I have to admit, if I had to generate a blog post on the scale of Parts 1 and 2, I’d cry uncle today (been grinding out the migration of data for a new site the last week and I’m beat).
Luckily, there isn’t a pile of art notes when it comes to the various equipment and unit illustrations needed for a book like this. Instead, you simply turn over the written text for the various illustrations needed to the artist, point him at several TROs to digest the BattleTech aesthetic, and see what he generates.
Now that can be problematic…if you’re working with a new artist, or one that just can’t seem to grog our aesthetic, you run into issues. I can’t and won’t share the sketches involved, but that’s exactly what happened for this book. As Brent is growing the Catalyst stable of artists, he assigned these units/equipment in Handbook: House Liao to a brand, new artist…and it simply failed to connect. From the style, to the very core concepts of shapes simply was too far off…some of it was very cool scifi illustrations…just not BattleTech.
You bang your head on that wall and sometimes you can salvage the situation…and some times you can’t. In this instances, none of the illustrations we’re used and Brent went back to the drawing board and re-assigned it all to a tried and true BattleTech artist that would get the job done in short order: Mathew Plog.
Below you’ll find an excerpt of text taken directly from a pre-final draft, followed by the sketch, followed by the final illustration, for three different pieces of equipment/units for Handbook: House Liao.
Ceres Arms Striker Carbine
Ceres Arms’ latest entry in the small arms market is the Striker
carbine, a reliable weapon intended for use in urban conflicts and
other areas of close-quarters combat. Built from a mix of composite
parts and high-stress metals, and fed from a sixty-round drum
magazine, this 3-kilogram, 7mm weapon can fire 400 rounds per
minute in single-shot, three-round burst or full-auto. It has an
adaptable rail-module for accessories such as telescopic or infrared
sights. Designed for heavy use, it has rugged parts and simple
CERES ARMS CARBINE: SKETCH
CERES ARMS CARBINE: FINAL
Apple -Churchill Surveillance VTOL
The Apple-Churchill Surveillance VTOL is a purpose-built airframe
sold only to the Maskirovka and select constabulary and
militia units across the Confederation. It is manufactured only on
Sian and distributed as needed, and barely sixteen are built per
year (unless larger orders are received). It is the only vehicle that
Apple-Churchill builds entirely in-house, using no outside contractors
or labor. Even the parts machining is done in-house, and
Apple-Churchill trains their own mechanics and operators. In the
ninety-six years this surveillance VTOL has been on the market, not
one outside worker has ever been hired to work in that wing of the
APPLE-CHURCHILL VTOL: SKETCH
APPLE-CHURCHILL VTOL: FINAL
The Maskirovka has perhaps the most ruthless reputation of
all the Inner Sphere intelligence agencies, and none of their divisions
are more feared than their interrogators. Because of this
reputation, enemy intelligence agencies have spent considerable
effort over the years locating and scouting the Maskirovka’s interrogation centers with an eye toward rescuing captured agents or
simply destroying the facility. Often, this task is aided by nearby
civilians or by escaped prisoners. In 3060, the Maskirovka decided
it needed a more secure facility, and chose the deadly vacuum of
space as its best defense.
Dubbed Crucible Station at its activation in 3065, this 6,000-ton
station near Sian is the Maskirovka’s most modern interrogation
facility. It hangs in an isolated orbit around Nuwa, one of Sian’s
moons, and is defended by a dedicated (and well hidden) squadron
of moon-based interceptors. The Maskirovka counts on distance as
its main defense—Sian is rarely attacked, and any infiltrator vessels
are unlikely to penetrate the jump point’s defenses. The station’s
integral defenses are minimal but effective against light craft.
CRUCIBLE STATION: SKETCH
CRUCIBLE STATION: FINAL
See ya next time!