Sunday 22 June 2014

In the Works...

I have had to work hard just to squirrel away enough time to do some Battletech modelling. With deadlines screaming towards me like asteroids, and no Bruce Willis to make it better, it has been really tough to get anything done. Odds are, things will get marginally worse this week. As the old verse goes:

"...and a voice came to me out of the gloom, "Smile and be merry, things could get worse." So I did smile, and was merry. And behold, things did get worse."

Anyway here is some stuff that I managed to scrape together before life whisked me away with responsibilities.

1) Jade Falcon Medium Star

These guys have been in their blisters for a while now. I knew I had a lot of modelling ahead of me to make them work, so I was waiting for the right motivation to start. After finishing off my first Ghost Bear Mech, I had a chat with a few folks on the Classic Battletech Forum. There were a couple of threads floating around about speed-painting techniques and the use of metallics/washes that gave me itchy fingers. It got me in the mood to have another crack at it and try out some of the tips people have been giving me. The first step was cleaning up the mould-lines, which I did over three, hour-long, sessions. Three hours. I have to laugh, because I know the first thing the big guns will say when I finish them is "Get rid of those mould-lines". Eyes like hawks, all of them...

Here they are, freshly undercoated! Left to right we have a  Kitfox B, Dragonfly Primary, Adder Primary, Hellbringer C and Nova A. Following that there are some close-ups after they dried.


2) Summoner Repair

So this fella belongs to Wade, who I see across the table more than most. The PPC arm had snapped off, requiring a pin and some sculpting work to fill in the gap. A quick job, but always satisfying to get a good Mech back on the table, especially when it is a Summoner.


3) Arms, Arms Everywhere

For some reason a whole heap of Mechs in my last Iron Wind order have miscast ball joints and pins. It’s not something beyond my abilities to fix, and I love their stuff too much to complain, but it sure does add time to the work-up. Here is an LB-5X AC and the Hellbringers right arm that I repaired, both of which would have been unusable. To fix them I placed a ball of green stuff in the socket and let it set for 24 hours. While they were curing I cut or filed off the “pin” (also miscast) on the corresponding torso and drilled a hole instead, for more robust pinning. Once cured, I shaped the joint with a file and sharp blade, including a flat surface to join with the torso. Finally I drilled a hole in the flat surface and pinned the arm to the torso.

Hopefully I’ll have some more 40K stuff finished soon, as we have a new campaign on the horizon. I also have a new Luthien update in the works, reporting on yet another tense match that will have a huge effect on the rest of the campaign.
See you across the table,

Monday 9 June 2014

Luthien Campaign Update

Well, to kick things off I have a quick life update. Work is hard! I have about a week of utter madness left, then I can start posting more regularly again. Secondly, my camera is about to die, so the pictures in this update are over-exposed. My mobile phone actually takes better pictures at the moment! Add to that the following chestnut, the first time I posted this update the formatting of my whole blog changed. Take two:

Scenario 9: In the Dark
Khan Furey ordered a force to destroy the largest ore mine on Luthien in an attempt to stifle the Draconis war effort. Situated in the heart of the Nijunen Desert, the mine was defended by Tai’sa Alexi Nagumo and the 143rd Luthien Defense Regiment. The attackers, the 225th Jaguar Battle Cluster, approached their target under the cover of darkness, but were brought to a standstill by the spirited defense of the 143rd. Eventually the Combine regiment withdrew, having suffered heavy losses, leaving the mine to the ungentle hands of the bloodied Jaguar Battle Cluster.

 Wade and I actually played this game twice, as the Draconis forces were wiped out convincingly in the first game, despite a ridiculous tonnage advantage. The Clan force consisted of a Warhawk C and a Timberwolf Primary piloted by my top Mechwarriors from the campaign (piloting and gunnery 2). The defenders included a Battlemaster, Highlander and Warhammer, followed by a Warhammer IIC late in the game. We threw the last one in just to see what would happen, but it got trashed too. Of the 48 points of combined head armour and internal structure in Wade’s force, I removed 65 with the Warhawk’s PPCs and Large Pulse Lasers. The Timberwolf stomped around caving in all the buildings and that was the game (when it wasn't in a weird rear arc conga-line, below). We had a good laugh about it and decided that elite Clan Mechwarriors should never be allowed in Mechs with pulse lasers and targeting computers again.

The second game was much closer, thanks to a lot of scenario tweaking. We used some house rules to represent the combination of darkness and the interference caused by the high metal content of the environment. The attacking force consisted of a Gargoyle C, a point of Elementals and a Hellbringer A. The defenders included an Archer, a Thunderbolt, a Battlemaster and a Warhammer. The defenders and the mine buildings were placed as blips on the gaming board, which had to be revealed at close range, or with the Hellbringer’s Active Probe or Search Light.

The game started off with the Gargoyle moving forwards under cover and the Hellbringer storming forwards to reveal some blips. What it found was a Lance of angry Draconis Mechs that absolutely mauled it over two turns of intense fire. With its star-mate down, the Gargoyle had the whole game on its shoulders.

Now, I harbor no fondness for the Gargoyle. To be truthful, I included it specifically because I thought it was crap and would help to balance the game, so to find myself in this situation was very interesting. I moved the Gargoyle up and dropped off the Elementals in position to harass the Archer, then used its ER Medium lasers to take down the first mining building. With a CF of 40, the armament of the Gargoyle seemed perfectly suited for demolition work (42 damage with the mediums or 40 with the Ultra AC 20).

Ignoring and outmaneuvering the slower Draconis heavies, the Gargoyle shifted from sinkhole to sinkhole, pounding the buildings into dust. I managed to miss one ER Medium shot on one of the buildings, but the Elementals picked up the slack, bringing the building down with laser fire. By the time the Elementals were taken out they had caused a lot of annoyance and the Gargoyle was busy withdrawing through the Lance of overheating Draconis mechs. It lost an arm, took engine hits and head hits, but just kept moving. For the first time in the game I opened up with the Ultra AC 20, hitting the Battlemaster twice and knocking it flat. This bought me enough time to get close to the board edge. Wade had one last shot to take it out, but just couldn’t manage a kill. After the Gargoyle stepped off the last hex, we called for the butcher’s bill. On the Clan side of things, a Hellbringer and an Elemental point had been lost. No Draconis Mechs had been destroyed but the mining complex was completely destroyed. This combination of conditions amounted to a draw (-15 VP). The aggregate campaign score now sits at -10 VP.

Alpha Strike Shenanigans
Here are some pics of a pick-up Alpha Strike game we played. It was originally going to count as a Luthien campaign battle, but we are still trying to figure out a points system that works. In this game, despite the forces being equal according to the Beta points system, the Draconis force looked very thin before the game (and even thinner after I had a go at it with my Jaguars).

Early on in the game the Draconis heavy tanks rolled down the left flank and caused a lot of pain, whilst acting as effective spotters for a support Lance in cover behind a rock pillar. After they were taken out, a pair of Incubi (Incubuses?) got in behind the pillar and really messed that Lance up, supported by a Dragonfly and a Nova I jumped in to support Joel’s damaged Star.
The Dragonfly also took out a Rifleman from a nearby Fire Lance, with it Lance-mates (a Highlander, Warhammer and Marauder) moving into cover and pouring fire on anything they could see. My Timberwolf and Summoner managed to take out the Marauder, but the other two were a real nuisance. I finally took them out in the end game with concentrated fire from every Mech I had with LOS.
On the right flank my Warhawk took a lot of punishment before being left to some heavy infantry, which chewed through the last points of internal structure.
My Hellbringer and Stormcrow (seeking partial cover below) formed the tag team from hell and wiped out a Lance of Draconis close combat Mechs between them. I never thought I would say this, but that Hellbringer was MVP for sure!
Sooo, three Lances of Draconis Mechs, two heavy tanks and several infantry points taken out for the loss of a Kit Fox and a Warhawk… doesn’t seem very balanced to me. I love the fact that my Hellbringer smashed face, but not under these circumstances.
Time for a rematch I think…watch this space…
See you across the table,