Small-Scale Slammers Action

Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible author (and newly-appointed Miniature Wargames editor) John Treadaway recently visited our club, Maidstone Wargames Society, again for another Slammers game – this time in 6mm.

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We utilised the club’s Pegasus Bridge WW2 terrain boards, but replaced all of the Normandy houses with ones from our resin SF ranges. The game saw the Slammers, supported by the 101st Texians in their VTOLs, racing to take a bridge held by a combined force of the Stewart regiment, Waldheim Dragoons and some Terran Authority Starmarines.

Below is a selection of photos from the day – John has more of his own on the HS website.

Slammers’ Support

Following on from our initial release of 6mm Hammer’s Slammers’ vehicles, we have some additional support vehicles released today. The one that gets nearest to the frontline is the mortar version of the A21 jeep, diminutive but with plenty of indirect firepower.

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Further behind the lines you’ll find the cargo and ambulance variants of the M9 combat car. The cargo version in particular is also used by other mercenary units as a transport hauler or as a gun tractor towing anti-tank weapons.

In more Slammers’ news, we have restocks of infantry and skimmers from Ground Zero Games, so the Slammers’ army pack and mobile infantry detachment are available again.

HS6-112b – M9 Cargo Car – £1.00
HS6-112c – M9A4 Ambulance car – £1.00
HS6-113a – A21 Mortar Jeep – £0.50

Greased Lightning

The Lightning Division are a mechanized unit of brigade strength. They are veteran troops originally from Mittel Europa on Old Earth and – in the late 330s TW – they decided to upgrade the motive power sources and transmission systems of their vehicles.

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The M2A7 Blower employed by the Lightning Division from 349TW onwards is based on the M2A4F version, the command tank used by Hammer’s Regiment. This is equipped with a 22cm, discarding-sabot rail-gun and the rear of the turret bulge mounts a small turret with a 1cm gatling rail-gun.

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Infantry are carried in up-armoured M9 Command Car, the M9A14 Crew Car. This has frontal reinforcement compared to a standard Command Car and has two roof mounted 1cm gatling rail-gun turrets mounted offset so that they can both fire forwards and backwards with little impedance.

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The Lightning Division also use the standard A21 hover jeep, and we have a pack available with four each of the tank, crew car and jeep, plus four sprues of infantry figures.

HSD6-1701 – Lightning Division Detachment – £12.00
HS6-1711 – M2A7 Blower Tank – £1.50
HS6-1712 – M9A14 Crew Car – £1.00

General Ridgway

The M-65 Ridgway is a one-man American Republic combat walker which can be equipped with a variety of weaponry depending on the required role.

It’s also an additional contribution that we made towards the Polyversal Kickstarter – everyone who pledged at ‘Adjutant’ level or higher gets a free set of three models, one of each type. The original design was something I put together a couple of years’ ago, but with the benefit of more design experience I felt I could make it better. So I’ve sat down and redrafted the model, and this is the result (or almost – there are one or two more tweaks to make before it’s 100% finished).

The Ridgway will ship to all qualifying contributors with the rest of their pledges, won’t be made available for general sale until 12 months after that.

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Polyversal PacFed

In the recent Polyversal Kickstarter, one of the starter armies available featured our PacFed models. We’re going to have to cast several thousand PacFed models to fulfill our part of the pledges, and we had already decided that we’d need to create some new moulds to do this. And we figured that if we were making new moulds, it would be an ideal opportunity to update the designs to match the resculpted 15mm versions. This means that everyone who’s ordered our PacFed models in their pledge will get these lovely shiny new ones instead of the original versions. We’ll be doing the same with the Catroux as well – a major change to this model will be to get rid of the separate wheels and make the hull a 1-piece casting.

Now there seems to be a commonly held misconception that because a digital version of a model exists in one scale, it can be magically resized to another scale with a single keystroke, new 3D masters can then be printed and away you go to the casters. Not so.

Think about it – our 15mm vehicles have separate crew hatches. Would you really want that in a 6mm model ? So small parts like these have to be attached/welded to the model (in some cases it’s as easy to simply recreate the geometry from scratch). Our 15mm Wombat has three parts to the hull – two metal and one resin. Again, this makes no sense in 6mm, so they have to be joined together, which invariably creates duplicate or redundant points and faces, so these need to be cleaned up. Scaling some 15mm parts down to 6mm makes them too small – in particular this affects gun barrels which generally end up too thin to cast, or even if they do cast they would be too brittle so that they would bend or break. So gun barrels have to be made fatter, but that means they no longer fit their mounting point so that has to be remodelled. I also sometimes make whole pieces (turrets especially) slightly bigger in the Y-axis – it just looks better. Some pieces of detail have to be enlarged to that they will cast better, and I often make hull plates thicker or recessed details deeper.

The same is true of the reverse process – taking a 6mm design and scaling it up to 15mm. In this case models often have to be broken into pieces to cast, and some details scaled down as they simply would look oversized in 15mm. Gun barrels have to be removed from turrets and hatches opened up – and so on.

So after that brief rant, here’s the result of some of my work – I’ve been taking the 15mm versions of the Ocelot, Wombat and Catroux and converting them to 6mm, and I’ll also have to create a version of the Quoll, which doesn’t yet exist in 15mm (still working on that).

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Ocelot CGI

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Once the Polyversal KS has shipped, our plan is to finish the job and remodel the entire PacFed 6mm range to match the new 15mm versions and replace everything at one go – this is quite a task that will involve replacing lots of moulds, but one that should be worthwhile. It further benefit is that some of the vehicles that have yet to be made in 15mm (the Quoll, Koala, Tanami and Bilby) will also be made available in the larger scale.

The Slammer’s Regiment

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.

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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.

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The combat cars, like the Ainsty 15mm versions, are supplied with etched brass splinter screens plus separate tri-barrel powerguns.

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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.

HSD6-100 – Hammer’s Slammer Army Pack – £25.00
HSD6-101 – Tank Detachment – £11.00
HSD6-102 – Combat Car Detachment – £7.50
HSD6-103 – Mobile Infantry Detachment – £4.50
HS6-111 – M2A4 Blower Tank – £1.50
HS6-111a – M2A4F Command Tank – £1.50
HS6-112 – M9A1 Combat Car – £1.00
HS6-112a – M9A4 Command Car – £1.00
HS6-113 – A21 Jeep – £0.50

Lone Star Airpower

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.

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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.

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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 !).

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Tiny Stewarts

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.

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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.

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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.

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Tiny Yeomanry

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).

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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.

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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.

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Micro Slammers – the TAS

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.

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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.

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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.

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Keep an eye out for more Crucible detachments during the week.

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