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Bugs, Mr. Rico

Bugs, Mr. Rico

by Jeff Junker


Once in a while an oddball figure in an oddball scale will pop off the casting line to capture the imagination of modelers who ordinarily might not consider straying too far afield of their main interest. Fort Dusquense managed to pull off such a feat with their 150mm 101st Spaceborne,2010.

Cast in the traditional yellowish resin, this figure is a galaxy apart from the usual fare offered by the company that brings us Augie Rodriguez-sculptured figures and resurrected the D.F.Grieve line.

David Clarke’s Space Marine

Eerily reminiscent of the Bug Hunters of Robert Heinlen’s Starship Troopers – as well as evoking images of Ripley’s deadly minuet with the Alien – the Fort Dusquense Space Marine appears ready for action after making a “jump” onto hostile terrain. Presented here is how three modelers approached the task of helping Mr. Rico solve his bug problem.

Bugs, Mr. Rico

“I just got tired of doing figures that had to be historically factual,” commented David Clarke on what attracted him to the Space Marine. “Nobody can say it’s inaccurate.”

Most of the figures he has painted previously had been of the World War II genre, where critics seem to delight in point out alleged flaws.

Clarke primed his figure with Floquil light gray, then undercoated it with a mixture of Humbrol green. After four attempts at painting the camouflage, he settled on a futuristic version of the Tiger Stripe pattern from Vietnam. He used light field gray for the splotches.

Bugs, Mr. Rico

The gun was painted with US Army Dark Green. He added the hydraulic attachment between the upper arm and gun using Evergreen Styrene. Rod and tubes were used to simulate the metal piston and sleeves and hex patterns were punched from sheets for the connecting points. This maintains the robotic motif suggested from the hydraulic system, molded on the legs

The base was washed with an earth color, then drybrushed with Khaki drill. The palm frond is from Verlinden.

“The face was not molded well. There was a seam of extra resin on it that was hard to carve off without screwing up the face.” he added.

Bugs, Mr. Rico

He went on to suggest that some of Verlinden’s oversized 120mm heads would be a good replacement on this 150mm figure. The highly reflective visor was painted with silver, followed by Tamiya Clear Green.

Brian Hirsch’s Space Marine

“I saw this figure entered in a model show and said ‘I want it'”, said Brian Hirsch, who is known for his entries in the sci-fi category at model contests.

Tamiya acrylics were used throughout in his rendition of the Space Marine. He used black as an undercoat, and while it was still wet, airbrushed green over it. He followed this with gray green.

Bugs, Mr. Rico

He then lightly drybrushed the figure with Testor Steel Metalizer and applied a wash with a product called “Weathering”. The gun was painted flat black and gone over with gunmetal. In addition to adding a MV Lens, he used a valve stem core for the arm to gun connection. 1/72 SuperScale decals for the B-24 liberator provided the final touches.

“Putting the helmet on would have been the easy way out; I had to paint the whole face,” declared Hirsh on why he decided to leave his figure “uncovered”.

Bugs, Mr. Rico

The approach he took in creating the diorama was to have the Space Marine fighting an alien. Set amid building ruins, the alien appears to erupt through the rubble from the bottom of the floor.

The base groundwork is made from Styrofoam and Woodland Scenics plaster wrap; undercoated in brown, then highlighted with different shades of gray.

Bugs, Mr. Rico

The alien figure is one of a kind. It was originally supposed to be released as the companion piece for the Space Marine, but never made it into production. It was undercoated in black, then sprayed with Tamiya’s transparent green.

Chuck Theidel’s Space Marine 

Chuck Theidel, whose figure painting experience spans the ages (ranging from Ancients through World War II), primed the entire figure with Testor Model Master Flat Black.

He followed this with an application of a faded olive drab in keeping with his concept of current marine colors being projected into the future. He wanted to do this figure as a futuristic marine, not as a fantasy figure. (In fact, the gun looks remarkably like an experimental weapons platform currently being tested)

Bugs, Mr. Rico

The face was painted with Italian Light Sand, followed by a concoction of Flesh, Red, Yellow, Military Brown and Camouflage gray. It was a case of keep adding and mixing until you get a color that looks right.

Although the figure looks completely armor-plated, it is not. His basic BDU is a steel re-inforced fabric. The Flak jacket and leggings are molded over his tunic. The non-armor parts of the uniform were drybrushed with a lighter shade of faded Olive Drab.

The face presented its own problem: flash. A lot of care and time was required to clean up the area around the teeth and tongue. Other than that, it was a smooth casting with no air bubbles or pits.

Bugs, Mr. Rico

The only real critical fit was getting the left arm to properly line up with left hand. The left hand, lower right arm, and the gun are molded in one piece and attaches just below the bicep. You have to make a straight cut on the lower arm so that the gun rests against the fold in the tunic.

The left hand has to be glued to the wrist, and this is not as easy as it would seem. Gluing it at the wrong angle will result in a gap giving the figure a “stick” thick wrist. “I solved this problem by drilling a hole in the wrist and hand, inserting a pin to connect the pieces,” said Theidel. ‘I was able to rotate the left arm until it was seated properly with the gun and then glued it.”

The un-primed base was washed with military brown.

“Overall this was a refreshing and challenging change from the standard, run-of-the-mill ‘you must paint it this way’ figure,” concluded Theidel.

Bugs, Mr. Rico

The visor is dark green with four coats of Acrylic gloss clear. An added detail is the flexible cord attaching the gun to the upper arm. A tight coil spring was used. The kit came without decals. Shown on the figure is Verlinden dry transfers.

According to Theidel the only negative aspect to this figure is the helmet: it covers most of the face obscuring most of the detail. In addition, the resin casting plug was on the back of the helmet. “It was tricky trying to remove the plug and still maintain the shape of the helmet,” he continued.

Space Marine Repainted

by Dave Clarke

After spending about 3 weeks submerged in Katrina flood water, the paint on my Space Marine by Ft Dusquense started sloughing off. I removed the remaining paint with EZ Off oven cleaner and decided to start all over. Little did I realized that I would eventually start over four times because I didn’t like the way the first three re-paints looked.

The version that I settled on was the Digital Camo scheme. I based coated the figure by airbrushing Vallejo Ivory on it. The rest of the job was done with a brush using Pale Blue, Stone Gray, and Steel Gray.

The camo pattern was done by cutting a rubberized shelving mat (the type with the square holes) and using it as a mask. Tamiya masking tape was stuck to the holes in the mat after stretching it to the desired pattern. Each color used a differently masked mat.

Photos by Jeff Junker and Phil Novak