Sunday 29 January 2012

Creating New Game Settings from Existing Worlds

I've noticed something about us 15mm Sci Fi gamers.  We suffer from tunnel vision.

It's not something to be ashamed of, and it's certainly not exclusive to our little corner of the world.  Everyone gets it sometimes.  But when we get it, it results in months of delayed purchases, unpainted minis, general disappointment in the hobby, and at worst - frustration and anger at the manufacturers.  And one of the leading causes of this tunnel vision?  Settings for our 15mm games.  

We switch to 15mm for all the right reasons.  Tons of products available, excellent variety, good value, very inspiring (and obviously humble) bloggers, you know the drill.  So we take the plunge, buy some figures, buy some more figures, paint a couple of them, buy a bunch more figures, buy some vehicles, print some rules, buy some figures... and then we're stuck.  No idea what to do with them. There's no Codex - how do we paint them?  There's no novels or movies about these figures - so what are they fighting over?  

So we look for inspiration.  We all have a creative side - we wouldn't be shopping for 15mm sci-fi miniatures if we didn't.  But ultimately, we want our games to be familiar.  A favorite movie, book, TV show... or an existing RPG, maybe even a miniature game in a different scale.  That's what we want to play.  So we decide to play it, especially since we know exactly how it should look on the table... 

But wait.  Nobody makes a 1/100 version of that particular figure, that vehicle, that aircraft.  Now we're stuck.  What do we do now?  We talk to our buddies, we write blog posts about it, we turn to TMP and other message boards for advice.  How many threads have the title "What's a good ??? in 15mm?"  "Looking for ??? in 15mm!"  "15mm Proxies for ???"  Or requests for manufacturers to create a knock off version, just so we can get those perfect minis in 15mm...

"I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see one..."
For the most part, it's never going to happen.  Because of intellectual iroperty laws, copyrights, etc., we're never going to get those specific miniatures made in 1/100.  So we get stuck.  We have piles of unpainted lead and we stop playing games.  We beg manufacturers to release things they'll never get away with.  We do everything possible to get that specific setting, in its original detail, onto our tables.  What we never do is stop, take an objective look at that entire setting, and figure out the reasons we like it in the first place.  

What if we make the fundamental storylines into something which fits current miniature ranges?

Look at it this way.  We can wait months, years, or forever for manufacturers to release that "proxie" that gets us close enough for our lofty expectations.  Or we can apply just a bit of creativity, and change a few aspects of the story, the aesthetic, the technology... whatever it takes to play that theme, that idea.  If we do this correctly, we may end up liking our new creation even more than the original setting.

I really think anyone can do this with any novel, comic series, movie, TV show, or video game.  Do we really want to play the Battle of Naboo, but are disappointed by the lack of 1/100 Battle Droids and Gungans?  Let's stop looking for proxies, open ours mind, and create our own version with hordes of Khurasan Mekanoids attacking a jungle full of technologically-outmatched Blue Moon Fereen.  Want to run the final battle in Avatar but can't find any Na'Vi?  Let's relax and play a fun intepretation with Splintered Light Leonines.  Or here's a common one: 40K in 15mm.  Do we want to wait for the perfect Space Marines, Tyranids, and Tau to be released?  Or can we focus on the basic theme, and create our own interpretation with Blue Moon Orions, Khurasan Space Demons, and Eureka Ventaurans.

It's tough to do this, especially when we have such specific visions in our minds.  But let's choose the most important elements of the stories and be creative with the rest.  There are dozens of great figure and vehicle ranges in 15mm Sci Fi, and more new items are coming out every month.  It isn't worth sitting around waiting for that perfect "proxy" or "not-this" to come out.  We should make use of the nearly-unlimited game possibilities available right now.  


Friday 27 January 2012

Review - 15mm Sci Fi from Brigade Models Sculpted by PF

As a follow up to this post highlighting that Brigade Models have acquired some of PF’s 15mm sci fi sculpts we're please to be able to provide a review of these soon-to-be-released figures. Despite being in the process of making production moulds, Tony at Brigade was kind enough to send the Dropship Crew a sample of each of the forthcoming packs straight out of the master mould!

First up, the Alien Civilians pack (pictured above). This features 5 unarmed humanoid character models. These could be characters in a tabletop wargaming / roleplaying game cross over or as civilian bystanders to a shoot-out in some retched hive of scum and villainy. My two favourites are the second from the left, who could be a doctor or a scientist on a survey mission, and the one second from the right, who could be pointing out secessionist spies to aid colonial troops!

Next up we have the Alien Creatures pack which provides some weird and interesting aliens for your 15mm sci fi games. We have what looks like an alien watchdog with a sharp face an a lion-like mane, a lizard or even Hutt-like creature with a spiked tail, some sort of techo-maggot, a beetle and a shambling tentacled thing. The wargaming potential of these figures may be limited, but I can imagine a sci fi skirmish campaign with characters competing to collect weird creatures from across the galaxy for the eccentric proprietor of some interstellar zoo!

Then we have the Bounty Hunters pack providing 4 mean looking characters and a shacked captive (on the far right). My favourite figures in this pack are the larger equine-looking creature (second from left) and the humanoid second from right who is equipped with some great looking armour and appears to be unarmed and sculpted in the style reminiscent of a superhero (or villein) PF often employs. I can see lots of potential for use with sci fi skirmish games like 'Blasters and Bulkheads' and '5150:New Beginnings'.

Finally we have the Mercenaries pack. This consists of 4 armed humanoids and what might be another superhero (or villein). I really like the human armed with a mace (or should that be a power weapon?) second from left. This sculpt has real character and delicate facial features which have not been lost in the casting. Like the other packs, there is lots of potential for use with sci fi skirmish games.

All of the figures in all the packs are sculpted in the delicate style PF is a master of and I'm pleased to say that none of this has been lost in the casting - bearing in mind these were provided direct from the master mould and not been cleaned up in any way.

Tony has suggested that these packs may retail for around £2 per pack, which seems very, very good value indeed given the quality of these sculpts and the casting. We've been raving about how good a sculptor PF is for some time here on the Dropship so it's great to see more of his characterful 15mm sci fi in production - Especially as there appears no sign of the sculpts acquired by Pole Bitwy and previewed here entering production. He’s certainly not been responding to my emails on the subject!

All in all a great set of forthcoming releases and, I for one, hope they sell well so that we'll see more 15mm sci fi from PF and Brigade. However, what I'd really like to see is for PF to turn his had to sculpting a conventional high-tech military force rather than just character models!

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Christmas War - Invasion of Laurentia Game 1

Date/Time: Christmas Eve, the year 2212.  1935hrs.   
Location: Laurentian Border Defenses - Buyan Swamp Crossing

The Buyan Swamp Crossing was an insignificant outpost along the Laurentian-Cimmerian border.  It was one of the oldest gravel trade roads established between the colony-states, and had long been surpassed by multi-lane highway checkpoints.  So it was little surprise that half of the garrison was granted Christmas leave this year, leaving only eight troopers (and two CAT 'bots) defending the border.  It had been that way as long as the anyone could remember - certainly it happened every year that the Laurentian communications-technician had been assigned to this backwater.

This year was different.

Half the garrison (the other four-man team) were sleeping inside the bunker; the other half were in the clearing across the road, discussing all the other places they would rather be.  Only the CATs were watching the road when the first rocket hit.  The comm-tech looked over to see one of their CATs was damaged, and the other firing its own rockets toward a dark, lumbering shape.  His team grabbed their carbines and ran to their defensive barricades, and the comm-tech grabbed his datapad and switched on the scanner feed.  Before he could see exactly what was happening, he found himself ducking small arms fire from the hill across the barricades.  

The data feed went live, and the comm-tech patched in his team.  They could finally see what was shooting at them.  That initial rocket had been fired from a Cimmerian Battle Walker, which was now trading heavy slugs with their own CATs.  The small arms fire was from a four-man Cimmerian fire team sheltered on the rocky hill.  Another two teams of Laurentians were double-timing up the road, covered by the heavy weapons of the first team.  The comm-tech holstered his pad and grabbed his carbine, focusing his fire on the Cimmerian heavy weapons team.  The CAT on their side of the road exploded, and a team of Cimmerians ran straight between his fireteam and their bunker.  A smart rocket from the Cimmerian heavy weapons team hit their position, killing one of his teammates.  They returned fire, but couldn't hit anything.  

Another Cimmerian team attempted to pass between the barricades, but was interrupted by small arms fire.  It was the Laurentian bunker team, now fully engaged in the fight.  The bunker-side CAT managed to blow an arm off the Cimmerian walker.  The bunker-side Laurentian team cut down two Cimmerians attempting to run up the road, but were surprised a fourth enemy team.  They had apparently come around the far side of the swamp.  This was a true assault team - spewing plasma from two flamethrowers while charging the bunker team.  The comm-tech could only try to focus on his own target while his comrades’ bio-signs switched to black, one by one.

The comm-tech attempted to send an alarm signal to the High Command Net.  But there was too much interference from the weapons fire, or possibly a minor EMP from the exploding CAT.  There were no signs of life from his teammates.  He ran as fast as he could, rapidly sending his alarm code as he tried to get out of range.  The second CAT ‘bot must have run out of rockets - he saw it jump the barricades and charge the Cimmerian walker.  Not a bad robot, thought the comm-tech.  He’d have to put it in for a battle honor, assuming there would be enough parts left to find the serial number.

Just as he thought he heard a confirmation chime from his distress signal, the comm-tech felt a sharp impact on his back plate.  He dropped - feeling intense, burning pain from the wound.  Then everything went dark...

Rules: FUBAR (links to unit stat cards: Cimmerians, Laurentians)
Playing time: 1 hour solo game
Battle outcome: Cimmerian victory - complete wipeout of Laurentian forces.  The Laurentians did survive six rounds. Per campaign special rules - long enough to earn a Special Forces reserve unit for the second scenario.


Monday 23 January 2012

The Wikkia Man

No not the movie but a 15mm model of the sacrifical edifice of the same name from  Dreamholme Scenics!

 Dreamholme Scenics  
Wicker Man, £16

Now I know, you are propably thinking WTF! But step back a moment. Both Khurasan and Splintered Light Miniatures have recently released miniatures form the golden age of Pulp that could easily see the Wikka Man used as a centrepiece for a scenario set amongst Cultists and Call of Cthulu.

Cults are de rigeur for post apocalypse gaming, so again this could see use as the objective with your clan/gang/survivors  trying to rescue some of their own from the clutches of the local cult or wasteland mutants before they are sacrified to the Comet Gods.

Of course, you could also set it in Modern times, somewhere in  Redneck/Bible Belt America and Rebel Minis have all the minis you need. Let's see if Scooby, Shaggy and the lovely Daphne get out of this one!

Mars - yes, Mars. Your Victorian Spacefarers fall upon a tribe of Green Martians or similar who sacrifice humans, Canal Martians or simply anything they fancy, and you have to rescue or escape - or maybe you are Carruthers of the 4th Ether Marines, tasked with stamping out this vile practice and now leading a raid on the local Martian Magog settlement.

Something mad, but different, with loads of opportunity for gaming!


Friday 20 January 2012

Additional USE ME titles from 15mm.Co.Uk!

Building on the success of their USE ME 001 Science fiction rules, 15mm.Co.Uk has released two more titles in that collection.  

First up is USE ME 007 - 15mm Post Apocalypse.  From their description: "This is the seventh title in the USE ME series and its the first title created after a year of solid feedback from the wargaming public. We have gone through a core science fiction set of rules and several historical ones plus ventured into space but now we go into a near and bleak future; that of the Post Apocalypse. Returning to the USE ME stable is author O.G.Joel, who has penned among other things USE ME World War Two. He had an interest in the aftermath of a man made, natural or supernatural event that would end our world and bring about a nightmare world of scavengers and technological warlords. This interest and knowledge resulted in these rules. Fast play rules based on the D6 USE ME engine that would suit 15mm scale miniatures (though it will work with smaller or larger scales with ease). From a few personalities in small scenario to squad level with battles involving a hundred or more character including vehicles."

I couldn't help noticing the contents for this book includes four pages called "Factions of a Wasted World."  USE ME 001 only has a generic troop builder section, so this title might go into a bit more flavor and detail than the earlier game. 

The other release that caught our eye is USE ME 009 - Zombie Dawn.  From their description: "It is with a moan and a shuffle that I welcome you to the ninth title in the USE ME series of titles. Why a moan and a shuffle? Because its the Zombie Dawn baby; the night, day and eternity of the living dead! This rule set marks a departure from a primarily broad based series of titles for something more specialised. 

Gavin Syme created Zombie Dawn in response to gamers requests by the hundreds for an Undead game which was easily played, a little different and most importantly could be played solo as well as with two or more players. Fast play rules based on the D6 USE ME engine that would suit 15mm scale miniatures and has a simple matrix to use 28mm scale miniatures too. From a few personalities in small scenario to squad (called teams) level with battles involving a hundred or more characters including vehicles. USE ME Zombie Dawn achieves all of this and more."

The USE ME first book was great, and plays extremely well for many "conventional" sci fi settings.  But for zombie outbreaks, nuclear apocalypse recovery, and post alien-attack scenarios, we now have a custom-tailored, pocket-size set of rules that can be played with a minimum of preparation.  

And if you decide to order these rules - don't forget to pick up some characters from the underrated Laserburn range.  If you order any Laserburn figures before January 31st, you'll get a free Law Officer patrol group consisting of one bike, three foot officers, and a K-9.  Those figures might be very useful as security guards for your post-apocalyptic pharmaceutical corporation, or as new-authority cops trying to keep the peace on the remains of your metropolitan streets...


Wednesday 18 January 2012

Brigade Models Previewing More 15mm Sci Fi!

Brigade Models have acquired some of PF’s marvellous 15mm sci fi sculpts which they’re hoping to release very soon. These figures will be available in 4 packs, each with 5 figures. We've been raving about how good these sculpts are for a while here on the Dropship so it's great to see more in production!

As you can see from the pictures above, Brigade are in the process of making production moulds and Tony at Brigade is hoping to release the first two packs, Alien Civilians (pictured above) and Alien Creatures,  within the next 2 weeks, followed by Bounty Hunters (pictured at the top of this blog post) and Mercenaries a few weeks after that. The price is likely be around £2 per pack.

The Dropship Crew think that, with sci fi skirmish games like 'Blasters and Bulkheads' and '5150:New Beginnings' and the upcoming 'The Department' in the market place, there should be quite a bit of demand for 'character' sci fi figures through 2012 and beyond!

Brigade have also ploughing ahead with the expansion of their 15mm sci fi buildings range. According to Tony at Brigade Models the first two, which we released to test the waters, have sold well and Brigade are planning more releases in the near future. These buildings have a familiar “Mud Eisley” feel to them and we’re looking forward to seeing what else they come out with!

Why not check out the Brigade Models Blog for further information.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Review - Ravenstar Studios Thunderfoot and Silverback

"Notify HQ that we'll need more antitank rockets.  And fresh underwear."

I placed my first order to Ravenstar Studios just before the holidays.  Now that life has settled back to "normal," I figured it was time to share a closer look at this new product range.  I ordered just about everything he offered last month - and Chris L. kindly threw in review samples of the remaining items.  Since the initial Ravenstar Land Core release was so diverse, I'll break the product reviews down into a few separate articles.  We'll start with the minis that were on the top of my wishlist from the moment I saw them - the Thunderfoot and Silverback battle mecha.

First Impressions

The first words that came to mind once I started looking at the minis were "quality" and "detail." Chris L. sculpts everything by hand - no CAD design or 3D printing in these items.  The level of detail in the vehicles is easily comparable to Ground Zero Games' newer vehicles.  Ravenstar Studios has a great reputation in starship gaming circles - and it's easy to see why.

The castings are very good.  There are just a couple of air bubbles in my castings - nothing that couldn't be filled in with gap-filling superglue or sculpting putty (or simply ignored).  There were no miscasts, major bits of flash, or nasty mold lines to remove from any of the parts.

The Silverback

Critical Mass Scout Walker, Ravenstar Silverback,
Rebel Minis Titan HAMR Suit
This is probably what we would consider to be a typical or medium mecha in 15mm terms - very comparable to the Rebel Minis HAMR suits in terms of height, bulk, and weapons load.  It does have a unique feature - a built-in jump jet.  So what army would I assign my Silverbacks to?  My Mad Robot Miniatures TMC Jump Troopers, of course!

The Silverback kit includes:
  • A legs-and-waist piece
  • An upper torso
  • 2 shoulder weapons (interchangeable - not specific to either side of the body) that can rotate from forward-facing to upward-facing
  • 2 arms with separate hands.  These have a pretty clever mounting system - the shoulders are balls with a little peg sticking out.  You can use the peg for a very secure (but somewhat static) mount, or you can cut off the peg and mount the ball anywhere in the shoulder socket you like.  I used the peg on the gun arm, and cut off the peg and used the ball on the shield arm.
  • A separate shield and wrist/arm gun
And Chris L. has promised a few more weapons for the Silverback kit, including the possibility of a melee weapon.  I'm pretty happy just with the initial offering - the two shoulder weapons look ideal for direct fire/artillery fire, and the wrist gun looks great for antipersonnel combat.  If the shield isn't desired, the free hand could easily be converted with a spare weapon from some other model.  Overall it's a great mech - I finished one for the review, and am looking forward to painting the second one I bought.  It will definitely add a level to my growing Jump Trooper army, and will also be a good core for my future mecha-centric battles.  It's easy to imagine teams of Silverbacks leaping through a ruined city to outflank a heavier mech.  

And speaking of larger mecha...

The Thunderfoot

Rebel Minis HAMR, Ravenstar Thunderfoot Mk 4
This is truly one of the heavyweights in 15mm Sci Fi.  There are four variants of this monster - I chose the Mark 3 since its weapons remind me of the Macross Tomahawk/Excalibur.  I knew this thing would be pretty big when I saw it on the Ravenstar blog - but seeing it in person was a different experience.  This is now the largest 15mm vehicle in my collection.  It's no surprise that I painted it to match my favorite army - Rebel Titan Marine infantry/Kremlin Cyberian Power Armor.

Components of the Thunderfoot Mark 3:
  • Separate legs
  • Waist/lower torso
  • Upper torso/crew area.  This has two ball-type pegs for weapons - pretty similar to what JBR included on the Rebel HAMR suits.
  • Shoulder mount for the cannons
  • Two heavy cannons and two rocket pods
The Thunderfoot is excellent in concept, design, and execution.  Most mecha/walkers at this scale look like they will barely hold a single pilot And those pilots are usually behind a gigantic windshield, waiting to be shot.  But the Thunderfoot looks like it holds a crew - two or three abreast, one or two deep, and still more than enough armor to keep them safe.  Its windows are more reminiscent of a bunker than a jet fighter.  

Final Thoughts

If any of you were cautious or hesitant about buying from Ravenstar Studios - go shopping already!  I expect to see these mecha showing up in quite a few different armies.  And I'm really curious to see what some of you airbrush junkies can do with these bodies - no doubt you'll put my humble space-opera paint jobs to shame. :)

Still to come: Grav Vehicles and Quad Walkers/Drones. 


Monday 16 January 2012

Khurasan's Horizon Explorer Close up

Last week we celebrated our 1000th post with news of a new 'Horizon' range of 15mm Sci Fi All Terrain Vehicles from Khurasan Miniatures.

Today, as promised, let's take a closer look at that Horizon Explorer All Terrain Tractor (A.T.TR). Well, what first strikes you is the passing similarity to the 'moms and pops' explorer in Aliens "It takes three weeks to get and answer and the answer is always Don't Ask!"

Click on images for a larger picture

It has all the potential for being a great stand alone model, useful for RPG's, skirmish and pulp Sci Fi adventures as transport OR as a terrain feature in it's own right. I've suggested to Jon that an abandoned version, perhaps half submerged in sand with some separate bogies and wheels would make a great central terrain piece on a tabletop around which an adventure or skirmish game could be based, eg last stand of a group of adventurers against slavering hordes.
Now, if there was just one APC that The Stig would drive.....the IGUANA All Terrain Military Personnel Carrier (A.T.M.P.C) would be it.

The IGUANA has a low profile armoured cab and a dual weapon turret. It's the perfect ride to get your Marines through bug infected terrain, or carry them across the moon surface to the lair of the Space Pirates.

Left: IGUANA A.T.M.P.C., Right: Horizon Explorer
(observation dome and auto-turret variants)

And to round off, here is a comparison shot of the Horizon Explorer and IGUANA side by side. These beasts are in the Khurasan pipe and we'll keep you abreast of their development and release schedule as news comes.


Saturday 14 January 2012

Junk Building By Numbers

I often see many fantastic junk builds and wonder what all goes into them. It's usually pretty obvious which parts are purchased for specific parts but it is the bits and bobs of junk and greeblies that go into it that often leave my head spinning.

Now, it's a given that not everyone will have the same stuff laying about but there are quite of a few standards that I can count on to have about all the time and expect that most gamers will too. The stuff that I don't have, can often be substituted for with something else. Once you figure out where the parts come from, it's actually pretty straight forward.

What I present to you here are three panels of a terrain piece in progress. These pictures do not constitute the final detailed piece but break down the basic components that went into making it all go together. Each picture features several numbered boxes. These boxes outline a particular part and include a number. These numbers correspond to the list below the pictures.

Parts List
  1. Wood craft knob
  2. Prescription bottle cap
  3. Precut MDF miniatures base
  4. Plastic packaging
  5. Printer cartridge
  6. Blood sugar test strip cartridge
  7. Soda Pop candy dispenser
  8. Plastic packaging
  9. Metal 28mm vehicle gun
  10. GZG rooftop vent
  11. Board game board
  12. 28mm vehicle part
  13. 40K heavy flamer fuel tank
  14. Decorative rhinestone
  15. Flames of War plastic base
  16. Door frame made from wooden coffee stir sticks
  17. Textured plasticard
I hope seeing a breakdown of what went into a simple but effective piece of terrain will inspire folks and open their eyes to the every day bits and pieces that they have laying around that can be put together into a good, solid bit of terrain.

Take care,


Friday 13 January 2012

Terrain from Khurasan Miniatures and CorSec Engineering

We have two major terrain releases this week.  Khurasan Miniatures has just released a fortress that will appeal to fans of a certain "buggy" movie.  From their announcement:

Hi all, just a quick note to let you know that the 15mm modular sci fi field fortification that we previewed back in November, KILO OUTPOST, is now available.

The starter set is the minumum possible size as we didn't want to play the guessing game of how big each gamer would like his wall sections to be. Thought we'd leave that up to you -- there is a booster set of parapetted wall sections available separately to make the walls longer.

Usual great job by John Bear Ross and a very handsome paintup by the talented Martin of the blog Fire Broadside.

Available here, thanks for looking!

The starter set (pictured above) costs $39.99.  Expansion wall sections are $10.99 for a four-pack.  

Meanwhile, fans of a current dinosaur-themed series might be interested in CorSec Engineering's latest release:

We have added 15mm Barrier Fence sections to the store. The optional rods are 3" long. They are made from clear acrylic and come unassembled and unpainted. We have written a short tutorial to show how to assemble them.

Future releases will include a gatehouse and corner towers. We are also going to release a 28mm version.


With rods $1.99 per section

Without rods $1.49 per section

The CorSec website also has details of where to source fluorescent colored rods if you want to create a laser barrier - or you can use 1/16" dowel rods if you're protecting your "new Earth" colony from carnivorous wildlife.

With these new releases, there's no reason for your armies to keep fighting in open battlefields!


Wednesday 11 January 2012

The Christmas War - Cimmerian Invaders

In my Christmas War setting, I envisioned the Cimmerians to have access to lower technology levels (but more soldiers) than their Laurentian neighbors.  There are many good lower-tech 15mm ranges available to represent this.  If I was willing to open the wallet and give this game some time, I think my "ideal" choice would be Oddzial Osmy's NVL infantry, which would ride in Combat Wombat's newer Type 563 APCs.  Khurasan's Nova Respublik infantry and APCs would be another great option.

But I've wanted to complete my Rebel Minis Homeguard infantry for quite some time now, and they also have a good low-tech look and feel.  I finished one fireteam of Homeguard in early 2010, wasn't satisfied with the result, and left the rest sitting in the lead pile.  To get them ready for the Christmas War, I knocked out a test mini with a slightly modified paint scheme.

The washes were a bit heavier than intended, but overall I was pleased with the result (especially compared with my 2010 version).   I knocked out 15 more Homeguard in a couple hours.  They are organized into teams of four - believable from most military background viewpoints, and compatible with just about every set of rules in the world.  My basic Cimmerian fire team has three carbines and one rocket launcher:

I also included an assault team - two carbines and two flamethrowers.  These elements are led by a command team - three carbines and a designated marksman.  I included a light conversion - swapping a Homeguard head onto a standard Earthforce Command body.  Not a big stretch, since they are the same basic models.  In hindsight I wish I would have used a more interesting head, like a Micropanzer Veteran. But it gets the job done.

Now how about some support vehicles?  I have a platoon of Rebel Earthforce Wolverine APCs (the dual autocannon version) and a Merka tank set aside for my Homeguard.  But I've been thinking about some mecha warfare games in the future, so why not get a head start?  So I put together a Titan Marines HAMR suit, using the Recon arms and the Support missile launcher.

Every picture I took of it came out either too dark or too light.  The golden appearance on the servos and joints looks far darker in person - those components are Vallejo Gunmetal with Secret Weapon Armor Wash.  The HAMR suit is a good visual match for my Cimmerian infantry, but probably a bit more high-tech than I intend them to be.  Something like the Khurasan Federal DIMOGs or the Kremlin Rising Sun MANITOU probably would have been a better fit, but this will get me through the Christmas War.

This should be enough of a Cimmerian force to run the border-crossing scenario.  I'll add two more fire teams and another HAMR suit for the second battle, and I painted up some Cimmerian Special Forces (Laserburn Imperial Scouts) to include with the third and fourth scenarios.

FUBAR cards for my Cimmerian forces:


Monday 9 January 2012


Tonight, the Dropship logs it's 1,000th flight since I first kicked the tyres, lit the burners and launched off into 15mm space 3 years ago, on 12th January 2009. So the lads very kindly asked me if I wanted to take another spin in the cockpit and enjoy this moment.

Rather than turn this milestone into an excuse for an orgy of congratulatory self-indulgence, I think you'll agree, there's no more fitting tribute to mark Dropship Horizon's 1000th post than to reveal two new 15mm Sci Fi vehicles we can look forward to in the early part of 2012.

I was blown away when Jon at Khurasan showed me the renders for these vehicles. I was transported back thirty years to the fun of my first 15mm Sci Fi games. Playing through the classic Traveller adventures of  Twilight's Peak and Double Adventure 2: Mission on Mithril/Across the Bright Face. These are not just any Sci Fi vehicles but THE ATVs I had in my mind's eye and now they had been brought to life! Then to cap it all, Jon gave me the honour of not only exclusively revealing but also naming these beauties.

So! Ladies, Gentlemen and Tentacley Things, 
let me introduce you to......

The Horizon Explorer A.T.TR.
(All Terrain Tractor)

I chose to call this model the Horizon Explorer because it just seemed to embody what Dropship Horizon is all about - exploring the innumerable worlds of the15mm Sci Fi gaming universe. But of course if you really must go prepared for anything and armed to the teeth....

(All Terrain Military Personnel Carrier)

We'll touch on these models  in more detail with further pics over the week to come.
What started as a way for me to document my own 15mm Sci Fi gaming out loud, the challenges, the ideas rattling round my head, the failed attempts and the successes, morphed into a resource for the 15mm Sci Fi community. A resource that I've been able to turn to myself over the past months and see my passion with fresh eyes.

And it's from that perspective I want to post my thanks to the crew, all top notch guys, who bravely stepped forward to take over the helm. They've supported me through my illness and recovery, done a bloody good job with the blog to boot, and I'm sure will continue to do so going forward!

But, above all, I, we want to thank each and every one of you fellow 15mm Droptroopers who hitches a ride and shares your time with us.  Here's to the next 1,000!

Cheers! Salute! Slainte!

Saturday 7 January 2012

Breaking News

Ground Zero Games

Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 2:52 PM

GZG store is open again!


Hi all at DH, just a heads-up to let you know that the GZG store is back open again, several days earlier than I'd expected! All outstanding orders have been shipped, so we have a clean slate to start the New Year, and all the vouchers are now valid and enabled on the store.

Full details, including how to use your vouchers online, at the Ground Zero Games Webstore


Jon (GZG)

Congratulations, Jon, standby for in-coming.

Friday 6 January 2012

Looking forward to 2012

We don't actually follow the Maya Calendar here on Dropship Horizon so it won't surprise you to learn that we're looking forward to 2012! Inspired by this post on the TMP 15mm sci fi board, below you'll read what some of us are looking forward to and what we hope to achieve over the year.

Matt (The Closet Gamer)
  1. Paint More. Like lots of gamers I always find it hard to find painting time to paint my purchases. I don't think I can paint any faster, and I don't want to reduce the quality of what I paint, so I'd like to have more painting time in 2012 and still have a happy wife and a good job!
  2. Play More. I also don't seem to be able to find a lot of time to actually game so I'd like to do more actual gaming in 2012 - If you're in central Scotland and you're looking for a 15mm sci fi skirmish let me know.
  3. Space Knights! I'm looking forward to Blue Moon's Space Knights. I'm currently obsessed with Blasters and Bulkheads type games so they're my number 1 purchase of 2012.
  4. Pulp Sci fi! Almost every manufacturer seems to have a near-future sci fi force. There are almost too many! So what I'd like to see in 2012 is some more pulp 15mm sci fi forces. How's about some palace guards with blasters? Maybe the release of the film version of John Carter of Mars in 2012 will encourage a manufacturer to produce something...
  5. Growth of the hobby. The fifth thing I'd like to see in 2012 is for the 15mm sci fi hobby to continue to grow steadily with more gamers discovering the this branch of the hobby. If new manufacturers do enter the market, I'd like to see them coming up with new, interesting, ideas for figure ranges rather than simply another near future human force equipped with body armour, personal and more or less conventional infantry support weapons.
Chris (Basement Gaming Bunker)
  1. Linked games and campaigns.  My Blasters & Bulkheads series taught me that I enjoy my games far more when they develop an ongoing story, instead of representing one-off fights.  Hopefully the Christmas War will prove that this can work with full battles as well as skirmishes, and that both types of games can be blended into the same overall conflict.
  2. Universe development.  Running these campaigns, narrative skirmishes, and linked battles should help me to develop my existing gaming worlds, and possibly create a few new ones.  This is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the hobby for me - I think it flexes my creative muscles even more than painting figures or creating terrain.  Speaking of...
  3. Terrain, terrain, terrain.  I'm going to try to diversify the pieces I have my three current boards (desert, snow, red planet), and start a fourth board (urban ruins) this year.  The latter leads me to my next goal...
  4. Mecha battles.  We've seen so many good mecha released in the last two years, and it doesn't seem that pace will slow down in 2012.  While I'm going to keep using some of my Mecha as support vehicles for traditional armies, I would like to try a few 15mm mecha-only games this year.  Something like five Rebel Minis HAMR Suits (or similar) fighting against two or three Ravenstar Thunderfoots or Critical Mass Gruntz Imperators in a ruined city.
  5. Figure conversions.  My experience so far has more or less been limited to swapping heads or kitbashing Matchbox vehicles.  2012 is going to be the year that I learn the basics of sculpting putty!
Kobold (Waystar High Port)
  1. Paint more. Like Matt I'd like more time to paint and complete figures.
  2. Play More. I'd also like more time to actually play games. Both of these can be solved with better time management, so I must set goals and strive to achieve them.
  3. Campaigns. I'm finding that the solo and narrative campaign style of game, such as 5150: New Beginnings, is really inspiring me and is something I can actually see myself getting a chance to play. I like how I get fit it mechanisms over my existing Traveller campaign and experience the best of both worlds. These sort of games may be the niche to aim for in 2012 for games designers and rules writers.
  4. Character miniatures. Characters and civilian figures, both human and alien. I would like to see new releases that catered for the skirmish gamer. I realise that this might be a bit of a pipe dream as the economics are stacked against it, but it might be worth pursuing through pre-sales or figure clubs.
  5. More greens! I would like to see more sculptors trying out their greens through blogs. This seems like a great way of getting input from the public - testing the water - as well as giving manufacturers a pointer as to where public interest is heading.
  1. More aliens! - You can never go wrong with more aliens! More Crusties! More Felids! More Harook! More new alien races too!
  2. More terrain! - Human terrain, alien terrain, and "natural" terrain.
  3. More Space Opera! - Near Future forces are cool, but we need more "Star Wars-esque" minis in 15mm.
  4. More rules sets for Solo-gaming! - A large portion of wargamers(myself included) that work crazy schedules don't always have time to get together with their peers and enjoy a game. I'd like to see more rules sets, like THW's 5150: New Beginnings, that are geared to solo play.
  5. Khurasan Miniatures Cormorant Dropship! - This one is long overdue! 15mm needs a decent dropship miniature, and from what has been hinted about KM's Cormorant Dropship, this will finally provide gamers with a good-sized heavy duty combat dropship.
Eli (I See Lead People)
  1. Sculpting. I really want to pour it on and start cracking some of the mysteries of this art. I've got some work in "the biz" now, but I feel I need to keep expanding and growing still.
  2. More Aliens. I really want to see some new and interesting aliens coming out. Whether they are just improvements in the basic "rubber suit" concept or something more bizarre or different, I think there is still plenty of room for growth here.
  3. Getting Things Done. Really stepping up my painting and building to get things going to a playable level. I've got a lot of projects languishing on their way to playable.
  4. Playing Stuff! I don't play nearly enough games these days.
  5. Convert New Players. There just aren't enough 15mm sci fi players in the area. I plan to fix this buy getting some forces squared away and finding a few solid rules sets.
So readers, what would you like to see or achieve in 2012?

Monday 2 January 2012

Breaking News - GZG webstore reopening delayed

This just lifted wholesale from the Ground Zero Games Webstore front page:
The original plan was for the online store to re-open on the 2nd of January - however owning to various things outside my control (mainly family matters and other Real Life issues) I didn't manage to get as much work stuff done over the Christmas break as I'd hoped, thus I still have a fairly large pile of pre-Christmas orders to cast and pack. I have therefore taken the decision to delay re-opening the store to new orders until I have cleared the existing ones.

So all of you, like me, clutching vouchers from the GZG pre-Christmas sale, will just have to exercise a little patience while Jon digs himself out from under his backlog. The target date for the webstore going back on line is now January 9th, but Jon advises checking the GZG website from time to time for updates.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Jon for all the cool stuff he released in 2011, and wish him every success for 2012.

- David