Archive for September, 2010

In the movie Casablanca, Bogart’s character, Rick, always finds himself fighting on the side of the underdog, and I think I know why. There’s just something about a rag-tag bunch of poorly armed amateurs standing defiantly against the bad guys, with nothing on their side but grit and determination.That’s why I put together this group of freedom fighters to play skirmish games set in the near future. Everyone else seemed to be going for high-tech troops equipped with jet packs, body armor and laser blasters, so I went the opposite direction. Sure, they are at a disadvantage against their better-armed opponents and frequently pay the price, but it’s so satisfying when they do manage to strike a blow for the poor and oppressed. Plus, they can also serve as a post-apocalyptic band of scavengers or as a group of zombie outbreak survivors if I need them to.

Most of the figures below are made by Copplestone, from their Future Wars range, but there are also figures by EM-4, Pig Iron Productions, Hasslefree, and Khurasan Miniatures.

First up is the boss of the whole operation and the medic. Both are Hasslefree figures, and the medic was converted by replacing a pistol in her left hand with the bag of medical supplies:

Next up are two of the subordinate leaders, both by Copplestone. In my little hierarchy, the leaders wear helmets because it makes the easier to spot on the tabletop:

Here is the sniper, which is a Khurasan figure:

Here are the light machine gunners, both by Copplestone, though I did modify one of the figures by adding a bipod to his weapon:

These are the missile teams. Each figure is attached to a double-sized base with magnets, so that I can move them as a team or separate them as needed. The figures are by Pig Iron, but the heads are from various manufacturers:

Next, we come to the scouts, who perform a vital yet dangerous job. Two of them are by Hasslefree and the rest are Copplestones. When I originally ordered the two from Hasslefree, I discovered that they were very small standing next to those big, burly Copplestone partisans. They really looked they were a different scale altogether, so I decided that these insurgents use kids as scouts.  Carrying  cell phones (or their future equivalents) and pen-sized target designators and armed only with easily concealable pistols, they blend in with the crowds of civilians in order to get close to the enemy. In the games I’ve played, they usually die in a hail of gunfire, or plasma blasts, or poorly-targeted artillery strikes. Yes, I know. I’m going to hell for this.

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And last but not least are the grunts, armed only with a rifle of some sort and the kind of determination borne of desperation. Most of these are Copplestones, but there are a few EM-4 figures in there as well:

Here are a few photos of a 6mm battlegroup I just completed for Future War Commander. Most of the items are made by Ground Zero Games, which I highly recommend. This was the first time I have ordered anything from GZG, but it was reasonably priced and arrived quickly. I think it took less than a week to reach me in the wilds of Texas. Best of all, the castings are all well-detailed, especially for such a small scale. There was a bit of flash to clean up, but that was not a major issue.

First up are the command units of the force. I modified one of the vehicles on the CO’s stand with some bits and pieces to make it look a little more interesting. I wanted it to resemble an anti-aircraft version of the same vehicle, escorting the CO’s vehicle.

Next up are the armored forces. These are listed in the GZG catalog as “Wolf” tanks. I know some guys don’t like to put their tanks on stands, but I do. I like the way it looks, and it lends a further degree uniformity to my armies:

These heavy AFVs are listed as “Nova” tanks:

These next ones are the Zeta armored personnel carriers. They have a sort of art deco style that reminds me of luxury cars or passenger trains of the 1930s. The kind of vehicle you’d see a a fella wearing a top hat and monocle stepping out of.

Next up are the scout walkers. I don’t know why an army that can afford anti-gravity propulsion for something as big as a command vehicle might need a vehicle with legs, but they looked too cool to pass up, so there you go.

Here is the air support for the troops. GZG provides clear plastic “flight” stands with these, which are nice, but I prefer to base my aircraft this way. The flight stands went straight into my parts box, but I can incorporate them into some futuristic structure or piece of terrain. Win-win.

Here are some of my rapid-response troops, listed in GZG’s index as “NAC Skimmers”. They are infantry riding small, one-man anti-gravity sleds.

Next up are the medics. My dad was wounded as a medevac pilot in Vietnam, so I have a soft spot for those guys and look for opportunities to include medics in my armies whenever I can. Fortunately, FWC contains a rule for medics, so I used it. The vehicles are by GZG (listed as “rangetrucks”), but the two men kneeling on the ground are by Main Force Miniatures. They’re actually supposed to be modern-day Russians, but I thought the molding was ambiguous enough to paint them like the rest of my sci-fi troops.

Next up are some missile launcher teams:

And finally we come to the poor, bloody infantry. I went with the NAC troopers, although there are several other nationalities that look nice as well:

Here are a few shots of some of my 28mm Russian Civil War officers and other personalities. To start us off, it wouldn’t be the Russian Civil War without the Czar and family, now would it? These four figures are all from West Wind productions:

Next up are some of the White Russian officers. From left to right are two White officers from Brigade Games, a Copplestone German mercenary (now serving as a czarist officer), and a Copplestone White Russian officer.

Here are two White cavalry officers. man on the left is from Old Glory, converted so that he’s holding a pistol now instead of a sword, and the man on the right is a Copplestone cossack. The cavalryman’s pistol, by the way, is by Cannon Fodder. They are great for conversions because they include the whole hand, and are well detailed:

This next one just happens to be my favorite officer figure, and is by Copplestone. I just like the pose very much, and the nice smooth lines. Great figure:

Here are couple of members of a White general’s, staff/entourage. Not really members of the army, as you can see. We’ll call them advisers. Or assistants. Either way, I’m sure they both have very important roles to play in boosting the general’s morale. The woman on the left, we’ll call her simply “Natasha”, is from Copplestone, and the Orthodox priest on the right is from Brigade Games:

Next up are the Bolsheviks. These four officers are all from Copplestone. The one on the left is actually the same figure as the third man, but was converted with a head swap with a German. I did this partly to add some variety (I hate seeing identical figures in my armies) and partly because I wanted to get one or two coal scuttle helmets in my army:

This next one is a cavalry officer from Eureka Miniatures. He’s 25mm, and so is a little smaller than most of my Bolsheviks, but the rearing horse disguises that a bit.

Here is another converted figure, a Copplestone head on a Copplestone body.

Another Copplestone Red officer. Can you tell I love Copplestone? Well, I do.

This one is a naval officer, also from Copplestone:

These next two are commisars, again by Copplestone:

These next two are not really personalities, unless you’re the type that talks to your car. The first is a resin Austin-Putilov kit by Old Glory built straight from the box. I can’t remember where I got the decals from, but they are actually meant for aircraft. I thought they looked pretty good on the armored car, though:

Since the Whites had an Armored Car, I had to give one to Reds also. But, at the time I was building this, there weren’t many armored cars available, and I didn’t want to just give them another Austin Putilov. So, what to do, what to do….

That’s when it occurred to me that the Bolsheviks scratchbuilt a lot of their armored vehicles, so I should do the same. I started with the chassis of a Lledo toy of a Ford Model T truck. Then I built the armor plating with sheet styrene. Rather than build a movable turret, I gave it a fixed cupola with a machine gun barrel sticking out. To give the car all-around firing capability, I stuck machine gun ports on both sides, so the thing is bristling with Maxims. I like the look of rivets rather than welds, so to get that look, I applied small drops of glue and let them dry. And since it was (supposedly) built in a shipyard with whatever materials were on hand, I painted it a navy gray. The Star decals also came from an airplane kit: