Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dust Tactics: Laser Grenadiers

Hey Everyone

Sorry for being away for awhile, moving into a new neighborhood and a new school made me quite busy for quite some time :/ For the past 2 weeks, I have been trying to find a satisfactory way of shooting my minis in my current apartment...which is tough given trying to keep an eye for light and finding suitable backdrops.

Without further ado, today's post would be about Fantasy Flight's Dust Tactics, a wargame made by a company well known in the board game scene. As a sidenote, I absolutely love playing their Battlestar Galactica board game!

Dust Tactics is a Sci-fi take on WWII created by Paolo Parente, who is best known for the AT-43 series. Dust Tactics is set in an alternate universe where aliens crash into a world caught up in WWII. The Germans first find the alien spacecraft in Antartica, and promptly use the superior technology to turn the tide of the war by winning the Battle of the Bulge and Stalingrad. The Allies successfully steal the technology and soon catch up to the Germans with walking tanks of their own. However, the Soviets break away from the Allies over disagreements to form the Sino-Soviet Union with China, and world domination is now fought over by 3 major political blocs.

Dust Tactics reminds me of Metal Slug/Machinen Krieger where advanced/alien tech is implanted into WWII fighting machines. I can't put my finger on it but the combination of WWII and mechs does have a rather cool aesthetic to me, and I wanted to try out some of their figures just out of interest.

Fantasy Flight Collector is a line that has professionally painted figures for the games the company carries, and they currently have figures for both American and German figures for Dust Tactics. To check out how the quality is like, I proceeded to order myself a squad of Germany's Laser Grenadiers. As it is true for quite a number sci-fi WWII settings, you'll always find gas masked German soldiers.

The figures came rather well packed in individual ziplock bags and a unit card used in Dust Tactics games. The box is shrinked wrapped to please geeks out there who enjoy breathing in the fresh air of a new toy :) I believe Fantasy Flight keeps a stock of pre-painted miniatures in the US as my order took about a week to arrive. They cost about 40 USD, which is rather comparable to painting services out there (~$10/figure if you include shipping).

The laser grenadiers are equipped with lethal laser weapons that can cut through all known armor, making them a feared threat on the battlefield (very unlike the laser rifles of the Imperial Guard). Each squad includes a heavy support laser soldier, and a little tidbit on German WWII infantry tactics: the squad was centered around the MG gunner, which was opposite of Allied tactics that had MGs playing a more supportive role for riflemen.

Paint job quality-wise, I think Dust Studio did quite an admirable job. The soldiers are not simply painted over, but also have believable weathering/wear done on them...such as the worn helmets, rust on shoulder pads, and scratched armor plates. A couple of nice touches that stand out to me would be the soot effect of the barrels of their laser rifles, and the fact that each soldier is given an individual skull decal (to tell the whole world that they're bad guys).

Unfortunately, I have not played Dust Tactics and cannot divulge any wisdom on deploying these guys. Dust Tactics is scaled to 1/48, and I am not 100% confident if they could be used in conjunction with a 40k Imperial Guard Army, which I think is 28mm (and not a scale).

The painted figures cost about 3 times more than their unpainted brethren (~12USD)...every website I have looked online is selling Dust Tactics minis for discounted prices, which may mean that the line isn't doing too hot at the moment. If you're into WWII, Dust Tactics would provide a fun distraction from your other projects, and I have seen some well painted examples of Dust Tactics minis.

For this series of shots, I have tried to zoom in tightly with my macro lens against a backdrop (a photo of a destroyed city) from my laptop screen. Lighting was provided for by my iPhone and it was a challenge to get the figures lit well. I dream of getting desk studio lamps (with the professional white umbrella attachments), but that's another financial consideration to make in the future.

If you're interested, you can find more information at Fantasy Flight's Dust Tactics website, a good and concise summary of the history of Dust Tactics by [So]Rice, and there's even a modeling magazine/guide (15USD with shipping) out there too that features some backstory and photos of well painted minis.

And of course...Dust Tactics is not complete without a mech, but that's for another post in the future :)

Hope you've enjoyed this post and may you continue to prosper in your geeky pursuits!


  1. Really awesome Macro shot on the figures. Well painted by Dust Studios too!

    But you are right that in the world of wargaming, Dust Tactics isn't getting as much love as the big guys like Warhammer and 40k.

  2. Really great macro setup! and great pic! I must say I do notice some dust particles but that is always the issue when taking pics with miniatures I guess.

    Regardless, Awesome collectibles!

  3. Thanks for your kind comments Landon and Yur. Sharp eyes Yur! I just corrected the pics for dust, and it's always an issue with macro shots. The pics should look slightly better now, thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Oh dear me. I did not expect you to reedit the pictures. That was not my intention! really great pics with or without dust Josh!

  5. Dust Tactics is pretty underrated but with GW being more of a pain in the ass and a few giving Warhammer or 40k up, this will see an influx into Dust Tactics.

  6. I really miss Joshua's Macro lens. It really is awesome to zoom up on Miniatures with a macro lens.

    This is especially so for GHQ miniatures.

  7. This is a really great photo shot of these dust tactics models! Great background and close up shot!

  8. Weird War 2 is one of my favorites, so I agree these are really cool!

    Thanks for the comment on my blog (Painting Agency), by the way. I assume you came there via Lead Adventures or Cool Mini or Not? Glad you like my work and thanks for the link to your blog too! :)

  9. No problem. Do join or connect with us (:
    This blog is shared with my friend Joshua who collected Dust Tactics.