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Author Topic: Thoughts about LAM art  (Read 1750 times)

Maingunnery

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Thoughts about LAM art
« on: 26 August 2022, 12:25:16 »

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Land-Air-Mechs, I love the hybrid aspects, but one of the negatives is the canon art for their fighter-modes. For many people they look out of place and I could describe a lot of the fighter-mode art as looking like random 'Mech parts have been poorly glued to a fighter (instead of actually integrating the equipment and limbs into the fighter form).
      Now I have thought up one possible fix for that issue, which is having their fighter-modes be identical in appearance to existing BattleTech ASFs. So, no huge blocks hanging onto a fighter or having exposed actuators.

- I think that they will get more acceptance as then the art for one mode will already have been well-established in BT.
- This will also come with the side-benefit that ASF miniatures can be used as substitutes for LAM miniatures. 
- While it is likely that the new art for the other modes will look a bit more fragile this actually matches the practical experience of using Land-Air-Mechs.
- In universe they might be mistaken for bomb-laded ASFs, which would help their survival and usefulness during the earlier eras.
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worktroll

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #1 on: 26 August 2022, 15:57:00 »
I get the idea, but suspect that you run into the Gobot problem - transforming machines more closely tied into one end form (in this case ASF) look bad in the other end form.



The Robotech Valkyrie hit a sweet spot for many people, and didn't actually have to work. So there's a chance. But then considering how purely odd many BT ASF look, which Inner Sphere, SL-origin ASFs do you think might work?
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Luciora

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #2 on: 26 August 2022, 16:00:45 »
What works in art, doesn't always work in an actual 3d form, or for engineering purposes.

Maingunnery

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #3 on: 27 August 2022, 05:35:50 »
I get the idea, but suspect that you run into the Gobot problem - transforming machines more closely tied into one end form (in this case ASF) look bad in the other end form.
I think that the gobot problem could be called the cheap toy problem. Transformations that are simple enough that the youngest children would get it, body parts that are thick enough that even using cheap plastics won't be an issue.

On the other hand we have modern Macross, which have transformable toys that look good in all modes. It is really more a question of how much effort one is willing to make for quality.


Quote
The Robotech Valkyrie hit a sweet spot for many people, and didn't actually have to work. So there's a chance. But then considering how purely odd many BT ASF look, which Inner Sphere, SL-origin ASFs do you think might work?
- Sabre ASF would work nicely for a Stinger/Wasp LAM if using an YF-21 type transformation. An alternative would be the Centurion ASF with a different transformation but its art could use some serious smoothing out.
- The Lightning ASF for both the Shadow Hawk LAM and the Phoenix Hawk LAM, as both have big torso weapons that would correspond nicely with the nose weapon of this ASF. Also that ASF needs updated art anyway to get it out if its low-polygon state (so there is room for minor adjustments).
- The Gotha ASF would work well as the fighter form of a Champion LAM.

A bit of creativity can get a long way, even the Corsair ASF can be used for a new LAM design, we would get something with the proportions of a Sentinel 'Mech and armed with a pair of laser rifles but that is acceptable.
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BATTLEMASTER

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #4 on: 01 September 2022, 19:48:45 »
I think that the gobot problem could be called the cheap toy problem. Transformations that are simple enough that the youngest children would get it, body parts that are thick enough that even using cheap plastics won't be an issue.

On the other hand we have modern Macross, which have transformable toys that look good in all modes. It is really more a question of how much effort one is willing to make for quality.

I totally agree with this.  Having collected The Transformers for years, the "Gobot Problem" with them is mostly with the triple changers where typically one alternate mode suffers while the other alternate mode and primary/robot mode look great.  Fortunately many of the triple changers from the Titans Return line look really good in all three modes.

As it pertains to aerospace fighters that change into battlemechs, I think these things can be drawn from Macross/Transformers design for functional LAMs:

- Primary thrusters in the legs
- Cockpit near nose or even in the middle of the fuselage/torso, perhaps contained within like a torso-mounted cockpit
- Arms that form the sides of the fighter mode where air intakes and engines would typically go in modern fighter aircraft (I don't think big air intakes should be required for fusion-powered aircraft)

With those things in mind I'm going to have to look at the existing ASF art and see what could work!

Using existing vehicle art reminds me of my own TRO project I've been making centered around LAMs and quadvees - TRO More Then Meets The Eye  >:D
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Daryk

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #5 on: 01 September 2022, 20:29:50 »
I'll double down on my thought that bi-modal designs (either end to the middle Air-Mech mode) make more sense than the triple changer...  8)

Syzyx

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #6 on: 01 September 2022, 21:14:18 »
Daryk, I feel it is my responsibility to remind you that, in this universe, the Rule of Cool overrides your otherwise sensible and deeply effective viewpoint. Given how much I have quietly agreed with so many of your other posts I feel a little dirty speaking out against you in this case.

That said, I definitely agree that starting from ASF mode for the art and building out how that would become a 'mech is a more productive approach for a smooth looking unit in all forms.
But as a matter of fact I was quite busy getting potty-trained at the time and had no time for interstellar politics.- ykonoclast

Luciora

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #7 on: 01 September 2022, 22:31:37 »
I did something similar using the Mechbuster chassis and Project Phoenix Phoenix Hawk to represent both Starscream and a Scarlet Hawks Phoenix Hawk LAM.

Daryk

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #8 on: 02 September 2022, 05:42:38 »
Syzyx: no worries!  I totally get the rule of cool wins every time, but still feel compelled to speak sense...  8)

Richard S.

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #9 on: 04 September 2022, 11:59:35 »
LAMs in my head basically just work like transformers seeker toys. Body folds down, nose folds up around the head, arms are intakes and legs are thrusters. You can even fold the legs (and arms) down while in jet mode to make an airmech. With all the  joints that need to move, it's no question how LAMs are so fragile.

AngryButler with a KNIFE!

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #10 on: 17 September 2022, 22:39:34 »
The easiest/best way to look at Battletech LAMs is to not look at them as trying to be Macross knock-offs. That just isn't going to easily work anymore with the more modern design rules now in place. Although if you honestly think you can pull it off, I salute you and would gladly buy you a cold beverage of your choice, you glorious madlad you (although I suggest asking Plog, Shimmering Sword, or Eriance, to draw the final version).

What you really want to be doing, is pulling ideas from Zeta Gundam and later, with any units that have 'waverider' modes.

Macross = design the jet first, then design a robot/mech/mecha that can fit into that shape and transform. Aerodynamics over other alt-forms.
Gundam = design the robot/mech/mecha first, then Rubic's Cube the design in a way that at least passably has Aerodynamics. Aka the 'strap a big enough rocket to a pig, it'll fly' method.

Since in Battletech, 'Mech "mode" is the primary mode above all else, you need to think of it from that perspective. Also, if you do think of it from that perspective, it also completely explains just WHY the original LAMs were utter garbage and/or took freaking forever to get the bugs out - they had worse aerodynamics than an Urbie with a fusion rocket shoved up...there. At least an Urbie has a curved head/torso for some (barely reasonable) aerodynamics. It wasn't until they 'redesigned' the four working designs into the Unseen versions, that the aerodynamic issues truly got sorted out. Prior to that, it was brute forcing it via using a fusion torch and paying lip service to airfoil shapes. To get back on topic, a LAM *must* be a 'Mech 1st, aerospace fighter 2nd.

SteelRaven

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #11 on: 17 September 2022, 23:38:27 »
I honestly found the TRO; 3085 LAMs interesting, Camo Spects did a great job showing how good the minis could look.
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Luciora

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #12 on: 18 September 2022, 10:54:50 »
Seeing the technical design art for the transforming units of Macross and Gundam (and most real type Japanese mecha shows with changing units) at least shows there is thought and engineering behind the process.  Transformers, generally not so much.

AngryButler with a KNIFE!

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #13 on: 18 September 2022, 20:48:02 »
Seeing the technical design art for the transforming units of Macross and Gundam (and most real type Japanese mecha shows with changing units) at least shows there is thought and engineering behind the process.  Transformers, generally not so much.
Depends.

Older Gen1 & Gen2 Transformers were 'Diaclone' knock-offs for the most part, and almost all of those at least partially made sense, as areas large enough to put an engine were more or less not messed with/made into mechanical origami, with only a few exceptions. As an example, all the original Dinobot toys actually had internal spaces left over from their Diaclone versions that were there to serve as cockpit seats.

It wasn't until Gen3 Transformers that things started getting really dubious, and then the Spielberg movie threw everything out the window. After that, there isn't even lip-service paid to realism.

Macross, Gundam, and to much the same extent, Battletech, all share at least some fundamentals:
  • There has to be room for the most critical component(s), and you cannot 'split' them without either it causing the skeleton to collapse into a heap, scramming the engine(s) permanently, or causing an explosion.
  • There has to be room for the cockpit.
  • No 'hammerspace', where parts mysteriously vanish into the ether and reappear as if by magic. Aka, no Clarketech BS.
  • Has to be at least believable that it could be built without handwaving.

Gundam at least partially bypasses the first one on the list in that on some of the earliest transforming Mobile Suits, some modes outright yank out/swap parts that have to be ejected first, in order to go back to Mobile Suit mode. Makes for a neat way of showcasing that while 'most' prototypes are overpowered, many of them are glitchy/hangar queens. Later on they show off designs that don't have those flaws anymore.

And then there's Jetfire.....

ThePW

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #14 on: 22 October 2022, 14:55:12 »
When you say Jeff Tire, do you mean physically the 1980's toy? https://macrossworld.com/macross/toys/ban_hcm_hik_vf1s.jpg

Are you talking about the thick support bar that attaches to the legs/engine nacelles?

Macross Zero kinda (sorta) cannonised that with the introduction of the VF-0. Obviously that would never migrate to BT (because those bars seen during the transformation of the VF-0S at the end of Eps1 was screaming examples of Over Technology*)

*Can you imagine the technical maintenance aspects that those bars would under go after every flight? :D I want fan fiction of THAT!
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glitterboy2098

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #15 on: 23 October 2022, 00:32:39 »
the current "mark 1" LAM art isn't bad.

the real trick though would be the "Mark 2"/unseen versions. which have to have mech modes close enough to the new plastic Wasp, Stinger, and P-hawk that at a distance they could be confused for those standard mechs. (this is part of the Mark 1 fluff, that the Mk1's had been taking too many casualties on the battlefield because they were unique visuals in mech mode. so the non-royal variants (the classic unseen models) were designed to closely resemble the standard mechs.

DOC_Agren

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #16 on: 12 November 2022, 07:19:37 »
Syzyx: no worries!  I totally get the rule of cool wins every time, but still feel compelled to speak sense...  8)
Now Daryk I need you to come with these nice guys in the white coveralls, we need to take you on a trip   :thumbsup:
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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #17 on: 12 November 2022, 07:28:52 »

*Can you imagine the technical maintenance aspects that those bars would under go after every flight? :D I want fan fiction of THAT!
Wait you are saying that in a unverse who primary goal was kill Quartermaster trying supply the unit need.  They care about the Techs who have to keep the units together, after the God, sorry Pilot (easy to mistake them) took it out for a mission.
I think this states the I'm the Pilot Logic warning Dos Gringos is not work safe.
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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #18 on: 23 November 2022, 04:23:15 »
At the moment, I can only think of one picture of a Mk2 LAM in Fighter Mode that didn't look like a VF-1 Valkyrie. It's found in the House Kurita book. Comparing that picture to the ones in TRO:3025, I believe it's a Stinger LAM. It looks a bit weird with fists sticking out of the wings but considering how LAMs operate, that makes sense. And I think that'll be part of the problem. Locations in one mode have to match locations in another. The other problem is aerodynamics. Getting the locations and firing arcs to match don't lend themselves to aerodynamics much.

I think the Mk1 Stinger LAM and Phoenix Hawk LAM do a pretty good job with that of matching locations and trying to have some aerodynamics. The Mk1 Wasp LAM, less so. It's more aerodynamic and the arms are located in roughly the right area. Only they're completely inside the wings in Fighter and AirMech modes. How would any arm mounted weapons fire? Plus the arms aren't available in AirMech Mode. If the weapons and arms were more visible, it'd be less aerodynamic.


Not that I think a few mech parts sticking out should be much of a concern. Take the Rogue for example. It's missile launchers are hardly aerodynamic. They actually kind of look like a pair of arms sticking out. The whole plane is giving me LAM in Fighter Mode vibes. If I were to nominate a BT ASF be made into a Mech, the Rogue would be my nominee.
https://www.sarna.net/wiki/File:Rogue_ASF_TRO3055U.png

As for GoBots, I actually think they'd make good LAMs. I also think they do a pretty good job of both modes compared to some Transformers. Some TFs look like a Mech with an Airplane strapped to it's back. They also do a pretty good job with locations, for Battletech. With TF and even Macross, and others, the better the fighter mode, the further off the locations are. In Fighter Mode, the VF-1 Valkyrie's arms, are in the middle of the plane between the legs, pointing to the rear. As an F-15, Starscream's arms are in the center of the plane. That works for Syberian Drones but not LAMs. So I don't think we should worry too much about mech parts sticking out.   

Syzyx

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #19 on: 23 November 2022, 09:56:38 »
After spending too much time looking at the Rogue art and messing about in HMP (yes, I'm a dinosaur) it really does work. The firepower is reduced a bit, but we still end up with a functional LAM and I've puzzled out a transformation process based on the existing artwork. The airmech mode looks a little silly as the arms end up above the wings, but I don't believe that's any better or worse than otherwise. Now I'm trying to avoid going looking through other ASF art for more potential LAMs.
But as a matter of fact I was quite busy getting potty-trained at the time and had no time for interstellar politics.- ykonoclast

Maingunnery

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #20 on: 23 November 2022, 12:30:41 »
I think the Mk1 Stinger LAM and Phoenix Hawk LAM do a pretty good job with that of matching locations and trying to have some aerodynamics. The Mk1 Wasp LAM, less so. It's more aerodynamic and the arms are located in roughly the right area. Only they're completely inside the wings in Fighter and AirMech modes. How would any arm mounted weapons fire?
The Wasp LAM mk1 does not have arm weapons, so in such cases it doesn't matter.
However if solutions are required then those are quite easy, such as rotating a weapon mount, or designing the transformation in such a way that the weapon becomes incorporated with the fighter during those modes. It is all about using a bit of effort.


Quote
Not that I think a few mech parts sticking out should be much of a concern. Take the Rogue for example. It's missile launchers are hardly aerodynamic.
It is a good contender for a space-only ASF.
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RifleMech

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Re: Thoughts about LAM art
« Reply #21 on: 23 November 2022, 19:34:10 »
The Wasp LAM mk1 does not have arm weapons, so in such cases it doesn't matter.
However if solutions are required then those are quite easy, such as rotating a weapon mount, or designing the transformation in such a way that the weapon becomes incorporated with the fighter during those modes. It is all about using a bit of effort.

It is a good contender for a space-only ASF.


The MkI Wasp LAM has a medium laser in the right arm but even if it didn't, how can it use it's arms in AirMech Mode?
Rotating weapon mounts means things sticking out creating additional drag. Isn't that what the OP wanted to get rid of?  Not that mind. I think turret fighters are cool. I do think it'd be possible to get more aerodynamic designs but I don't mind parts sticking out in fighter mode Parts sticking out of fighters is a BT universe thing.

That too.  :thumbsup: The funny part is that it's used for ground attacks.  :))

 

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