Friday 1 March 2013

Building a 15mm Army Part 2 - Infantry and Vehicles

In my previous post, we discussed different approaches to use when it comes to building 15mm forces (thanks for the great comments, everyone!). And to continue with my oversimplified force structure (infantry, vehicles, power armor, and mecha), I'm going to start putting the pieces together and build three complete armies - starting with some figures that are already in my unpainted lead pile.

Choosing Infantry

Infantry figures are at the very heart of a 15mm army's identity. They are also the easiest to paint - it's cheaper and quicker to test a color scheme on an infantry figure than on a tank or a mech. So regardless of their manufacturer, finish, or basing style, I think infantry should be the first step in organizing any 15mm force.

Fumbling through the lead pile, there are three ranges of infantry that I'd like to bring up to my "Black and Red" Army standards (see previous post) in the coming months: Ground Zero Games DPRGGround Zero Games New Israeli, and Rebel Minis Pangalactic Legion

Painted by Chief Lackey Rich, Mark H., and Jeff Racel
There's at least a dozen other factions in my bins right now awaiting expansion, but these three are a good place to start. And it brings just a little bit of variety - we have humans with futuristic enclosed helmets, humans with more conventional bare faces, and an alien faction.

And now, back to the main reason I started this whole reorganization in the first place... vehicles.

Selecting Vehicles
From Jeff Racel's Galleries
When choosing vehicles for my infantry figures, I'm more interested in a matching aesthetic than in using what a designer or manufacturer suggests. Unless you're gaming in a "fixed" setting, there's no reason to restrict yourself when assembling a 15mm army. I'm going to first look at Ground Zero Games' website - mainly because of my Christmas voucher, not for a lack of options from other manufacturers.

I'll start with the DPRG. Their basic troopers are well armed, but don't seem to be encumbered by heavy armor or gear. So their vehicles should follow the same trend - well armed, lightly armored, conventional design. I think the GZG 6-Wheel MICVs are a great place to start, especially now that we've just seen Harold's detailed review of their 8-wheeled cousins.

Each one of those will carry a 4-man fireteam and provide direct fire support. I might branch out into larger transports, command vehicles, or weapon platforms later, but this will give me a light and mobile force for the tabletop (especially for urban battlefields). Combined with the DPRG infantry, this is the start of an army that will work from the years 2113 to 21,113.

On the other side of the coin, the New Israeli are the definitive army of the future. Their fully-enclosed battle armor should be equally at home in frozen tundra, scorching deserts, gas-filled swamps, or toxic industrial megacities. So I want their vehicles to have that same level of versatility, along with a technology level that screams network-centric warfare systems.

Sounds an awful lot like the Hammer's Slammers vehicles, doesn't it? I think high-tech hover vehicles might be the just the ticket for this New Israeli-based army. The newer hover vehicles from GZG were my early favorite. But I think Combat Wombat's Scorpion, Centurion and Saracen offer exactly what I'm looking for:

From The Redoubt
Combat Wombat's "Box Full Of Badass" set is a great deal, but it's probably more than I will ever need for this army. So I'll order a "half-ass" from Scotty in the coming weeks (along with some goodies for an unrelated project).

And now for the Rebel Minis Pangalactic Legion. PF sculpted very high-tech looking energy weapons onto these figures - so I'm going to use that as my guide for choosing vehicles. The sweeping curves of the GZG's High-Tech Grav range are very tempting, but I already have an assortment of grav vehicles from Combat Wombat and Critical Mass Games.So I'm going with another set of wheeled vehicles (because wheels are cool!)- this time the high-mobility Phalanx and Paladin.

From Robin Fitton's Photostream
I've long believed these vehicles would look great alongside an alien infantry force. The Pangalactic Legion is a good candidate for them - humanoid without being rubber-suit human, and armed with futuristic energy blasters instead of rifles and autocannon. They should be a good combination when painted together.

Ow, My Wallet...
I feel a lot more confident about these forces than when I began. I can work on cleaning and prepping the infantry now, and slam poor Jon with yet another last-minute order for most of the vehicles. :) In the meantime, I can start thinking about what will round out these forces - by finding the right power armor and mecha.

So - given the choice of any vehicles in the world of 15mm Science Fiction gaming - what would you match (or have you matched) to these three infantry factions?



  1. I'm working on some New Vistula Legion troopers right now that are very similar to the DPRG and you hit the nail on the head with your vehicle choice. I was just looking at the same GZG 6 wheelers today. Although I've also been looking at the wheeled APCs from Old Crow, even though he's offline for a while.

    Your other choices are solid...the high-mobility vehicles from GZG are just about my favorite 15mm models.

    1. I have some NVL myself - they almost ended up in this article. :)

      Hopefully Jez pre-casts a bunch of stock before he reopens Old Crow to the public. Because he's going to get absolutely swamped with orders.

  2. This is a great series of articles and very aptly timed for myself. I've just bought my first 15mm minis (Rebel Miniatures Shalur Mercs) and now I'm casting about looking for suitable vehicles for them. My concept at the moment is that my androids represent an elite force of corporate security droids, and I need vehicles that match to their ascetic and to my design ideal. With the bewildering array of 15mm ranges out there I'd like to hear from anyone who can make a suggestion as to where to look.


    1. I think you'll want "clean and sleek" as an aesthetic for the Rebel Shalur mercs. I would suggest you take a look at the following:

      1. Ravenstar Studios' Mazer/Passer grav vehicles
      2. Ground Zero Games Advanced Grav (or their predecessors - the Traveller grav vehicles now available from RAFM)
      3. Brigade Models' new Pacific Federation vehicles

    2. Thanks Chris

      I was looking at these guys:

      I should have said that the game that I bought these minis for doesn't have grav tech. Imagine something along the lines of the film Aliens to get the tech level. So I'm guessing wheeled, but yes, something with clean lines.

    3. I also had the sudden notion to use the old Urban War Syntha Promethian Walkers as mechs for this army... but it seems you cannot buy the now for love nor money

  3. My PacFed Grav tanks are being paired with my CMG ARC Fleet Drop Troops. I have a bunch of Combat Wombat's Saracens and Centurions and those are paired up with Rebel Minis Earth Force Drop Troopers, Viper Suits and WildCATS. Still trying to come up with vehicle elements to use with my ACP Games Nationalist Infantry. The GZG Wheeled Hi-Mobility vehicles are what I'm thinking. The GZG UNSC/H Hardsuit Marines I got recently, will be getting some of Khurasan's Federal XM6 Grav tanks once Jon reopens.

  4. Great second part to this article. I liked the comparison shots a lot. Its often hard to tell the sizing of vehicles in images.


  5. Where do I start well here are my 20+ figure armies I have a few more smaller skirmish forces but they are not the topic of the day, Ok looking at my collection I have several armies that I’ve also placed within different universes and or time lines.
    First off are my far future forces and to start with one of my favourite force which are the Bluemoon Heavy Orion Republic troops which are pretty much my wannabe Space marines 20x individual miniatures, a old Gundam spaceship toy that is used as a dropship and the superb Mazer super heavy grav tank from Ravenstar studio’s, then 3x jet bikes from the Scene rounds off this force.
    There are the Spriggan miniatures Spugs this is one of my biggest forces consisting of 30x Spugs and 3x Monsterpocalypse giant Alien tripod walkers, 6x Spug jet bikes and 3x Dr Who flying saucer toys, this is intended as a invasion force for my far future setting.
    Next up there is my Dark Aliens future universe forces which I also have two armies firstly the Khurasan Miniatures not Colonial Marines, again a force of 20x marines, 5x Berzerker power armour from Brigade models, 2x twin portable AI canon’s supported by 3x M577 APC’s and the old ‘Flying brick’ Dropship from Ground Zero Games now produced by Deamonscape models.
    Then the bad guys 30x Space demon not Aliens also produced by Khurasan Miniatures, 3x plastic Alien queens from the Micro machines toy range and ruling over the hive is an not Alien queen also by Khurasan Miniatures which is now a Empress, I do need to get more not Space demon Aliens to bulk out this force.
    Now onto my near future universe which miniatures could also quite easily be merged into with my Dark Aliens future universe, so Starting with the British Commonwealth army 24x helmeted troops from Micropanzer Wargame Studio’s, 3x Apollo hover tanks from Brigade models and 2x Artemis APC’s / MICV, 3x old Ground Zero Games VTOL troop transporters which are now being produced by Deamonscape models and I belive are called ‘Bufflo VTOL’s’ also a very old War walker mech from Grenadier models Future wars range.
    Finally my second favourite force which is still a work in progress and labour of love we have the ‘Russian Solar Union’ after a lot of pondering I ended up choosing Khurasan Miniatures Combat battalion troops for my Ruskies as their style of body armour and those cool enclosed vision enhanced helmets just look very Tom Clancy near future to me, anyway 20x troops 2x Type 123 tracked tanks from Combat Wombat (Scotty) 1x Titan marine VTOL wannabe Hind gunship from Rebel miniatures and 2x troop transports or cargo planes from Oldcrow models 6mm range which are plenty big enough to be used for 15mm game play without looking out of scale and lastly 4x Corgi Commando V100 toys that I am converting to appear more Russian in appearance.

  6. I like the hunchbacks from Antenocites Workshop a lot. I only haven't found a use for them as they look little high tech. But perhaps the new Israeli would look good with them. You are now talking about tanks. But there are also dropships (go CMG) and bikes to consider. I like the bikes from the Rebel infiltrators and will no doubt add these to my force later. The GZG vehicles (being made of metal) are a bit grainy. Perfect for DPRG I think. As they are using some older equipment in TW.

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