On my endless strides through the interwebs I came across something called “Hercules Dropship” – an effort to create a huge dropship as a scratchbuilt from foamboard. Now before you google it and download the templates in your enthusiasm read on please, it will be worth it.
Now while that dropship looks awesome not all of us are gifted with sufficient skill to scratchbuilt one. Most of us would prefer a kit that we can build and here is where the Mad Mecha Guy (Joseph B. – http://www.madmechaguy.co.uk/) came to our collective rescue.
Joseph took on the templates and “translated” them into an MDF kit that is much easier to assemble. Coming across his kit I also investigated some more and found his items not only interesting but also very affordable and genius. I have been around the block (blog?) for a few years now but some of Joseph’s items are even by my standards and experience just brilliant. But enough with foreplay, let’s get down to business. First of all I had a small interview with Joseph and for the review (scroll down) he sent me a 28mm Hercules Dropship that is still Wip. Of course there will be pictures for those patiently reading and scrolling.
1. Please introduce yourself and the company. Especially the name is interesting. Is there a story behind it?
Got down-Sourced from Civil Service at time of recession, spent year or so twiddling thumbs. Had seen price of MDF buildings & finding costs of MDF (it’s very cheap) & could afford a chinese laser, so thought could do more simpler ones for the cost-effective gamer.
Name, isn’t any real story: I like Mecha from anime, a Bloke & could be considered slight unhinged (though largely harmless)
2. How did you get into gaming and what prompted you to start “Mad Mecha Guy”? –
Been playing wargames sooooo long can not remember why got into it. Think it was ” oh that looks interesting, lets play” and carried on from there.
3. How do you develop designs and how long does it take from idea to production miniature.
Oddly I use 2D poster design software which set a CAD function based in it. Some designs are through requests/suggestions, most are through just me wanting to design something I want, feel need for or just get bored & stay fiddling with software. Usually have a vague idea what I want to do & them tweak design until it fits & happy with it.
If simple item can design in few minute to hours. other can take few days, if get annoyed with design can take few weeks as will only come back & niddle at it.
4. What games do you play?
None at present due to not knowing any local gamers, but do collect Rules & related bumf. Have preferemce to 15mm sci-fi & Space Ships (less bitchiness about that’s not right, can’t do that, they’re not supposed to be that colour)
5. What are your thoughts on current and future development in the gaming industry? What scales will we play?
More 3D manufacturering, think scales will stay the same, will always get the odd company that does its own scale just to be awkward, instead of thinking if use rough standardised scale (e.g. around 28mm) will get more sales, because even people don’t like their rules but ther figures are good looking, gamers likely buy figures for other rules.
Thanks Joseph and I am sure once you have seen his website (http://www.madmechaguy.co.uk/) you will be hooked just as I am.
This review is for the Hercules Dropship. Right at the beginning let me say there will be more reviews as soon as SWMBO* allows.
The ‘Herc’ arrived as a flatpack box with bubble wrap. Here a picture of the result so far. As you can see quit imposing (60cm!) I need to glue the 3 parts together now and add the doors to the Bays, intending to use RC model hinges for those.
The building process and the kit: The model comes with instructions that are rather easy to follow once you are setting things up. What you should do is work on the three build groups independently, meaning front/cockpit, back/body and bay are three build-groups that you can proceed with independently. The only thing you should observe is that for the cockpit you should glue in the thrusters before assembling, I forgot and cannot anymore. No big deal but a cautioning for all of you not to get carried away like I did. Otherwise the building is fairly easy, especially if you have a helping hand like I did:
The build-group approach is also suggested as Joseph has wrapped certain parts in smaller bags to make this easier. The kit is made from 2mm MDF with lasered detail so has the typical burned wood smell. Now while a lot of kits are 3mm MDF and this is “only” 2mm strong I have not had any issues on stability. In fact the part that might be tricky (wings) consist of two layers – simple but effective. The other parts show how brilliant Joseph has designed the kit. Although thinner than the usual kit the parts support one another, strengthening the built.
I admit I was sceptical how that long cockpit would be in 2mm but the parts are fitting precisely (slotting in mostly) into one another and the way it is constructed creates stability. Unless you abuse this model as an improvised hammer I cannot see anyone breaking anything short of really bad accidents or the mentioned mis-use.
Verdict: The model was very easy to build and so far without any adjustments. I probably was a bit to enthusiastic about the front wings, pushing them in too much and I might have to file the rear of the cockpit section a bit so the wings meet without any gap (currently 2-3mm unless I push really hard). Filing will allow less tear on the two wing sections and the model will remain as is for the coming years. The only negative thing I could say about the model is its enormous size so one of my future purchases will be a ‘Half-Herc’ Joseph offers at exactly half the size of this one. Jokingly Joseph calls it a “more table friendly” sizing.
As you can see I have not mentioned anything about price so far. One thing you will hopefully agree is that all of Joseph’s models are extremely competitively priced. One reason might be the use of 2mm MDF instead of 3mm one. I was not able to identify this as a downside and concerning the kit I built I can only say you will not notice this as a flaw. The material is absolutely fine thus I conclude smaller kits (mostly terrain) will be perfectly OK in 2mm MDF, saving you a lot of cash. The Hercules you see above is 40.00 GBP, the Half-Herc is 15.00 and, in my personal opinion, are an utter steal for what you get. I will post more pictures once I have put all parts into final position and added the doors for the bays.
All in all the verdict must be order yours soon and show all your friends you are gaming on the large side of life.
*SWMBO= She who must be obeyed (wife, girlfriend, significant other, boss…)