Saturday, 25 March 2017
I'll admit that I've been searching the internet for RAFM Heavy Gear miniatures. What can I say, wargaming and making models is my hobby. I found a Mammoth Strider for sale on eBay that had a very small pictures and an incomplete description.
Questioning the retailer produced no useful data, but after checking out the picture and discussing it with friends, yay for friends, I decided that on the balance of evidence it was likely to be an old RAFM Mammoth. So I took a punt, despite it costing the same as the new smaller version from Dream Pod 9.
It arrived today and the photograph is proof that this thing is humongous, and it weighs one pound 12 ounces, or 795 grams for those more familiar with metric measurements. It's missing one of the small rotary cannons and the footpad, both of which I'll fabricate replacements for in due course. First things first, strip the paint off in a nice bath of Nitromors.
Thursday, 23 March 2017
And here is the final model for my first squad of RAFM model for my Heavy Gear project.
As you can see this is the first Gear I've gone off piste by converting the medium autocannon using a contemporary Dream Pod 9 very light field gun as the basis of my conversion. I hadn't imagined I would do any conversions on these old models, but the weapon on the Jaguar, when compared to the light autocannons on the Hunters, just didn't look beefy enough to justify being called a medium autocannon.
|What the original medium autocannon looks like.|
This is probably my inner wargamer coming out; bigger is better and that kind of thing. Please feel free to criticize and through brick-bats or praise.
Still, I don't think I went overboard with the conversion and I've incorporated parts from the original casting into my piece. This is now going off to the paint shop to be primed with the other two Hunters ready to be painted to match the Hunter Commando.
NB: Yesterday a mad man killed people in London before being killed himself by the Police. By the time I heard about the event, it was all over. It's sad, but it's not the end of the world, even though a handful of people lost their lives. The biggest enemy is the generation of fear, because when people are fearful their cognitive abilities are reduced by the overwhelming emotion. Oh, and just in case you think I'm being cool and rational because I wasn't there, I work for the hospital on the other side of the river from the House.
Monday, 20 March 2017
Again, due to the kindness of a fellow wargamer, Jochen Wenzel from Germany, I now own a Grizzly... ho, ho, ho! Jochen thank you very much for your generous offer, I'm lost for words.
My plan is to be able to get nine Northern Guard Gears onto the table. A squad of four with three Hunters and a Jaguar; a fire support team of said Grizzly and a Fire Jaguar; and a recon team consisting of a Cheetah and a White Cat; lead by a command Hunter.
I then plan to make up my five remaining Desert Shark Hunters. I'll use them to add another squad consisting of four Hunters, and put the other one with my command Hunter to act as his support for larger games to act as the force senior sergeant. From that you can tell I plan to have a mechanism in my game so that commanders do things that are useful to the outocme of the game.
In an ideal world I would be able to have mechanisms for the impact of logistics, but even I think that will be for the campaign rules.
Friday, 17 March 2017
|Click on the picture to see a larger image.|
As requested a size comparison of a RAFM Gear next to Blitz models and with added 1/100th and 1/144th scale models of the Abrams for real world comparison.
From this quick shot my gut feeling that the current Dream Pod 9 Ammons and Moab will make the basis for very nice opposition squad for my RAFM Gears. My command Meggido-Kadesh-Bashan kitbash, which I jokingly call a Mekabashan, and my Aphek-Bashan kitbash would also work, and looking at the picture I think the Accos could be used as drones.
Thursday, 16 March 2017
And here are my Russian walker conversions that I've completed so far.
This project seems to have dragged on longer than I intended down to being distracted with other things, and being undecided on how to organize them. My friend Roger suggested in a comment that I use, the Russian motorised rifle company layout–a total of twelve vehicles, of which something like nine are general purpose, two are special purpose (carrying the machine gun / anti-tank platoon in the original) and one is command/HQ.
So, I will need to assemble three more Accos, and then I can start painting them.
Also, as a result of this decision, I've decided that my Ammon conversions will be used as part of my 15mm Heavy Gear Force project and plan to get a Moab and add two extra legs as a support walker.
Monday, 13 March 2017
This is the third of my original RAFM score that consisted of three Hunters, two Jaguars and a Bricklayer. My next step is to make up the standard Jaguar as the squad leader for this my first squad of Gears. I'm not sure if that's a legal squad in the game, but given I'm intending to use my own rules so I'll make squads to match my rules.
That's not meant to offend any hardcore Heavy Gear players. I'd be happy to play with anyone who knows the rules well enough to teach me and have a fun game. The odds are long on that happening, so I need rules my partner can get to grips with, and so I'm adapting the Star Wars X-Wing combat system.
I plan to post some construction rules, really too grand a description for my rough notes, soon.
Friday, 10 March 2017
When models are in the process of being painted sometimes accidents happen. I dropped one of my Chinese FATS-C and broke the leg. This slowed me down as fixing the leg and repainting the joint was a bit demoralizing. Now repaired, and to be honest better that it happened before rather than during a game, which would be really annoying.
As you can see I put decals on these. Cruel close-ups below.
|This is the command variant, armoured body.|
|Indirect fire-support variant.|
|The rear of the heavy support variant that also uses the armoured body.|
I've ordered some more of these so I can make up another Ban, Chinese for squad, and once I have two squads made and painted I'll be able to field an under strength Pai, Chinese for platoon.
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Sunday last, we had some friends over for the afternoon from the Physics department, who had all expressed an interest in Star Wars and were up for learning to play X-Wing. For the occasion I played the soundtracks to the movies in the background, which added a certain ambience to the two games we played.
The first was a training game, no cards, no asteroids, just a simple kill everyone game. After that the interest was strong in playing another game, but make it more complicated. So I added an asteroid field and cards: astromechs, upgrades and weapons: ion cannons and proton torpedoes. The scenario was for the Rebels to stop the Imperial shuttle from leaving the table with its precious cargo of handwavium.
A late addition, because Susan was busy cooking, was bringing on the Millenium Falcon for her to play towards the end of the second game. The Falcon swept up the table and had a pop at stopping the Imperial shuttle from escaping, but Han failed to save the day.
Much fun was had, and I made at least one convert to the game, hello Sam, and he plans to buy a copy of the game and introduce all his friends to it.
Monday, 6 March 2017
Back here I showed my first clean up of my Hunter Commando, and now I've moved onto the next RAFM Gear and tidied everything up, as can be evidenced by the picture of what it looked like when it arrived.
What I learnt during this assembly was how easy it is to misidentify parts. After stripping all the models I received I thought I had correctly sorted out all the bits, but to my chagrin I hadn't. I had put the Jaguar torso with the Hunter legs, which in and of itself is no big deal, until it came time to assemble the missile pod. Then I found it wouldn't tight fit, and put it down to the way I had positioned the backpack.
I disassembled the model and reassembled it and got everything fitted, though the missile pod was still a tight fit, and was finishing off the model when I received a package containing a squad of Desert Sharks.
Wouter Wolput, a reader of my blog who lives in Belgium, very generously offered me his unwanted squad of Gears for the cost of the postage. Thank you again for parting with them. Most appreciated.
So, I was checking out the models and comparing them to the next Gear I have waiting to be cleaned up, an Assault Hunter. I then noticed that Hunters have a slightly different torso to Jaguars. Big doh moment!
So I had to disassemble my Hunter once more and clean up the correct torso, and start assembling it for the third time.
Thankfully, as you can see, all done now.
Friday, 3 March 2017
|Hopefully you see that I tweaked the standard poses the figures come in to add a bit more variety to the squad.|
Again these were a project I started on over the Xmas period, but not quite getting around to taking pictures and posting my progress. I've also managed to prime these, but currently I'm still in the middle of a Heavy Gear building frenzy so I'm not sure when they'll get painted.
|I found the gun barrels were easily bent so I replaced them with brass wire, and though you can't really see it, I've added guitar string to the extended weapon pods to strengthen them too. It was a bit fiddly to do.|
These are a mix of Clear Horizon 15mm Epsilon base and heavy support squads. I'm using them as infantry for my 15mm Heavy Gear project, which I accidentally started after acquiring some old RAFM era large Gears. These are really lovely figures full of character and poseable.
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
And here it is, painted, decals applied and varnished. A classic real robot anime scheme inspired by the VOTOMS show.
Also, I'd like to add an observation about size and scale, one of my hobby horses.
This model, measured to the top of the head, stands 43.5mm. That's 1 and 11/16ths (correcting typo) of an inch for my American readers. In 1/87th scale, 3.5mm to the foot, this means the model represents a Gear that stands at 12.42 feet. The current Blitz 1/144th scale, 2.12mm to the foot, and my Hunter stands at around 28mm, which is 13.2 feet. And just as a comparison a slightly larger Blitz Gear like the Mamba stands at 34mm, which is 16.04 feet tall.
Funnily enough the RAFM Hunter, if treated as a 1/100th scale model, which is 3mm to the foot would stand 14.5 feet tall in real life. So everybody is right when they say these models are suitable for 15mm wargaming, because they are.
I found some pictures from the RAFM catalogue Heavy Gear Northern Guard online, with a list of all the models issued. Those listed in bold are those I've managed to get hold of. Still looking for a model of the Kodiak for my collection just because I like it
Assault Hunter 1201
Strike Jaguar 1203
Strike Cheetah 1205
Assault Grizzly 1207 (since posting acquired)*
Hunter Commando 1208
Fire Jaguar 1210
Rabid Grizzly 1211
White Cat 1213 (since posting acquired)*
Light Artillery 1214 (since posting acquired)*
1215 Number apparently not used
Sniper Infantry 1216 (not shown)
Recon Infantry 1217 (not shown)
Standard Infantry 1218
Heavy Infantry 1219
1315 Number apparently not used
Black Cat 1221 (not shown)
Armored Hunter1222 (not shown)
Cheetah Fang 1223 (not shown)
Hunter Recon 1224 (not shown)
Crossbow Grizzly 1225 (not shown)
Predator Jaguar 1226 (not shown)
White Cat EWH 1227 (not shown)
Black Claw 1228 (not shown)
Kodiak Destroyer 1229 (not shown)
"Desert Sharks" Box 2050
Mammoth Strider 2052 (not shown)
Assault Mammoth 2053 (not shown) (since posting acquired)*
Klemm tank 2055 (not shown)
So my plan now is to make up my standard Hunter next, and then the assault Hunter and a Jaguar so I can field a four Gear squad. After that I'll make up a squad of Southern Gears then it's either the Cheetah or Bricklayer: the former is missing its butt-plate and the latter is missing its claw, so both models will need to have new parts fabricated.
Day by day my RAFM Gear Force proceeds to grow ever larger. Muwuhuhahaha!
NB: Since posting this I've acquired several new additions to what I'm now calling my Project Gear Force.