Monday, July 25, 2011

Making the best of cheap Battlemechs!

A couple of months ago I picked up the new Battletech Introductory Boxed set for Classic Battletech produced by Catalyst Games. Now I have Battletech "Total Warfare" and a number of my own Mechs but the boxed set came with really nice board game style map sheets made from heavy cardboard as well as 26 Battlemechs. 24 Inner Sphere mechs (that's two companies) and 2 Clan Omnimechs. It also came with a slimmed down rulebook and even some quick start rules as well as record sheets and some other odds and ends.
The Mechs in the boxed set are really poorly made. They are cast out of cheap plastic. I'm talking toy army soldier cheap. This is nothing new. The plastic mechs that came with the old boxed set put out by FASA were pretty much the same quality and I would much rather have 3D plastic mechs than 2D cardstock flats that FASA used in a few versions on the introductory set.
Still they are pretty bad so I've come up with a way to paint them quickly and make them look nice. Nothing stellar but nice enough for my table.
I've chosen to paint all my mechs in camo paint schemes. The box comes with two companies so I'm going to paint the two companies in two different camo patterns although I am going to paint all of the mechs to represent units of the Hanseatic Leauge Regional Defense Forces. That's really not that important. I chose to do a camo paint job because not only are they fast and easy they also look the best on these crappy mechs. The camouflage pattern mask the flaws in casting and the fact that I did a rather hasty job of cleaning these mechs up before painting. The soft plastic also makes removing lines a pain. As you can see in the picture I started by painting this Assualt Lance with primer grey then I added a simple brown camo pattern.

Next I took some light sand colored paint and drybrushed the entire mech. This is a great way to paint figures using camo quickly and easily. I've even used this technique on 28mm military figs.

Next I painted in markings and added some weathering using some dark metallic paint to add damage to the mechs paint jobs.

Next up I added a wash of Burnt Umber with some Dark Blue mixed with water and Future Floor Wax. This was done to add detail to the recessed areas and tone down and blend the drybrushing.

After the Wash dried I detailed the Mechs adding cockpits and bringing out some of the scratches in the paint job with a bright silver. After that I finished the bases and gave the lance a matte varnish. These Mechs only took a few hours to paint a good hour of that was waiting for the wash to dry. I think they are a pretty effective looking unit despite the fact that the minis themselves are pretty poor in quality.