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"Buildups of Khurasan Nova Respublik APC and Robot" Topic


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khurasanminiatures30 Apr 2011 7:18 a.m. PST

Hi guys, this is a long post, so if you want to read it, you might want to go get a cup of coffee!

I built up the next two Nova Respublik vehicles so I can paint them for display and put the items up for sale, and I'm really pleased with how quick and painless they were to build up. I thought I'd post a few pictures of them as a little preview before I begin painting, just to show what the bare bones kits look like when you get them. This is a warts and all review (yes, I am insane enough to review my own kits), just to let you kow exactly what you are getting, but IMO the warts are small (and let's face it, every multipiece wargaming vehicle model has them) and JBR's cool designs are definitely worth working around them!

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Here are the two kits, built up. On the left is a Marka, one variant of the Darling Little robot series, on the right the Hedgehog (Yozhik) Heavy APC.

The Hedgehog is a variant of the Red Banner series, and uses the same final drive lengths. The hull is modified so that a squad can be carried in the back, and the vehicle is covered with FFG plates that give it its distinctive look (and name). It carries a turret with a 30mm autocannon, and two multi-purpose missile launcher tubes which can be loaded with either HE seeker missiles (for anti-aircraft work) or the heavy anti-material Spook missile.

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The kit went together pretty well. The only real cleanup it needed was to remove two resin pou vents, one from the back of each final drive piece. Like the real world APC design that inspired it, it has large add-on armour on its sides, and I noticed that this makes it best to assemble both side pieces at the same time -- the final drive length and the armour pack. This is because they both nestle into each other as well as the hull side, so if you just attach one, the attachment of the other might not be spot on. So what I did was put the cyano on the final drive length, attached it, then very quickly put the cyano on the armour pack and neslted it in, getting the right fit of tracks, armour pack and hull all together. It was pretty simple, especially as the cyano does not cure instantly so you have a little time to fool around with it. I noticed that the armour pack might need to be bent just slightly to get a flawless fit onto the top of the track length, but I was lazy and didn't bother. You might want to of course! To do it I think you'd just bend it a little, get a dry fit, then adjust as necessary, and finally glue in place.

The turret went together really well. I like the way that the missle rack is configured -- the launcher barrel tubes have little brackets on the back that go into the main mount, and these give you a good sense of where the barrels should be set in. You just have to add one barrel, let that cure, then stick the other one next to it, checking to see if they are lined up ok. I found that the glue cured slowly enough that I had time to fool around with it. Once it was perfect I let it cure, then put some more cyano on letting the capillary action pull it into the gap, just to strengthen it. I let it sit for a half hour and from then on was manhandling it with no problems.

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Two things to note -- the turret is metal and the hull is resin, so the pieces shrank at different levels in the mouldmaking process and the turret needs to be filed to fit. This took about two minutes. Another is that the rear platform on the turret does not clear the starboard armour pack, which sticks up too much. I suppose you could file it down to get clearance, but I didn't bother, because even if I'm playing a game where turret positioning matters, the offset is not too bad. YMMV.

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Overall I think the turret looks fantastic assembled, very Russian with all the stuff hanging off of it. The vehicle is pretty awesome, squat and solid, and I'm looking forward to painting it up, probably in a sand over olive green pattern, to be used by a desert planet dictatorship (just as the Arab countries often used Soviet kit from the 50s on, and painted sand patterns over the green factory coat of the vehicle).

On to the robot. First some background to explain the name and design sensibility, which I will italicise if you want to skip it.

Darling Little might sound like an odd name for a warbot, but they are so-called because they are designed to protect and support the infantry as mobile heavy weapons platforms. As sentient robots they are accordingly cybergendered female, as the Nova engineers have determined that female gendering leads to a more protective nature. This has been borne out by experience and observation -- for instance the Federal DIMOG Mark 3 is a sentient robot gendered male, and although it is much more aggressive than the Darling Little series, it also is less concerned about supporting the Federal infantry, seeking to go its own way in the destruction of enemy units, and at times even commits Blue on Blue attacks -- not purposefully, but also without much concern for the friendlys in the line of fire. For this it is not liked by the Federal infantry, often called by them the "Berserker" because of the frenzies into which it falls when in combat. (It is also called by them the "Bleeped text" and the "MotherBleeped text.") Accordingly it is not often used in an infantry support capacity, its intended role, being used instead to engage enemies that human forces might be reluctant to combat. The Federal troops continue to rely instead on the crewed DIMOGs and their tripod mounted heavy weapons for close support.

On the other hand, the Darling Littles have been judged a great success, much loved and appreciated by the Nova infantry, and in the Neo-Russian language females, when referred to with affection, are often called "darling little ___________," hence the informal model name. (The official name is something revolutionary and patriotic, but virtually no one uses it.) This name has been earned by the spunky and caring little robots, which fiercely defend their charges and will at times, though sentient, place their chassis in the line of fire to protect the soldiers. (Conversely, Nova scientists have noted, with fascination, that the Darlings often develop rivalries with human female Nova infantry and are less protective of them.)

The Darlings come in three main types, rocket barrage, anti-material, and rapid fire support. Rocket barrage has twenty 150mm HE rockets, antimaterial carries eight Spook heavy anti-material missiles, and rapid fire mounts two 30mm autocannons. Another Darling Little is heavily modified as an ammo carrier bot, and can mate with any of the above to replenish their ammo.

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I decided to build a Marka, with its distinctive rocket barrage weapons mounts. Marka was a Russian (and is still a Neo-Russian) female name, and it was also chosen as a salute to Mark Hannam, the blogger of Dropship Horizon, who inspired this robot series. The thing basically fell together, the only care I had to put into it was making sure that the first three legs lined up more or less ok (the legs go into a ball socket so have some degree of posability). Then for the fourth leg, I put glue into the ball mount, put the leg in, and put the model on the tabletop, letting the fourth leg just find the table on its own. As it turned out all four are flush on the table, but even with just three I think it would still be a good stand-alone.

As this thing is a sentient warbot, John and I decided it should have sort of a face, formed by the search array as the "eyes" and the binocular targeters as the "mouth". If you don't like that, you can just assemble the darned thing backwards! Notice in the second picture above, of the rear of the bot, that it has a very machine-based look, and that can be the front of the bot with no problem.

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John was very clever about these designs -- note in the above pics that you can swap the Darling head and the Hedgehog turret. I think it might be a cool idea to put a robot turret on the Hedgehog, though I'm not quite as sold on the Hedgehog turret with legs! To me I don't think it looks like it has enough room to process information etc (to be "alive"), but once again, YMMV. If you're going to use the Darling head on the APC, it's best to be conservative and glue the weapons pointing sort of straightish, as there's not a huge amount of clearance.

Anyway, as usual it's saturday morning and I have a ton of order packing to do. If I have a chance this weekend, I definitely want to prime these two and get the base coat on. Also have to finish the Cheetah ALSV and the Battle Class Federal Heavy Crusier, as I dropped the ball on both of those as they neared completion in the rush to get the Red Banner tank out for you guys.

Hope you enjoyed!

Eli Arndt30 Apr 2011 7:39 a.m. PST

Awesome. I like the interchangeable parts. Really allows for some neat options here.

khurasanminiatures30 Apr 2011 7:42 a.m. PST

I'm also going to have the little robot head cast as a separate piece (the head and the aerial) so that if the gamer wants, he can have multiple turret options for his Darling Little robot kit -- or can take the extra gun pieces from a robot kit and put a robot turret on his APC. That was supposed to be done already, but it slipped through the cracks at the caster's, so it will follow a few weeks after the robot release.

BlackWidowPilot Fezian30 Apr 2011 7:42 a.m. PST

I want that bot!!evil grin


Leland R. Erickson

Redroom30 Apr 2011 7:45 a.m. PST

Awesome review and they look really nice. I like how the bits between the two are interchangable from the weapon systems standpoint (well thought out design) and think others will like that a lot.

28mmMan30 Apr 2011 7:47 a.m. PST

Wow…the goodness just keeps bubbling up like liquid gold on the Clampett's swamp land!

This little guy just makes me smile picture

khurasanminiatures30 Apr 2011 7:51 a.m. PST

Biddy biddy put your hands up biddy biddy

khurasanminiatures30 Apr 2011 7:54 a.m. PST

The bug just struck when I edited my post, but I just hit my "back" button on my browser until I found the original post and hit "change" to put it back in place … phew! grin

JRacel30 Apr 2011 8:02 a.m. PST

More things to order.

Jeff

Dropship Horizon30 Apr 2011 8:23 a.m. PST

Thank you for the compliment Jon. I am of course a little biased but I think the Little Darlings are superb and the realisation went beyond my expectations.

Cheers
Mark

clkeagle30 Apr 2011 8:24 a.m. PST

Ditto on the "weapon swap" design praise! When Dropship Horizon first previewed these I immediately thought of different variants and uses for these Darling Little machines. Sounds like that's going to happen!

Chris

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Apr 2011 8:42 a.m. PST

Great write up…thanks! Look forward to ordering them…

28mmMan30 Apr 2011 8:52 a.m. PST

Any chance for a comparison pic with one of your other miniatures of the bipedal variety?

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2011 8:53 a.m. PST

The Neo-Soviet look is great. Is there an 8-wheel recce APC in the works? A BTR-2150?

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2011 1:00 p.m. PST

Sweet. Need Bots.

Warbeads30 Apr 2011 1:06 p.m. PST

Okay, I am tired.

I read "Little Darlings" and

Another Darling Little is heavily modified as an ammo carrier bot, and can mate with any of the above to replenish their ammo.
Emphasis mine.

My mind boggled.

Gracias,

Glenn

khurasanminiatures30 Apr 2011 1:56 p.m. PST

Let me help unboggle you:

en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mate#Verb

doug redshirt30 Apr 2011 2:22 p.m. PST

Excellent at always. I have a back log now of vehicles to finish. Now all we need is the infantry for the new revolution. I know what I am going to be doing when I get back from Florida.

John Bear Ross30 Apr 2011 4:14 p.m. PST

Good stuff. Glad to see we pulled it off. And just in time for May Day!

Best,
JBR

wminsing30 Apr 2011 5:59 p.m. PST

Nice work- the NR force is hanging together nicely!

-Will

Cheomesh30 Apr 2011 8:38 p.m. PST

Been looking for bots to use as drone support at the platoon level for my FAD army, which uses the Federal Army troops. I'd like to see it next to a human fig (FREX a federal) for comparison though. Currently a tossup between these and the killer robots you've had on your site a while.

M.

28mmMan01 May 2011 8:16 a.m. PST

"The Darlings come in three main types, rocket barrage, anti-material, and rapid fire support. Rocket barrage has twenty 150mm HE rockets, antimaterial carries eight Spook heavy anti-material missiles, and rapid fire mounts two 30mm autocannons. Another Darling Little is heavily modified as an ammo carrier bot, and can mate with any of the above to replenish their ammo"

The subject of "mate", how can this be seen as anything other than "to mate, as in connects together in a manner that matches a established function…a slide in a grove, nut and bolt, key in a lock, etc.

Anyway…the idea of overlaying human processes, male and female, are a time honored one in science fiction and make sense for the idea of the miniatures in question.

I for one appreciate the effort to bring the miniatures to life and any extra data/background is gravy.

Thanks for the efforts Khurasan…you are the Khuraman :)

StarfuryXL501 May 2011 8:57 p.m. PST

Gotta love a little girl-on-girl robot action *cough, cough* I mean, gotta love the depth of planning and execution of these well-thought-out robots and that really cool APC.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2011 9:46 p.m. PST

I always love a girl robot with a nice large set of multiple rocket launchers!

Wolfprophet02 May 2011 4:13 a.m. PST

"Gotta love a little girl-on-girl robot action *cough, cough*"

Of this, I strongly approve.
That said, someone hit me with something heavy so as to keep me from buying too many of the little things and actually…going through the process of naming of them… because otherwise, I will. It'll be awesome, but thanks to the release of the Red Banner tank and control battalions, I'm a little broke. Also crazy. I'd be more worried about the "crazy" than the "broke" however. Although, broke and crazy go hand in hand like an infantryman and his darling little guardian upon the field of battle. Huzzah! Did I mention crazy?

Cheomesh02 May 2011 5:45 a.m. PST

Can't wait to see those infantry packs too!

M.

khurasanminiatures02 May 2011 12:22 p.m. PST

Took me a while but I got images to show:

The Zhenia reloader robot, which is a resin head swap for the standard white metal robot:

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A group shot of the Darling Little robot, a resistance fighter, the Hedgehog APC and a Kark:

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Just the robot and a resistance fighter:

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And finally just the APC (showing the rear drop-down ramp) and a resistance fighter:

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As my post-production work on these pieces evolves, I am trying to do everything I can to make the vehicle pieces cleaner for the customer. I've made cleaning off the print lines (without destroying the master!) a priority, and have had some success, but it varies a bit from kit to kit. I'm very happy with the way that the Darling Little and the Red Tank came out, fairly happy with the APC, and a little less happy with the Reloader head for the robot. The good news is that I still got most of the print lines, and any that survived the cleanup can usually be removed fairly easily using a hobby knife, sand paper, etc.

I've also revised the mold masters for the flying saucer, the Rockjumper pickup, and the Cafferata APC to remove more of the print lines.

Will be trying to get all these pieces out for sale soon. I had a setback on the Mekanoids due to corrupt image files but that's straightened out and I'm shooting to get the Dictator, Hatchet, Jaegers and Dragoons up for sale by midweek.

28mmMan02 May 2011 2:48 p.m. PST

Good stuff indeed…well done…I really like all the versions of the Darling Bot.

PS
Thanks for the pics with the infantry types, much appreciated!

Cheomesh02 May 2011 5:38 p.m. PST

Good stuff. Maybe a bit larger than I was expecting, but I'll probably snag some in the next month along with some of those killer bots.

M.

khurasanminiatures02 May 2011 5:55 p.m. PST

You can actually reduce the height a bit by posing the legs hunched lower. I posed mine straining to get more height to fire its rockets.

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