Saturday, November 29, 2014

Vylka Fenryka to the rescue!

As promised, here is a small update showing what I was doing with my hobby time over the past couple of months.  I acquired through a series of trades some Forgeworld Primarch figures and decided to add them to an old project from two years ago.  During a previous (and long defunct) Deathwatch 40k RPG campaign, I decided to model some marines in "true scale" that showed off how they would really look next to humans as 8ft tall steroid freaks in power armor.  I put those models away a while back when the RPG campaign fizzled out but I decided to add the primarchs to the largely Space Wolf segment of that project.  I picked up the new codex and found a way to make a very small force of Space Wolves to use along side my Guardsmen.  The idea for this came partly from reading the Blood of Asaheim 40k novel where a single squad of Space Wolves assists an order of Sisters of Battle in defending their shrine world.  My force at its minimum would consist only of two to three marines with the rest of the figs as filler to make the small army legal.

The first model is my Logan Grimnar conversion from the Horus Heresy Warmaster figure.  I added some more wolfie bits to his existing Luna Wolves ones as well as magnetized his right arm to allow him to still be used as Horus counts-as Leman Russ during Apocalypse games.  I also replaced his maul with a more proper axe and made his scenic base a part of my chariot conversion in case I want to use Logan Grimnar in his alternate chariot-rules form shown futher below.  He is partly primed and blue tacked to the scenic base as I've reworked him several times in a row and even stripped the base as well over the past few months.  I had initially glued and primed him before I decided to expand the project.

The second figure is the Primarch Ferrus Manus that I decided to turn into a Master of the Forge for the Space Wolves.  Unfortuantely, no rules exist for the upgraded techmarines (or Iron Priests as they are known in the chapter) so I had to look elsewhere for the rules that would adequately convey the sense of power that the figure has.  There are no techmarine special characters in normal 40k so I had to look to Forge World for hopefully some choices.   I found two possible characters there that I could use.  One was an Iron Hands special character from the Horus Heresy books and I felt he may not be accepted by random players due to the double whammy of being both FW and HH and having a different weapons loadout than the figure.  The other was from the Badab War books and was a Sons of Medusa special character from the relatively current era of 40k called Valen Cal.  Valen Cal seemed to be a better fit as he had both a thunderhammer just like the figure as well as had the bulky rule which meant that his base size was correct as well.

I decided to use Valen Cal and proceded to add multiple wolfie bits to Ferrus Manus while shaving off the Iron Hands ones.  I added a cape from the official Logan Grimnar kit which meant that I also had to convert the servo harness to fit it which required a lot of effort and a few more bits.  I couldn't use the big backpack that came with the model as it protruded way to far backward along with the wolf cloak.  Here is my Ferrus Manus counts-as Valen Cal.

And finally, Logan Grimnar with his two Thunderwolves in chariot rules form.

I've converted a bunch more figs as filler to make up the compulsory Force Org slots but I don't think I'll post pictures of them just yet as they've still got some work to do.  I've got some chapter serfs, servitors, and even a Land Speeder made from the hover chariot in the official Logan kit as well as some wolves.  The focal points for the small force though are the two marines and they're ready to be painted.  

I'll likely wait on painting them though as I'd like to get another delayed project done hopefully.  I've decided to try and finish my 28mm Heavy Gear VOTOM squad before 2014 is over as a sort of very late New Year's resolution.  I hope to have some pics of the first test model posted here on the blog within the next week.  Also, I should be playing my first Robotech Tactics game next week so might have an update on that front (the rules specifically and how the game plays... not so much the actual models).  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's been a while...

Sorry for the lack of updates but I've been slowly working my way through a bunch of different projects over the past couple of months after some initial delays.

Starting with the last topic I covered, I managed to get a full squad of VOTOMs to use as Gears in a 28mm Heavy Gear game.  It took me a few weeks but I finally got them from overseas.  Because the plastic felt different, I decided to test my planned green base coat on one of the rifles I wouldn't be using (due to the bazooka conversions) and the plastic in the figure reacted strangely to the spray paint.  I suspect that the figs are vinyl due to their feel which should (according to the label) work with the paint I chose but unfortunately it remains "sticky" for weeks.  The only slapdash solution I found was to coat the spray with normal acrylic paint but I'm not sure if whatever the chemical reaction is will eventually leech through the second layer of paint.  I've tried instead hand painting with acrylic over the VOTOMs and, while not visually as good, serves the purpose of dulling the sheen on the figs.  I'll post pics of the results (I tested washes on the figs as well as repainting) in the future when I finish all five.

In the meantime, I finally got my wave 1 box from the very delayed Robotech kickstarter. Due to the unfortunate backtracking and intentional misleading of pledgers by Palladium in the intervening 18 or so months, I frankly don't have too much interest in putting together the dozens of minis at this point.  Another local gamer at my FLGS got in on the KS as well and we'll be trying out a game in a few weeks hopefully.  I'll try putting together my resin Miriya QRaus and he's planning on putting together his battlecry pledge so we should have enough figs.  The KS, even with just wave 1, gives you an impressive amount of figs for the price.  Unfortunately, the sprues for the figs seem badly designed with tons of very tiny and easy to break parts seemingly unnecessarily broken down into multiple parts.  When the other gamer was assembling his command pack models, he lost a part and broke off two more when cutting them from the sprue.  I suspect most Robotech models will be modelled with "battle damage" after only a few games regardless of how much care you take in storing them.

Also in Kickstarter news, Heavy Gear is currently running a KS for plastic minis to accompany their new edition.

The KS went through some serious rejigging during its multiple previews on the official DP9 forums and is probably now at a good point.  The initial ideas were frequently downright bad but it has improved significantly since then.  It funded (admittedly to my surprise) in less than a day and is fast approaching what I consider to be a good value in the realm of plastic starter sets.  Once it reaches around $105k, you'll have a color starter rulebook along with four armies to play with (Caprice, CEF, North, and South).   While you'll need to combine them into two armies to play the optimal sized game of HG with the new beta rules, the KS gives you four average sized forces using the Blitz rules.  At $130 CAD (including shipping), that's a pretty good deal compared with current metals and even other plastic starters.

Finally, this isn't mech related but I did start working on some 40k models.  I picked up my first GW kits in a few years and decided to make a small ally force of Space Wolves.  I had gotten some primarchs a while back in a trade and figured I'd try to make them into "true scale" Space Wolves characters.  Horus has become my Logan Grimnar whereas Ferrus Manus is now an Iron Priest.  I picked up the Logan Grimnar boxed set despite my dislike for the stupid Santa sleigh idea for the wolves to accompany Horus.  I plan on turning the sled into an Iron Priest land speeder and to turn the Logan model within into another Iron Priest.  I've got some work to do on that but within a week or so I should be able to post some pics of that.

Once again, sorry for the delay and the above wall of text but I should have some visual indications of progress on a few different fronts to post in the near future.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

28mm VOTOMS / Heavy Gear conversions

Hello, my name is Scifi Sitzkrieg and I have a problem.  I've been told that the first step is admitting it.  I have no legitimate use for more VOTOMS yet I picked up three more for a great price!  :)   At least now I'll have a full squad of five when they arrive in a few weeks as it seems all the VOTOMS in North America were bought out long ago and I have to buy them from various far flung locales.

Since I have a full squad theoretically, I decided to try and kit them out like a squad in Heavy Gear.  Along those lines, I decided to make two of them "strike" variants with bazookas.  At first, I had hoped my left over RAFM larger scale heavy bazookas would do the trick but they were much too small.  I decided to instead convert two weapons from things I had laying around so below you'll find pics of my new bazookas constructed from left over 40k bits and sprues as well as two dried out ball point pens.  I'm not a sculptor but I tried to make them at least reminiscent of HG style bazookas as I prefer that look to the more rounded versions you find in VOTOMS.

Included in the second pic is the old RAFM scale bazooka for size comparison.  I plan on using two of them as the "gunner" versions with the MAC GAT-22 rifle and the last one converted to a command variant.  I'll have to add some extra comm gear somewhere to visually identify the "command:" Jager.  Ideally, I'd prefer to field them as a squad of 5x Basilisks but I can't find a way in the Heavy Gear Southern Field Guide to field 5 Basilisks including two Strike variants and three Gunners.  

If I'm missing some swap in FIF that allows this, feel free to tell me in a comment below!  I'll likely wait till I get the remaining three models before I start painting them as I prefer to do assembly style painting (i.e. all the weapons on all the models in a row before moving onto some other part).  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quick update on the VOTOM paint scheme...

Hey guys and gals, nothing too earth shattering for this update as I've just been working on how I want to paint my VOTOM gashapon.  Since I'll be using them along with my 40k Cadian minis, I had initially thought about painting them up like the infantry with a black chest, shoulders, and head with the rest green.  When I tested out that paint scheme in MSPAINT, I frankly didn't like the result.  The base gashapon color is pretty similar to my northern army scheme ironically...

so I think that I'll continue that scheme as an homage to the HG models that were inspired by the VOTOMs.  To add in a bit more 40k specific flavor, I'll likely color the weapons and head attachements black and add some 40k style decals to the model like cadian symbols on the shoulder pads and an aquilla on the chest.

I'll likely use the flesh tones over the upper limbs as with the gears and the Dark Angel/Hunter green for the green parts which shouldn't be an issue as I'm covering up relatively similar colors.  Ideas?  One option would be to keep the red shoulder color in deference to the VOTOMs roots and also because that would add a splash of color not otherwise seen on the model.

Monday, August 4, 2014

FLASH! Movement Rules

I figured I'd try to incorporate the alpha style movement rules into my FLASH! house rules in regards to the lack of movement dice.  Basically, you're counted as being at combat speed for modifiers outside of your own turn unless you hold an action for later use (like standby for coordinates).  This cuts down on the chit and dice clutter on the tabletop as the vast majority of units don't need to have a movement die next to them.  Instead, the movmeent die counts as a withheld action tracker so you know that the model still has an action to use despite already being activated and simultaneously at what speed.  In effect, your model stops to use whatever speed you want during your activation and then returns to combat speed after unless you "hold" an action for later.  I tried this out during the game this weekend and it worked well.  It made taking stationary shots a bit safer but cut down on the near invulnerability of fast moving elite units conversely which is a much more important change.  My cheetah at top speed moving across the field actually got pegged with an average roll because it "only" had a +2 instead of a +3 to defense rolls base.

Movement:  Your model is always considered to be at combat speed for all purposes outside of it's activation unless you use withhold an action for later use like with standby for coordinates or reaction fire.  Place one die at the appropriate speed for each "reserved" action to be used after the model's activation.  Reaction fire prior to activation is still resolved at combat speed.

 I also finished putting together and priming my NuCoal veteran GP squad over the weekend but didn't have enough time to paint them so didn't use them in my recent test game which instead featured a more traditional North vs South engagement.  I decided to completely vet out my gearhunter squad with 2x Lbzk and 2x MACs for use as snipers and flankers.  I really like the Chasseur MkII models with the only complaint being that I kind of wish the heads were a bit different and not just Jaeger copies (maybe something like the CV model head for all of them?)   The sculpts and casting overall were nice but I did have one sheared leg broken at the knee (no big deal as I had 6 models in 3 blistes for a 5 man squad) and two of the LRPs were miscast (again no big deal as every HG player tends to have extra LRPs).

 I'll hopefully be painting these bad boys up soon as the final planned painted additions to my HG army.  I don't have any more southern or nucoal models left to paint once I'm done so I'm only left with about a dozen various gears for my north.  Until I actually get regular games going, I don't plan on painting up the northern models any time soon.  No fears though seeing as how I should at some point (fingers crossed!) be finally getting my Robotech minis (or at least the 1/3 portion they shifted to "wave 1" after an 8 month delay and counting) that I'll be working on and posting about for the blog.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

NuCoal GP and VOTOMS update

It took me a few months of very intermittent painting but I've got my NuCoal GP squad done.  My Fort Neil Tank Regiment force is now complete and has some supporting units to flank around the main hovertank assault with every model capable of moving at least 16 inches in hover mode.  The GP consists of 5x Chassuer Mk2 hover gears with two Lbzk upgrades and two MAC upgrades along with the command model.

I think the paint scheme turned out a bit better on the gears than it did on the tanks and bikes.  I had initially planned on putting the skull decal on the front chest panel but it looked odd there and detracted from the solid red so I instead put it on the right shoulder top instead (after trying about the calves as well).  They still remind me a bit of men in tuxedos but I do actually like the overall look in the end unlike with the tanks.  Here is the whole army in a pic just as a reference.

Special thanks goes out to Paradox 01 on the dp9 forum for a tip about putting a brown undercoat on top of black when you want to put red as the final color.  I suspect this will be last Heavy Gear hobby work that I do for a long while.  My only opponent in the state has pretty much gone belly up in terms of interest in playing for a variety of reasons and there is alot of uncertainty in Heavy Gear at the moment with the upcoming release of the next edition Beta rules.  I'll still try and play my FLASH! house rules locally here if I can get an opponent but I'll likely bow out of the new edition until the final version shakes out next summer.  I've still at least a dozen more unpainted Northern gears that I'd like to eventually work on as well as probably another squad's worth of odds and ends gears that I don't plan on working on currently so I'll have plenty on the plate next summer if I like what I see.

In the meantime, I've also put my 40k Deathwatch Truescale marine squad on hold for the moment as a dastardly thread on Dakka about an excellent VOTOMS 28mm campaign  (Iron Hands VOTOMS) got my interest in VOTOMS piqued again.  Infinity is coming out with a new edition this summer which I plan on checking out so I figured I'd get some models to use along with my existing 40k collection to test the waters with that new ruleset.

The thread on Dakka which gave me the idea of using them as TAG (Tactical Armored Gears) models and Paint it Pink Blog's very nice VOTOMS articles on various model sizes (Paint it Pink) helped alot in getting the scale right.  I basically plan on trying out the rules using my Cadian IG as Nomad Infantry and the VOTOMS as Gecko TAGs.  Additionally, I wouldn't mind trying out 28mm Heavy Gear using my FLASH! rules and 40k figs.  Basically, the cadians would be northern infantry with the VOTOMS as 28mm Gears (Hunter XMG?).  Opposing them would be my xenos "earth" forces with either Tau or Eldar tanks as Earth Light Hovertanks and eldar "GREL" jetbikes or Tau stealth suit FLAILs.

In any case, thanks for reading and I hope to post an update with the VOTOMS soon (or at least not the two months it took for the NuCoal GP squad).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lion's Wrath Northern Army Update complete!

Sorry about the paucity of updates over the past couple of months but I promised that I wouldn't post until I actually had a hobby based update instead of just more walls of text complaining about various things.  It took a while but the Northern Field Guide for Heavy Gear *finally* came out and I did a bit of converting to get my army back up to speed.  I made a Cheetah SECCOM with an extra sturdy box/shield to use as my army commander and converted two existing Jaguars (one stock and the other a Fire variant) to Flash Jaguars to go along with the "high tech" feel of my revised strike squad as the previous loadouts were no longer valid.

   Cheetah SECCOM and 2x Flash Jaguars 

L to R: Fire Support, Strike, Airborne, and Dragoon Squads plus Pioneer Infantry Platoon

I've currently got five combat groups completely based and painted for my Northern force as pictured above with another dozen or so gears in various states still waiting for their assignment.  I picked up a pair of Kodiaks last year along with the blisters to make the most recon'iest recon squad ever (2x Weasel Mk2 and 2x White Cats) along with some extra Jaguars and the remnants previously painted that no longer fit (a trio of hunters and two ferrets) into squads.  Frankly, I don't think I'll work on them any time soon as I think for my current player state (one opponent 50 miles away), I've got enough figs on hand for some playstyle variety.

Next up for mecha hobby modeling will likely be my remaining Nucoal Chasseur Mk2 squad.  I've only got 4 combat groups in my Nucoal army and I want to showcase the variety of speedy model types they get so I need to finish my only gear squad in that force to accompany the GREL hoverbikers and the hovertanks.

Just as a general question, what do you guys think about the Lion's Wrath PDF?  Did it negatively affect your armies in that you couldn't use certain figures at all?  That was a big issue with the Southern FIF release and one that I specifically joined the playtesting group to help avoid this time around.  Squad makeups and variants may be shifted around by the primary author (Smilodon on the DP9 forum) tried very hard to make sure as few variants as possible became unusable.

On a FLASH! house rules note, I plan on making another entry to that set of house rules with the next update.  After playing and reading the alpha rules, I've decided to try and incorporate the movement mechanic a bit into my FLASH! house rules to avoid having to use the movement marker dice.  I'm still working out the details but I should have it sorted out with the next Nucoal gear squad hobby update.

As always, thanks for ready and feel free to comment below!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

State of the Blog Address (Part 2)

Thanks for bearing with the last post and I promise this one will be a bit more upbeat since I plan to focus on the hobby progress I've made over the past year.  While honestly it didn't seem like I accomplished much due to months long stretches of not working on any minis (and having paint dry up unexpectedly during that time!), I was pleasantly surprised by what I accomplished in the meantime. 

I pretty much finished up (except for less than a half dozen figs) my entire 40k collection and mostly sold off the stuff that I never planned on finishing.  My 6000pt Blood Angel, 2500pt Deathwing, 2500pt IG, 3000pt Eldar, and 2500pt Tau armies are officially done except for two figures.  The only other 40k related things I have left are 5 "truescale" marines that I kitbashed back when I was attempting to run a regularly scheduled Deathwatch 40k RPG campaign that has since sputtered out.  Mainly due to a lack of HG playerbase and the Robotech KS delay, 40k has actually been my second most frequently played game after X-wing. 

Over in HG land, I've made some significant progress.  I sold off my unwanted southern minis and actually finished the ones that I picked up post Forged in Fire.  My Heavy Assault King Cobra squad is done as is my platoon of Visigoth Khan tanks.  My support options models (airstrikes and turrets) were also completed along with a cityscape set from Dropzone Commander to use as terrain.  My Nucoal army went from completely in the blister due 2/3 done with two squads of hovertanks along with two sections of hoverbike GREL infantry.  The only Nucoal models left are my Chasseur MK2's that will make up a veteran GP squad.  I picked up a painted northern army as well and then spent a lot of time dealing with the dozens of breaks (and even a few missing parts) due to very, very poor packing for shipping.  I've picked up more northern minis (likely too many for blitz!) that are still unfortunately in the package though.  With the delay of Robotech, I had expected to instead work on my Northern minis but the 3 month delay and counting since the advertised Jan delivery date has put a damper on that.  Despite being a playtester, I don't know how much the product changes after it leaves our hands so I'm avoiding putting together the models until I see what the final pdf looks like.

X-wing is a pre-assembled and prepainted game so there isn't too much of a hobby aspect in that sense but I managed to get into some trouble with it anyways.  After reading some interesting reports over on Board Game Geek, I decided to make my own version of the Corellian Corvette model and rules.  I picked up an old 1990's toy in roughly the same scale and made a custom base to place it on along with some datacards and scenario rules.  Additionally, I made some 3D asteroids out of lava rocks to use during games.  At some point, I'd like to convert my TIE Advanced into Avengers but I'll likely leave that one till after the TIE Defender model comes out as that will be their squadron commander.  At that point, all my favorite LucasArts XvT models will be out and I'll be a happy starfighter pilot.

All in all, I'd say that the past year (or technically about 16 months) has been quite productive despite the relatively large gaps.  Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to finish my 40k figs and might post them here.  I'm going back and forth whether I should buy any more as I think GW has officially gone bonkers with their recent pricing but the new tau commander crisis suit looks pretty darn incredible.  As a grimdark mech, I'll post about that one if I end up acquiring and working on it.  Additionally, I hope to finish my truescale Deathwatch marines along with a kitbashed Aegis defense line and turret.  After that, assuming the Northern book doesn't come out, I'll work on my TIE Avengers and possibly the Nucoal GP squad. 

In any case, thanks again for reading and I promise the next update won't be a solid wall of text but rather filled with pretty pictures of mediocre painted minis like usual!  :)

State of the Blog Address (Part 1)

I was checking out my blog links to see what new stuff other bloggers added and I realized that I completely missed the first anniversary of my blog earlier this year.  To celebrate the passing of that first year, I decided to follow the US government tradition of posting a "State of the Blog Address" going over the past year and my hopes for the coming year.

When I started the blog last February, my goal was to focus on my house rules for improving the Heavy Gear Blitz game under my catchy little "Flash" title.  At the time, I had some ideas that I wanted to publish before getting involved in some official playtesting which would possibly limit what I could post due to the likely NDA.  I've been burned before in the past by Heavy Gear and DP9 making bad decisions (like flipflopping through rules editions and dropping the old RAFM scale gears unceremoniously) so I figured I'd try to get more involved and hopefully prevent another debacle especially given the relatively poor (and deserved) reception the Forged in Fire Southern Field Guide got.

I'd say that I definitely met my goals for improving the blitz game.  Though the rules went  a bit further than I initially had planned and still need some more testing, I'm happy with the overall final results.  In the end, it doesn't seem like anything will be incorporated into the next HG edition due to the vastly different rules in open alpha right now.  I actually joined the alpha in the spring of last year (right around the time I stopped posting large updates to the FLASH! rules and switched to modeling!) so the scope of the changes were not a shock to me this past January.  I think that the core rules have a lot of promise but obviously still need work.  Unfortunately, as demonstrated by the army lists, there still exists plenty of room to screw up the whole endeavor.  As for Blitz, I got involved in the Northern playtesting as well and anxiously await the release of that final product for the venerable Silhouette system.  Just don't expect it to be as broken, unfair, and overpowered as the Paxton release for several reasons.  The most important is that the lead playtester's primary faction is Paxton so they naturally got the best stuff (and paid nothing for it frequently) but also because cooler heads were involved in the development of the Northern book.  The north was originally my faction back in the old RAFM 1st edition days and I worked on a northern army over the past year as well... but the difference is that I view army guides that I play no differently than ones I don't so I tried to keep that in mind while still trying to give it a unique feel.  I have no idea when the North guide will finally come out (the January release has slowly crept into April now and counting) and I'm not entirely happy with the results (especially one very key aspect) but I would like to see HGB given its last hurrah before the release of the Beta files this summer. 

The other big game that I expected to cover frequently this year was Robotech Tactics.  Unfortunately, absolutely nothing has gone right since the end of the kickstarter for that game.  Only a few days after taking pledger money, Palladium announced that they were releasing convention only minis that people had been clamoring for but excluding backers from getting them via the upcoming pledge manager.  A contest run during the KS to design ace veritech paint schemes ended up running 6 months late and only had a single winner instead of multiple.  Everything was just fine and dandy with empty platitudes about how things were progressing for months until just 4 weeks before the October delivery estimate (revised just days after the end of the KS) at which point it was delayed till January/February. 

Since then, the project feels like its just treading water with the delivery date now at June/July and counting and frankly that date looks incredibly unlikely given that no moulds have even been started on.  The rules have not and apparently won't be previewed so they're another big question given Palladium's very poor (to put it mildly) history of RPG rules.  We're finally seeing prototype minis but the part count is ridiculous (30+ pieces for 40k terminator sized figures) and the seams between the parts almost exclusively run RIGHT ACROSS THE FRONT OF THE MODEL WITH BIG GAPS.  The TL;DR version is cheap looking overly complicated models that will come out at best 8 months late.  I've avoided talking too much about Robotech because I don't want the blog to turn into my private whine fest but it deserves mention in this end of the year post as I had expected to cover the game significantly over the past year but haven't been able to. 

That's it for part one of the State of the Blog address where I cover things overall.   Part 2 will deal with what I've done hobbywise during the past year.  Thanks for reading and bearing with me in the meantime.  :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Edition... more of the same?

So the alpha of the new edition of Heavy Gear has been out for a couple of weeks for the public to comment and help improve on.  I was a playtester for it last year and I do like the format overall for the new rules and think it is a step mechanically in the right direction for Heavy Gear.  It's obviously still got some warts but as it is still in alpha testing but I expect most of those to be ironed out over the next year.  After an initial reading looking for glaring issues and typos, I've tried to avoid commenting on the mechanics in recent weeks till I got in a game with the most recent version of the rules.  The army lists, which weren't really addressed in the previous private testing, are frankly a mess.

While Dave has done a good job of listening to feedback about some of the more egregious single issues, the problems seem to go alot deeper.  I don't hide my dislike for the rampant power creep in the recent Blitz Paxton pdf (Blood Debt) with free character stat upgrades, free gear upgrades, and especially free special rules for entire armies.. none of which are paid for with TV because "fluff".  The previous two army guides (South and Nucoal) were at least on par with each other despite their issues but Blood Debt blew all that effort out of the water unforunately.  Seeing the alpha rules continue that power creep with multishot heavy bazookas as the Paxton "fluff" upgrade along with cheaper weapon upgrades on gears that with stats markedly better for no reason (and not paid for with TV) while other factions got nothing comparable brought up a very bad taste in my mouth.  I really don't have anything against Paxton but they seem to be the poster boys for everything wrong with Heavy Gear in recent years.  It feels like the army lists were put together going quickly from one unit to the next without any consideration of how they relate to other factions or models.  Whatever seemed "cool" at that moment was just thrown on and the level of "cool" feels proportional to the level of personal excitement the creator had for the faction.  Combine that with the absolutely horrible idea of "sliding scale" costs for the same thing depending on the faction and you have a recipe for disaster.  To be frank, that kind of crap is a large part of why Heavy Gear is in the state that it is in currently.  Some factions always seem to get the short end of the stick while others get markedly better.  If something does "X", it should cost "Y"... not "Y-2" just because it's a particular faction (like Paxton in the last release). 

The alpha with it's completely incompatible rules is the chance for HG to wipe the slate clean and come out with something more balanced than their blitz offerings.  I would have preferred if the initial army lists were more bare bones to allow people to test the rules but that ship has sailed and the vastly broken lists are out in the wild.  I do hope that the "beta" product released around Gencon will be a bit more even across the factions and the most recent revision has shown significant improvement.  Hopefully that trend (instead of broken mechanic of playing faction favorites) will continue. I have to admit that the army list issues combined with the delays in the release of the North pdf for Blitz have dampened my enthusiasm for the game but I still look forward to testing out the new damage mechanic sometime in the next couple of weeks and will hopefully post a battle report on it as well.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Quick update... Battlefoam has finally arrived!

It took some time but I finally got my battlefoam order.  The bag and foam are quite nice and the deal was incredible but the wait is definitely something to consider carefully if you're ordering during the traditional Christmas season sale.  I'll probably take a bit of a break from painting till I the North pdf comes out as I'm not sure which army I'll want to work on finishing next.  Pictured below is most of my completely painted/based/finished collection for the South, North, and now Nucoal.  Like most gamers, I still have alot of figures in the blister as well as needing anything from TLC or a complete stripping/repaint.  With almost 3 dozen gears if you combine the north and nucoal still needing work, I should have enough models to fill up most of those empty slots by the time the beta Heavy Gear rules hit the internet over the summer.  Likely after I take the minis out for their inaugural trip to the FLGS for a game I'll post a review for the carrying case.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

NuCoal ready for action! UNSPACY on the way?

Well, the Christmas sales are long over and I've spent the month working on getting my NuCoal tank regiment painted up.  I've finished the two hovertank squads as well as the two sections of GREL hoverbikers in the paint scheme I borrowed from my first 40k army.  I was going for some sharp differences in the colors and I accomplished that but I'd be lying if I said I was completely happy with the results.  On top of that, the overcoat seems to have gone on unevenly on the tanks (less so on the bikes) likely due to the unseasonably cold weather delaying the drying (and allowing more of it to drip).  I didn't use any thicker coats or longer sprays than previously so I suspect the ambient temperature where I spray (60F roughly) had something to do with it.  In the end, it's not exactly what I hoped but it also isn't bad enough that I'd consider stripping it and starting over like I had to do with my southern army after a primer cake-on mishap.

The finished force


Some initial paint coats

The black on the primed picture definitely came out very washed out in the picture but not on the model; the primer coat you see in that picture is the same black in the initial paint coat picture (although I did cover up mistakes with a second brush coat of black on the finished models).

For NuCoal, I've still got a GP/Strike squad of Chasseur MKIIs to work on.  I'm debating whether I should start prepping some northern models in anticipation of the pdf release later this month or finish of the NuCoal.  I'll likely go with the later just to get the force completed (like my southerners) and leave myself with only one paint scheme and army to worry about.  

While the paint was drying on the NuCoal models, I also put together my broken 1/200 Battletech/Macross models you see in the background of the finished pic.  The Robotech minis kickstarter delivery date has unfortunately started backsliding (a month passes and the delivery date is pushed back MORE than a month) so I'll have to get my Robotech fix via other methods.  I dug up my Battletech Unseen minis and put together a preliminary force idea of how to use them in Heavy Gear.  Basically, I plan to use the Veritechs as Fusilier hovertanks with a ground mode added to them and the destroids as striders (Mammoths seem to be the best fit statwise with all the recent buffs to strider defense stats and the unloved expansion of gearstriders).  The hovertank mode gives the transforming fighters the mobility they should have along with relatively appropriate weapons (lasers, missiles, autocannon) and they just need a walker mode to finish off the "counts as".   I initially thought the gearstriders would be a good match for the destroids but the idea of the veritechs having the same maneuverability seemed odd so I'll be looking instead at the Mammoth variants... more armor but easier to hit feels right for that counts as.