Category Archives: Reviews & Reports

Robotech Tactics: Building the Destroid Tomahawk Model

This evening I sat down with my new Robotech Tactics game and had a go at building one of the models. I selected the Destroid Tomahawk model, because this mecha has always been one of my favorite designs. I also wanted to carry it to the game store tomorrow to have something to show my friends, and this is a familiar design to many people.

To start off, there’s a lot more parts to these minis than is strictly necessary. The Kickstarter comment section had a lot of backdraft blowing through it, and I understand the bitching about seams and mold lines caused some of the delays as the Ninja Division people did their level best to eliminate them as much as possible. Of course this meant more parts. Honestly, I would have rather spent a few moments using the edge of my Exact-O than deal with the extra headache of small, fiddly bits, but nobody asked me and I didn’t want to get involved in the silliness of the discussion.

So here is the picture of the parts freshly clipped from the sprue:

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I didn’t really look at the instructions, but there isn’t much in the way of instructions to begin with. This is probably my prime complaint here, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Below is the torso of the Tomahawk. I knocked it out in maybe five minutes. For this I’m using nothing but an old Exact-O and a mostly used tube of Loctite Super Glue Gel. I wanted to prove that it was easy, mostly, because there’s been a lot of angst circling this game and everything about it, so this is, “here, I did this with what most people could find in a kitchen junk drawer.”

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The problem I have with the instructions is two-fold: they are vague, and the parts aren’t numbered. The vagueness first hit when I first looked at the missile bits for the torso. I had to do a double-take and actually look at the instructions, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that there are two styles, two of each. So you’re either going to have one mecha with both hatches open and another with both hatches closed, or you can have one and one of each. A very minor complaint: I would have preferred to have the option for both styles on both Tomahawks on the sprue. Really, though, for someone who has done this sort of hobby modeling for a while, the closed hatch at least would be easy to just make out of putty, and the smaller hatch-open pieces would be easy to self cast, if you really wanted to have two with both hatches open.

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Like the torso missiles, the particle cannons have two different pose styles. The instructions show the arms as being two pieces with the cannon able to swivel, but apparently that was victim to one of the many mold changes. Not a big deal.

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The legs and feet is where things go wonky. When they repackage these for general sale I sincerely hope that they include better instructions regarding this train wreck. Numbered parts here would be a great help. There are four different feet styles, and two sets of legs, and I didn’t know how they were supposed to match up. Figuring that part out took about as long as the rest of the assembly steps altogether. Maybe if I had paid closer attention when I was clipping parts, but I didn’t just clip bits helter-skelter, either. I wasn’t sure even when they were on the sprues which ones I should cut off or what the difference between them was. It took me until the dry-fitting to fully realize the extent to which the feet were different from one another:

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There was a lot of guess work involved at this stage. I came up with what I thought was the best arrangement and took a photo:

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Honestly, though, I’m certain that in between swearing and gluing my fingers to everything the above arrangement was probably modified. But I got through it, and managed to get the damn thing posed and glued together:

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I was going for the pose from the Loose drawing out of the old Battletech Technical Field Manual 3025:

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I couldn’t get the legs the way I wanted. I’m not sure it’s possible, but maybe it is. The hip joints are the weakest part of the design, and the most aggravating part of the actual assembly process. I think even if it were absolutely clear which leg matches which foot, gluing the legs to the hips would still be maddening. I’m not even positive the torso isn’t going to fall off or rotate forward or back by the time I wake up tomorrow. I guess I’ll update this if it goes sideways any time soon, but I think that sooner or later I may have to re-glue the legs to the hips.

There’s a few mold lines I want to scrape off that I skipped when I was putting it together, but I want to wait until the glue is dry and I’m ready to paint. I’ll do another one of these blogs when I’m doing the paint, maybe next Friday. I have a 40k figure I need to paint for a competition, so I’ll probably do them on the same day. I also need to buy some good primer. I think the spray paint I normally use would probably be too thick for the details of these.

So that’s that. I will do one of the Veritechs (all three poses) at some point, hopefully soon. When I get enough of the models done I’ll maybe play a small skirmish with a friend and do a battle report and review of the rules.

Reviresco!

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Unboxing the new Robotech Tactics Game

As a mecha fan I was pretty stoked for the Robotech Tactics game when it was announced on Kickstarter. I put my money down, then tried to ignore all the gloom, doom, and hysteria among my fellow supporters when the first delay was announced. HG (Holy shit) Palladium and Ninja put out like 160 email updates over the following year, so I was OK with what was going on; I never once believed I wouldn’t get what I paid for.

Turns out that I was just over the 300th person to get shipped, and today I got my game in the mail. Still no Roy Fokker, but someone told me that’s a later wave.

Anyway, let’s get this unboxing started.

First, the box:

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Some of these photos are going to be on top my dusty used piano in front of my “charming” wallpaper, so just go ahead and get used to it. This is a big box. Even bigger than the Battletech Anniversary game box. Again, here is a GW Space Marine for comparison.

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And I’ve fiddled with the contrast and brightness of the individual pictures to try and get the best out of my non-professional camera and improvised photo stage. But yeah, there is the front of the box. When I got the box from the UPS man (who I waited for all day like a sniper) there was a lot of rattling around. I expected some of that, but I had hear that the frames would be in bags. I was afraid I would open the box and there would be a thousand little parts falling off their runners, but there wasn’t:

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The piano is a recent addition, and I haven’t dusted it off since I moved it into my house all by myself. While the neighbors stood there drinking beer and watching me do it. Not once offering to help. But whatever, here’s the pile of sprues on top of my dusty piano:

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Gaming accessories. Honestly I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at them. Just, “Yep, they look OK.” I am pretty happy I got the faction dice, though. I don’t remember if that’s a standard part of the game or was just for the Kickstarter supporters.

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The book was pretty hefty, too. I remember the old 2nd Ed Battletech rulebooks which were pretty slim and just stapled together, and I guess I was expecting something more or less like that. Did they talk about the book size in the KS? I don’t remember:

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I flipped through the book trying to figure out which pages to show as examples, then settled on Skull Leader and the “Jotun”. I really wanted to get the Jotun with the KS, because I really enjoyed the Orguss anime. Except for the last five minutes, because I STILL don’t know exactly what the hell happened. But man, that OP is fun. Anyway, I eventually want to get a set of Jotuns and modify one back to the original design and paint scheme, just because.

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I haven’t opened the card packs yet, but here they are. They are packed so that you can see all the Defender related cards. The mid sized one is a regular poker card size, the small one is the same size as the X-Wing Minis game cards, and the large one is roughly the size of an index card. I assume these are standard industry sizes. They look good in person.

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Examples of the UEDF sprues:

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I have no idea why only one was in a package and the others were not.

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A couple of them were twice the size of the others.

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And then you get these two Destroid sprues. I will probably put these together first. UNSEEN, BITCHES!

Moving on to the Zentraedi forces:

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And the cool one:

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I happen to have a scale model of the Glaug, still on the sprues, so I thought I would do a size comparison for anybody who might find that interesting.

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Had to switch to a green background so the white plastic would actually show up in the picture.

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And also just because, a comparison between the Robotech Tactics assembly instructions versus the scale model assembly instructions:

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I have no comments on this subject; go to the KS comments page for that mess. I’m just putting up things I find interesting.

And while I’m at it, the UEDF assembly instructions on the flip-side:

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A bad picture of the transfers, included for completion’s sake:

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Along with the inserts about the release waves:

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There was a couple of other things about other games of Ninja Division like Tentacle Bento, and Rifts or whatever, but I didn’t feel like taking pictures of that stuff.

So, there is all that. Someday when I least expect it I will get an email about my Roy Fokker model coming in the mail, and I’ll maybe do something about that, too. I don’t know. I have so many models to assemble and paint. I’ve got a backlog like you wouldn’t believe, and that was before even all this arrived…

Whatever. If I ever got finished then it wouldn’t be a hobby.

Reviresco!

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Recruits Convention – Spring 2013

This past weekend I once again attended the Recruits convention in at Lee’s Summit High School. I’ve gone to several of these in the past, and they’ve always been a good time. When I’m not so tired I’ll come back and link the past blogs about them here, but for now I wan to concentrate getting the pictures up. Because there’s a few of them.

My first Recruits I just sort of walked around and gawked, but I did get to play a demo game. The next time I went I came loaded for shopping. This latest time my friends and I put on our own demo. OK, it was my friends’ demo and I was just there, but I helped by carrying things…

435Roughnecks3inchThe 435th Dust Warfare Club

The above logo is that of my friends’ club they started to try and build a larger local player base for the game Dust Warfare, from Fantasy Flight Games. I think it’s a good rule-set, but I have an allergic reaction to both WWII and anything involving real historical or current units. It’s an alternate history sci-fi thing so it skirts my second concern, but it’s still very much a WWII themed game, so I’m not into it. I’ve promised to build a small army if they ever do an Imperial Japan faction and the walkers are cool, but the dismissively Euro-centric way that the Japanese are treated in the rulebook’s alternate history section leads me to believe this won’t happen in a way I’m thrilled with, if at all.

Moving right along, the demo itself went really well:

recruits-dust-demo-001Mr. B explaining how to start the game to an enthusiastic group of children.

recruits-dust-demo-002This was our first group: two teens that were thrilled with the effectiveness of the German advanced technology, and a convention traveller from a gamer podcast. I forget which podcast he said he was from, but Mr Y told me he listened to it.

recruits-dust-demo-003I want to highlight the centerpiece of the terrain we carted in. One of the fun things about a wargames convention is usually the elaborate and well built terrain to play on, and this year for the 435th’s convention debut Mr S labored long and hard on this signal shack installation. It received many compliments, especially for the painstakingly crafted fence.

recruits-dust-demo-004The scenario was that the Germans had some xenotechnology captured from the SSU inside the shack. The Allies job was to capture it, the SSU wanted to destroy it, and the Axis needed to hold them off for 6 rounds. The last turns of this scenario are always pretty dramatic, because you’ve got just enough time to win, but every chance in the world to fail at the very last moment. Here, some SSU have just moved into the reaction area of a machine gun equipped walker and are about to pay for it with their lives…

recruits-dust-demo-005Mr. R constructed the hardened walls there, and they are moveable. The Axis never manages to hold the line in that midfield, but getting up to those trees there and moving the concertina wire is murder.

recruits-dust-demo-006A view of the signal installation board prior to the games period starting. The bulk of the Axis force started on that back road and had to move up to reinforce a smaller force guarding the far side.

recruits-dust-demo-007The forces were set up so that two people could play per faction. This is before the start of the first game, showing the starting position of the SSU and Allies. Part of the fun of the scenario is seeing how much fighting the Allies and SSU are going to get into. Having playtested on the Axis side, I can tell you that letting the Allies Hot Dog walker live long enough to burn the SSU snipers out of that ruin is crucial to holding out…

recruits-dust-demo-008The Allies had jump troops, but speeding them toward the objective without crippling the Axis support troops is super deadly for them. Here two heroes, one from the SSU and Allies each, end up dramatically facing off in the very end moves of the game. Miniatures custom painted by the 435th crew.

recruits-terrain-001Speaking of terrain, when I wasn’t busy assisting at the demo I was walking around taking photographs of every damn thing there. I love the terrain that people bring. This was a 15mm sci-fi thing, though I can’t remember what game it specifically was. It really looked like the players were enjoying themselves though, and I definitely admire the urban set-up of the scenario. Smaller games open up possibilities for more cool terrain than is generally possible for 25mm and up.

recruits-terrain-002I mentioned a distaste for historical wargaming, but I’m completely fascinated with WWI air combat and would love to find someone to play Wings of Wr with me. I’m not sure what rule-set these people were using, or what scale exactly, but I loved the fact they included cloud cover and had telescoping flight stands for true 3D movement.

recruits-terrain-003WWII Pacific Theater naval battle, I believe. Everything was all set up to go, but I never saw anyone, not even demo organisers, anywhere near the table. Curious.

recruits-terrain-004The first convention I went to the game I played was the .45 Adventure (I think the system is called) with objectives tailored for each faction. I see it every year, and every year it looks like just as much fun. I like the giant rock formation in the middle this year.

recruits-terrain-005Not sure exactly what’s going on here, but the players were really into it, and I liked the modular mountain thing they had.

recruits-terrain-006Flames of War games always have some of the most detailed terrain. This game was very large with lots, LOTS of terrain, and a very busy table with a crowd of observers around it all day.

recruits-terrain-007I’m pretty sure it was Flamers of War, anyway. It was the right scale and there were tanks, tanks, tanks everywhere.

recruits-terrain-008Of course, the “pirate dudes” brought the biggest, the most, and the swag-est terrain, of which this is a small representative. These guys had their own room this year, and I didn’t find out about it until lunch time.

recruits-games-001I didn’t photograph the large French-Indian table this year, but I got this larger scale battle on the other side of the room. I think it’s from the same era, but I’m not sure. I don’t know enough about that time period to say with any kind of authority.

recruits-games-002Pretty sure these guys were playing Infinity. I think. I know someone was playing Infinity, and these were the only super sci-fi skirmish photos I had on my camera so it must have been them. I see this game talked about on the image boards all the time, but I had never seen anyone playing it before.

recruits-games-003This isn’t a very good picture (it was hard to get a good position near the table without being all up in the players’ faces), but this is a good old fashioned Battletech game. I should have tried to talk to the organiser, because I am absolutely dying to play this game again. I’ve had a single game since I bought the new boxed set when it came out, and that makes me sad. I loved their fabric hex terrain, though. It’s a great idea.

recruits-games-004This table was really cool. They had an Aliens scenario going on, though I have no idea where the models came from or if they were using official rules or a makeshift system. It looked like fun, whatever exactly they were doing.

recruits-games-005The “pirate game” has these awesome 28mm ships. Ive done lots of pictures of them before, but I couldn’t resist just one more for this year.

recruits-games-006SAGA, obviously. What I gleaned from the tubes is that it’s from a company called Studio Tomahawk from France? Or maybe they’re Quibecois? Someone call me out on that if I’m wrong, but the search engine wasn’t being cooperative and I want to get this done and go to sleep…

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The latest gaming fad that is crossing the great Grognard Divide and attracting people who aren’t normally gamers is X-Wing. Star Wars is a powerful IP, and FFG has produced some truly awesome scale models for us to play with. I’ve played it myself and I enjoy it, but I wonder about its lasting power. The Millennium Falcon models probably mostly went to collectors for the first run, I’ll bet. They’re very, very cool. I totally want to get a squadron of TIE Advanced and go with a small super-elite Imperial force, but I’m both broke and addicted to Nottingham plasticrack…

recruits-games-008I don’t know the name of this game, but it’s about 15mm. It might be the other 15mm sci-fi game I mentioned above, but I don’t know. The vehicles and terrain are nice.

recruits-games-009Dreadball. This is from Mantic, who make space dwarves, among other things. They have decently priced plastics for both fantasy and for “space fantasy” armies, though they sort of suffer when it comes to number of possible poses. But Dreadball is their version of “space rugby”, a concept that’s been around a while. On a tangent, when I was a kid I really loved the Rutger Hauer film The Blood of Heroes when I was a kid.

recruits-games-010The organisers of this Star Trek spaceship fightin’ game have an absolutely mental campaign at my FLGS. It’s been running weekly for years now, and there’s a mob of people that play it. I’m not really into Star Trek that much, but every time I’m in there for painting and see this madness I sort of get the itch to want to join in. I’d be over my head when it comes to the background, though, because I never really cared for TOS and only sort of followed TNG. The movies are my main point of contact with the IP.

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This man laser cuts wooden sailing ships that are very nice looking, and he’s local. I had a flyer with his information, but I don’t know what happened to it. I’ll try to find out his info and update this later, because those are some very nice ships.

recruits-misc-002A close-up of the Battletech terrain, just because. I don’t mind the cardboard maps, it is primarily a board game after all, but there is something much more visually appealing about this sort of presentation. Cool models and terrain make the game more enjoyable. Painted models also are more successful on the table too, everyone knows that.

recruits-misc-003“Hey, did you guys know there’s a bunch of stuff going on downstairs?” So yeah, I had been walking around wondering why the convention seemed smaller than previous years when I decided to follow some people down the stairs. There was an X-Wing tournament going on, and on the other side I believe it was a Warmahordes tournament. Anyway, people were playing those two games. I didn’t see the mob of 40k players I normally expect, but there was Comicon that weekend as well, and other stuff was happening later after we left, so it could have been that. Someone was setting up a proper Apocalypse sized table in the entryway area when we were leaving, so perhaps they all showed up after I left. At the FLGS later I saw the usual people hanging out doing their thing, so it’s also possible that without an official scheduled tournament with prizes nobody really cared enough to pack their minis off to Lee’s Summit.

recruits-misc-004This stuff is everywhere these days. Even the war games convetions are not safe…

recruits-misc-005Something in the silent auction definitely worth bidding on. Oh, how I wished I had the cash to put bids on these. I don’t know the winning bid, but I bet it was well under the MSRP of everything there. There’s a certain prestige to collecting a Sisters of Battle army. It says to people, “I am the bull goose looney of GW customers!” I mean, that’s totally why I have a SoB army, anyway.

That’s it, I believe. I sort of uploaded the photos to my media library in a screwy order, so I won’t know if I forgot something until after I’ve published this entry. But that’s good enough, because that’s a lot of pictures and witty commentary.

Reviresco!

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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…

Reviresco!

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Unboxing the Battletech 25th Anniversary Starter Box

I did the D&D Essentials “Red Box” unboxing, so I thought I would do another one for the new Battletech boxed set. It costs considerably more than the D&D starter box, but you also get a lot more. Considerably more. When I bought the Essentials box I got so mad at it I drove it to the Half Price Bookstore and dumped it. I won’t be doing that with this one. What we’ve got here is a real game, not a presentation about one.

But unboxings are about pictures of what’s in the box, so I won’t go on about how depressing 4th Edition D&D is anymore.

The box is hefty and large! Much bigger than the old 2cnd Edition boxed sets (I had all three!). There’s what I guess is a Warhammer on the front in a throwback to the original, but it’s hard to tell since FASA lost the lawsuit to Harmony Gold and all the coolest designs were “unseen”. If you’re curious, those neat designs were mainly from two anime shows: Fang of the Sun Dougram and the Macross series.

Here is a 40k model peeking around the corner of the box for a size comparison. Even with the daemonic bunny ears the box is well taller.

The moment of revelation! The actual opening of the box. The box is as big as it is to make room for the plastic miniatures that Catalyst Game Labs graciously provides. The old boxed sets included two dimensional cardstock battlemechs, with the fronts and backs of the battlemechs printed on and a little plastic tab that you stuck the folder over card into. So off to the side there you see the big bag of “cheap” minis, and the two boxes of “high quality” minis. I think it’s interesting, to me at least, that the two quality plastics they provide are Loki and Thor battlemechs…

Here’s the big bag o’ mechs…

And here’s all the “cheap” battlemechs arranged for your viewing pleasure. I will now list the names of all the mechs included in the box: SDR-5V Spider; ASN-21 Assassin; CDA-2A Cicada; CLNT-2-3T Clint; COM-2D Commando; JR7-D Jenner; HER-2S Hermes II; QKD-4G Quickdraw; GHR-5H Grasshopper; ENF-4R Enforcer; DRG-1N Dragon; WTH-1 Whitworth; TBT-5N Trebuchet; DV-6M Dervish; CPLT-C1 Catapult; PNT-9R Panther; VND-R1 Vindicator; JM6-S JagerMech; ZEU-6S Zeus; AWS-8Q Awesome; BNC-3E Banshee; HBK-4G Hunchback; CP-10-Z Cyclops; AS7-D Atlas. Oh, and the two Clan mechs already mentioned: Loki and Thor. The “Painting and Tactics Guide” is where I got the list, and it has them helpfully arranged according to battlefield roles of scouts, strikers, skirmishers, brawlers, missile boats, snipers and juggernauts. These names sound like fan designations, and older more official org types are included in parentheticals like “Juggernauts (Command, Assault, Fire)”.

The “cheap” plastics are really pretty cheap. The quality of the plastic is that of generic molded toy soldiers like you might buy at the drug store. It’s the sort of shiny, thin, bendy stuff with flash here and there, and when you buy the aforementioned drugstore toy soldiers you always get those guys who have the permanently bent rifles. You know what I’m talking about. But these models are sculpted better than that, so outside of the cheap shit plastic I don’t really see a problem with them. They are a load better than folded over printed cardstock, so there’s that. Above is the Atlas mech, which is the tallest provided “cheap” model, in the size comparison with the same 40k mini from before. If you’re here reading this, you’ve probably already read complaints about those dainty little ballerina legs on the Atlas on various web forums. Still, it’s not a bad model.


This one is, though. What the hell is this thing? I think it’s a Jenner, but I’m not sure. When I dumped out the bag the cockpit assembly wasn’t attached to it, so I had to fish around for parts. I was sure I was missing a piece until I realized that dinky little sliver of thing was the complete rest of this mech. If you check out the base of it you can sort of see what I mean about the cheap drug store plastic. Man, what an ugly model.

Some assembly required, apparently. Some of the “cheap” mechs were molded in more than one piece. Some of these were, I guess, glued at the factory. Some of them, as above, were not glued at the factory. I am sure there is some sound reason for this, but ultimately it is not any kind of a big deal. If you bought this box you probably have some glue, so whatever. Pressed together these two pictured pieces aren’t going to be falling apart in anything but the most “dynamic” of game play. EDIT: I talk about painting the “cheap” mechs in this post.

But what about the “high quality” mechs, you ask? Well, here they are, in all their boxed glory.

Here is the Loki strewn about my game table. The 40k player in me loves the idea of plastic battlemechs that require assembly. I love multi-part plastic kits. I love them as much as I hate metal kits, which is very much. So, so very much… I don’t really have much else to say about this little kit because I haven’t put it together yet. I will revisit this blog and link to a post where I put it together and all that. But later, because I have a bunch of stuff to do tonight after this that doesn’t involve fun or cool things at all.

How about some d6, why not? These are really kind of cruddy d6, but whatever, I’ll probably lose them soon anyway. I’ve got about a million d6, so I really don’t need any more, but if you’re a 12 year old kid buying his first table top war game (like I was back in the 1980s when I got the first Battletech boxed sets), then these will keep you from raiding your mother’s bridge and backgammon supplies for dice (like I did back in the 1980s).

Let’s take more stuff out of the box! Because there is an awful lot of stuff in this box!

You get two double sided fold out maps. These are made of heavy cardboard and printed rather nicely. They look pretty much like the 2cnd edition maps from the original box, except those were one sided and printed on slick paper. Which would be why this box is at least twice as deep as the original box. EDIT: It was the Mechwarrior game that had the slick paper maps; the Battletech game had cardboard maps too, they just weren’t this manly.

Seriously, check out how beefy the cardboard these things are printed on is! I don’t even know if I’ll use them or not, but I kind of wonder how many times it will take of unfolding and refolding them before they start to fall apart like an old board game map? But anyway, there are four maps (double sided, remember?) and they are of four different types of terrain. You get a map named “Battletech” with a map named “City Hills 2” printed on the reverse, and the other set is named “Lake Area” and “Open Terrain 2”. Seems like a good mix to me. I know that the old box had blank maps that were white with hexes, but I don’t remember if they were separate or printed on the reverse of the colored maps. EDIT: Remembered, see previous edit. As if that were important, but hey, I drew mazes on those things and had “arena of death” fights with them…

This is the empty box. Unlike the “D&D Redbox” mentioned at the top of this post, the Battletech box maximizes space. This box is not big just for increased shelf space and visibility (like the D&D Essentials Redbox), but it really needs to be this big to fit all of the wonderful, awsome content inside of it. Are you reading this, WotC? Because your Essentials Red Box was an ugly man-tramp in drag and this Battletech box is wholesome and manly. Take some notes, because Catalyst Game Labs is doing it right.

This is the Quick Start Rules. Or the cover of it, anyway. I won’t bore you with “xx pages of blah blah blah”. I talk a little more about this one below, but you can find that stuff on lots of other websites. In fact, you should take some time right now to open another window and check out ClassicBattletech.com. It’s the official website for the game, and reading through the online store and its product descriptions will make you dizzy. This will lead into an appreciation and understanding for this little gem:

Look. FASA had a great game back in the 1980s. The year was 3025, the Fourth Succession War was just on the horizon and the Inner Sphere was a place that made sense. It was even grimdark while Games Workshop was still publishing funny 40k supplements. Then there was a book series that progressed the timeline, more supplements came out, then the Clans invaded the Inner Sphere and robbed all the cool mystery from the setting, and then FASA was sold or something and several businesses each added ridiculous crap to the game and its history in turn, completely shitting up the place. There is a lot involved in this mess of a timeline, and there are a lot of supplements that try to make sense of it all. That quick check of the official website’s online store should have thoroughly confused you. This booklet, along with another included booklet that attempts to pull all that mess into one coherent thing, should straighten you out and un-fuck the whole thing in your head. At the very least you should know what you need to buy next.

Just like the original box, you also get a map of the Inner Sphere. I have no idea which era this is set in, but it looks like it’s one of the stupid ones I hate. I guess it’s going on my game room wall anyway.

There’s lots of neat artwork in the books. This is from “The Inner Sphere At A Glance” in the section describing the glorious master race of House Kurita. Because nothing says “THE INNER SPHERE BELONGS TO ME!” like a dynamic entry!

You also get a book of data sheets for the game. As a bonus feature they have artwork from the original Technical Readout: 3025 book. One of the things that drew me into the Battletech universe originally was the neat-o drawings of the battlemechs. In that book the mechs were drawn at an oblique angle so they had depth and character. In the TRO books that came after that the drawings were flat and lifeless, and the original designs in them were atrocious for the most part. I haven’t read a TRO after the Invasion of the Clan edition, so maybe they are cooler these days?

You get a book of “quick start rules” sitting on the very top of the big pile of booklets when you first open the box. I read through these rules, and it was all coming back to me. The slick paper and the newer, color design aesthetic of this generation’s Battletech isn’t as appealing to me, but it’s not bad. I’m just as dated as the old version is, I guess is all that’s about. Then you get to the BRB, and I started having flashbacks of the original 2cnd edition Rules Compendium book. Battletech can either be a fairly simple game, or an incredibly complex one. The picture above is a nice nod to that, I think. It’s a cardstock double sided reference sheet, so you don’t have to go digging through a book to find basic tables or break the spine or dogear it.

That’s it, folks, those are all the pictures I took and pretty much all of my commentary on it right now. I’ve got other stuff I have to go do, but I wanted to take the time to share my happiness of having this game in my life again! Expect me to begin building a company of Draconis Combine or mercenaries and sharing here soon.

Reviresco!

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