Thursday 22 September 2011

SG15-HW2 – Generic heavy weapons crew in berets

Here we have a group of gun crew in action.  This pack of GZG figures stems from the time when Jon started issuing them in the current style, with 2 each of 4 different poses.  We have:

2 kneeling spotters with a pair of magnoculars ready to spot for enemy positions or observe the fall of shot
2 standing loaders with box of munitions
2 kneeling loaders with a different box of munitions
2 kneeling gunners in firing pose
The three kneeling poses are all slightly different, which is satisfying, especially as it would have been easy to use the same basic figure with only slight variations in arm position.  The figures are on the shorter side compared to more recent GZG releases such as the new NAC troops or colonists.  As the gun crew are likely to spend their time with heavy weapon mounts rather than mixed in with other figures, this probably doesn’t matter much, especially as most of them are kneeling down anyway.

The quality of the moulding is good apart from the face of the gunner in firing pose.  This had a rather pointy nose and slightly odd features, and was also hard to clean up because of the arm position.  Happily the arm position also means that it’s not easy to see the face when the gun crew are in action!  Overall, little flash and mould lines were small and easily removed.  The style of the figures is noticeably different from more recent GZG releases, especially on the faces and hands, but when painted and viewed from normal gaming distances the blend together well with the rest of the army.

All the gun crew are wearing sturdy boots, basic uniform/fatigues (no map pockets on the legs or shoulder pockets) and berets.  I’ve chosen to paint mine as wearing some sort of pull-over tank-top thing, possibly a lightweight body armour waistcoat, but you could easily leave it the same colour as the rest of the uniform and it would look fine; the way it’s been sculpted leaves either option open to you.

I’ve painted them to match my OUDF troops who are currently sadly lacking in firepower compared to their NAC rivals.  GW Goblin Green uniform and Humbrol Leather brown boots and I’ve given them sand-coloured berets; I was going to go for green the same as the uniforms but decided that I’d rather give them something a little different.  I considered a different colour such as blue or red, but decided that the sand was more in keeping with the natural green & brown of their clothing.
Overall grade for these figures: B

These figures are great as gun crew but just as useful as technical staff; the one with magnoculars could easily be used as part of a command unit instead of a gun crew and those with boxes/crates could work well as vehicle crew unloading equipment.  I can just see the kneeling gunner as a mechanic with his hand hidden inside the engine hatch of a vehicle.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

OUDF variations number 2 – SG15-O4

Another variant of the basic OUDF troops, this time Papau New Guinea/native Australian.  Again, the only change is that they have different heads from the basic OUDF troopers.  All are bare-headed but the facial features and hair styles vary from figure to figure.

Basic paint scheme is the same as listed for SG15-O1 and SG15-O2.  For the flesh tones I’ve used Vallejo Beastly brown and washed some with Vallejo sepia ink, but others with Vallejo black ink.  These various combinations give a little variety, although it doesn’t seem to show as well in the photographs as it does when you’re actually handling the figures.

Hair is black, and some have been given a drybrush of GW vermin fur to try and get the dark gingery hair colour that I’ve seen in some outback photographs.

At Jon Tuffley’s suggestion I’ve given a few of them white face-paint.  Living in rural Norfolk, I don’t tend to come across Australian Aboriginees, so this is based purely on internet research.  Apologies if I’ve used any particular designs out of context!

Overall grade for these figures: B+

I've given this batch the same grade as the other head-swap OUDF troops, as all the same advntages/disadvantages apply.  The basic poses are fine, detail is great, and they'll easily mix with the other OUDF troops or form a distinct unit of their own as desired.

A final close-up showing the detail on the squad leader.

Monday 12 September 2011

OUDF variations number 1 – SG15-O2

SG15-O2 from Ground Zero Games is the first of 2 variations on the basic OUDF troops.  This bunch have bush hats.  All we have here are head-swaps of the original 5 poses, so they match perfectly with the standard, helmeted OUDF troopers.

I’ve painted them in the same colour scheme as my previous OUDF troops; GW goblin green & Humbrol 186 leather brown, washed with Vallejo sepia and drybrushed with base colours.  I’ve painted the bush hats goblin green to match their fatigues.  It also makes it easier to differentiate them from their helmet-wearing comrades.

Goggles are GW red gore with a dab of black added for shading and a dab of white for highlights, with a red ink wash to blend it all together.  Gun sights have been given similar treatment.

Weapons are Humbrol 33 matt black base with Humbrol matt 32 dark grey daubed on over the top.  Some troopers are Aboriginal, they’ve been given brown skin with a sepia or black wash.

Overall grade for these figures: B+

The previous OUDF pack got an "A" grade.  If they were completely new figures, these would probably have received an A as well, but because they are just head-swaps they've been downgraded slightly.  They're still great figures though, with a good range of poses.  You could field mixed squads of helmeted/bush-hatted/aboriginal troops, or use their variation in headgear to indicate veteran, elite or otherwise specialised troops.  Although they will blend in perfectly with the other OUDF packs, the repetition of poses could become more obvious in a larger army.

I know that Jon is planning to add some extra packs to some of his existing ranges as he'd done with the NAC and NI armies, so let's hope that the OUDF will be getting some reinforcements soon!

Saturday 3 September 2011

IMEC Mining Robot

 IMEC often make use of Mining Robots on frontier worlds.  They're able to handle rougher terrain than a wheeled or tracked vehicle, and are more flexible for use in other tasks, able to stand in for a crane or a cargo loading droid without much modification.  Most come equipped with a triple-headed rock drill and a large rock saw (also handy in forest clearance).

This robot started life as a Mechwarrior clicky figure.  I ended up with 4 mining 'Mechs from e-bay, so far one has been painted up to see how it looks.  I haven't yet decided whether they are piloted robots or whether they're autonomous/remote controlled droids.  As you can see, this one still has the cockpit canopy, though it wouldn't be too hard to replace it with some sort of robotic head.


 Colour scheme is the same as the IMEC ground crew - Humbrol 33 matt black legs, GW blood red arms & torso.  The red is shaded with Vallejo sepia ink and selected areas were drybrushed with GW chainmail to simulate the sort of wear & tear you'd expect on a mining robot.  The whole thing received a light drybrush fo Humbrol 93 desert yellow to achieve a suitably dusty appearance, concentrating more on the lower legs & drill arm.


The rock drill arm received an IMEC logo, though I've rather overdone the weathering so you can hardly see that it's there!

 Here's a few of the crew with their mining robot & some transport.


The transport can also help the robot reach its destination faster than walking...

 ...or maybe not!

Some of the mining 'Mechs come with jury-rigged guns instead of the rock drill.  These guns might be useful mounted on something else, as will the missile pods.  I've got a few broken drill-bits, so they will be good replacements for the gun mounts.  I might give one a claw or scoop of some sort too.