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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

New Tower Blocks by Blotz

One of our regular customers asked us to pull one of our 6mm Tower Blocks over to 10mm (which makes a change as we're in the process of pulling all our 10mm stuff down to 6mm).

While we were at it, we also generated a damaged layer for the building too.


3x3 Tower Block (Undamaged) (B10-CS-015) price: £11.00


3x3 Tower Block (Undamaged) (B10-CS-015)

3x3 Tower Block (Damaged) (B10-CS-016) price: £10.00

3x3 Tower Block (Damaged) (B10-CS-016)

Extra middle sections (B10-CS-262) price £4.00

We were also given a gentle prod by our friends over at Wargamers Den who requested a 5" length of single carriageway Flyover/Overpass - so here it is....

Code: B10-RD-158 - price £2.00

Code: B10-RD-158

All are now available on the Blotz website.

Blotz

Aotrs Shipyards Feb 2017 Release: Vampire family

Aotrs Shipyards is a web store on Shapeways.com, a 3D print house which had production and shipping facilities located in the USA and the the Netherlands.

I skipped a January scifi release, since I simply ran out of time, between commissions, panto, and sickness; but this month, we have have five models: the Vampire APC and its derivatives at 144.

Vampire

Vampire

Vampire Painted

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(Photo of Rep 2 prototype)

The Vampire family of vehicles was first introduced nearly eighty years ago, in 2265. It was the breakout product of NorthStar Engineering. The Vampire arrived on the scene at exactly the right moment for the small independent company. Several of the major powers were looking into an inexpensive, reliable vehicle for transport personnel over surface distances – a larger scale battle-taxi. The Vampire fitted the requirements perfectly. Gaining several large scale contracts, NorthStar capitalised on the success of the Vampire with clever marketing and lucrative manufacturing licences. Within a decade, the Vampire was widely distributed among ground forces from all manner of powers, from major to minor and even several nonhuman customers. It is estimated that as many as forty thousand were produced by NorthStar alone over the fifty years the Vampire remained in full production at the company.

The Vampire's success lay in more than just its marketing. The APCs' low price tag, modular component construction and ease of maintenance made it quickly extremely popular. The original Vampire was tracked, but within six years of the first Vampire rolling off the production line, NorthStar has created a grav conversion kit. Clever and ingenuitive engineering allowed the grav version of the Vampire to replace the tracks with grav-sponsons and run smoothly without the need for a significantly larger power pack. While the conversion kit perforce made the Vampire more expensive and the grav variants never reached the same numbers of distribution, it was still highly popular.

The Vampire's modularity has contributed significantly to its longevity. As a vehicle intended more for low-intensity or rear-guard operations, comparatively fewer have been lost in combat over the decades and especially in the hands of minor powers, a given Vampire may have seen decades or service and refits.

The Vampire's primary role is simply that of a battle-taxi, to transport troops to and from the battlefield, or in convoy on the surface. The Vampire's emphasis was placed on troop and crew survivability. To that end, the Vampire's engine (and later power core) is front mounted, behind an armoured access hatch and sealed from the crew and passengers by an internal heavy wall. The generous size of the engine compartment means the power plant can be replaced and upgraded easily.

Primary access is via the twin rear doors. The driver (right) and commander (left) have hatches above their stations (allowing a more expedient exit in case the vehicle needs to be abandoned), and there are four additional roof hatches in the main troop compartment.

The troop compartment is spacious enough to comfortably house sixteen passengers (e.g. two squads of infantry), powered infantry or even cargo. Six vision blocks provide the passengers with some visibility.

The stock Vampire is unarmed. However, many armies and militia experimented with upgrades – smoke dischargers and pintle-mounted assault weapons being one of the more common varieties.

The most notable current large user of the Vampire is the Tarrainian Federation, which manufactures them under licence. The TarFed Vampires are close to the original design, with only incremental changes. The majority of TarFed Vampires are tracked, with a smattering of gravitic version, concentrated in priority uses, such as CASEVAC.

The Aotrs also makes use of the Vampire, but not of the original stock vehicle.

Vampire (Grav)

Vampire (Grav)

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Vampire Lord

Vampire Lord

(Photo of hybrid: Rep 2 hull, WSF turret)

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Contrary to a popular galacnet theory, the Aotrs adoption of popular Vampire APC was not due to the thematically-appropriate name ro the Undead(which is entirely coincidental).

The Aotrs took the basic grav Vampire design and made significant changes. They striped out and replaced the power core and upgraded internal systems and added a turret, transforming the vehicle into an IFV, the Vampire Lord. The Vampire Lord sacrificed half the space for the infantry carried – down to a comfortable eight (a dozen at a push) – to install the quad pulse-fire coldbeam cannon turret mounted on the roof.

The Vampire Horde is a variant of the Vampire Lord that replaces the coldbeam turret with a salvo launcher for the Horde semi-guided warhead system, giving application for use in strike, anti-tank, anti-personnel and anti-aircraft roles. The Vampire Horde Doom is a further variant that has no infantry capacity, but instead has additional ammunition space. It is used in supplementary AA and Anti-Tank roles, though they have been successfully used to support missile patrol boats in naval engagements on soft targets.

For nearly two decades, the Vampire Lord was the Aotrs' primary APC. The hull was not suited for upgrade with shields and it eventually began to fall out of usage. It has now been replaced by the Fallen Soul in the transport role.

The Vampire Horde currently sees the most usage of the Vampire variants; despite the inability of the vehicle to mount shields, in an AA or support role this was not considered as critical. Most Vampire Lords are currently regulated to support or second-line roles. However, the Vampire's tale does not end there. Work was beginning on extending the design's life by adding a dedicated AA tracking suite to both Lord and Horde and them and turning them into a proper company AA vehicles, a role they were already starting to fill.

But within the last six months, a brand-new innovative technique has been developed, allowing a shield grid matrix to be quite literally painted on to the hull. Advances in power plant technology allow a further upgrade to the power course to handle the additional load of shields. The new shield matrix is being pioneered on the Vampire Lord and Horde, but is expected to be applied to other unshielded Aotrs vehicles like the Distant Thunder and Reign of Anger.

The Vampire Lord and Horde's new coat of paint will once again bring the vehicle into the front line, as a light IFV for special operations and an AA vehicle. Nor is this just a figurative statement; the new matrix is coloured so as to replace the Vampire Lord's original mist-grey colouration with the current rust-and-gold livery.

Vampire Lord (with raised turret)

Vampire Lord (with raised turret)

(Photo of Rep 2 prototype)

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This version has the guns raised instead of horizontal.

Vampire Horde

Vampire Horde

(Photo of hybrid: Rep 2 hull, WSF turret)

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(Note: There is, in theory, a version of the Horde with the turret lowered that I could do if there was demand for it.)

The Vampire has a bit of history actually. It was one of the first cardboard fold-flat vehicles UshCha designed, oh, some fifteen plus years ago for when he played 25mm and Stargrunt II (before he wrote Maneuvre Group). I cribbed the design for the Aotrs and added turrets (also fold-flat!)

When I first started 3D CAD, the Vampire was an early experiment. When we got the Replicator, the Vampire was actually one of the first models we tested it on. It then languished for some time until I needed to to the TarFed ground force relatively quickly. As they are a minor power who gets most of their stuff (like many smaller nations nations) on import, it made sense to use the Vampire. While I was at it, it was daft not to resurrect the Aotrs versions as well!

As I've still got commissions and such to do, you can expect to see more of both TarFed and Aotrs ground forces coming in the next month or two; my aim for this year is to try and get the Aotrs ground army "finished" – that is, to finish translating he majority of the scratch-built/converted/etc vehicles I have at 25mm to 144.

I have a few starship designs on the table, but that will require me getting some free time, but that may creep out in between.

As a final bonus (and a bit of a teaser!), when I was painting the TarFeds, I experimented with trying a camouflage pattern with their colour scheme. (The colour scheme is the one I'd already used on their starfleet.) I tried a couple of variants, and while the resulting pattern was alright, after much debate among me and my compatriots (and some unbiased opinions from my nongamer sisters), I decided that the camouflage pattern did the job rather too well. It obscured all the details, which from a commercial perspective (as I don't have even distantly the space to have display and wargame versions of my models!) and from my own pride-at-detail standpoint, I decided that wasn't the right choice. It was an interesting experiment though: here's a glimpse of what might have been (pictured along with a couple of (pieces of) other TarFed armour!

TarFed armour!

Shapeways, Aotrs Shipyards

Save 63 Acres at Fort Donelson & Parker's Cross Roads

Save 63 Acres at Fort Donelson and Parker's Cross Roads

At Fort Donelson, on February 16, 1862, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant forced the "unconditional surrender” of a Confederate army of more than 12,000 men. Now, just after the 155th anniversary of the battle, you have a chance to preserve 63 acres at two historic Tennessee battlefields Fort Donelson and Parker’s Cross Roads.

Fort Donelson was one of the first in a string of successes that earned Ulysses S. Grant the moniker “unconditional surrender Grant”. His success there set the stage for the Union’s march through Tennessee and provided the pretext for one of the first major battles in the war the Battle of Shiloh. We now have a special opportunity to preserve a piece of Grant’s legacy.

At Parker’s Cross Roads, Nathan Bedford Forrest made his own demand for unconditional surrender, but his was not met. Instead, to Forrest’s “surprise and astonishment”, the Confederate General found his forces outnumbered by enemy forces in front and rear. In the pivotal moment of the battle Forrest declared, “charge ‘em both ways”, as his troops repelled the Union advance and were able to live to fight another day.

The events at Fort Donelson and Parker’s Cross Roads are crucial to a full understanding of the Civil War in the Western Theater. The 63 acres we have marked for preservation there are some of the most historically significant land left to be saved in Tennessee.

Now you have an opportunity to help us tell this story for future generations, by saving hallowed land and nearly completing the preservation of these monumental battlefields. Will you join me in saving these 63 acres in Tennessee?

Help tell the story of the Civil War in the Western Theater by saving 63 acres in Tennessee!

Article: Fort Donelson

Battle Map: Fort Donelson

Battle Overview: Parker's Cross Roads

Battle Map: Parker's Cross Roads

The Civil War Trust

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

New Zulu Buildings from Escenografia Epsilon

We are very pleased to announce the launch a new and range of buildings for the Anglo Zulu War.  

We sell two different buildings: huts and farms for this period of the time.

These are now available From Epsilon web store at only €13 and is painted and ready-to-play.

REF: ZUL10-01 Zulu Wars Huts €13

REF: ZUL10-01 Zulu Wars Huts

REF: ZUL10-02 Zulu Wars Farms

REF: ZUL10-02 Zulu Wars Farms

Monday, 20 February 2017

New Vehicles Available From Panzer Depot

New Releases of Panzer Depot in February - 1/144 WWII

German Beobachtungspanzer

German Beobachtungspanzer

Hungarian Toldi Pak40

Hungarian Toldi Pak40

British Austin Armored Car

British Austin Armored Car

USA T30/34 Heavy Tank

USA T30/34 Heavy Tank

Russian 2S1

Russian 2S1

Russian BRDM2

Russian BRDM2

Panzer Depot

WW1 British Mark IV Now Available by Kallistra

British MkIV male and female tanks now available to order. Cast in lead free pewter, these are easy to assemble multipart sets.

World War 1 - Late War British Tanks

WW1-BRT-MKIVM British MkIV Male Tank £6.00

WW1-BRT-MKIVM British MkIV Male Tank


WW1-BRT-MKIVF British MkIV Female Tank £6.00

WW1-BRT-MKIVF British MkIV Female Tank

Kallistra

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Legacy of U.S. Colored Troops

The Legacy of U.S. Colored Troops

Just five days after President Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the 1st Louisiana Native Guards mustered into U.S. service as the first African-descent regiment of the Civil War. In admiration, Union General Benjamin Butler said, “Better soldiers never shouldered a musket."

All too often, it is forgotten that some 180,000 African Americans served in 163 units in the Union Army, mostly as part of the United States Colored Troops (USCT). Tens of thousands more served in the Union Navy.

Black soldiers made their mark on Civil War battlefields east and west. African-American soldiers first proved their mettle in the Union victory at Island Mound in October 1862.

The most famous event in popular culture today is that of the 54th Massachusetts’s assault on Fort Wagner on the South Carolina coast, as portrayed in the movie Glory. Losses were severe, and the 54th’s colonel Robert Gould Shaw was killed. But the furious assault of these men of color proved to the watching world that these troops possessed all the bravery needed for combat and more.

President Lincoln wrote in a public letter, “there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while, I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart, and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it.”

In honor of their legacy of service and sacrifice, we work to preserve the history of these American soldiers, from the plains of Oklahoma to the shores of South Carolina. Learn about the land saved by the Civil War Trust where USCT members fought.

Freedmen In4

Join historian Caitlin Verboon, as she discusses the transition from slavery to freedom that former slaves faced during and after the Civil War. Filmed at the slave quarters of Arlington House, Virginia, this video delves into the creation of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the effects of Reconstruction on African Americans in the United States.

Black History Month Historic Events

In commemoration of Black History Month, the Civil War Trust has put together a list of nine events and sites that highlight some of the great achievements of African Americans in our nation’s history.

The Civil War Trust