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"Tips for making ww2 vehicles sci-fi." Topic

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Sherlockgeek28 Nov 2019 6:38 p.m. PST

I love the look of French Char B-1s and Soumas. I was looking for tips to give them a sci-fi look for the rules I play. Thanks in advance.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian28 Nov 2019 7:33 p.m. PST

Recently a friend has 'Orcified' several WW-II tanks. Bolt-on plates and so on.

Are you looking for 'Golden Age' or Post Apocalypse?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian28 Nov 2019 8:47 p.m. PST

Replace the turrets.

Add sponson weapons.

Add missiles.

emckinney28 Nov 2019 9:13 p.m. PST


cloudcaptain28 Nov 2019 9:36 p.m. PST

Switch tracks to wheels or hover….wheels to tracks or hover. Add plastic flat backed gemstones as reactive armor. Scifi stowage helps the look too.

Stryderg28 Nov 2019 10:27 p.m. PST

Either bulk up or cut down the barrels of any weapons. Add fins (ie. heat sinks) on the larger weapons. Add "sensor pods", bits of sprue or cut up tooth picks.

Crucible Orc29 Nov 2019 12:44 a.m. PST

also, start with a larger scale. I've seen some really cool sci-fi halftracks made from WW2 German and American 1/35th kits.

Gunner Dunbar29 Nov 2019 6:26 a.m. PST

I did this to a 1/76 char b1, it was a prototype, ended up using WWI Brit tanks





79thPA Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2019 9:50 a.m. PST

In the late 70s or early 80s I took a 1/72 M3 Lee tank and painted it metallic blue. I believe I painted the grating silver. It looked pretty sci-fi to me.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa29 Nov 2019 10:40 a.m. PST

Char's and Souma's are definitely a good base IMO. Switching barrels for obviously sci-fi weapons is a good start. Depending on your target tech level add point defence weapons and secondary turrets to taste. For 15mm Brigade and GZG are my go to sources for bits and accessories – though I've noticed more people appearing on ebay producing 3D printed bits, which are a bit more reasonable than Shapeways.

Jakar Nilson29 Nov 2019 11:15 a.m. PST

Souma? It's Somua, short for Société d'Outillage Mécanique et d'Usinage d'Artillerie. It's one of the more straightforward French factory acronym to pronounce.

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2019 1:24 p.m. PST

There are lots of fairly simple modifications that you can do to make a modern vehicle into a futuristic one. The trick is to break up the overall outline of the tank and then add things that make the viewer think of futuristic developments. Some ideas:

-- Turret and barrel swaps between tanks can go a long way towards sci-fi-ing a common tank
-- Adding a small radar dish; a thumbtack with the point filed off makes an easy and durable radar/satellite dish
-- Use micromesh across the rear of the turret or in place of track skirts
-- Add a Hydra-75 rocket pod from an Apache or Cobra helicopter model kit to the side of the turret
-- Offset the turret slightly to one side instead of having it centered, or slide it rearward
-- Gatlings look futuristic. Replace the coax with a Gatling or replace the loader/commander's cupola gun with a Gatling
-- Remove the road wheels and tracks entirely and replace with plasticard slopes for a grav-tank look
-- As above, but use ribbed rubber tubing to create hoverskirts (link)
-- Guitar strings and ribbon cables (link) make awesome hoses and conduits along the outside of the hull
-- Add small computer consoles to the rear of the chassis (sort of like the old field phones on the backs of M48's)
-- An Aegis/CIWS-style sensor dome could be added using a rounded pen cap or shelf pegs from your local hardware store
-- An AWACS-style radar emitter could be made using any number of wooden discs from the craft store
-- Explosive-reactive armor helps break up a tank's outline; for added futuristic swoosh, make the blocks hexagonal instead of rectangular (probably using hex-shaped beads from Michaels)
-- Sequins are very sci-fi looking. For a mini-radar dish or as funky ERA blocks, they would work pretty well.
-- Outriggers could be made using the arms from Clicky mechs and mounted on the rear corners of the tank for added stability when firing
-- Drones, mini-UAVs, or RC helis will probably have a place on the battlefield of the future; mount a small rail launcher with a 6mm or PicoArmor aircraft on it on the back deck for the tank to have its own drone support
-- Wrap some wire around the main gun tube to resemble a railgun's power supply (Armorcast's AFV has a great example: link)
-- A sensor package made using a small dome and some beads or puppet eyes. The future is all about sensors and electronic intelligence!
-- Pillage an old computer for parts off the motherboard; things like capacitors ( picture ) can really help add a sci-fi feeling to a model

haywire29 Nov 2019 1:43 p.m. PST


tsofian29 Nov 2019 4:51 p.m. PST

Why do sponsons make a vehicle "sci-fi"?

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa30 Nov 2019 4:05 a.m. PST

Why do skullz, spikz and rivets?

Selection of my sci-fi converted from historic stuff from over the years, not just WWII but also early Cold War. Some its barrel swaps and added bits others its just mad paint schemes….

tsofian30 Nov 2019 4:00 p.m. PST

"Why do skullz, spikz and rivets?" A really good question. I'd say that sponsons and rivets aren't futuristic at all. Spikes either. Funny how none of those things have shown up on vehicles in decades, or even a century or well ever.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa01 Dec 2019 7:03 a.m. PST

Mostly I blame GW! Its fair to say they looted WWI, WWII and inter war years pretty thoroughly for a lot of their inspiration and tossed in the odd Cold War design. The spikz and skullz are what make a T-34 or a BMP grimdark…. It might just be me but recently they do seemed to have toned those down a bit after they kind of slipped into self parody- even for chaos.
Personally I think it adds a bit of variation being able to pinch and repurpose historical stuff – makes a change from the harder sci-fi 'it looks very like a modern cookie cutter MBT but with PD laser' tank or the slightly more sci-fantasy aerodynamic Grav tank. With stuff like Blowers somewhere in the middle.

Thresher0101 Dec 2019 2:23 p.m. PST

Those Warhammer-esque "Sci-Fi" tanks never scratched my itch.

Give me a nice, sleek, or large, Cold War era tank or tank destroyer, with the treads removed any day, to represent a nice, futuristic anti-grav tank. M60A2s, Jagdpanzer Kanones and Raketes, Marders, BMPs, Leopards, and Soviet and British tanks too. The British Warrior would make a great little anti-grav IFV.

Of course, you can probably do the same with some WWII vehicles as well. Jagdpanthers, Hetzers, JgPz IVs, M-10 TDs, and American LVTs spring to mind – especially the 37mm and 75mm turreted versions of the latter.

tsofian01 Dec 2019 2:46 p.m. PST

I'm with you Thresher01!

DyeHard01 Dec 2019 2:51 p.m. PST

No one loves retro-aesthetics more then I do, But the GW style really bugs me.

Skulls and spikes? I see human skulls on human and none human vehicles. As if it is a galactic wide fashion statement.

That said, to make a kit look more sci/fi is a function of the sci/fi background. A post-apocalyptic wasteland vs. a Star Trek setting will require different looks.

Consider turning the rear of a tank into the front, relocating and swapping out the turret is very helpful. But sponsons will really only work in VSF or alt-WWI. Sorry GW, I do not get it.

Consider removing mounted details like picks, shovels, and jacks in favor or more modern stowage, simple added boxes will change the look radically. The trick, in my mind at least, is to hide the original source kit.

The long barrel of a 20th century tank should be done away with. Assuming an energy based weapon there is no need for a barrel at all. A small dish or a bead would give a more high tech look.

This tank from "Things to come" is a good inspiration point:


tsofian01 Dec 2019 5:03 p.m. PST

Oh Dyehard
you love retro more than I? When we meet please have your second ready. Sabres?

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa02 Dec 2019 12:19 p.m. PST

Cool a streamline moderne tank! I honestly don't remember that from the film but it must be around 20 years since I saw it.

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