Home Forums Sci Fi 6mm Sci-Fi What's the deal with Battletech miniatures these days?

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    Avatar photoRhoderic

    I’ve been trying to catalogue the minority of mechs in the Battletech range that I actually like, for future reference when I get back to small-scale sci-fi. Most of Battletech (at least in its “classic” form from the heyday of that game) leaves me cold, but there are a few uncharacteristically cool-looking designs in the mix.

    As I’m in Europe, I’ve been going by the Ral Partha Europe selection. Most of the miniatures in the RPE webstore are only shown unpainted and somewhat imperfectly photographed, and sometimes I can’t quite “decipher” the appearance of the mechs from the photos, so I Google their names to get better pictures of them. This often brings up alternative sculpts of the “same” mech, sculpts that often look better but aren’t available from RPE. What gives? Does Iron Wind Metals in America have a different (newer?) range of Battletech miniatures than what RPE sells, or is RPE just “behind” on getting new sculpts? Is there some other manufacturer (or European vendor) of Battletech miniatures besides IWM and RPE?

    I’m (vaguely) aware of the old “Unseen” designs but I don’t think the non-RPE sculpts I’m seeing are those.

    Then, to complicate matters further, there’s the new boxed Battletech game with plastic(?) miniatures. Is this unrelated to the IWM and RPE metal ranges? Is it even out yet?

    And that’s to say nothing of the old “Clix” models, the larger-scale assembly-kit plastic models (which I’ve only seen available sporadically from an eBay seller in Russia), the even newer-looking round of “aesthetically updated” digital sculpts (which I presume come from the newer Mechwarrior video games, and some of which also appear to be available as physical miniatures from unofficial-seeming manufacturers on eBay), or the esoteric naming conventions for different sculpts of the same mech using recurring designations like “Omni” and “IIc”. For a non-Battletech fan like me, it’s all become very opaque and convoluted.

    I guess what I’m mainly asking is: where do I get the best-looking Battletech miniatures these days? By “best-looking” I generally mean the more modern, techy, pseudo-anime-esque designs (think Mechwarrior Online and Mechwarrior 5) as opposed to the quaint, esoteric, clunky ones that resemble junk-art versions of Burning Man effigies more than anything else.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    I don’t think you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for with any consistency.
    Shapeways is one place that should have some especially exported models from games but quality will be inconsistent unless you find one designer who has everything you want.

    Avatar photogreg954

    I’m with Thomaston on this. I like a bit of Mech and first started out looking at Battletech. Found nothing but inconsistent, hit and miss images much like what you have mentioned. I too don’t like the “junk art versions of the Burning man effigy”.

    In short, what I’m trying to say is that I think you have found all there is too. I decided to try other designs and manufacturers and took a different route.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    The thing that spurred me to ask the question is that in the last few days I’ve realised that Battletech has, for at least a few years now, been undergoing an aesthetic reimagining. Mechanical designs are being updated in line with “cool” modern standards, and the quaint old clunky mechs are fading away (which I’m sure is a sad passing for some old-school fans, but I’m not one of them).

    I also have mechs from other manufacturers, but I keep several separate mech projects. Spider mechs from Darkest Star. Humanoid mechs from Dream Pod 9. Some scattered other stuff, too (Ion Age, Infinity, Micropanzer, Rebel, etc) What I don’t have yet is a non-humanoid “chicken walker” mech project in 6mm. That’s the main reason I’ve been eyeing Battletech, to sift out a few good designs of that style from among all the unappealing ones. I know there are some good alternatives, like CAV (Bones plastic, I know, but I probably wouldn’t mind it too much) and Mecha Front, but with the recent aesthetic updates to Battletech, it’s also still in the running.

    I’m probably overthinking it though. I’ve found some designs I like from Ral Partha Europe. I could probably be content with them even if IWM might have better ones, and even superior ones might be found from the likes of Mecha Front.

    Avatar photomoredakka

    FYI, Omni refers to clan mechs, the clans were an invading force from outside Innersphere space at around 3050 by the Innersphere calendar, they used higher tech advanced modular omni-mechs that had the ability to swap out weapons and equipment to a far greater degree than Innersphere battlemechs. Advanced armour and longer ranged weapons are just two of the combat advantages enjoyed by clan pilots.

    IIc, again this is a reference to clan mechs, the clans had more advanced versions of Innersphere designs as well, the “II” or two refers to it being a second generation version of an Innersphere design with the “c” designating it as a clan machine. So second generation clan.

    Who were the clans?, they are the descendants of the Innersphere’s Star League army that left the Innersphere in a great exodus many decades before, which is why they had mechs based on Innersphere designs as they took their mechs with them when they left.

    Hopes this helps clear up those designations for you.

    Avatar photoErik Walton

    Battletech is under going an aesthetic change for pretty much the reasons that you are describing: inconsistent scaling with dated aesthetics. That’s why the new plastic boxed sets look so much different. But boy are those new mechs beautiful! I picked up the smaller starter and am absolutely in love with every aspect of it.


    As far as looking at what the older mech models look like, I do exactly what you described with googling images. Between Ral PArtha Europe’s site and IWM, I probably would browse at IWM first and then search the model number on Ral Partha to see if you can get it there. IWM uses a lot of the Camo Sepcs paint schemes so the models actually look decent.

    Oh that's my theme music, it's on now!

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    To those who (like myself until a few days ago) haven’t been aware of the ongoing Battletech overhaul, here’s a selection of some of the nice new designs released over the past year, with comparisons to older versions or variants when available. Apologies to Battletech aficionados for not using the precise technical designations.

    New Raven vs old Raven

    New Catapult and another new Catapult vs old Catapult

    Prey Seeker

    New Ryoken vs old Ryoken

    New Xanthos vs old Xanthos

    New Marauder vs old Marauder

    New Shadowhawk vs old Shadowhawk


    New Vixen vs old vixen

    New Mongoose vs old Mongoose


    Here are a few more that seem to have been released in the past few years. Again, just a selection.

    New Mad Cat vs old Mad Cat

    New Flea vs old Flea



    New Centurion vs Old Centurion


    New Templar vs old Templar


    The above comparisons between old and new variants don’t fully capture the aesthetic shift that Battletech has been making. It seems that they’ve mainly been updating designs that were already “decent enough” to start with. The Centurion is perhaps the best example of an extreme overhaul, although the new version still retains a retro style (more on this later in this post). I get the impression that most of the older mechs that look absolutely hopeless are just being sidelined and made irrelevant in regard to the aesthetic update.

    Some of the new designs still have a bit of weirdness about them (I’ve mostly left these out from the above selection), but on the whole I’d say that approximately 75% of the designs released in the last few years are cool. Also, interestingly, the more humanoid mechs seem to still be going for a 1980s anime vibe, but in a good way, and unlike the older designs they get it mostly right. 80s mecha anime has a lot of currency in the nerdosphere today. That said, for the time being I personally am more interested in the new “chicken walker” style designs, which strike me as much more modernised in style. To be clear, I don’t actually intend to play Battletech, I just want to use some of the mechs with other rulesets.

    As an aside, I also just noticed IWM has a range of “mini mechs” in a smaller scale, I presume something close to 3mm. It’s not as new of a range and the designs have more of that old, “obsolete” aesthetic, but there are at least five or six decent designs in there that I could easily use in a 3mm sci-fi project. So that’s another win.

    Avatar photoThaddeus Blanchette

    Can anyone give us a size comparsion with those minimechs so we can see if/how they fit into a 3mm setup?

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Pretty sure that’s a 1″ base so most are around 1″ tall.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Pretty sure that’s a 1″ base so most are around 1″ tall.

    That was my assumption when I estimated the models to be 3mm scale. I now realise they’re “Battleforce hex bases“, which are “11/16 inside diameter flat to flat 12/16 inside diameter corner to corner”.

    At any rate, the estimate that they’re 1″ tall seems to be about right. These “mini mechs” are, more accurately, “Battleforce mechs” or “Battleforce scale mechs” (I’ve only figured this out now). Some quick Googling reveals that Battleforce scale mechs are approximately half the height of regular scale (1/285) mechs. LINK and LINK.

    Most of the mechs look like their cockpits could accommodate a 3mm scale pilot. A few might be iffy, including the Raptor Prime which was the one I wanted to use the most, but turns out to be particularly tiny. I might still brute-force it, though.


    Avatar photoMr. Average

    I have a few of the mini Mechs but wasn’t huge on them. They don’t hold up well in detail as compared to some of the other offerings out there and tend to look a little spindly. But they do work well with 3mm scale tanks and such, mainly the slightly-less-than 3mm scales from O8 and Microworld. They’d be a bit more like heavy tanks on legs if compared to “true” 3mm from Vanguard.

    I know I saw a 3mm scale mech force from National Cheese Emporium at some point but it never went in production. Maybe with their new partnership with Microworld, those might see light as metal casts? I know the team Kukri tanks are due for a Microworld treatment this year, and those are deliberately Battletechy designs – the Rommel/Patton lineage (old school, from the Ral Partha Days) is vaguely visible in the MBT.

    Avatar photoLogain

    If you are interested in 3mm , I found the Ironwind Metal battle armor line is cheaper and has some better sculpts that have been recently added.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    If you are interested in 3mm , I found the Ironwind Metal battle armor line is cheaper and has some better sculpts that have been recently added.

    I looked them over (not for the first time) but found decent ones in the mix to be very slim pickings. The Black Wolf is just about the only one I’d use without reservations, and even then perhaps not in the same setting as the chicken walker types from the Battleforce scale range (I like to keep my mecha settings more stylistically narrow, even if that means having to splinter them). Although, I see it was released less than six months ago, so it’s also representative of the visual update and I hope there’ll be more where that came from.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Not chicken walkers but DP9’s jovian war minis might be a good size. In space pose though.
    By national cheese emporium, are you after the 3d printed stuff or metal cast only?

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