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Big Robots and Little Men

I really wanted some big fantastical robots for my VSF project. They will really fill the role of tanks for the Prussians, but finding something appropriate in 6mm is NOT easy. I have toyed with making my own for some time, but I’m not really good at that. So, after about a year of looking, I think I found my robot.

I saw the Maximilian model on the Tobsen77 site and really thought it looked perfect for my vision of VSF. I didn’t know how big it really was but I thought I’d just order one and see, as I was ordering the tanks anyway. When it arrived, it looked like this. It came in a bag full of pieces, I went to the Tobsen77 website to see how it fit together. I took a little bit of looking, but I figured it out.

I was really intimidated by having to cut off the tags on each piece. I had never worked with resin before, but after starting, it was quite easy. I bought a small hand saw after email Tobsen77 about how to remove it, and I have a small round file around for flash anyway. Between the two I was able to cut off the tabs and smooth it out very easily. Here is the before and after.

I started gluing it together and I liked it more and more as it took shape. I must be getting a little carried away with the rare earth magnates, as I drilled holes and added two so the top of the robot swivels. All in all, it took a little time and effort to construct the final Maximillian, but I like the end result. I may add another at some future order from Tobsen77, there will definitely be more orders.

Here are the final pics before he goes to painting, and some perspective pics of the model next to a stand of infantry. I have already had one mishap with the figure. The arm joints are very small and dainty, I was worried about them once I had glued them. If there is a weak point on the model it’s the elbows. I went to put it on the paint shelf and dropped Max on a concrete floor, breaking the gun elbow. I drilled a hole in the gun and the arm and with a small bent copper pipe, replaced it. It’s not quite as snazzy, but it’s not in an obvious place. I’ll show it in the next set of pictures.


I had to add a little note that it might be a while before the finished product is seen on this one. I don’t normally drop things I’m working on and when I do it’s no big deal. I usually pick them up and maybe bend it back into place a little. I seem to have dropped this model twice and both times suffered huge damage. The first time I broke one arm, that I replaced with a bit of copper tube. The second time I broke both arms and lost one of them, never to be found. That really sucks. I have to figure something out for that arm and until I do, I can’t finish it. Here’s what he looks like now. It’s a great model, but perhaps a little to delicate for gaming?

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…or Steam Powered Mechanical Troops

I’ve been wanting to do these guys for a long, long time. I bought them many months ago, but struggled over how to paint them for a long time. Almost as much as I struggled over what to name them. I started a thread on TMP to get some ideas, and got some great results. I decided to combine one of the ideas with a little of mine and came up with Dampf-angetriebene mechanische Truppen= DampfmechTruppen. It’s German for Steam Powered Mechanical Troops, but with some WW2ish naming conventions.

I started with some Prussians from the Baccus Franco Prussian War range. I primed them black and just gave them all a heavy dry brush with Vallejo Brass. Then just painted the rifle as normal. I think it turned out pretty good. Let me know what you think.

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6mm Steam Tanks

I have had these little guys sitting around for a while now as I’m not big on conversions. I finally finished my SYW project and have had enough of re-basing, and am waiting to get my game table put up due to a mess in the way. I don’t think I could avoid it any longer. It’s time to see what happens with one of my first conversions.

Steam Tank
I bought these little Tankettes from Tobsenn77, I had been wanting to buy something for a while from them. I still have my eye on the Bismatron! The site is beautiful, if not a little hard to order from. Take the time, it’s worth it!! The models are great and really well done. I think the tankettes are supposed tiny remote control tanks for 28mm as that is what most of the models seem to be on the site, but they work great as regular 6mm tanks as well. While very basic and with plenty of rivets, they still need a little help to enter the VSF world. I thought I would pop a few steam stacks on them and they’d be good to go.

Truely Amazing Magnates
I needed to purchase a few things first. When I received the tankettes, one of them had the turret and body equipped with rare earth magnets, so the turret would turn. I liked this idea and finally ordered some from Amazing Magnates. I found some 3.18mm across and just over 1mm wide. Fantastic little things. I used a 1/8th inch drill bit to carve a bit out of the two sides and super-glued the magnates in. Make sure you know which side is positive and negative before you apply the superglue! I’ll make sure I get it right every time from now on, it’s not a big deal if you have more than one tank your working with.

Brass Pipe
Next up is the steam stack. I went to the local toy and hobby store (mostly toy, VERY LITTLE hobby) and found some brass pipes next to the model railroad stuff. Amazingly enough the stuff I bought was 3.18mm wide, so I could use the same drill bit to put two holes in the hull of the tanks. Getting them to chop up nicely is something I’m still working on. I’m not happy with the smoothness of the cuts, but it will have to do. If anyone has any ideas on how to get nice smooth cuts, I’d love to know. One tall stack and one short stack, and I’m finished.

I think it turned out rather well, now if I can only decide how to paint them, I’ll be happy. I have three more that I will start when these are finished.

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Prussian Steam Robots?

I have been wanting to try these guys since I first saw something similar on Rot and Drivel. It has just taken me a while as I wanted to finish my SYW armies before experimenting. The time has come for experimenting.

These are a little off from my usual track as they have no basis in history. They are test models for my steam robots for my Victorian Science Fiction units. I have seen them under various names such as Klankentruppen, and Clockwork Troops (but I like Uhrwerk-Truppen better). But I’m still looking for a great name for them.

The guy front left has been dry brushed copper and the other three were just painted copper. I think I will go with the dry brushing for the future models. I thought it would be too dark, but it s ok and allows for more detail to show through.

The Toofatlardies rules allow for hits on a unit to be either shock or casualties. I figure, this unit will not take shock and therefor disregard all hits that cause shock, making them much more resilient. I figure to balance this out I can do a few things.

  • Small units(10-12 is a typical unit size, so more like 6 for these guys)
  • Make the player declare what the unit is going to do a turn before, making them inflexible and keeping in character
  • Allow them to only fire at extremely short range and make them hand-to-hand monsters

Let me know which you think is a good option or a brand new idea if you like!

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Natal Mounted Police in 6mm

Natal Mounted Police or Martian Mounted Police

I have wanted to paint this unit for some time, and after finding the Through the Mud and the Blood rules by Toofatlardies, I felt I finally found a rule set that would justify painting them. They will do double duty in Africa and on Mars.

These lads are my first mounted troops for a skirmish game and I wondered how to base them. I started looking into unit sizes, it appears that Brit cavalry in the First Boer War mainly operated in “Troops”, but I couldn’t find a break down of the Regiments to see how big a troop is. But in the Zulu war, only 1-2 years earlier, a troop was 120 men. This wasn’t a big help, but I figured that about four of my groups would equal a troop.

I’m using 30mm round bases for the infantry with 4 guys on a base. I thought about two different options for the mounted troops first:

  1. 4 troopers on a 40mm base
  2. 2 troopers on a 30mm base, like the command/big man bases I use

After looking at them both, I decided on a third option, 3 troopers on a 30mm base. This gives them more “mass” than the sparser basing. I’m not sure how many bases to use to represent them when they are dismounted, but I’ve got time to think about it. I can’t wait to paint the dismounted troops though, as you can’t really beat black and white uniforms can you?

Speaking of black uniforms, I used Vallejo German Grey for the uniforms so they weren’t pitch black. You are usually recommended by those in the know to use a lighter shade for small figures, and they certainly look black but you can still see a bit of detail up close.

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Boer Wars/VSF Through the Mud and the Blood Test Models

I have been trying to find a good set of rules for the Boer Wars for years. I looked for so long that I finally gave up. For about the past year I have been interested in finding a passable skirmish game that I might like. See, I have been painting so many strips of row upon row of bayoneted troops for about three years straight. I really like painting them, but now I’m really interested in a change once in a while. So I bought Sharp Practice from Toofatlardies and loved it. Then I bought Through the Mud and the Blood, and about ten pages in, I thought “This would be brilliant for the Boer Wars/VSF in 6mm!” Before you can get anyone’s interest in a conversation about how to tweak the rules, you have to have something to show for it. Here it is, my first unit for my newest project.

This is 1/2 a company, 50 men or 1 unit in Through the Mud and the Blood. It is scarlet coated British troops in the green trim of the 24th.

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Stick with the Red Coats

As I near completion of my Saratoga Campaign project, I have been getting itchy feet for a new period.  I will not abandon AWI, but would like to expand my painting to cover two periods at once.  I don’t really fancy going back to 7YW yet as it still fills the same niche for me that AWI does, but I like AWI more.

My first choice was Colonial British wars in South Africa.  I love the uniforms and the period is dripping with atmosphere and great movies to watch for inspiration.  A quick trip to Amazon for Zulu and Zulu Dawn and some Ospreys later, I was definantaly ready.  Even better was the fact that Baccus was expanding it’s colonial british range at a fantastic pace, the stage could not be more set.

First roadblock: No interesting battles.  The more I read the more I realized British colonial battles are pretty much one sided affairs with the Brits decimating the natives.  So the redcoats stand there and volley at the charging savages until one side breaks.  With the occasional decimation of the Brits to almost break the monotony.   I like a bit of maneuver in my games.

Second roadblock: No rules that I like.  The more I looked at different rules, the more I decided there were no interesting battles.  The rules I did find were simple enough though.  I think this period is more suited to skirmish gaming, but that is a purely personal opinion.

So as I drifted from the Zulu wars, glazed over the Sudan campaign, I read more about the Boer Wars.  This was a fascinating conflict.  Two huge forces duking it out in the wilderness.  Problem is, how do you game Boers?  They were rarely seen by the brits (sometimes for entire battles) and there were a number of night actions and ambushes.  This war seemed to hard to game with any level of real flavor for the period and still be fun.  Worst of all, the British uniform switched from the brilliant red to boring old khacki for almost every unit.  Not much fun to paint.

Well, I realized this sometime between ordering the Baccus figs and their arrival from Blighty.  When they came, I had to paint a few, right, just to see how they looked.  When units arrived in SA, they had nice shiney white helmets that they quickly stained with tea so as not to stand out very much.  I didnt’ really like this look, so I did some test models both ways, white helmets and tea stained helmets.

I also painted my very first 6mm beard and mustache with this group.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and the figures are that good that you can see them.

I was quite impressed with them, too bad I won’t be painting more.  Here are the test models in all their glory.

I had my first mishap with an order from Baccus with these troops.  It seems about half of the bayonets were broken off during shipping.  I emailed Pete and he resonded with his usually high standard of customer service.

There was a game called Martian Emprires that I would consider with these troops, but I couldn’t find a suitable martian race in 6mm to even give it a try.  I’m not sure that I’m ready for VSF but if anything would get me into it these figures would.