Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Beginning of the End...


We’ve received two excellent pieces of news!

First, Lee Madison sent me the finished Sarpedon art. That was one of two computer-generated pieces created by Ian Stead over in England – perfect in every way but the backgrounds, which were blank. Click on the image at the top of this blog entry for a closeup of their work. I am sure you will agree that it really stands out!

Second, David Dryburgh finished his color vignettes, all eight of them, and they are going to be placed on the back pages of the TRO’s individual sections, meaning there will be very few blank pages left! Together with the four original color interior plates and the front and back cover, this means we will have fourteen color pages in the printed version.

Run, little Commando - RUN!

Of course, this will raise the price of the print version a bit – how much, I will find out tomorrow when I visit the printers for an updated estimate.

Meanwhile, Josh is nearly finished with the layout backgrounds and I expect to hear from him very soon. We have one remaining piece of art, the fleshed-out Merkava MkVII, and we should be ready to assemble the PDF version. Lee has promised to work hard on it, and I promised to send him his $30 – yesterday. Well, it won’t leave the mailbox until Monday, but it will eventually get to him.

I have asked Lee to do one more piece, one of David Dryburgh’s black and white illustrations, which is lacking a background and looks kinda bland. No word back from him, but if he takes it, it will delay things only a bit more, and that will be time I can put into working hard and saving for the print run – and finishing up my payments to our artists. I am nearly caught up but for $$$ I own David for the original commissions and an unspecified amount for the vignettes.

I am killing time looking over the text and doing some spot writing of a similar nature for Lee to accompany his revised take on some veteran ‘Mechs – one of them is the Imp. Gonna be tough explaining why Wolf’s Dragoons decided to revise the chassis, but that is the writing biz.

To be honest, I came close to commissioning a re-work of the art for the Blitzkrieg and would have included it in this TRO but I ran out of time. If there was ever a ‘Mech which needed a new look, the Blitzy would be that machine. We even came up with a design that was a significant improvement on the original.

Eww. Just.... eww.

The BTZ-3F is a fifty-ton ‘Mech which is horribly under-armored and has a single weapon – the Ultra AC-20. Moving at 7/11/0, it has a XL engine and two tiny T-Rex arms. At least I think it does, because the design parameters tell me so. The picture above says there are NO arms, like a thalidomide-warped child. Is that gun turret-mounted? In a game where most 'Mechs have been forbidden to have turrets for more than a decade?

But ugly is not enough to condemn a 'Mech. There is a distinct drawback to this little killer. I recall the day we had to face one of these – on the third turn, the gun jammed and the player had to walk it off the table as an effective ‘kill’ for our side, as it could not do anything but charge after that.

The new version, the BTZ-4F, moves at 6/9/0. A bit slower but it carries the same Ultra AC-20 with the same amount of ammo – 20 rounds. However, because the engine is smaller, it has full armor protection (32% more!) and also mounts three medium lasers. Not a stupendous improvement, but remarkable nonetheless and even if it loses the clout of that big cannon, it can still go about wreaking havoc.

But here we are. I promised not to expand the TRO any more, and while I believe I could talk Eric Ou into doing another piece, it would set things back a bit more. And really, we have enough machines as it is.

Also, I have changed up the music list, taking out some old chestnuts and inserting some new hotness. Well, new to me, anyway:)


Well, the local airsoft ground that was open to the general public has been closed for now. Seems that during play, one of the ‘visitors’ decided to take his goggles off to wipe them clean. While he was doing this, he saw an opponent approach and decided to take a shot at the guy. He did not put his goggles back on first.

Predictably, the ‘target’ shot back and nailed this fool in the eye with a pellet. At 350+ feet per second, it’s no laughing matter. The victim claimed full responsibility for the incident and his eye is on the mend, but the word got out and there is nothing that kills public approval of a sport quicker than some lurid headline in a desperate local paper about "the dangerous sport’. So the club in charge decided to close it to walk-in players until further notice.

It is probably for the best. The word in the local shop is that the club was not very good at enforcing safe practices on the field, and a lot of walk-in players were ignoring range and other safety rules which were spelled out in their signed waiver.

There is a local church group hosting airsoft events – I will check it out Monday. Meanwhile, my friend Bill has been inducted into a local airsoft playing team and he is quite proud of it. My son and his friends have not played lately, but that is likely due to inclement weather. Hopefully they will become more active as the temperature warms up.

A thing of beauty - the anti-Blitzkrieg

My M-14 is completely repaired now. I am told by reliable sources that even modified with an M-120 spring, it will not allow me to become a Designated Marksman (I need a tighter barrel for that) and it is a long way from making me a potential sniper. To make an AEG (automatic electric gun) into a sniper rifle requires far more money than I am willing to spend – and when the gun cycles, even in single shot mode, it apparently makes too much noise, giving me away and spoiling the tactics which make snipers so effective.

That’s all, folks.

Thanks for stopping by.



Brian said...

Looking great. I can't wait for this to be done.

Thanks for the update Steve.

skiltao said...

Art and fluff have never conformed perfectly to the rules; that's one of the things that makes me happy about BattleTech.

*sees Sarpedon & color plate*
*jaw drops*