Wednesday 19 December 2018

BattleTech: Shiro-Oni TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

It is that time of the year again, when I go a little bit off the To-Do list to finish off some special projects for my friends. The Shiro is a 75 ton Mech armed with some fairly useless weapons usually: an LB-2X AC (think long range pea-shooter), 4 LRM 10's (lightweight long range missiles) and a sword (good for when you are in an adjacent hex, otherwise useless). So, yeah, weak long range weapons coupled with a mediocre close range weapon... not exactly inspiring.

A Bishop Steiner from the BattleTech International group on Facebook, who does concept artwork and illustrations for the franchise, designed an alternate configuration that fixes a lot of the problems of the original. He suggested it should be armed with a mace/tetsubo (a more powerful close combat weapon), 4 Streak SRM 6s (efficient, close range missiles that very easily overwhelm Mechs by causing multiple critical and head hits; death by 1000 cuts) and a snub-nosed PPC (good at all ranges direct fire energy weapon). He also suggested adding triple strength myomer, which double melee damage and increases a Mech's speed when it is overheating. Coupled with the mace, the Shire-Oni could snipe with the PPC as it closes in, pepper the enemy with short range missiles then cleave just about anything in half in melee. I added to the design a PPC capacitor, which increases the damage output of the PPC by 50% at short range and increasing amounts at longer ranges. What you have then, is a monster.

The 40K fans out there will recognise the piece I used to convert the tetsubo as a power maul from the Ravenwing Command sprue. The nobori on this side says "Revere the Universe", the first part of a famous saying by Saigo Takamori (the real "last samurai").

The other nobori says "Love Mankind". Together, they are meant to be a philosophy on how people should be governed.  I added a smear of Tamiya Clear Blue to the tetsubo to represent Mech vital fluids; some poor chump has already have the life crushed out of him and his ride.

I added a blue glow effect to the snub-nosed PPC and PPC capacitor, which you don't see very often on Battletech miniatures. Something that painting 40K has taught me is that a little bit of OSL (just a little, sometimes) can make a model quite special. I know it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but, hey, you can't please everyone.

As this Mech is designed to overheat (!), making it more powerful, I decided to try and represent this on the model in some small way. I painted some heatsinks on the back, venting heat, which have singed the bottom of the nobori banners :-)

The Shiro-Oni will be heading out to The Trooper, who quite likes some Oni every now and then (see below...). Huge thanks to Bishop Steiner for the re-design, it is such a dramatic improvement, and to Iron Wind Metals for getting the model to me in record time; in time for a pre-Christmas construction and paint-job.

See you across the table,


Saturday 1 December 2018

Kill Team: Mantle of the Champion

Hi folks,

Last night I converted this robe for my Fallen Kill Team leader. The main body of the robe is from a finecast Lukas the Trickster kit. I shaved the little Space Wolf diamond off the back, as well as the wolf shaped vents, which I replaced with a standard set. Thankfully, this wasn't too difficult; finecast is as soft as butter.

...but why would a Dark Angel be wearing a wolf pelt?

Thankfully, nothing on the pelt suggests it is a wolf (besides, there are no wolves on Fenris...). The inspiration for the robe is one of my favorite artworks in the Visions of Heresy book, which was used on the Horus Heresy TCG card "Mantle of the Champion":

I find something deeply sinister about this picture of a Dark Angel. You know he must be a skilled swordsman (he is holding a sword in the full picture), because he is wearing something called "Mantle of the Champion". At the same time, though, he is kind of hunched over.

The pelt is probably from a Calibanite Lion. Only two are killed in the books, one by Zahariel and one by The Lion himself, so the pelt would be something rare indeed. Considering who Zahariel ends up becoming, it is not such a stretch to expect such a pelt to end up on the back of a Fallen Angel.

The beast itself is lethality personified. On the 40K Lexicanum site, they are described as the most fierce and deadly of all the great beasts of Caliban. Their name comes from a mane of razor-sharp spines around their neck (whilst they are quadrupeds with paws, only their mane directly likens them to their Terran namesakes). Their claws are as sharp as knives and incredibly deadly. The lions also have two sharp, enlarged, teeth protruding from their top jaw. Their natural armored skin is able to patch itself and shift where needed. Calibanite lions also have orange eyes with reptile-like, slitted, black pupils. As with all the great beasts of Caliban, they possess an almost unworldly intelligence and seem to enjoy causing suffering. They can also shrug off pain and wounds without second thought.

Zahariel only manages to kill one by stopping time, phasing his arm through the beasts body and shooting it in the heart! Considering this was the first manifestation of his physic powers, you would have to say that is both a lucky and exceptionally brutal kill.

By modelling this pelt on my Fallen leader, I am trying to draw on this mythology, tying him back to old Caliban and the Knights of the Order. Making a link between him and Zahariel as well as establishing him as a champion to fear. Whether he lives up to the hype is another story!

I have a lot of conversions planned for this Kill Team, so I will be punctuating my other painting projects with more Fallen kitbashing. The squad includes a mace wielding Zealot, heavy bolter specialist and a Sniper with a stalker pattern bolter, spanning three different marks of armour. If I get through this with all of my fingers intact I will be amazed.

See you across the table,