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!