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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-05-11, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Default Manta gunship

Hello and welcome to my first project post.
Over the last year ive been working on a Gunship variant of the Manta.
Ive been working in Epic scale to match my Aeronaughtica fleet.

My goal is to produce a fighting super heavy gunship based on many of the manta parts and systems.
The use of battlefield proven systems will lower cost of research and development as well as ease mass production as many of the parts are currently in use for the manta transport fleets.

What would a super heavy gunship be used for?
In space it would be used as a heavy attack bomber.
In air ops, heavy support for anti air and ground attack.
Ground ops, heavy support, suppression fire, super heavy and Titan killer.
(note, I do not entend to use a super heavy to kill a titan, for the cost its cheaper to send a tigershark a1-0. )

why not send a manta to do all those jobs?
Space, the manta is a outstanding bomber, but its also the main transport for the fleet. Every manta shot down is one less for the army.
Air to air. The manta again is supperb in battling all air opponents, but if its shot down the transport pool suffers.
Ground opps. Once more the manta is able to lord it over the battle field like the god engines of the mechanicum. If shot down it means all the firewarriors it was supporting have to walk back to base.

In summery, I want the firepower and speed of a manta but not as a transport.
Ive looked over many posts over the last year on tau titans and super heavy tanks and ive concluded from the various arguments for and against that Tau mobile warfare is not served by a titan walker, and super heavy tanks also are not as fast or theatre mobile.
A super heavy airborn gunship is mobile for the cadras, the manta is the pinicle of their mobile firepower but its loss means too much for the army and navy as a whole.

I have the parts and concepts worked out to begin work on a pure gunship. It will retain much of the mantas weapon placments, offer a smaller overall foot print, this is to save deck space on ship hanger decks.

Pictures will follow but for now Im looking for some feed back. Ive got to go, i wrote this post at work and its time to go.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-06-11, 08:06 AM
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So this will be an Epic manta project? None the less good luck and look forward to seeing how you progress!


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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-12-11, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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I'm still painting my the bulk of my air fleet and i wont begin in earnest a new project till thats done, how ever ive gotten some of the ground work done.

the above shot is some of the paper mock ups as well as my early attempt to start the gunship.
The paper cut out is to be used as a size reverence.

the above pictures are the mockup to show size im working towards.
the lower picture is my first and not completely successful attempt to make a resign cast of the manta, it may be flawed but it will serve as parts for the gunship. I drew the lines where I will cut the wings off the central body.

the lower hull and where I want to cut it, I don't want to use the bulk of the lower hull, I will use a partial section of the Pirhana's front nose.
the lower pic is a full look at the underside. the tape over one of the railgun details is there to protect the detail when I use the dremmel to cut the wings off.

The above 2 pics are all the mantas Ive produced to date, included is the original that I made the mold of. I started my casting program to save some money and to field large force of standard and exotic war engines and gear.
second picture is one of my home made mantas in its base paint, all the burst, ion and rail cannons were also produced at home. the tiger shark a-01 is also a home made craft.

I will be working on the epic scale to see if the model will work, if it does I may make a 40k scale version. or just a shadow sized cut out on a stand to go with the epic version for 40k games, this way I can have the model and keep its foot print as well as my money and sanity.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-12-11, 08:28 PM
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Nice bit of work.

Don't often get to see Epic Scale conversions or Scratch builds so it might be a bit sparse on replies until the epic players find it.

Don't let that put you off though.

Like I said nice work, I look forward to seeing more of your fleet.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-14-11, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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I was suppose to be selecting camo paint for my air wing to night but I really loath painting so I grabbed my dremmel and hacked off the wings of one of my mantas. I now have the wings for the new gunship in hand.
Also started to night was the making of a mold of the Piranha prow. It will be the lower hull, slender, strong looking armour and with a huge hard point for a yet unknown system of weapon.
In the picture the mock up looks different than the paper concept so ill have to either accept that or keep working on wing shape. the picture suggests that only 1 set of under slung drones will be at the prow of the craft. I may extend the nose some to put back in the second set of drones. Time and work will tell.

Second picture is mix like the underside of a home made manta to show that that i made a 2 sided mold. The main feature is to show the scale of the gunship mock up with the concept paper cut out and with the manta transport. I also produced all 3 of the barracudas in photo.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-19-11, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Default Project update 7-19-11

I recently decided not to use the sculpi upper nose section from the first mock build.
Sculpi crumbles too easly. Instead im going to use the nose from manta who reciently donated its wings.
In the first photo is a a ruff early fitting of the parts, Much work in trimming cleaning and patching remains but for now it gives me a quick look at the direction the project is heading in. The shot is a top down, The wings are pulled in so youll notice the engines are partially under the main body, I may bring them out some later but thats the over all look im going for. I also pulled the wings up inline to where the back set of drones would sit If they had survived the casting. I like the look of the wings that far up the body. It reminds me of the Protector cruiser of the Tau navy. Also in the picture is featured a side view of the under side of the nose or chin i intend to use. The mold of the piranha worked out well. I added for the picture 3 of the turrets i will be using to augment the weaponry. The turret body is the one taked from the Orca belly turret. In this case they are armed with twin ion cannons. One turret has a rail gun.

Second picture is a underside shot with the piranha nose and a really ruff fitting of the wings, I have much work to do to reconstruct the main body, atm i used clay to illustrate the shape im looking for. also featured are twin mounted ion cannons in the nose , and the location where I will be mounting the orca turrets on the wings, I would like to mount turrets paired over and under the wings balanced ontop of each other. also featured in the shot is the remains of the manta cargo bay, It was not easy to cut that free, but I managed to get it off with out damaging too much of the detail.

Underside nose shot, Twin ion cannons

the last photo failed for some reason, im on a dumb terminial so its not too fast or responsive so let me repost the pic
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-19-11, 07:22 PM
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Default Cool idea

Dude, good idea, very nice execution, following this with interest.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-26-11, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Default small update

Its been a busy week at work so I havent had alot of time to work on the gunship.
I will be adding wing mounted twin ion cannon turrets. I believe I can make them swivel in their socket. I drilled a pin hole through the wing to mark where the center of the upper socket should go, that same hole will allow me to use a common office staple as axel to connect both upper and lower turret. If all goes well, both turrets will spin. They will not spin seperatly from one another.
I may add that feature to the rest of my manta fleet.

fitting of the wings to the body is ongoing, its a slow process of sanding, and filing to the point where I can blend the pieces together smoothly.

After reviewing the damaged upper side detail of the nose of the gunship I decided to make a new nose. To do this I started a making a mould casting of the nose of the parent manta. I could use the main mould i used to make all my production but that mould is not suited for making minor portions of the airframe, its a make the whole thing or not at all mould. so i settled for making the part I need.
Once done ill cut off the old nose and install the new intact one.

Now on to show and tell.
The other day I was looking at the lower cargo bay that i cut off and though that if I installed that on the upper side of a manta I could field a super carrier.
For ground opps it would be mostly for use to drop up up to 8 tanks or apcs.
If geared for air support, it could support up to 16 Remora stealth drones fighters.
The picture is a real ruff and crude mock up just to show the concept and a look to see how much work would be needed to make the conversion.

thats about it for now.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-27-11, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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a quick update. The rubber mould of the nose section is still curing and may be useable tonite, Work on central body is on hold till the nose section is replaced.
Work shifted to the wing mounted twin ion cannon turrets.
Socket holes were cut using a dremmel drum shaped grind stone. Both wings now have the socket cut in.
In todays picture I mocked up one of the turrets flush mounted in its socket and placed the ion cannons that will be used in the finished aircraft. The forward burst cannon will need to be moved so not to break line of sight for the ion cannons in the forward arc. Ive placed the burst cannon where I think it should go to avoid blocking the ion cannons and still offer the range of cover arc that it had in its previous location.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-29-11, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Default Progress is slow but still moving forward

Its been a month since ive updated this log but i that time alot has changed on the airframe.
New nose section, wing sections are no longer partially under the main body, and the tail section is under way as well.
Starting with the nose sections, the first 2 nose sections were going to have many issues that would make them unsuitable so I made a new rubber mold of just the manta nose and produced the replacment part, the photo does not show the drone burst cannons because all 4 broke when comming out of the mold, all 4 are in tact they just need to be glued back on and will be when Im about done, they are fragile and im sure ill keep breaking them or one will go missing.
Youll notice that the nose section is longer and offers something that may be usefull. the standard manta has 4 underslung drone mounts on the nose. the gunship could have 6 underslung or mount the extra 2 on the top side for additional coverage from attack. This plays into the 3d element of tau air and void war.

Let me post the first photo, its a top down taken just after the wings were pinned into place.

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