AQMF: US Army finally painted.

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There are few feelings in the realm of miniature gaming quite like fielding a fully painted army on the tabletop. This also happens to be one of the most challenging aspects of the hobby, requiring skill, patience, and copious amounts of time. The requirements for skill and patience increase proportionally as the miniatures’ scale decreases, and AQMF is my first venture into the realm of 15mm gaming.

In AQMF the United States’ first line of defense is represented by the US Army. Given the era (1905-1918ish) and defense of the homeland, the US Army represents both territorial and State militias as well as the small pre-Great War regular forces, offering plenty of opportunities for modeling. The force is based on WWI era equipment, and of all the currently available armies, the US Army most closely represents actual equipment of the era. Core units are infantry, armor, artillery (including heavy, field guns, and static bunkers), and cavalry (both horse and motorcycle). I have some artillery in the works to round out the force. The rest of the options are not yet available from Alien Dungeon.


Infantry

Infantry form the core of any army, able to blend in with rubble and hide from Martian tripods until the moment to strike is right.

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Light infantry company: A Co 161 Infantry, 81st Brigade, 41st Division “Jungleers”. US Army companies are formed from three squads (of three infantry stands each), and three machinegun teams. Flivver light transport trucks and a company HQ round out the company.
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Infantry squad consisting of 15 infantrymen. These are the basic core troops that form the bulk of any US Army force. I chose a WWI-era color scheme using khaki for the uniforms, OD green for webbing, equipment, and helmets, and tan/grey for the gas masks.

Infantry Commanders

Each force needs a field commander to establish chain of command and issue orders. Commanders are one of the best ways to personalize your miniatures, as they are the least static of all models. My US Army has two such stands so far: a junior officer to lead the infantry company and a field grade officer to coordinate the entire force.

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The field commander makes use of 15mm WWII British miniatures, however when painted I think they blend with my WWI Americans easily enough. The American flag is removable for storage, as is the central disc on which the officer is mounted, giving options as a game develops.
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Front of the scenic base, with semaphore signalman.
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Junior officer command squad. The flagpole was originally intended to hold semaphore flags, but it’s all pinned in place and modular. The tent is made from thick paper towel and PVA, creating a nice canvas effect.

Armor

Human technology took a giant leap following the first invasion of London in the late 19th century. Fallen Martian tripods were dissected, driving the need for heavily armed, armored vehicles to defend against renewed attacks. Coal-powered steam engines fuel steel behemoths, each mounting an array of cannons and guns.

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MkII steam tanks. Basic armor carrying a 3″ cannon. Cheap and mobile, these steamers can shore up a defense or flank an enemy advance.Semaphore signal flags mark command tanks.
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MkIII Baldwin steam tanks of the 303rd Armored Regiment. Since tanks weren’t historically included in US units until late WWI, I didn’t have any historical units to base my armor on. The 303rd is the modern armored regiment in the WA NG, and these tanks are a nod to that. Early tanks were primitive affairs, little more than iron and steel deck plating bolted over a tractor chassis. True turrets wouldn’t be developed until the interwar years, which is why all AQMF cannons are on sponson pivots rather than in real turrets. The upper portion of the tank is fixed in place, but this allows the tank to mount three main cannons and a secondary machinegun for defense.
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Rear of the steam tanks, including coal hoppers. Since the MkIII tanks represent a generational advance over the earlier MkII, I chose to model them with armored coal hoppers, to prevent sparks or rain from degrading the fuel. It’s a small touch that helps separate the variants.
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Magnets and steel BBs allow modularity. Each tank can swap all of its turrets, providing flexibility in force structuring.
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Full allotment of tanks from the Kickstarter box.

Artillery

Although this blog was to celebrate finishing my US Army, there’s still more work to be done. I’m scratch-building artillery pieces to expand my options and fill different roles for scenarios. Here’s some of what’s being worked on:

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Static 3″ gun bunkers, made from spare parts from the steam tank sprues. All emplacements are modular, magnetized so they can be used in other projects later.
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Field artillery. 3″ guns offer rapid-fire light support.
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The entire field gun is built from plastic. The wheels were an interesting experiment that I don’t think I’ll try again. Each spoke was placed with tweezers and held until the glue dried.
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Finally, a very special project. Inspired by pre-War Endicott coastal fortifications (which happen to be a historical link directly to the era of AQMF), I’ve been building my own coast defense artillery. Here is my prototype 12″ M1895 cannon on disappearing carriage that automatically retracts after each shot to protect the emplacement while crews reload. They were typically fielded in pairs. These were naval cannons that were eventually used on rail cars in France during WWI. Next to it is an 1890M1 12″ mortar. These were fielded in pairs or batteries of four to supplement the direct-fire cannons. Recently, experimental rules were released for US Navy and Marines in AQMF. These rules work perfectly with my coastal defense cannons.

Couldn’t help trying some fun themed shots while photographing the miniatures.

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Troops load light trucks with supplies before heading to the front.
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Stalwart defenders.
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Martian war machines advance on the humans’ defenses.
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