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"Plastic Battletech miniatures" Topic

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3,358 hits since 28 Mar 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Dedthom Inactive Member28 Mar 2012 7:33 p.m. PST

Hey all,
I have been thrashing thru the Battletech Inroductory box set(not the latest but the one before) and I find the mechs to be hideous and absurd. Some of the 40 ton mechs are smaller than the 30 tonners. The casting and material are horrible.
But looking at the new box set, there are 2 "fine detail" mechs included that look pretty good, at least on the information super highway they do.
My questions is, why doesn't someone make all the mechs in plastic? I would expect they would be cheaper. While paying 9 or more bucks for 1 metal mech is cheaper then Warhammer single miniatures it still galls me.
Even the horrible plastic mechs that come in the older and new box are "good enough for the girls we go out with" once you do some fiddling and painting.
So why hasn't Battletech been converted to plastic?

Lion in the Stars28 Mar 2012 8:05 p.m. PST

Initial startup costs.

Injection-molded plastic costs about 10-20x more to create the 'tool' initially than a mold for metal models.

This means you need to sell a lot more of that model just to pay for the mold.

Stryderg28 Mar 2012 8:34 p.m. PST

While not official, check out:
Look for: Meck Wars 30 Meck Box Set and Rules
Images: link

Caveat Emptor: I have not dealt with either of these companies. I got mine from a local game store. 30 'giant robots' in the box, you can mix and match the weapons/arms.

Dedthom Inactive Member28 Mar 2012 8:46 p.m. PST

I remember those giant robot minis, a local shop carried them and space marine type miniatures.
I have one of the robot I got in a box of odds and ends, haven't seen a box of them in a long time.

GypsyComet28 Mar 2012 9:56 p.m. PST

The current Battletech plastics are a bit soft on detail, but prime and paint fine. You just have to paint the lines instead of depending on the mini for them.

billthecat28 Mar 2012 11:41 p.m. PST

…Check out eM4 miniatures…

Cherno29 Mar 2012 3:53 a.m. PST

The fact that BattleTech is arguably a niche product plus the hundreds, if not thousands, of different mech models to choose from would make an all-plastic range far too expensive.

I agree that the plastic minis from the box set are sub-standard and something companies like FFG would never include, but I guess they had to cut costs and re-use the old molds again for this release.

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2012 4:43 a.m. PST

I'd second bill's suggestion to go EM4 if you want steel legion mechs. When you figure in shipping, they're cheaper (unless you buy their multi-box deal).

Slightly off topic, as for the starer box BT mechs, they aren't good enough for most BT players to accept who have been raised on the high quality sculpts of IWM and Ral Partha. I have a feeling that the problems are a casting process problem. The plastic boxed set mechs are plastic versions of the early metal Ral Partha sculpts, and many of the plastics suffer from concave surfaces, poor detail, and heavy mold lines that were not present on the originals. These are the same problems that plagued the 90's box set starter set mechs (different sculpts)who also came in the same soft plastic that can't be filed.

I think there's some company (Perhaps IWM?) that has a way of cheaply producing soft-plastic mechs (with mediocre results) for far less cost than the cost of regular plastic tooling and FASA and Catalyst are using them.

I have heard that the two high quality plastic omnimechs are produced by a different company entirely.

Lastly, if you get a Truely bad mech, there's a form on the Catalyst games website you can use to request replacements.

GypsyComet29 Mar 2012 5:15 a.m. PST

"they aren't good enough for most BT players to accept who have been raised on the high quality sculpts of IWM and Ral Partha."

The solution to that, I found some years ago, is to stick to darker paint schemes. When the models are low or shallow on surface detail, washes are the enemy.

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2012 6:57 a.m. PST

That seems like a good idea. I recently bought the new starter set and dug out my old 90's plastics with the intention of painting them all at some point. It will take some effort (lots of knife work, cutting panel lines, re positioning, etc), but I think I could get them all to tabletop acceptable quality.

I didn't mean that the figs were completely unworkable, but that converting the whole range to their current soft plastic would not be acceptable to most BT players.

As for the higher quality plastic that the omnis come in, the sculpts are great, but the BT range is far too vast to make it economically feasible for even a large portion of their codes to be done in plastic. Still, there are always rumors that Catalyst is planning a couple more of these mechs for a boxed set…

wargame insomniac Inactive Member30 Mar 2012 8:44 a.m. PST

The new starter sets do paint up well and look fine on the tabletop.

As others have mentioned it is more expensive to do plastic minis in terms of initial start up costs but cheaper long term in respect of casting costs. So you see the likes of GW doing the high volume unit kits in plastic and the smaller volume character kits in metal/resin.

For Battletech there are quite literally hundreds of product lines. Would be financially impossible to do all these in plastic without big jump in price. So catalyst sticks to doing just the initial 24 starter set mechs in plastic and the rest of the line in metal.

The starter set mechs are a few years old now. I beleive they have learned from those and have applied these lessons to the new high quality Thor/Loki models.



Zinkala30 Mar 2012 8:57 a.m. PST

Is there anywhere I could buy just the plastic mechs without getting the whole rules box? I've got the old rules from so many years ago and I've grabbed a bunch of the free downloads but I'd like some minis and I'm a pretty tight gaming budget right now.

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2012 4:55 p.m. PST

They aren't sold new separately, but the plastics show up pretty often on ebay for a couple bucks apiece.

The new plastic mechs are an entirely different process. Catalyst has gone on record saying they won't be redoing the boxed set mechs in the new style, but that there might be future releases of the new hard-plastic mechs.

Zinkala30 Mar 2012 5:35 p.m. PST

I looked around some and learned I could get the box for about $50 USD so I may pick it up. That's not a bad price even if I didn't want the books.

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