In the last article, I said plenty of nice words about the USE ME - Danger on Outpost 32 boxed game from 15mm.Co.Uk. But actions speak louder than words, right? To highlight its "starter set" strengths, I'll demonstrate how long it takes to build and paint all figures and play through the scenarios.
The figures in the box set can be divided roughly into three factions - the Zeta Reticulans, the human defenders, and the assorted alien figures from the SHM range. Since the Zetas were the most numerous, painting them first seemed like would make the rest of the painting seem easier.
The Zetas are an assortment of figures from the HOF Grey Aliens range. They are extremely clean castings - the mold lines were easy to remove with small hobby files and there was just a bit of flash between two figures' legs. My only complaint about the figures is the thickness of their cast bases. But the pewter is fairly soft, so a few minutes with a full-size metalworker's file was all it took to reduce their height. I divided the figures into three groups (which, other than two figures, unintentionally matched the HOF blister packs), mounted them to craft sticks with white glue, and hit them with white primer.
While the spray primer dried, I grabbed a handful of pennies and painted them with Model Master Euro Gray. Danger on Outpost 32 does include 20mm plastic bases for all figures. And I was tempted to use them - thinking that I might turn this box set into some kind of standalone travel game. But I ultimately decided not to limit their future use, and went with the same type of bases as the rest of my 15mm figures.
The primer was dry by the time I had an initial coat on the last penny. So I chose my base colors for the Zetas and went to work. I picked Vallejo Stonewall Grey for their skin, Vallejo Fire Orange for their uniforms, and P3 Cygnar Blue Base for trim/contrast.
Sure, it may look like a bright and somewhat garish color scheme. But I assure you it perfectly fits my vision for the Zeta Reticulans, and has nothing whatsoever to do with my internal bet of painting a 15mm force to correspond with each football team in the Big Ten conference's colors... Anyway, it took about three episodes of The Walking Dead to get those base colors applied to all 13 Zetas. I painted the grey first, then the orange, and finished with the blue. In hindsight, doing the uniforms before the exposed skin would have been slightly better. But it still got the job done. Figuring in the time it took to clean, file, undercoat and basecoat... about 3.5 hours work. Plenty for the first day.
The second day was quite a bit easier. I painted the eyes black, the weapons and other equipment with Vallejo Glorious Gold, then the cast bases Euro Gray (same as the pennies). Then I touched up a few bad spots with the original three colors and finished with black Wonder Wash applied to each figure.
While the wash dried, I painted another coat of Euro Gray onto the pennies. Then some inspiration struck me. Alien Greys are quite a staple in Alien Squad Leader games, and there was enough figures here to build three stands. So I dug out a few of the square skirmish trays built in my early 15mm days. By the time I had three of them painted, the Wonder Wash on the figures had dried. Here's why I use white glue on the craft sticks - it's easy to pop them off with a hobby knife, and any residue will clean off easily. I superglued the figures to the pennies, and flocked the skirmish trays while the figures were setting...
...then flocked the figures themselves, and sealed the texture with another coat of thinned white glue. It was only two hours' work to get this far on the second day, plus a bit of time for the white glue to dry.
And that's it. Less than six hours work and I'm already halfway done with the new figures. They'll never earn me any "oohs" or "aahs," but I'm more than happy to use these on the battlefield. Here's the Zeta Reticula infantry figures:
And the leadership.
I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how these guys perform in the Danger scenarios. And I'll have to grab a couple packs of Grey Soldiers with my next 15mm.Co.Uk order. Combined with these figures, I'll have a pretty good start on another Alien Squad Leader army, and have more flexibility with them in future games of USE ME.
Next up on the painting table: two sticks of SHM range figures.