818C The Saga Continues (forever)

Finally got a chance to get back to the 818C this last couple of weekends. My office used up its floating holidays to make Monday through Wednesday of the 4th of July off. It was perfect timing to get some good work done on the 818.

Finally…after way more hammering than seems objectively reasonable, I managed to pull apart the rear half shafts! Man they were a pain in the butt, but I finally figured out a method that works. Originally I had them clamped sideways and then hammered to the side. What I figures out is if I clamp outer diameter of the inside joint I can mount it vertically and really hammer it, with the bonus that gravity is on my side.

Continue reading “818C The Saga Continues (forever)”

Mission IV – Start your engines! On Bakunin!

[Updated 9/4/18 to make the title match the other ones]

Place ya bets folks!


A few days after heading out of the caravansery the team makes their way to the C3 Circular bound for Svalarheima. That isn’t their final destination though and the team makes their way from the circular to the ever flying Bakunin mothership, currently rocketing its way from C3 to C2 and from there to Varuna. The ship flying at 1 G thrust to maintain gravity aboad ship for the duration of the flight.


As you approach the lower landing docks of Bakunin, the true scale of the ship finally becomes apparent. The circulars are truly massive ships, but it’s shocking to believe something as big as bakunin can still attach. The three drive columns trail massive jets of superhot plasma, behind the two primary domes. As you get closer you can see the small city that lies beneath each dome… Small is a relative term though as some of the skyscrapers in that dome are over 100 floors…then there’s the Megascrapers close to the city center. Just below the domes and covering the drive columns in an Amoeba like blob are the individual environment modules that the various Bakunin sects call home. As you approach Bakunin a message pops up on your ship.

The message is just voice, no image, which is unusual, but the voice says: “FINALLY! You’re here! Oh man, I can’t wait to meet you guys. Unfortunately I am just super duper busy right now [you hear some very unsettling noises in the background], but see my assistant in Vaudeville! She’ll get you all set up! I sure hope you guys do a great job on this. I was just oh so disappointed when I had to airlock the last crew that failed me! Anyhoo! Have fun! See a show! Get some tail! Get A tail! Welcome to Bakunin! Just remember this old adage and you’ll do just fine: “Man is much like something something something you’re mom”

As the players approach they’re hailed by the Bakunin landing system and Doctor-Pilot-Engineer Aziz (the paranoid paramedic) manages to pull off an excellent roll and neatly dock the as yet unnamed ship to Bakunin. As the docking clamps clip in and the umbilicles connect a happy little Lesser AI named Archie pops up in their AR to welcome them to Bakunin! And also remember we have a no weapons policy!

Continue reading “Mission IV – Start your engines! On Bakunin!”

Mission III – Caravanversaries

We find a smaller group of our intrepid ‘heroes’ out and about today. Having spent the night sleeping and/or drinking off the adrenaline from the recent train heist on the Combined Army the very soberist of our group, ever so delicately clambered into the pilots seat of the as yet unnamed prospecting ship. Ken took the pilot’s chair while alternately preening himself and polishing his motorcycle (which took up the co-pilot’s seat).


As they approach the Naifa Al-Jamaal Caravansary in orbit above Paradiso, they are hailed by the station control. I’ll try to repeat this as best I remember it…

Continue reading “Mission III – Caravanversaries”

Mission II: Paradiso Train Job

So to preface this was our second major game and our first where we had remote players via Roll20. There were a few technical issues starting up, but it went surprisingly well, especially because we had 3 online players and 5 in person players. We’re all still learning the game so there were some slow bits, but for a big group we did get through quite a lot.


The team assembles before the mission with a few new recruits and a few missing. FNU the paratrooper and Shadow the dogface went out drinking a bit late (well…early… I mean it was 4 AM) and couldn’t be roused for the mission, but Artem a disgraced Tunguskan Securitate, and Dr. Aziz came aboard to assist. Recapping the mission the team needed to secure car 2 of a 6 car train riding on a spur track of the Gernot Multiway behind Combined Army lines. Their contact and a douchebag, Atherton Wingate had informed them of probable antiaircraft turrets and the fact that car 3 appeared to be set up for passengers. The team had set up a hiding place for the ship and were set to burst in from camouflage, flying beside the train in order to stay out of LOS of the turrets.


As the ship popped out from cover the train team composed of Artem, Ken the space dandy, and Kirk ‘Survive’ Lazarus jumped aboard the speeding monorail train and managed to land on car 2 thanks to a combination of climbing plus and in Ken’s case pure luck.


Ken and Kirk set up explosives on the train coupling to blow the rear cars off. Artem then managed to get a deployable repeater on board the train and 1337 H@><><0R Kotsya broke into the trains admin software, and gave the team’s hackers super user permissions. Following that part time hacker, full time sniper Sayid set up a firewall to defend the hackers while they were in the admin area. Dr. Pilot Aziz managed to keep the ship mostly upright, and avoided the PanOceania grade anti aircraft turrets range of fire. However the Combined Army had installed a missile turret of their own! As it popped up Dr. Pilot Aziz just barely managed to avoid the missile and Takeshi opened up with the ships defensive guns, obliterating the turret.


Unfortunately in all the maneuvering the ship suddenly suffered a failure on the port aft thruster making keeping the ship steady and out of range of the turrets that much more difficult. Luckily right around this time, Hans a paratrooper and occasional pilot fell out of his bunk where he’d been sleeping it off. He took the controls from the famed doctor/pilot Aziz, who promptly/probably drunkenly smacked his face into a bulkhead on his way to attempt repairs. Luckily the ‘good’ doctor manages to repair the ship’s port thruster’s systems, so Hans could keep the ship steady and below the train’s turrets. Bursting up from the passenger train car, two fireteams, arrived to challenge the train team in person. The Morat led Unidron teams interrupted to act first levelling a painful volley of combirifle fire at Kirk Lazarus, second team interrupted to come forward and volley more combirifle fire this time at Artem. The team returned fire, leaving one fireteam with a Morat and one heavily damaged Unidron and the other team with two Unidrons and the morat remaining. However then Takeshi levelled the ships HRMC’s at the passenger car and tore the top off the train, dropping the two link teams back into the passenger compartment and staggering them from the fall.


The sudden huge damage to the train caused the team on the roof to nearly be shaken off and Ken with his ever so perfect pompadour tumbled into the open passenger car where he spotted two more link teams that were dazed from the HRMC shot as well as one more link team downed completely. Ken managed to toss a smoke grenade then move back into the interior of train car 2, where he spotted the massive machine they were hired to steal alongside a Daturazi Witch Soldier! Kirk Lazarus jumped down into the open topped passenger car and sprinted up to the Daturazi blinding him with a massive slash across the face. In his aggression, he did manage to also slash right into the Combined Army device they’re all trying to steal. The Daturazi retaliated with a point blank blast of Vulkan Shotgun into Kirk’s leg which promptly ignited in a burst of flame. Causing minimal physical damage, but some significant psychological damage. Kirk now appears to believe he is completely immune to fire…that probably won’t come back to bit him later…


By this point the hackers had broken into more systems and set up a timer on the brakes of the for the rear cars to shut them down just as the coupling explosives fired. When the coupling blew the rear cars of the train rocketed away as their emergency brakes clamped down and tore a hole in the back of car two. The train car shakes violently tossing Ken out the nearby door. He just barely clings on to one of the broken power cables and is basically dragged by the train. Finally the hacker team worked furiously to shut down the forward antiair turret, just as the turret targetted Artem still atop Car 2’s roof and started to spool up and fire the hacker team managed to shut it down.


Back inside traincar 2, the Daturazi takes another shot at Kirk, doing minimal damage, but keeping the fire going. Artem jumps down and takes a shot at the Daturazi punching a hole in the Witch Soldiers chest, but he stays up. Finally Ken the space dandy manages to pull himself back onto the train, and stylishly flicks out his switchblade comb. He puts one comb through his lucious and greasy pompadour then stabs the Daturazi poisoning him with hair gel and taking him down.


Back to the exterior and Doctor Pilot Aziz manages to get the ship over the top of the train car and Hans jumps down to attach the cable couplings. Kotsya hacks into the train cars couplings via the repeater and pops the clamps. Lastly, Takeshi opens up one more time destroying the tracks behind the monorail car. The Combined Army had gotten the rear of the train up and running again as each car of the monorail has its own engine, but they tumbled off the end of the destroyed tracks. Unfortunately destroying the tracks cut power to the monorail’s engine which smashed into the cargo container nearly knocking the ship off course, but Doctor Pilot Aziz gracefully stabilized the ship and managed to keep the cargo container stable.


The team examined this Combined Army device they’d been hired to steal while debating about whether or not to deliver it. They managed to glean 4 assets in information and schematics of this device, and after much debate decided to bring it to the rendezvous with Atherton Wingate. After a brief discussion about the damage to the device, where Sayid managed to convince Atherton that it was totally like that when they found it (a piece fell off in the middle of the conversation). The team loaded back up into the ship, now with all of the title and credentials to legally own it. Then Dr. Aziz pivoted the ship 180° and blasted Atherton Wingate with exhaust launching him back and leaving him shaking his fist at the departing team.


There’s no way that’ll come back to bite them…

Scheduling Conflicts

Well it hasn’t been super productive the last few weeks. Last weekend I ended up catching the same cold my wife caught. Saturday and Sunday I was sick as a dog; luckily I had some role models on how best to recover:


So naturally, I spent the weekend shopping for parts! On their way is the clutch and flywheel plus a handful of other project stuff that I’ve been meaning to order. Including a brand new linear actuator…for a new project!

Meet project Coffee Table! Not too much to look at yet. I started work on it last weekend, though I’ve been working the design off and on for a while. Unfortunately, I then got shipped off to a trade show and couldn’t continue work. That said, I’m looking forward to continuing I haven’t done any woodworking in a while and it’s a fun change of pace from motor assembly…that and it’s a coffee table that’ll have a built in, actuator driven 50″ touchscreen…because it’s funny.

Other than that, the car’s coming along slowly…and not so surely. The engine has been driving me quite mad. There’s so many small components, hoses, and bolts that seem to be missing. It feels like I find a piece that needs assembly, then find out I don’t have all the bolts, so I order the bolts, then find out that I didn’t realize some other part attaches to this part and it has to go on first…but I don’t have the correct bolts for it either. It’s been very frustrating. That said, the heads are on, the timing belt’s on, the exhaust is on, the harness is getting close…Need some bolts for the intake and then I need to figure out where all the vacuum lines go…still progress is progress!



Mission I: Paradiso

The conversation dips for a moment as you enter the clearing. The small familiar stream bubbles its way past as the bright light of the binary stars Nakula and Sahedeva stream through small openings in the jungle canopy, leaving dappled light over all the new growth. It’s only been a few days since you’ve walked through this clearing on a regular patrol rotation, but it already looks completely different. Even the stream seems to be in a slightly different shape driven by the constant growth of Paradiso’s plant life. It’s uncanny how quickly the jungle changes, feels almost like you can see the vines in motion as they wind their way up the trees towards the light. Quiet drifts over the group as you all realize this could be your last patrol on this route, after all these three Fusiliers you have in tow are the COs for your replacements. But the peaceful little clearing’s the present moment and it’s usually a good stop for lunch and a break from the oppressive heat and humidity of the jungle.

We start our mission with the team entering a small clearing in the forest. As they stop and break for lunch, one of the three Fusilier COs, Jimmy Vasquez, turns to the group and asks how long they’ve been on Paradiso and if they’ve ever encountered any of the, frankly, horrific wildlife. After a few moments conversation, Konstantin Alexandrovich Solokov, hacks into the Fusilier’s profiles and social media. Learning that two of the COs, Jimmy Vasquez and Saul DeMilo are straight out of the academy and so green they’ve got neon signs. The third one Hekili Mahoe is older, in her early thirties. She was a decorated pilot, but after some mysterious event 6 months ago, she was demoted to squad leader and transferred to Paradiso. Konstantin sent this out over AR to inform the rest of the team of his findings, although Shadow who is, suffice to say, new to the world of AR, got a slightly edited image of our Fusilier CO’s


Shortly thereafter the team must make a check to see if they see something that’s very very stealthy…They do not see it, and Saul DeMilo goes to use the nearest tree…

peaceful lunch
A lovely lunch in the forest

He’s attacked and mauled by a Jorogumo! The legendary ambush predators of Paradiso. The giant spider poses as a tree then attacks with its poison bit and caustic spit. Unfortunately for the team they’d been caught unawares by no less than 6 Jorogumo.

Decidedly less peaceful

The notorious/ridiculous space dandy, joined the fray first, and hopped on his motorcycle which he had apparently pushed out into the jungle with him. Racing up to the first Jorogumo he managed to hack off a few legs. Then the Jorogumo’s attacked, the second Jorogumo quite literally grabbed Takezi by his head and managed to hurt him badly, while Sayid payed the heat to interrupt again, firing several blasts from a braced DT sniper rifle. He managed to down the injured Jorogumo, the one that captured Takezi and injure a third. The spiders continued their attack, doing damage to FNU (first name unknown) the paratrooper and Kirk Lazarus. Kirk Lazarus managed to turn the tables on the stunned Jorogumo, by counterattacking…with a garrote…somehow…


joro close up

Finally the PCs got their turn to fight back! Shadow the dog managed to put heavy damage on a Jorogumo and Takezi blew a big hole through the undamaged Jorogumo’s abdomen then double tapped for the killing blow. Kirk Lazarus struggled against the Jorogumo attempting to strangle an 8’ tall spider with a garrote. Finally, Konstantin shot the second to last Jorogumo, and FNU Paratrooper shot then hacked away at the final Jorogumo.


Hekili calls in a medevac while Konstantin performed emergency medical, managing to revive the hapless Saul DeMilo. A PanO copter arrives shortly thereafter launching a daisy cutter to clear a landing area. While they wait, Kirk Lazarus maniacally attempts to hack apart the spiders to make ‘spider meat’ for barbecue, but he pulls the wrong bit out and splashes the creatures acidic spit all over his leg armor which holds in spite of the damage. Konstantin photoshops Saul DeMilo’s academy photo (with him and his buddies doing finger guns at the camera) with a Jorogumo in the background chewing on him…then sets that to his background photo. Shadow the hound picks up the still unconscious Saul and hauls him to the copter.


Space Dandy, the Bosozoku manages to have his motorcycle clipped in to the helicopter while he poses next to its immaculately polished finish for the ride back to base.


The PanO medical staff manage to heal up the team as they return to base. On their arrival, it’s time for food, in spite of the fact that they’re all coated in a thick chunky stew of green bug guts from their encounter with the Jorogumo. Kirk sets up a barbecue outside the mess to start grilling up his newly acquired bug legs. Meanwhile Sayid wanders about the base in TO Camoflage pickpocketing anyone he can find.


As they eat and drink a man approaches, Atherton Wingate, a tall thin man in a fine black suit, who looks supremely uncomfortable anywhere near the jungle. He has bright blue eyes and dark hair with frosted tips, because he’s kind of a douchebag. He introduces himself with a voice trying to affect an accent of high society and as he does a little ad for the company he works for Xpyrdes Biotechnology plays in the background. Shadow the Ariadnan Dogfaced Irregular is fascinated by it and tries to touch it. As Atherton talks he mentions a job for the team since their contract will be ending soon, but this has to be under the table, he can’t have PanO find out, otherwise he’d use the Xpyredes military contractor Ladon Security…at this another ad starts playing and Shadow shoots it, terrifying Atherton Wingate who hurriedly explains the nature of the job. He can’t pay money, but he can get them a ship. An old asteroid prospecting ship armed with two HRMCs for defense and for breaking up asteroids that threaten the ship.


The job is relatively simple. The team needs to get the cargo container off of the second car of a train. The train is currently in Combined Army territory on a spur track of the Gernot Multiway, a monorail system raised high above the forest canopy, while it’s originally a PanO train it has been repurposed by the Combined Army. Typically these trains have anti-aircraft cannons on the first and last cars of the train. It’s a 6 car train with the forward control engine and cannon, 2nd car with the item (Atherton explains it appears to be a Combined Army cube transfer device), 3rd car is a passenger car, 4th and 5th are cargo, and the last car is aft control car with another turret.


Debating about whether or not to steal the ship, the team devise a plan. Camoflage the ship behind a sheer rock face along the route, then pop out, hack the guns, use explosives provided by Sayid to break the sections of the train apart, then land Shadow and Kirk, to pop the cargo locks. Quick smash and grab job. Sayid would provide covering fire from the back of the ship, Space Dandy will pilot… and with a plan made, the team agreed to work for Atherton Wingate, then they went on a shopping trip for the next few days and got their first view of the ship.


The ship…it can barely be called that. It’s an old prospecter ship. Long legs for wandering through asteroid belts looking for anything of value. She’s long in the tooth, but looks well maintained. Every system seems in working order though it’s seen hell to get here. As you enter the cargo hold you can detect the scent of sweat and toil. This has been a working ship most of its life, the handrails on the ladder up are worn and scratched. The hull’s been patched time and again, but she’s an old ship and built solid. What she lacks in beauty she makes up in durabilty and easy maintenance. She’s not about to outrun a blockade, but she’ll keep running. This gal…she ain’t just a ship… she’s a ticket to the whole human sphere.

Kit Car Progress – On the Donor

This has been a banner weekend for progress on stripping the donor of all of it’s vital organs. When last I posted not but a day or two ago, I’d finally…FINALLY stripped off just about all of the wiring harness, less some transmission and ABS sensors. What a project just the harness was. It also necessitated stripping all of the interior and dash, the remains of which litter the driveway. I’m selling what makes sense to sell, recycling what I can, but the rest must go to the garbage, which actually isn’t as much as you’d think.


Between yesterday and today I managed to strip off the forward subframe, the suspension and its primary crossmember, the steering column, AND the pedal box assembly! I even managed to disassemble almost all of the suspension components, so I can clean them up and paint them for assembly into the 818C! This will make the next steps of the 818 go much more smoothly.

Although to be fair, having this particular Monday off is a little weird. I mean I get the basics, which is that the company has floating holidays and they just kind of pick one to be it this year, but Columbus day? For starters…I’m not fond of Columbus day itself. That guy was a real bastard, even by standards of the time…not a good person. Very much the type of person that felt that indigenous people were not actually people, but celebrating somebody who tried to find India and missed is also a little weird. I don’t know, he just doesn’t feel like someone worth celebrating, especially after all of the horrific things he did. Conquistadors were not good people in my book, and remembering Columbus as the first of the Conquistadors seems reasonable, but actually celebrating him… Times were different back then, and while people say you can’t judge by modern standards…I’m fine with judging by modern standards. So let’s just call this, ‘you get a day off day’ instead.


And with that day off comes research into what kind of disc brakes I want!

Gratuitous dog photos:

The 818C Has Arrived!

And work has been progressing! Not as fast as I’d like, but there’s no speed that’s too fast! That said, it has been a DAMN lot of fun! I’d forgotten just how rewarding it can be to work on big long term physical labor projects. Most of what I’ve been doing is work on the house (LAME!) or doing more small scale miniature wargame related stuff.


I’m pretty ecstatic at the arrival and work so far on the 818. I haven’t done much yet, but it’s been good. I’ve gotten everything inventoried and requested replacement for a damaged part (which should arrive on Saturday next week). And I’ve gotten both floor pans in as well as about 1/3rd of the front firewall. I took a break though as we’ve had great weather and resumed stripping the former WRX for parts.

20171007_165051I even finally got the blasted wiring harness out! Man that thing makes me very nervous. Couple nicks in the insulation and I could be chasing electrical gremlins until the end of time. While the task seems incredibly onerous, I really think the best path forward is going to be to strip the harness to it’s absolute minimum. The ECU will probably cause me some problems, but I’m hopeful there’s ways around it. The problem is there’s so many bits! So many random weird unlabeled electrical mystery boxes! Ah well. It’s miles before it’s time to really deal with the harness. Next up I need to finish stripping off the front suspension, then I can ADD the first big hard parts to the chassis! Can’t wait!


Of course I’m still doing other projects too. Here’s a quick view of the latest. My cursed ‘friend’ got me…*sigh* into Warhammer 40k. I’ll be quick to point out that the latest 8th edition version is actually a pretty dang smooth game. It is a pretty impressive way to play out a large scale conflict. I think other games are very much better, but this does scratch that itch for a game that has large scale combined arms. Here’s the thing too, while games like DropZone Commander and Kings of War are all about large scale conflict, the problem to me is that your infantry in DzC is 5 man to a base, or in Kings you’re looking at sometimes 20 or 40 men to a base. Well when it’s just one big moving object…I don’t care how many ‘troops’ are on it. It feels like one unit to me. In Infinity my all time favorite game, it’s a skirmish. 10-20 troops per game and really with the armies I’ve played it’s more like 10-16; Kings of War I’ve probably got about the same number of units, each of those units took forever to paint because there’s a bunch of guys on there, but to me it still feels skirmishy because it’s about the same number of units. that’s the real advantage that WH40k has when it’s an army on the field. It feels large scale, because it is, in the case of one game’s army shown below, there are about 73 models on the table. Each model’s on it’s own base, so you see your army getting cut down and losing it’s effectiveness. Losing half a unit makes for a physical change on the battlefield, and that is pretty cool to watch.


That looks like a large scale combined arms force. There’s a small contingent of airpower, a brick of angry tanks, a pair of APCs loaded with infantry, a bunch more infantry, and a giant robot battlesuit… which I grant is not generally part of a combined arms attack for current militaries… probably because giant robot battlesuits are pretty ridiculously impractical so far (and probably forever).

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the sad passing of Spectre ‘Baloney’ dog. He was a good dog that I took care of since February 2009. He was a good dog. I’ll definitely miss him. Luckily because he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, we were able to have one very happy week with him before we had to put him down. A week where got a whole burger, a hot dog, sausage and rice, and to cap it off a steak and mashed potatoes! He was a happy happy dog!


Oh and we went to the coast! The dogs loved it!

Pg 28!

Progress! I didn’t manage to do much this weekend sadly. Just made for a bit of a lazy weekend, which was nice in it’s own way, but after talking with Factory Five and Stewart Transport, then looking at calendars…well…I have my work cut out for me! The kit’s due to arrive around the end of August/beginning of September. Should be reasonable weather and out of the way of any important events.

That said, between now and then is not so long in time, especially time where it’s cool enough to work! I’ve got to:

1. Strip the donor of all its useable parts, get rid of the lifeless carcass and hopefully sell off as much of it as possible


A. Empty the garage enough that I can fit a car plus all of its innards into the garage! Consolidate consolidate consolidate!

On the plus side I think I can get rid of one whole tool box and if I move a few things around, I can probably clear enough space to get rid of or relocate the central work bench. The SV650 can go outside, and I’ll put a cover over it. The table saw can fold up, as I don’t forsee much work for it in the next month or two. I can move a few things upstairs (perhaps some of the boxes of FFR stuff once it arrives!). What I do still need though is an engine stand and a hoist. Motor’s on the back burner for a bit though, there’s plenty to do stripping the WRX, cleaning up/repainting parts, and organizing stuff. Besides the motor’s a ways into the build. It starts on Pg 156! That’s miles away from where I am now. That said, I do need to call the machine shop and schedule the Head Work…could take weeks depending on them…

Pg 28 is complete though! There’s a page or two ahead of the game that I’ve finished too, but it’s important to make sure I get everything necessary. Teardown finishes on Pg 52…so still a ways yet and the tough bits like suspension, trans, rear diff are yet to come.

Pg 23… of 703

Excellent! Finally got a bit of cool weather to begin the teardown on the WRX. Technically, I did pull a few things earlier in the week on Tuesday while I was waiting for a guy from craigslist to look at my old windsurfing gear. But technically doesn’t matter! This is the first real focused time I’ve had and the first after more thoroughly studying the manual. It’s a bit tough because there’s lots of ambiguous notes like take off the door latches, hinges, and all the hardware…does that include this little very breakable plastic thing?!


Nonetheless we have progress! The rear doors and rear seats are out (and listed on craigslist), but more importantly the door hardware has been bagged and tagged along with the rear seatbelts which will be used in the 818. Some excellent progress so far.



Which brings me to the second point of excellent news. I called FFR, sounds like a 6-8 week lead time, so I gulped a bit and pulled the trigger. My order has been placed… the 818C will be on order and damn expensive. Then again, I look at the price of a new car or even a used car a few years old and it seems like a bargain! To be fair though, my choice of vehicle does require a bit more effort… Next cool(ish) day, front doors, front seats, consoles, etc!