Friday 25 January 2013

About TIme

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross has moved one step closer to becoming a live-action movie.  I want to thank Robotech Battles blog for the heads up.  I've also added your blog to my front page blog list as a result.  Should have done that a while ago if truth be told, but them's just the way things happen at times.

Seeing Robotech for the first time was one of those big sense of wonder moments when I was over whelmed by the concepts of giant aliens from space having their asses handed to them by people flying transformable robots.  I guess you had to be there to appreciate what a big thing this was at the time?

I remember Helen McCarthy, who writes about Japanese culture and anime on her blog A Face Made for Radio running an anime fan run video stream at the 1987 Eastercon, where she pretty much kicked Japanese animation into the forefront of UK SF fandom scene by showing Urotsukidoji, otherwise known as The Legend of the Overfiend to an unsuspecting audience, which pretty much made everyone role for sanity loss.

So with Palladium moving towards a Robotech wargame and the now this movie, I see much happy giant stompy robot wargame goodness in the future.  It's heartening for an old time fan like me to see a new generation being exposed to something I love.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Sounds of Cylons

Anyway, a friend of mine, Kari posted this YouTube video on her Live Journal blog, which I thought was worth stealing.  This of course being the highest form of flattery possible.  Anyway, Kari is an interesting writer who is well worth reading if you are into fantasy novels inspired by Dumas, who is one of her passions.

I've been too busy writing other stuff to really post anything on the blog this last week or so.  It's not like I don't have a lot of stuff in first draft form waiting in the queue to be finished and posted even.  At last count I have sixteen articles waiting for me to edit, or take pictures for, or whatever?  Of course that begs the question of whether or not articles can be said to be waiting to be finished?  However, this is going off on a philosophical tangent that is best left unexplored here.

Last year, not so long ago, another friend of mine, Ferret quilter par extraordinaire, posted the following on her FaceBook page, which I stole for my FB page, and will post again here for reference.

I found Alan Watts discourse quite moving and it certainly hit home with me.  It made me ask the question of myself, and what I decided was that I want to write stuff that I own the IP of.  So I've made the decision to take my writing more seriously.  This doesn't mean I will stop writing reviews for magazines, even though they don't pay, as I quite like doing them.  Or for that matter writing where I get paid to write, but what it does mean is that I will be focusing on projects that are mine.

The downside is that I'm less likely to be doing as much blogging.  Not stopping, just my own writing has to come first.

Thursday 10 January 2013

VOTOMS Conversions

To round out my Heavy Gear army I'm converting some of models to make variants that I think look good. First off is a straightforward conversion to the Turbo custom variant that comes in the Takara set to make it a Barcoff's variant from the Pailsen Files. Still need to finish off the rocket launcher and adding the grapple launcher to the backpack.

Next up are these two WIP shots of a conversion to represent the Burglary Dog variant from the Shining Heresy five episode OVA.

And here are a couple of more Strike/Rabidly Dogs and my second Blood Sucker, which is going to be my other army command mech for my Heavy Gear army. I'm planning on changing the Strike/Rabidly Dogs guns using parts from the Dream Pod 9 Heavy Gear Blitz range, before I go any further with painting them.

So all I need to do now is print out some stat sheets for a game of Heavy Gear and use these models as proxies of Dream Pod 9 designs. 

Monday 7 January 2013

Heavy Gear Mecha Style

It should come as no surprise that after getting caught up with lots of VOTOMS goodness last year that my eye has been drawn to Dream Pod 9s Heavy Gear Blitz. DP9 admit that their two games, Heavy Gear and Jovian Chronicles, are heavily inspire by VOTOMS and Gundam Universal Century respectively. I like some of the Gundam anime, but much prefer VOTOMS and the other seminal real robot series from the 1980s Fang of the Sun Dougram, which inspired FASAs BattleTech game.

Anyway, I searched for, and managed to get hold of, a second hand copies of some Heavy Gear books.  In my case it was copies of  Life on Terra Nova, and the Heavy Gear Blitz Field Manual.  The first at Dragonmeet, the latter from eBay.   I also took advantage of Dream Pod 9s PDF downloads through the DrivethuRPG site, which meant I was also able to grab Locked & Loaded Rev 1.1, and the L&L Quickstart Rules.  I'm not yet a big PDF rules fan, because I don't have anything other than my main monitor to read PDFs.  As and when I get uplifted to an iPad, I'm sure that this will change.

Getting back on track, I have been reading Life on Terra Nova, and I was really impressed with the background setting.  LoTN is not essential to being able to play Heavy Gear Blitz, but it didn't half wet my appetite for playing games of HGB, which I think is a pretty good result.  Certainly if I were running an RPG campaign then would be an essential resource for the HGB universe setting.

The Heavy Gear Blitz Field Manual is the current, and therefore most up to date version of the HG rules.  My understanding is that Dream Pod 9s Heavy Gear rules have evolved from an RPG skirmish game, then became became a hex map boardgame, and have finally morphed into their current incarnation as a tabletop miniatures wargame.  Something that I woud have liked to have seen happen with BattleTech, but that we won't see happening anytime this side of the apocalypse, because the business model of the two firms are entirely different. The difference being that Dream Pod 9 own their IP, whereas Catalyst Games Lab has a licence from Topps to publish rules for the game, but not the miniatures.

Since acquiring the LoTN source book and HGB rules, I've been on the look out for more stuff at the right price, as my budget is very tight at the moment.  What I little have I want to spend on the iconic miniatures that DP9 produce, and only buy the books that are absolutely necessary to play the game.  However, I do recognise that eBay only takes one so far, and I prefer to buy the miniatures directly from DP9 to support them as best I can, by at least putting what little spare money I have in their hands.

So this leads me to my recently acquired eBay bargains when I acquired the two books above. Namely Black Talons: Return to Cats Eye and Shattered Peace: The War for Terra Nova Book 1.

Interestingly, SP:TWfTN is in colour, while BT:RtCE is black and white it is also available in colour, which for begs the rather interesting question of why do this?  I can only imagine that there is sufficient sales for the colour version that make it worthwhile for them to publish it.  Certainly the illustrations look better in colour, but to be honest they look pretty good in black and white, and knock most BattleTech illustrations into a cocked hat.

Though this isn't an in-depth review of any of these books, what I will say is how impressed I am with the presentation and content of all the books I've read, and as a result I'm quite happy to contemplate buying further books as and when I have the money.  I now see that both the NuCoal and Southern Army sourcebooks will provided hours of entertainment and reading pleasure.  

Friday 4 January 2013

Mummerset Armour Company

I decided that the next painting block would be these  as they've been hanging around in black with white dry-brushed on them for too long. These are the models I've been using for the armour company in my campaign. They are all MechWarrior Dark Age clix models that I've removed from their bases.

I've progressed to putting on six shades of green.  These are painted to match my Freedom Army of Mummerset mechs. Now all I have to do is paint all the shades of brown.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Out with the Old, in with the New

Yes, the model is still wet from being given a sepia wash.

A chance for me wish you all a Happy New Year, and take the time to look back and assess what I managed to do over the old year?  Including getting over excited and rushing to paint a newly acquired Heavy Gear Jerboa from Dream Pod 9.

The first four months were to say the least a bit of a drudge.  Work was severely stressful and not much was being done.  It wasn't until June that I managed to get back in the groove, with a game for my campaign, and show off two new House Steiner mechs on here.

July then saw me finally finish off four House Marik mechs.  Models tend to get stuck at certain stages on the production line, in this case decals and varnishing being the area where the hold-up occurred.  Once I bit the bullet they were done.

August was the month where lots of infantry units were completed with four platoons each for both House Steiner and the Freedom Army of Mummerset forces, all done in 10mm.  August was also when I played my first games of OGRE in more years than I care to remember, and one game of BattleTech that I wasn't running for others to play, which was nice.  As a result of joining Steve Jackson Games UK MIB network I then started on my first newish army of the year.  This started by stripping and repainting a load of Pan Euro tanks.  Then I moved onto getting all my Ogres finished too, which ended up in my refurbishing my old Mark 5 as well.  This OGRE project took me right up to the last week of November to complete, with me just finishing the Pan Euro infantry just in time for my first Ogre demo at Dragonmeet.

I also took the opportunity to dust off my old Traveller miniatures and showcase them on here.  Expect me to do the same for my spaceships in the coming year.

Then the next big thing for me was the VOTOMS I painted up this year. First off with 6mm Hound Dogs from GZG that resulted in me going overboard and doing some conversions that may be put into production by Jon.  Then the acquisition of 10mm scale VOTOMS from Takara that have become my current obsession.

In between all that fun, I managed to get two more games of my Mummerset campaign played.  This has been a very time consuming project.  However,  it is starting to yield interesting results, as we polish the rule modifications that have allowed us to play Battalion level games with BattleTech rules.

So looking back on the year, it has been more productive than I first thought.  Though I would have liked to have produced more.  As it was I worked really hard to get the Ogre army completed to meet the deadline for Dragonmeet.  Realistically I can't see how I could have done more, all things considered.

Other things.  Gerry Anderson RIP.  Childhood  influence that made me the SF fan I am today.

The opening notes still stir a sense of thrill in me when I hear it now.

NB: I've switched the captcha back on as I was getting too many stupid spam posts that I was having to delete.