Monday, December 14, 2015

XV-88S Broadside Variant

 So here is the final basic build after making some additional changes and additions to my prototype.

Changes from my initial prototype include the new support system conversion on the left arm, the sensor head dog ears (the riptide head I'm using had a single unicorn antenna that I was initially going to use), a railgun grip guard in front of the hand, and dual fins on the calves to further accentuate the increased maneuverability of this broadside variant.  My initial goals for this model were to model both the bazooka railgun (thanks again to Kael'yn for the initial proof of concept with the new kit!) as well as the booster nozzle that gives the model deep strike and relentless.  There are still a few tweaks I'm planning on like adding a commander's honor blade (it is technically for a Farsight Retaliation Cadre after all) to both the broadside and the Riptide (which must now take them whereas they were previously not an option) but I'll have to see if I can get a fair price on the bits.  Likely in the intervening period, I'll probably think of a few more tweaks in the meantime.  Below is the fluff that I was developing for my variant model.

XV-88S "Si'ts-Kree" High Maneuverability Broadside Variant

With the rapid pace of weapons development in the Third Sphere Expansion, the Fire Caste noticed an acute need for added firepower to accompany the more aggressive, long ranged, and fast paced use of Crisis Suits exemplified by the new Retaliation Cadre doctrine.  In traditional Fire Caste doctrine, the broadside filled this role quite honorably but it lacked the manueverability necessary to support faster moving cadres once they deployed from their Orca transports.  Additionally, the broadsides were almost completely immobile and unable to participate in extreme environments like underwater or in a vacuum.  Recent advances like the Riptide and it's variants have addressed this need for greater mobile suit firepower somewhat but the availablility of this until recently secret and experimental suit is limited and mass production on the scale of crisis suits is cost prohibitive.  It was decided by the Earth Caste under the direction of the Ethereals and the request of the Fire Caste to develop a high mobility version of the venerable broadside suit.

The highly efficient coolant system under the powerplant was removed and was miniaturized significantly despite maintaining 70% capacity.  It was then placed within the suit torso and coupled with a moderate improvement in the powerplant.  In its place, a single large thruster nozzle was placed capable of short intense burns along with some additional flight stability fins on the legs.  With the thruster is not powerful enough to actually propel the Broadside in sustained atmospheric flight, it is capable of arresting the suit's fall when air dropped from a moving Orca as well as propelling the suit both underwater and in space at moderate speed.  During normal operations, the improved powerplant and targeting software allow added mobility while simultaneously fully charging the railgun and plasma weaponry, previously not consistently possible without a devastating loss of accuracy.  The smaller cooling system is less efficient admittedly and the suit does suffer in the traditional role of sustained full battlefield Hunter cadre support fire.  It is however sufficient for the short but decisive engagements that Retaliation Cadres typically engage in.

It was decided to name the variant after an ungainly Kroot end evolution common to their homeworld.  The Si'ts-Kree is an ungainly large flightless bird with an abnormally large beak and powerful bite.  While technically flightless, it is capable of powerful jumps that allow it to reach perches high up in the tree canopies that would otherwise be impossible to reach for a creature of that size and bulk.  It then typically drops down on the unsuspecting prey and kills it with its powerful beak.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bazooka Mecha Joe Tau Conversion

Unfortunately, I had to take an unexpected break from my Tau project due to delays in getting my broadside but finally got it a few weeks ago and worked on it this weekend after recently finishing two HALO Fleet Battles fleets.  I roughly followed my idea above with some tweaks of my own to customize it.  Sorry about the pics below as I was taking them while working, snapping pics as I worked on the next step (as evidenced by the instructions and still wet glue!).  While I did plan out and virtually measure twice, I had to improvise a bunch of changes on the fly.

Starting with the railgun, I test fitted it on the other shoulder but decided to keep it on the same side. It just looked better and was more reminiscent of an old RPG fav, the Rifts Glitterboy.  I decided to keep its original orientation instead of flipping it like my inspiration above.  I cut away the same large piece above (click his link to see his step by step photo) but decided not to use it as a grip.  It would be too bulky since I planned on using spare leftover Enforcer hands on the model.  I put on all but one of the original railgun bits (the sensor head scope) and filled in the remaining gaps on the other side where the other hand/arm would go with a spare Broadside "face" bit for the head (you get 5 or 6 with the kit).  I'll probably put a small antenna on the back disc area on the outside face of the gun.  I mounted the back of the railgun on the peg that attaches to the powerplant as well. Finally, for the grip, I decided o use the mounting rail for the seeker missile I wouldn't be using.

I knew I wasn't going to use the missile because I planned to use the bits for a conversion.  I'm building a retaliation cadre in which the broadsides are both relentless and can deep strike, neither of which they normally do.  So I made up some fluff that I'll post later about a new Broadside variant that trades sustained fire capability for additional maneuverability.  To show this on the model, I decided to skip the cooling fan under the powerplant and mount the seeker missile bit there instead.  You need to remove the tab above the back waist on the broadside and slightly trim the intake side of the missile booster engine but it fits as shown below fairly well with minimal fuss with the edge with the longer railing on the bottom. 

This conversion pushes the torso a tiny but forward and I had to trim off and gap fill the raised bump on the broadside groin guard as well as it bumped against the center bottom chest armor when dry fitting.

Since I'm going with an anti-heavy infantry theme for this cadre, I chose the plasma guns as my secondary weapon option. I tried mounting it different ways on the arm but thought they all looked too busy.  Instead, I decided to also mount it on the back.  When I used the normal spacer piece the instructions said, the barrels looked too separated for my tastes and jutted out too far when in the "launch" vertical position I planned on using.  I just trimmed them a bit on the inside face and mounted them directly onto the peg.  It's style over function though as if they were to rotate forward to fire then they'd be blocked bybtge shoulder pad without the spacer piece.  I suspect in fluff the earth caste has miniaturized an extension within the mounting to counteract this.  :)  Here is my initial blu tac mockup with most of the pieces.

I still wanted to show a support system on the model but I didn't like any of the existing ones on the left arm mounting so I tried tried using the remaining scope bit from the railgun.  I decided that too was too bulky and latter kitbashed a custom piece.  I used my leftover Yvahra Riptide head as it was squat and bulky enough that I thought it worked well with the broadside aesthetics.  For the arms, I used two sets of left forearms and right shoulders to lengthen the limbs.  The right railgun arm of the broadside was just too short and asymmetrical for my tastes and I had an extra from months ago when I ordered bits in my unsuccessful quest for alternate Riptide shoulder pads (detailed above).  It was a win-win situation!

I'll be working on gluing this together later tonight and I've already got a few tweaks in mind as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Alien Armada has arrived

Well, I finished up my Zentraedi themed Covenant fleet.  I tried to incorporate all the main colors (green, black, yellow, and grey) but had trouble putting the grey in.   There is usually a trim of black across the middle of Zentraedi ships that "blooms" into a grey area but I couldn't really find a good place to do it.  I tried putting a grey areas on the top, on the back "wings", and just on various struts underneath.  The biggest model, the ORS cruiser, has a spot for it on the top front but I wanted a consistent design throughout and didn't really find one so I decided to just accentuate a few minor fins in grey.

Normally I overcoat a few times with gloss spray and then do a final dull coat to take off the shine (too many layers of dull leads to frosting!)... but, as a nod to the usually metallic reflective Covenant color schemes, I decided to leave it shiny.  I think it's a nice juxtapostion to my dull coated utilitarian brick UNSC ships.

I've got more ships to build for both factions but I'll probably take a break from them for a bit because I don't actually have any space left to put more models in my carrying case for this game.  The above fleets give me roughly 800pts worth of ships for each side which is enough hopefully to get a taste of the game in practice and for unofficial demos.

Next up, I've got one more Tau Broadside battlesuit left to build for my small retaliation cadre to finish off the hobby work for the year.  While I didn't plan it that way, one more green model is on the way in 2015!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Have the Zentraedi joined the Covenant?

Just a quick update... I've decided to continue painting some of my Halo Fleet Battles ships to give myself a fleet to fight against with my UNSPACY fleet.  I had already dipped my toe in the Macross pool with my decals on the human fleet and my previous Covenant paint scheme (the "Tron Legacy" look) didn't work out as well as I had hope so I just went full in on the Macross crossover theme.  I'll be painting up my Covenant ships in the typical Zentraedi paint scheme from the anime shown below:

Sorry for the bad cell phone pic in a dimly lit basement but I just finished the work for today.  So far, I've done the base coat, a wash, and a drybrush of the base color again to highlight the raised parts.  I just have to pick out which parts I'll be detailing in black, grey, and yellow next.

I took out my x-wing miniatures from my carrying case so I have a little bit more room to play with.  Initially, I planned on just dividing up my human fleet down the middle for demos but the extra room gives me enough space to instead put in a roughly equal Covenant fleet along with an RDF/UEDF force for the Robotech minis game as well (my zentraedi were to be split down the middle for demos as well previously).  Now I'll have the rules, dice, counters, and minis for two separate Heavy Gear, Robotech, and Halo factions if I find someone interested in playing them.  On another side note, I finally got my Tau model over the weekend as well so I hope to finish off the year with that quick project to complete my mini-tau Farsight force.