BattleTech is a science-fiction “space opera”; a factional, militarised universe set in the thirty-first century. It is a future where humanity has spread to the stars and spawned titanic interstellar empires. Each nation controls hundreds of worlds across a region of space stretching a thousand light years and beyond.
Initially published over thirty years ago as a tabletop board game, BattleTech has gone on to become one of the gaming industry’s most important and longest-lasting science-fiction universes.
War in the Inner Sphere
It is the 31st century, a time of endless wars that rage across human-occupied space. As star empires clash, these epic wars are won and lost by BattleMechs, 30-foot-tall humanoid metal titans bristling with lasers, autocannons and dozens of other lethal weapons; enough firepower to level entire city blocks. Your elite force of MechWarriors drives these juggernauts into battle. They proudly hold your faction’s flag high, intent on expanding the power and glory of your realm. At their beck and call are the support units of armored vehicles, power armored infantry, aerospace fighters and more. All are wielded by a MechWarrior’s skillful command to aid him in ultimate victory. Will they become legends, or forgotten casualties in this time of total warfare? Only your skill and luck will determine their fate!
Miniatures are used to represent and track the location and facing of mechs and other units in BattleTech and various related games. Depending on the edition, the base game includes either a set of standees (paper 2D miniatures), plastic 3D miniatures, or both. Players may purchase additional miniatures that correspond to specific units in order to increase the range of units that can represented. In Battletech Alpha Strike and tabletop (non-hex map) rules for BattleTech use of 3D miniatures is standard.
3D miniatures in BattleTech generally uses a 1/285 or 6mm scale, though the consistency of scale can vary between or even within certain miniature lines. Miniatures in a different scale have been made to support both MechWarrior: The BattleTech Role Playing Game and BattleTroops. A few miniatures, using a larger scale, have also been produced for display purposes rather than for use in gameplay. Prepainted miniatures using WizKids' Clix system were also produced for MechWarrior: Dark Age Collectable Miniatures Game.
3D miniatures have been made using metal or plastic. Metal miniatures (often sold individually but possibly in packs) have been produced by Ral Partha and currently its successor, Iron Wind Metals. Plastic miniatures have been sold (nearly always in miniature packs) through FASA and Catalyst Game Labs when it took over the rights to BattleTech. The range of produced metal miniatures is quite broad and includes mechs, vehicles, infantry, battle armor, and aerospace units from several technical readouts. The range of plastic miniatures has historically been much narrower, typically confined to mechs from the late Succession Wars plus a few from the early Clan eras. The Clan Invasion Kickstarter, currently in the process of delivery, is greatly increasing the range of plastic miniatures available.
2D miniatures, called stand-ups or standees, have been made from various types of cardboard or heavy paper. These are cost-effective and generally compact to ship and store. Additional sets of these have been sold as Reinforcement packs, both by FASA and Catalyst Games Labs.
Paper/cardboard stand-ups (also called standees) have been included in the following introductory box sets.
A combination of plastic miniatures and die-cut cardboard stand-ups have been included in the following box sets.
Print and fold your own paper stand-ups for the twenty-four mechs in Classic BattleTech Boxed Set, Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set, 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set, and BattleTech Introductory Box Set were also provided electronically in Introductory Record Sheets, which was made freely available through the web by FanPro and Catalyst Game Labs.
In addition, standalone packs of paper stand-ups have been sold.
Note: A set of cardboard stand-ups and counters titled `Reinforcements: Clan Invasion Box Set' has also been announced as part of the Clan Invasion Kickstarter.
Plastic miniatures have been included in the following introductory box sets.
A combination of plastic miniatures and die-cut cardboard stand-ups have included in the following box sets.
Additionally, official plastic miniatures have been sold by the following companies.
Metal miniatures have been made and sold by the following companies.
- Ral Partha produced metal miniatures for BattleTech starting in 1985, through its acquisition by FASA, and until its spin-off as Iron Wind Metals in 2001. (Ral Partha produced a small number of miniatures in the late 1990's that had both metal parts and parts made from Partha Plastic (a type of resin). See Miniatures - Ral Partha.
- Iron Wind Metals, the direct successor to Ral Partha, has produced metal miniatures for BattleTech since its spin-off in 2001. See Miniatures - Iron Wind Metals.
- Armorcast produced some miniatures in a 1/60 (or 28mm) scale using polyurethane resin and lead-free pewter from 1999 through 2007. See Miniatures - Armorcast.
Miniatures - Catalyst Game Labs
In 2007, Catalyst Game Labs was formed and obtained licenses to Classic BattleTech. It has produced four introductory box sets (published in 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2019), each including a set of plastic miniatures. They developed and sold Alpha Strike Lance Packs in line with their third box set. With support from crowdfunding, they are in the process of releasing an Clan Invasion Box Set and attendant Force Packs.
Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set
The following BattleMech miniatures were included in the Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set.
Note: Unlike models from BattleTech 3rd edition or CityTech 2nd edition, no model of name are given on the base. Some models employed different base thicknesses, with a notable example being the Grasshopper which uses a relatively thin base.
Table Notes: The column denoted "Parts" gives the number of parts for each miniature prior to assembly. (Certain miniatures came with detachable arms, torsos, and fins.)
|35000||COM-2D||Commando||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||SDR-5V||Spider||2||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||JR7-D||Jenner||2||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||PNT-9R||Panther||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||ASN-21||Assassin||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||CDA-2A||Cicada||2||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||CLNT-2-3T||Clint||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||HER-2S||Hermes II||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||WTH-1||Whitworth||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||VND-1R||Vindicator||3||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||ENF-4R||Enforcer||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||HBK-4G||Hunchback||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||TBT-5N||Trebuchet||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||DV-6M||Dervish||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||DRG-1N||Dragon||2||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||QKD-4G||Quickdraw||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||CPLT-C1||Catapult||2||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||JM6-S||JagerMech||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||GHR-5H||Grasshopper||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||AWS-8Q||Awesome||3||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||ZEU-6S||Zeus||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||CP-10-Z||Cyclops||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||BNC-3E||Banshee||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
|35000||AS7-D||Atlas||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2007||Plastic|
25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set
The 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set, published in 2011, included the same 24 Inner Sphere 'Mechs as the Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set, plus two higher quality plastic Clan 'Mechs: a Summoner (Thor) and a Hellbringer (Loki). These latter two 'Mechs are described in the section 'Separate Premium Quality Plastic Miniatures'.
Certain reports suggest that the plastics used for basic 24 'Mechs in this set may differ from that used in the previous edition, that is the Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set, but the sculpts appear unchanged. At present, there is not a way known to distinguish a miniature originating from the Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set in 2007 and one originating from the 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set in 2011.
BattleTech Introductory Box Set and Alpha Strike Lance Packs
The BattleTech Introductory Box Set was published in 2013 with miniatures for the standard group of 24 'Mechs that had been in several prior box sets. The sculpts were revised from those used for used for the Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set and 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set. Also a different plastic and improved molding process was used. The 2013 Introductory Box Set also included two premium quality plastic miniatures: a Timber Wolf (Mad Cat) and a BattleMaster BLR-4S from Project Phoenix. These replaced the Thor and Loki that were included in the 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set. These two came on dedicated sprues and required assembly, unlike the base 24 models they accompanied. These two form a separate line and are described in the section 'Separate Premium Quality Plastic Miniatures'.
Catalyst Game Labs also released eight Alpha Strike Lance Packs starting in late 2014 and continuing through the middle of 2015 (generally introducing two packs every other month). Each lance pack included four miniatures and a set of Alpha Strike dry-erase cards. This collection of lance packs together included 17 miniatures from the 2013 box set plus 15 new miniatures with a similar sculpting style. Thus 39 miniatures comprise this particular line. A large number was molded on the underside of the base. This number can be used to identify the miniature.
Table Notes: The column denoted "Parts" gives the number of parts for each miniature prior to assembly.
There are some clear distinctions between these miniatures and those of the two prior box sets. For one, these employed a different style of base. The older lines had bases with textured tops, base heights dependent on the 'Mech, and no labels identifying the 'Mech. This new line had bases with flat, smooth tops, uniform base heights for all 'Mechs, and a large molded number on the center on the underside of the base the corresponded to the given 'Mech. Secondly, some of the 'Mechs from the older line were actually assembled from multiple parts but were remade to be molded as a single part in the new line. Thirdly, many of the finer details (such as poses and panel lines) are similar between this line and the former lines, but there are some details (such the number of missile ports on the Cyclops) did undergo some some revision. Fourthly, this new line involved a different plastic which among other things, was not as glossy. Fifthly, the general quality of the miniatures was considered improved (i.e., clearer details, less issues with shrinkage).
Grasshopper (2007/2011 on left, 2014 on right), front view
Grasshopper (2007/2011 on left, 2014 on right), right side view
Grasshopper (2007/2011 on left, 2014 on right), bottom of base
Atlas (2007/2011 on left, 2014 on right), front view
Atlas (2007/2011 on left, 2014 on right), right side view
Atlas (2007/2011 on left, 2014 on right), bottom of base
Catapult (2007/2011 on left, 2015 on right), front view
Catapult (2007/2011 on left, 2015 on right), front view (disassembled)
Catapult (2007/2011 on left, 2015 on right), right side view
Catapult (2007/2011 on left, 2015 on right), bottom of base
Cyclops (2007/2011 on left, 2015 on right), front view
Cyclops (2007/2011 on left, 2015 on right), right side view
Separate Premium Quality Plastic Miniatures
Both the 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set and the BattleTech Introductory Box Set included two premium plastic miniatures of a different style and arrangement from the base 24 miniatures included in each. The 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set included two Clan 'Mechs: a Summoner (Thor) and a Hellbringer (Loki). The BattleTech Introductory Box Set included a Timber Wolf (Mad Cat) and a BattleMaster BLR-4S from Project Phoenix. These miniatures came unassembled with parts still attached to sprues.
Catalyst Game Labs had sold Thor and Loki miniatures in 2009, thus prior to the release of the 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set. These miniatures were announced as being developed in partnership Ghost Studios. The plastic used was high detail HIPS (High Impact Poly Styrene).
BattleTech Beginner Box and BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat
The following BattleMech miniatures were included in the BattleTech Beginner Box and BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat. These were molded in gray plastic and then attached to a black plastic hex base. (In contrast, each plastic miniature prior to this had an integrated base that was molded directly as part of the miniature.) A small molded number is given on the underside of the base either near the front or back rim (with bottom of the text being oriented towards the model's front side). The Wolverine was included in both sets.
Table Notes: The column denoted "Parts" gives the number of parts for each miniature prior to assembly.
|Base Number||Catalog Number||Model||Name||Parts||Manufacturer||Year||Material|
|1||35020||GFN-1N||Griffin||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
|2||35020/3500D||WVR-6R||Wolverine||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
|3||3500D||AWS-8Q||Awesome||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
|4||3500D||CPLT-C1||Catapult||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
|5||3500D||TDR-5S||Thunderbolt||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
|6||3500D||COM-2D||Commando||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
|7||3500D||BLR-1G||BattleMaster||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
|8||3500D||SHD-2H||Shadow Hawk||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
|9||3500D||LCT-1V||Locust||1||Catalyst Game Labs||2019||Plastic|
BattleTech Clan Invasion
Further miniatures are being produced in BattleTech: Clan Invasion, published in 2020, along with related Force Packs and Salvage Boxes. Similar to miniatures from the BattleTech Beginner Box and BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat, these were molded in gray plastic and then attached to a black plastic hex base. Models in this line have a small number printed on the underside of the base.
Table Notes: The column denoted "Parts" gives the number of parts for each miniature prior to assembly.
Wave 1 of the Kickstarter was released in late 2020
The next great BattleTech game is headed to the table with the Clan Invasion expansion
In 2019, Catalyst Game Labs revitalized the BattleTech franchise with an excellent pair of boxed sets. But, while the miniatures were out of this world, the gameplay inside those boxes was a little thin.
Now Catalyst is moving the timeline forward with BattleTech: Clan Invasion, a $49.99 boxed set that celebrates one of the most titanic confrontations in strategy gaming history. It includes another batch of gorgeous new minis, plus tons more content for players looking to field a lance (or a star) of big stompy robots on the kitchen table.
The Clan Invasion project started last year as a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. More than 11,000 backers showed up with nearly $2.6 million, making it one of the crowdfunding platform’s largest campaigns of the year. Products started shipping recently to backers and the press, delayed slightly by the ongoing global pandemic. The centerpiece is the boxed set — the tenth in the game’s 35-year history.
Inside you’ll find six new sculpts, including two bases (10 total) of the Clan’s infamous Elemental powered armor. These genetically modified warriors are able to leap on top of other BattleMechs and tear them apart with their bare hands. Also included in this boxed set is the iconic TimberWolf-class OmniMech, easily one of the most formidable — and expensive — units in BattleTech history.
The boxed set doesn’t stop there, however. A short story by bestselling author Blaine Lee Pardoe helps set the tone for the Clan, a futuristic mashup of ancient Earth’s warrior cultures. There’s two double-sided battle mats, a selection of cardboard terrain, and 10 full-color cardboard standees. There’s even a double-sided map of the entire galaxy, both before and after the eponymous Clan Invasion. Toss in a stack of record sheets, and it’s a veritable campaign in a box.
Compared to the previous deluxe starter set, BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat, the biggest addition here are the rules for customizing your own unit of ’Mechs from the ground up. The level of complexity also gets ratcheted up quite a bit, with offensive and defensive items like pulse lasers and Anti-Missile Systems (AMS) making an appearance. The slim 32-page rulebook includes everything you need to outfit your own units from scratch. The three included scenarios are also a lot more fleshed out, and include plenty of replayability.
Also joining the Clan Invasion line in early 2021 are a series of booster packs — dubbed ForcePacks — which include additional miniatures for both the Inner Sphere and the Clans. Among these models are many of the Unseen — units long ago trapped in a morass of litigation between rival publishers that was fought throughout the ’90s and into the 2000s. It’s awesome to finally see upgraded versions of units like the Battlemaster and the Marauder in all their glory, beefed up to match the lines’ other chunky sculpts. All of the models are ready to paint, fully assembled and with only a modicum of mold lines to remove.
- The Clan Command Star includes a Dire wolf, Stormcrow, Mist Lynx, and a Shadow Cat. Retail price is $24.99 Image: Charlie Hall/Polygon
- An Inner Sphere Command Lance, including a Marauder, Archer, Valkyrie, and a Stinger. Retail is $19.99. Image: Charlie Hall/Polygon
- A Clan Heavy Striker Star, including a Gargoyle, Hellbringer, Mad God, Ice Ferret, and a Viper ‘Mech. Retail is $24.99. Image: Charlie Hall/Polygon
- An Inner Sphere Battle Lance, including a Warhammer, Rifleman, Phoenix Hawk, and a Wasp ‘Mech. Retail is $19.99. Image: Charlie Hall/Polygon
- A Star of Clan Elementals. Retail is $24.99. Image: Charlie Hall/Polygon
The BattleTech fandom reached a high water mark in 2019, following the release of Harebrained Schemes’ BattleTech and Piranha Games’ MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. It was recently announced that the developers behind MechWarrior Online had secured the license to the franchise from Microsoft for another five years. And now, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign and this retail launch, we know that the tabletop franchise still has plenty of life left in it.
Look for BattleTech: Clan Invasion to go on sale at the Catalyst digital storefront (and at local game stores) on Nov. 27 (aka Black Friday). And keep an eye out for BattleTech’sBattle of Tukayyid, a transmedia project including novelizations, sourcebooks, and a campaign that will follow.
BattleTech: Clan Invasion goes up for pre-order on Nov. 27. The expansion was reviewed with retail product provided by Catalyst Games Labs. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.
BattleTech: Clan Invasion
Prices taken at time of publishing.
The tenth boxed set in BattleTech history celebrates the arrival of Karensky’s descendents, the deadly Clans, and their powerful OmniMechs.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.
Miniatures & Boxed Sets
- The set fits exactly into the original board game box for the "BattleTech: Clan Invasion" Box Set from Catalyst Game Labs.
- Provides space for all seven plastic miniatures, the additional OmniMechs standees (alternatively the corresponding plastic miniatures) and the rest of the game material from the starter box.
- All cards also fit with sleeves.
- The Record Sheet Booklet, Clan Invasion Primer, Reference Sheet, the Paper Maps, the Novella, and the Rulebook are placed on the foam topper.
The set includes:
- 1 foam tray for miniatures and accessories (FCMEZS050BO)
- 1 foam topper
The insert fits exactly into the original game box from Catalyst Game Labs and provides protection and order for Mech models and game material. This also fits in the "BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat' Box Set.
Seven compartments are tailor-made for the plastic miniatures of the five OmniMechs (Executioner, Timber Wolf, Nova, Grendel and Adder) and the two bases of the Elementals.
Individually cut compartments made of soft foam reliably protect the filigree details of your miniatures from damage. Even during transport the figures stay safe in place. If you paint your models, you can also be ensured that the colors are protected from scratches and abrasion.
In addition, the foam tray has 10 compartments for the OmniMech standees. The corresponding plastic miniatures will also fit in here. So if you want to exchange your cardboard standees for miniatures, no problem.
The 10 compartments have the following dimensions:
- 6 compartments: 50 mm long x 40 mm wide x 40 mm deep
- 2 compartments: 60 mm long x 45 mm wide x 40 mm deep
- 2 compartments: 54 mm long x 40 mm wide x 40 mm deep
For the terrain tiles, the two dice, and the playing cards the large compartment offers you enough space. All cards also fit with sleeves into the compartment.
The matching foam topper closes the whole thing. Put the Record Sheet Booklet, Clan Invasion Primer, Reference Sheet, the Paper Maps, the Novella, and the Rulebook on top, and everything is neatly and securely stowed away.
- The foam tray measures: 285 mm x 230 mm x 50 mm total height (40 mm usable height + 10 mm foam base)
- high-quality, fine pored foam
- chlorine and acid-free
- Made in Germany
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