As I have previously mentioned, my main force for Void was VASA. One of the defining units of the VASA forces of Void 1.1 were the Bird of Prey battlesuits. There were many versions of these (Shogun, Crucifier, Typhoon), and they had multiple roles on the table. In this post, I will be concentrating on the Shogun battlesuit, not because it was my favourite to field, that honour fell to the Typhoon, of which I may say more in another post. Here I'll be talking more about the evolution of the Shogun Battlesuit. I think the first of the Bird of Prey battlesuits to be released, and one that is still around in the later iterations of the
Crucifiers are massive linear frames, giving VASA marine pilots four VR controlled arms upon which various weapons can be mounted. In combat the Mk I's are devastating (if somewhat slow) close assault troops, whilst the Mk II's provide long-range capability.The Crucifiers exosuits filled the roles that were to be taken with the Crucifier and Typhoon Battlesuits, whereas the Shogun filled a close combat role that the Crucifiers did not. However, these were clearly the seed of the idea that became the Birds of Prey battlesuits.
The first rules for the Birds of Prey were released in Battles with Miniatures no 8, where we are told:
Birds of Prey are fully enclosed Battlesuits, based on the Exosuits used by Junker armed forces (although significantly improved upon).
The most common variant is the Shogun, armed with the potent Ion Katana and a Negatron shield for protection, as well as being equipped with gravitron pulse packs.These guys could be taken in units of up to 4 battlesuits, which was quite a large investment in money and points, but was certainly to be reckoned with on the table. We didn't see any miniatures until the release of the VASA forcebook. Here we see not one, but 3 variants of the miniature. One standing, one landing and one launching.
|Shogun standing in Midnight Ravens colour scheme. Source|
I actually have the second version of this suit, the Shogun launching, which seems to be harder to find in terms of google searches for images of the miniature. Neither the landing nor launching variants are currently available on the Scotia Grendel Website. There may be many reasons for this, including loss of moulds. One of my theories, at least for the launching version, is that the sculpt was just very unbalanced, so much so that I never fully assembled the model I have.
Version four of the Shogun was released later, with individual parts that better matched other battlesuits, either due to design choices, or to reduce production costs, this version of the shogun was made with the same look as the Crucifier and Typhoon, who always had a plainer form. I for one did not mourn the loss of the Spartan type helmet, but I do see that there was something lost in this version of the miniature.
Triad shogunThe original concept art for the Shogun Battlesuit for Urban war still had the wings and banner of the original model, which was dropped quite quickly for the final version.
VASA and the Triad clans enjoy an uneasy alliance, one of convenience. It is not in VASA's long-term interests to give full aid to the Triads in Iskandria, and thus VASA's arsenal of sophisticated high-tech weaponry will not be left in the hands of the criminal underworld. However, the Triads have their own methods, long traffikers in stolen technology and military hardware they possess many potent weapons and devices. The Oni class battlesuit is one such, used in the violent but ritualised gang wars that punctate Triad politics, its existence was a closely guarded secret by all the clans. It is clearly based on classified VASA Shogun designs, though it lacks the latter's jump capability. The usual armament is a naginata or katana close combat weapon, backed up by an autogun mounted in the 'head' of the battlesuit.
Urban War, Battles with Miniatures issue 1 pg37.
In Urban War, the VASA force retired the Shogun battlesuit, replacing it with the Executioner, a very different beast in terms of design, but retaining the close combat role of the Shogun.
My version of the Triad Shogun can be seen in more detail here.