Rifleman Mech Background
With a massive radar array mounted on top of its torso, and quad gun clusters in place of arms, there’s no mistaking the role of the Rifleman mech. It has similarities to the German fielded 20 mm Flakvierling 38 anti-aircraft weapon system from WWII. Although designed primarily as a fire support mech, the Rifleman found its niche as an anti-aircraft platform. Several factors caused this shift. First, its target acquisition system is one of the best in the Inner Sphere. It is able to track fast moving targets, such as aircraft, with ease. Second, its inadequate cooling system prevents the Rifleman mech from using its guns in a sustained manner. Its guns are better suited to attacking aircraft, where an extended rate of fire is not necessary. Third, its relatively flimsy armor (for a 60 ton heavy mech), is outclassed by most mechs except those in the light category.
Because the Rifleman mech’s guns are attached directly to its torso, it is useless in close quarters combat. It cannot physically defend itself. It would be like sending an armless man into a knife fight. Additionally, its secondary weapons (a pair of lasers) don’t do a lot of damage, so the Rifleman can only operate in well planned battle groups which offer plenty of protection. Therefore, it should only be used in its intended fire-support or anti-aircraft roles. To go against this well established doctrine is only asking for trouble. Weapon systems are designed to support each other. None should operate outside of their intended roles.
Despite these well known weaknesses and inauspicious start, the Rifleman has become one of the most well respected mechs, and is a common sight in the Battletech universe. It truly embodies the term “venerable,” because it is one of the oldest combat mech designs still in operation. The Rifleman mech’s many variants have been continuously upgraded since its introduction in 2505. Its true successor was the Jagermech, first introduced in 3050 (over 500 years after the Rifleman’s debut). Even after the Jagermech came into widespread use, the Rifleman is still serving Inner Sphere units around the galaxy.
Check out this tribute video to the Rifleman mech.
The Rifleman Mech Lego Model
The Rifleman mech Lego model below is the variant that appeared in Mechwarrior 4, and is another Primus design. At the beginning of the build, I had mixed feelings about the Lego model. I wasn’t impressed with some aspects of its design. However, once I assembled the individual components, everything fell into place, so to speak. The combination of all its parts became a very cool looking model. Building the Rifleman Lego model has forced me to keep an open mind. In the past, I would scrap projects if some parts didn’t look as good as I wanted. Now, however, I am rethinking this attitude because this Lego model has shown me that a fantastic model can result even from okay looking individual parts. Best of all, it photographs really well, conveying the right amount of heft and firepower. I am now even more committed to building all of Primus’ designs from physical Lego bricks.
Build your own LEGO battlemech models like the one featured above! Boost your collection and buy new sets here.