Wednesday, November 29, 2017

MWO Battlemechs Parte the Thirde....

Didn't I say something like "I should probably stop building and start painting"? Well at some point I did. Anyways, my notes to the sculptors in bold. They said they wanted feedback. They're getting feedback. Post replies on here if you want, maker guys.  

Natasha Kerensky's famous Destroid Tomahawk Warhammer. The original had absolutely wretched tiny arm guns that had to go. The Tau fusion cannons get the point across much better, don't you think? FASA made a half-assed attempt to have Natasha as their poster girl, but they could never quite decide (or care) what she looked like, nor did they make a lot of material featuring her, so it never took off. In an ideal world, you'd have "character models" with special stats, just like.... well, certain systems. When I win the lottery and publish Near Future Battletech 2085, this will be so. You'd play the heck out of a Battletech game set entirely on Earth between nations, right?

Destroid Defender-Rifleman in classic colors. I left the arms on this one be, despite how damn short the barrels are. (I suppose it could be the AC-10 version). Of course, the long slender barrels on the old ral Partha models bent and broke all the damn time, so it's a bit a of a trade-off, I suppose. 

The ever-popular Urbanmech gets not one, but two incarnations: the regular version (painted as the excellent Chopper from Star Wars Rebels) on the left, and the sllightly kitbashed K-9 "hero" version on the right, with an armor-busting rotary autocannon. Did anyone else think these are what AC's were supposed to be in the first place? 

I like the new take on the classic Ostall Locust, although for some reason the chin turret wasn't pronounced or there at all, really, so I was obliged to upgrade his stub with a stikkbom bit. 

The Jenner now looks like something that actually makes sense, (well, relatively)  instead of just some model kit no one wanted to bother finishing. It actually has a waist now, for pete's sake!

Soltic H8 Roundfacer Griffin in desert colors. I still don't dig the PPC sculpts on these, but I do like the common "built into a gauntlet" look of the guns that were formerly rifles. Note to the sculptors: please make the missile drum on this one and Thunderbolt separate pieces. Arm variant weapons for for this and the Wolverine would also be nice.  

Two Commandos, in desert and forest camo colors. The arm missile boxes are a bit small, and I had to go in there with a pin vise and drill some SRM tubes. Also, the ankles are a little too thin, (Note to sculptors, thicken these) so I was nervous modding the pose, but they seemed to come out okay. I do love this version of the plucky light mech, though. I keep seeing them in 1/60 scale and I would LOVE to work on one, so if anybody knows where they can be gotten from let me know.  

An Enforcer painted in night attack colors. This one was a test model for a paint scheme I refined a bit for another model you'll see later. I'm rather pleased with the way it came out. Yes, I did give it a Zeon mobile suit-style mono-eye. It is, however, taller than the Warhammer, Note to sculptors: reduce the size by like 20%

Oooooh that Urbie's gonna get it. 
Last but not least, some terrain. There's a lovely set of Gregster's Lab shanties over at Vanguard Miniatures that gives you quite a few buildings for a song. I wish there'd been a few more 3- and 4- level ones, but oh well. They are AMAZING sculpts, with their own dumpsters, garbage cans, stacks of tires, and so on. Gregster really does some fine work. My one nit, Gregster, if you're there, is that there aren't enough multilevel ones. In the future I may buy another set just to shave the roof detail off and stick them together to make more shantypartments. I wonder if I should try to make some hex map bases for them as well. Hmmm..

I was kinda sad that the TV show Defiance ended, so I made a Need/Want bar for my shanty town. Mechwarriors need some place to relax, you know. 

Still to come: a Zeus, a Firestarter, a Vindicator, a Cataplut-K, and a Dragon. Also a small city. Oh, and the first of those builds from the WIP posts!

Also, I'm still looking for the older RAFM 1/87 scale Heavy Gear models, so if anyone's looking to sell, drop me a line.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WIP's 2......

I suppose I should stop building and start painting, but this train has no brakes. I've been making minis of models I want but have no space for. 

Agni from Armored Core Verdict Day. He's heavily armed because... well, he's an Armored Core. Yes, that's a MWO Dragon under there. With Cyclops legs. 

He doesn't seem to know the meaning of the word "restraint" either. 

Battletech has no sniper rifles and is the only tabletop mecha game on the market (Yes, I know about Infinity) so I'm going to gin up some home-brew rules. 

Mechs don't have weapon storage racks either. I suppose you just buy the weapon and go from there. 


Kagutsuchi Otsu (Sniper) from Frame Arms. What's that off-screen?

His fucking enormous cannon. You know, for one-shotting... er.... battleships. He carries a lot of armmo for it in that drum. Not accurate, I know, but I was in the zone, and it looks great. 

Under it all, he's an MWO Thunderbolt. I should do something decorative to the back plate, probably. 

Kagutsuchi Otsu (Fencer), the other specialist type. The actual plamo kit has an even larger hand weapon. The best approximation I could find was the big ugly claw gatling I had extras of from my FW AdMech robots. I like it because he doesn't have to drop it to draw a rifle like the original does, he just levels it and fires off a burst. His armor skirts are heavier because he's a hand-to-hand fighter. 

I should probably cover up the missile holes so his gatling ammo doesn't fall out. Those missile boxes are from a MWO Catapult. 

Till next time....

Monday, October 9, 2017


I said I was on a mecha kick this month, didn't I? Well, this chap came about today, after a through scouring of my dwindling metal bits. There are bits from at least 9different models in there, I think, all pinned and glued into a pleasing mass. 

His weapons are still coming, and I'm not pleased with his ass, yet, but oh well. He'll get there. 

I said I was looking vintage 1/87 scale Heavy Gear models, didn't I? Well, I still am, so if you have any, do drop me a line. From the depths of my bits stores emerges this fellow, along with his other friends. Still in progress, he needs to gain a sniper's cloak and some other bits and bobs, but I think he's turning out well. 

Hrm. Well, it is what it is. 

Yes, he carries whips. Considering his size, I'm sure it's not very pleasant to be on his bad side.  The legs are.... the best I could do with what I have, actually. You leave one game system (Battletech) for a while (20 years ago) and your resources dwindle. The new Iron Wind sculpts are appalling, by the way. Ick. We'll be staying with our MWO sculpt source, thank you.

His larger friend is a mecha of few words and several ugly weapons. He was also mostly primed, just never finished. I must've been going through a break up or some other turmoil. 

This Urbanmech, however, will be giving anyone who comes near a huge surprise. I love that they have waists and hips, now. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In Search of.....

Old 1/87 Rafm Heavy Gear minis. 

If you have any for sale, drop me a line. 

I seem to be on a mecha kick again. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Question for you bloggers out there.....

More and more I've been seeing blog entries from others, saying they're discontinuing their blogs in favor of other mediums, such as Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook groups. I've definitely been seeing a change in trends over the years, as readership/interaction in some pages remains strong while other communities have fallen off the face of the internet. 

Have you folks experienced this? What do you think? 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

X-Wing: The Growing Rebel Fleet.....

You may recall my initial foray into 3D printed ships with the Pelta-class frigate, Phoenix Home II. (better pictures of her to follow) The same ebay seller has printed a number of other, smaller vessels, and I was happy to see an inexpensive Consular-class cruiser. Nabbing it and another vessel up immediately I was off to Shapeways to find the appropriate turrets, turning it into the more militarily useful Charger C70 refit you see here. I didn't have the heart to clip the rest of the sensor dishes to make it a true Charger, however, but I suspect by the time of the Rebellian era any remaining craft would've been modded, anyway. t love this little ship, and I still might buy another to turn it into the poor doomed Radiant VII (one wonders what happened to the other six...)

A triumph of Star Wars' art room, she manages to look swift despite her industrial clunkiness. Detailed studies of it remain absent from the art book, more's the disappointment. Hunting around on the web turned up model sheets from the excellent Clone Wars series, so I was able to see how her stripes lie and where, not  to mention confirm the location of her turrets (just aft of the small escape pods). 

She's light as a feather compared to the Phoenix Home II, with its side-facing fighter bays. That Litko base is just fine for her, as are the two acrylic rods, but barely. Why FFG didn't make Consular/Chargers I'll never know. Oh shit, I should've shot her together with the Blockade Runner, too. Oh well. I have yet to find a pic of the two together in actual scale, but I imagine the bridge section of the Pelta compares to that of the CR70. Interesting reuse of the geometry, there, CW designers. It also fits the reuse-necessity of wartime production. 

If she looks a bit different, it's because I shot her against the reflective shelf paper instead of the cloth photo background/lightbox. She's just too big to have fit in there. I tried to adjust back the contrast and saturation to true, to compensate, which blew out the background a bit in these shots. 

Prior to painting her I toyed with the idea of wrenching her apart at the seams to light her engines, but things were just assembled too flush. I also did some experiments with glow in the dark paint for the running lights and windows, but didn't really like the result. Her engine pods were built loose enough to take being primed without fusing, which was pleasantly surprising. I'd messaged the seller about getting an unassembled one, but he/she/they'd never responded. Oh well.

6mm AA turrets from Vanguard Games' range. They come in packs of 4 with some other turrets I have yet to find a use for and are delightful. 

I tried to pick out the major details like escape pods, and did the windows in bright white so they'd catch the light despite being recessed. Oh, for a plastic version conducive to LEDs...

I also made sure to dual-color her hull plating, just like the original. I'd like to think they put two wrecks together into one good vessel and sent her out. Yes, the photo looks a bit weird, but if you'll notice from the bridge tower I'm not exactly 90 degrees above her, so...

If you want to keep your Pelta as an unarmed Medical Frigate there are some nice details in the wells on either side of her prow. The Rebels version has anti-ship cannons there, so I mounted some Tau burst cannon halves on bits of sprue. There's something about the grain of the print I find fascinating. Sanding the whole model down would've been a nightmare, so I left it. 

I had hoped against hope that the Acclamator would be longer than it was. Sadly, it's large enough to pass for a bulk transport or corvette (in fact, she's exactly as long as the Raider) but that's about it.  I suppose with some work you could turn her into a passable Vigil-class, with its fat bridge wing. I thought about painting her in Republic colors, but with the above two ships my Imperial fleet would be sorely outnumbered, and I'm fine with a grey standard look for her anyway. 

One thing I discovered whilst boring into her belly to mount that GW flying stand; these models are squishy inside once you get past the tough outside shell. Probably should have sanded her hull a bit, but I wanted to save her raised detail. Some panels are raised more than others, and I didn't want to obliterate the shallow relief. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

MWO Battlemechs Part 2

Continuing on with MWO designs (well, 4/5 of them, anyway, here's 'mechs numbers six through ten. Good thing for my wallet there aren't that many more out so far. 

If you flip through the 3025 book you'll see that the mechs all have sibling designs in similar poses. The Cyclops here was one of the designs that Duane Loose had created riffing off of the old Macross mecha, in this case the Spartan Destroid (aka the Archer). One of the mistakes the FASA bunch made (besides using designs without permission) was not putting any logic to its mechs and breaking them up by faction and unit type (i.e., all mono-eye mobile suits belong to Zeon, etc)  It would've lent more personality to the factions and headed off the ugliness that followed the 3025 tech manual. 

 Speaking of the Archer, it's been resurrected in all its glory. One innovation that this sculptor/producer's been bringing to the table is a plethora of variant parts, in the Archer's case open-door torso racks. I wish it'd been thought through a bit better, though; the slots for the doors are shallow, so some sawing is required if you want the doors to stay. Even so, it's a brittle system (even though it looks great) and I'm dreading the first time I transport the thing. Still, I'm glad the designer has decided to skew classical with all of the deleted Macross derivations. Speaking of which...

One that didn't hew classical was the Marauder, so I bought his other offering, the Macross-styled Glaug, and painted it like the 3025 cover girl. The dorsal cannon's post hole was shallow, so some extra drilling was required, but the whole thing went together quite pleasingly. The new, blocky Marauder in the game does belong more to the same design series as the King Crab, so I may yet purchase one, but for now, this one's enough for me. 

On the tabletop the King Crab's one of those all-nothing designs that's both a blast and a nail-biter to play, as it's only got five rounds for each of its arm guns. The redesign gave it a waist so it can torso-twist and some less cheesy-looking clamp-style claws, and if you want the model even ships with a closed pair. Come to thing of it, my team of friends won a tournament  back in the day using these things and medium laser carrier Hunchbacks. Ah, good times. I need to come up with a new method for doing stripes, though. I'm afraid these have all come out looking rather flat. 

The opening heats of said tournament, as I recall (it was ever so long ago) were played with limited tonnage, so a pair of mediums/lights was the order of the day, and the Centurion worked pretty well for me. (well, a variant that used an AC20 with its LRM rack, anyway). I forget what its friend was... a more spry up-armored Jenner, perhaps? Well, anyway, the newer version is a delight, with its more stylized armor and right arm shield. Sharp eyed fans will notice the House Marik paint scheme, but I neglected to put the Marik emblem on there as we're all mercenaries here anyway, and I'd rather paint a series of eye-catching models rather than bore you with a whole company of same-old, same-olds. 

Till next time...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MWO Battlemechs...

To quote Philip J. Frye quoting someone else, "There comes a time in every man's life, when he goes back how it was..."

And for me, how it was is Battletech. 

Battlemechs were the first miniatures I ever painted, way back in the early 90's. That collection is long since gone, but it saw the dawn of modeling and painting techniques that I use in hobby projects even now. Having not even played a game of it since then (people move, gaming scenes change) it pleased me to see the venerable hobby making a comeback in the form of 'Mech models 3D printed from the new Mechwarrior Online video game. You may even remember seeing an article here featuring a certain Atlas. Well.....

Enter Mechwarrior Online and with it finally, some solid, consistently eye-catching design. 

The Thunderbolt was originally a Fang of the Sun Dougram Ironfoot, and has kept the blocky solidity of that previous design while losing the 80's era curves. Most of the MWO designs now have a pleasing techno-blockiness that was only hinted at initially, then obliterated in favor of weird angles and eggs in the later art. 

I confess to some cheating with the Wolverine. He gained some cabling to evoke the earlier Dougram mecha on which the original was based. Strange how one conversion bit can beef up a design just so. Without it, the solid little mech is a bit blah. The integrated arm/shield cannon is an interesting design twist; when you look closely you'll see the mech has a set of brass knuckles, making it look like more of a brawler than it is. 

I was also halfway through shooting photos when I realized I hadn't done the base rim. Chalk it up to excitement. 

The Hunchback happily remained as it has always been, a quirky, pleasing build with an outsize block on its shoulder. The model (as many of them do) came with all of its variant parts, so I was sorely tempted by the missile racks and laser batteries, but ended up going with the classic version seen here. Another unfinished base? Damn your eyes, man!

The Battlemaster confounded my brushes at first, the tiny recesses in its laser banks steadfastly refusing to admit paint. Previously another Dougram design, the Bigfoot, this mech now is now an array of armor slabs and has a rather underwhelming looking gun on its right arm. I must admit to finding the artist's ability to design a weapon a bit lacking. I mean, when you compare it to the Studio Nue Battlemaster...

Now that's a gun. 

Will the new video game prompt a Battletech renaissance? Maybe. Sadly, I don't recall seeing the tabletop game played anywhere since 1993 or so. At any rate, there are already a plethora of models of different sizes, many of them posable. If I could get my hands on a 1/60 Atlas or Commando....