Friday, 23 June 2017
Until recently I only had two Mambas. One a brawler variant and the other was less than complete: no head and engine. Now I have two more: a Black Mamba and a Snake Eye Mamba. So, it looks like I have the elements of support squad.
Having taken the above pictures, because pictures are proof, you will have to take it on trust that I find I now have a shoe box size box full of Heavy Gear miniatures. I am blessed, and clearly going to live forever, because that's how long it will take me to assemble and paint all of my acquisitions at the rate I work.
PS: It has been hot this week and I've felt drained by the heat, which must be a sign of something, like the need to be on a beach enjoying the sun, going for a swim in the cool sea, and afterwards having a cool drink.
Friday, 16 June 2017
|Didn't realize that two of the little Dogs had broken arms, they're that tiny, but you can see it in the picture.|
Back here I took some pictures of GZGs not VOTOMS, but I was asked if I could take a picture showing them next to other mecha. Hopefully, people will now be able to see the relative sizes of GZG Dogs, Heavy Gear and BattleTech mechs.
NB: If you compare the old pictures of the little Dogs to this new one the increase in quality between my old camera and my new one is quite remarkable.
Monday, 5 June 2017
And this weekend I managed to slap some paint on my Northern Guard Gears. Still a long way to go, but I'm one colour application closer to finishing.
The Jaguar on the left has had the main green shaded, while the Hunter on the right has had the arms painted the rest remains to be done. I really want to get my Northern Guard squad done, but unfortunately, with the nicer weather I've been going out more, mostly to shoot arrows in archery competitions, so the painting has been put on the back burner for the time being.
Monday, 22 May 2017
|Allan moving his Academy pilot forward at the beginning of the first turn on my new space mat bought from Dark Sphere games.|
We played two games of X-Wing this Saturday, which made for a very busy weekend after a morning spent shooting arrow at archery practice, and then shooting again on Sunday in our club Spring Handicap competition. More on archery here.
Our friend Allan came around to play and have a meal, drink wine, the usual really. He and his wife Paloma are leaving Britain for sunnier climes, though she couldn't make today because of having to finish her doctorate presentation, which was due Monday.
So, I made up two three-player scenarios, with the kittens playing the opposition and us three humans all working together to foil them, which went about as well as could be expected...
|The kittens have destroyed one TIE fighter and are leading the rest on a merry chase through the asteroids.|
The first scenario was based on the Millenium Falcon flying out of an asteroid belt and engaging it's stardrive to escape, loosely based on the Empire Strikes Back. The Falcon had Han and R2 D2 aboard with homing missiles and an upgrade to allow the bucket of bolts to do barrel rolls.
|It all got a bit gnarly with ships banging into each other, which worked well for the TIEs in preventing the Falcon's progress.|
We each ran two of the Empire's Imperial TIEs with one average and one academy pilot each. Points wise the Falcon was outmatched, but the kittens still managed to get their very battered and beaten ship off the table.
|The kittens on the verge of victory with the TIE players (Susan) insisting the Imperials being allowed one more round of firing on the Falcon as the centre pin wasn't across the edge of the board. Kittens still escaped though.|
The second game features two X-wings escorting a Y-wing off the table.
|More asteroids to fly through.|
The kittens had Red Leader Garven Dreis, Red 2 Wedge Antilles, and Gold Leader Jon "Dutch" Vander facing the same motley crew of Imperial pilots: one skill four, two skill three and three skill one Academy pilots.
|My two TIE fighters are bottom left and centre, and I had to turn my lead to avoid hitting the asteroid.|
There was much dodging of asteroids and, the inevitable crashing into one's own ships as the Imperials struggled to gang up on the Y-wing–our victory being dependent on destroying it before it could get off the board.
|A TIE fighter about about to go boom after being shot up by the kittens, and the two remaining TIEs failed to inflict any damage when returning fire.|
Wedge Antilles is a total killer because his character's special ability is to reduce the enemy agility by one, and TIE fighters are a bit fragile if hit.
|The kittens did a reverse turn with the X-wings and lined up on two soon to be ex-TIE fighters, which led to complaints from Susan that I was 'avoiding' the fight.|
In a move that couldn't have been staged for more laughs, I managed to crash my Academy pilot into Allan's good pilot, and then crash my good pilot into my own Academy pilot, which caused my two TIE fighters to end up trailing the oncoming X-wing furball.
|With the two TIE fighters destroyed the Y-wing slip quietly away after the only TIE that can shoot it fails to destroy it.|
Points wise the game was very evenly matched, but the kittens managed to get the slightly battered Y-wing away and beat up the Imperials for their trouble.
Afterwards we ate a lovely roast beef dinner, which Susan had made, drank wine, and then watched Rogue One that Allan hadn't yet seen, which made a perfect end to a perfect day. I will also say that I enjoyed Rogue One more on the second watch because I was able to just relax and let the story unfold without the niggling question of where and who is that?
NB: For those of you reading this and not understanding the 'kittens' use in the game, they are avatars whose movement and dice are controlled by more than one of the opposition players, either in rotation or individually taking command of one ship,which makes for an interesting game.
PS: Amended title after posting.
Friday, 19 May 2017
My friend Brandon Keith Fero has launched a Kickstarter for some awesome mecha called Whispers.
You can pledge here.
At five Whispers for $50.00 these are a steal. I'm going to pledge when I'm paid because this it too good a deal to miss out on.
Monday, 15 May 2017
Saturday there was no archery, so I was free to do something else instead of shooting sticks at round things.
Serendipitously, one of my MIB colleagues (Steve Jackson Game Men in Black game demonstrators) was over from the States. So, after an exchange of emails and messages on Facebook, we arranged for David to come around and play a game of Ogre/GEV.
I suggested we played my Escalation scenario (now subtitled: be careful what you wish for), which I had demoed around various wargame shows three years ago. Yes, it was as long ago as that. Running the scenario would be a good test of the game as I would be playing against someone who knew the rules rather than introducing new players to the game. It's a bit ironic really, given I haven't played for nearly two and half years I was a bit rusty and forgetful, but David rocked.
What I learnt is that I'm going to have to think about how I word the victory conditions; mostly down to the fact that the scenario is unbalanced and is not designed to have a clear winner, but rather to demonstrate how the Last War progressed i.e.: how the GEV green map ends up turning into an orange Ogre map.
I also need to add another howitzer to the nominal attackers side, perhaps even some more infantry, and I think change the GEV mobile command post to a slower tracked mobile command post, as I think it would add more tension to the game.
And courtesy of David a picture of the start of the scenario, before things got all gnarly.
Friday, 5 May 2017
And just when you think you have enough, along comes the chance to buy more! I couldn't resist these, especially as the bundle included spare weapon packs, which will mean I can play about with the weapon loadouts on my collection of Heavy Gears.
What's interesting, and therefore exciting, is the options this opens up to me when I assemble the next batch of Gears. And, furthermore once I've taken a picture of it, I have one broken bazooka that has snapped in half, which is not something you see everyday. Still, it has got me thinking about repairing it and making it into large missile launchers.
Beside that there's the two tanks, which means that I now have tanks for both my Northern Guard and Southern Milicia forces too. Given that I didn't go to Salute again this year, this and the other eBay haul have salved my need to spend money on wargaming paraphernalia.
Friday, 28 April 2017
I have scored seven Southern Jagers and one more Northern Hunter off eBay. I've gone from not having enough models for a full squad to being able to make up two squads, which means I now have a Southern Milicia force to face my Northern Guard. I can't begin to tell you all how insanely happy this makes me, and here I was thinking I'd never get into Heavy Gear, what with being the old BattleTech grognard that I am.
And here are the other pictures from the RAFM catalogue of Southern Gears I found online, with a list of all the models issued. Again, those listed in bold are those I've managed to get hold of.
Blitz Jager 130 (I have two)
Black Mamba 1302
Long Fang Black Mamba 1303
Blitz Iguana 1305
Spitting Cobra 1306
Striking Cobra 1307
Stone Mason 1308
Fire Jager 1309 (I have two)
Snakeye Black Mamba 1310 (I have one coming)
Support Cobra 1311
RazorFang Black Mamba 1312
King Cobra 1313
Light Artillery 1314
Number apparently not used 1315
Standard Infantry 1316 (not shown)
Heavy Infantry 1317 (not shown)
Recon Infantry 1318
Sniper Infantry 1319
Chameleon 1322 (not shown)
Barbed Fang 1323 (not shown)
Black Box Iguana 1324 (not shown)
Jager Recon 1325 (not shown, but I have six)
Artillery Cobra 1326 (not shown, but I have one)
Lidded Iguana 1327 (not shown)
Spitting Mamba 1328 (not shown)
Armored Jager 1329 (not shown, but I have one)
"Azure Devils" Box 2051 (not shown)
Naga Strider 2054 (not shown)
Hun Tanks 2056 (not shown)
So as before, I have a plan, which is to finish painting my Northern Guard before moving on to make up a squad of Southern Gears. After that I'm thinking of going back and making up my Grizzly, Jaguar Firestarter and Mammoth Northern Gears. I now have a box full of old RAFM Gears, a veritable lead mountain, stashed away for a rainy day.
Thursday, 20 April 2017
Just a picture to show people that I am working on painting and making stuff and not just buying all the shiny off eBay that I can find.
As you can see the Visigoth tank from here has been primed and now has a coat of paint. The three RAFM Gears are slowly being painted, while in front of them are the Dream Pod 9 Gears that I went back and slightly modified, setting back their completion.
In front are two unpainted Gears that I now have the parts to complete so they can be primed, and in centre place is my stripped and being rebuilt custom Ogre that is going to be made up as a Pan European Federation Vulcan. Below is a close-up of my revised autocannon model for my Bad Dog Universe setting, the original long version can be seen here.
|Close-up shots are brutal for showing defects.|
Monday, 17 April 2017
I've done a bit of blitz on acquiring RAFM Heavy Gear miniatures, and these three Gears were acquired through the kindness of wargaming friends: Godfrey Sherridan for the two Recon Jagers and some essential spare parts I needed that he was willing to part with, and Adam Harrision for parting with the Flame Jager he had acquired as part of another lot.
What can I say, but thank you again guys.
Now I have one question for those who read my blog and know more about these Gears than me.
What on Earth is this spade/pole thing?
Friday, 14 April 2017
So this is what my recently acquired Mammoth looks like when stripped back to bare metal.
I'm missing one of the small rotary cannon and the foot-pad, both of which will have to have replacements fabricated. The large rotary cannon is a lovely example of a well sculpted/made master. Whoever made the masters for the RAFM Heavy Gear line deserves praise for doing some very nice work.
I have one question though, I've seen this model with one missile arm and one gun arm, but mine has two gun arms. Do I need to rebuild one into a missile version?
Friday, 7 April 2017
I scored off eBay four, pretty much pristine, packs of RAFM Heavy Gear models. I now have a Northern Guard White Cat and artillery, and Southern Milicia Stone Mason and artillery. Don't have any plans for the artillery at this moment, but the two Gears area nice addition to my growing collection and fit my ideas for the two forces I'm planning.
Still need a Kodiak. Just saying in case anyone know of any going.
Friday, 31 March 2017
The other night, while lying in bed about to fall asleep I couldn't help thinking about a simple combat system for my Heavy Gear inspired mecha games. And I came up with the following way to construct Gears for the game.
Light: Gears like the Cheetah and Iguana etc.
Agility: four dice used for defence.
Two armour boxes.
Medium: Hunters, Jagers, Jaguars and Mambas etc.
Agility: three dice used for defence.
Three armour boxes, unless up armoured.
Heavy: Grizzlys, Cobras, Kodiaks and King Cobras etc.
Agility: two dice used for defence.
Six armour boxes, unless up armoured.
Light: pack guns, small missile pods, and anti-infantry weapons–one attack die per weapon.
Medium: light and medium autocannons, light bazooka, and medium missile pods–two attack die per weapon.
Heavy: heavy autocannons, rifles, medium bazookas–three attack die per weapon.
Special: heavy bazookas, rotary cannons, large missile pods, and others will get perks.
Large missile pods will have three attack die and have a burst radius of four inches.At this point, movement is looking to be around four inches. There will be modifiers depending on size and the loadout chosen, which will have an affect on how fast a Gear can move. Ranges will be short, medium and long, which will subtract or add to the defence–long range will be line-of-sight.
Heavy bazookas will get four attack dice.
Rotary cannons will get three attack die and more than one attack per turn.
Concealment will reduce chance of being hit, but cover will also reduce the effect of being hit. Being hit will always add a suppression modifier to the the model, which will cost an action to remove.
On top of that I will have action point options to allow players to sacrifice firing for moving again, remove one suppression marker, choose to split fire, or choosing to emphasize attack or defence (simulating ECM and ECCM), or designate a target lock.
Veteran pilots will get perks for defence, attacks or other options to be decided (think Luke Skywalker's or Wedge Antilles ability in X-Wing). Examples might be, Gear optimized for distance and pilot gets to re-roll blank dice when shooting at long range, marksman will reduce defenders defence roll by one dice, squad leader can remove a suppress marker from any friendly Gear in their squad etc..
So, for example, my RAFM Hunter Commando moves four inches, has three dice for defence, probably four armour boxes, and five attack dice (three for the bazooka and two for the medium missile pod). Standard actions would be to choose one of the following, ECM (add one dice to defence), ECCM (add one dice to one attack), split fire (fire the bazooka at one target and the missiles at another) or place a target lock on one enemy unit.
Obviously, this is a work in progress.
Saturday, 25 March 2017
I'll admit that I've been searching the internet for RAFM Heavy Gear miniatures. What can I say, wargaming and making models is my hobby. I found a Mammoth Strider for sale on eBay that had a very small pictures and an incomplete description.
Questioning the retailer produced no useful data, but after checking out the picture and discussing it with friends, yay for friends, I decided that on the balance of evidence it was likely to be an old RAFM Mammoth. So I took a punt, despite it costing the same as the new smaller version from Dream Pod 9.
It arrived today and the photograph is proof that this thing is humongous, and it weighs one pound 12 ounces, or 795 grams for those more familiar with metric measurements. It's missing one of the small rotary cannons and the footpad, both of which I'll fabricate replacements for in due course. First things first, strip the paint off in a nice bath of Nitromors.
Thursday, 23 March 2017
And here is the final model for my first squad of RAFM model for my Heavy Gear project.
As you can see this is the first Gear I've gone off piste by converting the medium autocannon using a contemporary Dream Pod 9 very light field gun as the basis of my conversion. I hadn't imagined I would do any conversions on these old models, but the weapon on the Jaguar, when compared to the light autocannons on the Hunters, just didn't look beefy enough to justify being called a medium autocannon.
|What the original medium autocannon looks like.|
This is probably my inner wargamer coming out; bigger is better and that kind of thing. Please feel free to criticize and through brick-bats or praise.
Still, I don't think I went overboard with the conversion and I've incorporated parts from the original casting into my piece. This is now going off to the paint shop to be primed with the other two Hunters ready to be painted to match the Hunter Commando.
NB: Yesterday a mad man killed people in London before being killed himself by the Police. By the time I heard about the event, it was all over. It's sad, but it's not the end of the world, even though a handful of people lost their lives. The biggest enemy is the generation of fear, because when people are fearful their cognitive abilities are reduced by the overwhelming emotion. Oh, and just in case you think I'm being cool and rational because I wasn't there, I work for the hospital on the other side of the river from the House.
Monday, 20 March 2017
Again, due to the kindness of a fellow wargamer, Jochen Wenzel from Germany, I now own a Grizzly... ho, ho, ho! Jochen thank you very much for your generous offer, I'm lost for words.
My plan is to be able to get nine Northern Guard Gears onto the table. A squad of four with three Hunters and a Jaguar; a fire support team of said Grizzly and a Fire Jaguar; and a recon team consisting of a Cheetah and a White Cat; lead by a command Hunter.
I then plan to make up my five remaining Desert Shark Hunters. I'll use them to add another squad consisting of four Hunters, and put the other one with my command Hunter to act as his support for larger games to act as the force senior sergeant. From that you can tell I plan to have a mechanism in my game so that commanders do things that are useful to the outocme of the game.
In an ideal world I would be able to have mechanisms for the impact of logistics, but even I think that will be for the campaign rules.
Friday, 17 March 2017
|Click on the picture to see a larger image.|
As requested a size comparison of a RAFM Gear next to Blitz models and with added 1/100th and 1/144th scale models of the Abrams for real world comparison.
From this quick shot my gut feeling that the current Dream Pod 9 Ammons and Moab will make the basis for very nice opposition squad for my RAFM Gears. My command Meggido-Kadesh-Bashan kitbash, which I jokingly call a Mekabashan, and my Aphek-Bashan kitbash would also work, and looking at the picture I think the Accos could be used as drones.
Thursday, 16 March 2017
And here are my Russian walker conversions that I've completed so far.
This project seems to have dragged on longer than I intended down to being distracted with other things, and being undecided on how to organize them. My friend Roger suggested in a comment that I use, the Russian motorised rifle company layout–a total of twelve vehicles, of which something like nine are general purpose, two are special purpose (carrying the machine gun / anti-tank platoon in the original) and one is command/HQ.
So, I will need to assemble three more Accos, and then I can start painting them.
Also, as a result of this decision, I've decided that my Ammon conversions will be used as part of my 15mm Heavy Gear Force project and plan to get a Moab and add two extra legs as a support walker.
Monday, 13 March 2017
This is the third of my original RAFM score that consisted of three Hunters, two Jaguars and a Bricklayer. My next step is to make up the standard Jaguar as the squad leader for this my first squad of Gears. I'm not sure if that's a legal squad in the game, but given I'm intending to use my own rules so I'll make squads to match my rules.
That's not meant to offend any hardcore Heavy Gear players. I'd be happy to play with anyone who knows the rules well enough to teach me and have a fun game. The odds are long on that happening, so I need rules my partner can get to grips with, and so I'm adapting the Star Wars X-Wing combat system.
I plan to post some construction rules, really too grand a description for my rough notes, soon.
Friday, 10 March 2017
When models are in the process of being painted sometimes accidents happen. I dropped one of my Chinese FATS-C and broke the leg. This slowed me down as fixing the leg and repainting the joint was a bit demoralizing. Now repaired, and to be honest better that it happened before rather than during a game, which would be really annoying.
As you can see I put decals on these. Cruel close-ups below.
|This is the command variant, armoured body.|
|Indirect fire-support variant.|
|The rear of the heavy support variant that also uses the armoured body.|
I've ordered some more of these so I can make up another Ban, Chinese for squad, and once I have two squads made and painted I'll be able to field an under strength Pai, Chinese for platoon.
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Sunday last, we had some friends over for the afternoon from the Physics department, who had all expressed an interest in Star Wars and were up for learning to play X-Wing. For the occasion I played the soundtracks to the movies in the background, which added a certain ambience to the two games we played.
The first was a training game, no cards, no asteroids, just a simple kill everyone game. After that the interest was strong in playing another game, but make it more complicated. So I added an asteroid field and cards: astromechs, upgrades and weapons: ion cannons and proton torpedoes. The scenario was for the Rebels to stop the Imperial shuttle from leaving the table with its precious cargo of handwavium.
A late addition, because Susan was busy cooking, was bringing on the Millenium Falcon for her to play towards the end of the second game. The Falcon swept up the table and had a pop at stopping the Imperial shuttle from escaping, but Han failed to save the day.
Much fun was had, and I made at least one convert to the game, hello Sam, and he plans to buy a copy of the game and introduce all his friends to it.
Monday, 6 March 2017
Back here I showed my first clean up of my Hunter Commando, and now I've moved onto the next RAFM Gear and tidied everything up, as can be evidenced by the picture of what it looked like when it arrived.
What I learnt during this assembly was how easy it is to misidentify parts. After stripping all the models I received I thought I had correctly sorted out all the bits, but to my chagrin I hadn't. I had put the Jaguar torso with the Hunter legs, which in and of itself is no big deal, until it came time to assemble the missile pod. Then I found it wouldn't tight fit, and put it down to the way I had positioned the backpack.
I disassembled the model and reassembled it and got everything fitted, though the missile pod was still a tight fit, and was finishing off the model when I received a package containing a squad of Desert Sharks.
Wouter Wolput, a reader of my blog who lives in Belgium, very generously offered me his unwanted squad of Gears for the cost of the postage. Thank you again for parting with them. Most appreciated.
So, I was checking out the models and comparing them to the next Gear I have waiting to be cleaned up, an Assault Hunter. I then noticed that Hunters have a slightly different torso to Jaguars. Big doh moment!
So I had to disassemble my Hunter once more and clean up the correct torso, and start assembling it for the third time.
Thankfully, as you can see, all done now.
Friday, 3 March 2017
|Hopefully you see that I tweaked the standard poses the figures come in to add a bit more variety to the squad.|
Again these were a project I started on over the Xmas period, but not quite getting around to taking pictures and posting my progress. I've also managed to prime these, but currently I'm still in the middle of a Heavy Gear building frenzy so I'm not sure when they'll get painted.
|I found the gun barrels were easily bent so I replaced them with brass wire, and though you can't really see it, I've added guitar string to the extended weapon pods to strengthen them too. It was a bit fiddly to do.|
These are a mix of Clear Horizon 15mm Epsilon base and heavy support squads. I'm using them as infantry for my 15mm Heavy Gear project, which I accidentally started after acquiring some old RAFM era large Gears. These are really lovely figures full of character and poseable.
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
And here it is, painted, decals applied and varnished. A classic real robot anime scheme inspired by the VOTOMS show.
Also, I'd like to add an observation about size and scale, one of my hobby horses.
This model, measured to the top of the head, stands 43.5mm. That's 1 and 11/16ths (correcting typo) of an inch for my American readers. In 1/87th scale, 3.5mm to the foot, this means the model represents a Gear that stands at 12.42 feet. The current Blitz 1/144th scale, 2.12mm to the foot, and my Hunter stands at around 28mm, which is 13.2 feet. And just as a comparison a slightly larger Blitz Gear like the Mamba stands at 34mm, which is 16.04 feet tall.
Funnily enough the RAFM Hunter, if treated as a 1/100th scale model, which is 3mm to the foot would stand 14.5 feet tall in real life. So everybody is right when they say these models are suitable for 15mm wargaming, because they are.
I found some pictures from the RAFM catalogue Heavy Gear Northern Guard online, with a list of all the models issued. Those listed in bold are those I've managed to get hold of. Still looking for a model of the Kodiak for my collection just because I like it.
Assault Hunter 1201
Strike Jaguar 1203
Strike Cheetah 1205
Assault Grizzly 1207 (since posting acquired)*
Hunter Commando 1208
Fire Jaguar 1210
Rabid Grizzly 1211
White Cat 1213 (since posting acquired)*
Light Artillery 1214 (since posting acquired)*
1215 Number apparently not used
Sniper Infantry 1216 (not shown)
Recon Infantry 1217 (not shown)
Standard Infantry 1218
Heavy Infantry 1219
1315 Number apparently not used
Black Cat 1221 (not shown)
Armored Hunter1222 (not shown)
Cheetah Fang 1223 (not shown)
Hunter Recon 1224 (not shown)
Crossbow Grizzly 1225 (not shown)
Predator Jaguar 1226 (not shown)
White Cat EWH 1227 (not shown)
Black Claw 1228 (not shown)
Kodiak Destroyer 1229 (not shown)
"Desert Sharks" Box 2050
Mammoth Strider 2052 (not shown)
Assault Mammoth 2053 (not shown) (since posting acquired)*
Klemm tank 2055 (not shown)
So my plan now is to make up my standard Hunter next, and then the assault Hunter and a Jaguar so I can field a four Gear squad. After that I'll make up a squad of Southern Gears then it's either the Cheetah or Bricklayer: the former is missing its butt-plate and the latter is missing its claw, so both models will need to have new parts fabricated.
Day by day my RAFM Gear Force proceeds to grow ever larger. Muwuhuhahaha!
NB: Since posting this I've acquired several new additions to what I'm now calling my Project Gear Force.