Tuesday, 26 May 2009

100 Posts in the Pipe!

express elevator to hell;

Welcome to the 100th post on Dropship Horizon

The 15mm Sci Fi scene has expanded in Super Nova terms over the past 100 posts. There is a vibrancy in the marketplace and new ranges instead of competing with each other are actually fuelling the appetite for more. A new wave of sculptors and manufacturers have come forward and more have expressed the intention of following. New modern rules systems are in development....we really are on an express elevator ride right now. WHAT A RUSH!

My sincerest thanks to everyone who has supported Dropship Horizon to date, and especially to each of the manufacturers who has contributed towards the 100th post! A special thank you to Gavin at 15mm.co.uk for his very generous 15% discount deal for Dropship Horizon readers!

When Mark asked us at www.15mm.co.uk to make a contribution to his landmark 100th posting we were happy to help, after all its rare to have access to such a quality blog as Dropship Horizon. As most of you will be aware we produce the Laserburn range of classic 15mm sci-fi miniatures and vehicles along with the HOF 15mm sci-fi range. Both can be found on our website.

Our latest releases for HOF are all on our site right now. They are:

HOF53 Octopod Infantry. This pack contains ten miniatures taken from three poses of humanoid infantry with rifles. Octopods have slimy skin and tentacle bunches which cover the lower parts of their faces and chests. £3.50 per pack

HOF54 Human Rim Mercenaries. This pack contains ten miniatures taken from three poses of human males armed with rifles dressed in paramilitary gear. £3.50 per pack.

HOF55 Post Apocalyptic Warriors. This pack contains ten miniatures taken from three poses of human males armed with machine pistols and dressed in gas masks and leather trench coats. £3.50 per pack.

HOF57 Starfighter Crew. This pack contains ten miniatures taken from four poses. Starfighter Pilot in helmet, Srarfighter Pilot bare headed, kneeling mechanic and Starfighter Droid. £3.50 per pack.

HOF56 Cultist Infantry. This pack contains ten miniatures taken from three poses of human males armed with a variety of rifles and a shotgun dressed in hooded full body robes. £3.50 per pack.

HOF58 Stellar Refugees. This pack contains ten pieces. One set of Human child with grav sled and separate load, multiples of three poses of Human Refugees. Human male with bags standing, Human male with bags walking and human teenage female clutching bags and robotoy. £3.50 per pack.

As an added bonus in conjunction with Dropship Horizon we would like to extend a promotional offer to all you gamers out there who are fans of this blog. Go to our site www.15mm.co.uk and place an order as normal, when you reach the 'checkout' screen with the white background enter this code ' 1703 ' into the voucher box and automatically get 15% off your order. This is valid for all miniatures, rulebooks and so on from us and will be valid for the next two weeks.

Here's to the next 100 postings!


Everyone who is signed up as a follower of Dropship Horizon will be entered into a free prize draw on June 21st. First person chosen at random will recieve a Grey Landing Party from 15mm.co.uk. Second person will recieve a pack of Cultists and third will receive a pack of Post Apocalyptic Warriors. Good Luck!

Meet the all new Sabre Dropship coming soon from Rebel Minis:

Rebel Minis 15mm Sabre Dropship - Laser variant

Rebel Minis 15mm Sabre Dropship - Missile variant
MAEF4 15mm Earth Force Marines Infantry (Soft Top): Sculpted by Martin Baker, the Earth Force Marines Infantry (Soft Top) Pack comes with 21 15mm Miniatures (5 EF poses) for $10.95, in a Boonie style cover instead of the enclosed helmet. They also feature respirators over the nose and mouth.

MAEF3 15mm Earth Force Marine Infantry (Hardtop) : Once again, sculpted by Martin Baker, the Earth Force Marines Infantry (Hardtop) Pack comes with 21 15mm Miniatures (5 EF poses) for $10.95, in Hardtop cover instead of the enclosed helmets.


These guys give Near Future gaming a hard edge. Keep an eye on the website for more new releases and remember that shipping anywheer in the world is now one flat rate of $4.60.


Green Eyed Minis will be going live with a website before the end of May. We will be releasing the Tolero (the little bears), Yetis and Slugs to begin with. Future packs will compliment these packs. We have a Tolero Catapult being worked on and also Tolero's rifing giant Terror Birds. There will also be a command pack and probably another 8 basic troopers.

Add ImageGreen Eyed Minis 15mm Tolero

The Yetis will have another 8 figures released. They will be armed with a variety of bones, rocks and stones, and we have a few other ideas being played with at the moment.

Green Eyed Minis 15mm Yetis

We will also be working on several more alien bugs and welcome suggestions as to what people would like.

We have 3 alien races planned and these will be complete ranges with various troop types and vehicles.

We plan to release packs with 8 individual figures in, so you don't need to worry about duplicates.

Finally, We're putting together a range of Space dwarves, with the first pack due for release mid June. These figures will be part of a complete range and we hope to launch with a platoon pack made up of 30 unique figures, which will incld command and heavy weapons.

If anyone wants to contact us we can be found at greeneyedminis@gmail.com for the time being.



Mark, just for your 100th, here are some EXCLUSIVE images of upcoming items.

1) An closeup image of the missile bay of the Pelagic Dominate's SPA missile tank. There will be an APC and an AFV on the same hull. The basic design is a secret so far, but here's a peek! These vehicles are the amazing work of vehiclesmith John Bear Ross.

2) An in-progress look at the 28mm heavy weaponsgarn. He was changed a bit after this shot was taken (his targeting periscope was shortened, and the power/support cables going from his power backpack into the gun rack were added) but this is the basic look. The gun rack will be able to receive the plasma cannon (shown), laser cannon or missile launcher, all three of which attachments will come with each heavy weaponsgarn.

And here are some further updates on the rest of my Sci Fi lines as posted also to TMP:

The Corporate Marines are in my hands just waiting for the painted samples to be

Garn 15mm are at the casters.

Pelagic Dominate:- Karkarine line troopers in ablative armour are almost done, soon to be
shipped to me (four trooper poses with hydroplasma rifle, one two-kar hydroplasma cannon
team, one commander with hydroplasma assault rifle).

Hydrozoan Overlords, in battle dress with nematocyte energy harpoon, have been described to sculptor and will be started soon

Spearbearer bio terror troops are done and on their way to me.

Pelagic armoured assets (grav tank, grav APC, grav missile artillery) are completed 3D sculpting and the patterns are at the printers.

So lots of sci fi fun coming in the next few months. If sales support it I will make vehicles for the Garn and Corporate Marines as well. Also probably everyone's favorite genocidal overlord, Jellina Joel I, in 15mm."

"Who can resist a girl in leather even in 15mm?"...Mark

David at Splintered Light Miniatures has informed me that they will shortly have two packs of 15mm Space Crew, one pack armed, one unarmed.

Splintered Light are also offering a 20% discount on purchases made in April and May. Check out the website for details.


Win a Rebel Minis Dropship & Earth Force Marines(new and unpainted)

To Win:First person with all 3 correct answers!
You can have one attempt per comment left on the blog
between 30th May and 21st June 2009.
Send answers to dr#pshiph#riz#n@yah##.c#.uk
(This address is purely for the competiton. Replace the # as appropriate)
If no-ne gets all three. person with most correct who has
contributed best comments will win. My comp. so my decisions are final.

1) What Sci Fi TV series am I currently watching on DVD?

2) Which pack of 'gritty' 15mm Sci Fi miniatures
do I think would make great Legionnaires?

3) Which movie actress would I like to see cast as Jellina Joel I?

Best of luck!


Saturday, 16 May 2009

Some Useful Star Wars Battles Miniatures

"You and Whose Army?"
'George' with some Star Wars Battles' Super Battle Droids

"Klaatu barada nikto"
Transaltes as "Read my Fist!"

"Yer Berilium manifold's gone mate! That's gonna cost ya."
A Star Wars Miniatures Repair Driod
Useful as 'clutter' in any Sci Fi repair shop, spaceport docking bay etc

A variant on my SkyRaptor Kitbash
15mm QRF AMX13 hull married with the turret from
GZG V15-26C Manned Groundmount Weapons Platform with Missile System

Found these pics which I took back in Jan/Feb and promptly saved to the depths of my laptop's hard drive. The Star Wars Battles Miniatures are a cheap source of 'supersized droids' and can usually be found for 99p to £1.50 on EBAY.

100th Post!

My next post will be my 100th on Dropship Horizon. I hope to be able to make it something special with all the latest news and buzz on 15mm Sci Fi miniatures. I've written to manufacturers and asked them if they'd like to contribute with photos, news or hints on whats coming up. So, it will be a few days whilst I give everyone I've contacted a fair chance to reply and make a contribution, should they be able to do so.

The 101st post will have a free pdf of our Space Cowboy game and thereafter as life and work priorities have faded into the background expect more after action reports, rules reviews and miniature comparisons.


Friday, 15 May 2009

I Have Mostly Been Reading.......Contact Harvest

Bit of a relapse and back in bed for a while today, as I have been really struggling for air in my lungs once again.

Never mind, make the best and take the opportunity to start CONTACT HARVEST by Jospeh Staten.

Set in the HALO universe, it covers a multitude of themes including an internal struggle between the UNSC and insurrectionists and the first battle between man and the alien Covenant on the agricultural colony world of Harvest.

From the very first page CONTACT HARVEST had me hooked. Don't worry if you haven't played the game or simply just not a fan of the HALO 'verse, this book stands on it's own two feet. It's not just immensely believable military Sci Fi, it's also a superb read.

As an author Jospeh Staten is easily on a par with Alan Dean Foster. If there can only be one HALO movie, I want CONTACT HARVEST to provide the inspiration for the script.

Shame about the relapse, though it's been a wild & pissy sort of day, quite out of character with the rest of the week and the sort of day where being in bed isn't such a bad thing. I'm glad that last night we took advantage of the warm evening to walk in the local forest and amble along the old 'Kings Highway' (pictured below).

The Kings Highway (click on picture for larger image)

Roman Legions, Pictish tribes, Edward Longshanks, Covenanters, Jacobites & Redcoats, Boswell and Johnston all travelled this road. The sense of history within this church of trees is compelling. If you want to see ghosts, this is where you conjur them.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Life Work The Universe......Mum

Thought you'd like to share some good news.

My mother had a major stroke last September. This not only left her paralysed from the waist down but also effected her state of mind.

When I saw her in hospital there was no recognistion at all, she thought I was the doctor. Believe me, one of the hardest things you have to face in your life as a son is when your mother doesn't know who you are.

Within a couple of days she regained a degree of her mental faculties but still belived I was her brother. When I eventually returned to work, I had to make sure my colleagues knew that if anyone (carer, doctor etc) called and asked for someone by another name, it would probably be for me.

......Out of the blue I received a call at home this afternoon. It was mum. She was phoning to ask how I, Mark, was and to let me know she loved me.

I'm not too proud to say I held it together only for the length of the call.

I can now close the door on what has been a dark room for the best part of the last year.


15mm WW2 Red Army female soldiers

Whilst on the Neo-Soviet theme, Soldadets (TMP nom de guerre) has submitted WW2 Red Army female soldiers to the Eureka Miniatures 300 Club program.

You can read more about it here on TMP: "Eureka 300 Club: WW2 Russian female soldiers" Topic

It's going to be interesting to see what sculpts come out of the project, and if there will be any potential Soviet WWW2 Zombie fighting heroines. I'll pop for 10 minis for my WW2 Soviet collection, not an earth moving number, I know, but it helps Soldadets project along.

The Red Army Heroine in the photo on the left would be fine in 15mm and could be enhanced by the addition of a Plash-Palatka rain cape.

One of my favourite ever wargame minis was a Platoon 20 Soviet figure standing with a PPSH, wearing pilotka sidecap and
Plash-Palatka. He was just the epitome of Soviet soldiery.

Now, I also came across the box art below from a set of 1/35th scale Soviet WW2 miniatures.

If you can image our heroine in the photo above, in same pose but given skirt and boots with overcoat draped over shoulders in a similar manner to the female soldier in the box art - would this make a better character figure? Or should the figure in the box art be an additional figure representing a female Red Army survivor, armed with a PPSH?

Would you prefer a more combatative pose - stalking forwards perhaps, PPSH at the ready?



p.s. A present has arrived this morning in the post, a gift from Heather, as a small token for letting her have the cats and subsequently enduring this reaction to them....BLOODY STREETS: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945 by A. Stephen Hamilton.

I have no excuse now not to forge on with my
Götterdämmerung. Bum! I can feel a Race to the Reichstag game coming on....oooh - FOF or Crossfire, FOF or Crossfire? - wait, I have an idea, something else entirely.......!


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Columbian Guinea Pig Fever........

I've spent the last few days consigned to my bed. The reaction to the cats has subsided with the help of a HEPA air purifier, not cheap but cheaper than posting the cats back to the breeder. My chest has cleared but I think it opened me up to a vicious bout of something nasty with flu-like symptoms, which is I am glad to say are starting to dissipate.

The good news is that it's given me time to finish reading The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. Bloody excellent read and thoroughly recommended to anyone who wants to write Sci Fi orientated rules, especially if you want to incorporate clones and neural intelligence/communication nets. There are potentially 4 gameable scenarios within the book though the attack on the Heirarch's Palace is gold dust and a must to play. I'm reminded in a small way of a Classic Traveller double adventure; Divine Intervention/Night of Conquest, Double Adventure 6.

At least I was well enough for us to enjoy a beautiful evening last night and whilst Heather took charge of the BBQ, I was able to pour over the first draft of Ambush Alley: Force on Force's futuristic/sci fi variant which Shawn kindly sent me to look at.

Sunset in The Shire
(click on picture for closer view)

The postie arrived with 100 Space Troopers (blame the W40K novels!) and 2 packs of Jet Bikes from Mike at The Scene along with some very nice low 'green' hills. On opening the package Heather says....."You buying a 15mm golf course" but agreed that they were well made, nicely finished and looked good on the tabletop (for 15mm Eastern Front etc).

The Space Troopers are well cast, robust miniatures, though the detail on some of the helmet faces aren't as crisp as they used to be. No worries, a portion of these guys are becoming WWW2 types with Peter Pig WW2 separate heads. The Jet bikes are great and I really like the 'Gimp' helmets worn by the riders. It's a shame only one of the three riders is firing a 'pistol' though, as he does makes for a very nice figure. Recommended! (pics to follow).

The Space Troopers are to fight Battlefront's new Soviet Assault Engineer-Sappers in an never-ending struggle for a decaying and destroyed city. I may, try to sculpt some hoods and masks on the Sappers to resemble the Forge World Chaos Renegade Militia, which I think are brilliant (especially the vehicle crew), sort of Texas Chanisaw Massacre meets W40K!


Saturday, 9 May 2009

Weird World War II - Retro Neo Soviets

If you remember, I made a post about Weird World War Two just a week or so back. I subsequently placed my first order with Maelstrom Games which arrived in double-quick time the same week.

I have to say that if Battlefront's Soviet Roto Razvedki Universal Carriers (with crew) lived up to expectations then Soviet Leytenant A V Pyl’cyn and Submachine-Gun Company surpassed them. Excellent miniatures sculpted by Evan Allen, they are closer to the original Battlefront figures than those blocky ones which have appeared in recent years. With this Submachine-Gun company you feel that you are getting a whole army, there are so many figures. There's something very satisfying about opening a blister with 40 or so miniatures which make up a complete unit rather than a ziplock bag of 8-10 figures.

Anyhoo....for ages I have hankered for decent Soviet WW2 assault engineer-sappers in camo suits and body armour. I think mostly because there's just something vaguely retro Neo-Soviet Sci Fi or even alternative history about them. They are the sort of soldiers I'd expect to see in a latter day interpretation of Shakespeare. More Ian Mckellan in Richard III (1995) than Kenneth Branagh lovey-lovey.

Not only can I use these as Late WW2 Soviets, but this retro Ne0-Soviet look encourages me to use them both as Zombie-Nazi hunters and also some kind of cheap but plentiful Low-Medium Tech Sci Fi urban combat force, inspiration coming from the photo above.

Well, the good news this week is that Battlefront announced Soviet Engineer-Sappers as upcoming releases on 16th May! Huzzah!

and Flame-thrower Company (SU804)

Looking at the photos on the website it appears that Battlefront have pulled off another classic flanker on the other 15mm WW2 manufacturers! Now don't get me wrong, when Battlefront releases something bad it is usually very, very bad. But when good, it's generally GREAT! And SBX13 looks like one of Evan's greats!

Like the Master Chef, I used to turn to Peter Pig to come out with figures that had this sort of uniqueness and character and I'm sure the WW2 wargame fraternity would have hailed the Battlefront Soviet Roto Razvedki Universal Carriers as a stroke of genius if issued by Peter Pig. However, like them or loathe them, in my opinion Battlefront have been at the forefront of turning out some fresh and interesting WW2 miniatures in recent years.

The Soviet Engineer-Sappers Battalion boxed set has 134 figures with loads of decent poses/weapon types including Panzerfausts and plenty of characters, especially amongst the NCOs and officers. The boxed set also includes two generic 1930-40's trucks - useful for Pulp games. You can see from the photo above that the Soviet Engineer-Sappers in body armour and camo suits just look out of the WW2 norm and are well worth being considered for use in a different context, be it Weird WW2, alternate history or Sci Fi.


I Have Mostly Been Reading.......The Last Colony

I have to thank the Master Chef for sending me what have turned out to be two great reads, both from the same author...The Last Colony and The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi.

A major and unexpected downside of introducing the kittens has been that I have quite unexpectedly been increasingly debilitated in the evenings by an astmatic allergic reaction to them.

The only respite has been to retire to bed and lie on my side till the rasping in my chest subsides. The upside has been that it's been a perfect opportunity to read these books.

It's been a long time since I've read a book that I couldn't put down and the The Last Colony is such a book. It's a well written, intelligent and entertaining space opera.

Our main protagonisti being a war veteran turned colonial administrator presented with an opportunity to start a new colony on a newly charted planet. Only, it's a strange mix of colonists, the equipment in the manifest is antiquated and supplies in the stores don't add up. When they make the jump into hyperspace they come out in uncharted space and are faced with landing on an uncharted world. And that's only the first of many interesting and thoughtful twists in the story.

Bloody excellent, it turned out that Last Colony is the third and last of a series of novels by John Scalzi which explore interstellar politics and warfare through the eyes and experience of the principal characters who tie the stories together.

I'm about half way through The Ghost Brigades and enjoying it just as much. It starts with a bang and a subtle but exciting twist in the storyline. Basically, two alien species have been fighting each other for 30 years but now joined forces to wipe out mankind with the help of a renegade human scientist whose field of expertise is DNA.

The 'ghost brigades' are the Colonial Defence Forces elite. DNA engineered militarised clones given the consciousnesses of the old and dead. Born again as fully grown adults without memories or moral self, they can be given the jobs ordinary human soldiers with life experiences, hopes and aspirations would baulk at.

An interesting premise for Sci Fi wargames' human troop types and opens an intresting debate on what 'human' soldiers would be like in the future!


Life Work The Universe......and Kittens

As you may have guessed, our lives have become taken over by these fellas, Michaelovitch & Gabrilovitch, or Moskau and Zoly to you. So wargames, blog et al have had to take second place......

Heather was expecting lots of quiet kitty cuddles, but instead we appear to have brought a pair of Tasmanian Devils into our home. At 13 weeks old, their energy is boundless, expended in an almost endless round of chasing, ambushing and (harmlessly) fighting each other.

Moskau and Zoly's energy is only surpassed by their curiosity....What does Citadel Paint taste like? What does that paintbrush taste like? What if I chew that just painted figure? No surface or shelf is safe. They are fascinated by the laptop screen and it's a battle to keep them from jumping onto the keyboard - grrrrrrr.

Of course, they do have their quiet moments........

......but not many! Nevertheless, they are great little characters in their own right, both lovely and fun. I feel I have done my bit in bonding with them and from this weekend am going to retire to the study in the evenings behind closed door to get on with my hobby (and grab some peace!).


Saturday, 2 May 2009

Scatter Terrain: Wasteland Crater

This dramatic Wasteland Crater is one of my favourite terrain pieces.

I bought several sets of craters from Amera Plastic Mouldings 'Future Zone' for my lunar landscape and couldn't resist adding a couple to my wasteland terrain. Nominally 28mm, these craters are excellent for 15mm and great value for money. I thoroughly recommend them.

The crater you see is made from the Z201 Crater Set on a 3mm MDF base (approx 9"x6"). MDF is both a joy and a curse to work with. I found that you can cut through 3mm MDF using a sharp Stanley knife with a bit of force behind it. For straight lines it's even simpler, run your Stanley along a steel ruler and then move the 'cut' to your workbench edge and simply 'snap' along the join for a clean cut (mostly). Edges can quickly and easily be tidied up with a sanding block.

The 'rocks' are chips of 'Scottish Red' gravel from the garden. The trees are twigs taken from a dead Lavendar plant which Heather over pruned last year. This Lavendar plant lives on as a series of wasteland trees in 15mm and a 28mm Sci Fi/Fantasy Forest of Doom! Recommend you plant a couple in your garden as a renewable source of wargames terrain!

The trees were stuck in place using the granite/marble epoxy cement I've mentioned in the past. The rest of the groundwork is once again, sharp sand available from any builders merchants.

I used matt terracotta household emulsion to coat everything bar the rocks and the trees. The terracotta picks out the accent colour in my desert playing surface but also has that reddish Martain landscape feel to it.

A very weak wash of Citadel Devlan Mud was applied to the base and rocks with darker coats built up on the crater itself, especially the interior. I lightly dry-sponged terracotta back over the lip and exterior of the crater, followed by the lightest of touches with a drybrush of 'stone'. Don't worry about mistakes, additional applications of Devlan Mud can hide or mute down the most cack-handed attempts at drybrushing. I speak from experience!

Finally, the sand and rocks had an equally light drybrush of a lighter sandy 'pebble' colour.

Originally, I had intended to create a yellow or brown pool inside the crater but liked the way it looked as it was, so decided to stop there. I can always go back at a later stage and do this with tinted varnish if the fancy takes me.

This terrain piece was done as a batch along with two similar craters, the whole project being completed in about an hour. Helped along by placing the craters in direct sunlight on a demi-pallet in the garden to speed up drying the PVA and again once I applied the terracotta paint.

Hope this encourages you to have a go!


15mm sci fi, 15mm sci fi, 15mm science fiction, 15mm science fiction, sci fi terrain, sci fi terrain, scatter terrain, terrain building, terrain building

Friday, 1 May 2009

Scatter Terrain: Mini Escarpments

Thought you might like to see some quick and simple scatter pieces I created for my desert/wasteland terrain.

These two mini escarpments came about as 'test' pieces just to try out the idea and I don't think the result is too shabby.

I mostly use bog standard expanded polystyrene for terrain features- the sort that comes as common and garden packaging - the small holes in the polystyrene working for me as nooks and crannies within the rock face. I sculptured the flat 'top' of the rock formations then used a household wall filler to provide texture and fill in any big gaps where the two pieces of polystyrene meet.

I used a sharp sand from a builders merchants to cover the base, old free Broadband or magazine CDs. I find that finer sand, such as that used for childrens playpits is far too fine and lacks the definition I want once painted. Slightly larger stones were used at the back of the escarpment to represent eroded scree. To ensure the sand sticks good and fast to provide a robust terrain piece for wargaming, I liberally coated the CD with a cheap but immensely strong PVA glue (Bartoline PVA Adhesive & Sealer; 1Ltr for £3.50), then shook the sand on. Once this is dry, well mostly dry that is, I mix water and PVA until it has the consistency of skimmed milk, then brush liberally over the top of the entire piece. You think it will be too thin to have any effect but have faith young paduan, this is amazingly effective at sealing the model and providing a sound base for the paint to adhere to.

Painting was simple. We had some left over household paints from the last round of decorating and a mixed bag of brown, terracotta, taupe and sand 'matchpots'. Using cheap decorating brushes from Poundland (a 5 brush set for £1), I applied a basecoat of a terracotta matt emulsion, which when dried, recieved a thin watered down wash of Citadel's Devlan Mud. I used a lighter 'stone' or 'pebble' colour to drybrush over the top with a smaller brush as weathering & highlights. Job done. Excluding drying time, less than an hours work.

I'm going to get round to adding a small amount of GF9 autumn foilage to add further character but forgot to include it to my last order! The perils of Inetrnet shopping & Baileys Irish Cream.....