Thursday, 11 September 2014

About scales and battletech - definative guide.

So I'm sure many of you guys know battletech is very light on details on exactly how tall mechs were. That makes them a scaling nightmare. I've spent a lot of time trying to find the right balance its not something i start blindly and hope I get right its something that's worked out beforehand and build too.

lots of things effect the height of a mech;
- Leg design

- Mass
- Bits that sick up above the design

Armorcast(AC) got to 1/60 scale mech first so everything is based off their 3 designs.

AC Atlas is 26cm,
AC Madcat is 20.5cm

So those are the base lines that everything else needs to fit into. The AC atlas is tall to the point of its head which stick up a cm from the main body and part of the lore mentions it was designed to be tall than other mechs. This is where I think a lot of builders go wrong they see the atlas and they try to match its height but the fact is they should consider it to be 25cm and even then only for Humanoid 100tonners.

The madcat is a much better bench mark to start from since it sits more in the middle of the tonnage range (20-100). Taking its height and the height of the tall atlas you start to get a range and you can work back from there;

Lights; 13cm to 14.5cm
Mediums; 15cm to 18cm
Heavies; 18.5cm to 21.50cm
Assaults: 21.50cm to 25.5cm

Its not a straight line for height since lights can only get so small before they look out of place same with assaults they get a bit more because other wise their bulk starts to look out of place.

- Then you have to factor in centre mass which is the highest point in the mech. This is what i scale too it can be seen here (I made this infographic years ago);

- Then you have to allow 10% artists judgement to see by eye if the mech looks right. This takes into account bulk, leg design, if the centre of mass isn't so clear cut.

Once that's done I like to print out a too scale silhouette just to be sure;

After that then its design. For the hand builders its important that material growth doesn't creep the height up +1mm soon can add up when you have 5 subcomponents stacked up.

Finally you should end up with something bang on like so;

Bang on


  1. I think I asked this somewhere once before (Probably on the MWO forums in relation to 'Mech scale), but can't remember if I got an answer. Wouldn't the most accurate measure of relative scale be a volumetric one, i.e. if the 'Mech was a shell and you filled it with 20 'tons' of water for a Locust, an Atlases' volume would be five times that?

    1. That's a great question. On the surface that seems to make the most sense but that only works for a solid all of the same material. A good example of that would be the size of cars. Take a Hummer H2 kerb weight of 2600kg then take the weight of a Bentley Continental GT of 2500kg one is much bigger than the other yet they are only a passengers weight in difference.

      Some of the designs are just drawn bulky compared to some mech of the same weight, that could be reasoned away with extra void space (like a big engine bay of a car), poor internal layout, design aesthetic, etc.

      At the end of the day you have to take the points in my above post into consideration to get you into the right ball park then use your artists eye to judge it if needs nudging up or down in height.

      tl;dr A mech might have bulk (volume) but not weight much.

    2. You may have learned this by now but have you used 3DS Max's measure function. I did and got accurate measurements for the MWO models.

    3. When I import the models they are to real world height using MWO's in game scale. However MWO scales seem all over the place in the game you rarely get a comparison view, but for modeler with models side by side it doesn't meet expectations to have a 60tonner that's the height of a 100tonner. So I use the my 1/60 scale which tries to marry BT lore with the public's expectations.