Saturday 16 April 2011


Time to roll out my annual diatribe on what numbers/types of troops I think constitutes a good range of 15mm military minis. Why? Because in my opinion, because I believe that we as consumers are still being offered miniatures that are selling us short with 15mm Sci Fi figures in  aikey breakey 'line dancing', 'just eaten a dodgy kebab' and 'where's my mobile? I know it's in one of these pockets' type of poses.

And don't get me started on the "I'm sorry, exactly how does a human head fit into that helmet" stuff....... OK, let's put aside style and posing in this instance and look at what - purely in my opinion - constitutes a 'good' range of military Sci Fi minis. And one pack of three-four Dirt Trooper sculpts where 3 are based on the one dolly with a bend of the elbow or twist of a waist ain't it!

The following is also true for 20mm.......

For me, at the basic level in 15mm it really comes down to having enough grunt poses with identifiable command and squad support miniatures to keep the force from looking STALE. Mid-Tech with open helmets? Then 1 Fireteam Leader (preferably two), 4-6 grunts (2 recognisably female), SAW and light Support Weapon gunner (preferably two of each) provide enough troops to make up interesting and varied combat groups.

You can expand by having a Platoon Leader, possibly also a platoon sergeant character, medic droid, LAW/RPG rocket launcher and man held Plasma/rotary cannon.

Let's cement this, again talking Mid-Tech, as:

Option 1

Pack 1: Fireteam Leader, 2 grunts (1 female?), SAW
Pack 2: Fireteam Leader (female?) 2 grunts, SAW (variant) or LAW/RPG rocket launcher

8 figures per pack - 2x each pose

One of the FireTeam Leaders becomes a platoon leader. Downside - stale and lacks character above squad level.

Option 2

As Option 1, as above but include a platoon command/character pack. A second different SAW pose would be good - make it character figure (think Blane, Drake or Vasquez) to ring the changes.

Pack 3: Characters. Platoon Leader (preferably two), grizzled Platoon Sgt/Top Kick (barehead or cap), Medical Droid, SAW (female? bandana/barehead Ponytail)

The Top Kick, droid and bandana/ponytail gunner are generic enough that these can slip into existing tabletop forces, or become Mercs/'Adventurers'.

Later expansion can include:

Pack 4 : Plasma or Gauss Cannon Gunner in bandana or specialist helmet, Tech Sgt/Hacker, (see Infinity range for Tech/Hacker inspiration), Wounded but still fighting female trooper (similar to Hasslefree's Kendra, in combat cap like Jas pictured here), Sniper w. Gauss Rifle (ghillie suit or nano-tech).


3 packs totalling 12 unique sculpts gives me enough minis for a platoon or two in combat, including command and a couple of characters. The Top Kick can lead second platoon.

4 packs totalling 16 sculpts gives me additional company level support troops and characters. This also allows me to personalise my platoons. Kendra can be a specialist, hero or lead third platoon/company.

What about heavier weapons? Well, if you have been living in a hole for the past couple of years you will have failed to notice that GZG produce a large range of excellent and importantly, generic support weapons for re-inforced platoon, company and battalion level games. Khurasan and Critical Mass Games are catching up fast. You want to produce your own? Fine! But only after core packs 1-2-3......!!!!

If you study FOW's WW2 pack 812: British Guards Rifle Platoon (NW Europe), each section (squad) has a different section leader & different Bren gunner, plus there's a choice of 2 platoon leader miniatures and a potential company commander figure included. This allows me to give each section and every platoon a unique identity of it's own.

OK, what I've suggested above isn't to all tastes - it's certainly NOT the be all and end all - and sure, I'd like a few more poses of this or that, maybe the odd extra weapon here or there, But, I think these pack ideas promote versatility, character and identity within a reasonable number of sculpts/cost bracket.

And folks like Jon at Khurasan are doing this with his Federal Army range. Jon at GZG too, even Gavin and Alex at   



  1. Mark,

    I've been seeing the same things lately. Sometimes I just chalk it up to "different styles from different producers," but other times it really frustrates me. Rebel Minis is the prime example. The Earthforce, Sahadeen, and Titan lines have only token heavy weapon troops and no real command minis. Yet Mike goes on to release Kurgen, Gun Clerics, Sons of Thunder, three different packs of Grays (are they really THAT in demand?). On the other hand, he has some of the best vehicles around, so I guess something has to give somewhere.

    Jason at Micropanzer looks like he's following the Critical Mass blueprint. In a few years I see him having just a handful of factions that have tremendous depth and variety... exactly what I want in my infantry lines. :)

    I really look forward to seeing GZG resculpt all the old lines (NSL, Islamic Federation, Japanese Corporate, etc) and bringing them in-line with the NAC and New Israelis.


  2. Keep spreading the word, Mark. People are starting to listen, as evidenced by their catalogs.

  3. Hi Mark
    Really strongly agree with where you're coming from.
    The latest earth force stuff from Rebel mini's, the armoured troopers, the drop troopers and the enforcer types.
    All great looking teams, just lacking in support weapons and command units.
    If they had at least a SAW and a missile launcher they would be immediately useful, and I would have snagged them right away but I'll have to sit on the Visa until they get the extra troopers.
    Really hoping they are expanded upon because it adds variety to the 15mm table.
    I mean you can never have too many good loking units.



  4. Hi,
    I think this is my first post, but I've been following your blog for a while now...VERY useful info you provide btw...! KEEP IT UP!

    I digress...Short reply...I COULDN'T AGREE WITH YOU MORE!!!! It is incredibly irritating to pass on certain figure lines because I consider them to be "incomplete". I don't mind if they don't release the entire line all at once, but it seems like forever and a day before they release additional support packs sometimes, if they EVER release any. Since I'm not in the miniatures business, perhaps I'm just missing some kind of marketing approach, I don't really know...

    Also, why can't they make some support figures with assault rifle/UGL ,assault rifle/shotgun, shotgun/UGL..etc..? Just a simple specialist pack or something...perhaps that's a bit too specific, but I can wish can't I?

    I apologize for my long-winded first-time post! I do enjoy your blog!!!!