Wednesday, 27 May 2015

PetMen: Human Operator Surrogates WIP

A twelve PetMan squad made up of three four PetMan fire teams.  Nomenclature, don't you just love it.

These Dream Pod 9 GRELs have been hanging around my workbench being a drag on my productivity for sometime now.  Partially down to getting carried away with other shiny things, and partially because they had so much flash on them that they were a PITA to clean up.  I'll define my measure of PITA here as thirtty minutes per base with two figures.  Flash surrounded them all, and I don't mean Flash, saviour of the universe!

Still mustn't grumble really as this is a first world problem to do with toy soldiers that have more airmails on them than is decent all things considered.  And still far less flash than a 15mm HEMTT truck I bought that sits languishing out of sight, awaiting the day I'm prepared to straighten out all the castings and carve back the panel lines lost in the warpage, which sounds like something out of a Games Workshop Chaos Codex.

Just for reference these are 15mm tall, 5/8ths of an inch for those of you who don't do metric.

In my series their military designation is HOS, which stands for Human Operator Surrogate, and they're semi-autonomous robots with a hybrid expert system artificial intelligence operating system controlled by the operators of the Air Force CAS-C4P (Combat Armour System Dash C4 PetMan).  This allows the operator to effectively multi-task by distributing themselves across a network of up to twelve PetMen at a time, and act as a force multiplier; in my imagination Global Dynamics Corporation Defense Industries sales pitch would call them An Army of One.

The PetMen are only briefly mentioned in Bad Dog as part of the back ground setting of the novels universe.  They get more page time in the sequel Strike Dog, where you gets to see them in action for the first time.  But in won't be until final book Ghost Dog that you will get to see them deployed in anger against an enemy.

PetMen are a real thing. Click this link to see it in action.


  1. Congrats on reducing the pile of (unpainted) shame as some call it! :) I've been trying to reduce my own one shovel at a time. Was the flash thick or easy to clean off? With metals, I rarely get flash beyond just a mould line (which half the time I confuse with detail like a panel line until it is time to paint that part) although I've gotten it a fair amount with resin. I like your ideas for the petmen as well. Are they controlled via multiple control levels in the background (like an RTS videogame for the squad but the controller can "jump" to a single unit for more precise FPS control)?

    1. The flash on these models was from mould misalignment, which was about 0.25mm out, forming a line across the shoulders and over the heads. I couldn't ignore it, because it was in such an obvious place, and would show up when they were painted.

      The PetMen are controlled by weak AI/Expert systems that run pretty much as you described, but they have added operational fail-safe devices that I've called Asimov inhibitors. So the operator's role is target designation, rather than direct physical operation of the PetMen. It's a part of the plot and world development that gets explored across the three volumes. In my fictional world everything is computer controlled, and the combat armour has AI/Expert system autopilots that effectively turns people into cyborgs; as in one with the machine, not physically embedded. If that makes sense?

      Besides the operator also has to run the combat armour he or she is riding in and provide fire support, which is the main role I envision for the Air Force CAS-C4P suit operators.

    2. Sounds like a great task for a two-crew vehicle, one pilot and one wizzo. (And yes, I know about the current USN plans to have a single bloke in an F-35C flying and fighting the aircraft and controlling a flight of drones at the same time.)

    3. That's a good point. I'm stealing for the Russians when they appear.

  2. Ah, thanks for the clarification. I figured (incorrectly) the operators were hundreds to thousands of miles away like with drone warfare right now rather than in the thick of things ala the Robocop reboot villain.

    1. IMO the only reason UAVs can be operated at such distances now is down to a couple of factors. First they're aircraft and don't need the instant response of being on the ground in the thick of things. Second, they're not facing opponents with ECM capabilities i.e: there is a wide technological disparity between the opponents. As usual T&CA, E&OE.


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