SciFi Saturday – Assault Scout Minis

Taking a break this Saturday from the ongoing "Asimov on Hyperspace" series -- it's time to add some Assault Scouts to my growing fleet of kitchen-cast miniatures for the Star Frontiers: Knight Hawks game. Below I'll brief you on the whole process:

I've got the mold made and now I'm in the kitchen melting the metal on the stove. (Actually, the rubber mold-making process from the original miniature itself takes a day or two, something I'll show another time.) Anyway: Metal bubbling happily on the stove.

It usually takes a few tries with a new mold to get it working right (a combination of metal heat, size of pour-hole connection, and how well I've talcum-powdered it in preparation). This was one of my better molds: pretty quickly I had four assault scout copies, as well as the bases, successfully cast. Below you can see the last one coming out the mold, still stuck to its pourhole: it snaps off nicely at just the right point. I prop up the hot mold to get air underneath and cool it off as much as possible. Old pourhole-sprues are waiting to get dropped back in the melting ladle.

Now I cut off some 2" lengths of wire and grab my "basement box" for the next step. I live on a 3rd-floor apartment, so I need to truck to the cellar and outside to do spray-painting and stuff. In the basement I will: (a) roll out the wire with a block of wood on cement to straighten them out, (b) clean the wire with some rubbing alcohol and a cloth, (c) super-glue the wire into the bases, (d) step outside and prime the ships (gray) & bases (black), (e) repeat a half-hour later, and (f) hope my elderly landlord doesn't throw them out as rubbish while they're drying.

Now I'm painting those assault scouts in my UPF color scheme: navy blue base coat, reflective metallic silver on top. I actually had quite a bit of trouble with this paint job (I redid it at least two or three times) because the small assault scouts have so much less physical detail, I wasn't getting much contrast between base and topcoat -- I was trying to dry-brush them for detail, and they still came out kind of flat. On the other hand, if lots of blue shows through they look battered and clunky and not sleek/fast. So at the end this was the best I could accomplish -- mostly silver all over.

Finally, after drying, they get glued onto the black bases. Not too bad, I don't think -- Sathar beware!


  1. This is awesome, but...what's an "assault scout." The two words that comprise the phrase seem to be mutually exclusive.

    Just saying...

    1. Possibly a fair point -- you might think of it as the "PC ship", that is, we use it for scouting-attacks-rescue-raiding, whatever interesting thing the adventure calls for (link). Analogous to the U.S. Navy VSB designation for a "scout-bombing plane" (link).