Sunday, 10 January 2021

Battle of the Gordon Flat

 To amuse myself on a quiet Saturday afternoon, I decided to lay out a couple of my Sierra Foxtrot armies in a diorama - The Battle of the Gordon Flat. An outnumbered Southern Commonwealth cavalry squadron desperately attempts to hold back a Malroid swarm centered around 3 Scorp-mechs. 








These images also give an indication where my 15mm terrain set is at, and overall I'm happy with the progress. I now have plenty of hills and woods, and decent progress has been made on the buildings.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year all! Fingers crossed that 2021 is less crazy than 2020, and going back to in-person gaming is possible. 

One small bright spot from the last days of 2020 - I made a new gamer friend. One of my neighbors noticed that a package for me was labelled "miniatures" and mentioned that he painted models as well. A couple of hang-out-painting evenings have seen rapid progress on projects that had previously been moving along very slowly. I'm almost ready to have to order some more models.

First units finished were the Reaper drones for the Malroids. Both units of these are now fully painted and based up. 



Next up is some minor additions for the Zhaleed Empire. I've finished some elite Zealot infantry (who for now will serve as bodyguards for the High Templar), and a couple of ground attack aircraft stands. (Anybody who recognizes the retro ground-attack aircraft type... congratulations Comrade, you earn 20 Great Patriotic War geek points).



But the addition I am most pleased with is a snake-mech for The Serpents. 




The model is a Skuttler centipede mech from Khurasan Miniatures. A purchased it with the intent of probably not using the legs, and this has worked out quite well. 

So I have now caught up with basically all the 15mm sci-fi models I had sitting around... so its time to order some more. :-) My thoughts for next expansions at this stage (in rough order of priority); 

  • Some infantry with transports for the Wolf-Knights. There are quite a few ranges of human(oids) in full power armor, so I just have a select which design I like. 
  • Air support for each army. The Zhaleed have theirs, and I've found a model I like for the Serpents. So I just need to find suitable models for the Wolf-Knights, Malroids, and SC. 
  • At least one other type of infantry-scale combat drone for the Malroids
  • The "Tactical Node" command stand for the Malroids. At this stage my thought is actually to look at starship combat miniatures, and in particular at space stations or spherical ships. 

Friday, 25 December 2020

Cyber-Swarms

Joyeux Noël everybody! Nearly at the end of a crazy year, so here's hoping 2021 turns out a bit better than 2020.

Trying to look on the bright side of life, while I haven't been able to do a lot of gaming in 2020, I have been able to do a decent amount of painting and modelling. I now have some good terrain and armies for both 6mm and 15mm, so once we're able to gather again I should be able to run some fun and impressive looking battles. 

A few Christmas presents (from myself) arrived today and yesterday, the last 15mm models I currently have on order. Yesterday the Shalur mercenaries from Rebel Minis arrived, which fills out the Malroid Swarm force with some infantry. 


With these latest additions, it seems time to fill out some background fluff on the Malroids...


The Malroid Swarm

One of the greatest threats known to humanity (and all species) is the Malroid Swarm. These mysterious robot armies of unconfirmed origin possess terrifyingly advanced technology, and an unrelenting commitment to the destruction of all organic life. Every attempt to communicate with the swarm has failed. When they arrive on an inhabited world there can be only one of two outcomes - every Malroid combat unit is destroyed, or the world is reduced to a lifeless husk.

The origin of the Malroids is unknown. It has been noted that their technology shares many similarities with that of the Crystal City and its constructs. This has lead to speculation that both are linked in some way, possibly both being built by the same (now extinct) alien civilization. One popular variation of this idea is that the Malroids wiped out their creators, leaving only a few remnants (such as the Crystal City) behind.

While new units are occasionally encountered, by and large the Malroids rely on a few standard drone types.

Scorpion Assault Mechs

One of the most formidable war-machines encountered by humanity, the Scorpion-mech provides the primary heavy support to the Malroid swarms. Equipped with extremely resilient shields, heavy physical armor, and a range of destructive weapons, the Scorpion is an extremely dangerous opponent. 

The primary long range armament of the Scorpion is its "energy-stinger" - an intense beam of energy emitted from the tail which disintegrates matter on contact. The exact nature of this energy beam is a mystery to human science; it is not a laser, particle beam, or any other form of energy weapon humans can construct. While heavy enough armor can resist the beam to a degree, it is an extremely potent weapon. 

For close combat the Scorpion's two front pincers can be surrounded by an energy field (exact nature again unknown) which allows them to slice through even the thickest armor plate. This makes Scorpions very effective in assaults with other mechs. 

The last (and probably most distinctive) major capability of the Scorpions is they are equipped with a version of teleportation device. While very short ranged (only able to beam objects up/down from up to a few hundred meters away) and only usable on objects up to a few hundred kg in mass, this device has at least two extremely useful applications. First, it can be used as a terrifyingly effective weapon. Enemy soldiers that approach within range can simply be beamed up, and never beamed down again - in effect they simply cease to exist. Second, the Scorpion can beam up friendly forces and hold them in a buffer. At a desired moment during a battle the friendly unit can be beamed down, providing immediate reinforcements. In effect this allows the Scorpion to act as an infantry transport, just without having to physically hold the units within its hull.  

Reaper Biped Drones



The drones designated as "Reapers" are human-sized bipedal robots who fill the role of conventional infantry for Malroid forces. The hand-held energy weapons they typically employ appear to be of the same nature as the stingers on the Scorpion-mechs, but at significantly lower intensity. Reapers are significantly tougher than humans or most other biological species, able to withstand considerable damage and continue to operate effectively. 

In combat Reapers are typically deployed in one of two ways. Most commonly a platoon sized formation will be beamed in from a Scorpion-mech to sweep an area and exterminate any survivors. Alternatively, some large Malroid structures have teleporters with much greater range than those carried on-board the Scorpions (it is estimated up to tens, perhaps hundreds of kilometers) which allows Reapers to be beamed directly into combat from a nearby base. 

Banshee Attack Skimmers


The fast attack craft designated as "Banshee" type are one of the most numerous drones in the Malroid Swarm, and perform a number of different tasks. They provide reconnaissance and tactical data, locating opposing forces for other units to engage. They provide a fast attack unit, able to engage any enemy forces that can evade heavier units like the Scorpion. And they can provide a precision strike capability, able to target and engage high-value enemy units. 

The Banshee-type comes in a number of different configurations, with different equipment fits. The most common is the medium-attack configuration (as pictured above), armed with a medium energy cannon. However versions with different weapons, unarmed purely recon, and troop transport versions have all been encountered. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Occupy the Buildings

 The SC infantry stands have been finished; 




I'm reasonably happy with how these guys have come out. The final color scheme I like. While there is maybe some more detailing and improvements to the highlighting I could come back to in future, I'm calling these guys done for now. 

Fifteenmillville

For my next project, as a change of pace I'm going back to improving my 15mm terrain. Fortunately a lot of the terrain I did for 6mm is usable at 15mm. The hills and river sections definitely can, and even the trees look passably to scale to my mind. So it's basically the human-built structures I need to work on - buildings and roads. Here is where I'm at right now; 



Six buildings and two 24"/60cm road lengths, mostly base-coated. So a passable start, and probably enough to use in actual games. But also definitely room to make better. 

The first building piece I want to finish off is the fast-food restaurant. The building is from the Battlefield-in-a-Box range, but based up to include a drive-thru and parking lot. All that's strictly needed on this piece is to add the road markings. But as a stretch goal I'm considering re-painting the roof, maybe to either blue or orange. 

An army marches on its stomach

After that I want to improve the generic square buildings, which are MDF kits from Gamecraft Miniatures.



The quality of these is excellent. They're laser-cut (so the pieces fit together perfectly) and the tabbed design made for very easy assembly. The large windows do mean that the basic building looks like its under construction, so I'm thinking of finding something in the way of a colored plastic to use as windows, and maybe add some interior walls. 

After that it's the apartment block (brown building in the images above), convenience store, some more roads, and roading features (intersection, maybe an overpass). After which (oh, who am I kidding, it's happening right now) I'll have to start googling for some more "sci-fi" looking buildings to buy. 

After this is complete, I think I'll have a pretty decent set of kit for 15mm sci-fi games. While sadly COVID means it may still be a while before I can start gaming again, I'll probably amuse myself by setting up dioramas. Maybe even several in links set to describe fictional battles. 




Thursday, 10 December 2020

The Serpents - Rules and Background

The Serpent army has been done for a while now. However writing up stats and background for them hasn't happened yet and is long overdue. This is incomplete, but its a start...

Serpent Warrior Company

The aliens known as The Serpents are an aggressive militaristic reptilian species. They have roughly humanoid upper bodies merging into snake-like tails below the waist. While resembling snakes they have a hive-like social structure, with the enormous Nest-Queens being served by numerous roughly human-sized drones and warriors. While they are more often hostile to humans than not, communication between the two species is possible, and there have even been occasional examples of co-operation.

While The Serpents communicate primarily by spoken words just as humans do, the vocal apparatus and hearing ranges of the two species are simply too different for either to learn the other's language. All communication is done using technological assistance - hence why the species is referred to as "The Serpents" rather than their own name for themselves. On the rare occasions when humans interact with individual Serpents, they are assigned a name arbitrarily by the humans they are interacting with (with reptiles from myth or fiction being popular choices).

The technology of the Serpents is somewhat superior to that of Terra, but not so much so as to be overwhelming. Their 'Viper' battlesuits are a rough match for Terran tanks, and they make extensive use of crew served weapons. Perhaps the most distinctive and terrifying weapon in their arsenal is the psychic abilities of the Nest-Queens themselves. The telekinetic powers of these giant reptiles can throw whole units of soldiers and even armored vehicles around like toys, from a distance of several miles.


A force based around a Serpent Warrior Company must contain;

  • A Nest-Queen
  • Two Serpent Warrior Platoons

It may optionally add:

  • An additional Serpent Warrior Platoon
  • Up to two Viper Battlesuit Platoons
  • Up to two ST-8 'Furious' AT Cannon Platoons
  • Up to two SA-3 'Joker' Mortar Platoons






HQ

Nest-Queen and Prince Escort

The HQ of a Warrior Company consists of a Nest-Queen with 5 shields, and a single Serpent Warrior stand.



COMBAT UNITS

2 or 3 Serpent Warrior Platoons

Serpent infantry are organized along roughly similar lines to their human equivalents. Pairs of Warriors operate together, and three or four of these form a basic combat unit. Each Serpent platoon typically includes 5 sections with standard firearms, 2 sections with grenade launchers, and a commander. The whole formation is transported in 3 'Coil' APCs.


  • 5 Serpent Warrior Stands, 2 Serpent Grenadier Stands, and 1 Command stand with 3 'Coil' Transports        [Y0] points


Armour
Name Rating Mobility Front Side Top Notes
Coil Confident Veteran Low-Grav 6 2 1

Weapon Range ROF AT FP Notes
Hex Pulse-Blaster 24" / 60cm 6 4 5+





Wednesday, 2 December 2020

SC Cavalry Reinforcements

A second batch of miniatures for the SC Cavalry force has arrived, meaning I now have all the models to fill the TO&E. All the new vehicles have been assembled and base-coated.
Still a lot of detailing and drybrushing to be done, but it's looking good. One set of models in particular I want to put a bit more time into is the infantry stands. I started working on them with a color scheme in my head, but even at this early stage its looking very meh. The color scheme on the Rebel Mini web-site looks good (and would fit well with the vehicles) so I'm going to try and duplicate that.

The rocket launcher and ATGM variants of the APC have come out well; 







So yeah, all looking good, and it shouldn't be too long before this force is ready to go. 

Sierra Foxtrot (SF) - Overall Review


Standing back and looking at my painting table right now...


... I think there are two very clear conclusions here. First, I have spent waaayyyy too much money on miniatures and really need to get a social life. But also point two, these are five very cool 15mm sci-fi armies either finished or well underway. 

The last models I currently have on order is these guys - Shalur mercenaries. The plan is paint them up in a black/dark purple scheme and use them as infantry for the Malroid Swarm force. 


After that the Malroids need some form of command model. Right now the thought is a "Tactical Node" - an eerie, floating supercomputer, maybe in the form of a sphere or Platonic solid.  

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Send in the Cavalry

The latest Sierra Foxtrot army I've started working on is the most conventional - a "Southern Commonwealth Cavalry Squadron". A straightforward mixed armour/mech infantry formation (using sci-fi vehicles) from a fictional future Earth nation. 


The models are the Merka 5 tank, Earthforce APC, and Earthforce Home Guard, all from Rebel Minis. I also found (and I don't know if this is by design or convenient coincidence) the turret ring on the APC is a close match for the Animech weapons, which made for very easy conversion of ATGM and missile launcher variants. 

This force presented a good opportunity to do something I've needed to do for a while - actually write up profiles and army lists for the units. This force was quite easy to stat up. Not having any weird sci-fi units, I could just find a real-world unit that fit the role and tweak them slightly. It also provides a good baseline. Having the profile of a conventional army fixed will provides a starting point for stating out the more unconventional units. 


Southern Commonwealth Cavalry Squadron

While Earth is no longer the only human world, it remains a major population center, and home to several major powers. One of these is the Southern Commonwealth - a federal state including what was once the countries of Australia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, and several Pacific Island nations.

The technology available to humanity is significantly below the level of the Malroids or Citadel forces, and even slightly below that of the Serpents. Nevertheless, it has proved sufficient for human armies to hold their own. The armored Cavalry Squadrons fielded by the Southern Commonwealth are an example of this. While Terran science has only vague theories as to the nature of the energy beams the Malroids use, battlefield experience has shown that the heavy armor of the Lion MBT provides a reasonable level of protection against them. Similarly the gauss rifles used by human infantry are also, for the most part, capable of taking on their equivalents in higher technology forces.

The composition of a Southern Cavalry Squadron would be reasonably familiar to soldiers from even as far back as the Second World War - a core of battle tanks and mechanized infantry, supported by artillery and heavy weapon vehicles.


A force based around a Southern Commonwealth Cavalry Squadron must contain;

  • An HQ Armour Section
  • Two Armour Troops

It may optionally add:

  • An additional Armour Troop
  • Up to three Mechanised Infantry Troops
  • An ATGM Troop
  • A Rocket Artillery Troop




SQUADRON HQ

The HQ of a Cavalry Squadron consists of a single Lion MBT (see below for profile).

COMBAT UNITS

2 or 3 Armoured Troops

The Lion main battle tank forms the core of SC armoured forces. Its frontal armour is heavy enough that it pushes the limits of Terran engineering (which impacts on the tank's mobility and reliability) but it has also proved strong enough to withstand almost any battlefield threat. The main armament is a tight-focus 1.2 megajoule charged particle cannon. Some tanks are also fitted with the 'Halfback' laser Close-In-Weapon-System for defense against missiles and air threats.



HQ Lion MBT with:
  • 2 Lion MBT Sections       [X0] points
  • 3 Lion MBT Sections       [X1] points

    Options

  • Add two 'Halfback' CIWS to each Lion for +[X2] points for a 3-strong troop, or +[X3] points for a 4-strong troop.

  • Armour
    Name Rating Mobility Front Side Top Notes
    Lion MBT Confident Trained Tracked 20 7 2

    Weapon Range ROF AT FP Notes
    1.2 MJ Particle Cannon 32" / 80cm 2 22 2+ Brutal, Stabilized
    Halfback CIWS 16" / 40cm 4 2 5+ AA

    0 - 3 Mechanised Infantry Troops

    The rugged APC-2 series of armoured vehicles are the backbone of Commonwealth armies. The basic hull and engine have been used in numerous variants, from the original IFV, to artillery and heavy weapons platforms, to command, ambulance, and armoured recovery vehicles. Commonwealth infantry lack some of the advanced gadgets their opponents have, but are brave and well-trained, and can generally hold their own. 



    • 5 Commonwealth Infantry Sections with 3 APC-2 Transports        [Y0] points


    Armour
    Name Rating Mobility Front Side Top Notes
    APC-2 Confident Trained Tracked 5 2 1

    Weapon Range ROF AT FP Notes
    720 kJ Particle Cannon 24" / 60cm 2 14 3+
    DFD-12 Missile Launcher 32" / 80cm 1 20 4+ Move or Fire


    So, that's at least the core units for the Cavalry Squadron done. The ATGM and launcher variants of the APC are still to-do;


    ... but I'll stat those up once I have the full troops finished.