Friday, 18 August 2017
Over on the BattleTech Facebook page there is announcement about new products from Catalyst Games. I pulled these four pictures from their post to spread the word. The one above shows the new box set that will have eight mechs; new plastic designs. What is of interest to me is the return of William H. Keith to the BattleTech fold with fiction by him called the Golden Rule.
Colour me impressed, as he's my favourite BattleTech author because he had a vision of the universe that resonated with me. In fact at one point I seriously thought about writing a fan fiction novel based on his Gray Death trilogy, but based from the other side, seeing the story through the eyes of Duke Ricol and his subordinates.
You can read a scene I wrote here.
The back of the box lists the contents.
Next up is a beginners box set with only two mechs at slightly less that half the price of the big box.
I think this is a pretty astute marketing move as $60 is a pretty big chunk of change to slap down for a game.
And the last shot is of the contents.
I'm not quite sure where I stand on buying these for myself, because truly I have more mechs stacked away for a rainy day than you can shake a big stick at. But I hope I can get a copy of the fiction book, because I'm a big fan of Keith's writing.
Friday, 11 August 2017
When I'm not out shooting pointy sticks at round things (you've seen the post on archery I did earlier) I've been using Milliput to make a new part for my RAFM Cheetah. While waiting for the Milliput to harden I thought to distract myself with something else, as I just wanted to sit at my bench and fiddle with stuff.
I could've done some painting, but conditions are not ideal as the summer heat makes the paint dry faster, which I find rather annoying. My excuse, and I'm sticking to it!
Anyway, I delved into my stash of Heavy Gear miniatures, and sorted out all the pieces to convert them into combat armour for use in my own Bad Dog universe setting. So, the above picture shows two combat armour suits nearly finished being assembles, and five more with all the parts sorted out for me to proceed to the next stage.
It was fun, even if it was a distraction from finishing other projects. A wargamers curse of unfinished projects that build up from being distracted by shiny things.
Monday, 31 July 2017
|Me with members of my club shooting at a competition together, and clearly we are the rabble because none of us are wearing club shirts (left-to-right, Reg, Tom, me, and Lazlo).|
It has been a year since I did the last post here on archery, and it has been an interesting year of shooting that would probably bore you all to tears if I went into the finer details of how to shoot an arrow.
I have not only achieved my first class archery award, but also bowman, which is as high as I can go unless I start attending record status shoots. Quite frankly I'm not sure I have the energy and commitment to do this. For a start it would mean travelling around the country to get to enough events to be able to shoot three or more rounds, while getting enough points to qualify, and then having to do it all again the next year.
Also, I have had to change my arrows again because my draw length increased. The nice arrows I had borrowed from my beloved had become too short for me, and as a consequence hazardous to use–accidents can happen if you pull the arrow off the rest and let it loose. The longer arrows we had to hand are too stiff for me, and as a result my scores have dropped precipitously because I've lost confidence in them.
After much deliberation and worry an order was placed with Merlin Archery, and in due course the package arrived with the parts to make up a set of ten arrows. My first ever set of brand new arrows that I've bought, which are not hand-me-downs or secondhand acquisitions.
|Thirty inches long, they're like rails that go on forever.|
Having now used them, and with help from Sailesh, my club coach, I've been able to tune my bow to match them and I'm hopeful I will be able to improve my scores.
Friday, 21 July 2017
This is picture is of the pre-loved and slightly tatty Cheetah I got off eBay, which was sans butt-plate. As luck would have it I could find no pictures on the web of the Cheetah taken from the rear. Fortunately, I have friends who have complete Cheetahs to send me pictures of what the butt-plate should look like.
However, as luck would have it–or not, as luck only involved winning an eBay listing–I managed to buy a Whitecat. This has the same V-motor butt-plate as the Cheetah, so I am now using this as a template to fabricate a replacement for my model.
And here's the cleaned up Cheetah awaiting assembly.
So, more updates to come, but now it's time to go off and shoot pointy sticks at round things: archery being lots more fun to do when the weather is nice.
Friday, 14 July 2017
I caught a link to a YouTube video, which I happened to have time to watch, which is not normally the case, where it ended by asking the following question:
"At what point do you want to become an advocate and a demo person for the game, for very little to no benefit?"
It's a good question, been there and done that too. My answer is–it depends.
What interested me about the future of Wargaming Demo Teams piece was that any answer will also depend on where you come from. Clearly the person who is discussing this comes from a different place from me, as do a large number of the commentators who left their opinions on the video
My impression is that most think one should be paid for hours demonstrating a manufacturers game, with the details of the payment being up to the company. Ultimately, it's a decision the demonstrators makes if they agree to the company's offer.
A separate question of does this make the person who is demonstrating a game an employee, is probably subject to what classes as employment under the law of the land.
My question is, when did it become an expectation to be paid to do a hobby? Because for the life of me a hobby is something you do for fun rather than it being work, because work is not spelt F.U.N. Call me an old fogey. And yes I've been a demo agent and got perks for demoing games for the company, but I did it not for the perks, but because I loved the game I was demoing.
And as for the perks, quite frankly not worth the time and effort I put into preparing the games, and at one level were a total insult since the terms and conditions of said perks meant I largely had nothing I wanted to use them on.
I consoled myself that it encouraged me to do something I already enjoyed. And the the company decided that they didn't want me to demo games with the miniatures I had, I stopped. No regrets, despite some gnashing of teeth over what I see as the shortsightedness of the decision.
But you know, not once did it even cross my mind that I was an employee of the company.
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.