My first major project is going to be an old favorite of mine: the Colonial Marines of Aliens fame. You just got to love this bunch of "ultimate bad-asses"! After all, they have everything a gamer could want: assault rifles, mortars, RPGs, knives, pointy sticks... Plus they are a visually striking force. They are high-tech to be interesting to the sci-fi gamer (drop ships and smart guns!), but retro enough for to be 'realistic' and appealing to gamers who do 'real-world' gaming.
Now this is my second attempt to assemble this army. Over 10 years ago I started a similar force with the old LEG 25mm figures and models and discovered that it was just too costly. The LEG figures regularly run $3+ per casting and the APCs $50+! I don't even want to think about the drop ship..... In short I wanted an 'army' of company strength that I could play with and not have to get a major bank loan to assemble.
15mm seems to be the trick. Over the years I've found the right mix of vehicles and figures in 15mm to make this little dream of mine a reality. However before I start putting the pieces together I needed to get my information strait on the TO&E for the Colonial Marines AND I need a decent rules set to put them on the board.
So what is a Colonial Marine company? Great question and there isn't a good answer for it. Now the TO&E for a Colonial Marine Platoon is easy enough to get, thanks to Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Figure 2.1 on page 12 has all the info you need to put together a basic platoon. Without the dropships you need 21 marines: 1 Officer, 2 Section Sergeants, 2 Drivers, and 16 jr. ncos and ems. Vehicle wise the platoon needs 2 M 577 APCs. I've posted a copy of this illustration below.
So what's a company? That's the question. Brimmicombe-Wood's is silent on that. He does tell you how many companies make up Marine Assault Unit: 2-4. Well, that's a bit helpful, I guess. From what I can see, the USCM is 'binary' in its organization: 2 marines to a fire team, 2 fire teams to a squad, 2 squads to a section, and 2 sections to a platoon. So why not 2 platoons to a company? This isn't unheard of in the USMC. For example, the 4th Marine Regiment which was stationed in China in the early 1940s was organized in a similar manner. Due to a number of factors the regiment found itself reduced to 2 battalions with 2 companies that each had 2 platoons. (check out Osprey Publishing's Battle Order 1 page 60 for details).
So here is the model that I'm considering: Note that this basic list is just of the organic personnel and vehicles. It doesn't detail the equipment.
Colonial Marine Rifle Company
HQ section with: Company Commander, 1st Sergeant (Gunnery Sergeant?), Company XO, Synthetic Person, and 5 enlisted marines to serve in support roles. 1 M 577 APC to serve as the company TOC.
1st Platoon with: 1 Officer, 2 Section Sergeants (one also serves as platoon sergeant), 2 Drivers, and 16 JR NCOs (buck sergeants, corporals, and lance corporals) and Enlisted Marines (PFC and lower). Each section is assigned a M577 APC with the Platoon leader riding with 1st Section. The platoon may have a Synthetic Person attached depending on the mission (if the platoon is operating independently and needs the expertise.
2d Platoon with: 1 Officer, 2 Section Sergeants (one also serves as platoon sergeant), 2 Drivers, and 16 JR NCOs (buck sergeants, corporals, and lance corporals) and Enlisted Marines (PFC and lower). Each section is assigned a M577 APC with the Platoon leader riding with 1st Section. The platoon may have a Synthetic Person attached depending on the mission (if the platoon is operating independently and needs the expertise.
So the tally for this basic company is 5 M577 APCs, 4 Officers, 1-3 Synthetic People, 5 Drivers (for the apcs), 5 senior NCOs, and 37 jr NCOs/EMs. That would give my rifle company a total of 54 'infantry' models and 5 AFVs.
In my next post I'm going to take a closer look at the basic organization of the platoon so I can determine what sorts of models that I'll need to build this unit.