Monday, August 21, 2017

Ground Zero Games 15mm Xar painted up

Another showcase for some GZG 15mm figs, this time a platoon strength force of Xar, which make excellent proxies for the Skitters from Falling Skies.  A relatively recent release, the infantry models are all two-piece models with separate torso and the (six) legs on integral bases.  The grav platforms are more elaborate, with seven parts on the standard build: central disc, two gun mounts, two guns, pilot lower body/legs, and pilot torso (which is the same as the infantry command pack).  The pilot legs are a tiny bit smaller than the foot version but still fully compatible with all of the torso options so there's a lot of potential variety.

EDIT:  I'm reliably informed (by Jon of GZG no less - doesn't get more reliable than that IME) that the pilot legs are the same size as the foot troopers, since they were made out of one with the integral base laboriously ground off.  The total diameter is just a noodge smaller to fit the disc properly but the size difference is mostly an optical illusion.


 
Standard infantry with beam rifles, three different poses.

 
Two different types of heavy weapons, each with three poses.

 
Two different gun teams, each with three models - although I think the missile (?) team comes with something other than the scanner/monocular fig here.

 
Command figure options include two different torsos with beam pistols, one "pointer" with beam rifle, and a scanner/commo gear fig.

 
The command grav platform is a minor conversion using bits from a gun platform.  You can also use the basic disc by itself for unarmed platforms, and since the pilot leg bit is separate you could mount almost any 15mm fig on it if desired.  I expect to see a lot of these showing up in other armies.

 
Assault gun platforms.  They come in packs of two with two each of the heavy weapons.  The catalog builds them with paired guns, but I prefer the asymmetry of mixed guns.

 
Oh, and the included bases are separate and have integral flight posts, so I guess that's technically eight parts.



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ground Zero Games 15mm Kra'Vak painted up

Contrary to popular belief, I do paint things other than starships.  Here we have a small showcase of most of Ground Zero Games' excellent 15mm Kra'Vak miniatures complete with some vehicular support.

Grav-mobile infantry squad with lift IFV



 
Grav artillery vehicle with infantry squad and support gun team as a security element
 


 
Foot infantry squad supported by a grav strike skimmer (which could also be a strafighter easily enough)
 



 
All the grav vehicles are based on 1.5" washers with a Hawk Wargames flight post solidly rooted in a lump of sculpting putty.  The vehicles themselves have Hawk widgets attaché dto them, which allows them to be easily mounted or dismounted as needed to play, store, or transport them.  I heartily recommend this basing technique for grav vehicles, especially the heavier metal ones from GZG.
 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Full Thrust Xar Strike Swarm


Recent project meant to be the start of a Xar battlefleet, using repurposed Gates of Antares minis since Ground Zero Games doesn't make figures for them yet.  They're sold as Ghar Flitter Drones for a 28mm ground combat scifi rules set, but I think they make very nice little starship minis and I'll probably be doing some more over time.  The GoA range in general includes a lot of grav drones of various types, many of which look like they can be cribbed for use in spaceship games.


I've rated these models as "heavy corvettes" for Full Thrust purposes.  My current plan is to do the Xar fleet as rather nonstandard with a greater reliance on relatively expendable smaller ships than other stellar navies, backed up by a few larger vessels that serve as combination fighter carriers and tenders for the smaller ships.  They'll also eventually have large transports used for both military troop transport and civilian cargo hauling roles rather than the more specialized designs used by most fleets. 

Of course, first I have to find minis for all these - maybe Jon Tuffley will sculpt us all a new range before then, eh?  :)


The Xar are generally built using the basic Fleet Book 1 construction rules, with the addition of a new weapon system, the Light Pulse Torpedo.

Light Pulse Torpedo 

Mass 2 (1 arc of fire) or Mass 3 (3 arcs of fire), cost Mass x3. 

LPTs use exactly the same to-hit rolls and range bands as standard pulse torpedoes do, eg they hit on 2+ at up to 6MU range and can reach up to 30MU away with decreasing accuracy.  They ignore screens as pulse torpedoes do, but each hit scores damage as follows (roll 1d6):

1-3:  1 damage
4-5:  2 damage (1 of which penetrates armor)
6:  3 damage (1 of which penetrates armor)

For those of you who hate memorizing new charts, the damage is exactly the same as a standard beam die result plus one.  Alternately, you could look at it as a d3 rounded down, to a minimum of one.

Light pulse torpedoes are slightly less damaging than and equal mass of the standard FB1 model, but they have the advantage of giving smaller craft a less massive weapon that still ignores screens and has a very long potential range.  This is usually something only the Kra'Vak really have access to, so the lower damage output is a balancing factor.  If you find it too weak, increase damage to straight d3, although you might also want to increase the point cost a bit (perhaps to Mass x 3.5) to give a good reason to still use standard pulse torps.


 
Xevexex-class Xar Heavy Corvette (UNDIA Codename Xenophobe)
Mass 18
NPV 61 / CPV 46
Thrust 6  q 3 q
FTL q
1 Fire Control System q
1 Beam-2  (F/FS/FP) q
1 Light Pulse Torpedo (F/FS/FP) q
5 Hull (2/1/1/1, 1 DCT)
qq
q
q
p
An agile and aggressive design, the Xenophobe has been designated as a heavy corvette by UNDIA observers.  They commonly operate in strike swarms of up to a dozen ships, relying on speed, concentrated fire, and sheer numbers to make up for their notable lack of defensive systems.  Like many Xar ships they use a mix of relatively conventional particle beam weaponry and a remarkably miniaturized version of human pulse torpedo weaponry.

 
This poor Xuvaxi heavy cruiser from Irrational Designs/Studio Bergstrom is about to find out the Xar are real possessive of the letter X in their part of space.

Starship Terrain: Custom Planets, Moons, and Stars

Back in 2015-2016 I painted and sold a bunch of starship terrain, put together from the rounded ends of a bunch of plastic Easter eggs.  The sizes varied quite a bit, from an inch or two in diameter to over a foot.  The pieces had added detailing texture in the form of clouds and continents rather than painting them on over bare plastic, using a mix of superglue, putty, and sand.  They're not the fanciest things ever and were wore time-consuming than they should have been (although my speed picked up with practice) but overall I was pretty happy with the way they came out and they sold for adequate prices.  Maybe I'll get around to doing more one of these days although I'll need to restock on parts during the post-Easter craft store sales. 
 
The images below are a fair sampling of my output.
 
One of the mid-sized pieces, a star about 6" in diameter.  
 
 
And some planets to go with it, before I registered on the fact that terminators are a thing.

 
A biggish gas giant the only bare plastic I did.

 
You can't see it well but there's a (huge, in scale) polar station suspended in the atmosphere, painted on to conceal the injection point on the plastic. 

 
A terrestrial planet, first one with a proper dark side.

 
Lot of active volcanism on this one, which is more visible in the shadows.

 
Cloudworld, ala Venus.

 
In general I tended not to do enough cloud cover on the ones with continents, especially the Terran-type worlds.

 
The two of them together, perhaps as a dual-planet system - think I was watching Crash of the Moons when I did them and I liked the idea.

 
Big one-foot star with a large gas giant and a whole brood of planets/moons - and an obscenely huge Ancient planetbuster built out of a holiday decoration.

 
Nice thing about stars is you don't have a dark side to deal with.

 
The sheer size of them takes a while to paint, though - an airbrush would accelerate that a lot.

 
Gas giant and moons or small planets again.

 
Another star system lot, this time with teeny-tiny moons from a beaded necklace I found at a garage sale.

 
You can't see them very well but they're nicely cratered.

 
They're way too close for proper scale, of course, but so is having multiple planets on a table in most games.

 
First molten planet on the right, no terminator when you're glowing from within.

 
Yet another system, this one with a red-orange star.

 
Big gas giant with some glowing cloud streamers.

 
And again with the neon clouds on the left side planet.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Not Your Daddy's Star Trek - more Studio Bergstrom minis


Showcasing two miniatures from Studio Bergstrom painted up for use as Star Fleet Battles-inspired Trek proxies.


Both are single piece castings with no prep time required beyond basing.

 
The not-Federation cruiser is a Charles Oines creation from Irrational Designs, cast by Bergstrom under license.  The not-Orion pirate is a J'Guairre from Bergstrom's recent Kickstarter.  Suggested Full Thrust stats are below, based very loosely on Star Fleet Battles. 
 
The Xuvaxi heavy cruiser is currently on ebay here:
 



Endurance-class UPF Cruiser
Mass 104
NPV 360 / CPV 352
Thrust 4  q 2 q
FTL q
Screen-2 qq
2 Fire Control Systems qq
2 Pulse Torpedoes (front 120 degrees) qq
3 Beam-3 (F/FP/FS) q ( (F/FP/AP) q (F/FS/AS) q
2 Beam-1 (360 degrees) qq
31 Hull (8/8/8/7, 6 DCTs, one per six boxes)
qqqqqpqq
qqqpqqqq
qpqqqqqp
qqqqqpp

 
Raider-class Orion Pirate
Mass 34

NPV 91 / CPV 113
Thrust 6  q 3 q

FTL q
Screen-1 q

1 Fire Control System q 
2 Beam-2  (F/FP/AP) q (F/FS/AS) q
2 Beam-1 (360 degrees) qq
11 Hull (3/3/3/2, 2 DCTs, one every six boxes)

qqq
qqp
qqq
qp