Ah, what a day I had yesterday … while manoeuvring some boxes in the workshop, I managed to knock over one of the drawer units that we use to carry stock to shows … 48 drawers full of 1200+ Celtos figures scattered all over the floor 🙁 It took over an hour and a half to pick them all up and sort them back into the correct drawers. Add to that the rather oppressive heat we had yesterday, and you can safely say that I wasn’t a happy bunny ! In my rather grumpy mood I also forgot to pick up two small Aeronef masts which I needed to complete some new models, which means I couldn’t finish painting them, which means no new release today…
On the upside, our stocks of Imperial Skies rulebooks and the various laser-cut accessories are due in over the weekend – rulebook author Robin is driving over with a boot-full of boxes on Sunday morning. This means that the first batches of pledges will start shipping this week – we’ve already ordered in lots of extra boxes to pack them in.
Finally, some good and not-so-good news. The good news is that the Hammer’s Slammers 6mm models released last week have been selling very well, with plenty of Blower tanks and combat cars going out the door. The downside is that we’ve already run out of the skimmers and infantry that we ordered in from GZG, so I’ve had to temporarily take the army and mobile infantry packs off the website while we wait for a restock. The rest of the packs and models are still available however, and you can always order the skimmers and figures direct from GZG.
Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible is a set of rules that can be played in several scales; all of the photos in the book are of 25mm figures and vehicles, although judging from various blogs and posts on the net it seems to be more popular in 15mm. Ainsty Castings are the official licensed supplier of 15mm vehicles for the Slammers Regiment, with Ground Zero Games providing figures. However, it also gives an excellent game with 6mm figures and vehicles, with armoured battles benefiting from the space afforded by smaller scale models. So we’re very pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with John Treadaway, co-author of the Crucible rulebook, and Ainsty Castings to create 6mm versions of the approved vehicle designs and bring the regiment to life in micro-scale.
These new models have all been created digitally and are cast in pewter. Our initial release is of the core vehicles needed for a Slammers detachment – the M2A4 blower tank and the M2A4F command variant, the M9A1 combat car and M9A4 command variant, and the A21 jeep.
The combat cars, like the Ainsty 15mm versions, are supplied with etched brass splinter screens plus separate tri-barrel powerguns.
Infantry, both on foot and on skimmers, are available from Ground Zero Games, although we have some stocks which we’re using to create army packs (for individual packs of figures you can contact GZG directly).
Future releases will include further variants of the M2 tank and M9 combat car as used by other mercenary units, plus the uparmoured variants used by the Slammers Regiment in their later days. We will also be releasing ambulance and cargo variants of the combat car, a mortar jeep and artillery hogs to complete the Slammers’ ToE.
My next detachment for The Crucible is one I’ve had to be a bit more inventive with. The Texian 101st Light Airborne is an infantry unit that is transported in VTOLs. My 10 TU detachment consists of four infantry elements each in an APC VTOL, plus two gunships. The 15mm version uses Old Crow models for the aircraft, but instead I substituted the nearest equivalents from our range. For the Panavia Raven gunship I used our Polish Orzel Bialy model, and for the Black Crow APC I used the British Hestia, which has a larger fuselage to carry the infantry.
After priming the VTOLs were basecoated in Army Painter Skeleton Bone, airbrushed with brown camouflage patches and them washed with GW Sepia. The underside was painted with Tamiya Sky, which is a rather greenier shade than I expected, but looks fine. Red and white stripe markings were painted on the Hestia tail and Orzel Bialy wings, then inter-war US aircraft decals from Dom’s Decals completed the Texas colours.
The flying stands, which were originally made for some WW2 gliders, are made from the circular base of some very old GW spaceship stands, which were drilled out to accept a length of 6mm perspex rod. The top end of the rod was drilled out and a 3mm magnet glued in, which then attached to another 3mm magnet in the base of each model (make sure the polarities match !).
My next Crucible detachment is the third that replicates a 15mm force – this time the Stewart Regiment. These use a combination of our British Apollo tanks and Artemis APCs, along with some co-opted Soviet Kunitsa tracked APCs (one with a mortar). What makes them slightly unusual is the addition of two Tyche towed anti-tank guns. We don’t make this model in 6mm, so instead I used two EuroFed CAC-41 guns.
The colour scheme in this case is very simple – after priming (in white this time), they were airbrushed with Vallejo desert sand, drybrushed with GW Terminatus Stone and washed with GW Sepia. I couldn’t find any suitable decals (the 15mm variants have Saltires as unit markings) so I hand-painted markings on one or two vehicles.
A quick word about primers. I always use Halfords automotive primer in one of its various colours (Red Oxide, grey or white) depending on the colour that’s going over the top of it. There are a number of spray paints aimed specifically at the wargaming/modelling market that purport to be coloured primers and can be supposedly be used straight onto bare models. This may be true on plastics, but in my experience using these on unprimed metal or resin doesn’t always work. On the occasions when I’ve tried this, the result has been paint that either rubs off easily with minimal handling, or in the worst case simply blistered and peeled off a set of metal Land Ironclads. So I always use a proper primer paint designed specifically for the purpose, and Halfords’ is the best that I’ve found. I realise this isn’t much help if you don’t live in the UK and can’t get hold of it, but the principle still applies, and wherever you live there should be an equivalent. It’s worth spending the money to buy a decent quality primer – Halfords is a bit more expensive (£8 for a large can, although that can holds twice as much paint as a normal spray can) but will spray 100+ models so compared to the money you’ve already spent on the models, the investment isn’t that steep.
Following on from the TAS, my second 6mm Crucible Detachment is the West Riding Yeomanry. They match my equivalent 15mm force, with four Montsabert hover tanks and three Tassigny APCs (one an AA variant) each carrying an infantry element for a total of 10 TUs (although all of the Montsaberts are gun tanks since there’s no 6mm version of the gatling variant).
The models were primed with Halfords’ grey automotive primer, which was used as the base colour. Green and brown camouflage patches were airbrushed on, then the vehicles were highlighted and shaded with a combination of drybrushing and washes.
The infantry on the other hand were primed with Red Oxide primer which again served as the base colour, then drybrushed and washed with brown before details were painted in. The three infantry TUs are all of different types – one normal rifle section, one support and one anti-tank. Although I used the appropriate figures for each type (rocket launcher figures in the AT section for example), to make identification on the battlefield easier without a microscope I’ve adopted a system of coloured dots on the rear edges of the infantry bases. Normal rifle sections are green, anti-tank sections red and support blue.
If you’re an SF gamer, you’re probably aware that a number of our 15mm models have been adopted as various mercenary forces in the Hammer’s Slammers universe for The Crucible ruleset. Since many of our models are also available in 6mm, it follows that it’s possible to recreate many of the detachments in the smaller scale as well.
Lately I’ve been having a bit of fun painting up some 6mm forces to use in The Crucible. Detachments tend to be quite small, generally 8-12 elements or Tactical Units (known as TUs – generally a vehicle or infantry section) so they’re very quick to put together.
The first finished detachment also happens to be the first I painted in 15mm as well – a unit of Terran Authority Starmarines (TAS). Because the TAS are an elite unit, detachments are only 8 TUs (smaller units are easier to control). It consists of two Wombat APCs each carrying an infantry TU, two Ocelot light tanks and two heavier tanks – I’ve painted two extra elements so that I have some flexibility and can choose between Cougar or Komodo tanks.
Painting was pretty straightforward – after priming, they were airbrushed with two-tone blue camouflage stripes using Vallejo Air paints. After a quick drybrush, they were then washed with a GW blue wash, and the last little bit was to pick out some details on the skirts in bronze and gold. The infantry were based on coins which were then textured with PVA and sand. I washed black ink straight over the grey primer, then picked out the helmets in blue and the weapons in black. Finally the bases were painted brown and drybrushed pale stone, and finished with flock after varnishing.
Keep an eye out for more Crucible detachments during the week.
We’re currently finishing off the last bits of casting for the Imperial Skies pledges this week, along with casting up the several hundreds of buildings required for our part in the Age of Tyrants Kickstarter project – and all this alongside our normal daily orders from the website. In between we’ve still managed a new release this week, this time in 15mm.
The second item is a set of five useful ‘widgets’ (we couldn’t think of a better name) in the Desert Buildings range. There’s a control console, a unit with two A/C fans, a conical beacon thingy and a couple of other useful bits. All great for adding an extra level of detail to your buildings.
B15-210 – Small Utility Building – £4.00 B15-139 – Building Detail Widgets – £3.00
Since I was quite happy with the results of my test desert building I decided to take Tony up on his challenge of making a town comprising of ten bases in a similar style. I’ve not finished them yet but thought I’d offer a peek of the current progress. The first five are upto the point where they are ready for painting with a few more still at the cutting and glueing stage. Must admit that I find the cutting and glueing more fun than the painting as it feels much more creative.
I’ve stuck to my original plan of where I can only using items from our own ranges. I’m trying to work bits from each of our ranges into the models. I’m probably most happy with a fence made up of solar panels from an Iron Stars battleship. Not quite sure at the moment though how I’ll manage to work a 28mm fantasy figure into a 15mm Sci-fi town!
Since these pictures were taken the buildings have been undercoated and given a base coat so hopefully I’ll have the finished items to show off fairly soon. Obviously “fairly soon” could actually mean several months…..
Some houses in the desert wastelands are built up on high plinths to keep them safe from predators – this is one such design, accessed by a single stairway to a raised platform. This new 15mm building is available today.
I’ve also been tinkering with some of our recent releases, combining them with other parts to see what I could come up with. In particular, the new Fasolini tracked gun units have all sorts of possibilities. I’ve added a missile launcher and radar dish to the tracked base to create mobile anti-tank and comms systems, as well as a 5-barrel gatling weapon, known as the Lucane (Stag Beetle) family. I’ve also put the single-barrel gun on a ground mount to create a light AA gun (the quad gun was unfortunately a bit too big to fit the base and overbalances). These are listed under the EuroFed.
One of the most popular 15mm building sets we’ve come out with has been the Research Base. Possibly because it’s a very versatile design that will stand in as a military barracks, PoW or prison camp or general purpose civilian huts. Today we have a new addition to the base, a double hut connected by a central corridor – in other words, an H-Block. In its original guise as a cold weather research base it means that the occupants can move from hut to hut without stepping outside in the cold, which has to be a good thing !