Fighting Vehicles of the Nine Empires, Part 4: the Dwarven Battlewagon

Most fantasy worlds are derivatives of John Tolkien’s work, in that the fantasy races are elves, dwarves, humans, goblins, etc.  I did away with all of that, save for the dwarves.  The elves aren’t excluded either, but they are long extinct by the time that The Nine Empires takes place.  Anyway, the dwarves of Varanganska are quite unlike the dwarves of Middle-Earth.  There are two main races of dwarves, the red dwarves and black dwarves.  The former reside on Rossbera and other continents, while the black dwarves remained on their home continent of Khandar and are not relevant until halfway through the series.  Therefore, unless I specify which race I am speaking of, when I use the term “dwarves,” I am referring to the red dwarves.

The Rossberan dwarves largely kept to themselves in their mountain kingdom, which had villages, cities, and castles built into the mountainside with mines going deep into the mountains themselves.  Trade was largely between different dwarven settlements, and there was little or no need to trade with the outside world, as they had a complex system of terrace farming and were thus able to produce their own food.  Dwarves also hunt mountain goats for food, wool, and leather.  Dwarven isolationism continued until Alexandra’s conquest, when she demanded that the dwarves join her growing empire or be taken by force.  King Hurtak told her that she would never be able to take the dwarven strongholds by force, and asserted that the dwarves would remain independent.  However, dwarven strongholds were designed to withstand relatively feeble attempts by the Western Slavs on land, and Northmen from the coast.  Though they possessed the advantage of high ground, they could not withstand the sheer destructive capabilities of Alexandra’s armies.  After one disastrous defeat, King Hurtak surrendered and later abdicated.

For five centuries, the dwarves contributed their knowledge of mining and craftsmanship to the Rhûnnish Empire, making it the dominant industrial power on Rossbera until its final days.  As I mentioned in my posts about the War of Rhûnnish Succession, the dwarves broke away after the empire split in two, and joined Bulmut to the west, supplying them with their trade secrets instead.  It is for this reason that Bulmut is the most technologically advanced of the nine empires of Rossbera (even though it’s not technically an empire).  During this time, the dwarves themselves became much more war-like in culture, as opposed to the tough yet peaceful craftspeople they one were.  They developed and perfected mechanised warfare, and though they did not make the majority of the Bulmutian army in number, they made up the most of its strength.  The backbone of that strength is the dwarven battlewagon, which evolved from an armoured, goat-drawn chariot to the contraption pictured below:

Battlewagons 1Battlewagons 2Battlewagons 3Battlewagons 4Battlewagons 5

Two main versions of this tank were produced: a steam-powered version and a kerosene-powered version.  Neither was better overall, as they had different roles.  The steam-powered version (which is sitting on the right of the kerosene version and has a boiler sticking out the back) was typically used in defensive roles in cities and fortified bases.  It was typically fitted with a fireless boiler, and thus did not produce huge amounts of noxious fumes.  In highly mechanised Bulmutian cities such as Tenlund, the capital, and Arnturn, the largest Rossberan port, every effort was made to reduce the number of devices which needed to burn fuel in order to operate.  They had steam stations as we have petrol stations in order to charge up steam-powered carriages, and, of course, battlewagons.  The steam-powered battlewagons were typically fitted with rubber tracks, as well, in order to minimise damage to the streets.  Meanwhile, the kerosene versions were used on campaigns and the open battlefield.  The kerosene version also has a large hitch at the rear, enabling it to fulfil the role of artillery tractor.

Both versions are armed with a 20mm cannon in the one-dwarf turret.  I say “one-dwarf” instead of “one-man” because female dwarves fought as well.  They weren’t a majority, but there was hardly a combat role that a female dwarf couldn’t fill.  Anyway, enough of that.  The hull gun is a 75mm howitzer.  Notice that there are two outcroppings in the hull, nestled among the road wheels and return rollers.  These allow a hull gunner on either side to shoot a rifle or machine gun at flanking enemies.  That brings the total crew up to five: the commander/turret gunner, hull gunner, two side gunners, and driver.  Granted, dwarves are small, but this vehicle is still really cramped.  Below is a picture of a dwarven battlewagon next to a BVS medium tank, which is the exact same size as a T-34 (which was also notoriously cramped):

Battlewagon and BVS

The dwarven battlewagon was remarkably modern for a vehicle produced at the

Quatresactsame time as the Taressimian trench tank, with the engine and transmission both at the rear, and a torsion bar suspension for the road wheels.  Speaking of wheels, the dwarves loved to decorate their weapons, hence the Bulmutian crosses on the road wheels and the quatresacts on the return rollers.  A quatresact, by the way, is not a swastika; that’s just how this particular version turned out.  Normally, it looks like this:

The turret is made the shape of a regular octagon with the vertices pointing to the four cardinal directions, rather than the sides, as most octagonal tank turrets are made.  Not only does this conform to many dwarven motifs, but offers the advantage of increased armour deflection.

Overall, the dwarven battlewagon is a very effective fighting vehicle, especially in large numbers.  It remained competitive throughout the Great Rossberan War until the very end, when far more advanced designs began to appear on the battlefield and blow everything else away.

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Update on the Alto Clef Coffee Mug

Right, so, I mentioned in my previous post on the subject that I have to validate porcelain models before I can sell them.  Well, that hasn’t been true since 2 August, 2016.  Funny, I thought that they had sent out an email with that update, but when I couldn’t immediately sell my mug after uploading it, I thought I might have imagined the whole thing, but then I found the actual email.  Weird, how the mind can play tricks like that.  The reason is that the automated checks for porcelain models take a really long time.  Anyway, I did order one, just because, but even though I haven’t gotten it yet, you can order it now, as well.  Here’s a link, and here’s a preview:

Telemann concerto mug 4

It’s not cheap, and if you have the money to spend on 3D-printed mugs (NONE of them are cheap), then Telemann’s concerto in G major for viola and string orchestra might be too mainstream for you.  So, if you’re a virtuoso and you’ve managed to pry yourself away from practise long enough to read this, let me know what your favourite show-off piece is, and I’ll put it on a mug like this one.

 

Fight Vehicles of the Nine Empires, Part 3: Off-Road Armoured Trains

In part 2 of this series, I briefly mentioned the historical war wagon.  The Karadenians took the design in one direction, but the Arcadians took it in another, marrying it to both the steam train and the line of battle with an invention called the Locomotive Fort.

Armoured trains make formidable mobile fortresses, and can clear out an area quickly to safely deploy troops.  However, they are confined to the rail lines themselves.  Trenches take a long time to dig, and trench warfare is unsuitable for large, open areas where the fronts can move rapidly.  In order to block as large an area as possible, the Arcadians decided to build mobile fortresses based on armoured train cars.  The result was this:

Locomotive fort train closed

Six gunners with small arms can lie prone and shoot out of the upper gunports, while the sides of the cars open up to reveal larger guns (typically 12-pounders) or to rapidly deploy troops to the battlefield.  Deployed, the train looks like this:

Locomotive fort train open

The two middle “cars” are troop transports, and can comfortably carry two platoons each.  Note that none of these loco forts can be called cars in a railroad context for the simple reason that, although they are linked, they are all self-propelled.  If the need arises, the loco forts can disconnect and move on their own, such as if they need to beat a hasty retreat.  The Arcadian forces typically put more than four units in an off-road train in an effort to keep their forces together for as long as possible.  Depending on the circumstances, this could be a good tactic or a bad one.  Over long distances across level ground, it certainly kept troops fresh, and gave the Arcadian Army greater mobility than ever before.

Two more prominent variants were eventually introduced as well.  These were the tanker loco fort, which could carry kerosene for other vehicles accompanying the train, and the 12-inch self-propelled howitzer.

Although it was a huge target and not particularly well-armoured, especially compared to later land battleships, the locomotive fort was very popular with Arcadian soldiers.  There was plenty of room to work both above and below, operation was simple, and it was, overall, a fairly cushy assignment.  Since the loco forts could not traverse particularly difficult terrain, they stayed a fair distance from the heat of battle.  Once the train reached the deployment site, there might be susbtantial resistence, but after that, the crew largely sat around and waited while the infantry pushed on ahead.  Only evacuation missions were particularly dreaded, since anything could happen and one of the loco forts had a good chance of getting left behind.

Below are two views inside one of the open loco forts:

Locomotive fort train detailLocomotive fort inside

And a comparison to the other Rossberan tanks I’ve designed so far.  The one at the very bottom is the second variant of the Karadenian sand crab:

Locomotive fort comparison

This one will be available in my Shapeways shop soon.  I’ve decided to include removable panels with the 12-lb guns so that customers can configure the loco fort as either a gun battery or an APC.

 

The Alto Clef Coffee Mug

For those of you who play music, particularly the viola (as my mother and a few of my friends do), you might have noticed that there are tons of products out there for treble players, a few for bass players, and NONE for alto or tenor players.  Furthermore, such musicians seem particularly bitter because their clef is the prettiest.  If you’re not a musician or you haven’t the faintest clue what I’m talking about, just do a Google search for “alto clef” or “c-clef.”  Go ahead, do that now.  This isn’t a video that you have to pause.

Right, with that out of the way, I have a little story for you.  Over two years ago, I was approached by the owner of a shop called The Alto Clef on Etsy.  She was interested in a zipper pull that I designed, which can (and has) been put on instrument cases and quarter-zip jumpers.  However, at the time, I offered the item in only cast metals (brass, bronze, and silver – gold and platinum were not yet available).  She wanted stainless steel, which is cheaper, and is available in a variety of finishes.  I made the item available in stainless, as she requested, but did not expect her to be happy about it.  I generally stay away from 3D printed stainless steel because the process is not reliable for producing small details.  I was genuinely surprised that she was able to get them all printed with no issues.  I was happy as well, since I gained a returning customer.  Anyway, I reached out to her after her most recent order from me (five zipper pulls in matte black stainless), and gave her my alto clef mug idea.  She suggested the piece below:

Telemann Concerto

… as this is a beginner piece that nearly every violist plays.  Unfortunately, she can’t sell my mug in her shop because of a throttling new policy at Etsy that prevents her from selling anything not produced by a partner manufacturer – which Shapeways is not.  I don’t have an Etsy shop, so I don’t know the details, but that’s why I didn’t post a link, as I usually do.  The Alto Clef is moving to another platform.  I don’t know which one, but I asked the owner to let me know if and when she finds another option.  Hopefully, that gives me plenty of time to validate the model, because all porcelain products must be successfully printed by the designer before they can be sold, regardless of how well they meet the design guidelines.  Here’s a preview:

Telemann concerto mug 1Telemann concerto mug 2Telemann concerto mug 3

If this one works, then I’ll start making mugs with different pieces.  Now, obviously, the notes won’t be painted, which is the whole reason I would need a partnership in order to make this thing work.  Anyone can get a plain mug with a custom image glazed on it, but getting a custom embossed mug?  Only Shapeways can do that.  I even went so far as to make the handle vaguely shaped like the clef, and I can do a lot more than that.

Bloody Pussy

Warning: if any mention of hunting causes you to faint, do not scroll down.  For everyone else, check this out:

IMG_0301IMG_0302IMG_0303

This is Twinkle Toes (Twinkie for short).  Doesn’t he look vicious, chowing down on his truly massive kill?  Actually, the title of this post has two meanings: he’s a cat, covered in blood, and he’s also a bloody coward, a scaredy-cat.  He’s afraid of everything, and his little sister swats him constantly for no reason, but he wasted no time sticking his face in the gut pile of a freshly-killed deer.  This deer, in fact:

IMG_1081

Not the best picture, but I wasn’t there to tell my mother to rotate the phone, as I was busy getting the tractor.  I don’t know if you can see the bullet hole, but if you can, you might notice that it’s a little bit too far back.  The consequences?  Well, I know I hit at least one of the lungs, which is why the doe ran about 50 metres before collapsing to her knees in convulsions.  Unfortunately, I hit the bottom of the lung, where is overlaps the stomach, so this was also a gut-shot.  In fact, this is easily the worst shot I’ve ever made, and the first time I’ve had to shoot a deer a second time with a gun (I do it all the time with the crossbow: first through the spine to drop the animal, second through the heart), which I did through the neck.  That being said, I can’t complain about the results:

IMG_1082

Omnomnom!  Tenderloins, always the first part of the deer I eat.  In fact, that’s the celebratory meal, which everyone who partook in the hunt shares as soon as the animal is hung up, before the skinning even begins.  In this case, it was lunch for my mother and I.

I’d like to drift a little off topic to say this: hunters make the best cooks.  The only magazine recipes I’ve found to be edible have all come from American Hunter.  Hmm, I wonder why?  Maybe it’s because those of us who hunt for the meat, rather that just trophies (I do both, by the way, and I will probably post something in the near future about my trophy head from last year, when I finally get around to cleaning and mounting it) don’t take too kindly to our food being ruined.  Lately, I’ve had quite a bit of time to experiment with different variations on a lovely marinade I discovered a few years ago.  As I come up with new recipes of my own, I might start posting them.

Right then, I’m done for now.  I’m not sure what the topic of my next post is going to be, as I have a few things in the works at the moment.

Fighting Vehicles of the Nine Empires, Part 2: Iron Turtles and Sand Crabs

In my fantasy world as in the real world, the concept of the tank has been around since the development of the casemate ironclad warship.  Early designs were dubbed “land ironclads,” though none of them were ever built, much less used in combat.  Naturally, that’s not good enough for a steampunk such as myself.

Below is a concept from the mind of Eduard Boyen (about whom I could find no information, not even the year of this invention), a steam-powered casemate-armoured vehicle with two gun decks.  I decided to use this as a base for my own land ironclad, the Kardenian Iron Turtle.

strange-tank-Eduard-Boyen

The Iron Turtle originally started out as a small vehicle, with a hull resembling an upside-down boat, and armed with a single gun.  It was essentially a carbon copy of F.R. Simms’ own armoured car, built in 1902.  Developments in engine and transmission technology eventually allowed the contraption to blimp to an enormous size.  Below is the final version of the iron turtle, which was also the only version to see combat.

Iron Turtle 1Iron Turtle 2Iron Turtle 3Iron Turtle 4

The iron turtle was the most powerful tank on Rossbera at the time of its development.  However, while it had sufficient armour to shrug off attacks from all but the heaviest field guns, it was not as mobile as the Taressimian trench tank.  The low-hanging armoured skirt tended to get stuck when the tank attempted to cross deep craters in the terrain.  Because of the constant shelling during the Battle of Shiamazdu, the iron turtles frequently found themselves immobilised, and so acted as armoured gun towers instead of offensive vehicles.  Head-on attacks were not effective against iron turtles, but there were plenty of other ways of defeating them, including using infantry to sneak up close and toss grenades into the gunports.  In short, the iron turtle did not live up to its potential.

The only other armoured vehicle that the Karadenian Empire possessed at the time was an armoured war wagon, affectionately nicknamed the “little box turtle,” as it was very boxy, and served alongside the much larger iron turtle.

War wagon 1War wagon 2

Like earlier horse-drawn (Rossberans used dostrops, not actual horses, but the two animals look very similar) wooden war wagons, the vehicle itself had no permanently mounted weapons, but was basically a mobile pill box.  There were provisions to mount heavier weapons than could be fired by hand, such as heavy machine guns and autocannons, but nothing specific was intended with this design.  As you can probably see, the crew would enter through a small hatch at the vehicle’s rear.  The vehicle was a bit cramped for the gunners, admittedly, and the rear gunner had to fire from a prone position the entire time.  The little box turtle had very thin armour, and could not protect the occupants from anything heavier than anti-personnel weapons, but it was cheap to produce and augmented infantry capabilities enough to demonstrate that mechanised warfare was the way of the future.

The Karadenian forces ultimately won the Battle of Shiamazdu, but not thanks to their armoured vehicles.  Emperor Plutus was satisfied with the result, and believed that such a victory would keep Taressim at bay.  His brother, however, disagreed, and began making preparations for a massive counterattack.  Interrogation of Taressimian POWs revealed that the trench tanks were too narrow to be very stable, and many had flipped over while crossing the Kraichis Desert.  As you might be aware from my last post, trench tanks have their turrets on the sides, mainly because a turret on top would make the tank even less stable than it already is.  Neither iron turtles nor war wagons could cross the desert, the former because of the armoured skirt and the latter because of the narrow tracks.  However, trench tanks were clearly capable of crossing the desert, and the Karadenian forces managed to capture a few in fairly decent condition.  In order to make them more stable, they were taken apart and widened, which also made room for another turret on top, with the added bonus of not compromising stability.  The result was called the sand crab, and had more than twice the armament of the original Taressimian design.

Sandcrab comparison

The name doesn’t come from the original design, but from its later derivative (which I haven’t finished yet), that had much larger side turrets and more powerful 17-lb howitzers.  The 17-pounders stick out like crab claws on this absurdly wide vehicle, which was meant to cross the desert and give Taressim a taste of its own medicine.  By the time that the campaign finally began, the Karadenians had made several smaller armoured vehicles based on the design as well, which were faster and far cheaper to produce than the sand crab.  I can’t show you those just yet, since I haven’t dreamt them up.  Anyway, I’m cutting this post short, because I have nothing else at the moment.  I’ll leave you with this:

Tanks 1

A comparison of the sand crab, little box turtle, iron turtle, trench tank, APC, and yes, that’s a Gadfly Gun in the background.  As you can see, it’s bigger than anything else.  By the way, I almost forgot: the war wagon and iron turtle are both available in my Shapeways shop.  I have yet to validate the sand crab.

 

Fighting Vehicles of the Nine Empires, Part 1: Trench Warfare in Taressim

The Martial State of Taressim came into existence roughly a century before the events of The Nine Empires.  For its entire existence, the country was engaged in nonstop war against surrounding countries, gobbling them up left and right until there was nowhere left to expand.  At the beginning of the story, Taressim is abutting Sondor to the West, Drachania to the north, with the Kraichis desert acting as a buffer zone with Karaden to the East and Arcadia to the south.  Taressim was able to expand into civilised territory so quickly because of the citizens’ utter devotion to the military, after all, it’s in the name: martial state.  Though the manner of warfare was very traditional for most of the country’s existence, the current borderlands are, even at the time the actual story starts, in utter ruin from more industrialised warfare.  Smaller countries saw the writing on the wall, and either asked to join larger powers such as Sondor, or beefed up their industry and began producing heavy artillery and land ironclads, some of which were copies of the Karadenian Iron Turtle.  In addition, many of these nations dug trenches throughout their frontier regions in preparation for an attack.

Trench warfare is the most hellish form of stalemate.  With no high walls to knock down, as with fortresses, breaking through the area denial system of heavy machine guns and light mortars is impossible for infantry and traditional cavalry.  Armoured cars can endure heavy fire, for a time, but are ill-suited to driving on heavily-cratered ground.  Therefore, Taressimian High Command ordered the development of an armoured vehicle specifically for the purpose of traversing rough terrain and breeching trenches.  I provided a preview of the vehicle in question in my previous post.  Here it is: the trench tank.

Trench line tank 1Trench line tank 2Trench line tank 3

The standard model is armed with two 6-lb guns, however some division commanders had them replaced with guns as heavy as 15-lb howitzers.  In addition, machine gun ports could easily be cut into the armour plate on the sides, providing additional anti-personnel capabilities.  Furthermore, heavy machine guns can be temporarily mounted to the roof and operated from the open hatches.  The field of vision, as one can imagine, is extremely limited from inside the tank, and does not overlap with the field of fire.  This was not seen as a problem, given the tank’s role, and was corrected only in the command variant, shown below.

Trench command tank 1Trench command tank 2

In addition to the third gun (same size as the other two), the driver is moved up to the lower forward part of the central cupola.  The commander is in the upper cupola, and has 360 degrees of visibility, though still not excellent by any means.  In fact, thanks to the larger windows and more forward position, the driver of the standard model probably has an easier time, even if he is less protected.

The trench tank is able to shrug off machine gun fire, shrapnel from artillery (though not direct hits), and anti-personnel mortar shells.  It is also able to crush barbed wire and cross all but the widest of trenches.  Toward the end of the latter campaigns, that last part became a serious problem, with Taressim’s enemies employing the tactic of abandoning their guns in certain sections of the trenches for the purpose of widening it.  Since the Taressimian forces had no way of knowing what the enemy was up to, only that the fire cover was lighter in that area, that is where they would deploy their troops.  Each tank, after all, could carry a squad of soldiers, which would exit from the rear of the vehicle.  Taressim’s advance was significantly hampered when the tanks would fail to cross the trench, and instead drive right into huge pits.  In order to abate this new obstacle, another variant of the trench tank was deployed: the APC, shown below.

Trench APC 1Trench APC 2Trench APC 3

This vehicle was much longer, and its centre of gravity was further back.  The engine and other machinery was all placed toward the rear, leaving most of the vehicle as a lightweight, hollow box, with the weight of the soldiers inside being negligible.  The trench APC could drive quite far over a sheer drop before it was in any risk of falling, and could, of course, cross much wider trenches than the standard model.  Furthermore, the APC could carry an entire platoon, 30 men, rather than just one squad.  Some variants of the APC had additional doors on the sides for rapid deployment, while others had machine guns sticking out in various directions to clear an area for the exiting platoon.

By the time that Taressim’s expansion stopped, a typical tank company looked like this:

Taressim tank company

This type of company, by the way, is called an infantry tank company, as the tanks themselves acted in support of the infantry, rather than separately as cavalry vehicles did in other countries in later years.

These tanks eventually did fight against forces of the other major Rossberan powers, with mixed results.  Though they proved superior to the Iron Turtles of Karaden, they did not ultimately prevail.  I will go into a little more detail about that conflict in my next post on the subject, when I show the Karadenian tanks.

As of this writing, the standard model and the APC are both available in 1/100 scale in my Shapeways shop.

Another Day, Another Tank

For a story that draws a lot of inspiration from World War I, The Nine Empires has a distinct dearth of tanks.  Well, no more!  Feast your eyes on the Mark 1:Rossberan Mark 1 Tank

The design is almost a carbon copy of the British Mark V, but I wanted a historical baseline.  Beyond this, Rossberan tanks don’t much resemble historical designs.  I will most likely give this one to Taressim, while providing the Karadenians with some more fantastic designs inspired by 19th-century concept art.  This brings me to an interesting point: the term “tank” itself.

The idea of a “land battleship” had been around almost as long as the ironclad itself (I’m talking about our world, in case you didn’t know).  There are ideas that closely resemble an ironclad casemate or mortar battery on wheels instead of a ship’s hull, which are preserved in detailed drawings from as early as 1885.  The British were the first to actually build a land battleship, the Mark I, in 1915, but decided to disguise its purpose by giving it the codename “tank,” as if to imply that it was some sort of water or fuel carrier.  The nickname stuck, and ever since, any armoured fighting vehicle with caterpillar tracks has been called a tank.  On Rossbera, however, this is not the case.

As I make more of these contraptions, I’ll make posts on the subject of Rossberan fighting vehicles, from the land battleships (which keep getting bigger and bigger over time) and smaller AFVs (which don’t get very big, but keep getting tougher and more heavily armed).  Currently, my idea is for fighting vehicles to have have three separate evolutionary pathways, resulting in three basic classes: giant land battleships that serve as mobile fortresses, heavy tanks closely resembling those from World War II, and armoured cavalry with compact, super-tough armoured cars or tankettes in lieu of horses.  I have a few of these already made and a few more in progress, so I should have a batch ready to share in another day or two.  If you care to read it, I will also provide some fictional history behind their development.

Of All the Things to Build…

So… my latest work in progress… it’s eaten up a lot of my time lately, though it didn’t prevent me from uploading a simple little boat (the peanut cog) to Shapeways.  Still, it’s kept me pre-occupied, as it has 11 separate components (a lot for one of my miniatures), 8 of which are either gears or have gear teeth in their design.  So, I imagine you’re simply bursting with curiosity: what could that maniac Kaja be up to now?

Right, if you know a thing or two about military history, as most people who know me do, chances are that you’ve heard of the Schwerer Gustav.  Well… I had to make my own version of that monstrosity, just because.  Here she is: Dora the Destroyer, far from being finished.

Dora in progress 1

Notice anything different?  My version of Dora can rotate.  The rail platform is far from finished, so it looks like it’s just floating there.  The twin locomotives are also rather unique in several regards.  First, and most obvious, these locomotives are armed, possessing 91mm guns in the front turrets.  As you can probably imagine, they are heavily armoured as well.  They also have a unique gauge (a whopping 2 metres) and a unique wheel base, namely 2-6-6-6-0.  Why that?  Well, it uses such nomenclature simply because the locomotives each have three pairs of engines, each pair driving three pairs of wheels.  Right, back to the gun itself.

Dora in progress 3

Yes, I put some detail in the breech block.  No threads, mainly because those would be a bit too small to print, and I intend to eventually print this thing… when I have enough money to burn on it.  Yeah, this thing is huge, and will not be cheap in any scale.

Dora in progress 2

If you look closely, you can see one of the pinions used to rotate the gun.  There are two 12-tooth pinions placed 180 degrees apart inside the large internal ring gear.  The latter, incidentally, has 168 teeth.  Now then, how on Varanganska can this thing deal with recoil when firing perpendicular to the rails?  Well, as I mentioned, this model isn’t finished.  The bottom portion of the rotating platform is meant to have super-heavy-duty hydraulic spikes to hold it in place.  Furthermore, there are both sliding rails on the platform and a cylinder in the barrel itself.  There’s more: the entire artillery division centred round this gun has not just the three machines pictured, but ten in total.

 

Dora in progress 4

The front view of the setup so far.  I know, the 85cm gun (yes, I had to go even bigger) makes these locomotives look puny in comparison.  As I mentioned, the final version is supposed to have ten separate parts.  Those would be: two locomotives, two tenders, the loading crane, the gun itself, two more tenders, and two more locomotives facing in reverse.  That’s for one gun.  Don’t worry, I don’t intend to do everything at once.  I will definitely go back to making ships as soon as I’m finished with the gun itself.  The rest of the division (which I can see going for $1000 in 1/100 scale easily on Shapeways), will have to wait.  After all, this technological terror doesn’t even appear until the final book, by my current outline.  Then again, neither does the Gadfly Gun.

Dora in progress 5

Maybe you can see it in the above picture, maybe you can’t.  2-6-6-6-0, what did I tell you?

Dora in progress 6

One final picture.  Right, break’s over, I need to get back to work.

Historical Re-Enactment, and Why We Do It

This past Saturday, I celebrated Veteran’s Day with a local group of 18th century long rifle re-enactors.

FOT142DI’m not in the above picture, so don’t bother looking.  In fact, this was taken several days earlier.  I should be easy to find in the bottom photo, as I never smile.

FOTECA7

I’m not actually part of this group… yet.  I was permitted to attend the event simply because I know the hostess (far left in the top photo, centre in bottom photo).  Even then, I’m an arms dealer, not an infantryman.  After, I know how to make gun components, and I also have the capability to build 18th century cannon.  As far as the latter is concerned, I am limited only by the size of my lathe.  After all, a 13″x36″ lathe is a bit small for even a falconet.  Of course, it helps to know some people with machine shops even better-equipped than my own.  This brings me to a totally new topic: I.A.M.A.D.A.

As I may have mentioned, IAMADA is an organisation in The Nine Empires.  However, it is also intended to be the name of my real-world weapons-dealing business.  The difference between the two is that, rather than making artillery pieces and flying battleships for massive empires, I’d be making artillery pieces, rifles, and swords for groups such as the one above.  Yeah… it’s nowhere near ready to open my doors for business just yet.

As I mentioned, the event I attended was in honour of Veteran’s Day.  One of the highlights of the evening was a reading of a poem by Charles M. Province:

“It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Which brings me to an interesting point about the American Revolution and “American ideals:” they’re English in origin!  Here’s what a lot of people forget: the majority of the rights that many Americans take for granted were, in fact, originally laid out in the Magna Carta.  It was the rights of Englishmen that King George III was trying to take away from the colonists.

Some choose to re-live this events to honour those who paid the ultimate price for freedom, but most of us do it for fun.  Although this video has nothing to do with the 18th century, I figured that I would once again let Lindybeige make my points for me.  Seriously, when did aesthetics become so unimportant that we dispensed with them entirely?

I will return to making models until 6 January, when this group has an event called “Twelfth Night,” which I suspect has nothing to do with the Shakespeare play of the same name.