Grav Racers

I’m totally stoked have launched BLASTER this month, a regular indie wargaming anthology that is a collaboration between some of the designers I respect the most in indie miniature gaming today.

If you haven’t already checked out the MARTIAN RACING FEDERATION stand-alone game mode for Gaslands, it is available in Volume 1 of BLASTER.

I wanted to show you how I created the grav racers you see in BLASTER Volume 1, as I’m really pleased with how they came out. They are (mostly*) easier than you’d think. It’s really all about choosing the right base vehicles!

* I say “mostly” as the purple and white/green grav racers were built by Gaslands game developer and Milliput warlock, John Brindley, and they are beyond my skill to explain. Cardboard, Milliput, green stuff and pen lids (!) all feature.


Initially, my inspiration was very much F-Zero X (I grew up on the N64 version), and so I thought of making them feel like little spaceships. That was one input:

Because I see the Martian Racing Federation as a highly professional sport, akin to Formula One racing, I also liked the idea of making all the grav cars look like F1 vehicles, and so finding Hot Wheels like that to base them on.

This is what I had in my mind…

I went hunting at the local toy shop and found that there are both Star Wars and Marvel ranges with some very F1 looking vehicles.

Here’s the first vehicle I experimented with. I’m not going to list out all the other source cars, I’ll let you hunt those down for yourself.


I cut the wheels and axis off, and cut some little rectangles of plasticard to act as foils. I drilled a hole in the underside of the car, and put a copper rod in to hold it up. With those simple changes, the dang thing instantly looked pretty much exactly like what I was imagining! I love it when a plan comes together!

Now I knew the basic idea was working, and was super quick and easy, I set about building four sets of two identical grav racers, so I had a good spread of vehicles for the photographs in BLASTER. Here’s some work in progress shots:

I got fancy with one of the builds, as the sort of catamaran-looking Star Wars cars had these large wheel arches that I wanted to fill over and block out, so the chassis looked solid and the missing wheels were less obvious. That required some green stuffing and sanding:

At the back there you can see the hovercraft that these big aero-engine-looking fans came from. I had to order another one from eBay as I couldn’t find a second.

Here’s all the finished builds, in various states of painting. (You can see my initial attempt at gold on one of the builds.)


For the paint schemes, I returned again to Formula 1, and looked up some historical team colour schemes as inspiration. This image gave me everything I needed:

Here’s some of the finished models, in situ:

If you fancy a crack at making some anti-gravity racers to blaze across the dust of Mars, pick up Volume 1 of BLASTER today!