main bulk of my force is made up of ‘Imperial Fleet Troopers’ from the Cold War Miniatures range. Finding a Ming the Merciless figure was a bit problematic as they don’t really do one. I settled on Hydra Miniatures to fill this gap, although I had to source the figure I wanted from the US as I couldn’t at the time find it closer to home.
With only 30 ratings to work with for the campaign day I was somewhat limited to what additional characters from Flash lore I could bring in. I really, really wanted a Klytus, but again couldn’t find a suitable figure. Long term I am probably going to look at converting a Marvel Heroclix Doctor Doom, or keep my fingers crossed that Karl at Crooked Dice has this on his radar for a future release. Therefore I decided to go with Princess Aura instead. There is a great ‘Renegade Royal’ miniature in the 7TV Pulp kickstarter, but unfortunately this didn’t arrive in time, so I ended up using the ‘Dale’ from Cold War in this role.
While I’ve hit my ratings limit I have also carried on expanding the cast to include some robots, utilising the ever flexible range of 54mm scale plastics from Tehnolog.
The schedule for the campaign day gives the option for attendees to bring along a super weapon for folk to fight over in the last game of the day. Having scoured the internet for something suitably retro to 3D print I then remembered the ‘giant stompy robot’ I’ve got from Mantic Games now defunct Mars Attacks range. I had started to prime this in the thought that it would go into a German ‘weird war’ force, but a quick airbrush job later and Ming has a new threat to bring to those pathetic Earthlings.
I’ve gone similar colours to the rocketship, trying to keep that red/gold/black theme that pervades in the movie. For a pilot I’ll be using a seated Fleet Trooper from Cold War which fits just about perfectly (although being quite a chunky bit of metal on top of a plastic model might mean some weight has to be added to the base).
So apart from a few finishing touches I am raring to go and looking forward to what promises to be an excellent day next Saturday.
The model was provided in parts to print up, clean and assemble. It features a detailed interior with a removable roof and the option to model with steps up or down. Once put together this would provide me with a great centre piece to go with my Flash Gordon cast for 7TV Pulp.
The print time was fairly long across all the different components. I didn’t track it exactly, but when adding everything together I’d suggest that it probably took well over twenty four hours.
I printed the parts a few weeks ago when I was still tweaking the settings on my printer, overall however they came out with the need for minimal cleanup. I used a bit of plastic putty in some areas to smooth over rough parts of the print. As there are quite a few curved surfaces I also spent some time sanding.
Once I’d cleaned up the parts, assembly was straight forward. Superglue was used to assemble the components, all of which were printed using PLA filament. The roof is designed to sit loose on the model to allow miniatures to be placed inside and I also chose not to permanently attach the steps so these could be swapped out with the ‘ramps down’ version in future.
In terms of painting the plan was to go full on chrome and silver, however right at the last moment I changed my mind and went for a striking red and gold colour scheme. Although retro-styled to the 1930s pulp serials (as is the majority of the Princes of the Universe range); I wanted at least a nod to the classic 1980 Flash Gordon movie and this colour scheme fitted in well.
To further minimise print lines on the body of the ship I tended towards over spraying both when undercoating and base coating. I also wanted a glossy look to the paint job and just so happened to have a can of Humbrol Red Gloss acrylic lying around. By spraying closer to the surface that I would normally I was able to get a smooth finish on the (albeit not too course) surface of the print.
Other block colours were done using a variety of bright metallics in order to maintain the shininess. Black was used to pick out the windows and fine details.
In the second part of this article I’ll detail the interior and look at other similar models that are available for 3D printing.
Back in the heady days of the mid-eighties my Dad made a decision. A decision that would resonate for the rest of my childhood. A decision that would fundamentally change my outlook on life. A decision that would be looked back on as one of the most important of the late 20th Century. He decided to buy a video recorder.
Not just any video recorder, but a Betamax video recorder.
Those of you that know your history will recall that back in these times of big hair and constant fear of nuclear Armageddon there were a number of competing formats for home video. Betamax (arguably technically superior) backed by Sony and VHS by JVC appeared as the top runners and therein entered into a brief period of competition from which one only would emerge triumphant (spoiler – it was VHS). (Older readers may also remember other formats, including the curious Video 2000 with it’s curious two sided cassettes – something that remained in use in my school anyway well into the nineties, often wheeled into classrooms on giant wheeled trolleys also holding very flammable looking wooden framed TVs).
So the fateful decision having being made we were then the proud owner of a technically great machine, but within a few months without the ability to rent or buy any tapes. What this did mean was that as a youngster I was limited to those films we taped off the telly and the increasingly rare (and often ex-rental) tapes we could still buy. Accordingly I had a relatively small pool of things to watch, and watch them I did, repeatedly. Some of my all-time favorite films were discovered during this period, including the 1978 animated version of the Lord of the Rings, the second 60’s Peter Cushing Doctor Who movie (Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD) and of course the camp, cult classic Flash Gordon.
I must have watched the 1980 Flash Gordon film hundreds of times over the past few decades, and I’ve often thought about how I might bring Flash to the tabletop. A successful Kickstarter was recently run to publish a Flash Gordon setting for the Savage Worlds roleplaying system. I’m more of a miniatures person though, and although the Kickstarter produced a limited set of miniatures they weren’t quick what I was looking for.
Princes of the Universe Hawkmen
Fast forward to last year and a random Facebook post pointed me in the direction of Cold War Miniatures. This is a small Scottish based miniatures produced (who interestingly despite their name do not have any Cold War ranges), but do have a number of interesting lines, including a wonderful range called Princes of the Universe (retro sci fi minis with a Flash Gordon flavour in 28mm scale miniatures in both resin and metal). I ordered a couple late last year to check them out and they are very well sculpted, clean and crisp with no flash at all.
The style is very much based on the classic Flash Gordon comic strips of Alex Raymond from the 30’s and 40’s, with a significant nod to the Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe movie serials of the same time. (The black and white serials were often shown daily during school summer holidays on TV in the UK and I remember watching and loving these way before I got a view of the Technicolor delights of the 1980 Mike Hodges film.)
As regular readers of my blog may know, my go-to miniatures game is 7TV as it allows me to game pretty much what I want and allows me to field all those random cool toys that catch my eye. So it is that my ‘Flash Gordon’ cast is beginning to take shape. I’ve decided to concentrate on the good guys to start with, so an additional order to Cold War Miniatures has resulted in the fleshing out of the team to include not only the dashing hero, his muse and their mad scientist companion, but also a couple of alien princes (one at home in the forest kingdoms, the other a winged behemoth with a passion for shouting!)
These guys are currently work in progress. I am due to attend a couple of 7TV gaming days this year. The one at Board in Brum in January might be a bit too soon to get these guys finished, however I’ve also recently signed up for the Wargames Illustrated 7TV day at Wargames Foundry in the summer (at which conveniently the new Pulp version of the rules will be being used). (You can read about last year’s event elsewhere on the site).
I also bought some Imperial troopers as opposition for the heroes
Also from the range a Rocket Man inspired by another classic serial
I’d highly recommend checking Princes of the Universe and Cold War Miniatures in general. Not only lovely miniatures but great service and very quick postage within the UK. In addition to the miniatures I also bought from them a couple of the 3D print files for a rocket ship and some giant trees to go have a go at with my newly acquired toy (but that is a story for another time….)