Friday 30 June 2017

15mm Sci Fi Armour Markings

Thinking ahead to the hover tanks and APC's, which I hope to get started on over the weekend, I realised that I'd need some suitable decals for the unit markings, tactical numbers and so on. I had a rummage in the decal box and found quite a lot of useable stuff but also took a look online for some sci-fi style markings. I didn't find much but did turn up this sheet of 15mm Vietnam era ANZAC Centurion tank decals, which I thought would look pretty good on the sci-fi armour, especially if I can use them to create a common unit identity alongside the individual tank slogans. I just hope they will fit?

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Flashpoint Baltic Update

There's a lot of sabre rattling in the Baltic at the moment, with the Russians moaning about getting a taste of their own medicine from NATO interceptors, while NATO BALTOPS amphibious exercises wind them up to even greater heights of self-righteous indignation. It's all a bit of a storm in a teacup, unless you are unfortunate enough to live on Russia's doorstep. The video clip has been all over the Russian news of late and shows a Russian SU-27 warning off a NATO F-16 as it shadows the foreign ministers plane on a recent visit to Kaliningrad. This would make a great excuse for an accidental shoot down or mid-air collision incident, leading to a flashpoint for a Target Locked On! mini-campaign.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

15mm Sci Fi Command Hover APC

This is the GZG open topped command hover APC that I will be using for my mechanised platoon commander's runabout, rather than the enclosed command APC that will be used by the platoon command squad. I've only added one of the three guns provided in the kit, leaving the other two mountings for aerials, which I will add after the painting is completed. I've also cut down the bases on a couple of figures so that they can fit into the crew compartment, which means I have used up virtually all of the figures in the packs I originally ordered for the project. The undercoat on the APC needs to cure before I can start painting, which will kick off once I've finished the infantry.

Monday 26 June 2017

15mm Sci Fi Infantry Webbing

It's on to the webbing now, with a three stage Foundry Rawhide layering approach to bring out the detail a bit more than a simple dry brush and wash. This took a bit of time but I think it was worth it to contrast with the basecoat. I'll tackle the weapons next using a simple two stage black and dark grey method, possibly followed by a wash of black ink to add some shading. The GZG open topped hover APC has also arrived, so I'll also be gluing that together and adding a duplicate platoon commander figure, so that he can keep up with the rest of the mechanised platoon. 

Sunday 25 June 2017

15mm Sci Fi Infantry Basecoat

I've started the painting today with a basecoat dry brush of Foundry Moss in three stages, followed by an overall wash in GW Athonian Camoshade ink. It all looks a bit horrible in close up but not so bad when at arms length. I will block in the weapons and webbing next, by which time they should look a little less horrible and a bit more presentable. I'm aiming for a quick turnaround with these figures so that I can get on to the armour, so I don't mind a few short cuts if it means they get finished faster and to a workmanlike standard.

Saturday 24 June 2017

15mm Sci Fi on the workbench

I have now completed the assembly and undercoating on pretty much everything, ready for painting over the next two or three weeks, give or take one or two minor additions and extras. I'm really pleased with the overall make up of the mechanised platoon and I'm really looking forward to slapping on some paint. I still haven't decided if this will be a desert, jungle, arctic or temperate scheme, so will have to make up my mind. I should be getting started tomorrow, so I better get on with it!

New Coastal Warfare Sea Cloth

I was in the local charity shop this morning when I saw this shiny metallic blue curtain material, which looked perfect as a sea cloth for my WW2 coastal warfare games. It's a massive sheet, measuring 208'' x 56" or around 16' x 5', so I could cut it in half and have two cloths, if I can tape up the edges to stop them fraying. It matches the bases on my 1/600th scale models fairly well and does look very much like a patch of the North Sea at night time. I was thinking of spending some serious money on a custom made sea cloth but for twenty quid this will do very nicely indeed.

X29 Blockhead Battlesuits

I've had second thoughts about using the GZG US power armour figures as a heavy assault squad, although I may put one squad together just to see what they look like before I decide. While browsing TMP yesterday I noticed that the Critical Mass sci-fi range has been re-released by Ral Partha Europe, so I took a closer look. As I was scrolling through the figures I spotted two packs of X29 Blockhead Battlesuit figures, which are either power armoured infantry or some sort of robot.

I thought these would be an excellent alternative to the GZG power armour squad and would make a very good battle robot assault unit, with their head design matching well with the 'cyclops' helmets of the hard suit human infantry. They would also fit well with the Massive Atomic corporate army theme. I'm hoping that the figures will be slightly larger than the GZG infantry but I'll have to wait and see. If not, I can always use them for something else.

Friday 23 June 2017

15mm Sci Fi Hardsuit Specialists

I've been trying to squeeze the last drops out of the GZG figure packs that I have been using for the 15mm sci-fi project. The obvious way to do this was to pair up some of the leftover figures to make specialist bases on two pence coins. So, I now have two AT missile tank hunter teams, a heavy sniper team made using a modified prone SAW gunner, and either a Recon or FAO team, depending on what's required for a particular mission.

I still have a couple of command figures that I'm debating what to do with but these will probably end up as crew bases for open topped vehicles. I have ordered a couple of GZG open topped hover APC's for this very purpose, being light transport for the various specialist teams so that they can keep pace with the rest of the platoon. I now only have the command squad to base and then I'm ready to start painting.

Sci Fi Scenario Generator

I thought this might be useful when planning ahead for 15mm sci-fi platoon level gaming and, as usual with Nordic Weasel material, it delivers exactly what it says on the cover. There is a scenario and campaign generating system in No Stars in Sight already, which is perfectly good, but I thought this little supplement for generic use would also be handy.

The scenario generation bit consists of a series of charts and tables which, together with a D10, will give you a well focussed and logical basis for a range of missions including defensive, offensive and 'patrol' type objectives. I particularly like the way on which unequal or unbalanced forces can be incorporated so that neither side has an undue advantage over the other.

There is also quite a lot of 'randomness' to throw some uncertainty into the equation, so the Fog of War aspect is well represented. This includes side missions and unexpected circumstances that can pop up to spoil your day. This is a really good little supplement at a very good price and I'm keen to give it a try when I get my 15mm sci-fi forces are finished.

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Massive Atomic Corporation

For want of a better idea, I've decided that my 15mm hard suit mechanised platoon will be a unit of a corporate army, tasked with asset protection, counter-insurgency and resource acquisition on the fringes of the Gruntz heliosphere. I really like the retro sound of Massive Atomic, so this will be a military force operated and equipped by the company. It also fits well with the mid-tech style of the platoon, given the description in the Gruntz rule book:

'Massive Atomic...have focussed production on less specialised but still significant technical military assets ranging from hand held Gruntz equipment through to economic to operate vehicles which are sold through mercenary, private and Gal-Com contracts'.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

15mm Sci Fi Hardsuit AT Squad

I've been a bit busy over the last couple of days, mainly with the sprog's cricket fixtures, so this is all I've managed to add to the 15mm Sci-Fi mechanised platoon. This is the eight man AT squad including two attached AT launchers, five riflemen and a squad leader. This should add some anti-tank firepower to the platoon in case the actual hover tank troop fails to turn up! They will be transported in a medium AT missile launcher equipped version of the Gauntlet hover APC, when it arrives in the post. I only have the command squad to do now but I may also try to put together a specialist heavy weapons team of some sort too.

Sunday 18 June 2017

15mm Sci-Fi Hard Suit Infantry

I started cleaning up and basing the GZG Cyclops hard suit figures into squads for my mechanised platoon this afternoon. This was quite enjoyable despite the heat and I whistled through two rifle squads and have started on the AT squad. I have now run out of rifle armed figures, so the command squad will have to wait, although I have chosen a single figure as the overall platoon commander, complete with a nice, shiny one penny coin base to single him out from the euro coin based squaddies.

I've also black undercoated all of the tanks and APC's, which was a bit of a worry as the temperature is so high that I thought the paint might not cure. In fact, because of the dry heat, the finish is as smooth as the proverbial baby's bum, so I can start painting once they've fully cured. I haven't decided what shades I'll use for this or if I'll use an airbrush, which I haven't actually got, so there's still some room for further thinking. I'll probably just go with a bog standard military green using a brush unless I can think of something more exciting?

Saturday 17 June 2017

15mm Sci-Fi Armour

I finished assembling the last of the heavy hover tanks and APC's for the mid-tech sci-fi mechanised platoon this afternoon, with only one more GZG Gauntlet APC to put together when it arrives in the post next week. I originally undercoated some of the models with Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki, with the intention of washing and dry brushing over the basecoat, but I'm going to re-undercoat the whole shebang with bog standard black before three stage wet and dry brushing them in a shade as yet undecided.  Now, it's on to the GZG infantry and I then I can start painting.

15mm Sci Fi Mechanised Platoon ToE

I've worked out the ToE for my 15mm sci-fi platoon, which I think will be a corporate army of some sort to fit with the background in Gruntz, for want of a better idea. There are several corporate factions in the Gruntz 'heliosphere' campaign setting including Massive Atomic, Omni Astron Inc. and the Combine Mining Association, so plenty to choose from and lots of scope to make things up.

Anyway, I have organised the platoon into four squads of eight figures, each transported in a hover APC. There is a command squad with attached SAW and sniper, two infantry squads with a SAW and grenade launcher attachment and one AT squad with two launchers attached or just two or three specialist AT teams. This is all a bit flexible at the moment but is probably the way forward.

I may also have a couple of six man power armoured infantry squads. I think this might be a bit of overkill, as there is already a strong armoured component to the platoon in the shape of three heavy hover tanks and a single light support hover tank, so no shortage of either firepower or armour protection.

To make up the numbers I need I've ordered another single pack of the GZG cyclops hard suit equipped infantry from the Brazilian Tomorrows War range. I've also added a GZG Gauntlet APC with AT launcher for the AT squad, freeing up the Command Gauntlet APC for my overall platoon commander to use, although I've yet to decide upon a suitable figure for the role.

I'm cracking on with this lot over the weekend.

Thursday 15 June 2017

South of the Border

I spotted a bargain on Northstar's webpage this afternoon, as they are selling off the last of their 28mm Brigade Games figures for half price. These consisted of two packs of US infantry for the Mexican Revolution, one pack of five riflemen firing and one pack of three command figures. You can only buy one of each but that's still a small squad worth, give or take, so perfect for skirmish gaming.

I already have some 20mm figures for the Mexican Revolution but these 28mm ones will be great for use with Fistful of Lead: Reloaded, updated to c1914 with the addition of some rules for vehicles. In fact, HLBS have just released a splendid 1/56th scale Jeffrey Quad armoured car, which would be fantastic as the basis of some sort of scenario. I'm now going to see if I can track down some 28mm Villistas!

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Heavy Hover Tank Two

I grabbed an hour or so this evening to assemble the second Brigade Models Sohei heavy hover tank for my 15mm sci-fi project. This is a multi-part resin and metal kit, so there was quite a lot of preparation to do including sanding, drilling and pinning various bits, especially the gun barrel which is quite hefty. I have also added some stowage to make it look a little less tidy and a bit more 'battle worn'. I have one more of these to put together, which I'm hoping to get done by the end of the week, together with a GZG Gauntlet hover APC.

Tuesday 13 June 2017

15mm Sci-Fi Basing

Brigade's really nifty fireteam bases

I've decided to use one euro cent coins for the figure basing with one and two pence coins for commanders, specialists and weapons teams. This is instead of using one and two pence coins for everything as I originally intended. The one euro cent coins look much better than the larger one pence coins for individual 15mm figures and I have plenty of them ready to use, having visited the local bank when on holiday in Brittany. If you ask them nicely they even pack them in plastic rolls for you to smuggle back into the UK.

Not only that but I can also make use of the clever resin fire team bases from Brigade Models, which are designed for one euro cent coins held in place with mini-magnets. This will allow me to try out the rules for multiple figure bases in Gruntz and will make moving the squads a lot less fiddly, especially if I scale up to company level games or use a different set of rules with multiple basing as standard. The resin bases come in a variety of sizes and formats so I can change the make up of the squads, adding specialists or different figures as required. Very nifty!

Monday 12 June 2017

Sci-Fi Tanks

I'm a big fan of 'realistic' sci-fi stuff, less super advanced grav technology and more tracked, hover and wheeled vehicles. Why would anyone invent anything more complicated that the wheel? Anyway, the sci-fi mechanised platoon that I'm currently working on has hover vehicles with a distinctly retro look to them, so very much a low to mid-tech force rather than an advanced super high-tech army.

As opposition for this force I'm thinking of an enemy with a similar level of technological development, so have settled on either a wheeled AFV component, using the Brigade Models South African vehicles that I already have stashed away, or something with good old fashioned tracks. So, when I saw the new neo-Soviet Bars and Vombat Terminator tanks, I thought they looked just the job, being far more near future and a bit more down to earth.

I really like the track and hull design on these vehicles, not to mention the fact that they look like proper tanks! I have ordered a couple of the standard tanks and a single AAA tank as a possible centre point for this second army, although it won't be following the neo-Soviet theme, as that's another idea that I'm not keen on. I'll probably use the GZG NAC or TW US figures to go with these but, who knows?

Sunday 11 June 2017

A lot more bother than a hover

For various reasons, including having to fit a new lock assembly on the bathroom door after the sprog locked himself in, then broke off the latch resulting in me having to break in using a sledgehammer, then having to remove the broken lock using a hacksaw, hammer and a lot of colourful language, I haven't had time to start on the 15mm sci-fi stuff today (phew!). Anyway, I have gathered together the two unassembled Brigade Models heavy hover tanks and their bits, ready to put them together over the next couple of days. I think I'll go and lie down now.

Saturday 10 June 2017

Sci Fi Rummage

I dug out the big storage box of 15mm sci-fi figures that I've had stored on the shelves for quite a while, waiting for the elusive 'right moment' to get started. I have gradually added more and more goodies to the box over the last couple of years, usually after visiting the GZG stand at Warfare and Colours, with a selection of Brigade Models and Antenociti's Workshop vehicles thrown on top of the pile for good measure.

After a quick stock check today, I discovered to my surprise (horror?) that I have enough figures for SIX (!) platoon sized armies including NAC, UNSC/L, CDF, NSL, TW US and TW Brazilians, not to mention the SWAT police unit that I recently acquired. I also found that I have a complete set of AW Aliens AFV's and a platoon of Brigade Models SAC Rhino tanks and APC's. I have obviously far too many options here, so will have to narrow things down a bit at least in the short term.

This project needs to be manageable, so I've decided to use my new GZG TW Brazilians alongside the APC's and tanks that I've already built and undercoated, to form a slightly revised version of the mechanised platoon that I was working on last year. This features GZG Gauntlet hover APC's together with Brigade Models Sohei and Warlock hover tanks. These are lovely models and it would be a shame to let them gather dust in the 'I'll get round to it one day' box.

I also found some extra power armoured figures in the GZG TW US army pack that I bought at Warfare, so will add these to the Brazilian Cyclops helmet figures to beef up the force. All together, I'm planning a platoon of four squads of eight figures including two standard squads with rifles, a SAW and a grenade launcher attachment, one squad with two AT launcher attachments and a command squad. There will also be a couple of power armour squads and a sniper specialist.

This should be more than enough to keep me busy!

Friday 9 June 2017

Sci Fi Summer

It's been a bit quiet around here this week, due to the return to work and being generally busy, but I have had some time to think about my project for the summer. This has arrived although you'd be pushed to realize that it is now here, given the storms and torrential rain we've been experiencing. So, to cut a long winded story short, I've decided to park my pre-dreadnought naval plans for the season to pick up my sci-fi and near future projects instead. These are many and varied but will be focussed on a 15mm platoon sized army for Gruntz and possibly a new fleet for Full Thrust, both using GZG miniatures with a few Brigade Models thrown in for good measure.

Monday 5 June 2017

The Lost City of Z

This was on offer for 99p for the Kindle so, having seen a trailer for the eponymous feature film recently, I thought I'd read the book upon which it was based. It's cracking along at a good pace thus far and is very readable, with lots of contemporary 'derring do', if not a little eccentricity, to say the least. All good stuff, in fact it's meat and potatoes if you are at all interested in the 'pulp' adventure or Darkest Africa style exploration genre, not to mention a spot of Saurian Safari?

Saturday 3 June 2017

15mm GZG Cyclops Hard Suit Infantry

I got paid yesterday so I decided to add a few more figures to the 15mm sci-fi lead pile, after having them on my wish list since Warfare back in November.

These are Brazilian infantry from the somewhat over-looked Tomorrrow's War range, although I'm just going to use them as hard suit armoured infantry, either as an assault unit attached to one of my existing forces or as a platoon sized unit in it's own right, perhaps as the basis of a humanoid alien army.

I've also added a single pack of US power armoured infantry from the Tomorrow's War range, as these looked similar to the other figures in design and will make a nice extra heavy squad attachment. I really like the cool monocular 'cyclops' helmet design on the Brazilian figures and think they will look really good painted up, whenever that may be.

Atlantic Wall Treguennec Part Two

We went back to Treguennec yesterday and visited the industrial complex where sand and gravel were processed for use in construction of the Atlantic Wall. It's an impressive site if only for the graffiti. I also checked out a couple of bunkers to the South of the site which I hadn't visited before, although with the tide coming in it wasn't that easy. I'll go back again in the summer and have a closer look.


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