So firstly, I must apologize. I said I wouldn’t do 3D Printed Battletech on the blog, but this is a special case. Firstly, I own all but one of these Mechs in plastic, and they are either in my possession or on the way, so I don’t feel overly bad about these guys. I’ve still supported Catalyst Game Labs. And two, I was not motivated to print these designs because of Battletech specifically, rather the Anime the team at FASA licensed some of the designs from.
I’m not actually the biggest Anime fan. I watch a hell of a lot of Slice of Life stuff, that being mostly mindless brain bleach for when I need to get my mind off something, but mostly I tend to get turned off the melodramatic plots that so plague some of the more serious offerings.
An exception to this is Mecha anime. Whereas western Mecha productions tend to be cartoons aimed at kids, like Transformers, or an excuse for some amazing action, like Pacific Rim, the Japanese have taken an altogether different tack.
The Japanese tend to aim their Mecha shows at children and young adults as well, but they aren’t afraid to tell much more adult storylines. Gundam is actually a pretty brutal premise after all, and my first anime was Gundam Seed, which while very melodramatic, didn’t shy away from incredibly violent deaths and adult themes like genocide and extinction. However, Gundam tells very grand stories, about grand heroes.
I prefer, overall, more down to earth stories. It was recommended to me a while ago to try out Gundam 08th MS Team, a short-run offshoot that focused on the ground war. It is best described as Mobile Suit: Vietnam, with Romeo and Juliet added. While also excellent, and I highly recommend it, it still has the ‘super-weapon’ plot of many other Gundam shows. It did scratch my itch for realistic Mecha anime for a while however.
That was until earlier this week, while on a Battletech lore binge, I discovered one of it’s influences, an anime called Fang of the Sun Dougram. While I knew Battletech pulled much of their early mech designs from the show, I didn’t know just how realistic the tale it told was. As Tv Tropes puts it, “unlike Mobile Suit Gundam, Dougram doesn’t threaten the characters with superweapons which might end civilization at a stroke; it threatens them with politics and economics instead, which, over enough time, will have the same effect.“
That was very interesting to me. And I’m glad I gave it a chance! While I have yet to complete it, it tells a very strong story of how independence movements and revolutions end; not in battle, but at the negotiation table. And it helps that the action is very much a ground war. Gone are Mobile Suits flying in the air in dogfights, these ‘Combat Armor’ Mecha fight slow, plodding fights on the ground, where the most you have is jump-jets to maneuver vertically. Ground vehicles and infantry kill Combat Armor regularly, and the hero mecha, the Dougram, is simply better armoured and adapted for the local environment, and were it not for the skill of the pilot, Crinn, it would be just as easily destroyed.
Now, how does that lead into Battletech Tabletop? Well, while I was waiting for my plastic Mechs to arrive from Quebec, I found online some amazing Dougram Mecha in 6mm. While designed for use in Battletech, and equipped accordingly, they take their inspiration from the original source material. These designs were called the Unseen, because of all the legal trouble FASA had when it turned out the place they licensed the designs from may not have had the legal right to do so in the first place. To avoid any further litigation, these designs were shelved until redesigned much later.
What Thunderhead Studios has done is re-invent these older designs, and brought them up to a modern standard. While definitely old school, they are as crisply defined as a 3D printer can do, and look frankly amazing. I was completely smitten as soon as I started printing them! While I was a bit of a muppet removing the supports, and leaving an awful lot of damage on the models, most will be able to be fixed later. For now, let’s take a look at them!
All in all, a solid day’s worth of printing. I really enjoyed doing these, and I really want to get some paint to spray them all up. I used up my Grey, Russian Uniform, and Red spray cans, which leaves some German Field Grey and Silver. I’m probably going to hold out for another can of green coloured spray paint, as I want these guys to have a very down to earth, military paint scheme.
My 3D printing might have to take a hiatus soon, as my resin stocks are running low, and there is no stock available of Elegoo Grey resin available. I might switch to Phrozen Aqua Green, which has the advantage of being calibrated for my printer already. We shall see!
Anyways, that is all I have for you fine folks today. I’ll try and get these, and my official mechs, painted as soon as possible. Then I can show them off!
Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and keep your heat low!