29 June 2011

A Complete 15mm Army In One Weekend

A couple weeks ago I posted an idea for my first Red Planet-themed army. The miniatures were ordered soon after, and arrived while I was out of town. So I came home to (among other things) a blister of Rebel Minis Sons Of Thunder and a pack of Blue Moon Walker #19.

While most of my 15mm infantry are single-based on 3/4" fender washers, I decided that multi-basing would be the way to go for my new Red Planet forces. I've been wanting to try Alien Squad Leader, and these guys seem perfectly designed for that sort of game. I decided three Sons Of Thunder looked good on 1-1/4" fender washers.

So it was time for prep work. Nothing fancy here... just filed down the excess mold lines (of which there was very little - great casting on both product lines), and some tiny droplets of superglue to stick them onto craft sticks for painting ease. I also found some round dot stickers (usually used for garage sales and what not) for the bottoms of my washers. This made it very easy to spackle the center holes. I applied the spackle fairly rough... no reason not to since it will add more texture to the bases. At this time I assembled the walkers completely.

It was pretty easy from there. I hit everything with black Armory spray primer, cracked open my chosen P3 paints (Khardic Flesh and Underbelly Blue for the minis, Bloodstone for the bases), and started drybrushing. The infantry are all heavily drybrushed with the Khardic Flesh, with the black exposed between armor/suit plates. Then I drybrushed the weapons, helmet domes, and backpack tanks with the Underbelly Blue. After hitting the entire model with black Wonder Wash, I popped them off of the sticks and glued them to the painted washers.

While the Wonder Wash and glue were drying I basecoated the walkers. These took a few more coats than the infantry to complete. Between coats I had time to flock and seal the infantry bases, using the same Red Planet mix as my terrain set.

While I worked on walkers and infantry, I noticed that the blister pack from Rebel was a pretty good size for a Sons Of Thunder building. I drew a few geometric shapes, printed them on cardstock, found a rubber washer and interesting bit from an old toy (bonus points for the first person to correctly identify it), and here's what I came up with:

I figured that would work just fine as a scenario objective. And what the heck... it would have ended up in the garbage otherwise! So after a total of maybe 6-7 hours worth of work (not counting drying times) my project was finished. Here are the final results:

The paint jobs certainly aren't going to win any competitions, but it works just fine on the tabletop. The walkers in particular need something else... I think I need to include some of the dark grey used on the terrain platform to break up the orange. But it is ready to play!

I'm very pleased with the infantry. One pack of Sons Of Thunder yields four NCOs, four heavy weapon troopers, and sixteen rifle troopers. I created two command stands (nco and two rifles), four infantry stands (three rifles), and two heavy weapon stands (two heavy weapons and one NCO as a spotter). You could easily create four squads of six infantry if you want to individually base these little guys.

It's the little projects like this which remind me that switching to 15mm was the correct decision. I have 24 infantry, 2 support vehicles, and a terrain piece... all for the same cost as a single Finecast character miniature. And even a below-average painter like me can produce tabletop-quality results in a very short time. So as part of Dropship Horizon's 15mm Conversion Challenge, let me say this. Stop fretting over your perfect army lists and give up the fifteen different levels of highlights and detail bits. Just build some minis, get them painted, and play a game!



  1. Brilliant! A speedy build and oh, so cool looking.

  2. I obviously also love 15mm for it's "do-ability". Everything is smaller (the cost, the storage, the painting time) except the challenge of getting a good painted result. Well done!

  3. Very cool. I'm impressed with the results of using the big plastic blister packaging for a platform & building. Don't know what the toy bit is though, but it does look cool.

  4. I still think the walkers are missing something in terms of their paint scheme. But chances are good that I'll keep this force as-is for awhile and move on to bigger and better things. :)

    The blister pack was perfect for a Sons Of Thunder building. I've saved a few other interesting blister fronts lately... I'm going to create a few more of those buildings. What's better than almost-free terrain?