Home Forums Sci Fi 6mm Sci-Fi On mecha cockpits: head or torso?

This topic contains 21 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Darkest Star Games Darkest Star Games 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #110850
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I really enjoy the Gundam gasaphon I have for the game I’m playing, but they’re 1/400 and there doesn’t seem to be any 1/300-1/285 Gundamesque mechs out there.  So, I’ve been thinking about coming up with my own line for both space battles and 6mm ground actions.  But the question of size enters into the mecha equation, because if things get too small they become impossible to paint!

    So, this has led me down the design rabbithole of where does the cockpit go?  Let me throw some stats out here real quick to give an overview of the height of various well known mechs at 6mm\1/300 scale and their cockpit locations:

    Gundam RX78-2: 52.8mm/ 2.12″ – torso

    Zaku2F2: 52.5mm/ 2.06″ – torso

    Round Venier Vifam: 53.7mm/ 2.11″ – torso

    Metal Armor Dragonar-1: 52.8mm/2″ – torso

    L-Gaim: 62.1mm/ 2.44″ – torso

    VF-A Vlakyrie (battloid mode): 38.02mm/ 1.49″ – torso

    Legios Eta (VF Alpha): 26.25mm/ 1.03″ – torso

    Patlabor Ingram: 24.06mm/ .94″ – torso

    VOTOMS Scopedog: 11.4mm/ .44″ – torso

    Dougram: 28.89mm/ 1.13″ – head

    Layzner: 28.56mm/ 1.12″ – head

    Destroid Tomahawk (Macross): 38.1mm/ 1.5″ – head

     

    As we can see, most mecha with head cockpits (ok, the few that are on the list!) are a lot shorter than those with torso cockpits.  2″ seems pretty large to me for a hunk of metal figure, even though I know a lot of 28mm (are most 32 or 35mm nowadays…?) figs are about that size.  Goign that large though I think would preclude use of adjustible antennas for flight stands as the “moment” at the top would just make them too unstable.  Maybe just a regular flight stand with a dial for “level” would work.

    I digress… Given these stats for height I think I can come up with some easily workable designs that will look properly imposing on the tabletop, while also being usable for space combat.

    But in talking about cockpit placement, I would think that placing the pilot in the torso would give them much better protection that being situated in the head, as well as probably a bit more comfort from g-forces.

    But is the torso really that much better protection?  In just about every anime I have seen any mech can easily be blown apart by an enemy, so maybe cockpit placement doesn’t matter?  If hit location is not being tracked, should it matter?  Maybe just go with “rule of cool”?

    Your thoughts?

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #110852
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I’m not sure why logic would dictate that a humanoid mech would be bigger and taller for having the cockpit in the torso instead of the head.

    Most of my favourite mecha settings have the cockpits in the torsos. That said I’m not much bothered either way. As you say, the mecha genre comes with its own framework of reality. If the story calls for a pilot to die, they’ll die. If it doesn’t, they won’t. The location of the pilot inside the mech has absolutely no bearing on that. Rule of cool applies.

    Maybe split the difference and have the cockpit centered at the base of the neck, going partway into the torso and partway into the head, a bit like a Scopedog? That’s also a cool look, I think.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Rhoderic Rhoderic.
    #110853

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Where does the head go? I’m a proponent of putting the mech cockpit in the torso, unless it’s a small mech, something like a Heavy Gear, which is partly “worn” like a suit of battle armor. It makes sense to put your soft, squishy bit under the most amount of armor.

    #110856
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Thanks for the responses guys!  I do appreciate it.

    I realized after reading the above that I plan to have several factions, so all I really need to do is set sizes that “looks right” to go with my 6mm Dark Star line (not as a part of it, but for cross-compatibility) and individual factions and mech designs can have the cockpit wherever they look coolest or make sense!  Space ships, though would need to be a lot smaller in scale as they’d end up being 16″-24″ otherwise, and who is going to shell out that kind of dough?!?!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #110857
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Just thought: could do sets of upper torsos and then have separate pelvic/leg assemblies for ground and space poses.  That way you can mix and match.

    Or heck, maybe I do a 1/300 line for 6mm enthusiasts, then do 1/600 or 1/1200 for the space gamers?

     

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #110858
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I like all of what I’m hearing 

     

    #110864

    Stephen Madjanovich
    Participant

    As an aside I have a buddy who is a Gundam nut. He is writing a set of rules for mech combat with the emphasis on Gundam background. Despite his protestations I think it is somewhere a little more detailed than CY6 level. Not as chart intense as Battledroids (or whatever it is called now) or Star Fleet Battles but much more than many armour games. I like to think of it as Striker light. We have been playing it for about a year now and it is coming along quite well. I do not know what other systems are out there as it is an interest, but I have too many irons in the fire and am letting him do this on his own.

    This is all very interesting and I hope you keep on with it. As for placement in Gundam it doesn’t seem to matter as every weapon immediately punctures the reactor core causing instant destruction. Of course my son and I are watching Gundam 0079(?) the first series from the ’80s! Personally I like Macross having the complete DVD set from the original show, plus Perfect Memory from back in the day!

    #110877

    Thomaston
    Participant

    I vote torso too. Imagine the mech-sickness withe the head swivelling around all the time. I’m a fan of the smaller designs, Heavy Gear, Gasaraki, Landmate and Madox-01.

    EDIT: Also Titanfall

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Thomaston.

    Tired is enough.

    #110882

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    After I read “1:600 Line” and “Mechs” in the same post, all I could hear was loud circus music in my head.

    Uh, yes please?!

    #110883
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I’m a fan of the smaller designs, Heavy Gear, Gasaraki, Landmate and Madox-01.

      ME too, already have this working in my SPec-Sec line.  About to release new weapons/arms for the Pilums and Pugios!

    EDIT: Also Titanfall

      Check out Mircopanzer, they have some mechs in 15mm that are very Titanfall!  (bought from Flytrap)

    After I read “1:600 Line” and “Mechs” in the same post, all I could hear was loud circus music in my head. Uh, yes please?!

    I’ll see what I can do, no promises though!  I’m really not sure how viable any of this might be, business/financial-wise.  I mean, as it is I basically produce toys I want to play with and am thrilled that others will buy some on occasion too, but my crazy-brain is rattling along with like 34 designs over 9 factions already!  That will be quite an outlay of greenbacks, even over time!

     

    I’m thinking for 6mm scale 2″ ought to be about right for a “standard” soldier nech.  And since this is all meant to be space operatic there will of course have to be some one-offs or modified and experimental dudes of variable sizes… 😀

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #110884

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I know, I know, but that you’d even think of it is good enough for me. Frankly I’m in my own “Big Mech, Small Tank” phase, so even 6mm Mechs at 2” suit the purpose famously. I’m doing up Tavshar Archons (a bear to assemble but beautiful on the table) and Impact “Whisper” Mecha as “Ronin” super-siege mecha and “Ashigaru” “Light” assault mecha, respectively, with 3mm scale “Drahh’z” from O8 as their conventional support. They scale up nicely against Microworld 6mm BOLOs and 3mm sci fi tanks as less advanced but more stubborn Earthinoid armed resistance.

    #110886
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    That’s quite a mash up!  The Archons and Whispers are great!  There also another set coming out called “conflict Horizon” and I really like a lot of the mechs they are going to do.  Their Germanic faction is very different!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #110887

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Wow, those I like! Might make good “reverse-engineered” Mechs for a Human faction, possibly the Russian Confederation.

    #110924

    Thomaston
    Participant

    SPec-Sec, There’s a fuchikoma in there.

    Tired is enough.

    #111029
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    SPec-Sec, There’s a fuchikoma in there.

      Just reminded me I need to wrap up the other 3 new types at some point…

    So I bought some of the Jovian (Chronicles) Wars KS minis a long while back, and had forgotten that they came with mecha squadrons!  Great little minis, just detailed enough to know what is what but the poses are extremely limited, and I’d say they’re at about 1/800 scale (should have measured them…).  The small size would work for small hex grids, and could totally work with 1/600 scale tanks models.  I think the way I’ll go about it is to design them at 1/600 scale, but them upsize them and do the detailing at 1/300.  That way I can do 1/600 (or smaller) at a later date if wanted.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #112158

    Alexander Wasberg
    Participant

    Sorry for being late to the party 😉

    Definitely torso-mounted cockpits for me, not only because I’m a fan of Gundam, but they make more sense regardless of the size of the machine.

     

    The JC minis are quite good, but I bet you could make something even neater 🙂

    What size where you thinking of going, more macross/gundam around 20m mark I’m guessing if you intend to make some 1/600 scale ones?

    #112264
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    The JC minis are quite good, but I bet you could make something even neater

    Thanks man, I’m working on it!

    What size where you thinking of going, more macross/gundam around 20m mark I’m guessing if you intend to make some 1/600 scale ones?

      Ya, they’ll be 6mm scale, so about 2″ tall max, with some 1.5″ tall depending upon faction.  Working up the mythos of the setting at the moment, which will dictate a lot in the rules (like faction specific rules or specialties or technologies) and translate to the models.  Trying to keep the feel zippy and shooty without getting bogged down in having to rules flip a bunch.

    Definitely torso-mounted cockpits for me, not only because I’m a fan of Gundam, but they make more sense regardless of the size of the machine.

      I feel ya.  I think that in the end I will probably go with whatever works for whichever design and faction.  Most will definitely be chest cockpits.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #112277

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    A civilization that can make twenty-meter tall humanoid fighting machines that don’t collapse under their own weight or snap apart under their own mass can come up with something better than a glass canopy for their pilot(s) to see the battlefield with. Chest cockpits all the way. At 20m tall it’s more of a command deck – crew of four or five, like a main battle tank.

    #112280
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I think that sort of crew arrangement would make sense in a lower tech setting, like Weird WW2, but in The Far Space Opera Future I could see waldo frames for forced feedback control (lots of finger switches), or even better would be some sort of neural interface (feedback can kill ya!).  In either case a single pilot should be all you need.   Your proverbial fighter-jock archtype, dontchaknow!  BUT again, I could also see that being faction specific, kind of like how the % Star Stories Mortarheads had to have Fatimas to help the pilots do their thing, or even how F-4s and F-14s fighters had their RIOs to keep the pilots doing pilot things.  Of course, future AIs and computers could handle the filtering, but maybe it’s more of a societal standardization or perhaps literal social class of “back seaters”?  All sorts of things are possible, especially with varying tech levels….  Hmmmm… lots of new ideas afoot now, thanks Mr. Average!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #112295

    Alexander Wasberg
    Participant

    It sounds like you have it well in hand 🙂

    The 1.5-2″ range is a good size, you can fit a lot of detail without it looking too busy.

    #112363

    kid bananas
    Participant

    I also like the cockpit to be in the torso. Is there any chance, if these mechs are successful, of them getting scaled up to be compatible with 15mm goodies?

    #112407
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I also like the cockpit to be in the torso. Is there any chance, if these mechs are successful, of them getting scaled up to be compatible with 15mm goodies?

      There’s always a chance!  BUT, now you’re talking about a mech that is 6″+ tall, and that’s going to be expensive to both print and cast in resin.  Would probably have to do a KS for them.

    At the moment I am thinking that I might do 3 poses for each model: a basic “standing” pose and 2 flight poses.  Then have alternate arms and weapons that can me mixed and matched.  Think that would work?  Or would a “typical” mini be better?

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

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