Tuesday 26 November 2019

Iron Snakes: Squad Aegis TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

Squad Aegis has been on my mind for a very long time. Back in the days of outrageously good grav cannons, I decided to pick up some Centurions for my Iron Snakes. Upon getting them home, though, I pretty much did what I always do; throw competitiveness out the window in favour of some crazy conversion juju. The first combat squad I finished for Squaduary this year, armed with a combination of assault cannon, heavy bolter (for popping hellfire rounds), hurricane bolters and shields. I chose the assault cannon for these guys because I could imagine them hunkering behind the shield and firing a "spear" of tracers. This combination obviously isn't codex legal, but pffft. The shields were custom laser cut by ML Shields, after a really fun Facebook messaging sesson where I helped him design them.

The second squad took a little longer, being armed with heavily converted plasma cannons. Again, I could imagine them firing a "spear" of energy, which fit the theme I was running with. I managed to finish this second combat squad off last week, after chipping away at it for 6 months.

I imagined the Centurion with the helmet plume to be the sergeant, striding out and pointing the finger at some objective.

The next model is undergoing some kind of emergency plasma venting. I figured this may be a way to model a Centurion receiving aid from an apothecary, particularly where plasma weapons are involved. You can see the little portable heat sink on the base at the back, cleverly (perhaps) hiding the fact that Centurions are essentially mono-pose and I had nowhere else to put the damn power lines! There is a neat glow effect that I did for it, that I blissfully forgot to capture when I took these photos. I'll try to add an extra shot with the necessary angle when I can be bothered.

The final Centurion actually has my favourite pose of the whole squad. I don't know, he just looks... boss. I was going to make this guy a squad standard bearer, but decided against it; the banner looked too small.

I have a couple more Iron Snakes units on the paint table at the moment, as I try to add some Primaris punch to my list. After this effort though, I'm going to take a short break to finish a special project for my daughter. Keep an eye out for it!

See you across the table,


Friday 15 November 2019

BattleTech: Clan Invasion Kickstarter

Hi folks,

A few months ago the makers of BattleTech launched a Kickstarter that would introduce the Clans factions to a new generation of players. The original release of the Clans was a bit controversial, due to the vast gulf in technology between Level 1 Inner Sphere Mechs and the new Clan omnimechs. Purists looked on them with disdain (and still do), arguing that playing a Clan faction was something you would do to make up for a lack of real BattleTech gaming skill.

In a straight up fight, a Clan 'Mech of equal tonnage will wreck an Inner Sphere 'Mech*. So, in our games, we never played a straight up fight with them; the Clan faction was always outnumbered (5:8 ratio seemed to be the sweet spot).  Clan players had to use every advantage they had just to draw even. For this reason, we had a fantastic time with them. I naturally gravitated towards the Jade Falcon clan, known for their bellicose nature and war-to-the-knife attitude; I guarantee I never had it easy.

So when the Kickstarter was launched, promising updated rules, scenarios, maps and miniatures, we pounced on it pretty darn hard. So did a whole heap of people, funding it in 7 minutes, eventually to the order of $2,500,000 US. I pledged at the Star Captain level and finally received my backer's survey today!

Here's what I'm hoping to get (remember, Kickstarter ain't a store, folks):

Clan Invasion Box Set

The new sculpts for these classic clan 'Mechs are fantastic, though I do wish the Timberwolf fuselage was longer. I doubt the new rules are going to be that ground breaking, but the MechWarrior and Alpha Strike cards will be very helpful. Any new mapsheets are always welcome, as are record sheets (though I can print these whenever I want).

ComStar Level II Command Unit

So... I don't know what the sculpts look like yet, but everything they have done so far is amazing. These 'Mechs would form the Command Unit of a new ComStar collection for me, which represent the main adversaries of the Clans during the Battle of Tukkayid. I already have a heap of Clan miniatures, so diversifying was definitely the way to go.

ComStar Level II Battle Unit

Holy. Moly. Talk about all killers, no fillers. This option has a bunch of great 'Mechs in it that I will thoroughly enjoy rocking on the battlefield. The Black Knight, in particular, was a "must have" for me.

Jade Falcon Fanboy Kit

This includes a challenge coin and faction dice.

Tukkayid MapPack and Campaign

Arguably the watershed moment in the Clan Invasion, I have an old and crumbling copy of the original campaign book. It has seen an epic amount of use over the past ~25 years. This was also a must have for me. As a free reward at my pledge level, I couldn't be more excited. The MapPack contains the following battlefields: Clan Wolf, Clan Jade Falcon, Clan Ghost Bear, Clan Smoke Jaguar, Clan Steel Viper, Clan Diamond Shark, Clan Nova Cat, and a bonus map set, the Deployment Zone.

Alien Worlds MapPack

I added these as a sneaky extra, after Catalyst removed one of the pledge rewards at my level and credited us the projected cost. Overall it set me back an extra $30, but any new mapsheets really are an awesome boon and these sound completely different to anything I have ever played on. The pack includes: Caustic Valley #1, Caustic Valley #2, Crystalline Canyon #1, Crystalline Canyon #2, Fungal Forest #1, Fungal Forest #2, Lunar Station #1, Lunar Station #2, Fractured Glacier #1 and Fractured Glacier #2, Volcanic Plateau #1, and Volcanic Plateau #2.

UrbanMech Miniature

This is a stretch goal reward and a bit of an in-joke. The UrbanMech is not a good 'Mech, but has a huge cult following. To lose to one of these is the height of shame, so to field one is really making a statement. When the campaign was picking up speed, someone suggested they should re-do the venerable old trashcan if some ridiculous milestone was made and wasn't that just a red rag before the bull. One of the champions of UrbanMech warfare on the BattleTech International Facebook group, who also happens to be a fantastic artist, helped to design the figure. This makes me giggle on the inside so much.

That's just the major stuff. In total I should be getting ~ 45 pieces of swag from this Kickstarter, which I won't post about in full. When they start rolling in, or we start playing the various digital scenarios, I'll be sure to feature them in a post.

Well bargained and done!


*unless you are playing against Joel. Then all bets are off and you get your butt handed to you.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

BattleTech: Black Widow Part 2

Hi folks,

After adding the red stripes to the Warhammer using green painter's tape as a guide, I went around adding some little details and battle damage. the searchlight was a major piece of detail and a major pain in the backside. Because it is recessed, large and curved, I couldn't do the whole length in a single brushstroke, I had to use one running forwards and one back holding the figure in two different positions. That made blending a nice glass effect really hard. I must have repainted it over ten times, but eventually you just have to let that kind of thing go. I'll do better next time!

The hourglass black widow markings on the centre torso were again marked out with triangles of painter's tape.

The Wolf's Dragoons symbol and spider on the leg were printed transparencies that I glued in place with varnish and then painted over very carefully. The spider looked particularly flat, so I messed it up a bit with some weathering.

To finish it up, I added some colour to the medium and small lasers (green and red), as well as some blue and purple for the PPC's.

To give the project some context I found a rad 80's picture of Natasha Kerensky and some info about the Warhammer BattleMech, and put together a little framed display to go with the figure.

Here is how it all looks on display!


See you across the table,



Saturday 9 November 2019

BattleTech: Black Widow Part 1

Hi folks,

A couple of months ago a good mate at work offered to give me some old Robotech toys he had decided to part with. He had kept them since he was a kid and was hoping they would go to a loving home. I gratefully accepted and was very excited to see that one was a Destroid Tomahawk, an absolutely awesome Mech design that also features in BattleTech.

I spent a whole day with Wade and Joel in Akihabara searching for one of these, finding a fantastic kit at the end of the day, that I now have on display in the family games room. Knowing that this is also Wade's favourite 'Mech design, I wanted to do something special with my unexpected windfall. Wade is a fan of the Wolf's Dragoons faction in BattleTech, which includes a famous MechWarrior by the name of Natasha Kerensky. Also known as the "Black Widow", Natasha most famously piloted a Warhammer BattleMech, based heavily on the Tomahawk's design. Here's a modern example of her Mech's paint scheme:

With something like this in mind, I went about preparing the model. To start with, I shaved off all the old Robotech stickers, covered up the screw-holes with blutac and gave it a scrub in warm soapy water; there was ~ 20 years of grime in the corners I think!

When the model was clean and dry, I undercoated it black using a Citadel rattle-can. After 24 hours of drying I taped out some thin, straight lines, using green painter's tape. I use this tape very carefully, as it can tear up paint and cause more trouble than it is worth. In this situation, however, it is great for marking out a thin, straight, line; as long as you remove the tape carefully whilst the paint of the line is still wet.

With perhaps the most challenging technique required for this project turning out quite well, I was confident I could get the job done, given enough time. I'll post the finished project over the next couple of days.

See you across the table,