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.
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":
And here's the Unseen OTT-7J "Ostscout":
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":
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.
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.
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!
My previous posts of Unseen Mechs are here and here. Well, thanks for stopping by and making these Unseen miniatures slightly less unseen!