OK, let's kick everything off with a brief look at the major players in the game, with the pros and cons of trying to field them.
The backbone of the forces of panhumanic space-time, these are the archetypal marines from many a sci-fi blockbuster. They're well armed and well drilled and are a constant feature both before and during the Great War period.
Their vehicles are all readily available, but the range for the marines themselves is severely limited. However, being such a staple of science fiction gaming there are any number of proxies that can be used. You're also going to need to find something to fill in for Interdict Marines, the special forces.
The flower of the Nexus military machine, these are the elite of humanity's forces. They wear powered armour, and have a lot of mechanised support including AFVs and Walkers. Again, they feature throughout the period covered in the background material.
Their figure range is pretty good, with the added benefit that you won't need too many troops to field a typical platoon. The only thing you're going to need to find is the Collosus APC, a four-legged assault carrier.
The convict troops of the Nexus Federation, and one of my favourites. They have Neural Regulators fitted which can trigger a kind of frenzy during the game. Essentially a horde army, they wear little armour, carry big guns. There are also more elite cyclos who wear enviromental battle-suits to give the force a little more punch. They have probably the most extensive in-game fluff, featuring during the Great War, and the Heptadic Rebellion.
The range of figures is good, with the added benefit of being suitable for lots of other games. The downside is that you're going to need a lot of them, as they do a lot of dying!
Cybernetic Battlefield Units don't have to worry about things like morale and fear, and come in 3 distinct types. Firstly there're the primitive HelCats, then there're type 1 and type 2 Talos. The type ones are humanoid in shape, but fairly large, and are able to use plenty of heavy weapons, including integral chain-guns and flame-thowers. Introduced during the Great War, type 2s are man-sized, and use the same weapons as the rest of the Nexus forces. In game they also have no targeting restictions, unlike other CBU units.
Unfortunately, not models of the type 2 Talos were ever released, so you'll need to proxy something if you want to field them. In addition, their rules as featured in Hivestone are incomplete, although I'm hoping to bash something out at some point.
These are essentialy man-kind's peace keepers, and play the role of a modern day UN. They're an interesting, if undeveloped, idea. Their role means they'll mainly be engaging human troops, be they rebels or corporation security forces.
In game, they play much like the Nexus Marines. Unfortunately, the range of figures is severely limited and as such, proxies will probably be required to build a force of any size.
These are the aliens as they were first encountered,, and made up the forces during the Hivestone Incursion Crisis. The force is made up of hordes of Helions, backed up by Warriors armed with horrific biological weapons, and a small number of drones. These are all led and controlled by the Warmasters.
The Kryomek miniatures themselves are fantastic. Whilst there's only one pack of alpha helions (the type you'll need for early swarm) available, there're five poses in it, and being metal figures they can be bent and manipulated to introduce some variety. (The photo in my last post shows alpha helions) The rules for them all work well, except for an anomally which means that a warrior armed with a bio-acid jet is unable to fight in close combat, but this is easily house-ruled out. The rules for shell-down warriors also needs a tweak, but I'll be looking at this in a future post.
As the War escalates, so the aliens begin to react to the Nexus troops and introduce various new units. These include the more virulent beta and gamma strains of helions and warriors, along with analogues for some of the the Nexus AFVs. Also included in the lists are ballistae and serumic pipes, and the big daddy of them all the Battlefield Swarm-master.
Unfortunately, the ballistae and serumic pipes were never released, and their rules in Hivestone are far from incomplete. I'm hoping to look at these units at some point. The same goes for the rules for the Swarm Master, but thankfully there was a miniature for it as it's not the kind of thing you'll be able to convert or proxy. Whilst not currently in production, I'm hoping with enough badgering Scotia Grendal can be convinced to start producing them again!
These are the forces of disaffected citizens of the federation, allowing you to depict a planetary uprising. The army is made up of a few regulars, along with mobs of untrained infantry often armed with nothing more than clubs and blades. These are backed up by whatever vehicles they've been able to loot.
There were not dedicated miniatures released, but it shouldn't be too difficult to find something suitable.
The forces of an organised rebellion originating in the Krellian Ring, whose evential victory and capture of the dreadnought Shiva led to the Nexus Quorumate's abdication of power. These are much like the rebellion from Star Wars, and have access to all the standard Nexus equipment including Talos, Striders, Jet-bikes, and AFVs. Their forces include cyclos and marines that switched sides after the loss of the Shiva.
They can be depicted using the standard range of figures, although some conversion will be needed to instill the "rag-tag" feel required. The only thing missing from the list is jet-bikes, which is a problem as the Rebels tend to field quite a lot of them.
There're also plenty of ideas in the background for armies and conflicts not explicitly covered in the published fluff. The corporations definitely maintain their own security forces, and would not be against sabotaging a rival. The cyclos of the Heptadic Rebels are becoming more and more disaffected. And what happened to the defeated Nexus forces in the Krellian ring? All things to look at in the future.