14 June 2011

Designing a 15mm army: Red Planet edition

My newly-completed Red Planet board (featured on Dropship Horizon) has seen quite a bit of use the last two weeks. I've enjoyed having a new table for my existing armies to fight over, but the board has inspired me to create a new setting and forces. My colleague Matt posted an excellent article about creating a 15mm army, and I would like to build on that article by sharing my own design process.

I assume a Red Planet would be wealthy in mineral and metal resources. The Hammer's Slammers universe was a source of inspiration here - Iridium is the primary element in their armor. I chose a related metal - Osmium - as the primary resource of my Red Planet. A few random clicks at the Planet Generator website gave me the name Corridal for a new world.

So I have Corridal - the center of the Osmium Wars. And just like that - a world that implies a resource-centric conflict. Now I need combatants. Corridal seems like a fairly harsh place - cold, weak atmosphere, harsh winds... I need a line of figures that is suited
for that type of environment.

Rebel Minis' Sons Of Thunder fit the bill. One pack of these troops gives me 24 minis... I assume it includes four each of the six sculpts. Looks like I can organize these into four units of six... one heavy weapon, four rifles, and a pistol-armed leader. 24 minis seems just fine for small skirmishes on a 2' x 2' board, so I placed an order.

But what is science fiction infantry without clever vehicle support? I wanted to find something that would fit well with this infantry and the environment of Corridal. After entertaining a few hover- and wheeled-vehicle ideas, I finally made my choice.

Blue Moon Walker #19 was that choice. Something about the legs and the bubble-dome seemed like a perfect fit with the Sons Of Thunder infantry. And they looked like quite a bit of space-opera fun compared to some of my other forces! These come two to a pack for $12... again I placed the order.

Both the infantry and the walkers should be on their way. Two armored vehicles and four squads of six infantry, all for around $25 (which, incidentally, was the same cost of my red planet board). I even have a new setting for them to fight over... but I can just as easily use this army against any of my existing Conquest System forces.

This is a great size for a core 15mm force, especially for smaller boards. It can easily be expanded later, depending how I decide to both paint it and use it on the tabletop. But the most important thing with 15mm is not to waste your weeks and months stressing over army lists, tactics, detailed paint schemes, etc. Just find some minis, get some paint on them, pick some rules, and get playing!



  1. I like this! Especially that you're using a Blue Moon walker. They all look kind of wonky to me, so I'm looking forward to seeing one painted!

    I've been finding myself pondering more "soft" sci fi miniatures lately as well. While I like my main armies fairly hard, it's fun making some weirder stuff as well.

    I find myself referencing the setting we came up with for our Diaspora campaign, so some Garn should be a first choice. But there are a lot of neat aliens out there!

  2. Blue Moon walkers + Rebel "Sons of Thunder" = Uber-cool combination! Who'd a thunk it? ;-)

  3. You're starting to make me reconsider my Sons of Thunder, who have been pushed to the back of my painting que :) If the Blue Moon Walker doesn't work out, I have a GZG Octo-APC that could be just the business.

  4. I also considered the South African APC from Brigade Models, since it is a bit undersized for 15mm. But I wanted to go a little "B-Movie" with these guys, so the Blue Moon walker fit just fine.

    Their walkers and tanks are an odd mix. They range anywhere from "hey, I can use that" to "that's a bit silly" to "what in the galaxy was that sculptor thinking?" :)