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Jordan Peacock

Fallout "Great Khans" Biker Conversions (80009, 50156)

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One really nice feature of Bones is that if I want to do "rider conversions" of minis, it's much more attractive to do so than with pewter counterparts.   A big part of this is because the figure is cheap enough that I don't feel like I'm committing sacrilege by cutting up and re-pinning the figure into a "rider" pose.  Another part is that it's a whole lot easier to do that cutting-and-pinning business.  (One downside is that I can't simply bend a leg into a slightly different position, but "slightly different position" wouldn't apply to this project anyway.)


So, for Necronomicon 2015 (http://stonehill.org/necro.htm -- in less than a month!) I'm running a Fallout-themed scenario for my Saturday night game.  I already have a number of apocalyptic heroes (many of them Reaper conversions) painted up and ready to go, should I have the need to fall back on them, but I thought I would try my hand at a few figures specifically themed to fit into the Fallout universe, one way or another.




And so, I happened to have a couple of extra copies of "Rex" (#80009) from the Kickstarter.  One, I already have painted up and ready to do an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator 2 impersonation, but here I had two pristine plastic figures (one in a bag, one in a blister), plus a weird Hot Wheels "Boss Hoss" motorcycle toy.


(Note: Hot Wheels are often billed as 1:64 scale, but the deal is, they're toys -- not models -- and hence the "scale" is so fast and loose as to be nearly meaningless.  In the typical Hot Wheels blister pack, a motorcycle is the same length as a sports car, a VW bug, a semi truck, an ambulance, a fire truck, a spaceship-on-wheels, or what-have-you.  I have no idea what scale the Hot Wheels motorbikes are, but I've found them to be "close enough to be plausible" for pairing up with Chronoscope figures for my purposes.)


Since I'm running with Savage Worlds here, I'm not beholden to a strict base size standard (not, in any case, the way I would be with Iron Kingdoms, etc.), so I decide to grab a Mage Knight "rider" base, put some putty on it, and make a textured impression, for a bike base.  For the standing model base, I am just using an inverted 25mm round Reaper base, which the integral Rex base fits into with a noticeable gap.  Sometimes I try to gap-fill with putty, but I'm not sure it'll really accomplish much, so I'm skipping that for now.


The "rider" figure just consists of the same Rex model, but with limbs cut and re-pinned into new positions, and with some putty as gap-filler.  If I can find an open left hand piece in my "bitz box" of suitable size to replace the riding Rex's left fist, I'll do so, but I tend to be short on left-handed bits.  (It's usually RIGHT hands -- with various right-handed weapon options -- that I have an excess of.)




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(In the background: #80025 "Bonnie, Future Heroine" is getting a blue jumpsuit as a potential Vault Dweller.  #77259 "Fly Demon" is probably going to be a stand-in for a bloat fly.  #80024 "Deputy Wayne Tisdale" -- well, I've got THREE of those undergoing basic paint jobs, and I'm trying to figure out how to differentiate them, since I need them for another, non-Fallout scenario I'm running at the same convention.  I'll probably do some head swaps and try to reposition an arm here or there.  And #77130 "Vermin: Beetle Swarm" is meant to represent a radroach swarm.)  


I'm going for grunge, so Rex is getting a lot of grey to start off with.  As for the bike, my original plan was to fix it up as if it was a post-apocalyptic hack job with the back end of some retro-futuristic Fallout-universe car, and the front end of a bike ... but especially now that I've got a figure sitting on it, it's clear that the car trunk isn't nearly large enough to be plausible, unless the back end was salvaged from a clown car or a fake body from some sort of carnival ride.  Instead, I've decided to go with Nuka-Cola red -- by first painting the bike white, then applying three coats of red acrylic (I needed several coats to get as even of a red base as I could manage).  My game scenario, which I've dubbed "Nuka Break," has the backstory that the PCs are all scavengers tagging along with a crazed robot (the "Nukatron") that is still carrying out its pre-war orders to re-stock Nuka-Cola vending machines across the wasteland, picking up bottles at an automated (and still barely functioning) bottling plant.  Where the robot manages to find a functioning vending machine to restock, there's almost always some good looting to be found, and the robot's delivery truck has air conditioning and thick shielding, hence the incentive for tagging along.  (Beyond that, my "adventure" plan, such as it stands right now, is basically just a Fallout-themed "dungeon crawl" with as many Fallout references as I can toss in there for the occasional player who actually knows what I'm talking about.)
Ahem.  I digress.  Okay, so the scavenged bike idea, while it seemed a good enough idea when I picked up the bike for a buck, didn't seem so plausible.  So, instead, I'm turning it into a "Nuka-Cola" bike -- with the idea that it's an auxiliary delivery vehicle that fits on the Nuka truck, with a refrigerated trunk large enough to hold a case of Nuka-Cola bottles.  I'm a bit intimidated by the prospect of trying to paint a Nuka-Cola logo on the side, but we'll see how it goes (and it can be largely obscured by grime and dings anyway).
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I know if I were being orderly, I'd paint on a Nuka-Cola logo and other such details BEFORE I go making things dinged up and grungy, but I'm just sort of making it up here as I go along.  I tried stippling bits of light grey here and there to try to suggest areas where paint had flecked off, exposing primer, but things are not so neglected that there's actually rust.  (My backstory here is that the bike occasionally enjoys robotic maintenance and a fresh paint job back at the factory, but that the Nukatron's rounds take so long that it has had ample time to get some distress in the meantime.  I want to differentiate between the WORKING post-apocalyptic vehicles and those rust-buckets I'll be using for table decoration.)




Here's another view of the base, without the bike on top of it.  I used a bit of putty on a Mage Knight base, and pressed down on it with a piece of plastic from a broken Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame micro-playset (I found it in a thrift store).  The pattern on the toy makes a nice "floor tile" effect I sometimes use for basing, and then I can either be lazy and just bring out the details with washes and dry-brushing, or I can try to paint in the tiles.  Here, I went for red and white (Nuka-Cola colors) with some black for contrast, but the red somehow ended up far more washed out than I intended.  (But then, if this is some wasted building that's so collapsed that someone is DRIVING THROUGH IT, I suppose the tiles could be a bit sun-faded.)


And there's #80025 "Bonnie" again, with progress as a Vault Dweller stand-in.  I'm going to have to work on those lines, to be sure.  Making nice, neat lines isn't something I can manage on the first try.





And here's my progress on the "Nukatron."  It's a HorrorClix "Carnagebot," though I'm painting it up with a dinged-up red-and-white scheme.  I'm pondering the idea of replacing the "lawnmower"-esque bladed locomotion unit at the base of the robot with something a little less "HorrorClixish," and cleaning up the "blood" on the claws.  


Maybe the spiky roller could be justified as something like "cleats" to help the robot manage terrain, but it just looks like something that ought to be tearing up dirt and gouging up concrete and flooring wherever it goes -- not something that would make sense for a robot assigned to re-stock vending machines.  Also, I'm hoping I still have a clear plastic sprue piece I could turn into a "bottle" for one of the claw hands to hold.  (More perfect would be something tinged green, but I'm fairly certain I haven't anything like that.)  Failing that, I may just try making an opaque "bottle" out of something, and just painting it up as a Nuka-Cola bottle, sans transparency.

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And here's where I am as of early this morning.



Rex hasn't progressed much; I've just given him some denim pants and a darker jacket, with some more messing around with washes in a lazy attempt at bringing out some texture before I get into the fine detail work.  I thought I'd be okay with the gap around Rex's base inside the 25mm round "lip," but it's bugging me.  I think I'll try using some putty after all, and maybe disguise my failure to continue the diamond-plate texture to the edges with some sort of post-apocalyptic debris.  (Crushed signs, license plates, crumpled posters, etc., would be pretty easy to add to spice up what would otherwise just be some gap-filling rubble and junk.)

I want to put a "Great Khans" logo on his back -- but it needs to look the same on both jackets.  I'm still waffling over whether I can "cheat" by laser-printing a very small Great Khans logo on paper and somehow affixing it to his back and blending in with paint ... or whether I'm just going to have to free-hand it and hope for the best.

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I had a few minutes this morning before heading in to town, so I tried cutting out and gluing on tiny print-outs of the "Great Khans" logo.  I would have moved the logo further up on the jacket, but the top band is going to have "biker studs" and shoulder pads / pauldrons.  I intend to try blending in the edges of the logo (where I had it printed on a background much darker than the "graphite grey" + black wash I've been using for the jacket so far), but I wasn't about to do that while the super glue was still wet.  In person, it's not hard at all to tell that I just glued a piece of paper onto the back of the figure, but I figure it's still a fair sight better than what it would look like if I'd attempted free-handing that much detail for a logo -- twice.

On the other hand, the logo for the "Kings" is so simple that if I do a "Kings" gang member, I'll probably just do that with brush-work.  (Simple white stylized "crown" with a few cartoony "shine" lines, and "KINGS" written rather messily below, as if all the jackets just had the logo hand-painted on the back rather amateurishly.  Perfect!  I can do "amateurish.")

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More experimentation on Rex's Nuka-Cola delivery bike: success and failure.




Success (mostly): On the relatively flat sides of the bike, I was able to glue on tiny printed "Nuka-Cola" paper pieces, and then camouflage the edges by stippling with a grimy mix of red and black, and a few specks of light grey.  In person, it's still pretty easy to tell that it's just a couple of pieces of paper glued on and blended in, but I figure it falls into "good enough to get the idea across" territory.  Also, I used a bit of putty under the main body to make a more secure anchor/support for the bike to the base.



Failure (mostly): Okay, never mind those bits of red encroaching on the bumper.  That's for some touch-up work later.  The main problem here is that I tried another "Nuka-Cola" label on a curve on the trunk.  No amount of creasing before applying it, super-gluing it, or re-applying it seems to be able to coax the paper to follow the curve of the model.  Complicating things is that the curve isn't just on one plane, and the paper piece is apparently big enough and thick enough that it makes a significant difference.  I may just have to scrape this label back off and repaint the affected area (more grunge!), marking this off as a failed attempt.


On the plus side, the license plate (barely visible beneath the bumper in the picture above) turned out well enough.  The license plate image is captured from the "bumper sword" item from the Fallout games.

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Okay, another part of Rex's setup is the Nuka-Cola truck.  I was inspired by Captain Apathy's Hot Wheels Super Transporter conversion (for Fallout and AT-43 games) -- (forum link on The Miniatures Page: http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=235848 )


Here's a picture of Captain Apathy's work that inspired me to hunt down this toy:



So, I stalked Ebay for a while, and it seems like any given week, there are around 2-5 of these things offered at anywhere from reasonable-to-outrageous prices (the real trouble is once you figure in the shipping & handling), and I finally found an offer I could stomach.  I was also considering going with a circa 1950-1956 "COE" truck model in 1:43 scale -- of which there were several at any given time -- but such toys are offered at collector prices, or with crazy shipping & handling amounts tacked on (at least for my ZIP code), so the Hot Wheels route ended up being cheaper.




After spending a brief period admiring the sturdy construction and nice design of the toy (Hee!  It has more room to carry cars in the bottom of the CAB!), I started taking the thing apart and applying masking tape to the various "chrome" bits.  Sure, Fallout is far from an environment where you expect things to be shiny, but it's also an environment where you don't expect too much to be functional, either.  So, my truck is going to be a little dinged up, but still in far better shape than the random hulks rusting by the roadside.


EDIT: In the above picture, on the left hand side can be seen the rear of the trailer, which presents a bit of a challenge for someone wanting to use this as a model rather than just as a toy.  Note that while the trailer is mostly cast in black plastic, there's a blue tab with details corresponding to the trailer's rear right turn signal / brake light cluster.  There's also a hole for a sliding knob in the side that has something to do with operating the interior ramps.  I ... actually had considerable trouble getting any of it to work properly before disassembling the whole thing, but the main point is that those parts aren't really necessary for using this to just represent a big transport truck, and the holes and gaps require a bit of patching up.  I tried doing this with putty, but there are probably better ways of going about it.  (I just haven't figured it out yet.)


If I were converting this model to be a piece of scenery/wreckage, I'd probably consider either burying that part of the vehicle in rubble, having that be the location of some severe damage, or find other ways to obfuscate the troublesome details.  (Ditto for those "Hot Wheel" brand logos branded on the wheel wells of the cab.)  For a functional vehicle with more of a "scavenger" look, I'd consider bolting on some randomly riveted-on "scrap armor plates" that just happen to cover that part.



For the "Nuka-Cola" side banners: I stuck the trailer on a flatbed scanner, so I could get a template for the big "Hot Wheels" sticker running along the side.  The label serves to hide several screw holes and also some assembly seams for that handle piece on top, and I didn't want to putty them all if I could help it.




I spray-painted the trailer a matte grey, and only did a couple of spritzes, so some of the original black shows through here and there, lending it a grungy look.  I then went over with a few spritzes of matte white over the top.  For the side labels, I used Photoshop to join a Nuka Cola logo from the Fallout wiki, an image of a Nuka Cola bottle ad I found in image searches, some quickie slogans (using "Magneto" font), and some textured "grunge."  I printed the "labels" on legal-sized paper, then cut them out, carefully trimmed to fit, and then used spray adhesive to apply them to each side.  I ... really should have done the putty gap-filling first.  Oops.


I'm not sure if it's apparent at all, but for the various gaps in the hull (which would allow one to see glimpses the Hot Wheels cars stored inside), but I used some black mat board scraps to cover the insides of those holes, gluing them to the inside.  After all, this is supposed to be a refrigerated transport, not a cattle car.  Alas, it's the sort of fix that could be a headache later: I can just imagine some pencil tip or such poking out one of those panels, and then it would be a royal mess trying to somehow reapply the panel on the inside without having to tear the whole trailer apart in the process.  (I am thinking of something akin to assembling a model ship in a bottle....)  So, I'll just have to be careful about that.


Oh, by the way -- the board this is shown on is a "Game Gear" Hawk City board, on loan from my friend Chris Stadler under condition that I do some flocking and detailing and general grunging-up.  (I've got the flocking part done so far.  It needs a lot more grunge.)




And here's Rex again (Reaper #80009) showing some very slight progress (I was spending more time on the bike and truck), at the back of the truck.  The Nuka Cola poster/logo is another image I found via Google and thought I'd apply it since the back door/ramp has such an invitingly FLAT and smooth surface perfect for breaking up with an element like that.


Alas, my picture-cropping was done a bit too hastily, because this angle shows a hint of the problem posed by the ramp lever on the right side: basically, on the right side, a section of the hull is meant to pull away (taking with it the right-hand brake and turn lights in the process) to release a mechanism inside, so one can select either the top or bottom ramp to load or unload Hot Wheels cars.  I've removed the interior ramps, and puttied around the gaps for the lever mechanism to freeze it in place and obscure some of the seams/gaps it made in the hull.  The result does not blend in very well with the surrounding smooth plastic, so I tried to disguise it with ... "battle scoring" -- that is, stippling and smearing with graphite-grey and black paint, as if something had gone "BOOM!" and messed up the hull a bit.



The back "door" piece swivels down to form a ramp that is wide enough to hold the Nuka-Cola delivery bike since -- after all -- the bike is just a rather silly Hot Wheels car with standard Hot Wheels car dimensions.  The background "terrain" piece is a broken/incomplete "Toy Story 3" junkyard play set piece I found in the thrift store, and decided to spray-paint and grunge-up to use as a background facade.  (It's not really intended for placing minis on and around, per se, so much as to have set up at the table to help set a street scene, since it's tall enough that it would block line of sight to any minis on the other side.)  While I was at it, I printed off little Fallout-themed posters (thank you Google image search!) to paste on it here and there for further "branding."




A bit of a digression, but here's Reaper #77188, Tiviel, Hellborn Rogue, mostly painted up as a sort of ... uh ... post-apocalyptic ... mutant ... thingy?  Okay, so there's nothing really distinctly Fallout-esque about her, but something about her outfit seemed more "modern-fantasy" than medieval-ish, so I started painting her up as a post-apocalyptic-themed figure.  The base was made using the same texture stamp I used for the Nuka-Cola bike's base, only here I tried to make it look like more of a broken-up surface.  Anyway, if I don't manage to get 6 "hero" type minis properly painted up in time, she's one of my fall-back options for a mini that might plausibly be turned into a pre-gen hero for the convention scenario.





And here's the front of the truck with a bit of "grunge" and scoring on it.  One nice feature of the toy is that while the cab and trailer can swivel, the cab can also be pushed in further to "lock" in place, so the whole thing can be picked up by the handle without the cab lolling and banging about.  It's too bad the thing doesn't conveniently split and open up like, say, the old original Transformers Optimus Prime toy, or I'd consider foam-lining the trailer and making it serve double-duty as a transporter for Fallout-themed minis.  :D

Edited by Jordan Peacock
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Progress on Rex:




Rex on bike, side-front view.





Rex on bike, side-rear view.


I haven't done anything to fix the rear "Nuka-Cola" banner yet; I've been focusing more on the rider.  I toyed with the idea of trying to use some Apoxie Sculpt in very small amounts to blend in the paper edges.  I've had some passable results in other applications in using the putty to "blend" edges if I apply a bit, make sure it bonds to the surface (super glue is typically involved) and then wet down the surface to wet-smooth it.  The trouble is that wet-blending and PAPER aren't likely to play well together.  I suppose the worst that happens is that I destroy the label and mess up the paint a little more -- which is what was going to happen anyway if I scraped the thing off and then proceeded to just "grunge up" the trunk a bit.




Rex, standing, front view.  I went back and forth on the base to try to blend the putty filler and the faint "diamond plate" base texture.  The diamond plate texture is so shallow that it becomes nearly indistinguishable with a bit of paint, even if I try to apply washes or dry-brushing to bring it out again.  I ended up just giving up on that, and instead I tried decorating the base with some more paper-printing elements.  In this case, I had several tiny NCR bucks that I cut out and glued down.  It doesn't say anything about Rex per se -- really, if I'd had another speed-limit sign handy, I might have just had one of THOSE littering the ground, and it'd probably fit better.


For Rex's shirt, I went with Nuka-Cola red, and tried free-handing some hint of an obscured logo.  It's bad enough that I might actually go back and try to touch it up with some paper-printed elements.  My thought was that if Rex is making a living tagging along with a Nuka-Cola delivery bot operating out of a robotic Nuka-Cola delivery TRUCK, operating out of a robotic Nuka-Cola bottling FACTORY, then he has a high chance of supplementing his gear with Nuka-Cola paraphernalia as salvage.  (Hence, he probably has a lifetime-and-then-some supply of Nuka-Cola T-shirts from the gift shop.)


As for facial features, I notice that the metal version of Rex seems to have some textured stubble, but the Bones version seems much smoother.  Nonetheless, it seemed as if something was going on with the chin, so I opted to give Rex a beatnik goatee.  I don't know that it fits the biker aesthetic per se, but I like the look for now.




A view of Rex's back.  "Blending" the edges of the logo only goes so far with paint.  In the photo, light still catches the top of the paper cut-out, making it all too obvious that the logo is cut out and pasted on.  I'd say it isn't as noticeable in person, but that's probably just a testament to my bad eyesight.

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As a Fallout Junkie I must say, Well Done!  Also there are some great fallout minis by Brother Vinni if you are still on the hunt for minis for this campaign.

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As a Fallout Junkie I must say, Well Done!  Also there are some great fallout minis by Brother Vinni if you are still on the hunt for minis for this campaign.


There are some awfully nice minis I've seen people paint up from Brother Vinni, hence I had to check the site out -- but it concerns me that the front page wishes me "Happy March 8th!" and offers a discount until "March 10th" (and did the same back in early August when I last checked it out upon embarking on this project).  I figure "we don't bother to update our front page for months on end!" isn't a great sign for doing web-business.


Anyway, most of my work is focused on the PCs (and sidekicks), and I only need so many of those.  For adversaries, I've got an ample supply of figures that can pass for swarms of rad roaches, rad scorpions, and a small army of feral ghouls and fiend/raider types.  Any more than a few super-mutants or combat robots and I'm just being cruel.  :)

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