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.


  1. "a pile of dudes with binoculars is not an effective recon method"

    I can't say I actually LOL'd... but I definitely GOL'd (grinned out loud). I always thought that the Locust was one of the best looking 'mech designs despite being a weak (if speedy) little thing in Battletech.

  2. I definatly LOL'd.


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