Tuesday, February 21, 2017

3mm Mechas and Pico Armor Forum

For those of you who don't know, 3mm figure vendors Pico Armor have revamped their site. They now have a "War College" forum, which is already quite active.

This post is in response to a comment made on that forum that we need O8 to produce some science fiction mechas. While that would be great, it made me realize that a lot of people out there probably don't know that there are already many options for SF mecha-type vehicles. So I decided to drag out some of mine to show what is available and how they paint up!

These were done bit by bit over the last 10 years or so, as I've learned more about how to paint and base 3mm figures. Every one of these groups has about 10-20 mecha: I've just grabbed a handful here to show the variety that's available.

First up, the oldest group, the Red Army.

These guys have two kinds of figures: 5 five Dream Pod 9 Fleet Scale Heavy Gear minis and a 6mm Hound Dog walker from Ground Zero Games "Dirtside" line. I have repainted these twice, each time to make the red more vibrant. You'll notice that one of the DP9 figures has had its missile launcher chopped off to make a recon variant. This was then given to the DP9 figure in the second row to make a missile-heavy support mecha.

Here's the second oldest group, the Tan Army:

These figures are more DP9 and Ground Zero, except this time there's a small recon mech added in from Ground Zero's Full Thrust space combat line. It's tiny, comparaitvely speaking, and in my rules it jumps around a lot and has excellent stealth. These have also been repainted to make the tan stand out more.

The third army I painted (but never completed) are the Blues:

These have even more Ground Zero walkers and two different types of battle armor from Iron Wind Metal's Battletech line. These are perfectly proportioned for 3mm mechs, as you can see, and there are literally dozens you can choose from on Iron Wind's site -- enough to do your own 3mm Battletech, if you so wish.

The next army, chronologically speaking, was the Grey Army, which came in two groups, the first composed of GZG Hound Dogs (not shown here) and the second of these guys:

Those are 15mm Robot Legion Velon Skirmishers, from Blue Moon's Aliens line. They have been suitably modified with railguns and a support missile launcher. Behind them stands a Recce Trooper Drone from DP9's Eden range. At this scale, it's either a Warhound-esque light titan or a superheavy mecha. I find it complements the Velon Skirmishers quite nicely.

This is my newest army: the support battalion for the People's Revolutionary Army on Smade's World. These are also DP 9 figures (fleet scale Terran frames, this time) and they illustrate well my current painting and basing scheme: as bright and clear as I can get!

Finally, here are a selection of command stands. These have regular O8 figures on their bases so you can see how they compare. Note the dark green command stand: that was how I was painting before I realized that one needs to go as bright as possible on these figures:

So there you have it! These are just some of the options open to you if you want 3mm mecha. The Iron Wind battle armor line is particularly diverse. I prefer the DP9 and GZG stuff myself, but that's just my taste.

I do hope that O8 will eventually get around to making more mecha, but as you can see, we are spoilt for choice as is.

And there are so many other figures that can be kitbashed into mecha as well. Here's one from the Risk: Legacy boardgame. It's crappy soft plastic and doesn't hold detail well, but I modified it into a gun-carrying construction mecha for my guerrilha forces:

This should give you an idea of what can be done even with toys and game pieces!

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Sci Fi Game Board

Here is an "alien world" set up I am doing for quick and dirty science fiction games in 3mm. I wanted something cheap and cheerfull and simple. Hills are "wedding cake" style with dunes sloped on one side. They are both made out of foam core, covered with artist's PVC gesso.

The boards themselves are just MDF slabs covered in gessoed canvas, bought at my local art supply store. The forests are bits of loofa sponge, flocked with various colors. The Alien Idol is some kid's cereal prize I found on the street and re-purposed.

The Jerry Lundegaard of Wargaming

Sane Max over on Frothers UK pointed out the now-obvious resemblence between The Miniatures Page's Bill Armintrout and Jerry Lundegard from Fargo. I thought it deserved to be remembered, so...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

First 3mm Ogre Miniatures Game

Here are some pictures from my first 3mm Ogre Miniatures game. The conventional armor is all Oddzial Osmy and the Ogres are Plasmablast conversions. The scenario was a heavy Combine armor strike against an extended Paneuropean front. The Combine's goal was to destroy the city at mid-table on the Paneuro baseline. They almost made it.

I used my home-brewed drone and mine rules. They seemed to work fairly well. The mines in particular slowed the Combine down a turn and led directly to the Pansie victory.

 The table at start, as seen from above.

The Combine forces: Ogres Mama Spank and Nervous George (with a full compliment of drones) are accompanied by a heavy armor battalion and a GEV strike company.

The Pansies stand ready with an entire heavy armored battalion with an infantry battalion and a howitzer battery in support.

The Combine hooks right and the Paneuropeans scramble to meet them.

 Game over, man. The Ogres eventually grind to a halt in the Paneuropean minefields just in front of the city.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

3mm Ogre Miniatures Project Moves Along

I've mostly been concentrating on 2mm and 3mm Napoleonics this year, following the release of Blucher. That doesn't mean I haven't had time to paint up some Ogre Minis, however. Here's an overview of what's been done with the Paneuropeans so far...

Here's the better part of a Paneuropean armored battalion near a city. Tanks are all O8 except for a Plasmablast cybertank in the back left.

Here are the Ogre/GEV conventional unit types I have so far:

Going from right to left we have power armor, a light tank (actually a French AMX-90 with plasticard side skirts added on), a heavy tank, a GEV, a GEV-PC, a Missile Tank, a Mobile Howitzer and a Howitzer (kit-bashed from plasticard and the spare cannon barrel that comes with the mobile howitzer).

I still need L-GEVs and Superheavy Tanks.

A close-up of the light tank and the heavy tank. The heavy used to be my "lights", but I decided to change this after hearing Mathieu Moyen was going with British Scorpions as his Lights. The O8 "Aliens Universe" tank is too much like a Combine Heavy to want to use it for anything else. And that's when I realized that I have a bunch of AMX-90s going unused. I cut thin plasticard strips at 2mm x 8mm and glued them over the treads. Sure enough: they look acceptably sci-fi and their size is spot on.

Above , we see a howitzer battery and the command troop of the 1st Polish Lancers. In the back left, you can see a cybertank, made from a Plasmablast 6mm Marhaf Legion model. This is going to be a cybertank destroyer in my Ogre-inspired miniatures rules, Luftpanzer. 

A city, made out of Spartan Games discontinued "base" pieces for their space combat game. Also, some Monopoly City pieces. All gluesd down to a CD base.

 I can't recall if I posted these before. This shows how I converted a Plasmablast tank into an Ogre.

Well, that's it for now! Hopefully this project will be up and running by Christmas!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Taking my troops to show and tell: Black Powder, 3mm

I got roped into a "show us your hobbies" deal at the uni back in May.

"Do you really want to see what Ido with my free time?"

"Of course Professor Blanchette!" Then, perhaps remembering that I study sex work: "Er... what is it?"


"Oh! Like Warcraft?"


So anyhow, that's how I ended up taking my Black Powder set-up to NUPEM for an afternoon. I brought along a little bit of everything, including a selection of rules and Osprey bookc, my paint set, and - of course - the figures and terrain.

Wouldn't you knoiw, the kids figured it our right away? Turns outmany of them have already played computer games like Total War. They even know the lexicon! It was very easy to show them how things work!

We didn't have time to play a game, but I ran them through a few moves and combats. Several of them seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, including several young women! That was really cool, given that wargaming is still very much a male ghetto. One kid said he wanted to set up a Saga campaign with me, so there is hope for gaming in the future!

Anyhow, here are the pics...

 Overview of the 3 x 2 foot table.

The French move into the valley.

A regiment of Chasseurs a Cheval charges the Austrian Hussars...

Cavalry battle on the left flank.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Magister Militum's 18th Century 3mm figures

As many people now know, Magister Militum has launched a series of new 3mm lines:Ancients, Pike and Shot and early 18th century. They have massively expanded the options for 3mm gaming overnight and, curiously, haven't really bothered to publicize their new line.

I've been waiting for something like this for some time now, as I´ve always wanted to play Sam Mustafa's Maurice in 3mm. So when I heard about the new lines, I squeed more than a Japanese schoolgirl at a Cheap Trick concert. I ordered a bunch of 18 century stuff immediately.

I bought MM's musketeers, cavalry and artillery in tricornes, because I wanted to do some rather generic 18th century imaginations. Also available are pikes in tricornes and 17th century cavalry, which can still work as early 18th century heavy cavalry. Like many people who are probably reading this, I wanted to see the figures first hand before buying a lot of them. In particular, I wanted to see how they compared to Oddzial Osmy's every-expanding and excellent lines of 3mm miniatures. So I bought three packs of infantry, two of cavalry and one of artillery.

Luckily, the ever-gentlemanly Time Porter was on his way down to Rio de Janeiro on business and agreed to carry the figs for me. This is the second time Tim has done this and I really owe him something cool, because he's had to deal with the Brazilian postal system twice now. Thank you very, very much Tim! This has been a great present!


The good, the bad and the ugly

The good news is that the figures are perfectly acceptable. This worried me, as 3mm is a tricky scale to do. Marcin at O8 gets around most of the problems by casting in a hard zinc and aluminium alloy, which holds detail like no one's business. Unfortunately, it also has very little give and will break rather than bend.

MM has decided to cast in good ´ol lead alloy. They've gotten around the problems this presents by making their figures noticeably more chunky than O8´s. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially because the soft metal means they can be easily modified – something one can´t say for O8´s miniatures. The pikes, of course, are ridiculously thick, but if you are playing in micro- and picoscales, you already know that some sacrifices must be made. If you´re really anal-retentive, you can hack off MM´s pikes quite easily and substitute piano wire. Sure, it'd be a hassle to do a whole pike block or phalanx like this, but it could be done!

The bad news is that MM's figures are uneven in quality. The infantry is quite good, if chunky: 8 figures on a 20mm frontage, with no space between the figures versus O8's 10 figures on the same frontage, with, if anything, too much space between the figures. I originally didn´t like the cavalry much, but they´ve grown on me as I´ve painted them. The one problem is that their heads seem far too big. Perhaps this is due to the (understandable) desire to cast them with identifiable tricornes, but the best adjective for the cavalry is still “bobbleheaded”.

The artillery, however, is a crying shame. The cannon has no carriage, only a gun tube with two wheels attached to it. In fact, the whole thing looks like some sort of pornographic parody of a cannon, or perhaps a toy cannon. In any case, it is unacceptable. I don´t know why MM decided to go with this cast as it's not like it's difficult to model cannons at this scale. Furthermore, O8´s cannon won´t look good with MM's gunners, who also suffer from the same bobbleheadedness as the cavalry. Fortunately, one doesn´t need many artillery pieces for a game of Maurice and, because of MM's decision to go with a soft alloy, the artillery is easily modified. I sliced the wheels off of mine, stuck in some square plastic rod bits where the wheels used to be, then sliced off two thin sections of plastic tubing for new wheels. The result is perfectly acceptable on the tabletop and even looks OK close-up.

Be advised, however, that if you buy MM's artillery, you'll get this.

It looks even worse in real life than it does in this picture. All the doubts you have about that figure? They are all perfectly true. So if you don't want to mod your own cannons and don't want semi-pornographic artillery, you might want to wait until O8 releases 18
th century figures or until MM recasts its crap artillery.

Artillery aside, these figures paint up a treat. As the infantry is strip-mounted, you won´t be able to cut it apart, as you can do with O8's stuff, in order to vary your formations. I originally was going to put down three strips per base, but it looked far too clunky with Maurice's 4 stand infantry units. I've thus gone 2 strips per base and I am pleased with the result. The flags are, of course, mounted on telephone poles and far too thick. They are easily clipped off and replaced with paper flags, as you see here. My flags are hand painted, but I might replace them with some laser-printed flags at some point in the future.

One problem the infantry has (or maybe it's not a problem: YMMV): the figures are jammed together, but there's a millimeter of space on each end of the strip. If you put these on 20mm wide bases, there will be gaps between each infantry stand. You can, of course, file the base ends down flush with the soldiers and base on 18mm squares. This would be no problem for Maurice,  which measures everything in base-widths, but other rules might suffer.

As you can see in the photos, I didn't file my bases down, so there are gaps between the stands.

Compatability with O8

There's good news and bad news here as well. The bad news is that because of the figure style, it will be somewhat jarring for you to place O8 heavy infantry or cavalry on the same bases or in the same units as MM's stuff. However, they look perfectly fine when based separately, especially if one uses O8's stuff for irregular or light troops.

MM says they will have hussars and grenadiers along presently. I don't think O8's stuff would make good grenadier substitutes, but several of their figures do just fine for light troops.

Here are some ACW Zouaves serving as generic Balkans or Turk-style light troops:

Here are busby-equipped chasseurs a cheval, doing excellent work as 18th century hussars. You can compare them with the bobbleheaded MM cavalry behind them. Not an outrageous difference:


Finally, here are ACW confederate skirmishers, painted as German-style jaegers or Freikorps:

MM's bases are much thicker than O8's, so I found it necessary to slip in a piece of card under the latter's figures in order to bring their heads' level with the former's. As you can see, O8's stuff is much more delicate than MM's. The cavalry, in particular, is riding horses that are noticeably smaller. This is fine, however, if you want to model light cavalry. Not so good if you were hoping to use O8's stuff for other types of heavy cavalry.

The bottom line

If, like me, you want to play 18th century warfare right now in 3mm and don't mind doing a bit of hacking at the artillery, then place an order with Magister Militum. If you prefer Oddzial Osmy's delicate style (sometimes far too delicate – half of the Zouaves popped off their bases while I was clipping them) and very fine detail, or if the thought of modifying artillery pieces turns your stomach, then you might want to wait until Marcin's crew bring out their own 18th century stuff.

I myself am perfectly happy with my purchase and will be buying MM's grenadiers and other offerings as soon as they come out.

Eye candy...

The initial regiments of my two imaginations: Saxe-Tübbio and Biche-Pliese.

The infantry of Landgravine Elza Pappen, of Biche-Pliese

 The red-coated cavalry of Herzogin Heiline D´Taxis, of Saxe-Tübbio.

Two of Herzogin Heiline's regiments. Note that the stands are slightly less than 20mm wide. This means you'll have to cut your bases to 18-19mm if you want an unbroken line of infantry.