Adepticon Prep part 5: Quadruple ‘Copters!
In this final bit of my Adepticon preparation, I present the additional game element that we are adding to this year's event:
In past years we've added vehicles and infantry, but this year we're adding flying units. The "Melk Defense Command" (MDC) will have access to two troop-transport helicopters and the "Unified Colonies" (UC) will commandeer two civilian heavy lifting choppers, each of which is capable of lifting a light mech. Should make things interesting...
The aircraft began their life as two of each of these kits from alternate-history WW2 game "Dust Tactics".
Dust has had a rather rocky history, which has affected it's distribution and ruleset and resulted in alot of chaos for it's player base. The upside for the canny gamer is that this has resulted in huge markdowns on a large range of minis that are great for WierdWorldWar, Post Apoc and Sci-Fi gaming. Clearance markdowns are also the source of the parts for the 9 urban buildings I built from Dust Tactics "Warzone Tenement" kits including two that were combined with Mantic Battlezone panels. I've acquired virtually all my DUST Tactics kits for 60-75% off and there are still similar deals to be had out there.
Like all standard dust kits they come pre-primed in a color appropriate for their army and with insignia. I did a bit of conversion on the Heavy Lifters. The guns were removed and replaced with a GW searchlight.
The tabs that held a Dust Mech were removed, glued, trimmed and turned into a hook hanging from the fuselage.
I then removed all insignia with some MEK (which I also use for plastic solvent glue) which will leave most of the base paint intact if applied lighly and removed just as the insigina are loosened.
The Heavy Lifters were spray painted white. The Troop Tranports grey with a dusting of white on the underside. Props were black of course.
On top of the light grey base, the Troop Transporters got my usual "Grey Team" paint job of selected dark grey panels and a very few small panels painted teal. Painting after that was a fast-and-dirty affair with a thin black wash, matte varnish and a dusty tan drybrush. Unfortunately the available light resulted in pictures which show little of the drybrush and wash which actually looks quite nice in person.
I did a head swap on the pilot, replacing the leather flight helmet and goggles head with bits from the Denizen Miniatures sci-fi helment sprue. These small heads are more of a 25mm or true 28 scale and fit nicely on the more slender Dust pilots.
It gives them a nice military sci-fi vibe.
More pics of the finished Troop Transport copters. They are ugly little buggers, but I like them.
The black "window" on the door and on the opposite side is simply painted black with some Pledge/Future Floor polish painted over it as a last step to make it shiny and glossy. It isn't as pretty as a proper "Jeweling" but I'm a fast-painting kind of hobbyist and it looks pretty good.
The Civilian Heavy Lifters got a different treatment. When thinking about what paint scheme to give them I decided to do an homage to a local company. Midwest Helicopter Airways is a venerable Chicago-area heavy lifting service with a striking color scheme. Further, the aircraft they use are vintage (much updated of course) Sikorsky S-58T (aka H34) helicopters whose construction (I believe) dates to the 60's, and which have a similar vintage aesthetic as the Dust models. Here are some pictures of Midwest helicopters in action:
Give their facebook page a look and you'll see videos of these impressive birds placing HVAC equipment on top of skyscrapers, building communications towers and even lifting a crashed airplane out of a swamp!
I first masked off the top of the Mech Transporters mostly following rivet strips on the model and sprayed the bottom half orange. Unlike the Midwest scheme, I only added one black separating line which was painted following those same rivet strips on the aircraft. I also didn't make the bottom of the fuselage black. Weathering was the same process as the grey aircraft.
Notice the small headlight in the upper right. These clear bits were part of all 4 of the original models. They were painted over but I used MEK to strip away the paint when the models were finished. The MEK melted the surface just a bit and gave it a nice frosted look.
The pilot figures are stock and the cockpit is just a bit small for the outstretched arms. You have no choice but to have them pushing the control stick hard to the left or right. Luckily the heads are separate and can be positioned looking either direction or strait ahead. Oddly the Troop Transport cockpits and pilots appear to be identical but have enough room to position the stick straight forward.
The cockpit glass and window frames were separate pieces. I painted the frame separately and the two parts click together nicely.
Tech Tip: Not wanting to cloud the plastic, I used acrylic matte varnish to "glue" the windows to the aircraft though they already fit fairly snuggly. PVA/Elmers is another option for gluing plastic windows without clouding them with solvent fumes
More pics of the finished Lifters.
Here's the two birds compared with each other and with a classic GW (28mm sole to eye) Eldar figure for scale.
The whole family:
These were fun models to paint. Though they're a bit silly in some design aspects and proportions, the odd-yet-familiar look that borrows from classic US and Soviet helicopter designs makes them convincingly ulilitarian sci-fi vehicles. It was especially enjoyable to explore the civilian side of my sci-fi world. I'm hoping to do more with civilan ground vehicles and spacecraft in the future.
I've got one more of each, and 3 of the Attack versions (which have more weapons but no transport capability). Not sure how I'll use the last lifter, but I think it's very likely that the third Troop Transport version will have the guns removed and be painted as an air ambulance. If this year's scenario goes well and the players enjoy the air units the attack versions will likely get some grey paint for next year. Also, there are some large Dust Tactics Mecha in my collection that will hopefully see my tabletop someday.
And, that's it for my Adepicon preparations! Be looking for a write-up of our Adepticon event in two weeks or so which will show the full elevated train system in service and the helicopters in action on some nice flying bases I didn't show here...
Lastly, for interested Adepticon gamers, there is still one spot open for our game which starts at 10 AM on the morning of Saturday the 25th and it's always worth coming by and seeing if someone hasn't shown up for their spot. We'd love to have a full table of participants!