Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rapid Prototyped Modular Rifle: You Can't Stop The Signal 4

George Washington is long attributed (perhaps wrongly) with the quote that firearms are the teeth of liberty.  Whether the quote is actually GW's, or not, I have long believed that the use of firearms by free people for self-defense and self-determination is a human right. 

Let's look at some rapid-prototyped "teeth."

Some beautiful work has happened since the last time I put up a "You Can't Stop The Signal" blog update

Rapid prototyping technology has advanced, and become more affordable to the masses.  From small businesses, to classrooms, to open-source prosthetics for kids, the democratization of 3d printing is wondrous to behold.

FossCAD is a neat little website, a decentralized meeting place for makers and fabricators whose focus is on weapons.

Why weapons?  Why not?  They're just tools, and you and I are part of a tool-using species.  Don't be scared.

If you're interested, they have downloads of files that bloodthirsty tyrants, busybodies, Bolsheviks, and bureaucrats would rather you not have.

That alone is reason to download them.  ;)

JT (click on the link for his twitter feed) debuted his Colt 901-compatible lower receiver recently on a page called

The Colt 901 is an advanced (and expensive) piece of hardware that is capable of firing the 7.62 NATO cartridge, and, with a special adapter, any AR-15 upper receiver, as you can see above.  An ingeniously modular design.

JT found a way to emulate the best traits of the 901 lower receiver,  refine it for 3D printing, and has successfully substituted his printed lower for the original that came from the factory. 

It has held up to the test-firing of a hundred rounds or so with minimal wear and tear.  Here's the lower receiver being printed on a common $500 extruder printer.

The lower fits well on an already-manufactured aluminum and steel upper receiver, collapsible stock, and other internal fire control parts.

 Loaded up and ready to go.  Magnificent.

The 7.62 NATO cartridge, the same round used in the M-14, G-3, and L1A1/SLR/FAL, is a significant step up in power from the 5.56 NATO round.

Both rounds, of course, are inferior in power and range to the 30-06s and 8mm Mausers our great-grandfathers used in World War 1 and World War 2 (and every deer hunting season ever since), so don't soil yourself just yet.

This new application of 3d printing is a notable accomplishment.  The world is becoming more and more malleable.  Welcome to the future.

Congrats to JT, the folks at, and the crew at FossCAD.  For more, follow the links.

This reminds me...I need to get my CNC machine running...hmm...


Monday, March 23, 2015

Vera By Vulture

Ian, who has run the wonderful Vulture's Wargaming Blog for years, now, gave me permission to re-post his beautiful work on an Critical Mass Games Arc Fleet Walker christened "Vera."

Ian added 12 rare earth magnets to the walker, performed a masterful paintjob, and then, joy of all joys, made a short stop-action film of Vera going through some test movements.


 Here's a closer look at that paintjob.  Click the thumbnail above for a better view.

 Vera, taken apart to show off the magnet placement.

Ian also did a number of other stop-action films with other CMG Arc Fleet Walkers.

Click here to see his full YouTube channel offerings.  I'm a subscriber.
Click here to see more work on his blog of Arc Fleet gorgeousness.

Cheers, Ian!


To order your own Arc Fleet Walkers (one of my best-enduring sculpts), click here, and scroll down to Arc Fleet Vehicles and Platoon Deals.  Vera packs one weapon each from the Arc Fleet Advance Furyan variant, and the Arc Fleet Advance Valkyrie variant.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Double Duty, Part Two: Gundams That Don't Look Like Gundams

This is a continuation of my Double Duty series, using models and figures from other sources that can still pass as 15mm/1-100th scale.

Here's the link to Part One.

I love Gundam models from Bandai.  Chances are, if you're a mechahead, you like them, too.  But, if you want to use "scale-correct" 1/100th Gundams, you're dealing with an 18 cm/7 inch tall model or larger.

Unless you're fighting Kaiju (which is cool, don't get me wrong), that's usually too big for most tabletops.

Thus, many folks, myself included, use the smaller, cheaper 1/144th scale Bandai Gundam kits, which range from 4.5 to 5.5 inches tall (114mm to 139mm).

The problem is, most folks know the classic Zeon/Earth Federation styling (samurai crests, blue/white/red/yellow patterns, Zaku sensor domes, etc.).

This leads to awkward questions of why you're using 1/144th scale models on a 15mm (roughly 1/100th scale) tabletop.  Can't have that, can we?  ;)

So, the focus of this article is Gundams that don't look like Gundams, that still fit on your tabletop, that don't break the bank.

First up is the 1/144th scale Jesta Cannon mobile suit.  Some serious firepower, there.

A more utilitarian variant, maybe to be used as a main battle mecha or common "soldier" type, is the 1/144th scale Jesta.

A neat mobile suit is the dual-cannon 1/144th scale Kampfer Amazing.  I like the sleek, almost aquatic look to it.

The 1/144th scale GM Sniper II Custom has some personality to it, though it has the classic shield and lower legs of a Gundam.  The external ammo compartments and sensor visor break up the normal design style, though.

This is a 1/144th scale Hi-Mock Simulator Suit, apparently a training suit used by junior pilots.  It's look is just generic enough, to me, that it doesn't scream Zaku or even Gundam.  Just a clean arrangement of geometric shapes.  I think this would lend itself nicely to customization.

To finish out this article, here's a mobile suit that will probably never be misjudged as the wrong-sized kit on your tabletop:  The 1/144th scale Beargguy Mobile Suit, and its yellow (and ribbon-backpacked!) 1/144th scale Beargguy III Mobile Suit.

So, there you have it.  Just some variety in your mecha purchases.  After all, Destroids, Mortis Leviathans, and L-HACs need someone their own size to pick on.


Edit to Add:

Hat tip to Jason Spykerman for suggesting the 1/144th scale Grimoire mobile suit.  Very cool look.

I know this list is nowhere near comprehensive, but if you have suggestions, feel free to add them in the comment section.

Friday, March 13, 2015

ACP Games Vanir Kickstarter Ends Tomorrow. All Stretch Goals Unlocked!

The final 20 hours of the ACP Games Vanir Dropship Kickstarter are upon us.

Come this time tomorrow, you're either in, or out.

Better to be in, methinks.

Here's the link.

Best news of all is the fact that all the stretch goals have been unlocked for purchase, whether they're funded or not.  This means that you won't get them for free, just for pledging, but you can purchase them before they get to market, and at very good prices.  Prices are in the Add-On graphic, above.

Thus, if you opt in at the $5 pledge level, you get to pick and choose which of the specials in the graphic above you wish to add on.  Free shipping, too, if you're in the US.

Let's run down some of those tasty stretch goals that until now have been out of reach...

Leading off is the beautiful Angel Of Death, a 3-inch-tall beast of a support mecha.

As you know, the Vanir is huge.  The Angel Of Death is very intimidating, even next to that big, juicy dropship.  It positively dwarfs a Valk suit and a lone infantryman.  Angel Of Death, indeed!

 The Homesteader, a sculpt I did for the KS effort, is also available in singles or in a three-pack.

 The Commando Valkyrie suits kick ass.
 These Valkyries are A-T panzerhunters.  Very cool.

Again, this is a great time to jump in on this offer.  A small buy-in, and you get access to some of the best minis to come out in years.

That link, again, is


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Homesteader Combat Utility Vehicle For ACP Games' Kickstarter

Jimbo at ACP Games is putting on a Kickstarter that has been a while in the making.  He approached me in the planning stages, and asked me to contribute a sculpt.  I happily agreed.

The result was this:  The Homesteader Combat Utility Vehicle, a neat little all-terrain terror with a modular utility bed or weapons mount on the rear of the frame.
 Here are the first casting samples.  I really like how the tread pattern those tires (tyres, for you Brits), turned out in pewter.

Here are some pics of the digital sculpt.  Note that Waldo, my usual reference figure, is transparent to give you an indication of the size, but not block out the view.

Standard utility loadout.

Weapons station with a quad missile launcher and dual gatlings.  Spare tire, too.  I threw those last two in as extras, so I don't know if they'll see production.  No worries, if they don't.

Primering and base coat of the KS sample.

Final painted version used for advertising on the Kickstarter.  Nice job.

The ACP games Kickstarter is going on now, and ends in the middle of March.  12 days, as of this posting.  It is already funded, so if you're hesitant about backing a project that won't make it, don't worry.  Now, it's about getting to the next set of stretch goals.

The Homesteader is the next big breakthrough goal.  Pledge today!


PS, those tasty Valkyries of Jimbo's have already been met as stretch goals, including the Commando Valkyrie and Anti-Tank Commando Valk.

I love the classic anti-tank Valks, probably my favorite out of the bunch, though the Fire Support Valks make for stiff competition.

Here's a group shot of those lovely heavy power armors...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Double Duty, Part One: 28mm Figs On 15mm Tabletops

I have had this series planned out in my head for a while now.  I'll be mirroring these posts over at Dropship Horizon, as well.

The market for 15mm miniatures and models has exploded in the last few years.  That's a good thing.

But, we as gamers are hard to satisfy, and sometimes we look for alternate sources, alternate uses for things.  We tend to repurpose and appropriate from other scales, and make them fit into other roles.

Maybe it's an old fig you have laying around, maybe it's a good deal you couldn't pass up, and other times it's a cool fig you just want to make work in another scale.

I call this making a model perform "Double Duty." 

As long as a model isn't locked into a certain scale by size cues (doors, hatches, etc) or long-standing brand emblems, it is a good candidate for Double Duty.  With some small modifications and repainting, a wide number of models can be pressed into service on the 15mm tabletop.

Often, a 28mm monster enjoys a bump up in horror and intimidation when it is matched against 15mm figures.  The predicaments faced in dungeon crawl adventures (and their sci-fi equivalents) can be made much more terrifying. 

Alien monsters that are no big deal facing off against 28mm heroes are now towering monstrosities when pitted against 15mm figs.  There's an amplification of the threat in size and proportion. Take a look at Reaper's famed dragon figures.  You think they're big in 28mm?  Put them up against 15mm figs, and the largest of them can pass for Kaiju!  ;)

As a quick "for instance," I'll focus today on using 28mm sculpted figs in 15mm settings.

 Reaper's Cyber-Reavers, from their Chronoscope Range
 Copplestone Castings' Terminator Robots (Code FW15) from their Future Wars Range.
GW's Necron Immortals, from WH40K.  Found on Amazon.

Deathbots.  Nothing says your lumbering, unstoppable, metal-clad-skeleton enemies have to be the same size as the human troops they are fighting. A 28mm scale deathbot, or Terminator, or Necron, is usually well over an inch and a quarter tall (32mm for you metric types).  Translate that to 15mm scale (at the 1/100th fractional equivalent), and that deathbot is now over 10 feet tall.

Robots in 28mm scale can also do Double Duty in 15mm.  Some folks want mechanical drone armies, and these offerings (The XAIRobots) from Reaper can be bought as a pack, or multiples of a single type.  Link here.

If you are looking for more of a clockwork flavor for your bots, Warmachine's Eradicators do very nicely, in my opinion, as do many other units from their new Convergence faction.
For aliens, again, nothing says they have to be the same proportions as your human troops.  Different ecologies on different planets are going to result in different sizes of life forms.
 These Kulathian Invaders from Reaper are 28mm figs that would easily be giant aliens when put up against 15mm troops.  They're big, ugly, and mean-looking.  Perfect for augmenting a pirate band or organic army, or as a stand-alone force.

 Reaper lists this guy as a Bathalian Drone.  A lot of the Bathalian miniatures make for fearsome, giant-sized organic aliens when doing Double Duty, and a number of them are being done in the Bones material, which should bring costs down if you don't want to pay for metal.

Last, but not least, a Hormagaunt swarm in WH40K is a pretty average troop unit, but when pitted against 15mm troops, they become horrific organic killing machines, able to cleave heavy power armor suits with a single swipe.  You can pick some up here on Amazon.

Well, that's part one.  As you can see, the focus was on 28mm troop figures.  We will concentrate on larger figs that can pass as mechs (and their equivalents) when we visit this Double Duty topic again.


All photos and IP are property of their respective owners.