Thursday, May 7, 2020

[CUSTOM] Bandai 30MM 1/144 eEXM-17/M1A1 Alto Ground Type [Main Battle Tank]

Model Number: eEXM-17/M1A1
Designation: Earth Federation Army Limited Production 3rd Generation Heavy Assault EXAMAC System

#CircuitBreakerBacklogChallenge Build #12 - having tank threads does not a Main Battle Tank automatically make. Having lots of weapons while having tank threads, however, does. 
The eEXM-17 Alto was a versatile jack-of-all-trades, able to be equipped with specialised armour and optional equipment to fulfil any combat requirement. Over time, Earth Federation commanders developed a series of Alto archetypes for ease of deployment and use, such as the Commander Type, Long Range Combat Specification as well as the Alto Ground Type. The latter was especially favoured for its toughness, all-terrain ruggedness as well as heavy emphasis on fast and brutal combat in almost any situation, earning it a place as the vanguard in the ranks of terrestrial Federation commanders.

While the Alto Ground Type was a high-performance combatant, it had a key flaw that was regularly exploited by Bryon Army Portanovas: the Alto Ground Type was too simply armed with just a single 360mm rocket bazooka. Enemy machines usually baited Alto Ground Types to expend their limited rounds on unnecessary targets such as Roy-Roy units, leaving them defenseless before moving in for the kill. Commander Type Portanovas equipped with Flight Units were also able to dance around the Altos before delivering lethal 180mm heavy cannon rounds to the chest, bringing the EXAMAC crashing to the ground.

To better fulfill its role as the vanguard in any Federation attack force, the Alto Ground Type had to be modified to become the tip of the spear, a machine that was able to function as a rallying point for other Federation EXAMACs and Extended Armament Vehicles (EAVs). Essentially, it had to become a Main Battle Tank or MBT, a designation used by armoured combat vehicles active on the battlefields of the 21st century. An MBT Rearmament Plan was instituted for selected machines in all Federation Alto Ground Type platoons, effectively making them platoon leaders.

Thanks to the Alto Ground Type’s standard-issue Large Legs and Land Combat Tank Threads, the EXAMAC could mount an incredible amount of equipment and still be able to achieve a level of mobility exceeding Commander Type Altos. The Rearmament Plan modified the way the tank threads were installed onto the Alto Ground Type. Rather than mounting the units as a backpack that was a user nightmare, the threads were mounted to the heels of the Alto’s feet, folded upwards towards the calves when inactive. The threads would deploy downwards to propel the Alto forward and they can also be used as giant roller-skates if a greater speed boost was needed. Alto Ground Types would use these threaded boots to run over smaller enemy assets such as Roy-Roy.

Repainted to woodland camouflage colours in response to the widening front in forested areas and heavy jungles, the new Alto Ground Type [MBT] was equipped with a veritable arsenal of new weaponry:
  • Backpack-mounted 270mm linear cannon
  • Backpack-mounted armature assist for 360mm rocket bazooka
  • Twin shoulder-mounted 3-tube smoke and chaff launchers
  • Arm-mounted anti-armour micro-missile tube
  • Arm-mounted spiked combat shield
  • Hand-wielded Medium Beam Rifle
  • Twin leg-mounted 3-tube multi-ordnance missile launchers
  • Twin 120mm anti-armour machine cannons
The sheer variety of weapons available on the Alto Ground Type [MBT] was to help eliminate the use of overproportionate force – 360mm rocket bazooka rounds should never be used on Roy-Roy attack scouts. In fact, the 120mm machine cannons mounted on the leg missile launchers were purpose-built to kill enemy Roy-Roy units. Much like 21st century versions, the MBTs were intended to push through enemy formations with overwhelming force and thus had to be adequately armed to stay in theater for as long as possible.

The most powerful weapon in the MBT’s considerable loadout is easily the 270mm linear cannon, essentially an EXAMAC-scale railgun. Although it had a small magazine capacity of 8 rounds with one pre-loaded in the chamber, the weapon was able to put a depleted uranium rod cleanly through the torso section of a Portanova from nearly 5 kilometres away, which proved devastating in the tight confines of modern war fronts where EXAMACs routinely engaged each other at close range. The high mobility accorded by the tank threads also meant that the MBTs could fire-and-forget, launching their projectiles and quickly exiting the area before the enemy response arrived. The linear cannon was mounted on a servo that allowed for it to track upwards, enabling the MBT to hit airborne targets, a feature that was lacking in the regular Alto Ground Types and an oversight that was constantly exploited by flight-capable Portanovas.

Fielded by Federation Commanders in the lush jungles of K-City, the Alto Ground Type [MBT] successfully held the ground against a tireless wave of Bryon Army machines. The MBTs were also able to take down a couple of the Bryon Army's prized Portanova Commander Types, clipping their wings and sending them crashing into the dense foliage.


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