Working on the first two Lances

This week (read: two evenings) has been pretty efficient. Naturally I started by priming the miniatures. At least that Model Air Gray Primer smells a lot less than a sprayable primer. In fact, it doesn't smell. That's a victory in my books.

I attacked my DCMS Lance with great eagerness. Naturally it was a good idea to check at this point if I had any decent red paint in my storage... There were three shades of red, I decided that two would be just fine. As the bottom layer I applied a coat of Game Color -series Gory Red on all four 'Mechs. I thought that they looked a lot better at that point already.

While the red paint was drying on the surfaces of my DCMS tin cans, I went for the Lyran Alliance 'Mechs. Years ago I had bought some Citadel's blue paint for my friend's Ghost Bears and a lot later I had bought some Vallejo's Game Color - Magic Blue that was supposedly the same shade and I thought that's just what I need for my Lyrans. I started with the Right Leg so that I left some space for the white stripe that I'd paint a bit later. The space was chosen so that each leg was about 50/50 white and blue, vertically. After I had finished the last one I took a short break and painted Dead White over the remaining surfaces + Atlas' head.

At this point I returned back to the Combine 'Mechs and washed them all with Badab Black. This way I got the surface details brought out. Maybe that can be seen in that photo, but not necessarily too well because cell phone photos in a suboptimal light... they're just grainy to begin with, as everyone knows.

While I was at it, I repeated the procedure with the blue-white 'Mechs. After considering my approach for a moment I decided to wash the white surfaces as well, even though I had planned on not doing that. Maybe this is better, this way the deeper recesses got their details brought out and the whole area ended up looking less flat.

At this point I think I just called it a day and continued the next day. The first step of said next day was to highlight the joints and other random parts with a bit of Vallejo's Oily Steel. I hadn't done it before applying the black wash for a reason.
The problem with washing is that it, surprise surprise, darkens the painted surface unless you apply it to the recesses and cracks only. So I picked up a Game Color series Bloody Red and drybrushed all the dark red areas of the DCMS miniatures. This way all the panels got a lighter colour and generally a not-so-flat surface. I haven't worked much with red surfaces (I think the only red thing I've painted is an ancient Blood Angels Dreadnought), my red usage has been just for details. Below are some pics first with just the metal highlights and then with red drybrushing. First one in line is...


CPLT-C1 (65 tons)


JR7-D (35 tons)


ASN-21 (40 tons)


DRG-1N (60 tons)

Obviously the metal highlighting was an identical process for the Lyran 'Mechs but because that blue is the only blue paint I have, just like with white, I just drybrushed those to undo some of the darkening effects of the Badab Black wash. Especially the white parts look a lot better.


BNC-3E (95 tons)


AWS-8Q (80 tons)


ZEU-6S (80 tons)


AS7-D (100 tons)

After all this was done I returned to the metal parts and applied some Devlan Mud on them. There's not much to say about this simple step but I at least took photos of the Catapult, Assassin and Dragon. At least they were somehow photographable at this point.

So the next round will consist of painting the viewports of the cockpits. All these red DCMS units will get some sort of green on them. The blue-whites will get an orange effect on them if I manage to mix up a good one. Somehow I don't think I dare to try any sort of jeweling at this point...


Not so fine-tuning

I'm sorry but I forgot to take proper work-in-progress pics of my moddings because I got so excited while hacking around. So I'll try to explain things without all the images I wanted to show.

To begin with I started with the Cyclops because I thought it's going to have the easiest modification I had preplanned. And it's a new unit for me because I've only built Clan OmniMechs so far, these freeborn tin cans have only been around in the games, novels and as the cardboard stand-ins in our BT sessions. So here it goes:

As the first step I started to look for the AC/20 that was supposed to be molded somewhere. Then I checked what the wiki and a bunch of pictures say about its location. After learning what I wanted, I chopped off some kind of a random lump off the Right Torso and wondered what sort of a tube I'd install there. In the end I chose a piece of a Tops stick: I cut a short piece off and cut a nice ~45º degree slope in the rear end of said piece. Then I tried if it sits in nicely and glued it.

That was quick and easy, next one was going to be a bit more complicated.

As I had started replacing the AutoCannon barrels, the next target was obviously the Atlas. Whatever those things on top of its hips were, I chopped them away for they were horrendous. To describe the quality I tell this: I couldn't tell which of the turds was a laser and which one an AutoCannon... My three-year old memory of my Model Expo diorama told me that the AC belongs on the Right Torso but the reference pictures I checked said it's on the Left Torso. Somehow I decided to put in on the left side.
Because I had already decided that this gun is going to be Big, I cut a nice piece of that copper pipe that I bought this spring from the Model Expo. It's diameter is 5mm IIRC. While I was pondering on the location and testing how it fits, I also noticed that yeah, this model is anorectic and that looks bad. I rolled a chunk of Greenstuff to make a new Center Torso for the Atlas and I even scraped the panel lines on that thing. In a couple of minutes from a starving skinny person from a KZ to a middle-aged beer-bellied geezer. Not bad.

While I was at it, I rolled the already mixed surplus Greenstuff into some sort of filler between the new AC barrel and the torso. Sculpting is so nyt my thing.
After pondering for a while, I decided that the laser gun barrel on the other side torso was to be made of something else than that Tops pipe. Somehow I came up with the thought of using a piece of a sprue. I cut a piece of one and carved a hole in the end to make it look more like a gun of sorts. Maybe it's good enough after some painting.

At this point the whole pose of the miniature bothered me quite a bit. Even with the replacement parts something just didn't look right. It looked somehow submissive. To fix that I cut the Right Arm off, attached pins and reattached the arm at an angle, so it looks a bit less static and boring.

After these two monsters I started working on one of the main things I wanted and needed to do. Catapult's LRM launcher doors. To build them I cut two small sheets of thin styrene and tried to make them match the shapes of the launchers. That match is somewhat far-fetched but maybe it looks decent enough after the painting.
For some obscene reason the plastic used in this miniatures is weird and it doesn't play well with anything else, including that styrene and glue. Oh, I did think that it worked until I made the mistake of poking one of the doors. They didn't stick after all.
As I'm a cruel and evil person, I lit a tea candle and warmed the upper edges of the LRM launchers a bit. They softened up enough for me to just press the new doors in place.

While that candle was still lit I used it to clean up all the random crap in the minis I had prepared. With "random crap" I mean those annoying random flaps of plastic that just don't want to go away with an xacto or a file. So melting them away worked.

In general I have to complain: that plastic is something incomprehensible. I have never, ever crossed my path with anything that bad. My (rather extensive) collection of swearwords is not even nearly enough to describe it.
And I haven't even started painting on that stuff...

Here's a group pic of the miniatures that are more or less ready for painting. Most of them didn't need anything more than regluing a loose limb, head or so. And getting rid of those enfuriating mold lines. Many of them, if not all, need an antenna or a couple. For those I need to consult images and all that, I didn't want to do that just by guessing. That's not a big deal anyway and it won't take long to do, whenever I get to start.

I don't think it makes any sense to start painting individual 'Mechs but a Lance at a time. In that picture I have arranged the minis so that there's a column for a faction and as you can see, two of those columns have all four BattleMechs in place. Those are the ones to be painted first.

The Lance on the left side is going to be painted in one of the DCMS patterns, mostly a red one because that's how the Combine is easily recognized. With this in mind I'm most likely going to choose one of the Sword of Light units or any of the Legions of Vega (those are commonly red-gray). Because the SoL's unit logo is the same as the logo of Draconis Combine, just with a different coloured dragon, it'd be easy if I manage to freehand the DC logo to begin with. That sword-wielding rat of LoV units would be a bit much for a guy like me who can't draw at all ;)

The other Lance is earmarked to the Lyran Alliance and so far I don't have a good clue of what to do with them. Those chaps at Tharkad like blue and that's just about all I know about Lyrans and their colour schemes.... I guess that those Lyran Guards RCTs are the most recognizable with their blue-white parade schemes. Those also seem to have unit logos designed, unlike most of the other Lyran units seem to be.

Whatever happens, at least I get to try a bunch of new paint schemes.


A six Lance Combat Drop

The awesome BattleTech Starter Set that I bought earlier this year had creeped to the front of my TODO-list with all its pawns. As my first task I assembled the other bonus plastic OmniMech miniature, Hellbringer. There's the amount of pieces, somehow organized for assembling:

And here's the built Hellbringer Prime:

Now that all the pieces were built, it was the time to prepare a sinkful of water and soap. Then a Combat Drop ensued to let them all be soaked and scrubbed a bit to get rid of that mold releasing agent. Maybe that was enough, I wouldn't know yet. I've just heard horror stories of how bad those plastic IS minis are. Somehow I've never had any problems with the IWM metal minis but I dropped the plastic Omnis in as well. Just in case.

After the whole set had dried I chose a bunch of them to be worked on first. My criteria was either missing or badly attached pieces, which is why Jenner and that armless thing (I can't recognize all the freeborn tincans, but I'm guessing it's a Commando) are there, or simply that there's an obvious need for modification.
For example, Atlas and Cyclops both need a new barrel for their AC20s, Jägermech needs a repose and minor tinkering and that Awesome(?) needs some tweaking as well. Obviously that Catapult of mine needs LRM opened doors to look like a real Catapult.

In a way those plastic pieces are in a horrible condition, but I'm not going to try to fix them all. As long as I get some neat details done here and there to give them a more unique look (or just to make them look better in my own eyes) before I start painting :) It could be that this project is going to take a good long while, for there's an immense amount of stuff to be done. Could take until next year, who knows how it'll go?


Warhammer IIC - a custom variant

There's not much to say about the last phase of this build, other than that the "glass" I made works pretty nicely and that cockpit jeweling / blending isn't my cup of tea. Or at least I don't do it even decently at this point in history. As a bonus difficulty multiplier I tried to do red, which turns pink with white and looks like crap. After repainting the big window that looks like a mouth and the smaller windows on the "forehead" did wonders but is still far from looking cool.
Practice makes perfect and I have a lot of practice to do (though, I have to say that my attempt at green eyes for the Atlas in my Model Expo 2009 diorama wasn't too bad). So maybe I'll use a different colour for that next time.

This beast of a 'Mech didn't end up being wysiwyg (those two guns in the head aren't in, the torso guns are all of a different size and so on), unlike the Marauder. You can't always win but you can charge them while alpha striking! That is always both Right and Beautiful.

I add the specs below, some people may find it more interesting and useful than some others:

Mass80 tons
Tech/EraClan / 3055
ConfigBiped 'Mech (Level 2)
Movement4 / 6 / 0
Internal structureEndo Steel (122pts)
Engine320 Fusion
Heat Sinks20 Double
ArmorFerro-Fibrous (230pts)
Weapons & Equipment

LB 5-X ACRA120 (RA)
LB 5-X ACLA120 (LA)
SRM 6RT415 (RT)
Medium Pulse LaserRT5-
Medium Pulse LaserRT5-
Medium Pulse LaserRT5-
Medium Pulse LaserLT5-
Medium Pulse LaserLT5-
Medium Pulse LaserLT5-
Combat Heat36 (40)

This thing ended up being nicely filled: the tons are all used and only one Critical Slot was left unused. The original design carried a couple of ERPPCs and other neat toys, but as I had originally decided that this one's an AutoCannon carrier... For some weird reason bigger than Class-5 AutoCannons didn't fit so that there was any space left for more guns. I decided to, for the sake of fun and sportmanship, to use the LBX (shotgun) variants instead of Ultra AutoCannons like the ones used in my Marauder.
Those LB 5-X's are decent for crit-seeking, even though they aren't as enfuriatingly good at it as LB 20-X guns are... My two sets of triple ER Medium Lasers are maybe a disturbing option, even though it's nothing compared to Nova Prime's twelve ERMLasers... now that's one sick config. The only thing I left is the SRM-6 launcher, no fooling around with Streaks or anything due to lack of available tonnage.

Right above the lasers on the left torso you can see the number of this unit: 825. That being the next one from Marauder (824). I'm used to pulling the unit numbers from my magical hat without any kind of a plan or anything. Maybe in the future I could do something more german, such as Trinary number (1-9), Star number (1-3), Point number (1-5) and I think that should be enough for the Clan, Galaxy and Cluster are always known and don't need to be indicated with numbers. This particular Cluster doesn't have any special logo or pattern that can be used as an identifier but then again, making the numbers even longer would end up being a bit stupid.
I've used a similar numbering (Star/Point/Plane) with my 9th Falcon Talon Cluster's AeroSpace Figthers points but not with 'Mechs. Maybe I should do something like that in the future.