Saturday, 24 October 2020

Sierra Foxtrot - Fall Update

OK, latest batch of models has arrived, so time for an update. 

I forgot to mention last post that the Alternative Armies order also included a few of the Sirrus APCs. The very distinctive (but clearly sci-fi) look of these appealed to me, so I grabbed some as transports for the Serpents. They are now nicely equipped as effectively a mechanized infantry formation. 

The sandworm models are also coming along nicely - just some highlighting and texturing the bases to go and they'll be done. In setting I've decided to name these animals Ahzi-Dhaka, or Sand-Krakens. The assumption is there is an armored body which remains underground, and the primary and secondary tentacles emerge to attack. So I guess maybe more similar to the Graboids from the Tremors movies than the Sandworms of Dune. Each Sand-Kraken formation will include a unit of "Callers" - the humans who in some manner are able to guide and control them.

(As a minor aside, it wasn't until I was painting them that I realized quite how phallic some of the sandling models are. But I'm choosing to look on the bright side and remember that laugher is good. Even juvenile snickering about formations of "sand penises" (penii? ... oddly enough, not a word I have ever needed the plural of much). )

But the most recent arrivals (and last items I have ordered for the moment) is a second batch from Rebel Minis. This was a mix of new models, and extras of things I already had. In the box was; 

  • The second Sahadeen platoon to round out the Zhaleed Empire force
  • Some Sahadeen heavy weapons, which will be assembled on BF medium bases. Then the question is whether they should be distributed as teams in the infantry platoons, or formed up as a separate heavy weapons platoon.
  • Three more Wolf animechs to expand the Wolf-Knight force
  • And a few other random models to be blogged about at a future date

Saturday, 17 October 2020


Latest batch of random 15mm sci-fi models have arrived, from Alternative Armies based in the UK. 

The main purpose of this order was to expand out the Zhaleed Empire force. The Greater Sandworm and Sandworm Swarm models were perfect for this Dune-themed army. On top of that they had some figures in robes that will fit nicely as a priestly Templar caste, which I'll scatter through the force as officer/HQ models. 


So the models for the initial Zhaleed Empire force are mostly received and assembled. A second platoon of Sahadeen infantry is still on backorder, but once those arrive the force will be ready to put on the table. 

In terms of expanding the force, I have enough of the robed figures I could base them up as a full platoon (maybe an elite "zealot" unit or something). And since I'm already using the BTRs, any modern Soviet equipment would fit in. The ZSU-23 is one of my favorite armored vehicles (why are AA vehicles always the coolest looking?) so I might add a unit of them.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

The Malroid Swarm Expands...

Yesterday afternoon the latest batch of new models arrived - some Banshee attack skimmers, ordered through Aries games. The models are plastic, and the quality and detailing is excellent. Literally no trimming or tidying required, I just painted them up straight out of the pack. They are nominally 10mm scale, but since I'm using them as unmanned drones they fit in nicely with my 15mm scale forces. 

With these new additions I think the Malroids are now a fieldable army. If each of the Scorp mechs was equivalent to a heavy tank platoon, and each of the Banshee's were equivalent to a medium tank, this formation would be roughly equivalent to an armored company. 

The next additions I'd like to add to this force would be some smaller infantry-bots. Right now I'm considering these guys - the blank faceplates gives an eerie, ominous look which fits nicely with the army theme. 

But really the next step has to be writing up some stats and rules, for both the Malroids and the Serpents. I'll be using Flames of War as the core system, and (as a starting point) "counts as" proxying from the existing WW2 army lists to get very rough initial points costs. From there I'll start adding any needed Special Rules and tweaking stats/points to better reflect the sci-fi units. 

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Sierra Foxtrot - Army Ideas

 With the Serpent army finished, the next thing required is opponents to face them. The obvious and lazy solution would be to use my existing Flames of War or Team Yankee armies (and I probably will do this at some point). But it would be much cooler to build some suitable sci-fi armies so the Serpents can face opponents from their own genre. 

Cue much Googling for random 15mm sci-fi models. 

There are actually quite a few small companies that make 15mm sci-fi ranges, and a lot of them are pretty cool. A few random orders were placed, and here are the results; 

The Malroid Swarm

The first OpForce is a simple sci-fi cliche - robot army that wants to Kill All Humans. 

For now this force has just two models, Scorpion Animechs from Rebel Miniatures. To expand this I'd like to add some sort of skimmer drone unit (in large numbers; it is supposed to be a swarm after all) and some Terminator-esque infantry. 

The Wolf-Knights

The second OpForce is inspired by the old 80s Voltron cartoon (and the more recent remake), with some ideas from Stargate: Atlantis thrown in. The Wolf mech is from the same company as the Scorpion, as are the lightcycles. The infantry are Dobermans from Steel Warrior Studios.

The concept here is that an ancient ultra-high tech civilization built and then abandoned a castle, which was later found by humanity. Conveniently this castle has automated manufacturing for things such as giant Wolf mechs and lightcycles. 

The Zhaleed Empire

The last OpForce in progress right now is the Zhaleed Empire - sci-fi Persians with a strong Dune influence. The infantry are the Shadeen range from Rebel Miniatures, with a couple of Battlefront BTR-60s that I had sitting around. These guys don't get any mechs, but instead they get something just as tough - Sandworms (or an equivalent underground desert beast). 

So that's the three opponents lined up for the Serpents. All very much works in progress right now, but they're looking good. I'm hopeful the end results should be three very decent sci-fi armies.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

The Red Army in Autumn

Coming up in October this year there is a wargaming tournament down in Lake Geneva - Autumn Wars. On the Saturday they are running a Team Yankee event, Tankers Delight. This has provided the incentive to pull out an army I have been slowly working away on for some time - a Soviet T-72 battalion. 

Unfortunately the tournament army requirements aren't to my preference; lists are 120 points, of which at least 90 points must be tanks with front armor 9 or above. The organizers are clearly MBT fans, and want to see big formations of these running around. But I'm keen enough to play a TY event that I'll forbear. 

Sitting down to organize a force that meets these requirements, here in where I'm at right now; 

To meet the minimum MBT requirement I'll either have to buy more T-72s, or add a formation of T-64s or T-80s. At the moment I'm thinking a list something like this;

T-72 Battalion

  • T-72 HQ (5 pts)
  • T-72 Company of 8 (37 pts)
  • T-72 Company of 8 (37 pts)
  • T-72 Company of 6 (27 pts)
  • Motor Rifle Company in BTR-60s (medium, 10 pts)
  • ZSU-23 Platoon of 4 (4 pts)
  • 2S1 Carnation Battery of 3 (5 pts)

This comes to 120 exactly, and also puts me comfortably above the minimum MBT requirement. 

In terms of what models have will have to acquire and finish painting, I'll need 13 more T-72s. Of the models I have now, the artillery are finished, and all the vehicles are basecoated. The infantry are assembled and primed, but that's it. 

So a decent amount of work to do. That's OK, I've got a couple of weeks to get everything finished. 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Serpent Army is Finished

I think I must be violating some law of the wargaming universe - recently projects are being completed at a faster rate than new ones are started.

Latest project completed, the Serpents for 15mm sci-fi.

Apart from the core infantry units, the formation has two heavy weapon sections. First, a heavy direct fire unit.

And second a mortar battery.

While completing the last units I also improved the basing and details on the Nest-Queen (which is now officially the commander of the whole force).

I'd really like to add stuff to this model - some armor, comms, maybe weapons or something that could represent shield generators. But that would depend on my modelling skills, which I'm not sure are up to it. For now the naked model looks decent, so rather than risk ruining it I'll use "psychic powers" as a convenient excuse to give it the capabilities I want it to have on the table.

The next step for this army will be to find a game system to use them with. My googling hasn't turned up any 15mm sci-fi systems that look interesting, so I'll likely end up writing one myself. Possible working title - Sierra Foxtrot. It's likely to be very strongly influenced by (if not to start with just directly a sci-fi version of) my favorite 15mm game system, Flames of War / Team Yankee.

Terrain Update

While the Serpents have been my main focus recently, I've also had a few side projects for a change of pace. The hills for my terrain collection are improving.

I still haven't mastered a good technique for flocking large areas in a nice even layer. So for now the method is to do an initial coat as evenly as possible, then touch up any patchy areas. This produces a decidedly uneven layer, but the end result looks decently realistic. I'm tempted to start experimenting with patching using alternate flock types (particularly some sandy/rocky textures) and see how that looks.

Robotech Reinforcements

I've added some new units to my Robotech forces. On the Zentraedi side, a couple more heavy weapon battlepods.

And for the UEDF, a couple of Phalanx destroids.

The models are actually Huo-Che battlemechs from Steel Warrior Studios, but they're more than close enough for me. I've also acquired 4 Apache helicopter gunships from GHQ. Right now they are still in their packaging (only received today), but once assembled they can either reinforce the UEDF or be part of a 6mm modern force.

A Growing City

Lastly, as part of the same order with the "Phalanx" destroids I picked up a few more buildings from Steel Warrior Studios to add a couple of extra tiles to Sixmillopolis.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

More Serpents, More Scenery

The Serpent army is coming together. Here is where it stands right now;

Battlefront large bases for the heavy weapon teams and battlesuits have arrived and everything is based up. So I no longer have any excuses, the last units need to be finished.

Battlesuits are nicely based and done.

A couple of new units have been added. First, a couple of recon/attack drones. These models were originally medium fliers from the Covenant of Antarctica fleet from Spartan Games Dystopian Wars range. The colors and design aesthetic fit in perfectly here. [Hat tip; these were painted by my brother Vaughan, who gifted me his CoA fleet.]

The next addition is a bit random. The model is just a bargain-bin plastic toy cobra. But the detailing is decent, and once repainted it actually came out looking pretty good. It fits perfectly with the overall theme of the army.

I'm not sure yet exactly what role this model will play in the list. It could just be a giant trained war-beast. But the other option (and where I'm leaning) is to have it as the "Nest Queen" - overall commander of the army, with impressive psychic powers able to throw around tanks, generate a tough protective field, that sort of stuff. 

The Hills Are Alive

After thinking about being lazy and having hills made on commission, I came across this YouTube tutorial. Which reminded me I have made my own hills in the past, so there's no reason I couldn't do so again. I mostly followed the tutorial's method, except I skipped the sanding stage. If you're covering the piece in paper-mache anyway, what does it matter if the edges are perfect? Results have been overall fairly good.

The image above shows the hills at different stages, from raw carved polystyrene, to paper-mache covered, basecoated, and then textured. The overall result I'm happy with, but the texturing could use improvement. Flocking large areas is tricky, and it's hard to get a nice even layer. This is something I'll have to practise.