Raining FireFirst Look
While it does not yet possess the august historical heritage of many other academies or groups of scientific thinkers elsewhere in the world, such as the Britannian Royal Society, the Imperial Alchemical Institute of the Empire of the Blazing Sun has consistently proven itself to be a world leader in extraordinary design and the application of revolutionary new technologies to practical purposes.
The Empire’s technical and scientific advancement and great leap to the status of major world power owes a truly enormous amount to the dedicated and imaginative researchers and technicians of the IAI. Using a blend of technologies both home-grown and imported from around the world, and manipulated with a mindset all of its own, the IAI continues to generate unique devices in the field of military technology.Flanking the enemy through an industrial complex, the Bansans prepare formations to rain down rockets on the unsuspecting targets…
However, even by the IAI’s standards, the Bansan Class Small Walker, now coming into service as a support unit for both Ashigaru and Armoured Cavalry regiments alike, is a startling machine. Its chassis is a scaled-down version of the sophisticated multi-legged system used by some of the Empire’s largest war engines, giving the Bansan a high degree of agility in tight terrain.
Unlike the Prussian Metzger and the Canadian Steele classes, the Bansan is more akin to a walking tank than a true combat armature. A complex system of hydraulics holds the machine up and drives its strides. The machine is controlled by a system of levers and pedals that require considerable skill and training to work.
The Bansan has two pilots, almost always army officers seconded for special training as IAI Combat Mechanauts. The pilots are assisted by several gunners to operate the Bansan’s primary weapon: a unique ring-shaped rotary rocket launcher. With the tubes reloaded from a compartment in the centre of the machine, the launcher operates like a huge Catherine wheel, with the blast of each rocket pushing the next tube into its firing position.Bansan Class Small Walker
These piercing rockets carry a payload of the Institutes refined Incendiary formula, able to turn enemy vessels into a raging inferno in seconds. A single barrage from a distant Bansan Squadron can wreak chaos aboard even the largest targets.
The launcher fires very rapidly, and reloading it in action requires a highly disciplined crew with an acute sense of timing. However, it allows the Bansan provide agile and powerful fire support to other Blazing Sun units on the attack, as well as being able to function as a highly effective mobile emplacement on the defensive.Bansan Class Small WalkerA Word From The Designer
The Empire of the Blazing Sun’s Taka-Ashi Walker was one of my highlights when developing the land forces for Dystopian Wars. While it was important to ground the land forces in the super science fiction setting with track driven tanks, there is always room for a few more extravagant concepts like walkers. Having a striding monstrosity for the Blazing Sun’s Land Ship also suited the nation’s background: having a mobile land force capable of traversing not only the thick jungles but the treacherous topography of Southeast Asia would be a tremendous advantage for the Empire’s dominion, which plays into the greater theatre of war.
The Bansan is an extension of that logic, with the Prussian Faust setting the precedent for small scale mechanicals for the other nations. In line with the Taka-Ashi, the Bansan is less of a humanoid walker than the Prussian examples and more of a stilt-legged fighting platform, it’s quadruped design allowing for maximum stability when firing off it’s great salvo of rockets on the unsuspecting enemy. The design borrows a little from the overall shape of the Ke-Ho small tank; the large walker uses the Blazing Sun’s traditional cylinder design in a vertical arrangement, but the Bansan favours an horizontal arrangement, giving it a wider, squat profile that sets it apart from Faust. This arrangement also allows for the centre of the model to be given over entirely to the rotating rocket battery at its core, lending the focus of the model to its weapons, as should always be the case.Shocking ConsequencesFirst Look
The Prussian Empire's small and lightweight Zeppelin design used for the now-famous Jager hunter-killer and patrol craft has proven particularly successful for the Reichs Luftflotten, or Imperial Air Fleets. Sire Helbrecht is particularly fond of the design, even having one of these craft specially modified so that he can perform personal inspections of the larger airships in his fleets while they are in flight.The Speerwurf’s deadly projectiles make the target easy prey for any Tesla weaponry within range
Economical and easy to build in large numbers, the craft also lends itself well to modification. The Speerwurf is the latest pattern to emerge from the Imperial Air Fleet’s production facilities. It is wholly built around the radical new Pattern V ‘Speerschleuder’ launcher.
Stalking groups of Speerwurf Zeppelins range ahead of Prussian aerial, naval and armoured formations, ‘harpooning’ larger targets as if they were great steel whales. Once a vessel has been struck by one of these projectiles, it is in terrible danger, for the great spear acts as a huge lightning conductor. This virtually guarantees the target’s total devastation at the hands of massed Tesla strikes irresistibly attracted to the embedded metal rod.Speerwurf Class Light Zeppelin
In a case of grim irony, the concept of the Speerschleuder actually grew from devices designed to protect scientists and engineers from the dangerous forces inherent in handling Tesla technology. Prussian researchers had spent several years developing the optimum materials for the construction of lightning rods, taking advantages of the revolution in metallurgy with the advent of Element-270.
It is thought to have been specialists working for the Teutonic Order who first turned this research to offensive means. Initially, the Speerschleuder weapon was seen as rather controversial – no one knew for sure if it would even be effective.
However, trials in Prussian Scandinavia proved its capacity to increase the lethality of Tesla strikes against a variety of targets. The weapon is now being fitted to a number of different war engines, of which the sleek Speerwurf is by far the most numerous.
Manning a Speerwurf is seen as one of the most risky jobs in the Reichs Luftflotten. The airships mount no other major weaponry, and are usually well-defended by wings of fighter and attack aeroplanes to ward off marauding enemy ‘balloon-busters’.
Speerwurf captains have nicknamed the harpoon thrower the ‘Touch of Thor’ – for targets struck by the weapon are almost certain to meet their doom amid electrical fury worthy of the Norse god’s wrath!Speerwurf Class Light ZeppelinA Word From The Designer
The Prussian Jager class small flyers were great fun to create. They were an experimentation of a more streamlined, sleeker version of the traditional Prussian zeppelin aesthetic. Dart like and forward driven, you really do get a sense of their impressive speed. It is perhaps unfortunate that the tesla turret is on the underside and, thus, rarely seen, but practically this is the best place for it
With the opportunity for create a new brand of small flyer I had the chance to trial a different approach. The Speerwurf is, after all, meant to fit in with Jager squadrons, so the basic template was much the same. The small airship has a wider wingspan for added stability but the focus is on the ingenious new weapon in the Prussian arsenal; the lighting conductor. This is basically a harpoon launcher that embeds lightning rods into enemy ships, making them better conductors for the following salvo of tesla strikes. I spent a long time refining how the harpoons themselves worked and how the loading mechanism interacted with the launcher, so long that I didn’t realise how small the final object would be. The launcher was mounted on the top of the zeppelin, both to make them instantly recognisable from their squadron mates and to give the lower velocity weapon a better shot at a parabolic arc.Defeating The ElementsFirst Look
Perhaps more than those of any other power, the armies of the Kingdom of Britannia, including the heavy armoured forces of the Tank Regiments and Land Armada, have frequently been called upon to wage war in a great number of different environments.
Often, they encounter terrain and conditions that are highly adverse, from the steaming jungles of South-East Asia, to the harsh deserts of Australia and North Africa. As a result, over the years, the regiments of Britannia’s Royal Engineers have adopted an extraordinary array of devices to aid in armoured operations.Bridging the gap; The Lysander Class Land Ship spearheads the armoured advance!
In the years immediately prior to the outbreak of the World War, the talented engineers of the Brunel Academy turned their efforts towards creating an armoured vehicle capable of being adapted to a wide variety of roles.
The need to provide such functions as bridgelaying and observation posts to the bulky medium tanks and heavy bombards of the Tank and Artillery regiments meant that the new engineering vehicle would invariably have to be a Land Ship, albeit one even more versatile than the redoubtable Sovereign Class.
The resulting vehicle, examples of which began to enter service in 1869, was dubbed the Lysander Class. It is a triumph of engineering versatility characteristic of the Academy’s designs. It shares its lozenge hull form with that of the sturdy Mark II Medium Tank. This gives it a very good performance over even the roughest terrain.
The bridge and powerplant are located at the rear, while large sponsons on each flank carry batteries of Armstrong howitzers as standard armament. The rest of the Lysander’s hull forward of the bridge and between the track horns consists of a large open void, within which can be fitted a wide variety of differing payloads, depending upon the role required for the ship.
The Brunel Academy has developed an extensive array of alternative loads for the Lysander, allowing it to fulfil a wide variety of engineering roles.Lysander Class Land Ship
The system most commonly fitted is the Lincoln-Fields Pattern folding bridge. This massive structure, capable of holding the weight of heavy tanks, is composed of parts built from a lightweight but immensely strong Sturginium-steel and manganese alloy called Bessemer Blend.
Other common fitments are the Tower, Portable Observation No. 1, which incorporates a small tethered observation balloon for added versatility. For the armoured engineer role, the front deck can mount an enormous Armstrong Mark III Siege Mortar, capable of smashing even the strongest enemy redoubts to rubble.
Lysanders are unusual in that, unlike the Sovereigns, they are not kept purely on the strength of the Land Flotillas. Mortar-carrier and bridgelayer variants are manned by Royal Engineers specialists and often seconded to Tank Regiments. Lysanders mounting observation towers frequently serve alongside Artillery Regiments, whose batteries of Cromwells and other heavy ordnance benefit greatly from the Land Ship’s very efficient fire control systems.Lysander Class Land ShipA Word From The Designer
When designing models, there is usually a correlation between ardour and payoff; the longer the effort, the better the final product tends to be. As a designer, there is nothing more rewarding that completing a particularly technical challenge. The Lysander fits into this category due to the sheer number of parts it needed and the thought required to make such a modular miniature without adding unnecessary complexity.
At the core of the Lysander is the hull, which, while brought to life by the many optional tops, should by no means have been a dull model on its own. In fact, it’s quickly becoming one of my favourite Britannian tanks. The use of some of the long running elements of the Britannian land forces tied together nicely to make the Lysander stand out. The warehouse top utilises the train-station roofing and so fits perfectly with the general Britannian aesthetic. The lozenge shaped tracks which skew out echo the design of the medium tank’s rather than the large ones which sets the Lysander apart from its other class comparative examples and grounds the design as functional more than overbearing in its aesthetic, providing a wider stable base and bringing the eye to the tallest elements of its arsenal.
The drop-ons are, of course, the meat of the idea, with their functional differences vastly different and tying the model together in different ways, from the tall observation tower down to the siege mortar. My favourite has to be the bridging device. I wouldn’t have spent so much time making Dystopian Wars’ vehicles if I didn’t have an innate fondness for mechanisms, and even fictional mechanisms need to be grounded in reality to seem plausible enough for the players to buy into the idea. My motto is that they must be as roundabout and tangential as possible, yet still plausible, and I believe the Lysander is a great example of this ethos.Second ChanceFirst Look
The White Navy was an early proponent of submarine warfare, with a number of technical and tactical specialists working in the field as early as 1857. The Tsar’s admirals saw these revolutionary craft as key weapons in breaking potential blockades by the Prussians and Ottomans of the Baltic and Dardanelles respectively.Out of the blue, the Pesets Class Attack Submarine surfaces and opens up on its prey!
In this work, the Russian naval architects benefitted from their nation’s long-standing accord with the Kingdom of Britannia. The Tsar’s engineers were given access to early blueprints for Brunel’s Vanguard Class submarine, which formed the basis for their own first designs.
Of course, the White Navy’s designers also benefitted from the sporadic but vital nuggets of Covenant ‘black’ information provided by Markov and his co-conspirators before his eventual defection. With this combination of information sources, together with their own talent for invention, the research team of ‘Proyeckt Pobeda’ working under great secrecy in the port of Kerch on the Sea of Azov had produced their ultimate prototype by 1864.
Unfortunately, while the craft was running its final live-armed sea trials, the treacherous Captain Vladimir Nikonov and his crew pirated the vessel. In a night of devastation, they launched a ferocious surprise attack on the main submersible research facility, managing to destroy a huge amount of valuable material. They also stole the last remaining complete blueprints for the Pobeda Class before making their escape by slipping through the Dardanelles.Pesets Class Attack Submarine
Nikonov’s revolt was a disastrous setback for the Russian submersible warfare program. The resulting Oprichnina investigation, ordered personally by the Tsar and supervised by his cousin Andrei ‘the Axe’ himself, revealed evidence that Nikonov had been a double agent, enticed into treachery by the Prussians in return for a series of enormous bribes.
The program and its personnel were transferred to the more secure Baltic base at Kronstadt. Renamed ‘Proyeckt Pesets’, it received a major boost with the return of Markov and his Circle in 1866. Among the many secrets Markov bore with him were the blueprints of the Antarctican submersible in which he had made his escape.
This extra information sped up the revived program immensely, and by early 1867, the final prototype of the new Pesets Class attack submarine was completed, running trials in the far more secure waters around Kronstadt Island under conditions of near-paranoid security by the Oprichnina.
The Pesets Class bears many resemblances to the original prototype Pobeda on which it was based, albeit smaller and more agile in confined waters. It shares the Pobeda’s armament of a powerful forward gun battery and torpedo tubes, although rather than being a lone wolf the Pesets is designed to operate in hunting formations.
Pesets Class submarines work alongside the Battle Brigades of the White Navy in specialised hunter-killer squadrons, often supported by destroyers. A pack of these ‘arctic foxes’, under the command of patient, dedicated captains and highly-motivated crews are fully capable of devastating enemy convoys or stalking and eliminating larger hostile warships with ruthless precision.Pesets Class Attack SubmarineA Word from the Designer
The Russian Coalition’s previous attempt at producing a lethal submarine for the White Navy ended disastrously as Vladimir Nikonov took the submersible for his own ends. But this shame and misfortune was not enough to stop the mighty Russian Coalition from trying once again.
This time, however, the lessons of their past mistakes have been heeded in the design of the new vessel. The Russians realised that pouring so many resources into a single vessel is unwise given the potential unreliability of their captains, thus the final production submersible, the Pesets, has become a medium class model rather than the large behemoth that the Black Wolf was. Despite its smaller size the Pesets has not been defanged; it still has a formidable fore gun battery and, combined with its turret mounted torpedo launcher, the Pesets is a capable offensive weapon in its own right.
Designing this new submarine was a fond reminder of the process behind the Black Wolf, which remains one of our favourite models. it combines the bio-mimicking style of the Covenant of Antarctica (the influence of the traitorous Markov, of course) with the hard edged, angular lines of the Russians. It’s a fun shape to put together, although quite time consuming. The general layout and use of engine features, hatches and so on is much the same as the Black Wolf, although manoeuvring planes have been moved from the centre of mass forward to the ‘head’ section. This gave the model a sleeker profile in line with our other, smaller submarines, but it also necessitated moving the guns up to sit above the hull. The other major change was the addition on the torpedo turret atop the vessel. The challenge here was to make it look like it could track wide enough to match the statistics of the model while also being capable of lowering into the hull for increased hydrodynamics when lurking below the waves.