Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Red Blok

There are a lot of games that I don't play, but do buy the miniatures from. AT-43 is one of these games. I became aware of the AT-43 miniatures because of Paolo Parente's involvement in some of the initial design work for Rackham. The similarities in designs are particularly obvious for the Red Blok faction, and the Soviets of the Dust Universe. The armored soldiers of the Red Blok use the Kolossus powered armor. I thought that these would work very well in 1/72 as larger powered armor suits. There are four major types of the Kolossus, three of which are shown below.

Dragomirov Kolossus (RKATR21) with Gauss gun and RPG launcher

I don't particularly like the RPG launcher with the rocket peeking out from the barrel of the launcher. I'll probably drill out the end of the barrel so that the launch tube resembles that of a nebelwerfer. Also, why have such a limited use weapon on this type of machine at all? The RPG Kolossus (with a pair of RPG launchers) is especially questionable, since it would be almost useless after it expended its four rounds.

For some reason, the Dragomirov Kolossus units were very poorly assembled. I had models with arm joints that couldn't move, front plates that flopped around, and even one with a missing arm.

Spetsnatz Kolossus (RKATR17) with dual flamethrowers

Strielitz Kolossus (RKATR18) with machinegun and flamethrower

I felt the red-brown color used on these units was atypical of Russian war machines, and more like German red oxide primer. There's a snarky part of me which suspects that the color was used so that there would be no confusion that they indeed were part of the Red Blok. Also, why are they marked "KOLOSSUS" and not "КОЛОСС?" Why label your armor this way at all? Were T-34s marked "T-34" on the side of their turrets?

Anyway, here is my rendition of the Колосс with some partially finished modern Soviet NBC figures from Elhiem. I plan on using the non-com version of the Kolossus as the basis for all Gauss gun armed units.

I took off the flamethrower from a Strielitz Kolossus, and replaced it with a Gauss gun. I painted the Kolossus green, and then went over it with a black wash. I used a white wash on the original decals to give them a slightly bleached look. Russian turret numbers from Archer were then applied to the sides of the hull.

The size of the Kolossus also matches quite nicely with the Pro-Hobby Koubu from my previous entry. I can picture a WWWII scenario for the August Storm campaign involving Soviet powered armor against Japanese powered armor.

Koubu in... um... Desert Pink and Kolossus in Russian Green

I just wish that they would sell these as unassembled kits and save me the trouble of having to take them apart...

Some of the pieces will make a good start as the basis for a KV-47 scratch build project, or this really cool conversion by Haibane.

I think this will be my last post for the year. I don't know how other wargame bloggers manage to get so many entries written. I was aiming to make a post every two weeks, but struggled at times to write even one a month. However, I guess if you average my entries I did in fact exceed my goals.

Happy Holidays to All!

– EY

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sakura Taisen

The Sakura Wars RPG debuted back in 1996, and has spawned anime, manga, novels, models, figures, toys, a dedicated gift store, a café, musicals, and a movie.

The game is half tactical RPG and half dating sim, with a storyline set in a steampunk version of Taishō era Japan involving the conflict between the bishoujo of the Imperial Assault Force in their Koubu (Spirit Armor), and the power armored demons of the Black Sanctum Council.

Pro-Hobby (Icom) released a set of diecast 1/60 scale Koubu of the Imperial Assault Force in 2004. It was a rather strange move, since the Sakura Wars franchise didn't have a place in Pro-Hobby's extensive line of 1/144 military and N-scale train products. Four Koubu were produced (starting with product code 003, so at least two others were probably in the works) but the complete set was never finished. I'm guessing that at ¥3,500 each, they were too pricy for most collectors. I picked up Sakura's Koubu when they first came out, and only recently purchased two additional Koubu at a much lower price.

Despite their scale and the dimensions given in Sakura Wars Steam Military Factory, I think these 1/60 Koubu look pretty good with 1/72 figures. In my opinion, the look next to 1/72 figures is fairly consistent with the appearance of the Koubu in the manga and anime.

From left to right are Sakura's Koubu (PROPT-003), Iris's Koubu (PROPT-004), and Kanna's Koubu (PROPT-006). There is an additional black Koubu for Maria (PROPT-005). The Koubu are brightly colored, and resemble members of a super sentai team more than military vehicles. However, given that they fight demons from the netherworld there's not much to say about the appropriateness of the colors, though Sakura's pink Koubu and Iris's Koubu with a bow tied in the rear are particularly cute.

If I ever get any more of these models, I'll paint them olive green as shown at the 統合軍造兵 Arsenal.

As a side note, after almost a decade and a half, the first translated version of a Sakura Wars game - Sakura Wars V ~ So Long, My Love - will make its appearance in North America. I think the game was initially announced by NIS for late 2009, but it has now moved to early 2010. Versions will be made for PS2 and Wii platforms.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Eureka's warrior frogs and turtles were inspired by the ukiyo-e of Kawanabe Kyōsai. Kyōsai in turn was influenced by his master, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, who depicted his human subjects as animals to get around censorship laws, as in the case of the actors shown below.

I thought Eureka's terrapin warriors would match well with the ERM frogs mentioned in my previous post. The first five terrapins are Terrapin, with spear (100FRG17). I modified one of these terrapins by cutting away its spear and gluing some pins in its hands to represent drumsticks. The arms and head were bent so that it could be paired with the terrapin carrying the drum from the Turtle/Terrapin Drummer Team (100FRG18). The final terrapin holding the forked stick is from the Turtle/Terrapin sniper team (100FRG16). The terrapins are supplied with separate shells at random, so you may get the larger turtle shells for your terrapins. I placed one of the turtle shells on the terrapin with a forked stick. It didn't look too bad from the front, but from the rear it just looked wrong. Happily, Nic at Eureka was kind enough to send me a replacement terrapin shell.

The next miniatures were also inspired by Japanese culture, but rather than ukiyo-e, they were influenced by 80's ninja films and superhero comics.

They are of course, the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles. Shown below are Donatello and Michaelangleo. I think that Leonardo and Raphael may have suffered a horrible fate involving a hammer and lighter, but my memory is a bit hazy about it.

These miniatures were made in 1986 by Dark Horse Studios, and sold through adds in the back of the TMNT comics.

The Eureka and Dark Horse turtles compare well to each other in size.

Finally, for normal turles, there is the turtle from Reaper's Familiar Pack V (2848), and a pair of Galápagos giant tortoises from an old Noah's Ark playset made by Marx Toys.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bein' Green

The following miniatures are a small group of frogs and toads I have assembled for gaming purposes.

The first two pictures are of frog folk from East Riding Miniatures. The first three figures below, are from the Frogfolk Command (FT65), followed by the two poses from Frogfolk with Swords (FT69), one pose from Frogfolk with Spears (FT68), and two poses from Frogfolk Ambushers (FT70).

The next picture shows one pose from Frogfolk with Blowpipes (FT67), and the two poses of Frogfolk Archers (FT66).

I really like this range of frogs from ERM. They are currently the only 15mm fantasy frog people in production. However, Eureka is halfway to producing some of their 28mm Warrior Frog line in 15mm through the 300 Club, and I understand that SLM will also be releasing frog people next year.

For normal frogs which can double as familiars, Chariot has a Plague of Frogs (CFB02) in 15mm consisting of ~20 frogs on circular bases. Irregular produces Kermit the Barbarian (CR27) on a square base, as part of their 6mm fantasy line. The third miniature below is a Ral Partha toad from their Familiars set (02-958), followed by Reaper's toad familiar from their Familiar Pack III (02593). These toads are rather large, and the Reaper toad in particular would be good cane toad in 1/72.

Next are the giant frogs: The first is the Giant Frog from Citadel (FF56), followed by three different poses from Black Tree Design's Frog Swarm (FA0822).

Even larger giant frogs and toads follow. The first two miniatures below are toad mounts from Eureka's Warrior Frog Cavalry (100FRG26). There are six different variants made up by combining three different types of body with two different sets of legs. The bodies are made of a gray resin, while the legs are made of metal. One of the frogs also comes with an extended tongue made of metal. The final Giant Frog (M134) is from BTD. It is a two part figure, with separately molded front legs. The feet of an unfortunate victim protrude from it's mouth, but I think I will be removing them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Game Pieces

There are a number of boardgames that utilize plastic game pieces that are compatible with 1/72 scale figures. Listed below, are some of the loose pieces that I've managed to pick up here and there.

These are crude and simplistic WWII German and Russian infantry pieces from the Memoir '44 game. It's hard to tell how tall the German is, since he is all hunched over, but I think he is probably close to 1/76 scale. The Russian from the Eastern Front expansion set is close to 1/72, though I thought he was a German when I first saw the figure. There are American and Japanese figures as well. The Japanese come from the Pacific Theater expansion set.

Memoir '44 (Days of Wonder)

The zombies and humans from the Zombies!!! game are closer to 1/64 scale than 1/72, but people often say they are compatible with 1/72. I'd say the zombies might be tolerable, but definitely not the human.

Zombies!!! (Twilight Creations)

Aussies or adventurers from an unknown game. They're a little scrawny, but usable (although for what, I'm not sure).


Samurai and ninja from the Shōgun boardgame. The bases are thick, but even so, they are definitely compatible with 1/72 scale figures.

Shōgun (Milton Bradley Gamemaster series)

More game pieces from other Gamemaster series board games. From left to right: two figures from Conquest of the Empire; two figures from Axis & Allies; two figures from Fortress America; one figure from Broadsides & Boarding Parties. These figures are 1/76 scale or smaller (except maybe the WWII German).

Various Figures (Milton Bradley Gamemaster series)

Union infantry figure from Battle Cry, and a Japanese defender from Hit the Beach. The Battle Cry figure is very flat, in the manner of Odemars figures. When the game changed hands to Avalon Hill, the old flat figures were replaced by much nicer versions. The Hit the Beach figure is included here because it was mentioned in Victor Rudik's The One Inch Army. It is crude, featureless, and nowhere near 1/72. I'm not sure about the size of the Army and Marines figures from Hit the Beach, but they are sculpted in a similar style to the Japanese.

Battle Cry and Hit the Beach (Milton Bradley American Heritage series)

Medieval figures from the Feudal game. These figures had pegs under the bases, which I removed with my sprue cutter. The king towers over the other figures, but the other figures are well within normal parameters of 1/72 scale.

Feudal (3M)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

For Halloween, I decided to cover some of the typical creatures we associate with this celebration - witches, skeletons, werewolves, mummies, and vampires.


The first group of miniatures are 15mm witches from Chariot (MM01). There is one standing pose and two sitting poses with traditional pointy hats and long robes. The set comes with a shallow cauldron with separate legs. These miniatures are true 15mm figures, so will most likely be used as donors for future witchy projects.


Representing skeletons, we have the Skeleton Recruiting Party from GFI (25980006). This set consists of a number of miniatures from the old Minifigs Valley of the Four Winds line. Shown below is the Dead Cart (VFW42) and the Coffin, Plain with Skeleton (VFWM4).

The rest of the recruiting party consists of a Skeleton with Lantern (VFW120), a Skeleton Carrying Wine barrel (VFW118), and a Skeleton Carrying Basket of Skulls (VFW119).

These are true 25mm figures, and full of character to boot. Except for their enormous heads, they are quite compatible with 1/72 figures. Next to the three GFI skeletons is an old Citadel Skeleton Warrior (FF52-1). He is a bit bulky, but also compatible with 1/72 with the exception of his huge head. Some unfortunate 15mm skeletons will have to donate their heads to make these guys suitable for my Army of the Dead. At the end is a plastic Caesar skeleton for comparison.

It is my hope that one day, GFI will re-release all of the classic Minifigs skeletons, particularly the Great Bell and Tower that they use as a teaser for their pre-order thumbnail.


There are a number of different werewolf types, which could be characterized along a continuum of increasingly wolf-like features. There is the old horror movie wolfman à la Lon Chaney Jr.; the man-wolves of The Howling; the werewolf in An American Werewolf in London; and finally, the man-transformed-to-actual-wolf of mythology.

The first werewolf figure shown above is from Citadel (FF19). It has characteristics of both wolfman and man-wolf. It actually reminds me a bit of the big burly bear-wolves from the old Werewolf TV show. The next werewolf is from Ral Partha (ES61). It too has hybrid features, but it has the lean look that I associate with werewolves. After, is a 20mm werewolf from Elhiem (P28), followed by three 15mm Wolfen: the Wolfen Berserker (W006), Wolfen Shaman (W010), and Wolfen Spearman (W002). Though Wolfen are not proper werewolves, the Elhiem werewolf is clearly undersized, being no taller than the 15mm Wolfen.

For me, werewolves should be tall, like Miss Lupescu of the Graveyard Book, or the Lycans of Underworld. Other than the Ral Partha werewolf, I'm not sure there are any other miniatures that meet my criteria.


Most of the mummies shown above are of the old school Hammer Films style mummy. The first mummy is from the Grenadier Monsters boxed set (5002), followed by one by Ral Partha (ES20). These mummies are large and bulky. Totally unsuitable for 1/72 despite the preponderance of tall mummies in this scale. Next is version 1 of the Citadel Mummy (FF60). I believe that version 2 is identical to the Ral Partha version. I find this Citadel version superior to the Ral Partha version, though like most 25mm figures, the head is too big for 1/72. Next is the Elhiem Mummy (P28) which is slightly short, but fine. The last bunch are from Chariot (SHE06), which are tiny at 15mm.


Vampires round out this entry, with The Count and Countess from Elhiem (P27), and a line up of Elhiem Vamps (P33). I'm not sure why The Count is so short, since he is obviously based off of the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula rather than Tom Cruise's Lestat. After all, Lugosi was supposed to have been 6' 1".

A comparison of 1/72 vampires and mummies in plastic and metal.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The Owlbear is a classic old school monster that has suffered the indignity of often being included in lists of stupid D&D monsters. And as much as I'm sure we all appreciated David C. Sutherland's succubus in the Monster Manual, his illustration of the Owlbear definitely didn't help its case.

My favorite Owlbear minatures are the Dungeon Dwellers Owlbears (Heritage 1224) which came in four different poses. The two hulking Owlbears below are the GFI release of two of those sculpts (MIF25921804). I like these miniatures in particular because they actually have owl-like heads, and do not have feathered arms. Hopefully the other two poses will be released some day.

The smaller Owlbear at the end is from the Armies of Arcana line now being produced by Lone Gunman Games. It is a nicely sculpted miniature, but just does not seem very intimidating. It has feathered arms, and the beak is more eagle-like than owl-like. In fact, if you were to give it a wolf's head and tail, it would look like one of the more rightfully ridiculed D&D monsters – the Senmurv. In any event, I think it is the only Owlbear that is produced in 15mm.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let Slip the Hounds of Hell

Hell Hounds from AD&D probably are related to the Black Dogs of English folktales. They are classic monsters that were present in the original Basic D&D Blue Book as well.

The GFI Skeleton Dogs (MIF25921805) are how I picture Hell Hounds to appear, which is not surprising, since they are the old Dungeon Dwellers Hell Hounds (Heritage 1264). They probably aren't considered particularly good sculpts by today's standards, but there is a certain charm about them that I don't find present in modern miniatures. But then again, if you stare at them long enough, they seem to somewhat resemble emaciated cattle...

Relatives of the Hell Hound can also be found in classical mythology and fiction. Two examples are shown below.

First we have Cerberus from the Fantasy Lords Monsters of Mythology boxed set (Grenadier 6004). Then there is a Hound of Tindalos from the Call of Cthulhu Creatures boxed set (Grenadier 6502). This particular miniature has been re-released by Mirliton as Bloodsniffers of Chaos (CH015) under their Fantasy line.

Prior to painting Cerberus, I looked to ancient Greek vases for guidance on his coloration, and found several choices.

Classic Black

White as the New Black


I opted for black, with a concession to tricolor around his throats.

Finally, we have the lineup for all three breeds. They are all really big for dogs, but quite alright for monsters.