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Old 04-04-2012, 02:54 AM #1
Greyknight Jazzious
 
 
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Mech's, PUG's, and Backpack vechicles

Trying to get info together on ideas, builds, and criticisms of what my team refers to as MBT (Mech and Backpack Tanks)

The first thing to mention is this is for input on props that count as armored vehicles and not troopers in body armor (though some mechs have that appearance)

Let the gathering commence.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:07 AM #2
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I am if the opinion that MBTs will soon replace conventional push and powered tanks. The advantages of them, I feel, out weight the cons.

All tanks build must balance the 3 elements or armor:
Protection
Mobility
Firepower

However, I feel with MBTs add an important fourth element, Cost
MBTs have less protection (on the whole) when compared with normal armor, but it is balanced by increase mobility in being more able to get into smaller spaces. Thus is huge once your consider the normally tightly pack terrain of most paintball parks. There is the added benefit of safety (not likely to drive over a guille suit and end his life)
Yes motorized tank can run all day, but only in accessible terrain, with expensive insurance, and (if gas powered) while running increasingly pricey gasoline.
And the kicker, MBT's are less expensive to build, run, and repair.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:12 AM #3
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I am sure the esteemed Boom Master will be by momentarily to provide great input. He has been the preeminent advocate of this type of gear for a quite a while now, and the one who got me interested. Jazzious, you have summarized the issues very well, and thanks for this thread.

Our team always enjoys events where motorized tanks were in play, but there just aren't that many to go around, especially in the NE. The investment in time and effort made by their owners is significant and MUCH much appreciated.

So what alternatives are there? The idea of a man portable device that would have a role somewhere between a motorized (heavy) tank and a groundpounder appealed to me, but I am too old and grumpy to consider a Mech Warrior costume. My wife thinks I am crazy enough already, thank you very much. so I started a project based on the concept of not "Light" armor, but Close Air Support. Now, I am not advocating that we run around wearing a beanie cap making whop-whop noises yelling "Look at me! I'm a helicopter!" although a certain suspension of disbelief is required for this whole topic.

I decided to try to model the roles, capabilities and vulnerabilities of CAS and helicopters on the battle field: Highly maneuverable, not limited to roads, potent against many targets, but also vulnerable to "ground-fire" and perhaps without the ability to re-arm while "in flight". I presume my other objectives of safety, fairness, low cost, light weight and portability are pretty universal, although I wanted to try and break new ground there, too.

So after an absolutely riduculous amount of experimentation over several months and a garage full of failed ideas, this is what I came up with- CASPER 1 and CASPER 2:






They weigh in at about 20-22 lbs dry, and probably less than 30lbs on the runway with your air, marker and paint. The detachable dual launchers on CASPER 1 add about 6 lbs. A hand-carried LAW can be fired from within the wider CASPER 2. They each fold flat for transport. Instructions and parts lists will be for sale shortly, because I promised my wife I would try to recoup some of the $1,000+ I have spent on this insanity. To build your own would cost around $300-$350 in parts and a moderately handy nutjo... err, player, could probably do it in a weekend with parts and plans in hand. The dual-launcher plans will be made available as well, and would also cost around $300 to build. I had hoped to field these at West Point last weekend, but family emergencies deep-sixed that idea.

I also wanted to have an optional way for ground pounders to take out my CAS-PERs even if no one had a LAW available, which again is not unusual here in the NE. It wouldn't be easy to "shoot me down", but it would be possible and indisputable. I trialed a promising approach using multiple balloons, which clearly indicated hits and could be heard to pop by the pilot, and also had the advantage of providing a festive air to the proceedings. Unfortunately I discovered that any balloon large enough to pop reliably was a pretty easy target for many players, especially pump folks, those scary bustards. So I am finalizing another approach which I have high hopes for, which is fair to all involved and doesn't involve target panels that needed to be marked with a hit or covered with paint, then require an examination by a ref to confirm a kill. (It would also be nice to end up with a situation where I didn't need to find or tie-up a ref while playing.) More on all that later.

Back to a broader view, I think we all agree that MPV's can add a great deal to this sport safely and without great expense. I hope that some sort of standard, general rules regarding the use of Meat Powered Vehicles can come together, making it easier for everyone. Not sure who would handle that- it seems that a few big event organizers decide something, and that becomes a "standard" for good or ill. Understandable, but there must be a better way.

Well THAT ran longer than intended. For those who suffered through it all, I hope something was useful.
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Last edited by Winger CT : 04-04-2012 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:34 AM #4
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Yep, I will be posting but it will be a couple of days as we are on the road traveling back to the USA from Mexico. Plan to be in my shop by the weekend building on some of my new toys. Usually they are all ready by this time of year.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:09 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winger CT View Post
I am sure the esteemed Boom Master will be by momentarily to provide great input. He has been the preeminent advocate of this type of gear for a quite a while now, and the one who got me interested. Jazzious, you have summarized the issues very well, and thanks for this thread.

Our team always enjoys events where motorized tanks were in play, but there just aren't that many to go around, especially in the NE. The investment in time and effort made by their owners is significant and MUCH much appreciated.

So what alternatives are there? The idea of a man portable device that would have a role somewhere between a motorized (heavy) tank and a groundpounder appealed to me, but I am too old and grumpy to consider a Mech Warrior costume. My wife thinks I am crazy enough already, thank you very much. so I started a project based on the concept of not "Light" armor, but Close Air Support. Now, I am not advocating that we run around wearing a beanie cap making whop-whop noises yelling "Look at me! I'm a helicopter!" although a certain suspension of disbelief is required for this whole topic.

I decided to try to model the roles, capabilities and vulnerabilities of CAS and helicopters on the battle field: Highly maneuverable, not limited to roads, potent against many targets, but also vulnerable to "ground-fire" and perhaps without the ability to re-arm while "in flight". I presume my other objectives of safety, fairness, low cost, light weight and portability are pretty universal, although I wanted to try and break new ground there, too.

So after an absolutely riduculous amount of experimentation over several months and a garage full of failed ideas, this is what I came up with- CASPER 1 and CASPER 2:






They weigh in at about 20-22 lbs dry, and probably less than 30lbs on the runway with your air, marker and paint. The detachable dual launchers on CASPER 1 add about 6 lbs. A hand-carried LAW can be fired from within the wider CASPER 2. They each fold flat for transport. Instructions and parts lists will be for sale shortly, because I promised my wife I would try to recoup some of the $1,000+ I have spent on this insanity. To build your own would cost around $300-$350 in parts and a moderately handy nutjo... err, player, could probably do it in a weekend with parts and plans in hand. The dual-launcher plans will be made available as well, and would also cost around $300 to build. I had hoped to field these at West Point last weekend, but family emergencies deep-sixed that idea.

I also wanted to have an optional way for ground pounders to take out my CAS-PERs even if no one had a LAW available, which again is not unusual here in the NE. It wouldn't be easy to "shoot me down", but it would be possible and indisputable. I trialed a promising approach using multiple balloons, which clearly indicated hits and could be heard to pop by the pilot, and also had the advantage of providing a festive air to the proceedings. Unfortunately I discovered that any balloon large enough to pop reliably was a pretty easy target for many players, especially pump folks, those scary bustards. So I am finalizing another approach which I have high hopes for, which is fair to all involved and doesn't involve target panels that needed to be marked with a hit or covered with paint, then require an examination by a ref to confirm a kill. (It would also be nice to end up with a situation where I didn't need to find or tie-up a ref while playing.) More on all that later.

Back to a broader view, I think we all agree that MPV's can add a great deal to this sport safely and without great expense. I hope that some sort of standard, general rules regarding the use of Meat Powered Vehicles can come together, making it easier for everyone. Not sure who would handle that- it seems that a few big event organizers decide something, and that becomes a "standard" for good or ill. Understandable, but there must be a better way.

Well THAT ran longer than intended. For those who suffered through it all, I hope something was useful.
Would've loved to have seen these in action at west point. I was thinking about the project I have started in my garage the whole time I was up there. Being able to take "armor" up and down the hills where the mechanized tanks couldn't would've definitely helped in quiet a few situations. Myself, I have a PVC frame on an ALICE pack sitting in my garage. But I'm trying my best to learn about fiberglass so I can actually mold something that looks like a helicopter/etc, be light weight and tough enough to withstand a spill or two. It's really all about the money right now for trial and error with the different cloths and resin combos. The Orca (IIRC) looked like it could be straight out of a Terminator movie, I'd like to do something like that once I get the fiberglassing down. As far as kill plates are concerned, I've always liked the nerfs being the only thing that take armor down. They're not dangerous enough to really injur the person walking in the armor, and yes there are PLENTY of nerf launchers that show up to an event if "tank" is so much as whispered during planning. What I'm playing with for a sentry gun is a Lexan window in front of the gunner with a circle on it. If paint completely occludes the view through that circle on the lexan, the gunner can not see where they are shooting, hence blind firing and they have to stop to clean the lexan. Thusly the average player can "disable" the armor without the use of special equipment. Downside for the player, the lexan can only take a hit if the armor (and their paintball marker) is facing the player. So return fire is often an issue. We've played with ideas of instead of a circle, gluing a short section of PVC on it so you can't fill the circle from the side. Different combinations of diameter PVC pipe and lengths are what we're playing with now to see what would be the most "Fair" for both sides.
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:54 AM #6
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:42 AM #7
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Home Sweet Home. Drinking coffee from MY coffee cup made in MY coffee pot sitting in MY comfy chair.....

Last I heard, there was STILL no abiility to buy tank insurance for a scenario game. Everyone is playing without any tank insurance. The fields have an I won't ask and you won't tell anything about tank insurance. Just we require it.... Everyone is playing self insured....

So if you have enough nickels to rub together to afford to build a motorized tank, then you are probably worth suing. So that deters a lot of people from building a motorized tank. ONE of the reasons I built a walking tank instead of a motorized. Waited a few years for the insurance issues to resolve and they haven't.....

You would think that man powered tanks would spring up everywhere but they haven't. They are a whole lot cheaper to build so why not?

Man powered tanks have been few and far between but as this thread illustrates, we are certainly making progress in the number to walking tanks being built. .

They are NOT that easy to build. I've built 4 ALICE backpack based walking tanks and it is still a work in progress. Pondering an upgrade of number 4 or a total rebuild to remove a few pounds.

Quote:
So after an absolutely riduculous amount of experimentation over several months and a garage full of failed ideas,
A walking tank/aircraft is not that easy to build as testified above and I will include my own experience as well. . You just have to like tinkering, problem solving, and have a high frustration tolerance for failure. I'll wager many were attempted that never saw a day on a paintball field...

The biggest hurdle seems to build it light enough to be playable and have FUN playing in it... The Gryphons were heavy and all the weight was carried on your shoulders and not your hips. They added handles on the inside so when you were moving, you could not fire. You had to sit it down and then engage your enemy. I played with a team that built one and brought it to the game and all but one player refused to play in it. So it spent much of the day out of play.

My first walker was HEAVY even though it was backpack based with an all aluminum frame covered with polycarbonate twin wall and netting.

The second was an aluminum ALICE pack and an all Polycarbonate mono body and netting. It was a HUGE improvement in weight. Silly me, I replaced that weight with firepower (autoloading cannon)and air tanks(a 25 pound - 513 ci x 3,000 psi ) in addition to the marker air tank..

Paintball gear is heavy. A typical grunt with a LAW is hauling 30 pounds of gear, marker, paint, 2 air tanks, etc. The basic armorment of a tank.

So whatever you build for a tank body is added on top of that to haul around. When you get past a 65 pound pack total, the fun factor drops off very quickly.... So the shell of your backpack based tank has to weigh less than 35 pounds.

Now how many of our readers here are thinking there is NO WAY they would play paintball with a 65 pound pack. That eliminiates a lot of potential walking tank builders.

Being invunerable to small arms fire is a great offset to the limited mobility a 65 pound pack gives you. You don't have to RUN anymore. But until you can wrap your mind around how much fun that would be, you won't even THINK about building a walking tank...

The entire weight issue is the basis for the perception that PUGs are 'just mobile bunkers.' They lacked sufficient mobility to be a accepted by players and field owners as a 'tank'.

I have participated in many debates on this issue. Discussed RULE for what is allowed and not allowed. No concensus. People have their biases and so do I. Afterall, a motorized tank is also a 'mobile bunker' Just more mobile.
So the rule of thumb seems to be that is simply has to pass the "Giggle TEST" if you say it is a tank and people start giggling, it might not be a tank. When I get that argument, I just say I almost had my card punched for exceeding the field speed limit of 5 mph in my walking tank. So I am just as moblie as any motorized.... (for about 25 yards)

I have yet to see a successful build of a man powered tank that has wheels. I designed several. The best one, I calculated every pound of material and it still came out about 65 pounds per person in the tank. It was a 4 man tank. Figured 4 guys could haul it anywhere pulling 65 pounds on wheels and still move with two guys firing on most terrian. But bottomline it seemed all the designs for wheeled man powered tanks had the same limitation. By the time you build the frame stout enough to be beat up dragging over roots, rocks, mud, etc., you added so much weight that it started being impractical.... weight wise.

The FEW wheel based tanks I have seen broke very early in the game and was out of play... PVC frames with wheels attached to the PVC. The wheels broke out at the attachment to the PVC..

That is Achilles Heel of walking tanks. By the time you build it LIGHT enough to play in, it is so fragile, you can break it easily. You have a 'Dixie Cup" tank. Fall down once and throw it away. That would account for a lot of 'one time' walking tanks that didn't come back to play a second game.

PVC seems to be the material of choice for many builds and it is NOT repairable. It fractures easily and is NOT that light of a building material.

My aluminum frame walker required many replacements of the bent aluminim pieces but it was at least repairable. (assembled with sheet metal screws) The polycarbonate walker has had several glue joints fail and two stress fractures that were repaired with epoxy and fiberglass reinforcements. Added a few ounces but was repairable. Currently needs repair from another glue joint faiure and have decided that epoxy is NOT the glue of choice for polycarbonate sheeting. So far, NONE of the replacement joints have failed using Super Glue with reinforcing fiberglass powder. You would think epoxy would work...

So now that I have said all that, I went out and built a PVC pipe framed walking tank. Actually two identical ones for a scenario field when I was stuck in Hawaii. Wanted to TEST a concept for using PVC and see if it would not break in the rigors of play. Besides, it was on HIS dime for materials and my time for free.... They both survived the scenario game intact and one did fall down during the game. So far, so good. Planning ANOTHER PVC based tank that addressed some of the minor flaws that reared their ugly head during the build and play.

Like every motorized tank build, AFTER you build your tank and play in it, you discover "improvements" you will upgrade or incorporate into you rnext build.

So lets post some pictures of what I have been talking about...

The polycarbonate mono body on a ALICE pack frame.



In action:



The PVC framed tank:



In action:



Illustration of one design limitation of the ATST type of mech warrior. Protection of the the lower body is limited. We improvised with cardboard that he didn't think he needed.

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Old 04-07-2012, 12:17 PM #8
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One of the reasons my walking tanks survived the rigors of play was not only the repairability of them but also the design incorporated into 2, 3, and 4

Much of the damage of number one was due to my losing my footing and falling down in it. 90 percent of the time it was a trip and fall forward going nose down onto the ground. Crunch.

So in the build design of number two, it was designed to BREAK and snap apart rather than bend something... A Leggo Tank ---- sort of.

It took a little R and D to perfect it so it would not come apart when I didn't want it to but it was very successful in minimizing damage from falls and since them no fall has prevented the tank from continuing play or requiring repairs.. It has been part of every walking tank design since.

Here is the only physical attachment of the body/shell to the ALICE Pack. Those are THREE 1" Saddle T fittings from Home Depot. They 'snap' around the pipe that the body is attached to. When you fall forward and the body hits the ground, the body snaps out of those C shapes and you are on your hands and knees wearing an Alice frame. The weight of your body does not destroy the frame. YOU detach.....




A close up of the attachment bolts to the frame through a PVC Plug with a hole drilled into it.



The back view of the attachment, Note there are only two saddle tees. Had to add a third one...



Side viewo n the right side below illustrates how the back board just leans on the top of the ALICE pack frame. The entire canopy will pivot up making it easier to get into and out of the back pack straps. The pivoting also diminishes some of the impact when to fall forward. It swings up as you go to your hands and knees.





When you look at those side views, try to imagine the forces on those saddle T fittings. The weight of the marker, hopper, cannon, frame and netting is trying to pivot around the contact point at the top of the ALice frame. That tries to pull the frame pipe out of the T saddle fittings. The R&D consisted of adding additional fittings to secure it better. What looks good in the shop changes when you lubricate those saddle Ts with paintball gooh or rain. They pop right out. The third saddle fixed the problem but if it didn't, plan C was to put a small zip tie or two or three etc. around the saddle T so that it had to break the zip tie(s) for it to break loose and come out... Plan D was to attach a 1x3 across the back of the ALICE pack the entire width of the body and add as many saddle T as needed.

So as always, minimize the weight of the cannon, marker, paint pods, etc in the front.

You can see in the back picture above the the air supply, air chamber for the cannon, and all the related plumbing is on the BACK of the frame. Not only does it help keep the canopy from breaking off prematurely but ANY backpacked based tank HAS to have the center of gravity of the field ready tank at or BEHIND the hips, Otherwise the weight distribution goes onto the shoulders and the straps cause a LOT of pain in about 15 minutes. The air tanks make great counterbalances. In the mono body pics you see the "motor compartment" in the back. That was made extra long so I could adjust the center of gravity by sliding the air tanks forwards and backwards and then strapping them down. You need a little wiggle room because you don't have any way to predict exactly where the center of gravity will wind up when all the gear is installed and battle ready..

Another detail is the angle of the horizontal frame relative to the back of the ALICE pack. The magic number is 25 degrees.... Purly a product of trial and error. You can see in the top picture that it angles up when light. You start adding weight, the player leans forwards to balance it over your hips.

Besides adjusting the Center of gravity with the air tanks, you can adjust the angle of the frame in ONE direction (up) by adding shims between the top of the Alice frame and the backboard. The magic number of 25 gives you 5 degrees of UP adjustment in your design.

Now don't run out and copy this design. It has flaws that can be improved on. But the mission of building a PVC pipe and netting walking tank that was playable and field worthy was a success. So write me if you want the info how to improve this design. I will be developing a detail set of drawings and a build for field testing. The Kansas City Woodworkers guild is considering manufacturing a kit with some assembly required based on that new and improved design. The make and sell items to support the rent and equipment of the guild's shop.
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:09 AM #9
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This is the latest version of our oldest mech. It was mothballed due to improvement on design, but our friend Doom, from his squad Whiskey Tango, would not let it be retired. He and I rework the design to this. He would like one more round of upgrades, but mostly it involves up armoring the legs.
He is now apart of our team now, and continues his piloting of the now beloved
Sentinel MkIII

Don't need dog legs to look mech. (but they are cooler looking)

I'll hunt down the original pic and post later
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:48 PM #10
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our First mech, and our most veteran pilot
we grown since these simple days
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:34 AM #11
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Any new news?
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:29 AM #12
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Ain't this wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!

Just a few years ago, many players and many producers would not accept a PUG.

"That's just a guy in full body armor with a marker and RPG that just SAYS he is a tank..."

Now they are springing up everywhere like dandelions in the spring..
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:30 AM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boom Master View Post
Ain't this wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!

Just a few years ago, many players and many producers would not accept a PUG.

"That's just a guy in full body armor with a marker and RPG that just SAYS he is a tank..."

Now they are springing up everywhere like dandelions in the spring..
I'm of the opinion that even a fully vast armored trooper has a place in today paintball. But, and I emphasis this, it has to add to the game and not break it.
Certain limits must be imposed or the Battle Armored trooper or B.A.T. could break a game.
BATs are far safer to use the most mech designs. And safety in my book is always #1
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:34 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyknight Jazzious View Post

our First mech, and our most veteran pilot
we grown since these simple days

now that just awesome - hope you dont mind but i shared that pic with my team via facebook....we may build one.... a cheap way to get armor on the field
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:01 AM #15
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I have two other tank builds on my to do list before I build this style of if Mech Warrior.

BUT...............

I have spent a fair amount of time trying to design one that would be functional, light, offer pain protection from small arms fire, and not have a heat stroke wearing it. Looked at a lot of materials and such to use. For example those legging look like 3/4" plywood. If they are the leggings probably weigh 3-5 pounds each. That would wear me out quickly. Strap a pair of weights on your ankles and walk around the house for the day... See how it feels at the end of the day. Still, the shingled plating that flexes and overlapps like 'dragon armor' would be functional and cool--ER to wear than other designs. We could spent a whole thread just discussing materials and fabrication techniques for that type of protection for a Mech Warrior... Then just looking at it stimulated an IDEA that I have not considered before. I've seen honeycomb metal. Aluminium and steel that flexes in 3 dimensions. That would be cool and offer protection,

If you are going to carry 25-30 pounds of marker, ammo, cannon, air supplys, the shell needs to be under 30 pounds. If the battle ready weight goes over 60-65 pounds, the average guy will stop having fun walking up and down a hilly field on an 80 degree day...

I even considered dropping the cannon which with the 86 ci air supply I can't build under 9-10 pounds.

If it can go off road, it can just NOT engage armor and be a Mechanized Infantry Armor type of role which should have a RPG with the unit to deat with armor.

So start a thread for a Mech Warrior type of build and let's brainstorm and share ideas, resources, etc. and see how it works out.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:24 AM #16
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Location: SoCal
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I'll keep this quick. That mech is our first. It has seen many changes, primarily in leg protection. Those you see below are PVC framed, lauan plated leggings with an expansion foam backing. I still have those in my yard, just as strong as they were first built.
Weight and material improvements is why they were retired.
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Last edited by Greyknight Jazzious : 05-15-2012 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:30 PM #17
Boom Master
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Post some pics and info when you get a chance.
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:24 AM #18
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Greyknight Jazzious is attending Decay of Nations VI
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I am so behind. Married life is a change (for the good), however the time I.had in the past is being taken up by my new life. Got prop and costumes to finish before May 31st and our trip to NorCal for TAW's Mech Warz V event.
I will try really hard to post what I get completed as I do.

So of the Steampunk props being use are going to transfer over to my own personal mech,so I am working hard to get a good looking design for you
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:45 AM #19
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Good thread, I've been considering building a backpack framed mech for some time now and this is a great resource. How do you guys feel about Coroplast (plastic sheeting that's corrugated like cardboard) as an armor material?
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:23 PM #20
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BoomMaster has done lots of research on various rigid sheathing materials. Try searching for posts by him and you'll find a goldmine.

Sorry I've been absent from the scene, too. It seems the family is now paying the price for all the healthy years...
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:31 PM #21
Old_Crow
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Helo in the Works

I will be starting on my Helo build next week. I will post up as soon as I have something to post. :^)
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