Wednesday, 1 August 2018

CAS-1-Mod 3C



This is the command variant of Army Ape combat armour suit. Yes, I am that obsessive about building all the different variants of the combat armour suits that appear in my novels. What can I say?

 

Above shows the rear, while the picture below shows a side view of  main armament, which in this case is meant to be a Browning fifty cal.


I'm still working on the third version of this suit.
   

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Espera's Ape Suit WIP



Finally got around to finishing off the conversion for the recoilless rifle for Espera's CAS-1-Mod 3 Ape combat armour suit. The delay being down to Real Life stuff, some of it health related that just got in the way of doing stuff.


Side view above, and rear view showing the inverted Heavy Gear engine packs.


Still the most pleasing part of this conversion is the M134 minigun on the arm. Labour of love to make that. Now all I have to do now is repaint the model. Easier said than done.
  

Friday, 13 July 2018

Back From Hols


Interesting map seen at a brocante (boot sale), which caught my eye.

We were lucky again to be invited to visit our friends in the south of France. And I can only say how grateful we were for their generosity in putting us up and taking us out for meals. We had a lovely time.

Temperature ran up to 36 degree centigrade, which for my American friends translates to 96.8 in Fahrenheit. So for many of my friends in America, a tad cool. But for a British Rose, hot enough. We swam in the swimming pool, which was the maximum extent of any exercise.

And at the same brocante I saw this old tinplate Hornby train set. Who would've thought.
  

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Summer Sun



Too hot to paint or build models in my spare time, so I've been out shooting instead.

In my imagination, I see myself riding through the glen, wind blowing through my hair, shooting arrows. If only. Mostly melting into a puddle or when indoors, huddling next to the aircon.

Anyway, enjoy the heatwave while it's here. This being Britain, it probably won't last.
  

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

CAS-1-Mod 3 Ape Suits WIP

  
Work in Progress: left to right: third attempt at making Espera's recoilless rifle, next is McAdams's command variant, and though I went with a different weapon, this is a Nguyen's Ape combat armour suit (see below for more info).

CASDA 5136, Combat Armor Suit Detachment Alpha, is my Green Beret Special Forces unit that appears in my second novel Strike Dog. As I was writing this piece up, I realized when I described CASDA 5136 in the book, that I had created a force that was doctrinally different to my Marine Corps 1st Combat Armor Suit Reconnaissance Company.

I was just writing a cool action sequence for a character in a combat armour suit. But on reflection, it's clear to see that by describing the weapon loadouts I created a force that was functionally different to the one I described in Bad Dog.

That is what I would call, creatively serendipitous.

Anyway, I've been looking at my Ape suits (acronym for: Autonomous Pilot Expert-system) and in particular Sgt. Espera's weapon loadout. In Strike Dog I describe him having a recoilless rifle, but my first attempt at instantiating one was less than satisfactory, and I rebuilt it using the parts I had for the Marine gauss rifle. Comparisons of both can be seen here.

Hence this new build. I still have to do some further work involving Milliput, but I'm liking the shape and feel.

I have parts for three more Army Apes tucked away, so my plan is to make half of CASDA 5136. The other six mechs would be identical, as in carrying the same sort of loadouts. My thoughts being that each half of the detachment was a mirror of the other. Like this.

Combat Armor Suit Detachment Alpha 5136
Captain Anthony Downey, detachment commander
Master Sergeant Campbell, operations and team sergeant
Staff Sergeant Morales, combat engineer
Sergeant Mary Lewis, communications
Sergeant Schmidt, medical
Sergeant First Class Frank Radoslovich, weapons

Chief Warrant Officer 1 Andrew McAdams, assistant detachment commander
Sergeant First Class Thomas Nguyen, assistant operations and intelligence
Staff Sergeant Julia King, combat engineer
Sergeant Miguel Sanchez, communications
Sergeant Daniel Robinson, medical
Staff Sergeant Juan Espera, weapons
So, Espera is the heavy weapons specialist, hence he carries the big recoilless rifle. Though a fat lot of good it does him, but to say more would be spoilers.
  

Monday, 4 June 2018

Break Out – Now Available



I'm happy to announce that Break Out, story four in The World Of Drei series is now available to buy on Amazon.

Plot Summary
The civil war rages as Russian Federal Republics forces continue fighting the Visegrád Baltic Alliance. The war carries on during the coldest winter to grip the country in more than a century.

In the midst of the confusion, a new threat emerges. An enemy cybertank that attacks without fear.

Now, Lieutenant Morozova must rise to the challenge and lead her platoon into battle. Seventh Rota's third platoon must be the eyes for the newly formed battalion tactical group, and seek out the enemy.

Break Out is the next episode in ongoing The World of Drei series, continuing on from Terror Tree, Mission One, and Regroup.


Buy This Book


If you've not yet read any of the stories in this series then all four of The World of Drei stories can be found here. And, you can see some reviews of Terror Tree here.
   

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

General Data Protection Regulation Notice

   
As you may be aware, on 25 May 2018 the EU General Data Protection Regulation EU (2016)/679 (GDPR) comes into force in all EU member states. 

This Act applies to ‘personal data’ meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified by reference to an identifier. It requires that personal data be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner, and that personal data be collected for specified and legitimate purposes. 

I currently do not run an email list and have no plans to do so in the foreseeable future. 

For those who subscribe to email updates for this blog, your personal data may be collected by the third party service. I have no control over the tool.  

Blog posts or comments may include personal data such as the names of people who've made comments or similar. These posts are often shared on social media including my Twitter and FaceBook pages. The privacy policies of Twitter and Facebook will apply to information posted on their websites.  

If you would like any personal data which is included in my blogposts or comments to be removed or have any questions, please email me through my contact widget.
   

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Reviews of Bad Dog

   

Please excuse the fact that I'm posting the latest review of Bad Dog from a 20 year Navy veteran. I felt honoured to have had this man take the time and effort to write something about my work. Thank you sir.

Good sci-fi read with one foot planted solidly in the real world

Ok, I'm not a professional book reviewer. If you are looking for a critique on the art of writing, move along. I'm just a reader, and a retired military member and all of my thoughts start from there.

Truthfully, it is a pretty good story. I think it reads a bit like a short story, which I can appreciate. Don't get me wrong, I like a good Lord of the Rings style epic as much as the next guy, but now and again I like something shorter and to the point. This book scratched that itch. I found it pretty compelling from start to finish, and I can't wait for the next book to come out in print (I think it is already out in electronic format, but I like paper). I love a good near-future story where things are just different enough to make your imagination kick into gear, but not so foreign that I'm sitting around thinking "What's a flingledorp and why on Earth is this one attached to the hangwopper of a flogtrud?" Look, I want to follow the story without too much confusion. Pollard succeeded for me. I'm a 20 year veteran of the Navy and I'll say that about 99% of all the jargon, personalities, and events feel dead on which really added to my enjoyment and the believability of the story. For those of you with less military experience, Pollard does include a nice glossary in the back of the book so you don't get lost in all the TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms... military loves them).

I don't know if I have any downsides to relay, but I'm pretty easy to please. I'm hoping there is more to come soon.



And here are some more reviews...
 

No gung-ho and serious SF Military reading

This the author first novel and I got totally absorbed from the first page to the end.

This is SF Military but don't expect finding super-uber soldiers or extraterrestrial advanced enemies fighting each other in remote galaxies, no "Starship Troopers" rehearsal at all. On the contrary, set in in the last quarter of the XXI century, the book provides a glimpse of what could be a very realistic progressive evolution of modern tactical warfare and weapons... in a geopolitical context that will also be familiar to the reader, where a reconfigured US (called "Confederated States" but not yet explained in the book what happened) is challenged by an increasingly assertive China in a remote region in Afghanistan.


The book focuses in a Marine recon unit and the pace of the action is truly good.


The atmosphere is very realistic thanks to the extensive and thorough(full) military research undertaken by the author that you can follow in her personal blog.


After I finished reading the novel, I really eager for more. Luckily a second part is very close to publication.


I can strongly recommend the book and if the sequels are as good as the initial work, I can see Ashley Pollard becoming a reference in this writing genre

  
Excellent book. A fresh view on near future power armor warfare. I felt that I was reading a good story and not the writer's opinions on how they live their own life, which is hard to find these days in any genre.


This book caught me pleasantly by surprise. I had settled into the near-future military action and begun to suspect that powered suits were the extent of the Science Fiction, but then it took off in a totally unexpected direction which I won't spoil for you. I ended up thoroughly gripped and unable to put it down until I knew how it played out. I love SF and it's great to find a new writer with ideas as well as genuinely good writing. I look forward to more.
   

Monday, 21 May 2018

Heavy Gear Japan

 

Heavy Gear is big in Japan, which is like selling coal to Newcastle, given that Dream Pod 9s game was inspired by the VOTOMS show. Though modern Japanese mecha were  arguably inspired by Heinlein's Starship Troopers. And you know what, it's all good.

People who get uptight over cultural appropriation forget that cultural appropriation has led to such wonderful things like mecha, and of course the great British Indian curry tradition of Chicken Tikka Masala.

Anyway, I found this poster in Japanese for the game and just had to share. It's good to see that there's a growing community of modellers and players over there too.
  

Monday, 14 May 2018

All Three of Tachikoma's CASE-2X Dogs



Here, at long last, is a shot of all three of the CASE-2X Dogs I've made to represent the variants that my heroine, Lara Atsuka Tachikoma, uses in my Gate Walker trilogy.

From left-to-right: The first when she was a sergeant in Bad Dog, riding inside a CASE-2X; the second in her Strike Dog officer combat armour CASE-2XC; and finally, "loaded for bear," in Ghost Dog in her CASE-2XC: Mod 2.

And, if you've read Bad Dog, and feel like doing so, I would like to point out that my novel is eligible for this years Dragon Awards.


  

Friday, 11 May 2018

Arrowhead Miniatures

 

I ordered this Renault FT17 and accessory pack yesterday. It arrived today. Colour me impressed. Beautiful castings too.

Purpose of said purchase I hear you ask?

If truth be told, this is to be made up for size comparison shots with my mecha, because I like to keep things in perspective. The one thing that bugs me is the distortions made to vehicles for wargaming. It's my bugbear, I carry it with pride.

And just look at how cute the model is. Also, the accessory pack shows that in my heart I'm as much a wargame modeller as wargamer.
  

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Panzer Jäger Mark One – PJM1-M1


Work in Progress: four innocent Sheridan and one AMX Takara tank models went into the making of this pile of parts.

I have a plan, given I made models for the combat armour suits in my novels, it stands to reason I will want to make a cybertank.

I want to get the idea across that my cybertanks are different from the one in Ogre/GEV universe. I presented a sketch here. The inspiration behind the design comes from the Soviet Obyekt 279, which I talked about here. All I've got to do now is put in the hours to turn a pile of parts into a representation of a Panzer Jäger Mark One.

How hard can it be?

Judging by all the pieces I've I've turned my donor models into, harder than I'd like. I've just moved onto the Miliput is my special friend when building up a tank hull's phase. I may be a while.
   
  

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Chinese ZTZ-169C WIP


Work in Progress: Brass and stainless steel tubing barrel originally for a recoilless rifle I made up.

I was working on making up another CASE-2XC and made the barrel far too large. Having removed it I sat wondering what to do with it? I'd spent a bit of time cutting tubes and it seemed a shame to let it go to waste, so I put it on my Ral-Partha Demolisher tank, which I presented as an ongoing project back here.

Gribbly parts from my spares box, gunner from a Sheridan.

I then dressed the model up with bits and pieces from my parts box, and hey presto, one ZTC-169C ready to go to the paint shop.

So, even though progress has been slower than a snail race, I am managing to move models through the production line. Painting though remains a thing that I have to be in the right mood to do.

For size comparison next to a Takara 1/144th scale T95 Black Eagle.
  

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

CASE-2XC: Mod 2 Backpack WIP


Work in Progress: not glued together, which is why the gun barrel is on the ground.

I'm in the process of making up a third variant of Tachikoma's Dog. This is based on the description of her combat armour in the Gate Walkers book three, Ghost Dog. I started the project knowing I wanted to add an over the shoulder mount.

This third Dog is "loaded for bear," mounting a large rifle, as well as sporting a rocket pack.

Work in Progress: showing barrel fabrication.

As you can see I took a backpack from a Stone Mason twin-set which I had bought a while ago from Dream Pod 9, when you could only get the Stone Mason in pairs. So, this leaves me short for making up the other model.

Look at this lovely, pity it was the wrong type of recoilless rifle.

I started to make up a recoilless rifle using a Dream Pod 9 part, called a very light field gun. I even added exhaust ports. I was feeling very pleased with the work, but thought the barrel was a tad long and needed shortening. Which I did.



However, I'd forgotten what I wrote in my novel, wrongly remembering I'd said she used a recoilless rifle, whereas in fact I wrote recoilless gauss rifle.

The gauss being the important part of the description.


There was some cursing. A gauss rifle is an entirely different beastie, and more to the point a design that I have already made on two previous occasions.

Moving on.

After discussions with Fritz, one of my specialist Beta readers, I realized I needed to think more about Corpsman Keith's role. As a result, I'm putting him in a Corpsman's combat armour suit , which will appear in book five; Dead Dogs (provisional title). So I've started to make up Marine Engineer combat armour suit, which I've teased elsewhere.

Before then though, I need to finish writing Two Moons, which has an Army engineering combat armour suit, which I'm also currently designing.

More will be revealed in due course.

NB: You can see how the models are used to inspire the cover art for my novels here.
  

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Accos, Thousands of Them!

Taken with my Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro, at 7mm, F5.6, 0.3 secs, ISO 200. Crop from 64 megapixel Hi-Res shot. Disappointing picture, as F5.6 didn't provide quite enough depth of field.

My beloved told me to do something creative.

I was being all distracted by stuff on the internet, which was not doing my mood any favours. So ordered, I sat at my workbench, and made up three Heavy Gear Accos for my Bad Dog project. I say Bad Dog Project, but as has been pointed out to me, everything is Bad Dog.

I blame it on working on my Bad Dog universe novels for the last five years. Five years, which is a thing in and of itself too.

Also a little soft because it was taken at F5.6.
I took both this pictures with my wide-angle zoom, but currently my camera settings are all over the place after upgrading the firmware. Hence both these pictures got taken at F5.6, which means the depth of field gradient is soft.

I will remember to check that the camera is set to F8 in the future.
  

Friday, 6 April 2018

Military SF Genre: Part 3

  

 Here are the links to parts one and two.

To say that the discussions around military SF can become somewhat fraught as a result of the conflict generated amongst the readers is probably an understatement.

Hence this series of blog posts to raise these issues, and address them.  Especially the opinion that people who read military SF are in some way bad, and that those authors who write the stories have a conservative political agenda.

Taking the latter point first.

While some authors do write from a conservative perspective, not all writers do. Therefore to make such an argument is to fall into the trap that has a number of different logical fallacies.

As for readers of military SF being somehow bad, from a notion that they have been brainwashed by right wing propaganda, and will therefore end up as sociopaths, I can only sigh.

I repeat again that this argument is based on logical fallacies that do not stand up to scrutiny; the psychological research on the subject of the influence of media on the behaviours of people can at best show correlation, and correlation is not causation.

The difference between the two being that it's easy to correlate connections between events, but that doesn’t mean that one caused the other.

This is as a result of how we think by using heuristic analysis to come to conclusions.

The research into thinking processes has revealed that we have a large number of cognitive biases, and that the beliefs and opinions we hold are more likely to be wrong than right.

Let me repeat that.

Our beliefs and opinions that we hold are more likely to be wrong than right.

People tend to believe that they come to hold their opinions from looking at the evidence, but the research shows that people form opinions, and then look for evidence that supports their choice.

Furthermore, people tend to discount evidence that challenges their beliefs.

Summary

So, if anything I've said has caused a strong emotional response, that's a clue that an underlying assumption has been triggered. The thing about emotions is that they should serve you, not you serve them.

War is the ultimate expression of conflict. And just because some authors write about conflict in ways trigger a strong negative response, doesn't mean that writing about war is wrong.

What the research into reading and playing games about warfare shows is that the assumptions being made about what that does to people is flawed.

Conflict is at the heart of the human condition and avoidance does not serve us well.
   

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Military SF Genre: Part 2

  

Continuing on from Part 1, what if anything do stories about war tell us about what war is good for?

Probably not a lot in the bigger scheme of things, because telling people what war is good for is probably not the primary remit of story telling in Western culture.

However, wars are fought for a wide number of reasons.

When those reasons ally with the maintenance of one’s society in the face of others who want to force change where change is unwanted, and though war involves lots of bad things happening to good people, good things are created too. The argument of avoiding war is one that has to be tempered with the costs of avoiding war, because while wars are frightening things, they're an illustration that there are no simple answers to some problems in life.

If science fiction is a genre that speculates about the effects of technological progress on society, where technological changes are driven by the need for victory, then military SF stories must therefore be a valid topic.

However, as I have observed, war is more than individual fighting; war is an institution.

Therefore like all institutions the people who work within the confines of the military hierarchy have a set of beliefs and theories based on reasoning from years of tradition as supporting evidence. If military SF fails anywhere it is in focusing on tactics, and not giving the reader a strategic context, with the necessary understanding of the operational problems that the military has to face.

The old adage in the military is that amateurs talk tactics while professionals talk logistics underpins my observation.

I can see that this makes writing a military story that works at the level of the character motivation a bit of a challenge. Especially if one wants to keep the story interesting; as descriptions of sergeants reading off loading manifests is probably not going to make for the most exciting conflicts.

Though as I write this I know I have a scene about checking the manifests of containers about to be loaded on trucks for a mission. So it can be done.

Assuming that one agrees that stories are driven by conflicts arising between characters and events; otherwise known as the plot, then yes, one can argue about the merits of each individual story, and its value.

But here’s the thing; if you don’t like a story it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have been written. Or that people should stop reading it, because that's an opinion.

Remembering that opinions may be driven by feelings, because opinions are things that we hold dear. As such emotions/feeling cannot be subject to rigorous testing to be used as proof of anything much.

Addendum

Another recommendation of a book, which I thought was well worth the time it took me to read it, Michael Z. Williamson's A Long Time Until Now.  A quick overview here.

More in part three, which will be out on Friday.
   

Monday, 2 April 2018

Military SF Genre: Part 1

  

 Military science fiction is a sub-set of the SF genre, and readers of mainstream SF novels can be quite divided in their opinions about the merits of such stories.

There have even been editorial opinion pieces in on-line media. The Guardian, for example, ran an article complaining that using imagery of future wars to entertain reveals deluded beliefs that writers hold about modern conflict. The writer then proceeded to use this assumption to divide the genre into good versus bad stories. Not on the merit of the story, but judging them through the lens of political beliefs, and starting their polemic by quoting from Edwin Starr’s song War with its chorus line response of, "absolutely nothing!"

Therefore to write a military SF story as one’s debut novel into the field can be seen as a message about the author’s political stance.

However, stories involve conflict, and stories about war are just about conflict writ large.

Over the years I have commented on military science fiction books that I love, and on reflection my feelings remain the same. Avoidance of, or failure to discuss the importance of conflict, and the cultures that arise from conflict is to put one's head in the sand.

If you've never read any military science fiction I recommend the following without equivocation.

Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein, I discussed it more back here. A book that can easily be misunderstood and misconstrued. It's theme is service, and the responsibility citizens have to defend their polity, which I see as a discussion of Greek City States. In short, we can learn from history.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, also discussed at the link above, is a book that talks about alienation from society, through the lens of time-dilation, which makes it SF. Far less controversial than Starship Troopers, because it's talking about the human condition, rather than politics.

Orphanage by Robert Buettner, which I discussed here, also talks about alienation of soldiers from society. But in this case, the effects of training to become a soldier, which the title of the series alludes to. Unlike the first two standalone books this is a series of five novels.

The Heritage Trilogy by Ian Douglas starts with Semper Mars. I discussed it here. It's a favourite of mine, but it also talks about culture. In this case, the culture of the Marines, which is a lot of fun. And it's a trilogy of trilogies.

The Compleat Bolo by Keith Laumer. Again the first link will take you to where I discussed his work. This collection of stories about self-aware tanks are seminal to the concepts of artificial intelligence in the science fiction genre. I recently re-read my copy to reacquaint myself with the tales, which was a surprise, because my recall of them was different than the experience of the re-read.

It gave me lots of ideas for my The World of Drei homage to Laumer.

On that note, I will finish. More in part two.
   

Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Battle of Tomorrow AKA Warriors of Future

  

Caught this YouTube trailer. The Chinese look to be doing their version of All You Need is Kill aka Edge of Tomorrow or Live. Die. Repeat. It may well be derivative, but it still looks awesome.

Over here you can read what I said about the Tom Cruise film and the book it was based on, and the review of the film here.

The title according to Google translate is The Battle of Tomorrow, the clip says Warriors of Future. Who knows if it will come out, let alone what it will be called if it does.

NB: Doh, changed title.
  

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Strike Dog - Available to Pre-Order



Strike Dog is available for pre-order.

Amazon FR
   

Obyekt 279 – Prototype Heavy MBT

  

Back here I presented a sketch showing what the Panzer Jager Mark One cybertank from The World of Drei looked like.

I found the above YouTube video by accident when doing some research on  the Soviet Obyekt 279 heavy MBT. I've also done a piece over on my writing blog. And you can find more pictures here too.

Now all I need to do is find a model of Obyekt 279, preferably in 10mm, if I can.
  

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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