Bad ‘Mechs – Ostscout

Bad 'Mechs Ostscout

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

Private Eastman wasn’t sure why he was even here, in the middle of Lee’s massive forests waving his Ostscout‘s arms around in an attempt to find a Capellan invasion force. The Fifth Davion Guards already had complete air superiority after the Davion aerospace forces had ambushed the Liao fighters in orbit, so there really was no need for him to be casually strolling through the dense foliage with his ‘Mech’s arms out looking like a blind metal giant stumbling through a jungle.

Constant air overwatch and reconnaissance flights would have found them eventually. But rather than wait, the top brass had demanded a MechWarrior risk their life just to prove how superior ‘Mechs were to every other military asset. Private Eastman, in his incredibly valuable Ostscout, drew the short straw. 

Unfortunately, Lee’s dense forests offered the Liao invaders an excellent location to hide. The foliage and geologic formations from previous ice ages meant there was a lot of data for the Ostscout‘s computer to crunch, preventing Eastman from trundling his 35-ton ‘Mech any faster than a slow walk. 

It wasn’t what the Light ‘Mech Pilot’s Handbook said to do when approaching a suspected enemy position. In fact, it was the exact opposite of what the Handbook said. 

“Fuck,” Eastman cursed under his breath, fearful that his voice would escape the Osctscout‘s cockpit. As though he could be any louder than the dozens of branches his ‘Mech’s giant feet were snapping with every step.

Just then, a blip. It was faint, a combination of magnetic and humidity sensors being tripped. The iron-filled rocks throughout the forest normally meant mag scans were unreliable, but the Ostscout’s scanners could combine that data with ambient humidity levels. If morning dew formed on cold metal, the system would pick it up. Which is exactly what his scanners were reading just over 900 meters ahead of him.

Eastman stopped. He double-checked his readings, confirming the combination of magnetic resonance and near 100 percent humidity. He brought the location up on infrared, and sure enough, a dark hole presented itself at the same location--something even colder than the atmosphere around it. Something trying to hide.

Now the Osctcout aped the movements of a man who’d just run straight into a bear. Frozen with fear, Eastman debated his options. He could break radio silence and ask for orders, but if there were Capellan troops out there, they’d certainly pick up his transmission. He could advance and get a closer look, but that seemed suicidal given his Ostscout was armed with a single Medium Laser. 

Or he could run. The noise would certainly awaken whatever was out there, but it seemed the safest option.

Then the decision was made for him as a pair of missiles arced out from the forest to impact his ‘Mech’s torso. 

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Private Eastman shouted, kicking his Ostscout around and high-tailing it back through the path his ‘Mech had already cut through the foliage. So hasty was his retreat that he didn’t notice how the missile impacts had accidentally flipped his mic to broadcast through his ‘Mech’s external speakers, treating the Capellan ambushers to an expletive-filled Doppler effect.

Ostscout : Bad 'Mechs a Sarna Tale | Battletopia Stories
Watch this video on YouTube.

Ostscout TRO Succession Wars

Nearly a century after the highly successful Ostroc made a name for Ostmann Industries, the company decided to embark on an entirely new venture for what was then a new class of BattleMech. The Ostscout was designed purely and solely for the important and dangerous job of battlefield reconnaissance. Initially armed solely with potent targeting, communication, and sensor systems, only after vociferous protest from its pilots did Ostmann eventually provide the Ostscout with a single Medium Laser for self-defense. Even then, Ostscout pilots are advised never to engage the enemy and to use the ‘Mech’s extreme speed and long-range sensor equipment to avoid combat entirely. 

The first OTT-7J Ostscout rolled off the assembly line in the year 2600. Its powerful TRSS.2L3 target-tracking system and narrowband Barret 4000 comms system were at the time both state of the art, as were the various sensors located in the Ostscout‘s arms. Capable of recording everything from barometric pressure to geological data, the Ostscout‘s sensors took in so much data that its onboard computer proved incapable of processing it when the ‘Mech was traveling at top speed, forcing the Ostscout to move slowly through areas of interest. The location of the sensors also required the ‘Mech to wave its arms around--a humorous sight for bystanders as it would often appear like the ‘Mech was lost. 

Unfortunately, it also meant that the Ostscout was most vulnerable when it was performing in its intended role. As all light ‘Mech pilots are taught at various military academies throughout the Inner Sphere, speed is life. Without it, the fragile Ostscout is easy prey to anything that manages to evade its sensor array. 


Despite these flaws, the Ostscout became yet another commercial success for Ostmann Industries for two reasons. First, the Ostscout arrived at the start of the Star League and at the very height of BattleMechs being seen as the only military hardware worth having. As such, military procurement officers from both Star League and House militaries placed reduced emphasis on traditional (and cheaper) reconnaissance solutions, such as light-armored vehicles, VTOL aircraft, and unmanned drones. Second, Ostmann licensed the Ostscout to Kong Interstellar Corporation in 2700, allowing the Ostscout to flood the market and cement itself as the premiere reconnaissance BattleMech. 

Kong Interstellar’s factory on Connaught would be destroyed 100 years later at the onset of the First Succession War, but this actually proved somewhat beneficial to the Ostscout‘s survival. As new ‘Mechs and parts dried up, commanders started guarding their Ostscouts like ancient treasures, rarely using them but in the direst of circumstances. Many Ostscouts survived the Succession Wars in pristine condition, although others were forced to replace their delicate sensors with inferior (but easier to maintain) equipment. 

For centuries, the main model of Ostscout was the OTT-7J. Equipped with a VOX 280 fusion engine capable of kicking the 35-ton ‘Mech into a running speed of 129 kph, the Ostscout also came with eight Ostmann Sct-A jump jets capable of launching the ‘Mech up to 240 meters. Four-and-a-half tons of armor kept the ‘Mech safe for a salvo or two, while its single Medium Laser allowed it to fend off infantry and light vehicles, although pilots were instructed explicitly to avoid combat due to the Ostscout‘s extremely light armament. 

Ostscout_OTT-7J 2

The only other variant of the Ostscout produced by Ostmann was the OTT-7Jb, the SLDF Royal variant which replaced the standard chassis with Endo Steel in order to make room for a Beagle Active Probe. It wasn’t until 3050 that the OTT-7K arrived, although it merely used technology recovered from the Helm Memory Core to replace the OTT-7J’s single medium laser with Target Acquisition Gear, returning the Ostscout to its completely unarmed origins.

By 3064, a more substantial upgrade of the venerable Ostscout came courtesy of ComStar. The OTT-9CS not only used an Endo Steel chassis but also a 280 XL engine to save enough weight for a collection of acronymed equipment including BAP, ECM, TAG, and a C3i computer. It also more than doubled the Ostscout‘s firepower with two ER Medium Lasers and an ER Small Laser and provided almost half-again as much protection with six tons of ferro-fibrous armor. This variant was also the first to redesign the Ostscout‘s sensors such that pilots no longer needed to wave the ‘Mech’s arms around in order to obtain clear sensor data. The onboard computer was similarly upgraded so the pilot could maintain the Ostscout‘s full 129 kph running speed while still processing that data stream at full capacity.


Although ComStar had intended to retain the OTT-9CS for its own armed forces, a former Precentor leaked the design to both the breakaway Word of Blake as well as the Lyran Alliance. Both factions then began producing their own variants. The OTT-9S from the Lyrans retained the standard VOX 280 engine but used Endo Steel and ferro-fibrous armor to clear up enough space for two ER Medium Lasers and two anti-personnel pods along with BAP, ECM, and TAG. 

The Word’s OTT-10CS, produced by Krupp Armament Works and Odin Manufacturing, used an XL engine and gyro combination to replace the standard jump jets with ten Rawlings 45i Improved Jump Jets. The electronic equipment was paired back to just the C3i computer and the ER Small Laser was also dropped. Krupp would later improve the Ostscout further with the OTT-11J, upgrading the engine to a GM 315 XL for a running speed of 150 kph. The Improved Jump Jets were replaced with standard versions, but the two ER Medium Lasers were upgraded to two Light PPCs along with TAG.

Several decades went by as the Jihad and subsequent Dark Age curtailed ‘Mech development throughout the Inner Sphere. After the Draconis Combine captured the Robinson Standard Battleworks in the late 3140s, it retooled the factory to produce the new OTT-8J Ostscout. An extralight engine provides enough weight savings for an ECM and Bloodhound Active Probe, while the single Medium Laser is upgraded to a Martell-X Medium X-Pulse Laser. Double heat sinks keep the recon ‘Mech cool and six tons of ferro-fibrous armor keep it relatively well protected. 


The most advanced Ostscout comes courtesy of a joint venture between Kong Interstellar and Clan Sea Fox. Kong provides the stealth armor, ECM, light fusion engine, and endo-composite chassis, while the Sea Foxes provide a Clan-spec ER Large Laser and a network of arms dealers. The OTT-12R’s maneuverability, jump capacity, and armor protection remain unchanged from the original OTT-7J.

The evolution of the Ostscout has helped it retain its status as a superior scout ‘Mech, but the battlefield has changed in the many centuries since it was first introduced. Scout ‘Mechs of the modern battlefield are larger, more heavily armed and armored, and just as fast as the Ostscout. Further, the decades of the Dark Age have tarnished the BattleMech’s image as the best solution to every military problem. Combined arms and the efficiency of war have seen a resurgence in more traditional reconnaissance equipment, and if this trend continues, the Ostscout may find itself without a place in modern armies.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Share this:

This entry was posted in Art, Editorial, Historical on by .

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.

27 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Ostscout

  1. Eric Karau

    Nice Mech, but it’s like the Clans’ Stone Rhino: too valuable to use, a technological treasure. If anything, it’s main computer needs to be upgraded to assimilate information from it’s sensors faster and make it less vulnerable to enemy fire while processing the information. Other than that, it’s got great mobility; it could be made also into a design with armament to fight in combat. Besides, I like the Ost series of Mechs; they’re based on the various models of the classic Zentraedi Battlepods seen in Macross/Robotech.

    1. JustSomeGuy

      In the case of the Ostscout, I’d argue it’s too valuable to lose, but not use. It has the speed and armour to survive most of the operations it’d be used in, you just might have to sacrifice a couple lancemates along the way. The Ostscout does eventually get the upgrades you mention, but by that point it’s no longer irreplaceable. At that point it’s just an excellent mech: either cheap and efficient, a sneaky spotter, or a decent light sniper.

  2. Craig

    Reply to Eric: I’ve heard the “Ost” brand are Zentraedi-inspired but I don’t see it. One Z mecha I loved back in the day was their “Malcontent” cobbled-together style, for micronized warriors between Macross and Masters.

    The Ostscout suffers in comparison to the Spider as twin medium lasers are basically minimum weaponry for anything over 20 tons. One laser plus mobility, gives you ~ odds against Stingers and Wasps (which lack useful +4 defense modifier). Though both mechs spend the same tonnage on armor + weapons, 5.5 tons.

    “Recon” is a spooky element in tabletop as it often means hitting a fixed asset before it can be defended, and not the discovery of the enemy.

    If you cut back on the movement to 7-11-7, at 30 tons you can have 6 tons armor and 3.5 tons weapons – 2 medium lasers plus 3 small lasers is some punch when you need and it won’t overheat unless jumping. Or two medium lasers plus Beagle Active Probe / ECM.

  3. Dusty

    You gotta be shitting me. Bad mech? The ostscout is the first thing I’m reaching for when I want a mech that’s an absolute bastard to hit and I want to mark things for getting splattered by missiles of various sizes. It is a minimum +4 TMM to hit when it’s doing that job on earlier models, with the crown jewel of the whole bunch being the 10cs. +5TMM, C3i and either a fire support mech or some artillery with the same means it’s a bad, bad idea to stay in the same neighbourhood as it. And if you try to ignore it, you get a boot to the arse.
    You’re stretching the definition here mate.

    1. apstorm

      Did you read it? They talk about how lore claims it needs to move slowly and wave its arms to allow its sensors to do their job. These things aren’t reflected in the baseline game rules, however, so in normal play it works just fine, but the lore claims it’s a piece of junk that was lucky it hit in a time when people were buying mechs because they were mechs.

      You’re also talking about later tech, too, and the article even covers the fact the later models don’t have the flaws of the initial variants.

      I feel like a lot of the hate is just people glancing at the ‘mech name and then going off because it’s one of their favorites, instead of actually reading the contents.

      1. Owl

        If that is really how the Ostscout functions then their real utilization would have been different as well, something that really isn’t covered in any of the games. If the sensors can only be used at slow speeds, then the tactic to use the Ostscout would not be blindly walking slowly around and letting everyone hear a multi-ton walking death machine breaking down every tree in its path, tactics to use it would be more akin to the “sprint and drift” usage of submarines where they will rush to a location before the enemy arrives then go passive and listen for the enemy.

        This really can’t be covered in the games where it almost always end up as mechs trying to blow each other up and these Bad Mech writeups don’t cover how to use military equipment properly either.

      2. JustSomeGuy

        It needs to move slowly while attempting to process all the data it’s capable of processing. On the move it’s capable of getting the same standard data as any other scout. That does mean that once you get the mech into position it can out-compete most other scouts for data resolution and depth.

        There’s a few other mechs that can do its job in 3025, namely the Spider and Assassin, and the Locust, Mongoose, Hussar and Hermes in open terrain. The Spider is much rarer with worse quirks and less armour; the Assassin is slower but otherwise matches the Ostscout profile, while the Locust is cheap and plentiful it can’t jump. The Hussar and Hermes are both faster with some decent weapons loadouts, but they give up most of their armour in the process. If you are in the open, the Mongoose is superior as long as you keep your speed up, it’s a pretty rare find.

        All of them can outgun an Ostscout, but if kept to its job as a pure scout the Ostscout has an excellent focus on survivability and tanking hits. And by being heavier than most of its competitors, it has the capability of being physically deadly. Within a lance situation that can come in handy if allowed to outmaneuver other scouts. Generally I find it works just fine while supporting a bunch of 6/9s.

        1. JustSomeGuy

          Forgot about the Jenner which is a better scout in open terrain, like the Mongoose, but slower, like the Assassin. The 5JJs are serviceable but don’t provide the same TMMs or distances that the other mechs can achieve in heavy terrain. Overall an excellent choice if you work for the snakes for some reason.

  4. Steel Shanks

    On the fence with this one…

    Love the Ost series of Mechs, and I see potential in the Light PPC armed Ostscout for sure… But that’s the only one. One Medium laser in a Gun Fight is Not very helpful. True it’s speedy, and it could be helpful with artillery etc. But… A heavier, better armed Light Mech can do that too… Idk…

    Makes Me want to test out an Ostscout on Table Top to really decide. I never have, so We’ll see…

    1. Dusty

      Ths is one of those times where people measure a mech by its ability to kill stuff. The ostscout isn’t designed for that, and the weapons are largely a later addition to its primary purpose of finding and painting targets.

      1. Steel Shanks

        Yeah… It’s a War Game lol. Koshi Mech does what the Ostscout does… But does it with 4 SRM4’s lol. Look, I get the electronics aspect, but other Mechs can do what it does, do it better, and with more guns. Hence why it’s probably on this list.

        1. JustSomeGuy

          Both the Koshi and the Mist Lynx are also 300 years newer with Star League or better equipment. The OTT-9CS is a contemporary with similar electronics package plus a C3i and 2 ERML instead of the SRMs. Slightly better range, plus it can help larger mechs with their own shooting.

          All of the Ostscouts outjump the Koshis (Koshi only has 6JJs) making them harder to hit, and they just have more armour, which helps with staying alive. The Ostscout also outweighs them by 10 tons, meaning if and when they get within range they do some pretty nasty melee.

          Ostscouts aren’t meant to be in stand up fights, they’re meant to scout. Something they do quite well.

  5. Eric Karau

    Craig: the Zentraedi Malcontent mecha from Robotech would be absolutely PERFECT in pre-Gray Death memory core Succession Wars-era Battletech! TONS of equipment from the era was cobbled-together and the Malcontent mecha would easily fit in this era, if you can get past the fact that these Robotech cobbled-together designs were MAJORLY flight-capable! But I’m pretty sure the Ost series of designs aren’t flight-capable: the closest Clan design to the Ostscout is the 40-ton Viper/Dragonfly OmniMech which has the same movement profile!

  6. Dwagonzahn

    Post-Helm Memory Core, the Owens and Raven just do this things job better.

    During the Succession Wars, I’d much rather have a Jenner-7F, as it’s only a bit slower but much better armed for dealing with other scouts and counter-recon units. Plus it can “active recon” things well enough even when not supported by air assets or artillery.

    Post Helm-Memory Core, the Raven makes a good impression as one of the few nice things House Liao ever gave us, doing that whole “ECW Mech” thing in a much sleeker and better armed package.

    From Clan Invasion onward, the Owens is just as good, and a bit more flexible for those times when you need to slap some Flamers on something to clear terrain in advance of a push since they use Omnipods.

    For those poor Clanner basta- I mean, “honorable” second line warriors dutifully performing glorious muckraking picket duty in their scouts, the Koshi, Locust IIC, and Kit Fox all have variants that handle the job superbly.
    …Y’know, when Clans bother to actually scout things instead of howling “Batchall!” over broad-comms like the third kid picked for Dodgeball who has something to prove.

    1. Matt Bowden

      Post-Helm Memory Core you get the OTT-9CS and 9S which knock the Owens and Raven into a cocked hat.

  7. Ultra-Laser

    This is my go-to example of a mech that *needs* to be played with Quirks in play to do what it needs to do. No quirks? There is absolutely zero reason to take it over something like a Spider or Locust. With Quirks? It’s everything you would want in a recon mech.

  8. Eric karau

    I prefer the LCT-1E Locust the Capellans have: it’s armed with two medium lasers and two small lasers, each one in one of two turrets on the sides of the center torso and can rotate 180 degrees rearward! OUCH! Plus, it’s got the Locust’s famed speed and agility! One of the other 2 things Liao does well!

  9. Terminator

    This is not a terrible ‘Mech by any stretch of the imagination. Effectively, the difference between the Ostscout and the Spider is the Ostscout drops one of the Spider’s lasers for an extra ton of armor. And unless my entire force is things like Spider, P-Hawks, hovertanks, and other hit-and fade units, I prefer the Ostscout. The Spider has to cycle one of its lasers to manage its jump jet heat, while the Ostscout’s armor is always working for it.

    Even the much maligned OTT-7K, which I thought for sure was going to be lambasted in the article, is actually genius on a twisted level. Remember that before Total Warfare came along, using TAG prevented a unit from engaging in any other weapon attacks in the same turn. Insert thinking guy meme: “Don’t have to give up weapons to TAG if I have no weapons”. Instead of wasting C-bills/tonnage/BV on weapons it won’t be using, it plows it all into armor and mobility that helps get it into position where that TAG laser does the most good. Ever seen what a battery’s worth of homing missiles does to Timber Wolf’s rear? It is not pretty.

    Of course, just because it’s efficient on a meta level, wouldn’t make me any happier to be assigned to pilot one. ;)

  10. Salty Mariner

    99% of my time playing tabletop Battletech was with the 3025 rules, so we never played with quirks, EW/targeting equipment, or use any lore, and this wasn’t much of a ‘Mech under those rules. It was good for advance spotting, but any 8/12 ‘Mech like the Locust is just as useful for that role, better armed, and cheaper, while ‘Mechs like the Spider (which, yes, is another EW-ish scout ‘Mech) are even 8/12/8.

    With the sensor/communication quirks, it’s a much better ‘Mech and less likely to get ambushed at close range.

    (I like the new rules, I’m not being old. Lol. But even the new rules don’t give you a reason to ever mount an Inner Sphere AC/5.)

  11. Krulla_Chief

    I disagree with calling it a Bad ‘Mech in the in-universe sense, and honestly depending on the model even on the in-game sense. But the problem with the Ostscout is that its battlefield role as a super maneuverable strategic scout is rarely if ever useful to the scale of battle we, the players, are used to. It’s just one of those things that gets lost in translation between universe and commonly utilized game mechanic/scales. That said I am glad that the article itself also generally agrees with this sentiment as well, if through the lens of “I have to write an amusing article.” Also the art and the little story blurb at the beginning continue to be the best things in this article, with no offense meant to the work done in the rest of it.

  12. Spudeus

    I actually think it’s not ‘bad’ enough. Get rid of that laser and make it PURE recce. Form should follow function. Also I don’t remember ever reading about the arm-wavey thing, which makes little sense.

  13. André Wolf

    I´m oldschool, i admit it. Thus i don´t like the new artwork, which gives him hands, It was intentional, that it had none, making it even more of a mech that avoids combat.

    And bad? Doing some very simple maths, it could have another medium laser for a ton of armor, giving it exactly the same specs like the Spider. The Spider is really not a bad mech. And it even has an ejection system on top. :P

    Essentially its just one of the first mechs published back then in TRO 3025 and i think many of those were intentionally designed to have flaws. For the Ostscout this flaw is, that its to fast for its tonnage. But i like speed over firepower, so its fine with me.

  14. Eric Karau

    With hands, it would be an idea smash-and-grab raider Mech, the Ostscout! Even with Star Laegue lostech and Clantech now more available by the time of the ilClan era, raiding for supplies and tech, Succession- Wars style is probably still around, especially in the Periphery!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.