Tuesday, June 7, 2016

RAFM Grizzlies spotted incoming!

So it took me a few days but I cracked open a few of the blisters.  As the grizzlies were some of my favorite, I decided to open those first and start on the core of a fire support squad.  I didn't notice it at first but my rabid grizzly was a strange mispack as it was both missing bits and included USED bits from another kit with 20 year old yellowed super glue on the bottom of the head!  I guess QA wasn't as tight as it is now back in the day (see more below).

I definitely remember the models as being prettier at least in the blister than they are in person 20 years later.  Besides just the missing/swapped used piece above, there are frequent mould lines and minor slips as well (especially on the rocket pods).  The sculpting while nice is very antiquated at times, especially on the rocket packs.  The packs look like someone just took a needle and kinda sorta poked holes in semi dry green stuff, eyeballing the angles, number, and orientation.. and that's probably what actually happened, lol!  Pegs on arms simply don't fit into the holes on the shoulders and flat joint surfaces are convex instead.  There's definitely alot more prep involved in the classic models than compared with modern (soon to be replaced) metal Blitz scale offerings. 

Initially, I had a hard time deciding which variants to actually build and exactly how to build them.  For instance, I have an assault grizzly pack with all the necessary bits to build a 1st edition RPG loadout assault grizzly.  I could do that but the variant no longer exists in the upcoming Blitz rules.  Instead, the only bazooka armed Grizzly in the new rules is the "destroyer" variant which was an upgrade of the assault grizzly with an even bigger bazooka.  No problem, right?  Except that the loadouts for everything but the bazooka have changed for the "destroyer" in the 20 years since.  The Hbzk is the same but the rocket packs changed location and type, the mortar magically reappeared, the heavy spike gun reverted down to just a simple knife, and the frag cannon (think mecha sized shotgun) turned into a pack gun (think mecha sized uzi).  Of course, the pack contains almost none of the above.  Looking through my 20 year old bits pile (some original rafm bits were still in my 40k ork bits pile!), I found some needed parts so that I wouldn't have to open another blister just yet and scrounged the rest from the other grizzly packs (assuming they were extra there).  I decided to go with the modern loadouts whenever possible.  Sometimes I was restricted by the actual physical size/position of the parts, other times they just weren't available, and in one case I just wanted to change the asthetics. 

I started with the Rabid Grizzly as I initially thought it was the variant with the least amount of changes necessary.

As you can see, I put some green stuff on the front of the ugly pin hole rocket pack; I'm going to try instead to just paint on the rocket pips.  I initially tried some quick impression sculpting (pushing some existing modern rocket packs into the still wet green stuff) but it didn't work well so I just flattened out the surface instead.  Also, in the original RPG art (and the Rafm models), the angular northern gears had curvy rocket pods whereas the curvy southern gears had angular pods.  I decided to reverse that to have the aesthetics match.  You can see the original hex base that came with the models as well as some optional bits that I'm considering using.  Even back in the original Rafm days, the gears spilled over the edges of their bases.  I think I'll instead base them on 40-50mm round bases (which actually would be legal in current blitz!).  I'm also considering adding the grenades and ammo cannister to the model as shown below (on the butt plate and forearms) but I'm not sure if it'll end up making the model too "busy".  Finally, the head is technically incorrect but it kind of matches the "extra armor" motiff of the variant (you can see the correct distinctive head when I post the destroyer variant).  I also added an extra armor plate over each shoulder joint to give it more of a tough look.

I'm a little torn on that as they'd cover up the distinctive butt plate design of the gears.  If I did it for one gear then I'd probably put extra ammo for each one in that weapon (and they do that occasionally with the current metal scuplts as well).  Particularly eagle eyed HG experts might notice that I cut off the butt plate from the engine (they're moulded as one piece) to give the model a bit more variety in posing.  I'm not as much of a fan of keeping everything in back all in exact alignment and apparently neither is the current staff at the company as they have had them moulded separately since.  Thanks again and let me know your thoughts if any on the addition of the bits issue.


  1. I think you're a bit too hung up on WYSIWYG. This is your Grizzly, this is your model: shout-out as in this is madness etc. and then kick the complainers into the pit of despair.

  2. Possibly but I've always considered it a higher standard to aspire to and a courtesy that I try to extend my opponents. I don't require it of anyone but myself though (when possible). In any case, this one technically isn't due to the rocket pod but it shouldn't be too confusing since all grizzly rockets are identical.

  3. Though like you I do prefer to have my models match the stats I can live with with things as long as the class is correct.

    Well, I guess it means that you can the girl out of BattleTech but not BattleTech out of the girl: stand-ins were just part of the game.

  4. Don't get me wrong... I use stand ins if I'm trying out something new (whether a weapon swap, model variant, or completely new model) but I try to be as accurate as possible when designing/building an army. If after a game or two, I like the stand in enough to permanently add it then I'll either buy a new model or start ripping of bits to convert an existing one.

    Heck, I've even got small necron and Imperial Guard 40k counts as armies made out of Star Wars transformers and WOTC prepainted minis. :) I just asked if I could use them and explained the (consistent) counts as equivalents (i.e. every AT-TE is a Leman Russ tank with HB sponsons).