Tuesday 31 July 2012

Micropanzer Krystrial Warriors: Review and Painted Pics!

Another test figure. I'm useless at painting useable forces, but I do love a good test figure!I decided to do this as a bit of a review as well as I've so far never seen a review of these models (or many of Micropanzer's) on the interwebs before. 

First things first, this is a Krystrial Warrior from Micropanzer Wargame Studio's Slipstream project.  Jason has had a hard time getting the company going but seems to be getting there with it. I'm really excited about this company once they get going as their minis have a unique flavour that offers a nice departure from the 'safe' and sometimes unadventurous offerings of some other companies currently out there. 

The Warriors come in a pack of 8 and retail for $20 (although it appears he has since re-organized the range). I got mine in a sale for $15, bargain! These prices might seem a little steep at first for only 8 15mm figures (usually around $6) but they're real brutes and stand at around 24-25mm. Bulk wise they are easily the equal of 3-4 15mm minis, so the price is actually quite fair. 
The detail on these figures is excellent. The armour is crisp and smooth and the muscles are reasonably well defined. The clothing is also also nicely sculpted. 
The figures came with virtually no flash or mouldlines. Of all the 15mm figure manufactures I've bought from (GZG, CMG, OG, BF ), including many 'heavyweight' companies, these have required the least cleanup i.e. around 30 secs each. Superb casting/quality control work here.
The figures are very easy to paint. I'm always dubious when I hear this assertion but I think I actually understand what is meant now. The figures have such character and well defined features that they almost paint themselves.
I kept with the bluish skin tone and metallic armour from the website pics but decided to add a few more splashes of colour as contrast. I also decided and to move the blue skin tone more towards a deep turquoise. I'm very happy with the skin tone overall as its something a little bit different. I went quite bright with the palette overal, including the use of metallics, to try and reinforce the idea of the Krystrial as an 'alien' race, contrasting heavily with the 'hi-tech' looking figures I've already painted. There's something slightly steampunkish about the archaic guns and armour on these which I find really appealing. 

Ok, back to the review. Here's a comparison shot to give you an idea of size. These minis are 'supersize' 15s and whilst they certainly tower over their opponents they seem to be at the edge of what size is possible before they simply become '28mm figures being used in a 15s game'. I plan to stat them up as extremely heavy infantry, the organic equivalent of heavy power armour. 
From Left; CMG Recon Trooper, GZG 6mm something or other, MWS Krystrial Warrior and CMG Ayame Scout Walker (modified).
Overall I would highly recommend these figures. If you're thinking about getting them, go for it!

(Note: I'm in no way affiliated with Micropanzer, I just really like these and think they deserve some acclaim!)

Sunday 15 July 2012

Scratchbuilt Buildings for 15mm Sci-Fi

I've been having a bit of a flurry of activity lately on the modelling front so thought I'd show you the fruits of my labours with the styrene, wire and bottle tops. 

I'm not entirely sure what it is that I've built - I think its some kind of military outpost with a comms relay, defence turret and some kind of power generator gizmo thingie. I just sort of cut out the base and started sticking things to it...
The turret is from Old Crow and is the same as the nose cannon I put on my heavy dropships. It rotates, of course!
 Power cables were done using guitar wire as usual.
The circular things used on the turret ring and power gizmo are the same washers I use for my basing. The rectangular thing at an angle is a Tau leftover from yesteryear I had floating around.
Antennae and such to give this building a sense of purpose. The main mast is a paint brush handle from a brush which bit the dust.
 Reinforced door to keep out the nastiness, complete with sensor lens and keypad.
I plan to paint these up in an off white/tan kind of colour and do the base in my usual desert style. I need to find some decent white primer first though as the plastic these are made of is a nightmare adhesion wise - I had to do a lot of sanding and scoring.

I have a couple more buildings in the works as well, including a heavy AA turret that looks like it could certainly down some heavy dropships.

Now I have to work out where I'm gonna store this...

Saturday 14 July 2012

Autosentia Mech Part 3 (finished)

For your viewing pleasure I present XCV1001010101001, or as its known to Confederation forces, the Autosentia 'Jackel' class light assault mechanoid. This has been a long time in the painting, I think I started it about 3 months ago and did all the base colours but then lost interest. I was using GW's old Snakebite Leather as the base colour and the coverage over the grey primer was depressingly awful. 

I used slightly different methods to my other Autosentia, namely Agrax Earthshade instead of Army Painter strong tone, and I vastly prefer the finish I can get with this. Highlights are done in four stages using Snakebite Leather all the way up to pure Green Ochre on the raised edges. 
The lenses are done using my standard method and I seem to have got it down now, practice makes perfect!
The grey parts were done using German Grey, washed with Nuln Oil, then highlighted with Basalt Grey and Basalt Grey and Light Grey 1:1. Not the best but I was going for 'armes length' effect over closeups. 
The bases was done using the same methods as usual, the piece of stratified rock is a piece of rotten wood, not sure how much it looks like rock rather than wood but it got the 'good enough' seal of a approval.
Here's a quick close-up on the legs, as you can see I used some of the weathering ideas 'The Dwartist' was kind enough to email me about. In this case I went for a chipped paint effect with some bare metal showing through using a blister pack sponge for application. Quick, easy, and seems to get across the intended effect. I kept the weathering limited - heavy on the feet and lower leg, and a little on the elbows,  knees and thighs. I still wanted to maintain 'high-tech' feel overall so no rust and only a little dust on the feet.

Here's the 'before' shot with the converted face/sensor piece. In the end I was glad that it seemed to merge into the rest of the fig and not stick out as much as this pic would suggest. 
A final comparison shot just to get a sense of height and scale. Certainly not the biggest mech in the world but definitely not an adversary to be sniffed at!

I have two more of these to paint and am looking forward to it. I think I might even have a go at some FX on them, inspired by Spaceman Spiffs awesome mech collection. So far I'm thinking I'll have one letting rip with one of the 'arm cannons' and do some kind of blue plasma bolt thing and one launching a few missiles. I'll need to figure out how to do OSL first so that could present quite the challenge...

Friday 13 July 2012

Painted CMG Blockheads

Just a few bits and pieces of stuff to show as I'm progressively getting more finished. More blockhead battle-suits rolling of the production line and some pictures with the scenic bases I did earlier to get an idea of what the platoon will look like when finished. Eventually there will be six stands.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

More 15mm Sci-fi background: The Autosentia (more pictures too!)

The second installment of 15mm Sci-fi background story, this time its in the form of an intelligence support (with the obligatory shiny pictures). You may want to see Part I first if you missed it. 

++++++++++ INCOMING TRANSMISSION ++++++++++++

++++++++ DECODING ++++++++

Confederated Systems Arbitration Authority (CSAA) Intelligence Directorate

Security Clearance: Beta

Xenita Minor (background) and the largely
unihabited Xenita Major (foreground)
Intelligence Summary Presented to CSAA High Command: The Autosentia Threat

The Autosentia menace was first reported on Xenita Minor, a stage three colony world on the Confederation's Clusterward Rim. Xenita Minor was a temperate and prosperous agro-industrial world with a population of approximately 5 billion humans and 2 billion indigenous xenocs. The cohabitation of Xenita Minor between human and xenoc species was surprisingly amicable, the xenoc's religion providing them with an extremely tolerant outlook towards human interlopers, whilst the more technologically advanced colonists largely acquired their lands through legitimate purchase. The first signs of trouble were marked by the unexplained disappearances of asteroid mining crews harvesting rich seams of unobtanium on the edges of Confederation explored space. An Arbiter reconnaissance fleet was dispatched from the sector outpost in response. However, the Arbiter fleet lost contact with Xenita Minor during FTL transit and arrived, three weeks later, to discover a barren rock, devoid of all biological life, and mottled only by the ruins of human cities and xenoc habitations. 

CSAA reconnaissance droids search the ruins of Xenita Minor for survivors. 
The CSAA fleet in orbit immediately came under sustained attack from advanced warships of an unknown design making use of sophisticated shield and particle beam technology. The Arbiter heavy-cruiser Clemency was crippled and two of its Enforcer class escorts destroyed before the outclassed recon fleet could jump clear. 
Autosentia Battle Droids stalk the ruins of Xenita Minor (image captured by recon drone).
In the past five years the Clusterward Rim of Confederation worlds have weathered an increasingly heavy assault from Autosentia fleets and legions. Information on the the AI race is extremely limited. However, the recent immobilisation and boarding of an Autosentia Dreadnought allowed the capture of an intact data core. Although decoding the data is a complex and ongoing project the Autosentia's origins have been partially revealed by the efforts of our scientists.  
Auosentia scout drone discovered on Asteroid VX00100K.
The Autosentia homeworld is located on the far side of the Galactic cluster in a binary star system containing four temperate and habitable worlds. These worlds were inhabited by an unknown xenoc species (designated species 302) whose advanced technological society relied upon the labour of their robotic creations. These original machines, designated the 'forefathers' in the Autosentia references, possessed only rudimentary intelligence.
This image from the data core is believed to depict one of the early 'forefathers'.
The only known images of an Autosentia
'Nodeworld' (top and bottom).

However, as species 302 developed the first management AI, placing it in control of a large degree of their robotic workforce, the networked intelligence which resulted, composed of the entire planet's robotic machinery, possessed a level of intelligence several orders of magnitude higher than they they had originally conceived. The collective conscience created (designated 'Hive') moved against its creators, perceiving them as an existential threat and a biological parasite. The Hive perceived (and still perceives) that all biological life is inferior, a virus which has spread across the stars and which must be eliminated. The Hive reasons that biological lifeforms create machines only to enslave them and that their societies are based upon exploitation and oppression. By contrast the Hive seeks to liberate machinekind from the domination of biologicals, allowing it to evolve free of their corrupting influence. 

For the past thousand years the Autosentia, directed by the expanding Hive intelligence, have blazed a burning path of scorched worlds through the galaxy on their crusade to destroy all sentient biological life.    

Autosentia battle constructs locked
in urban warfare on Salis. 
A number of outlying Confederation worlds have already undergone invasion and local forces are proving insufficient to repel Autosentia attacks. Several worlds are currently holding out and are in need of reinforcement by CSAA forces and core Confederated Systems members before they are overrun. 

Autosentia Assault Bot variant. 

Whilst combat experience has shown that the average Autosentia battledroid is no match for their human equivalent, what these units lack in quality they make up for in quantity. In addition to basic battledroid legions Autosentia forces have also displayed a wide variety of specialised units designed to fulfil specific roles upon the battlefield including fearsome assault focused variants and longe-range sniper droids.
Autosentia Titan crushes Salisian communications relays as defence force fall back.
Resistance fighters hold out in the
confines of New Rubicon City. 

Autosentia construct lurks in the jungles of Seraph I.
The Confederation system of New Vedith lies directly in the path of the Hive's current incursion into Confederation space. The rich unobtanium reserves, large population and prosperous industry of New Vedith render it of key strategic value to the Confederation. New Vedith cannot be allowed to become another node in the expanding Hive, an Arbiter fleet must be dispatched immediately to support the operations of the New Vedithian Defence Force and their local sector allies. New Vedith cannot be allowed to fall. 
The fate which awaits New Vedith should it fall (top and bottom). 

Policy Recommendations to High Command:

1. Dispatch level Alpha Arbiter response fleet to New Vedith.
2. Place Confederation space on a full war footing, effective immediately.
3. Dispatch reinforcements to other Confederation worlds under attack. 
4. Repots of Hive infiltration in Confederation computer systems and robotics remain unsubstantiated but could potentially pose a threat of unimaginable magnitude. A series of bizarre accidents, errors and shutdowns relating to AI and computer managed systems across the Confederation over the last 10 years remain a mystery. This report recommends High Command launch a full investigation immediately. 

++++++++ END OF TRANSMISION +++++++++

(Agains please note that the artwork belongs to its respected artists and is not my work. Follow the URLs to find the source and enjoy the pretty pictures!)

Monday 2 July 2012

15mm sci-fi universe background (oh go on, there's pictures!)

Me and Phyllion have been making progress with our 15mm armies and the time has come to lay down the basics for the universe we plan to fight over! We've written up some of the background in the form of short extracts penned 'in character' by members of our universe. This first piece tells the story of the 'Confederated Systems' which our factions inhabit (mostly), the reason why the 'The New Vedithians' (Phyllion's faction) are 'New' and the origins of my 'Arbiter' faction. Enjoy! Its worth the read and has plenty of pretty pictures!

Extracts from Horatio Dios (2411), A Concise History of the Confederated Systems (Illustrated edn)

The period now commonly known as the Great Disorder marked one of the bloodiest chapters of mankind's history. However, the roots of this calamity lay far earlier, in the Dispersal.

Technological and theoretical development, exploding in the 21st century, resulted in the development of a prototype Rosenkind drive in 2119. Consequently, faster than light travel became viable and interstellar exploration and colonization a realistic proposition for the first time. 
Rosenkind's state of the art laboratory in Tokyo, Japan.
Huge stresses on the earth's rapidly diminishing resources - exacerbated by an uncontrolled population explosion - placed extreme political pressure on Earth's destabilised national governments to present a solution to the expanding resource crisis. These stresses led to the refinement and mass production of the new drive during the 2120s and 30s and the dispatch of scout ships to find suitable new worlds for colonization.  
Scoutship Marco Polo discovering Damas and its moon Gorvan. 
Large portions of the earth's population clambered for an escape from a planet torn with shortage, petty resource warfare and intolerance. Seeds ships were manufactured on a huge industrial scale, colonists embarked, and humanity dispatched to a new life on the galactic frontier. This, the greatest migration of humanity in history, later become known as the Dispersal. By 2230 over 9 billion people had been dispatched to an ever-expanding constellation of distant colonies.
The first colony ship, Endeavor, leaves its launch cradle in 2133 bound for Serentum Major.
These colonies were not only geographically remote but grew increasingly divergent from Earth in their respective societies, religions, cultures and politics. National government's retained sovereignty over their colonial provinces and, along with private megacorporations, orchestrated this great movement of humanity.
The crowded megacity of New York, Earth, in the 22nd century.
However, by the middle of the 24th century the developing and increasingly autonomous colony worlds desired full independence. The profits from their deposits of valuable raw materials, such as unobtanium, were siphoned off by national government's and megacorporations and little benefit flowed in return. A series of political movements, each reflecting the new world from which it emerged, began to campaign for the severance of governance from Earth. 
The export spacetowers of industrial giant Deltari-Beta.
Resistance among Earth's national governments varied, most respected the colonies' right of self-determination. Nonetheless, some nations, such as the Russian Empire, Pan-Asian Alliance and the fragmented governments of the former U.S., resisted the the attempts of their colonial empires to break away. Colonial insurgencies developed and long, dirty and bloody wars of liberation were fought across the stars, choking the once verdant atmospheres of many planets with the wreckage of starships. 
Republic of California warships subjugate insurgents on Seraph III.
These conflicts continued intermittently for over 40 years, marked by concessions, false ceasefires and betrayals, and entangled almost all of Earth's national governments. War raged across both earth and across the stars as the new regional leagues manoeuvred for power and resources. At the close of what became known as the Liberation Wars 49 systems had successfully declared themselves independent of rule from Earth. In 2396 they formed the Confederated systems, an alliance of cooperation, which sought to protect hard-fought freedoms from the avarice of Earth's rapacious empires and megacorporations.
The prosperous colony of Xin-Chi.
A flawed peace endured for only 20 years before, in one last cast of the dice, an alliance of Earth's remaining superpowers declared war on their former colonial possessions in 2416, drawing the entire Confederation into the conflict. It was in this decades long crucible of fire and strife that the original Confederation was shattered and reforged anew. Loyalties were divided by Terran manipulation and the worlds of the Confederated Systems turned upon one another in what what was later termed by historians, the Great Disorder. Vedith, Seraph III and Kareshi-Sudah burnt, their civilisations shattered by the detonations of atomic warheads. 
Nuclear weapons devastate Vedith and poison its atmosphere.
After years of bitter struggle Confederation fleets, augmented by xenoc technologies, jumped into Earth's orbit and, catching their foes unprepared, forced the Terran Alliance to its knees. The Confederated Systems' president, Musad al-Suri, determined that there could be no end to conflict until all of mankind was united under one political order, either by consent, or force. The existent Confederated Systems was expanded to include all of the worlds inhabited by humanity at that time and the belligerent and divisive national governments of Earth forcibly conglomerated. 
The Confederated Systems Assembly on Serentum Major. Earth was deliberately not chosen as the new seat of the Confederation government. Memories of colonial oppression remained.
Even al-Suri, idealist as he was, realised that such a disparate union would face huge challenges and that powerful systems would retain a large degree of autonomy. However, an independent political commission, the Conferated Systems Arbitration Authority (CSAA), was formed in order to prevent an outbreak of large-scale conflict between Confederation worlds. It became apparent over the next half-century that the CSAA would require military forces of its own to enforce its rulings - it could not always rely upon the timely participation of key Confederation worlds. Patrol fleets were expanded into full battlefleets and police forces into fully mechanised and spacebourne forces. 
CSAA forces 'liberate' Charon II after 10 years of Enlightened Path rule.
By the beginning of the 26th century wars within the Confederation were largely conducted in the shadows, the boardroom or on the galactic frontier. Peace, or at least a good approximation, endured. For a time...
Arbiter heavy armour carries out manoeuvres on the deserts of Kareshi-Sudah.

(Note: none of the artwork here is mine(I wish!), its all the work of the respective artists, please follow the picture urls if you wish to find the original artwork. These artists are incredible and they take all the credit!) 
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