Monday, February 18, 2013

Combat Wombat Turned Metal Gun Barrels: the Kitbasher's FRIEND!

Combat Wombat Miniatures is the alter ego of Scott Wydako. Scott makes some very nice 15mm scale sci-fi resin vehicle models at a really good price, and combines this creative productivity with his first class customer service. Scott is also a veteran, so he knows firsthand what a real combat vehicle actually looks like up close and personal, and his designs reflect this, possessing a real grunt's eye view professional practicality that results in some really nice vehicles. Scott makes everything from low tech wheeled vehicles to mid tech hovercraft to some really nice high tech grav tanks and such, as well as some civilian hover buses that are a neglected but frankly superb addition to any 15mm sci-fi urban battlefield.

Alas, this humble scribe is generally rather allergic to most resins used in producing  specialty resin models, so I usually have to take a rain check on most resin models. I am however also the inveterate kitbasher, and the ferocious Combat Wombat has something even for the likes of me, a really nice line of turned brass or aluminum gun barrels ranging from small caliber autocannons up to intimidating main guns, all rendered for 15mm sci-fi vehicle kits, and all at a price that goes easy on the wallet! Upon discovery, I ordered up a bunch (which I'm still working my way through as of this writing!), and put them to immediate good use!

Here's some of the might Wombat o' War's barrels in action, from the smaller autocannons to some of the larger, main armament calibers for your consideration, dear readers:

Pictured here are Combat Wombat barrels SB5 (the smaller barrels poking out from the various blister windows) and SB7 (the larger, fixed guns on the front of the Kark Death Manta assault lander). The lander is a pool toy sold by World Market repurposed as an assault lander for my Khurasan Kark light infantry. The small scout vehicle is the Khurasan Polecat (which is a fantastic little model all in its own right!).

Here's more of the Combat Wombat barrels in action, converting some handy OOP toy Star Wars AT-TEs:

These are SB6, which Scott informed me are based on the classic 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun. I replaced the bulky soft plastic gun barrels that came with the toy with these far more robust turned brass barrels, and gave the two heavy walkers a new finish more in keeping with my current human forces. The figure for scale is a classic Lazerburn 15mm Redemptionist Rebel painted for a Mars-like environment. 

The fearsome Combat Wombat can be found in his lair surrounded by his diabolical, must-have wares here:

Great wares, great prices, stellar customer service, highly recommended whether you're building a world conquering sci-fi battle brigade or just need some really well done gun barrels for finishing your latest diabolical creation.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

And Even MORE 15mm Madness!

OK, so I'll tease you all no longer! Here's the rest of the shots of the grave tanks, the walkers, and the anti-grav panzerjagers:

OK. So it's big, has six legs, and is armed to the teeth! These are a pair of Dreenoi Cockroach walking tanks from the classic sci-fi game Starguard!, which is the granddaddy of ALL sci-fi miniature wargames, dating back to 1974 no less! I first played Starguard! in high school back in the mid 1970s, and was hooked on the game and the entire hobby of miniature wargaming as a direct result of all the fun my classmates and I had playing this classic sci-fi miniature wargame. I still have many of my figures dating back to my high school and early college days (which have all been repainted to a much higher standard since I first applied a paintbrush to a miniature, using of all things Testor's and Pactra enamel paints until one day someone ended my sufferings and introduced me to water based acrylic paints!). The Dreenoi Cockroach prototype was the result of using a key ring toy thrown away by a local toy store (I was quite the dumpster diver in my youth!), plus some legs I cobbled together with assorted plastic bits. 

I sent the prototype off to John McEwan, one of the creators of Starguard! and the man solely responsible for sculpting all of the amazing 1/72 scale figures -over 200 different poses at last reckoning!- and awaited the end results of John employing the lost wax method to convert the styrene plastic prototype into a bronze master, and from there, into a spun cast white metal model. Days, weeks, and nearly two months went by and John kept stalling me as to when the Cockroach would be in production. Finally, I received the first batch and lo, they were NOT the model I sent John! Quo vadis?!

As it turned out, as can often happen in the lost wax method, the prototype blew up the mould! KABOOM! No more prototype. 

John confessed at last that he felt so bad about the loss of the prototype, and liked the original so much, that he couldn't bring himself to admit what had happened until he'd finished back engineering the model from scratch! So the Cockroaches you see, dear readers, are not from the original prototype I so lovingly kitbashed, however they are the stylistic progeny of that kitbask in every sense, are excellent scale-neutral models even though they're meant to be 1/72 scale machines, and as you can see from the photos with the Old Glory/Blue Moon 15mm "Post Human Command" figures, they make perfectly menacing heavy walkers for 15mm sci-fi, as surely as they make perfectly menacing 28mm battle robots (or alternate dreadnought suits for you Warhamster 40K players)!

Now, about those grav tanks... this is what happens when yours truly stumbles across two packets of plastic candy serving trays in the local Tuesday Morning store's kitchen aisle:

So we have a platoon of grav tanks, a heavy flak grav tank, and a grav command/C-cubed vehicle, all from some cheap-as-mud plastic serving dishes found on the shelf in a discount store's kitchen aisle. The gun turrets on the grav tanks are simply a large, rectangular plastic rhinestone, while main gun is the male half of a barrel clasp glues into a plastic bead, which in turn was glued on to a self-adhesive plastic half round decorative rhinestone found at the local Michael's craft store in the scrapbooking aisle. 

All of the vision blocks, hatches, and such found on the grav tanks, flak tank, and C-cubed vehicle are also self-adhesive decorative rhinestones and metal shapes from the Michael's scrapbooking aisle. These go on sale periodically, and so it's worth checking on them on a regular basis as being in the right place at the right time can mean scoring a supply of these handy kitbashing items for a steal! My own supply ran me between $.99 and $.49 USD apiece, and no-one had really done much of a number on the stock before I happened to wander through the local Michael's store and make this discovery...

Now, about those anti-gravity panzerjagers...

 As you can see, dear readers, these are a pair of quite hefty anti-grav tank hunters/assault guns. They're made from a nifty plastic container for hairpins (of all things!) I came across when out shopping with my Significantly Better Half at the local Daiso store. That's right, Daiso, that marvelous Japanese answer to the American dollar store that just happens to sell all sorts of handy plastic items, from soup bowls for sci-fi buildings and pillboxes to felt mats suitable for skirmish games and taking pretty pictures of one's collection (yes, that's the source of the green mat used in this photo shoot!), and all at $1.50 unless marked otherwise!

So the basic hulls for these menacing panzerknackers of the far future set me back $1.50 each, while the main guns were a hard plastic golf tee wedded to a Lego bit for a gun muzzle, the rear exhaust vents are also Lego bits, and the raised details were a mix of Lego bits and plastic rhinestones. That's right, chilluns, the Lego Store is your FRIEND!

Oh, and I almost forgot! The Cockroaches are the basis for my latest project, a Tomorrow's War JSDF force of robots, drones, and synthetic soldiers! The Cockroaches are shown here with a set of little Robot Legion drones from Old Glory/Blue Moon:

And just to stir y'all up a bit more, here's what I found in the Dollar Store not too many months ago at $1 a whack, just the thing for my mid-tech infantry to ride around in:

1/100 scale Johnny Lightning M2 Bradley IFVs, at $1 a whack and there were twenty (20) of 'em on the rack! At my *wife's* insistence, I bought up all of them, as even The Boss decreed that I would be "...stupid not to get them all!" 

You just never know what you're going to find in the damnedest places...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Demi-Brigade on the Cheap!

OK, enough with the jabbering already! Here's the *after* shots of my diecast candy MBTs and APCs turned into spiffy low tech 15mm sci-fi hardware:

Believe it or not, I uploaded these MBT pix while listening to the theme from the movie Patton... the last shot is a closeup of the turned brass autocannon barrel produced by Combat Wombat. This is just one of a very handy line of sci-fi 15mm scale turned brass or aluminum gun barrels that can enhance all sorts of projects. Now, on to the APCs:

The troops in the shot for scale are Blue Moon/Old Glory figures, the "Post Human Command" if memory serves correctly. Now, here's a few teasers for the next installment of "IT'S THEM! BLAST 'EM!":

Next installment: Grav Tanks, and Panzerjagers, and Walkers, OH MY!