Category Archives: Designs

Bad ‘Mechs – Stone Rhino

Eldon Stone Rhino

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“We require reinforcement, Star Captain! The Falcons are about to breach our perimeter!”

Star Captain Jolin Demos considered her options. Her Jade Falcon opponent in this trial had come at her swiftly, as expected, but she hadn’t expected her Elementals to be completely overrun. Now without infantry support, her lighter elements were being picked apart by highly accurate fire from quick-moving but well-armed Falcon heavy ‘Mechs.

Even in her dire situation, the choice was obvious. “Hold your ground, Star Commander.”

There was a moment of static, then: “Neg, Star Captain, we are in danger of being routed. I respectfully request reinforcement.” The transmission was nearly cut off by the sound of an explosion near Star Commander Jonathan’s Fire Scorpion.

“You have your orders, Star Commander,” Demos repeated with a voice like cold steel. “Hold.”

For a moment, Star Captain Demos felt uneasy about ordering her MechWarriors to hold without support. Her heaviest elements still remained in Alpha Star, including her own prized Stone Rhino. Its awesome firepower was the stuff of legend amongst the Clans and would surely have made short work of the invading Falcons.

But to put such a historic treasure in harm’s way… Such recklessness would certainly draw the ire of the Great Father’s spirit. And besides, her necrosia-fueled vision from several nights before assured her that victory could only come through patience.

A Falcon Kit Fox briefly appeared on her Stone Rhino‘s targeting computer–a quirk of her oddly perceptive and ancient machine to read such a small ‘Mech from such a great distance. Almost as though it were begging to be unleashed. Her Gauss Rifles could theoretically hit the 30-ton ‘Mech even at such a great distance, but Demos continue to hold her fire.

Another burst of static preceded a broadcast on her trinary’s comm line. “This is MechWarrior Colm. Star Commander Jonathan is down. We have but three operational ‘Mechs remaining. Requesting assistance.”

The Kit Fox blinked off Demos’s heads-up display, and she felt her Stone Rhino’s shoulders slump without her ever issuing such a command. Almost as though the machine itself was disappointed in her inaction.

“MechWarrior Colm, you will hold.”

Colm’s response was only static.

Jade Falcon Stone RhinoThe Stone Rhino, better known as the Behemoth to Inner Sphere forces, comes from strange beginnings. Originally modeled after the Matar, itself colloquially referred to as “Amaris’ Folly,” the Stone Rhino represents the epitome of Clan hubris. It’s also a ‘Mech that has historically been highly prized among the Clans, both for its historical significance and for its exceptional firepower, two properties that often made commanders reluctant to utilize the Stone Rhino‘s awesome power.

Originally a super-heavy design, the Matar was created in 2775 during the waning years of the short-lived Amaris Empire. Besieged by SLDF forces, growing desperation led Stefan Amaris to demand ever more expensive and elaborate wonder weapons, resulting in a 110-ton ‘Mech that was too heavy to move without shattering its leg actuators. Possessing a theoretical top speed of 32 kph, the Matar did have incredible firepower for the era, with two Large Pulse Lasers, two Gauss Rifles, one ER Large Laser, two Medium Pulse Lasers, and two Flamers.

When Terra fell, Aleksandr Kerensky captured the Matar’s project lead, Rifkin Amaris, a cousin of the usurper Stefan Amaris. This led to the SLDF obtaining the Matar’s blueprints which they brought with them during Operation Exodus. Over 70 years later, Clan engineers would take those blueprints and attempt to perfect the design, creating a formidable assault ‘Mech.

The Stone Rhino was introduced in 2847 by Clan Smoke Jaguar scientists eager to prove their superiority of the Clan way to anything even remotely related to the Inner Sphere. Named after an equally formidable beast on the planet Eden, the Stone Rhino came armed with the same twin Gauss Rifle and Large Pulse Laser combo as the Matar but removed the remaining weaponry in favor of a single Small Pulse Laser. Despite removing numerous weapon systems, advanced Clan tech meant that the Stone Rhino still offered similar firepower. Better yet, the machine weighed 100 tons and was capable of actually moving at 54 kph. Three jump jets enhanced the Stone Rhino‘s mobility, while unique shock-absorbing cowls on each arm allowed them to be used as battering rams in keeping with the Stone Rhino‘s namesake.

Due to its size and expense, the cost-averse Clans only ever produced the Stone Rhino in very small numbers–most of them initially in the Smoke Jaguar Touman, but the Stone Rhino‘s popularity soon saw scattered examples in most Clans. With so few examples of these ancient, battle-worn machines, each Stone Rhino is unique, offering curious eccentricities both to their pilots and to the technicians that service them.

The Stone Rhino‘s notoriety has in practice led to problems utilizing the ‘Mech’s power. Once spotted on the battlefield, opposing forces would often challenge Stone Rhino MechWarriors to Trials of Possession for their ‘Mechs. Even if the Stone Rhino pilot evaded such trials, the ‘Mech was still a high-value target that smart tacticians would eliminate quickly lest their forces are picked apart by the Stone Rhino’s twin Gauss Rifles. Not wanting to sacrifice these limited and valuable machines, allied commanders could be hesitant to commit Stone Rhinos to the crucible of combat–a psychological phenomenon that dates back to the Battle of Jutland on ancient Terra. Even during the heaviest fighting of the Clan Invasion, Stone Rhinos were a rare sight and often relegated to secondary garrison clusters.

Stone Rhino Jade Falcom sourcebook

Stone Rhinos would remain rarely seen until Clan Goliath Scorpion took former Smoke Jaguar holdings and developed a visually distinct new version of the ‘Mech. The Stone Rhino 2 upgraded the engine to a 300 XL, which allowed it to mount twin Gauss Rifles, twin Heavy Large Lasers, four Heavy Medium Lasers (two of which pointed rearward), one Heavy Small Laser, anti-personnel pods, and an AMS for defense from missiles. It also carried an impressive 19 tons of armor and pathetically inadequate 16 double heat sinks.

Soon after the Stone Rhino 2‘s initial production run, Clan Hell’s Horses captured the Scorpion’s holdings on Tokasha and began making their own variants of the Stone Rhino. The Stone Rhino 3 finally ditched the ‘Mech’s signature Gauss Rifles in favor of twin ATM-9s and enough heat sinks and ammo to use them until its ammo bins ran dry. Production was briefly interrupted when the Hell’s Horses were ejected from the Clan Homeworlds in the early 3070s, the Horses set up a new production line on Csesztreg that produced several more Stone Rhino variants, culminating in the Stone Rhino 8 which drops the original’s jump jets for an Actuator Enhancement System in each arm.

Stone Rhino IlClan

Although still powerful in the modern era, the venerable design would eventually be overshadowed by the Clan Wolf Crucible, which mounts a whopping four Gauss Rifles capable of eliminating smaller ‘Mechs in a single salvo. Perhaps taking the Matar too far, the Word of Blake Omega also surpassed the Stone Rhino. At 150 tons and mounting three Gauss Rifles and twin LB 10-X Autocannons, the Omega was a far more effective superheavy design that saw the heaviest fighting in the final hours of the World of Blake Jihad–just as the Matar did in another battle for Terra so many centuries earlier.

Today’s Stone Rhinos have been outclassed by more modern 100-ton designs and ‘Mech commanders have since learned to commit these fearsome machines to the desperate fighting of the IlClan era. Still, certain Clans revere the Stone Rhino enough to only use them in the direst of circumstances–even to their Clan’s detriment.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Bad ‘Mechs – Whitworth

Whitworth Hop Hop

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I was just following orders! 

Long-range missiles rained all around ensign Cora’s Whitworth. She’d been dodging fire from the First Arkab Legion for the better part of an hour, pushing her 40-ton ‘Mech to its very limits. Actuator warnings had already sounded on at least three separate occasions, but she ignored the blinking lights and blaring sirens. She had to keep moving. 

A Locust danced out of the shadows in front of her, the low flats of the suburban area of Greene hiding it from her sensors. Without thinking, Cora loosed a full flight of 12 SRMs from her WTH-0’s paired launchers. Two struck home, blowing off the scout ‘Mechs right arm-mounted machine gun. 

The light ‘Mech quickly receded to lick its wounds. Cora thought to give chase, to end the scout ‘Mech quickly to better aid her escape, but she didn’t have the time. Even then, proximity sensors alerted her to another volley of incoming missiles. The Locust was just a spotter. 

Dammit! Cora cursed and swapped her SRM-6s to fire inferno loads. Firing at the structures behind her, she hoped the conflagration would obscure her ‘Mech just enough to make an escape. She’d last used those rounds to roast an Arkab Centurion alive, but that was before the Seventh Amaris Dragoons had been shattered in the fighting on Timbuktu. She was the only one left of her lance–possibly even her entire regiment. And the Arkab Legion wasn’t about to let her go. 

She pivoted down a side straight, her Whitworth’s actuator alarms once again protesting at the sudden move. She knew she was overtaxing her ‘Mechs systems–it had been weeks since she’d seen a ‘Mech bay. Her ride wasn’t going to last much longer. The poor thing just needed to hold on a little bit more.

More alarms. Explosions rocked her as several LRMs slammed into her right shoulder, fortuitously knocking her sideways just enough to take her out of the path of a PPC bolt that followed soon after. She turned, fired more SRMs at the buildings and ignited a copse of trees with her flamer. Fires were building all around her as the sleepy suburb turned into a massive bonfire. 

And still the Arkab Legion kept coming.

Ensign Cora knew she was finished. Her Whitworth was too slow to escape. She could eject, but she’d seen what the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery did to her lancemates. What they’d done to any Rimworlds Republic soldier they got their hands on. She didn’t want to go out like that. She’d rather burn this whole city down first. 

So she kept running. She caught her breath, one step in front of the other, dodging tracer rounds and using buildings to block missiles and lasers from tearing away yet more of her precious rear armor. In the end, it wasn’t her dwindling armor coverage that did her in.

Her actuator alarms suddenly blared, followed by the screeching of overtaxed metal and torn cables. She’d pushed her Whitworth too hard on that last turn. Her damage schematics showed a clear break at the left hip, her former leg still standing several meters behind her–like it was begging to be reattached if Cora were to just hop backward a few steps.

Ensign Cora was a good ‘MechWarrior, but she wasn’t good enough to keep a one-legged Whitworth standing for very long. She toppled forward, her ‘Mech falling face-first into the pavement. The impact was harsh enough for Cora to see stars, then blackness, all of her Whitworth’s alarms suddenly falling silent. 

She couldn’t tell how long she was out. It might have been a few minutes or a few hours, but when she came to, everything around her was on fire. The flames were hot enough for her to feel even through the Whitworth’s armor plating. She thought again about ejecting and then sighed. If she was going to go out, she might as well suffer the same fate as so many SLDF soldiers had suffered at her hands.

She never got the chance. Cora’s proximity sensors blared and her rearview camera showed the barrel of the Locust’s medium laser pointing directly at the back of her Whitworth’s head. Then there was a blast of light, a wave of heat, and then nothing at all.

Whitworth 3025

Like many of the Inner Sphere’s worst ‘Mechs, the Whitworth was first dreamt up as a solution to a problem that never really existed. Meant to support scout lances of Wasps and Phoenix Hawks, the original production model Whitworth was equipped with far greater firepower than either machine but was also far slower. This, combined with a faulty actuator system that saw its legs tear clean off as Whitworth pilots attempted to keep up with their speedier lancemates, eventually saw the Whitworth redesigned as a light fire support ‘Mech.

Introduced in 2610, the WTH-1S Whitworth was armed with two SRM-6s, three medium lasers, and sufficient heat sinks, armor, and ammunition to stay in the fight far longer than the Wasp. Although a capable brawler and dangerous to any ‘Mech in its weight range, the Whitworth‘s Achilles heel would be its lack of speed. Whitworth Company engineers failed to consider the real-world combat environment faced by a 40-ton ‘Mech, which often required a hasty retreat when heavier units arrived. Without the option to flee, WTH-1S MechWarriors were often forced to either surrender or fight to the last.

Saddled with a poor reputation, Whitworth Company went back to the drawing board. The WTH-1 model, introduced in 2689, eschewed the original variant’s short-range missiles in favor of paired LRM-10s. This gave the 40-ton ‘Mech significant long-range punch and made it far better suited for light and mobile fire support. Whitworths of this variant became common in the SLDF, serving alongside Wolverines and Phoenix Hawks in medium striker lances or otherwise providing long-range fire support to lances of Warhammers and Riflemen

Whitworth 3050

A particularly noteworthy variant of the Whitworth is the WTH-0. Made exclusively for the Amaris Dragoons regiments of the Rim Worlds Republic, the WTH-0 was based on the WTH-1S, only its paired SRM-6s were filled with inferno rounds and one of its medium lasers was replaced with a flamer. The few WTH-0 built were notorious for their use as terror weapons, being used to flush out dug-in urban positions without a care for the collateral damage the inferno rounds caused. WTH-0 Whitworths became a special target for vengeful SLDF MechWarriors during the Amaris Coup such that no examples survived the civil war.

In fact, relatively few Whitworths survived the Succession Wars. With the destruction of Whitworth Company’s Dieron factories in 2776 and the near-constant fighting over the proceeding years of the Amaris Civil War, Whitworth attrition was such that only around 300 examples remained by the start of the Succession Wars. Many more Whitworths were lost in the centuries of warfare that followed as machines were cannibalized for parts. 

The Whitworth may have even gone extinct were it not for the introduction of Whitworth Specialty Manufacturing, which began producing replacement components exclusively for the Kuritan military. This gave the DCMS the largest active complement of Whitworths by the start of the Fourth Succession War. It was rumored that the corporation’s semi-revival was part of a deal between then-Gunji-no-Kanrei Theodore Kurita and ComStar to also supply replacement Whitworth components to the secretive communications company.

WTH-5S Whitworth

Although an adequate ‘Mech in 3025, the Whitworth was hopelessly outmatched by the time of the Clan Invasion. An upgrade package dubbed the WTH-2 was introduced in 3050 that used Star League-era technology in hopes of meeting the Clanners on fair terms. Adding Artemis Fire Control in place of two medium lasers, MechWarriors were divided on whether the enhanced accuracy of their missiles was worth the trade of most of their energy-based weapons. By 3060, most WTH-2s had been decommissioned, sold to mercenary companies and periphery nations, or scrapped.

A far better upgrade of the venerable WTH-1 came in 3068 with the introduction of the WTH-2A. Using an Endo Steel chassis to save weight, the WTH-2A swapped its LRM-10s for four Streak SRM-4s and a C3 slave unit, dropping the head-mounted medium laser for a small laser, and adding CASE to keep the Whitworth’s ammunition bins from catastrophically exploding in the event of armor penetration. An additional four double heat sinks kept the ‘Mech remarkably cool, although the Whitworth’s original problem–an anemic engine that provided insufficient running speed–remained an issue. 

Whitworth 3050U

By the Jihad era, all remaining WTH-1s remaining in storage with House Kurita were upgraded to WTH-K standard. The LRM-10s were replaced by two MML-7s, allowing pilots to choose between SRM or LRM ammo bins, depending on the situation. A C3 slave unit linked the Whitworth’s targeting computer to its lancemates, and five improved jump jets gave the WTH-K the ability to disengage in certain scenarios.

The World of Blake Jihad would ultimately prove fatal to the Whitworth. With the fighting on Benjamin damaging Whitworth Specialty Manufacturing, and with very few Whitworths left to refit, the ‘Mech was replaced in the DCMS by newer, more effective units. Whitworths can still be seen in the outer periphery amongst pirate bands and mercenaries, but no new Whitworths have been produced in well over a century.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Bad ‘Mechs – Clint


Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“Alright, McCoy,” said Joseph Andoran without preamble. The rotund CEO of Andoran Industries Ltd. was the utter picture of a fat cat corporate executive even though Andoran was one of the smaller suppliers to bid for Star League’s lucrative defense contracts. “Tell me your plan to corner the market on bandit-hunting periphery ‘Mechs.” 

“Yessir,” McCoy began, pushing his glasses up as a nervous tic. “As you know, the Star League Armaments Act calls for an inexpensive ‘Mech to defend the outer periphery worlds. Our proposal, the Clint, will be priced competitively–technically at a loss, at least to start, but we’ll make the C-bills back selling more lucrative supply and maintenance contracts.” 

McCoy stepped forward with a datapad covered in charts and numbers. “As you can see from my analysis, by outbidding our competitors, we can be the sole supplier of outer periphery ‘Mechs by 2610.” 

Andoran was typical of corporate executives but for one thing–he actually loved the numbers. He carefully reviewed the datapad, scrolling every so often and highlighting some lines that drew his attention. Then he looked back up at McCoy sitting uncomfortably across his desk, like a student who’d been caught cheating on his exam. 

“Take a look at the component values I’ve highlighted. If we replace the ankle actuators with our own BF-349s, the left finger motors with TT-560s, and use that new gyro the boys in engineering have just cooked up, we won’t even need to take a loss.” 

McCoy stared for a few moments. “But sir, these are proprietary components. We’ll need to send our own technicians to the outer rim to service these ‘Mechs. Even routine maintenance might need a requisition sent straight to Bell and back again.” 

“And how is that a problem?”

“These machines will be operating for extended periods away from refit facilities. Some might never power down in a full ‘Mech gantry again.” McCoy stopped to once again press his glasses back over the bridge of his nose. “It will significantly lower the Clint’s appeal as a suitable candidate for the Armaments Act.” 

“You let me worry about the pencil pushers at Star League procurement,” Andoran replied, reaching into his desk drawer for a cigar. “You just worry about making these changes unnoticeable to the casual observer.” 

McCoy coughed as Andoran blew out a perfect ring of smoke. 

Clint 3UOne could argue that the Clint largely suffers from the “40-ton curse,” a weight bracket much maligned for offering no real advantage. It has none of the armor or firepower of larger medium designs, nor does it have as much mobility as lighter ‘Mechs. Of particular issue is the heavy Armstrong J11 AC/5, which combined with its single ton of ammunition, accounts for almost a full quarter of the Clint‘s weight while offering only half the destructive capacity of its secondary armament of twinned medium lasers.

However, the Clint’s flaws go far beyond its unfavorable weight class and underpowered armament. The Clint was designed from the start to be a flawed machine, using substandard components in order to ensure periphery states and national garrisons signed expensive maintenance contracts to keep their Clints functional. Ironically, it may be the anti-customer design of the Clint that actually allowed so many examples to survive beyond the Succession Wars when many of its contemporaries died out.

The Clint was first chosen in 2607 as the successful candidate to the Star League Armaments Act, which required even the most remote settlements receive the latest in defensive technologies. That meant the Star League was legally required to provide BattleMechs to every garrison, regardless of location, population, or even military need. 

Clint 3025

That said, Star League budgetary restraints weren’t unlimited, and even the Star League Defense Force wasn’t about to provide every periphery garrison outpost with its own company of Atlases and Orions. Above all, the Clint was designed to be cheap–at least, to purchase. Maintenance would prove to be so nightmarishly expensive that many Clints survived into the 31st century only as Franken-mechs repaired using the spare parts of completely unrelated designs.

When Andoran Industries Ltd. won the bidding to fulfill Star League’s requirements for an inexpensive recon and trooper ‘Mech to send to the far corners of the Inner Sphere, the company undercut the competition by fielding a design that slashed production costs any way it could. This was often to the detriment of the Clint‘s technicians, which found themselves spending twice as much time maintaining the Clint as they would almost any other BattleMech. Using subpar and nonstandard parts, Andoran Industries sold the Clint to remote locations alongside a lengthy brochure outlining tiers of exclusive maintenance packages–packages many militaries were forced to sign in order to maintain access to Andoran’s proprietary Clint components.

Much like a certain 21st-century agricultural equipment producer, Andoran’s plan was to completely control the market by undercutting the competition and restricting the customer’s ability to repair their machines. Mass production of the CLNT-2-3T began in 2608, with both Andoran Industries salespeople and technicians traveling from Bell to every corner of the Inner Sphere to either sell more or maintain existing Clints.


By the time the first Star League fell, roughly 300 Clints were serving in various House garrisons with the bulk in the hands of the Federated Suns and Capellan Confederation. Usually too far from the most intense fighting, few Clints took part in the First Succession War, which saw the Andoran factories destroyed in 2812. This ended the supply of replacement parts for the Clint, which further discouraged commanders from using Clints in heavy fighting. It also encouraged more creative solutions in the periphery to keep their Clints operational. While jury-rigging replacement actuators was possible if not ideal, replacing the Clint’s proprietary gyro proved too difficult even for the most resourceful technician. For centuries, a cored Clint was a dead Clint forevermore. 

By the 31st century, only 200 Clints remained in active service. These machines were largely in Capellan and Fed Com border regions, having survived the Succession Wars but still badly in need of replacement parts. Those parts would finally be provided in the mid-3050s with the birth of the Bell Refit Yards, which was built on the wreckage of Andoran’s old factory complex. An extensive maintenance and upgrade program began to breathe new life into the venerable design, improving it far beyond Andoran’s purely mercantile ambitions. Blueprints were also eventually obtained by Defiance Industries on Furillo, which began producing all-new Clints for the first time in 3055. 

Of those upgraded Clints, perhaps the most numerous is the CLNT-2-3U, a Capellan upgrade that replaces the weighty and ammo-dependent AC/5 with a Magna Firestar ER PPC and replaces both medium lasers with Magna 400P medium pulse lasers. To handle the significant increase in heat production, the 3U swaps its single heat sinks for double heat sinks. This simple and relatively cheap upgrade vastly improves the Clint‘s overall combat performance and eliminates at least one of its vulnerabilities, although it still requires increased maintenance compared to other ‘Mechs.

Clint 2T

Because the Clint often found its way to the outer reaches of the Inner Sphere, it became a popular sight in the militaries of periphery nations. The Taurian Concordat had several Clints in its armed forces, and although aging, were still in decent enough condition that the Taurians created their own upgrade package in the lead-up to the Word of Blake Jihad. The CLNT-3-3T replaces the AC/5 with a light autocannon of the same caliber and upgrades its standard armor to ferro-fibrous. This allows for CASE protection of its two tons of ammo and improves the defensive capabilities of the chassis.

The CLNT-5U was a far more extensive upgrade of the 3T produced by Defiance Industries for the Lyran Alliance just before the FedCom Civil War. An endo steel chassis and light fusion engine allowed its weapons payload to be replaced by an ER large laser and a trio of ER medium lasers alongside electronics upgrades including a C3 slave unit and TAG spotting laser. Double heat sinks keep this all-energy configuration cool. Many pilots considered this variant of the Clint a better Wolfhound thanks to jump jets improving its maneuverability. 

Following the fall of Hersperus II, Blakist forces began producing the CLNT-6S instead of the CLNT-5U. The jump hets and light engine were dropped for a larger 280 XL engine, allowing the Clint to sprint at 118 kph. Heavy ferro-fibrous armor further improved the Clint‘s defensive protection, and one of the ER medium lasers was upgraded to an ER large laser. A small cockpit allowed for the inclusion of an ER small laser in the head. 

Several CLNT-1-2R Clint prototypes were part of Alexsandr Kerensky‘s forces that went into exile in 2784. As such, when it came time for Clan Snow Raven to begin mass production of an appropriate garrison unit, the Clint seemed a logical choice. The Clint IIC offers a rare XL engine upgrade for a Clanner overhaul, although the 10 single heatsinks are retained. A Clan-spec LB 10-X autocannon and twin ER medium lasers offer effective stopping power, while seven tons of standard armor vastly improve the Clint’s protection compared to the initial prototypes. Further, Clan technicians finally replaced the Andoran proprietary components with standardized parts, allowing the Clint IIC to be repaired in the field with minimal downtime. 

Clint 3U 3050

The Clint is an odd case. Even its upgraded counterparts are largely outclassed by more modern designs, and yet the Clint soldiers on. It offers little more than a body, a ‘Mech that can fulfill almost any role adequately enough to just avoid a general’s attention. Somehow, the Clint would withstand the withering scorn of engineers and technicians for centuries, kept alive by necessity more than desire. 

There is at least one good lesson the Clint provides. No matter how much companies might believe otherwise, the need for interoperability and battlefield uptime will always overcome a greedy and anti-consumer philosophy that denies the customer their right to repair. 

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy. 

stay syrupy

Bad ‘Mechs – Hellbringer


Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“Khan Lassenerra has directed us to create a new heavy OmniMech. And he has… ordered this BattleMech to be completed within six months.” 

Each of the scientists and techs within the Hell’s Horses boardroom had different expressions after this announcement. Some looked down in solemn contemplation, a few stared back at Scientist Hyun in open-mouthed astonishment for the exceptionally short timeline. One threw his tablet on the table and lit a cigarette in direct defiance of the Star Captain’s “no smoking” ordinance. 

Technician Samson picked up his jaw before whispering, “That’s… not nearly enough time.” 

“Contractions, Samson,” barked Hyun. “Nevertheless, we do as the Khan commands. Ideas?” 

The boardroom was met with utter silence for several uncomfortably long moments. Then, a voice from the back: “We could use the lower assembly of the new Summoner chassis?” 

Hyun squinted. The voice was too far away to discern the source. Perhaps calling an all-hands meeting for a single ‘Mech design was not the wisest course of action. “And why would we do that?”

“Because you said this needed to be developed quickly,” came the sheepish reply. “Well, that is half the design right there.” 

There were a few nods, and Hyun conceded the point. They needed to move fast and starting from a proven design was a boon she couldn’t deny. They needed all the help they could get.

“This limits the design’s potential capacity, but it is a start,” Hyun said. “Now, let us discuss payload.” 


From there, the boardroom descended into utter chaos. A section of the scientists demanded anti-personnel pods and machine guns for urban combat. A contingent of techs suggested an Active Probe and ECM to counter the growing threat of electronic warfare within the clans. A scientist at the far end simply shrieked “AMS”, prompting Hyun to write the acronym on her datapad without really considering either the source or purpose of such a suggestion. 

“And, let us be frank, our MechWarriors are not the best of the Clans,” Samson said during a brief lull in the brainstorming furor. “A Targeting Computer would be most helpful for our warriors.” 

“Agreed,” Hyun said, adding the technology to the long list of suggested equipment. “We have yet to discuss actual weapons.” 

The room once again fell silent. Then another voice from a distant corner of the packed room said what everyone was already thinking. 

“Twin particle cannons, a short-range missile launcher, and several medium lasers?” 

“Brilliant,” Hyun said with a smile. “Get this down to our engineers. We have a prototype to build.” 

As the room cleared, a single scientist stayed in her chair, staring at the notes she’d taken during the manic planning session. In theory, this new ‘Mech would be able to meet the demands of any battlefield–a true OmniMech. Only she couldn’t help but think that this design was slightly unfocused. And there was the nagging feeling that they were all forgetting something vitally important… 

Academics that have studied the Clans find the Hellbringer (also known as the Loki to Inner Sphere MechWarriors) to be a bit of an oddity. Its primary configuration comes with a litany of performance-enhancing equipment that most Clan MechWarriors would consider questionable, if not outright dishonorable. An anti-missile system, ECM, and anti-personnel pods provides the Hellbringer with additional defenses, while a Targeting Computer and Active Probe ensure the Hellbringer pilot can engage enemy ‘Mechs effectively in almost all circumstances. 

Hellbringer MWO

However, Clan Hell’s Horses wasn’t about to sacrifice the Hellbringer’s potential weapons capacity in order for it to mount this additional equipment. In order to ensure the Hellbringer could keep pace with similar ‘Mechs in the Clan’s touman, the ‘Mech was forced to maintain a running speed of 86.4 kph. That left armor protection as the only element engineers could scale back, leaving the Hellbringer with an abnormally light shell of just eight tons of standard armor. 

Hells Horses’ engineers were also perhaps too focused on the Hellbringer’s speedy development to remember that its mostly energy-based weapons would need to be offset by heatsinking capacity. The Hellbringer‘s 13 double heat sinks allow it to shrug off some of the heat generated by its twin ER PPCs, but not all, and it’s certainly not enough to cool the ‘Mech down if the pilot starts firing its trio of ER medium lasers

Despite these flaws, the Hellbringer would go on to become a popular ‘Mech, especially with Clan Jade Falcon MechWarriors. First introduced in 2926, the Hellbringer was disseminated to most Clans thanks to Hell’s Horses leadership gifting the design for political favors. By the time of the Inner Sphere invasion, it was a common enough sight amongst the invading Clans to be designated Loki by Captain Galen Cox for its “utterly mad” configuration. 

While the primary configuration of the Hellbringer maintained a mostly energy-based weapons payload, alternate configurations lean more heavily towards ammo-dependent armaments. The A configuration retains the Active Probe and machine guns but swaps the SRM launcher and ER PPCs for twin ER large lasers, an Ultra AC/5, and an LRM-20. The ECM, Targeting Computer, and anti-personnel pods were swapped for a NARC Missile Beacon for improved accuracy of nearby fire-support units–another strange addition for a society that values honorable single combat.

Newer configurations of the Hellbringer tend to eschew the specialist equipment to devote more of its 28 tons of pod space to weapons. Interestingly, the Hellbringer‘s dissemination also included Inner Sphere armies, with the G configuration sporting an Inner Sphere-built Improved Heavy Gauss Rifle. By the Dark Age era, Clan Sea Fox readily provided the aging Hellbringer to any customer willing to pay for it.  

hellbringer A

Amongst the Home Clans, however, the Hellbringer has largely been replaced by the Ebon Jaguar, a superior design that offers similar speed and firepower with far greater armor protection while maintaining a 65-ton gross weight. In 3121, the Jade Falcons attempted to improve their favored design with the Loki Mk II. Also known as the Hel, the Loki Mk II drops the Hellbringer‘s engine to a 260XL (resulting in a running speed of 64 kph) to devote even more of its pod space to weapons. The primary Loki Mk II configuration mounts twin Gauss Rifles alongside twin ER Large Lasers with a Streak SRM-4 for lighter targets. The Hel’s B configuration is even more powerful thanks to a Long Tom artillery cannon mounted in the right arm. Ferro-Fibrous armor improves the Hel‘s protection over its progenitor, but it still remains a relatively fragile heavy ‘Mech. 

The Hellbringer marks a logical extreme for Clan designs emphasizing offense and mobility over defense. While the Hellbringer‘s primary configuration offers its pilots a curious array of equipment, most would likely be better served by a few more armor plates. Today, Hellbringers are the preferred mount for elderly Clan ‘MechWarriors looking to die in a blaze of glory or younger warriors too foolish to consider their own mortality.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For December, 2021

Well, another year has come and gone. This is where we normally wax nostalgic over the past year and look forward to 2022, but I’ll be honest, 2021 wasn’t all that great and 2022 isn’t shaping up to be much better. With COVID counts where they’re at, we’re certainly getting off on the wrong foot.

But I will offer some hope. Initial reports are calling Omicron slightly less deadly than previous COVID strains, so if the pattern holds with the 1918 flu pandemic, future COVID strains will continue to get milder and milder until it’s basically just another disease. To be clear, influenza still kills plenty of people each year, but it’ll be manageable to the point where things return to some semblance of normal, albeit where vaccines and masks are way more common.

It took two years for the 1918 flu to get to that point, so while 2022 probably won’t be great (certainly not at the beginning), we might see things improve by the end of 2022 and into early 2023. Hopefully.

In the meantime, Sarna will continue to be your one-stop shop for the best BattleTech news. Let’s see what happened in December.

Gingerbread Spider Goes Brrrrrr

The Gingerbread Spider: A Mechwarrior Dubstep Rock Opera
Watch this video on YouTube.

We’ll start off this last news blast of the year with some festive content sent in by a reader. Elfcat presents “The Gingerbread Spider.” It’s sort of like “The Nutcracker,” only the ballet is being performed by a light ‘Mech that was designed to fly. Almost.

I wouldn’t say that SPD-5K is a meta build, but it’s certainly effective as part of a light ‘Mech wolfpack. It’s also great for picking off stragglers that might have had most of their armor stripped from LRMs or taking fire. 

Personally, I think the Mist Lynx-G is the better Heavy Machine Gun platform, but to each their own. 

MechWarrior Online Is Giving Away A Lot Of Stuff Over The Holidays

MechWarrior Online Hellebore Outpost Preview
Watch this video on YouTube.

There’s a DropShip full of MechWarrior Online news to close out the year. First up, a patch was released earlier in the month that added MechWarrior Online‘s first new map in years. Called “Hellbore Outpost,” this map brings unparalleled verticality to an engagement. Cliffs, canyons, and raised platforms mean that fire can come from any angle, with geological formations providing ample cover for an ambush. I’ve only played it a few times, but so far I find it an interesting addition to the usual playlist.

Along with the new map comes the fifth quirk pass, and it hits some of my favorite ‘Mechs. The Quickdraw, JagerMech, Summoner, Firestarter, and Annihilator have all had their quirks adjusted. The Quickdraw in particular is finally viable in today’s meta and I quite enjoy my laserboat QKD-5K. It’s great when a bad ‘Mech turns good.

Single heat sinks also received a buff as part of this update, so certain Inner Sphere assault ‘Mechs will find it more useful to use single heat sinks than doubles.

And keeping with MechWarrior Online tradition, the holiday season brings back the Stocking Stuffer event for another year. The event is simple: play games and unlock rewards based on your match score. The more you get in a match, the more stockings you uncover. Stockings can include C-bills, MC, skill points, experience, premium time, and more. Now is the most rewarding time of the year to play MWO, but be sure to get your games in before Jan 4 when the Stocking Stuffer event ends.

But we saved the best part for last. MechWarrior Online is giving away two free ‘Mechs for everyone who logs in between December 26 and January 4 to play one match. The Mauler MAL-2P and Marauder IIC-A can be yours along with 25 Stocking Stuffers, 6.5 million C-bills, 1,250 MC, and seven days premium time. Oh, and both ‘Mechs come with a 30% C-bill boost too.

There’s also a new ‘Mech pack available with two new versions of the Sun Spider and the Roughneck. Go check ’em out on their website here.

Congrats To The 1st Jaguar Guards For Winning The MechWarrior Online World Championship Series

MWO CS2021 Grand Final - JGx vs 5JDx
Watch this video on YouTube.

The MechWarrior Online competitive scene got a big boost with the game’s renaissance this year, and although there wasn’t quite as much ceremony thanks to COVID and the lack of Mech_Con, the final games were still an exciting display of piloting from the best MechWarriors in the world.

Ultimately, the 1st Jaguar Guards came out on top, defeating the 5th Jaguar Dragoons in the final round. Ghosts of Nox came in third and the appropriately named “here 4 da loot” came in fourth. KDCM V: Trans Rights, the team that was initially told to change their name before PGI backtracked, came in seventh place.

I didn’t get a chance to see every match, but I did catch the final ‘Mech usage statistics and was incredibly surprised to see such a wide variety of chassis used by the world’s top players. Whereas previous years would often see the same ‘Mechs over and over again (I’m lookin’ at you, Hunchback IIC), this year had almost twice as many ‘Mechs make it to the finals.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the Firestarter, which has historically been one of those bad ‘Mechs that nobody really uses. I guess the recent balance passes have really shaken up the meta to the point where the Firestarter actually shines. Guess I’m going to have to give that ‘Mech a try.

The MechWarrior 5 Timber Wolf Mod Is Here

Timberwolf / Mad Cat Classic mod for Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries Trailer #2
Watch this video on YouTube.

Remember that Timber Wolf mod that was mentioned in November’s news roundup? Well, The Art of BattleTech managed to get this beaut out for Christmas

Not only is the outside a highly detailed model that brings the classic Mad Cat look into the latest and greatest MechWarrior game, but it also has a custom cockpit courtesy of Alan Yeoh. Honestly, it looks a lot like a modern fighter pilot cockpit with a few extra screens on the ferro-glass windows. It can seem a little cluttered in first-person view, but that’s why MechWarrior 5 has a third-person camera. There’s also an alternate cockpit with fewer screens but more rearview mirrors. 

As expected, the Timber Wolf is pretty overpowered in comparison to most of MechWarrior 5‘s available chassis. That makes the Timby a great choice for pretty much everything that the game can throw at you. 

You can check out the mod in action here and then head to NexusMods or Steam Workshop to download the mod yourself. 

Also, Here’s A Mad Dog Mod For MechWarrior 5

Mad Dog / Vulture Classic mod for Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries - Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

Not satisfied with just the Timber Wolf, Art is busy making the Mad Dog for MechWarrior 5 too. There should also be a Summoner on the horizon, but there’s no trailer of that delightful 70-tonner yet. Stay tuned. 

More Logistical Woes For Catalyst Orders

Don’t know if this has been shared yet from battletech

This really isn’t limited to Catalyst Games--lots of retailers are warning customers that orders aren’t arriving in a timely fashion this holiday season. Blame covid and the ongoing global logistical snafu, but if you didn’t get your Catalyst order in time for Christmas, you probably won’t get it until January.

On the bright side, the final two installments of the IlClan Recognition Guides have arrived, and since those are digital files, you can just download them now without waiting. 

Santa Nova Cat Is Coming To Town

I don’t know where Reddit user h_ahsatan got a beard to fit this Nova Cat, but I’m glad they did. Hopefully, it doesn’t catch fire when this thing lets loose with all those energy weapons. 

Duane Loose Reveals How The Stryker Was Updated Got HBS’s BATTLETECH

It’s no exaggeration to say that Duane Loose practically defined BattleTech‘s visual style for decades. The artist that penned the original drawings that appeared in TRO 3025 recently shared an interesting story on his Twitter account about how he teamed up with Hairbrained Schemes to redesign the Striker missile tank. 

Working with Mike McCain, Loose helped create several redesigned vehicles, including the Striker. Loose also dropped several sketches of the Swiftwind and Demolisher tanks, but the Striker received special attention with a set of eight sketches. You can see how the missile tanks started out with eight wheels before shrinking those down to just six by the time they arrived at the final product. 

Strikers were always the worst in that game, but at least they looked cool.

Duncan Fisher Wishes Us All A Happy Holidays!

Watch this video on YouTube.

The Black Pants Legion, ever patrons of the fine arts, asked George Ledoux to put on his Duncan Fisher persona and wish us all happy holidays. Thanks, Duncan. I think we all needed that this year. 

And that’s it for 2021! I hope you’re all staying safe, staying healthy, and are looking forward to a better year to come.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Bad ‘Mechs – Charger

courtesy of Eldoniousrex

Gunjin Hataka gently wrapped the headband around his head as he knelt before a single candle and a burning stick of incense. He knew that this could very well be his last day alive, so he savored the sensations as he meditated on the nature of bushido. Of being a warrior.

And also why he was cursed with the regiment’s only remaining Charger

Technically, it was a promotion of sorts. He was now piloting the heaviest ‘Mech in his lance, almost double the weight of his Chu-i’s Phoenix Hawk. A proud Combine design that had served with distinction throughout the Succession Wars and bore the visage of a true samurai.

But Hataka knew the truth. Although his Charger massed 80 tons, it had the same armament as a lowly Locust. Five small lasers meant he must close to perilously short-range combat in order to be even remotely effective, and at that distance, he might as well start punching with his reinforced left arm. And with so little armor protecting him, the odds of closing to that distance was vanishingly small. His new ‘Mech made almost every assignment a suicide mission.

Hataka felt like a warrior of the divine wind about to attack in a war fought many centuries before he was born. Thus, it was only appropriate he honored their memories in a similar tradition. 

After several moments, Hataka bowed low enough so the rising sun on his headband touched the floorboards. Then he stood and walked away confident he would never return.

MW5 Charger

courtesy of PGI

Of all the ‘Mechs SLDF procurement somehow approved, the Charger CGR-1A1 is perhaps its biggest mistake. By the end of the Star League, corruption was so rampant that procurement officers rubber-stamped an assault ‘Mech that had so few weapons it wouldn’t concern most light ‘Mechs if one were to encounter one on the battlefield. The ‘Mech’s massive LTV 400 engine was also so expensive that you could purchase multiple traditional scout ‘Mechs for the price of a single Charger.


And yet, through grift, graft, or grit, Wells Technologies managed to secure funding to produce an assault scout ‘Mech–a battlefield role that never existed until Wells Technologies dreamt it up. Their proposal, the Charger, was an 80-ton ‘Mech equipped with the largest engine available, so large that it actually comprised more than 60% of the ‘Mech’s total weight. Ten tons of armor meant that the Charger was more than adequately protected in its role as a scout, but this left a mere 2.5 tons left for weapons. 

Wells did the best they could, but the end result was still so pathetic that the finished machine was almost immediately ejected from the SLDF after its introduction in the year 2665. A top speed of 86 kph was only barely acceptable for a scout, and five small lasers meant that the Charger was outgunned by nearly every ‘Mech in existence. 

Nobody saw the benefit of an 80-ton scout ‘Mech that couldn’t fight, so every Charger was returned to Wells Technologies en-masse. This resulted in Wells warehousing over a thousand Chargers as the company desperately tried to find a buyer. Lucky for them, the fall of the Star League and the start of the First Succession War brought forth an eager buyer happy to take every Charger Wells had in stock and more.


The Draconis Combine contracted Wells for an exclusive production contract in addition to every ‘Mech they had. Chargers were then distributed throughout the DCMS to fulfill whatever role was required of them, but because of their poor armament, the Charger was most often relegated to anti-insurgency work or garrison duty in low-conflict zones. Oddly enough, this led to numerous Chargers surviving the Succession Wars where many other designs didn’t.

Still, the DCMS wasn’t entirely filled with fools, and this meant that Wells Technologies would frequently receive requests for alternate variants that emphasized firepower over mobility. Most often this meant dropping the 400-rated engine down a few steps and improving the armament by adding a large autocannon. Several variants sold to the Capellan Confederation through the Kapteyn Accords did exactly that, and the Charger gained a reputation as a fearsome assault ‘Mech on the other side of the Inner Sphere.

Back in the Combine, the Charger would eventually serve as the base chassis for the vastly-superior Hatamoto-Chi, a ‘Mech that took the Charger‘s samurai aesthetic and dialed it to an extreme that wouldn’t be matched until well after the Jihad. While developing the Hatamoto-Chi, Luthien Armor Works also used newer technologies to retool the elderly Charger, coming up with the CGR-3K model. This replaced the standard engine with an XL version which added enough room to replace the Charger‘s armament with four medium pulse lasers and an LRM-20 with Artemis IV fire control. It also gained additional mobility thanks to five jump jets. 


As for Wells Technologies, they were less successful than their machine. Although the Charger was ostensibly a Combine ‘Mech and Wells Technologies was under an export restriction, the company sold Chargers on the black market illegally to recoup its costs on several other failed ventures. Combine officials eventually found out and punished Wells with enough lawsuits to push the company into insolvency. Luthien Armor Works then purchased Wells for a steal, ending the centuries-old company in 3027. 

There’s absolutely an argument to be made for the Charger as an ideal melee fighter. Its mass and barrel fist could be employed to devastating effect if a foe were foolish enough to close the distance with a Charger. But few pilots would be foolish enough to close with a Charger after recognizing its distinctive silhouette even after multiple upgrades gave the ‘Mech vastly improved firepower.

The Charger remained in production by Luthien Armor Works until the factory’s destruction during the Jihad. After that, Charger numbers finally dwindled until they eventually disappeared for good.

Consider this Sarna’s Christmas gift to you, dear readers. We’ll have one more news update before the end of the year and then it’s off to 2022.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

Christmas Urbie

Bad ‘Mechs – Assassin

courtesy of Eldonious Rex

Welcome to a new series here on Sarna I’m cleverly calling “Bad ‘Mechs.” It’s a deep dive into some of BattleTech’s least appreciated, least effective, but most awesome designs. You might think some of the ‘Mechs are completely undeserving of the Bad ‘Mechs title but don’t worry–even bad ‘Mechs have a story to tell.

We’re going to kick things off with one of my favorite Bad ‘Mechs, the Assassin: a light ‘Mech hunter that was often no better than the light ‘Mechs it was ostensibly designed to hunt. Despite being born of corporate fraud to having the tightest cockpit of any ‘Mech in the Inner Sphere, It took over four centuries for the Assassin to finally meet its end, and man, what a wild ride that was. Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane and remember the Assassin.

Waiting in an underground parking garage, Jenson couldn’t help but feel the clandestine nature of his business was entirely appropriate for a ‘Mech called “Assassin.” Maltex Corporation would never officially condone his actions, but Jenson knew the project was in trouble. Maltex could try to woo SLDF procurement officers with performance reports that stank so bad that even he could tell they were bullshit, but none of that would matter.

Money talks. Money gets you noticed by the right people. Not the official kind, or the kind that cared about budget estimates and cost projections; anyone who could put two and two together knew there was no way Maltex could produce the Assassin at the same price per unit as a Stinger. The unofficial kind. The illicit kind. The kind that gets exchanged underground in the middle of the night.

Which is exactly where Jenson was, and exactly where his contact would be in the next 45 seconds.

Sure enough, a black hovercar approached the parking spot where Jenson was standing. No words were exchanged. The black tinted window rolled down, an arm wearing a pinstripe sleeve poked out, and Jenson handed it the briefcase. Then it sped off back up the ramp and into the cool, damp night.

Jenson let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. The project would be saved, the Assassin would get made, and he’d make his Maltex overseer a very happy lady.

To understand the Assassin, one has to understand the heady days of the Star League. With one central, major military power, the military-industrial complex had just one place to turn to for funding, and it was often easier to bribe one’s way to a new ‘Mech contract than to create a quality product. Star League procurement was sensationally corrupt at its height, with corporations greasing palms more often than a thirteen-year-old after midnight.

Hence, we get the Assassin, a ‘Mech that fulfilled a niche that never really existed to begin with. Maltex Corporation marketed the Assassin as a replacement for the Stinger and Wasp, proposing it as a cheaper and more cost-effective alternative. They managed to convince Star League procurement of this through false budget reports and overly optimistic service life projections–the actual price of the Assassin was over twice that of the Stinger or Wasp it was meant to replace.

Costs aside, much of the Assassin‘s marketing centered around how the ‘Mech would out-perform its intended replacements, and in this regard, the marketing wasn’t too far off. With greater speed, jump capacity, armor, and weapons, the Assassin could dictate the terms of engagement with either the Stinger or Wasp, assuring victory in the hands of any competent pilot. This led to the Assassin‘s undeserved reputation as a light ‘Mech hunter.

Even when the Assassin was introduced, several Star League-era light ‘Mechs could outrun, out-shoot, or outlast the Assassin. The Commando offered nearly as much armor and speed but far surpassed the Assassin in firepower. Both the Mongoose and Hussar could outrun the Assassin, and even the humble UrbanMech had immense firepower and armor in comparison, albeit at the cost of near-immobility.

A century later the Assassin was falling behind in most areas. The Draconis Combine’s new Jenner equaled the Assassin in speed but far surpassed it in firepower. The Valkyrie could out-trade LRM fire with the Assassin until both their ammunition bins ran dry, at which point the Valkyrie‘s tougher armor would carry the day in a direct engagement. The Panther‘s PPC could blow holes in the Assassin‘s armor while enduring what little return fire it could muster.

But the Assassin would lead a charmed life. The chassis wouldn’t see large-scale engagement until 2980, when the Free Worlds League repelled a Fed Suns assault on Rochelle during the Third Succession War. Taking less damage than their slower comrades (which was probably better explained by selection bias than any true durability on the Assassin‘s part), the Assassin‘s reputation remained intact even as spare parts meant that House militaries fielded fewer and fewer Assassins as the Succession Wars dragged on. By the time the Clans invaded, there were very few Assassins left.

Maltex would later attempt to revive the chassis during the FedCom Civil War. The ASN-30 variant replaced the missile weapons with an LB-X AC/5 while the medium laser was upgraded with an extended range model. However, during those combat-heavy years, Maltex found that performance was the only metric that truly mattered to Lyran military procurement in the middle of a war, and the lightly armed Assassin simply couldn’t compete on the modern battlefield.

Hellespont Mech Works would attempt to field a further upgraded ASN-99 with Stealth Armor and a sword, but by then the Assassin‘s luck had run out and no new variants have been produced since the Jihad.

The Assassin leaves a complicated legacy, proving that with the right connections even a bad idea can become a highly profitable reality. But time has a way of ending lies, and so time eventually caught up with the Assassin and ended it.

Don’t think the Assassin deserved to be a Bad ‘Mech? Let me know in the comments, and also let me know what next Bad ‘Mech deserves a showcase.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

How Many Missiles Can A ‘Mech Really Fit?

How Many Missiles Can A 'Mech Really Fit?

courtesy of imgur

After writing up our recent ode to Missile Boats, it got me thinking about missile technology in the BattleTech universe. Not how each missile seems to do about as much damage as a modern-day bottle rocket, or how it can fly just about as far before running out of gas. No, it made me think about just how many of these missiles you can stuff inside a ‘Mech.

Think about it: a single ton of LRM ammo is 120 missiles. That seems like a lot considering a modern jet fighter has trouble carrying 10 of the things. Even the somewhat modern M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle doesn’t carry more than 7 missiles in its magazine, so where does a ‘Mech get enough room for 120?

To find out, I decided it was time to do some math. But before we could bust out the calculator, I’d have to pick a missile-toting ‘Mech to be our scientific guinea pig. I chose the Mad Dog for its distinctive silhouette, and because it’d be relatively easy to calculate the volume of those boxy missile racks it has for shoulders.


Now that we have our ‘Mech, it’s time to see how big those missile racks are. We know that a Mad Dog is roughly 12 meters tall, and those missile racks are about a third of its height, so we know they’re roughly 4 meters in height. Eyeballing the thickness I’d get about 1.5 meters wide, and roughly another 4 meters in depth. That gives us a total volume of about 24 m3.

But that missile rack isn’t a perfect cube; it’s got an angled side, and all these fiddly bits cut out, so I’d say we’ve only got a triangular prism to work with. That halves the volume we have available, so we’re down to 12 m3.

Not to worry – we still have plenty of space to work with. Each of these side torsos has 120 missiles, and if we assume each missile to take up an equal amount of space we know that they have to take up at maximum 0.1 m3 per missile.

Now that we know how much volume each missile can take up at a maximum, it’s relatively simple to calculate the possible dimensions of a single LRM. Since the height and width of a missile are the same (since it’s a cylinder, they’re both just going to be the diameter of the missile), the only question is how long the missile could be.


courtesy of

Let’s say the missile is 1 meter long (which is actually close to the length of a modern-day missile). The formula to work out the diameter of the missile would be:

0.1 m3 = L x W x H = 1 m x W x H = 1m x (W2) = 0.316 m

0.316 m is roughly 12.5 inches or a little over a foot in diameter. For a 1 meter long missile, a diameter of a foot is a bit chubby (maybe more closely approximating an artillery shell than a missile) but totally within the realm of possibility.

But we know that side torso isn’t just dedicated to missile ammo. There’s the LRM-20 launcher itself, a few crits of XL engine, and double heat sinks stuffed in there too. So let’s say that there’s really only half the available volume for missile ammo. The formula then changes to be:

0.05 m3 = L x W x H = 1 m x W x H = 1m x (W2) = 0.224 m

That still gives us a 1-meter long missile with a diameter of close to 9 inches. If we compare that to a modern-day missile, like, say, the AGM-114 Hellfire (which is 64 inches long and 7 inches in diameter), we’d see those numbers are roughly in the same ballpark and still very reasonably missile shaped. Cool.


courtesy of

Of course, we should also consider the fact that each missile isn’t a perfect rectangular prism, and each cylinder can save space by stacking in between the cylinder below it. My math wizardry is far from able to calculate how much space we’d save, but I’m sure one of you mathematicians could figure it out in the comments below.

So it seems a big ‘Mech like a Mad Dog doesn’t have any trouble carrying around 120 missiles, but what about a smaller missile ‘Mech? Let’s take a Javelin and see if it still can carry around a full complement of missiles like its heavier brethren.


Once again, we have to figure out how much of a vaguely man-shaped ‘Mech’s chest can be devoted to missile ammo. I don’t have an exact height for the Javelin, but since it’s a lighter ‘Mech I assumed it to be around 8 meters tall. Given that height, those boxes in the chest look to be around 1 meter wide and 1 meter high, and it has a 2-meter depth to its chest. Thus we get an available volume for missiles of 2 m3 for a single ton of SRM ammo, which is 90 missiles, and each missile can take up 0.0222 m3.

Since these are SRMs, let’s assume they’re going to be shorter than the long-range missiles and give them a length of half a meter. Using the same formula as before, we get a 0.21 m diameter missile or 8.26 inches. That’s still very reasonably missile shaped even on a tiny ‘Mech, and once again if we’d stacked those missiles properly we’d have even more volume available for an even bigger missile.


Before we all start celebrating this miracle of a single aspect of BattleTech that makes physical sense, there is a condition where a ‘Mech’s capacity for missile ammo starts to break down. When a chassis starts to horde ammunition, such as the Archer and its 4 tons of ammo, suddenly you go from hurling missiles to throwing shoe boxes that explode.  

But hey, I’m happy to find out that my favorite ‘Mech designs can carry as many missiles as they say they can (unlike autocannons, which still make no sense).

And as always, Mechwarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy