Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Pole Bitwy Back with a Bang!

As announced on the TMP 15mm Message Board and on his website, Piotr at Pole Bitwy will shortly start producing some lovely sculpts produced by the talented PF.

We understand from Piotr that these greens should hopefully be in production and available for purchase in late September or early October at the latest. If they sell well (and we're pretty sure they will!), even more will be sculpted. The Pole Bitwy web shop will be opening by this weekend.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Rebel Miniatures Take Command!

Rebel Miniatures has just released command packs for their popular Earth Force, Titan Marines and Droptroopers 15mm sci fi ranges. Whether you are into collecting 'complete' forces or not, command figures help make a range more rounded and certainly allow easier identification of unit commanders! Readers can see more pictures on TMP here.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sale Time at The Scene!

Mike at The Scene has announced his first ever sale! Customers of The Scene can get 20% off everything, whilst stock lasts until Sunday 4th September. So why not check out The Authorities, or The Scene's Battle Robots!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

REVIEW: Tomorrow's War

The Dropship Horizon crew were delighted to be given the opportunity to review a copy of Osprey Publishing / Ambush Alley Games’ Tomorrow’s War wargames rules in advance of their publication in October.

The Book

With a few notable exceptions, table top wargaming generally has been predominated by rules publications which, whatever the quality of the actual rules, have had comparatively low production values due to the relatively high costs of publication and the comparatively low numbers of rule sets sold. In contrast, and as you may have come to expect from Osprey, Tomorrow’s War is a very professionally produced and visually appealing rule book.

Following an introductory section (and a forward by Jon Tuffley which was also included in the pre-release PDF edition of the rules), there is a 24 page Background section which provides a potted history of the (optional) Tomorrow’s War universe and both humanity’s expansion into space and its continued warlike nature.  For me, this was one the least interesting sections of the book, but I understand that many readers may require that a rulebook also provides a setting and it is therefore a necessary part of the book.

Similar to Force on Force, the book provides sections looking at the Turn Sequence and The Basics of Play common to all Ambush Alley Games rule sets. Larger sections then go on to look at Infantry Combat and Mechanised Combat and then Close Air Support, Off-Board Artillery, Special Unit Types, Asymmetric Engagements and a Tomorrow’s War Campaign. There are then several appendices that provide unit attributes, organisation examples, vehicle examples, scenarios, fog of war cards and finally that all important index!

If you've seen a copy of Force on Force, you’ll know what to expect. This is a publication that really sets the bar in terms of quality. Tomorrow’s War is a 260 page, full colour, hardback book. Tomorrow’s War features specially commissioned maps and illustrations, as well as good quality colour photographs of 15 and 28mm wargames figures – just as we previewed on the blog back in June. There may be slightly fewer pictures and illustrations in Tomorrow’s War than in Force on Force but this is likely due to the space taken up by additional rules content.

The Rules

Like Force on Force, from which it is derived, Tomorrow’s War will not be for everyone. This is not an ‘I go you go’ rule set; it seeks to capture a fluid combat situations through a creative and imaginative initiative system that hands one side the momentum in a battle, but at the same time keeps both players actively playing the game and allows all units to act (or react).

Initiative is determined by the scenario being played or by an opposed dice roll at the begining of each turn (with the player controlling the best trained force most likely to win the roll). The player with the initiative can have each of his units carry out actions (moving, shooting, etc.) and the player without the initiative attempts to interrupt or counteract each of those actions with his own units as they take place (firing first, returning fire, moving out of the line of sight, etc.).

As with Force on Force, the focus is on platoon / reinforced platoon sized engagements and (when scaled for 15mm sci fi) is played on 2 foot by 2 foot or 2 foot by 3 foot table.

Like Force on Force, Tomorrow’s War abstracts some elements of warfare (such as relative qualities of similar weapons such as assault rifles) in order to emphasise other aspects such as unit type (regular, irregular and robotic), troop quality, morale, confidence, supply and (new for Tomorrow’s war), tech level (weapons vs. armour and stealth vs. sensors).

The relative qualities of different units are reflected in different dice (d6, d8, d10 and d12) in opposed dice rolls giving a significant advantage to troops with better characteristics. You may need a few more of these dice than you currently own as you could be rolling one for each member of a fire team + additional dice for bonuses, etc. Throughout Tomorrow’s War the rules are illustrated with examples explaining how rule mechanisms work in a clear and concise manner.

Tomorrow’s War differs from Force on Force in providing additional sci fi specific elements, but this isn’t simply Force on Force with lasers and robots tacked on. I get the impression that the authors have carefully thought about how to integrate sci fi elements into the core structure of the game in ways that really work. The rules cover elements such as power armour, exoskeletons, combat drugs, advanced weapons such as energy and gauss weapons, anti-gravity vehicles, walkers, gigantic vehicles, dropships, robots and drones as well as advanced command and control on the battlefield.

One thing that may be lacking is a separate set of detailed rules for aliens. Tomorrow’s War essentially treats aliens and humans the same and a 4 page section suggests how to tailor alien forces for the rules based on their characteristics. Whilst this seems to work, it may not satisfy everyone. The other thing Tomorrow’s War does not include is a points system. This is a scenario driven wargame and not designed for tournament style play. Some wargamers like points systems and others (like me) don’t.

In summary this is a very well designed and well balanced set of rules and, for me at least, it sets the bar in terms of the quality and originality for science fiction wargaming rules. No rule set will please everyone, but I’d be surprised if Tomorrow’s War doesn’t come to dominate a large chunk of the sci fi wargaming market for some time to come. The very accessibility of the rules (distributed by Osprey to good bookshops around the world) may make it a great ambassador for sci fi wargaming and, potentially bring new gamers to the hobby.

There are, of course, lots of free sci fi rule sets available, but at £25.00 / US $34.95 a copy Tomorrow’s War offers good value for money given the price charged for other, often less well produced, commercial rule sets.

To see the previous sneak peek of Tomorrow's War go here.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Incoming: Khurasan Sci-Fi Interior Terrain

Khurasan will be releasing a series of sci-fi themed interior terrain pieces and accoutrements in the not too distant future. The first batch of items consists mostly of passageways, different walls/bulkheads and door sections plus some smaller terrain pieces like computer consoles, desks, screens, racks of hardware etc.

I was working on these last week and can say that they are very well sculpted and rather fun to paint! You can see a melange of inspiration in the sculpts and they feel fresh yet familiar in an appealing way. If you're looking to create the interiors of a spaceship, an off-world colony or some lost Jovian science station these pieces will come in very handy! Personally I've been wanting to do a 3D board for the old Aliens boardgame from LEG and with the exterminators, space demons and now these I think the time has come.

Some quick snaps of some of the items:

According to Jon this is an ongoing project and there are more upcoming stuff in the works. Some more pictures are available at the Khurasan blog.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Cataloging Human Power Armor in 15mm

Matt's previous posts (Alien Life Forms and Non-Biological Life) have sparked some great discussions. To continue this series, we will now examine the various forms of human Power Armor available in 15mm Sci Fi.

Starting with some of the oldest sculpts still available:
Those are all classic minis - lots of character and sentimental value for many 15mm gamers. But if you want something designed by our current crop of manufacturers:
  • Ground Zero Games has Power Armor packs for the NAC, NSL, FSE, ESU, and Japanese factions. While GZG's newer ranges (NAC, UNSC, New Israelis) are exceedingly popular, the old Power Armor packs should never be overlooked. The Japanese pack(pictured on the left) may be especially appealing to sci-fantasy gamers, as it contains a mini holding two power swords. All of the GZG Power Armor packs are also available from Eureka Miniatures Australia.
  • 15mm.Co.Uk has the Retained Knights in the HOF range. These are a very suitable 15mm proxy for GW Space Marines, especially with a variety of both heavy weapon and close combat troopers.
  • Kremlin Miniatures has the Red Banner MANITOU minis. These large figures look great alongside even the newest infantry sculpts on today's 15mm market.
But we all know that the 15mm Sci-Fi renaissance has really only existed for the last few years. The manufacturers driving this product boom have produced some of the best Power Armor available:
  • Khurasan's Federal Marine Special Assault Brigade (pictured right). These are textbook examples of the power armor described by Heinlein. They are also multi-part miniatures, meaning you can build dozens of them with unique poses and weapon configurations. Lots of spare parts in this pack, too.
  • Blue Moon Manufacturing released the Orion Republic troops, and it seems that these are their most popular sci-fi minis. There are ten unique poses in the pack, so combining a few packs together would allow you some variety in your squads. This pack also contains a bare-headed command figure - something that may be very appealing to fans of the WH40K aesthetic.
  • Critical Mass Games' ARC Fleet Drop Troopers and Augments have a very good variety of weapons and poses.
There are even more Power Armor troopers coming in the future.
  • Ground Zero Games has announced plans to eventually update all of the "older" factions. Matt's previous interview with Jon T. (see here) included a preview of the revised NAC Power Armor.
  • We've also seen previews of Micropanzer Studios' upcoming Russian Heavy Infantry.
So far we've looked at (I hope) all of the suits of Power Armor available. But sometimes a suit doesn't cut it.. and where do you turn when you really want to crank Power Armor "up to eleven?"

  • ArtCrime Productions Valkyries (pictured left), featured earlier this year here on the Dropship.
  • Kremlin Miniatures Rising Sun MANITOU. These have great potential, anything from a 15mm AT-43 setting to far future sci fantasy combat.
  • Ground Zero Games' Cyclops walkers - very good battlesuits with jetpacks and a variety of weapons.
  • Battlestations Power Armor Suits - an armored egg with arms and legs.

Hopefully this list is useful to everyone!


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Department - a 15mm Skirmish Game

The Dropship has received intel that Four Color Figures is currently raising Kickstarter Funds for its newest game: The Department: Noir Investigation Skirmish.

The game is set in a near future America where Fabricated Human Simulants, also known as fabricants, walk among us. Players take on the role of agents from the U.S. Department of Fabricant Management, a government agency charged with policing fabricants and fighting the increasing instances of fabricant-related terrorism.

It sounds to the Dropship Crew like there is a strong Blade Runner / Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? feel to the game. It is also perhaps a little reminiscent of the video game Syndicate, although that featured corporate cyborgs shooting it out in cities of the near future.

According to one of the game's creators, Joseph Dragovich, The Department is (or will be) a miniature skirmish game for 1-4 players specifically designed for15mm miniatures and featuring elements such as large crowds of civilians, building interiors and realistic gun ranges. You can see a sample of how the game plays on the game's website.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Cataloguing non-biological life in 15mm

Following up on a previous post, Dropship Horizon's technologists have been busy cataloguing non-biological life in the known universe. Researchers have identified several manufacturers of the drones, cyborgs, droids, etc. including:

As previously mentioned, there is a shortage of generic androids in the style of Star Wars or I Robot - get sculpting guys!

Edit - there is an interesting discussion over on the TMP 15mm message board on the subject of robots, bots and borgs in 15mm.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

These ARE The Droids You're Looking For continues to expand your science fiction horizons with an offering of new droids. Three new droids of the small utility sort are included in their HOF70 pack. These are available as either a full pack (4.00GBP) or as singles (0.40GBP each).

They have even come up with some new rules for their USE ME rules. Simply email and ask for ‘USE ME Droids’ to get it by return attachment.

Check them out!


Friday, 12 August 2011

SPOTLIGHT - Ground Zero Games

The Dropship recently stopped off in the Tuffleyverse to catch up with Jon and gather some intel on Ground Zero Games and get a look at some new models that will be available shortly.

First of all, how did you get into table top wargaming?

I started wargaming when I was about 10 or 11, when I got hold of a copy of Charles Grant's Battle - Practical Wargaming. Around the same time (1970-71), the very first 6mm / 1/300 minis were becoming available - funny little lumps of lead that looked vaguely like Shermans and Panzer IIIs... but to a kid used to nothing but OO/HO plastics they were something new and wonderful!

My fascination with Sci Fi has been around as long as I can remember, and it wasn't long before I began to put the two interests together and think about the possibilities of SF wargaming - in the mid-70s I found the first commercial SF rules and minis, followed quickly by a copy of Traveller. Around that time I wrote my first rudimentary rules set, a very simple space combat game which eventually metamorphosed into Full Thrust. The rest, as they say, is history...

 Crusty Power Armour and a Crusty Combat Walker.

Ground Zero Games has been around for quite a while, when did you decide to set up your own business and how has running the business changed over the years?

Around 1985 I started to cast a small range of resin 15mm SF vehicles in the garden shed - some Traveller-inspired Grav Tanks, ATVs etc.- and these were the first products ever marketed under the GZG name; with the help of small ads in White Dwarf (still an independent games mag in those days!) I sold a surprising number of them and it just snowballed from there. At the same time, I published my first "commercial" rules set - G-CAV - very much aimed at 15mm actions with the resin vehicles I was making.

The 25mm resins followed soon after, then the first FT starships and 6mm (though at that point the metal stuff was sculpted and cast by Paul Copeland (CMD), I just marketed them - a number of years later Paul had to give up due to poor health, and I bought the ranges from him). Once I decided to go into 25mm figures, I started doing my own metal casting as well as resin; by this time the 25mm sales had vastly overtaken the original 15mm, and 25mm (plus the starships of course) became my main focus for many years.

By 1991 GZG had grown to the point where I simply couldn't continue to run it as a part-time "hobby business" while holding down a full-time job - so I took the plunge, quit my "proper" job and GZG became my full time livelihood, which it still is today, 20 years on.

During the '90s I wrote and published the full, glossy second editions of Full Thrust, Dirtside and Stargrunt (all of which started life as first-edition photocopied A5 booklets). Metal casting gradually overtook the resins, to the point where I gave up on resin altogether; it's a good medium but compared with metal it's very time and labour intensive.

So, now everything I do is metal-cast and it is still 100% manufactured in-house. Unlike a number of the other companies in the field, I still do virtually EVERYTHING in-house - I design, build masters (still in the traditional way, not pixel-pushing!), make the moulds, cast the stock, pack the orders and take them to the post office each day. The only thing that is outsourced in any way is the human and alien figure sculpting, as I've always been more of a builder than a sculptor; aside from that, I still do the lot...

My return to 15mm started around 2000/2001, when I released some new 15mm figure packs which were effectively reduced size versions of our 25mm lines; they proved immediately popular, and a couple of years later I built the first new 15mm vehicle sculpts - sales of these were so good that I expanded the range as rapidly as I could, starting to cover all "tech levels" from near-future tracked equipment right up to ultra-tech grav stuff. The 15mm ranges were soon outselling the 25mm lines, and it wasn't long before 15mm was once again my best-selling scale (alongside the ever-popular FT starships, of course). It's funny how things go full-circle!

Rear view of new Crusty miniatures

What are your general plans for Ground Zero Games 15mm sci fi range?

At the moment, a continued steady growth of new items, plus going back to revisit and resculpt some of the earlier items. The last few years have seen a huge and rapid expansion to get the range built up, now it has slowed a bit because I'm kept so busy casting stock and fulfilling orders.

A long-term ongoing project is revisiting each of the figure nationalities that were released early on, and expanding them into full ranges of all-new sculpts - the NAC and NI (New Israelis) are pretty much done, but there are still a lot of other forces to do. In between these, I'm introducing entirely new stuff like the Crusties and the UNSC-Light guys, which have proved to be especially popular.

Vehicle-wise I have quite a few ideas in mind, but I'm not going to give details till they actually happen; I'd certainly like to do some more civilian and paramilitary type stuff, and maybe a few more buildings if I can figure out ways to do them effectively in metal - I won't be going back to resin-casting for the foreseeable future.

Do you have any plans to update or expand the setting of your Stargrunt/Dirtside/Fullthrust rule sets or the rules themselves?

I'd love to but, realistically, at present miniatures production is occupying all my work time; one day in the future I might get them done, but it's going to be a long way off. At the moment I'm happy to help to promote and recommend several of the new rulesets that have come on the market in the last couple of years - such as Future War Commander, Gruntz, and AAG/Osprey's forthcoming Tomorrow's War, all of which in turn help my miniatures sales. The hardcopies of my own rules have long since sold out, but I keep them available as free PDF downloads via the website for anyone who wants them - it's nice to see that they are still popular even with so much new competition around. Seeing GZG products used on the table with all sorts of different game systems is great, because it means people are buying the minis because they like them for themselves rather than because they are the "official" range for that game.

New NAC Power Armour including optional Jump Pack

How do you think the hobby (sci fi wargaming generally and 15mm sci fi wargaming more specifically) look now compared to when you started out?

It's quite odd to look back and realise that everything has come full-circle - I started out with 15mm, and more than twenty-five years later here I am back with it again! When I started, it was mostly home-brewed rules, converted toys and using what few crude and basic figures you could get - we'd have killed for the sort of ranges and variety that there is now, in 15mm and all the other scales.

Even with the recession, I think that most folks still want to keep doing their hobbies - possibly even more so to escape from how bad Real Life(tm) is... Wargaming is still NOT an expensive hobby compared with a lot of others, and I think that provided there is still a steady flow of newcomers at the bottom end of the age range (which is where, like 'em or loathe 'em, the "big boys" such as GW do perform a useful function for the hobby as a whole) then the future doesn't look too bad.

15mm SF is certainly having a "golden age" at the moment; in many ways it's never been easier to start a small miniatures business - you can get freelancers to create and sculpt (or 3D print) the models for you, then get contract casters to produce them - all you really have to do is come up with the initial ideas, then sell the finished product. The fact that I still do everything myself the old-fashioned way is just my choice!

More and more manufacturers old and new are seeing this resurgence of the scale and deciding to get involved - which is great from the consumer's point of view, though inevitably if the market gets too crowded I fear that a few will probably fall by the wayside. For the time being, though, I think it is a case of "a rising tide lifts all boats" - the more there is out there for them to buy, the more SF gamers are getting interested in the scale again and hopefully this translates into more sales for everyone in this part of the industry - I know I've never been busier than in the last 12 months, and long may it continue. As I've said before, if people keep buying the stuff, then I'll keep making it!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Ventaurans have Landed

Command, Control and Heavy Weapons
Struck down with a headcold, I was at home on Tuesday when the postman dropped off a little packet from Eureka Miniatures. Upon opening it, I discovered my pre-ordered Ventaurans, freshly emerged from Eureka's 300Club.


The figures are as good in the flesh as they appear in these photos Nic released earlier, with the distinctive Ventauran helmet and the tight fitting light bodyarmour and light backpacks.

Weapons-wise, the Ventaurans are armed with light automatic weapons, and have a heavier SAW, plus missile launcher and Autocannon as support weapons. While the weapons are mid-tech, and quite nicely LBB Traveller, the missile launcher and the autocannon are just a little too retro for my liking. I think I can tech up the missile launcher but the autocannon, to me, poses a bit of a quandry. It seems too heavy to be made easily mobile on its ground mount, which seems a little at odds with the general light infantry vibe of the rest of the range.

But having said that, I really like the Ventaurans and I'm glad they're available. I expect them to appear on the Eureka website soon and have included the figure codes on the above pictures for those keen to get in and order some.

Ventauran Technical
Ventauran technical - Ventauran autocannon on Ground Zero Games Utility Grav sled (V15-29A). That's blu-tac around the gunner's hands, BTW.

Ventauran Technical
Another view of the technical.

Left to Right: Khurasan Felid, GZG New Israeli, Rebel Miniatures Earth Force Marine, HOF Retained Knight, Eureka Ventauran, GZG UNSC-L rifleman.

Left to Right: GZG New Israeli, Rebel Miniatures Earth Force Marine, Eureka Ventauran, GZG USMC-L Rifleman, Khurasan Felid

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Harook Part 2 - Interview with Mad Robot

Dropship Horizon was lucky enough to have Steve from Mad Robot answer a few interview questions in a short Q&A. I think you can see by his responses that he is a passionate miniatures enthusiast and he's really come to the Harook project with a loto f thought and vigor.

The questions below were sent to Steve in an email. He was also kind enough to send along some early concept drawings showing a little bit of the development of the Harook -

Are you a gamer and if so, what is your background in the hobby?

I was into RPGs back in high school, I eventually got over the swords & sorcery thing and became interested in Sci-Fi, really into Traveller.  At one point I had the original little box set with the first rule books, very cool stuff.  Many years passed and then 40K caught my attention about 5 years ago but my practical tabletop gaming experience is very limited.  I just liked staring at all the pictures of awesome little sci-fi soldiers.  I became obsessed with the 28mm hobby end of things and I’ve maintained a hobby blog, Sadoukad16, under the name Col. Hessler.  I have a huge passion for kit bashing and customizing every figure I deal with.

How long have you been into miniatures?

I guess the time frame would be about 5 years.  After I picked up the 40K rulebook, I didn’t know what to do with  I just liked staring at all the pictures of awesome little sci-fi soldiers.

What sort of things inspire you when thinking about creating figures - i.e. do you have specific authors or images in mind?

In general, I tend to sway towards the “humanity fighting the aliens” theme.  Although I read a great deal, I don’t tend to get inspired that way.  Quite often I get inspired by other people.  It’s like to musicians jamming, one might play something that inspires the other.  I can get inspired by the slightest thing and once my imagination kicks in, there it is.  That’s certainly what happened with the Harook.

What, to you, is the 'must have' in a figure when you're looking at prospective purchases for your own collection?

When I see it, it has to spark my imagination somehow.

Your first release in 15mm is the Harook bird aliens. Why birds alien?

I look at Mad Robot as a business as much as anything else.  When someone give a detailed list of things that 15mm gamers are looking for, like you did on DH, I see that as a prospective “to do” list.  The Avian Alien suggestion was one of the things that sparked my interest right away.  I bet when many people saw the words “avian aliens” they pictured something with wings.  I pictured what you see in the concept drawing.  The irony of these super high-tech bird men, with gauss weapons and hover tanks, screeching at each other on the battlefield was irresistible to me. 

Your initial releases with Mad Robot have been in resin. Are you planning on going metal or resin with the Harook?

That’s still undecided right now.  If my resin caster can do them, I might try it.  15mm seems to be synonymous with metal and that works for me too.  It will probably boil down to what is less expensive, what is easier.

Are there plans to do other types of aliens in 15mm?

Right now my sole focus in 15mm will be the Harook.  I plan to fill out the line as much as I can.  That means command, heavy weapons, assault/special weapons, dropship.  That will certainly keep me busy on the 15mm side for a while.  After that, who knows?  I haven’t run it by him yet but I may see if Pedro is interested in making something nuts, just tell him to let his imagination run wild and see where it goes.  That would probably offer up something awesome.  He is Mr. Bug Man after all...

Being relatively new to 15mm science fiction, what would you say is the greatest area for expansion into the hobby?

I would tend to think that new alien races are always welcomed.  Also, this concept of a “complete line” certainly has some merit.  I think the hobby would benefit from a nice BIG community start to grow around 15mm.  How about a “Con” totally dedicated to 15mm?  Is there one already?  If not, there should be

Thanks again for the chance to be featured on DH.  Maybe we can work together and make 15mm the “go to” scale for gamers. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Harook Part 1 - New 15mm Aliens Anounced by Mad Robot Miniatures

Steve over at Mad Robot Miniatures has taken the dive into 15mm science fiction with the announcement of a new project featuring bird-like aliens. The Harook appear to be the byproduct of recent discussions on the gaps in the alien catalog in the hobby, making use of visual references supplied by various posters in discussions on TMP.

So far there has only been a finished concept drawing released but Steve was kind enough to provide some of the development sketches as well. By the looks of them, the Harook fit the bill (no pun intended) for the avian alien quite well. The design is humanoid enough to make them easily accessible to players but not so much so that they fall into the rubber suit category of aliens. The styling of the armor and weapons is alien enough to help with detaching them from the space humans that will surround them.

Their initial release plan is for a pack of 10 unique poses, to be sculpted by the talented Pedro Navaro. the initial release will include a leader type as one of the 10. Future plans include a quick follow up with command, heavy weapons and even some assault troops. A dropship is also in the plans, allowing the Harook the potential for being a force full of options.

I look forward to their release and cannot wait to see some of the greens. Steve has expressed an interest in keeping us in the loop on developments and I'm sure he'll be tracking their development over at Mad Robot's blog.

Exciting news! Check it out!


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Review - Rebel Minis TomCAT and WildCAT 'Bots

Not too long ago, Rebel Minis released the CAT 'bots. I ordered a set of each shortly after their release... and was impressed enough to order a second set during Rebel's sale. Each pack comes with two CATs bodies (one posed upright, one posed walking) and two complete weapon sprues. The packs are differentiated by the weapon sprues contents:

TomCAT (Close Killin' version)
  • Two arms with empty articulated hands
  • One arm holding a large rifle-type weapon in an articulated hand
  • A spare rifle for either of the bare hands
  • One large blade that attaches to an arm (either side)
  • One large shield that attaches to an arm (either side)
  • One powerplant that fits to the back of the body
No matter how you build a TomCAT, you'll end up with a spare arm.

WildCAT (Tankbustin' version)
  • Two arms with very large claws
  • Powerplant backpack with missile mount
  • Two missile pods
So you can build the TomCAT about a dozen different ways, while the WildCAT is a straightforward build. I decided to mix mine up rather than using them as intended... each of my 'bots has one arm with an articulated rifle hand and one of the big claws. I put a shield on one, and the missile launcher on the other, then use both as the heavy support in an infantry squad (see here for the army design and fluff I used).

The casts were nearly flawless - very little filing or cleaning was required. I would suggest that you use a clipper to remove the weapons from the frame - I twisted one arm off with just my fingers and it tore a bit off the shoulder socket. But what I like most about the CATs is the two different poses that are included in the packs - John Bear Ross had a brilliant idea when he created the pose variety. I only wish Rebel Mike would have JBR go back and do an advancing pose for the Earthforce and Titan Marine HAMRs - I have a couple of each, but would field more if there was some pose variety.

If you want some good tall warbots for any kind of 15mm force - give these a close look. Mine will probably double as Heavy Droids for an Alien Squad Leader force... or I'll just pick up a few more packs! Also - these are tall enough that they would work well in 20mm sci-fi forces, if that's your cup of tea.

One final thought about the WildCAT frames - the large "tank ripper" claws look pretty familiar to me:

I can't help but wonder if those arms would fit on the Khurasan DIMOG body?

Those arms on that vehicle, given a yellow paint job... someone should make a movie with a vehicle like that...


Friday, 5 August 2011

15mm Zidhe Space Elves now Available as Singles have made their Zidhe space elves available as singles in their HOF miniatures line. This is exciting news for those looking to fill out units or wanting to grab a few character miniatures. Head on over and check it out!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

"Beam us up?" "By your command!"

Matt Alleman from Astro Miniatures has just released some great items for all of you cinematic and television gamers:

Astro Crew - 15 figures for $10

Sybots - $8 for 10 miniatures

The inspiration for both of these releases is pretty obvious, but I'm looking forward to seeing what other uses everyone finds for them. Matt has also released some great conversion items: female head sprues, male head sprues, and a sprue of very Trek-inspired pistols. Check them out here:


Monday, 1 August 2011

Combat Wombat 15mm Milled Barrels

For those who don't know about him, Combat Wombat is a small shop producing quite an extensive line of resin vehicles and buildings in 15mm. Scott, the creator, producer and all around great guy at the head of this company has worked, for many years now, to bring quality vehicles to the 15mm battlefield. Now he brings a new level of excellence and detail to 15mm vehicles that had in the past really only been the realm of scale modellers.

His newest release is a range of professionally machined gun barrels in various sizes and types. As can be seen in the picture below (from the Combat Wombat website) they are perfectly tooled and offer a variety of styles from thick bore to small autocannons and machine guns.

Scott was kind enough to send me samples of each of the barrels offered above and I can say that the picture here doesn't do them justice. Unfortunately, I couldn't produce a picture that was any better, so take my word on it. The barrels are not simple tubes. they are complex, finely detailed additions that will spice up any of your vehicles. The materials is strong and will resist bending.

Check them out. I think you will something for nearly any vehicle with a conventional barrel.