Thursday, February 21, 2019

Much to tell, and Much to Write About! Lots of New Fan Ideas!

First off, I reran "The Sack of Misby Flats" at the Casa De Panzerfaust. The Combine still lost, but this time, the VPs were closer, 15-9 and the Tribe lost a fairly intact Warhammer! This will of course, inspire a follow on scenario, say ComStar deciding the Combine should not have such nice toys!

A battle report I wrote shorthand on my new Rocketbook reads as follows:

Turns 1-2: Tribe & Combine closed, Stalker and Exterminator died early. Fighting concentrated around woods.
Turns 3-4: Combine charges woods w/ Heavy lance, knife fight in woods, after Tribe Counter-charged. Combine Warhammer took heavy damage. Combine Dragon died. Tribe Stinger died after he tried to flank the Combine advance. Tribe falls back deeper in woods. Combine turns flank of Tribe, Game tuns into a barfight in the woods. Archer mugs Grasshopper, what is this neighborhood coming to? Jenner dies on Tribe flank.
Turns 5-6: Combine continues charge. Tribe is on defensive. All fights merge around the woods. Combine flanking attempt ends badly, Clint & Panther forced to withdraw. Tribe Firestarter in bad shape. Tribe Marauder is left w/o armor. Combine troops "Surrounded" (in target rich environment).
Turns 7-8: Fight has turned into graceless brawl. Tribe counterattacks, Combine Thunderbolt badly damaged.
Turn 8-9: Combine begins to pull back. Tribe player weighs options, as he only has 4 turns to withdraw to satisfy victory conditions. Tribe takes pot shots at building. Tribe Warhammer very badly damaged, it's mobility impaired. Combine Banshee and T-Bolt go down. Combine Marauder goes down to freak hit from Tribe Warhammer. Building destroyed by Tribe. Tribe Warhammer captured.
Ending VP totals: 15 for Tribe, 9 for Combine, Tribe win but some interesting effects on IS history, And ideas for a follow- on scenario!

The Combine's luck hasn't been great in these two scenarios. To be honest, it's a rough fight for them, as it should be historically, but I did make things tougher on the Tribe, limiting things to 12 turns instead of 15, and forcing them to go after the town, as they did historically. Now that said, they do get points for killing Combine units, and I wonder if that's a bit of a mistake? Something to ponder. All in all, I really do like this scenario. And, with the map I altered a bit, I got units into action Turn 1! This will make for a really exciting game if done right.

And, here are some more pics! 

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Hopefully these pictures are crowdpleasers!

I think I will finalize the scenario, and then put it in the bank to be run at future events, say Historicon or Guns of August? After that, I intend to work up some 4th War stuff and see if we can't do something 4th War on the Steiner front? That might be a whole lot of fun. Time to do some research! 

Meanwhile, while I was stooging around the Classic Battletech forums, I found out about this project!

I like what I have seen thus far, and they'd be fun to add some graphics to, but I will let the initial author handle that. I am just glad to see that the series is continuing on in some format. I do find it interesting there is no Davion manual. Does this mean a full Davion manual may eventually see the light of day?

Next, let's discuss the upcoming Commander's Edition of the Rules:

Taken from the CGL Website
It appears for the most part, it's going to be an amalgam of the basic rules, and the compendium that were released separately, with the errata added in. This is a good thing, and it will be nice to have it all in one place. But, there are some other rumors of coming changes to the point value system, as well as the cards themselves. With the MUL being something of a volunteer effort, this is a bit of a interesting development, and makes one go, "hmm". It also makes one ask, are the new AS cards in the boxed set obsolete already?

Speaking of the boxed sets, may I say..WORTH THE WAIT!

Both are taken from the CGL Website

The components are high quality (I didn't have an issue with any of the plastic miniatures!), the cards beautiful, and the rules well laid out and easy to read. I like the new pilot cards, and already, someone's come up with a template to make your own! And someone else is doing cards for the 'Ol Black Widow and friends herself!

Speaking of neat player aids out there, I found two more I really like:

The first is some Gear cards! All the relevant rules at your fingertips, and graphically pleasing too! I intend to make use of these.

An example of one of the Gear Cards, taken from the CBT forums.
Yep, lots of new stuff out there to make use of for our heavy metal mayhem! And oh, by the way. Battletech is 35 this year! It's nice to see one of our favorite games still going strong! 


Monday, December 31, 2018

I Have Joined the 3D Printing Revolution?

So, I got a lot of cool stuff for Christmas this year, but yeah, the biggie was this guy, a Photon 3D printer! I am pretty excited, and right now I am devouring the owner's manual. It's a resin printer as opposed to the filament, but they say that it produces better detail, but the resin is a touch more expensive.

So, I guess this is a short post, but all of you guys out there, what's some good pointers, or files? I have already visited Thingverse, Wargames Vault, and Yeggi, but I'd love to find more places to find stuff to print, or printer-specific pointers, as they claim the printer is easier, but I'd like to learn this by the numbers.

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My New Tool!

It's on the smallish side, but I think it can print 'Mechs well enough, bigger terrain pieces might be a challenge, unless they are multi-part, but what I am really of a mystery about is can files be re-scaled. What I am looking for is can I take a 28mm file, and rescaling it for 20mm? (One of my primary scales). Can it be done, and how easy is it to do?

Also, what's a good tutorial for STL creation for a beginner like me?

As you can see, I got a lot of questions! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Part 6, The Miniatures are Done, and the Game Itself!

Well, the game is in the record books. It ran, I got two players (a third was supposed to show, but sadly, he was in a car accident and was unable to make it, he's alright, but life, sadly, happens.)

In any event, first, I fixed that dreadful looking snow, and I mean it was dreadful. So, I did some research online, and thank god for youtube! I found a tutorial that worked and voila! Snow covered bases! Granted, they looked a bit more like a blizzard than a Iceland like effect I was going for, but adding some Army Painter tufts helped to break up the monotony of the bases. I rather liked how it all turned out, in retrospect.

As for decals, I used a mix of Fighting Piranha Graphics, and a fellow on ebay known as MatCatFrog. He makes some hard to find decals, but they are on pretty thick paper, and I found the Rasalhague Regulars decals a bit tough to work with. The 331st worked better, but they didn't have the backing they needed to stand out against the dark green of the color scheme of the Minnesota Tribe.

I tried using some Kanji numbers for the Combine 'Mechs, but it didn't work out and I'll probably come back and use some I-94 Enterprise decals for them at some point, but I was pressed for time.

In short, I liked how they turned out, and they look great for the eclectic sources that wound up making up the combatants.

Both sides, Completed.

As for the game, well, things went as historically. I gave the Minnesota Tribe better skills but lighter 'Mechs, and then gave the Combine heavier 'Mechs, but somewhat lesser pilots, but, they had a platoon of Von Luckners and Demolishers set up in Misby Flats itself, so it wasn't all going the Tribe's way.

But, it wound up going their way anyhow.

Both sides tried to turn each other's flank, but the Tribe had more speed, and managed it first, not to mention they killed 11 out of 12 'Mechs. But, they couldn't destroy Misby Flats, as they didn't manage their time right. I told both sides, for each Tribe 'Mech not off the table by Turn 15, the Combine got 5 points each, as that represents the eventual capture by the Combine of a fairly intact Star League-tech 'Mech, as opposed to the wreckage they got in the actual raid.

The end of the game was dramatic, with the remaining Kuritas holing up in a small wood to attempt an all around defense, it didn't work, sadly for them, and while they did gun down three Tribe 'Mechs by game end, and forced a Dervish to withdraw, alas, the score was 19-10 Tribe. (The Combine also got 5 points if the Tribe didn't shoot ANY buildings).

The game was good, solid fun. It needs a bit of tweaking of the map, and I am going to make it 12 turns next time to add a bit more drama, but yeah, I'd run this again.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Dave and Charlie for playing, and The Games Tavern for letting me host this event. I know more of you out there would have liked to play, and I promise, I will run it again, soon!

And here are some game pics:

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Part 5: Painting the Minnesota Tribe! And...not a great start on the snow IMO

It was a mixed day of painting yesterday, I did get a lot done painting-wise yesterday, as the game is Saturday at Noon at The Games Tavern. I am pretty excited about this, as far as I can remember, this is the first time anyone I know has run a Minnesota Tribe-themed game, and I am looking forward to this little game.

Now, painting the Minnesota Tribe:

I began by priming them black, as was stated in a previous blog entry. I am now wondering if I should have painted them grey instead. I used the following colors, the first was MiG-0081 US Olive Drab Vietnam Era (FS 24087) which, like most MiG colors, goes on thin, but if you hit it with two coats, it works well, but I did lose a little detail. I then drybrushed it with a coat of MiG-0929 Olive Drab Shine. It did a decent job of giving it a light shine, so much so, I then hit it with my Magic Mudd Wash. I think I am going to use the shine again as a highlight, see if that lightens up the scheme a bit, or I may use a lighter shade of OD with a 10% addition of some VMC Grey White?

The snow, that was another disaster. I made a hash of it I think. First, I used pumice instead of modelling paste, which I do not have, the rest, I didn't have water effects, so I used what I had of some gloss varnish. Honestly, what came out was grey..and looks more like ash than snow. I was not impressed. I might use some white glue and snow to go over top of this, then put some rocks and the like in to try and see if this can be improved.

The Combine Mechs mostly have their decals done, I just have to add numbers/some "nose art" and hazard symbols. But, I really like how they turned out. Anyhow, we'll see how it all goes tonight?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Minnesota Tribe Project Part 4, The Painting Begins in Earnest!

As we discussed in a previous post...I had determined what I wanted to do for painting the two sides in this scenario...then I gave it some more thought, and remembered I had this nifty set of colors from LifeColor.

LifeColor NATO MERDC Set (22ml x 6)
God Bless Amazon!
What can I say, I really liked the results!. They aren't as hardwearing as Vallejo or any of the other hobby paints out there, but they do a better job of color matches than anything I have seen and the results speak for themselves.

I at this stage have added Vallejo 993 Grey White, and then put P3s Morrow White atop it. It looks great layered and I intend to use it for all my ComStar stuff from now on.

This is after the application of all three Lifecolors, then a highlight of the Green with 5 parts Warthog Green to 1 part Morrow White. I did heat sinks and Jump Jets in BF's Rocket Steel, and then hit it all with some Magik Mudd Wash. In short, it looks marvelous. Cockpits are in Vallejo's Gloss Black, and Weapons Ports are Vallejo Dark Grey.

I must say, so far, so good IMO. I still have some detail work, basing, weathering and decals to do (not necessarily in that order..) but I am happy with the progress thus far. Now if I can just get the detail lines to be a bit more...pop. Thought the wash would accomplish this, but...

Progress thus far!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A little something to spice up your 4th War Games....

Special Loyalty Tasks Battalions of the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces
(a.k.a “Upright Capellan Citizens Battalions”)

A 4th War Era recruiting poster for the CCAF captured by the AFFS on Old Kentucky, the significance of which is the featured Urbanmech is the ride of Subcommander Lan Chou, a survivor of MacGregor's Armored Scouts, and a member of the 9th Special Loyalty Tasks Battalion, currently based on Victoria at the time of this photo. (AFFS Archives) (Taken from Mechwarrior Online forums)

Unit History and Origins:

3028 was a dark time for the Confederation. The AFFS had seemingly smashed the CCAF’s best with sickening ease. Even the vaunted Warrior Houses had been ground under like so much fertilizer under the feet of Davion ‘Mechs. Lesser regiments were breaking and running rather than face the AFFS and what seemed like certain death. Something had to be done to stiffen the spine of the CCAF. One Capellan Colonel had an idea. It was born of another war, and another nation’s trial, and what she did to “stiffen the spine” of her armed forces in the face of near calamity.

During the 2nd Global War, or the “Great Patriotic War” the initial stages of the Eastern Front had not gone well for the Soviet Union, and she had faced a situation that was not too unlike what the Capellan Confederation now found herself in, thus on December 15th, 3028, the Strategios, with the approval of Chancellor Maximilian Liao himself, issued infamous “War Order No 97”, which held that any member of the CCAF who was found to be “showing reluctance to fight, defeatism, or suspicion of treason” was to be arrested, stripped of rank and immediately to be assigned to one of the new “Corrective Infantry Regiments” being formed (see the associated document on “Capellan Corrective Infantry Regiments).

Furthermore, any actual withdrawal in the face of the enemy, or surrender would meet with immediate execution by the nearest member of the Capellan State, civilian or military, regardless of their rank. Simply put, if a Senior Colonel advocated surrender, and a nearby Recruit had the means to kill him, he was to do so. Three months later, “War Order 211” expanded this authority to any Capellan national of any rank, thus civilians became fair game for this treatment as well.

The other provision that was made was the organization of “Special Loyalty Tasks Battalions” made from excess personnel from the Maskirovka’s Special Security Bureau and the Department of Officer Observation and Cultural Monitoring, as well as decorated combat veterans who had a history of dedication to the Capellan state, from units that had been destroyed in the fighting thus far.

Members of the 6th Special Loyalty Tasks Battalion's "Corrective Infantry Company" in action on Hamal, early 3029. (Taken from Capellan State Media)

The units were organized as a combined arms battalion, with a company of medium to heavy ‘Mechs, a company of heavy to assault vehicles, and a company of mechanized SRM troops. Attached to the company was also a foot “Rifle” [1]company of “Corrective Infantry” whom were usually made up of recent detainees who were given a chance to “expiate their crimes in blood” on the spot, rather than be sent back to the rear to face a drumhead court martial where often the verdict was predetermined, and where official notice would be taken of their “actions” (with the usual repercussions to be suffered by the family of the soldier or officer in question).

Ten such battalions were formed by war’s end, with five of surviving to see action during the Canopean-Andurien War. Three of them survived to be disbanded by Sun-Tsu Liao upon his ascension to the throne in 3052.

To give an idea of the nature of these battalions in “action”, the 1st Battalion consisted of the following elements listed below during its initial participation in the defense of Wei, where it “assisted” the defenders in the utilization of chemical weapons against the 12th Vegan Rangers. (They seized the stocks themselves over the objections of the planetary commander and his staff, whom they arrested, and assigned to them to their attached corrective company, none of them survived the fighting on Wei.).

Image result for Capellan Confederation armed forces images
Knocked out Capellan Vedette from 1st Special Loyalty Tasks Battalion as depicted by Davion war artist from AFFS Military History Detachment attached to the 12th Vegan Rangers, Wei, 3029 (Taken from AFFS archives)

1st Special Loyalty Tasks Battalion, ca. Defense of Wei 3029

Dunworthy’s Command Lance
Major Thomas Dunworthy (Gunnery 2, Piloting 2) RFL-3N Rifleman
Captain Sarah Sho-Wei (Gunnery 3, Piloting 4) CRD-3L Crusader
Commander Alex Rostov (Gunnery 4, Piloting 4) VND-1R Vindicator
SubCommander Dennis Chou (Gunnery 4, Piloting 5) SHD-2H Shadow Hawk

Tseng’s Fire Lance
SubCommander Lisa Tseng (Gunnery 3, Piloting 3) CRD-3L Crusader
Force Leader Mikhail Ruslov (Gunnery 2, Piloting 4) CPLT-A1 Catapult
Lance Sergeant Jimmy “Too Tall” Soon (Gunnery 4, Piloting 5) VND-1R Vindicator
Lance Corporal Jenny Buttonworth (Gunnery 3, Piloting 2) PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk

Tsarnov’s Skirmish Lance
SubCommander Alexei Tsarnov (Gunnery 3, Piloting 3) DV-6M Dervish
Force Leader Anton Wei (Gunnery 3, Piloting 4) GRF-1N Griffin
Lance Sergeant Brittany Holmes (Gunnery 4, Piloting 4) HER-1B Hermes
Lance Corporal Max Holgman (Gunnery 3, Piloting 3) WSP-1A Wasp

1st Armor Platoon:
SRM Carrier (4/5)
Manticore (3/4)
Rhino (SL) (4/4)
Ontos (4/4)

2nd Armor Platoon:
Demolisher (3/4)
Demolisher (3/4)
Laser Carrier (4/4)
LRM Carrier (3/3)

3rd Armor Platoon:
Hetzer (4/4)
Vedette (4/5)
J.Edgar (3/3)
Scorpion (4/4)

1st Guardian Company:
3 Motorized SRM Platoons (3)

Corrective Infantry Company:
3 Foot Rifle Platoons (5)

Alpha Strike Stats can be found here

The battalion went on to see action on Sarna and Kaifeng (where they perpetrated a massacre of disloyal elements in the Kaifeng militia, and may have also “encouraged” the local Home Guard commander’s fanatical behavior by threatening his family.) The 1st never made it off Kaifeng, as it was caught and destroyed by the Davion Light Guards while they were attempting to run for their dropships.

Colors of the battalions were bright Liao Green with Black highlights, with the decorations of the pilots and crews prominently displayed on either the left front torso of a ‘Mech or the front glacis of a vehicle. Standards of grooming and dress were high, with members of the battalions facing much derision for their “parade ground manners.” The exception to this was the attached “Corrective Infantry Companies” who were often in their last uniforms, stripped of all insignia, save the Capellan Dao and Fist sigil.

Some battalions often found themselves turned on by Capellan units who were all too eager to surrender, one of the more well-known incidents being the incident known as the “Battle of Traitor’s Grove” where elements of the 3rd Battalion, supported by loyal elements of the 2nd Battalion of Hurloc’s Hussars attempted to stop the rest of the Hussars from surrendering. The battalion was unsuccessful and was hunted down by both the Davions and the Capellans alike.

As expected, this organization varied widely, as replacements came and went as casualties mounted for the CCAF during the war. Often, “promising” talent was “poached” from a planetary Home Guard, or neighboring regiments ( this practice sparked a little-known incident between the surviving elements of the Nightrider’s Regiment, then recovering from Sarna, and 5th Battalion, which ended in the destruction of 5th Battalion, and a rare rebuke by Archibald McCarron himself.)

[1] The rifle designation is in quotes because often, there were hardly enough rifles to go around to the detainees, and ammunition was often low as well. One such “corrective detachment” observed on Tsinghai had 1 rifle for every 5 men, and the rest were armed with sharpened bamboo staves.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Minnesota Project Part 3 - The Mechs are prepared and primed for painting!!!

The painting has begun in earnest, and I have made some decisions regarding paint schemes and units. So far, things went pretty smooth, and my substitutions at times worked out better than I had thought they would.

Let's discuss each unit in detail, shall we?

Rasalhague Regulars: As I said in previous posts, the 20th was an odd unit, and was even odder due to the effects of the 1st Succession War. Casualties had been heavy and the unit itself was never probably high on the list of the Bureau of Substitution's list of priorities so there was probably a lot of "mend and make do" but probably not as bad as, oh, say, the Legion of Vega would be in later years, as the ISF kept a pretty close eye on the Regulars as a whole all during their existence. 

As for their baseworld, Trondheim, the terrain in my mind resembles something like Iceland, volcanic, lots of rocks, crags, mountains, and scrub grass where there is grass. I don't know what the weather is like, but I expect it's probably a lot like Iceland's as well. 

It probably looks a lot like this:

Note the red and green moss, as well as the geothermal venting...nice bit of natural palette for someone to choose their camouflage against!

So, I decided to go with one of the MERDC patterns, specifically the Snow with Trees Pattern as exhibited by this M548 here, as shown on Cybermodler:

Taken from Cybermodler

The scheme looks to me as if it is about 50% White, 50% Green-Grey, and about 10% Tan and Black respectively. I am going to therefore, use the following colors and see how they work out?

  • For the White, any old White will work, and I have a few craft paint bottles that will fill the need nicely.
  • As for the Green/Grey, this was the hardest, but I think I am going to go with Battlefront's Team Yankee Warthog Green. I think it works the best, and I will lighten it by about 20% with some white to do the highlights.
  • As for the Tan, Vallejo Model Color German Camo Beige seems to be the order of the day, with again, 20% White added for highlights.
  • As for the Black, again, pretty simple, I'll use Vallejo Model Color's Black Grey to do some highlights, probably very lightly drybrush those.
As for the primer color, I went with some plain old Rustolium Light Grey, using some Vallejo Grey Primer to touch up what needed it. So far, I rather like the results of the Primer and I think this will work out to gradually build up the white. I also plan to try some hairspray method with the white, as well as some chipping and other weathering. These machines should have been used hard and put up wet, IMHO.

The Rasalhague Light/Medium Lance before being primed, three of the 'Mechs are from the Alpha Strike box sets and the Panther is a IWM miniature, based on a hex base.

The Dragon and a Warhammer which wound up with the Minnesota Tribe, the Dragon is from the Alpha Strike box sets and the Warhammer is a Tomahawk from a Robotech Tactics expansion box. (incidentally, I did not find it that hard to put together). 

The Combine Heavy/Assault Lance, this consists of a Banshee and Orion from the Alpha Strike Box Sets, a Stalker from Warhansa, and a IK Marauder (That 'Mech wound up in the Minnesota Tribe force and was replaced by a repro Marauder).
The Rasalhague Mechs are primed and ready for the next step! You can see a unseen Thunderbolt, and a Warhammer in the mix, as well as an Archer, most are Alpha Strike box sets, as well as a repro Marauder (I didn't know what I was buying) and a WarHansa Stalker.

Here is another view from the front
Minnesota Tribe: The Minnesota Tribe has a bit of a easy paint job in comparison. Good old Star League standard issue Olive Drab. I decided I'd go with MiG-0081, the Vietnam Era US Olive Drab color that MiG puts out as the base coat, then use MiG-0929, their Olive Drab Shine to do highlights, and generally prime them all Black. To me, dirt simple and easy to do. I don't expect much trouble and I think I am going to make these 'mechs look as crisp and clean as I can.

In short, probably a simpler task than the Rasalhague 'Mechs, but I am sure I can find ways to make this fun!

The Minnesota Tribe Strike Lance, I have a Unseen Phoenix Hawk and Stinger, an IWM Sentinel (Which I have been dying to use somewhere) and a Alpha Strike box set Firestarter.

The Skirmish Lance, it's made up of a IWM Exterminator, a IWM Kintaro, a IWM Wolverine II, and a Alpha Strike Box Set Dervish.

And here are the 'Mechs, all primed with Black Gesso. I find this stuff works when you cannot prime outside (We had a bit of rain on Sunday, and it made priming difficult). 

And here is another shot, you can see the Intro Box Set Grasshopper in the back, it wasn't too bad a sculpt, all things considered.

So, that said, I think I will be painting the Rasalhague 'Mechs first, they'll be just a lot more fun, IMHO, but we shall see. I do hope I can measure up with all the quality painting I see on FB, as I tend to be more of a speed painter of armies (The historicals guy in me), but I think this ought to be a ton of fun all around.