Saturday, May 3, 2014

Get Outta Here Stalker D: - 28mm Battletech Stalker

So…the Stalker. An 85 ton assault ‘mech built for breaching fortifications and taking the enemy head-on, weapons blazing as it slowly closes range. This ‘mech is a beast, for a long, long time I’ve loved the description of the design, but hated its art in the Battletech Technical Readouts- those weird, double-hinged legs swiveled so that it was either backward-canted like a Mad Cat or Catapult, or normal-kneed like any humanoid design.

With Mechwarrior 4’s MekTek packs came a much beefier, permanently bird-legged Stalker, which was clearly what the new Mechwarrior Online takes its design cues from, and I LOVE it! The MWO STK-3F Stalker captures the essence of its Classic Battletech Roots and translates them to a much more likable aesthetic. Thor’s Mechworks, as advertised on the blog Wingnuts Cockpit, produced a 3D-printed “Creeper” (so as to avoid copyright BS….though to be honest, I don’t think Catalyst enforces it, and Topps doesn’t care). This is a dead-on accurate depiction of the MWO Stalker, so let’s take a look at what we get in the kit:

The kit comes in about 15 (ish) main pieces, with a good dozen extra little giblets for detail work, some of which I STILL don’t know where they go, even after having built the thing.

The model is 3D-printed ABS plastic, entirely hollow and extra light, making it feel almost more like a toy than the resin kits produced by some other regular manufacturers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, the lighter construction means it won’t break as easily if it falls, and it’s generally easier to stand and display or pose in a more active….well pose. However, there is one major drawback: the ABS plastic results in a layered effect, almost like wood grain, which needs to be filed, sanded, or rubbed with acetone to make smooth. This layered texture is almost insubstantial on the bigger pieces, but there are some fiddly, recessed areas where it gets very bad, and I found even with sanding and acetone that it doesn’t wash away smoothly.

The finished kit, however, looks beautiful. Most of the unsightly layered areas end up being either in the rear of the ‘mech, or hidden pressed against the fuselage or joints.

Speaking of joints, the design is VERY posable. Thor has done an amazing job making the Stalker as detailed and flexible as possible. I discovered while building it that not only are there flexible joints at the ankle and knee, but the ball-and-socket hip joint moves as well, and can be reposed very easily while also maintaining a tight seal, so the joint doesn’t loosen. I tend to glue my models in a single pose, it’s just the way I prefer them. I did that with this kit as well, with the joints at the missile launcher “arms,” the knee, and ankle all fixed, but kept the ball-and-socket hip free so I can reposition the legs somewhat.

The one recognizable extra bit was the AMS system, which I applied to my Stalker. I replaced (what I presume was) the barrel with a gatling gun style assembly from a Warhammer 40,000 assault cannon, but kept the ammo hopper, so it now heavily resembles a real-world CIWS (Close-In Weapon System).

Other than that, I made no real modifications, and am extremely happy with the final build. However, if anyone can tell me what the extra bits that come with the thing are, I would greatly appreciate the info.

So how does the “Creeper” stack up compared to other 28mm Battletech models? Glad you asked! As an 85 ton assault ‘mech, the STK-3F Stalker is much bulkier and taller than either my Timber Wolf or CPLT-C1 Catapult. It stands (in the pose I gave it) at just a smidge under 10” tall compared to the Mad Cat/Timber Wolf’s 8” exactly and the Catapult’s 8.25”

This seems the perfect size to me, and after building this kit, I must say Thor’s Mechworks does, indeed, do great work. I will be ordering more kits from him in the future for certain.

I’ll have this bad boy painted up very soon here, though I’ve got some brainstorming to do for a color scheme. Keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned to Myomer Dreams for more updates!

No comments:

Post a Comment