Sunday, 14 April 2013

Force Generica, or, Vietnam In SPACE

Many wargamers know of, if they aren't fans of, Hammer's Slammers, the series of short stories and novellas centering around the aforementioned regiment of elite mercenary troops in the far future and written by Vietnam veteran David Drake (11 ACR 'Blackhorse'). I bought the series when I was at university, as I often dropped into the Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue (mainly because I lived about five or ten minutes' walk away), and they are a good read indeed.

Ground Zero Games and Jon Tuffley had long produced vehicles clearly based on the gun jeeps, combat cars and 'blower' hover tanks of the series - now available from Daemonscape - and when Old Crow Models arrived at the beginning of the 2000s, it wasn't long before Jez Plumridge began to do the same. Which was fortuitous, because the South London Warlords had been using GZG and Denizen figures and models for their Hammer's Slammers game for some time, and as far as I can tell, the combination of the influential Salute organisers, GZG and Old Crow got together, banged heads, and contacted David Drake himself to see if they could officialise the whole thing.

And they did. Quite easily I think.

Now I suspect this is all very old news to a lot of you, and my clumsy and ill-informed precis of the whole affair should not be seen as anything other than an introduction to pictures of my own collection of 'Slammers' figures from GZG... and a little bit about them.

When I began to get into SF gaming that wasn't 40K, I turned to various different rules sets. I started off with Steve Winter's DropWing - which are really good, actually - and moved on to Stargrunt II. I stayed with these two sets (and have literally just now bought the last copies of MechWing and CyberWing, the expansions for DropWing from an eBay seller) until last year, when Tomorrow's War was released.

I digress. While I was getting into these SF games, I was also building forces to game with. I decided, some time ago, that a good idea would be to create a 'generic' opposing force that I could field against anyone, from my Space Marines to my European Federation security police or, indeed, the rioters. But what figures could I use?

Luckily for me, it was around this time that I went to a Salute - back when it was held in Olympus rather than Excel - and stumbled across Hammers' Slammers for the first time, in the form of the Ground Zero Games' figure range. I bought one of every figure, and over time added to them, so now my Force Generica looks like this:

The original purchase didn't include the vehicles (all GZG, now Daemonscape), the three bare metal Slammers by the left-hand truck, or the Power Armour suits. It took a long time to get them this far!

Force Generica follows the pattern of all of my DW/SGII/TW forces - a reinforced infantry platoon, with some form of transport for each squad, a unit of powered armour, and a tank of some description. This lot are quite third rate - certainly in comparison to the unit the figures are supposed to represent - and I deliberately accentuated this by using the 'eggs on legs' style powered armour. I see them as being a second or even third-line unit from a planetary defence force. They have access to some decent equipment but are better in defence than attack.

Last night, while waiting for bases to dry on the Spore Mines, I got my partner to bring me the crew of the tank destroyer, and I sat down to paint them more like the Slammers:

The woman on the far left is in my original colour scheme of grass green and khaki; very much inspired by the Irish Defence Force, while the tank crew (including, middle, the 'David Drake' figure) are in the Slammer's gear of khaki combat dress and grey 'clamshell' armour.

Some detailing: the infantrywoman has her name and blood group on the back of her armoured vest, while all have their unit armshield on the left arm, and their national/planetary flag on the right (it could even be the flag of Nieuw Frieseland).

And finally, the tank and its crew. A two-man hover tank destroyer mounting a tribarrel automatic weapon and a high-intensity laser cannon. Commander/gunner on the left, driver on the right.

Oh - the little blue and red tabs on their vests? Analgesic and stimulant auto-injectors respectively. Comrade had his arm blown off? Pull the blue tab! Been stunned by a nearby shellburst? Yank the red one!

Painting Points: 2
2013 total: 86 (46x 28mm, 2x 54mm, 2x tanks)

A final note - Vietnam in Space? Literally. David Drake started writing the stories to cope with the effects of the fighting, and based the vehicles on M113 ACAVs and M48 tanks.

1 comment:

  1. Tank and crew - very nice!
    Are you going to add a link to your ebay shop somewhere on this blog?