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6 - Picking a Paint Scheme for Janus

Janus Mk VII
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Janus Mk VII
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10 March 2000converted to new format
23 May 1997page first published

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And then - I ran into a snag.

I was ready to paint the tank, but I wasn't sure how to paint it. That is, what sort of gameworld is this? Should it be in "realistic" camouflage, or in gaudy holotank display colors? What kinds of guns were these, and how should they be painted? Which markings were antigrav units, treads, viewing ports, or vents?

So I went to the publisher, John McEwan, but he was busy wrapping up Fighter Pilot and didn't have an answer for me.

A few weeks later, the playtest rules became available, so I hunted through them for some guide to what to do with this vehicle. Unfortunately, the Janus VII didn't yet have stats at that time (it does now).

At this point, you might be wondering why I didn't just "make it up" myself and paint the vehicle any way I wanted to. Good question. I probably should have. I guess I just get obsessive about painting things "the right way," whatever that means...

Some time passed, and then I became engaged in an email discussion with Leland R. Erickson, the designer of Days of Empire (the rules for which the Janus VII was created). So I asked him a few specific questions about the model. His reply:

The Janus Mk VII is the pinnacle of the Janus series of SBTs (Super Battle Tank). It is a late-war Imperial design which formed the backbone of the Terran Empire's assault forces during the final stages of the War of Terran Unification.

Use realistic camoflage schemes appropriate to the environment that the AFVs are fighting in. In Days of Empire, two major battlefields are the Moon and Mars - refer to recent pix of Mars and the Lunar suface for ideas.

My P.R.C. lunar battlegroup is painted overall light grey with black irregular lines spaced to depict shadows and help break up the vehicle's outline. A friend of mine painted a wad of P.R.C. vehicles in a slightly reddish ochre overall (he dubbed them his Mexican army - they use P.R.C. manufactured AFVs as well as U.S. and European ones).

The Empire utilizes different mixes of vehicles depending on which part of the Anarchy Wars and the War of Terran Unity you are fighting in. The early campaigns in South and Central America saw Imperial forces using U.S. AFVs (Janus Mk. 1, Mk. 1A1, "Pegasus" G.E.V.s, "Blue Streak" G.E.V.s), Alaskan-made MBT-100s, and European-made A.F.V.s. By the time the Empire had reached the border of the Mexican Empire, the U.S. and Alaskan Republics had stopped exporting to the Empire. Emperor de san Martin had anticipated this and had stockpiled enough spares to keep his existing units running, and had made massive purchases of European AFVs - 50% to 70% of Imperial formations clashing with the Mexicans and involved in La Conquista El Norte were European manufactured. Captured P.R.C.-made Mexican AFVs were also pressed into service to help tilt the balance in several battles.

Thanks for your inquiry! Please keep me posted on new developments on your Web Page - I liked what I saw quite a lot!

Well, that gave me a headstart (and the idea about a lunar battlefield sounded pretty cool), but I still had some questions. My queries (and his replies):

Q. On the bottom of thetank are several features, some of which might be treads, and some of which might be some kind of levitating emitter. Could you tell me what the propulsion system of the Janus VII is?
A. The details on the bottom of the hull are treads (4), and the central anti-grav field emitter.
Q. What are the "rollers" at front and rear? Any clue how they should be painted?
A. The Front roller is an anti-mine roller. The rear roller is actually a large armored auxiliary battery housing.
Q. The detail on top of the right and left wings - could be another of the levitating emitters? Air vents? I'm not sure whether to make these "glow," darken them as vents, or just paint them like the rest of the hull?
A. The side units are also anti-grav emission units.
Q. What kind of gun is on the small turret? Is it a normal gun (i.e., hollow at end of the tube), or is it some kind of energy weapon?
A. The forward gun turret mounts a Tunguska Blaster, which is a type of eccentric railgun system. Drilling a muzzle hole would be appropriate. I paint the inner walls of the bore hole gold, to reflect the energy field within the barrel.
Q. What is the main gun on the large turret? Any suggestions on how to paint it?
A. The main gun is a 24" Gauss Rifle firing the standard mix of projectiles (APFSDS, sub-munition rounds, Fragmentation, etc.).
Q. On both turrets, there are raised areas which look as though they could be operator cockpits. Should "windows" be painted on these?
A. The "windows" are actually that - feel free to paint appropriately. I find metallic green with black outlining gives a good looking finish.
Q. The "radar fitting" - any particular painting schemes?
A. The Primary Turret radar array is something that you could either camo like the rest of the vehicle, or perhaps paint the grid detail black or grey.
Q. I'm thinking to make my Janus VII part of a lunar army. What army could field this vehicle in this place?
A. Vehicles involved in the Lunar Campaigns are generally painted in an appropriate shade of light grey. My Red Chinese Lunar forces AFVs are a light slate grey with irregular, vertical, thin, wavy lines of black to simulate shadows. Note that due to technological limitations of the period, only HBTs (Heavy Battle Tanks) and larger vehicles are capable of operating for any length of time on the Moon, Mars, or any other hostile environment. The reason being that only these large vehicles can carry enough on board supplies of oxygen, water, food, ammo, etc. for protracted operations. This is especially true of the Martian Campaigns (with Mars having a greater land mass than Terra) due to the lack of free standing water.
Q. Does the Terran Empire have any special emblems or insignia?
A. Although I am still waiting for John to provide me with an official insignia for the Terran Empire, I have found that a very appropriate insignia that I am using for the Terran Empire as an army corps badge is the good 'ole "Jolly Roger" skull and crossbones on a black field. I also use the "Jolly Roger" on vehicles belonging to my Starguard! Terran Marine vehicles. I think that this badge kind of says it all!

That pretty much took care of my detail questions on the paint job, but I had a few more questions for Leland. I should first explain my thinking behind the questions: (a) I was chickening out on doing a lunar battlefield, as I haven't finished my desert terrain set yet, and didn't want to start a whole new terrain project, and (b) given the blend of miniature samples which I had been sent, I was wondering if I could use them in the same army (and the same paint scheme).

Q. Could you give me an idea of where the battles were fought "during the final stages of the War of Terran Unification"? Particularly battles on Earth. I think I'd like to go with a desert theme, as I already have the terrain for it.
A. As for where the Mk.7 Janus was first encountered on Earth, I haven't actually finalized that detail with John. Suffice to say, the Empire was fighting on many diverse fronts even when the Janus Mk.7 was introduced, so a desert scheme is not at all unreasonable! Perhaps somewhere in Africa, Central Asia, or the Martian go ahead and use your best judgement and imagination! :-)
Would older and younger vehicles mix on the same battlefield (i.e., Janus VII's and Janus IV's), or are the Janus IV's pretty much out of action by the time the Janus VII's reach the battlefield?
As far as I understand from my conversations with John, encountering mixed bags of SBTs would not be that unusual - salvage by many factions including both the Empire and the PRC was not only not unknown but not all that uncommon! Hybrid SBTs were also not too unusual depending on local circumstances for that matter! So yes, I see no reason for a Janus Mk7 and even the odd, if rather battered Janus Mk. 1 (!) appearing not only on the same battlefield, but within the same battlegroup. An historical precedent was the deployment in 1940 by the French army of Char B1bis heavy tanks and WW1 vintage Renault FT17 light tanks! The Germans in fact were using FT 17s as late as 1944 for security duties around airfields. The allies fought several during Operation Torch in 1943 for that matter!

So that wrapped it up for me - a desert scheme for my Janus VII!