Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Battletech Locust Scale Comparison

The recent Robotech kickstart has me thinking about all the old Battletech mecha that were based on Japanese IP, almost all Macross and Dougram. The light mech "Locust" was the "Ostall Hunter" from the movie Crusher Joe. More on that in a sec.

We played Battletech when the pieces were cardboard stand-ups on a hex board and we used grease pencils to mark damage on spec sheets protected in clear plastic binders. Some of you have probably never even seen a grease pencil, since dry erase markers took over that role completely. They had the coolest method for revealing more of the colored core, a string you would pull slightly to cut into the wound paper, which would then fall away in a wonderful spiral. I can't imagine playing Battletech or Star Fleet Battles without grease pencils. Anyway, enough waxing nostalgic.

When I first saw the movie Crusher Joe I was already familiar with Battletech in general and the Locust specifically. I was quite surprised to see how much smaller the mech was in the movie than I had expected, given the way it's portrayed in Battletech. Here's a picture of a Locust with pilot. In the background you can see a Macross VF-1A Valkyrie (a Stinger in Battletech, I believe.) I've replicated the pilot to scale the mech roughly. If we assume the pilot is 6' tall, that puts the highest point on the Locust's main body at about 4.5 man-heights, or about 27'.
a pile of dudes with binoculars is not an effective recon method

Figuring the height of the Ostall from the movie is a bit harder. According to the opening sequence, the character Talos is 209cm tall.
I'm surprised it didn't include blood type
I grabbed a frame from the movie where Ostalls are chasing Talos and Ricky in a hover technical thingy. Talos is in the back, firing a machine gun at the pursuing pack of Ostalls. I've tried to roughly represent his frame with the yellow line.

I then straightened out (more or less) the line with a rotate tool and placed it in front of the Talos to see how it measures up. From here it looks to be about 1.75 Talos's tall, or about 366cm (12 ft.) 12 feet tall compared to 27 feet tall. Big difference. But wait! There's more!

I acquired some model kits of these a long time ago. The Dougram mechs it turns out were being sold as "Battledroids", which was the precursor to Battletech. They even have the spec sheet on the back, naming each as its Battletech equivalent Griffin and Wolverine. Sadly, I can't find my model of C.A. Bigfoot, aka old school Battlemaster.

Combat Armor Soltic = old school Griffon

C.A. Blockhead = old school Wolverine

Ostall = old school Locust

Instructions on inside of Ostall box... odd

They are each 1/144 scale. The Ostall/Locust is 1/48 scale, a factor of 3x over the others. Doing the maths though show that the Locust was probably scaled in Battledroids to allow 1/48 scale model be used with the 1/144 Dougram/Macross models. Combat Armor Soltic (aka Griffon) is listed as 10.02m tall on the spec sheet that came with the model. Scaled down 1/144 gives us about 70mm, or 2.75 inches. Scaling the Ostall model the same way based on the Battletech pic should give us a 2.25" model, which is almost exactly how tall the model is, depending on how the legs are bent.

Executive summary: Locust size in Battletech was retcon-ed from a differently scaled model kit.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Queadluun Rau (oh no, my wallet)

What anime nerd from the 80's doesn't immediately recognize this mecha as the female power armor from Macross? This has been one of the universal favorites among fans of the show for decades. Want a kit/figure of this girl? Better be willing to fork over a lot of money. Check eBay. Go ahead. Yikes.

Another 80's staple was the paper and pencil roll playing game played with real live filthy humans. Let's face it... computer RPG's back then were a novelty compared to the marathon gaming sessions playing RPG's with actual friends. My nerd buddies and I at Michigan Tech actually played Palladium Books' Robotech RPG. Yeah, I even admit it publicly. I can't say I remember much about the game system, but the idea of the mecha and the setting were enough to be compelling. That same crowd also played Battletech when the best mechs were the ones taken directly from Macross, Dougram and (in at least one case, and so far out of scale as to be laughable) the movie Crusher Joe. Those designs are long past available.... sort of.

Oh, no. Another kickstart. Yeah, all that for the current price of a Queadluun Rau kit. And the stretch goals just a keep on coming. Miria is included in the set, and a squadron of three QR suits is currently a $30 add-on. One upcoming stretch goal is to switch the male version of the power armor (Nousjadeul-Ger... yeah, Zentraedi names are weird) to be included in this pledge level rather than extra cost. I'm kind of hoping that adding QR's to this level is one of the high level goals.

Battletech/Mechwarrior people, do you see the old school Stinger, Wasp, Phoenix Hawk (Hybrid and LAM), Marauder, Ostroc, Warhammer, Archer, Rifleman and Longbow? The Behemoth (Mk II Monster in Macross) is available as an add-on purchase too. The Crusader (Armored Valkyrie) is a future stretch goal. (The "fast pack" upgrade for the Stinger/Wasp/PH aka "Super Valkyrie" is also an add-on.)

Here is the scale compared to something we can all get a feel for... it looks to me like 15mm terrain might work well for them.
I actually own some model kits about this scale (they are really old....) that are about the same scale. You don't want to know what I paid for them. I dug them out of the basement for this photo, taken about 10 days ago. SD Zeta Gundam and Giant Gorg are making an appearance because they were stored in the same box.

I thought these were awesome paint jobs in 1987
Yeah, I need another 50 or 60 miniatures (or a new gaming system for that matter) like I need a hole in the head, but.... actually, now that I'm thinking about it, the benefits of trepanation are well documented. Hmmmm.