Thursday, August 13, 2015

A couple more Landspeeders

It has been a while since I posted any of my Star Wars stuff - my lanspeeder race project has been on hold for the last couple years. However, I have 2 completed landspeeders sitting around, that just needed the final paint touch-ups and weathering... so I went and finished these up! These were very quick to paint - both got a simple 2-color paint scheme, and then I weathered them with Doc O'briens Weathering Powders to give them a dirty, desert-world appearance.

Oh yeah, the bases for these are from WotC Flash Speeders, I got a bunch back when they were cheap, and I've been using them for all my landspeeders.

Gian Sport Speeder
The first one is a modified Gian Speeder, from the old Galoob Action Fleet toy range. I removed the side-mounted guns to make it look more like a civilian vehicle. The original model was a long, 4-seat model, and I wanted this one to be a 2-seat racing vehicle. So... I got out my razor saw and cut out the center section with the rear seats, then glued and filled the gaps from the join. The end result looks a lot more sporty, and after a bit of sanding the join ended up being almost imperceptible. The driver next to it was a WotC Star Wars character, I cut off his hand and added a nice cool beverage. Thanks to my wife Debs on this one, she did most of the painting on the speeder and the driver.

"A-1 Deluxe Mobquet Floater"
The second one was a more complicated model. It was based on an old plastic toy car from the 1950s that I found in a flea market from a company called "Wannatoy." I noticed that it looked a bit like one of the speeders that can be briefly seen in some of the Mos Eisley background shots in Star Wars. It got my imagination going, and I decided to try to convert the toy into this speeder. A bit of internet research discovered that this vehicle was called an "A-1 Deluxe Mobquet Floater", and there were even the original blueprints available from when the built the prop! (see below) Isn't the internet amazing? Armed with the plans and a few photos, I set out to create my version, loosely based on the original.

I lost all my in-progress shots, but here is a picture of one of the same toys from ebay:

In the movie:

The bottom of the toy had holes for wheels, and I filled these with plasticard and putty. I then added the 2 seats inside in tandem, and a custom driver with a sculpted helmet, goggles, and breathing mask. The side engines were just plastic tubing, cut and glued onto the side rails. The dorsal fin in the back was a piece of plasticard, cut and pinned into the rear of the vehicle. The actual prop had 4 fins positioned like the rudders of a torpedo, but this looked like too much work, so I just stuck with the one.

The last, and most difficult bit was the canopy. The rear (opaque) section was made from bronze putty, formed around a marble and popped off when dry, to get the rounded shape. This I glued on and filled. The clear section was a blisterpack form from an oven-light bulb that I got at the hardware store - the packaging was just about the right size, and when carefully cut down it fit pretty closely. It was glued into place with 5-minute epoxy, and then I added the curved slats by using very thin plasticard strips, bent and glued again with 5-minute epoxy. I used epoxy because superglue would dry too fast to position correctly, and it would likely fog up the clear plastic. Final weathering touches and the "A-1 Deluxe Mobquet Floater" was complete! It is not an exact match, but it is close enough for me.

At this point I have 11 completed speeders, more than enough for the race.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Back in the 80's: The Partha Pipeline

Sorry for the long absence from posting to the blog! I've had my hands full for the past year working on the miniatures and book for Olympus, and that has not left much time for other pursuits. However, I'm going to try to make the occasional post, so let's start with a trip down memory lane...

Back in the 1980s there was this miniature company called Ral Partha, maybe you've heard of it? Partha was the one of the 'big two' US miniature manufacturers (the other being Grenadier Models). I was a big fan of both of them. Every now and the Ral Partha sent out cool newsletters, with illustrations of the latest miniatures, comics, and stories about whatever they were thinking about at the time. These newsletters were called the Partha Pipeline. They also did a newsletter to support their short-lived Chaos Wars game, called the War Bulletin. This mainly focused on scenarios and new rules, again with lots of great illustrations.

The artist responsible for most of the illustrations within was Bill Neff, the head of the Partha art department at the time. I believe he now works as a professional illustrator/designer in the news industry, and his art for Partha has a unique and cool style that still looks great today!

I was a big fan of Partha back in the 1980s, and in the 1990s I went to work for them in my first job as a miniature designer. Sadly, this was after Partha had ceased producing the Pipeline and Bulletin, but I did manage to find a couple issues I has missed during my time there.

I've compiled all of my issues of the Partha Pipeline and the War Bulletin into a PDF, so that my fellow fans of Ral Partha can enjoy them. I'll likely move the host site soon, so get it while it's hot!

Here's a link to a direct download:

Partha Pipeline Download

Ral Partha miniatures are now produced by the great guys and gals at Iron Wind Metals. They are currently running a Kickstarter program to get a lot of the classic Tom Meier miniatures from this era back into production, as well as a few new pieces that were never produced. Head on over to their Kickstarter page and have a look!

Chaos Wars Kickstarter