IdeaYears ago I got an awesome idea (at least I thought it was awesome) when I had started fooling around with BT miniatures. In all its simplicity the idea was this: an Atlas being swarmed by Elementals. Being a fanatic Clanner it was pretty obvious how the idea got worked on, nor did I need a lot of time to ponder who the combatants would be.
Participants and the field of battleThe Clan of my choice was naturally Jade Falcon and the Cluster the 3rd Falcon Talon - the same I chose for my Clusterful of miniatures. As the victim I accepted ComStar's Com Guards and that led me easily and funnily the cursed Battle of Tukayyid. Based on the story I decided that the Com Guards Third Army - whose units I painted in my Introbox project all these years later- would be the perfect fit in my diorama. The paint scheme of the 3rd Falcon Talon Cluster was very familiar already because I'd chosen it years ago and painted a few Stars in it.
BuildingThe first phase was assembling the Atlas in a comfy and neat-looking position. For some already forgotten reason one of the details of my plan was that Atlas would have something in its hand for some Elemental swatting. Atlas itself wasn't problematic at all after I got the slightly wobbly hip section cured. I left the hands (those that require the Hand Actuators) last so that I'd get the tree trunk into a good position.
Before I started painting the 'Mech I grabbed a set of plies, a drill and other useful things. With those I dug a couple of holes and dents in selected spots in the structure, where I wanted to see what my five one-ton Elementals had caused damage on the one hundred ton BattleMech.
AtlasThere's not much uncertain about the paint scheme of ComStar's units. Anyhow, I started basecoating the whole thing black, then applying layers of increasingly lighter grays on it, leaving crevices and such darker, while finishing with a light white layer. All sorts of gun and missile ports I darkened a bit while applying some brown on the legs for weathering purposes. Those damaged areas I did pretty simply: first I liberally applied largish black stains over the general areas and then painting the dented / punctured armor parts themselves with a silvery metal paint. That's not the prettiest of ways but it was the best idea I had at that point.
I also tried to do some jeweling for the first time on the eyes. The idea was to make the eyes glowing green from dark to light. Surprise of all surprises: my first attempt at jeweling didn't quite go like in the tutorial. Not that anyone claimed it was going to be easy, anyway.
In one of my moments of insanity I decided that I need to paint the insignia by hand (as usual). On the left shoulder I doodled something like the ComStar's insignia. Maybe, maybe with some good intentions and if you know what you're supposed to see there you can tell it's the ComStar's star. But if you don't? No, not really. On the box on the right hip I tried to paint the insignia of the Third Army: a perching falcon.
Yeah, right. Representational art is definitely not my cup of tea.
TrickeryThe tree trunk I made nicely from a piece of plastic tube, from one of those cotton swabs. Those things are damn hand, I say, for I've built a number of gun barrels out of those! With a few lumps of white glue and some filing combined with some splotchy painting I finished with something that reminds one of a tree trunk. Let's say it's a pine so there's no reason to worry about the nonexisting branches.
One funny idea that just occurred to me while assembling the whole thing was that "what if one of the Elementals was shooting at the Atlas in the leg with its Small Laser?" I drilled a tiny hole into the right arm of one of them and glued a short straight piece of a paper clip in. Later I painted the metal red and had another go at slight jeweling by lightening that red with white as far as I dared without going into pink. Somehow I didn't want to have a pink hello kitty laser beam in my piece of manly art :p Finally I attached a piece of torn cotton to the end of the beam and dirtified that a bit with black and gray. Just to make it look like it was hitting something.
The Elemental swarmLike all the other Elementals I've painted these ones were members of the 3rd Falcon Talon Cluster: first the whole suit was painted green. Then I applied something camo-like with gray. On top of that went some drybrushing with lighter gray. The visors got a bit of glossy black (could've been my already dried up Citadel's Black Ink) and the SRM launchers got normal black on the ports. Each Elemental got a stripe of Vallejo's Jade Green for trimming on the front edge of their SRM launchers, as the 3rd Talon does. The Point Commander got a mohawk-like stripe on his/her helmet, so one could find the main Elemental from the chaos.
When these guys were done, I glued them around the Atlas in random but in my opinion proper-looking places. One's climbing up the rear leg, one is just about to do something mean to the backpack, the third's working out around the right biceps and the fourth is at the neck with mean intentions. So, in the end the Point Commander ended up being the one kneecapping the enemy before joining the swarming attack.
The baseplateBeing a cheap guy I tried to build a gameplay piece and glued the Atlas on a hex base. For my diorama I dug out a round baseplate that I had got from a random WH40k piece. On that round slab I tried to set up some sort of a terrain shape with putty and what have you. I left an opening for my hex base so I could attach and detach my Atlas from the base for gaming purposes.
Of course I realised later that it wouldn't be a good idea because of the swarming Elementals. In addition that kneecap-lasering Elemental would've always caused problems during the operation. So, in the end this one ended up being a permanently unplayable piece of art, which wasn't a problem anyway, because it was somehow to be expected. I just tried to circumvent that.
My terrain ended up being like I always do them: a sand base, some random greenery here and there and this one also got a puddle / wet ground (Vallejo's Still Water). That's pretty easy to do and in my opinion it works just fine.