Thursday 3 January 2013

Army Showcase: The Northwind Highlanders


Emblem of the Northwind HighlandersFor 2013 I would like to do more Army Showcases. Since I have recently photographed most of my, still unfinished, Classic Battletech armies I thought I'd put them up.

So here's my Northwind Highlanders Unit. I have not specified which particular regiment, let alone what company, they are supposed to represent. I just needed a general mercenary unit to use in scenario's in which my regular units cannot take part. Since everyone else plays either the Wolfs Dragoons or Kell Hounds I thought I'd go with these. Also promoted due to the very nice novels depicting this elite merc unit.

Army Overview:

As you can see I have 3 lances of 4 mechs each, that makes up a full company. They are supported by some armour, artillery and a stand of battle armoured infantry.

Heavy Lance:

Left to right: Chimera, Black Hawk Ku, Battlemaster and Black Watch.

Assault lance:

Left to right: Mauler, Highlander IIC, Highlander and Archer IIC

Light/ medium lance:

Left to right: Griffin IIc, Bushwacker, Raven and Raptor

This army is pretty much finished except for some more stands of infantry, for which I lack the hex bases at present.

Cheers Sander

Listening to: "Sing Loud, Sing Proud" by the Dropkick Murphys

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Happy 2013!


Happy New Year to you all!

As one year has gone and another has come, time for retro- and introspective thoughts has come as well. As always I try to steer well away from new years resolutions and this year is not different! Yes I probably should loose some weight and yes I should get more exercise etc etc etc. But as everyone knows I lack the discipline to keep to those resolutions, so why make them anyway?

Hobby-wise I'd like to stand back and take a closer look on 2012. First off, as every year, I think I've painted less figures then I wished but more then I thought I would. I did some commissions, which always puts me in a tight space since I would rather paint my own figures but also like to help friends out, and if it pays a nice sum; oh well...

Have I finished any projects last years? No not really. I nearly finished some: the 7YW Austrian army is coming along fine. With only two or three regiments of foot still to go it's pretty much done. Most of my Star Wars Imperial Fleet for Space Dreadnought is finished, excepting some Tie Fighters so that's cool. I have finished the 60th Rifles for the Salamanca diorama which is pretty much all I finished for that big project last year so that'll be a big To-Do for 2013. My KoB army for Dystopian Wars is pretty much finished save the Dreadnought. So yeah quite some things done up really nice.

A separate project altogether are my Classic Battletech armies. They are coming along just great. I pretty much finished the 1st Aragon Borderers save one mech. Same is true for the Jade Falcons, for which I still have two based mechs awaiting paint. The 5th Sword of Light needs some more armoured units and probably a mech or two. The Northwind Highlanders are pretty much done, yeah! This leaves a lot of mechs from the starter game plastic boxed set, these mechs are not really good miniatures as such but are decent gap-fillers and army builders so I will either use them to fill out the 10th Lyran Guards or start a new faction for the hell of it. I'd like to do an insane colour scheme for a change, maybe entirely purple or some Solaris stable for fighting in the arena's.More on CBT later.

This then leaves the To-Do list for 2013:

- well obviously I have to finish the afore mentioned projects.
- next up is the finishing of my Dark Angels Army. I have no idea whether I'm ever gonna use them in a game but they're too nice not to finish.
- I still have some Goblins for Warhammer Fantasy lying around which would be nice finished.
- Some small projects like a set of Pirates for both LotHS and Freebooters Fate are in the works as well.
- of course there's always Salamanca: I will probably start the groundwork or landscaping this Summer Holiday for real and try to paint up some stuff along the way.
- A long list of other historical armies is waiting for attention besides all this mainly Napoleonics and WW1 stuff.

So you see there's enough to keep me busy this year and I see no reasons why I wouldn't put regular posts up here to keep you all informed.
Old Year's Day is usually one of my more productive days in the year since we do not celebrate it as such. Yet this year was the first Old Year's Eve that Arthur has experienced consciously so we had more of a celebration then usual.

Therefore today's crop is less then I'd like. Some battlemechs I've finished:

 For the Draconis Combine 5th Sword of Light a Warhammer (left) a Hunchback (right) and a Swiftwind scoutcar in (front)

 Close up of the Warhammer:

 For the Federated Suns First Aragon Borderers:

A Valkyrie (left) and Locust (right)

Cheers Sander

Listening to: "Black Ice"by ACDC


Sunday 30 December 2012

Once Upon a Time...

...there was Classic Battletech,


For some time I've had a Samsung Galaxy 2 tablet to use at work. Now as it goes with these things, I am allowed to take it home as well. For quite some time I have not seen the use of these far-too- small-for-my-fingers doodahs apart from the two things I need them for at work. Recently I have downloaded a whole load of Battletech novels and use the tablet as an e-reader. Boy has thát been fun!

That reminded me about the fact that I wrote some battletech batreps a while ago in the form of a background story and thought I'd put it up here just for the fun of it.

So here we go:

Carnagy Hospital

Town of Geraldton, Karomer

Melissia theatre

Lyran Alliance

2 September 3067

Star Captain Ilse was content, her operation was going as planned. Her binary of Clan Diamond Shark battlemechs had been given the task of evacuating 2 MASH units laden with downed and wounded mech pilots and a bank of genetic material stored in a specially converted Mobile HQ vehicle. At the moment the vehicles were still empty and coming in from the South towards the Hospital to load their cargo and sneak away to the CDS LZ’s further North-East. The Star Captain had deployed her Beta Star in the town itself to protect the hospital and had kept her own Alpha Star back in the vale North of the city to provide a mobile reserve where needed.

The area had been reasonably quiet after the initial fighting between the Lyran Alliance and Clan Jade Falcon had moved on further to the Western half of this continent of Karomer. Nevertheless some activity of Jade Falcon forces had been picked up by orbital satellites and therefore Ilse kept an eye on her radar screen. While the Star Commander of Beta Star was in the process of relaying his statrep her vigilance paid off as she noticed 5 bleeping points on the radar screen from the corner of her eye. “Hold that Star Commander! Check your radar scans and tell me what you see.” She barked at her subordinate. “Multiple targets incoming from the South Star Captain” the man answered. “IFF identifies them as a Star of Jade Falcons. You want my star to intercept quaff?” Ilse checked the screen again and toggled to a wider area scan to see whether there were more bogeys inbound but one star it appeared to remain. “Aff Star Commander keep them away from our objective.” She wanted to add something but a blinking light on her comms array caught her attention there was a call coming in over the open frequency, probably the Falcon Commander’s batchall.

“This is Star Commander Orpheus of Alpha Beak 1, Iota Cluster of Clan Jade Falcon; I hereby challenge the Commander of the Clan Diamond Shark Binary for a Trial of Possession concerning the Genetic Material you are about to transport. State with what forces you are willing to defend.” It took Star Captain Ilse a while to identify from which mech the batchall was coming and great was her surprise when she learned it was from a hellfire second line mech in the point of the Jade Falcon formation. “This is Star Captain Ilse of Alpha Star of Prime Binary of the 39th Strike Cluster. If Clan Jade Falcon feels it can defeat our valiant forces with just one star and a commander in a second line mech I do not feel bound by honour to do any bidding. You insult our prowess so you can feel the full force of our wrath or crawl back in the patchy nest you fell out off! We do not feel bound by this challenge at all! Therefore we do not recognise this Trial of Possession you call it.” The line remained silent for a few more seconds then the enemy commander’s voice sounded wearily, almost annoyed over the link “Very well Star Captain, you are not the first one to deny the force of  the Hellfire mech and be fooled by the fact that it is not the chassis that makes a fighter great but the warrior’s capabilities. We will attack with all our available forces. Bargained bad and done.”

 “Star Commander Orpheus to Alpha Beak 1: engage!” Orpheus throttled his mech into a running gait and scanned for his first viable target of the day. An enemy  Gargoyle was picked up by the IFF and he moved his reticule over the mech until it gained a target lock and he fired off a salvo of LRM’s. One of the flights flew widely over the humanoid mech but the other two flights peppered the mech’s surface all over shredding armour where they hit but doing no real serious damage, around him his Star engaged the enemy with the fury he knew would make this battle a Jade Falcon victory. His plan was simple: he and his Star would draw away the Diamond Shark force defending the city and hospital while Alpha Talon 2 would make a combat drop right in the middle of the town in order to destroy the hospital and capture the transports. The remaining Diamond Shark Star would hopefully be too far away to intercept Alpha Talon 2 before the job was done but it remained a bit of gamble, one he was willing to take. Alpha Talon was mostly made up of unblooded warriors that badly needed to gain some experience if they were to prove useful in the next faze of the Clan Invasion of the Lyran Alliance. His objectives were threefold: destroy the hospital and deny it’s facilities to either the Lyrans and the Diamond Sharks, capture the genetic material for the Falcon breeding programs and destroy as much of the enemy force, he was sure he would succeed in accomplishing this.

 Orpheus split his force in two and started towards the city’s outskirts. His radar showed that the division of his star had drawn the Sharks into splitting up as well and coming for him rather then stay in the vicinity of the Hospital compound. If he could hold them here long enough for Alpha Talon to reach their target his victory would be almost a foregone thing. Apart from the enemy Gargoyle , who had clearly been deployed as outpost, the IFF showed a Cauldron Born, Stormcrow, Summoner and a Phantom comprising the enemy star; a decent mix of armour and firepower. The fight now really began and the skies were lit up by the green and red of lasers and black smoke, made by the impact of missiles being swapped by both sides. While he had ordered his Star to honour Clan tradition and fight one on one, Star Commander Orpheus noticed that the enemy Star Commander had no such scruples: the Gargoyle, Cauldron Born and Stormcrow all targeted his Hellfire with almost their full arsenal and if it hadn’t been for the terrain in which he found some cover he would have faced a lot of damage this early in the battle.  “Star Commander Tyne for Star Commander Orpheus, Alpha Talon 2 is on target and will commence combat drop in 3 from now.”   The transmission snapped Orpheus from the battle raging around him and he cleared his throat to answer “Aff Star Commander. We have the enemy star pinned down in the town’s outskirts make the drop and carry the day in honour of the Falcon!” With that he poured another salvo of his LRM’s into the Gargoyle followed up by his Heavy Large Laser and a shot from his Heavy Medium Laser destroying most of his adversaries left arm.

Star Captain Ilse watched from the cockpit of her Timberwolf as the Jade Falcon star engaged her Beta Star among the buildings of the outskirts away from the hospital. The transports were now at the hospital and feverishly loading the wounded and genetic material before the Falcons could break through. Then another beeping from her radar screen attracted Ilse’s  attention. “No this cannot be!” she exclaimed within the confines of her cockpit. The screen showed what clearly was another Jade Falcon star making a combat drop right in the middle of the town and very near the hospital she was ordered to protect! “Star Commander Ilse to Alpha Star: make speed for the town centre and engage the new enemy star.” Several affs confirmed her troopers readiness to engage the enemy and forward her forces surged, into the very thing she was bred for: BATTLE! Meanwhile the combat drop wasn’t wholly going right for the Falcons, one Timberwolf dropping from the dropship clearly had a jump jet failure, as the pilot spiralled down and hit a Mad Dog from the first Falcon star entering the city. Both mechs disappeared in a cloud of dust and smoke only to appear mostly undamaged form their abrupt contact minutes later. A Falcon Ice Ferret landed on top of a building close to the hospital which was clearly not the LZ it had intended to land on but the pilot seemed not to much affected with his bad luck and commenced firing on the hospital right away.

Two of the transports had meanwhile loaded up and departed from the hospital compound and Ilse sent a Stormcrow and Summoner from her star to escort them from the city safely. Her IFF now relayed the chassis of the new inbound Falcons and revealed there to be a Warhawk, Summoner, Timberwolf, Ice Ferret and a Blood Asp, the latter clearly salvage from a battle with Clan Blood Spirit in earlier battles. Because Beta Star had opened up a free-for-all by concentrating on the enemy Star Commander, the town centre soon changed into a rubble strewn battlefield, filled with energy discharges and other ordnance flying around. Severall of Beta Star’s mechs had found their way back to the Hospital and engaged the dropped enemy mechs in order to give the last MASH unit time to get away from the hospital, which was taking serious damage from the Falcon shooting. One Falcon Mad Dog, with just one arm left, targeted it’s solely surviving weapon (a gauss rifle) at the hospital before being destroyed by two Beta Star mechs.

The last transport sped away due North with screaming tires as the escorting Summoner and Stormcrow together with Beta Star mechs ganged up on an enemy Warhawk. Star Captain Ilse cursed Beta Commander for opening up the free-for-all but she couldn’t help that now. Luckily she had most of the second Falcon star bunched up in the town unable to follow the transports while the first Falcon star commanded by this Star Commander Orpheus was still tied up in the outskirts. Together with a Huntsmen and a mad Dog of Alpha Star she made to cut the latter off. Before she entered the town’s Northern outskirts however, she encountered the very enemy she was hunting on the rolling fields enclosing Geraldton. An enemy Timberwolf and Black Lanner blocked her way. This fight was turning very nasty indeed!

This was not going according to plan, Star Commander Orpheus thought. Alpha Talon’s drop had been less then easy; while all mechs had landed more or less on location some had minor damage as a result of an unlucky collision. He had lost only a Mad Dog and it’s pilot had ejected safely after tying up two of the enemy mechs. Orpheus had noticed the enemy Star Captain entering the fight dividing her force, her plan was obvious to him. She had sent one part of her star to support the force fighting to defend the transports and hospital and had come with her remaining forces to cut him and his star off from the fighting. He switched to his star’s frequency. “Star Commander Orpheus to Mechwarriors Grace and Deirdre, I need you to hold those incoming Sharks up as long as possible. Do whatever it takes to keep them from cutting us off from Alpha Talon, meanwhile I will try to link up understood quaff?” the replies followed immediately “Aff commander, Mechwarrior Deirdre here, I  will engage the enemy Commander in a duel, this will tie her up smartly quaff?” Orpheus smiled to himself, while the Sharks had shamelessly opened the free-for-all they would not deny a direct challenge and that would indeed keep them from being useful to their forces in the town. “Aff Deirdre good thinking! Mechwarrior Grace engage the enemy Huntsman in a duel too. May the Falcon guide your aim! Make Aidan Pryde proud of you!” both women answered with a steady ‘seyla’ and headed out towards the enemy and their duels.

Orpheus was meanwhile entering the town and the site of carnage. “Star Commander Tyne, what is your status?” he asked “My star is doing well in holding off the enemy but the transports are heading off due North. Shall I pursue?” Orpheus checked his screen “Neg Star Commander you are too far away. Sent in your faster mechs. Part of Alpha Beak has engaged the enemy escort force in duels and they may also be able to get to the transports after ending their trials. Tie down those enemy mechs near you and destroy the hospital.” No reply came back and as Orpheus entered the hospital compound he knew why; Tyne’s Warhawk had been surrounded by enemy mechs and had been damaged badly a PPC shot taking out most of his comm gear. Four enemy mechs focussed on the Warhawk and Orpheus had to shield his eyes when the Warhawk’s armour finally buckled under the attacks and blew apart. Shortly before the engine shielding was breached and the fusion reactor blew up the Warhawk’s cockpit was blasted free from the dying machine and sent Star Commander Tyne flying beyond the battle’s confines. “Freebirth!” Orpheus cursed, this was not at all what he had hoped for. In a rage he targeted the back armour of the Shark Cauldron Born that had helped destroy the Warhawk and in an orgy of laser and LRM fire he blew the mech to smithereens it’s pilot escaping like Tyne had done. ‘You will be scrubbing my mech’s legs as a bondsman soon” Orpheus greeted the pilot as his chute opened up and the man disappeared behind some factory buildings. His tactical feeds showed that his force was slowly pushing the diamond Sharks North and out of the town. Just then the hospital collapsed in a giant dust cloud and with a sound like thunder reverberating round his cockpit.

“Star Captain, the hospital is down! Do you want us to remain here and destroy the Falcons or retreat with the transports quineg?” Star Captain Ilse had no time for her subordinate’s indecisiveness she was facing an enemy Timberwolf in a direct duel. The Falcon mechwarrior had  arrogantly challenged her and a Falcon Black Lanner pilot had equally arrogantly challenged the Huntsman pilot that was accompanying her. While Beta Commander’s dishonour might be putting a smut on the victory the Sharks would surely claim here, Ilse would not stoop so low and would keep herself up to the Clan tradition of honourable combat. The duels were really evenly matched and this irked her beyond annoyance. The incoming messages from the Beta Star’s commander didn’t make her any happier as well. “Star Captain Ilse! I have lost more then half my force and the hospital is down we cannot hold this city any more! We will retreat!” Ilse tried to control her anger and keep her cool. A burst of her heavy lasers destroyed the Falcon’s Gauss rifle and put the mech out of balance, while the Falcon Pilot tried to steady her mech Ilse contacted Beta Commander “Neg Star Commander, you will not retreat! What about the transports are the transports safe?” the reply was immediate “Aff Captain! They are en route to the Silver Fin. I will escort them there.”   Ilse was glad that Beta Commander had regained his composure and was thinking clearly again, she would have to face this man in a circle of equals for his behaviour here though, since it reflected badly on her command and the way she had handled this battle. As Beta Star was down to two heavily damaged mechs they could do no good here anyway and they would indeed be of more use escorting the transports to the Silver Fin. The Silver Fin was the dropship waiting to carry her task force back to the Diamond Shark base of operations in the Melissia Theatre. “Very well Star Commander, Star Captain Ilse over and out!”  

Star Commander Orpheus’comms crackled and the voice of Mechwarrior Deirdre came over the link “Star Commander the transports are leaving our reach do you want me to break the duel and kill them quaff?” Orpheus took the tactical display into consideration and answered her “Neg Deirdre. The transports are too far beyond our reach but we have destroyed the hospital and most of the Diamond Sharks Beta Star. We should now make sure we gain our secondary target of destroying the enemy force wholesale.” Without listening to her reaction Orpheus switched comms to the channel Alpha Talon was using. “Star Commander Orpheus to Alpha Talon, destroy as many enemy mechs as possible. Try to drive them to my position at nav point gamma.” Most of Alpha Talon’s pilots acknowledged his order and soon he had formed part of his binary up in a firing line to receive the Diamond Sharks that the remainder of his force was driving before them. Now let us end  this little brawl, Orpheus mused. “Mechwarrior Deirdre break your duel and target the Stormcrow coming right on your 3 o’clock. Mechwarriors Yesukai and Toke target that Stormcrow as well. Mechwarrior Grace you will remain in duel with the Huntsman. The rest of you target the enemy Summoner with me! We will end this stain on Karomer here forever!” While most of the pilots confirmed his commands grimly, mechwarrior Grace contacted him on a closed channel “Star Commander this is not a very honourable way to deal with these Diamond Sharks Quineg?” Orpheus understood her reaction but had his answer ready “and how would you call the opening moves of this battle made by the Diamond Sharks then, mechwarrior Grace? Would you call targeting an enemy commander with 3 mechs at once honourable?” Her answer came while Orpheus was strafing the Shark Summoner with his heavy large laser and burning off tons of armour  of the mechs right leg making the Summoner loose balance and topple over on it’s front. “Neg commander you are right of course. I will comply” Orpheus smiled yet again…

Star Captain Ilse could not find any curse to shoot at the Falcons who had now cowardly ganged up on her remaining forces and had goaded two of her Star’s mechs to run the gauntlet in order to get to her position. She opened up the link to her binary’s general frequency “Star Captain Ilse to all Clan Diamond Shark Forces, we have safe guarded the transports and kept the Falcons from gaining the genetic material. They now cowardly broke tradition and so I see now shame in making a tactical withdrawal to the Silver Fin. Alpha Star Disengage!” Immediately after sending the order she opened the open channel “Clan Jade Falcon Forces, this is Star Captain Ilse; you have shamed yourselves by breaching the sanctity of a duel between two clan warriors we do not recognise you as an honourable enemy as a result. While we leave you the field you can consider yourselves on the loosing side of this Trial of Possession! May the Great Kerensky forgive your sins.”

Star Captain Ilse’s message amused Orpheus he switched open the channel to riposte: “This is Star Commander Orpheus, you may think of us of loosing this Trial but let us sum up the facts: you have succeeded in getting your transports away but in the process you have lost half your force, the hospital and you are leaving the field in our hands. Our objective was to destroy the hospital which we did, destroy your force which we did also accomplish and to gain genetic material which in a way we also did since we captured four of your warriors as bondsmen. Rest assured that in good time their genetic material will be enhanced by our techs for the benefit of our  breeding program. On the face of honour: you did not recognise our honour from the start of this engagement Star Captain Ilse, so why should I care for your deluded sense of what Honour is anyway!?” he decided to end his taunt with a quote from the Remembrance:

And battle though you surely will;

Your, defeat is never much in doubt

However strong your resistance, still

You will die hearing our victorious shout!”


Battle Cruiser “The Falcon’s Cry”

In Orbit, Karomer

Melissia theatre

Lyran Alliance

30  September 3067

“Excuse me Star Colonel?” Star Colonel Sly Hazen turned from his view of the planet of Karomer through the bridge's aft viewing port. “What is it Captain?” The captain of the Falcon’s Cry handed him a data slide with a frown on his face “The first reports of the fighting from the eastern continent sir. It took longer as usual, due to the destruction of the Geraldton HPG facility. We had to reroute all messages via comm. satellites.” Without looking at the captain the Star Colonel accessed the data slide, things were hanging in the balance. The invasion of Karomer; and  indeed of the Lyran Alliance was all part of Kahn Pryde’s grand scheme of rebuilding the Jade Falcon forces to a pre Refusal War footage. The fighting on the invaded planets served to sharpen the green troops’ beaks and talons. Thát part was going well…the part of actually holding on to conquered territory was a different matter altogether. The backwater planet of Karomer had proved to be garrisoned by some hardened IS units amongst which were some Mercenaries that were giving Hazen’s forces a bloody nose.

Just a couple of weeks ago a lance of assault mechs had ambled straight through the frontlines and into a star of Second Line mechs and driven those to flight. Hardline Falcon officers would frown on such display of shame but the Refusal War had changed much and Hazen shared his Kahn‘s views on how to rebuilt the Falcon’s strength. Besides what could you expect from Freebirth second liners? Fact was he needed the pilots and mechs. No reinforcements could be expected to be sent to him and the deadline for leaving Karomer was drawing near, yet he had to hold on until the Jade Falcon Forces that had penetrated further into Lyran space had retreated past his position. Hazen and his Galaxy functioned as the backdoor back to the Falcon’s OZ.

The data slide proved to be the report of Star Commander Tyne, commander of Alpha Talon 2, the unit tasked with defending the Geraldton HPG station. Clearly they failed; they had lost 3 mechs (all pilots ejected safely and made their way back to Falcon lines) and had downed 3 enemy mechs but the interesting part of the report was that the enemy lance contained a, previously unknown, chassis. The enemy’s markings had shown them to be from the mercenary unit identified as the Devonshire Devils, the chassis seemed to be prototypes of some sort. One Devonshire Mech had been left standing on the field awaiting the extraction of his downed comrades and the removal of the experimental designs by salvage and S&R teams. Alpha Talon’s pilots had been rescued by Mechwarrior Suzie in her Stormcrow who, due to loosing all her weapons in the fight, had to quite the field early and had appropriated a transport with which she could pick up her star mates. After seeing their mechs destroyed. Special mention was due to Star Commander Tyne for killing two enemy mechs and to Mechwarrior Yesukai who jumped his Summoner on top of an Argus killing the mech, and almost blasting the remaining Awesome variant to bits getting his chassis destroyed from under him. Hazen hoped to get hold of some of these prototypes if they crossed his path again in the future. Word was that Clan Diamond Shark had been leaking Clan tech to the IS and he hoped to prove their betrayal by capturing mechs equipped with that Clan tech. Maybe these Devonshire Devils were in on the Diamond Shark deal…

 Cheers Sander

Listening to: "Industrial Silence" by Madrugada