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"M5A3EPS Heavy Tank by Khurasan Miniatures - first look" Topic

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khurasanminiatures04 May 2010 11:24 a.m. PST

The M5A3EPS Siler Main Battle Tank remains in service with some front-line Federal Marine divisions, and supplies the principal heavy-armour asset to the Marine Reserve Divisions and Federal Army Independent Heavy Tank Battalions, and to the Freehold military establishments as well.  Over 50 years old, this venerable weapons system is older than most of its crewmen, but remains a formidable foe.  

The tank mounts the M61 "Vulcan Cannon," a superheavy plasma cannon with an in-barrel plasma relay port.  For missile defense and close-in protection against enemy personnel, it also mounts two M181 "Cohort" auto-track gatling guns.

Although it's been phased out of service in approximately 2/3rds of active service Federal Marine divisions in favour of the L-HAC, those marines who still crew the "concrete beast" (as it is affectionately known) swear by it -- although its rather complex drive system, with four independent final drives, often makes Federal Marine MBT Techs swear at it instead.

This model, which has a hull that's about 90mm long, can provide some superheavy armoured support for those who don't like walkers or grav tanks.  It was designed by me and Mark Mondragon, and rapid prototyped and rendered here by Mark.  ETA, a month and a half or so.




MiniatureReview04 May 2010 11:26 a.m. PST

Nice. A very near sci-fi tank. Perfect for those Federal Marines.

Really like the guns on the top.

JRacel04 May 2010 11:53 a.m. PST

Oh my, so that's what you get when the offspring of an M1 and a Leopard grows up and joins the army!

Very nice with the right level of futuristic and current to give it that very near future SciFi feel.


NoseGoblin04 May 2010 12:06 p.m. PST

JRacel: You got it :)

Thankfully, Jon and I see pretty much eye to eye on what makes a good design. That and his sunny disposition makes it a pleasure to work with him :P

All the best,

(I make fun of others)04 May 2010 12:23 p.m. PST

Ooh my, is that your main armament or are you just glad to see me?

Only Warlock04 May 2010 12:31 p.m. PST

VERY nice!

Top Gun Ace04 May 2010 12:33 p.m. PST

That is a great looking, near future tank.

Reminds me quite a bit of the latest Leopards, and other MBT's.

MelEbbles04 May 2010 1:02 p.m. PST

Nice tank!

Out of curiosity, is there a reason why you named the main gun the "M61 Vulcan Cannon" when there's already an existing M61 Vulcan rotary cannon in real life?


I'm not complaining or anything, it just momentarily threw me for a loop. grin


khurasanminiatures04 May 2010 1:05 p.m. PST

Whoops, that's supposed to say M161, not M61. It's near future, but not THAT near future. grin

Steve Hazuka04 May 2010 1:08 p.m. PST

Wow is it me or is this rapid prototyping ability just going to make sci-fi dreams come true.

The level of detail and design I relied on companies like ForgeWorld are now popping up everywhere and in 15mm too. I know there was lots of good designs before but now it seems everywhere you look the bar is getting raised higher and higher.

MelEbbles04 May 2010 1:14 p.m. PST

Ah! Carry on, then. grin


CMikeHardy04 May 2010 1:39 p.m. PST

Exactly what I was lookin for!
I'll be having a full company's worth when they're released… Khurasan, please consider having a >LOT< of these in stock. Please, don't be like ZandrisIV and run out of stock THE DAY he releases his Battlesuits. :-)


khurasanminiatures04 May 2010 1:49 p.m. PST

That's happened to me, CMikeHardy! You just never know how people will respond to a product. After some bitter lessons you stop ordering 100 when you know you may only get three orders for it, and you order maybe 24 instead.

Further complicating things is that with resin moulds you may get 30-50 models out of it before the mould is shot, so a new mould has to be made! That happened to me with the Rockjumper truck and I'm still waiting for the restock (it shipped Friday, thank god).

Lion in the Stars04 May 2010 2:00 p.m. PST

K, please stop making so much cool stuff, my poor wallet can't take the abuse!

Battle Works Studios04 May 2010 2:50 p.m. PST

Well, that's another one on the "Must Get" list.

MiniatureReview04 May 2010 3:06 p.m. PST

Good thing I already have 3 Rockjumper trucks. :)

Can not wait to see this sucker in real life.

Dragon Gunner04 May 2010 3:36 p.m. PST

It reminds me of the super heavy tanks from Tiberium Wars.

CMikeHardy04 May 2010 4:02 p.m. PST

Okay then…. If I email you tomorrow, can I preorder 'em?
I'd ask for preorders now, but I don't get paid until tomorrow.

Redroom04 May 2010 4:03 p.m. PST

awesome concept

khurasanminiatures04 May 2010 4:08 p.m. PST

I'd be happy to let you pre-order but I don't know what they are going to cost me yet! It's at the printing stage and so I know how much the CAD and printing are costing me, and I have an idea what the mould costs will be (two moulds, one pewter and one resin), but the per piece cost is going to be up to the casters.

Dragon gunner I did a google search and I think that tank and the M5 have the same inspiration.

Cog Comp04 May 2010 6:36 p.m. PST

I have been telling people for years that Rapid Prototyping was going to change the miniature's world in a big way.

It will not be too much longer before people realize that they are not limited to producing just ONE scale with a CAD prototyping file.

For instance, it would be nice to have that tank in 6mm.

Eli Arndt04 May 2010 6:37 p.m. PST

That is a nice design there Jon,

It reminds me of some of the quad-tracked designs from 2300 AD/Traveller 2300. A nice super-heavy for folks still using mid-tech forces.


28mmMan04 May 2010 6:38 p.m. PST

Solid piece of armor…I know, droll right?

Eli Arndt04 May 2010 6:40 p.m. PST

@Cog: The issue isn't a lack of vision, it's a limitation on production. Very few people are producing on 3D printers. They are mainly prototyping on them and producing through more conventional means.

This means that though the original design can certainly be scaled up or down as needed in the 3D, it's still just as or nearly as expensive for the production as it would be with the old way of doing things.


DOUGKL04 May 2010 6:52 p.m. PST

Very nice looking vehicle. The camo scheme is very good too.

Xintao04 May 2010 8:51 p.m. PST

Ah crap, this just may tip me over to 15mm scifi.


khurasanminiatures04 May 2010 9:32 p.m. PST

Depends on the size of the piece, Eli. The CAD fees for the M5 were twice as high as the printing fee. Having it resized to be produced in 6mm scale would probably involve making a few things one piece, so i'd expect a minimal additional CAD fee, but it would mostly be the printing fee, and I'd expect that to be half or less what it was for the 15mm scale model.

OTOH the Dictators printing fee was actually higher than the design fee, and even in 6mm i'd expect the printing fee to be high.

For me it's less a cost issue than the hassle value. If I make some of my vehicles in 6mm scale I think I'll be expected to make more stuff in that scale too, stuff that I didn't have rapid prototyped, and I don't want to get wrapped up in another scale, I have plenty on my plate for a one man show as it is!

JRacel05 May 2010 5:40 a.m. PST

I have plenty on my plate for a one man show as it is!

One would never know it by the rate at which you are putting out killer products. Our signifigant others and wallets would not mind you taking a little vacation!


khurasanminiatures05 May 2010 5:58 a.m. PST

And my doctor would agree with them! grin

Moonbeast05 May 2010 2:40 p.m. PST

"Well, that's another one on the "Must Get" list."

Ditto. She's a beaut!

BlackWidowPilot Fezian05 May 2010 3:17 p.m. PST

'Tis a nice beastie.evil grin

Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express

(Major Disaster)03 Sep 2010 10:42 p.m. PST

Any word on a release date for this beauty? Is it going to be out, oh..possibly soon after the new Federal Army troops are released?

Cog Comp04 Sep 2010 12:43 a.m. PST

Ehem… If people will recall that not just a few years ago someone very close to me (an ex-TMP Member) was prophesying that rapid Prototyping would be lowering in price so that just about anyone could afford to get it done, and predicted that this year would be when it happened…

Does anyone recall who that TMP member might have been???

And, yes, it is a beautiful tank (although John's vision is not one I share, his work is VERY GOOD!).

khurasanminiatures04 Sep 2010 5:05 a.m. PST

Yes Spartan, I actually have the castings, I'm just waiting to get them painted up for sale, and also need to pack them up (another time issue for me).

Mooseworks804 Sep 2010 5:33 a.m. PST

The awesomeness just keeps coming!

Battle Works Studios04 Sep 2010 10:13 a.m. PST

And here I thought the tank commander figs were the holdup. :)

khurasanminiatures04 Sep 2010 10:41 a.m. PST

Haven't even been started yet, BWS. The sculptor is super busy now. I'll flag that the tanks will have crew sculpted for them, both Federal and the Control Battalions, so gamers might want to build them with the hatched open, then just plop in the tankers for the federals or control once they are available.

(Major Disaster)04 Sep 2010 11:04 a.m. PST

@ khurasanminiatures
This beauty is worth the wait. I've been drooling over it since it was announced! Glad to know it's still coming out and I don't mind waiting, can't rush AWESOMENESS!!!
And it's going to be usable with Jellina's Control Battalions TOO!!!

khurasanminiatures04 Sep 2010 11:25 a.m. PST

Yeah, best painted as rust buckets for the Jo-el Freehold, as the Feds have not supplied parts for a few years due to her activities. Think of the Jo-el Silers as similar to the Iranian F-14s during the Iran-Iraq War.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2010 2:49 p.m. PST

Super win!

Are we likely to see the "Federal Troopers" painted this next week?

khurasanminiatures05 Sep 2010 5:14 a.m. PST

Not sure -- the painter got them last week and he's got a lot on his plate. Maybe?

Also I will probably be able to preview the Atlas APM (armoured prime mover) that the federals use as an APC for Federal Infantry.

Vulture05 Sep 2010 4:01 p.m. PST

That is one great looking vehicle. Can't wait to see the photos of the actual model.


CMikeHardy10 Oct 2010 4:21 p.m. PST

For anyone interested in seeing this in the flesh… I finally got a hold of the four I ordered (I had to relocate across country and we ended up going in different directions. :-P).

Here's what you get:

The tracks are very nicely detailed. Astoundingly so! Other 15mm manufacturers should take note as these are quite lovely.
In fact the detail is quite rich on this model- seamlines between the armor plates allows for blacklining or a quick wash. The tell-tail layer ripples from the 3d printer is evident, but not overly so that it detracts from the model.

One downside is the rough casting on the back end of these:
This casting defect is shockingly evident on the turret, which can be covered with vehicle stowage quite satisfactorily if any were provided. As none was provided (evidently, in the dark future where there is only war, you don't need bags to carry your underwear), I'm gonna have to scoure the net for some. Battlefront has got some vehicle stowage for their FoW line… I guess I go with them.

Here's how she looks up against some other 15mm fare. In this case I have a Khurasan Felid, GZG Phalanx and GZG Paladin along side it.
She's beefy and I kinda expected her to be so. I think she'd be a whole lot better off if she was like maybe a 1/2 inch thinner (turret and hull)… that would lend well to her futuristic sleek styling from above. And, it would give me more an MBT, which I'm craving, instead of a Super Heavy, which I'm gonna have as hard a time justifying as I do my Mecha. >_>

The barrel is very heavy! Need to pin it, so bring your big boy pants when you go to assemble this beast.
I have four… but their size kinda gives me pause in the idea of getting more. If they were a bit smaller so I can have my MBT… Yeah, I'd invest heavily.

So, it seems my search for a suitable Near Future M1 Abrams continues. ^_^


khurasanminiatures10 Oct 2010 6:09 p.m. PST

Actually those are resin pour plugs, not rough casting or casting defects. They are pretty much a part of making resin kits, whether for wargaming or display.

It might be possible to cast a resin piece without pour plugs, but I've been making resin kits for display and gaming for 25+ years and afaik it's just part of the modeling process. You just take your time and remove them.

Anyway, glad you like the detailing on the kit! I think Mark did a great job with the design.

Eli Arndt10 Oct 2010 7:09 p.m. PST

Looks yummy indeed!

Stowage is easy to obtain through any number of sources. Also not overly difficult to cobble together yourself.


Lampyridae10 Oct 2010 10:44 p.m. PST

Looks like it would be good as a 20mm NF MBT. Now there is a *serious* lack of that!

tberry740311 Oct 2010 5:24 a.m. PST

(evidently, in the dark future where there is only war, you don't need bags to carry your underwear)

Maybe that's why everybody's fighting. They are all after the last of the clean underwear!


Battle Works Studios11 Oct 2010 5:28 a.m. PST

I've done one of these myself for the catalog photos. The barrel does not require pinning, the contact areas are more than adequate for simple gluing to hold it securely for any normal usage. The pour spouts took all of five minutes' work to clean up using a pair of clippers and a sanding block – they're ugly, but they're placed so that cleaning them up won't endanger any detail if you're careful. The only actual casting defect I noticed was some filled-in grillwork on the right engine exhaust vent, which was fixable with a couple of passes of a hobby knife.

All in all, a nice kit, and a very sexy design.

khurasanminiatures11 Oct 2010 6:20 a.m. PST

Maybe that's why everybody's fighting. They are all after the last of the clean underwear!

Or could it be that the tank is large enough that you don't have to hang your underwear outside at all so Parasachnids can rip it off and wear it on their heads, making fun of you? wink

Thanks BWS, glad you found building it relatively simple, I did too.

Eli Arndt11 Oct 2010 8:51 a.m. PST

Jon you beat me to it!

That tank is huge. It's likely still got the same size or smaller crew than todays tanks, so what's filling all that space (besides ammo and power systems). For all we know their may be bunking space in there.

Heck, if today's Merkava can manage to carry troops in the back by sacrificing some of it's ammo load, then why not.

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