Twentieth Century Imports

History[edit]

Twentieth Century Imports was a company that imported pre-existing Japanese model kits that were re-labeled 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(TM) and Crusher Joe & The Hunters(TM), licensed by Nippan {sic} Sunrise of Japan, Exclusively manufactured for TCI. Contents & Packaging (C) 1986 by Twentieth Century Imports. BattleTech & Concepts(TM) 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 re-branded 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 re-branded and repackaged kits as pseudo 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 two-fer 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.

The company ended trading prior to the lawsuit on the un-seen affair.

Notable products[edit]

Model sets.

References[edit]