Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?!
Since I’ve been playing with my Diesel Pulp models and setting, several people have asked where a lot of the visuals and models come from. So, a post!
My just-for-fun Diesel Pulp “Weird War” setting has an aesthetic that I understand, but can’t necessarily articulate. As a result there are lots of miniature lines that have some material appropriate for it, but few that are entirely on-model for the idea in my head. For mecha in particular, I want to avoid things that are too anthropormorphic (I don’t want just diesel gundam), or too “goofy” (which is entirely subjective).
My Diesel Pulp world is focused on 1949, toward the last years of the First Global War, and after the long-running Ward of the Worlds, when Martian Walkers nearly conquered the Earth. This is a world where tracks are simply not considered reliable for front-line armor units (though anywhere wheels were used in the real world, tracks or wheels may still be considered acceptable, such as cycles and combat cars), and walkers are generally accepted as superior. Some advanced technology exists, mostly in the form of lightning guns, though individual nations have death rays (Japan), sonic weapons (America), wind cannons (Germany), rockets (Germany), freeze rays (Russia), and so on.
Walkers are divided much as tanks were in WWII, with heavy walkers, medium walkers, and light walkers. Mech Hunters take the Tank Destroyer role. Tankettes and infantry support vehicles are mostly replaced with mechettes (usually but not always very light walkers) and gun carriers (ranging from armored jeeps to extremely heavy powered infantry). Infantry ranges down from heavy infantry (full powered armor) to medium infantry (unpowered armor and often heavy weapons) to light infantry (unarmored, generally organized as real-world infantry of the time was). Different nations have a few other special units, such as German Air Cavalry (rocketpack troops) and Japanese Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (特別攻撃隊 “Special Attack Unit” – elite troops using Martian metallurgy for Samurai and Ninja style weapons) and Kikusui (“floating chrysanthemums”) kite-troops (the only nation to recreate Martian antigravity at a personal troop level).
Occult elements exist, but are rare and largely psychic in nature. Things like zombies and vampires might occur in tiny numbers, but not to the degree that troops on any side expect or prepare for such things. Germans have limited access to dinosaurs (with Allied rumors unable to determine if they are from someplace in Africa, someplace in South America, or from a Hollow Earth with a secret access point), which are mostly deployed in Africa as Donnerkavallerie (“Thunder Cavalry”). Germans also have surgically uplifted canine and simian units, though both are fairly rare (based on real-world German claims to have trained dogs to talk). Russians use Humpanzee troops (based on the real-world work of Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov), who mature very quickly, allowing Russia to maintain high-casualty-rate troop wave attacks, and who must almost always be directed by a Commissar. These are often call Organgos by other Allied units.
So, with that background, what miniatures do I like as aesthetic matches for my Diesel Pulp setting? This is just a partial list. Note that while I own some of these, many others I have just picked as appropriate, without the budget or space to actually acquire them.
AE-WWII (Darkson Design)
These are all difficult to get hold of nowadays, which is a shame. The Tumbleweed (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AE-WWII-American-T4-Tumbleweed-Tank-by-Darkson-Designs-/360853779570) is based on an actual idea from the 1930s and was featured in Popular Mechanics. It neatly matches my idea for American designs to include experiments not undertaken by other nations. Technically a light walker, (torturously justified with the idea it walks on its fins, though clearly it’s a rolling mech), the Tumbleweed’s three heavy machine guns and extremely heavy armor make it more than a match for anything with light armor, and utterly unable to take on any other light walker. As heavy infantry support it excels, but only America has the industrial capacity to built armor units designed to fight just infantry and unarmored vehicles. While the guts of thousands of Tumbleweeds were sent to Britain as part of the Lend-Lease act, the actual armor was so heavy it was considered cheaper to let Britain forge that themselves. Rather than do so, the British made Jackrabit gun carriers.
Most of the AT-43 line is much too sci-fi for my Dieselpulp needs, but the Red Blok mecha work well for Russian Walkers. I already have a modified Hussar (http://www.boardgames.ca/at-43miniaturesgamehussarredblokunitbox.aspx) and modified Urod (http://www.iguk.co.uk/products/hero-box-odin-01-manon-02-at43-6477.aspx) as Medium walkers, and use three modified Kolossus (http://www.boardgames.ca/at-43miniaturegameredblokunitboxstrielitzkolossus.aspx) as Russian gun carrier they think of as Heavy infantry. I could happily use a Molot (http://www.boardgames.ca/at-43miniaturegameredblokunitboxmolot.aspx) as another Medium walker, and a Dotch yaga (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/catalog/product/view/id/32605/s/rkh-rbc301/) as a heavy walker, if I could get them at reasonable prices.
Dystopian Legions (Spartan Games)
Most of Dystopian Legions is too Steampunk to fit well in my Diesel Pulp setting, but there are exceptions. Some Empire of the Blazing Sun troops (http://www.spartangames.co.uk/products/dystopian-world/dystopian-legions/empire-of-the-blazing-sun) work for Japanese Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (though not their “Ashigaru” troops), and the Rocket Corps (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/spgdlbs21.html) are perfect for the Kikusui.
The Ke Ho Ironclad (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/spgdlbs09.html) would make a great Interwar precursor to the American Tumbleweed from AE-WWII (if it weren’t so expensive). The Basset Takeneete (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/catalog/product/view/id/34459/s/spgdlkb33/) is a fine Tankette design, and I have two, which are likely to end up as Italian or Japanese Mechette designs.
The FSA armored infantry *might* work for Medium infantry, but the design looks a little too hurky to me. The normal FSA infantry (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/spgdlfs19.html) could work well for Brittish or German greatcoat troops, with a head swap and appropriate paint scheme. The FSA treadbike (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/spgdlfs33.html) is perfect for mechanized cavalry for Germany (who did half-track motorcycles in the real world, for heaven’s sake), against with a head swap. I thought I disliked the Brittania light dragoons (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/spgdlkb21.html) as too open-air, but have begun to wonder if they’d make good light mech hunters, designed to hit-and run with heavy weapons using something similar to tank destroyer doctrine.
The Prussian Teutonic Knights (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/spgdlpe22.html), however, make great German SS Heavy Infantry.
Dust Tactics (FFG when I was buying them, it’s less clear to me where to get them now).
I like all the German mecha, and all the regular light and medium infantry units. Like many miniature lines, there is a strong pin-up element to their female units, which annoys me but can be worked around with paint and green stuff. I dislike the 2-leg US and Russian walkers, and have other choices for those in my setting. The powered armor units generally look too modern for my aesthetic, and I have chosen different brands to fill those roles in my setting. I don’t much like the aircraft.
Most of these vehicles are too modern, but the GZG Spider HQ (http://www.daemonscape.com/contents/en-uk/d5.html) works well for an Interwar or light walker design. I suspect I’d end up making it German, despite my desire to give the US spider walkers, and my constant search for French, Italian, and Japanese dieselpulp walkers.
Several of these I don’t like, but a few are good for Interwar walkers, light walkers, or gun carriers
The Night Fighter (http://www.mekatank.com/robot_model_kit/mek48007.htm) looks like it either has a spotlight or a low-light system, making it a perfect infantry support mechette or gun carrier. It’d likely end up being German, despite my constant effort to find French, Italian, and Japanese dieselpulp walkers.
The Wolf I (http://www.mekatank.com/robot_model_kit/mek48001.htm) is pretty clearly an Interwar design, and I might make it Italian.
Secrets of the Third Reich (West Wind Productions)
This is one of the major Weird War 28mm lines, and there’s lots of stuff I like, and a little I don’t.
I love two of the four Russian spider walkers (http://www.westwindproductions.co.uk/catalog/index.php?cPath=126_210_195), the Hammer Jaw and Termit. I have one of each, which I haven’t put together yet.
My plan is to use these not as Russian walkers (I like my AT-43s for that), but as US walkers. This would make the US one of the only major powers to prefer walkers with more than 2 legs even at the Medium walker stage, and I envision them as sacrificing armor for stability and thus the ability to fire their main gun while moving (rare for walkers in my envisioned Dieselpulp setting). Also, they have manual gun loaders, which slows down their firing capacity compared to those with external magazines, but gives them greater long-term offensive staying power.
I’ll probably put Dust Tactics Sherman-style turrets on these – the long barrel on my Hammer Jaw, and flamethrower for the Termit.
Walking Tanks (Mig Productions)
At 1/35 scale all of these walkers (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mig-Productions-1-35-38TX-Walking-Flame-Thrower-Tank-35-653-/390498932093)( http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mig-Productions-1-35-38TX-Walking-Tank-35-654/320985345121?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D33431%26meid%3Dacfe6bd59c7d4e71af3b3bb2ac0e1ccd%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D2%26sd%3D390498932093)are going to be giants. I assume I’d make the US, maybe Interwar designs, but might change my mind once I had one on my desk. There’s a third model (http://www.hlj.com/product/migf35-651/Sci) that’s so clearly Russian I’d likely skip it entirely, and I am not a fan of its leg design.
World Without End (Clockwork Goblin)
It’s important to make sure you pick up the 28mm versions of these pics, and least in most cases.
I don’t like most of their Mech designs, but there are two exceptions.
The Grizzly Medium Walker (http://www.clockworkgoblinminis.co.uk/ourshop/prod_3246483-US-Grizzly-Medium-Walker-28mm.html) is *exactly* what I want in a 2-leg US walker. It certainly meets my needs for a US mech hunter. I’m not a fan of having two very robot-looking arms, but I may be able to rework those as weapon pods, or more claw/crane looking options, if I ever get hold of one of these models.
The German Spinne (http://www.clockworkgoblinminis.co.uk/ourshop/prod_3705723-German-Spinne-Light-Mechpanzer28mm.html) is really too light and small to count even as a light walker, but it would likely serve well as a gun carrier or mechette. I might make it Italian or Japanese rather than German, however, since my Germans have Heavy Infantry to fill this role. It reminds me a bit of the Fiat L 6/40 Light Tank, an aesthetic I might be able to augment if I made it Italian.
The Soviet Heavy Infantry (http://www.clockworkgoblinminis.co.uk/ourshop/prod_3254298-Soviet-Heavy-Infantry-5-figures.html ) is pretty good aesthetically, though the weapons are a bit too modern for my tastes. They make me think of Ned Kelly, and I was already thinking of using modified Kelly Gang figures (http://northstarfigures.com/prod.php?prod=7326) for Australian Medium Infantry, so this would work well as heavy versions of the same armor program.
Also, the 15mm German Heavy Mechpanzer Thor (http://www.imagereplicas.com/clockwork-german.html) still comes on a comes on a 50 x 64mm base, which means it likely could work for a light walker or mechette, which would compliment some of my plans for spider walkers from the US.