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...


  1. I like those tanks, Leland. The stalk tanks are really good to, but I have an urge to stomp shoot em! ;)
    The main guns look sweet on them. Like NRA cockroaches! ;)

  2. Darth,

    I first described this new Dreenoi walker to John McEwan as being "...just like a New York cockroach; it's big, fast, and hard to kill!" John proceeded to work out this infernal machine's hardware and movement stats in Starguard! such that it's equally fast in forward, reverse, and even *sideways.*

    That main gun is a Conversion Beam; you do remember that entertaining concept from classic sci-fi of "Total Matter to Energy Conversion?" Of course, the Conversion Beam in Starguard! is somewhat prone to experiencing capacitor explosions every now and again (not that that troubles the Dreenoi hive mind overmuch)... >;)

    The weapon loadout on the Cockroach includes in addition to the C-Beamer a pair of 20mm Heavy Cone Machine Guns, a Vortex plasma cannon mounted under the main gun, and a pair Slaver Disintegrators mounted on either side of the main gun. While extremely short-ranged, the purpose of the Disintegrators is 100% Dreenoi; the Cockroach can cut it's own tunnels, so it can operate independently of the Dreenoi infantry mobs. The Cockroach can also act to support groups of Dreenoi warriors or worker drones by cutting tunnels for them, or cutting at a faster rate if Dreenoi Cybercoms (brain bugs) or "engineers" are also present with Slaver Disintegrators.

    Ain't retro sci-fi grand?! >;)

    1. I like them even more now! In my house rules of 40k, the plasma cannon tanks are prone to overheating and exploding! ;) I'm sure it's related to my enjoyment of the old Paranoia RPG, you couldn't have a proper adventure without visiting Weapons RnD first.
      Plus, I find in a wargame, Mr Murphy and random shennanigans wrecking best laid plans, aids seat-of-your-pants adjustments to battle plans. Or rather"Damn, plan A is no good...try planB...crap!...Wing it, Lads!" ;)

    2. Spoken like a true tactician, Oh Terrible and Mighty Lord of the Sith! I know the demon Murphy far too well, as he usually turns up when I need to roll a 3 out of 6, and true to form, Murphy always makes sure I roll a 2 every time... >;)

  3. Leland, have you ever considered teaming up with the mighty Combat Wombat to get some of your stuff done up as resin kits?

    I know I'd pay money for those hover tanks.


    1. I'm too busy right now to thinbk too hard in that general direction just yet, but I'll see what the Wombat Himself thinks... ya never know... >;)

  4. Damn it - Sometimes I wish I lived in the United States you guys always seem to get everything, in such large amounts a hell of a lot cheaper!!

    20 x 1/100 Bradley's for $20 - Just.....Words....Fail....

    1. Where do ya live? If you're in the UK, there's Poundland which I understand is a similar sort of retail chain as our American Dollar stores... otherwise, there's always looking for yard sales/car boot sales, thrift stores, etc.

      You can always kitbash things too, even enlist your neighbors to save you plastic items like toothpaste caps (which make fantastic engine exhausts among other things), plastic packaging, etc...

      As for those Bradleys, I simply was in teh right place at the right time. I got lucky and that is all. Wish to Hell I was so lucky with the dratted lottery... >;p

      Thanks for commenting and having a look! I've a new blog entry coming soon with yet more kitbashing madness for your enjoyment and (hopefully!) inspiration to tackle your own original acts of *recycling with an attitude!* >;)