Tag Archives: Miniatures

Robotech, Macross, and the Unseen

Even though it was decades ago, I’ll never forget the Saturday morning where I became forevermore helplessly, HOPELESSLY addicted to large military robots. I have since developed a bit of ‘flowery’ disdain for the bastard chimera that is the Robotech saga, but I am at least nostalgic that it was the vehicle with which I first was introduced to Supredimensional Fortress Macross.

It was 1985. I was eight years old, and until then Saturday morning cartoons consisted mainly of an assortment of Hasbro toy advertisements and video game tie-ins. Anime was and would continue to be very sparse (though much of it was animated in Japanese studios). Transformers (of the aforementioned Hasbro adverts) had a very strong effect on me for getting turned on to big stompy bots.

And then Robotech showed up; which took the transformable robot thing and showed that “hey- people can drive these things dammit!”. The VF-1 Valkyrie in all its flavors (which became the Wasp, Stinger,Phoenix Hawk and their LAM equivalents), was NOT a nae indestructible machine like the Transformers were (until half of them got spawn-fragged in the animated movie the following year). They, at least the tan-colored ones popped like zits throughout the show. But they had it easy compared to the thrashings the poor Destroids received.

Three variant Valkyrie variable fighters; originally used as the Wasp, Stinger, and Phoenix Hawk 'mechs.

Three variant Valkyrie variable fighters; originally used as the Wasp, Stinger, and Phoenix Hawk ‘mechs.

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A Hobby Project: Clan Coyote Star


I recently found myself with three leftover Clan ‘Mechs. They didn’t make it into my Ghost Bear or Jade Falcon forces, so I sat them on the shelf and started looking through Clan RATs (Random Assignment Tables) from a few different books to see what kind of theme of which they might be the start.

After a little bit of searching, I came upon an opportunity. One of my favorite OmniMechs since I first saw it is the Savage Coyote, but not really having much of an interest in the Homeworlds Clans, I had never had the opportunity to pick one up. The three ‘Mechs for which I was trying to find a home were a Guillotine IIC, a Highlander IIC, and a Timber Wolf from the latest Intro Box Set. Seeing all of these ‘Mechs on the RAT for Clan Coyote, I saw my chance to finally get a Savage Coyote, and I immediately went to Iron Wind Metals’ website to see about filling the remaining spots in what was now designated as a Clan Coyote Star.

The Savage Coyote was an easy pick, and though I had to pay the archive fee, I thought the extra price would be worth the payout for the project.

The remaining spot in the Star came down to a choice between two ‘Mechs, a Rabid Coyote and a Septicemia. I like both ‘Mechs a lot, and I really wish I could have added them both to the roster. But I only needed one of them, so I did a little re-reading about Clan Coyote and ultimately came to the conclusion that the Septicemia was the better ‘Mech to fill the spot.

I liked it more for a few reasons. First, it contributes to the Star being a little heavier overall, which is a Clan Coyote trademark. Also, it put the composition of the Star at three OmniMechs and two BattleMechs, also a hallmark of Clan Coyote, who is known for fielding a large percentage of OmniMechs. Also, I really liked the idea of throwing in the slightly controversial design. Being associated with the Society, the Septicemia (also known as the Pariah) is the only ‘Mech chassis associated with the Society that is still approved for use by the Grand Council after the Wars of Reaving.

All of this culminated into placing a minis order from Ironwind Metals and a small hobby supplies order from The War Store.

The Project

I am not a master level painter. I usually paint for what I consider to be “tabletop standard,” so for the more serious hobbyists and painters who may read this, I know I cut a lot of corners (I don’t mind mold lines!), don’t pay attention to enough details, and rush through several steps. Here, along with pictures, is the story of my Clan Coyote Star Project.

1. Assembly


The first step was to get them put together and primered. I used the Army Painter Primer and Basecoat in Crystal Blue for this step. My plan was to use Army Painter’s Quickshade product for this project, so I counted the spray primer as the basecoat for these models and did not paint on an extra coat. As you will see in the next few pictures, I use a Hobby Lobby brand acrylic paint for my miniatures.

2. Colors


In this step, I picked out the parts that I wanted to be metal as well as applied grey and a few other colors to match the chosen scheme. The Silver color was a bit brighter than I would have liked it to be, and I was curious to see how the Quickshade would tone it down. The paint scheme for the Star is derived from Clan Coyote’s Alpha Galaxy, with the noted exception that I did not include the double stripe that is usually painted down the left torso and leg of each ‘Mech. After doing a rather bad job on one of the minis and having to cover it up, I decided that I did not have the patience to try to do that part of the paint scheme well, and I skipped that part of the scheme in order to have the minis look a little better.

3. Quickshade


This was the part of the process about which I was most nervous. I had never used Quickshade before, but I did know one thing: I was not going to dip the minis. I elected instead to paint it into the minis, and I ended up letting them dry for over 48 hours. I’m sure they would have been fine with the recommended 24 hour drying period, but I was unable to get back to the project for two days after this step. I was very pleased with how the Quickshade worked, giving a good, worn shading effect to the models.

4. Finishing Touches


After some basic basing, which included just painted the bases brown and using some simple flock, I applied a coat matte varnish. I didn’t use the Army Painter matte spray, just some generic spray that I’ve had around for a while, but I don’t think the result was any different.


The matte varnish muted the shiny Quickshade nicely, and I think the minis turned out looking like I spent far more time on them than I did.


Overall, I am very pleased with how this project turned out. I will probably take a little more care as I launch into painting my other units, but I am not at all disappointed with anything about how the Coyote Star turned out.

5. One Last Thing

I do plan to order decals for these ‘Mechs, so at some point in the future they will have Clan Coyote markings. It’s just a matter of getting them ordered and in, but for now, I’m considering the project completed.


Painting minis for the tabletop can be a daunting task, but I hope that I demonstrated that it doesn’t have to necessarily take a massive amount of time and effort to achieve good looking results that will make for great games on the tabletop whether playing on hex maps or tabletop terrain.

– Dave

CGL Adding New Lance Packs, Intro Set Reprint

CAT35710 Assault Lance Packaging

Assault Lance assaulting stuff.

Assault Lance assaulting something or the other.

Announced today, Catalyst Game Labs is issuing a reprint of the successful Introductory Box Set to meet demand, and should be back on game store shelves by late summer of 2014.

Also announced is a line of Lance Packs, using the same improved plastic miniatures found in the Introductory Box Set. Each set will be retailing at $19.99, and although no specific release date has been given it is expected to hit the streets late this year. The Assault Lance Pack and the Pursuit Lance Packs are the first ones to be going out the warehouse doors, each one also packed in with eight Alpha Strike cards as an added bonus.

More Info:

Your First Miniature


Steel Kitty FTW!

I don’t know why I bought that Panther.  Maybe it was because none of my friends owned a Panther miniature.  No matter how badly I painted it, they’d still have to use it when we played.  Or maybe I just wanted my first paint job to be a smaller miniature, so it would be less imposing.  For whatever reason, I purchased that Ral Partha miniature, and then proceeded home to paint my first…well…anything really.

I had been playing BattleTech for about three months by that point. Ninth grade was almost over.  Everyone else in my playgroup had a bunch of miniatures they had picked up and painted.  It was time I do the same!  So I bought that Panther and set out to make the best looking Panther I could.

But I’ve never been an artist.  Usually I don’t enjoy crafts such as painting.  I grabbed my mother’s set of craft paint and began a project that took all night.  For five minutes I stared at the metal frame.  What did I want this thing to look like?  After consideration, I gave it a boring brown body, but I didn’t like that very much.  I used Steel for the PPC and Crimson for its eyes.  A touch here and there.  Before too long, it had become the Panther of 14 Colors.  I had even found a place for Lilac.  I sighed.  I had inadvertently painted the Rainbow Kitty.

For a few weeks, I brought it to game time.  No one used it.  Discouraged, I picked up a Stinger and Wasp and painted them dark grey, with just black and silver sections. I made them simple on purpose.  They weren’t elegant, but they did the job well enough.  And people played with them!

Eventually, I decided to reboot the Panther.  I took a bath with it, and washed it off.  This would be a new chance!  Forest Green was the body, and then some lighter greens, black, brown, and steel.  It was Forest Camo Kitty.  And yet, it still didn’t look right.  I think it was used once or twice in the next year.

One more time! I stripped off the camo design and painted the Panther medium gray.  It took about ten minutes before I realized that was a bad choice too, but I had already begun.  It was yet another sad attempt to make the Panther sleek and powerful – like its namesake.

Unfortunately, a few years ago, I lost my Panther and a few other miniatures.  I no longer own my first miniature experience.  Today, after painting about 250 miniatures in fantasy and BattleTech,  I can honestly say that on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 1 being my first Panther and a 10 being the amazing work I see online, I’m about at a 3.  It’s not my thing. But that’s alright.  It suffices.

The Panther stays with me always though.  You always remember that first miniature.

What was your first miniature?  How did it turn out?  Do you have any pictures?

Interview With Jon Paulson: Part Two

Well here we go with the second half of Jon Paulson’s interview.  Check out the first half if you need to catch up.

Ron: Do you plan on just offering mecha, with standardized rules for conventional modern units regularly obtained in scale through other companies?

Jon: Combined arms will be present in the rules. The Mecha are specialized units deployed primarily in urban zones where traditional armor has difficulty operating. The focus of the game of course will be on mecha but a good array of mechanized combat will be represented. Tanks, Infantry, APC, and VTOL units will all be present and can compose up to 30% of your force in a standard game.

There are a number of really good companies already producing models for those types of units so Non-mecha units are a low priority for me at the moment. I eventually plan on making my own models for them but only once the mecha are up and running. I only have so many resources I can devote and I don’t see much sense in making models that are already widely available. The mecha are the focus of the game and there are very few suitable options in the 15mm scale so that’s what I’m concentrated on.

While it may seem odd to established 28mm player, mixing ranges of models is pretty common place for both 6mm and 15mm games. As the 15mm market is supported primarily by “cottage industry” ie small companies, they are generally much more supportive of each other.

The Raptor, along with upcoming models in the Mecha Front series.

The Raptor, along with upcoming models in the Mecha Front series.

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Interview With Jon Paulson: Part One

Hey everyone. I’ve mentioned Jon Paulson and his Mecha Front work for several months now. But I thought it would be better to hear directly from the horse’s mouth what’s been going on lately.

Ron: How did you get involved with developing your own line of figure mods?

Jon: I’ve been modifying and scratch building miniatures for 10-15 years, about 5 years ago I started experimenting with casting some of my sculpts which people immediately showed a very strong interest in. I started selling them on eBay and through my website, demand was high enough that I decided to focus on it full time. I initially started with a random assortment of weapons and conversion pieces but I knew from the get go that if I wanted it to grow as a business I would need to expand to doing a stand-alone line.

Ron: From what I’ve read on your paulsongames.com and before it the Mecha Front website, I can compare it to near-future games like Front Mission. Outside of BattleTech, where did you get your idea for the Mecha Front storyline?

Jon: There are a lot of different influences in the setting. I grew up watching RoboTech, early Gundam, Armored Trooper Votoms, Dougram; all of those shows had a gritty military theme to them that a lot of newer anime have moved away from. I’ve also been a huge fan of mech based video games; Armored Core and Front Mission were heavy influences. While I tend to feel that the gameplay was weak the settings and mech designs were always very cool.

NorAM Raptor from Mecha Front: In all its Scroggliness.

NorAM Raptor from Mecha Front: In all its Scroggliness.

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Miniatures Mafia

Tis time I have a twofer interview; Chris Gotcher and the Shimmering Sword himself, Anthony Scroggins. We havequite a bit to cover this time so I’ll jump right in.

Ron: Greetings, gents. I’ve been following your work, and been hearing some cryptic, teasing glimpses of some side projects between you both, especially with ‘Mech Engineering Quest. Though I was never involved, I have seen a few non-canon BattleMech designs here and there, and was wondering if you would tell me a bit about Engineering Quest and your current projects.

The Duchy of Andurien- Someone was watching Mirror-Mirror when they created this flag.

Anthony: Mech Engineering Quest is pretty self-explanatory, players got together a role played a design into existence. I was the first choice for having it visualized, but the job went instead to someone willing to work for free, which is definitely understandable.

Chris: Well Mech Engineering Quest was a group RPG organized by “Anontech” and focused on the life of Mech Engineer Danny Holdt; the obsessive-compulsive, insomniac, coffee, and cigarette-fueled new lead designer for Skvorec Armorworks. Skvorec was a Marik startup in 3040 not much better than a Solaris chopshop in the Reaches, but with room to explode with military rebuilding from the Andurien War.

Ron: So what did ‘he’ come up with?

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3D Virtual Tabletop: Getting Back to the Basics of Table Gaming, With a Mobile Device?

I sit here scratching my head because of how inane it seems at first. But then it slowly starts to dawn on you. Yes, MechWarrior Tactics is a great attempt at bringing the heart and soul of a tabletop wargame to your PC as a videogame the way that Baldur’s Gate did for RPGs. Especially the multiplayer dynamic.

But forget about the well animated sprites and combat, and the voice acting and pretty much everything that screams “VIDEOGAME”. Instead turn it into a medium for crafting your own Friday night gaming sessions on your iPad or smartphone and then having a virtual tabletop with 3D counters, character portraits that everyone in your group can interact with.

3D Virtual Tabletop is a recently-funded Kickstarter project that lets you do just this:

With multiple counter sizes and the ability to import even Megamek or hexed satellite images, instant  BattleTech map

With multiple counter sizes and the ability to import even Megamek or hexed satellite images, instant BattleTech map

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What’s Up With BattleTech? GenCon 2013 Session

I was at GenCon this last week enjoying the insanity (you should really try to go at least once if you’ve never been), and was able to take notes during Catalyst’s “What’s Up With BattleTech?” seminar put on by Herb Beas, the BattleTech line developer.

whats up with battletech herb beas

Herb Beas of Catalyst Game Labs

The atmosphere for the session was rather casual.  Instead of just spilling all of the beans about what’s in store for the game over the next year, Herb would answer any question the audience asked. I took an audio recording (see below), and here are some of the highlights of the things Herb shared:

  • The upcoming reprint of the Introductory Box Set (estimated to be released Nov 29, 2013) will have higher quality miniatures in the box than before.  Herb had a sample of the ‘Mechs at the seminar, and they really are much-improved (with more detail) over the first print:

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So who wants a Fully Poseable Six Inch tall Atlas Action Figure?

I recently interviewed a custom miniature designer who utilizes modern 3D printing technology to make custom Z, N, and even HO scale (Mecha Front) war game figures. Well I have fallen into the “Shut up and take my money” pit once more.


Six Inches of Pure, Unrefined Awesome (wonder if he’d make one of those too…)

Kotaku recently posted an article on a BattleTech and MechWarrior fan with a 3D printer that has developed and is now selling this incredible Atlas figure that features eleven points of articulation. ‘Valcrow‘ designed this miniature engine of destruction with modular weapons components that can be removed or swapped- suggesting he might have other models on the way.

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