I’m still stalwartly ploughing through the (possibly radioactive) lead pile that is the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter.
Recently I have completed the first of the two Hazmat Troopers from the set. I have deliberately gone with a bright colour scheme for these guys and based them in such a way that suggests they might be ‘lost’ on a mysterious island somewhere, perhaps doing some work for a scientific ‘initiative’.
For the first time in a while I went with the technique of blocking in the base colours and then painting on Army Painter Quickshade dark tone dip. This can be an effective way of shading miniatures providing you are careful to ensure that the dip is mixed well to start with, doesn’t pool too much and spend some time re-highlighting up afterwards.
Next up are the ‘Mutant Hill Mob’, a small band of ‘wacky racing’ wasteland warriors. A lot of skin on display here, which always puts me off a bit, however utilising the wonder that is Citadel Reikland Fleshshade over a dark skintone base and then dry brushing and highlighting up with a lighter tone worked OK.
I also felt that these guys would really benefit from spending the time to properly paint the eyes. A very steady hand was required to varying levels of success.
For the first time I also had a go at using the Citadel ‘blood effects’ technical paint – Blood for the Blood God! This provided a nice glossy and gloopy effect that I used both on some of their weapons and also on their ‘skin conditions’.
I’ve also finished my favourite figure from the entire release, the SLR armed traffic warden attempting to hold the ‘threads’ of society together in post-nuclear Sheffield. I felt like this deserved a scenic base.
Next up I’ll be completely the ‘Road Warrior’, and then possibly dipping into some of the marauders, savages and militia.
This was a science fiction game with plastic miniatures and vehicles, released in the UK by Airfix in the noughties. As an aside, I’ve since found out that the background to the game is slightly more complicated than simply an attempt by an (at the time) ailing scale model company to grab a piece of Games Workshop’s 40k market. More on that in a bit.
The starter set I got hold of contained a lot of half built models and in the end I sold it off for not much more than I bought it for. Not a hugely interesting story so far I’m sure you’ll agree.
However over the past few years as my gaming and hobby has become (slightly) more focused I got to thinking about how much potential there was in the Robogear starter box for a couple of the projects I have on the go. In particular the set contained some interesting plastic terrain (in the form of platforms and gantries), that would not only do for Kill Team, but also would slot quite nicely into some of the post-apocalypse scenery I have been building for 7TV. Similarly the vehicles could be cannibalised for bits for wasteland vehicles, but more specifically many had a 40k Imperial Guard feel to them.
So back to ‘the online auction site’ it was. After a bit of searching around I managed to pick up two nearly completed starter boxes for only a tenner (albeit with the terrain bits missing), as well as complete unopened box for not that much more.
First thing to say is that the infantry figures are really not very good. They are pretty large (maybe 1/48 to 1/35 scale) and very basic. They are multi-part but are built with articulation that really puts them in the category I feel of a mini action figure rather than a wargames miniature. Some of the hand weapons may get reused, but I suspect these will find themselves either in the back of a drawer or re-sold at some point soon.
The vehicles on the other hand have a lot of potential. Stylistically they are a bit ‘confused’. There are elements of hard science fiction here, but also a touch of the grim dark too, as well as a bit of Battletech. Various vehicles are included and these can be built in a number of ways – either with tank tracks, mech-style legs (think Astra Millitarum Sentinel) or insectoid (think Zoids!).
The weapons are of variable styling and quality and it has to say, again, that some of these look quite toy like. There is a reason for this however, in the rules for the Robogear game you can either play with ‘virtual combat’ (i.e. rolling dice), or physical combat (yes the weapons actually fire mini missiles in some cases)! All of this however could be worked out by swapping out bits and pieces from other spare parts in the bits box. There are also a couple of ‘flyers’ in the box, again these have potential, but maybe not as much as the ground vehicles.
As I mentioned, only one of the three boxes I acquired contained the scenery components. Now these do look useful. Designed to be reconfigurable, they are provided with a ‘clip’ system to hold everything together (but not necessarily permanently). Looking into the current availability of these terrain kits I discovered more about the background of Robogear itself. It turns out that Airfix bought the rights in for the system from a Russian company called Tehnolog (similarly in the US the same game and kits were released and marketed by both IMEX and Pegasus Hobbies).
A further search on eBay and I found a trader in Russia selling brand new Robogear kits for a bargain price of about $8 a kit. I’ve ordered a few of this, with my eyes on the flyers as Imperial Guard air support and the buggy to be added to the wastelands of my post-apocalypse gaming.
Furthermore I also happened at the same time across this beauty of a kit from the same stable. A modular chemical plant kit that snaps together and will be another fine addition to my stock of terrain pieces for multiple games. Like a lot of the Tehnolog kits this appears to have been released by another firm for the Western market (in this case Pocketbond).
All in all I can see a huge amount of potential with all these purchases for conversions and kit bashing and can see them working across loads of my existing projects (and maybe spawning a few new ones).
First on the list, a proxy for an Imperial Guard Sentinel and we’ll then see where things go from there….
One of the great pleasures I get from the hobby is the chance to view everything through the hobbyists eyes. So when I am out shopping (ostensibly for real word stuff) I’ve always got half an eye on what I could use for the latest project on the tabletop. I’ve written before about my ongoing love of re-purposing toys for gaming and toy shops are a great place to start. However I never overlook what might be lurking in the local discount store, Poundland or craft supplies shop.
Although I have an airbrush I also make extensive use of spray cans to undercoat and basecoat miniatures and models. There is a lot to be said for the convenience, particularly of the Army Painter coloured sprays of quickly and effectively getting minis to the table. That said one of the areas that people often overlook are the basic colours used for undercoating (black, white and grey). Yes you could shell out a tenner (or more) on some Games Workshop or Army Painter sprays for this, but the basic car primers you can get from places like Halfords or even the pound shop are in most cases just as good or even better (just be careful to avoid the gloss versions). I’d highly recommend the matt black Halfords own brand cans, they give a really nice flat finish on most surfaces and are good value for the amount you get).
Anyway, I digress. On a recent lunchtime wander round my local Boyes store (one of the few places in the UK outside of specialist gaming shops that stock a good supply of Vallejo paints), I happened across these…
Stone effect aerosol sprays in a variety of colours. I had a few years ago used one of the these in a dark grey to provide a tarmac like surface to a game board I was building, but like many projects a few years back didn’t see it through to the end. However having recently bought a Bastion Stronghold (Z2014) from Amera Plastic Mouldings for use as a ‘wasteland’ fortification for post-apocalypse gaming (and potentially a bit of Kill Team / 40k on the side) I had an idea…..
Amera have been on my radar for a while. They produce a range of vac formed plastic terrain and scenery aimed at both the wargames and scale modelling (dioramas) markets. Their products are good value and in many cases substantial in terms of size. One of the downsides of using vac-formed plastic however is that the surface details of larger pieces tend to be very flat and lack texture. If only there was a quick and easy way to apply a textured finish, maybe to emulate concrete or pebble dash to my recently acquired ‘post-apocalypse’ stronghold?
So having put two and two together I started work. After the recommended wash in warm soapy water I gave the whole piece a black undercoat. After leaving this to dry I applied the first coat of stone effect. I had chosen ‘bleached stone’ as my preferred colour of sprays as I though it would match an arid PA wasteland type setting.
Matt Black Halfords paint from a can (it is still wet here but dries to a very flat matt finish)
Undercoated bunker roof ready for texture!
First thing to note on the stone effects aerosol is that it is under quite high pressure and comes out very forcefully. It became quite apparent early on that this meant I was going to have to be very patient, do a number of thin coats and wait for each to dry properly. Repeated application of layers on a surface that was not yet dry just ended up moving the stone effect paint already laid down around.
First layer of textured paint (initially looks a real mess)
Note masked areas which will be painted silver and ‘rusted’
What also became clear was that the black undercoat was not working. The light ‘desert yellow’ / ‘skeleton bone’ like colour of the spray was being overpowered by the dark base. To rectify this, once the first thin layer was applied and was dry (after about 15 minutes) I gave the whole model a full all over spray of Citadel Averland Sunset (a darkish yellow). Building subsequent layers over this was much more effective.
Once I’d completed about 4 or 5 coats using the stone effect I had a good covering and a good scale approximation of either pebble dashed concrete or sandstone.
Where to take it from here? I knew I definitely wanted to weather this down, especially as it was intended to be a wastelands style outpost, but simply dry brushing a highlight over the stone effect would perhaps make it too light. I could of course have left it there, the effect was good enough for ‘basic tabletop standard’, but I was keen to take it further.
I also wanted to ensure that the stone effect paint was protected, so rolled the weathering and protection into one by painting on Army Painter Quickshade Strong Tone. I’m a big fan of Quickshade; not the dipping method, rather painting in the same way as a shade or wash. Normally with miniatures following an initial drying period the shade ‘pulls back’ into the recesses of the model and you can ‘dab’ up any excess with a brush. With this scenery piece there weren’t really any recesses into which to recede so I had to work hard not to show brush strokes in the finished effect. I achieved this using swirling motions with a cheap large brush.
At this stage it did not look good!
At this stage, to be honest, I wasn’t very happy, it looked like I had dulled down the stone effect too much and the natural gloss of the Quickshade kind of made things worse (albeit I knew I was going to have to dull this down with a top coat). A quick dry brush back up of Army Painter Skeleton Bone seemed to retrieve the situation, but I was now left with a much darker piece than I was originally intending.
I was on the verge of going back to the drawing board, when I thought about maybe rather than weathering this up as an arid desert stronghold, I could shift my post-apocalyptic mindset more towards a ‘nature reclaiming the landscape’ scenario. To that end I liberally applied some green washes and made use of an old bottle of Modelmates mould effect I had.
With the addition of some flock, tufts and overgrowth I was much happier with the final result. The metal supports and door were painted silver and then (probably overly) weathered up using again a Modelmates rust effect. Finally the whole thing was sealed with a couple of thin coats of Testors Dullcote.
All in all I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. I’d highly recommend Amera Plastic Mouldings as a cost effective and striking alternative to other options for tabletop scenery. Using the textured spray paint added that extra level of detail, but required some patience. As they say, you learn from your mistakes.
This finished piece will hopefully be finding it’s way into a game of 7TV Apocalypse soon.
I was recently given the opportunity to go on the long running Meeples and Miniatures Podcast as a guest presenter.
I talk to regular presenters Mike and Neil about my background in the hobby, current projects and purchases and also spend sometime discussing my experiences of working in the industry.
The episode is now available to download for free from their website (or via your favourite podcasting app). They also have a Patreon account setup up if you feel like donating a few pennies to the upkeep and ongoing production of the show.
Neil Shuck & Mike Hobbs are joined by a guest presenter in the shape of Patreon backer James Aldridge for this episode of the podcast.
00:00 – Introduction – We chat with James and discover how he got into the hobby and what his favourite games/miniatures are.
21:20 – Confessional – Time to own up to all those hobby purchases we have made recently.
57:55 – Our Hobby – We talk about our recent gaming, including Keyforge, 1066 Tears for Many Mothers and Kill Team. James tells us about his recent trip to Warhammer World whilst Hobbsy reveals all about his adventures at Grogmeet.
1:34:35 – Tales of a Twisted Pinnacle – James tells us his somewhat cautionary tale of his brief foray into the hobby as a retail seller. On a more positive note, he then shares with us his passion for repurposing toys as wargaming…
Much of my recent hobby activity has been around the modelling and painting of 28mm scale post apocalypse figures and vehicles. This was inspired by my involvement in the beta testing of 7TV Apocalypse which is now coming towards it’s conclusion on Kickstarter.
Currently over three times funded, but with plenty of good stuff still to be unlocked I’d heartily recommend backing this (if not so we can please unlock the Alien Invaders (‘Visitors’).
The campaign is running until 9pm (GMT) on Tuesday 6th November.
I’ve build up a fairly sizeable collection of 1/43 to 1/48 scale diecast toy cars to mod up. Using various bits and pieces including some very useful Tamiya plastic sand bags and some really old Gorkamorka sprues alongside the new range of resin bits from Crooked Dice.
The vehicles were sourced mainly from discount stores (Poundworld Plus, The Works etc.), but also from China via Ali-Express.
The first one on the production line is intended for my cast/warband of PA militia. The base toy here is a Teamsterz Mobile Police HQ truck (approx. 1/43 scale).
Relatively simple conversion, although I had to remove the ventilation fans and hatchway (now added to the bits box) from the roof before adding some resin stowage bits from Crooked Dice. The turrent and gunner are also from the new 7TV Apocalypse range by CD.