Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Old Crow Models Trojan APC - Build and Review

Yet another purchase from some months ago that has been waiting for me to work on.  I had actually built one of these 15mm Old Crow vehicles last year, but never posted about it nor took pictures.  I had two more awaiting assembly, and so thought here was a great time to post a review and share some pictures of the Trojan APC.

With just a few pieces to assemble, the build process is very simple.  Glue the six wheels on (using the tab in the wheel well to create perfect spacing - see picture below), choose a weapon mount (choice of an auto cannon, a missile launcher, or forego the mount and use the included hatch), and you are done.  If you would like, add some stowage as the top of the APC is very clean and has plenty of room for such customizing.  I went with the auto cannon as I feel it is the best look and no self respecting APC should be without some sort of weapon system.

The tab helps space the wheels evenly within the wheel well

The quality of the resin is very high, with no imperfections (i.e. bubbles).  The wheels and hatch cover are resin while the weapon mounts are metal.  Another superb model from a small manufacturer.  With the various sci-fi human factions I have I am not certain where I will use these vehicles, perhaps with my Eureka Germans or really anything needing some transport for low tech incursions.

Length - 68mm.  Width - 31mm.  Height (with weapon mount) - 33mm.

The Evil Bear Panther - A Build and a Review

After many months of looking at the Evil Bear 15mm Panthers, I finally broke down and ordered a pair (along with their modern skirmish rules Oscar-Sierra-Charlie).  What follows is a mini-review and the building of the vehicle.

The parts...yes that is all of them

Lovely kit, if calling this a kit isn't a bit of a stretch.  With only two axles, a remote weapons mount, and a superstructure to glue into place, calling this a kit is probably a stretch as it takes just a few minutes to assemble.  The resin body is superbly cast with fine details and no resin bubbles that plague some other vehicles on the market.  The metal pieces are clean, with no flash or mold lines.  The build was super easy, with the wheels and axles cast as one piece that affix into a slot on the undercarriage.  The superstructure is simply glued on top (no guiding pins or holes but really those were not needed) and then choose a weapons mount and glue on top.  A crackin' great vehicle!

Undercarriage in place

The Panther measures out as follows:  length - 45mm; width - 22mm; height - 35mm.

I will be using these Panthers with my Khurasan DEVGRU.  While the DEVGRU teams would most likely not ride into battle with such vehicles (being that the vehicles are of British manufacture and the DEVGRU are U.S. special operators),

The finished product

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Building the Darkest Star Games Scorpion LACV

Many moons ago I supported a Darkest Star Games Kickstarter for some 15mm sci-fi vehicles, with factions heavily influenced by Traveller (see this post).  I only went in at a level high enough to earn a Scorpion Light Armored Combat Vehicle as this was only the third Kickstarter I had ever supported, and the second gaming KS, so I was still fairly new to the KS game and really did not know what to expect.  I am glad I supported this particular campaign as I think Darkest Star has the real potential to become another Ground Zero Games in terms of quality product, and to have such a company in the Uniteds States is a real plus, although I will say that the service from GZG is superb!

I have had this vehicle sitting in its baggie for far too long, and with the recent purchase of Federation and Venturian figures from Darkest Star, I thought is was time to put the Scorpion together.  I was fortunate enough to buy a painted Scorpion from Micropanzer, so once I assembled and painted my Kickstarter version, I would have a pair of these sweet looking vehicles to support whatever sci-fi faction I desired.  Those of you who have seen Generation Kill will understand this...they are the Warpigs of a far future conflict, breeding hate and discontent like a mother.

The Scorpion LACV is a resin and metal kit, with the hull and turret in resin, and the remaining parts in metal.  As you can see, the resin quality is super high...nary a single bubble as found in many other resin products (the same high quality I have also seen with Old Crow).  There is very little resin flash from the mold-line, so prep work is minimal.  The metal parts have a small fraction of flash, so again minimal prep work needs to be completed.  The metal pieces include a choice of turret bustle, four choices of weapons, eight wheels, a stowage bin, and a hatch cover which can be installed open or closed.  See picture.

Assembly should have been easy, but for some reason the two types of super glue I tried did not want to adhere in a quick manner (Zap-a-Gap and Citadel thick super glue).  This made assembly time higher than I would suspect it needed to be, as I had to wait quite some time after gluing a piece before I was able to move to the next piece.

The wheels are cast with hubs that insert into hollowed out ends of the axles, making lining up the wheels a breeze.  The toughest part of this process was deciding on which weapon system to use.  The Scorpion I purchased from Micropanzer had the railgun installed, so I decided to go with a lighter gun option and use the 40mm autocannon, which also uses the other turret bustle, giving me two similar yet distinctive Scorpions.

The build continues....

Wheels on, turret bustle in place:

40mm autocannon in place, along with the storage bin and hatch cover.  I just received a pack of 15mm stowage items from S&S Models, so I might add a piece or two to provide even more "flavor" to these excellent vehicles.

The size of the model:  70mm long, 31mm wide, and about 25mm tall (depending on what turret bustle is used and if the hatch is open or closed).

Overall, these are some of the top vehicles in 15mm on the market for sci-fi gamers.  Realistically they could be used in a modern setting depending on weapon choice.  Run, don't walk, over to the Darkest Star website and order one or a dozen of these excellent vehicles (or any of their other cool toys) today!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Darkest Star Games Venturians

The Black Brunswickers (Federation) and their Venturian opponents have arrived!  I got my goodie box from Darkest Star Games a couple of days ago, and must say that these are really nice figures.  Yet another company making some quality 15mm sci-fi castings.    

Over the last few days, after some comments I had left on the Darkest Star blog, I have come to realize that the Darkest Star owner is none other than Darby from the Fields of Fire Vietnam forum.  Talk about a small world!  Here I thought he was this 'Nam gamer (which he is) and he also owns a company offering some really nice sci-fi figures...crazy.

Okay, now to the figures (warning, a bit of a review coming up)....

Each figure is different, and either in an advancing, standing, or firing pose.  The troops carry a wide variety of weaponry, including advanced combat rifles, Gauss marksman rifles, plasma rifles, accelerator carbines, and particle accelerator rifles.  I have added a note on the picture from the Darkest Star website as to what each figure is carrying below.

The casting is clean, with just a touch of flash to be removed.  Details and proportions are excellent.  The weapons do not suffer from "bazookaitus" that some figures suffer from, especially in 15mm.  The metal reminds me of when MiniFigs moved from lead to a tin alloy, but the metal is pliable, not brittle.

As for using these Venturians with the Eureka offerings, I would say no.  While I no longer have any of the Eureka Vents, I do remember them being much larger than the Eureka sci-fi German storm troopers, and the comparison pictures below indicate to me that the Darkest Star Vents would be smaller as they match nicely with the Eureka Germans.

Left to right - Eureka sci fi German, Peter Pig modern US Marine, Darkest Star Venturian, and a Flashpoint US Ranger

Monday, June 20, 2016

Oh, the Horrids!

Horrid soldiers - pic from Ravenstar Studios website
No, not "oh, the horror" but the Horrids.  A alien race created by the evil mind behind Ravenstar Studios, which not too long ago ran a nice sale on their figures.  I am always on the lookout for small companies making 15mm sci-fi to add to my Tomorrow's War gaming,  One, with sci-fi I can be as silly as I want to be when it comes to alien races, although I do lean towards hard sci-fi.  Also, I can offer a variety of forces (and hence attributes to tinker with) as opponents for my various human factions.  And last, I like supporting the little guy.  So, while I certainly did not need to buy any figures, I did jump in and ordered five packs of the Horrid soldiers from Ravenstar's Landcore range.  The other Horrid offerings did not spark much interest, but I thought the soldiers looked pretty cool.  Scary to the human eye, and armed with high tech weaponry, a perfect combination for a child's nightmares.

It did take a few weeks to receive my order, but to make up for the delay in shipping, I received several freebies which included extra Horrid soldiers...a LOT of Horrid soldiers.  That was a nice gesture by Chris at Ravenstar to offset the delay I experienced in receiving my goodies.

What shocked me was when I did receive my order and came to realize the figures are made from resin of at least two colors!  I was not expecting that at all, and I did not come across any reference to resin being used, as opposed to metal, on the Ravenstar website.  It really is of no matter as the figures are sharply cast and will need just a touch of cleaning before priming, but for some reason I just assumed that the Horrids were made of metal.

Now, let's rate these bad boys for Tomorrow's War....

Standard weapons are part of the soldier, or perhaps he is inserting his hand and arm inside the weapon.  I am thinking these weapons interface with the soldiers bio make-up, perhaps the soldier thinks about what to shoot and the weapon reacts.  If this is the case, then the Horrids may possess an advanced weapons technology compared to the humans in Tomorrow's War or at least they have the ability to interface with their weapons, which may result in higher accuracy and/or faster response.  There is a small of stature overlord sans weapon, so I am guessing there may be some sort of psychic control going on.

Let's see, let's try the following characteristics from Tomorrow's War and By Dagger or Talon:

Designated Marksman
Heightened Situational Awareness/Reflexes
Hive Mind

Those four should be a good start, and I can always tinker with the Unit Attributes if necessary.

As for painting, I am going to do a very simple scheme.  Prime in white, wash with burnt umber, perhaps dry brush a fleshy gray, and paint the weapons black with a steel-colored drybrush.

Just out of the bag and ready for cleaning and priming

The figures are fairly cleanly cast, with just a touch of some resin "flash" to clean up.  They range in height from 11mm for the little overlord dude up to 15mm (foot to to of head) for the grunts.  They carry a variety of weapons, from small hand guns to "rifles" to heavier squad weapons (including a shoulder launched weapon) to a "sniper rifle."

All in all these are an interesting batch of figures from Ravenstar and if you are looking for something a bit different, give them a look-over.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

ID These Moderns

I purchased these painted 15mm moderns some time ago, but I do not know the manufacturer(s).  I do believe, based on the larger size and heftier proportions of the top row as compared to the Delta operators in the bottom row, that these are two different manufacturers.  I am fairly certain they are not Rebel or Peter Pig, and the Deltas might be QRF.  I would appreciate any help!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Black Brunswickers

Federation troops - Picture from Darkest Star Games website
No, not Napoleonics, and yes, you did read that title correctly.  I am thinking up another sci-fi project, using the Darkest Star 15mm Federation and Venturian 15mm figures.  While there are a plethora of companies making excellent figures for 15mm sci-fi, I always like supporting the small guy, and as Darkest Star Games is a fairly small operation, one based in the United States, it should make delivery times short and shipping costs low.  And having participated in their Kickstarter campaign a couple years ago, I also know they make a quality product.

They do offer a few different items in 15mm with a wide range of figures and vehicles, but the Venturians and Federation troops I really like.  Obviously inspired by Traveller, I have seen others use the Venturians as Zhodani.  And the weapons mix gels with the Traveller/Striker universe with advanced combat, plasma, and Gauss rifles, along with other weapon types that Traveller players will recognize.  

And, as I have this affliction for the Black Brunswickers from the Napoleonic period due to a few factors (Germans, cool uniforms, a stubborn Duke, etc.), creating something that pays homage to the Schwarz Braunschweiger sounds like a very doable and enjoyable project.  Painting the Federation figures in a mostly black motif with highlights of light blue should be a fairly easy to knock out.  Still need to figure out some sort of death's head symbol but perhaps a small touch of paint on the helmet will work (unless I can find small decals...but I do not think I have the patience for small decals).

So I have gone forward and have ordered both Federation and Venturian infantry from Darkest Star.  Ordered on 6/15 at 8:00 p.m. EST - we will now test their speed of service!  I will have to say I did not like the $8.00 shipping charge for a handful of figures.  More to come on the figures, mounting, rules, and painting in future posts!

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