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.


20 August 2011

Finding a place for Kremlin's Red Banner MANITOU

A few months back, I picked up an assortment of Kremlin Miniatures' 15mm range. I was very impressed with this range. The photos on the website simply don't do them justice... their size, detail, and posing is as good as anything on the market today. I included them on my catalog of human power armor article, hoping they would get some more attention.

The minis that interested me the most were the MANITOU suits - their versions of Power Armor. The Red Banner MANITOU appared to be man-size suits of power armor with heavy guns and shoulder-mounted mini-missile launchers. I picked up two packs in my initial order. I liked the look of them on the website, but wasn't sure where they would fit in my 15mm forces.

The order arrived pretty quickly - I was very impressed with their service. And once I had these particular figures in my hands... well... their place was pretty obvious.
My favorite 15mm Sci Fi infantry range, even after building new armies on a monthly basis, is still the Titan Marines from Rebel Minis. These great figures immediately became my Conquest Development Center Storm Troopers - the fast-strike military and security force for my game setting's largest corporation. It's the first human army I created in 15mm. I originally added some GZG Cyclops Walkers to be the elite commandos for that army, but the aesthetics have never really worked.

I think I have now found the perfect match for my Storm Troopers.

These really are fantastic figures. Big and bulky compared to typical 15mm infantry, but not so big that you couldn't picture them stomping through a Space Hulk's corridors. But these minis have far more in common with Khurasan's Special Assault Brigade than with Space Marine Terminators... Their blasters seem very high-tech, the missile pods are very Anime-ish, and each has a very detailed jet pack molded onto the back (see picture).

I just need to finish the other five, decide on their base finish (desert sand like my existing CDC forces, or Red Planet blend?), and test them on the tabletop. I see these being useful both in games of FUBAR and in the upcoming second edition of In The Emperor's Name!


01 August 2011

REBS - Robot-Enhanced Battle Squads

A popular discussion topic at TMP and Dropship Horizon recently has been about "incomplete" 15mm figure lines. My argument basically consists of "this is sci-fi; I don't need armies organized like WWII infantry platoons." When Rebel Minis released their Earthforce Droptroopers, it seemed this would be another infantry force without readily-available heavy weapon troopers. So here is my shot at creating a viable army with them using models available today.

Rebel Minis released the CAT 'bots around the same time as the Droptroopers. These were instantly praised for their design. After looking at them and thinking about their possible roles on the battlefield, I had an epiphany - why not put them together with the Droptroopers?

So I present to you my latest army - the REBS: Robot-Enhanced Battle Squads.

I haven't completely written out the fluff yet, but here's the gist of it. At the time of the Osmium Wars, a human army grew tired of soldiers who were "capable with all weapons, but masters of none." While heavy guns, sniper rifles, and missile launchers always have their role on the battlefield, the time spent training on them was detracting from their expertise with their basic battle rifles. Once the CA-T5 AI processor was tested and proven, it was decided that a new type of army unit would be fielded.

Ten-man multi-weapon squads, the standard for over a century, would now be replaced by squads of six riflemen and two support 'bots. Each 'bot was armed with a multi-ammo, multi-role heavy gun that could be used for rapid suppressive fire or for long-range pinpoint shots. One 'bot would also carry a rack of armor-disintegrating missiles, while the other would carry close-support equipment like blast shields or flamethrowers. The 'bots are programmed to respond only to verbal or input commands from their squad members. If their squad is killed, they are programmed to proceed directly to the nearest friendly vehicle or squad for further instructions.

I have my first REBS completed. The 'bots were painted with the exact same technique as the Droptroopers - I'm willing to bed the next two squads won't take more than a few hours to complete. Then I need to make a decision - what will support this force? Normally I choose APCs and then some type of support tanks when I make an army like this. But just to do something different this time, I am entertaining two possibilities:

Option 1) Combine the APC and support tank into a single vehicle. A larger APC with a tank turret, like the Claymore or Lancer from Old Crow, would fit this category well:

Option 2) Play up the "drop troopers" theme by giving each squad a GZG Fan Van VTOL.
Each "Fan Van" would be supported by some type of flying drone, either a GZG UAV Hoverdrone or an RAFM ASD mk II:

So which option should I choose? Option 2 would give me a pretty unique sci-fi army. But I'm not sure how well three VTOLs with flying support drones would work on a 2' x 2' table, and it's a bit more than I'd really like to spend on this army. But there it is - a complete and playable army using only basic riflemen infantry models.