Thursday, 16 February 2012

Life but not as we know it...

Well my minis are undercoated, ready for painting later in the week.

A new batch of GZG and minis from The Scene arrived yesterday (thanks guys!) so they'll be put to good use in the very near future.

Also a bit of good news from Khurasan - appears that there'll be some "Men in Parkas with Guns" available shortly by the sounds of it - no idea what they could be used for though... ;-)

This does however, mean that this post is all about those loveable non-human companions that every good sci-fi show/film/game must have, Aliens & Robots!!!

They've been there all along, from the early days of Metropolis through to the far-flung reaches of the galaxy in innumerable games such as Borderlands and the retro-world of Fallout...

These are some of the lesser-known or plain forgotten about gems from the past, in no particular order and not an exhaustive list by any means - that would take forever and four days!  I list them here to hopefully give you some ideas to use in your games.

We'll start with a game I used to own on the spectrum - Shadowfire.  The game itself is annoyingly hard especially if you're only 5 (at time of playing it!) so I remember it more for the box art than anything else, which included a diverse number of suitably odd characters including some robots and excellent aliens:

As you can see, in addition to the standard bald guy and woman with dodgy 80's sci-fi hair, there are, nestled in behind more relatable characters, the robots - a dodgy silver monkey thing and the more enigmatic flying green orb!  The orb in particular is a staple of many a sci-fi franchise, from Star Wars through to Fallout.  Also in attendance are the standard bird-man (Mad Robot Harook possibly? Just add wings!) and the tusked bounty-hunter thing (I have no idea what that could possibly be... although there's bound to be a mini out there for him).

Moving on we jump to a film from 1983 - Space Raiders!  Generally people who I talk to about this film dislike it as it re-uses many of the special effects from the excellent Battle Beyond the Stars, I quite like it because of the varied crew on board what used to be Nell (please don't say you don't know what Nell is... the spaceship with the sassy attitude!):

As a side note, one of the alien actors went on to portray Hawk in Buck Rodgers...

Plenty of scope for creating a crew for your games here - a Uhl maybe? Garn? a little bit of greenstuff would go a long way...

I'll now move onto Robots alone, both nice and not so...

First up is Silent Running, a brilliant little film starring Bruce Dern, with Hewey, Dewey and Lewey, or as I call them, the "Triumvirate of Trash"!

Ok, I admit, I'm bitter because Bruce Dern knocked over the yellow one (which is obviously the most awesome, being yellow) and to be fair they do look like Artoo's poor relative:

They do the job as good companions though (check out GZG for some inspiration...) and they are some of the good guys of the robot world.

Now we move onto the grey area - Disney's The Black Hole.  I say grey area because whilst the film is good, with the cast it should have been better - Ernest Borgnine and Topol! Come on!

Anyway, onto the important bit:

The robots, the good: VINCENT, the bad: Maximilian, the ugly: BOB (not his fault, being part of the Bio-Sanitation-Battalion... honestly).

Maximilian is an exceptional creation (although not strictly a robot - I won't tell you just in case you haven't seen it) and is purely evil - some of the things that he does in this film are horrific - hammer horror horrific - I was stunned that it was even allowed in a Disney film - seems there's talk of a remake as well.

Maximilian in all his glory:

Finally, there is my favourite bad-guy robot in any film (including Terminator), Hector from Saturn 3.  If you've never heard of Saturn 3, it stars Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel and Farrah Fawcett.  Hector is the main star though...

The only word I can use is "menacing", Hector is the scariest robot on film.  Ever.  If you're old enough and can find a copy - watch it.  It's a film that can be a bit slow in places although that is down to the time it was made, it went for a more story based narrative than action, which worked well in my opinion.

Hector also has the distinction of having the most disturbing act for a robot on film - just watch it and see if you agree, I'm open to suggestions if you can find one worse.

So, there we have it, random companions and antagonists for your gaming pleasure, must now find Hector in 15mm to run around my Star Base tiles...

Hope you enjoyed and got a little inspiration!


  1. Hewey, Dewey and Lewey are probably my favourite robots from film, quite believable as well.

    I've got a pack of the GZG ones that resemble them.

    1. Check out today's post - don't think you'll be disappointed ;-)