Today’s preview shows scaled down versions of some of the recent early Slammer’s vehicles – in this case, the M2A1 and M2A3 versions of the Icarus blower tank with the smaller turret and 20cm powergun and heavy laser respectively.
The M6 combat cars are on their way too, I have hulls but some of the weapons needed a bit of reworking to make them cast reliably (I made them too small !) so you’ll have to wait to see those.
First an apology to anyone who’s contacted us recently and has had a late reply (or is still waiting for one). I’m trying to keep on top of the sale as much as possible, so I’m spending most of my time at the workshop rather than in front of the keyboard. I will get back to everyone – I’m treating enquiries about orders or the sale as priority, but I will answer everything in the end, I promise.
Now, onto the main business of the post. You may have noticed some new buildings lurking in the backgrounds of our new 15mm releases lately (or you may not have been paying attention…).
We’ve been developing some new 15mm resin building components designed to help you spruce up likely looking plastic or cardboard boxes, vac-formed packaging, foam packing etc. Rather than individual pieces, we’ve made whole facades with doors, windows and other details. All you need to do is stick a panel on a box and – hey presto – you have a building. There are also larger garage/hangar doors, balconies, awnings and roof details such as vents and A/C units.
I’ve been experimenting with various items, including UK-pattern surface mount electrical boxes (also known as pattress boxes), which can be bought very cheaply from suppliers such as Toolstation or Screwfix (a pack of 10 single boxes is about a fiver). The ones in the pictures below were all made from these, using our building components and some plasticard to cover the tops.
One range of models we’ve wanted to expand for a while is the 6mm and 15mm Yenpalo – they’ve rather been pushed to one side by the expansion of the Hammer’s Slammers models in both scales. We’re planning to address that next year with a number of models (in both scales of course). Just as a taster, here’s a 15mm quad anti-aircraft gun…
The Slammers originated as the ‘Auxiliary Regiment’, part of the Friesland regular forces; however, around 317TW Colonel Hammer forcibly went rogue and broke away to make his unit into an independent mercenary regiment. You can read more about the early days of the regiment on the Crucible website where you’ll also find a playsheet. It’s also the subject of the story But Loyal to His Own in volume one of The Complete Hammer’s Slammers.
They took with them their equipment, which was similar to that used by the Friesland Regulars at the time. The Icarus M2 Blower tank was already being introduced, although initially it was in the form of the M2, with a 15cm gun and a smaller turret than later versions. The M2A1, with the same turret but a 20cm gun (and somewhat cramped by the addition of the larger weapon) was just coming into production at the time of the breakaway. The early M2 also had a 1cm pintel weapon rather than the ubiquitous 2cm tribarrels which came in with the M2A1. A laser-armed tank, the M2A3, was evaluated but rejected by the Slammers, although it did find its way into service with other mercenary outfits.
Interestingly, the M2A1 wasn’t part of the initial equipment trials, as Icarus had not officially confirmed its existence at that time. They only announced that they were working on the upgunned tank after the Friesland government had signed a contract for a large order for several hundred 15cm M2s along with an even larger number of M6 Combat Cars, both for the Auxiliary Regiment and the Friesland regular forces, including the Iron Guards regiment. Secretary Tromp was reportedly furious and accused Icarus of trying to unload their older model vehicles on him; Friesland lawyers tried their best to get out of the deal, but the contract was deemed watertight by the Bonding Authority and shipments from Earth started almost immediately. Had he lived long enough to find out the truth, Tromp would have been even more incandescent…
In fact, Hammer had agreed with Icarus to initially supply the Frieslanders with 15cm tanks, knowing that Icarus would be able to fulfil the order almost straightaway from existing stocks. This got his new Auxiliaries up to strength and into action immediately, before any of the waverers in Tromp’s government got cold feet about the idea of mercenaries serving under Friesland colours and pulled the whole project. But Hammer had also secretly negotiated with the Icarus CEO to supply his unit with small numbers of M2A1s to replace early combat losses, and the Auxiliaries would help with field evaluation of the new model.
There was a prototype M2A1 at Camp Loopvlak, the desert facility where the equipment was under test; but it was missing from the inventory submitted to the Friesland quartermaster corps by Icarus. It was kept hidden in a hangar when Tromp and the FDF top brass came to inspect their new vehicles, and was even given the same serial number (H50) as one of the other M2s in case it was inadvertantly spotted.
When the time came for Hammer to break away from Friesland, this small number of heavier tanks gave his unit a qualitative edge over the Iron Guards which is one of the reasons why they were able to overwhelm them so quickly on the Southport starport apron on Melpomene.
The Regiment also had lighter vehicles, in the form of the Icarus M6 in a number of variants. The basic combat car was armed with two 1cm powerguns in an open backed hull (the fighting compartment could be covered by removable armoured shutters). Mortar and missile versions existed, plus a rather odd configuration with twin buzzbomb launchers in a retractable mount. Finally, a model with a twin 3cm-powergun turret provided heavy support.
The photos here were taken at the Regiment’s secret test facility, Camp Loopvlak, during initial evaluations (hence the rare sight of a laser armed M2A3 in Slammers’ markings).
Now that our resin casting abilities are fully restored, we can crack on with our backlog of delayed new releases. Today we have a new 15mm vehicle for the Ander’s Legion mercenary unit, part of the Hammer’s Slammers range.
The Kopis recce vehicle came about following some discussions on the Hammer’s Slammers Facebook page when the original Anders models were released. The Legion’s Xiphos tank destroyer has a bit the look of a WW2 Marder tank destroyer to it, so we stretched the analogy further and took the idea of the Sdkfz 140/1 Aufklärungspanzer, creating the Kopis.
There are three variants of the Kopis; the basic recce version has a hexagonal open-topped, twin laser turret with a pintel tri-barrel powergun for the commander. A heavier recce version has an asymmetrical turret with an autocannon and light missile pod. Finally, there is the Astrapi AA version with twin lasers in a ball-like turret.
The arrival of the Kopis allows us to create a new detachment pack for Ander’s Legion, a variant of the existing Recce detachment but with one of the Viking half-tracks replaced by the new vehicle.
Guardforce O’Higgins are, as their name might suggest, a mercenary unit that specialises in security and enforcement assignments.
Most of the Regiment-sized formation is made up of mechanised units trained in police actions or defensive scenarios. Because they are generally not deployed directly to the front line, the pay rates are commensurately lower than in other outfits who are often at the sharp end of a conflict. The quality of GFOH troops is, in the main, fairly average – in The Crucible they are rated merely as Trained. Behaviour has been an issue in the past – one company had to be completely disbanded at the orders of the Bonding Authority following a breakdown of discipline while on furlough.
Line units are split into Infantry and Armoured companies. The infantry ride in Brollachan tracked APCs – these are cheap and cheerful ‘battle-taxi’ types built on the drive train and powerplant of a commercial all-terrain explorer vehicle. The basic model carries a twin MG turret or a hatch with a pintle-mounted flechette gun, support versions have light missile systems.
The Armoured companies are mainly equipped with Fragarach light tanks carrying a wide variety of turret mounted weapons. The anti-tank vehicles have a pair of railguns, while an infantry support version has twin heavy gatlings instead. There are also light artillery, air defence and scout variants. The Fragarach has the same track units as the Brollachan but with uprated transmission and power plant.
The one exception is the Fianóglach. This is a Veteran, rapid reaction force equipped with HU-1 Perseus VTOLs, used as troubleshooters or to reinforce line companies at short notice. They are drawn from the best troops in the other line companies – which does nothing to help the standards in those units, but the increased pay and bragging rights does give the ordinary Guardforce grunt something to aim for.
The unusual blue-grey scheme of the vehicles pictured is used on assignments where the Guardforce is stationed in or near active civilian populations. It is felt that the non-military colour makes the vehicles less threatening and can help to quiet dissident elements amongst populations that may otherwise react badly to having foreign mercenaries patrolling their streets.
Both the Fragarach and Brollachan are available now from our website. Both are available with a number of different turret options beyond those shown here, which are illustrated on their respective pages.
Back in April, when we released the Demeter Attack VTOL at Salute, it should have been accompanied by a second model, a utility VTOL (think UH-1 Huey in terms of its rôle). However, we had several issues with the other prototype, it would never cast reliably enough to be able to release so we’ve ended up having to redesign and reprint parts of it. We think we’re there now, we’ve run enough test casts to be happy that all the bits now work.
The HU.1 Perseus is, as previously mentioned, a utility type that has a rear cabin for four fully equipped infantry (six over short distances as long as they don’t mind being squeezed in). It has the same chin turret as the Demeter with a 2cm tri-barrel powergun and can also carry a variety of underwing stores so can serve as a passable gunship.
The Perseus is used by three Hammer’s Slammers units as a fast APC flying nap-of-the-earth when in the combat zone, staying down among the weeds to avoid being shot out of the sky. Both the Eaglewing and the Texian 101st base their forces around VTOL transports and gunships, while Guardforce O’Higgins’ veteran Fianóglach company are equipped with a number of Perseus and act as a rapid-reaction unit. In the detachment lists for these three forces, the Perseus replaces the Black Crow VTOL.
The model is a four-part resin kit (body, tail and two wings) with five metal parts (turret, two tail fins, two cabin doors). The separate cabin doors allow for a door gunner (which we don’t yet make but will do).
Our recent 6mm Hammer’s Slammers releases have opened up a number of new detachments. One of the units that uses the GS-1000 series of GEVs is the United Defence Batteries, an specialised outfit equipped mainly with 8-barrel 2cm Calliopes for air defence. They appear in the story Counting the Cost, which can be found in volume 2 of the Complete Hammer’s Slammers.
I painted some 15mm calliopes last year and I’ve followed up with their 6mm equivalents recently. As an elite unit, the UDB have eight TUs per detachment – five calliopes, two mortar carriers for fire support and a command APC. Like the 15mm versions, I painted them in dark grey (Plastic Soldier Company Panzer Grey from a spray can), drybrushed light grey with a black wash. The skirts were painted light green, again with an appropriate wash. There is an access door on each flank – I painted these white, with a blue triangle as an approximation of the UDB logo. Other than picking out the gun barrels in silver, that was it – this was a very quick unit to get on the table.
The UDB have been added to the ever-growing list of pre-packed detachments we have available –
HSD6-3301 – United Defence Batteries Calliope Detachment – £9.00
Our latest release is a set of 15mm civilian mechanics and repair crew – the first time in a while we haven’t released something festooned with powerguns or gatlings!
The set of twelve mechanics is split into three types of identical figures with different headgear – four with baseball caps, four with bare heads and four with ear defenders and goggles who would make ideal flight deck crew at a starport or airbase.
The three types of figure are also available separately in sets of four.