Friday, December 10, 2010

Ready-Made Minis

We all pick stuff up every now and then and think, "Yeah, I could make terrain out of this!" Well the same mentality can apply to minis as well! Both of these started life as single-piece, cheap plastic toys that come with the larger, much cooler toys themselves. I don't even think these were the toys, they were just the extra bits that usually get lost or thrown out. Above you see my finished pieces themselves.

I set out to make a couple of minis that wouldn't look like just plopping down toys on the tabletop. I also wanted to see how fast I could crank them out too. I decided not to paint them whatsoever, just work with what I had. Other than some touch-ups and putting them on bases, that was going to be it.

In the end I think I've got some pretty cool sci-fi minis that can be used in a wide variety of games, and now that they've been painted up, I'll have to find excuses to get them in there! So let's see what we've got.

The green egg thing is exactly that, a green, alien egg. It came packaged with a Wildcats action figure from, gosh, fifteen years ago. It's kind of ironic, because the same alien that came with the egg was once destined to go from action figure to tabletop minis as well. Who knows, he may still get the call to the majors some day. As far as the robot goes, well in my line of work you come across all kinds of stuff. This little guy literally crunched underfoot while outside one day and I like to think I rescued him. I know he's a "Zurg-bot" from the Toy Story franchise, I just don't know what toy he came with. He's rubbery to boot.

Instead of making 15mm terrain, or an objective marker out of the egg I decided to make it a living "thing"...floating as well. A spare bits square base, a flying stand peg, and a hobby knife did the trick. Already he looks good to go as is! The Zurg-bot is pretty good size, and he got plopped down on a medium-sized Warmachine base.

Minimal was the key, and the whole point of this project, so I tried to stick to that. I took some black paint and gave him some damage in key areas, then went back with silver and filled in the smudges a bit more for wear and tear. I took a black washed and applied it pretty evenly over the whole model, a little extra went into the areas with extra detail. Finally I applied three spots of red; one inside each of the blaster barrels, and one for the cyclopean lens. After all of that I just painted some white glue on the base and 'swished' him in some flock.

By far the eyeball on this thing took me the longest. Relatively speaking it didn't take very long, but still longer than I had intended. It looked pretty bare without something in there, so I opted (Ha! Get it, opted..optical, err never mind) for a big eye. Normally I would sketch out an idea first before I painted, but I was just winging it. Also, since there wasn't a coat of primer here, it was a little tricky painting directly onto the plastic surface which was a little slick. I'll probably go back and fill in the iris with some more paint at a later date, but for the most part I'm done here.

For the body I just used successive layers of green wash and in the end I was very happy with the glistening, alien look that was achieved. The gold rim around the eye just got a coat or two of black wash and I called it a day. For basing I just used white glue and instead of flock (too much overall green) I just went with my old faithful, "dirt #2".

So there you go, a couple of leftover toy extras that are usually relegated to the bottom of the toy chest now breathing new life on the tabletop. The eyeball thing could be just about anything alien and works in almost any scale, from a 6mm to 40mm. The robot could work in a number of scales as well and would easily play any well-armed AI role you might think up. So keep your eyes peeled and watch where you step, you might just find your next miniature in a very unexpected place!


  1. Holy wow! That eyeball is a thing of (horrific) beauty. I love it!!!!

  2. Yep, definitely a Zurg bot.
    They came with several sets, I think, but the most common was that two came with Zurg himself.

  3. You made me smile with this! Well spotted and good work - the effect on the eye is worth a lot of time!

  4. Good work. Nice cheap minis. I like the eye.

  5. Quick eyeball update, I went back in with a bleached bone off-white color and painted the iris part. I'll need to post another pic of it because it really made it 'pop'. It's too cool not to use on the tabletop, so I'll make sure the next time you see it, it will be in a bat-rep!

    Thanks for all the props as well guys, I thought you all would dig them!

  6. Very cool stuff and you are right on about keeping your eyes peeled. Nowadays there are so many wacky little toys that you can multipurpose for gaming that it's just not funny. The only limit is what crazy modding ideas you can pull out of your imagination. :)