Montag, 31. März 2014

Gallian Army Construction report No. 1: Gallian APC - Two become one or ... what the heck am I doing?



Good evening everyone,

Here we go!

Construction report No. 1: Gallian APC - Two become one or ... what the heck am I doing?


Actually, this report happened a few days ago - I already have done quite some progress, but as translating that would take way too much time, I still will translate sole parts of the whole process and continue to keep a steady flow of information.
Despite the fact I wanted to start the Gallian Hetzer first, I somehow found it more appealing to begin with the Gallian APC, which in the forums I am presenting my work progress has already become known as "251/full tracked Half-track".


But as the original length of the tank running gears I possess and the length of the 251 Half-track do not allow both to be merged, I had to rethink the whole design of what I was planning.
Welkin, Alicia - no matter my reasons, I am sure that I am wrong in changing the vehicle's design on my own. Please forgive me.
But let's start from the beginning.
On the German tabletop event "Tactica" I was able to get some old and cheap tanks, which included a pioneer tank II with a running gear long enough to fit to the chassis of a SDKFZ 250/1 Half-track.


Being a good soldier, I throw away the original construction manual and started to build the whole vehicle as some kind of a scratch build, only using the design pictures from the Valkyria Chronicles Design Archive.
After trying different ways of matching 250/1 hull to the P II running gear, I realized that this whole thing wouldn't be an easy job to be done. Did I mention that this will be the first conversion I ever made? (okay, yeah, ignoring those Elysian drop trooper poses I did a while ago, right).
So as it is always suggested: Give it the best of both worlds, meaning the vehicle will be done using the upper hull and the lower body of the SDKFZ and match it to the running gear and several body parts of the P II Pionierkampfwagen.
Wait - what? Right! The whole body of the P II has to be severed from its outer parts. So please - all WWII fanatics - look away! The next picture will be cruel and brutal!


Whoah! Done!
After having separated the track cover panels (I don't even know how those things are called in German), I started to go on with the P II running gear.
Constructing the pivot arms was quite easy. Just cut them out, polish them a little and attach them to the running gear.



The wheels instead turned out to be a far difficult job. First question: Which to choose? I had those P II wheels, being much closer to the original vehicle or the SDKFZ wheels, being closer the VC vehicle? Finally I decided to use wheels from both vehicles. The main drive spocket and track idler belong to the P II, while all the running wheels were taken from the 250/1.


There was a lot of work to do - drill holes, cut sprues away and polish the whole thing, to make those wheels fit to the pivot arms.
Then I had to put all this stuff together.


To do so, I had to hack the track cover panels into pieces to file them again, before attaching them to the lower body of the 250.


Then I glued the upper body parts of the vehicle together. It's fitting was like ...

And my mood went straight down to ....


Why, that is something I will go on later with. For now, let me tell you that it took about half an hour before everything was into place and I was able to do some test fitting with the upper and lower half.

Well - I somehow assumed that something like this was about to happen. It did not fit. The gaps being between those body parts were way too big to just plug some green stuff into it.
Unfortunately I was to discover that both parts were already glued together and I wasn’t able to separate them again.
So I started to saw, cut away several parts and chop elements from the vehicles upper body to make them fit.
I was near to finished when the newborn vehicle started to understand and finally came apart, as does the bikini of a busty lady after being pulled down for too long – like hers:


In the end I was able to finish the work just to glue all the parts to together again and realize that the gaps I tried to close had opened even wider. I sliced way too much off the vehicle.



What the heck am I doing and why come I somehow feel ridiculous right now?

Yay … okay, back to work. First I had to get back to the Artwork book to reassure I am still on track to build a Gallian APC. As you can see, the Gallian APC originally has some storage boxes on its left side. And I want those to be on at least one side of my model, too.
So let’s have a look into the spare parts box … where we find … oh, hm – storage boxes! Well, well, this looks great!


Then I finally managed to put upper and lower half together. Me happy Squidward!


But then again needed to file, file and file until the whole thing looked “great”. Then it was time to do the vehicles crew a favor and fill the remaining gaps. Green stuff proved to be the perfect choice for this.
In the end the vehicle looked like this:







Next update is already on its way!


Take care

Stargazer

Samstag, 29. März 2014

Valkyria Chronicles - Explaining the Gallian Army




Good evening everyone,

Now it is time to unveil my ultimate plan to conquer Europa!
But to do so we first have to dig deeper into the structure of the Gallian Army and its equipment.

Some music please!



Thank you. And now it’s your turn, professor Brixham!


About Gallia


Gallia is a small prinicipality lying on the edge of Europa and wedged in between the sea on its western side, the East European Autocratic Empire on the eastern border and the Federation on its southern border.


As country, Gallia is based on the small and independent European countries, such as BeNeLux, Switzerland and so on. Its landmass resembles a unicorn’s head, which is the reason for the unicorn being Gallias nation's symbol, and its population is about 4.4 million.


The nation’s leader is Cordelia Gi Randgriz, first princess and later archduchess. She is of Darcsen descent, an indigenous people to Europa.


Being rich of ragnite, the main power source in the world of Valkyria Chronicles, Gallia has to face both Europan (that's right, in VC it is EuroPAN) super powers in a constant struggle for its survival.

Army or Militia?


The first question being raised about what kind of force I will build-up later on is: will it be the Gallian Army or the Militia?

The principality of Gallia is guarded by a regular army consisting of professional solders and regular troopers as well as by a volunteer army, being called into service whenever an enemy from the outside is invading Gallia.

The Gallian Army:

 

Little is known about the regular military of Gallia. As Gallia has a population around 4.4 million people one should assume that it’s military has a adequate strength.
As the navy is said to be around 10.000 strong and the army has a military police service with around 2.000 enlisted, I was surprised to read that the Gallian Army and the Militia together field about 40.000 soldiers. I think this is a bit weak. For example: Switzerland, which has about 8 million inhabitants, is guarded by an army around 150.000 strong. So this is something I believe to be a typo.
Equipment of the Army and the Militia are similar to each other but differ in quality as the military is eager to get the best equipment first and discard their old equipment to the volunteer army.
The uniform colors of the army are inspired by the Gallian national flag – white-red-blue – but the order is somehow reversed. Furthermore, it seems there are different types of trousers. While in the game, the Gallian Army has a “normal” blue uniform (WITH blue trousers), the anime depicts forces with blue combat jacket but dark trousers. The “Valkyria Chronicles Design Archive” explains that those units did not make it into the actual game, but refers to them as being “Hunters”. The Artbook of Valkyria Chronicles III depicts them as being “Chasseurs”. I really have some difficulties understanding what exactly they are meant to be, as “Hunters” and “Chasseurs” are no part of an army. But judging from a Valkyria Chronicles tradition to depict (and sometimes misunderstand) German words I think those units are meant to be “Jäger”, which on one hand can be translated as hunter:


  
but also as “light infantry”: highly mobile forces for intense combat operations in areas, where tanks and heavy infantry (i.e. armored infantry) cannot operate due to their immobility or vulnerability. These light troops include mountain troops, paratroops, reconnaissance troops and, if you want to say so, Special Forces.


So I think this is what "Hunters" and "Chasseurs" originally were meant to be. If someone else has more precise information on that topic, I would be glad if you could share them with me.
But afar from that, the Gallian Army has both male and female personnel, though women seem to be far outnumbered.
Also, the military seem to have a tradition of enlisting aristocrats as officers.

Gallian Infantry (note the blue trousers).
Those guys seem to be something like heavy infantry.


The Militia:


The Gallian Militia is a volunteer army which will be forged by Gallian citizens whenever the principality is invaded from outside. In case of a civil war or unrest the militia is not to be formed.
The exact number of militia personnel is not known, but as previously stated, both militia and army field around 40.000 personnel, it seems to be rather small.
Then again, the total population of more than 4 million inhabitants should enable Gallia to field more militiamen.
While they are not needed to serve in the militia, most militiamen are members of local town watches or home guards. As there seem to be no police or fire fighters in Valkyria Chronicles, it could be that those town watches are running emergency services in Gallian towns.
To enlist in the Gallian Militia, a Gallian citizen must at least be 16 years old. But as in the game there are people younger than that, I think this rule only works during periods of peace.
Equipment of the army and the militia are similar to each other but differ in quality because the military is eager to get the best equipment first and discard their old equipment to the volunteer army.
Women are allowed to decide if they want to wear trousers or skirts.
The uniform colors of the army are inspired by the Gallian national flag – white-red-blue – though the order is somehow reversed.
Female personnel is equal in numbers to male militiamen, if not outnumbering them.

The "Edy"-Detachment, part of the Gallian Militia


In conclusion: I think, both units belong to each other. As the militia is the players “main army” in the first game and characters from the regular forces are main protagonists in the second and the third game, I would like to use units from both forces to have a good mixture of tanks, units and doctrines.

Tummy troubles?
 

Squads:


Units in Valkyria Chronicles are divided into squads, which are similar to a group or a section. Though the game allows the player to choose from a greater number of soldiers, making the “squads” equal to a platoon, units being fielded consist of around 6-8 unit members. In the anime squads have around 10 to 15 infantrymen, supported by a tank.
This enables me to use at least a number of 10 soldiers per squad, which is fully compatible with most wargaming rules.

Examples of squads in VC:


Squad 7:


Squad 7 is the players unit in Valkyria Chronicles. The story of the game follows this militia unit, being commanded by Lieutenant Welkin Gunther and Sergeant Alicia Melchiott, on their way through the war against the Empire.
On this picture you can see that a rather equal number of characters is placed around both tanks. Those characters are selectable in the game, but divided in TWO squads in the anime.

Class G:


In Valkyria Chronicles II, Class G from the Gallian military school Lanseal is dragged into a civil war between the House of Gassenarl, a powerful aristocrat family and the archduchess of Gallia, Cordelia Gi Randgriz.

Squad 422:



Squad 422, a penalty unit consisting of cowards, deserters and other “criminals” is fighting the Empire again. Placed at the same time as the first game, VC III puts the player in control of this unusual team of Gallian specialists, with a hard shell, but a really soft and warm core ;-D


Infantry Units:


Every infantry unit in VC fullfills a specific role on the battlefield, categorized in specific classes these units are put into. These classes have different abilities and weapons which have to be combined to succeed in a mission.

Scout:

 


Scouts are light infantry units, slightly armored and therefore very fast. As their name suggests they are used to spot enemy positions and are armed with semi-automatic guns.

Alicia Melchiott - Scout

 

Shocktrooper:

 


Shocktroopers are well armored infantry units with an impressive amount of firepower. With their assault weaponry, they are used to engage opponents straight ahead or storm enemy fortifications.
Shocktroopers can be equipped with a lot of useful equipment, like flamethrowers or machine guns.

Dorothy Howard - Shocktrooper

Lancer:

 


Lancers are anti-tank units equipped with “lances”, replicas of the infamous Valkyrian Lances. Their armor is extraordinarily thick, resulting in a very low speed.
 
Largo Potter - Lancer

Mortarer:

 


Mortarers are troops using modified lances with a very slow initial velocity to give direct artillery support to assaulting troops.
Rene Randall - Mortarer

Sniper:

 


Snipers are very light (even scouts possess more armor) infantry units with a great accuracy. Most snipers are part of a squad, nevertheless they operate on their own.
Marina Wulfstan - Sniper

 

Engineer:

 


Engineers are units, which are used as medics and mechanics in the game. In VC I, they are armed with guns, in VC II and VC III they use pistols. Their armor is very slight as well.
Nadine – Engineer

Those are just core units. The Gallian military uses more units, for exampe knight-like armored techs as close combat units or musicians to enhance squadmates abilities and stats. But as those units are more specific and and it is very unlikely that I will use them somewhen in a game, I leave them for now.

Vehicles:

 Vehicles also play an important role in the Valkyria Chronicles universe. They can be used to support infantry with an impressive amount of firepower, are useful cover or are able to transport units above the battlefield in a quick and (mostly) safe way. In Valkyria Chronicles, there are a lot of different units and vehicles, which the player can use or will face. As I am building a Gallian force, the following list consists of only Gallian units which are interesting for me and might be taken into my army one day.

Armored Personnel Carrier:


All Gallian recon vehicles are also APCs, able of transporting forces of various strength over the battlefield. During research, I learnt differen opinions about the reasons the vehicles are designed so differently and how many troops they can carry.

Light APC:



The light APC can carry up to 4 soldiers

Medium APC:

The medium APC can carry up to 6 soldiers

Heavy APC:

The Heavy APC can carry up to 8 soldiers

Utility APC:

The utility APC can carry at least 12 soldiers,
but also is the weakest combat unit.

Gallian APC:

This tracked APC is a rather unknown vehicle which appears in VC I.
As the player isn’t using it himself, there is not much information about it.
In VC III, it is also seen as an imperial design.

Tanks:

 

All Gallian tanks are designed to strike hard and fast. During their construction engineers took account of Gallias landscape, outfitting all tanks with big guns, good suspension and strong engines, but slight armor, following the old rule of courage: “Do one brave thing a day – then run like hell!”

The following vehicles are standardized units of the Gallian Army. Special Vehicles like the 422 tank or the famous Edelweiss are not implemented.

Gallian Light Tank:

 


More a remnant of the first European War than a modern combat vehicle, this tank was used to counter the imperial invasion in 1935. It is a well-armed and fast tank, but lacks of armor and is quite vulnerable without its external armor plating. In VC I, this tank is the main battle tank of both Militia and Army.

 

Type 36:


Type 36 is more a family of tanks than a single one. Having noticed their tanks to be out of date Gallian engineers returned to their drawing tables, taking account of the unusual design of the Edelweiss and constructing a totally new line of tanks, still very fast and well-armed, but also well-armored. Most important for the new design was the fact that this new tank had to be able to encounter all threats, whether they approach from outside Gallia or from the inside.

Type 36 Light A:


More a light recon tank than a real MBT, this light tank is the first armored unit available in VC II.

Type 36 Light B:

 

The first tank in VC II to be a real battle tank this tracked vehicle is a direct successor to the Gallian Light Tank and therefore a favorite to the Lanseal military academy.

Type 36 Medium A:


A medium class main battle tank used by the House of Gassenarl in VC II, it is well armed and the first step to reach the heavy tanks class.

Type 36 Medium B:


A strong and heavy medium tank which in comparison to most Gallian tanks is well-suited for powerful counterstrikes and assaults deep into enemy territory.

Type 36 Heavy A:


Being a direct descendant to the famous Edelweiss tank, this line of tanks is well armed and well protected. They are able to encounter every existing tank, as long as it is not equipped with valkyrian technology.

Type 36 Heavy B:


Being the heaviest tank in the Gallian army, this unit is comparative to the German “Jagdtiger” of World War II.

Units not to find in the game, but in my army:

Some of the vehicles I came to know while doing research for my army did not make it into the final game, but as I really started to like them, I want to implement into my army.

Gallian Tank Destroyer:



This beauty is a tank hunter, developed for the game to demonstrate the defensive nature of the Gallian military. Sadly, this unit didn’t make it into the actual game. Nevertheless, it is cool and I want it to be cool in my army!

Gallian Tank Destroyer – Royal Guards version


The Hetzer (Jagdpanzer 38 (t)):

This one was a very early design and did not even make it out of the sketchbook. Dear developers - how dare you? It is a Hetzer! You refused a Hetzer to be part of VC! Shame on you! I have to correct this! So here we have the Gallian Tank Hunter '38. Welcome to my army, bro!


Honestly? Gallian Hetzer – Fuck, yeah!

So, this is just a little glimpse of what the Gallian Army and Valkyria Chronicles is about. So if you desire to dig deeper into the universe of VC, let me recommend Encyclopedia Europa to you. It is a Wikipedia dedicated to the whole game series of VC. I use it very often, as it keeps valuable information not just from the Design Archives, but also from the games itself, which I sometimes forget :-D (I even took pictures from there - but pssst ... don't tell anyone ...)


Building my Gallian Army:


As previously stated, my Gallian army will consist of both militia and army units, compsed of around 10 units in 1 squad each, being formed around one vehicle.

At least, I have got plastic kits of vehicles to plan and construct

-    1 Hetzer 
-       1 Tank Destroyer 
-        2 Gallian Light Tanks 
-        1 Type 36 Medium A 
-        1 Type 36 Medium B

All these tanks are going to be supported by infantry units. Both Light Tanks and the Tank Destroyer will be supported by Militia units, the two Type 36 and the Hetzer will be used by the Army.

As of now, I think my militiamen will be made out of German Fallschirmjäger unit conversions and the Gallian Army will be German Wehrmacht units, which will be modified with Bundeswehr heads.

I also don’t exactly know how to compose the single squads. In my opinion, 1 Engineer and 1 lancer would be great, but then? I am still not sure.

And, as you might have read in one of the last entries of my fellow blogger Black Guardian, my army will also be supported by HER. Right! My Gallian Army will be fielding their own Valkyria! Yeah!

So this is my plan so far – now it's your turn! Tell me what you think about the whole idea.

And just for my fellow blogger Angry Lurker, there is no Welkin picture as intentionally planned, but ... some Valkyrian boobs. I know he LIKES IT :-D



So take care!

See you on the next update!



Yours,

Stargazer

P.S.: Pictures have been taken from: The Valkyria Chronicles Design Archive and Encyclopedia Europa. All rights to their respective owners!