CSO Takes a Look at the New Plastic Thor and Loki

www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
The model seems somewhat complex, and I really had to use a built up metal mini of the Loki to figure out where everything went. Aside from that, assembly goes swimmingly, with a special mention to the differently sized spigots and holes on right and left leg. You cannot mount the wrong thigh or kneecap on a foot. Simple, but really ingenious. It also mounts really fast, an experienced modeler should be able to do it in a short time, filing and basing included. As I have not been sent one of the assembled samples, I cannot comment on what they are, but, in my opinion, selling the minis unassembled would be a better option, as it allows easier customization.
 
Nothing really to add about painting, as it is in no means different from painting a metal one, once primed, my Loki took to paint very well, the excellent sculpting and detailing perfect for a wash and paneling technique, paneling being mandatory to get a most excellent tabletop quality.
 
Overall opinion is extremely good, In fact, I must say when I got my copy, I was really surprised by the quality of the stuff, after the rather mediocre quality of the boxed set minis (though to be clear I am not of the opinion these minis were poor quality: in fact, for the price of the box, they were excellent). But this Loki is indeed punching in a different league, If I had to compare it to other ranges and games, it is way above Mechwarrior Dark Age, Ronin, or the Steel Warriors minis. It is roughly equivalent to the Games Workshop WH40k range. If the other minis are of the same quality for a cheaper price than metal, they will indeed be an asset for the future development of BattleTech.
 
-Frederic "Foxbat" Lagoanere
 
  
 
 
 
 
www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
Let me begin by saying that the sheer cleanness of the new plastic minis, as well as the attention to detail, all without obvious flaws in the product material, makes them a welcome addition to the collection of any BattleTech player that enjoys painting up their miniatures. For the Thor and the Loki, it’s as if the CAD drawings have popped off the screen and onto your workspace. While some small mold lines can exist, gone are the worries of extraneous flashing, misshapen secondary weapons, or major faults in the body of the piece. Tired of filing through metal mold lines that no amount of paint can hide? No worries here; at worst you simply trim a little with the hobby knife, use a bit of sandpaper, and you’re good to go.
 
For those who like customizing their miniatures, the unassembled pieces are the way to go. Multiple poses are possible, and interchangeability makes simulating certain loadouts a piece of cake. Not into putting forth that much effort? Grab the assembled version instead. In theory, you simply add a base, some primer, and away you go. No gluing to worry about.
 
With the two assembled miniatures that I tried, I did find some small issues. Several accoutrements weren’t actually glued on, and the kneecaps were all upside down. The lack of available positions or the correct number of A-pods for the Loki will upset some, but that appears to be a design issue, not a manufacturing one. The good news about the un-glued pieces is that it demonstrated to me just how accurate the tolerances are for these miniatures. Several pieces fit so snugly that no glue is necessary. Once a few quality control issues are seen to, I’ll be hard-pressed to avoid the temptation of a readily assembled miniature.
 
Quite frankly, these miniatures are what a BattleTech miniature should be: clean, accurate, and visually impressive. I’ll be adding at least one of every ‘‘Mech made in this manner to my collection.
 
-Matt “00Dawg” Frederiksen
 
 
 
www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
 The first assumption one would make about a plastic miniature is its potential lack of detail and messy mold lines. But, the plastic Thor from Catalyst Game Labs is as far from those possibilities as modern technology can bring us. The detail on the Thor is extremely high. Like no miniature I’ve seen to date. Tiny hinges on access panels are there. Every missile launcher hole is perfectly round. Armor plating angles are sharp. The shape of the various parts is exactly the way the original 3D art was designed. No pitting or warping at all.
 
 As for mold lines, there are some but they are very minor. Easy to remove. The miniature I assembled came on a sprue. Part removal was very easy. I didn’t have any chipping into the models surfaces and any sprue bits left behind was easily sanded smooth. It was also clear that intelligent design went into the placement of the mold lines and sprue attachment points. They appear in places like the bottom of a foot or inside of a joint. Using a simple super glue was a plus (I normally use a two-part epoxy that takes time to mix and set). I also was successful with using a plastic welding fluid.
 
 The only, and very small, drawback to the miniature is that those minor mold lines are a bit unpredictable. They turn corners and suddenly stop in spots. It just makes cleaning them a little unintuitive. Some people would complain that the lack of weight from metal miniatures would be a con but the pros of this miniature far outweigh that.
 
 As far as painting the Thor, spray primer went on smoothly. No beading or running. I suppose that another drawback could be that the detail and perfection of shapes to this miniature make them entirely unforgiving when painted. Any deviance in a painted line will stand in stark contrast to the lines of the miniature. Being able to flub paint here and there or allow for a tiny bit of bleed over is a thing of the old fashioned past now.
 
 I’M usually a pretty slow painter, but I was able to complete the Thor in several hours (instead of days). To say it was a joy to paint would be an understatement. And hey, It photographed like a supermodel too.
 
 I would highly recommend this miniature to any painting, modeling, or gaming enthusiast.
 
-David “Dak” Kerber
 
 
 
 
www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
The quality of these pieces is wonderful from their high level of detail to the well placed mold lines. These lines are nearly absent and incredibly easy to clean with a sharp blade and a few minutes. The pre-assembled mini's have a few issues with incorrect/poor assembly, notably the upside-down knee guards, the mushroom-like A-Pod on the Loki's foot, and the knee joints not being pushed together all the way. All are easy to fix but that brings up my next point, the quality of the glue seems to be low as the before mentioned pieces came right off. Assembly is easy as each piece has a special slot but I did find myself having to shave down a few "tabs" during the dry-fitting to make them go together all the way.
 
As for customability they are excellent. The plastic is of good quality, shaves down very easily, and holds primer well. They paint up extremely smooth and with a little green stuff you could make pretty much any variant you would want. I am extremely happy with these overall and can't wait for the other clan ’’Mechs and hopefully inner sphere units to go this route.
 
-Todd “Mastergunz” Farnholtz
 
 
 
www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
Plastic minis can be a mixed blessing. If done wrong, they are awful and embarrassing to put on the table, but when done right, as the new Loki and Thor minis from Catalyst are, they can shame their metal counterparts. These minis are superb in every way, and truly something to get excited about. While they look identical, these minis are not merely copies of the current pewter figures produced by Iron Wind Metals, but they do appear to be made from the same CAD art. Subtle changes are evident, the most welcome being a tweak of the leg/torso ratio, making the mini more in proportion with itself and eliminating the largest bickering point of the metal version.

The first thing I noticed on the set I received was the distinct lack of mold lines, an ever expanding problem with metal minis. What little flash and mold lines there were came off easily with a sweep of the hobby knife and a short brush with a fine emery board. Emery boards or fine sandpaper are recommended, because a metal file would be too strong and might damage the plastic.

The material, while solid, is soft enough to be cut easily with a hobby knife, making reposing a cinch. Removal from the sprues must be done carefully, and with a sharp knife to avoid the sprue taking a chunk out of the mini when it goes. Though the minis come in many pieces, the right and left sides are distinguishable by the size of their connector pegs, which will greatly cut down on assembly errors. Some trimming is required to make the pegs fit snugly into their slots.

The preassembled examples I received would make a great addition to any box set, but care should be taken that the assembler knows which pieces go where- both of mine came with the knees on upside-down, requiring minor surgery before painting. Also, some of the connector pegs were not sufficiently trimmed, leading to gaps at the joints. This is not in itself a killer, but it is annoying to a perfectionist like myself.

The only downside I noticed was the disparity of both A-Pods and their mounting points for the Loki. The stats give it four A-Pods, and the IWM metal mini comes with them. The plastic only comes with one, and oddly leaves out one mounting point. So you have three holes in the back of the legs, and only one A-Pod bit to mount, leaving you with two unused holes and an inexplicable blank spot one the back of your mini's legs. Again, this is a nit pick for perfections and does not affect the quality of the mini.

Painting these minis is no different from painting the pewter versions. No special preparations must be made, nor any special paints used. In fact, it seemed to me that these minis took the paint much better than their counterparts, although that may just be my imagination. They still turned out very nicely for the short time I had to work on them.

Overall, I'd rate the Loki at 9 stars out of 10 for the A-Pod goof, and the Thor a flat 10. If these are examples of the direction Catalyst is taking the minis aspect of the game, then I will be following eagerly, awaiting the next offering.
 
-Lance “Jal Phoenix” Scarinci
 
 
www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
Overall, this is a quality piece that can stand with the current line of BattleTech miniatures. Casting is crisp with no distortion on the copy I have assembled. An experienced painter will have no trouble with it, though there are some small details that prevent me from fully endorsing it for the beginner or aspiring painter. Mould lines are minimal in depth and easily cleaned. The large number of pieces and sometimes odd patterns these lines take makes clean up more time consuming to do well. Looking specifically at Omnimechs, as the Loki and Thor are, attention to the specific details of each configuration is what could really set these models apart, but is also where the Loki comes up a little short. While the Anti-Personnel Pods are a relatively minor feature, including only one when there should be four, and having only three slots to put them in does become an issue the painter must deal with to remain correct to canon. The mount of the searchlight is literally a case of round peg to a square hole. A small amount of greenstuff fixed the problem for me, but may not be the first thing that comes to others. Coming in a far greater number of pieces (21 in total with the correct number of A-Pods) than its metal counterpart, I immediately set to reposing the Loki. This was much easier than would be possible with the current metal version, but still had its quirks. The parts are still built to only assemble in one position up to the waist. That means cutting, and filling with more greenstuff. I count it as some lost potential there; seven pieces that need to be assembled but add no real value as presented. All in all, I’d be tempted by more of these when I want to modify or repose the mini, but not necessarily for simply painting X chassis in Y scheme, when the reduced number of pieces and more straightforward clean up of the metal version would appeal.
 
-Joel “Psycho” Hardwick
 
 
 
www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
I assembled and painted my first Loki as a ‘Mech from the Delta Galaxy of Clan Jade Falcon. The plastic was mostly free of mold lines and defects. Where defects were identified they were filed or scraped away. Assembly is very easy, the parts fit perfectly and there is plenty of surface area for plastic cement to form a bond.The plastic takes primer very well and the level of detail lends itself to dry brushing and other painting techniques. While I did not customize this miniature I am convinced that these new plastic miniatures are perfect for conversions and kit-bashes.
 
I also painted two more pre-assembled ‘Mech miniatures. My second Loki is painted as a Ghost Bear machine in a color scheme inspired by new artwork. The Thor ‘Mech is painted as a Smoke Jaguar ‘Mech depicted in older artwork. I made a point of not doing any clean up on these miniatures other than correcting a minor assembly flaw on each miniature which should not be an issue in production.
 
In my opinion they are by far the best ‘Mech miniatures that I have ever seen. While I am still proud of the work I did re-sculpting ‘Mechs such as the Madcat and Daishi I have to admit that I hope to see them in plastic like these. Perhaps the Loki and Thor will do well enough to justify more plastics.
 
-Drew Williams
 
 
 
www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
When I first saw the new plastic Loki, I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of detail they had. Even the new plastic Introductory Box Set minis couldn't match the detail and proportions of the pewter minis. However, this one met it head on. The detail was great and the proportions were exact.

When I got it out of the package, cleanup was a simple matter. With metal minis, you need to trim the flash, which can sometimes be a chore. The plastic Loki had virtually no flash, being limited to slight bumps over the surface. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I did spend a little time smoothing out the surfaces. One thing I appreciated was that the plastic didn't have a tendency to flake like the plastic Box Set minis when shaved by a hobby knife or filed by my metal files.

Assembly was a snap, although it did have a couple of minor snags. The pieces fit together really solidly, with the legs having built-in pegs to really strengthen the connection. The arms were in two pieces that helped facilitate unique posing. They do seem a bit frail just because they're so thin, but one thing I realized later is that the light weight of the plastic helps with minor tips and falls due to its light weight. When I assembled one of the Lokis, I accidentally cut off the small pole under the searchlight because it's easy to mistake it for part of the sprue. Additionally, it's round, but needs to attach to the top of the indented back which has a flat surface. Speaking of which, you might find some visual reference helpful, so go to http://www.thudgun.com/BTech/Omnis.html for some great reference pics. You don't want to put the Active Probe on the leg by mistake! The A-Pod goes there. And speaking of the A-Pod, you'll find only one included in the pack and three holes in the back of the Loki's legs. You can pretty much choose which one you want to use. I chose the foot and encountered a minor problem. The pod didn't fit. But that was easily fixed by a bit of drilling and sanding. After that it was just a matter of basing and painting it, but that's a story for another time.
 
-Mark “Hyena” Maestas
 
 
 
www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
Most miniature painters want three things in any mini they paint. First, they want a reasonable scale. A mini that's too small just doesn't have the detail you really want, and one that's too big is hard to play with on the standard table top. Secondly, a good mini has the right balance between number of parts and ease of assembly. You want a mini that's got enough parts so that you can have some flexibility in posing it when you put it together, but not so many parts that it takes an engineering degree and a set of blueprints to put it together. Finally, you want a mini that has good, crisp detail, enough that you can identify all the critical parts just by looking at it before you ever put a brush to it. The new Loki from the plastic line of minis for Classic BattleTech fits the miniature painter's bill, and then some. After many not-so successful attempts at entering the plastic miniature market, BattleTech finally has a mini that's not just good, but down right excellent.
 
When you first get this mini, the number of parts can seem daunting, almost as if you bought a small model and not a table-top war game miniature, but never fear; the designers cast the parts so that they only go together one way. You can't, for example, put the wrong leg on the wrong side of the body, because the parts don't fit that way. That's good, because the mini comes in over a dozen pieces, which allows for some modest reposing for the builder. It also means that the parts are incredibly detailed, because each is separately sculpted and cast. Assembly is easy, since the parts fit together perfectly and require no filing or cutting to make them fit. And, unlike many plastic minis, there is little to no flash to be removed…and best of all to the mini enthusiast, no mold lines. Clean up and preparation for assembly takes all of five minutes, if that. I had mine out of the pack, cleaned and assembled in about ten minutes.
 
Most importantly, though, is the detail. The detail on this mini is just superb, with my personal favorite example being the missile launcher. On many pewter minis, missiles can easily be damaged, or have odd shapes because of flash from casting. As a result, even the most careful painting still leaves the missiles looking sadly out of joint. Not so with this mini, which has perfectly formed, beautifully rounded missiles that were an absolute joy to paint. The rest of the mini is just as good, with excellent detail on even the smallest parts, such as the ECM pod or the anti-infantry pods on the legs.
 
After 20 years of miniature painting, I can truthfully say that this is the sort of mini I've been waiting for. The combination of scale, detail and ease of assembly is simply unparalleled, and makes these minis the most exciting thing to happen to BattleTech since the introduction of the Clans and their bewildering array of high-tech gear. 
 
-Mike “Ogre” Raper

 

www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
I’ve been involved with the plastic minis since the GenCon ’09 release of the Loki. Been playing and painting Battletech since the 80’s and am familiar with the other "plastic" releases. When I heard of the new plastics, I was a bit worried. I could never find the strength to fix up and paint up the new Intro box set minis. It’s hard to justify spending the time I put into a mini on a less than exceptional product. And I feared for more of the same. I was wrong. 

These new plastic BT minis are a whole new breed. Hard plastic, smooth lines, and sharp edges define them. The plastic is hard enough to use my standard file on without having the plastic curl up. The mold lines are tiny. Now this is a two edged sword, the lines can be easily missed and will show up in the painted mini with a wash. I like the way the plastic sprue contact spots were often on locations that were going to be covered by the assembly process anyway. There were a couple areas where some of the mold lines were almost slightly indented. This posed a problem for fixing, but was only found in the most recessed areas of the mini. I’ll be watching for more of that. 
The minis go together in a breeze. This is especially nice since they were in almost a dozen pieces. A kit-basher’s dream! They take primer well (although I still washed em first with soap and water). Laying down the paint and dabbing on the wash was as easy as any metal mini I’ve worked with. As far as finishing, I’d still say the finished weight is a bit disappointing. I LIKE the weight of a pewter finished mini. This was somewhat relieved by adding a metal base. Plastic is going to survive a fall much better. And plastic armies are going to travel better, and ship in the mail easier/cheaper. 
Now keep in mind I love my metal IWM BT minis. I paint mostly for display, so a quality mini is most important to me. I’ll sacrifice just about ANYTHING for a high quality mini. These plastic minis are quality. I hope the quality only continues to improve. Congrats to Catalyst and Ghost Studio for their highly detailed plastic BattleTech miniatures! 

-Chris “Pendragon” Dolega  

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.camospecs.com/Miniature.asp
After painting two of the plastic Loki's and modifying a third that I am working on, I must say that the new plastic ’Mechs enjoy a quality associated with other miniature wargame companies plastic models and are something that the BattleTech community hasn't come to think of when dealing with plastic ’Mechs. While there are a few small issues with the kit, the quality, ease of construction, and detail make those issues seem like minor nit-picks. 

I was first approached with one of the Loki's the second they arrived to GenCon. I lucked out and was the only CSO guy on duty at the diorama and got first crack at it. “Paint something up for the booth,” was the direction and so I did. Assembly was a bit of a guessing game to be honest. I didn't have Chris Lewis' images in front of me (from which this model was based) and some of what we now think are AP pods didn't appear to go anywhere, so I didn't put them anywhere. I also had issues with the knee pads as they weren't apparent which way they were suppose to go. After I had painted the model my mistake was pointed out, but it was a bit too late to fix it. 
Painting wise, they took paint just like other major plastic miniature wargame company miniatures. While I didn't get a chance to spray-primer it, that option is easily there as the plastic looks and feels like the other companies stuff. I will pick up more of these plastics based on the three I was able to work with and look forward to other ’Mech chassis. 
 
-Ross “Savage Coyote” Hines

 

Event Report: Scale Model Challenge 2012

The Scale Model Challenge is an annual convention organized by the Scale Model Factory, a hobby club for scale model enthusiasts. In 2012 the event took place on October, 14th in the NH Convention Centre Koningshof in Veldhoven near Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

2011 BattleCorps Painting Competition

2011 BattleCorps Painting Competition

Scenes from the Legends

2011 BattleCorps Painting Competition

Scenes from the Legends

GenCon 2010 Painting Contest Winners

Labors of Love: GenCon 2010 Machines of War painting contest winners

CSO Ups the Stakes at GenCon 2009

CSO Artists take 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the Machines of War category of the painting contest! 

CSO Artist Brings Home GenCon Accolades

CamoSpecs Online is proud to report that our own B1BFlyer received not one, but two awards in the GenCon 2008 Miniatures Painting Competition. When asked about his achievement, B1BFlyer had this to say:

Custom 'Mech <i>Pulverizer</i> Build

Welcome to this behind-the-scenes look at kitbashing the Pulverizer ‘Mech for the CSO Diorama at GenCon Indy 2008. I will start off by saying it was an honour and privilege to be entrusted with the task of bringing an as yet unknown ‘Mech design to life. Thanks go out to Ray and David (along with the other PTB, and Brent Evans) for making it possible.