Monday, December 24, 2012

Nalle and the reindeer

Well, ok, it's not quite a reindeer, it was a small whitetail doe who hangs out up the ridge a bit from our house. My dog Nalle and I sometimes encounter her when we are on walks in the early evening, but we hadn't seen her once since the hurricane.

So i was very pleased to see her on Christmas Eve of all nights, perhaps scouting location for her kin who will be so busy tonight. Nalle is a Finnish Spitz, a breed born to bark, and she had a few choice words for the doe before we turned around and went back to the house -- I had a few more gifts to pack, and then orders to catch up on! But not before I got a snap or two of Nalle and the doe. (It was getting dark so I lightened the image a bit.)

Happy holidays to everyone and thanks for making this our biggest year ever. Many new things coming in 2013!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Hauk Yearn for Contact

The Hauk looked to the stars and wondered.  They knew they were not alone, the only race in all of infinity to think and feel, to be aware of what it means to be alive.  They felt this in their hearts, and the telepaths, mostly hatchlings and hens, could sense that it was so, with great certainty in fact.  But all feelings aside, they also knew it as a fact.  For in their ancient past, they had indeed not been alone – two sentient races had evolved on Pandion at the same time, but now only one, the Hauk, survived.

The Hauk were slower to reach sentience, and when they did the Krall were already sailing great ships upon the three seas, scrabbling across the decks, their black carapaces glistening with the salt water spray.  Anchoring themselves to the galley roof hang-racks using their spiky tails, the Oar-Kralls swung upside down and rowed, four oars to each Krall, as they chirped out songs in time, songs about seafaring ancestors, their antennae waving in unison as they sang together.  Crowning the head of each Krall were seven lidless round eyes, arranged in a circle, and each of these peered out anxiously across the endless grey sea, searching for land.  And find land they did, having settled two other continents and numerous islands beyond their own. 

Hauk rifle infantry

On one fateful morning, when a boatload of Krall found land, they found the Hauk too -- savage feathered creatures, utterly unlike the Krall, running swiftly on a single pair (a single pair?) of hindlegs across the plains between the great coniferoid forests, hunting with a primitive missile weapon resembling a sling.  Stranger creatures than these no Krall journal had never recorded, and for their part the Hauk were terrified by the black monstrosities that swarmed like so many great scorpions up and out of the tall ships anchored to the shore.

This Hauk grav APC has only one chin rotary gun mounted but many mount two, or a pair of seeker missiles

After many false starts the Hauk and the Krall established rudimentary communications and then an accord, and the Krall set about teaching the ways of civilisation to their new charges.  And this was their undoing, for within four generations the Hauk had utterly destroyed the Krall and extinguished all evidence that the black arachnoids had ever built cities or sung songs together as they sailed the grey seas.  Hauk cities (built above the ground this time) and Hauk fleets replaced these.  Hunted without mercy, not a single Krall survived, although there were rumours – just old hen’s tales really -- that in the deserts, hidden in caves, individual Krall endured, and stole the souls of unwary Hauk in vengeance for what had been done to their world.

Hauk Armoured Fighting Suits are piloted by veterans and can carry a variety of weapons

For millennia this story was passed down as an inspirational myth amongst the Hauk: The cleansing of the world of the black abominations that streamed out of crevices, clicking.  But as Hauk civilisation matured and weathered war after war between their great nation states, they came to understand themselves better for what they truly were.  Hand in hand with this growing awareness came scientific research and analysis of the tiny fragments of Krall culture which remained.  Jaded Hauk society began to actually mourn the ugly, beautiful creatures they had shared this world with so briefly, so long ago. There was a Krall craze in Hauk culture.  Romantic female Hauk took Krall names when they reached maturity, to the exasperation of their parents.  “Krall Epics,” animated drama vids set during great moments in Krall history, were produced and became hugely successful, being watched by millions of Hauk, even across opposing nation states. 

 To a bird, each Hauk yearned for another chance.  They wanted to meet a new civilisation and join it, partners in the stars.  And surely this was close at hand?  Hauk hatchlings often had the gift of foresight, and they were sensing a contact, a joining of sentience with sentience, and sometime soon.  As these stories spread out across the great nation states of Pandion, a thrill rippled through Hauk society, and they looked up to the stars and hoped.  Hauk frigates, now capable only of travel within their solar system (Pandion was the fourth planet from their star), sent out hailing messages on many frequencies.  Probes were launched radiating a greeting.  Many felt it was only a matter of time now.  Finally they could atone.

*  *  *

The Meso-Nai battlecruiser now entered the solar system, shadowed by its light cruiser escort.  The two great intergalactic travelers crept through the blackness with a purpose, headed for the fourth planet from the star.  While this was just one of the infinite number of star systems willed unto them by great god Urodela, this fourth planet represented a special threat to the Meso-Nai way of life.  For against all logic and in an open challenge to Urodela’s infallible word, the planet was showing signs of a self-aware civilisation. 

Reach Force unit leader risks removal of his helmet to peer about as the team heavy gunner covers him

Naturally, seen purely objectively, this was preposterous.  Even a half-educated Salamandroid was aware of this.  Urodela had shown the Meso-Nai long ago that dominion of the universe was theirs and theirs alone.  But there was something real about these signs, these false echos of civilisation – as the Meso-Nai priests knew, they were a real manifestation of Meso-Nai faithlessness, of doubt in the God who had so generously granted all to them and them alone.  These perceptions of other cultures were a sin, a crime against God, and needed to be purged with an iron will and ceaseless devotion.  Confronting these delusions, wiping them from the minds of the faithful, was the only way to fortify the soul and make amends to Urodela for this grave lack of gratitude.  This required violent exertion.

Meso-Nai Reach Force Braves, ready to banish impure thoughts with the application of a great deal of firepower

Such had been the pronouncement of the priesthood which stood at the summit of Meso-Nai society, and the Reach Force, the Meso-Nai interstellar colonial force, made it so.  Using one tactic or another, the Reach Force would forever banish all delusion from these planets.  Yes, violence was indeed the key, for, as they had found, only cataclysmic destruction silenced all doubts as to the exclusivity of Meso-Nai sentience in the universe.  Such was the faithlessness of the Meso-Nai, a heresy within their hearts which they were keen to overcome.

Meso-Nai Armoured Fighting Vehicles are like mobile fortresses (painted by dwartist) 

One common method was to induce the explosion of the star at the center of the problematic solar system.  If Meso-Nai self doubt did not permit this method – self-doubt which often manifested itself as an imaginary fleet of “enemy ships” preventing the painstaking process of nova induction -- then the Reach Force would regroup, acknowledging, with great shame, that heresy was embedded deep within their own hearts.  This demanded that the planet, from which such impure thoughts radiated, must be invaded, occupied, and scrubbed clean, purified.  It was a terrible process, but it had been done before and would be done again.  The lives of many Reach Force braves were often spent along the way; Reach Force veterans knew well that doubt might be a mental failing but it could, and did, physically kill.  But at least once it was all over, and the doubts that inexplicably emanated from the planet’s surface were forever silenced, the surviving braves felt their faith invigorated. 

The captain of the battlecruiser swam up to the upper bridge, surfacing from his immersion pond, and evaluated the readings coming from the fourth planet.  What a cacophony. He was filled with shame, but also determination to be a better Meso-Nai.  There would be a great test of faith here, but the Reach Force was ready.

*  *  *

Hauk infantry with Newtcracker Cannon, developed to penetrate the heavy armour worn by all Meso-Nai Reach Force Braves

We have already released models representing the extreme xenophobes of the Meso-Nai Reach Force, and the first codes of their greatest enemy, the Hauk, will be released soon.  As can be seen from the above image, the Hauk quickly learned to defend themselves, adopting weapons to fight back against the Meso-Nai campaign of extermination, but could they reach out to the Federation to avoid the fate looming over them?  Stay tuned for details.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Sisters of Celestial Peace

Sister Maria Jesús Ágreda slapped another magazine into her Purifier and wiped the sweat from her brow, peering out into the night from the rocks where her unit, the Second Convental Battalion, was holding onto a perimeter. There was a lull in the attacks and her thoughts strayed for a moment to the Kelnar-ji in the bunkers, their little feelers waving anxiously as the air and water ran out. The space demons had overrun the convent, but that could and would be retaken – loss of the Kelnar-ji village meant the loss of the Kelnar-ji themselves, and Sister Maria would not allow that to happen to those gentle souls. She thought of the little blue-green Kelnar-ji young running around at her feet as they played and her resolve doubled – May our Lord and the Way protect us and our flock from these abominations.

There was a splat near her and she ducked reflexively, a sizzling blob of acid spraying deadly droplets all around, one burning a hole in her habit.  Sister Maria knew the source and scanned for the Hammerhead that had shot at her, and saw it and two others slinking back toward a rock formation, about twenty yards to the southeast, Satanic grins on their faces. She watched them disappear behind the apparent safety of the rocks, raised the muzzle of her Purifier, and slipped her finger down to the grenadelauncher trigger.

Quietly she said a prayer and judged the angle – she was the best grenadier in her unit, and she knew the prayer was not necessary, but she said it anyway. These abominations had messed with the wrong nun. There was a metallic thud and the grenade was on its way, on a path to help cleanse this world of these daemones incarnatus ….

*  *  *

After the Visitation, humans abandoned previous religions for a time and followed the Way. But as the Visitors were leaving, they predicted, accurately as always, that the effects of their visit would fade as the decades wore on. They said this with a gentle and understanding smile, reaching their long slender arms out to touch the heads of the humans who gathered around them. The people wept to hear this, fearing that the transformation that changed the world would reverse itself and humanity would slip back to its old ways. They remembered war and poverty, jealousy and fear, and they begged the Visitors to stay, fearing that all the old human vices would return. That didn’t quite happen – the Visitation left its stamp on humanity forever more -- but as the Visitors became only a memory, humanity did to some extent get back to its old business, with all that entailed.

Most people continued to follow the Way, in a less joyous and more formalistic way as the decades wore on, but there were some who never quite forgot the old religions and cautiously crept back to them, one small step at a time. This was especially true of Christianity and Islam, although at first even those two religions budded in only a few places. Roman Catholic Pope Boniface XI, who like everyone else had promptly embraced the Way during the Visitation, called a Fourth Vatican Council to discuss what, if any, future lay ahead for the Catholic Church. A surprisingly large number of cardinals and bishops responded, and the focus of the Council was whether Catholicism was to continue as a religion at all, and if so if it were to be one path of the Way, or if the old form of Catholicism would be resumed. No decision was reached, and there was for a decade a schism in Catholicism between the Traditionalists and the Way Catholics. Upon the death of Boniface, these two factions came together to elect a new pope, John Paul VIII, who held the Fifth Vatican Council, which healed the schism and sent the religion on a surprising new journey.

One of the principal documents of Vatican V was Excelsis Deo, God in the Heavens, which recognized certain alien life forms as having souls and which therefore require salvation through Jesus Christ and the Way. The Council established a Celestial Council to evaluate alien life forms to determine whether they have souls and to preach to those who do, who are designated Christ’s Celestial Children (abbreviated as “3Cs”).

Throughout the new Federal colonies, and on worlds on which alien life forms had been discovered, the Church sent missionaries, established monasteries and convents, and performed charity for countless life forms. Especially active in this work were the Sisters of Celestial Peace (SCP), a religious institute established in the F-SAR (Former South American Republics) zones and which gained adherents throughout all of the zones of Earth with any Catholic presence. The sisters live in convents all over known space and perform good works, almost always focusing on the 3Cs.

This life has dangers, as indeed such a life always has, and the sisters face these with the same peaceful resolve that men and women of the cloth have faced violence and persecution for centuries on Earth.

But some threats are of a different order.

The same Celestial Council that had been empowered to designate aliens as having immortal souls was also tasked with a darker duty – to classify certain life forms as the incarnation of demons. This classification, “daemon incarnatus,” is naturally a very serious matter and has only been rarely invoked, and then only in consultation with the Pope and the College of Cardinals. The first and most famous example of such a classification was with respect to the Space Demons, after these extinguished civilisation on Obnial 4, a planet of sentient insectiods on which the Church had established a successful 3C mission.

Just as spiritual demons are battled by the Church using the document De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam, physical manifestations of demons are battled by both monks and nuns wherever they threaten the faithful. As they are one of the most active of the new religious institutes, the Sisters of Celestial Peace are often in the front lines of such battles, and toward that end their daily training and ritual includes battle tactics and weapons handling, harkening back to the military orders of Medieval Earth.

As a public relations gesture, the transplanetary defence contractor Mercanto-Dett Military Solutions (MDMS) has developed specifically for the SCP a lighter version of the pulse rifle used by Exterminators -- the Purifier (sometimes disparagingly called the “nun gun” by the Army), and provides refurbished armoured vehicles to the order as well. When possible the Federal Army also provides vehicles and support equipment.

The sisters fight in a version of their traditional habit in order to continue to bear witness to their faith before the masses to whom they minister. Although certainly a departure from what was traditionally expected of women who have taken the solemn vow, the defence component of the life of the Sisters of Celestial Peace has proven to be a vital element of the defence web in more isolated regions of Federal Space.

We have created a first batch of SCP sisters in combat poses, four armed with the Purifier light pulse rifle and a fifth packing the formidable light machine gun. We have also created a set of tanker nuns to put in the cupolas of your vehicles. If there is interest in the range, more will be made, including a command set and perhaps even such colourful personalities as Sister Francine Loyola, the wheelchair-bound nun who was famous for her uncanny accuracy with a heavy rocket launcher.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

M1A2 SEP "Abrams" Update

Pleased to be able to show off the first resin and pewter castings of the M1A2 SEP that we will be releasing in 15mm scale.  We're very happy with the results, and this very important modern period tank is also quite a handsome vehicle.

The kit is resin but has a pewter cannon, machine gun, hatches (which can be added closed or open), TC's cupola, and side skirts.

You may wonder why the side skirts are separate -- first of all, having them that way makes them look more realistic.  But equally importantly, it allows us to provide you with two vehicle upgrade sets.

After the base M1A2 SEP is released, the urban warfare versions of the vehicle will be made available as well -- both TUSK 1 and TUSK 2.  Having the side skirts separate made that feasible for us.

Stay tuned for details -- the kit should be available once I get it painted up for display, or when I get the resin and pewter castings, whichever comes first!  One never knows how the pieces will all end up falling together in this crazy business.

Next up -- the T-90A "Vladimir," as well as the newest versions of the HMMWV family, the M1151, M1152, and M1165.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Some notes on 15mm DOE assembly

Our new DOE Gunship is the VTOL blunt instrument used by Nova Respublik commanders for sudden application of overwhelming firepower, and brings with it the ability to insert elite troops right into the action. The kit is impressive, the resin casting being high quality, and despite the large number of pieces it goes together fairly expeditiously.

A few hints on construction would be in order for when you have your DOE in hand. Just three really, which have come up due to the different degrees of shrinkage that resin and pewter pieces go through in the mouldmaking process.

The first hints involve the pylons that hold the plasma rocket pods in place. There are two types of pylon -- one that holds the outer rockets in place, and another that holds the inner rockets in.  As you'll see, the outer rocket pylon has a more irregular shape to fit the rear contours of the wing's trailing edge.  The inner pylon is situated further into the middle of the wing so it has a straighter surface.  One recommendation is to test fit them first, as the tabs on the pylons are a little too big for the slots on the wings and rocket pods -- you can either whittle down the tabs or open up the slots a little.  Pretty simple really.  The other recommendation is to glue the pylon to the rocket pod first, then you can glue the whole thing to the gunship's wing.  It's easier to get the little pylon tab into the wing slot that way, as you can just hold the rocket pod.
One concern might be the strength of the pylons for extended gameplay. The pylons look great, and should be fine if you tend to play local or at your home, but if you are rough with your models, and/or travel a lot, you may want to dispense with the pylons altogether and just glue the pods directly to the wings!  That looks pretty good too.

The second hint concerns the sensor arrays that look a bit like teardrops and attach to either side of the front of the DOE (shown above). The tabs on the gunship’s cheeks are just a bit too large to fit into the slots on the sensors, so will require a little whittling as well.   Not much though as you'll see.

Finally we have the back of the super-heavy anti-material missile racks -- mech killers!  The caster eventually decided it was best to cut the rear off as otherwise lots of air bubbles would have developed on the piece due to the challenge that this extremely complex shape presented.  So in the above image you'll see a line indicating roughly where the cut is.  It's pretty obvious actually where the six tube endings, all one piece, go.

That’s really it! Enjoy your red menace ... it certainly was a long time coming!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kingdom of the Jasmine Throne Released

We’re pleased to release our newest range of 15mm sci fi figures, the Kingdom of the Jasmine Throne.

Available here:

The Jasmine Throne is one of the “freeholds” within the Federation which gained defacto independence during the First Pelagic War and carries on generally friendly relations with the Core Federation. It is ruled by a neo-Sassanid monarchy, and whilst its military is by and large made up of the human forces of the great planetary satrapies, its bedrock of military strength is the JTFB, the Jasmine Throne Foreign Battalions, a rogue’s gallery of aliens recruited from around the galaxy to serve and protect and monarch and the monarch only.

They are subjected to some of the fiercest training and discipline in the universe, and it shows! In order to prevent plotting in the ranks, each section, and to the extent possible each platoon, is composed entirely of different species of aliens.

Our initial release for the Jasmine Throne military forces is six sets of models, five sets of JTFB troops and one set of Satrapal levies.

The first JTFB fireteam has the section sergeant, and five other ranks – two with anti-matter carbines, one with an anti-matter carbine with dark energy grenadelauncher, one with an anti-matter sniper rifle, and one with a heavy missile launcher.

The second JTFB fireteam has two with anti-matter carbines, one with an anti-matter carbine with dark energy grenadelauncher, one with a rapid-fire light anti-matter cannon, and one (a terrifying Vulk) with a heavy missile launcher.

The third JTFB fireteam has four with anti-matter carbines, and one with a heavy missile launcher.

The fourth JTFB fireteam has two with anti-matter carbines, one with an anti-matter carbine with dark energy grenadelauncher, one with a rapid-fire light anti-matter cannon, and one (a terrifying Vulk) with a heavy missile launcher.

You may recognise in the ranks of the fourth team a certain scrappy little fellow! Quar imagery used at the suggestion of zombiesmith – thanks for that Josh.

We also have a section of Satrapal Levy Infantry of the Jasmine Throne, raised in great numbers by the planetary satraps. They may not be as fearsome as the JTFB, or as prestigious as the elite Asavaran nobles in their grav chariots, but they get the job done protecting over a dozen worlds from pirates and invaders. And the levies of two planetary satrapies, Dai-lam and Sa-bir, are legendary for their ferocity, so it’s never wise to assume that Satrapal levies are second-rate troops!

To give the JTFB some armour support, we have a pair of JTFB tanker halves to adorn your tank hatches. They are a perfect fit for our Nova Respublik tank hatches, but also fit in the hatches for our Federal and upcoming MDMS vehicles and Karkpanzers as well. The Kingdom buys its vehicles from a wide variety of sources so any of these would be fine.

There’s more to come in the range, including Major Histar, a higher commander of the JTFB, Mako gun carriages with heavy autocannons and heavy mortars for both the JTFB and the Satrapal levies, and even a model for the young queen of the Jasmine Throne herself, Roxann Diamunda, this last one sculpted by Tom Meier.

The models were sculpted by Iain Colwell and painted by Steve Dean, except the tank crew who were painted by our own Spacejacker. Thanks guys!

Available now – join the JTFB in its battle cry, “To the queen!” Happy gaming!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DOE gunship, first preview of the resin casting

Very pleased to post the first photo of the DOE VTOL gunship, scourge of Federal troops and especially armour, and the instrument of destruction of the Neo-Mongol hordes by the Raathist Republic of Kym.  This model has had a long and storied path to this point, but now it's just two rocket pods away from being painted, and the caster assures me that the production castings will ship Friday!

The doe is armed with a dozen heavy anti-material missles which it carries in two pods on the outer wingtips, four smartrocket pods, and a three-barreled gatling cannon in the nose.  It's a terror of the 26th century skies.

Stay tuned on this hol-chan for more details, comrades!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

28mm Caiman first look

Our 15mm M2189 Caiman Heavy Infantry Combat Vehicle is a very popular model -- we have trouble keeping it in stock!  So we've decided to add that vehicle to our upcoming line of 28mm Sci Fi vehicles, and have had it printed.  Here's a first peek at the print.  Sorry the photo is blurry, I'm afraid that's about as good as my photography gets.

I gasped when it came out of the box -- it's breathtaking!  As a person used to 15mm scale vehicles, it's quite an eye opener to see the same armoured vehicle in 28mm scale.

In other 28mm news, our equally popular M3918 Polecat Armoured Light Utility Vehicle is in the process of casting now, and we've already sent one preview casting off to a top sci fi vehicle painter to be finished for display.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tornado's End

Not long after the Control Battalions began their patrols in the major Sepulvedan cities, and their midnight roundups of citizens began the decapitation of the political arm of the Resistance, a DPLS light freighter landed at Deadhorse Junction Starbase. It was carrying a load of vegetables (some Terran, some more exotic), some crates of digicells, and a few passengers, including a massive man and his tiny daughter. The customs officers checked everything out and nothing raised any suspicions, though one officer thought the relationship between the girl and the ox of a man was peculiar, almost like two mates rather than father and daughter. But their iris-scans were all clear, parent and child, so off they went into the terminal, toward a new life, and, as the customs officer knew, a bleak one. The big guy, Frank Tornado, had declared that he was here to take a job at Active Mine 71, and Jelina was driving the angravium mines hard these days. Good luck, big guy. Glad I’m not you. And the kid ... what with no mum to look after her, and Prive-Ed being for only the privileged few who could afford to send their children ... what would she do all day in the prefab shack where she would no doubt be locked up as her dad sweated it out in the mines? Probably stare at hols and brush her doll’s hair all day. Stay well inside, sweetheart, because there’s danger on the streets of Hanley, the mining town outside Mine 71. The customs officer heard the boom as the DPLS left the port again, just a quick hop for the ship, and he got back to his digi-work, putting the twosome out of his mind.

* * *

“Daddy, I got another one,” Teacup told her father, who loomed over her, a dirty dish in one huge hand, a soapy sponge in the other. She took off her wig, part of the little costume disguise he had her wear whenever she was killing something. “That’s two in our second day here. And it was clean, the others didn’t even see what …” Frank Tornado shut Teacup up with a single shift of his eyebrows. He knew what she was talking about – she’d erased another one of those helmeted freaks that the Freehold was using to squeeze this planet. This kid, she was good, but still only eleven and just a bit too enthused about her skills. “You’re making too much NOISE, honey, and daddy’s tired from his first day at WORK.” She nodded quietly, remembering. He’d been briefed by Federal Intel before they left that these “Sepulveda Huts,” as the pieces of crap were called, were often bugged, and the Freehold's control forces had deployed SonEars all over the miner neighborhoods to monitor conversations. The miners were a hotbed of the Resistance, and of course that’s why he was here. Liaise and organize without getting caught, maybe even set up a new Resistance network to replace the one that was now being decapitated.

The Federal government had had enough of the Jo-li Freehold, and Sepulveda was where it was all going to come to a head. So they’d sent Frank to pay the planet a little visit.

Teacup -- her name was Jill, but everyone called her Teacup because of the delicious irony of it -- would come in very handy if things got out of hand. He was a trained killer, but Teacup? Forget it, she was just ridiculous. He couldn’t believe it when they gave him a three-year old girl, an orphan they claimed, and told him to train her as an assassin, but she changed his mind right quick. By the time she was five she’d scored her first clean decapitation, and she was so proud. Look daddy, no blood, it cauterised! Only eight years of training (he’d needed twelve) and she was already worth five of him in hand to hand combat, and was at least as good with both chemically-propelled and energy weapons. Her only weaknesses were her small size and lack of strength, but she had so much skill these things really didn’t matter. It doesn’t take much strength to cut a throat if you know how to do it right. And yeah, she knew how.

He’d trained her well, but this was no ordinary girl. No ordinary human, boy or girl, could be so good, so soon. What was she? He had no idea, but putting his knowledge into her head was like dropping a hammer onto a box of pure nitro. She was very much what her name suggested, a tornado in a teacup. He finished the dishes and watched her play with the old-fashioned dartboard, first a bulls-eye, then drilling the second dart directly into the bulls-eye dart, then the third into that one, and so on. “Let’s see how many I can stack before they fall off the board, Daddy,” she said.

* * *

Frank was good, but he underestimated the Jo-Li occupation forces on Sepulveda, a tragedy that tracked all the way back to faulty intel that the Working Group had collected. Everything here was more extreme than he’d been led to believe, but Frank had a timetable, and so Frank took chances, because he had a job to do.

And so Frank got caught.

He didn’t go down without a fight. He was pretty good at intelligence, but he was very, very good at killing. Word soon passed around Hanley that the new miner, the big stoker of a guy who seemed way too smart for this job, and way too enthusiastic about the Resistance for a new arrival, was dead, killed by the friendly neighborhood Control Battalion, but on his way down he’d cleaned out half the barracks of Control 71 in a last ditch battle in the old warehouse (the one without the grav lift). They couldn’t really discuss it too much or “she’d hear,” as they put it on Sepulveda, but eventually it got around that he’d escaped to the warehouse when two Control trucks pulled up outside his hut and the CBs started piling out, headed for his doorway. He’d high-tailed it out of there but they’d soon heatscanned him to the old warehouse, surrounded the building and went in after him.

At first a squad entered. Gunfire, more gunfire, then silence, so a platoon went in, by squads. Gunfire again, and now a request for backup on the micro, so before long an entire company of CBs was sweeping the warehouse as their numbers were reduced … one by one. Eventually the battalion commander just ordered the troopers out and the whole building blown up, and when they picked through the rubble they found him. The body was frozen to be sent back to The Rock, Jelina’s asteroid palace in the 368 Sumita System, so that maybe they could figure out who this guy really was.

Three riflethings had been left at the hut to keep the girl inside, because the CB commander had been instructed that there was a child inside that would need to be interrogated and then liquidated. “There is a human child in this dwelling,” the commander hissed slowly to the riflethings. “It may try to bolt, but don’t let it – keep it inside the dwelling and we will pick it up when we return.” But things had not gone as planned at the warehouse, and the next morning, when the battered battalion made its way back to the hut to pick the detail and the girl up, they found a very curious thing. The three Riflethings were sitting in a circle outside the front door of the hut, their backs to each other, legs radiating out. If the Control Battalion riflethings had been fully human, they might have mused that this is the way a girl might position her dolls so they all sit up on their own, supporting each other.

A few yards away, the heads of the three riflethings were in their own little pile, still in their helmets. The girl was nowhere to be found.

Teacup Tornado later joined the Sepulvedan Resistance and proved a battalion in the frame of one tweenaged girl!  She is the latest model in our Heroes of the Sepulvedan Resistance range.  She was sculpted by Tom Meier.  Note this 15mm model is incredibly detailed and extremely small!
It's CODE TTC-1409 and is available here:

Sunday, April 15, 2012


People asked for Chewk cavalry. Yes, I know, I'm not sure why either, and wasn't going to make them, but then I picked up History of the Chewk Nation by McCullagh and sure enough I read repeatedly of outflanking charges led by the Chewkavalry, or Chewks mounted on Chewkorses.

I looked into it a little further and my suspicion that this was not a reference to the Chewkamel was confirmed -- the Chewkamel is a skittish creature and whilst quite strong is not fast and not brave.

But the Chewkorse, also called the Munga, is both of those things, and more. So I had some made to represent this important part of Chewk military forces. Here's a preview pic, there will of course be multiple poses of both Munga and riders.

The Munga is remarkably fast, and can jump absolutely incredible distances, the little Chewk hanging on for dear life, until the Chewk kicks the sides of the Munga with his feet, and the Munga resorts to running in a cursorial fashion (very fast at this as well). 

The Munga is capable of delivering a massive kick in close combat.  Perhaps more terrifying still, it can deliver a stabbing bite that causes the creature to suck blood, for the Munga is a carnivorous animal, tracking down prey in the great Sepulvedan equatorial deserts and sucking the blood out of them.  But a Chewk and his faithful Chewkorse bond for life, and the mount would never resort to sucking dry its rider.  Well, probably not.

Probably out in late summer to early fall -- stay tuned!

postscript: McCullagh, author of the aforementioned book, was a human who was sent to commune with the Chewks in order to bring them over to the Federal cause against the Joli Freehold.  In this he succeeded beyond anyone's anticipation, and as a result is sometimes called Gareth of Sepulveda.  It is said that he was so transformed by his time amongst the Chewks that upon returning home it was not uncommon for people to stealthily glance to see if he had grown filtration gills under his jaw.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ti Monhid Intruder (Starwhale), first look

Here's a first look at the Ti Monhid ("Timonid") Intruder, a synthetic vehicular organism used as a personnel carrier by this hideous and violent race.

The photo shows the bagged kit (sans pewter flight stand) compared to the hull of the Siler superheavy for scale.

The image shows the belly of the Intruder, and the underside of its immensely thick and hard carapace.  The four hemispherical holes on the bottom of the carapace are for the grav chimneys, the means of propulsion of this whale-sized alien synth.  The grav chimneys also serve as landing struts when the Intruder grounds itself to disembark its awful passengers.

The hemisphere at the bottom of the belly is for the flight stand.  Gamers who have built the Mekanoid Hatchet gunship will be familiar with this system -- there is a flight stand with a ball on the top of the rod, and the ball inserts into the bottom of the ship-animal.  This permits you to depict multiple craft at varying degrees of pitch, roll and yaw, rather than being forced to have all of your craft at the same attitude.

The finished model is longer still -- the head of the Intruder can be seen in the top of the bag.  There is a separate lower jaw that can be depicted opened or closed, and inside the mouth, typical of Ti Monhid synths, there is a weapon -- a heavy phase cannon that gives the Intruder some teeth, emitting a bolt of blue energy.

At the back of the craft is an aperture from which the Ti Monhid Black Tigers or Space Demons spill -- this huge synthetic organism can carry six of the hulking Ti Monhids or a dozen Space Demons.  They emerge from the aperture coated in glistening mucus but ready and eager to fight.  The aperture has four corners which curl open to allow exit.

Humans who have the misfortune to come into contact with these craft often call them Starwhales or Drifters because of their great size and because their very sophisticated organic grav propulsion makes them appear to be swimming or floating.  The creature is capable of travelling in the void of space and is used by the Ti Monhids as a primary method of steller assault.  This in fact is the manner in which Space Demons were introduced to our dimension -- seeking to turn the tide against their superior enemies (known only as Species 84), Ti Monhid extra-dimensional outflanking forces usually enter our dimension only temporarily, but these assaults are conducted with callous disregard for safety, and occasionally the Intruders and their passengers are permanently stranded in our dimension.  These evil immigrants will seek the nearest habitable planet and drop off their deadly cargo.  The Intruder will then fight to protect the marooned passengers until it is killed or dies of starvation.  Particularly chilling is the deep base bellow these creatures emit when in battle.

I'm extremely pleased with the quality of the castings for the Intruder and I think you will be too.  This kit will be released as soon as the painter has finished it.  Stay tuned for details.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Federal Army "Stoat" Light Armoured Utility Vehicle

The Federal Army's M3918 Stoat is a multi-purpose light armoured utility vehicle that is most commonly deployed as a HQ vehicle but is also used for reconnaissance and patrol.  

The vehicle is very fast and is proof against small arms; whilst it can also defeat certain light armour piercing weapons  it is not primed for heavy combat.  Often a command team is mounted in a Stoat in order to keep up with the troops.  The vehicle can also be seen fulfilling a light attack function, with a platoon of four Stoats on the attack, two with the automated minigun turret and the other two mounting a battery of eight Hunter-Killer Missiles.

The Stoat was designed by Steven Tyler.  It comes in seven pieces, a resin hull, two pewter weapons choices (minigun turret or missile rack) and four pewter wheels.  We like the pewter wheels as they give the vehicle some heft and "staydownability,"and the pins for the wheels are just long enough that you can pivot the front wheels a bit if you like to portray the vehicle turning.

The Stoat was designed to go with the Caiman, the upcoming Exterminator APC, as a lighter HMMWV version of that big armoured vehicle, but although it was designed and printed four months after the Caiman, ironically it is being released first!  This is the 15mm scale version of the vehicle and will be released the week of March 19, 2012.  I will announce availability on The Miniatures Page.

The M3918 Stoat compared to our popular Desiree Kim model (available separately).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Space Demons and Garn and Felids oh my!

Well, just imagine how pleased we were to find out, accidentally, that the readers of The Miniatures Page had nominated three of our ranges for Best 15mm Sci Fi alien line!  And they are of course our three most popular ranges, the Space Demons, the Felids and the Garn. 

If you want to vote, the poll is here:

You get to vote for any five choices, you don't have to just vote for one.  Of course there are a whole mess of great models there for you to choose, great evidence of the renaissance in 15mm SF gaming.

Thanks to everyone who nominated the models!  And they are in such splendid company.   I'm very proud!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dropship Horizon goes in-depth on the Horizon Explorer

Dropship Mark has some exclusive photos of our upcoming ATV, the Horizon, as well as its military equivalent, the Iguana.  Take a look at it here:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Federal XM6 Advanced Grav Tank Programme

After the success of the Mobility Enhancement Programme for the Siler, and subsequent retrofitting to lighter armoured vehicles as well, the Federal Army established a research battalion, the 1RB, for testing purposebuilt grav tech vehicles. The winner in the evaluation was a design now designated the XM-6, a very large anti-grav tank in two submarks, the XM6A, which mounts a rail gun, and the XM6B, which mounts a shutter-muzzle fusion cannon. Each vehicle has two multipurpose laser defence batteries reminiscent of the defence turrets on the Siler, but of greatly enhanced accuracy and lethality.

One benefit of the anti-grav tech is the ability to make a larger craft, and the hull of the XM6 is 12.5 meters long.

In development is an ADC (armoured drone carrier) version of the XM6 carrying the Slayer drone and their techs/operators.  In planning for the deployment of these vehicles it is anticipated that the use of advanced combat drones will better suit the unit's deployment than human infantry combatants, and as such the Slayer will substitute its ability to enter built up areas and perform other traditional infantry functions. 

The images below show the pattern masters that will be used to make the resin castings.  It's quite a large vehicle, about 125mm long.  The images show parts breakdown as well.  In the rear can be seen the thrusters that propel the vehicle out of orbit and in space, for low orbit redeployment to the fleet.

One of the images just shows the hull from the side, it's very sleek and we will try to retain that shark-like look when the ADC is designed.  This will have launch bays/racks for the Slayer, which will be a small grav drone about the size of a human, mounting a light pulse cannon (approximately the size of a SAW) and a grenade launcher.  I considered having a traditional infantry carrier for the research battalion, but it hardly seems a step forward to have these incredibly high-tech vehicles make entry and deploy for battle only to have humans popping out of the APCs like they were hover Hanomags! The Slayer will be a sleek little kit all its own, one-piece to the extent practical.

There's also an image showing the bottom of the hull with the grav surfaces, much more advanced in tech than the crude grav plates retrofitted to the existing low-riding grav vehicles (masterfully designed to look like that by Mark Mondragon, and then replicated by Coolhand on the medium vehicles).  Our assumption is that the grav drive works by pushing against the gravity field of the planet, so when the tanks are deployed from space they free fall through the atmosphere, perhaps using their thrusters for limited manoeuvre, but then as they get closer to the planet's surface the grav drive kicks in.  The same goes for leaving the theatre after operations are complete, except the tank would then need to use its thrusters to leave the planet's atmosphere.

That's our story and we're sticking with it!

Off to the casters, hope to have them back within two months or so....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Khurasan 15mm Sci Fi Building Parts, a Look at the Parts

Just received the prints for our modular 15mm sci fi building parts.  These are in wall segments in 75mm or 100mm length.  Take a look!

Here are four walls, two 100mm and two 75mm, with a roof cap on. Note that nothing is glued together, they are just held together by inertia.  This was the intent -- to make assembly as simple as possible.  We've had three different walls made in each length -- a blank wall, a door/window wall, and a window wall.  To start there are two roof caps -- 75x75 and 75x100.  If there is a big call for 100x100 we will have the bigger square roof cap made too.

Roof's off! Again the pieces are really just holding each other together.  Note the lip around the top leading edge of each wall, which together will hold the roof cap on, or will hold on higher levels if the gamer wants to make multiple levels.

Look ma, no hands!  Flipped over, here's the view from the bottom.  Once again it's just holding itself together.  Of course you'll glue your walls but this just indicates how easy assembly will be.  I think I will assemble them exactly this way -- use a roof part as a template, then put the parts together which will make sure the walls assemble level.

Frankly, even that's not necessary -- the walls are thick enough that they level themselves out when placed together.  There's also a lip that allows you to guide the parts right together so they snuggle in where they need to be.  I've heard some stories about how tricky these wall-buildup structures can be to put together and so I did not want to proceed unless that difficulty essentially went away, and playing with the print pieces suggests it has been sent off!

1BR, 1BTH in Battle Torn nghbrhd!   Here's the view from the inside.

There are print lines on the pieces but the beauty of flat parts is that the lines are only on the side edges, so all I have to do is sand them off the sides of the roof caps and we are ready to get them cast.  So they should be going off to the casters to be done up in resin this week.  My caster has a ton of stuff to cast for me, but I'm hoping to have them back within a month.  Roof accessories, including parapets to wrap around the rooftop of this building (giving your resistance fighters some place to take cover on the roof), have been designed and will be printed next.  Stay tuned!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dropship Horizon turns 1,000!

1,000 posts, that is, and the great Mark Hannam, the Dropship pilot himself, has come back to celebrate that amazing achievement (in only three years?!?!?) with a special preview of an upcoming Khurasan vehicle (two actually), so go check it out!