Thursday, September 15, 2016

Unseen Battletech Miniatures III

The strangest and most beautiful Unseen Mechs of Battletech are those inspired by the aliens of Macross and Robotech. I speak, of course, about the Marauder and the Ostscout, which are pictured above. In Macross, the Marauder was originally called the Glaug Officer's Battle Pod, while the Ostscout was the Regult Battle Pod

Packaging for kits #1 and #2 of 1/320 scale Macross Models
Studio Nue, the creative shop behind Macross/Robotech, outdid themselves with these designs -- they are works of art in and of themselves. Everything about them seems authentically alien: their lack of right angles, their backward knee joints, the stamen-shaped limbs, the insectoid carapace, and -- of course -- the single eye in the middle of their chests. They look like the bastard children of a lobster and an orchid.

I was picky when casting around for miniatures to represent these mechs. Ral Partha's metal Marauder is a bad rendition: clunky, unstable and ill-proportioned. And the Ostscout presents even greater problems. When the Regult Pod was translated from Macross to Battletech, it was modified to add arms and a head. These changes anthropomorphized the Ostscout and ruined the extraterrestrial aesthetic. Boo on that, I say. I wanted the original design. But where to get it at the correct scale for Battletech?

As I mentioned last week, I finally found some hard plastic Macross models produced in Japan during the 1980's in 1/320 scale -- just about perfect for Battletech (which is usually between 1/285 and 1/300 scale). The models came in long sprues with 4 mechs per sprue. (The packaging for each of these sprues is pictured to the left). Although the plastic doesn't capture a lot of detail, the figures did have the right Macross feel. After a few minor alterations (like adding antennae and accentuating the central eye), they seemed like the best Battle Pods that I could find.

So here's my Unseen MAD-3R "Marauder":

MAD-3R Marauder Painted Unseen Miniature

MAD-3R Marauder Painted Unseen Miniature Battletech

And here's the Unseen OTT-7J "Ostscout":

OTT-7J Ostscout Painted Unseen Miniature

Unfortunately, most of the other models from these old sprues didn't work out as well. Last week I showed off my converted LAM Phoenix Hawk, which is an OK miniature if a little chunky. But even chunkier is the regular Unseen PXH-1 "Phoenix Hawk":

PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk Painted Unseen Miniature

By way of contrast, below is a closely related miniature from Ral Partha: the metal miniature for the Unseen WSP-1A "Wasp" (The Wasp and the Phoenix Hawk are based off of various iterations of Macross' Valkyrie Variable Fighter). This is a beautiful model: detailed, well-posed and elegant. It perfectly captures the lithe power of the Valkyrie.

WSP-1A Wasp Painted Unseen Miniature

And here's its companion, the Unseen STG-3R "Stinger" by Ral Partha. The Stinger is another Valkyrie variant. Both these figures required very little modification on my part -- I simply added the antennae/gun ports that crown their heads (they are fashioned from thin copper wire). I love the folded wings behind their backs -- they really accentuate the hornet-like aspect of their designs.

STG-3R Stinger Painted Unseen Miniature

And to round out my collection of Unseen Battletech miniatures, here's the the LGB-7Q "Longbow". This long-range missile platform was also lifted from Macross -- it's the Destroid Phalanx that premiered in Super Dimension Fortress Macross Episode #27. I slightly converted this Ral Partha model, replacing the original head with a more anime-looking one from my Macross plastic sprues. This is another jolie-laide design: the barrel arms and the tiny pea-head should make it stupid looking, but instead it projects power and menace. I love it!

LGB-7Q Longbow Painted Unseen Miniature

My previous posts of Unseen Mechs are here and here. Well, thanks for stopping by and making these Unseen miniatures slightly less unseen!


  1. Your "PXH-1" there looks more like a CRD-3R but with the VF-1J head instead of the usual VF-1A head the Crusader has.

  2. Agreed, these mechs/robots are timeless renditions of what alien craft should look like. Loved'em when I first saw them blasting the crap out of each other on the telly as a kid....still love'em to this day :)

  3. Fine paint job. I always loved ROBOTECH. The Zentraedi but especially the INVID (it's sad there are not miniature of them) are some of my favorite sci fi aliens.

  4. Awesome.
    The Zentradi mecha and in general are just so damn awesome.
    The Glaug is my favorite mecha of all time, here's a Bandai kit I built and painted- (and Minmay!)

    1. I just checked out your model. Looks fantastic, BB. I'm hoping to do a project like that myself someday.

  5. jol·ie laide
    ˈZHōlē ˈled/
    noun: jolie laide; plural noun: jolies laides

    a woman whose face is attractive despite having ugly features.

    LOL. The French *would* have a term for that. Of course there are men like that too, but I guess they didn't think so much about that ;)

    I had a die cast toy of the "Destroid Phalanx" as a kid, and I always thought it was super awesome. I mean... hundreds of missiles for arms? Not exactly wimpy. And the cool gimbaled rocket nozzles, which I guess might be exhausts but I always thought were for flying :)

    Anyway, the paint jobs: speaking of the Phalanx/Longbow, I really like the bronzey brown you used, that kind of richness usually evades me when I'm painting brown. Also, all the blues here are stellar, the Phoenix Hawk being the most obvious example, but I also like the more subtle blue on the Ostscout. Good use of yellow/black hazard patterns on several of these, too. Not overdone but nice accents.

    1. Thanks Allison!

      I'm especially happy that you enjoyed "jolie laide". It's an extremely handy term, if sadly underused these days.

    2. It makes me think of Cameron Diaz, for some reason...

  6. Sir your Stinger and Wasp are beautiful, great work!

    They have been favourites of mine since I first laid eyes on them.

  7. Awesome stuff. This brings back fond memories of days past.

  8. Thanks everyone for the kind words! I'm happy that you liked the minis and that they brought back some of your own memories.

  9. You did a great job with those. Excellent!