Atlas Assault Mech Background
There is a strain of thought among Battletech fans that bigger is better. Size equals power. The Atlas mech epitomizes this thinking. It is one of the most massive battle mechs in existence, weighing in at about 100 tons. It was created to ensure that the Star League Defense Forces would always have the most powerful mech in existence. The specifications for the Atlas called for “a mech as powerful as possible, as impenetrable as possible, and as ugly and foreboding as conceivable, so that fear itself will be our ally.” Hence, the skull shaped cockpit which earned the Atlas mech the nickname “Death’s Head.” The idea is to make the Atlas so fearsome that other mech pilots would think twice before engaging it.
I call this wishful thinking. I don’t see hardened warriors wetting their pants at the sight of a skull, no matter how mean looking it is. Let’s not forget that Mechwarriors live, breath, and crap battle for most of their entire lives. Anti-freeze flows through their veins, and they piss hydraulic fluid. They’ve seen more death and destruction than all the Schwarzenegger movies combined. They would likely be unmoved by the site of a giant lumbering mech with a goofy looking cockpit shape. Some would call the Atlas fear personified. The hardcore would see the mech for what it is—a big fat slow target.
The Atlas was named after the strongest Titan of Greek mythology, not a book of maps. The mythical Atlas wasn’t known for being too bright. The same can be said for the Battletech Atlas’ designers.
Unless it’s a one-on-one gladiatorial dual, I think it takes more courage to pilot an Atlas mech into battle than to face one. If I were an Atlas mech jokey, I know that as soon as I show up, every weapon will be directed at me. The Atlas’ size will provide no comfort, because it only makes me a bigger target. Everyone will see me coming a kilometer away (and will be ready for me). Instead of being intimidated, my enemies will laugh at my hubris. Once I enter a battle, there’s no way out other than death or my enemy’s destruction. There’s no cover or concealment because nothing is big enough to hide my humongous ride. Retreat is out of the question, because other mechs will easily outpace me. They will take potshots at my backside until I turn into molten slag. The salvagers will lick their lips because they know that when my ammo runs out (and quickly it will), my mech’s carcass will provide a tidy bounty. Even though I have over 19 tons of armor plating, I’m going to need every ounce of it because every enemy with a missile launcher, laser, cannon, or slingshot will be taking aim at me. As my armor plating is chipped away bit by bit, I will curse the manufacturer for designing a mech so stupidly conspicuous. Did the lessons of stealth from the 21st Century get forgotten in the 31st? I will have a frustrating time getting a bead on enemy mechs because my torso won’t rotate fast enough. I will realize that using my much vaunted autocannon (with a whopping loadout of 10 rounds) against moving targets is almost impossible, unless an enemy pilot was kind enough to park his mech in front of me. Finally, each time I take a step, I will wish that my Atlas mech didn’t weigh 100 tons because its feet will sink deep into the earth or sand, unless I’m lucky enough to be fighting on really hard terrain (which rarely ever happens). With odds like this, who in their right mind would want to be an Atlas mech pilot?
Check out this fantastical yet outstanding video of the Atlas mech in action.
The Atlas Mech Lego Model
The LEGO model of the Atlas mech was designed by Primus. Obviously, the thing is huge, as seen in comparison to Ralph the trusty mech mechanic and the medium class Chimera. The Atlas stands almost 17 inches tall, making it the tallest mech I have constructed to date. Each leg uses the same amount of LEGO pieces as a typical light mech model. The hallmark of the Atlas mech is its skull shaped head. The LEGO model captures this very well. There aren’t any skull-shaped LEGO pieces, but Primus made good use of the faceted modified bricks (which are becoming rare) and slopes to create a rounded head shape. I can’t imagine doing it any other way. (For comparison of another mech with a skull inspired torso, check out the Ursus. My only real complaint is the hands. I did not build the hands designed by Primus because I found they looked odd and slightly dainty when built with real joints. Instead, I replaced them with ones that Ron Perovich designed for his version of the Atlas. Sorry, Primus, but gotta keep it real. Overall, a very impressive model that will crush your LEGO collection.
Build your own LEGO battlemech models like the one featured above! Boost your collection and buy new sets here.