So a year ago I got really interested in Gates of Antares by Warlord Games. I liked the figures. I basically liked the games system it was built on (Bolt Action) so I picked up the starter box.
Then I read through it and I was reminded why sci-fi rulesets are so problematic for me. Each race uses a different technology (or a different application of the same technology) to do stuff. But in the crucible of war, especially between two forces of relatively equal technical sophistication, either one type of technology would turn out to be better (a laser gun is always better than an automatic rifle) forcing both sides to use the same tech or there'd be no functional difference between them (so both laser gun and automatic rifle would be the same stats-wise from the game's perspective). This means there are potential balance issues and, of course, you're locked into a particular manufacturer's minis (unless you proxy them). I dunno...I got it and then kinda lost interest.
But I had a pile of plastic and felt like the minis were interesting enough to paint up so over the past couple of months, I have been. Let's look at what I've done.
First up, we have the forces of the Ghar, vicious little goblin-like creatures that wrap themselves in powerful, slightly unstable battle suits and wade in for the kill. You get six the in the starter kit:
These battle suits come in two configuration. You have the Scourer Cannon:
For close-in work, you've also got a group equipped with a plasma claw:
The fact that a power claw is a viable choice for a military force, kind of underscores my point about wonky sci-fi rulesets. I'm not saying that close combat won't be a feature of combat in the future, but no one's going to have major formations of guys equipped with a can opener. Maybe if you're fighting in a space unfriendly to projectiles such as a ship in space. But then, assuming the suit fits in the hallways, you're not likely to think a plasma-powered claw is a good idea either. Still...they look pretty cool, I do admit.
So that's the evil aliens. How about the humans?
These are the basic Strike Troopers for the Concord (human) force. Each squad is composed of five guys that includes a leader and a heavy weapons trooper with plasma lance:
And three Strike Troopers:
But because this is the far future, these squads get some robotic assistants (and this, by the way, is one of the things that really drew me to the game initially, most forces have or can have various helper drones). These primarily consist of Spotter Drones helping to find enemies and direct fire:
Your squad can also pick up some heavier Combat Drones with a plasma cannon for a little more support:
Oh and the second one on the left has a subverter matrix to hijack enemy drones (and again, this cyber-war component was another draw to this game for me).
Anyway, a typical strike squad will have the troopers and their spotter drone along with a combat drone and its personal spotter drone:
A rather nice looking group even if I do say so myself.
I took this opportunity to try and practice a couple of different painting techniques. In particular, I normally use a dip shader to shade/shellac the mini with maybe a hint of highlighting after. Here, I used some colored shades (black and green) and then tried harder to do more highlighting afterwards. I need to work with this technique a bit more, but I am pleased at the way all these guys came out.
The Ghar probably could've used a bit more highlighting to brighten them up a bit, but again, it all came out pretty well.
This was also the first time I tried painting figures on flight stands. Honestly, I should've white glued the drones to a stick, painted them on that and then transferred them to the clear flight stands, but I was feeling lazy and masking the flight stand worked out pretty well.
The biggest experiment was detailing the lenses. The Ghar suits in particular have those glowing blue plasma cores and a face full of lenses. Usually, I paint those kinds of things black (or one other color) and let it go at that. I still can't paint eyes to save my life. But this time, I wanted to give the lenses a shot and I'm really happy with the way it all turned out. I'm hoping to keep working on these detail bits and improving those a bit. It doesn't take much and it really makes the model pop.
Anyway, these guys are unlikely to hit the table (at least not in a game of Gate of Antares) but I'm glad I got them painted. I got to practice a few different techniques and I really do enjoy painting these little dudes even if I'm not a Golden Demon.
Next up: a blast from the past.