Monday, February 28, 2011

Comanche MATV from Rebel Minis, WIP Part 1

Alright! Rebel Mike has released the 15mm scale Comanche MATV vehicle for sale. The model is shown above, with its possible weapons layouts, painted by the great Jeff Racel. Click here for Jeff's gallery of the Comanche, surrounded by other examples of his painted-up Rebel Minis pieces.

Crass Capitalism aside, let's hurry up and get to the boring part where I blah blah blah about "my process."

I'm going to show a few inspiration and reference photos I used, as well as a few WIP pictures of my screen shots. Tonight's update is a small glance into the reference material I used.

The vehicle concept we based the vehicle on is called the Oshkosh M-ATV light MRAP. "Light" is a bit of a misnomer, since the beast still weighs about 25,000 lbs.

One of the reference sites I used (there are dozens) is called Olive-Drab.com. It's a nice little resource, full of pics and stats aplenty. Here's the Olive Drab page for the MATV.

From there, and other sources, I gleaned a nice side shot (always helpful for Rhino work) and other references of the armored goliath. Here's the side and front view of one version (there are more than a few).


The photo with the two folks standing beside an MATV prototype give you an indication of the truly massive bulk of the vehicle.


During the time I was designing this model, there were many different MRAP vehicles being simultaneously pursued. A good google search ("MRAP" "JLTV" "MATV") will turn up dozens of possibilities, from many different manufacturers. I picked and chose the features I like best out of the mix, and started putting them together.

Here's a tricked-out model put out by BAE/Navistar that carries a nice variety of plating, as well as a different front fascia. It was for a different competition, the JLTV, but parts of it found their way into the Comanche...

So, with the beginnings of a hull forming, I turned to the payload this vehicle was intended to carry: weapons! Yay!

Mike wanted current-day weapons, but also wanted to mix it up with stuff that wasn't normally seen.

Being a former 0331 Machinegunner, I wanted to make sure an M-240G 7.62 NATO medium machinegun was included in the weapons sprue.

I also included Ma Deuce, the M-2HB .50 cal heavy machinegun, still going strong after decades of use.

We needed some "oomph," some high explosive punch added to the mix. I looked for a more modern-day substitute for the old Mk.19 Grenade Launcher Machinegun, which I was never really fond of while in the service. I stumbled on the Mk.47 Striker Automatic Grenade Launcher. A very sexy looking piece of kit, and I don't think anyone else has a 15mm version out, so I included it in the weapons selection.
Last on the weapons list was a gatling type weapon. I've done many gatlings, in many sizes, but most of them were fictional pieces.
This time, I did a pretty faithful rendering of the M-134 Minigun, which serves up 7.62 NATO, hot and fresh, at up to 3000 rounds per minute. Not a gigantic weapon in physical size or projectile caliber, but it sure makes up for it in volume of fire.

Well, that's the groundwork laid down. I took some design liberties with the overall concept, as you will see. Those who desire hyper-realistic representations of current-day armored vehicles won't be completely satisfied, since that was not the intended aim of this project.

Mike and I wanted to create a vehicle that is grounded in current-day armor, but has potential for use in near-future (10+ years from now) tabletop play. After a few dozen hypothetical upgrades and refit programs, we see this as a possible entry on the future battlefield. It won't be a bolt-for-bolt reflection of what's out there. More of an interpretation, a chimera, if you will.

Plausibility, mixed with aesthetic appeal, were the watchwords we went by.

With that in mind, I invite you to check back in later when I show the initial bulk-out and refinement WIP updates to this new offering.

Best,
JBR
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