Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Blast from the Laserburn Past

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic of late, perhaps as a result of the plethora of glossy new rules, designer boxed set factions and nascent kickstarter projects that have been swamping the wargaming market. This is all a good thing and I've been tempted several times to dive into yet another new period with inevitable consequences for both the bank balance and the leadpile. I have yet to make a mental note to myself about the inevitable futilty of anything in 28mm, let alone epic 30mm of whatever it's called these days...

So, when I think back to the time when rules came in photocopied booklets with hand-drawn illustrations and reference sheets banged out with a typewriter, tippex and a ruler, I get a little bit emotional. When I started wargaming back in the early '80's this was the standard and, at that time, was perfectly acceptable. It made rules cheap and readily available, although you had to actually write a letter and a cheque, then wait a couple of weeks for the stuff to arrive in the post (although it did arrive at the crack of dawn, not at five o'clock in the afternoon).

One such set of rules that I aquired, aged 13, was Imperial Commander, written by Richard Halliwell and Bryan Ansell and published by the now defunct Tabletop Games. A freind of mine had got hold of a copy of Laserburn, so I decided to try out the mass combat extension to the rules, using our 15mm Laserburn figures to play a few games. In the end, my mate lost interest and we drifted off into Squad Leader and Cry Havoc, but I still held onto my Red Redemptionist and Imperial forces for a rainy day.

When I re-ignited my long dormant interest in wargaming about ten years ago, it was no surprise that I started out with Imperial Commander, setting up a yahoo group dedicated to the Laserburn rules aptly, yet inconveniently titled For a few Gonads More. It was surprisingly popular and, although now effectively dead, did stimulate a lot of interest in the rules and the 15mm figure range that was designed for it. It even spawned the niche but popular Beamstrike rules, something for which I can take little credit:

I also put together a Red Redemptionist Force using the TTG figures and some now unavailable Peter Pig robots, although the standard of painting left a lot to be desired, especially as I was using Humbrol Enamels. I'm not sure what happened to the army but it's now long gone and is probably gathering dust in a box somewhere or contributing to yet more landfill.

Anyway, I recently acquired some second hand 15mm Laserburn Imperial figures on Ebay for old times sake. The lead rot hasn't set in yet and they're in pretty good shape, considering their vintage and the fact that they haven't seen the light of day since 1983 or thereabouts. I also have some figures in a box that I didn't get round to painting back in 2003, so I have enough to put together a fairly decent Imperial Assault Group if I wanted to.

A quick search on the web and it appears that the Laserburn range is still available from, even though the price has now skyrocketed to 40p per figure. They're not bad sculpts for their age but 40p is a bit steep for a thirty year old range of old school sci-fi figures. They do offer a blister pack deal, however, which is better value and could fill in the gaps in my existing ranks. The figures are pretty good for their age, especially the Redemptionists, which have a really cool desert wasteland warrior thing going on.

Will I give in to temptation and order a few packs of scout skimmers, trikes and warrior lords, or will I ignore the tug of nostalgia and crack on with the projects that have littered the verges of my path of progress this year? It's tempting but I have other things to do this month, so the final decision can wait until the dust has settled and I've completed the Bag the Hun aircraft for the club game. is tempting though?


  1. am thinking of getting back into lazerburn but with modern 15mm figures

  2. I had a copy of laserburn. Gawd knows where it is now.

  3. I'm quite soon (hopefully) going to embark on a 15mm Rogue Trader project using figures from They just seem to suite the oldschool feel of it all.



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