Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Military Channel's Top 10s: Machineguns

Hey Everyone!

After enjoying some Warhammer goodness from JQ about female dwarves and the discussion over their supposed whiskers, it's time for some good ol' military nerdiness!

First and foremost, I LOVE watching the Military Channel.

Dinner-time for me is usually Military Channel time, and military documentaries always seem to teach me new things about wars across history. Quite a good bit of it touches on WWII, and it's my hunch that historical events generally take years for fuller understanding, and WWII might offer a relatively rich ground for analysis and pretty much much shook the foundations of a majority of countries in the world.

Recently they featured a top-10 list of machine guns across the world, and I thought it might be fun to share their list with you all. I took down brief notes for the countdown, and let's see how it compares with your expectations...

No. 10: SG 43 System Goryunov (Soviet Union)

A machine gun that was fixed onto a wheeled mount, the SG 43 is historically remembered to have helped turned the tide in the vicious Eastern Front of WWII.
  • Claw feed that led to less jams.
  • Ability to be cocked without changing aim
  • Long service in the Soviet Army.
No. 9: M249 SAW "Minimi" (U.S.)

A replacement of the M60 for the US Armed Forces, M249s have been widely deployed across the globe and have proven themselves in various modern conflicts.
  • Compact and maneuverable, ideal for close quarters combat.
  • Light, can carry more ammo and more accurate to fire.
  • Ease of replacing ammo.
  • Open bolt, allows air to cool chamber.
  • Quick change barrel.
No. 8: Mk19 (U.S.)

An automatic grenade launcher that rains a constant barrage of death, enough said?
  • First saw action in the Vietnam War, and becomes universal grenade launcher for the U.S.
  • Has to be cocked twice before shooting.
  • Massive firepower at high rate of fire.
  • Limitation: Lobs its grenades, which can give target time to dodge.
No. 7: M60 (U.S.)

Nicknamed the “pig” due to its heavy weight, the M60 certainly packed a punch and became an icon of the Vietnam War. As made famous by Rambo's akimbo shenanigans.
  • Drew inspiration from MG 34 and MG 42 designs by Germany in WWII.
  • Parts Riveted together in sheet metal, cheap and easy to make.
  • Versatile, shared common ammo among NATO forces (7.62x51mm NATO), and capable of being fired at different stances.
No. 6: PKM (Soviet Union)

Kalashnikov's next invention after the wildly successful AK-47, and he duly produced a MG that was both rugged and deadly.
  • Stamping process to make production cheap.
  • Open bolt, air to cool barrel.
  • Quick change barrel.
  • Reliable at all weather conditions.
No. 5: M134 Minigun (U.S.)

An electrically driven dispenser of hell, the “mini” actually refers to its relatively small size as compared to other Gatling guns like the M61 Vulcan. As made famous by the Terminator.

  • Original Gatling gun was invented in 1861
  • Early service saw it mounted on the C47 Gunship aka Puff the Magic Dragon, spawning the deadly gunship “genre”.
  • Favored by helicopter crews in Vietnam due to its phenomenal rate of fire
  • Feared by the Vietnamese, due to psychological impact arising from its unworldly muzzle flash and sound
  • Experienced jamming problems and was improved over the years.
No. 4: Vickers Machinegun (U.K.)

First introduced in WWI, the Vickers MG was renowned for its reliability and was capable of being fired for 12 hours straight (with barrel changes) without a single breakdown.
  • First saw service in 1911, and became a game changer in WWI.
  • Originally used to support troops like artillery (indirect fire), derived from the Maxim MG.
  • Bolt unlocks up to remove receiver, lighter but still difficult to support as it needed a 6 men crew.
  • Water jacket cooling, soldiers actually urinated to make cool but the gun stunk and brass fittings would rust.
  • Equipped with a stable mount, accuracy was high as it can hit a man size target at 2000m!
  • Flaw: toggle could sever knuckles (it continuously moves up and down very near to the user's fingers).
  • Longevity proven: used until late 1960s
No. 3: MG 42 (Germany)

The MG42 served with distinction with the Wermacht in WWII, it had such a high rate of fire (1,200 rds/min is actually one of the highest among single barrelled MGs) that individual sounds of bullets cannot be heard by the human ear...thus earning it the name: “Hitler's Buzzsaw”.

  • Germany was fighting a two front war and needed a MG that was faster and cheaper to make than the MG 34.
  • Interchangeable parts, which made servicing much easier.
  • More accurate than MG 34.
  • Feared among allies.
  • Quick change barrel.
  • Special mount rendered it extremely accurate.
  • D-Day: Germans had used them to effectively cover zones in Omaha Beach, and had nearly succeeded in stopping the Allies.
No. 2: Maxim Machinegun (U.K.)

The one that started it all, the Maxim MG became a weapon “most associated with [British] imperial conquest” and played a major role in setting the stage for trench warfare in WWI.
  • First MG that changed the battlefield.
  • First fully automatic weapon.
  • Proved its deadly potential during the Zulu war.
  • Distrusted as it jammed frequently during battle.
  • Germans made the MG 08 in response.
  • Individually made parts proved to be reliable and tough.
  • Cold weather: the gun's snow cap allowed troops to cool it with snow and ice.
  • Redefined modern warfare, gave rise to trench warfare.
No. 1: Browning M2 (U.S.)

Perhaps one of the most iconic MGs in the world, it is still actively deployed a long time since its first introduction at the end of WWI...demonstrating its unparalleled longevity and tremendous power. The M2 is the No.1 machinegun in the world.
  • Max range of 4.5 miles!
  • The M2 can destroy vehicles and emplacements, not just men.
  • Major design change to make it air cooled, and in effect it made the M2 more adaptable.
  • Capable of firing AP incendiary rounds that would light up fuel tanks of light vehicles.
  • Heavy, had to be mounted on vehicle or tripod.
  • Belt fed on either side, can be used side by side (eg. M1 Abrams commander and gunner MGs).
This list was compiled by John Gresham, a military analyst and historian best known to have worked closely with the man Tom Clancy himself. It's my gut feeling that this list leans toward historical significance over technical performance, as some older guns have finished ahead of their replacements. But I did see the M2 Browning taking top spot!

Do you guys agree with his list...or do you have other dream guns that are not in this list?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thunderers Fire!!!

The Dwarves of the Warhammer World are a unique race of proficient craftsmen and miners. However, gone are the Golden Age of the Dwarves. But then again, so have the Elves.

Hundreds of years have pass after the War of the Beard between the Elves and Dwarves. Yet old grudges never die easily for a Dwarf. As such, that is one of the disadvantage of a dwarf. Furthermore, a dwarf's obstinate and stubborn nature will get in his way of progressing. However, if there is one thing a dwarf is good at, its his profession. This is largely due to the dwarves' meticulous nature and his uncompromising urge to achieve perfection in what he does. As such, Dwarves are the greatest artisans of their specific craftsmanship which results in their goods being sought after in great demand.

After contemplating, I have come up with a rough theme for my Dwarf army.

Lead by the Noble Thane Utheroth, the Dwarves of Karak Grothak hold vigilant against invaders. Located slightly north of Karak Izor and South of Karak Norn, the Dwarves of Karak Grothak are held responsible for providing aid and holding out Invaders of the main Strongholds of Karak Izor and Norn.

While Utheroth is a Thane, he is but only the smallest ranking among Royalty. However, his Royal Guards and Warrior Clans are renowned among the lands. Even Bretonnia and Athel Loren know of these Warrior Dwarves. The Silver Axe, Triple Steel and Ogren Clans are most skilled in the profession of Soldiering. Born and Bred Warriors, these Dwarves train and live as expert combat soldiers. Karak Grothak has a few renowned Guilds in Mining, Foundry and Firearms. Many of them coming from Karak Izor to setup outposts here.

Of which, the "Flaming Tubes" is one of the most renowned Firearm Guild. Their weaponry is in such demand that the Thunderers of these Guild are always on the move to sell their goods to the Empire.

As Karak Grothak has been a safe haven for centuries and the Thane has always maintain great relations with the guilds in its stronghold, the Thunderers are fiercely loyal to their Thane.

Wearing the Uniform colours that represent the Karak Gothrak Stronghold, the Flaming Tube Thunderers are well-traveled Dwarven Marksmen.

And since they are more well-traveled than their Dwarven counterparts, these Dwarves are more prepared for the unexpected and are capable of adapting quickly to new surroundings.

On actual tabletop gaming purpose, these Thunderers will be acting as my defense line. Harassing enemies with their handguns, it will be a long and harsh march against these thunderers. To make things even more painful, engaging these Dwarves means you will come in contact with a tough force (due to their Toughness 4 stat)

Furthermore, the Veteran Thunderer is equipped with two hand pistols, making him able to attack twice with armor piercing rounds and is quick to fire. As such, when on the move, while the rest of my guys may not fire, he is still able to pop two shots on any enemy. I figured it would works well against skirmishers

And I shall name my Thunderer Vet, Beardy! Just cos I think his beard looks the coolest among all the dwarves I have been fixing and painting so far.

Just look at the guy, He is dying to go to Battle. Of which, I will be planning soon, if I just have the time to go play a Warhammer game or two.

Speaking of Dwarves, for all those who are LOTR fans, have you recalled when Gimli talked about Female Dwarves having beards and they look so much like Men that it was hard to tell the difference between Men and Women Dwarves? Gimli added how because People couldn't tell the difference between Female Dwarves from Men Dwarves that they would imagine that baby Dwarves just pop out of nowhere.

This concept of Female Dwarves having either beards or whiskers or facial hair scares the shit out of me. I do not like that whole concept of a hairy female anything and its rather mortifying to even conjure or illustrate and image of that in my mind, let alone draw one on paper. In that sense, I do not really like Tolkien's concept on dwarven female.

That is why I was pretty happy to find out that Warhammer Female Dwarves do not have beards and are still very womanly compare to Lord of the Rings concept of them.

Great Looking Illustration of a Dwarven female Warrior. This is how they should look like.
If not a warrior, at least a feminine looking barmaid. It is said that you rarely see Dwarven Women around. This is probably because they are all busy supporting their men in the strongholds or tending to serving ale in the various Dwarven Taverns? That just a wild guess of mine. What do you think?

Besides the Warhammer World, World of Warcraft and many other fantasy perspective of a female dwarf are pretty much similar.Therefore, it does please me to say that I wouldn't have to deliberate the thought of a bearded dwarven lady in any of my fantasy worlds ever.

One of the most well painted great looking Dwarven Female Warrior is this one done by Guild of Harmony's Sebastian. Great Paintjob. Real Pity I can't acquire this as he hardly ever does paintjobs for people, but do take a look at his gallery.

Gives me inspiration to paint more.

On a side note, More Warhammer models and other kits to be featured soon as I have been diligently painting loads... Just need to wait till I photograph them ....

Boy oh Boy.. So much to do!

P.S: Photoes were taken by Joshua with Uber Power Macro Lens! ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier and its Fleet.

The Nimitz Aircraft carrier has been the pinnacle of Supreme Blue Water Naval power since the hay days of the mid 1970s. Even till today, it is still the main showcase of a Super Power. The United States Navy is equipped with 10 of these big titans. Of which the U.S.S Nimitz is the oldest having been serving for the past 36 years.

With no other nation being able to even maintain or build this gargantuan, it does put into perspective just how much military might does the United States wield even in conventional warfare terms.

Due to my liking for big ass military might and modern day military power, I finally constructed my first Aircraft Carrier, and it is none other than the Nimitz class Carrier.

Escorts on a close knit formation with Homeplate

Sorry to say though, it is a miniature 1/2400 GHQ Nimitz Carrier. However, my Dashland Carrier Battle Group is finally completed with this new addition. As you may noticed, the number on the Carrier Flight Deck does not tally with any of the current Nimitz Carrier in the US navy as I wanted this to be my personal Dashland Nimitz Carrier

Super Carrier, Always an incredible sight to see at Sea.

As with its predecessor carrier (The Enterprise Class), the Nimitz Class Carrier is capable of taking 90 aircraft, both fix wing and helicopter, giving it the capability of doing many types of Operations.

F/A-18F Super Hornets on Alert 15, ready for take off for BARCAP

The Nimitz Carrier's deadliest weapon is its Airwing. Aside from that, it is pretty much defensive countermeasures comprising of SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo countermeasures, Sea Sparrow Missiles and Phalanx CIWS system.

The most viable function of an Super Aircraft Carrier like the Nimitz Class is its ability to do force projection. It holds great air power and can bring the offensive to any part of the world. Furthermore, it can provide significant air support to its ground forces. Better yet, aid to the deployment of offensive ground forces on any coastal area, due to its ability to accommodate cargo such as M1A2 tanks and Ground Forces personnel.

I <3 Ships

The DSS Atlas (Nimitz Class Carrier) with an Arleigh Burke Flight I Destroyer on its right and a Ticonderoga VLS Cruiser to its left.

Like many of the US Super Carriers, Each Nimitz has its own zip code and functioning community that breathes life into the ship. Able to travel at speeds in surplus of 30 knots, the Nimitz Carrier can run on its nuclear reactors for 20 years without refueling. Since the oldest carrier is in it 36th year, this means it has already refueled and had an overhaul once.

The Nimitz Carrier and its Escort on a Cloudy Day. (Pardon the weird angle horizon)

With regards to making this miniature, it took me awhile to be able to configure it such that it looked like a present day Nimitz Class Carrier compared to a similar Carrier 10-20 years ago. This meant that I had to specifically acquire F-18 Hornets, relevant helicopters and other planes that are still present today. Some planes like the F-14 and S-3 Viking have retired and as such I had to be meticulous about what I should put on the flight deck. Furthermore, certain avionics and distinct stuff on the Carrier was not provided by GHQ which required me to use some green putty and customization to add on the several small parts.

Small as it may be, the 1/2400 GHQ Nimitz Carrier is not and easy miniature to paint, especially if you want details to be distinctly showcased.

The Nimitz Carrier has already seen a considerable amount of conflicts all over the world and has been in engagement in a few wars. The Carrier has seen new planes come in and retire over its lifespan. This Carrier has seen boys become Men. Not only that but Sons of these Men coming in to serve on the very same ship. That is how the legacy of the Nimitz Carrier has.

The best part of it all is that it will continue to remain a mainstay of the United States Navy for at least a decade more. Each Carrier being slated to serve a 50 year life span, it will take a considerably huge amount of time before all the Nimitz carriers get replaced by the new Gerald R Ford Class Carriers. Till then, the Nimitz will remain relevant and competent as it continues to keep upgrading and providing protection to its nation interests around the world.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thunderers Ready!!!!

Good day to all,

Warhammer is back on Toyconstruct after a considerable time!

This time I shall be featuring my first regiment of my third army in the tabletop game. After much consideration and a last minute switcheroos, I have decided to embark on taking up the responsibility of commandeering the Stout Dwarven Army!

Not too long ago, I was featuring the Black Orcs and they were my primary consideration to be my next army. This is partly because they look clumsily cute yet ferocious monsters at the same time. However, after playing Warhammer Online as an Ironbreaker Dwarf, watching How to Train a Dragon and getting inspired by Viking folk lore, I decided that my liking for Dwarves was stronger than Orcs.

Furthermore, they have a really decent firepower army which interest me. With toughness, gunpowder warmachines and runes as their strong points, I could not pass on the chance to play the Dwarves.

So with the help of Dragon Painting Services (DPS), I acquired the mighty Dwarven Thunderers. Painted in a Nice Green Uniform, the dwarves look spectacular. I discovered DPS from ebay and I must say, for the price I say, I get exceptional quality.

Ready Aim Thunderers!!!

One thing I must point out is that the dwarves and many of the figures painted by DPS are really great. They have great painting, highlighting and blending skills. Furthermore, their attention to detail and precision is excellent. Eyes are dotted properly and delivery service is prompt and fast. In addition to all that, DPS has a large range of ready made Warhammer and 40K figures.

"I drum the drum, You fire the guns!"

I have to add that DPS also does provide custom works and also help to paint other stuff but if you do want ready made stuff, you can get almost any Warhammer unit from their store. They also do Flames of War and Napoleanic Soldiers. The only disadvantage about DPS is that if you do custom work, the person who does it for you doesn't have a great fluency with English as DPS is from Hong Kong. (No offense intended.) Mandarin would be more advisable. Of course, if you provide detail instructions and what paint you want to use, not much problems will be encountered. So if you lack the time to paint and want great quality miniatures for gaming, give DPS a tryout. (And no, I do not get anything from recommending them)

The Veteran with his dual Pistols. (Good for short range and Quick Firing on enemies)

Back onto the topic of my Dwarven Army, I am gonna make sure it is gonna look awesome, great ,playable and ownage. And like my Bretonnians, I will come up with a theme and storyline for this Grumpy tough Dwarves.

Dwarves like marching. (No Cavalry.. ): One of their disadvantage)

Along my long time in Warhammer focusing on my Bretonnian army, I always wondered what army would be next. And like the child who wants to be in the cool gang, I thought I get the next best powerful army, which was Chaos. Furthermore, it provided the balance in terms of Good guy v Bad guy.

Grumpy Grim Dwarf with his trusty Handgun

But when it came to my third army, I had a three way tustle between High Elves (because they were pretty), Dwarves (because they were tough and stout, and I love Vikings) and Orcs (Because they were the right balance of cute and scary). But the decision couldn't be any clearer now.

I shall focus more on talking about the Thunderers and more of the Dwarven stuff in store the next time round. If you have any queries on Dragon Painting Services, do let me know.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Skyrim: A Bluffer's Guide

Hey Everyone!

These few weeks have been congested with highly anticipated titles hitting the shelves and eating up our money in record fashion...BF3 beckoned before Modern Warfare 3 exploded on the scene, with Elder Scrolls: Skyrim perching like a dragon, ready to swoop down upon us. Man, I wish I was young again.

Elder Scrolls Skyrim: Out in 11/11/11!
Any Elder Scrolls fans amongst us? I have to admit that I did try Oblivion after being impressed by Fallout 3 about 4 years ago, but schedules and life got in the way...and my adventures in Tamriel faltered after I got the fastest horse in the game. Don't get me wrong, I think Oblivion is a great game worth the time investment as it is a world that will draw you in. However, I was just a little put off by the repetitive nature of building skills up, and how to milk the system to derive maximum benefit (by choosing useless skills as your main skills to prevent levelling up too fast). Somehow, I find that it is difficult to maintain enthusiasm for completing the game when you're playing old titles long after their original release :/

Well, Gamespot releases "Bluffer's Guides" to major titles before their release, which basically cover the main facts about the video game's universe and history. Their episode for Skyrim is definitely worth a watch. The combination of humor and educational value makes it an entertaining summary of the history of the Elder Scrolls.

Looking at how the video progresses from Oblivion to Arena, it is stunning to see how much video game technology has advanced over the decades. 2-D games obviously pale in comparison with today's latest titles, but we can't deny that we were captivated by older games when they came out at their time. It's my guess that it has much to do with the game's contemporaneous setting, whereby the consumer's expectations and values are very much shaped by the setting he/she was in. Moreover, the game environment now is much more congested than it was before.

Awesome graphics 30 years ago, surpassed by mobile phones now...but still a legend.
Case in point: when Doom came out, there was no other game that could compare to it and it literally spawned the a new genre in video games. It ruled the PC gaming market and captured the imagination of its players upon its release. Realistically, I will find it hard to play through Doom today with knowledge of what current graphic technology is capable of. In addition, Doom 3 came out when a large variety of shooters have already immersed the market...which had given it a smaller audience to work with, thereby having a lesser impact than its predecessors. Cases of successor games over-performing previous titles do happen too (FIFA, Killzone, MW3), but that would be another discussion outside of this post.

Ready to rock the fantasy RPG world...

Till then, I will be following Skyrim's release and my gut feeling from what I've seen so that it'll be an awesome gaming experience. What do you think?

PS: As a sidenote, Bethesda has already started development on a DLC for it. Money making or serving the best interests of gamers?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gundam RX-93 (Part 2)

So its Gundam time again!

This time round, I am gonna show you the other equipment that the RX-93 possesses.

So what makes this far more superior than the Original Gundam RX-78?
In the show, it shows that the RX-93 had a set of fin funnels weapon that is unique to the RX-93.

This is seen from the picture above and below. These fin funnels are a form of remote weapons that have in-built generators. The fin funnels can also fire beams of laser that are lethal.

Now I ain't a Gundam Encyclopedia but from seeing the Movie "Char's Counterattack" I can tell that the RX-93 has a Psychoframe cockpit and the fin funnels are controlled using this psychoframe control system.

The Fin funnels can also create a unique beam shield called a "fin funnel barrier" that can provide defense against beam weapons and solid projectiles. As this Gundam has the psychoframe technology, it is very suitable for Newtype Pilots such as Amuro Ray to unleash the full potential of this Gundam.

Here we see the RX-93 wielding the V-Hyper Bazooka. (Took me hell loads of time to make this pose and I must say that for this model kit, they didn't really cater to making the Gundam hold this weapon properly.)

RX-93 with v-Hyper Bazooka and Shield which has Amuro Ray's insginia on it.

Here is The RX-93 flying off. (I must apologize because I am sure everyone notices that I do use the same background quite often. I do promise to get new backgrounds soon and more cooler ones. So stay tune for that. )

RX-93 in all its shining Glory. This is also because the RX-93 I got is in Shining metallic coating.

Here we have the RX-93 with its entire complement of armanent. I have yet to watch many of the other Gundam series. So while I may not be your avid Gundam fan, I can safely say from the shows I have seen, that the RX-93 is the definitely one of the most powerful Gundam as it is the only Mobile Suit that I have seen that is able to push an asteroid away from Earth. (with help of course) but the psychoframe technology allowed Amuro Ray to push the suit to limitless boundaries.

For more details: Check out Gundam Wiki

As I have said in my first Gundam post, Gundam has become a cultural phenomenon and something that is iconic to Japan as a whole. Due to its huge following and unique identity, there are many collectibles that are just insane in terms of value.

This ink and wash painting of Gundam drawn by Hisashi Tenmyouya in 2005. In 2008, It was sold in the Christie's auction held in Hong Kong with a price of US$600,000. (SICK)

As featured on the blog Geekologie. The picture you see above features the most expensive Gundam made. The Gundam Fixed Platinum was made by Bandai Co. and was priced at an astounding $41,468 , which to me is one hell load of money.

I am not sure if they made only one, but rest assured, even if you are not a Gundam fan, the platinum is worth that much melted down.

Doubt my Warhammer and Military Collectibles will even come up to the price tags of the two Gundam collectibles just mentioned.