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....