This is grav conversion kit version of the Vampire.
(144th, 10 or 12mm)
The Vampire family of vehicles was first introduced nearly eighty years ago, in 2265. It was the break-out product of NorthStar Engineering. The Vampire arrived on the scene at exactly the right moment for the small independent company. Several of the major powers were looking into an inexpensive, reliable vehicle for transport personnel over surface distances – a larger scale battle-taxi. The Vampire fitted the requirements perfectly.Gaining several large scale contracts, NorthStar capitalised on the success of the Vampire with clever marketing and lucrative manufacturing licences. Within a decade, the Vampire was widely distributed among ground forces from all manner of powers, from major to minor and even several nonhuman customers. It is estimated that as many as forty thousand were produced by NorthStar alone over the fifty years the Vampire remained in full production at the company.
The Vampire’s success lay in more than just its marketing. The APCs’ low price tag, modular component construction and ease of maintenance made it quickly extremely popular. The original Vampire was tracked, but within six years of the first Vampire rolling off the production line, NorthStar has created a grav conversion kit. Clever and ingenuitive engineering allowed the grav version of the Vampire to replace the tracks with grav-sponsons and run smoothly without the need for a significantly larger power pack. While the conversion kit perforce made the Vampire more expensive and the grav variants never reached the same numbers of distribution, it was still highly popular.
The Vampire’s modularity has contributed significantly to its longevity. As a vehicle intended more for low-intensity or rear-guard operations, comparatively fewer have been lost in combat over the decades and especially in the hands of minor powers, a given Vampire may have seen decades or service and refits.
The Vampire’s primary role is simply that of a battle-taxi, to transport troops to and from the battlefield, or in convoy on the surface. The Vampire’s emphasis was placed on troop and crew survivability. To that end, the Vampire’s engine (and later power core) is front mounted, behind an armoured access hatch and sealed from the crew and passengers by an internal heavy wall. The generous size of the engine compartment means the power plant can be replaced and upgraded easily.
Primary access is via the twin rear doors. The driver (right) and commander (left) have hatches above their stations (allowing a more expedient exit in case the vehicle needs to be abandoned), and there are four additional roof hatches in the main troop compartment.
The troop compartment is spacious enough to comfortably house sixteen passengers (e.g. two squads of infantry), powered infantry or even cargo. Six vision blocks provide the passengers with some visibility.
The stock Vampire is unarmed. However, many armies and militia experimented with upgrades – smoke dischargers and pintle-mounted assault weapons being one of the more common varieties.
The most notable current larger use of the Vampire is the Tarrainian Federation, which manufactures them under licence. The TarFed Vampires are close to the original design, with only incremental changes. The majority of TarFed Vampires are tracked, with a smattering of gravitic version, concentrated in priority uses, such as CASEVAC.