Sunday, December 28, 2008

First Royal Mechanology Regiment

First Royal Mechanology Regiment (1st RMR)

1879 was the year that British troops fought their first major engagement in the Gorovaangian War fought between the British regency of Parhoon and the city-state of Gorovann.

The war was a close run thing and brought out a need for a higher level of technology. In 1881 the first ironclad airship the HMS Aphid was launched. (This is discussed in a later article). The transport of iron plate and weapons from earth was a long and slow process but within a few years there was enough surplus for the shipyards to create one of the first armed and armored land vehicle to ever exist. (The vehicles were originally built and manned by the navy hence the common use of the term “land ship”).

This first vehicle was equipped with a light gun, a crew of 3, and could move at the speed of a marching column of infantry. It was loud, smoky, and prone to break down every few hundred yards but in its first battle it was such a success in clearing out stubborn enemy defenses that the British command immediately asked for several more to be built.

The second machine was very similar to the first but armed only with a gatling gun. The third vehicle was made a bit wider, supported a crew of 4 and was equipped both with a medium cannon and a gatling gun for close in defense.

In 1888 the first Royal Mechanology Regiment was officially formed. The vehicles were still incredibly loud and would sometimes breakdown at the most inopportune times but their success, not only in impressing the native Martians but in actually winning engagements, ensured their future use. Armor thickness is still an issue but the size of the vehicles and the power of the engines allow only a minimal amount of armor due to weight.

While protected against most small arms, a good hit from most any artillery piece has been known to be catastrophic. Note that the fear of dying in these new fangled contraptions has not stopped hundreds of British troops from volunteering to serve in them. They have been particularly attractive the new breed of young officers arriving on Mars looking for adventure. Newer vehicles have addressed some of these protection issues.

The Oenotrian Empire declared war on the British in 1889 and several of the new machines were lost due to being hit from enemy airships with bombs and flame. (One was actually captured by the Oenotrians). As can be seen in the pictures a Hales rocket battery was added to the larger vehicle in an attempt to defend against such an occurrence.

How They Were Built

All three of the models started out as the main vehicle included in the Disney Atlantis “The Spanner” Battle Builders toy set. (See Picture).

Portions of the front were cut off, the cheesy turret removed and plastic styrene was cut to build up a cab area to mount the gun. Plastic tubing was used for the gun and front mantlet along with tanks and smoke stacks in the back.

Rivets were added with glue (a secret method which I will be happy to tell anyone who asks). All the doors and vision panels were added with more styrene. The larger vehicle had the two halves of the original Spanner spaced a bit with styrene but all the rest of the process was the same.

All the vehicles were then sprayed black, dry brushed a bit, and then dusted with “rust” or if you prefer “Martian soil” for the color. Considering they have been in heavy play in convention and private settings they have held up remarkably well! Later articles will show several types of walkers, other land ships, and of course the flying craft used on the red planet.

Any questions will be happily answered!

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