Bad ‘Mechs – Quickdraw

Courtesy of Eldonious

“This thing is supposed to replace my Rifleman?” Sgt. Browning asked with incredulity. Although not intended for fire support, Browning had grown attached to his Rifleman’s imposing profile and powerful long-range armament. 

The tech never even looked up from her clipboard. “Yup.” 

“Doesn’t look like much,” Browning offered. “Does it have more guns?”

“Nope.” 

Browning’s look of incredulity turned into an outright frown. “Okay, how’s it for heat?” 

“Toasty if you use those jets.” 

“Armor?” 

The tech sighed and flipped a page on her clipboard. “A little more, but not by much.” 

“Range?” 

“You got a ten-pack of LRMs,” the tech scanned another page quickly, then shrugged. “The rest is medium lasers and a few SRMs.” 

Browning balked at the loss of so much firepower. “What the hell is this thing good for then?!”

“You can jump.” Another shrug. “And you can keep up with a Trebuchet. That’s about it.” 

The sergeant nearly gripped his neurohelmet hard enough to crack its casing. “Fuck that, I’ll keep the Rifleman.” 

“It’s already been reassigned,” the tech replied, already ducking to avoid the neurohelmet that had just been thrown at her. 

Courtesy of Alex Iglesias

A heavy ‘Mech that tries to do everything and thus does nothing particularly well, the Quickdraw began life as a replacement for the Rifleman, a ‘Mech that saw itself being used in roles it was never intended. The Rifleman was designed as an anti-aircraft ‘Mech, but Star League regiments fell in love with the design and started using them for everything from fire support to front-line assaults. It’s a testament to the Rifleman’s design that it was able to be employed in such a diverse array of roles, but its shortcomings also became clearer and clearer as the decades wore on.

Hoping to build on the massive success of the Awesome, Technicron Manufacturing submitted a proposal for a 60-ton ‘Mech with greater armor (although just barely) and better maneuverability than the Rifleman in order to replace it in front-line roles. Although the Quickdraw‘s armament was considered light for a heavy ‘Mech and much lighter than the beloved Rifleman, its array of medium lasers and missiles allowed it to engage at multiple ranges but maintained the bulk of its firepower at medium to close range where the ‘Mech was intended to operate.

The Quickdraw‘s speed and jump jets allowed it to keep up with many light designs and offered a range of tactical flexibility than the Rifleman did not. That said, the Quickdraw was not an especially fast machine and with its comparatively light armor and weapons complement, unwary pilots could find themselves in situations where their machine was grossly outmatched.

Perhaps most telling of the Quickdraw’s flaws was that it would often find itself crippled or stripped of armor after the first salvo from a Rifleman, while the Quickdraw’s return fire routinely failed to penetrate the frontal glacis of the Rifleman (not so its back armor, which was notoriously paper-thin). 

Quickdraw MechWarriors learned to lean into their machine’s strengths during combat. The Quickdraw was extremely fast for a 60-ton ‘Mech of the era, and pilots learned to appreciate not only the Quickdraw‘s jump jets but also its highly-articulated ankle actuators, which allowed the ‘Mech to stand firmly on slopes that would have sent other ‘Mechs toppling to the ground. 

Unfortunately, those same ankle actuators would prove to be just as much a weakness as a strength. The actuators themselves were fragile to the point where stray weapons fire could damage the ankle and leave the Quickdraw immobile. Once this information got out, MechWarriors learned to shoot for the ankles on a Quickdraw to earn a quick kill.

Another big issue with the Quickdraw was heat. The Quickdraw‘s 13 heatsinks were insufficient to dissipate heat from a prolonged firefight, often requiring the pilot to stagger their medium lasers and jumps or risk a catastrophic ammunition explosion. This flaw was largely solved by the introduction of the QKD-5M model with its double heatsinks in the 3050s, but Technicron never quite figured out a solution for the Quickdraw’s delicate ankles.

Ultimately, the Quickdraw never actually replaced the Rifleman. Units were to begin phasing out Riflemans for Quickdraws in 2779, but very few had been assigned to regiments before the outbreak of the First Succession War. House militaries were desperate for hardware and the Quickdraw soon found itself fighting alongside Riflemans along with many other designs. 

Unlike many manufacturers, Technicron was able to escape the Succession Wars largely intact and maintained Quickdraw production throughout centuries of conflict. As a result, Quickdraws can be found in all House militaries, as well as lesser houses, mercenary units, periphery bandits, and everything in between. A workhorse design that failed to live up to its expectations, the Quickdraw nevertheless managed to thrive in a turbulent galaxy where many other ‘Mechs didn’t.

On a personal note, the Quickdraw is one of my favorite bad ‘Mechs. It’s not one of the worst ‘Mechs out there by any measure, but it falls victim to the problem of jump jets on a heavy ‘Mech. That’s five tons that could have been better spent on more guns and armor, and indeed, the first thing I do with my Quickdraws in MechWarrior 5, BATTLETECH, or any other game is to remove those jets for exactly that. 

Keep on telling me which bad ‘Mechs you want covered, but I think next month’s Bad ‘Mech will be the baddest of them all.

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.

34 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Quickdraw

  1. Alexandro Gallone

    Ha ha, well played/written!

    If you use the weapon-load wise (ML’s w/ sprinting, SRM4 + 2 ML’s w/ jumping, and so on) you can work something out with this one.

    But yeah, it’s a sort of Jack of all trades! The Quickdraw becomes more interesting in later epochs loke the QKD-5Mr or QKD-9M

    Looking forward for the baddest Mech of all times!

    Cheers!

    Reply
  2. Steel Shanks

    Man… Two of My favorite Mechs made the Bad Mech List already… The Assassin, and now the Quickdraw! Look, the Quickdraw can EASILY be made into a great Mech! Again, I’ve had massive success with the Quickdraw, and that’s WITH Jump-jets. I admit, I usually drop two jump-jets, keeping three, or vice versa, point is, I keep the jumps. In MWO My Quickdraw 4G has 2 Large Lasers in the torso, two mediums in the arms, and two Artemis-SRM4’s, with Double Heatsinks. It’s great! It snipes, it brawls, it’s a monster. I’ve also run him with 2 x MRM 10’s, and 4 Med Lasers, still great. Yes, double heat sinks are usually a must with MWO, even Tabletop, but if you have singles, drop One Med Laser, add One Heat Sink, and yer usually ok. I love the Design, it’s super unique, and pretty great. I guess if I had to worry about the ankles, I would, but I never do. Quickdraws with Rockets… also Super-Periphery Fun!! Quickdraw forever, FWL forever…

    Reply
    1. Steel Shanks

      Side Note: The Quickdraw in HBS BattleTech is also super great, especially their A variant. Load the A variant with Mediums and Small lasers, you have a great brawler! Try the 4G with My Large Lasers in the torso, Mediums in the arms, and some SRM4’s, works great… a little toasty, add a Heat Bank. I usually have both models in My Mercenary Force.

      Reply
    2. Валерий39999

      “But in my MWO…” MWO is a BT shooter, not BT.
      As Lanzman said below, “Sure, you can customize it into something a lot more effective, but then it isn’t really a Quickdraw any more.”
      I’ll tell you a little secret that you probably would have figured out for yourself if you had played MW3. If you transfer weapons from one mech to another, you get the same thing, but with a different appearance. It is not a robot “works”, but weapons and equipment on it. The robot only carries all this and indirectly affects it with its chassis and quirks. So I put on another 60-ton mech “2 x MRM 10’s, and 4 Med Lasers” and get “still great”. “It snipes, it brawls, it’s a monster”. However, this is not my robot anymore. Actually, this is the reason why players in the board game do not change their mechs, or do it rarely, and if they talk about some kind of mech, they talk about its “original” configurations.

      And at the expense of “Quickdraw in HBS BattleTech”… Is it really as slow but sturdy as Atlas? If not, you used the word “brawler” incorrectly. No 60-ton mech with ~81 km/h can be a brawler. This is Striker.

      Reply
  3. Flashfreeze

    The Quickdraw is honestly just too heavy for its loadout. If it were 55 tons instead of 60 you’d be able to squeeze a whole extra 1.5 tons of free space onto it, probably as armor.

    It’s unfortunate that 5/8/5 just asks too great of a price from heavy ‘Mechs in 3025. I like the Quickdraw as sort of a default level of ‘more than a medium’ threat, and it’s always been an interesting space-filler when I’m running OpFor for a campaign (I do a lot of DMing, what an I say).

    Also, thinking back on all of the BattleTech novels I’ve read, I don’t think I’ve ever read one where a Quickdraw showed up for a battle and it didn’t get its ass kicked…

    Reply
  4. Earndil

    It’s always important to remember that any battlemech does far worse when it’s not allowed to melee. This became very apparent in MWO and the Dragon. The Dragon’s stock armament is pretty feeble for a heavy, and the armor/speed combo doesn’t mean much when you can’t lean into things close up.

    When you can throw your mech’s fist into a mighty punch, or even a kick, bad designs start to look less bad. It’s still not wise to build a mech around brawling exclusively, giving only second thought to weapons systems (Looking at you Banshee), but melee helps close the gap in terms of damage dealing potential.

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    1. FlickerShine

      Yeah; I’m expecting the Charger on this list for that exact reason. The base Charger makes the Quickdraw look stellar as far as damage output is concerned.

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    2. Валерий39999

      Unfortunately, in fact, everything is not so simple here. There is not much damage from a hand strike. Of course, some damage is better than nothing, but you need to stand close to the enemy, and it is not written anywhere that your blows are guaranteed to hit. And you can’t shoot a gun in your hand and hit (obviously, you can’t shoot a gun and try to hit someone with it at the same time).
      Kicking a foot has the same problems, although it does twice as much damage. However, you can only use one leg, and this is a difficult trick that can tip over your machine in case of failure. But if you can kick the enemy, you have a chance to knock him over.
      Finally, a stick with two ends. Heavy robots do a lot of damage, but a faster opponent will not let himself be hit. And lighter robots don’t do as much damage.

      Reply
  5. Daniel J Cooney

    The Quickdraw is one of the mechs figures I really want Catalyst Games to update. I need it for both my Combine and League battlemech companies.

    Reply
  6. Lanzman

    The Quickdraw is definitely my choice for worst mech of the 3025 era. Its armament is pathetic for a sixty tonner, especially considering that two of the medium lasers are restricted to the rear arc. A replacement for the Rifleman? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, you can customize it into something a lot more effective, but then it isn’t really a Quickdraw any more. But, by a strange quirk of fate, an LRM-10 weighs the same as a large laser. So you can strip out the LRM rack, put in a large laser, and use the weight of the missile ammo for a heat sink. Now you’ve got a mech worth driving.

    Reply
  7. Kantoken

    When I first got into (Classic) Battletech, I bought a starter set that contained a Quickdraw. I didn’t like the design, and the load-out confused me. I traded it for a Catapult with a fellow wargamer, and in the next games we played we both used these ‘ mechs in our forces.
    Unsurprisingly, my fellow wargamer asked for his Catapult back after a few games, having been disappointed by the Quickdraw.

    We both still use the Rifleman ‘tho (and I still use the Assassin ;-)

    Reply
  8. Kenneth Maxwell

    Fun article and well written.

    Ya, not just with QuickDraw but a lot of mechs, first thing I do is rip out jump jets.

    Star league affectations for Rocketeer style heroism does little vs tonnage of weaponry they take up imho lol

    Reply
  9. Jhen

    As weird as it sounds, I’d nominate the Zeus for the next Bad Mech. Aside from a hefty melee punch, the weaponry is quite lacking, as a large laser and AC 5 (with only 20 shots) make for feeble assault mech weaponry. the LRM15 has potential, but its measly 8 shorts will soon turn 7 tons of weaponry in 7 tons of dead weight. The 11.5 tons of armour are also less than many heavy mechs. Heck, a Thunderbolt has better armour, and a comparable weapon loadout, at 15 tons less than the Zeus.

    Reply
    1. Krulla_Chief

      To be entirely fair to the Zeus, using the Thud for armor comparisons is mean because those things are heavily armored by design, to the point where it’s not uncommon to use them as a measuring stick for how well armored your mech is.

      And you aren’t wrong about the AC/5, what with the most common tactic being in introtech to just rip them out of a lot of carriers of the weapon system and replace them with a PPC and extra heat sinks.

      Reply
  10. MDog

    Wow nice. Someone picked low hanging fruit. Wondered what the people who did the write up on the Quickdraw were on when TRO 3025 came out back in the 80’s. Must have really been some bad stuff. For an “anti aircraft” mech what what 1 LRM 10? The Rifleman has four main weapons systems and a better tracking system? So the Quickdraw can jump and considerably faster than the Riflemen, what are you really supposed to do? Run after the aerospace fighter? Any moron could see in the first few seconds looking at the profile that it was a heavy scout mech. As far as MW 5 is concerned: Drop the SRM 4 and ammo, add armor, Terrain and Artillery cant touch you. Should you play the story, sure take the armor upgrade if you want more protection, but adding the extra speed ensures that you can have all of radar dishes, down and the more good guys on the way in record speed.

    Reply
    1. Ghastly

      Re-read that first few paragraphs. Rifleman was getting forced into front-line roles it was unsuited for. Article doesn’t say Quickdraw was designed to replace the Rifleman in the anti-air role, just in other roles Rifleman was severely lacking in.

      Reply
  11. Krulla_Chief

    God, the Quickdraw. While you noted that it was initially made to be a replacement for the Rifleman for some… baffling reason, I think one of the things that really kills it is that it tries to be a Super Medium like its cousin the Dragon, but the eclectic weapon loadout combined with its just plain awful heat sinking means it fails. And yes, ripping out the JJs easily fixes some of the problem, but personally I think it’s one of the things on the mech that gives it whatever little character it has. Though yes, in melee it should be feared just because it’s actually very good there like many other bad mechs. If said bad mechs can actually reach into melee range, anyway.

    Personally an easier fix while keeping the aspect I like about it is to pick whether it wants to be long range harassment with keeping the LRM 10 but dropping the SRM 4 and ammo for some more armor/heat sinks/medium lasers/an upgrade to the LRM, or short range pain trains with dropping the LRM and ammo for whatever you want. And that’s without getting into LosTech shenanigans to actually upgrade it. Properly upgrade it, not any of this TRO 3050 nonsense that gives it a One Shot SRM 4, and then the really stupid one that faces the rear facing medium forward but swaps the facing of the OS SRM 4 to the rear for the most baffling reason I can’t even think of.

    As for more bad mechs to talk about, well last time I asked for the obvious in the Cicada which is just a depressing mech in a mostly depressing weight class, but instead how about the Hornet. Aka “God I wish I was an Urbanmech” the ‘Mech. I know that it can have some good variants but comparing it to even most other bug mechs, it’s just bad. The one genuine upside is that the original variation of it came with AMS but even then I’d rather that go in another mech.

    Still, loving these articles, they’re very fun to read.

    Reply
  12. Brian Critchley

    I’ve always head canoned that the Quickdraw’s core config wasn’t the original config but was a later varient put out when it became clear the quickdraw wouldn’t replace the rifleman.

    perhaps the original quickdraw 1R replaced the SRM and jump jets with another LRM 10 and more ammo?

    Reply
  13. Canopian Merc

    Great reads so far! For future ones, I’d love to see some of my favorites of questionable quality: The Clint, the Whitworth, the Charger, the Banshee, and the Scorpion. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  14. Revanche

    Great article, Sean. I’m sharing these series of Bad ‘Mechs these with MW players that don’t necessarily follow the BattleTech lore but can get an appreciation for the machine’s personality. Of course, the embedded wiki links don’t hurt either.

    Reply
  15. CF

    One could greatly simplify this list by writing “every Level-1 ‘Mech of more than 60 tons”.

    I’ve defeated an _Atlas_ with a _Shadow Hawk_, for god’s sake. (It took a while, but…. :) )

    Reply
  16. Wolfbane2004

    Now…if I could elect a variant I’d elect the King Crab KGC-011. It’s supposed to be an ambusher but…it can’t pull itself out of one if it goes badly.

    Two LB-20X autocannon with six tons of ammo in the side torsos without CASE plus a one-shot rocket launcher plus a plasma rifle with limited ammunition…and a 400 XXL fusion engine. In a single-skirmish game it’s not so bad (as in it DOES temper the BV a bit) but if you’re playing campaign (or writing fluff) that’s a 120-million C-Bill ‘Mech easily gored by an ammo explosion, limited endurance and no ECM/depends on its lancemates for ECM to cover its approach for an ambush.

    Just imagine if they retooled it to use the LB-20X with CASE AND not using a XXL engine…that alone would turn a Bad ‘Mech into an OK ‘Mech for urban and dense terrain combat. But yeah, I think certain variants of good ‘Mechs should quality for these articles too.

    Reply
  17. Валерий39999

    I’m wondering. No one was confused by this “Once this information gets out, Mechwarrior learned to shoot for the ankles on a Quickdraw to earn a quick kill.”? If we hit the enemy’s mech, we are already heroes, and then they shoot at the ankles. Unbelievably. There is one quirk listed on the mechs page, and it refers to the hands, and has no cons. So where does this information about ankles come from?

    Reply
      1. Валерий39999

        Thanks. It says it’s from TRO 3025 and 3039.
        However, I’m still unhappy about it. I agree that the actuator can be destroyed by accident, but hit it on purpose… If the shots had such accuracy, most of the mechs would have been left without a head.

        Reply
      2. Starsiegeplayer

        I don’t have access to it right now but I clearly remember that original Technical Readout did not say anything about weapons fire to the ankles. It did talk about kicking down on the ankles in close combat. I don’t know where Sarna.net got the weapons fire idea from.

        Reply
  18. Andre

    There are two main problems with the QD: Paying 1 ton per jump jet and 2 rear firing medium lasers on a 5/8/5. The max tonnage you can go in 3025 for a 5/8/5 is 55 tons. The rear weapons are pointless on a relatively fast mech.
    My fave mech (developed in the 1980’s and based on the Wolverine) evolved over time to carry a PPC in one arm (cuff mount) and 4 medium lasers spread across the head, CT, LT and RT. Backed up with 14 HS’s and 10.5 tons of armour. JJ’s all torso mounted. Nice unit especially with the rules of the time.
    That came from a mech using a large laser & SRM’s

    Reply
  19. Starsiegeplayer

    Yes, it’s really an overweight medium mech instead of a true heavy. You can build exactly the same mech (same weapons, same heatsinks, same jump jets, same armor, same speed) on a 50 ton chassis. If you are willing to drop the two rear medium lasers (which don’t seem that useful anyway), everything that’s left will fit on a 45 ton chassis.

    If you remove the jump jets, you get something that’s a lot more competitive with the Dragon and Ostroc.

    Reply
  20. Matt

    Oh the Quickdraw. Instantly better in any computer version that automatically flips all rear weapons forward; at least then it becomes scary close up and can use its speed to bring that to bear.
    Outside those games or mods? Just take a stock Dervish and have double the long-ranged firepower. All you give up? Hands and a couple heat sinks.
    Tabletop stock its best not used. Anytime you can mod it within reason (and leave it recognizable), its passable. And the MWO and BT (PC) art lets you pretend that it has a Gundam V on its head I guess…
    For contrast, the mech that SHOULD be used to replace a stock Rifleman for front line roles but has aspects of the Quickdraw? Thunderbolt TDR-5SE any day of the week.

    Suggestions for future Bad ‘Mechs entries: Gotta go with the Goliath. Silly looking, has only 2 MG for close combat range, and honestly feels worse with the proper quad rules vs being allowed to use the implied turret to twist. I know someone suggested the Zeus, but I’d take one any day over a Goliath.

    Reply
    1. Matt

      Or the Hermes 2 and/or Sentinel. What good is that armor on a mech with a range contradicting 12 damage alpha? Even the much maligned Clint is more threatening with a complementary 15 damage alpha and JJ for escape/positioning/back shots. The stock Clint > Hermes 2 > Sentinel IMHO, even if that is a really low bar to clear.

      Reply

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