Frankly, I didn’t like playing BattleTech that much when I first did so in the early 90s. However, I deeply enjoyed the fluff around it. Pictures of Mechs and background stories in Technical Readout 3025 and 3026 interested me much more than game values. I devoured the classic novels, like the Saga of the Gray Death Legion and Warrior triology. And still I think that Heir to the Dragon is one of the most enjoyable novels I ever read. In regard to gaming, BattleTech computer adaptions were a different story and Mechwarrior 2 is probably one of the computer games I played the most, up into the new millenia. But playing the boardgame never really got me hooked.
That changed until recently when I played BattleTech again after a long pause, more because a friend wanted to than expecting a good gaming session. But this is probably the story: Expect the least and you get the most. My mate owns a lot of the old metal Mechs, in contrast to the paper counters we played with in the early 90s. We had quiet some fun playing several games and so the feeling grew in me to get my own BattleMech army.
BattleTech – For me that is the first edition published in 1986, what is now called Classic BattleTech. Unfortunately, the old miniatures are not so easy to get. They are either used and can look worn or they can be very expensive. Modern sculpts are available from Iron Wind Metals for a reasonable price but sometimes it’s only the old RalPartha models which seem to be… well… right. And so the shopping tour started.
On Ebay we found several old blisters and boxes for a reasonable price. There were also some boxes for unreasonable prices, especially if you go for iconic “unseen” Mechs, like Warhammer or Marauder. My mate and I we purchased the “Regimental Command Lance” (Zeus, Oscout(!), Cyclops, Atlas) and “Pursuit Lance” (2x Commando, Jenner, Vulcan).
It’s a strange feeling to open boxes which were packed and sealed about 30 years ago. One might call them antiques. What makes them antique is that they still contain lead and the metal looks highly unhomogeneous. Even for 80s standard, the material was not of a high quality, I think. However, we shared the content and this is what I chose:
The second batch I ordered from a friend’s shop, where I once worked. The shop is closed since some years but online-business goes on and he still has a lot Mechs on his list. Suitable for Classic BattleTech I found an Enforcer, Vindicator and a Stalker. All of them new in blister then.
All models are resculpts from Iron Wind Metals. The Enforcer and especially the Vindicator have a nice dynamic pose, something that I miss in the old models very often. This creates a rather static und undramatic atmosphere in games. Mechs seem to be mere weapon platforms which can hardly move while, “in fact”, a 30 tonne Spider has a maximum speed of 130 km/h. Even an Atlas moves its 100 tonnes with up to 54 km/h. The metal here looks “fresher” than the material from the boxed sets (Which were also sealed the last 30 years!!!) and has a lower density. A nice side effect if you carry your army around.
Back on Ebay I found a guy who sold his collection of Mechs after 15 years in basement. Prices were reasonable and some very useful Mechs were on offer which are all still in good shape.
Rifleman, Centurion and Dervish are even nicely painted though they would need some repair here and there. I really have to think it over if I will repaint them. The Awesome was still in blister. Several others are primed, what means that the ravages of time couldn’t damage the old metal a lot. Strange thing: The Griffin‘s base is so big that it doesn’t fit into the hexbase and I had to cut away some of the base’s edge.
As some of the models from all batches came without hexbase, I printed them with a 3D-printer. Again I found everything I needed on thingiverse.
Not bad for the beginning. However, some of the classic Mechs are still missing. 🙂