Sunday, November 9, 2014

Almost there!

I managed to get my guardian modes built this evening!

That's all nine built to match my fighter modes.  The kits themselves were easy to put together not a whole lot of parts, roughly 15 or so per mecha (not including extra ordinance).  Again there are multiple pieces that come in two parts that I can't find a rationale for.  The arms are small enough to be a single piece and even the legs aren't so thick that I could see it being an issue.  In fact, the torso could be one piece, cutting the whole kit down to less than 10 easy to assemble pieces.  They still went together quickly, each model only took me 25 to 30 minutes so not too bad.

Full disclosure here I'm not a fan of Guardian mode.  I can't figure out why you'd need it when you can go from fighter to battloid mode but we're stuck with it.  Aesthetically I think it just looks awkward but I'm sure some people like it, just not this guy!

One final note.  I switched to Plastruct Bondene for glue on these kits and now I wish I'd started out using it.  Not sure why I didn't.  It can be messy to use as it's water thin, and every time you need to glue something you have to unscrew it and then screw it back on unless you want to risk spilling it.  I think it's a much better glue because it melts the plastic and welds it together.  It's also easier to control then the bottle of model glue I was using.  It also takes longer to set so you can slide pieces around to make sure they line up properly.  It'll set firm enough to handle in a few minutes but won't completely set for a few hours.  If you apply enough of it you can press the pieces together and the melted plastic will fill the seam.

Tomorrow I start the Battloid mode.  It's the last nine models from my Battlecry I received.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Some good links for RRT social contact

There are a couple of places I frequent to get my RRT fix.  first is the official Palladium forums:

It's got a good community and is picking up now that the game has started to ship.

RRT player Jaymz on those forums started his own forums after the original Tactics boards shut down:

Like the Palladium books community this one is starting to pick up some.

Finally on Facebook there's the Robotech Tactics "Unofficial" FB pages, over 1000 members and growing!

Rooting around in these locations will help you identify local players to your area.  On the forums and occasionally linked on the FB page are some other awesome hobby blogs and I encourage you guys check those out!

Finally for watching episodes online you can go to and search Robotech!

Getting caught up

I apologize for almost a weeks gap.  It's difficult for me to post much when I'm working as I work 12 hour shifts, overnight!  I'm hoping to get one to two posts a week doe the foreseeable future.

So I've spent the last week assembling mecha!  It's been a good time  I managed to get all my Zentraedi assembled as well as my Destroids.  Just this evening I started on the Veritechs!'

First some Zentraedi:

The Glaug command pods fully assembled look fantastic!  They have a couple of fiddly antenna that you just have to be patient with but overall the kit goes together fairly well.  Attaching the legs to the hips is a three handed job so will take some patients as well.  I think it took me less than two hours to get both assembled.  I'm excited to see them painted up!

The Zentraedi Quel-Gulnau recovery pod.  Like the Glaug the antenna can be a little fiddly but overall this is probably one of the simplest kits in the game so far.  It's the largest model so far and so easier to work with than some of the UEDF mechs for sure.  It's going to need some gap filler, the 'eye' in the front has some gaps I couldn't close using glue.  The other thing is the legs are somewhat bent out of the box so I'll need to apply some heat and straighten them out.

The last Zentraedi kits I had to do were the artillery pods.  I see a lot of people magnetizing these guys so they can swap out the pods or particle beams.  Makes some sense and down the road I'll probably do the same but in this case I just assembled a basic Artillery pod squadron.  I'm shooting to get everything assembled and ready to play and I'll be doing conversion work down the road on newly purchased models.  Overall as easy as the Regult pods to assemble with the added bits of the missile pods.  The larger missiles have gaps that will need to be filled but otherwise solid kits.

Once I'd completed all my Zentraedi I moved on to the UEDF Destroids!  A quick note, some sharp eyes will notice I messed up assembly on a couple of the mecha.  Goes with the territory when I'm doing this at work as I can sometimes get distracted by ACTUAL work lol.  Nothing catastrophic but sticklers may notice.

First my favorite mecha in the line, the Tomahawk!  As you can see the Destroids can be posed pretty dynamically.  This sticks out particularly because I have a large collection of these guys for Battletech and those models are really static.

Below a fuzzy picture (sorry) of the two assembled Tomahawks.  I decided that in my alternate storyline, my Destroid commander will be driving a Tomahawk and I tried to make him as dynamic as possible. He's in an action pose - no conversion work here this is the kit straight up.  I used the open missile pods on him as well.  The command pod is the final touch, replacing the classic flood light.  While I find the command pod a little large overall I like the way the mecha looks.  Overall this kit went together fairly well.  There are some gaps in the seams on the legs that will need to be filled but otherwise no major issues.  You can get a lot of variation from these kits with all the parts and options they give you.  I did end up drilling the barrels out a little since they come filled in.  Something small but whenever possible I try to drill the barrels out on these guys.

The Defender was up next.  Not as sweet as the Tomahawk but still pretty sweet. The barrels are supposed to be one over the other but like I said, I'm betting most people won't notice once it's on the table.  Much like the Tomahawk the Defender is pretty dynamic.  You don't get as many options on this kit (the command pod comes on all Destroid sprues if memory serves, but since there are no missile pods or anything the piece count is lower than for the Tomahawk.

The Phalanx!  This model has grown on me really.  I've never disliked it but it hasn't been on the radar like the other three have been.  Again I messed this kit up a little.  The missile pods have a tab for the doors to plug into.  On top of this if you look close you'll see the little box structures on top of the pods...those are supposed to go on the bottom!  Effectively there is a definite side the front part is supposed to connect so you can get everything in it's proper place.  Technically both these guys and the Defenders could be fixed with the application of a jewelers saw but I decided not to bother.  I expect my collection to grow quite a bit and having a couple messed up is no big deal.  I may end up using them for objective/wreck markers down the road once I get enough replacements.  This kit more than any other really stuck out for me as an example of how these models were over engineered.  The cockpit piece is a tiny little piece that plugs onto the torso once it's been assembled and the little boxes that stick off the sides of the legs are also separate pieces. I can't see a reason either of those pieces are separate. In fact, overall a lot of multipart pieces could have definitely been solid pieces. Legs for example, no thicker than pieces from other games kits I can't imagine why they were designed the way they were.  I suspect these kits may have been designed by an actual model kit designer who may not have been familiar with how small these things were going to be.

Finally the Spartan.  While I don't hate this mech, it's not my favorite.  I think it looks a lot different from the others and sort of sticks out.  Plus these kits are really static compared to the others.  Wouldn't be too difficult to cut any of these models up and repose them but I'm surprised these are so static compare to the other Destroids.

Finally, as mentioned I started assembling the Veritechs.

I'm torn deciding whether these kits or the Regults were easier to assemble.  The part count for the fighter mode is low - 2 torso, 4 leg pieces, wings, tail fins, head and gun.  You get a lot of extras with these - heads for the 1A, 1J, 1S and 1R, plus several different kinds of missile pods and bombs for under the wings.  These guys went together relatively easily, I think I did all 9 (last one not shown) in about 2 hours.  I decided to go with the standard squad 1 x 1J, 3 x 1A per squadron.  The final fighter I decided to build as a 1R.  Probably would have been better as a 1S but frankly, it's difficult to tell since the heads are underneath anyway and on paper the 1R looks kind of cool.

This means I have 18 models left to build, veritechs in guardian and battloid mode!  These kits look a lot more complex than any of the others but until I start digging in it's hard to tell.  I was hoping to be done by saturday but it's looking like it might take me through the beginning of next week to complete assembly, then it's on to painting!

* A quick note on the tiny pieces like the antenna and some other bits.  First, take your time cutting these pieces off, no rush.  Make sure you're securing the piece when you make the final cut/clip or it may fly off - tough to find these pieces if you lose them like that.  Clip away from the actual piece - leaving some flash on the piece.  This cuts down on the pressure imparted to the piece as the clipper or knife separates and pushes the plastic away.  I also recommend you cut thinner, pointier ends or tips first before cutting the larger ends.  A good example is with the veritech heads - the gun barrels are tiny and you should cut near the barrel first.  If you cut on the other end the piece will shift and it may snap the gun barrel.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Book!

This is the full spread color picture that is the front and back cover, it's fantastic!

So I figured I’d review the rule book.  I haven’t got much modeling done since I finished all the Zentraedi Regult but I work 12 hour shifts over the next 3 days and should be able to get a ton done.  I anticipate being finished with assembly by the end of this week.  I’ll be doing a review of each model as I go, a little more in depth than I did with the Regults.

So the book is overall very good quality.  It’s thinner than most rule books weighing in at roughly 112 pages.  Since the game is relatively simple that’s to be expected.  It’s got a glossy full color cardboard spine and the pages are a slick full color glossy as well.  The art is pretty good and there’s tons of it.  There’s only a handful ‘fluff’ pieces, mostly mecha destroying each other (seems to be focused on RDF mecha destroying Zentraedi mecha!).  Plenty of art pieces for each unit in the game found throughout the book though.

That'll learn ya!

A quick shot of the table of contents:

-History of the Macross Saga: This section is only 3 pages.  It includes a quick summary of the macros saga, a timeline and a small short story in a sidebar.

- The Rules: This section goes from page 7 to page 29 with sections for all of the basic rules and special abilities explanations for units characters and weapons.  Some good diagrams to explain how certain rules look visually and overall seems fairly well written and easy to understand.

-The UEDF, United Earth Defense Force: These sections are by far the biggest.  This section alone stretches from page 31 to page 53.  There’s a couple of pages of background with sidebar fluff spread throughout (this is true for the entire book).  Pages 34 to 49 covers all of the UEDF mecha released for this supplement.  Each entry has a short description a full color picture or two and the game stats.  From page 51 to 53 are special heroic characters.  This includes all the iconic characters plus a few more recognizable from the series.  Each one includes a brief description, points cost, available mechs for that specific character and special abilities as well as a full color head shot of the character being described.  The UEDF includes Roy Fokker, Rick Hunter, Ben Dixon, Max Sterling (Miriya after she joins the UEDF), Dietrich, Freeman Davidoff, Kain Weller, Magnus and Miryia Sterling.

- The Zentraedi Armada:  This section stretches from pg 54 to pg 69 and is essentially laid out like the UEDF section.  It includes Azonia, Breetai, Khyron, Miriya Parina (Miriya before she joins the UEDF), Grell, Maloquinn, Pirion-Galarr, Polus-Mjor, Sulreen-Tehr

-The Malcontents:  This section is only 2 pages long and basically only includes a short description of what the Malcontents are.

-Fighting a Battle: This section starts on pg 72 and ends on pg 83.  It includes rules for how to set up a  game – points costs, building armies,  scenarios and table setup as well as special rules for scenarios.

-Campaigns: This section goes from pg 84 to pg 91 and covers rules and guedlines for setting up multiple types of campaigns including narrative campaigns, tree-style campaigns and map based campaigns.  It also includes special rules for units gaining experience throughout a campaign which I thought was a nice touch.

-Role-playing game applications: Palladium has produced the Robotech line of RPG’s for decades.  I remember playing them when I was still in high school and that was a long time ago!  This section includes some guidelines on how to mix Robotech RPG Tactics into your RPG campaigns and is a nice touch for those who play both.

-Painting Guide: this section is one of my favorites.  I believe it was included either as part of an unlock in the KS campaign or after being suggested by players online.  It includes color schemes for characters and units of the official series as well as some variations of schemes for help players come up with their own schemes.  For those sticklers out there it also includes the paint codes for matching them up with the guide itself which helps hobbyists who use multiple paint manufacturers.

-Index: Index seems to be pretty good.  The books not all that big and it’s easy to read and get through so I can’t imagine using this all that often but it’s there in case you need it.

Overall I’d give this book a 9 out of 10!  It’s laid out really well, made of fantastic materials and seems to include everything needed to play the game without having to fill too many gaps.  I can’t give it a 10 out of 10 because it could have included a lot more background information but I assume this is minimal to save on costs and because there might be an assumption that most of the people purchasing it will be familiar with the background.
Later on I’ll give a better breakdown of the rules and the contents of each section as best I can but I thought it might be useful to give a Valkyrie eye’s view of the book in case anyone was interested.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Battlepods! Battlepods! Battlepods!

I decided to start by assembling the easiest models first.  After looking at the sprues I determined the Zentraedi battlepods would probably be the easiest.  There aren't a lot of pieces compared to some of the mecha and they all look fairly simple.

First things first.  I snapped a quick pick of the tools I selected to use for these builds.  Sprue clippers, hobby knife, files and glue.  I never ended up using the files, which is typical as I tend to just use the knife to scrape the little bits I need.  I did that in this case as well and it worked fine.

A note on glue.  I'm not sure if it's that Robotech has attracted some people who aren't typical gamers and I know some people are just really ultra detailed and/or anal about it but I've seen a lot of discussion on what kind of glue to use.  The models are ABS, a pretty standard plastic for model kits.  I used cyanocrylate - most glues made for gamers is cyanocrylate, krazy glue as well.  This stuff was perfect.  I didn't wash my plastic and it bonded quickly enough that I didn't have to hold pieces for more than a few seconds, and not so fast that parts got locked into place right away.  In fact once or twice I had to pull some parts apart because I'd misplaced them or whatnot and with a little pressure they came apart and I was able to stick them together.  I'm confident once the glue completely cures they'll be locked in.

Here's a shot of how I lay out the parts:

I don't cut all the pieces off the sprue at once for each model.  In fact I wouldn't recommend it as the antenna and guns that stick off the pod are small and probably easily lost.  I generally work in stages.  First stage was to cut and clean torso halves, top mounted antenna, side thruster pieces.  Once these were done (I worked by sprue so 3 at a time) I moved on to hips and legs, and finally to the antenna and guns that stick off the front of the pods.  In each step I cut the parts off the model, clean them, test fit and glue.

Here's a shot of the first 3 pods I did. These guys took me the lions share of my evening because I was feeling out the kits and developing my approach to assembly.  I'm feeling a little under the weather as well so I took frequent breaks, especially in the beginning.  All told to knock out 9 pods (3 sprues) it took me about 4 hours.  However, the first 3 pods probably took me close to two hours, the last two sprues took me about an hour each.  I think an hour a sprue seems reasonable as you don't want to rush.


1. Test Fit!  Not everything fits together perfectly.  It's not the nightmare some people would have you believe but there are a couple of key areas.  First, the back torso piece appears to have been cast wrong so you have to sort of cut out a little indent so it fits better to the front torso.  Not a big deal, took about 30 seconds per torso.  The feet have holes of different depths so you have to test fit the legs to make sure you're matching them up right.  If you decide to experiment or just end up gluing the wrong feet to the wrong legs, no big deal.  I did this my first time around and just cut the posts that connect the feet to the legs and bam, done.  The other thing is some of the ball and socket joints aren't perfect so may need to be shaved down some.

2. Hold the pieces as you cut them.  There are tons of tiny pieces, not as many on these as there are on the valkyries but the antenna for example would be too easy to lose.  Parts you clip have a tendency to want to fly across the room so when I cut the small bits I just gripped the part between thumb and finger and then cut, no problem.

3. Take your time.  I found a lot of the seams, mold lines (these are real faint but I scraped them off anyway) and so on could be minimized by just taking your time.  I took an hour for the last 3 pods and they came together well.

4. Legs!  The legs on these things were sort of weird at first.  there are three pairs of legs, each mirrors of each other.  If you use each pair, I find one or possibly two of the pods get stuck in poses that are sort of awkward looking.  After some suggestions on the international robotech facebook group I started mixing and matching.  A little test fitting to make sure things came together and for something with only two limbs you can get a plethora of dynamic poses.

All in all these weren't too bad.  I know there's been some negativity about the kits and I'll admit, they're not perfect.  As a long time seasoned hobbyist, I didn't have too many issues.  If you're new, or newish, than I recommend again, taking your time and make sure you do things right.  You'll feel better about it in the end even if it takes a little longer.

It won't be long until I have all the Zentraedi assembled and ready for painting!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quick unboxing pictures and thoughts

Ok, this isn't going to be very in depth, there's dozens or more unboxing videos and blog entries but I figure it's obligatory so here's mine.

I got my box of stuff today and I've been giddy as a school boy all day to break into it.  I finally busted it open and I was not disappointed.

My box was shrink wrapped, I notice some had said theirs weren't. I guess later waves probably got the shrink wrap while the first few did not.  In the shipping box was the Robotech RPG Tactics box plus a bag of extras for the Battlecry level of KS I kicked in for plus the picture they promised:

As others have pointed out, the box is huge!  It's a brick, square as you can see but also deep.  When you pop it open you can see why!

It's filled to the brim with stuff.  I don't know if this is the actual content of the starter box going out for retail or not but it's packed.  As some have pointed out the stuff is all free floating and not sectioned off as you sometimes see but I don't think this is a big deal.  The plastic is sturdy and I'd be surprised to see pieces broken off as they appear to be attached to the sprue pretty solidly as well.  Here's a shot of the non model content in the box:

Mine came with all the cards needed to play, template, bases plus extra base I assume for the recovery pod.  Decals, rule book, command tokens, assembly instructions and some advertisement inserts for Palladium and Ninja Division.   Like I said, I can't recall what you get in the actual starter that will be sold for retail.

Now the contents of the extra bag!

You get extra sprues, all the cards needed for the models included, bases including again the extra for the recovery pod, instructions and decals.

Here's a quick shot of the pile of sprues you get:

That's a crap ton of models!  I could see how it might be intimidating for some.  Fortunately I have a job that is sometimes slow and allows me to get some hobby related stuff done so I should be able to get everything assembled and ready to paint relatively quickly. 

I've decided to start with the simpler Zentraedi pods for a couple of reasons.  First there's a ton of them so it'll be nice to knock them out quickly.  Second, I have clear flight stems coming in from Litko for everything that needs them so while I could assemble those models I figure I have enough to occupy me for a few days while I wait for those to arrive.  It's looking like I'll have 4 or 5 hours to fiddle around and get some assembly done so I should have a post up in the next day or two on assembling the Zentraedi pods!

In the Beginning

Hey all! Welcome to my hobby blog Robotech: Total War! As you can see in the sidebar this blog will be mostly focused on my hobby experience with Robotech RPG Tactics. I've been waiting with bated breath for this game to come out and now it's finally here! It arrived today and I have yet to even open the box. My next post will be a brief overview of the contents etc. For now let me explain my plans for the future.

First, to set some background, my interest in Robotech began when I was a young child, sometime in the early 80's. I discovered this cartoon early in the morning, a half hour at a time. I introduced it to my friends and every morning we'd all get up to watch it, eat breakfast then head out to the park to meet and talk about that days episode! I dare say Robotech (and certainly Star Wars) pushed me in the direction of being a huge nerd. Later I would rediscover Robotech through the game of armored mech combat Battletech! I walked into a book and hobby store and saw that warhammer (in Robotech the Tomahawk) laying waste to some enemy off 'screen' and feel in love. We played battletech for years and all of the "unseen" mechs - the majority from Robotech were always my favorite. To this day the Warhammer/Tomahawk hold a special place in my heart, even above the beloved Valkyrie fighters. We played the RPG by Palladium a few times when I was younger but I moved onto other things. When I heard Palladium was doing a wargame I was instantly onboard! I'd had tentative plans to write my own Robotech based game because it's ripe with content suitable for battles on the tabletop. The kickstarter broke records and you could see there were tons of other gaming geeks out there just like me who wanted to relive the robotech battles on the tabletop. It's been a long wait, and I don't want to get into the controversy. I remained very patient and my attitude was based on two ideas. The first and foremost was that since I didn't have the product or part of the product in my hand, I had to wait, no sense in sweating it out. A variation of you can't miss what you don't have. Second, I'd rather they got it right or closer to right than wrong and so maintained a watchful eye. I have to admit recently I was beginning to get antsy but that was do more to excitement then dissatisfaction. moving forward I have big plans.

 In the past I've participated in putting together and running big spectacle type games at conventions. I'd really like to get to that point with Robotech - dozens of mechs per side, 6-10 players at a time just pushing around mechs and rolling dice and having a good time. I plan to do it right and will be working on some serious terrain as well as modelling the mecha and I plan to document all of that here.

 I'm working on my own contrived background, sort of an alternate reality. I'm basing my Robotech war here in Colorado where I live. We have Cheyenne Mountain which houses NORAD, several army bases and air force bases all which provide solid reference for units, paint schemes and anything else I might need. This means many of my paint jobs will differ from stock robotech, and that most if not all of the heroes in the game will be renamed in order to fit my own background. Anyway, I'll be tearing into the box here in a few minutes, I'll snap a few pictures and be posting again soon!