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Subject: [Inquisitor] Leander, 54mm scale Mars pattern Warhound scout titan
This is my project to build Leander, a 54mm scale Mars pattern Warhound scout titan. (No, I am not joking. Yes, I am mad).
So, to handle some likely questions...
- "Why?" There's various reasons. I've long had a love of the Mars Pattern Warhound and wanted to build one, but given I hadn't (and haven't) ever got into Apocalypse, what eventually justified such a project was when I wanted something massive and eye-catching for Inquisitor to dominate any venue we were holding an event in. At whatever scale, it was predominantly going to end up as a display piece (and at this size, it'll be more striking in that role), but this way it'll (oddly) probably get more games. There's no way the Inquisitor community are letting let me build a 54mm scale Warhound and then not giving them a chance to have a climatic duel on its top carapace.
- "It'll just murder everyone!" Leander will only ever be GM controlled in games, and she's probably best thought of as very dangerous mobile scenery (but she may be mostly or completely static in some scenarios, depending on the plot). She's not intended to come into direct engagements with the player characters (but if they want to start one, they'll get a warning shot. If they want to continue one, she'll finish it) and to instead be a part of the game that the players have to think around rather than resort to force. As such, set-in-stone rules will be thin on the ground - her impact on the game will be basically defined as "whatever makes the right story". Blowing up buildings, murdering NPC goons by the dozen, letting the player characters get away with just minor wounds from near misses, whatever.
- "Leander? Titans all have fancy two part High Gothic names, not ones from Greek heroes." I'm something of a steam locomotive enthusiast as well, so her name is taken from an LMS Jubilee Class that I'm somewhat fond of - which will also be influencing her colour scheme and some of the dates in her background. (And yes, I know I'm using the female pronoun when it's named after a male Greek hero, but the same is the convention for the locomotive in question).
In any case, the way I see it, when you're building a 54mm scale Titan, you get to call it what you like.
- "What's the project goal?"
The objectives are poseability, LED lighting, and a few motorised parts. Some armour panels will be made interchangeable so eventually she can be used to represent a more generic (or traitor) Warhound, but I'm not certain I'll do the same with the weapons. It complicates the electrics, and would have very little impact on the game.
- "Why haven't you shown us pictures yet?"
Fair enough. She's a very long running project, many of the early stages were not documented and I'm often redoing a lot of my earlier work as I become dissatisfied with it, so you'll have to hit the ground running to follow this, but here we go...
An early test shot from 2012:
The same, just from a scarier angle:
Battery box - there'll be two of these (both modified for 3V parallel) hidden behind the reactor exhausts. Aside from powering the electrics, these are also helping balance the upper body.
Start of new head armour - the original used too much Milliput and was going to make the model front heavy:
Various shots of me building the skeleton for the plasma reactors:
Assorted (but not exhaustive) parts as of February 2015:
Going back on an earlier decision, I gutted the Megabolter and motorised it:
Checking the layout of the poseable skeleton for the legs:
The parts for the knee joints - all to be poseable in the long run.
Testing the fit:
Assembling the parts
And a new scale shot of the leg skeleton alongside 28 and 54mm Rhinos, as well as a 54mm Kasrkin:
Anyway, that's it for now. I'm hoping that with my current surge of productivity, I might actually get a lot of it done over the next couple of months, but no promises.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/03/21 18:14:20
Indeed, my brain doesn't work on quite the same frequency as other people.
But seeing as it's predominantly something I want as a display model and I don't play Apocalypse but I do play Inquisitor... well, why not do it 54mm scale?
However, the size, while striking, isn't really one of the challenges in this project (so far, at least) - it's just been a matter of making things big. In fact, I don't want this to be a project that's notable only for its size - that's part of the reason why I'm getting into things like articulation, electronics, modelled interiors and even just choosing a Mars Pattern (almost everyone goes for the squarer shapes of a Lucius - I have seen a couple of scratch built Mars patterns around the web, but they're certainly not common).
Anyway, I did have a circuit diagram I was going to drop in here relating to the plans to get a "rolling" lighting effect in the plasma blastgun accelerators (which are going to be made out of translucent plastic for the purpose), but someone wiser than I has pointed out that I was doing it in a needlessly complex fashion, so rather than using linked sine wave oscillators, it will instead be done with 555 and 4017 integrated circuits.
And as I've finally found some good enough picture of the top grille of a Mars Pattern Warhound to know what's up there, I'm also poking around on eBay to see if I can find some cheap brushless fans somewhere around 25-30mm diameter that don't have ridiculous power requirements. It'd be nice to be able to motorise those intake fans.
And on completely unrelated note I just now saw your name and avatar pic and try to remember where else have we met in the wastes of www. You were an important member of Illuminatus drawing group werent you?
There is a scrap of video from an early test (bear in mind that these are not the final barrel assemblies, I took these ones from an earlier balsa model and crudely drilled holes so they'd fit for a test - the final versions will not be askew).
It will also eventually turn faster as, despite earlier efforts to convert the battery boxes to a 2.4V supply, I'll be changing it to 4.8V, as 1) the Titan doesn't actually need an 8000mAh battery pack and 2) the circuitry planned for the Plasma Blastgun (which I'm hoping will be very visually impressive) will be a lot easier if I've got the extra voltage.
dubovac wrote: And on completely unrelated note I just now saw your name and avatar pic and try to remember where else have we met in the wastes of www. You were an important member of Illuminatus drawing group werent you?
I was indeed on Ordo Illuminatus, but I wouldn't've described myself as an important part of it; I spent most of my time failing to keep up with the weekly sketch challenge - although, in my habit of starting bonkers projects on a whim, I did once sculpt an entry for that.
Well I remember you from there. My name was alan there and I participated in WSG regularly, really miss that site it was great community and a lot of talented artists.
But anyway this project of yours is truly frightening. It looks fantastic, cant wait to see some progress.
Including a few things I already had around, this is most of the electronics yet to go into Leander. There's some surplus parts here as well (I always order spares), but don't let the lack of an easy scale fool you, this picture is nearly three feet from side to side. Many capacitors, resistors, diodes, transistors, switches, LEDs and even a few integrated circuits.
A majority of this will be going into the Plasma Blastgun, so I was rather worried when I actually had the 1000 uF capacitors in hand about how large they were and whether I had enough space inside to fit a couple of dozen of them in there.
... then I looked at my scale plans again and remembered that 1) I had actually checked the numbers before and 2) I was talking about a weapon three inches longer than a 28mm Baneblade.
It's a quite hefty circuit (very different from my original plans) that's going to take a while to solder together, but this is the kind of thing Leander's extra size is permitting (although doubtless a clever person could use SMD PCBs to miniaturise this far enough to fit into the 28mm model), and I'm hoping it'll be cool enough to make up for the effort.
These parts also gives me all the pieces I need to be able to finish the mega bolter's circuitry - I've already soldered in a miniature protection circuit for the motor (While I expect it'll probably be the gearbox that explodes first, I intend to minimise the likelihood of any part blowing up) - so I should be able to move closer to finishing that.
Oh, and I've decided that I will be trying to make the weapons interchangeable. While all of these weapons are so powerful that their effect in-game can only really be defined as "What Inquisitor?" and I'm not sure if/when I will make other loadouts, I'm leaving the option open. So that's what the 3.5mm jacks and sockets are for, so the electrics for the arms can be unplugged.
jhe90 wrote: Thats isnane. I thought the 28mm scale one was big!
It has been rather enlightening on how big they're supposed to be in "real life". I know some people like the idea of titans being the exaggeratedly large sizes they often are in the artwork, but at 54mm scale, the more conservative dimensions from Imperial Armour are already feeling massive, and this isn't even getting into the battle titan sizes.
Anyway, much soldering has happened since yesterday, and this is most of the left half of the LED array:
It's deliberately been put together in that L-shape so that the right half can be made the same, flipped over and slot together (as the capacitors are the biggest concern regarding space.
Given that despite the massive size of the blastgun, I'm a mite limited on space, there's been a little creativity in laying out the board - the capacitors have had to be slightly staggered, as they're a little too big in diameter to fit immediately alongside each other. The LEDs have also been inserted from the wrong side of the stripboard and soldered onto the legs of other components on the top side of the board, so that they can be low to the board (having them on long leads on the other side wouldn't leave enough space to fit both arrays down the centre between the accelerators).
And most of the primary control circuit. Aside from the automatic frequency adjust, one of the 4017 ICs is missing at the moment (there's two so each side can have a slightly different frequency), as the other side isn't ready yet and the chips are rather easy to break. (I did order a spare, but I'd prefer not to have to use it).
And, naturally, there is some video. As I say there, it's not yet diffused yet, but you can get an idea of what it'll be like on the final model.
fiorehellheart wrote: As something that I've always struggled to do for my own titans, how did you make the curved shin armour? The combination of a good curve, and some thickness to the part itself has never seemed easy.
It's mostly PVC pipe. I cut a pattern from paper, lay it onto a suitable diameter pipe (in this case, 110mm) and cut it out with a Dremel.
I think the shin armour on the Forge World model might actually taper slightly, getting slightly narrower at the top (while I have a butt-tonne of reference pictures, it's hard to tell), but it should be close enough to fool all but the most astute observers.
Beyond that, I'm cutting a matching pattern from plasticard and then laying that on top - I can just stick that layer on once and then just glue polystyrene to polystyrene from then on, rather than having loads of trickier PVC to polystyrene joins. For that, and other plasticard bending exercises, I use a temperature controlled soldering hot air gun - it wasn't originally bought for the job of modelling, but set to about 105-115 degrees C, it is very good at softening polystyrene and resin to bend.
Calibanite Lion wrote: This project is insane, do you do one of those mad scientist maniacal laughs when your building parts to this?
No, I reserve those for my actual world domination projects. This usually gets incredulous laughter, when one of the sane parts of my mind realises what I'm actually doing.
So, all due credit to Van Helser for giving me the idea to take the blastgun lighting further than I'd originally planned (even if it was by misunderstanding what I planned), because it's things like this that will make the model something beyond its 28mm equivalents.
Finally, after a lot of faffing about, I have the secondary control circuit.
My original circuit diagrams used both sides of the 556, but my book of digital electronics gave me some very unhelpful advice about how to trigger it in monostable mode and it wasn't working. I pulled all the unnecessary components for the second side and re-cut the board a little shorter. In theory, I could order in a 555 and rebuild it a bit smaller, but it's not worth the trouble.
Instead of the second side of the 556, I conjured together the above, which pieces together three different transistor types - a NPN that turns on when the output from the secondary 556 goes high - this charges the capacitor, and a PNP that turns on when the output goes low, discharging the capacitor through a high current NPN, turning it and its LEDs on.
There are four of these arrays that sit around the ends of the accelerators. They're not as bright as I'd originally planned to use, but I ordered the wrong LEDs, so whoops - they should do anyway.
There's a mite more work to be done, but I know all the important dimensions, so I can start to assemble the main framework for the blastgun now.
Right, lots of effort, not much progress recently.
I'm working on the clear plastic accelerators for the Plasma Blastgun, and I probably picked the wrong way of doing them. I probably should have done a short section of them, then cast it up in clear resin a few times and pieced all that together.
Instead, I chose to do it all by hand. This is an early stage of cutting:
And many hours later, eighty small pieces of plastic have been bevelled and glued together:
This isn't the final stage yet, as I still have to cut the back face flat and drill holes for the LEDs to fit into, but I'm hoping that it's most of the work out of the way. Hoping, but I will not be surprised if the pieces fall comes apart when I'm drilling, even if I've brutally clamped them in a vice.
However, initial impressions of how it'll look with the LEDs in there aren't too bad.
@Tank_Dweller: I'm sure you've heard it before, but most of it is practice and experience... least as far as knowing how to fudge it when you get it wrong!
They didn't stay glued, damn it. After they fell apart several times, I gritted my teeth, prised them apart, and went for superglue instead.
Given the part is translucent, superglue wasn't really a problem (while it doesn't always dry clear, it was originally discovered by mistake during an attempt to make a clear plastic for gun sights) from that perspective...
... no, the problem with it is that the plastic is PVC. And as can be demonstrated from the swarf from when I drilled it out later on...
... rather than breaking off into lots of little fragments (as you'd reasonably expect, given I was drilling in "between" the layers), it's all come out in neat spirals because superglue practically fuses PVC together. What's less apparent is that this bond takes about half a second. In other words, no second chances.
As such, while I did put together a jig to help me keep things lined up, the parts have come out slightly less than perfect, given there's no possibility for adjustment.
However, the parts have been cut and drilled, so now the LEDs can actually be slotted into their arrays...
(Video some other time, sorry, it was too late at night to do it by the time I'd finished working).
Unless I feel like some more cutting and drilling to narrow the parts down a little more, it does mean the Blastgun is going to be a few millimetres wider than my original plans (the LED bank is slightly larger than originally hoped, which has widened the overall result), but given that it's already established in Leander's fluff (although there's more of that yet to come) that the Solemne forge worlds started to diverge from the exact details of Mars Pattern designs during the Moirae Schism, I'm not feeling too guilty. True Mars pattern would have been a little less square than this anyway (but would have been a lot harder to cut right - cutting consistent curved bevels? No thanks).
GiraffeX wrote: I've tried lights in my Vindicator barrels but nothing complicated like this.
Well, I don't really want Leander to be defined by only her unusual size - I'd like her to be impressive in ways beyond just that. Enough people have put lights in models before, so when this idea for something a bit beyond that came up, it started to sound a lot like what I should be doing.
This is a large part of the underlying framework of the blastgun - it doesn't yet have the curved outer armour of the Mars Pattern, nor the muzzle heat shield, but most of the skeleton is there. You can see how the main arrays and primary control circuit have been fitted in...
... and here's where the secondary circuit goes. Fitting the electronics in has been more of a squeeze than I anticipated, but there is room for all of it.
I'm likely to be held up a little from here on while I wait for an order of rubber sheet to help finish the ball joint (as it needs something to help grip it), but I can find other parts of the model to work on instead. It's not like there's nothing else to do...
With a 28mm Rhino for scale, here's where the upper body is at the moment.
Long time, no updates... well, this is definitely not a promise of imminent progress, but it is something.
I suppose it's time to admit that, for a project I've been (slowly) working on for more than five years, I still don't know who Princeps Helane Rogen is. I've had two rather different concepts floating around in my head for some time, and it's only really now that I'm starting to try and decide between them.
An interesting part of Principes for me is that, given the titanic (pun most definitely intended) strength of will required and the scarcity of suitable candidates, they have to be recruited from across the entire Imperium and can thus come from any walk of life. (The quoted suggests a rarity in the same broad region as Pariahs).
With their broad backgrounds, strong will, indispensability and the fact the Collegio Titanicus have to take the candidates they get, my thinking is that while the official Forge World models might reflect some of those Principes (probably mostly those recruited from forge worlds in the first place), a huge proportion of the candidates will break that mould one way or another.
While I may do a more generic Princeps in the future to allow Leander to stand in for other titans (when her involvement in the story would be out of place or undesirable), it's not a look that suits Helane in my head.
The two core concepts as I have them now, complete with some probably not-quite-final art (may be subject to extra shoulder-pads, useless gubbins or more extensive re-draws):
Firstly, a woman of (space-)Hispanic ethnicity, with short hair and a Matrix-like array of body ports that form the basis of her interface with Leander.
This version comes from a military background (although whether as a Guardswoman or Naval armswoman is still up in the air) and is still fairly well built. Attire is military trousers, a liquid-cooling vest and a lightweight flak vest.
There's some game elements here too - I suspect that in many of the scenarios she'll be appearing in as herself there's a good chance someone will take a shot at her, and her past history should stop her being too easy to take out (or too hard to protect).
The other version comes from (space-)African ethnicity, with her hair replaced by an array of data-braids that form her interface.
She's the granddaughter of a Rogue Trader (or possibly one of his high-ranking crew), and has inherited all of that independent spirit. (The impressive singing voice, however, is all hers).
Her attire is somewhere around the more colourful end of cyber-punk - some hard-to-describe mix of shoulderless dress, long gloves, leggings and boots.
She won't be incompetent in game either, although she'll weighted a bit more towards the mental/social end of that scale than the physical competence of the Hispanic version.