Saturday, November 23, 2013

Victorian Science Fiction: Space Prussians! (Part 2: Tanks and War Balloons)

Making Tanks

At first I figured I would just buy some tanks. There's a lot of VSF armor out there, from a range of companies. Unfortunately, I didn't find much that really popped out at me. I think a large part of the problem is that VSF tanks are generally modeled after WW1 tanks. These looked a lot like boxes and pipes thrown together, and this shows in the sculpts.

I figured rather than pay real money for something that looks like that, I may as well try scratch-building them myself. It wouldn't look much different, and if I botched things all it would cost me would be an afternoon.
I got googling, and quickly found Dyehard's Victorian and Edwardian Science Fiction Page. It's a lovely collection of VSF scratch-building resources, tips, and a record of his own work. There's also a collection of WW1 tank plans set up for one to print, cut, build.   
I tried building an A7V. It came together at first, but then things went South pretty quick. I figured by that point I was all in, and may as well try and have some fun with it. After all, the point was to make some VSF tanks, not some A7Vs.
Side machine guns were a must. The brackets that form the sponsons are just some MechWarrior bases leftover from previous madness. I wanted an obvious, tank-caliber gun on the top, so I slapped one on and stuck it in place with some epoxy. The tubes are made from ear buds.

For the smoke stacks (twin-engined, for more power and redundancy!) I used the cap lids of some permanent markers. The markers cost me about a dollar each. It felt a bit wasteful, but for just over a buck a tank, I made my peace with it. The tank hulls of course, were made from Rar's cat food boxes.

War Balloons (Krieg-Ballon)
It would be a pretty drab game if I had to work with were foot sloggers and lumbering tanks. I wanted something with a bit of speed and striking power. Air units seemed the right choice.

I needed a light transport, that could support a fire team or two with a machine gun. I also figured a heavy bomber would be useful, that could aim (poorly!) from a safe height, or come in low but put itself at greater risk. Having a burning Hindenburg come down on the enemy would be its own reward.

Still delighted with my tank scratch-building, I went looking for parts. I found these  squishy little foam rugby balls at Arpico for about 75 cents (Rs. 100/=) each. Their surfacing tore easily, but I figured I could pass this off as battle damage.

 A fresh paper-cutter blade cut through them easily, and the foam didn't react badly to super glue.

For bases, I used some ratty old, GW flying stands. I wanted the balloon bomber flying at a higher level though. I found some crappy plastic desert cups on clearance for about fifty cents (Rs. 69/=) for the whole lot. I flipped one over, and I had my flying base.

And here are the finished goodies! The Infanterie-Kompanie of Hans Frans I, or the "Hans Frans Vahns" as they are affectionately known by the settlers of Martian Swabia.

Cheers, Navin


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