Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Job Pod, Not Quite a Spaceship in 28mm

Told ya' I wasn't dead yet.  Six weeks ago, I thought the crazy at work had stopped, but then had a relapse of 14 hour days.  In a way, it was a good thing, as my first hobby project of the year was inspired by a project at work.

Among my interests are near-future, sci-fi, and post-apoc games, subjects that I haven't done much with in the last two years.  One of my gamers block victims has been creating a spaceship for the Alpha Forge Asteroid Miners that I purchased several years ago.  I had pictured them as being what hopped out of the flying saucer near that small "out west" town for my locals vs. the alien invaders scenarios.  I had also planned to use them as part of my post-apoc  silliness.  But I could not come up with the right delivery vehicle to transport them from their storage box to my game table.

Well, about three weeks ago, while reviewing about a million  photos at work, I receive a message from the gaming gods.  Inspiration came in the way of a SEM photograph of a spark.  You know, a little piece of metal that was sheared off of something, glowed for a second, and then ended its life as a piece of dust.  I glanced at the photo, and immediately I saw it for what it was.  Before me was a means of inter-stellar transport.  Well, sort of. 

What I saw was basically a steel bubble that had burst on impact with the floor.  A magnificent little thing, with a pebbled exterior, cris-crossed with shallow valleys, splayed open and exposing a cratered moonscape interior.  I also saw it setting in an impact crater , smoking, with a ship of sorts contained on the inside, and asteroid miners exiting their transport cells.  This is what too many long hours will do to you.

I realized that I suddenly had my "spaceship", and that I could now continue with the end of the world.  So, I managed through three more weeks of 14 hour workdays, and have finally begun my alien "spaceship".

I worked up some very basic sketches, along with some background story for my games.  The ship quickly morphed into a more of a time machine/alternate universe portal type thingy, consisting of a shallow impact crater, an exploded bubble of rocky looking material, and a containment vessel for the critters inside.  Here are a few of the sketches (sorry they aren't better quality, but I was in a bit of a hurry):

Above is the initial concept, the burst "bubble" setting in the impact crater.
In the bubble is the "shipping container" for the "work crew" of asteroid miners.  A series of small chambers and equipment "cells" linked together through a series of beams, tubes, and cables, suspended within the bubble by a series of stabilizing arms.
The individual chambers will be eight sided cells, about 2-3 inches across.
Upon getting a free evening, I quickly cut up some foam, and began work on the crater. Below are materials and tools needed for this phase of the project. 
The foam is from Lowes, 3M Styrofoam spray adhesive, a surform tool, and a hack saw blade.
First, I roughed out the basic pieces of the crater with the hack saw blade, mounted the pieces with spray adhesive, shaped it a little more with the hack saw blade, and then shaped it with the surform.  The rough crater measures about 26 inches across and three inches high.
A 28mm Copplestone scavenger stands in the middle of the crater to give a sense of scale.
Next I need to rough out the bubble. Once I have the basic bubble shape completed, I will refine the crater so that the two pieces fit properly, and finish detailing the shape of the crater. 
I've got to head back in to work now, but expect to work on the bubble tonight and tomorrow.  Hopefully I will have another post up before the weekend is out.  Once I get this together, I will post some of the background story trying to justify this silliness.

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