Q13: Quar Tanks?

Regular visitors will recall that I took part in the original All Quiet on the Martian Front kickstarter. I was very happy with what I received: I only really wanted the tripods anyway, all of which have now been painted and are prepped for action.

The trouble was that I also received a whole bunch of quasi-WW1 tanks and infantry as well: the Earthlings that are fighting the aforementioned Martians.

I’m still not sure what to do with the infantry, but mention the words “quasi-WW1” and immediately one thinks of Zombiesmith’s excellent Quar range. I have small 15mm forces for all three factions, but not really enough to play the sort of large games of Q13 that I enjoy.

Here then was the perfect use for the AQOTMF tanks: Quar tanks. Here’s the first batch painted up:

I actually can’t wait to get these onto the tabletop, so will move the Quar up the priority list for forthcoming games of Q13!

Q13: Vornid Infantry Re-Based

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.

A Bit of Fun

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…

More Brigade Models SciFi

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…

Last of the Squats!

Finally finished the last of the Boontown Space Dwarves: a platoon of Clansmen.

Now if you remember, when I started painting the Boontown figures, I was quite disparaging about the quality of the sculpting. I felt the Shaker cannon was, quite frankly, not a very good model, and the crew figures very average if not poor.

I changed my mind a bit about the range with their T-26 walkers, and a bit more with their Hearthguard, but the Clansmen have definitely reversed my opinion.

These are great fun figures with nice, clear definition, especially on the faces/beards and their Schwarzenegger-like arms. Okay, so the guns are still a bit crap, but overall I like them. Not “recommended”, but still a worthwhile addition to any Space Dwarf force.

And that, for the Space Dwarves, should be that. As far as I know, I now have every 15mm Space Dwarf/Squat/Grudd etc figure out there in the marketplace. If I haven’t, please let me know, and I will remedy the situation asap!

Right: onto the Yom Kippur war figures forming a significant layer of the lead mountain…

Hura Reinforced

Regular visitors to this blog will know that my poor Hura (four-armed aliens from Clear Horizon) got resoundingly hammered by the Space Dwarves in our last battle, with most of the damage done by a Dwarf scoutship which kept flying down from the skies and blowing Hura hovertanks away! My Hura had no response, as the range is one of those tiresome infantry-only ranges, with no support elements.

I’d already given the Hura some Xarledi hovertanks from Brigade Model’s Yenpalo range, now it was time to see what Brigade had to offer in the way of something I could use for AA protection.

Brigade has a huge range of figures and vehicles, but the ones that caught my eye this time were from their sci-fi Polish range. These were sufficiently odd-looking to go with the Hura and Xarledi, so I quickly ordered a couple of AA half-tracks and another mounting a Multiple Rocket launcher System (MRLS).

I’ve now painted them up (they leapfrogged the last of the space dwarves) in the same colours as the hovertanks, and think they have come out very well.

Wilk AA Half-Tracks

Wilk MRLS Half-Tracks

As always, excellent service and models from Brigade. Recommended.

Methinks the Hura need some more…

More Grudd Infantry from Onslaught

I’ve almost cleared all the 15mm sci-fi dwarves from my lead mountain! Just one more contingent to go, and I’m half way through them.

Meanwhile, here’s the last of the Grudd infantry from Onslaught Miniatures. They are the chaps who produce some really lovely (and complete) sci-fi ranges in 6mm, and a couple of lines of 15mm figures too.

One of those 15mm lines is the Grudd: effectively sci-fi dwarves. Regular readers will know that the basic infantry types (Clansmen, Demolishers, Siege Breakers) have already been finished and logged…so here are the Iron Lords in their superheavy armour and the Drudgers (militia types):

Iron Lords (left) and Drudgers (above)

I honestly can’t recommend these enough. Beautifully cast cubist space dwarves with a variety of very cool weaponry. Painting them as shown is easy: a metallic undercoat that becomes the top coat for the armour, then faces, beards and weapons in different colours. Highlight with some bright unit markings and you’re away.

More Boontown Dwarves

And the production line of sci-fi dwarves continues as I am determined to clear all of them from my lead mountain.

Today we have the Hearthguard from Boontown Metals:

These are slightly better cast than the Shaker Cannon teams I was complaining about a few days ago, but still of the rough-and-ready variety instead of the clean-crisp variety I prefer.

No matter: must collect all sci-fi dwarves, no matter what!

Warbases SciFi Terrain

Things are all a bit scifi at the moment: mainly because that’s what tends to accumulate in the lead mountain. Figures for all the other periods leapfrog to the front of the painting queue, with poor old scifi left lingering behind.

But, as we all know, I’m trying to clear some of the lead mountain at the moment, and look what I’ve found and painted today: it’s the landing pad from Warbases 15mm scifi terrain range.

The pad is a laser-cut kit consisting of the ramp and the pad itself. It comes with no instructions, as Warbases assure their customers that the build is “intuitive”.

Well that may be so…but it still didn’t stop me putting the legs together incorrectly first time around. Note that the leg pillars have a top and a bottom (wider gap at the bottom) and that the feet go at the end of the legs not built back up to create a little moat around them. Confused? Look at the picture as you build the pad, and things should become clear.

Painting the pad was fairly easy: a grungy brown for the supports that was then scuffed with black paint, washed and then drybrushed. The pad itself was dyed black-ish with black ink, then highlighted with a grey colour. The red edges are because I couldn’t be bothered to paint every edge with black and yellow warning stripes. I’m sure you can buy thin hazard tape somewhere, but a quick Search gave me 25mm as the thinnest I could find.

Recommended.

First of the Boontown Dwarves

2951(1).png

As you can see from my last few posts, I’m on a bit of a painting jag at the moment.

I’d like to say that this is gradually clearing my lead mountain but, of course, every time I complete a unit, I check the range it comes from and usually end up buying more figures to either fill in the gaps of what I’ve got or to cover new releases.

This is certainly true of this last week. I painted the Onslaught Miniatures engineers and promptly ordered the new Iron Lords. I painted the figures below, and promptly ordered the previously-out-of-stock battlebikes. And don’t even get me started on the boxes arriving from Battlefront as a result of their 25% off Arab-Israeli sale! I think I’ve just go to come to terms with the fact that for every figure I paint I add a few more to the lead mountain…but at least it means that I’ll live for ever!

So on to today’s offering.

As I’m trying to collect every type of 15mm sci-fi dwarf out there (I know: not a good way to reduce the lead mountain), I duly ordered a couple of units of the Boontown Miniatures range as soon as it launched.

Good service, but not the sort of figures I usually buy: I like my figures very crisp and clean (but hard to paint well, especially with my rudimentary skills!) rather than the more normal Boontown range. Leaving that aside, however, I eased myself into the range by painting the artillery (Shaker cannons) and the walkers (T-26 walkers).

Very shaky!

The Shaker Cannons are typical of what I mean. I didn’t like these at all. You’ve got a hi-tech rear end (looks a bit like the front of a VW Beetle complete with headlights and bumper) then an awful wooden chassis, awful crude-iron wheels, and a screen that looks like it’s been knocked together by orcs!

I quite like the idea of a hedgehog-like piece of artillery, but none of the four barrels are the same. Add in a couple of crew members that are not of the crisp and clean variety, and you have…yuk!

Anyhow, I’ve done my best and decided that these are knocked-together mining tools (presumably for lobbing explosives somewhere when strip mining or something) hence the reason for the crude construction and very bright white and red warning stripes.

In my humble opinion, these would do better as part of a low-tech sci-fi range, and don’t mix very well with the walkers:

These I like much more than the Shakers. Not quite sure why half the firepower points backwards, and why the gunner is unprotected in any way, but I do like the basic shape and stance, and the decided “chicken” look about them.

As I’ve decided that the Boontown dwarf base colour is brown, these are sprayed Mournfang Brown, then washed and highlighted, and with certain bits of equipment painted separately. I then added some decals I found in the bits box and off we go.

These are much more the thing, and have inspired me to have a go at the Hearthguard platoon, now drying after it’s undercoat.

Two Pieces of Advice

This is really a post about the latest units that I’ve painted, but a post that also comes with two bits of advice.

The first piece of advice is “always buy those miniatures when you see them…as they might not be there later”.

This applies to the gruntling range from Cactus Games: space dwarves in 15mm. The standard infantry are okay: maybe a bit crude by some standards but at least they are properly dwarvish i.e. short. What are really nice, however, are the chaps in powered armour: very cubist in nature and some of my favourite 15mm sci-fi dwarf figures.

 Cubist Exo-Skeletons from Cactus

Cubist Exo-Skeletons from Cactus

I’m using the present tense here but, alas, Cactus have disappeared, taking their range with them. I mention this because searching through the lead mountain for something to paint whilst I waited for my latest Arab-Israeli figures to arrive, I came across two packs of Cactus miniatures that I hadn’t painted when I did the basic infantry and powered armour types: a set of motor-tricycles and a set of light support weapons.

The motor-trikes are great fun: very silly but full of character. They come in three bits: the front wheel and handlebars; the main body; and the chap in the turret with the gun. It was a little fiddly to get the front to glue properly to the back, but otherwise no probs.

And why is the lesson relevant? Well because I almost didn’t buy these when I bought the infantry. If I hadn’t gone for it then, then I wouldn’t have had these…ever.

The second lesson is “always put all your spare parts in a ‘bits box’”. This is because the light support weapon packs came with two crew figures but a very weedy-looking LSW on a very flimsy bipod. No matter: a quick dip into my bits box and I came up with enough meaty looking weapons to outfit the three teams. The guns are spare turret-mounted weapons from sci-fi vehicles, but I can’t remember the manufacturer. They do nicely as mining lasers adapted for combat.

The stands for the guns, btw, are hama beads. Always good to raid your children’s hama bead collection: they make very useful stands, dividers etc!

So there you have it: two more units for the space dwarves and two important lessons for wargamers everywhere.

Let me hear you say them again:

always buy those miniatures when you see them…as they might not be there later

always put all your spare parts in a ‘bits box’

Grudd Infantry from Onslaught Miniatures

If I played my sci-fi in 6mm, then Onslaught Miniatures would be my first port of call. A nice variety of figures with some quite deep ranges i.e. more than just one type of infantry and a support weapon: most of their ranges have got 20+ codes in them.

But I don’t: I play in 15mm…which is why it is so great that Onslaught have now expanded their collection to include 15mm versions of a limited number of their 6mm ranges.

Although I really liked the 15mm Sisterhood range (big women with big guns), they never really got going with it: releasing only a couple of codes and then seeming to go no further.

One 15mm range, however, that does have more than a couple of codes in it is their Grudd range. Whatever the official background, it’s obvious that these are normal-human-sized space dwarves.

grud1.JPG

The four-squad platoon above is a combination of their Grudd Clansmen, Siege Breakers and Demolishers and looks pretty spectacular, especially with all those outrageous power tools.

What I’m now hoping is that they expand their entire 6mm Grudd range into 15mm…

the grudd range in 6mm so far

Q13: Last of the Invaders

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.

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:

1.invaders.JPG

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.

More Martian Tripods

Still working my way through all my All Quiet on the Martian Front tripods.

First up are three more Scout Tripods:

Only three more of them to go!

Next is a quick one off: the Slaver Tripod, which I will be using as the command tripod for the Invaders' AFV force:

That's a metal tripod (the Scout Tripods are all plastic kits) and weighs in pretty heavy.

Finally for this batch, there's an extra I picked up as part of the Kickstarter offer: a downed Assault Tripod.

That's it for this update: plenty more tripods to go.

Oh, and I've had a chance to update the TFL Painting Challenge Scorecard.

First of the Martians

last weekend's work

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.

Flying Drones

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.

I'm very pleased with the result.

The first three scout tripods

A Busy Weekend

Those of you who follow this blog regularly will know that I have been painting Khurasan Miniatures' 15mm sci-fi range called "The Invaders". This consists of three sets of miniatures: the Science Caste (little grey men), the War Caste (little green men), and two types of Warborg battle robot.

Warborg Heavies - rather nice

They are all done now, but what I need are some vehicles to go along with them. I was wondering whether to start a quick search of the 'net for something appropriate when I remembered that I had several boxes of unbuilt and unpainted models from the All Quiet on the Martian Front Kickstarter. What could be more appropriate for vehicles to accompany a range called The Invaders?

A quick root through the lower slopes of the lead mountain and there they were. And a quick Bank Holiday Monday later, and here is about half of the initial build:

In total, I seem to have acquired about 18 of the large tripods, so there's another shelf's worth in addition to what's shown.

I didn't have any instructions, so had to work out how to put them together from pictures of completed models. Not a problem: they go together intuitively, and there's only a couple of critical points that you need to be aware of during construction.

Now all I have to do is paint them!

Last Of the Astagar: the AFVs

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.

More Invaders!

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.

Recommended.

First of the Invaders!

Another 15mm sci-fi range that I've found at the back of the cupboard is Khurasan's "Alien Invasion".

At the moment, the range consists of three different types of infantry and one truly and utterly ridiculously huge transport (and yes, that is a 15mm tank for scale comparison).

Leaving aside the £50 piano stool shown right, the infantry are actually quite fun. The three different types are the Greys (little grey men available as scientists or armed), the War Caste (little green men) and the Kalinekt Warborg battle robots.

So far I have only had a chance to paint the Kalinekt Warborgs, but they have turned out very nicely indeed. There are two different types: a standard 'borg with a machine pistol and a heavy 'borg armed with a giant gatling-style cannon. Both types have several very characterful poses.

The 'borgs are about 20mm high, and I can't wait to get these chaps onto the battlefield.

Same figures, different angle