31 July 2011

Rebel Minis Drop Troopers - Review and Paint Test

The heat and humidity we've experienced lately has really stifled my hobby time. Since I haven't been able to use any spray primers or base coats, I decided to try something different. Two years ago, Maff and Mark posted an excellent Halo Spartan tutorial on Dropship Horizon. It is a very straightforward process - two coats of an undiluted Citadel wash over bare metal. I'm not a Halo player, but I do like the look of the troopers.

I picked up a pack of Rebel Minis' Earthforce Droptroopers after seeing Jeff Racel's excellent paint schemes (see here). The minis are excellent - very detailed clamshell armor that require almost no cleanup. The rifle is identical to that found on the Earthforce Infantry and Homeguard minis - these can easily be a specialized unit in an army using other Earthforce minis. But I'm using them as their own force. The Earthforce rifle is great - it can be a near-future variant of something like the FN P90 with a stick magazine, or it could be a blaster rifle from 5000AD forces. The pack contains nothing but rifle-armed troopers - no heavy weapons are available yet. But I have a plan to work around that (probably in my next post).

But once I had the minis in-hand, I realized they could also work as Halo Spartans using the Dropship Horizon tutorial. So here's the test mini:
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My version of the paint scheme:
  1. File the mini and superglue to a Universal 15mm Figure Base (a US penny)
  2. Two coats of Citadel Thraka Green wash. I learned not to apply this too quickly - it tends to pool very at the neck
  3. Paint the weapon with Vallejo Heavy Bluegrey
  4. Paint the visor with Vallejo Glorious Gold
  5. (my only change from the old Dropship Horizon formula) Coat the entire mini with Wonder Wash Black. This much thinner wash brings out details on the weapon, fingers and small joints, and surrounds the visor extremely well.
  6. Paint the base with P3 Bloodstone and flock with my Red Planet blend.
I'm knocking out some more infantry to go with this test figure - the first wash is drying right now. I'll post my Heavy Weapon support idea very soon.

UPDATE: The first squad is complete.


07 July 2011

A Ruthless Terrorist Organization...

One thing that we always have plenty of in 15mm Sci-Fi is human infantry with faceshields and helmets.  I'm not complaining... they are all excellent sculpts, and the "hard sci-fi" settings most of us prefer allow for a wide variety of human factions to be fielded.

But where does one find inspiration to paint these different forces?  Noticing my old comic book collection reminded me of a pretty cool source of color and uniform ideas... and here's the first one I picked.  The ubiquitous Cobra Viper has been remade many times by Hasbro over the years, but they keep coming back to the basic blue uniform.

So I figured... why not?  I still have an assortment of Rebel Minis Earthforce Marines waiting to be painted.  I whipped together a quick unit to see how it looked in 15mm.  Here's the outcome:

Works for me!  Another squad of these, some heavy weapons support, and a few vehicles should give me a fun little army.  These would be great as a mercenary regiment, security force, or even something more like their action figure counterparts.

Speaking of vehicles... what to use?  Once again I ransacked my box of old die-cast toys.  I found an interesting old vehicle called the Space Van.  Its angled cockpit and hull shape reminded me quite a bit of the old Cobra Hiss tanks... perfect for this project!  Another Hot Wheels vehicle (an Assault Crawler - very useful even on its own) provided some good tracks to replace the Space Van's plain and undersized wheels.  I think they work pretty well together... now I just need to find a turret and get this thing painted!


02 July 2011

New skirmish game - In The Emperor's Name

Craig Cartmell has just released In The Emperor's Name, his latest (and perhaps his greatest) set of wargaming rules.  They are designed to play small narrative actions that one would find in games like Necromunda, Gorkamorka, Inquisitor, or even Mutants & Death Ray Guns or Savage Worlds.

While the rules and retinue lists are created with the 40k universe in mind, I've been playtesting them for months using 15mm figures.  I've found them to be VERY enjoyable!  I've even tried playing the same scenarios and forces using these rules and then playing Mutants & Death Ray Guns... and I must admit that In The Emperor's Name is a better game (at least for solo play).  I will post some battle reports in the coming weeks... some will be using "counts-as" versions of the retinues in the book, and some will be some "free-form" retinues I made just for my 15mm collection.

Check them out today!  This is one of the best free skirmish games you will ever play.

Chris K.