Sunday 30 June 2013

Old School Battletech


As part of my alternative Battletech project, I've spent a bit of time perusing the old Davion House Handbook!

Originally produced in 1988, the book covers all aspects of the house of Davion and the Federated Suns and is a really useful resource for anyone interested in Battletech. Interestingly it covers all sorts of elements not usually seen in a wargame, including economics, politics as well as the more usual military stuff.


Theres a good potted history of the rise of the Federated Suns from a single world to a interplanetary empire and even includes a good biography of the Davion line itself, including a good few lunatics as well as heroic types and I must admit it makes a nice change from the GW setting that I'm more used to reading.

What comes through is not just the Military type of setting one expects from a wargame but a very political one too, much like Frank Herberts Dune where each faction has its own motives and backstabbing and political manoeuvring is just as valid a way of achieving victory as is military might.

Its also worth note that some of the artwork in the book is rather reminiscent of some of the Rogue Trader stuff and is pleasingly retro and gives a feel of a setting far in the future but firmly rooted in the 80s which is really great! Theres also some rather nice 80s references dropped in, including Dr B Banzai of Buckeroo Banzai fame who develops cutting edge (in the case of the Axeman mech, quite literally!) Mechs.

 Davion Trooper (he wouldn't look out of place as an Imperial Guardsman!)

Theres also some terrifyingly bad illustration in it, mostly portraiture, such as this truly creepy one of Katrina Steiner!


That aside I've really enjoyed reading the book as it gives a real insight into the Battletech setting and as already mentioned has lots of scope to provide the basis for a campaign or two! 

The uniform guides from the book are especially good as they are just so late 70s and early 80s in style that you can't help but find a nostalgic bit of love for them, especially as they appear to have been produced with the mighty Pantone Pen!

Setting wise, the book takes the reader up to 3025 and the initial hinting that the houses of Steiner and Davion are planning some sort of political union and also covers the military campaigns of the third succession war adding extra possibilites for game ideas!

While lots of folks have been giving Oldhammer lots of love, I have found that this early era of Battletech is just as interesting but with one major let down. That is the rules themselves. I have never enjoyed playing the game itself as its just so slow and requires lots of book keeping and peering at charts while FASA and later Fanpro seem content with churning out book after book of charts and tables that cover every minutiae of the game, ranging from the cost of paying ones pilots to transport and ammo.

While some love this sort of in depth sort of thing, it just leaves me cold so I will be using a different ruleset for the time being, or until the new miniatures rules they are supposedly developing are released! Its interesting that such a fantastic setting is let down a bit by the ruleset. Maybe its the super involved background that results in a super involved set of rules but who knows!

I am hoping to set the scene in the early 3020s and featuring the action kicking off with a series of skirmishes featuring whatever forces I have and going from there! It will also allow me to finally do something with my Wilsons Hussar mini project thats been rattling around for a while!

Down at Heel! Wilsons Hussars

Anyhoo! Enough of my ramblings! Hopefully I will have some more Mechs, vehicles and infantry and some sort of rough campaign hammered out in the next few weeks and will post some bits and bobs as I get chance!

All the best!

Friday 28 June 2013

Davion Ace Mech Pilot Kitty DeVries


Heres the latest Mech I've completed for my Davion force!

 Kitty's trademark pink Mech

I really wanted to make the aces for my Battletech setting live up to the standards of the WW1 fighter aces with their penchant for highly customised paint schemes and even a bit of a nod towards anime for its OTT designs!

 Front Shot

As lance leader, Kitty has been instrumental in taking the fight to the marauding Kurita force lurking in Farpoints uninhabited hinterland.

 Custom Jump Pack

I realised when working on the mech that its original jump jets were missing so had a rummage in my bits box and found an old Space Ranger backpack and pressed it into service instead! Fluff wise its either enhanced or gives off an impressive roaring noise when Kitty activates it!

 Kitty's Claws, a pair of heavy pulse lasers

I decided to give Kitty's Mech a bit of a weapons upgrade so swapped out its original missile packs for a pair of heavy pulse lasers on the right arm and twin snub nosed heavy bolters on her left. It makes for a slightly lob sided look but helps make the Mech distinctive!

 Kitty and Mac, one of her Davion lancemates

The Davion forces on Farpoint are centred around a lance of Mechs along with a couple of companies of infantry with supporting vehicles but if the Kurita threat intensifies, it will probably get some reinforcements.

Kitty and Mac securing a drilling platform

I now have half a lance of Mechs to work with and hope to round it out to a full lance soonish as well as getting a second and third battle armour squad to give me a nice infantry platoon to fight along side the lords of the battlefield!

Its been a really fun experience painting up some Mechs and once I get some more large bases, I hope to be able to add some more!

All the best!

Thursday 27 June 2013

Ramshackle Games Tome of Tridlins


Well after backing the RAMSHACKLE GAMES Kickstarter, I recently received the rather excellent Tome of Tridlins, an expansion to the Nuclear Renaissance ruleset.


I also got some very characterful resin figures and the PDF of the rulebook too which was a really great deal!

Needless to say I haven't had much chance to peruse it but I do plan on resurrecting my Forgotten Highways blog to feature a Nuclear Renaissance mini campaign! Its a really excellent set of rules and the books are literally packed full of beautifully constructed and painted models, vehicles and scenery!

In other news, I have just about finished my Davion ace and once the base has been completed I will be posting some pics up here in all its rather lurid glory! I will also be posting my thoughts on Battletech and the old school goodness that some of the older publications have but thats for tomorrow!

All the best!

Thursday 20 June 2013

Kurita Strike Force


Well heres the second batch of Battletech gubbins I've been working on, this time the bad guys of Kurita!

 Kurita Cugar Mech

 Kurita Scimitar Mk 2 Scout 

 Kurita Ronin Hoverbikes

 Kurita Infantry Squad

Kurita Strike Force

The Kurita force landed on Farpoint six standard days ago and are currently hiding out in the forested hinterlands only emerging to raid Davion supply convoys and hit unsuspecting garrisons.

 Kurita and Davion Mechs clash in the forests of Farpoint

Thus far it appears to be only a raiding party sent to disrupt the planet and tie down military assets that could be better used but who knows what plans the inscrutable Kurita have up their sleeves!
 Another Shot of the Action

 Davion and Kurita Infantry skirmish over a forgotten artifact

Interestingly, with some of the plastic Mechs I have managed to keep their moving parts free so they can be posed to a limited extent such as with the Cugar:

The Cugar 

I have actually done quite a bit of converting on this Mech as its original weapons were a bit feeble. I removed its original underslung arm lasers and replaced them with some considerably more chunky ones made from plastic rod and tubing.

Likewise I added a HMG on its right side to give it some much needed anti infantry defence. Its also had a shoulder mounted missile launcher added and the torso launchers have been replaced to give it a more powerful punch.

 Another Shot!

 And Another!

According to the technical readouts, the Cugar is a 35 ton machine but I find that the plastic Mechwarrior stuff has some scale issues as the tanks tend to be undersize and the Mechs a bit on the big side, especially when you compare the two mechs below::

Cugar and Black Hawk

Theres supposed to be ten tons difference between them with the Black Hawk the heavier but they look much the same size! Its not too much of a bother to be honest but does result in some odd sizing!

Hopefully my next addition will be a Davion ace Mech jock with her customised Black Hawk but I need to wait for some more bases to turn up before I can get to work on painting!

All the best! 

Wednesday 19 June 2013

An Alternative Battletech Universe


Well as mentioned previously, I've become interested in Battletech again but don't want to be bothered with the expense of spending a fortune on the official miniatures. Likewise I don't really want to use the 6mm scale as its more satisfying to have somewhat chunkier figures on the table.

After some thought I settled on the 10mm scale clicky Mechwarrior stuff produced by Wizkids several years back as it combines a decent level of detail with super cheapness!

Heres some pics of what I've got done so far:

Davion Blackhawk Mech

I'm using whatever mechs I have for the inner sphere forces but planning something a bit more spectacular for the clans and some of the megacorporations...

 Davion Stealth Light Mechs

The EM-4 plastic mechs are brilliant and very affordable too and are just about the right size for a 10-15 ton light mech. This is one of the areas I plan on diverting away from the official Battletech universe as I want to field all manner of machines, some under the 20 ton minimum and some way over it!

 Davion Di Morgan Assault Tank

 Davion Gnome Battle Armour Squad

 Davion Force Thus Far

Essentially in my alternative Battletech universe, the great houses are still fighting it out but as yet the clans haven't turned up. The tech level will be generally somewhat higher but still allow for lots of techno barbarians and so on not to mention pirates, mercenaries and even some megacorp forces who will be able to field limited numbers of higher tech designs and even the odd AI too!

Thus far I have a few Davion pieces sorted out and am working on their arch enemies the Kurita but hope to soon have enough sorted out to field at least a lance or so of each of the Successor States before moving onto the Clan invasion.

 Mechs on Manoeuvre

 A Patrol of Davion Mechs

 Battle Armour Supporting a Di Morgan

More Mecha!

The action will be kicking off on a forested world called Farpoint and involving a border skirmish between Davion and Kurita troops!

I still need more mechs, vehicles and infantry and am going to invest in some transfers from Fighting Piranha Graphics for the great houses to give my mechs and vehicles an extra touch but for the meantime, I have plenty to be getting on with!
All the best!