We’re nearly through another semester of architecture school, here, but it’s a very intense time of the year for me, so I haven’t been getting too much miniature painting done. I am slowly making my way to having a full platoon of Khurasan Federals painted up by spending 30 minutes here and there working on them, but I haven’t bothered putting up photos, because it’s pretty much more of the same.

I still haven’t decided on an opposing force for my Federals. I’d kind of like to do something alien, but I may ultimately go with another human force. These NVL Troopers by PicoArmor look pretty enticing. I’ve ordered 1/600 aircraft from PicoArmor before, and they had great customer service, so I’d like to throw them some more financial support.

So…the blog isn’t dead, just on temporary life support. Things should pick up in December.

For those of you who have followed my historical blog, ArkieGamer, you may not believe this, but I actually finished all of the miniatures that I had ordered, BEFORE placing an order for more minis. Or at least before they arrived.

Without further ado, here are my Khurasan Federals.

A typical squad, accompanied by a Polecat armored car.

I’ll probably use these guys as a recon element, of some sort.

Probably the least useful unit I bought, as far as getting it on the table. On-board artillery, even at a small scale like 15mm, doesn’t make much sense for close-in skirmish.

I love this little scout drone. I thought about basing him with acrylic rod, but decided that black is best.

Officer country! The guy to the far left is the satellite comms specialist


One definition of science fiction that separates it from the space fantasy of something like, say, Star Wars, is (prepare for mangled paraphrasing) ‘an exploration of the effect of technological development upon the human condition.’ An example of sci-fi that fits this definition would be something like Dune, which at its most basic explores the question of “how would humanity react to the discovery of a limited source of immortality.” Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep looks at the impact of replicants and androids on the concept of humanity. These are gross simplifications of complicated works of fiction, but hopefully they’re illustrative of what I’m talking about.

I’m curious as to how this sort of definition can be applied to skirmish level sci-fi wargaming. Most rules sets that I’ve looked at seem to just be translating modern warfare into a vocabulary of laser rifles, dropships, and plasma cannons. Admittedly, my level of experience with this kind of wargaming is very limited, so I reserve the right to change my opinion as I learn more.

Skirmish level gaming is probably not ideal for exploring fundamental changes to the nature of humanity through technology, but it should be capable of examining the changes wrought by technological advancement to warfare on a tactical level.

The first major issue that comes to my mind is the possibility of technologically asymmetrical warfare, due to disparity in advancement between cultures. Aliens vs. humans is an obvious possibility for this scenario, but we see this asymmetry even in contemporary warfare-just compare casualty rates for the U.S. in the Iraq war versus its opponents, for instance. I suppose this could simply be modeled through the potency of weaponry, but I think it’s the tactical implications that are potentially most interesting.

Speaking of aliens, I’d much prefer that their alienness be more than simple fluff. I’m thinking of something like the Kafer from GDW’s 2300AD, whose brains were stimulated by danger and conflict. The Kafer would start out dumb as rocks during a violent encounter, but quickly grow into a dangerous and potent force as the danger and casualties of combat kick-started their strange physiology. The tactical implications of this are pretty interesting. On the opponents side, the situation calls for lots of ambushes, rapid hits, and highly mobile forces. The Kafer would want to have some sort of highly codified standard procedures in place to limit losses during initial contact, merging into a more fluid doctrine that reflects their ever-increasing intelligence and tactical savvy. It would be interesting to see how a player of Kafer forces would develop strategies over the length of a campaign.

Two strictly technological advances that seem really interesting are Gravitics and highly advanced electronic warfare. Combat would be highly three dimensional with the widespread use of grav vehicles and power armor. Electronic warfare would be a huge component of future combat. Communications and even simple operations of highly computerized equipment would be in jeopardy. Then there’s the question of air and space superiority: Who controls the satellites, who can monitor the situation on the ground with complete impunity, and who can drop troops in at any geographical location are all important questions.

Maybe I just need to buy Tomorrow’s War-I get the impression Ambush Alley Games might be looking seriously at some of this stuff. Anyway, enough rambling from me. If you have any thoughts, comments, or criticisms, feel free to post below.

I tend to get obsessed about things and do extensive amounts of web research until I begin to grasp the zeitgeist of whatever said thing might happen to be. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Before I begin to digress too badly about being an obsessive nerd, I’ll just say that one of the models that particularly struck my fancy when I was relentlessly searching for information on 15mm sci-fi wargaming was Khurasan Miniature’s Polecat.

The Polecat is basically a futuristic HMMWV with the sort of functionalist industrial aesthetic that James Cameron (or Ridley Scott, for that matter) captured in Aliens. I really love it. In fact, it’s the model that pushed me over the edge into beginning to collect, paint, and hopefully game 15mm science fiction.

Like the Humvee, the Polecat is ubiquitous. They can even be found at battalion HQ.

Here’s my version. I used a similar palette to my infantry, with Vallejo Russian uniform being the primary ingredient. I went a little overboard on the weathering, and will probably try to tone it down a notch for my next 15mm armored vehicle. The “4” is supposed to resemble the Vilani font from good old Traveller, but it was quite difficult to execute at this scale!

If When I do another of these, it will have to have been nicknamed and tagged as ‘Pepe’ by its crew.

I’ve painted my first 15mm Sci Fi figures, as personal first for the scale and the genre. These are Khurasan Miniatures Federal troops. I have another 9 figures to paint, which will give me one squad, a command group, and a couple of heavy weapon attachments. I’ve promised myself I won’t be ordering any new figures until I have the current batch finished, but the ultimate goal is to build up a platoon and a couple of light armor vehicles.

Obviously I have a long way to go, but 15mm is a blast to paint.Laying down the base colors in 15mm is very quick, and this allows you spend more time on the fun stuff.

Primary colors on these guys are Vallejo Russian Uniform. The hardware is Russian Uniform mixed with German Camo Dark Green. I started out with white primer and did a couple of black washes along the way. I think my paint is way too thick, and I’d really like to get the armor looking like some sort of satiny composite plastic rather than the painted gypsum board that it now resembles.

They’re based on US dimes. I’m in the process of deciding whether or not to color code the bases for unit type/number.

 

Deep Space Arkie is a blog dedicated to science fiction wargaming in Northwest Arkansas. My proclivities run to hard/gritty science fiction, and I will initially be prepping for games like Ground Zero Games‘s Full Thrust and Star Grunt. Not coincidentally, the GZG rules sets are freely available from the company website as PDFs! GZG also makes some beautiful models, many of which are reminiscent of the artwork from the old RPG, 2300AD. Yes, I’m of a certain nerd age, and that reference should  date me. I also have an interest in historical wargaming, which is documented over at ArkieGamer. It should be obvious that I have a bad case of gamer ADD!

For the moment, this blog is primarily going to be a collection of links that I’ve organized around my particular interests, but there will be richer content available in the coming months. I have actually ordered some miniatures, including  various Federal Army troops from Khurasan Miniatures, and I’ll be painting them soonish. I’m also looking forward to scratch-building some sci-fi terrain and buildings.

Welcome aboard!