About a month ago, I had just disassembled the first line of Galaxy Squad sets and wanted to force myself to build something from just their parts–the constraint helps me work on my creativity. I haven’t been happy with the polish or problem-solving of my building of late, which is probably due to not much building in the last 5+ years, and not a whole lot more than that in the previous decade.
Anyway, I was trying to decide what to do, and that’s when Mobile Frame Zero arrived. Perfect synergy! So, I set out to build a Galaxy Squad-themed Mechaton (er, sorry, MF0) squad. It was a fun exercise, with mixed results.
In the order I built them:
This was my first attempt. I’m really happy with the legs, and with the core body structure, especially given the parts I had to work with. However, I was stymied on a head–it doesn’t help that the “backpack” is attached in such a way that I had extremely limited use of the axle socket on that central piece. Everything I tried either looked too much like a head, rather than a cockpit, or was ridiculously huge, or ended up jerry-rigged on a 3-step attachment construction so that it was nowhere near the body. I set it aside while I worked on the rest, and finally ended up with this “cockpit” when I came back to it after finishing everything else. I suppose the weird tentacle/antenna at least succeeds in making it look odd in a maybe-buggy way.
That’s also when I built the rifle, taking advantage of the perfectly-printed piece from the Bug Obliterator.
This was my next one. I decided to make it distinctly bug-like, rather than just with a few buggy touches. This is probably the best of the batch, though it feels a little like cheating to use those preformed legs. Nonetheless, it’s both bug-like and in proper MF0 scale, and even has some well-designed attachments. This one doesn’t really have any hard points for additional attachments, but it’s also well equipped already, with potentially 6 attachments (extra legs (movement), lower turret (hand-to-hand or direct-fire), small cannon (direct-fire or artillery), large cannon (artillery), rangefinder (spotting), shield generator in turret (defense)). I’m particularly proud of the shape of the shield generator.
Here’s a fairly classic mech frame, basically as close to a ptiminya 5th gen as I could get with the parts available to me. Two arms with weapons mounted on them and also separate hands (one of which is holding the force shield). The pilot of this one has managed to salvage a cannon from a much larger source–probably a ground emplacement–and figured out how to jerry-rig it onto the mech’s back hardpoint. He has minimal energy-drawing systems in order to power this: the direct-fire laser on the left arm is self-contained with a built-in generator, and the force shield is self-powered. No rockets or other high-energy movement systems. So, provided the pilot can find somewhere to brace before firing, there’s enough energy left over to run the artillery.
Time to experiment a bit more on the actual body structure. The core of this is a new-style space opera blaster and two scorpions. And then whatever I could build off of that. Cool basic shape, but doesn’t leave a lot of attachment points. I went with a weapon instead of one of the arms because it just seemed to fit. And it took a 3-step connection to create a back upon which to start building. Still, I’m proud of how this one turned out. Except for the silly arm–given a greater variety of pieces, I’d redo that–it’s a perfect MF0 mech. And with the scorpions it has echoes of Galaxy Squad.
Here I went for something close to the original Mechaton frame. It’s got an excellent assortment of attachments, both in terms of variety and looks. The arms are at kind of an odd angle, but they also have good attachment points for additional weapons (or whatever, really.
Next we have a very lightweight frame, designed for speed rather than durability. It carries a lot of weapons, as well as an excellent communications system and a ladar ranging system, but has otherwise been stripped down–no armor, barely even any hull, and even one hand has been removed to save weight (since its actuators had to be removed to mount the weapon).
This one isn’t at all buggy, nor does it evoke the human Galaxy Squad vehicles. However, judged simply as a MF0 frame, I think it is one of the best. In terms of making do with limited parts, I think this is my best result.
And finally the last one I built. Especially after the previous one, I was feeling like I’d forgotten my goal of Galaxy Squad feel, so I tried a bit harder for this one. It’s scorpion-like in form, and also shares the relatively curved and smooth shape of the Galaxy Squad human’s vehicles. The arms are a bit awkward, particularly since they have only the one point of articulation, and are barely longer than the slicing mandibles, but they also provide basically the only mount points for other attachments. Overall, however, a success. I had fun playing with connections on this one, producing some interesting bits on the bottom and constructing a surprisingly precise fit with the mount for the maser cannon on the back (I didn’t realize until after I’d built it that there was no margin–everything just fits.
And, finally, no Mobile Frame Zero team is complete without a base. I wanted a communications array, and used the big bug legs to give it a slightly buggy feel. It also has three pairs of point defense systems, for when the mechs aren’t around to defend it.
So, overall, I’d give myself about 8 of 10 for experimentation and forcing myself to be creative, 6 of 10 for the actual results–some are better, some are kinda “meh”–and 3 of 10 for evoking Galaxy Squad, or bugs in general. And I ended up with more than enough frames, with a good variety of attachments, and therefore strategic strengths, that I’d be happy to use this squad in a game. If you want a better look, there are more pictures of all of them on my Flickr page–just click on a picture.
I might’ve been able to get another frame or two out of the parts, but life intervened and I needed to put away as many Legos as possible, so it was time to sort the rest of the pieces into the general collection. Of course, there are some more Galaxy Squad sets out now, so maybe in the future I’ll revisit this exercise.