Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Plastic Battletech (More Plastic Mechs, Please?)

We’re going to take a bit of a different look at Battletech today.  I’d like to talk to you all about the diversity of the plastic miniatures that Catalyst is producing and marketing under their in house production team.  No slight to Ironwind Metals, who produce all the metal miniatures for the Battletech franchise.  If you’re looking for a specific version of a specific mech, tank or fighter, Ironwind probably has a metal version for you to pick up.  Let’s take a look at what plastic battlemechs are available from Catalyst Game Labs

The introductory box has 26 plastic battlemechs.  This gives you a swath of unit weights to choose from and modelling options.  The actual breakdown is

·         Assassin

·         Atlas

·         Awesome

·         Cyclops

·         Jagermech

·         Quickdraw

·         Catapult

·         Grasshopper

·         Enforcer

·         Dragon

·         Cicada

·         Dervish

·         Hunchback

·         Clint

·         Trebuchet

·         Vindicator

·         Commando

·         Whitworth

·         Banshee

·         Zeus

·         Panther

·         Jenner

·         Spider

·         Hermes II

·         Battlemaster

·         Mad Cat (Timber Wolf)

That’s a big swing of the units available for the game, but wait, there’s more!

The Alpha Strike Lance Packs add the following new battlemechs to our plastic pool

·         Guillotine

·         Stalker

·         Shogun

·         Cataphract

·         Raven

·         Vulcan

·         Flea

·         Firestarter

·         Charger

·         Orion

·         Hatchetman

·         Centurion

·         Wolfhound

·         Blackjack

·         Victor

If you picked up 1 of each of these products, you have 41 plastic battlemechs (2 of which aren’t in the 3039 Technical Readout).  Looking at the reference material, we’re missing the following units

·         Urbanmech

·         Hatamato-Chi

·         Daboku

·         Thorn

·         Hornet

·         Mongoose

·         Falcon

·         Hermes

·         Hussar

·         Sentinel

·         Wyvern

·         Crab

·         Kintaro

·         Champion

·         Lancelot

·         Bombardier

·         Black Knight

·         Flashman

·         Thug

·         Highlander

·         King Crab

·         Locust

·         Stinger

·         Wasp

·         Valkyrie

·         Ostscout

·         Phoenix Hawk

·         Griffin

·         Scorpion

·         Shadow Hawk

·         Wolverine

·         Ostroc

·         Ostsol

·         Rifleman

·         Crusader

·         Thunderbolt

·         Archer

·         Warhammer

·         Marauder

·         Goliath

·         Longbow

·         Marauder II

43 units that are missing models in plastic

Right at 48% of the battlemech units in the Technical Readout 3039 are available in plastic right now.  If the Alpha Strike starter product that’s rumored to be coming down the line contains 12 more of these units in plastic, that brings us up to 63% availability in plastic.  Additional lance packs that could follow that product (and this is purely speculative, I have no idea if there are even the dreams of more lance packs down the road) would add more.  If they keep the same production model of two reprints and two new ones (which worked for most of the original lance packs) that would mean we would probably get six more lance packs with 12 reprints and 12 new battlemechs.  That type of production would have 65 of the listed units from Technical Readout 3039 in plastic, (or 77% of the total). 

So what?  Why should we care about the plastic production of tiny plastic robots?  Well, if you’re a fan of Battletech the idea of plastic models has been something most of us have wanted for years.  They’re less expensive than the metal ones, travel a little easier, and in most cases are extremely hard to break.  The other point to consider from an Alpha Strike perspective is that cost effective force construction kits (lance packs, starter kits) make it easier to get new people into the hobby and the game.

From an in-universe standpoint, the units listed in Technical Readout 3039 are the most common battlefield units in the universe. These units are an excellent starting point for your collection means that you will have models for units that exist in almost every era of Battletech.  Not having to replace your army every six months is a huge incentive to finish off this collection of plastics. 

The dream the impossible dream side of me would like to see them do the same thing for combat vehicles, but I suspect that’s more of a pipe dream than anything else.  (His dream the impossible dream side wants plastic infantry). 


One last question still bugs me.  Why was the Shogun included in the fire support lance?  It doesn’t even have an entry in the TRO 3039.  There are other units that could have filled that slot, notably the Highlander or the King Crab.  Even slotting a heavy mech like the Quickdraw out of the Striker Lance Pack opens up a slot for the Hatamato Chi or the Daboku.  It just doesn’t fit the other choices for the Lance Packs. 

That’s our examination of the state of the plastic Battletech revolution (and our hope that it continues forward). 

Game On, Game Fans


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