02 February 2011

Ground Zero Games - Light Track Conversions

This week's Snowpocalypse left me unable to leave my home today.  While most of my day was spent removing 30" of snow from my driveway, I did manage to assemble a few of my new Ground Zero Games light tracked vehicles (all found on this page).  I assembled four tanks, a command APC, and two tank destroyers.  They went together pretty quickly, though the tanks and destroyers need just a bit of filing on the sides to fit the tracks to the bodies.

Once I had them together, I decided it was time to finally decide what infantry I would match them to.  I had narrowed it down to two options: Rebel Minis Earthforce (which represent the United Star Alliance military in my Conquest System universe), or Micropanzer SAS (the corporate security forces of the Aurora Group).  I went with the Aurora Group (Micropanzer), but realized something.  The barrels on the light tank (see here) and the destroyer (see here) are very conventional round tubes.  The Micropanzer infantry have fantastically sculpted weapons, but they all have a rectangular cross-section.  I wanted to do convert the vehicle weapons somehow to tie them together.  After a few odd thoughts of sculpting my own from plastic rectangle stock I had an interesting idea... and soon I was digging through my Warhammer 40k cabinet looking for some sprues of Tau Fire Warriors that I acquired years ago in an eBay lot.  I clipped off a Tau Pulse Carbine, filed it down a bit, and here is the result:

This was exactly the look I wanted!  After quickly converting the other three light tanks, I decided I should make one stand out as a command vehicle.  Looking through my other bits, I grabbed one of the GZG turret bodies and fashioned a cupola weapon from a spare Khurasan power armor gun.  It's just a bit on the large side, but again, it's a pretty darn good match:

I added another one of the Khurasan guns to the Chariot (which is otherwise unarmed).

Then I moved on to the tank destroyers.  This time I used two of the longer Pulse Rifles instead of the carbines, which I think worked extremely well.

However, I wasn't 100% sold on the gun shield.  When I converted the second destroyer I removed the gunshield and added another bit off the Tau frame.  Still haven't decided which I prefer, so readers, I'll leave this one up to you!

What did I learn from all of this?  One of the only things I've missed about Warhammer 40k since my switch to 15mm Sci-Fi is the ease of customizing the minis.  Now that I've done infantry headswaps and vehicle conversions there is no part of me that believes 15mm is limited to off-the-shelf designs.

Please give me your thoughts on the tank destroyer - gunshield or no gunshield?  I have two more to build!



  1. Very cool conversion. I would say no to the gun shield, but add some extra bits or armor to the sides of the turret. Perhaps divide the shield up the middle, and add them as side armor panels instead? Just a suggestion. Great use of those barrel bits, again...


  2. Hi!

    Cracking conversions!

    I would agree with the removal of the gunshield as it just looks a bit wrong (not to mention top heavy). The one without looks considerably more high tech and advanced with a more pleasing profile.

    All the best!

  3. Thank you, gentlemen! JBR, I think you might have the right idea. I'm going to rummage back through the old bits boxes and see what I can find for small bits of high-tech armor panels. Mongoose Starship Troopers kneepads, maybe...


  4. Those are very sweet little tanks. I only have the small grav ones at the moment and one larger Artillery model. These are next on my list - Salute here I come!

  5. Actually I was wondering what you thought about crew for these? Do you consider them as one or two man crew tanks or perhaps "autonomous"?

  6. PS. No Gunshield - Looks cool without! :)

  7. I like the work you did on those tanks!

  8. Thanks, Lobo!

    Inrepose - I've been struggling with that myself. I'm going to say either one or two man tanks. The main body of this tank is so short (top to bottom) that it is difficult to imagine a driver could squeeze into it. The turret is a bit more reasonable, but these vehicles really wouldn't be out of scale as 1/144 MBTs.

    I think I may try to fabricate some kind of plasticard "bottoms" for these tanks just to give them some more depth, and make it seem that the driver (in front of the turret) could actually button up inside.

    I think I would say that the driver can operate the vehicle himself (firing and elevating the main gun, but only turning the entire tank instead of just the turret). If a second crew member is available, the turret has full range of motion and is more accurate when firing on the move.

    Does Gruntz have a mechanic that uses vehicle crews?


  9. Chris, Gruntz has vehicle crews which have a skill to cover the use of vehicle weapons. They can also bail out and/or be replaced by other Gruntz (who would have a lower skill than a trained crew member). I separated the normal ranged Shoot and Assault statistics from a "Skill" statistic which covers things like use of weapons or other automated systems. You could also have robotic/autonomous systems running an AI routine like or drones.