Thursday, September 20, 2012

!st Armored Division: 1st Royal Guard Dragoons

Like the Royal Guard Cuirassiers of the 1st Armored Division, the Royal Guard Dragoons are the best of the best, and get the best of the best as far as weapons go. After many evaluations including all-expense paid trips to various global arms fairs and weapons contractors by the top brass and defense ministers, it came down to the AIFV a.k.a the YPR 765, versus the Italian VCC 80, better known as the Dardo IFV. It was a tough choice, but the Dardo won out for several reasons. First, it has a higher power/weight ratio.  Lots of soft ground on the mini-continent of Gambusia, so that is an advantage. Second, although both have a 25mm gun, the Dardo can be upgraded with two TOW ATGMs mounted on either side of the turret (Dardo HITFIST). The AIFV ATGM is a separate, purpose-built TOW launcher (known as the YPR 765 prat) that lacks the gun turret. It is very similar to the US M901 ITV. Southern brass decided to have have the added firepower of both the 25mm gun and the ATGMs in one vehicle. The Southern Chalupastan Army has only recently embraced ATGMs, so they were reluctant to spend money on a purpose-built ATGM AFV. Third, the Dardo has a purpose-built mortar carrier. The YPR 765 has a version that only tows a mortar. Although Northern Chalupistan is a long-standarding threat to the South, all of the current combat operations to this point have been against rebels in the Central Highlands province. Mortars are used in close support of infantry rather than as long range artillery, so its better that the mortar and its crew be protected, and have the ability to quickly scoot if things got rough.

In miniature terms, only Heroics & Ros makes the Dardo. Several companies make the AIFV. Unfortunately, H&R makes only the the basic model. Here are the Royal Guard Dragoons on parade:

 It was easy to make the HITFIST version. Taking styrene square rods (square that possible?), I cut out the box-like TOW launchers of the appropriate length, and then glued them to the sides of the turret.

It was hard to get the TOW launchers perfectly lined up, but they don't look too bad from a distance.

The mortar carrier version of the Dardo is more of a problem. First, I have yet to find a good picture of one, let alone any sort of diagram to work from. Second, I am not sure how to even begin grinding away at a metal figure to get a square bathtub to hold the mortar. With my luck, it would look like a mess. I don't even know if its square; it could be round. So, I cheated and got some Argentine VCTP(M) mortar carriers from Scotia-Grendel as stand ins. Other than being tracked, they don't look anything like a Dardo, but they will do.

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