Welcome to the second installment in the Long Live! series. This series is designed to help players design multi-era lances for use with Battletech and Alpha Strike. Each entry will attempt to build a functional lance with faction-flavor for the Succession Wars, Clan Invasion, FedCom Civil War, and World of Blake Jihad. In some cases, an entry will have substitute options to add variety. If you have your own substitutions or suggestions post them below in the comments!
Build a FWLM lance that can be played across eras, from the Succession Wars through the Jihad.
THANKS FOR THE CATCH, JOHN SISK! SHOULD BE CORRECT NOW.
This edition of Long Live! makes extensive use of the miniatures found in the Battletech Boxed Set, Fire Lance Lance Pack, and Recon Lance Lance Pack, as well as models from Iron Wind Metals. Click the images below to purchase these and other miniatures! (Miniatures supplied unassembled and unpainted.)
I don't paint "Leaguers" often. Going over my various galleries, I have only painted to this date two FWLM tanks, and a handful of battle armor--being torn apart by a Lyran Griffin.
Looking over the units available to the FWLM on the Battletech MUL, it seemed they have a love of long range missiles--I bet it's "Leaguers" who are responsible for lrmageddon. Secretly, I've always wanted to build an LRM-based unit, but that doesn't make me a "Leaguer."
This is new territory...
The Hermes II HER-2S is an acceptable substitute for the Cicada. It is 2" slower, also bringing with it a reduced TMM. With the reduced speed, however, the Hermes II also carries +2A and +0/0/1 damage. These gains come at a cost of +5 PV. This is a unit worth adding if for no other reasong than it will have some great variants in the coming ages to strengthen this formation.
Okay, I might be breaking the rules a bit...
If you want a more Marik feel, use an Orion ON1-K in place of the Dervish. You'll downgrade the IF to IF1, but gain an all around formidable unit.
Clan Invasion Through Fed Com Civil War (127 PV without SPA)
Gaining a significant look and feel of a traditional FWLM force, the Apollo APL-2S (or any era-approved variant of the Apollo) replaces the ancient Dervish DV-6M. For what it loses in maneuverability, the Apollo makes up for in hitting power (+1/2/1), armor (+2A), and indirect fire ability (+1 IF). This comes at a PV cost, however, as the Apollo is seven points more expensive than the Dervish. To help overcome the speed difference, this unit could take the Speed Demon SPA (Alpha Strike Companion, p. 52) that will boost its ground sped to 10". This will, however, possibly create some game balance issues if the player applies other SPA to this unit or also takes the Forward Observer SPA with the spotter unit. Remember Rule #1 and use your best discretion to keep the game fun.
There are many variants of both the Apollo and the Trebuchet to choose from. If survivability is a concern, then keep the Trebuchet TBT-5J instead of adding the Trebuchet TBT-7M. The loss of two points of internal structure is a high price to pay for 1/0/1 damage increase. It also gains SNARC a useful special for a missile-based unit. With the fragile nature of the design, however, this may be a special ability used rarely.
This lance upgrades the Cicada to either a Cicada CDA-3F or Cicada CDA-3G. At an increased PV cost, these two modls also gain increased maneuverability with a 16" jump, +0/1/1 damage, and exchange one point of internal structure for two points of armor. If you're group describes your play style as "throw caution to the wind," then the reduced structure is good for you--it just means less chances to take critical damage, right? An added bonus if using expanded rules, the Cicada CDA-3G brings exceptional scouting abilities to the table gained by the probe and recon specials. It definetly takes the role of spotter to another level. To support it in the role of spotter, this model carried over the Forward Observer SPA.
The shining star of this upgraded lance, however, is the Shadow Hawk SHD-5M. This variant build the 6" jump to a full 10" to match the unit's ground speed. The -5M mounts slightly less staying power than the Catapult CPLT-C1 or the Shadow Hawk SHD-2H, with +1A and -2S. This is a negligable change, however, if used at range in its intended role as a missile boat. What's more, the upgraded damage profile of +0/1/1 of the -5M makes medium and long ranges its sweet spot. Though it has an identical damage profile to the Catapult, the increased maneuverability allows this machine to move into and out of foreign positions much more easily than the model it replaced.
This unit still functions as a dedicated Fire Lance.
Some things to consider, however, when choosing between the Wraith and the upgraded Cicadas. Both Cicada models are cheaper and faster than the Wraith and carry the same damage profile. Both Cicada models also have -1 armor and -1 structure compared to the Wraith; their increased TMM, however, should balance this out. They both lack the over heat option of the Wraith, preventing both units from being able to really pour on the damage in tight situations. The Cicada CDA-3G, however, makes up for this with exceptional scouting abilities gained by the probe and recon specials.
Jihad (126 PV-without SPA)
The one I can strongly recommend is adding a Hermes II HER-5Sr. With the addition of ECM, this piece becomes an invaluable tool in combating C3 and C3i networks prevalent in this era of play. What's more, with the role switch to sniper, adding the Hermers I and keeping the Cicada will still allow a player to keep the Fire Lance bonus abilities. The Hermes II, in many variants, is a viable option for the FWL throughout their history.
By replacing the Trebuchet TBT-7M with the Hermes II HER-5Sr, the lance remains eligible to serve as a Fire Lance because of the sniper role it fulfills. Without the IF skill of the Trebuchet, however, the unit does lose the opportunity to serve as a Fire Support Lance. The two units are relatively similar in performance: same TMM on both though the Trebuchet can complicate matters by jumping, creating a TMM of 3. The Hermes II carries one more pip of internal structure, giving it a slight edge in survivability. It does, however, bring less damage potential to the board, -1/0/0 damage, compared to the Trebuchet.
Depending on whether the Cicada or the Hermes II will do the bulk of the spotting work will determine which of the two units will take the Forward Observer SPA.
Long Live the Leaguer!
What's more, because of the style of play and specific models used, this lance can be played virtually out of the box! Print and use the cards from the Battletech MUL and play the Introductory Box Set Dervish as a later-period Apollo! Ned to find a stand-in for the Shaow Hawk? Try using a Dragon. Use whatever creative substitutes come to mind until you can make your way to Iron Wind Metals or your Friendly Local Game Store!
- I'm still not a Leaguer.
- Need to find units to build your own missile-toting lance? Use the Battletech MUL!
Restrictions (completely arbitrary)
- May only change one unit per era.
- May include up to two substitutes per era.
- PV may be no more than 250.
Early Succession Wars (154-174 PV)
With three sniper options, this lance could easily substitute as a Fire Lance instead (Alpha Strike Companion, p. 154).
The high PV of this lance will make adding perks and adjusting pilot skills a challenge. It does, however, serve its intended purpose: a big, jump-capable wall of zombie 'Mech metal.
Late Succession Wars - Lostech (152 PV)
These changes prevent this lance from switching between Fast Assault and Fire Support lances. With the diverse unit roles this era adds, however, it can now become either a Fast Assault or a Command Lance (Alpha Strike Companion, p. 155) if a Striker makes its way into the mix. Surprisingly, the LosTech era doesn't damage the original design of this lance significantly. It remains a survivable, mobile unit.
Late Succession Wars - Renaissance (146-159 PV)
In this era, the Crockett returns as the Katana CRK-5003-2. The two points less armor and 0/-1/-2 points difference in damage brackets sacrificed in the conversion save this unit 8 PV. The Katana remains a respectable foe. Coupled with the return of the Highlander HGN-732, the combinations of this lance are formidable.
The ultimate unit choices depend on the role this lance will play: Fast Assault or Fire Support (or Command with a Striker). With these options, however, this era provides the most flexibility of roles for this unit to fulfill--perfect for the War of 3039!
Clan Invasion through FedCom Civil War (169 PV)
This era witnesses the retirement and replacement of the Shadow Hawk SHD-2K with the Kintaro KTO-K. This iconic Kurita 'Mech is both strikingly ugly and a hard-hitter. Because the previous era's models lacked jump jets these did not qualify for addition in the earlier builds. The Kintaro KTO-K, however, fulfills that need and brings with it a helluva punch (4/4/0). What's more, the addition of C3 demands a capable, mobile, and survivable spotter. (While there are some i would gladly take over this one, the Kintaro has a wider range of era-playability.)
The DCMS is one of the first factions to implement C3. Even though it inflates PV, it provides numerous benefits to improve to-hit numbers. With the addition of C3, and the move into this era, allows the Shadow Hawk to swap out for another iconic Kurita unit: the Kintaro. Strikingly ugly but a hard-hitter, I avoided putting the prvious era's models in the lance because of the lack of jump jets. The Kintaro KTO-K, however, fulfills that need and brings with it a helluva punch (4/4/0).
It does lack the long range attack of the Shadow Hawk, but both the Victor VTR-C and the Grasshopper GHR-C have long range attacks that their previous models lacked. Comparatively between the three (SHD-2K, VTR-9B, and GHR-5H v. KTO-K, VTR-C, and GHR-C), the damage brackets rise from 8/10/2 to 11/11/3. With the combined-fire nature of C3, this is a substantial gain! Even with the usual PV inflation of C3, this lance remains less costly than its Early Succession War counterpart full of LosTech (though not by much).
To maintain the C3 network, the Katana upgrades to a Katana CRK-5003-CM. The performance of the units is negligably different; the CRK-5003-CM loses one point of short range attack to gain the C3M ability. It is slightly more expensive than the CRK-5003-2, but well worth the investment for the C3 network. What's more, if playing with MHQ rules, this unit has an MHQ rating of eight.
Unfortunately, this lance looses some of the role flexibility of previous eras. This unit will find it hard pressed to fulfill any roles beyond Fast Assault.
Jihad through Early Republic (160-178 PV)
In tune with the eras of play, this lance carries more than a touch of munch. C3, improved jump jets, and experimental tech, this unit exemplifies the idea of a mobile assault lance.
To maintain the C3 network requires the carryover of the Katana CRK-5003-CM. To make things interesting, the lance can take the Katana CRK-5003-CJ. Because these are two different versions of the same 'Mech, it won't cost any FP (faction points) as a duplicate unit! The performance of this unit is akin to that of the Highlander HGN-732. Making this switch is like adding a HGN-732 with improved jump jets and C3--a tough and highly mobile unit that can deal respectable damage. In can act as an anchor for the unit, a body guard for the C3M, or a Gojira-sized C3 spotter in a pinch.
The Shadow Hawk makes a return as the Shadow Hawk SHD-3K. An classic chasis style with upgraded weapons, this machine is a slightly up-gunned versin of the SHD-2K. The damage brackets improve to 2/3/2 from 1/2/2 and the movement moves to 10"j from 10"/6"j, gaining 4" to make that nice, rounded, and complete 10" jump (instead of the bizarre fraction). With all this and a bag of C3 chips, this sniper returns to be able to maneuver and harass enemy units better than before.
Like the Clan Invasion and FedCom Civil War units, this lance also benefits from MHQ8. What's more, with the diverse unit role options, this lance would be a great option to assume the Command Lance formation and really put the MHQ to good use with an appropriate Striker unit. If nothing else, it can maintain its inspiration's role as a Fast Assault lance.
Long Live the Dragon!
Sure, not all of the models his as hard as other 'Mechs that come in and out of the timeline, but this unit will allow players to field a force throughout the major eras of play.
- The Victor--no matter the model--is often the first casualty of this lance. If you're faced with wanting to make a substitute, this would be the unit I'd switch first.
- The Highlander is a beast--survivable, mobile, and dangerous.
- This is why the Katana CRK-5003-CJ is also a beast--it has a similar survivability and damage profile with improved jump jets and C3.
- Using C3 in later eras will prove most beneficial if included in organizations where as many units as possible also use it.
- No, there's no Dragon. Yes, it is easiest to build a multi-era DCMS lance with the Dragon and it is an iconic Kurita 'Mech. It does not, however, meet the play style I was after.
- Considering the units used, this would likely come from a well-supplied unit like the Sword of Light, Otomo, or Izanagi. Remember, when looking at multi-era playability, not all units have storied histories and for the DCMS, these are the three that would most likely have access to these 'Mechs.
- Need to find units to build your own lance for Battletech Alpha Strike? Use the Battletech MUL!
Don't forget to check out my Instagram for more work: the_artist_known_as_capn_ed
From there, I airbrushed black primer followed by dark brown. On top of this, I added two layers of chipping and wear fluid. Like the Primitive Griffin, this piece will have a worn look.
Wanting to to make this an homage to the early days of Battletech, I decided on Night Stalker colors to match the Dougram Boxfacer colors.
1) Black re-prime
2) Grey at 45*
3) White at 0*
4) Blue glaze
After this stage, I gently scrubbed away the layers with water and a toothbrush to reveal the brown under the chipping fluid.
To add to the rust effect, I sponged burnt sienna and bright orange onto the exposed brown. The final step to the rust effect was to wash sepia and bright orange on the rust. To give it a faded, streaked look, I pulled the fluid down with a dry brush.
Don't forget to find my work on Instagram (some even before they receive a write-up here!): the_artist_known_as_capn_ed
Also, be sure to join Battletech Painting and Customs on Facebook to see the work of many talented artists!
Tutorials and Projects
AC/5 Medium Laser Cartel
Battletech Alpha Strike
Battletech Box Set
Battletech Painting And Customs
Catalyst Game Labs
Davion Brigade Of Guards
Fast Assault Lance
FedCom Civil War
Free Worlds League
Home Brew Rules
Iron Wind Metals
Last Painter Standing
Magister Of Canopus
Sword Of Light
Word Of Blake Jihad
Word Of Blake Omni