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!
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