If you watch the news and see anything of the western forces in Afghanistan, you’ve probably noticed that a number of the military vehicles are driving around looking like they’ve been enclosed in a metal cage.
This type of protection, variously know as bar armour, slat armour, grid armour, cage armour and probably a few other terms as well, is the modern development of the wire mesh skirts sported by Wehrmacht tanks during WW2. It’s designed to detonate shaped-charged warheads at a distance from the main hull and prevent the armour being penetrated.
We were approached by a customer (David Buckle, let’s give him full credit for the idea) who wondered if it would be possible to create 15mm scale bar armour using 3D printing techniques which could be fitted to his SF vehicles. We had a tinker and, although it’s not quite possible to make something that’s absolutely in-scale (the bars are too thin at 1/100th scale), we’ve managed to come up with something that we think is pretty convincing.
Initially we’ve made a set that comprises two long and two short pieces in Shapeway’s White, Strong, Flexible material. This is easy enough to cut and can be adapted to fit most vehicle types, and can be attached with superglue.
I also had a play-around and created a cage specifically designed to fit one of our vehicles – a Lynx APC. This fits snugly round the model and fits the shape precisely, with a gap at the back for the infantry access doors. If anyone is interested in specific cages for any of our other vehicles, let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.
I haven’t put the prices above because they are set in dollars and can fluctuate based on the exchange rate, and also the exact choice of material (it comes unpolished in black or white, or polished in white only). As I write this post a single set of armour is around £4.75, four sets together is roughly £16.00 and the Lynx cage is £4.00 in WSF polished.
You can order directly from Shapeways; however their shipping costs can be steep for small orders (US$9.50 fixed cost for any order). You can order these or anything else from our Shapeways shop directly from us – we’ll place one big order and spread the shipping costs. That’ll way will be cheaper, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer for your items.