Not even Justice, I want to get Truth! Dougram 3D Prints for Battletech and Beyond!

Fang of the Sun Dougram has given us many things, one of them being awesome Mecha designs!

Dougram Lance(+1) is go!

So firstly, I must apologize. I said I wouldn’t do 3D Printed Battletech on the blog, but this is a special case. Firstly, I own all but one of these Mechs in plastic, and they are either in my possession or on the way, so I don’t feel overly bad about these guys. I’ve still supported Catalyst Game Labs. And two, I was not motivated to print these designs because of Battletech specifically, rather the Anime the team at FASA licensed some of the designs from.

I’m not actually the biggest Anime fan. I watch a hell of a lot of Slice of Life stuff, that being mostly mindless brain bleach for when I need to get my mind off something, but mostly I tend to get turned off the melodramatic plots that so plague some of the more serious offerings.

An exception to this is Mecha anime. Whereas western Mecha productions tend to be cartoons aimed at kids, like Transformers, or an excuse for some amazing action, like Pacific Rim, the Japanese have taken an altogether different tack.

The Japanese tend to aim their Mecha shows at children and young adults as well, but they aren’t afraid to tell much more adult storylines. Gundam is actually a pretty brutal premise after all, and my first anime was Gundam Seed, which while very melodramatic, didn’t shy away from incredibly violent deaths and adult themes like genocide and extinction. However, Gundam tells very grand stories, about grand heroes.

The original, that launched an industry!
What I watched in High School. Appropriate, considering the plot was full of teenage drama.

I prefer, overall, more down to earth stories. It was recommended to me a while ago to try out Gundam 08th MS Team, a short-run offshoot that focused on the ground war. It is best described as Mobile Suit: Vietnam, with Romeo and Juliet added. While also excellent, and I highly recommend it, it still has the ‘super-weapon’ plot of many other Gundam shows. It did scratch my itch for realistic Mecha anime for a while however.

This is a fantastic Gundam series…but it remains Gundam, so expect all the pitfalls that entails.

That was until earlier this week, while on a Battletech lore binge, I discovered one of it’s influences, an anime called Fang of the Sun Dougram. While I knew Battletech pulled much of their early mech designs from the show, I didn’t know just how realistic the tale it told was. As Tv Tropes puts it, “unlike Mobile Suit Gundam, Dougram doesn’t threaten the characters with superweapons which might end civilization at a stroke; it threatens them with politics and economics instead, which, over enough time, will have the same effect.

Down to earth Mecha fans rejoice, for the perfect show for us does exist!

That was very interesting to me. And I’m glad I gave it a chance! While I have yet to complete it, it tells a very strong story of how independence movements and revolutions end; not in battle, but at the negotiation table. And it helps that the action is very much a ground war. Gone are Mobile Suits flying in the air in dogfights, these ‘Combat Armor’ Mecha fight slow, plodding fights on the ground, where the most you have is jump-jets to maneuver vertically. Ground vehicles and infantry kill Combat Armor regularly, and the hero mecha, the Dougram, is simply better armoured and adapted for the local environment, and were it not for the skill of the pilot, Crinn, it would be just as easily destroyed.

A good example of how the show has down to earth fights! Very Battletech already!

Now, how does that lead into Battletech Tabletop? Well, while I was waiting for my plastic Mechs to arrive from Quebec, I found online some amazing Dougram Mecha in 6mm. While designed for use in Battletech, and equipped accordingly, they take their inspiration from the original source material. These designs were called the Unseen, because of all the legal trouble FASA had when it turned out the place they licensed the designs from may not have had the legal right to do so in the first place. To avoid any further litigation, these designs were shelved until redesigned much later.

What Thunderhead Studios has done is re-invent these older designs, and brought them up to a modern standard. While definitely old school, they are as crisply defined as a 3D printer can do, and look frankly amazing. I was completely smitten as soon as I started printing them! While I was a bit of a muppet removing the supports, and leaving an awful lot of damage on the models, most will be able to be fixed later. For now, let’s take a look at them!

First up, the Soltic H8 “Roundfacer”, or in Battletech, the Griffin. This is the Earth Federation’s standard Combat Armor, and sees use right until the end of hostilities. A beautifully crisp print, and probably the easiest one to print to boot!
The big bubble cockpit is my favourite feature, as is the main armament. A simple Mech, for when you don’t need the elite.
Next up is the Abitate T-10C “Blockhead”, or Wolverine for Battletech fans. This is the Earth Federations other mainline Combat Armor, once they get field-tested enough.
The only Battletech specific thing on this model is the removal of the pretty goofy chin machine guns in the Anime, being replaced by a medium laser. The rest is an extremely faithful reproduction!
The Autocannon is beautifully crisp, and the side-mounted handle is present, but stowed.
Next up is the Soltic H-102 “Bushman”, the only Combat Armor not to have a Battletech equivalent. Meant for mountainous terrain, this unit is lightly equipped and agile. Head mounted missiles and a mag-cannon give it some offensive punch. This print was a good example of why you should clean your FEP, as my printer had gunk on it that severely affected the bottom parts of the legs. I had to take a file and knife to clean it up, and it wasn’t a perfectly done job.
Next up is the famous Hero combat armor, the Dougram itself! In Battletech this is the Shadowhawk, a relatively common design. But in the Anime, the Dougram is a one-off prototype, specially made for the Deloyer environment. Amphibious, equipped with jump jets, and armed with a fearsome array of weapons, this is a combat armor that can really do the work!
This pose is great, a callback to the anime, where Dougram has to pull down the Linear Rifle from his back to fire it. Beautifully captured by the designer, this was a joy to print.
The fearsome Linear Rifle is but an AC/5 in Battletech, but is more akin to a Gauss Rifle in the Anime.
I have saved my favourite for last. This is the Hasty F4X “Ironfoot”, a combat armor originally fielded by the Earth Federation but became a mainstay of the Deloyer rebellion when an entire Army Group switches sides. In Battletech this is the Thunderbolt, but the designer saw fit to include the Dougram specific version, which is what I printed here.
Armed with powerful missiles, a linear rifle, and machine-guns, this is a well rounded Combat Armor. This one is also ‘flipping the bird’, which amuses me because I’m secretly a five year old.
This print actually has some missed supports, but they printed regardless, if poorly. Luckily they were all minor parts, and easily missed. Still, I have fixed the supports for it going forward if I want more of them.

All in all, a solid day’s worth of printing. I really enjoyed doing these, and I really want to get some paint to spray them all up. I used up my Grey, Russian Uniform, and Red spray cans, which leaves some German Field Grey and Silver. I’m probably going to hold out for another can of green coloured spray paint, as I want these guys to have a very down to earth, military paint scheme.

My 3D printing might have to take a hiatus soon, as my resin stocks are running low, and there is no stock available of Elegoo Grey resin available. I might switch to Phrozen Aqua Green, which has the advantage of being calibrated for my printer already. We shall see!

Anyways, that is all I have for you fine folks today. I’ll try and get these, and my official mechs, painted as soon as possible. Then I can show them off!

Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and keep your heat low!