Okay, just a warning, if you don't play heavy Gear, this post won't make too much sense due to the bedazzling array of anachronisms (something that Heavy Gear is known for).
One of the problems that I think we've been having in adjusting to the Heavy Gear rule set is balance. I've been running either the CEF or the PAK (which are two sides of the same coin really). The CEF/PAK's primary combat vehicle is the light hovertank, which has good weapons, good armor, and incredible speed which makes them difficult to hit. The rest of my army is made up of FLAILs (for the CEF, kinda like battletech Elementals), hover APCs mounting heavy rocket pods (essentially more light tanks for the PAK ) and GREL infantry for both (who tend to wander around the backfield and do...not too much.
However usually by about turn two, Murl (of the apparently defunct 13th Cadian blog) is having to turtle up while trying to concentrate the fire of his Gears against my tanks which are already running amok in his backfield. It kinda brings to mind the Chaos demon army in 40k, where it takes the initiative by its very design, and dictates game play thereafter. Gears are very versatile, but compared to tanks (of any sort) kinda fragile.
So, I've started a Western Frontier Protectorate army. The WFP is the backwater of the northern leagues (nations) in Heavy Gear's primary setting, Terra Nova. They field a lot of older/obsolete machines, and if you use the WFPA list, you have to build a fluffy army! As I'm a 'fluff' guy, that's quite appealing! I could just make a generic northern list calling it the Northern Guard (their version of NATO), but that's no fun.
So, using the $$$ from some ebay sales, I ordered a blister of Bear/Den Mother/Mad Dog R's, a blister of Bobcats, and an Aller main battle tank (I'll get to that in a bit). The blisters are 2-packs, so I built two Bobcats, one mauler bear (still need a specific gun for it, so it's not painted or pictured below) and one Mad Dog R. The Mad Dog R ('R' is for 'refit'. In the fluff, it uses the legs from the Bear as the original design was heavily flawed, and generally caused the original gear to be a failure) was the WFP's first and only real attempt to build their own indigenous gear, so it's kinda required I think. It's a good, if basic fire support unit (its the large gear pictured below).
The two smaller ones are Bobcats. The Bobcat was the first dedicated recon gear fielded by the northern factions. Its more or less obsolete now, but the WFPA still fields a large number of them. Actually the WFPA fits my gaming M.O., as its a 'horde of mediocrity' rather than the 'uber elite bad guys' that is the CEF/PAK.
I painted the left shoulder of each to give a visual aid on squad separation. The Mad dog in red, and the Bobcats in blue (though the delvan mud & black drybrushing from the rocket back-blasts have largely obscured that). They're painted catachan green, with Knarloc green, Gretchin green and Tau Sept Ochre splotches. The swathed in devlan mud, followed by bleached bone drybrush, and black drybrush (around weapon ports). I think it gives them a dirty & beat up look which is fitting.
I also mentioned that I purchased an MBT earlier (it has yet to arrive). The WFPA fields the 'Hardy Aller' which has a HAAC and a BIG FRIGGIN' GUN in place of the normal Aller's LPL & Heavy Rail gun. The difference in effectiveness is marginal. I think it's one of the prettiest minis in the game and couldn't resist. Unlike hovertanks, Terra Novan tanks are tracked, slow and easy to hit. However the Aller carries so much armor, it doesn't much care.
Problem is, I don't yet have an army to build around this tank, so I'm sure that Murl will be borrowing it meaning in the short term I'm more likely to be facing this nightmare, than fielding it!
I can see tank duels in our future with gears & infantry more or less playing as a circus sideshow.
What's On Your Table: "Spooksville"
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