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.
As I've said before on this blog, one of the main problems with the 15mm sci-fi marketplace is that figure manufacturers tend to produce ranges aimed at the platoon-level gamer rather than the Q13 company-level gamer.
What I mean by that is that they produce a range of core infantry, with maybe a few support weapons, with maybe one vehicle...but not the whole gamut of kit that you'd need to create, say, the sci-fi equivalent of the modern day army.
Where are all the different sorts of infantry (grunts, scouts, engineers, specialists, exotics etc) and all the different sorts of vehicle (recon, MBTs, APCs, SP Artillery, specialist AA etc)?
Now I know that's all to do with initial outlay and all that, but it is a problem for the company-sized gamer such as myself.
Take Ground Zero Games' Xar, for example. I'm a huge fan of GZG, and before Xmas bought and painted a whole lot of their infantry, which come with the equivalent of MMGs and Bazookas as well. They even have specialist Tech and FOO figures. So far so good.
Mr Plowman's Xar: a bit better than mine!
Now GZG themselves can provide attack drones to give them a bit of punch, but there aren't any vehicles in the range.
Well this gives you the opportunity to have a look around and see what you can find...and the unfortunate demise of Critical Mass Games (well, they have been sold to Ral Partha so hopefully will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes) and the 50%-off sale that resulted gave me the opportunity to buy my Xar some vehicles from CMG's Kaamados Dominion range.
These chunky, and very tall, vehicles really suit the body shapes of the Xar, so go together very well. Not only that but, as with all Critical Mass' stuff (I have their Protolene Khanates (c.f.) and Praesentia (still to be painted) as well) the kits are full of character and paint up very well.
Here are the Gekotaa Armoured Cars: two with guns, one with a scanner:
And here are the Dragamaa Heavy Tanks (and they are heavy!):
Now my Xar are ready to take to the field with the beginnings of a combined arms force!
I'm really driving through the Xar at the moment, mainly because I know there's a big Battlefront order on its way, and I want to clear the painting table before it arrives!
Today's offering are the Xar officers and specialists:
First up are the Xar Big Men (above). Note the natty gloves: they are what I decided to use to indicate rank, as the Xar don't appear to affect any other form of clothing or insignia, and only the command-type figures where gloves.
Next up (below) are half the specialists: probably to be used as FOOs to bring in some off-table artillery.
Then we have some of the most important chaps: the drone operator specialists, along with two general purpose GZG drones that have been, er, purposed for the Xar.
These look so good, that I might actually get a couple more of each type, giving me two platoons of three drones each. The Xar shown, by the way, is for size comparison only.
I said I'd finish a squad of Xar every week until I had painted them all, so here's last week's offering: the first of the Xar "line infantry".
I've also managed to take a better picture of the little blighters!
I now have eighteen more Xar to complete from my original batch, plus another eighteen from the new batch...and then some drones and unarmed Xar as well. That will give me two platoons of infantry plus support drones, with only the armour to be decided upon.
I'm still sticking to my target of painting one Xar squad per week. This time it's the first of the main infantry contingent: nine Xar with heavy beamers:
Although I'm very happy with the way that the Xar have turned out, I'm less happy with my photography at the moment. For some reason, I just can't get what I want in terms of a nice sharp, matt image that properly shows the detail of the figures.
Can't quite understand why, as I've done it before many times. At first I thought it was too little light, as relying on the spotlights after dark makes everything very yellow. This time I think it's too much light, as the winter sun at the weekend was streaming in through the windows. Or perhaps it's the combination of purple figures and green background?
Whatever the reason, it's driving me crazy! I shall have to go back to the various articles I have saved about photographing miniatures, and check the camera is set up properly...
Regular visitors will know that my latest sci-fi army is to be the Xar, based on the range of the same name from Ground Zero Games or GZG as they are more commonly known. My inspiration (it's all about inspiration!) came from Ralph Plowman's beautifully painted models.
Ralph went for a sort of desert, sandy look...but I decided that I wanted something quite different to that or to any of my other sci-fi armies.
So I went for purple.
This first unit are the projectile launcher support troops, each weapon having a crew of three.
The launchers come separate to the figures carrying them, so you can choose what angle to have the weapons at: I've gone for an angle that can encompass a bit of indirect and AA fire.
Inspired by Mr Plowman's painting, I have ordered a whole load of Xar figures from Ground Zero Games to form the basis of a new force for Quadrant 13.
To quote from the GZG website: The Xar - often known to human troops as "Chitters" from the rapid clicks and chirps of their speech - are an eight-limbed exoskeletal insectoid race, with six walking limbs ending in three-clawed feet and an upright torso with two manipulating arms. Each Xar miniature consists of 2 parts, a 6-legged lower body and integral base plus a torso/arms/head casting with weapon or other equipment as appropriate.
No point in ordering figures unless you can use them in a game, so I have also built a basic army list for them too, available as a pdf download here and from the Q13 Army Lists page.
Only the infantry element are stat-ed at the moment: GZG don't do specific vehicles for the Xar, so I need to have a look around and find some for them from another range. More shopping!
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.