Sunday 29 May 2011

15mm Sci Fi Potential at WorldWorks Games

If you are looking for some different Sci Fi terrain then take a look at some of WorldWorks Games more recent releases. WorldWorks produce a large range of download and print terrain for Modern, Fantasy, Horror and Sci Fi gamers. Reduced by 60% on your printer their products can easily be utilised by 15mm Sci Fi buffs.

I know some of you already utilise the Modern 'Mayhem' porducts and a few, like me own Mars Station. If you are a fan of the Xbox game Mass Effect, then take a look at the newly released Codename Titan set.

There's just something about Codename Titan that reminds me of the corridors of the less than salubrious OMEGA space station in Mass Effect 2. This grungy, utilitarian terrain can also be used to create external settings, such as the streets of a heavily industrial world or asteroid mining city. But perhaps Mass Effect's not your thing and you prefer Gears of War instead?

Then take a look at both WorldsWorks Fantasy and Horror products in addition to the Sci Fi offerings. There's plenty of terrain for recreating the action from Gears 1 & 2. Shelldrake Manor could easily proxy for Adam Fenix's home.

The Himmelveil Streets set pictured above offers not just a chance to game Cogs of War but also has a strong  flavour of New Mecca on Helion Prime from Chronicles of Riddick. Offering the gamer an old world whose architecture isn't for once Gothic.

Mars Station has been replaced on my 15mm tabletop by GZG and Critical Mass Games' products but still does stirling work for 28mm Sci Fi skirmishes. Which remind me that I must buy Antenociti's 28's. Beautiful high Sci Fi miniatures in the Mass Effect style. If only they did the GOT Troopers in 15! Some great poses too!

Mars Station comes with interiors plus control panels etc. Again, a 60% scaling reduction will bring your outpost to life and being printable it can be as large as you like.

I was never a fan of gaming tiles. I liked all my terrain to be 3-D but I've mellowed under the constant bombardment from both Masterchef and Alternative's Armies' Firefight 2.0.

All the above game come with 'tiles' grided and ungridded. The Himmelveil Streets tiles are magnificent, Masr Station allows you to build not only a 'red planet' gaming mat but the canyons you see in the photo as well!

To sum up. Plenty of opportunity and potential to produce staggering 2D or 3D scalable terrain to meet your gaming needs  for a small initial outlay and a little effort.


Saturday 28 May 2011

Hats off to

I want to tip my hat in the direction of Gavin and Alex at

The TTG Laserburn range and Asgard Space Marines and Trimotes were my first 15mm Sci Fi minis, oh way back in what 1978-79?

Laserburn offered a huge range of civilians, crew, mercenaries, bounty hunters, Imperial Marines and aliens. The Imperial Marines even came with a range of squad level support weapons, an officer and even a grandiose Imperial Leader!

The small but beautiful Asgard range disappeared first and in the wake of the slow death of original Traveller so did Laserburn. They would resurface briefly in various guises and Masterchef reminded me of the time he had to travel to darkest Wales to buy Laserburn minis like drugs over a kitchen table. Feeding our 15mm Sci Fi habit.

After many years in the wilderness Gavin and Alex TTG Laserburn and Asgard Space Marines to add to Alternative Armies' small but attractive HOF range. Did I say attractive? The 'Retained Knights' are gorgeously stylish - and I can't recommend them enough if you like high end Space Opera or just need Storm Trooper proxies. You could paint these guys red and give them a Ferrari badge they are that good. Plus they have the added bonus of leaders and an array or squad/platoon support weapons. The Maligs too are simply beautiful.

If Jon GZG ignited the 15mm flame - Alex an Gavin carried it on the journey and into the stadium.

Thank you guys.

Mark & Maff (Masterchef)

Friday 27 May 2011

Is 20mm Sci Fi Viable?

The question was asked in response to a previous post, whether there could be a viable range of 20mm Sci Fi.

The immediate answer is that there is already a viable and attractive range of 20mm Sci Fi in the form of Rolf Hedges' Little Green Men Miniatures. The lack of a professional webstore alone prevents this from being a credible mass market option just now.

Whilst planning next week's game, Masterchef and I were discussing the state of play regarding 15mm Sci Fi and where the tipping point came that brought it out of a 30 year dark age.

That point was when Jon at GZG began releasing the first of his Sci Fi vehicles and AFVs, followed by a sustained onslaught of vehicles and support weapons. This was the quake that began the tsunami we are currently riding.

20mm has a lot to offer Sci Fi - loads of 'modern' kits to kit-bash, plenty of good Ultra-modern forces from a range of companies many of whom can be used as is - Britannia's SAS etc - others just need a visor or a closed helmet.

Camouflage and fancy Sci Fi paint jobs show up better in 20mm, you can use the terrain you've already built for Afghanistan or wherever and don't knock kitbashing either. When I started this blog back in early 2009 I was still kitbashing in 15mm. And some 15mm weapons, accessories and aliens (eg Khurasan's Ti Mohnid) will even bridge the 20mm divide as 15mm edges closer to 17/18mm anyway.

Rolf has told me that he is prepared to extend the Little Green Miniatures line and I encourage you to in turn encourage him if you want to see it happen. Send him your ideas and suggestions for extending the figure lines currently available and for creating new ones.

I think there is opportunity now, just as their was in 2008/9 for a manufacturer to establish a 20mm Sci Fi footprint and capture the 20mm Modern gamers who may want to expand their 20mm modern gaming, using the adobe or jungle huts etc they have rather than starting in a whole new scale.

Will this compete with the 15mm Sci Fi market? Yes, but only in a small way. The range of manufacturers and what they have to offer in 15mm will be hard to beat and will still tempt gamers to duplicate 20s in 15mm for many years to come. But for 20mm gamers who just want a taste of Sci Fi action on the ground between patrols or raiding forces 20mm Sci Fi will be ideal.


Thursday 26 May 2011

The Future Starts Now

Are you a fan of  The Big Bang Theory? Well. yeah or nay, I'd like to refer you to The Physics of the Death Star which if you are in the right frame of mind reads like the script to an episode.

You can imagine Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj as the commenters with their counter arguments, then Penny steps in with comment 107:
"I wish that the people like #51 would take a step back and realize a few truths. One, it is only Science Fiction; until someone actually does it. Two, most of today's technology that we take for granted, in the 1960's and 70's were considered Science Fiction".
When I started playing Traveller and Laserburn based Sci Fi games in the late '70's this image (right) would have been a Sci Fi soldier. Perhaps more Blakes 7 than Star Wars but that's the outskirts of Mudd Eisley, right? And particularly so once Traveller Book 4: Mercenary appeared with its more grounded military focus.

You know, funnily, I never fully got the Merc thing. Too young to have experienced the Congo my only frame of reference was Angola which was a bit of a shambles.

Of course nowadays, we call them Contractors - private armies operating on behalf of shareholders. Never mind mobile phones that are also cameras, movie cinemas, GPS and more, much more, I am living the Science Fiction of my own childhood.

I remember Blue Peter from that time demonstrating a miniature TV in a watch. From Japan of course. I thought "Who would want to watch a TV on a screen the size of a watch". And today without thinking I'm watching the latest blockbusters or my favourite TV shows on an iTouch.

I worked for a major GB retailer and 16-17 years ago put a proposal forward to the IT Director that we needed to establish a web presence and set up an online catalogue - 17 years ago remember - I was greeted with disdain, The IT Director told me that "the Internet is only for geeks.... No one will ever shop via the Internet, people prefer to come into a shop to see and feel the goods".

Returning to our corporate soldier above. Sensors in his helmet monitor his brainwaves, breathing and physical indicators of his emotional state. At appropriate moments images appear in his visor showing the lifestyle he will be leading -  fast cars, luxury villas on Zegema Beach, Arcturian poontang.... all sponsored by J'Lo New You and Crusty Coke.

At moments of acute stress, a voice or image of his loved one, fanatsy girl, father, brother, school teacher, accordingh to his psych profile says "Proud of you son....." and exhorts him to do his best. Maybe it's a vid of a fallen comrade "Don't let me down 417. Get some for me!"....


Wednesday 25 May 2011

By Your Command: Wot No Command Figures?

In the future combat scenario, the traditional leader as we know it is likely to change. The far battlefield may see a diminishing role for the "Do you want to live forever?" style of leadership, replaced instead by orders beamed on the CrossComm/Grid via satellite or direct from a HoloCommand Centre somewhere in orbit.

Likewise direct tactical orders such as "We gotta take that compound" will be replaced by constantly updating markers and symbols on a trooper's helmet display.

You may think that men in whatever guise, in the tension of a firefight will always look for a leader - maybe, but what about cloned or 'chipped' warriors of the future planets? Will they be 'programmed' for each fight?

James Cameron's ALIENS gave us a thought provoking study of the dilemma of future command. Not only did we have the larger than life Sand of Iwo Jima character in Apone, it also introduced us to Gorman, a platoon leader of the electronic age who lead from the...err, van.

Despite the pivotal role on the modern battlefield and in many wargame rules, dedicated leader figures can be hard to come by in 15mm Sci Fi. I'm still find myself painting a stripe or different coloured helmet/shoulder pad on grunts to denote them as leaders. OK that's fine for the squads but what about the platoon leader?

Well, where there's no separate platoon commander figure that's 'different' to the squad leaders, you are essentially being handed the role of Gorman. Sitting in your armoured VW camper, watching the screens and keeping an eye on Bid TV all at the same time. That's right, "38, simulated". Next time you look at those figures, before you press "Buy" just remember "38, simulated".

Still, you want those minis, you must have those minis. You've expressed "Wow" and "Awesome" on every forum going. The shiny, the precious MUST BE YOURS........

OK, we can paint a bigger stripe, give our heroic leader a bigger shoulder pad, but let's think 'outside the pack' in order to turn that fireteam plus the rest of a bag of Ebay fodder into a worthwhile platoon with a recognisable and identifiable command structure.

As our main focus is Sci Fi, I'm going to turn to HALO here. Fans of the original HALO game will remember that Masterchief is guided, aided and ultimately contested by the A.I. 343 Guilty Spark, also known as the "Oracle". Now imagine that Guilty Spark was a Command Drone. That's right. We looked at the potential for drones, bots and UAVs replacing men carrying support weapons in my earlier post about SAWs, why can't we therefore put Gorman in a drone.

 Khurasan 15mm Sci Fi Control Battalion
Sure nice drone you got there boy!

Within a drone he has greater mobility on the battlefield, can exert his command presence and provide timely and encouraging firepower support to the grunts on the ground. Guilty Spark was able to zap the flood with lasers, so there's no reason why we can't give our Gorman drone a limited support and self protection ability. Even give each squad its' own Apone drone! So the Command Drone is shot down? No worries, the command data and comms passes to another drone in the unit or a replacement Command Drone whizzes it's way up to the battlefront.

My next reference is also from HALO, this time Cortana. Oooh, the beautiful, sultry, Cortana. Well, we'll get to Cortana. Artificial Intelligence plays a key role within the HALO 'verse and the fiction is worth reading to take a step into the future and see a wonderful visualisation of A.I. in use. Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten introduces us to the A.I. character Mack. And believe me, he is all character. Mack's avatar, his holographic presence is a Mexican bandito.

So your command or A.I,. function can be expressed as an iridescent blue, green, red character avatar - a 10-15mm figure, 20mm even, maybe a typical command figure, but also maybe a cowboy, a pirate, a Patton, a hero of the Federation.

Maybe, just maybe, these 'command avatars' will also be used for morale, accompanying the men into action - maybe individual avatars for each soldier, maybe a mascot avatar for squad or platoon - again being in the key places, directing, exhorting, cajoling  or comforting as the situation warrants.

And this is where Cortana comes in. Maybe the day of humans commanding humans is past and AI Avatars take on the job on behalf of the master battle computer....

Cortana is their leader, their commissar, their confident, their reason.... This is a great role for some of Critical Mass Games' Vadorian Assassins.

And finally in this brief look at alternative 15mm Sci Fi command figures, we turn to Star Wars. In the later episodes we see Clone commanders appearing as light blue holographic images in front of other commanders. So, let's take an ordinary kneeling trooper figure - give him that stripey thing to denote him as leader and place a 6mm HOF command or grunt figure at his feet - again panted as a holographic image so it appears that he's communicating with higher command or one of his troopers.

HOF 6mm Command Sprue

Hope you enjoyed this quick look at how we can turn necessity into opportunity to leave behind the mental shackles of the Grav Panzer, plasma AK and BFG, to instead really push the envelope of Sci Fi in miniature.


Tuesday 24 May 2011


Friday and on into Saturday morning I tried to make Ambush Alleys' Force on Force work for an Ahnold inspired PREDATOR game.

Well, yes it does work. But by the end of the process and I'm nowhere near the end, it becomes like 'Cromwell's knife' - "we've had the blade changed of course and the handle has been changed twice, but it's the knife Cromwell used".

As a one off event, I had fun making up new rules and character cards and am left with sheafs of pencilled notes. Will I play it again - no.

And why? Because, Joe dropped me a link via email to a free (yes FREE) download and print game called, and I'm not making this up; GET TO THE CHOPPER!!!

Go to the page on the link above, zip down to the FILES section and download everything there. The downloads include paper figures to get you started but it's the perfect opportunity to buy a Predator figure from Jon at Khurasan and the 'Special Forces' character figures from Mike at The Scene, all you need is SF01,02,03 if you are short on spoolacks or just want to try it out with a few minis.

Go on download it now! It's a blast and will make you a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus


Monday 23 May 2011

INCOMING...... Critical Mass Games Protolene Battlesuits

There's a whole heap of new Protolene Khanate Battlesuits avilable from Critical Mass Games today:

  • Protolene Ayame Scout Battle Suit with Command Array - 1 vehicle (PRVH12a - £4.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Hunter Battle Suit with Command Array - 1 vehicle (PRVH12b - £4.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Predator Battle Suit with Command Array - 1 vehicle (PRVH12c - £4.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Mortar Assault Suit - 1 vehicle (PRVH13a - £4.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Mortar Assault Suit Platoon - 3 vehicles(PRVH13b - £11.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Scout Assault Suit - 1 vehicle (PRVH14a - £4.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Scout Assault Suit Platoon - 3 vehicles (PRVH14b - £11.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Hunter Assault Suit - 1 vehicle (PRVH15a - £4.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Hunter Assault Suit Platoon - 3 vehicles (PRVH15b - £11.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Predator Assault Suit - 1 vehicle (PRVH16a - £4.00)
  • Protolene Ayame Predator Assault Suit Platoon - 3 vehicles (PRVH16b - £11.00)

The Scout Battle Suit with Command Array pictured above, is my favourite. It has a slight Gundam/Japanese Sci Fi feel to it. In fact it just Screams Sci Fi. It could be used as a battlesuit for many alien forces beyond the Protolenes.
    Check them out on the Protolene Vehicle page HERE


    Sunday 22 May 2011

    Thoughts on Mortars in the Sci Fi Battlefield

    I have to admit, for many years I didn't get mortars in a Sci Fi setting. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I don't understand their use or effectiveness, but rather, given a choice between a mortar, no matter how fancy and high fallutin' the ammo is, vs a rotating barrelled plasma cannon or multi-legged MRLS system - guess which I'd prefer?

    The reality of the situation is that moratrs are going to be around for a long time to come. They are cheap, lightweight, fast to set up and get into action, plus they can be deployed within eyeball of the enemy. And, not to be dismissed lightly either, pound for pound they offer a bigger bang and greater lethality than 'conventional' artillery rounds.

    Mortar rounds may include airburst, burrowing (to explodes several seconds after impact) and regular impact. They may include sub-munitions, such as a bomblets, top down anti-armour rockets, micro-bot cloud, drones, minelets, ECM They may also have 'smart' munitions that can search for a particular target signature - a type of tank, infantry, or even an individual.

    With the increase in mortar round detection and defence systems coming into play today, mortar rounds may have to be 'stealthed' so they are blind to the enemy Grid

    Even in the 70's mortar locating radar systems could backtrack mortar rounds to locate the firing position. Future technology will only make it easier, even for the individual infantryman and allow countermeasures to respond immediately..

    Mortars may well become like LAW's or other disposable rocket systems. A futuristic mortar could be a single shot or magazine fed weapon. Automated - on the Grid and highly 'disposable'.

    A field of 'remote' automated mortar tubes could be deployed by the infantry or even by drop capsule. The Grid or even the infantry themselves could transmit fire support orders to the mortar's on board intelligence chip which makes the necessary calculations and fires the number and type of tubes necessary. Any enemy counter-measures simply target a group of now useless tubes.

    In a hostile aerospace environment it could be that the scenario is for a small group to iniltrate enemy positions, set up a mortar - manned (for protection) or remote, and then launch a smart munition on a laser painted enemy facility or personage at the correct moment.


    Saturday 21 May 2011

    INCOMING...... Galactic Greeblies from

    Our mate Eli over at I SEE LEAD PEOPLE fame is on a bit of an alien rampage at the moment, with four new alien greeblies to populate your 'verse. Available from
    L to R: SHM18 Horansi, SHM19 Burgansian,
    SHM20 Vergan, SHM21 Fragalian

    There's always room for more aliens - especially single miniatures like these who can be traders, spys, crooks, starship cooks or even just simply alien collateral damage in a street fight in Mudd Eisley.

    All are priced at 0.40GBP each and are supplied as a one piece casting. You can find them plus the rest of the SHM range at

    The SHM range was designed to allow aspiring designers to get their miniatures into moulds and made available to other gamers at no cost to themselves. A venture which I feel needs to be applauded and supported.


    The SAW Debate

    One of the things that attracts me to playing skirmish level - individual/squad/platoon level games in the late C20th and beyond over say Crimean War is the range of weaponry available.

    No, I'm not a 'gun nut'. Neither is this a prediliction for a particular firearm or love of firepower. I'm a firm believer that the man maketh the weapon. In fact, see this interestiung article in The Marine Corps Gazette that demonstrates this - the lack of training for SAW gunners reducing their effectiveness in the fight, whilst the cursory training metered out to their assistant all but means that the loss of the prime SAW gunner meant the los of the weapon to the firefight.

    A range of different weapon systems within our skirmish games provides tactical and leadership challenges that having the single weapon "well it is as powerful as a SAW and has a grenade launcher too" argument does not. In effect not giving you a range of weapons at squad level is tactically consigning you and me to a pre 1917 tabletop. Even in the final years of WW1 the British  were organised into rifle, 'bomber', Lewis gun and rifle grenade teams.

    So the question is, are you playing Sci Fi or Retreat from Mons with space helmets?

    OK, so you may argue that the character/characteristics given to the figures themselves in a game makes the difference. Yes it does. I don't disagree. But think how much richer your game is when you have a range of different weapon systems with different deployment, combat ranges and effects to add into the mix. The weapons take on characters themselves and at the very least become character multipliers.

    Of course, I'm not just talking SAWs. According to Rethinking The 'Rifle' Platoon again from The Marine Corps Gazette:
    The SMAW (Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon), particularly with the thermobaric round, has proven to be one of the most effective weapons used during urban combat in Iraq. Many observers have pointed them out as one of if not the key infantry weapon during the battle of Fallujah in November 2004 and have recommended that their numbers be increased or that one be provided in support of each squad.
    Yes, but what about future weapons which will put out a lot of rounds like a SAW and have integral Lasers and grenade launchers. With set Lasers to 'dead leg' or 'a bit of a sniffle', and all that future stuff? Sure, but there'll always be more alien greeblies, always be a bigger alien tin can to defeat.

    Take a look at the Zas Mercs (Critical Mass Games: Merc 13) in the banner at the top of the page. In a single pack you get two riflemen, a sniper and a SAW/LMG gunner. Even before you've assigned the first Veteran, Average, Novice character to these figs, you have three different military roles and characteristics on your tabletop.

    Right, so let's take a pack of say, Rebel Minis' Earth Force Armoured Troops or Drop Troopers. Am I stuffed then? Luckily NO!

    Jon at GZG has brought out a wide range of remotes, drones and bots over the past two years which can augment the firepower and reach of the basic riflemen figures. In fact we can create an opportunity out of a pack of just riflemen to think outside of the squad box by embedding a combination of remotes/drones/bots or even androids and walkers/battlesuits into our small level combat formations.

    GZG 15mm Sci Fi:
    V15-70 Mini Hover Drones

    Suddenly our squad or platoon level battle takes on a greater complexity with aerial, armour and artificial intelligence characteristics. We now enter a multi-D (multi-dimensional) combat environment.

    "We're on the Grid, five by five"

    The provision of squad and support weapons may even leave us with a false sense of futuristic complacency on the tabletop.  When in fact the human element of a platoon sized combat force in the future may be very small indeed and only need weapons for personal defence as the bots do the rest.


    Friday 20 May 2011

    Predator Night

    Well, it's Get To Da Choppa central in the Dropship Rec Room tonight. Eli had a great idea earlier in the week of a Weird WW2 Operation Seelowe with German Zombies taking on the Home Guard.

    But where the hell are my Nazi Zombies? Grrrr! So, it's a good opportunity to try out Ambush Royale in a Predator setting and create the rules as the game progresses and ideas flow.....

    .....Whoo-oo-oo-oo, baby. Havin' me some fun tonght.


    p.s. got to get me another Predator or two.....

    See follow up post GET TO DA CHOPPA!

    Alien Flying Greeblies

    All the UAVs and drones we've seen to date in 15mm have been very human in origin. There's nothing that Chad Feldheimer could really call serious 'alien shit'.

    Browsing Forbiden Planet's store in Aberdeen a couple of month's back I came across these dim sum with tentacles greeblies in a Dr Weller (?) Stargate SG1 Action Figure blister. Definitely 'alien shit' and better still  reduced to just £1.99.

    I was instantly taken. I'm not into the Action Figure thing but always check them outto see if the accessories would be picking up for 15mm, either on Ebay or if the figure was at a suitably reduced price. In this case, just £1.99 - so I bought three.

    I'm going to mount them on individual flight bases as 'extreme' alien remotely or articifial intelligence piloted UAVs/drones. They could also be drop pods, some form of alien jet-bike or just a missile. With some pinning, you could stand them vertically as walking/floating alien mechanical or biological multipods.


    Micropanzer Greeblies

    Jason at Micropanzer is offering a 20% plus discount off his current stocks whilst he reorganises his production moulds.

    Alien no. 2, the four armed, polearm and sword wielding greeblie is particularly good value. He and his mukka Alien No.1 not only make futuristic 'restless natives' but can be rolled out for "John Carter of Mars" or PIMMS (Patrols in the Martian Sands) style VSF. I can only reiterate my post back in March, "the Krystrial are the just the sort of pulp Sci Fi novel/console game aliens that should be the staple of every 15mm Sci Fi, gamer's collection". 


    Thursday 19 May 2011

    Temple of Artemis - Photos

    Taking a bow, LOL! Some of the best shots from my Temple of Artemis game on Friday. My homage to the awesomely enjoyable and completely tongue in cheek movie, Army of Darkness with Bruce Campbell.

    The 'traesure hunters are Zombie Hunters from Mike at The Scene. The Skeletons..... are Khurasan Wights in armour. Possibly the best 15mm skeleton warriors on the market - the detail is astounding. I just kept rotating the 'dead' back on for this fast and furious firefight!

    Klaatu barada nikto

    "Ambush Royale": Advanced Rules

    Bond...using FORCE ON FORCE from Ambush Alley Games. Check out Ambush Royale in the panel to the right - our house adaptation for secret agent/spy and other pulp action cinema inspired games.


    Wound Charts = With Medic for Named Characters; No Medic for Minions shot by other Minions

    Wound Chart Effects for Named Characters (vs. Named / Minions)

    • Killed = 2 Wounds / Forced Back
    • Serious Wound = 1 Wound / Pinned
    • Light Wound = Pinned / Morale Check
    • OK = OK / OK

    # Wounds = Character loses that number of wounds and makes Morale Check per description below

     Forced Back = Must retreat one move away from enemy and objective, or to the nearest cover away from enemy and objective, whichever is closer.  Character is now pinned

     Pinned = per normal rules

     Morale Check = rolls # of character’s wounds left with the characters Morale level for Morale check per normal rules

    Wound Chart Effects for Minions vs. Minions is per normal rules.  Wounds caused from Named Characters is either killed or knocked out the Minions, either way the figure is removed from the game.


    Named Character will have the same number of gadgets as Luck dice

    Gadgets can be “traded” for other gimmicks at a 1:1 exchange


    Trademark weapon – 
    Named character has a short range (optimine range only) trademark weapon that he/she is very good at (007’s Walter PPK or Oddjob’s hat).  Named character gets a +1d attack at optimine range when using his/her trademark weapon.  When using a trademark weapon, if an attack roll is ½ or more “1’s”, the trademark weapon is lost for the rest of the scenario (out of ammo, damaged, knocked out of the character’s hands, etc.)

    Trademark attack – 
    Named character has a special hand to hand weapon or attack that he/she is very good at (Jaw’s steel teeth or knife in the shoe tip).  The Named character gets a +2d attack to one enemy with 1” or less of the figure.

    Gadgets can be added to a trademark weapon or attack, if it makes sense – Oddjob’s hat could also have a concealable gadget attached to it making the first search attempted by someone on him automatically fail to notice the razor edge on the brim of the hat.


    Main Named characters are assumed to know all of the skills needed for the scenario at his/hers Quality die type (007 can fly, swimming, disarm a bomb, shoot, drive, etc. at his Quality die) – Each player can only have one Main Named Character as part of their force

    Supporting Named characters are all others and know the number of skills as their number of Luck dice at the Quality dice type level that is relevant to that characters background (The active female pilot that is tagging along with 007 has a Luck of 3, so the GM assigns her three skills to flying, navigation, and shooting).  Skills not listed for the supporting character is one die type less (The active female pilot is a d10 for flying, but a d8 for disarming the bomb)

    Minions are assigned the # of skills ½ of the Quality dice or less that would be relevant to their role and do not know any other skills (A d6 uniformed policeman would have the skills of shooting, driving, and searching for example, where a customs agent would only have searching)


     Being undercover super spy means that the local police and soldiers don’t know that you really are a good guy and will also try to stop you.  As such, security forces will always attempt to arrest or shoot the closest dangerous suspect.  If 007 is shooting at a mad bomber with hidden bomb, and 007 is 12” away from a policeman and the bomber is 3” away from the policeman, the policeman will attempt to stop 007 first as he is shooting and the bomber appears to be unarmed (unless the policeman passes his search skill roll to notice the bomb)

    Joe Collins & Dropship Horizon 2011


    It's truly staggering. This blog dedicated to what many gamers still see as a niche has received 300,000 page visits in just 11 months and 19 days. I think this proves to the doubters that 15mm Sci Fi is well and truly in the pipe, five by five!

    In June last year Dropship Horizon was getting 20,000 hits per month. Khurasan's Federal Army releases pushed the envelop to almost 40,000 in November and now in May 2011, we are averaging 30,000 hits per month or about 1,200 per day

    So who is visiting Dropship Horizon?

    Well, 118,000 visits are from the United States, 82,000 from the UK, 14,000 Canada, 11,000 Australia. Germany and France 10,000 each! Then Spain, Netherlands Sweden, Poland and the rest.

    And how do they get here?

    Google searches outnumber referals from The Miniatures Page (TMP) by 4 to 1, then comes Tabletop Gaming News, DreamForge Games and Ambush Alley Games in that order. by far the greatest number of Google searches were for Dropship Horizon, by a factor of 10-1 over referals from other seracjes such as "15mm Sci Fi".

    But what are they looking at?

    My review of Osprey Publishing's Force on Force on 13th Feb this year outstrips all other posts for number of site visits. Next perhaps unsurprisingly, comes my review of Khurasan's Federal Army Infantry on 5th September. The announcement of Khurasan's HOG on 12th October comes in a close third. This is followed by's Christmas Special Offer and then my post to say the Octopods had arrived in the post.

    And what are folks looking at now?

    LOL! This month Khurasan's Space Dwarves take centre stage. With a supporting cast drawn from Khurasan's Fedral Infantry RAM Mortar Team and ahem, Cap'n Amy Pond. You devils! Whilst warming in the waings are ArtCrime Productions Nationalist Infantry.

     A word from our pilot?

    First of all, let me say thank you to everyone who takes time to visit and support this blog. An especial thank you to those who share a little of themselves and participate by Following, through leaving comments or emailing me directly. But my biggest thank you is to everyone who has offered their best wishes and support in what has been a dificult year for me personally with work worries and health issues.

    What are my favourite set of miniatures from the last year? LOL! That would be telling. Take a look back through the posts and see which have provided me with most inspiration! However, if I had to highlight one product worthy of particular note it would have to be Eric Hotz's range of hand crafted felt game mats.

    Hotz Mats: Lunar, Dirt Planet, Green Planet, Ice Planet.

    I'm cack-handed when it comes to terrain and Eric's mats provide an instant, versatile gaming surface that's inexpensive, easy to store and quick to set up. Plus you can use them regardless of whose miniatures your own. The range of Sci Fi mats now includes Lunar Lanscape, Dirt Planet, Green Planet and Ice Planet. The flexibility this provides together with the options for coming with and without craters, or being double-sided is simply outstanding. A real boon to the 15mm Sci Fi gaming community.
    I hope you've enjoyed being along for the ride and will continue aboard the Dropship in the year ahead. Believe me, the game is anything but over man!


    Wednesday 18 May 2011

    Future British Trooper

    I thought you might like to see Master Chef's  Falklands tribute - 'Scuse the photo quality it's via Skype.

    It's one of his new 15mm Future British troopers which are built around RAFM Infantry Pack #1.

    Seeing this figure and doing a few more headswops  this evening, I thought hang on! Theer's a 'medic' in each RAFM pack that I dont currently use. I can take that head and pop it onto either Peter Pig's IDF or Legion snipers to increase the number of variations available to me.


    Fireteam Yvette - W.I.P.

    "Est-ce que cela va être un combat debout ou d'une autre chasse au bug?"
    "Un autre chasse au bug! 
    I'm having fun. Can you tell? And another pack of Legion heads on order from Mr Pig. "Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé !......."


    Today's Progress

    Despite my drill bit snapping and going stright hrough the tip of my thumb, typically the only time I didn't wear a work glove, I've got the following ready for painting:
    • 1 squad of P.Pig Legionnaires (AK47 range), in standard helmets with green stuff visors
    • 2 squads of P.Pig Legionnaires (AK47 range) in mix of berets (with some further conversions) and CMG Light Recon helmeted heads. These guys are cool. I like them a lot.
    • 1 squad of CMG Light Recon in a mix of their own helmets and P.Pig separate Modern Legion berets.
    • 1 weapons squad of 2 combat droids with 'handler' and UAVs


    This gives me a flexible transitional force,which can morph across tech levels as required. 

    I still have the squad leaders to do (from AK47 Range Israelis) and maybe a Khurasan Federal Army Infantry Command Team (new shoulder plates from green stuff and/or Light Recon helmeted heads should do the trick).

    I reached the great watershed this week of having to wear reading glasses to work on the figures and paint them. So am not sweating the small stuff anymore. Out of both necessity and practicality I'm painting for effect rather than detail now.


    Tuesday 17 May 2011

    Basing with Washes

    My faux pas yesterday on the left (Ogryn Flesh) and what I was aiming for on the right (Gryphone Sepia). Figures are Rebel Minis' Earth Force Marines originally from Master Chef's collection.

    Both are how they look after I applied the wash. No other drybrushing etc has been done at this point. The bases are 40mm round (2mm deep) MDF from

    We use these larger bases for both Future War Commander and ASQL2. If you like the ground effect (even if not the colours),you can create it simply yourself.

    I will either mix 1: PVA to 2: Multi-purpose (ready mixed) Polyfilla (spackle in the US) or slap on the PVA and apply the Polyfilla over the top, allowing it to mix togrther. I apply the Polyfilla with a stirring stick from Costa's. Starbucks have thinner cofee stirrers that are thinner and better for making wooden structures, fences etc.

    In normal NE Scotland temperatures and humidity I give it a couple of minutes to start setting and then use a cocktail stick to 'flick' up the Polyfilla into peaks. Creating a very 'other worldly' effect.

    The darker 'pools' of wash you see are going to be turned into yellow or green acid pools using layers of OOP GW inks. Once again, just to make these a little more different than grass and rocks.


    First Froggie Off The Production Line...........

    Not quite the Frogstar Troopers I'd planned for this week but sometimes you've got to just go with the creative flow..... mais "Non, je ne regrette rien" so here is "Mon Légionnaire".

    Only 20 odd hard bitten 'Fighting Cockerels' to go!


    You, Me & La Marseillaise

    Couldn't focus Monday no matter how hard I tried. So, I decided to finish off several sets of miniatures which needed basing, rebasing or just a new bit of foliage here and there to tidy them up.

    Somehow, rather than finishing the day with a feeling that I'd accomplished something, I seem to have merely created more work for myself! I found that these guys only have 7 not 9 bases, these other guys are missing the support bases, over there those guys bases need to be drilled for drones, where's the command for this platoon? Aaaahhh!

    Then whilst applying a GW wash to some bases, I'm thinking  "this is turning out very red."  It was, I'd opened Ogryn Flesh instead of Gryphone Sepia. :-o

    The effect was interesting but not as colourful as my language. And then of course, I find the buggers are a squad short anyway. More filing, more basing, polyfilla, pva, sand, undercoating......

    I should have just begun a new platoon of something, anything. So to cheer myself up, I took a spare bag of mixed Critical Mass Games' Light Recon and wopped their heads off, as I'd found a pack of Peter Pig separate heads wearing French berets (no onions or garlic) lurking around yesterday evening. I also cut down the bazookery thingy so it looks more like a LAW or shortened Charlie-G. Then pleased with myself and feeling very francophile, I sang/hummed three choruses of La Marseillaise.

    When finished these guys will be the 'heavy' section d'assaut to my Pig French Foreign Legion for Tomorrow's War. etc I say when, as I happened to take a head from the Light Recon and tried it on a Pig Legionnaire - Oooh la la! C'est tres magnifique! I now have a pile of headless Frenchmen too!


    GZG Webstore

    Well, I've had a good shuftie round GZG's new webstore and it's a dream. Regardless of my taste in miniatures I like things to be easy when it comes to buying stuff and the new webstore is easy to navigate, find exactly what you're looking for and compare products.

    All the latest releases are there too, Crusty Mecha, 6-Wheeled AFVs, L-UNSC support packs etc etc.

    Oh it's too tempting........


    Monday 16 May 2011

    Get away from her you BITCH!

    Ripley might have a Class 2 rating. But she probably never thought the day would come when she would have to strap one on to handle a big monster!

     Another Dropship in the pipe exclusive report. Coming soon to a docking bay or landing pad near you - the DIMOG Hercules loader.

    Pack TTC-2011 is a conversion kit that allows you to build the Hercules using the core components from Khurasan's Federal Army DIMOGs. To be clear, pack TTC-2008 or TTC209 is required to complete the Hercules loader variant.

    The Hercules conversion kit also comes with a civilian driver.  It would be easy enough to strap on some guns, welded armour plate (plasticard) and Voila! The Hercules becomes an improvised assault vehicle pressed into service by the resistance or survivors of xeno infestation! In other words...."A bug hunt!"

    Seriously though - one or more of these would be excellent dressing for your loading bay/starport scene - but also as an improvised  weapon in asymmetric Sci Fi and post apocalypse scenarios or even with a little conversion - a Space Orkz Mekka!

    Available from Khurasan Miniatures shortly.
    (the definition of 'shortly' may go up as well as down.)


    Life, Work, the Universe......Eurovision

    Saturday night is 'date' night. The one night a week, we put aside whatever we are doing to have quality time together. And whether we stay in or go out, we treat it as a..... date.

    But this saturday was Eurovision (Fanfare of trumpets). Eurovision has a special place in our hearts and usually one of our group of friends hosts a Eurovision party - basically, an excuse to have a BBQ, a drink or three and shout at the telly.

    No parties this year so we had our own and decided to make the most of it. Dressing up in Bond tux for me, and Mrs H sported her best Breakfast at Tiffany's little black dress. Let me tell you, she outdid Lena in her little black number and that's saying something.

    Now don't groan when I mention Eurovision. It's how you choose to approach these things in life and we choose to view it as a hoot.  I mean, it's the Eurofighter of the TV music world and about as relevant today as Spanish Influenza. Not to be taken seriously, eEurovision nevertheless is a brilliant drinking game and a chance once a year to rate some European totty.

    Lena, the German contestant and last years's winner. My god, that girls smoulders. It was like watching Kate Beckinsale being naughty on screen. Her song? Who cares.

    Our joint favourite of the night, was the madcap, literally, Moldavan entry (pictured above). I can only explain the performance as Buck Rogers in the C25th does punk! We loved them and the monocycling 'Dita von Tease' thing they had going on.

    It was a great evening. No, our evening, sod Eurovision. And H. put on a night that outdid everyone on stage.


    Sunday 15 May 2011

    Latest GZG Update!

    We're just sorting the last few minor issues brought up by some testing over the weekend - but barring any last-minute problems the PLAN is to be able to switch the new store on tomorrow (Monday) evening!

    Of course, no plan ever survives first contact with reality, so there are likely to be a few teething troubles in the first week or two - but hopefully if you've stuck with us this long, you will understand. As soon as the store is live we will be open to receive orders, but please note that due to the proximity of Sheffield Triples (see last news post) I won't actually be able to dispatch anything until I'm back from that show.

    Thanks, keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck....  ;-)

    Jon, Sunday 15th May.

    Goes without saying Jon, best of luck from everyone on the Dropship!


    IN THE PIPE: Khurasan Federal Navy Special Warfare (SPAR) team

    The term 'Elite' in tabletop Sci Fi usually conjusts up one of two images. At one extreme it's shredded t-shirts, berets and bulging biceps . whilst at the other it's jump packs, shoulder pads and metal flares.

    Not any more...

    A couple of weeks before the whole Bin Lardy thing, Jon at Khurasan approached me with the idea of some Recon for his highly successful Federal Infantry range.

    To me, Recon only has one connotation. Marine Recon. And let's face it Gunny if you are doing Marine Recon, why don't we go the whole hog. Hooyah!

    We wanted something that was different but real. Figures that could be used in Force on Force as bleeding edge Future Warriors of 5 years time plus of course equally at home in the far future of Tomorrows War, FAD, FUBAR, Gruntz etc.

    It was a dream opportunity. I gave Jon helmet designs and stipulated that the minis should tell a story, not random poses but a team that could be 'stacked'. 

    A couple of weeks later, Bin Lardy-dardy-dah all over the news and Jon sent me the first photo of the master figures. Ok, hands up - I'm biased. But the minis in the photo makes me proud. I tell you, I'm having these minis on me at my viking funeral, to game with in Valhalla.

    Jon wants to go for the big reveal, so sorry no photos (just yet). However I can exclusively and genuinely proudly, introduce you to the Federal Navy Special Warfare (SPAR) team.
    The SPAR team consists of  four different 'stackable' operators armed with special .50 SMGs with integral grenade launcher (as seen on the Khurasan Corporate Marine officer ). Two different snipers (with anti-material rifle and with anti-personnel rifle), and one operator with FAW (thermobaric flame assault weapon). SPAR operators use a special lighter body armour and the ARC (augmented reality - combat) helmet.
    The Federal Navy Special Warfare (SPAR) team will be released along with the Federal Infantry Mortar team above will be released at the same time as the drone and operator, the army casualty and medics diorama, the DIMOG 3 "Berserker" and Hercules civilian loader (both are conversion sets for the basic DIMOG) announced on Dropship Horizon on Saturday.

    Naturally I'll keep you updated with intel as soon as it is released.


    Faux Sci Fi

    When I first saw the cover of JANISSARIES by Pournelle, the soldier reminded me of the Airfix 1/76 Paratrooper box art. I wasn't far wrong.

    CIA backed US Mercs are fighting in a faux Angola and rescued from destruction at the hands of a larger Cuban force by a extra-terrestrials.

    The Mercs are transported to another planet where, led by a Christopher Walken wannabe, mayhem ensues.

    I know why I pushed this book to the back of my mind, but playing around with some AK47 figs this morning,  Janissaries aptly demonstrates that ANYTHING can be turned into a Sci Fi background. Something to bear in mind in these increasingly tight economic times. 


    Frogstar Robotic Tank

    One of my favourite scenes from the original Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy radio play was when Marvin (the Paranoid Android) confronts a Frogstar 'Robot' in the offices of the Hitchhikers's Guide To the Galaxy publishing house on Ursa Minor (or a parsec or two thereabouts).

    My mental image of this Frogstar Robot which described itself as a 'heavy duty battle machine' was essentially a robotic tank.

    Now, CMG's Dragamaa tank, KAVH1, came really close to actualising my internal vision of the Frogstar 'tank'. Robot tanks were in my psyche and their place was cemented by Planet of No Return by Harry Harrison. Then I bought this Star Wars micro-machines set on Ebay - for a song - and the seller unexpectedly threw in a Micro-Machines Star Wars Universe Trade Federation Tank....

    Um-diddle-diddle! Here is my Frogstar Robot Tank. Thank you Ebay seller.


    Saturday 14 May 2011

    IN THE PIPE: Khurasan Federal RAM Mortar Team

    A whole heap of new goodies from Khurasan Miniatures are in the pipe and heading to a galaxy near you soon. I can bring exclusive news from Khurasan Alienworkz gmb that RAM (rocket assisted munition) Mortars are the asset of the day for any self-respecting intergalactic overlord.

    There will be mortars for the Feds, Lhurggs and, in time, for the Control Battalion and Sepulvedan Resistance too. RAM Mortars provide a cheap, mobile and versatile weapons platform that can deploy a range of munitions. Providing the grunts on the ground with their own dedicated, on-call artillery.

    So we're going to need a forward control element to locate the enemy and direct effective fires onto them. What better than a highly manoeuvrable eye in the sky.

    Here we see the Federal Army Infantry Drone team, previewed recently on Khurasan Miniatures' blog. These drones are perfect for providing real-time information back to 'the grid'.

    Modern C-RAM (Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar) weapons are ground based - but a fast moving drone with a powerful energy weapon may be able to conduct successful point defence missions and set up a C-RAM environment around the unit or facility it is protecting. I foresee (C-S) Counter Sniper Drones and C-RAMS (Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar and Sniper) Drones in the future.

    So, when are these going to be available? The Federal Infantry Mortar team above will be released at the same time as the drone and operator, the army casualty and medics diorama, the DIMOG 3 "Berserker" and Hercules civilian loader (both are conversion sets for the basic DIMOG).

    Included in this release and again exclusively to Dropship Horizon will be a new kick ass unit of Federal Elite forces, but more on those tomorrow! Hooyah!