15mm Sci-Fi Miniatures

Hobbies, Miniature Painting / Sunday, March 11th, 2018

As a kid, my first encounter with 15mm miniatures was at the local Swap Meet, where a local gaming store, Comic Castle, had a spot where they sold games and miniatures. My first purchase was a set of 15mm adventurers from the Traveller Sci-Fi RPG universe manufactured by Martian Metals. Due to the small scale of the miniatures, details were muddy, but my imagination was ignited and these are probably the first miniatures I ever attempted to paint.

Martian Metals Adventurers, Set #2001

Amazingly, I still have many of the miniatures from that original set. As you can see, my skills and tools at the time didn’t make for impressive results.

Some of my original set of adventurers

A year or so later, I obtained a game called Snapshot, a set of close combat skirmish rules also set in the Traveller universe. Snapshot had a set of starship deck plans scaled for 15mm minis and thus began my fascination with table-top gaming.

Snapshot, 1979 Edition

Along the way, I got into D&D as well as a host of other RPGs and other sci-fi and fantasy games. The next major focus on miniatures came with the debut of Warhammer 40K from Games Workshop and their colossal range of 28mm minis which continues expanding to this day. However, for the past 20 years, I’ve found it difficult to spend much time on this hobby, between work and family commitments. And 15mm minis had largely become a forgotten relic of my childhood.

Fast forward almost 40 years and I bumped into 15mm miniatures again while investigating 3D printers. I’ve always wanted to design and fabricate my own models and prototype objects that I’ve modeled in 3D and I was looking into the Form2 from FormLabs. a high resolution STL (stereolithography) 3D printer that raised the bar for what’s possible on the desktop within its price range.

One of the things I discovered was that the Form2 was being used to create prototypes and mold masters for miniatures due to its high resolution, excellent software and reliability. It seemed that many miniature manufacturers had embraced 3D design and were creating their designs digitally, giving rise to a quantum leap in detail that had not been possible using conventional techniques.

In any event, this led to me to discovering a number of great 15mm sci-fi miniature lines which has sparked my interest in miniature painting again. Granted, my time for this hobby is very limited, but I’ve always found it to be it relaxing and meditative. Hopefully, I can spend a little time on this again and I’ll be posting photos of more recent work.

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