Friday 22 October 2021

Mantic GCPS Assembled Models (Deadzone/Warpath)

While hunting cheap 28mm sci fi for my homebrew horror rules, I've been really impressed by Mantic's price:content ratio. Their pricing (~$1.50AUD a mini) is excellent and you get a lot of bitz in the box.

The box was for 20 minis, but if I had more legs and torsos, I could make another 10-15 minis with all the extra arms and heads in the box.

Two very different 10-man squads, and a lot of bitz left over, for $32AUD. ($23 USD)

I don't think I repeated a single pose, and I have two very different squads - 10x not-Starship Troopers/Imperial Guard "grunts", and 10x not-Halo/Kasrkin "marines" - thanks to the extra heads, backpacks and weapons. 

While they have plenty of easy-painting chunky detail (i.e. without the fiddliness of Infinity) they are much nicer, better proportioned and posed models than my blocky, potato-head/banana-handed old IG Cadians and Tau. And these are $77AUD for 10 - $7.70ea vs the superior $1.50 Mantics.

New arms+weapons, heads and backpacks have transformed the models enough to be an opposing force or a complementary "special forces" team. I used extra grenades and sidearms to further differentiate from common grunts.  

This box is extremely useful for generic sci fi forces; I'd go so far as to say it is the budget sci fi version of the versatile Perry plastics - I already have plans for the leftover bits (mixed with medieval armoured torsos, swords and legs) to make a crusader faction. 

I found them reasonably easy to put together (each arm+gun set is labelled A, B, C etc) with only very occasionally trimming off bits of flash and they responded well to my el cheapo superglue. This is a better set than the Enforcers and I'd hazard a guess that they are a later release - they are a more polished sculpt. 

Once these lads have been painted up, I should be ready to start seriously testing my homebrew rules in 28mm at "Necromunda" scale as I've moved away from the 15mm fireteam based version.

Sunday 17 October 2021

15mm Shivan Witches (Blue Moon)

 Apart from basing a few more armies (yes, I discovered another half-painted army from Micropanzer) I figure my 15mm phase has run its course.  This is my last "army in an hour" before I switch to more labour-intensive 28mm.

I also found some GZG drones which I'll add to my 'not Terminator' army from Rebel Minis. 


I don't actually have any Dark Eldar so this 40K barge will belong to the Sisterhood. It's more impressive in 15mm anyway.

 Ugh even in daylight my photography is a 2/10 - obviously photography is not a hobby or area of interest at all

Mantic & Deadzone  Anyway, I've finished assembling my Mantic Enforcers. I've also read through Deadzone 2E (even though I intend to make/play my own rules) and have been favourably impressed. It's certainly a quicker, cleaner, more logical game than Kill Team. Rather like Dreadball compared to the bloated, clunky Blood Bowl - I used to love Blood Bowl but man it's a gluggy mess - even nostalgia goggles and the - (for GW) - reasonable pricing can't get me back into it.  Sadly I don't have a square mat to playtest the Deadzone rules, as they seem quite interesting.

Saturday 16 October 2021

15mm Sahadeen Sci Fi Tribesmen (Rebel Minis)

 This is one of the last of my 15mm armies.  I only have some Shivan Witches, and the rest are small 'dozen minis or less' random purchases. After that I am switching to 28mm Mantic*; for my "demon-possessed stormtroopers vs rogue AI vs scientists with pet monsters" homebrew sci fi horror rules.

*I could possibly review the 2nd Ed Deadzone rules, but it may be a waste of time as 3rd Ed is coming...

Why that shade of blue headgear? Well the bloody Privateer Press paints are in these horrible lids that crack around the edges and let air in, so I feel like I have to use them before they inevitably dry up.  Why everyone can't use a sensible squeeze bottle like Vallejo *shrugs*. 

The mecha are also Rebel minis and come with a range of weapon loadouts you can choose (including shields and melee weapons). As usual I choose neutral paint schemes for my mechs as they do double duty in 6mm games. (All my mecha are grey, tan or olive for this reason). They are giant mechs next to old Epic infantry, who barely come up to their knees.

The skimmers are the GZG ones I painted last week; with an eye to using them for this force. Still have some $1 dune buggies from K Mart I could add...

 As usual, I enjoy painting 15mm as you can do an army in an hour or two. The Sahadeen are a little small (I prefer my 15mm on the bulkier side) but they are very useful, versatile sculpts - I could see their hoods and masks being useful as generic cultists, vampire acolytes and even snow troops, and I have accordingly left a dozen or so unpainted for that purpose, later down the track. 

Although I've painted up no fewer than seven 15mm forces in the last fortnight, this is only half my 15mm forces - I also have table-ready GZG UNSC, Khurasan Felids, GZG Prawns, GZG New Israelis*, some mostly-GZG I painted in 2015; and a sister army. Or at least that's what I can see in the cupboard. Who knows what further digging in the shed may reveal? The ability to buy a 40K-size 15mm army for $50-$60 back in 2015 or so was obviously addictive.

*I am due to take all these out and check them for damage/rebase if needed and I can do some daylight photos if anyone is interested. These photos have been pretty poor as I paint and photograph at night - without my kids around to 'help'

Nostalgically, I remember the postage times of yore - GZG was famously fast - once I ordered some minis on Thursday (from UK) and they arrived (at my door in Australia) the next Monday.  Fast cheap postage - something I'll be able to tell my grandkids about - and they'll never believe it.

Thursday 14 October 2021

15mm Sci Fi Salamanders & $1Tanks

As my 15mm collection slowly becomes fully painted, I'm increasingly painting the weirder and smaller factions. These are Khurasan Meso-Nai, xenophobic salamanders in power armour. 

 My daughter had already posed them on blocks; she approves of their eel-like faces; as she likes to chase eels in the clear freshwater creeks near where we live.

The bigger 15mms are actually quite good; these lizards are actually ~20mm. There's quite a bit of variation in 15mm, as much as 25-32mm '28s.'   I feel these and the bigger Blue Moons look quite OK, whereas the puny Rebel synths are simply too small, regardless of sculpt quality.  

The tanks are $1 no-name brand from K-Mart: actually intended to support 6mm mechs as Baneblade-esque megatanks, they still show well how 15mm and 6mm vehicles can do double duty in a range of scales; here acting as small scout tanks in 15mm.

I'm slowly finishing painting; some Shivan witches and Sahadeen desert tribesman are my last main 15mm factions to go. I do like these GZG gun drones as they do squad support duty for a range of armies.

15mm continue to be fun and rewarding to paint; I still think they are the optimal size for platoon+ battles or anything where vehicles are the stars, but you still want infantry to be individually based and look decent. These guys would have taken an hour and a bit from start to finish. 

I'm slowly switching to 28mm Mantic for my homebrew sci fi horror rules; they should paint up soon. My initial assembly observations of my Enforcers box is they are a bit weedy and lacking quality compared to my GW Tau & IG, but in Australia they are 20+ for $35 instead of GW's 10 for $70; so at  $1.60ea compared to $7ea (a quarter of the price) I am inclined to be pretty forgiving.

Wednesday 6 October 2021

15mm Neo-Sov Mecha & Remotes (Khurasan & GZG)

This was begun, but incomplete from my last paint session and took another 30 or so to finish off.  The small wheelie drones are GZG and I think the smaller mechs are Khurasan - they're certainly a John Bear Ross sculpt.

The big "hammer" mech is an old rebased MW clix'; I bought a packet of clix for a few dollars years ago; and wish I bought more - as they are no longer a cheap option on ebay. 

I think the big boi is a Neanderthal 80 tonner. I felt it fit the Neo-Soviet aesthetic with the hammer at least, if not the sickle, and the primitive but brutal CQC weaponry. 

The wheeled FSV drones provide heavy weapons squad support, whether human-directed or autonomously via rudimentary AI, with 23mm and ATGW options. 

15mm continues to go together so fast - I probably need to make a fast-playing game in order to field all these vehicles and bigger toys...  My 6-year-old loves them as he is allowed to zoom them around a bit (due to their much lower cost and greater survivability than 28mm).

Neo-Soviet Sci Fi 15mm Tanks, APCs and Halftracks

 These were actually mostly random toys - $1ea from the junk shop - with only the half tracks as 'legit' resin wargaming pieces (Khurasan, I believe). In fact I think the tanks came from a literal bag of those plastic army men. (If my son leaves his toys underfoot in the shower, they deserve to be confiscated)

These were the only proper gaming pieces....


Considering it was a $1 plastic toy with 2 layers of olive and some drybrushed brown dirt, I'm pretty content with the armour support...

The APCs were $1 off-brand Matchbox fire trucks. I remove the fire hoses and added a 28mm handgun to be the remote controlled HMG-thingie.  

With the Khurasan half-tracks, this force was $32AUD. Without them, it was $4. The more I think about it, the more I think wargaming vehicles are insanely expensive.

Die cast steel WW2 tank from toy shop - $1. Same thing, same level of detail, in resin $~10+.  Sometimes (in the case of many WW2 kits) you can't even claim it's a limited run boutique model.

Even if I'm not currently sure what I'll use them for, I love powering through my unpainted 15mms - this was one in 40min after tea (and I also did a dozen remotes and mechs which I didn't fully finish).

The end is in sight - I need to tidy up and base another 3 armies which are all pretty much done or previously basecoated, add some extras to my D9 Prawns, and Tigrid armies, as well as do up some Shivan Witches (who will be flying in a 40K-sized Dark Eldar Strike Barge.) and some Meso Nai power-armour salamanders. Then - I'm done.  I think. Unless I unearth more stuff in my hunt through the shed. 

Tuesday 5 October 2021

15mm Space Marines (Blue Moon)

These are have a Space Marine feel with a bit of an astronaut "Moongrunt" vibe.  Thus the blue Ultramarine look mixed with the reflective gold astronaut helmets. I quite like these minis although they don't have many weapon types or poses compared to some of my other armies in 15mm.

I've put in a 15mm figure from each of my recent painting days - you can see there is as much size/scale variation in 15mm as there is in '28'mm aka 25-32mm.

Left to right: Critical Mass Games -> Khurasan -> Blue Moon --> Rebel Miniatures.

The vehicles are GZG, mixed with some toy Star Wars separatist tanks I found in the toy section of a department store. Along with the doggies & mechs from my last post, this completed my afternoon's painting. 

I'm increasingly sure I'm probably NOT going to use 15mm for my space horror homebrew games, but purchase Mantic's remarkably cheap 28mm Deadzone minis instead.  If anyone has any other cheap 28mm humanoid sci fi suggestions, I'd appreciate them. The 20-for-$50 Eisenkern look awesome but I'm not sure how well they'll scale with my existing Tau and IG who will form the basis of my other special forces teams.

But with Australia Post's backlog due to COVID bearing a resemblance to the warehouse in Raiders of the Lost Ark - I'm not holding my breath....

Given the whole reason to make my home-made 15mm rules was to have a unique ruleset  (hard sci fi with a dash of magic) and unique backstory (cultist special forces teams with high-tech gear in a post-Rapture universe).... the 15mm are now kinda out of a job. 

I may make a new set of 15mm rules as I still think there's an unfilled niche - there's plenty of space fantasy (magic, laser swords - Star Wars/40K) and harder sci fi (Alien, Starship Troopers) and cyberpunk (Ghost in a Shell, Blade Runner) but not a lot that blends all of them. Think platoon-level Shadowrun or Infinity with more magic. Hacking + Psychics + Drones + Virtual Combat + AIs + Smart weapons. If I don't lean into the horror/morale angle so much a set of rules should be easy enough to whip up...

..but after watching the TV show Vigil and playing the remarkable PC game Barotrauma, I have been inspired to hunt out my old supercav submarine fighter rules which have been a rather long-running project... since 2012. Actually I've made a range of posts about it including terrain making as well.  It's a game no one asked for, but one I really want to play...

It's a miracle anything gets comple

Monday 4 October 2021

15mm Sci Fi Dog Warriors/Vargyr

I think these are old CMG Protolene Khanate. Anywhoo, found them in a box covered in 8 years of dust, so time to apply some paint!

Bored with my '├žonventional camo' rebels I decided I wanted something brighter - so each role (recon, heavy weapons, etc) got a different colour armour suit with purple and yellowt the unifying theme.  (No reason, I just saw they were unused bottles when I did my annual '├žheck and throw out dodgy paints' session)

The mechs merely got a boring grey but I tend to use my mechs for 15mm and 6mm sci fi so I don't go nuts with identifying marks as they swap sides/armies quite regularly. Practicality > Style.

Space wolves get a space wolves paint scheme, amirite?

The yellow power armour at the back could probably have more detail added, but I tend to paint to the level that meets my allotted timeframe.

The joy of 15mm is this decent-size force took under two hours, allowing me time to squeeze in and paint a second force (photos pending).

Saturday 2 October 2021

15mm Landspeeders (GZG) & Rebels (Khurasan)

These aren't actually a combined force - I just happened to paint them at the same time. The landspeeders are for a high-tech desert tribe whereas the gritty rebels are a Terminator hunting force who will use more conventional vehicles.

The minis are pretty bright (like all my 15mm) but I'm lacking a good olive (GW paints only in my area) so I may need to wash the uniforms to a more dirty brown-green.

My daughter was delighted to see some female rebels and was very interested in this force. Drats - now I'll have two people pillaging my mini collections (My recent return to 15mm was due to their superior resilience when dropped by a 6-year-old boy - the washer base flies off, but the minis are so far unharmed)

The rebels are from Khurasan, from memory, and the skimmers are from GZG.  In my home made game, the rebels will be a low-tech army resilient to hacking, but due to lacking their own mechs, weaker against demonic possession and magic.

Hmm - now where did I put my 15mm Terminators?

Friday 1 October 2021

15mm Synths & Bots

Making units for my homebrew 15mm rules has reinvigorated my 15mm collection. I've found unpainted minis that predate my 8 year old!  I used to spend a lot of time with 15mm rules (namely Tomorrow's War) but got a bit sick of the "Vietnam in Space" most rules espoused - basically modern combat with the odd mech thrown in or a copy+paste of Stargrunt or 40K. 

Where were the nanite swarms? The portal guns?  The virtual Tron combat? Why am I playing a sci fi game that feels historical?

15mm minis are to be frank, a bit dull compared to their 28mm cousins, useful mostly because of their ease of painting and cost. They are also great for combined arms platoon level+ games (both affordable AND vehicles don't look ridiculous on the tabletop).

The Shalur Mercs (Rebel Minis) serve as synthetic soldiers, immune to demonic influence. (I'm making sci fi horror rules where cultist special forces team clash). 

Yes there is a definite Clone Wars vibe - Stormtroopers vs Separatists - I may have been playing 2005 Battlefront with my son lately.... (He likes Darth Maul)

The wheeled vehicles are just $1 from the local bargain shop, with 5min each spent painting them.

These clunkier bots act as support troops to a squad. I'm unsure of their provenance, probably Khurasan or the old Critical Mass.  When your fire team's mind can be paralysed and broken by unholy terrors, it's handy having a emotionless AI along to lay down suppressive fire.  

But what if the AI of the derelict station you are exploring has gone insane, and turns your own squad robots against you? #RejectTheFirstLaw