Unseen refers to certain imagery, namely the visual appearance of a number of iconic BattleMechs, that has not been depicted in official publications since 1994 for legal reasons. The units as such—their BattleTech names, game stats and history—always remained part of the BattleTech canon.

The term "unseen" is alternatively used either as a noun, to summarily refer to the real-world imagery as such or to the particular in-universe 'Mechs (and subvariants) in question, or as an adjective.

The list of Unseen has repeatedly changed over time, with some individual designs put on and removed from the list several times. Starting in July 2015, Catalyst Game Labs began to release entirely new art that is meant to retroactively replace the unseen imagery, in what is one of the few true retcons of BattleTech lore. This new art largely retains the signature characteristics of the 'Mechs in question and the new designs are similar enough to be instantly recognizable yet at the same time are different enough to be considered new, distinct art that does not infringe on possible other intellectual properties (IPs).


Main article: Unseen lawsuits


When FASA created the Battledroids boardgame in 1984 that would become BattleTech, the designers licensed the rights from Twentieth Century Imports (TCI) to use certain pre-existing mecha from the Japanese anime series' The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Fang of the Sun Dougram and Crusher Joe. These were then used as visual representation of several BattleMechs and other units within the BattleTech universe, under new BattleTech-specific names and with BattleTech game stats devised entirely by FASA.

During a series of lawsuits FASA found out that TCI, from whom FASA's rights to the images derived, might not have been in a legal position to provide these rights to FASA in the first place. However, this was ultimately never decided. The lawsuits were settled out of court in 1994.

As part of the settlement agreement which has not been disclosed to the public, FASA forfeited the right to use the images in question henceforth. This affected many core designs which have been described as the bedrock of the BattleTech universe at the time, and thus was a serious blow to FASA. All existing products featuring pictures of the "Unseen", be it on the cover or within the rulebooks—effectively most if not all BattleTech publications—had to be discontinued, and while numerous other original designs remained that could still be depicted, this massively affected the BattleTech line.

Beyond the specific artwork covered in the Unseen lawsuits, FASA decided to treat all designs as Unseen that had been developed out-of-house, such as the designs made for FASA by Victor Musical Industries, Inc.. As a result, there could be said to be several types of "Unseen" art:

  • Images which FASA agreed not to use or show anymore in the settlement agreement;
  • Images which were not contested, but which also derive from the same original Japanese sources and were lumped in with the contested artwork afterwards;
  • Images to which FASA did obtain the rights, but which, being out-of-house artwork, are not used anymore on general principle.

25 Years of Art and Fiction[edit]

On 24 June 2009 it was announced that Catalyst Game Labs would resume use of the original Unseen artwork. The announcement did not explicitly mention whether or not Catalyst Game Labs had secured the permissions needed, though that was the general impression.[1] This was just prior to the print publication of the BattleTech: 25 Years of Art & Fiction anniversary tome.

Shortly afterwards, the BattleTech: 25 Years of Art & Fiction PDF was pulled from circulation. Managing editor Randall Bills made a statement on Catalyst Game Labs' website on 10 August 2009 where he explained with regret that twelve designs, originating from Macross, were again pulled from circulation and will remain Unseen, due to their exclusive distribution rights (outside of Japan) belonging to another company (Harmony Gold). Apparently, CGL had been unawares of a hitherto confidential clause in the original settlement agreement.[2] Still, roughly half of the Unseen artwork had been recovered for BattleTech. During this period of time, (formerly) Unseen art appeared in several products including the print edition of 25 Years of Art and Fiction (different from the initial PDF release in that the Macross designs had been removed again), Record Sheets: Operation Klondike, Historical Turning Points: Galtor, Historical: Reunification War, and Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade.

To avoid the possibility of future legal issues in what was perceived as a legal minefield, CGL decided to revert to the previous Unseen situation.


In 2015 CGL announced that they had opted for a proper retcon, and that new art would be published to retroactively supplant the Unseen designs and put the issue to rest for good. Since then, various products have appeared featuring new yet recognizable artwork for the classic Unseen.


Coined after the term Unseen, the term Reseen is used to describe artwork that is legal to use though it does depict what would normally be an Unseen design. Like with the Unseen, there are several distinct types of Reseen art:

  • In 2003, Technical Readout: Project Phoenix was published with upgrades and newer versions for most of the Unseen 'Mechs, as of the in-game year 3067. Dubbed "Reseen", these evolutions were sufficiently visually different from their parent designs that they could be depicted. Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade continued with Phoenix upgrades for the remaining "Unseen" 'Mechs, and the "Reseen" Samurai aerospace fighter first appeared in AeroTech 2 Revised Edition and then in Technical Readout: 3039.
    To wit, the Reseen did not replace the Unseen variants or retcon them out. They are new, additional designs with new art that appeared later on in the in-universe timeline, meant to gradually replace the Unseen as the timeline progresses.
  • The term "Reseen" is also applied to designs that were considered Unseen at one point, but were taken off the list again for one reason or another.
  • Finally, the new designs that retroactively replaced the old Unseen from 2015 onwards have also been referred to as Reseen.

Affected Designs[edit]

All of the Unseen have at least one Reseen variant. Please refer to the list of Unseen.

Some highlights:

  • The original Ostscout, Ostroc, and Ostsol variants were Unseen at one point, but were removed from the list. Their original variants can legally be used with their original artwork.
  • The 3025 Galleon Light Tank remains Unseen, but subsequent variants are Reseen, using revised artwork.

An exact listing of which variants are Unseen and which are Reseen for all affected BattleMechs and vehicles is desired, but currently unavailable.

Alphabetical List of the "Unseen"[edit]

Black Python (Viper)
Conjurer (Hellhound)
Galleon Light Tank (Only the image from Technical Readout: 3025)
Glass Spider (Galahad)
Grand Crusader
Griffin IIC
Horned Owl (Peregrine)
Howler (Baboon)
Incubus (Vixen)
Jenner IIC
Locust IIC
Marauder II
Marauder IIC
Phoenix Hawk
Phoenix Hawk IIC
Phoenix Hawk LAM
Rifleman IIC
Samurai AeroSpace Fighter
Shadow Hawk
Shadow Hawk IIC
Stinger LAM
Vapor Eagle (Goshawk)
Warhammer IIC
Wasp LAM

Origins of the Unseen[edit]

Below, the Unseen are divided into categories based on their original series or creator. Each unit is listed by its BattleTech name first, followed by the model and/or name used in its original series (where applicable).

Super Dimension Fortress Macross[edit]

  • VF-1 Valkyrie

This Mecha from the Super Dimension Fortress Macross series normally transformed into the three combat modes recognized in BattleTech by Land Air 'Mechs. Within the BattleTech game this one vehicle was split into distinct non-transformable 'Mechs models and LAM models. The LAMs, true to their artistic origin, could transform into aerospace fighter, hybrid, and 'Mech mode.

Wasp - VF-1S
Wasp LAM - VF-1S
Stinger - VF-1A
Stinger LAM - VF-1A
Valkyrie - VF-1S
Phoenix Hawk - VF-1S Super Valkyrie
Phoenix Hawk LAM - VF-1S Super Valkyrie
Crusader - VF-1A Armored Valkyrie
  • Destroids
Rifleman - ADR-04-Mk.X Destroid Defender
Archer - MBR-07-Mk.II Destroid Spartan
Warhammer - MBR-04-Mk.VI Destroid Tomahawk
Longbow - SDR-04-Mk.XII Destroid Phalanx
  • Zentradi Tactical Pods
Marauder - Glaug Commander Type
Marauder II - Glaug Commander Type
  • Returned
In December of 2011, BattleTech's line developer ruled that the Ostscout, Ostsol, and Ostroc were sufficiently different from their inspiration (Regult Scout Pod, Regult Battle Pod, and Regult Heavy Missile Pod, respectively) to be removed from the "Unseen" list.[3]

Crusher Joe[edit]

Locust - Ostall
Samurai AeroSpace Fighter - TR-5 Harpy
Galleon Light Tank (3025) - Galleon
  • Returned
The Technical Readout: 3058 version of the Galleon was ruled, in December 2011, to be similar enough to the original that it should be removed[3], however, that decision was reversed in November 2014.[4]
  • Other units of note
While inspired by Crusher Joe images, the following have never been "Unseen":
Sparrowhawk AeroSpace Fighter - TR-5 Harpy and SR-5 Siren
Corsair AeroSpace Fighter - SR-5 Siren
Leopard Dropship - Minerva

Fang of the Sun: Dougram[edit]

Shadow Hawk - Dougram
Griffin - Soltic H8 Roundfacer
Scorpion - F35C Blizzard Gunner
Wolverine - Abitate T-10B/T-10C Blockhead
Thunderbolt - Hasty F4X Ironfoot
Goliath - Abitate F44A Crab Gunner
Battlemaster - Soltic HT-128 Bigfoot

Victor Musical Industries, Inc.[edit]

These images by Victor Musical Industries, Inc. were created for BattleTech but were removed to prevent the possibility of future legal issues. Note that while the IIC images (with the exception of the Jenner IIC) are obviously inspired by images taken from SDF Macross, they were removed only because they were created by an "out-of-house" source.

Grand Crusader
Howler (Baboon)
Locust IIC
Incubus (Vixen)
Jenner IIC
Horned Owl (Peregrine)
Griffin IIC
Shadow Hawk IIC
Conjurer (Hellhound)
Vapor Eagle (Goshawk)
Glass Spider (Galahad)
Rifleman IIC
Black Python (Viper)
Warhammer IIC
Phoenix Hawk IIC
Marauder IIC
Stone Rhino (Behemoth)
Bane (Kraken)


  1. Catalyst Game Labs website, "Catalyst Game Labs Brings Back “Unseen”"
  2. Catalyst Game Labs website, "Sometimes Things Just Don’t Go As We Want Them To"
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://bg.battletech.com/forums/miniatures/the-unseen-a-reseen-iic-explanation-and-a-list-(updated-december-2011)/msg326119/#msg326119
  4. http://bg.battletech.com/forums/miniatures/the-unseen-a-reseen-iic-explanation-and-a-list-(updated-december-2011)/msg987134/#msg987134