Archive | September 2013

Musings from the web

It’s been a busy few weeks with work so a bit delayed in posting.

One thing I have been mulling over lately is how to integrate the odd-ball units.  By odd-ball I mean quite literally Oddball from Kelly’s Heroes.

Let’s take an imaginary tank troop:

13 Troop

So the unit isn’t maybe the best unit out there.  Constantly in trouble, picking fights, and overall the ne’er do wells of the friendly forces.

But…when they buy into a mission and put their heads down they can get results nobody else can because of how tightly they cooperate.

So how do you put this in a game effect?

I’m sure everybody has seen those special units in nearly every game…the one with several pages of unit specific rules.  And invariably the army that includes this unit is based around THAT specific unit with a few hanger-ons.

Now also, not all of these units are necessarily the best.  Not elite, not needing a whole book dedicated to special rules.  I just mean a unit that can accomplish maintenance in a short period because of cooperation and familiarity.  The unit that doesn’t even need to issue orders because they work so closely with each other.  The unit that when the dice fall will knuckle-down and get things done.

So while my hamster runs circles in my brain hopefully this inspired you to paint up or convert that rough around the edges unit, or maybe even graffiti tag your vehicles.

Sunset Tank

Squint really hard and kick the imagination bone…

So the scratch built vehicle is more or less put together now.  I have a few changes I may make down the road, but overall this is the final product.  As I intend to build at least two more, they may see some changes.

The biggest things I am unhappy with was the positioning of the road wheels.  With such a compact design there are limits to where they can go.  Ultimately it was my positioning of the torsion bars on backwards that made it look off.

The tracks also caused some concern.  One track shifted slightly when I placed pieces on the road wheels/idler.  The next track I did as a single piece with scoring on the treads…that worked a bit better.  But, the tracks lifted off of the idler a bit.  Still, I learned lessons and the next one will be easier.

Without further ado:

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In all it’s unpainted glory.  But, it is sometimes tough to gauge scale…so the Games Workshop Chimera model for comparison:

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It looks substantially smaller until you actually look at the various details.  It is a bit shorter, but the lack of a full turret (and ring) and slightly smaller passenger compartment make most of the size difference.  It is a lower profile vehicle, but really isn’t too much lower in height.

Either way, I think it makes a very unique command variant.  If I decide I want more than 5 APCs (2 basic and 3 command variants) I will modify the plans for these to make longer ones to fit the full complement of troops.

Overall, I am pretty happy with how this turned out.  The next stage is painting, so it will likely be the next post on this blog.  I learned a lot putting this together and the next one will go much faster.  Or should I say ones…I intend to put the remaining two together at once.  It will save time on sketching, measuring and cutting card if it is just duplicates of the same templates.  After those are done…well there are a few other vehicle designs I am pondering and also those Persians and Emperor’s Children to paint, also the infantry to go with the tanks have to get finished and…of course I have to mention the Romans – 20th on the list of projects (I’m low-balling in case they read this).

Hopefully something here inspired somebody.

Vrooom vroom and other tank like noises

Not too much new to report, but I do have a bit more work done on the Command APC I am constructing.

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It is actually starting to look like more than a box.  The whole piece looks sloppy as I just applied green-stuff to cover the worst of my “weld-jobs”.  The photos are terrible and wash-out all the details of the engine compartment.

I am very happy with how the turret turned out.  The boxy irregular shape is very striking both modern and the silliness that is 40K.  The round assembly to house the mechanisms looks very sharp.  The optics will likely get a housing and a secondary lens.

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The Remote Weapon System looks a little silly with such a stubby heavy bolter, but it is very compact.  If you didn’t notice from the previous picture, yes it is built to rotate.  And very astute reader those are buttons for the idler and road-wheels.

I also added a hull heavy bolter.  It would actually fit, and wouldn’t be any more cramped than some early vehicles.  What would suck is if the link bag came undone since the poor driver would have hot brass falling into his lap.  What kind of a half-wit would design such a vehicle?

Another detail I am happy with is the gunner episcope above the driver hatch.  It seems like a natural spot and gives the gunner or officer on board a view port without climbing out of the family hatch on top.

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In brain-storming with a mechanic, he gave me the idea to add fuel tanks to the back like all Canadian light armour.  Although not clear in the shadows, the fuel tanks even have caps on top.

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A closer look at the exhaust.  Modeled after (again) Canadian light armour.  The muffler connects directly to the engine compartment with the exhaust pipe bent around the hull.  The awkward gap and weird spacing spoke to me: that is exactly where military manufacturers like to put useful and often needed kit.  Spare button becomes spare road-wheel.

Now the little plastic drivers will curse my name as they awkwardly wrestle heavy road wheels on and off above a hot exhaust system.  Imagine for a moment trying to lean over that while turning a wrench.  Don’t you have to go to school to build these things?

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Since it was in the background anyways, here is a close-up of the guard as an ongoing project.  A few old models to get finished painting and a few to be assembled.  I am using several Necromunda models to represent veteran soldiers alongside Gaunt’s Ghost models.  I have carefully removed all Imperial iconography (aquilas, the prerequisite skulls, etc) to reflect a planetary defence force.  Coincidentally it means they can be fielded as allies to nearly any army.

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The young Lieutenant and her command section posing with their APC under construction.  As you can see they are at about 80% finished.  I like to paint eyes dark and then dry brush over them.  It gives automatic eyelashes and leaves the eyes a bit shadowed.  Another Necromunda model, a bit more uniform so she became an officer.  The other officer is in a dress uniform with a squad of well camo’d soldiers.  He will be the Company OC, a bit over the top but good (I guess).

The next stage of construction will see the tracks being built and the kit added on.  I am going to make some tools to attach (shovels, pry bar, and an axe are all easy), a tool box, the driver’s personal kit, a cam net, and likely some spare parts (maybe a second road wheel and likely a couple links of track).

I’m not 100% on the side skirts after all the work I did in making the torsion bars (only to cover them up).  On the other hand, I didn’t do return rollers and the side skirts will let me get away with not detailing the parts of the track not visible (under the track guards or on the ground) saving me a lot of frustrating work.

Overall I am happy with the progress.  I find it fascinating that I find the faults and flaws with this little tankette and realize they are exactly the sort of thing you hear muttered by tank crews the world over.  I guess that means it is a very realistic design. 😛

I hope something here inspired somebody.