“These ARE the Droids I’m Looking For…”

Regular visitors to this site may have noted that I haven’t been particularly active over the past few weeks.

Well, gaming-wise, at least…

I have been busy doing other stuff. Like making my first visit to Scotland and the town of Edinburgh. This was a planned trip, probably the last holiday I’ll have with my entire family, as my oldest has now moved out and my daughter has just started university.

So, four days in Edinburgh, during which I climbed to the top of Arthur’s Seat (251m) getting to the top before every member of my family…

“Smug? Me? Naahhh…”

And on the suggestion of Stevie, booked an excursion BELOW Edinburgh, into one of their famous underground vaults, which was very atmospheric and mildly spooky, as you can see from the picture below:

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I also took a fair few photos, mainly for reference purposes, but shan’t bore you with lots of pictures of interesting buildings, bits of Edinburgh Castle and Potter-eque alleyways, until such time as they become ideal for whatever tale I’m telling. However, this warrants showing – a genuine hexagonal Victorian postbox:

Not only did I have a nice break in Edinburgh, this was followed by moving my daughter into her halls of residence down in Portsmouth, which was a full-on busy day, so you can understand why I may not have been particularly active hobby-wise.

However, I have managed to get a few bits done on my ongoing alternate Star Wars project.

I realised that whilst I had my Dominion and Union troops, I needed a few characters to make my universe more rounded. So, looking through what multi=part plastic figures I did have, I created a ‘Protocol Droid’ by taking off the distinctive handlebar from one a Warlord Games Cyberman, combined various components from both a Void 1.1 Viridian Marine and a Junker with a few other bits to make a ‘bounty hunter’ and put together my free Legion of the Black Sun Necromancer to be a corrupted ‘adept of the Dark Side’. Once these have been fully painted, they will receive full in-universe designations, but for now this gives an idea of where I’m going with them;

But wait, there’s more!!!

Having found myself with an unexpected free evening, rather than waste it trying to find something specific for this project online (which I finally managed to do – see later in this post), I bit the bullet, got the paints out and sat down for a bit of an undercoating session – and achieved a fair bit.

The Union Militia were all undercoated in Docrafts Linen, their weapons in Docrafts Noir and a couple of them had their armour painted in Docrafts Jungle Green, as I’d decided that the Militia colour scheme would be predominantly tan and dark green, so inspired by the Rebel Commandoes, but not an exact copy. Skulking in the background is a GW Adeptus Arbites, which I intend on becoming another ‘bounty hunter’ for this universe.

My Dominion Legionnaires had an undercoat of Docrafts Noir, then were spirited off into my garage and were sprayed with some Poundland Gloss White, to try and give a bit of fast shading – which kind of worked. It does give a better indication of how they will end up – and yes, there are a couple more than there were last time. Remember, the Dominion IS Legion…

Incidentally, the ‘corridor’ I’m using as my backdrop is the free sample of the Dungeons & Lasers modular scenery that I mentioned in my previous post. I decided to de-sprue it and have a bit of a play. It’s good stuff solid, robust, well-detailed and how it goes together is really clever and simple. I’ll definitely be getting some of this stuff when it’s released, but if anyone wants to ‘late pledge’ for the Kickstarter, go here.

My Dominion Outriders were also given a similar treatment to their more heavily armoured brethren. I also shortened the Sharpshooter’s rifle, as once it had a lick of paint, it was obvious that it was too long. I still think they’re pretty cool and am looking forward to painting them, although for a full squad, I need to build three more Outriders, as the Sharpshooter doesn’t count.

Finally, I added some paint to my character models, although things did not go quite according to plan with some of them.

My ‘bounty hunter’ got an undercoat of Docrafts Dark Grey with his gun then being painted Docrafts Noir. The ‘protocol droid’ I had issues with – it had an undercoat of Docrafts Bronze, then a coat of Docrafts Shining Gold. However, for some reason the silver-grey plastic it was made from was still showing through the paint, so I then undercoated it again with Docrafts Noir and it now is the dirty brass colour you can see below. Archon Corax, my Vader surrogate, I tried to be clever with, by undercoating him with Gunmetal spray.

This was NOT a good idea, as this type of metallic paint relies on small particles to reflect the light and whilst this works fine on a larger model, like the bunker, it obscures the detail on figures, so I had to get out the nail polish remover and cotton buds to remove most of the spray paint. I left it on the lightsabre blade, as I thought this would help making it ‘shiny’. However, the rest of the figure got an undercoat of Docrafts Noir.

The final figure was the corrupted ‘Dark Side Adept’, who got an undercoat of Docrafts Dark Grey (which is actually quite light, as you can see from the pictures) and his pistol painted in Docrafts Noir.

Having read this far, you might be wondering how the title of this post relates to any of the preceding subject matter.

It doesn’t.

However, I will now explain. As this project progresses, I find myself populating my Star Wars-inspired universe with various figures to serve as proxies for the various troop types and ancillary characters. I have my Rebel trooper proxies and I have my Imperial Stormtrooper and Scout Trooper proxies. I also have Jedi proxies, both Dark and Light (although you haven’t seen the light one yet) and a couple of bounty hunters. I also have my first droid, but this was, up until recently, a bit of a stumbling block.

Humanoid robots are relatively common from several manufacturers, so finding figures for protocol, assassin or combat droids is quite easy. However, if you want proxy Astromech-style droids, you would have to buy either Fantasy Flight Games or the old Star Wars Miniatures game ones – which could prove a bit pricey, or make your own – which could prove to be a bit fiddly. I did find and download a template to make 1:50 scale papercraft R2 Units is a variety of colours, but this looked like it would try the patience of a saint – which I am not.

But Master Crow’s Web-Fu is strong…

Way back in May of 2018 Michael Awdry, of 28mm Victorian Warfare fame, was painting up some of his Imperial Assault figures and happened to mention a company called Combatzone Scenery, who made/make resin-infused plaster scenery for Imperial Assault, with which you can replace the cardboard tokens that come with this game. As I was not involved in a Star Wars-y project and did not own the game, I didn’t pay this much attention at the time.

However, my extensive practising of my Web-Fu in search of suitable proxy Astromech droids flagged up this picture:

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Following the link back, I found that this was the Robot Accessory Set from, you guessed it, Combatzone Scenery, in which you get 14 robots cast in resin “compatible with 28mm skirmish games such as Star Wars Legion, Warhammer 40,000 or Infinity”, available to purchase for £15.00. That works out at about £1.07 per robot. The cheapest official Star Wars Miniatures Astromech droid (R5-D4) I could find was £2.99. Okay, so they’re not exactly right if you’re a Star Wars purist – the MSE droids are too big, the GNK droids have their legs in the wrong place and the R5 units have the wrong number of eyes – but for my purposes, they’re ideal. They look close enough to the source material that you will be thinking Star Wars, but fit in with my slight tweaking of the universe. And they’re £1.07 each…

Incidentally, if you play Imperial Assault, Legion, X-Wing or Armada, check out Combatzone Scenery, as they have a wide selection of products that will enhance your games. Similarly, if you play Super Dungeon Explore or other Chibi style games, they have a whole section devoted to this genre too, so well worth a look and very reasonable too, compared to the cost of the actual official game components.

Join me next time for more Star Wars inspired fun and remember, just because you happen to bump into me at a wargames show, doesn’t mean I’ll let you take my photo…

16 thoughts on ““These ARE the Droids I’m Looking For…”

  1. Looks like you had a great trip to Edinburgh, wonderful scenery up that way !
    Your alternate Star Wars is coming on nicely, and great looking proxies, Combat Zone have a wide range don’t they

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    • Edinburgh was rather good and we were quite fortunate with the weather. And the excitement at finding that they were filming ‘Fast and Furious 9’ while we were there was tempered by the fact that film sets are actually quite dull.

      I was also quite pleased to have been able to progress my figures somewhat and think I may have found a suitable Dominion APC, so things are coming together nicely. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • First time there and would certainly do again. Was there just after Fringe finished, so wasn’t insanely busy.

      And D&L’s stuff is really tempting, but I don’t currently have enough spare capital for the minimum pledge level, so I’ll have to until it’s on general release and buy in instalments.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good spot on the Combatzone scenery. I will be interested to hear how the droids come out and if they are resin of the resin reinforced plaster that they use. As a company, I find them great to deal with.

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    • As far as I can tell from the website, they’re resin rather than plaster. As they’re on my wishlist, but not yet ordered, I will give an overall review of rhem once I’ve got my hands on them.

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  3. For more droids check out the “maintenance droid” at Irregular Miniatures 28mm SciFi range (there is a photo) a bit boxy and basic but it does have three legs.

    The “Battle Droid” is a bit naff though (no picture) so I’d avoid that one, might be a few other bit that could populate a universe on the cheap though.

    Best of luck, cheers Roger

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    • Nice to hear from you, Roget! And thanks for the reminder – I will definitely check them out. Of course, Khang and the Retrovians will be joining this project, so expect to see some familiar faces ‘Jezzed’…

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  4. Its coming along nicely, and an interesting approach to a well worn subject (well worn in good way I might add). Amazes me how much Star Wars seems to appeal to newer generations just as much as those of us who were there at the concept.

    Love Edinburgh. Spent a lot of my early life there, and the Royal Military Tattoo is simply to die for… well worth a visit to that.

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    • Star Wars as a concept and universe to both visit and adventure in – either via roleplaying or wargaming – has such depth that it appeals to those of us who were there at its inception and those who are experiencing it for the first time. My son decided that he wanted to watch the original trilogy recently (which I don’t actually own on DVD, oddly enough) and when I asked him what he thought of the first movie and he said he was surprised how well it stood up when compared to today’s movies.

      As for the project, whilst progress is gradual, it is continuing and I am still enthused about it.

      Edinburgh was lovely and I would definitely go back – failed to visit the Frankenstein-themed bar in the old church for one thing or had a drink in “The Last Drop”, which is the best name for a pub…EVER!!

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  5. As may be expected, I would certainly check out the RMT, as well as the Bagpipe Museum in Edinburgh, should I ever be fortunate enough to travel there.
    The project looks like it’s coming along nicely, FWIW, I think you made the right choice shortening the rifle barrel.
    I “play” Imperial Assault if you consider painting up the core set and some additional miniatures and running a couple of games once or twice until your gaming group fell apart “playing”. (Yeah, that sentence just doesn’t seem to work.) Still, I’ll check out Combatzone.
    Oh, and hi, Roger!

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    • The RMT had just finished when we visited and they were dismantling the stadium seating, which was a spectacle in itself. The bagpipe museum didn’t come up on our radar, so wasn’t even aware there was one.

      I have more plans for this project, including more variant troops for the Dominion – the Heavy Assault Troopers, more commonly known as Siege Troopers.

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  6. oO I hope you took more of those old Edinburgh photos, I made sure I shot an entire camera full, to use in games for atmosphere when the game calls for just that perfect snap.

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