The Sontaran Solution

First came The Sontaran Stratagem – wherein I came up with the idea of creating alternative 28mm Sontarans using commercially available figures…

Then came The Sontaran Experiment – whereby I bought some of these commercially available figures, assembled them and then ‘Jezzed’ them up a bit…

Now comes The Sontaran Solution – where I finish off the necessary tweaks to make them look like Sontarans and slap a bit of paint on them to see what the best colour scheme is.

But first, it’s the Eighth Doctor…

As mentioned in the last Forgotten Heroes post of this year, I wasn’t entirely happy with either the Eighth Doctor’s hair or waistcoat colour, so whilst I had the paints out, I decided to rectify this. Much better now, in my opinion.

Now, on to the Sontarans…

So, having decided that I was going to attempt to make recessed eye-holes in the Sontaran helmets, I dug out my soldering iron… which is, in fact, a wood-burning iron from a pyrography kit, which means that it’s slightly smaller and has a finer tip.

Using the left over bits I’d saved from my cutting of the domes, I tested the iron out on the plastic, to see if this would work before applying it to the models themselves. I also managed to apply the iron to my finger whilst doing this, which resulted in a nasty burn and the offending tool being called a Motherfucker…

Satisfied that it would work and that the holes created were of the right size, I went to work on each model. However, as the bare plastic was white, it was quite difficult to judge whether the rim of each eye-hole was flush with the dome surface or not.

Once I’d finished burning things, each model was given a base coat of Docrafts Dark Grey, which is more of a light grey, followed by a cost of GW Chainmail on all weaponry. And this was the result;

This highlighted (literally) a problem with using a soldering iron, in that each eye-hole had a pronounced rim, where the melted plastic had pulled out when the iron was removed, leaving them looking like the had bags under their eyes.

Out came a sharp craft knife and my needle files, to smooth down the ridges and bore out the holes a bit more. Once this was done to my satisfaction (and the helmet ridges superglued back into place, as each one came off when tidying up the fronts), I went online to look at the general colour schemes used by the Sontarans in their televised appearances.

I decided to go for grey and blue, echoing the more recent iteration of this race, so main body of each model was given a coat of GW Corax White, which I have mentioned before is actually a pale grey. The helmets and pauldrons were then painted GW Enchanted Blue.

Whilst the images I’d Googled initially showed that this was the only variance in colour on the newest version of the Sontarans, I felt this looked a little…bland, so the hip armour was painted in as well. And this is where we have gotten to so far;

This is the leader, as he is armed with a laser pistol and swagger stick.

Two of the rank-and-file Sontaran troopers, armed with laser rifles;

And the five man Sontaran squad; leader, three troopers and a heavy weapons guy, with shoulder-mounted BFG.

Whilst I’ve been mostly successful with tidying up the eye-holes, there is still a little roughness to the front of each helmet, which I am going to attribute to “battle damage”, so I’m not overly bothered by it, but if you’re trying this for yourself, a pin vice and suitably sized drill bit would probably be a better way to do this.

And to provide a sense of scale, here’s a Sontaran trooper threatening the Eight Doctor… who seems entirely unconcerned – possibly due to the half-consumed bottle of red wine he’s holding.

Pretty happy with how these have come out and it will just be a case of finishing them off. Weaponry will receive a wash of Docrafts Noir, with the remainder of the figure getting a wash of GW Marine Dark Blue. I think I will probably add some detailing to each gun and will paint in the belts, as I have now double-checked the uniforms and the belts ARE actually blue. The belt buckles will be painted in yellow, mimicking the colour of the symbol on the interior of Styre’s scout ship from The Sontaran Experiment;

BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 12, The Sontaran Experiment - The ...

However, I won’t attempt the cross, as it might just end up making them look like they’re members of the X-Men…

Until next time.

14 thoughts on “The Sontaran Solution

    • Thanks Dave. Just needed to finish off the Doctor properly. As for the Sontarans, I consider mine to be the next version of them, so they echo, but don’t copy what has gone before.

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    • Thanks Simon. I had a feeling you’d approve. They may take a little more effort than buying stock official figures, but you get more options doing it this way. I’ll need some more ‘bulbs’ before I increase my forces, but now I’ve proved it can be done, I’ll know what to keep an eye out for in Poundland.

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  1. What a great solution Jez although I may have baulked at the idea of plunging a red hot soldering iron into my shiny new miniature! A brave, bold and successful move Sir!

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    • Thanks Michael. As I had plannned this in advance, I did specifically keep the offcuts, as you never know exactly how diffrtent plastics will react to direct heat. I’ve used this technique to add transparent plastic wings to a Heroclix figure, without resorting to glue – just melt a hole and shove thr wing in before the plastic sets. Another trick I discovered is that the styrene used for plastic figures will soften and bend when blasted with a hairdryer, so if you want partially melted figures, such as radioactive zombies, this is a simple technique that doesn’t involve any hot metal, so less chance of injury.

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    • Thanks Roger. I’m pretty pleased with how they came out, as I was *fairly* certain it would work, but sometimes it doesn’t. However, whilst my hit ratio is pretty good, my fails have also resulted in rethinks which end up better than the original idea.

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  2. Great work on these, and the colour scheme is excellent. It’s a shame the helmets caused you so much hassle though.

    I have a soft spot for The Sontaran Experiment (alien spends a couple of days buggering about in the Brecon Beacons) but my fave story featuring the space potatoes is The Time Warrior.

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    • I’ve yet to suffer serious injury pursuing my hobby, Matt, although I did once slice open my thumb with a scalpel which resulted in a trip to the casualty department, so a welt on my finger I can live with.

      As for the Sontarans, whilst they have been used as comic relief in their last few appearances, they are an iconic Who foe and deserve some meatier tales. Damn sight better than skirt-wearing space rhinos…

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  3. Love how they came out! I didn’t know “motherfucker” was a word used over there, Jeremy; I thought it akin to calling someone a “tosser” over here. Not something usually heard. Sorry about your finger, but the story did make me laugh.
    Your post also reminded me that I’ve long wanted some Mantic Forge Fathers…although for what reason I couldn’t really tell you.
    I just want ’em. Because they’re dwarfs. In spaaaaace!

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    • Thanks Keith. Exposure to American media has made it more common, along with those who attempt to adopt a “gangsta” attitude. I tend to use it with reference to tech that doesn’t work as it’s supposed to. And whilst painful at the time, it was relatively small.

      As for the Forge Fathers, they were ideal for my purposes, as well as being pretty cool figures anyway. I was tempted to just assemble them as was, and then paint them as Sontarans, but decided to try and at least attempt the domed helmets.

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  4. Hi Jez. That’s a pretty neat job on those Sontarans. They are a bit of a favourite of mine, probably because if I DID get into Doc Who in a big way, the wargamer in me would (sooner or late) doubtless feel that driving need to play out some of those epic battles episodes from the Who-verse: and the idea of fielding a large Sontaran armies is rather appealing, and would fit that bill perfectly.

    Sadly I`m not `feeeeeeling` Doctor Who right now, and its low on my persona agenda, behind Waterdeep, Core Space, Sigmar and Russian Front (with Necromunda creeping up the field to front line place… but that’s a project for next January). But regardless of that, I know a thing of beauty when I see it 🙂

    Nice work.

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    • Thanks Steve. I understand completely. Sontarans are a good choice for a more serious wargamer, as you can then pit them against Gallifreyan guards, Daleks or Cybermen, but my initial foray was to see of I *could* make some. Will need some more components if I want to expand my forces, but it’s certainly now an option.

      And you have plenty of other irons in the fire, so I appreciate your support and comments with my ongoing Doctor Who project. There will be further games/episodes to come in my version of the Whoniverse, but it’s finding the time to set up and play them.

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