Saturday, 18 June 2016

Conversion Corner! - Now with 200% extra random bits and pieces!

Well the weekend so far has been very productive for me, albeit not the way I originally intended!

I like to convert my models into things that may otherwise be unavailable in stores, or simply don't have enough pull in the gaming market to ever be considered for an actual release, so I have a thing I like to do with my miniatures where if a model has a turret, or some other removable part/ assembly I will run that piece across a gamut of different chassis' I have in various stages of construction.

I do this to test out whether I can find any particular setups that provide either a solid representation of a real-world military unit, provide something that wins out on the "Rule of Cool" principle (the second rule one should always obey, the first being "Be awesome to one another" courtesy of Bill and Ted) and finally to see if I can kickstart my imaginative streak to find something else.

Well, today my imagination went into overdrive, and through some hacking, card cutting and simple chopping and changing of turrets, I now have some very interesting and diverse designs!

The first two designs - A GHQ M6 Linebacker hull, with GHQ ADATS turret

Behind it is a semi-trailer truck I have made using a Scotia "Patriot Missile Launcher" battery, a piece of plastic card underneath the cargo container to level the floor (you can see the card in the next photo), and a Ground Zero Games 15mm "small trunk" terrain scenic.  I could have gone with waiting for a dedicated 6mm piece, but I like the bulkiness of these GZG pieces.

The M-5 Quarterback is the first of a new series of Rapid Development Air Defence Vehicles.  Rapidly brought into production following the loss of air control across the Asia-Pacific with the denial or outright destruction of key high-value aircraft and airfields by enemy forces - the Quarterback utilised upgraded and updated ADATS missile systems on a refurbished M6 Linebacker chassis.  The design would prove, like most of the RD-ADV series, to be a critical system in the coming years, and was surprisingly effective considering the unexpected development history.

These next two are both based off of "SGT York" anti-aircraft turrets, but they come from different designers.

The model on the left is a GHQ M6 Linebacker hull (I bought a few seperate for the ADATS tank... this kind of happened on a whim and looked awesome) with a SGT York turret from Scotia minis.  I used a GHQ ADATS radar to replace the funny old APG radar as used on the M1 Tank in this case... I like the mre modern appearance.

The SGT York turret on the M1 tank, and the M1 tank hull itself, both come from CinC minis.  This is one of my first conversions I did when I started 6mm about six months ago.

Amazingly, the Scotia models SGT York Turret actually fits brilliantly scale wise, it is a tiny bit skinnier than the CinC model, but it has much, much better detail in my personal opinion - and the cannons are also MUCH stronger!  I cannot tell you how much I cursed those cannons on the CinC model - yes, it looks great, but when one of them snapped like a twig as I was straightening them I almost took a hammer to all of the conversions! ;) 

Sorry CinC, Scotia wins this round, I'll definitely be using the Scotia turrets from here in!

The SGT York system has a varied and not-so-effective past in the Coalition air defence story.  Originally designed towards the end of the cold war and found to be sorely wanting.  Interest was again raised in the design as part of the Rapid Development - Air Defence Vehicle plan of 2017.  Rebuilt with modern electronics and fitted with radar technologies similar to that used in the Swedish CV9040 self-propelled AA vehicle, the SGT York turret finally proved successful, and when mated with M1A1 hulls returned from theatres for repair, proved to be an excellent anti-aircraft platform and a brilliant surface fire vehicle with its new sensor-fused 40mm ammunition.  The M1A1-ADV "Gunny Hathcock" became a common asset for divisional headquarters and specialised heavy anti-aircraft lead elements in armoured brigades.

However, the SGT York's original design still didn't quite meet immediate requirements, especially regarding weapon type - and although the 40mm was effective, it was the only 40mm Bofors in US use.  A slightly smaller, rebuit variant, with new 35mm Bushmaster III cannons and new fire control radar, was equipped on M6 LineBacker hulls in early 2018.  The "Sgt Waldron" system was equally successful like its Gunny Hathcock forebear, and could carry much more ammunition due to the increased room within the hull.  However, this was a double edged sword, and the vehicle was found to be top heavy and hard to conceal in hull down positions - these limitations were seen as little real consequence considering the platform was not intended to be required to situate itself directly on the front lines, although the stability issues with being top heavy were never fully resolved - the vehicle being speed limited in turns and on hilly terrain throughout its career.

Next up I have something which I found purely be chance, and am so glad I did!  This is my take on the NONA B-52K or SORA truck mounted artillery system.  As you can see below, the NORA (8 wheeler) and SORA (6 wheeler) systems are reasonably simple designs.  I still need to find some support struts... I think I may use some from the Patriot missile launchers...

The design of this vehicle is two seperate  models, the first one being a BM-27 MLRS truck (I must admit that I think the BM-27 MLRS launcher looks terrible on the intended truck... but put it on a Scotia G6 Howitzer chassis and it looks VERY awesome, like some Sci-fi MLRS! - anyway...)  I am not sure who the truck is from, either Scotia or Heroic and Ros.  The launcher is simply too stubby to actually look right, but of course, they are a hard model to do.

So yes, a BM-27 MLRS truck body, and the cannon position from a Scotia KS-19 100mm anti-aircraft gun.

When the Carter Regime (more on them in the future!) began to rearm its military in 2008, it began to look for cheap, but effective artillery systems.  As the regime had very few friends due to its militaristic and overly fascist ways, the regime began to acquire designs and technology through subterfuge.  One of the greatest achievments of their cloak-and-dagger acquisition techniques was the purchase of two NONA B-52 truck mounted artillery pieces from the Serbians.  The design itself was examined and evaluated, and the Carter regime devised their own version with the materials available to them.  Using the KS-19 anti-aircraft gun, readily available in large numbers, and the chassis for elderly FROG-7 missile vehicles that were no longer considered effective (even by Regime standards) the regime fused the two together into the "Iwisa" as it supposedly had a look like the clubbed walking stick, and could deliver a painful blow once it had "thrown" shells at the target.

These vehicles, limited in numbers, were surprisingly active and proved a constant thorn in both Coalition and NewPact sides throughout their respective African campaigns.

After making the above vehicles, I realised I still had a fully functional PATRIOT missile system ready to go... but no vehicles to put it on.  By now I had already wanted to make either a WS-32, or, as above, a DT-1G replica (seriously, the launchers couldn't be any closer if I tried!) However without a HEMTT or similar to work with, I turned to the next best thing - the Scotia KS19 chassis! 

I now have two towed versions of the DT-1G Guided super-heavy MLRS... I like the idea of the launchers, and now just need to find some suitable towing vehicles!

This model to the right was actually one of the hardest to design, and the final product came about purely by chance!  The vehicle is a Heroic and Ros MAZ Tank Transporter with a Ground Zero Games 15mm "Shanty Shack" chimney - and an old super glue bottle cap shoved onto the open end of the Chimey! :)

I had seen what I would call a "Super IED" made by one of the people on the "6mm wargaming and terrain" Facebook page, and it looked great!

Just one problem, the maker had used a 9mm shell casing as the body for the IED - and not having a gun of my own, well, that made it a little difficult to get a hold of some 9mm shell casings here (legally anyway - and as much as I love this hobby, I'm not going to lockup for it!)

So, I was stuck for a body.  I tried a greenstuff body first, but that just looked ridiculous.  Then finally, luck came upon me a few weeks later when I was dallying about and had the glue cap and the chimney top in my hand... I pushed them together because they looked like they might fit... and it turned out the whole contraption not only looked like some MASSIVE bomb, but it fit snugly onto the tank transporter as well!  Happy days! 

My rules for the Super IED will be explained later, probably when I present the finished model :)

Finally, there is this little guy - the amalgamation of the remnants of the CinC M1 Abrams hull and the Sgt york turret.  I was very surprised to find that the CinC M1 Turret and the M48 hull actually look really nice together!

I named these vehicles the K-3 Black Dragon - as South Korea has M-48's in storage in case North Korea goes hot... and the potential for a rapid overhaul if needed shouldn't be out of the question in that case!

In my universe, these K-3's will be put to work by a Private Military Company who operate alongside the New Zealand Defence Force as part of a combined ANZAC brigade during the battle for Australia - They will be called "The Grey Ghosts", with the names Horse, Dog, Pongo and Bitches' Box.  (I'll be pretty impressed if anyone who isn't Aussie or Kiwi know out what those names mean without looking it up!)

Anyway, that's quite the upload, hope you liked it!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Pulling out my "An-22" for everyone to see... (Insert wildly immature comments here)

A few weeks ago, I made an order with Armaments In Miniature for a number of their large transport aircraft - AIM are a fantastic little company that makes some interesting selections of aircraft.  Granted the selection for 6mm is still a little on the small side (oh man, this post is going to be so full of dad jokes and immature chuckles at an aircraft name it's ridiculous ;) ) the small selection they have certainly has some VERY BIG aircraft in it!

And so, with that in mind I went ahead and purchased for myself a number of aircraft:
AN-12 Cub transports which will also do nicely as Y-8 transports for my future Chinese forces,

C-130H-model Hercules aircraft for my USMC *No J-model is available yet*,
Some C-17 Globemaster III's, and finally

some IL-76 Candid transport aircraft as well.

As you can see from the pis, most of AIM aircraft come with some limited assembly required, usually the larger aircraft needing engines or tailplanes attached - a simple clean up with some detergent, a tiny bit of filing here and there - and with a bit of super glue *I always, and only, use Zap-A-Gap Slo set glue on my models of any type* they're ready for priming and painting!

Finally, we come to the most awesome of the aircraft available - The Antonov An-22 'Cock'... or as I like to call it "Runner up for the most awkwardly codenamed aircraft made by the Russians", only the MiG-15 with its (nowadays) 'interesting' nickname has it worse off.  Gotta love what happens when words take on totally different meanings over the years :)

Yes, that is a GHQ T-55... just an example of the size!

Anyhow, jokes aside - this thing is HUGE!  It definitely lives up to its real world equivalent and genuinely looks like it could indeed take a small army within itself!  It literally does not fit in the palm of my hands, and they aren't exactly small.

My AN-22 is so big it won't fit when I whip it out...

...okay, okay!  Fine, I'll stop! ;)

At the moment the An-22 is the biggest AIM make, I think... they might have the C-5 Galaxy as well, but I am not sure as the site is down for the count at time of writing.

A serious note though: These models are resin, and can come slightly warped due to the thin wings... for your own sanity do NOT try to flex them into shape without first putting them under some hot water for a while - the offending area will soften enough to let you bend and flex it safely for the model - and avoid you having the moment where you sit there in horror as the model you were trying to flex into place suddenly snaps under tension.

Thankfully that didn't happen here, I learnt that lesson years ago on a Forgeworld model... that was not a happy day! ;)

The AIM website is here if you want to have a look when it is up again.  Hopefully soon!

Before I head off, one last shot of some future air support on the way - A Mi-28 Havoc, an F-4 Phantom that will be in my not-Iranian Air Force colours, an A-10 Warthog and an Su-24 Fencer.  All nice models, and all going to be doing their bit for their respective armies!

Knowing the terrain... pretty sure I'm starting to learn it's name...

Hi all!

Well yes, I am here still alive and kicking here!  Time hasn't been wasted (well, not much...) and progression on the forces for my future armies is well underway!

So you may (rightfully) ask what the heck I have been up to?  I, dear reader, have been busy building the foundations for a great battle!  The base from which greatness can arise!
I've been building terrain :)

My first, completed model has been a lovely piece from JR Minis 6mm range - I am not sure if this particular model is still in production, but I believe I acquired this one through Noble Knight Minis (link attached).  This model was sold as an Oil Refinery - but to my eye it appeared more like the basis for an oil burning power plant - the three hoppers with the copper/brass tops looked, to my eye - like some giant set of batteries.  I can imagine (and indeed will attach) some string painted black/ silver/ copper and leading from the copper points to a nearby set of power lines... a pair of the larger power pylons from either GamesCraft Miniatures or maybe some Brigade Models Shapeways designs.

For everything in Eulanus, I want it to look like it is past it's glory days... but that there still lies 'something' within it where if someone actually took some time to fix it, the building really could go again.  Everything has to have that "at least a decade of minimal support, but never entirely abandoned" feel... kind of looking like this...

The Power Plant:
"If they tell us they are going to the power plant, we give grieve for them before they go... so many of the boys, they go there to fight for it, to fight for the power, they never come home.  You see the one who controls the plant, he controls the mine... and the one who controls the mine, he makes the rules" - Old man of Ijobo village, a slum located a short distance from the old Ikanawa Industries Power Plant.

Aerial recon of the Ikanawa Industries Power Plant

The other major project I am building is a mine system, the actual terrain piece is not even half complete yet, but the actual mine entrance is.  This was a kitbash and was made from some leftover scraps of household items, materials included:

Main hill - Foam material covered in "no more gaps" sealant with a slight mix of sand in it... fun fact... the no more gaps... it cracks when it hardens so you need a few coats - go figure eh? :)

The mine 'building' - An internal holding tray from a large pack of Gillette razor blades.  No major changes except to scrape off some brand markings, the areas covered by some upturned FOW small bases.

Air vents - 15mm scale small air vents from Ground Zero Games
Generator on top - A 15mm scale generator from a radar dish pack by Ground Zero Games
Roller Door - plastic card and plastic rods filed and glued into place as needed.

Eventually, this will have a small rail ending, and a place for rail cars to sit where tipper trucks can then tip the material into them... The trucks themselves will be the ones to drive into the mine to pick up the ore, and I will have one of the excavators and a dozer outside getting maintenance at a shed... remember, this is a third-world mining operation, nothing too crazy here when it comes to automation - or overall safety for that matter ;) 

The Ground Zero Games 15mm accessories are from my sci-fi gear, but have turned out to be great little additions to the mix.  The power generator units in particular look great mixed in as larger, more powerful units at this scale.  Just goes to show how any scale can fit if you find the right use!

The Mine *still in production phase*: The Ko Idet mine *Kudos if you know where the name may have originated from!* was the first mine in Eulanus to show the promise of untold riches.  Unlike the other minerals in the area, the usual assortment of alloys and precious metals... it was only Ko Idet and a few rare others that showed signs of the materials called rare-earth elements.  Worth more than gold to the manufacturing industries of a resource-hungry world, it would be these finds in mines such as this which would eventually see Eulanus become a hotbed of violence even greater than what it had already experienced.

With time and patience, I'll continue to build up... and soon the first cities shall be made and from there, hopefully I'll be able to begin the area terrain and finally - the armies!

But first, they all need to get there... and to do that, you need transport aircraft...