Saturday, June 13, 2015

miscellaneous: car wars: conversion bits - heavy steam armament pack

When weaponizing your favorite die-cast metal cars for use in gaming, there aren't exactly a wealth of in-scale options. 1:64th scale roughly translates to 20mm gaming miniatures, which are few and far between. Most of the bits currently in my possession are either cartoonishly large (Games Workshop, Privateer Press) or a laughably small (Flames of War, Dropzone Commander) when placed on a vehicle. This can work - some of my favorite conversions are smattered in Ork bitz - but usually give the cars an over-the-top, "heroic-scale" vibe to them.

The go-to for in-scale kit seems to be Stan Johansen Miniatures' Road Warrior line. I've also seen encouraging posts regarding Sgts' Mess's weapon kits as well. I plan to order a smattering of both soon and report back my findings.

In the meantime, while perusing the new release wall of my FLGS, I found the following...

A peek through the packaging had me calculating part per piece ($1 per arm) and that if the weapons looked silly on the cars they'd probably make great bionics on 40K Orkz.

On opening the pack I found 10 weapon arms, each with a right and left variant. Among the 10 weapons, there are some immediate winners with little need for converting before use. I count the gatling gun, blunderbuss and (sniper?) rifle among these. Some have far less obvious use - the short, double-barreled arm and claw/magnet arm chief among them. However, with a little imagination and a sharp exact, even these can find purpose somewhere.

"Scorpio" with linked small lasers and a rear-mounted mortar/cannon?

Various cars with mock-up of Heavy Steam armaments

As you can see, they're still a bit large/cartoonish, though not as bad as using straight 28mm or "heroic scale" bits. I think the blunderbuss (with end chopped off and barrel drilled out) scales nicely and is likely to become a recoil-less rifle (see above, far left). Even the claw arms can be cannibalized into something else. With a few cuts and two holes drilled out, they make great micro-missile launchers (see above, far right).

I'm glad I got the kit - I'd been wondering how to arm my more crazy/futuristic looking cars for awhile now. The Heavy Steam Armament Pack worked great for this purpose and had prototypes up and running in no time. However, despite its ease of use and my pleasure with the kit overall, I find it unlikely I will buy another of these packs for use in Car Wars. First, the material has an almost rubbery consistency that makes it easy to cut but soft on taking additional drilled or carved detail. Also, with 40% of the arms needing heavy modification to make them useful/recognizable., I feel the price point is just a tad too high.

Bottom-line: If you like the aesthetic and don't mind a bit of extra conversion work, one of these should work its way into your toolbox.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

build: car wars: and so it begins...

Between Mad Max: Fury Road’s release and the ridiculously cool conversions of Dave Taylor, I was pretty much destined to start a game of vehicular mayhem. After some research into various rule systems and feeling the way the wind was shifting, I settled on Car Wars’ 5th Edition. It’s popular, it’s scaled correctly, and after a second look at the rules, it sounds easier than first suspected.

Of course, like the kit basher/modeller I am, I started working on cars well before I’d read the rules. After trips to Target and Toys’R’Us, I had a handful (or three) of die-cast cars ready to be transformed!

These cars (along with more-than-I-care-to-admit subsequent purchases) were divided into “tribes” based on theme/vehicle type. Some examples of which are below.

(clockwise from top-left) “The Cabbies”, “Retro-future”, “Rat-Rods”, “Serial Boxes”

Not quite ready to start with a wasteland tribe, I decided to work on the cars I felt might still be, at least tangentially, part of civilization. The kind of car driven by Max Rockatansky or one of the other MFP “officers” once civilization falls completely to shit.

’68 Mercury Cougar

A simple car for a man with simple tastes. The flame-thrower came first, but felt lackluster as sole armament. It may be off-scale, but I feel the high-caliber chain-gun rounds out the armament and car’s balance nicely.

’67 Chevelle SS

This one took some time. Inspired by the ridiculously awesome tank-turret flat-bed in Death Race: Inferno, I knew I wanted a cannon passing through the cab. After much consideration, I went full-blown crazy with it, deciding a laser-destroyer needed a chain of batteries and a (scoop-cooled?) computer to run the thing.

’69 Ford Torino Talledega

I’ll be honest, the seat (plucked from the Chevelle above) with the guns came first. The original plan called for it to be a magnetized “turret” sticking up out of the car’s back window. That… didn’t look nearly as cool as it sounded, so the concept shifted to a car designed to get in front of everyone and stay there. Thus the giant armor plate bracketed to the back with relatively little everywhere else.

Mustang Mach 1

I knew early on I wanted to do a car with rockets, and when I saw the spoiler on this thing, it seemed ripe for laying a Katyusha-inspired rocket rack. Add a backup weapon and a police-style ram in the front, and she looks ready to take on some bad guys!

I’ve got a couple more cars destined for this grouping, but have been temporarily distracted by piecing together “Amateur Night” or “Mirror Match” cars - four identical cars meant to even the playing field and be used for demos. I hope to have pics of those soon…

Monday, January 5, 2015

miscellaneous: deep strikin' santa 2015, sent

As it happened, the day I received my Deep Strikin' Santa package from Total Anorky I was busy by the fire, hobbying the final touches (rivets!) to the present for my giftee - Lt. Gregor.

A long-time Ork player and master plasti-craftsman, Gregor is known among the scratch-build and kit-bash community for painstakingly working on an Orkish Navy. His kit-bashed masterpieces include boats built on Land Raider and Rhino frames, a "Red Orktober" submarine based off a Chimera chassis, and some of the coolest deep-sea Mega-Armoured Nobz I've ever had the pleasure to witness. Seriously. Click the link. I'll wait.

His builds are inspirational, and it was both exciting and terrifying to draw his name for DSS.

After perusing 3rd party bitz makers for pirate-y Ork heads, I happened across Kromlech's Anzac Ork heads and Afrika Korp torsos and came up with a plan. I've spent almost all my hobby time since October inching towards a boat worthy of Kap'n Gregor's fleet. I hope I've done the ol' Mek justice.

Ork River Patrol Trukk! (clickable)

Turret and mid-ship Gunner

Rear Gunner

Rear Gunner (low angle)

Turret Gunner and Kap'n

Grot Pilots and other details

Packed and ready for "ship"ping!

All-in-all it a ton of fun returning to the army and scratch-building that got me started with 40K. I've got big plans for 30K Mechanicum at the moment, but not before another Ork project that could stack well with a long-haul (and long-pined for) build towards a fully functional Speed Freekz army...

(This post was originally written on 12.24.2014 while awaiting confirmation of the package's arrival.)