Painting more 15mm sci-fi stuff…

I play a lot of sci-fi games and normally in 15mm and I have plenty ( probably too many ) infantry to use in my games, mainly these games will use USE ME 15mm sci-fi rules which I like, but I have been looking for other rule sets to run bigger games, but so far I have had no luck 😢

I may end up getting out my copy of Future War Commander or even my copy of Quadrant 13 and giving them another try.

But if I want to play bigger games then I am definitely going to need vehicles and tanks etc. to fight with the troops.

I already have a few sci-fi tanks and vehicles from Old Crow and they are lovely but I don’t have many so I have been looking for some models that I can use to build up my armies a lot more.

And well I have decided to use Team Yankee models to go with my sci-fi infantry, they are 15mm so they are the perfect size ( although smaller than the Old Crow models! ) and are cheap enough to have lots on the table in a game.

I would probably only use the Old Crow vehicles for my smaller games as they do not mix that well with the plastic kits, although the tanks would be ok as heavy tanks but the APC’s are just too big next to the M113’s I have.

I have a selection of tanks and vehicles that I can use including Israeli Merkava tanks, American Abram’s, German Leopard 2’s and three German PAH helicopters and the British M113’s I mentioned above.

I also have a selection of infantry as well to add to the mix sometime, although I do have loads of painted sci-fi figures already so there is no hurry for these extras to be painted.

But having just said that there was no hurry to paint figures I did paint up two small squads of figures to show alongside the tanks, these are some old Brigade Models Neo-Soviet Spetsnaz figures, nice looking special forces guys.

Then I started on the tanks, I painted up five Merkava tanks first, all I added to the basic model was some stowage and tarpaulin.

Next up is one Abrams, one Leopard and one M113 (T50) just because I wanted to see what they looked like up against some of my figures… I think they look good.

And then I put together one version of the M113 with the T50 turret just see what that also looked like.

And last but not least one of the PAH anti-tank helicopters… I love this little model.

Ok none of these vehicles really look or come across as super advanced sci-fi vehicles, but I don’t mind that, who’s to say what the vehicles will look like in the future or even if they will still be using tanks in the future, but for now these look the business on the table along side my figures and that to me is all that matters.

All the paint jobs on these models have been done in my normal quick and nasty style!! Desert Yellow primer, with a Soft Tone coat, then a light dry-brush of Buff.

The boxes of stowage was painted in Beasty Brown and dry brushed with Buff and the tarpaulin was primed with White then coated with Bone White, when dry it was coated in a wash of Soft Tone.

Most of the boxes under the tarpaulins were made with tiny pieces of balsa wood, the rest are the plastic stowage crates and petrol cans that you get with the models, I added the extra stowage because you didn’t get much on the sprues and the stowage areas on the back of the turrets looked really empty.

The Helicopter was painted the same way as the vehicles but with a Neutral Grey on the glass canopy, when this was dry I used watered down Strong Tone and put a coat around the edge of each glass panel.

Once this was fully dry I coated each glass panel of the canopy with Gloss Varnish.

Also I need to paint up now is a Commander for one of the tanks, I have the Team Yankee ones and once painted they will fit in with my sci-fi figures ok, I will add more Commanders to the other tanks and vehicles when I have made the models.

I think that I will also model one of the helicopters as crashed and I will use it either as a piece of scatter scenery or even as an objective for a scenario as I don’t think I need three of them for my games.

I really like these models now that they are painted and I can’t wait to get them on the table for a battle…

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  1. Vic

    Hi Mac,

    I love the tanks – nice & suitable paint scheme. I did recognize those Brigade Neo-Sov guys – I have some too, although mine have some Neo-Sov armour to play with 🙂

    If it’s possible, you could try a turret swap between the Abrams & the Merkava to create ‘new’ classes. I’ve used some T55AM miniatures as sci-fi tanks, calling them the KT87 Ursa, so almost any ‘tank’ could be used for sci-fi … these things are built to last!

    Of course, there’s a whole host of 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s tank designs (American M103, British Conqueror, Soviet IS-4) that are ‘relatively’ unknown now and so could pass muster in sci-fi no problem – QRF do the Conqueror & M103, and Khurasan the IS-4, all in 15mm 😉

    Of course, if the setting you’re using for your games is near-future sci-fi theres no reason why you can’t use modern tanks as is – you could think of them as
    being Army Surplus, or as having been sold off to second line users like local Militia or mercenaries (after being replaced by better – and more expensive! – new tanks by their army).


    • Mac

      Hi Vic,
      I like the idea of swapping a turret or two just to give some variety, I never actually thought of doing that!

      My ‘setting’ was really based on the idea that the colonist took with them the technology of the time and when they settled on their planets they had some of these tanks and vehicles on board ( as you say Army Surplus ) and some colonies have just been reproducing them ever since.

      Those colonies that couldn’t reproduce them would have just brought them from Earth and had them shipped out to them.

      Why change something that works, obviously the weapons themselves have changed over the years but not much else, this will also give me the option of doing some conversions with the next lot I make.

      Well that’s my idea anyway…


        • Mac

          Hi Kyle,

          It was totally unintentional as I have never heard of J.E. Pournelle or the books he wrote about the CoDominion before so I had to check them out.

          And what little I could find out about them and the story lines and background in the books I think you may be right!!


          • Kyle Reesman

            Huge fan of the series. It justifies my usage of sorta WW2 tanks. Figured a semi-industrial world could produce them just add like a sort of laser gun to some. Also rock a lot of armored cars.

  2. Mac

    Hi Kyle,
    You don’t need any justification for using WW2 tanks in your sci-fi games, I think they would look good and would work well for a far away world.
    Simple to produce and you could just add some sci-fi weapons / extras and they would be fine.

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