Monday, 22 February 2016

15mm Alien Squad Leader / Gruntz Mechanoid Army

This week's featured army is actually one of my newer ones, "The Mechanoids", a faction from Alien Squad Leader.  It was painted in five days last week, one of my fastest jobs to date.

One of the main attractions about ASL is two fold: the army lists and the freedom to choose models and the interpretation of the lists.  The Mechanoids were based off the "Terminator" movies: soulless mechanical killing machines, bent on destroying organic life.  The Mechanoid list contains one of the fewest amount of unit types to choose from in ASL: Terminators (basic robotic infantry), Liquid Metal Terminators (close combat monsters), Robotic Attack Craft, Robotic Dropships, Heavy Weapon Droids and Battle Mecha (which I call Warbots and Death Machines, as a nod to the Gamma World RPG from TSR).  Many armies have at least double the number of unit type choices.  Luckily however, the Mechanoid units are powerful and resolute, making up for a small number of choices. The army can accommodate games of up to 300 points.  Quite large for ASL.

I could have gone with the classic "Skelebot" style robot, as there are many variations to choose from different manufactures.  However, I was really drawn to the robots from the Critical Mass line.  They reminded me of a type of Invid from the Robotech cartoon from the 1980s.  Perfect for my alien robotic horde.  These guys would become my base infantry.  I chose a lighter paint scheme, an off white sort of color.  I wanted these guys to look new, right off the assembly line and to pop out on the tabletop.  I gave them glowing red lenses for eyes (Reaper Fire/Phoenix Red and Fire Orange).

Mechanoid Terminators

Heavy Weapon Droids
The Warbots were a little tricky.  There are many choices available on the market for larger robots.  I decided to go with GW Tau Gun Drones.  I cobbled together four of them from my bit stores.  This makes two units, more than enough for a 200 pt army.  There were other options I could have gone with, but I felt the Gun Drones went well with the Critical Mass robots, both being rather sleek looking.

Mechanoid Heavy Droids

Battle Mecha
Death Machines are the premier units of the Mechanoid force.  ASL ranged weapons are few: Antiquated Small Arms, Modern Small Arms, Heavy Weapons and Primary Weapons.  Each unit can be equipped with only one type.  The Battle Mecha are equipped with "Primary Weapons", the strongest in the game.  Only one other faction: Human Imperial, has access to this weapon type.  This allows the Mechs to easily outrange almost anything they face, a huge advantage, and this weapon type also generates a (-1) to all armor saves.  Being a Battletech fan, and with several unpainted mechs lying around, Clan Mechs seemed a perfect fit: three Mad Cats and two Vultures.  The Mechs are also equipped with close combat Impact Weapons and Homing Missiles, both extra options for the units.  I did consider using Tau Crisis Suits instead, but I didn't want to spend more money they I needed to on this army.  I used the same Reaper reds and oranges to jewel the cockpit windows.  There are no decals at the moment since I cannot see the reason why a robotic army would use such markings.

Mechanoid Battle Mecha

Robotic Attack Craft
The final unit in the force are the twin Robotic Attack Craft.  Air units in ASL operate differently from other games.  An attempt is made each turn to call in an airstrike.  The difficulty depends on what table edge you want the unit to enter on, with the players home edge being the easiest (7+ on a 2d6) and the opponents the most difficult (9+ on a 2d6).  The units come in at low level, stop near their target, launch an attack (they are equipped with Heavy Weapons) and then leave the battlefield.  Only units on overwatch can target them so they are protected against attack for the most part.  However, their arrival is iffy and they cost the same as Battle Mecha.  My model choice was no model at all, but a Matchbox toy.  The toy itself was quite garish.  I primed and repainted it in the same scheme as the mechs.  They were only $5.00 each, quite a bargain.  The model is airbrushed with the same colors as the Mechs, in a color modulation style, similar to how I do 15mm armor.  It is hard to see the change of colors in the photos, but it is there.

This became......
Mechanoid Robotic Attack Craft


Overall I am pleased on how this force came out.  Mechanoid lists are quite small in the game.  The army is powerful and the units resilient.  Their units hit more often and almost all have energy shields.  However this comes at a cost.  A 200 point game will only see 13 units on the field, whereas a Human Colonial Army can easily field 30+.  Mechanoids cannot win a war of attrition so the player needs to be careful and play to their strengths: long range shooting and avoiding close combat.

The principal paints used on these models is listed below.  All basecoats were airbrushed on. 

Robotic Attack Craft, Warbots and Death Machines
Tamiya Medium Grey basecoat; shaded with Reaper Dirty Grey and  highlighted with Reaper Weathered Stone. 

Vallejo Model Air US Airforce Grey, washed with Minwax Polyshades Tudor, then highlighted with the game grey again and finally Reaper Master Fallout Grey.  This will be the last time I use Minwax.  I much prefer the effects I can achieve via traditional shading, especially when I use Reaper Master triads.


  1. A nasty little force there....very innovative in your troop and equipment choices...well done!

    1. I will have to add you to my Christmas list I think Don. The 15mm side of things allows more creativity then 28mm ever did, at least for me. Maybe someday I will actually get to play a game with all this stuff. Thanks again.

  2. Great models Dare,
    At first I thought that the drones were Warlord Anteres ones but then I read what you did with the Matchbox ones. I had actually seen these but thought they were too small for 15mm, the way you painted them has changed my mind.
    Great choice of colours also, simple yet effective. I did mine in yellow & blue as could be seen on my blog.
    Btw I'm thinking of getting ASL also ,would you say that ASL is better than or as good as Gruntz ?
    Keep it up

  3. Sorry for the late reply bud. I would say it is just as fun as Gruntz. It is a simple game to learn but hard to master. I have about 12 armies for it done. The game is designed so that the army lists are not designed for specific miniatures in mind,allowing for great creativity.


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