Monthly Archives: November 2012

Now Extra Chunky

As with chocolate, chunky and angular can often be good. Nowhere is this demonstrated better than in the three intriguing designs showcased below.

There’s a lot to say about Pascal’s little Hammer mech. The design evokes Robotech destroids (and by extension, classic Battletech mechs) in a way that is appealing, but not overwhelming. The colour choices also make this one really pop: brown, blue, and light grey really work together, but it’s that tan highlight that really jumps out.

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In Good Company

It’s often the case that, when building for Mobile Frame Zero, we build an single mech to photograph. Something that’s nice is seeing a co-ordinated, cohesive company of frames. Not just in the sense of colour co-ordinated, but looking as if they could actually function together, with discernable roles. Preamble over, today’s post looks at some examples of really eye-catching companies.

Delta Fireteam 7
Chris (Ironsniper) is no stranger to Mechatonic. This company integrates three different designs of frame into on cohesive whole. I particularly like the little scout/recon suit.

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Games, Gender, and Geekery: An Interview With Matt Machell

Covenant, by Matt Machell

One of the great things about Mechatonic is the chance to interview people with interesting things to say. This time around, it’s not a name you might at first associate with Mobile Frame Zero. Matt Machell is known in the games design community as the creator of critically acclaimed story games such as Covenant and The Agency. I’d even go so far as to say that Covenant is the best roleplaying game you’ve never played.

Matt is also a father of two and long-time Lego enthusiast. He’s been generous enough to share his thoughts on Lego and gender roles, how play with kids is hugely important, and tragi-comic tales of unfortunate minifig knights and picnicking Nazis!

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A Splash of Colo[u]r

Hilarious! What an amusing title for a post that features only monochrome builds. You don’t just get acerbic commentary on Mobile Frame Zero here, oh no.

Regardless of all that, there are a some builders out there who continually produce interesting, good looking models that are perfectly suited to MFZ. One of the those is Will, aka Color on Flickr. Despite drawing on identifiable trends and styles within parts of the building community, he nonetheless has a very distinct ‘voice’: I can always recognise a Color build when it pops up in my contacts feed.

Alien Bot
This alien bot uses some interesting connections and a sort-of vertical tank style to achieve an alien-but-mechanical look.

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Shit! Spiders!

Multipedal mechs: Not as common in the MFZ community as you might think. In fact, other than a multiplicity of variations on the Scrambler, they’re quite rare. Obviously, there’s a whole bunch of reasons for this. Mainly, bipedal mechs are just easier to build.

In the vein of exploring this underused form of frame design, I’m taking a look at a range of attractive multi-legged frames. Not all of these were built with MFZ in mind, but all have something to recommend them to the the mobile frame builder and player.

Squidwalker Squad
The Squidwalker Squad by Flickr user Trepidacious has a pleasingly unconventional look to it: upright, slightly ponderous, like an abandoned project of the early Cold War. None of that is intended as a slight, you understand. One thing that struck me about this unit was: had the builder ever seen…

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The Vexed Question of Names

If you follow the goings on at the Mobile Frame Hangar. You may have noticed a recent thread where there was a fairly heated discussion of naming conventions, Nazism, and the place of symbolism. I will admit that it was my initial contribution that kicked things off. The debate got a little heated and Mantisking wisely decided to exercise his moderatorly powers and lock the thread for a period.

Some on the forum feel that those of us who point out such things are being mean-spirited, unfair, or accusatory. Others on the forum support the viewpoint that fascist symbolism is a worrying trend in gaming circles. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, I would like to use this post to outline why I said what I said, and what I think it all means within the context of what is – after all – just a game.

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Not To Scale

Most of us play Mobile Frame Zero in what is known as seven plate scale. That is, seven Lego plates stacked one on top of the other are equivalent to a six foot tall person. The canonic frames – Chub, Scrambler, and Hi-Leg – are all designed at this scale.

There are, however, some attractive builds out there built in minifig scale. Most of these are intended as drones or hardsuits. A couple have sprung up recently that really recommend themselves to the MFZ community.

This squad by Paul Meissner is packed with great detail: the splash of colour in the ‘armpit’ area; the white minifig hand used as a sensor on one of the drones; all of this is great. And all of this praise is despite my purist dislike of third party minifig scale weapons!
IronSniper Squad

In a totally different vein, these wonderful little alt-World War tinsuits by Will are just full of character. I can just see these as primitive mobile frames akin to the Vanguard. Perhaps in some strange alternative universe, they are adversaries?