Saturday, October 29, 2011

Khurasan Cane Toad APC-The Long Road To Market

To preface, I hope you see the backstory of this build from a "Little Engine That Could"/ "Diamond in the Rough" perspective, which is what my following rambling is trying to get across. The Cane Toad is a great universal APC that I hope you buy scads of from Khurasan. The following story is meant to show you the serendipitous path that this model took to market, from initial mistake to crowning victory.

Years ago, CAV from Reaper Miniatures was my every waking moment away from work. I was starting a life, bought a house, and was raising a family. The side income from Reaper really helped get us through some lean times. Thanks, Ed.

Things were so fast and furious, though, that I misread an important email from Matt Ragan, the Creative Director (CAV Boss) on top of the project. The Centipede APC was a Borsig-Spline armored vehicle that was meant to get troops to the battlefield, and was on my assigned list of builds to get done.

I screwed up, and made a version with tracks. Matt wanted wheels. So I shelved the design, and knocked the wheeled version out, slightly angry with myself for messing up such a basic item. I got paid for the wheeled version, and the tracked went by the wayside, back into the Ones-and-Zeros aether of my hard drive archives.

Well, the CAV work eventually petered out, and here I was, sitting on a tracked APC that no one wanted. It remained that way for a few years, until I heard of the advent of a small Dutch company called Shapeways. I updated the design, put it up for sale, and waited for someone to show up at my door with a big bag of money.

Didn't happen. I sold maybe a dozen, and all at the 6mm sized version, which was an inch long. I think I made 50 cents off each one.

So, instead of languishing in my hard drive, the APC (I had renamed it The Brick) was languishing in public. There, it attracted the attention of one my 15mm clients, Jon from Khurasan Miniatures.

He offered to buy the rights to it. I agreed happily, but only on the condition that I could update it and make it compatible with the other products I had already done for him. He agreed, and I enthusiastically got to work.

New hatches, new weapons, new attachment hardpoints, and a reworked tread system that had hollow gaps between the bogeys and the treads. Hard edges were chamfered, small things were changed here and there, but it still had the power and presence I had infused into it back in January of 2003 (!).

Thanks to Khurasan, my Brick baby gets to see the light of day. He saw the potential in the build that I knew was always there.

Thanks, Jon.

Here's the in-universe backstory for the Cane Toad. I'm pleased with the "mercenary defense contractor" aspect of the fluff, which means its found on many different battlefields, in the inventories of many different factions. Very cool.

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The Cane Toad, usually simply called the Toad, is manufactured by Mercanto-Dett Military Solutions, a company headquartered in New New South Wales, in New Australia. It and other MDMS vehicles are the mostly widely used equipment in Federal space outside the vehicles of the Federal Army proper.

A basic and rugged vehicle, it has fairly good armour protection and can supports the troops it carries with two rapid fire pulse turrets with limited firing arcs. This was a compromise design feature permitting a much greater troop capacity which has been found by users to be largely satisfactory -- and those who dislike the limited firing arcs of the pulser turrets often decide to upgrade the weapons systems to twin smart-missile boxes, for which firing arcs are irrelevant.

MDMS vehicles can be seen in the service of the Jo-li Freehold, being the main heavy combat units of the Control Battalions (although the Jo-lis also buy from the Karkarines, and use Nova Respublik vehicles rebuilt by MDMS), the Jasmine Throne, the Thrainites, and the Interplanetary Brigades that fought as volunteers in the Molch-Vornid War.

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Here are some digital screen captures of the updated Cane Toad APC.

These suppressive weapon turrets were changed in the production model, so they could look like they had a greater range of motion, and be depressed and elevated to deal with close-in troops. The new turrets are blockier, and add to the "brick" nature of the APC, in my opinion.





Here are some painted shots, by SpaceJacker, who runs a nice blog called Tiny Solitary Soldiers.






These are photos of a "dry" build, no glue/no paint, courtesy of Tom over at Miniature Review. Thanks, Tom. Tom runs a great minis news blog that's one of my daily reads.






Here are some shots of the original Borsig-Spline Centipede APC that was rejected due to my goof. Those cannon turrets are crude, yes, but this was an early work of mine, they had to cast as part of the body, and at N Scale, additional detailing wouldn't have come through with the 3d printer technology of the time. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;)







And here's what the wheeled Centipede that came to market looked like. It's now discontinued as part of the game in CAV, but still available for purchase at the link below. They've got it credited to Ron Dubray, but it's one of mine.

Wheeled Centipede APC.

Best,
John Bear Ross
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