06 July 2012

Nuke the Site from Orbit...

...It's the only way to be sure!

Aliens.  One of the seminal, defining sci-fi combat movies.

So here are some 15mm figures from Quick Reaction Force (QRF).  These are the SF-01 Deep Space Marines (Alpha), SF-02 Deep Space Marines (Beta), SF-03 Alien Facehuggers, SF-05 Alien Bipeds-Small, and SF-06 Alien Bipeds-Large.

These were a prize for participating in the polls at The Miniatures Page a while back.  Rather, I received a voucher worth 10 British pounds from QRF, so this is what I chose.

They are a bit rough around the edges, neither the cleanest castings in the world, nor are they the worst.
I like Ripley (above, 2nd from left), and the guy getting his face eaten (although, like prone figures, I find it useless for actually gaming with it).  This squad has silvered visors.

The casualty figure is useful, though.  And I like the officers.  This squad has coppery visors, to differentiate them from Squad Silver.

I painted two squads (of 9 figures each, one including Ripley).  If you leave off the dead guy and the soon-to-be-dead guy, you get 8 troopers for a squad.  It should be easy enough to make that work in a set of rules.  I'm pretty sure 5150:  Star Army by Two Hour Wargames uses 8-man squads.

I also painted a nice camoflage pattern on their uniforms, but it doesn't seem to show up in the pictures very well.

The Aliens are pretty cool.  Of the "normal" sized Aliens, there are 3 the same and the other 7 are the same, so two poses, but they're very similar so it's difficult to tell a difference at first glance.

The three "big" Aliens are good for being "big" in 15mm scale, or just as normal scary Aliens in 25-28mm scale.  It should probably only take 3 Aliens to wreak havoc anyhow.

The facehuggers look nice and slimy, and creepy crawly.  Not much else to say about them, really.

And now, a dramatic battle scene!

It took me 10 hours to paint all 37 figures, including their bases.  I love 15mm for this very reason, it's so fast to get on the table.  I have been spending 8 hours just painting five 28mm figures, so this is much faster.  It helps that the Aliens are mostly black, too.

I didn't want my "traditional" green base this time, so I went for a more alien-planet-volcano feel.  The trouble with that is, I don't have any alien-planet-volcano terrain to play on (just green cloth and desert cloth).  Ah well, now I have a new project:  make some!

I know this blog has been neglected over the last year.  15mm has taken a bit of a back-seat on my painting table.  I have sooo much more 28mm scale stuff to finish, that I actually haven't even bought any 15mm stuff at all.  I'm all caught up with 15mm.  But man!, the Khurasan and Rebel Minis and 15mm.co.uk stuff really tempts me.  I will be returning someday!

Thanks for looking.

30 May 2011

A Safe Place to Hide Away

Updates are few and far between around here.  I explain this more fully on my other blog, but in addition to that explanation part of the reason is that I have had non-15mm Sci-Fi projects on the go.  A lot of my 15mm Sci-Fi is in the planning or gaming stages, as opposed to the painting stages, so there's not a lot to report.

However, I have been unhappy with the state of my storage situation for my 15mm figures.  Regular foam cases generally are either too expensive, or have too-large "slots" for the figures, being usually meant for 28mm figures.  So for the last several months my 15mm forces have just been sitting on my shelf, unprotected and unable to travel.
Two of my three armies, dangerously exposed to the elements....
A lot of people use magnetic strips on the bottoms of those plastic, divided storage containers (for yarn and whatnot).  They then magnetically attach the miniatures' bases to the magnetic strips.

My problem stems from the fact that I used U.S. pennies as bases for my figures.  I really liked the diameter and thickness for the scale of the miniatures, but pennies are not magnetic.  I thought about adding the Litko stick-on bases, either the magnetic or the steel type.  The magnetic type would work as previously mentioned, and the steel type would stick to (for example) a cookie sheet, or something like stick-on magnetic sheeting.

However, both of those entailed purchasing two further things to finish my storage, increasing the cost.  The cheapness of 15mm was one of the reasons I got into the scale, plus by using pennies as bases I saved even more.  Furthermore, I didn't like the idea of adding thickness to the existing bases; I felt that it would make them too tall for the scale of the figure.

In the end, I am a foam storage case kind of guy.  After a bit a searching I finally found a storage container I liked, that I felt could be modified to work with 15mm figures.  Hobby Lobby, $7, but I used a 40% off coupon for my trial run.
The storage case with a 15mm figure for comparison.

I then bought two 1" thick sheets of foam ($2 each) that I cut down to fit into the container for a bottom.
This sheet of foam has already been cut to fit the storage container.
Next, I cut a slit 1/2" deep into the foam for the miniatures' bases to slip into.
By cutting a slit, the miniatures are held in place a little better than if they are simply lying on top of the layer of foam.
I had planned on using the second sheet of 1" foam for the top, but it made it too thick for the container to close.  Luckily I had some 1/2" thick foam already that works quite well, if it is a trifle small overall.  So I plan to purchase more 1/2" foam that I can cut to better fit the container.
In general I am quite happy with the end result.  The containers are available in several colors, so if in the future I want to categorize my armies by color I will have that capability.  There is more than enough room in one case to expand my existing forces (basically, one army per container), and with only a little work I should be able to safely store the tanks and vehicles (not sure how, yet, but I'll let you know what I figure out).
Here you can see my existing armies, the new container, as well as the off-cuts of the foam, plus the second sheet of both 1" and 1/2" foam.  It all fits quite nicely on the shelf, and will be stackable.
Also, by judiciously using the 40% off coupon Hobby Lobby has on their website (almost) every week, I can get these at a good (ie, cheap) price.
Hope this helps if you're having storage issues, too.

P.S., as for the bases for my future 15mm figures, I plan to use metal washers.  This will at least allow me to have the option of magnetic basing if I change my mind about it, and they are essentially the same size and thickness as pennies.  Of course, plans do change and nothing is set in stone.  But I have already purchased the washers, so at least I've got that going for me.

Thanks for reading.

27 January 2011

I Have Knights on Retainer....

I finished a painting project.   Somehow or another, I get sidetracked and leave projects unfinished far too often.  This time, it was actually playing games that did it.  It's difficult to paint and play games at the same time (for me anyway).

But at last I cracked down on myself and got my Retained Knights from 15mm.co.uk done.  I had one squad of 10 men to go for the longest time, staring accusingly at me from my painting table.

Here they are.
HOF1 Retained Command
HOF2 Retained Knights
HOF3 Retained Heavy Weapons
HOF4 Retained Assault Troops
Close up of the on-screen markings on the iPad on the left, and the slate on the right.

Size comparison between other 15mm.co.uk figures, Human Imperial Army and The Greys.
I kept the squad composition pretty much the same from what is listed on the website, although I did move a couple of figures around.  I had no army compostion in mind when I bought them:  just bought one pack of each and called it good.

I do think it's funny how in the Assault squad there are two figures lying down.  I understand the Snipers reasoning, but in an Assault squad?  Personally I find figures lying down (in general) next to useless for gaming purposes.  "Here, let me move my figures to attack and close assault your army.  Just ignore these two, they're taking a nap...."

Thanks for looking.

26 November 2010

It Would Be a Target-Rich Environment, If We Could SEE Them....

It's been far too long since I updated here.  Sadly, the lack of updates is not because I've been too busy playing games, or painting until my fingers bleed.  No, it's simply that Real Life(©®) keeps getting in my way.  JobKidsWife.  All that important stuff.    The usual story.  *sigh*

Ironically, I was very busy over the Summer (which ended a few months ago, I know) constructing terrainYay!  Here are some pictures of what I managed to accomplish.  Some of this terrain will find its way onto my Sci-Fi table, and some of it will be used on my Colonial/Fantasy/VSF table (for pictures of those games, see my other blog:  Kelroy Was Here

Click the pics to enlarge them.  Please enjoy, and if you feel the least bit inspired by my handiwork, leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
The vinyl flooring I used to make my rivers.
The caulk I used for the river banks.

A river section with the caulk and sand drying on it.
A demonstration of the flexibility of the vinyl flooring.
A selection of river sections, cut and "sanded."
This is what I used to make the rivers wet-looking after I painted them.
A desert watering hole.  This was my first attempt using the Polycrylic clear coat.  I just wanted a test for what it would look like, and how easy it would be to work with.
All my new bright and shiny river sections.  And I mean shiny in the literal sense.  See next picture.
The rivers have a glossy sheen, just like the real stuff!
Fordable sections of river.

A simple plank bridge over a river.
A gently curving riverbank.

10 June 2010

Yogurt Joins Pudding to Rule the World

I hinted at the end of my last post that I would be creating something out of the yogurt container that was pictured.  And so I have.  I continue my quest to build cheap, simple, cheap, useful, cheap buildings and terrain from readily available recyclables.

These won't win any awards for quality 'cause you get what you pay for.  Since my only expense was time, well, I ain't worried if they ain't pretty.  I spent as little time on them as humanly possible and still be able to complete them.  They'll sit on a table and provide a location or cover quite nicely, thank you very much.

I herewith present...More Bunkers!  Or perhaps habitats.  Or maybe they're lookout stations.

I admit that these are very human-centric, but they're fairly generic at the same time.  I have a hard time envisioning alien habitats so I haven't made any.
Above and below:  Front and back views, with a 28mm and a 15mm figure for scale (like you couldn't guess that).

Below:  The top of the yogurt container was almost tailor made for a nice parapet.  This is the container before painting, with a cardboard circle inserted on what used to be the bottom of the container.
Below:  Here's a close-up view of the parapet insert.
Below:  This is the final result, after adding a thin card trap door.
Below:  A lone guardian guards his guard shack, guardedly.
Below:  The Human Imperial Infantry's planetary lookout station -- IN ACTION!  Look at them looking out.  Such excitement, woo!
I also deliberately tried to make them useful for both 15mm and 28mm.  For 15mm, the doors look a little on the large side, but I felt I could convincingly argue they are garage doors for tanks and AFVs (see photo above).

I also got a trifle carried away with another bit of plastic, and created a ... something.

Is it a swirling maelstrom of energy with a mysterious dark doorway leading to parts unknown?  Or is it a shimmering alien building, constantly shifting its shape and appearance, flowing with an almost lifelike quality?

Then again, maybe it's the outhouse.  An alien outhouse, at least.  This is a sci-fi blog after all.
Above:  The Human Imperial Infantry defend their toilet.  Never say the poor bloody infantry doesn't know which side of his bread is buttered.

Thanks for reading!

17 May 2010

In Defense of Pudding

Recently I've been trying to think of ways to expand my sci-fi battlefield inexpensively.  There are some absolutely top-notch, beautiful terrain pieces being produced for 15mm SF these days; not only in the way of figures but also buildings and scenery.

To name but a few (not an all-inclusive list):

And while I plan on acquiring them all at some point, my personal financial situation requires me to wait.  So I was thinking about how to make my own buildings and what nots when I got a little hungry.  After my snack I went to rinse out the pudding cup and turned it upside down to dry...and the proverbial lightning struck!

I realized then that hardened concrete bunkers were in my immediate future.

I didn't put a ton of time or energy into this project, as I wanted to see if it was going to pan out first.  I think, for being rather slap-dash, it looks pretty good.

In the pictures below (which, as usual you can click on to enlarge) you will see my source material.  I can assure you I bought the sugar free version by mistake.  Bleah.  The best thing is, there are 4 cups to a package:  voilĂ , one set of Imperial Bunkers.
 A better view of the future bunkers.
Next a closer view of the cleaned cups.  This part is crucial:  you must turn them upside down!  Things begin to take shape....
Here are the six buildings after super-gluing some thin card to them, to represent doors, windows and armor plating.
Below shows two of the bunkers with a 15mm Imperial Trooper for scale.
Here they are after being spray primed grey.  I was a little worried that the walls would be too smooth, but as it turned out my spray paint was a trifle coagulated and I got a nice grainy texture that would normally have sent me into a towering fury.
After a quick paint job, here are my Imperial Battle Bunkers in action.  Nothing's more exciting than seeing buildings in action, y'know.  (Side note:  they look a totally different color from the grey above because of the daylight/lamp conditions under which I took the pictures; those below are closer to the actual color.)
The best thing is they're easy to store:  they stack!
So now my soldiers have someplace to either defend or capture, and all it cost was...well, nothing really, since I already had the pudding to begin with.

And just wait until you see what I plan to do with this tasty snack....
Thanks for reading!