Thursday, March 17, 2011

Deodorant Container Scratchbuilding and Contest Announcement!

One of my favorite parts of wargaming in the early days was the need to construct most of our own vehicles from scrounged parts. It seemed like a natural cycle somehow that many of the kids I used to play 40K with would repurpose their GI Joe toys into vehicles for Orks or Space Marines. Toys long ago abandoned to the deep recesses of closets and garages were given a second life as bodged together death machines.
I had been building my own robots and spacecraft for years from model kits and junk. So when I found Rogue Trader it was like finding my true tribe. From issue #98 of White Dwarf and  for years afterward I painted and played various chapters of Space Marines. Although I painted far more than I ever played I love the openness of Rogue Trader and the fact that so many of the pieces in the game needed to be created from imagination, junk, and glue. Lots of glue.
The staff of Games Workshop in those days seemed like the coolest people I could imagine. They liked heavy metal, drinking, and playing sci-fi and fantasy games. They seemed smart but not too disciplined and had a work ethic that got things done. And in the early days of Rogue Trader when someone realized that the game had no vehicles to speak of, a brave man armed only with some junk and toy parts hacked together a legend. I am of course referring to Rick Priestley’s deodorant Grav-Attack Vehicle.

And the Michael Immig mini is aces as well!

Created from said container, spoons, and various Zoids bits this vehicle captured my imagination and led to an extended period of deodorant container shopping. Who cared what the scent was? I was looking for suitable transport for my Space Marine Chapter! (The Archangels sadly fly no more). And as my bits boxes were already overflowing with junk I was quick to get into the gluing and painting of these great little models.

It even got painted purple and fought in The Horus Heresy.

Over the years I developed what I jokingly call “trash bashing”. This involves using primarily discarded plastic bits to make terrain and vehicles for the various games that I wanted to play and rarely had time for. Building stuff was always more important to me than rolling dice anyway. Trash bashing tends to focus more on actual junk than model kits or toys, although these often get used for extra details. There’s a legend that on a dare I even made a piece of terrain from a used coffee filter. But like most legends is probably better left under-researched. Trash bashing was, and still is, great fun to me but it has one drawback: We all tend to accumulate mass quantities of cool looking garbage that never gets used for anything.
It is to address this gaming societal ill that I created the Camel Class Storage Transport or Camel Crawler. The main hull is of course a deodorant container with a scratchbuilt undercarriage and bunches of junk glued onto it. Since I’ve been working on buildings and miniatures based on our comic Yva and the town of Colton’s Curse I thought it would be fun to start building some of the vehicles found around town. This Camel is part of Tasker Mining, a mining company run by the unscrupulous Chad Tasker. Although it is not armed in any way it will be useful for gaming as a moving objective or just good cover. And since I only used bits that I already owned it helped to use up some of my garbage trove.
Tasker Mining for all your deep desert mining needs!

I based the design on one of my favorite classic arcade games, Moon Patrol, as well as Judge Dredd comics. Early 2000AD stuff is something that we draw from for a lot of Yva’s settings so I wanted something that looked like it was designed by the 2000AD crew. And if I ever get anyone to play the new Judge Dredd miniature game it’ll come in handy in Mega City One as well.
The game was tough when I was a kid but I've always loved these cabinet graphics.

I used a combination of cyanoacrylate glue, JB Weld epoxy, and standard model cement. Bondo polyester putty for gap filling and rebuilding some parts. Sheet and strip styrene for detailing. And a pretty odd collection of other greeblies.
This project was 100% inspiration and 0% perspiration.

After going over the whole model with sandpaper to roughen the surface, this is especially important with the deodorant container since the plastic it’s made of doesn’t like paint very well, I used Rust-oleum Multicolor Textured spray paint to texture the surface. This gives a very rough and pitted surface, one that is great for drybrushing but might be a little over the top for most vehicles. It works really well for buildings or for a vehicle like the Camel that must endure powerful sandstorms of the planet Coronus. I think it might also work well for any kind of cast metal like Victorian iron plate.

I then used Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Flat Black spray paint to prime it. This is one of my favorite parts of trash bashing, when the first complete coat of primer makes all of the odd looking parts suddenly come together as a cohesive whole. I then drybrushed the daylights out of the thing before adding some grime with Citadel Washes and adding some Tasker Mining signs to the sides. These were printed on an inkjet printer and varnished before being decoupaged onto the sides.
There we have it! The totally trash bashed Camel Crawler ready to roll over the sands of Coronus. Now to make a stega-tank out of my next container of deodorant...
This build was so much fun that I’d like to see what my fellow builders can come up with. Beginning on April 1st (no it’s no joke) and ending April 30th I will be accepting entires for the First Annual Roebeast’s Trash Bash Contest! I’ve already got $150 worth of prizes lined up from various companies and a group of gaming celebrity judges to make the big decision.
I’ll be posting complete rules and information next week (March 21st) so you’ve got a month and a half to use up some lovely smelling deodorant and get building. Check back at Roebeast’s Magical House of Sunshine for more information!


  1. I love it!
    The camel looks great and seeing the old citadel deodorant grav tank really takes me back. I always enjoyed kit-bashing, but trash-bashing is pure joy.

  2. That Rogue Trader tank certainly takes me back too. Your crawler is a worthy heir to the throne though!
    I may just have to dig through the rubbish stockpile...

  3. Will the scratchbuilding be limited to using deodorant containers? Or will it be any trash?

    You might want to look at the Wargaming on a Budget forum where we have a number of people who like to do this sort of thing.


  4. Thanks for posting the link to my blog on the group! For this contest the deodorant container will be a requirement so that we pay homage to Rick Priestley's original build. I'm hoping that since so many of us gamers are overly hygienic that there will be plenty of material to use.

  5. Great Idea - good luck with it!

  6. Bloody hell mate, that's one inspired (and inspiring!) build you made there...

    I've got a bunch of stuff waiting to be used for such a build exactly. Hm... Now I just need an empty deodorant stick conainer. The ones I use are glass bottles (but I've stashed away plenty of deodorant bottle caps, beautiful plastic domes that they are!)

  7. Very nice model. I love the logo.
    And a great reminder! Have to go to my parts box now ...

  8. I'm in.

    I've always loved that model in Rogue Trader, and always kinda wanted to try to do something similar.

    Methinks I'll be trawling the toy section of the Value Village for bits...

  9. I've got 2 olde crappy ones that were excellent back in the day. Perhaps I can pimp one of them out for this....