Friday, April 22, 2011

Mecha Month: Gundam, the Bad and the Ugly.

Back into the Hall of Ancient Miniatures we go....

So in the late '90's, Jovian Chronicles surfaced, concocted by the Canadian game company Dream Pod 9 as their answer to Mekton and Battletech. Being rabid Gundam fans, their designs (and source material) borrowed heavily from that series, much as Heavy Gear did from Armored Trooper Votoms. Like the starting generation of their Heavy Gear line, the first crop of JC miniatures were larger, and the quality control of the miniatures producer RaFM left much to be desired (lots of blisters with missing parts). Nevertheless, they were very nice sculpts, one of which formed the basis for the GP02 Physalis conversion seen above. There are also a huge amount of parts from RaFM's old Mekton line (remember R. Talsorian Games? Makers of Cyberpunk? Ah, good times, good times...)

As you can see, this was at the height of my airbrush period. Shortly after this my compressor conked out and I slowly migrated over to an all-brush production (also, airbrushes are a bitch to clean, which you have to do with every color change). I suppose I could've modeled the GP02 with his shield-binders open in flight mode, but this works just as well. His head is actually comprised of two heads; that of a Wyvern and a Pathfinder. I think it was partially because I bought a Wyvern blister that had arms, legs, and head, but no body. 

The enormous Xamel was a design so in need of custom parts that my approximation, bits hog that it was, scarce does the original any justice. Nowadays I'd be better about sticking to the original design, instead of improvising a huge gatling rifle and legs that are for walking instead of just supporting the enormous artillery piece. At the time I also used it as a Battletech Atlas mech, even though A) it has heavier armaments by far, and B) I owned 2 other actual Atlas models. 

That monster cannon is from a Micro Armor artillery piece kit, built out with other bits. I still love this mini, despite its shortcomings. The legs are made of old Dreadnought legs, Grey Knight torsos, Rifleman arms, Shadow Hawk Backpacks, and Omnimech missile pods. Oh, and Archer legs. The shoulders? Those are Cicadas. Yes, I'm a conversion maniac.

The skirt is made of not one, but two flying basis  and part of a bottle cap. Insane, no?

I started out trying to build my own Sazabi, but went off the deep end a bit. There was a larger version of Char Aznable's Sazabi arch-villain mobile suit called the Mockingbird, which basically sported longer skirts, more remote bit units, etc, which this thing resembles more. Sharp eyes will notice three aerospace fighters and a Marauder in there. 

With the array of thrusters this thing has, it must be fast as hell. Of course, Gundam routinely jumps the line between realistic physics and "Star Wars" physics, so who knows? I really should dust my miniatures shelf more. Look at all that dust on the rear armor! 

Of course, he's fallen and been rebuilt a half a dozen times, which is why he's all chipped to hell. He's held up well overall, especially considering there are dozens of tiny parts in there with utterly no pinning. 

Aw, the lowly Zaku. I really wish there had been an outfit like Dragon Forge back then; I could've used the cables to make this him a bit more true to form. Those skinny legs are disappointing though; I really didn't have anything better at the time. I dig that spiked shoulder pad and drum-fed machine gun. If the head looks a little weird, it's because the top half is an actual Nazi helmet; another failed experiment. 

At one time I must have been really flush with Shadowhawk backpacks, because I used them for absolutely everything. Anybody been keeping count so far? They've been all over the mecha from these two posts. 

Next time, some sexy powered armor....


Lantz said...

Agh! The Xamel was always one of my favs! Does the artillery barrel fold down like the original?

Despite what you see as shortcomings on these, I still think it's amazing work. I always enjoy anything Gundam, and you do them justice.

#2501 said...

Sadly, no, the barrel doesn't collapse like on the original. I thought of making a larger one when I was planning out my Knight Warden, but it didn't come together.

Glad you like 'em. When I have the time and inclination, I have a brace of JC miniatures that might get similar treatment as these.

Anonymous said...

"how they did it without being sued I'll never know"

Same way that Harmony Gold's not getting their ass sued for what they're done to "Macross," though I suppose you could get a better answer if you go to