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SciFi minis you'd like to see.


Mad Pat
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I'm probably 50% miniatures player/50% RPG player, but my mini purchases are more along the lines of 80% for wargames, 15% for RPG PCs and 5% for painting/collecting. The majority of my RPG purchases are fantasy figures, while wargame purchases are probably 75% sci-fi.

 

For RPG purposes, I've found card board standup "figures" are more practical for use as NPCs/Monsters/etc. Only PCs and major NPCs warrant a figure. I have way too many unpainted figures as it is to try and keep up a decent NPC stock of minis as well.

 

For wargaming, I now personally try to stick with armies that are usable across a couple of different game systems. I used to play a lot of 40k/WFB, but when I moved away from my old game group, I found that I ws going to have to update my rulesets to continue playing, or play another game. Of the armies I collected, only my Imperial Guard Army is generic enough to play with other systems. And even those aren't that generic. I'd really like to build a more generic near-futuristic human army that would be usable with a lot of different systems in the 25-28mm scale.

 

So what I would really want are basic trooper type figures in a lot of poses that are usable from anything from riot police, to security guards to infantry soldiers, and then some officer type figures. A really good range of those would go a long way to filling out an army. Take a look at todays combat armies - other than colors and insignia and minor details like weapon size/shape, it's pretty difficult to tell the difference between a british soldier in combat gear vs an American vs a Chinese soldier. When a mini is less than 2" tall, and there are a hundred or so on the tabletop, color can be far more of an important detail, as will be the vehicles.

 

Once you start going far-future, two things stand out that make things difficult - One, the introduction of technology like Power Armor and Mechs. I don't know a single science fiction fan who doesn't like the concept of Power Armor. But every science fiction universe has different concepts of what it should look like - I personally like Traveller's take on Power Armor, while some friends of mine are partial to the Star Wars Stormtrooper armor, while others are partial to 40K's Space Marine's take on it. So, in a sense, Power Armor is tied to the setting, and a lot of the more popular settings are going to be licensed property. The same can be said for Mechs. I personally can't stand the thought of huge walking robots, ala CAV or Battletech. I don't think we'll ever go there combat-tech wise - a box like tank with treads or anti-grav is going to be a far less complex and more efficient piece of machinary. I have friends who love Mech's though.

 

Two is Aliens. Unless you use the generic futuristic versions of the fantasy races like 40k and other games use, you either have to create your own aliens or license the likeness from someone elses sci-fi setting. There are very few interpretations of aliens that could be considered public domain, like elves are. Then, when it comes to the games themselves, you have to provide stats for any aliens you create, and they have to be different enough from the other races to really shine. This is why most settings/games only focus on a half dozen or so races at most.

 

So while I say I would love to see lots of sci-fi miniatures in power armor and aliens, it's pretty subjective - what I like isn't necessarily what you'll like, etc. Makes it pretty hard for a company like Reaper to even break even on sci-fi miniatures, especially when you throw in the fact that, sadly, fantasy dominates the RPG market, and generally has a wider appeal than hard science ficition. But I didn't ramble and bring up those points for nothing - I really want more miniatures in Power Armor and more Aliens. If I were in Reapers position, I would determine what to add to my line by sales, using something like this:

 

Have some concept art work done for a half dozen or so Aliens/Power Armor, probably by different people. Post them in the store on a pre-order basis for a month or so. Require people to actually commit to ordering and paying for at least one figure as their vote, with the knowledge that the only the top seller (maybe top two) are going to be made, and then only if their pre-orders will cover the cost of paying the sculptor and the mold. Once the month or two is up, send the top vote getter to a sculptor and go into production of it. Those people who "purchased" concepts that didn't get made can either not have their cards charged, or be given store credit when "voting" ends.

 

This could be particularly effective for Aliens - there are a lot of budding game designers out there who would love to have unique aliens not tied to any particular setting to use in their games. Plus, in any logical sci-fi setting with Extraterrestrial intelligent life, there should be hundreds of different types of aliens, not just the six to ten most systems focus on.

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Let's see.. sci-fi I'd like to see...

 

A broad range of spaceships. Not necessarily warships, not necessarily a space battle game. An array of spaceships like tramp freighters, heavy cargo ships, colony ships, bulk freight cargo, starliners (think cruise lines), space stations, orbital comm arrays, explorer vessels, warp/jump/hyperspace gates, refueling stations, maybe an 'asteroid pack,' maybe some space tugs and shipping containers, and some sort of paramilitary stuff- things that could be military ships, but could be law enforcement as well.

 

Mecha. I don't mean CAVs, I mean anime-style with hands holding weapons, including a variety of melee weaponry. Angular, sleek, speedy looking things. Preferably ones that are suitable for several scales, be it as slightly-larger-than-human powered armor or giant mecha where the pilot's in a little cockpit nestled somewhere in the middle of the chest. Flying, standing on the ground, carrying a broad range of weapons from pistols to massive shoulder-mounted cannons. Maybe something with a variety of add-on packs. Buy a GUN-7TR Gunther mecha, with standard weaponry, then pick up the conversion pack to turn it into a GUN-7AN, GUN-7GW, or GUN-7ZX Alpha.

 

Cyberpunks. Most of the cyberpunk figures that exist are either old or gimmicky. There's not much available out there that's fairly generic and done well. Drawing on the Matrix for ideas would be a good start- they got the basics down very well. Trenchcoats, mirrorshades, and close-quarter weaponry like SMGs, shotguns, and pistols. Rifles, rare but useful. Some sort of netrunner type figures, of course, but without the seemingly standardized full keyboard being lugged around on their hip. Suits, rockers, media types, combat gods, netrunners, and the requisite guy hooked into a motorcycle you really, really wish existed in real life.

 

Cops. Riot cops, SWAT teams, heck let's bridge over here and toss in a cop netrunner. They have to exist after all. Beat cops, of course, but more armored than present day- not SWAT level, but probably something between SWAT and current gear. Check out the PPD Hard Suit and PPD Shell from City of Villains/City of Heroes- basically it's power armor that's still kind of 'open' and has a very distinct police feel to it. It's more like an exoskeletal frame than enclosed armor.

 

Aliens. Not as in Xenomorph, Geiger-made Aliens, but aliens. Something that's definitely an alien, yet not goofy looking, like you tend to see with most generic alien lines. No Greys, no ET ripoffs, no humans-with-odd-foreheads. Alien species across a broad spectrum, like you see in Star Wars. Humanoid? Sure. But how about multiple arms, a different jaw structure, and so on. Silicate-based life that isn't a lump or a golem by another name. Hive-mind, all-consuming swarm aliens work too. The key's to make them look alien, but also not have them be goofy.

 

Robots and cyborgs. By cyborg here I mean mostly cybernetic, be it a robotic body with a human brain, or prominent, inhuman replacements (arms that end in guns or power tools, additional limbs, heads attached to cybernetic bodies, etc). Robots in general, be they sleek or chunky, hydraulics and blocky metal framework or sleek plastic over carbon-fiber myomer and electromagnetic joints. Humanoid, maybe, but also inhumanoid. Hovering robots, crawlers, security bots, things for working in heavy industry and general utility bots. For a big, box set type thing, maybe a human wrapped in machinery- the old fashioned human being hovering in a glowing well, attached to a massive computer system via a great woven umbilical of cables that cover the back and maybe the head. And of course, there's the general robotic heavy frame that's a good scale eight to ten feet tall, human in the middle controlling it all via direct neural interface.

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While sitting in the mall food court tonight eating my dinner and generally people watching, I had some inspiration as a high school girl straight from the 80s passed by me. Since a lot of fashions seem to be cyclic, how about some civilian sets done in 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s styles? Add to that a set each of goth, punk and fast food workers (aprons, hats and most important, name tags!) since all of those seem to transcend the decades.

 

With just those 7 sets, most GMs would be able to put together a decent set of minor NPCs.

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Yes, starships. I'd really like to see starships that have an uncanny, some might say " they look just like them!", resemblance to the Cold Navy line. Which appears to be available for purchase from Damage Control Games. Hint, Hint.

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