Monday, November 28, 2016

A Bit of Scatter Terrain

Terrain Concepts, I’ve been playing with ideas for terrain rules.

Initially I conceived of a dichotomy with hard terrain, such as ruined buildings and concrete rubble, versus soft terrain, such as bushes and grass. Hard terrain would have better protection over the softer variety against such things as incoming small arms fire.

Concepts evolve, though, and I gradually struck on the idea of scrapping the relative cover density for a more fundamental terrain dichotomy: area vs linear.

Esentially this: If your troops are in a piece of area terrain, such as bushes, they get a moderate level of cover. If they are behind a bit of linear terrain, like a rock or wall,  they get a more substantial cover bonus.

Area terrain is easier to accomplish. It is easier to get a squad into area terrain. If half or more models in a squad are in the area terrain, then they get the area cover bonus.

Linear terrain requires more deliberate positioning. The models in a squad must be behind the linear terrain relative to the firing unit before the linear cover bonus applies. 

Linear cover depends on the position of the firing squad. Linear can be flanked, where area cannot. The linear cover bonus can make the target rather difficult to hit, which promotes flanking moves and a more dynamic game.

A linear position can degrade, once flanked, to area or open, depending on how the terrain is modeled and where the models are positioned. Which is to say that a bit of area terrain can be modeled with a stretch of linear terrain within it, but not all linear terrain is within area.

The infantry man is Clearhorizon Miniatures, for scale. Some of the boxes and crates are from a mold I picked up from Jason Moore over at Micropanzer. All the air bubbles in the crates are my own miscasts. Jason will hook you up with some serious high quality crates for a small, small fee. The barrels are electronic bits I have been evangelizing about for a while now, and the tanks... can you guess?


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

HADES Reapers and Spec-Ops K-9's

This is the first blog post since I moved to Ohio. I finally got settled in enough to work on some miniatures. So far I'm loving it here, very cool people.

First up we have some of the kit from Clearhorizon's Kickstarter. This is the HADES Recon Light Walker escorted by a HADES Reaper Team. We are about half way through the Kickstarter event as I post this, and they have bugs too, so Get Some! For those of you living in the future, you can get yours on the Clearhorizon website.

The marvelous Mr. Harold was kind enough to send me a squad of the new HADES Reapers from the Sigma Event 2177 box set. They're sculpted by Anton Ducrot, of Flytrap Factory fame; very crisp, clean sculpts making them relatively easy to paint. They are big troopers, power-armored and cyber-augmented. The ground cars in the back are some conversions I posted earlier.

Next is the Covert Ops Cyber-K9 and Handler Operative, also by Clearhorizon Miniatures, and also well sculpted. What can I say, you had me at teched-up AK-47.

I really love the styling on the Operative, super clean. The jury is still out, but this may be my favorite trooper from Clearhorizon. Yeah, but those Hell Divers, I don't know... tough call.

I'm still warming up to my Hell Diver army. I think I ended up with over two platoons when I finally stopped spending. I need to work on some terrain before I get stuck-in on a big project, and then there's all the other things.

Thanks for looking,


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Covert Ops Team

This is my latest project, ClearHorizon's Covert Ops teams. I wanted to give these guys a neutral color scheme to emphasize their covert nature. So this was a light gray base coat over white primer, then a thinned out black ink, three layers of highlight to bring out the magnificent, fine detail, and finally another super thin black ink over the whole thing.

I don’t usually ink infantry, but the detail on these models is so fine that I couldn’t show it all off by just painting in the usual highlights. They are made for ink. It settles right down into those details just right.

I’d like to try this project again with airbrushing the basecoats, dark from the bottom and light from the top then hit it with ink and done.  I think that would be just about all it would take. Maybe pick out the guns and edges with a brush before the ink.

I was excited to try out Clearhorizon’s new hex tile sci-fi bases. They are a very nice product, though a bit tricky. You cut through the cast on, metal base right around the model’s feet, straight down like you’re taking their shoe size. At this point they look like they have on platform shoes. Then drill out holes in the sci-fi base to match where the feet go and just super glue the platforms into the holes; Bob’s your uncle. They fit right over a US penny, which is what I did here to maintain my magnet base system, and I like the added weight, such as it is. The acrylic is very sturdy and the hex pattern can really posh up a model nicely.

Thanks for looking,

Tom Kelley

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Civilian Field Trucks

The 7th hour came and went on the rumbly, dusty track that passed for a road out in the Inhab. Kilometer after kilometer of deserted, rocky waste rolled by. Sure it was going to be an Eden, god's new promised land, a fertile, bountiful paradise where citizens could idle their time away pondering the greater questions of life and what it means to be alive; but now is our time. I mean, someone has to tend to the vast terraformation apparatus of this world; and for what, some future generation, able to walk free among the trees and vales? 

For now, though, there is kilometer after kilometer of lifeless, rocky wasteland. You could call it the badlands, or as we say the Inhab; Inhabitable Zone. The mind does tend to wander out here, with nothing new to see. Blue sky is a blessing, at least we have that in common with Old Earth, but otherwise brown and tan is the whole landscape before us.

The thrumming of the engine and the occasional whoosh of wind outside the truck; the tinny stream of country-western coming from the radio, we're not completely hopeless after all. The atmo out here is, of course, barely breathable. That's why we wear the sup-ox respirators outside. We are still in the microbial genus of the terraformation process, after all. Which is to say, you could last a few hours at most outside, at which point you'd begin to dream. If you're lucky, you might be able to shake it off, get up and locate some supplementary oxygen, but that's only if you're lucky.

In the Inhab, you have to bring your sup-ox. The familiar band of habitable atmo that surrounds the equator, the Habzo, is where civilization, such as it is, can flourish. The climate around the planet's midriff, if you will, is breathable. That's the stage of T-formation we live in; barring the occasional storm passing though, bringing CO2 in its wake, like a plague, only less biological and more fundamental.

They did tell us one day we would pay to breathe, but who believed them?

Our field trucks are atmosealed, thank god, so we can breathe easy inside. But there is no lock, so the second you open the door, all that sweet oxy dissipates into the atmo.

Maintenance supplies are routed regularly to the HVAT-25 Atmospheric Scrubbers; it’s our job to get it there; lucky us! But at least it’s better than the alternative. It's totally stupid, but if we let our contract slip, then the republicans will be able to claim our hold as territory of the Republic, god forbid! Those loonies would have us all hup-tooing their progressive line before the day grew long!

No, we had a contract, a contract with the original colonial authority, not whatever passes for a CA these days.

I mean, who in hell do those jokers think they are, Nu-Mars Republic; like they don't even know how to spell 'new', WTF bastards! Uniting the free-holds into a unified political body…F-them!

We were here long before they ever showed up, and we'll be here long after they’ve sucked their last molecule of CO2 in the street, or I'm not a free-holder by the grace of god the almighty!

Still... legally, the charter is the only thing between us and total assimilation, so we had better maintain our seventeen HVATs, or the breach of contract will give the Nu-Mars Republic all the legal ammunition it needs to seize our hold, and all of us with it, to become shiny new citizens in their new utopian paradigm; not that 'legal' is the only ammunition it would take.

Thanks for looking!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Colonist Utility Trucks, WIP

Here are some work in progress shots of my latest project. These are going to be field trucks for the colonists or, more likely, any of the irregular, radical factions. They are loaded down with stowage because Nu-Mars is is a tough place to eek out an existence, and because I just can't help but add tons of loot.

Without any weapons mounted, they will carry fighters around, deploy weapon and comm systems in the field, and even provide medevac, when necessary. They will also make excellent mission targets.

They are kit bashed from WWII British artillery tractors, but as you can see, they make much better Sci-Fi trucks.

I glued three pins on each side to hold some tie-down string, which I'll add later after the base coating is done.

The stowage is, of course, electronic components, harvested from circuit boards.

Here are some shots before I primed everything, showing the stowage a little better, and with more of the same piled up in the background, also a militiaman for scale.

And these show the original kit, more or less. I had sculpted on some stowage a while ago. The fuel tanks are from a T-34.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Covert Ops, Baby

The electronic lock released its vise grip on the door with a quiet click, and the heavy slab of composite poly‑steel slid open on servo‑mechanisms hidden in the wall, just as if the intruder was authorized to be there, just as if he was another administrative technician carrying out his mundane duties on Sub‑Level 5 of the most secure networking facility on the station. Security systems composed only a fraction of the training involved with the Gamma Operations Division, training that begins in early childhood and focuses the mind, body and soul, through years of instruction and drill, into a precisely calibrated instrument.

No matter how strictly he had trained, though, or how many missions he had completed, as he padded silently along the clean, white corridor of the installation, a tremor of electric adrenaline spiked down through his core, through his guts and ran out to his finger tips and his toes. A carefully memorized, three dimensional schematic of the target complex revealed itself in his mind and rotated around until it locked into position, oriented with the sterile structure around him. The server room lay directly ahead, a short walk, a few layers of automated security, and direct access to the data‑net would be his; it was almost too easy.

So, of course, it was. It wasn’t so much a direct perception as it was a feeling in the back of his neck, instinct, intuition; the culmination of a whole lifetime spent in drill after drill after drill, until the skill, the perception, the attention to detail merged into him. It became him, and he became it, and when the foreign operative entered Sub‑Level 5, he knew it instantly.

His fingers worked quickly at the access panel to the server room, eyes scanning the corridor for any company. Biomimetic film, sequenced nano‑injection and a few other bits of tradecraft had the door sliding open in a moment, but he felt the presence watching him. Too quiet to be station security, and why hadn’t they tripped the alarm, surely they knew about him just as he knew about them? Inside the doorway now and with his back pressed against the wall, taught and alert, he slowly drew the long, high‑density ceramic blade, eyed the banks of data‑net servers before him, and waited for the server room door to slide closed, maybe with his mystery companion locked on the other side, he might have the chance he needed to upload the raid‑ware.

The door did slide closed, and the automated locking mechanisms snapped‑to with absolute confidence, but the comforting solitude he expected was not there. Suddenly, though, she was there, right in front of him, just out of blade reach, but there. He was familiar, of course, with the concept of chameleon skin, a nanite matrix that refracts light around its subject, rendering it effectively invisible. A brilliant, technological impossibility, or so he thought.

From the top of her head to the tips of her toes she was decked out in a skintight bodysuit that covered everything, but hid nothing. The nanite matrix disengaged, he supposed, to punctuate her entrance, she stood in the aisle between the server banks, covering him with a sleek little carbine that was just made for action.

Everything about her said Syndicate, and things were about to get messy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Mercenaries / Colonial Security

Well, here we are at post number three, and this time, we have a squad of Security Personnel / Mercenaries, courtesy of ClearHorizon Miniatures, Mr. Harold’s fine miniatures establishment, famous for their Orbital Drop Pods and the completely insane Hell Divers that ride them.

“You have to be crazy to jump out of a perfectly good space ship.”
“Oi, there’s no such thing as a perfectly good space ship!” 

I’m a big fan of ClearHorizon Miniatures and I have been for years. They’re a pillar of the 15mm Sci-Fi community.

This model set’s versatility is quite appealing, a nice blend of regular and irregular. They can play the mining company’s security team, or the miner union’s enforcers;  heartless mercenary bastards sent to oppress colony villages or resilient colonial citizens, ready to fight off all comers in defense of their little piece of space. And if you use them as I plan to, their role can switch around from game to game, depending on which faction needs reinforcements.

These guys are finely detailed and well proportioned. The faces are symmetrical and convincing. The clothing and equipment is a nice mixture of uniform and mismatched. I chose to paint them in a uniform, but you could paint them in different colored gear just as easily. And I love the authentic sculpt of the AK-47; that guy’s my favorite.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure about these guys initially, but having gone through the process with them I can say that the Merc’s are definitely worth the effort. They are excellent candidates for wash methods. I don’t usually use washes, but I did on these guys. Their coats are very finely detailed, the kind of fine that screams ‘Wash Me!’ So I brushed in some highlights, then hit them with a thinned out brown ink, and I’m completely satisfied with the results; and the visors, I love the visors, what a great opportunity to explode the gem technique, very nice.

Thanks for visiting,

Tom Kelley