Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

The Santa Wars genre has been around for a long time, but it's unclear to me where the concept originated from (perhaps with the now defunct Wargame Supply Dump?).

Santa Wars should not be confused with the nonsense surrounding the supposed "War on Christmas". Similar rhetoric has been used as a political tool as far back as the 17th century, when Christmas revelry was said to be descended from the Roman Saturnalia and Bacchanalian festivals, and condemned in the culture wars of the Age of Enlightenment.

The only figures that I can think of that are suitable for 1/72 scale Santa Wars come from Alternative Armies as part of their Seasons of Celebration Range.

I bought a sampler pack of the figures many years ago, but currently, I can only find the Psycho Presents (SN04) in my pile of lead.

There is only one figure armed with a melee weapon, so I'll probably  do some weapon conversions on the rest of them.

I remember the Evil Snowmen in the set were rather scrawny looking, but I found a fairly decent snowman in a set of Christmas ornaments.

I also found some very usable reindeer in the same section of the craft store. I think the reindeer were 69¢ a pack, and I ended up getting four sets.

Finally for Santa, there is the Citadel Limited Edition Dark Future Santa, and the Santa from the Nativity set from Odemars.

The 20mm Santa was too short, so he was modified to bring him up to spec.

Hardcore collectors might be taken aback by my sacrilege of chopping up a limited edition figure, but in the end, Santa is of no use to me if he isn't the right height.

All that's left is to paint him up, but I'm undecided as to whether to put him in a green robe, or a red robe. I'm currently leaning towards red based on the sculpt, and depictions of Santa throughout history.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Waltersons M3A1 Half-track

I bought a Waltersons 1/72 scale M3A1 half-track from HLJ during their big sale last week, and just got it in the mail yesterday.

Waltersons is a Hong Kong based company that manufactures RC tanks and 1/72 scale plastic models. The later seem to be aimed primarily for the Japanese market as part of their 999 Series.

Most of their current inventory of models are actually reboxed Forces of Valor plastic models, but in the coming year they appear to be releasing brand new kits of their own.

The parts of the half-track are molded in green polystyrene, with a vinyl sprue for the tracks and driver figure. Some US star and serial number decals are also provided. There are no clear parts for the windshield.

I put the model together in under an hour. The instructions are clear, and there were no surprises.

I never bought the plastic Forces of Valor models before, because I thought they were identical to the diecast models, but comparing the diecast model (right) to this kit (left) makes it clear that they are from completely different toolings.

The models are pretty much the same size, though dimensions of various individual parts are slightly different.

The tracks are a bit thick, but they hold together well with CA glue.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how to add windshield glass to the model, but I'm probably going to go with UV resin because of the way the wipers are molded onto the windshield frame. 

I will definitely be getting more Waltersons kits in the future because they go together quickly, are relatively inexpensive, and look pretty good built up.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Bulls of Aeetes

The Khalkotauroi (Bronze Bulls) aka Colchis Bulls were a pair of automatons created by Hephaestus for Aeetes, King of Kolkhis (Colchis). The bronze bulls were described as having feet of bronze and bronze mouths from which they breathed out flame.

I think de Troy missed the part about the bulls being automatons

There is also a tradition that portrays Talos (typically described as a giant automaton in the form of a man) as having the form of a bull.

Both the the Khalkotauroi and Talos play roles in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. In the 1963 Ray Harryhausen verion of Jason and the Argonauts, Talos appears, but there are no bulls. In the Jason and the Argonauts TV miniseries from 2000 only a single bull appears.

CGI "Menaian" Bull

To represent the Khalkotauroi, I originally wanted to use a pair of Warhammer metal Juggernauts.

After getting one model, I felt that the Juggernaut was too big. It has a very bull-like body, but modifications need to be made to the model. The main change would be to remove the nose horn, and add some bull horns.

Later, I discovered that Wargames Foundry also produced a Bronze Bull (WG434), which seems to be based on the Menaian Bull from the miniseries.

The Foundry bull is smaller than the Juggernaut, and just the size I had in mind for a bronze bull. The only issue I have with it is that it does not have a tail (but that is easily remedied).

I was also finally able to get the Bronze Bull produced by Crocodile Games for their WarGods of Olympus Kickstarter campaign.

The Bronze Bull consists of 5 parts, and goes together fairly easily. I think the tail is actually supposed to go into the body before you glue the two halves together. I added it after gluing the body, because the tail broke off of the attachment, so the order didn't really matter. 

The Crocodile bull is really nice, but it is longer and heftier than the Foundry bull, so they don't work well as a pair. I will need to buy another Foundry model if I want to make my paired set.

Monday, December 14, 2020

PSC Marder III

I originally bought the PSC Panzer 38(t) and Marder Variants kit so I could build some Slovakian Pz. 38(t)s. However, after looking at the parts, the SPGs kind of grew on me, and I ended up making one of each type of vehicle.

The box art shows a Pz. 38(t), a Marder III Ausf. H, and a 15cm sIG 33 Grille, but the versions that can be built are actually a Pz. 38(t), a Marder III Ausf. H, and a Marder III Sd.Kfz. 139.

Outside of drilling out the barrels and travel locks I only modified the chairs of the Sd.Kfz. 139. Everything else was assembled OOB.

As with all PSC kits, there are a ton of left over parts after construction. I actually put together two different turrets for the Sd.Kfz. 139 so I can swap between the two for versions with and without canvas cover.

The models are only half painted because I ran into some issues and decided to take a break. Normally I only use rattle cans for priming, but since these were quickbuild kits, I didn't want to go through the trouble of cleaning my airbrush, so I decided to try out some Coat d'arms rattle cans that I had sitting around.

Unfortunately the spray cans gave very inconsistent results (I guess that's why they were on clearance, and no longer sold by Black Hat). I ended up having to strip the Marder III H in Simple Green and repaint it.

For the the Sd.Kfz. 139 I cut the backrest off of one of the seats and mounted it on the stowage rack.

The Pz. 38(t) was the easiest to put together, and it matches the dimensions of the Attack Pz. 38(t) perfectly, though the position of the muffler, and appearance of the rear idler seem to be different.

The models are all very robust, and perfect for wargaming purposes. With the addition of various details, they could probably make decent static models as well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


Murlocs are the colorful Deep One expys from World of Warcraft. They range in height from 3.5 feet to 6 feet, and average about 4 feet tall.

The first miniatures of murlocs came from the World of Warcraft boardgame from Fantasy Flight Games. I was able to buy a few examples of the loose murloc miniatures many years ago, before the price of the game skyrocketed to insane levels.

The next figures are from the short lived World of Warcraft Miniatures Game made by Upper Deck, and include the Marsh Murloc and Blindlight Murloc.

The miniatures are roughly the same size, and represent the upper end of the murloc height spectrum. The Upper Deck miniatures look better than the FFG figures because they have proper murloc legs, whereas the FFG murlocs have thick human-like legs.

Another miniature that looks like it came from WoW is the Mage Knight Carapace Creature (Dragon's Gate #039), which resembles a gorloc. However, what it reminds me even more of is a piscodaemon (except taller).

I cut away the prognathous jaw, and added some Kneadatite tentacles to turn it into a proper giant piscodaemon.

I'll finish this post with the Tiik Baby from the Aquatic Familiars III set (Dark Heaven Legends 03612) which I've seen painted up as murlocs.

As far as height goes, they are pretty much the ideal height for a murloc. I really hope that Reaper will eventually restart their Boneyard program, because I would really love to get more of these little guys.

I am Murloc!