Tarantula Light Mech Background
The Tarantula mech was designed to overcome some of perceived or real shortcomings of quad pedal mechs. After the disastrous introduction of the Scorpion, mechs of the quad pedal kind were universally scorned. Mechwarriors would rather lose their status than be seen in one. The chief complaint of all things was the terrible quality of the ride. Apparently, four legged mechs were not as smooth as the bipedal kind. It took a lot of work to convince Inner Sphere mechwarriors to accept the Tarantula mech when it was introduced. For instance, the chassis was specially constructed with advanced shock absorbers. The Tarantula mech also sports a seat with built-in gyros to help absorb some of the bumps of cross country travel. In this regard, it is the Cadillac of mechs.
The special efforts paid off because the Tarantula mech is well designed across the board. Using an over-sized engine, it sports a lot of power for a light mech. This power translates to greater zoom-zoom, because the Tarantula mech has a top speed of over 130 k.p.h., making it one fast four-legged critter. In addition to its quickness, the Tarantula mech is agile. With four legs instead of two to maneuver, this trait is a given. It can dance around enemy mechs with ease. Bipedal mechs don’t walk sideways very well, but the Tarantula has no problems. If its speed and agility weren’t impressive enough, the Tarantula mech also has jump jets which could propel it over 240 meters at a time. It is a true triple threat. It can out-run, out-maneuver, and out-jump its adversaries. A Tarantula mech pilot has a lot of options if he or she were ever caught in a tough fight. Options are a good thing if you care about living and fighting for another day.
If the Tarantula mech has any weaknesses, they are its armaments and armor plating. These aren’t true weaknesses necessarily, because the mech’s two medium lasers and SRM launchers are typical load-outs for mechs assigned reconnaissance duty. No one expects the Tarantula mech to become engaged in a hairy firefight. Reconnaissance mechs aren’t supposed to get hot and heavy with the enemy. For the same reason, the Tarantula mech’s four tons of armor is more than adequate. If one of your mission objections is to avoid detection, then less armor is not such a huge issue. There’s plenty of armor plating to protect the mechwarrior so that he or she can get out of scrapes. With the Tarantula mech’s incredible speed, agility, and jump jet ability, breaking engagement is almost child’s play.
With its low-slung combat profile, the Tarantula is an ideal vehicle for reconnaissance missions. It is not much taller than the height of a man, so it can more easily find cover and concealment, which in turn means less chance of detection. In fact, I’m not sure why a bipedal mech that stands several meters tall would ever be sent on a reconnaissance mission. This defies rational tactical thinking. It would be like sending Andre the Giant to a convention of Santa’s elves and expecting that he would go unnoticed.
The Tarantula Mech Lego Model
Primus designed the Lego model of the Tarantula mech. I think I set the speed record for completing a Primus model—probably less than twenty minutes. Most of the time was spent looking for the pieces in my collection rather than putting it together. Despite its simple design, I really like how this model came together. It captures the low-slung profile of the Tarantula mech very well. Sleek and sinister. Nice. When compared to others mechs such as the Hatchetman, Bloodhound, and Naga, you can see how it has a distinct low visibility/stealth advantage over practically everything with two legs. The Tarantula is the kind of combat vehicle that actually makes sense in the real world, but is rare in the Battletech universe.
For comparison purposes, the other mech Lego models depicted with the Tarantula are the Guillotine IIC, Naga, Hatchetman, and Bloodhound battlemechs.
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