26 December 2011

Christmas at the Bunker

Merry belated Christmas, everyone!

I was lucky enough to get a few hobby-related goodies for Christmas this year.  My wife, a sci-horror writer and Giger fan, ordered a few reinforcements to my Khurasan Space Demon forces.  She also bought me a pack each Sepulvedan Control Battalion Riflethings and Heavy Weaponsthings - which I've been wanting to paint ever since I saw them.

Santa also brought us an IKEA gift card.   We picked up a bunch of small things for the house, including a couple of these JANSJO Clamp Spotlights.

I've been having major problems taking detailed pictures of my minis.  For some reason my digital camera (by which I mean my HTC Incredible smartphone) has a hard time balancing a white background under CFL bulbs.  But for some reason, it seems to do well with the LEDs in the new lamps:

That's the same piece of bright white cardstock in the background, so this is definitely an improvement.  I was planning to spend most of my vacation time this week getting my Christmas War campaign started (especially since I hammered out my campaign background).  But now that I have these new lamps, I may also take some time to update my close-up gallery.

Did anyone else get any hobby-related goodness this year?


22 December 2011

"You are two UGLY mother..."

I had all kinds of plans to start working on my Critical Mass Games Kaamados Dominion figures this week.  But, of course, I was one paint color short.  In the meantime, I decided it was a good time to paint my Khurasan Miniatures Vacation Aliens.   

"If it bleeds, we can kill it.
It only took a few hours to do both.  They definitely look better in the flesh... I tried a dozen camera settings and this was the best that came out.  The paint scheme:

  1. Vallejo Heavy Khaki on the exposed skin
  2. Secret Weapon Green-Black Wash over the Heavy Khaki
  3. P3 Cryx Bane Base over boots, straps, armor bits, weapons, and helmets.
  4. Vallejo Gunmetal drybrushed over most of the Cryx Bane.  I was only going to use this on the armor and helmet, but it ended up working okay on all of the straps and pouches.  I remember the medical kit in the first movie had some pretty crude elements to it.  I figured using metal strapping instead of fabric webs would be equally crude.
  5. Vallejo Blood Red on the eyes, and the targeting lens on the left mini.  
  6. Secret Weapon Armor Wash over the shoulder weapons (just to give them a slightly different tone).
  7. Wonder Wash Black over the entire mini.
Now I need to figure out exactly how to use these in my own settings.  I've never been a fan of replaying scenarios from movies or shows.  Instead, I think these will be some type of bounty hunting team, or possibly master-race enslavers for something like GZG Crusties.  


20 December 2011

Reinforcements for the Cult of the Crimson Robe

Sorry about the hiatus here, folks... sometimes I neglect this blog when I'm writing for Dropship Horizon.  :)  Still, I've managed to work on a few of my own forces.  I painted these 15mm.Co.Uk HOF Cultists back in October.

These were pretty much demo pieces when I painted them.  I wanted to see how they would look alongside this Kremlin Miniatures Commander Vortan figure.

I had originally painted Vortan to use in a 15mm Inquisitorial Retinue for In the Emperor's Name... this was a way to get some additional mileage out of the same figure.  Obviously the figures work great together, as the basis for some kind of fanatical cult force.  Also, 15mm.Co.Uk added some heavy weapon figures to their Cultists range.  There was no longer any doubt in my mind that this cult could become a full army.

I still had seven Cultists from my first pack.  I painted four more of them this week. Bear with me on the pictures - I'm trying out a new photo box and haven't worked out all the kinks.

These figures are nice and quick to paint.  I'll have to pick up another pack of the troopers, a pack of heavy weapons, and then I should be good to go for cult infantry.  But what about vehicles?  I don't have much left unused in my collection outside of a couple of Old Crow Gecko pickups and a Goanna transport.  The Gecko would be a great technical truck... I even have some GZG freestanding autocannons to mount in the back of the truck.

And the gunner?  Well, there's a reason I didn't paint those last three Cultist troopers.  Inspired by Matt's conversion article on Dropship Horizon, I'm going to try to turn a couple of these Cultist troopers into standing gunners.  It should be as simple as cutting and filing out the arms and gun, filing down the thick cast base on the figure, and making a couple of new arms out of grey stuff.  I don't have much experience with sculpting putty, and this looks like a very forgiving project to get my feet wet.  

On the other hand... is this the direction I want to take my cultists?  The end result would be pretty similar to the Desert Radicals that I've already been playing with.

And, because wealth seems to flow to people of questionable sanity, many of the fanatical cults we see in the real world have pretty substantial funding.  Maybe something along the lines of the Combat Wombat Pitbull, GZG Bulldog, or the Khurasan Atlas would better serve this cult.  Either way, I now have enough figures to run them in a small game of ItEN or Blasters & Bulkheads.  I'll figure out the vehicles after I finish some more infantry.


29 November 2011

15mm Urban Ruins - Proxie Models Test Building

After the last post, I decided to put together the one Proxie Models building I have right now, and worry about the rest of my Urban Table project later.  This is pretty much the same technique I used long ago with my GW Cities Of Death buildings.

Raw materials: one Proxie Models ruined building set, a 6" x 6" square of 1/8" MDF hardboard, and a length of styrene corner stock I found in a drawer.  The Proxie walls don't really have finished edges, so I thought the styrene would be a good option for building corners.  It also gives me a way to quickly change building styles with the Proxie sprues... I'll just use square corners on some, rounded corners on others.

I used an X-Acto hobby-sized miter box and saw to cut the corners and went to work.  Assembly was pretty simple - Tacky Glue held everything together and set quickly.  Gorilla Glue would have been another option.

Then I decided the building needed a floor of some kind.  I cut 1" x 1" squares from an old blister card.  I try to save small bits of packaging that are on really nice glossy stock - they come in handy.  I meant to go back and score these so there would be fore tiles per piece, but I got lazy.  I did cut a few tiles up by the most damaged portion of the building, just to give a broken effect:

And for the rubble - plain old sand that I liberated from a local park.  I piled it up along the foundation, with a few thicker piles over the damaged sections.  It's not a super realistic effect, especially if you go back and look at pictures of WWII Stalingrad and the like.  But realistic rubble would pretty much fill the building - not useful for maneuvering figures!  I think this is a good compromise between realistic rubble and plain ruins sticking out of the ground.

I think this is good enough for my test piece.  I might mix in some larger bits of rubble next time, but this will be a decent start for my war-torn cityscape.  I'll get it painted as soon as there's another day warm enough to spray primer onto it.


23 November 2011

A 15mm Urban Battlefield for Mecha Games?

There are half-finished Mecha sitting on my shelf, taunting me.

I have three Rebel Minis Titan HAMR suits, an Earthforce suit, and a Critical Mass Games ARC Fleet Walker, all waiting to be assembled and painted.  Other projects keep taking me away from them.  But I can't help but wonder how much fun a mecha-centric game would be in 15mm.  

I've gone back and forth on how many vehicles I want to use in my 15mm FUBAR games.  While I have a few Old Crow and GZG tanks finished, I've simply found them to be impractical on 2' x 2' tables.  There's enough room to maneuver just a one or two small vehicles, not enough to run fully mechanized platoons with MBT support on each side.  That's left me playing infantry-oriented games.  Such a waste - there are too many good 15mm vehicles to limit my options.

Mecha might be the answer for those smaller games.  They tend to move around the same speeds and maneuver the same way as infantry, but make louder and more satisfying explosions in sci-fi settings.  But what's the best terrain to give mecha some cover and concealment?  My desert and snow tables currently lack terrain features taller than 2".  Even my Red Planet table only has a few spires and buildings at that height.  And besides... when you picture a mecha battle, do you envision an open desert valley?  No.  You picture two armored giants fighting it out in a cityscape.

It's time for a new table.

This will be another 2' x 2' battlefield - which I still think is the perfect size for solo 15mm games.  I'm thinking this one will be covered with a mix of fine light gray, dark gray, and dark brown flock.  The buildings  will be mounted onto tiles - those tiles will use very fine flock to achieve a poured-concrete appearance.  And the buildings themselves?  I have my eyes on Proxie Models' Gothic Building:

If there's one aspect of Warhammer 40,000 I sometimes miss - it's the sight of a proper Cityfight table.  Ken's Gothic Building is about as close as we can get in 15mm (other than a few HO-scale churches that could be chopped up).  And the price is unbeatable - two sprues for $4.  I already have one of his brick buildings, so I know the quality is good and they can easily be chopped up and modified.  So if I include that brick building, here's what I can make with $32 worth of Gothic buildings:

So my shopping list for this project will be:

  • 2' x 2' x 1/2" sanded plywood for the table itself
  • 2' x 2' x 1/4" MDF hardboard for the building bases 
  • Extra fine grey flock for the building bases
  • Fine brown flock to mix with my existing grays for the table itself.
  • Cheap gray primer for the tabletop
  • 8x Proxie Models Gothic Buildings.
This entire set should only cost around $50-$60 to make, and could easily be finished in a week.  I can always go back and add fancier buildings, street furniture, and other random items later.  But this would be enough to start - and give me an excuse to add some bigger mecha to my collection:

From Ravenstar Studios - love that MK3!
Gruntz Imperator
I think this is just the setup I'll need to run small 15mm mecha games... maybe three HAMR suits on one side, with one or two bigger Imperators or Thunderfoots (er, Thunderfeet?) on the other.  

Chris K.

16 November 2011

In The Emperor's Name - 15mm Enemies of Man retinue

This week has been all about finishing old projects.  First I completed that old Hot Wheels Sentry Tank conversion, and now I've finally finished painting my Enemies Of Man retinue for In the Emperor's Name.

I've been using these minis for months, ever since playtesting of ItEN began at the Forge of War development group.  But, unlike the rest of my collection, I had been using these unpainted.  Now that Blasters & Bulkheads is out, I decided it was time to finish them and use them the right way.

These minis are, of course, old Laserburn Redemptionists from 15mm.Co.Uk.  I think these sculpts have really stood the test of time - they have a great Space Opera feel to them.  And to all you 28mm gamers who think 15mm doesn't work for small skirmish - get back to me when your entire force costs £2.60 and can be painted in one evening. :) 

I'll admit the paint job isn't one of my best - all seven minis were finished in one setting.  But this isn't one of my primary gaming forces, so I was willing to sacrifice a precision to get them onto the table.  I used white Armory primer, Coat D'Arms Lupin Gray (long ago known as Citadel Space Wolves Gray) for the carapace armor, P3 Beaten Purple (looks lighter in person than in the photo) on the power armor and cloaks, Vallejo gold for detail work, and Vallejo heavy grey (actually a green-gray) for the weapons.  Then I gave the each mini a coat of Wonder Wash Black for some quick shading, finished the bases with my urban/asphalt blend, and called it a night. 

Here are the cards I've been using for ItEN (updated with the new photos).  I've tried everything from large roster sheets to tablet-screen reference pages now, and I've found that individual "playing cards" are what works best for me.

Now I feel like I can properly use these minis.  I'll run a few ItEN scenarios to give them a proper christening, then I'll start looking at how to use them in Blasters & Bulkheads.  


12 November 2011

15mm Sentry Tank - a Hot Wheels kitbash

I painted these Rebel Minis Earth Force Marines a few months back:

I decided to play up the similarity of their armor and equipment to Cobra Vipers a bit.  I wasn't intending to play G.I.Joe in 15mm... just thought it was fun color scheme.  I also kitbashed a couple of Hot Wheels (a Space Van and an Assault Crawler) to make this not-Cobra HISS Tank:

Other than that, I painted a Laserburn character in their color scheme and moved on to other projects.  For some reason, I never got around to using these guys in any games.  

While working on another project this week, I noticed a spare Critical Mass ARC Walker chin turret.  Bingo - just the weapon I needed to finish my Sentry Tank.  I clipped off the little connector post, found a small steel washer to use for the turret ring, and broke out the paintbrush:

I'd still like to add some kind of identification badge or unit marking.  But I think this is turning into a nice Space Opera army... a commander, this vehicle, and around 20 infantry would be great for a Forge of War or USE ME force.  And that Laserburn character will make a fine Baron of an outlying Imperial system.  He can't afford to equip his personal army with the fine grav armor like his wealthier peers, but he can still protect his own citizens and fulfill the Emperor's levy if called to war.  


03 November 2011

Could it be? An inexpensive source of 15mm buildings?

GameCraft Miniatures recently launched a range of laser-cut MDF buildings.  These are designed for 15mm modern warfare - other than a few large western ruins, this growing range consists of middle-eastern and central-Asian houses, schools, etc.  It doesn't appear to be anything that the historical/modern crowd hasn't seen before - except they are far cheaper, and the MDF is very easy to modify.  For the price of 2 or 3 JR Miniatures resin buildings, one could make an entire city from these GameCraft kits.

They reminded me of the CNC Scenery Australia stuff I bought back in my 40K days.  I had nothing but good experiences with those items, other than the time it took to cut and sand the building pieces.  GameCraft says they do all the cutting on these, so that would greatly cut down the build time.  My initial reaction to these was "hey, that's great for the modern gamers.  Now we'll just have to wait and see if they release any sci-fi buildings."  I thought this because, other than making old-school adobe Space Ork structures, I didn't see much use for these products.

Today's release of their Afghan-style hovels convinced me to take another look.  Here's a few shots of what they have (shamelessly stolen from their webstore):

Afghan Hovel - $3.50

Afghan Hovel - $4.50
Nice, simple block buildings.  Wouldn't these be perfect candidates for some GZG or The Scene building fixtures?  Or even some bits from the IMEX Hexagon or Platformer sets?  A few interesting hatches, windows, vents, and rooftop machines/sensors/radar dishes, and I might have perfectly usable sci-fi structures.  I think it would be pretty simple to create a full settlement - $50 worth of these and other bits should cover my usual 2x2 tables.  The results would be fairly permanent structures - great for a research station, military installation, or even buildings around a starport.  GZG Shanties or Battleworks Studios Startown Slums could be placed around the outskirts of these buildings, if I want a varied look.

But instead of trying a full settlement, maybe I should just start small.  The middle-eastern portion of this range also offers some interesting items.  What has really caught my eye is the Walled Compound models:
Walled Compound - $12.00

Adding a few bits to this would create a great little structure.  While this could obviously be used for my ex-The Scene Space Orks, it might be a good outpost for my Desert Raider skirmish force:

Or maybe a compound for my growing force of Cultists.

I see myself trying out a few of these items in the near future.  My question to you - what approaches have you seen in "futurizing" modern structures for gaming?  I'm always happy to steal others' ideas!


29 October 2011

Not a bad week...

In terms of painting my minis, this has been one of the most productive weeks I can remember!

Over the weekend I painted a 5-man squad of Mad Robot's excellent TMC Jump Troopers.  I started with a single mini, just to get the paint scheme figured out.  I used that test mini to take some comparison shots, as well as post the review for the whole pack on Dropship Horizon.  I was pleased with the paint scheme, but I also realized it was going to take longer than usual to finish entire units of the jump troopers.  After I got the basecoat on the remaining four "ground" poses, I needed a break from infantry.

Looking at my shelf, I noticed some nice resin desert buildings from The Scene, still stacked up and unpainted.  So I grabbed a small building and tried an experimental, complex, and resource-intensive paint scheme.  Here's all of the many steps:
  • Step 1.  Paint the mini with Rustoleum Textured Spray.
That's it.  No primer, no details, no sealing.  And guess what?  It looks fine on my desert table.

That was enough for Saturday's painting.  On Sunday I painted four more The Scene buildings and finished my Mad Robot Jump Troopers.  

I then laid out my desert table for a skirmish game (see the earlier pic).  But no brilliant scenarios came to mind.  I flipped through my old Rogue Trader rulebook for ideas, and then decided to solicit some from the TMP 15mm crowd.  Here's that thread... some great ideas from the group!  

The scenario ideas led me to take a look at my collection of 15mm civilians and other small forces.  Some of those scenarios would benefit from having tons of civilians on the game table.  So I painted a Ground Zero Games hovertruck that had been sitting on my shelf... then I went on to complete an Oddzial Osmy journalism team.  

But what about some raiders?  The best candidates were the 15mm.Co.Uk HOF Post-Apocalyptic Warriors that I painted earlier this year.  I added another four warriors to the collection, painted a HOF Trator as the gang leader, and converted a Khurasan Rockjumper by lopping the head off a GZG gunner, adding a HOF Trator head, and mounting a spare Laserburn heavy weapon onto a bit of styrene tube.  I now have a leader, eight warriors with SMG-type weapons, and a "technical" truck to support them.  Not a bad skirmish force at all...  

By now I was bored with painting humans.  So I decided to paint a bunch of my spare Oddzial Osmy Spaceworms... these will be used as some kind of living weapon/invasion drones.    

That gives me some mindless creatures for invader scenarios.  But what about smart aliens coming to my desert colony in order to reclaim lost artifacts?  My Rebel Minis Scourge, the first 15mm army I ever finished, seemed like a good candidate for that type of game.  Just for fun I decided to add a new mini to that army... one of my Heavy Battle Robots from The Scene.

When I was looking through my storage bin this week to find  those HOF Post-Apoc Warriors and Trators, I also noticed a pack of HOF Robed Cultists.  I thought about these last month when I painted my Kremlin Miniatures Comander Vortan, but moved on to other projects.  So I finished the week by painting three Cultists to support my Vortan.  

So there it is... a pretty good variety of skirmish minis, now ready for the battlefield.  Not a bad week of painting!


21 October 2011

Gut Check Battle - Garn vs Astagar

Following my last post, I broke out SpaceJacker's Gut Check! ruleset and gave it a few playtests.  I had forgotten what a fun little rule system it is.  It only took a couple rounds to get the hang of the mechanics once again... I spent the rest of the time tweaking unit stats to come up with something that resembled a balanced scenario.  This was played using Khurasan Garn and Critical Mass Astagar Mercenary Fighters.

Scenario Background.  A Garn patrol ship entered orbit around Rishi 7.  Some ancient buildings were on that planet... something the Garn had always wanted to investigate.  When their scanners detected an Astagar landing ship near the ruins, they knew it was time to stake a permanent claim.  Garn Huntmaster Thauro recognized the landing ship - they were the type usually crewed by five Astagar mercenary fighters (probably seeking some sort of treasure in the ruins).  Thauro was a little disappointed at this finding.  He had been hoping for a proper fight today, and this would amount to little more than an early morning workout.  But it was better than nothing, and he certainly couldn't let the Astagar take anything of value from one of the planets in his patrol zone.  Thauro ordered Hunters Bazgla and Acholk to accompany him down to the surface.

The Astagar were already inside the buildings by the time the Garn arrived.  Astagar Captain Fyip had his henchmen Sizet and Ovidu searching the larger building, while Ixe and his heavy weapon trooper Livitt looked inside the smaller.  When they left their buildings, they were a bit surprised to find a Garn Hunting Party stalking toward them.

Playing The Game.  I didn't use any blips for this scenario - just a straight fight to "break in" these units.  The Astagar were positioned in front of both buildings, while the Garn simply entered from the center of the opposite edge of my board.  I played this on my 2' x 2' Red Planet table including my Critical Mass Kaamados buildings.  The Garn were activated and controlled by me, while the Astagar used SpaceJacker's awesome all-in-one enemy activation counters.

Turn One.  I learned during my earlier playtests that the Garn were pretty easily slaughtered if they split up.  So this time I would keep them together, and simply knock out the Astagar one mini at a time.  Huntmaster Thauro began the game by using an EVADE action to move into cover (rock formations along the right side of the table).  The first enemy activation counter was for Livitt - the Astagar armed with the heavy gun.  He used a FOCUS FIRE action to give Bazgla a Shock counter.  Using the reaction rules, Bazgla scored an Epic Pass on his Gut Check and returned fire.  He hit Livitt for two Shock counters - enough to take the heavy weapon Astagar out of action.  Both Garn hunters joined their Huntmaster in the EVADE action, while Ovidu failed to activate and Sizet took an EVADE to slither up the hill on the left side of the table.  Ixe fired at the Garn but his shots were absorbed by their shields.  The turn concluded with Captain Fyip using a RUSH action to get into battle with the wounded Bazgla. Each took a shock counter from that fight.

Turn Two.  The turn began with Ovidu, the Astagar with the power gauntlets, using a RUSH action to attack Garn Huntmaster Thauro.  He took down the Huntmaster with a Messy Kill - forcing Bazgla and Acholk to take Gut Checks.  They failed and retreated 2".  The Astagar Captain used a FOCUS FIRE to stop the fleeing Garn, but his his was absorbed by Bazgla's shield.  Bazgla passed a Gut Check for taking fire... I could either Ambush (charge the captain) or Fire.  He fired, and all three shots missed completely.  Acholk used a FOCUS FIRE action to take down the Astagar assault trooper.  He scored a MESSY KILL.  The Astagar captain was within 4" of the kill and was forced to take a Gut Check, but he passed and did not retreat.  The wounded Bazgla removed his Shock Counter at the end of this turn, but the Astagar Captain did not.

Turn Three.  Captain Fyip used a FOCUS FIRE against Bazgla, scoring another two Shock Counters.  Bazgla failed the ensuing Gut Check, so there was no retaliation.  Acholk used a RUSH action to assault Captain Fyip, forcing him to give ground.  Nobody else managed to activate during this turn... Captain Fyip removed his Shock counter, while Bazgla kept both of his.  Things were not looking well for the Garn!

Turn Four.  Garn Acholk used an ADVANCE action to get into cover. He fired on Captain Fyip, scoring a MESSY KILL.  The nearby Astagar fighter failed his Gut Check, and was Choked for the rest of the turn. Astagar Sizet, still in cover at the opposite hill, failed yet another activation.  Bazgla managed to activate even with two Shock Counters... he took a FOCUS FIRE action against the choked Astagar fighter Ixe.  The dice weren't kind to Ixe... he received four Shock counters, and was taken out of action.  In one turn, the fight had completely turned against the Astagar.

More dead snakes than Springfield Whacking Day...
Turn Five.  Across the table, Sizet finally passed an activation!  He RUSHed into assault with Acholk.  That assault ended with Sizet giving ground.  Acholk then used a FOCUS FIRE to give Sizet a Shock and a Choke counter.  Bazgla didn't pass his activation, but was able to remove both of his Shock counters at the end of that turn.  

Turn Six.  Sizet, the last surviving Astagar, fell to FOCUS FIRE from Bazgla.  The alien buildings were now clear of the invading Astagar treasure seekers, but the Garn had paid a terrible price with the loss of Huntmaster Thauro.

Analysis.  I had to tweak the Astagar stats for a few games, but I achieved a pretty good level of balance.  This game really felt like it was decided purely by the dice rolls - after turn three I thought it was going to be another overwhelming Astagar victory.  But the Garn refused to give up!  Now I want to play a variant of Scenario One from the Gut Check rules... I'll run the Garn hunting party again, next time against several small blips of humans or Crusties.  But this made for a very fun game, even with a total of eight minis on the table.


08 October 2011

"Corporal... did you bring the Garn repellant?"

I've been experimenting quite a bit with washes lately... using different ones over bare metal and solid basecoats to create interesting (and fast) paint schemes.  Mostly I've been working with Citadel and b, but I finally added some Secret Weapon washes to my mix.  One of my favorites, both in name and as a color, is their Baby Poop.  It produces a great sickly greenish-brownish tint (as would be expected...), and goes on very heavy.  I tried a few experiments with it, and then realized exactly where I could use it in my collection...

So I ran downstairs and grabbed the pack of Khurasan Minis Garn that had been sitting in my drawer for the last year or so.  Until now, I never knew how I wanted to paint them.  But my new wash techniques seemed like they should be perfect for this type of mini.  Here's the results:

It was a pretty simple paint scheme.  I started with white primer, then two coats of Secret Weapon Baby Poop over the entire mini.  Then I picked out the eyes with drops of Vallejo Blood Red and the weapons/energy packs/backpack shields with Vallejo Gunmetal.  I used two different colors on the belts, straps, and boots - P3 Underbelly Blue with Secret Weapon Blue Wash on the hunt master, and P3 Cryx Bane Highlight with Secret Weapon Light Black Wash on the two hunters.  I finished the minis by putting Secret Weapon Drying Blood wash over the silver back shields, a final coat of Wonder Wash Black over the entire mini,  and finished the bases.

I really like the way they turned out.  The maroon or green schemes seen in the Khurasan website pics and on SpaceJacker's blog are very nice, but just a bit cartoonish for my taste.  The Baby Poop (stop giggling!) Wash gives them a flesh tone right out of a dinosaur movie.

So... what to do with only three Garn?  I've been playing quite a bit of In the Emperor's Name lately, and three Garn could be a tough little retinue.  But I decided to play around with Gut Check instead.  It's a game I really enjoyed playing last year, but haven't looked at it since we started development of ItEN.  This seems like a nice time to try it again.

Here's the rules I came up with for the Garn... they should be able to handle quite a few inferior enemy minis. I'm going to try to sneak in a game or two this weekend.

Chris K.

12 September 2011

Another 15mm army in one weekend

Based on the success of my last effort (see http://basementgamingbunker.blogspot.com/2011/06/complete-15mm-army-in-one-weekend.html), I decided to have another go at a one-weekend force.  And once gain, I am very pleased with the results.

Eureka Miniatures released the Ventaurans through their 300 club last month, and I was lucky enough to be in on the pre-orders.  If you haven't seen much about these minis yet, my colleague David B. reviewed them on Dropship Horizon (link).  But once I had the minis in hand, I realized that I didn't quite know what to do with them.  They are very detailed, but I typically prefer simple color schemes.  

Then I remembered the 300-second Halo Spartan method (link).  

Just like the Sons of Thunder project, I decided to create a 100-point Alien Squad Leader force.  This time, I loosely based it on the Alien Imperial list.  These minis screamed "superior energy weapons" and "aiming devices" rather than plain infantry.  The paint job was very simple - two coats of Citadel Leviathan Purple wash, Vallejo Gold helmet lenses, Vallejo Heavy Warmgrey weapons and backpacks, Model Master Euro Gray on the bases.  I then based them two per stand (1-1/4" fender washers again), and flocked them with a new "gravel/ash" blend.

But what support options could I use with these minis?  I looked at several spare vehicles I had lying around, but none seemed to match the Ventaurans in technology level.  Then I noticed a couple packs of GZG New Israeli Jetbikes that I was going to use in another project.  I think the tech level is perfect, and the body armor is pretty compatible with the Ventaurans.  I may swap the New Israeli heads with Ventaurans someday, but even now they look fine in the same force. 

So here's what I came up with for an army.  It follows the Alien Imperial list, but doesn't hold to the required units.
  • 4x Imperial Soldiers (1 as command stand)
  • 2x Imperial Heavy Weapon Squads
  • 4x Imperial Recon Light Vehicles (1 as command stand)
I look forward to using them against my Sons Of Thunder (Human Imperial) in the near future.  Alien Squad Leader is one of my favorite rulesets, but I haven't been able to properly use it with my single-based armies. Now I have no excuses!


28 August 2011

Basing, basing, basing...

It's been pointed out to me that the color scheme for my Conquest Development Center Storm Troopers army (Titan Marines with Old Crow vehicles - gallery here) would look great on Mars-type environments. My first 15mm terrain was a desert table, so it never occurred to me to use anything but desert sand on their bases!

But now that I have a proper Red Planet terrain set (link), I thought it was time to take another look at how my CDC infantry are based. I've also switched from Citadel to Vallejo and P3 paints since the last time I painted these figures, so I wanted to figure out a revised palette. So I grabbed an unpainted Titan Marine, found a penny in the couch cushions, and went to work. It turns out... you guys were right:

Red Planet flock looks far better with this color scheme. The change from Citadel Mechrite Red to Vallejo Bloody Red with a Maroon Wonder Wash Ink also made a huge difference. I think this is going to lead to a bit of a change in my Conquest System setting's background... now CDC will be based on a planet with red soil instead of a desert world.

Their vehicles also look pretty good on the Red Planet terrain:

So... now I need to figure out the best way to remove the sand from the old figures' bases. :)


23 August 2011

Paint Test and Army Design - Micropanzer Aliens

Like most gamers, I have a pretty large pile of unpainted minis. A good chunk of that pile consists of Micropanzer Krystrial aliens. I had been waiting to figure out a paint scheme that would let me get them painted quickly, but still look good on the battlefield. Here's my first attempt:

Paint steps for the Raivaui Handler:
  1. White Armory Spray undercoat
  2. P3 Underbelly Blue basecoat
  3. Vallejo Heavy Grey details (weapon, back plate)
  4. Vallejo Gunmetal whips
  5. Wonder Wash Deep Sea over the Underbelly Blue
  6. Wonder Wash Dirty Dark Brown over the entire mini
  7. P3 Bloodstone on the base, flock with my Red Planet blend, seal with white glue + water
Paint steps for the Vaethaka Hounds:
  1. Model Master Guards Red undercoat
  2. Vallejo Heavy Grey armor plates
  3. P3 Menoth White Base horns and teeth
  4. Wonder Wash Dirty Dark Brown over the entire mini
  5. P3 Bloodstone on the base, flock with my Red Planet blend, seal with white glue + water
It only took me a couple of hours to do the test minis. A playable army should be doable in a couple of evenings. Then I just need to spend a little time on the Overlord and get them onto the table! Here's my thought for a force organization:
  • One Command Unit - 1 Krystrial Overlord, 1 Raivaui with Banner, 1 Raivaui Handler, 2 Vaethaka Hounds
  • Three Battle Units - 1 Raivaui Leader with Halberd, 4 Raivaui with swords and blasters
  • Three Hound Units - 1 Raivaui Handler, Four Vaethaka Hounds
This should give me another good "horde" army for my 2' x 2' battlefields.