Saturday 17 January 2015

CASE-2X Combat Armour: Shiny Distraction

I've been mumbling about Heavy Gear for a while, having gone so far as to put my money where my mouth is by signing up for the KickStarter, and buying miniatures, but my intent is not so much to play games in the Terra Nova setting, rather to play games in the my own setting. 

For those who follow my writing blog you will know I've written my first novel working title Bad Dog.  I've even written the first drafts of two sequels, so I'm quite invested in my story, and being a wargamer I want to play games in my universe.

The above are a load of bits & pieces that arrived recently.  

Some were bought specifically to provide the parts for converting some Dream Pod 9 miniatures to make a model of my CASE-2X combat armour, called Dogs by the Marine Corps pilots in my novel.  My first attempt at making a Dog can be seen here.  I wasn't totally happy with it, because it just looked like a slightly modified Heavy Gear Jager, which funnily enough was what it was.

So here is my second attempt using the main torso from a Heavy Gear Mamba to change the look of my combat armour suit.

On the left is my heroes mecha from the first novel, and on the right is her officer variant from the sequels.  

I've used the Dream Pod 9 snub cannon to represent the 20mm auto-cannon, modified with a frag cannon to represent an under barrel grenade launcher.  I've also added a parts to represent the over the shoulder sensor post and the arm mounted snub 50 cal, which is part of fixed load-out for all Marine Corps Dogs.  

The command variant adds a shoulder mounted rocket pod, and has extra antennae for all the communications gear a command suit carries.  The head on the command model comes from Dream Pod 9s Razor Fang Mamba.

Tell me what you think.  Be honest, this is for posterity, as in they will become canonical  and I want to get the look right.  For instance I could go with Mamba heads for the basic Dogs, and use Cobra heads for the command variants?  My next step is to make models up for the rest of the named characters in Bad Dog, followed by an Army Special Forces suit from the first sequel called Strike Dog, and an Air Force Forward Observer suit from the third novel called Ghost Dog.

After that there will be rules.  Whether these will be variant Heavy Gear Blitz Beta, or something else will rather depend on play-testing of the new rules from Dream Pod 9.  Either way models will be made and games will be played.

Friday 16 January 2015

Pan Euro Huscarl Conversion WIP

Here can be seen a series of work-in-progress shots of my attempt to revamped a standard Mark 5 Ogre into a Pan European Huscarl variant, which just may just happen to look a bit like the old Martian Metals Mark 5.  For those of you who're reading this and have no idea what I'm talking about here's a shot of the original Martian Metal Mark 5 Ogre castings.

I grabbed the above shot from the eponymous Martian Metal Mark Vb site.  If you're any sort of Ogre/GEV fan this site is well worth saving in your bookmarks.  The only reason I no longer list it in my blog feed sidebar is down to the infrequent updates, which means it tends to drift out of sight.

Here's a shot of my WIP showing how the model looks with the cut outs on the running boards and bulked up nose and base part of the tower.

It won't ever be a perfect copy because as I discovered the proportions are slightly different, but it will be pretty close.  I've decided that the tower will be modelled in the lowered position, because canonically the Pan European Mark 5s were ultimately built without towers.  So this will be an early production copy where they've just fielded a back-engineered or refurbished Combine Mark 5.

The above shot is again another grab from the Martian Metal Mark Vb site showing a side view of a made up Martian Metals Ogre.  One of these came up for sale on eBay recently and went for rather more than I was willing to pay for, besides the Martian Metals model looks pretty ropey, hence my conversion.  The missiles on the rear of the above model are either sans casing or this casting was produced before Martian Metals added the armoured casings that can be seen in the first Martian Metals miniature photo, in the lower right of the picture.

I then added more Milliput to the front end, but there's still a way to go to change the profile of the front half of the model to more closely match the shape of the original miniature.  Here's a shot showing where I am as of today.  I've done some work on the right hand side of the model (the models left side), but the left still needs carving and filing.  I added this shot to show the process of sculpting, and how easy it is to add too much filler, thereby making more work for myself.  I was looking at my computer monitor from the other side of the room from where I was working and misjudged the shape I was trying to build up.

Once the Milliput had hardened I was able to sit in from of my computer screen and enlarge the jpegs and I could see my mistake and correct it.

My intention is to finish the front end and then modify the casings on the rear missiles next.  After that I may decide to add the side plates to the tread units, but haven't made my mind up about that yet (depends on how fed-up I get filling, carving and filing.  There's an awful lot of carving and filing to be done to finish this model, and I'm slow enough that I'm all to aware of how long it will take to do.

Besides that I might get distracted by other shiny toys.  Oh look there's a Heavy Gear Jaeger miniature.  Oops!

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Pan European Élan

I've put names on all my Pan European Ogres as a homage to French Army practice.  This is a tease for future posts about my Pan European force, more to come, but I have to paint up stuff to take pictures first.

House Steiner Über Alles: 3 A Couple More Mechs

And as I'm looking through my photo collection what do I stumble upon but a couple more House Steiner mechs.  Who would've thought?  First up is my reposed Victor as I don't like the basic pose the model is supplied in.  This was quite tricky and it broke during painting so I had to rebuild it with stronger pinning.

A Firestarter, gotta love a Firestarter, well at least I love mine, which is a combination of the original Firestarter sculpt and and the new Dark Ages version with added gubbins for the fuel hoses.

I think, for values of think that is, that House Steiner and four legged mechs goes to together like wine and cheese, tea and biscuits etc.  So one day I will have two platoons of four legged mechs for my House Steiner Battalion.  This Sirocco has been slightly modified to sex up the pose. 

Saturday 10 January 2015

Pan Euro Fencer & Ogres Assembly

Well I've started work on assembling some Ogres to complete my Pan European force.  The Fencer is awaiting clean up and assembly and shows the extra two turrets I have so that I can play my Fencers as either As or Bs.  The Mark 3 has had its tower shortened to match its sister, and the Mark 5 has been modified.

I thought I'd show how I magnetized the Mark 5.  The Eagle eyed will have noticed something hinky going on with the nose of this model, and the cut-away running board.  More to come about what my intentions are in due course.  BTW this is a lead original Ral-Partha casting, which made cutting it easier.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Pink Panther Battalion: Update


I've posted these pictures before, but not as part of a log of my Pink Panther Battalion and the updated camo scheme that I plan to transition all the models over to in due course (as in as and when I get around to them).  First up Super Griffin custom conversion that I made before I found some nice Bushman gashsapons.

Here is one of the two aforementioned vinyl gashapons.  The Bushman was a light mountain mech in the series Sun of the Fang Dougram and never appeared in the original BattleTech TROs.  Still I like the design esthetic and have another two more models waiting to converted to BattleTech and then be painted up in my signature pink scheme.

Finally, the Atlas from the assault lance. I'm not a big fan of the assault mechs in general, because they're too slow, which means that once you've committed them to the battlefield you're not going to be able to withdraw, in a timely manner, should the battle not go your way.

Sunday 4 January 2015

X-Wing: The Force Wins

The last position, face-to-face Luke Skywalker destroys the Imperial TIE fighter to win the game.

We played our first game of Star Wars X-Wing last night, which my partner had bought me for Xmas.  My partner is not really a gamer in any shape or form, and straight-forward conflict games are not her thing (though saying that she will occasionally talk about her Scorpion mech pilot and her coffee making machine customization, so maybe after 17 years together something has rubbed off on her?).

So we did our usual split the game up with three players, where the third player is represented by our plush toy kittens, and we each take alternate turns to move the opposition, thereby not playing against each other directly.  This makes for an interesting game dynamic one turn you're running the third party I know what you're doing and what you will get to do this turn, but the next turn the tables are reversed.

By the time we watched the introductory videos on Fantasy Flight Games website, got all the pieces sorted (as in recognize the bits & pieces we had to organize) it took us about 90 minutes to play to the end of the game.  Most of this time was faffing as we worked through the moving and combat and special rules etc.  I really enjoyed myself and I think Susan did too.  She thought that the rule system would make for a great Battlestar Galactica fighter game too.  On reflection yes, but I think Battlestar Galactica would probably be best served by the new Star Wars Armada rules (caveat they're not out yet and I know nothing about them other than they represent fleet actions).

The kittens played Luke Skywalker in his X-wing, while me and Susan flew TIE fighters.  We lost to the plush toy kittens.  Not really surprising as we lost to them when we play Dalek Risk too.  In short a fun game.  The X-wing is a tough little cookie, but lumbers around while the TIE fighters are nimble, but fall apart if you look at them too hard.

Tags Under Labels


Having blogged for five years with hundreds of posts and pictures I've tried to make it easier for people coming here for the first time to find stuff of interest to them.  My regular readers may well have spotted the additions and changes I've made to some of the tags in the the Lables list, and I thought it might be useful to explain what I've been doing.

Let's start with the WGIAGH & WGIAWOL tags first.

WGIAGH stands for wargaming is a Goddam hobby, and I use the tag on things when I'm having a rant about something that I think is important, but probably isn't all that important in the greater scheme of things.

WGIAWOL stands for wargaming is a way of life, and in this tag means this is a more humorous piece or has humorous content, which is not to be taken too seriously.

AAR stands for after action report, and basically this is a report on the games I've been playing.

As I've have lots of posts about BattleTech they've been split into house rules, miniatures, musing and OSR, which stands for old school rules.  Pretty much everything else should be self explanatory, and I've added a new category of gaming in general, which is musing about game mechanics and rules that can apply equally to most rule systems or adds observations about games that can apply to most games.

Want to know more citizen, then click on the labels and go explore.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Next Wave of Ogre Painting


Having finished the North American Combine models for Dragonmeet I need to think about starting work on the next wave.  I have three trays worth of miniatures that need assembling and painting.

The first tray is the next lot of Pan European Federation models.  I acquired an early lead Mark 5 Ogre and later pewter Mark 3 from eBay.  Both will be modified to distinguish them as Pan European variants.  The Mark 3 by shortening the tower, while the Mark 5 will have its secondary batteries replaced with Doppelsoldner castings that I bought as spares, back when you could.

I also bought three more Jagers and four light tanks to make up the numbers I need for my renamed French inspired armoured force – 7ème Brigade Blindée Force et Audace.  I still have a largish amount of Pan Euro miniatures, mostly GEVs, maturing in my shoebox while they wait to be assembled and then painted once I've finished the current tray.

The next tray is most of my remaining Combine Ogre miniatures with just a handful of extras sitting in the shoebox maturing.  The unidentified casting centre-rear is an old Stan Johanson vehicle that I'm repurposing as a Mobile GEV Command Post

Finally, I sorted out the models I want to paint up to go with my Mark 4 Ogre that will represent my Nihon force (I have no idea what I'm calling this force yet, but the title will probably have the words Self Defence Force in it somewhere).  These are largely old BattleTech miniatures from Ral-Partha with the mobile howitzers converted using turrets from other sources.  I had a bunch of the old Battledroid Pegasus GEVs that are lovely looking models that will be perfect with the Mark 4 raiding scenario.  One of my old Pegasus miniatures had been a victim of a conversion to a command variant and my intent is now to rebuild it as a GEV-MCP – mobile command post (it's the one front and centre in the picture above or not as I might change my mind).

Some of you may remember seeing a bunch of other Ral-Partha BattleTech miniatures I had painted up, but stripped the paint off of when I decided to use official miniatures for both the main protagonists for my Ogre games.  Well I'm thinking about putting all the wheeled vehicles and tanks together and use them for a Chinese force.  Also my two custom home-made Ogres will in due course be stripped and repainted as independent cybertanks.  So all very exciting.

This afternoon I may well be playing my first game of X-Wing.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Happy New Year - 2015

One of my favourite Star War ships along with the Falcon, X-wing etc, etc.  Got to catch them all.

It's that time again, the time I wish all my readers a Happy New Year, and thank each and everyone of you for reading my humble musings and leaving comments here for me to read.  It really feels like I have friends on the net, and given the amount of stuff that goes down on the net, this is all good.  As you can see I received some X-wing stuff and I'm feeling in the mood for more space games, which may mean you'll see pictures of my spaceships at some point.  After all I promised to post them some while back (so long ago I can't remember when even!).

Needed to get this to be able to play with my Rebel Alliance blockade runner.  I sense spaceship combat games are in my future.

As always I'm not making any New Year resolutions, because I know that such things generally are counter productive, unless one is willing to make big changes and drive yourself hard.   For me wargaming is my hobby.  I do it so that I can escape the real world and relax.  Saying that though as I look back over the last year I see I have posted 45 entries to my blog.  Not quite once a week, you'll have to check out my other blog for why (my excuse anyway).

I've covered a lot of topics this year, starting with my Daleks size comparison , which turned out to be a very a popular post.  I've obviously mention Blast-Tastic on several occasions with a report here and here, and of course I managed to get a page in Miniature Wargames & Battlegames about the show too.  Finances allowing, because it costs money to stay in a hotel overnight, which I need to do for a show in Bristol as my rheumatoid arthritis doesn't take kindly to sleep deprivation (or more to the point when I'm tired I don't cope well with the pain), with that caveat in mind my intention is to present another Ogre/GEV again this year at Blast-Tastic.

However, last year was the year of all things Ogre, too many post to link to individually so if you want to see what I did you'll need to click on the Ogre/GEV links under labels.  Of course the real big deal for me was seeing my article that gave a comprehensive seven page overview of Ogre and the new Designers Edition from Steve Jackson Games in Miniature Wargames & Battlegames.  I have the go ahead from Henry to write up the scenario I've been demonstrating all year, with lots of pictures and ideas for campaigns.  However, despite the Ogre/GEV frenzy of 2014 I still managed one post on BattleTech.

What I haven't progressed much is my involvement with Heavy Gear and painting up my VOTOMS, or making up an OPFOR using Dream Pod 9s miniatures.  However Xmas saw some Utopian Golems arrive, and I've dusted off my VOTOMS and have them waiting in line to be painted.  I also have plans to make up some extra mechs to represent combat armour suits in my trilogy, because that's the way I roll.

Other than that I've been to a few shows: Salute, Warfare and Dragonmeet, but missed SELWG due to a friend coming to visit, and Newbury, which wasn't on, so I couldn't go. So, to finish, I wish everyone a fantastic New Year with lots of fun games.