Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Matchbox tracked SAM launchers!

It may sound rather odd, but my local grocer is rapidly becoming my go to guy for 15mm sci-fi miniatures. While in the store the other day I found another Matchbox Striker to add to the collection. But in a real stroke of luck I found not one but TWO of theMatchBox MBX missile launchers. (Here's a short video that shows the features and look of the vehicle - no I didn't post it).

The MBX appears to based on the chassis of the US Army's Multiple Launcher Rocket System (MLRS) though the ordnance appears more Soviet in appearance. At least, it reminds me of the old SA-6 and SA-4 launchers. 

The MBX Missile Launcher sports two heavy SAM.

For my purposes, these are a great find. While I doubt these will see action as a combat unit on the tabletop, they will serve as great objectives to defend or destroy.

The MBX in a travel column with a Stryker and a Buffalo - all from Matchbox.

These will fit in perfectly with the rest of the 15mm stuff in my collection.  Here are some shots showing the MBX with some of the RAFM 15mm mid-tech troops.


Its a great little toy. The launcher swivels 360 degrees and elevates a bit. The missiles are detachable (each individually) and look like they will take paint pretty good. Guess those Vargr doggies are gonna have to keep their air assets off the table for the time being.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The high tech Rat Patrol

Found another of the Matchbox M-ATV toys. Now I've got two that will serve as the transports for the scout squad. Cramming a fire team into each truck does not seem too bad.

I've got to start gearing up for games at Cincy Con in March - its 'only' four months away!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Progress report on the RAH-66 conversion

Did a little more work with the RAH-66 Comanche toy I picked up at Wally Mart a couple of weeks ago.

The Comanche in the early stage of painting. Still has the landing gear!

The toy comes with die cast landing gear. Its okay, but to me, it makes the helo look a lot like an AH-64. The real Comanche has retractible gear. So I grabbed my trusty Dremel tool and hacked off the main gear and the tail wheel. 

Now's we're cooking with hydrogen!

Nice shot of the tail rotor inside the tail assembly.

On the hunt for Vargr grav tanks

The business end showing off the rocket pod, ATGM and nose cannon.      
I'm liking the mean look you get when the gear is removed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The latest additions - Top Gun Grav Tanks

I took advantage of Top Gun Marketing's recent sale on their 15mm Grav vehicle line. I've been eying these from some time to use as the vehicles for my Tech Level 15 Imperial Army and Marine forces. I ordered enough for a platoon sized combat team - one heavy grav tank, 2 heavy APC and 2 medium grav tanks.

The package arrived in the ubiquitous USPS mailing box.

 The contents were very well packed.

 Pulling out the extra packing material reveals some very well wrapped packets.

Each was well wrapped and taped into a secure, protective envelope.

When I opened it up, I found two vehicle hulls - bottom to bottom.

Opening them up, I had the chassis and the turrets for all the vehicles. The castings were very clean and had minimal air bubbles in the resin. In both cases, the bubbles were on the bottom of the castings. A very quick fix and sand job. Air bubbles in the resin is common with many resin kits I've seen the past few years.

Minor air bubbles in the resin. Its the bottom of the casting.

These are some good looking models! Mine have the active defenses modeled on both chassis and turret.

In addition to the resin hulls, these kits have some metal parts. All the metal parts shipping in 1 packet.

Barrels and ATGM tubes for the tanks and APC. The APC barrels are very thin.

I'll end with a group photo shot showing the Top Gun models mixed in with models from a variety of manufacturers that I've using.

From Left. Back row: Rebel Miniatures Commanche, RAFM Imp, Top Gun APC, Khurusan Caiman, Rebel Mini Earth Force APC, CMG, Bastion APC, Roco/Minitank Marder kitbash. Front row: Khurusan heavy tank, GZG Advanced Grav tank, Top Gun heavy tank, CMG Havoc, Top Gun medium tank, Rebel Mini Thumper, 'mystery tank'

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sometimes you just get lucky...

Over on TMP, Mako11 was asking about rules for gaming out planetary assaults. One set that was repeatedly mentioned was Game Designers' Workshop board game Invasion: Earth. I remember playing this game (once?) about - ahem - thirty years ago when it was released. In a fit of nostalgia I surfed on over to Amazon.com and looked for a copy....

...and found one copy for $89.99 from an outfit called Wanye's Books and one "used" copy for $30.00 from the "Friends of the San Buenaventura Library" in Ventura, California. Looking for something that might get played a couple of times, I opted for the 'used' version.

The box is a little scuffed up around the edges, but no tears or rips in the corners. I opened the box and found to my surprise that this used game....

....has never been played! Both the counter sheets are there and all the counters are unpunched.

I'm very happy. Friends of the Buenaventura Library - you've got a friend in me too!

Friday, October 19, 2012

New toys from Wally World

I stopped by my local Super-Mega Wal-Mart and had a chance to peruse  the toy aisle. I was looking for cheap toy helo's to use as painting experiments, but I actually found some useful gaming fodder.

First up - a 'cheap' toy die cast helicopter.

Not much to look at while it wrapped in its package, eh? Well look at it below.

Here its paired up on its flight stand next to a Rebel Miniatures Sabre gunship. Recognize it? Its a model of the RAH-66 attack helicopter. Sure its in a boring inaccurate green paint job, but there's a lot of potential here for conversion into a serviceable attack bird for the Feri defense forces. Four heavy anti-armor missiles under the wing and two rocket pods on  the outer hardpoints. Plus a 20mm cannon in chin turret. Oh, did we mention that there are also internal weapons bays capable of holding more missiles (Hellfire or Stinger or rocket pods). Yep - we've got a hot new addition to the Feri PDF air cavalry.

But wait, there's MORE!

Found another toy in the same group - a Russian SU-47 Fighter.

Its got a real "Firefox" vibe for those of you old enough to remember. Remove the decals and give it some paint and you have a very serviceable aerospace fighter for either the PDF or the Vargr.

I also found one of the rare Matchbox M-ATV kits that others have pointed out are a near match to the Rebel Miniatures Commanche.

I've stuck a spare cupola gun from another kit (which I thnk was from the Critical Mass Game tank, but might actually be from the Commache. With a coat of paint it will blend right into the Orinoco League's infantry platoon.

Two RAFM Miniatures figures next to the Matchbox truck.

Last up was another Matchbox - basically a newer model of Jeep Commander.

Its a nice truck...but its a little big to use for 15mm. The text on the bottom says its 1:70 scale.

Here's a shot next to a 1:64 scale Chevy Tahoe tarted up for the New Jersey State Police.Not suitable for 15mm...

All is not lost...it'll make a fine addition to my S gauge model railroad.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Idea on testing a paint scheme

So I'm staring at this Khurusan Miniatures Doe gunship and trying to think of a cool paint scheme for it. Overall green- nah, been there, done that. Gray with green stripes....fail. I wanted to try something bold.

And its not the first time this has happened. I want to do something really different, but the little voice in my head says "Did I leave the iron on?", No wait - not that voice! This voice says "Its gonna look Stupid with a capital S".  So how to check how it will look without actually painting it? I tried using a strip of styrene for something like a color chip, but that didn't give me the feel of how it looks on a miniature.

Then it hit me. Actually it was quite literally staring me in the face. I'd bought a Matchbox car thinking I could re-purpose it for my games. It doesn't quite blend with the look of the other kit, but hey - I could paint it using the cammo pattern. The good news is that these are relatively cheap to buy and if I hate it, no big deal.

I found an image on the web of an Mi-24 that looked like a good starting point.

So I gave it a whirl. Here's how it turned out....

I was trying to emulate the paint scheme using paints I already had in the house. The car didn't turn out badly, but its not an exact match to the picture of the helos. The green I used was Vallejo Reflective Green. I'm thinking try it again using Olive Grey Green. The blue is way off, but I only had Vallejo Medium Blue handy. Looks like I need something like Prussian Blue or Blue Grey.  The light grey actually works okay. 

 Not bad for a first try. And I really am happy to have tried this on a $2.00 toy car instead of a $12.00 miniature.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Some Work in Progress shots

Its been a while since I've shown any photos of the Vargr forces. So here are a few pictures of current items on the painting table. These are in various states of completion.

 Protolene Khanate scout trooper from Critical Mass Games. This photo shows off the wacky alien camouflage  pattern I'm using. The Vargr are known for being a 'colorful people'. Soooo...I'm shooting for a camouflage that looks both effective and alien. I'm reasonably happy the with palette for this pattern. The execute...well that's all on me.

What follows is a collections of the various Vargr infantry figures.

Here we have a RAFM Vargr plasma gunner next to a Critical Mass Protolene Khanate NCO. The pictures remind me that sometimes fewer highlights are better than too much. That NCO's gun is a little too grey.

Not the best picture. At least you get the idea of the camouflage and can see some of the washes that have dirtied up the paint job.

A trio of RAFM Vargr, wearing a motley collection of uniforms and flak jackets (not life preservers!).

This guy might be the best of the bunch. The washes and highlights work pretty well.

One note - I managed to mix enamels with acrylics on this project. I don't recommend it. The enamels left a glossy finish and the acrylics don't play well over the enamel base coats. It works, but it was a hassle.

A couple of vehicle shots

Khurusan's tracked pick up in a nice construction site yellow. I was shooting for something that reminds me of Caterpillar(tm) heavy equipment. This is a grey primer covered in Vallejo Golden Yellow, with craft paint "school bus yellow": highlights. Got to get to work on those tracks! Great casting if you need a transport for your arctic base or to move your colonists out of harms way.

CMG's Havoc anti-grav tank. Need to do the detail painting (vision blocks and weathering) then call it done. The base colors are alternating layers of Vallejo Dark Sand and Iraqi Sand. Dark Sand looks very light while Iraqi Sand reminds me of T-72's in the desert circa 1991. I went with the sand look mostly because I'm trying to give each Imperial 'faction' a unique identifying look.

The Khurusan medium grav tank with a base coat of grey auto primer. I'm thinking of giving it a wash and calling it done.

After a while these images all look the same.  I've enlarged this so you can see the effects of the wash on the figure. 

The fact that its the same pose, different figure does not help!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Feri campaign - VTOL

If you've been following the details on the Feri campaign, this is a low gravity-high atmospheric density world. In other words - its a VTOL paradise! The national armies incorporate a number of ducted fan and turbine driven VTOL designs in their organizations. I've recently finished painting two of the and assembling a third.

First up is a Rebel Miniatures Saber class drop ship.Painted up in a flat dark green. For our purposes this little VTOL plays the role of the UV-998 transport. Often referred to as a 'slick' it mounts no weapons.

Here's a nice overhead shot showing the boring green paint jon with gray highlights.

The matte finish (Testor's Dullcote) may have produced the dreaded "frosting" effect. I'll have to keep an eye on it and maybe apply gloss coat as a corrective measure.

Above we have the Saber drop ship sitting on the table, while the Saber gunship cruises past. Its the same basic airframe with a swap out for the missile frame or the troop tranport pod. 

This is a great sized kit for gaming. Big enough to have lots of detail, but small enough to fit comfortably on the game table.

The Khurusan Doe

The other item of progress this week was assembly of the "Doe" VTOL gunship from Khurusan
Take a look at this monster! 

Clearly inspired by the classic Soviet Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter, the beast is absolutely gorgeous! Big thrust nozzles on each boom and stubby wings laden with Anti-tank missiles and rocket pods. The only thing missing are speakers blaring Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyrie". 

Question: Is this thing as big as it looks?

Answer: Ahh-firmative! Take a look at these pictures...

Here we have to of the RAFM 'mid-tech' infantry in combat armor right up against the fuselage of the Doe.
The grid on the table? It's in inches! 

Just like a Hind, the Doe towers over other aircraft. In this case the Rebel Miniatures Saber drop ship. Its not too surprising. Everything I have purchased from Khurusan is BIG and Rebel's kit trends on the smaller side. But it gives the Doe an intimidating presence on the tabletop.

Missing from the model is the chin turret that is not yet installed. You can build the Doe either as pictured, or with the landing gear retracted. The anti-armor missile tubes are a fixed part of the wings, but the missile pods can be omitted as desired.