Monday 23 January 2017

SF Figures: What I Want

Work in progress on my Clear Horizon Epsilon 15mm miniatures that I'm using as MARPACE suits for my Bad Dog universe setting.  I've still got to add the heads and some weapon packs to finish these off, and hopefully you can see that I've tweaked the poses a bit.

Following on from my previous article about SF wargame rules, and the 3Rs of SF, I shall now talk about what I want in a range for any science fiction miniatures game.

A variety of poses.

It's really as simple as that, with the caveat that with poses comes support weapons.  How many poses?  Thousands of them!  Well, perhaps, but realistically I probably want the following:

Commander doing the pointing at things thing, so that I can imagine them saying five rounds rapid fire sergeant!

A radio operator, though it's arguable whether we shall still have a separate RTO person when soldiers are networked together, but assume a dedicated receiver-transmitter has better range, but there again satellite phones suggest perhaps not.  I want one.

A senior sergeant figure character, then with these three your command team is sorted.

For the rest of the platoon I want enough poses to make a squad look like people, rather than the old school toy soldiers who are all in the same pose.  Think Airfix infantry, but without the naff poses.  So, we could have:
Standing casual (weapons at rest)
Standing shooting
Kneeling casual (weapons at rest)
Kneeling shooting
Walking  (weapons at rest)
Walking shooting
Lying on the ground (sniper or taking cover)
Lying on ground with binoculars (sniper or recon)
Then there should be support options:
Light support gunner
Heavy machine gun team (two figures)
Anti-tank/vehicle missile operator (two figures–one carrying spare reloads)
Mortar team (two or three figures)
That adds up to 19 poses, which would allow one to make a platoon of 27 to 39 figures with sufficient variety that unit would look good.

NB: Edited to add links to the two previous articles that inspired this one.


  1. How many of these poses could be made by having figues that either articulated or were made up from smaller body parts, ie body, head limbs etc?

    1. No market for that option in 15mm figures, too small and fiddly for most wargamers. The larger 28mm figures are done that way and some wargamers complain about having to assemble their men.

    2. Ashley, did you see the Global Defence forces KS that Bergil did with exactly that goal. 5 variants of each common pose so 5 kneeling, 5 running, walking, firing, etc. to address exactly that variety challenge :)

    3. I hadn't. I shall check them out.

  2. With traditional sculpting, each one has to be sculpted separately, and sculptor time is expensive. With a 3D model, a decent articulation should allow the base figure to be designed once, then be re-posed and have appropriate weapons added.

    Mind you, you'd still need to make separate moulds for the production figures. If you sold them as a batch of mixed poses, perhaps you could make one spin-cast master with a bunch of different shapes in it? I don't know how this interacts with the design stage.

    1. My impression, from what little I've seen, is that 3D sculpting is great for mechanical things, but less convincing at the smaller scales for human figures. Larger scales i.e.: 28mm and larger seem OK, just the smaller stuff looks rigid. Though I'm happy to be proved wrong, and the state-of-the-art advances over time.

  3. The Rebel Minis lines of sci-fi guys have a decent mix, as do Critical Mass' collection. I find a more limited selection of poses makes painting easier - I group up all the guys in the same pose and can "assembly line" through them in short order whereas a wide mix always slows me down. It's one of the reason I can't ever finish painting a "rag tag orc army."

  4. Cost wise it's difficult to do that,even though that'd be ideal.

    Most of the Clearhorizon range has been designed with separate heads and/or limbs that can be slightly bent to help add variety to a force and still keep costs at a price point people won't balk at.

    1. I'll start by saying, "I'm not worthy." Loving these figures and I'm now following your blog.

  5. Would it be commercially viable to team up with a sculptor and figure producer to put out such a range on your behalf?

    I enjoyed your Photography in MW and made conscious effort to 'look into' each shot. The resolution of the shots has brought a nice texture.

    1. Thanks Norm and I'm chuffed you liked the pictures I took for Miniature Wargames Magazine.

  6. I think I'm turning into Ally McNeal in that I read the title and started humming the Queen song "I want it all". :) Did you ever post a review/comment on your recent HG kickstarter minis and rules? I'm curious to hear what you have to say about them and the rules as someone outside of the HG Lifetime Grouse Club. ;)

    1. I haven't had the time or inclination.

      In summary, Caprice plastics are pretty good, better than OK, but not excellent due to minor issues that bug me, and the Ammon doesn't work for me. The CEF frames look good, but I've not yet assembled them. And I was brought up to say nothing if one had nothing nice to say about something, which means I will not comment on the North and South Gears. However, the weapons on the sprues are brilliant.

      As for the rules, to me the problems I identified earlier with the Pod have not been addressed. What I take away from that is that I'm not the target audience. I will give the game another play or two, but not feeling the 'love' for them, which is why I'm working on my own rules.

      PS: I thought I had your email, but can't find it. Please email me: ashley(at sign thing)ashley-pollard(dot)com

      I wish to discuss RAFM Gears, as I understand you may have a few in excess of your requirements.

    2. Ah, thanks... and understood. I responded on my blog about the Rafm gears; in a nutshell, I'm still waffling on what to do with them but I'm not ready to sell them just yet but I'll email you regardless. You can always feel free to PM me on dakka as well.

    3. I understand the waffling and I wouldn't want to deprive you of your preciouses.

      However, if you have a Mamba and Jager that could be spared then I would be grateful if you could give selling them to me your consideration.