It’s my plan for the next few days to finish this somehow weird mix of minis:
All painting patterns are going to be fairly simple so I hope this project will not need much time. The Mechs‘ bases are already prepared with white pumice and some stones. The bases were 3D-printed with grey PLA filament. The Jenner is a 30 year old model which comes from a sealed box. Despite of this, the model looks fairly oxidized and I wonder how the colour will look like.
So, this was a try to 3D-print a Leopard dropship for BattleTech. It was printed in one session and to save time I changed the settings to a lower resolution than recommended. Still, printing took more than twelve hours but it turned out resolution was much too low.
Additionally, the bright blue colour of the filament does not really fit the topic and gives it a rather cheap toyish look. However, I still think, with some paint on it, it will still do the job as a scenic craft that came down just too hard in the midst of battle and lost a fin in the process.
Again, thingiverse was the treasure chest where I found this 3D-model. Models for Orion and Overlord can also be found there but I’m not so sure if I will give it a try.
The Panther is one of my favourite Mechs. Not only because it is essentially a fast moving PPC which can even jump but because the design looks great. My first idea for a color scheme was a blueish grey. A lot of inspiration for painting BattleMechs can be found on www.camospecs.com and indeed I found a great scheme there which worked as my guideline.
Step 1 – Basing and Priming
The model was already partly primed in black when I got it. For decoration I filled the base with White Pumice (Vallejo), put in some small stones and left it to dry for overnight.
Next day I primed the base and the rest of the model with a brush in Chaos Black (GW).
Step 2 – Basecoating
The armor plates were painted with Sombre Grey (Vallejo GC48) while leaving out the inner parts of the joints (knees, arms, neck), the PPC and the panel lines of the armor as good as possible. I did not mind to achieve an even coloured surface on the armor plates. A tall construct like a BattleMech will never look brand anyway new in times of fighting and an uneven color adds to the effect.
The inner parts of the joints, SRM frontplate, the „balls“ on the backside (Whatever their purpose might be!) and the PPC were painted in Boltgun Metal (GW). The base got a layer of Graveyard Earth (GW).
Step 3 – Shading
The model was given a generous coat of Army Painter Quickshade „Dark Tone“. These washes are great to achieve a quick good looking effect of depth.
Step 4 – Basecolours
To break up the monotony of the basic grey, I painted certain armor plates with Enchanted Blue (GW). The eyes were painted Mechrite Red as a base colour, covered by Blood Red and with a tiny spot of White in the corner of each eye. The PPC got some Sunburst Yellow (all colors GW) in its muzzle.
Step 5 – Highlights
In order to save time I usually do only one layer of highlights. To my mind this is enough for gaming purposes. In this case, highlighting was a mixture of painting the edges and drybrushing. Armor was highlighted/ drybrushed with Space Wolves Grey (GW). For the metal highlights I used Chain Mail (GW).
Step 6 – Final Steps
The base was drybrushed mit Dheneb Stone (GW). I didn’t mind when the Mech’s feet „got dirty“ with the colour. This adds to the realness because Mechs in combat should have a dirty look about them, anyway. After that the margin of the base got a second layer of Graveyard Earth to achieve an even surface and mask some excess of Dheneb Stone. Finally, as a test, I put on Army Painter Quickshade „Soft Tone“ on the „sand“ to give the base some more depth.
Finally, to give it some more life, I added two decals from my bits box, a unit symbol and a number. Before adding decals, I put on some gloss varnish on the spots where I will put them. This way they will stick better. After putting the decal on, I use some decal softener for better adhesion.
After drying I painted the Panther with Matt Varnish (Vallejo GC 70). In this case I put on a second layer, as matt varnish has a reputation of being less protective than gloss varnish. I can’t explain if this is true but I read it somewhere and better safe than sorry. I think this Kitty will be touched quiet a lot.
Some static grass glued on the base – done!
A rather basic style of painting but done in a reasonable amount of time. Generally I am satisfied with the result although some more highlights would probably have been nicer. After all, it’s done for playing and not displaying.
Frankly, I didn’t like playing BattleTech that much when I first did so in the early 90s. However, I deeply enjoyed the fluff around it. Pictures of Mechs and background stories in Technical Readout 3025 and 3026 interested me much more than game values. I devoured the classic novels, like the Saga of the Gray Death Legion and Warrior triology. And still I think that Heir to the Dragon is one of the most enjoyable novels I ever read. In regard to gaming, BattleTech computer adaptions were a different story and Mechwarrior 2 is probably one of the computer games I played the most, up into the new millenia. But playing the boardgame never really got me hooked.
That changed until recently when I played BattleTech again after a long pause, more because a friend wanted to than expecting a good gaming session. But this is probably the story: Expect the least and you get the most. My mate owns a lot of the old metal Mechs, in contrast to the paper counters we played with in the early 90s. We had quiet some fun playing several games and so the feeling grew in me to get my own BattleMech army.
BattleTech – For me that is the first edition published in 1986, what is now called Classic BattleTech. Unfortunately, the old miniatures are not so easy to get. They are either used and can look worn or they can be very expensive. Modern sculpts are available from Iron Wind Metals for a reasonable price but sometimes it’s only the old RalPartha models which seem to be… well… right. And so the shopping tour started.
On Ebay we found several old blisters and boxes for a reasonable price. There were also some boxes for unreasonable prices, especially if you go for iconic „unseen“ Mechs, like Warhammer or Marauder. My mate and I we purchased the „Regimental Command Lance“ (Zeus, Oscout(!), Cyclops, Atlas) and „Pursuit Lance“ (2x Commando, Jenner, Vulcan).
It’s a strange feeling to open boxes which were packed and sealed about 30 years ago. One might call them antiques. What makes them antique is that they still contain lead and the metal looks highly unhomogeneous. Even for 80s standard, the material was not of a high quality, I think. However, we shared the content and this is what I chose:
The second batch I ordered from a friend’s shop, where I once worked. The shop is closed since some years but online-business goes on and he still has a lot Mechs on his list. Suitable for Classic BattleTech I found an Enforcer, Vindicator and a Stalker. All of them new in blister then.
All models are resculpts from Iron Wind Metals. The Enforcer and especially the Vindicator have a nice dynamic pose, something that I miss in the old models very often. This creates a rather static und undramatic atmosphere in games. Mechs seem to be mere weapon platforms which can hardly move while, „in fact“, a 30 tonne Spider has a maximum speed of 130 km/h. Even an Atlas moves its 100 tonnes with up to 54 km/h. The metal here looks „fresher“ than the material from the boxed sets (Which were also sealed the last 30 years!!!) and has a lower density. A nice side effect if you carry your army around.
Back on Ebay I found a guy who sold his collection of Mechs after 15 years in basement. Prices were reasonable and some very useful Mechs were on offer which are all still in good shape.
Rifleman, Centurion and Dervish are even nicely painted though they would need some repair here and there. I really have to think it over if I will repaint them. The Awesome was still in blister. Several others are primed, what means that the ravages of time couldn’t damage the old metal a lot. Strange thing: The Griffin’s base is so big that it doesn’t fit into the hexbase and I had to cut away some of the base’s edge.
As some of the models from all batches came without hexbase, I printed them with a 3D-printer. Again I found everything I needed on thingiverse.
Not bad for the beginning. However, some of the classic Mechs are still missing. 🙂
The printing files for this outstanding piece of wargaming terrain are available on thingiverse.com along with several other very nice models for small-scale wargames like BattleTech or Epic. FOR FREE!!! So a big thank-you to all the designers who share their models with people who are not so gifted in computer-aided design (CAD).
The Nuclear Power Plant consists of three different buildings: an office building, a reactor facility and a cooling tower. 3D-printing can sometimes be tricky. The reactor facility took me three attempts unless I had a finished model, however, the office building and the tower caused no problems at all. The cooling tower alone is a massive thing, more than twice as tall as a BattleMech on the field.
While the cooling tower has the definite eye-catching ability, smaller and simpler designs help to make the terrain much more diverse and to bring more tactial options to the game. The Expendable Office Building is only one example of many simpler designs which can be found on thingiverse.
One building takes one to two hours to print and can be expanded with additional printouts. In the picture you see one main building and one expansion attached to it. I can already see complete city blocks made of these. Printed in grey filament it is not really necessary to paint them, I think, but glueing them on some hex bases might be a good idea. But for now they are awaiting their first battle…