Wednesday, January 17, 2018

MWO Battlemechs Part IV

With these guys finished I think I'm finally ahead of my Battletech to-do pile. Does that mean back to 40k? That pile is a bit big too, but I don't think I've gotten mecha out of my system quite yet...

The best version of the Firestarter is kitted out pleasingly with lasers and more armor, and is a real menace to mechs of all shapes and sizes because the thing can spring around like a jackrabbit. The model came with a set of extra legs for standing at parade-ground ready; we'll get to how I put those to use in a later post. I cannot get over how great the jump jets this one and the Vindicator are sporting look now. 

The Vindicator also received a much-needed  facelift, including a nice new leg sculpt. (speaking of which, he also came with an alternate "parade ground pair", which we'll come back to later on) If you've never used one, the thing is a deceptively well armored and very, very hardy. In an odd contrast to... well, everything else that has a PPC, this sculpt actually manages to look respectable, so I didn't kit it out with a replacement. 

The Catapult-K drops its LRM racks in favor of PPC's and machineguns. When you set the MG's to rapid fire, they make quite a close-range arsenal in addition to the lasers. This one's another excellent sculpt and a solid little model, and came with all the extras, including LRM battery arms and artillery rocket arms. 

While I like the Dragon sculpt in general the problem I have with the model is that the arms plug up into into sockets on the bottom of the static shoulder. While this gives you a bit of play, as you can see, the thing's mobility isn't as good as it could be. In game of 3025-era B-tech, my friend and I found that mk1 Grand Dragon not only overheats easily, it also blows up quite handily. House Kurita needed to go back to the drawing board pretty quickly with this one. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Deathwatch Task Force Artemis

Firstly, the Pathfinder is on sale. I'd have hung onto it. but I'm out of work right now and need the money more than the model. 

Minus their Dreadnought comrade (who was converted for a Dreadtober event in 2016) here are the two Kill Teams that comprise Artemis' anti-Eldar beatdown brigade. I made the mistake of trying out Armory's black primer with these, and boy is it a chalky can of shit. Never again, Armory. Never again. 

The Artemis model, while having an excellent pose (by the one sculptor at GW who understands such, suffers from design flaws that seems to be creeping into more and more GW models these days. Separate-elbow syndrome is no laughing matter, and requires drilling and pinning to be viable. I wish they would master the art of making tabs and deep sockets, or just plain sculpt the arm as a complete piece. His right also has feeder cables for his combi-flamer that, being plastic, are pretty much guaranteed to snap at some point in their lifetime. If you're going to have cables all over the place, just make a metal model, for pete's sake. I know it's no guarantee even then, but jeez. 

The Vanguard Vets have a curious mix of slow-hitting super-heavy hammers and the troopers with storm shields to take the incoming hits for them, which would be an okay combination if the squads weren't limited to five men. The eldar as present in the box are all close-combat monsters, and will positively ruin them in a fight if the marines don't get in a bunch of killing blows. These guys would be great against slow Xenos, but there really aren't any. Necron foot soldiers, maybe? 

The Sternguard are a bit better poised (I guess?) to gun down the flip-dancing space fairies, although it would've been better to have the shot cannon (and a full squad of 10) for gunning down those eldar skimmers. Ah well, at least the heavy bolterflamer's more than capable of removing the woussy elves from the field, albeit at close range where if it doesn't, the Astartes are going to get their asses carved into so much transhuman lunchmeat. I know, I know, I'm giving the eldar too much credit, but they're not going to face a whole lot of incoming fire from this bunch, which is essentially a half-squad's worth of guns. Why are the Space Marines always, always outnumbered? It's not like they're THAT good on the tabletop. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

First Model of 2018: Jovian Chronicles Pathfinder Alpha Resin Kit

The turn of the new year saw me working on the DP9/Fusion Models Pathfinder Alpha. It was meant to be fixed-pose, but I can't leave things well enough alone, so I delved into my box of joints and made this one fully articulated. As with all mods, this proved to have its own issue. Namely, that it wasn't made to be jointed. Assembled stock, you'd be alright. I wasn't doing stock. 

As such, there's no room for well-anchored sockets and things to nestle naturally flush. The upper and forearms are too stunty, ditto the thighs and lower legs, so it was a choice between things being sticky-outy and being well anchored. The third alternative is smaller joints, but they're not as solid, and quite frankly I didn't want to spend the extra money. The objective here was to use what I had, so I did. Color wise, I chose to go with a weathered look in Anaheim Electronics colors, as this thing would be getting sandblasted by micrometeorites and bits of flying metal all day long, probably. So...

It has a waist now. It can even angle forwards and backwards (and side to side; it's a ball joint)  so as to crouch. 

And a neck. It can look up and down now. 

The left leg comes with an open hatch for beam saber storage and a beam saber (unlit) hand. I closed the hatch (open ones always break, in my experience) and stowed the hand. It also came with a base I didn't need, so I didn't even bother to paint it. A Bandai Action Base is more appropriate now, anyway. I mounted the sensor dish differently from the directions as well; this is more as per the first (Moscato) version. 

There is no big hulking appropriately proportioned Wyvern, so here's an MSIA Dom model for scale. 
Now its feet aren't paddle-flat, courtesy of the superfluous backpack panels I turned into foot bits. Thanks to the ball-joint ankles they still have quite a range of movement. 

The beam rifle's pointy stock had to be snipped, otherwise the mecha couldn't hold it well; the pointy bit would have to be on the inside of its elbow or the arm would have to be ramrod straight. So, a bit of a snip an some filing were needed. While overall not a bad design, it does add weight to the tiny ball joint I used for a wrist. Luckily it's a fairly light piece of resin, so it holds. Also, you can position the hand and arm so the loading force doesn't slowly pull at the joint, so overall it's a win.

Technical review points: as a kit it's simple, solid, and  actually made of good resin. If you like mecha in general and Jovian Chronicles in particular and aren't a picky bastard like I am (quite frankly, I prefer the Moscato-designed 1st gen exo armors), chances are you'll love this.

This model is for sale (or trade for classic RAFM Heavy Gear/Jovian Chronicles minis). Email me if you're interested. Otherwise, it'll be on eBay by Monday 1/15/17.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

WIP: Another mecha resin garage kit.....

This thing has actually been painted and is curing after being matte coated in the cold January sun, but I thought I'd give you some pre-color WIP shots. This is a Pathfinder model from Dream Pod 9, fitted with leftover joints from my bits box. I prefer the old John Moscato design, but I thought I'd give this one a whirl. 

I wish the legs were 30% bigger and the side torso vent bits higher (hmm, could've cut and reset those, I guess) but oh well.

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.