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Just so everyone is on the same page as I am, @N-L-M is putting a lot of work into making this contest more streamlined than the last one.  Some of this will be in how the submissions are handled (e.g. there will be two separate threads, one for discussion of the contest, and another for the final submissions so the judges don't have to go searching through the main thread to look for the submissions), but also a lot of work is going into a set of equations and standards for figuring out the effectiveness of composite armor that you don't need a PhD to understand.  The goal is to get something that's realistic-ish, but that can be calculated using an excel spreadsheet.

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I know we're not over this one yet, and it'll be at least a year till the next one. But...


1930s Biopunk AFVs (aka the Leviathan Fanwank Apocalypse competition)


It's the late 1930s in an alternate timeline where tissue culture is about a century ahead of where it is today. Technologically advanced nations have had the capability to artificially culture blood, skin, bone, muscle and neurons harvested from various animals for over a decade now. Reliable neural interfaces exist for connecting cultured neurons to electronics, although the electronics themselves are 1930s-era vacuum tubes and so on. The result has been the creation and fielding of the first generation of mechanoids/brain tanks/bio-drone planes/whatever, which came just in time to miss WW1. Since then there have been various developments and limited-scale fielding of biomechanical devices on battlefields, but nothing conclusive. Now, with the recent rise of mecha-Hitler in Germany, along with the consequent ratcheting-up of tensions following the anschluss of Austria and the occupation of Czechoslovakia, all sides have begun an all-out effort to acquire the latest and deadliest military equipment possible.


You are a designer overseeing a government agency tasked with prototyping and developing a biomechanical AFV for use in your nation's rearmament efforts. You can choose one of the following nations, each with their own specific quirks:

  • Germany: access to large steel pressings and improved chemistry (for propellants, nutrient solutions etc). Submissions must include the participation of at least one large German industrial concern favoured by Mecha-Hitler, and must include suspension/leg elements designed by Kniepkamp (which would be provided).
  • UK: access to oceanic biocultures (ie: tissues from whales, fish, squid etc) and advanced electronics (eg: cavity magnetrons for radar sets). The dimensions of the AFV are limited by railway gauge and tunnel standards, and priority resources will be given to the Navy and RAF (ie: you're second in line for engines, factory floor space, the attention of industrial concerns etc.). Engine technologies, for instance, would be either civilian or from the 1920s, and armour would be riveted rather than welded.
  • France: access to exotic biocultures (ie: from Africa, Polynesia etc). Submissions must include subassemblies from at least two large French industrial concerns, and must include a 37mm SA18 or short 75mm gun.
  • USSR: access to artic biocultures, advanced welding equipment and well-designed weaponry (ie: ShKAS machinegun, 76mm L-11 cannon etc). Due to the ongoing purge the applicant must submit two designs, one of which will be discarded at random.
  • US: access to advanced aero engines, continental biocultures and high-quality alloys. Submissions would have strict dimensional restrictions to assist in sea-borne transport, and would be required to mount at least 5 .30 calibre machineguns covering multiple firing arcs.

Common technologies would be: basic bioculture (wood, blood, skin, bone, muscle, neural tissue) drawn from commonly-known domesticated animals and plants. Basic pseudo-organs (biomechanical eyes, brains, livers, hearts etc) can be constructed. Fully mechanical analogues for kidneys, lungs and hearts have been developed. Armour, arms, automotive and electronic technologies are analogous to what was available in our 1920s and early 1930s. Bulk biotissues and biomaterials can be cast in a fairly complex fashion.


The exact type of vehicle to be submitted would be decided at a later date, but would be one of the following: scout vehicle, infantry support vehicle, mechanical cavalry vehicle, breakthrough/fortification assault vehicle, artillery support vehicle or anti-aircraft vehicle. Submissions would have to explain and justify aspects such as tactical mobility, strategic mobility, firepower, control, maintenance/repair, and logistical factors (ie: how much fuel/ammo/nutrient paste/artificial blood is needed per day, how much the vehicle carries etc.). Submissions would be rated both in terms of how they fulfil requirements, with bonus points being given to creative designs that still manage to do what they're supposed to.

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So this is a bit of an obvious one given the kick we've collectively been on, but I think there's still space for a Deseret 2300 tank competition.


I'm thinking that the competition would be about light tanks/wheeled death traps, and would include 1970's-equivalent tech available to middle powers who can import a certain amount of high-tech goodies from overseas.


The gimmick this time would be that the scenario would change over the course of the competition - with the requirements morphing somewhat as the geo-strategic situation changes.

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2 hours ago, A. T. Mahan said:

What if we did an airplane contest next?


We've thought about that, and it's on our figurative whiteboard so to speak. Aircraft are more difficult to make convincing renders of though, and they can be more difficult to evaluate as well.

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21 minutes ago, Sturgeon said:


We've thought about that, and it's on our figurative whiteboard so to speak. Aircraft are more difficult to make convincing renders of though, and they can be more difficult to evaluate as well.


X-Plane is the best program I can think of off the top of my head to render/test aircraft, but:


  • Acquiring it legally costs money
  • There is a learning curve to using it. I haven't used in a while, and from what I remember it was fairly complex (it's been a few years since I used it).

As with the tank design, I think if we did a plane contest 1930s-1940s would be best. Having to design radar systems, electronics, supersonic aerodynamics, and all that would rapidly get too complex. Like the last contest, but worse.

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16 minutes ago, LostCosmonaut said:


X-Plane is the best program I can think of off the top of my head to render/test aircraft, but:


  • Acquiring it legally costs money
  • There is a learning curve to using it. I haven't used in a while, and from what I remember it was fairly complex (it's been a few years since I used it).

As with the tank design, I think if we did a plane contest 1930s-1940s would be best. Having to design radar systems, electronics, supersonic aerodynamics, and all that would rapidly get too complex. Like the last contest, but worse.


Good suggestion. If we can get to where multiple people are using it, then yeah I think a competition could happen.

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4 hours ago, LostCosmonaut said:


X-Plane is the best program I can think of off the top of my head to render/test aircraft, but:


  • Acquiring it legally costs money
  • There is a learning curve to using it. I haven't used in a while, and from what I remember it was fairly complex (it's been a few years since I used it).

As with the tank design, I think if we did a plane contest 1930s-1940s would be best. Having to design radar systems, electronics, supersonic aerodynamics, and all that would rapidly get too complex. Like the last contest, but worse.

For my money 1st-gen jets are about the easiest aircraft to design. None of the issues of working out prop performance, but with 'simple' aerodynamics.


Perhaps a good approach might be to make a Cascadian trainer/light fighter/interceptor competition and provide both an example powerplant and example armament in the form of 20mm hispano clones and a 1st gen sidewinder analogue.


That way the keen kids can faff about designing an AMRAAM using 1950s electronics, and the rest can just focus on a good aerodynamic package.

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14 hours ago, A. T. Mahan said:

What if we did an airplane contest next?

I would be interested in that, I have some ideas for a ground attack/ heavy fighter and a high altitude interceptor. But: 


12 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

Aircraft are more difficult to make convincing renders of though, and they can be more difficult to evaluate as well.

this. Making an airfoil (convincingly) in some 3D CADs can be difficult and tedious, but I think choosing pre-defined airfoil shapes from something like NACA would make it easier as the contestants could just make a general wing shape, then specify which airfoil shape they’re using... maybe. However, the calculations involved would still be a pain, as aircraft can be very sensitive to minor force imbalances, and the body shape of the craft would still pose a problem. 


11 hours ago, LostCosmonaut said:


X-Plane is the best program I can think of off the top of my head to render/test aircraft, but:


  • Acquiring it legally costs money
  • There is a learning curve to using it. I haven't used in a while, and from what I remember it was fairly complex (it's been a few years since I used it).

As with the tank design, I think if we did a plane contest 1930s-1940s would be best. Having to design radar systems, electronics, supersonic aerodynamics, and all that would rapidly get too complex. Like the last contest, but worse.

That darn caveat: money. 

Anyway, as interested as I would be to make a 1940s aircraft using modern knowledge, I think it would be a difficult contest to follow through with, either with the complexity of the aerodynamics involved with the aircraft, time investments into modeling said complex shapes, continually having to teach and mentor some competitors who know (comparably) little about aircraft, or extending the time of the competition. 


on a tangential note: I do have some ideas that I can’t find data or theories to confirm my suspicions. Which forum topic could I ask those in? 

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So what are everyone's feelings about running a mini-competition at the end of 2019, the results of which would be included in the main competition next year?


If planes are being contemplated, then I'm thinking of an armament competition where contestants can design any one or more of the following:

  • An autocannon in the 15-35mm range
  • A heat-seeking AAM
  • A radar-guided AAM (passive or active, to be used with a specified radar set)

The equivalent for a tank competition would be to design the main gun and/or the coax.


The best entries in each category would then be judged by a small panel (possibly just one guy for the autocannon and one guy for the missiles) and chosen for use in the follow-up competition, where all contestants would be required to use these items as part of their design submission. Which means that if there's only one entry in a category and it sucks (or imposes difficult weight/form factors), then it effectively becomes a limiting criterion for that competition.


The caveat would, as usual, be that all of the designs can be prospective but must use a limited set of technologies. 


The prize money would also be much lower - something like $10 for the winner in each category.



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The Lone Free State of Texas needs YOU!

The year is 2255, and the Lone Free State is still recovering from how hard it got hit during The Big One. The geography and politics of the local area are such that borders are very hard to draw, movement ranges are long and points of contact may shift at any time. The Lone Free State Rangers require a new family of vehicles capable of keeping the peace and moving forces safely in the presence of both light irregular forces and thin skinned improvised armored vehicles. 

More details to follow soon.

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Posting these so people can get ahead of it while I work on the fluff of the post itself:


it's an armored car designed by a country that is woefully unprepared
it's a country that thinks it needs an armored car for oppressing people on its border while sooner rather than later it will need a thing that's closer to an MBT'
and it's not willing to make an MBT
It is my intent, and one of the key reasons I accepted being the solicitor
that the competition be very openended
this is not an advantage so it's ok to tell you now
the vehicle people will be replacing is pathetic
what you are replacing will be like a WWI armored car crossed with a hilux technical
and my plan is the Texan theory of cavalry warfare will be unique enough that folk can do kinda... whatever they want within the spec
so we're looking for the best thing but it will be a wide open field
that's my hope
it's an armored car designed by a country that is woefully unprepared
yes so my intent, and one of the reasons I don't have a solicitation for you today, is that I want to get you something that gives you the right level of context
the doctrine will be a given
but you should be thinking "ok that's nice but what are we doing after we pacify the natives?"
Texas is a frontier nation but it's also not that far from Deseret
and other places
my headcannon is that the texas senate doesn't see the future need for an armored vehicle that can counter serious AFVs from other sovereign nations, they just want a border control tool
but like
literally everyone else does
so how do you plot a course with an armored car that leads you to some kind of MBT capability?
that's not necessarily the question this competition is asking
but it's related, and it's an interesting one
those are just my late night thoughts on it to try give you guys a little bit of a head start so you aren't just waiting for the entire weekend



Ref threats-
Frontal 20mm AP with 50mm penetration 
Sides- .50 BMG M2AP (20mm penetration) or SLAP (35mm penetration)
Roof- light frag and plunging fire.
Belly- light APERS mines and mortar frag, AT mine resistance desired but not critical.
Rear- .30-06 M2AP (armor thickness at least 15mm)
Lethality Ability to bully heavy jihadmobile (35mm armor at 1km) Desired but not essential- ability to bully light-medium tanks (90mm at 1km)
Ability to shred ATGM teams at medium range (1-2 km) Ability to destroy field fortifications
Ability to lay down dense MG fire for close in defense. Special req (not sure if to include this)
The Rangers desire to field both an infantry carrier and a fire and maneuver combat vehicle. They are willing to accept either an APC/MCV combo or a unified IFV design. A vehicle pair must carry 9 dismounts.

provisional requirements, subject to change

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      Pistol caliber automatic shoulder weapons are uncommon in Texas, but the numerous police and paramilitary forces of the state occasionally use "sub machine guns" as they call them. Virtually the only model available is the G-32, which fires the same 10x22mm round as the G-36 pistol. It is a select-fire, closed bolt weapon using an unusual gas operated mechanism. Capacity is 35 rounds. Reportedly, it is very expensive and usually requires local funds in addition to the stipend to afford. Occasionally these weapons find their way into criminal hands, and they have also been seen in the possession of settler citizens who have legitimately purchased them.

      Offsetting the lack of machine pistols somewhat, the Texas government has aggressively pursued the sturmgewehr concept as part of their arms program. The latest of many Texan weapons in this class is the G-42, a gas operated select-fire weapon with a capacity of 28 rounds. Caliber is 6.86x40mm, and muzzle velocity is over 900 m/s. This rifle has been made relatively inexpensive due to a large production rate and widespread adoption by the settler population, who use it primarily for homestead defense and hunting. Like its manually-operated predecessor, it is compatible with optics, and usually is found equipped with the same 1-8 optical sight. Numerous other weapons, including pre-war designs both reclaimed and newly manufactured, are also used by various Texas citizens and militias.

      Although there is not much need for belt fed machine guns in cattle herding (the primary trade of the citizens of the Texas countryside) the Texas government has procured significant numbers for border control and to combat bandits. Most of these are contained in armories at the various outposts and post offices that run along the country's substantial highway system, but some are held privately. Despite most belt feds worldwide being based on designs from over 200 years ago, many of those in the Lone Free State are original designs dating to within the last 50 years. This is exemplified by the primary Texan belt fed machine gun, the G-17A4, which fires an advanced high pressure steel cased 7.62mm round with either an open or a closed bolt operation. Most remarkable is its weight, which is just over 8 kilograms. Stocked infantry variants, as well as more numerous fixed/vehicle stockless variants both exist. Texan heavy machine guns still fire the 322-year-old 12.7x99mm round, albeit in a greatly augmented form. Like the smaller 7.62mm machine gun round, it uses a steel case and relatively high chamber pressure of 4800 BAR, which results in a 3,150 ft/s muzzle velocity with its 750 grain armor piercing explosive projectile. The principal machine gun in this caliber is the G-19A2 which is gas operated and utilizes a soft recoil system and has a rate of fire of approximately 500 rounds per minute. These machine guns are usually seen mounted to government G-12 4x4 armored cars.
      Only in the past 15 years as the Lone Free State invested heavily in autocannons. For most of its post-war history, there were simply not enough targets that required automatic cannons, with very few armored ground vehicles and aircraft being operated by non-state actors in the Texas region until recently, to necessitate development of new weapons. However, as the Lone Free State has expanded, it has begun to encounter better organized and armed natives, necessitating the development of a standardized suite of new large-caliber autocannons. Chief among these is the electric G-37 firing a 30.5x114mmB round with a muzzle velocity of about 820 m/s and a rate of fire of about 550 rounds per minute. Interestingly, this cannon is capable of being mounted on any of the same pintle mounts as the G-19A2, giving light Texan units potentially very good firepower.
      Despite not seeing the need for autocannons for many years, the Lone Free State has liberally used the recoilless artillery concept, with most local militias possessing some stockpile of recoilless weapons. Numerous variants of recoilless rifle exist in three primary calibers, 57.2x305mmR, 76.2x406mmR, and 105.4x610mmR. These recoilless cannons are commonly mounted to the light helicopters used by various Texan government entities.

      A Texan G-18A7 helicopter waits for routine maintenance outside the hangar. These helicopters are the primary aerial support asset across the Lone Free State of Texas. (Reader's note: This picture shows two quite shagged out Kiowas, but the G-18 is a unique indigenous design to the LFSoT. The Kiowa is only used here to represent the kind of helicopter that the G-18 would be.)

      Supplementary Out of Canon Information:
      I.     Technology available:
      a.      Armor:
      The following armor materials are in full production and available for use. Use of a non-standard armor material requires permission from a judge.
      Structural materials:
                                                                    i.     RHA/CHA
      Basic steel armor, 360 BHN. The reference for all weapon penetration figures, good impact properties, fully weldable. Available in thicknesses up to 4 inches (RHA).
      Density- 0.28 lb/in^3.
                                                                   ii.     Aluminum 5083
      More expensive to work with than RHA per weight, middling impact properties, low thermal limits. Excellent stiffness.
       Fully weldable. Available in thicknesses up to 4 inches.
      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 1 vs CE, 0.9 vs KE.
      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.33 vs CE, 0.3 vs KE.
      Density- 0.1 lb/in^3 (approx. 1/3 of steel).
      For structural integrity, the following guidelines are recommended:
      For heavy vehicles (30-40 tons), not less than 1 in RHA/1.75 in Aluminum base structure
      For medium-light vehicles (<25 tons), not less than 0.5 in RHA/1 in Aluminum base structure
      Intermediate values for intermediate vehicles may be chosen as seen fit.
      Non-structural passive materials:
                                                                  iii.     HHA
      Steel, approximately 500 BHN through-hardened. Approximately 1.5x as effective as RHA against KE and HEAT on a per-weight basis. Not weldable, middling shock properties. Available in thicknesses up to 1 inch.
      Density- 0.28 lb/in^3
                                                                  iv.     Fuel
      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 1.3 vs CE, 1 vs KE.
      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.14 vs CE, 0.1 vs KE.
      Density-0.03 lb/in^3.
                                                                v.     Assorted stowage/systems
      Mass efficiency vs RHA- 1 vs CE, 0.8 vs KE.
                                                               vi.     Spaced armor
      Requires a face of at least 1 inch LOS vs CE, and at least 0.75 caliber LOS vs fullbore AP KE.
      Reduces penetration by a factor of 1.1 vs CE or 1.05 vs KE for every 4 inchair gap.
      Spaced armor rules only apply after any standoff surplus to the requirements of a reactive cassette.
      Reactive armor materials:
                                                                  vii.     ERA
      A sandwich of 0.125in/0.125in/0.125in steel-explodium-steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 2 sandwich thicknesses away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 81% coverage (edge effects).
                                                                  viii.     NERA
      A sandwich of 0.25in steel/0.25in rubber/0.25in steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 1 sandwich thickness away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 95% coverage.
      The details of how to calculate armor effectiveness will be detailed in Appendix 1.
      b.      Firepower
                                                                    i.     Bofors 57mm - 85,000 PSI PMax/70,000 PSI Peak Operating Pressure, high quality steel cases, recoil mechanisms and so on are at an equivalent level to that of the USA in the year 1960.
                                                                   ii.     No APFSDS currently in use, experimental weapons only - Spindle sabots or bourelleted sabots, see for example the Soviet BM-20 100mm APFSDS.
                                                                  iii.     Tungsten is available for tooling but not formable into long rod penetrators.
                                                                  iv.     Texan shaped charge technology - 4 CD penetration for high-pressure resistant HEAT, 5 CD for low pressure/ precision formed HEAT.
                                                                   v.     The subsidy-approved GPMG for the Lone Free State of Texas has the same form factor as the M240, but with switchable feed direction.. The standard HMG has the same form factor as the Kord, but with switchable feed direction.
      c.       Mobility
                                                                    i.     Engines tech level:
      1.      MB 838 (830 HP)
      2.      AVDS-1790-5A (908 HP)
      3.      Kharkov 5TD (600 HP)
      4.    Detroit Diesel 8V92 (400 HP)
      5.    Detroit Diesel 6V53 (200 HP)
                                                                   ii.     Power density should be based on the above engines. Dimensions are available online, pay attention to cooling of 1 and 3 (water cooled).
                                                                  iii.     Power output broadly scales with volume, as does weight. Trying to extract more power from the same size may come at the cost of reliability (and in the case of the 5TD, it isn’t all that reliable in the first place).
                                                                  iv.     There is nothing inherently wrong with opposed piston or 2-stroke engines if done right.
      d.      Electronics
                                                                    i.     LRFs- unavailable
                                                                   ii.     Thermals-unavailable
                                                                  iii.     I^2- Gen 2 maximum
                                                                  vi.     Texas cannot mass produce microprocessors or integrated circuits
                                                                 vii.    Really early transistors only (e.g., transistor radio)
                                                                viii.    While it is known states exist with more advanced computer technology, the import of such systems are barred by the east coast states who do not approve of their use by militaristic entities.
      Armor calculation appendix.
    • By Sturgeon
      If you exclusively reside in Mechanized Warfare, as many of you do, you might have missed that SH is holding its quasi-annual design competition, which is for an armored car to be developed for the future post-apocalyptic Lone Free State of Texas, circa 2245. Check out the thread here.
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