23 November 2011

A 15mm Urban Battlefield for Mecha Games?

There are half-finished Mecha sitting on my shelf, taunting me.

I have three Rebel Minis Titan HAMR suits, an Earthforce suit, and a Critical Mass Games ARC Fleet Walker, all waiting to be assembled and painted.  Other projects keep taking me away from them.  But I can't help but wonder how much fun a mecha-centric game would be in 15mm.  

I've gone back and forth on how many vehicles I want to use in my 15mm FUBAR games.  While I have a few Old Crow and GZG tanks finished, I've simply found them to be impractical on 2' x 2' tables.  There's enough room to maneuver just a one or two small vehicles, not enough to run fully mechanized platoons with MBT support on each side.  That's left me playing infantry-oriented games.  Such a waste - there are too many good 15mm vehicles to limit my options.

Mecha might be the answer for those smaller games.  They tend to move around the same speeds and maneuver the same way as infantry, but make louder and more satisfying explosions in sci-fi settings.  But what's the best terrain to give mecha some cover and concealment?  My desert and snow tables currently lack terrain features taller than 2".  Even my Red Planet table only has a few spires and buildings at that height.  And besides... when you picture a mecha battle, do you envision an open desert valley?  No.  You picture two armored giants fighting it out in a cityscape.

It's time for a new table.

This will be another 2' x 2' battlefield - which I still think is the perfect size for solo 15mm games.  I'm thinking this one will be covered with a mix of fine light gray, dark gray, and dark brown flock.  The buildings  will be mounted onto tiles - those tiles will use very fine flock to achieve a poured-concrete appearance.  And the buildings themselves?  I have my eyes on Proxie Models' Gothic Building:

If there's one aspect of Warhammer 40,000 I sometimes miss - it's the sight of a proper Cityfight table.  Ken's Gothic Building is about as close as we can get in 15mm (other than a few HO-scale churches that could be chopped up).  And the price is unbeatable - two sprues for $4.  I already have one of his brick buildings, so I know the quality is good and they can easily be chopped up and modified.  So if I include that brick building, here's what I can make with $32 worth of Gothic buildings:

So my shopping list for this project will be:

  • 2' x 2' x 1/2" sanded plywood for the table itself
  • 2' x 2' x 1/4" MDF hardboard for the building bases 
  • Extra fine grey flock for the building bases
  • Fine brown flock to mix with my existing grays for the table itself.
  • Cheap gray primer for the tabletop
  • 8x Proxie Models Gothic Buildings.
This entire set should only cost around $50-$60 to make, and could easily be finished in a week.  I can always go back and add fancier buildings, street furniture, and other random items later.  But this would be enough to start - and give me an excuse to add some bigger mecha to my collection:

From Ravenstar Studios - love that MK3!
Gruntz Imperator
I think this is just the setup I'll need to run small 15mm mecha games... maybe three HAMR suits on one side, with one or two bigger Imperators or Thunderfoots (er, Thunderfeet?) on the other.  

Chris K.


  1. Love it. I'd use non-gothic building/ruins though, they don't go with mecha IMO. Gradually adding fuel drums and Khurasan's street trash receptacle would be an easy way to detail it after you have got it game-ready, too.

  2. This looks great, I was checking out those buildings from Proxy Models the other day and thinking the same, need to check the postage to the UK.
    I used to love playing the old Adeptus Titanicus and was wondering what rules would cover 15mm Mecha the best? I'd been hashing out a 1page add on to Fubar a while back for Mecha combat, with the idea of separate pilot stats/damage charts etc

  3. @Spacejacker - I don't know - they somehow seem appropriate to me. The other Proxie buildings just seem more historical in nature. The Gothic ones look like they have a little more conversion potential. Maybe I'll drop a few of the Gothic ones from my shopping list in favor of variety.

    @Snowy Hoobino - that's exactly what I intend to do. I'll make it a 2D6 damage table for granularity, and just a bit more specific about which weapons get damaged, how many "reactor" counters each mech should have, etc.