Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Wrap-up and Various Starship Minis and Models!

So. It's been a year already?! Yow! Well, going onward into the New Year I'll be working my way through my accumulated hoard, and that includes continuing to recycle with an attitude as time and opportunities (and irresistible finds rescued from the recycle bins and dumpsters) permit!

This installment is focused on subjects nostalgic and near and dear to my cold, evil little heart! To begin with, the very first starship miniatures I ever owned -and this means circa 1975!- were the Stardate 3000 series produced by Valiant Enterprises. I first encountered them at San Antonio Hobby Shop so long ago, with no set of war-game rules for starship combat with miniatures then available that I knew of (or the shop carried!). But having already been bitten and hard by the sci-fi bug, I was taken with these intriguing models Terran and Alien, and bought several in the hopes that eventually a solution to the rules problem would present itself.

So long ago, and those ships that I lovingly spray painted in red (AGGGH!!), and they have been lost to the mists of time and multiple moves. But many years later I happened to rediscover Valiant Enterprises, and yes, they still had the moulds, and yes, they were going to put them back into production, so as soon as I had the money to spare, I treated myself to some of these classic models, and then of course, life got in the way of life, and they languished half finished buried in a box in storage until just last week I rediscovered the project, and having some small amount of spare time on my hands as I wait for my thesis committee to make up their minds about my mad ravings scrawled on a napkin that is my master's thesis, I made a point to finish them!

So, after too many decades and without further ado, here they are for your presentation, my Terran task group of Stardate 3000 ships for your consideration:

Working from the bottom photo, we have from left to right a pair of Draco class destroyers, an Atreides class armed merchant vessel, and an orion class heavy battlecruiser. I always liked the modular look of these models, as they echo the speculative designs of the Apollo days, with a good dose of Gerry Anderson and Space 1999 thrown in for good measure. 

This little group will have a batch of fighter craft added later, and is meant to represent a small task group with the Atreides "Liberty ship" carrying a planetary expeditionary force. The Dracos cover the Atreides, and the Orion brings the heavy firepower support. Bob's yer uncle, Charlie's yer aunt (and the planet is now ours)!

Moving along to what's gotten done of late, some months ago I got my hands on one of the Yamato 2199 Garmillas ship sets as a congratulatory present for completing my thesis (a gift from my Significantly Better Half in fact). These new kits are state-of-the-art tooling for injection moulded plastic models, and the crispness and precision of the tooling, the level of detailing all add up for some very beautiful models that are a pleasure to build. 

being ever the adaptive creature that I am, I instantly recognized the utility of the three starships contained in the set for use in Silent Death: The Next Millennium as escort class warships (aka., Warhounds). The two Garmillas destroyers were simply perfect as well, erm, destroyers, so I got to work and built them both as is, finishing them in a "generic" three color scheme I like to think of as a "nebula pattern camouflage." Oh, and yes, there are two (2) of 'em in the set, so this set is a real bargain, really given that the Yen is weak compared to the U.S. Dollar of late:

The two DDs are shown here with a trio of Kashmere Commonwealth Surya class fighters and a pair of Reviresco starships minis adapted as Black Widow stand-ins. The matching color theme was a happy accident, really, as the Suryas and the two Black Widow proxies were also some unfinished business I duly finished while I was at it, and I happened to use much the same colors and the same decals I had in the spares box to get the whole lot of 'em done in the same period of time.

Here's some more shots of the two DDs with the Kashmeri ships thrown in for a point of visual and size reference:

I plan to post stats and a ship display sheet for these Garmilas destroyers on the Metal Express page some time early in the New Year, and that will also include the classic Mecha Colle mini kit of the similar Garmilas heavy cruiser that is slightly smaller than this impressive beastie. 

Now, as if these aren't visually impressive enough, here's one of the original Space battleship Yamato kits, the Earth Defense Force Heavy Cruiser model that is currently less than $5.00 a pop plus shipping on HobbyLink Japan, a work in progress mounted on a Litko Aerosystems two hex flight stand with the Kashmeri fighters hanging around for a size reference:

The original radar array that sits on top of the bridge is annoyingly fragile, so breakage was all but inevitable, but I expect to find a suitable, more robust replacement in my spares supply. I'm finishing this impressive beauty and two sisters along a House Tokugawa theme for Silent Death, and plan to stat them out as 10,000 ton destroyers. I deliberately altered the original eight gun flak battery on the stern into two quad gun mounts dorsal and ventral covering the rear arcs of the vessel, as there are no eight gun weapon systems in Silent Death (and I prefer to have multiple multi-barreled cannons covering my six, thank you very much!).

Finally here's a work in progress shot of the Big Dog of the Garmilas ship set, an S-class Dreadnought that is the centerpiece of the set and the backbone capital ship design of the Greater Garmilas Imperium of the Yamato 2199 universe:

I used a Litko Aerosystems two-hex base and the upright is for the display stand that came with the model. I simply Krazy glued it to the Litko base, and I'll spray the whole ensemble flat black and fill in the peg holes. The ship itself is light enough that it is stable on this kitbashed base. I've a great deal more to do with it to finish, but overall I am pleased with the basic dark blue over light grey finish. 

I'll crunch the numbers to run this beastie as a destroyer, and then go from there to a larger vessel such as a light cruiser, as I've written some rough and ready rules for larger tonnage warships for Silent Death to make "Sink the Bismark" style scenarios practical. 

So there it all is for everyone's consideration! Have a Happy New Year, and we'll see you on the other side of the galaxy in 2015! :)