Bad ‘Mechs – Land-Air Mechs

Land-Air 'Mechs

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“Alright, here’s the deal,” Major Sheffield began. He then pointed at Sergeant Donaldson. “You get in the front seat, and you,” Sheffield pointed to the SLDF navy pilot he knew as Lieutenant Barber, “get in the back seat.”

The two SLDF service members looked first at each other and then at the monstrosity before them. It looked like an aerospace fighter had crashed into a ‘Mech and somehow fused the two together. It was a grotesque abomination of all things both pilot and MechWarrior considered holy, and it didn’t exactly motivate either to comply with the Major’s orders.

“With respect sir, just who exactly is going to be in control of that… thing?”

“Great question, Donaldson,” Sheffield replied with a smirk. “You both are. On the ground, Donaldson is in charge. In the air, Barber takes the yoke. Or stick–I’m not sure what you spacers call the thing.”

“Yoke is technically correct, sir,” Barber replied, stone-faced.

“The idea here is to cut down on the training required for Land-Air ‘Mech pilots by simply having both MechWarrior and pilot in a dual cockpit arrangement. If these tests go well, it could usher in a new age of cooperation between SLDF services.”

Sheffield’s pitch sounded like it had come straight from the bureaucratic number crunchers at SLDF procurement, and it did nothing to instill confidence in either of them.

“Communication will be key,” Sheffield added. “You’ll both have the authority to convert your Stinger LAM to either Air or ‘Mech mode, but you should engage targets in the mode best suited for the engagement. Now, get suited up and start blasting targets.”

The two pilots again looked at each other, looked at the Stinger, and then sighed in unison. It was the last time either Donaldson or Barber performed any task in sync. The dual cockpit test would go down as a colossal failure for the dual-cockpit LAM concept, and SLDF training footage would later include recordings of Barber and Donaldson engaged in fisticuffs over who would take control of the LAM during various stages of the test.

First Lord Michael Cameron II ruled the Star League during a time of unprecedented technological innovation. During his reign, the Star League Defense Force would produce impressive and terrifying military machines such as the Awesome BattleMech, the Cameron-class Battlecruiser, and the Gotha Aerospace Fighter. However, it was also a time of completely unmitigated spending for the Terran Hegemony‘s military industrial complex, and as such, it resulted in just as many hits as it did misses. Some of the more spectacular failures have already been discussed in this article series, but none were more costly than the unfortunate Land-Air ‘Mech.

Commissioned in 2680 by Admiral David Peterson, the intent of the Land-Air ‘Mech was to produce a unit that combined the deployment speed of an Aerospace Fighter with the versatility of a ‘Mech. An Aerospace Fighter could rapidly strike targets but its ability to support ground forces was limited. Meanwhile, the BattleMech required DropShips to deploy but once fielded were the undisputed kings of the battlefield. The Land-Air ‘Mech, or LAM, would theoretically combine the advantages of both to create a weapon that ensures the SLDF and Terran Hegemony’s military dominance for centuries to come.

At least, that’s what Admiral Peterson envisioned on paper. The reality of the Land-Air ‘Mech was far from the ideal superweapon that SLDF generals and engineers wanted.

Shadow Hawk LAM

The first company to win an SLDF contract was Allied Aerospace, which created the SHD-X1 in 2680. Based on the already proven Shadow Hawk, the SHD-X1 was a bi-modal Land-Air ‘Mech, meaning it would convert directly from BattleMech to Aerospace Fighter without any intermediate steps.

The brand-new conversion technology proved problematic in multiple ways. First, the bulky tech added five additional tons to the SHD-X1 compared to the all-‘Mech SHD-2H, but also limited the space available for the fusion engine and internal fuel tanks. Thus, the SHD-X1 was slower than the SHD-2H on land by nearly 20kph and had a greatly limited combat radius in fighter mode. Additionally, the AC/5 was replaced by an ER Large Laser and the SRM-2 was removed in favor of an internal bomb bay. Newer technologies of the era such as extra light engines, an Endo Steel chassis, and Ferro Fibrous armor all couldn’t be employed due to the LAM conversion technology’s bulk.

SLDF procurement officers were already skeptical of the new design’s limitations, but things got worse for the SHD-X1 after several test platforms were lost during public reviews in 2681 and 2682. The engineering flaws that led to these lost machines were largely solved by the time the SHD-X2 arrived in 2684, but by then the platform had already gained a reputation as a dangerously flawed design. The SLDF canceled its order, and although Allied Aerospace built 20 SHD-X2 demonstrators, the company failed to attract a single buyer.

Stinger LAM

The first viable LAM came from LexaTech Industries in 2688 with the introduction of the Stinger LAM. Ten tons heavier than the original Stinger and armed with three medium lasers, LexaTech’s design introduced the first tri-modal Land-Air ‘Mech. A third mode allowed the Stinger LAM to deploy its wings and legs simultaneously, allowing it to rapidly travel at low altitudes thanks to the ground effect. Although lacking an internal bomb bay, the Stinger LAM retained the speed of the land-based chassis and impressive Aerospace performance as well.

However, the Stinger LAM revealed several flaws shared by all Land-Air ‘Mechs. While the Stinger LAM proved that the additional bulk of the conversion technology could be accounted for, it still reduced overall payload capacity for either a pure ‘Mech or Aerospace Fighter of similar size. Being completely unable to mount weight-saving technologies such as XL engines or Endo-Steel chassis meant LAMs were often outclassed in their engagements. Land-Air ‘Mechs also proved to be quite fragile. Damage taken to the conversion technology would effectively “lock” the LAM in whichever mode it was currently deployed.

Cost was another issue. Not only did pilots require twice as much training due to the twin mandates, but LAMs themselves cost many times the price of either a single ‘Mech or Aerospace Fighter. With no lack of manpower, the armed forces of the Inner Sphere had more than enough financial incentive to simply invest in proven technologies to bolster their war machines.

Still, the Stinger LAM did at least find niche applications where it was better suited than either an Aerospace Fighter or BattleMech. The SLDF navy often deployed Stinger LAMs in operations on minor planetoids such as asteroids or comets, or against forces that were unlikely to deploy fighters or ‘Mechs of their own.

Immediately following the Stinger LAM came the Wasp LAM from Harvard Company in 2690, which found success in similar niche roles and often served alongside its predecessor. Allied Aersospace’s second attempt at a Land-Air ‘Mech, the Phoenix Hawk LAM, finally vindicated the company in 2701. With harsh lessons learned from its earlier failure with the Shadow Hawk LAM, the Pheonix Hawk LAM proved a far more capable design, retaining the original Phoenix Hawk‘s performance while adding a bomb bay and other capabilities from the conversion technology.

Although there were a few smaller success stories, the crucible of the Succession Wars proved Land-Air ‘Mechs were too costly for all-out warfare between galaxy-spanning armies. Most commanders were loathed to commit the expensive designs for fear of losing them, and with limited stores of spare parts, the destruction of most LAM factories proved to be a death knell for the innovative technology. Only LexaTech’s factory on Irece was still producing Stinger LAM components by 3025, but the Nova Cats put a stop to that after their successful invasion in 3050.

Surprisingly, Land-Air ‘Mechs had a brief renaissance courtesy of the Word of Blake. During the Jihad, Blakist forces unveiled the Yurei, Pwwka, and Waneta LAMs based on its Spectral Series of OmniFighters. By this era, Clan-spec weapons and double heatsinks weren’t quite enough for the three Wobbie LAMs to stand against more traditional ‘Mechs and Aerospace Fighters, once again limiting their use to surprise attacks against inferior foes. The conclusion of the Jihad saw all Blakist factories destroyed, ending the saga of the Land-Air ‘Mech for good.

Spectral Series LAMs

Ultimately, Land-Air ‘Mechs proved that not every new technology has a place in war. I’m sure given more time, research, and investment, Land-Air ‘Mechs could have revolutionized combat as we know it. However, time is often the resource in the shortest supply during wartime. We may yet see the LAM return once again as technological advancement returns to the Inner Sphere, but for now, Land-Air ‘Mechs are dead. May they rest in peace.

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.

65 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Land-Air Mechs

  1. clarksworth

    I can accept most things in the BT universe but the LAMs were a bridge too far, they always seemed ridiculous

    1. RedGallus

      You have no idea how many people still consider viable convertible air-land platforms thus days. We only safe because they have no actual power or resources

  2. Nemo

    Ackshually LAMs are more logical than pure ‘mechs. Given that an aerospace fighter and a mech all are based on the same technologies and weapons (fusion engines and really, the same exact weapons systems) the thing that deoesn’t make sense is pure ‘mechs in a galactic war. Really, if battletech were real, ‘Mechs would just be bombed from orbit. LAMs makes the mechs make sense by being just reconverted aerospace assets and thus no additional liability. I mean, dropships are big and clunky and ‘mechs realistically coudn’0t hold their own in outer space, given the limited capabilities of JJ an the fact that most mechs don’t even have them (& can’t have them). ASF already exist from the premise the same fighter can work on space and atmosphere, which was already the hardest suspension fo disbelief, so given that, why not also walk?

      1. Mechcommander787

        Yeah. Pirates in Battletech never seemed like they would actually work. Do they own their own jump ships? If so, how do they maintain it? Because, otherwise, who would give a band of pirates a docking collar on their jump ship?

        1. Graywolf

          Attacking a Jump Ship is considered a war crime for a reason, one even pirates are generally loathe to commit. And most merchant jumpship Captain’s /crews operate on a tight enough budget that there not going to ask a whole lot of questions, as long as the price is right. Also most pirates in Battletech are backed by minor periphery kingdoms, giving them access to more resources than one would think.

    1. Kit

      Bombed from orbit… except that is a massive waste of orbital resources. And illegal while the Ares convention was around. And then just seen as entirely stupid after the succession wars resulted in so many things becoming Lostech because of: orbital bombardment, usually with nukes. There is a reason there are no bombardment options in BattleTech and that is because even the Great Houses finally realized: It’s pointless to bombard a planet or battlefield that you intend to take over, because then you’re just ruining the planet or ground to the point of uselessness. “Congratulations: You have won the battle! 30% of the world is now unusable and the population has already risen against you in a rebellion have fun.”

      1. Nemo

        Ares conventions, since when they are respected? In fact the whole backstory is that Inner Sphere Great Houses spent hundreds of years boming each other out. In this context the “supremacy of the battlemech” seems irrelevant. Clans still has the whole warship deal, the capital ship guns deal like 100 damage each and can obliterate a mech in a single shot. Battleships can have donzens of these guns which are orbital capalble., And we are still to believe a mech lance or squad can take over a planet…

        Since we KNOW dropships can be taken out with orbital guns and this isn’t a “war crime” it seems unlikely that mech to mach combat would often take place.

        If mechs were space capable then having them around would be more useful.

  3. Dustin Watson

    Honestly a mech with WIGE movement doesn’t sound terrible, so maybe we could see a return of the AirMech mode in another design, not unlike the QuadVees the Clanners came up with.

    1. James

      There is still the flaw of additional training/coordinating two pilots with two different mind sets (quadvees don’t count for that one as they have the same job in both forms), as well as finding a way to fit advanced technology properly.

      Frankly, the only way these may work is to go Macross/Robotech with a superior neurohelmet, or go the EI implant route with the cockpit from the Skinwalker. I honestly find the latter a more interesting concept, reminds me of a Macross movie with a full immersion cockpit on a prototype.

  4. Mike

    Commando raids and behide the line smash and grap raid I can see their uses. I like to get LAM models and use them.

    1. LandadmiralQuercus

      Were can you get LAM minis? I’m always interested in getting and playing new units.

        1. André Wolf

          If you can´t find any LAMs, look for some Robotech/Macross Valkyries. The differences shouldn´t be that great.

      1. Shenanigans

        you can get them from Iron wind metals. they are the only providers as of right now they actually look cool. just have 3 different models, one for each mode XD

  5. MookieDog

    Ah yes the LAM.. every power gamers wet dream come true. I can do everything, and my LAMB is always in perfect working order at the start of every game! The GM told me that even if the rules and the lore say that all LAMBs have been written out of universe, that there is ALWAYS a special super secret StarLeauge base just for me with my own personal LAMB just the way that I wanted it, but with tech at CLAN levels!

    Seriously though, LAM’s were in my humble opinion one of the worst things to ever happen to BattleTech. They simply do not work in campaigns, and they very overpowered on the table. Sure they have weak armor, but that is if you can ever hit the damn thing. Also have no fear, it will always be behind you, always, did I say always?

    If I seem sour I am. For something that is “supposed” to be rare, they are pretty darn common. There is always that one guy.. hey I rolled a 50 tonner, hey I am going to take a LAM! End campaign before it even started.

    Then the ‘Cat’s finally destroyed the factory on Irece, it was a sigh of relief, even being a Kurita Loyalist. Then the Dark Age hit and the first time they mentioned a Yurei,… Could the writers be any more stup… wait it was the Dark Age, Yes they can: Wizkids.. got it.

    Just please let the LAM die .

    1. Shiliski

      It’s funny, because I am the guy who keeps wanting to use LAMs, and the reason why I do it is because people keep telling me that LAMs are terrible, weak and useless. It bugs me because it’s so obviously not true and I feel like I have to prove it. A custom LAM with pulse lasers is both lore accurate (considering both are Star League era tech) and ridiculously strong in CBT, and the only reason why people think they suck is because all of the stock designs are flat out terrible. (Phoenix Hawk LAM? Really? That large laser does nothing for you and takes up so much space.)

      I don’t even feel bad about it either. LAMs aren’t even the dumbest part of the game. Clantech exists, after all. I just wish that LAMs were a bit better designed mechanically.

  6. Mainbrace

    The only practical use I could come up with for LAM’s is assaulting a warship. Fly them in with traditional aerospace fighters strafing a warship, land on the hull and start blasting or cutting their way inside. Not sure how any of that would work under battle / aero tech rules but as lore or fluff I can see it.

    1. pokefan548

      There are rules for hull boardings in Strategic Operations, but they’re very risky. Still, once you can get aboard the hull, if you can stay on for long enough, you can start getting free hits in on the ship- or even better, try and force your way through one of the bay doors and get INSIDE the ship.

  7. Duane Fogle

    The LAM although dead, was a magnificent attempt at trying to make something better. If they had enough time to really develop them they would have changed battletech completely. Having a platform that can drop from orbital platforms to make surgical guerilla strikes from orbital would have been a game changer if they were able to stand up to enemy fire long enough to get the job done and get out. But thats just my two cents. Nothing to see here, honestly wish they would make a come back but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

  8. Flashfreeze

    In my opinion, LAMs are only bad and unbalanced because the rules keep them that way. I have long suspected their irrelevance was deliberate, a strategy to keep Harmony Gold from showing up again like a stubborn case of herpes every time the words “robot transforming into a plane” were uttered.

    Maybe now that Harmony Gold has been put in their place we can have updated, balanced rules for these units. In a setting where QuadVees exist, I am loathe to consign an entire unit class to the scrap heap of history.

    1. Mattias42

      Agreed about Harmony Gold no doubt playing a part, but think an at least secondary concern for the forced irrelevance of LAMs was the sort of battles Battletech players tend to actually, well, not only play but WANT to play.

      Sure, in real world, LAMs would be a hit & run slash gorilla warfare wet-dream… They’re basically literally walking tanks that can also fly, AND lean on a building for cover. Even a small group of those guys with ECM & stealth armor? That’s the sort of thing that makes commanders sleep with one eye open while shivering.

      But most players don’t have war-game scenarios like that. It’s smack two armies into each other, and last man standing wins. Something that gets reinforced again & again in the lore, at that, by how vitriolic and degenerate the Great Houses are/have become.

      And in that context… LAMs are either a footnote that crumples in moments, or~ the most infuriating glass-cannon that’s dancing around the entire freakin’ game-map. Slowly whittling away your mighty (and expensive) Atlas, while you just~ can’t seem to hit the dang thing.

      Honestly think that’s even reflected in the sort of armaments that LAMs tend to have. It’s pretty much always a bunch of relatively short-range lasers that force ’em into retaliation range with the odd bomb-bay thrown in. The one exception, being the poor Screamer that never got out of the prototype stage, and the Waneta that was basically rendered obsolete in the same book it got introduced in to my understanding.

  9. SilverCyanide

    It is pretty clear that the idea behind LAM was scrapped because of Harmony Gold being “special”, while the whole concept was then destroyed by making sure none of the “advanced” technologies could really be used on them. Without FF, Endo, XL engines, LAMs are relegated to cool sidepieces rather then really optimized machines.

    At this point in time, what we need is “modernized” LAM construction rules, using critical slots on top of weight to balance them out and letting them use some of the advanced technologies out there.

  10. Eric Karau

    LAMs: I still use them in gaming! Overall the best one is the Stinger LAM: it’s the most balanced
    and the most plentiful, until the Nova Cats came along to Irece that is. The Wasp LAM is my second favorite
    but it’s very rare! Of course, there could end up being a new weapons system created from the ashes of the
    LAM: Purposely-designed and bult AEROSPACE BATTLEMECHS! FLYING Mechs in either space or atmosphere AND viable as ground units too! Conversion systems? Who says they HAVE to reconfigure/
    transform to work? Opens up a whole lot of new possible stuff! OF COURSE, the Clans would be ticked because it’s heretical by their standards! But to the Inner Sphere….?

    1. Mattias42

      Ironically, the Clans have their own stab at transforming mechs. The Quadvees.

      Well, more like a clan. They’re a Clan Hell’s Horses specialty, and even in their own ranks, they’re basically constantly given stink eyes.

      Honestly? I really like ’em myself. They’re a clever way of making both quad designs, turreted designs, transforming designs, AND wheeled/tracked designs seem plausible. Really seems like one of those ideas that would have happened if the Star League hadn’t imploded.

      Really hoping they get more love going forwards, but to my understanding, they’re just in one rule-book so far, so who knows if the concept lasts or not.

  11. Jeremy M Ward

    Yet another article i disagree with. Even without the ability to use Endo Steel or Ferro/etc under the new rules set, LAMS are capable multi role units for scouting, quick light to medium aerospace support, or harassment/skirmisher duties. The technology is easily available to rebuild them from the Clan Invasion era on. The PTB simply never chose to do so due to the Harmony Gold and the silly resistance of players. There are far more anti-air options now (LB-X clusters, flak ammunition, X-pulse and Clan pulse lasers, Reengineered lasers, Hyper Assault Gauss Rifles, etc) that can be used to counter them, and the HG suit is dead and gone.

    I begin to wonder at the criteria for bad mechs at times. The Nova article focused way too much on one configuration and missed out on the general usefuleness and low cost of a tough, reliable and great Omnimech that sees service in the toumans of many Clans today. Perhaps a follow up on Bad Mechs that became Good (Banshee, Charger, etc) through variants could be another fun idea.

  12. Escef

    LAMs are a great concept, and would probably have been viable if kept Top Secret, equipped with top of the line stealth technology, and only assigned to elite special forces teams (e.g., DEST) for covert insertion, observation, and possible strikes at key assets (such as command centers/personnel, communications and early warning assets, etc.).

    Of course, Battletech has always had a strange way of conceiving stealth and scouting. 20+ tons of metal biped running at over 100 kph is something even a blind person would notice, how the f*** are you gonna pull recon with that? I can feel the building my apartment is in shake when a heavily loaded 18-wheeler goes by, FFS.

    I’m of the mindset that your recon and infiltration units should be fast stealth VTOLs that insert scout/SF infantry (foot or stealth battle armor). This gives your scouts the ability to swiftly enter contested areas while still having a realistic chance of going unobserved. However, VTOLs kinda suck at orbital insertion, which would make LAMs a viable option. Deploy them from a faux merchant dropship, or insert them from a pirate point, let them do a quick burn for a few minutes to gain momentum (possibly with something akin to the jump jet packs used on battlemechs for aerial insertion, or fuel pods that can be jettisoned once spent), and then they can drift for a few days until they get to the target planet. It won’t be a comfortable trip, but the people on these kinds of teams are trained and conditioned to deal with worse.

    Of course, these kinds of stealth LAMs would be rigged to self destruct to prevent capture and reverse engineering. Further, they also have the ability to self-extract from a planet and rendezvous with an allied dropship in orbit to leave system. (Failing that, they could be destroyed and the operatives form a sleeper cell. Or they could fly off world and just plow themselves into the local star. It isn’t like suicide missions are unheard of for these types.)

    1. Charles Wadlington

      Would all of that effort, for a tiny, sliver of perfect mission-capable usefulness? Look up “Pegasus Hydrfoil Marine.” Same problems: A) Narrowly defined operational envelope (Also Irony), B) training burdens, C) NIGHTMARE logistics track, D) VERY expensive. Hypothetical: I am an Inner Sphere General–Do I buy 10 LAMS and all of the built-in problems–or do I buy half a squadron of atmospheric VTOL fighter-bombers and a couple of lances of mixed-capability `Mechs…all for the same money? After all, “good enough” often really is “good enough.”

    2. C.j.

      It sould be noted that the us military uses tanks as part of its scouting forces (armored calvery) because scouting isn’t gust about sniking around, often times its to get your enemy to shoot and expose themselves, or to force enemy scouting units off your forces and that requires some fier power.
      Although I think skermaching and unconventional warfare is were lams really shine.

  13. Negative Entropy

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    I know Battletech is a largely unplaytested 80s game with deliberately bad units but lams were pure cheese from a fan driven design process.

  14. Charles Wadlington

    The number one axiom when designing. Have it do ONE task that is superior to its’ prospective competitors. Things that are designed to do two or more tasks, tend to be lackluster overall.

  15. Vermonster

    For once, I agree with Sean. From a practical perspective, LAMs are a good idea on paper. Like XL engines in a light mech. But limited armour and fragile machinery in expensive war machines is a bad combo. They are light mechs with heavy mech Now, if they were locked in Gerwalk mode, fine.

    They have uses. Pathfinder, certain special missions and environments, that kind of thing. Still have to be stealthy in a mech. But they aren’t line troops, and in the cavalry role better to have a lance of fast heavies and two companies of jump infantry in a reserve Leopard with fighter escort.

    Out of universe, the biggest use is fan service.

  16. Foxbane

    There is a bright side to the horrific money black hole known as LAMs. Brigadier Corporation’s failed attempt to make a Scorpion LAM finally managed to give the Scorpion a smooth ride… centuries after the catastrophically failed project was LITERALLY buried.

  17. Z3r0_

    LAMs, I think, have their place, but they’re definitely niche machines intended either for situations where strategic mobility matters more than most other factors, or for a rapid first strike against an unprepared adversaries. These are situations you usually want special forces for, and LAMs would suit their mission profile just fine. In a straight fight, I don’t like their odds though.

    1. Z3r0_

      To clarify what I mean by the last sentence, since editing comments isn’t possible on this site, LAMs seem to be either borderline useless or completely overpowered, but I don’t think this is the fault of LAMs as a concept as much as it is the line developers not updating the rules for LAMs since the game first came out, at a point where they just weren’t balanced in the slightest. I do think they could make a comeback tbh, particularly as an IS-exclusive type of mech in the ilClan era, since the Clans don’t like LAMs, while the IS could frankly use some love now that all their unique weapons obtained from the Civil War through the Jihad era has been either matched or surpassed by the Clans since then.

  18. Eric Karau

    One robotech mecha that would be perfect for battletech as an Aerospace Battletech is the Queadlunn-Rau Aerospace Powered Armor, the machine Miriya uses as an enemy warrior! It’s easily capable of being turned
    into a unique Mech design! All the tech for battletech available? It fits into the design, which could be a speciality machine! Of course, it would need cross-training for it’s pilots, or maybe, as in the beginning of this article,
    two pilots to handle it, one in air and space and the other for ground! Or, there might be out there in the battletech universe pilots just CRAZY enough to try and handle it! The Clans would OF COURSE view this machine as an abomination and try to destroy it! But it opens up gaming and storyline possiblilities, doesn’t it?

    1. Eric Karau

      They’re already here Wazdaka! Try Robotech and see for yourself! You want bad mechs? What were they THINKING about when they made the Clans’ animalistic looking LITTLE ProtoMechs and even worse, the really UGLY QuadVees? I would think during the Clan Invasion in the early 3050s, the Inner Sphere would be going OUT of it’s way in coming up with anything, ANYTHING crazy enough that they might have thought would give them an edge against the Clans! The BZK-F3 Hollander running gauss rifle??? SERIOUSLY?!?!

  19. Eric Karau

    Try Robotech and see for yourself! Don’t know about the Transformers though! You want bad mechs? What were they THINKING about when they made the Clans’ animalistic looking LITTLE ProtoMechs and even worse, the really UGLY QuadVees? I would think during the Clan Invasion in the early 3050s, the Inner Sphere would be going OUT of it’s way in coming up with anything, ANYTHING crazy enough that they might have thought would give them an edge against the Clans! The BZK-F3 Hollander running gauss rifle??? SERIOUSLY?!?!

  20. Christian Pohl

    The whole LAM situation brings to light how BT lore spawns some huge contradictions when applying game logic. So, conversion equipment is fragile and hitting it locks the mech in its current form? What about all the mechs with launchers behind flaps or hinged doors like the Catapult, Archer, Bombardier or Raijin? Where are the rules dealing with hits to the launcher doors possibly disabling the weapons if the doors get stuck? Why is the Stalker the only assault mech needing a diet? Why is chassis fatigue not a more common problem? Don’t wanna know how much strain those King Crab arms have to take.

    If both the IS and clans can cook up several flavors of fusion reactor within half a century (light, compact and all the others which popped up after 3050) as well as new armor compounds and weapon systems, I find it hard to believe that not a single aerospace weapon designer looked at LAM specs and thought “we might be able to improve on that old garbage”. It’s possible to armor sensors and gyros without impairing their operation, but building better hydraulic circuits to avoid destruction by a stiff breeze is out of the question? Well, common sense in BT was always in short supply. Who designed a LRM system incompatible with any other LRM munition? The people building the effing Bombardier. No wonder the Star League collapsed…

  21. Beemer

    As the LAM rules are, I think they’re overnerfed. If quadvees can take advantage of XL engines, Endo Steel and Ferro Fibrous, and built heavier than 55 tons, LAMs should be able to as well. I think allowing that equipment and increasing the weight limit would go a long way to balance out LAM performance.

    1. Vermonster

      I’d argue the Quadvees are munchkin fodder, and honestly stupid. They should be restricted by the same limits as LAMs, and present no technical value over a mech. A LAM can at least fly, and pays for it by being expensive. Qvees exist so Hells Horses can have two mechs in a Point, or ten mechs and 50 elementals in a Nova. Its cheating, its dezgra, and whole clans have been wiped out for less.

      Like the idea of hybrid winged mech, they could have gone with a half mech, that gets treads or wheels rather than legs. Punches on the kick table and can park in a handicapped spot. But a transformer is just dumb.

  22. André Wolf

    So, are QuadVees any better than LAMs? I think, at least LAMs look way cooler (the unseen at least).

    1. Grog Sea

      The QuadVees aren’t stellar but they have had some success, primarily I think cause it’s the Hell’s Horses who work on them and they are much more about tanks… Cause that’s really what they are. Tanks with a second mobility option.

      I personally like the idea and think tank-mechs in general are cool but you really gotta treat them like tanks or mobile turrets more than mechs. At least as far as my experience goes.

  23. Eric Karau

    You guys want CRAZY WEIRD cool concepts for LAMs? Look it up on google as well as other places: THE (*drum roll please*) HOLLANDER LAM! A walking gauss rifle crazy? How about a transforming FLYING walking gauss rifle! It CAN be done(?) Anyways, look it up: you have to SEE it to believe it! I didn’t make
    it up, just to let you know!

  24. Rob C.

    I think their fine. Their fragile and yet they good for raiding and scouting. I’d treat it like that.

    I’m not found of them making so difficult to pilot / cost. Hell, you need three rule books figure out how to do it since their spread out. Including the obsolete book, which still has critical info on how operate the thing prior to it’s movement profile being changed.

    They were made to die because of copyright issues. Earlier, people were doing bad things with them to be made more revile.d

  25. Steel Shanks

    LAM’s deserve to die out. The transforming asset would indeed be too fragile. Someone mentioned the blast doors on a Catapult or Archer etc. NOT the same, at all lol. You could pull the broken door off with yer arms, then fire. If yer leg is stuck in flight mode fer yer LAM, you could be screwed. LAM’s are stupid, and underfunded… The light Mechs with partial wings can basically fly with Jump Jets anyway lol. Go play a match in MWO with a Spider or an Arctic Cheetah… You’ll fly lads… It’s great!

    1. Cupra

      Id like to see a Catapult pulling off his wasted blast door with his arm. Ifyouknowwhatimean :D

  26. Grog Sea

    Yeah, glad they went with the nice heavy industrial styled mechs instead of the transformers/robotech style. Much more unique flavor.

    I do like the idea of crazy people trying to get insane things to work so, just for fun, if I was a battletech engineer what would I do to make LAMs? Honestly, I’d make them full vehicles. Go for a bulkier slower aircraft that has simple legs like the pre-battlemech industrial vehicles. They can land and move like a tank since the legs aren’t more developed so there is less training. You don’t go for a mech that can be a jet, you go for a jet that deploys as a fire support turret or sensor relay and can move along with ground forces as needed. So… more advanced VTOLs.

  27. Ice Dragon

    LAMs: you love them or you hate them – there seems to be no middle ground.

    Personally I love these maschines for their role they were designed for: recon, strike, head hunting and special operations. Yes, there are Jack-of-all-Trades and Master-of-Non, but they have their place on my table and in my TO&E.

    Playing in 3025: you were lucky to have one in your outfix (be it merc or house unit) and you looked after your LAM. Sometimes hole missions were conducted to “require” need LAM-parts (great opportunity fpr role playing and table top).

    Playing in 3050+: LAMs will be killed really fast on most battlefields. But even Clan warriors can be beaten, if you use the modes of a LAM to your advantage.

    I upgraded the existing LAMS (Phoenix Hawk, Stinger and Wasp) to modern technologies (using XL, Null Signature System, ECM, BAP, TAG, etc.) and you get a hell of a scout/recon maschine. That was long before the rule changes were implemented (but I still use my PHX-HK3 today ;-) ).

    Back to the problem of Fasa and Harmony Gold. The 80ies was the time where Robotech hooked most of use young SciFi fans and Battletech was the opportunity to plays with those Mechs. It’s sad, that no real life solution was found and now LAMs are a dying tool. (Maybe the inner Robotech fan is speaking ;-) ).

    I will use them one way or the other.

    For have a neech in the Battletech universe, it was the SLDF Commanding General Admiral Peterson who had the idea of transforming Aerospace Fighters/Mechs to supplement the SLDF. From a navy mans perspective (carrier, marines) a logical step. Even if they are time consuming and a technician nightmare, the benefit and the success in their indented role call for such a maschine.

    1. JohnM

      Exccept you can’t use XL engines or Null Signature Systems in LAM’s.
      LAM’s can only use standard fusion engines, armor/internal structure that doesn’t requires critical hit slots, and generally any equipment that is fully installed within a single hit location.
      As both the XL engine and NSS require critical slots in multiple hit locations they are not permitted.
      ~Interstellar Operations: Alternate Eras

  28. Kantoken

    Robotech/Macross, and especially Macross Plus, must have been the inspiration behind the LAMs. I will never forget that first episode of MP in which they’re fighting in an asteroid field. It demonstrates the maneuverability and firepower of a well-build LAM.
    But when translated to the tech system of Battletech, well, you get… light ‘mechs that can fly.

    1. Pat Payne

      The original SDF Macross definitely. The PHX/WSP/STG LAMs were directly based off of the VF-1 Valkyrie. Macross Plus wouldn’t exist till about 11 years after BattleTech was first published.

  29. Trynn Allen

    As far as RPG hooks go, they were/are great. I’ve had PCs with them in used them in great effectiveness. But in truth not as front line mechs. I had a group that had a Stinger LAM, Shadow Hawk, Catapult and Ostscout. They were usually employed as forward scouts, but the other task was as independent contractors investigating Lostech rumors.

    Used in the Tabletop. I’ve used them effectively, but they really are not front line mechs, they are harassers, and there are far cheaper alternatives for dedicated harassers…for example a Harasser, Pegasus, any other hovertank.

  30. RecklessPrudence

    I always thought the designers were missing the forest for the trees. That in-between mode for tri-modal LAMs? That right there is a *perfect* raider/harasser. You don’t even need another mode, just have WiGE mechs that can land and stomp around wrecking logistics bases and then take off and zip past reinforcements instantly! If you *must* have transformation (which, fair, it’s cool af), go for bimodal ASF-mode and aeromech-mode, so they can insert themselves from orbit or from a distant land base and go on raiding missions!

    Bonus, as an aeromech, with aeromech speed, they can develop some *ridiculous* targeting mods from tearing around like Amaris himself is on their heels, which makes them viable as ground combatants against heavier units so long as they’re smart about it and preferably have a more durable friendly around to act as the anvil to their hammer. So they’re not even solely limited to raiding, they can act as rapid (and HOW!) flankers as well!

  31. Eric Karau

    Then why don’t they build a LAM that is only in aeromech mode all the time as they’re shown in the original 3025 tech readout in only THAT mode? A LOT of gaming and artistic websites have mechines built like that! The one-form GERWALKROID from the Macross II: Lovers again alternate anime, which is only in one scene despite all the tech stuff about it, would fit into that category easily! And since the design doesn’t reconfigure/transform, no conversion hydraulics to worry about: build them with ALL the lostech you can get your hands on! It also looks cool too!

  32. Jackson

    Imagine these in MWO. An entire lance worth of ‘mechs blasts off, literally, fly into the entire OPFOR, turn an Atlas red somehow, proceed to all die, and if one somehow survives it cowers in the back of the map for the rest of the match. Basically, lights but even faster.

    1. Pox

      If you haven’t played Transformers: War for Cybertron, that had a multiplayer I played for awhile where you could have transformers that converted into fast cars, into slow heavily-armoured tanks, and into jets. It played remarkably well in MWO-style maps, and honestly given the rules for knocking out Aeros with flak/LBX/etc. I could see modernized LAMs providing not only a service in a niche role as raiders but some specialized armoured/redundant-system LAMs as superb flankers. They would never have the full durability or weaponry as the best Battlemechs, but they’d be excellent surprise flankers and their usefulness would be offset by the substantially increased costs of including conversion equipment and additional propulsion systems. If they cost twice (or even three times) as much as a regular Battlemech, someone would still buy them but only in small batches and want to save them. Thsi by no means makes them useless and I certainly wouldn’t want to see them die out over this; just… saved for specific circumstances.


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