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HeavyMetal Aero Features

Program Summary 

HeavyMetal Aero is the Official advanced aerospace vessel design program, that is capable of designing all vessel types and sizes, as described in the latest releases of AeroTech2 as well as certain Level 3 equipment and vehicle types in Maximum Tech. This includes the following vessel types:

  Conventional Fighters

  AeroSpace Fighters

  AeroDyne and Spheroid Small Craft

  AeroDyne and Spheroid DropShips

  Jump Ships

  Space Stations


  Monitors (with Level 3 rules)

As you've come to expect from all of the HeavyMetal programs, HeavyMetal Aero gives you all the tools to design, including custom weapon design, manufacturer and model of equipment information, professional quality record sheets and Technical Readouts (both with pictures, if desired). All available weapons and equipment are included, and are updated as more are published. A Selection utility assists in choosing vessels  for games, full mixed arms BattleForce2 printouts and support is included, and much, much more!

Three rule sets are included: AeroTech2, BattleSpace and AeroTech, and appropriate record sheets are printed for each gaming system.

With HeavyMetal Aero, you will have all the designs from Record Sheets: AeroTech2 and many, many more. Also included, in addition to over 40 logos, are over 860 vessel designs, including custom designs submitted by HeavyMetal Aero users. Over 270 high-resolution pictures of the designs are included as well, and can be printed on TROs, etc.

Please check out the specific features and screenshots (click on the screen thumbnail) below:

Total Warfare Rules and Equipment Now Included Using Custom Weapons Files

With the rules and equipment used in BattleTech changing, please be sure to check out the Total Warfare A & Q page for information on how this new series of publications affects the HeavyMetal programs, and when/if the new weapons will be included.

Update: In the meantime, custom weapons data files have been created that add almost all of the new equipment from not only Total Warfare & the TechManual, but also the advanced equipment from Tactical Operations. You can download a single setup program that places all of the custom files in place for all of your programs from the Data Files for Programs page.

The CD Package

HeavyMetal Aero has been packaged for sale in out our New Slim DVD case, a high-quality DVD case, which looks better, is much stronger, ships better and has more convenient room for the instructions insert, than standard CD jewel cases. The thumbnail shown below is from a scan of the package; click on it to see an enlarged version. Click on here to purchase HeavyMetal Aero.

                Program Requirements  

Vessel Types and Rules Sets

HeavyMetal Aero can design all types of vessels. These include Conventional and Aerospace Fighters (to AeroTech2 or AeroTech rules), Aerodyne and Spheroid Small Craft, Aerodyne and Spheroid DropShips, JumpShips, WarShips and Space Stations (to AeroTech2 or BattleSpace rules), even Monitors when using Level 3 rules. You can even design or load a vessel designed with one set of rules, then switch to the other set and design to those rules. Record sheets provide the required information for all three rules sets.

The Main Screen

HeavyMetal Aero, like HeavyMetal Pro and Vee, has three main screen versions: Regular, Veteran and Elite. This is done to ease the learning curve and reduce clutter for the new user (and make HMAero run well on lower resolution 800x600 monitors), as well as provide additional design information for the experienced user (provided he/she is running higher resolutions). (Note: While the other programs can run at 640x480 resolution, HeavyMetal Aero requires at least 800x600, with 1024x768 preferred.)

The Regular main screen, shown to the left below, is the default when first running HMAero. It will fit comfortably on an 800 x 600 resolution screen. While there is a fair amount of information, this is a good starting point for the new user, as information overload is avoided.


After you're somewhat familiar with the operation of HeavyMetal Aero, and assuming that your video is capable of displaying at least 1024 x 768 resolution, you'll probably want to take a look at the Veteran and Elite versions of the main screen. The Elite version, shown to the right above, expands the standard main screen and provides additional information to both the right and bottom of the screen (the Veteran only has the added information to the right). This provides a wealth of graphic and text information for the experienced designer, allowing operation with less screen or tab switching as well as providing summary information on the design, two graphs (damage and armor), design status and weapon specifics.

For fighters and small craft, weapon selection is done with the same basic screen as used in HMPro, except the locations may be set when selecting the weapon. Of course, the main screen displays all the weapons and equipment on the vessel as soon as it is loaded, as well as throughout design.

Large craft, however, have different requirements when it comes to weapons: weapons are grouped into Weapon Bays, with weapons of the same class in a single bay. Therefore, a different screen is required for adding weapons to large craft. This screen, shown below, has a summary box/button for each of the vessel's firing arcs, with all the weapon bays in that arc being listed at the top center of the screen. The center pane contains all weapons which can be mounted into the selected bay (are of the same weapon class), or all available weapons when starting a new weapon bay. At the bottom, a list shows all weapons in the selected weapon bay. With the Elite and Veteran screens, additional summary information is available to the right.


After selecting your weapons, you'll want to add or modify the armor on your design. And, for large craft, you will often have a wealth of other equipment to mount: fighter, vehicle and small craft bays, cargo, and other equipment. You can even define your own custom or special equipment bays, and specify all their properties. HMAero will automatically add the maximum armor possible using the remaining weight (but not greater than the maximum dictated by the rules), and allocate it for you, if you want. Of course, you can still fine-tune it. Or, you can specify the total points or tons or armor, or manually add exactly the amount desired at each location. Naturally, you can select all the published armor types available, consistent with the craft type and rules level.

This same tab, containing the armor and equipment bays, also has a secondary tab, one of which the equipment bays occupy. The other two secondary tabs contain Crew and Passengers, and Other Equipment (such as grav decks, spare parts, etc.) Each of these bays is shown below; take note of the various options available on these tabs. HeavyMetal Aero contains a wealth of options for any design.


Like the other HeavyMetal programs, HeavyMetal Aero allows you to associate or include a picture of your design, in a variety of formats, with the vessel data file. It will be displayed on the third tab of the main screen. From this tab, you can also enter all the standard "fluff" text, such as Overview, Capabilities, Battle History, etc., plus a Personal Notes section where you can place added info about your design (such as source of info or designer) which while saved with the vessel and visible, does not print along with the normal fluff text. A Damage Graph is also visible, which gives the maximum, probable and heat-limited damage for the vessel up to a 50 hex range.

Other Screens and Features

HeavyMetal Aero has basically all the screens and features you've come to expect and enjoy with HeavyMetal programs, including a Crew Roster screen, Vessel Roster screen, Custom Weapons screen (which even designs Capital scale custom weapons), a scrollable Tech Info screen (so you can easily see all those weapons on your WarShips) and much more.

The Open screen, shown below, provides several features: opening a vessel design, of course, selecting it from a listing of all available vessels. You can also filter the vessels shown, to display only those with a given rules set or rules level, specific vessel types, or limited to one or both tech bases. You can manually select vessels based on their cost, BV and other factors, and send them to the vessel roster screen or BattleForce2 roster screen.

Naturally you'll want to print your designs, and HeavyMetal Aero gives you the best printouts available for aerospace vessels. The record sheet displays all information required for game play, along with a movement grid at the bottom and an inventory of all equipment and armor. You can even preview the record sheet prior to printing (shown above), zooming in to view any areas desired. Each vessel type has its own diagram, making the sheets distinctive, attractive and very useful.

Since we're discussing selecting vessels, you can specify a total based on Battle Value, C-bill cost or Tons, and optionally specify the number or tonnage of vessels desired as well as many other criteria, and HMAero will select what it feels are the best units. You can even define "best" as the highest Weapon Value (HMAero's special rating), Short-, Medium-, Long-, or Extreme-Range Factors, BattleForce2 or other ratios. You can even select "Random" to make up listings of random vessels, but ones which still meet all your criteria. Selecting vessels for matches and campaigns was never easier!

The Print screen provides for several different printout types. The standard record sheet can be printed, including movement grid for record-keeping. Several versions of the TRO (Technical Readout) can be printed, with optional picture, fluff text and manufacturing data, in addition to all the technical information. Battle Value calculations may be printed as well. Of course, you can enter a crew name and skills, which then print on the record sheet and modify Battle Values accordingly.

HMAero has some special screens as well, specific to designing aerospace vessels. For example, the Optimize Screen shown below allows you to easily optimize the complex relationship between large craft vessels' thrust, structural integrity (SI) and armor tons. A vessel's thrust determines the allowable SI range, and the SI mass determines the maximum amount of armor that can be mounted on the vessel. Too high a thrust or SI and no mass will remain for the armor. Too low, and the armor will be limited. HMAero examines many thousands of combinations for the vessel at the press of a button, and suggests the thrust/SI/armor combinations that result in an optimized design. You still have control of the process, though, and can choose to keep the thrust constant or vary it for larger effects.

An example of the kind of results you can achieve with the Optimize feature is the following: The McKenna has an SI of 95 and mounts 1,425 tons of armor. Using the Optimize feature, and maintaining the same safe and maximum thrust, the program suggests lowering the SI to 93 (an insignificant change, operationally), which results in 3,589 tons of armor, with 1,696 tons left! That's 2.5 times the armor, plus almost 1,700 tons that could be used for added weapons, achieved by making a small modification to the design (with HMAero doing all the hard part - the calculations)! Designing large WarShips can be a complex process, but HMAero helps you out every step of the way!

The screen at the left below is the Print Preview screen, which gives preview of exactly what your vessel's record sheet will look like. You can zoom in or out, and when you're ready, print directly from the preview screen.

HeavyMetal Aero has more special screens that help out during design. Fighters and small craft can mount external stores, such as bombs. HMAero makes adding external stores quick and easy, and stores up to five loadouts, which can be selected at printing, if desired, to include with the record sheet printout. You can even specify custom external stores, such as blockbusters and fuel tanks, for your loadouts.


Large vessels, especially, have overlapping weapon arcs, and it is often difficult to visualize the damage profile of a vessel. The Radar-Style Damage Graph, shown at right above, is a great aid in this area. You can leave it open on your screen while you're designing, and have instant feedback of the damage and range of the design, and any 'holes' in the damage profile.

Naturally, HeavyMetal Aero allows you to enter the manufacturer and model number for any equipment on the vessel, including weapons. HMAero comes with a comprehensive database including this data for all items, and you can customize by adding, deleting and changing items to your heart's content. Features include copying manufacturer and model information to a special clipboard, so it can be pasted to another vessel which has the same or similar data.

There are many more screens and features in HeavyMetal Aero. All of the applicable features in HeavyMetal Pro have been included in HeavyMetal Aero. Great care has been taken to make all the HeavyMetal programs operate as similarly as possible, even to being able to use the same hot-keys for operation. Once you know the operation and features of one, you can pick up another and go right to work (or play). You already understand the basics of the program! If you are unfamiliar with the screens and features in HMPro, please go to the HMPro page and take a look at the screens and features displayed there.

Naturally, designing vessels is no fun unless you can print the results of your work. HMAero provides many options for printing, as shown on the screens below. You can specify the crew's name and skill, manually or using the included crew roster feature and include pictures and logos.

And Much More...

There are many other screens and features available with HeavyMetal Aero, but I've probably already taken up too much of this page and your valuable time. If you still want to know more, since HMAero has so much in common with HMPro, take a look a the HMPro screenshots page for more information and screens, such as the BattleForce2 screens and printouts (applicable to Fighters, Small Craft and DropShips only). I hope that this will give you a good idea what HMAero can offer you, in the way of an easy-to-use yet extremely powerful and comprehensive aerospace vessel editor. I can safely say that there's nothing else like it, and feel that once you try it, you will be hooked!

Order HMAero Today!

Heard enough? Order HeavyMetal Aero Now!

Web site and contents Copyright RCW Enterprises. All rights reserved. Last updated 01/02/2019
All HeavyMetal programs are developed by Rick Raisley of RCW Enterprises, and Copyrighted by RCW Enterprises. All rights reserved.
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