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2020, er, 2022 ReaperCon Diorama WIP: Leave the Little One to Me


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10 hours ago, Fire_Eyes said:

This makes me want to do some experimentation with all the spare nail tips I have hanging around! I never thought to try to use them for hobby purposes

Yeah, ever since I took Bob Ridolfi’s ReaperCon class showing how to use ordinary things I’ve been keeping my eyes open for useful items.


And run out of storage for my hoard of useful items.

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Well, obviously, didn't get this done for the 2020 ReaperCon (RIP), and this whole unpleasantness put me in a funk, so nothing got done for a long time. I hadn't stopped thinking about things tho, and little things were nagging me.


The Gremlin design wasn't feeling right. Oh, if I were actually engineering and designing the real thing, it might work like a treat. But, I think the Rule of Cool has to come into play here. It was too utilitarian and too horizontal. That large platform probably would be what I'd implement for a real vehicle but it was unwieldy and ugly.


The next thing was the encampment itself. I had grand plans for a junkyard, and broken containers, and a lot of details. It was a lesson learned from the downfall of a previous model that would have made it to gold had I just thought about a bit more detail rather than ... BOOM! Mech figure! But as opposed to the above problem on the Gremlin's shape, this had the opposite problem. Campfires? Next to a highly traveled path filled with high tech mechs? Uh... that's a little too unrealistic. I'd want to snatch the cargo, then run like hell. For a long ways away and beyond sensor range, no matter how highly my countermeasures guru thought of his skill. So no junkyard and no permanent setup. If the cargo was successfully swiped, then bugout in less than five minutes. So maybe a tarp on a string for a small measure of dryness. Maybe some supply crates. Nothing that couldn't be tossed into the back of a vehicle in haste. Thus a lot of the details on the first entry have been struck from the plan. It'll still be jungle with lots of plants (hello Fantastic Plants and Rocks campaign 1, 2, & 3), and the details in the dirt. But a lot of the small details will be going away. Maybe the next diorama after this one is the small base that they all hail from. But this is an ambush and needs to leave little trace quickly.


I just finished putting in the tread in the feet, the last of what I'll do detail wise. The previous model was very detailed... and none of that would actually print out I realized (yet another failing). Had the thought that rather than doing a test print, I should just print out a drawing at 1:1 scale. The new Gremlin design is about 45mm tall (1.75") which is significantly taller than before (roughly 20mm, or a bit less than 1"). It scales better with the Wight which is 55mm/2.25" tall. But with a printed sheet, I could verify that the details should print fine. They're still fiddly, but that's what resin printers can do nowadays. Things look good so I feel comfortable posting up again.


Another benefit of time is that FreeCAD has gotten a bit more advanced and has a new assembly mode which will make things easier. I'll take the base model shown below and simply change some coordinate systems and won't have to mess about much to get a single STL file to output. Next few steps are putting cargo modules in the back of the cab area and probably some side modules as well. I'm thinking it can be dressed out as a utilitarian vehicle, missile boat, or gun platform depending on needs of the time. I'll want to get those put in before I start making the individual units.


Now for screenshots! The flash of insight that helped trigger this all off is that I realized I could make the cab look roughly gremlin or goblin shaped, so went with that.




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More or less finished with the parts that'll make up the grappler Gremlin that's swiping the cargo. I've put a grappling launcher on both sides of the cab as modules. I can pick and choose what I want for that particular configuration. I have sketches for a grappler launcher and anchor, three types of guns (light, heavy, and particle), a plasma-saw cable launcher, cargo hauler, power support pack (powers the plasma Gremlin), modified cargo hauler (for the trap doors), and a missile setup.


Picture below is not what the printed Gremlin 01 will look like. G01 will be in a running pose, with one launcher expended, the second one maybe pointed backwards, or skywards, whatever looks better, and have a cargo box trailing behind it. But this is what it would look like standing idle with the left grappler in launch position and the right one open as it will be stuck through the cargo box being stolen. Figure a thread soaked in thinned glue and then dried will work for the cable.



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Here's some loadout configurations the Gremlin will be in. This is all a single model and I can simply turn things on and off, along with posing all the pieces then exporting to a STL file for printing.


Cargo Configuration: Can carry 4 standardized cargo containers using a removable rack system. The rack system will be able to stand on its own. Was going to put some more details in showing how it attaches into the cargo bay, but at only 55mm tall (2.25") and buried under all the other stuff, it really wouldn't be noticeable.




Missile Boat Configuration: Two sets of missile pods on either side, which can be combined with guns instead.




Type 3 Gun Pod: I envision this as some sort of particle accelerator. Not really meant to be dual wielded due to power drain issues and would only be on one side typically. I'm not really happy with the look so may have to change it. I think it's too bulky but maybe that's a good "realistic" issue here. Looking at the picture, it might need to be thinner.




Type 1 Gun: Sort of a very light gun and meant to be added to anything that might need a side-arm, so to punny speak. Would only be used on both sides for a very light, quick attack.




Cargo Box Standard Military Fill: This is the first of several "filler" boxes. They'd be mission specific and be quick to swap in and out depending on what the needs were. I'm thinking this is a standard issue targeting setup, for like the Type 1 gun or missile pods. The accelerator cannon will get a different box, and will be more power oriented.




Still have several pods to work on. Top missile pack, radar dome top pack, rail gun top pack, camouflage/trap door cargo pods, battery pack cargo fill, burner cargo fill, and Type 2 heavy gun. But this means I'm about halfway through my design sets. Cool!

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Been a month, and I got interrupted by a nearly two week business trip that was NOT supposed to be that long, but I think I'm finally finished with building the basics of the Gremlin load outs. Lemmie fill ya in on what is now designed.


First up, this is a modified cargo rack used to carry basically planters. This will be filled with the same terrain as the entire piece and serve as a trap-door of sorts. Two units will carry these, and be placing them over the trail to hide the ambush's trail.




Next up is the Type 2 gun, a heavy machine gun outfitted with a missile pod in the cargo bay.




Last of the arm guns is the Type 4, a rail gun of sorts. Not sure a Gremlin would sport two of these due to power reasons, so the other arm may be loaded up with a missile pod. This has a radar or communications attachment to the standard cargo fill. I'm not really going with this configuration of two rail guns and a radar. Just illustrating things in the fewest number of pictures.




Now we get into the main focus of the diorama, first with a Gremlin with an external capacitor pack. These will be wired up (without printing them) to the Gremlin to insinuate that it's storing up a lot of power for the next Gremlin to use.




Now for the main player in the ambush, the burner Gremlin! This one took me a LONG time to finish. FreeCAD doesn't like floating bodies, so I had to work my way through the cargo fill solids, through the electrical connection going to the right arm, then through the right arm, and finally the rotating laser pod. I'm still scared to mess with that laser pod's rotation as it broke the last time I tried. Lots of links and things that I'd really need to rethink and parameterize-proof-harden. I've got it as best spot that I can see for now, and will deal with the fallout if/when I have to. I will not have a left armament on here, figuring the power Gremlin has to get very close to minimize the amount of cabling to be done. That's the two little pods on top that look like antennae. Electrical connections! It's got a lot of details, so needs two pictures.




That's where my entry stands at the moment. I will need to decide how much mod work I want to do to the Wight. First thought was to cut the left gun off where the burner has cut it, then make a couple of small resin prints to fill in the details of what's inside that arm. But, it might be easier to simply sketch up the whole thing and print the entire arm with having the front section of the gun falling away but still connected by some pipes/cables/things. The issue there is that the right arm may look out of place with details being slightly different. I've also got the daunting task of swapping the feet to make it look like it's falling backwards due to the cable grapples. Hmm. Think I'll cut both guns on the Wight, completely negating it's primary weapons, with the farther one already hitting the dirt. Gonna think on things.


Next step after working household things this weekend, hoping I have time in the evenings, is to start posing the figures. Now that the "base" version is done, I'll save off the file as a new unit, turn on the modules it needs, then change assembly angles to pose the figures. The problem I'm contemplating is if they'll even print at all or have to be encased in a cage of supports. I could print them unposed just to see how that goes but then worry that the posed figures will present entirely new difficulties. Again, gonna sleep on that and see how I feel. Leaning to posing first then working the issues. Seems prudent.


I do think I'm going to not equip the Type 3 gun on any figure. I won't delete it, but it just looks off to me. With three other guns plus a missile pod, I think it'll be fine to not put that one in.

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