The H.M.S. Recalcitrant

5th Heavy Mechanized Sapper Regiment, 32nd Assault Battalion

Captain "Chance" Guiness tapped the vane controls with his fingertips ever so slightly as he tried to nestle his ship between two layers of strata that would give his passengers the smoothest possible ride. A nod from his navigator, Lt. Livingston, told him everything he needed to know. Needles on density sensors danced and finally settled down as he found the layer he was looking for. He chuckled quietly, to no one in particular. He knew the layer was there from surveys taken years ago when this area was still a flourishing Imperial colony. His passengers were already engaging in the business at hand, preparing for the business to come. Experience had told him that when the buzz of conversation died down individual members of the squad were making peace with themselves and their Maker. Small rivalries and transgressions between squad members were forgotten as training took over. In moments they would became one merciless gestalt. A singular killing machine. A tornado of destruction. From the bosom of the earth they were born, and to her bosom they would eventually return; if Guiness had anything to say about it, not today.

The minions of Dark Symmetry knew they were coming, it was no big secret. It would have been difficult to mask the heaving of earth as the Recalcitrant tore through earth that had lain undisturbed for eons. So what if the enemy knew they were coming? What good would it do them now?

The H.M.S. Recalcitrant, true to her name, lurched and heaved. Earth flew as the spinning screw penetrated the earth’s surface. Suddenly with a shudder the big ship came to a stop. They had nailed the insertion coordinates that would send the enemy into momentary confusion. He knew they had done their part well so far. In his mind’s eye Capt.Guiness could see bodies of Undead Legionnaires scattered in all directions and smiled with wry satisfaction. His charges could now debark under minimum hazard.

They knew the drill. It was as familiar to them now as taking their next breath. The cabin lights winked briefly indicating "earth breach." Steam pistons engaged and the hatches flew open with a cloud of steam and the brief hiss of tortured air. Sunlight streamed in and clots of earth sprinkled the crew and deck with loose soil. The odor of freshly turned soil permeated the cabin. With a throaty roar Sergeant McKeegan’s long awaited command to "Debark" broke the momentary silence. McKeegan’s assault squad of trenchers would provide cover-fire for their detachment of Wolfbain’s. Unused to confinement he knew the Wolfbaines, psyked into an uncontrollable frenzy, could not have contained themselves a moment longer.

In seconds Capt. Guiness and Lt. Livingston were alone. The sounds that assailed them now were quite different than before; the thrum of idling engines, the clatter of small arms fire outside, the ping of return fire as it glanced against armor plate and the ticking of the hull as it acclimated itself to the change in pressure. Guniness and Livingston exchanged a knowing glance that their job was not yet done. Livingston donned a headset and searched for the bandwidth indicated in their sealed orders. Guiness checked gauges, turned dials and clicked switches as part of post-insertion shutdown procedures. Now they were the Command Center for the squad relaying orders from Battalion Headquarters. Now they were a bunker should the squad be forced to withdraw and hold their position. Now they were a mobile field hospital for the wounded and dying. Now they were doing the job they were trained to do. Now they were proud members of the 5th Heavy Mechanized Sapper Regiment, 32nd Assault Battalion.

How to Build The Heavy Mechanical Sapper

The Recalcitrant or similar vehicle presents an ideal way of inserting those pesky, overpriced, underarmed Imperial close combat troops. With simple, easy to obtain materials it could be built in a few nites of work. The materials required are a styrofoam cone (craft store), a McDonald’s styrofoam coffee cup, some airdry modeling clay, some sheet styrene, dress snaps, paint and paper mache or patching stucco. Paper cardstock can be used to replace sheet styrene though it will take less of a beating.

Roll out some modeling clay in a string that is thick on one end and thin on the other. At the pointed end of the cone start with the thin end of clay and wrap it in a spiral around your cone. Then work the clay into the shape of a screw thread and set aside to dry. Take your cup and cut it at an angle to make your vehicle look like it’s coming out of the ground. Wrap the piece with thin sheet styrene. Secure with a small strip of styrene across the spice point. Trim the top and bottom edges of the styrene to match the shape of the cup (the styrene wrap can be glued to the cup with white glue as well). Cut some sheet styrene to make your door hatches and door frame assembly. Half of a dress snap forms the hatch wheel lock mechanisms. Cut a hole in the body of the vehicle just a bit larger than your door opening. Glue your door assembly over the hole. Add bits of scrap as decoration (fins, vents, gunports, access doors panels) as you like. Small styrene rod, round or hex shaped can be sliced for rivets and bolt heads. Cut a disk shape from styrene scrap to serve as a separation between the end of the cup and the screw drill point. Once dry glue the two pieces together. Paint the vehicle the colors you desire. Insignia can be drawn with a computer program and printed on a color printer. Cut it out and glue it on. Glue the vehicle to a base of matte board or other suitable material. Work up ground cover with stucco spackle or paper mache mash. Once dry paint it in earthtone colors. Using the same earthtone colors weather the vehicle so it looks like it has actually spent some time boring through the earth. Bada bing, bada bang, bada boom you’re done.

If you have any questions or comments send me an E-mail.
jschutt@redjak.com

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