The ‘Mechs That Time Forgot: Quad ‘Mechs

art by Shimmering Sword

art by Shimmering Sword

Well, they were never really forgotten–you can find Quad ‘Mechs as late as the 3140s with the introduction of Hell’s Horses QuadVees (and man, are those ‘Mechs ever a trip!). But Quad ‘Mechs, even though they certainly exist and a few of them are even fairly notable, are pretty easily forgotten. Why is that?

Maybe it’s because Quad ‘Mechs sort of ruin the whole image of a MechWarrior. ‘Mechs are often seen as these avatars of their pilots but made of metal and myomer, armed with more weapons than a battalion in today’s army and capable of leveling a city block with a single press of the trigger. It’s kinda hard to personify the person within if the thing on the outside is this four-legged beast.

For that reason, Quad ‘Mechs remain fairly rare in comparison to their two-legged counterparts, but there are also in-universe reasons why Quad ‘Mechs aren’t seen more often. Being rare and strange meant that technicians often didn’t know how to work on them, and it also meant spare parts were harder to come by. It’s easy to get a spare arm for a Centurion, but a spare leg for a Jaguar is a little harder to come by. You’d need a direct connection to the factory where the ‘Mech is built, which meant that Quad ‘Mechs often saw service only in the highest echelons of any military.

There were also unpopular with pilots for being… y’know, weird. You didn’t have a torso to twist, and not all Quads had turrets to make up for it. Having no arms or hands meant you couldn’t really interact with your environment in any way other than stomping the heck out of it, and on top of that, no arms meant no arm-mounted weapons, which seriously hampered a Quad ‘Mech’s firepower.

On top of that, everything on a Quad is essential. Sure, if you lose a leg you’re not nearly as useless as a two-legged ‘Mech, but losing an arm still allowed most ‘Mechs to run away to safety. Losing a leg seriously hampered a Quad ‘Mech’s mobility, making them unable to escape should a firefight turn bad for the home team.

That’s not to say that Quad ‘Mechs weren’t without advantages. Unlike other ‘Mechs, Quads could dance side to side in a sort of crab walk (even if the design was more canine than crabby) and they were very stable firing platforms (noted by their -2 piloting skill bonus when all legs are fully-functional). Quads are also shorter than most ‘Mechs, allowing them to gain concealment from terrain that would leave other ‘Mechs partially exposed.

Still, Quad ‘Mechs are rare in fiction and in real life. Just two Quad ‘Mechs have ever appeared in any BattleTech video games–the Scorpion in MechWarrior, and the Tarantula in MechWarrior 2–while the rest are rarely mentioned in novels.

Which is why I felt it was necessary to give these big four-legged brutes the proper tribute that they deserve. Let’s hit a few of the more well-known Quads and then you can inundate me with your favorite–and weirdest–Quad ‘Mech designs.

SCP-1N Scorpion

I admit, I have a soft spot for this ‘Mech. Not because I ever got to use it or anything (as I mentioned, Quads are notoriously absent from any BattleTech video games)–I just like the look of the thing. Kind of like if a modern APC sprouted dainty legs and tried to walk away from its problems.

I also like the design. A PPC and an SRM-6 is nothing to sneeze at (at least in the 3020s), and the Scorpion’s speed and sufficient armor meant that it could serve in a variety of combat roles. Things got even better after the Reseen designs emerged in 3067, although the SCP-12S version gets rid of the PPC for an LBX-10 in a move that makes it entirely ammo dependent.

Give me the SCP-10M with its Heavy PPC and vertically-firing LRM-10. Yes, it looks like it belongs more in anime than BattleTech, but dammit, it looks good.

GOL-1H Goliath

Now, if you wanna talk about ‘Mechs as walking tanks, it doesn’t get any closer than the Goliath. This thing is, quite literally, a tank that has sprouted legs. On the plus side, that turret means that you can shoot in any direction. On the downside, you look like a militarized giraffe that was recently decapitated.

The Goliath isn’t bad, as far as Succession Wars-era 80-ton assault ‘Mechs go. A running speed of 64 kph and an armament of two LRM-10s and a PPC puts it in line with most other 80-ton ‘Mecsh of the era. It even saw some prominence in fiction thanks to a brief appearance in Warrior: Riposte.

But man, does this thing look just freakin’ goofy.

The Reseen design improved things somewhat, giving it a more “beast of burden” look than a tank with delusions of quadrupedia (which is technically an Italian word I’m repurposing because it sounds cool). I do like the GOL-5D variant, but that’s just because I’m a sucker for a Rotary Autocannon.

ZPH-1 Tarantula

When I saw the Tarantula for the first time in MechWarrior 2, I thought, “Cool, a four-legged ‘Mech!” Then it died to a random PPC blast and I thought this thing was a fragile piece of !@$%.

And indeed, it is.

The Tarantula is a scout ‘Mech. It gives the Spider a run for its money with 8 Jump Jets, a running speed of nearly 130 kph, and an armament of 2 Medium Lasers and a Streak SRM-2. It also has ton more armor than the Spider as well. So why is the Spider so much more popular than the Tarantula when this thing actually looks like an arachnid?

Probably because the Tarantula looks freakin’ creepy. I wouldn’t want to pilot one, even if it is an extremely good scout ‘Mech.

BGS-1T Barghest

Now we’re heading into the Quad ‘Mechs that can really sow some discord. The Barghest might have four legs and all of its weapons in the torso, but those weapons are fierce. A pair of ER Large Lasers backed up by an LBX-20 is enough to give any ‘Mech a rough day.

Besides that, the Barghest was also one of the first Quad ‘Mech designs to look truly mean. It has the posture of an angry canine: hunched and ready to pounce. Plus, the design evolved in the absolute best direction, mounting Heavy Gauss Rifles, Ultra AC/20s, ER PPCs, and eventually Light PPCs and MMLs.

It’s just a shame the Lyrans didn’t make more of them.

TFT-A9 Thunder Fox

I have a confession to make: I actually really liked MechWarrior: Dark Age. Not the fiction, mind you–the whole HPG blackout and all these random factions made it weird. No, I liked the ‘Mechs, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Okay, I’m a little ashamed.

But the Thunder Fox is super cool. It’s a warhorse ‘Mech aimed straight for my heart. It’s cheap, it’s well armed, and it’s well armored. You can make an army of these bad boys and take down anyone in the Inner Sphere and still have C-Bills to spare.

Admittedly, the art and overall design make the Thunder Fox look a lot swifter than it actually is. Top speed is 64 clicks (which is not exactly stellar for a 55 ton ‘Mech) with a trio of Jump Jets to turn it around if it finds itself pointed in the wrong direction. It only has a ton of ammo for its Light Gauss Rifle and Streak SRM-4, so it’s not exactly equipped for prolonged engagements.

But you gotta admit, the Thunder Fox looks freakin’ cool. If I had to pilot a Quad, this would be the Quad for me.

So what’s your favorite Quad ‘Mech? Let us knew in the comments!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

13 thoughts on “The ‘Mechs That Time Forgot: Quad ‘Mechs

  1. JPArbiter

    The Thunder Fox does it for me as well, though I prefer the version with the LB-10X and Snubbies over the LGR and lasers.

    I also have a soft spot for the Jaguar for just being so damned good and utilizing the turret. the Regulan Sarath is another Quad that appeals to me.

    Pre Dark Age I gotta give props the the Cloud Cobra developed Stalking Spider as well as the Tarantulla

    Reply
  2. TJ

    I actually field the Barghest on a regular basis when I play in the mid 60s. Something about that mech and the armament makes me very happy.

    Reply
  3. Juodas Varnas

    The Scorpion. Not only my favorite Quadmech, but also my favorite mech of all time.

    I also really love the 100 ton Xanthos, a really nice design, which sadly is extinct in 3025

    Reply
  4. CF

    The only reason Quads exist is because the anime _Sun Fang Dougram_ had them (_Blizzard Gunner_ and _Crab Gunner_, for _Scorpion_ and _Goliath_, respectively), and FASA wasn’t about to let them go to waste. For those of us with 1st-ed. Quads: It’s funny to notice how the front “legs” have more internal-structure DP than the rear legs….

    Reply
  5. LeeAllen Agee

    I have a soft spot for Quads. Have no problem running them ever. Good old fashioned Scorpion always have a home with me. Finishes the classic “Quad” of 55 ton mechs. Ran a lance with Griffin ,wolverine & Shadow hawk. It works well in that lance. Clan quads are quietly competent from the snow fox through the thunders stallion cant count any of them as weak. With the introduction of the turret’s quads get much easier to use.

    Reply
  6. wolfbane2004

    Am quite surprised you didn’t mention the Stalking Spider from the Age of Destruction expansion for the Dark Age CMG (aka the Stalking Spider 2). That was one of my favorite Quad ‘Mechs – had a turret that packed a long-ranged energy weapon for sniping and a backup missile launcher.

    Then again there’s the almost-Totem ‘Mech the Thunder Stallion that most Clansmen wouldn’t touch because like most ‘Mechs the Hell’s Horses run it supports their Elementals as opposed to being a main-line ‘Mech (though that LB-20X could certainly have even assault pilots take notice)

    Reply
  7. RobertVeggies

    See, that ‘creepy factor’ is one of the reasons I ABSOLUTELY would want to pilot a Tarantula. Being the just slightly _wrong_ shadow that scuttles out of a ravine behind someone, combined with the speed and jj’s to get away with it) is enough to make me seriously consider a mech without the sniping abilities I’d usually prefer.
    I also like the scorpion a lot, especially the loadout you mentioned. Come to Papa, raiders, come to Papa…
    I always imagine quad mechs being superb for fighting in mountainous areas, since four legs should reasonably make them more stable climbers.

    Reply
  8. Wrangler

    Quads have their place in the game, can be tough as a two-legger mechs.

    I think best thing to happen was to make the Quad Mech Turrets regular technology on Mechs after the Jihad. With turrets, the weapons are finally trainable, but you can mount something huge on them like a Heavy Gauss.

    Quadvees are in way next evolution of the Quadmech, you can lose your gyro, all you need to do is transform and roll out. It’s not too OP, you got 360 turret/torso but not as much room as in regular Quad. Balances things out i think.

    I wish MWO would adopt it, but i’m sure they have no clue how to introduce it and not see the game go unbalanced or hear too much wining about the Quads from some people.

    Reply
  9. Aaron Doukas

    My favorite quad is the Great Turtle. It’s a design that acknowledges the fact quads will always be under-gunned and runs with it. It won’t kill you first, but it will die last. And if you’re feeling cheeky, replace one of the Medium X-Pulses with some flamers and now combined with the jump jets you have Gamera.

    Reply
  10. Carns

    A 100 ton quad in the 3rd/4th Succession War like the Xanthos is a brutal juggernaut, and works as a forward “tip of the spear” since it has the most armor of any Mech and the Mechs behind it can keep the flanks clean.

    Quads are quite disadvantaged once Star League era gear is introduced as they lose 12 internal slots right off the top.

    The Scorpion looks like it would be functional on paper. In practice, it’s high speed gets it into trouble that it has no means to get itself out of. All of the weapons only work facing forward, meaning it is hard to get aimed at a target in a brawl. As a sniper, it can get into position quickly… but it is still slower than the Griffon because it lacks jump jets and a sniping position is usually a higher elevation. It’s armor is thin, and the loss of one leg makes it move like an Atlas. It is basically an overpriced light tank.

    The Goliath is even worse… it is completely immobile if it loses any leg. The PPC turret means it can at least semi sorta stay in the fight… kinda, but do you really want an assault Mech with the combat profile of a Panther? It functions as a behind the lines support piece… just not was well as a Von Luckner, Stormfluer, or LRM Carrier. The prefect Mech for the cowardly Commander; it’s just not a good design when compared to an Awesome, or a Zeus, which costs less.

    The Barghest is fine. As a Davionist, I prefer for the Lyrans to have Mech that manage to under-perform when compared to even a Capellan Cataphract. The Lyrans delivered!

    The Tarantula is actually a fine Mech that performs extremely well in a scout role. This maximizes the values of stability, where falling would be instant death for the little machine. However, it came too late. A Mech weighting twice as much in era can move very nearly as fast, mount more armor than some 3025 Assault Mechs, and carry enough short range firepower to cripple said Assault Mech.

    However, all of them suck because their model is huge and takes up seven hexes on the map.

    While I am aware that the corpse of Battletech was dug up and sold to some unsavory souls that produced a lot of bad fan fiction, I do not dignify to acknowledge their inclusion in this list.

    Reply
  11. K. Iceclaw

    Can’t say I’ve gotten to play any of these in any context, but definitely Thunderfox is up there.

    Also really like the Anteater in concept. Indirect fire and just plain ignoring AMS? Do want.

    But the one that amuses me most is the Sirocco. Seriously, how can you not love that thing? It’s like Starcorp found an old copy of The Empire Strikes Back and said “No, that ATAT thing is stupid. NEED. MORE. GUNS.”

    Reply
  12. Wick

    Tarantula is one of the few ‘mechs to get jump jets physically correct. Four legs 90 degrees apart for stability and all your thrust right under the center of mass is ideal. Its a wonder any of the bipeds could jump at all with all the thrust coming out the backside (let alone, jumping *backwards*) Don’t know why you wouldn’t want to pilot one: reliably jumping 240 meters in any direction and landing safely time and time again without tumbling over is far preferable to incurring concussions and broken bones (or worse) due to landing failures. The ZPH-3A, with its extra armor and medium pulse lasers is especially dangerous.

    The original miniature, while on of my favorites, suffered from “Marauder-gigantism” though. You’d think it was a heavy ‘mech put side by side to a Warhammer or Rifleman miniature.

    Reply
  13. Joshua

    Though I only piloted the Tarantula a few times in MechWarrior 2, I have to admit that I prefer the heavier Clan-developed Stalking Spider series. The 50-tonner mounts an ER PPC as its main gun, supported by a pair each of SRM-4s and Medium Pulse Lasers. The fact that the location of the jump jets makes it looks like it’s crawling in the air just makes it that much cooler to me. Plus it looks even more spider-like than the IS Tarantula it was based on. And while it’s 5-tons lighter, the Stalking Spider II – originally seen as the Stalking Spider in the MechWarrior CMG – is just as effective, though I am not fond of the Heavy Large Laser or Heavy Machine Guns. I’d replace the Heavy Large with an ER Large, drop the Heavy Machine Guns and ammo in favor of paired ER Mediums, and swap the standard SRM-4s for the much more ammo-efficient Streak versions. All in all, though, both Stalking Spider base versions are efficient QuadMechs.

    Reply

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