TCI Model Sets
|TCI Model Sets|
|Publisher||Twentieth Century Imports|
- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 Description
- 4 Set 1: Shadowhawk & Scorpion
- 5 Set 2: Griffin & Locust
- 6 Set 3: Thunderbolt & Battlemaster
- 7 Set 4: Wolverine & Goliath
- 8 Set 5: Crusader & Archer
- 9 Set 6: Rifleman & Warhammer
- 10 Set 7: Marauder & Ostroc Mk II
- 11 Set 8: Wasp & Wasp L.A.M.
- 12 Set 9: Stinger & Stinger LAM
- 13 Set 10: Phoenix Hawk & Phoenix Hawk LAM
- 14 Set 11: Wasp Aerospace Fighter & Phoenix Hawk Aerospace Fighter
- 15 Set 12: Leopard Class DropShip, Marauder, Crusader
The TCI (Twentieth Century Imports) model kits were a range of imported preexisting Japanese model kits that were relabeled or repackaged to be sold as BattleTech game supplements by TCI in conjunction with FASA, complete with BattleTech game stats and scenario/background information.
These models had originally been made for the Japanese anime shows from which the original (and later Unseen) BattleMech designs derived, which FASA had also licensed from TCI. Accordingly, the accompanying booklets with scenario, BattleTech game stats and assembly instructions stated
- "Molding by Nitto Originally Dougram™ and Crusher Joe & The Hunters™, licensed by Nippan [sic] Sunrise of Japan, Exclusively manufactured for TCI. Contents & Packaging © 1986 by Twentieth Century Imports. BattleTech & Concepts™ 1985 by FASA Corporation. With sincere thanks to Tatsunoko Productions and Nippan Sunrise of Japan."
When FASA originally released Battledroids in 1984, they licensed—or so they thought—from TCI the rights to use the visual appearance of certain mecha from Japanese anime series to represent the Battledroids in their game. FASA also included two models in the Battledroids boxed set, although these models were too big for the mapsheet's hex bases, and paper cutouts were provided for all units in the game as playing pieces.
(The game would be renamed BattleTech for its second edition, and the Battledroids were renamed BattleMechs. The Japanese series from which the BattleMech designs derived were The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Fang of the Sun Dougram, and Crusher Joe.)
The models had all been available from TCI, who imported them from their various sources in Japan. The models were sold individually, in their original packaging, but the Macross/Robotech models were also repackaged and sold by Testors as R.O.B.O.T. models. They were the exact same models as appeared in the TCI BattleTech sets, but they only included one model and cost $5 each (the TCI BattleTech sets were about $8 and included two kits and the BattleTech scenario).
FASA and TCI worked together to release a number of additional models individually in their original Japanese boxes, but with the Battledroids stats for the Battledroid glued to the back of the box. In this way, they expanded the initial offering of Battledroids to include the as yet unheard of BattleMaster, Thunderbolt, Wolverine, and Scorpion.
After Battledroids was rebranded as BattleTech, 2nd Edition, the plastic models were removed from the game box. FASA and TCI stopped selling the individual model kits, but did release the rebranded and repackaged kits as quasi-expansions for those who still used the plastic models in place of the rapidly expanding and increasingly popular lead/pewter designs. These kits were packaged in the now familiar twofer packages featuring the trademark BattleTech logo and iconic rampaging Warhammer on the cover, and line drawing of the featured 'Mechs in the set on the back. Initially, only four sets were released, but the line was expanded to six, then eight, and ultimately twelve different sets.
Except for the last one, each set contained the same basic packaging and contents: two packaged models with decals, a scenario booklet pitting the two featured 'Mechs against one another with "historical" background and story (though no date is given for the scenarios), game stats for the two 'Mechs, line drawing schematics of the 'Mechs, and TCI/FASA advertisements.
Although the sizes of the models were all similar, between 3 and 4 inches tall, the scales of the machines they represented varied widely. All of the Macross/Robotech models were 1/200 scale; the Dougram/Fang of the Sun models were mostly 1/144 although the Scorpion and Goliath models were 1/200. The Locust (a.k.a. Crusher Joe Ostall) was released in two sizes, 1/48 and 1/32. The models packaged in the TCI kits was the smaller 1/48. Even at the smaller scale, the ostensibly 20-ton Locust towered over the other "larger" 'Mechs.
Other models from these series were available from TCI at the time, including the 1/144 scale Desert Gunner from Dougram, and the 1/200 scale Destroid Monster from Macross. FASA never released BattleTech stats for either of these designs, though the Destroid Monster is thought to be the inspiration behind the BattleTech Behemoth.
As the popularity of BattleTech increased and the number of 'Mech designs expanded, FASA gradually stopped supporting the plastic models (which were limited to about 20 models, and were too large for the game boards in any case) and focused instead on developing their lead/pewter designs. As the popularity of the model kits waned, FASA and TCI ceased collaborating on releasing any additional kits or sets. TCI continued to import kits from Japan, but retailers focused on the larger scale models (primarily 1/100, 1/72, and 1/48). The smaller kits were viewed more as toys and by the early to mid-90s, the kits were gone from the shelves of most hobby shops and game stores entirely.
In the early 2000s, the Japanese company Nichimo announced that they would re-release the old Macross designs, which they did in shiny new packaging. These kits were cleaned molds of the original designs with sharper lines and clearer detail. Nichimo also included not one but two complete models in each box, each molded in a slightly different color. The kits retailed for about $10 new and quickly sold through multiple production runs.
After the success of the Nichimo Macross kits, the model company Doyusha released the "30th Anniversary" Dougram box set featuring the ten original designs from that series.
Set 1: Shadowhawk & Scorpion
- Scenario "Lone Wolf"
- Captain Von Hister is lying in ambush on Valhalla VI, his Scorpion hidden in a dense patch of forest. He is part of a "Wolf Pack" together with a Hunter Assault Tank. So far they have been very successful, picking off smaller 'Mechs of up to 30 tons; but now a Shadow Hawk (one Lt. Blanchard) is approaching and Von Hister wants to capture it.
The scenario fluff and one excerpt from "Jane's Book of 'Mechs" suggest that the Scorpion has a spacious crew compartment, allowing for a crew of three to operate it around the clock in shifts. They would form Wolf Packs, small and fast attack groups, together with fast tanks to pick off smaller enemy 'Mechs.
Notably, the HNT-3R Hunter tank described in this scenario differs from both the vehicle of the same name in the Battledroids rulebook and from the classic 35-ton tracked Hunter tank introduced in CityTech and the Technical Readout: 3026. It is a wheeled 20-ton vehicle with a fusion engine, 8/12 movement profile, no turret, a front-mounted PPC, and 5 tons of armor distributed 32 (front), 17 (each side), 14 (back).
This set also contained rules for quadrupedal 'Mechs that are different from the rules BattleTech would eventually adopt.
Set 2: Griffin & Locust
- Scenario "End Run"
- Recently uncovered BattleMech supply depots on Holloway V in Draconis Combine space are attacked elements of the 7th Crucis Lancers on the return leg from a deep raid mission. With time running short in the face of inbound reinforcements, Crucis Lancers captain Tsurami in her Griffin has to destroy a command bunker that controls the fixed defenses in the depots. Defending the bunker are three gun turrets and a Locust from the Holloway Defense Militia #012.
Set 3: Thunderbolt & Battlemaster
Set 3 'Mechs
- Scenario "Operation Mad House"
- A House Marik raid on New London has failed in the face of unexpected enemy naval assets who have destroyed an Overlord-class DropShip just as it was dropping its 'Mechs. Only battalion commander Major McFarlen's BattleMaster survived the DropShip's explosion, and the damaged assault 'Mech now has to fight past an enemy Thunderbolt (Lt. Soulflec) to hopefully reach the evacuation DropShip Anarchist.
Set 4: Wolverine & Goliath
- Scenario "Remember the Alamo"
- Pirate king Tomec Tyrkson II has arrived with a large force for an extended raid on New Texas, a minor planet on the Lyran Commonwealth's periphery border. Garrison Captain David "Bullseye" Crockett withdrew his smaller force to the Alamo Forest to harass the larger pirate force with guerrilla tactics. During the withdrawal, Crockett in his Wolverine had to fight off pirate Lt. Morgan's Goliath (the latter's PPC producing five extra heat points when fired). The scenario includes the same special rules for quadrupedal 'Mech as Set #1.
Set 5: Crusader & Archer
Set 5 content
Set 5 'Mechs
- Scenario "Operation Crusader"
- In the Sahara II desert on Butte Hold, downed aerospace fighter pilot Ridley from Redjack Ryan's forces watches a House Steiner punitive raid unfold near Ryan's field HQ. A Steiner Archer known as the Green Knight destroys the Crusader-D of Angus Ryan, a cousin of Redjack Ryan, and is in turn downed by the Crusader's final missile. Angus Ryan is killed while the Green Knight's fate is uncertain; she might have survived. When additional Steiner 'Mechs appear, Ridley decides to sneak away and walk back to base (which he might reach in a few weeks).
(The scenario epigraph gives "Sahara II" as the location, but the text makes it clear that it is set on the planet Butte Hold.)
Set 6: Rifleman & Warhammer
- Scenario "Quicksand"
- MechWarrior Ben Slayton has combat-dropped into New Eden City in his Warhammer in a successful surprise assault that caught the defenders unawares and disorganized. He chases a Rifleman (one MechWarrior DeGreve) into the outlying swamps, only to find he has been lured into treacherous terrain—there are "quicksand" mudholes here that cannot be discerned. DeGreve knows their location from recent practice maneuvers, and would succeed in trapping the Warhammer and delivering a fatal headshot.
(The world where this scenario is set is not stated; the epigraph refers to "New Eden" which could be the planet's name, or just the city name.)
Set 7: Marauder & Ostroc Mk II
- Scenario "King of the Mountain"
- House Kurita is attacking the Federated Suns planet Brittany III. Duke Henry V of Brittany III narrates how he defeated a modified enemy Ostroc identified as an Ostroc Mk II (one MechWarrior DeMici) during his counterassault that would eventually see the attackers driven off.
Set 8: Wasp & Wasp L.A.M.
Set 8 content
Set 8 'Mechs
- Scenario "Cityfight"
- On a reconnaissance flight in her Wasp LAM, Sharon Dorsee of the 4th Proserpina Hussars thinks she detected a 55-ton 'Mech in the suburb of Petersburg near the capital of Delos City and moves in to engage in 'Mech mode.
The scenario is supposedly set on Delos VI, described as a Steiner world on the Kurita frontier where an ancient battlefield offers salvage in the form of hundreds of destroyed BattleMechs.
In the scenario, the defender may pick any 55-ton 'Mech, but according to the text it turned out to be a Wolverine.
Set 9: Stinger & Stinger LAM
Set 9 'Mechs
- Scenario "Have a Nice Day"
- In the early 3020s, House Marik tried to insert agents into the other Houses' militaries in what they called Operation Leech, but it was only (marginally) successful with House Steiner. In an attack on Megres V, Steiner Lt. Fingle in a Stinger is dropped too far away from his intended drop zone in the polar region by a treacherous officer. The highly corrosive ocean is not frozen, and wading through proves damaging to the 'Mech. Fingle finds himself on a small island, with a Marik Phoenix Hawk dropping onto a nearby island to kill him.
Megres V may be meant to be the Marik world Megrez.
Set 10: Phoenix Hawk & Phoenix Hawk LAM
Set 10 front cover
Set 10 back cover
Set 10 'Mechs
- Scenario "A LAM in the Hand..."
- During an ill-fated House Liao attack on Sirdar II, a LAM lance was caught in a sandstorm that clogged their intakes and forced them down. Captain Treat Maloney's Stinger LAM and Lt. Gerard's Phoenix Hawk LAM end up battling a Davion Archer among the sand dunes.
Special scenario rules (the clogged intakes) prevent the LAMs from converting to aerospace mode and leaving the battlefield.
Set 11: Wasp Aerospace Fighter & Phoenix Hawk Aerospace Fighter
Set 11 'Mechs
- Scenario "Duck Soup"
- On Perkasie, the entire local 'Mech force has been ordered off-world to battle House Liao mercenaries. However, Major Jay Hodge—a Marauder pilot—has snapped and instead marched off to raze a small settlement. Sgt. Marie Hanley in a Phoenix Hawk LAM and Cpl. Cory Perinski in a Wasp LAM, both in fighter mode, attempt to disable Hodge's Marauder while trying to minimize damage to the town. The incident was later mentioned in Dr. Leopold Yarinley's book The Psychology of Today's MechWarrior, published at the Meistmorn Academy in 3021.
Set 12: Leopard Class DropShip, Marauder, Crusader
Set 12 back cover
Set 12 content
Set 12 'Mechs
- Scenario "Easy Money"
- Davion special forces—Colonel Masil in a Marauder and Major Haslan in a Crusader (-D variant)—have deployed to Kiyev III, deep in Marik space, for a reconnaissance mission. Largely successful, they are eventually spotted and retreat towards their pickup zone where their DropShip is supposed to land and pick them up, only to find Marik forces consisting of a Thunderbolt, a Rifleman and two Phoenix Hawks. This was the first time that the Davion Special Scout Task Force (SSTF) was exposed in action, and it led to a public backlash for Hanse Davion.
Set 12 was the last and largest set and deviated from the standard box design. This box contained a model for the old Crusher Joe Minerva ship (rebranded as the "B" variant of the standard Leopard DropShip) as well as two previously released BattleMechs, the Marauder and Crusader.