Welcome to Mod Monday! One of the best ways to make your force stand apart from the rank and file and attract new players to the table is with creative and unique game pieces. While Battletech and Alpha Strike aren't WYSIWYG (wee-see-wig, "What you see is what you get") like other games, modifications, reposes, and creative construction enhance the gaming experience. In Mod Mondays, we look at cool modifications and tutorials to build dynamic poses!
This week, we'll look at a relatively easy repose on a Panther. Though this example is metal, it is just as easy (or easier) with the new plastics!
Panthers are all over the place-- and not only if you're a DCMS player. Issued in three metal pieces (walking, jumping, and the beginner set of a jumping piece made to walk) and at least three plastic editions (the old City Tech box, the Not Named box set, and the most recent, glorious box set and Alpha Strike Lance Packs) Panthers abound in collections. With Combat Manual: Kurita, DCMS players have new formations like the Horde Lance and faction exclusive variants like the PNT-CM, this venerable light 'Mech has new life. Fortunately, it is an easy model to modify and repose.
As far as minis are concerned, the Panther is one of the easiest to work with. The legs have a natural bend from the start, making most reposes easy to complete. The arms have clean, straight lines between the shoulders and the torso that make removing and reposing a simple cut. Even the head, with sufficient ribbed material in the neck comes off with a few careful cuts of a hobby knife or saw.
This build used the jumping model.
To start, I sawed the peg from the feet, sawed the feet apart, and then removed the legs at the hips. (Were I going straight to the base, I may not have needed to remove the peg from the jumping base stand. Because I wanted to build a dynamic base with interesting terrain, however, I removed these.) To get an appropriate bend in the ankles for the standing pose, I made little incisions at the front and back of each ankle and carefully bent the foot to the correct position. Where the gap created by the cut closed, I filled it with glue and sanded it down when dry. Where the gap opened, I added a bit of greenstuff to fill it. After the putty set, I cut away the excess material with an X-Acto and sanded it flush.
Wanting a natural stance, much like an archer or standing rifleman, I lined up the spine of the 'Mech between the head and pelvis (already in a decent pose) with the knees and ankles. To keep the legs balanced and in the correct placement, I added a hip pin that went through the pelvis and into both legs. A bit of filing was required to make each joint flush. BAM! Legs are done!
After the legs, I moved on to the arms. Two easy and straight cuts with a razor saw removed the arms at the shoulders. Keeping the pose, I sighted an approximate line of sight down the arm from the position of the head. The right arm required a bit of straightening-but not too straight-by carefully bending it. The left arm required a bit more work. After separating the upper and lower arms at the elbow, I sculpted a bracket around the pin in the newly reposed arm. This bracket also made up for some lost material and lengthened the arm to the spot I wanted supporting the hand. I avoided rotating the arm 45* to put the PPC on top because that's extra work.
Once fitted, each arm received a pin at the shoulder to the torso. To get around the chest piece, the shoulders had to extend and flare out to the side. Using greenstuff, I sculpted accordion style joints like the neck to both match the aesthetic and justify the expansion of the arms outward. This isn't the best match of how the 'Mech would function in the real world, I imagine. In retrospect, I should have shaved a bit of the chest piece down, cut the arms out from under the shoulder pauldrons, and positioned forward from there. BAM! Arms are done!
All together, this build required about a 24 hour turnaround--and most of that time was for greenstuff to cure. Modding with a plastic Panther, that time can be cut down ever further. (Yes, that was a Mod Monday pun.)
Have your own Panther mod or build you'd like to share? Be sure to add it in the comments below!
Tutorials and Projects