Monthly Archives: May 2011

Painting the Plastic Minis from the Battletech 25th Anniversary Boxed Set

When I posted an unboxing for the Battletech 25th Anniversary Boxed Set I promised to do some further writing about the included miniatures. To start off with I decided to do up one of the “cheap” battlemechs that are included. I talked about how cruddy the plastic was and how slapdash the molding seemed, so the question is how well do they look after they’ve been painted. I’m not a great painter, I’d say I probably an average or middle level painter. I don’t get fancy, but I can thin my paints and stay in the lines.

Since I’m a House Kurita loyalist I decided to grab the PNT-9R Panther from the boxed set and experiment with the idea I’ve been kicking around for a paint scheme for my Goryō Dragoons. The Goryō are similar to the Ghost Regiments, but with my own DIY twist to them. I won’t get into all that here, I only mention it because of the paint scheme I am developing. The Ghost Regiments paint their ‘mechs white and add Yakuza irezumi themed designs to them. I want to go more with the ghostly theme. A Goryō is traditional Japanese ghost, a spirit of vengeance of a martyred or otherwise wronged noble. The Ghost Regiments are made up of gangsters and scum, the Legion of Vega is for disgraced but still useful mechwarriors. So in the theme of the Goryō I have created a regiment of the sons of disgraced mechwarriors who are deceased, serving to reestablish the honor of their families in their ancestors stead. This follows the Japanese tradition of “rehabilitating” the disgraced. An executed noble would be feared to return as an angry spirit, a Goryō, so it was honored to bring it peace (not to mention placate the potentially vengeful familial survivors). Sometimes the honoring of these angry spirits transformed them over time into benevolent spirits, patrons of some aspect of life related to the deceased somehow. It was a neat system; you got rid of an enemy and got a patron saint out of it. So the Goryō Dragoons are not gangsters or disgraced mechwarriors in a suicide battalion, but fanatical sons and daughters trying to restore the honor of their families. Neat. OK, so I did go into all that…

So, after that diversion, instead of just white with “gangster” drawings like the Ghost Regiments I wanted a full-on Japanese ghost theme. I painted the ‘mech white, washed it in a heavily thinned Ice Blue and then painted the legs black to mimic the popular Japanese image of a legless specter. Let’s see how it turned out:

Yes, these are both the same mini. I am not the best at photographing minis. I don’t have a special box set up with good lights and all that, and the overhead lights of my house cast unfortunate shadows, and I use my smart phone to do it instead of a real camera. In the first photo it’s so bright you can’t see the wash. In the second photograph the wash shows up really well. The truth of this mini is somewhere in between. For the base I was trying to replicate the colors of the standard Battletech maps, with dubious results. But this was a test for the scheme as well. Note: this is the first Battlemech I’ve ever painted. Back when I was a kid I never bought the minis, though I really wanted to. I didn’t paint minis as a kid anyway, so I’ve only been doing this a little over a year in general. It was different than painting Warhammer 40,000 figures, so doing more of these will take getting used to.

But as far as the “painting the cheap battlemechs from the boxed set” test goes, I’d say it was a success. I used all my normal paints and primer and washes and all that. I didn’t have to do anything wonky on account of the plastic. I would say to make sure to primer the whole base, because some of that base was covered by the tape I used to hold the mini to my “painting board”. Where I painted directly onto the plastic on the base it didn’t want to go on smoothly, but the primer went on same as any other model I’ve done and the paint went on the primer same as any model I’ve done. Everything held fine while handling it during the process. I’ve done things where something wasn’t right and stuff flaked off before I was even done. I painted a plastic toy dinosaur once where the paint just didn’t like the plastic and everything crackled off. Oil and water based paints not mixing well, probably. But that wasn’t a problem for the “cheap” battlemech from the boxed set.

They feel cheap when you handle them. It may be the lightness of them, even more so considering the weighty metal-ness of Ral Partha or Iron Wind Metals. But GW plastics are light too, and they don’t feel cheap. “Cheap” and “Games Workshop” don’t even really belong in the same sentence, but that’s neither here nor there. But despite the cheap feel of them they paint up real nice. If you get one that the molding wasn’t all wacky then I would say you wouldn’t even have to buy a fancy version later. But seriously, some of these have crazy mold lines or casting flaws. And some of them have got crappy glue jobs at the factory in China and will need to have limbs torn off and put back on with quality glue. But some of them are nice, and with nice paint wouldn’t need replacing. If something crazy happens to my painted cheap plastic ‘mechs, like I wake up tomorrow and all the paint has fallen off, I will immediately edit this to reflect that, but I currently feel safe being happy with them.

Next time I write on this I will cover the multi-part plastic Omnimechs that came with the boxed set. It turns out that the Thor was already assembled, which surprised me. The Chinese fellow who assembled it seemed to have been in a hurry, but I’ll save that commentary for later…


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Patrolling the Borders of Raspberry Haven

The fields to the northwest of the county of Raspberry Haven, protectorate of the hares of the Wide Patrol.

The fearless hares of Captain Burdock Rabscuttle’s Wide Patrol received word that neighboring counties were violating the sovereignty of Raspberry Haven. Burdock took a small detachment of his best hares and met with Mellivor Braw, the badger that lived under the oak tree in the northwest corner of the county. Mellivor led them to a hill where he had found strange animal tracks in large numbers, and soon a raiding party of foxes was discovered lurking near a wooded area to the north.

Burdock led his hares out from behind the hill and across the field to take up a position to observe the intruding foxes. Mellivor Braw was not quick enough, and the foxes spotted the Wide Patrol as they entered the woods. Dand-O Flatfoot exchanged a couple of arrow shots with the archers under the fox champion’s command, but it quickly became apparent that the enemy was too expert at using cover to hit from afar.

Seeing that they would be shot to pieces if they remained where they were, Burdock declared a charge! The hares bounded across the field engaged the enemy forces in fierce hand to hand combat. The enemy had an assassin in their ranks, who took advantage of Mellivor Braw stumbling and struck the poor fellow when he was down. Bounder was gravely injured, leaving Burdock and Dand-O to fight on alone. The archers of the enemy backed away to attempt a clear shot, but Burdock lept across the distance and engaged them both. Dand-O held his own, fighting bravely.

The enemy’s morale was broken, and they were either struck down or fled the field. The hares cared for their wounded, then sang campfire songs while they ate sandwiches and drank buttercup mead.

But the day was not over for the valiant Wide Patrol! As they sang a merry marching song and made their way back toward the hill, a large combat force of mice were spotted coming from the north. Perhaps they had been pursuing the foxes, and were friendly? Burdock didn’t like the look of them, nor did he like the menacing sound of their beating war drums.

Burdock led his hares around the east side of the hill, Mellivor Braw the badger following behind. Keeping the hill between themselves and small horde of mice warriors as long as they could, they then dashed across the open field, making for the wooded area to the north.

As they bounded across the field they saw that they had been spotted. A mole combat engineer disappeared into the ground, followed by a detachment of mice warriors. The mice also had an assassin, as well as a leader skillfully directing a group of mice slingers toward the hares. The fearless hares would take cover from their missiles within the trees, and draw them into hand-to-hand combat, an activity the soldiers of the Wide Patrol excel at.

The Wide Patrol formed a skirmish line and braced for a charge from the mice. The mole engineer surfaced near Mellivor Braw, and the badger found himself swamped with angry mice, murder written in their twitching whiskers. Burdock and Bounder charged in, while Dand-O was caught off guard, having to dodge his way through a rain of slung bullets. Dand-O opted to join the brawl instead of trading shots with the mouse slingers. The mouse assassin chased him into the fray.

It was a hard fought battle. Amongst the trees and the broken ground, it was hard for any of the animals to keep their feet. Bounder and Mellivor Braw were both struck down, grievously wounded, though Burdock and Bounder fought on. They were knocked down many times by the swarming mice, yet the two fearless warriors kept up the attack. When Bounder was cruelly slashed while he lay helpless on the ground, Burdock became enraged, charging into the mob of mice and striking a mighty blow.

The shock of the gruesome death caused the mice to break and run. In the ensuing panic and confusion several mice were killed, further deepening the despair of the mouse invaders. When their leader himself abandoned the field the panicked retreat of the mice turned into a complete, brutal route. The courageous hares of the Wide Patrol had proved victorious twice!

Raspberry Haven was safe, the borders secure and the message to the other animals quite clear: this land is ours.

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