Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Model Making: Pulp Scenic Ideas

As I slowly progress my Pulp Sci-Fi Habitation Dome terrain piece I have been slowly developing various ideas for furniture and other items to fill out the spaces inside the dome.

I had already settled on the different uses for different rooms, kitchen, workshop, lab control room etc. But the big question was how do I make this stuff, will it look suitably retro sci-fi and finally, how can I do it without spending too much time on it…

My first option was to use some ready made resin scenic pieces, such as those available in the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang range from Copplestone Castings or or the sci-fi scenics from Scotia Grendel Productions, however, neither of them really caught the retro sci-fi feel that I was looking for.

The thought of making it all from scratch was quite a daunting one, and I suppose has been the main thing that has caused the stalling of the project. However, even though I haven’t been working on it recently I have been keeping my eye open for suitable items that I could use.

Some time ago my sons had a Happy Meal from McDonalds and returned with some odd little (totally pointless) music players, in due course one of them stopped working and was about to be disposed of when it occurred to me that it might work well as a retro computer so that was added to my pile of bits.

Hab Dome Computer

Now having found both some 15mm sci-fi tanks and the “retro computer” from McDonalds Happy Meals, I have since been keeping an eye on the toys that my sons gather from their (very occasional) trips to fast food establishments.

McDonalds Star Wars Walker Tank, ideal for 15mm gaming!

Just recently McDonalds have been running a series of science related toys based on the cartoon show Johnny Test. Now most them are of no interest, but two caught my eye and had a definite pulp feel to them.

Johnny Test 1

Both of these have real possibilities for biohazard chambers, growth tanks or hydroponic tanks.

As soon as I saw them I immediately did a search on Ebay (there is quite a market for McDonalds toys on Ebay). Found several listings for the ones I wanted, and bid on them. You can almost certainly pick them up for the starting price (usually 99p + postage) so I managed to get two or three of each.

I have held off posting this article until I had what I needed, but there are plenty more being listed if anyone else would like some!

Johnny Test 2

McDonald’s toys always seem to come fitted with a type of safety screw that requires a triangular headed screwdriver. However, it is possible to force a 3mm flat headed screwdriver into the screw and undo them with some care. As I don’t plan on putting the screws back in, I could of course have simply drilled them out. But, as I managed with the flat headed screwdriver, I didn’t need to resort to that!

Johnny Test 3

As you can see the two toys strip down fairly easily. They have four screw holding them together and no sign of any glue anywhere.

Johnny Test 4

This was the bit I was most interested in disassembling. To make the chambers I am planning I really needed the inner (spiralled) part to come out leaving a plain tube. Fortunately I got my wish!

Johnny Test 6

As for the spiral and inner mechanism, they go straight into the bits box, I am sure I will find a use for them at some point.

Johnny Test 5

Now, to reassemble the chamber and see how it looks… Perfect! This will do nicely for my Habitation Dome hydroponics lab. I also have a couple of spares on their way that will be great for any pulp games I create in the future. I can already see a Weird War scenario with a mad Nazi doctor creating zombies or superhuman storm troopers in one of these things!

Johnny Test 7

Now on to the second one. This one also came apart very easily. However the inner part, rather than being a clear tube, is actually mirrored plastic. Not so useful…

Johnny Test 8

Still, I can always use it as a teleportation chamber, or possibly line it with some mirrored card and flex some clear acetate in to cover the front, making a suitable chamber!

This is as far as I have got with them at the moment, but I thought it would be worth pointing these things out to any keen pulp gamers out there. I don’t know how long they will be available on Ebay, so now is the time to track them down. Good hunting. Here is the Ebay search that should find them for you.

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