Monday, July 14, 2014

Converting An Older Design Using New RUMV Parts

Many of you have bought the Rebel Minis Earth Force APC over the years.

It's a classic, one of the first designs I did for Rebel, and still looks great.

But, if you're looking to upgrade it for more far-flung-future forces, there is an easy option.

The RUMV system evolved from some components of the early designs like the Earth Force APC.

The tread units of the APC also work for the Combat Flatbed and Titan APC, and are also fundamental parts of the RUMV system for other vehicles.

Rebel Mike recently updated the classic Combat Flatbed by putting grav units under it.  Very nice.

So, using that logic, if the Combat Flatbed and the APC share tread units, and the Combat Flatbed can be updated with grav units, then the APC must be able to be updated with grav units.  Let's break out the digital parts and play...

 So, here's what that would look like.  A neat little conversion, easily done to old models by purchasing a set of grav pods that cost less than a burger at the local fast food stand.

Neat, eh?  Thanks to Mr. Diaz for the suggestion.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mecha Musings: "Two Inch Terrors"

Stop giggling at the title.  Mecha is serious business.  ;)

Big mechs are great.  Little mechs are great.  Medium mechs are great.  I, like you, like mechs.

For the last few years, I've been making mechs along a particular pattern.  I have come to call them (you guessed it) "Two Inch Terrors."

It wasn't deliberate, at first.  I (and my clients) kinda fell into it.

Eventually, things worked out so that a lot of my little armored nightmared ended up around two inches tall (approximately 16.6 feet or 5 meters tall, or so, in 1/100 scale), and with a number of weapons and attachments that had a common dimension.

Why two inches?  It's a nice crossroads between tabletop model size, casting production costs, rapid-prototyped master costs, detail, and real-world plausibility. 

A mech or mecha that is about the aforementioned size could carry a pretty heavy weapons loadout, have decent armor, mobility, and still duck behind a house or under a highway overpass to take cover from incoming fire.

At least that's how my deluded imagination rationalizes it.

The Earth Force HAMR suits from Rebel Minis were the first to use this system, and then things went from there with other companies, most notably Critical Mass Games.

That ball and socket arrangement is pretty easy to reverse-engineer, but in case you want some specific numbers, here's a small spec sheet.

 Here's some of the bits from Critical Mass Games that are also compatible with the same 1/8" mounting system.  Everything won't be sized in the same proportions, but you have a lot of options from which to choose.  For a blog post of mine detailing more, click here.

For you manual sculptors and customizers, don't feel left out.
Most folks in this hobby used dremels or other rotary tools.  Just use this bit (1/8" tungsten engraving bit) to form a cavity on the weapon bit you wish to modify.

Insert one of these 1/8" diameter ball bearings into the cavity you made.  This is the "male" part of the system.

Then, use the dremel bit to make a matching cavity in the intended hardpoint "female" surface.  A small bit of extra dremelling may be necessary to form enough clearance for the ball bearing and some glue to fit in the cavity.

If you don't want to use the ball bearings, I even sculpted up a male attachment that is offered in the CMG Mecha Workshop.  Here's the link to that particular bit.

 Here's a little layout of a few Rebel weapons that use the system.  That Heavy HAMR suit preview?  Yeah, you didn't see that.  ;)
And here's some of the Critical Mass Games offerings, with a Vanguard mecha.

Notice the heights and general proportions, using the background grid as a reference.  The dark lines are inches (25.4mm), the blue lines are 0.1 inches (2.54mm).

So, that's the Two Inch Terror category I've been working at for the last few years.  It's not a hard rule, more of a guideline, but I hope more 15mm manufacturers jump in to join in the fun.


Edit to add:

Critical Mass Games is having a flash sale.  From their announcement...

Flash 20% sale across the entire site, until 20:00 GMT on Monday 14th July.

Discounts are applied in the shopping cart as you check out, and postage is still free on orders over £50.00

So, load up on those mecha and extra weapons bits!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Rebel Minis Digital Direct

Rebel Mike and I have gone into a venture together.

We call it Rebel Minis Digital Direct.

It's a premium service that enables us to get custom parts, one-offs, and parts that otherwise wouldn't make it into production via normal means.

For now, we're going through Shapeways

It's not cheap and it's not high resolution.

But, it is flexible, and enables us to get things on your tabletop now, instead of waiting for them to make it through the production queue of prototyping, molding, casting, and retail.

We're not married to Shapeways, and may offer different things through different service bureaus.  We'll be sure to let you know if things change.

So, here's the link.

 Here are some samples from the store...
 15mm Scale Weapons.  I call it the Variety Pack Of Doom.
 This is a freestanding door, used for scenarios and sci-fi dungeon crawls.
 Here's the Civilian Flatbed hull top for the RUMV system.
 This is a RUMV combination turret and hatch, 1/2 inch square, for mounting on converted diecast vehicles or custom builds.
 This is the Earth Force Light Tank hull for the RUMV system.
 This is a RUMV turret with a heavy rotary cannon.  Gatlings make everything better.
 This is a RUMV turret equipped with a 100mm Jackhammer Cannon.

 This is a six-pack of 15mm sci-fi crew hatches.  Great for converting.
And here's what started it all.  The Merka grav modules.  They've been sprued together and hollowed out, as have most of the Shapeways-oriented builds, to save on material.

For feedback, updates, and more info, I've set up a Facebook page.

I have a good feeling about this.  Stay tuned.

John Bear Ross

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Merkas-2014 Renders

Happiness is finding new things to do with old models.

The Merka from Rebel Minis still holds up.

These are simple renders in Rhino3d, using the "Sandstone" material for the textured brown, and dark grey for the propulsion units.

The Grav versions didn't go into production, but elements of their design went into the RUMV a-grav engines.

You can buy the single Merka 5 here.
Single Merka 9 here.
Here for Merka 5 platoon packs.


Edit to add:  I took Coolhand's advice to re-render with a single illumination point.  A small Point Light at 30% intensity, up and offscreen to the left of the tanks.  Here's the results...

I do like the affect.  Thanks, Steve!

To see more of Steve's work, click here, or the Coolhand Customs blog link on the sidebar.