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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
(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.