Friday, April 20, 2012


there's this thing that I have never quite been able to shake off. It started about 12-15 years ago when I found a strange blister of miniatures at my FLGS. It was what looked like a giant robot. Oh cool. Fun. I hadn't been interested in anime robots in years. Back when we played Robotech the roleplaying game all the time in my early teens. I had gotten the GW bug 5 years before, and by this time was starting my love aaffair with Napoleonics and Historicals in general.

Anyway, the mini was heavy and chunky, but really looked like a lot of good design had gone in to the actual mechanics of the robot. OH look there are two factions. One has squared armor, one has rounded. Simple but effective at showing different styling and sides of a conflict. Just look at the difference between the US M1 and the Russian T-80. OK I like where this is going. And there is ARMOR! At this scale? and theres infantry!!! OK so now I know how big these guys are. And they are big, but not Johnny Socko big.

I spent about an hour looking at the blisters. I had no money at the time(well a little) so I only bought about 6 blisters 2 each side and 1 infantry each side. I love a ground pounder, even when there's robots.

I checked out and our FLGS Owner, ever helpful to sell product, directed me to the other isle and showed me the complete line of RPG material, and the then super thick Miniatures Rules. OK so I purt a little more on my credit card. I was so curious I wanted to devour the psuedo-history and background of this game (I was an avid GW guy for a while so fluff meant everything at the time). I bought the RPG game. I also bought the Miniatures Rules.

Care to guess?

Well it was Heavy Gear, and the Minis were the RAFM big scale (1/87) minis and the first editions of the RPG and the Mini rules. I devoured this game. Read everything. I was painting and gaming other stuff at the time, but behind the scenes of reading Chandler, Haithornthwaite, and Ospreys by the truckload, I was reading this stuff. I bided my time and soon the RAFM and DP9 thing fell apart. I had gotten about 10 gears at this point, but soon the RAFM stuff went on clearance everywhere. And then they went into my storage boxes. I got some crazy deals on stuff on ebay, and cleared everyone out here. As it sits now I have about a 100-150 of the Rafm ones, almost all makes(someday I'll actually look for the one's I am missing), including unopened boxes of tanks, apc's, striders, etc. I love the look and style of them and even thought RAFM quality control was spotty on a few models, overall they are fantastic. They look great with 15mm as huge walkers, they look even better with 28mm as walkers and heavy power armor.

I have so far only repurposed them for other stuff, cause as good as the designs and figs are, the rules are horrible and unplayable. It always broke my heart. How could a cinematic game of such speed and destruction be so slow, plodding and not-fun? I still look for the perfect set of rules to use for these guys. I thought a Crossfire! variant would work because of its dynamic initiative system, but after several plays I am not so sure. Scott Pyle's Robofire system(which we(the BAsement Generals) are playtesting) has nmuch promise to fill the role. I hope so.


Oh wait, no I'm not. Since I was so heavily invested in the Rafm scale figs, I resisted for many years the new scale. I bought the orignal new scale rules boxed set, which came with a cople of new minis, I continued to buy army kists and background, but never bought the minis. Then on a whim I saw a box in the clearance bin of my FLGS and picked it up. Sculpts were better, figs had some movement, they were better metal, detail was crisp. Pricey, but nice. I continue to pick up stuff when I see it on clearance, building my forces randomly. I have about 50-60 of the current scale. I use them for 15mm walkers and they are perfect. You can see a couple below. 15mm GZG Alien Mercs and their Commander's Power Suit. And CMG Scouts with Robot support units. But I still yearn for a game where I can use the figs as gears.

What brought all this nostalgia up? See the next post...


Scott Pyle said...

Awesome stuff! I share many of your feelings on HG and DP9. Great products!

knobgobbler said...

I too have a large collection of the RAFM 1/87 sculpts. Most of them languished, unopened, until last summer when I picked up a copy of GRUNTZ.
That ended up being my gateway drug to 15mm gaming... so those RAFM sculpts finally made it onto the table along with some of the great new stuff GZG and Khurusan have been putting out.
If it weren't for my ongoing obsession with 28mm fantasy 15mm would have eaten my head entirely.