Bad ‘Mechs – Stinger

Stinger Bad 'Mechs

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“But these ‘Mechs have targeting computers!” Cadet Sebastien griped in the solitude of his ‘Mech’s cockpit to nobody in particular. “I joined the AFFS to become a MechWarrior, not to be some glorified infantryman.” 

Raising his Stinger‘s right arm, he brought the rifle-like medium laser up to its cockpit and attempted to line the iron sights up with the target 200 meters down the shooting range. He fired and noted with dismay how the green beam cut a dark scar in the sand dune roughly 10 meters from where the target stood. 

“Cadet-private Sebastien!” Sergeant Zhao shouted in Sebastien’s ear through his neurohelmet’s radio. “Bring your cockpit to the laser, like where you would place the butt of a rifle. Then try again.”

Sebastien wondered how it was even remotely analogous when there was over a meter between him and the iron sights on his laser, let alone whatever refraction might be caused by several centimeters of ferroglass. Still, he did as instructed and held down the trigger just as his eyes lined up with the laser’s sights. The green beam nicked the edge of the target where it left a small orange flame. 

“Congratulations, cadet,” came Zhao’s mocking tone. “You hit the target. Barely.”

Sebastien was considering a pithy retort when all hell broke loose. An explosion from behind knocked him forward and cut his Stinger’s sensors. Static told him that he’d also lost comms with the rest of his training battalion. Staggering, Sebastien looked around to see a crater in the middle of the parade grounds and trainers running for cover. In the distance, the yellow flare of a dropship bore the dao-in-fist of the Cappellan Confederation. It was a raid.

The procedure in such an event was for the cadets and trainers to get into the nearest available ‘Mech to meet the enemy head-on. Unfortunately for cadet Sebastien, without a functioning radio, he couldn’t be informed of the enemy’s location or the battalion’s rally point.

In the end, it didn’t matter. A bright green Locust bearing the Capellan crest came into view and began firing its machine guns into the battalion’s administrative building. If he didn’t engage, everyone inside would die.

Raising his right-arm medium laser to confront the marauding Locust, Sebastien made another unfortunate discovery: his heads-up display didn’t have a targeting pip. Worse, he didn’t have azimuth, range, or any indication his sensors had even picked up the 20-ton ‘Mech standing in front of him. 

It was then he saw the raised indentations of the laser’s iron sights. He hunched his Stinger slightly so the cockpit lined up with the laser, then took careful aim at the Locust. He breathed, then held down the trigger. 

The green beam cut through the Locust’s right leg at the knee, sending it toppling to the ground. 

Sebastien raised his ‘Mech’s arms in triumph and then realized he was still in the middle of a warzone. He also realized if his targeting computer had been working the active scanners likely would have alerted the Locust to his presence and prevented him from getting the first shot.  

“Maybe these low-tech exercises aren’t so bad after all,” he said to himself, before stalking off to find more Capellans to ambush.

Stinger : Bad 'Mechs a Sarna Tale | Battletopia Stories
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Stinger 3025

We should have some compassion for the Stinger. As the second-ever mass-produced reconnaissance ‘Mech, and the second most numerous ‘Mech after the Wasp, ‘Mechs were simply less threatening at the time of its introduction in 2479. But between that year and the year 3025, the number of Stingers in active service dropped from 200,000 to a mere 5,000. Over 500 years of attrition would surely be murderous on most military systems, especially when those five centuries included such things as nuclear holocausts. 

And yet, over 97 percent of every Stinger ever made is now so much scrap metal. The Stingers that survived were mostly used as trainers and not front-line combatants. Many ‘MechWarriors began their career in a Stinger. The smart ones moved on to a different chassis. The dumb ones are dead.

As with many iterative technical advancements, the story of the Stinger begins with a lawsuit. Earthwerks Incorporated spent 20 years fending off a lawsuit from General Mechanics--the maker of the Wasp--for copyright infringement. General Mechanics argued that the Stinger was mostly just a Wasp that had swapped its SRM-2 launcher for a pair of Machine Guns. Indeed, the two ‘Mechs shared the same mass and had a very similar outward appearance. However, neither Earthwerks nor General Mechanics wanted their full ‘Mech designs as part of the public record. This allowed Earthwerks to enact a time-honored corporate defense--delay, delay, delay. After two decades, General Mechanics finally dropped the suit, and the Stinger would go on to stand beside the Wasp as the backbone of the Inner Sphere’s reconnaissance forces.

Stinger 5M

Unfortunately for the Stinger, many battlefield commanders felt that the highly numerous ‘Mech was expendable and used it in roles it was never intended, leading to accelerated attrition. One DCMS commander, Tai-i Mercer Ravannion, developed the “charge of the horde” tactic which called for massed quantities of lighter ‘Mechs (usually Stingers and Wasps) to be sent against comparatively larger targets expecting sheer numbers to carry the battle. Tai-i Ravannion attempted this tactic on three separate occasions, and on all three attempts lost the majority of his ‘Mechs. 

It wasn’t until after his death (on his third and final attempt) that his protege, a surviving Stinger pilot named Marge Sippers, evolved the tactic to include heavier and more powerful light ‘Mechs like the Jenner, proving that it was the Stinger‘s lack of firepower that prevented the strategy’s success. By 3140, the mercenary unit Ravannion’s Redemption proved that massed light ‘Mechs could be a credible threat, but the unit was comprised primarily of faster and more potent ‘Mechs than the Stinger.

Although not a credible threat to most larger ‘Mechs, the Stinger‘s popularity as a cheap recon trainer has kept it in service with almost every nation’s armed forces. Earthwerks factories on Keystone and Calloway VI continued to produce Stingers throughout the Succession Wars where the model found its way across the Inner Sphere even as far as the Periphery. Coventry Metal Works would also produce the design under license, although its focus would shift to the Commando during the Succession Wars. Other manufacturers included Bergan Industries, Vandenberg Mechanized Industries, Detroit Consolidated, and Hellespont Industrials. Variants would even be produced by the Clans, where they mostly served in an instructional capacity.

Stinger 5R

The original STG-3R, produced in 2479, came with a GM 120-rated engine, six Chilton 360 jump hets, a single Omicron 3000 Medium Laser, two LGN Lindbald Machine Guns, 10 single heat sinks, and three tons of standard armor. It became infamous for an extremely cramped cockpit where most MechWarriors required outside assistance to be removed from post-mission (and oversized MechWarriors couldn’t fit at all). The design matched the Wasp for speed at a running velocity of 91.6 kph and a maximum jumping distance of 180 meters. 

One notable feature of the original design was the old-school iron sights that remained the Medium Laser. It was argued by Earthwerks that this forced trainees to develop their fine motor skills as they adjusted the ‘Mech’s posture and stance to fire without the benefit of a targeting computer. The usefulness of this feature is arguable given that it was eventually dropped on later models.

Earthwerks produced only two other variants prior to the Clan Invasion. The STG-3G replaced the machine guns and ammunition with a second Medium Laser in the left arm with everything else remaining the same. The STG-3Gb, on the other hand, was introduced for the SLDF’s Royal Divisions in 2720. This model was upgraded to a 150 XL engine (offering a top speed of roughly 111 kph), an endo steel chassis, and double heat sinks. Its armament was exchanged for three Medium Lasers and a single Small Laser, although no additional armor meant the pilot had to rely on the ‘Mech’s speed and jump jets to avoid incoming fire.

Stinger IIC

With the rediscovery of Star League technology in the Helm Memory Core, the STG-5M began production in the early 3050s. It kept the standard engine but upgraded the chassis to endo steel and added an additional half-ton of armor. It also replaced the twin machine guns with a single Flamer and an anti-missile system with a single ton of ammo. Earthwerks continued to iterate on the Stinger after the Jihad with the STG-6M, which replaced the STG-5M’s weapons with an ER Medium Laser, an ER Flamer, and a Laser AMS. The most modern variant offered by Earthwerks is the STG-6R, which features a 160 XL engine for a top speed of 120 kph and eight jump jets for a potential leap of 240 meters. Two Heavy Machine Guns and an ER Medium Laser harken back to the original Stinger model.

Although most numerous in the Free Worlds League, Earthwerks licensed the design to many other manufacturers across the Inner Sphere. The Lyran Commonwealth‘s Coventry Metalworks is perhaps the most notable, which began producing its own variants in 3067. The STG-6S uses a light fusion engine and MASC for a potential running speed of 151 kph and a jumping distance of 210 meters. Two Light Machine Guns and an ER Medium Laser provide a lighter armament than the original, and a small cockpit makes it brutally cramped even by Stinger standards. The STG-7S listened to pilot complaints and replaced the small cockpit with a Full-Head Ejection System. It also swaps the light engine for an XL, provides an endo steel chassis, and eight Improved Jump Jets allow it to jump as far as it can run. Curiously, it only possesses a single ER Medium Laser for defense, and its left leg carries slightly more armor than its right.

The Taurian Concordat is now the second-largest producer of Stingers with factories on New Vandenberg and MacLeod’s Land producing the STG-5R and 6R since 3067. The Capellan Confederation and the Magistracy of Canopus also produce Stingers on Sian and Detroit, and Bergan Industries has launched its own line of Stingers with the G-series, culminating in the STG-6G in the early 3100s.

Stinger_RGilClan_v13

The Clans are also Stinger producers. The Stinger C was originally produced by Clan Hell’s Horses and has since become the main trainer of Clan Wolf. An all-Clan-spec weapons loadout is complimented by an endo steel chassis and an additional Small Pulse Laser. And in 3085, the Stinger IIC became a symbol of the newly formed Raven Alliance as the nation’s primary trainer and reconnaissance unit. The Stinger IIC maintained the original standard engine, speed, and jump distance, but upgraded the chassis to endo steel and the armor to ferro-fibrous. It also featured significant firepower in two Improved Heavy Medium Lasers and a single AP Gauss Rifle

It’s the Stinger‘s proliferation and not its capabilities that have kept it alive over the centuries. Modern incarnations have improved the design, but it’s telling that most nations have relegated the Stinger to training and garrison units. That said, the Stinger has found a niche that will likely ensure its survival for many more centuries to come.

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.

70 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Stinger

  1. Bishop Steiner

    in the 3rd Succession war, some sources said Wasps, Stingers and Locusts made up near half of all remaining mechs in the Inner Sphere.

    So if your opponent is probably a 20 tonner, I don’t think it’s that terrible. And since one is still more likely to encounter vehicles and infantry, the paired MGs are actualyl IMO more useful than the Wasp’s SRMs. And unlike the Locust it has 2 hands. Making it a good militia and training machine.

    As a front line mech? Yes. It’s bad.

    Reply
    1. Michael

      Agreed. Having both hands lets it pitch hit as a loaderMech making it an ideal choice for the starport garrison.

      I generally feel that Stinger is slightly worse than the Wasp. The Wasp’s SRM will generally do less damage, but it has much longer range and can be loaded with alternative missile types. But in overall terms, it’s stastically insignificant. In nome urban terrain, I’d rather have a Thorn anyways.

      Reply
      1. Mattias42

        Honestly, as a garrison mech I could see the Stinger be better,

        That Medium Laser is still a decent punch for a light mech, and the double machine guns are going to cause a lot less collateral damage vs the SRMs while being cheaper too vs stuff like infantry.

        Like, it’s basically a slightly slower Locust, but with a jetpack AND hands for just about 100K c-bills. And that mech is already everywhere for a reason.

        Reply
        1. Kage

          1.6 million c-bills rounding down, also the cheapest industrial mech is 500 thousand c-bills rounding down. So way off price wise.

          Reply
    2. Z3r0_

      Depends. As weapons, arguably so, but the SRM launcher on the Wasp has the added utility of being able to fire inferno or smoke missiles. That said, given the choice between a Wasp or Stinger in 3025, assuming I get my pick of variants, I’d go with a Stinger 3G for that second medium laser.

      Reply
      1. JustSomeGuy

        Second medium laser and a ton of armour. That keeps it up for a lot longer than other variants. MGs are nice, but considering a platoon of infantry can cripple a Stinger within that range, I prefer the second ML.

        Reply
  2. John Campbell

    Seriously? It’s a 20-tonner. Whaddaya want from it?

    It’s dirt cheap. It does its job adequately. It’s not as fast on the ground or as well-armored as a Locust, but it jumps, which is a legit trade-off. It even may be better than the Wasp, with its bafflingly-placed SRM launcher — I don’t know how many times I’ve been unable to use the Wasp’s SRMs because, in a mobile light-mech skirmish, I couldn’t bring the leg-mounted launcher to bear, or because it was blocked by my cover. The only bad design decision I’d fix is to move a point of armor from the side torsos to the arms, so they can both stop an ML.

    Sure, it’ll get pasted if you take it up against heavier ‘mechs, but that’s not what it’s for.

    And I once soloed a Charger with one.

    Reply
        1. John Campbell

          Don’t be silly. Atlases aren’t scout ‘mechs.

          That’s what fast light ‘mechs like the Zeus are for.

          Reply
    1. Craig

      “Seriously? It’s a 20-tonner. Whaddaya want from it?”

      One of the three:

      1) movement faster than a Phoenix Hawk
      2) 4 tons armor (20%)
      3) weapons greater than 1 medium laser

      20 ton mechs can be fast enough to get away (Locust), but the Stinger is slow, has crap armor, and no weapons. It is the epitome of a bad design and cannot fight, run, or defend its way out of a wet paper bag.

      Come on – give me one of the three!

      Reply
      1. Waffleydoom

        It’s got jump jets though. If you’ve got rough/hilly terrain it’s going to be better than a faster light like a locust because it can just ignore the height difference and movement penalties.

        Reply
  3. GevatterTod

    The main problem is that the jump jets are too heavy for lighter mechs.
    A Phoenix Hawk uses the same 3 tons to lift more than twice the weight.
    So jumpjets disfavor mechs that are not close to the next step.

    In direct engagements the mech is useless, but in a strategic situation it can force the opponent to place units to protect vital assets, which then miss in the real fighting.

    Reply
    1. Blaster_of_Muppets

      Jump jets used to be lighter in the 1st Edition (Battledroids). The heatsinks also had to be fully allocated in the mech, which means that the Wasp and Stinger orignally had 64 Points of Armor and better crit padding. Those 2 aditional tons of armor make a huge difference,believe me.

      Reply
  4. Flashfreeze

    Allow me one of my old man tangents, but even in the first days of Battletech, I found that the Stinger was outclassed by the Wasp both in an anti-amor and anti-infantry role thanks to Inferno SRMs, and the strange limitation of Infernos being exclusive to SRM-2s in those days (pre-Battletech Master Rules).

    Infernos allowed Wasps to punch far, far above their weight because of the way the rules operated. An Inferno strike on a hex with infantry was effectively deletion. Land even a single inferno hit on a vehicle with Infernos? Anyone inside was toast (so this included APCs carrying infantry etc). Both cases required a unit to roll 8 or better on 2d6 each turn they were in/on fire to survive, no modifiers. Not even 42% odds per required roll. Eventually, the odds would catch up with your flammable foe.

    Playing under that ruleset gave a phenomenal amount of anti-infantry/anti-vehicle pressure for any SRM-2 unit. To say nothing of the amount of heat disruption a single hit could do to a Batttlemech then, too. Six heat was enough to reduce Marauder to firing a single PPC at a time, and it made the Rifleman almost useless.

    I’ll be honest this is more of a post extolling the virtues of the pre-Total War Infernos, but with that context I hope you see why I’ve often found the Wasp a better offering than the Stinger. Even post-TW, Infernos still provide some additional pressure for something as small as a Wasp, and at 9 hexes no less versus the 3 of flamers and MGs. I’ve found that keeping the enemy further away generally meant living longer.

    Of course, this is only considering stock Stingers and Wasps from the 3025 days. Even with that said, there’s honestly only so much you can do at 20 tons when each ton used up for standard parts constitutes a bigger chunk of your overall weight. And of course, once quirks come into play that damned Cramped Cockpit does the Stinger no favors…

    Reply
  5. George Spelvin

    The Stinger is hardly a bad mech, just a small one. I mean what exactly do you expect to get out of 20 tons in 3025?

    I think for a mech to be considered “bad” it should be objectively worse than other designs of the same weight. At 20 tons there simply isn’t enough room for much variation between mechs. Consider that a Stinger is basically a Locust that traded a little speed and armor for jumping. A Wasp is just a Stinger with (minimal) missiles instead of infantry tickler machine guns. They’re all so similar it’s impossible to say if one is worse than the others. Either none of them are bad or they all are.

    Reply
    1. Chahdresh

      I’d say that an SRM-2 with the same range bands as the Medium Laser and the potential upside of Inferno Ammunition are vastly better than machine guns that will likely get you killed trying to get close enough to use them. Even as anti-infantry weapons the Infernos win because getting close enough to use the machine guns guarantees the infantry are close enough to shoot back.

      As for the Locust, its secret sauce is Compact Mech, which allows you to fit two into the same drop ship space as a single Stinger or Wasp. There are times when the Stinger’s jumping will give it more practical maneuverability than the Locust’s much higher running speed, making it a better scout than the Locust… But it is not a better scout than *two* Locusts. If your primary limitation is drop ship space, which was often the case in the late Succession Wars and remains so for smaller outfits, the Locust wins on sheer utility.

      So if the Wasp is better in a fight, and the Locust is better as a scout, what does that leave the Stinger? The title of Bad Mech.

      Reply
      1. Owl

        The problem with your comparison of size is lance unit composition. A scout lance is 4 mechs, even if one is only half the size of the rest. This is like in real life where you do not get to add one more person to your fireteam just because one of your soldiers is smaller than the other guys.

        Reply
        1. Chahdresh

          “A lance is four mechs” is true by convention, and it is true in some games which enforce that limit for internal balance. It is not a *requirement*. Indeed, casualties and standard machine wear-and-tear dictate that a perfectly doctrinaire org chart cannot long be maintained anyway. Under-strength and reinforced lances are something that would happen all the time, whether by design (Wolf’s Dragoons say hi) or by attrition. In which case, if advantage can be attained otherwise… Why not? Because drop ship capacities are all multiples of four? That’s the exact consideration the Locust breaks.

          Reply
          1. Owl

            Don’t forget that dropship capacity is not the only factor of if you can field a mech. You also need a “bipedal organic control unit” aka a Mechwarrior and unless your lance has 5 mechwarriors or have another guy attached from a different lance, you are still going to field only 4 units. Your “spare” is more likely to be used as a stand in for another damaged mech while it is undergoing repairs than thrown in as another combatant. Of course in games you can play wild and woolly with unit compositions but if you were to be writing about how it would be used in universe, the 4/2 mech/aerospace composition would be a huge roadblock to fielding “excess” mechs since you only got 4 pilots for your mechs unless your unit is specially designed to be a “lance plus” or an outside observer gets attached to it.

      2. George Spelvin

        > inferno missiles
        3025.

        > compact mech
        A quirk? Again: 3025.

        Is it fair to call a mech “bad” because the technology (and rules) have nerfed it or buffed others since its inception? That’s like saying a Model T is a bad car because it lacks computer controlled active suspension and anti-lock brakes. It’s not bad. It’s just old. And small.

        Also, as others have mentioned, the placement of the SRM on the Wasp (Left leg? Really?) is weird to the point of making it often unusable. I’ve personally always thought that was a typo that FASA just ran with.

        If you’re scouting on an open map, you choose a Locust. In a closed environment like a city, and you expect infantry or vehicles, the Stinger is the correct choice. If enemy mechs are on the menu, pick the Wasp. And if you’re doing a front line assault on an entrenched position (or you’re Steiner) go with an Atlas. Otherwise it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

        My personal preference, all said, is the Stinger 3G, because ammo explosions suck and also John Woo.

        Reply
        1. Chahdresh

          But… Quirks and Infernos are available in 3025?
          Unless by “3025” what you mean is “in its original released rulebook”. That is a different standard to use, I suppose, and I’m not sure why you’d use that standard, but it is a standard under which your take is fine. Peace.

          Reply
          1. George Spelvin

            It’s the standard under which the Stinger and Wasp and Locust were originally developed. Under that standard all the 20 tonners are fairly interchangeable. You have to judge them based on what was available in the rules at the time. Had the toys and gimmicks added in with later rules editions been available to the TRO 3025, the original Stinger et al would probably have been quite different and better.

            I’ve already mentioned the Stinger 3G as a better option, but all the original 20 tonners suffer from the same bad combination of light armor and explodey ammunition. Under later rules I’d replace the SRM-2 in the Wasp with a rocket launcher (in the torso) and armor, letting you alakablam an enemy while ridding yourself of that dangerous ammo all in one devastating shot before running away (which is what scouts are supposed to do). Yes the SRM-2 has a higher total damage potential, but have you ever seen a stock Wasp survive long enough to use all 50 shots?

            FWIW, there are some mechs designed under the original 3025 standard that were quite bad (and still are). Yes, the Charger 1A1 is the standard go-to for bad mechs, but there’s also the Banshee 3E, which has no excuse for being as awful as it was (and is). I’m not super impressed with the Battlemaster, either.

          2. John Campbell

            I actually ran a Wasp out of ammo once.

            A friend and his brother and I were hanging out in the main room at a con overnight (because we hadn’t bothered getting an actual room), and decided to play some BattleTech to kill the time. I had minis and maps and dice with me, but no TR or RS books, so we went with the three ‘mechs in the same weight class where I could remember the entire record sheet, down to armor and critical slot allocation, off the top of my head. My friend took the Locust, his brother got the Stinger, which left me with the Wasp.

            We spent the entire night chasing each other around on Mountain Lake (there was another map, too, but I forget what it was; I just remember I kept jumping into that sniper spot on top of the hill on Mountain Lake). With G4P5 pilots, our TNs were somewhere between difficult and impossible as long as we kept moving and used the terrain sensibly.

            The Stinger got knocked out fairly early on because he made the mistake of slowing down to get a good shot at his brother, which gave both of us good shots at him. I drilled the Locust in the arm with a lucky ML shot a little later and critted out his shoulder, so he was basically down a MG — the modifier took even his best TNs from “bad” to “lolno”. I shot the Wasp’s SRMs dry — I was taking shots at 12s, even towards the end when the bin started running low, because at least 12s were *possible* to hit. The Locust was only using one MG most of the fight, but still made a pretty sizable dent in his ammo bin.

            We were still at it when people started coming in for the morning events. I finally managed to land a leg hit that slowed him down, and then kicked the leg off and killed him on the ground when he couldn’t run away anymore.

          3. George Spelvin

            @John Campbell
            > A friend and his brother and I were hanging out in the main room at a con overnight (because we hadn’t bothered getting an actual room)

            Best way to do a con IMO.

        2. Flashfreeze

          Inferno missiles are 3025 tech though, and were already in the rules from quite early on, predating the introduction of Clantech in 1990. FASA even had to have errata written to make Infernos a universal SRM ammo type in BattleTech Master Rules back in 1998, rather than being exclusive to SRM-2s. .

          Reply
          1. George Spelvin

            But they’re not 1986 tech. They’re a later addition to the rules.

            In the same vein, the 1984 Battledroids inception of the Stinger (and Wasp and Locust) was superior to the 1986 rework because originally all heat sinks had to be allocated to critical hit slots. This significantly reduced the chances of an ammo hit, which is the achilles heel of all light mechs.

          2. John Campbell

            Infernos actually are 1986 tech. They were introduced in the first edition MechWarrior RPG.

          3. George Spelvin

            @John Campbell
            > Mechwarrior RPG infernos

            IIRC the infernos in the RPG were only for the man portable, shoulder fired missile launcher. The rules said they were not for mechs.

            Changes to the rules in 1987 or 1988 allowed vehicles to use them as well, but only permitted them for mechs if every player agreed to allow it. Even then the rules made them extremely dangerous to use in mechs. Like they could spontaneously cook off if the mech heat hit 10 or more, which was very easy to do with 3025 mechs.

          4. John Campbell

            Nope. “Any SRM 2-pack”. Also, “Due to the extreme flammability of the inferno missiles, they are rarely carried by ‘Mechs themselves” — which implicitly acknowledges that they can be and sometimes (if rarely) *are* carried by ‘Mechs.

            I think the 1987 Rules of Warfare was the first *BattleTech* rulebook to include them, though I don’t have access to that book anymore to check the exact text. I’m certain we were using them before I got my 1990 Compendium.

          5. George Spelvin

            I dug out my copy of 1987’s* The Rules of Warfare over Thanksgiving vacation. From page 45:

            “If ALL players agree, ‘Mech [sic] may carry Infernos instead of an SRM 2.”

            So don’t agree. Wasp neutered.

            There are also some rules for nasty inferno ammunition explosions from heat.

            The inferno was originally intended to balance infantry (and vehicles) against mechs, not give mechs another overpowered gimmick. They were created before the era of weapons power creep in the rules when game balance was the priority. Thus all the original weapon classes had about the same potential max damage per ton: 6 shots per ton for an LRM-20 versus 24 shots for an LRM-5, 20 shots for an AC-5 versus 5 shots for an AC-20. The big exception being the Machine Gun with 400 points of potential damage per ton, but then MG ammo has always been intended as a critical hit magnet IMO. Seeing more than one Battlemaster get utterly wrecked by lucky MG ammo crits soured me on that mech, and machine guns, very early on.

            * As an aside, it’s kind of astonishing how quickly FASA churned out new materials back in the 80s, especially considering the relatively primitive (compared to today) publishing technology they had at the time. They were a ridiculously productive company back then before the plague of lawyers descended.

  6. magical_savior

    The Stinger is usually mediocre, and takes few risks… But honestly, Cramped Cockpit is a big deal. In any game with Quirks, I’ll take a Wasp over a Stinger – especially over the 6S with a Small Cockpit. One of the most valuable things a light mech can do, is kick. A 4/5 Stinger that turns into a 4/7 “Taekwondo master” that can’t take advantage of terrain to avoid getting shot, is not an effective mech. MASC isn’t where a Stinger has the maneuverability anyway.
    I will take even a bad Wasp over most Stingers. And there’s a Stealth Wasp with Single Heat Sinks, that is incredibly ineffective – especially compared to the Stinger alternative. But I’d still rather use it anyway.

    Reply
  7. Craig

    Worse than a Wasp!

    3025 there’s only one way to save this thing. Put a 140 in it, extra jump jet, and cramp the hell out of that cramped cockpit with a small laser. Drop the MGs. It’ll run hot/borderline.

    If you don’t have a +4 defense modifier, then do not engage even a Locust – which in any open terrain can run you down anyhow.

    7/11/7 allows superstar movement on the hex map and will open up the sides / rear armor of an opponent.

    6/9/6 with 3 tons armor and MGs at 90 meters? Walking coffin.

    Seriously – if you’re not going faster, downgrade to a 100 engine, go 5/8/5 and max out the armor. Gyro saves one ton (precious in a 20). if you’re going to be slow at least have armor and weapons. SRM-4 and pair it with Valkyries so “scouts” can all die together trying to outrun Quickdraws and Shadow Hawks.

    Reply
  8. Steel Shanks

    If a Locust can beat it in it’s role, it’s a Bad Mech… And the Locust itself is terrible! Stinger, Wasp, Locust, they are ALL terrible Mechs! Lol… 3 Tons of Armor, and a Medium Laser, plus two Machine Guns… The way machine gun ammo can explode?

    Stinger is very Bad Mech…

    And unlike crazy-ace Wayne Wako, no way in all the Nine-Hells would I stuff My kid in one!

    Reply
    1. George Spelvin

      > If a Locust can beat it in it’s role, it’s a Bad Mech

      On an open map, the speedy boy Locust wins. In difficult broken terrain (or a city) where being a hoppy boy is a advantage, the Stinger wins.

      Other than the trade of speed and armor for jumping, they’re basically the same mech. Same size. Same weapons. Same range.

      On the tabletop, art means nothing. Dice can’t see pictures. Which makes the whole kerfuffle about the unseen seem extra silly. Why did it take everyone so long to realize they could just change the pictures?

      Reply
  9. Woten’s Curse

    Great mech for the intended role, just like these articles are great for the intended role of getting people talking and some always-fun art!

    Thanks for this series, keep it up!

    Reply
  10. Michael R.

    I won’t argue that the Stinger is a great mech, but I’m still fond of it–okay, yes, it’s pretty weak, but it definitely has its uses. And, you know, it’s a Veritech. For those of us who came into Battletech because of our love of Robotech, that’s just awesome. It also looks like it should be a fun mech to pilot–not to pilot into battle, mind you, that wouldn’t be fun, but, like, just running around like it’s a two-legged dune buggy. And, yeah, I realize it’s cramped–I’m not saying it’d be fun for a long period of time. Kind of like a Miata, or an older Volkswagen Bug. (Which is fitting.)

    Reply
  11. Rymeer

    The Stinger / Wasp Mechs are not ‘bad’ Mechs. They have been used badly for a long time.
    A unit of STG-6Rs should be faster, or as fast, as any other Mech out there, fielded against them. Their high speed and long jump distance give them an advantage in broken terrain. The ER Medium Laser gives the Stinger a 1/3rd longer range with its weapon, and the double heat sinks more than make up for the added heat of the weapon system. Heavy MGs can wreak havoc on enemy troops and do considerable damage to light vehicles and buildings. The 120 KPH running speed should never be underestimated.
    As for myself, I have fielded ‘swarms’ of 6Rs against Medium Mech units and not only survived, but won the engagement. Yes, I did lose several Stingers doing so, but ALL the target Medium Mechs were destroyed. I did the same with Locusts originally, before adding 3050 and 3055 tech into them, speeding up the Locusts to 10-15-0 speed and arming them with an ER Lrg Laser. Losing a few Light Mechs is a ‘small’ price to pay to take down units of Mediums or Heavies, or a mixture of both.
    I once fielded 16, 3025 Locusts against a full Clan Star of Mechs. I lost 50% destroyed, 30% crippled, and only ONE Clan Mech left the battlefield… as a limping wreck. My losses were easily replaced, and FAR cheaper to do so, than my opponent’s units. Proving that the old adage attributed to Stalin was still in effect.
    Oh, and of the 75% ‘casualties’ in battle, I only lost ONE Mechwarrior. Quite a few were wounded, but survived the battle to pilot Mechs again, later.
    Using the ‘improved’ Locust, armed with the ER Lrg Laser, My losses were fewer, and the results were obtained faster. Resulting in total enemy force loss for fewer of my own Mechs destroyed.
    So, say what you will about the Stinger, Wasp, and Locust… I say that they can be very useful, if used properly by a canny Commander.

    Reply
  12. WestRider

    Eh. The small cockpit is really bad if you’re playing with Quirks, but other than that, like the other classic 20 tonners, it’s just a case of “you get what you paid for”, and you ain’t paying much at all.

    I’d also note that this is yet another that gets a major boost in HBSTech. (Even if it is only available with mods.) Machine Guns are really good in that version for the kind of light on light action that the Stinger is best suited for, and their crit-seeking capacity combined with the Stinger’s mobility and the hole-punching of the Medium Laser is enough to make it a serious threat to mediums (or even poorly armoured heavies) that have ammo in torso locations.

    Reply
  13. Creepershark77

    Why don’t we talk about a REAL bad mech next time, like the Reconquista or the Rakshasa, or maybe the Matar.

    Reply
    1. Craig

      Rakshasa seems in the community, to be polarizing and it does run hot. I dislike any mech with CASE, ammo, and an Inner Sphere XL engine – talk about a waste of design effort. Maybe it saves the pilot?

      I was trying to re-jigger the Rakshasa without LRMs, using pulse lasers instead to fill out the VERY FEW available internal structure spots. Couldn’t make it work with the heat sinks required.

      Doesn’t one of the variants use regular LL’s instead of ERLL’s? Seems a good first step.

      Maybe take a page from the Crusader, and swap the LRM-10s and Artemis for 6xSRM-4’s (or streaks) and empty those ammo bins early in an engagement? Love SRM-4s.

      I’ve never tried the Rakshasa but 5/8, ok armor, and the ability to lay down laser fire seems like a good combo to me. Fast enough to avoid incoming that a 4/6 mech walks right into. Comparing against the Penetrator for example (which is similar with no XL and a “tank” but it has to choose long range or short range), a case can be made for the mobility trumping the fragility. Nothing worse than slow XL mechs!

      A “Clan Clone” is always going to pale in comparison?

      Reply
      1. Creepershark77

        What makes the Rakshasa a bad mech is that lore-wise there is no reason for it to exist, as pouring your resources into designing a knock-off is just a waste in my opinion. They could’ve made something that has more to it than being just a knock-off, as it’ll be designed to fulfill an actual purpose, something that the designers of the Rakshasa didn’t think about. It’s intended purpose was to be a Timber Wolf, which it failed at. If a mech is unable to fulfill it’s intended purpose, then it is a bad mech.

        Reply
        1. Owl

          As someone who played the gap between 3050 and the “Duck Age”, the Rakshasha did have a reason to exist. *At that time*. Very important point. It was designed to be a weaker competitor to Clan mechs at a time when all the new tech was not available or even invented yet. Most of the fighting with the Clans was done with 3025 era equipment and these “new tech” were being fed into the battlefield in refits and a small trickle of new mechs. The Rakshasha is one of the very few new mechs that were introduced at that time.

          Of course now with the huge list of new technology and mechs available to BT, it looks like a lame duck entry but 20 years ago, it’s a different story.

          Reply
      2. Pyro

        CASE and IS XL is not a waste. It may still take the mech out of the fight, but in a longer campaign, that mech is relatively easy to repair – replace the side torso section and whatever weapons were in it, repair the engine (three crits is repairable), and you’re ready to go.

        Not using CASE means your entire mech is gone.

        Given that XL engines are expensive, not using CASE to protect your investment is like setting money on fire.

        Reply
      1. Dwagonzahn

        The Stone Rhino is nowhere near “bad” so much as it was the Clans being complete morons with their manufacturing priorities. There aren’t any problems with the design itself: It’s powerful, well protected, mission-effective and very affordable (by Clan tech standards).

        It’d have been more appropriate to say “This mech should have been a rockstar, except its creators decided to wage war with modular walking race-cars instead of a sustainable cost-effective military.”

        Reply
        1. George Spelvin

          I think that was the point of the Stone Rhino Bad Mech article. It’s the victim of Clan hubris more than bad design. My point is that the Matar (itself the product of Amaris’ hubris), being the progenesis of the Stone Rhino, is pretty much covered by the same article.

          Why the anti-all-things-Amaris Clans would bother to fix Amaris’ trash is the bigger question, and that’s not the only Clan logic inconsistency with the Stone Rhino. But then a lot of Clan fluff makes no sense when you think about it.

          Reply
  14. Creepershark77

    Why don’t we talk about a REAL bad mech next time, like the Reconquista or the Rakshasa, or maybe even the Matar.

    Reply
  15. CF

    When the Clan Invasion arc first broke, I was wiping out Elemental Stars with -R and -G _Stinger_s. ‘Mechs? They never saw us. (I vividly recall what happened to a _Stinger_ which took one hit to each leg from a Ultra-AC/20 double-tap.) Advanced tech helped, but when used against its intended targets, even baseline _Stinger_s were effective.

    Oh, and the “one _Atlas_ vs. a _Stinger battalion” test: Forty Medium Lasers will take an _Atlas_ apart long before that AC/20 and LRM-20 can deal with the problem.

    Reply
    1. WestRider

      Out of curiosity, I ran through a reduced version of the Atlas vs. Stingers fight in MegaMek, and found that even just a Company worth of Stingers will ROFLstomp an Atlas, while taking almost no losses in the process. I suspect a lone Atlas would struggle against even a mere Lance of Stingers if they were properly commanded, tho I think that says more about the Atlas than it does about the Stinger.

      Reply
      1. Craig

        Confirmed in “real life” hexmaps in, I’ll say early 90s somewhere. Texas Creek outside of Lillooet BC. Friend of mine had access to a plotter printer, we made miles of hexmaps and covered his basement (furniture on top).

        I had a “Devastator”. Jarum had a lance of Stingers / Wasps mixed. We used a basic arena layout (jungle map?) a la Solaris, before that expansion came out. So there was a lot of small, scattered cover. It was a common battle site haha I lost much of the time, except when I used vehicles. This was before BV, we usually equalized tonnage but for whatever reason he was confident with 80 versus 100.

        I blew one apart immediately with PPCs / gauss but before long there was always one behind me. Too much jungle. There may have been a DFA attack or two. I was basically falling over or trying to get up half the time. The one ML covering the rear did not save me.

        Should have used an Atlas. 2 rear-facing MLs, no XL engine, and an AC20.

        I’m trying to recall ever beating Jarum, too much memory fog. I know I gave him hell on Sarna when he was the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers and I had Savannah Masters or whatever little crapboats. Oh and Kruger Combat Cars, love those things.

        Reply
  16. Bob

    I’m on board with this being a bad mech. That said, when TRO3025 came out, it mentioned in the fluff that there were variant’s that ditched the MG’s for another laser ‘usually in the left arm’ but not always. And that’s an okay design. 2 ML’s, 4 tons armour. But it pails into insignificance compared to building a 25 ton 6/9/6. You can keep the same tech and add three tons.

    No point in either the WSP-1A Wasp or the STG-3R Stinger in game imo. I just made the Wasp Mk2 a cheap but 25 ton design with 2 lasers and an SRM 4 (or one laser and an SRM 6) with 4 tons armour (and moved the missile launcher to the torso) and the E series Stinger a 35 ton design with lasers and mg’s in various amounts depending on series number. Keeps the mini’s I’ve got useable as well as the many card stand-ups I’ve collected over the years. Can even just carry a single PPC in the E series Stinger, specially if you have DHS from lostech salvage or a post helm rediscovery.

    Reply
  17. Eric Karau

    I personally like speed and agility over sheer brute force, but the Stinger’s faults are bad, especially that damn small cockpit! I prefer the STG-A5 Stinger LAM over the original model!

    Reply
  18. Eric Karau

    The LAM version is far more versatile and much better armed with three medium lasers, and would still be valuable even after the Nova Cats destroyed the only factory making them, on Irece during the Clan Invasion!

    Reply
    1. John Campbell

      Well, yeah, LAMs are awesome (despite their baffling inclusion in the Bad ‘Mechs articles, from which I can only conclude that the author has never actually seen one used), and even leaving aside the horrible shenanigans you can get up to with an 18/24 flying ‘mech, it’s 50% heavier than the base Stinger, and so just has a lot more to work with, even after taking out the tons needed for the conversion equipment.

      (When LAMs were first introduced in AeroTech, they didn’t even have a weight limit. I’ve still got stats kicking around for a Crusader LAM (based on the jumpy Liao variant), and it was far from the most insanely broken thing I designed with those rules. Ever wanted a 9/14 flying Awesome?)

      Reply
  19. Pyro

    The Cramped Cockpit quirk is what turns the Stinger into a bad mech. Anything that makes piloting more difficult in a light mech that’s often used by your rookies is asking for trouble.

    The STG-3G with its twin medium lasers can be a nuisance in Introtech play, as long as you can keep it jumping from cover to cover or running flat-out. Making good use of forests is essential to keeping them alive.

    Reply
    1. Joshua Bressel

      With 10 SHS, you can fire both MLs and jump, but you have to handle it like an Awesome, and volley fire, cooling your mech so you don’t overheat and lose movement.

      Reply
  20. Eric Karau

    The Rakshasa is NOT a bad Mech! If the Inner Sphere had come up with the Rakshasa concept using Star League lostech before the Clans came, the design would have been a GAME-CHANGER in the Inner Sphere! A 75-ton heavy Mech, with BOTH the firepower of a Marauder AND a Catapult? And moving 33 percent FASTER than either design? If THAT had happened, the Inner Sphere would calling THAT design the Mad Cat instead!

    Reply
    1. Joshua Bressel

      I agree. I think, compared to what is arguably the best Invasion-era Clan mech, ANY IS mech sucks. I think, considered on its own merets, the Rakshasa is a solid line mech, that is good at direct fire support. I think the MDG-2A Rakshasa is a completely different mech, and it’s a NASTY brawler. It is decidedly short-ranged, so it needs support, but up close, it HURTS.

      Reply
  21. Joshua Bressel

    I think the Stinger is decent, if unspectacular. A ML and 2 MGs, especially if you use the optional rapid fire rules in Tac Ops lets it do decent damage for a 20t mech, especially in 3025, it can jump and alpha without going into heat(if you aren’t using rapid fire), and it can engage Infantry with the machine guns. Personally, I like the Stinger 3G, it has decent firepower with 2 ML. Is it a powerhouse? No. It’s a useful, cheap, skirmisher.

    Reply
  22. Anon Ymous

    At this point, I think the Bad ‘Mech articles are just feeding a fetish for being disagreed with.

    The Stinger is a bad ‘mech? What’s next, you gonna say the Awesome is bad because you need to manage heat, or the Battlemaster is bad because it has ammunition and not all energy weapons?

    Please.

    Reply
    1. Sean Post author

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this series exists to make Eldonious create amusing images of classic ‘Mechs.

      Reply
  23. Eric Karau

    If there’s any Inner Sphere Heavy Mech from the 3050s I like, it’s the FLC-8R Falconer! A superb Heavy Mech! The lore says it was based on the Thor and built on a (Heavily) modified Orion chassis, but the design looks NOTHING like either Mech! If anything, it resembles the Marauder! Somebody explain that! Still, it’s a great Mech to use in combat! Now, if it only carry more double heat sinks…..

    Reply
  24. Blaster_of_Muppets

    The story in that article is just amazing. Easily the best one of all Bad Mech articles.

    My take on the Stinger. Its a cheap recon and anti Infantry mech. It actually really shines against light non mech targets like Infantry, APC’S, those SRM-2 jeeps we had back in the day, transports and other targets of opportunity. Of course these situation won’t come up in 99% of all played BT games. I have however played several long well layed out realistic campaigns and the Wap´ps and the Stinger were really good at fighting those small “unworthy” targets thus keeping your more expensive Mechs free for more important stuff.

    Always use them in areas with cover though.

    Reply
  25. Patrick Rich

    The Stinger has been a surprisingly reliable mech for me. I had one that made it through an entire Alpha Strike game completely unscathed, while it bagged an Elemental point trying to hold an objective. If you’re playing a low point game, it’s a pretty cheap unit to include in your force.

    Reply

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