Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

I have wanted to do one last post related to a project before the end of the year. I managed to prime some more H&R 80s British infantry that came in the last day of final exams, and I just started rebuilding the remote MANPADS turret to make it more to scale. Beyond that, I haven't touched anything hobby-wise for at least two weeks.

So, I will just throw this out, a la Linda Richman (Mike Myers) from the old SNL sketches called Coffee Talk:
I've noticed that a lot of recently published armor warfare rules are somewhat narrowly time specific, particularly concerning the 1980s and the whole "Team Yankee" genre. I have bought a number of these and have found that unless I take the time to try to reverse engineer the stats for weapons not listed in the rules, they are of no use to me. Rules like Fist Full of TOWs and Cold War Commander appeal to me more because they include everything from the end of WWII to more-or-less today. Are the better rules those that are narrowly focused as opposed to those that try to cover a larger time span? That seemed to be a big debate back when I was much more into ancient gaming. Anyone have thoughts on this?

I hope you have a happy New Years and that 2017 will be a good one!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Shapeways Purchases

The kids and I were supposed to leave today (Friday) to our annual Christmas travels to Chicago. Thanks to the incoming storm across the Midwest, I postponed the trip to Sunday. Its supposed to be horribly cold, but at least sunny and hopefully the roads will be clear. Although I'd like to be there sooner than later, I immediately felt the stress of driving 11+ hours in nasty weather with my kids fall off my shoulders once I made my decision.

Last week, a flood of figures came in. I probably shouldn't have, but I ordered a bunch of stuff from GHQ, C-in-C, Heroics & Ros, and Shapeways. I am still waiting on the C-in-C stuff, but everything else arrived in a span of four days. Most of the H&R minis were more of their 80s British infantry to fill some gaps from my previous order. I had some accumulated credit from Shapeways that I decided to cash in. At Shapeways, you place your order and hope it goes through. They seem to charge your credit card before they know if they can make the item or not. Not sure if that is ethical, but if they can't print something, they give you credit. I've been burned on a couple of things. I can't really blame the designers. There have been several times where the designer said an item had printed OK in the past, but for some reason, that same item could now not print. Anyway, here are a couple of things that I ordered from them.

First, are some VW vans from Masters of Military:

They have a big range of civilian vehicles. IMHO, this is a range that is sorely neglected by pretty much all microarmor companies. Unlike a lot of other Shapeways designers, they print a lot of their stuff in Ultra Frosted Detail. This material is translucent and very smooth, unless the more common stuff that is very rough. The only minus to MOM is that they are pretty darn expensive. I also order some delivery vans, but I didn't take a picture of them.

Next up is the Douglas A2D Skyshark by New Aragon Mechanical Works:

I think this is the first time I've ordered from this designer. He only does stuff in Strong, White & Flexible, which is very grainy. You can't tell from the crappy picture, but the tail end of the wings are very rough looking. I took a emery board and very gently sanded it down a little. I'm not sure why some of these designers still use this material other than because it's cheap. It has a belly drop tank that I will cut off to make room for a rare earth magnet. You get two planes with different payloads.  Here is what the real thing looked like, pudgy but cool:

U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.253.3377, Public Domain,
There were only 12 of these planes built. It had twin counter-rotating propellers powered by a turboprop engine. It was meant to be flown off of escort carriers. The Douglas Skyraider quickly replaced it....but not in my world! Fictional nations justify prototypes and odd ducks. Not sure who the lucky nation is that will get these.

Next, a Hawker Hart light bomber also from New Aragon Mechanical Works:

Sorry for the crappy picture, but I wasn't sure how to photograph it. Again, more frosty goodness. The Hawker Hart was part of a series of Hawker all-metal biplanes that came out in the late 20s. They were used mostly in far-flung reaches of the British Empire, or sold to minor nations.

So, why the old-timer aircraft? Well, I've been toying with the idea to revitalize an old (and I mean very old) solo campaign that I ran back in the late 80s. It was a semi-fictional battle between a not-Soviet Union and a not-Great Britain over an Iran-like nation set in the mid to late 1930s. There were lots of battles between BT-7's and Crusader I's. With a bunch of interwar tanks and planes coming out of Shapeways, I thought I'd add some minor nations to the mix. I'd keep it more of a desert theme, making terrain building less of an issue (I've been pretty burned out on terrain building lately). I have not invested a lot yet. It depends on how far I get on my Gambusia campaign.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Remote-controlled Air Defence Artillery Part 1

Over at the Facebook 6mm group, it's been conversion mania. One fellow in particular has been swapping weapons and turrets with the bodies of other vehicles left and right!  Very cool stuff.

I am THIS close (holds fingertips about 2mm apart) to having a game, but I just need some time to do it. Lately, I've had little energy to do much in the evening that would take longer than maybe a half an hour. So, all of the conversion madness possessed me to make an air defence missile on small-ish vehicle. GHQ sells the Avenger ADA, which is mounted on a hummer, but that thing looks way too big and probably would be too costly for my various nations of Gambusia. So, why not give a try at one of these:

Not interested in the vehicle itself, but rather the remote-controlled missile launcher on top:

This one consists of four French Mistral anti-aircraft missiles and a 50 cal machine gun.

There are so many permutations of weapons configurations out there, that I decided I wasn't going to duplicate this one, but rather a genetic one whose missiles could represent any MANPADS missile.

As my template, I looked at GHQ's seated MANPADS launcher for their 3rd World Regular Heavy Weapons set (TW 13). I've seen this set up on some vehicles, but that looks way out of my league to scratch build. I'm not really sure why these have seats. A remote controlled turret seems easier to make (ha-ha!). For the vehicle to mount the turret on, I have a bunch of South African infantry transport truck-like things made by Scotia-Grendel. Like the Mamba, these things are classified APCs, but to me don't really look like APC to me. This guy is smaller than the Mamba. I can't remember the name of it.

MANPADS for the lazy man in front, SA APC in back
Measuring off of the MANPADS missile pictured above, I made my missiles out of 0.8mm styrene dowels. I then glued two of each to a thin styrene sheet that separated the two:

I then glued to each missile rack a base plate that was going to be glued onto the cradle:

Two missile racks ready to be attached to the cradle.
The two racks were glued to a side plate and then joined to a 1.2mm dowel that would be the pivot bar portion of the cradle:

It was very tricky business trying to get both racks aligned. I wasn't 100% successful, but not too far off. I then mounted this into a block of styrene that I had filed out a cavity, This acted as the base of the cradle:

I glued another smaller block of styrene onto the front of cradle that was to represent the optronic system. I decided to leave off the machine gun.

Here is what it looks like from the side:

Not perfect by any means, but it looks passable on the table top. However, I AM NOT GOING TO USE IT. IT'S WAY TOO BIG!

After staring at it for a long time, and comparing it to some other models that had launchers on them, it looked portionally way too large. After consulting Wikipedia, I found that these missiles are far longer than the Mistrals, or pretty much any other MANPADS missile. So, this is why this post is Part 1. I'm going to give it another attempt and reduce the proportions. If nothing else, the goal is to get the missile racks to be no wider than the width of the vehicle's roof. I will probably use the one I made for anti-air defence on a patrol boat.