Saturday, 9 November 2013

Clear Horizon Miniatures - Drop Pod!

A fairly recent work, these have had a very quick turnaround by newcomers to the miniatures market, Clear Horizon.  I enjoyed a great deal of freedom with this project. Its designed to drop from an orbiting spacecraft and deploy 6 troopers into a combat zone.

Initially this model was requested to be made hollow, with a basic interior, seating for 6 with their backs toward the centre, knees toward the door, much later it was decided to fill it in and block the openings with interior doors. Either way I would have roughed out the interior layout to ensure the model is as small as possible and still comfortably (well, relatively, this is a military machine!) accomodate its passengers.

Not winning any awards for neatness here, but this was just about conveying the basic idea, the model evolved as I worked on it, and making sure its doing everything that the client wants it to do - form following function.

I guess this is unique in the sense that everything else I build is intended to move in some way, so I tried to make it look more dynamic with the elaborate landing gear and the petal-like array of doors.   I think the idea for the shape came from thinking about actual planetary landers like the Viking series... Like "what if" that lander was built from flat armor sheet, as well as something like a little fortress, notice some slight crenelation like detail around the rim, though theres no room for a parapet, perhaps they might help cover someone who's shooting out the upper hatch, maybe its like that for an entirely different reason. 

The round feature is the upper hatch which the troops would load into from the mothership. Like an escape pod in Star Wars, it pushes away and de-orbits with three thrusters one on each corner.

A neat side effect of the tear-drop shape and the doors on every side, is that if something goes wrong and it tips, the pod will always land on a door, deploy the doors on their hydraulics and the pod will be automatically righted.  I also made sure the geometries of the mechanical linkages really worked, its easier to fake them but always looks less authentic, I like to really engineer things where possible.

Some pics of my own production copy, in the flesh, well, resin.

I really must get a tripod, or drink less coffee, or both. Here's a spectacularly colorful paint by Third Fate, nicely illustrates the landing motor.


Image Courtesy Dwartist:

Additional:  18/02/2014

Here is a really nice review from "Little Nicky":

"I think my first picture shows how beautiful this model really is and how much flavor it actually has for essentially a box that falls out of the sky."
Thanks Nicky!


  1. Nice work and great ideas.It was a bit fiddly putting them together(I got a three pack), but I finally figured it out. Now to paint them.

  2. Thanks, I haven't put mine together yet - I think with the right approach it should be straightfoward enough.

  3. The Drop Pods have proven to be very popular... thanks for the great design work!