Thursday, 15 March 2018

Regroup – Now Available


Now ready for sale, Regroup, sequel to Mission One the third story in The World of Drei series now available.

Plot Summary
Sergeant Alisa Volkova was having a bad day. A very bad day. An enemy cybertank had blown her truck over when it attacked the command post. 
It could be worse, she could be dead. Her life would be a lot easier if she were dead.
Volkova now not only has to save herself, but also save her wounded commander. 
Just to make life worse, she finds herself trapped behind enemy lines, facing the worst winter in Russia's long history of bad winters. 
Regroup is the next exciting sequel in The World of Drei series, following on from Terror Tree, and Mission One.

Buy This Book

Important Note: If you already have a copy of Mission One, I've updated the text. If you wish to have the new version, go to your digital library, there you will see on the far right side of the screen, opposite books that have been updated, a button that says "Newer version available."

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

RoboTech KickStarter

Left to Right: Macross, Southern Cross, Genesis Climber Mospeada mecha.

I'm not going to cover the whole debacle of Harmony Gold, Palladium and or the fractious relationship Robotech from Harmony Gold had with BattleTech by FASA. You can read more about the recent furore about the Robotech KickStarter here on Sitzkrieg's site, which is well worth following if you're a mecha and Star Trek fan, and who isn't?

But, if you've been reading this blog for anytime, or have delved into the depths of my archive, you will know that I have  a thing about sizes of things.  Just check out my pieces comparing sizes of models here

So, I wanted to add some observations on the problems of pleasing a fanbase, and trying to square the circle, to run out a well used cliché.

Size matters. The above illustration is from here.

The Robotech TV series was divided into three parts: The Macross Saga; The Masters; and The New Generation. Alternative titles being the First, Second and Third Robotech Wars. Harmony Gold put their show together by adapting three separate Japanese anime series.

The first was The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, alternative title Hyper Dimensional Fortress Macross. Macross is a big deal in Japan, probably second only to Gundam.

The second show used was Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, which was originally the third in the Super Dimension series. And by series think, theme.

The third show used to create Robotech was Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. My Japanese friends tell me that Mospeada was a Japlish portmanteau word, for most speed or more speed.

So the size of each shows mecha differed considerably, not only because of the choices made by Harmony Gold, but because the original Japanese creators didn't have in mind some unified 'verse for wargamers to move models of the mecha around, while making pew-pew noises.

For general information, the Japanese really didn't take into account the market outside of Japan back in the eighties. I'm not fully convinced they do now, but things have got better.

NB: Super Dimension Century Orguss, which was the second official thematic sequel to Super Dimension series, Harmony Gold was unable to use due to issues over rights, see here for more details.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Visigoth Tank WIP

Taken with my Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro, at 7mm, F8, 1.3 secs, ISO 200. Crop from 64 megapixel Hi-Res shot.

This Visigoth tank from Dream Pod 9 is humongous, so much so that in my mind it better fits my 15mm Heavy Gear force than their 12mm line. It's so large it would have to be a giant Ogre style cybertank otherwise.

So, primed and first colour blocked out.

One step closer, which is going to be my mantra for this years work: one step at a time takes you one step closer to completion.

And, just so people can see how large this tank is, here it is with a squad of 15mm figures.


Saturday, 17 February 2018

World of Drei


I'm not sure which is my favourite wargaming obsession cybertanks or real robots. Certainly cybertanks were the first to take root in my imagination, but I suspect I've played more games with giant stompy robots in them.

Either way, I like to design my own.

I've shown my custom mecha models her, and Ogre cybertank proxies too. But now, now I'm moving towards designing my own cybertank design. Discounting in a few words all the work that went into OHMU Warmachine, but that's the past, my present need is for the look of the Panzer Jaeger Mark One.

The above is a quick sketch.

Oh yeah, You can get Terror Tree for free on the Kindle until the nineteenth.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Mission One - Now Available

I uploaded Mission One sequel to Terror Tree, and Amazon comes through in record time, now available.

Plot Summary

Sergeant Sergei Rozhkov chose to face adversity with stoicism. He was Russian and held to a simple truth that everyone dies in the end.

Besides, there was always vodka if things went really bad.

Rozhkov had lost good people in the war. But, he didn't think that the war could get any worse than it already was.

Now, faced with a tank controlled by an artificial intelligence, Sergeant Rozhkov learns that life holds frightening surprises.

Mission One is the exciting sequel to Terror Tree, the military science fiction story in The World of Drei series that asks, how will humans survive on the cyber-battlefield of tomorrow?

Buy This Book

Thursday, 8 February 2018

MARPACE First Squad Primed

Taken with my Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro, at 7mm, F8, 1.3 secs, ISO 200. Crop from 64 megapixel Hi-Res shot.
And beside doing K'kree Centaurs,  I've also gotten one MARPACE squad primed and black lining done for the shadows. These are the Clear Horizon 15mm Epsilon base and heavy support squads miniatures, which are absolutely gorgeous miniatures.

Finding time, or more to the point when I have a spare hour I don't always have the inclination to paint, so things are going very slowly on my work bench. And, at this point, I seem to be in that 'everything is in the process of being finished' rather than things are finished. There's probably a German word to describe this state of being.

And for those of you who don't follow my writing blog, it' the writing and publishing that has taken up all my time. Currently, I'm writing what started off as a short story about a cybertank, which is turned into s series of novelettes about what I'm calling the second Russian civil war, set circa 2038.

It has cybertanks, power armour, General Winter, vodka, and depression. I jest, it's all fun.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

K'Kree Primed

Taken with my new Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro, at 7mm, F8, 1.3 secs, ISO 200. Crop from 64 megapixel Hi-Res shot.

As I have alluded, in other posts, my time at the workbench painting models has had to be sacrificed for the greater good cough–my writing–cough. But, it's Xmas, and while I've still been working on the cover for my first novel, I've managed to get a few models one step closer towards completion. These old Martian Metals K'Kree have been primed and lined black for the shadows just now need me to decide what colour to paint them.

I'm thinking orange, because orange is the new black, or so I'm told.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Size Comparison from Above


Back here I presented a manifesto for RealRobo.

In the comments, I was asked to take a shot from above. The days in London have largely been dull and overcast, but when the sun did come out I took the opportunity to take this shot.

Task completed.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Strike Dog Finished Art

And the art for Strike Dog is here.

The novel has been copy edited and is now being fact checked by a Marine and a Corpsman for accuracy.

I have the best fans.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Size Comparison: Real Robo Manifesto!

Click on this to see the full size 1764 x 1091 image.
After I posted my last blog it raised a comment about sizes, with one person coming out with the informed opinion that tracked or wheeled vehicles were just smaller, period. Walking vehicles are, and would always be too large to ever be practical.

This is one of those areas where peoples opinions are informed by a wide range of media, where the representation of walking vehicles goes from the sublime to the extreme. Gundam mobile suits are at the sublime end of the largeness, while the Gunbuster suit is at the mind blowing extreme end.

However, there is Real Robo.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team combat armour suits occupy the very big end of the Real Robo spectrum. The suits in Fang of the Sun Dougram are the size most people assume combat armour is. Dougram provided a large number of designs that were used in the BattleTech game, as did Super Dimension Fortress Macross aka Robotech. While Fang of the Sun Dougram remains one of my favourite anime shows, what inspired me to consider walking vehicles in a more serious light was Armored Trooper VOTOMS, which also has a TV Trope page.

The arguments all boil down to size. And size matters.

In the real world, smaller is better.

I can see how all of the above makes Real Robo a confusing hot mess of different concepts. I really do.

Especially, given that people watch the anime shows or play games with miniatures. The trouble is that wargame models are not to a scale, but made to a size. This distorts the proportions, and again leads to erroneous assumptions about the size of combat armour suits; Heavy Gear being one example of how the models are sculpted for the look on the table.

Fortunately, being crazy about Real Robo and VOTOMS, I have scale models by Takara of both the VOTOMS heroes combat armour suit, called a ScopeDog, and an Abrams tank. As you can see, the ScopeDog is taller than the tank. But, not by as much as one might have been led to believe.

To me, this is what I mean by Real Robo.

So, to be clear, Bad Dog is a  hard SF take on Real Robo. It takes the ideas of Armored Troopers VOTOMS, and turns up the hardness to eleven.

BTW: As promised, I took two pictures to show the difference when taking pictures in Hi-Res versus stacked images. The picture at the top was taken using the Hi-Res mode of my camera, the picture below was made using multiple exposures stacked together to form one image. Both models are on bases to equalize their heights off the ground.

Click on this to see the full size 909 x 603 image.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Bad Dog Combat Armour Suit Doctrine

At the moment it doesn't make much sense to build walking tanks, but in a science fiction novel I can make suppositions about the future. In the world of Bad Dog warfare has changed from the introduction of robotic combat vehicles, which dominate the battlefield. This YouTube video gives you an idea of the size of the combat armour suits I imagined for my novel Bad Dog.

And yes, I am a VOTOMS fan girl.

However, combat armour suits raise questions around doctrine, which is all about defining how the stuff the military has is used, and new equipment drive changes.

The military loves its clunky abbreviations, DOTMILPF-P spectrum being one of the longer ones I've come across while researching stuff for my novels and this piece. It stands for:
Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy.
Phew, what a mouthful, and that's not something I say often.

In peace time, budgets for acquiring new technology drive the development of military doctrine. In war time the drive comes from countering the enemy's forces, but either way, doctrine seeks to provide a common conceptual framework for a military service by asking the following questions:
Who are we? How the Army, Navy, Air Force service perceives itself to be?
What do they do? What mission are they being called to carry out?
How do they do what they are being asked to do? How the mission is to carried out?
How did we do they do it in the past? How the mission has been carried out in history?
And of course, doctrine will also answer other things not covered by the above questions.
So, doctrine is neither operations nor tactics. Instead, it serves as a conceptual framework uniting all three levels of warfare covering operational, strategic, and tactical issues. These each have the following defined:
The fundamental principles.
Tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Terms and symbols.
Doctrine provides a guideline to the activities a unit undertakes, the actions expected of it, and describes how things are done, but does not prescribe what must be done. Which is a long preamble describing the process when one is creating a new type of unit for the military to use.

In this case, the questions that would have to be answered if combat armour suits were brought into service.

All rather dry reading. So let me leave you with this...


Monday, 8 January 2018

Strike Dog Composition Proof


And here it is, the first sketch for the cover of Strike Dog.

This is a direct sequel to Bad Dog, as the character's journey carries on from the consequences of what happened at the end of the first book. Currently doing the final copy edits and proofing, then there's the covers typography to set up etc. I hope to have this out in end of February, beginning of March.

I'm still snowed under with the the proofs for the print version of Bad Dog, which I feel ought to be up before the sequel is released, because I know a lot of people still prefer print.

Anyway exciting times.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Olympus 7-14 zoom lens at 7mm. Crop from a quick 16 image stack, F5.6, 1.3 secs, at ISO 200.

A Happy New Year to all my readers. May you find fulfillment in all your endeavours, however great or small.

This year sees for me the end of a two year period of working in the NHS. My contract has now ended, and it gives me the opportunity to focus on my goal cementing my goal of being a published author. I realize, on reflection, that time is the most precious commodity one has, and I'm driven to make the most of the time I have to achieve my goals.

I'm not one for making New Year resolutions, because I know that such things generally are counter productive, unless one is willing to make big changes and drive yourself hard. This year I want to commit myself to making changes and I'm prepared to drive myself hard to do so.

My first novel, Bad Dog, is out as an eBook, and by the end of the month I hope to have a paperback and hardcover versions for sale. Furthermore, the sequel, Strike Dog, will be available soon. Just got to commission a cover, oh and do all the niggly bits like typeset it, and stuff. But I know how to do it now, so it will be done. Then before the end of the year I will bring Ghost Dog to market.

But, while this means I will do less model making than I might like, it doesn't mean an end to my hobbies, because everyone needs a hobby. Back here I talked about getting a new camera, now I have my new lens, courtesy of my beloved, more about it on my other blog.

Above is a quick stack of 16 images I took on Christmas Day. And, I've taken away one lesson, with an ultra-wide angle lens one doesn't need to take more than half-a-dozen pictures to get everything in focus.

Wow. If you know anything about photography, that's definitely a thing!

So, I'm excited by this picture, because it combines two of my hobbies. Combining two hobbies is both satisfying and inspirational. My plan is to take a 40mb Hi-Res single image and a stack of 16mb images, of the same scene under better lighting, to compare the results from the two different two modes.

The reason being that doing one 40 mega-pixel shot would be quicker than taking multiple 16 mega-pixel pictures and stacking them into one image.

Exciting stuff! See you all on the bounce.

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