Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mystery Minis revealed!

So these figures were sold in the earliest days of Warhammer 40K as robots.  Any players from the Rogue Trader era (the original game, not the recent RPG) remember actually using the robot rules?  They're pretty much the most complicated part of the original game, as I recall.

Those of you who identified these figures as BattleTech mechs, fret not!  The top one is a dead ringer for the Archer, an 70-ton missile monster from first BT boxed set (and one of the anime designs later de-canonized as "Unseen").  The one with chicken legs is clearly based off of Duane Loose's original illo of the Catapult from the original BattleTech Technical ReadOut 3025, the first big book o' mechs.  

[Side note for BTech nerds on the Catapult's connection to the later Madcat from the Clan era:  Years before the clan stuff was in print a guy from Chicago (where FASA was headquartered) would occasionally come to my part of Illinois for BattleTech events.  He owned a Catapult figure to which he had attached Marauder arms.  He even called it a Madcat.] 

The bottom robot isn't an exact match to any mech design I've seen, but it's very close to Loose's version of the Vindicator, House Liao's 45-ton miscellaneous workhorse machine.  Dig the illo:

Loose rules.

Note the head mounted laser.  The arm mounted laser is not visible in this pic, but the Vindicator definitely has one.  Basically, if you swap out that big ol' particle cannon for a proper forearm and hand you'd end up with something that looks a crapload like the 'SAM' Type Light Wardroid from Slocombe.

Anyway, I was just curious yesterday to find out if anyone remembered these guys as 40K robots.  I knew a lot of people would see them as BattleTech figures.  Coopdevil offered a theory in the comments yesterday that these guys started as licensed figures, but I think the missing cannon on the SAM points more towards "borrowed" designs.


  1. I never realized that 40K used Battle Tech mechs. I started paying Battle Tech in '85 and 40k in '89 but never saw those used in the 40k universe. I did have an official Robot for 40k though. The rules were a bit clunky.

  2. I seem to recall that the robot rules got overhauled in one of the supplements, the Compendium, I think.

    They had some pretty funky rules in the Epic scale version of the game too. Before the game, you had to write down their responses to a set of situations, and they operated according to that "program" during the battle, regardless of what the rest of your army was doing. I quite liked that approach and smiled a little when it cropped up as the Gambit mechanic in Final Fantasy XII a few years ago.

  3. The last one seems very close to a Battletech Javelin.
    Don't you think?

  4. Darn I knew they were gamesworkshop/citadel figures but figured they must have been some european line.

  5. I did in fact use them as Robots during the old Rogue Trader days, and even used the complicated flow-chart style rules for them. They were pretty spiffy. Still had all of mine until just a couple of years ago too, lost during the last move I think.

  6. Yeah, that is a Javelin mini. I never saw these mini's for the 1st ed. 40K. Me and my friends all wanted to play Marines so we all bought that awesome plastic box set with 30 some marines! We just played a constant series of war exercises hoping we could recruit some fool to play a different army!

  7. The Deathblow is the spitting image of the Ackland(?) Dreadnought illustration in the vehicles chapter of WH40K:RT. You can see where they got the silhouettes for the "C" classes of robots (conqueror, castellan, etc.) released in the 40K Compendium.

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  9. Darn, I' to stupid to type. >_<

    Anyway, you may want to read this thread ;) :,9110.msg211646.html#msg211646