Sunday, 23 October 2011

Review - TMC Jump Troops by Mad Robot Miniatures

Mad Robot Miniatures released their first 15mm minis this week (the Tachyon Mercenary Corporation Jump Troops), and Steve was kind enough to send me a review pack. I’ve been looking forward to these ever since the original discussion thread at TMP. Jump troops are a great science fiction trope, and many rules currently allow for this type of infantry to be used. But the 15mm sci-fi community has long been devoid of jump-pack/jet-pack infantry. Mad Robot has come to the rescue.

The TMC pack comes with ten minis, composed of six different poses. Half are airborne and half have both feet on the ground. They can be used as a complete 10-man squad, or one could swap “airborne” for “ground” poses to represent movement of a 5-man squad. The detail of the sculpts (and the castings) is very, very good. Other than a sliver of mold line on the helmets, these minis required no cleaning or trimming. The integrated bases on the “ground” troops are nice and flat - no Blue Moon-style “pitcher mounds” here. The flying poses come with no base at all - they could be attached to the ground or a small rock, or they could be mounted on wire or acrylic rods (I’m going to attempt the latter).

Ready to paint
The weapons are a bit unusual for this type of release: three different weapons are clearly visible. Two appear to be assault rifles, and the third is definitely a directed-energy weapon. I really like this decision. Mad Robot Miniatures designed these as a mercenary unit. One can easily imagine that these troops purchase their own weapons with their signing bonuses - instead of being forced to carry an “off the rack” weapon, each trooper has the flexibility to buy, carry, and maintain the weapon that he is most proficient with.

Comparison with GZG Ravager and Rebel Titan Marine

And now for some possible bad news: these minis are VERY tall. I measured 18mm to the eye, around 21mm overall. At 1/100 this means the Jump Troops average 6’10” each. The NBA will probably watch their careers with great interest!

Comparison with Micropanzer SAS and Kremlin Cyberian

Does this pose a major problem? Maybe, maybe not. If you plan to use these minis to augment (or oppose) an existing human force - you’ll probably notice the difference. But even this could be explained away. Perhaps they are from a low-gravity colony world? Or, as my wife (the sci-horror writer) suggests, some sort of genetic enhancement or tampering?

Comparison with HOF Post-Apoc and Critical Mass Light Recon
But if you’re using these as their own force, especially if their opponents are aliens, their height won’t be an issue. They scale well to most aliens I own; in fact they look great alongside Crusties, Astagar, Garn, and some of the other “big” xenos.

Comparison with Critical Mass Astagar and Khurasan Garn
Comparison with Micropanzer Raivaui and GZG Crusty
Steve was up front with me about the height issue. And he assured me that future human releases will not suffer from this problem. This is Mad Robot Miniatures’ first ever 15mm sci-fi release. Other than that one flaw, I think they produced a great set of miniatures.

Comparison with The Scene Heavy 'Bot and Khurasan Felid
What would we like to see from them in the future? I’d start my wishlist with a second pack of these! Maybe we can see another Jump Troop set that’s just a few millimeters shorter (obviously!), uses identical/issued rifles, and includes one or two females in the pack. Including another NCO and some kind of heavy weapon would give us a great rank-and-file jump troop pack.



  1. I think these would look great as some alien force. I imagine myself getting some and then sculpt just one head without helmet with some freaky non human look...

  2. Well i don't see height as an issue as opposing forces. It may be a bit different if they are on the same side but I use some 10mm aliens as small troopers so why not some genetically modified troopers more elemental than van-dam!

    But even so they do look cool:)

    Cheers Matt

  3. For a second pack, assault troops with paired hand weapons (mini SMGs or heavy pistols) would be nice for jump troops IMO.

  4. @SpaceJacker - that's not a bad idea... twin pistols, or a pistol and some kind of comms device. Those could even work as some kind of high-tech police force (think Minority Report).

    Chris K.

  5. Hmm strange that they turned out so tall, wonder if it was a miss communication between Steve and the sculptor? nice looking figures though, I will buy them anyway.

  6. Just say they're wearing a light powered armour suit; I'd rather have new released compatible with the older ones than compatible with another line.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. These new Mad Robot miniatures look beautiful. I would love to have been able to say - these are THE 15mm Sci Fi miniatures I've been waiting for since I received my first Traveller box set of rules back in the late seventies. Unfortunately though they are obviously NOT 15mm.

    Sure we can rationalise, create a back story or simply make excuses for the height difference in human miniatures. But I resent this reliance by manufacturers on the customer accepting what I see as 1) lazy sculpting or 2) a deliberate marketing ploy.

    Because of that they have been relegated from a MUST HAVE, purchase two platoons at least and my first Sci Fi purchase in 6 months, to OK, I MAY try two packs some time next year.


  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. @Mark: I am thinking your comments are aimed at the industry in general but, for as much as Mad Robot is concerned, I can promise you that it was a mistake on my part and will not happen again. It certainly wasn't done deliberately and I hope you'll give a new company like Mad Robot Miniatures a chance to make good on our next release.

  11. Hi Steve

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post so positively. I appreciate your explanation. You should know that you can take it as a compliment that I am so disappointed.


  12. Well, I wish I had found this page before ordering these! I'm still going to use them, but I'm certainly disappointed. I ordered 15mm miniatures and got 20mm miniatures. And I am one who finds the "are these in scale" discussions tedious -- but this is ridiculous.

    "Steve was up front with me about the height issue". I wish the order page had been as up front!