The Roboblog Chronicles: Episode 6

You and I both know that there is nothing more entertaining than the sight of a man rambling at length -- ten minutes straight -- on the subject of ROBOTECH II: THE SENTINELS. So, of course, that's what you get this week. Hey, if you can find me a more interesting and timely ROBOTECH-related topic, by all means, let me know ...

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  • What aborted show has had this much material released? MAYBE Star Trek: Phase II. Other than that, I can't think of any.

    I had forgotten about all the little conflicting details between all the versions of The Sentinels. Since you brought it up, here are my thoughts and comments about what you said or about The Sentinles in general:

    I remember there were differences in the Script Book and the comics. I had forgotten what they were. I honestly don't think I read to the end of the second one because what you said about Tesla finding the body of Zor was news to me.

    I remember wondering about the whole Tesla/Obsim thing.

    I kept writting Eternity asking for more volumes of the Script Book. I wish they had released the entire series because I really wanted to read it....even though I must not have finished eight episodes.

    I think the RGP didn't care as much as keeping with the true timeline. They had just wanted to use all the mecha and bring back old enemies (didn't the Masters AND the Invid return in the RPG?).

    You know what bothers me? That we don't have the first three episodes of The Sentinels in their true form. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad they were made available, but I wish they had kept them in their intended form. I know at least the first episode was put together than way because Carl Macek showed it at the Robotech Five Year Retrospective. There was no music and no voices. But the episode was the way it was in the Script Book.

    I like the McKinney novels, but I wish they had finished the series. I think the comics did a great job because they kept Robotech alive during the 'dark ages' (the 90s). Also, they really seemed to care about the story.

    It sure was hard to find anything Robotech related before the rise of the online community.

    Hey, did you ever see Zillion? They used the team that was in place to animate The Sentinels to make it when the project fell through. Anyway, some of the mecha and character designs were rumored to be used. The enemy had no facial features, like the Haydonites. There was mecha that resembled the prototype Cyclone (I think; I don't remember) and the GMU.

    I guess that's all. Very interesting video blog. Can't wait until next time.

    ----Admiral DMC McKeever

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 May, 2007 23:16  

  • Personally, I was always a big fan of the way the Sentinels RPG presented it. A Pacific World War II like story of island jumping.

    When I ran the game, the SDF-3 is the only ship capable of long distance folding.. and the rest of the fleet was stuck with short distance fold jumps. So, in Wing Commander style... not only was it the planets... but areas of space itself that were crucial to the campaign.

    And yes, the planets suffer from the Sci-fi monolithic society syndrome. Personally, when I ran the game... there was a whole campaign for retaking Tirol that took QUITE a long time, securing an area of Fantoma for the SDF-3 to hide under, securing spots for troops to land. Taking Tiresia. Holding Tiresia. And generally dealing with the Invid on one planet before moving on.

    The Sentinels RPG presented the idea that perhaps Rick and crew just did the core liberating of the world, while your characters did the grunt work of holding the planet. It's never mentioned in the novels and comics... but it's not nessicarily a bad way of reconciling the awkward way of Robotech planetary liberation.

    I'd love to see Sentinels in some style, of course, preferably the more mature looking designs and styles that Shadow Chronicles has. I dunno... I found most of Sentinels alien looks to be a tad on the sillier side. So I wouldn't mind seeing a bit of a touch up on that.

    The uniforms.... I dunno. I could swing both ways. Of course, I LOVE the Sentinels uniforms and designs... but I don't mind the Shadow Chronicles uniforms at all either.

    But personally, I'd love to see Sentinels in some new media format... I personally think this would be a perfect format for a game. A little Macross, a little Southern Cross, a little Mospeada... and finally getting a way to tell the story of the Sentinels in a visual format. Hopefully well, and with good controls. *laughs*

    And see, I always thought this would be the perfect setting for a Robotech Online Game. I don't think Deathmatch would be the way to go... (As I would hope Invasion proved) as much as a Ghost Recon style squad game. You and a team of Hovertank or Cyclones, or any other Veritechs go on missions to accomplish goals for the REF.

    But Sentinels is a fine subject to talk about Jon, have no fear! *laughs* It's that lost chapter of Robotech that I think could use a little more attention.


    By Anonymous Tolarin, at 10 May, 2007 05:33  

  • Ahh the Sentinels.. No Jonathan, you're not the only one who likes that topic.

    Many people on the forum keeps saying "forget about Sentinels, look to the future and Shadow Chronicles". But how can one do that when we don't even know what happened to the REF before the movie? We get some hints in the series, and Prelude to the SHadow Chronicles did its part, but I think we still need a Sentinels or Pioneer Mission story, with what really happened, and that goes hand in hand with the Shadow Chronicles Storyline. Even if it's a comic series, or just a timeline on

    My version of the Sentinels s mostly from the Waltrip comics. Also I've the RPG books, but haven't read them thoroughly. I've ordered the McKinney books but haven't got all of them yet. Now obviously Harmony Gold thinks that there's no money to earn with new Sentinels material or reprints of, let's say the comics. I don't think they're right.
    The info you provided about the books and comics not following the truestoryline I knew, but I really liked that you gave us some examples, like Praxis.

    My dream is still a new and canon version. Wih the correct mecha and storyline, carachters etc. Well that is of course gonna take some work. Some people have already tried to come up with a more canonised timeline and many seems to have problem with the space fold jump that took several years on earth. It was like four,five years that dissappeared, right? Anyhow, it shouldn't matter. I thought of what you sad about occupying whole planets, not just capitals. Imagine that it would actually take some years to capture each planet, and maybe even some time for Tirol itself, as I imagine the Invid sending most of its troop there because they thought the Masters were still there.

    There's also the thing that SDF-3 weren't alone. We know that Tokugawas and Tristar-class Cruiser accompanied it, maybe even some zentraedi ships (seen in Robotech: Invasion, last issue).

    Hmm.. I'm lost now. I was meant to write more but now I'm just confused. :D Anyways, I'll get back to ya.

    By Anonymous Arthedain, at 10 May, 2007 07:57  

  • Sentinels: More derided than "The Untold Story." :)

    I tend to view a combination of the RPG and novels as "canon" versions of The Sentinels. Neither version tells a complete story on its own, but when combined a passable version of Sentinels can be created.

    The WWII style campaign of the RPG, as well as the early introduction of the Cyclone fits more my overall view of the conflict; while the novels provide the more interesting finer points. The RPG sets the rules, while the novels provide something akin to the story. It's what works for me.

    One thing that's always bugged me though is the extremely limited scope of the novels. Somewhere early in book II, one of the Sentinels' characters states that the Invid had conquered most of the RT Masters Empire (or something to that effect). We learn from Breetai that the Masters empire is comprised of thousands of worlds, but the REF / Sentinels never really bother to liberate those other worlds from the Invid. I always imagined The Sentinels Campaign as something like The Clone Wars: sprawling across thousands of worlds over an extended period of time. None of the material ever treats the conflict like that, which is a shame as that would've been so cool.

    Question: do most of the other sources treat the VHT / Hovertank in the limited quantities that the RPG and novels state? Its the only front line ground combat mecha in the REF arsenal, yet its use is limited to one Squadron. That just seems silly to me.

    By Blogger JHC, at 10 May, 2007 09:04  

  • Well, I have always loved The Sentinels, have read all the versions of it and always wished the rest of it had been completed. The one thing that nobody has asked either Luceno or the Waltrips is why Cabell lived? In Robotech Art 3 Macek says that Cabell was suppossed to die and reveal to Rem he was a clone of Zor. But in the books and the comics not only does he live all the way throught the story but the Regess reveals to Rem he is a clone, not Cabell. Its a big change I have always wondered about.

    By Anonymous The Prophet of Zor (Jonathan McLeroy), at 10 May, 2007 23:27  

  • I forgot to mention that The Sentinels has so many different versions that even Robotech Art 3 contradicts itself. :)

    ---Admiral DMC McKeever

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 May, 2007 23:29  

  • Captain JLS,

    Thanks for dusting off The Sentinels. Are you perhaps implying, subconsciously, that you have not come to terms with the Sentinels being unfinished? I think a lot of us feel that way. People try to bury it, but the fact is it's still a compelling narrative and it is integral to the Robotech story. In my opinion, without Sentinels, the Robotech series kind of topples as a narrative. So many elements of Southern Cross and New Generation--and now Shadow Chronicles--play off of, or result from, events in Sentinels.

    I don't think any version has been 100% successful in carrying out the idea, but the McKinney novels are my perfered version--they take the story seriously overall, and seem the most complete and human. I understand you were bothered by the Sarna's father thread, but things like that, like the Karbarran prisoner scenario and Burak's desperateness, make these races 3- dimensional and less like the B-Movie beings they might appear as at first glance. I felt they were key plot elements.

    In a modern version, the races would have to be cleaned up design-wise, which HG has done with mixed results...

    As for the campaign--it's simplified, but acceptable. The whole thing about the homogenous/centralized nature of the Sentinels planets was explained off well, and built into EotC nicely, when it was noted how Haydon and/or Zor were involved in the shaping of these races. It was cool how McKinney had each race have a representation of Haydon, but none realized they were all connected--the idea of a lost universal history/lore.

    I'm a little torn, because there's questionable material in each version. Off hand, the Space Invaders tribute in the Rubicon novel is totally out of place. But some of the Macek stuff on the Robotech Elements 3 DVD, like a creature that looks like a lemur called "Children of Zor," just seem like terrible ideas. On the other hand, if I recall, Macek had a little more depth in the Jack and Karen relationship idea and their respective backgrounds.

    Still, I fear what HG might do to it if they mess with it without a lot of careful thought. The conclusion they spun for PttSC was a lot less interesting than what McKinney had. Breetai's death was compeltely botched, whereas it was powerful and fitting in the novels with his deathmatch against the Regent.

    There's no doubt there was a lot of cool hardware interaction in Sentinels--Hovertanks and Veritechs side by side. The GMU was very awesome. The Pegasus mecha you mentioned is bordering on too out there, though it worked well enough in the Praxian context. By the way, I think that mecha is on Elements 3 DVD and is for sure in the novels.

    All and all, there's too much to talk about when it comes to Sentinels for one post. I agree that Sentinels needs to be furthered in some form. Maybe a video game like Battlecry (not Invasion) would work if nothing else.

    By Anonymous Skull 23, at 11 May, 2007 00:29  

  • I absolutly(sp) love Robotech II: The Sentinels. Despite the fact that HG considered it secondary canon (yeah, right), it is my all-time favorite arc in the Robotech series.

    If it weren't for Palladium Books, Jack McKinney, John and Jason Waltrip and Eternity/Acadamy comics, RTII: The Sentinels wouldn't exist.

    By Blogger Callie, at 11 May, 2007 09:17  

  • In a previous comment, I said that Zillion might have used the prototype Cyclone. Scratch that. I remember now. There was a motorcycle mecha that I had wondered if it was inspired by The Sentinels. Once I got a good look at it, I didn't think it was. BUT, there was enemy mecha on Zillion that looked like the Inorganics.

    Speaking of Inorganics, does anyone remember the Spawn toy from the 90s that looked like the Invid Cougar? It was their anime-style Spawn toys, so I know it was Sentinels-inspired.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 May, 2007 19:32  

  • Robotech RPG Book 8: Strike Force has a prototype Cyclone called the Tornado... however, I do believe Robotech Art 3 has a mechanical design for a prototype cyclone... isn't it based off the MODAT/Garland from the movie?

    Unfortunately, my copy of RT ART 3 is back home (I'm on the Kitty Hawk in Japan...) so I can't verify that.

    But I do think the Tornado is an interesting design for ground forces in any Robotech Sentinels revision.... basically, it's a light bike that breaks down into an easy storage unit or a jet-pack system. It doesn't ACTUALLY transform per se... but if you wanted to create a sort of sense of developing technology... the Tornado is WONDERFUL for that idea of technology development.

    I know in my Robotech Sentinels capaign, I rewrote Sentinels to have the Alphas but not the Betas, and used the Tornadoes as the Dive Armor stored on board instead of Cyclones and made more use of the VHTs as ground units instead of Destroids. Seems a bit more logical that way to me...

    The way I see it... VHTs are the more maneuverable variable soloution to Destroids. I couldn't imagine Destroids being used as anything more then sentinel watch duty then anything else.

    By Anonymous Tolarin, at 12 May, 2007 06:14  

  • Interesting...I would have to say though that the taking of a planet's capital from the invid may in fact be all that is needed. In the New Generation..we had to deal with the Regiss and half of the Invid population...the Regent has his forces spread all over the galaxy holding down a righting imagined wrongs. The planets The REF/Sentinels had to free have no REFLEX point or multiple Hives like there were on earth.

    The biggest issue that I have is there is NO real 100% for reals telling of the Sentinels. If it were made today...there would have been things done differently.

    So I have an idea...what would you change in the known Sentinels story lines and rumors?

    Me? Robotech II would not have been the Sentinels....I would have used it to explain what happened and how the Southern Cross came to be. I know about the comics that came out...well I would hope that a better job would be done.

    Also...End of the Circle. Can we please never ever ever mention that book again. I through the book away when the kids sat in a circle chanting ROBOTECH....yeah McKinney(both) were hack writers.

    - AdmiralHunter

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 May, 2007 22:11  

  • Admiral Hunter: You mean something like the Zentraedi Rebellion or the Zentraedi Malcontents plot lines? Personally, I'd have something like that lead into the Sentinels. Sentinels SORT of does that with the scene in the council hall, but giving the transfer of command to the ASC wouldn't be a bad idea. Perhaps give the ASC a bit of a back history.

    But I do believe most of a Robotech II/Sentinels plot would have to deal with the REF, the SDF-3, and the liberation of worlds from the Invid.

    In my rendition of the Sentinels, however, you would have to deal with all sorts of things. I mean, theoretically there are roving bands of Zentraedi fleets still out there, possible hold-outs of Tirolian forces, the Invid, and perhaps other planets that are isolationists or the such. Perhaps with the Invid trashing the Tirolian Empire as soundly as they are, planets that were under the heels of the Robotech Masters rise up and decide they will take their own fight to the stars.

    Personally, while I don't want Sentinels to be dark and dreary... I wouldn't mind seeing the alliance of the Sentinels being something more then just Rick Hunter and his merry friends fighting the Invid. Seeing some real personality and culture in the various aliens would be REALLY cool. Maybe a bit more legend to the races too... I mean seriously... the Praxians sound alot like evolved Meltrandi to me. (Oh, I'm sorry... female Zentraedi... *laughs*) There are lots of things that could be played with in the Sentinels... good ideas and bad, that could be reworked into something really cool. I wouldn't put the SDF-3 out of commission as fast as the novels and comics seem to either. That's a ship that needs to do a bit more kicking of ass.

    By Anonymous Tolarin, at 13 May, 2007 04:37  

  • Your interest in the Sentinels is inspiring me to start an art book about it... with art about the battle on tirol and other sentinels worlds, etc...

    By Blogger medmapguy, at 13 May, 2007 23:37  

  • JLS,

    Your not the only one who feels this way about the Sentinels series. I wish the 65 episodes would have been created for all to see.

    You are so right, So much printed reference material for the Sentinels, WHY DIDN"T HARMONY GOLD CREATE the SENTINELS series today?

    Obviously, from the time of the launch of the SDF-3 to the start of THE SHADOW CHRONICLES, there is so much that has happened in-between those two events, that I hope someday will be told in animated form. It would be so cool to see.

    Personally I think, Harmony Gold should have done the Sentinels first whether straight to DVD or a new TV series. THEN animate PRELUDE TO THE SHADOW CHRONICLES, leading to the SHADOW CHRONICLES itself.

    Can you imagine how cool that would have been, using todays technology to animate it?

    By the way, I was reading your analysis of PRELUDE TO THE SHADOW CHRONICLES, I think it was great and I admit I was riveted reading about the story and imagining seeing it on the TV screen and how sorry I felt that Harmony Gold didn't animate PRELUDE first, it would have been a hell of a thing to see.

    I don't know if your creating a movement for it or not, but I hope you can contact the right people or even bring it up with Tommy Yune the next time you talk to him via TalkShoe or one on one. I think its time for the events during the " The Sentinels" timeframe to finally be told, instead of just in print.

    Keep up the good work and keep spreading the word about it, your not alone in this.

    RT Crimson

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 May, 2007 00:52  

  • Aug! So much Sentinels material! I want them!!

    By Blogger medmapguy, at 16 May, 2007 01:06  

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