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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Aotrs Shipyards September 2017 Release: Aotrs vehicles (144)

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

This month's scifi release if the first of two releases for the Aotrs ground army in 144th: the Scitalis Recon Cycle and the Hammer of Hatred Super Heavy Tank.

Scitalis Recon Cycle

Scitalis Recon Cycle

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Scitalis Recon Cycle Open canopy version (with a Power Trooper driving)

Scitalis Recon Cycle Open canopy version (with a Power Trooper driving)

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The Scitalis is the most recent addition to the Aotrs arsenal. Developed under the working title of Serpentskull recon cycle, it replaces the Viperskull jetbike and the Bone Cracker and Bone Smasher Recon Cycles.

The increased use of Sentry Drone in front-line reconnaissance has not obviated the need for the deeper recon operations which have always required skilled troops. The various bikes and cycle over the years have fulfilled this role. But these vehicles have always had drawbacks. Firstly, they were never well-protected. Over time, the size of the vehicles also grew larger, to accommodate new technology. (Indeed, it has been a long-standing joke that the recon "bikes" have been for some time longer than a typical saloon gravcar.) Secondly, due to the differences in physical size of the armour, Power Troops required their own special vehicles, simply due to the problems of seating.

The Scitalis was developed to deal with both problems, and to combine the best elements of the three older cycles. For such an advanced vehicle, it is perhaps ironic that the most innovative feature is nothing to do with its combat or recon abilities, but due to something as mundane as the seating. The Scitalis' seats are built entirely from a new-type of hard-code-locked nano-elements. The nano-elements have very few metallic components, being predominantly compressible polymers. With simple adjustments on a small control pad – which requires no external power and is about as analogue as such a device can be – the seating can be configured so it is suitable for either Power Troops or regular infantry. For a regular-sized passenger, the seat is a little higher and closer to the controls. This adjustment can be fine-tuned further to an individual's settings and the distance of the control panel itself can be moved forward or backward, making for a very comfortable ride. At a squeeze, two normal-sized humanoids can fit on the seat, though regular infantry in full gear would be pressed to do so.

The Scitalis has continued the trend of larger size, being slightly larger and its three direct predecessors. But it combines the flight capability of the Viperskull, the sensors of the Bone Cracker and the offensive capabilities of the Bone Smasher, all in one package. Partly, this size is also necessitated by the addition of a bubble canopy. This was, in part, inspired by the Strayvian Dominion's Seething Scoria Attack Skimmer. The other reason was the development of the new shield-grid coating in 2342. A sealed pilot compartment means that, for the first time, the Scitalis can be equipped with shields.

The Scitalis is capable of full orbital flight in addition to the nap-of-Earth grav operations. The Scitalis has both more modern and powerful engines than the older Viperskull, but the addition of the canopy further benefitted it in this regard, whereas the older jetbike has a limited service ceiling. It is, in essence, now more akin to an undersized one-lich fighter craft than a traditional "recon bike."

The Scitalis is equipped with an up-to-date sensor package and ECM system. It is also much more heavily armed than the older bikes, containing essentially all their weapons. It carries a single spinal-mount Coldbeam cannon, slightly less more that the twin Coldbeams of the Viperskull. This is flanked by a pair of light Plasma-Pulse cannons (as the Bone Cracker did) for shorter range engagements and considerably more hitting power.

The Viperskull's rarely used lower wing-scythes were almost dropped from consideration, but the veterans consulted felt that they were still a useful addition for some purposes – more for engineering tasks than actual combat. Rather than use physical blades, however, the Scitalis has two much shorter wing-stubs which serve as emitters for a scaled-up version of the Cold Blades used as infantry melee weapons. This grants much more effectiveness in usage, though the Scitalis' power generator chugs a little when trying to run them simultaneously while flying with active shields and both energy weapons firing.

Finally, it carries a pair of SK series Snake Missile Launchers (like the Bone Smasher), which give it a limited, but not insignificant, anti-armour punch.

The Scitalis initially received an uncertain reception from the first units to whom it was assigned, but this first impression was solely based on the size and the addition of the canopy. Once the veterans had had a chance to out it through its paces, the reception has been unilaterally positive. The Scitalis is being deployed as fast as it can be produced, with the older Recon Cycles being regulated to the secondary Dark Elf Trooper forces or decommissioned altogether.

Hammer of Hatred Super Heavy Tank

Hammer of Hatred Super Heavy Tank

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The Hammer of Hatred is the current super heavy tank to be operated by the Aotrs. The Hammer of Hatred is well-armoured and has strong shields. The rear engines provide it with full flight capability, enabling it to fly into and out of orbit under its own power. The vehicles unusual hammerhead shape is partly streamlined to facilitate these operations. However, it is only a mediocre flier at best, and the main turret has to be locked forward during high-speed flight – but it is capable of a surprising turn of speed. It has excellent sensor systems, including a front-mounted rotating sensor pod just in front of the cockpit, which is itself very heavily armoured.

The weapon systems were designed to be modular, though in practise, the primary configuration is nearly ubiquitous. The primary mode uses a huge Magnetic Linear Accelerator Cannon, rated at Class 25, which capable of shredding main battle tanks like paper. The weapon is playfully nicknamed the "can-opener" by its crews. The distinctive oblong shape of the barrel is due to the placement of the two main magnetic accelerators, which run along either side the barrel. All three units are surrounded by the secondary accelerators, which work in a more conventional fashion. The railgun is able to accept and fire a wide range of munitions, though again, typically it uses just the solid slug.

The secondary weapons are a pair of Plasma-Pulse Cannons, mounted at either side of the "hammer." The unusual placement of the mounts was a compromise between the need for a weapon system for point-defence (typically top-mounted on most tanks) and the need for a dorsal turret during flight (typically a chin turret for VTOLs). The somewhat eclectic placement affords both guns very good coverage on the tanks, with the only blind-spot being from the area of the rear hull at close range. (At longer ranges, the PD system can automatically tilt the tank slightly to be able to fire.)

Outside of special operations or custom modifications, the only other modular weapons in use are a heavy Plasma-Pulse Cannon for the main turret to wreak havoc at close ranges and a pair of small horde launchers for the twin turrets, but it rare to see either in use in practise. This was primarily the reason no additional configurations were developed – the Hammer of Hatred's primary set is the best-suited for its typical role.

Deployment was rapid and widespread after its introduction as both of the older super heavy tanks that had been in service were overdue retirement. Both older tanks were Aotrs refits of imported vehicles, the Bloody Spear in particular being a modification of the ancestor of the current Herosine Onager Superheavy tank.

Photos of the Scitalis is of the WSF model; the open-canopy version is the currently-beta'd HP Grey Strong Flexible, and the Hammer of Hatred is a hybrid: Replicator 2 except for the sponsons, which are WSF.

As a note of comparison interest in the materials, here is the Scitalis in HPGSF, HPGSF and WSF.

On these particular models, there's not a lot of difference after painting, but the Scitalis don't have as much sharp details as, say the, Marders I have shown previously.

We will be debuting the Aotrs ground force at the (now somewhat erroneously named!) Derby Worlds on the 7th and 8th of October, along with regular 144th Maneouvre Group. Drop by if you're in the area!

Next month will be more Aotrs ground forces. November is most likely going to see the release of more starships in the form of the Wodef Enclave.

Our set of starship rules (a generic build-your-own ships system suitable for any set of models) is also now available of Wargames Vault here:

Accelerate and Attack! Aeons of War

Accelerate and Attack! Aeons of War

Accelerate and Attack! Aeons of War

There is also a free Web Enhancement Pack; this contains the markers and the QR sheet the latter of which is an indicator of the level of the game if you want to have a quick nosey.

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Shapeways, Aotrs Shipyards