Friday, April 3, 2015

.300 Blackout Pistol: Unboxing And Dryfit

There are few things more fun that you can pick up at the post office than real gun parts.

I missed the mailman yesterday, and a signature was required.  So, I took my little "missed you" note to the main branch, and received a box in return.  It was from Ares Armor, a rambunctious little gun parts store down in occupied California-stan.  Good guys.  They're uppity, and I like that, so they get my bucks.

So, I get home, and here's the unboxing...

 Tactical box entry.

 Subjects are found cowering in the bottom of the box.

Upon extraction and separation for investigation, parts are laid out.  I like the fact that the barrel ships with a mesh protector as well as taped foam padding.  Nice touch.

 9" Barrel, pistol gas length system, nitride finish.  Very nice.

 Chambered in .300 AAC Blackout, with 1 full twist of the rifling over the length of 8 inches.  This should stabilize subsonic and supersonic ammunition.  

The charm of the .300 Blackout is that it can fire either with little adjustment.  From left to right, you have three .300 Blackout loading in various projectile weights, a 5.56 NATO round, and a 7.62x39 cartridge.

They're rinky-dinky cartridges.  Nothing spectacular, ballistics-wise, nor worthy of the media hyperbole associated with them.  Like I said a few weeks ago, your grand-pappy's 30-06 makes a 5.56 NATO cartridge look miniscule in comparison.  Don't be scared.  30-06 comparison photo is from this blog, which gives a good run-down on the capabilities of the two chamberings.

On with the parts...

 Charging handle with laser-engraved Ares Armor logo.

 Assemblage of parts.  The lower receiver was a stripped lower I purchased a few years ago, and has never seen a rifle stock mounted on it.  Very important distinction when building a pistol.

 Dryfitting of the gas block on to the barrel.  Barrel screws to the upper receiver.  Muzzle brake/flash hider screws to the muzzle.  So far, so good.

The Troy V-Tac 9" freefloat forearm is what I have in the parts bin.  I usually don't like grabbing metal, since I live in the desert, where it's either freezing or boiling.  It looks good, though.

The dryfit-assembled upper goes on the lower nicely.  The other parts (dust cover, forward assist, gas tube) will be incorporated during the full build.

Well, there she is.  A very nice tool.  Now to do a formal assembly, and test fire her.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New Viper Suit And Some Rebel Sneak Peeks...

The Titan Viper Mk.II is now for sale from Rebel Minis.

I did the Titan Viper Mk.I sculpt for Rebel Mike last year, and the modularity of the design continues to reap dividends.

The newest fruit from that mechanical vine is the Titan Viper Mk.II

Click here, or on the link here...

Gloriously painted by Jason Moore of Micropanzer.

Now, for some sneak peeks from Rebel Mike's Facebook feed.

 Here are the 15mm Valorians, giant-sized alien invaders whose 28mm big brothers are here.

 Here's a lonely traveler next to his police box.  It is unknown if it is bigger on the inside.  Fish fingers and custard are extra.

 Here's a RUM-V vehicle with a new turret, capable of holding dual 1/8" weapon systems.  Here, it has dual triple missile launchers.

 And here it has dual gatling weapons.  An awesome fire support vehicle, whatever the load-out.

Stay tuned for more details.



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