Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Terrain: Point Defense Turret

There are many who do not feel that the Forge World supplement books are not worth purchasing due to cost. I am not one of those people. Although I have purchased the Badab War two part set, I feel I have been wasting their content by not using it, so this project is intended to amend that.

   I will admit that the price of Forge World books is almost prohibitively high, but the quality and content within are well worth it. However, they have been sitting on the sidelines in my very nice collection of books not seeing any use, and that is when they are truly not worth the purchase.
   A few weeks ago, Games Workshop very quietly announced they would be holding a small hobby center-based campaign to celebrate the release of the latest Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear. The Word Bearers were leading an attack against Ultramar with the intent of revenge for the defeat they suffered 10 000 years ago, taking as many followers of Chaos and minions seeking destruction as they could possibly round up. The cover art of the book as well as the idea of this one day event got me thinking about boarding actions, and breaking out the rules for them from the Imperial Armour Volume 9.
   With this in mind I began designing terrain. I didn't want to build a solid table as I wanted to reuse the base table boards for more than just boarding games. So each piece needed to be modular. Not only that, I also wanted to create the illusion they were walking across the side of the ship so that it appeared they were fighting on a vertical plane rather than the normal horizontal of ground-based combat.
   With these rules in mind, I started looking at the size of ships in the 41st millenium and looking at the Battle Fleet Gothic models GW has already produced. I decided on using the Imperial Cruiser model as my reference for the table; it's a generic medium class vessel, a common sight in Imperial fleets, a worthy target of void warfare and also just as likely to be commandeered by Chaos or Renegade forces. I concluded it would be the perfect setting for the table, with the potential for an Imperial theme or Chaos theme.

   So with that all established, I started by working on a point defense turret that would be mounted on the side of the ship, used to shoot down torpedoes before they impact and to deter boarder's transport craft. After searching for scale images of Imperial ships, it became obvious to me that were I to try to construct one of the line guns of the ship, the gun would constitute a table all on it's own. Not that this isn't an interesting idea, it just isn't practical.

   Step 1: I started by cutting out all the pieces of turret mount from 3/16" thick foamcore. I'll admit I was lazy and didn't bother doing all the math. I planned on gluing the entire thing to a 1'x1' high density fiber (HDF) board, so for the triangle side panels I cut them with a 9" base and 7" height. The "top" panel where the gun will sit is 7" height and 12" width. The "front" panel has a 12" width and I just used the hypotenuse edge of the side panel as a measure instead of trying to calculate then measuring with the farming square.
   Step 2: I scored the outer edges that weren't going to be glued to the base and pulled the bit of foamcore out so that the other foamcore edges would sit between them, exposing less of the foam so it would be safer to spray the final piece. I made a light score with my exacto knife 3/16" in then followed up with several deeper cuts but making sure not to cut through the other side.

Step 3: I measured out the 6" mark on the "top" panel, then measured about 4" from where the panel would be glued to the base. This was to ensure that the turret box would have enough room to swivel. I traced around the cardboard tube I was going to use for the turret and proceeded to cut it out. After this was done, I took a caulking gun and shot some No More Nails (NMN) into the areas I scored and put the mounting together, making sure enough pressure was applied to the sides so they wouldn't come apart at the edges. Once dry, I used some more NMN to glue the whole thing to the base. I recommend letting the whole thing dry for 24 hours before handling it further.

   Step 4: Using a roughly 4"x4" box, I glued a cardboard tube with NMN inside the box to be the pivot point where the turret would attach to the mount. I then used clear packing tape to add additional strength to the box and taped the box flaps shut. Using more NMN, I glued two more cardboard tubes to the front of the box to act as the gun barrels.

   Step 5: To add a little detail to the mounting before it got sprayed, I took some plastic skulls I got one Hallowe'en and cut the back of the skull off. Finding a suitable point on the "front" panel of the mount, I used NMN to attach them. I planned on spraying on the turret number between them.

   Well that's it for the first article in the shipboard saga. By the end of it, I'll actually be playing a few Shipstrike games across it and will even post the battle here even if I lose. The Boarding Action rules were primarily intended for use on the inside of the ship, but also gave rules to fight across the outside of the ship using the Planetstrike supplement. The interaction of these two sets of rules is far from perfect and I've already encountered problems with the test game I've already played, so I will try to find solutions to these problems and write about them.
   Until then, I'll be trying to figure out how to add more detail to this piece as well as the others. If you have any suggestions, feel free to post them, they will be greatly appreciated. As always, don't be shy to put your comments, questions, concerns, flames or feedback down below.

Signing off,

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