Bad ‘Mechs – Hatchetman

Bad 'Mechs Hatchetman

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“We’ve got ‘em on the run!”

Leutnant Lauren Kolberg marched her ‘Mech forward a few steps before sending it into a solid 64-kph clip. The Fourth Skye Rangers had been harassing the Seventeenth Benjamin Regulars for months on Komephoros, and her commanders intended to exploit a gap in the Regulars’ lines. Her lance was leading the charge for Second Batallion. She already had a Jenner waiting to be painted on her new Hatchetman’s cockpit, and she was hoping to add a Panther next to it. 

Unfortunately, the Panther matched her for speed and managed to stay just out of reach of her longest-range weapon, the massive Defiance Killer autocannon that sat on the Hatchetman’s right shoulder. Combined with the equally massive hatchet in her right arm, the Hatchetman was definitely a lop-sided design, but one that had already proven deadly to anything that strayed too close.

If only she could just get that Panther to stop running. “Arc 3-1 to Hammer Actual. Do we have any AeroSpace assets we could send to trip up these trailing elements?”

“Wait one,” Came the response from Second Batallion’s command and operations center. “Arc 3-1, elements of Clipper squadron are inbound.” 

“Roger,” Kolberg grunted, guiding her 45-ton machine around a massive boulder driven upwards by the planet’s glacial geology. Her rear camera picked up the contrails of two Chippewas before her sensors confirmed their design. It didn’t take them long to overtake her lance and streak off over the hills ahead, just where the Panther she’d been hounding had broken her line of sight. A series of explosions felt but not seen encouraged Kolberg to push her ‘Mech even faster lest the Chippewas take her kill. 

“This is Clipper 2-4 taking heavy fire, Clipper 2-3 is down.” came the panicked voice of the remaining pilot. “Turn your forces around, it’s a trap!” 

Kolberg realized the warning had come too late. She’d just crossed over the highest point and was already heading into a glacial valley. There was nothing to protect her from the sudden flurry of long-range missile and laser fire that lit her Hatchetman like a Christmas tree, and she didn’t have the speed or armor to close into engagement range.

She did have time to let out a sigh as she slammed her Hatchetman’s ejection button. Unlike other ‘Mechs, the Hatchetman’s entire head assembly flew off from its shoulders and her HUD gained an airspeed indicator and an altimeter. As Kolberg flew from the trap she’d narrowly survived, she grasped at the one silver lining: at least she wouldn’t freeze to death.

BattleTech Hatchetman Art

‘Mechs designed primarily for melee combat are nothing new to the 31st century. Even during the time of the Star League, designs like the Charger proved that sufficient mass and speed could be just as devastating as a ball of charged particles launched at a few integers shy of the speed of light. The brutal malice of physical blows can be equally destructive to a soldier’s morale. We can only assume these factors were considered by the enigmatic Dr. Banzai as he designed the Hatchetman in the early 3020s. 

One of the first entirely new ‘Mechs to be seen after centuries of combat, the Hatchetman was both to be a workhorse ‘Mech as well as a symbol of the growing military alliance between the Federated Suns and the Lyran Commonwealth. Introduced in 3023 by Defiance Industries, the Hatchetman was designed for urban warfare, with low speed and light armor but with impressive firepower for a 45-ton chassis. If allowed to close to point-blank range, the Hatchetman could literally cut a similar-sized ‘Mech to pieces before it could even return fire. Hence, the initial production run of Hatchetmans was sent to Lyran garrison units on planets with large city centers. 

Hatchetman 3025

It didn’t take long for the Hatchetman to see combat. A raid by the 4th Proserpina Hussars on Sevren resulted in severe losses after the 26th Lyran Guards lured them into an industrial park and then unleashed a Hatchetman-equipped battalion. Caught off guard both by the trap and the deadly new design, the surviving Hussars retreated off-world to inform the rest of the DCMS of the Hatchetman‘s existence.

The Hatchetman was eventually distributed to units in the Federated Suns just in time for the Fourth Succession War. The ‘Mech proved to be popular enough that Defiance couldn’t keep up with demand, resulting in the company sub-contracting the design to Johnston Industries to start manufacturing the Hatchetman under license. 

However, while the Hatchatman‘s early success could be explained by the sheer novelty of the design, by the War of 3039, opposing forces were able to exploit significant flaws in the chassis. Poor armor, especially on the legs, meant the Hatchetman could easily be disabled before closing to within melee range. Further, the ‘Mech’s poor speed meant it was unable to close with smaller,  lighter ‘Mechs, and even some heavier ones. Kept at a distance, the Hatchetman was far less menacing than it had first appeared. 

The HCT-3F Hatchetman comes armed with a single Defiance Killer 10-class Autocannon in the right torso and one Medium Laser in each arm. It has a single additional heat sink to mitigate the heat this payload generates. Four jump jets help the Hatchetman position itself for a successful ambush, but a top speed of 64 kph thanks to its GM 180 engine is insufficient for it to chase targets and unleash its signature hatchet

Hatchetman CCG

One interesting element of the Hatchetman is the full-head ejection system. Where most ‘Mechs will eject an escape pod after catastrophic damage, the Hatcethman’s entire head comes off its shoulders thanks to a series of rocket motors beneath the head assembly. The head’s somewhat aerodynamic shape and the small fins at the back allow the MechWarrior-cum-pilot to direct their flight back to friendly lines, significantly increasing survivability. However, the Hatchetman must be in the upright position for the ejection system to work, and reinstalling the head can be a cumbersome procedure.  

With the discovery of the Helm Memory Core and the return of Star League-era technology, Defiance upgraded the Hatchetman in 3049 to the new HCT-5S standard. This added a new Extralight 180 engine and replaced the AC/10 with an LB-X version, freeing up enough weight to replace the two lasers with Medium Pulse Lasers. The HCT-5S also has 8.5 tons of ferro-fibrous armor, increasing its protection by almost 30 percent and solving the largest complaint Hatchetman pilots had. However, the redesign had fewer heat sinks and less ammunition for its autocannon, trading one problem for two more.

It wasn’t until the 3060s that variants arrived that both improved the Hatchetman‘s speed and armor. The HCT-6D introduced a VOX 225 XL engine, allowing this Davion Hatchetman variant to run at 86.4 kph and mount five jump jets instead of four. A Rotary AC/5 and three ER Medium Lasers provided impressive firepower while 10 double heat sinks kept the design cool. ECM also allowed the 6D to remain hidden from sensors for greater success in ambushes.

Even with its flaws exposed, the Hatchetman‘s reputation proved strong enough to lead rival manufacturers to outright steal the design for their respective national militaries. When the Taurian Concordat gained access to the HCT-3F after a Davion mercenary outfit was adopted into the nation’s military, the Taurians set to work reverse-engineering the Hatchetman. From 3054 until 3066, Taurus Territorial Industries produced their own illegal copies of the HCT-3F until the factory was destroyed by the Fighting Urukhai, itself touching off a military campaign that would see the Concordat invade the Federated Suns. 

Hatchetman IlClan RecGuide 12

Draconis Combine engineers were able to reverse-engineer the HCT-3F much faster than the Concordat after several examples were salvaged during the war of ’39. However, DCMS troops refused to use a ‘Mech so heavily associated with the Federated Commonwealth. The HCT-5K, introduced in 3075, swapped the Hatchetman‘s hatchet for a more bushido-compliant sword. It also came armed with two Medium Pulse Lasers, one ER Medium Laser, and a locally-manufactured MRM-30. Targeting was improved thanks to a C3 slave unit and double heatsinks kept the Kuritan knock-off cool.

Even the Free Worlds League developed a version of the Hatchetman during the Jihad era. the HCT-6M is derived from the 5S, replacing the LB-X AC/10 with a Heavy PPC and adding a Beagle Active Probe. Following the Jihad, the Republic of the Sphere adopted the HCT-7R standard, using a light fusion engine to reach a top speed of 86 kph while keeping the same 8.5 tons of ferro-fibrous armor from the 5S. An array of six Medium Pulse Lasers and a single Medium X-Pulse Laser combined with the signature hatchet for potent short-range firepower if at the cost of significant heat build-up. Today’s HCT-8S used by the LCAF mounts Clan technology for a top speed of 86 kph, significant armor protection, and an actuator enhancement system for even more accurate blows from its hatchet.

Although present in multiple House and non-House militaries today, the Hatchetman remains most numerous in the militaries of the former Federated Commonwealth. The brutal fighting of the Dark Age, and now the ilClan era, ensure no shortage of victims for the Hatchetman‘s ambush tactics.

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.

51 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Hatchetman

  1. Commander Xillian

    As the very first mech I ever used in a game of BattleTech, this thing has a place close to my heart. If utilized correctly, the threat of the hatchetman’s hatchet and AC10 can do way more damage and expose holes in an enemy battle line far easier than the weapon itself. The intimidation of this cheap, aggressive machine, is itself a weapon. Bad mech? Far from it. Easy to misuse? Absolutely.

  2. Bishop Steiner

    Don’t blame the tool, blame the tools who misuse them!

    Hatchetman is far from perfect, but like the Urbanmech, used as intended it was effective. Try to press it into line regiment use though and it’s pretty useless. The 3050 inclusion of an LB-10X helped the range bit, but then it wasted the saved tonnage on those MPLs. And nobody ever seemed to grok onto the concept of moving the RA laser to the LA, so that it could fire them all and chop chop at the same time.

    But even maxi-teched out, I think it still a waste for line use, and if it gets too teched up, then it is too expensive really for garrison use. Also Malking snakes need to put down SHOGUN and read some history books. REAL Samurai used axes all the time in battle.


    Flaws and all, still love em, though. The first minis I bought, were a Battlemaster, 2 Commandos and a Hatchetman, circa about 1990. Wish the OG Ral Partha sculpt was still availble. Only one to ever catch the feel of Duane’s OG artwork.

    Did you know that it was the first Mech Duane Loose ever penned, and the one that got him the TRO 3025 gig? True story.

  3. Flashfreeze

    I think the change which hurt the Hatchetman the most was the shift from punch hit tables to general hit tables for melee attacks. I get why, but it left the poor Hatchetman going from “high risk, high reward” to just being “high risk.”

    9 damage for 0 heat with a 1-in-6 chance to hit the head sounds stellar but it comes with the obvious risk of being at range 0 and having to invest 3 tons for the opportunity. A hatchet under these conditions was a design decision tugging faintly at the heart of the gambler that lurks in many tabletop players.

    9 damage for 0 heat with a 1-in-36 chance to hit the head, while also having to be at range 0 and spending 3 tons, is just no longer a worthy investment in my books. The odds are just no longer in your favor.

    That said, as a long time Steiner player I’ve used Hatchetmen to great effect in double blind games, particularly cities and broken terrain. No one likes the surprise factor of a 45-ton Springheel Jack suddenly appearing from down off some misbegotten roof to blast or hack away at rear armor at an incredibly inopportune moment. If, and that’s a very strong if, your composition can afford to be down one ‘Mech while the others set up a skirmish line, there is a lot to be said for waiting for the other guy to commit before adding a Hatchetman to the proceedings.

    1. Kage

      You can still use the Punch Table, you just have to take a +4 Penalty to do so now. Either case the Axman and other Hatchet equipped Heavy mechs get the better deal as they can reliably one shot a mech in such situations.

      1. Flashfreeze

        Yeah, that +4 still definitely pushes it into the Not Worth It side of the scale for the Hatchetman. Under original rules it often rode a fine line of success and failure already; the current ruleset just does not do much to encourage a Hatchetman to do its thing without a bunch of supporting ‘ifs’ first.

  4. Vermonster

    It’s a prototype put into production, but I’m not convince the case is made.

    Under armoured, sure, but how many mechs can we say that about, particularly in 3025? 6.5 tons on a 45 ton mech is 14.4% of the mass. 70 ton WHM-6R carries 10, or 14.3%. MAD-3R, 11.5 tons or 15.3%. ZEU-6S also 11.5 tons, but now 14.4%. Are these bad mechs? No, and Sarna would be a ghost town if the were libeled as such.

    Movement is slow compared to lights? Maybe. But half the 45 to 50 ton weight class in 3025 was that slow.

    If the premise for saying it’s bad is BS, I might agree, but mech hand to hand is a thing. It’s not the best plan, but like a bayonet on a bullpup it has its value. And 9 point punches have reasonable odds of cracking a cockpit.

    Or it could just be Sean is out of bad mechs and is trying very hard.

    1. Thomas Gebhardt

      1. The mechs you name are all long-range builds or have good or semi-good (Zeus) long-range options. The Hatchetman needs to close to do most of his damage. If the Hatchetman tries a frontal assault against a Panther through the open ground the Panther gets to shoot twice before the Hatchetman can shoot back.

      But let’s say no to frontal assaults through open ground. The hatchetman is made for ambushes. But most Ambushes have the whole hit-and-fade thing going. So you need enough armor to close to Hatchet range, then get the hell out of dodge once the enemy gives you a reason to.

      2. Again you need to close the range. 4/6/4 is not sufficient for a close-combat mech if the enemy has the option of keeping the range open. If the enemy for various reasons can not do that, it becomes less of an issue. All the other medium mechs with a similar movement profile have either more armor, more weapons, or both.

      3. If on the modern battlefield, you get into range to use a bayonet, someone made a big tactical blunder. There is a reason why most modern assault rifles do not have that anymore. So a bayonet on a bullpup has a value and that one is negative. The reason for bullpup is to make a shorter, more compact weapon for use in confined spaces. The reason for a bayonet is to make your weapon longer so that you have an advantage during hand-to-hand fighting. Those reasons are not complementary.

      1. Cyke

        Yeah, the ‘Mechs used on the comparison (Warhammer 6R, Marauder 3R and Zeus 6S) are all pretty strong ranged ‘Mech designs for their tonnage, by 3025 standards.

        That comparison, in my eyes, seems to support the idea that the Hatchetman is underarmored for a close combat brawler!

      2. Plasma3034

        I don’t disagree with your reasoning, per se, but I was actually bayonetted in Afghanistan. By a 9 – 11 year old while his mother cheered him on. Wasn’t fun, 0/10 would not recommend. It happens. Haji or (Insert mildly racist enemy name here) can be sneaky. Look at city maps in MW Living Legends, or MW5. A dedicated close quarters mech Absolutely has its place, but it must be used correctly, like the Rifleman. It’s not a line mech, it’s a specialized one that should NEVER be used outside its specialization. The Hatchetman is just a larger Urbie. It trashes things in a city, and shouldn’t be allowed outside a city environment. Disclamier – (I absolutely Hate the hatchetman and all other melee mechs.)

    2. Kdogprime

      Not counting the Cicada and the Hoplite, Sean was scraping the bottom of the barrel six mechs ago.

  5. Charon

    Ahh yes, the Hatchetman. Like many old school players, this was one of my first favorites, and had flaws.
    I should first point out, like many dinosaur players do, early rules differences – Chiefly that the original, non Unseen, revised etc version in 3025 had no weight on the Hatchet. Like many mechs, it was a semi fluff add in, that served as a one handed Club, and even mentions that. Oddly, the extra weight went to three more heat sinks, nor more armor as might make sense. Of course, with that advantage, they had to make rules, or every home cooked mech from 20-100 tons would add that on and use it…
    As it was though, early modifications made it easy to drop a couple heat sinks, and beef the armor to let it stand toe to toe with Hunchbacks, or preferably side by side with them.
    Even without mods, the extra heat sinks made it able to jump behind something, fire everything, and not overheat, and/or swing that hatchet and have great chances (with a 1 out of 6) of at least taking off all the armor of a head, going crit, or maybe one shot decap. If not? A further 3/6 chance to hit weak rear torso armor, and still maybe take it out, especially with the AC doing it’s thing.
    Aside from it’s low armor (yes, bad, a bit worse then normal, Panther level, the most heavily armored mech 10 tons lighter, and on par with the 20 ton heavier Jagermech) it’s simplest flaw was the location of the lasers, as pointed out. Simply move to the torso, instead of taking away half of it’s shooting firepower while trying to go physical.
    Does the design have flaws? Yup. Could it engage and kill mechs of it’s size, smaller, and larger? Yup. Was it slow? Yeah, but as it was designed to “cover allies retreating from a city” it matched Panther, Whitworths, Vindicators, and most of the 50s tonners, and heavier models of it’s day.
    Fun mech, get where you are coming from, but after we got through the Cicada, and the Fireball, hard to find worse. Keep shooting though, and thanks for the articles and art!

    1. Charon

      Should also add that the later rules on full head ejection would seem to add 1,750,000 to the cost? Over a 50% increase, for those that try to track “real(ish) world” concerns and costs. Suddenly this glass cannon would cost as much as a far more sturdy heavy mech.
      Worth considering

  6. Eric Karau

    The Hatchetman has it’s merits, and inspired the creation of the Axman and Scarabus which have melee weapons! Even the Clans who like to engage at long-range would be surprised at being whacked at close range by what is essentially a giant axe! OUCH!!!

  7. Max

    I am quite happy to see this write up. I like this series a lot,and with no disrespect the best part is the comments!

    This is a mech that I have a grudge against and now it’s been a front facing in MWO and MW5.

    I often like to ramble on but I feel I can be short for once here. As an old table top player I remember before melee weapons were a thing and the hatchet man was kinda a bummer because you wanted to use that big old axe. The axeman is great (used right) this is just too small to be a decent little brother. I guess to follow lore, it’s bigger younger brother is just that much better.

    There’s a lot of ways to fix the hatchet man but I’m sure comments will sort that better than I can. It’s just a little too easy to eat up imho and that can’t be fixed.

    Either way thanks for article as always and featuring a mech I tend to dislike!

  8. Matt Bowden

    Finally, a mech that I actually agree is bad. Shame the author never bothers to explain WHY it’s bad…

    Seriously, what is the article trying to offer me that I can’t get elsewhere. If all I need is a run down of the available configurations I can read the mech’s main article on this good website.

    I’m afraid to say this entire series of Bad Mech articles has been a complete flop. Most of the mechs reviewed aren’t actually bad and the level of the analysis is extremely shallow – and yes, I used to write Mech of the Week articles for the official Battletech forums so you are welcome to compare my writing to Sean’s if you wish. I wrote the article for the Jagermech, Falconer and Nexus amongst others.

    1. Alex

      Hatchetman is not really a bad mech, in a matter of there is a scout worse than the ostscout in offensive capability from the clans

    2. Kdogprime

      Agreed. I get a better overview of the pros and cons for the subject mech in the comments of these articles than I get in the articles themselves.

  9. Steel Shanks

    Hmm I’m torn…

    On one hand, the Hatchetman is great in cities, and up close… But on an open field, against say the Regulan Hussars, with their favored Centurion, Trebuchet, Trebuchet, Archer Lance, man… Hatchetman is SUPER dead… I’m a huge fan of the design, but I think I have to agree that Hatchetman is bad, until maybe the FedCom Civil War era, with new armor, weapons, etc. Making it better… But then only slightly.

    1. Owl

      TBH, trying to use this in an open field would not be the fault of the mech but of the user. It’s a close ranged ambush brawler, why would you want to use it in an open field where mechs shoot at each other? Use it right, use it in cities that you can use the hatchet to the maximum effect.

  10. Craig

    ‘Bad’ mech?

    It’s a 4-6 “Trooper” mech. They have a place defending cities / star ports in the lore but on the open battlefield, it’s target practice.

    I like mobility but if you build your force slow, then you’ll need close-in brawlers that don’t overheat as you can’t withdraw. The Hatchetman is light in the loafers (armor) but it’s not useless like Chargers, Urbanmechs, etc.

    Use with Panthers, Vindicators, Centurions, Whitworths, or any Trooper lance-mates with _some_ long range ability. I imagine it would pair well with Archers, Catapults, or other LRM boats needing a bodyguard.

    Going to be a polarizing mech as any design sacrificing mobility AND armor, needs to hit very hard.

  11. CoKien

    Both the Hatchetman and the Panther have 104 points of armor, but I didn’t ever seen any complaints about the Panther’s armor, but only the Hatchetman’s. In addition, both Mechs habe a similar armament, and the same movement profile. The BV2.0 of both Mechs is quite similar, too, and both are relatively good support Mechs.
    Consequently, I’d prefer the Hatchetman, since it has a better firepower and no minimum range despite the fact, that it is more expensive (both C-Bills and BV2.0), and that I’d choose 3 more tons of armor instead of the hatchet any time of the day ;)

    Just stop judging the Mechs by their Tonlage, but take a Look at their BV2.0.

    1. Beemer

      I agree with this. Weight classes are arbitrary. That said, if the Hatchetman had a PPC instead of an AC/10 for the introtech variant, it would be all-around better than the Panther.

    2. Zera

      The Hatchetman commits three tons to a melee weapon but has a glass jaw and lead feet. I figure nobody complains about the same qualities in the Panther because it’s a fire support unit and, if it’s keeping it’s distance like it should be, they don’t seem quite as much of an issue.

      1. CoKien

        The Hatchetman is quite a good support unit, too, since the AC/10 has a similar range and the very same damage than the Panther’s PPC. Just stay at range, it will work out for the Hatchetman, too. In addition, the Hatchetman is not a frontline Mech, but a city fighter,and the hatchet contributes to that. Again, if the Hatchetman is badly regarded by some players, it is mostly, because the very same players are using, and judging, it wrong.

  12. Zera

    Yeah, now HERE’S an interesting one.

    I’m so torn on this one myself. On one hand, I love the design and it’s got a ton of character a lot of it thanks to the hatchet. It’s SO cool but god I’ve had horrible luck with it.

    Its jump jets give it a degree of mobility but it isn’t armored well enough to be a skirmisher let alone a line mech like how it was possibly deployed by FedCom forces. The hatchet is its defining trait and yet it doesn’t really have the speed to bring it to bear. I’ve even seen several people say the best way to use the Hatchetman is to ignore the hatchet for the most part and focus on using the autocannon while hopping around. At that point though isn’t it little more than a somewhat better, FAR more expensive Urbanmech? Speaking of price, while I have yet to play the RPG and had to factor expenses, even I’ve noticed this thing costs over 5.5 million C-Bills. That’s a hefty price tag for a medium mech before the Helm Memory Core tech renaissance. A stock Thunderbolt costs less than that!

    Still…I adore that look. The head is especially slick and the hatchet mechanism in the HBS game is mesmerizing. I love hatchet mechs and this certainly paved the way for more sensible designs in the future so we can definitely thank it for that if nothing else. I love it but it frustrates me. Regardless, I think calling it a bad mech is appropriate. It’s certainly not a complete lemon but it’s too slow and too fragile for what it wants to do and it doesn’t hit hard enough to make up for those deficiencies.

    For what it’s worth, I think it would help these articles tremendously in the future to maybe do some research and cursory perusal of forums to maybe add some commentary to support or refute the “bad mech” claim. Otherwise, apart from the story opener they, read a lot like the wiki pages. This series is fundamentally novelty opinion pieces so I think the most important thing is to make the case.

  13. Greenwall

    The first time I saw a Hatchet-man was in the Battletech game on PC, and I was instantly won seeing the hatchet fly down with sparks and into the hand of the mech like an assassins hidden blade, with less subtlety and more murderous intent. I then proceeded to slap the biggest engine into it and the best armor i could find and charge him into every enemy within sprinting range. Then Roguetech was revealed to me and E=MC² became my best friend, and the bane of every mech from light to superheavy.

    It’s got its problems sure, the fact that it’s a medium mech that needs armor to survive and it’s primary attraction is the melee aspect makes you make some tough choices. Do you actually put some serious firepower onto it so that you can do some damage from a distance, and either sacrifice some speed and/or armor, or do you commit entirely to the Melee lifestyle?

    I’ve ran my Hatchet-men with stealth, spiked armor, racs, all medium lasers, masc, superchargers, hotseats, bigger hatchets, NEVER A KATANA YOU COMBINE SCUM (*angry Rasalhague noises*), shields, and anything else really i can rip off a Solaris jockey that thinks they’re hot stuff that makes melee more powerful, etc.

    It’s even my go to mech for my Rasalhague merc leader outfit, followed shortly behind by the Ax-Man.

    But I’d be remiss to say i’ve never made a bad charge that resulted in significant loss of components, I’ve lost a couple hatchet-men because of my bloodlust, but I can say this…I may have gotten scrapped, but I took their biggest and baddest down by myself, and it took at least a whole lance to take me down after.

  14. Charles

    Specialized mechs make for interesting battlefield choices. Only a poor commander blames his mechs.

    1. SilverCyanide

      You take the ‘mechs the HQ sends you and you like it. That’s how it is if you look at an Operational Level. In the end, I’d rather have 16 Hatchemans than ICE tanks and hovercrafts.

      1. Nemo

        If you look at cost-to-benefit in C-bills, the tanks and hovercrafts are much better (at least as garrison forces that don’t need to be transported)

  15. Aurora43

    The addition of HATCHETMAN to my ‘Misfit Unit’ of bad mechs on the Inner Sphere side is now at Lance (Enhanced) strength with five.
    Actually, an interesting write-up and comments. Prior to HATCHETMAN making the ‘bad mech’ list, had not paid it much attention. Thanks. Keep those bad mechs coming. :-)

  16. Inebriated conscript

    The bad mech articles shouldn’t have been serialized. Pick a different subject to do regular installments and justify the artwork.

  17. GoStu

    Definitely one of the more interesting choices for the Bad Mechs series.

    I first saw it in play in HBS Battletech and it failed to impress me there. Too much open terrain combat leaves the comparatively shorter-ranged Hatchetman looking for cover when the LRMs start raining in, and it’s just not quite fast enough to really make the melee thing work that well. One you’re up against bigger guys that don’t outrun you, they just don’t fear your bonk-stick and simply blast you – and your speed doesn’t add up to enough evasion to soak those hits.

    I’ve seen them in Mechwarrior 5 too and it simply gets blasted. Sure, one might sneak up on you and crack you with a good axe chop, but it’s just not going to be the thing that makes you reconsider your tactics.

    Compare it to some other mediums around its weight class and I’m not impressed by the Hatchetman. It doesn’t have a lot of answers to something like a Blackjack hanging back refusing to close, or a Vindicator trying the same. For 5 tons heavier, you get something like the Hunchback series – same speed, much scarier up-close punch. An AC/10, a couple medium lasers, and a hatchet bonk are one thing, but 8 medium lasers from a Hunchback 4P is going to hurt back more. Or maybe an AC/20 from the 4G, or the same AC/10 of the 4H backed by more lasers.

    I don’t think the Hatchetman is a good mech. I agree with it being bad. However, I think it’s interestingly bad and offers a fun gamble in the way a real turd burger like the Cicada don’t.

    1. Owl

      If you are pushing a melee mech lance into a firefight, I’d drop smoke across the battlefield first. As long as there are 2 smoke hexes between you and the shooters, they can’t see or shoot at you and by the time the Hatchetman or it’s ilk gets close, it’s the ranged mechs that are in trouble.
      Don’t just imitate a Kuritian and charge blindly at the enemy, plan how to get an advantage like dropping smoke or hiding in woods or in cities.

  18. Pyro

    I’d say that the Hatchetman, in its initial versions, is limited but not necessarily bad. It’s a specialist that excels in urban combat and broken terrain. Judging its performance in field combat is like judging an Archer as an urban combat mech (unless you’ve got a long, straight street to fire down, it’s now just a punch-bot with explody bits).

    Its biggest design flaws in my eyes are the poor armor and the fact that one of its ranged weapons is in the same arm as the hatchet, preventing you from using both at the same time. The mech’s optimal use should be to jump from behind cover into an enemy’s rear or flanks, deliver an alpha strike, swing the hatchet, and jump away. Not being able to use one of your weapons is a weird and unnecessary limitation that prevents knockdown PSRs.

    Suggested Introtech Optimization:
    Remove: AC/10, Ammo.
    Add: LL (CT), ML (H)
    Move: ML (RA – RT), JJs to RT, LT
    Increase heat sinks to 17. (2 in each leg, 3 in each side torso)
    Increase armor to 8.5 tons (9H, 20/5 CT, 16/5 LT/RT, 12 LA/RA, 18 LL/RL)

    While it would still add heat after alpha striking, which I consider its best usage (17 sinks vs. 21 dissipation), you’d have a maximum damage output of 23 that could force a PSR, lose the potential to explode, and only lose 2 points of damage grouping with the LL vs. the AC/10. For gaining 3 points of maximum damage, I’d call it a good trade. The hatchet arm is now unobstructed and can swing at anything it can hit, and mounting the jumpjets in the torso and heat sinks in the legs enables the use of small ponds (and fountains, and such) to cool the mech, and to escape from its watering holes at a moment’s notice.

  19. Joshua Bressel

    I get that the choices get slimmer, but I don’t think a bit slow and not enough armor make it a bad mech, especially since the problems were quickly fixed, but I do wish there were some TSM variants, and maybe an earlier C3S variant. Mechs with a hatchet and TSM are rare because the combo is so devastating, but I’d think the two most obvious designs, the Hatchetman and Axman would get TSM variants. The Scarabus, Black Knight, Hatamoto, Banshee and Berserker get a TSM variant, though the ones for the Black Knight and Hatamoto are unique. C3 melee mechs are even rarer! There are only 2, and interestingly, both have TSM. The Berserker C3 and Banshee 8S are both horrifying, but it would be nice if they had a couple little brothers, especially in earlier eras!

  20. Sword_of_Light

    I’ve currently got the 3-xray variant as a starter mech in RogueTech. It feels comparatively slow, initially, but the AI likes getting up close and personal, so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to use the hatchet. As a brawler mech, against mechs of a similar size, it’s devastating. A hit will usually remove a limb, if not the whole torso side, and RT rules allow for firing the full compliment of weapons after a melee – in this case the stock variant has 4x MG and 2x SRM6, the latter loaded with acid rounds (and minus the arm-mounted 2x ML, which wont fire in a hatchet attack). Against lights, that’s damn near an autokill.

    The complaint about weak armor is valid, and I pulled two of the MG in favor of a touch more armor. It also runs a little hot.

    All in all, though, I’m surprised its in this blog. It’s middling, at worst, and it’s going to be one of the last mechs I dispose of when I get bigger toys.

  21. Brian

    It’s been around for so long, and has so many different variants, yet not one. not a single one, has TSM.

  22. Jhen

    The look of that mech has been, along with the Panther and the Stalker, my favourite non-anime-taken mech from the moment i dived into Battletech in the late 80’s. And whilst I always loved the Hatchi, its weaknesses were not always easy to cover, depending on the tabletop map scenarios we played.

    So I came up with 2 fun versions:

    Version 1 drops the AC10+Ammo for a Large Laser, a third Med Laser, an extra eat sink and 2 more tons of armour. The hatchet’s 3 tons are paid up, and a srm2 with inferno completes the design. Respectable firepower for a city slicker, with a little nasty thing for tanks and infantry as well.

    Version 2 was for a RP Mechwarrior game, and just was plain silly. I present to thee the HatchetLam : 50 tons, 250XL engine, 5 jumpjets, 13 DHS and 10.5 tons of armour. Weaponry consists of a PPC, 2 ER Med lasers and a small pulse laser for anti-infantry; plus the hatchet. The remaining 5 tons go in the conversion equipment. Silly, crazy, but fun to hit and run, getting in quickly for a hatchet strike at light mechs or unsuspecting vehicles hidden around.

    I had even kit-bashed the figurine from a couple of Hatchetman and PhoenixHawk lams. Fitting the hatchetman’s head as the nosecone of the lam mode was fun as heck xD

  23. Ed

    Well it IS awful, especially considering the mediums of its time. Vindicators Enforcers Whitworths and even Blackjacks will tear it up. Faster mediums will pick it apart or just get up in its face and beat it silly. I kicked one apart once using a mighty Hermes2 which is the most mediocre mech ever. The Hatchetman is arguably the very worst mech in TRO 2025 tied with the Cyclops which is better only because it is bigger. So in my opinion the Hatchetman is the worst mech ever designed in any TRO in Battletech history. Updating this atrocity is like putting a GPS system into a Yugo. It still sucks.

  24. Bertuccio

    This one definitely deserves to be here.

    Hatchetmen sacrifice armor and speed so they can afford mediocre weapons.

  25. George Spelvin

    Hatchie’s OK when you use it for what it is: an upscaled Urbie with melee options. Take it out of the city, though, and you soon find it’s a sitting duck in an open field for even a lowly Locust 1M. Just like the Urbie.

    Funny how so many “bad” mechs are also special purpose mechs.


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