Sunday, July 27, 2014

MERCS Combat/Security Droid: The CPP-209

Look at this beauty.
28mm Scale, but he's a big boy.
Over 55mm/2.125" in height.
Let me show you how he came about...

I was tapped by the gentlemen at Mercs Minis (now known as MegaCon Games) to help out with their massive Mercs: Recon. Kickstarter effort from last year.

Them being longtime clients, I readily agreed.

So, I started out with some great Keith Lowe source art.  This isn't going to be a simple "sculpt one side, and mirror the whole thing to be symmetric" build.  I like a challenge.

Here are some preliminaries.  Raw bulk-outs.  Feedback from KS backers was not positive, but that's to be expected.  This is just the beginning.  Tom Mason, a great sculptor in his own right, was my art director on this build, and gave some great guidance and feedback along the way.  Thanks, Tom.

Here's an old blog of Tom's to show off his sculpting.

Here's his Twitter feed.

Then, First Wave of detailing.  The feet have been reworked, and initial paneling is done on the main hull.


Then, Second Wave.  I started offsetting render settings to show the contrast between parts.  The midsection have me a little bit of trouble, trying to make a segmented transition that flowed well and didn't tear molds.


Third Wave.  Grilling and final panel lines are here, and main armor configurations are finalized.  The front sensor array/logo needs rework.


Ready For Final Approval.  Lots of little detailing, grilling, paneling, and polishing.

I really like how this guy has turned out.  Exploded views are for clarity for the client.  The final pose will be fused from the waist down.


And Final Posing.  One leg was to be offset, for a more menacing pose.
Something about "20 seconds to comply," or some such, I don't know.  ;)

Final height of this bad boy is about 55mm, or about 2 and 1/8 inches tall.  He'll make a fine "Two Inch Terror," if you're so inclined.

I am grateful to Megacon Games for trusting me to put my own stamp on some great concept work.

This design hearkens back to a classic design, but definitely stands on its own.  Sinister, cobra-like, and menacing.

I'm very proud of this.  More updates on this as printing and production happen.

I'm slammed with sculpting projects and real life, so this update will be up for a week or so, barring any breaking news.


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!