Sunday, March 30, 2014

High Mobility Scum and Villainy!

So, the latest project for 15mm sci fi for my pal Mark Ryan up in the wilds of New York, a high mobility paramilitary force meant to represent the muscle for a criminal cartel operating on a colony somewhere out in the Far and Away. The force was built from Hot Wheels and Matchbox die cast off road vehicles and dune buggies selected for a semi-futuristic appearance as a starting point. Then it was a matter of adding mesh from bags of lemons from Trader Joe's, bits of nylon screen door mesh, assorted weapons and few jaws from the parts boxes, and crewed up with a mix of Rebel Minis 15mm Post Apocalypse Survivors and Modern Insurgents, plus a couple of redundant Battlefront 15mm WW2 Italians who just happened to be on hand!

Sheet plastic from various sources cut up with a pair of utility sheers to make hillbilly armor, plastic rhinestones, and other bits and bobs, the usual suspects in my sci fi kitbashing madness, assorted stowage items from Khurasan Miniatures, heavy weapons a mix of Rebel Minis, repurposed 1/72 scale weapons from Reviresco, 28mm hand guns from Heresy Miniatures, and even some spare after market 1/48 scale aircraft machine guns (waste not, want not):

Now as you all can see, I wasted no time in applying a spray coat of flat black primer, as I freely confess that I was jazzed about this project. It appealed to my inner barbaric ancestry, plus a dash of nostalgia of watching The Road Warrior and Mad Max (along with a number of B-movie Post Apocalypse nonsense) as a youth. As these were specifically for Hammer's Slammers, I knew this assemblage of cartel scum and villainy would need to have some anti-tank capability, most likely different flavors of the Buzzbomb launchers described in the Slammerverse novels. 

I addition to some convenient 1/87 scale ATGMs left over from an old Roco UH-1 gunship model I cannibalized years ago, there was a tiny game token rocket, and while during construction I took the trash out to the dumpster at our complex and lo and behold there was an old computer hard drive from a bygone era someone had thrown out filled with wire connectors, so back I came with my wire cutters in hand to harvest all those soon-to-be ATGM launchers for my cartel scum-buggery! Parts is parts, I say!

So primer coat dry, the painting commenced:

Now of course this is a Union shop, so all work is supervised by a trained, exceptionally experienced and talented management professional:

Using the flat black primer base, I dry brushed everything on the vehicles in a dark Charcoal Gray. As this actually came out a bit lighter than I wanted, I went back over all the vehicles bodywork with a wash of flat black paint, just to get the desired effect, as I expect crime cartel thugs especially well equipped ones who are brazenly operating in the open to want to intimidate the hapless colonists they're preying upon, so I figured an overall black finish with the ubiquitous skull and crossbones motif would get the job done. The skull and crossbones decals are from a Chinese manufacturer I found on EBay, and so far they've proven to be high quality and very handy.

So, more paint gets on the vehicles and starts getting on the figures that will crew up these villainous conveyances:

Weathering consisted of a heavy coat of dust, so I dry brushed the vehicles with the usual coating of Americana Sandstone to give this wheeled mob an appropriate Road Warrioresque fast moving thuggery look, Jolly Roger insignias and all:

Three out of four of these buggies were armed with Rebel Minis guns from their very handy weapon cupola set in their 15mm sci fi vehicle range. This particular item is a kitbasher's  dream, as it instantly converts a shape into a tank turret or hull, a sci fi civvie vehicle into a combat vehicle in a single shot of Krazy Glue. As the set comes with a selection of weapons, the spares can go for other projects such as these. I had recently ordered four of these sets, so i wound up with four spare mini guns, four spare 7.62mm machine guns, and four .50 cal. Ma Deuce. A Ma Deuce and two of the Miniguns were used on these buggies, and you'll see some of the other spares on the technicals and the group's command van.

These two buggies show off some of the repurposed 28mm scale sci fi handguns, that in 15mm make perfectly intimidating auto grenade launchers or heavy caliber automatic weapons.

Closeup- of a buggy with the Rebel Minis Ma Deuce complete with ammo box and Rebel Minis Modern Insurgent figure painted up as a hooded cartel thug.

Some of the secondary weapons I fitted to the technicals and buggies were done simply by using cut lengths of brass wire glued into a piece of sheet plastic cut into the shape of hillbilly armor gun shields such as seen here. The mesh was cut from the plastic mesh bag that originally contained lemons from Trader Joe's. The plastic clips are saved for the same reason, as they are perfectly good pieces of sheet plastic useful for all sorts of tasks. 

The light machine gun bolted to the roof of the technical is also a Rebel Minis piece, while the heavy automatic grenade launcher in the bed of the technical is a converted weapon from Heavy Gear. The crew are a mix of Rebel Minis Modern Insurgents and Post Apocalypse Marauders.

This technical was armed up with a Reviresco Alin Ru SMG/Grenade Launcher combo, and a classic Ral Partha 25mm Battletech heavy machine gun now repurposed as a heavy auto cannon, the ammo box being from the Rebel Minis cupola set. Stowage is from Khurasan Miniatures, the crew a mix of the aforementioned Rebel Minis sets.

A heavy duty technical made from a particularly outlandish three axle vehicle. The heavy tribarrel in the bed is from Reviresco, the crew a mix of Rebel Minis and Battlefront.

A heavy buggy complete with hillbilly armor, a triple Buzzbomb launcher system, and cartel muscle a mix of Rebel Minis Apocalypse Survivors and Modern Insurgents. The heavy coil gun mounted in the front passenger station is an old Archive Miniatures laser rifle from the Star Rovers line of the 1970s.

The big three axle technical in a side view showing off the heft 5 cm. heavy tribarrel power gun. The extra coolant tanks for the power gun seen in the rear of the cargo bed are barrel claps with the wire end loops cut off. 

Another technical crewed by Battlefront and Rebel figures, and armed with a pair of the Rebel Minis machine guns, the heavy Ma Deuce pointing out of the rear and the lighter 7.62mm LMG bolted on the roof firing forward. The tarp on the rear is part of the Khurasan Miniatures 15mm sci fi vehicle stowage set, a very useful product indeed, as just a few bits of stowage can really put the finishing touches on a kitbashed vehicle.

The command cadre for this cartel force includes two semi armored paramilitary vehicles from matchbox. This particular one has added hillbilly armor on the roof and bed, is crewed with Rebel Minis Modern Insurgents and Post Apocalypse Survivors, and has for a main gun a converted 28mm Wargames Factory Shock Trooper rifle, now repurposed as a 15mm heavy coil gun to give the cartel boss's personal bodyguards some light anti-armor capability in addition to all true Buzzbombs they're packing.

A funky Hot Wheels tow truck converted into a heavy mortar carrier. The mortar is in fact an old 1970s vintage hard plastic 1/72 scale WW2 British Army 3-inch mortar, the crew a mix of Rebel Minis and Battlefront, and odds and sods stowage from Khurasan Miniatures. The rooftop machine gun is also from Rebel Minis, from that handy cupola and weapon set I mentioned.

Part of the cartel boss's schtick is the judicious use of mass media to communicate with and intimidate in equal measure with the colonists he and his gangsters are preying  upon, so one of his light armored vans is a fully equipped media communications vehicle complete with satellite uplink capability. 

The arrays are a mix of plastic rhinestones, brass wire, the two halves of a barrel clasp, and a pair of Heresy sci fi pistols with the grips cut off to make the twin sound pick up sensors.

Finally, the cartel boss's personal protected van, complete with Rebel Minis mini gun and satellite uplink dish. The cupola gunner is also from Rebel Minis. 

So to sum up, the assorted stowage items are from Khurasan Miniatures, while the heavy weapons are in large epart a mix of Rebel Minis, repurposed 1/72 scale weapons from Reviresco, 28mm hand guns from Heresy Miniatures, and even some spare after market 1/48 scale aircraft machine guns (waste not, want not). Plastic rhinestones, bits and bobs, some paint, and Bob's yer uncle, Charlie's yer enforcer. 

Oh, and if you're wondering where the actual Rebel Minis command cupolas went, that's for next time, so stay tuned to your TBD receivers for the next transmission from this sector, Space Possums!


  1. Briliant, Leland! ;)
    My son had better start counting his cars twice! ;)

    1. LOL!!! Yes, offspring can be a great source of parts in inverse proportion to their attention spans… >;)

  2. Very cool, my favourite is the 6 wheeler, great work on these.

    1. Thanks! The 6 wheeler is a favorite of mine from the project, so much so I'm getting my eyes peeled for a couple for my own twisted purposes. The large wraparound windshield begs to be reworked as an armored shield with vision blocks… ;)

  3. what was the original car for the 6 wheeler? Matchbox?

    1. IIRC it's Matchbox. I picked it up at a toy resale shop down in Santa Clara. I'll be checking them later this week or early next, as I am on the hunt for at least two of these contraptions for my own collection...

  4. The six-wheeler is an Hot Wheels XS-IVE. Thanks for coming by the shop today, but we are in Cupertino.