Eureka Miniatures’ Mad Maximillian 1934: A new Obsession & Frustrations


Part 1 of 2.  So, yeah, this is a thing. I’ve been noticing these larger scale old timey racing and fighting vehicles at the Eureka booth the last few shows, and I’ve restrained myself.. until now.  Why? Because there’s a new set of rules for these vehicles, and I rather like them.  I have no idea who Mana press is, but they are publishing rules to accompany Eureka Miniatures’ figure line called “Mad Maximillian“.  I like it when rules show up.. it makes it a little harder for a great visual idea (1930s roadsters with machine guns) to just fade away, another flash in the creative pan.  I suspect I could have cobbled something together out of my own White Line Fever rules, maybe, but those are somewhat futuristic post apocalyptic, Mad Maximillian is unique in that it is ‘In the past-post apocalyptic” if that makes any sense.  Set in 1934, a very alternative 1934 where gun equipped roadsters move from place to place in the landscape, trying to win trophies and gun down the opposition.  The “why” part isn’t’ really clear.   Has there been a world wide collapse?  A new war?  Civil Chaos?  The fluff is pretty cryptic, so things are flexible in terms of history.  Here’s a little bit of color text from the first page, as told from a fictional bartender:

I’m told. There’s still infected towns out there, rumour has it, where nobody dares to go.  Maybe it was them hi-falutin flappers, wheeling and dealing at the high-end of town.  Making all of their money on shares, off the back of us poor workers. And they goes and spends it on champagne and bugattis, caviar and fancy planes. Wasting all that money, right up until the Crash, when it all went bust! And who pays for it? Us – that’s who! And we’re still paying for it right now! Just look at what’s happened to the cost of Gas – it’s as precious as the booze I’m serving ya. And you know better than me what fuel can mean out
there on the Road. “No Gas, no Ride” – amen, brother.

So, somehow, the world has gone to pot, like it does.. and people are clamping period weaponry on their cars to take to the road and rustle up fuel and other scarcities.  I think.  You know, like one does.

The scale is 28mm, the art direction is rather whimsical, and I have been charmed, completely, by the idea.  Eureka is supporting this game by producing 4 basic car types plus a pack of accessories and stand alone crew purchases.   Their approach is to field the basic body types and have the end user customize to his or her heart’s content.  There’s the Flyer, a two seater with a gunner cockpit in the back, the Roadster, a one seater with a similar body but a more “finny” rear end.  Some odd 3 wheeler type of vehicle, and a gigantic “Interceptor” vehicle that looks like a twelve cyclinder roadster.

Conversions of period diecasts

Converting diecasts?  post-apocalyptic?  Well, if you know me, you know I’m all in.  Therein lies the confusion, and the fun.  The thing is, this is a 28mm scale game.  There really doesn’t seem to be a consistent industry scale for 28mm diecast.  I know (when I was designing WLF and converting matchbox and hot wheels) that 20mm equates to roughly 1:64 and HO scales.  There is no good rule of thumb once the scale creeps up!  I have recently purchased three great Old-Timey vehicles from Matchbox’s Models of Yesteryear line– and each time discovered what was being advertised on Ebay as 1:43 showed up looking suspiciously like 1:64 (matchbox sized).  So if you are going to do conversions with existing commercial diecasts, make SURE it’s 1:43, which, supposedly, is the rule of thumb for 28mm.  As far as “Models of Yesteryear” vehicles, this site is a really good source for research.   There are some great historically themed choices out there but A) you will need to do your homework (is it REALLY 1:43?) and B) be aware that the larger the diecast, the more likely it is being sold as a “collectible” vice game model, so the prices will be astronomical for the truly interesting models.   So far, the only for certain matching vehicle I have found has been a 1934 Ford Pickup truck which is perfectly in scale with the “Flyer” (see above).    Further conversion notes: You can get period authentic vehicle weapons (Lewis Gun/Vickers Guns) from Company B, which sells them separately.

“White Lightning” from the Mad Maximillian rulebook

With that said, some vehicles in the rulebook don’t appear anywhere else, which is confusing and a little frustrating. The rulebook cites (and pictures the “White Lightning” three wheeled motorcycle (above) but it isn’t for sale on the Eureka Website. Possibly it can be made by buying other car kits and using their accessories (I notice the really high fenders on the White Lightning are also in the “Roadster” kit, but that’s all I can identify from another kit). This could be a very expensive option for customization.

“Green Machine”, from the Mad Maximillian rulebook

Even with the customization kit for sale, there are some head scratchers. Note the gently rounded front end with two vertical machine gun slots on the “GREEN MACHINE” model from the rulebook. There’s just no way to replicate this design with parts you can purchase from Eureka that I can see. I mean, you can get CLOSE, but not exactly the same. I think.. it’s hard to tell from this angle:


spare parts, from the Eureka USA website

I’d like to build what they call the Firefly as well, which looks like it is the Flyer main body with a standardized custom front end, but, again, I’m stymied. There are no customized wheel covers in the spare parts package.

They MIGHT be part of another car kit, but given they cost either 22 or 30 dollars EACH, I’m not going to be buying one for cannibalization purposes.  So, Eureka!  Add these to your spare parts!

An alternative source of 28mm period vehicles
Credit: 1stCorp website, 20th century follies, three wheeled roadster

There are other sources of period 28mm vehicles out there, of course, just not many period authentic civilian ones.  I have gone to 1stCorp in the UK for additional vehicles in their “2oth century follies” and “WWI” lines.  I have picked up the three wheeled roadster (I now have plenty of machine guns to add) and a Motorcycle with sidecar (and 30 cal).   I probably will also get four wheel speedster with female driver and possible a suitable converted military vehicle.  So as it stands I’m at about 6 vehicles (depending on if the scales work) which is more than enough to jump into this game with.  I’m looking forward to this.. the terrain should be simple enough.  I have enough wrecked buildings and roadside clutter to make it work.

In conclusion, thus I have discovered another project to have fun with.  I’ll close with a few pics of my first roadster (the Flyer) painted up straight out of the box, as it were.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading.

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2 responses to “Eureka Miniatures’ Mad Maximillian 1934: A new Obsession & Frustrations

  1. I’m tempted by these vehicles, just for use with Machinas since the way I’ve modified it makes a lot of weaponry and equipment choices fairly abstract. Once a year I run Machinas as a demo/participation game at a show, and these vehicles would look amazing in that context. My plan would be to limit costs by buying a handful of the Eureka models, plus some customisation kits, and then looking for suitable cheap die-cast extras to tool up as filler vehicles.

    I have a copy of the rules, but haven’t had a chance to look at them yet. I do know they require a decent – 6′ x 4′ – table, so are less attractive to me that I;d hope.

    • Tell me more about Machinas. My only advice is echoed by my own bad experience finding diecasts of the proper scale: It is somewhat visually important (I think, at least) to have a driver figure on board. It has proven a real learning experience in just how variable diecast vehicles can be, scale-wise– and how poorly people selling diecasts on Ebay describe what they are selling. I’ve bought three in a row that were beautiful cars, but they showed up classic matchbox sized (roughly 1:64). It should really be 1:43. Or close to it.