Stories, Fables, Tales, and Legends
of the Irish Dragoons

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The True History of the Irish Dragoons Division

            It has been an absolutely amazing journey for the Irish Dragoons.  It started off with the idea to do a really great paint scheme using green as the main color in a 2/3 and 1/3 approach.  I came up with a lance of oldies that I tried the now famous green and gold combination on.  I thought it worked very well.  I had just been listening to the Chad Mitchell Trio’s version of the folk song Fyve-I-O, and that’s where the name Irish Dragoons came from.  I had a sheet of decals that had some plain, red hearts which I used on the miniatures for the love of Fyve–I.  I posted them in 2003 and thought that was it.  I’d done my split color scheme.

            What I didn’t expect was the overwhelmingly positive response the lance received.  I thought, “Well, why not do another lance of classics in silver to go with them.”   This was a good idea except for a little twist of thought that became a major mind warp.  That twist was that I couldn’t have just two lances; I needed to round it up to the next full contingent size, a company.  That trend in thinking (i.e. round up to the next complete unit) was either my downfall or my road to fame and glory.

             It was also about this time that I came up with the idea for the Irish Dragoon’s unit insignia.  It had it's origins in the legend of Fyve-I. There was an historical event where a troop of Irish Dragoons did enter the City of Fyve-I and one of the captains did fall in love with a local girl and died as a result. There are about three different stories about how he died. One was from a broken heart from her rejection. Another version had her poisoning him to avoid being carried off against her will. As if any, true Irishman would stoop so low. She must have thought it was an English unit. However, the third version from the ballad is the one I used. It holds that the captain was shot by his colonel for insubordination because he requested that the troop remain in the town for a couple of days when ordered to move out.

            The skull represents the captain's death and that he had "fallen" both in love and for love. All most all skull emblems have the skull upright and ready for action or in defiance. The "fallen" skull on its side represents the "fallen" captain. Also I got a larger skull inside the heart by turning it on its side. The red heart represents the captain’s love for the fair maiden.  The yellow border around the heart represents the golden hair of that maiden, and of course, the green border is for Ireland. Being able to design that insignia and to have a great company like Fighting Piranha Graphics provide me with decals . . . well that may have been the final nail.

            I would definitely have to have a battalion of Irish Dragoons.  Now I had the color scheme, the beginnings of unit history, a marvelous unit insignia to tie it all together, and most importantly the adulation of my peers.  Yes a battalion would be great.  But . . .

            But what about some vehicles?  I had come up with a great idea for a vehicle color scheme and every ‘Mech unit should have some vehicle support.  Okay, I can’t fit the vehicles into a battalion, so . . .  So let’s go for a regiment.  Wow!!  Two Battlemech battalions and a vehicle battalion?  A full regiment, wonderful!   At this point I should have sought professional help.  The symptoms were obvious if anyone looked, but I hid my compulsion very well.

            So I was off to the races.  I wanted the First Battalion to be a collection of nothing but the great, old classics.  As a result I raided several of my already completed mercenary units to get the miniatures.  Headrick’s Harlots, the Desert Rats, and the Shadow Warriors among others were savaged for miniatures.  Most units ceased to exist entirely.  All went into the stripper.  Their sacrifice was well worth it, for when I completed the First Battalion and posted it online in 2004, the crowd went wild.  After carefully considering several comments posted about the First Battalion, I came up with a slightly modified color scheme for the Second Battalion that fit the history very well.  Also since the First was all oldies, I thought I’d make the Second mostly new designs.  Large portions of The Demon Within Battalion went into the stripper. Part of this effort was for the miniatures necessary to fill in the Second Battalion and part was to help put together the command lances.  Yes, I realized that a Regiment needed a command lance as did each battalion. 

            Okay, the First Battalion was done and the Second was well under way.  That left the Third Battalion.  I had managed to come up with some really great and unusual vehicles.  So I thought I’ll try to populate the Third with units not commonly found in traditional Battletech units.  I had come up with what I thought was a really great color scheme.  It was a dark green on 2/3 of the vehicle and a desert tan on the other 1/3, with dark brown tiger stripes.  They were first posted in April of 2004, and it worked.  People really liked the combination as much as I did.  As a mater of fact it worked a little too well.  I managed to come up with more than three companies of great hover craft and some ancillary vehicles.  Well, that was okay.  The Third Battalion could just be a reinforced battalion of four companies.

            The Second Battalion, complete with captured Clan ‘Mechs, came online (i.e. I finished painting and posted it) in December of 2004.  2004 was a banner year for the Irish Dragoons.  I had even added an air wing, and I thought I was pretty much done.  Well except for the infantry and battle armor.  Here was where another warning sign popped up.  The Clan Moonraker, previously my pride and joy, had become merely an adjunct to the Irish Dragoons history.  They were the providers of the captured Clan ‘Mechs that showed up in the Dragoons’ ranks.  One issue I had with “captured” Clan Battlemechs in the Irish Dragoons was how to identify them. In most cases captured ’Mechs are just painted in the owning unit’s colors, but I wanted something a little more distinctive. Again I was saved by an old, Irish folk song. It is called The Black Velvet Band. When Clans take a captured Mechwarrior into their personal service they place a Bondsman chord around that person’s wrist. When the captured person completes the necessary training and indoctrination, the chord is cut and the person becomes an official member of the Clan. The Irish Dragoons don’t use bondsman chords on personnel, but I decided that they would use the Black Velvet Band to mark captured Battlemechs as a sign of respect for the Clan’s traditions. As such, each Clan ’Mech has a black band painted on the designation color portion of the miniature (i.e. the unit’s color, not the green side) and whenever possible the Dragoons’ insignia is located in the middle of the band. Saved by a song.   On top of all this. the entire justification for the Gorgon Binary was as a specialized unit organized to contend with the Irish Dragoons. 

            I also decided to transfer the entire 360th Aerospace Wing into the Dragoons intact.  They are the only unit that ever requested permission to maintain their original colors instead of wanting to don the Dragoon’s colors.  Permission to do this was granted because of the outstanding record compiled by the 360th.  Also, I still happy with their scheme and don’t really want to repaint them with the exception of their cockpits.  I changed them to high gloss black and added the Irish Dragoons’ insignia to the tails of the miniatures.

            Then there came all the special projects, the kit bashes, the Joshua Missile System, Project Fledermaus, the Dragoon Main Battle Tank, the Mobile HPG, the Hydra Mine Sweeper, the recruiting (stripping and repainting) of the Frost Giants into the Dragoons, and the Bridge Layer.  I had found or bashed so much great stuff that the Third Battalion just simple couldn’t be called a battalion any more.  It had taken on a life of its own and had grown into 70% of a . . . regiment.

            I was lost.  I’d been sucked under by a monstrous compulsion.  I tried to claim the overage in vehicles were auxiliary or loaners.  It didn’t work and if I expanded the Third Battalion into the Third Regiment, which meant that I needed, no had, to expand the First and Second Battalions into the First Regiment and create the Second Regiment from scratch.  That meant a full division with its accompanying division and regimental command lances.  That was the death knell for the Bengal’s Tiger Brigade.  I was using two coffee cans full of industrial strength paint stripper at a time so I could perform mass “recruiting”.  That sometimes proved to be a problem.  With up to eight miniatures in a can it often was confusing as to which part went where when it came time to reconstruct them.   However, I now had four new battalions (with their command lances) worth of miniatures assembled, primed and organized into their respective units awaiting their new paint jobs. 

            I began painting the Third Battalion of the First Regiment when I took a slight detour and kit bashed a brand new LAM design, extensively modified another popular bash, recreated two famous designs, traded for another new design and three classic LAMs.  What had I come up with?  The Irish Dragoons Special Air Group.  This way the LAMs would not be tied to any particular unit and had their own camouflage. 

            As of the writing of this history I have just finished the last two hover craft for the 9th Battalion’s command lance.  While I thought the Third Regiment was complete, I got hooked by another bash I saw on the web.  I begged, borrowed and almost stole parts to create this new command car for the 9th Battalion.  To add insult to injury, I started a small blurb to explain the arrival of a new vehicle.  It wound up being a full fledged story of 35 pages in length.  See The Blackhawk Incident. The new car was completed long before the story was.  

            So where does this leave me?  To begin with, there is not a single Inner Sphere unit that I have previously completed left in tact.  They have all been gutted or totally eliminated to create the First Division of the Irish Dragoons.  Well here’s a list of all the units assigned to the Irish Dragoons:

1st Irish Dragoons Division Command Lance

1st Regiment Command Lance
   1st ‘Mech Battalion + Command Lance
   2nd ‘Mech Battalion + Command Lance
   3rd ‘Mech Battalion + Command Lance

2nd Regiment Command Lance
   4th ‘Mech Battalion + Command Lance
   5th ‘Mech Battalion + Command Lance
   6th ‘Mech Battalion + Command Lance

3rd Regiment Command Lance + Dream Catcher Battlemech
   7th Reinforced Hover Assault Battalion (4 companies) + Command Lance
   8th Armored Assault Battalion + Command Lance
   9th Engineering Battalion with 'Mech Recovery Lance + Command Lance

Special Air Group
1st Mobile Air Reconnaissance Service
360th Aerospace Wing
55th Air Assault Group
52nd Airborne Transport Command
109th Helicopter Attack Team
1st Mobile Infantry Company (Armored Infantry)
75th Infantry (Standard)
Fort Fyve-I-O
New Ireland’s Refinery Complex

            Okay, it’s time for the final entry into this history.  It is now March 17, 2009, St. Patrick’s Day and I have officially declared the First Division of the Irish Dragoons complete.  To save you having to go back and calculate how long that is, it means that the Irish Dragoons have been six years in the making.  When I went back to the Lords of the Battlefield web site to get the Dragoons’ “starting date”, I found that I had become a member of that online community on March 4th of 2003.  Now, I’d been painting miniatures since 1996, but what was surprising about my start date with LotB was that it meant that I got the idea for the Irish Dragoons and began working on them very shortly after joining. 

            This compulsion has been very frustration at times.  There were troubles getting the units I wanted.  There were long periods of time where I didn’t work on the miniatures.  There was a time I couldn’t get the proper color of paint that I’d been using.  Mostly these were little things.

            On the other hand, satisfaction has come from many sectors.  Every time I post a new group of miniatures online, they always get rave reviews.  When I attend conventions, people all know my call sign and recognized the Dragoons.  At each convention that I’ve attended with my Dragoons, they’ve never lost.  The last one I attended, not only did they win, but they won a new and exclusive miniature, the Gauntlet, that wound up being added to the 5th Battalion.  I have a wide collection of short stories (and one novella) about various units.  I have a fairly detailed unit history for the Division.  I have a t-shirt with the Irish Dragoons insignia on the front and back (drove then wild at the last convention). 

            But the biggest satisfaction comes from how much my painting skills have improved and how great the Division looks.  It is a little awe inspiring (at least for me) to see all those miniatures come together as a single, cohesive unit.  I hesitate (somewhat) to boast, but I believe that I currently have the largest collection of miniatures under a common command (and paint scheme) in the hobby.  I have found lots of people with companies, battalions, and one or two regiments, but no mention of a full Division of Battletech miniatures complete with air and infantry.  And although pride goeth before the fall, I intend to be very proud of my Irish Dragoons as long as possible.

            The only thing left to do is take all the pictures of the completed battalions, regiment, and support units to post on the Lords of the Battlefield and wait of the accolades to pour in.  I haven’t quite figured out where there’s a place big enough to have all the Division on the board at one time for a massive photo, but I’m working on it.  I have a digital camera so thankfully I don’t have to pay for the film.  I also need to complete my Irish Dragoons web site where I have collected all the pictures, stories and histories about the unit.

            I stated earlier that 2004 had been a banner year for the Dragoons, but 2009 by far and away out does it.  I’ll be posting 3 battalions at one time along with all the specialized support units, air wing, infantry, and a massive picture of the entire, collection in a single picture.  The people at the Lords of the Battlefield site are going to be completely inundated.  I hope someone else suggests that we designate this the year of the Irish Dragoons on the site so I don’t have to and can appear modest.

           Lastly, I want to recognize the patience, tolerance, and support provided by my wife. She isn’t really interested in Battletech but has supported me and my son’s interest. She’s always been complementary of my painting (even when the work didn’t really deserve it), and never complained about the conventions. However, once I became obsessed by the Irish Dragoons, she wound up having to put up with a lot more than she bargained for. She began having to express opinions about new color schemes, story lines, discussions, picking up paint for me when I ran out, helping me get past my occasional “blocks”, and reviewing the Irish Dragoons’ web page. I don’t think that I would have been able to achieve high degree of success with the Irish Dragoons without her support and understanding.

            As I said at the beginning of this history, it has been an absolutely amazing journey for the Irish Dragoons and me.

            P.S. Here it is the first week in July in 2011 and I’m having to add to this history. I found a newlly release miniature called the Oppie. It was a ’Mech recovery vehicle that looked like it needed to be with Lucky Mike’s MMRV. I got an Oppie, a JI100, and a construction ’Mech. This allowed me to create an entire lance dedicated to Battlemech recovery when added to the MMRV. 

            I also relpaced the Lao Hu in the 4th Battalion with the new Thunderbolt II. I also added a assault/transport helicopter to the 109th Helicopter Attack Team.


            So in spite of the fact that I have taken a somewhat extended break, I guess that my journey with the Irish Dragoons isn’t over just yet.


            P.P.S. And I was right, it isn't over yet. Inrepose had posted a picture of a missile launcher that I thought would be great in the Third Regiment, so I went to the GZG web site to check it out. Not only did I find the launcher, but a couple of other vehicles that would be great to add to the recovery portion of the Regiment. People of the "Classical Battletech" persuasion turned their noses up at the idea.  There was no way that a 15mm could fit into the 6mm world of Battletech.  You guessed it. I'd been caught by the old bugaboo, someone said it couldn't be done, so I was determined to show them it could be done. Here are the miniatures I had become enthralled with:


On April 18, 2012 I posted the following to Lords of the Battlefield site:

"Irish Dragoons – 11th Recovery Company or Who’s Afraid of 15mm?
            A few weeks ago I got into a discussion about some miniatures from Ground Zero Games.  I had found a couple of vehicles that I thought would be good recovery units especially since IWM’s release of the Oppie had really opened up the size issue.  Several people told me that it wouldn’t work because they were 15mm and too big for Battletech scale.  The person who was most vocal about it not working (NOT a LotB member) posted pictures on his blog to prove his point.  At my request Inrepose also posted some comparison pictures and I was convinced that what I had in mind would work.  Now I admit that you would have to be very careful in your selection miniatures and the justification of their size, but I think these worked out well."

(Click on the picture below to see a detailed story about each unit.)


            I pulled my other four flatbed transports to combine with the Phalanx and Oppie lances to form the 998th Recovery Command. I added a lance of Centipede hover scout craft to fill the vacancy and as a result I had to reorganized the entire 9th Battalion.


            I have always liked the Sloth battle armor but never had a good place to utilize some. However, since I was expanding the Third Regiment to include a basically unarmed, recovery compay, I decided to add a Sloth lance as a security contingent for that lance.



            Finally, here’s one last observation. When I was ready to work on this last set of miniatures, I found that a lot of my paints had dried up since I had not painted in such a long time. When I went to my favorite hobby store to buy replacements, I got two big shocks. Many of the colors I had used to create my Irish Dragoons had been discontinued!! The color palate I use on the Third Regiment is still available so I could still expand there. However, that’s where the second big shock reared its ugly head. The prices had more than doubled!! That turned out to be a lot of money for four tenths of an ounce of paint. As a result, should anything ever happen to my miniature collection, I could not recreate my Irish Dragoons. I guess my final comment about the Irish Dragoons is that I’m really proud of my achievement, and it was well worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.


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