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....