Exploring unfamiliar territory – 15mm sci fi minis

Recently someone reached out and commissioned me to draw a piece of artwork for their homebrew rules, and thus found myself with a little unexpected surplus in the hobby budget. My eye has slowly been drawn towards 15mm miniatures, and so I thought it would be fun to buy and batch and try out a new scale for the first time since starting the hobby. (The 1:72 Caesar Miniatures creatures were only to bulk out the 28mm collection – they don’t count.)

With 5 Parsecs From Home and Pulp Alley to hand, I decided to make this part of my sci fi odyssey. One delivery from Ground Zero Games later and I set to work on some generic ship crew members.

I’m glad I dipped a toe into this water – I’ve found them very satisfying to paint.

They are very fast to paint, even for as sluggish a painter as me.

As someone who tends to get bogged down worrying about little minute details on 28mm figures, it’s great to be able to approach these smaller miniatures with a more impressionist mindset – they’re so little that there’s no chance I’ll be able to do the eyes.

The relatively small surface area means that the basecoat – wash – basecoat steps go a lot further, so much so that I haven’t bothered reaching for an additional colour to highlight further.

They are a lot more affordable. £3 for a pack of eight miniatures with four unique poses. It cost me £21 for all of the minis in this post and an unpainted copy of each for when I need to bulk the numbers out or paint up specific characters.

There seems to be a good variety out there too for little science fiction figures, not to mention the Wild West ranges which a number of these minis seem to emulate. The packs in this post have a reasonable number of women in sensible clothes too, which I like for the verisimilitude. Variety is the spice, and all that.

15mm just feels so much more accessible a scale, particularly for scenery. I could design and print out a single-piece building on one sheet of A4 card and glue the whole thing together in minutes. I’ve grabbed scrap, recycling and odd bits & pieces from the local charity shop to throw together some sci fi scatter pieces. Things stretch a lot further for 15mm because, again, you don’t need to include so much detail. The glue gun has come out of retirement.

And goodness, the storage potential! Space is at a premium in our flat, with lots already given over to the accumulated treasures of miniature and RPG hobbying, so I needed something efficient. One trip to the charity shop and £1 later and I had a 12cm(d) x 22cm(w) x 15.5cm(h) screws organiser with 25 trays, each able to fit 15 human minis.

Suddenly I can start thinking of game boards which can be tucked away into a corner, rather than needing to dominate the dining room table. Convert all those inch-based games into centimetres – now most of them can fit in a 2′ x 2′ area.

Since this opportunely falls at the beginning of a new year, the plan for 2022 will be to try and get some gaming in with this motley collection. I got a few more for Christmas – £3 packs make for great stocking fillers – so should be able to start filling out the likely opponents a 5 Parsecs From Home crew might come across, and may start thinking about what minis might be needed for a sci fi slant on one of the Pulp Alley campaigns.

3 thoughts on “Exploring unfamiliar territory – 15mm sci fi minis

  1. Welcome to the wonders of the 15 mm miniature world – and you have highlighted some of their most important advantages. But do keep your enthusiasm in check lest you go a bit overboard and have, say, approaching 40,000 of the them. Someone I know is in that boat. Could it be me? Hmm.

    Liked by 1 person

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