After 2 years of waiting, it’s finally going to happen: giant robots from Japan and America will engage in Solaris-style combat to determine which nation is the greatest ‘Mech builder on Earth.
You may remember from our previous articles on current technologies that mimic those in BattleTech that MegaBots Inc., the builder of the formidable Mk. II MegaBot has challenged Suidobashi Heavy Industries to a duel against their impressive Kuratas quad ’Mech. The original challenge was issued in August of 2015 to take place a year later, and that deadline came and went with not much in the way of giant robot combat.
Well, apparently the delay was because MegaBots was designing an all new robot, the Mk. III “Eagle Prime”, to take on the Kuratas. I guess multi-million dollar machines take more than a year to both design and manufacture. Who knew?
The new date is set for September 2017, and we can’t wait to see the new robot in action. Eagle Prime is a significant upgrade over the Mk. II, weighing nearly 7 tons more and over a full foot taller than the older ‘Mech (that puts Eagle Prime at a whopping 12 tons and 16 feet tall). It’s powered by a 430 hp Chevy LS3 V8 engine which drives a pair of tank treads much like the Mk. II, but while the Mk II. had a pair of air cannons firing massive paintballs, the Mk. III has a double-barreled paintball cannon in the left arm and a massive crusher claw in the right.
Eagle Prime even takes a page out of the OmniMech textbook with swappable armaments. Either arm can be replaced with an enormous chainsaw or an armor shattering drill.
The cost to create Eagle Prime was just over $2.5 million, with $550,000.00 coming from Kickstarter backers and the rest coming from corporate sponsors.
While it certainly seems like a significant upgrade, I can’t help but feel that the Mk. III has lost some armor protection over the Mk. II. It has gained some speed, according to MegaBots, but given the fact that the ‘Mech weighs twice as much as its little brother but is powered by a similar sized engine it’s a little hard to believe them.
Development of Eagle Prime has been well documented on the MegaBots YouTube channel, but there hasn’t been much response from Suidobashi Heavy Industries as to what development, if any, has occurred with the Kuratas. If it remains the same design as debuted in 2012, it will be nearly a third of the weight of Eagle Prime while also having a significantly smaller power source. On paper, it looks like the Mk. III will wipe the floor with the Kuratas – provided MegaBots manages to work out all the bugs in their software.
The duel will occur at an undisclosed location, and no spectators will be allowed. Unlike on Solaris, there are no Star League-era defense systems available to protect the public from two multi-ton death machines on a rampage. As for the safety of the pilots, that’s also something that hasn’t been discussed much. Neither ‘Mech has an ejection system, so I’m guessing it’ll be Queensberry rules when it comes time for hand-to-hand combat.
And in a strange twist, it seems that China has also thrown down the gauntlet and announced its arrival in the giant robot fighting game. Shiqian Sun, a Chinese artist known for creating multiple giant robot statues, has created the Monkey King as China’s first gladiator robot. The Monkey King is due for completion next year, so won’t be done in time to take part in the Kuratas/Eagle Prime duel.
The exact date of the duel is not yet known, but we expect to learn more in the coming days. Could this be the beginning of a global giant robot fighting league? We can only hope.
And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.