Hunchback

3025 Hunchback1.jpg
Hunchback
Production information
Manufacturer Colonial Tractors[1]
Coventry Metal Works
Kali Yama Weapons Industries
Komiyaba/Nissan General Industries
Norse-Storm BattleMechs
Production Year 2572[2][3]
Model HBK-4G
Class Medium
Cost 3,467,875 C-bills
Technical specifications
Mass 50 tons
Chassis Komiyaba Type VIII
Armor Starshield
Engine Nissan 200
Communications System Omicron 4002 Networking Channel
Targeting Tracking System TRSS Eagle Eye
Heat Sinks 13
Speed 64.8 km/h
Armament
BV (1.0) 851
BV (2.0) 1,037[3]


1,041[4][5]

Description[edit]

The Hunchback is a respected and feared Reunification War-era street fighter that has been in production since its introduction in 2572. Built for urban combat and close range brawling, this BattleMech has the heavy armor and weaponry to stand up against any foe in the dense cover of a city environment. Its heavy armament does come at a cost: in terms of maneuverability and heat dissipation the Hunchback is merely average, while the lack of long-range weapons means, in the open, the Hunchback is little more than a slow moving target. In an attack the slow speed of the Hunchback forces it to participate as part of the second wave, exploiting any weaknesses in the enemy's armor after they've been softened up.[2][3][6]

The Hunchback was originally designed and produced by Komiyaba/Nissan General Industries and sold throughout the Inner Sphere and Periphery, often fielded as part of medium and assault lances. The company was destroyed as a result of the Succesion Wars, but the Hunchback continued to remain popular, especially in the arsenals of House Kurita and House Liao where it fit the dueling nature and all-or-nothing combat styles of the two Successor States. Dwindling stockpiles of spare parts and personal dislike for a weapon which could easily overheat the 'Mech led many owners to replace the Hunchback's trademark autocannon with another set-up, resulting in a variety of variants collectively known as the Swayback due to the altered nature of the machine's torso. Eventually Kali Yama Weapons Industries bought the rights to the Hunchback and restarted production at their factory on Kalidasa to supply House Marik with large numbers of the 'Mech.[2][3]

The rediscovery of lost technology in the years prior to the Clan Invasion inspired a number of old designs to be upgraded, the Hunchback included. Under contract from the Free Worlds League Military, Kali Yama engineers designed a variant, the HBK-5M, which sought to improve upon the original while still maintaining the "soul" of the machine. While the new variant included several improvements, notably to protecting against ammunition explosions and overheating, to the chagrin of many MechWarriors this came at the cost of less ammunition for the autocannon. Their objections ignored, production began in 3046. The new variant came into widespread use throughout the FWLM until Operation Guerrero, when this drawback was responsible for the failure of several advances. After this, Kali Yama finally produced a new variant -- the HBK-6M -- which addressed this concern. In the years since Norse-Storm BattleMechs opened a refit line to produce new Hunchback variants and the 'Mech saw use on both sides in the Jihad.[6]

Weapons and Equipment[edit]

The primary weapon on the Hunchback is a Tomodzuru Autocannon Mount Type 20 which can strip one and a quarter tons of armor off an enemy 'Mech in a single blow. Mounted prominently in the machine's right torso it is fed by two tons of ammo carried in the left torso. This weapon is paired with two Ichiba 2000 Medium Lasers, one in either arm, and a Diverse Optics Type 10 Small Laser mounted in it's head. All of the weapons carried by the Hunchback, along with it's two heavy battle fists, make it a devastating opponent at close range.[7][2]

Ten tons of Starshield armor is comparable to the amount carried by many heavy 'Mechs; unfortunately this has also caused many a MechWarrior to consider the Hunchback an even match for these behemoths. In truth the 'Mech does not have the endurance for a straight-up slugging match with many heavier 'Mechs, and when the armor is breached an opponent's next shot is likely to knock out the autocannon or set off the ammunition. Likewise despite the use of thirteen heat sinks firing the autocannon produces a tremendous amount of heat which, if not carefully managed, can force the Hunchback to shut down.[2][3]

When Kali Yama restarted production of the HBK-4G they replaced some of the components used in the original design. Instead of the Komiyabi chassis these newer 'Mechs use a Crucis Type V chassis while the Tomodzuru autocannon and Ichiba medium lasers were replaced with a Kali Yama Big Bore and Hellion-V models. Both communication system and targeting-tracking systems were also replaced with an Omicron 4002 Networking Channel and TRSS Eagle Eye respectively.[3]

Variants[edit]

  • HBK-2 
    Described as a venerable Star League-era model, this version of the Hunchback was the basis from which the Clans developed the Hunchback IIC[8] (see below).
  • HBK-4H 
    One of many Swayback variants, the 4H Hunchback is a modification of the design that replaces the AC/20 with both a lighter Autocannon/10 and two additional medium lasers in the right torso while maintaining two tons of ammo in the left. Introduced in 2819 this modification increases the Hunchback's long range striking capability at the expense of raw firepower. BV (1.0) = 850, BV (2.0) = 1,067
  • HBK-4J 
    Another Swayback 'Mech, this variant was first employed in 2856 and changes the 'Mech's focus from short range combat to fire support by removing the Autocannon/20 and replacing it with two LRM-10 launchers and three additional medium lasers, replacing the two tons of autocannon ammo in the left torso for two tons of missile reloads. This variant can act as a bodyguard 'Mech for fire support lances without degrading the mission of those lances because of its mix of LRMs and medium lasers. BV (1.0) = 853, BV (2.0) = 1,143[9]
  • HBK-4N 
    The 4N Swayback combines the qualities of the 4H and 4J. First used in 2920 it carried an Autocannon/5, a pair of LRM-5 launchers and two additional medium lasers in the right torso while carrying one ton of reloads for both autocannon and missile launchers in the left torso, making the 4N capable of direct fire and indirect fire support. BV (1.0) = 843, BV (2.0) = 1,087[10]
  • HBK-4P 
    Also called the Swayback due to its less-exaggerated torso, the 4P Hunchback introduced in 2937 was modified to carry only energy weapons. The Autocannon/20 was replaced with six additional medium lasers and the number of heat sinks carried brought up to twenty-three in order to handle the incredibly high heat load. It has proven to be one of the most popular of the Swayback variants as the combined firepower of all eight medium lasers can do twice as much damage as the autocannon they replaced. BV (1.0) = 960, BV (2.0) = 1,138[11]
  • HBK-4SP 
    The 4SP variant replaces the autocannon with two SRM-6 launchers, one each in left and right torsos, fed by two tons of reloads kept in the center toros. These missile launchers provide the 'Mech with a great deal of damage capability at close range, but they do not have the same raw power as the original Autocannon/20. The 'Mech also has four medium lasers as secondary weapons split between both arms. BV (1.0) = 854, BV (2.0) = 1,043[12]
  • HBK-5H 
    The 5H Hunchback is a Periphery upgrade of the basic design produced in 3064. The small laser was removed as well as one and a half tons of armor and three Rocket Launcher 20s were added to the design, giving it an incredible amount of close range striking capability. BV (1.0) = 901, BV (2.0) = 1,097[13]
  • HBK-5M 
    Utilizing locally produced components such as the Kali Yama Big Bore autocannon and Hellion-V medium lasers, the Kali Yama-produced 5M Hunchback is a simple upgrade of the original 4G model that first saw production in 3046. The most notable changes saw the heat sinks upgraded to double-strength models, while the small laser was upgraded to a Sunglow Prism-Optic Small Pulse Laser, and CASE was added to protect against ammunition explosions. The extra weight required to add the newer systems forced Kali Yama to reduced ammunition storage to a single ton of reloads, making it unpopular with MechWarriors and spawning the unofficial HBK-5N variant. BV (1.0) = 932, BV (2.0) = 1,054[6]
  • HBK-5N 
    A very simple FWLM field upgrade of the lackluster 5M Hunchback introduced in 3057, the 5N model simply downgrades the pulse laser back to a small laser and removes the CASE to carry an extra ton of reloads, retaining the double heat sinks.[6] BV (1.0) = 903, BV (2.0) = 1,041[14]
  • HBK-5S 
    Originally a refit line converted to full production, the 5S is a complete overhaul of the Hunchback design developed by Norse-Storm BattleMechs in 3058. The structure has been modified to use Endo Steel construction techniques, the engine has been upgraded to a Light Fusion Engine, and it has had four Jump Jets added for increased mobility. The 'Mech carries, as its primary weapon, an LB-X Autocannon/20 with CASE-protected ammunition supported by two medium pulse lasers and a single small laser. [6] BV (1.0) = 1,215[16], BV (2.0) = 1,350[14]
  • HBK-5SG 
    A Norse-Storm prototype that never saw full production, the 5SG was first spotted in 3068 and trades out the autocannon and small laser of the 5S for a Gauss Rifle and Guardian ECM Suite. The addition of Stealth Armor makes this Hunchback a long-range sniper that is difficult to hit. A Compact Gyro is used to make room for all of the equipment. [6] BV (2.0) = 1,577[14]
  • HBK-5SS 
    Produced by Norse-Storm in 3068, the 5SS is an upgrade to the Swayback. Based on the chassis of the 5S, it carries two MML 9s fed by three tons worth of ammunition. Three ER Medium Lasers and an ER Small Laser provide added close range damage potential. The use of a Heavy-Duty Gyro protects this fragile piece of equipment from damage. [6] BV (2.0) = 1,342[14]
  • HBK-6N 
    This variant, produced in 3069 was Kali Yama's response to the complaints about the lack of AC/20 ammunition that spawned the ad hoc 5N field refit. The 6N removes three extra double heat sinks and replaces them with three more tons of reloads. [6] BV (1.0) = 898[17] (Note that this variant is described in Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, but is not present in the accompanying record sheets.). BV (2.0) = 1,130[14]
  • HBK-7X-4 
    This failed factory experimental variant of the Hunchback was developed by Kali Yama Weapons Industries. Only four prototypes were produced in 3065, but no orders were placed for it. This experimental version of the 'Mech included CASE II, a Torso-Mounted Cockpit, Armored Gyro, and was built using a Reinforced Structure. The 'Mech was protected by 9 tons of Ferro-Fibrous Armor, and its armored and reinforced components enhanced its battlefield survivability. It was armed with a single Class 10 Ultra Autocannon carrying two tons of ammo. However, the design was considered too expensive for the reduction in firepower. BV (2.0) = 1,208[18]
  • HBK-7R 
    Designed for the Republic of the Sphere in 3085, this Hunchback is based on the HBK-7X-4. Unlike that unit however, the 7R uses a Standard Cockpit and lacks the Armored Gyro. The Reinforced Structure and CASE II systems remain, as does the Ultra AC/10 and arm-mounted ER Medium Lasers. Unlike the experimental model, this Hunchback carries ten tons of Light Ferro-Fibrous armor for protection, incorporates TAG in the head, and carries a Guardian ECM Suite to interfere with enemy electronics. BV (2.0) = 1,248[19]

Custom Variants[edit]

  • HBK-4G Hunchback Gauss Prototype
    During the War of 3039 the 9th Ghost regiment was engaged with the Screaming Eagles mercenary company during the Elidere IV campaign when they modified two of their Hunchbacks to carry prototype Gauss Rifles. Able to cause tremendous damage at ranges beyond their expectation, the new weapons confounded the mercenaries' commander Colonel Walther Hokala and forced him to surrender the planet. Unfortunately the recoil from firing these powerful weapons often caused the Hunchback to stumble or even fall over, and when no solution to the balance problem could be found the the Kuritans were forced to undo these modifications after the war's conclusion.[3]
  • HBK-4G Hunchback Hohiro 
    Assigned Jerrar's 'Mech after his retirement from the Sabres, when piloted by Hohiro Utsonomiya during the Jihad it was refitted with post-Clan Invasion technology. The addition of an Endo steel chassis and Ferro-Fibrous armor frees up weight to swap the standard AC/10 for an Ultra Autocannon/10, retaining the two ton ammo bay, carrying standard production grade Medium Pulse Lasers in the arms and a ER Small Laser in the head, adding a C3 Slave in the center torso. [21]

Notable Pilots[edit]


Related BattleMechs[edit]

  • Hunchback IIC - The Hunchback was one of the 'Mechs taken with the Star League Defense Force on their exodus from the Inner Sphere. Eventually, the Hunchback was upgraded with Clan technology and the Hunchback IIC was created. However, rather than a powerful street fighter, the Hunchback IIC mounts only thin armor and little ammunition, instead concentrating on bringing as many big guns to bear. While this may seem to be poor planning, this all-or-nothing approach is perfect for the Hunchback IIC's designed role: the glorious last stand, death, or revitalization of an aging or underperforming Clan warrior. BV (1.0) = 1,524, BV (2.0) = 1,679
  • Quasimodo - The Quasimodo was developed as a replacement for the Hunchback in 3145.[22]

Design Quirks[edit]

The HBK-7R Hunchback variant is subject of the following Design Quirks:[19]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Field Manual: 3145, p. 189, "Fronc Reaches"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Technical Readout: 3025 Revised, p. 60-61
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Technical Readout: 3039, p. 136-137
  4. Record Sheets: 3039, p. 124
  5. Master Unit List: Hunchback HBK-46
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 58-59
  7. Introductory Record Sheets, p. 13
  8. Technical Readout: 3058, p.168
  9. Record Sheets: 3039, p. 126
  10. Record Sheets: 3039, p. 127
  11. Record Sheets: 3039, p. 128
  12. Record Sheets: 3039, p. 129
  13. Master Unit List: Battle Values, p. 110
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 Master Unit List: Battle Values, p. 111
  15. Record Sheets: Upgrades, p. 85
  16. Record Sheets: Upgrades, p. 86
  17. Heavy Metal Pro
  18. Experimental Technical Readout: Corporations p. 4 - Experimental Hunchback.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Technical Readout: Prototypes, p. 109
  20. Starterbook: Sword and Dragon, p. 41, 95
  21. Starterbook: Sword and Dragon, p. 108
  22. Technical Readout: 3145 Free Worlds League, p. 30

Bibliography[edit]