Wednesday 29 February 2012

PF Da Man!

Image swiped from Brigade Models websiteWe are fans of PF, that French Master of the Putty Arts, here on the Dropship and so it is with great pleasure that we can pass on the news that Brigade Models has just released of a pack of Alien Civilians and a pack of Alien Creatures sculpted by PF and previewed some months back on his blog.

And meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Rebel Mike announced on his blog the imminent release of heaps of neat stuff (like more Kurgen, Yay! and a huge artillery piece by John Bear Ross) including the Vott and the Manth - also by PF.

2012 is picking up where 2011 left off, and is shaping up to be an excellent year for 15mm Science Fiction.

- David

Sunday 26 February 2012

15mm Not-Invid Invasion - Concept To Battlefield

I've made some progress on my 15mm Sci Fi interpretation of the Invid Invasion storyline.  Most of it is planning and shopping lists, but I do have a few figures selected and ready for early games.


This will closely match the series that inspired my games.  I plan to make a small (2' x 2' or 2' x 3') table with some kind of dead grass/scrub appearance - this will represent most of the North American interior.  I envision most of the farmland to be long gone, and wind/acid rain erosion has begun to cut away the hills and forests.  Basic styrofoam hills can be added to this tabletop - flocked with a dead grass color, and with random tufts of taller grasses and rocks scattered about.  A muddy river would also be a good addition to this terrain set.

Buildings will be a fun mix of styles.  Ruined urban battlefields certainly aren't out of the question, and are easily represented by my growing collection of Proxie Models goodies.  The few humans that are still free are probably hiding out away from the cities, forming refugee camps out of whatever they can find.  Once again, I already have the right models - GZG Shanties and Battle Works Studios' Startown Slums.  The only buildings that will take a bit of thought are the Dominion's structures.

The biggest difference between my setting and the original series - why did the aliens invade?  What are they looking for?  It was the Flower Of Life in the original Robotech story - a plant that was the basis of the Protoculture power source.  I'm going to change the story a bit here.  Instead of a flower, the Dominion has invaded Earth to harvest some mysterious crystals that appeared after the previous war.  I've had my eye on these Gale Force Nine crystal battlefield sets for awhile now - one set of these will give me enough crystals for a few different setups.


This wasn't a tough choice.  I want to play an assortment of small games in this setting, maybe 10-25 figures and a vehicle or two per side.  The setting itself will be a blasted, post-invasion Earth, with some alien elements introduced to our ecosystem.  USE ME UM007 Post Apocalyptic, reviewed here, is the perfect ruleset for this setting.  It gives plenty of room to customize figures and vehicles along with some rules for hostile environments.

The Dominion Occupiers

I've decided to go with Critical Mass Games' Kaamados Dominion as the alien invaders.  I'm simply calling them the Dominion for now - no reason to start completely from scratch.  

The rank-and-file troopers of the Dominion will be the Vivipara figures.  These are numerous but tough, and used for all manner of basic military roles.  In scenario terms, these are the figures most likely to be needed for routine patrols, leading attacks upon human survivor camps, and supervising human workers at the crystal mines.  Here's what I came up with for game stats:

These Dominion Warriors will be led by more powerful Battlesuits.  The Kaamados Draco Aganath Imperator will fill this role.  I'll loosely follow the original storyline with these.  Warriors who have proven their worth to their masters may be mentally and physically "upgraded" to wear the battlesuits.  

Those figures will handle most of my games.  I might need something a bit larger for special scenarios.  Ravenstar Studios' Ripper and Slasher drones would be great super-heavy support for the Kaamados figures.  Another possibility is the Mecha Arachnid from Blight Wheel Miniatures.

Earth Expeditionary Forces

In the Invid Invasion series, we see that the Robotech Expeditionary Force makes several (unsuccessful) attempts to recapture the Earth.  Since a 15mm game on a 2x2 table isn't going to benefit from 8" tall transforming jet mecha, I'm scaling my own Expeditionary force back a little bit.  The basic light infantry will be a combination of simple field-capped troopers.  I painted an RAFM Planetary Militia figure as a demo, but the GZG Colonial Militia will provide a better assortment of poses and weapons. 

These basic infantry are augmented by armored jet-pack warriors - those receive the best training and equipment.  I finally have a use for my Blue Moon Orion Republic figures!

Both types of troopers will be supported by Brigade Models Eurofed hover tanks and transports.  There are some good mecha options if I want to pursue that route instead - my Rebel Minis Earthforce HAMR suits are already painted as a fairly close match.  ArtCrime Productions' Assault Valkyries also have a fitting appearance, and might be a better size for this type of game.

Human Resistance

It won't be tough to find a wide variety of human resistance fighters and liberated workers.  GZG Armed Colonists and Ravagers, RAFM Guerillas, Rebel Minis Post Apoc Survivalists... the list goes on.  I'm going to hold off making permanent cards for them for now.  Some interesting characters might develop after my first few games... I can just use the basic downloadable force roster until then. 

Throw Some Dice

I can play a few early-invasion scenarios using figures and terrain that are already finished.  And when the weather clears up a bit more, I'll do another one of my weekend terrain projects to get the scrubland table and some scatter pieces built.  I'll keep posting updates as this setting progresses.

And a Bonus!

The unit cards that I've shown for USE ME, FUBAR, and Blasters & Bulkheads were all made using Microsoft PowerPoint.  I know Omer Golan already shared his Paint.Net version - and if you're comfortable with graphics programs, you should definitely use that one.  But I don't know a layer from a lasso tool.  So I work with what I can, and my cards seem to be well received..  So - I share them with you:

This is a blank version of the above USE ME cards.  The cards are 2.5"x3.5", and the pages are US Letter size.  If you have any basic knowledge of PowerPoint (or OpenOffice.Org Impress), you should have no problem altering the text, adding pictures, changing the background to a cool camo pattern, or whatever else you need to do.  Enjoy!


Saturday 25 February 2012

New Releases From The Scene

The Scene has decided to deluge use with a bunch of fun stuff this month and there is something for just about anyone.

First off are some new alien offerings, The Karlocks. The Karlocks are a strange race of alien/machine hybrids that bring a rather ghastly new look to your table. Gaunt and predatory, these aliens are geared up for charging and rending, not standing and shooting. As you can see, the Karlocks are nice and big but not so much as to be out of scale. The Karlocks come five (5) to a pack.

Next up are three more Rough Riders to add to their Wasteland Warriors range. Rough Rider 006, 007, 0016, and 0021 all offer an assortment of distopian future bikers that will be right at home in any post-apocalyptic future.

If all of this wasn't cool enough there are also some great new scenic offerings in this batch of releases. Not just one but an entire assortment of garbage skips (dumpsters as I call 'em). They come in a variety of filled and empty models and are available in both 15mm and 20mm scale.

And then there are the body bags. Good for casualty markers or as scenery in your zombie apocalypse games. I figure they would also be great for dressing up scifi games that have that need for an element of macabre horror or eerie mystery.

Finishing off the long list, (I said it was a deluge, didn't I?) of new releases are some oldies but definitely goodies. Back from at long last are these awesome Space Trooper Jet Bikes. Available in a variety of configurations, these jet bikes are great as human or alien troops.

An amazing bunch of offerings from The Scene making February a month of serious goodies.

Take care,


Friday 24 February 2012

Interior Planning

I'm in Gantt hell and need a reprieve......

Remember on Monday I blogged Gamecraft's excellent new Starship Interior system? Of course you do! One of the small touches that really elevates this product in my eyes is the pack of Starship Interior Planning Tiles (Space028). Lots of tiny little tiles with which to plan the starship interiors that you are going to build and just for $5.

But hang on! Not only can you plan your labyrinthine spaceship with these tiles, - why not use them as 'intelligence' markers. You don't have to buy miles of ship's corridors - just buy enough to have satisfy the gaming requirements for the odd corridor/room for greeblies to pop out of and plenty of corners for cover and angles for crossfire. As you race to the control room, retreat to the airlock or fight your way to the escape capsules, you can simply leapfrog your starship corridor and room sections. Use the mini planning tiles to mark your route in case you have to back track.

You know the funny thing? In HALO, Mass Effect etc you fight along corridors - some are blocked, some rooms or doors don't open and the designers simply don't design a whole spaceship. You are led along a visual story path. Yet wargamers seem to love having all the heads and washrooms aboard USSS Toilet Duck laid out in full glory on the tabletop.

To be honest, whilst often spectacular, I find this boring. Retreat Hell! Give me a few corridors and let me fight my way forward Ambush Alley style with my SPARTANS or Colonial Marines.


Tuesday 21 February 2012

More Khurasan Neo-Arabs

More pics of the 15mm Sci Fi Neo-Arabs coming from Khurasan's desert workshops soon.


Khurasan 15mm Neo Arabs

I've been following Donogh's Land War in Asia blog, and enjoying the FoF Afghan scenarios with very much a Sci Fi eye. Hard as I try I just can't bring myself to play Afghan War. There's something about it though that reminds me of  classic Traveller Book 4: Mercenary. You know, you are rolling for your character's military record and get a roll on Police Action. And something else in the back of my mind takes me back to where Dropship began, Jerry Pournelle's Future History. Add to this mix, Gamecraft Miniatures range of Afghan and Middle Eastern compounds in 15mm which I was looking at only yesterday and you have, well I have, a viable 15mm Sci Fi game environment.

But you need a spark..... and that spark came with a photo Jon at Khurasan sent me over the weekend.

 Khurasan Miniatures 15mm Sci Fi Neo-Arabs

15mm Sci Fi/Near Future Neo-Arabs. 20-25 figures in the range apparently. To be released sometime this week, though that's still to be confirmed.

The figures appear to be very similar to Khurasan's Neo-Sovs, no harm there. They are sufficiently different to be opfor whilst similar enough to be allies, confederates or simply mixed in with the Neo-Sovs. Look at today's Russian soldiers in action and you'll see a range of kit. When I first saw the pic I couldn't help but think of near future British troops in Afghanistan and from that I thought aaaahhh Falkenberg's Legion as they might be in theatre.

These new Neo-Arabs have something that appeals to me. They have a good guy, bad guy, regular, militia, commandos, Near Future or Mid-tech far flung dirtball planet future flexibility about them that has my mind racing with ideas and possibilities.

Maybe a far cry from the lithe limbed, shiny carapace, far future figures I currently want to see in 15mm, but sometimes you got to earn your stars in the dust and sand of a forgotten hellhole to get that Police Action ribbon.


Monday 20 February 2012

Gamecraft Miniatures 15mm Spaceship Interior

To my mind Gamecraft Miniatures are leading the way in affordable and well designed buildings for the wargamer. So much so, that it's hard not to let the decision about what period to play next be based solely around their products.

But Gamecraft have surpassed themselves with their latest 15 and 28mm modular Starship Interior system. To say I was blown away is an understatement.

 hallways are 2" wide (50mm) and walls are 1.5" tall (38mm)

Here is a cleverly thought out, well designed MDF corridor system which includes accessories that turn what could easily have been a bland series of mdf walls into a believable, interesting and eyecatching Sci Fi gaming arena.

Space008, 12" long, $13.50

The range is impressive. Three pages worth on the website which includes a wide selection of corridors, intersections, junctions and rooms of different sizes that will keep your imaginating stimulated and gaming interesting.

And of course you are not limited to a starship. The corridors and rooms are of a size sufficient to turn them into a space station, moonbase, prison facility or abandoned research institute.

You don't need much to start either if you don't have much spare cash, or like me, overwhelmened by the sheer choice Gamecraft have made available. If you are a fan of Mass Effect, you'll know that in the course of the wide ranging story arc of the game, the same basic corridor and room shapes appear again and again, but are made interesting with different tactical challenges by having different cargo and machinery located to create an additional maze of walls, cover and firezones. And being modular, you can increase your collection of rooms and corridors to suit your gaming needs and your wallet over time.

Well done Gamecraft. This is a big step forward in 15mm Sci Fi gaming and as such is going to be hard to beat, especially when you take into account range, versatility, ease of construction and not least affordability.


Saturday 18 February 2012

Review - USE ME Post Apocalyptic rules

Here's a detailed look at UM007 Post Apocalyptic - the latest volume in the USE ME series of rules from


Available for £3.50
As with the other volumes in the series, UM007 packs everything you need to play into a 32-page A6 booklet.  It's an ideal size to throw in a small figure case.  I'm planning to make a portable gaming set using this book, a small baggie of dice and markers,  and two small forces with magnetic basing.  All of that would fit in an old VHS video box or a small Really Useful Box.

The book itself is has a great layout and is clearly written.  There are many clever little touches that you don't expect - like a list of recommended genre novels in the introduction.  The core rules are simple and effective.  If you aren't familiar with the USE ME system, it works by abstracting all of your minis (figures and vehicles) into generic "characters" types.  These types are defined by their size, armor level, weapons, and their Elan rating - an abstraction of their training, experience, and technology level.  USE ME claims to work with any miniature you own.  I have yet to prove them wrong!

What really sets this title apart from the rest of the series are the advanced rules.  Author O.G. Joel included a number of advanced rules from other USE ME titles (Flamethrowers, Energy Shields, Snipers) along with a nice variety of unique concepts (Scavenged Vehicles, Gas Weapons).  There is a complete section on psionic abilities for mutants - the powers add just another fun wrinkle to the game.  

My favorite section discusses Toxic Pits.  There are rules for four different types - Acid, Sucker, Exploder, and Mutating pits.  Each of these has unique effects on the battlefield and on certain types of characters.  These rules would also be ideal in more traditional science fiction settings - just imagine these rules are describing strange types of alien flora, or representing different "organs" inside of a living xenos spaceship.

The book continues into the force construction section.  The base point system is identical to UM001 - you purchase characters (infantry, light vehicles, heavy vehicles, etc) by their Elan rating, and then add weapons and special rules to determine their total points value.  UM007 enhances this section by including nine sample army lists, each based around one of the HOF sub-ranges, but easily adapted to figures from other manufacturers.  The book finishes with the post-game sequences, a detailed section on linked games and campaigns, and the guidelines for solo play.


Available for $5.00
15mm.Co.Uk has also made UM007 available as a downloadable file.  The electronic edition is 21 pages on A4 paper and does feature a bit larger font size.  There are two different versions in the electronic download.  One is a printer-friendly black-and-white copy.  It doesn't have any photos or colorful diagrams.  The other version is full-color with a Biohazard symbol watermark on each page, full-color photos and diagrams.  The color version is perfect for iPads and tablets, or even reading on a larger PC monitor.  A third file includes full-color cover pages, just in case you plan to bind your own printed versions.

The contents of the e-book itself are, of course, identical to the printed book. 


The USE ME mechanics are very easy to wrap your brain around.  And the character generation system is intuitive and robust enough that you can play a game with a minimum of preparation time.  The combat mechanics consist of a basic to-hit roll (with a small table of modifiers), and an opposed penetration-vs-defense roll to damage your targets.  You need just a handful of markers to represent winged and struck characters.  A variety of small blast-radius templates is also helpful, but not really necessary.  

My games have been very enjoyable.  They start out fairly light - just a few "winged" results here and there.  The casualty rate seems to increase more and more each turn, and by the end it feels like your troops can't miss.  The solo mechanics work pretty well, too.  It takes a bit of common sense to figure out what some units should or shouldn't do, but there's enough unpredictability to keep things entertaining.


One last thing - and this is relevant to players of any USE ME title.  Omer Golan has created a template to make USE ME character/unit cards using the free Paint.Net graphics program.  Take a look at Omer's blog, The Space Cockroach's Hideout, for more information!


Saturday 11 February 2012

Review - Ravenstar Studios' Land Core Grav Vehicles

Here's a closer look a few more vehicles in the new Ravenstar Studios Land Core range.  While the new Mecha are excellent, and Chris L. has mentioned that he really wants to focus on expanding the Drones - these grav/hover vehicles are just as good as anything produced for 15mm Sci Fi.  Just like the mecha, these grav vehicles are great sculpts (done by hand - no digital sculpting or 3d printing here) and very clean resin casts.

Blazer APC

Comparison: Old Crow Glaive, Ravenstar Blazer, Rebel Wolverine
The Blazer is a simple, sturdy, yet surprisingly elegant APC.  It scales out to be about the same size as most medium/large APCs in my collection - you'll have no problem believing 8-12 troops could be carried and still receive some armored protection.  It includes a turret with a small support weapon.  

It almost reminds me of a grav version of a GW Space Marine Rhino - maybe a good match for Blue Moon Orion Republic infantry?  This would actually help to round out any grav armored company that doesn't have an APC (or, at least, an APC that you want).  I could see these supporting the Rebel Minis Earthforce grav tanks (which never had a matching APC), or the grav variant of the Khurasan Siler.

Or even better, if you don't want to look at other ranges for a matching tank...

Kensky Grav Tank

Comparison: Rebel Merka 5, Ravenstar Kensky
This chunk of armor is packing some SERIOUS firepower.  Chris L. mentioned that he envisions this as a heavy tank destroyer - I'd take it another step and call it the perfect mecha hunter.  Its massive gun will elevate on its hyrdaulic lifts, but the entire vehicle will have to rotate for targeting.  It has a small bubble turret with a light cannon for close defense - and the turret gun can even position itself for anti-aircraft duties.  

But it's not just the gun that makes the Kensky stand out.  It's a big tank.  Very big.  Borderlining the super-heavy class.  I don't own a Khurasan Siler or a Critical Mass Dragamaa for comparison, but I can tell you that this tank is bigger than my Old Crow Hammer's Slammers Blower.

Comparison: Old Crow Hammer's Slammers Blower, Ravenstar Kensky
Alright, so we have some serious pig iron for massed 15mm battles.  But what about small skirmish players?  Well, Ravenstar has us covered too...

Coyote Jeeps

These could be some of the most useful vehicles ever produced for 15mm skirmish games.

The open-top Coyote is an excellent little four-seat skimmer, and the enclosed version is just as nice.  Their skirts makes them usable alongside any existing hover vehicles.  But their sweeping lines and rear-mounted thrusters would make them right at home alongside even the most elegant Star Wars speeders.  These are suitable cruising around anything from a small ramshackle colony to a massive futuristic city, and could be used by any citizen, corporation, gang, or cult.  I painted my first one to match my Laserburn Law Officers, and plan to use a couple more with my Blasters & Bulkheads forces.  

Each open-top Coyote includes a generic resin driver figure.  It is dressed in generic clothing and a billed hat - but could easily be headswapped to match any figures in your collection.  I actually set one aside (so I could use two in one jeep) and substituted the seated Law Officer from the Laserburn range.  It worked just fine, though the Law Officer has a wider stance than the included resin figure.  

I ordered six open-top Coyotes, and each one had a similar flaw (first real flaw I've found in Ravenstar castings).  The front seats all ended up with an air bubble at the top.  It's really not bad - nothing that can't be filled in with a bit of putty or even a scrap of paper with some gap-filling superglue.  But I wouldn't be much of a reviewer if I didn't find SOMETHING to nitpick about. :)  No complaints about the closed-top versions - they were excellent castings.

The Coyotes are just slightly larger than the (two-seat) Old Crow jeeps. They're just about the same size as a Ground Zero Games Light Civilian Hovertruck.  Which means even if you're playing a skirmish on a pizza box-sized table, these are extremely useful vehicles.  Or, if you want to play large battles on an 8' table, a handful of these would look great inside the walls of a large military installation, or you can mix them with other civilian vehicles from Khurasan and 15mm.Co.Uk to make a bustling city or spaceport.

Jackal Grav Truck

This is based on an extended version of the Coyote chassis.  It is fully enclosed, and actually has a smaller windshield than the covered Coyote.  There are access doors on each side.  They also include a very nice optional weapon turret with a HMG/Mark 19-type gun. Chris L. envisioned these as a far-future Humvee, and I think he nailed it.  I painted my first one as a SWAT van, leaving the turret off so I add some kind of riot gas launcher.  

The Jackal is very convincing as thin-skin military vehicle.  It could easily hold 4-6 people with equipment, or be set up as a mobile command center or a fire-support vehicle.  And, just like the Coyote, this would make an ideal civilian speeder.  I plan to mount a small GZG radar dish to my second Jackal - it will be a research vehicle for my GZG colonists.

Final Thoughts

You really can't go wrong with any of these.  Every one of these vehicles has the far-future look that many of us prefer for our game settings.  I'm going to build a mechanized infantry platoon around the Blazer APCs, and the Kensky will provide anti-mech support.  And I'll end up using the Coyotes and Jackals in tons of different military and civilian roles.  Ravenstar Studios has quickly become one of my favorite 1/100 vehicle producers - I look forward to seeing what comes next!  


Friday 10 February 2012

Armies Army Near-future Line available

Miniature from Armies ArmyThe process that leads from pushing putty around to popping lead figures out of moulds can be a lengthy one. And then sometimes it can seem almost ridiculously short.

Earlier this year I spotted a post on TMP by a chap talking about some near-future 15mm Science Fiction figures he was planning on making. It wasn't too long before he posted pictures of some greens, such as the fine fellow above, who is part of this group below:

Whether a helmet, or a mask, there was a slight hint of the Nort troopers sometimes depicted in the the old 2000AD comic strip, Rogue Trooper. There's a real Twilight 2000, near-future, mid-tech vibe about these guys - they are both familiar and unfamiliar - which makes them just that little bit different from other near-future figure lines currently on offer.

At the beginning of February, Keith was able to advise that he had received the first test figures from his first production mould.

And then, at the beginning of this week, Armies Army announced the opening of the webstore for pre-orders. At £3.50 for a pack of ten figures, these seem like very good value for money, and scale well with Khurasan Miniatures and Ground Zero Games figures. Keith already has plans for support weapons and HQ figures to expand the range.

I should point out that all the photos used in this article have been shamelessly swiped from Armies Army's blog. Chris has just received some sample figs though, so once he does his painting-magic-thing, we should be able to show some different angles and give a more comprehensive review. Anyway, check out Armies Army blog and see if these are the near-future figure line you have been looking for. Orders can be placed at the email address available on the blogsite.

- David

Saturday 4 February 2012

Settings from Existing Worlds - Invid Invasion for 15mm?

The previous article about gaming universes inspired some pretty lively discussion.  I'd like to share my own example of adapting a well-established background into a 15mm game setting.

The Dropship Horizon crew has recently been engaged in a pretty good discussion topic - Post Apocalyptic settings.  Most of the discussion has been about small-scale, inexpensive projects - like a few warbands for Mutants & Death Ray Guns.  But what could I use as the basis for a bigger post-apocalyptic game environment?  Well, there’s one setting that I’ve always wanted to game - the Invid Invasion storyline from the Robotech: New Generation series (Genesis Climber MOSPEADA in its original Japanese form).  That particular Palladium game is the only RPG that I remember fondly from my younger days, and Robotech: Invasion is one of few video games in the last decade to hold my attention. 

But let’s face facts...  Harmony Gold is not going to license some tiny company to produce 1/100 miniatures from that IP.  Maybe it’s something to hope for in the distant future.  But hope doesn’t put minis onto my gaming table.  So, building on the Adapting Universes article, here's my way to turn the Invid Invasion storyline into a playable 1/100 Sci Fi setting.

We'll start by stripping away the characters, visuals, aesthetics, and other specific details that we'll never see from a 15mm range, and see what remains.  Here's the basic story elements:
  • A massive global war has just concluded.  Humanity is in the process of rebuilding, but Earth’s governments, militaries, and global infrastructure are devastated.
  • A hivelike alien species invades with the entirety of its population - untold millions of dronesa nd warriors descend upon Earth.  The fragmented states of Earth aren’t able to resist the invasion.  They are taken over, one by one, and most of humanity is either caught or killed during the invasion.
  • The captured humans are enslaved and forced to help the invaders gather and process... something.  This something didn’t appear on Earth, or wasn’t significant enough to merit attention, until mankind’s previous war.  
  • It gradually becomes clear that the something is the reason the aliens invaded Earth.  It is critical to something in their society, either technologically or biologically.  
  • Some humans are still free, and others escape the work fields.  Most of these humans are concerned with their own survival.  But some form together into small groups of freedom fighters - attempting to overthrow the aliens and free humans from the work camps.
  • A handful of these freedom fighters have discovered the location of aliens’ hive center.  They are trying to coordinate an assault - hoping if the hive is overthrown, Earth will be free of the aliens’ grasp.

Well, look at that.  That's not just a list of plot points... it’s a complete game setting.  It has enough depth and detail to play everything from a random encounter to a detailed multi-player campaign.  All that remains is figuring out what miniatures will best portray the factions in that setting.  So, building on these elements:

  • Alien invaders.  There are several good options for a hive race with some technology aspects.  It would be possible to adapt Khurasan Space Demons to this role, but they’re far more “biology” than “technology.”  Or we could go “technology first” with a biological core - ArtCrime Makat or Rebel Scourge would be great choices in this role.  But I’m going with the line that has the closest aesthetic fit to the Invid - Critical Mass’ Kaamados Vivipara, Agaamid, and Draco suits.  
  • Enslaved humans.  There are probably some good fantasy ranges to consider - especially the further this setting’s timeline advances.  But minis as simple as GZG Unarmed Colonists would work perfectly as human workers/objectives for rescue scenarios.
  • Human freedom fighters.  These willl be the most enjoyable forces to create.  We can tap into GZG armed civilians/colonists, GZG Ravagers, Rebel Post-Apoc gangers and survivors, minis in the Khurasan post-apocalyptic range, Laserburn and RAFM characters, HOF Post-Apoc Warriors and Rim Mercenaries... the list goes on and on. 
  • Human military remnants.  We could go as low- or high-tech as we want with these, depending when the previous war took place and how much technology survived.  I can see some of the more "sci-fi: human infantry being useful in this role - GZG NAC, Islamic Federation or OUDF with helmets stand out in my mind.  But you could go with more conventional near-future minis like Rebel Homeguard, Khurasan Nova Respublik or Oddzial Osmy NVL, or even higher-tech like GZG New Israelis, ArtCrime Federals, or Rebel Minis Drop Troopers.
  • Human vehicles.  Thinking back to the original TV series - 4x4 vehicles and motorcycles were the most common human vehicles (especially for civilian freedom fighters).  Lots of good options from GZG and Old Crow in those categories, and a few good items from Rebel, Khurasan, and others.  
  • Mecha. Large flying mecha like the Alpha/Beta are simply not viable at this scale/size of game.  But the most iconic vehicle from that series was definitely the Cyclone.  So, ignoring the motorcycle transformation mode, why not look at mecha/battlesuits in that size?  The GZG Cyclops battlesuit is a pretty good option, but I think the best choice is the ArtCrime Valkyrie range.  They are the perfect size and bulk, and would look great squaring off against the Critical Mass Draco battlesuits.
From this point, it's just a matter of prioritizing armies, selecting figures, and getting units ready to play.  It helps to start small - say one pack of Critical Mass Vivipara infantry with a Draco suit on one side, and a squad of GZG New Israelis for the opponent.  Get those forces assembled and painted and we're ready for a small game of USE ME or Forge Of War.  As time and budget allow, we can expand those initial forces, add more armies, and create special terrain pieces for this new, and mostly original, gaming universe.


Friday 3 February 2012

News & New Releases

Ravenstar Studios is having a 25% off sale through February 5th.  This is a great chance to pick up some mecha, drones, and other unique walkers.  Small skirmish gamers should take a close look at the Coyote and Jackal grav jeeps - they have the perfect look and feel for Blasters & Bulkheads, Traveller, or Laserburn cities and spaceports.  The sale also applies to the starships and 1/60 items, for all you heretics who don't exclusively play 15mm sci-fi.

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Khurasan Miniatures has released three more packs for the popular Sepulvedan Control Battalion infantry.  Riflethings Set Two ($ 4.99) includes eight minis in four poses: two more poses or Riflethings, and the equivalents of SAW and RPG gunners.  The Mortarthings set ($3.99) include two full mortar teams.  Finally we have a pack of Tank Crew Halves ($1.29) - four in two different poses.

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Earlier this week RAFM re-released their 15mm Plasma Grav Tank, now with the hull cast in resin. This has dramatically reduced the price, to a more economical $12.95, and their Grav Tank Platoon deal has also had its price reduced, to $49.95! Classic Traveller fans will remember this tank as the Instellarms Light Grav Tank, originally released by Martian Metals. Even if you aren't a fan of Traveller,  this tank will be a welcome addition to any 15mm sci-fi wargamer's motorpool.

Spartan 117

Thursday 2 February 2012

More Junk Building - Comms Transceiver Objective

I needed a new terrain piece for the second scenario of the Christmas War campaign.  This had to be a key piece of Laurentian military infrastructure - something the invading Cimmerians must destroy to gain a tactical advantage.  Since the Laurentian Tactical Command Network played such a key role in the first scenario, I decided a communications bunker would be the perfect objective for the second.

But what to use?  I already had three modular buildings painted in Laurentian colors (like the checkpoint bunker from the first scenario).  The easiest solution seemed to be adding a large satellite comms dish to one of those buildings.  I've picked up a few assorted building parts from Ground Zero Games and The Scene, but never did grab either of their dishes.  I had a few left over from GZG command vehicles, but they were far too small for my tastes.  Then I remembered Eli's Junk Building article and started rummaging through my drawers.  Here's what I ended up with after experimenting with a few bits:

Quick and dirty, but it got the job done.  Parts used:
  1. The cap from a 20 oz water bottle
  2. Part of a tail rotor from a G.I.Joe Locust helicopter (been in my bits drawer for years)
  3. A small scrap of round plastic sprue
  4. A searchlight and crew hatch from a GW Imperial Vehicle Accessory Sprue.
I ended up gluing a few steel washers into the bottlecap, just to give it some extra weight and stability.  It will be a nice, flexible piece once it's finished. It can stand free on the ground (it would look really nice sitting next to a parked command APC), or I can rest it on top of a building.

Once I get this comms transciever (and two more HAMR suits for my Cimmerians) painted, I'll be able to run the second scenario of the Christmas War.  


Wednesday 1 February 2012

Rebel Minis releases VIPER mecha

Painted by Jeff Racel
Rebel Minis has released their latest 1/100 mecha: the Variable Payload Raiders (nicknamed VIPERs) by their operators).  Sculpted by John Bear Ross, these match up well with the previous HAMR suits in terms of size and armament options.  Three different weapon loadouts are available, along with two different leg poses for the mech itself.  The weapon arms are completely interchangeable with the existing HAMR sprues, which means Rebel now offers a nearly infinite variety of mecha configurations.

Painted by Jeff Racel
Rebel Mike is trying something a little different with the VIPERS.  Instead of all-metal kits like we saw for the previous HAMR suits, or resin-metal hybrids like his armored vehicles, the VIPERS are 100% resin.  This allows Rebel to offer them for only $6.49 each.  Mike has stated that, if this is successful, the HAMR suits will also be revised into an all-resin (and less expensive) product.  An "advancing" pose of the HAMR will be included in the re-release - good news for those of us who like the original design but think they are a bit static.

Many more VIPER configurations and comparison shots can be found on Jeff Racel's Skydrive: link and link

With these latest mecha releases by Rebel Minis, along with recent offerings from Critical Mass Games, Ravenstar Studios, and Micropanzer Wargames Studios, I'm predicting 2012 as the year where 1/100 Mecha-centric warfare will surge in popularity.  I'd love to see a game featuring two platoons of three VIPERS squaring off against a pair of Gruntz Imperators in the ruins of a futuristic city, or a team of HAMR suits defending a crowded spaceport from a Khurasan L-HAC.