Saturday 28 February 2009

GZG 15mm N.A.C. Marines Short Preview

Here are some close-ups of a selection of GZG's forthcoming resclupted range of NAC Marines which have appeared in my earlier posts this week. In my opinion they include figures that are far superior in style and animation to anything produced by GZG in 15mm to date. I'd go as far to say the best on the market right now. Though the SG15-V15: Light Armed Vacc Suit pack still retains the edge in natural advancing combat poses.

I really like these figures. They have a
classic Sci Fi / Futuristic grunt look about them without being Evil Imperium stormtroopers or neo-Gothic WW1. As such they can fulfill a variety of roles such as rebels, colonist paramilitary and of course main force professional planetary infantry. If you are a Hammers Slammers fan, look no further. I'm now wondering if these NAC Marines should become my new Hykranian infantry?

I'm normally the first to complain if a range of miniatures has figures which are not consistent with each other in size and bulk, or if they have a girth on a par with the late
John Candy. I simply don't subscribe to "we all come in different shapes and sizes". MG42's don't come in small, medium and supersize.

There IS one to two mm variation in the height and build of these new figures from GZG and yes a small amount fo scale creep, but they are not out of line with GZG's previous grunt releases such as the Free Cal-Tex and actually mix well with them. On the Barrett scale, the new NAC Marines average out at 16-16.5M.

Needless to say that you won't be able to mount these side by side with RAFM (Ex-Traveller/Striker) Infantry or even GZG's own New Israeli's, but you wouldn't probably anyway.
Playing around with the figs in various configurations on the FOW bases this morning, I never even noticed if there were any preceptible differences between the miniatures.

Old and New 15mm GZG NAC Marines
at normal tabletop viewing distance

Heather costantly admonishes me with "don't let the perfect get in the way of the good". These miniatures are within tolerance limits with other miniatures from GZG and the sculpting goes way beyond just good. Some, such as the NCO are incredible.

The full N.A.C. Marine range will include separate packs of riflemen, support, heavy weapons and NCO's/Officers. Don't worry if you already have the existing NAC Royal Marines SG15-A1, these will still be available.

Will keep you posted as the range develops.


Basing Dilemmas

I was out with the girls from the office last night. It was one of those "thanks and goodbye" events. I had a great evening and not too merry by the time I got home, even though my body seemed to be suffering varying gravitational effects every time I stood up.

Today, whilst I gave my hangover a chance to clear I thought I'd take a look at the options available for basing my new figures. I should say from the start off that basing 15mm figures singly - other than principal leader figures, heroic or powerful types such as SPARTANS - is anathema to me. I simply don't want to push 80-100 miniatures 3-4" across the table every move, no matter how nice the figures look.

Rather than go for cheap and plentiful 30mm or 40mm square generic bases I prefer the FOW style of wargame base. Not only are they more pleasing to the eye but I personally find they work particularly well where the base is to represent a larger unit, 2-4 figures being a squad or platoon or even company.

I've tried round bases. Hearther prefers these and thinks they are better for Sci Fi but I feel they take up too much overall space.
I know some of you use coins. Having worked with handling money over many years, I now find the idea of basing my own miniatures on coinage repulsive. So let's take a look at the options I personally prefer:

2 Figs per small FOW base

2 of these 2 figure small FOW bases can make a fireteam or 3-4 bases together can create squad. In platoon level skirmish types games where 1 figure represents 1 man, this gives the tabletop squad tactical flexibility, allows for support weapons or specialist troops within the squad to be represented individually and for casualties to be removed. This gives the game a more graphic and dare I say, 'heroic' quality as you can visibly see the squad absorbing damage as bases are removed.

For me there are two issues with the two figure base. Firstly, I still have 40-50 bases to push round instead of 80-100 individual figures. Secondly, I have difficulty visualising it as anything other than two blokes. And a big measure of the enjoyment that comes from any miniatures based game is the suspension of disbelief.

3 Figs per medium FOW base

3 figures on a medium FOW base? The medium base is great for representing elements that are squads, platoons or above. 3 figures don't clutter a base, any merchandiser will wax lyrical about the 'power of three' and if you like a dioramic base, there's plenty of space to go to town. Put two-three of these bases togher as a larger unit on the tabletop and they look great.

4 figs per medium FOW base

4 figs? This looks like a 'unit'. It's a fireteam, it's a squad, a platoon, in fact if you want, a whole gorram army! But something nags at me as they are so closely packed that a single breath from a Kothian 'Stinkmeister' will wipe out every man, and it also smacks of the Hollywood 'column of mob' portrayal of units in action. In fact whilst it looks good on it's own, I found that if you put three bases together they look somewhat Napoleonic and not at all the effect we are looking for.

Now, it's traditional to mount miniatures along the wide axis of the base as per above pictures. But what if we mount them differently, along the short axis? This gives the element depth and some greater practicality in street fighting, room clearing and space corridor guncrawls!

2 figs on a small FOW base
facing the short edge

4 figs on a medium FOW base
facing the short edge

This works quite well for me. Especially the 2 figure small base. Some food for thought and as the sun has passed the yard arm and then some, I'm off for a Magners. Cheers!

All miniatures are the forthcoming 15mm resculpted NAC Marines from GZG.


Thursday 26 February 2009

New GZG N.A.C. seen on edge of Mudd Eisley

Our intrepid Fox 5 reporter Ed Dentalfloss is tonight beaming back his report from the edge of Mudd Eisley.

"It's an ugly planet, it's a Spug planet. And I'm with the men of the 659th NAC Marines as they undertake a shaking down mission on the edge of Mudd Eisley".

"These men patrolling the streets in what has come to be known as 'Spug Alley' represent the tip of the spear.
Forged by GZG HQ, it's a new spear with a new kind of soldier offering the best that mankind cam bring to the table."

"In action earlier, under the Ambush Alley rules of engagement these tough hombres demonstrated they had the cajones to do the job. Reacting quickly to new threats as they appeared, pockets of newly hatched Spugs were eliminated as they emerged from nearby hotspots. Back at base these new boys on the block earned themselves a brew and a new nickname, the "Spugbusters!"

- Special Report on this action by Dropship Horizon Fox 5 News to follow.......

ALL NEW GZG 15mm NAC Marines
Available Soon!


Wednesday 25 February 2009

Incoming Transmission..... GZG N.A.C. Preview

We interrupt
SPUG Week with the following breaking news.......

New ground troops have been reported massing and getting ready for action.
Dropship Horizon caught up with advance units to bring you the following newsflash......

The future of 15mm Sci Fi miniatures has arrived!
ALL NEW GZG 15mm NAC Marines

Reporter: "what do you say to suggestions that you could be used as a police force and colonial ground troops in addition to your main force role?"

NAC Sgt: "Sir! We are ready for any role that we are chosen for. My boys are itching to get into the field. Believe you have a Spug problem right here? Just another day, just another 'Bug Hunt' to us, Sir!

Reporter: "Traditionally new troops have been committed piecemeal with little in the way of support. Will you have all the weapons to do the job?

NAC Sgt:
"Sir! When we land, GZG HQ will ensure we will have all the firepower we need, and available to us right from the start of the campaign. Exact composition is top secret at this time, but when we are ready to make dirtfall, we'll make sure everyone knows what's about to hit them!"

Yesterday we intercepted these transmissions from GZG HQ .....


Do you want to see more? Tune in again to Dropship Horizon Fox 5 News........Thursday, 26/02/09, 8pm GMT, Terran Time


Tuesday 24 February 2009

SPUG Week Continues.......

SPUG Week continues at Dropship Horizon with a tutorial on creating Bug 'huts' by the totally inspired and talented Jeff Racel. Jeff originally posted this tutorial on TMP and was kind enough to send it to me for inclusion in Dropship Horizon.

Jeff Racel's 'Spug Huts'

If you want to see Jeff's latest excellent tutorial on painting SPUGs
Click Here!

Making Bug Huts, in Jeff's own words.....

I decided to play with the other odds and ends I bought to make some new Sci-Fi terrain for my 15mm forces in anticipation of the pending release of Force on Force by Ambush Alley Games. This time the concept was some alien buildings to go with my 15mm Spug forces from Spriggan Miniatures (available through Rattlehead Games in the US). I am doing a combined force of Spugs, Khurasan Arachnians to be made into Bio Tanks and the new GZG Ixx (not yet assembled). For this force I decided to work on some "Bug Huts" for the smaller Spug forces. Not sure if these are for the adult Spugs (have to crawl in) or for larva baby Spugs, but they still work for the start of a new terrain set. The basic concept is very easy and uses the following items.

1. Plastic Easter eggs of various sizes that match the figures you are using.

2. Plastic wrap and a flat surface

3. Some appropriate sized metal washers to form a base.

4. Some plastic straws or metal pipe for the entrance tunnel.

5. Silicone caulking and a caulk gun to make the base and hold the hut together.

6. Various spray paints, including a good primer that will stick to the silicone

7. Some sort of textured spray paint or textured paint. I used Krylon Textured Elegance that I bought on clearance a few years back and was keeping for a rainy day.

8. Some Future Floor Wax (Pledge in the new package)

9. Green or brown craft paint.

Assembly and Painting:

1. Take the plastic wrap or similar plastic material (grocery bag, garbage bag etc.) and spread it on the flat surface. I wrapped a piece of MDF in plastic wrap. This allows you to peel off the silicone later.

Take a washer and place it on the plastic. Add some caulk to the middle hole of the washer to keep it from moving and them work around the outside edge of the washer to hide it. Make a few circles around and add the piece of straw. Continue to make a little mound of the silicone in the middle of the washer.

Place an egg into the silicone mound and twist it a little to get it seated.

4. Do as many eggs as you need and let them dry for 24 hours.
Peel all the huts from the plastic and take them to your spray paint area. Prime the huts with a good primer that sticks to the silicone (if you use Silicone II from GE it accepts paint better than most).

Now you need to texture the eggs. I use layers of Textured spray paint, making sure it had lots of runs and drips to look more organic. You can also use textured paint and add a pattern with the brush bristles or possibly a sponge to dab on texture. Experiment on a test egg to figure out what works best for you.

Let the texture dry and then use various colors of spray paint to do the under color of your huts. Speckled paint in an uneven pattern was my choice for this using green and browns over the cream colored texture paint. Let this fully dry. The green really does not show as much in the pictures as it does in person.

Mix craft paint (I used brown) into a cup with some Future floor wax and do a wash over all the eggs. You can use multiple washes and different colors for a more varied effect. Let this dry completely, normally over night.

Seal coat the eggs if you wish (I matte coated mine to reduce the shine).

Paint the inside of the tubes black or similar dark color (I have not done this yet).

Done. Time to play.

Below are some pictures of my creations........

You can also see the size difference and I plan to add some bigger ones when time permits. Any of the painted minis (HOF Crusaders and Laserburn Mercenaries) are painted by Jason Mastros (AKA Hrothgar the Smelly on TMP).

......Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

Thanks Jeff!


Monday 23 February 2009

Kitbash of the Week No.4

GZG's latest 8 Wheeled MICV, V15-51A partially assembled on my painting board. It's a substantial model 70mm long, 35mm wide and approximately 35mm tall when fully assembled. About the same size as QRF's BTR80 APC.

I like the boxy light weapon turret (with gatling and missile pod) and have used it as the basis of my latest Kitbash of the Week. Maybe this week we should call this feature doodling with armour!

First up! My favourite tankette! Surely a film starring Daniel Day Lewis? In the photo above we find the MICV's light weapon turret matched to the QRF's MT05 AMX13 hull, which gives us some serious recon firepower! Though in FWC you might as well have two guys strapped to a Penny Farthing as your recce element! Never mind, this kitbash creates a nice Mid-tech fast tank suitable for jolly scrapes on newly colonised worlds.

In this photo, I've put the MICV's light weapon turret .in place of the gun system of GZG's V15-03A GunCrab quad walker. It's not a great fit, but it works better than the photo suggests. I am wondering though about the turret from GZG's V15-38A Tracked Heavy Fire Support Vehicle with Light AA cannon?

Whilst I had this spare GunCrab set up, I tried out the remote turret from GZG's V15-44A High-tech Grav Light APC/scout vehicle. Yeah, it works to a degree but is just too small for my personal liking. The Guncrabs are incredibly versatile pieces of kit and deserve more attention. It can fulfill a multitude of roles including remote or semi-autonomous weapons platform and even as an alien tank! More about them in later posts.



It's Spug Week at Dropship Horizon. Follow me all week as I paint 6 packs of 15mm Spugs from Spriggan Miniaures and build some 'Spug Hills'. I also have a great Spug tutorial and some fantastic pictures from Jeff Racel to share with you.

Here are the first batch of Spugs lined up half way through the painting process. As you can see I went for a 'Martian' desert fire Spug look, after a little trial and error I have to admit. Here they are after 2 coats of Citadel Ball Red Wash and a further vibrant wash of Miniature Paints' Red over selective areas.

The camera flash has washed out the colour on the Spug minis at the front of the photo. Those at the back are the most accurate match for the actual figures on my painting board.


Saturday 21 February 2009

SPARTAN Blue Team, Life etc.....

I've been chained to my desk at work this week with my eyes burned into the PC screen whilst I analyse and filter just under a thousand 'benefit realisation opportunities'. In non-management doublespeak that's making improvements and budget savings to you and me. In an effort to keep me focused and able to concentrate in a crowded and noisy office environment I plugged myself into my iPod. I found that 'Armoured Prayer' from the Gears of War 2 soundtrack sets me up for the day as I wait for my PC to boot up and log in to the network, whilst 'Hold Them Off' from the same soundtrack is perfect for ploughing through the Marks & Spencers foodhall on a Friday lunchtime.

Some of the Ibiza Chillout tracks remind me of the incidental music in Mass Effect. One of my favourites is Motion Theory (North Star Remix). Recommended. If you played and enjoyed M.E. then this will conjur up all of your favourite firefights once again.

So, you can imagine, it's been a blessing to get home and pick up the paintbrush. However, my eyes were too tired to achieve much on either of my free nights after a day staring at Excel spreadsheets. Last night I chose to unwind with work colleagues in the
'Still and followed up at home with a couple of bottles of Magners - not a good idea to paint (operate heavy plant or drive) after a couple of Magners!

Nevertheless, finished my 15mm Spartan Blue Team earlier in the week, who are so cool they will henceforth be known as the
'Reservoir Spartans'. I'm so impressed by the result that a platoon worth of RAFM Mid-Tech Infantry (Pack No.2) has been earmarked to be painted in a similar fashion - Citadel blue wash from head to foot, gold visor and only the most prominent smaller details picked out (maybe).

I had originally thought of two platoons of Mid-Tech grunts, but once you tally up your SPARTANS, add the odd 'Hammer of Dawn' style Orbital stike, there's not much change left for grunts in FWC.

Meanwhile, I've decided upon a different camo scheme for my Cimmerian Mech. Popped into the local Games Workshop across from my office in Aberdeen, where the guys are really friendly and helpful. Spoke to the 'Tank Guy', exchanged some ideas and came away planning to test my mettle on these little buggers again next week.

SPUGS are waiting to be painted on the dining table this morning - I've decided to paint 6 packs of them today as a 'quick win'. Heather is making Marmalade - one day a year is given up to the smell of boiling oranges and she will appreciate the company in the kitchen. Another if vicarious 'win'.

My plans today have been thrown slightly, having walked up to the local Post Office to pick up a small package from GZG which arrived earlier in the week. I ordered one of the new 8 Wheeled MICV's to keep me going till I get my December overtime at the end of the month. Oh, it's good. Really good. Full of 8 rad Panzerspahwagen functionality and badness!

Included in the box, Jon had very kindly sent me a few samples of his forthcoming 15mm infantry releases. Oh my God! And lot's of phrases with an 'F' and 'Brilliant!' You are absolutely going to rate these figures. With excellent miniatures waiting in the wings from GZG, Rebel Minis and Khurasan, believe me, everything you had previously known and expected from 15mm Sci Fi miniatures is going to change in the next couple of months.

Not much in the way of reading this week. Began Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. A novel tied into the W40K universe. Heather bought a couple of these for me as a little extra Christmas gift. Now, I've never played W40K, but have played Dawn of War on the PC. From that experience which I did enjoy and found quite immersive, I'd say that the book certainly lives up to it's W40K background and in many respects is better than Ghosts of Onyx in achieving this. Sorry, I couldn't quite relate to a SPARTAN simply called 'Tom'. I mean 'Tom'! As Sci Fi military fiction goes, Horus Rising is a decent read so far and has distant echoes in my mind to first reading Heinlein's Starship Troopers, oh so long ago.

Having watched me complete the 'Reservoir Spartans', Heather took a turn at painting miniatures . She chose to paint some GZG armed heavy vacc suits with the Citadel red wash, gold visors and 'gold', yes 'gold' weapons. "Just because they are in space doesn't mean they can't be in touch with their feminine side". Whilst they may now match the curtains, I have to admit, not too bad a job at all.

Right! I have Spugs waiting......


The Invaders

Mike's Armed Alien Greys are now up on the Rebel Minis webstore (Click Here). The pack contains 22 assorted Alien Greys with weapons for $10.95. Shipping worldwide is just $5.00. You can see the 'greens' of these minis in my previous post.

I've already planned my first scenarios with these Grey miniatures. They are a great excuse to finally construct this HO Scale Cut & Assemble an Old Fashioned Farm set by A.G. Smith that I picked up years ago in a bookstore sale for £1.95.

It's currently around $6.00 in various online bookstores and is excellent value for money - the set includes a big farmhouse, a 'Tornado Alley' style red barn with grain silo, smokehouse, machine shed, piggery, doghouse and tons of white picket fencing! All I need to supply are a cornfield and a crop circle!

I'm sure Matchbox or similar produce a cheap and cheerful diecast Harvestor to add a bit of 'life' to the farm, but if you want to use the Greys in a 1950's style 'B Movie' game, then LKM/QRF produce a great little Case Tractor for £3.00. I want one of these anyway as it will make a nice objective marker in my Spanish Civil War games.


Friday 20 February 2009

Take Me To Your Leader!

Mike at Rebel Minis has announced that all new Armed Alien Greys will be available this weekend to compliment his recently released Alien Greys (Unarmed).

Here are pics of the greens to whet your appetite........

You are not going to be sick.
You are not going to have your migraine.

And everybody is gonna sit in the back of the Saucer!

You were only meant to blow the bloody doors off!

me in the back of the Saucer with my asthma?

Hang on, lads; I've got a great idea

Magnificent! I've put an order together already with Mike for enough Greys, both armed and unarmed, to create a 150 point army for ALIEN SQUAD LEADER. It's time my Peter Pig Modern USMC started gearing up and watching the skies!

I'm going to have some fun with these minis!


Tuesday 17 February 2009

New GZG AFV's - More Pics!

Hi Guys

Following a day of rest after Hammerhead on Sunday, Jon has been kind enough to send me some more pics of his new AFV's.....!!!

V15-52A 8-wheel Fire Support Vehicle/Mobile Gun System
(Tank Killer) £7.50 each

V15-51A 8-wheel MICV with light weapon turret
(with gatling and missile pod) £7.00 each

V15-50A 8-wheel APC with remote autocannon mount
£6.50 each

V15-55A Advanced Heavy Grav Tank
with High Energy Particle Cannon (HEPC)
£9.00 each

V15-57A Advanced Grav Fire Support Missile Vehicle
£8.00 each

V15-56A Advanced Grav Lift Infantry Assault Vehicle
£8.00 each

Should be on the GZG Web store and ready to order, today or tomorrow.


Monday 16 February 2009

HALO SPARTAN: Blue Team - Test

My Cimmerian Mercenary Mech company is languishing in a big sulk. Well, I'm the one in a sulk as I'm having a complete arse of a time painting this 15mm armour to bring about my vision of a camo scheme inspired by the patterns on a granite rock.

Sometimes you just have to walk away with dignity and sneak up on the problem when it's not l00king!

So, to keep my spirits up rather than downing some spirits, I decided to see if I could replicate the success of my Green HALO SPARTAN with a test figure for Blue Team.

GZG 15mm New Israeli

You Looking at Me?

Once again two coats of Citadel Washes, onto the bare metal casting, in this case Asurmen Blue. No primer or undercoat. To speed things up, I carefully drybrushed Bolt Gun Metal over the rifle, leaving the dark blue wash in the detail of the weapon. A quick brush of Citadel Shining Gold on the visor completes the effect. I'd say no more than 45 seconds paintbrush time all told, not allowing for drying time between the two blue washes. The visor taking 10-15 seconds of that.

The figure is darker in actuality, a deep Oxford blue, but the camera flash bleaches the colours. The blue doesn't have the same 'shimmer' of the green miniature, but looks great nevertheless.

I was tempted to add some extra detailing, such as a stylised Greek Spartan helmet onto his right shoulder pad and some dots of colour as LED's on his backpack - but I wisely thought "don't push your luck tonight, quit whilst you're ahead and feel enthused".


Latest Intel

A quick round up of new products on the market:

£12.00 from
£2.00 Off Pre-Release offer
Click here if you want to know more

15mm Samson Armoured Recovery Vehicle
£4.50 from Old Crow Models
Click here if you want to know more

15mm Hammers Slammers Calliope
£4.00 from Old Crow Models
Click here if you want to know more

15mm Space Marines with Jump Packs
5 figures for £2.00 from The Scene
Click here if you want to know more

15mm Space Marines Jet Bikes
3 Marines on Jet Bikes for £3.50 from The Scene
Click here if you want to know more

15mm Battered & Distressed Oil Drums
10 for £1.25 from The Scene
Click here if you want to know more

15mm VBL with .50cal turret
$5.00 from Brian O'Leary (aka The IrishSerb)
several variants available
Click here if you want to know more