I’m pretty sure I’d like November more if Canada celebrated Thanksgiving this month instead of last. Halloween already sucks most of the air out of October so there’s not a lot left for a turkey to breathe. Worse yet, November brings the grey months to Ontario. I probably won’t see the sun again until sometime in February when snow and ice have turned the ground into a mirror so shiny you can’t go outside without welding goggles.
On the plus side, we’ve got some BattleTech news to cover. Bust out your Turkinas and get ready to bake this bird.
A Warrior Pope Approaches
— Cromwell300 (Commissions Open) (@AndrewZ24597481) November 1, 2023
For those unaware, Pope Leo XXI was previously known as Leonard Goodnight, a former member of the First Avalon Hussars and the Grand Master of the Knights Defensor at the time of his ascension to the papacy. That ascension only happened because Pope Beneficent XVII and the entire College of Cardinals were murdered during the DMCS occupation of New Avalon.
His ‘Mech, a bright gold Regent named “Justicar,” took part in the fight against the DCMS. Although nowhere in volume 21 of the ilClan Recognition Guides does it mention a fancy hat, I’d like to think it looked a little something like what Cromwell300 has produced above. Also, any excuse to refer to the WarriorPope of New Avalon.
Time To Kickflip A DropShip
Pretty sure meltdonw14 has posted something similar before, but oh well. I think I’m just a sucker for skateboarding ‘Mechs. And the fact I didn’t come up with “Tony ‘Shadow’ Hawk” first is just going to bother me for a long time.
Catalyst Teams Up With Veiled Resin For Unique Art
There’s no denying that art is an essential part of BattleTech. CGL knows this better than anyone, which is why Randall reached out to artist Steven Michael Bohls of Veiled Resin to commission several BattleTech pieces in his unique art style.
Besides the eye-popping finished product, what makes Veiled Resin so interesting is the process by which these pieces come to life. Each piece requires careful planning and days of repeated carving, pouring, and curing. Steven isn’t even sure what the finished product will look like until layers of tape have been removed from the surface.
You can take a look at the Veiled Resin process in several videos posted to CGL’s YouTube account. The first step is to create a vector art image, either from an existing traditional painting or from scratch on a computer. The second step is to take that vector art and use it to create instructions to send to a CNC machine. The CNC machine then carves out pieces from a flat piece of plexiglass that’s usually a half-inch thick, but Steven went with a full inch for his BattleTech piece (and we do like ‘em thick in BattleTech).
Next comes the creation of the resin that’s poured into the parts carved out by the CNC machine. This can be the most arduous part of the process as there can be multiple layers of resin required and each layer needs to cure before the next layer can be cured. Curing also needs a relatively high temperature, which is a pain when the finished product is several feet on either side.
All that hard work eventually leads to a stunning piece of art. The one revealed earlier this month is a take on the Banshee key art from the Mercenaries Kickstarter (done by the fabulous Marco Mazzoni), but Veiled Resin has plans to do 16 smaller pieces from across CGL’s games, including Shadowrun, Leviathan, The Stormlight Archive, and at least two more BattleTech pieces (one is a Jenner running from a Warhawk, and the other is a classic Marauder also by Marco Mazzoni).
We should see a few more of these pieces unveiled at the Dragonsteel convention, but they haven’t been posted to CGL’s YouTube just yet. I’ll be sure to update things as soon as I find out more.
Michael Stackpole Celebrates Birthday With A Stiff Drink (And A Cool Painting Too)
Of the BattleTech authors, it’s hard to imagine one more formative of the game’s universe than Michael Stackpole. From defining the political intrigue of the Fourth Succession War to revealing the origins of the Kell Hounds, Stackpole has been with BattleTech almost every step of the way. And to honor his 66th birthday, fellow author Bryan Young commissioned a special gift.
Many of you likely know of Stackpole, but few know of his in-universe persona, Gustavus “Gus” Michaels. That’s because he’s somewhat ridiculous. He is Michael Stackpole, but also a time traveler who was almost a thousand years old by the time he reportedly died in 3052 (although there is evidence to suggest he’s still alive, somewhere). He attributes his longevity to “time travel, a regimen of Szechuan food and indoor soccer, or a plot by the Internal Revenue Service.”
Going from author to historian, Gus was present for most of the big events of the Inner Sphere between 3028 and 3052, escaping ComStar captivity to somehow travel to Strana Mechty to witness the election of Ulric Kerensky to ilKhan.
Gus is quite the character, but he’s never had his own portrait until now. Here we have Gus during his time with the Kell Hounds, who apparently broke him out of ComStar custody in 3030. Because of course they did.
For more on Gus’s antics, check out his Sarna article here. And Happy Birthday to the real Michael Stackpole. May he live long enough to witness our journey to the stars and the arrival of giant robot warriors.
BattleTech Pride Anthology 2024 Calls For Submissions
After a wildly successful debut earlier this year, the BattleTech Pride Anthology will return in 2024 with a new edition. To make it happen, though, requires folks to submit their stories!
BattleTech Anthology 2024 is asking for LGBTQ+ BattleTech fans to write in with their stories focused on LGBTQ+ themes centered around several keywords: Pirates, Anarchists, Misfits, and the Deep Periphery. You can use any or all of these words as inspiration, with submissions expected to be between 4,000 and 6,000 words.
For more details, check out the Open Call doc here, and to submit your story, head on over to this Google link. The deadline to submit is April 7, 2024, which gives y’all some time to think of something truly fabulous.
OPINION: Bring Back Naked MechWarriors
Thanks to the insanely talented Jan for his work on this. Link in comments!
— Constantin (@C4K96) October 7, 2023
This opinion might be a bit like an old MechWarrior shouting at clouds, but back in my day, ‘Mech pilots wore as little as possible so they could survive the often sauna-like temperatures of a ‘Mech cockpit. Sure, they had cooling vests, but those things rarely covered their entire bodies, which often led those pilots to leave the rest as bare as possible. That’s why we’ve got so many sexy images of Natasha Kerensky in a bathing suit.
But that’s begun to change. I guess you could say it all started with the BattleTech Animated Series where Adam Steiner and the gang would often jump into their ‘Mechs wearing their standard military fatigues, but that was a kid show, so we could forgive them ruining the lore for modesty. MechCommander and MechWarrior 4 featured real-life cinematics of pilots in big helmets and skivvies, but MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries brought us the ‘Mech pilot with a typical sci-fi spacesuit aesthetic. And here we have Hired Steel continuing this farce with their handcrafted MechWarrior.
I’ll give Hired Steel some credit for the extra tubing, but my MechWarriors fought in their underpants. In fact, some of them fought buck-fuckin’ naked. There are plenty of 3025 ‘Mechs that run hot enough to cook their pilot, and I could imagine fans of the Nova Prime found it comfier to be as naked as possible before letting loose with 12 lasers.
I think it’s time I took a stand. We need to bring back the naked MechWarrior. If you agree, leave a comment below.
HBS Says No New BattleTech Or Shadowrun Games Coming
— Harebrained Schemes (@WeBeHarebrained) November 3, 2023
More bad news out of Harebrained Schemes. A tweet from earlier this month confirmed the worst: HBS doesn’t have the license for BattleTech or Shadowrun, preventing the studio from starting work on a Shadowrun or BATTLETECH sequel.
And it’s not for lack of trying. Apparently, the company contacted both Microsoft and PGI (the makers of MechWarrior 5) president Russ Bullock to see if something could be negotiated. We’re not sure whether Microsoft was charging too high a price or was simply unwilling to offer HBS a license (with Big Red 40-Tech suspecting it’s the former--see below), but either way, they came home empty-handed.
It’s a crying shame. I remember replaying each and every Shadowrun game several times, and BATTLETECH remains the best tabletop-style adaptation the franchise has ever seen. Hopefully, next month will bring a change of fortune for this world-class studio.
BattleTech 40th Anniversary News Coming At PAX Unplugged
More news courtesy of Big Red-40Tech: Catalyst plans to announce BattleTech’s 40th-anniversary celebration at PAX Unplugged, which takes place the December 1 weekend in Philadelphia. Badges are still available for you to find out the moment the announcement comes (whatever that may be), or you can wait until the end of next month when we close out the year with this big announcement in Sarna’s monthly news round-up.
Elsewhere in the video, sources say we’re getting a new cover for the Beginner Box and A Game Of Armored Combat, as well as new ForcePacks. This could be a continuation of the discussion last month where we get more faction-focused ForcePacks, but we’ll have to wait to find out (although probably not long given how soon PAX Unplugged arrives).
Wanna See ForcePacks Being Made?
On one of my many nights on YouTube, I came across a curious video recommendation. I’d always known that Catalyst’s minis were manufactured in China (CGL mentioned it many times during the Clan Invasion Kickstarter), but I never knew which of the many manufacturers in China it was.
Turns out it’s Liya International, an OEM Plastic Manufacturer. And if you want to see the secret sauce as it’s being made, they’ve got a whole YouTube channel full of CGL products being constructed.
These videos show everything from the plastic injection molds to the workers cutting the bits and pieces off just like it’s a plastic model kit. The assembly workers take those bits and pieces and assemble them into the ‘Mechs we all know and love. A lot of those pieces just snap together with a little dab of glue—exactly like a plastic model.
Once the mini is assembled, they’re taken to an assembly line where the workers place each figure in a plastic tray which is then enclosed in the appropriate ForcePack box, ready for shipping. If you queue up a bunch of these in the right order, it’s basically like a How It’s Made video.
What’s interesting is that Liya doesn’t just do the plastic minis. They also have partners that print the posters, map packs, data sheets, cards, booklets, and everything else going into the completed Mercenaries box set. Everything is sent to Liya who then packages it all up. About a month ago, Liya posted a video showing completed Mercenaries boxes being assembled.
We don’t necessarily know how long ago this video was taken, but if you wanted proof that CGL is getting products, here it is. Because we don’t know when these videos will be uploaded, we can’t guess when the Mercs Kickstarter will ship (especially since CGL might still be waiting for boxes to arrive), but we can get a good look at what we’ll be receiving sometime next year.
A Fire Moth Goes Postal
The Fire Moth is famously considered the best Elemental taxi the Inner Sphere and Clan homeworlds have ever seen. That’s largely because it can dash (if you’ll pardon the pun) over 200 kph, dumping its Elemental passengers at the front and then retreating before the enemy can even blink.
Thanks to Stretch5678, we now have a Fire Moth model that accurately depicts its battlefield role. Keeping all its Elementals in a bag is perhaps not as efficient as having them cling to various handholds covering the ‘Mech, but it’s certainly adorable.
PixelMech 3D Shares New Explosive Update
It looks like development of PixelMek 3D is coming along nicely. You may recall PixelMek from September’s news blast as the boomer shooter Doom-like version of MechWarrior that never quite existed but we always kinda wished had. The latest video update reveals a new milestone has been reached: you can blow stuff up.
Destruction is a key aspect of any MechWarrior game. There’s no sense of satisfaction if ‘Mechs just wink out of existence after receiving a threshold of damage; bits of them gotta come flying off as their ammo cooks off in bright, colorful explosions, culminating in a tiny supernova as fusion engines breach. Mechteric hasn’t quite reached that level of destruction, but turrets explode, choppers fall out of the sky leaving trails of smoke, and infantry disappear into red mist.
‘Mechs seem to crumple in on themselves before disappearing in a fireball, which is a step in the right direction but not quite what I’m looking for. I want arms to shoot off in opposite directions once a ‘Mech’s reactor melts down. Perhaps lighter ‘Mechs can have custom animations where a leg comes off at the knee, causing it to face-plant into the ground before it explodes.
There are also no shadows or light sources from these explosions, but one step at a time. Be sure to stay tuned to Mechteric for more updates.
Who Parked This Night Gyr In The Middle Of The Road?
This Night Gyr seems to be posing for a Jade Falcon recruitment photo, which is a little weird considering the Falcons famously hate Freeborn recruits, but I guess times are tough for our little green birdies. At least they hand out some pretty sweet helmets. Kudos to Remmor for sharing.
Owenses. That’s The Plural For Owens, Right?
It takes a bit more effort than a modified composite photo background but I think its worth it. I still chuckle a bit at the ordie cre. My head canon has them shouting back to clear up where exactly those machinegun ammo cans are going. pic.twitter.com/8oODMYB3LL
— Oswald (@Oswald81288433) November 12, 2023
I haven’t seen the Owens in action since MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. It’s nice to see this 35-ton Omni Jenner hasn’t been entirely forgotten. Even the C variant on the right is no powerhouse, but I still like ’em. Thanks to Oswald for posting.
The King Of Lego Crabs
Very delayed, but finally done, My best friends favourite chassis from the Battletech Universe, the King crab, this variant of her’s has dual RAC/5’s, twin clan LRM/20’s, oh and of course our beloved C3 network, barely anything can escape her grasp :D
We love Lego BattleTech around these parts, so when Shotgunfrenzy shared their latest commissioned piece, I had to make sure y’all saw it too. It’s a custom job with two RAC/5s and twin LRM-20s, but it looks good enough to be a cannon design. Tragically, I don’t think Shotgunfrenzy shares build instructions, but maybe some of you can figure this monstrosity out just by looking at a spinning gif.
MWO Introduces MechWarrior’s First Shield In Latest Patch
MechWarrior Online introduced us to the idea of the “shield arm” way back when it first launched. The idea is to torso twist such that your arm takes incoming fire and not your more important bits. This works best when the shield arm doesn’t contain any weapons and has maybe a slightly enlarged shape to better obstruct the rest of the ‘Mech, such as with the Centurion or Griffin. It didn’t have any more armor than the other arm, but offering it up as a blood sacrifice effectively enhanced your ‘Mech’s overall toughness.
Fast forward a few years and now MechWarrior Online is introducing the very first actual shield to ever arrive in a MechWarrior game. This shield, as part of the new Legendary Centurion “Onyx,” actually provides additional armor and structure to the Centurion‘s traditional shield arm. It’s also huge, protecting the majority of the ‘Mech. It cannot be removed, but you probably don’t want to. The LB 10-X autocannon and paired Snub-Nose PPCs provide exceptional punch while the shield absorbs incoming fire. Just twist, and fire, and twist, and fire like it’s an ’80s exercise cassette tape.
The Onyx is also delightfully colorful and comes with the usual Legendary battle pass, which provides escalating rewards of GSP, C-Bills, MC, Premium Time, and exclusive cosmetics the more you play it.
The next big surprise in the most recent patch is a new map: Bearclaw II. Krazzdaxx’s latest creation is a subterranean ‘Mech factory built into the side of a mountain. It offers plenty of close-in combat thanks to all those tunnels and buildings, but also longer sight lines if you wander outside to the surrounding ice lake.
In terms of balance, lots of ballistic weapons have seen their ammo-per-ton increase, while a smaller quirk pass has adjusted several variants of the Viper, Centurion, Thunderbolt, Orion, and Marauder II. Players also received their Annual Rewards Program items in the latest update. For more details, check out the latest patch notes here.
And just in the nick of time, the Longbow is coming to MechWarrior Online. We probably could have guessed given its presence in MechWarrior 5′s latest DLC, but now we have confirmation. Unlike MechWarrior 5, not every variant is a missile boat either; PGI did some digging in the old archives to find a few ballistic-focused versions to field too. Head over to this page to learn more about the Longbow‘s variants and the current Longbow event.
The Fafnir Arrives In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
— Art of Battletech #CeaseFireNow (@ArtofBattletech) November 19, 2023
We have yet another mod from The Art of BattleTech. Once again, we have Pawel Czarnecki to thank for this Fafnir model, which harkens back to the style of MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries rather than the one featured in MechWarrior Online. This Gauss-toting beast is more than capable of wrecking any ‘Mech a merc could meet and is especially adept at turning cockpits into crematoriums.
Magnetic ‘Mech Bay Blows Me Away
I’ve started to really get into BattleTech terrain that goes the extra mile. Recently, we looked at Cross Electric Designs’ ‘Mech Bay with its battery slot and inset grooves for adding your own LED lights (which you can read about in our previous coverage here). But if illumination isn’t your thing, how about a magnetic ‘Mech Bay door?
Here’s Fox-Fi’s personal project of a working magnetic ‘Mech Bay. Both the roof and door connect to the bay via magnets, allowing you to have the door in an open or closed position. It’s great, and their Reddit post has a lovely reference to MechWarrior 4.
Fox-Fi’s love of MechWarrior 4 is apparent in another project: the Repair Bay! This one actually has sliding doors just like the repair bay in MW4 (which this is clearly modeled after). They even gave it the appropriate hazard stripes. Beautiful. Great work, Fox-Fi!
Camo Specs Brings Us The Free Jade Falcon Paint Guide
Last month we had the Smoke Jags, and this month we’ve got the green birbs. Just like last time, this guide provides the color schemes for the Jade Falcon touman, with plenty of Galaxies to choose from. I’ll spoil things for you a bit: they’re mostly green, although I really dig Lambda Galaxy’s sandy paintjob with gray highlights. I also like how they’re mostly second-line garrison units. Give me Clanners with standard engines!
Head over to Catalyst’s store for your 100% free download.
Happy Jade Turkey Day!
— Mercenary Star Podcast (@MercStarPodcast) November 24, 2023
I had my Thanksgiving last month, but I know the majority of you celebrated this holiday last week. Here we have another ‘Mech that looks like a turkey courtesy of the Mercenary Star Podcast. Thank you for the turkey-’Mech.
That’s it for November! Join us next month as we find out how BattleTech will celebrate its big four-oh birthday next year, and what new products might arrive just in time for the holidays.
And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.