Saturday, 31 October 2009

TopGun & GZG Armour Compatability

Topgun Marketing's new Grav Armor (more intel here) certainly seems to be whipping up some excitement. Opinions are polarised at each end of the spectrum. I'm very firmly in the WOW! camp. Lot's of compariosn with Traveller Imperial armor - well, I didn't want to say......

I asked Rob for some comparison photos of his new designs against GZG's High/Ultra-tech tanks so that we can get a better idea of their true size and he was happy to oblige. Rob went so far as to make sure Jon at GZG was cool with the suggestion and naturally, good bloke as ever, he was.

GZG V15-18A High Tech Grav Tank (top)
Topgun Marketing Heavy Grav Tank (bottom)

GZG V15-18A High Tech Grav Tank (top)
Topgun Marketing Medium Grav Tank (bottom)

So, what we are photos above of Topgun's Heavy and Medium Tanks alongside GZG's High-tech Tank, and a photo below of Topgun's Heavy Tank alongside the taller and thinner GZG Advanced Heavy Tank.

GZG V15-55A Advanced Heavy Grav Tank (top)
Topgun Marketing Heavy Grav Tank (bottom)

I make no bones about it, I like these Topgun tanks a lot. I can see the Heavy Grav Tank on the tabletop as a single behemoth delivering massive firepower and protected by a swarm of remote drones.

Rob is keen to include as much feedback from 15mm Sci Fi gamers as possible into his designs. I've therefore agreed to run a poll to determine what style of detailing you'd prefer to see on your Sci Fi armour models.


Friday, 30 October 2009

Latest Intel.......Critical Mass Protolene Greens

Never mind Guy Fawkes, get your pennies ready for Critical Mass Games' Protolene Khanate Troopers!

Critical Mass Games 15mm Sci Fi
(See more here)

Critical Mass Games 15mm Sci Fi
(See more here)

Critical Mass Games 15mm Sci Fi
(See more here)


HALO: First Strike

I blame that Jon fella at GZG. Those all new New Israelis, got me thinking about painting some up as all new HALO Spartans. Like I need more Spartans! Between the GZG New Israelis and Critical Mass Augmented Drop Troops I have enough, surely I have enough.

Picked up two HALO inspired novels by Eric Nyland, HALO: First Strike and HALO: Fall of Reach. I expected little more than "good train reads", but have really enjoyed First Strike, which has also provided several scenario ideas. It's actually made me look forward to the morning train journey!

I do still have issues with Spartans - Earth's ultimate warriors - called Fred and Linda, but First Strike has been a cracking read so far. Cortana the AI of the XBox game gets a very meaty role in this book. I'm very impressed with how Nyland has developed her AI character through exploring the technology that makes her possible. Overall this would make a brilliant Sci Fi movie.


Latest Intel.......Khurasan Miniatures Vespulid Swarm

These predatory sentients live in teeming hives dominated by a hierarchy of queens, from the lowest commanders, the sub-queens, to the greatest Vespulid of the swarm, the Queen of Queens. They are a space faring race and infest planets by means of their nest-ships. Often their most terrific battles are between rival hives. Vespulids are the only known natural predators of Space Demons.

The small arm of the Soldiers, the ion shotgun, is a deadly weapon and its ionized particle blast can even disable heavy armoured vehicles, but has an extremely short effective range. In order to close the range quickly the Soldiers hurtle toward the enemy wearing rocketpacks, dodging defensive fire then swarming the foe. If it comes to close combat, the Vespulids are prepared, having vicious mandibles and a highly toxic poison stinger with enough venom to kill a human in moments.

The line will have about seven poses of Soldiers and a sub-queen commander. The extremely talented Pierre Francois Jacquet has agreed to make the models. The line won't be available for a while, but we thought you'd like to see the concept art.

If any models will every cry out for being painted black and yellow, it is these!

Khurasan Miniatures

Thanks for the intel Jon!


Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Future Shape of Things to Come ©

Dropship Horizon is delighted to announce the arrival of a new range of Ultra-tech Grav Armour in the pipe.....

Topgun Marketing LLC has developed a new range of futuristic 15mm Sci-Fi Grav Tanks for your gaming pleasure. We hope that you like them!

Topgun Marketing LLC 15mm Sci Fi

Type 15 Super-Heavy Grav Tank

We believe they are “The Future Shape of Things to Come” ©, and if they are well received by the Sci-Fi gaming public, further equally interesting vehicles will be released in the coming months.

We have solicited a lot of feedback as to what detailing people would like to see on their Grav Vehicles, and also what material they should be produced in. We have merged that information with what we feel is currently missing in the 15mm Sci-Fi miniatures market, to come up with a range of Grav Armor that will be compatible with those available from other manufactuers, and yet still unique in their own right.

At the current time, we aim to produce the Grav Armor in a robust, polyurethane resin, with metal weapons and detailing parts. However, we will need to evaluate the quality that can be achieved in casting, and balance the costs against producing them in white metal as well (metal is more forgiving, since castings that don’t meet quality specifications can be just melted down, and re-cast again, where resin cannot).

Confirmation of the final material to be used will be provided when production starts up, and we have a chance to actually inspect the miniatures first-hand.

If there is enough interest in our first releases, we will be producing them in a couple of versions. For instance, one with textured, reactive armor/passive defense surface detail molded onto the outer surfaces, and one with a smooth finish, more appropriate to vehicles seen fielded by the highest tech Grav Tanks. These are capable of operating at high speeds and surviving the rigors of planetary insertion from orbit. For the smooth-sided vehicles, you will have the option of using them as is, using decals to add surface detailing to your models (as shown on our painted model photo – the bright orange one meant to intimidate opponents), or adding white metal parts or styrene strips to the vehicle’s outer surfaces, in order to customize your vehicles, e.g. with the reactive/passive armor plating, and/or ablative armor panels that will be provided in strips to permit easy application.

Topgun Marketing LLC 15mm Sci Fi

Type 13 Heavy Tanks (left - two variants)
Type 11 Medium Tanks (right - two variants)

Due to the unique way in which these vehicles are constructed in the far future, panel lines on them are generally avoided during the manufacturing process, since it provides a weak point in the armor for enemies to exploit.These Grav Tanks and other vehicles are produced in the zero-G environment of space, on board giant military factory ships, from crystalline titanium, which is then roto-molded much like 20th and 21st Century plastic kayaks were, in order to create the strongest, lightest, single-piece hulls possible. The titanium ore is mined from the numerous asteroid fields found throughout the galaxies, in order to: avoid having to lift it out of planetary gravity wells, transport the vehicles vast distances throughout the cosmos, and to reduce expenditures on the military budget when conducting large scale planetary invasion operations.

As you can see from our photos, these super high-tech vehicle designs no longer need gravitic repulsor pods underneath or alongside their hulls, which were very vulnerable to damage on the early models. Now, a single, flat, oval-shaped repulsor pod on the bottom of the vehicle hulls provides all of the lift and propulsion needed to permit these tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and other units to zip along at just under Mach 1 at altitude, fly at 120 – 200 MPH at NOE level, or to enter a planet’s atmosphere at up to Mach 3.0 when dropping to the planet’s surface. When dropping in from orbit, grounding, or powering down, protective armored plates slide across the grav repulsor unit to protect it from damage.

Topgun Marketing LLC 15mm Sci Fi

Type 13 Heavy Tank (left)
Type 11 Medium Tank (right)

We hope to have our Grav Armor available for sale in 3 – 4 weeks, and will start taking pre-orders for them now, so that we can get a handle on what you would like to see released first.

Pre-paid orders will get priority in terms of actually filling the orders, and for determining which items to release first. If orders are strong, we will be able to release all of the vehicles at the same time. Otherwise, they may need to be released in phases, with the most likely candidates being the Type 11 Medium Grav Tank, Type 13 Heavy Grav Tank, and the Infantry Fighting Vehicle/APC.

We would also like to know if you prefer the miniatures with the moulded on reactive/passive armor detailing, or the smooth-sided miniatures which can then be modified, with either the decal detailing, or glue on detail parts.

Topgun Marketing LLC 15mm Sci Fi

Type 7 Scout/Recon Vehicle (left)
Grav Infantry Fighting Vehicle-2 (right)

The following items will be available for Range 1 of our 15mm Sci-Fi Grav Armor releases (more will be available in the coming months):

Type 7 Scout/Recon Grav vehicle $12.99 each

Platoon pack of 4 vehicles $47.99

Type 11 Medium Grav Tank* $13.99 each

Platoon pack of 4 vehicles $51.99

Type 12 Grav Tank Hunter – missile armed vehicle $12.99 each

Platoon pack of 4 vehicles $47.99

Type 13 Heavy Grav Tank* $15.99

Platoon pack of 4 vehicles $59.99

Urban Assault/Fire Support Veh. - heavy plasma cannon $15.99 each

Platoon pack of 4 vehicles $59.99

Grav Infantry Fighting Vehicle/APC* $15.99 each

Platoon pack of 4 vehicles $59.99

Grav Mortar Carrier $13.99

Battery of 2 vehicles $26.99

* When purchased in the platoon packs, several weapons options will be provided for the following vehicles: Type 11 Medium Grav Tank, Type 13 Heavy Grav Tank, and the Grav Infantry Fighting Vehicle/APC. We will also provide you with magnets, and instructions, so that you can swap out the weapons on the vehicles easily for your games, or when you desire to pit one faction against another, using the same tank hulls and turrets, but the different weapons for each side.

We will also be offering bigger combined arms Battle Packs of these vehicles, which will provide a larger discount for the vehicles, NOE flight bases, and more accessories with them. More info will be available on these, once we know the cost to produce the vehicles and detailing parts.

Future Range 1 Releases may include:

Type 9 Light Grav Tank

Type 15 Superheavy Grav Tank

Grav Anti-Aircraft Vehicle

Other vehicle ranges are under development.

We’d love to hear your feedback on our new products, or to answer any questions you may have, so feel free to contact us at the following e-mail address regarding them, or if you wish to place an order:

topgunace111 AT yahoo DOT com

(eliminate the spaces, and use the @ symbol and . as appropriate)

We take Paypal and US Postal Money Orders (sorry, no other money orders, due to the time they take to clear the bank). E-mail us, if you want to pay with a US Postal Money Order, so we can provide you with our payment processing address.

Shipping within the USA is 10% of your order, with a minimum charge of $6.00, and 20% international shipping.

More photos and information about our Grav Armor range will be provided during the coming weeks.

Best regards,


Topgun Marketing LLC

These really are los cojones del perro! Where do I sign up!


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Life Work The Universe......and Asylum


One of my favourite ever reads is Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa by W.P. Kinsella - subsequently turned into the movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner (1989). Field of Dreams is in itself a great bloke movie - esepcially if you ever have to come to terms with life and loss.

And it's not just Iowa where "all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place and the universe appears for a few seconds, or hours, and shows you what is possible."

I finished an EDRMS project meeting this evening with a little time to spare before my train home. So I stopped by Asylum Books and Games in the Adelphi. It's on my way to the station from Exchequer House, tucked down a little cul de sac and opposite the Trade Association Club.

Asylum is one of those stores that for it's size is an Aladdin Cave - little in the way of miniatures these days due to internet sales, but Mike, the very excellent owner is an overall good bloke.

Chatting about my review of Alien Squad Leader and the blog, Mike offered me the opportunity to run games in the store. He has the gaming tables and terrain boards, a gaggle of Goth girls (TMP joke) who perpetuate the shop, and plenty of enthusiasm.

A central city venue for Alien Squad Leader, Ambush Alley et al, only 3 minutes from where I work (ahem!)..... watch this space!

Find out more about Asylum Books and Games here:


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Alien Squad Leader V2.0: A Tabletop Review

250th Post

Alien Squad Leader ASQL-2.0
15mm Squad Level Wargames Rules to play battles from Science Fiction

by Alex Self

From: Alternative Armies/

Price £12

80 pages, A4, colour photos inside front/rear covers, including:

- 20 pages of core rules
- 2 pages of optional rules
- 4 pages of unit classification
- 5 pages of game set up and playing, including 2 pages of scenario templates
- 14 pages of specific rules within the Army List section
- 14 Army Lists
- 2 pages of point values for army creation
- 1 page of counters to photocopy
- Illustrated examples of game play and rule explanations throughout
- 2 pages of A4 Doublesided Quick Reference Sheets

A high quality printed product overall.

Fast Play, DBA/HOTT style Tactical Science-Fantasy

Small game = 100 points, 10-15 elements per side
Large game = 150-200 points 15-30 elements per side

An element represents one playing piece, being an individual tank/apc/flyer, or 'stand' of infantry/droids/aliens etc. HOF 15mm Science Fiction Automatons
Pic from ASQL v2-0

The game is meant to represent a large skirmish with platoon or landing party sized forces.

- 1 = 1 Soldier, creature, heavy weapon or Vehicle.
- Ground and time scales are heavily compressed to improve playability.

In the rules, any number of miniatures can be mounted on a base which is referred to as a
'stand'. Five figs are recommended on a stand for infantry, 2-3 for droids or monstrous creatures, whilst machines/vehicles are mounted individually. However a pragmatic play with what you've got philosophy is adopted throughout the rules.

The recommended base sizes are 50mm square for most infantry, droids and aliens, though vehicles and flyers generally 50mmx100mm, or 75mmx100mm for Monstrous creatures, dropships etc.

4ft square recommended for most games.

1-3 hours realtime

Normal 6 sided dice (2 per player recommended)
A tape measure
Counters/markers (a page of printed counters denoting 'hits' / 'pinned' status etc is provided in the book for you to copy and cut-out)


Normal/Fast Move
is self explanatory.

Armour Save represents the armour and protection of the element. This is the minimum score required on a D6 to prevent a hit.

Cover Save is an indication of whether an element can make use of cover.

Ranged Weapon describes the primary ranged weapon type eg 'Small Arms'/'Heavy Weapons'. Note that weapon ranges are stylised and somewhat arbitary. but this is a deliberate approach for the sake of game play.

Shooting determines special attributes in ranged combat for particular troop types, eg aiming devices or an extra hit.

Close Assault represents die modifiers applicable to particular troop types in close combat.

Shoot Reaction describes the type of reaction move that particular troop types must take in addition to any hits. HOF 15mm Science Fiction
Crusader troopers vs Ghoulani Enslaverss

Pic from ASQL v2-0

1) Move/Use Command Stands
2) Free Actions Phase
3) Command Phase
4) Out-of Command Phase
5) Close Combat

All units can attempt to make one of the following actions each game turn:

Move & Shoot
Stand & Shoot
Go on Overwatch

The base score required to hit a target is 7+ on 2d6. Successful rolls on the target will incur either Reaction Moves or Hits plus a Reaction Move. The usual range of modifiers and saving throws will impact on the final outcome.

Sounds simple? Well, the author, sets his stall out straight away. This isn't gritty, count yer ammo and multiply by the FPS of your muzzle velocity SpaceDirtGrunt. No sir Master Chief! Alien Squad Leader is B-Movie Science Fantasy territory. Inspired by Wargames Reaserch Group's DBA/DBM ASQL has a shake of HOTT and a twist of Warmaster to make the perfect gaming cocktail.

What you get in Alien Squad Leader V2.0 is a game crafted to sit comfortably within it's self-declared genre and as a result it simply cannot disappoint. It is tactically challenging, not through a myriad of weapon and vehicle stats, but due to carefully honed army templates which encourage you to play to your own forces' strengths whilst punishing your opponents weaknesses.

And it's here that ASQL-2.0 wins hands down before we even get to the tabletop and roll the first die. The army templates are inspired. There are 14 Army Templates from Human Imperial thru Outlaw Gangs, to Tripods, Alien Greys and Victorian Imperial each of which has a life and character that goes beyond armour stats and saving throws.

You simply WANT to collect and play with these armies. And, given their size there's NOTHING to stop you building one of each of the template armies or even more than one of each eg Human Colonial, Alien Imperial or even Mechanoid force, to make use of all the fantastic miniatures now on the market. What's more each 'army' can be a discrete project to collect, then paint and assemble in a weekend, two at the most.

Alex Self should be carried shoulders high around Bristol. ASQL-2.0 is wargames FUN in it's purest form.

Alien Squad Leader Yahoo Group (click here)
Check out the Photos folder for army inspiration!

To learn more about Alien Squad Leader v2.0 go to:

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone
who has supported both Dropship Horizon
and me personally over the past 10 months!


Those great folks at read my review and wanted to give you the opportunity of picking up your own copy of ASQL 2.0 at 10% off list price!
To do this go to and put the book (and
any other items you want) into the cart, when ready go to the checkout
screen (white background) and enter this code ' dropship ' into the
box and 10% will automatically come off your order! '

Thanks guys!



Sunday, 25 October 2009

15mm Mid Tech Proxies from QRF

A heads up guys that LKM/QRF have just released some nice looking 15mm Modern Germans that will make excellent Mid-tech Infantry proxies, and once more, won't simply look like Modern US. Of course, I'll need to add some visors first ;-)

QRF 15mm Modern Germans
MGI01 Infantry advancing with G36, £2.00

There are 6 packs in the initial release:

MGI01 Infantry advancing with G36
MGI02 Infantry firing G36
MGI04 Infantry with MG3
MGI05 Snipers
MGI06 Command
MGIS01 Milan Teams

QRF 15mm Modern Germans
MGI02 Infantry Firing G36, £2.00

Modern French and Chinese are on the way too. Corresponding with Geoff, the French will be in the new FRELIM kit. I'm hoping they will make OUDF proxies without the McStarburger 'Royale' look.

There's also more in the way of Modern Brits: - Snipers, GMG, Javelin teams, underslung grenade launchers, command, plus a heap of support weapons including a ground mounted 40mm auto-grenade launcher. If you are not too fussy, some mix and match of the support weapons with the Modern German infantry is possible for a discrete Tom. War force.

Of course, the great thing about the Modern Germans is their Flecktarn camo! Pure Sci Fi, and comes in desert and urban varieties too.

It's worth scanning the QRF catalogue for 'different' Modern kit to equip your Mid-Tech forces. The Yugoslavian M80A MICV being a great example. It's a BMP, but it's not.

QRF 15mm Modern
YUG02: MCV M80A, £6.00

Both Master Chef and myself use the Brazillian URUTU E11 APC as an off-world para-military police armoured vehicle. The French VAB wheeled APCs, US LAV-AT, plus South African Ratels are equally all worthy of including in your Mid-tech Sci Fi inventory.

Whilst on the subject of Mid-Tech Proxies, I ordered a pack of US Special Forces from Rebel Minis which arrived last weekend.

Lovely figs. Would have preferred leader types in helmets & in combative command poses, but I can work round that in this instance. Will certainly get more with my next order from Mike. Incidentally Master Chef uses these as 'Ships Marines' due to their resemblence to the Colonial Marines on Battlestar Galactica.