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

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Co-Mil Scout Cars

These are some colonial militia scout cars I finished up a little while ago. They represent a two‑seater field car, basically the same as the colony civilians drive; unarmored, ultra‑compact, and, in typical colonist fashion, loaded down with all kinds of gear. They are atmo‑sealed and have air reserves, so if a storm comes along they can provide a safe haven, but they have no air‑lock, so you better have your respo gear, if you plan on unbuttoning these babies.



In keeping with the militia’s emphasis on technical support to the republic colonists and maintaining the long term terraforming facilities, over offensive military capability, the cars don’t have any weapons mounted to fire directly from the vehicle. They can carry deployable equipment that they drop off around the table, remote missile packs, comm transmitters, or even ammo reloads for the battle mechs. And of course, they are tied in to the battle‑net, so they can spot for indirect fire and paint targets for missiles. All of which will hopefully require some thoughtful tactics to use the cars effectively.


They are kit‑bashed from a toy called ‘nano-speed’, the kind of car you pull back and let it zip across the floor. I carefully picked out the biggest models they had and they are still right at the bottom edge of being too small. Some would say they are over the edge, but what, me worry?

The stowage consists of capacitors, resistors and diodes harvested from circuit boards, a technique I am very happy to have discovered as it solves all my sci‑fi barrel and box requirements, and which you will be seeing a lot more of in the future. I spent about a month of hobby time taking apart every circuit board I could get my hands on, and now I have what I’m calling a lifetime supply of stowage and supply containers, of course I always want more.

I had a problem with some wash that I tried out on these guys. I’m always looking for an easier faster way to paint, but this one didn’t turn out too well. I probably didn’t use it right, but for the life of me I couldn’t find any guides online that show how it should be done. I basically drenched the model in the wash and let it go. I put it on over a dull coat, as opposed to gloss, which may have contributed to the trouble. But as you can see the dark tones of the wash migrated up to the raised areas, where you want your highlights, rather than settle into the crevices like a good dog –er wash, a good wash. If you have any advice regarding this product please share it, because otherwise this stuff is going on the shelf. I opted out of the pizza camo for the re-paint.

Here's a Colonial Militia task force with  a C-Def mech in support. The Civilian Defense League is an ally of the CoMil... usually.


And just for fun, Here's my full Colonial Militia Force so far. They have some kit bashed blower tanks in the pipeline, but otherwise they are done for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for looking,
Tom Kelley

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Radical Reinforcements

I just finished a batch of 15mm Sci‑Fi radicals, armed to the teeth with RPG’s, SAW’s, and assault rifles. These Oddzial Osmy (O8) miniatures are awesome and I love each and every sculpt. I’ll be using them to represent a variety of factions; anarchists, eco‑terrorists, and union heavies to name a few.

As you can see, the sculpts are really imaginative, a solid line of low‑tech sci‑fi. They have a ton of variety, and this batch represents only about half of the sculpts available now. Each model has a lot of character, and the group as a whole comes off as a little bit punk, a little bit rock‑n‑roll. They would fit right in in Mega‑City 1, duking it out with the law.

These are probably the last miniatures that I’ll prime with black. I’ve been trying to lighten up my painting with various techniques, and I pulled out all the techniques I could think of for these guys except the white primer. Partly I wanted to see if the primer color really mattered (I think it might just a little) and partly I already had them primed in black, so there you go.

The pewter that they are cast with is a very hard, brittle material; more so than the usual white metal. I made the mistake of trying to bend one of my colonial militia (NVL) guys at the legs. Well he now slogs into battle on a pair of prosthetics. But having learned that lesson, I now really like the properties of the metal. I have confidence these guys will be very robust on the table top, no bent gun barrels and the like.

These guys are beautifully sculpted, like all O8 models that I’ve seen. The level of detail is quite fine. All the faces are clean and well balanced. The folds, pouches, and other details are crisp and smooth; a real joy to paint. I would like to see some NVL equipment make it into more rebel hands in the future, if there are any more codes planned, but these guys are well worth putting some time into and giving some care to the paint work, very rewarding. O8 are easily my favorite 15mm Sci‑Fi infantry models.



Thanks for checking these out,
Tom Kelley