Saturday, 31 March 2012

Khurasan releases Polecat Wheeled Utility Vehicle

Khurasan Miniatures has released another fantastic vehicle - the Polecat.  

This was designed to be a Humvee-like variant of the upcoming Federal Exterminators Caiman APC.  It is priced at $9.99 each or $35.99 for a four-pack.  The Polecat includes two different turrets - an antipersonnel gatling gun, and a multi-tube rocket launcher for anti-material fire. 

No, the Desiree Kim figure is NOT included!
While 15mm provides a good variety of mecha, huge battle tanks, and massive personnel carriers, it's actually the small utility vehicles like this which inspire me the most.  The obvious roles are command or scout vehicles, but I see the Polecat engaging in "behind enemy lines" operations.  Each one could carry 3-5 special operators - a pair of these working in tandem would transport an elite team of commandos.  It's easy to imagine them painted in "blackball" radar-reflective paint and using an all-electric powertrain to reduce sound and thermal signature.  That makes it an ideal vehicle for surgical strikes, assassination missions, or hostage rescues.  I'm going to write a generic scenario featuring the Polecat... watch for it later this weekend!


Friday, 30 March 2012

New releases from GZG & final days of Christmas vouchers

Remember - if you bought from Ground Zero Games during the Christmas sale and haven't used your discount vouchers (like me) - they expire on 31 March.  Get your orders in first thing this weekend!  Jon does have a special treat for those of us who waited... a whole bunch of new goodies were just released.

For the NAC (possibly the most popular human army in all of 15mm Sci Fi), we have this great pack of medics with wounded:

Along with some NAC casualties.  

Jon received many customer requests for casualty figures.  If these prove to be popular, it's something we could hope to see in his other factions.

The Crusties also received some love.  The extremely popular Crusty Mech received a second pose variant. This one is a bit more dynamic than the first version, and will let us field larger units of these great walkers.

On the Civilians & Characters side, we now have a Survey Team in Vac Suits.  These would be a great companion for the Surveyor Tracked Explorer Vehicle

The versatile Rommel Hover Tank received two new variants.  One is armed with a quad pulse cannon:

And the other a dual multi-missile launcher:

The quad pulse cannon seems designed to take down fast-moving aircraft.  The missile system is far more versatile.  It could be a long-range artillery piece, or a dedicated hunter of mecha or tanks.  

The new weapons systems for these tanks would also look great as standalone defensive positions.  And Jon must have been thinking the same thing, because both are available as groundmount systems.

Kudos to Jon for loads of great new minis!


Edit: I missed two new items!  The first is a pack of tripod-mount energy cannons with gunners for the extremely popular UNSC range:

And the second is a variant of the Gauntlet Hover APC - armed with a multi-missile system.

And check out Jon's comment below - there may be some additional new items available at Salute.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Review - Armies Army Neo-Sov Figures

Keith at Armies Army was kind enough to send me a review pack of his new Neo-Sov Figures back in early February.  But due to an unannounced shutdown of the UK-US 15mm Wormhole (Patent Pending), they didn't arrive until late last week.  So even though these figures have already been covered by a few fellow bloggers, I still wanted to give them a proper review.

The Sculpts

Let me get this out of the way first - I personally hate near-future gaming.  Being in the US military for the last 12 years has left me with no desire to play anything recognizable.  To me, science fiction battles should have towering mecha in bright colors, daring adventurers with silly fantasy-inspired weapons, and faceless minions with high-tech and horribly inaccurate blasters.  So, with that being said...

I really do like these figures.

What Armies Army offers is a squad of soldiers wearing familiar-looking gear.  Basic fatigues and combat boots, load-bearing equipment with canteens and pouches, and familiar knee, shoulder, and groin protection.  Seven of them are armed with basic AK rifles, one has an RPG, one a machinegun (though not an RPK), and the NCO a machine pistol/SMG.  These are the same weapons you'd find in actual Russian (or other former Soviet) military forces, or any third-world military or paramilitary force buying Russian surplus or knockoffs.  

All ten poses in this first offering are unique.  They range from a couple of stationary firing poses (feet anywhere from together to shoulder-width), some advancing poses, and one half-kneeling figure.  All of them are dynamic - they are clearly in the middle of a firefight, rather than standing around straight or waving guns over their heads.  

What sets these figures apart from most modern ranges are the helmets.  These troops are wearing fully enclosed headgear rather than something you'd find today.  It looks like it has very advanced optics, built-in communications, and even a light hostile-environment breathing apparatus.  It reminded me more of helmets found on old Cobra forces from G.I.Joe than any real-world military concept headgear.  These helmets really open some doors for the figure range as a whole... I'll discuss that a bit later.

The Castings

The ten figures I received were very clean and well-detailed.  They have the typical mold line running from toe-to-head-to-toe, but didn't suffer from any misalignment or bent weapons.  A few seconds per figure with a small file and they were ready to paint.  The only thing I can really complain about are the cast bases.  These are just a bit too thick to blend into a penny or washer without a ton of extra work.  But this problem is far from unique to Armies Army - in fact, these are far from the worst bases seen on 15mm figures.  I just filed them smooth on this first squad - on future squads I'll use a Dremel to make them a bit thinner.

So... Who Are They?

The initial G.I.Joe impression gave me a few ideas on how to use these figures.  I pictured them as assault troops for a hostile third-world dictator, and tried to come up with an appropriate paint scheme.  I figured the uniforms and weapons were all old surplus items, so I painted my test figure with Vallejo Heavy Khaki, the load-bearing equipment P3 Cryx Bane Highlight, and the rifle Reaper Master Aged Pewter.  And, thinking that the helmets were unique to that particular dictatorship - I tried to paint them Vallejo Blood for a Red Skull appearance...

Okay... didn't work.  That is one UGLY paint job.

You know what?  Military paint schemes just aren't my thing.  So let's try something else.  I saw a gallery sometime in the last few months - it was a Pig Iron 28mm figure beautifully painted in granite and orange.  Couldn't find it again, but just knowing the basic colors gave me a good place to start.  So this time, I went with Cryx Bane Highlight as the fatigue color, Cryx Bane Base on the boots, gloves, and helmet, Vallejo Fire Orange on the web gear and facemask, and a bit of work with Secret Weapon Stone wash and Wonder Wash original black.

Much better!  It's amazing how much a differenet paint scheme changes a figure at this scale.  So I threw that first one into a Simple Green bath and painted the other eight figures.

The new paint scheme inspired a few more possible backgrounds for these figures.  Instead of a near future dictatorship - what about a ruthless post-apocalyptic enclave?  I could easily work these into my not-Invid Invasion setting.  The Dominion invaded Earth because of the sudden appearance of their Blue Crystals.  Maybe most of those Crystals appeared in what we call the First World today, and that's where the invasion was concentrated.  If so, a current third world state might emerge as a major power.  Maybe somewhere in central Africa?  This country wasn't hurt by the Dominion, but also didn't have the high-tech weapons and mecha of the Global Expeditionary Forces.  Instead, they are forced to defend their borders with century-old weapons and tanks.  I'm going to try painting a Proxie Models Trencher Tank to match this squad... a vehicle like that could easily be produced by a future nation unable to access the most current technologies.

Armies Army has produced a great little range of figures.  They are perfect for near-future Tomorrow's War games, and have plenty of potential in more distant settings. And be sure to keep an eye on Keith's blog - he has posted some weapon conversions, and is openly discussing future releases for the Neo-Sovs.


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

15mm Paper Buildings from Red Knight Entertainment

Red Knight Entertainment writes:

We are proud to announce the 1st preview of the Materion science fiction city terrain for 15 and 20mm scales. A huge paper terrain set with 13 different buildings, plenty of 4 and 6 lane street tiles and a large variety of city props.

Materion is paper terrain designed to flood your table with  simple, easy to build, incredibly detailed terrain. The buildings have large  glue tabs and are very easy to put together. The rooftops are also simple in  their construction and have tabs that come down to keep them from shifting or  blowing off the buildings. You can build a 4x8' table chock full of detailed Line of Sight interrupting goodness in the span of a single day.
The RKE Materion Future Tech Paper Terrain Set includes:

  •  12 completely different buildings with 3, 4, and 5  story versions of all 12 buildings. A double wide scenario building is included for a total of 13 different buildings. All buildings and rooftops collapse perfectly flat for easy travel and storage. 
  • Large amount of city props. (Small and large crates, Short and long pipes, media billboards, security pillars, short  walls, tall walls, power obelisk) 
  • 15 street and city tiles. (4 lane and six lane streets, right turns, left turns,  parking lots, cull-de-sacs etc) - Alternate Sidewalk/Ground Tile without grid included. 
  • Photo tutorials included showing where to bend paper. 
  • Instructions for various scales. 
  • Construction tips. 

The Materion Future Tech Terrain with all 13 buildings, city props and street  tiles will be introduced at $12 in downloadable PDF for the first 400 sales worldwide.  After that the terrain will be permanently  restocked at $16. 
Go to for previews.

These Red Knight Entertainment buildings look like a great way to quickly build an urban battlefield.  And the Materion series is very different than the paper buildings we've seen before.  I look forward to trying some out for my 1/100 Mecha battles.  


For a Few Dollars - More Junk Building

Junk building again!

This time I will not be diagramming the build like I did last time, but giving a brief commentary on each build so you can see what I used. When it all comes down to it, it's about collecting the right stuff as you go through your day to day and applying a little basic modelling skill. In all of these projects, pre-made parts have been combined with junk and craft materials for some very basic, but effective designs.

The image above show a couple of angles on an industrial piece that I put together. The central component of this piece was a piece of plastic electrical housing (the orange parts). I built two levels of flat playable surface on to this using stiff card. The railing is plastic cross stitch canvas. the posts holding it up are plastic tubing from an architectural modelling supply. 

Various model parts, wooden blocks, dice cubes, pill bottles, candy and juice mix containers complete the build. The base is a section of old board game board that I painted with textured paint before putting it all together. Only pre-made bits are two doors from GZG that I used on the dice cubes to simulate an enclosed staircase.

Small pieces, like the communications hub (above), can be made from simple card stock for a base and discarded packaging. In this case it was the packaging for some sort of Iphone accessory or something along those lines. Add GZG doors and roof fitting and a few plastic model parts (hatches, etc.) and a quick and dirty objective marker is born. 

Which brings me to another simple point - functionality. If you are building something, it's best if you have a concept in mined. In this case, this makes for a fine objective to be defended or taken.

Plumbing parts, pill bottles, drinking straws, an electrical junction
 box and a few other bits of plastic. Plastic architectural model stairs.
Continuing on the theme of functionality, another thing to consider is playable space or surfaces. Both the industrial piece to the right and the one at the top of this post are left with plenty of usable space. Open ground and flat surfaces allow for the movement of miniatures through the terrain feature as well as leaving you the option of customising your terrain a bit by adding pieces of spot clutter or other components (shown below). 

A little thought on composition and the right bits of trash will go a long way. Soon you'll have everything you need for an industrial sprawl, alien mining operation, remote colony, or anything you can imagine.

Mechwarrior Clix miniatures cut and posed.
Model parts, balsa, cut sprue for junk.
Rattle can lid, plastic ladder and GZG satellite parts.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Rebel Minis releases Remote Gun

From Rebel Minis:

We have been working on our Sci-fi bases here at Rebel and one of my buddies suggested we needed some remote guns or station guns to protect our bases. So, we called John Bear Ross and "Poof!". Here you have it!

The Remote Gun comes in 2 Parts and also has an Earth Force Tech included. Check it out here:

This was painted by Jeff Racel! More Stuff announcing soon! Thanks!

All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

This is a great piece for attacker/defender scenarios.  And at $3.49 each, it wouldn't be difficult to mount several of these onto a military base or border defense post.  And they are large enough to be a convincing anti-armor or anti-mecha weapon.  

I'm going to pick up two for my Laurentian Defense Forces, and try re-running the first Christmas War secenario.  It might also be fun to try sci-fi Brecourt Manor-inspired scenario with these Remote Guns.


Friday, 23 March 2012

Gale Force Nine Crystal Terrain

Here's a quick way to make any wargame table into a completely alien battlefield.

I mentioned this Gale Force Nine crystal set when talking about my not-Invid Invasion battlefield.  Recently, I had a chance to pick up one of the blue sets.  It turns out - the pictures on the website are pretty underwhelming compared to the actual product.  There are ten pieces in this set (and I assume the red and green sets use the same molds), varying from 15mm human-sized to the size of a 15mm APC.  The crystals are perfectly cast from some kind of translucent resin.  My set had no air bubbles, miscasts, or flash - they were ready to go onto the table.  

Obviously, the designers had snow and ice in mind for these blue crystals.  And they do look great on snow terrain.  One set made for some pretty dense "formations" on my 2' x 2' ice-world table:

These could be spread over a much larger table and still give it an extraterrestrial feel.  

One thing about these crystals - they aren't heavy.  I'd certainly base these if they were only going to be deployed on my snow board.  But I'll sacrifice stability for flexibility, because these look great on plenty of environments.  They weren't bad on my red planet board, but really stood out with my desert terrain:

The hill on the left side of that picture is my wasteland test piece.  I'm planning to make a full board in that style for my not-Invid Invasion games.  

The GF9 crystals are definitely worth every penny.  I'm going to pick up a green set next - it should look perfect on my Red Planet board, and should be equally useful for my desert and wasteland games.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Soldiers, Civilians and Characters

New figures in the SHM range from 15mmcoukI knew that Eli had been beavering away on another group of sculpts for Gavin at but it was a pleasant surprise to discover that not only have they been completed, but they have now on sale at the webstore.

New figures in the SHM range from 15mmcoukAvailable separately, Eli’s new releases consist of three alien soldiers, a gang boss, a body guard, three civilians and a family group of urchins. There is also a Uhul Champion which, while supposedly a Fantasy figure, looks easily convertible to Science Fiction.

New figures in the SHM range from 15mmcoukWhether as street furniture, objective markers, or characters, these figures will be very useful in skirmish games, such as 5150: A New Hope, The Department, USE ME, Fubar, etc, or in larger scale games such as Tomorrow’s War, Stargrunt or F.A.D.

And while I was typing up this article, has announced both a 15% Off Salute Month Sale, and the imminent release (2nd of April) of three new titles in the ever-popular, ever-expanding USE ME stable of rulesets - USE ME Support Pack, USE ME Cyberpunk and USE ME Eldritch Horror.

Darn. Resistance is, indeed, futile.

- David

Monday, 19 March 2012

USE ME Terminus - Planetfall AAR

In the first scenario in the Terminus campaign, the Challengers are ambushed immediately upon landing their shuttle.  While the attack is initially directed against the Challengers themselves, Terminus' true objective is to destroy their ship and leave them vulnerable to further attacks.

Commander Aiden struggled uselessly with his ship's controls.  Terminus clearly had assumed control.  But where were they being taken?  The dense cloud cover finally broke, and he could see a barren desert landscape.  The ship was starting to slow down, and the landing sequence was somehow triggered.  It appeared that Terminus wanted to set them on a high plateau, with an imposing-looking valley just a few hundred meters away.  

The ship had barely come to a stop when the proximity alarm sounded.  Aiden looked at the scanner - they were being approached from each side by three human-sized metallic objects.  There was something else - the unmistakeable signature of light particle weapons.  There was no time to waste.  He ordered his men to grab their carbines as he lowered the ship's entry ramp.

Terminus' first test had begun.


Since I prefer smaller games than Gavin Syme wrote, I ended up downsizing the suggested forces a bit.  I also reduced Terminus' victory conditions from three "demo charges" to one.  My Challengers were two five-man teams of Rebel Minis Earthforce Homeguard.  The Challengers' ship was represented by Brigade Models' excellent Athena VTOL.  I deployed a team on each side of the ship.

I figured Terminus' forces should look like something that can be... controlled.  So I went with two teams of three Rebel Minis Scourge Infantry.


The battle was short but intense.  I pretty much followed the same sequence each time for the Challengers - Hunker Down with the first action and Shoot with the second.  Terminus responded by shooting and moving ever closer to the ship.

Despite their superior weapons, Terminus' warriors weren't very effective in combat.  They only managed to get a single Winged result from a Challenger in the first three turns, while five of their number were killed.  On the fourth turn, the final Terminus warrior assaulted the Challengers on the ship's starboard side.  It killed the Challenger with its final action of the turn.  The Challengers on the port side, having dispatched their opponents, raced around the front of the ship to help.

The Terminus warrior had a clear path to the ship.  If the Challengers failed to take initiative in the fifth turn, Terminus would destroy their vessel.  So I grabbed the dice I had been using... grey for the Challengers, white for Terminus, and threw them into the ol' Litko dice tower.

The Challengers were able to concentrate all of their fire on the single Terminus warrior.  It was quickly destroyed.  


The Challengers had survived the first challenge from Terminus.  But they had lost one of their number, and a second had been Winged during the assault.  I rolled on the USE ME post-battle table.  He would be forced to carry his Winged counter into Scenario Two.

Terminus had promised each challenge would prove more difficult.  After they placed Trooper Jamiss' remains into a cryo-pod, Commander Aiden checked his scanner.  He saw numerous small blips in the adjacent valley, closing in on their position.  And unlike the mechanisms they had just fought, these appeared to have life signs.  There was no time to grieve.  He ordered his men to unpack the drone-mounted rail cannons, and sent his lead scout to find a good firing position.  

"You may just be getting warmed up, Terminus," thought Aiden.  "But you still have no idea who you are facing.  No matter what you have, we'll be ready." 


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Review - Oddzial Osmy's New Vistula Legion (NVL)

Painted Samples from Pico Armor site.
 I want to start off by apologising to John at Pico Armor and the rest of the folks involved with Oddzial Osmy for the tardiness of the this review. John at Pico Armor sent me samples of the NVL troopers and anti-tank missile teams as well as a pack of heavy worm troopers (covered in another post) over two months ago. Sorry guys!

Anyhow, all good things are worth waiting for and these figures are no exception. The NVL are wonderful mid-tech troops. Looking like something right out of a Cameron film they are right at home in some classic science fiction universes like Aliens, Traveller, and 2300 AD. All are equipped with advanced fatigues and partial body armor, helmets with built-in optics and compact futuristic assault rifles. The anti-tank troopers are armed with shoulder fire missiles with built-in sighting systems and each comes with a secondary trooper holding a designator.

The range includes many other combat unit options, making the NVL one of the most complete future soldier ranges out there. Other options include -
  • SAW Gunners
  • Heavy Rifles
  • LAWs
  • NCOs
  • Specialists
  • Characters
  • HMG/AGL on tripod
  • Mortars

Technically speaking, these are beautiful, crisply sculpted and cast miniatures. All of mine had almost non-existent flash, no mold lines, pits, miscasts or any of the usual boogens that haunt minis. The only cleaning I had to do was to clip off the excess left from the mold channelling on the bases and the occasional little spur from an elbow. Amazing figs.

My only real criticism for these figures is that the troopers are sold in random assortments of 6 figures out of 8 total poses. For me this meant getting only 5 of a possible 8 poses in my sample set. But that is a minor issue. I imagine that over a decent sized force you will end up with enough to mix and match properly.


Friday, 16 March 2012

USE ME - Terminus Scenario Five

Barking Irons has posted the fifth and final scenario in the USE ME Terminus mini-campaign: A Node In The Right Direction.

After withstanding four of Terminus' combat tests, the Challengers have located one of its control nodes.  A small force of drop troopers is inserted to prepare the node for aerial extraction.  But Terminus rarely leaves its nodes unguarded - it responds with a combined force of infantry and light vehicles.  

It would be great to field Mad Robot Jump Troopers as the Challengers in this scenario.  For Terminus' forces, I'm thinking either Eureka Ventaurans with GZG Cyclops Walkers, or Blue Moon Universalists with The Scene Jet Bikes.  And the node itself will provide another good excuse for some junk building.  

I'd like to thank Gavin Syme and the Barking Irons team for providing these scenarios.  Be sure to let them know if you want to see more scenarios and goodies for the USE ME system.  I've played through the first Terminus scenario - the battle report will be posted soon.


15mm Accessories from National Cheese Emporium

Longtime 15mm gamer and TMP user Javelin98 offers a variety of 15mm accessories and components on his Shapeways shop - the National Cheese Emporium.  These include a variety of furniture and components for starship and space station interiors (cryobeds, computer terminals, etc.), assorted street furniture like vending machines and swimming pools, and assorted separate backpacks for 1/100 figures.  

Here's a quick look at some of his items:

Medlab Station

Vending Machines - Love the gumball machines!


That last one really appeals to me.  It's a set of 20 backpack-mounted heavy weapons in four different types.  These are yet another option to add heavy weapons to so-called "incomplete" figure ranges.  These could be added to anything from old-style RAFM Traveller figures to new Blue Moon ranges.

So take a look at the National Cheese Emporium on Shapeways.  The items are a bit pricey since they're printed on demand, but will add something truly unique to your collections.  We'll try to sneak an interview with Javelin98, so we can see what else he might bring to the table.  

Chris K.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

CorSec Engineering adds Barrier Fence Gate and Towers

CorSec Engineering has added two new items to the 15mm Barrier Fence range: Gatehouse and Tower sections.

The Gatehouse is the same width as the normal fence sections.  It is designed to allow the gate to slide open and closed during a game.  It also features a 1" wide platform for troops and/or heavy weapon mounts.

The Towers create a 90-degree angle for your existing fence sections. They also feature a small platform - ideal for sentries or snipers.  

These new pieces convinced me to take the plunge.  I ordered eight wall sections, four towers, and a gatehouse.  This should give me the flexibility to run a continuous fence across a 24" game table, or to create an enclosed compound for ammo dumps, barracks, or research labs.  I should point out that all Barrier Fence items can be purchased with clear acrylic rods, or without them if you want to add your own.  I was tempted to use dowel rods for a Terra Nova appearance, but instead opted on some red fluorescent acrylic rods.  The CorSec store links to Plastruct's website for fluorescent rods, but I found them slightly cheaper on Hobbylinc.  


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Khurasan Miniatures releases Extreme Environment Exterminators

The Federal Exterminators, Khurasan Miniatures' dedicated bug-hunters, have been reinforced with the Extreme Environment troopers.   These should be quite welcome to everyone playing on lunar surfaces, red planets with thin atmospheres, or gaming in the corridors of long-lost starships.

These are available here as a nine-man squad (NCO, 2x SAW, 6xRifle) for $6.99.

Monday, 12 March 2012

USE ME Terminus Campaign Update

More Terminus micro-scenarios for the USE ME Sci-Fi system have been posted on Barking Irons.

These are fun little games, with a very enjoyable adventure setting.  A young spacefaring race is being challenged by Terminus - an invisible power which controls the boundaries of its solar system.  Terminus is pitting the eager adventurers against many different challenges, determining whether or not they are worthy to travel among the stars.  

  • Scenario One. The challengers land on an outer moon and are pitted against a small (but equal) force.  
  • Scenario Two.  The challengers must withstand the onslaught of a massive horde of primitive attackers
  • Scenario Three.  After defeating the primitives, the challengers are pitted against a massive high-tech war machine.
  • Scenario Four.  The challengers attempt to restock supplies and ammo from a friendly ship.  Terminus sends an advanced opponent to destroy the convoy.
With just a little bit of improvisation, you can adapt these settings to any force in your collection.  Want to play a smaller game?  Halve the size of each force.  Bigger game?  Just double them!  

And half the fun is trying to figure out which forces to use in the scenarios.  I've narrowed my Challengers down to either my Rebel Earthforce Hardtops or my GZG Islamic Federation infantry.  for the first scenario, a small team of Rebel Scourge would be ideal attackers.  I looked at a few fantasy options for the second, but I think my Oddzial Osmy Space Worms would be an entertaining choice.  What about a suitable Big Bad for Scenario Three?  A Ravenstar Studios Slasher Drone, of course!  And Critical Mass Games Kaamados Dominion or 15mm.Co.Uk Octopods would be great opponents for the fourth scenario.  

Scenario Five should be posted to Barking Irons later this week.  In the meantime, I finished painting a Brigade Models Athena VTOL last night - perfect for the first scenario's landing craft.  I'll run the first scenario early this week and post the results here.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Krators have been Sighted! Use Extreme Caution!

SHM24 Krator
SHM24 Krator (one miniature 16mm tall) 1.10GBP

SHM25 Little Krators
SHM25 Little Krators (three miniatures per pack, three poses, 6mm) 1.00GBP

Perfect for many settings and game systems including USE ME.

Vicious space aliens with rows of needle sharp teeth these Krators are a danger to all settlements and core worlds!

Bounties for capture / kill missions offered!

For more information and images go here!

Prone figures - love 'em or hate 'em?

What's more important on the tabletop - believability or appearance?

Obviously this is a loaded question.  As sci-fi gamers, we strive for a good blend of each.  If we're playing near future games, we want something that looks like a terrestrial army may use in a generation or two.  Even if we're playing far-future space opera games, we want to have something that we can relate to.  

But there's one thing that I don't personally like on the tabletop - prone figures.  Take a look at these Harook Sniper greens posted this week by Mad Robot Miniatures:

From Mad Robot's preview article

I love that figure on the left.  He's crouching down, and would look great behind covering terrain (crate stacks, rocky outcroppings, whatever you have).  But he also looks like he's able to move during his game turn.  On the right we have a prone sniper.  Obviously this is a more realistic firing pose - that's not even a question to me.  But on the game table?  I'll use it, but I'd personally rather have two of the figure on the left.

I'm certainly not picking on Mad Robot - either Steve's concept or Pedro's excellent sculpt.  And they certainly aren't the only ones to use this kind of pose.  Rebel Minis' early sniper teams (Earthforce and Sahadeen) take this a step farther by having the sniper and spotter as a single conjoined figure.  And even before that, take a look at Ground Zero Games' figures.  Most of the early factions were available as advancing, kneeling, and prone variants of the same figures.  And many of the new-sculpt heavy weapon troopers are also available as prone figures.  

Stolen from Mini Metal Mayhem -
Paul has great pics of many GZG figures

This is a cool idea in concept, especially if your rules somehow utilize a trooper's stance.  But in practice, I'd rather see them advancing or kneeling.  I personally don't want recreations of combat photos.  I want game pieces!  My figures should "feel" mobile, like they're ready to accept new orders at any time.  If I'm using rules that let figures go prone or hunker down, I can always represent that with a counter.  

So how does everyone else feel about that?  Do you like your figures in more realistic combat poses, or do you like them to be mobile game pieces?