Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Ion Age - a recap

Way back in 1991, Alternative Armies released Firefight, a 25mm miniatures game, played on squared grid maps. These were made up of Battlegrounds, which were 6x6 squares representing interior and exterior features. They were put together to make the map of the area being fought over.

I picked this up at the time, my first miniatures wargame, so have a bit of a soft spot for it. I also bought some models for it, a couple of Crusaders (power armoured space knights), and the Shia Khan, a mysterious but deadly alien race.

Years passed, I moved around a few times, but the book and the models always came with me. Every now and again, I'd dust them off, read the book again, and put them away.

Fast forward to 2009, by which point I'd got a house, a wife and a son. A chance reading of the miniatures page said that Firefight 2 (FF2) was coming out. I dusted off the models again. Gave them a soak in Dettol and a clean up, ready for a consistent paint scheme.

This time, the story was a civil war between the human nations, 1000 years after the Shia Khan had been defeated (kind of). Still had power armoured knights (called Retained Knights this time), and the Muster, basic infatrymen.

I managed to talk the wife into getting me this for Christmas that year, along with some more models. The rules were similar, a few changes along the way, and the map grid had changed to 30mm squares.

I happily painted up Retained and Muster, but missed the Shia Khan (and I wanted to use my old models for those). Luckily, Alternative Armies later released the old models and a bunch of new ones, along with stats for FF2.

While all of this was going on, Alternative Armies moved into the 15mm market as well, with a dedicated website, offering old Laserburn figures as well as others. They also brought out a set of simple and quick rules, which apparently they'd made up to get their staff into 15mm gaming. I bought the rules, and some more models...

After a while, suddenly there were Retained and Muster in 15mm. I got some of the Muster at Salute this year. Then these models branched off from and got their own site,

I came across this site by accident. I don't think it was even live (properly) when I found it. I mailed Gavin, the site moderator, also one of the main people (possibly the main person?) at AA/15mm/theionage, said I liked the look of it, asked if Shia Khan might make it into 15mm. Got a quick response, explaining the plan for the company, and yes the SK would be coming at some point.

Cut to now. I've painted two units of Muster, one of Retained, and a complete set of SK and their minions. There are still more to paint in my to-do pile, plus some buildings. There's an ever-growing range of models on their site, plus they have some new rules in play testing.

After my blogging hiatus, I intend to go over the units painted in the order they were done, and try to keep on top of the project.

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