Naga Assault Mech

Naga-16

The Naga, an assault class (80 tons) mech, is the Clan version of the Inner Sphere Longbow.  It is a fire support mech that mounts the Arrow IV artillery missile system.  Similar to the Longbow, instead of arms, the missile launchers extend directly from its shoulders.  Unlike the slow Longbow, the Naga is a fast mech, with a top speed of 86 k.p.h.  This advantage doesn’t make the Naga a better loved mech, however.  Like its Inner Sphere counterpart, it is loathed and unappreciated because it is not considered a combat mech.  That is, it was not designed for mech on mech fighting.  It barely has any weapons to defend itself, and must rely on other mechs to ensure survival.  To the warrior class of the Clans, piloting a fire support mech is akin to driving a minivan.  These negative biases and perceptions don’t change regardless of how well the Naga fulfills its primary mission.  Many Naga pilots are washouts or come from the non-warrior classes.

This type of close minded attitude is really stupid, because any military tactician will tell you that artillery is king of the battlefield.  More than any weapon system, artillery is responsible for most battlefield kills.  Instead of heaping scorn on the cannon cockers and fire support mechs, I would be thanking my lucky stars that they are around to assist me.  I have nothing but respect for warriors who can hit a target from 30 kliks away, or more. When it comes to the business of dealing death, only idiots and glory seekers are concerned about such trivial matters as status and class. I would prefer to go to war with professionals rather than prima donnas.

The LEGO model of the Naga was designed by Primus.  He did an excellent job.  Of special note is his two-toned color scheme.  I thought it looked great, but it was a pain to build.  With this design, it’s not possible to build both arms and legs simultaneously.  Each leg or arm has to be constructed individually, increasing the build time.  Same goes for the body.  Finding the exact parts for each color takes up a lot of time.   I like the results, but wasn’t thrilled about the amount of work required. Keep this in mind if you want to attempt a two-toned build. Other than this minor complaint, there are no serious problems to report. The Naga is much more stable than the Longbow.  The leg joints were sturdier, and overall, it was not as top heavy (although I still think it’s moronic to put missile launchers on top of a mech).  With regard to the missile launchers, I admit that I might have gone overboard with the missile cones.  I don’t know of many Naga fans in the Battletech universe, but even if you were not, this is a great model to build.Bloodhound-07 Naga-62 Naga-47 Naga-46 Naga-13 Naga-15 Naga-16 Naga-18 Naga-19 Naga-21 Naga-28 Naga-30 Naga-32 Naga-35 Naga-39 Naga-45 Naga-11 Naga-10 Naga-08 Naga-05 Naga-04 Naga-01

Champion Mech

Champion mech Lego model-16

Champion Mech Background

The Champion mech was introduced in 2602 to Star League forces. It is a heavy mech (60 tons) designed to be fast and maneuverable, with an array of weaponry to give it good combat flexibility. The Champion was intended to fulfill an unusual role for a heavy mech–reconnaissance. It has minimal armor (8 tons), is over-sized, and its weaponry is puny enough to be outclassed by most medium mechs. It does have one advantage in that it is fast for a heavy mech with a top speed of 86.4 k.m.h, and it is very maneuverable.

Because speed is of the essence for a reconnaissance mech, the Champion mech’s designers mounted the largest engine possible, which displaced space for armor and weaponry. The end results is a heavy mech that can be outgunned by most medium mechs, has less armor than most medium mechs, isn’t that much faster than most medium mechs, and costs more than most medium mechs. On top of that, it runs hot in battle because its heat sinks are inadequate for the job. If you do the math, it becomes questionable whether the design tradeoffs were worth it because the Champion’s role could have been easily occupied by a medium mech. Even the super cheap Locust could have done the same job.

Even when not taking into account the questionable tradeoffs the Champion mech presented, I’m not sure why anyone would think that a heavy mech in the reconnaissance role is a good idea in the first place. What’s the point? You wouldn’t send a tank to do recon work, why would you send a heavy mech? It’s like hammering a pushpin with a sledgehammer. Too much tool for the job can make a mess of things. The idea of reconnaissance is to detect and monitor the enemy. The best way to do this is to remain undetected yourself. Therefore, having a heavy mech lumbering around in this mission makes no sense whatsoever. This is what happens when you try to create a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. You come up with crap ideas.

The Champion Mech Lego Model

Primus designed the Lego model of the Champion depicted here. It’s a cool little model that uses mostly easy to find Lego pieces, so I’m happy about that. Nonetheless, I can’t consider the Champion to be one of Primus’ masterpieces. I like it okay, but it didn’t wow me. This is no fault of the design, but the model only looks good from the torso up. The legs did not match the torso’s sleek aircraft style design.

If I had to guess, I would say that the Lego model of the Champion was one of the early designs that Primus created because it does not exhibit a whole lot of sophistication. Nonetheless, if you’re a Champion fan (I’m sure there are 1-2 of you out there), I hope you enjoy the photos of this under-appreciated mech because there aren’t that may depictions of the Champion in Battletech canon.

You might also notice that there are comparison photos of the Mad Cat, Fire Falcon, and Warhammer IIC. That means I have constructed these models, but have not posted them yet.

To download building plans for the Champion mech Lego model, follow this link. Check out other Lego models of heavy mechs similar to the Champion mech here.

Visit my Bricklink store to purchase individual Lego pieces to build your own Battlemech models.

P.S. Got a story you want to share with the world? Click this link to watch a video about how you can make money blogging about anything you want.

Hatchetman Mech

Hatchetman mech Lego model-37

Hatchetman Mech Background

Although modern warfare is a horrible and brutal undertaking, we sometimes forget that it used to be worse.  Much worse.  Until the advent of reliable firearms, war was fought up close and personal.  Thousands of combatants would descend upon a prearranged meeting place, position themselves tactically, and go about hacking each other to pieces with clubs, swords, and axes.  Unlike modern day warfare where remote controlled drones and computerized missiles are normal, you would have to look into the eyes of your enemy as you killed him, and vice versa.  There is not much to separate you from death except your will to live and your raw skills.  It was an insane way to wage war, and few people today can imagine what it was like to be standing on a battlefield that is soaked with blood and strewn with body parts and pieces of viscera of thousands of men.   For several millennia, though, that was how armies fought each other.

The Hatchetman, a medium class (45 tons) Inner Sphere mech, is a throwback to ancient times.  Its primary weapon is a mech sized hatchet, with which it can cleave an enemy mech in two.  The Hatchetman mech was the first design to use this melee technology.  In addition to its hatchet, the mech also mounts an autocannon in its torso for ranged combat.  This weapon is deadly at distance because the Hatchetman mech is equipped with an advanced targeting computer.  In theory this mech can fight at extreme ranges and up close.  In practice, however, most commanders do not ever allow the Hatchetman mech to fight in open terrain.

The Hatchetman mech’s autocannon, while accurate, only has twenty rounds.  Once ammunition is depleted, this mech is practically a sitting duck in the open because it is poorly armored and doesn’t have any other ranged weapons (although some variants carry additional lasers).  It is too slow (with a top speed of 68 k.p.h.) to outrun any enemies, and its armor plating is not outstanding at only six tons.  The Hatchetman mech is most used in urban combat, where ranged weapons are not as important.  It can hide behind buildings and ambush enemy mechs with its hatchet. Or, it can use its jump capabilities to perform a drop and hack maneuver.  The Hatchetman mech is a surprisingly effective weapon system that has inspired a new generation of mechs armed with melee weapons.

The Hatchetman mech is also innovative due to its ejection system.  During ejection, the entire cockpit, which is comprised of its head, is launched from the body with rockets.  Once airborne, the head can be controlled in flight using the vanes and fins in the back.  This allows the mech pilot to reach friendly territory.  Once safely landed, the entire cockpit assembly can be placed on another mech, or re-coupled to the original mech if it is salvaged.  This type of forward thinking design makes a little more sense than a hatchet.

The Hatchetman Mech Lego Model

The Lego model of the Hatchetman mech was designed by Primus.  It’s another model that I first didn’t care too much for, but grew to appreciate after completing it.  With its skinny arms and legs, and elongated head, it looks really cool in an insect-like way.  I also like the cockpit design.  The hatchet is a different matter, but you can’t have a Lego model of the Hatchetman mech without the weapon for which it was named.  In my last few postings, I may have been a little harsh on my write ups of the mechs.  This one will be no different because although I like building mechs with Lego bricks, I sometimes find the excesses of the Battletech universe to reach absurd heights.

The Hatchetman mech exemplifies all too well my sneaking suspicion that these machines are designed with a cool factor in mind rather than real world operations.  Melee weapons such as the hatchet have been obsolete for over 200 years.  I do not understand why they would again become suddenly effective in the 31st century, especially when heavy firepower and armor are involved.  I can see that a hatchet can be useful in certain situations, but why design an entire mech around a crude weapon?  Why deliberately expose such expensive machines to enemy contact? When resources are in such short supply, the idea of devoting technological assets and materiel to an extremely specialized and vulnerable mech seems ridiculous to me.

Anyway, the Hatchetman mech Lego model is worth building if you appreciate form over function. Check out the Lego models of the Bloodhound and Masakari compared to the Hatchetman.  Note that the Masakari is actually much bigger than how it appears in the photograph.

To download building plans for the Hatchetman mech Lego model, follow this link. Check out other Lego models of medium mechs similar to the Hatchetman mech here.

Visit my Bricklink store to purchase individual Lego pieces to build your own Battlemech models.

P.S. Got a story you want to share with the world? Click this link to watch a video about how you can make money blogging about anything you want.

[If you’ve been following this blog, you may have noticed that my postings have become more infrequent.  This is because I have been involved with several projects that have kept me very busy in the last few months.  Yes, I have a real job other than building Lego mechs.  Rest assured however, that many more mechs are scheduled for posting in the future.]

 

Cougar Mech (MW4)

Cougar Mech Lego model-MW4-13

Cougar Mech Background

The Cougar mech was born into hard times.   From the beginning, a lack of resources constrained its design.  This is because Clan Jade Falcon had just fought a difficult and expensive war against Clan Wolf.  Clan Jade Falcon’s finances and resources were stretched to the limits.  They knew they must continue to make advances to their military technology in order to stay competitive, or even relevant, yet they could not afford to design a new omni mech from the ground up.  They settled on a redesign of an existing mech, the Adder.

This approach was wise, because the Cougar mech went from the drawing board to field testing with breathtaking speed.   Its designers were forced to make compromises, however.  For instance, in order to make more room for weapon pods, the engine size had to be reduced.  This made the Cougar noticeably slower than the Adder, even though both mechs shared the same chassis.  The designers decided the trade off was necessary, because its increased firepower (two large pulse lasers on each arm and two LRM launchers in the torso) made up for its lack of speed.  One change which was not welcome was the reduced armor.  The Cougar mech can only carry six tons of armor plating or less, a pitiable amount for any mech, regardless of size.  Although the Cougar mech has proven its worth in other ways, its well-known lack of armor has marred its reputation.  Also, it has no jump jets.  That means a Cougar pilot must exploit its firepower advantage decisively and destroy his opponent before taking too much damage.  A Cougar will not do well in a tit-for-tat exchange with other mechs.

The Cougar Mech Lego Model

Like most other Lego models that Primus has designed, the Cougar mech Lego model shown here bears an uncanny resemblance to its depictions in drawings and paintings.  This variant of the Cougar mech appears in Mechwarrior 4.  In years past, the level of detail of the Lego models would not have been possible due to the blocky nature of classic Lego bricks, but the design of modern Lego pieces, with their slopes, curved wedges, special plates, modified bricks, etc., have opened new doors.  One can now build realistic and highly detailed models which look great, not just blocky representations which only have a vague likeness to their archetypes.  The difference is comparable to the pixilated visuals of the Atari 2600 from the 80’s with the Xbox 360 or Sony PS3 systems.

I didn’t know much about the Cougar mech when I started this build.  I just liked the way it looked, with its huge rounded shoulders and missile launchers in the chest.  It looks less like a cougar, and more like the offspring of a linebacker and sumo wrestler.  Although nice to display when completed, the Lego model was not very stable.  Instead of pins, the legs were attached to the hips with only four studs.  It was a challenge to move the model because its legs would fall off at any given moment.  For this reason, I would not want to keep it in my permanent collection.  Other than this minor quibble, this Lego build is still recommended if you are a Cougar mech fan.  There’s another version of the Cougar from classic Battletech that I have on my list of future builds.

To download building plans for the Cougar mech Lego model, follow this link. Check out other Lego models of light mechs similar to the Cougar mech here.

Visit my Bricklink store to purchase individual Lego pieces to build your own Battlemech models.

P.S. Got a story you want to share with the world? Click this link to watch a video about how you can make money blogging about anything you want.

 

Bushwhacker Mech (MW4)

Bushwhacker mech Lego mode-02

Bushwhacker Mech Background

“Bushwhacker” is a term often used to describe guerilla fighters who don’t belong to a regular military unit. These fighters usually do not directly engage the enemy, but rather, hide in and among the terrain (and friendly population) to attack targets of opportunity. The so-call “insurgents” in the Iraq war is an modern example of a bushwhacker. Although they may not win many battles, their actions are nonetheless important because they have the effect of wearing down the enemy, and never allowing him/her a moment of peace. Those who have been bushwhacked can become demoralized because they don’t know when/where/how/why they were attacked, and who the attacker was. If this happens enough times, morale diminishes, unit cohesion breaks down, and dissent increases. In war, breaking your enemy’s will to fight is sometimes better than killing him.

For these reasons, the Bushwhacker mech from the Battletech universe is aptly named. It is not designed for close quarter fighting. Almost all its weapons, except for a pair of machine guns, are intended for long range attacks. To inflict maximum damage at maximum range, Bushwhacker mechs are armed with two LRM-5 launchers, an extended range large laser, and an autocannon. A good tactic for their pilots is to work in small groups, with one acting as a spotter for the others. The spotter can be exposed with his/her lance mates remain concealed by the terrain. They can attack by using their indirect fire weapons, such as the missile launchers. A Bushwhacker mech engaging an enemy mech must not close in unless absolutely necessary. Although the mech is well armored (over nine tons) for a medium class mech, it only has machine guns for close combat. Machine guns are only useful for defense against light infantry and will only cause paint peeling in mechs. Bushwhacker pilots who take full advantage of their mech’s long range capabilities can take out heavy or assault class mechs by chipping at them from afar.

One well-known fact about the Bushwhacker mech is that it was one of the Inner Sphere’s first attempts at stealth-like technology. It has long, tapered cockpit design that would look normal on an aircraft but is unusual for a mech. The idea being that a slim profile would present a smaller, less visible target. This radical design caused a lot of teething problems and almost led to the cancellation of the Bushwhacker mech project. The electronics and the engine were crammed too close together. The inadequate engine shielding caused the electronic components to fail at a faster rate than expected, often at the most inopportune times. Ironically, it was the Clan invasion that saved the Bushwhacker mech from oblivion. Inner Sphere scientists were better able to integrate the electronics suite into the Bushwhacker’s torso when they reviewed and learned from captured schematics of the Vulture mech.

Check out the video below of a Bushwhacker mech in action.  It’s long, but the graphics are cool, and the ending is hilarious.

The Bushwhacker Mech Lego Model

The Bushwhacker mech Lego model was designed by Primus.  It is the variant that appeared in Mechwarrior 4.  I had my eye on building this Lego model for a long time, but waited patiently for many months while I collected all the necessary pieces.  The Bushwhacker mech Lego model did not disappoint, because it turned out excellent.  It’s unmistakable aircraft-like fuselage was well realized, and mostly free of studs.   So far, every one of Primus’ Mechwarrior 4 Lego models has been fantastic.  There are quite a few more that I’m looking forward to building.  I followed the plans closely, and only substituted a few Lego pieces here and there, but nothing drastic.  I also added lights because even tactical vehicles need lights.  For my own reasons, I find the absence of lights on the mech models to be disconcerting, and always try to include them whenever possible.   Darkness is still a fact of life, even in the 31st Century.

To download building plans for the Bushwhacker mech Lego model, follow this link. Check out other Lego models of medium mechs similar to the Bushwhacker mech here.

Visit my Bricklink store to purchase individual Lego pieces to build your own Battlemech models.

P.S. Got a story you want to share with the world? Click this link to watch a video about how you can make money blogging about anything you want.


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