at Home and On Campaign

at Home and On Campaign

30 November 2016

The "KCS Mary Shelly", Backstory and Build

Office of the Governor General
Travis Point, New Cypress
Kingdom of Colores

Chief of Intelligence, Admiral Jones
(High Level Briefing)
“Approximately 1,400 years ago, the Imperial Cruiser, ‘Interrus’ (hull number 447A32CC) was placed into fleet reserve and assigned a holding orbit above Ocrade. It was then prepped for cold storage and vented to space.  The Interrus remained undisturbed for the next 374 years.   

“Fortuitously for us, things then took a turn for the ship, when a departing merchant vessel suffered a massive warp force level catastrophe.  Official Imperial reports assumed that the Interrus was consumed by the explosion, but there were rumors that she had survived and was adrift in warpspace. After an exhaustive investigation, our agents uncovered several catalogued sightings of the ship and gave the data to our navigators.

“We found the Interrus in deep space. She was in good shape, so she was recovered and secretly towed to an orbit above the Bakkun moon where we began to restore her to active service under the codename ‘Project: Iowa’

“Despite a last minute attempt by Imperial and Reich’s agents to derail the project, we have succeeded in bringing her to an operational state.

Flight Operations Compartment

Ship’s Bridge and Admiral's CIC Suite

Engineering and Main Reactor

Navigator’s Suite

6 x Portescu 3rd Generation Main Guns

1 x Teledyne, Rapid Fire 14Gw Blaster Array and
4 x Teledyne, Rapid Fire 7Gw Blaster Arrays

4 x Straalivant 737pkt Shield Projectors

“Unlike some other Imperial designs where the further back in time you look the more advanced and capable they get, our girl is truly an odd duck. Her main battery layout is awkward with asymmetrical fire arcs and to get her serviceable she’s a complete mishmash of technologies. A Frankenship if you will.

“She will be christened, the KCS Mary Shelly


The Build
So my friend Mike, owner of Goldmine Games, (and longtime Ork player… nobody’s perfect) was lamenting the fact that years and years ago, he was dumb enough to sign up for a tournament at a major convention and missed out playing in a huge Ork battle with lots of yelling an laughing. He has always regretted it.

I asked him to describe the event, and he said the only thing he knew for sure was that there was an aircraft carrier involved.

As you can see…

From the very beginning, I knew I couldn’t build a true to scale massive space battleship/carrier in 28mm.
Welllll…. honestly and more accurately, I reluctantly accepted that I wouldn’t be able to build a true to scale massive space battleship/carrier in 28mm. So the aesthetic was going to have to be a playset version of a space battleship/carrier like the old G.I. Joe USS Flagg.

I drew a bunch of sketches, and ended up with two competing ideas of design concept:
1.       Traditional Aircraft Carrier
2.       40k Imperial Cruiser / Pre-Dreadnought (I’ll use IC/PD as an abbreviation from here on)

After going back to Mike for direction, he offered up an inspiring “I don’t know”, lol…

I briefly considered a carrier lower deck with a superstructure frame suspending the IC/PD on top

This plan was just too ambitious, but it did lead me to the next idea. Flip the concept, put the carrier deck on top, and the below decks would be the guns for the IC/PD.

Next, I did some research on carriers. Did you know that there have been two carriers built with the Island superstructure on the port side?  It was an experiment by the Imperial Japanese Navy:

Kind of cool in concept, but in practice it created new problems.  There were no crashes, but there were several incidents where pilots attempted to land the “wrong way” expecting the Island to be on the opposite side. Additionally, ALL operations, like replenishment and refueling had to be executed on the mirror image as well, and after a lifetime of training one way, crewmen could never seem to operate as efficiently “wrong handed”.

In the end, only the Hiryu and Akagi were configured like this.  Both were lost in action, and no new carriers with a port side island have ever been built.

That’s your trivia lesson for the day.

Back on track:
One of the peculiar (and defining) characteristics of some Pre-Dreadnoughts was offset main gun casemates as shown below on this deckplan of the USS Maine. By placing the main guns on the lower deck, I could incorporate the asymmetrical look of those older ships.

…and, since modern Carriers have an angled recovery deck (for safety and operational speed), I married that to the placement of the main guns.

Scale wise, I had to thread the needle between playset and the look of actual planes on the model.  Planes had to fit on the elevator, below deck, and plausibly navigate around all the deck obstructions. Every step of the way, I kept planes close at hand to sanity check all of the components.
When it came time to do details, I wanted a disparate look on parts of the equipment.  The background of the “Shelly”, is that she is not a new hull.  She is a salvage operation on a 5000 year old ship with new owners who have a different culture, different priorities, and wildly varying (and borrowed) technology.

Lastly, I wish I could say that the elevator actually works, but the best I could do is build it so it can be placed in 3 different positions.

The Shelly is 6' x 2.5'

I religiously followed the “Rule of Cool” no matter where it went.
I know it’s a carrier deck in a vacuum and zero gravity. I don’t care, it looks cool.
I know no one has designed that deckplan since the 1880’s. I don’t care, it looks cool.
I know the ceilings are too high. I don’t care, it looks cool.
You are correct, it has no walls. How else are you supposed to play on it? It’s cool, it stays.

I hope you like it. It was a blast to build, and it makes me think of re-orienting the blog a little to a “Star Trek like” series of following this ship around for awhile.  I’m not sure I’ll do that yet, but it has an undeniable appeal.

Let me know if I can answer any questions or elaborate on a topic.

Thanks for looking!

A big Welcome to the newest reader to Sector Six,
AsaltoRabioso Lleida

13 November 2016

Project Iowa, Ep. 4: The Inquisition Strikes Back

Kingdom of Colores "Project: Iowa", Orbiting the Bakkun Moon

After a covert technology deal between the Kingdom of Colores and the Rex-Avis Clan, the Imperial Inquisition has begun operations to recover the prohibited tech and punitive action against the two principal factions.(See "Project Iowa", Episodes 1 through 3 for more info)

Aware that their deal is no longer a secret, the Rex-Avis Clan is saying their farewells to their Colores counterparts so that they can return home to protect their own. "Colorado" Rex-Avis, Sir Ursaline Drakemore, and Kitty Luong are scheduled to the first shuttle back to their ship, the TMS Enhance.

 Saying good-bye to Ambassador Sophie Andres on deck
Max and Cookie are below in the crew quarters, 
settling up their poker winnings from some 
of the guys in the Colores Security Squad
Jasper Dysdeimos has agreed to stay behind and he is
allready hard at work in the engine room
(wait... What does an Orbital Station need with an engine room?)
At mid-deck Professor Applebeck (of the Colores Royal Astrophyics Institute) and his Jokero assistant are preparing the last Warp Imploder and other equipment for installation on the warp engines. (..warp engines What kind of station is this?)
at that very moment Inquisitor Guimar's Strike Team is approaching in a Null Sphere.

They have been prepped to forcibly board the Colores Research Station. They believe it contains equipment to construct bombs that tap the Warp for their explosive power, potentially generating enough force to destroy whole planets. The Inquisitor and his Team intend to destroy the facilities and abscond with any bombs already constructed.

The moment of impact...

Inquisitor Guimar spins around, trying to get his bearings.
First, he sees the Warp Imploder almost right at his feet, 
then he sees the Professor staring, shocked, right back at him
and down the deck, unbelievably, stand the the architects of the conspiracy

...and then it hits Guimar and his Team, this isn't a Space Station... IT'S A SHIP

The frozen shock is broken by the blasting Assault Rifle of Blake Walker firing through the glass of the Traffic Control Cabin.

"Go Go Go!" the Inquisitor screams, and everyone starts firing at once.

One of the Space Marines lays a full volley into Colorado and her shield flares from the impacts.

The second Marine smashes the port on top of the Traffic Control room, reaches in and throws Blake to the deck. He lands with a crushing thud, taking him out of the fight
Kitty moves with blinding speed through the firefight 

The Inquisitor orders his battle psyker to target Colorado

..but the Colores Navigator zeroes in on her

...and teleports Kitty right in her face

The fighting is intense, and the Rex-Avis Clan are pushing the invaders back, but the Ship's Security Team is taking heavy casualties.

As the Inquisitorial Stormraven arrives to evacuate the Strike Team, Kitty takes on the Inquisitor himself

Unfortunately, it is not enough.
The Inquisitor and the survivors of his team escape with Professor Applebeck, the Jokero and a Warp Imploder.

The Inquisitor's ship was tracked entering Warp Space along Red Route 1, which would take it directly back to the Rex-Avis homeworld. Colorado and her cohorts are now in a race to make it back in time to stop Inquisitor Guimar from exacting his revenge. They are accompanied by Ambassador Sophie and a small team who will lend a hand and try to rescue the Professor. 


I would like to thank The Composer for agreeing to share his models and his background to bring this campaign to life.  The action now shifts to the Tartarus Rim and his blog, (Link: HERE) for the exciting conclusion of the Cross Blog Extravaganza!

From my end, it has been a blast, and working with the Composer as co-conspiriator has been very rewarding.

I would also like to thank Cheetor's Blog (Link: HERE) for the special effects inspiration.

Yes, that is a gigantic 6 foot model space battleship/carrier on the table.  ...and, yes, it has interior lighting.  The Space Battleship has been my secret project behind the storyline and hopefully I pulled off somewhat of a surprise.  Soon, I will provide a full tutorial (probably after the end of the campaign over on the Tartarus Rim) of how I built it, and lots of beauty shots. It will also be the star of a couple of local events, and I'm sure will feature in more than few blog posts going forward.

Thanks for reading!

03 November 2016

Project Iowa, Ep. 3: “Plans Are Just a List of Things That Never Happen”

Colores Secret Base, Project Iowa

Sir Stanley Ursaline Drakemore
“The Colores reactor is online, and they have asked for assistance on the final installation.”

Octavia Argentia Rex-Avis
“After the attack on us at Bakkun, it’s clear that the operation has been compromised. Regardless of the fact that we may sympathize with these Colores people, we need to get home and look toward protecting our interests.”

Ivan Grigorievitch
“I agree with Octavia, we are now in the dark.  There is an enemy who knows of our dealings, and we know nothing of them. It is time to withdraw.”

Jasper Dysdeimos Rex Avis
“I say, withdraw most of the delegation, but I will stay to finish up and return via Colores ship.”

“Colorado” Rex-Avis
“Now that is a capital idea.  Colores certainly would be agreeable to providing transport for some of our team staying to help, while at the same time we can travel home to prepare.”

Plain of Loneliness
Bakkun Moon
4th Reich Agent Helga Wolfsbane
“It’s clear that the Colores goal of “Project Iowa”, is building a breeder reactor to produce Imploder bombs.”

Inquisitor Guimar
“What is clear is that this is all conjecture. Because of your defeat here, we still know NOTHING about this “Project Iowa”, and seeing as how one of your men was taken prisoner, our window of action has narrowed to the time between now and when he talks.”

4th Reich Agent Helga Wolfsbane
“A Reich’s Soldier would never…”

Inquisitor Guimar
“…talk? Everyone talks.
It is the Imperial Inquisition’s turn to act now, Agent Wolfsbane.  We will attack the Colores research station itself.  We will approach from the outward facing with a Boarding Team on a Null Sphere. It is completely undetectable. Even the material itself is visually disconcerting, so even if the Sphere happens to fall in someone’s eyeline, they will subconsciously want to look somewhere else.”

"They will never see us coming."


Next Episode
Our heroes are aware that their enemies have discovered their secret pact, and they believe that as long as they move with urgency, they can stay one step ahead of the threat.

Contradicting that belief, Inquisitor Guimar and his handpicked Strike Team are approaching the station in a stealth boarding craft.  He is moments away from interception and initiating his assault. Guimar believes he is attacking a secret orbital facility designed to manufacture planet destroying bombs. He also believes resistance will be minimal.

Everyone is about to be very surprised….