Those of you who read my last Q13 AAR will know that I am currently playing “king of the ring” with my new sci-fi factory complex. Last game, the Felids defeated the Hauk, so now it was their turn to defend, with their opponents being the Aphids: frog-like beings from Zombiesmith.
My opponents were Dave and John, who were on a strict time limit which actually nicely suited the type of game we were playing: they would play the Aphid attackers, and would have almost exactly 2½ hours to reduce my position.
Regular visitors will know that at this year’s Salute I purchased a bargain pack of mdf sci-fi terrain from TT Combat and have spent the last couple of months building it. It was now time to get some figures onto the table and actually use the damn thing!
The scenario was to be a simple attacker/defender game, with the Hauk (sci-fi birdmen from Khurasan) defending the industrial complex against an assault from the Felids (sci-fi lionmen, also from Khurasan). I would play the Hauk, friend Neal would play the Felids, and in order to make things interesting, there was a time limit for the Felids to take the complex.
Sad that so many now seem to be moribund or out of business, which just goes to prove my maxim that if you see some figures that you like, you should buy them, as you never know how long they will be available for.
For example, I still regret not buying some of the Combat Wombat range as dropships for my Aphids…but you live and learn and it’s a mistake I won’t make again. Food? Who needs food when there are figures to buy!
What is also interesting is how many of the cottage-industry manufacturers’ are no longer available from the individuals who started them, but have been absorbed into being part of a larger manufacturer or distributor’s offering. Ral Partha Europe, for example, are now the only place you can get what was the Critical Mass range, and the Spriggan range, and more. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well at least the figures are still available and not just KIA.
To end on a high note, however, I was pleased to add Nuclear Shrimp as a new manufacturer to the list. They are based in Greece and produce a range of 15mm sci-fi figures under the Black Earth banner: a post-apocalyptic range of human defenders (the United Earth Federation) and Brute attackers (huge mutant humans looking like Mr Hyde from the dreadfully disappointing League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie.
I’m loving the Brutes and have already sacrificed next week’s lunches to buy them!
I was initially a bit worried about their 15mm credentials (scale creep!) but the very nice chaps at the Shrimp and the 15mm SciFi Facebook group provided some comparison shots that convinced me that my fears were groundless. Check them out here.
Some of you may recall that at Salute I splashed out on a laser cut mdf industrial set up on special offer from Troll Trader. This was a huge layout for the bargain price of only £100 including p&p. I’ve been gradually building it over the last six weeks and have finally finished it.
This is a legendary set up, meant for 28mm troops, but absolutely ideal for sci-fi “15mm” figures which, as we all know, tend to be more 18-20mm.
I’ve always wanted to play an industrial hive battle kind of game, and now I can. In total, I now have the sixteen base boards (that alone used up about a can and a half of spray paint); a couple of small platforms connected by a walkway; the huge platform that looks like the outside of an oil well; a powerplant piece; a couple of big, cylindrical tanks connected by a top walkway; a landing pad; two staircases; two sets of corridor connectors; twenty-four individual bits that join together to form the “iron labyrinth”; and a pile of spare ladders.
The build was arduous: not just because of the sheer volume of things to be built, but also because some of the components were, simply, difficult to build. I’m not really a terrain-building person, so often don’t take the proper time and trouble to prepare and get everything just right: so checking and sanding every slot to make sure its component slides in smoothly just isn’t my cup of tea. Smash the two bits together and use a bit of strength to pop the slots into place doesn’t work with every bit of this complex, especially not the industrial labyrinth sections that caused me more grief than anything else.
Having built the thing, I was going to leave it as plain mdf, but a simple spray of grey paint does make it look more, well, industrial, and will make a beautiful backdrop to my brightly coloured sci-fi figures. I suppose I should take the trouble to dry-brush it all now, to give it some variety and depth but, tbh, that seems like a lot of hard work for something that already looks very acceptable. I might have a game, take some piccies, see how they turn out, and then decide on the dry-brushing then. Or wash then dry-brush if I really want to go to town.
Here’s a gallery of the entire thing: very good value for £100, so Troll Trader (from whom I’ve always had good, if not incredible, bargains at Salute) go straight to the top of my Christmas card list.
Next step is to dress the table with the rest of my sci-fi terrain, buildings etc
Regular visitors to this site will know that one of my regular complaints is sci-fi figure manufacturers who produce a lovely range of basic infantry but then never get around to providing all the support teams that you need to make up a proper fighting force.
Okay, so some of these infantry squads are so loaded with their own weaponry that it could be said that they don’t need any support, but this doesn’t really gel with me. As the Marine Corps saying goes: always hit a nut with the biggest hammer possible…the nut gets cracked and the hammer is untouched!
It was therefore great to see that Khurasan Miniatures, that wonderful if somewhat erratic source of the esoteric, have released a couple of support weapons for their 15mm Hauk range.
The Hauk, for those of you who don’t know, are avians: birdmen to the non-Latin speakers. The existing range had some nice infantry and a couple of officers, but nothing more. Now, however, they can field mortars and their equivalent to a medium/heavy machine gun.
Each weapon comes with the same stand, and the option of either a mortar, shown above, or a machine gun, shown below. There’s also a sniper figure, two new types of officer (one pointing, one with clipboard) and a casualty figure. I have ignored the casualty figure, and couldn’t be bothered to see if I could make the stands multi-purpose, so bought enough packs to give me four three-man mortar teams, with officer, and six three-man MMG teams, with officer. Add two snipers, and I still have lots of casualties and snipers left over, but I’m sure they’ll come in useful some time in the future.
As you can see, I paint my Hauk with a simple but very colourful “parrot” pattern. Undercoat in white, immediate heavy wash with Agrax Earthshade; paint talons and beak yellow; paint wings, tail feather and head crest dark green then highlight with bright green; highlight all the armour in white; weapons are painted black highlighted in grey.
Time for another game of Q13, so time to get the space Dwarves back onto the tabletop to battle another of my so-far-untested forces: the Tah-Sig.
This would be an encounter battle fought across a battlefield consisting of crop fields separated by a series of access roads and narrow strips of open ground. The storyline was that this time it was the Dwarves who were the aggressors: outnumbering the Tah-Sig by a fair amount and needing to get as many units as possible off the table on the Tah-Sig side.
Although I like my Vornid infantry (15mm sci-fi: homicidal plants with thorn guns from Khurasan), I haven’t used them very much because, up to now, they have been based a singles and the way that the figures are made means that the bases don’t fit into any of my sabots. That means that using them involves moving lots of single figures round the table individually: a right pain!
I therefore decided to re-base them: each squad of ten Vornid based individually converting to six bases of five Vornid each. That gives me the same three squads, but the capacity to field ten fireteams if needed for another system.
I had two four-squad platoons (i.e. eight squads) but they proved a bit unwieldy. I therefore painted another squad up and now have three platoons of three squads each, all efficiently based for moving round the table.
Here’s my revised Vornid company, plus one of the individual platoons. You can see the detail of the entire force in the Vornid gallery.
One of my more unusual scifi armies are the Vornid. These comprise a base of Khurasan’s plant infantry supported by a variety of Ravenstar’s Horrid bio-vehicles. You can see the gallery by clicking here (opens in a new window).
As you’ll see, I’ve been using Slishians (from Hydra Miniatures) as Big Men, but have now found a rather amusing alternative:
The enemy sure looks like plant food to me!
Not sure who the manufacturer is (I bought these on impulse some time ago and have only just got around to their layer of the lead mountain) but these are, of course, models loosely based on Audrey II, the “villain” of the musical comedy A Little Shop of Horrors.
Great fun, and have encouraged me to expand and re-base my Vornid army: but more on that later…
The last time my Hura (four-armed aliens from Clear Horizons) took the field, they were soundly beaten, with their defeat due, in art, to a lack of AA protection and no electronic warfare capacity.
As Clear Horizons don’t produce any AA or EW figures for the Hura (I mean, why would you!) I have decided to use Brigade Models’ sci-fi Polish range to fill in the gaps. I’ve already posted the AA half-tracks, now here’s the EW vehicle:
Officially this is the Suwalska ‘Hetman’ command vehicle, but it does very nicely as an Electronic Warfare specialist for the Hura.
Now all I have to do is save up for a few Suwalska APCs…
As my recent painting has been almost wholly focused on clearing all the sci-fi dwarves from my lead mountain, I thought it was only right and proper to get them onto the table again for my next game of Quadrant 13. It would also be a good opportunity to give the Xar (six-legged “critters” from GZG) their first outing.
Just finished photographing the last of the All Quiet on the Martian Front tripods I have been working on. This last batch consisted of another three scout tripods, two grenadier tripods, seven assault tripods and a power node terrain piece.
Assault Tripods with Black Dust Emitters
Assault Tripods with Green Mist bombs
Last three Scout tripods
That’s a lot of points for the Painting Challenge!
Rather than have the tripods as a separate Martian army, I’m going to use them as the AFV element of my Invaders army that uses the Khurasan Alien Invasion range as its core infantry component. As I’ve also now had a chance to photograph all of them, it means another gallery added to the Q13 section of the website: one that shows the entire force.
You can find that by clicking here, but here’s a picture of the army en masse:
Oh yes, finally, someone wrote in asking what colour the tripods were sprayed: it was Ford Neptune Green from the Halfords range of car paints.
My current project or, rather, one of my current projects, is to add the All Quiet on the Martian Front models that I bought as part of the original Kickstarter to the figures that I've painted from Khurasan Miniatures' 15mm sci-fi The Invaders range. I spent last weekend building all the tripods, so this weekend's task was to paint up the first of them.
I didn't fancy brush painting twenty-four plus large 15mm models, so determined that most of the work would be done via spray paint...but which colour to choose. I wanted something metallic, which meant buying some new paint, as all my existing sprays are various shades of dull green or brown or desert yellow (i.e. WW2 and 6DW colours).
I was driving home, thinking about where to get appropriate sprays, surrounded by other cars, when I suddenly realised that I was looking at exactly what I wanted: metallic car paint. A quick trip to Halfords, and I bought a couple of cans of a light green metallic colour. Each can was only £6.99 as well: considerably cheaper than GW or other hobby paint.
Spraying all the tripods took up a can and a half, but twenty minutes in today's blazing sunshine dried everything off nicely. I wouldn't have time to complete all of the models after the initial spray, so settled on the small flying drones and three scout tripods.
Very simple to finish them: I painted the "eye" red, any equipment in two shades of grey, any electricals or power sources in a light purple, the tentacles in black-dry-brushed-with-iron, and then found a few places to put a drop of scarlet or metallic blue for variety. Finally, I based them as usual, then used Halfords lacquer to finish them.
The Astagar were originally a "bit part" race from the Critical Mass Games universe: providing squads of interesting-looking mercenaries rather than having a full range to themselves.
Such was their popularity, however, that CMG ran a Kickstarter to create a full range of Astagar figures and, although the Kickstarter wasn't successful enough for everything envisaged to be created, enough people signed up that all the basic infantry, infantry support weapons, APCs and AFVs became available.
Today's painting: three Astagar Main Battle Tanks
I took part in the Kickstarter but, as is often the way, didn't quite get exactly what I thought I'd pledged for. No real damage done, but I was short a platoon of main Battle Tanks and, unfortunately, CMG folded and sold their range to Ral Partha Europe who, although they have all the infantry for sale, haven't yet got around to the resin vehicles from the range!
Just the other day, however, a chap in the States announced on Facebook that he had some to spare, the deal was done, and my Astagar force is now ready for battle.
You may recall that my current project is to paint up the company of "The Invaders": a 1950's inspired 15mm sci-fi range from Khurasan Miniatures.
First up, a couple of weeks ago, were the Kalinet Warborgs (see post on July 8th). Now, to go with them, I've completed the troops from the Warcaste: little green men:
I've got two platoons (each of three heavy squads) plus enough drone controllers and electronic warfare specialists to give the opposition a right pain in the keyboard!
These are lovely little models: proper 15mm rather than being little green men who tower over the opposition. The arms and legs look delicate, but I had no problems when painting or basing them. Variety isn't bad: I reckon there are about eight or nine variants plus the command and drone control figures.
They painted up very easily. Spray dark green, then highlight all skin in two lighter shades ending with a very bright green for the last highlight. All clothing was dark purple highlighted in lilac. Weapons were two shades of grey. They have loads of augs in their heads, all of which I touched up in gold. Took about two hours per platoon from start to finish.
Now all I have to do is to add the high command of Greys, and I'm done.
I've finally had a chance to finish the second platoon of Astagar infantry. Lovely models to paint up, and a nice variety of poses as well.
The Astagar were originally produced by Critical Mass Games, but are now available from Ral Partha Europe...well, at least the metal figures are: the resin vehicles are not yet there.
I bought the Astagar through their launch Kickstarter, but have been kicking myself since then for not buying the AFVs and SP Artillery models at the same time. So, my usual plea: if anyone has any that they want to sell me, please get in contact (address is in the right sidebar somewhere).
Just the squad support weapons to paint up now, and then that's the Astagar project finished (well, until I can find some AFVs and SP artillery for them).
More from my latest project: a company of Astagar, the 15mm sci-fi snakemen originally from Critical Mass Games but now part of Ral Partha Europe's offering.
Here is the first of the two infantry platoons that I am painting:
Really nice models that paint up well. I like the variety in poses and tail positions.
If I have one gripe, it's their size. I know they are designed this way, but the models are mostly easily 20mm tall, which makes them very large when compared to a standard 15mm human. Either humans are the shortest race in the universe, or the world of 15mm sci-fi wargaming is suffering from extreme scale creep!
It also means that they are quite difficult to base. I had to use the Warbases equivalent of a small FOW base for each model, which means that they will take up an awful lot of room on the tabletop. I shall just have to see how that turns out.
Anyway, I like them...and would repeat my request that if anyone has any of the Astagar MBT or SP Artillery models that they don't need, I'll happily come to some arrangement to take them off your hands. They're not yet available from Ral Partha. Admin@vislardica.com please.
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a not-for-profit website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.