08 January 2010

Skirmish trays for 15mm Sci-Fi

Good morning all!

My first package from Alternative Armies/15mm.co.uk has arrived. It contained the rulebook for Alien Squad Leader (which, for my 40k followers, is one of the 15mm sci-fi systems this blog is adapting), along with a Laserburn Law Officers value pack. The rulebook and minis will each be covered in separate entries soon, but for now I wanted to focus on assembling and preparing 15mm forces for battle.

For those of you unfamiliar with this scale, there are a variety of ways to use 15mm figures. Skirmish games such as the previously-covered Forge Of War, along with Stargrunt, Fast and Dirty, 5150, and many others call for the use of single-based models, just as one would find in 25mm/28mm games. Here are four of my shiny new Law Officer figs individually-based:

I used simple US pennies as bases for now, but there are a variety of good bases available from most figure suppliers and from Litko Aerosystems.

In any case, these models (once painted) are now three troops and a hound suitable for use in all of the above-mentioned skirmish games. In fact, they will probably be painted similarly to Adeptus Arbites, so I can use them in the 40k universe.

But this basing style doesn't cover every 15mm game available. Two major games in this scale are Alien Squad Leader and Future War Commander (familiar to many Epic players). These games were inspired by GW's Warmaster command and control system, and use "unit stands" of models (similar to Epic).

One of 15mm Sci-Fi's most appealing concepts is the ability to play different games with the same models. But in order to use the same models for both systems, hobbyists have become very creative in their basing methods. My solution to this problem was to build skirmish trays using 1/8" hardboard, some stiff card, and a 3/4" spade bit. Here is a unit of "space police" ready for use in FWC or ASQL:

It isn't pretty, but I was able to make these using only the materials I had on hand. The units stay in place very well now, but I intend to add Litko's 3/4" flex steel "dots" to the troops, and 3/4" magnets into the trays.

My ultimate goal is to have a variety of these bases completed in two or three different textures (enough to cover my eventual model collection). I can then swap out the individual models as needed for games.

Here's an afternoon's worth of work. Nine movement trays, along with the template I used for cutting the holes. The spade bit "walked" a little as I drilled the hardboard, but I think that will actually help create more dynamic poses among the models (just like the 10x40 GW Epic bases).

Have any readers tried other options for multi-use 15mm bases?


  1. Great work there. I look forward to seeing them painted.

  2. Very nice indeed. I'm just beginning to get interested in 15mm SF, too, so I shall follow along with you. Where did you get the 1/8" hardboard?

  3. "Isn't pretty"? I don't agree. I think it is a great job!


  4. more info in the hardboard please!