Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And now for something completely different....

By now you all know my love for robots and mechanical things. Get a load of what DARPA's been doing lately. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather my tax dollars go to something like this than lavish parties for GSA members or hookers for the Secret Service. It seems they haven't really solved the portable power issue yet, but they'll get there. Is anyone else unnerved by the sneakers on the thing?

Thanks for the tremendous outpouring of support for the Stormraven in competition over at MWC. If you haven't voted yet, we've got some stiff competition from a certain Dreadnaught, apparently, so please help propel our plane to victory. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Contest Day!

Well folks, the MWC conversion contest featuring my Stormraven (below) is upon us. Please head on over to Miniatures Wargame Conversions and help propel my birdie to victory.

Thanks in advance!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Stormraven Conversion Finished!

In the spirit of doing what I say I'm gonna do this year,  I fixed a Stormraven model so it's the proper length to carry just about everything. I also did so in record time (for me), because the original deadline for the Miniature Wargames Conversions contest (again, thanks in advance for your vote) was set two weeks short. Now, two weeks is a hell of a lot of time. I could put in some LED lighting, hinged a proper dreadnaught ramp-- hell, I could've properly jointed a dreadnaught to fit in there. But, alas, I had to settle for a finished bird. Oh well. 

And she's a big one, too. All kitted out, she's as long  as an IG Valkyrie from its nose to its twin booms, and sits higher on her landing gear. Maybe a little too high, but it was important that the chin turret had clearance. Plus, half the time she'll be carrying jump infantry anyway, and the front storm hatch is actually at just the right height to walk right out of. You'll notice I dispensed with that huge ugly fishtail rudder in favor of delta wings set waaaaay back and rudders sticking out of the engine cowlings. I wrestled with setting th swings amidships in the original mounts, but she looks much, much sleeker this way.  Also, where most people felt obliged to stick on canard wings (which are really so an aircraft doesn't stall out when it climbs) I dispensed with them in terms of crew doors under the big, manly Hurricane Bolter mounts, which, visually read as canards anyway. 

What I really needed time for was to suss out the rear hatch, which would've yawned open like the jaw of an angler fish to allow a dread to just stomp on out. I'm also mightily disappointed with the hinge on the smaller inset crew hatch. Unlike the Rhino one, it's just sort of clamped in those teeth and will not fucking stay in. 

She is, of course, magnetized to hell and back for easy storage. naked like this you get a better look at the big friendly side door. Since all GW-designed Imperial troop craft are designed after Republic Gunships anyway, I though it a good idea to include these instead of just leaving the weeny little crew doors in the front. There is, after all, nothing in the SR rules that says the side exits are invalidated by H-bolters, it's just (badly) modeled that way on the original kit. Those weeny little h-bolter housings make better landing gear wells anyway. 

The only thing I didn't magnetized were the little nose-mounted missile racks and heavy bolters, because the multi-melta is so much more useful anyway. The SR isn't a missile boat at all, it's meant to fly up into people's faces and pour anger down their throats. However, it's a flyer (no cover) and a sad AV12, and under gunned (you can't sit back and shoot all day with TL lascannons like you can with a Vendetta) but I plan to give the Run/Gun/Drop/Die strategy the old college try nonetheless in future Blood Angels list. 

Being a completionist, I detailed the inside and its crew, including the Techmarine (who looks stuffed in there, the poor guy) and Edbart XIV, the gun servitor. You're going to see something of the inside when you open the ramps anyway, so why not? 

I had fun making the little servitor model. He had no arms, so I fitted his right with a spare auspex bit and ran cabling from his left shoulder.  I wanted to light the inside with LED's for the contest, but at the time, time was running short (remember, the original deadline was the 15th). The side hatches had plenty of area for hinging, and would've gotten reinforced with magnet locks inside the fuselage so they could hold up the weight of the h-bolter sponsons, but now... oh well. If Storm Eagles make it into the next Ultramarines codex, maybe I'll do it in there, especially after seeing all the great effects on Jon T Law's photo series on Flickr. Thank you for that extraordinary find, Tears of Envy. Another interior detail shot: 

FW made detail packs for the insides of Valkyries with a full squad of Elysian Drop Infantry sitting on benches, and I still hold out hope they'll make some of Space Marines doing the same for Astartes vehicles. Of course, to do that they'll have to upsize the Rhinos and Land Raiders...

The underside is boringly under-detailed due to time constraints. One of my thoughts was to model a set of belly doors so the Dreadnought (or any riders) could just drop out. Of course, that thought came after the thing was nearly finished, and the zep gear (a pit of them) would had to sit in new ugly housings to the side, fattening the already blocky profile, or in the originals at the rear. Oh well. The flight base mount sits into the crosspiece under the forward section a bit loosely, but otherwise snugly. As a result, she sits nose-up instead of nose-down like a Valk. She sports a chin turret because it's a better configuration for ground-attack missions. The thing would have to bank something awful to fire a dorsal turret at anything on the ground, be it tank or infantry.  Sorry GW designers, you should've put more thought into this. Way to fail. 

Perhaps to make up for the plain belly (also, let' s be honest, you see it more) the top is quite well detailed. For Storm Eagle duty, I could make some missile pods and stick a little metal plat on them so they adhere to the magnets holding the wing/turbines in place. But then, there's plenty of time for that in the future, and other projects to do. For those of you puzzled about the orientation of the wing decals in other shots, I hope this sheds some light on matters for you; they're for other pilots to see and identify the plane when flying above it. I mounted the grapple on the roof for boarding missions; she's meant to fly up under something, reel herself in, and then the Marines open the top hatch and cut their way aboard the enemy ship. 

Fitted out for anti-troop duty with those assault cannons the thing would have to carry mountains of ammo, so the lascannon turret makes a lot more sense. The h-bolters throw out more than enough shots to deter enemy infantry, and you're really going to be more concerned about Hydras and things with lascannons and lances anyway. I want my flying tank to take down other tanks and transports, and assault cannons just don't do that, unlike in the real world where a shell-spitting 30mm vulcan is a tanker's worst nightmare. You can get larger vulcans from Japanese companies (Kotobukiya makes an excellent, cheap, motorized one, and yes, I have one)

The hope is, of course, that our sweat pays off  and we win the aforementioned contest, but if we don't, there's still a great aircraft to help fill out the ranks of the Ultramarines. so it's win-win, right fellas? Fellas?

I swear their expressions just changed.