Friday, 26 February 2021

Snakes on a Plane

 Latest batch of new models have arrived, these ones from ClearHorizon Miniatures. These were actually ordered last year, but because some of the models were on backorder they took a while to arrive. 

The first models ordered were some air support for the Serpents.



(Obligatory Samuel L. Jackson scene.)

The model is the Night-Stalker from their HADES range. It comes with a large cannon, but to me it's too large and looks a bit comical, so I've left it off. 

Next up is more air support, this time for the Wolf-Knights.




The model is the SX-18 Aurora. It's a little smaller than I prefer for my 15mm aircraft models, but not too small to use. I'm justifying the smaller size by saying that the Wolf-Knights higher tech-level lets them pack the same level of capability into a smaller aircraft. This model was a little fiddly to assemble - 8 pieces, fitting together such that the interior is hollow. The reason for this is you can model it with the rear panel lowered and use it as a transport. But I'm calling mine purely fighter aircraft. 

The last model I ordered I something I am using as transports, the USHI shuttle. I picked up four of these, enough to transport my platoon of fusilier infantry. 



I've painted one up fully to try out the colour scheme, which I'm happy with. I'll get the last three done over the next few days, and at that point the Wolf-Knights will be something like 70-80% done. The last thing left is I've ordered three more of the Wolf-Mechs, but that might have been excessive - depending on how I stat things out, I've probably got enough to field a standard sized force with just the models I already have. 



Monday, 22 February 2021

Defenders of the Crystal Citadel

The last of the Sierra Foxtrot armies I have on my painting table (at least for now...) is the Wolf-Knights, AKA the Defenders of the Crystal Citadel. 



Unfortunately this force is still waiting on a last couple of models to arrive. I was hopeful they might get delivered while I was out of town last week, but it was not to be. So I have finished all the units I have on hand. Still to arrive are three more wolf-mechs (large bases in the image above are stand-ins), four transport shuttles for the infantry, and a pair of ground attack aircraft. 

The Republic of the Crystal Citadel

When humanity started to explore the galaxy during the First Expansion, one of the most amazing discoveries they made was the Crystal Citadel - an ancient city filled with incredibly advanced technology, seemingly abandoned, and with little to no evidence about its builders. While the technology of the Citadel was so advanced as to make attempts to reverse-engineer it hopeless, it did contain automated manufacturing facilities that allowed its human occupants to build a number of devices from standard templates. The most famous of these are the Wolf-Mechs. 

When the interstellar gates mysteriously ceased working during The Closure, the explorers investigating the Citadel were (as with all the colony worlds) cut off from Earth. For nearly two-hundred years the inhabitants of the Citadel had to fend for themselves, developing their own culture and shared history. When the gates re-opened at the start of the Second Expansion, they declined to re-join either any Terran state or the United Nations, instead declaring themselves an independent republic. The Republic of the Crystal Citadel has generally friendly relations with most human states (both on Terra and other former colonies) but it steadfastly maintains its independence. 

Units

The core of the Wolf-Knight force is (unsurprisingly) the Wolf-Mechs themselves. I've assembled these in three variants so far - cannon armed, missile launcher armed, and the Black-Wolf with medium missile launcher. 


Supporting the wolves I so far have two additional unit types. First, the fast scout/recon Outriders


And second, the infantry units which I am calling Fusiliers;



So the Wolf-Knights are now about two-thirds done, with the last models still on order. And that, plus a scout unit for the Southern Commonwealth and air-support for the Serpents (again, awaiting models on order) will complete my five Sierra Foxtrot armies. 

After that the question becomes, what should my next gaming/miniature project be? At the moment 15mm sci-fi is still enthusing me, so I'm tempted by the notion of either creating one or two more SF armies (and I've even got my eye on some suitable model ranges) or adding unit types to the five existing armies (again, a few candidate models are being considered). But for the short term I think I might work on my terrain. I'm considering making a sparse, desert board, going for a look somewhere between US south-west, Mars, or World of Warcraft Badland zone. 



Monday, 8 February 2021

The Completed Swarm and Future Plans

 I've finished three new units for the Malroid Swarm army - the air support, the Tactical Node command unit, and the 'Apollyon' artillery units. 







These additions make this army fully complete, with the target six unit types all painted and finished. The Zhaleed Empire army is also done. The Serpents and Southern Commonwealth armies both only have one unit to go - a platoon of scout vehicles for the SC, and air support for the Serpents. Models for both have been ordered.

Works in Progress

With most of the Sierra Foxtrot armies either finished or very close to finished, I've started thinking about what my next project should be. It makes sense to start with the models I've already bought, which means two forces in progress. First, finishing the Wolf-Knights for Sierra Foxtrot;


These guys are around 50% complete. I've got three more of the wolf-mechs on order, which I'll assemble two with guns, one with missile packs (large bases in image shown are stand-ins). I have the infantry platoon assembled and primed, so these are probably the next thing I'll work on. The plan is to go with a mostly white Stormtrooper-esque scheme, with blue shoulder pads to match the wolves. A platoon of transports have also been ordered. 

The other army on my painting table right is something completely different (sorry, no John Cleese in a bikini this time; apologies to his fans) - a House Stark army for Song of Ice and Fire. Three infantry stands, a cavalry stand, and a Dire Wolf, all just primed at the moment.

This was a completely random purchase on a whim. I saw it on the shelf, figured I hadn't played 28mm fantasy for a while (not since Warhammer 8th Edition, and I've sold my Dark Elf army) so I figured "why not". The core box comes with both Starks and Lannisters, so I figure I'll get the Starks done first, play a couple of games, then do some research into what armies/expansions are available. If models are available, the idea of a Dornish force has some appeal. (And if models aren't available... well, some War of the Ring Haradrim/Easterlings would probably work as a decent stand-in). 

Apart from these two forces, the other main project I'm thinking about is varying my terrain setups. Right now I have a very passable "summer grass" layout, with a flocked 8'x4' mat and matching hills. But I'd like to be able to play on a more desert table. Not pure sand, but like the rocky, sparse prairie terrain you get in the US south-west. There are a few companies that make battle-mats in this theme, so I'll read some reviews and pick one. Then probably make some new hills to match.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Sierra Foxtrot - Jan 2021 Review

Some new models arrived yesterday, which means it's time for a review of the Sierra Foxtrot armies. I've decided to aim for six unit types for each force, and I'm getting close to achieving this. I figure two more orders (one already placed, plus one more after that) should do it. 

(Links below BTW are the sites I ordered through; some may be online re-sellers, not direct from the manufacturer.)

Going through army by army...

Zhaleed Empire

The Zhaleed Empire is complete, with the target six unit types, all fully painted.



The Malroid Swarm

The Swarm is very close to complete, with 5 unit types fully painted and the last unit assembled and in progress.


  • Scorpion assault mechs (Rebel Minis).
  • Banshee attack skimmers (Aries Games & Minis).
  • Reaper infantry drones (Shalur mercenaries from Rebel Minis).
  • Apollyon artillery drones (Soriog "Gundogs" from Khurasan Minis)
  • The Tactical Node (A Ground Zero Games Outrim Coalition Heavy Cruiser type-B).
  • Ground attack aircraft (Ground Zero Games Chalutz Chalal class Heavy Battleship. I've chosen to leave off the metal pieces for the rear engines.)


The Serpents

Serpent ground forces are complete and painted up. While they already have 6 unit types, I want to include air support for all the Sierra Foxtrot armies, and I've found a model I think fits. This is on order and awaiting arrival. 



  • The Serpent Warrior infantry units, with transports (the Astragar range through Ral Partha, and Sirrus APC from Alternate Armies).
  • Viper Battlesuits (also from the Astragar range).
  • Serpent Warrior direct fire cannon unit (ditto).
  • Serpent Warrior mortar unit (ditto).
  • Anaconda assault mech ("Skuttler" centipede mech from Khurasan Minis; I just left off the legs).
  • The Nest-Queen (plastic toy Cobra from Hobby Lobby, repainted).


The Southern Commonwealth

The Southern Commonwealth force currently has 5 units, all painted up and ready. Except for the air support (which are Panavia Tornados from Battlefront) these models are all from Rebel Minis.



For the last SC unit, I debated the option of adding a humanoid mech (this guy was being considered), but now I'm leaning towards some sort of scout/recon unit. Maybe something like a humvee or a dune-buggy type vehicle.

The Wolf-Knights

The army probably furthest from being finished is the Wolf-Knights. Being generous, I'm counting the cannon-armed, missile-launcher armed, and Black Wolf mechs as separate unit types. So with the Outriders that's four.


So two new unit types needed, and it's straight-forward enough what they should be - infantry and air-support. And models for both have been ordered. 

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.