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.