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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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{Drums, sounds of chanting in distance} "Rooikat, Rooikat, Rooikat..."   {Opposing chanting begins, in counterpoint} "Ratel, Ratel, Ratel"

Mini-competition suggestion: fix-a-tank   Contestants will be given an existing, flawed AFV design (or a selection to choose from), as well as a country and a time period. They will then be

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

  • 3 months later...

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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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

V1lMZ4n.jpg

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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  • 3 months later...
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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  • 3 months later...

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

 

Quote

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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  • 6 months later...

Mini-competition suggestion: fix-a-tank

 

Contestants will be given an existing, flawed AFV design (or a selection to choose from), as well as a country and a time period. They will then be asked to propose modifications, reworks, conversions or fixes to improve the design or modify it for a specific task.

 

The submission should include one or more drawings or blueprints, a description of the modified vehicle and a description of how the modifications would be accomplished.

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So I'm planning to kill this thing in the crib and have the first iteration be:

 

"You're an Italian company in WW2 and, since the Germans just dumped a bunch of captured French tanks and equipment on Il Duce and all the bigger (by Italian standards anyway) manufacturers are busy, you get picked to fix the foreign stuff up for use in the field.

 

Pick one of the tanks provided and fix it to suck less, bearing in mind that you have limited production capacity and cannot propose major new components without explaining where they'll come from. Also this is 1943, so your tanks will be going up against Shermans. Good luck."

 

:wehraboodance:

 

Edit: so, to flesh this one out...

 

Mini-competition: fix-a-tank, 1943 Italy edition

 

You are an engineer at an Italian locomotive and tractor-making company in early 1943. The writing is on the wall for the Italian army in North Africa, with a lot of equipment having been lost and the enemy on the brink of kicking the axis out of Tunisia and then heading across the Mediterranean. In short, things are looking more than a little desperate. 

 

However, all is not lost. Il Duce himself has stepped in and, with the assistance of the Germans, procured both some of their finest captured vehicles for use in the upcoming defense of the homeland. Since many of these vehicles have been... gently used, and the existing firms like Ansaldo are flooded with orders, your firm has been asked to work on them in order to bring them up to the standards demanded by modern warfare. 

 

In addition to these vehicles, the Germans have also graciously agreed to sell weapons from their existing stock of captured equipment, as well as providing production licenses for some of their more modern equipment. You have also been given permission to work with local weapons manufacturers in order to modify existing artillery to suit your needs. Italian automotive and engine manufacturers are similarly available to help. Finally; your firm's experience in locomotives and tractors means that you can modify hulls and put together turrets and turret rings. You can also produce castings (although not very large ones) and weld armour plates.

 

Your job, which you have no choice but to accept, is to choose a vehicle from among the captured stock being offered for sale, and propose a series of plausible fixes in order to give it a fighting chance against the American and British equipment currently in the field.

 

The submission should include one or more drawings or blueprints (at least a side view of the vehicle, but preferably a 3-point view and isometric view), a description of the modified vehicle, a description of how the modifications would be accomplished and a description of how the modifications would improve the design overall.

 

Judging will be done on the basis of plausibility and effectiveness, with innovative solutions being encouraged in order to get the most bang for buck out of the base vehicle. Beyond implementation, the fixes should prioritise combat effectiveness while also improving reliability, crew ergonomics, communication, mobility and protection as much as possible.

 

The foreign vehicles available for modification are:

  • Renault R35 (already in service)
  • Hotchkiss H35/39
  • Somua S35 (already in use for training purposes)
  • T-26
  • BT-5
  • T-28 (only available in very small numbers, so need to be extremely effective)

 

The foreign weapons immediately available for purchase are:

  • 25mm Puteaux and Hotchkiss
  • 37mm Pak 36
  • 4.0 cm Pak 192 (e)
  • 45mm M1937 (53-K)
  • 47mm APX
  • 7.5cm Pak 97/38
  • 7.62 cm F.K.297(r) and  7.62 cm PaK 39(r)
  • 8.8cm Raketenwerfer 43

 

Licenses are also available for the manufacture of foreign engines (Maybach HL62 TRM, Maybach HL120 TRM and Praga Typ TNHPS/II), periscopes, sights, radios, cupolas and automotive subassemblies. All foreign vehicle subassemblies and components are available for reverse engineering and manufacture.

 

Edit 2: removed the Stuart and BT-7, as they don't need much 'fixing' per se.

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7 minutes ago, LoooSeR said:

   I like this idea. We could progress this into series of competitions with "upgrade mid WW2 AFVs" and same with later WW2 tanks like Panthers and such.

There definitely has to be a French Panthers iteration.

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4 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

Depends whether there's interest. I still can't drum up enough people to reboot the truck comp.

Indeed.

 

How about this: I'll put up the detailed post as a seperate topic and include a voting option to gauge interest (eg: if x number of people respond with a grapefruit then it's on). I'm happy to pull the trigger on a mini-comp so long as I know it'll have at least three finalised entries (which means you need something like a minimum of 5-6 participants).

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      BEGIN FLUFF

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      5. All performance requirements must be met at 200 ft/s below the spec velocity, except the 600 yard energy requirement, which can be met at 500 yards at -200 ft/s, instead.
      6. Produce pressure no greater than 52,000 CUP (brass cased) or 50,000 CUP (steel cased).
      7. Use a projectile composed only of any combination of the following: Copper alloy, bronze alloy, lead alloy, iron alloy, steel alloy, tin alloy, nickel alloy, and/or zinc alloys. Titanium, tungsten, aluminum, magnesium, and other exotic metals are not allowed.
      8. Minimum magazine capacity must be 20, with a stack height no greater than 5 inches.
      9. Cartridge overall length may not exceed 2.8 inches.
      10. Cartridge recoil from a 10lb weapon may not exceed 12 ft-lbs.
      11. Cartridge must meet performance requirements from a 22" barreled weapon.
      12. Cartridge must cost as little as possible.

      You are provided with calculators to use to estimate these values for the competition. For trajectory, drift, and energy, you must use JBM Ballistics calculator here. Internal ballistics must be estimated via the Powley Computer (just check the pressure box and enter 52,000 CUP for brass or 50,000 CUP for steel). Also please see my guidelines for modeling steel cases here. The pine penetration value must be calculated with this spreadsheet, and the recoil energy with this spreadsheet. For the purposes of this competition, cost per round is determined solely by the materials used. Please reference the material cost sheet here. If you do not already have a solid modeling program, you can use Google SketchUp for free. @Toxn has a lot of experience with it, you might ask him.

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