Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Behold The Star Marines

I realized I promised a small expose on my Star Marine Heavy Armor last week and have yet to deliver.

Firstly let me say that Star Marines have sort of taken over my imagination.  For the first year or more of my designing I was heavily focused on making "Space Marine Compatible Parts".  Items that could be considered aftermarket parts for GW's space marine line, or related lines.  Now, well, I like GW's line well enough but recent expanses in what I do and how I do it have meant that where before I'd design a shoulder pad or sword for a soldier now I'm designing whole figures and complete families of weapons.  Its a large difference that erodes the marriage between Warhammer 40k and my 3d modeling.

The point is that while my 3d bits are usable for 40k I'm no longer exclusively focusing on using them there as exemplified by the appearance of new weapons that don't have a standard analog in the 40k rules.  Ultimately when starting the Star Marine Heavy Armor design I had to, or rather got to, consider a wider array of science fiction details when creating them.  I love 40k but its a restrictive environment to design for.  While the background of 40k has been rich and vibrant for years the design studio's literary and artistic choices are tightly controlled.  As Games Workshop grows there is less and less room for outside artists to create anything "lasting" in the 40k universe.

Obviously I don't expect Games Workshop to change their fluff to fit my projects in.  But with the unpredictable shifts of fluff and what is official army design it makes it impossible to really create something and say it will last for any length of time.  That's their prerogative, its their universe, I have no say in the matter.  However I'd argue that most miniatures gamers would like to at least pretend all their assembly and hard work would last and maybe all their scratch building was at least theirs not the manufacturers vision.  Custom painting on chapter color schemes and pinning and glueing new poses on your officers can only take an army so far.

When I started looking, I mean really looking, at what I loved about Space Marines in the Warhammer 40k setting I had to admit it was some very specific things that games workshop really didn't do very well portraying.  Firstly, in a setting ostensibly devoid of advanced technology the Space Marines are top of the line.  Secondly personality wise the marines are essentially space knights, ok maybe monastic knights but knights in space.  And third they are elite warriors, a tragic brotherhood of arms destined to die fighting a pointless war.

In context Space Marines in 40k aren't particularly advanced.  While their armor is advanced it really doesn't look it and most weapons they use have been co-opted into the imperial guard either as man portable heavy weapons or simply special weapons to outfit squads of standard soldiers.  Their vehicles and aesthetic choices are less technologically advanced than they are, metal slab construction from the industrial revolution.  I suppose it fits the setting but doesn't really speak to what I love about them in the fluff.

Space Marine chapters, while regimented functioning as a fighting force are less knightly in action than they are barbarous in play.  There is a strong game play emphasis away from armies facing down their enemy with some kind of chivalrous code and more towards massed fire or super weapons to deal with any comers.  Arguably each official chapter has its own roots and play style.  If you want space knights pick up black templars, at least until they get a new codex and then they'll be less chivalrous knights and more blood thirsty nutters with swords chained to their hands.  The old deathwing always sounded in the fluff as awesome elite knights facing enemies in single combat but now they are heavy weapon wielding crazies that stay at mid range shooting people from the dark.  Sad.

Of course my biggest problem is the elite nature of the Space Marines.  They are supposed to be big, they are outnumbered but fight on.  They breath so they fight on.  They fight so they can keep fighting.  To call a fluff space marine a soldier is a misnomer.  They are samurai, they are immortals, they are shinobi, they are black ops, they are devil dogs, ultimately they are the marines.  the best of the best, they fight against odds and against time to save their crumbling empire.  But marines are all to routine now. They were once elite but with the advent of more unique codex options in other books their prices have dwindled compared to the mass of weaponry other armies produce.  The result is that while many armies claim to be a horde army the marines feel like one.  They have no unique mechanics or super amazing troop options just the same bland sameness in each area of the org chart.  This coupled with the push to require more and more troops results in largely samely built units in armies that are built the same as the next guy.  People complain about spam, space marines have become spam in a can. A largely identical codex sprinkled with minor amounts of franks red hot sauce in the hopes that people will mistake the burn for flavor.

Why is this important? well when I think of all these truths I wanted to reach into other parts of science fiction to fill all those missing rolls.  My biggest inspiration is of course, Star Ship Troopers. Hienlein's novels are powerful fiction and while repeatedly adapted, even into a table top game, they are rarely portrayed as I always envisioned them.  Perhaps its the fact that no official vision of them exists that makes me so enamored with the design.  I've also chosen heavy influences from anime series's like Armored Trooper Votoms and Gundam 079 and 080.  Their down to earth tactical portrayal of future combat with mech suits and power armor are great inspiration for anyone wondering what space combat might one day become.

So lets talk Star Marines...

Here we see the Star Marine Heavy Armor in its entirety.  This unposed version is built in a modular manner. each body part is its own color as seen here.  This allows me to pose the armor in virtually any pose then solidify it to make a final model.  As a master model it also allows me to construct parts for the design quickly and easily.  You'll notice that the design appears much more technologically advanced than many 28mm soldier models.  I've made a concerted effort to make the soldier's power armor look both practical in terms of its defensive value, and in terms of its strength enhancement capabilities.  In the 40k setting marines are strong before they put on the armor.  Here the standard soldier wears a hydrolic suit to achieve the same thing.  I wanted the super human nature of the warrior to come not from some biological enhancement but from what they do with what they are given.  Its after all, the use of tools that has made humanity survivors throughout history, we adapt or die.

The armored torso of the Star Marine Heavy Armor is designed to be asexual. I'm a huge fan of representing femininity on the battlefield as both a character and a weapon but here the protective value of the armor is its primary function, not its aesthetics.  The front of the torso is heavily armored, its abdomen guarded with articulated segmented plates.  It's chest sweeps up the front of the body becoming a full head and shoulder armor.  The hard carapace protects body and mounts various sensory devices on its outer hull.  A variant torso depicts the chest armor open, its upper canopy pulled back to reveal the operator's face. the The only exposed cabling on the torso is along the shoulder joint wrapping around behind to connect the power lead from the power pack.  The cabling here used not for internal power systems but to run induction power through the arms of the suit to weaponry when necessary.  When mounted with a shoulder pad the exposed cabling is protected from attack except from directly underneath the arm.  I am proud to point out how much the armor's torso looks like a Sontaron soldier.

The arm itself is a beefy structure.  It isn't just armor but power cables and hydrolic systems as well.  The arms were roughly inspired by artwork from the graphic novel "Starship Troopers: dominant species"  there the armor of the mobile infantry is depicted as bulky powered armored space suits.  The arm structure is traditionally human, covered in large molded plates and jointed to allow for maximum movement.  The hands of these models are modular.  there is a 1.5mm peg that allows you to swap weapon hands, here I've used closed fists but my final sprues include fists, pistol grips, and open hands for weapon carrying.  The back of the hand has a thick plate which includes an induction port, a place to plug in weapons so they can charge or run off the power pack of the Star Marine's armor.

Here we see the shoulder pad.  Its big and bulky covering the entire shoulder and most of the way down the arm.  Games Workshop claims the general size and shape of their official shoulder pads as their IP but the general size and even its ribbed rim are natural extensions of military systems.  The large size the armored infantry will traditional walk strait forward, these large bulky shoulder pads protect the warrior from glancing rounds fired from all sides.  It also protects from impacts from weapons directed at the weakest spot of the chest carapace, the shoulder joint.  The softer side of the torso is also blocked by the long body of the shoulder armor.  The ribbing helps prevent the layered polymers of the armor separating after impacts that might be jaring enough to break the lamination bonds.  It also helps deflect glancing melee weapons away from armor seams.  Lastly and most importantly for my design, it serves as a potential mounting point for the shoulder weaponry used by hienlein's Mobile Infantry.

The back of the armor is more delicate in design than the front.  With it's bulky plates the front of the armor is extremely durable but the back mounts the machinery necessary to operate the suit.  On top we see the external data leads used to connect the armor's internal systems to vehicle equipment.  Directly on the shoulder blades and upper back are the power distribution systems that allow the suit to power weapon attachments and enhance the wearer's strength.  Below that along the small of the back and down the gluts is the hydraulic actuators that carry the majority of the armor's weight.  Sensors along this hydraulic spine allow the armor's on-board computers to detect the wearer's movements and respond accordingly with varying degrees of dexterity and force.  These systems while durable enough for military deployment are more lightly armored than the front of the suit's carapace.

The armor has internal power cells that store power for basic operation of the on-board computers and even to some degree the hydrolic systems. However for extended operation an external power source is needed.  The heavy armor's power pack is used for just such purposes.  Its basic body houses a basic oxygen generator for space operation, essential survival supplies like radiation stims and field rations, as well as a water purifier.  Most importantly the armored power pack houses twin micro fusion power generators. These tiny micro reactors are activated in combat allowing the suit to amp strength and power external weaponry as needed.  Their power output can charge the internal power cells and even generate enough power to operate small electric vehicles.  Due to the nature of the reactors massive amounts of heat are generated, this is vented through specialized exhaust ports mounted to vent heat up and away behind the soldier's head.  These ports help minimize the heat signature of the armor until absolutely necessary.

The legs of the Star Marine Heavy Armor are as intricate as the torso's sophisticated power systems.  Often over looked by other companies I wanted you to feel a practical aspect to the legs, not just, armored space pants.  Here we can examine the all terrain boots with their bulky armored exterior and chunky metal traction units.  The ankle and front of knees and legs are protected with reinforced plating to prevent debilitating extremity shots.  Along the back of the lower legs you can just make out the hydraulic support structure that helps distribute weight for the armor and keep balance.  Much of the armor's hydraulics of the suit are dedicated to supporting its own weight, without these systems a marine would be crushed by the weight of their own armor.  The hydraulic support distributes the weight down the outside of the legs into the reinforced boots.  No where are the hydraulics more exposed to weapons fire than here where the armor's designs necessitates them on the sides rather than back of the armor.  For this reason the important equipment is protected by over lapping plates running up the leg where it joins the hip belt and back hydraulic distribution network.

Star Marines are suitably impressive warriors and so they need suitably impressive weapons.  Enter the Gravity Hammer.  Star Marines are suitably impressive masters of technology.  Their heavy weapons are often made man portable by a gravity sling and deployment vehicles often employ antigravity technology to fly.  Though generally benignly used to lower gravitational forces similar technology can be used to amplify gravity.  The gravity hammer is one such application of the technology.  This is the first in a line that may eventually encompass my entire "techno" weapon line.  The gravity hammer is designed to be sleek and elegant and at the same time as practical as possible.  It bars a sweeping arc shape to its head like it was designed to be swung through the air.  At the same time its heft is detailed to add grip to security in the owner's hand.  Rounded out by a power unit at its pummel.

The Gravity hammer is an electronic device made by the military.  It uses a standard military power distribution block.  At the end of the power block is a photon charge pack. This specialized power cell is used to power weaponry, and indeed is a shared feature of all my "Advanced" line energy weapons.  On the left face you can see the photon charge port used to charge the weapon for use.  The port can be used to charge the photon charge pack or when connected to a suit's induction port can directly power the weapon from the micro fusion generator of the suit.  In a pinch you can always swap the charge packs as well.  On the face we can see the system read out control. Seen here, upside down the controls have an LCD panel and several control function buttons the operator can use to change settings on the weapon.  Not seen, on the reverse side, is the standard circuit breaker used on all "advanced" line weapons insuring safe operation and preventing over load of the photon charge pack.

The head of the gravity hammer scene in profile. Like the gravity device on my jetbike design, the gravity hammer's head has a hollow center.  The smaller gravity sling I also envision with a hollow center. It's here that gravity device creates an artificial gravity point. A collection entangled dark matter that is used to amplify the weapon's weight.  Biometric computers in the hammer link with on-board armor computers to detect body movement in order to determine when the user is attacking.  During an attack the weapon's computer systems initiate a gravity surge amplifying the mass of the hammer head between 200 and 300 times.  At the point of impact the blow can hit with as much force as 13 tonnes per square centimeter.  After striking the computer cycles back the gravity surge to normal levels allowing the operator to maintain control.

The use of shields in futuristic melee combat is a rarity but the Star Marines employ them to great effect on heavy armor.  Star Marines in Heavy Armor are often the focal point of enemy ranged fire and as such the Mater Shields are vital to the longevity of the troops.  Matter shields involve a complex magnetosphere that generates an ionized plasma field around the shields face. The result is a barrier that absorbs energy and causes matter to ablate on contact.  This same technology is deployed in large scale on Star Marine vehicles.

The Matter Shield is a compact device.  Internally a shielded electro-magnet rotates within a bath of exotic matter exciting molecules along the face of the sheild to firce ionize then plasmize as the excitation accelerates.  At the core is a low grade magnetic resinator collects the plasma flat along the surface.  Blade like heat sinks dissipate thermal energy along the edge of the shield making it both a defensive weapon and, in a pinch, an offensive one.  Matter Shield models are mounted with a Star Marine Hand already locked into the photon charge port of the shield to give it power.

And that about wraps up this look at the initial Star Marine Heavy Armor release.  I've begun working on additional support options for these suits including techno-fist options, shoulder mounted weapons, and some added melee / ranged options.  Additional in the works will be Star Marine Light Armor, with both male and female variants.  If I ever get the chance I'll also post some background for my Star Marine designs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wargaming's Future (3/19/2013)

I haven’t spent a huge amount of time on my blog over the past several months.  Mostly my time has been dedicated to completing some commissions.  But I’ve been slipping into designing some cool bits now and then when the inspiration strikes.  On the one hand I’m proud of the commission work I’m doing but I feel I’m doing a bit of disservice to my readers and all those who order my items.  I know I’ve got a small stack of requests in my in box and a couple of errors on printed items that I need to get to.  I promise you that I’ll get around to them ASAP now that my free time is becoming mine again.

I semi-officially finished my largest commission last Tuesday.  I only await the final approval on the models to know that I’m definitively done.  I’d love to share with you the fruits of those projects but due to confidentiality agreements I can’t. Suffice it to say it was a huge challenge and I’m quite proud to have done it.  Now that I can get back to my own projects I’ve jumped on my star marines again.
When I started making my female space marines I jokingly referred to them as “Star Marines”.  This was as much a tongue in cheek reference to GW’s product as it was an example of my insecurity over the idea of barrowing on the Games Workshop mythos.  I am a huge fan of Warhammer 40k and the models of Games Workshop but the older their world gets the less I feel at home in it.

I could chalk this up to my age but I don’t really believe that’s the case. I still watch power rangers and read comic books so age isn’t the issue. The issue is Games Workshop is reinventing itself.  It’s been doing it for years and on the one hand being the Madonna of its industry is what makes it great.    On the other hand reinvention always leaves someone out in the cold. And that someone in this case is me.

I’m willing to bet that it’s a lot of other people too.  I’m not afraid of change but change, reinvention, can’t be for its own sake.  To often we take for granted that change will be good or bad and generally fail to acknowledge that the scary part of change isn’t its good or bad points but the lack of control we have over it. Games Workshop has changed Warhammer 40k a lot over the years and while we can say over and over that it’s changes aren’t all bad we must admit that some of them are.

Which brings me to 6th edition 40k.  I started playing 40k back in 2nd edition and back then the land scape or “meta” if you want to believe in that, was a lot like it is now.  There were a lot of people spoiling to play cool new things that could be done with the game books.  But back then Games Workshop accomplished the same thing with a lot less money and a lot less man power.  People were inspired less by Games Workshop’s fluff background and more by their own imaginations.  And people took absurd ideas and ran with them for hours upon hours of conversion and gameplay fun.

Today with the freshness of 6th edition, the newly revised whitedwarf, and the quicker pace of releasing Games Workshop has captured that anything can happen vibe of Rogue Trader.  But in doing so what have they spent.  In terms of money? In terms of manpower? In terms of long term viability of the products they produce?  I’m not really qualified to speak on the time, effort, and money Games Workshop has spent to revitalize 40k.  What I can say is I’m not sure its sustainable.

Games Workshop has started trying new things and that’s good in the long run.  But they haven’t been terribly good at what they have tried.  6th edition 40k is still a terribly hard to explain game for very little reason.  Contrary the to popular belief the rules for playing toy soldiers are very easy to articulate.  Any 8 year old can explain them, I shoot you, you die.  We all love rolling dice, we all love watching enemy and even allied soldiers get removed as casualties.  Games Workshop keep’s making that complicated.  Arguably this is done to making teams balanced but everyone can attest that, while the most balanced it’s been in years, 40k is not balanced so all that extra writing and layers of rules technicalities is a waste.  Beyond that every rule in the big book pretty much has an exception in one or more army books anyway making it less a rules guide than a bunch of things you have to remember to ignore but only when X is on the field anyway.

I have a 7 year old nephew.  A 7 year old nephew that is part of my table top roleplaying group.  We play a lot of different games but his favorite is Star War D6.  A game played with fists full of D6s and lots of brash fun gunslingers shooting at each other.  I tried teaching him Warhammer 40k. a game that is arguably very similar to the WEG Star Wars experience.  He lost interest after 15 minutes.

Perhaps 7 years old is the wrong age to learn mass combat games.  Maybe I’m not a good gaming instructor.  Or maybe there are just too many rules and to many exceptions for a child to track. I don’t really know.  The trouble is that most of the gamers I know are table top gamers because they started young.  I started at around 7 or 8 myself with RPGs and moved to wargames at 10 or 11.  My Nephew actually totally grasps the concept of characters, line of sight, hit points, armor saves, and all of that.  He just doesn’t care about look out sirs, overwatch, snap fire, anything that is a USR, or why some models get feels no pain and others don’t.

At the end of the day Games Workshop’s new more engaging business model just doesn’t make for a healthy game.  As a current gamer it’s nice that things are more balanced. It’s great that we are getting new kits faster.  It’s nice that unasked questions are being faq’d sooner.  It’s even nice that I can spend my money on a poorly designed digital product instead of an over designed print product.  But when it comes down to it balance, speed of releases, faqs, and even digital or print products aren’t the barriers to entry on the game.

At a time when the entire world has seen economic distress the biggest issue is now and always will be price and service.  Games Workshop’s constantly up sloping prices coupled with relatively poor customer service and the constant feeling that whatever I buy will be devalued in the game by 6 to 10 weeks out make it hard for a current gamer to justify the price tag.  At the same time while other games have maintained a reasonably price tag for their core products and an extremely low price tag for their starter sets, Games Workshop continues the trend of uniform prices across the board. This means new gamers can’t buy into the game to get hooked without a friend that’s already in the hobby and spent the money.

As a gamer I’m an advocate for gaming. I love gaming and believe everyone who plays is in some way better for playing.  But I can buy a DnD starter set for 20 bucks, all the core books for 60, and a bunch of plastic DnD miniatures for a buck a piece. For Warhammer 40k I spend 65 bucks for the core book, another 60 for my army book and then 100 plus for a bare bones starter army that isn’t even always complete to play and is rarely what you actually want.  I’m not sure I can advocate that as easily as I can other aspects of the hobby.

Maybe that’s the point though, Games Workshop is trying to change the dynamic of the hobby.  It seems clear they don’t want it accessible to just anyone.  Constant price rises, pushes to remove services from 3rd party retailers, and even the semi-mainstream effort put into forge world are attempts at elitism within the hobby.  Games Workshop’s goal is to push people towards their in house distribution.  As an example, they just contractually killed bits service through 3rd party retailers which means they will likely start unveiling a bunch of shitty fine cast bit kits that are direct order only.  Every kit will be priced at 19.99 or similar and have just enough kinda useful and kinda useless bits on the kit to make you feel like it might be a good price but the quality and service will still be lacking and spending 20 bucks for the one power fist will still leave someone feeling a bit let down.

See Games Workshop is ok with someone leaving the hobby so long as you aren’t ordering from them directly.  Their greatest profit margin is in house where their supply chain takes care of everything rather than paying an outsider.  Their highest degree of control is in house where they do all the training and control all the advertising. No risk of their employees telling you about a competing product or their magazine advertising WarmaHordes.  In the end their goal is pretty transparent.  If they can’t get you into one of their stores and keep you, they don’t want you as a customer.

If you want to understand their elitism look no farther than their “digital products”.  Their “digital products” are nothing more than the iBooks News Stand products.  I get game informer the exact same way, only for 14 bucks a year. Same basic content. Useful index, searchable functionality, fancy revolving 3d images (game characters are cool that way), occasional videos, forced landscape viewing (even though portrait is traditional print lay out and easier to bloody read), and of course outrageously large 300mb downloads.  Only difference is that Games Workshop feels their product is worth more because they made it.  Same goes with their print game books.  We can talk about all the fancy color print pages and stuff we want but I have personally felt for years that the army book prices are trending towards the point they aren’t in my price range. I can pick up a hard cover 200 page DnD supplement for 39.95 but I have to pay 60 for a warhammer one? And then by the models? And the core book? Oh and you’ve made stupid objective markers and psychic power cards too, great. 

I’ve come to realize that I’m not Games Workshop’s market for 40k anymore.  Neither is my Nephew.  It’s not about age.  I don’t feel entitled to anything because I’ve played for so long.  No its more about the very real truth that they don’t care if I patronize them or not.  They aren’t worried about losing me as a customer because they haven’t had me invested in their business model for a couple of years now.

Why is this all important? Well I’ve just realized something very clearly. For a long time side companies like Chapterhouse have been combating Games Workshop’s elitist mentality by keeping bits and specialized models cheap.  But they don’t have to. Games Workshop isn’t killing itself by getting rid of bits or raising prices or driving off customers. It’s giving life to its competition.  I’m not going to start a kickstarter.  But I will predict that someone soon will. Within a few months of Chapterhouse and Games Workshop settling Chapterhouse will start its own game.  Mantic has already started its Warpath game and will kickstart that.  Beyond the Gates of Antares was pulled from kickstarter and arguably was going to be a shitty game, but it will be back.  Within a year Anvil industries will at least talk about making a game as will Wargames Factory within 18 months.  The point is, I can’t look at Games Workshop’s business tactics as “bad for the hobby” anymore. They are good for it, just not good for Games Workshop’s place in it.

That's my deep thought for the day.  Later this week i'll be talking about Star Marines and what that means for my future projects, and hopefully a little about the design of my Heavy Armor troopers.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Update, 3/3/13

Wow its been a while since I've updated my blog.

I've been focusing almost entirely on a series of commissions I've received which will be cast in resin for production.  I'm rather close to finishing those commissions so I've started dusting off some of my work to get back on the bike to ride as it were.  So I thought i'd jump on and say hello to everyone again.  I truely am sorry I haven't had anything fun to show off but hey, I gotta do what I gotta do.

If readers have checked my shapeways store they may have noticed that I've still been adding a few items now and then.  For those who haven't I thought you might like to see some of the stuff I've put up.

Months back I started revealing my "Advanced" weapon line which focuses on a sci-fi weapons for 28mm scale.  Those of you who have seen my increasingly expansive line of weapon designs might be intrigued to know the weapon base I use wasn't my first design for the base.   My early designs were a bit more out there with some inspiration taken from various sources.

My earliest design was inspired by weapons from several scifi properties.  Specifically Mass Effect and Star Trek.  the weapons in those properties always have a bit more technical look to them. Like they are made with more attention to detail.  Its a bullpup design with an under-barrel stabilizer.  This design featured a strange, flash suppressor which I was never particularly happy with. Even this earliest design featured the over barrel expansion port structure I would use in later projects.

At some point I fell in love with the idea of a micro gatling gun.  A multibarreled rotary weapon that  would fire micro missiles.  The main inspiration for this design came from playing a very old shooter, command and conquer renegade.  It also has design motifs from the FN-P90 and the Thompson Sub-machine gun. 

This design started as inspired by the FN-F2000 and the FAMAS F1.  Both cutting edge weapon designs for modern militaries.  The design shifted from there.  Its become a far more elaborate weapon.  It's appearance is nice and light with a technical design.  My main reason for not using it as my base design is it was simply to difficult to modify the design into multiple weapon types.

I have a love hate relationship with shotguns.  The short range, the heavy recoil, the small magazine, the inaccuracy.  When I do the math personally I always come up with a bad equation.  But I won't deny in other hands they can be fantastic.  Especially modern shotguns like the Pancor Automatic shotgun.  brutally effective at shredding cover and enemy flesh the pancor inspired me to make this design.  Unlike a lot of the other designs it doesn't have the underbarrel attachment mount. Instead it has traditional side rails for accessories.  The design is heavily rounded and smoothed like the entire weapon was made out of a single piece of carbon fibor.  In a scifi setting I picture shotguns as being the quickest, cheapest, and easiest weapons to make, even automatic ones.

When I started this project I had a good idea that I'd be making conventional weapons and energy weapons.  I first sought to make a separate energy weapon base for my weapons  I later decided to go a different route with the project.  This early design of a purely energy weapon design bares little resemblance to the mass production base I now use.  I picture it as a laser of some kind.  Chunky and durable its structure is more reminiscent of a prototype than a final field weapon.  But still it would look nice in the hands of soldier.

One of the early hallmarks of 40k and other hard science fiction settings has been the use of chemical and acids as weapons, a tactic our modern military hasn't adopted.  Of course the main reason for that is probably an effective delivery system.  This is my first take on a chemical weapon.  A two part compound sprayer that shoots narrow concentrations of chemicals at the enemy.  I'd imagine it as some form of magnetic acceleration unit that fires chemically infused needles.  Its a fun, 80's sort of scifi weapon.

Of course I can't neglect my newer designs.  One of the major holes in the line has been a rocket launcher. sure I could design a traditional tube style weapon but where's the fun in that.  No I opted for using the gyrojet base I designed for the Battle Cannon.  The barrel is inspired by the rocket launcher from Quake 3, one of my favorite shooters.  It uses a clip of oversize gyrojet rounds rather than a muzzle or breach load design like modern missile launchers. In field this would translate to a more stable, faster firing anti-tank weapon.  And of course it comes with shield and without as well as in a man portable version.

The other new design for the "Advanced" line is a lightning weapon.  here we see the lightning cannon design.  It has a central static transformer and 4 charge emitters around the outside.  Here is the heavy weapon version where we can see its intimidating blade like design.  Though short range and relatively inaccurate it can be devastating to electronic systems.  

The rifle variant of the lightning gun is more sleek with well defined blade like charge emitters  It forms a ball of electrons at its leading edge, building in charge until the transformer cycles.  The result is a devastating  if slow shock blast.

A group of 10 lightning pistols ready for deployment.  I imagine my lightning gun as a short range weapon so pistols makes perfect sense for the design.

Last post I previewed my new Starship Trooper style star marine design.  What I didn't preview were these. These torsos, inspired by Egyptian clothing and the powered armor design of my Star Marines, are intended as the basis for a lighter power armor design. Here we have the female design.  Its slimmer and slightly shorter than the male variant.  Yes it has breasts.  I've never quite understood the hate on female fantasy armor having breasts. Yeah I totally understand they are ridiculously impractical. And yes when treated poorly they are pretty much sexist short hand for "I like gurlz, yuck yuck".  But then I've never had a woman get upset because they have breasts.  Acknowledging sexuality isn't bad and hopefully I've done it without being offensive.

The male variant of the armor is virtually identical to the female.  Its got a clearly male shape.  It's a bit taller than the female variant but not by much.  This design's Egyptian motif is mostly in the mantle that graces its shoulders.  A mantle less design is in the works.  Its a bit more body armor like.

The shoulder pads for my new star marine designs.  Their leading edges are flat making them distinct from other shoulder designs.

The body of the new star marine armor is based off the smaller armor torso's I made above.  The Star Marine torso is completely enclosed. Normally the body would close entirely, here I've made 2 variants of the torso, one closed and the other, shown here, open.  The total figure is designed as an analogue for heavy armored space marine design.  Closed torso figures will stand approximately 44mm tall.  The gap in the open torso should fit any 28mm head once you cut off the neck.

The legs to the most doing to make.  Sure I had the leg design finished when I flashed it last post.  But, the legs proved the most troublesome to upload.  Perhaps it was because of their intricate design, or maybe it was my own incompetence  but either way it took 6 or 7 tries to get them to upload.  Here we have advancing legs.

Well that's all for now, I'll try not to let the next update be a month away. :P Till then, enjoy.