Thursday 27 September 2012

New Pangalactic Legion from Rebel Minis

Well, look what Rebel Minis has released!

Painted by Jeff Racel
Those of you who follow PF's sculpting blog probably remember his Federation series of figures. It was a brilliant little concept (if not 100% original!) - an army of different humanoid aliens based around this core battle uniform:

He then created tons of different head sprues to create the different aliens. Here is just one of many that were shown on his blog:

PF showed us a few of the finished troopers, but the Federation posts eventually tapered off. Well, now we know what happened to them. :) Two different packs are now available on the Rebel Minis website. Here is the Pangalactic Legion Command and Heavy Weapons pack, brought to life by Jeff Racel's paintbrush:

This pack would make a wonderful team of mercenaries or starport thugs in its own right. But if you want to play on a bit larger scale, here's the Pangalactic Legion Infantry Pack (which comes with 3 each of these eight sculpts):

I must say, the production result of these figures is quite impressive. While they lack the variety of truly alien physiques found in Khurasan's Jasmine Throne Foreign Battalions, the Pangalactic Legion looks like a group of tough, gritty warriors. And if you don't think there's enough variety in the Legion, Rebel Mike hinted that he would release a set of alien head sprues if there was enough demand...

For more pictures, check out Jeff Racel's gallery: link.


Tuesday 25 September 2012

Clear Horizon (Part Two) - Where it's going

Hey folks,

As promised here is the second part of Harold's awesome guest article on the Shadowrun/5150 project he's been featuring on his Clear Horizon blog. In this installment, he goes into his choice of paint schemes and terrain. I would say the detail he's put into his terrain is every bit as responsible for the brilliant appearance of the project as the vehicles and miniatures.

Paint Schemes
Of course, a pile of unpainted lead (pewter and plastic) will not stand.  I need colors.  I actually had stumbled upon my first (yes, I changed my mind and repainted a bunch!) paint scheme.  I needed a wounded “security personnel” marker and had used a NAC casualty marker for the job.  I had painted it in Catachan Green and a foundation yellow color and really warmed up to it.  I later switched out the yellow for a more “realistic” and, I think, better looking dark gray.

The combat cars and tanks ended up with a digital camo scheme.  I actually try to expand my skill set every project I do.  I had gotten out my airbrush and figured out how to make the masking and all the steps to get a really cool digital camo scheme going.  I was amazed how straight-forward it was and even put up a tutorial.  I’ve seen several blogs where people reference that they’ve used that tutorial to good effect. That’s pretty cool.

Since I was trying to emulate the 160th SOAR I painted the VTOLs in a matte black, using a matte varnish to give it a little bit of texture.  Also, lots of decals!  To make sure that the vehicles didn’t look bare it was important to put little doodads and decals to give it some depth.  I also managed to stumble my way into making my own decals, which worked out pretty well and I put my custom logo on most of the vehicles..

With my Shadowrun/5150 project I had started building a city that I could use to run my games in.  I had always admired the World Works Games products, but never felt that I had enough patience to actually put paper models together.  Especially since they were designed for 28mm, although I knew that I could scale them down.  Then I happened to stumble upon the Streets of Legend.  It wasn’t very expensive and the only “putting together” that I would have to do is to cut out tiles.  I ended up purchasing and downloading the PDF and set about building up my city.

I actually put up another quick tutorial since I found that cork tiles worked the best for me in terms of storage and use.  I simply printed out the city street tiles at the normal size (since it worked just fine for me scale-wise) and then super-glued them onto the cork tiles.  Pretty soon I had a slightly larger than 2x2 board.

I used the excellent apartment buildings from Old Crow games (small and large) and the “Russian” apartment buildings from MBA that I got on sale a while back.  The MBA buildings are really cool since they split in two and become two ruined pieces. I added a HO scale lighted sign, printed out little posters and collect bits and pieces from HO scenery sets to really add some detail.

I also picked up the crates and boxes set from GZG (which work GREAT as cover) and the various furniture and dumpster sets from Khurasan miniatures.  I feel having all the details really add a lot, and you don’t need a whole lot to make a visual impact.

I also use the GZG colony set (which is very versatile) as little shanties.  My other board is a frontier planet colony and the GZG shacks work great there too.  I use cheap vinyl floor tiles that are 1’ x 1’ as a quick desert landscape.

I haven’t had a chance to game on these boards yet.  Honestly, the building, painting and collecting is the major part of the fun for me.  I always build a force rules-wise first though since that gives me a good guideline when collecting, although the “rule of cool” always wins!    I am currently waiting for 1.1v of the Gruntz rules to be released (soon!) and then we’ll start playing some games!

I hope I’ve shown the basics of how my project came together.  I am always on the lookout for cool things to paint and cool systems to play.  I like having a continuous narrative and believable consistency.

In the end it truly is about having a good time and being creative and that is what has kept me in the hobby for more than 22 years now.  And it’s amazing how much every day the breadth of the hobby grows, even with computer games and all the other distractions of modern life, more and more people go back to the lead miniature and paintbrush.

I'd like to thank Harold for taking the time to write this wonderful article for us and for sharing his vision. I hope you all have enjoyed reading through his thoughts and perhaps you fill find yourself inspired by something you saw or read here.

Take care,


Monday 24 September 2012

Power Armor, Sales, and Gremlins in the Machines!

Nobody can say that Brigade Models doesn't listen to their customers!

These 6mm power armor figures were sculpted by Germy and released by Brigade in 2010:

These figures made a big splash in the 6mm world. And they were noticed by our crowd, too - Brigade received numerous requests for 15mm versions. They sent the 6mm versions to veteran sculptor Martin Baker (of GZG and Rebel Minis fame, among others), along with their ideas to increase the detail and weapons variety. The finished items are now available:

SF15-005 - Power Armor (pack of 6)

SF15-005A  - Power Armour Heavy Weapons (pack of 6)
Tony Francis was kind enough to send a sample pack, but the review will have to wait until they arrive. But from the pictures, it's obvious that these are going to be very welcome figures. They have a heavier/bulkier stature than power armor from Critical Mass, GZG, and Khurasan. They could be used in lower tech settings, zero-gee environments, or even as power armor for humanoid aliens. I'm thinking of using them with my Micropanzer SAS in Berets. 

*     *     *     *     * 

And speaking of Brigade Models:

It’s not really summer anymore (even though the weather is as good as it’s been all year !), so it seems a bit of a misnomer, but we’re announcing Brigade Summer Sale, Part #4: Surface Action.

What this means is that for the next 9 days, running from midnight tonight until midnight on the 30th, you can get 15% off both our 6mm and 15mm SF ranges – vehicles, figures and buildings (the only thing not covered are rulebooks and the Xmarx buildings range).

I'm extremely tempted to use this sale to pick up some of the Germy-sculpted Cimexian Bugs. They're wonderfully cheesy creatures - been tempted to get some of these for some time now!

 *     *     *     *     * 

So... ever have one of those months where every single thing in the house decides to malfunction?

The hard drive on my faithful Asus Eee PC 1000H failed about three months ago. Since then, I've been limping by on my work laptop, looking for a decent deal on a new machine. I finally discovered the Acer Outlet Store on eBay, where they sell their own refurbished items (I'm a big fan of open box/refurbished stuff - same warranty for a cheaper price). Lo and behold, there's a nice Aspire One AO722 - 11.6" screen, 4gb RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, for $245. Figuring I'd never find a better deal than that, I buy it. It comes in a few days later, and I start migrating my music, movies, and wargame files over to the new machine.

Meanwhile, we decided to reactivate cable TV at home. We originally canceled it back in January, running off of Netflix, Hulu, and our own considerable DVD collection. But between college football (my other great passion outside of science fiction) starting up, my wife discovering some new shows that she likes, and my daughter outgrowing her Nick Jr/PBS Kids collection, it seemed like a good time to turn it back on. So I stopped by the cable company to get a digital adapter for my old analog big-screen downstairs, and set up the cable outlet for a high-def cable box in the living room. All the tech had to do was stop by, hook up the cable box, and go hide in a parking lot somewhere until his next service call.

All was great for the first night. The second night, I got a bit frustrated with the tangle of AV cables and power cords behind the downstairs TV...

So I unhooked those cables, set everything aside, and set up a few shelves next to the TV to organize all the devices. Then it was the simple matter of getting verything cleaned everything up and hooked back together. 

That's when all hell broke loose.

Once reconnected, I couldn't get a cable signal to my high-speed modem or either of my TV cable boxes. I went through the very annoying troubleshooting motions of unhooking all cables and splitters, hooking each device up to the cable at the house foundation just to get a signal, then watching them not work again after putting the splitter back in. Eventually I troubleshooted to my back yard. What I found defied all powers of common sense and logic. No less than four short 6' runs of coaxial cable, hooked together with basic couplers, were between the incoming line of my property to the incoming port at my foundation wall. I removed that entire mess and replaced it with a single cable. Miracle of miracles, everything worked. I was even able to split off a fourth device, an ancient 19" tube TV in the spare room. 

So, after two days of troubleshooting, I sat down with my shiny new laptop to catch up with the outside world.

Squeal. Pop. Blown hard drive. ON MY BRAND NEW COMPUTER? No way - had to be something else. So I popped the hard drive out and connected it to my desktop to check... yep, it was dead. Since it was purchased through eBay, I couldn't simply file a warranty claim... they now mandate a 14-day return policy on all items. I put the blown drive back in, repackaged the laptop, and took it to UPS.

So, farewell new laptop; we barely got to know each other. Back to the work laptop... wait, what do you mean unable to connect to preferred network? The wireless router is right across the room! I ask my wife if she's having issues... not with her phone, tablet, or laptop. Well, what about my phone? Oh, hey, it has a software update... I'll troubleshoot a bit more after it downloads. 

Hey, phones, that's a good idea. I have my wife turn on the wireless tethering on her phone, just to see if my work laptop is malfunctioning. It's not - it connects right away. My phone is back up. Same test - wireless tethering through the phone. No problem there. Okay, reboot the work laptop, the home router, and even the cable modem just for fun. Nope, still won't connect, even though it will connect with every other device in the house, and every other device can connect to the router!

By this point, I was too tired to fight anymore. I broke out the old G-speed router from storage, and daisy-chained it to the not-malfunctioning malfunctioning N-speed router. It works now. Not great, but good enough until I get a better personal laptop solution.

Wait, why was my phone now saying the battery was dead? Oh, no big deal. I just forgot to shut off the wireless tethering - that must have zapped the battery. So I recharged it and turned it back on. Four hours later... battery critically low. What the hell was in that new software update? 

At this point, I went and hid in a small room with nothing more than a candle and a book. If I touched anything else that week, my clothes dryer would probably have started making ice cubes.


Tuesday 18 September 2012

Clear Horizon (Part One) - Where It Came From

Attention dropship passengers!

Today we bring you something a little different.

For a while now, I've been following the posts on the excellent blog "Clear Horizon"done by a gent named Harold and featuring the build up, terrain, miniatures and paint work of he and his gaming buddy as they build a 15mm scifi version of the Shadowrun universe. It's really impressive and the level of detail and the tight, focused vision it represents is very inspiring, so much so that I asked Harold if he would be kind enough to author a guest feature describing where it came from, how it came together and what he hopes to achieve with it.

This isn't intended to replace his blog posts, but really was more of an attempt to gather together the thoughts and creative input and commentary of someone who is really doing a bang-up job of show-casing what the 15mm scifi hobby is all about. What I got from him was a detailed, even illustrated piece of work that was so big, I'll be splitting it into two parts, just to do it justice.

Sooooo, anyhow, let's do this thing!


I’ve been gaming since I was 8 years old.  I remember it well; I was in the B.Dalton book store in the mall and saw the boxed Battletech set. I wanted that set for months until my mother finally bought it for me.  I poured over everything in the box set, the miniatures, the rules, the backgrounds, and I found every piece of fiction to expand the Battletech universe for me that I could.

I eventually decided the starter miniatures were not nearly enough, and I had a new goal.  I called a couple of hobby stores in my area until I found one, The Game Zone, which carried Battletech miniatures. I ended up spending much of my time there, gaming, painting, etc.

I have such fond memories that while I haven’t played Battletech in years, I still had to get the 25th anniversary set when it was released. 

While I don’t game Battletech, I’m quite active as these days my scale of choice is 15mm, although I have the odd 10mm, 6mm, and, yes, even 28mm sitting around.  This hobby has provided much enjoyment and brought me some of my best friends and even at times employment (I was a “Red shirt” at GW for several summers and then a “Black shirt” for a year).  My most recent project has been to build up some armies and an area to fight on for the Gruntz rule set. I hope you find this article informative and not too rambling as I’ll be going over my thought processes, what I felt I did right, and what I ended up re-doing because I couldn’t make up my mind!

Rule Selection
Why did I choose Gruntz?  Well, to be fair it wasn’t the first choice I had.  I had been playing Strange Aeons, Mordheim, and 5150.  I had also picked up the new hard-cover Tomorrow’s War which I enjoy reading through, but I found a little too dense for me.

I generally tend to gravitate towards “Necromunda”-type games. I like being able to identify closely with the character my miniatures represent.  I had even spent some time painting up quite a few character pieces in 15mm for a Shadowrun/5150 game I was gearing up for. 

Gruntz is a great match for me for a couple of reasons:  It’s a fairly straightforward system with a little bit of “crunch” to it and units are easy to understand and feel unique without contradictory special rules and confusion.

The unit builders are great since anything that catches my eye can easily be translated via profile cards into a working unit that I can field.  I really like that.  Of course I can always use proxies and such for other systems, but I like how much depth there are in the “unit builders”.

So, I went from small-scale gang skirmish to needing a larger force. I wanted artillery strikes and tanks!

The bug had bitten me!

I think it was 12 feet tall and had acid for blood.  Oh, and it had about 600 buddies. I needed an army!

Miniature Selection
Through my “Shiny object” syndrome I actually had quite a few military forces in 15mm. Federal Army forces from Khurasan Miniatures, NAC from Ground Zero Games, Arc Fleet from Critical Mass Games, and several other (including some really cool aliens from Micropanzer).  My regular opponent decided to go with heavy vac-suited Khurasan miniatures exterminators and to focus on mechs.  This gave me a counterpoint to work with.

I had painted up my Arc fleet troopers in a bright yellow already, so I decided to go for something new.  The NAC had always seemed really cool to me, but I didn’t really have a clear vision of what colors to paint them and I just had a couple of squads.

Only troops does not an army make!  I needed vehicles.  I had started reading Hammer’s Slammers (still getting through the second volume, good stuff!) and needed some GEV (ground-effect-vehicles) (or Hover tanks for dolts like me who had no idea what GEV stood for) tanks.  I placed an order and picked up some more rifle squads, some command troops and a couple of the Gauntlet open-topped vehicles as “combat cars”.  I also picked up two Merka tanks from Rebel Minis since I needed some bigger firepower to take out my opponents growing mech-based force.

Then the unexpected happened.  Khurasan Miniatures did a limited super-secret release of a VTOL called the Kestrel.  I ordered two of them. 

This transformed my mechanized cityfighting force into a quick-strike air mobile contingent.  I modeled them after the 160th SOAR.   I just recently added two converted Halo Micro-Ops Falcons into the fray.  The Kestrels are my “Littlebirds” and the Falcons are the “Blackhawks.”


So, that conclude the first installment of the Clear Horizon feature. I think you can already see that this project, like any good miniatures project, is part inspiration, part shopping around to find the right stuff, and a big part of it is just serendipity!

Tune in soon for part two where we'll get into paint schemes and terrain choices.

Thanks Harold and thanks to all you DH passengers. We hope you all enjoyed this, one of our first guest features, and look forward to bringing you more of this sort in the future.


Saturday 15 September 2012

New Deals From GZG

Jon informed me this morning of these new force deals now available through GZG. In addition, he's running a two day introductory offer on these deals.

Here's the skinny...

GZG EXTRA NEWS UPDATE Saturday 15th September:

NOW AVAILABLE ON THE STORE - we've put together three different 15mm INFANTRY STARTER PACK DEALS, for the NAC (New Anglian), NI (New
Israeli) and "CRUSTIES" forces - each special deal pack gives you a good force of infantry and light support weapons, at a significant discount compared with the regular list prices of the separate packs.
Each starter deal will give you enough troops to form the core of a Company-level force, to which you can then add any vehicles or other items of your choice if you wish. You can find these special packs through the links in the LATEST PRODUCTS box on the store front page, or on the store pages devoted to each particular force.

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER: buy any of these new starter deal packs THIS WEEKEND (actually up until Midnight - UK time - on Monday 17th
Sept.) and we will include some EXTRA FREE PACKS of relevant items (to our choice) with your order!


Details of the 3 available deals:


Pack contents: 2 packs SG15-A07 Riflemen, 2 packs SG15-A08 Riflemen,
1 pack SG15-A09 SAW gunners, 1 pack SG15-A10 Command, 1 pack SG15-A11 Snipers and GMS, 1 pack SG15-A12 support weapons, 1 pack SG15-A14 Mortar teams, 1 pack SG15-A16 Grenade Launcher teams, 2 packs V15-75A Scout Trikes, 1 x V15-65A Gun Mule.
Total of 64 infantry, 4 teams of heavy weapons and crew, 4 scout trikes and riders, 1 six-wheel Mini-Mule with driver and gunner.

Total value at individual list prices = £43.50 - special pack price just £36.00 inc. VAT (£30.00 ex-VAT for non-EU customers).



Pack contents: 2 packs SG15-Z06 Riflemen, 2 packs SG15-Z07 Riflemen,
1 pack SG15-Z08 SAW gunners, 1 pack SG15-Z09 Command, 1 pack SG15-Z10 Snipers and GMS, 1 pack SG15-Z12 support weapons, 1 pack SG15-Z11 Gauss MG teams, 1 pack SG15-Z14 Mortar teams, 1 pack SG15-Z13 Plasma Gun teams, 2 packs V15-78A Grav Bikes.
Total of 64 infantry, 6 teams of heavy weapons and crew, 4 grav bikes and riders.

Total value at individual list prices = £42.00 - special pack price just £36.00 inc. VAT (£30.00 ex-VAT for non-EU customers).



Pack contents: 2 packs SG15-X09 Crusties with rifles, 2 packs
SG15-X10 Crusties with rifles, 1 pack SG15-X11 Support Weapons, 1 pack SG15-X12 Mortar teams, 1 pack SG15-X13 Heavy Arc Gun teams, 2 packs SG15-X14 Heavy (armoured) infantry, 1 pack SG15-X15 Heavy infantry support, 2 packs V15-91A Crusty Combat Walkers.
Total of 40 light infantry, 18 heavy (armoured) infantry, 4 teams of heavy weapons and crew, 4 Combat Walkers.

Total value at individual list prices = £45.00 - special pack price 

Friday 14 September 2012

Top Gun Tanks Are Back

You may have heard that these awesome tanks are back on the block. We here at Dropship Horizon thought that these beautiful rigs were worth showing off, but here's what their creator had to say about it...

I just wanted to let you know that our Topgun 15mm Grav Armor range is available for sale again.
All vehicles are available for sale individually, and the most popular ones are as well in discounted Platoon (4 vehicles) and Company Packs (12 – 16 vehicles).

We currently have 13 different vehicles for sale (26, if you consider both the models with the smooth hulls, and the ones with the circular surface detailing on them), and we plan to release others soon.

Type 7 Scout/Recon Grav Vehicle                                     
Type 8 AA Pt. Defense/Light Mortar Vehicle                           
Type 9 Light Grav Tank                                                     
Type 10 Medium Grav Tank Hunter – beam/cannon armed   
Type 11 Medium Grav Tank                                            
Type 12 Grav Tank Hunter – Missile Armed Vehicle - Available Soon
Type 13 Heavy Grav Tank – long, plasma cannon                
Type 13 MkII Hvy Grav Tank – short-barreled gun - New Model, Avail. Now
Type 14 Heavy Tank Hunter                                                  
Type 16 Urban Assault/Fire Support Vehicle - short, hvy wpn
Type 21 Grav APC                                                    
Type 22 Grav Infantry Fighting Vehicle                           
Type 23 Grav Ambulance/Ammo Carrier/HQ Vehicle      
Type 24 Heavy Grav Mortar Vehicle

As mentioned, we offer two hull/turret variants (as applicable), for all of the above vehicles – smooth hulled, and AADS models.

Those with the round surface detailing on their hulls are our AADS models, which is an acronym for the Active Armor Defense System Ó installed in them, providing maximum protection against all enemy anti-armor threats, while also offering a standoff offensive capability against many targets, especially enemy infantry.

Our smooth-hulled models have sleek, clean lines, as you can see in some of our photos.  The hulls and turrets of these are cast out of titanium, in the vacuum of space, so they have no panel lines, or seams to weaken their armored structures.  The rotomolded construction process is similar to that used by 20th and 21st Century plastic kayak manufacturers, on Earth, and developed centuries ago.  However, it is considerably stronger, since the molten titanium is then quickly cooled in the vacuum of space, and repeatedly reheated and cooled many times, until an almost impervious, titanium-crystalline structure is created, similar to how samurai swords were tempered.

For a MS Word catalog of our products, which provide photos of most of our vehicles, pricing info, suggested TO&Es for your Grav Armored units, etc., just send an e-mail inquiry to the following address:

I will be happy to provide copies of our catalog, answer any questions people may have about our products, or to assist with processing orders.