20.10.21

Lower ammo racks

Bombs on the side(s)

At long last my tank was advanced to the stage where I could return a couple of pages back to the combat compartment's stuff. The "shelves" were missing the ammo, but not for long!

Evening 1

First I glued on the small support pieces that were going to live between the two rearmost ammo shelves. The next half an hour I spent by detaching the shell/shelf levels and scratching the excesses off. Just piled together in place they looked pretty good already.

Photoetchies

Each of the shells got a PE bit into the bottom, that had the necessary markings and the detonator (I was a bit uncertain of the translation, here I was referring to the small explosive that is triggered by the firing pin and that sets off the propellant). Afterwards I noticed a few excess strips of metal that I had definitely not seen with my bare eyes.

This intermediate result was wonderful. All it took was a single evening's mumbling time, even though I had imagined that I was going to be quick enough to get all of these done in one sitting.

Evening 2

This second evening was the same but mirrored. I cut off the pieces off the sprue, cleaned the flash off, detached the required amount of PE discs and started supergluing them in place. Interestingly enough the time consumption was more or less constant, as it took all the time available. Luckily I again managed not to superglue my fingers together, to the model nor the PE pieces.



Dry-fit

The smallest probability of the ammunition storage pieces to get mismatched became from the fact that I stored them stacked. While painting I'd need to keep a bit more active track of who was where, if I wanted to avoid solving a puzzle as well.

What a sight that was to behold, even with the ammo racks being unpainted. Speaking of painting, getting that done was most likely going to take a good amount of time. At this point I was thinking of at least three, maybe four (shortish) evenings spent with the airbrush. Then we'd add a bit of time with paintbrushes, which'd bring up the total to a noticeable amount of time.

13.10.21

Some upper hull stuff

The rear deck

Assembling the rear deck started by the plate that was going to be located on top of the motor and a service hatch. Some of these bits I had primed previously, some I had ignored. Those tiny edge-positioned hooks were, as always, a source of swearing.


Installing the almost completely built slab into the rest of the rear deck was a bit more complicated than I had been mentally prepared for. Those two bits in the back, where the rear end of the plate were connected to by a tiny surface, they were so flimsy that it took extra time to get the joints secured. Doing the gluings in a couple of time-separated steps it worked just fine.

Iron Man look with PE

At this point I sat to think for a bit if I should glue the next two pieces first and decorate them later. I decided that it was going to be simpler to do it the other way, so the tiniest details could be easily accessible without the bulk of the full top of the tank being on the way.

Following the instructions I started with the right plate and its fire extinguisher, which was followed by the base of the antenna. My biggest problem here was that if my superglue had gotten out of date, the photoetch bits would've had to wait a day or two. Nicely enough the superglue was still ok.


These bright almost goldlike PE bits on top of the red primer reminded me of Iron Man's power armor. I was completely sure that someone had already done an Eisenmann tank, so I didn't even think about it.


In fear of knocking off the tiny hooks I decided that I'd do them later. To prove my point I had already managed to lose one from the main slab (and properly lose it, how else?), and I didn't want to think about how annoying it would be to crawl after even tinier pieces at that hour. With cats.

The next evening I started from the most annoying part or parts, when I started gluing on the tiny hooks in their places. One at a time with with tweezers.



While working on the left desk plate I went mad and started with the minihooks, because after fighting those everything else would become an actual pleasure. Between the photoetch grilles I added a pair of hedge trimmers, in case someone wanted to work on their topiary skills somewhere on the French countryside. They also received a PE attachment piece for extra decoration. Right now the tiny bracket didn't really bring much extra, to be honest, but I trusted it'd be better after a layer of paint.


The rear deck of the King Tiger was pretty full now. A new layer of primer would also help quite a bit. I should just remember to be careful with the grilles.

A misstep

This was a mistake I recognized much later, even though I was wondering about the weirdness at this point. Why was the front upper glacis plate so weird-looking? Before committing to the gluing stage I dry-fitted and stared at the instructions with my eyes more or less crossed "it shouldn't look like that but that's what the pic says, so I guess I have to follow it".

In plain English, my mistake was that I positioned the inner piece way too low and around the upper "lip", instead of under it and at the same time inside the tank. As said, the instructions weren't too clear with this.

Engineering tools

The upper hull's outside was progressing much more nicely with the engineer tools on the deck and along the sides. I wasn't too sure if I was going to add the tow cables later on or not. If I was going to use them, I'd do it later, because that was going to be beneficial for the painting process.

Interior armour plating

The upper-inner armour plates slid on pretty nicely. I applied some masking tape to press them tighter in place and to release my hands for more value creating tasks.


This was the point in time when it dawned to me: I had done something wrong, as there were large gaps between the walls and the radio operator's machine gun's ball thingy (or its outer armour bulge) didn't align at all! The misalignment was measurable in millimeters. I detached the inner panel, swore a lot at the fancy instructions, dry-fitted even more and found a decent position for the piece. Frustrating to say the least.


6.10.21

Painting some of the KT's internal details

More details

The engine room had been dominated by the red-brown so far, mostly broken by the motor's air filter's whiteish cover. To improve this I painted the radiator grilles and their top covers with grey-black. I wasn't sure if I was going to use any decals there, either.


While working on the grey-black I iterated through all the torsion bars at the bottom of the tank, as far as they were still cleanly painteable (or paintable?). I also painted the driver's steering wheel, the two front seats and backrests. The driver's righthand dashboard also became dark, I assumed it was to visually separate it from other functions.


First I painted the faces of the radios dark grey, then I started searching for reference images of FuG2 and FuG5 radios and especially for information of that top box, if it was the commander's FuG2 or something completely different. Not that I could've recognized any of these by just their shapes or surface textures. More research was added to the TODO list.

Following the painting guide I also painted the drive sprocket's openly spinning disks on the inside. I still had no idea about anything, but they sounded like an insanely serious workplace safety risk, if I had guessed their function correctly.


This was just the first of this type of painting detours, I still had plenty of details that weren't taken care of. Such as the glasses of the spare periscopes. The darkness of the torsion bars should be best visible in the next photo.

I had also started painting the firewall's fire extinguisher, it was still waiting for the metal band before I was going to paint it red for visibility. Also the boxes I guessed to be batteries, located on both sides of the axle, were still untouched.

A break

There were quite a few of these small bits that I had deliberately not primed yet, so the radio operator's machine gun's ammo boxes were pristine. I decided to glue them on now to the rib piece and paint them in place later on. Apparently the way of attaching these boxes was completely up to the builder, so I used as many as the instructions said, but instead of attempting to spread them out evenly I divided them into two inequal groups.


The combat compartment's floor housed three boxes that were to be painted dark yellow (VMA 71025 Dark Yellow), and I thought there were also a couple of similarly coloured containers on the inner walls, that I managed to forget with my limited time. The batterylike boxes I did paint this time, just like the final fuel lines that you could at long last see in the rear end of the tank.


These two photos above also revealed that I had been working on the upper hull so that the driver's and radio operator's hatch-set was glued onto the deck. Their hatches were also installed and the head protectors were also painted (again with grey black).

I abused my time machine to show a couple of internal photos from a couple of building steps further ahead, as I had been poking at the details here and there. The rear edge tanks had their airing caps painted, the firewall's fire extinguisher was now painted red, and the long block at the radio dude's legs was now dark yellow. The periscope glasses were still untouched, but at least I had touched up the first dials of the driver's dashboard. I also once managed to find a reference image of that dashboard, so I could attempt to finish it up at some point.


29.9.21

BattleTech - Clan Invasion

A mystery moment

Some three weeks ago I got a delivery notification into my inbox. There was nothing unusual about that, I just did not expect anything at that moment. Being slightly tinfoil-hatted I checked the message a couple of times but nothing, besides it being unexpected, raised any red flags. The next day I went by the kiosk to ask if I actually had a delivery. I did indeed, and I received a simple brown cardboard box.

Late from the Kickstarter

The situation was as clear as day as I moved away the first half of the lid. A couple of years ago I had in some incredibly perverse way missed the Kickstarter project altogether (my false memory claimed I had taken part in it, but as BTCI was not in my Backed Projects list, I clearly had not). Luckily I had found somewhere a link to the "you can still take part" thingy and in my frenzy participated at a Star Captain level.

After that I forgot the whole project, and as I was not in the Kickstarter list, I also did not get any of the "the shipping starts in the late summer" messages and whatnot. Not that I had a habit of actively following any of my Kickstarters anyway, as I was not running out of stuff to tinker with or listen to. This led to happy random news every once in a while, when a Project was done and shipped.

I think I was wishing that Catalyst was going to do a Clan Invasion box back in the day when I bought the BattleTech 30th Anniversary box. Now that I was thinking of it, I checked my old posts from a decade ago and could not find such a comment anywhere. How uncharacteristic of me, to leave obvious things unsaid.

Invasion box

A Timber Wolf busy blasting the Freebirth scum, what else would a sane person want and need as the cover art of Operation: REVIVAL -themed box?


Funny thing, the Anniversary box from ten years ago contained those six Lances of strange material -made BattleMechs (24 + 2 awesome Clan OmniMechs as an extra) with sturdy maps, posters and such. Comparison was easy to start with the minis: this had a Star of OmniMechs and two Elemental Points. At a first glance the material of these minis seemed good.

Starter Star

Dictated by the weight classes of its units (it contained all four) this Star was, also checked from Sarna.net-provided table below) an Eyrie Star. It would have been fantastic to get a Nova out of these, but one could not have everything.

TalonAssault Star (Heavy to Assault weight Battlemechs)
BeakBattle Star (Medium to Heavy weight Battlemechs)
EyeStriker Star (Light to Medium weight Battlemechs)
EyrieMixed Weight Star (Sometimes classified as Beak)

Executioner

This 95-ton Assault OmniMech had never been high on my "cool Mechs" list, because instead of their specs I have based my opinions of the hardcore metal truth on their feel. I was the first to admit that to me a cool (or symphatetic) look and feel ranked higher than a spreadsheet-requiring throughput. Perhaps there was noticeably more of a RPGer or a storyteller than I had dared to admit to myself.

Despite my complaints I already had some Executioners and their siblings, Gargoyles. These things fit into the Touman, so I have obtained them.

Executioner Prime

Timber Wolf

If the Point above did not make me excited, the 75-ton Timber Wolf that had been a top name for me since I first saw the box of Mechwarrior II. This one also has a versatile weapons setup, so it has never been a boring one to play with. Besides, it looked fantastic!

Timber Wolf Prime

Nova

From the medium levels the fifty-ton Nova was strongest in my memories with a narrow torso twist arc, and a single encounter with a Nova Prime and clicker-counter that we used to keep track of 12 MLas volleys. Especially the declarations of "Alpha strike!" and suffering mutterings of the pilot were something to enjoy.

Nova Prime

Mongrel

Another medium, this 45-ton thing was a new entity to me, but I really had not memorized all the lists anway. Sarna.net knew to tell me that this model had its first combat operation in Tukayyid. Maybe one of those would have ended to my Jade Falcons via active Merchants, which was to me a plausible explanation for a yet another unusual OmniMech.

Mongrel Prime

Adder

Lightest of the five, the 35-ton Adder was somehow familiar to me but it had not been on my shopping lists/baskets, as the Cluster I had chosen so many years ago leaned to the other end of the weight scale. Anyway, the Prime had a double ER PPC and a flamer, always a pleasure, on a runner. Nothing to sneer at.

Adder Prime

Elemental Points

The pleasantly dynamically posing Elementals were clearly redesigned, the battle armour was much more modern now. These two-meter-tall muscular gentlebeings with their jump packs, twin SRMs, SLas + MG setups were instantly recognizeable. I really liked the two jumping pointmates to also visually remind that these people were not just plain armoured infantry.



The rest of the box

Clan Invasion Primer

As the name suggested, this was a booklet that gave background for this whole invasion business. Among many other things it also shed light on who was to be thanked for the Operation to finally begin, after years and years of fleabags trying to prevent it.


Rules rule

In addition to the BattleTech rules there was also lots of fun background stuff. That was always pleasant to read, this sort of stuff fleshed out the universe. I had only really hazy remaining memories about the Clan Honour rules, so I ought to take a good look at them again. We never fully used them when playing with the full gang, for whatever reason.


The Bonds of Battle

This short story by Blaine Lee Pardoe I dropped into my "to read" queue, even as I had this idea that I was not specially fond of his BattleTech novels when I read the main story. Then again, comparing anything to the Blood of Kerensky or The Legend of the Jade Phoenix trilogies, the results were going to be gently skewed.


Tokens

In addition to the plastic OmniMechs there were some two-sided carboard OmniMech tokens, because you really could not get much of a fight started with just five units. With a total of three Stars the amount of warwafe would be completely on a different level. The map-modification hexes were also a neat touch, you would be able to improve or "improve" the basic maps for variety or challenge.


Maps

The two-sided paper maps were: Hilltops #1 / Barren Lands #1 and Rolling Hills #2 / Barren Lands #2. I really could not remember what the 30y-box contained, but these looked familiar, nice terrain for some stomping and shooting. Comparing to the decades-old copies of these maps these had the height differences much more clearly marked.

Alsø

There was also a stack of pre-printed Record Sheets, Alpha Strike and pilot cards (for quicker gaming, I understood), dice, always a very handy quick reference guide, and a Map of the Inner Sphere -poster. None of these were specially photogenic so I did not take photos of them here.

Extra stuff

This main invasion box was not all that the Postnord box contained, there was a small invasion of tinier boxes as well. This was the rest of the crowdfunding campaign stuff, of the physical variety (I had a handful of ebooks and other digital goods that I just had not had the time to check in all this time).

Tukayyid the accursed

Of course I could not remember what kind of a general multistage selection process I went through when I chose what I got as extras, but I remember incredibly clearly was that at the Map Pack step I stopped reading further when I reached Tukayyid. For simple and I guess obvious reasons the wolf team -specific Pozoristu Mountains and Robyn's Crossing for Clan Jade Falcon were the most interesting maps for me. Of course I had been interested in seeing a vision of Olalla and Humptulips designed by a map artist, but as this set was divided as a map per Clan, maybe the most epic corners were the clearest (and popular) choice.


In my honest opinion the Robyn's Crossing over the river Przeno really needed a map-scale Overlord-C or Union-C DropShip. I did no remember from my last read what class and especially how the DropShip for the Gamma Galaxy was named. At least I thought it was mentioned, but after all these years I may have gotten that bit wrong.



Of course there were additional rules for this set of special battles, and to emphasize the hellishness of the landscapes after weeks of fighting there was a set of firestorm/smoke tokens. Only observing these little details made me feel like taking up a new run of the trilogies following the lives of Aidan and Phelan.

Half a dozen posters

If I was honest, I could have lived happily without these. The posters were neat, but in this life situation I would have had much more use out of these as high-res desktop backgrounds as I really was not going to frame them and hang them on the walls. These nor any other posters I had, that is.



Cards and stuff

There were three stacks of cards. Mercs of the Inner Sphere, part II, and a couple of MechWarrior stacks. I did not open them up, so I just expected them to be ready-made pilots. A mysterious Challenge Coin showed the Jade Falcon emblem, as if I had any other choice. Perhaps there were a couple of different varieties of the keychain, but I evidently went with the Daggerstar. Again, as if there were any other choices.


Additional units!

At last we got to the most important business instead of silly yapping. The box contained these smaller extra boxes, three of which were complete mysteries to anyone and everyone.

SL 17 Shilone

Being a Inner Sphere AeroSpace fighter the Shilone was familiar only from the novels. Only when I opened this box I figured out why the name sounded somehow familiar. The pilot card had Tyra Mirabord, who smashed her fighter through the nose of the Dire Wolf. These sort of details had a nonzero chance of staying even in my memory.


Shilone

Randoms +1

Right, here we had four Salvage Boxes. The first one contained a Legendary Mechwarrior and the other two a random OmniMech, while the last one had an UrbanMech (that one I chose out of pure curiosity).



A legend: Morgan Kell / Archer

My random legend ended up being the main dude of the Kell Hounds -merc in his Archer. An Archer enhanced with some fancy Star League tech. Lasse had gotten the last Timber Wolf of Aidan "Jumping Fool" Pryde. This series apparently consisted of four people, the other two were Natasha Kerensky in a Dire Wolf and Grayson Carlyle in a Marauder. Whinewhinewhine, the Archer was clearly the most boring BattleMech of the lot.

ARC-2R Morgan


Stormcrow

There were a couple of Stormcrows in my collection, now I got one more. At least there was no worrying about ammo consumption in a concentrated light -themed OmniMech.

Stormcrow Prime


Mongrel A

Nice. The Invasion box contained a Mongrel Prime, at least this one was an alt. config A. Double LRM-15s, an ER MLas and a flashlight were included and I had not yet checked if this one was a WYSIWYG miniature as I had built mine or more like a "let us all agree it is that thing on the record sheet" version.

Mongrel A

Mongrel A

Comparing to the Mongrel Prime photo I copied from up there: no changes. It remained to be seen if I was going to start customizing this to look different enough.

Mongrel Prime (again)


Urbanmech

These thirty-ton things I have mostly heard referred to as walking trashbins. I, too, wanted an armoured, walking trashbin armed with an AC/10 and a flashlight.

UM-R60


A heavy Star

Five glorious Pointfuls of heavy metal. Three out of five were classic IIC machines, I had absolutely nothing to say about the Supernova, and the best mental image of the Stone Rhino was as far as from the screenshots of a local games maganize from Mechwarrior II: Ghost Bear's Legacy. And that was getting somewhat old.

Stone Rhino

Yes. A hundred-ton Assault BattleMech with a pair of Gauss Cannons on the head (technically the side torsos). LPLases in its arms, and somewhere around the head area a silly little SPLas as a cherry on top. A ridiculous amount of weaponry that was, but maybe it could be a funny thing to try out somewhere (and get my ass handed to me by a dirtily laughing Fire Moth pilot).


Marauder IIC

This Reseen Marauder was quite a bit more angular than the original that was copied from some anime show and then banned (therefore Unseen) thanks to the lawyers of some company. Just like the one I built a couple of years ago.


Warhammer IIC

This Reseen Warhammer was also heavily modernized (or americanized?) from the original Japanese look to be more blocky and heavier on the paneling. The left shoulder-mounted searchlight was maybe a bit smaller and more tactically-sized. Of course it was very different from the larger-scale one I built only ten short years ago.


Hunchback IIC

After the same modernization process the Hunchback was like it had escaped from the artwork of MWO, which I thought to be the most likely source of these new designs anyway. Or MW5, but as I had not tried that one out yet, I could not really say. Somehow I have never known (or bothered to learn, more like) how to play with UAC/20s, as I was always immediately out of ammo. At least on the computer. Most likely on the board I would be paranoid and blow up after saving the precious ammo too long.


Supernova

Supernova was a clear Nova++, which might not be a bad thing. It was clearly recognizeable, just like its smaller sibling. This one just had, instead of a dozen medium lasers a half load of larger blinkers: six Large Pulse Lasers. Mmmmmmmmm... a saunalike warmachine.


An even heavier Star

If the Star above was heavy on the classics, this gang was something else. I recognized two directly, as I had IWM versions in my collection.


Turkina

Turkina as a choice of the just about heaviest of Assault OmniMechs was a surprise to me, according to my (most likely not too reliable) memory, it was supposed to be practically a CJF unit. This new sculpt was a bit less strange than the old one, that looked a bit more like a special toy than a scary 95 ton OmniMech.



Ebon Jaguar

If I had to really decide which of these Smoke Jaguar OmniMech versions I liked more, the old one was maybe a bit cooler, but this plastic one was insanely more stable and durable. For some strange and twisted reason Ebon Jaguar was maybe the only one that allowed the freebirth name to escape my lips more readily than the correct one.



Huntsman

Now we had reached the true mystery machines in my books. The Huntsman was originally developed by the Diamond Sharks, but due to some Trials it ended showing up in the Nova Kitties ranks in numbers. The Prime variant had a neat configuration, I was really happy to see it was carrying Artemis IV on it.



Crossbow

The Steel Snake -designed Heavy BattleMech was peculiar. It "only" had LRM-20s in its arms, pleasantly linked to Artemis IV. This sort of a machine would allow a pilot to do something truly strange on a battlefield.


Kingfisher

2nd generation OmniMech, from the production lines of the Snow Ravens, this was surprisingly an Assault-class OmniMech. It was supposed to be solid in close combat, which has been a bit of a splitter for me on an Assault. Either the insane amount of armour was a thing of genius at short ranges; or the slowness of the heavy machine was a practical suicide. The truth most likely was out there and these things were best to be used according to the situation at hand.