Thursday, August 4, 2011

"All Gone Dead"

Continuing with the 80s post nuclear project theme music: Subhumans "All Gone Dead" was always one of my favorite punk songs of all time. I used to think it was such a powerful expression of the fear of a nuclear attack. Growing up near TMI, I always feared hearing the sirens for either a meltdown or some other kind of emergency. Add to that some powerful movies from the time and an active imagination and nuclear war was something that really worried me when I was younger.

Today, as a history teacher, I sometimes find it hard to explain to young students the feeling of growing up during the Cold War. How do you explain the fear of the real possibility of a nuclear war between us and the Soviets? (What's a Soviet?) It's just hard to put into words sometimes without sounding strange or silly. Maybe that's because our worst fears from the Cold War never happened, but in light of our recent experience with real terrorist attacks, the 80s US vs Soviet nuclear war hysteria now just kind of seems like something from a strange dream or a bad movie.

I was a little young for the "Duck and Cover" of my parent's generation, but I remember well things like Red Dawn and The Day After (and then later, the blast scene from T2). Punk really pulled all of that hysteria and fear together into some powerful imagery and music. It all sounds and looks kind of silly now, but back then the feeling of fear was palpable at times.

Inspired by my teenage fears and taste in music, I decided my post nuclear what-if project needed some appropriate scenery to go with it. I need that burned out landscape. The ruins I already have covered. What I don't have is cars. Burned out husks of cars. Nothing says post apocalypse like burned out cars.

All I had in my basement was a box of 1960s die cast cars (Franklin Mint I believe). Most of them weren't worth much or were too bad a condition to sell. So I decided to wreck 'em. I took the windshields out and removed the tires (those never survive nuclear blasts). After Googling some pics of burned cars, I decided I wanted to go with a extremely wrecked and completely torched look. I kept thinking of the kind of cars you see in the future scenes of T2 and stuff like that.

Here is the result. They are 1960s American cars, but they look sufficiently wrecked to fit into any post nuclear landscape. I need a lot more of these though, and I plan on hitting the cheap die cast sources this week to see what else I can find.

The paint job is done by spray painting a base coat of Krylon Flat Camo Brown. After that I drybrush and stipple a gray primer color onto the flat areas and on the major body panels. Follow this with a drybrush of metal to stripped areas and other metal parts. After that I drybrush and stipple a rust brown color onto most of the edges, blending into the other colors. Finally, a last layer of bright rust orange is applied by drybrush to the edges and heavily rusted areas. A final very light drybrush of white overall pulls it all together.


Remember kids! Duck and Cover! (and kiss your ass goodbye!)

"We've Got a Bigger Problem Now."

Following up on the Soviets are my US in MOPP Gear. These are some amazing minis, with great detail and accurate weapons and gear. You can see the faces inside the lenses. I hope Eureka follows these up with more heavy weapons and support like they did the Soviets.

While working on the Soviets put me in the mood for Sisters of Mercy, the US called for some classic Southern California 1980s punk...such as the Dead Kennedys. The song I thought of most was "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now" off In God We Trust Inc.

Here are the first painted examples. I have to finish painting the pack with helmets to make a more complete force.

Group shot.

M-60, M-16s, and M-203 Grenade Launcher.

1/50th scale M113 Armored Personnel Carrier from Corgi. This was my first attempt at MERDEC camo, and I liked the way it came out. I never used to be a fan of that pattern, but I think it is growing on me.


Debussing from M113.

"Mother Russia Rain Down, Down, Down!"

I have been in an 80s mood lately. Especially after picking up Eureka's 1980s US in MOPP Gear (not on their site yet). I had been hoping they would release them to go against my Soviets, seen here. Eureka did not disappoint, with yet more amazing work by Kosta Heristanidis. These US in MOPP were released just in time for Historicon. Now my Soviets have something to fight other than zombies.

I really wanted to use these minis for a post-nuclear/chemical/biological grim and gruesome as that is. I began to look into some WWIII trigger ideas starting around the early 80s and came across some ideas from asking around on the TMP Modern "What If" message board and reading some of the other topics. Besides the massive NATO training exercises called Exercise Reforger (Return Forces to Germany), I came across this little lesser known trigger:

Able Archer '83

What if this had set off WWIII? It is an interesting what if, is around the right time that fits the miniatures, and it is a good wargaming scenario design basis for anything from full scale global nuclear war down to limited tactical nuclear exchange followed by conventional warfare. With this in mind, I got busy painting up the rest of the Soviets I had to finish and starting on my US.

Here are the Reds. You'll just have to forgive the amateurish artistic license I took with the photo editing. I couldn't resist the grainy film setting to help add some period style to the otherwise crappy pics I ended up with.

Command HQ.

Fire Team 1.

Fire Team 2.


For inspiration, I have been listening to Sisters of Mercy's "Dominion/Mother Russia".

"Mother Russia...Mother Russia...Mother Russia rain down, down down..."