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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pulpy Retro-SciFi Projects - Hawkmen

Hands down, the coolest part of just about any incarnation of Flash Gordon has been the Hawkmen, well except for those stupid bird calling trechcoat wearing guys from that stupid SyFy production of Flash Gordon.  Anyways, I really wanted to make some classic hawkmen for my Retro-SciFi collection.

I ended up starting with DC Heroclix Hawkman and Hawk Girl. There were a number of variations of the same characters, all of whom had the same costume and could be easily obtained at a vary reasonable price.  This was ideal for creating an army of Hawkmen and of course Hawkwomen.  Furthermore being soft plastic they were easy to convert and fortunately all of the examples available were good sculpts too.

I had to re-arm them by cutting their arms off at the shoulder, elbows and wrists and re-working the pose to to accept a rifle.  I found ample retro-looking rifles in a plastic set of Mongoose's Gangs of Mega-City One Gangers.  The swords were pewter parts from my bitz bin, I think they were from Reaper or Iron Wind Metals. 

Cutting the heads off and repositioning them also helped add to vary the poses.  I had them all mounted on standard 30mm lipped bases, but made it appear that they were just taking off from the ground. 

For my leader, I clearly needed someone inspired by Prince Vultan.  Using one of the Hawkmen bodies, who was clearly much more ripped and not as rotund as any of the previous depictions of Vultan.  I called him Prince Ta'Lonn, as not not confuse the body build.  I replaced the Hawkman head with a bearded head from a plastic Mordheim sprue.  I removed the wings from the severed Hawkman helmet and applied them to the Mordheim head to keep with the winged helm theme and create more of a crown for him.

Then I replaced the mace with a raygun from Reaper's Futuristic Weapons sprue and keeping with spirit of the Brian Blessed depiction of Vultan, I used a warhammer and guantlet from Mordheim weapons sprue.  Great for thunking on the helmets of Imperial soldiers.  I made a princess figure using another winged DC Heroclix figure as well.  The only modification I made with that figure was to add a small raygun to her hand. 

Painting the figures, I followed the colors of the 1979 movie, also taking in some ideas from the 1978 animated series.  Starting with the flesh I used Reaper's Tanned flesh tones and icluded painting the legs, which the DC Heroclix figures wore rather tight pants.  Then the armor was done in dark leather and some brass detailing.  The wings were done with dark brown with grey highlights.

Pulpy Retro-SciFi Projects - Rocket Ships

I've always been a fan of the good ol'fashioned pulpy retro-scifi.  You, know Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, that sort of thing.

Anyways, I really fell in love with the models from Hydra Miniatures.  Both their Retro Raygun and War Rocket lines of models are simply fantastic.  I've also been dabbling around in some rule sets, Fantastic Worlds by Rattrap Productions and Slipstream from Pinnacle Products.

Taking a suggestion from someone on The Miniatures Page, one night after gaming I stopped at a local Denny's to have a late night dinner and to sample out one of their D-Fusion Rocket Cups.  So when my dinner arrived with my D-Fusion Drink I was so excited I went back out to my car, grabbed some 28mm minis some paper an and a pencil.  While eating dinner, I ended up sketching out some ideas on how to turn one of these marvelous cups into a rocket ship, and yes I was getting some strange looks from some of the other diners around me.  I ended up asking the waitress if I could purchase more of the cups.  She saw my sketches and sort of looked at me strange but then she went back and checked and got the OK.  I beleive I bought then at about $4 each.

With my recently painted Galacteers in mind, I sort of envisoned these rockets as a Retro-SciFi UH-1 Huey Helicopter, dopping in low on a planets surface with big doors opening up to drop troops off as it skims the alien terrain.  It could also be an old workhorse, where surplus have been sold off from the military and are now in civilian use where the hulls have seen lots of modifications.  Next I started amassing my other materials for the work.  As this cup is made from non-polystyrene plastic, I couldn't use simple model glue to hold it all together.  So I had to use cyano acrylate glue (CA).  For the cockpit, I ended up using a plastic spoon.  A really nice domed shape cockpit was formed from using a spoon I obtained from the Q'doba restaurant near my office.  Cutting the handle off and filling in the gaps with epoxy putty.  The epoxy puttysticks well and required some filling and sanding to get the smooth surface howevever.  I framed in the cockpit with some thin strips of plastic from Plastruct.  The framing also helped hide the seam between the plastic spoon and the epoxy putty.  Simply cutting the length I needed, applying some CA glue and wrapping it along the surface and trimming the ends as necessary.  The hole where the coiled straw went in looked ideal for a weapons mount just under the cockpit.  I obtained a good retro looking ray gun from my bitz bin.  Some weapons from the Russian toy company Tehnlog's Robogear line worked great.

For the rocket motor, I used sections of Plastruct tube stock.  Simply cutting them to length using a miter saw and packing them into the center section.  Sort of giving the impression of a old retro styled rocket motor.  Sort of inspired by Buck Rogers, The Planet Express and the animated series version of Dr. Zarkov's rocketship.

The landing gear were a bit more tricky.  They were built using brass rod and lots of CA glue with accelerant into the deep cavities of the fin sections.  I envisioned this thing being able to launch and land vertically and horizontially.  The landing pads were made from plugs found at a hardware store used to hide screw heads on furniture.  They were glued to a bead to represent a ball socket where the rods and the pad meet together.

I sort of envisioned that the horizontal landing mode would have the pads opposite to the cockpit to rotate 90 degrees and a gear to drop out from the nose cone under the cockpit.  Glued a photo-etched panel to represent the landing gear door under the nose.  Other panels were made by gluing on some paper price tags I got at a craft store.  The cargo doors were simply implied by bordering them out with strip stock and other parts from my bitz bin.

I coated these rockets using Testors Metalizer Flat Aluminum.  I sort of wanted a 50s-60s era jet airplane look about them.  So I dug up a bunch of old decals from model kits of planes from that era.  Also found some stuff like numbers and stripes from some NASCAR model kits useful too.

Unfortunately I don't have these finished yet because after a few play testing sessions of my Retro-SciFi variant of the No Limits! rules, my wife dropped some jumper cables on the box that stored these rockets and they have been damaged.  I'm still trying to repair them.

So these are the only pictures I have done of the semi-completed rockets.  I'll post more when I get these repaired.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weird War II - European Theater

These are some earlier conversion work I had made.

After the AE-WWII Occult Expansion book came out, it introduced some new occult related factions and some whole new creepy units.  Some of these units are required, called 'un-locking' units, that you need in order to field some other more powerful weird units in your detachment.  Two of these units necessary to field the weird occult units of the Waffen SS are the Schutzkommando SS, the Krieghexen, and the Vril Engineer.  Unfortunately, there are no official Darkson Designs models to represent these, so this posed an opportunity to get creative.

The Schutzkommando is sort of an evil tomb raider who collects all sorts of magic artifacts from around the world.  He's sort of a customizable unit that you can gear-up for each game.  He's also the main unlocking unit to all the weird stuff in a Waffen SS detachment.  You need this guy in order to field the Vril Engineer or Kreighexen, when those will unlock things like Hell Hounds, Vampires, Werewolves, Dragr, etc.

[image] Taking advantage of Victory Force 40% off sale I snagged up some nice looking SS figures to build a nice Occult detachment and an excellent figure to make a Schutzkommando SS.Based on the Darkson Designs concept art and the model description, he's an officer armed with an MP40 submachine gun and has a choice of multiple magic items. I found this figure in the Victory Force catalog. Like many of the VFM figures this comes with optional hands, so I ordered an MP40 in the left hand and a hand grenade in the right (figuring I can snip off the grenade and put a staff or rod in his hand). The parts arrived within 4 days and I mounted him on a  ruined temple base from Micro Arts Studios .  The tech/runic stone look of the bases sort of fit in with theme I wanted for my SS Occultists.

[image] For the occult bitz I looked to my bitz bin and found a pole to a GW Dwarven Standard to use as my magic staff. The dwarven runes on it are perfect for some germanic runes. To top it off I snipped off the headpiece of a Space Marine Sergeant's "Hit me, I'm a Squad Leader with a Flag on my back to make sure you know it!" backpack standard. For some added flair I added a plastic cape from a GW Chaos Warrior. Nothing says gothic fascism like a GW product.

Of course I still need to clean up that nasty mold line down the pole before I prime this guy. Also I'm still on the fence about the size of dwarven hand. His left had seems quite big as well and I might be able to get by with painting it to look like a glove.  One suggestion I received was to make it sort of a Hell-Boy type of glove which I might go with.

The Krieghexen, War Witch, is the SS spell caster.  It's also an unlocking unit that allows you to field things like Werewolves, Vampires and Dragrs.

[image] For my SS Krieghexen I took a different path from the Darkson Designs concept art.  Sort of going more pulpy I made a female Krieghexen from a RAFM goth chick cultist called Jil l Lucas, Cult Leader.

The hat is from a 1/48 Tamiya plastic German Officer. I had to carefully cut the head out from under it. Then clip off the top of her hair and after gluing the hat on, patch up the hair around it with green stuff.  I wanted it to sort of sit casually on top and most of all I wanted those horns just popping through.

I then added the Luger holster and dagger also from the same Tamiya German Soldiers set. She had some sort of coffin shaped backpack on. So I clipped it off and made a more military looking one from some pouches from the same Tamiya set.

I painted her outfit using some experimental techniques in painting sheer cloth. Ironically I just finished her just before leaving for Gen Con, where I had a class on the same subject. Nice thing was some most of those techniques were the same ones I had been experimenting on myself. 

The KISS Army boots probably don't look very 1940s, but are probably more practical than stilleto heels when you're stomping around old pagan temple sites and more stylish than standard army boots.

The eyes were done normally with a black outline then a white center, but rather than finishing the eyes with an iris and pupil, I used some thin flourescent orange to give it the glowing effect. Her tattoos were added with a 0.05mm felt pen. She's also mounted on a Micro Arts Studios Temple Ruins base, which I sort of wanted a theme going on. I've been experimenting with doing a marble effect using layers of glazes.

The Vril Engineer is another unlocking unit.  He works with some mystical metal called Vril to enhance weapons and gear in his detachment.  Based on the Darkson Designs concept art, he's got all sorts of cybernetic enhancements, germanic runes, and tools on hand.

I started with the Darkson Designs Mad Doktor torso, and removed the bone saw from the back. I figured the smock he's wearing could just as easily be a grease stained technician's smock rather than a bloody mad scientist's smock. Since he's armed with a StG-44, I used the arm from one of the Trenchcoated Wehrmacht soldiers.  I used the right arm of the Mad Docktor with the syringe, figuring it to be sort of a tool like a screw driver and positioned it to look like he's making some Vril modifications on his rifle.
[image] I used an Abgerzsoldat head, and trimmed the top and back off to allow a plastic helmet from a 1/48th scale Tamiya figure set on top. Also added was a headset, for some added techy look to him. I then added a pistol holster, pouches, and a tool bag from a Tamiya German Field Maintenance figure set. I then even found a tool box from that field maintenance set and added that to the base. The backpack is a GW Commo pack with the antenna removed.

[image] I painted him using SS Autumn Oakleaf camouflage pattern to match the rest of my SS detachment.  Doing some Google-Fu, I found some Vril runes to paint on his helmet.  Keeping with the looks of the concept art, I made some glowing eyes in the goggles using flourescent Orange and Yellow paint. 


I was able to get these models done enough to use just in time for Gen Con.  Here you can see my Vril Engineer in action, preparing to upgrade an MG-42 Team and my semi-finished Schutzkommando making a successful tank assault on an American T-4 Tumbleweed Tank (just before the Buffalo Powered Armor Suit zaps him with his Telsa Gun).
I added some germanic runes to his helmet similar to the SS Conscript pic in the Occult Expansion rulebook. Then I added some flourescent orange paint to the goggles to give him sort of an eerie magical glow.