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Toby

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The latest (and slightly incongruous) addition to my skeleton robot/Necron/Terminator project is this robotic dog, Toby.

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Toby is an unusual character from the well regarded “The Ballad of Halo Jones” story written by comics legend Alan Moore in the eighties.  The character was visualised by Ian Gibson.  I wont spoil the story (even if it is thirty years old), but I will say that Toby is a talking robot dog with some security duties.

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I have had the Toby model (which came from the Wargames Foundry 2000AD line) for a while but I hadnt worked out what to do with it.  While I enjoyed the Halo Jones stories, they dont lend themselves to miniature gaming in any way that strikes me.  Toby is the only figure available from that strip anyway, so the model languished unloved for a while.

This bugged me as as I really like the crazy Ian Gibson design which was in turn  translated extremely well into miniature by sculptor Tim Prow.  The problem was that I needed a gaming role for the figure or else I wouldnt paint it.

Then as I was working through my skeleton robot project I had an idea that I could fit Toby into that.

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“Where is it Toby, huh? Huh? Wheres it gone? Whos a good boy! Are you ready Toby, huh? Huh? There it goes! Go get the Ressurrection Orb Toby, go on! Good boy!”

Among other things I plan to use the skele-bots as Necrons in future 40k skirmish games.  The modern take on Necron Lords is that many of them are aristocracy preserved for eons in mechanical bodies while their already tenuous grasp on reality degrades over time.

The ruleset that I plan to hammer into shape around my 40k skirmishing features an “Unhinged Toff” archetype as a bad guy leader.  In that rulebook the silhouette of the Unhinged Toff is shown with a pack of hunting dogs, so I decided that my Unhinged Necron Toff should have his own pack of robo-hounds, of which Toby is the first.

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L to R: EM4 Skeleton Robot, Foundry 2000AD Toby, GW Necron Warrior.

Toby a reasonably large model, mounted on a 40mm base.

The original strip that the character featured in was black and white, so few colour images of Toby exist.  Those few colour images that are around are contradictory in terms of his colour.  The character tends to be portrayed as either silver, gunmetal or blued steel.  I went with the silver interpretation so that he would fit seamlessly in with the skelebots, in colour if not entirely in concept.  I also used some artistic licence to colour Tobys nose and ears black, to help him to fit in that little better with my skeleton robot scheme.

I have another four robo-dogs from a couple of sources to add to Lord Hector Decimals hunting pack.  They should be quick to paint and will hopefully show up here once I have made a dent in my Dreadball stuff.

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8 Responses

  1. That’s freaking a awesome figure dude! I think Toby is my favorite of all your robots now. I think he looks just like the comic image above with that colour scheme. One tiny suggestion if I might be so bold, add a little more black lined definition between his teeth as the current definition looks much lighter than on the paws etc. Will be interested to see how the rest of his pack shape up. Do they have a common look or are they individualistic pooches?

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    • Thanks for the enthusiastic comment Otto 🙂 Its a great figure and a brilliant translation of a comic book character to miniature.

      I had a bit of an issue when painting the teeth and some of the definition was lost. I thought that I had remedied it but if you can spot it in the photo then I guess not. It should be a quick thing to redefine Tobys gnashers. I will get on it when I bring Toby back to the painting table to add some small green patches to the base (I forgot to do it before the photo).

      I have three of the boxy Judge Dredd robodogs and a GW Arbites/Enforcer cyber-mastiff to make up the pack. Toby here is easily the nicest model of all.of them,

      I may try to individually distinguish the three physically identical robodogs by changing where I apply the black elements to the models. Maybe. That will depend on how I feel once I get painting them. It will probably be soon though.

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  2. I love it! I’m especially happy that you’re not afraid to add some goofy fun to your project(s). The idea of a pack of robotic dogs is a wonderful one, too. Hector’s going to have one hec (ba-dum-tchh) of an army.

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    • Im glad that you like it Mikko.

      Regarding humour, a pack of robot dogs is more fitting for some settings than others. While The Terminator is really just as daft a setting as for example Warhammer 40,000 I would likely leave cartoony terminator pooches out of a game set in a Skynet ruled world. On the other hand I would happily include robot Necron dogs and a number of other similar things in a game set in the 40k or Judge Dredd universes. ALF would likely feature in those too 🙂 The line between unpleasantly zany (think Jim Carrey) and genuinely amusing can be a tightrope though.

      I should get Hectors hounds finished over the next couple of weeks. The other dog figures are less visually unique than Toby is, but are arguably less cartoony and a little more “realistic” too. Seeing if I can make them 1) fun, 2) coherent and 3) suitable for use is as many game settings as I can manage is a sub-project in itself.

      Thanks for the feedback.

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  3. “The ruleset that I plan to hammer into shape around my 40k skirmishing features an ‘Unhinged Toff’ archetype as a bad guy leader.”

    Aha! I know the system, and excellent choice.

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    • Im glad that you approve PMMDJ 🙂

      I have to date only played one game of 7TV and it was at Salute on one Crooked Dice’ beautiful demo table with exquisitely painted figures, so I have warm fuzzies about it.

      The 7TV rulebook is one of the most entertaining gaming documents that I have read for years too, so I am very hopeful that it will deliver. The stripped down nature of the rules appeal too and it should be good for representing the James Bond-y antics of Imperial Inquisitors (as written by Dan Abnett anyway).

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

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  4. I don’t remember much of Halo Jones and had completely forgot about Toby! Good stuff! You did a splendid job on ol’ Toby, but I agree with tOvB regarding the teeth, especially the line separating the two rows of teeth (or is that just a single long “tooth” on each row?)

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    • Thanks Mattias. I only read some of the later Halo Jones stories back in the day and they went a little over my head at the time. I picked up the collected book recently and while it wasnt my favourite comic story ever, it is interestingly different (as might be expected from Alan Moore).

      You are right about Tobys teeth, they are split horizontally into two rows but there are no distinctions for individual teeth, as in the illustration shown above (and a little like Barney the Dinosaurs “teeth”).

      I took another look at Tobys mouth with a view to adding definition to the line between the rows. I dont think that I am going to go near it as its more than a bit fiddly and hardly noticeable in hand at all. I might go at it while I am painting up the other robo dogs. Maybe 🙂

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

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