View Full Version : Star Crashers! Starships explore and fight...

06-01-2010, 06:14
Hey all,

I made this game for someone's Xmas present, and it turned out great!

STARCRASHERS (http://www.ironhands.com/starcrashers.htm)

We've been playing pretty much every night. I made my own ships (pictured below), but you could use Legos, other ship models or toys, etc. In fact, I have some of the Yamato (Starblazers) mini-models coming so I can make another fleet... And if you are really cheap, you can just print out counters, based on my models (linked from the rules page above).

See if you can recognize any of the parts I used to make these! Whee!




See more shots of the fleets, and planets n' stuff, here:


I'll try to post more pics here as they develop. I have another fleet in the works thats coming along nicely- kind of a Cosmonaut-meets-gothic thing going on...

Yours in spaaaaaaaaace..........


06-01-2010, 07:34
FRAGGING AWESOME!!! Those are brilliant scratchbuilds, I am very impressed!

06-01-2010, 07:48

Takes me back to when I was using micro-machine toys for my own Star Trek combat rules.....

I too kept looking for off cast guns and missiles from old toys to use as ships.

What did you make the smaller bases out of?

06-01-2010, 13:50
Wow...just wow...really amazing stuff! Do you also have WIP pictures of your ships?

06-01-2010, 21:15
Thanks, all! Yeah, I used to have a bunch of the Star Wars and Star Trek micromachines toys, I now regret getting rid of them...

The small flight stands are.... roofing nails! I found some nice short nails with wide heads that work great for the fighters. For the bombers I usually glue a washer on the head of the nail for more weight / width / stability.

Pics before painting:


The fighters (x5) are just missiles taken from old GI Joe toys. The scout ship is also a missile, with a lego dish added. The Bombers (x2) are guns from a cheap action figure jet toy, with legos added, and turrets taken from an epic scale titan, I believe. The Freighter is made from toy and electronics parts, more Legos, and a piece from the Power Plant terrain kit. The Battleship uses Zoid parts, a Gundam shield, computer parts, more pieces from the Power Plant kit, and turrets from epic scale ork tanks.


Again, the fighters are cut down GI Joe missiles. The scout ship is a GI Joe bomb with a revised front end (Chemical Plant connector, Airsoft BB), and a tower made of bits from the Power Plant kit. The Bombers are made almost entirely out of parts from the Chemical Plant kit, with engine bits from christmas light bulb holders, and turrets from Epic tanks again. The Freighter is mostly Chemical Plant and Lego parts, plus a model tank wheel and wooden ball. The Battleship is a gun taken from another old GI Joe toy. I added turrets from an Epic Mega Gargant, Missiles from a Zoids toy, and Engines from the Chemical Plant kit again.

So the lesson here is: space ships should look like guns and missiles. :)

WIP shots of the new fleet coming soon...


06-01-2010, 22:22
So how big are these fellas? I'm really pondering about reviving my scratchbuilding projects soon! Maybe give your game a shot, but personally I'm very curious about trying something with potential 3d warfare.

07-01-2010, 02:59
The WIP shots above are pretty much 1:1 (fighters and bombers are about 2 inches long, the Battleships are 4-5 inches long). So far, I've managed to keep ship sizes between the fleets pretty consistent (though the bombers for the new fleet I'm working on turned out a bit large :rolleyes:).

The Fighters, bombers, and scouts are artificially large- I like seeing them all big and detailed, and can use my imagination well enough to picture them actually fitting inside the carrying ships. Needless to say, the planets, asteroids, and space in general aren't in scale either, or they wouldn't fit on the table :p

08-01-2010, 14:21
That's awesome!

captian Maklai
11-01-2010, 21:32
You sir are a genius, you know you might even be able to get it published if you talk to the right people, i think its really cool, by the way can your ships be completley custom?

11-01-2010, 21:32
New fleet inbound...


The battleship came out well, I think. And I finally found a use for that piece from the Emperor class Titan model I parted years ago... The feet came in handy too, for tying the round end bits to the square blocky middle bit. There's disposable razor heads there too, and monitor connector bits for the missile launchers. I revised the front end a bit since this shot...

The Fighters are parts from the two different size Sentinel toys from the Matrix. The bombers are all manner of little bits. I shortened the noses since this shot since they were frighteningly large for a bomber. The cruiser is a bazooka from an SD Gundam GP02 toy, with GI joe guns on the side. The nose is from the Emperor Titan of course, maintaining that gothic cosmonaut theme... The scout ship is all Lego, with a radar dish added. The freighter is an old Star Wars medical droid, though I'm revising it for a different fleet actually.


Here's the first Carrier I've ever made, just finished last night and destined to join this fleet.

Also pictured below is the alternative Freighter. When I started painting this fleet (pics coming soon), I didn't like the way the old freighter looked, so I made this new one. The freighter and the carrier both make HEAVY use of the Robotix toy parts, the carrier is entirely so except for the engines.

Painted pics coming soon. I have yet another fleet in the works too... :O

12-01-2010, 21:31
Oh yeah, Captain Maklai:

Thanks! I'm content to publish it for you cheap bastards for free, so enjoy! :P

As to customization- the rules are pretty simple, so as long as you can tell that a ship is of a certain class (Fighter, Bomber, Scout, Cruiser, Freighter, Carrier, or Battleship), you're good to go- put whatever you think looks good on there!

Aesthetically, I try to follow these guidelines:
Fighter- 2 inches long, skinny, fast looking, no obvious gunnery.
Bomber- 2 inches long, fat, some obvious gunnery.
Scout- 2 inches long, skinny, some kind of conspicuous radar or sensor gear.

Freighter- 3 to 4 inches long, chunky, no weapons.
Cruiser- 3 to 4 inches long, sleek, COVERED with weapons.
Battleship- 4 to 5 inches long, super chunky, plenty of turrets.
Carrier- 4 to 5 inches long, no obvious weapons, plenty of flat surfaces.

I'm toying with ideas for more ships, but I'll probably add them to the optional expansion rules, so I don't screw up the current (working great) core mechanics. Actually to be honest, we haven't even tested carriers yet, I'm still making more! But one ship I'm toying with would be another small ship (so it can be transported):

Grapple Ship (ore miner, tug, etc).- cost 1, 1 die, 2 dice for rams and salvages (and maybe rescues?). They'd be small models with crane arms, claws, drills, etc. on them. Whee!

Oh, and the Great Carrier Project of 2010 is still moving forward- this one's for the blue fleet (so of course it uses loads of bits from the Chemical Plant set):


The front end are bits from a Megablocks set, the railings from the Platformer model kit. Has kind of a Battlestar meets 1999 Eagle thing going on... which I guess is a good thing.


captian Maklai
13-01-2010, 16:01
Ok then, thanks, what about scale how many inches?

13-01-2010, 20:24
Ironhands, I have to say thank you for posting all these cool scratchbuilds here. Some really nice work! I am actually very annoyed with you as this merely provokes the scratchbuilder in me. Argghhhh not more projects, please!!! :P

That's a nice little rules set too, seems simple yet fun. Ever seen the rules for Fullthrust? More in depth but with the same emphasis on fun and using your own models.

Darn it, now I have to climb into the attic to get that box of GI Joe weapons...

13-01-2010, 22:23
Thanks, Ragsta! Glad to be a pain- er, motivator! Yeah, Fullthrust was a tidy game.

Captain Maklai- the sizes are listed in inches in that post above (now editing post to be more clear...)

Okay, as promised, painted pics of the red fleet (really more of a Burgundy, but the camera doesn't seem to understand that).


The carrier's next to be painted.

So the Great Carrier Project 2010 kept me up late again, I'm trying to make a new Battleship for the white fleet so I can convert the existing one into a Carrier. Well, actually, I already have done...


I just ripped the turrets off the carrier and added more decking (black). Just needs a bit of touchup.

The new Battleship is made mostly of the front end of a ship toy from Gundam, with lots of cable connectors and other crap slapped on the back. Still not 100%, I added for bulk so it wouldn't be mistaken for a cruiser- maybe it will all come out in the paint though...

18-01-2010, 10:11
Okay, major update on my Models Page (http://www.ironhands.com/starcrashmodels.htm), with COMPLETE shots of all 3 fleets. Yes, carriers too! Check it out. Or if you are lazy, just stare at this screen and you'll get a small glimpse of everything that's there now..., Oh yeah, the fleets finally have their own names now, cos' I made 'em up but good.




Oh yeah, there's a bunch of rules tweaks too- now you can encounter comets, cruisers are actually worth taking, etc.


...AND, the ship counters have been updated too (for the poor folk who are model deprived).


YOU'RE WELCOME! ;) Must Sleep Nowwwwrrmzzzzzzzz.... :o

Magos Errant
18-01-2010, 14:13
I really, really, like the ships, and the rules. Great job!

18-01-2010, 19:52
Hahhaah, Platformer Biotoxin Plant bitz!!! I have plenty of those lying about!!

Oh my goodness, I only just, while typing this, noticed it's you, mr. Ironhands! Awesome. I was wondering if you still used this forum. Glad you do!

Anyhoo, I guess the ships don't look as slick as say, Battlefleet Gothic stuff, but considering you used lots of cute bits and bobs, I am very impressed. I also really like how the colours you used besides the different designs make them really stand out from one another. They really are different factions!

Did you use any clothes-pegs yet? :D

19-01-2010, 10:25
Wow, thx for the link in the e-mail! I didn't know that you have logs here. Now I can look up even more terrain making tricks than before :) The fleets turned out great. I love the "old school" SF look. Hope to see some battle pics or even a battle report.

19-01-2010, 21:04
Thanks, everyone!

Hey Daniel36! Surely there must be some plastic Clothespins in there... wait- Yes, there's part of one on top of the Vostok Battleship. Also, the Terran capital ships use the tip of a pin half for their bridges. I'm particularly happy with the disposable razor heads on the Vostok ship, they worked nicely.

It's been fun modeling up ships in the "classic" SF style. I grew up with a copy of Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD in my book collection... ;) And just for fun, I've had eps. of Fireball XL5 on to keep me company while building and painting late at night :p

No full battle reports of yet, but here's a great moment from one game: The Terran Cruiser took a hit from an ambushing pirate, then proceeded to do a hit back to the Pirates- imagine them both hanging in space, smoke pouring out... So on the enemy turn, the pirates rammed of course: and with much jarring, shaking, and screeching of metal, the ships tied! (almost unheard of with the contested die system). The cruiser, bloodied but angry, managed to finish off the pirates on the following turn. A good example of simple rules creating quality drama!

Shots of the new fleet WIP coming soon...

20-01-2010, 14:03
Hey man, over at Troll Forged Miniatures we're also working on a potential space ship augment for Warspike (http://www.warspike.com/index.shtml), in an attempt to create a "realistic" space battles game and since you've created a space war game, perhaps we could toss some ideas at each other. You can find our discussion on 3d warfare over here (http://trollsforge.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=warspike&action=display&thread=1068).

Your models have started to tempt some of us to maybe give it a shot at building space ships, I've tried to create them in the past and might revive that project (scrapyard fleets...). :)

22-01-2010, 21:35
Sounds like a cool project, Malika! I'll dig around at some point...

So I promised I'd take a break for a while, but the urge to finish off just ooooooone moooooooore fleeeeeeeet... has me up nights again. For now it's dubbed the "cylinder" fleet, and I have this much so far:


I'm thinking of a Revolver style drum for the carrier (taken from a toy gun), with radial decks at the back and launch "holes" at the front. Engines and a bridge would attach at the center point. Haven't really got too far yet.

The battleship will probably be a cluster of 5 tubes for the main body, with a central tube in front for the bridge. Maybe.


25-01-2010, 20:56
Oops! It's done! How did that happen? :eek:


Okay, no carrier yet, but the Battleship sort of threw itself together so fast I forgot to in-process-shot it before the fleet demanded to be painted. :D A friend left some crazy old GI Joe-ish vehicle on my desk and all of a sudden this monster was born. Sometimes just the slightest inspiration can make stuff happen...

The Scout ship is made of an engine from one of those stupid Star Wars Transformers toys that always fall apart (the Arc-170, specifically). I added antenna bits from the Power Plant kit, and an engine cluster from some Gundam toy I parted.

I took a chance on the green color, but I like the way it turned out. It was supposed to be orange trim, but I don't have any orange enamels I like, so I ditched it for trusty old white.

I have a couple color schemes left I'd like to try out, so if any more fleets happen, we may yet see:
--Charcoal grey + Tan + Orange trim (black doesn't look so good in space)
--Silver! Shiny sleek metallic retro fun!
--Chris Foss fans are demanding some tiger striped ships...

Next project on deck are some Derelicts. I have a new encounter card and a new scenario in the works that will require some cool wrecked ship models. Should be fun to build, they can look like anything really...


30-01-2010, 23:17
Fantastic range of ships you've got, the fleets are all quite distinctive from each other, well done :)

01-02-2010, 03:46
Inspiring stuff! Five Stars.

Commissar Molotov
01-02-2010, 07:31
Brilliant models, looking forward to seeing more.

01-02-2010, 10:30
Those look great, and the rules are interesting!

02-02-2010, 12:24
Damn you ironhands! Damn you I say!

Those look bloody fantastic and you're making me feel guilty for not having had the time to produce, well, anything for my fleet to fleet fighting >.<

02-02-2010, 20:32
Thanks all, glad you're enjoying. We've been having a blast playing too!

So, here's the carrier for the green fleet, now known as the ALPHANS.

I did end up using a cylinder from a toy gun revolver, cut down and detailed. Other parts include Power Plant kit pieces and part of a Saturn V rocket.

Finished shot:

You can see more shots of the complete Alphan fleet on my models page.


I've also got the first derelict ship started:


I'm still ruminating on how to implement derelicts as an encounter card. There are so many possibilities! It'd be cool to repair and have it join your fleet, but all my favorite stories involve some horrific fate that befell the crew, lurking in wait for the greedy or foolhardy. Remember that Space:1999 episode, Dragon's Domain? Or the movie Alien? (Or even the movie Virus?)

Yeah, something like that would kick ass, especially if I could build a whole graveyard of ships. Of course, that sounds more like a whole scenario than just an encounter card... hmmm...


03-02-2010, 09:57
How about four or five different encounter cards, where one is randomised for each ship?

Basically, you'll have:

Viral infestation - Ship is lost and becomes a derelict X amounts of turns from now, any ship in contact with it will recieve the same fate (even before becoming derelict, ergo, repairs etc. will cause the contact ship to be infested, same for boarding parties onto other ships etc)
Contact with search party lost - lowers ship output due to manfall
Ghost Ship - nothing really happens. Something funky after the game perhaps?
Ancient technology recovered - damage bonus to ship who found it, as well as an additional X points if the ship finding it makes it out alive.
Only minor errors - ship joins fleet.

04-02-2010, 18:12
Some cool ideas Neknoh- in fact, too many for one encounter card I think! I've put some of them into the Derelict:


...and I'm saving the rest for a new card... the Alien Probe! It should cover several crazy epsisodes of Space: 1999 (and Star Trek IV to boot). It will probably be modeled as some kind of glowy sphere, courtesy of color cycling flicker bulbs. ;)


07-02-2010, 19:22
A plog of sheer genius and creativity. Fantastic efforts. Reminds me of the Rogue Trader days when your waste bin was a resource. Will you write your own rules or use an existing set of rules?


07-02-2010, 23:06
Fredmans, look at the first post! A full homemade ruleset for the awesome fleets.

08-02-2010, 00:14
Fredmans, look at the first post! A full homemade ruleset for the awesome fleets.


I was too busy looking at all those fantastic ships to understand that there was a hyperlink. I am currently painting my first spaceship ever, so it will be a fun read.


08-02-2010, 21:23
Enjoy, Fredmans! Be sure to give the game a try, it's been quite popular over here.

Derelict craft spotted... Approach with Caution.


So we played our first game with the derelict, and the thing was brutal. Three capital ships had their crews gutted by the thing before we finally just blew it into space dust. On a threat scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate it an LV-426. Considering how dangerous these things can be, I bumped the cash-in value from 2 to 3 credits. Mmm, Greeeeeeeed..... I'm also considering letting Cruisers and Battleships use their reroll for boarding attempts. And maybe giving Freighters their extra die...

Second Derelict in-process shots:

Finished shots coming soon, along with #3 in process. Yes, these things are appearing everywhere! It's for that Space Graveyard scenario... the ultimate way to playtest something new- make everything one of them! :P

09-02-2010, 20:40
Man that second derelict looks great ! I can't wait for that Space Graveyard now !

14-02-2010, 03:17
So the second game went better, we actually managed to board the derelicts (with some difficulty). Hanging onto them was another matter, however... Wait, did I say derelict-S- plural?


Okay, where was I? Oh yeah- we tweaked the rules some more- its even harder to hang onto a Derelict once you capture it! We'll be testing the HECK out of the rules tweaks once we have all of THESE done...





Yeah, busted three of these out in a DAY, 'cause I'm that good. Well, I have a good bits box anyway. And since some of these ships came out soooo nice, SOMEone's gonna want to play with them as a regular fleet. Something scrappy, like, er, the SCRAPPER fleet! Yeah!

Gonna need some fighters though... And if anyone's gonna have Grapple ships, it should be the Scrappers... Throw in a scout ship for good measure...


Also, I figure the Scrappers are the right guys to test out the Q-ship rules, what with all those freighter-like derelicts at their disposal. We'll keep you informed.

Look for painted shots of the new derelicts soon... like whenever I have some daylight and free time.


19-02-2010, 21:57
Oh yeah, missed one...


..and they're all painted now btw. AAAAH!



More shots on my page of course.


Painted shots of the Grapple ships coming soon!

Also, I'm sure once people see them in action, EVERY fleet will want a Grapple ship. *SIGH* No, it's good, really. I have some extra crane claws and such just sitting around, waiting to be used for such a purpose!


25-02-2010, 00:38
The SCRAPPERS have arrived!

Fierce Grapple Ships!

Reckless Fighters!

Bold Scouts!



Marvel at their resourcefulness! Cringe at their haphazard fury!

Scream in... uh, terror... at... well... we'll let you know how they do once they've had their first game, anyway.


04-03-2010, 20:33
Soooooo..... yeah, the Grapple ships and Q-ships were HUGELY effective. I suspect we'll need to tone the grapple ships down a bit, but we'll try a few more games with them and let the public outcry decide. :D I'm thinking instead of an extra die for rams and repairs, mebbe just a reroll? Throw in a reroll for rescues and it might be just right. I'm considering giving freighters an extra die for rescues too.

To mitigate fleet jealousy, there's a grapple ship for EACH of the fleets in the works.


Terran, Triton, Vostok, Alphan




04-03-2010, 21:19
Have you been able to work on all these ships with just a SINGLE chemical plant kit from IMEX? I mean, I know that there's loads of random bits on this blog but is it just a single chem plant kit providing all the plant related parts?

Always liked your website, Ironhands, not sure if I mentioned that before. Your painting style is also something I like very much. Scratchbuilds are something I like too (you may have noticed...) and I hope to produce more now that you've provoked me into further action!

Nice work as ever :)

05-03-2010, 03:15
The Chemical plant has, like, a Frajillion Qwabrillion parts in it. So, yeah, I probably haven't even exhausted 1 Chemical Plant kit, making the ships that use them here. Not to mention all the other bits that are too big for ships... Trust me, you get one, and the box feels like it is filled with porterhouse steak, there's that much plastic in there.

Note that only the Triton fleet, Pirates, and a few odds and ends really make use of the Chemical Plant. The Alphans make heavy use of the Power Plant kit- not nearly as much stuff in that box, but it's really cool looking detail.

Thanks for the kind words btw. My painting secret: Flat Enamels. They make great washes, they coat like nobody's business, they have a more realistic finish (not chalky like waterbase paints), and best of all, the smell drives away pesky children! :shifty:

Magos Errant
05-03-2010, 13:49
Oh yes, enamels; that's what I use on a regular basis for painting my minis. Lol, I agree about the smell though. :D

Great job on all the fleets, Ironhands!

10-03-2010, 06:10
Grapple ships are done! All fleets rejoice! Commence the tearing free of salvagey bits!


16-03-2010, 22:02
These Grapple ships remind me of the Junkyard Dawg from the Homeworld game! They add a little extra spice to your fleets, some cool stuff.

Can you tell me a bit more about your use of flat enamels? I am intrigued, perhaps next time you paint something a brief tutorial? I would just like to see what they can be used for really!

20-03-2010, 08:48
Wow! Your starships look fantastic! I wish I had the creativity to create such amazing scratch builds.

23-03-2010, 21:52
Thanks, Mark_Logue!

Jihad Ragsta: I did a painting tutorial for one of my 40K terrain pieces- it's totally different scale, but the techniques are pretty much the same.


Since this tutorial, the big innovation is using a silver Sharpie marker to pick out highlights on some models.

Also, the white ships are primed white and painted almost exclusively with washes. I try to paint trim colors ONLY on raised detail, to help me keep the lines clean. My freehand painting skills are nonexistent, because I'm not patient. ;)


07-04-2010, 06:43
Those are some pretty impressive models. I used to do that along time ago, Almost teared up. It's been so long, since I have sat down and just really crafted spacecraft and other stuff. Now I just model it in 3d! Been modeling all sorts of stuff for the past 15 years, only thing i remotely do that comes close to that is paint my own figures. Nice creativity and color. Love the color. I even laughed when I was able to make out parts used for spacecraft! It works! Great Job!!!

13-04-2010, 06:56
Wow, your ships are true works of art. It really makes me want to start building some too!