29 September 2010

Some 15mm Paint Tests

As a follow-up post to the 15mm showcase, I thought I'd share some of the color schemes I've come up with for my other in-progress forces.
First up we have some Felids from Khurasan Miniatures. In my Conquest System setting, these miniatures are playing the part of one of the first races mankind made contact with outside of Earth, and has enjoyed a long-lasting peaceful relationship. However, the Sulians have been in space longer than mankind, and are very aware of some of the greater threats to the galaxy. While the current Earth government has turned a deaf ear, many of the Conquest System's independent corporations are listening to their warnings.

Their paint scheme is pretty basic... Citadel Foundation Astronomican Grey uniforms with Mordian Blue armor segments. The heads and tails are painted with Macharius Solar Orange and Deneb Stone "spots."
I've been going back and forth on the idea of playing 40k in 15mm ever since I crossed over to the "one true scale." The decision I made is that I should make a few small 40k-like forces... nothing that absolutely MUST be 40k, but something that would do in a pinch. The Universalist infantry from Blue Moon Manufacturing are something that can be an Eldar proxy without actually needing to be Eldar. I went with a basic Biel-tan scheme to match my Epic Eldar force. While I haven't decided how to use these forces in the Conquest System yet, they are still useful for one-off games.
After a year in the scale, I finally added some of the 15mm models that caught my eye in the first place. Critical Mass Games' Arc Fleet Light Infantry are one of my favorite lines in any scale, let alone 15mm. I decided to use a 40k Dark Angels color scheme for my Arc Fleet troops. The light infantry, other than the helmets, appear to be wearing what 40k would call carapace armor. So I used my DA scout paint scheme - bleached bone and DA green. A question to everyone - is the left or the right a better tabletop mini? The Critical Mass models are absolutely covered in detail. The left example simply uses a wash over most of the Bleached Bone, leaving the details unpainted. I can put these on a table very quickly. On the right model I picked out more of the straps/pouches/armor plates with the DA green. While I think it looks a little better, I'm not convinced it's worth the extra time spent on each model.
I've really struggled to find a scheme I like for the Critical Mass Protolene Khanate miniatures. I knew immediately that these were going to be my Roghan forces for the Conquest System - a race from a snow-covered world that has been hunted nearly to the point of extinction by a vastly superior alien empire. So until the day they arrived, my intention was to paint their heads in a sort of Siberian Husky or Malamute color scheme. But the problem, as I realized when I started to paint, was that there was no convincing way to do snow armor and a snow carnivore body on the same mini. So I chose a brown fairly similar to a grizzly bear for their heads, and a color scheme centered around Fenris Gray for the uniforms. The rifle I repainted four times... black, steel, bronze, and finally white. I'm still not happy with the result for the weapon, but I think the rest of the mini turned out pretty well.

I'm also happy with my snow-world terrain piece, and hope to have an entire table of these in the next few weeks.
To reward myself for finishing so many miniatures over the past few months, I grabbed a pack of Astagar Fighters from Critical Mass Games. These were nothing but a just-for-fun set of minis, but I actually think they will find use in some of the filthy spaceport settings I've developed around the Conquest System. I also think they may be useful in some Space Hulk-style shipboard games, but that will be covered in a later post.

As always, feedback is welcome!


26 September 2010

15mm Army Showcase

A few months back I posted an entry reviewing Rebel Minis' 15mm Titan Marine infantry, with a few pics of the painted results. I thought it would be fun to show how that army is coming together.

One of the things I love most about 15mm sci-fi is the ability to mix and match figures and vehicles from different manufacturers. I went out of my way to accomplish just that with this force. In my own gaming universe (the Conquest System), this army is the corporate military force of the Conquest Development Corporation. CDC forces (usually called Storm Troopers) exist for two reasons... the first is to develop and test CDC weapons technology (which is in turn sold to both Earth and to some alien governments). Their second purpose is to serve as an available military force. Originally these military duties were limited to security for CDC's vast facilities, but eventually this grew into a force that could be purchased when necessary. Earth has found that CDC Storm Troopers accomplish some missions far more quickly than its own military forces, and contracts them when lightning attacks are required.

The force itself, obviously, is centered around Rebel Minis' Titan Marines infantry. One of the minis received a head swap from the Ground Zero Games head sprues. I still need to add some heavy weapons to the mix, but I have enough to play a basic games. I'm also thinking I would like to add some power armor, but I haven't selected the correct miniatures to represent them. Ground Zero Games has some good options, but none really match the Titan Marines' aesthetic.

Speaking of GZG... I used their Cyclops Battlesuits as a mobile recon/strike unit. With the jump packs and weapons load, these are ideal for sabotage missions, direct assaults on protected targets, or supporting infantry in terrain-heavy environments. I also envision these as having the absolute best in battlefield sensors and communications. Anyone who has read the grid warfare section in Tomorrow's War knows exactly what I'm talking about.

For the open battlefield, I wanted an armored force that looked fast, deadly, and advanced. I bought a grav-option Gladius from Old Crow as my first option. I love the appearance, the cleanness of the sculpt, and how well it painted... but I'm not sure it's an aesthetic match for the Cyclops battlesuits or last night's addition (see below). So before I buy an entire armored company from Old Crow, I need to browse through all of the grav tank options once again to make sure there aren't any closer matches.

Since the CDC Storm Troopers are a quick strike force, it makes perfect sense to me that they would utilize dropships as their primary infantry transport. Force XXI used to make my favorite dropship, but he went on hiatus before I could pick any up. I like the Old Crow and GZG units, but neither matched my vision of the CDC forces. So I went back to Rebel Minis and looked in their Earthforce Marines aircraft... they were exactly what i wanted. I think they match the overall aesthetic of the Titan Marines and Cyclops Suits pretty well. I have an army in progress using the Earthforce Marines, but since it is going to be Earth's government forces in my world, I figured it would have a slightly less advanced dropship/gunship option. I think I'll use the Old Crow models with those troops. Though I must admit... Combat Wombat's upcoming ship also looks pretty darn good.

So what's next for this army? I certainly need to buy some heavy weapon infantry and add it along with a Saber Gunship (which I already own but need to paint). And like I said... I want to take one more look around the world at the grav tank options to see if there is a better fit. Assuming there isn't, I'll order two more Gladius tanks in the same configuration I already used, a third with the missile turret, and a fourth with the new support turret option. I may add some Glaive APCs for those missions where a dropship isn't practical. I'm also thinking that I want to add some kind of robot or drone to each infantry squad, but haven't remotely settled on one yet.

I'm open to criticism and suggestions!


19 September 2010

FUBAR Battle Report - Clear the desert!

After an extremely productive weekend of painting and making hills, I decided that t
oday I should play a quick game of FUBAR as a reward. I still haven't finished assembling my 15mm forces to their completion, but that's hardly an excuse not to play, is it?

BACKGROUND - The Copper Moon,
five clicks south of the Bronze Harbor starport

A local ore hauler informed the Bronze Harbor Police Force that a hostile group of alien thugs had been raiding their shipments. A quick flyover by a spy drone revealed that the aliens were hiding out in a few desert shacks just outside of the starport. A few pictures were taken, and it was clear that there were around eighteen of them, all well-armed.

A patrol was quickly dispatched to handle the situation. The patrol sent included one heavy patrol car (armed with three tribarrel autoguns), an assault team (consisting of two shield/baton troops, two baton-armed canine handlers, and two canines) and a support team (consisting of two grenade launchers and two assault rifles). Normally the assault and support teams would be mounted in armored troop carriers, but their commander hadn't requisitioned them yet (I need to place an order with Ground Zero Games!).


The patrol car hit the alien encampment with complete surprise. They found that six of the aliens were patrolling the camp, and opened fire upon them right away. The alien leader then sent a second group of six over the ridge to attempt a crossfire against the invader. They fired, but were unable to damage the patrol car's armor. The alien leader snapped the power claw onto his arm and moved to deal with the situation himself, only to be faced by the assault and support teams.

The battle was quick and brutal. The alien leader engaged the police teams right away, but the canines and power batons, supported by the grenade launchers and assault rifles, were too much. But one dog, his handler, and a riot troop were killed in the assault. One of the alien teams broke away from the patrol car to seek revenge, while the other team killed the three gunners in the patrol car. The police teams tried to stand and fight, but their marksmanship and fighting ability wasn't sufficient against so many aliens. At the end of the melee, four of the aliens were still alive, and both police teams were slaughtered. The damaged and unarmed patrol car limped back to Bronze Harbor to report that the mission had failed.


The more that I look at other rules systems, the more convinced I am that FUBAR is my primary game. This fight took about 30 minutes to play out, but it didn't feel like I was missing any level of detail, nuance of fighting conditions, or make me miss another game system. It was a bit of a fun scenario, one I will definitely run again as I expand these two forces.


14 September 2010

More fun rules part 1 - FUBAR

Greetings all,

After an extremely busy summer, my life has finally calmed enough that I can get back to my wargaming hobby. And it's a great time to do so. There are three rulesets that will be discussed over the next few posts. The first is a new free ruleset by Craig Cartmell (author of Forge of War) - called FUBAR. It's a great system - something of a hybrid between Forge of War and Ganesha Games' products, but with a few wrinkles of his own. FUBAR is a generic system, with many force lists and supplements being developed (including by me). But there are two things you really need to know about it:

1) It is a free download (found here and on the Forge of War Yahoo group)
2) The entire ruleset prints on a single page, as do each of the force supplements

Yes, you read that correctly. You can print off a single page, grab some six-sided dice, a handful of miniatures, and play a wargame. The game plays extremely well with about 4-10 fire teams or vehicles per side. I've played this two different ways so far. One way was a small skirmish using 40k miniatures (two Ork mobs vs about fifteen Space Marines) on a Cityfight table. The second and more common way I've been playing is Ambush Alley and Ganesha Games style... 15mm sci-fi on a 2' by 2', terrain-heavy playfield.

FUBAR uses just five statistics. Troops use three - armor save (if applicable), activation and expertise. Activation is exactly as it sounds... used to determine whether or not a unit can take actions in a game turn. Expertise is used to resolve all types of combat, and some scenario-specific rolls. Weapons also have just two stats - range and fire points. A sample unit might look like this:

Titan Marines (5) Medium Armor (5+ save), Activation 3+, Expertise 4+
4xAssault Rifles (Range 24", 2FP) and 1xMissile Launcher (Range 32", 3FP)

At the start of the turn, the Titan Marine player wins initiative. He rolls a D6 to activate his unit, and the result is 5. Since Titan Marines activate on a 3+, the roll is successful. The Titan Marines are 20" away from a unit of Scourge (3+ armor save). The Titan Marines can fire a total 11FP at this range, so they roll 11 dice against their Expertise. Every roll of 4+ (their expertise) is a success, and the Scourge will be hit unless they pass their armor saves. That's the basics of FUBAR combat. There are many more effects, such as suppression, cover effects, and some special rules for the Scourge's automated nature.

But those are the basics. Simple and fun. The entire point of FUBAR.