Pirate conversions, and more Black Widow work (TotBWC, Battletech)

So, I’ve been much more productive these last couple of months than usual. Part of it’s getting on the right meds for a change, part of it’s completing the better part of a year’s worth of therapy for my ADHD. Now I’ve got time to work on something other than fixing my headspace, I’ve been working my ass off on my project backlogs. It hasn’t really made it onto the blog, since a lot of my projects have just been aimed at unfucking my house or otherwise not hobby-related, and I haven’t been in the mood to write for a while either. But now it’s too hot for carpentry, so back to the keyboard we go.

Right now I’m working on my massive post queue; I kept starting posts and then abandoning them to the ether after twenty minutes over the last year or so, and now I’m going back and finishing them – or adding on the stuff that I quit writing to do and never got done.

This is one of those posts – a selection of the ‘Mechs I converted/prepped/repaired in the course of three days back in June. I had to pull a couple back for QC (like the Bounty Hunter), but it was a lot of fun.

Overall production

Left to right, front to back:
Front row: SHD-2D “Vang” custom Shadow Hawk (This one is a little surprise for the mission “Leave No Survivors“; check below the break for the tech readout. It’s a beast), Stinger, Crusader, converted GRF-1S “Steiner”.
Second Row: Stinger, converted Wasp (left-handed, with a Recon Camera, two Vehicular Grenade Launchers, and a Small Laser replacing the missile system), an ICE Thunderbolt (modified from Steve’s design in 3063, see below the cut), a dressed-up Griffin with a Dougram Bushmaster’s linear gun, and a stock WHM-6R for the Santander Killers.
Third Row: two stock Wolverines, plus a Shadow Hawk converted to a Wolverine standard. See below for the parts breakdown. After that there’s another upgunned Griffin and a reposed and cut-down Stalker for the pirates (I’m using the stats for the lightened 80-tonner with it).

IMG_20160605_213303_957Detail pics:
Here’s some slightly better shots of the four who do me proudest.
SHD-2D “Vang”: Added another Dougram light Linear gun (the ML on the Shadow Hawk) from my gashapon collection, and put on a light SRM from the same source. The over-the-shoulder gun is the Large Laser I took from the Thunderbolt, mounted on a small part from a MW Clix mini. I recarved the area next to the head to remove the original grenade pack and plugged the SRM holes in its “collarbone”.

SHD-2 “NISE* Wolverine”: So, I’ve always disliked the way the Wolverine looks (heresy, I know. Shut up.). I scored a 3e plastic Shad on Ebay for $1 since the backpack gun was damaged and the laser had broken off. And I figured “Why the hell not? Someone’s gotta get a Command ‘Mech out of this, and pirates seem like the folks to do it”. First I rebarreled the arm laser with a bit of wire and some Green Stuff, then added a spare Command Destroid pack to the back in place of the AC. I mated the AC receiver to a barrel cut from scrap from a WH40 Basilisk fighting platform railing and a short magazine made from plasticard, then mounted it under the fore-arm. It’s hard to see, but there’s a small finger guard attached to the hand-grip. The missile rack is a carefully re-cut pair of SRMs from a JES-1 carrier. I also filed off the VGL mount on this one, but left the gap clear for the backpack SRM to shoot through.
This is going to be the leader for Recce lance of 2 Coy, Santander’s Killers.
*From the Gundam fandom. Refers to a “mocked up” or faked version of a ‘Mech using another’s chassis; the original NISE Gundam used a GM chassis.

TDR-6FX1: I like diesel Thuds. You like Diesel Thuds. We all like ’em. So this was an easy rebuild choice for another E-Bay rescue Thud. The shoulder mount is a pair of Dougram Linear guns, cut down and reinforced, with a Locust-like arm pod made from plasticard and a plastic rod. The arm got a Wolverine hand-gun from a WVR-6M conversion I did ages ago for a buyer, plus a shield from an MS-06F Zaku II that I had converted to a Zaku I. The smokestacks are made from sprues, and I sculpted a simple engine and heat sink into the back (as well as the laser pack space in the front). Given that these things are supposed to be like forty years old by the late Jihad, I busted her up a little bit too.

GRF-1S: This is a simple up-gunning, using components from a Roundfacer “Korchima Special” as well as a RRPGT Defender radome and some cord.First I cut away the shitter guns that come with the vinyl 3e minis, then carefully sawed in the detail on the legs and re-carved/sculpted the shoulder and side of the head. I added a small “reactor pack” on the back using a casting taken from a AAA battery, and wired it up to a recast Roundfacer gun. I tried a couple different components to dress up the other side of the pack, but the radome just seemed to fit so well. On the other side, I’ve mounted a smaller missile launcher, taken from a Dougram gashapon. Oddly, given how much time and effort I sunk into the others this one is still my favorite-looking.

 

The Future:

Painting to come once I finish allocating to the various forces in the book, though I already have homes for the Stalker, “NISE” Wolverine (both to the Killers), Thud (Canopian militia), Stingers, Vang’s SHD (Draconis March Militia), and Griffins (One each to the Donegal Guards, Killers, and Black Widows). On the shelf I’ve got some converted Archers, Pixies, the Bounty Hunter (3015), a few Valks, and the Dougram gashapon to fiddle with, plus a fuckton of vees.

Record sheets:
Below the cut, with some quick commentary on the design process and ideas behind them.
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TotBWC project update

Made a little more progress, now that I’ve got enough wherewithal to stay focused on one thing for more than 5 minutes. I’m still not even up to standing for more than 5 minutes, let alone the walk to Gabi’s from the bus stop, so live-fire tests at the LGS have been postponed (again..). Going to test out a couple scenarios with my brother while he’s here, though.

Here are the current revised force lists for the scenarios listed below (I’m still writing them up in the new scenario style, which will be coming up shortly. I hope.)
Scenarios with simple map/rule revisions:
“Leave No Survivors”
“Ghost Unit”
“Last Line of Defense”
(Hoff scenario IV)
(The remaining Hoff scenarios are getting repurposed into a Chaos Campaign tree)

“The Lady and the Tiger”
Special Rules: The weather is a Heavy Snowfall, increasing the difficulty of all piloting and gunnery rolls by 1. All ‘Mechs sink an additional point of heat. Starting on Turn 15, piloting skill rolls increase by 1, and all hexes cost +1 MP due to snow buildup; in addition, all units sink an additional point of heat each turn. All Water hexes are solid Ice. Forced Withdrawal is in effect.

Defender: The Black Widow Company (Total BV: Just shy of 16,000)
(Roll 1d6 on turn 4; on a 1-3, the Fire lance arrives: on a 4-6, the Scout lance. The remaining Lance arrives on Turn 7)
The Black Widow Command Lance must deploy within 4 hexes of the center of their Home Edge; all of their reinforcements enter from the opposite edge (flanking units returning to envelop the Killers).

Attacker: Santander’s Killers, Tregarth’s Company (Total BV: 11,726)
Command Lance: Cpt. Tregarth: Untouched WHM-6R*, Veteran Skills. TDR-5S (18 RT armor, 12 sinks, 7 CT(r) armor) (Veteran skills). WVR-6R (15 armor, LT). Warrior Larsen: GRF-1N (costs 2MP/hexside to turn)
Scout Lance: PHX-1 * (Double all movement heat, 5 HD armor, Veteran), STG-3R (gyro hit), STG-3R (Heat sinks reduced to 8), LCT-1V (heat sinks reduced to 6)
Fire Lance: VLK-QA* (Veteran, malfing Medium Laser), GRF-1N (10 LRM-10 ammo left, down to 10 sinks), SHD-2D (Gunnery 6 due to FCS damage), PNT-9R (all rear armor reduced to 2)
The Killers are in a search formation, struggling to overcome the blizzard, and all lance members must deploy within 2 hexes of their lance leader (marked with a * above). All lance leaders must be within 3 hexes of the center hex(es) of the map. Their Home Edge lies opposite to the Widow’s

Playtest notes:
I increased the delay on the reinforcements to give the Killers a little more of a chance; they wind up out-BV’d in the original scenario when half of the Widow’s Scout Lance walks onto the board, and basically outnumbered 2:1 by turn 5. It’s straight-up not enough time to even engage, let alone do any damage, for such a light force. With an objective of “kill everything, accept no substitutes”, it’s disgustingly unfair.
The overall Killers force was drastically increased; I like the paint scheme, so this is an excuse to make a company of pirates with a fairly reasonable force. I’m also going to do a personality model for the Death’s Head Raiders Victor mentioned in 3025.
I’ve run this one twice so far in its current incarnation. Still working on the map layout, but the Widow player can still win handily IF they use the weather to their advantage. While the Killers have more jumping units, the Widows have better gunnery on average and far more close-combat firepower. The cold weather at least partially compensates for the ratty ‘Mechs on the Killer’s side, and it is possible to inflict very serious damage on the Widows very quickly if they get sloppy. In particular, if Nasty K and MacLaren overheat too soon, they can be coursed and slaughtered before the Widow’s reinforcements arrive. The Killers’ player, however, must be extremely careful not to let his faster units string out and allow his defeat in detail. Finally, loading Infernos into the Shadow Hawk or Wolverine can allow some interesting tactics with Mud. Or the iced-over water hexes on the map…

“The Bounty Hunter”
Stillin the early testing stage; the assassination objectives make this one hilarious, but the Haseks had a dangerous BV advantage in the original scenario. On my first play-through, however, the Haseks literally lost 2 of their lights on turn 1 to breach checks and another to a failed PSR, badly unbalancing the scenario. I’m thinking of making some of the Hasek warriors have at least one Veteran skill, especially the Valk pilots hiding in the pools on his lawn – who will desperately need higher piloting skills with the way water works now compared to the BattleDroids rules. I may also down-weight some of the bodyguard lance.
This requires a custom map, which I’ll upload in its final form; this winds up being a clusterfuck pretty fast on the original 2×1 map. Especially with the walls and other elements restricting mobility.
TRO 3025 notes that the Haseks have “replaced all ‘Mechs in their Light and Fire lances” with Valkyries. With that in mind, the current test force:
The Bounty Hunter: MAD-BH’15 (Elite), SHD-2H, SHD-2H.  (6428 BV assuming elite/vet/vet)
Sixth Syrtis Fusiliers: (Duke Hasek’s personal Guard) [8,947 BV]
Command lance: MAD-3D or WHM-6D (The funnier option is the MAD, since it’s Michael’s personal ride), CRD-3D, RFL-3N, RFL-4D. [5737 BV, assuming 3/3 MAD-3D or WHM-6D – both have essentially identical BVs]
Second Lance: PHX-1, 3x VLK-QA (3,210 BV) or 4x VLK-QA [2892 BV]

This leaves “Lady Sings the Blues”, “Queen’s Gambit”, “Scavenger Hunt”, “Spider Trap”, “Dawn Patrol”, “Fog of War”, and “Lady’s Man”.

Progress update, Tales of the Black Widow project (Battletech)

Well, I had a progress update to post night before last. Then I dislocated my knee again (#17! YAAAAAAY!) and spent posting time in the ER and/or too high to write coherently. So, yeah. ‘Nuff about me.

Three nights ago, I did up a test ‘Mech for Santander’s Killers, an SHD-2D. I’m particularly proud of the cockpit jewelling. The color scheme is based on the old “Medium Lance” box cover; if you look closely, the Shad in the front has an emblem of the Santander V flag with crossed swords behind on a black diamond (Click for embiggitude). In addition, the only canon source on the colors of the Killers is some sidebar fiction where a Griff pilot describes silver and black ‘Mechs (generally, the first color named is the primary, with the other being a prominent detail color).Lisa - Medium Lance CoverCompare to:
IMG_20140608_155125_161

She still needs basing and decals, but I really like this scheme.
Cockpit jeweling is based on an old manga technique, using the “streaks” of brushmarks to get the layering down. First layer was a thin white streak along the lower and right edges and a small dot in the upper left. Next is a dark purple glaze, followed by a fast wet-blend using the dark and medium purples with a small amount of bone white. Took me about a minute, not counting the dry-time for the glaze.
As for the conversion, it’s another salvaged eBay plastic from 3e. The guy I got it from apparently tried the old lighter trick to burn off the excess vinyl flash, but only partially melted the side of the head and damaged the guns. The current arm lasers, LRM drum, and cannon are recast off of one of those Gashapon I picked up last month, while the (damaged) backpack is original, with a sculpted ammo pack on the left side to replace the damage from Bubba the ‘Mech Abuser.

Why did I pick what’s almost universally regarded as one of the shittiest ‘Mechs in BattleTech? Well, it’s a spike damage-dealer used for ambushes (piratical); the leader of the Killers, the pirate-king Halmar Valasek, is from the Federated Suns (who developed the modification); and damnit, it looks kind of cool.

Reactor, Online… (Battletech, etc.)

Back online after the usual recovery/sanity period surrounding Sakuracon. We had a great year – it looks like we may actually hit our soft-cap next year – and my staff were as always pretty cool. Even got some game time in, along with the Gundam panel. I’ll have pics of S-con and ECCC later, along with commentary, but the posts are kinda stalled on my dashboard for now. Work is, as always, driving me slowly mad and ate the last week of the month; combine that with spring cleaning and you wind up with a month of dead blog. Sorry about the delay.

But enough about me, on to the content.

First off, a friend of mine had a birthday this week; he’s a big Seahawks fan, so I did him up a plastic Marauder in the 12th Donegal Guards’ colors, with a freehanded Seahawks logo.

Inn't she purty?

Inn’t she purty?

This is the first actual painting session I’ve managed to finish without cramping up or fucking up since I broke my hand last year. Now I need to get back on the stick..

Which is where the second part of this comes in. I’ve started work again on the Black Widows campaign I’ve been kicking around for months.

First step (yesterday and today) was finding the units, ‘Mechs, and planets used in each scenario, along with any special props and rules that might be required.

The next step, which should take about a week, will be updating the scenarios. See, Tales of the Black Widow Company isn’t actually a BattleTech book. It’s a BattleDroids supplement, crudely updated and shoveled out the door. Several things in it violate canon or construction rules (the Super Wasps and Griffin are infamous in this regard), and it was written using only ten standard ‘Mech designs throughout (plus two Mackies and the Supers). Hell, two of the units mentioned don’t even technically exist, nor do a couple of the planets. So.. yeah. I’m adding some iconic House ‘Mechs to each group (for example, swapping in Valkyries and Javelins for the Davion lights), altering others to give a slightly better balance, and swapping or enlarging the maps for a more tactical game (All of the scenarios use 1×2 or 2×1 setups of the original BattleDroids/BattleTech boxed set mapsheet with minor alterations).

Part of the ‘Mech cataloging process will be going through my collection and massaging the two to fit each other. Much as I love the Griffin, I don’t have twenty of them I can allocate to the pile (although the two booster boxes of Dougram gashapon I just picked up are certainly helping..), and adding in, say, a few Wolverines will certainly help matters.

After the cataloging comes the painting. Some are already painted (the Super Wasp, a couple generic Davion ‘Mechs), and I’ll be posting the WiP shots of the rest as I get into it.  88 total unpainted ‘Mechs at the moment, although with some list tweaks I can probably cut that down to ~80, and at least 10* different color schemes. I even get to paint the better part of a company of pirates (from the Santander Killers). If that doesn’t get me back on form, not sure what will..

For the edification and amusement of myself and my players, I’ll be playtesting my Random ‘Mech Quirks document as well (after the break, along with the unit breakdown).

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